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Bucket List Summer Challenge


bucket listHere it is May already and summer is knocking hard at the door like the determined home exteriors salesman I just had trouble shaking.  For many of us there’s summer vacation; time off of work and school.  In the meantime, there’s your stunningly crafted Bucket List that you want to complete.  Here’s the perfect opportunity to hammer at it.

Instead of catching up on multiple seasons of cancelled Joss Whedon TV shows while lounging in your neighbors’ pool, challenge yourself to to work on your Bucket List this summer.  Pick 3 or 4 or more items from your list and do them.  If you don’t already have a bucket list, make a list of your hopes and dreams, the things you’d like to do before you die (if you want ideas, here’s mine- My Bucket List: 100 Things To Do Before I Die).  Maybe you want to take a road trip across the US in a rusted Pinto or visit all the National Parks and take pictures while only leaving fingernail clippings.  Maybe synchronized swimming with the dolphins is your thing or walking the Great Wall of China in a dirndl as you grow your beard.   Read the rest of this entry »

Why Fantasy Sports Make Me Feel Manly (and like an addict)

by Jonathan Basecommander Perry

Ok, yeah, it's really 2010.

OK, sure.  I’m only playing fantasy baseballIt’s not like it’s fantasy football or sci-fi soccer (yeah, I just made that up, but doesn’t it sound awesome?).  Not only is baseball a snail-paced sport, but because of the daily games in baseball, I have to keep on top of things every freaking day for like 5 months.  Or is it 6 months?  Maybe that makes it more hardcore.  The 1st 2 years I played fantasy baseball I got so into number crunching, I made graphs.  Baseball Stat Graphs! I even updated those graphs periodically throughout the season (yeah, I like stats).  I mean, they didn’t really seem to help me because I never ended higher than 3rd place (though I flirted with the lead a few times as late as August), but I enjoyed comparing players’ stats and it seemed to enhance my fantasy baseball enjoyment.

Last year I missed the deadline to sign up for fantasy baseball with my group and I was disappointed, but more than anything, I was actually relieved.  I felt like I’d kicked a terrible drug habit, like heroin or smack or angel dust (I have no clue what those last 2 are).  On weeklong camping trips when I was playing and far away from a computer, I’d find excuses (groceries, laundry, Taco Bell) to drive the 30 minutes into town and hit the library so I could check my fantasy team and make little adjustments to the roster.  Maybe bench or trade a slumping player.  I’d eat up the latest stats and try to catch some live games.  I’d even drag my laptop along to discover I’d found probably the only Starbucks in the world without WiFi.  It was a compulsion.  Then, when I wasn’t playing, it was as if I suddenly, miraculously, had free time to do other things like exercise, read classical literature (Bill Bryson), and chat online with non-fictional women that I totally didn’t just make up.  The air was fresher.  I slept better at night.  I lost almost 40 pounds (I’m not sure how all this is related).  I’d poured so much time every day for months into my fantasy team that I wasted possibly hundreds of hours I could have spent reading Don Quixote or socializing with humans.  Yes, not playing was a relief.

But here I am again.  Another year.  Another fantasy baseball league.  Actually 2 this time.  Dangit.  Both named Moose & Squirrel.  My buddy Roland, who lured me into the previous leagues, got me into it again this year at the last minute with his friends in TaiwanJerk.  He’s my fantasy crack dealer.  I thought I’d escaped.  Once I’d succumbed to the lure of one league, I remembered my other college friend Brian had been asking around for people to play in his league.  So later that afternoon I decided, what the heck.  I’m already doing it.  I might as well have 2 teams.  I could even experiment with drafting techniques and discover some clever strategies.  The draft is like some weird fantasy Christmas, at least in our leagues where you wake up early after the overnight auto-draft (or race home after work) to see what goodies were left for you in your Easter Basket under the Christmas tree (of course that sounds a little weird when you remember the “goodies” are the players).

Somehow, playing fantasy sports even makes me feel a bit manly.  It’s the stuff guys talk about when they don’t actually play sports.  I suppose it must be like having a second life in one of those role playing games like World of Warcraft (minus the hot orc-women).  I know I’m only playing fantasy baseball, the lesser of the sports fantasies.  I haven’t yet played fantasy football, which is apparently more manly, but less involved, and I feel pretty left out at the office when all the guys gather around Randy’s desk to discuss passing percentages, season ending spinal injuries, or linebacker stats that are pretty meaningless to me, and I consider playing the next year, but I don’t.  I tried to talk to a few of my friends at work about fantasy baseball, but they just gave me vacant stares.  They only do football, so we have little in common.  They also have families.  I don’t even see the guys I’m playing with.

Fantasy sports allow guys to bond in a special way, talk a unique language.  Of course women play, but really it’s mostly guys doing the fantasy stuff (I’m sure there’s some Freudian thing you could take from that).  And however boring baseball might be compared to football or basketball (I do enjoy them both), baseball is still my native sport, the one I most grew up with and I have a soft spot in my head for it.  I still have boxes full of baseball cards I collected when I was younger.  I’ve been to a few major league games and have gone hoarse rooting for the SF GiantsMy mom and her sisters, the biggest sports fans in my family, have their awesome childhood story about visiting Willie Mays‘ house and getting his autograph on the same day they accidentally saw the Beatles in San Francisco, but they didn’t care about the Beatles (that always bothered me).  I even pitched a near perfect game in HS intramurals that was pretty awesome (for a small private school of fat kids).  There’s something about the crack of the bat on the skull…ok, no.  That’s something else.  Anyway, pray for me.

Happy Birthday to my brother Jay!  May he live long and prosper!

Update:  Congratulations to former Nebraska Cornhusker Ndamukong Suh on being the 2nd overall pick in the NFL draft!  The Detroit Lions made a great choice.

The secret word is addiction.

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MY BUCKET LIST: 100 Things To Do Before I Die

not my hand

Do you have a bucket list?  What do you want to do before you die?
I usually have a small list of life goals banging around my head & bits written down, but I challenged myself to write it all out & was surprised.  Some of the list is comprised of half-crazed dreams that seem like a stretch, but would be swell to accomplish.  Sure, I’ve just created more identifiable ways to fail.  Good stuff.

I’ve divided my list into 5 groups:  Learning, Creative, Travel, Adventure, Domestic. If I’d made the list 10 years ago, it would’ve included things I’ve done since like seeing castle Neuschwanstein, lurking about Stonehenge, buying a house, visiting Asia (Taiwan), etc, & I’d have more of a sense of completion to this point & the existing list would be shorter.  Maybe in 5 years I’ll have knocked off a dozen more & will have replaced them (If I can survive a 5k race without dying from asthma, then maybe a 10k would be in order.  Junk like that.).

(Take the Bucket List Summer Challenge)

By the way, a few items I don’t think I’ll add are bungee jumping and skydiving, since I don’t want to die trying to check something off my death list.  Am I an incredible chicken?  Yes.  Yes, I am.  But accomplishing most of these things requires me to get off my lazy chicken butt and get with it.  So, the gauntlet has been dropped.

Learning Goals

1. Learn a new brass instrument

2. Learn a new stringed instrument

3. Learn to play the accordion so I can annoy friends and loved ones (in a different way)

4. Take the IQ test before the mind starts going.

5. Learn to play decently at cards/poker (I’ll have to work on my P-P-P-Poker face)

6. Learn to play golf properly/get my own left-handed clubs

7. Learn to play piano by ear/Be the Piano Man!

8. Learn conversational Spanish (my 8th grade Spanish didn’t stick well)

9. Study another language like German or French or Mandarin

10. Learn to surf

11. Learn to sail

12. Study a martial art (Karate, Tai Chi, etc)

13. Take an art class where I learn how to draw, paint, create visual junk

14. Learn to juggle

15. Do a thorough genealogy search (& find if we are really related to Ben Franklin, Napoleon, prez Andrew Johnson & an Indian chief) (I can only half cross this off)

16. Record oral histories of my family  (I’ve done 3 now. Need more details, though.)

17. Travel the country/world to see gravestones of ancestors/relatives

18. Attend family reunions for @ least 2 branches of my family (eg Hinkles & Gottschalls)

19. Learn super debating techniques

20. Give a speech to a large group (while awake and wearing more than underwear)-> Sort of Done.

21. Be able to identify more constellations (beyond Orion & the Dippers)

22. Learn good storytelling techniques

23. Read all the books on a snobby list of classics

24. Be able to identify 10+ birdcalls

25. Learn the main arguments for creationism

Creative Goals

26. Publish at least one song
27. Write at least once for a national/int’l magazine
28. Make a scripted home movie with a story line
29. Finish writing my Christmas Cantata (for a choir) & have it performed & recorded
30. Finish Writing my rock musical:  music, lyrics, story
31. Write a screenplay for a movie (possibly for that rock musical)
32. Publish at least one book
33. Design and landscape my backyard (possibly with help)
34. Start a magazine
35. Build a proper treehouse (not like that awesome bit of childhood @my grandparents’)
36. Record a semi-pro album
37. Perform a full set of my own music (+some covers)
38. Write a stand-up comedy act, even if I don’t perform publicly
39. Write several comedy sketches, enough to match an episode of SNL (or In Living Color or Kids in the Hall or Monty Python or Mad TV)
40. Perform the aforementioned sketches with friends in an improvised version of SNL.  Videotape it.  My band could be the featured music(could be just the sort of thing to organize over an extended Christmas holiday)coat of arms family crest rausch design standard herald heraldry
41. Write a script for a tv show
42. Design a family crest/coat of arms
43. Invent something & take out a patent
44. Become handy with some new dangerous tools (probably something that ends in -saw)
45. Build some fairly simple furniture without help from former felons or summer camp dudes
46. Build an instrument from a kit
47. Write a Christmas story
48. Write a non-Christmas hymn (another one, but one that doesn’t suck so much)
49. Design a Lord of the Rings amusement park for fun
50. Design a Christmas-themed amusement park for fun

Travel Goals

51. Visit all 7 continents.  Yes, this includes Antarctica.

52. Visit all US national parks
53. Visit every US state
54. See the pyramids & the Sphynx (Egypt, not Vegas)
55. Walk the Great Wall
56. Visit the Terra Cotta Warriors in Xian and buy tacky souvenirs
57. Visit Beijing, China
58. See New England in full leaf-peeper season
59. Visit Machu Picchu, Peru
60. Visit the Taj Mahal, India
61. Visit Angkor Wat in Cambodia (carefully stepping around the landmines)
62. See the 7 Wonders of the world
63. Visit France- -> DONE!
64. Visit Switzerland -> Officially done! Do longer.
65. Go back to Austria, but for longer than 2 hrs this time. DONE!
66. Sleep in a castle
67. Take a Euro-trip just to visit castles & cathedrals (the 2 previous trips nearly qualify)
68. See Italy -> DONE!
69. Visit the Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera
70. Visit Japan (see more than just the airport next time)
71. See the Acropolis in Greece
72. Visit Russia
73. See the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul (not Constantinople), Turkey (yeah, I called you a turkey)
74. Big heads on Easter Island, Baby!
75. Visit the Holy Land between bombings

Adventure Goals

76. Run in a 5k race without stopping partway through to get a rock out my shoe
77. Ride in a Hot Air balloon and/or a Zeppelin (possibly while singing “Stairway to Heaven” or “Immigrant Song” or saying stuff like “Oh, the humanity!”)
78. Walk longish segments of the Appalachian Trail
79. Take a cruise (I’m probably going to sign up for one in the next week)-> DONE! 
80. Travel the Trans-Canada Hwy from coast to coast
81. Canoe the boundary waters or a waterway (but book woods with showers & toilets)
82. Travel by train across the US
83. Take a US roadtrip from coast to coast
84. Get SCUBA certified (if asthma allows)
85. Take flight Lessons
86. See the northern lights
87. Take a helicopter ride
88. Go whitewater rafting
89. Live in or travel around another country for a few months at a time
90. Take a proper cabin/lodge/ski vacation

Domestic Bliss Goals

91. Marry someone swell
92. Procreate
93. Become self-employed (make a living off my creative work for at least 1 year, but preferably always)
94. Get back under 200 pounds (and stay there)
95. Build my own house (by which I mean have someone else build it to my specs)
96. Regain my 6-pack
97. Develop a unique recipe that’s pretty darn good
98. Grow a decent backyard garden by myself that survives
99. Learn to make at least 5 dishes from memory
100. Help plant an orchard (preferably mine on a large acreage)

What’s on your bucket list?

The Secret word is Falafel


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