Saturday, January 12, 2013

30 Before 30 Bucket List

1. Read In Search of Lost Time (A Remembrance of Things Past)
In Fun Home, Alison Bechdel writes "It's said, after all, that people reach middle age the day they realize they're never going to read Remembrance of Things Past." That quote struck a nerve with me, and once I decided that 2013 would be my year for Remembrance... the rest of this list started to take shape.

2. Finish the Modern Library's Top 10 List
I've read six of the top ten in the Modern Library's Top 100. This year, I want to read the other four: Ulysses, The Sound and the Fury, Darkness at Noon, and Sons and Lovers.

3. Hold a fancy dinner
A five course meal in my dining room. Top hats and monocles preferred.

4. Use the pasta maker

Carol and I got a pasta maker attachment for the Kitchen Aide. We haven't used it. That's got to change.

5. Cook something complicated
Souffle, or beef wellington, or something equally famous and challenging.

6. Host a fest
Lambfest is an annual event for one group of my friends (begun when our non-lamb-loving friend had her wisdom teeth removed). I want to host a similar celebratory experience this year.

7. Visit one new US metropolis

This is such a big country, and I've seen so little of it. Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, Denver, San Diego? I'm taking suggestions.

8. Visit a new winery
I've actually never been to a winery at all- plenty of tastings but never to the place.

9. Visit a new brewery
The last brewery I went to was Ommegang in Cooperstown. There are so many great small breweries throughout the mid-Atlantic, this should be an easy one.

10. Go whitewater rafting (minimum Class 3)
When I mentioned this to a few friends I got instant and enthusiastic yeses. I love my friends.

11. See games in 2 new baseball stadiums
Last year, I made it to CitiField for the first time. I'll probably couple this with the "new city" on #7.

12. Plan our European vacation
Carol and I have talked about a trip to Europe for years. She wants to go back to Italy, where she studied abroad as a student. When I did my semester abroad in London, I got to visit England, France, Spain, Italy and Ireland. I'm looking forward to going someplace new.

13. Tour the National Aquarium
It's right there in Baltimore, and neither Carol nor I have ever been.

14. Learn to play 3 songs on the guitar
Several years ago, I won a guitar from a raffle. I picked it up a few times, and then last Christmas, my lovely wife bought me some "Learn to Play" books. And when, in her sweetness, she tried to tune my guitar for me, she broke it. And, that was fine, too.

And then she bought me a guitar. So- I guess it's time to learn to play.

15. Submit poems to at least 6 publications
I've put together a little backstock of some work I feel is strong, so why not send it out? I've been meaning to for a year now.

16. Lose 30 pounds
I lost about twenty pounds when I moved to Maryland, because I took a job at a college with a gym on campus. Now it's time to get serious and get myself back down to a weight I haven't seen since about 2007.

17. Create a board game
I love board games. Seriously, it might be an addiction. So why not make my own?

18. Volunteer 10 hours
Giving back is important. Plus, the thing I'd like to do most (a Habitat for Humanity weekend) would also double as skill building.

19. Build a tv stand
Speaking of skill building- I built myself a chess table this winter. There's a post coming about that, and it was a fun first project. It's definitely a table that will go on the back porch once I've stained and polyurethaned it, and if it gets ruined by a year or two of rain, so be it.

But my next project is an indoor project- make a tv stand to hold my Playstation and the small tv in the spare room, so that the cords don't have to hang everywhere.

Maybe something like this.

20. Learn to drive standard
I've been out once, but it was on a day I didn't really want to go and I was a little short tempered. But Carol drives stick, and since I don't, we can never take her car on our road trips.

21. Go to an island on a ferry
Exploring the Chesapeake...

22. Watch 5 great movies
I've seen six of imdb's top ten, six of AMC's, and only three of AFI's. I've never seen Gone with the Wind or Schindler's List, while Carol has never seen Casablanca or Pulp Fiction. So we're gonna work on that.

23. Learn to play Go
I've heard about Go from other chess lovers. Simple rules, no luck. Exactly the kind of game I should enjoy.

24. Listen to at least 52 hours of Top 40 radio
I don't listen to the radio.

That's not entirely true, because I like NPR.

But I don't listen to music on the radio- I had the commercials and I hate most of the music. But, this also means that my musical sense is severely out of line with the rest of the universe. 52 hours is an hour per week, though I intend to take it in chunks while driving. I am strong enough.

25. Take pictures of 12 events
If there's one thing I wish from the last few years, it's that I'd taken more pictures of all the fun I've had. Not having a smart phone, this is a little harder for me than for some, because I can't take decent pictures with my little camera phone.

So, like life, I'll work on that.

26. Visit Philadelphia, Baltimore and DC 3 times each
I've actually got my 3 trips to Philly planned already, and our visit to the National Aquarium (see #13) will count as one to Baltimore. I live so close to these places, I just need to make a little more effort to get there.

27. Improve the blog layout
This one may sound a little nebulous, but I've got a small overhaul in mind for the layout. Another thing, and this may dovetail with #28, would be to build a digital "top shelf" (inspired by this one), collecting the ten or so best books I've reviewed on ...andalittlewine...

28. Learn Javascript
I'd like to learn more about computer coding (for personal and professional reasons), so blog upgrades seems like as good a place as any to start.

29. Post 208 times on andalittlewine
This should be a piece of cake- I posted 185 times in the last year, another 23 posts would bring me up an average of 4 posts per week.

30. Complete monthly to-do lists of house projects
While we drove up to visit our families for Thanksgiving, Carol and I put together a to-do list of projects to complete before the New Year. We did all but one, and we enjoyed it so much that we're making it a habit.


  1. ambitious! and not at all what I expected this list to look like. My BIG thing before age 35: ride a camel in the desert in India. Already scheduled :)

  2. 14. You won a really really cheap guitar that wasn't worth fixing in a raffle. Don't make it sound like I ruined something nice.

    22. I have seen Pulp Fiction. I just was in pain and 15 and had slammed my finger in a car door about 5 minutes before I started watching it. I have spared you the gory details of this story, I hope.

    1. Ha! I wasn't pretending it was a nice guitar. But now I have a nice guitar...