Monday, August 26, 2013

40 before 40, the checklist

-- by @Josh_Suchon

One year later, it's time to re-visit the "40 before 40" list that I created last year. The sad truth is I didn't come close to completing all 40 items. In fact, I only did eight of them. That's a .200 batting average, and you'll get released for that kind of production in baseball. 

Most of it can be blamed on a massive life change, moving to Albuquerque, NM for a new job. That forced me to cancel a trip to Hawaii that was supposed to check off numerous items on the list. However, the new job provided an opportunity to see a lot of things that I'd have never otherwise experienced.

Since I'm neurotically addicted to lists, and categories for lists, here's a list of what I wanted to do, what I accomplished, what I neglected, and why.

What I did accomplish (8)
1. Watch a movie in the Hollywood Cemetery. This was fun. One of the first things I did. Special thanks to Emilie and Ty for inviting me. I took a date. She lived in Santa Monica. Upon making the trek across LA, she told me that I was "geographically undesirable." It was the last time I ever saw her. 

2. See my mom's house in Reno. Saw her for Christmas. It even snowed. A white Christmas. Awesome.

3. Sit in "The Show" (the San Diego State student section) for an Aztecs men's basketball game. Did this for a road game at USC. Most fun I've ever experienced at a sporting event. It flat-out ruled. Hope to do this again one day, preferably at SDSU.

4. Build my Twitter following to 1,000. I was at 456 at the time. Did you know that you can buy Twitter followers? I bought 1,000 as an experiment, then another 1,000 as a second experiment from a different company. They aren't real accounts, so they slowly go away. I'm at 1,802 now. I have no idea how many are real and how many are fake. I no longer care. I actually get creeped out by a few of my followers. 

5. Write a blog post that gets 5,000 hits. Apparently, a lot of people want to know why Al Davis feuded with Marcus Allen. At last count, that entry was at 8,126 hits. The original "40 for 40" list was at 5,609 hits. 

6. No red meat for 365 days. This became very difficult, but I did it. There were a couple asterisks. Does salami count as red meat? As some friends pointed out, it is red. I thought it was pork. Put it this way, I didn't have a hamburger, a steak, carne asada, or anything similar for a year. This is incredibly difficult in minor league baseball. I starved a few times because there was no food options in the press box other than red meat. I'm going back to eating red meat now. I actually don't miss red meat. It's just the hassle of avoiding it that's such a pain. 

7. Adopt something. Turns out, you can't just write a check and adopt a highway. So much for that idea. Instead, I adopted a soldier defending our freedom. I sent him supplies. It's a really cool program. We exchanged letters, although my dream of having a pen pal relationship with somebody in the Middle East didn't materialize. I highly recommend you do this too. All the info can be found at

8. Pick something else to add to this list in the next 364 days. This was easy. I did some damn cool things that makes me proud. The full breakdown will come with tomorrow's list of the 40 things I did instead. 

What I didn't accomplish, but I will soon (9)

1. Camp in the Grand Canyon and/or go white water rafting down the Grand Canyon. This gets carried over to the life-long bucket list. I'll eventually do this.

2. Eat the worm in a tequila bottle. I bought the Tequila bottle with the worm, but never opened it. Alas, coming up soon I've got a bachelor party in Vegas, a wedding in SoCal, a football weekend in Texas, and seven months without baseball. I'll work on this.

3. Learn how to edit on Final Cut Pro. Almost got a job that would require this. I lied to get to the finals. Took a one-hour crash class to learn the basics. Didn't get the job and quite glad. My new job is way better and what I want to be doing. I still want to do this.

4. Headstand in the middle of the room and stay for a minute. I like my neck. I really do. I'm content doing headstands up against the wall, where I know my neck won't break. Much safer. Maybe I'll do this eventually. Maybe. 

5. Hot air balloon ride, or zipline, or bungee jump. New Mexico is known for hot air balloon rides. There's a festival coming up soon. I'll be there and do this thing. 

6. Solve a Rubik's cube. I bought the cube. I tried it without manuals. I tried it after watching how-to videos on YouTube. I'd get one side pretty easily. I'd get close to a second side, then it would all fall apart. I gave up. But I'll try this again. 

7. Attend a Cirque de Soleil show. I did attend a show, while our team was in Las Vegas on a road trip. It was called "Pin Up." My college friend Jon Gitt got us free tickets. It wasn't as naughty as they want you to believe. It was pretty good. Nothing special. I'll attend a Cirque de Soleil show one day. 

8. Say the phrase "quick, follow that car!" for a justifiable reason. I will eventually do this. 

9. Serve soup at a homeless kitchen. I suck. 

What I didn't accomplish, mostly because of the new job (9)

1. Rent a fancy sports car and drive along the coast for a day/weekend. Not too many coasts in New Mexico. 

2. Swim with dolphins. This was supposed to happen in Hawaii. Maybe another year it'll happen. 

3. Do a 5K Mud Run. Ok, I know these exist everywhere and I'm sure there's one in New Mexico. But the baseball schedule makes it tough. It's something I still want to do.

4. Go skinny dipping in the ocean. This was supposed to happen in Hawaii. The water is freakin' cold in California and I don't live there anymore. Got a plan for this to possibly happen soon though. 

5. Ride a helicopter somewhere special. This was supposed to happen in Hawaii. Maybe another year.

6. Hike to the top of Mt. Baldy. Came close to going there a couple times. Ended up going on cool hikes that were closer and (almost) as challenging. Maybe another year.

7. Go to a jazz concert at the Hollywood Bowl. That's a tough commute from New Mexico. Maybe another year.

8. Visit Hearst castle. This was supposed to be in connection with the fancy sports car. Neither happened. Maybe another year.

9. Walk the red carpet and attend a movie premiere. Not too many movie premieres in New Mexico. However, I did attend an advanced screening for "The Gangster Squad," a movie my college friend Will Beall wrote, before leaving LA. No red carpet. But it was before the actual premiere. Maybe this counts as a half check.

What I tried to accomplish, but it wasn't meant to be (6)
1. Pick a hockey team and learn every player on the team. I tried. I really did. Narrowed my list to five and wrote letters to each team. Four never responded. One was a pathetic response. I scrapped those five teams and somewhat picked the Montreal Canadiens. I followed them on Twitter. But most of the tweets were in French. I never watched a game. I never learned a player's name. I have no idea how they did in the playoffs. Maybe I'm just not cut out to be a hockey fan.

2. Write my will. I went to a few websites. It was more expensive than necessary. I don't have much stuff. I basically just wanted everything to go to my sister and her son. 

3. Open a Swiss bank account. Turns out, you can't just put a couple hundred bucks into an account. You need a lot of money, which I don't have. I just wanted to be able to work into conversations, "I can join you on that vacation, if I dip into my Swiss Bank account." Oh well. 

4. Floss every day for 365 days straight. This was really hard. I went two weeks straight and got to the point where my gums stopped bleeding. Then I was flossing about 4-5 times a week. Over the last few months, baseball season got to me, and I slacked off big time. I'll estimate that I flossed 150 days. I went through two canisters. That's more than the previous 10 years combined, so mission accomplished. I can still do better. 

5. Obtain a copy of "The Sleepy Floyd Game" and it has to be the one with Greg Papa doing the play-by-play. This is incredibly difficult to find. There's a copy on YouTube of the fourth quarter, when Sleepy goes crazy scoring points against the Lakers, and you hear Papa's famous line: "Sleepy Floyd is Superman!" But finding the entire game is damn near impossible. 

6. Donate blood. I tried. Twice. But they can't use my blood. It's a long story. Let's go with, "I'm too healthy." 

What I didn't accomplish, because I forgot or thought it was stupid in retrospect (8)

1. Visit a psychic. Seriously, this is stupid. We all know it.

2. Paint something. Painting is stupid. We all know it.

3. Go zorbing. Zorbing is stupid. We all know it. 

4. Hand out a $100 bill to a homeless person in need. Never saw the ideal situation and I don't keep Benjamins on me. The meal money we get for road trips is actually $50s, but I'm so paranoid of being robbed, I usually kept all the cash at home and just used my debit card everywhere. There's better way to help people in need, and I did. 

5. Ride a Segway. Segways are stupid. We all know it.

6. Attend a murder mystery dinner. These are stupid too. 

7. Sleep under the stars. In retrospect, I'm sure I've already done this. My parents took us camping damn near every weekend when I was really young. I'll do this again, but it was a stupid item for a bucket list.

8. Milk a cow. What the hell was I thinking?
Coming tomorrow: the 40 things I did instead.