Tuesday, August 27, 2013

40 Before 40 -- what I did instead

-- by @Josh_Suchon

My original "40 before 40" list turned into a colossal failure. I only accomplished eight of the 40 items. 

The failure can mostly be contributed to putting a bunch of ridiculous items on the list, taking a new job that cancelled a trip to Hawaii that was going to check off numerous items, and moving to another state where a lot of the items were no longer feasible.

Instead of being depressed at what I didn't complete, here's my list of 40 things that I accomplished instead.

The lesson is that while making goals and planning is helpful, life is best when you're spontaneous and just experience what's around you ... or when you just go through your iPhone, just start picking random photos, and declare that it's something you accomplished. 

1. Got stranded on the side of the road, during a wine trip to Santa Barbara, when our bus broke down. Fortunately, my friends don't blink an eye. We just crack open beers on the side of the road, and watch the girls get cars to honk as they ask for a ride. The bus cooled off, the driver got us to the next winery, we got a new bus, we kept wine tasting. You haven't lived until you've rode home on a wine bus, music blasting, all the girls dancing in the aisles, and a view o the sunset on the Pacific Ocean out the side of the window.

2. Discovered where the "Melrose Place" apartment was located. Turns out, it was less than a mile from my old apartment in LA.

3. Lucked into New Balance making shoes with my name stitched into the back. The perks of working the Area Code Games for ESPN3.

4. Saw the Space Shuttle Endeavour fly over the Griffith Observatory. It only took about a hundred photos to get this shot. Thank goodness for digital pictures that can be easily erased.

5. Attended the Poinsettia Bowl with a whole bunch of former Daily Aztec sportswriters. No need to discuss what happened in the game. Eff BYU. We're a basketball school now.

6. Spent a day as an extra on a movie. This was more boring than fun. But there was so much sitting around, I was able to proof almost half of my book. What was really sad is how many people do this for a living, or try to do this for a living. I can't even remember the name of this movie, so I can't look for myself. I think it was just a trailer anyway. I did gain a lot of respect for how tedious making a movie can be, and why it's so easy for goofs on continuity. I even got paid for it.

7. Celebrated the New Year with great friends and tasty beverages. Yep, wore that ridiculous hat.

8. Published my second book. Perhaps you heard, from one of the thousand posts I did on Facebook/Twitter to promote it? Thanks to all who bought a copy. For those who didn't, the book will make a great Christmas gift. 

9. Hiked to the "Bridge to Nowhere" in the San Gabriel Mountains. This was a little shorter than Mt. Baldy, but every bit as interesting. That guy in the blue shirt with his arms up in the air is my hiking amigo, Josh Cumming, who suggested the trip. A great excursion.

10. Was the guest of honor at a press conference ... for me. How surreal. A very nice gesture by the Albuquerque Isotopes to welcome me into town with a press conference. Even my aunt Janet was able to attend.

11. Played whiffle ball on the Venice Beach, at Sunset, during my going-away party. Thanks to all who showed up. A bigger thanks to those who played whiffle ball with me. The biggest thanks to Sean Maddison for taking this super cool photo.

12. Was faced with this decision and didn't make a U-turn. I definitely miss Los Angeles. I ended up loving it way more than I thought. But the job in Albuquerque was too good to pass up. Seeing this sign made me laugh as I drove to New Mexico.

13. Went inside a humidor that's used to store baseballs. The high altitude in Albuquerque means that baseballs travel much further. In order to try combating this, the Isotopes installed the humidor in 2013. By keeping the baseballs in a controlled environment, they don't dry up or shrink. As a result, they don't travel as far. In theory.  

14. Saw not just any Bon Jovi concert, but a concert inside the Arena where Jon Bon Jovi has a retired uniform. This was in Des Moines. Bon Jovi used to be a part-owner of the Arena Football Team in Des Moines. That's why his name hangs from the rafters. Very convenient Sunday day game in Des Moines allowed me to catch the concert that night from the rafters. 

15. Got my picture taken with Tabitha Soren. Because who could ever forget when she moderated a "Choose or Lose" program on MTV, and one of the college students asked then-candidate Bill Clinton, "the world is dying to know -- boxers or briefs?" 

16. Re-united with Daily Aztec alums Ferris Shahrestani and Gregg Lewis for beers in Round Rock. Because when we were students in San Diego, we vowed that we'd all end up in Round Rock, Texas. 

17. Interviewed my former Dodger Talk co-host, Ken Levine, about the Simpson's episode he wrote that inspired the name of the baseball team that now employs me -- with Homer Simpson listening. The ultimate example of life imitating art, and life coming full circle. Super cool that Ken came out to Albuquerque, saw the ballpark, and joined me on the radio. Great times.

18. Got the worst haircut of my life that made me so embarrassed, I bought this ridiculous hat. The reaction I got in the clubhouse from the players was priceless.

19. Visited the Civil Rights Museum and Lorraine Motel. Highly recommend if you ever find yourself in Memphis. So is the Sun Studio, where Elvis Presley and others got their start. Disappointed in myself for not going to Graceland. Next time. 

20. Watched the College World Series from a bar across the street from the College World Series in Omaha. I didn't care enough for the teams to buy tickets. I was close enough. Cool atmosphere. 

21. Visited the National Museum where the Federal Building in Oklahoma City was bombed. Shed a few tears. Maybe a few more than a few tears. Emotional place. Very well presented. 

22. Walked through the corn from the "Field of Dreams" movie site. Highlight of my tourist-related excursions during the season. Well worth the six-hour, round-trip drive -- even if I was exhausted for that night's game. Still get goosebumps thinking about it. Quite a special place, even after all these years. Bought a "wanna have a catch Dad" t-shirt for my old man. Can't beat that. 

23. Broadcasted live on the radio during a monsoon. This was crazy. Lucky that nobody got hurt from our grounds crew and front office. 

24. Visited the Jack Daniel's Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. Did you know it's located in a dry county? They make all the Jack there, but you can't buy it in town. You can buy special limited edition bottles at the distillery. Snagged me a bottle of the "single barrel" whiskey. Haven't decided when I'll drink it. Waiting for a special occasion … or when I'm too lazy to go buy something else.

25. Took a picture of a mermaid swimming above a bar. Yep. I couldn't make this up if I tried. In case you want to do it yourself, the bar is called "Dive" and it's in Sacramento.

26. Did a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Albuquerque. Where more than one person showed up. Honest.

27. Did a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Huntington Beach. Where more than two college friends showed up. Honest. 

28. Did a book signing at Dodger Stadium. Where somebody showed up wearing an Isotopes hat. Yep.

29. Signed a copy of my book to Vin Scully. My hand was trembling. Definitely the highlight of all the books I ever sold, signed or gave away. Wow. 

30. Did I mention that I wrote a book and shamelessly took photos with a bunch of people from the book? Nahhh, not yet.

31. Helped break into my friend's locked office so he could show me this picture. Because if you're climbing through the ceiling in the office of the Las Vegas public defender's office, it better be for an autographed photo of a shirtless photo of Jose Canseco and his ex-wife Esther.

32. Got food poisoning in Fresno ... and discovered the greatest product to help with dehydration. Seriously, these brought me back from what felt like the brink of death. It's called Pedialyte. It's intended for kids. It's also great for adults who are dehydrated from playing baseball in the high altitude, or broadcasters who get food poisoning. A note for the future: not that I've ever been hungover in my life. But should that day ever occur, it's a little known fact there's some magical electrolytes in these packets.

33. Snagged a copy of the greatest bobblehead ever. This is the legendary Johnny Doskow, radio announcer for the Sacramento Rivercats. He's got a big nose. He's got a receding hairline. This bobblehead captured both beautifully. Brilliant.

34. Found my biggest fan and got an autographed baseball card of him. Aiden's dad contacted me and they joined me in the booth for a few innings. Aiden wore the headphones and watched the game next to me. He departed by giving him his autograph. Hopefully, the kid waits a few years before taking my job.

35. Snuck onto the Vanderbilt football field and took a few photos. Because, you know, they have such a great history of winning football games.

36. Interviewed the great Rickey Henderson for the pre-game show. Even told him that on my ninth birthday, in 1982, he broke the single-season record for most stolen bases in a season.

37. Birdied the first seven holes in a round of golf. Sure, it was Golden Tee, but I don't care. That's still hard to do. Pretty sure my final round was about 10 under par. Best round of my life. 

38. Vastly improved my fancy socks collection. Because a day without color-coordinated fancy socks is a boring day.

39. Found somebody from Pleasanton who has recently moved to Albuquerque too. A hearty welcome to Kim Hansen (now Kim Smith). Her husband is an assistant coach for the New Mexico Lobos men's basketball team, better known as the school the Aztecs will defeat this year en route to another league title.

40. Got the map on my iPhone for places where I've taken photos to look like this. Now I need to add a bunch of red pins in more countries.