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Wow, another year in the books. 2017 is almost toast, but we still have a fair bit of work to do.

For the fifth year in a row, I present my December To Do List. And like all the many years before it, it’s an amazing, transcendent ride that will have you weeping for joy, and high-fiving people you don’t even know!

Okay, as Jedi Master Luke Skywalker likes to say, “None of those words are true.”

But that shouldn’t stop you from closing this post now and heading out to high-five someone! Or just give them a hug. They may need it.

These lists have a certain sameness to them, because December also represents the season I return to Washington State for the holidays. And there are certain things I like to do when I head back to my home state. I’ll spend about half of December in DC and the other half in WA. (Editor’s note: At press time, I’m already there!)

December 2017 To Do List

  1. Write a concert review – I’ve been doing it all year, might as well do one in December too.
  2. Attend two Seattle Seahawks games – The games are do or die, luckily for us fans, just the way Russel Wilson likes it.
  3. Sleep in a cabin – Have a few spirits, watch bad movies, tussle in the snow. Escape.
  4. Witness Star Wars: The Last Jedi – (Hint: I did this already! Making this list easier for myself!)
  5. Check out four new (to me) breweries – I did three last year so let’s make it harder this December! Sigh.
  6. Eat a Dick’s Drive-In Deluxe burger – I said I’m putting this on my list every year, did you not believe me?
  7. Do some outdoorsy things – Hike? Ski? Just get outside.
  8. Write – This blog has seen little activity in recent months, so I’ve hired a few gifted spam bots to craft incredible click bait content and relentlessly post until you cry mercy!
  9. See family – That’s why I come home for the holidays, so might as well do it!
  10. Go somewhere I haven’t been to in a while – Vague and unspecific. Just the way I like it, makes it easier to win this list.
  11. Wild Card – Something that might have made this list, if I was smart enough to think of it ahead of time.

High-fives

 

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I haven’t been putting too many monthly goals together the last year or so, so I suspect this will be a real treat for you. Finally doing another one! The wait must have been excruciating.

This goal is dead simple.

(more…)

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Capital Bikeshare has given me a ready-made goal in the form or their Winter Warriors campaign.

No work from my side, except to take a bike ride (or many).

Their challenge goes thus for January and February:

  • Gold Medal: 150+ rides
  • Silver Medal: 75+ rides
  • Bronze Medal: 35+ rides

One’s prize for success is to acquire a ‘digital medal’ and entry into their prize drawings.

I probably rode about 20 times in January, so only 130 more rides to go!!

 

February Goal: Take 130 bike rides and win a Gold Medal!

 

Ride it!

 

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2017 is here! New Year’s Resolutions sound so passé, so I do Bold Predictions. This is that.

But don’t get too worked up, predictions and resolutions amount to the same thing, right? No idea.

I like counting, so I liberally litter these predictions with numbers. Often ones I can’t even count to.

2016 was a year that lasted 366 days, and is now over. You can skip to the bottom to see how I did on my 2016 Bold Predictions…not too bad actually if you have low standards.

Last year I also tried to do more, more, more. This year I’ll just do. Let’s go.

 

In 2017, I predict I will…

…finish my Major League Baseball stadium quest that is years in the making! You heard me! Only two stadiums left! San Diego and Kansas City.

…hike over 304 total miles.

…read six books I own that I haven’t read. I have so many…

…hit up another Seattle Seahawks road game. Nashville? New York? San Francisco?

…do an adventure trip. Whitewater rafting? Island hopping? Trekking? Who’s in?

…start one new venture.

…organize, clean and get rid of stuff. On an epic scale.

…complete three home improvements.

…tear down walls.

…steal your dog to play with. Forget to give it back.

 

________________

Let’s look at how I fared from my 2016 list:

Success rate: 7.5/10

…visit two new baseball stadiums. Only four left! Result: Complete! I went to Denver for the Colorado Rockies (Coors Field) and Phoenix for the Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field).

…read 33 books (one more than last year); watch 101 movies (one more than last year). Result: Got there just under the wire! Read 33 books and watched 111 movies.

…visit two new countries (one more than last year). Result: Success! I went to both Honduras and India for the first time.

…run in at least four races (one more than last year). Result: Fail! I only ran one race, the Semper Fi 5K. I tried to run the Army Ten-Miler but had to travel for work. I did the One Day Hike (50K) for the fifth time, but that’s not running.

…find a reason to do something even crazier than the last time. Result: Last crazy time was whitewater rafting down the Zambezi River, so for this crazy time…let’s see…how about 4 nights/5 days backpacking in Colorado? A total of 43 miles with a 39-pound backpack while being stalked by a bear!

…hike over 250 total miles. (Last year I hiked 185) Result: I crushed it and hiked 358 miles! Easy.

…take no prisoners and give no shits. Result: Hard to quantify this, but I tend to give a shit, so 1/2 right only!

…pick a few musicians and go deep into their music catalog. Result: Nope! Did not do this.

…binge watch three new TV shows. Result: Indeed. In fact, I quadrupled my output and binged 12 new TV shows. See which ones here.

…play with two puppies. Result: This is a given. One of them was my niece’s new wiener dog, Jedi. He wants to come back to DC with me, I know it.

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I crushed my December To Do List! I did 12 out of 11 things! Wait, what?

It’s 2017, so I’m bending the rules, along with hearts and minds.

Hop on board, this new year is about to get interesting! Let’s leave all the ugliness behind us.

 

Goal for December 2016: Do all 11 items on my painstakingly (for you) curated To Do List.

Result: Success! 12/11

 

December 2016 To Do List

Sip at three new (to me) breweries – Always looking to have a brew or three, see. Of course! Beer is good! I went to Odd Otter Brewing Co. (Tacoma), Populuxe Brewing and Maritime Pacific Brewing Co. (Seattle).

Take a road trip – But where to? Buckle up. Did a few short trips around Washington State; to Mt. Rainer, Seattle and Arlington/Marysville.

Attend a Seattle Seahawks game – Boom! December 24th vs. the Cardinals. And…they lost a wild and crazy game.

Experience two Oscar buzz movies in theaters – Someone has to do it. Well, I kind of did it. I saw Arrival and tried to see La La Land (but it was sold out). I saw Rogue One, which should get 3-4 noms for music and special effects. So there, I’m claiming it!

Eat a Dick’s Drive-In (Seattle) Deluxe burger – As always. Burp.

Eat or drink at four new (to me) places, like coffee shops, bars or restaurants – Keeping up on my goal from Oct/Nov on trying new things. Did it! No sweat.

Get some snow on me – What is winter without wonderful white snow? I threw a few iceballs and did a five mile snowshoeing trek in Mt. Rainer National Park.

Hike! 20 miles at least! – Walk it off. I already achieved and more the hiking goal I made this year (read: hike 250 total miles), this is gravy. Done! And done!

Get rid of some stuff – I have clothes to donate, and some other things that need to go. Unclutter. Tidy. I organized a bunch of things to get rid of. I only managed to donate a few things to the 9:30 Club’s holiday charity. Plus I chucked some stuff still at my parents house.

Watch the Washington Huskies in the College Football Playoff Game (Peach Bowl) – I won’t go to the actual game in Atlanta, but I’ll be watching. Oh yes. Go Dawgs! I watched it at The Loose Wheel in Puyallup (which was surprisingly packed out with UW fans). Did not like the result, no I did not.

Wild Card – Something that in hindsight, should have been on this list! I went to visit the Tahoma National Cemetery near Kent and Covington, where 3 of my grandparents are buried in honor of military service. Jack Parker (1921-2006), Walter Bailey (1919-2016) and Verla Bailey (1927-2013).

Bonus Wild Card – I attended my sister’s wedding at The Rustin Chapel in Tacoma!

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One of my 2016 bold predictions was to…binge watch three new TV shows.

I went a bit overboard and binged out on 12 new (to me) TV shows. Having goals is hard, you don’t know when to say when. Damn you Netflix!

 

Here they are, ranked:

1) Stranger Things (Season 1: 13 episodes) – Pretty good. Pretty scary.

2) Marvel’s Daredevil (Seasons 1 & 2: 13 episodes each) – Season 1 was what a superhero show should be; dramatic, a bad bad guy, good action sequences and some bouts of conscious. Season 2 got annoying however, with the existential crisis of whether you should kill bad guys. From the guy that beats everyone to a bloody, permanently mangled pulp. #TeamPunisher

3) Narcos (Season 1: 10 episodes) – Pablo Escobar is a bad man. But you can’t look away.

4) The Expanse (Season 1: 10 episodes) – Slick sci-fi whodunit in space!

5) Mr. Robot (Season 1: 10 episodes) – No robots were harmed in the making of this show. Though many of your brain cells were tweaked.

6) Marvel’s Jessica Jones (Season 1: 13 episodes) – David Tennant is not Doctor Who, he’s Kilgrave!! More mind games than action, but a dark look at redemption.

7) The Man in the High Castle (Season 1: 10 episodes) – What if Germany and Japan won WWII and then invaded the USA and split the conquest? Life 20 years later isn’t so rosy.

8) The Night Of (Season 1: 8 episodes) – A suspenseful look at the consequences of poor decisions and the terrible prison system we have. Solid, but no surprises.

9) Documentary Now! (Season 1: 6 episodes) – Fred Armison and Bill Hadar star in re-make parodies of actual documentaries, well done and often damn funny, especially the “DRONEZ: The Hunt for El Chingon” episode.

10) Broad City (Seasons 1 & 2: 10 episodes each) – Sometimes funny, often annoying, but a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments.

11) Vice Principals (Season 1: 9 episodes) – This sounded promising, with Danny McBride and Walton Goggins. Yet way too mean spirited to start, but does find its groove if you keep going.

12) Horace and Pete (Season 1: 10 episodes) – I really wanted to like Louie C.K.’s show, but boy is it tedious. Once in a while a flash of something interesting, but mostly no.

New TV Shows 2016

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Victory!

My goal in October and November was to visit a ton of new places. And I did it! So I say. Chalk one up to persistence.

I went to a fair number of new places in DC, mostly restaurants, and I discovered many more new places in Chennai (India), Manila (Philippines), New Orleans (LA), Montauk (NY) and Frederick (MD). I traveled a lot…I explored a lot. So now I’m resting a lot while I write.

October/November Goal: Visit 32 new places (70% have to be in DC)

Result: 32 reached and plenty more!

  • 23+ in DC
  • 9+ elsewhere

New places in DC:

  1. Fathom – A nice space for a wedding.
  2. Radiator – A nice bar for an after wedding party.
  3. The Haymaker Bar – Updated space (formerly The Atlas Room) on H St NE. Not a huge fan.
  4. Seoul Spice – Korean tacos, if you like.
  5. BKK Cookshop – Decent Thai food.
  6. REI – The new flagship store! Your outdoor gear fix is here!
  7. La Colombe (at REI) – Coffee with your outdoor gear!
  8. Walmart (on H Street) – I finally went inside. And now life continues.
  9. HalfSmoke – If you want a half smoke, hit Ben’s or Meats & Foods.
  10. Library of Congress Tunnel – Went on a private tour…secret things happen down there. Very bookish secret things.
  11. Sonoma – UW reception with wine and sliders.
  12. Smoked and Stacked – Good sandwich with DC prices!
  13. Kahlil Gibran Memorial Garden – A poet, and you didn’t even know it.
  14. Spanish Steps – Supposed to look like the famous steps in Rome. Okay.
  15. Soho Tea & Coffee – Coffee they have, did not confirm the tea.
  16. Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop – The Bobbie because it was close to Thanksgiving!
  17. Zero Milestone – Just a thing to commemorate the center of the city.
  18. Renwich Gallery – Very cool art museum brought to you by the letter ‘S’ (for Smithsonian). Surprised it took me this long.
  19. Thip Khao – Laotian food. I avoided the ‘Jungle Menu’ but could be convinced next time.
  20. All Purpose Pizzeria – Oh yeah, they do pizza here. Try it.
  21. Peirce Mill fireplace – For starting fires in Rock Creek Park post-hike.
  22. Donburi – Curry katsudon. Katsudon with curry.
  23. On Rye – Reubens with a some sort of bread!
Just a sampling of the new places I visited while traveling. I whittled it down…
  1. People’s Palace – (Manila, Philippines) A cool Thai restaurant in the heart of the trendy Greenbelt Park (in Makati).
  2. SM Mall of Asia – (Manila, Philippines) The second largest shopping mall in the world! And by mall standards (which I try to avoid if possible), it was a good one. Manila loves malls. Loves them!
  3. Ente Keralam – (Chennai, India) Serving food from Kerala, they love coconuts. It seemed like everything was peppered with coconuts. Most of it was good, all of it was interesting.
  4. Cane & Table – (New Orleans, LA) A boozy brunch to start the day before the real weekend drinking starts.
  5. Mercedes-Benz Superdome – (New Orleans, LA) Seattle Seahawks lost to the New Orleans Saints, but it was still fun.
  6. Courtyard Brewery – (New Orleans, LA) Post-game beer sipping.
  7. Montauk Brewery – (Montauk, Long Island, NY) A brewery at the end of the Earth.
  8. Goldberg’s Bagels – (Montauk, Long Island, NY) Needed bagel sammies at the end of the Earth.
  9. Sabor De Cuba – (Frederick, MD) Tasty cuban food right in the middle of Frederick’s downtown.

Peace out!

Kerala foodKerala food in India

 

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