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.




The quest to see a baseball game in every Major League Baseball stadium continues.

I’ve visited 32 different stadiums! Only two more!*

Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri) – Home of the Kansas City Royals


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Kansas City

My time in Kansas City was limited, but I still managed to do a few things.

1) Went to a Royals baseball game at Kauffman Stadium (will post separately)
2) Ate barbecue (at Arthur Bryant’s and Fiorella’s Jack Stack)
3) Drank beer at Boulevard Brewing Company (and elsewhere)
4) Visited the National World War I Museum and Memorial

The barbecue was most excellent. And I learned about a new meaty item – burnt ends! Legit.

Kansas City has the National WWI Museum and Memorial (read: this country’s official museum). Why you might ask? Shouldn’t it be in Washington, DC?

Well, the story goes that one week saw 400 Kansas City residents killed in battle and the city put up a memorial for those soldiers. They continued to raise private funds and expanded over the years.

The memorial and a small museum opened in 1926; and the museum exploded in size in 2006. The museum is worth visiting, as it’s jam-packed with all manner of WWI propaganda, war-time items, tanks, planes, movies and interactive displays. The coolest part was a life-size recreation of a trench that you can only view through little portals or holes. Go.

Finally I drank some suds at Boulevard Brewing Company downtown, whose operation and tasting room are booming (since 1989)! After the Royals game and a significant lightning storm (full sky lightning strikes!), I went downtown to Double Shift Brewing Company until the power went out and they shooed people out.

Photo time.

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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.

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I don’t really know what to say, even a few days later, only that I’m completely disheartened by the passing of Chris Cornell.

He was one of my favorite artists, and I loved every facet of his career – from Soundgarden to Audioslave to his solo work and his foray into Temple of the Dog.

I was looking forward to seeing Soundgarden again sometime soon (and maybe somehow find a way to see Temple of the Dog since I missed them last year!).

I saw him perform live seven times, and below I rank those shows.

And throw in a little playlist for good measure.

The world sucks a little more now.


Chris Cornell Concerts Attended – Ranked

7) 5/4/2013 – Soundgarden (DC Chili Cookoff Festival @ RFK Parking Lot, Washington, DC) – It was fine, but a parking lot on a rainy day isn’t the best situation!

6) 1/18/2013 – Soundgarden (DAR Constitution Hall, Washington, DC) – Seemed like a strange venue for them, but it was still enjoyable.

5) 7/12/2011 – Soundgarden (Patriot Center, Virginia) – Excellent show.

4) 10/26/2005 – Audioslave (Patriot Center, Virginia) – Bad ass show, damn!

3) 12/11/1996 – Soundgarden (Mercer Arena, Seattle, Washington) – Bittersweet, as the first time I saw them live was also their farewell tour. They disbanded only a few months later.

2) 8/8/2010 – Soundgarden (Lollapalooza @ Grant Park, Chicago) Their reunion show! All the anticipation of 14 years away! I flew to Chicago for Lollapalooza just to see them back together (and while I was there, I caught a couple baseball games and a few other acts like Phoenix and Metric).

1) 4/5/2009 – Solo (9:30 Club, Washington, DC) – He played songs from every facet of his career; Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog and his solo material. It was 2-1/2 hours of awesomeness.



  1. “Mailman” – Soundgarden
  2. “Loud Love” – Soundgarden
  3. “Gasoline” – Audioslave
  4. “Doesn’t Remind Me” – Chris Cornell
  5. “Mind Riot” Soundgarden
  6. “My Wave” – Soundgarden
  7. “The Day I Tried to Live” – Soundgarden
  8. “Can’t Change Me” – Chris Cornell
  9. “Dead Wishes” – Chris Cornell
  10. “Fell On Black Days” – Soundgarden
  11. “Like a Stone” – Audioslave
  12. “Wooden Jesus” – Temple of the Dog
  13. “Outshined” – Soundgarden
  14. “Say Hello 2 Heaven” – Temple of the Dog
  15. “Room A Thousand Years Wide” – Soundgarden
  16. “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” – Chris Cornell

If you find yourself in Manila, rather than hit up all the shopping malls (it’s pretty much the thing to do for locals) visit Corregidor Island instead.

It’s a day-long journey (but you can stay the night too) taking a ferry across Manila Bay and back.

Corregidor Island (also called Fort Mills) was General MacArthur’s headquarters during World War II and the place he snuck out of the Philippines in 1942. It was the last bastion of defense of the Philippines and the US forces before Japan conquered the islands. But the defense lasted for over 5 months, severely altering Japan’s plans for conquering the rest of the Pacific.

The island (about 2 miles long and shaped like a tadpole) is covered in crumbling military barracks and installations (and a movie theater!). It also has hundreds of tunnels and fortifications, one of which – the Malinta Tunnel – housed all the people living on the island during the Japanese invasion. There are 24 branching tunnels (called laterals) off the main tunnel and additionally a major barracks and a military hospital (see the map below).

Here are a few photos…


Japanese Memorial

Mile long barracks! (Because it’s 1/3 of a mile long and three stories high)
Mile Long Barracks

Mile Long Barracks

An old movie theater!
Movie Theater

Movie Theater

Movie Theater

An old battery.





Super selfie situation.




Malinta Tunnel Entrance

Malinta Tunnel Map

Malinta Tunnel

Malinta Tunnel


Japanese Memorial

I’ve been cleaning up my apartment a bit, throwing away stuff, going through old boxes and all that joyous fluff that ends up as filler in celebrity memoirs.

Two massive boxes contain my collection of music CDs, which started accumulating in 1990. Let’s just say I have a lot.

Back in 2006, when I first got on iTunes, I went through the tedious process of burning in all my CDs.

After awhile, I started cutting corners (burn the Greatest Hits of an artist but leave out the albums; or burn just one song from a CD; or I would skip the whole CD entirely).

Now, 11 years later, I’m re-visiting my collection and I started to burn in the gaps of what I didn’t finish.

All told, there were 131 CDs I didn’t burn or burned just one song. So it’s a fun project. And I’ll be looking to unload around half of those physical CDs.


Notables (most from this list I shan’t be unloading):

  • Some Jimmy Buffett, Jimi Hendrix and Genesis
  • Eric Clapton’s 4-volume Crossroads and a couple more.
  • Some Huey Lewis and the News, Barenaked Ladies and Phil Collins (But seriously, I always love how all his album covers are just his face).
  • The Eagles – I own all of their albums, but I burned only the two Greatest Hits CDs. And a couple by Don Henley. It’s the end of the innocence.
  • Alice in Chains, The Doors, Van Halen and NIN – don’t recall why I didn’t burn these.
  • A few CDs of Singles with B-sides. I never really got into buying these though.
  • A ton of non-album Garth Brooks (he has 5 CDs of Hits or Collections – repackaged or re-imagined).
  • A shit ton of country CDs from the early to mid-1990’s (and not Garth Brooks). 31 to be exact! (These I’m giving away – hi Mom!) I made myself a robust playlist of all the songs I liked from those albums (basically one each) and yep, I still like those songs.
  • A ton of hit collections – including 80’s compilations and quite a few of salsa music. I did take classes for a season and date women that liked that sort of thing! Dance yourself clean.


Burn it!

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