The Summer of The Summer Bucket List

Hands down the top conversation topic of the week.

This bucket list, which was allegedly found in an Urban Outfitters dressing room, basically made my week. It’s not only hilarious in its substance but also in its specificity (seven bikinis, two blow jobs, hooking up with Jacob). The other thing that gets me is its wild divergence from adorable innocence (stargaze, pet a giraffe, decorate room) to adult extracurriculars (drugs and sex). And some of it was comic just because it didn’t make sense until the internet figured out what “Go Ape” (a ziplining place) and “Randyland” (a Pittsburgh-area landmark) meant.

The list then led to think pieces and parodies, like the summer bucket list of a 35 year old woman or, what parents should think of the bucket list.

For me and my friends it just made for endless rounds of laughter and discussion at parties. When we were hosting the visiting New Yorker scribe Evan Osnos in Seoul on Friday, friend Jonathan had not HEARD ABOUT THE LIST (where was he all week!?!) and so he subsequently spent several minutes reading it and laughing until his face turned beet red.

At a different party (in a probably-too-cool-for-me vinyl record-themed bar) on Saturday, Friend Alex and I brought it up with a Pennsylvanian (did you know Pennsylvanians insist on referring to their state as P-A, instead of Pennsylvania?) and he was so excited that other people learned about RANDYLAND. True story: today he sent me two business cards he saved from Randyland, which he found in old stuff as he prepares to move back to America on Tuesday.

I know there’s speculation someone planted this list as a joke but due to its specific Pittsburgh-area references and just a gut feeling, I’m gonna say it’s real. And whoever this woman is I hope she is enjoying her anonymous fame. She brought a smile to us all during what feels like ongoing crises in the country and world.

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2011 Year in Review: Up in The Air

In transit at the Warsaw Airport. (October 2011)

 

My friend Patrick Terpstra wrote this of his year: “‎2011 was like riding a tilt-a-hurl after eating seven corn dogs. But it sure beats watching from the ground.”

I can’t disagree. I did plenty of plane riding, which is the most consistent memory of this year, besides saying goodbye and hello to a lot of people I really love. To rewind:

The Year I Flew Around the World, Twice: After saying goodbye to Texas and The Texas Tribune, I spent 99 days this year away from home, logging 78,931 miles in the air to 29 locations including places like Warsaw, Poland (for fun) and Boise, Idaho (for work). Not proud of the carbon footprint but I can now glide through security like Ryan Bingham.

Don’t Look Back in Anger (I Heard You Say): It felt like a pretty angry and destructive year, didn’t it? My second favorite emotion*, outrage, seemed to abound. I write this as tens of thousands of Russians protest in the streets, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya take their shaky steps toward self-rule, and socioeconomic dissatisfaction continues at home. We said goodbye to Osama bin Laden, Amy Winehouse and Steve Jobs (none of whom were picks in my clearly talentless celebrity death pool), an earthquake-tsunami combo led to radiation disaster in Japan, and we experienced a rare earthquake in my new hometown of Washington, D.C.

Favorite Video of The Year Is Also My Favorite Song: “Ching Chong (It Means I Love You)”
After a UCLA student went on a crazy rant about Asian people in the library, she faced a backlash so large she had to quit college. But Jimmy Wong turned his rant response into art — one of the catchiest songs of the year, and an instant viral video. It will get stuck in your head, so if you haven’t seen this, you’ve been warned.

Speaking of Asians, My Most Memorable Welcome to Washington: The Crazy Guy in Starbucks
There was one morning after the devastating Japanese earthquake when I went into Starbucks in Chinatown, natch, when a random guy off the street wandered in, started yelling at people in line, stopped at me, and said this, to me: “Fuck you, go home. You deserved the earthquake.” Then he told the rest of the line we were all going to die. Yep.

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The Summer Everyone Was Talking About Bon Iver

Since I am a hopeless nostalgic, I figured I oughta capture my feelings about my first summer in DC, a place I always said I would never live unless I was rich. Rich is relative. I feel rich in experience and spirit.

  • Trading in my typical summer activity of co-hosting baby showers for hosting happy hours.
  • Getting to know a lot of awesome new friends. And reconnect with old ones, like my besties Sudeep and Beam, who comprised half my bridesmaid brigade at the Amsterdam nuptials of 2010.
  • Walking around outside since it wasn’t too hot to be walking around outside.
  • Having some Tangy Sweet yogurt whilst getting a pedicure at my new nail place, Golden Nail (singular, not plural. I have no idea why)
  • The great debt ceiling crisis and the visit to the Senate Cafeteria (which Politico’s Mike Allen calls the Dirksen Bureau), getting awkwardly flirted with by Kent Conrad and overhearing Jon Tester on the phone saying “They’re not putting any pressure on these guys!” What was he talking about? Congress or someone who does his lawn? I will never know.
  • Spending July 4th in remote West Texas after a blustery winter and spring in a town full of people who walk fast, aren’t that nice to strangers and take themselves way too seriously.
  • Dragging my ass to Pilates reformer classes and having Tami the trainer react with sheer bewilderment when I and the others were not able to do her “mermaids” or other tricky moves that required muscles.
  • Spending every other weekend out of town, going to random places like Salt Lake City and San Antonio.
  • Learning Saidee didn’t have doggy cancer.
  • Cookouts with my cousins when my little brother was in town, which was a lot, even though his home is in Beijing.
  • My irrational obsession with seeing Crazy, Stupid Love for Ryan Gosling, and then finally seeing it and feeling a bit let down. Expectations were too high.
  • Pool time in Crystal City with the Beam, where even though we were just lying there for a few hours, we wound up famished at the end of our time in the sun and had to go gorge at nearby Chik-Fil-A.

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