The list is ready.
Or almost ready.
OK, so the list has started, which is really enough to ask for by Jan. 6 given that I have the entire rest of the year to work on completing both it and the tasks on it.
After some input from friends (well, not really “input” as much as “Kevin, do not do such and such”), I offer to you my official Things to Do in 2011 List:
Watch all the episodes of Seinfeld, in order
I have no idea what inspired me to watch Seinfeld when the pilot, “The Seinfeld Chronicles,” aired in the summer of 1989. I was 13 at the time, about to enter high school, and I’m fairly certain I’d never heard of the comedian Jerry Seinfeld. This may or may not be the case, though; I enjoyed the occasional viewing of The Tonight Show, and Seinfeld made regular appearances. Also, at that time, I was becoming a huge fan of stand-up comedy, so it’s within the realm of possibility that I had heard of Seinfeld and thought it would be wise to watch his Chronicles.
I found myself being instantly hooked, and when it returned to NBC for its first official season, I tried telling my friends to check it out. Given the show’s abysmally low ratings at the time, I don’t think any of my associates were familiar with Seinfeld, so I went at it alone.
Soon, the rest of the world caught up, and I got to feel a special bond with a cultural phenomenon that I felt like I’d discovered on my own.
Despite the show’s amazing success (and continued repeats in syndication), there are 5-10 episodes I’ve never seen. I must remedy this, so my Seinfeld DVD collection will be dusted off, allowing me to start with the pilot and work my way through the finale.
I started this project earlier this week, and I have to say I’m shocked at how well those early episodes hold up over time. It’s been almost 22 years since Seinfeld first aired, and when you consider the changing waves of comedy since then, it shows how truly classic this ground-breaking comedy really was (and still is).
And if you challenge that statement, I offer this scene from “The Chinese Restaurant,” which left me in tears from laughing so hard when I rediscovered it while making my way through Season Two:
Note: for reasons unexplained, the video can’t be embedded. Watch it here on YouTube.
Listen to all the Beatles albums
I did this many years ago when I was 15 or 16. I had heard all the popular Beatles songs (“Hey Jude,” “She Loves You” and the like), but even so, they were still new to me in the terms of really getting their meanings, both lyrically and musically.
My musical tastes have expanded since then, but my love for the Fab Four remains, and I’d like to check out all the songs again, this time with an older and (I hope) more mature musical ear. I often listen to albums like The Beatles (aka, The White Album) and Abbey Road, but listening to them, in order, will hopefully allow me to better appreciate the band’s growth.
Watch the Twilight movies
I have no real desire to watch these, as they look like complete and total crap, but I’m a sucker for pop culture, which these vampire movies certainly have become a major part of over the past few years.
I will try to go into them with an open mind (or, at the very least, a somewhat open mind) as I learn about Edward and Bella and Jacob and teams and sparkling vampires and shirtless werewolves.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about this, but at worst I’ll get a chance to laugh at their terribleness.
Read Great Expectations (or A Tale of Two Cities)
John Irving is my favorite author, and since he draws many comparisons to Charles Dickens, it makes sense, as a friend once put it, to go back to the source material.
I’ve read Oliver Twist (loved it) and A Christmas Carol (ditto), and that concludes my list of Dickensian adventures. High school English teachers across the country will no doubt be celebrating the fact that I’m reading one of the books on my list, all while simultaneously lamenting the fact I haven’t read them already.
Record an album
I’m not very skilled at playing an instrument, nor can I really sing all that well. If I had to describe my guitar skills, I’d have to say I’m most like Stevie Ray Vaughn. By that, I mean present-day Stevie Ray Vaughn, who has been dead for several years.
I can play about five chords (actually seven, when you factor in A minor and E minor), but the B chords are impossible for me. I can’t play and sing, unless the vocal rhythms match the guitar-strumming rhythms.
This does not sound too conducive toward writing and recording an album.
Here’s what I have going for me, however: I’m not Nickelback.
Look, if those morons can somehow not only record songs but get famous (and rich) doing so, then, at the very least, I should be able to write a few lyrics, set them to music and record them on my computer. They may not be popular (or even good), but I can do this.
Over the years, I’ve written a handful of songs, and now it’s just a matter of sharpening a few of them, then getting them recorded on my computer. I need to find a friend with some producing skills to help clean things up, maybe layer in some other sounds, and then put them all in an album format.
I’ll leave the touring for my 2012 list.
I have a few other possibilities for my Things to Do in 2011 List that I’m still on the fence on for various reasons. These include:
Complete the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazing Wings Challenge
The concept is simple: eat 12 blazing wings (the hottest on the menu) in six minutes. My friend Shane has wanted to do this for years, so if I can get him on board, I’m far more likely to do this. The biggest drawback is the fact that it becomes a spectator sport, and I’d really rather devour my wings in semi-privacy.
Eat a one-pound burger
OK, so that should be “eat another one-pound burger” since I did that already in November 2010. However, it was quite tasty, and I’d love another trip to Indianapolis. The drawback: finding people to go to Indianapolis.
Watch five movies in a theatre in one day
Last year, I watched four (Get Him to the Greek, The A-Team, Toy Story 3 and Kick-Ass) in one day. By the end of it, my eyes/head/back were aching beyond belief, and the fourth movie was a chore to get through.
That said, my friend Aaron has suggested taking it up to five a day, even offering to get on board with this challenge.
So, there you have it: my official Things to Do in 2011 List. I’m always open to additional idea, as well as people to participate in these things with me. Share your ideas (or volunteer to get on board) in the comments section, particularly if you can play either the banjo, cello or tuba.