36 for 36 at the Turn

I had my official unbirthday last week, which means I’m half-done being 36. That means it’s time for the big, official 36 for 36 update. Here goes!

First, here are the things I’ve completed:

  • I kept score at a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Baltimore Orioles on September 11 at Comerica Park. Buck Showalter used Zach Britton in this one.
  • I saw a football game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, though part of me wishes I’d picked a different game/team, period. (At least the Vikings scored an offensive touchdown; in fact, they scored two. Incredibly–or perhaps not so incredibly, since Vikings–they hadn’t scored one the previous three times I’d seen them.)
  • I listened to the Tragically Hip song “Bobcaygeon” in Bobcaygeon, Ontario on my way to see the band in Kingston on August 20.
  • I’ve hunted down a live recording of Stratford’s production of Tommy. Bri Monster suggested contacting the Stratford Festival’s archives; my copy can’t actually leave the archives, but I can go to Stratford to watch it to my heart’s content which, you can reasonably assume, I’ll be doing frequently.
  • Sam and I went to the Shaw Festival in October. We saw their production of Sweeney Todd, which was superb.
  • We also saw a movie at the Toronto International Film Festival: The Rolling Stones Olé Olé Olé!: A Trip Across Latin America. Alas, we weren’t at the screening where Keith Richards and Ron Wood showed up.
  • I watched Frozen, which was great. Up to three bonus points are still up for grabs if I re-watch it with my friends Jon and Lindsay’s kids, two of whom might literally think they’re Elsa and Anna.
  • I got a new putter for Christmas.

Here are the things that are in progress or that have completion dates:

  • Sam and I are seeing Hamilton in New York on April 29.
  • I’ve begun reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. It’s a doorstopper-of-a-book. Right now I’m on page 65 of 731.
  • I’m on track to read 35 other books. As for Lord of the Rings, which I began reading for 35 for 35 but didn’t complete: I put a bit of a dent in it on the Inca Trail and I’m hoping to put in an even bigger one when I spend 40 hours in the air in mid-March. Track my progress!
  • I’m still on track to be debt-free on August 16, 2017, although whether or not I succeed will depend largely on how planning for mine and Sam’s forthcoming nuptials evolves.
  • Kevin du Manoir, Jon Thompson, and I will be crossing the finish line of the Ontario Ride to Conquer Cancer on June 11. We’re also working (together with our fourth teammate Heather Gardiner) to raise $10,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Click here to donate!
  • I’m running pain-free for the first time since 2013…and I’ll be running a race, the Sporting Life 10k, on Sunday, May 14. It’ll be my first in almost exactly five years.
  • My friend Jen and I have penciled in a ski date for March 12. It won’t be at Sunshine Village, unfortunately; “ski the Rockies” will be a 37 for 37 item.
  • I’m planning to see a San Francisco Giants game in late June or early July. Or early May, should circumstances dictate.
  • I’m planning to see Marco Estrada pitch in April. This item was a late addition to 36 for 36: bizarrely, I haven’t seen Estrada pitch yet as a Blue Jay.
  • I’d planned on entering the ticket lottery for Super Bowl 52 the day after Super Bowl 51; then I discovered it’d cost $26 to send my entry via registered mail as per NFL requirements. So instead I’ll send it from the States when we’re there in late April.
  • I think I’m doing an okay job of exploring Toronto
  • I’ve seen 5/6 Wes Anderson directed movies. All that’s left to watch is Fantastic Mr. Fox.
  • Sam’s seen 1/3 of the original Star Wars trilogy. She didn’t fall asleep and claims she liked A New Hope more than the first time she allegedly watched it. (Sam can’t make up her mind whether she’s seen the original trilogy or not, hence this item’s inclusion.)
  • I’ve taken one cooking course…and it involved learning how to use knives, so I get a bonus point for this one.
  • I’m working on volunteering at the Hospital for Sick Children.
  • I think I’m doing an okay job of growing as a leader

And here are the things I’m working on. Feel like helping me out? Drop me a comment!

  • Visit Cooperstown
  • Watch a hockey game at Ted Reeve Arena
  • Skate at Mattamy Athletic Centre, a.k.a. Maple Leaf Gardens (I’d planned on doing that this weekend, but then I wrenched my back to the point where getting off the couch is difficult)
  • Go canoeing in Algonquin Park so we can chase Tom Thomson’s ghost
  • Advocate passionately for mental health on behalf of Partners for Mental Health and Michael Landsberg’s #sicknotweak project
  • Join the November Project Toronto tribe
  • Climb outdoors
  • Get PADI certified
  • Create a podcast
  • Jam with Brian Bevilacqua
  • Begin creating something – a book, a play, anything – that’ll impact one person as much as Tommy has impacted me

Six months to go. Let’s do this!

Riding to Conquer Cancer, 2017 Edition

It’s that time again: time to saddle up, bike a whole bunch of miles, and kick cancer in the teeth.

r2cc

Some immediate resources for you:

  1. My personal page. I’d be grateful if you can spare a few bucks.
  2. Our team page. Once again I’ll be part of the Tragically Clipped. We’re a quartet this year. On the road, Kevin and I will be accompanied by none other than Jonny T, who has the distinction of being the only person to have authored guest entries for Stuff and Nonsense. This is his first-ever ride! We’ve also got our very own crew member: Heather Gardiner, who’s a friend of Sam’s and a nemesis of Kevin’s and who’ll be playing the role of “Bridesmaid” in mine and Sam’s wedding later this year. Together we’re going to raise $10,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
  3. “The Courage of Jill Costello” remains an almost indescribably potent piece of writing. I read it every once in a while to remind myself why things like the Ride to Conquer Cancer are so important.

There’ll be lots more to come in the months ahead! On the amazing journey together we’ll ride.

Token 36-for-36 Update

It’s still November–barely–and you know what that means: time for a token 36-for-36 update so I can still say I’ve written at least one entry every single month since starting Stuff and Nonsense in September 2004! The list is still progressing nicely. This month I checked off a couple more items:

  • I saw a football game at U.S. Bank Stadium, new home to the Minnesota Vikings. As I remarked at the time: “It takes an awful lot to shut me up, but this place pretty much has me speechless.” And it did; it’s a spectacular facility in its own right, but when you consider it’s on the exact same spot as the H.H.H. Metrodome it’s almost hard to fathom how good it is. It’s a shame the Vikings’ secondary didn’t. The game itself was almost good…and then the Vikings put out a prevent defense with :23 left in the fourth quarter, and as a wise football man once said, the only thing that does is prevent victories.
  • I watched FrozenLET IT GO…LET IT GOOOOO!!!!! There: now it’s in your head, too.

The list itself is still evolving. The meal at Alo got axed; I subbed in a new item (see Marco Estrada pitch, which I somehow haven’t managed to do once during his two seasons in Toronto), but a few of the other items are still being evaluated. One that’s not, however, is buying a new putter. I’ll tell that story next time.

36-for-36 Update

36-for-36 has been live for almost a month, and already I’m two-and-a-half items to the good (which, if you do the math, is pretty much where I should be). First, the visual evidence for the two:

  • On August 20 I drove from Toronto to Bobcaygeon, pulled over in front of the town sign, and listened to the Tragically Hip song “Bobcaygeon.” Then I drove to Kingston and saw the band that night. (I promise I’ll write about it: I’m still struggling to articulate what that show meant to me. It’ll come.)

bobcaygeon

  • Yesterday Sam and I went to Detroit for the Tigers/Orioles game, and for the first time ever I kept score. If, like Sam, you’re wondering what that means, here’s an article by Jim Caple explaining the art of baseball scorekeeping.

detbalscorecard

The half: tonight I’m taking a cooking class at the Depanneur,which is one of mine and Sam’s favourite spots. It’s called “Intro to Knife Skills,” which means I’m getting a bonus point after taking another cooking class later on. (I’m still soliciting ideas for that one, by the way–hit me up if you’ve got one!)

36 for 36

“…there’s a million things I haven’t done
But just you wait – just you wait” – Lin-Manuel Miranda, from Hamilton

The List

  1. See Hamilton [going April 29!]
  2. Read Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  3. Read 34 additional books (track my progress!)
  4. Complete the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I started reading as part of 35 for 35 but didn’t finish

(And speaking of unfinished business…)

  1. Be debt-free on August 16, 2017
  2. Together with Kevin du Manoir and Jon Thompson…
    1. Cross the finish line of the Ontario Ride to Conquer Cancer [registered!]
    2. Raise $10,000 for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
  3. Run a race, preferably one that raises money for/awareness of a mental health-related cause
  4. Ski; bonus point if I ski Renegade at Sunshine Village where, the last time I skied, this happened
  5. Visit Cooperstown

(There! Moving on.)

  1. See a San Francisco Giants game (note: doesn’t actually have to be in San Francisco)
  2. See Marco Estrada pitch
  3. Score a baseball game
  4. See a football game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis
  5. Enter the ticket lottery for Super Bowl 52
  6. Watch a hockey game at Ted Reeve Arena
  7. Skate at Mattamy Athletic Centre, a.k.a. Maple Leaf Gardens 
  8. Go canoeing in Algonquin Park; bonus point if it’s on Canoe Lake, where Tom Thomson disappeared in 1917
  9. Listen to the Tragically Hip song “Bobcaygeon” in Bobcaygeon, Ontario
  10. Hunt down a live recording (audio or video) of Stratford’s production of Tommy
  11. Go to the Shaw Festival
  12. Explore Toronto
  13. See a movie at the Toronto International Film Festival
  14. Watch Frozen ✓ (and up to three bonus points still available if I re-watch it with my friends Jon and Lindsay’s kids!) 
  15. Show Sam the original Star Wars trilogy…
  16. …and as a peace offering for #22 watch all the Wes Anderson directed movies I haven’t seen
  17. Take two cooking classes; bonus point if either of them involve learning how to use knives (it’s an OCD thing) ★
  18. Advocate passionately for mental health on behalf of Partners for Mental Health and Michael Landsberg’s #sicknotweak project
  19. Volunteer at the Hospital for Sick Children
  20. Join the November Project Toronto tribe
  21. Get PADI certified
  22. Buy a new putter
  23. Jam with Brian Bevilacqua
  24. Create a podcast

And Above All…

  1. Grow as a leader
  2. Begin creating something – a book, a play, anything – that’ll impact one person as much as Tommy has impacted me
  3. Blow being 36 away

(★ – bonus points)

(Updated March 5, 2017)