You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2008.

I love it when we’re watching a movie that was the finale of a TV series we really liked and it’s about 80% done and then the DISC SKIPS AND FUCKS UP AND WE TRY IT ON FIVE DIFFERENT FUCKING PLAYERS AND IT STILL FAILS BECAUSE DESPITE THEIR VISUAL CLARITY DVDS ARE FUCKING USELESS AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN AND ALWAYS FREEZE AT LITERALLY THE WORST POSSIBLE FUCKING MOMENT LIKE THE TIME WE WERE WATCHING PULP FICTION AND IT FROZE JUST AS JOHN TRAVOLTA’S ABOUT TO STAB A SYRINGE INTO UMA THURMAN’S CHEST AND I LOATHE THIS FUCKING DECADE AND EVERYTHING IN IT AND FEEL LIKE CRAMMING A RABID SKUNK DOWN THE THROAT OF THE PERSON WHO INVENTED THESE WRETCHED FUCKING MEDIA DEVICES

AND NOW INSTEAD OF WATCHING THE END OF THE GODDAMN MOVIE WE’RE WATCHING THE 2 AM WEATHER REPORT ON SBS TO THE AGONISINGLY DULL MUSIC OF SOMEONE CALLED DAVID CAMPBELL

I’M ABOUT TO START CAPPING MOTHERFUCKERS FROM THE TOP OF A CLOCKTOWER

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37. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2005) 282 p.

Narrated by a thirty-one year old “carer” named Kathy, Never Let Me Go is a retrospective account of her childhood life, growing up in an idyllic English boarding school called Hailsham. It details the minutae of her personal relationships, the complex triangle between her best friend Ruth and their mutual love interest Tommy, and the way she thinks about them today. That sounds pretty much like what you’d expect from a book with a cover like that, yes? Something your older sister would read?
Wrong. Hailsham isn’t an ordinary boarding school. The children don’t ever seem to leave. Some of their teachers seem curiously anguished about them. They don’t have surnames, or any apparent parents. It’s only gradually, with information supplied in seemingly innocuous tidbits, that the reader learns the disturbing truth about the children of Hailsham, and the fate that has always awaited them in the larger world. Appropriately, that’s how the children themselves learn about it too:

Tommy thought it possible that the guardians had, throughout all our years at Hailsham, timed very carefully and deliberately everything they told us, so that we were always just too young to understand properly the latest piece of information. But of course we’d take it in at some level, so that before long all this stuff was there in our heads without us ever having examined it properly.

I can’t exactly call it a plot twist, since it’s implied heavily and then revealed early – in fact, by page 80 you know almost everything. Nonetheless, it’s a dark, grim mystery that’s concealed at first, and the effect was greatly ruined for me because I already knew what it was (in fact, that’s why I wanted to read the novel in the first place). Whatever you do, don’t even glance at the Wikipedia article for this book. Suffice to say that it’s literary fiction with a sci-fi veneer, much like Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake (though not quite as good).

What I found so overwhelmingly frustrating about Never Let Me Go was the characters’ complete and total acceptance of their fate. They don’t like it, but they don’t fight against it, either, despite being perfectly capable of doing so. They’re allowed to leave Hailsham as they grow older, and Kathy spends plenty of time travelling around the countryside unhindered. She could easily flee the country or go into hiding. But she doesn’t, and there’s never any evidence that her fellow students try to either. They go along with their destiny as though it doesn’t even occur to them that there might be an alternative.

This is, of course, the ideological point of the story. Something about unquestioning acceptance, and how it can destroy you. I don’t know. Despite having a very expensive education that was supposed to train me to pick apart texts, I usually fail to do it when I’m engrossed in a book, apart from a fleeting awareness of the layers of symbolism and allegory.

And I was engrossed in this book, because despite being largely chick lit, the premise and writing style make it quite readable. I wouldn’t say it’s a great book, and I certainly can’t agree with Time Magazine placing it on the 100 list* instead of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (which, the more I think about it, was one of the most perfect books I ever read). But I can certainly recommend it to almost anyone.

Books: 37/50 Pages: 11, 395

*Don’t read that, either, because it’s also full of spoilers.

Happy one-year anniversary, Grub Street!

And what a year it was. Remember when I criticised Australia’s desparate groping for cultural identity? Or when I complained about how hot it was? Or when I tried to bring down a drug trafficker, but was instead drawn into a violent web of corrupt law enforcement and dirty politics, and realised that my fundamental perception of justice was inherently naive?

Good times!

36. Flight (Volume One) by Kazu Kibuishi (2004) 208 p.

swashbuckling across the fantastic panorama of my childhood imagination

I read Flight Volume Two earlier this year, but declined to include it because I didn’t consider a comic anthology to be a book. Since I’ve subsequently deemed Watchmen worthy of inclusion, I may as well slide a little further and admit Flight. BREAKING ALL THE RULES, BABY!

I was originally attracted to the Flight comics partly because they’re edited by Kazu Kibuishi, renowned for his amazing Copper webcomics, and partly because they have the most staggeringly beautiful covers. Check out this wallpaper version of Volume Four:

my god... the whales are... FLYING!

I would do hideous, depraved things in exchange for a hypothetical (but thick) graphic novel chronicling the beautifully drawn adventures of the lucky bastard riding the bird on all the Flight covers.

What I get instead is an anthology of very short comics, some of which are good and some of which aren’t. There are two Copper stories included in Volume One, Maiden Voyage and Picnic, and Khang Le (who has some excellent paintings of fantasy and sci-fi scenes on his website) has a nice story in there as well. The rest are mostly okay but nothing special, ranging from wacky detective mysteries to typical plotless, epiphany-driven narratives. They all share a common theme of flight, whether literal or metaphorical, and a lot of them do a good job of capturing the nostalgic childhood spirit of adventure. On the whole, though, Flight is mostly about style over substance, with a lot of very pretty but ultimately pointless stories.

Those covers sure do kick ass, though.

Books: 36/50
Pages: 11, 113

35. The Barbie Murders by John Varley (1980) 260 p.

oh, the seventies!

John Varley is my favourite science fiction author. This is largely due to The Golden Globe, a light-hearted, whimsical tale of a dashing actor/conman named Sparky Valentine who attempts to make it from Pluto to Luna in under ten months to land a lead role in a production of King Lear, all the while trying to outrun a nigh-invicible mafia hitman. I read it last year and it was not only the best science fiction books I ever read, but one of the best books in general.

The problem is that I’ve subsequently read his bibliography in reverse order (see 50 Book Challenge #6), and have watched his writing style decline rather than develop. The Barbie Murders is a collection of short stories written between 1974 and 1980, and while they’re still very enjoyable, they’re clearly the work of a much younger man.

Most of the stories are set in his Eight Worlds universe, in which humanity has been evicted from Earth by the omnipotent and mysterious Invaders, left to survive on the remaining worlds of the solar system. In order:

Bagatelle, about a police chief trying to negotiate with an intelligent nuclear bomb that has been placed on the main thoroughfare of Luna’s biggest city;

The Funhouse Effect, about an ill-fated cruise to the sun inside a converted comet;

The Barbie Murders, about a detective trying to solve a murder committed by a woman from a cult-like community of 7,000 people who are exactly identical;

Equinoctial, a bizarre story about a society of space-dwelling people who drift through the rings of Saturn;

Manikins, an even more bizarre story about a woman in a mental ward claiming that all men are controlled by parasites (and the only story not set in the Eight Worlds);

Beatnik Bayou, about growing up in the unusual education system of Luna;

Good-Bye, Robinson Crusoe, about a kid living in an enormous underground biome on Pluto modelled to recreate the Pacific Ocean;

Lollipop and the Tar Baby, about a spacer on the edge of the system who is disturbed to find a black hole talking to her;

and Picnic on Nearside, the first story Varley ever wrote for the Eight Worlds, about a kid who takes a joyride to the abandoned “nearside” of the moon and discovers a hermit living among the empty ruins.

On the whole, the stories are good, just not quite as good as The Golden Globe. They’re almost up to scratch with Steel Beach, though, and far better structured – Varley clearly knows what he’s doing when it comes to short stories. On the whole, this is a book I bought out of a desire to read the author’s entire catalogue, and not something I’d reccomend to the average reader. Do go out and buy The Golden Globe, though.

Books: 35/50
Pages: 10, 905

Google Street View went live in Australia the other day. When they first launched this last year in the States, it was just a handful of intersections in major cities, and I thought “lame” and went back to snowboarding with Samuel L. Jackson.

It’s only just now that I’ve discovered that Street View in Australia (and presumably, for some time, in the United States) actually has hundreds of thousands of photos from virtually every street in the country, from the esplanades of Sydney to the remote desert highways of the Northern Territory. Notable absentees are Kalgoorlie and most of the Top End, including Darwin. Nonetheless, this is fucking amazing.

Here’s my house!

OH MY FUCKING GOD PRIVACY BREACH!!!!!!!!!!!!

My car isn’t there, so I must be somewhere out and about. It’s not parked on the edge of the road outside Warwick Train Station either, so I can’t be at university. I’m probably at work – but Google was FUCKING LAZY and didn’t bother to do every carpark in the country as well as every road, so we’ll never know for sure. I’m out there somewhere in that frozen moment of time. Judging from petrol prices, that frozen moment was quite some time ago – last year at least:

THIS IS A HEINOUS BREACH OF BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS THAT CANNOT GO UNCHALLENGED

At the same time it can’t be any earlier than about October or November, when I was driving to work and saw a group of people on the side of the road clustered around a guy who’d taken a spill on his motorcycle, and who later died.

momentarily refraining from the joke because i suspect putting this image up breaches good taste already

Here’s the driveway where, in mid-2004, I had an accident of my own and could easily have died. I used to ride my bike at top speed down the footpath on this hill every day on the way home from school, despite Chris’ warnings that a car could back out of a driveway and I’d run right into it. As it turned out, he was right, and one afternoon I woke up lying on the verge of this house with a broken arm. I note that they still haven’t trimmed that view-obscuring hedge.

JOIN ME BROTHERS AND WE WILL STORM THE GOOGLEPLEX! THE STREETS SHALL RUN RED WITH BLOOD!

I think this is an awesome little toy. If you had decent broadband and mountains of spare time you could take a virtual roadtrip from one side of the country to the other. In fact, sooner or later I expect to see a blog doing just that, as dull as stretches of it might be…

DEATH TO THE INFIDELS!

There’s the usual hysterical panic from the tinfoil hat brigade, who claim that it’s a breach of privacy to be able to see a photos of people walking down the street, or the outside of somebody’s house. Whatever. Here’s a news flash: when you’re in public, people can see you!

34. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969) 256 p.

may as well have been a fictional encyclopedia

This is not really a novel. Rather, it’s an example of science fiction being used to explore various ideas about society, politics, and most especially gender. It does all of this quite well, but unfortunately falls flat in the story-telling part.

The Left Hand of Darkness is set on the world of Gethen, a planet that is semi-arctic even at the height of summer, and the inhabitants of which are hermaphrodites. For a brief period of each month they enter a sexual phase in which they can become either male or female, and either bear or sire children. For the rest of the month they are sexless. The people of this world are essentially of a single gender, and Le Guin spends most of the book examining how this would affect culture: a lack of aggression and nationalism, strange concepts of shame and honour, different technological processes and religions etc.

The story involves an envoy being sent from Earth to invite Gethen to join an interplanetary federation, but it is here that the book fails. The story is clearly a mere vehicle to examine the world, and nothing more than that. While Le Guin is certainly a masterful world-builder (and gets extra points for creating an alien planet with multiple nations on it), the story lacks any flair or excitement, even as the narrator goes through a war zone or is sent to a prison camp. In fact, I was very much reminded of the feeling I had throughout A Wizard of Earthsea, which was one of mild boredom. Occassionally the chapters are intersparsed with self-contained Gethenian folk tales or legends, and these were somewhat more interesting than the rest of the book; Le Guin’s strength is certainly fantasy rather than sci-fi. Overall, this book was a dull disappointment, and not reccomended.

Books: 34/50
Pages: 10, 645

This is going to be an interesting two weeks.

We all know that China is not a nice country. It is an autocratic nation of highly-indoctrinated people, controlled by a political party that crushes dissent, violates nearly the entire Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and uses propaganda and military force to remain firmly seated in power. It is very clear that they intended to use the Games as just another exercise in propaganda – a vast and expensive fortnight of lies and misinformation. They are, after all, old hands at that particular game.

I find it hilarious how easily this is backfiring on them. While they’re seasoned pros at clamping down on dissent within their own borders, international journalists are a wily bunch, and not as easy to toss into jail without repercussions. They try, of course. They keep an Orwellian eye on journalists’ media coverage and day-to-day activities. They beat reporters who come from a country they have a long-standing hatred of. They do their best to stamp out stories they don’t like. Ironically, this is all more damaging to their image than just letting the press nose around would be. It’s not like the rest of the world doesn’t already known China is a brutal dictatorship.

They took the Olympic torch up to the top of Mt. Everest. Did you know that? They built a fucking blacktop road up to base camp and their sidekick Nepal said that anybody who tried to get in the way of the torch would be shot. Taking the torch to the summit of the highest mountain in the world is the biggest example of dick-waving I’ve seen since Russia, still sore over losing the space race, put that stupid flag on the seabed at the North Pole. Threatening to shoot protestors takes the ludicrousness of it all to a whole new level.

The biggest problem, of course, is the “Dalai Lama clique” – you know, people who protest against China’s near-genocidal destruction of Tibetan culture and racial oppression of Tibetans in their own land. Of course, there are a dozen other oppressed ethnic minorities in China, like the Mongolians and Uyghurs, who simply lack the Hollywood spotlight Tibet has. But all of them are in the same boat, barred from Beijing for the duration of the Olympics. We wouldn’t want any unseemly protests or demonstrations.

But there will be. Oh, how there will be. The torch relay alone was beset with them. Imagine what the Games themselves will be like. I have the same feeling I did leading up to the 2007 APEC summit, only with Tibetan protestors instead of the Chaser.

The Olympics should never have been awarded to Beijing, and failing that, there most certainly should have been an organised boycott. Instead we get IOC officials bleating on about how the Games shouldn’t be “politicised.” Because of course throwing a discus across a field or running around really fast in a circle is more important than the appalling violations of basic human rights that occur in China on a daily basis.

China hopes for “the greatest” Olympic Games. Yeah, good luck with that.

33. City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer (2004) 660 p.

mostly madmen

Jeff VanderMeer is another author who was unknown to me, having randomly picked this book off the shelves at Pulp Fiction, and so I spent the first quarter of this very strange book growing accustomed to his world. City of Saints and Madmen is ostensibly a fantasy novel, set in the bizarre city of Amergris, but the stories range so frequently across the city’s fictional history that they range from involving barbarian invaders in swords and armour, to featuring trains, telephones and television. There is also some crossover with the real world, making things even more confusing.

It’s a very richly detailed world, and one which VanderMeer doesn’t explicitly explain to you. Which is fine by me – my hatred for spoonfeeding is a matter of public record. What I was able to gather by the end of it was that Amergris is a city under threat, founded atop a society of subterranean mushroom-like people known as “grey caps,” and subsequently suffering from unexplained problems with fungal growth. It is widely suggested that the grey caps will one day retake the city, putting to an end the petty concerns of the priests, artists, writers, historians and scientists who are at the centre of these stories. I suppose City of Saints and Madmen is technically a book of short stories, the first half consisting of four slim novellas, the second half consisting of an “appendix,” containing everything from the scribblings of an asylum inmate to a pseudo-scientific pamphlet on the gigantic freshwater squid. I quite liked this format, with bits and pieces giving an insight into a larger city; while the subject matter sometimes became tedious (such as the squid pamphlet), the format ensured that it wouldn’t be too long before I was reading about something else entirely. Irritatingly, however, the appendix was without page numbers, making my “660” figure a rough estimate.

What VanderMeer excels at most is horror. While many of the stories heavily involve introspection, crises of art, self-doubt and the like, with characters that are neither particularly memorable nor likeable (with the exception of the historian Duncan Shriek), there are frequent instances of horror. Saints may be in short supply, but this is indeed a city of madmen, and not the kind of place you’d want to raise your kids. But for the reader, the best moments of City of Saints and Madmen are by far those that verge onto fear and terror: the psychotic orgy of rape and murder that inexplicably occurs during a festival, a blind woman who claims to have heard something rustling inside an empty cage left behind after a grey cap raid, or the circumstances of the fishing fleet early in the city’s history that returns one season to find the city completely deserted, its inhabitants having simply vanished. These parts of the book are like studs of chocolate in a cookie, rousing me out of the slumber induced by a story about an antique salesman or whatever and making me thoroughly enjoy the book for those few excellent pages.

When VanderMeer sticks to his strengths, and fills the reader with a sense of eerie dread, he’s great. Most of the time, however, City of Saints and Madmen is a fairly unremarkable wander through a bohemian metropolis with occasional hints at greater literary skill. It does, as always, get points for being a fantasy genre text that relies on imagination rather than on Tolkien, but as with any large collection of short stories, the ultimate grade is average: the good stories dragged down by the bad ones, the bad stories lifted up by the good ones. Nonetheless, VanderMeer is a decent writer, and I may keep an eye out for his other works.

Books: 33/50
Pages: 10, 389

I’m a sucker for memes of the “how much of this stuff have you done?” category. They simultaneously appeal to my sense of adventure and excitement while also revulsing the part of me that despises any attempt to apply formulaic cliches to said adventure/excitement, i.e. they invariably say things like “Visited Paris” when there are probably a dozen cities better than Paris. They are also American-centric, often peppered with corny sentiment, and every variation will include something utterly ridiculous – my personal favourite on this particular list being #168. Annotation was clearly in order.

01. Bought everyone in the pub a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins (“Hey Mitch, wanna come snorkelling?” / “Nah, don’t feel like it today.” (later) “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME”)
03. Climbed a mountain (only 1095 metres)
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree (our primary school teachers made us do this if we wasted paper)
10. Done a striptease
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris (GREATEST OF ALL METROPOLI)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea (Sydney has the most beautifully epic storms)
14. Stayed up all night long, and watch the sun rise (I saw it get grey outside… couldn’t actually see the sun)
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Touched an iceberg (First example of something the list-writer had done and therefore included, despite the fact that nobody ever does it. Or thinks about doing it. Ever)
20. Slept under the stars (I’ve slept outdoors, but in a bunker)
21. Changed a baby’s diaper
22. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
23. Watched a meteor shower (just one, the McNaught comet)
24. Gotten drunk on champagne
25. Given more than you can afford to charity
26. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
27. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment (who hasn’t?)
28. Had a food fight
29. Bet on a winning horse
30. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
31. Asked out a stranger
32. Had a snowball fight
33. Photocopied your bottom on the office photocopier
34. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
35. Held a lamb
36. Enacted a favorite fantasy
37. Taken a midnight skinny dip
38. Taken an ice cold bath (WHY)
39. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar (oh for god’s sake)
40. Seen a total eclipse (Well I didn’t see it, but I was in it. I was 12 years old an easily impressionable to all the horror stories about not looking at an eclipse or you’ll get your eyes burned out)
41. Ridden a roller coaster
42. Hit a home run
43. Fit three weeks miraculously into three days (…what?)
44. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking (why not just call this “been drunk?”)
45. Adopted an accent for an entire day
46. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
47. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
48. Had two hard drives for your computer
49. Visited all 50 states
50. Loved your job for all accounts
51. Taken care of someone who was shit faced
52. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
53. Had amazing friends
54. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
55. Watched wild whales
56. Stolen a sign
57. Backpacked in Europe (Europe is at the bottom of my priority list)
58. Taken a road-trip (if Radiohead ever GET THEIR SODDING ARSES DOWN HERE)
59. Rock climbing (does a plastic wall resembling a rock count?)
60. Lied to foreign government’s official in that country to avoid notice
61. Midnight walk on the beach
62. Sky diving
63. Visited Ireland (one day)
64. Been heartbroken longer then you were actually in love
65. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
66. Visited Japan
67. Bench pressed your own weight (easily, since I weigh just shy of 60 kilos)
68. Milked a cow
69. Alphabetized your records (I only own one CD, so it’s alphabetized by default)
70. Pretended to be a superhero
71. Sung karaoke
72. Lounged around in bed all day (All the time!)
73. Posed nude in front of strangers
74. Scuba diving (whole sad story there)
75. Got it on to “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye
76. Kissed in the rain
77. Played in the mud
78. Played in the rain
79. Gone to a drive-in theatre (for the cinematic masterpiece that was “The Wedding Planner”)
80. Done something you should regret, but don’t regret it (No, because if I don’t regret it, then by default I shouldn’t. What else determines the regretability of an action but my own opinion?)
81. Visited the Great Wall of China
82. Discovered that someone who’s not supposed to have known about your blog has discovered your blog
83. Dropped Windows in favour of something better
84. Started a business
85. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
86. Toured ancient sites
87. Taken a martial arts class
88. Sword fought for the honour of a woman (no, because I am not a 17th century aristocrat)
89. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
90. Gotten married
91. Been in a movie
92. Crashed a party
93. Loved someone you shouldn’t have
94. Kissed someone so passionately it made them dizzy
95. Gotten divorced
96. Had sex at the office
97. Gone without food for 5 days
98. Made cookies from scratch
99. Won first prize in a costume contest
100. Ridden a gondola in Venice
101. Gotten a tattoo
102. Found that the texture of some materials can turn you on
103. Rafted the Snake River (never even heard of it)
104. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
105. Got flowers for no reason
106. Masturbated in a public place
107. Got so drunk you don’t remember anything (close enough)
108. Been addicted to some form of illegal drug
109. Performed on stage
110. Been to Las Vegas
111. Recorded music
112. Eaten shark
113. Had a one-night stand
114. Gone to Thailand
115. Seen Siouxsie live
116. Bought a house
117. Been in a combat zone
118. Buried one/both of your parents
119. Shaved or waxed your pubic hair off
120. Been on a cruise ship
121. Spoken more than one language fluently
122. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
123. Bounced a check
124. Performed in Rocky Horror
125. Read – and understood – your credit report
126. Raised children
127. Recently bought and played with a favourite childhood toy
128. Followed your favourite band/singer on tour
129. Created and named your own constellation of stars
130. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
131. Found out something significant that your ancestors did (authors and mathematicians for the most part)
132. Called or written your Member of Congress
132a. Had them write back
133. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
134. … more than once?
135. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
136. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
137. Had an abortion or your female partner did
138. Had plastic surgery
139. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived (and how!)
140. Wrote articles for a large publication
141. Lost over 100 pounds
142. Held someone while they were having a flashback
143. Piloted an airplane
144. Petted a stingray
145. Broken someone’s heart
146. Helped an animal give birth
147. Been fired or laid off from a job
148. Won money on a TV game show
149. Broken a bone (see #139)
150. Killed a human being (heavy, man)
151. Gone on an African photo safari
152. Ridden a motorcycle
153. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100mph (I have in kph, though, you fucking cavemen)
154. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
155. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
156. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
157. Ridden a horse
158. Had major surgery (when I was a toddler, apparently)
159. Had sex on a moving train
160. Had a snake as a pet
161. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
162. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
163. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours (given my wacky sleep cycle, this has probably happened at some point or another)
164. Visited more foreign countries than US states (not hard since I’ve never been there)
165. Visited all 7 continents
166. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
167. Eaten kangaroo meat (somehow, no)
168. Fallen in love at an ancient Mayan burial ground (OH FOR GOD’S SAKES)
169. Been a sperm or egg donor
170. Eaten sushi (again: somehow, no)
171. Had your picture in the newspaper
172. Had 2 (or more) healthy romantic relationships for over a year in your lifetime
173. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
174. Gotten someone fired for their actions
175. Gone back to school
176. Parasailed
177. Changed your name
178. Petted a cockroach (inadvertantly)
179. Eaten fried green tomatoes
180. Read The Iliad
181. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read (all the time)
182. Dined in a restaurant and stolen silverware, plates, cups because your apartment needed them
183. … and gotten 86’ed from the restaurant because you did it so many times, they figured out it was you
184. Taught yourself art from scratch
185. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
186. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt (as minor as it was)
187. Skipped all your school reunions (haven’t had any yet)
188. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
189. Been elected to public office
190. Written your own computer language
191. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
192. Had to put someone you love into hospice care (now i feel kind of bad about it, but we really weren’t close)
193. Built your own PC from parts
194. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
195. Had a booth at a street fair
196. Dyed your hair
197. Been a DJ
198. Found out someone was going to dump you via LiveJournal
199. Written your own role playing game
200. Been arrested

At count, 48 of 200, or roughly a quarter. Not bad for a 19-year old. Because of course I must bring this list to the core of my existence and not rest until it has been satisified!

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