This is another one of those late-'Nineties Internet memes that surfaces from time to time--make a list of things to do before you die (alternately, "things to do so that I can live")--that I find insanely interesting. See, just as I believe one can tell a lot about a person by what is on his or her bookshelves, I also believe that a list of things to do is equally revealing.
The irony of my list is how many of these things require significant travel time when I hate driving for more than about half an hour. I don't mind being someplace else, I just hate all that's involved in getting there.
Anyway, in no particular order:
1. Visit Edgar Allan Poe's grave site in Baltimore, MD; maybe even catch a glimpse of the Poe Toaster on January 19.
2. Participate in (and complete) the 24 Hour Zine Thing Challenge, which asks 'zinesters to create a 24-page 'zine from conception to final product in 24 hours straight.
3. Visit the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, CA.
4. See the U-505, an honest-to-goodness WWII German U-Boat at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL.
5. Visit the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C. (Official Site).
6. Ride in a hot air balloon (and let's not forget the Hot Air Balloon Festival in August!).
7. Fly in a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress.
8. See an erupting volcano, up close and personal, which, since I'm not interested in looking like the victims of Pompeii and Herculaneum, probably means a visit to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
9. See a live tornado, not so up close and personal.
10. See the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA.
11. Visit Devil's Tower National Monument in Wyoming.
12. Visit Barringer's Crater near Winslow, AZ (Official Site).
13. Fly in a non-rigid airship or latter-day zeppelin. I'd even settle for a Skyacht Personal Blimp, but a lawn chair supported by helium balloons might not fill the bill.
14. Visit Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, final resting place for oodles and oodles of famous people including Jim Morrison, who has much to answer for.
15. See Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley in Charleston, SC.
16. See Penn & Teller perform in Vegas (or damn near anywhere) live.
17. Visit The House On the Rock in Spring Green, WI. I read American Gods, now I want the visuals to go with it.
18. Visit Professor Cline's Haunted Monster Museum & Dark Maze in Natural Bridge, VA. May as well check out Foamhenge and Dinosaur Kingdom while I'm at it, since they're all done by the same guy. Incidentally, Mark Cline, the perpetrator of all this roadside weirdness, is the younger brother of a guy I used to hang out with when I was about twelve.
19. Visit Loch Ness and maybe even hunt for Nessie him/herself.
20. Visit Mexican volcano Paricutin. Yeah, there's a gazillion volcanoes I could choose to see, but Paricutin embedded itself in my mind when I ran across a dramatic picture of it erupting in the Golden Book Encyclopedia.
21. Collect fossils from the Burgess Shale.
22. Collect fossils from the Green River Formation.
23. Spend a couple of nights in a Futuro House. Shoot, I wouldn't mind having one in my backyard!
24. Attend Burning Man (Official Site; see also This is Burning Man: The Rise of a New American Underground by Brian Doherty).
25. Visit Alcatraz Island (details here).
26. Fire some fully automatic weapons, which I could do in April and October at The World's Largest Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show at the Knob Creek Gun Range in Westpoint, KY and at the Roanoke Rifle and Revolver Club Class III shoot in Roanoke, VA.
27. Ride (sail?) in a submarine. I got to tour a U. S. Navy diesel submarine when I was eleven, now I'd like the complete experience...uh, without the depth charges and torpedoes and crash diving deeper than the hull rating.
28. Be the special guest DJ at a radio station on Halloween at, say, WRIR (Official Site) and play spooky music of my choosing all night long.
29. Re: #28. Of course, I'd arrive in my own vintage hearse. Hey, lots of people have 'em!
30. Make a large wall sculpture composed of circuit boards complete with all electronic components (here's a vaguely related article with construction tips).
31. Convert a vintage refrigerator door into a wall mount display for, well, refrigerator magnets. According to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, it's easy to make my own.
32. Fly in an open cockpit biplane (I really want to fly in a Fokker triplane, but that's just not possible, so I'm willing to settle for the star of Stephen Coonts' book The Cannibal Queen).
33. Convert an abandoned water tower into a living space. It's been done before!
34. Spend the night in an abandoned building. A "haunted house" would be even better.
35. Obtain a Virginia Concealed Handgun Permit. (info here and here; classes at Dominion Shooting Range, Inc.)
36. Work out a semi-bizarre, semi-comic street magic act (possibly for Halloween) and perform it in public. Ellusionist has some cool ideas.
37. Write a book and have it published (NOT by Lulu.com or a vanity press unless there was absolutely, positively no other way). I'm not looking for bestseller status, but I'd love to create something that would become a minor cult fave. Would a memoir be too self-absorbed and pretentious?
38. Organize and/or participate in a game of Killer (aka The Assassination Game) or its recent variant, Humans vs. Zombies.
39. Explore the Catacombs of Paris.
40. Visit the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic (photos here and here).
41. See the Blue Man Group live (obligatory Wikipedia link here).
Roadside America--Your Online Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions
Weird Virginia by Jeff Bahr, Troy Taylor, Loren Coleman, and Mark Sceurman (2007)