I started 2010 like Batman¹.

From the moment my feet hit the floor on January 1, I was an organisational machine. My brain was a steel trap; oiled with printer toner and personal productivity mantras. I was ready for the most efficiently-executed year of my life. I’d spent long days (and longer nights) through the dying weeks of 2009 crunching figures and percentages, breaking my aspirations for the new year down to the tiniest possible steps – moving from general goals to specific steps and action items, from specific steps and action items to daily to-do lists, double-distilling the data so I could have it at my fingertips every second of every hour of every day. Entire tracts of pristine Brazilian rainforest sacrificed their existence for my reams of flow-charts, timetables, and resource allocation lists. Other people bought porn magazines; I pored over office supply catalogues (but I swear, I only read them for the articles). And forget fantasies of actresses and supermodels – I dreamt of label-makers and tablet computers (admittedly, I was also mentally preparing myself for the night when Parker Posey came to my house and said ‘Jesus. That’s the hottest filing cabinet setup I’ve ever seen… you sexy motherfucker.‘)²

2010 was my year to shine. My year for my latent (my extremely latent) Type A personality to finally emerge from whatever psychological basement it had been hiding out in and got things done. Took care of business, man. Made it happen, boss.

What I hadn’t foreseen was just how much I  enjoy Ian Somerhalder’s portrayal of the well-dressed and conflicted Damon Salvatore on The Vampire Diaries, and so I clawed my way to the middle of February before ’86 this noise, I’m going to watch The CW,’ kicked in, once again proving that when it comes to the United Nations of my ambition, my inner teen girl counts as all five members of the Security Council (zOMG Dean Winchester!).

And my poor, extensive lists found themselves neglected. And I had so many lists. Things To Do, Things Not To Do, Things To Do (And Make Sure No One Finds Out About. Ever.)… I even had a list of my lists so that I could keep all of my lists organised³.

Perhaps the saddest and most forlorn victim of my yen for total and complete vampire escapism has been the Life List I instituted towards the end of 2009. The more recognisable term is Bucket List, but the inestimable Zara Potts gave me strict instructions to rename it so as to avoid the negative connotations of the key term ‘bucket’. That bad boy was a masterpiece – the goals inside were neatly numbered, lovingly inscribed, and ascribed to the specific timeframes ‘2009’, ‘2010’, or ‘eventually/someday/I’ll do it when I’m not so worried there might be a spider’.

The upshot here is that my Life List has been gathering dust for a little while now – but recent events have encouraged me to bring that sucker back into circulation, update it, and put it back to work⁴. And so, without further ado, please. Enjoy a quick glimpse – a sample set- of the things I want to accomplish before my (I’m assuming tragic, moving, and irritatingly loud) eventual last breath.


Item #2.
Goal: Get a barbershop shave.
Timeframe: 2009.
Status: Accomplished.

This desire stemmed in its entirety from the opening scene of The Untouchables. DeNiro, as Al Capone, is lying back and conducting an interview as he’s getting shaved and the barber accidentally nicks him. There’s a constellation of hangers-on, reporters, and various servitors in the room – and they all go dead quiet as the barber realises what he’s done and makes the mental leap that that tiny slice is probably going to cost him his life. DeNiro pats his own cheek, looks at the blood on his fingers, pauses for a deathly second… and then casually dismisses the terrified man’s concerns with an easy ‘S’allright.’

As a kid, I watched that movie over and over. Every time the concept of the classic barbershop shave was raised (yes, very occasionally, this happens) I’d mentally connect with the look on DeNiro’s face as he holds the power of life and death over another man for the smallest of mistakes (Greg Olear has this look on his face all the time). Also, I’d cry as I thought of Sean Connery buying it at the hands of Frank ‘The Enforcer’ Nitti.

So last year I went with two friends to a salon that offers the traditional shave; it’s an experience every man should have at least once. There’s a ritual, masculine atmosphere to the whole process, and with the addition of the thick hot towels, the careful lathering with almond-scented shaving cream, the pre- and post- shave oils… bliss. A good barber will also take you through the proper step-by-step technique for shaving, something that’s surprisingly complex. As a side note, springing for a shave for someone else makes for a great – and memorable – birthday present.

As all three of us noticed, however, the only downside is that yes, while being shaved, you do develop an uncontrollable urge to start seriously discussing whacking somebody later that day.


Items #10, #14, #15, #21, #32.
Goal: Eat an icecream from an icecream van/Peking Duck/Kung Pao Chicken/a fig/a Cadbury Creme Egg (respectively)
Timeframe: 2010.
Status: Delicious.

It took me until the age of 27 to realise I hadn’t eaten, like, a whole bunch of stuff. I was certainly aware of the existence of these dishes – and yet, I’d just never gotten around to eating them. Peking Duck and Kung Pao Chicken, in particular, had been broadcast across my cultural radar through TV, radio, movies, books and magazines for years, and it was more for the fact that I was curious than any great desire for taste that I decided to eat them. One by one, I set them up and knocked them down.

The verdicts:

Ice-cream from an ice-cream van: technically, it was gelati, so I’m still not sure if I can legitimately cross this one off the list. I probably would have liked it better if I hadn’t heard the jingling bell, looked at my list, thought Icecream van! and gone running out of the house to chase it, on foot, through the streets. That Doppler effect is a real son of a bitch.

Peking Duck: I highly recommend ordering the duck at Old Kingdom, 197 Smith Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, phone: (03) 9417 2438. The accepted wisdom of the city’s connoisseurs is that Old Kingdom prepares the best Peking Duck in Victoria (perhaps Australia) and, after tasting it, I stand by this as a wholly believable claim.

Kung Pao Chicken: While Zara was in town earlier this year we hit up Sichuan House in Chinatown. Those spices were not fooling around, and I was sweating from underneath my eyelids three mouthfuls in. My mouth felt as if it was on fire, and it was only pride and hunger that kept me struggling forward.

In summary: impossible to finish.

A Fig: You know what? Not monumental.

A Cadbury Creme Egg: Jesus. I have never had such a sugar fix in my life. It’s like someone rendered down Shirley Temple and the Care Bears.

Minus the chewy fatty deposits.


Items #9, #17, #23.
Goal: Eat a Fool’s Gold Loaf/a KFC bucket (it has to be in an actual paper bucket)/Chicken Chow Mein
Timeframe: 2010
Status: Incomplete

Look, I got onto this whole ‘food I haven’t eaten’ train of thought and the whole operation snowballed from there.


Item #5.
Goal: Skinny dipping
Timeframe: 2010
Status: Incomplete

The meeting point between idea + potential = skinny dipping has literally never come up before, as amazing as that sounds. There was either never any point, or any possibility. And I feel like a crucial American Graffiti/Dawson’s Creek/Generic Teen Horror/Coming of Age/Exploitation Film developmental point was missed as a result.

If you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I am entirely jealous of Jessica Anya Blau. Her girlhood summers sounded way better than mine.


Item #33.
Goal: Learn Spanish
Timeframe: Open/Ongoing
Status: Incomplete

The tricky nature of what I’m about rears its head here. It’s one thing to itemise ‘Speak Spanish’ as a goal, but how do you define that? Do you take one lesson and say ‘OK, I can speak Spanish now, cross that shit off the list?’ Or do you need to have a Spanish-speaking individual gauge and assess your competency, then arbitrate yea or nay?⁵

After much thought, the metric I decided on was that if I can go for a week speaking only Spanish (and while it’s tempting to cheat and not say anything but ‘Biblioteca!’ for a week and chalk it up as a technical win, I’d still consider that cheating), then I get to cross this one off the list.


Item #41.
Goal: Make Out With Someone Famous
Timeframe: Open
Status: Incomplete

Everyone I know has at one point in time commented on how attractive/sexual/alluring a celebrity is. And while I’m under no illusions as to the fact that being involved with a celebrity is any different to being involved with an average Joe or Jane, still…

As an exception to the above rule, I remain certain in the belief that any woman who makes out with Gabriel Byrne is instantly transported to an idyllic Celtic pastoral scene. By a river. Probably, there is peace, and horses.

I think the same thing happens with Daniel Baldwin, but it’s a dumpster in Queens. Probably, there are pieces of horses.


Item #71.
Goal: Baptismal Cleansing
Timeframe: 2010
Status: Incomplete

I’ve only seen this done on movies and TV (which, apparently, is where I get all my information on both the world and how I want to live my life). I’m not Christian, so I don’t know if it’s – technically – blasphemy for me to engage in baptism as a practice. But that whole thing where you put on the white robe and walk barefoot down to the river (absolution or no absolution, I’m not messing up my Connies. Getting them clean is a total bitch) and some kindly mid-40s-or-older mustached white guy/hefty black guy washes away all of your sins… that’s a cool idea. I like that. I like that a lot.


Item #78.
Learn to throw real good
Timeframe: Open
Status: Incomplete

I learned early on that I wasn’t cut out to be a bowler, a pitcher, or a quarterback. I had complete and overwhelming jealousy for those lanky, shaggy-haired kids whose arms were like two long sheaths of thin but solid muscle connected by a greased ball-bearing, who could pick up a ball, or a rock, or an egg, and effortlessly flick and snap their joints back and forward again so that the projectile made a beautiful, clean arc through the air and impacted on the target like it was an afterthought on the way to some point three feet behind it. I don’t know how to learn to throw, or where to go, but this is one I’m not letting go of.


There are more. A lot more. At last count, the list stands at 81 items, with 12 crossed off – the ice-cream van notwithstanding. They range from the personal (Item #76: El Camino de Santiago), the curious (Item #8: Fire a Gun – I hasten to add I don’t actually want to cap somebody, I’m just very intrigued by the whole idea, given the permeation of gun fascination into Western culture… and also, I’m a 27 year old guy), and the spiritual (Item #40: Get Really High on Peyote). I think I’ve got time – I hope I’ve got time – to do them all, but more and more I’m thinking of adding some that are nigh-impossible, in order to get that perpetual yearning for accomplishment.

Which is something I’m told is important.

I think what’s more important is that you stand up and say to yourself, I want these things.

Especially Item #81.





¹ Screaming abuse at a lighting assistant.

² Yes. In my head, nothing gets actress and writer Parker Posey’s motor running like a well-organised workspace.

³ Fact.

⁴ Straight pimpin’.

⁵ and Antonio Banderas don’t return my calls no more.

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SIMON SMITHSON is an Australian writer and editor. He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but frequently finds himself in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has appeared on both sides of the globe in print and online in publications such as BLIP, Every Day Fiction, Beat, The Loop, My Sinking Boat, and more. He has a tumblr at www.simonsmithson.com and he runs a lifestyle experiment at www.selfhelpless.net.

270 responses to “Buddy, You Just Made My List”

  1. Brandy says:

    I highly recommend the skinny-dipping. My first experience with this was as a teenager living in Puerto Rico. A few friends and myself had snuck down to the beach at midnight, under a full moon. I cannot describe how beautiful the Caribbean is at night. The water was beautiful, we got out and were about to walk home….and then was accosted by an obviously rabid mongoose, standing on the path. Half clothed three screaming girls fled. I still feel uneasy around anything that looks weasel-like, including pet ferrets.

    Go for it.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Wow, that sounds awesome. I totally want that to happen to me.

      We’re lucky; rabies hasn’t found its way to Australia yet (ocean, I could kiss you!). So I guess I’ll have to wait until I get to the States to have the full experience of running, terrified and naked, through the night.

  2. Zara Potts says:

    Ah Brew, what fun we are going to have knocking things off your list and adding to them during the upcoming road trip. However, I hope #81 is : Always listen to Zara Potts.
    Also – I am not going to let you talk me into eating Kung Pao Chicken ever again. It took days for my poor mouth to recover. I suggest we sink some Bloody Mary’s instead.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Brew! There’s a number of items we can knock off on the roadtrip. And I’ll be sure to jot down any further ideas for items I have.

      I know, the KPC was ridiculous! Tasty, though. Next time I’ll ask them to hold back on the spices.

      #81 is a trip-worthy item.

      It concerns Wal-Mart.

  3. I’d never eaten Peking Duck until I went to Peking… It’s pretty great, but greasy and makes you fart really bad.

    We already discussed the ice cream truck, but as a kid that’s pretty much where I got all my ice cream.

    And you’ve never skinny-dipped? Even losers like me skinny dipped! That’s like growing up but never getting any pubes…

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, man, the duck fat? Horrible thing. It’s all over the place, and you can feel it settling into your arteries with every passing second.

      Kind of like today’s massive chocolate haul.

      Yeah, I didn’t realise it was a gelati truck until I was there, so… I’d already run all that way…

      Nope. Not once.

  4. Irene Zion says:


    I don’t think that the most important thing is to say to yourself that these are the things you want.
    I think it is more impotant to pick one thing & then plan how to get it done.
    Deciding upon a list is just fooling yourself if you don’t start just doing these things.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Well, the two kinda go together for me. On the one hand, you do need to put energy into this stuff and just start knocking things over – on the other hand, a little planning and focus goes a long way.

      Also, I really like making lists. It gives me warm feelings of:

      – contentment
      – satisfaction
      – accomplishment.

  5. Irene Zion says:

    I get it, Simon,

    You’re a touch OCD like most of us.

  6. Simon Smithson says:

    If only we knew a great psychologist I could talk to about it.

    That and my paraphilias.

  7. James D. Irwin says:

    the best way to enjoy ice cream from an ice cream van is on a warm(ish) summers day on an English promenade.

    I started 2010 in a similar fashion. I woke up feeling almost like a whole new person, with 365 days of endless possibility in front of me.

    Now it’s April and I’m commenting on internet articles in my dressing gown. Again.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Hey, me too!

      I personally like to effect the entire ensemble. The PJs, the slippers… the works. It’s something I’ve been working ever since re-watching old episodes of I Dream of Jeannie and realising just how goddamn classy Tony Nelson was.

      When he wasn’t dropping acid, that is.

      • I remember you mentioning it before. At the moment my pj ensemble is a very casual look. I’m aiming for the smarter kind of pjs soon…

        Nothing feels more English than drinking tea in an Arthur Dent-esque outfit.

  8. Lindsey says:

    I find it near-impossible to believe there’s no Item #82.

  9. Simon, I promise I will help you with #5 ANd #71 simultaneously. We need to be somewhere warm. Can be California in the summer, but needs to be So. Cal. where the water is bearable. While swimming naked, I will place my open palm on your forehead and lunge you backwards into the frothy water and, with my best Southern Accent, bring up the name of the Lord, His Father, and few other people. You will then have been officially baptized WHILE having your first naked swim!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      What a coincidence! I’ll be in California this summer! I miss getting naked in that state.

      When you say a few other people, who are we talking? Brad Listi? Colonel Sanders? Lady Gaga?

      Wow. That would be one for the list. ‘Something something baptised something something Lady Gaga’ (I imagine the blanks would fill in themselves).

  10. Anon says:

    Very quick notes as I’m in the midst of domestic sugar-induced chaos:

    1. This is fucking hysterical.
    2. If I read, “It’s like someone rendered down Shirley Temple and the Care Bears. Minus the chewy fatty deposits.” one more time, it is distinctly possible that I will pee myself laughing. Awesome.
    3. I can personally guarantee that you will be able to cross #8 off of your list after we meet in June. You can email me for a preview of what’s on the menu. I also know a guy…. Eh. Maybe next trip. (;
    4. I will neither confirm nor deny your post-June status of #40 (although it would be entirely unassociated with #8).
    5. I can give you partial credit on #41 but only because I will give you no more than a firm handshake and manly hug and because I only qualify as “famous” in certain circles.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      1. Thanks amigo!
      2. I was very happy when that particular moment of inspiration struck. The Good Ship Lollipop, you know?
      3. You know, that very thought occurred to me as I was writing this. I think the upcoming US trip is going to break the back of this list in some excellent ways.
      4. Discretion shall be our watchword.
      5. Partial credit is still credit – every little bit counts, you know? If I get the firm handshake and manly hug from you, and get my ass slapped by the guy who played Bob on Becker, I’m halfway there!

    • OH come on, Anon! Can’t you just have sex with him in order to support #41 on the list?! I mean what’s more important: The List, or Your Pride?
      Listen Anon, we all know what you’re carrying (since your daughter blurted it out at Target), the least you can do is share a little of America with Australia and help a sweet guy check off his list.

      • Anon says:

        Doh. Okay, first off, I suppose I asked for that but the comment was supposed to be an example of “mortifying kid-in-public story” not “I-am-an-attention-whore-and-my-Internet-penis-is-a-quintillion-inches-long story”. Secondly, I’m thinking Simon should be a little insulted since you imply that having sex with him would be a blow (so to speak) to my pride. I mean, if I swung that way, maybe I’d be marrying up.

        Of course, I suppose we could use some sort of lawyerly Freudian logic to cross off both since I’ll be letting him fondle my biggest gun and make it shoot as many times as he’d enjoy….

        • Becky says:

          Jesus Christ!

        • Anon says:

          No, that was a different thread.

        • Becky says:

          You totally turned it up to 11 there.

          I’m impressed.

        • Anon says:

          Meh. It’s early and the topics are shooting stuff and sex. I get a little excited by both and am lacking my caffeine-powered diplomacy filter. I’ll tone back down shortly.

        • Anon says:

          Well… publicly, anyway.

          (Checks to make sure he included both “l”s in “publicly” before clicking “Add comment”….)

        • Erika Rae says:

          You’ve had, like, 5 espressos this morning, haven’t you?

          I will strain to keep up. I am drinking free hot cocoa at Jiffy Lube right now. heh. It wouldn’t matter if you included both Is. I had to read it twice, anyway.

        • Anon says:

          Um… sadly, no. One cup of homebrew – which is damned-near espresso – and one cup of tea. But I’m heading into my second meeting of the day which should bring my down to the point of needing espresso.

          Which reminds me of our earlier discourse! I will be at my cafe ninety minutes from now. At that time, I shall raise my cup in toast to you. If you would reciprocate with your cocoa (or smallest child), I would be honored.

        • Anon says:

          Sigh. “Me”. Bring “me” down.

        • Becky says:

          That’s L’s, Erika!

          Ho no! You’ve made a pubic embarrassment of yourself at the lube joint!

        • Anon says:

          And you said “Lube”. Heh.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Anon, that comment was amazing. But couldn’t you have said it was a sextillion inches long? Or is that too much of a groaner?

          In any case I suppose a sextillion inches would induce some groaning, or better yet, screaming.

        • Erika Rae says:

          Alas. *sigh* You have proven my poorly made point regarding lack of caffeination.

          And that is apparently not a word.

          L’s, I’s, and Jiffy Lube flavored cocoa.

          A real cafe is not a bad idea. May have to do that myself.

          Gol-derned Jiffy Lube.

        • Anon says:

          Well, I think on some subconscious level, I was keying off of the five-inch-median statistic. Plus, you know, “quint” is just much more mumble-able than the sibilant and hard “xt” and, even though I was typing, I was – and remain – totally in mumble mode.

        • Anon says:

          Richard, your comment now has me laughing at the “Dear Abby for Internet Studs” schtick in my head.

          “Dear Self-Conscious in the Shower Room:

          There’s no reason to feel inadequate in any way – a quintillion inches is a perfectly normal and average length for Internet penii. For as many men that measure a sextillion or even gajillion inches, there are just as many who only measure a quadrillion….”

        • Anon says:

          Erika, it damned-well *is* a word. If they can print “bling” in the dictionary and still look at themselves in the mirror, any variant of “caffeine” is more than acceptable in our vernacular. Period.

        • Becky says:

          Really, I just wanted to say “pubic embarrassment.”

        • Erika Rae says:

          Pubic embarrassment in the caffeine nation.

        • Becky says:

          That’s a winner of a book title, if you ask me.

          Or at least a really solid (solid!) poem.

        • Anon says:

          They make razors for that, if you’re not too jittery….

        • Richard Cox says:

          Who needs razors when you can paint boiling hot wax down there and rip it out by the roots?

        • Becky says:

          I don’t understand that.

          I mean, I guess I understand it in an academic sense, but if anyone tried to do that to me, especially in particularly sensitive places, I’d kick her teeth out of her head. Like, I don’t think I could stop myself.

          So in the interest of public safety, I just consider it a non-option.

        • Anon says:

          Cough. Okay, seriously, just refreshed this page, read “rip it out by the roots” and flinched a little.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I watched Kimberly’s Why We Wax last night and was particularly entertained to learn that, for a Brazilian, the waxing of the anus is the least painful part.

          I’m not sure why but I assumed that would be the worst.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I mean for a Brazilian-style wax, not necessarily a person from Brazil. Although maybe for them it is also the least painful area to wax.

        • Becky says:

          Richard, I am sure I will never know.

          Call me hairy ass if you must, but uh uh. No way. I’m happy to groom, trim, etc, but I won’t even consider a Brazilian wax unless the husband agrees to have his balls and asshole waxed too, and even then I may still refuse on the grounds that he has only partially made up for the discomfort and inconvenience of menstruation and outright searing pain of childbirth.

          Any man who ever sincerely nagged me to do that would likewise lose his teeth. “Eh! Suddenly you’re not hot either, buddy! See what the bald pussy girls think of you now, gap face!”

        • Becky says:

          Okay, in my mind, that scene was hilarious, but sitting there, it just sounds violent.

        • Anon says:

          Be that as it may, it was also hilarious. Personally, I don’t find the two to be mutually exclusive and “See what the bald pussy girls think of you now, gap face!” made me guffaw out loud just now.

        • Becky says:

          When I don’t get immediate validation of my often questionable sense of humor, I assume the worst.

          I think I must rely fairly heavily on wild gesticulations and facial expressions to pull this kind of thing off in real life.

          What a Scandinavian is doing with wild gesticulations and facial expressions is an interesting question. Must be the 1/16th Irish.

          “Bald pussy girls” started out with additional modifier of “faux-jailbait,” but that struck me as overkill.

        • Anon says:

          Well you did once mention that you speak Italian. It’s possible that the wild gesticulations came along for the ride. Ha. I’d like to see Rosetta Stone put out a Wii-compatible release that teaches that.

        • Becky says:

          My affinity for Italian developed later than my heavy use of gesticulation, but it is likely that my gravitation towards the language is also caused by whatever raucous personality trait is causing the arm-waving and face-twisting.

          (Of all the European nations represented in my ancestry, Italy, sadly, is not one.)

        • Anon says:

          Look at it this way: The Romans got around alot and were horny little bastards so odds are very good that, if you have any Mediterranean or European ancestry, you probably do have some Italian-once-removed heritage. Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandma just kept it to herself and slept with Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandpa a LOT for the next three weeks as a cover.

        • Becky says:

          Well, there is some French lurking about in my lineage. I mean, maybe my gesticulations WERE born from a sack of Rome.

        • Becky says:

          Gaul jokes? Anyone? Anyone?


        • Anon says:

          Uh-huh-huh-huh… you said “sack”….

        • Becky says:

          I try to steer clear of puns but that one appealed to too many parts of my brain and there were none left to stop it.

        • Anon says:

          Pah! Life without punnery – the worse, the better – is like life without junk food. Granted, a steady diet of it is terrible for you but the occasional indulgence is fun and enjoyable. So sayeth the man who once had an “Oh, the huge manatee!” desktop for weeks and couldn’t stop giggling. Google it if you haven’t seen it. It’s just stupid.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Life without punnery would be excessively gauling.


          But, intereSSEtingly, this post was originally slated to be about my experience with a fully body wax – a mission I set for myself after a Facebook discussion with AXS and Slade. However, I was talked out of it by a number of people, including K-Dub, after the possibility of ingrown hairs and infection was brought to my attention (and a tear was subsequently brought to my eye).

        • Becky says:

          I can no longer condone this behavior, as I can’t think of a good pun for Visigoths.

          Indeed, hair removal of any kind runs the risk of pimples and ingrown hairs.

          You would have needed to bathe and scrub pretty attentively to avoid the majority (you probably could not avoid all).

          Though it would make for a unique pick-up pitch. You sacrificed for your craft and in order to understand what women go through (you just tack that second one on), now you are on your own, destroying your rotator cuff trying to scrub your mid-back in a bid to escape sepsis.

          I know I’d be impressed.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Then you’re missing some Atillary in your humor arsenal…

          Oh my God. That was truly awful. I’m so sorry. Not even I can pass that off as being ironic.

          I was actually wondering if that would come up. I mean, I don’t really feel like I’ve ever participated in maintaining the idea that women should hold themselves to some particular standard of personal grooming over and above men (a basic level of not smelling bad is where I’m at, really) – but I’d never contemplated the unpleasantness of the anxiety before. And maybe that would wear off with time, but still…

          Ladies, I salute you.

        • Becky says:

          Would have been better if you’d began the post with “Hunny.”

          The stuff about women’s trials and tribulations was purely for show in your hypothetical pick-up, but I suppose for women who wax (we have established I am not one of them), there must be some anxiety involved.

          I had one friend who went out for margaritas before her waxes. Presumably to calm/dull her nerves.

        • Cheryl says:

          Now that’s a crying shame. Wasting a nice margarita buzz on getting waxed? By the second margarita (and there’s always a second margarita), I’d be too busy smoking cigarettes and having fun to go get my pubes and ass hairs ripped out. I’m pretty sure the only substance that could get me to sit still for a Brazilian would be horse tranquilizers. And lots of them.

  11. I love the ice cream truck paragraph. Hysterical. I think the image and mental gymnastics make gelato count. But then again, it’s not like you really need a reason to do it again, is there? I mean, it’s ice cream! From a truck!

    Who wouldn’t love that?

    I know a gal who drives a Mister Softee. Her hubby actually owns a bit of franchise. I want to say a few trucks.

    I think you should expand that truck-food list. When you get to New York you’ll find just about everything on a cart at some point, and it’s all awesome. Like, even the lamb. Which is something you’d never otherwise think to get from a cart. Or I wouldn’t, anyway.

    And that baptismal cleansing does sound pretty awesome. It would have to be among baptists, though, I think. With a Mindy Smith gospel-tinged soundtrack.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Dude, it was such a son of a bitch. There’s an ice-cream van (OK, a gelati van) that drives around here on Sundays, but only randomly. And as I was chasing it through the streets I’d occasionally catch glimpses of it turning corners, until, finally, I got to it when it was stationery.

      And then I find out its goddamn gelati, not icecream.

      Hmmm. Maybe a new item: ‘Spend a day eating only food from vans.’


      Oh, and totally Baptists. You gotta do it right, you know?

  12. Wonderful post, my friend. And that one line of yours, “I was dreaming of label-makers and touchscreens…” reminded me of something from my life. There was a time when I found office supply stores so God awful dreadfully boring. Record stores, mind you, were another story. I could spend hours in a record store, flipping through CDs and vinyl, getting turned on to new bands, rediscovering bands I hadn’t listened to in a while.

    Though now I must admit that I do feel a slight tingling in my loins whenever I walk into a Staples or Office Depot. All those pens, pencils, paper clips, swivel chairs, computer software, hardware, boxes of paper, and file cabinets get me pretty darn excited. Supercharged. Elevated. All plugged in to my inner Batman alpha male.

    Still, when it’s all said and done, record stores still excite me a wee bit more.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Hey, thanks Rich!

      Unbelievably, I had a dream that we were hanging out last night. I made fun of someone’s coffee cups, and you called me on the faux pas I was making. Strange.

      I have a real love for office supply stores. But also, record stores. Especially used record stores. Man. Goldmines.

      Office supply shopping, especially when you’ve got a list of required items, can be a lot of fun (I never imagined myself ever writing that sentence). Some day, I’ll take a girl office supply shopping for a date.

      Probably not a first date, though.

  13. Uche Ogbuji says:

    I read this to the tune of Badu’s “Babel”. Yeah I’m on a crazy Badu kick today, but you, know, it flowed perfectly. I doubt I’d even want to start such a list, because I don'[t want to kill that many trees.

    If you do take on the throw, please take it all the way and pick up leg-spin bowling, which I think is the coolest act of throwing in creation, even though I’m pretty meh! on cricket.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      You know, I haven’t heard that track. So I’m going to cue it up and re-read my own work to see how it cuts.

      I’m pretty meh on cricket myself. But strangely enamored of fastball-style pitching, which isn’t something you’d ever see in Australian sports.

      Where does one actually go in order to learn how to throw? Are there adult education classes available?

      • Uche Ogbuji says:

        Aw man! Not another pace bowler aficionado! Come over to the side of sophistication and refinement. Come over to the leg spin bowler side before it’s too late. The pace-bowl side is easy, but that way lies, hate, and fear, and…suffering!

        OK just kidding. I must say I started to go even further off cricket when those crazy West Indian pace bowlers dominated the scene, but you can’t argue with their results. At least once, in an argument with an American about baseball vs cricket (both of which are meh! sports for me) I’ve pointed out the difference in corporeal commitment between, say, a paceman and a fast-ball pitcher. This famous image illustrates my point nicely:


        Now that is a sportsman!

        • Spin bowling is undoubtedly the harder technique to master, at least in terms of finesse. I mean look at Shane Warne. His build is hardly athletic, yet he was the best in the business from the moment he bowled Gatting in 1993 until… well, until he retired. There isn’t really any modern player that really stands out as being head and shoulders above the rest.

          Pace bowling is easier in technique (although still deceptively difficult) but relies also on power and exertion.

          I like to use both styles myself, although it doesn’t get much more satisfying than lashing the ball against the stumps…

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @Uche: Heh. No one goes to pieces faster than an Australian getting beaten at sport. It’s like the world has suddenly been turned upside down.

          Jesus, what an image! Kemar Roach: born of gravitron and pretzel!

          @James: Warney is practically a saint over here. Honestly, he’s up there with the icons of Australian sport (Don Bradman, Ian Thorpe, Cathy Freeman…)

        • One thing that distinguishes cricket from most sports is the lack of hate. Despite the fact that England have lost all but one Ashes series Warne has played in he’s pretty much loved over here as well.

          What’s not to love about a guy who has had ‘issues’ with drugs, drink and fidelity AND still been better than anyone in the world in his field?!

          He still owns a house in Southampton, which is about half an hour away from here. He spent the last few years of his career playing for Hampshire…

          He was a commentator for the 2009 Ashes series, and he was incredible. As well as being hilarious he could also offer an incredible amount of insight into the game. I enjoyed that series almost as much for the commentary than the cricket. One of the pundits is Michael Holding, who was one aspect of the greatest line in sporting commentary of all time as he went into bowl against England’s Peter Willey:

          ”The bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s Willey…”

        • Zara Potts says:

          Shane Warne is my hero.

        • Simon Smithson says:



          I think the thing about Warney is that he’s one of those larger-than-life characters who you’d hate it he was just a guy down at the pub, but who becomes a caricature of a real human being once he’s placed on the world stage.

        • Zara Potts says:

          I like the fact that he smacked up those little kids in NZ who took a picture of him smoking while he was plugging some anti-smoking drug. He’s such a total bogan.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          He is the BIGGEST bogan, brew. And yet he’s so proud and totally un-self-aware that it becomes kind of endearing, in a weird Bizarro kind of way.

        • He is just such the opposite of the ‘modern athlete.’ He looks like the sort of guy who should be sitting in front of the TV drinking beers and dreaming about destroying the England batting order, not the guy drinking beers and destroying th England batting order for real…

          I can’t imagine Shane Warne being an arsehole either… annoying sure, in the way that all brash people in the pub are.

          The Ashes rivalry is the greatest in sport in my opinion, largely because the two sides can give endless verbal abuse but it never gets violent, there is an undercurrent of mutual respect and it’s pretty much the only sporting event in the world where rival fans can be trusted to sit unsegregated and drink beer all day for five days…

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Is there an opposite phrase to ‘the cutting edge’? Whatever the opposite of the cutting edge is, that’s what Shane Warne.

          I think that’s where so much of his appeal lies – in the fact that he’s that brash pub sports know-it-all somehow magically transplanted from sitting in the corner with a pint and a paper into the actual field of sports – and he’s astonishingly good at it.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          Easy to say now that you lot finally won the urn back, eh? 😛

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I love the way that whenever Australia is winning the Ashes, our success is smeared all over the headlines over here: ‘IN YOUR FACES, ENGLISH PEOPLE! THE COLONIES ARE AVENGED!’

          Whenever England is pulling ahead, the news is relegated to a postage stamp-sized feature on page 986: ‘Something happened in England to do with cricket. Let’s not talk about it.’

        • Uche— we lost it in 2007. A crushing 5-0 defeat if I recall correctly. I’ve always like Australia, and their abuse is always very funny. It’s a rivalry that lacks the violent undercurrent of hatred that you get in football.

          Simon— it’s similar here. I was only faintly aware that the 2007 Ashes happened, but in ’05 and ’09 suddenly everyone loves cricket…

        • Uche Ogbuji says:


          I know. I know. You are well keen to defend cricket’s honor, innit? 😀

          I suppose it goes with the fact that cricket has always been a gentleman’s sport, just above rugby in that hierarchy, and well above association football, sport of yobs.

          And yes, many of my friends who had never even mentioned cricket to me for years suddenly wanted to jibber on all about The Ashes last year.

        • The thing I love most about cricket is how gentlemanly it is. It’s so incredibly English it’s beyond belief. I can’t think of any other sport that stops for tea…

          There’s a quote about rugby and football along the lines of ‘football is a gentleman’s game played by hooligans, rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentleman.’ It’s somewhat apt.

          I’ll be honest, it was the 2005 Ashes series that got me interested in cricket, but it was very early in the series… more a consequence of being exposed to high quality cricket than the simple fact we won at something.

          My interest waned as cricket was taken off terrestrial TV and you had to pay for it. We got Sky about this time last year and the Twenty-20 World Cup and the series against the West Indies re-ignited my interest just before the last Ashes.

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          For sure, mate. What other sport has as its most famous grounds a place called “Lords”?

          And BTW, I love how Douglas Adams elevated the game to cosmic dimensions in the Planet Cricket Wars. One of the best things in the Hitchhiker series, really.

        • Lord’s is brilliant… I love cricket grounds… nothing quite says summer like the batting side relaxing on a balcony… I’m hoping they’ll be a test match at the Rose Bowl soon, because that’s not too far from here…

          I really need to re-visit the Hitchhiker series, it’s been far too long…

        • Uche Ogbuji says:

          Oh you must. I just checked. The volume I was thinking of is Life, the Universe and Everything. The saga of the Krikkit wars begins and ends at lord’s, of course.

          I just had a horrible thought. If Hollywood continues the series, will they substitute baseball for cricket? Will the protagonists be at Fenway Park rather than Lord’s? Must…cauterize…evil…possibility…from…consciousness…

        • Simon Smithson says:


        • Damn, I think the first book is the only one I have with me. I have read them all, of course. I have two copies of THGTTG now. The first one was a film tie-in copy with loads of stuff about the film in the back, although it also featured several pictures of Zooey Deschanel, so it wasn’t all bad.

          But over Christmas I found a paperback copy from 1979, the year it was published. I’m quite proud of that— I understand that it’s totally worthless, but it’s nice having a proper old copy.

          I doubt they’ll make another film in the series. It didn’t do all that well, which is understandable I think. Most of the humour is in Adams’ use of language, and the humour is so rooted in English culture and tradition that the ‘average American’ isn’t going to get the humour. I appreciate that the series is very popular in the US, but what I’m saying is that it doesn’t have the same universal appeal and money making potential of something like Paul Blart: Mall Cop (it’s funny, because Blart sounds like fart!)

        • Sarah says:

          I’m fairly convinced you all are writing in English, I just have no damn clue what you’re saying. I now know how you feel, Simon, when we go off on baseball/football/hockey rants.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          So… do you know how to pitch, Sarah?

  14. jmblaine says:

    If you
    are eveh
    in the South
    I can totally hook
    you up on

  15. Gloria says:

    I love all of this, but the last line of item #41 made me laugh out loud.

    Good luck with all of this! Also, never wait for an opportunity to go skinny dipping. Just do it,man!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Somehow item #41 slipped out of the original publication of this piece – fortunately I realised, and resuscitated it; I was pretty pleased with that one myself.

      There’s an entire sitcom based on that idea, I think. The best episode would be when DB manages to swap his magical portal for Byrne’s. Hilarity ensues.

      Thanks, Gloria! And honestly, the skinny dipping has just never really come up before. It’s something I think I need to put deliberate effort into now.

  16. Mary Richert says:

    Hahah ok, so the ritual chasing of the ice cream truck definitely makes it BETTER. Now I totally want to make my own list, but I’m afraid I wouldn’t do all the stuff on it, and then I’d just be disappointed or feel dumb. Actually, I’ve made a bunch of lists… I always do a few things on them before starting a new one.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      You should! I think there’s even a website dedicated to it – 43things, maybe? It’s an online list-making resource.

      I don’t know, I’d like to keep it a little more personal than that.

      And I know exactly what you mean about re-building lists. It’s my own personal slate-cleaning ritual.

  17. Matt says:

    You’ve never been skinny dipping? Damn. That’s tear-worthy, right there.

    An average day during the hot summers of my youth: chasing the ice cream truck down the street for something, then taking it home to consume while floating around in the pool. Naked.

    I treated myself to a barbershop shave right before I grew my beard out, from a barber looked like he could have been a roadie for Social Distortion. He got such a close shave with that straight razor that I didn’t have to bother shaving at all for the next week. I’m going have him do the honor of shaving my beard off once I decide to lose it.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Not once. Not even once.

      My amigo Julian has a heavy growth rate (the brother is half-Italian, after all), but that’s balanced out with surprisingly delicate skin. After the barber had done the first pass over his throat, the pores there started to sweat blood as a reaction to the razor burn. Gross.

      I couldn’t stop feeling my face for the rest of the day, to appreciate the closeness of the shave.

      • Matt says:

        Did you have a bit of an Eastern Promises moment while you were sitting there in the chair, the barber holding his razor to your throat? I know I sure did. The moment a nervy, simple-minded Turkish kid stepped in I woulda been out of there so damn fast it’s not even funny.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I went last so I was OK. I figured that my two friends deserved to get iced waaaay more than I did, so if they’d made it through unscathed… (more or less, given the pinky-orange colour the lather on Julian’s throat went due to the skin reaction).

  18. Joe Daly says:

    That’s not just some straight-pimpin’, that’s some BIG pimpin’!

    This list is inspiring. I will vouch for everything you say about the august Cadbury creme egg. It’s like you need a few Tylenol and some chill out music to come down from one of them.

    And the barbershop shave? Well freaking done. I haven’t had one of those in years, but you have re-ignited my desire, and I shall be visiting a barber this very week.

    Making out with someone famous? How do you see yourself qualifying “famous”? D list or above? Someone well-known? What about a local celebrity, like a weather girl or maybe even someone who saved a child from drowning and got 15 minutes of fame from it?

    The Daniel B. comment is worth the read alone.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, I’ll be forever mackin’, all right.

      Thanks, Joe. I can’t believe I went over a quarter of a decade without hitting up the Cadbury Creme Eggs. Those things are ridiculous.

      I’m thinking now that I want to write a post about the barbershop shave, too. Some kind of Moby Dick-esque thing about the history and technique of shaving. I had no idea how much went into it.

      I’m not sure what the qualifier for ‘famous’ should be. I think it’s going to have to be an international C-lister or above. No locals, no Australian nationals… gotta aim (slightly) high.

  19. Richard Cox says:

    “That Doppler effect is a real son of a bitch.” Hahahahaha!

    I would love to get a barbershop shave sometime. Although I think they outlawed that in Tulsa some time ago. Fascists.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Science is my co-pilot, but we have bitchfights, sometimes.

      Have you not had one? I would have thought that you’d be all about the experience?

      Man. You have to treat yourself to it. It’s awesome. And very manly, in a very non-chest-pounding-hairy-chested way.

      Over here they’ve made it a law that barbers have to use a new razor every time they do it – given the chances of blood-transmitted disease being spread. Either that, or they have to install surgical-grade disinfectant equipment.

  20. Item #2: I’ve always wanted to get a professional shave with a straight razor myself. I remember, as a child, my grandfather shaving this way. However, because of a mole on my right cheek, I don’t trust a straight razor on my face. I actually don’t trust any razor, except an electric razor these days, on my face. Mainly because I’ve chopped that round, brown bastard off before. Clean off. While I was working odd jobs out of college, I applied for a job at Bodo’s Bagels. Duke may know of this place.

    Anyway, they have a very strict facial hair policy. No follicles of any kind showing (unless it’s a mustache which I never quite understood). I had to shave every day. Every day. So, one morning I’m running late. No time to shave. Off to work I go, hauling ass. Get to work. My boss looks at me–I was a bagel technician whatever the hell that is–and hands me a razor and some shaving cream. Tells me to hit the bathroom and shave. I do so grumbling under my breath.

    I get in there. A crackhead is puking in the toilet. I’m shaving. I’m shaving. Boom. There goes my mole. Boom. Here comes the blood. The crackhead flushes the toilet, walks out of the stall, looks at me and gives me an ewww that’s gross expression. Here’s a guy who just puked up his guts and the bathroom reeks of it. I haven’t shaved with a “razor” razor since. But I do dream of a professional shave. A man can dream, can’t he? Congratulations to you on Item #2.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thanks Jeffro. It was an idea that had been cooking for a while, and its time had finally come.

      Yikes. You know you’re in trouble when you’re freaking out a crackhead.

      I also don’t understand the mustache idea, however.

      You could be OK, if you go see a professional. My amigo Jason was with us, and he’s got a largish mole – he simply pointed it out to the barber and the guy marked it and shaved around it. Dream on!

  21. Marni Grossman says:

    I can’t even share my list because the shit on it is so basic. It’s pretty humiliating.

    But can I suggest a CW-related item for your list? “America’s Next Top Model.”

    You know you want to Simon!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Wait, wait – so am I watching the show, trying to get on the show, or making out with the winner?

      Aw, c’mon, Marni – spill! Some of my list is pretty basic too, don’t worry. I mean, eat a fig? Yeah, I know how to rock the house, all right.

      • Marni Grossman says:

        I was merely suggesting you watch the show. But auditioning for Tyra is an even better idea.

        (And by “basic” I meant “have sex,” “get a full-time job” etc. The truly embarrassing stuff.)

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Maybe there’s some way you could combine the two, like Matt and his naked ice cream?

          Best. Job interview. Ever.

  22. Becky says:

    Like so many others, I am commenting only to express my shock and despair at the revelation you have never been skinny dipping.

    Here in the land of 10,000 lakes, it was at least a yearly occurrence for me, all the way through my 20s.

    Some of my best memories involve skinny dipping, truth be told, getting busted by the cops from time to time notwithstanding.

    They have always been respectful enough to turn their backs while everyone exited the water, though, and I have never actually been ticketed and/or hauled away. Mostly just shooed.

    • Becky says:

      Um. Shit. I combined two different email addresses, hence the no gravatar. Here I am. It’s me.

      • Simon Smithson says:

        What can I say? I think I came from a slightly prudish social setting to begin with (many of the stories of Australian licentiousness are about as true as the idea that every single American can produce five Glocks from secret compartments at a moment’s notice), and I can’t think of a single moment when anyone said ‘Hey! Skinny-dipping! Totally!’

        I doubt I know many people who have been skinny-dipping either – certainly none who have ‘fessed up about it.

        (I don’t believe this is you at all. This is a trick!)

        • Becky says:

          Well, Minnesota is certainly prudish in a very stiff (I said stiff!), Germanic way, but I think our “water culture” (which is not the same as ocean culture), ignores a perception of skinny dipping as a lurid and/or sexual thing and considers it more of an aquatic rite of passage than anything. So that might be why it is a bit of an exception to the prude rule ’round these parts.

          Then again, maybe I’m just making excuses. We may just be a bunch of Jack Pine savages, one power outage and an exorbitant property tax away from retreating to log cabins, teepees, and tribal warfare.

          The Great North Woods is a wily, primeval place Simon. Even the white people hold pow wows here.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          It could be well because our ‘water culture’ is very much an ‘ocean culture’, especially on hot, sunny afternoons. And the public taste is not to nudity (thank God I remembered the L…).

          Wily Woods? Awesome!

        • Becky says:

          Lakes and rivers are much safer to swim in at night than oceans, generally speaking, and the night gives good cover for nudity. Most skinny dipping does not take place during the day. At least not here.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I can imagine – that’s just it, our culture revolves around a) being by the beach and b) during the day. Hardly opportune places for getting your gear off.

        • Becky says:

          Well, we go to the beach during the day, too, but the thing about the woods and lakes and the combination of the two is that the public beach is one thing. And the whole camping + boating culture is another. Camping on the river.

          So you’re on the river or lake, with the boat and the tent, AND there’s no one (or at least no one who cares) to see you skinny dipping because you’re camping.

          And the best part is, at least where we camp, Sunday morning bloody marys, a gas station, and sushi are only a 10-minute boat ride down river.

          I love Minnesota.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I heart any state where Bloody Marys are a Sunday morning drink.

        • Becky says:

          They’re not in Australia? I’m pretty sure it’s a national–not just Minnesotan–thing, but I could be wrong.

          Huh. Here, they are often referred to as a “meal in a glass” and frequently come with a full salad (olives, celery, pickle, hot pepper) jammed inside, maybe even a beef stick and/or beef jerky.

          I’m not a huge fan of drinking in the morning, but camping trips are special occasions, and “morning,” when one has been camping, is a relative term. You get everyone awake and rounded up, take grocery orders from those too lazy to come along and be useful, head to town, tie up at the levee. Everyone scatters to stock up on supplies (ice, smokes, soda, water, etc.) and then meets up at the river bar patio for a bloody; then back to the river island you go to play horseshoes and get sunburned until it’s time to pack up and go home.

          Perfect day.

        • Anon says:

          Becky, I define camping a little differently – you should need at least a few hours to get to a grocery store, much less home – but I fully agree on the exceptionalism of it. Beer, scotch, whatever is lying around the fire ring from the night before – it’s all fair game come waking-time. Then a good fire going, snarfing some thoroughly crushed pastry, a quick breakfast burrito, some “cowboy coffee” to wake up the crew…. Sigh.

          Becky, I wasn’t in a bad mood to begin with but the memories you’ve just accidentally invoked have really put me in a good place. Thanks. (;

        • Becky says:

          If you’re on land, maybe, but the extra work involved in managing a water-based camping trip is a stand-in-for the extra drive time.

          Besides, with the exception of some very northern reaches of the state, it’s tough to be on the water and very far from civilization at the same time. Civilization tends to gravitate towards water. If you ARE in the very northern reaches of the state, you probably can’t put anything more than a canoe on the water anyway. And how are you going to pull skiers and tubers and wake-boarders with a canoe?

          I love those memories too. I mean, mine, not yours, but we hold them with similar fondness.

          The good news is that summer is just around the corner.

        • Anon says:

          Ah – I understand re: the terrain/activity differences. Spring is sexy, it’s true, but summer says, “Enough foreplay – get those pants off now!”

        • Becky says:

          It’s true. Summer doesn’t mess around.

          Rawr, summer. RAWR.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, we have Bloody Marys – just rarely in the morning. Of course, I understand that camping is the exception.

          Damn it. I haven’t been camping for such a long time. I second Anon here – thanks for bringing up the memories.

          We should organise a TNB camping expedition at some point. I can’t wait to see who gets eaten by the monsters in the woods.

        • Becky says:

          Well, that’s what I mean. Here, Bloody Marys are a morning drink quite often. It’s an exception for me to drink in the morning, but not for someone, people in general, to drink Bloody Marys in the morning. That’s actually pretty normal.

          This is all getting very confusing.

          I volunteer to NOT get eaten by monsters. We should make sure we camp in America so we can have a gun. Then maybe you could fire it.

          Or we could camp in Minnesota where there are no monsters to speak of. A few black bears, some wolves…but not so close to the cities.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Wow. And we’re not talking Virgin Marys, we’re talking the booze variety, right?

          It IS getting confusing. It’s probably because you’re all liquored up.

          There are always monsters when camping:


        • Becky says:

          *sigh* I don’t mean that it’s normal to drink in the morning, every morning. I mean that WHEN people have a drink in the morning, like, say, when they’re on vacation or camping or at a weekend brunch, there are certain drinks that are generally acceptable to have–morning drinks–and in America, Bloody Marys are among them. Others are mimosas, sun-uppers, screwdrivers, etc. Usually something involving juice.

          I suspect that people who drink in the morning regularly don’t bother too much with mixing anything as elaborate as a Bloody Mary, the making of which, by the way, is an art unto itself.

          Why do you have to make everything so difficult?

          You’re doing this on purpose, aren’t you?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, what’s a sun-upper? Apart from a name someone refused to put any effort into.


          Maybe just a little.

        • Becky says:

          Brandy and Orange Juice, I believe. Not too tasty, in my opinion, but some people really seem to enjoy them.

        • Simon Smithson says:


          I was amazed to find out that bourbon and orange juice is actually delicious.

          God, I miss being a bartender right now.

        • Becky says:

          Me too. Desk jobs are for the birds.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, man.


          I was just thinking about that this morning.

        • Becky says:

          Let’s quit our shitty jobs and become bartenders. We can move to Hawaii and live on the beach and sling drinks and shower at the public park. I know my husband would be game, so we just have to find you an adventure girl.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh believe me, I’m working on that one.

        • Becky says:

          Of course, if we moved to Hawaii, we probably wouldn’t have to live on the beach.

          We could live with Palani’s relatives. Or Don. He has awesome tiger tapestries.

          And….AND…you’d be living in America but still relatively close to home. Amirite?

          I think this plan is a winner.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I like it! Also, I assume that all there is to do in Hawaii is lie around and enjoy the tropical paradise. That’s accurate, right?

        • Becky says:

          Well, there’s more to do if you want to, but theoretically speaking, besides the bartending gig and whatever your adventure girl wants you to do once she turns and reveals herself not to be an adventure girl after all… absolutely nothing else you have to do.

          I mean we might all be losers, the definition of which is essentially universal, but we would be happy losers.

          You might have to grow out your hair. Not sure of the beach bum regulations on that.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Wait, wait. What’s this about my adventure girl?

          Score. I love the idea of sitting on my ass for a while. God, I’d love that.

          Oh my God! I’m growing out my hair right now!

          It’s a fucking sign!

        • Becky says:

          Also, we may not have to live with anyone. Palani qualifies for homestead lands, so I think we can buy a house for a dollar from the federal government.

          Nothing. Nothing about your adventure girl. I’m sure your adventure girl will not morph into a nagging succubus–who wishes you were a lawyer–the instant you propose. I’m sure it will be fine. After all, how many of my friends could that happen to in a lifetime?

          I’m sorry. This is probably not an appropriate vein of humor.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I would be game for this if you’re looking for additionals. I’d get a bartending job at a golf course, though, and I could live in one of their bungalows so you wouldn’t have to put me up. There are some great courses in Hawaii. I could teach you guys how to play, Becky could teach us everything else, and Simon and I could work out constructing a lightsaber. Though Slade would have to join us as well because he is the co-owner of our saber shop.


        • Becky says:

          We have to all band together to keep the generally impressionable and earnest Simon from proposing to a succubus, but provided we are agreed on that, I’m game.

          But Richard, I’m not sure what the point is if there will be no commune. I mean, if you’re just going to live on your own anyway, what’s stopping you from going without us?

          I can’t teach everything. I can’t teach surfing or spearfishing or cooking, but luckily Palani can, so we’re set. I can teach us all to ride horses, though, which we can then use as our primary mode of transportation.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @Becky: Oh. Oh God! I’ve seen that happen! It’s Stage Four of the lifecycle!


          What is a homestead land?

          @RC: Mais oui! I’ve never played golf, so I’d appreciate being taken through the strokes by a qualified teacher (OK. That sentence is never not going to sound funky) .

          Hey! Slade! You hear that! You’re coming to Hawaii to play with lightsabres with us – and there’s nothing you can do about it.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @Becky: Grip with the knees, right?

          I went horseriding with Zara when I was in New Zealand: those things are all right.

          “We have to all band together to keep the generally impressionable and earnest Simon from proposing to a succubus, but provided we are agreed on that, I’m game.”

          I wish you guys had been an advisory council for the years 14 – 27.75

        • Richard Cox says:

          I’m happy to join the commune. I’m a serviceable if not reasonably good cook.

          Taken through the strokes, Simon, really? You mean all their greatest hits?

          Regrettably I’ve never heard the full succubus story.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Well, RC, you see, last night, she said…


          I think Becky meant succubi in general, but there have…. uh… there have been a couple.

        • Becky says:

          Simon! NO! Do NOT grip with your knees! It is unsafe. It creates a pivot and top-heavy, high center of gravity, which means any sudden stop or turn will slam you on to your horse’s neck or past the side of it–and most likely the ground immediately thereafter.

          Your weight should go past your knees, down into your heels, which should, if you’re doing it right, always be lower than your toes.

          It’s hard to not grip with your knees when you don’t have the muscles to avoid it, but you can’t get the muscles unless you avoid gripping with your knees. But it’s okay. I’ve taught kids to ride for years. Adults should be easier, right? Right?

          “Grip with your knees” is advice for amateurs who are riding bombproof horses and will likely not have to ride any other kind of horse. I can teach you better ball-protection strategies than that. God almighty…”grip with your knees.” That is SO incorrect. *scoff*

          Homestead land is basically Native American land. In Hawaii, it’s not on reservations like on the mainland, but similar situation. Government owns a stable of land that is set aside and only available to Native Hawaiians.

          @ Richard: I am far too angry to golf. I tried it once and embarrassed Palani’s nice cousin, who is a pro at a local course and volunteered to teach me for nothing. I bitched and cussed and misbehaved and spent 9 holes (in 90 degree heat) complaining that it was an idiot’s game.

        • Becky says:

          Succubi in general, yes. As a–as Anon coined it–“domesticated boobie” (a girl who is friends with guys), I have seen the fate befall many good men.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Are we going to set up the compound in Hawaii now??

        • Becky says:

          I think that’s the plan we’re working on.

        • Anon says:

          Wait – there’s a compound! Who won the Lotto? What did I miss? I told you I was too hairy-chested for running around all oiled up, Sawyer-style. And do we need blasters to supplement the light sabers?

        • Becky says:

          No lotto necessary with the native blood. Approximation of reparations. Free land.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @Becky: NOT the knees? Motherfuckers. Lying motherfuckers.

          @everyone: A compound in Hawai’i would be sweet. I’m so totally there. Of course, I think I would like to have a compound in California, too. I have so much goddamn unfinished business with that state.

          So, let’s go for the lotto win. Plus, while land may be free, deep pockets would be helpful with construction, I’m guessing.

        • Anon says:

          That’s where the staged literary/religious vendetta between Will and Becky comes in….

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Blasters or lightsabres?

        • Becky says:

          Anon has plenty of money. Don’t let him fool you.

          And it’s not staged, anyway. Will and I have been at each other’s throats for upwards of 5 years. The whole scenario is not only feasible but likely, with or without entrepreneurial intent.

        • Becky says:

          No, not the knees, at least not if you want to stay on for more than a couple of rides.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Oh, man… all these pre-TNB relationships exist which I’m not privy to. You and Sarah. Sarah and Brad. You and Will. Rassumfrassumrassumfrassum. I hate being the new kid.

          Also: heh. My immaturity phaser was just set to stunned.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Simon, though the Strokes regrettably changed the cover art for that album for the U.S. market because half our country is a bunch of prudes, the alternate cover art they chose is pretty cool in its own right. I’m sure you’ve seen it, the particle collisions.

          Score another win for high energy physics!

        • Becky says:

          Well, in that case, Simon, I probably shouldn’t elaborate on my refined upper thigh-gripping technique.

          I have also known Darian for about 5 years.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @RC: No! I haven’t seen that other cover. Score one for science, bitches! In your faces.

          @Becky: Heh. I’m such a teenager.

          Oh, goddamnit.

          I knew Zoe and Will pre-TNB, but that’s it.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Simon, how did I miss you as MySpace friends of Will and Zoe? I was obsessively on their blogs and they on mine for a couple of years. Did you have a secret screen name?

          That particle picture, I might add, is on the back of my second novel. Whoever took it is picking up a lot of royalties from the Strokes and one or two from me.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I don’t know! Did you have a secret screen name? Hmmm. Was I going by Simon or The Double Agent at the time? Damn noms de guerre…

        • Richard Cox says:

          My screen name was Richard. I’m creative that way.

          We all thought we were highly important and celebrity-like with our 500 comment blogs and what have you. I hit the top 10 once and I thought I had finally made it. What a retard.

          Then I realized I was competing with Stephanie Farris and that was the end of that.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Ha. Shit. I would have killed to crack the top 10. In my head, as soon as that happened, bags of fame, money, and adulation fell out of the sky. It would be like having sex with Lady Gaga.

          She writes YA fiction now, I think. Her and AwesomeZara became online friends of mine, of a sort.


          I’m still clawing for MySpace recognition.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Wait, shit. Stephanie Farris writes YA now.

          Not Lady Gaga.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I think she’s trying to. Not published yet. She’s very earnest. Maybe that will work out in YA.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I wish I’d been more earnest as a young adult.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          I was a bit of a wallflower. See, no one taught me the importance.

          Of being earnest.

        • Richard Cox says:

          I think in this case I don’t mean trying hard as I mean trying too hard.

          There’s a place where you can be so ironic and jaded and aware that you can’t ever enjoy anything. But there is also the opposite side of that, where maybe you are a bit too disconnected from reality.

          I don’t think I’m saying this how I want to.

          In any case, different strokes for different strokes.

        • Richard Cox says:

          And I had severe wallflower-itis. I was the poster child. It was awful. Took me years to get over that.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Aha! Here’s where my favourite thing right now, the concept of positive integration, comes into play.

          Damn it. What I wouldn’t give to be able to draw as a comment right now.

          So. Cartesian diagram.

          X axis runs from ironic and jaded at one extreme, naive and disconnected at the other. y axis runs from negative at one extreme to positive at the other, where the negative and the positive are in terms of approach/experience.

          Where you want to be is at an assymptotal point running smack along the y axis – a positive integration of both poles. This is an example I like to use where the x axis can be pretty much anything – it’s a concept I was playing with that lead to the creation of that piece ‘Burning Bright’ where the x axis was data on one end, perception on the other.

          Does that make sense?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Wasn’t that the poster that didn’t like to draw attention to itself?

          Yeah, I had one of those.

          In my bedroom.

          That I never left.

        • Simon Smithson says:



          I’m exaggerating.

        • Richard Cox says:

          Thank you for the Cartesian diagram. I get it. And yes, that’s obviously the perfect place to be. Do you know anyone who is there? Are you?

          So we both overcame wallflower-itis to become lovers of science who aspire to be halfway between jaded and naive and happen to be reasonable decent writers who are no longer wallflowers?

          This June TNBLE ought to be a hoot.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Nope. Not that I know of. Enlightenment is a tall order. Not an impossible one, but one that takes the chef a little while to cook up properly.

          Still. Awareness is the first step, right?


          June TNBLE?

          Gonna be awesome.

        • Richard Cox says:

          First step, indeed. And hopefully the Guy (I mean the chef) will help us deliver it at some point.

          I think we can get Slade to come out for June TNBLE as well, and perhaps Gloria. And I heard mention several folks over on Erika’s piece. When it all comes together, shall be a grand event.

          And now I have to turn in for the evening. Ciao!

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Yeah yeah – talk about an ensemble cast. I guess Z and I had better close in on our dates…

          Ciao, amigo!

  23. Meg says:

    As the law-enforcement-employed woman that I am, I can absolutely help you with #8…should you ever find yourself in Maryland long enough. 🙂 Though honestly, it isn’t as exciting as you’d think.

    That sounds kind of naughty.

    • Anon says:

      Not exciting? Hell, I plan on running him through a shoot house with Simunitions. 🙂

      • Simon Smithson says:

        I’ve heard that holding the gun sideways makes the bullets go faster. Is this accurate?

        Although I don’t think anything could be deadlier than the phrase ‘Simunitions’. Anon, my hat is off to your, sir. Bravo.

        @Meg: If I find myself in Maryland, I’ll happily walk into every police station I can find and say ‘Is Meg here today? She said I could shoot some guns?’ (and it DOES sound naughty…)

        @Anon: I am entirely looking forward to it.

        • Anon says:

          No, I’m afraid that is not correct. Holding them sideways while imparting a slight, counter-clockwise flick of the wrist is what really gives the projectiles the extra momentum and…. Kidding, I hope you know. Truly.

          I once saw a very amusing and almost believable ad for aftermarket sights for Glocks. They supposedly mounted on the side of the slide to allow for “maximum gangsta accuracy, yo!” when firing from the traditional “I’m a movie bad guy” stance.

        • Simon Smithson says:


        • Don Mitchell says:

          I expect you in Colden, where you can fire my pellet gun at will. True, Anon might complain that it’s not a “real gun,” and indeed the propellant is air rather than gunpowder. But it does shoot out a projectile. There are varmits around. You can shoot at them.

          And I have a creek, and you can skinny-dip in the creek if you want to. It’s not much of a creek, but there are a few places deep enough to cover a body. Then later you can say, so casually, Oh yeah, I went skinny-dipping behind this guy’s barn in rural western New York.

        • Anon says:

          Don, I would never complain about such a thing, especially given that I believe I’m still sporting a copper BB in my right forearm from some pre-teen poor judgment. And Lewis and Clark sported air guns in their exploration for small game gathering. Unless you’re talking about self-defense (oddly, brown bears are not impressed by .177 pellets traveling at 800fps), “guns is guns”. (:

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Varmits! I’ve heard of those assholes!

          Or is it ‘Varmints’? I’m not too sure, and I’m going to defer to American sensibilities on this one.

          Colden is very definitely on our slowly-coming-together itinerary, so BB me up!

          Heh. Don, I like the way you totally know how I think:

          “Then later you can say, so casually, Oh yeah, I went skinny-dipping behind this guy’s barn in rural western New York.”

          That is exactly both what I would say and how I would say it.

  24. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    A list with 81 items with timeframes and status logs? Damn.

    I’ve fired a gun a couple of times. I sort of stunned my partner’s dad, a retired cop, who said, “She’s a good shot.” Good eye-hand coordination, I guess. On that note, I throw well, too, or at least I did when I was a kid.

    If the baptismal cleansing doesn’t work out, could a shaman blessing substitute? There might not be so many rules about faith and belief and such.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      That’s how I roll, Ronlyn.


      Damn it! You’ve stolen the life skills that should have been mine! I assume!

      I think a large part of the gun thing is that every movie and TV show has at least one character who’s strapped these days. As Michael Scott says in an ep of The Office: ‘Having a gun is the most exciting thing that can happen at any time.’

      A shaman blessing wouldn’t even have to substitute – I would more than happily do both.

      Over here, a guy named John Safran did a show where he went around the world experiencing different religions, then had an exorcism at the end to get a kind of soul-cleansing shower. He said afterwards that of all the experiences he’s had making the show, the exorcism was the freakiest and strangest.


      • Simon Smithson says:

        Here’s the beginning of the exorcism itself:


        • Ronlyn Domingue says:

          I’ll loan you my life skills, then. Although I wouldn’t consider being able to shoot a gun one that’s actually necessary.

          I watched the videos. Hmmmm. Hmmmm. Mr. Larson is no doubt sincere and sure he’s absolutely right. Yet I imagine those who practice other faiths and traditions feel the same way about their beliefs. The show’s host’s reaction is unnerving. Who knows what was really going on?

  25. Erika Rae says:

    Awesome list, Simon. It’s just…well, I’m a little disappointed Parker Posey has replaced Jeaneane. Is it that she speaks Spanish?

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, no one could ever replace Janeane in my heart. I just like to mix it up every now and then to keep from getting stale.

      (Thanks Erika Rae!)

  26. reno says:

    this is a fuckeeen masterpiece. i’m still laughing! ha! simon: you bastard! i love you. i just fell in love w/ you! ha! too good. great way to start a monday.


    • Simon Smithson says:

      Reno, I’ve been in love with YOU for months. Nice to see what goes around comes around.


      Rock the Casbah, amigo!

  27. Dana says:

    This was hysterical Simon! I’m big on lists myself. I haven’t made a good one in a while and that’s long overdue. Also, I think skinny dipping might well be an American thing. I don’t know many that haven’t done it. Even my husband has and he doesn’t really swim! (So that would be skinny wading? HA!) Firing guns, eh. I dunno, maybe handguns are more fun?

    Love that you have so many food related items on your list! I recently realized how many of my memories are synesthetic with taste and smell often being the gateways.

    When you find someone that will teach you proper throwing technique please share. I can get the ball where I want it (within reason) but it never looks pretty and I just know I throw like a girl.

    Well done and keep us posted on your progress!

    Are you and Zara road tripping through the US? What fun!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thanks Dana!

      I’m so in love with lists, it’s ridiculous.

      I didn’t really specify what kind of gun, but I was definitely thinking about handguns. Still, I’ll happily cap off pretty much anything.

      I’m sure the throwing technique piece will be a piece in itself… and yes! Z and I will be hitting the States in June. See you all then!

  28. Jeannie says:

    This is great. Though this, “or ‘eventually/someday/I’ll do it when I’m not so worried that there might be a spider’.” is my favorite. As I know the spiders down south and if I can’t go through a front door because of a spider that someone can’t see–well dude, let it be ‘someday’.

    Kung Pao is my remedy anytime I have a cold. Kicks the crap out of you and makes you want more.

    Great kick it list.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Heh. Thanks, Jeannie. Appreciate it.

      What are the spiders like down South? Are they… (gulp)… mean?

      • Jeannie says:

        Don’t you have a Redback Spider and that Funnel Spider? Yes, I think they count as mean. All we have in California is the Black Widow. And I RUN from those. I mean full on, screaming like a little girl, dancing the Anime dance of OMG, OMG, until I know it is gone.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          We sure do. And those things are assholes, man. You know that whole idea of ‘they’re more scared of you than you are of them?’

          Yeah, they coined that before Australia had been discovered.

  29. Lorna says:

    You had me at label-maker. Oh how I love to make lists. Awhile back I found a financial goal list that I had written about 10 years ago, I was happily pleased to be able to mentally check off each goal on the list when I read it! I think there is something magical that happens when we make lists. Some unseen force begins helping us achieve our goals. I have been meaning to create my own bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

    btw, I don’t believe I have ever heard of anyone who does not consider themselves Christian wanting to be baptized. Very interesting.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, snap.

      The trick is to get a label maker that plugs directly into the mains. You don’t want to have to keep making trips to the store to get fresh batteries.

      Oh my God, I’m such a nerd for this stuff.

      I am very definitely familiar with the idea that if you write stuff down and say ‘Here’s what I want to happen,’ the Universe turns around and says ‘Oh! OK. Sure. Let’s make it so.’

      You’re very welcome – and I’ll be sure to share the experience of the baptismal, too.

  30. Sarah says:

    Confession: I too have never been skinny dipping. Having spent every summer since I was five years old on a lake, I know it’s pretty pathetic. It’s a body image thing. Always hated my body. And in my formative years when the dipping would most likely to have happened, the confidence was at an all-time low. I just never had the courage.

    I love your list, I’d love to read more. I am also a huge list person, usually daily to-do’s but longer term goals, wants, etc. as well. Yours is much more specific and hilarious than mine. Maybe that’s why I haven’t crossed as much off mine as I’d like, the items just aren’t exciting enough to bother tackling.

    Mmm, office supplies. I once spent an hour choosing the exact perfect organizer – calendar, address book, conversion charts, note paper for lists. It had to be the perfect size for ease of transport yet have the capacity to organize my life. Finding it was an orgasmic moment. I also have a secret crush on my paper clip holder with the magnet so when I shake it a few paper clips pop up.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Well, some of the items on the list are a little more personal, and it’s a long list, so I’m not sure that the whole thing will ever come to light. But I’m sure as I knock snippets off here and there, the less formal system of Facebook updates will be enlightening.

      Lists, man. Lists. They’re awesome.

      And I can imagine just how much of a turn-on finding the perfect organiser would be. You should take a second now – a quickie, if you will – to appreciate it all over again.

  31. Erika says:


    This was a great post! Highly Entertaining.
    I recommend you make a stop in Vegas during your great American road trip and I can help you with items #33 and #41 on your list being I am fluent in Spanish (speak, read and moderately write it) and i work at the Palms casino which is always celebrity packed so maybe we can get you to hook up with one while you visit. If no celebrities are available at the very least I can show you around Vegas from the splashy nightlife venues my company runs to the seedy bars in town and just maybe we can get Reno to come into town and play the part of the Vegas ambassador.
    I also meant to comment on your Beastie Boys post but didn’t have the chance to. Anyhow you’ve got me on a B-boy kick and I am LOVIN’ it!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Thanks Erika!

      OK. Well, if you can help out with some Spanish pointers, that would be awesome.

      Also, what celebrities would you recommend?

      I LOVE me some Beastie Boys. Any hour of any day. Glad I could help out!

  32. angela says:

    love this!

    you know i’ve never had a cadbury egg, come to think of it, though i’ll take your word for how disgustingly sweet it must be. i have had a peep though, which, like cotton candy, is incredibly disappointing.

    i want to try blood sausage. i don’t think i have, not that i remember. the idea of it always disgusted me, but anthony bourdain really seems to like it!

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Hey, thanks Angela!

      Oh my GOD, they’re rich. So rich, and so sugary.

      What is a peep? They’re all over Twitter at the moment. Richard Ebert, in particular, has a lot to say about them.

      A small point, which Americans seem to enjoy: over here, cotton candy is known as ‘fairy floss’. It keeps the alliterative name, which is nice.

      I’ve never had it either. And it certainly SOUNDS disgusting. But, you know… in the spirit of adventure…

  33. Rebecca Dunlap says:

    corrections: i believe they’re referred to as “ice cream trucks”…not vans…..that kinda sounds creepy in a pedophile kinda way….

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Rebecca Dunlap! Congratulations! You’re the first person from my SF group of friends to comment on a TNB post, I think – I’ll get you something Australian as a prize.

      Ice-cream truck sounds much better. You’re right. We really need to get a style guide working here.

      • Rebecca Dunlap says:

        @Simon: YAY! I get an Australian prize….I’ve heard those are some of the best around 🙂

        • Simon Smithson says:

          And how.

        • Rebecca Dunlap says:

          And how. ??? what a way with words you have dear Simon.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Jeeze, what’s a guy gotta do to get a catchphrase around here?

          Other contenders I’ve been thinking of include:

          ‘Gonna cook you up some sexy’
          ‘Adventure is my girlfriend’
          ’86 that noise’
          ‘Sassafras on the 1600’ (I have no idea what this means, but I like that sound of it)

  34. Simone says:

    zOMG Dean Winchester!!!! (Ok, I think I need a mop for the drool I seem to be spilling on the floor.)
    He’s such a bad ass, and that 1967 Impala, well, let’s just say I’ll conquer them both if given the chance.

    Can’t remember which episode this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKYUtcHPQi4 is from, but damn it had me in stiches with laughter.

    Simon, the skinny dipping? You’re going to have to remedy that at least once in your life. It’s pretty cool, especially if… well, I won’t go into detail.

    Forgive me if I’m wrong but isn’t ‘gelato(i)’ Italian for ice-cream?

    I had my first fig about a year ago, it was an entrée stuffed with Brie cheese and some sort of sweet coulis. It danced the waltz on my tongue.

    • Simone says:

      *Typo: stitches

      • Simon Smithson says:

        Seriously, the ’67 Impala was one of my favourite cars before the show came out. So when it did… man. I would kill everyone I know if it made me the third Winchester Brother somehow (and not the one who got wasted by ghouls back in Season 4 or whatever).

        The Eye of the Tiger bit is a DVD out-take, I think.


        Skinny-dipping: check.
        Gelato/i: yes. But over here it’s a different kind of ice-cream, as opposed to the traditional milk-based variety. This may be distinct to Australia.
        Figs: I’ve heard they’re awesome when stuffed with masca… mars… that cheese.

        • Simone says:

          Ah, yes, Adam Winchester. (Season 4, Episode 19… I have seasons 3 & 4 & some of 5: Curse of a Supernatural Geek) I know you’ll rock that part with your light saber. Plus you’re way better looking and I’m guessing tre’s hot in a leather jacket.

          Gotcha on the gelati!

          I think the word you’re looking for is Marscapone? It’s awesome, will have to try it out on the figs. It’s also the main ingredient in Tiramisu, and Italian type of cheese cake. Have you tried it?

        • Simone says:

          *an Italian type of cheese cake

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Stop, stop, you’re embarrassing me!

          No, no, keep going.


          Yes! Marscapone!

          I’m not 100% into tiramisu as some people are. My friend Luke, for example, could eat his way through a swimming pool of that stuff and never look back, but I find I can only eat a little before I’ve had more than enough tiramisu for the evening.

        • Simone says:

          Well if you insist…

          Yeah, tiramisu in moderation, of course.

          Ooh, correction on my behalf Adam’s surname is actually Milligan, not Winchester. My bad.

  35. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    Cadbury Creme Eggs are what Easter is all about. The resurrection? A miracle of distant second proportions.

    Gelato is not ice cream. Call me old school.

    I thought we’d agreed to coordinate Arctic skinny-dipping with your sauna ritual for the complete contrast bath experience? You’re a fickle nudist at best.

    This is hysterical, Simon. Keep it coming. (Btw: your internet action is mind-blowing. Do you have a sugar mama or is all of your practical life business handled by robots?)

    • Simon Smithson says:

      I can’t believe my parents deprived me of the true meaning of Easter throughout my childhood. Dental bills are a poor excuse.

      Oh, I’m doing the sauna and the Arctic naked? Wow. I’m hardly going to be wearing pants at all, come June.

      Thanks, Lisa Rae. I haven’t been told my internet action is mind-blowing since my webcam days. Which I’m, you know. Not… particularly proud of.

      Neither – and God, how I dream of both. Instead, I just have a hugely unfulfilling day job!

  36. Slade Ham says:

    The throwing part I can attempt to help you with, and the firing a gun thing could probably be knocked out in Texas as well, but you’d have to make it down to Houston. And if you’re gonna do that, you better go ahead and learn the Spanish. English hardly works hear anymore.

    • Simon Smithson says:

      Oh, cool! This means I’ve got three people who will help teach me to throw. Awesome! Technique-blending.

      Mi espanol no es bueno. Soy un estudiante mal.

      (I have no idea if this is right).

      Uh… chupacabra?

  37. D.R. Haney says:

    Actually, Simon, when we were bowling in L.A., I told you that I thought you had great natural form, but sometimes there can be a lag between form and effect, and with practice, I’m sure you could make the second catch up to the first.

    Meanwhile, I’m wondering if I’ve ever made out with anyone famous. I’ve definitely, on camera, made out with someone who was formerly famous (and, to some, still would be), and I seriously made out, off-camera, with someone who was “flavor of the month,” as she put it, but I’m not sure either counts, just as I don’t think it counts that I made out with two stunners who were both related to famous people — a daughter in one case and a daughter-in-law (she was married) in the second.

    But, you know, living in L.A. and being involved in the movie business and all, celebrity bores me, though I can definitely get a bit starstruck around people who are celebrities to me, like Ian MacKaye, for instance. The famous don’t own talent or beauty, and I’m a sucker for both.

    Sorry for responding so late.

    • Zara Potts says:

      I thought I had the good form! Bloody Simon.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        I’m afraid, Z., Simon had better form, but you were more effective. You bowled the best game for a beginner I ever saw.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Awesome. That’s awesome and so are you.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Cross-pollinating between Richrob’s piece and Simon’s, are we?

        • Simon Smithson says:

          So, will good natural form at bowling translate into a fire-breathing fastball?

          Hmmm. I think they have to be name-recognisable to the general populace to count. I don’t really have a metric in place here. Maybe if seven out of ten people on the street recognised the name or their body of work?

        • Anon says:

          Whew – I’m off the hook, then. You still get your firm handshake/manly hug combo, though, simply because you’re a nice guy and I’m ethnically predisposed to such greetings. But now there won’t be that, um, awkwardness.

        • Simon Smithson says:


          Not in order to knock it off the list, anyway.


          I really need to stop making those jokes.

        • Anon says:

          There is much I would do for my country. You are not on the list. But the BBQ/shooting thing is still a green light.

  38. Kimberly says:

    Dude. I don’t have time this morning to read through the comments, but just know this:

    Ice Cream Trucks = Brooklyn in the summertime. We can go high-end like Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream (http://www.vanleeuwenicecream.com/), or just wait for the jingle of Mr. Softee.

    I recommend both.

  39. kristen says:

    Ooh–do the ice cream/gelati trucks there play the insanely catchy/sing-songy tunes they do here? Ack.

    And Cadbury eggs! Sugar fix indeed. Can’t believe these little buggers used to excite me beyond belief/words…

    • Simon Smithson says:

      They certainly do. Except the gelati truck over here was kinda the low-rent version, so it sounded awful.

      Yep – do you guys have Cold Rock ice-cream over there? They smash up candy and mix it into your ice-cream…

      • Anon says:

        Cold Rock or Cold Stone? We have the latter.

      • Anon says:

        That wasn’t meant as being nitpicky. You just never know – I’ve seen people selling “Rolecks” watches. It’s good to clarify before committing.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          You nitpicking son of a…

          Buddy, you just made my list.


          Over here it’s Cold Rock – it’s a franchise chain rather than a particular brand of ice cream, I think.

        • Anon says:

          See? This is why I ask. We have Cold Stone Creamery and they do the same smash-&-mix bit (not sure if it’s the same company, just with a “regional dialect”). They’ve infested the whole nation, like a carpet of sugar-laden dairy dandelions. Thank God they’re grossly overpriced or I’d be grossly overweight.

        • Becky says:

          I’ve been eating ice cream with bubble gum in it since I was a little kid. Brown’s ice cream has been doing it since…at least since the 80s.

          The ice cream place where I grew up sold a single (which was actually a double) scoop for a dollar or so.

          Holy shit. Now I’m on to the “back in my day, they gave everything away for FREE” schtick. I give myself 2 years max before I’m in a hoveround.

        • Anon says:

          As long as you’re not engaging in retirement home phone sex, you should be okay.

          On the opposite side of the “giving it away” coin, there was a pizzeria in my old neighborhood that would sprinkle cocaine in with the cheese. A slice was about $40, if you knew what to ask for. Ah, the 80s – chock full of stuff I’ll never tell my kids about….

        • Simon Smithson says:

          Becky, I honestly read that as ‘I give myself 2 years max before I’m on a hoverboard’, and I thought: A., What a choice non-sequitur, and B., that bitch! Where’s my hoverboard?

          Anon. Jesus. That’s some slice.

        • Becky says:

          They’re only for old people who remember what it was like when everything was free.

          Well, us and Marty McFly.

      • kristen says:

        Hehe–Cold *Stone* we do have, though Cold Rock sounds somehow more fun.

        You ever experienced the beauty that is the DQ Blizzard? Same idea as Cold Stone…


  40. David Breithaupt says:

    You must now eat the new KFC ‘Double Down’ sandwich which just hit the street today. I had the original recipe version because it’s worse for you than the grilled version. I just can’t seem to control my self-destructive impulses. When I turned 30, I had Blowfish in NYC, fortunately they cooked it correctly and I didn’t die. Anyway, this is what keeps us alive, this never ending to-do list. And you’re right, I need to get one of those warm barbershop shaves too. Yet another one fr my list…

  41. Thomas Wood says:

    I had three interesting things to say, one of which involved the making out item. However, I simply cannot compete with 265 comments. You have become the HuffingtonPost. It’s all been said. I will attempt one, single, unique comment with the below statement, one that has never before been uttered:

    Like most things related to nudity, your best bet for attaining a skinny dipping goal is to just start asking people. Also, don’t be afraid to be the guy who takes their pants off before the subject is even broached. What it lacks in grace it more than makes up for in clarity of intention.

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