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Life Lists

My Reverse Life List
A life list, a bucket list…the idea is that you make a big list of things you want to do before you die, and then you do them. Simple.
The only problem is that I am too lazy and not at all goal-oriented, so even when I make those kind of lists, I lose the paper, or I forget about it even if it is right there on the fridge, or I change my mind, or I put stuff on the list that I think sounds cool at the time, but who do I think I’m fooling with the surfing lessons? I can’t WALK without spraining both ankles.
It also sounds so fussy and overprivileged. “Oh, I simply MUST see the Taj Mahal at dawn or I’ll never be satisfied.” The really satisfying dawns are the ones where the awe sneaks up on you, not where you plan it, in my opinion. But that’s just me.
So, I am doing a reverse life list. I am doing cool things first, and then crossing them off. This saves confusion and disappointment. Rather, it is entirely satisfying. Ah, one more item off my list! Why look, everything is off my list!
So far I can cross off from my big Reverse Life List:
Take a mud bath
See the Appalachians
Ride an ATV up a mountain
Go on a photowalk with a big group of strangers
See a total eclipse of the sun
See a total eclipse of the moon
Do yoga at 11,200 feet elevation
Ride a ski lift (in the rain. With lightning)
Sail on a tall ship
Take a Zumba class (x1000)
Zipline in the rainforest
See the jungle from a boat at dawn
Visit Costa Rica
Take the public bus across Costa Rica
Look into the crater of an active volcano
Walk across hanging bridges in the forest canopy
See a wild toucan
See wild monkeys
Fly in a hot air balloon
Ride a mule in Yosemite
Wash my hair in a waterfall
Jump off the pier and swim in to shore
Fly in a helicopter over Kauai
Walk a labyrinth
Take an award-winning photo
Build a Rose Parade Float
Hike in Big Sur
Pilot a helicopter (verrry briefly)
Pick macadamia nuts
Ride a recumbent tandem bike
See a horse being born
Drive a backhoe
Learn another language
Visit great art museums
See the Constitution
Have the White House pastry chef make me dessert
Get a college degree
Attend a TEDx event
Touch a moon rock
Volunteer on a presidential campaign
Make a good wine
Go white-water rafting
Win a blue ribbon at the county fair
Drive halfway across the country
Be published on McSweeney’s
Do the chicken dance
Drive sideways
Plant 20 kinds of sage in my yard
Climb a pyramid
Host a big dessert party
Buy a recumbent bike
Roast my own coffee
Go to Oaxaca
Drive a Caterpillar
See Buck Owens at the Crystal Palace
Snorkel with sea turtles
Get paid to write full-time
Make beer
Ride in a speedboat
See Prince
See the Rolling Stones
See Bruce Springsteen
Play roulette in Vegas
Adopt a shelter dog
Start a food blog
Eat shave ice in Hawaii
Design a book
Get a big grin from Buddy Guy
Heal a very old wound
Go to the Grand Canyon
Ride on the front trampoline of a catamaran in high seas
Hug chef Michel Richard
Go body surfing
Visit Washington DC
Ride an elephant
Study A Course in Miracles
Have Barack Obama answer one of my questions
Save a lot of trees
Have afternoon tea with all the trimmings
Go to a pro soccer game
Interview Anthony Bourdain
Protest George W. Bush in his presence
Get stopped by Secret Service (see above)
Be the 9th caller
See La Guelaguetza in Oaxaca
Taste 100 fruits and vegetables
Paddle a canoe with my dad
See the Grand Tetons
Have a peak moment
Go to chef school
Start a life blog
Manage a crew of amazing people
Go to baseball Spring Training
Marvel at the redwoods
Hike in Zion National Park with my dad
Watch fireworks from a yacht
Meet cycling legend Davis Phinney
Pet a live bear
Petition the City Council
Be on a radio show
Visit San Miguel Island
Be in the middle of a huge electrical storm
Help get a prisoner of conscience out of jail
Go to the Rose Parade
See a live condor
Be a BlogHer Voices of the Year reader
Drive in a go-cart race
Ring in the new millennium
Play in the snow
Celebrate the Harmonic Convergence
See “Starry Night”
Read at a poetry festival
Dance on the lawn to Los Lobos
Make cheese
Course Marshal a pro cycling race
Read at BlogHer Community Keynote
Live by myself
See a meteor shower
Take a homeless person shopping
Dance like a maniac to Koko Taylor
Write front page, above-the-fold story
Get baptised
Hang out in a yurt
See Half Dome
Protest a war
Interview a former first lady
Make mole negro
See a real autumn
Eat a grasshopper
Dance with Sufis
Be a professional cook
Work for a Fortune 50 company
Dance to the Neville Brothers
Go to NYC
See the Grateful Dead
Go to an NBA game
Ride in a speed boat
Go canyoning
Visit a Frank Lloyd Wright building (my dentist office!)
Be a bleacher bum
Celebrate Samhain among 500 pagans
Take a yoga class from Judith Lasater
March for civil rights
See panda bears and penguins
Go to a nude beach
Go on a Napa winery tour
Attend Catholic mass
Be published in “The Sun” Readers Write section
See a full eclipse of the sun
Ride a Harley
Stay at the Ritz-Carlton
Go to a Major League Soccer game
Be on stage with Bill Cosby
Stay at a fancy winery B&B
Take the Chicago architectural boat tour
Shop at LA’s Grand Central Market
Help land a multi-million dollar account
Climb a mountain
Thank a great teacher from elementary school
See Bruce Springsteen
Learn street fighting
Experience an earthquake
Watch the sooty shearwaters flock
Teach Sunday School
Speak on a BlogHer panel
March in a Mardi Gras parade
Be on the TV news
Hear a symphony that makes me cry
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos
Receive laying on of hands
See John Lee Hooker in a tiny venue
Win a trophy
Do improv comedy
Make a bully back down
Hug George Foreman
Get hysterical
See David Sedaris read
Receive an answer to a prayer
Give an award-winning speech
Hear Brian Wilson play “Smile”
Meet Rick Bayless and thank him
Fall in love with opera
Hike the Pinnacles
Eat bananas I grew myself
Learn to weld
Visit the Carizzo Plains during wildflower season
Bet on the ponies
See Dave Chappelle
Be in a movie test audience
Collect eggs fresh from the chickens
Inner tube through sugar cane field canals and tunnels
Participate in important scientific research
Win a chili cookoff
Walk a labyrinth
Swim with the US. Men’s Olympic Waterpolo team
Raise a flower crop and sell it
See the day when the Berlin Wall falls
Play bocce ball
Learn Salsa dancing
Have Bob Harper tweet me
Take a Nia class
Go paddleboarding
Lead an art walk
Be on the church board of directors
Introduce Mom to Vietnamese, Indian and Thai food
See David Beckham play soccer
Read at Ann Imig’s open mic salon
Let a bear eat a cookie out of my mouth
Make mole negro
Win a blue ribbon at the fair
Drive Highway 1 from Cambria to Monterey
Attend BlogHer Entrepreneurs
Have Susan Orlean answer a question (live in person!)
Make cheese
Win a Pokemon gym (ok, lots of them)
Vote for a woman for president of the United States
Get retweeted by Scott Simon and Anne Lamott
See bioluminescence in the ocean
Taste grapefruit beer
Lead a photo walk
Buy an RV
Learn to drive an RV
Take an electric boat tour of the harbor
Learn Tai Chi Chih
Create a course curriculum
Get a letter from Ray Bradbury
Chant “Si se puede!” with Dolores Huerta
March for LGBT rights, women’s rights, racial justice, and the environment
Spend more than 1 13 months on the road
Visit Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary
Stand onstage at the Grand Ole Opry
See the International Stoneskipping Contest
Visit Mackinac Island
Shop at Zabar’s
Visit Eleanor Roosevelt’s home
See where Theodosia Burr Alston lived
Get a grant funded
Drive through a covered bridge
Flew in an 8-seater plane
Rode a snow machine on the Yukon River
Visited a Native Alaskan village

The Raven Life List
A friend invented a new Life List today: Stuff I Have Done and Never Want to Do Again. Let’s call it the Raven Life List (“Quoth the Raven: Nevermore”). Not quite as glamorous as some people’s Life Lists, and certainly not sponsored by anyone, but worth considering nevertheless.
Get a haircut at Supercuts
Food poisoning from a suspect burrito
Be dumped for an ex-girlfriend
Be in a car when it was totaled
Have the ex-girlfriend come to a meeting I was leading – at my house
Dance with a guy who grabbed my boob
Break a high heel
Fart in a board meeting
Drop something valuable into a public toilet
Fly United Airlines
Have my car die on a freeway onramp
Pee my pants in public
Rent a room to a psycho
Be bullied in high school (hi, Jamie Lambert)
Fail a class
Be laid off
Deal with Charter Cable customer service
Eat leg of lamb
Get caught making out in a car by the police
Lose my shoes in the mud
Have it rain for 28 days in a row
Get attacked by a jealous ex-girlfriend
Live with an unmedicated person with bipolar disorder
Date someone who hated to brush their teeth
Have a landlord with boundary issues
Kill a rattlesnake
Have a herniated disc
Be too cold to sleep
Go to a college on the quarter system
Lose an heirloom
Dance with Dana Loesch
Eat at Marie Callenders
Get attacked by birds
Get pinned in judo by a gross guy
Have the sewage back up in the yard
Go to small claims against idiots
Have a dog pee on my back
Drive the Calcasieu Bridge
Leave my wallet on an airplane
Evacuate from a wildfire
Drive through snow in an RV
Ok. Enough for now. You get the picture.

Museums I’ve Visited (this one came from Kizz of 117 Hudson and Cindy of Elephant Soap)
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Santa Barbara CA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Bowers Museum, Orange County, California
Museum of Modern Art, NYC
San Luis Obispo Historical Museum, San Luis Obispo, CA
Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago IL
Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington DC
10. National Archives, Washington DC
National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC
Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC
De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA
Santo Domingo Museum and Cultural Center, Oaxaca, Mexico
San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
Museo Rufino Tamayo, Oaxaca, Mexico
Museo Monte Alban, Oaxaca, Mexico
Museo de Arte y Diseño Contemporáneo, San Jose, Costa Rica
Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming
20. Ventura County Museum, Ventura, CA
Anacapa Island Museum, Channel Islands National Park
Yosemite Museum, Yosemite National Park
Carnegie Museum of Art, Oxnard, CA
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena, CA
Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
San Francisco Maritime National Park & USS Pampanito, San Francisco, CA
Maritime Museum, San Francisco
Exploratorium, San Francisco
30. San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, San Luis Obispo, CA
Natural History Museum, Washington, DC
Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA
San Diego Natural History Museum, San Diego, CA
Travel Town Museum, Los Angeles, CA
Ojai Valley Museum, Ojai, CA
Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay, CA
Old Mission San Luis Obispo Museum, San Luis Obispo, CA
Museum of Science and Industry (California Science Center), Los Angeles
Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
40. Getty Villa, Malibu, CA
Rosicrucians Egyptian Museum, San Jose, CA
Wings of History Air Museum, Morgan Hill,CA
Stagecoach Inn Museum, Newbury Park, CA
National Steinbeck Center, Salinas, CA
San Luis Obispo Mission Museum, San Luis Obispo, CA
La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, Lompoc, CA
Fowler Museum, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
Albinger Historical Museum, Ventura, CA
Ventura County Agricultural Museum, Santa Paula, CA
50. Santa Paula Museum of Art, Santa Paula, CA
Union Oil Museum, Santa Paula, CA
San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo, CA
Anacapa Island Museum, Channel Islands National Park, CA
Museum of Ojibwa Culture, St. Ignace, MI
Fort Debuade Museum, St. Ignace, MI
Crocker Museum of Art, Sacramento, CA
The Museum of California, Sacramento, CA
Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, CA
Museum of Latin American Art, Long Beach, CA
60. Museum of Technology, San Jose, CA
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco, CA
Autry Museum of the American West, Los Angeles, CA
Newseum, Washington, DC
Freer Museum, Washington, DC
Museum of Jurassic Technology, Venice CA
The Broad, Los Angeles, CA
Colonel Sanders Museum, Corbin, KY
Art Institute of Chicago
Santa Ynez Valley Museum, Santa Ynez, CA
70. Channel Islands Maritime Museum, Oxnard, CA
Museum of Monterey, Monterey, CA
Fresno Museum of Art, Fresno, CA
Palm Springs Museum of Art, Palm Springs, CA
Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ
Goulding’s Trading Post Museum, Monument Valley, AZ
Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, NM
Taos Art Museum at Fechin House, Taos, NM
Harwood Museum, Taos, NM
Ozark Bathhouse Cultural Center, Hot Springs, AR
80. Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum
Buckeye Lake Historical Museum, Buckeye Lake OH
National Heisey Glass Museum, Newark, OH
Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY
Noguchi Museum, Queens, NY
Ogunquit Museum of American Art, Ogunquit, ME
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA
Wright Brothers National Memorial, Kill Devil Hills, NC
Rowan Museum, Salisbury, NC
90. Rice Museum, Georgetown, SC
South Carolina Maritime Museum, Georgetown, SC
Myrtle Beach Art Museum, Myrtle Beach, SC
Old Slave Mart Museum, Charleston, SC
Fort King George Museum, Darien, GA
Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MI
Judge Roy Bean Museum, Langtry, TX
Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and Library, Simi Valley, CA
César Chávez National Monument & Museum, Keene, CA
The Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
100! Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, WA
Pacific Bonsai Museum, Federal Way, WA
Harbor History Museum, Gig Harbor, WA
Anchorage Museum, Anchorage, AK
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Tacoma, WA
Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA


Botanic Gardens
1. Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara, CA
2. Allerton Gardens, Kauai, HI
3. Los Angeles Arboretum
4. Huntington Gardens, San Marino, CA
5. Botanic Building, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA
6. Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park
7. Palm Canyon, Balboa Park
8. Leaning Pine Arboretum, San Luis Obispo, CA
9. Ventura Botanic Garden, Ventura, CA
10. Desert Botanic Garden, Phoenix, AZ
11. Lithia Park, Ashland, OR
12. San Francisco Botanic Garden, San Francisco, CA
13. Jardín Ethnobotanico, Oaxaca, Oaxaca, MX
14. Mistico Arenal Puentes Colgantes, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
15. Brookgreen Gardens, Myrtle Beach, SC
16. Oregon Gardens, Silverton, OR
17. Rhodendron Species Botanic Garden, Federal Way, WA
18. Kubota Garden, Seattle WA

National Parks
Channel Islands
Crater Lake
Joshua Tree
Lassen Volcanic
Sequoia & Kings Canyon
Bryce Canyon
Grand Canyon
Grand Teton
Hot Springs
Mammoth Cave
Cuyahoga Valley
Carlsbad Caverns
White Sands

US States Visited



























New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico*

New York

North Carolina





Rhode Island

South Carolina*









*States where I have spent more than a month

Tacoma Parks

Bradley Lake Park

Charlotte’s Blueberry Park

Chinese Reconciliation Park

Dickman Mill Park

Dune Peninsula Park

Franklin Park

Fuzhou Ting

Hamilton Park

Judge Jack Tanner Park

Owen Beach

Pioneer Park

Point Defiance

Ruston Way

Ruston Way Waterwalk

South Hill Community Park

Swan Creek Park

Tacoma Nature Center

Thea’s Park

Wright Park

15 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2011 21:43

    Rick Bayless is Canadian and so am I. Coincidence? Remember, my spare room would love a Suebob in it.

    • January 24, 2011 21:28

      Canadians are the best. I love when our conservatives try to warn us that we’ll end up like Canada. To which I say “Oh please!!”

  2. Al_Pal permalink
    April 19, 2011 22:51

    Love it!
    I actually enjoyed going to college on the quarter system…but that was all I did until I got my BA, so it was all I knew. Have since taken a couple of classes on the semester system.
    And I like eating lamb. ;p

    Many great adventures here; some I’d like to do myself. ;D

    • April 25, 2011 06:18

      I objected to the quarter system because it felt like I just crammed everything in, without any joy of learning or exploration. Then a massive brain dump at quarter’s end.

      • April 25, 2011 20:11

        Ahh, that makes sense. I did get the exploration and joy…probably because I went to UCSC. 😛
        It was a little hectic having midterms after five weeks, though!

    • kobichi2 permalink
      July 18, 2012 10:44

      I forgot the most important aspect. Love it. And the enjoyment of young people

  3. April 25, 2011 04:21

    HolY crap you have done some amazing stuff!

    And I love this idea. 🙂

    • April 25, 2011 06:06

      When you start making the list, you start remembering all the cool stuff you have done. Highly recommended.

  4. August 21, 2011 13:58

    I need to come back here, to this list, when I have more time to read it all..because I think there is some stuff that you’ll be doing that will make me very much want to do it too. My Bucket List seems awful small and measly…and now that I’m 42 I better git’on’wit my bad self.

    • kobichi2 permalink
      July 18, 2012 10:47

      Do not say these words. You are a young

  5. August 31, 2012 14:57

    That’s quite the list! 🙂

  6. Kindra permalink
    June 24, 2019 06:40

    I have been reading your blog for several years and this morning was the first time I read the life-lists. So I am totally curious about the story of the question you got Obama to answer. 🙂

    • November 10, 2019 07:10

      I asked about human rights: 3. From SueBob: Will you stop the United States from torturing people and holding them without charge or trial?

      OBAMA: I strongly oppose the use of torture. From both a moral standpoint and a practical standpoint, torture is wrong. Military and intelligence experts agree that torture is not an effective means of interrogation, and that our use of it threatens our troops serving abroad. It also violates international legal norms and human rights. From both a moral standpoint and a practical standpoint, torture is wrong.

      I will also work with Congress to restore the historic right of habeas corpus. I am confident that we have nothing to fear and everything to gain by asking our courts to help ensure we’re holding the right people, not the wrong people. Our legal system can deal with these individuals and demonstrate to the world our commitment to the rule of law.


  1. Closing In | Suebob's Red Stapler

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