2010 will be the year when we all live it up. Smoke those stogies if you got ‘em-permission is hereby granted.
I have a confession to make: I am drawn to lists like a moth to a flame. I admire the order and symmetry that is inherent in lists-I feel a sense of accomplishment merely by reading them in their entirety. I suspect that many people unknowingly derive the same pleasure that I do from skimming over random objects thrown together in a Word document. After all, it is in our nature to impose Order upon the Chaos of our daily lives.
The month of January quietly implores everyone to set goals and to, by all means, broadcast our intentions to friends, foes, and families via Facebook, Twitter, Myspace etc.,.This basically ensures that if we fail to reach our objective(s), we’ll do it in a spectacular fashion and will indirectly provide the fodder for office gossip that our coworkers so desperately need. How nice.This will surely be just like an episode of The Office except it’ll be in our own lives-Hurray!
There is nothing more lame than the average, run-of-the-mill New Year’s Resolutions that everyone sees on the front page of MSN.com, CNN or the other websites that the common rabble seem to flock to. These lists will typically include perky items such as: Organize your closet in 10 easy steps, New tax tips for 2010, Beef up your 401 K, and of course, Lose 10 pounds in 30 days. I feel sorry for the people that are compelled to write this sort of material regularly-they’re basically advertising to the world how pathetic and unimaginative they really are.
I fiercely hate the idea that one has to be practical all the time, engaged in some profitable endeavor or another. I realize that this is attributed to our Puritan heritage but nevertheless this urge to be eternally occupied ultimately becomes counterprductive. A practical approach is ideal for about 60-70% of the time, beyond that a person slowly de-evolves into a robot from the 1950s (Think: Lost in Space). Nobody wants that.
I propose that for the New Year people should do the things that they’ve wanted to do for a while but haven’t been able to because of the Recession, the kids, the pesky inlaws or the IRS. These activities will typically be highly impractical, somewhat wasteful even and may even draw envious looks from the neighbors. But who cares, right?! One cannot put a pricetag on the value of a Soul rejuvenated.
Here then, without further ado, is my 10 Things To Do In 2010
- Make a habit of visiting The Cheesecake Factory (or another similarly decadent establishment) on a biweekly basis. The objective here is to ensure that the employees know you by name after a few weeks of frequenting the establishment(s). Sort of like Norm from Cheers. If you can manage a similar treatment then go ahead and pat yourself on the back and proceed to number 2. You are well on your way to Enlightenment and infinite Happiness.
- Purchase that pair of Hi-Fi headphones that you’ve wanted since forever. Go ahead and order up a pair of AKG K271 headphones-the wallet will take a pretty heavy hit to the tune of $280 but you will never regret it. Proceed to insert Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon into the cd player, plug in the new headphones and relax on the trusty old beanbag. You will never be the same afterwards.
- Do more curls. That’s right, more curls. It seems fashionable now to avoid direct exercise for the upper arms. When did this happen? We are now being implored to perform squats on top of a bosu ball?! This is beyond ridiculous. Let us go back to doing endless sets for the biceps and triceps. I’m talking about 15 sets for each, where you continue to feel sore a week later. You can almost see yourself in Gold’s Gym during the 70s. Arnold’s there, Louie’s there, so is Ken and Robbie-the whole gang is there, egging you on to greater and greater feats of strength.This is decadence for the Gym Rat. Embrace the pain and proceed to nymber 4.
- Learn a musical instrument. Do it the fun way, though. For some reason old-fashioned music teachers feel compelled to burden their students with an excessive emphasis on sight-reading mastery. This is usually acceptable for the young acolyte but becomes especially challenging for an absent-minded and carefree 20-year old. I taught myself, with a great amount of difficulty, how to sight-read but it remains a challenge for me to this day. Thankfully software exists which makes learning a musical instrument a much more enjoyable experience. The software offerings from eMedia for guitar and piano have proved especially popular. Play along to Kumbaya and take the bus to number 5.
- Learn how to write legibly with your Left Hand (or Right Hand, if left-handed). This sounds pretty crazy, huh? There is a reason to the madness, however. I read an article some months ago which suggested that new brain cells were activated when a person habitually used the less dominant appendages in the more dominant manner (the instinctive approach). I had a chance to apply this theory several years ago-too bad that I was unaware of the research back then. Anyways, after playing a gig I was dutifully loading up my 4×12 guitar cabinets when, through a moment of carelessness I dropped a cabinet on my right hand. Boy did that smart! I avoided any serious injury but was unable to affect a strong grip for several weeks. This accident forced me to practice my penmanship, left-handed. After much effort a person could almost decipher my writing even though it bore a stronger resemblance to Mayan pictographs. So we cross the “t”s, dot the “i”s and turn the page to number 6.
- Drink imported beer. Yes, yes, I know, the exchange rate for the dollar versus the euro and the pound does not favor us Continentals. One could almost hear a collective sigh go up among the touristy crowd. So what do we do? We put a case of Heineken in the icebox, we slowly cook several steaks and we enjoy the retro intensity from Lee Hazlewood‘s music on the ipod or cd player. Recommended beers: Labatt Blue, Foster’s, Amstel, Beck’s, Molson Ice, Sapporo and Grolsch. With beer in hand we stumble on to number 7.
- Learn how fix a flat tire. Don’t think it’ll ever happen to you? Trust me, it will, and in the most embarassing places, too. I once got a flat in the parking lot of an Adult Bookstore at like 4 am (I was delivering newspapers then). Luckily I was able to change the flat but not before some fellow employees drove by and added the appropriate wolf whistles. I never heard the end of that one. Women are lucky in this regard because they can usually count on a helpful Samaritan to offer his assistane. But if you’re a guy you’re expected to rehabilitate your stranded vehicle if it becomes inoperable due to minor mechanical problems .
- Read a book, you neanderthal. Does anyone read anymore?! “Let’s look it up in Wikipedia!” I’ve heard this statement more than I care to admit. I reply that whenever anyone uses Wikipedia God kills a kitten. That probably makes me an awful crank, but it cannot be helped. Reading helps a person to impose order on the thought process and it is most helpful in attaining Wisdom-this cannot be over-emphasized. The books that I am currently reading and wholeheartedly recommend are: The World of Yesterday-Stefan Zweig, A Book of One’s Own People and Their Diaries-Thomas Mallon and The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich-William Shirer.
- Learn a foreign language. We Americans have it so easy. Imagine what travel would be like if all the states had their own language! That’s how it is in Europe. In Swedenf you’re considered a barbarian if you speak less than 5 languages. Imagine that…I use the Rosetta Stone software to try my hand at the German language and the Russian, occasionally. I find this activity very enjoyable-I know that I’ll never speak it like a native but if I can ask where the bathroom is and how much for a pint of beer then I’ll deem my lessons a success.
- Listen to music that you would never,EVER listen to in a million years. I recently listened to some pieces by Arnold Schoenberg-the father of atonal music.It basically sounded as if someone had thrown several cats inside a piano for half an hour. That really is not a fair assessment-it took me the better part of a few days before I could pick ut a few sections that I found enjoyable. Why listen to music that we would therwise find objectionable? Apparently, after the age of 30 most adults cease to enjoy any new music and instead continually fall back on their favorites. This remanins true IF a person doesn not consciously attempt to listen to new music, to challenge his ears. I have often thought about this theory and must admit that it terrifies me. The idea that I can lose the ability to enjoy new music is very chilling.
So there you have it-a good mix of decadence and practical application. Go forth and prosper!
50 things to do in 2014
Now that we have rung out the old and rang in the new, let’s get right down to the business of living.
Here are 50 tips on what to do in 2014
- Try to get eight hours of sleep every night.
- The seven 2009 Metro Filmfest entries are still showing. Catch any or all of them.
- Try to drink at least eight glasses of water every day.
- Fix that leaking ceiling in your room.
- Blend five “greens” – green apple, green pepper, celery, cucumber and ampalaya – and take a glassful with your breakfast.
- Arrange your closet and give your still wearable clothes to the typhoon victims.
- Exercise at least 15 minutes every day. Don’t be a couch potato. Jog in place while watching TV.
- Read those novels piled up untouched on your headboard.
- Bring your family to lunch in Little Asia (Tomas Morato Avenue, Quezon City; and Greenhills Promenade, San Juan City).
- Visit Bohol and say “Hello!” to the tarsier.
- Check out the new set of eyewear at any of the Sarabia Optical Clinics where Vivian Sarabia will welcome you with a big smile.
- Meditate with the Pink Sisters at the St. Joseph Adoration Chapel (Hemady St., Quezon City).
- Vote wisely in the May elections.
- Watch the sunset in Manila Bay from the Roxas Blvd. seawall.
- Don’t be a litterbug.
- Drive carefully; don’t drive if you drink, don’t drink if you drive.
- Get a foot-and-back massage at MTO (Timog Avenue, Quezon City; or Malate, Manila).
- Pay your bills on time.
- Continue your good habit of reading The STAR, the all-around paper.
- Be kind to your neighbors. Invite them to the salu-salo at your home.
- Don’t be hassled by crank phone calls.
- Don’t worry about growing old. What for? Everybody grows older every year anyway.
- When going on an out-of-town trip, lock doors and windows and unplug appliances.
- Pray before going to sleep and pray upon waking up.
- Put your celfon on “silent” mode at bedtime or turn it off altogether. Put it far from you, if possible out of your room, because the radiation it emits is bad daw for your health.
- Spend a weekend with your family at the Imperial Palace Suites.
- Subscribe to Vanity Fair and get your fill of really nice, comprehensive stories.
- Continue your good habit of watching Startalk Saturday afternoons (2:30 to 4:30 p.m.) on GMA.
- Stop worrying, look at the bright side of life and greet every new day with a smile.
- Check out the new line of clothes at any of the Bench outlets.
- Tip from Mike Enriquez: If you are diabetic, do some mild exercise at night so your fasting blood sugar will be normal (between 70 and 120).
- Need to consult a diabetes specialist?.
- Give street children food, not money.
- Be kind to animals. Take a stray cat home.
- Want an inexpensive but mouth-watering (burp!) meal?.
- Have a haircut, manicure, pedicure, ear-cleaning, etc..
- Donate old books to a public library.
- Make peace with your enemies. Holding grudges is unhealthy.
- Listen to mellow songs. It’s relaxing.
- Practise deep breathing. It’s relaxing.
- Think positive. It’s relaxing.
- Take a bowl of steaming-hot beef mami at Lingnam (T. Alonzo St., Binondo, Manila).
- Eat only when you’re hungry; don’t overeat.
- Avoid “nega” people. According to the Desiderata, they are “vexations to the spirit.”
- Keep smiling.
- Read Fun fare every morning and Conversations with Ricky Lo every Sunday.