40 Reasons Why the Summer of 2014 Was Awesome

2 Sep

SailboatBack in May, I published a bucket list of all the places I wanted to go, foods I wanted to eat, people I wanted to see, and things I wanted to do this summer.

Sure, I didn’t get to all of it, but I knew I wouldn’t. That said, I can say I accomplished the overwhelming majority of things I set out to do — and then some.

I drank a flight at Bantam Cider in Somerville, walked around Lake Hollywood in Los Angeles, sat out by the pool at the Hotel Indigo in Newton, ate all the steak I wanted at Fogo de Chão, watched my nephews have a blast aboard a Duck Tour, saw two Red Sox games (if you count the AA affiliate minor league team in Portland), watched all 26 episodes of House of Cards (in less than three weeks), etc. etc.

That’s why today, on the day after Labor Day, I can look back on the summer and confidently declare … Mission Accomplished.

It’s really amazing what you can pack into three months’ time. For example, I didn’t just do things this summer, I also learned a lot in the process. So here, in no particular order, is my list of 40 takeaways from the summer of 2014:

1. Lake Hollywood isn’t nearly as photogenic as the opening scene of Seven Psychopaths (a great movie, by the way) suggests. (A drought and fog will do that.)

2. It’s sad watching your favorite restaurant and your favorite magazine go downhill.

3. Nantucket red shorts actually look good on me.

4. It’s pretty tough to make the Fourth of July (or third, as the case was this year) festivities in Boston any more fun than they already are, but getting rained on with the rest of the city while running down Memorial Drive sure does the trick.

5. As much as we like people when they’re alive, we really don’t appreciate them until they’re no longer with us. Case in point: Roger Ebert and Robin Williams.

6. It is possible to get into Legoland Boston without a child. You just can’t get much further than the store.

7. As gross as eating at the Old Country Buffet is (and I speak from experience), eating unlimited appetizers at Friday’s sounds (slightly) worse.

8. Frank Underwood is a bad, bad man.

9. If you’re going to go to the pool at the Hotel Indigo, you need to get there before 11:30 a.m. Otherwise, it gets crowded very quickly.

10. Boston magazine knows what it’s talking about when it chooses the best doughnuts.

11. You can only do Once once.

12. These days, Boston Red Sox fans are just like L.A. Dodgers fans in that the people who have the best seats at Fenway often don’t get to the park till the second inning, and they leave early, so it’s pretty easy to have a better seat at the beginning and end of the game.

Southwest Corridor Park13. A Shandy (like the Narragansett Del’s Shandy) is a weird drink. Is it beer? Is it lemonade? Either way, it’s confusing for the tongue.

14. You only feel your age when people remind you that’s how old you are.

15. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it sure does buy you freedom, comfort, and the ability to have a good time.

16. There are few things a six-year-old likes more than staying up way past her bedtime.

17. There’s an Al’s Café in Harvard Square. (Sure, it opened a couple years ago, but I never knew about it till this summer.)

18. Good Humor is the new Ben & Jerry’s.

19. Sometimes a movie or TV show’s name implies the opposite of how good it is (i.e., You’re the Worst).

20. I should have checked out the South End Open Market a long, long time ago.

21. A show like Dating Naked really shouldn’t be as entertaining as it is.

22. John Oliver is the sharpest, funniest … best political news satirist on TV right now. (Sorry, Jon Stewart.)

23. August is the best month to commute to work.

24. I can still hit a golf ball pretty far. A softball? Not so much.

25. It’s pretty cool when news websites like Boston.com and WCVB.com use your photos and quotes to report on local happenings, and give you credit for having been on the scene. It’s not cool at all when a business does it without asking for your permission or giving you any credit. Twice. Within three weeks. And you have to chase after them to get any kind of response. (Ahem, Finagle a Bagel.)

26. Southwest Corridor Park is one of the best-kept secrets in Boston. (Or, at least, it was to me, until this summer.)

27. People who prefer frozen, crinkle-cut fries over fresh-cut ones are lame. (Which I knew, but this summer I had reason to re-learn the lesson.)

28. Good cupcakes are worth saving.

29. Watching videos of people dumping ice water on themselves doesn’t get old. Especially when they’re doing it for such a good cause, one that’s led to a hugely successful fundraising effort.

SOWA Open Market30. The best (basic) French Toast is at the Deluxe Station Diner in Newton Centre. It’s so sweet and eggy that you barely need any syrup.

31. Taking a break from blogging is a good thing.

32. Driving to work when you have barely any gas in the car is not a good or smart thing to do. In fact, it’s very stressful. If you make it to the gas station safely, you’re damned lucky. (Lesson learned.)

33. Even a nebbishy Jewish guy can wind up with a hot woman like Kate Hudson for a wife — even if it’s only in the movies.

34. I like Market Basket, and the people who work there, even if I’ve never once shopped there.

35. If you throw away more than 20 t-shirts and still have multiple drawers full and a whole other stack left over, you may own too many t-shirts.

36. Not surprisingly, an entire album of Justin Timberlake/Michael Jackson “duets” would be pretty cool.

37. A trip to the new Assembly Row in Somerville makes the long drive to Wrentham unnecessary.

38. Getting your first month of Netflix free is kind of like when the drug dealer gives you your first hit free, because he knows you’ll get addicted and keep buying. Or so I’ve been told.

39. If you’re taking cabs instead of Uber, then you’re just stupid.

40. Uniqlo is so not worth the hype. Most everything is slim fit, which means non-skinny people like me should just stick to the Gap.

As I said, it was an awesome summer. I hope yours was similarly fun and educational.

How long till next Memorial Day?

What did YOU learn this summer? Click here to share your thoughts on Twitter or leave a comment in the space below.

(By the way, all the photos in this blog post belong to me.)

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