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47 Things I Will Remember About the Summer of 2015

4 Sep
Balanced Rock at Garden of the Gods

Photo credit: Martin Lieberman

Fact: Summers are too short.

Way too short. Even this summer, which feels like it’s ending a week later than usual.

That’s why we always feel compelled to cram so much into the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year.

The summer of 2015 was, for me, a bit of a whirlwind. A lot happened, some of it overwhelming, and I’m not 100% sure I even remember everything.

Let’s see: I finally made it to Colorado, finally visited my old summer camp, and finally rode on Codzilla. I worked out in a gym again. I saw a bunch of good movies, a couple good concerts, and even went to two Red Sox games. I walked around a lot. I dated. I ate. I met some Twitter friends IRL. I was happy. I checked a few more things off my 2015 to-do list. And there was more. I know there was more.

So, in an effort to make sure I have everything — or most of it, anyway — documented, here (in no particular order) are some of the things I’ll never forget about the summer of 2015. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

I Have a Lot to Do This Summer

23 May

Red umbrella on the beach in summerMonday is Memorial Day.

How did that happen? Where is this year going? I guess it’s true what they say: Time really does fly when you’re having fun.

What that means is, I need to make the most of this summer because before you know it, Labor Day will be here and then soon after, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, right?

If I want to have a good summer, it’ll help to compile a list of things I want to do. So here, for the first time since 2012, are some of the foods and drinks I want to try, places I want to go, movies and shows I want to see, and other ways I want to spend my time between now and Labor Day.

Continue reading

Let’s Try to Get That Score Up

8 Jul

way-way-back-bannerIt’s appropriate that much of the new film The Way, Way Back takes place at a waterpark.

That’s because, like the water slides at Water Wizz, the movie is a fun ride, with surprising twists and turns, and even though it’s one with a predictable destination, it’s still cool and refreshing.

Written and directed by Jim Rash and Nat Faxon (the Oscar-winning writers of The Descendants), The Way, Way Back is a throwback movie, the latest in a long line of summertime coming-of-age stories where a loser kid finds himself with the help of some older, immature types. Continue reading

I’m Ready for the Start of Something New

3 Sep

When you live in the general Boston area, it’s hard not to be reminded of the passage of time.

Every May, for example, when graduation season is in full swing, it’s only natural to take stock and think of all you’ve accomplished since you graduated. Have the years been good to you, or have you not gone all that far since “Pomp and Circumstance” was playing?

A similar thing happens every Labor Day weekend: As the city deals with the influx of college students and the chaos and hell of moving day, your first instinct is to be reminded that, oh no, another school year is starting and the city’s a lot more crowded and a lot louder than it was just days earlier. Continue reading

25 Things I Learned This Summer

31 Aug

Where does the time go?

It feels like just yesterday it was Memorial Day, and we were making all kinds of plans. Now here we are at Labor Day weekend and summer is over.

Sure, I know. Summer doesn’t technically end till September 21 — or, if you really have a hard time letting go, when the weather actually cools down sometime in October. But mentally, I think we all consider the end of summer to be on Labor Day. Right?

The last three months were great for me; I hope you can say the same for yourself. They were relaxing, fun, and productive, and while I didn’t get to everything on my to-do list, I was plenty busy and I enjoyed myself.

I also learned quite a bit. So here, before the sun sets on summer, are just 25 of the many things I learned over the past three months.

Continue reading

Day or Night, I Love Walking This City

29 Aug

I have a confession to make.

Remember earlier this year when I said I was going to use part of my newfound free time to work out?

And remember how I was true to my word on that first day and went to the gym to use the equipment?

Well … I haven’t gone back to the gym since then. Not even once.

Oh well.

I’m sure you’re surprised to learn this.

But here’s the thing: Even though I haven’t been using the gym, I have been staying active. Continue reading

Is This the Ultimate “Summer” Playlist?

29 May

The cassette tape may have gone the way of the dodo, and the iPod may have replaced the CD-R, but the mix lives on.

Of course, now, instead of calling it a mix, we call it a “playlist.” But no matter.

Making playlists is one of my favorite activities, whether I’m compiling single-artist playlists, playlists for a purpose (e.g., working out, relaxing, or driving), playlists for holidays (Christmas, yes, but also Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day), or time-capsule/state of the iPod/things I’m listening to right now playlists.

But those don’t hold a candle to the thematic playlists I create.

For example, I have a patriotic playlist called “American Tunes” that’s mostly a collection of songs where “America,” “USA,” or some related word figures prominently (“Surfin’ USA,” “Pink Houses,” and “America, Fuck Yeah,” to name just three).

I’ve made a similar mix for rainy days, where some form of the word “rain” figures prominently in each tune, and for when I’ve traveled to various cities, like Las Vegas.

It’s a hobby reminiscent of those days when I went to summer camp and we did “Sing Downs,” where a counselor would throw out a word and we’d have to think of as many songs as we could that referenced the word. The team that thought of the most songs won.

The idea’s not so stupid: The recent “Big” issue of Rolling Stone included a “Big Playlist,” with every song on it featuring the word “big” in the title or in the artist who sings it — or both (e.g., Bob Dylan’s “You’re a Big Girl Now,” and “Big Time” by Big & Rich).

Anyway, I realized this weekend that I’d never created a “Summer” mix, so I finally made one. Continue reading

What Am I Going to Do This Summer?

25 May

Summer is the time for doing things.

It’s not the time for staying inside and being bored.

Last year, I was inspired to create a summer to-do list, and while I didn’t accomplish everything on the list, it was helpful for setting goals and making plans (however loose) for how I wanted to spend my time.

This year I have even more free time on my hands, and I don’t want to waste any of it.

So that’s right, I’ve come up with a second Summer To-Do List. And since Memorial Day Weekend is here (hooray!), that means it’s time to share it.

Here’s what’s on my list: Continue reading

Plays Well with Others

6 May

Summer is here!

With The Avengers now in theaters, we have our first big slam-bang, star-studded, popcorn action film of the season.

And what a good time it is.

Bringing together more than a half-dozen of the brightest stars in the Marvel universe, The Avengers is kind of like Ocean’s 11 for comic book geeks. (If you prefer Marvel, that is. Personally, I’m more a DC universe / Justice League fan. But that’s not really important here. I’m just sayin’.)

The movie begins with a portal to another universe opening (how does that keep happening?), and Loki, Thor’s megalomaniacal adoptive brother, arriving to cause mischief. After Loki tells Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury, head of the peace-keeping alliance S.H.I.E.L.D., that a global war is coming, Fury assembles the Avengers to defend the planet — even though, really, it’s only the U.S. that seems to be in danger.

So Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and the Hulk (now played by Mark Ruffalo), all with their own egos and issues, are forced to work together. (Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye, too, but not until he can break free from Loki’s mind control.) Of course, it doesn’t go well at first, but eventually they get their act together and they take on the Big Bad in New York City. Because if aliens descend on Earth, where else would they go? Continue reading

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