Monday 7 May 2012

A Real Bucket List (Part Three)

I tell you what – this is quite a Bucket List. If you were to decide to try everything on this list you may have to start at the age of 20.

Anyway, continuing with items 41 to 60 (out of 100):

41. Shower in a waterfall.

I haven’t done this but it would be a nice thing to attempt on my next travels should I find a suitable place. I wonder whether I can count getting soaked at Niagara Falls? Standing directly underneath the Horseshoe Falls at Niagara might be a dangerous thing. However, you can get close either by standing at a special viewing platform underneath the falls or sailing on a little boat called “The Maid of the Mist”. I’ve done both and here are a couple of photos to prove it.  I would urge you to try it if you get a chance.

42. Ask for a raise.

Too bloody right! And yes, I have done it. Don’t get me started on this because I may take up the entire post ranting angrily about office politics, incompetence and bloody-minded arrogance.

43. Learn to play a musical instrument with some degree of skill.

I can play the trombone (read about it here ). Well, when I say “play” I last packed the instrument in its case when I was 16 and rebellious and have never attempted to play one since. I wouldn’t mind having a go but it may take me a few months of practice to get to be able to play something meaningful again. I think my favourite piece of music that I managed to play was “In The Hall of the Mountain King” by Edvard Grieg. Here it is done properly:

44. Teach someone illiterate to read.

Does teaching your kids to read count? Actually, I assisted teaching my kids to read rather than actually teaching them myself. Given the opportunity, I would definitely do it though

45. Be one of the first to take a flight on the new Airbus A380.

If I ever decide to fly to Dubai from Manchester I will do this. Earlier this year I flew to Abu Dhabi rather than Dubai because that’s where our friends live. By the time I get to do it again I will not be “one of the first” sadly.

46. Spend a night in a haunted house -- by yourself.

If ghosts exist, I may have actually seen one (read about it here ). I still remain sceptical about the existence of ghosts despite the evidence. If I did see a ghost then I guess, I may actually have done this. However, I wasn’t alone in the house so I guess it doesn’t really count. I’m not sure that I would want to spend the night in a house that was haunted though because although I love horror stories I prefer to read them than experience them first hand. I might consider it if Mrs PM were with me – and a film crew. But the moment that Derek Acorah turned up I would simply punch him in the face for being a charlatan. In fact, that, might be a genuine item to add to a bucket list. Or better still, if ghosts really DO exist, I would come back and haunt Derek Acorah, who I am almost certain has never met or conversed with somebody who has passed over.

47. Write down your personal mission statement, follow it, and revise it from time to time.

I’m not one for mission statements; I find them irritating and full of utter crap. They are just a way for a company, for example, to lie about what they aim to achieve. Mission statements and business bullshit go hand in hand and to even consider doing that on a personal level fills me with anger and irritation. I think its fine for people to have ambitions but to write them down is a little over the top. I mean, I have ambitions but I am realistic enough to know that I may not achieve them. Writing them down won’t make a difference. I know what you are thinking, dear reader – “Wait a minute, you bloody hypocrite! You’ve posted your ambitions on this blog – isn’t that a mission statement of sorts?” I guess some people could see it that way but in reality I am just opening up and letting you know what I want to do. The difference between that and a mission statement is that with the latter I am telling myself and you that I WILL do it – I WILL succeed – I WILL prevail. In reality I probably won’t. It might work for some people – but not for me because at the end when you have failed in your quest, you feel worse. In fact, isn’t a Bucket List a bit like a mission statement in that regard?

48. See a lunar eclipse

I saw a lunar eclipse in Manchester a few years ago along with thousands of other Mancunians. It’s nice to have crossed this off the list.

49. Spend New Year's in an exotic location.

I will achieve that this year. Mrs PM and I are thinking of heading to the Canary Islands for New Year. In the past I have welcomed in the New Year in New York in Times Square, but it was hardly exotic (in that the temperature was -10 °C with a wind chill factor that lowered the temperature even further).

50. Get passionate about a cause and spend time helping it, instead of just thinking about it.

Sadly I haven’t really got the time to get involved with a just cause; life is too complicated at the moment. I am not ruling out the possibility of doing this in the future though. We’ll just have to see what happens.

51. Experience weightlessness.

If that involves leaving the Earth’s atmosphere, you can forget it. I know that it is possible to achieve this in an aircraft but it doesn’t really appeal to me that much.

52. Sing a great song in front of an audience.

Does karaoke count? And do ten people count as an audience? I vowed never to inflict my voice on the general public (though I have done accidentally in the past – read about ithere ) and was very reluctant to do so at a party in London. Sadly, I had had a couple of beers and “Smoke on the Water” was available for me to destroy – so I did. Actually, it didn’t go down that badly. I could never stand in front of a vast audience and sing though; the humiliation would be unbearable.
53. Ask someone you've only just met to go on a date.

I have always been too shy to do this and thankfully at the moment there is no need for me to ever consider doing this again.

54. Drive across America from coast to coast.

I have driven from coast to coast in Florida but I am guessing that the author means driving from the West Coast to the East Coast (for example Los Angeles to New York). I would definitely consider this if I won the lottery; on my round the world trip, when I reach San Francisco, I will hire a car and drive to New York. You heard it here first – and that is NOT a mission statement – I may change my mind.

55. Make a complete and utter fool of yourself.

I’ve been making a complete and utter fool of myself almost religiously for the past 40 or so years. And there is plenty of scope to do this in future too.

56. Own one very expensive but absolutely wonderful business suit.

Why? Why bother? Your normal everyday off the rack business suit is perfectly fine for most occasions. I guess, when Her Majesty decides to knight me for services to blogging I might consider it – but only if I have won the lottery and can afford to go to Saville Row and spend an obscene amount of cash on a pointless garment.

57. Write your will.

I’ve done that. It’s upstairs.

58. Sleep under the stars.

I did that in Portugal in 1984. We arrived in Vila Real de Santo António in Portugal to catch a ferry to Ayamonte in Spain. Sadly, we arrived at around 2am and the ferry had closed for the night. We had nowhere to stay so we found a small area with benches where we could sleep. I remember looking up at the stars as I tried to get comfortable and while it was not the best place to sleep, it was pleasant enough. I woke up at dawn (as I am a very light sleeper) leaving my travelling companions snoring away as curious locals walked past with a smile, and watched the sun rise over Spain across the Guadina river. Another item crossed off the list methinks.

59. Take a ride on the highest roller coaster in the country.

When I was younger, I used to love roller coasters. However, in 1989, I rode one in Los Angeles that destroyed my confidence. I was visibly shaking when I stumbled off it and I have only ever been on the odd one since. I will cheat a little here because I rode the biggest roller coaster at the time in England (before they built “The Big One” in Blackpool); it was at Alton Towers. A cheat, I suppose, but at the time it was a valid claim.

60. Learn how to complain effectively -- and do it!

Mrs PM and I went to Thailand a couple of years ago and flew with Air France. On the way back, we arrived totally jet-lagged in Paris at around 5am, hoping to get an easy connection to Manchester only to find that Air France pilots had gone on strike and our flight was cancelled. We managed to get a flight back at around 5pm which meant spending hours at Charles de Gaulle airport. We were so tired that we really didn’t want to go into Paris (we had been there a few time anyway). We arrived back in Manchester totally exhausted and our baggage was delayed, just to give us an extra kick in the teeth. I was livid. I immediately wrote an email to Air France, expressing my disgust and asked as my final question, what they were going to do about it “before I took it further”. I received a reply a few days later and Air France had offered us free flights worth a couple of hundred Euros. We used them to visit Boston in the US, the following year. I was delighted and proud that I had complained and will definitely do it again.

Once more, dear reader – have you managed to achieve any of the above items?


drb said...

Did 11 out of this list. Lived in a haunted house (all housemates saw the apartition, some more than others) for 10 years, so had spent a few nights alone in it. Shower under a waterfall is wonderful, especially in a warm weather, one of my fav things to do. You can sort of experience 'weightlessness' in Las Vegas. We forgot to do it when we were there. Basically you are floating above the jet engine I think. Myth Buster showed it.

Elephant's Child said...

I have made a complete and utter fool of myself more times than I care to count.
I have a will.
I have a cause I support through voluntary work and others who extract regular payments from my bank account.
I have slept under the stars.
I have showered under a waterfall. Two. A nameless one in Queensland, and a very, very damp ride under the Igazu Falls in Peru.
Wow. That is a few things on this list.

drb said...

I have fond memory of the first lunar eclipse. My maternal grandma told me that the heaven dog had eaten the moon and we ad to make as much noise as possible to chase the dog away. Even though I (a primary school nerd) knew the real reason, I found all the pots pans so that my brothers, sister and I made the biggest din on the road until the moon escaped the heaven dog. :-)

MedicatedMoo said...

Ten out of twenty - with 'making a fool of yourself' happening very, very often!

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Did you actually see the ghost yourself? Tell me more - I'm always fascinated by this kind of thing.

Actually, I knew about the jet engine - and you can do it in Manchester as well.

I may have a go at that!




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi EC,

Actually, I do support a cause - a local hospice - I forgot about that, but I don't really do it actively (which is something I should perhaps do).

I'm impressed with your items.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

I like that little story - I've heard a few wonderful little tales like that before.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Bonjour Kath,

Every day for me Kath - every day. Take today for example. I actually said to a work colleague:

"Have you had the pleasure of Jane?"

Names changed to protect the innocent!

What I meant was, "Have you ever worked with Jane on a project" but like a clueless idiot I provoked raucous laughter at my own expense - AGAIN - by not thinking!




drb said...

Oh Mr PM, many incidents in the annex of a Uni college where I lived and worked as a resident tutor for 10 years. They are a row of 150 yo victorian houses. Screamings from female residents were not uncommon.

Yes, I saw the ghost/s a few times but he did not do anything to harm us besides giving us a fight, so we sort of got use to it. The most frightening incident was when a male ghost with short black hair, floating in white gown and no legs, decided to follow me around the house going through doors.

One of my housemates even had a very clear pic of it in her photo - a skull with red beady eyes.

There was also a good looking ghost with long blonde hair and in drazibone, floating around too.

Now and then, we would get a chill-to-the-bone feeling, super creepy on a 40C day. According to cult movies, it means the ghost had just passed through you. When it happened, we'd just look at each other and screamed our heads off.

The postdoc supervising me also lived in a haunted house for 3 years - 1 male ghost and 3 child ghosts.

Actually, the first house I remembered living in (2 -9 yo) had a female ghost with long black hair and white gown. She tried to harm us the children, causing freaking accidents (exploding glass bottles for my bro and sis, smashing my face into bedhead right when I was just sitting stil on my bed chatting to my mum) which resulted in serious cuts requiring stitches. However, my mum will not hear any of it, and told me that it was all in my imagination. Anyhow, I assumed all houses have a ghost and learnt to ignore it. After we moved, I was surprised the new house did not have a ghost and told my mum. That evening, my mum mentioned my remarks to my dad (I was evesdropping), there and then my dad confided to my mum that he saw female ghost with long black hair wondering around in house too.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Those are fascinating tales. I'm still not convinced though (despite my own experience).

I'm not sure I want to be proved wrong - meeting a ghost would terrify me.




drb said...

Oh Mr PM, if you want to start seeing ghosts, you can start by having cold showers everyday, Rob learnt it from a documentary when we were in Edinburgh. After a month or so, you wil start seeing things.

I used to have cold showers everyday (when I was living in S'pore and also I believe it makes my mind clearer). However, after I realised that, I stopped having cold shower and all encounters stopped.

Another person who can see ghost is my friend's hubby and he has cold showers everyday too.

It upside of haing cold showers is that you sharpens your sixth sense.

Are you game enough to try it?

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi drb,

Seems an extreme way to awaken the sixth sense. I'm not a fan of cold showers at all - unless I'm in a really hot country.

I tell you what - next time I'm in a place that is really hot for a few weeks - I'll give it a go.