Thinking in Lists

Lately it seems like when I think about things, they fall into lists. Don’t know why that is. Maybe it’s a consequence of too much internet use. Everyone knows the internet thinks in lists: “The 41 Funniest Cat GIFs of 2013”, “16 More Pictures You Won’t Believe Aren’t Photoshopped”, “5 Ridiculous Things You Probably Believe about Islam”, “29 Awesome Things about Being 29”. If that’s the cause, one of these lists addresses it. Meanwhile, though, here are some lists.

Occasionally I have strong opinions for no particular reason. This is a short list of things I will never do, compiled while I was on Facebook:

  • Selfies
  • Bitstrips
  • Twitter
  • Check-ins
  • Resharing
  • Clicking the “Like” button because I’m asked to

This next list is probably the one that gets the most running time in my head. I’ve been on the road for a long time, and there are a lot of things I’ve had to defer until such time as I have a stable base of my own. It’s going to be really nice when I move into a place that’s my own and that doesn’t keep moving, and this is a list of things I’m looking forward to doing when I’m in that place.

  • Writing (fiction and probably a summary of my traveling).
  • Going paleo. I’ll finally be able to do all my own cooking and get good quality food for myself.
  • Parkour. Minneapolis has a parkour crew!
  • Camping a lot. Grinnell has a thing that’s sort of like “what if Facebook looked like Reddit and were restricted to Grinnell students, alums, and professors”, and on it I found a girl who lives in Minneapolis and has a goal of visiting two thirds of Minnesota’s state parks and would like someone to camp with her. The cosmos clearly had me in mind when they caused her to write that.
  • Rock climbing at some of those parks, hopefully.
  • Practicing calligraphy. I’m a good draftsman but not outstanding with a calligraphic nib, which makes the most fluid and natural shapes.
  • Drawing stuff.
  • Making a Mongolian deel.

These are two guys I met in Mongolia. The one on the right is wearing a deel.

I thought these were pretty much the greatest thing when I went to Mongolia. I put one on on a cold night while I was visiting some nomads, and it was all of a sudden as if temperatures didn’t exist. I’ve been in touch with a girl studying in Mongolia, and she says it’s probably cotton outside, wool in the middle, and fur on the inside for a winter deel. Doesn’t that sound like the warmest thing ever? I’ll probably tan my own deer hide for it, since that’s something I’d like to learn how to do.

  • Gardening. I’ve got those kkaennip seeds, after all.
  • Going to permaculture meetups.
  • Proofreading in free time, via a website I learned about in Vancouver called Elance (think “freelance”).
  • Perhaps acting in some small-time plays. I’ve often thought that would be fun.
  • Learning guitar and/or banjo. It’s about time I learned to play a real instrument. (I guess I could play a trumpet if pressed, but trumpeting isn’t much appreciated around a campfire or in a living room, and I haven’t played a song in about six years.)
  • And with all this stuff going on, I’ll have a lot less time to read stupid stuff on the internet, so I’ll also stop doing that.

Related to that list: I made a tactical mistake. In my Christmas list blog I put up just a few things, mainly because I knew there were some things I would actually need for living on my own, but I decided I shouldn’t ask for them just then, because I wouldn’t use them until springtime anyway, and by then it would be my birthday and I’d be able to ask for them at a more topical time. But then I started listing the things I’ll want, and realized that it’s kind of a lot to expect of a birthday. Maybe we can say it’s a special birthday because it’s combined with me finally going out to live on my own. In any case, this is my birthday list.

  • A bike. I super-duper loved my Fuji Crosstown, which is a hybrid (which means it’s sort of halfway between a mountain bike and a street bike), but when I was in Korea someone left it outside of Dad’s garage and it got rained on for a year and a half, and it was already having a little bit of trouble where the handlebar connected to the front post. I think I need a new hybrid bike.
  • Cookware.
  • Yerba mate paraphernalia: a thermos and a good bombilla. The bombilla is the straw with the filter at the bottom, but the only bombillas I’ve used are kinda crappy and let a lot of leaves through, rendering the mate a bit chewy. A gourd would also be a nice touch but could also make me look a bit silly.
  • Parkour shoes?
  • Rock climbing gear? I might want to put that off until a future birthday when I know how much rock climbing I’ll be doing. I might already have all I need, since I have a pair of climbing shoes.
  • The Natural Way to Draw, apparently the book that Annie Dillard, one of my favorite authors, learned how to draw from.

This is a list of all the languages I can count to ten in.

English, Spanish, French, Italian, Mongolian, Korean (two ways), Mandarin, Navajo, Russian, Finnish, Welsh, Hungarian, Nepali, Japanese, Khmer, Esperanto, German

This is a list of town names in the US that are pronounced all wrong.

  • La Plata, Missouri: “luh play-tuh”
  • Cairo, Missouri: “kay-roh”
  • Versailles, Indiana: “vur-sayles
  • El Dorado, Ohio: “ell duh-ray-doh”
  • Nevada, Missouri: “neh-vay-duh”
  • New Madrid, Missouri: “new mad-rid”
  • Hayti, Missouri: “hay-tie”
  • Detroit, Michigan: the French would say “deh-trwa
  • Limon, Colorado: “lie-mun” (comes from Spanish limón, pronounced “lee-mohn“)
  • Lima, Ohio: “lie-muh” (in Spanish, “lee-mah”)
  • Belle Fourche, South Dakota: “bell fooosh”
  • San Rafael, California: “san ruh-fell
  • New Orleans, Louisiana: the French would say “or-leh-awn
  • Los Angeles, California: The way we say “los” sounds like Spanish “las”, which makes all the angels female
  • Arab, Ohio: “ay-rab”
  • St Croix Falls, Wisconsin: “saint croy falls”
  • Pekin, Illinois: “peek-in” (nowadays the original Pekin is pronounced “Beijing”, though that’s because the Chinese pronunciation has changed since the old days—but it was never pronounced like peekin’.)
  • Des Moines, Iowa: “dee moin
  • Pierre, South Dakota: “peer”
  • Natchitoches, Louisiana: “nack-a-dish”

Lastly, and this isn’t a list: if I ran a barber shop, I would get a liquor license and make booze available to people waiting or getting their hair cut, and then I would call the place “Coif and Quaff”.

File under: irrelevancies, lists, language

Note: comments are temporarily disabled because Google’s spam-blocking software cannot withstand spammers’ resolve.



It's not a town, but how about Notre Dame? Yikes.

What sort of cookware do you want?

Are you coming up here again soon?

I am enjoying all your lists, and hoping your first one, writing, leads to some income.





I suppose "cookware" is pretty indistinct. I'll have to make a list of cookware I'll want…

Not sure if I'll be back before I leave; everything is indefinite thanks to Rubén. I called him today to ask if he was in the US yet, but there was no answer, which I suspect means he isn't. If he hasn't called to let me know his schedule by about the 15th, I'll just leave on my own. Can't hang around here forever; there's only so much time for exploring Latin America between now and my birthday (which is when I plan to be back).

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