More detailed updates

Dear Weblog Superfans,

I must apologize — my last post was far too vague, and you all must feel like you know nothing about me and what I’ve been doing to finish these 101 things for the last few weeks. This is my attempt to fix that. What follows, thus, is a thing-by-thing discussion of whatever I might have made some progress on. Or at least attempted to make some progress on.

36. Visit my brother and sister-in-law
Two weekends ago, my brother had the ceremony for his commission as an Ensign into the United States Navy Reserve. He lives outside of Boston, and he wanted his ceremony to take place on the USS Constitution, which is docked, or whatever the naval term is, in the Charlestown Navy Yard, just north of Boston. I guess it’s technically in Boston, but it didn’t used to be. Hence the Charlestown part of it. Anyway, the Constitution was built in the late 18th century, saw some action in some early wars, earned a cool nickname, and almost fell apart a few times. But certain historic-preservation-minded individuals intervened and preserved it so history geeks like me can walk around and wonder at the “Do not handle cannonballs” signs. (Keds took a picture of this, which I might steal and post here for you later.) But more importantly, this old boat gave my brother something to stand on while he took his oath of Ensign-ness. And he invited a bunch of people, Keds and I included (obviously, since Keds took the handling-the-cannonballs sign). But this visit is not currently being considered a victory against the 101, since it was instigated not by me, but by my brother’s desire to serve his country. And my list says nothing about that. Thus, #36 is not fulfilled, despite the trip.

58. Try contact lenses again
When I was in sixth grade, I had been wearing glasses for four years, and the thrill was gone. As excited as I was the first day I wore them to school in second grade (I even remember it was in February), by the time I realized that the stereotypes were true, that people with glasses are, indeed, dorks, I wanted nothing to do with them. And so I got contacts. My brother had gotten them the year before, and my mother wore them, so there was familial precedence, and I wasn’t all that concerned. And when I got them, I loved them — I wore them so much and so often, in fact, that my eyes got infected, and I had to not wear them for a while. But then I could again, and so I did — until senior year of high school. For several irrelevant reasons, I went back to glasses at this point in my life, and by the time I tried to go back to them a little later, I couldn’t wear them for more than an hour or two at a time without my eyes drying out. It was pretty uncomfortable. But now, I believe, has come the time for me to try them again. I went to the eye doctor a little while ago and told him of my astigmatic and near-sighted issues, and he said, with all the blandness an optometrist can deliver, “No problem.” And so I am go to back soon and get fitted for new contact lenses that might or might not solve all of my dryness problems. We’ll see. But for now, #58 is In Progress.

83. Whiten my teeth
You’d think this wouldn’t be that hard. “They’ve got all those boxes,” you say, “in the pharmacy, right next to the denture cleaner, which you’d think would actually be the same thing, but apparently it’s not.” To which I say, “They do, in fact. Also, astute and clever observation. You’d make a decent semi-ironic sometime blogger.” I tried one of those boxes, actually. The Crest Whitestrips box, to be exact. And I tried the product it contained. But it hurt my teeth. It hurt them to the point where I didn’t want to continue with them. And my teeth are no whiter. I think I’ll try this again, since I’ve got half the box left, plus, probably, some leftovers from when I mooched a half-empty kit from my dad, when he gave up on them as well, perhaps from sensitivity issues. Or maybe he switched to denture cleaner… (#83 — in progress)

91. Find an old map of Richmond, frame it, and hang it in the apartment
I have a sort of thing for maps. Not a big thing, not like my book thing or my baseball thing or my history thing. I just like maps. (Actually, I guess it sort of has something to do with my history thing. Especially this specific 101 goal.) I read maps of all ages, look for interesting things (but what those are I don’t even know), try to find out where I am, where I’m going, where I’ve been. (Which, you might remember, is something that Forrest Gump could tell about a person just by looking at his or her shoes.) So anyway, I think generally that old maps are fun to look at, and so I thought that it would be nice to get an old map of the city in which I live and hang it up. The Library of Virginia has a map collection, and apparently you can just go in there and get copies of them. So I guess that’s an option, once I figure out exactly how it works. There’s also a website I found a while ago that will do similar things, as long as you send them something like $8. Which ain’t much. I think the catch with that one is that you only get the description of the map up front, you don’t get to see the thing before you pay the $8. But it’s something fun to look into, and will also result in something fun hanging on the wall. Which is nice. So perhaps we can call this in progress? Eh. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

97. Bake a cake for no reason
Well, I really blew it on this one. It was 100 degrees outside yesterday, and Keds and I did the unthinkable — we baked. It was so hot. So ridiculously hot. But here’s the thing: we made cookies, from scratch. Not a cake. Cookies. So even though they’re very good — mint chocolate chip, very tasty — they’re not a cake. And so I’ve got nothing for this one. And it’s supposed to be 105 today, so there’s no way I’ll be baking today. And probably not for a while.

101. Grow a goatee
Uh, yeah. I’ve got like no facial hair. This will take some time. I might as well call this In Progress, even though I won’t be done until I’m 73…

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