THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED!  I received input from a number of readers, friends, family members, and even the official medical consultant for Bobbing for Popcorn (okay, so it’s my doctor, but it makes us both sound way cooler) and the list of the FORTY THINGS I am challenged to complete by my FORTIETH BIRTHDAY has been compiled.  It equally pumps me up and terrifies me!  There are some really fun things that are going to be SO COOL and others that are scary as hell!  But that was the point, I guess.  So without further ado, in no particular order, here it is:

1. Eat a carolina reaper pepper

I’ve done hot challenges before, but never anything THIS hot!

2. Polar bear swim

I hate swimming.  I hate the cold.  This sounds perfect.

3. lose 40 pounds

This is probably the biggest challenge on the list but probably the most important one too.  Phew…this one is going to take some work!

4. go camping/Hiking

Believe it or not, there are a number of normal things on this list that I have never done.  This being one of them.

5. visit a legitimately haunted location

I’m not talking about local lore, or somebody’s uncle said he saw the curtains move once.  I’m talking a place one of those ghost hunter shows would go investigate.

6. finish writing a novel

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  I started writing this a long time ago.  What better way to light a fire under me to get the job done?

7. run a 5k

Oh sweet baby Jesus give me strength.

8. flip & sell a house

My wife and I have had a rental property for quite a while.  Time to channel my inner Bob Villa and fix it up and sell it to another family.

9. try bulletproof coffee & “cat poop” coffee

I love coffee…these frighten me.

10.  paintball

What better way to shoot your friends without anyone pressing charges?!!

11.  target shooting

I have never fired a gun.  I don’t believe I’ve ever actually held a real one in my life.  Judging by the fact that I usually need supervision when using scissors and I whimper at loud noises, I can’t see how this could go wrong.

12.  hug a llama

This might be the greatest thing I do in my life.

13.  go caroling

Seems a bit easy.  Maybe we’ll sing 80s hip hop mash-ups instead.

14.  grill day

If it isn’t grilled, we don’t eat it.  All day long.

15.  take a painting class

This one should be a piece of cake – I can draw hand turkeys like there’s no tomorrow!

16.  ride a horse

The poor horse probably wants me to lose the 40 pounds first…

17.  sing karaoke

I was in choirs all my life and was lucky enough to be allowed to sing solos.  I was a vocal music major for a semester and performed numerous musical numbers on stage…but I’ve always been freaked out by karaoke!  I don’t know why!  Terrifies me!

18.  learn basic guitar

I’m not looking to be the next Prince, but I just always wanted to strum along to a Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash tune.

19.  milk a cow

Some days you have to grab the bull by the horns, other days you have to grab the cow by the teats.  This is one of those days.

20.  participate in a flash mob

One reader suggested a kazoo performance…it’s got potential.

21.  make a 1/2 court basketball shot

NOTE: I suck at basketball.  It is one thing I am the worst at!  This could take a long time!

22.  hold a tarantula

The person who suggested this is no longer a friend of mine.

23.  go skiing

Again, something most people have done.  Not me.  Not even once!  I’ve never even been to anywhere while other people skied while I watched from a chalet!

24.  beat the original “Super Mario bros.”

The game that started a revolution has always escaped my nimble thumbs.  It’s time I take down Bowser and save that princess once and for all.

25.  go ice skating

Nope.  I put on skates once, dragged myself along the wall for about 20 feet, threw a tantrum, quit, and went home…I was probably 17…not one of my prouder moments.

26.  Create an animated short film

This one was just too intriguing not to try!

27.  sing the national anthem at a public event

Dear God please let me remember the words.

28.  act like a professional announcer for a youth sports team

I think this one would be a riot if the kids didn’t know I was going to do it!

29.  hit a home run out of a local ball park

I never played sports as a kid (I was too busy trying to beat that damn Mario Bros. game) so this is one of those thrills I’ve never experienced.

30.  snow golf

Now THIS ONE I have participated in before a few times.  However, to keep it on my list I think we’re going to need to play a full 18 holes.

31.  do a police ride-along

I have already contacted the police and was given permission to ride shotgun (maybe literally this time).  I have also informed the officer who will be hosting me that I reserve the right to sing the theme to “Cops” as many times as I want.

32.  perform at an open mic comedy club

Again, it’s strange.  I write comedy.  I perform in front of audiences all the time.  But this scares the crap out of me!

33.  get ordained

Bonus points if someone wants me to marry them!

34.  donate blood

I have a terrible phobia of needles…this could get very entertaining for you guys.

35.  meet a childhood idol

Could be tricky since most of them were cartoons…

36.  catch a big fish

I used to go fishing with many different members of my family all the time growing up.  However, while the lake we fished out of is full of walleyes, muskies, and bass, I only ever walked away with a couple sunfish and perch.  I can’t even tell stories about “the one that got away” because he never gave me a chance.  I want to catch “the big one!”

37.  Get a reading from a psychic

I’m super skeptical.  It’s going to take quite the reading to convince me that I’m not wasting my time with this one.  But I promise to keep an open mind and not to get too snarky when the spirits are visiting.

38.  audition for a movie or television show

Oh, why not?  Find an open audition and send in a video.  Who knows, I might be Man In Hat 2 in the 18th Mission: Impossible movie.  Dare to dream!

39.  help a beekeeper

I’m guessing these little guys are harder to milk than cows, but I’ll do my best to get the honey out.

40.  take a whirlwind trip to anywhere new

I’ve never done a lot of traveling, so the whole spontaneous jet-setting lifestyle is foreign to me.  I’ve never been farther west than Indianapolis.  Florida once and very few places north of there until you hit Pennsylvania.  As far as other countries go, Canada is it and I haven’t even been back there in over a decade.  So where should I rush off to on a whim?  Vegas?  London?  Hollywood?  Nambia?!!!  I’m going to hop in a car or on a plane, plant my feet on new ground (for me), snap a couple photos, and then head back home.

* * * * * * *

So that’s it!  My challenges for this year.  I will try to give you updates as weekly as possible (I have 12 extra Fridays that I can play with).  I am also going to challenge myself to get you guys AT LEAST 40 new Top Ten Tuesdays AND 40 new posts that are not Top Ten or 40 By 40 list related.  At least 120 new posts in 2018 just cuz I like ya!

So PLEASE, like, share, retweet, comment, and invite your friends to join in all the popcorny goodness!  And buckle up, this is going to be a busy year!

“Who says nothing is impossible. I’ve been doing nothing for years.” ~ Henny Youngman

Tick Tock…

I’ve been scarce this week because A) I was celebrating Christmas with my family, B) I just did 23 posts and a 30-minute video for you people, cut me some slack!!! and C) I was enjoying my birthday festivities!  Yup – my natal day has once again come and gone.  For those of you who know me (and for those creepy stalker type readers who remember all the details of one of my old posts), you know I came into the world a couple days after Christmas – which is AWESOME as an adult because for most of my birthdays  (like all but 3 or 4 of them) I have never had to go to work!  Of course one of those few birthdays I got laid off after helping stop a shoplifter…but that’s a story for another time.

As a child, my birthdays weren’t the best; terrible weather, limited choices for places to have a birthday party, you have to invite everyone in your class (even the ones who are mean to you all year long and then there they sit, sucking down your pizza and juice boxes…but I digress).  My parents did well making my special day feel special despite it being so close to Christmas (that Jesus guy really stole my thunder) and even to this day, birthdays are a huge deal to my parents.  My mother plans out every course of a kick-ass meal with the birthday boy or girl – it doesn’t matter if you want tacos or steaks (or steak tacos for that matter).  My father never forgets to hang the birthday banners which are given preferential locations so that they are in the foreground of any other holiday decorations (which means a lot seeing as though most of my immediate family are born near major holidays).

However, this birthday was a unique one for me…this was #39.  Bye bye thirties.  As far as my aging goes, I’m fine with it – I think I was dreading 30 more than 40.  Everyone kept telling me that 30 isn’t bad, you’ll be fine, you won’t feel any different (of course on my 30th birthday I was hit with a massive stomach flu and could barely move…so those people are all liars).  However, I want to really live it up this year.  AND NO, this is not some sort of mid-life crisis (mainly because I hope to make it past 80, on the other hand there are also people who look at me and say, “Damn!  You made it to 39?  I lost money in that pool!”) this is just a way for me to get the most out of the end of my 30s AND create more entertainment for you guys!  I mean, I have this nifty blog with readers  from all over (sure some of them are hackers trying to steal IP addresses, but I still count them, I’m not too proud), and most of my readers have the same fun, slightly twisted, refuse-to-grow-up personality that I have…that’s why I’m leaving this up to you.

MAKE ME A 40 BY 40 LIST!!!

I’ve looked up a bunch of “40 Things You Have To Do Before You Turn 40” lists and most of them suck.  They are either full of stuff I’ve already done (get married, have kids, buy a house) or it’s full of crap no normal person could afford (visit all seven continents, get your piloting license, scuba dive at the Great Barrier Reef).

So here’s what I need from you:

  1. Things you think I should do/experience/learn/try before the end of 2018.
  2. Keep it attainable within a year.
  3. Keep my budget in mind (think below public defense attorney and above homeless guy asking for change…stick closer to the homeless guy).
  4. Keep it legal and ethical(ish) – nothing that jeopardizes my marriage (more than I do on my own) or my job (more than I do on my own) or my physical well-being…okay, screw the last one.
  5. MAKE IT FUN – I’m going to be creating posts and videos for you to enjoy for these things, so if you’re bored by them, you only have yourself to blame.

Comment here, or on Facebook, or on Twitter, or email me before Thursday.  I will choose the 40 finalists and present the list to you NEXT FRIDAY!!!

On your mark, get set…..GO!

“Why is a birthday cake the only food you can blow on and spit on and everybody rushes to get a piece?” ~ Bobby Kelton

I Don’t Get It!

Okay, I’m feeling pretty dumb.

I had challenged myself to write 40 posts in 40 days to cover my Lenten obligation.  I wasn’t counting because I just assumed that the day before Easter (tomorrow) I would have 40 posts if I did this right.  But for some reason I looked at my post count and saw I was up to 49.  This struck me as strange because I had only written five posts before I started my challenge.  So that leaves me with four extra posts.

I double checked my calendar and found out there are 46 days in Lent, but Sundays don’t count.  DON’T COUNT?!!  How many of you knew that and didn’t tell me?!!  For years I could have had coffee on Sundays, or I could have sworn at stupid drivers!  I didn’t know you get six days off!  So I guess this was actually my 46 posts in 46 days challenge (I’m not going to wimp out now that I’m so close!) and I just didn’t know it.

But, that’s just one of a bunch of things I just don’t understand.  I could probably have done my whole blog on stuff that I can’t wrap my mind around.  I’m not selling my brain short, I wouldn’t say I’m an idiot (no, you don’t get a vote), but there are some things that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to comprehend.

Sticking with the subject of Lent – what’s up with the meat vs. fish thing?  I can’t eat meat on Friday, but I can gorge myself on fish and shrimp and lobster and crabs and any other seafood I want.  But why?  I get the whole “don’t eat meat” part – but I don’t get the “fish aren’t meat” part.  How are fish not meat?  They have a face right?  Once you take the scales and bones away, what’s left?  What do you call the…well…the meaty part of the fish?  Is it a cold blooded thing?  Can I eat alligators on Fridays?  Or is it a lives in water thing?  In that case I could eat otters!  If fish isn’t meat, tell me, what is it?  AND YOU CAN’T SAY FISH!  Cow is cow and pig is pig and chicken is chicken but cow, pig, and chicken are all meat.  So what’s the deal with fish?

What about babies?

***WAIT!  We’re changing subjects!  We aren’t debating whether or not babies are meat – they are – you shouldn’t eat them on Friday or ANY day.  There’s your Bobbing for Popcorn public service announcement: Don’t Eat Babies***

For the most part, babies are in their mothers’ stomachs for around nine months.  Baby is growing, developing, changing, learning stuff, doing stuff.  So THEREFORE, on the day the baby is born, why aren’t they considered 9 months old?  If they’re growing and developing, doesn’t that mean they’re aging as well?  If not, that means from the moment of conception (kids, if you’re reading this, make sure you ask you parents how that works – parents, you’re welcome) until the moment of birth they are the exact same age despite having time advance 9 months for the rest of the world.  That makes a woman’s uterus some sort of Doctor Who-like timey wimey black hole where all time stands still.  So which is it: does time hit pause in a lady’s belly or are we all 9 months older than we get credit for?  And, if you see things my way think about when your birthday is, go back 9 months, and start figuring out who owes you a birthday present because they are way late!

And then there’s the whole thing with colors.  Who named colors?  How do we know blue is blue?  Here’s what really gets me – how do we know that the color I think is blue isn’t the color you think is orange?!!  Our eyes could see things completely different!  You could look at a stop sign and see what I would call purple, but our parents, Sesame Street, and society in general all pointed at stop signs and told us all “This is red.”  So no matter what shade we see, we associate it with the word red!  And it’s world wide!  Every language has different words for the colors, but whether the person says “red,” “rojo,” “rouge,” “‘ahmar,” or “aka,” we will all point at the stop sign.  Mind blown, right?

Fashion blows my mind, too.  My wife has not learned this yet.  She still comes up to me and asks me if her shirt goes with her pants.  I know she wants to know about color, style, and a number of other criteria.  But the only thing I can go on is if they meet in the middle.  Your arms and head are in the shirt, your legs and butt are in the pants, and the shirt doesn’t stop at your ribs or go to your ankles and your pants follow the same guidelines – yup, they go together.  I have well over 100 ties the VAST majority of which have some sort of cartoon character on them.  I have five pairs of shoes – three of those pairs are sneakers, the other two are dress shoes that are exactly the same except one pair is black and the other is brown.  I have socks with tacos on them.  DO I SEEM LIKE THE PERSON TO ASK ABOUT FASHION?!  I remember walking with my wife when we were in college and her feet were getting torn up by her “cute” shoes.  First of all, shoes aren’t cute – puppies, kittens, babies: cute.  Footwear?  Not cute.  And even if I were to find some sort of cuteness in this article of clothing – the ones she was wearing wouldn’t qualify.  I don’t get the “chunky” shoes – I know they’re fashionable and “cute” and I know who shares that opinion: Frankenstein.  Anyway, she was in so much pain and her feet were torn to shreds by the time we got back to our dorms and I asked her why she even wore them (because this wasn’t the first time – so she knew they would hurt) and she said she liked them and they went with her outfit.  You know what I like best about my shoes?  Not bleeding.  You know what doesn’t go with my outfit?  Ironically, bleeding feet.

Most recently, the biggest thing that confuses me is retirement plans.  I really don’t get this whole concept.  I work and get a paycheck and part of that paycheck is saved for later (I get it) and my employer gives a chunk for me to use later (I get it) and then someone takes that money and invests it so I may end up with less money (I don’t get it).  If I were to come up to you and tell you to give me some of your paycheck so I can bring it to Vegas for you and then come back and tell you, “Well, it was a rough week and you actually lost money,” you’d come at me like a deranged badger on bath salts!  But we have a company do it and send us statements and we just keep rolling with it?!!  And, it’s my money right? I know it is because I put it in and I get it when I retire.  So, when I needed some extra money to fix my roof, I was allowed to borrow some from my retirement (I get it) but I need to put it back before I retire (I get it) and they gave me a really great interest rate (I don’t get it).  Wanna hear a great interest rate?  0%!!!  THAT is a great rate because I borrowed the money from myself!  Why would I charge myself interest?!!  Just to be sure, I had a meeting with the borrower (me) and the lender (me) and both parties agreed that there is no need for interest!

The saying goes, ignorance is bliss.  But it’s also pretty fun to talk about these things that I’m ignorant about and see the looks I get from other people when they try to figure out how to deal with my way of thinking.  I guess I just have a different idea of bliss!

“People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us who do.” ~  Isaac Asimov

If You Are What You Eat, We Must Have Eaten Dumb

Let me start off by saying I have very intelligent friends.  When we gather around a table together there are multiple Masters degrees.  There are teachers, heads of college departments, military specialists, and the most formidable force for any trivia competition.  However, there’s something wrong with our chemistry – when we get together, the stupidity seems to emanate from every fiber of our collective being.  Especially when it comes to food.

It all started one day when my family and I went out to eat at a Quaker Steak & Lube and read about their “Atomic Wing Challenge.”  These wings are supposed to be so hot that you need to sign a waiver before they will serve them to you.  Now, I don’t know where you are from, dear reader, but unless you are from the same part of the country that I am, respectfully, you don’t know real buffalo wings.  We’ve eaten the buffalo wings from the place where buffalo wings became buffalo wings.  There is no way we can let this restaurant (which didn’t start anywhere near Buffalo) tell us their wings are “challenging.”  So on our way out of the restaurant I bought a bottle of their Atomic Sauce and rallied the troops.

At one point in my life, I worked in a pizzeria so I know my way around some wings, therefore I worked my magic and whipped up a couple batches of Atomic wings.  Sure the bottle said “add a few drops to any recipe” and sure I added half of the bottle…but I figured it was okay to round up.

We each had six wings (and a buttload of celery) that was it – no biggie.  The plan was to muscle through those six wings as quickly as possible and then just “man up” and handle the heat.  The plan worked perfectly for a while.  The first wing was very tasty (I make damn good wings, by the way).  The second wing was equally delicious.  The third wing introduced a tingle in the back of the throat.  Wing four went from tingle to flat out fire.  Wing number five killed the sense of smell and got the eyes pouring tears.  The final wing made us understand why there was a waiver to eat these things.  But at my house, there are no waivers.  There was just a bunch of chicken, hot sauce, and dumbasses!  And PAIN!  Let’s not forget the copious amounts of PAIN!  Grown men were crying, coughing, guzzling anything liquid (nothing helps, by the way – water, milk, pop, beer, tears…nothing), and eating celery with reckless abandon.  Our voices were high pitched and whiny like teenage female hyenas sucking helium at a Bieber concert.

The pain (and ridiculously unmanly behavior) continued for a solid half an hour before it became manageable.  I wiped the tears from my eyes.  Do you remember the part where I said I washed my hands before wiping my eyes?  No?  Because I didn’t…and that hurt way worse.

You’d think that we would have learned our lesson after that…wait, if you’ve read any of my other posts, you probably know better than to think that.  We all had gathered to hang out once again and we brought up our favorite topic again…food.  We brought up another staple in our diet – Texas Hots.  For those of you who are unfamiliar: take a hot dog, add mustard, onions, and a spicy brown gravy and you’ve got yourself a Texas Hot.  We were in agreement that we could take down obscene amounts of those dogs.  I opened my big, fat (finally extinguished) mouth and said I could easily get through a dozen of them.  One of my friends (who was intelligent up until this point) matched my challenge without batting an eye.  My wife, who is a vegetarian, decided that an order of chips and salsa from a Mexican restaurant was more her speed…you know, the large bowl they bring for a party of  five or six people.  Another formerly smart friend of ours decided he could easily satisfy his sweet tooth on six packages of marshmallow Peeps (a dozen bunny Peeps per box – yup, half a gross of sugar coated sugar).  Another compatriot decided he would eat an order of sushi, a bowl of popcorn, and a quart of milk.

***Okay, to this day none of us think that his quantity was comparable, but he certainly got the “What the Hell Made You Think of THAT Combo” Award***

Finally, I talked about our escapades at work the next day and I gained the interest of one of my coworkers who swore she could single handedly conquer a dozen glazed doughnuts.

The food was ordered, the places were set, the guests had arrived, and we dug in.  The first couple hot dogs, chips, Peeps, and doughnuts went down easily.  Surprisingly, my hot dog partner (well, THAT sounds dirty) was the first one to finish, followed shortly thereafter by sushi/popcorn/milk guy (seriously, eew).  Right around my halfway point, we started to worry about our sugary duo.  My friend with the Peeps had quickly downed about two packages and my coworker was halfway through her third doughnut when they both started getting jittery and speaking to each other a mile per minute.  “DO YOU FEEL WEIRD I FEEL WEIRD IS IT SUPPOSED TO FEEL LIKE THIS I’M ALL SHAKEY AND MY STOMACH HURTS AND I WANT MORE BUT I THINK I’M GOING TO THROW UP AND AND AND AND AND…”  We actually had to Google: “can you get diabetes in one sitting” for them – it was a legitimate concern for them (as was passing cars, fluorescent lights, specks of dust, and the sound of their own jittery breathing).  Our doughnut eater tapped out shortly after that and the Peep challenge ended after three packages.  My wife was feeling “no muy bueno” with her “salsa grande” after only polishing off one of her two 32oz containers.  As for me, I finished my dozen dogs as my quicker counterpart sat next to me complaining about chest pains…probably indigestion…probably.  We immediately agreed that this was a stupid challenge and we all hated ourselves (and each other) a little bit for even agreeing to attempt this asinine dinner.

The next day I went to work feeling like absolute garbage.  My stomach hurt, my head hurt, my mouth tasted like funky lint (as opposed to all of the tasty lint out there).  The strangest thing was, all I could smell was onions.  Everywhere I went: onions.  In my classroom, in the hallways, in the office…it must be me!  I tried gum.  I still smelled onions.  I brushed my teeth.  Onions.  And then it hit me – it was coming out of my pores!  I WAS SWEATING TEXAS HOTS!!!

So that was it – one case of “dolor del estómago,” two cases of lighting diabetes (one of which was paired with a tongue that was dyed neon pink for a few days), a minor cardiac arrest, a full-out onion detox, and…well…whatever you get by combining sushi, popcorn, and milk – we swore to never, ever, EVER do something that stupid again…until we heard about the Quaker Steak & Lube TRIPLE Atomic Challenge…

Yes, we did.  Yes, it turned out as badly as you’d imagine.

Buon appetite!

“When the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, ‘Four. I don’t think I can eat eight.'” ~ Yogi Berra