I must share something about myself. I never, never, ever, never make New Year’s resolutions.
I did, however, promise myself that if I made it past the train wreck of a year that was 2012, I would start a daily bucket list. If I could think of 365 things out there I want to do (realistic or not)then I can help mold a pretty dynamic future. I’ll post my final list at the start of 2014 should I accomplish this lofty feat.
Now, it should go without saying (but I will anyway) that many of these will coincide with my nerd nature, and are definitely goals I’m keeping in the express aisle of my pipe dreams. I’m also willing to bet others like me would like to (or have done) some of these things.
To get my list started, as well as hopefully inspire others to compile similar lists, here are my personal Top Ten (well, first ten) items that might suit one’s geeky bucket list. I know they’re on mine.
1. Visit Hobbiton: It’s one of the great things about New Zealand. They not only tolerate Ringers and other Lord of the Rings/Hobbit fans visiting the sites and sets of the some of the greatest films ever made based on the books of one of the best writers ever (my apologies, I’m a bit excited about the prospect of this) they embrace them with open “give us your money and we’ll love you forever” arms. New Zealand’s tourism industry proudly announces its “home to Middle Earth” and visitors flood to several of the spots that served (or continue serve) as Tolkien’s world. Most notably, however, is the still-standing Hobbiton movie set in Matamata where you can wander around the Hobbits’ Shire, actually enjoy a libation at the Green Dragon Pub and see Bag End (Bilbo not included sadly, although I’ll leave room in my suitcase just in case). My furry little feet are tingling now, just thinking about it.
Since I’d be on the northern island, I might take a short trip from the Shire to visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (absolutely nothing to do with “The Hobbit,” but hey, glow worms!)
Local “quick fixes” I might have to settle for first in the United States include the Hobbit Café in Houston, Texas and Green Dragon Pub and Bilbo Baggins Global Restaurant in Alexandria, Va.
2. Take part in a zombie walk: It’s the little things in life — Earl Grey and a good book, weekend movie or game day with the family, a quiet evening of sunset gazing and ambling aimlessly along an avenue covered in fake blood and shredded clothes while emitting incoherent moans for brains. The last of these, however, I have never gotten the chance to participate. Okay, maybe these are soooo 2009, and nearly every major city hosts some type of zombie walk for charity, Halloween, movie events, comic-cons and quinceañeras, but they are still a complete blast. And dang it, I want to do one. It may be near an almost clichéd idea nowadays, but to channel Tallahassee from “Zombieland,” until I get to do one, “oh, this zombie walk thing ain’t over yet.”
3. Experience San Diego Comic-Con: The big one. Comic-Con International: San Diego. The best known and most celebrated (or despised) comic book convention in the world, brining in more than 130,000 cosplayers, hopeful artists, ravenous collectors, gawkers, gamers and geeks from around the world. There are plenty of other cons I would like to hit (Wondercon, Wizard World, Dragon Con, New York Comic Con), but to say you’ve been — and survived — the SDCC experience is almost the ultimate geek rite-of-passage. Go to get the free swag, collect original art and autographs from A-list comic creators and A, B and C-list celebrities. Go and admire the devoted creativity of the cosplayers and resent every cosplayer better looking than yourself. Go and hate the way the Hollywood hype has taken over the purity of the comic book environment. But, go nonetheless, just to say how over-rated, overpriced, overcrowded or even (gasp) how absolutely fantastic it was.
4. Take the Harry Potter studio tour in London: Yes, there is a wonderfully over-the-top Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park experience in which you can ride a dragon, drink a butterbeer and visit “Hogwarts,” and yes, I want to do that, too. It’s just not the same as being on the actual set. The Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London now includes a Making of Harry Potter Tour where you can visit the Grand Hall, Ministry of Magic, common rooms and other pieces of the movie sets. They spent enough time and money on those things; they might as well make a little back in tour ticket sales (because, of course they made nothing on the movies themselves). Bonus: I’d be in London. LONDON! Maybe after the tour there might be one or two other things we could find to do there — Baker Street anyone?
5. Meet Nathan Fillan or Simon Pegg: I’m going to level with you, there are tons of geek-friendly actors and directors I have no desire at all to meet. I don’t really like “movie stars” even those whose work I immensely enjoy. Most of them just come across to me as faux royalty looking down on their minions (some of whom, in all fairness, seem all too eager to stroke their idol’s ego). Not these two guys. They actually appear to get it, and genuinely come across as appreciative of being in the position to do what they love without having to relinquish their true fanboy natures. Between Fillan’s constant interviews where he spews his love of zombie apocalypse preparedness and his fanaticism with “Game of Thrones” or Pegg’s geeky (and quotable) confessional “Nerd Do Well,” (not to mention he’s the man behind my favorite zombie film, “Sean of the Dead,”), these boys’ let their geek-freak flag fly beautifully. My beliefs might not always jibe with their politics, ideals or other personal quirks, but when it comes to a collective embracing of the inner child, these boys are my kindred spirits…. and I just want to thank them for representing that spirit well.
6. Muscle through Universal Horror Nights: This one is just to prove to myself that I’m not a super-wuss. There are haunted attractions everywhere, but Universal Studios in Orlando’s nighttime Halloween season event has been considered one of the best and biggest in the United States again and again, with not only a selection of haunted walk-throughs but elaborately transformed themed “scare-zones” that have been based on everything from twisted Grimm Fairy Tales to, most recently, “Silent Hill” and “Walking Dead.” One of their recent zones even simulated, through elaborate camera and light effects, post-nuclear holocaust buildings crumbling all around you while wandering toxic mutants tried to see what it took for guests to lose their cool. Again, I list this one because as much as I sadistically love laughing at the squeals and jumps of grownups paying good money too look like screaming little girls at a haunted slumber party, I really wonder how much I would need to cowboy up to make it through this puppy.
7. Make or purchase an ultimate unnecessarily awesome movie prop showpiece: Thanks to thinkgeek.com and Noble Collection, anyone can own a replica Gandalf’s staff or light saber, but a true geek needs that over-the-top item that will make some shake their head in pitying disbelief and others drop their jaws and envious awe. I’m talking about items like the full-size Han Solo in carbonite office desk (someone actually has this), a Bat Cave (or Black Pearl) media room, or a walk in Tardis. I’m thinking about how I can transform my backyard sitting area into Bilbo’s Bag End Entry way, or converting a library to a Jules Verne-esque steampunk sitting room (complete with that wallpaper from BBC’s Sherlock’s apartment). I’d also like a fully functional life-sized Hatbox Ghost of vintage Haunted Mansion lore, and many other items on an embarrassingly long list of geek wants. Save your money, roll up your sleeves and get to work finding your own obsessive craving…you know it’s out there.
8. Watch ALL the “Doctor Who” episodes…in order: Eleven Doctors, more than 30 seasons and at least 300 episodes, and I haven’t seen one of them. I know the Doctors well, know the rabid protectiveness over their personal favorite incarnation if the character the Whovians have, and am familiar with the protagonists, villains, how the Tardis works and how weirdly cool it would be to have a sonic screwdriver. I have just never sat down to ONE full episode of the show, despite the disbelief and goading of my Who-crazy friends. At some point, I think I need to time travel my virtual self back to 1963 BBC and get started. Then maybe I can get in on the “who’s the best Doctor” argument beyond “I like Tennant’s Converse.”
9. Shake hands with Stan Lee: Is there any one more poignant living legend in the comic book world than Stan Lee? Wait, wait… I’ll answer that. NO, there is not. Once you’ve met Stan, you’ve experienced the pinnacle of comic book greatness. Time is wasting here, as Stan the Man just reached 90. I’m not waiting for any “bells to toll” as it were, as he seems as spry and filled with a zeal for life as ever. Unfortunately there’s no telling how much time he will want to spend during his nonagenarian decade having people and their grandkids stand in line for his signature and telling him what he an influence he has been. Plus, the opportunity to meet him at any of his comic-con appearances is limited. Make a reservation to meet this guy, ASAP.
10. Drive the Batmobile: I live a full and happy life. Love my family, am truly grateful and blessed to be able to have a creative outlet from which to spew my geek-heavy crafts — not to mention an actual “real” job in which I can get paid to write and edit. That being said…the eager little fangirl in me will never feel completely satisfied until I get a ride in the ultimate superhero vehicle. Not a simulator either. I’m talking the real ride. The Batmobile, which just might even have a fan base that rivals the Dark Knight himself, has evolved over time from its first “real life” appearance (a one-of-a-kind 1955 Lincoln concept car) as seen in the 1960s television series, to Tim Burton’s gothic art deco version to the oh-so-incredibly-awesome-please-can-I-have-one military-style Tumbler of the Christopher Nolan trilogy. I’m not picky though; any Batmobile will do…just as long I can get behind the wheel and drive past the homes of everyone I want to make jealous.