It’s the end of the world as we know it, and we feel fine
Earthquakes got you rattled? (Admit it, you miss them.) Global warming have you despondent? Food riots make you feel like stocking up? Yeah, us, too. But in the face of all this doom and gloom, it is now more important than ever to realize that life is short, summertime is even shorter, and both should have a lot more fun injected into them. It’s OK. Really. Have fun. There’s no better time than the present.
1) Put on sunscreen.
2) Float or paddle down the Truckee River. Go down in your own raft or tube, or get some rentals or a guided tour with Sierra Adventures, (866) 323-8928, Wildsierra.com; or Truckee River Rafting Company, (530) 583-0123, Truckeeriverraft.com.
3) Go kayaking. We have this park we’ve put nearly $2 million into creating—the Truckee River Whitewater Park downtown. Use it.
4) Take long walks—try the Riverwalk, your own neighborhood, hike the Tahoe Rim Trail, summit Mount Rose, just put one foot in front of the other. There is a more or less unbroken walkway along the Truckee from west of Reno to east of Sparks. Walk the entire thing.
5) Swim in Tahoe. It’ll only be that blue for so long.
6) Camp three times at Pyramid Lake. If you go about three miles past the end of the pavement on the other side of Sutcliffe (get a permit there), there are huge stands of trees. Great camping. Quiet. Makes you think about serial killers. Maybe it’d be better to go to Popcorn.
7) Spend one hour volunteering for a candidate you care about. Or, if you have real guts, volunteer for an hour for someone you’d really like to see lose. You can do your own personal push polling about torture.
8) Go to the drive-in. Even if it’s American Pie 8, there’s something about drive-ins that is always fun. June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the first drive-in theatre. (It was in Pennsauken, New Jersey.) The El Rancho, 555 El Rancho Drive in Sparks, has been there for decades. In the daytime, you can visit its flea market, then escape onto the screen after dark. It’s free for kids 11 and under.
9) As long as you’re going to the drive-in, why not have dinner first at a different kind of drive-in? Scooper’s, a former A&W, has been out from under chain ownership now for 26 years and is one of a dwindling breed. It’s a few blocks east of El Rancho, at 1356 Prater Way.
10) People-watch at the river. The Truckee is a microcosm of Reno during the summertime. Children and teens sit on the rocks or swim in the river. Families have picnics. Fishermen fish. Bums try to sleep. Tourists idle by. Not to mention the concert or festival-goers there nearly every week for some performance or other. The muralist who covered the building at Virginia and First Streets in paint got this scene exactly right.
11) Day trip to the artistic little town of Nevada City.
12) Hike, swim, dive or whitewater raft at the Yuba River.
13) Get a new piercing. Taint doesn’t mean, “Taint a good place for a gold hoop.”
14) Have a drink outside. Summertime is what patios were made for. Local breweries Silver Peak I and II and Great Basin Brewing Company have some especially good ones.
15) Go to Bartley Ranch for an intimate, outdoor concert at Robert Z. Hawkins Amphitheater. This summer, Neko Case and Calexico are among those on the roster.
16) Volunteer for something. We’re in a time of need, people. The homeless need help, the food banks need food, organizations of all sorts need extra hands. Type in your zip code at Volunteermatch.org to find groups asking for help.
17) Contra dance. Sierra Contra Dance Society holds a dance at Plumas Park Gym the second Saturday of every month at 7:30 p.m. with a live band.
18) Salsa dance. Reno Truckee Salsa always seems to have something going on. See their calendar at Renotruckeesalsa.com.
19) Eat fresh peaches. Mash your face into one. Eat fresh everything.
20) Visit the West Street Market, a promising place to pick up those fresh veggies—and breads and meats and art, etc. Opening in July on West Street between First and Second streets, organizers have Pike Place Market ambitions in their minds for this indoor-outdoor, urban market. We’ll see what its debut year brings.
21) Or go a little more low-key at the United Methodist farmers’ market in Sparks. You may have noticed that the hardest thing to find at local farmers’ markets is the produce. That won’t be a problem at this one at 1231 Pyramid Way. The fruits and vegetables are easy to find because the number of displays of black velvet paintings or fortune telling booths are limited by the church. Open 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, starting June 3.
22) Make an unexpected gift for someone. Wouldn’t it freak out your secret crush if you made him or her a card or a bouquet or a noose.
23) Try a pupusa. First of all, the word alone is fun to say. Secondly, something about melted cheese inside fried bread just says cheap, summer indulgence. Try any Salvadoran restaurant in town.
24) Hot springs hunting. The intense geothermal activity of the Great Basin creates natural pools of stinky, sulphuric, hot water perfect for soaking your weary bones. The locations of the best ones are closely guarded secrets that shan’t be revealed here—not today anyway. But trekking out to the middle of the desert following nothing but a rumor is half the fun.
25) Try a new workout class. There are some strange and intriguing options out there, like Zumba, exotic pole dancing and hot mama-buddha baby yoga.
26) Pick-your own fruit. Lattin Farms in Fallon is one place to do it come August. Take a run through their corn maze while you’re at it.
27) Try your hand at canning. What else are you going to do with all that fruit you just picked?
28) Get hammered with some people below/above your social station. OK, this is plainly a sign of latent alcoholism. But, what the heck? It’s summer, and the world’s ending anyway.
29) Drive “The Loneliest Road in America.” If you don’t love crossing the desert mountains and valleys of the Nevada stretch of Highway 50, and the small town/ghost town charm of places like Austin and Eureka, you’ve got no reason to live in Nevada.
30) Fall in love. Again. If you believe Bruce Van Dyke, the erotic time of love is short and inevitably ends. It’s related to the number of orgasms you have. So what? Everything good ends. Everything good begins. Beginnings can be almost infinite and as short as you’d like them.
31) Watch the stars, catch an exhibit, or see a SkyDome feature at Fleischmann Planetarium on the UNR campus.
32) Eat ribs. There’s the Nugget Rib Cook-off on Labor Day weekend, the Rib House off Wells Avenue makes good ones anytime, or make your own.
33) Go on a picnic. Oh come on, you think we’re going to give away our favorite spots?
34) Go to Burning Man. If you haven’t been, stop mouthing off about “Burners” and go see for yourself. If you have, you know if you need to go again.
35) That said, go to the Black Rock Desert sometime that isn’t Labor Day weekend. It’s an empty canvas. Unfortunately, it seems like Burning Man is becoming a year-round event.
36) Another Labor Day weekend alternative is Virginia City Civil War Days, held Aug 28 to Sept. 1.
37) Have a squirt gun fight.
38) Have a water balloon fight.
39) Make love, not war. Hot, sweaty, loud, tender love.
40) Enjoy the opportunity to see members of the opposite sex half-naked on a regular basis.
41) Do Nada. Doing nothing is also a good summertime treat, but that’s not what we’re talking about here. This is the second incarnation of what Dada Motel was last year, when dozens of artists set up temporary studios in the El Cortez Hotel downtown and let the chaos follow. The El Cortez, 239 W. Second St., is again the site of this year’s event, held June 26-29. There’s talk of a cock fight. Lord knows what else.
42) Make your own sorbet: With a food processor or blender, puree a quart of your favorite summer fruit with a half-cup apple juice, and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Pour into a bowl, cover and freeze for three to four hours. Take it out of the freezer every 45 minutes or so and puree again to keep things smooth.
43) Eat breakfast outside, either on your own patio or a restaurant’s. The outdoor patio at Daughters Cafe, 97 Bell St., feels like you’re on vacation at a bed and breakfast.
44) Visit the National Automobile Museum, 10 S. Lake St.—even if you don’t like cars.
45) Read something, preferably outdoors.
46) To be specific, read Walter Van Tilburg Clark’s City of Trembling Leaves. Yes, it’s long and heavy, but it’s time. The story feels like one long summer’s day, and you’ll appreciate Reno more after reading it.
47) Experience a local culture you’ve never experienced. How about this? Shop on Wells Avenue on a weekday when there isn’t some big, white-people-drinking holiday celebration going on. Or go in one of those Asian markets and talk to some people about the stuff you see that you don’t recognize or understand.
48) Catch a quickie in a public place (but don’t get caught). Wouldn’t it be cool if you could combine this with No. 47?
49) Meet your neighbor. You’re outside, he’s outside. Go say hello.
50) Celebrate the solstice on June 21.
51) Take a class. TMCC offers community classes ranging from Tibetan Buddhism to flower arranging, workplace Spanish, grant writing and Italian cooking. Or click on “classes” in the community section of Reno.craigslist.org.
52) Make lemonade. Put a sprig of lavender in it. Maybe add some vodka.
53) Speaking of lavender, visit Lavender Ridge at 7450 W. Fourth St. This amazing shop full of homemade lavender bath, body and kitchen goodies is also the site of its farm, which explodes into a field of purple blooms every summer and is worth the short trip to west Reno.
54) Rummage. Go to a garage sale. Call it recycling.
55) Turn off the air conditioner and rub ice cubes on your lover’s back. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
56) Artown is made up of hundreds of events during July. Most of it is free. Preservation Hall Jazz Band is leaving its little room in New Orleans to come see us, Vertigo is showing as part of Movies in the Park. Hubbard Street Dance Chicago is coming. Go see something.
57) Have a white-trash party. Invite your friends, crack some cans of light beer, ask them to bring their own potato salad and meat, and have them all wear those treacherously named “wife beater” T-shirts.
58) Attract butterflies. If you can’t do it by your good looks alone, plant something that will draw them in.
59) Visit the residential but open-to-the-public garden off Riverside Avenue and around the corner from Bell Street. You’ll see what happens when, instead of letting 7-Eleven buy the lot next door to your house, you plant a kickass garden there.
60) Get a journal and write in it. Or go public and blog. Either way, get it all down.
61) Get a new perspective: Watch an artsy movie, maybe even one with … gulp … subtitles! The Nevada Museum of Art (160 W. Liberty St.) and Great Basin Film Society (for a schedule and screening locations, go to Gbsf.org) should be able to keep you well supplied when other local theaters can’t.
62) Watch the sunset. Does the sun ever look better than when it’s setting behind the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada, splashing the sky in pink and blue? Not really.
63) Check out a new club. There’re all sorts of new places opening up, like practically everything inside the Grand Sierra Resort (2500 E. Second St.), the Abraham Lincoln-themed Lincoln Lounge (302 E. Fourth St.), the ‘80s-themed Red Martini (214 Commercial Row) and other places whose themes are a more straightforward “drink and be merry.”
64) Bare your tootsies. It’s summer! Why are you covering your toes?
65) Ride your bike. It’s warm out, it feels great, gas prices make you want to scream—divert that energy and hop on a bike.
66) Pick one project that you’ve been putting off. Complete it. That deck is looking a little rough, isn’t it? Admit it, it looks like shit, you lazy fuck! Get off your ass and do something about your personal environment.
67) Skip stones on the water. There’s something therapeutic about this, whether you’re 6 or 60. Don’t hit anyone.
68) Line dry your clothes. OK, so doing the laundry isn’t fun, exactly. But you’ll feel good to be saving energy—and power bill dough—by doing this, and feeling good is fun, right?
69) Take a tour with the Historic Reno Preservation Society (Historicreno.org) of some of Reno’s oldest, most charming neighborhoods, homes and buildings.
70) Parents, play with your kids. Kids, play with your parents. If you’re lacking ideas and inspiration, try Familyfun.go.com.
71) Get a brain freeze. Nothing like a cold drink on a hot day, especially a sickeningly sugary one that you drink too fast. Brain freezes are like the fun version of migraines. 7-Eleven Slurpees are good, and you can get them for free on July 11 (7/11, get it?), but margaritas are the best, as long as you like your brain freezes accompanied by future hangovers.
72) Ever been to Idlewild Park’s rose garden? You should.
73) Scrapbook. You don’t have to buy out Michaels with all the little stickers and whatnots to do this. But summer is fleeting; time is more so. Capture it on acid-free pages forever.
74) Go fish. Donner Lake, Truckee River, Frenchman Lake—pick a body of water, get your fishing license (Ndowlicensing.com), and cast a line.
75) Learn a musical instrument. Guitar is a good one to start with—it’s relatively cheap and portable. There are not nearly enough fiddle players in town. Whatever instrument you pick up, be patient with yourself. You won’t be Jimi Hendrix or Vladimir Horowitz on the first try. Stick with it. In addition to keeping your brain sharp, it will give you a place to go for solace and fun when none seems to be found.
76) Eat flowers. Dandelions, nasturtium, pansies—they’re all growing this time of year, are edible, and make any salad look darned pretty.
77) Go to a festival. Take your pick from Celtic to bluegrass to Brews and Blues and Hot August Nights. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat any manner of fried foods and nudge against a crowd of sweaty people this summer.
78) Make a movie. It’s so easy to be an amateur filmmaker these days with programs like iMovie and Final Cut Express out there. Put a soundtrack over it, and impress, well, at least your mom.
79) Head up the hill for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival and some of the world’s most beautiful language enacted at one of its most beautiful settings. This will be a summer of hunchbacks: The Bard’s Richard III and Cambio, a modern-day re-telling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
80) Grow herbs. Put down that $4 bottle of oregano and grow your own culinary herbs. Dry what’s left of the summer harvest for later.
81) Catch a summer blockbuster. Iron Man. Indiana Jones. Batman. The Hulk. This will be a summer of adolescent boy hero-fantasies writ large.
82) Visit your family. This can be fun. Really.
83) Become well-acquainted with water—sit in it or by it, float on it or swim in it. Certainly drink a lot of it. Summer heat elevates our respect for water to religious proportions.
84) Plant a flower you’ve never heard of. We don’t know. We never heard of it, either.
85) Brew your own beer. Reno Homebrewer, 2335 Dickerson Road, is a good place for the novice to get supplies and advice. You’ll need it when the end of the world arrives.
86) Make a “summer mix” CD for yourself or a friend. It could become the soundtrack of your summer—a sort of scrapbook itself.
87) Appreciate the sound of crickets.
88) Revel in the lightning storm that is sure to come.
89) Install motion detector floodlights on your driveway. The economy is in the shitter. Crime always goes up when the economy goes down. Thirty-five dollars and 20 minutes work may save you the cost of outfitting your son for stolen fencing gear.
90) Go to the Reno-Tahoe Blues Fest. Jonny Lang, Gladys Night and Mavis Staples are some of the artists on the lineup this year. Bring an umbrella to shade yourself because it’s usually a hot one with precious little shade to be found at Rancho San Rafael Park.
91) Ride McCarran Boulevard. It’s a ring road. Ride the entire thing on a bicycle. Or better yet, a nanny.
92) Organize your thoughts.
93) Go to the Mines Museum. Most Renoites don’t even know this place exists. It’s on the first and second floors of the Mackay School of Mines at UNR.
94) Walk outside without a jacket. Pretty cool, huh?
95) Better yet, walk around naked. At least on your back porch. If you can’t walk around naked on your back porch without your neighbors taking pictures, where can you walk around naked?
96) Catch a lizard. Go to one of those little-used roads on the far side of Pyramid Lake. Look at the highest points of those rock piles along the sides of the roads. There, you will see all kinds of banded lizards doing pushups. We don’t know why they do pushups, but there they are. Catch one but be careful, they can bite the end of your finger off. Gently release the lizard and apply a bandage.
97) Take those broken ceramics from the last temper-tantrum you threw and make a mosaic collage on a flower pot.
98) Virginia City Camel Races. OK, so technically that’s held during September, but it’ll still be hot.
99) Write a real live, pen-to-paper, snail mail letter. No typewritten pages allowed. Remember what horrible handwriting you have. They’ll be thrilled to get it.
100) Go for a longer than three-hour motorcycle ride. Or better yet, go all the way to Boise.
101) Take a nap. It’s hammock season!