Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Goals for 2016

Unlike last year, when I’d been working on my goal list for a month and a half at this point, this year I starting working on this list on today (Dec 31!). I mean, I’ve had some thoughts about it during the year, but they’ve been fleeting thoughts here and there, not a real list. I decided to structure it off of last year’s list and see what I come up with!

Health

  1. Run a sub-1:50 half marathon. I’ve been aiming for a sub-2 hr half marathon for quite some time now and last year I was close twice, but not quite close enough. So I think that aiming for 2 hours isn’t leaving me enough breathing room – any little thing1 can make me miss the 2 hour mark. If I’m training for sub-1:50 and I miss it by a few minutes, I’ll still get the elusive sub-2 hour race accomplished.
  2. Run/bike/swim 1000 km. I ran 800 km in 2015, which involved solid training for two half marathons. I’m not 100% sure of what races I’m going to do this year, but see my next goal for why I’ve decided to including biking and swimming along with running!
  3. Run a triathlon. I’ve been wanting to do one of these for years and I think I just need to bite the bullet and sign up for one. Signing up for races is always the best motivation for me to get training!
  4. Add 6 new medals to my collection. I got 5 this year, so let’s up it to 6 for next year. Race medal inflation should help!
  5. Complete the 100 push up challenge. Didn’t do this one in 2015, so I’m adding it to the 2016 list!
  6. Bring lunch to work 75% of the time. In 2015 I only did just over 50%, but I think I can do better!
  7. Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA. Maybe triathlon training and significantly more homemade lunches will help?

Wealth

  1. Pay off 16% of my mortgage principal. Seems like a good goal for 2015. Also, I should probably clarify I mean my original principal, not my remaining principal. Last year those were pretty much one and the same, as I only bought my condo half way through 2014 so hadn’t paid off a tonne by the start of 2015, but since I paid off a lot in 2015, this year the distinction is required.

Misc

  1. Submit at least one article for publication. It takes a long time to get through the whole publication process, and since I have nothing currently in the pipeline, it’s probably not reasonable to have something published by this time next year. But I can certainly get something submitted!
  2. Complete 16 items from my 101 list. I did 15 this year, which means there are fewer easy ones left on the list to choose from, so this might be a challenge. Challenge accepted!
  3. Paint a room. I want my bedroom to be a different colour than it currently is. Is anyone good at painting and wants to help me?
  4. Get screeched in. I’m planning to go to Newfoundland for a conference in June and since it is the last of the 10 provinces that I need to go to complete my quest to go to all of the provinces2, it seems like a screeching in ceremony is in order!
  5. Make 16 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before.
  6. Write 116 blog postings.

So there are my 16 goals for 2016!

  1. Like my GPS watch being less than perfect a la BMO Vancouver or a long wait on a freezing bridge before the race causing a need for a pee break a la Montreal. []
  2. The bigger quest is to go to all of the provinces and the territories, so I have my sights set on the Yukon and Nunavut too! []

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Nerd Stats 2015

Ordinarily I would post this at some point on Dec 31, but since I was in Ottawa for a friend’s wedding, I was too busy to put these stats together (along with my next two postings, which are a review of my 2015 goals and my goals for 2016). So instead, I’m posting them today! Which kind of makes sense, since I really should wait until the end of the year so that all the blog postings/tweets/blog views are in!

Blog postings Tweets Visits to my blog Average number of blog visits per day Busiest day on my blog
2008 423 2,227 32,410 93 Sept 26, 2008 (460 views)
2009 357 1,815 45,153 126 July 25, 2009 (1,181 views)
2010 344 2,302 44,689 122 Feb 9, 2010 (233 views)
2011 380 3,625 60,560 166 Oct 10, 2011 (374 views)
2012 201 875 63,844 175 Feb 13, 2012 (350 views)
2013 213 945 46,665 128 Sept 4, 2013 (721 views)
2014 91 910 33,948 93 Mar 7, 2014 (208 views)
2015 118 800 34,930 96 Nov 23, 2015 (512 views)
% change from 2014 29.67% -12.09% 2.89% 3.23% N/A

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Reviewing My Goals for 2015

Since it’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to check in on how I did with my 2015 goals!

2015 Goals Achieved (Y/N) Comments
Run two half marathons. Y BMO Vancouver & Montreal Rock’n’Roll.
Run a sub-2 hour half marathon N This, like gravy, is my Moby Dick.
Run 800 km Y 834.7 km, in fact.
Add 5 new medals to my collection Y Accomplished!
Complete the 100 pushup challenge N Didn’t even start trying it! Thought about it, but then had hand problems and then by the time my hand problems were fixed, I’d forgotten about it again.
Bring lunch to work more often than I buy lunch at work Y I tracked this all year and it turned out I brought lunch 53% of the time. I really think I could do a better job at this, so I think I’ll have to put in a more ambitious target for this for 2016.
Lose those last 5 lbs that I gained during my MBA N Gah, this is also my Moby Dick. I was trending in the right direction but then Drink-cember came along which, combined with No-running-vember and Sloth-cember, has caused me to start trending in the direction of Moby Dick.
Set up a new investment plan Y Done.
Write a will Y I did that yesterday. Kalev gave me a fill-in-the-blank will kit1 a billion years ago and I finally filled it in, mostly because I wanted to check this item off this list of goals!
Pay off 7.5% of my mortgage principal Y I actually paid off 18% of my principal this year. I used a combination of teaching money, textbook royalties, my tax return, and money I was able to save from my regular pay to do this.
Complete 15 items from my 101 list Y Done!
Apply for at least one research grant Y Back in November I said it would take a miracle for this to happen by the end of the year. As it turns out, a miracle happened – a great opportunity presented itself and I was able to get a grant in by the end of the year. Not at liberty to talk details, but I’m actually really excited by this project!
Make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before Y I made 23!
Organize all my closets Y Done, though I did it so early in the year I probably should do it again!
Write 115 blog postings Y I published 118 blog postings in 2015!
Bonus goal: Read 15 books Y I read 18 books!

That’s 13/16 or an epic 81%. This far exceeds any of my previous years (2015: 50%, 2013: 65%, 2012: 44.5%, and 2011 at 40%)2

  1. New business idea: Mad Libs-style will kit. It would be hilarious AND legally binding! (TM!) []
  2. This would probably be a lot more exciting if my year hadn’t had such a shitty ending, but beggars cannot be choosers. []

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All the Books I Read in 2015!

I started tracking the books I’m reading on GoodReads this year and it made a nice summary of the 18 books I read (i.e. surpassing my goal of 15 books), so I just stole screenshots from that report. #Efficiency

GoodReads 2015 - part 1
GoodReads 2015 - part 2

The above list includes:

  • 4 books that I read for one of the courses that I taught
  • 5 books that I read for my book club
  • 1 book that I read for work
  • 8 non-fiction books that I read out of interest

Wow, I just realized there isn’t a single fiction book on that list that I just chose to read myself. Good thing for my book club or I wouldn’t have read any fiction at all!

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All the Things I Completed From My 101 List in 2015

Here’s a summary, by month, of the items that I completed from my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days, during 2015:

Month Items Completed
Jan 58. Ski at Whistler
66. Take the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler
Feb 27. Update my address on every account I have by the time my mail forwarding ends
Mar 28. Update my budget to reflect my new financial situation
Apr 64. Go on a Paddle Wheeler cruise down the Fraser River
May 89. Increase the amount of money I loan out via Kiva by 100%
93. Get a book chapter published
46. Go to Nova Scotia
Jun 56. Go to Bowen Island
69. Create a balcony herb garden
86 Decorate a cake in a creative and awesome way
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct 91. Paint something worth hanging on my wall
Nov
Dec 4. Create a computer simulation model.
92. Get a journal article published
38. Write a will

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All the New Foods & Drinks I Made This Year!

One of my goals for 2015 was to “make 15 new food or drink items that I’ve never made before”. And I managed to blow this one out of the water, with 19 new food items!

Chocolate buttercream frosting 1-Jan-2015
sweet and spicy pecans and cashews 12-Jan-2015
caramelized onion, mushroom, apple and Gruyère puff pastry bites 12-Jan-2015
cucumbers with salmon whip and dill whip 12-Jan-2015
slow cooker gingered chickpea and tomato stew 12-Jan-2015
cheese puffs 12-Jan-2015
homemade sour mix 12-Jan-2015
Swiss cheese beer bread 4-Feb-2015
potato, cheddar & beer soup 4-Feb-2015
beer marinated pork chops 4-Feb-2015
brown ale potato galette 12-Mar-2015
black bean & mushroom tortilla casserole 12-Mar-2015
spent grain dog biscuits 28-Mar-2015
rice pilaf 29-Mar-2015
BBQ short ribs 14-Jun-2015
grilled potato skins 4-Jul-2015
blondies 14-Sep-2015
ameretti 23-Dec-2015
roasted beets 24-Dec-2015

As you can see from the above list, I started the year off strong by making a new item on New Year’s Day, and then 6 new items on Jan 12 (for my birthday party). I also owe several of these items to the fact that my friend Amy and I started home brewing beer and our first batch was rather undercarbonated so I found some recipes that used beer as an ingredient to use up the under carbonated beer. And just as I typed  that I realized that I forgot to include all the beer I made on this list, as they are totally drink items that I’ve never made before!! They are:

  • winter ale
  • blonde ale
  • stout
  • hefeweizen

So that’s 23 new items I made this year! Go me!

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The Penultimate Night of the Year in Our Nation’s Capital

Spent the day driving to Ottawa with my family, as we are going to a friend’s wedding tomorrow night. The invitation says it’s a fancy-schmancy attire sort of occasion, so I’ve got a fancy dress, impractically tall shoes, and even some full length gloves for the occasion. My friends Sarah and Dave and their crew will also be in attendance, so it will be nice to ring in the new year with them. My niece baked the wedding cakes and I hear there’s a late night pierogie bar! Rock on!

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WordPress’s Annual Blogging Report

WordPress just sent me my annual blogging report, which informed me that my blog has been viewed 34,000 times this year! My busiest day was Nov 23, with 513 views, mostly on this blog posting, which for some reason got pingbacks on two sites that stole this article from the Guardian.

The report also claims that I’ve posted 110 blog postings in 2015 – though my spreadsheet that I keep of such things says that I’ve only posted 103. So I’ve just double checked and found some errors in my spreadsheet (the horror! the horror!) and when I also add the postings I’ve done today and yesterday that it appears were too late to be included in my blogging annual report, plus this one that I’m writing, I’ll actually have posted 114 postings, so I only I have one less to go! And given that I have a few standard year-end blog postings (review of this year’s goals, goals for next year, nerd stats), I’ll easily be able to exceed my blogging goal this year. It’s a Holiday miracle!

You can check out my WordPress generated annual blogging report, if you are so inclined, here.

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Pedi

So today my sister and I went to the spa for pedicures because we are going to my sister’s best friend’s wedding on New Year’s Eve and I needed to have toenails that match my fancy dress. We may also have consumed some wine while we had our fancy pedicures. #RoughLife

Pedicure

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The saga of my Irish marble ring

When I was in Ireland, I bought myself a Connemara marble ring, which I love and wear most days. One day back in August1, I looked down at my ring and noticed that a chunk of the marble was missing:

My marble ring, with a missing chunk

I knew I’d bought it at the Connemara Marble store that we’d stopped at on our bus tour, so I Googled “Connemara Marble” and sent an email to the email address I’d found on connemaramarble.com. And then I received a terse email saying that it wasn’t one of their rings and I should contact the store where I bought the ring. Which confused me, because I was *sure* I’d bought the ring at a store called “Connemara Marble” and so I was trying to email the store where I’d bought it! Turns out that connemaramarble.com is actually a website for a company that’s not called Connemara Marble at all (but they sell some stuff made with Connemara marble).

After some detective work, including searching through the photos we’d all taken, my Mom was able to find the place I bought it, which is called the “Connemara Marble Visitor Centre” and has the URL http://connemaramarble.ie/. So I emailed those guys and they were super friendly and said “Mail it to us and we’ll fix it for free and send it right back to you!”  And they did:

My Irish marble ringThanks Connemara Marble Visitor Centre!

  1. Holy cow, I can’t believe that was all the way back in August! []