Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese

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Podcasts I’ve Been Listening to Lately

In addition to reading, I listen to a fair number of podcasts. I typically just listen when I’m driving, so I don’t listen as much as I did when I was driving to work – I used to get a solid 40-60 minutes of podcast listening in per weekday (depending on traffic) when I was working in an office that wasn’t very close to good transit so I was driving to work everyday. But then we got moved to a different location that is not as bad to get to on transit, but I mostly read on the Skytrain and the bus; I have a 10 minute walk from the bus stop to where my office is, so I usually listen to a podcast during that walk1  We are going to be moving to a new office downtown, right near a Skytrain station, some time in the next few months, so I once that happens I won’t be listening to nearly as many podcasts – I’ll probably only listen during the only other time I really drive: on my way to the hockey rink.

Anyway, here’s some of the podcasts I’ve been listening to lately, in no particular order:

  • Everything is Alive is a relatively new podcast in which inanimate objects, like a can of soda and a bar of soap, are interviewed. It’s hilarious2.
  • Sea Hags is a podcast by a woman who goes to my gym and a friend of hers. I heard her talking about it one day and decided to check it out. They talk about all kinds of stuff and even when they are talking about stuff that I typically am not into, like bullet journaling and astrology, I still find it endlessly entertaining. They are currently on hiatus, but hopefully will be coming back soon!
  • School of Batman is a podcast that I started listening to when Dr. Dan was on it, but I have kept listening to since. This podcast features academics talking about their research and has a short story where what they research helps Batman solve a crime.
  • Very Bad Wizards is a podcast that features a philosopher and a psychologist who talk about things related to morality and neuroscience. They tend to do a lot of chit-chat at the beginning of the podcast that I could really do without, but usually make up for it by discussing interesting research and doing so in an irreverent manner that I find amusing.

I still listen to a couple of the podcasts that I last mentioned the podcasts that I listen to three years ago, but sadly some of the ones on that list have ended since then. In particular, I really miss Caustic Soda! There are also a few podcasts I started listening to, but haven’t had an episode in a long time. I’ve always thought it would be really fun to do a podcast, but it’s also apparently a tonne of work and takes a tonne of time, so probably isn’t something I’m really going to do in the near future.

  1. Or, if the buses are all messed up and one is not going to show up for a while at the bus stop outside the Skytrain station that I go to, then sometimes I just walk all the way from the Skytrain station to my office, so it’s a good 20 minute walk. []
  2. Props to Capulet Communications, who recently featured this podcast in their weekly newsletter, which is where I heard about this podcast. []

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Summer Reading

Since I last reviewed the books I’d read this year here on ye ole blog, I’ve been on quite a roll with reading and have read SEVEN books in those TWO months! What follows are my brief reviews of these books – expect spoilers!

Vancouver Is Ashes: The Great Fire of 1886 by Lisa Anne Smith

My friend Linda gave me this book two birthdays ago. I finally got around to reading it and I can’t believe I left it sitting on the shelf for so long because it was soooo good! As the name suggests, it is about the great fire of 1886 when the brand new City of Vancouver burned down. The city was so new that it had only had a grand total of one city council meeting (the city clerk made a big effort to save the minutes of that meeting from the flames!). They didn’t have a fire engine, and thus fire fighting techniques included filling buckets with water to dump on the flames and hitting flames with wet blankets. People jumped on boats, and when there were no more boats, they grabbed onto anything that could float, and went out into the water between Vancouver and Moodyville (part of what is today known as North Vancouver) to escape the flames. The descriptions in the book are really rich – you can picture what the city would have looked like and can almost feel the panic that the citizens felt as the fire got worse and worse. There are some funny stories – like a guy who tried to use a discarded briefcase he found to shield himself from the flames, only to learn that the briefcase was full of bullets (which someone had tried to take with them on their way to escape but ended up discarding along the way) when the bullets started exploding as the heat of the flames approached! The book also talks about how the city worked to recover after the fire – the picture on the front of the book is of a city council meeting, which was held outside a tent that had a hand written “City Hall” sign on it.

If you are at all interested in the history of Vancouver, I’d definitely recommend you check out this book.

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

This is a short book of writings by Christopher Hitchens – best known for his writing and speaking on atheism – about his experience of “living dyingly”, which he wrote after being diagnosed with terminal cancer (So, you know, a nice light summer read). He pointed out that technically everyone is living dyingly, but healthy people are doing it in slow motion compared to him at that point in his life. He also mentions a few times the “materialist proposition that I don’t have a body, I am a body”, which struck me as I’d recently had a discussion with a colleague who has taught a course on the “anthropology of the body” and had his students write essays on whether they believed they “had” a body or “were” a body. I’d not heard that phrase before, but it sort of captured my attention, so when I read Hitchens’ talking about it, that captured my attention too. At one point he said that despite believing that “I don’t have a body, I am a body”, he “consciously and regularly acted as if this was not true, or as if any exception would be made in my case.” (Hitchens was known for his heavy drinking and smoking). The other striking thing in this book was that when you get toward the end, there’s a section of “unfinished fragmentary jottings” (as his wife described them in the afterward); some of them were things you’d read fleshed out in an earlier section of the book, but some that were just ideas of his that he didn’t get a chance to flesh out before he died. It really gave you a sense of the finality – and that death waits for no one. I guess all of us will leave many things unfinished when we go.

10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works–A True Story by Dan Harris.

I read this book after Cath told me she was reading Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics, also by Dan Harris. Cath knows that I’m interested in mindfulness and also that I’m a skeptic, and she said that she was finding MfFS really good. So I decided to first read Harris’ earlier book, 10% Happier, which chronicles his experience of being stressed out after being a war correspondent, to the point of having a panic attack while he was reporting on live television, and then his search for some way to deal with this anxiety, but without losing his drive to succeed. I enjoyed this book – it was interesting to read about his journey and it also got me motivated to make more of an effort to do some mindfulness practice.

Now I want to read Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-to Book. I do most of my reading on transit on my way to and from work, but this book won’t really be appropriate for that, as it’s filled with mindfulness activities that you need to do as you read through the book. So it looks like I’ll need to carve out some time to actually do reading – and mindfulness practice – at home.

White American Youth: My Descent into America’s Most Violent Hate Movement–and How I Got Out by Christian Picciolini

I heard about this book when I heard the author, Christian Picciolini, being interviewed on a podcast. Picciolini is a former white supremacist who eventually left the movement and now works to try to help other people get out of extremist movements. The book wasn’t particularly well-written (I felt like it jumped from his present day perspective to his perspective at the time a bit erratically, making it a bit hard to follow in places), but it did provide an interesting perspective on how vulnerable young people can end up as extremists. In Picciolini’s case, he was the child of Italian immigrants to the US who spent a lot of time working and, he felt, did not pay attention to him. He didn’t have many friends and he felt picked on. And then the leader of a skinhead group recruited him to the white power movement and he learned that he could get respect by being violent when he fought a school bully and won. When the skinhead leader got sent to jail, Picciolini took over – he was only 14 years old at the time.  He talks about some of the horrible things he did as part of the movement. I kind of expected there would be a poignant moment where he saw the error of his ways, but it really just came down to him opening a record store to try to earn money to support his young family and he got to know some Jewish people and black people and gay people who all came into this store to buy stuff and learned that these were good people, not at all the stereotypes he had believed. He also talks about the fact that those stereotypes he believed in were really just things that he was told by other people in the white power movement, and even realizes that he, he constantly went on unemployment when the construction work he did in the summer time ended, fit the stereotype of “leaching off the system” more than any minority he’d ever met. In the end, this book supports a lot of what I’ve read about lately – people join hate movements when they feel lonely and disconnected, and someone comes along and invites them into a community – and gives them a scapegoat to blame all their perceived problems on.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Animal Farm is a classic that I somehow never read until now. I think a lot of people read it in high school, but it just never ended up on any of the reading lists in any of my high school English classes. I did read Nineteen Eighty Four, another George Orwell classic, back in high school, but not Animal Farm. It was a pretty quick read – it’s a short book and styled like a fairy tale1 and it was written as a satire of the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist regime. It seems an apt time in history to be reading this book, as part of that satire is about the “cult of personality” of Stalin (as represented by a pig named Napoleon) and about totalitarianism, which really resonates with a certain president who shall remain nameless. One of the things that reminded me of the current state of affairs was how the pigs would change their stories on things and the other animals on the farm would just believe it, assuming their memory must be mistaken. For example, there was a pig named Snowball who was a hero in the “Battle of the Cowshed”, during which the animals fought off some people who tried to take the farm back from the animals (who had taken it over from the original human farmer who owned it), but later Napoleon runs Snowball off the farm so that he can have all the power and then changes the story, first to say that Snowball hid during the battle, and later to say that Snowball fought alongside the humans against the animals. Despite the fact that the animals were there and remembered Snowball being a hero who drove the humans away, they decide “I guess I must have misremembered that.” Similarly, there are a bunch of commandments painted on the side of the barn, but as the pigs decide to make their own lives more comfortable, they break those commandments and when the rest of the animals say “Hey, didn’t we have a commandment that say not to do that thing the pigs are doing?”, they would see that additional words had been added to the commandments (e.g., “No animal shall consume alcohol” was changed to “No animal shall consume alcohol to excess” and “No animal shall sleep in a bed” was changed to say “No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets.”) and say “Oh, I guess I forgot about that last part of the commandment”. It’s really reminiscent of how a certain president who shall remain nameless will completely contradict himself on what feels like a daily basis and, despite videotaped evidence of him having said the opposite thing, his followers will just shrug it off. The lives of the animals (other than pigs) weren’t better off in this new world – they didn’t get much to eat, they worked harder than ever, they didn’t get to retire when they got old, and the pigs would kill animals that displeased them in some way. So, all in all, this was a rather depressing book to read – especially given that the ending is just that the pigs are walking around on hind legs (which was against one of the original commandments) and hanging out with people while the rest of the animals suffer.

The Eyre Affair and Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Cath gave me these two books to read and now I’m totally hooked on this series, which revolves around a woman named Thursday Next, who is a literary detective. It’s set in an alternative world version of Britain where all sorts of crazy things happen, and it’s sort of similar in style to the work of Douglas Adams (which almost seems blasphemous to say!). I don’t want to say too much and spoil these for anyone who wants to read these series, which you totally should if you like that style of British humour, but I will say that they involve time travel, the ability to actually enter books, an over-the-top villain, and some very punny character names. They also require you to have a working knowledge of some of the classic which, like Animal Farm as I mention above, I haven’t necessarily read. I’ve never read Jane Eyre, in fact, so I had to go read the Wikipedia entry on it to be able to understand some of the things that happened in The Eyre Affair. Similarly, I haven’t read Great Expectations and since the character of Miss Havisham features in Lost in a Good Book, I had to read the Wikipedia entry on her too! I’ve already got the rest of the books in the series, but I’m trying to savour them, so I decided to read another book in between finishing Lost in a Good Book and the next one in the series.

So, there you have it. I’ve now completed 78% of my goal of reading 18 books this year, and we are 71% of the way through the year. I’m also almost halfway through the next book that I’m reading (Brain Rules for Aging Well), plus I’ve read the better part of several textbooks for the course I’m teaching this semester, so I’m reasonably confident that I can achieve my reading goal this year!

  1. The original title had “A Fairy Story” as a subtitle, but that was dropped. []

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Franz Kafka International Airport

I think this is my all-time favourite video:

I was showing it to some colleagues at work the other day and you know what, no matter how many times I’ve watched it, it’s still hilarious to me.

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Work-work-work-life balance

Recently, some colleagues at work and I were discussing how Vancouver is so expensive (and our salaries are, relatively speaking, so low), it’s not just that households need two incomes – you kind of need like 3 or 4 incomes to have the kind of standard of living that previous generations had with a 1-2 income household. Now, I realize that I’m not in nearly as hard a position as many, many other people, who actually need multiple incomes per adult in the family just to keep a roof over their head and food on the table and who have children and/or elderly parents to take care of. But even as someone in a relatively privileged position, I have relied on multiple incomes to pay off my massive student debt, buy myself a place to call home, save something for retirement so that I don’t have to eat cat food to survive, and do at least a little bit of traveling. This year, for example, in addition to my day job, I’ve taught one post-secondary course (Jan to Apr) and will be teaching another one this semester1, and I’ve put out a new edition of my textbook2 to help ensure that it continues to sell3.

And then in addition to the work-work-work balance, I try to have some semblance of a life – play some hockey, lift some weights, see my friends once in a while, read books for pleasure (as opposed to work-related reading), and maybe do some home improvement projects or some other hobby-like things4. I feel like I need at least 10 more hours in the day to do all the things that I want to do!

  1. Last year I taught three courses – one in each semester – at three different post-secondary institutions, so I feel like a slacker only teaching two this year. []
  2. Which I appear to have neglected to blog about! I was just trying to find a link to when I blogged about it, but no such thing exists! []
  3. As the first edition was published in 2012 and six years is ancient for a textbook []
  4. There are other things I’d love to do too: meditation, yoga, skiing, and more traveling than I currently do come to mind, but I never seem to find time to do those things! []

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Mobile Mesh Networks

This is actually something I learned quite some time ago, but never got around to documenting here on ye old blog1

My good friend, and NTBTWK’s Official Statistician & Tattoo Consultant, Dr. Daniel J. Gillis, is doing some really cool work in northern Labrador with Mobile Mesh networks. But what is a Mobile Mesh network, you ask? That’s a good question – and one that I asked the good doctor at some point – I can’t remember exactly when, but I’m pretty sure it was over a pint of beer or a dram of whiskey.

Basically, a mobile mesh network is where you have a bunch of cell phones that are all connected to each other to make up a network and you can use that to send communications throughout the network – even if you don’t have a connection to the Internet (since you are all connected to each other). It’s useful in places that don’t have good Internet connectivity – like the far north for example or other remote communities.

But if you’d like a more sophisticated explanation than my admittedly underwhelming explanation for something that is actually really cool, I know of two places where you can listen to the good doctor talking about this stuff.

  1. Dr. Dan and his friend and colleague, Dr. Jason Ernst, were interviewed about their work on Mobile MeshNetworking.on the BBC World Service!  You can go here to listen to the experts talk.
  2. Dr. Dan was a guest expert on an episode of the podcast “School of Batman”, which you can listen to here (just scroll down to the episode called “The Quakemaster’s Aftermath”)

I’m looking forward to seeing how this technology ends up playing out – and what things emerge from improved connectivity in remote communities!

  1. In fact, WordPress tells me that I started this blog posting on January 23, 2018 and then proceeded to not finish for seven months. Better late than never, I guess? []

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Meet Your Second Wife

On the weekend, while falling down the rabbit hole that is the “Recommended” video section on YouTube, I came across this old SNL video that made me laugh harder than I have in a really long time. And I laugh all the time, so that’s saying something. At any rate, I’m posting it here to share the joy.

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Excel Edition

I <3 spreadsheetsI like to think of myself as rather proficient in using Microsoft Excel.1. I use it for everything from keeping simple lists to advanced data analysis. I love pivot tables and conditional formatting and even have a favourite Excel function2 The other day at work I taught a bunch of colleagues, who are all very well versed in the use of Excel3 that you can copy something from one cell down a whole column by double clicking on the bottom right corner of the cell you want to copy. Most of them knew that you can grab that bottom right corner and drag it down as far as you’d like to copy, but they were all suitable stunned with the double clicking trick – which comes in especially handy if you have hundreds or thousands of rows of data – that’s a lot of scrolling if you are using the drag method instead.

Which brings me to the new thing I learned about Excel. It has a limitation that I’ve never run into before, but which is now an issue for me. Specifically, that limit is the number of rows you can have in a single worksheet. That number: 1,048,576 4,5. And I learned this as a particular set of data that I’m working with had more than a million rows of data! Our makeshift solution is to have multiple worksheets in a workbook, though now that we have almost filled our our *second* worksheet, it really slows down the old laptop!

Clearly, the next thing I have on my “things to learn this year” list is database management!

Image Credit: Posted by Crishna Simmons on Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

  1. One of the things that I do in the statistics course that I teach over at the Justice League is make sure that everyone who takes my class can use Excel properly – it’s probably one of the most useful thing they use in the course, to be honest []
  2. CONCATENATE. Mostly because the word is always. I probably use “Text to columns” more often, but I love to say “concatenate”! []
  3. Including one who I’d say is the best Excel user I know. []
  4. Source: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/excel-specifications-and-limits-1672b34d-7043-467e-8e27-269d656771c3 []
  5. It also has a limit of 16,384 columns, but I haven’t run up against that particular limitation yet. []

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Stuff I Learned This Year: Hammer Drill Edition

Remember many moons ago when I bought a shiny new bike? I haven’t enjoyed said shiny new bike as much as I would like of late, and I blame it squarely on the fact that I had to keep my bike in my storage locker, as my building has no bike room and we aren’t allowed to bring bikes into our suites in my building. But my storage locker is an oddly shaped little concrete room in the parkade with a door that opens into the locker (thus rendering a big swath of the floor space unusable for storing things). Which meant that it was difficult to get my bike in and out of said storage locker, which meant that I haven’t been riding my bike that much.

At one point I got the brilliant idea that I should install a bike hook on the wall in my storage locker, so that my bike could be stored off the ground so (a) it wouldn’t take up floor space and (b) it would be easier to access since I could just lift it off the bike hook over all the other stuff in there to take it out (it’s very light, so it would be totally doable). I even went so far as to ask my strata if I was allowed to do it and they said it was fine. And then… I just didn’t get around to it. And then a couple of years went by and I still didn’t do it and I barely rode my bike.

When Scott moved in recently, we had to figure out how to combine all of his stuff with all of my stuff into a 700 square foot condo. And one of his stuffs was also a bike! So we reconsidered my installing bike hooks in my storage locker, but then came up with an even better idea. Several parking spots in my parkade have bike hooks in the wall of the parking spot. So we decided that it made more sense to store our bikes on hooks in my parking spot, which would free up more room in the storage locker for all our other various stuff and things. So I asked my strata if that was allowed and they said it was – and so off we went to Home Depot to rent a hammer drill!

“A hammer drill (or hammering drill) is a rotary drill with a hammering action. The hammering action provides a short, rapid hammer thrust to pulverize relatively brittle material and provide quicker drilling with less effort.” (Source: Wikipedia)

I don’t think that the woman at the rental desk at Home Depot had much faith in us when we asked to rent a hammer drill. “Have you used one before?” she asked. “No,” we replied. She gave us a skeptical look, then showed us how to use it, then gave us another skeptical look. She asked what we were using it for and when we told her, she said, skeptically, “Does your strata allow that?” I said that I had asked them and it was allowed, and she said, “Mmm hmm,” in a tone that suggested she remained skeptical.

At any rate, using a hammer drill is pretty much like using a regular drill. We drill holes into the concrete and then put in these little metal tube looking things (seen at the bottom of this photo of all the things we used for this project):

Equipment

You stick the tube-looking things into the hole that you drilled and then you screw in the big hook – as you screw the hook in, it gradually opens up the tube-looking thing so that the tube-looking thing takes up all the space in the hole you made and it anchors the hook to the wall. Easy-peasy.

We also installed the gray loop thingy on the left side of the photo into the wall (we used the hammer drill to make smaller holes into which we could screw that gray thing) so that we can look our bikes to that thing. Even though my parking spot is behind two gates in a parkade with various security features, you can never be too safe!

Anyway, here’s what my parking spot looked like before we started:

Parking spot

Here’s a picture of me working the hammer drill:

Beth with a hammer drill

And here’s the finished product:

Bikes on bike hooksSo much more convenient!

Then, since we had the hammer drill, Scott was all “where else can we drill holes into concrete while we have this thing?” and the answer, of course, was my storage locker. I already had the strata’s OK to drill hooks in there, so we decided to put up some hooks in the walls of the storage locker so that we can hang stuff, thus making use of all the wasted space in my very tall storage locker. So Scott drilled some holes to screw in some pieces of wood – that way we can add as many hooks as we want at our leisure. And voila:

Hooks in the storage closet

Hooks in the storage closet

Those hooks, combined with the fact that we also put a shelving unit in there, means my storage locker now holds twice as much stuff, but it is also so much more accessible than when it was just boxes and buckets piled up on top of each other. This makes me a happy camper!

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The Return of High Garden

One of my favourite things about summer is growing food on my balcony – I like to refer to my little balcony oasis as High Garden (as my condo is on the 10th floor and I’m a Game of Thrones fan.)

And my garden seems to get bigger and better every year. This year we actually are fertilizing on the regular and, who knew?, fertilizing really helps the plants grow1.

This year we decided to plant a few vegetables:

  • tomatoes
  • cucumbers
  • onions
  • potatoes
  • spinach

and some herbs:

  • rosemary
  • chives
  • thyme
  • marjoram
  • savory
  • mint
  • oregano
  • dill
  • parsley

and, of course, the cat garden:

  • cat grass
  • cat mint
  • cat nip

Planted on May 15, 2018:

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

High Garden - 2018

June 16:

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

June 26:

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

Starting to see some flowers on the cucumber plant

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

High Garden 2018

Potato and tomato plants looking quite full of leaves!

June 28:Savory & Oregano

Cucumber flowers

Cucumber flowers

Potato flowers

Flowers on the potato plant

We’ve been eating herbs all throughout the summer – I use them in homemade salad dressing, scrambled eggs, with various meats on the BBQ, etc. We managed to get enough dill to make a delicious dill dip, but then the dill plant died. The savoury plant looked pretty grim from the time we planted it and never really took. The parsley, which I planted from seed (all the rest were seedlings), didn’t grow at all.

The cucumber plant ended up only yielding two cucumbers, but they were big:

Cucumber that grew in High Garden!

The spinach plants yielded enough to make a small spinach salad for each of us (I’m not convinced it was more than the amount of spinach leaves on the seedlings we originally planted!):

Spinach salad - made with spinach from High Garden!

Last week when my friend Kim and her boyfriend Tad came over for dinner, we made mint juleps with mint from High Garden:

Mint juleps
Yes, I realize that those are Moscow mule mugs, not mint julep cups. I don’t have any mint julep cups, so the mule mugs had to suffice! And suffice they did – they were pretty darn tasty – a very refreshing drink on a hot day!

Tonight’s dinner included these three potatoes (which popped up above the surface – there are still more to harvest):

Potatoes

and this onion was sautéed to go with our steaks:

Onion

All in all, I’d say it was a successful growing season for High Garden. I’m kind of sad that summer is coming to an end though (as evidenced by leaves on trees changing colour and Halloween candy appearing in the local grocery stores) – I’ll have to enjoy the last bit of my garden while I can!

  1. The answer is everybody. Everybody knew. []

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Slightly past the halfway mark – Goals 2018 check-in

So somehow it is the end of August (!) and I have no idea where the year has gone! And since we are well past the halfway point of 20181, I figured it was time for a quick check in on my 2018 goals.

Achieved:

  • deadlifted my own body weight
  • set up and implemented a performance planning and review system for my team at work
  • painted my condo – totally need to blog about this, but it has been done!

On my way:

  • do a chin-up or pull-up without the help of a resistance band – I’ve been working really hard at the gym on this one and I’ve gotten to the point that I’ve been able to do the top part of a chin (from elbows bent at 90 degrees to chin all the way up) 1-2 x completely unassisted before I need an assist. I feel like I have a good shot of achieving this goal by the end of the year.
  • write in my journal at least one time per week, on average – I haven’t counted how many entries I’ve made this year, but I’ve done a bit. Need to go and count them to see how far off I am.
  • sew 5 items – I’ve sewn two zipped pouches, so I’m a bit behind with only 2/5 of this goal done. I do want to take some more sewing classes, but likely won’t do that until the fall, as the weather has been so nice, I don’t want to be inside sewing right now.
  • make 18 new foods and/or beverages that I’ve never made before – I’ve made 12, which is 66.7% of my goal, so I’m slightly ahead of schedule on this one!
  • finish Konmaring my condo– I’ve done a lot of work on this one. Not sure if I can get through everything, but I’m going to try!
  • buy a freezer – we’ve been talking about this one and looking at them, but we have yet to pull the trigger
  • learned 12 new things – I’ve learned, according to the list I’m keeping, 9 new things this year, though I’ve only blogged about 4 of them. Which means I’m 50% done the learning and 22% done the blogging – so I’m behind, but it’s definitely within the realm of catching up!
  • read 18 books – I’ve read 11 books (or 61.1% of my goal – so I’m on track for this one). And I just started reading two new books and have a few of textbooks that I’m about to read too!

Might be salvageable:

  • meditating once a week – I did a few sessions using the Headspace app, but then I sort of dropped off. I’ve been more working on being mindful throughout my day, but I just finished reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris and it’s motivated me to dedicate some time to actually doing meditation again. So this one might be doable (as an average over the whole year) if I get into a routine.
  • submitted 3 papers for publication – I’ve submitted one, but don’t really foresee there being much time to dedicate to writing two more2. But perhaps I’ll get inspired in the next few months!
  • applying for a Nexus card – this is a thing I could do
  • donated blood twice – this is also a thing I could do
  • published 118 blog postings – when I hit publish on this one, I will have published 25. So I have a ways to go to catch up – but it’s not impossible. To publish 93 blog postings by the end of the year, I just need to publish 4.65 blog postings per week3.
  • publish at least six are long form blog postings (minimum of 3000 words) – so far I’ve done 2, so I just need to do 4 more.

Beyond all hope:

  • bringing my lunch to work at least 75% of the timework got so crazy that not only did I not bring my lunch to work very often, I stopped even recording it, so now I have no idea how often I did or did not bring my lunch to work. 🙁

So there you have it:

  • 3/18 (17%) complete
  • 8/18 (44%) that I have a decent shot of achieving
  • 6/18 (33%) that I could do if I set my mind to it
  • 1/8 (6%) that ain’t gonna happen

Guess I should be adding some of those “I could do if I set my mind to it” ones to my “to do” list!

  1. In fact, we are 63.3% of the way through the year! []
  2. Honestly, I can’t even remember what the second of the “two others” that I mentioned having ideas for when I wrote my goals up back in January even was! []
  3. Of course, it’s far more likely that I will continue to publish just a few per month and then I’ll hit November and try to post a blog posting per day for NaBloPoMo, and then try to do the rest over my Christmas holidays. This is not my first rodeo. []