101 things in 1001 days, revisited

So September 28, 2009, my experiment in completing 101 things in 1001 days ended. By my own tally I only completed 43 of my objectives. At one level this is an abject failure; on the other hand, a large number of life changes may make this a reasonable outcome. In the past three years, I’ve met my future wife, had open-heart surgery, gotten engaged, began life with a new family.

In the next couple months, I plan on restarting my 1001 days with many of the remaining objectives my previous list, as well as some new ones thrown into the mix. I look forward to starting a new challenge, along with the new year.

Travels & Trains

I’m on vacation.

Well, I’m on as much of a vacation as I’ve managed the last 10 years or so. I’ve been bouncing around a bit for the last week, and I’ll be at it a couple more.

Three days in New York City for a conference, very little in the way of relaxation, but I did manage to meet up with Peter for dinner.

Two days back home, decompressing from a long week of releasing a tiny bit of software, and I had what will probably be the last chance to hang out with Aram in a very long time.

Two days in Iceland, mostly sleeping due to continued stress relief from the previous week, jet lag, and the on set of some kind of illness. No pictures, which is a shame really, the people and landscapes were both beautiful and strangley exotic.

Just landed in Frankfurt and now on the ICE to Dusseldorf.

The interesting thing is that a week ago I was on the “high-speed express” to New York City–Amtrak’s Acela Express. And the difference is night and day. Here I sit in second class, in seats that are as nice, in a cabin that is nicer than the business class on board the American train. But the real difference in the ride itself: quieter, smoother, and faster than it’s American counterpart, this European train makes the entire process of moving between cities painless and easy. We appear to be traveling almost twice as fast, through more rolling terrain, and you begin to wonder where we went wrong in the U.S.

Not quite weekly update

A stomach virus is an effective, if grim, short-term diet. So I lost a couple of pounds last week; although I will probably end up spending most of this week putting the weight back on as I re-hydrate after the illness.

Stopping by the photoclub meeting last week dropped one more item from the list, and a couple of movies brings us to:

remaining: 91 items, 83 movies, 48 lbs. in the next 956 days.

Of photo club and practice

Last week, I managed to swing by a Terrapin Photo Club Meeting (#60). I had a pleasant enough time, though I was struck by two things:

  1. Man, these people are young.
  2. There were surprisingly few photos of people

I know taking pictures of people is difficult. You have to overcome the inherent sense of voyeurism, but I think photographing the human condition has the widest reach as a photographic art form. Maybe that’s why I’m drawn to street photography, peering into the .

The meeting itself was mostly composed of viewing 30-70 photos taken by club members and providing commentary. Praise was given liberally and genuinely, and the occasional suggestion for improvement was always constructive. Novice photographers would benefit greatly from the format they used. The advice was a bit too textbook for most experienced photogs to get much from, although it’s always nice to have your intuitions confirmed. I felt that the audience didn’t give enough artistic license to the photographer — a larger problem overall than anything else that night.

I don’t know if I’ll attend regularly, but it was an interesting experience. My best photos are always taken when I have the time and inclination to become part of particular flow — to view people and events from the inside. I find that other photographers move at too fast or disjoint a pace for me to capture anything I truly appreciate. It makes wanting to be part of photo club a tough thing for me. What I’d like the most in a photo club is a push (or the occasional shove) of motivation to get out of my normal routine and connect with new experiences and spaces. Depending on what the Terrapin Photo Club does for activities this year, maybe I’ll participate more, maybe not.

101 things update

The last couple of weeks have seen small progress. Just a couple of small items on the list and a movie or two.

remaining: 92 items, 85 movies, 52 lbs. in the next 965 days.

Week 3: It all goes down the tubes

After starting off with 2 great weeks on the 101 things list, week 3 was a disaster.

I should start off by pointing out that:

  1. I’m sick (flu-like symptoms, and I spent most of the week running mild fever)
  2. I had a colleague in town, so I had to go to the office everyday
  3. I’m sick and I hate being sick
  4. I spent a lot of time eating junk to make me feel better about being sick
  5. Did I mention that I’m sick
  6. My foot is now in pain from what I can only guess is metabolic arthritis (better known as gout)
  7. I’m sick (and tired of being sick)

I’ve known since high school that I’m prone to gout, but attacks are pretty infrequent (although it’s been more frequent since I started grad school). I think this is the third or forth attack in 6 years. If I watch my diet it seems to be OK, but I think the combination of being sick, dehydration caused by being sick, and crappy diet (also caused by illness) has led to a flare up. I’m currently lying in bed, foot propped up, trying to down as much water as possible.
But enough whining; here’s the update. Nothing from list was actually completed this week. I made some marginal progress on a couple of items, but slid on others. First the bad news… I missed breakfast everyday last week and didn’t manage to do any walking, so I have to reset the counters on #42 and #48.

In the not that bad column, the illness conspired to keep my binge eating from totally derailing my weight-loss goals (#47), so I ended the week where I started at 248 lbs.

As far as progress, a big pot of basil chicken chili (recipe forthcoming after some tweaking) managed to keep me on track with the cooking by providing lots of leftovers. I rounded out my weeks cooking duties with a bunch of tquick and simple meals to squeak by with just 4 meals cooked. But hey, it’s counts. Three weeks of cooking down, approximately 22 to go.

The good part about being in bed is that it’s pretty easy to watch movies. I saw Tom Yum Goong (the Protector in the US) on DVD, but have decided not to count it on the foreign language movie list since large sections are in English. A bit of a film noir streak took 3 more movies of Ebert’s 102 (#66).

remaining: 95 items, 90 movies, 49 lbs. in the next 980 days.