Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content


is still cleaning house

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Learn to take apart my Harley down to the bolts and re-assemble it blindfolded (read all 4 entries…)
Taking a class...

I’m taking the first of the Motorcycle Service Technician classes at the local community college. I’m way out of my comfort zone and it’s hard dragging my tail to class after working a full day but I’m going to be VERY glad I did this.

build an excellent piece of furniture out of wood (read all 3 entries…)
A Great Book Shelf

I just made a great bookshelf earlier this week. I had some leftover 12” cedar planks and since I never do anything easy, I made a shelf whose case cants inward at a 7 and 1/2 degree angle. I was originally going for a “coffin” feel since I was going to story my ghost stories in this shelf but it looks so modern and chic with just the parallelogram portion I decided not to add the top.

submit my writing for publication (read all 10 entries…)
Done and Done

I’ve had upwards of a half-dozen manuscripts out at any given point so far this year and I’ve had three pieces either accepted or published so far this year.

So, I’m marking this done. The secret is just to drop the envelope in the mail or click on “Send.” If you get comments, actually read them before sending the mss. out again but, honestly after the first acceptance, the rejections are a LOT easier to take. And while you’re waiting for the first acceptance, just keep sending out your work.

implement GTD (read all 6 entries…)
I can't believe I've been struggling with this for so long

I’ve settled into a relatively productive rut that’s not truly GTD compliant but generally works for me.

- a pack of 3×5 cards and a pen go with me constantly for immediate capture;

- I’m using the application “Things” (beta, for Mac) to track projects and such. This app will require purchase in October and I’m still deciding whether it’s the best tool. They keep fixing things and adding features so it might be. The only thing that would make it better is if I could enter from multiple workstations… I think that’s at least a potential of their app due to it’s file structure but I don’t think it’s implemented yet.

- I have absolutely no mechanism for weekly review though. I just am doing all the immediate tasks with no larger picture – or actually, the larger picture remains only implicit;

- The work table I have at home is a shameful mess. There are “in” boxes there somewhere!

- the worst confession is that currently, I store my “work” lists on my work computer and my “home” lists on my home computer. For the most part, this works because both contexts are physically and functionally separate but when I’m entering info for “home” sometimes I remember items for work and vice versa.

read 10 books/year (read all 4 entries…)
Still more

I can’t remember all of what I’ve been reading recently so I’ll just mention the highlights. I’m half way through “Let the Right One In” a charming vampire novel by Lindqvuist. It’s been made into a movie and I want to read the book before I see the film.

Before that it was “Daughter of Hounds” by Caitlyn Kiernan which was simply magnificent, though it would make more sense to folks probably if they knew what some of those characters had done previously in the novels “Threshold” and “Low Red Moon.” Kiernan is a wonderful horror writer who’s been likened to H.P.Lovecraft but I find her work far more rich.

Next up, I’m hoping to read a few of the Ian Fleming James Bond series for a course I’m helping to teach. I read some of the series as a kid but it struck me that spy novels have a moral vacuum in their worldview at least as opposed to the mystery novels I was also reading at the time. It’ll be interesting to see how they read as an adult.

Hmmm. Seems like this goal is done.

submit my writing for publication (read all 10 entries…)

Since last I wrote, I’ve submitted two more stories. One I’ve already received a “No Thank You” on and the other one I’m still awaiting response. I’ve got another story just about ready to go too. I always want to have at least one mss “in the mail.”

I discovered two very useful resources: and (I hope I have those URLs correct) They’re on-line lists of markets for writing. Both of these are weighted toward speculative fiction though they include other publications as well. What I love is the immediacy. They track the actual response rates of each magazine as well as the current status. It used to be as much effort figuring out who to send something to as it was writing the piece in the first place.

Work Daily on my Web Schemes (read all 6 entries…)
This has become a habit, more or less

I post content more or less regularly and I keep all the sites relatively active. This is a fun little hobby. I’m no where near as good at it as I could be but I’m content.

Learn to take apart my Harley down to the bolts and re-assemble it blindfolded (read all 4 entries…)
No time for classes but...

There’s an awfully lot of good information in the magazine “American Iron.” And as fortune would have it, our public library has a subscription to it so I’ve been checking out the back issues and devouring all the information I can. It ranges from stuff like spark plugs (which as I discover aren’t so simple at all) to transmission rebuilds and complete bike restorations. I still want to do the community college class but I’m also glad that when I do, I won’t go in there looking like a total noob.

lose 100 pounds (read all 7 entries…)
Serious Again about this Goal

My annual physical made me get serious about this goal again. A pound and a half a week or so should get me there the Christmas after next (2009) I’ve kept serious for the last three weeks straight. If I keep this up, I’ve promised to reward myself every month on my birthdate.

- I’m basically trying to eat several small meals a day, each of which have a mix of protein and fruit for the most part. (Apples with peanut butter or cottage cheese with blueberries or a roasted chicken wrap with some radishes… Ok so radishes aren’t fruit but you get the idea.) I’m not hungry since every three hours or so, I’ve got something packed that I get to eat. I got one of those cool Indian “tiffin” containers with three tiers that I take to work.

- I have started COOKING pretty much all my food. I’ve always found it a blast to be in the kitchen with my Mib7 and now that I’m not starving when I come home from work, we can cook together nearly every day. Previously, it was easy for me to feel slightly resentful of some lower-cal meals but since I’m the one who made ‘em, that’s not a problem anymore. Also, since dinner is now later in the day, I don’t have the problem of being hungry at night which means I haven’t been having those huge snacks.

- We’ve started walking again. We have three routes, each roughly 5K / 3 miles and we’ve walked one or the other of them at least 4x week, usually more. I also have a couple dumb bells that I use for a routine in the morning. I’m concerned about losing muscle mass but I really don’t have time to hit a gym right now. Maybe when these techniques stop working and I have to jump start the process.

- I log absolutely everything I eat. I weigh it on this cool scale I got several years ago at a kitchen store and I measure everything else with cup measures. The name of that tune is portion control. I’ve been trying to stay near the number of calories I’d burn if I actually weighed what I want to weigh. I use an on-line food journal ( which has scads of cool reports including nutritional breakdowns which provides eye-opening data at times. I had a couple handfuls of “cheesie puffs” which I thought were an innocent indulgence but which actually have, roughly, a ga-billion calories mostly from fat. I’m trying to keep carbohydrate calories below 45% of my intake.

sell, give way or throw away 111 things I don't need any more (read all 21 entries…)
#85 - 90 An Undepenable DVD player, clothes, toys, books

We had a very undependable DVD player that would start skipping at random places in random discs. A nice man took it away who wanted to try to fix it.

The clothes/toys/books went to the Kiwaniis’ huge weekly rummage sale.

Nearly done.

sell, give way or throw away 111 things I don't need any more (read all 21 entries…)
#84 An Industrial Sized Coffee Maker

I got this HUGE coffee maker from a going out of business sale for a couple bucks. It was stainless steel and the size of a Chevy Truck’s grille and it took 220 volt service and a dedicated plumbed line for water. I was never going to use it but it looked so cool! A woman took it away for her church to use.

work because I like to, not because I have to (read all 8 entries…)

ACK! I had the WORST day evar, at least so far in the nine years of my employ. I came home feeling so utterly disrespected and worthless. What kind of self-image must I have to take this kind of abuse? Not every day is this demeaning but there are enough of them to make the experience seem just part of the job.

It’ll sound stupid to mention it in this context but at least I have a job, right? And I’m making a pretty decent wage, far more than minimum wage, and I have benefits. But honestly, is any of that really worth the lack of self-respect that goes along with this gig? It’s very likely that I’m just reacting to a particularly bad day (in the context of many, many bad days), that I’m presenting a false paradox but, jeepers, it sure SEEMS like a valid understanding of the situation.

There are certainly “work-ish” things I ENJOY doing. I stayed up til 2:00 the other night coding a website for a buddy and it was actually fun. I was seeing double and had something like 4 hours of sleep but that didn’t seem like a “job.” That’s fun. Maybe that’s the key.

work because I like to, not because I have to (read all 8 entries…)

I had a nap this afternoon, the perfect activity for a Sunday afternoon if you ask me, but it was interrupted by not one but TWO work-related nightmares. Very specific nightmares. Very clear. Very unpleasant. I have to ask “where the heck did they come from?” These are not things that have happened recently but probably speak to a general layer of stress I have. I’m taking on a lot more responsibility soon. There should be some fun aspects to this new range of responsibility but a lot of undefined duties too. I only really HAVE to stick it out for another year before I’ve put in my 10 years. I hope I can survive that long.

I’m sketching out a work mosaic for “what comes after.” I don’t enjoy doing the same thing for an 8-hour stretch and consequently, I resent this current job. I’ve got a plan of doing a couple smaller simultaneous projects, none of them “full-time” even though the number of hours that I’m busy will likely be more than the standard 40 hours/week. In fact, I’m estimating roughly 48 – 60 hours / week but spread out over all seven days and not condensed into monolithic chunks. I’m figuring out how much of my total income will need to be generated by each of the endeavors by percentage of the whole week. Then I can also calculate a rough figure of hour much “per hour” I have to net from each activity. This all is pretty basic stuff, I guess but it feels incredibly liberating to me.

It wouldn’t hurt to work on the work-related gratitude list again…

submit my writing for publication (read all 10 entries…)

One of my stories was accepted for publication this week and even better, it’s a paying market! The response time also was wonderfully fast.

The event has encouraged me greatly and I’ve written diligently all week. I’ve nearly finished a draft of another story.

I also discovered an online writer’s group, for lack of a better description. It’s focused on speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror) so it’s not appropriate for all my writing but it’s a great free resource. In order to get ones own story critiqued, each member must critique the stories of others, roughly 3 stories per month. Seems like a good deal.

Tear down my garage and build a 12 seat theatre (read all 13 entries…)
The poles for the curtains are hung now

The long iron pipes that will support the stage curtains are now in place. Installation was perhaps a bit tricky but far from impossible. I needed a spare hand or two at a could junctures but it’s all done now.

I’ve also decided to move an old foot pump organ I have out to the barn to use for the music. It’s just another thing to add ambience while not using any electricity.

Next step is to secure the curtains to the pole and to start to hem them to the new length.

improve my health (read all 5 entries…)
Worked out at the Y 4x this week

Got up early. Walked briskly to the Y and just worked out. Didn’t make it a big deal. Sore, yes. Tired, yes. But nearly got in the habit.

Each day I added another routine to my workout and extended the reps in the routines I was doing.

Run a mile without stopping (read all 4 entries…)
Intermediate Goal: "Participate" in a 5K Race

Note I’m not indicating if I will be running much of that race but a nice and specific date will be handy. The Dexter-Ann Arbor Run is coming up on June 1st – like a month and a half away – and I think I can commit to participating. Maybe the peer pressure will get me to run more than I would normally.

play the cello more (read all 4 entries…)
Played A Bit Tonight

The trouble right now is that there are too many people living in the house with me and I am not 100% comfortable playing so they can hear. Tonight, enough of them were gone that I pulled out the old thing and sawed away ‘til my bowing arm was sore… which actually wasn’t very long. Wow, I’ve lost my “cello muscles!” How strange is that!

I worked on Irish Wash Woman, fiddling around with a few variations, a couple different octaves…

lose 100 pounds (read all 7 entries…)
This is a HORRIBLE goal

I can’t easily IMAGINE 100 pounds let alone conceive of how I’m going to lose it.

I’ve got to change it in my mind so that I “think” it says “Lose 20 pounds by the end of June” or I’ll go crazy!

sell, give way or throw away 111 things I don't need any more (read all 21 entries…)
#82 & #83 - that Cheap Old Fashioned Label Maker and Blank Labels

This stuff came from my Dad’s basement and I can tell why he never used it: it worked like stinky poo! I thought it would be so cool to have those old 70’s era labels on stuff, maybe even make tape down pasted up ‘zines with those labels as the titles that I could scan into a computer and…. well, there’s no point going on with my wonderful ideas because the label maker DIDN’T work at ALL. The tape didn’t advance so all the letters mushed on top of each other. I suppose I could have come up with an alternative use but I’m going to have to leave that to someone else. It’s headed out the door.

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