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.

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Ahhgghh! The...grey?... banner of doom!

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Complete the "21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program" starting Septemer 8th (read all 3 entries…)
The 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program

I discovered through one of my email newsletters a site that is focusing awareness on the benefits of a vegan diet, and since I have been exploring this concept on and off all year, I decided to participate in their “kickstart program”. Beginning September 8th thru the 29th, they will email to me (and about 4,000 other people participating with the program)recipes, nutritional and health info, webcasts, and a message board. The idea is to learn how easy it can be to change one’s life and eating habits in just 21 days. Hmmmm… 21 days doesn’t sound very long, until the burger cravings start. Then it could be a very long time.

For me it won’t be as difficult. I have been eating largely raw/vegan/vegetarian meals most of the year anyway. Sure, some beef, chicken and fish here and there, but pretty well in control. But now S. has committed to doing it as well for the three weeks. I think it will be harder for her, once I explained that vegan meant no milk, eggs, shrimp, cheese or butter. The look in her eyes, between horror and regret, was very sad, indeed. But I read to her the benefits of the vegan diet, according to the website, and I cut and paste them here for general consumption:

The Benefits of a Vegan Diet
What you eat can greatly affect your health and well-being. Scientific studies have shown time and again that choosing healthy foods can reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.

A healthy diet can help prevent cancer, since up to 60 percent of cancer cases are diet-related. Healthy foods can also help you maintain a healthy weight. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, close to 100 million Americans are overweight or obese. Being obese or overweight substantially increases the risk of morbidity from several conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, and several types of cancer.

So what type of diet is best for disease prevention and to maintain a healthy weight? The best diet is one that you can stick with for life. A healthy diet is a lifestyle, not a fad that is dangerous or difficult to maintain.

Abundant evidence suggests that the most healthful diets set aside animal products and also reduce fats in general, while including large amounts of vegetables and fruits. Eliminating meat and dairy products from your diet is a powerful step in disease prevention. These products are typically high in saturated fat and cholesterol and completely devoid of fiber. They have also been specifically linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancers. Eating a low-fat, plant-based diet rich in whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables is the best way to prevent disease and increase chances of survival.

One additional diet consideration may be useful for people with diabetes or pre diabetes. Choose foods that have a low glycemic index (or “low GI”), which means the foods that turn to sugar more slowly and cause less of a rise in blood sugar levels. Although you’ll find various lists of the GI values of different foods, there are really only a few foods to be concerned about. Sugar, of course, has a high GI, as do white or wheat bread, most cold cereals, watermelon, pineapple, and baking potatoes. Foods to enjoy that have a low GI are pumpernickel, rye, multigrain or sourdough bread; old-fashioned oatmeal, bran cereals and Grape-Nuts; most fruits; sweet potatoes, pasta, rice, barley, couscous, beans, peas, lentils, and most vegetables.

So, let the challenge begin! Anyone out there willing to join in, go to PCRM 21-Day Vegan Kickstart Program for more information.

Weigh 180 pounds by September 4th (read all 13 entries…)
Not actually done...

but I wasn’t going to let the “personal challenge” column “fail” me, either. Even though I may not achieve this goal in the time frame I had planned, I am doing what I should be doing everyday to eventually get there. That was the real goal after all.

Focus on Exercise: November (read all 10 entries…)
Respectable Progress

Not a bad month for chest exercises. I did tend to overwork my chest a little, but it was more in repetition and conditioning than heavy weight. There were definite improvements. The weights I maxed out with three weeks ago are the weights I start with now, and when S. patted my chest the other day, I do believe her hand lingered.

I also realize that while focusing on one area of the body, I have to make sure to train and strengthen the opposite muscles as well. In this case my back could have benefited from more stretching and exercising. The focus on chest muscles imbalanced my body. With the new month I am going to focus on a new area, but I will continue to strengthen and develop my chest, back, and keep the opposite muscles balanced, too.

make wild, passionate, crazy love (read all 10 entries…)
Birthday Sex Redux

Of course one of the many pluses of being in a relationship is the opportunity to celebrate not only your birthday but your beloved’s, as well. Earlier in the year I was lucky enough to receive, this time I was privileged to give.

So while S. went off to cash in her pedicure and massage gift certificates, I gathered ingredients and prepped for a gourmet three course dinner with wine and candles. She came home to a dining room bathed in yellow candlelight, and the dinner table strewn with dried lavender petals and springs of rosemary (her two favorite scents). Dinner was a great success and perfectly portioned so that neither of us felt too full. The wine did go to our heads a little.

Presents were unwrapped and cooed over with much appreciation. Time to unwrap other, more sensual gifts…

Amidst kisses and caresses I pause to grab one of the digital timers from the kitchen.

“What are you going to do with that?” she asks.

“It’s for you,” I answer. “Select a time, and however long it is, that is how long I will make love to you.”

“Very bold… and confident. Do I get to select minutes, or just seconds?”

“Ha, ha. It has hours, too.”

“Oooh. How many hours?”

“Well,” maybe I’m being too bold. “It only goes up to ninety-nine, soooo….”

In the bedroom she keys in a time, but won’t let me see what it is. It is a hot August night, so we strip the bedspread and top sheet off, open the windows, and hope for rain. No rain, but our favorite love-making CD thrums, hums and drums in the darkness while the kitchen timer secretly counts down. True to my word, if not to the immediacy of my desire, I pace myself, going here, there, down, around… seeking any new embrace that will prolong and extend her pleasure. Somewhere along the way the CD ends and begins to repeat (I take note, since I know it is 54min & 38sec). The ceiling fan and open windows are insufficient to dispel the heat building up, and we are both parched and sweat-soaked. More wine fixes this, both over our lips and over our bodies. Her first two climaxes are selfish, as they should be. These are my gifts to her. I’m there, holding back, coaxing, touching, kissing, loving. Now she wants a mutual release as she begins to come again. Begging me for what she knows I cannot resist, fingernails deep in my back and breath hot and sweet on my throat, I am unable to restrain myself any longer. My universe expands, my consciousness opens, my world focuses to this moment, this instant, this vessel of nirvana. This is what the birth of stars must be like.

Sometime later, exhausted and layered with sweat and wine and kisses we lay sprawled on the bed and the digital timer goes off. I pick it up and peer at the numbers on the display.

“Pretty optimistic, there. Wouldn’t you say?” I asked, throat still dry.

“Well, there’s always next year,” she muses sleepily.

“Well, there’s always later this year…”

Get a massage at least once a month (read all 5 entries…)
Massage #5

I hadn’t been for a massage in quite a while. Frankly, I was feeling pretty loose and relaxed. But lately I have noticed a gathering tension in my back and shoulders and figured my last day of vacation was a good time to get a few knots worked out.

It began raining pretty heavily and the far off roll of thunder along with the meditation music made for a very relaxing start. My masseuse gently scolded me for having taken so long off as she pushed, prodded, elbowed and kneaded the lumps of tight muscles in my back, neck, legs and hips. The more she loosened things up the more I realized how uncomfortably tight I had been. By the time she had flipped me over and massaged my chest, throat, face and scalp I had vowed not to let so much time pass before seeking helpful hands again.

Weigh 180 pounds by September 4th (read all 13 entries…)
Plateau - Oh neau!!

After a week of conscious eating and being good I have hit a plateau. No weight lost this week. Booo! Especially since the deadline for this goal is coming up and S. emphatically states she will stick to the terms of our deal. So close, but I am worried now I won’t make this goal in time. I don’t want to go on water and diuretics, but I hate losing, too.

Nurture and tend to our foundling squirrel until it reaches squirrely independence (read all 8 entries…)

Our little foundling continues his progress. He has started cutting teeth (toofers) and yesterday his little ears suddenly popped out. They had been little bumps on a bumpy head. Fur is getting a little thicker and you should hear the fuss he makes when the food doesn’t come fast enough! His eyes haven’t opened yet (another 2 weeks, we think)but he is sensitive to light. He still sleeps most of the time. He will crawl around a little but is such a squirmy thing it is no mystery he fell out of his nest.

We have a strict “no namiming” policy on critters for the first two weeks, but I think soon we are going to have to contemplate one.

Fast one day a month to acknowledge others who are in need (read all 11 entries…)
Women in Peril

My fast was on Monday, but I didn’t want to post this until I thought it out more clearly, trying to give voice to my emotions on this matter:

This has been on my mind lately…

I dedicated this month’s fast to what I perceive as a rising tidal wave of danger to women. For reasons inexplicable to me there is a culture of violence and disrespect toward women today that is rapidly expanding . With every news day comes another story of an atrocity or the victimization of women. From Jacyee Dugard, to Jasmine Fiore to the local case of Kristi Cornwell, a brutal disregard for the well-being of women is on display. And these are the ones that get coverage. Every day many, many women suffer out of the spotlight and without a sense of hope or support.

Our television is full of crime shows that for “entertainment” delve with pornographic glee into the details of molestation, battery, rape and murder. The objectification of women is a commercial industry standard. Even from the pulpits of many churches, the subjugation of women is preached. Where does all this hate, disrespect, anger and violence come from?

I say it is the fault of men.

Not all men, but enough men who have never grown up and matured enough to be the responsible elements of society they should be. Men who are so intimidated by the strength, passion and wisdom of women that they have no other means of asserting themselves than by attacking that which they don’t understand and fear. Men whose maturity levels never surpassed that of 13-year old boys who have no concept of how to participate in an equal, loving, attentive, responsible relationship. Men who cannot stand not to be the center of attention. Men who view women as objects of sexual convenience and domestic servitude. Men who have evolved concepts of how to treat women based upon Batman movies, internet pornography and how Amber the stripper is always glad to see them. In that context, how boring to have a partner who does laundry, works and gets paid more than he does, gains weight, makes dinner every night, is sometimes sad for no reason, gives birth to and raises his children, won’t let him buy a Sega 3 gamestation because the rent is due…

I am not going to say that women have historically been well treated by civilized society. But there has been a definable shift in the world consciousness over the last century, and the roles of women have definitely changed. They are reclaiming their goddessness (if that is a word) and becoming stronger, more assertive, open, passionate about the world, and capable of handling their lives. The problem is that men have not stepped up in their godhood to match them. If anything men in general have retreated, letting the women in their lives become extended mothers who have to nurture and spoil them as they would their other children. This brings them into inevitable conflict with their most primitive driving forces: to fuck (procreate) and to kill (provide and defend). It is the nature of men to be violent, that is how we kept bears out of the caves and food on the fires 100,000 years ago. But we don’t live in caves now and our aggressiveness needs to find acceptable outlets (sports, WWF, foreign wars for oil). Somewhere in the last few decades, that aggressiveness has turned on the other half of our society in the most horrific and unapologetic ways.

Can we not patron music that debases and denigrates women? Can we not watch TV shows that feature violence against women and children as the center point of entertainment? Can we ban websites that host rape-porno and “fantasy molestation”? Can we not laugh at jokes that degrade roles of women? Can we look them in the face when we speak to them (instead of you know where)? Can we judge women by their spirits first rather than their figures? Can we not slaver over party-doll heiresses and their sexual missteps and instead acknowledge beautiful women who do good works (Eva Longoria, Melissa George, Gillian Anderson, Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie, Oprah Winfrey… gorgeous women who give liberally to charities, even working hands on in the field)?

At a more immediate level, can we, as men, resume our partnership role in the lives of our women? Can we be good role models to our sons and daughters? Can we be good wage earners and provide equally in the support of our families? Can we tame our vices, not cheat, lie, be slothful or lazy, or inattentive, distant or sexually insensitive? Can we take care of our bodies, eat good food and exercise, so our mates enjoy our bodies, and know we are taking responsibility for our longevity? Can we listen before we answer, think before we react, try and see things from her point of view? Can we take it on the chin and accept that not winning every argument doesn’t diminish our masculinity? Can we be strong and suffer in silence, not complaining about every little bullshit thing that ripples our plane of inconvenience?

Can we be spiritual leaders, teachers, sages, wise men and seekers of knowledge and truth? Can we fill the void of soul between ourselves and our women? Can we offer compliments and be tender and not vulgar, be men of character, gentlemen and lovers?

Can we never, ever, ever, under any pretense or excuse, raise our hands against women we have professed to love, protect, tend to and support. Or against any woman, anywhere? Can we require the same of every man around us, and never dismiss or excuse such action?

Will we… can we … wake up from this brutal global nightmare?

I will be meditating on this during my fast, and for some time afterward. I will do what I can do… how much more can I do?

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Another Vegan Quickie

Fast and easy stir fry with rice noodles, bell peppers, red onions, marinated shittake mushrooms, green beans, squash and zucchini with garlic and fried ginger, fresh cilantro and Sesame Asian Vinaigrette and a pile of sprouts.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Sprout Harvest

Three days of practical neglect (all you have to do is keep ‘em moist and warm) and I harvested a bowl full of mung bean and alfalfa/broccoli/radish sprouts.

Sprouts are a nice treat to snack on, and also a very healthy food source. The seed contains all the enzymes and nutrients needed to get a sprout going before the job of the roots take over and start feeding the plant via the soil and water. Sprouts are living plants, still full of vital energy. Broccoli sprouts have up to 40X the calcium and vitamin content of a full grown plant, and the flavors are light and delicate.

Growing them at home is super easy and super cheap (compared to buying them at the store at $2-3 a pint). All it takes is a glass jar with a screened lid, seeds for sprouting (make sure they are organic and suited for sprouting. Some seeds have pestacides and anti-mold and fungus protection and are only suitable for planting), water and room on the countertop. Soak the seeds, usually overnight, drain, lay the jar on its side and rinse the seeds and drain two – three times a day. Sprouts usually appear within the first day, and by day three or four sprouts are ready to harvest. Just dump them into a big bowl of cold water and stir, letting the seed husks fall away. Remove the sprouts and drain, then store in the fridge, keeping them moist but not wet. Consume rapidly, because if you start another batch of sprouts right away, they’ll be filling up the fridge in no time.

Weigh 180 pounds by September 4th (read all 13 entries…)
Temptation texts...

Received a text message: “Ntrsted n lunch or should I get some b4 I get home?” (My sabatour at work again)

My reply: “Naw. Prgm 4 me, pick up smthng 4 u.”

Response: “U sck!”

My reply: “But I don’t weigh as much ; )”

Sometimes it is good to resist.

Buy a house in the spring (summer)(now officially fall) of 2009 (read all 16 entries…)
Home Inspection Complete!

Only a couple of minor issues, nothing to stand in the way of us moving forward. The inspector was very thorough and said we were getting “a really very nice house”. Yeeaaaaa! Now onto the appraisal and final loan process. It may have only taken six months, but this goal is nearing completion!

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Mmmmmm... Creamy Vanilla Yogurt

We have been trying to get things packed up in anticipation of our move, and S. has gone wild and packed up most of my kitchen things. I had to hunt and dig for the yogurt maker, but it was worth it. I used some organic 2% milk, orange blossom honey, and Madagascar vanilla beans to ferment up some tasty, healthy, homemade yogurt. I have come to like the “real and natural” yogurt much more than any store bought concoction with stabalizers and artifical sweeteners. I knew I became a yogurt snob when I had a spoonful of the commerical stuff and thought it was just awful. My home brew is nice and tangy, vanilla flavored and honey-sweet. And I know every ingredient that went into it and how it was handled. And making yogurt, especially with a machine, is no more difficult than making soup or brewing tea.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Quick and Easy Vegan

I kinda threw this together out of what I have, proving you don’t have to be rigid if you want a non-meat meal, just resourceful.

I sauteed some garlic and red onions until just soft, added sliced oyster mushrooms (any kind would do) and halved grape tomatoes. Tossed them around and let them soften a bit then added some lima beans I had soaked and cooked. Once everything was heated I piled some shredded kale ontop and covered for about 2 minutes. The steam from the vegetables below cooked the kale to perfection. A sprinkle of black pepper and a drizzle of my Garlic and Herb Vinaigrette and voila! Guilt free dinner is served. Of course it can also be a great side to any meat dish. Notice I didn’t add any salt? I lightly salted the beans when they were cooking, and the tartness of the vinaigrette was all that was needed for great flavor.

Kale has 10X the iron of spinach, and lots of other vitamins and minerals.
Beans are a terrific source of non animal protien. When dried they can last indefinately.
Tomatoes contain vitamin C
Mushrooms are loaded with anioxidents and are extremely healthy.
Garlic and onions are good for the heart.
Olive oil in high in unsaturated, heart-healthy fats.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Homemade Butter

Got inspired by Crunchy Bread’s desire for homemade butter and whipped up a batch. Started with a pint of heavy cream and a dollop of homemade yogurt. Blended this and let it set on the counter overnight to sour slightly (this step is not necessary, but I find it gives a richer, creamer, slightly tart taste to the butter).

Poured the slightly soured cream into my handy-dandy KitchenAide mixer and began whipping the cream. First it got thick, then it got airy, then it totally clumped up and seperated – hooray!

Poured off the lovely and sweet buttermilk (biscuits, anyone?)and pressed out as much buttermilk from the butterfats as I could. During the rinsing “they” suggest adding cold water and ice chips while working the butter. I just start with ice chips and work my way up to whole cubes. The ice caused the fat in the butter to harden, squeezing out all the execess buttermilk and water. I worked this for 15 – 20 minutes until the melt water from the ice ran out clear (relatively clear… I have yet to actually get clear water). Seasoned with a touch of popcorn salt (superfine in texture) and packed into a ramekin. That’s a week of good butter.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Make a Bread a Week for August

I’ve got a sourdough started, fermenting away in a corner. Last night I made a lovely 10 Grain bread. I didn’t technically make it from scratch. The flours were already mixed together. I added the yeast, a little oil and water. Did all the kneading, rising, punching, re-rising, shaping, proofing and baking. Baked in half the time it was supposed to so good thing I was watching. Absolutely wonderful fresh baked bread, moist and full of grainy flavors. Spread with some of the homemade butter… Ahhhhh!

I am not really supposed to be eating bread right now, but this was irresistable. And it is healthy 10 Grains, right?

Take two weeks vacation (read all 6 entries…)
Mid-Week... so far

Monday – Wednesday:

Signed contract on house (hooray!), closing on Sept. 30th
Went to dermatologist, clean bill of health (hooray!)
Checked out the Hong Kong Market (wayyyyy coool!)
Got week’s groceries from Buford Farmer’s Market (yum!)
Made 1 of my 4 salad dressings (herbal goodness!)
Worked out everyday (whew!)
Sex everyday (whew!)
Weeded front yard, mowed backyard(ahchoo!)
Called tax lady (sorted out!)
Get oil changed in Jeep (check!)
Went to Shambhala Center (ohmmmmm!)
Fast one day (Done, entry to follow)
Made homemade butter and yogurt (not on the list, but I’m flexible)
Went to urologist (not happy, not happy at all)
Wished Mom happy birthday (woohoo!)
Found a new kitchen supply store I didn’t know about (cha-ching!)
Kept foundling squirrel alive for a full week (yeaaa!)

I could get used to this time-away-from-work deal. I feel so much more productive!

Nurture and tend to our foundling squirrel until it reaches squirrely independence (read all 8 entries…)
Feeding time...

And the little fellow gets fiesty! Starts squeaking like a rubber dog toy (okay, bad analogy). But once he gets his 2cc’s he’s back to sleep without a peep.

Make more foods from scratch: Come up with a month's worth of vegan meals/recipes (read all 14 entries…)
Sprouts A-Sproutin'!

Live healthy food doesn’t get more “from scratch” than growing it on your countertop. In a couple of days… crunchy mung beans, buckwheat sprouts and alfalfa sprouts!

Buy a house in the spring (summer)(now officially fall) of 2009 (read all 16 entries…)
Contract in hand!

Just signed the binding agreement to the contract. Bank accepted our offer and made no provisions. Woohoo! No more dealing with banks! Now just on to the closing (set for September 30th) and homeownership. Just need to get all details tidied, inspection, appraisal, final submission for the loan which comes from… a bank. Oh, crap.

Oh, well. This still qualifies for a happy homeowner dance!

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