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

Robert Cottrell

Pages: 1 3 4
start an open source project
Project Created

For me, the hardest thing seems to be coming up with an idea that is worth working on. I can never seem to come up with anything that would hold my interest longer than putting together a quick prototype.

With the release of the latest Rails last weekend, however, I felt particularly inspired for a few marathon hacking sessions to explore the new framework additions and think I came up with an idea for a plugin with enough substance that it could make for an interesting project.

I quickly rushed off to RubyForge and registered a new project before I could talk myself out of it.

make a video call

At lunch today, Matt commented how he had this fancy smart phone with video call functionality but had never once made a video call and couldn’t see why anyone would possibly want to make a video call. Well, I couldn’t just let things go on that way. And, as it turns out, I also have a fancy smart phone with video call functionality that I have never used to make a video call.

I suggested that we should try a video call as we both sat on opposite ends of the table. Matt was up for the experience, so I keyed in his number and anxiously clicked the make video call button, unsure of what would happen. The phone rang, Matt answered, and after a few second pause to buffer the video, we had a video call streaming the tens of inches that separated us.

The video quality was surprisingly good, considering how underpowered phones can be. There was a noticeable delay of a few seconds between when words were spoken and when they were heard at the other end, which is a bit strange when you’re standing so close together.

I’m not sure if I will necessarily ever have a need to repeat this, but a good time was had by all—as several coworkers gathered behind either me or Matt to view this display of technological wizardry. But I have no idea how much this little experiment is going to cost on next month’s phone bill.

Read my 43 Things subscription page on my Wii

As I was grabbing my coat to head off to work this morning, I saw the glowing purple light on the Wii console indicating that a new message had been received. I quickly powered on the unit and navigated to the messages center where I soon discovered that the Opera browser for the Wii was now available for download. Since work today was going to be very light, I delayed leaving to download the software and give it a quick test.

My first site to browse? Why my 43 Things/Place/People subscription page of course! Navigating with the web browser was surprisingly easy, given that I was using just a tiny remote control 10 feet away from the television. The font used on the subscriptions page, however, was a little bit hard to read.

I thought about writing this post on the Wii, but decided that I would soon get a little too tired pointing at the virtual keyboard. Maybe that’s a task for wasting some time during the holidays.

Eat a burrito for all three meals one day
The International EaBfATMD

Alright, after all of the burrito messages I’ve been seeing today, I think I’ll have to join in from across the pond. There isn’t as much in the way of Mexicanish food around here but I think I might be able scrape something together.

There is a French crepe stand down the street. That’s sort of burritoish, although I’m not sure if it’s close enough—maybe for the dessert burrito? Judges?

shred everything in my shred pile (read all 2 entries…)
A failed end

After hauling out half a dozen large bags of shredded documents, my shredder must have decided it had worked hard enough. After a few turns of angrily creaking metal, the teeth stopped turning and the shredder was effectively no more.

I suppose that now I will have to continue this goal as “rip up everything in my former shred pile and hope that no thieves happen to be wandering by looking to steal someone’s identity because by then I will have moved away and probably be unable to do anything about it”.

shred everything in my shred pile (read all 2 entries…)
Why didn't I start doing this earlier?

There’s really no reason I can think of to still keep random bank statements from 1999. Worse yet, photocopies of bank statements, amd maybe even some faxes of photocopies of bank statements. Tonight I hauled away three full bags of shredded documents. There’s still a long way to go, but my stash of papers has been significantly reduced. Good thing too, since I’ll need the filing space to keep track of my international adventures, which probably will require more extensive record keeping.

Have new watch fitted
It finally fits

When I first got my new watch last year, I was worried that it was a little too tight to be comfortable. However, after considerable shrinking of my arm, I actually found it difficult to wear my watch because it was way too loose and would sllide halfway down to my elbow.

Now, thanks to Eric’s successful completion of this goal and insight into identifying hidden locations with watch-altering tools, my watch now fights snugly and comfortably secure on my wrist.

lose 100 pounds (read all 2 entries…)

There’s something naturally slimming about Europe. I’m not sure if it’s something in the air or maybe just the shocking lack of lifts in the ancient mountainous cities. Whatever it is, I was pleasantly surprised to return from my recent vacation to find that the last 10 or 15 pounds that have been stubbornly refusing to go had magically vanished.

I’m going to have to remain vigilant for the next week or so to make sure that I properly readjust to the more sedentary American lifestyle without regaining the weight, but I think I feel safe enough for now to mark this goal as complete.

And now the hard part begins. Reaching this goal has still left me on the wrong half of “overfat”, so there’s still quite a bit of weight left for me to lose.

learn to cook delicious soups
Progresso Minestrone

The key to delicious soups is to start with the best ingredients. The local supermarket or convenience store would be a good place to start. Skip past the more prevalent but inferior Campbell’s soups—these are best left as subjects for Andy Warhol pieces. Several varieties of Progesso are likely to be found nearby. Carefully inspect each label for ideal mix of ingedrients and nutritional content. Once the proper variety has been selected, inspect each can for signs of damage.

After returning from foraging, it is time to prepare the soup. Gently lift the pull tab and peel back the top. Watch your fingers around the edges of the lid—despite decades of domestication attempts, these cans retain a formidable defense mechanism of sharp edges. Once the lid has been removed, pour the contents into a small saucepan. Turn the range to medium heat, being careful not to let the flames ignite the nearby piles of discarded junk mail on the counter top. Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occassionally. Then reduce heat and let the soup simmer to taste. Do not forget about the boiling soup while you check you LiveJournal page for updates from friends.

Slowly transfer the soup from the saucepan to a bowl, being careful not to spill any excess liquids on the table. Serve the soup with a soup spoon and a drink of your choice. Your delicious soup is now ready to eat.

devise a radical self-improvement plan
Defining radical
What do you do when your roots have dissolved and broken down
And the soil that you grew in when you were small
Has become nothing more than dirt in some dirty town

When you list all the qualities that you despise
And you realise
You’re describing yourself

   —Marillion, “The Rakes Progress”

What makes a plan a radical self improvement plan and not just an ordinary self improvement plan? It should be bold, sudden, and out of the ordinary. Don’t be afraid to burn the ships and the bridges down. It shouldn’t be easy, and maybe it shouldn’t even be possible, to return to the old comforts and safety of a previous life. When you look in the mirror and don’t like what you see staring back at you, it’s time to change and to change completely.

walk 100 miles in one week
1/15/06 - 1/21/06 : 111.8 miles

This turned out to be quite a bit easier than I expected, but did require a significant commitment of time. The secret, really, is not to stop moving.

My new GPS trainer was able to capture the vital stats:

1/15/066.60 mi / 01:58:43 / 3.3 mph
  8.49 mi / 02:26:54 / 3.5 mph
1/16/064.93 mi / 01:35:25 / 3.1 mph
  2.24 mi / 00:36:46 / 3.7 mph
  6.62 mi / 01:59:22 / 3.3 mph
1/17/065.97 mi / 01:54:13 / 3.1 mph
  2.29 mi / 00:40:36 / 3.4 mph
  8.74 mi / 02:38:30 / 3.3 mph
1/18/066.17 mi / 01:56:57 / 3.2 mph
  2.16 mi / 00:38:06 / 3.4 mph
1/19/0611.08 mi / 03:29:53 / 3.2 mph
  2.42 mi / 00:40:10 / 3.6 mph
  8.93 mi / 02:44:07 / 3.3 mph
1/20/068.32 mi / 02:31:29 / 3.3 mph
  6.68 mi / 02:25:49 / 2.7 mph
1/21/0620.21 mi / 06:16:40 / 3.2 mph
TOTAL111.8 mi / 34:33:46 / 3.2 mph

walk at least 20 miles each weekend (read all 3 entries…)
Not challenging enough

I’ve done this for the last three weeks but exceeded the 20 mile goal by such a wide margin that it is clear that this goal isn’t going to be enough to challenge me. I’m tossing around a few ideas for its replacement but haven’t settled on one yet.

ride The Duck in Seattle
A Day With the Ducks

Six years ago I had a boss who was obsessed with the concept of riding the duck. He would take about it all the time but never got around to actually going. And so for many years now, I’ve had the urge to ride the duck as well but never acted on it. I kept waiting for an excuse like a visiting relative to take on this most touristy of rides, but they always seem to prefer to spend more time at my sister’s house rather the city.

Today’s adventure exceeded my expectations. There really isn’t anything better than getting together with a bunch of friends for the most ridiculous of reasons.

We started the day with brunch at Cafe Campagne in the Market. Unfortunately there were too many of us to be seated at the same table and so the split us into two groups placed at the complete opposite ends of the restaurant. Sadly I wasn’t seated with the cool kids. No wait, of course I was with the cool group.

After eating we walked down to the Seattle Center (with a stop at Starbucks along the way) to start the tour. There was some confusion at the ticket counter. I had purchased tickets for the the original group of people who adopted this goal and Erik had followed up buying tickets for those who decided later on to join us. Even with tickets already purchased, some felt compelled to buy additional tickets for themselves. After sorting all of this out, Erik purchased duck whistles for all of us and we proceeded across the street to board the duck.

I was surprised to find that the duck was almost completely full. Who would have thought the ride would be so popular on such a cold, grey day. We sat ourselves down in the back, the troublemaker’s section as Daniel would call it. While the proper tourists sat attentively in the front, observing the sites as we drove by, we locals in the back were making all sorts of noise.

My years of trumpet playing had finally paid off as I was able to transform the duck whistle from a simple chirp and give it all sorts of variations in texture and pitch. I think I was able to make it even more annoyingly irritating than usual. Fun times.

The land tour through the city wasn’t all that interesting as we mostly just rode up and down the streets where I live and used to work. Because of the cold, the duck had dirty plastic windows installed which not only limited the view but made it difficult to quack at passers by on the street.

Once we hit the water, however, the tour became much more interesting. I’m not sure if I’ve been on a boat in Lake Union before, but if I have it must have been quite a long time ago. It is a rather calming experience to float along the water and enjoy the scenic views of the city in the distance. We passed along the shore to observe a number of house boats and the fancy ships docked in the marina.

Before too long the tour was over and we returned back to the Seattle Center. We will need to think up another wacky reason to do something like this again.

walk at least 20 miles each weekend (read all 3 entries…)
Now GPS Enabled

I received my GPS trainer on Wednesday but wasn’t able to pick it up until Thursday morning. It needed to be charged before use, so I couldn’t test it out until Thursday night. I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of its capabilities, but already it has proven invaluable at keeping me motivated to continue my walks.

Here are some statistics for my first few days:

  • 1/12 – 6.00 mi / 1:46:18 / 3.5 mph
  • 1/13 – 8.24 mi / 2:29:02 / 3.3 mph
  • 1/14 – 20.21 mi / 6:15:18 / 3.2 mph
  • TOTAL – 34.46 mi / 10:30:38 / 3.3 mph

I’m not sure what made me try the 20 mile walk on Saturday. Part of it was to see if I could do it-I haven’t tried a walk that long for nearly twenty years-and part of it was a preemptive strike against the croque madame at Sunday’s brunch at Cafe Campagne.

walk at least 20 miles each weekend (read all 3 entries…)
Rediscover walking

Yes, walking has a lot of positive health benefits and will go a long way toward helping me reach my goal of losing weight. But after walking some 40 miles (probably more) this holiday weekend, I remembered just how much I love walking through the city, wandering over hills and bridges, enjoying the views of the bay, walking in the rain or the early morning haze or the cold winter nights.

Twenty miles should be enough to get some serious walking time in each weekend, It’s easy enough to break up over the course of two days but can still be accomplished in one day if necessary.

lose 100 pounds (read all 2 entries…)

I’m actually fairly freaked out that it is even possible that I can adopt this goal. I had no idea that I had let myself go so far. Progress so far has been slower than I would like, but that’s mostly because until recently I really hadn’t been focused on it. Now that I’ve already completed a chunk of it, I feel more confident in publicly adopting the goal and make a more concerted effort to accomplish it.

I think things started rolling after my trip to Amsterdam in October. Even though I was eating those vlaamse frites (fries and mayonaise) almost daily, and not to forget those amazing Belgian chocolates, this all seemed to be counterbalanced by the extra walking and climbing stairs.

When I returned back to the States, I gradually started cutting down on snacks, stopped drinking soft drinks with lunch, and tried eating better food. Then I renewed my efforts to walk to work each day, continuing all the way instead of waiting for the bus to take me up the final hill.

Last week I was drifting closer to the 25 pound mark and then drifiting away without ever crossing it. To finally push myself over the edge of this milestone I decided that I would walk at least 10 miles each day of this long weekend. That seems to have done the trick and I think I can safely say I’ve made it through the first 1/4 of the goal.

see Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (read all 2 entries…)

The showings at the IMAX were sold out all weekend (I was hoping that by now the crowds would have died down a bit). So, instead we went to see it at the Cinerama, which is not a bad second choice.

My favorite part was at the end of the movie. As the scene slowly faded at what seemed like the end of the movie, people started clapping. That applause, however, nervously slowed down and then stopped as the screen faded back in. The movie was indeed over, but the background for the credits fooled enough people into thinking that maybe the movie wasn’t over quite yet.

watch 43 movies (read all 12 entries…)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is the first of the Harry Potter movies that left me wishing I had read the book so I could better understand the movie. Sure, there was plenty of action and special effects but the film seemed to lack a unifying theme. The Tri-Wizard Tournament (or is that Quad-Wizard?) was more like a two hour pod race—some great sequences but ultimately just filler.

I’m not sure how this tournament could bestow such great recognition and fame on the winners. It seems to be corrupt to the core. The choice of contestants was manipulated. The judges have their favorite contestants and don’t seem troubled doing everything than can to help them. And surviving the cruel challenges seems to have more to do with luck than magical skill or strength of character.

I am curious, however, to see how future installments develop. Is this just a bridge between the mischevious adventures of a young Harry trying to find his place in a world of magic and a more mature version of himself who must ultimately face a powerful adversary and a secret conspiracy within the government that protects it.

Or maybe I should just get the 94 hour audio book collection from iTunes to have my questions answered.

watch 43 movies (read all 12 entries…)
Walk the Line

It’s your basic love story about betraying the ones who stood by you when you had nothing, falling into the depths of drug addiction, losing your family, and living happily ever after. Quite possibly the feel good hit of the year.

I’ve never really been a big fan of Johnny Cash. But with a career spanning as long as his, I guess it’s possible that I was just exposed to his music at a less than ideal time. I may have to revisit this because the soundtrack (mostly featuring songs from the 1950s and 1960s) was much better than I had expected it to be.

develop a daily morning routine (read all 4 entries…)
Day Three

The lack of sleep from the past few days finally caught up with me, so my new morning routine was a little shaky and I moved a bit more slowly than usual, but I managed to stay on track on continue through it.

Erik’s plan for a new morning routine included finding a regular time to take vitamins. This sounded like an excellent idea for me as well, since I’m not entirely sure if you can fully satisfy your daily nutritional requirements on a diet consisting mostly of chicken curry.

I was pretty sure that vitamins have a fairly long shelf life, so I took a few from the mostly full bottle still left over from the last time I decided to try to live a more healthy lifestyle. As I put the bottle away, however, I noticed that the expiration date had passed almost a year ago. So much for my wishful thinking that I had only fallen off my health routine a few months ago. I suppose that means that I’ll need to schedule a trip to the health store this weekend for a new supply. That is, assuming that I’m not locked away in my now much cleaner bathroom recovering from the bad vitamins I had just ingested.

Once again I decided to walk all the way to work. This time, I swung by the New Balance store looking for a new pair of shoes. My current pair have taken about as much as they can take before completely falling apart. The biggest clue, I think, was when I discovered that I could stick my finger through the side of the shoe and touch my feet. Unfortunately the store was still closed and wouldn’t open for another 10 minutes. Normally I would have waited. It would be an extremely simple shopping trip as I would only need to rattle off the model number, size, and color of the shoe I needed. However, I couldn’t afford to spend the time today. I needed to get in to work to help push out the latest features for the site.

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