Archive for September, 2010
All of last week I had Halloween on the brain – I know what you’re thinking – what else is new? But there was something about the week that really got me in the spirit: some combination of the temperature cooling down, Halloween events starting to come into being and all kinds of ideas swimming through my head.
It seems that I wasn’t the only one – I’ve built up a big circle of friends that are also Halloween fans and it looks like everyone was really starting to get into it and ramp up their plans last week. I’ve had some ideas in my head for Halloween and the Zombie Walk so earlier this week I started sketching them out and then I set aside Sunday to start making them real.
I was joking around online with some friends about how Sunday should be a new holiday devoted to the start of Halloween activities. One thing lead to another and the seventh Sunday before Halloween became known as Misgivings Day. (named by Ghoul Friday – check out her awesome blog)
I love the name and think it fits in many ways:
- It is somewhat dark and mischievous sounding
- Misgiving means a sense of doubt about the outcome of something (like the way I see everyone worrying about getting all their props done in time for Halloween)
- The name is a play on Thanksgiving Day – and we are thankful for the fun of Halloween!
I spent my Misgivings Day drinking Pumpkin Ale, working on paper mache pumpkins, making latex intestines for my Zombie Walk costume and starting a big painting – all while watching a ton of horror movies.
Also, unrelated, but I had really great weight training sessions on Thursday and Saturday. My squat and deadlift strength keep going up and I’m confident that I’ll hit my goals for them before the end of the year. I think I need to dig up my lifting gloves though – deadlifts are at the point where they feel like they’re going to rip the callouses right off my hands.
Had a fun weekend! Stayed in on Friday night and started work on my Halloween props – it’s been a while since I’ve worked with paper mache and I forgot how fun it could be. It’s very satisfying to build up an armature in a creative way and watch something take shape out of nothing.
On Saturday I went to the CNE and had a really good time full of good company, rides, games and lots of guilty pleasures in the food department. Can you say deep-fried? Tried the deep-fried mac-n-cheese, mars bar, corn dog and of course, the butter! Mmm, deep-fried goodness. I know this is in stark contrast to some of my goals, but hey – you gotta live. I’m all for balance over absolutes and I know I’ll make progress towards my goals over the month – long term!
Sunday I took a trip to the ROM with a couple of friends. I haven’t been there since they had the Two Towers exhibit for Lord of the Rings so it was nice to wander around and gawk at history. I developed a fascination with patterns in the artwork from different cultures and time periods and took a lot of pictures for future additions to the sleeve on my left arm. I’d been thinking I would keep that arm all black ink, but I might throw some colour in there … lots of sketching to be done! I was going to come back into the city later on that night, but I ended up doing some reading and passing out (sorry guys!).
Monday I did some website work and visited my family. My little bro cooked up a sweet meal like always and we discussed our plans to conquer the Turducken.
Also decided on a few more habits to change / try in the next 3 weeks – I like this approach… going to keep changing little things a few at a time -
1. Ride my bike to work twice a week.
So many benefits to this one: saves wear on my car, saves gas, pollutes less, gets me off my ass and improves my leg muscle stamina for the upcoming snowboarding season. Plus I’ve got the Ride to Conquer Cancer next year so it’s time to start logging some serious distance on the bike.
2. Do yoga twice a week for 30 minutes.
I am actually quite flexible for a bigger dude from years of martial arts, but I could definitely use more flexibility. I also enjoy the calming aspect of it.
3. Plan my meals.
Easier to shop, easier to stick to a plan and easier to monitor. Plus there’s less of a chance of wasting any food… something I hate to do but it happens when I don’t plan and go crazy in the produce section.
So I was thinking about the whole 21 days thing and how well it worked out for me. Of the habits I changed, the most interesting one was the 21 day no complaining experiment. I loved this change and the results it brought me and I’m going to stick with it for life.
Now, I’m definitely not much of a complainer – I see it as pointless wheel spinning and a waste of energy. I was reading old articles on The Four Hour Workweek blog and came across this:
Using a physical reminder (bracelet, elastic, etc.) – don’t complain about anything for 21 days without coming up with a solution. Anyway – I’ve written about it here before – so I won’t get into the details. So I got a blue elastic, slapped it on my wrist and went on my merry no complaining way.
I put extra effort into being aware of my thoughts and my reactions and when my instinct was to react negatively to something I forced myself to stop and think it through. I probably picked the worst possible time to try this – as it was right in the heart of all the craziness at work – but at the same time, that probably made it the best time. With that said – there were a LOT of opportunities to complain – I was in a high-stress situation and was working pretty intense hours. At the same time I was making sure I was on top of my best man duties for my buddies wedding.
The thing I found amazing about the entire experience was that when I look back at it, I can’t really remember feeling stressed or feeling any negativity about it. It was hard work and long hours and the hardest I’ve worked on something in a while – but my no complaining mindset kept me focused on all the good things that could potentially come out of the project. I really think that the mindset spread into the rest of my life because even with the crazy hours, I had a super fun month filled with a lot of good times and a lot of good things happened to me – an almost eerie amount of things actually.
What I really like about it is that it’s not just blind optimism. You don’t just have this attitude that everything is going to be awesome and then expect it to happen. The habit requires you to think about a situation you felt negatively about enough to complain and then forces you to come up with steps to resolve it. So rather than just building negative emotion, you channel that energy into actually resolving the problem. Logically, it’s the best way to approach negativity I think – is there ever any benefit to just venting over taking action?
Anyway – I’m going to pick a few things that I want to change each month – will set aside 21 days of the month to do the change and the rest of the month to think about how it went / what I’m going to do next. There’s always going to be some habit of mine I can improve or change for the better, so I’m sure I’ll never run out of things to try. I’ll be thinking about what I want to change this month – I have a feeling getting more sleep will be one of them!
I had a pretty intensely busy August with my big work project and I didn’t have too much free time, so I only got a couple of things done. I did make progress on a bunch of the others so it’s all good and I now that I have some more free time I’ll be making good use of it in September!
Finished since last update:
- 68 – Become a triathlete – done on August 8th at the Niagara tri
- 73 – Give a speech - did a best man speech at Anthony and Ashley’s wedding
2010 List – as of July 15th, 2010
- DONE - Create a new set of 1 year and 5 year goals - done in March after an eye-opening February
- Get a new tattoo - gonna do this soon!
- Get my advanced-green ranking in Muay Thai - working on it!
- Go skydiving
- DONE – Explore an abandoned building – explored Michigan Central Station and a ton of others in Detroit with Myla and Nix
- Climb the CN Tower in under 30 minutes - will do this at the United Way climb in October
- DONE - Snowboard at Whistler - went during the Olympics in Feb!
- DONE - Stomp a FS 180 off a kicker - did it at Beaver Valley in March
- Do a proper FS/BS boardslide - never got the hang of BS boardslides… sometime this month!
- DONE – Spend a weekend camping with my dog - going June 11-13 @ Rockwood
- Beat last years record of 30 snow days - tied currently at 30 days… gonna break it with a day at snow park in the summer
- Get down under 200 pounds - aiming for a 5 pounds a month pace which is somewhat conservative
- Take my Mom to the Art Gallery – sometime this month!
- Get rid of clutter from my room - have donated/given away/thrown away 7 large boxes and 9 garbage bags of clutter… feels awesome, more to go!
- DONE – Ride 50 km on my bike in one go - June 6, 2010 – signed up for the 2010 Ride for Heart 50km ride
- Build 5 Halloween props - got all my materials gathered and starting this month!
- Build a fake disemboweled torso out of latex/foam – got some ideas from a bud who does excellent fx work
- Take my Dad to a football game
- Learn to rollerblade - I think I’m going to replace this… not very psyched about it
- Make 95% of the food I eat from scratch - this is an easy one for me as I shy away from processed foods
- Get 5 new freelance clients - 3 down and 1 more potential being worked on
- Do a 48 hour weekend fast – will do this in the fall sometime
- Learn 5 magic tricks - got a wicked teacher for this! Thanks Anastasia!
- Go to the Science Centre
- Go to the ROM – going this Sunday!
- Deadlift 315 pounds - progress is underway
- Squat 225 pounds - progress is underway
- Read 25 books - 17 down
- DONE - Spend a weekend snowboarding with my little brothers - went for 3 different weekends
- DONE – Grow a herb garden
- DONE – Climb a tree
- Ride the entire single-track trail at Albion Hills - started biking again in March
- Ride the entire single-track trail at Glen Eden - started biking again in March
- DONE - Walk in the rain - a Squamish necessity!
- Become proficient at AJAX – starting to get the hang of it
- Do a 22 km run - Sunday October 17, 2010 – Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon
- Launch the zombiepedia website
- Go to the carnival – going this Saturday!
- DONE – Bake a cake
- DONE – Volunteer my time for a good cause – worked at the milton charity haunt
- DONE - Try being vegetarian again for 21 days - was much easier than I thought and I’ll be reducing the amount of meat in my regular diet
- Try being vegan for 21 days – tried doing a raw diet for a month… made it 2 weeks – not for me! will try this again in the fall
- DONE - Get a raise
- Revise and stick to a new budget - budget done and have been sticking to it
- Have a 100% TV-free month - I tried this in March… didn’t watch any TV at home… but still had a few hours at other people’s houses / bars… tough to avoid!
- Build a Facebook application - working on an idea for a small app this month
- Take a night class
- Paint a giant painting – sketching ideas now
- Go to the shooting range - after boarding at snow park!
- DONE – Learn 5 new effects in After Effects - learned 2 so far
- Teach the dog to not be scared of the nail clipper - making progress
- DONE – Make a new snowboarding video - editing is underway
- Create 10 website layouts - 5 down, working on 3 more
- Build my portfolio website
- Try indoor rock-climbing
- Learn to Salsa
- DONE – Donate blood
- DONE – Make a gift for someone by hand
- DONE – Visit a Renaissance fair- went to the pirate festival
- Snowboard in the summer - http://www.snowparkniagara.com/ – aww yeah!
- DONE - Be part of a zombie movie - I got to shoot with George A. Romero… one of my favourite directors and the king of Zombies!
- DONE – Start a new business venture – initial planning is well underway
- DONE - Start a conversation with 50 strangers - probably did close to double this # during Feb alone :D
- Learn to make a Paella
- DONE – Decorate a Munny! - got it in the mail and did it today!
- Go on a random and pointless roadtrip
- Write a children’s book - started to write
- DONE – Become a triathlete - changed to August 8, 2010 – Niagara Try-a-tri Triathlon – 375m swim / 10km bike / 2.5km run – started swim training
- Try wakeboarding
- Train with a champion – October 30th, seminar with Andy Souwer
- DONE - Zombie around with my ghouly friends! - done at the Romero shoot!
- DONE – Sculpt something out of clay
- DONE – Give a speech - got asked to be my buddy’s best man at his wedding!
- DONE - Re-pierce my labret - it didn’t close up as much as I thought
- Eat chicken wings in Buffalo - gonna go with MicHELLe!
- Spend an entire day at the beach
- Go on a brewery tour - gonna go with MicHELLe!
- DONE - Ride through the glades - rode the glades at Blue Mountain and then at Whistler and loved it!
- DONE - Surprise someone
- DONE – Work at a haunt – worked at the Milton haunted house in August
- Do 10 pull ups - currently training – at 2 consecutive right now, but will get much easier as the weight comes off
- Do 100 push ups - currently training – at 25 consecutive right now
- DONE – Go to a big music festival - Went to Heavy MTL 2010 with Greg, Derek and Jenn!
- Learn Yoga
- DONE - Watch the clouds drift by - sat and watched the clouds drift through the mountains every chance I got out west
- DONE - Watch a sunrise - watched it come up behind the mountains in Squamish
- Go kayaking – missed a good chance to do this, but will still for sure!
- DONE - Watch a sunset - watched it on the bus ride back from Whistler
- Hike part of the Bruce trail - going to do this on a weekend in October
- Do a handstand pushup
- Eat a tasting menu
- DONE - Eat 5 things I’ve never tried before - way over 5 now… should have set a bigger number, I love trying new foods
- DONE - Ride on a powder day - got to do this twice at Whistler… best 2 days of riding in my entire life
- Build a haunted gingerbread house - found a sweet blueprint
- DONE – Explore a cave - will do at Blue Mountain or at Sauble
- Make a Turducken!
- DONE – Finish 3 major projects at work - 4 down!
- DONE - Reformat my laptop - nice and clean
- DONE - Backup all my important files - bought a spindle of DVDs and finally did this.. have them on a hard drive too – took forever
- DONE – Eat at a White Castle – did this while on a trip to Detroit with Myla and Nix – it was gross!