Category Archives: Lists

To Read in 2017



Every year, I set myself a goal for a minimum number of books to read over the next 12 months. Usually, that number is above 30, which is more than manageable when I’m not at school, and a good thing to strive for when I am. The problem is, the higher the number, the less likely I am to read books that will take a long time to finish, especially nearing the end of the year. Which means many of those giant bricks sitting on my shelves never get read.

I’ve wanted to do this for a while, so:

Here are the 10 (.5?) monster books I will read in 2017. Criteria: A book I own that’s more than 600 pages and, ideally, that has been gathering dust for a few years.

That’s less than a book a month. You can do this.

(There are two – really three – copies of Les Mis because I don’t know which one I want to go for yet. Maybe if I’ll do both – or all, if I’m ahead of schedule.)

  1. H.P. Lovecraft – The Complete Fiction
    • 1098 pages
    • exception #1 to the dust-gathering rule because I borrowed it from a friend, and if it’s not included on this list, he’s never getting it back
  2. Steven Pinker – The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined
    • 802 pages (696 pages not including index and notes)
    • owned since 2011
  3. Jeff Smith – Bone: The Complete Cartoon Epic in One Volume
    • 1332 pages
    • owned since approx. 2013?
  4. Howard Zinn – A People’s History of the United States: 1492-Present
    • 745 pages (688 pages not including bibliography, index, and notes)
    • owned since I don’t even know, 2010 maybe?
  5. Ron Chernow – Alexander Hamilton: The Ten Dollar Founding Father Without a Father
    • 818 pages (738 pages not including notes, bibliography, and index)
    • exception #2 to the dust rule; owned since a few months ago, but I really wanna reeeeaaaad iiiiiiittttttttt
  6. Ayn Rand – The Fountainhead
    • 704 pages
    • my mom’s, so “owned” at least 30 years
  7. Michael Palin – Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years
    • 650 pages (608 not including index)
    • owned since 2007
  8. Jonathan Franzen – The Corrections
    • 609 pages
    • owned since no idea
  9. Eleanor Catton – The Luminaries
    • 832 pages
    • owned since 2013
  10. Victor Hugo – Les Miserables (translated by Lee Fahnestock & Norman MacAfee based on the C.E. Wilbour translation)
    • 1462 pages
    • owned since approx. 2013/2014 I think?
    • I also have half of the C.E. Wilbour translation. If I can get the other half, I might switch to it instead, or add it to the list…
  11. Victor Hugo – Les Miserables (translated by Norman Denny)
    • 1232 pages (1200 not including appendix)
    • owned since approx. 2013/2014 I think?

Total pages: 9052
Total pages not including extras: 8767 (Huh. That’s not as better as I had hoped…)

Well, I’ve read over 7000 pages during each of the last 6 years, according to Goodreads, so this should be okay.



(I would also like to note that there are at least enough bricks left in my room for me to do this at least one more time.)

Korea Bucket List

And now, things I still HAVE TO DO before returning to Canada (if it’s crossed out, it means it’s booked and paid for, but not achieved just yet; italics means it’s planned)…

Korea Bucket List (Still To Do):

  • Hiking:
    • Taebaeksan
    • Odaesan
    • Sobaeksan
    • Seoraksan – Dino (Gongryong) ridge
  • Cities:
    • Wonju
      • Hanji theme park
    • Seoul
      • Deoksugung
      • Leeum Samsung Museum of Art
      • Naksan and Public Art
      • Gwangjang Market (have I done this?)
      • Myeong-dong Cathedral (have I done this?)
      • Seoul Forest
      • Buamdong
      • Two more palaces
      • Samsung D’Light
    • Busan
      • Gamcheon Village in Busan
      • Aquarium – shark diving?
      • UN Memorial Cemetery
      • Samkwang Temple
      • Beomeosa Temple
      • Geumjeongsanseong Fortress
      • Dongnae Hot Springs
      • National Maritime Museum
      • Busan Museum
      • Nurimaru and Haeundae Beach walk
      • Busan Citizen Park
      • Bokcheon Museum
      • Amnam Park
      • Amisan Observatory
      • Eulsukdo Eco Centre and sculpture park
      • Busan night tour (Suyeong River, Geumryeonsan, and Marine City)
      • Haeundae shooting range
      • Busan Cinema Center
      • BEXCO
    • Ulsan
    • Incheon
    • Gimhae
    • Jinju (Chok-suk Pavilion)
    • Gyeongju (Gampo’s the ancient Twin Pagodas of Gaeunsa Temple and the underwater tomb of King Munmu)
    • Inje (Min’s Cabin and tofu with seawater?)
    • Yangyang – Naksanguk temple
  • Other Places:
    • Islands
      • Muuido
      • Namhae
      • Bajindo
      • Saryangdo
    • Kwanghan Pavilion
    • Garden of the Morning Calm in spring/summer
    • House of Sharing
  • Food and Drink:
    • Eat live octopus? larvae?
  • CNN stuff (maybes):
    • Ggotji Beach (near Boryeong)
    • Darangee Village (southern tip)
    • Upo Marsh (go from Busan)
    • Daegwallyeong Ranch (Gangwon)
    • Seryang-Je in Hwasun
    • Seomjin River Train Village
    • Cheongsando
    • Young-san River
    • Yongam Temple
    • Suncheon Bay
    • Sambuyeon Falls (Gangwon)
    • Gobungun, Changyeong
    • Wanggungri
    • Soyang Lake (Gangwon)

Republic of Korea UNESCO World Heritage Sites:
Gochang, Hwasun, and Ganghwa Dolmens
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
Haeinsa Temple
Jongmyo Shrine
Changdeokgung Palace Complex
Hwaseong Fortress
Royal Joseon Tombs
Hahoe and Yangdong
Baekje Historic Areas

A Pretty Fantastic Half-Year

My god, it’s been a long time. In my defence, a lot’s been happening in the last 6/7 months, after moving to South Korea to teach English. I’m working on a Bucket List for my last 5 months in this wonderful and under-appreciated place, but for now, here’s what I’ve done so far…

Korea Bucket List (Awesome Things I’ve Done):

  • School Experiences:
    • Taught full-time at 4 different schools:
      • High School: Yukminkwan (moving classrooms)
      • Middle School: Sangji Girl’s School and Shillim (my own English Zone!)
      • Elementary School: Seoguk
    • Taught winter camp at Dun Dun Elementary and Yukminkwan Middle Schools
    • Played saxophone in band with Korean students (!!!)
  • Festivals:
    • Busan Fireworks Festival
    • Seoul Lantern Festival
    • Taebaek Snow Festival
    • Hwacheon Ice Festival
    • Maehwa Blossom Festival (delicious maesil ice cream!)
    • Jindo Sea Parting Festival
    • Jinhae Cherry Blossom Festival
    • Nonsan Strawberry Festival
    • Gwangalli Eobang Festival
    • Icheon Pottery Festival
    • Seoul Lotus Lantern Festival
    • Wonju Rose Festival
    • Boryeong Mud Festival
    • 70th Independence Day Celebrations
  • Hiking:
    • Chiaksan (Birobong Peak and Ipseoksa Temple, the beautiful Guryongsa Temple with mom, dad, and Mr. Kim; Birobong Peak via Ipseoksa Temple, Seryempokpo Falls, and Gyegokgil Valley with Yeollin Taekwondo)
    • Seoraksan (Daechungbong Peak and Chunbuldong Valley; cable car to Gwongeumseong, Sinheungsa Temple, and short hike past the Gyejoam Hermitage to Heundeulbawi and Ulsanbawi Rocks)
    • Jirisan (Nogodan Peak and Piagol Valley – stunning; my favourite hike so far; Cheonwangbong Peak)
    • Mindungsan (with the YMK Teacher Hiking Club)
    • Deokyusan snow hike (Hyangjeokbong Peak)
    • Inwangsan and Bugaksan (Seoul Fortress Hike)
    • Daedunsan (Geumgang suspension bridge and the terrifying Samseon stairway)
    • Hallasan (Seongpanak trail – aka “Endless way of patience” – to Dongneung Peak) and Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak on Jeju
    • Bukhansan (Baegundae Peak)
  • Skiing:
    • High 1
    • Yongpyong (my favourite – plus, 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics!) and Peak Island Water Park
    • Phoenix Park and Muju (seen the resort)
  • Cities:
    • Wonju
      • Chiaksan National Park
      • Guryongsa Temple
      • Nambu Market
      • Lotte Cinema street
      • Doggie cafes
      • Herb and Rose Garden Christmas Lights
      • Rose Festival
      • Park Kyongni Literature Park
      • Museum SAN and Oak Valley
    • Seoul
      • Everland
      • Lotteworld and Folk Museum
      • Kimchi making!
      • Fortress hike (Dongdaemun (East Gate) to Seodaemun (West Gate)) and Seodaemun Prison Museum
      • Inwangsan Mountain, Seonamjeong Temple, Inwangsan Guksadang (shrine), and Seonbawi (a literally hole-y rock)
      • Dongdaemun market
      • Myeongdong
      • Namdaemun Gate and market
      • Ping Pong Party!
      • Insadong and Ssamji-gil
      • Poo Cafe
      • Tapgol Pagoda Park
      • Olympic Park and Stadium
      • Namsan Park (and Korean traditional fighting performance) and N Seoul Tower hike
      • N Seoul Tower and Cable Car at night (with Nataly and Kevin)
      • COEX Aquarium
      • Nanta!
      • Seoul National Palace Museum
      • National Museum of Korea
      • National Folk Museum of Korea
      • Jogyesa Temple
      • Banpo (Rainbow) Bridge and fireworks
      • Gyeongbokgung Palace and changing of the guard
      • Changgyeonggung Palace
      • Ginseng Center
      • Cheonggyecheon Stream (with and without lanterns!)
      • Independence Gate
      • Bukchon Hanok Village
      • Namsangol Hanok Village
      • National Cemetery
      • Hongdae (and spent a night out)
      • Gwanghawmun Square (statue of Sejong the Great)
      • Seen the Blue House
      • Royal Tombs of the Joseon Dynasty (Seonjeongneung)
      • Bongeunsa Temple
      • Hello Kitty Cafe
      • Sheep Cafe (The Thank Nature Cafe)
      • 63 City Building (beautiful views, Sky Art Hall, IMAX, and Sea World)
      • Yeouido Hangang Park
      • The floating islands, known collectively as Some Sevit (Island 1: Vista – Some Gavit, Island 2: Viva – Some Chavit, Island 3: Terra – Some Solvit, and Some Yevit Media Art Gallery)
      • CNN Cafe
      • Kimchi Museum
      • Hanbok Cafe in Insadong
      • Dongguk University Campus (main stadium Buddhist Cheer Rally)
      • Changdeokgung Palace and Secret Garden
      • Ewha Womens’ University Campus
      • War Memorial of Korea
      • Jongmyo Shrine
      • Dongdaemun Design Plaza and Culture Park
      • Yongsan Electronics Market
      • Yongma Land
      • Namhansanseong – visited the Emergency Temporary Palace, Gaewonsa Temple, and Fortress Wall (hiked from 2nd South Outwork to East Gate)
      • Korea House – royal court dinner and performance
      • Gangnam
        • Shopping
        • Sinsadong (Dore Dore rainbow cake and K Star Road)
      • Lotte World Mall and 1600 Pandas
      • City Hall
      • Dragon Hill Spa
      • Deulmusae Restaurant (Penis restaurant in Pocheon – Seoul-adjacent)
    • Busan
      • Gwangalli and Haeundae Beaches
      • Gwang-An (Diamond) Bridge fish festival with mom and dad!
      • Haedong Yonggunsa Temple
      • Busan Tower (Yongdusan Park)
      • Spaland
      • Jagalchi Market
      • Taejongdae Park
      • Busan Harbour Bridge
      • Oryukdo Islets
      • Hwangryeongsan Bongsudae (the peak at Mt. Hwangryeong)
    • Gyeongju (old capital)
      • Bike tour
      • Daereungwon Tombs
      • Cheomseongdae Observatory
      • Bulguksa Temple
      • Seokguram Grotto
      • Anapji Pond
    • Gwangju (5/18 Memorial)
    • Changwon (Kyeong-Wha Station and Yeojwa stream in Jinhae)
    • Jeonju Folk Village (church, bibimbap, museum, city overview hike)
    • Sokcho (Abai North Korean Village and rope boat) 2015 New Year Sunrise
    • Yangyang (Naksan Beach)
    • Gangneung (Gyeongpo Beach, Tongil Unification Park and Warship Pavilion)
    • Daejeon (KT Estates for orientation)
    • Daegu (Seomun Market, Suseong Lake, Eworld and Tower 83, Duryu Park, CatDog Cafe, and delicious eats downtown)
    • Suwon (Hwaseong Fortress hike and trolley; Mr. Toilet House and Haewoojae Culture Centre)
    • Icheon (ceramics with a master’s son, and a pottery festival)
    • Chuncheon (whatever we did on that first day; Gangchon Rail Bike, regional dakgalbi, and Gugok Falls)
    • Samcheok (Downtown, Samchoek Beach, and Haesindang Penis Park with Nataly and Kevin; Jangho Fishing Village snorkeling and glass-bottom-boating, and Hwanseongul Cave)
    • Danyang (Gosu Caves)
    • Yeongwol (Donggang River Rafting)
    • Andong Hahoe Folk Village and mask museum
  • Other Places:
    • Jeju Island
      • Loveland!
      • Manganggul Cave
      • Cheonjeyeon and Jeongbang Waterfalls
      • Jusangjeolli Lava Rock Formations
      • Sanbangsan Temple and Dragon Head Cliff (Yongmeori Coast)
      • Jungmun, Hamdoek, and Hyeupjae Beaches
      • Seongsan Ilchulbong Peak (Sunrise Crater) and Hallasan Hike!
      • Udo Island beaches, peanut makgeolli, peanut ice cream, and Olle Trail walk
      • Women clam divers (Haenyeo)
    • Nami Island (or the micronation of Naminara)
      • Zip-wire entry, row-boating, and strolling
    • Geoje Island
      • Windy Hill, Sinseondae Pebble Beach and rock formations, and Haegeumgang Theme Museum
      • Botanical gardens I can’t find the name of (no, not Oedo’s gardens), ATVing up Gyeryongsan Mountain, and forest paintball
    • Ulleungdo Island
      • Island tour (temples, beaches, and rock formations)
      • Lighthouse hike
      • Dokdo museum
      • Dokdo Island
    • Gapyeong
      • Nami Island
      • Pension
      • Garden of the Morning Calm
      • Cheongpyeong River Land Bungee Jump!!
      • Petite France
    • Boseong Green Tea fields (plus green tea making and green tea chocolate making, and adorable puppies!)
    • Damyang Bamboo Forest (bamboo ice cream!)
    • Christmas lights at the Garden of the Morning Calm
    • The DMZ (Imjingak in Paju and Cheorwon areas, and Nuri Peace Park, and the 3rd tunnel)
    • Bugok Hawaii Hot Springs and Buddhist Hell
    • Haeinsa Temple in Hapcheon
    • The JSA (Panmunjom, Camp Bonifas, the Bridge of No Return, Freedom House, and a step into North Korea)
  • Other Experiences:
    • Ran the Chiak Marathon 10k (only foreigner there!)
    • Went to the Taekwondo Center (Taekwondowon) in Jeollabuk-do
    • Saw a Korean baseball game (Doosan Seoul Bears!)
    • Saw a Korean basketball game (Dongbu Promy Wonju!)
    • Saw a Korean jazz concert and opera at Chiak Art Center
    • Saw a movie in a Korean theatre (Kingsman at CGV- I demand more Firth!; Mad Max at Lotte Cinema)
    • Stayed overnight in a folk village (Naganeupseong Folk Village in Suncheon)
    • Stayed in a jimjilbang (several, at this point!)
    • Temple stay at Seonamsa (traditional vegetarian breakfast, forest hike, tea with a monk, 108 prostrations, and bead-making!)
    • Winetrain (tasting and footbath) and Korean Traditional Instruments Museum (and show!)
    • Dog cafes! And now a cat cafe, too! And sheep!
    • Taekwando lessons at Yeollin Taekwondo!
    • Stayed in a Love Motel
    • Paragliding above Seongju Forest Reserve
    • ATVing up a mountain
    • Paintball in the forests of Geoje
    • Took the KTX, finally!
    • Practiced archery in Suwon (aka “archery archery OH MY GOD ARCHERY”!!!)
    • Saw the awe-inspiring “Galapagos” narrated by David Attenborough in IMAX
    • Got done up in traditional Korean hair and makeup and tried on traditional Korean hanbok for a photoshoot
    • Had a Luxury Movie Experience (Spy at Megabox)
    • Became an honorary agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. at the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Exhibit
    • Traveled with WinK, Meetup, Seoul Hiking Group, and Adventure Korea
    • Saw Jurassic World in 4D (CGV)
    • Got a selfie stick!
    • Stayed in a goofy themed pension for an hour, then got kicked out for not being part of a couple! (The dumb tourist card did not work this time)
    • Went bungee jumping. !!!.
    • Went rafting
    • Mini Mud Marathon, mud slide, mud obstacle course, mud face painting, mud bath and the Boryeong mud flats and beach
    • Went flyboarding!
    • Saw a K-Pop concert (Sistar and others)
  • Foods and Drinks:
    • kimchi
    • shabu shabu
    • pajeon (Korean pizza)
    • spoon pizza
    • Monster Pizza
    • mandu
    • ddeok-guk (rice cake soup)
    • bulgogi and delicious hanoo/hanwoo bulgogi
    • bibimbap, dolsot bibimbap
    • gimbap
    • hanjeongsik
    • samgyetang
    • ddeokbokki
    • dakgalbi
    • doenjang jjigae
    • ramyeon
    • al tang (fish egg and intestine soup)
    • hotteok
    • makgeolli
    • soju
    • takoyaki (octopus)
    • hoeri gamja (tornado potato chips)
    • darggochi (chicken skewer)

Also got to travel to Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore.

100 Things, 1000 Days Report and Bonus Round

When I first made this list, I was coming off a terrible year. In June of 2010, I wrote a massive pity party post on this site (which has since been taken down because, really, no one wants to see that). Well, things continued to get worse right until September, when my wonderful dog Fudge died at 15 years of age. I spent the next two and a half months in a bit of a fog, but in December, something finally gave me the kick in the pants I needed to start waking up fully, doing things, and enjoying life again. That thing was the ethereal moment of clarity that sometimes comes after a bout of depression, when your body and mind have been slowly gathering their strength for weeks and are finally ready to use it. And in order to keep that feeling present for as long as I could, I made a list of 100 things I had always wanted to do but, for various reasons, had never gotten around to doing.
On September 21st of 2013, the arbitrary time period I had assigned myself because it sounded cool, the 1000th day since I began my list, ended.
  1. Get my stupid degree [In progress since the dawn of time] [completed November 10th, 2012]
    Bachelor of Journalism with a Minor in Classics, bitches!
  2. Take a voice acting class
  3. Take a singing class [completed January 29th, 2013]
    I did take one class. I think I’d like to take more.
  4. Finish the first draft of my book (The King) [In progress]
    This is…still in progress.
  5. Get my driver’s license [In progress]
    This is also still in progress.
  6. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  7. Sustaining Memories program at Ryerson University [In progress] [completed May 29th, 2013]
  8. Play an instrument in a big band
  9. Learn to play Rhapsody in Blue on piano
    This is way, way harder than I thought. I’m not sure I can learn it without some help.
  10. Learn to play Somebody to Love on piano [In progress]
    I can play it, but it’s not yet memorized, therefore it does not get crossed off.
  11. Paint something [completed February 20th, 2011]
  12. Start drawing again (buy a sketchbook [completed March 27th, 2011] – fill it up)
  13. Stop picking [In progress]
  14. Do some fun creative baking (ask Po for help if needed 😛 ) [completed April 1st, 2011]
  15. Finish a scrapbook                                     -> 0/3
  16. Finish another scrapbook
  17. Finish another scrapbook
  18. Join an improv class
  19. Act in a play
  20. Do an archaeological dig [completed June 15th, 2012]
    I had such a great post planned for this, but how do you distill 6+ weeks of Italy into one blog post? I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do it one day. Until then:
  21. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter [completed December 26th, 2010]
  22. Watch all of Farscape (an 11th TV show for #65, since my movie list also had a random extra title) [In Progress]
    Technically, this is also done, but I wanted to re-watch, and also watch the special features, because I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH.
  23. Go to a San Diego Comic Con [completed March 9th, 2013]
  24. Participate in a NaNoWriMo [In progress] [completed November 30th, 2012]
  25. Get computer organised once and for all [In progress]
  26. Make website for photographs (e.g. travel photos, portfolio photos) [In progress]
  27. Learn to Scuba dive (note: this means go one time; if I like it, I’ll take the certification classes) [completed in spirit on August 2nd, 2013]
    I tried so hard, you guys. I booked a lesson in Hawaii, and it was cancelled. I booked it again, and it was cancelled. I tried to book one for Lake Atitlan in Guatemala and I couldn’t get a bus in time. I tried to book one in Toronto and I couldn’t make the first couple of classes because of work. Now I have no money, and therefore won’t be booking one for a while longer. BUT! In this time, I did manage to go parasailing (a fun and exciting quasi-water sport that I’d never done before) AND SNUBA diving (which was amazing, and is half way there, after all), and as soon as I have the moolah I will be signing up to get certified, so I consider this item completed in spirit.
  28. Stop biting nails AND start doing nail art [completed January 22nd, 2012 to present]
  29. Volunteer at a Toronto Distress Centre
  30. Get TEFL OR Live in a different country (i.e. not Canada; pay rent; longer than 2 months) [In progress]
    Taking a 140-hour online course plus 20 hour in-class component through i-to-i TEFL.
  31. Play paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s) [completed August 8th, 2012]
  32. See The Daily Show live
  33. Visit Marina in Hawaii [started June 30th, completed July 5th, 2013]
  34. Watch 20 [21, apparently] great old movies (I haven’t seen a LOT of the classics, so this is a selection from IMDB’s Top 250)                    -> 21/21 [In progress] [completed July 28th, 2013]
  35. The Shawshank Redemption [completed November 12th, 2012]
  36. The Godfather [completed July 17th, 2011]
  37. The Godfather Trilogy [completed July 28th, 2013]
    This one also contributed to me getting truly drunk for the first time.
  38. 12 Angry Men [completed January 28th, 2013]
  39. Goodfellas [completed April 1st, 2013]
  40. Se7en [completed February 17th, 2013]
  41. Silence of the Lambs [completed February 26th, 2013]
  42. Memento [completed February 20th, 2013]
  43. Dr. Strangelove [completed July 20th, 2011]
  44. Citizen Kane [completed February 28th, 2013]
  45. The Shining [completed January 19th, 2013]
  46. Spirited Away [completed April 1st, 2011]
  47. Alien Quadrilogy [completed May 14th, 2013]
  48. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [completed February 4th, 2011]
  49. Requiem for a Dream [completed February 8th, 2013]
  50. Back to the Future Trilogy [completed January 1st, 2012]
  51. Ghostbusters [completed December 31st, 2011]
  52. Die Hard [completed August 5th, 2012]
  53. Annie Hall  [completed February 13th, 2013]
  54. The Social Network [completed March 27th, 2011]
  55. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid [completed December 24th, 2012]
  56. Run a marathon of sorts [In progress] [completed in spirit on May 26th, 2013; will be completed in name on October 20th, 2013]
    Ok, it might take a little bit longer than I’d hoped, but I still intend to run a marathon before 2014 is over. However, due to multiple injuries (the ones I can pronounce: fallen arch, right tibial tendinitis, and shin splints; the one I can’t: piri-motor-something something – whatever, I hurt my hip rotating thing, okay?), I’ve had to downgrade my big October marathon plan to a half-marathon. I’ve still run a 5k and a 10k since writing this list, though, which is more than I’d run before, so, again, mission accomplished (in spirit).
  57. Knit something [completed October 17th, 2012]
  58. Whiten teeth [In progress]
  59. Go two weeks without drinking coke (shut up) [started March 16th, completed March 30th, 2011]
  60. Participate in/skate in a Winterlude in Ottawa [completed February 19th, 2011]
  61. Get a bottle of vitamins and finish it without missing a single day (yeah, some of them I just stole right from Heather of gofugyourself fame) [In progress] [completed July 29th, 2011]
  62. Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books                 -> 34/36 [In progress]
    Still have two more shelf-books to read, I’m afraid: Exodus and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. I so would have finished this one if I hadn’t read 10 OTHER books during the same amount of time, though. Still, I’m getting there.
  63. Complete a Cannonball read (                            -> 46/52 [In progress]
    Six more reviews to write before I can count this one as complete. I am on track to finally read 52 books in one year, though, so that’s something.
  64. Get past fear of diving
  65. Watch some finished/cancelled TV shows                            -> 7/10 [In progress]
  66. Watch all of Terriers [completed January 31st, 2012]
  67. Watch all of Battlestar Gallactica
  68. Watch all of Better Off Ted [completed January 9th, 2012]
  69. Watch all of Slings and Arrows  [completed February 12th, 2013]
    This has to be my favourite of all the shows I watched for this project. Please, everyone, give it a chance. And don’t judge by the first two episodes.
  70. Watch all of the West Wing [In progress]
    On season 4 of 6.
  71. Watch all of Blackadder [completed June 2nd, 2013]
  72. Watch all of Buffy and Angel [completed January 11th, 2013]
    I watched TWO LONG-ASS shows for this one. No one can say I was easy on myself for this list, okay?
  73. Watch all of the Wire [In progress]
    By September 21st, I’d seen the first three seasons. I’m mid-way through the fourth season as I write this.
  74. Watch all of Freaks and Geeks [completed January 17th, 2013]
  75. Watch all of Spaced [completed March 16th, 2013]
  76. Take a long-exposure picture [completed June 26th, 2013]
  77. Learn to juggle
  78. Solve a Rubik’s cube [completed December 29th, 2012]
    And I can still do it, too!
  79. Donate blood [In progress]
    I TRIED! They didn’t WANT my blood. I’m working on building iron now. Sort of. I will, I swear. And then I’ll try this again. At any rate, I’m putting it down as in progress – I went to the damned clinic and they pricked both my fingers and told me to go home.
  80. Witness an eclipse [completed May 24th, 2013]
  81. Do pottery (make a pot or a vase) [In progress] [completed April 6th, 2013]
  82. Learn 5 card tricks                             -> 2/5 [In progress]
    I’ve bought a trick deck for those last three. This oughta be fun.
  83. Go camping [completed May 3rd, 2013]
  84. Do the splits (every day) [In progress]
    Ugh, I did this every. single. day. For about a year, and I got nowhere. I’ll try again with a trainer or something, because just stretching everyday didn’t get me much closer to being able to do the splits (which was the actual, albeit poorly stated, goal of this item).
  85. Learn glass blowing (take a course)
    Again, lack of funds is a problem when these courses cost a minimum of $300.
  86. Renew CPR/first aid licence [completed October 14th, 2012]
  87. Make a candle [completed July 27th, 2013]
  88. Finish Learn French in 10 Days book [In progress]
    I have done…3 more pages since I made this list.
  89. Grow a plant – do a picture a day and make a stop motion film [In progress] [started February 11th, completed February 27th, 2013]
  90. Creatively ice a cake [completed July 20th, 2011]
  91. Throw bachelorette party for Nataly [completed January 22nd, 2012]
  92. Make a gravy train
  93. Learn to do that two-fingered whistle [completed July 15th, 2013]
  94. Spend a day tree planting [completed June 1st, 2013]
  95. Allow a spider to crawl on me without screaming
  96. Do a 1000+ piece puzzle [In progress] *asterisk* [completed July 26th, 2011]
  97. Get my ear cartilage pierced once and for all [completed September 23rd, 2012]
  98. Pay back mom and dad [In progress]
  99. Donate $10 to the Cyril Ross Nursery for each goal not completed by the end date [To be done after this post]
  100. Begin world traveling [Completed, but in progress]
    Since writing this list, I have been to Barbados, Finland, Thailand, Italy/Vatican City, Various North America cities and states including: Montreal, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii (Oahu, Kauai, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, AND Molokini), Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala. So even though I haven’t quite reached 26 by 26, I think I can safely count this item as complete, with the understanding that it will never be really complete, and it will always be on my list.

So what this means is that I have completed 64 things (which is just barely a passing grade), am in the middle of 19 still, and have not even attempted 17 yet, which is actually way better than I was anticipating. For #99, I will give $10 for each un-attempted item, and $3 for each item in progress, for a total of $227. Half ($113.50) will go to  the Cyril Ross Nursery in honour of Mr. Gillman, half to the Alzheimer Society of Canada in honour of my grandfather.

It has been almost three years since I first started crossing things off this list, and a lot has changed. Five of my friends have started lists of their own (which is awesome). I’ve graduated, I’ve been to 8 countries, I randomly have 41 awesome WordPress followers, I have a new dog named Shado, and I’ve started running fairly regularly. Some things have changed for the worse; my grandfather died last September.

A lot has stayed the same too, though (or become the same again); I’m living at home again, I’m working at my old job again, I have another unfinished degree to add to the top of another list of things to do.

And there’s a lot still to come. I’m currently applying for TESOL jobs in Korea and Japan, and intend to leave Canada to live in another country in February. I’m going to South Africa for the first time in 11 years in January, I’m chipping away at that second degree by taking correspondence courses, and some time next year, I will run a full marathon. I’d like to start a new list.

But before all that happens, I’m giving myself a bonus round. New Years is the perfect traditional and cliche time to start off a list like this, so I’m giving myself until December 31st, 2013 to see if I can’t cross a few more things off this list. I’m considering it a bonus round. Anything left over will be carried over to the next list, which I’ve already started planning.

So all in all, not a bad little project.

Oh, and by the way:

OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done While Attempting To Do 100 Things In 1000 Days

  1. Gone on a submarine
  2. Gone ziplining
  3. Learned to surf
  4. Made a card
  5. Finished entire phone Sudoku game
  6. Attended a Pride Parade
  7. Attended a Jazz Festival
  8. Attended a Just for Laughs Festival
  9. Attended Pixar animation masterclass
  10. Broken a world record (albeit accidentally)
  11. Learned chopsticks! (INCLUDING FOR SOUP!)
  12. Was maid of honour!
  13. Went to Casa Loma
  14. Appeared in a commercial (next time – do it while not looking like a complete fool)
  15. Went to tiff! (But I did it wrong – I didn’t see any celebrities)
  16. Saw Avenue Q
  17. Posted once a day for a month
  18. Did a mindfulness course
  19. Started/completed (so far) watching: New Girl, Raising Hope, Go On, and Elementary
  20. Went to Stratford (saw Tommy: The Musical, and it was amazing)
  21. Snorkeled with Manta Rays! In fact, did quite a lot of snorkeling!
  22. Drove the Road to Hana! (Well…was driven. But I provided directions and stopping points! Well, I say directions…there’s really only one way to go on one road…NEVERTHELESS!)’
  23. Watched the world get formed (lava hike)!
  24. Went zip-biking!
  25. Ran a 10k!
  26. Went to FanExpo! MET NATHAN FILLION!

100 things to do in 1000 days UPDATE; #62: Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books.

Just a quickie update on #62 (just in case you didn’t read the title): I have now finished half the books, and it’s not even June yet. Hurray! Unfortunately, it seems I have finished shorter and/or smaller books, because the damned shelf still looks more than half full. Ah well.

Currently, I am in the middle of Kurt Vonnegut’s Sirens of Titan.

A reminder:





Books on The Shelf:

  1. I, Mona Lisa – Jeanne Kalogridis
  2. We Are here – Ellen Cassedy
  3. If Only They Could Talk – James Herriot
  4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
  5. The Piano Man’s Daughter – Timothy Findley
  6. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
  8. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
  9. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  10. The Transformation – Catherine Chidgey
  11. Late Nights On Air – Elizabeth Hay
  12. Barney’s Version – Mordechai Richler
  13. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  14. The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
  15. Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  16. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  17. Exodus – Leon Uris
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  19. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  20. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  21. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  22. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
  23. Loving Frank – Nancy Horan
  24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  25. The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
  26. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  27. Survival Kit – Zuzana Sermer
  28. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  29. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  30. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
  31. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  32. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  33. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  34. Lamb – Christopher Moore
  35. How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
  36. Elements of Style – E. B. White

Completed: 18/36

100 things to do in 1000 days IN PROGRESS; #62: Read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books.

I have a lot of books. A lot. It’s not only that I buy six books every time I go into a Chapters or Costco, or that it’s everyone’s go-to present for me for birthdays and holidays, or that I used to work at a bookstore and abuse my employee discount. When my high school library gave away the books they didn’t want anymore, I took in the refugees. When I worked for that bookstore, and people dropped off paperbacks they didn’t want, I cared for the orphans. My last job provided me with copies of all 20 memoirs they’d published so far. And when anyone I know is cleaning out their book stock, I’m usually there within minutes. Also, I never throw anything away. So when I say I have a lot of books, I do mean a lot. Many of which I have never read. The problem is that it takes a lot less time to buy books then it does to read them, so that damned To Read pile is always growing exponentially faster than the Read pile. But there is no point in owning a bunch of books you’re never going to read. I certainly meant to read them when I bought (or otherwise obtained) them. So one of the items on The List is to read one bookshelf’s worth of my unread books – put all the unread books that will fit onto one shelf in one place, and make my way through them.



This will absolutely not include new books bought between now and the completion of that shelf, but I may substitute a book here or there, if I’m not enjoying it, or it’s a particularly slow read (hey, I’m on a deadline here; “finish all books I’m currently in the middle of” is on the next list). Note: I am only starting this item now, because “complete a Cannonball Read” was also on my list, and I didn’t want books read for that (which could include books borrowed from libraries or friends, books I’d re-read, and books I’d just bought) to count for this item. I have now read 52+ books (although I have yet to review all of them), so I consider the spirit of that item complete. Books read for this item will count toward the 5th CBR, however.


Books on The Shelf:

  1. I, Mona Lisa – Jeanne Kalogridis
  2. We Are here – Ellen Cassedy
  3. If Only They Could Talk – James Herriot
  4. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell – Susanna Clarke
  5. The Piano Man’s Daughter – Timothy Findley
  6. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  7. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
  8. High Fidelity – Nick Hornby
  9. The Glass Castle – Jeannette Walls
  10. The Transformation – Catherine Chidgey
  11. Late Nights On Air – Elizabeth Hay
  12. Barney’s Version – Mordechai Richler
  13. The Age of Innocence – Edith Wharton
  14. The Sirens of Titan – Kurt Vonnegut
  15. Schindler’s Ark – Thomas Keneally
  16. Black Swan Green – David Mitchell
  17. Exodus – Leon Uris
  18. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  19. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen
  20. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  21. The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde
  22. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – Lewis Carroll
  23. Loving Frank – Nancy Horan
  24. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
  25. The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson
  26. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway
  27. Survival Kit – Zuzana Sermer
  28. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
  29. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan
  30. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
  31. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  32. Stargirl – Jerry Spinelli
  33. The Sisters Brothers – Patrick deWitt
  34. Lamb – Christopher Moore
  35. How To Be A Woman – Caitlin Moran
  36. Elements of Style – E. B. White

Completed: 35/36

Books Read During the Rest of 2012

  1. Angela’s Ashes (****1/2)
  2. Gatehouse to Hell (-)
  3. The Shadows Behind Me (-)
  4. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (****)
  5. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (****)
  6. Maus I (****)
  7. Maus II (*****)
  8. Spring’s End (-)
  9. MetaMaus (****)
  10. Getting Out Alive (-)
  11. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (****)
  12. Fragile Things (***1/2)
  13. Fragile Things**
  14. If Home Is Not Here
  15. If Only They Could Talk
  16. Casual Vacancy
  17. Out of My League
  18. Mocking Jay
  19. Mythology for Dummies
  20. Don’t Know Much About Mythology
  21. Euripides I
  22. Euripides IV
  23. Frogs and Other Plays
  24. The Better Angels of Our Nature
  25. The King’s Speech
  26. Virus Hunter
  27. Emma
  28. Les Miserables
  29. On The Road
  30. The Scarlet Pimpernel
  31. Shadows of the Empire
  32. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  33. The Hot Zone
  34. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  35. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


* = irredeemably awful
** = middling
*** = decent; has value (of some sort)
**** = very good
***** = amazingly fantastic
****** = almost never used; the perfect book

100 Things, 1000 Days: An update

When I started this project almost 2 years ago, I was still in university and feeling like I would never leave. I lived in Ottawa, not Toronto. I had never been to Italy, Thailand, or Barbados. My grandfather was still alive. It wasn’t really that long ago, but a lot has changed, and as my project nears its completion date, there are some Things on this List that are simply not feasible anymore. So with that in mind, I am adjusting 6 or 7 items that are no longer possible (or desired), by replacing them with items from my “OTHER Awesome Things I’ve Done” list. I’ve tried to make the goals somewhat similar, so it doesn’t feel quite so much like cheating.

1. Get my stupid degree
1. Get my stupid degree
When I first made this list, “Get my stupid degree” meant complete my Combined Honours Bachelor of Journalism and Psychology with Minors in Biology and Classical Civilization. Due to a whole host of personal issues, I have since become fed up with this degree, and split it in two. I have completed my Bachelor of Journalism with a Minor in Classical Civilization, and will graduate Summa Cum Laude in November. The Psyc degree I have switched to a B.Sc. with a minor in Bio. I have about a year and a half’s worth of courses left, but I have put them off, for the time being. I can’t handle another year of school at the moment, but I also can’t have an unfinished degree hanging over my head for the rest of my life, so I am confident Part Two will be completed soonish.

7. Get a journalism type article published (for money)
7. Sustaining Memories program at Ryerson University
I do still want to do the original. Being published and getting money are always nice things. But right now, I am working on a huge project that is much nearer and dearer to my heart, and I’m more than happily doing it for free. I am participating in the Sustaining Memories program, a joint project coordinated by Ryerson and the Azrieli Foundation, where I currently work. A volunteer is paired with a Holocaust survivor who wants to share their story in the form of a memoir, but, for whatever reason, requires some help of prompting to actually get the story on paper. More about this in a later post.

22. Go to grad school
22. Watch all of Farscape (an 11th TV show for #65)
See 1. The grad programs I am interested in all involve psychology, genetics, or neuroscience (although there is one in publishing that looks interesting, and teaching could be useful…), so this is no longer part of my plan for the next few years. Instead, I will fill my mind with happy, goofy, emotionally wrenching sci-fi lunacy, which is also a type of advanced education. Somehow.

28. Volunteer at CHEO
28. Stop biting my nails
Ok, this looks terrible. Screw sick kids, I paint my nails now! My reasoning, I hope, makes me sound less like a cartoon Mean Girl: I don’t live in Ottawa anymore, so volunteering at CHEO isn’t really a viable option. I have other volunteer work on my list (see next item for an example), so I feel pretty comfortable replacing this with another long-time goal of mine.

29. Volunteer at the Ottawa Crisis Centre
29. Volunteer at a Toronto Distress Centre
Again, I live in Toronto now, not Ottawa, so I’ve just shifted this one a few cities over.

30/31. Get TEFL/Teach English overseas
30/31. Played paintball (followed by a dinner for winners at Denny’s)
Unfortunately, this conflicts with my “begin world travel” plans 😛 I plan on doing SWAP in 2013, before teaching English the year after, so while I might get my TEFL or equivalent before my 1000 days runs out, I definitely will not be teaching English overseas. Yet. So instead, let me tell you in an upcoming post about that time I went to South Carolina and made a Community reference. (Although really, if you need to click the link to know what I’m talking about, I am not sure why you’re here.)

Oh yeah, and my friend lives in Washington, not Minnesota now. So I’m visiting her there.

Books Read During Summer 2012

  1. Thank You, Jeeves (***1/2)
  2. Suvivor in Death (**1/2)
  3. Aristotle and Poetic Justice (***)
  4. The Graveyard Book (****1/2)
  5. Stardust (*****)
  6. Smoke and Mirrors (***1/2)
  7. Bossypants (****)
  8. The Pun Also Rises – John Pollack (****)
  9. Mocking Jay
  10. Fragile Things
  11. Out of My League
  12. Mythology for Dummies
  13. Don’t Know Much About Mythology
  14. Euripides I
  15. Euripides IV
  16. Frogs and Other Plays
  17. The Better Angels of Our Nature
  18. The King’s Speech
  19. Virus Hunter
  20. Emma
  21. Les Miserables
  22. On The Road
  23. The Scarlet Pimpernel
  24. Shadows of the Empire
  25. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
  26. The Hot Zone
  27. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  28. Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency


* = irredeemably awful
** = middling
*** = decent; has value (of some sort)
**** = very good
***** = amazingly fantastic
****** = almost never used; the perfect book

Cannonball Read IV

(Read all about it here)
  1. The Oresteia (Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers, and The Eumenides) – Aeschylus, trans Richmond Lattimore (-)
  2. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk (****)
  3. Room – Emma Donoghue (****)
  4. Three Theban Plays (Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone) – Sophocles, trans David Grene (-)
  5. The Hunger Games (****)
  6. Catching Fire (***3/4)
  7. 5 Roman Comedies (****)
  8. Thank You, Jeeves (***1/2)
  9. Survivor in Death (**1/2)
  10. Aristotle and Poetic Justice (***)
  11. The Graveyard Book (****1/2)
  12. Stardust (*****)
  13. Smoke and Mirrors (***)
  14. Bossypants (****)
  15. The Pun Also Rises – John Pollack (****)
  16. Angela’s Ashes (****1/2)
  17. Gatehouse to Hell – Felix Opatowski (-)
  18. The Shadows Behind Me – Willie Sterner (-)
  19. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir) (****)
  20. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) (****)
  21. Maus I (****)
  22. Maus II (*****)
  23. Spring’s End – John Freund (-)
  24. MetaMaus (****)
  25. Getting Out Alive – Tommy Dick (-)
  26. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (****)
  27. Fragile Things (***1/2)


* = irredeemably awful
** = middling
*** = decent; has value (of some sort)
**** = very good
***** = amazingly fantastic
****** = almost never used; the perfect book