101 tasks in 1001 days final

To recap, I set myself 101 tasks in 1001 days:

  • mission: complete 101 preset tasks in 1001 days
  • criteria: tasks must be realistic and specific, requiring actual effort and with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined
  • start: Saturday 1 December 2007
  • end: Saturday 29 August 2010

The result:

  • out of 101 total: 52 completed
  • weighted: 57.7 completed
  • including sub-tasks: 147 tasks completed / 232 total

Basically, I set myself 232 tasks, not 101. Some of them I didn’t have an opportunity to do (visit India as a tourist); some I didn’t find the time (go rock climbing) and some I no longer have the interest in doing (10 photoshop tricks). I’ll roll over most of the remaining ones to a new list, and this time only 1 task per unit.

run 20 miles


32.00km 3:46:02hr 7.03min/km

Most marathon training programs get up to 20miles (32km) 2-3 times and then starts tapering 2 weeks before the race. The idea is that race day adrenaline and training will push us the additional 6 miles. This way, we’re not training so hard that we risk injury or burn-out.

So today was the day for the first 20-miler. It’s only 2 more miles compared with the 18-miler last week, but I was feeling more pressure. Milestones have a habit of doing that. It’s still very hot, when I went out at 3pm the sun was beating down pretty hard. I took 2 bottles of gatorade, a cereal bar, gu and chomps with me. I went out slow. Very slow. Tried to conserve energy and stay hydrated.

Ran all the way to the boat again, a longer route than last week. Took 3 walking breaks, total around 10mins. Ended up making a mistake in estimating distances and finished over 1km from home. Yikes. It was a long and painful walk from basically the 147 Berwyn stop. My knees, calves and feet were so tight I didn’t know which leg to limp on. I’d read somewhere that walking is a good way of cooling down, and true enough, by the time I’d shuffled home the stiffness had abated enough for me to be able to climb the stairs fairly normally.

I had a tepid ice bath, part of the RICE recovery program. Sat in the bathtub, ran cold water and added the tray of ice from the freezer. I admire anyone who can climb into an ice bath. The effect lasted about a hour, tops. Still needed major foam roller and additional ice pack treatment. And hopefully a good night’s sleep tonight.

Do I feel like I can run the full marathon? Not today, not tomorrow. Not without major pain. Then again, it’s part of the training plan, there’s 6 weeks to go. Will I be able to run the extra 10k by October? I think so.

tall ships festival


full set: flickr

The 2010 tall ships festival is going on at navy pier. To avoid the crowds I went after work. I got a $1 discount by getting the ticket online in advance, not too bad. There were about 20 tall ships from all over the world. Some of them could be boarded and others offer sailing tickets — which sold out really early. I got the boarding ticket for $5 extra.

I visited quite a few ships — the inland seas, the roald amundsen all the way from the north sea, the friends good will, the madeline and the pride of baltimore. All were extremely interesting, the masts, the array of ropes and knots, the small crew quarters, galleys and how pristine they are all kept.

By far the biggest attraction, and with the longest queue (I think it took me about 45mins) was to board HMS Bounty. This the American replica, built for the 1960 Marlon Brando film. Still, it was authentic enough for the visitors and I, like many, spent a few minutes just sitting on deck enjoying the lake and the day.

Didn’t stay for the fireworks, though I probably should have. At 9pm, it would have been late when I get home. Had a couple of beers (note to self: cheapest beer at navy pier = haagen dazs café, $2.75 for domestic draft) and chinese fast food for dinner.

#98 ecotourism


There’s some part of me, the occasionally whimsical (or whimsy-wannabe) part, that fantasizes about volunteering. I’ve always wanted to research organisations like the vso, earthwatch and when I’m being ultra whimsical, the peace corps, even though I don’t qualify, not being a US citizen and all.

Thing is, I don’t even do domestic volunteering, like help the homeless or join a green program. I don’t feel it’s me. So why would doing volunteering overseas be me? I guess it’s the adventure, or perception of adventure. There’s an old nyt article about ecotourism, and it hits the nail right on the head:

“People selfishly want experiences that are real — they don’t want canned tours, they want to meet the park ranger, they want to help in an orphanage,” said Blue Magruder, director of public affairs for Earthwatch. “And an increasing number of people want their time on the planet to count.”

So i did look into earthwatch and such like programs. They are fairly expensive, in the thousands of USD for 7-14 days. I don’t think I’m quite at the place where I feel a burning need to go on one of these trips, educational and valuable they are. It has to be the right time and for the right reason. It may come. I’m hopeful that it may come.

#22 read 5 ebooks


I think I blew this one out of the water. When I started 101.1001 amazon had only just released the kindle and the ebook market was still in its infancy. I thought at that time that I’d try downloading a few ebooks and reading it on the mbp using the ereader software.

I now have 93 ebooks in my ereader (the hardware, heh, the same name thing is confusing). This includes 90 full length books and 3 short stories but excludes the free classics downloaded from sony. I’ve read almost all of them, so yes, I read 5 ebooks…in the last 2 weeks. They cost the same as regular paperbacks, so at an average of $12-13, that’s over $1000 I’ve contributed to the industry since march 2009. Do I get an award or what?

At the moment, I’m using one of the least popular readers, and there’s a lot of “me-too” pressure to get the kindle 3, which ships this week. The formats and industry are starting to settle, there will be a clear standard and device winner soon. Interestingly, I don’t think it’ll be the ipad, it will be a dedicated ereader. I’ve not even been tempted to read on the ipad so far.

tweet this post


So I added a tweet button to the website, at the bottom of individual posts, right after Evan Williams tweeted about it. I’m probably too optimistic to think that my posts will ever get tweeted by the handful people who are kind enough to follow me. If this post gets read, chances are that it’ll be on fb anyway, and how many people actually know about the website or figured out that hitting “View Original Post” will bring them over here. Heh.

p.s. I just realised it tweets the website, not individual posts. Or does it? I’ll have to test.

bike 15 miles

chibike008belmont chibike007softball

What I should have done: 3-5k recovery run.

What I did: biked 15 miles down to Navy Pier.

Too gorgeous a day, even though I was a little sore from yesterday. I don’t know why it suddenly occurred to me to rent a bike, now I’m sorry I didn’t start doing it earlier in the summer.

The rental place is at Foster, I run past it every time. $30 for half a day and $35 for a whole day. I did just half a day. Smooth ride all the way down the lakefront, past Montrose and Belmont Harbors. Stopped for a bit at North Ave beach, which psychologically is a “turn around” point. But this time I went further south, ended up at Navy Pier.

Left the bike at the top of the pier and walked to the biergarten, wanting a beer. Wow, I paid attention to prices along the way, and it gets more expensive towards the end of the pier. Bud light for $5 at the biergarten, but there was one place near the entrance that had them for $3.75. So I went back and just sat on a bench in the shade, people watching. Lunch was beer and an orange creamsicle ice that was oh so delicious.

Nice ride back, I returned the bike early. I’m very tempted to buy a second hand bike, but it’s probably too late in the year for it. And besides, I always have to remember I’m only here temporarily.

Had a nap in the afternoon, then a quiet rest of the day. I’m the darkest I’ve ever been, cos of all the sun this summer.

running 18 miles


29km 3:21:43hr 6.56min/km

The problem with long runs is the amount of time and planning needed. I figured it’ll take 3.5hrs for the planned training run today. Add on getting ready and showering that’s a good 4-hr chunk of the day. I didn’t want to run in the morning cos I know I need food beforehand, so I had to work backwards to make sure I’m home before it gets dark. Lunch was a large slice of deep dish sausage pizza that was leftover from work yesterday, it’s perfect for carb-loading.

A 3pm start is not ideal, it was sunny enough to warrant sunscreen. I went out with 2 drinks bottles filled with gatorade, when the hand-held bottle emptied I filled it up with water from the water fountains. Total 1.5l on the run. Took 2 walking breaks at the hour marks, about 3mins each time, to take in gu and cereal bar.

The lake is very, very hard to beat for a great running experience. I ran all the way down to the boat, and made sure I touched it to turn around. That was 16km. HM time was 2:26, which gives me lots of hope for the upcoming Chicago Half. Some parts of the path was crowded and I was constantly passed by other runners. But I feel fine. Going slow was good for my knees and well-being, my heart rate never went above 157 and I don’t feel as tired as the 11km lame tempo run on Thursday.

Some people can think when they run, my mind just goes blank. I tried to think about the upcoming holiday with mm, work, and what I’m planning for nano this year. Couldn’t hold a thought for more than a few minutes. It’s quite exhilarating, to be able to give my brain a rest. Somewhere on the way back though, I kinda decided that I might not do another marathon after chicago, cos of the amount of time needed for training. I’m pretty sure I can go the distance, and if I continue, to improve my time. But I’m actually looking forward to the week of 11th Oct when I plan to do absolutely no running. Famous last words, I’m sure I’ll be forced to eat my hat.

According to my HRM, I spent 1570 calories. This means…STEAK and wine!!! Yay! I have this huge 14oz rib-eye I bought this morning, which I grilled together with some baby asparagus. I also opened a bottle of châteauneuf-du-pape. Nice reward, eh? Now I’m completely stuffed and wanting ice cream.

20-miler next week. That’s gonna be a big milestone.

canon s95


The s90 was probably my best gadget investment, I rank it higher than the ipad and even the ereader. I didn’t even consider taking the EOS to the air show, and that one has a longer lens.

Now canon is launching the s95, which adds HD video and a viewfinder (would have been useful at the air show). Almost drool-worthy. Except I don’t take many videos that need to be HD quality. (The camcorder being very low on the list of value gadget investments.) According to cnet for existing s90 owners there’s

not much of a reason to upgrade

Which is a relief of sorts, cos otherwise I would have had to find someone to give / sell the s90.

mafia wars truck explosion epic fail

So for a few weeks mafia wars has been hyping this “blow up an armored truck” in celebration of Las Vegas etc. And today was the day. Supposedly at 6pm Pacific time, Snoop Dog will blow the truck up.

I’m still laughing. The production was so sub-standard — the livefeed was blurry, sound kept popping in and out, the presenter had no clue how to present. Snoop was late, and had no clue what mafia wars was. That’s not the worst. At the last second, some idiot told him he was in the way of something (another camera?) and he moved to right in front of the camera streaming the event to 100,000+ online viewers, perfectly blocking the view.

You can’t plan failure this epic.

meeting db


My friend db is flying home from Rochester NY to Fairbanks AK. It’s a long, long journey with many legs, including a 20-hour overnight layover in Chicago. So when she asked, it was very easy to offer accommodation for the night. I went to ORD to pick her up, her plane arrived but they had to wait for a free gate, how silly. Then she picked up the wrong suitcase from baggage claim cos we were too busy chatting. Heehee.

We wanted Japanese dinner but both places around here were closed. We ended up at Hamburger Mary’s. I had the mushroom burger, it was great. I intended to have half and save the other half for lunch tomorrow, but I ended up finishing the whole thing.

Not a lot of fancy stuff at home for guests, I hope she’s comfortable. She’ll have to make her own way to the airport tomorrow. I got her a CTA pass though.

#16 buffy season 7

I finally sat down and watched season 7. I know exactly what happened, what with recaps and online videos, but didn’t get round to watching the whole season till now. Sigh. It was as expected, and disappointing. Well, I expected it to be disappointing.

It was so boring. I couldn’t wait till it all ended so I could put the box away. The episodes bled into each other, and the First, Bringers, Potential, General!Buffy storyline was dragged on for far too long.

Buffy was obviously suffering from paranoia, depression and all sorts of trauma. Giles was a bumbling idiot. Willow the most bumbling idiot of them all. I mean, just because she’s afraid of her powers doesn’t mean her IQ should disappear, right? And that’s what they did to her, took away her intelligence. And poor Xander, sidelined. Anya did her best. Andrew was meh.

The bright spots for me were Dawn, Faith and actually the Potentials. I enjoyed watching the Potentials, they did a good job even though there were so many of them and they were fighting with each other for screen time. Faith brought it, as usual. And Dawn. I used to hate Dawn, but she grew backbone and MT did a great job making her convincing. I also liked Kennedy. I know why people are against her in principle, cos she’s no Tara. But on her own, she had a credible storyline and IL gave her just enough spunk.

The ending was complete crap. All of a sudden the Guardians appear? Willow remember how to do a spell? The scythe was the most plastic looking weapon ever. They used to have good weapons (see Faith’s knife) and surely could have done better.

I’ve deliberately left out Spike. HATE. One second of screentime was one second too much. I should have been glad he got killed, if only I didn’t know he’d come back on Angel. Spike and Spuffy totally ruined the show for me.

That was a big negative rant. All I feel is a whopping “is that it?” If I’d watched it during 2003 it would have turned me off the show completely.



Another summer festival, this one the Korean festival. Only a 10-minute drive away, so no excuse. Plus unlike the ginza festival, no entrance fee. They closed 2 blocks of the street, and the stalls varied between food, community groups, a Hyundai dealership and others selling crafts or korean toiletries and other stuff. There was a sand wrestling competition area and inflatable castles for kids.

My main purpose is for the food, naturally. I had the spicy rice cake (dukbokki) and fish stick in soup. I remember the first time I had the spicy rice cake, on a bitingly cold day in Seoul, I had no idea it was that spicy. Since acquired a taste for it, cos I know what to expect. The fish stick is just like any fishball, just in a flat form. Stayed away from all the fried food. Everything washed down by an OB beer. Just one, cos I’m driving. Didn’t get the jinru either, cos I’m driving.

The food and beer came to $15, which is a better value and more authentic than the $20+ half chicken I had yesterday. The lady at the food stall gave me too much change actually, but I gave the correct amount back to her.

chicago air and water show 2010


Full set here

This is my second year at the air and water show. Last year I went in the afternoon on the second day at the south end of oak street beach. This year, I went at 10.30am on the first day and decided to go right where the action was, at north avenue beach. I figured, it’d be crowded but it should be feasible to find space for one person. I was right. I got a spot at one of the concrete jetties facing south, it was perfect. It was also extremely hot and though I had sunscreen on, I could feel the UV. I brought a beach towel to sit on, I ended up huddling underneath it for most of the day, to block out the sun.

The show started with skydivers, and then there were military planes, helicopters and aerial gymnastics from at least 3 teams. It was fantastic. The buzz and roar of the planes, the skills of the pilots. I wish I knew more about planes to be able to recognise them.

The highlight was of course the finale, the blue angels flying F/A-18 Hornets. There was a lot of anticipation, about where they’d “sneak” up on us, people were watching the skies all over. Then we saw a huge plume of grey smoke from the lake and there they were! Great end and I didn’t feel like I’d been sitting on concrete under the baking sun for 5 hours.

It was only a 10-15min walk to the ginza festival. I was pretty hungry and thought I’d get dinner there. It turned out to be a very expensive dinner. The entrance of $4 (normally $5 but I had a coupon), plus food and drinks used a ticket system of $1 per ticket. Half a teriyaki chicken was 10 tickets, a beer 5. I had 5 left over so I had a red bean dessert and a serving of edamame. I suppose I could have watched the performance, but it wasn’t interesting. The stalls sold stuff that seemed to come from somewhere between a $10 shop and Sogo. I had to remind myself that I’m not in Asia, and some of these crafts and merchandise are pretty unusual here.

more food porn

red velvet cake balls with tiffany blue color themed
photo courtesy sugarcrawler, copyright acknowledged

I just wanted to type “porn” again. Yes I’m twelve.

Anyway, any interesting tidbit is that the food porn flickr group is moderated by none other than the accidental hedonist, one of the food blogs I follow religiously and probably top of my list of bloggers I’d like to meet personally, if only to ask her for the name of the restaurant she sanctified.

bye, google wave


So I thought I should take a screenshot of google wave before it goes away. From the amount of white space it’s pretty obvious that I don’t use it. Aside from a small handful of waves when I first got my account, I haven’t gone back at all. It certainly is before its time and I’ll join the many who didn’t know what to do with it.

In other news, I don’t like buzz and don’t know what to do with it either.

why I don’t want my location known


Sarah Lacey at Techcrunch wrote about why she doesn’t use foursquare, which is rare in in the Silicon Valley world. The pros are abundant — location based services allow personalising, and the game aspect is pretty cool. But as she says,

telling my friends where I am doesn’t gives me enough in return to warrant the privacy invasion

She goes on to talk about shopkick and why she might start using it. All for extremely good reasons.

All this is really a segue into my reasoning on why I don’t use foursquare or gowalla and such like. I don’t particularly want people to know I’m at the supermarket or the dentist’s. I’ve seen check-ins from people on fb that they’re at the doctor’s or hairdresser’s and I’m thinking I really have no use for this information.

In any case, my locations will be extremely boring — home, office, “L”, lake and occasionally supermarket. I mean, who in the right mind will want to know that?

#59(10) summer lasagna


I read about summer lasagna recipes at the kitchn. I never make lasagna because it takes too long and it’s too stodgy for me, but take out the baking and the heavy sauce and it’s a great version of a traditional dish. They had a few recipes, this one at framed was the closest to how I wanted it, and had the best picture.

Normally lasagna is made with ricotta but I didn’t have it, and besides I’m not a huge fan. I substituted mozzarella instead.

  • cook lasagna sheets in water until done — took longer than the packet said, then I realised the packet assume the sheets will be baked later; altogether around 15mins
  • sauté courgettes in garlic until soft — the pic doesn’t show it well, I had both green and yellow courgettes
  • once courgettes are almost done, toss cherry tomatoes into the pan to cook for a bit, then add red pesto
  • start building — vegetables, pasta, cheese, vegetable, pasta, cheese, vegetable
  • decorate with fresh basil, a drizzle of EVOO and fresh ground pepper

running 16 miles


26.08km 3:01:06hr 6.57min/km

The plan called a long run of 26km this week. That’s 16miles. Another 3 miles on top of the half marathon I did last week. Eeeek.

I guess I’m lucky I had that big ice cream last night, cos I was still full when I woke up. I had cheerios for breakfast, then got ready and set out at 8.45am. The weather was nice, overcast with a little breeze. The first 1/3 was strong, ran my normal route at the lake to the steps. The susan komen 3 day 60 miles walkers were also on the course, it was a nice inspiration that pushed me a little.

Took a 3 min walking break at 10k to eat a cereal bar, and again at 20k for a shoelace break and to eat some chomps. Ran almost to the boat at north avenue beach, 16k (10miles). I got to 21k (half marathon) at 2:26hr, beating my time last week. It’s definitely the weather. On the way back, it started drizzling, then rained pretty steadily and only stopped when I was almost home.

The end of the run was just past broadway, so i had all 4 streets to walk. My knees and calves were so tight, I was barely able to walk. Had to ice both legs pretty seriously when I got home. Still, it’s the longest distance I’ve run. All easy 10k next week, then a push to get to 32k (20miles) in 2 weeks’ time.

transformers in chicago


Transformers 3 has been filming in Chicago for the past few weeks. La Salle and Wacker have been closed and helicopters circling in the sky occasionally.

This week my normal car park near the office was closed “for a special event”. On Monday when I walked past, I saw a couple of huge trucks, Optimus Prime sized, as well as an awesome red fire truck and a whole line of Hummers at the back. The security guard said no photos, but whispered to me that he’s told to say that and if I kept moving he won’t do anything. So I quickly took one of the red fire truck.

Wednesday when I left work there were about 10 people at the entrance openly taking pictures. So I took a bunch. Optimus Prime was still there, but the line of Hummers were gone. There were a few other cars, like a taxi and a black SUV. But no Bumblebee. Bummer.

Managed to take 12 pics at the car park. I haven’t been able to catch any of the filming. Set here: flickr.

24-105mm coffee mug


I know I’m trying to cut down on junk but seriously, I have to have this!! Aptly found in the awesomeness section is this coffee mug that looks exactly like a EF 24-105mm lens, which is what I use as the standard on my EOS. Just read the photojojo people gush about it:

It’s equipped with a lens-cap lid (omg), rubber-grip focus and zoom rings (o…m…g), and an auto-focus switch that actually switches

There’s also this canon dial decal for the mbp, and other cool stuff on that site. I love how they explain that they have canon and nikon dial decals:

because we know there are two types of people in this world: those that brake for Nikons and those that don’t let friends buy one


dentist visit

A substantial chunk of a lower molar came off the other day. I wasn’t even eating anything hard, but I could feel the missing part. I called the dentist yesterday and got an appointment today.

Not surprisingly, considering the amount of tooth that is gone, I have to get a crown. The dentist and her assistant were both very nice and got the mould done with the minimum of pain. Well, I did have a local. They also complimented me on being a good patient — no complaints, no screaming, not too nervous. I have to go back in 2 weeks to get the crown fitted.

My mouth was numb for hours, so I couldn’t eat anything solid. I nibbled on a few slices of ham and drank a whole bottle of muscle milk that I’d grabbed at a race. If I still felt hungry I probably would have attacked the title=”gu”>GU jar. Who says running has only limited benefits?

3k naked

No, not without clothes. Without gadgets.

Easy 3k recovery run today. Not even far enough to go out to the lake, I just did the streets up and down. Didn’t use the polar, no music. I did bring the nano cos of the nike+, but I didn’t take earphones so there was no music.

It was fine, didn’t need the music. What I did miss was the voice telling me how far I’d gone, it was fiddly to take the nano out of the spibelt whenever I wanted to check distance.

rock and roll chicago half marathon


Race #7. Rock and Roll Chicago half marathon. My first time moving up to the half. Very daunting cos it’s a big distance, a big race and I’m only just getting back on the training plan.

A 6.30am start meant I had to get up at 4am. I made oatmeal yesterday so it was only a matter of microwaving it, adding yogurt and blueberries. One lesson I’d learned is to have enough food before a long run / race.

The red line was completely full by Fullerton, people couldn’t get on. Must have shocked the regular early morning travellers. I dropped my (empty) gear check bag at the CARA tent and went in search of the portaloos and water. They even had bananas before the race, impressive. The start was long, but much better organised than the shamrock shuffle. We were all allocated corals according to our bib numbers, and there were at least 28 corals. Each coral was separated by a rope and they released each group in 1-2 minute intervals. Yes, it meant it was past 7am by the time I got to the start line, but it wasn’t a scrum and for a few hundred meters I was running on an empty road cos I was right in the front of the pack.

There were bands at every mile, and loads of water and cytomax stations. I took my camera and managed to get a few pics. I was slower than usual at 5k, probably cos of camera breaks, but feeling strong. The crowds along Adams and Michigan were amazing and I wished I had someone cheering for me or waiting at the finish. Sigh. I tucked in behind the 2.30 pace group at Michigan and followed them to the south shore. Got hungry at mile 8 and was glad I brought my own GU. The south shore part of the course was tougher than the loop part — fewer spectators, hardly any cover from the sun, and tiredness. People say the wall hits at 10miles, I got tired at 11 and fell behind the pace group. Picked up a bit with 1k to go.

It was fantastic to run around the last turn and into the home stretch. Had enough to finish strong. My watch time was 2:33:47hrs, chip time was 2:33:51. Missed my target of 2:30, but I’m not bothered. It’s a good time and experience. There were bananas, oranges, energy bars, ice lollies and a cold wet towel in addition to water and cytomax at the finish. Also free beer and free concert by Five for Fighting. I only stayed for the beer, didn’t fancy sitting in the sun with soaked clothing for the band.

I was so hungry and tired when I got home. I did reward myself with a big steak, and the cheesecake I bought on friday. Went to bed almost immediately after lunch and slept for an hour or so. I hadn’t registered for the chicago half in september. Now I’m seriously thinking about it.


  • overall: 12,798/18,555
  • gender: 7,375/11,757
  • age division: 434/778

This was the rocker balloon at 15k, the southermost point of the race where we turned back. Other pics: flickr set