26 December, 2007

43 Things

I happened upon this website called 43 Things, and I was intrigued by it. The idea is that you can create an account and then specify 43 things you'd like to accomplish in life. You can either choose things other people have already created, or you can create your own. You can also leave comments about your progress in accomplishing those goals, and help other people meet goals you've accomplished in the past. For me, it just seems like a great excuse to organize a bunch of my ideas about things I would love to do one day in my life (whether I realistically expect to do them or not). It's a great way to discover just what it is I'd really like to get out of life, and how I could make my life better by fulfilling my dreams. Here, I'll list the 43 things that I picked out, and describe the what or why of each one (and maybe how?).

I Want To...

...Live in a loft.

I think I've finally discovered what those apartments are called. I think they're called loft apartments - the kind that looks like a warehouse or some kind of studio, that's been re-dedicated to become a living space. You see it in movies sometimes, usually with artistic characters (although, I remember at least one with a scientific character). Typically there's like a cargo elevator that you have to take to get up to the apartment. The apartment itself is very open, with a high ceiling, and sometimes an upper level, and it's like all one big space without a lot of walls between rooms. I've never actually been in one. But ever since I started seeing them in movies, I've fantasized about living in one. It just seems like it would be such a cool place to live.

...Live in a lighthouse.

I've also fantasized about living in a lighthouse. Doesn't it sound romantic? Maybe only for a loner like me, but the idea of living in a tower by the sea, with a commanding view of sea and shore, is the stuff of dreams. No people to bother me, and my house is my job. Ideally, I'd love to run a radio station directly from the lighthouse, like the one character in John Carpenter's The Fog.

...Live on a lake.

Growing up, the annual family summer vacation was a visit to a resort lake town. We'd go to the beach sometimes, too, but the lake was every year. In fact, I went there every year without fail, until about 6 or 7 years ago, I think. I still wanna go back some day. At any rate, I've learned the pleasures of living on a lake. I can just imagine owning one of those nice lodges right next to the water, with a nice grassy yard, and trees all around, with a personal dock and a few boats for going out on the water. It's always more fun going to a store or restaurant when you get there by boat. It would be such a peaceful and relaxing existence...

...Own a beach house.

Alternatively, I wouldn't mind owning a beach house, either. One of those really nice and fancy ones, with a private beach. Boy, if that's not living the dream...

...Live in the Winchester Mystery House.

I know it's not really available for buying up and personally living in, but I still have a dream to live in that house one day. If you don't know the story, this is the house built by the heiress to the Winchester fortune. She was a little mentally unstable, so she actually held seances to decide how the house should be built. The result is a maddening example of unconventional architecture. Stairs leading to nowhere, doors that open to brick walls, secret passages, it's insane. And some people say it's haunted. Following in the footsteps of Jimmy Page with the Aleister Crowley mansion (Boleskine House, on the shores of Loch Ness), this is my dream house.

...Start a radio station.

I had a radio show in college, and it was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. I enjoyed it so much, getting to spread my music, and the things I had learned about it, to the people of the community (or at least the one or two who were tuned in). I'd love to be a radio dj again. In fact, I bought an FM Transmitter so I could sort of play the dj for a radio station localized completely within and around this house. But I have problems with the way commercial and big-name radio stations run things. You hear the same old boring songs over and over again, and you don't get that thrill of hearing something unfamiliar, or getting to know the dj's personal taste. I'd love to start a radio station of my own, throwing all of those useless conventions into the trash. I haven't yet warmed up to the idea of internet radio, but maybe that's ultimately the direction I'm gonna have to move in...

...Learn to play the blues.

This is something I've been meaning to do at least since I graduated college. I absolutely love the blues, and I feel the music resonates within my soul in a special way. I can really feel a good blues guitar solo, and one of the things I want most in life, is to be able to play a moving solo like that - improvised. So this is something I really want to work on. I've played guitar for at least 6 years now, but I really want to learn the stuff I need to be a real blues guitarist. I need to get lessons.

...Get better at guitar.

I'm completely self-taught, so far. I've dabbled in music theory, with scales and chord patterns and such, but I haven't really gotten a firm hold of any of that. Basically, my current style of playing guitar is wildly anarchic. It's more noise than music. I love it, and it can be quite a mind-expanding experience, but I also want to be able to play better conventionally. Songs and solos and stuff. The kind of thing I originally picked up the guitar for. So that maybe I could actually play in a band.

...Be in a band.

I play guitar mostly on my own. I go to open stages sometimes and show off my ear-splitting style. But I've always wanted to be the guitarist in a band. I want to impress people with my playing, but I don't want to have to carry the whole show. And although I like singing enough to want to continue doing it here and there, for most songs I'd love to just sit back and play the music, letting somebody else focus on the vocals.

...Become a rockstar.

Honestly, I'd settle for being a bluesman playing in bars, but what I'd really love is to be a rockstar. My ideal image of rock stardom? Jimmy Page. He's got the chops, he's got the style, he's got the occult mysticism fueling his persona of coolness. I can't imagine the experience of being a guitarist like that in a really good rock band, it must be amazing. And I wouldn't mind being chased by swarms of girls, either. This one's more 'dream' than 'goal'.

...Find my dream job.

Maybe I already know what it is, and it's just a matter of acquiring it. Like being a rock star, or a bluesman, or a radio dj. But I'm not completely sure. I don't like the idea of working in a job that I hate, just for the sake of making a living. I really want to enjoy my job, and I want it to be an enriching experience in my life. I'm not sure yet whether or not this is an attainable goal.

...Move out of my parents' house.

It's incredibly convenient living here. I don't have to pay rent. I don't have to pay for food. I don't have to pay for any sort of utilities. But it's not 'my place'. I want to live somewhere that feels like it's really mine. Where I'm not a guest, who has to always consider the burden he's placing on the person letting him stay there. I want to show that I can make it in the world, that I'm my own man, and that I'm out there. I feel like that would give me more freedom to actually be who I want to be. Maybe these are just convenient feelings, but I still think it's important to move out from under the roof of my family's shelter and protection. For them as much as for me.

...Be a ghost hunter.

I've been fascinated with ghosts for a long time. I don't actually believe in them, but I am curious, and I know the fear that can come over you when you're in the dark and you start thinking about strange possibilities. I've always wanted to actually visit a real haunted place, and try to find evidence of ghosts. Though a skeptic, I'm open to possibilities, and all this 'evidence' people have experienced - I'd like to experience some of it firsthand. Besides, it just seems like an exciting thing to do, going to a haunted location with some friends or cohorts, looking for evidence of the supernatural. Even if it was just taking pictures in a graveyard at night, I would love to try some sort of ghost hunting some day.

...Learn Kendo.

I've also been fascinated with swords and sword fighting from a young age. Swords have always been infinitely more interesting to me than any sort of guns. I've played around with toy swords plenty, but I'd like to learn some real skills. I actually did study a little bit under an Aikido master, who taught me to at least be comfortable holding Japanese bokken, shinai, or katana. But I would absolutely love to learn more. For me, there's a lot of grace in martial arts. I've never been very interested in dancing, since it seems to be so capricious and unfocused (social dancing, anyway) (plus the fact that it's incredibly embarrassing), but I find a great sense of beauty in the careful and precise motions of the martial arts. Throw a sword into that (which also limits the hand-to-hand contact that I don't particular like), and you've got me interested.

...Draw more.

Ever since becoming interested in Japanese anime, I've flirted - as many other fans have, I'm sure - with the idea of drawing those kinds of characters. In high school, I made a concentrated effort to learn to draw in that style. I bought (and still have) a stack of instructional books with many sketched figures, that I spent some time drawing from page for page. In addition to getting some good practice, it was also an exciting crash course in anatomy. I built up a collection of pages of largely embarrassing sketches, but I never really went anywhere with the drawing. I love the idea of being able to take an image from the mind, and bring it into realization in a form you can see, and can show others, but I've just never been that good. So one of my minor goals in life is to draw more frequently, with the hopes that continuous practice will make me better and better, to the point where I can actually draw something from my mind, that's nice enough to look at.


I actually have cosplayed, so this should probably either be "cosplay more" or "cosplay better". For those that don't know, cosplay is a form of costume play usually associated with anime fandom, where people dress up as their favorite characters, usually (but not always) for conventions and such. The couple of costumes I've worn in the past have been pretty sub-standard, I think. I've cosplayed as a generic ninja from Naruto, as well as a mediocre Griffith from Berserk. I think dressing up in exotic costumes can be exciting, especially when there's a character behind it that you like or respect. I'm no good at sewing or making clothes in any form, and don't have a particularly strong desire to learn, so I think I'd rather be a cosplay model, with somebody else designing costumes specifically for me. It's not really something I expect to do in a major capacity, but I think it would be fun if I had the chance.

...Write stories.

I don't have *major* aspirations of being any sort of writer, but I do already have some specific stories in my head, that I'd like to take more time to get down on paper (computer). Of the two main stories I'm working on, one is about a young man who goes on a journey to slay a dragon in order to avenge his family and hometown (it's actually a lot more interesting than it sounds by that description), and the other is about a soul's journey through heaven and hell, and the eventual overthrow of God's kingdom. I have others in mind, and I would love to see even just one of these ideas fleshed out into an actual complete story.

...Take more pictures.

I've mentioned my interest in photography. Early on, I spent a lot of time taking pictures of sunsets and cloudscapes. I have a particular interest in capturing the beauty of nature, in its many forms. I love seasonal shots that show the difference in a specific spot during different seasons. I don't really take a lot of pictures, but I always seem to enjoy it when I do. So I'd like to make a point to take more pictures. Part of the problem is the inconvenience of carrying a camera around with me everywhere I go (not to mention making sure I always have batteries charged and ready), and another part is not wanting to draw attention to myself by pulling out a camera, or having to worry about taking pictures of someone or something that I shouldn't be. But I have some shots that I'm proud of, and I'd like to get more.

...Read every book I own.

I have an interest in reading, but I also have a habit of avoiding reading when I could be doing something else. I have a stack of books on the back burner, that I haven't read yet, that I've been meaning to read for awhile. My best friend is a bookophile, so he seems to constantly be recommending more and more titles. Other people dump books off on me sometimes, if they think I'd be interested in them. Basically, I'd really like to just go through the stack and read everything I own, so I don't have to feel tied down and backed up anymore. But realistically, I know that even if I did read every book I own, it wouldn't be long before I'd get a few more and the stack would grow anew...

...Record my music.

As a starving artist and a struggling musician, it would make sense for me to record my music. I have written a hand full of songs, and just recording some of what I play in general would be a good idea. I've been working on an album since graduation, but it's been over a year and progress has pretty much halted. I really need to kick myself into gear and finishing recording what I have ready, so I can put that album behind me and move on, start thinking about new projects. This could be essential to my progress toward finding and gaining my dream job.

...Be in love.

I've been in love a few times in my life, and though there's usually an amount of pain that comes with it, especially when things don't work out (and face it, most relationships fail), I still believe that love is the most powerful and the most amazing emotion known to man. Love is the reason we live. For a person like myself, who doesn't meet people often (and when I do, I tend not to make the best impression), finding someone to love isn't easy. Being desperate doesn't necessarily mean that my standards are any lower than they would be otherwise, though. I don't play games; I want someone who can make a profound impact on my life. Ultimately, though, I just want to be in love again.

...Have sex outdoors.

For someone who reveres nature, and worships love, there is little more exciting than the idea of making love in the great outdoors. There are any number of intriguing conditions, too. A grassy field under the full moon. A warm day under the hot sun. A sandy beach with a bit of seaspray. Up against a tree, or in a hot tub (or spring) under the falling snow. I'm interested in a little environmental experimentation. I just have to find a willing partner first.

...Be a nude model for an art class.

I mentioned this in a previous entry. The idea of it excites me, and it's totally something that I'd love to try, if for nothing else than to be able to say that I tried it. It really makes me nervous to think about it though, making myself the center of attention like that, not to mention being nude in front of strangers. But that's the kind of barrier that I'd like to break down, if I can. I just want to be free, and be me.

...Be nude more.

And, in that vein, I just want to be nude more. More often and in more places. I don't want to have to hide it from people, either. I don't know how realistic this goal is, considering the way most people seem to feel about nudity. But I'm interested in pushing the boundaries. When and where I can.

...Learn Japanese rope bondage.

I actually already own a length of bondage rope, and I've played around with a few ties (on myself). Something about bondage in general intrigues me. I'm not into the heavily dominant-submissive or sadomasochistic lifestyles (oh my), or the extreme bondage thing, but leather and other shiny fashions are attractive, and something about having a girl tied up really turns me on. I figure it has to do with the whole confidence thing - making the girl my toy and robbing her of the ability to have any sort of mind of her own, where she could reject me or try to take control of the situation, puts me at ease and gives me a kind of power trip that I'm not used to having. It's nothing psychotic, though, I just think I could have a lot of fun with it. And I'm totally willing to take turns. I just have to have someone that I can completely trust to do this with. In the mean time, I could do for learning some techniques, and becoming more familiar with different kinds of knots (maybe if the Boy Scouts were allowed to test their skills on the Girl Scouts, I wouldn't have been so quick to quit, all those years ago).

...Beat social anxiety.

I think this is self-explanatory. I mean, this is a large part of what this blog is about, isn't it? Social anxiety has plagued me all my life, and I've been fighting it constantly, but I haven't been able to beat it yet. I'm certain that if I can beat it, the quality of my life will increase drastically. No matter what it takes, this is something that has to happen.

...Be more confident.

Related to my social anxiety, I seem to lack any kind of confidence in social situations. I'm soft-spoken (that is, when I speak at all), and I have a hard time asserting myself and getting my ideas and feelings across to people. I need to have more confidence, in saying what I mean to say, as well as saying it more clearly and in a louder voice, so that people aren't so quick to ignore me.

...Become a better conversationalist.

See above. I have a hard time holding a conversation with most people. I find it difficult to relate to people that I don't know real well - it seems like it's either they're gonna talk about what interests them, and bores me, or else I could try talking about something that interests me, which will undoubtedly bore them (something I obviously don't dare to try). Conversations with me are largely one-sided, and this isn't a good thing. My social life is filled with awkward pauses. I respect comfortable pauses and silences, but I wish I could learn to replace those awkward pauses with genuinely interesting conversation.

...Overcome my fears.

I'm a pretty timid person. I tend to let my fears control me and my actions. I need to break free of these chains. I know that, based on past experience, most of my fear is irrational and unfounded, and serves only as a barrier to realizing my potential and in a lot of cases, just having a good time. Don't be guided by fear!

...Live up to my potential.

I kind of mentioned it above, but I feel like the quality of my life isn't a result of who I am, or what I necessarily deserve, but that it's more a product of my disorder. I'm a college graduate, with a degree in physics. I'm a smart guy. I'm kind and I'm sensitive, and I care about people. I'm interested in getting to the truth of things and not deceiving and bull-shitting people. I deserve to be in a better position, and conquering social anxiety is an essential step in living up to my potential.

...Change my name.

For awhile now I've played around with the idea of changing my name. Kind of like spirituality, I think a person's name is something that one should decide for oneself, after having enough time to discover one's true nature. But the trouble is that I'm not entirely sure what name I want to have, or if I might decide to change it in the future. So I've kind of resorted to mostly just using nicknames. Maybe it's just as well.

...Spend an entire day watching the extended version of all three Lord of the Rings movies back-to-back-to-back.

Yeah, I've been meaning to do this ever since I completed my collection with the extended edition of The Return of the King. It's quite a commitment though, considering that it will almost certainly take over 12 hours. I've done the equivalent in the past, though, I just need to find the right time (and possibly the right company) when the mood is right.

...Learn how to surf.

Uh, yeah. I haven't had any experience whatsoever, but when I see people surfing (like in tv and movies, since I don't live near the beach, and rarely get to go to the beach), I get the feeling that it would be a lot of fun, riding the waves like that. Plus, I'm all for a beach kind of lifestyle. It's something I'd like to try if I ever happen to be in the right kind of place.

...Swim with a shark.

I grew up watching Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Sharks are awesome. I'm not a huge animal lover, but I have loads of respect for sharks. They're so majestic, kind of mysterious, they rule the sea, and despite being apex predators, they're not bloodthirsty monsters, and you can interact with them almost one-to-one, if you understand their behavior and are willing to treat them with the respect they demand. Anyhow, I definitely want to get a chance to swim with a shark (or better yet, sharks), at least once in my life. And in their natural habitat, not some lame aquarium or something.

...Find a fairy.

I'm a little obsessed with fairies (and elves, too). I find it strange that people generally consider fairies to be a girly thing. I mean, we're talking about little naked chicks with wings. Sounds kind of hot, to me. But being a guy, I feel out of place and embarrassed by looking at fairie-related products, or putting pictures of fairies up on my walls (I don't think I've actually done that yet, specifically - though I have shamelessly adorned my guitars with faerie stickers). Anyhow, I don't really believe in fairies, but I do have an interest in fairie mythology and they do have an ambiguous yet central place within my spirituality as a kind of natural symbol. I might not believe in them as is, but I do believe that searching for one can be a meaningful experience.

...Start a revolution.

I have some pretty unusual ideas about things, I think. I suspect that a lot of my anger towards society is misdirected frustration about my own inabilities to become who and what I want to be, but still, I think some of my ideas could go a long way towards creating a better society. I'm not claiming to have all the answers. I just have some ideas that people need to consider. And a revolution, to me, is a romantic notion of changing the world to better suit my tastes.

...Perform a concert to an empty coliseum in Pompeii.

This is one of my dreams. If you've ever seen the Pink Floyd video, Live At Pompeii, that's what I want to do. Just play to an empty stadium during twilight, and on into the darkness. It'd partly be a tribute to Pink Floyd, but we'd play original music - post-rock - so as not to make the mistake of trying to do something that's already been done before.

...Walk more.

I love to walk. It gives me a chance to think, and a chance to recognize the world around me, outside of the places I spend most of my time in. Plus, it's a good way to get exercise, that isn't overly exhausting. I've been spending so much time in my room, sitting at my computer, that I don't even walk as much as I used to. I'd like to make a point to get out and walk more (but moreso when the weather gets warmer...).

...Participate in a ritual at Stonehenge.

I just love the idea of this. I'm sure Stonehenge is awesome, and I bet it would be so profound to participate in a ritual there. I love the idea of using stones to create a giant solar calendar. I wish I had a setup, like some kind of special garden or hilltop or something, with a good view of the horizon in every direction, with markers setup to make meaning of the passage of the heavenly bodies. Get in tune with the ancients (we are of the sun).

...See the aurora borealis.

This just sounds like it would be a really cool thing to see. I love weather, and I have an interest in astronomy, and seeing something special like this would definitely be something to remember. I'd like to make a point of it someday.

...See a total solar eclipse.

I remember seeing one in grade school, but I was young then, and it's been a long time. The solar eclipse is one of the most fascinating astronomical occurrences visible from the Earth. The idea of opposites, of day becoming night, light becoming dark, and the sun being swallowed by the moon, intrigues me. And it's just a beautiful, moving experience. I definitely have to see another one some day.

...Wear more interesting clothes.

When I do wear clothes (heh), they're pretty mundane. I wear t-shirts that I like, but ultimately it's just a matter of putting on what's easy and what's comfortable. I like the idea of wearing some more interesting fashions, like bellbottom jeans, some kind of interesting boots (that aren't too feminine, but not overly masculine either), more buttoned or flowy shirts, maybe even some jewelry (maybe), perhaps a neat hat every now and then. Dressing up can be a lot of fun - the reason I hate it so much is because first of all it's a pain, and then it's usually boring clothing that I don't like. If I had interesting clothes that actually expressed my unique outlook on life, and successfully matched my laidback attitude with my personal sense of style, I think it could not only be fun, but could also boost my confidence. Plus, I'd be bound to get more attention from people, and by standing out, they'll know right away that I'm different, so I don't feel so bad when their mundane ways start to bore me.

...Get new glasses.

Ok, I was kind of running out of ideas by the 43rd thing, but it's true that I need new glasses. The prescription seems to be fine (it's a miracle that I've gone so long without really needing an upgrade), and I like the look of the glasses I have now just fine. The trouble is that the lenses are so scratched up that it actually causes a visible difference in the clarity of the image I see. I generally just deal with it, but it gets annoying sometimes, and I should really just get new lenses already. The problem is that I don't like the idea of going in and having to risk talking to the doctor and having to do an eye test or schedule an appointment or anything like that. That's pretty much kept me away...


  1. I (obviously) stole this idea for my blog as well... honestly, it's a little hard to write my own list after reading yours. Not only did we spend so much time together in college talking about this kind of stuff, but also, your goals are the most recent ones in my memory now... so I feel somewhat naturally inclined to write the same things (or the same kinds of things) that you have.

    I have to say, though, some of these goals were quite startling, since they revealed a side of you I'd never been aware of, though. Not that that was a bad thing; I (almost) always relish the opportunity to get to know my friends better.

    I'm not exactly sure if I can picture you with new glasses; new lenses, sure, but new glasses? I mean, we're talking about the guy that wore the same pair of jeans for what, three years? Had the same (kind of) watch for his entire life? Same backpack since elementary school? The only reason you gave up your original jacket was because it the back was literally in pieces?

    It might be too much of a shock for me if you got new glasses.

    Seriously, though... it's a pain in the ass getting glasses. There are all of these "fashionable" designs out now, not to mention the old, clunky ones (big plastic frames, anyone?). It's hard to find a simple, elegant-looking pair that doesn't bust your wallet and make you wonder why you're paying that much for a bit of metal.

    It's funny, in a way... when I read your list, I didn't really think many of these goals were out of your reach or unrealistic. I mean, okay, the odds of getting a fairy of the feminine, miniature variety are pretty small, but other than that? I think you can accomplish most of these.

  2. Although the feminine part is absolutely necessary, the miniature part is not so much. Although you might call a full-sized faerie an elf, but I don't have a problem with that. I think both races are quite inter-related (and both very appealing to me).

  3. Thanks to a couple of my high school buddies, I've grown to love marathons of various sorts. We did the LotR extended edition marathon one winter, and it was a feat, but also very satisfying. The key is advance planning (time the meals properly, etc.), comfortable seating, and good company.

    Of course, we also went on to do all six Star Wars movies back-to-back, and then I hosted a day of all eight Harry Potter movies, so...

  4. I think I actually appreciate taking my time going through things, as I have a very analytical mind, and when I absorb some kind of entertainment, I like to give myself time to "digest" it.

    But I did finally get around to watching the extended edition LotR marathon last December, in anticipation of the release of the first Hobbit movie. It was fun, and I'm glad I did it, but I'm not in any hurry to repeat the experience!