Day Zero

This is my Day Zero list. It's a list of 101 things that I aim to achieve in 1001 days. The rule is:

Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on my part).

To make the list, I've scoured other people's lists for inspiration. Many thanks to everyone who's undertaken this so far. My number one source of inspiration, though, is my friend Michelle. You're a star!

Keep up with the latest news on my blog or on the RSS feed.

  1. Get BSL level 1.
    As of the Official Start I've already started on the lessons, I just need to keep up the practice and not fail the tests.
    [2009/08/25] We're on a summer break; I'm reading Rachel Sutton-Spence and Bencie Woll's "The Linguistics of British Sign Language" in the meantime.
    [2009/09/03] Book done. Very interesting. Have a DVD to review.
    [2010/01/21] Summer break extended due to admin resource shortage at M2kACE. I'll be able to do the BSL101 test, I hope, the rest is still uncertain.
    [2010/07/04] Nothing else happened with that course, so I switched to an introductory Mandarin course. Going well!
    [2010/11/14] Mandarin course done! It was pretty basic, but I'm already starting to understand a few words from my Chinese colleagues.
    [2010/12/22] Went out with the tutor to get Chinese food, I spoke a tiny bit of Chinese! I need so much practice though...
  2. Pass driving test.
    Been meaning to for years, it should be done soon.
  3. Do memory training so that I can better remember large lists.
    I mean arbitrary information in order here. I'l probably test this with random 10-digit numbers (phone number length)
    [2009/08/20] Started with a memory training e-book "Memory Skills in Business: Basic Techniques for Memory Improvement" by Madelyn Burley-Allen.
    [2009/08/25] Have pretty good recall of random lists from the book, getting towards where I want to be.
    [2009/09/03] Generated a 10 by 10 matrix of random digits to memorise; have memorised 30 of them OK.
    [2009/09/04] Finished memorising, put the numbers in a sealed envelope.
    [2009/09/10] Wrote out what I remembered late last night. Checked this morning. 99/100. That seems pretty good for being half-asleep, so I'm calling this one done as long as I keep up with practice.
  4. Do memory training so that I can better remember people.
    I'm concerned with faces, names, occupations. No idea how to really test this other than noticing that I don't mess up so much.
  5. Exercise regularly enough that I can run 1.5k comfortably.
    I know this is quite a short distance, but I never could manage it at school athletics and it's bugged me ever since.
    [2009/08/29] Obtained running shoes.
    [2010/11/14] Have been doing 100-calorie workouts on the cross-trainer.
  6. Get up at 06:30 every day for 2 weeks straight.
    Shouldn't be difficult. Weekends too, though.
    [2010/03/19] We did a thing of everyone getting up early for a week. It was hard work, but very productive. Done.
  7. Learn to meditate.
    I've no idea how to measure meditation, I just know that my brain never ever switches off.
    [2010/07/04] I seem to be getting better at not thinking about things. Just sitting and seeing and hearing and being. I am going to try for a proper meditate at some point soon.
    [2010/11/14] I went on holiday to Colonsay and found myself with little gaps of so little to do that I was able to really get into the meditations. Done!
  8. Private objective number 1.
  9. Complete a basic swimming course.
    I'm pretty good at sinking, so I want to do this so that if I do end up in the water, I'll stand a chance.
  10. Get my teeth straightened.
    They've been crooked since forever, and it's about time.
    [2009/08/20] Extractions! Ow!
    [2009/08/25] That seems to have gone OK, things aren't bleeding copiously.
    [2009/08/26] Brace on, but one of the brackets came loose.
    [2009/08/27] Bracket reattached this morning. All seems well, if a little sore.
    [2010/07/04] Still going strong! Everything's really straight, but the orthodontist wants to tweak some brackets soon for an even more perfect line.
  11. Cook up 10 things I've never done before that involve mushrooms or eggs.
    My dietary testing says I ought to have these regularly. I'm just after some variety.
    [2009/09/06] [1/10] Mushroom sauce - just sautee mushrooms, add to white sauce. We set some aside, blended the whole thing, then added the extra mushrooms for texture.
    [2009/09/09] [2/10] minced kale + beaten egg as a sauce over hot pasta. Needed a bit of a flavour adding, but worked out OK.
    [2009/10/04] [3/10] Corned beef, mushroom, tarragon, parsley, chilli, sunflower oil and beef stock cube in a food processor, then fried, served with pasta and cheese.
    [2010/01/01] [4/10] Mushroom chilli - basic chilli con carne recipe, but with thin sticks of sliced mushroom instead of beef. Delicious.
    [2010/06/20] [5/10] Random breakfast of egg, spinach, nutmeg and fenugreek all fried together really quickly. Very nice.
    [2010/11/14] [6/10] [7/10] [8/10] A few recent ones: baked mushroom with kimchi, plus the poached egg and the hollandaise sauce that went into Lisa's eggs benedict.
    [2010/12/24] [9/10] [10/10] Cooked up ginger mushrooms to go with a curry, mushroom burrito, marmonde omelette, mushroom carbonara. Done!
    [2011/01/05] Also halloumi carbonara. Which is very tasty.
  12. Walk the path between York and Selby.
    It's doable in a day, and there's a bus, so I can go there in the morning and just walk home.
  13. Identify a fear and overcome it.
    I know, pretty generic. I suspect the hard part is the identifying.
    [2009/08/25] OK, have identified fear: running out of good ideas. Have a plan to at least address this.
    [2010/11/14] Thought about this a lot while on holiday, it's more a fear of being irrelevant. Still working on a write-up.
  14. Get measured for a bra.
    Haven't ever done this, and probably should.
    [2009/09/05] Done. Now I know for sure. Hooray!
  15. Floss.
    I might wait until after the straightening to do this regularly, but it'll be handy to get into the swing of it before I get the appliance on.
    [2009/08/25] Gave it a go, just before the braces go on. Mmm, bleedy.
  16. Private objective number 2
  17. Climb a tree.
    I used to do this, a long time ago. Would be nice to really give it a good go somewhere.
    [2009/09/01] Done.
  18. Learn distributed version control.
    SVN, git, CVS, I've just never gotten around to knowing which is good for what. About time I did.
  19. Learn to knit.
    It looks like fun and I have friends who are into it.
    [2010/11/14] I took some supplies on holiday with me and managed to get something going. Soon as I've had time to pick up the dropped stitches and finish my first square, I'll have finished this one.
  20. Read a book in Welsh.
    Since I don't know Welsh yet, this will be quite a big challenge. I'm probably going for Amdani! by Bethan Gwanas (Evans), for extra challenge.
    [2010/01/21] Dirgel Ddyn was easier to source.
    [2010/06/25] Finished... the first page. This is hard going, but I'm learning a lot.
  21. Read 3 major philosophical works.
    I've never actually read anything majorly philosophical.
    [2009/08/22] Obtained Friedrich Nietzsche's "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" (Hollingdale translation) and Immanuel Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason"
    [2009/10/26] Finished "Thus Spoke Zarathustra", kind of made sense of some of it. Sort of.
  22. See an old play.
    I've seen theatre performances, but they've been pretty modern.
  23. Learn first aid.
    My little brother once had a fit, and I luckily did the right thing at the time. I'd like to be more sure of things next time something happens.
    Applied for training through work, but no word back yet on when it might happen.
  24. Learn to draw hands.
    Really, this has bugged me for ages. I can sketch all sorts, but hands are really difficult.
  25. Visit my aunt Carol.
    Should be easier once I drive.
  26. Visit my aunt Mags.
    I often visit my cousin Ali, would be a change to actually stay at Mags's place instead.
    [2010/07/04] May be difficult - Mags is in hospital and we don't know how long the recovery will take. May know more in a few weeks.
  27. Visit my aunt Marjorie.
    Again, this will be easier in the car.
  28. Keep addresses/birthdays up to date.
    I'm hopeless at getting round to doing this.
    [2009/10/30] Started a project to make an addressbook system that I like.
    [2010/01/21] Mostly finished addressbook implementation. Once it's polished up and had some use, I might try to release it here.
  29. Go to the woods with Lisa.
    She loves woodland, I rather like it too. This should be easy.
    [2010/11/14] Went to Dalby Forest for Lisa's 30th birthday weekend, and much fun was had by all. Done.
  30. Hold a Lego party.
    I've done this before, it was fun. I have a prompt list which I'll share at some point.
    [2009/08/29] Prompt list written up.
  31. Go up to Shorne Wood with family.
    Continuing the woodland theme, I used to visit Shorne Wood in Kent with family, and it'd be nice to see it again.
  32. Do a proper London trip with someone.
    My London visits are usually on the back of something else, or on my way through, or crashing on someone's floor in zone 5 or something. I should do a proper visit, hotel room, sights, see a show, all that.
    [2010/11/14] Went down to London with Lisa and Maud, we went to Kew Gardens but didn't have a hotel room or see any shows. So this is almost achieved.
  33. Donate nectar points to charity.
    Keep meaning to, never get round to it, so it's on the list.
    [2009/08/27] Done. I had 5,394 points, and the charity item is 250 points, so they got 21 of those, and I've got 144 points left.
  34. Donate unnecessary clothes.
    Again, there it is, not getting done.
    [2009/10/30] Done! Many bags to many places.
  35. Get rid of equipment that I just don't need.
    If I really had a mind to, I'd end up with clothes, a laptop and a comfy chair. That's a bit hardcore for me though.
    [2009/09/02] With the help of Kaitlin, who is awesome, I dumped a load of non-working and unneeded things, including 4 CRT monitors.
    [2010/01/21] Another monitor died, couldn't be resurrected, had to go. Bye-bye, monitor for SGI16.
    [2010/06/19] Gave away Amiga 1500 at the Vintage Computer Fair
  36. Finish the artwork for Jason.
    Project not yet done? Someone else interested? Perfect for the list.
  37. Redo artwork for Jess.
    See above.
  38. Finish scrolling for Richard.
    This one's been hanging over me since Christmas, I think.
    [2010/11/14] Have implemented a testing harness so I can work on this on my laptop.
  39. Finish floppiest.
    Old project, just needs getting on with.
  40. Create the TinyTIM Treasure Hunt.
    Something I've always wanted to do! I love treasure hunts, and I love TIMsters.
  41. Make a font and give it away.
    I'd love to have a font. Typography geeking!
    [2009/08/31] Decided to do a serif font aimed at printing. Drafted some of the simpler characters to get some ideas together, it's looking OK.
  42. Draw the warrior for shack.
    Never got round to it when it was relevant, but I ought to at least try and see what comes of it.
  43. Praise 10 people.
    Because I think I ought to. Directly or indirectly, but always sincerely.
    [2009/08/28] [1/10] Let the support desk at work know that my new laptop is working fine and I'm having no trouble with it.
    [2009/08/29] [2/10] Kind of gushed about how DeathBoy takes time to buck trends and be helpful at the same time.
    [2009/09/11] [3/10] Kaitlin is an absolute star and helped massively with organising stuffs.
    [2009/10/13] [4/10] Royal Mail got everything right, and I let the van driver know.
    [2009/12/17] [5/10] Paddy said to look after myself, and I praised him for the sentiment.
    [2010/07/02] [6/10] Complimented a colleague on dedication to personal improvement.
    [2010/11/14] [7/10] When the department moved buildings, I personally told the facilities manager how it was going smoothly for me.
    [2011/01/05] [8/10] Let the support team know that their work on my MSc module worked out brilliantly.
  44. USB floppy.
    Specifically, the use thereof to read and write Atari ST disks.
    [2009/11/05] Thoroughly investigated UFI on the USB floppy drive that I have. Detecting and reading should be fine, writing fine, formatting will be constrained. Plan to integrate into ongoing floppiest project.
  45. ST USB stack architecture.
    It'd be grand to at least have an infrastructure for testing USB code on the ST or Falcon.
  46. Private objective number 3.
  47. Complete the reading tool.
    A work side-project that could in theory make my current task easier.
    [2010/11/14] Have published a paper on the concept and set up a student project. My part is done!
  48. Finish the proposal for JAM.
    A work sort-of-side project that will help me out in the long run.
  49. Write the GPS paper.
    Needs doing, it's not my main task.
  50. Write the SDV paper.
    Needs doing, it's not my main task.
  51. Do work LaTeX templates.
    There are some that exist, but they could do with tarting up.
    [2010/01/21] Document template almost perfected. Work will start on presentation template soon.
    [2010/11/14] Handed over to the group when I moved role. Done.
  52. Do own publishing templates.
    I've never been consistent, and I ought to.
  53. Tie up life insurance loose ends.
    I'm missing some paperwork. Should be easy to sort out, I just never get round to it.
  54. Private objective number 4.
  55. Review finances.
    I mean properly, investments, energy bills, the works. I need to afford a car and a house some time soon.
    [2010/07/04] Seems to be under control now, at the new place.
  56. Work out what I've registered for online and change the password to everything.
    This will be a challenge. Card PINs, phone password, computer passwords, website passwords, the works.
  57. Learn guitar.
    Specifically, so that I can play a folk tune confidently in front of a stranger. Stranger yet to be determined.
  58. Compose a music track on a computer.
    Something that could get played at a small club night.
  59. Write a story.
    I've done little ones, but not a proper one, not really. I have this great idea, though...
    [2009/08/25] Basic plot worked out
  60. Complete a career on vocals on Guitar Hero World Tour (any difficulty apart from beginner.)
    Just to force myself to at least try to sing - and it's a game I already have, so no excuses!
  61. Visit five random towns in the UK.
    For this, I shall draw up a list of as many towns as I can, then select 20 at random, then choose 5 from there to visit - otherwise I'm in danger of having to go to some crazy places.
    [2009/08/18] Towns selected: Kendal, Stockport, Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Verwood, Colonsay.
    [2009/08/28] Stockport visit organised.
    [2009/09/03] Stockport visited.
    [2010/11/14] Had an awesome holday in Colonsay. 2 down, 3 to go.
  62. Day trip to the continent.
    Netherlands, Belgium, France, they're all reachable and I've just never done a day-trip like this.
  63. Go to a live act by a band/artist that I already listen to....but don't know personally...
    [2010/11/14] At Ceòl Cholasa I saw Kathleen MacInnes, Gaberlunzie, Dàimh and the Wrigley Sisters plus a load of local acts. Very done!
  64. Do a photoshoot.
    Dressing up? Looking nice? Being able to show people? Will be grand. Aiming to wait until after the teeth are done for this one.
  65. Spend an entire day hanging out with people, while colouring in a colouring book.
    To pass this, the colouring-book needs to be fully coloured. Not a jumbo colouring book though, just a regular one.
    [2009/08/15] Book obtained. It has 42 pictures in it to colour in.
    [2009/08/29] Obtained crayons.
  66. Rescue old hard drive data and then dump hard drives.
  67. Identify every plant in the garden.
    The little plant from last year is a big plant this year - but I don't know if that's good or bad.
    [2009/08/19] Big plant turns out to be an ash tree, and got removed.
    [2009/08/19] Thanks to neighbour Lynda, I have the names of some of the other plants.
    [2010/03/03] Moved house: new garden, new plants!
  68. Draw the dual land pictures.
    I already did the basic lands, and they were OK-ish. Just have to keep at it.
  69. Type up all my idea notes into at least a wiki.
    Seriously, I have 1000s of pages of notes for stuff that I need to organise.
    [2009/10/10] TWiki installed on home server, many notes typed up.
  70. Get the Falcon online in MiNT.
    It's been online without MiNT, to make it work with it I need the NVRAM/clock battery working.
    [2009/08/15] Battery and holder purchased.
    [2009/09/17] Battery replaced and working.
    [2009/09/26] Almost there, just a little configuration issue with TCP traffic to resolve.
    [2009/09/26] Turns out it's a routing problem, easy to fix manually. Task done.
  71. Do the website.
    This one!
    [2009/08/25] Pretty much done, including commenting.
  72. Make the Indigo2 do something useful.
    It needs another hard drive, and then some useful software.
  73. Make a working Amiga from all the bits.
    Currently it's 3 not-so-healthy ones.
    [2010/02/14] Combined things together to make a working 500+ and a working 1500. Also have a 1200 available now for maximum usefulness. Done.
  74. Clean the printer.
    Needs doing, especially to print colour detail.
    [2009/10/15] Tried a quick clean, didn't achieve much. I probably need to vacuum around the drum.
    [2010/04/20] Gave it another go, it really didn't help. The internet is no help. I may try some last resort stuff before I declare this one fully attempted.
  75. Lego diorama.
    I keep starting but not finishing.
    Bought a nice halogen lamp to illuminate models for photography.
  76. Make mum's fried bread.
    I have the recipe, but I've never tried to make it.
    [2010/06/30] Made fried bread to go with a pasta salad. Came out perfectly. Done.
  77. Give up screens for a week.
    This will be particularly challenging for work, but I'm sure if I time it right...
    Managed to do exactly 1 week with no screens while on holiday. It was surreal. Plus, at the Linux usergroup installfest, I set up and used a laptop with Emacspeak so that I could use it without the screen. It went pretty well.
  78. Private objective number 5.
  79. Learn to gut a fish.
    You know, a skill that could come in handy after civilisation collapses...
  80. Scan in old stuff and then dispose if possible.
    Just need to declutter.
  81. Make paper.
    Never done it before, it looks cool.
    [2009/08/29] Gave it a go this evening, will let it dry overnight and iron it out tomorrow and see what I have.
    [2009/09/03] Done.
  82. Make a place for everything.
    Once I've decluttered, of course, I need proper boxes and shelves and stuff.
    [2009/11/09] Boxes obtained for electronics, craft stuff. Much junk chucked.
    [2010/03/03] House move makes this much more interesting. I now live with other people who have things that need places...
  83. Tidy up the paperwork.
    Piles of it.
    [2009/10/03] Done! I got loads of folders. Once the study is sorted, there will be photos. Oh yes.
  84. Rearrange the study to reflect how often things get used.
    The main part of this will be working out rationale for where things go.
    [2010/03/03] The house move means that all my hard work toward this is undone.
    [2010/06/30] Have been inspired by this to have a regular examination of the house to find things that could be better organised, and sort them out. It's a continual process, but it's firmly in place now. I consider this done and exceeded!
  85. Planters for the front garden with herbs in.
    Herbs - flavr - nom.
    [2010/03/03] House move makes this slightly difficult to achieve.
    [2010/06/20] We now have a hanging basked of nasturtiums and we're regularly using the mint and rosemary that grows here. I think we achieved this! Done.
  86. Make the Fluffwinian.
    Still haven't done it, sorry Gena!
  87. Learn 5 origami models I didn't already know.
    Bored with squirrels and cranes.
    Downloaded 12 sets of instructions that look cool from
    Folded 6 models, but only from instructions.
  88. Make my own Hanafuda cards.
    Yeah, I could import some.
  89. Finish the binary cards.
    Old project, needs a kick.
  90. Do every combo on Legogame.
    The Lego prompt list has a number of suggestions, but I don't really know if they're all doable. It's a fun framework for creativity though.
    [2009/08/25] There are 216 combinations. I've done 5 so far. Photos on the way.
    [2009/08/28] Photos of the first 6 are up.
  91. Make a fort like we used to as kids.
    Nostalgia is what it used to be.
    [2009/11/02] Done.
  92. Write 6 6-word stories.
    They're hard! I have one to write down already.
    [2009/08/26] Done. In a fit of enthusiasm, I finished all six.
  93. Eat okonomiyaki.
    There's a place in London, so I could probably tie this in with that trip.
    [2009/09/29] Done, on a work trip, with a lovely friend. It was most delicious.
    [2010/04/20] We now do this at home too. Yummy!
  94. Get things in my house of the same colour from (red, yellow, green, blue, purple) and do individual art pieces.
    [2009/10/03] Red done.
  95. Make an alphabet book.
    Mum had one that she made, I think I ought to follow along.
    [2009/08/29] Turns out it was a book of characters, one per month. Nevertheless, I shall soldier on. Subjects and rhymes planned out.
  96. Pop popcorn
    I've actually never done this! Crazy!
    [2009/08/15] Done, hardly burned any of it, we had it with tamari on. Yummy!
  97. Be somewhere in town I've never been before.
    Somewhere within the walls - I've lived here since 1994, so it could be tricky finding somewhere.
    [2009/08/26] Done. Slipped along Chapter House Street and Ogleforth on the way home from the orthodontist.
  98. Format-shift my VHS and audiocassette media where wanted, and dump.
    Seriously, it takes up space and my player may be dying.
    [2009/08/15] Obtained Highlander and Macross Plus on DVD. Macross Plus discs are all mislabelled!
    [2009/08/20] Listed all the existing media and worked out which things I actually want.
    [2009/08/29] Large chunk of DVDs obtained.
    [2009/09/08] VHS given away on FreeCycle.
    [2009/09/12] Home found for VHS player.
    [2009/10/03] Ordered remaining CDs online. Only thing left to do is get a DVD of Wong Kar Wai's "Fallen Angels".
    [2009/10/16] CDs have all arrived and tapes have all been given away. This is very nearly done.
    [2010/01/21] "Fallen Angels" obtained. Task done.
  99. Make pasta.
    I met Marian. Marian makes her own pasta. This seems like a fun thing to do, and I've never done it.
    [2009/09/06] Done, many thanks to Jez for coming over and instructing me.
  100. Draw the same thing 10 times.
    Something that isn't so trivial. Just to see how my take on it changes.
    [2010/01/21] The thing will be a floppy disk. I have identified several styles to go for.
  101. Visit Japan.
    This one's at the end for a reason - it's the reward for doing all the rest. If I fail to at least try all of the above, I don't get to do this one.