PhxBrewQuest: Visiting the Breweries of Metro Phoenix

My friend Jenny and I have embarked on a quest to visit all of Metro Phoenix’s breweries before the end of this year—we call it #phxbrewquest. Here’s the list we’re working off of—which appears to be the most complete and accurate one on the internet—which includes only home-grown breweries that brew on-site and include a public tasting room.

We’ve currently visited all 28 of the (current) 28!

Still left to visit:

  • (none at the moment)

Continue reading PhxBrewQuest: Visiting the Breweries of Metro Phoenix

My 33 before 33 list

On the heels of completing my 101 things in 1001 days challenge, I’ve decided to launch a new goal list for the upcoming year. Given the amount of change I’ll likely see in 2011, I decided to focus on a shorter time period and instead launch a 33 before 33 list. Like my 101 in 1001 list, I’ll be adding a few bonus items along the way that I’m allowing as substitutions. I had originally intended to launch this on my birthday, so it will be extra challenging given the 2-month delay. In addition to this list, I’m also keeping a shorter, private list of important things I want to accomplish this upcoming year.

Here is my list: [Completed 14/33]

  1. Hike in a wilderness area I’ve never visited
  2. Read Citizen Spycompleted Dec 30
  3. Thank a personal mentor
  4. Visit Delmacompleted 083111
  5. Visit an Arizona state park I’ve never been to — completed 102211 (Dead Horse Ranch SP)
  6. Go on a kayaking or mountain biking trip completed 062011
  7. Write a family letter
  8. Hike 3 trails I’ve never been on — completed (Gateway Loop 012211, River Trail 052411, Chimney Rock)
  9. Organize my iTunes library
  10. Purge file cabinets
  11. Use a free plane ticketcompleted (purchased 102911)
  12. Go rock climbing or ice skating or skiing or snowboarding completed (rock climbing)
  13. Read a book on my iPad
  14. Post my remaining wedding and post-wedding roadtrip photos
  15. Write something meaningful
  16. Take a step towards continuing my education
  17. Get rid of my wart
  18. Conduct an oral history session with my dad
  19. Make 2 new friendscompleted
  20. Revamp
  21. Try 3 new foods that I wouldn’t otherwise eatcompleted (sushi 010411, beet burgers, oysters)
  22. Pay off two debts — completed 021811
  23. Purge and reorganize my camping gear
  24. Integrate one new life simplifying habit or action into my life
  25. Go camping — completed Aug 2011
  26. Integrate vacation summaries into
  27. Complete an annual personal review
  28. Automate my expenses
  29. Get in touch with three friends or family I haven’t talked to in awhile
  30. Shave Sipapu — completed 060611
  31. Scan 50 old photos I want to keep
  32. Go backpacking — completed 052011-052511
  33. Redevelop or repurpose

Bonus items:

  • Create/update a digital archive of important files and add to safe deposit box
  • Accomplish a strenuous event completed 052011-052511
  • Reach the 15,000 photos online milestone
  • Retrieve summer roadtrip photos
  • Paint something

A recap of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project

My 101 Things in 1001 Days challenge ends today.

The 101 list was an experiment to see if I would accomplish more than I would with New Year’s resolutions. I did. I figured that the longer time period and longer list of potential projects would allow me more flexibility in achieving the goals I had set forth. They did.

I completed just over half of the items on my list, quite a bit fewer than I expected when I began the project back in 2008. What I didn’t expect, however, was to be dealing with a major life change just a year into the project. I was making very steady progress on the list until life got a bit more uncertain. Suddenly, many of the items I had placed on the list no longer made sense or were unattainable, and there were a bunch of new goals I had that weren’t included in the original list.

How I did

In spite of falling short of the original goal, I’m happy with the progress that I made. I feel like I accomplished a significant number of items that I otherwise wouldn’t have without the project. I found it to be a worthwhile exercise and I’m happy that I tried. I also learned a number of lessons along the way that might be useful in your own 101 Things project, should you decide to embark on one.

Making your own list

I found that putting together a 101 Things list is actually quite a bit more difficult than it seems. In fact, it can be challenging coming up with worthwhile items that you’re willing to commit to. I found that a good mix of easy and more difficult items helped to keep my motivation and focus during long span of the project. Between reaching the more difficult or complex goals, I could mark off a few easier items and feel good that I was making progress. I also recommend including some items that have been nagging to get done for longer than you’d like to admit. You’ll feel great when you finally sit down and get them done.

One of the most important things to consider when putting together a list is to make your items as measurable and achievable as possible. Don’t settle on unclear items like “get in shape” or “lose weight;” instead, focus on things that someone else could easily measure, such as completing a 5k run or losing a specific amount of weight. Otherwise, you won’t have a specific goal to shoot for and you’ll have no real way to measure your success when you’re done.

I’d also recommend including only achievable items. Stretch yourself, but don’t make items so difficult that you give up. This is not a listing of your dreams—it’s a list of goals that you want to meet in the next 2.5 years. And certainly don’t include any items that you don’t have control over, such as falling in love or getting engaged.

Substituting items

Realizing that things might change partway through the project, I started a substitute list that I appended to the original list. That way, I could add things that I wanted to pursue as goals. This was a good move, but I always felt a little like I was cheating by substitution so I also kept the original items on the list to maintain perspective. My total count includes substitute items.

Tell people about it

Another lesson I learned early was to tell people about your list. Having people occasionally ask me how the project is going provided some useful reminders. Posting it online and linking to it also helps to get the word out and keep you invested and engaged in completing the project. I’d also recommend posting yours on the Day Zero Project website (you can also find some inspiration on the site) and updating others on your progress.

What’s next for me

I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to embark on a new 101 Things list, or if I’ll try something else. Given the amount of uncertainty and change in my life right now, I’m leaning towards focusing on a “33 before 33” list, then maybe tackling another 1001 day project next year.

Since I’m unsure of the fate of the original post on, I’ve repasting it below.

My 101 Things in 1001 Days list

Following the lead of others, I decided to forgo establishing any New Year’s resolutions in 2008, opting instead to start my own “101 things in 1001 days” project. I’m usually not big into the resolution thing to begin with, but recently I’ve been thinking much more about enjoying life and not letting it float past so quickly. The year deadline doesn’t appeal to me, and I think I may be able to mark off each item in the project’s allotted 1001 days. After putting together a draft list several weeks ago, I decided to retro-actively set my official start date as March 1, 2008. It’s a little bit like cheating, as I’ve already completed two items before I got around to posting this, but in my defense, I only completed those items in the spirit of the project. Some items should be a piece of cake to finish (delete old hosting accounts, attend a hockey game) while some might take a little bit more focus and determination (buy house, travel outside the continental US). I’ll continue to mark off items as I complete them, and may also add a separate post about such occurrences. Anyway, on to the list:

My 101 Things in 1001 Days Project
Completed 55/101 items
Deadline is Nov 27, 2010

buy a second car
buy an ultralight sleeping bag or tent completed March 30, 2008
buy a new ASU jersey completed September 8, 2008
buy a new camera completed April 26, 2008
buy a new mac laptop completed April 19, 2008
buy new glasses completed July 6, 2008
buy ASU pantscompleted November 29, 2009
buy a scanner completed March 2, 2008
buy/make a hiking pin display completed April 4, 2008
buy a nice big HD television completed September 20, 2008

Learn new skills
learn how to grill a great steak
learn 5 new photographic techniques
take advanced GPS or GIS course
take NEPA course
cook a chinese dish
learn to identify five new desert plant species
learn to identify three new bird species

Home organizing/decluttering
seriously organize the garage
get rid of the ford taurus completed August 2009
clean out file cabinets
donate or sell my button maker completed May 8, 2008
declutter my office
organize football memorabilia completed October 5, 2008
scan my favorite old photos
ditch my CDs completed October 6, 2008
set up a password management system completed April 26, 2009
scan all nps passport stamps completed October 24, 2008
organize/declutter hiking gear completed September 2008
donate another computer completed October 6, 2008

travel to the east coast
travel outside the continental US
visit at least three new states completed July 2008 roadtrip
travel to an ASU away game
rent an RV
visit 20 new NPS units completed July 2008
visit Ft Bowie National Historic Site completed Winter 2010 roadtrip
collect 25 passport stamps (renewals OK) completed July 2008 roadtrip
visit the north rim of the Grand Canyoncompleted Sept 2010
stay overnight in the White Mountains completed 4/20-5/1/08

go kayaking completed June 27, 2009
go on a backpacking trip of at least 3 nights
hike 25 new trails in the state 9 down
hike the backcountry of the Superstition Wilderness
visit 5 new wilderness areas in Arizona completed 2 (Bear Wallow, Pusche Ridge)
lead a Sierra Club hike (not a monument)
go camping with friends completed 4/30-5/1/08

New habits
learn to wake up earlier/get up early >25 days in a single month
consistently use an inbox for more than a month
get eight hours of sleep for at least 23 days in a single month completed May 2009
establish a morning routine
take at least 3 steps to significantly reduce our environmental impact 2 down (reduce waste by using reusables, buying only green electricity and reducing usage)
develop a regular stretching routine
improve my posture

transition to completed October 5, 2008
figure out how to use my desktop computers with my mac complete January 27, 2009
fully complete the switch over to mac completed September 2009
make a decision about all of the domains I own
upgrade the RAM on my iMac completed Mar 2, 2008
become more proficient in using my iphone keyboard completed
make a new avatar for myself completed April 5, 2008
create an online file storage/backup system
organize computer document files/folders
flesh out vacation listing completed October 12, 2008
develop reference or file/note management system on mac completed July 29, 2009
delete old hosting accounts completed October 5, 2008

get married completed July 15, 2008
get involved in a new nonprofit Completed May 1, 2008
contact three old friends from high school Completed August 11, 2008
re-enroll at ASU
write something meaningful
make flickr’s explore with one of my own photos
publish something
post 15,000 pictures online
“make” a birthday gift for friend or family member
write a personal manifesto
keep a hiking and outings log
count, log, and scan all of my nps passport stamps
make 3 new friends that I see regularly completed July 2009
participate in Pat’s Run

attend a hockey game completed October 23, 2009
bowl another 250+ game
visit Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza
attend camp tontozona no longer possible
watch 10 “classic/old school” movies (Done: The Candidate, Godfather, Soylent Green, Fahrenheit 451, Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, Deliverance, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Taxi Driver, 2001: A Space Odyssey)
take a photographic tour of the city with flickr group
watch a meteor shower completed November 17, 2009
read at least one book from my bookcase that I haven’t yet read completed December 5, 2009
read Walden
surprise Kim with a nice weekend away
write my own list of top lifehacks

lose 15 lbs completed August 2009
complete a 5k run
max out my dental insurance completed April 21, 2008
get tooth fixed completed April 21, 2008
go one week without sodacompleted
write out a will/last testament
payoff all but one credit card
start/consolidate my investment accounts
buy my own home

Bonus/substitute items
refinish cedar chest gave it away
backpack at least 20 miles on a single trip
visit either Seattle, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, New Orleans, or Boston completed December 30, 2009 (NOLA)
save $5000
tour ASU’s football facilities completed November 28, 2008 (thanks Jerry!)
go completely paperless (bills, financials)
find solution for grill equipment
buy framed ASU/Sun Devil Stadium photo completed November 8, 2008
put together a home inventory
create a digital archive of important files and add to safe deposit box
scan and post hiking patches
buy Pat Tillman jersey completed November 8, 2008
redesign completed December 24, 2008
re-establish a regularly scheduled event with friends completed
complete a daily self-pic for six months completed July 2009
launch a blog & write consistently for at least three months
Go on a kayaking/canoeing trip of at least one night completed September 28, 2009
Attend a home 49ers game

A year’s worth of daily mugshots

Last year, I ran across a video of someone who had taken a daily photo of himself for more than 4 years. It seemed like a cool idea, and a day or two later I came across I signed up and gave myself the personal goal of doing it for 3 months.

Today, I took my 365th shot.

Yep, a whole year’s worth of webcam shots. All in all, it was only a mildly interesting endeavor. Sure, it serves as a reminder of my life over the last year or so of my life—but generally, it didn’t quite turn out the way I was hoping.

And with that, I think I’m done with the project. I didn’t notice that many personal changes over the course of the year—given the year I’ve had, that’s not a bad thing at all. I’m also not thrilled with the dailymugshot website—the interface is clunky, you can’t export these photos, and why the hell can I only see 200px wide shots?! So I’m ending any personal commitment I feel for the project. It’s been fun, kinda, but I’m done.

For those of you who want to see the final show, here it is:

Update: unfortunately, it looks like the company has folded, so there’s no longer any slideshow available. I’ve removed the links to what is now a spam site. In case the original files pop up somewhere, I was user 15392. Bummer.

In real life relationships: my #10N3 Challenge update

Earlier this year, I gave myself the challenge of converting 10 online relationships into offline, in-real-life relationships by the end of March. I called it my #10N3 Challenge. I’m nearly two-thirds through the challenge period and thought it was time to provide an update.

A refresher on the rules

You’ll remember that I had to already follow or interact with a personal online, then actively work to create that in-person relationship, for it to count. Meeting someone in person (even at a twitter-organized function) and then continuing that relationship online doesn’t count. And likewise, it didn’t count if I only met them in group settings without any substantial one-on-one conversation. This challenge was all about taking proactive steps to establish a face-to-face relationship.

I’m right on track

So, how am I doing at it? Surprisingly, I’m right on track. Through March 3, I’ve made 9 connections—which means that I’m actually ahead of schedule. I also have #10 scheduled for later this week, so barring unforeseen circumstances, I should meet my goal. But I’m not planning on stopping there. I’d like to exceed my goal and hit at least 12 by the end of the challenge. We’ll see how it goes.

The surprise so far

I’m feeling pretty good about how I’ve done in meeting the challenge so far. It’s been great to connect in person with people I’ve grown to know over the last several months or, in some cases, years. It’s amazing how easy it is to connect with people after only simple and occasional online interactions.

But, to be honest, I’ve been just as pleased with the other relationships I’ve fostered during this time. While for one reason or another, they didn’t count towards the #10N3 Challenge, I’ve really enjoyed hanging out with them.

Online to offline relationships: My 10 in 3 challenge

I’m creating a personal goal of proactively reaching out to 10 people I know only online and establishing an offline relationship with them in the next 3 months. I’m going to call it my #10N3 challenge.

A little bit of background

I’ve been hovering around the edges of a few social media communities for awhile now. Over the last few months, I’ve been following and occasionally interacting with the Phoenix twitter crowd. The absence of a sense of community has always been one of my disappointments with the Phoenix metro area, so I was amazed and impressed with the community-building events they’ve been hosting.

I decided that I should get more involved.

So when Twitter launched its lists feature, I thought it was a great way to chart out progress in turning those “I follow online” relationships into “we’ve actually met” ones. The result were two incomplete lists of Phoenix-area folks that I hadn’t met yet and ones I had.

To that end, I’ve stopped by an occasional tweetup or #pfn or #smunch. I’ve been truly amazed with some of the cool people I’ve briefly met already – and I know I’m only scratching the surface. So I’m not only interested in expanding that list, but deepening it as well.

This is an attempt to do just that. At its core, this challenge is about creating even more value from the investment I make every time I tweet, post a photo online, or add a reply to a forum post.

My #10N3 Challenge

So, here it is: I am challenging myself to convert 10 of my online-only relationships into offline “in-real-life” relationships in the next 3 months.

Because of the holidays and my own travel schedule, I’m not starting the clock until the New Year arrives. This is about adding value to my social media experience, so I’m planning on reporting back my progress on the days I get paid.

The rules

  • Must be one-on-one conversations to count. It doesn’t count if we just talk in a crowd of people (unless the conversation is direct, personal, extended, etc). It’s best if these are organized with the specific purpose of meeting to chat, like inviting someone out for coffee or a hike.
  • Half of them must be people I’ve never met in person, however briefly. The rest can be people with whom I’ve shaken hands or exchanged pleasantries, but didn’t get into a real conversation with.
  • They can be from any social media platform (twitter, facebook, flickr, sports forums, etc), but they have to be people with whom I’ve already establish some sort of online relationship (friends on facebook, I follow them on twitter, foursquare fan, subscribe to their blog, etc). On platforms where reciprocation is not required (eg twitter), it’s enough that I follow them. It doesn’t count if I meet them at an event and then follow them on twitter or subscribe to their blog.
  • We don’t have to become best buds in real life as a result of meeting in person. That’s not what this is about.
  • While I have my own short list of people I’d like to meet during this challenge, I’m not publishing it or holding myself accountable to it.

Of course, this is my challenge and therefore my rules, so I may end up amending them as circumstances warrant. However, I see this as a real personal challenge and am treating it as such.

I’m going to be using the hastag #10N3 on twitter if you’d like to follow my progress or adopt your own challenge. If you decide to join along with me in this goal, please let me know and I’ll post a link.

Fumbling along on the roadtripping blog

Last fall, I decided that I was going to start blogging about roadtripping the National Parks. Kim and I were fresh off a long summer roadtrip that covered 8700 in 17 states. We had completed a fall trip to Canyonlands National Park – long on our to-do list – and were planning on completing all of the Texas national park units that winter if ASU failed to make a bowl game. I had started compiling writing ideas, from tips and techniques to top 10 lists to insights about favorite destinations.

The idea was to start the blog, build a bit of a readership, immerse myself in the travel writing world, and improve my writing. One day, I reasoned, I might want to write a travelogue of my own, which would focus on my quest to visit various places that played key roles in the history of public land protection in America.

Of course, the best laid plans, right? While I snagged up a few domains, continued stockpiling writing ideas, subscribed to a ton of travel blogs and sought out travel and national park related social media opportunities on Twitter, I’ve yet to write a single freaking post.

Most of that is certainly due to a lack of time and energy – things have been very busy recently, and it doesn’t seem like the right time to try to squeeze something else into the mix. But that’s not all of the reason. I like planning things out, making sure I have done the required homework, and not necessarily one to jump in without giving something a thought. Since I haven’t had time to commit to spending any money getting the blog designed, nor have I had the time to fumble through doing it myself, I’ve procrastinated on doing the most important thing you need to do to have a successful blog – write something compelling, interesting, and useful. Instead, I’m concerned that I haven’t learned the art of Google AdSense, or am wondering which sidebar items are the most important to highlight.

There are some possible big changes afoot, and I’m wondering how much time and/or energy I’ll have to actually get this thing going. In short, I’m wondering if I should, indeed, commit to this project. Am I willing to forgo relaxing after a long day at work to write yet another post? Am I willing to skimp on dinner so I can afford to invest in the blog? Right now, the obvious answer is no. We’ll have to wait and see if it stays that way.

Progressing nicely

It’s been a little over ten months since I started my 1001 Things in 101 Days list, and I’m pleased with the progress that I’ve made so far. I’ve marked off 31 items of the list, plus another 5 of my bonus/substitute list. That’s pretty good progress, especially considering that I have a number of items in progress at this moment.

However, it’s increasingly clear that I won’t finish all of them – I probably won’t be in a comfortable enough position to buy a house, for instance – though I think I can still finish off nearly all of the items. If I continue to make good progress on the bonus/substitute items, then I expect that I’ll feel pretty successful.