2009 Quarter 2 Update

Note: Read time 5-10 minutes.

It has been just over 6 months since I outlined my goals for 2009. Let’s review my progress:

1. Run 5 miles in 35 minutes

My running style drastically changed when  I bought the Vibram FiveFingers shoes.


Designed to restore the foot to a more primal state, these shoes (“Classic” model pictured above) strengthen the foot and lower leg muscles and reposition the spine to a more posture-friendly state. They take a while to get used to, but now that my legs have adapted, my runs are euphoric.

Regarding the goal, I can hold pace for 3+ miles, but still find myself struggling to keep up the speed. Every Thanksgiving morning, I run in a 5 mile race back home in Nashville, TN, so I’m hoping to complete this goal then.

2. Reach conversational level in Spanish

Yikes, I need to get on this. I will write a post outlining my tactics in the next few weeks.

3. Read and take notes on 3 out of 77 books on the Personal MBA reading list.

Complete! A few weeks ago, I wrote a review of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. I have also read two more books on the list and will write reviews shortly. I am putting together a page that explains more about why chose this goal…stay tuned.

4. Compose a photo-journal coffee table book of my abroad experience in Nepal.

While I finally finished my photography site, nepalprints.com, I haven’t made any progress with this particular goal. Below is what I had written on April 1st.

I have collected and sorted through my field notes and class materials, and have a first-draft introduction written out. The whole book should take 5-10 hours to put together. Have any of you used Blurb.com? Looking at the cost of self-publishing a photojournal, it appears to be more expensive than I was originally intending. Are you familiar with any alternatives?

5. Expand my blogging audience to at least 100 RSS subscribers.

In January, I was wavering between 15 and 17 subscribers. In March/April, it was between 35 and 40. Now, I have at least 75 regular readers. I like where this is going. To all my readers out there, stay connected! It’s been great getting to know all of you, and I really appreciate all of your feedback. To any new readers…hola, welcome, namaste.

Recently I have made a few changes to the site:

  • I installed the NoFollow Free and CommentLuv plugins. If you have a blog of your own, this means that you can sync any comment you make with your latest blog post. Now that the “nofollow” attribute is turned off, comments can become backlinks to your site.
  • I updated my Images page.
  • I created a new page, Countries Visited.
  • I installed TweetBoard, a tabbed program that not only pulls my Twitter updates into the blog, but it allows you jump into the conversation. I first saw the TweetBoard on Corbett Barr’s site, Free Pursuits.

I have several things planned for the next few weeks, including an updated Resources page and a few new widgets. If you have any additional suggestions, let me know!

6. Clean up my research paper on vertical farming and send it to Dickson Despommier at Columbia University.

Sent! Here’s my email to Dr. Despommier:

Dr. Despommier –
Greetings from Boston. My name is Alan Perlman, and I have been a big fan of the vertical farming idea since the Popular Science article featured your work back in 2007.
In spring of 2008, I spent two full semesters researching and writing a “capstone” paper for my International Studies major at Washington University in St. Louis. The paper, titled “Vertical Farming: Exploring a Modern Extension of Agricultural Intensification,” looks at both Paris and Hong Kong as two potential sites for vertical farms, drawing on contemporary social, economic and political implications as well as historical models of agricultural intensification.
I offer my thoughts to you and your research team. I attached my paper, as well as a poster I put together for a presentation on my research. Hope you enjoy!

And here’s his response:

Dear Alan,
Many thanks!
The best,

Short and sweet. Good stuff!


7. Complete the Hundred Push Ups challenge

The 100 Push Ups challenge is a six-week program that builds endurance, enough to do 100 consecutive push ups.

I am still stuck at week 4 on this one. A few weeks ago, I took a few days off and did 60 pushups, but I still have a long way to go. Argh. I’ve been working out regularly, and have seen improvements in the gym. I’ll try this challenge again in a few weeks when I leave for Africa.

Next update: July 1, 2009. I definitely have some work to do, but I’m happy with progress thus far.

11 thoughts on “2009 Quarter 2 Update”

  1. I like that nofollow free, I think that we will add it too! You look like you are well on your way, and you still have 6 months to go. Good luck, going to check out your photography site. Dave has been working on getting his going as well, it is hard just trying to keep one website up and running, 2 is going to be crazy!

  2. Keep up the great work! I only have 7 subscribers on my travel blog. I wrote a few articles, lots more cool stuff coming soon! 😉

  3. Great job, Alan!

    This gives me the motivation to put together my own goals for 2009, and I should do that within this week. Look for a post on my blog soon. I will be debuting my blog on July 4th 2009

    Thanks for introducing me to the 100 push ups site. I just started mine this week.


  4. Hey…I’m one of the ones you mentioned in your last post about coming from AlmostFearless (& also one of those RSS subscribers!) Just wanted to say hi, and I look forward to reading about your upcoming trip! While you seem to have done quite a bit on your list, you still have half a year left to do the rest, so good luck for the second half for 2009!
    Jill 🙂
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..Ok, so technically it’s no longer July 1st here in Australia… =-.

  5. Great post! I think that sharing your goals with the world is one of the best way to accomplish them! That’s what I did when I was wanting to quite my job and travel around the world…I told everyone it was what I was going to do which then set the whole train in motion! Love the status update – keep up the great work!
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..Durian – The King of Fruits =-.

  6. Nice list of goals – Dale’s book is great read and it has tons of useful information.

    I’m going to have to check out the running shoes you mentioned, seems like they’d help correct back problems.

  7. Hi, Alan. I’d love to hear about your progress on Spanish. We are learning as well in anticipation for 6 months in South America. Just this week I found a guy who will walk around Greenlake (a local favorite workout spot) and help you learn Spanish as you exercise. This could be the thing for me! Maybe you can find a bilingual student in Boston to do the same for you?

    I’m also loving my Vibram 5 Fingers Shoes and I’m not even a runner. They are great for stability, building strength in the feet and lower legs, and for generating discussion with strangers. Looking forward to seeing how these work out for you on your next trip.
    .-= Betsy @MarriedwLuggage´s last blog ..Tips for Everyday Exercise with a Partner =-.

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