What's On Your Bucket List?

My wife and I were talking about bucket lists with some old high school friends recently and had a good time laughing about them and discussing the unique items each person selects.  It is a great topic for some get-togethers.  Bucket lists got popular after the popular 2008 movie The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.  It is still a hot topic today and there are dozens of web sites you can now visit to help you make out your own list.  It is a great rainy day project.  If you are a goal-setting aficionado like I am, you will love it.

Amazingly my wife and I actually had two similar goals.  We both wanted to see the Eagles in concert and do an extended tour of the UK: England, Scotland and Ireland.  We crossed off the first item as we did attend that concert in Las Vegas last year.  Hopefully the UK trip will take place next year.  It is challenging to check off an item since the bulk of these goals require lots of time, money or both.  For working people, we never have enough of either.

Anyway, I thought I would share my list with you.  It is kind of a personal thing but maybe you can share some of your unique objectives with the rest of us.  I have both professional and personal goals.  The work-related items involve writing or electronic projects I never got around to.  For example, I always wanted one of my blogs or articles to go viral on the Internet.  I keep it on the list even though I suspect that won’t ever happen.  Another target item is to have a book on the New York Times bestseller list.  Probably not a novel.  Another tough objective.  But you never know.

As for electronics-related projects I have the objective of learning C programming and actually writing a program that works on an embedded controller.  I am one of those engineers who learned programming with FORTRAN.  Then in the early personal computer years I got pretty good at BASIC.  In my engineering work I programmed in assembler.  I learned on IBMs 360 series and an EAI 3200 and actually got pretty good.  And I can still program almost any embedded controller in assembler and do the interfacing.  But I am embarrassed to admit I cannot program in C.  One of these days.

I also have some ham radio goals.  Just once I would like to build an antenna that works.  It seems simple enough as it is just wire and metal parts and insulators but I have yet to make an effective one.  Part of the problem is that most home owner associations frown upon ham antennas and have restrictions against them.  So any antenna I make has to be pretty stealthy.  That has been hard to do.  Many others report good results from attic antennas but my attic is too small to access so that means some compromised rig hidden outside.  My next attempt is to get one of those popular automatic antenna tuners and see if I can load up a coat hanger.  I also wanted to design a small ham transceiver using existing ICs.  I know it is doable, I just need the time.

As for personal bucket list items I include playing the guitar better.  I do know how to play but I am not that good.  But could be.  It just takes time and practice.  I also list learning to surf.  I was born on Galveston Island in Texas so have had lots of beach time as my numerous sun skin cancers attest.  But the waves were never big enough on Gulf Coast beaches.  I’d still like to do it.

Another objective is to run a marathon.  I trained for the Marine Corps marathon a number of years back.  A brutal six month affair which made me skinny and gaunt and craving food I never liked.  The week before the marathon I got some serious food poisoning and had to drop out.  I have not had the motivation to repeat the training but I’d still like to do it.

Two items I dropped from the list are to sail to Australia on my own sail boat and get a PhD.  After years of hearing the stories and adventures of friends who lived on their boats and cruised for years, I am not sure I want all the grief that accompanies the attendant pleasure.  As for the PhD, I worked on one for a while but I soon dropped out because I couldn’t see the benefits from all the time, money and groveling to the faculty involved.  What is the ROI on a PhD these days anyway?  A master’s degree is still definitely worth it.  And, no, I do not want to go to Machu Picchu in Peru or climb Mount Everest or have dinner with a celebrity.

So that’s my current list.  It is a work in progress.  I suspect most of the items will be achieved when I finally decide to retire.  Whenever.  What is on your list?

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