49th Year Bucket List: Reviewed

So last year, for my birthday, I wrote a list of things to do in the year–not a true Bucket List but simply a list of things to do before I turned 49.  We’re now a bit beyond the next birthday–I’ve been busy so this is late–but it’s time to look back and see how I went:

Ben thru the ages

1. Write this list! 

Done and dusted!

2. Cook Chicken Parmigiana

Done!  And it was pretty good, although not perfect.  I haven’t done it again, though, partly because of some dietary restrictions that have entered my life recently.

3. Create a Mystery Game for my eldest daughter

Aargh!  Not done…but almost done.  We’re planning on running it sometime in early August probably, when some of her friends get back from a trip.

4. Ride my bike on a regular basis

Sadly, not done, and certainly not done 50 times as I’d suggested.  I rode it twice, I think…though those times were relatively recently.  But I did participate in some other mildly intense exercise programs few times, and have purposely done a lot of walking–getting up to over 10,000 steps most days.  Indeed, I’m currently overseas and got up to my quota by walking 7000 steps up and down my hallway a couple of nights ago.  Along with some dietary changes, I am making moves to be healthier, but still, I did not hit that bicycle goal.

5. Finish Stranger Things 2, and if it’s out, Stranger Things 3

Done–although not season 3 as it’s not quite out yet.

6. Finish rewatching Star Trek Voyager

We are not finished, though we have made good progress–we are now in the latter part of Season 5.

7. Do a Bible study on “blessings” and “curses”


8. Also finish a Bible study on, amusingly, “completing things”


9. New Media Seminars

As I wrote originally, this was never scheduled until after I was 49 (that is, this year), so I was actually talking about the planning and promotion of the Seminars.  All I can say is that is happening, but it’s not happened enough yet.

10. A big work-related conference in Thailand

Done, and a good time.

11. Produce and Edit “99 Words”

We started filming this short film with my children, but we have not finished it yet, or indeed even filmed most of it.  Ugh, this is getting depressing.

12-13. Finish The Hanna Jo Stories episodes 12 & 13

One is done, one is in progress.

14-15. Finish at least two “Family Movies”

Nope, not at all.

16. A promo video for ministry focused on increasing people’s engagement with the Bible, especially where they currently don’t have easy access to it

In progress, but stalled, and not completed.

17. A photo-driven e-book about an African cultural group

In progress, but stalled, and not completed.

18. A local-language version of an animated film for the same group


19. A project for multiple languages in South Asia

Nope–still a ways off.

20. At least one project out of several prospective ones that we have for audiences in India at the moment

One of the prospects turned into something I couldn’t work on, and the other one in progress–very literally in progress (though not before my birthday).

21. A film, already shot, for the northern area of my state in Australia, which needs to be edited and distributed


22. Another film, following on from the one that I mentioned in #21, should also be shot this year.

Not remotely done!

23. See Incredibles 2 with the family


24. Organize Carols by Candlelight 2018

Absolutely.  A pretty good success as well.

25. Go to the United States

Done, although it was in a bit of an unexpected way.  My dad suddenly took a turn for the worse, so rather than going at Christmas time or January  as originally planned, we quite abruptly headed out in mid-July, and then I went alone for a week in November for his memorial service after he passed away.

While there, we managed to hit some of the anticipated highlights:

26. A visit to the local Barnes & Noble

Many times, resulting in many books, games and coffees!

27. A meal at Kathleen’s


28. Korean BBQ Chicken

Not the same place we went to last time, as it’s closed now, but still a yes.

29. Stuff with snow!

No, thanks to the rescheduling of things for July over the Winter.

30. Peanut Butter Ice Cream

For sure.

Next up…did I get all the comics I hoped to buy and read?

31. Legionnaires vol. 2 


32. The Flash by Mark Waid vol. 4

Yes, and Volume 5 as well.

33. Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2

Not yet.

34. Superman:  Exile and Other Stories Omnibus

Yes!  I wish they’d release another volume of this.

35. Bone: Coda

Yes.  I wish Jeff Smith would write another 50 issues.

36. Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Bought–but not completed.  I’m interested, but not as much as some of his other books.  Indeed, I’ve more enjoyed re-reading the Thursday Next books out loud to a couple of my children.

37. Staff Retreat

Definitely a good time!

38. Extended Birthday Celebrations

Yes, although I don’t remember much of what I did beyond what’s written here.  Was it still worthwhile?

39. See this year’s Marvel movies

Ant-Man and the Wasp –Check!
Captain Marvel–Check!

Avengers: Title Still to Be Revealed when it was last year–Check!

And, I also hoped:


Teen Titans Go to the Movies–Check!

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse–Check!

Wow!  What an accomplishment!

40. Other Movies

I listed a bunch of older ones that I was interested in, and hoped to see at least five.  Let’s see, of the ones I mentioned, I have seen Ready Player One, Isle of Dogs, Whiplash, The The Grand Budapest Hotel, Mad Max Fury Road, and Saving Private Ryan.  So that’s six!  Out of those, I enjoyed Whiplash and Isle of Dogs the best.

And yes, I finally saw  GI Joe: Retaliation, but that was a different issue all together.

41. Direct Something

Yes!  Specifically, a silly but elaborate short film called Lost in Spaces that, believe it or not, I haven’t yet posted online due to legal entanglements! But hopefully, soon!

42. Finish watching and blogging at least a couple of seasons of Quantum Leap

I’m about 2/3 the way through the second season.

43. Go to the Dentist

Shamefully, no.

44. New glasses

Yes.  I’m not sure how I’m going with these graduated lenses, though.

45. Write a new Escape Room

Yes!  It’s called Flight 729, and can be played at a place called Mystic Clue in Perth.

46. Write the next (last?) volume of Captain Strong

Ugh, no.

47. Edit Dr. Moosehappy Makes Her Move

Er…moving on, nothing to see here.

48. Celebrate my 49th Birthday with my wife and children


So…how did I do?

Solid Yes:  28 (58.3%–technically a passing grade)

Made good progress, but didn’t accomplish:  8

Solid No:  12

Well, could be worse.

But surely, those 12 things I didn’t accomplish–that can’t just be because I didn’t do anything, right?  There must have been something else that I got in before I turned 49, that was just as good or even better?

Why yes there is!

Let’s see…

1. I made some pretty strong adjustments to my diet, and began to walk much more extensively–hitting 10,000 steps on most days.  The last time I checked I’d lost over 5 kg in a period of a couple months.  It wasn’t even all that much effort–it’s amazing what can happen if you just cut out a bunch of junk.

2. I went on a holiday with my family to a few nice areas outside of Perth–which involved camping, kayaking, and taking a tour through a cave.

3. It also involved climbing to the top of the Gloucester Tree–153 steps (or actually metal spikes), or about 58 meters to the top lookout.  Later, we found out this was just one of three such trees in the area, and not the tallest!

4. In America, did a fun, interior “high ropes” course in a big mall, with my daughters, my brother and my nephew.  Even though I was never in any danger (securely roped in) it was still pretty nerve-wracking.

5. I discovered, bought and read about four volumes of Super-Sons, featuring the children of Superman and Batman.  Mostly written by Pete Tomasi, it’s a really fun series that my kids have enjoyed as well.

6. As chronicled elsewhere on this blog, I wrote and drew a two page comic called Bzzzz, as my contribution to a family-art calendar that we made at the start of the year.

7. I did, I think, six escape rooms this year, in addition to the one that I mentioned already.  Though they haven’t all been brilliant, I really enjoy the experiences, and some of them have been very good (there was a very fun one in America that looked like a New York City subway car)

8. Some of the people in my team produced a short documentary about life in missions which I helped to oversee and bring to completion this year.

9. My team also made a series of short films about the foundational values of my missionary organization, which I was able to complete the “packaging” for and get loaded online this year.

10. I saw the band They Might Be Giants in concert.  I haven’t been to all that many pop / rock / etc concerts in my life, so this was fun to do.

11. I spent three months as the primary home schooling parent for my children, as well as helping others in our co-op, while my wife was working as a teacher full-time.  I quite enjoy working with my kids, actually, and so this was nice to do, although it means it gets tighter to do my other work.

12. I went to America a second time, by myself, for my dad’s memorial.  Obviously, this isn’t what you’d think of as a “highlight”, but it was a significant event of the year.  I spoke at his memorial, which I was glad to be able to do which I believe went well.

So…all things considered, it was a pretty full year, even if there is a bunch of stuff that still needs to get done before I’m 50!

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