Business as usual

Time for this week’s blog advertisement.
Recently finished reading this book. Interesting, and a good read for anyone interested in trading on the stocks market… I think. I don’t know, since I’m not a trader… and neither am I very interested in trading. Nevertheless, a good book!



Day 9 – The day of the zeroth challenge

A challenge I haven’t mentioned before, since it doesn’t really belong in this blog, is one that I had with Kristina, a friend of mine here in Switzerland.

Cuorsa dil Rein profileFor her birthday last October, I decided to challenge her to run a half marathon with me this summer (I’m such a nice guy, huh?). Boiling of joy and excitement for this wonderful birthday present, Kristina looked up possible Swiss half marathons, of which “we” chose Cuorsa dil Rein: 21.1 km, starting at 1200 m of elevation, reaching up to 1450 m. We can call it moment of hubris.

After a long spring of focused and hard very limited training, and running over 100 km less than 15 km in the past month, I couldn’t be more less prepared for the big day today!

So, we left Basel yesterday around noon, heading for the beautiful alps of Graubünden in eastern Switzerland – more specifically to the Romansch speaking part. After a hot, sunny day in Disentis, getting ourselves prepared by eating a big plate of pasta very greasy and cheesy Capuns, we woke up this morning to cloudy skies and a slight drizzle. Perfect weather for running!

And the result? I had set up two goals for myself:

  1. do the 21.1 km in less than two hours,
  2. manage the entire circuit without walking or stopping.

And I managed both! 1:55.26, and running the entire 21.1 km! A kilometer time of 5.28 might not be fast, but considering the conditions (high altitude, very hilly, and as far as I remember never having run more than 11 km before) I am incredibly proud.

Now I need to celebrate and restore the order with a glass of Zubrowka!

Day 7 – Ferry captain rejection fail

Seems like this is turning into a rejection fail blog.

Basel Wettstein ferryI went for my second rejection today. Basically, here in Basel there are some special types of ferries that are crossing the Rhine from side to side. The ferries are tied to a line, and then they just slide along the Rhine and let the current pull the ferry across.

Anyway, my plan was to ask if I could steer the ferry across, and land it on the other side. Considering how strict the Swiss are (?) with their rules, I was sure to get rejected.
But no. The ferry captain (Sabrine) kindly answered “sure!”, and then showed me how to do everything.

A failed rejection, but a fun experience! The question is how I make up for this now. Should I ask the other three ferries as well?

Day 4 – Random Access Memories

While my blog neighbor Gonçalo is apparently making big improvements with his memory challenge, my own memory still has more in common with Daft Punk. No, I’m not talking about words like “great” or “immortal”, but rather “Random Access”, or “Get Lucky” – titles that explain my current recall capabilities pretty well.

My point is: I haven’t gotten started with this challenge yet. I need a quiet evening after work, where I can sit down and build my memory palace. I’m hoping for Monday. Stay tuned.

Doin’ It Right

Day 3 – Lessons learned from my first rejection (attempt)

Tried to finish my 10-trades rejection attempt yesterday. I got up to 7 trades in total, before time actually ran out. Anyway, here’s how it went. Green and red text symbolizes what I consider a value upgrade and downgrade, respectively (photo proof will be added in a day or two):

  1. (Start) A paperclip
  2. A paper napkin (unused)
  3. A bundle of Post-its
  4. A small shampoo bottle
  5. A USB charger (!!) *
  6. A sealed can of cold Lipton ice tea
  7. A bottle of orange juice
  8. A bag of candy


Not too bad, considering it was my first “rejection” attempt. But I have to admit I still consider this a failure. For mainly three reasons:

  1. I didn’t manage 10 trades, which was my goal
  2. I didn’t challenge myself as much as I should. I often found myself choosing my subjects, avoiding people who I was sure wouldn’t want to participate.
  3. I used a white lie to approach people, saying that me and a friend were both doing this as a competition to see what we would end up with.

Nevertheless, at least I did my first attempt. I will have to shape up for the next one.

* I would like to give a special thanks to the guy trading my shampoo bottle for a USB charger. I felt like letting him down by trading away his USB charger for a can of ice tea, but it would have been very difficult to find people willing to trade something more expensive than the USB charger. Sorry, but thanks a million for your kindness!

Day 2 – Somewhat fully rejected

Attempted my first rejection challenge today. The plan:

Starting with a simple (and pretty low quality) paper clip, my goal was to ask people if they have anything they would like to trade for my paper clip. I would then repeat this procedure with the new object, and see what I would end up with after 10 trades.

Well, decided to attempt this on my way to meet a friend for beer. Passed quite a few people before I finally decided to approach a Japanese-looking (mostly based on the huge camera she was carrying) woman in her 40s. Now, I must have made a really good impression on her, cos as I was explaining my task, I saw the fear growing in the woman’s eyes, before she finally said:

Eeh… I should probably go,

and hurried away, leaving me there feeling like a lunatic who just escaped from a mental institution. The question is: is this a rejection? She never even answered no!

Anyway, despite this discouraging first attempt, I did try it once more with an Arab-looking (mostly based on the huge hookah he was carrying) gentleman, who traded my paper clip with a… paper napkin! Score! Only 9 more trades to go!

To be continued tomorrow…

Day 1 – Cold feet

The 1st of June is here, and there are no more excuses. But I have to admit that the last few days have given me cold feet. Anyway, let’s recoup what this is all about in the first place.

Starting today, me and Gonçalo have three running challenges:

  1. Learn how to memorize a full deck of cards using the Memory Palace technique (TED talk on memorization).
  2. Learn how to do a handstand (Handstand tutorial)
  3. Be rejected 30 times in 90 days (TED talk on rejection therapy)

I have sort of plan for the first two.

For the memorization challenge, I’ll try to follow Joshua’s “20 minutes per day” approach. Once a week I will then film myself as I’m walking through my Palace, and try to post it here.

For the handstand, I think my biggest problem is my lack of strength (a nicer way of saying “I’m weak”). I’m planning on tackling this by combining this morning workout 5 days per week, with BodyPump®™© and power yoga, each once once per week. I’ll then practice the actual handstand 2-3 times per week to begin with.

And now to my cold feet. I’m really nervous about this rejection therapy. I’m out of creative ideas before even starting, and I keep coming up with these great excuses for why it won’t work. For example: “Basel is so small, so I will soon be known all over town as the weirdo with ridiculous requests”. Basel has 170,000 inhabitants… go figure. But I need to push myself into this. I need some good ideas though…

Anyway, time for my 20 minutes of solitaire. To be continued…

No place for a head start

Everything has a time and a place.
This blog has finally found its place. It has found a purpose, and it has found it here.
But it’s ahead of its time. Time is not ready for it just yet. And head starts are not allowed.
But don’t despair! The right time is soon – very soon! In fact, less than three revolutions away… in one of the two meanings of the word.

“If only I could… challenge everything”