Result #32: I'm really ashamed that I had to send this resolution to redemption to successfully complete it.

#32 Play the walking alphabet game.

Date: 2-1-2014

Due date: 2-1-2014

Resolution: I don't know if this is an actual thing or not but either way I'm going to make it a thing; a thing that I will complete.

When I was growing up my family couldn't be in a car without playing some sort of game to kill the time as we traveled from point A to point B. 

One of my favorites was the alphabet game where using signs, license plates, anything out side of the car your goal was to track down every letter in the alphabet, be the first to find a billboard for the San Diego Zoo to use the Z and be declared the alphabet champion of the day.

Sure this made car rides fun but now I'm beginning to wonder if this is why I have no patience for just enjoying the moment. I feel if there is no purpose for leaving the house then why bother. You will never see me out venturing just to see where the day takes me. I do enough of that in my head as I come up with stories. I need a point B. I also need to know why I'm going to point B and when I can return to point A. 

This mentality doesn't lead to much physical activity and I need to move around more so I figured why not use this resolution thing to try and get something going. I mean what list of resolutions would be complete without there being at least one promise to get more exercise?

I'm going to give myself 26 point Bs to get my A out of the apartment. 

Here's the plan: At least once a week I will go for a walk. Once I determine the starting point for the day (most likely my apartment) I will pick a direction and start walking. I'll also set a timer to go off after a half hour. Once that timer sound I will begin my hunt for the letter of the day (starting with A and working up to Z in order.) I will take a picture of that letter and then head home where I can go back to being a shut in.

If you're worried that this is a fitness plan that covers less than a months worth of exercise for a two year project, don't worry, there will be more fitness resolutions to come.

How you can help: Contact me if you would like to take me out on a walk. 

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Update #1: A

Date: 2-1-2014

To day I took these guys out for a walk.

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After a half hour I found my A.

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Can you guess where that is?

Update #2: B

Date: 2-5-2014

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As I said in the initial resolution, I don't like leaving the house unless I have a reason. I know if I would’ve made this a challenge to just walk 30 minutes at least x many days a week I would get bored and fail right away.

I was dreading this boredom kicking in the moment that I decided that I would go out and hunt for my B today but the moment that I step out of the door I was in challenge mode.

This never felt like a chore, unlike every other time I tried to start up an exercise regimen. I know it's only the second time that I've done this but I know my mentality and I know I'll be fine with this plan and will probably get it done even quicker than I originally planned.

I also discovered a bonus feature.

Reasons why I want to be a shut in!!!

This week I discovered two reasons.

  1. Waiting at a stop light for the crosswalk signal to change so that I could cross a street just barely wide enough to be considered a two lane road, the light changed and the driver of the SUV also waiting for the light lurched forward as if to try to beat me through the crosswalk. It took me five steps to cross the street and this person barely had the patience to give me the right of way.

    I also get annoy by the opposite, when you're crossing an eight lane road and the person waits for you the entire time you take to cross the road. There is a happy medium.


     
  2. A lady walking while texting, paying no attention to her surroundings looks up at me and gasps as I try to pass her. I'm fine with texting and walking but don't make me feel like a monster because you’re too caught up in your world. I text and walk all the time and you know what I do? I look up from time to time to make sure nothing is going to kill me. I don't wait until I HAVE to count on fight or flight to remind me that I'm not in the comfort of my own home.

Update #3: C

Date: 2-6-2014

Boy did I choose the wrong time of year to take up walking. It's cold out there.

I also managed to multitask and listened to the Learn to Speak Dutch CD that I downloaded the other day.

I mainly stuck to the back roads and had no real "this is why I want to be a shut in" moments today!!!

Update #4: D

Date: 2-7-2014

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I almost didn't do the walk today for three reasons.

  1. I thought it would take too much time out of my day.
  2. It was so cold yesterday.
  3. Though it was interesting I wasn't looking forward to listening to that learning Dutch audiobook again.

Then I thought about how it was just yesterday that I resolved to lose weight and thought it's way too soon to be this lazy. I looked over my game plan for the day and saw that I actually did give myself a lot of time so I decided to dress better and hit the road.

I knew the big problem with the Dutch audiobook was that I was only interested for about 20 minutes. After that it just became to people rambling. I couldn't tell if either of them was speaking English.

I also found that I need to be entertained while walking away from my apartment. The walk home goes quickly because I know for sure where the end point is. So, I came up with the plan to listen to a podcast on the way to find my letter of the day and then listen to the Dutch lessons on the walk home. It worked out perfectly.

I didn't see any examples of why I wanted to be a shut in but I did see a truck drive the wrong way down a four lane road (NW 85th St near 15th Ave NW) to the make a U-turn and head the wrong way up the other side of the road in the middle of traffic to get around the barrier that blocks the road the truck was originally on from being a through street.

That was kind of amazing.

Update #5: E

Date: 2-13-2014

Found my E and am getting a little more familiar with Dutch in the process.

I didn't find an example of why I want to be a shut in!!!

Update #6: F

Date: 2-17-2014

Today I killed three birds with one walk.

  1. The walk itself.
  2. Listened to my learning Dutch audiobook.
  3. Wore my watch while I was out and about.

I did experience something that made me hate the universe, but it wasn't anything anyone did. Well unless you include whoever the guy is who designed my headphones to last about six months and then out of nowhere the sound in my right ear bud just randomly gave out.

It would be one thing if I could link the failure to anything, anything at all; fidgeting with the headphone jack, dropping my phone leading the cable to be yanked, chewing on the cable, something. Instead it was working for twenty minutes and then just bam out of nowhere, no sound in my right ear.

You don't know what it's like to be annoyed until the call and response duo who are trying to teach you a foreign language out of the blue only come through your weak ear. Luckily I have another set at home.

I hate planned obsolescence. :(

Update #7: G

Date: 2-19-2014

Today's walk was rather uneventful which is nice. I did however get too caught up in the podcast I was listening to and forgot to switch over to the learning Dutch audiobook, so I blew it as far as the Dutch lesson for the day goes.

Oh well there's always tomorrow.

Update #8: H

Date: 2-24-2014

Today I went for a walk to not only find my H, but also turn in some paperwork for this potential job that I have lined up.

Once again I got too caught up in the podcast I was listening to and forgot to switch over to my learning Dutch audiobook. I did however manage to have an incident that made me frustrated with the world.

I figured that the place I had to drop the paperwork off at was about a half hour walk from my apartment so I would use this as an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone, getting this day job is a resolution after all, and I do need an H to finish this walking resolution.

I got to the location only to find out I was given the wrong form and had to go back and get the correct one. Luckily I didn't feel like my time and effort was wasted because I wanted to get the walk in, but it was annoying none the less.

Now I'm home, and now I continue to wait.

Update #9: I

Date: 2-25-2014

Today I put on my Depends and went for a walk to find my I. Stay tuned for more details on the Depends aspect of this story.

Another set of headphones gave out and this time it was worse than the sound just going out in one ear. These were headphones that have one of those built in microphones so you can also use them to speak on the phone. Well, whatever happened with the wiring caused the phone to randomly pause what I was listening to and dial random numbers from my call history. I had to put it in airplane mode and fold the phone a certain way for the rest of the walk. Again I'm getting very fed up with the poorly made crap we get to purchase nowadays.

I did however also get to see one of my favorite things that I’ve seen in a while. As I was walking past the Safeway there was a guy on his phone while his German Shepard was standing beside a stack of groceries with a package of steak in his mouth. He wasn't eating it, just standing there, holding it in his mouth, like a good dog? I don't know, the guy didn't seem bothered by it so I assumed he was being good. I wish I would have taken a picture, but I feel weird enough busting out the camera to take pictures of signs let alone a stranger's dog with the stranger standing right there. I know, that's my own issue, but an issue none the less.

Update #10: J

Date: 3-3-2014

Here's the J.

I listened to my favorite podcast on the way to find my J and then the Dutch audiobook on the way home and found one story that made me hate the world.

Part of the reason for the walk was to pick up a package that FedEx would not leave at my door even though you need a key to get into my apartment complex made of 24 units. It's obviously a safe place to drop off a package once you get past the main door.

Whatever, it's their policy and I'm to blame because I didn't open my door even though I heard them knocking. I don't answers phones or doors, it's my own issue, so again I take the blame.

I made arrangements to pick up the package at the nearby FedEx Office, and was heart broken to see the working conditions of this store.

I worked at Kinko's years ago when it was still run by the founder and it was an amazing company to work for; the stores were clean, pleasant and inviting.

I left and came back to worked for them after the founder stepped down and it became more corporate. It was sad to see how quickly the decline in benefits and policies toward the employees took place but I don't think this was a noticeable change to the customer.

When I enter the store in question I wanted to hang myself. I don't even work there and I felt miserable just looking at the place. It reminded me of the storage closets that they usually find to place the internal copy centers for businesses, that are as inviting as a prison cell for the self serve customers.

The guy working the counter was great, but it was very sad to see such a decline of one time hippy run company that gave raises twice a year, had an option for free health care, maybe not the best, but free, and had decent profit sharing policy with all of their employees.

What a world we live in :(

Update #11: K

Date: 3-10-2014

It was an uneventful walk today but a walk none the less.

I found my K and went home.

I did manage to get some Dutch learning in on the walk back.

Update #12: L

Date: 4-3-2014

Being that I'm taking the month off from driving my truck I ended up having to take a bus to my work's headquarters for some training.

The bus directions that were given to me via GoogleMaps dropped me off about a half hour walk away from my destination. It then told me to turn right where I should have turned left.

Between this and the walk back to the bus I got well over an hours worth of walking in today, so I figured this venture qualified for the letter hunt.

Here's my L.

While on this walk I found an example of another reason why I hate the world outside of my apartment. This training that led to four hours of combined travel time was nothing more than videos. It was run by the receptionist who didn't even stay in the room to answer questions. There was absolutely no reason this couldn't be done online like the rest of our training.

By the way, this online training is another reason I hate the world. You wonder why the quality of our workforce seems to be on the decline.

Next time you start a new job, find a person who's been with the company for around ten years and I guarantee you'll eventually hear this exact sentence. "Well, they used to have actual training for how to do this or that correctly, but that all went away about x years ago when they started this online training."

These penny pinching online learning modules will lead to our collapse.

Alright that may be a little dramatic, but I do blame them for our poor workforce.

Oh well.

Now let's see you long it takes me to get my M.

Update #13: M

Date: 4-8-2014

I went on a walk today, found my M. That's it. Nothing else all that exciting to announce.

Update #14: N

Date: 4-30-2014

I've been so busy with work and this site that I haven't managed to get out for a walk in quite a while. It feels good to get out a cruise the neighborhood. I went to the local hardware store where they didn't have a single thing I was looking for and stopped by the local knitting shop to buy the supplies to get started on my sweater for Doug the Truck Penguin. To top it off I found these two Ns.

I consider today to be a success!

Update #15: O

Date: 5-17-2014

Yeah I'm still working on this. I know I should be done by now, but it involves leaving my apartment so it's hard. Today I actually got a workout session and a walk in!

Let's see how long it takes me to get to my next letter :)

Update #16: P

Date: 6-3-2014

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I found my P on the way to the Toastmasters.

Update #17: Q

Date: 6-25-2014

Yep, this is still going on.

I found this Q on the way to buy pants. The walk was uneventful except that it was early and I was angry that there was no way for me to put of replacing my now crotchless pants until my next day off. 

Luckily I was able to get this picture and post out of the whole fiasco.

Let's see how long it takes me to get that R.

Update #18: R

Date: 6-30-2014

Today I did a little walk to the hospital for my new patient physical as the beginning step to accomplish Resolution #144 to get back into therapy or at least get back on the meds to ease my troubled brain.

I found this R while I was there.

Now that I'm back in the health care system and my doctors office is a 40 minute walk from my apartment, I should be able to finish off this walking alphabet game rather quickly. They've already got me scheduled to come back tomorrow. Then I'm going to have to go back soon to discuss the results of the physical and blood work.

Hopefully by then I'll already have had my appointment with the psychiatrist which I'm sure will allow me to knock off a couple letters from the list as well.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's S!!!

Update #19: S

Date: 7-1-2014

I found this S on the way home from my follow up Doctor's appointment. Today's trip was much more pleasant than yesterday's venture. This specialist (who is still not the psychiatrist that is the whole reason I am jumping through these hoops) was much more pleasant and even had a bit of a sense of humor.

As I pointed out yesterday,I think this new Healthcare situation will have me wrapping alphabet game in no time!

Update #20: T

Date: 7-20-2014

Today I went to the store to buy a soldering iron (it'll make sense later.) I started out by going to the Fred Meyers which is just a few blocks away from my apartment. Though they had the irons they didn't have solder for electronics.

I was about to give up and order one online but then figured the True Value is about a half hour walk and I haven't collected a letter in awhile. 

I decided to go for a walk and that's where found the T in the above photo.

I also found solder for electronics but their soldering irons were all too expensive for my taste so I ended up having to head back to the Fred Meyers to purchase the iron I previously passed up.

Though this entire venture was somewhat annoying, I now have a soldering iron, solder and a T.

Six more walks to go until this resolution is a success!

Update #21: U

Date: 7-28-2014

I found this U on my walk to my appointment this evening. It was a pretty uneventful walk so that's all I got.

Update #22: V

Date: 8-19-2014

I found this V on my walk to my psychiatrist's office tonight.

When I got there I was kind of excited. I've been feeling real good since getting on the meds and was looking forward to sharing my progress.

When I peeked my head in the door she looked shocked to see me and asked, "Do I know you?"

I was early and she was expecting someone else but also had no idea who I was because she apparently forgot to write down my appointment.

I have to admit, I was a little bummed out by the lack of recognition as I sat in silence and waited to spill my guts to this stranger, who I'm obviously a bigger stranger to.

The mix up got worked out and the appointment went well.

I think there may have been a time when I would've taken this very personal. I know this because I was starting to work up a case on how no one really cares as I stared at my shoes.

Then I realized I was just being overly sensitive which is what I am there to work on.

I think I'm heading down the right path?

Let's just hope there's a W, X, Y, and Z on said path. 

Update #23: W

Date: 9-16-2014

I found this W on the way to the shrinks office. It looks like I'm going to start going on a regular basis so it won't take much longer to get my final three letters.

Update #24: The X, Y, Z Redemption Conclusion

Date: 2-6-2015

I really felt that I was going to finish this one on time but due to the day job, depression and poor planning I ended up finishing it late. When I initially set this resolution I was still looking for a job. I had hopes that I would be able to transition from freelance filmmaking to freelance writing and would have time where I needed to leave the apartment.

Unfortunately the whole freelance thing didn't work out. This led to a day job in retail where I was constantly on my feet. I was too burnt out and busy on work days to take an hour to walk. On the weekends I was to depressed and or busy playing catch up to want to go outside.

Then I decided to move, throwing a monkey wrench into this experiment as a whole.

It was hard enough to keep up devoting all my spare time to these resolutions without throwing a major life change into the mix. I decided to move the day after Halloween and spent the next three months wondering if I was making a big mistake, analyzing my life trying to work through why I felt the need to leave, and just sad that nothing in my life seems to ever work out for me.

Why at home I was good at at least keeping up with the bear minimum work required to keep up. Once I was out of my apartment I felt lost. I didn't have my computer or my space to stick to the rituals that I needed to keep me up to date.

At first I was hoping the transition would be seamless but once reality set in I decided I needed to take a break. My first break from the blog in over two years.

This didn't help my depression. I figured my commitment to this experiment was the only positive thing I had going in my life. This made me feel like a failure in every way.

Now I'm back and it's time to get caught up and rekindle the fire I once had for completing these tasks.

I woke up this morning to find that I had failed one of the easiest of tasks of this resolution experiment. I had 365 days to take 26 one hour walks to take pictures of letters and even though I sold my truck and wouldn't go anywhere that was out of walking distance I still managed to put it off until it was too late.

I decided to complete the redemption part of this task right away rather than drag it out for another eleven months.

So, I went on a long walk.

First I set my alarm for a half hour and went out to track down lunch when I found my X on my favorite near by taco shop.

I then set my alarm for another half hour and ventured on until I found this Y...

It's just a Denny's Y with no significance but a Y none the less.

I set my alarm for another half hour and continued on my way.

When I was living in Seattle I planned to end this resolution with the Z from the Woodland Park Zoo. For some reason I thought it would be hard to find a Z until I passed about 20 Pizza places on this last trek.

A random pizza my not be as sentimental as a zoo but I'm growing to question my stance on caged animals, especially at that zoo with tiny exhibits. 

Either way I turned this failure into a redeemed success.

Get ready for more of these at least for the next couple weeks.

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.