Happy New Year–Now Let’s Get This Ball Rolling

I need to see how possible it is to crop GIFs while retaining the motion, if only so I can clean up this post’s featured image some day.  Never forget, people: Google is your friend, at least if you can’t take multimedia classes.  I’ve learned a lot of DIY skills through Google (and YouTube, for that matter), and while I’m no expert, I’m smarter than before I started searching.

maxresdefaultAt any rate, as the doubtless imaginative title of this post suggests, I’m all full of New Year cheer, and eager to get underway with my resolutions.  All the more remarkable about it is the fact that, by and large, I don’t formally make resolutions, at least not during New Year season, as I find them arbitrary, trite setups for failure that can really be made at any point during a given year with equal importance.  And I’d say that’s still a relevant attitude I sport towards them in general, so it’s fair to say that I’m not going to be making any new resolutions for the coming year.

But new resolutions aren’t a requirement these days, as I have plenty of old ones I’ve either failed at or left behind, as well as existing ones that, while I haven’t failed, might do with a new twist.  Those are the resolutions I’m happy to focus on for the coming year. Here are some ideas

  1. Get healthy–or at least, heathier. Always easily said, I’ve had my ups and downs when it comes to getting fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. On the down side, I was diagnosed as being pre-diabetic last year, but as a result, I’ve implemented at least a basic exercise regiment that has stuck pretty well these last few months. My biggest enemy here tends to be stress, as it makes me go to comfort food whenever things get tough.  There are a few ways I can continue to improve and uphold this goal:
    1. Take up a more intense form of exercise, such as martial arts.
    2. Get better at avoiding sugars, such as sodas and desserts.
    3. Eat less in general, while doing more.
  2. Continue to write, and write more.  I once wrote in a blog every day for six straight months, and this was back when I had a full-time job, so I know I can do more writing than I recently have been.  I profess to want to write, and yet I way too often find myself wasting time on video games, Youtube, and other idle pursuits.  Stress, again, tends to be the enemy here, so I should probably look into ways to manage it.  Specific to writing, a few possible goals are spinning in my head, among them:
    1. Resurrecting 187,500.  This is a 500-words per day mandate, at the end of the year of which I should have 187,500 words written.  I’ll detail the rules of this self-created goal some other time, but it’s significant that each year I’ve tried to accomplish it, I’ve failed.
    2. Creating themed day posts for my blog. Madcap Mondays, Terrible Tuesdays, things like that.  We’ll see.
    3. Find a writing exercise every day, and do them.
    4. Work on my novel(s).
    5. Write X number of {short stories, articles, novel excerpts, etc.} per Y unit of time.  Taking suggestions on how much of what in what amounts of time.
  3. Work towards a writing career.  Similar to the previous resolution, it’s more focused on publication and earning income.  Some possibilities:
    1. Finish a novel manuscript and start shopping it around.
    2. Enter x number of writing contests this year.
    3. Find websites and magazines that pay for writing, and start submitting applications.
  4. Make things.  So many possibilities with this one.  Writing is technically included, I suppose, but I’m thinking in a more broad sense.  Some examples:
    1. Learn to play an instrument (make music).
    2. Create superhero costume parts/pieces (make cosplay).
    3. Raspberry pi/arduino projects (make fun and useful technology).
  5. Read more–or at least, consume more audiobooks and podcasts.  Aside from graphic novels, which I love, I just haven’t found much time to actually sit down and read.  I’ve found that audiobooks and podcasts have been much more conducive for when I’m doing things like exercise, driving across town, or simply working on chores, writing, or other tasks.  Some things I’ve considered:
    1. Ask friends for podcast recommendations.  Try out a new podcast every week, and expand my current base of podcasts.
    2. Listen to both fiction and nonfiction in audiobook form.  I’m loving The Dresden Files so far (James Marsters reads them!), and am almost done with Stephen King’s On Writing, which he narrates.
    3. Where possible, listen to these things for free.  Library cards are your friends in this endeavor.
  6. Educate and teach others.  I do this more or less every day as a librarian (case in point: want to learn how to use your tablet or smartphone to access your library’s e-books and e-audiobooks? I and other librarians can help you!), but I’m hoping to do so this year in a more formalized sense.  Some ideas:
    1. Host a program or programs at work on a topic I’m knowledgeable in.
    2. Participate on a panel at a conference or convention on a topic I’m good at.

Quite the list there, eh?  I’ve been working on a lot of these for a long time, and hopefully can just build on them as the years go on.  There may be more new ones as the year continues, and I reserve the right to modify or abandon these as I choose (at my own risk, of course–I’m sure if I eat too many more chocolates, I’ll go into a diabetic coma), but this is a good base from which to work as I try to make 2017 as good a year as I can.  It is my hope that each and every one of you can achieve the goals and dreams you set for yourself this year.

75cfb75b958e159f647988b804a4ce36aa1d2ace5be9328ddb1eaf505ec4e1e1Happy 2017, and may it be a great year for us all!  Now, let’s get this ball rolling, and knock it out of the park as best we can.

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Tony’s Lists: Things I Finally Got Around to Trying That Made Me Think, “What Took Me So Long?!”

Between the hectic hum-drum that tends to run most of our lives, people are often very careful about what they decide to check out on a friend’s recommendation.  The time we get is, at least to our own viewpoints, sparse, and therefore precious.  I’ve had books, shows, video games, and all manner of other consumables recommended to me by my friends that I’d ignored at the time–sometimes for years–before finally giving them a try.  Sometimes, they were worth the time investment, and other times, not so much.

Then there are those things that I finally got around to watching, reading, playing, and so forth, and came away going, “Oh my god!  This is awesome!  WHY the hell did I wait so long to get into this?!”  The following list represents a small sampling of media that I:

  1. had recommended to me by a friend;
  2. put off actually checking out for a significant chunk of time (at least a few months); and
  3. was wowed by it, to the point of kicking myself for not checking it out when my friends made their recommendations.

For extra fun, I’m listing the names of my friends (first names only) who made these recommendations in the first place, so they can say, “Told you so!” if and when they read this.

Here goes:

doctor_who_logo_23Doctor Who (Colin) — I was not prepared for how much I loved this show.  I came on board right as Matt Smith became the Eleventh Doctor, and I was hooked from the get-go!  I not only watched everything I could of Eleven’s adventures, but also Nine, Ten, and some of the older movies (I believe The Three Doctors was the first I watched).  Admittedly, it gets a bit too wacky and inconsistent for me sometimes, and while I’m not currently following it, I’m sure I’ll love it when I come back around to the Time Lord’s adventures.

firefly-serenity_sxscustomFirefly (Rebecca) — In a way, Firefly was one of the saddest things I ever watched, as it showed me firsthand that just because a show is good–and I mean, really good–that doesn’t mean it’ll get to run as long as it deserves.  Still, the episodes in that one season were amazing, as was the follow-up movie Serenity.  I count myself as a Browncoat, and still live in perpetual, irrational hope that the series will get continued on screen.

cover-gobletoffireHarry Potter (Shaun) — Oh, Harry Potter.  How I misjudged you.  I was working retail at a bookstore when I first encountered these books, and their sheer popularity irked me.  I even accompanied my friend Shaun to a midnight release of Goblet of Fire (the book, not the movie), and couldn’t understand what the big deal was.  I finally decided to give the first book a try.  It had ONE CHAPTER to capture my interest, or I would put it down and denigrate the series all I wanted.  Needless to say, it won me over hard, and I can’t imagine my fandom card without it.

batman-arkham-asylum-crack-download-free-full-version-pc-torrent-crack-1Batman: Arkham Asylum (Alex) — Talk about an experience I denied myself for far too long!  This game, as well as its sequels Arkham City, Arkham Origins, and Arkham Knight, were as close as I’ve ever experienced to actually BEING Batman in a video game.  The stories were well told and dazzlingly produced, and the voice casting was top-notch.  I finally finished Arkham Asylum just before Arkham City came out, and you can bet I’ve been at the midnight releases of all the other games since.

d96047310621f8a9ddebe602e9b1898bHeroes (Ed) — I was told by more than one person that they couldn’t believe I, of all people, wasn’t watching Heroes when it first came out a decade or so ago.  It did seem right up my alley, as I am massively into comic books and superheroes, but at the time I just wasn’t watching television much.  When I finally was exposed to the first few episodes by my girlfriend at the time, I was instantly hooked!  Of course, we broke up before I could get more than a few episodes in, and I haven’t watched since, but you can bet I’ll come back around to it eventually.

5271584-2213851722-harryThe Dresden Files (Krystal) — Mr. Potter is not the only magic-user named Harry that makes this list.  This one’s got a special place in my heart, because technically, I didn’t “put this one off” at all.  I was told how good they were, and then put a hold on an audiobook version through my library.  And I checked it out when the hold came through–A YEAR LATER.  But I loved it, and now I’m eagerly awaiting the other books on audio so I can see what I’ve been missing for the last 15 years!

What are some surprise recommendations that you put off for far too long?  I know I can’t be the only one who’s eating crow for not taking my friends seriously…