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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The Rogue Triumphant: Self Care vs Self Indulgence

The rogues I tend to envision myself as in any RPG-style situation are usually more thief-bard-scout hybrids than the more cutthroat assassin-types that seem to be so popular in games like World of Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed.  Don’t get me wrong, I see the use for those kinds of rogues, but they just don’t hold any kind of appeal for me personally.  I’m not the kind of person who will casually decide to end someone’s life in any situation, even a fictitious one, though I will readily pick someone’s pockets if I feel they’re a jerk who deserves to get taken down a peg.

5c3aceff2142026f41dcace98fa51b0aRogues are often considered a cowardly lot, the kinds of people who take the easy way out, who would rather backstab than fight hand to hand in a fair fight, and who would just as soon avoid a fight altogether if they can still make off with the prize.  It’s the whole “easy way out” aspect to the rogue persona that probably dominates the one who collides with my inner paladin so regularly.  You saw in my previous post how the rogue tried to influence me to keep a library item when I shouldn’t have done so.  He wasn’t advocating that I directly harm anyone–I don’t think I could keep the counsel or company of anyone who did, real or otherwise–just that I benefit myself for a little while longer, and flout those silly rules for a bit.  That’s all.

And the thing is, I often wonder if the rogue has been the guiding light for the larger part of my adult life so far.  He’s been pretty damn persuasive over the years, in quite a few ways:

  • He’s convinced me to sleep in rather than get up early and eat breakfast before I begin my regular days;
  • He’s persuaded me to continue to eat foods and indulge in habits that have likely been detrimental to my health over time; and
  • He’s even gotten me to back out of commitments I’d previously made (to go across town and hang out with a friend or friends), even if I hadn’t originally wanted to do them, simply by reminding me how little I’d enjoy myself if I followed through.

bhgl2wvcmaacpooIt’s been easy for me to listen to the rogue, because for the most part I’ve had little fallout from taking his advice.  I’m graced with a thin-wiry build that hasn’t really changed (much) over the years, despite what I may choose to eat; I’ve never felt significantly bad when I skipped breakfast; and my friends have always been understanding when I’ve asked to bail on them once in a while.  I’ve been able to glide through a lot of these things, and the rogue has blithely enabled this.  Hell, he even tried to get me not to write this post just now, suggesting I just play video games to unwind.

The thing is, time has passed, and that tends to make fools of us all.

My numbers from my doctor have steadily worsened over the years.  I’ve noticed I’m nowhere near as firm as I used to be, and I’ve even gained a little weight, even if my overall frame hasn’t changed.  I’m hovering at alarming numbers for cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood sugar levels, and was recently diagnosed as being pre-diabetic.  And I’ve come to realize that when I don’t see my friends for long enough, those relationships can wither away and die.

Never fear.  I’ve taken steps to correct these things, but it’s a daily struggle.  The rogue continues to hold sway, suggesting I occasionally take the day off from my exercise regiment, or to maybe nibble on that delicious looking donut just this once.  Nowadays I can resist him and do, but sometimes I still succumb to his clarion call.

chewie-hanBecause at the end of the day, the rogue isn’t a bad persona.  He bends or ignores the rules because sometimes, the rules are stupid.  And what he’s advocating for is for me to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible, which I’m sure is a thing we as people can always get behind.  Sometimes the rogue has gotten me to ignore the rules about print card procedures at the library, and just print a page (or three) for free for an individual who just needs the print, now, so they can get to a job interview on time.  Sometimes my paladin-esque instincts have gotten in the way of this, and sometimes I want to kick myself for it.  That’s where the rogue’s strengths shine.

He is noble, in his own way.  Which is why, even if his influence is waning these days, he’ll never fully go away.  He understands life, and living, and the people who do it way more than the paladin who believes in rules, and service to a higher purpose.  That’s why they’ll both always be here.

And that’s why, at least once in a while, the rogue will get the win.