Well, the good news is that this report is on time for once. The bad news is that I suspect my progress is sucking. Let’s take a look at my goals and where I’m at.Continue reading
My kids love going to the LEGO store. They eyeball all of their favorite sets, the big ones that end up on their wish lists for birthdays and holidays. They play in the mini figure bin, and concoct absurd combinations of tops, bottoms, hats, and props that make sense to their inner narrative. For me, I like the bins in the back, where I can grab fistfuls of various bits and fill a container for a fixed price. There’s no directions, no pre-sorted sets, just dozens of curious widgets like hinges, joints, antennae, and engines that I can cobble together from my imagination.
LEGO bricks aren’t cheap, so to get the best value, I have to fill that cup as densely as possible, creating what I call the LEGO Parfait.Continue reading
“What’s the first thing you do when you’re lost?” our scoutmaster asked us one time.
“Retrace your steps,” one scout replied.
“Get out your map,” said another.
“Yell for help,” replied a third.
“Wrong, all wrong,” said our scout master, a grizzled, humorless WWII veteran at the front of the room. “The moment you realize you’re lost, sit down. Sit. Down. Don’t do anything but sit down. Don’t act right away. That’s how you panic, and once you panic you’re bound to get really lost, and probably injured, and you’ll be a lot harder to find. The moment you know that you’re lost, sit down and think. Sip some water. Eat some gorp, if you have it. Take a few deep breaths, and mentally—calmly—think about where you’ve been and where you might have made a wrong turn. Then if you’re sure, get up and walk—walk—back to where you think you were going. But if you’re not sure, just sit where you are until you can make a good choice, and think about staying warm and hydrated. If you have a whistle, start blowing it…” and the advice continued.Continue reading
Back in college I suffered some intestinal grief, so my doctor ordered a flexible sigmoidoscopy, which is a shorter version of a colonoscopy. I mean, both are a long flexible camera going in one’s rectum**, so it’s not a significant distinction, but still.Continue reading
During one of my college summers, I hired on with a temp agency. Every week (or sometimes every day), I had a different job, a different boss—moving furniture, stocking shelves, collating data, what have you. In hindsight, it was a great way to sample a lot of jobs in a short amount of time. At the time, I just needed money.
One morning I got called to a jobsite working for a trio of masons laying a home addition cinderblock foundation. My job was simple. I had to mix the cement in a wheelbarrow, pour it into five-gallon buckets, and bring it over when a mason called for it.Continue reading
A few years ago, I tweaked my diet to try and lower my cholesterol. Being a nerd, I created a giant spreadsheet to track all those nutritional numbers you see on the back of food packages, and tried to limit the bad stuff and increase the good stuff. That’s a whole separate story, but one of the things I had to increase was my fiber intake, so I ate more bran, wheat, raw cardboard and sawdust. And I created a number of stupid recipes. I’ll share two of them below.Continue reading
I decided to start a new category called “Late to the Game”, where I’ll review video games most of you have already grown bored with. I tend to play games long after they were popular for a number of reasons:
- I don’t have a lot of time to game.
- I play most games through to the end, and peek in every corner along the way.
- Points 1 and 2 together means it takes me forever to finish a game.
- I buy “Game of the Year” editions long after they were popular. If they made it to a Game of the Year edition that tells me it was probably a pretty decent experience.
- I might save a few bucks not getting it on day one.
I finally got around to watching Solo: A Star Wars Story. I enjoyed it. I know a lot of people panned it (my neighbor tells me often how much he hated it). I enjoyed it, for a lot of reasons, but the first two were these:Continue reading
I touched on this a bit on my year end post, but I wanted to expand on it here. Before I can make a change, I need to observe what’s not working. I’ve formed a lot of bad habits recently, and they’ve impacted my writing time. Even now, as I type this, I’ve paused at least a half dozen times, distracted by things on my phone, or “ooh! I need to remember to [do X] later” thoughts.Continue reading
So here’s a change; I’m actually drafting this report ahead of schedule rather than three weeks late. I’m hoping to actually post this today (Dec 31) so as to get a good start on the new year. Looking back over 2018, I’m not as far along as I’d like. There have been a few setbacks, some self-inflicted (I’m shaking a fist at State of Decay, Fallout 4, and now Stardew Valley, which I’ve been playing with my daughters), and some out of my control (a bought of bronchitis wiped out several writing days over this winter break—yay). Regardless, let’s see where I’m at and what we’ll tweak for 2019.
Read 20 books in 2018: I thought I was only at 19 books, but according to Goodreads, I did complete 20 books in 2018. Hooray! 100% A+, gold star, smiley face. My reading was all over the place this year, covering several categories, mostly fiction, but a few non-fiction (screenshot from goodreads.com):
Now, one could argue that I fudged it a little, including so many young-adult novels (6, or roughly 30%) which I read to my daughters. Yes, they’re short, but they’re still story, character, craft, and voice, so absorbing those with my kids still informs my writing.
Goal for 2019: Read another 20 books.
Write 7 posts in 2018: Even with the bar so low, this will be only my 5th post for the year, or 71%, a solid “C”. Maybe I’m going in the wrong direction, and thinking too hard about what to post, and a lazy goal is just making me lazier. I should take a cue from Seth Godin and write more often, but smaller and precise. Let’s call back to my 2015 goal.
Goal for 2019: Write 50 posts.
Get back on schedule for Togahan #4: Well, like I said, I intended to make up some time here during the holiday and catch up, but holiday shenanigans and bronchitis kicked my ass. According to the mega-schedule, current wordcount is at 134,000 for the rough draft, and the overall project is at 36.6% completion. I am 180 days (6 months) behind schedule. (At this point, I was supposed to have finished the rough draft, and completed 30-50% of the first draft revision). I’m personally disappointed with this. I was hoping to have the rough draft completed by the end of the year, but it’s still about 10k-20k words to go. I’m not sure how to figure this one out. Yes, the answer is “write more”, the same way the answer to losing weight is “eat better/exercise more”, but both require a culture shift. And THAT is a whole separate discussion (ooh! I can post about that). To make a long story short, I need to figure out where I’m wasting time and energy, and then how to devote my energetic time to more writing and work on the book.
Goals for 2019: (1) Finish the rough draft before Q2 (April 1). (2) Catch up on the schedule.
All of these are possible. But I’ll have to make some choices.
Regardless, I lived through another year. I’ve still got my family, my friends, my job, my home. I’m grateful to not only have all of that, but also the opportunity to make something out of nothing, hopefully something you’ll enjoy. Let’s hope 2019 is a little kinder to all of us.
Happy New Year!