Well here it is — the longest and most thorough list of New Year’s Resolutions I’ve made for myself in several years. I’ve been reading quite a bit about ways to find success when it comes to making and keeping New Year’s Resolutions, and most experts agree (why are there experts in the New Year’s Resolution department?) that there are three basic things you can do to increase your odds of success: put some thought into your resolutions (don’t just make them up on New Year’s Eve), make a plan to success (don’t leave achieving your goals to chance), and make small, measurable goals (instead of big, lofty ones). I’ve been working on this list for two weeks now, tweaking each of these and working on paths to completing them. In a day or so this list will be moved to the top of my blog so I can view it periodically; I’ll also be printing out a physical copy for occasional referral.
And now, the list.
01. Lose Weight.
This one deserves an honorary lifetime achievement award, as I’m sure it’ll end up on every list of New Year’s Resolutions I make for the rest of my life. Last year I proved that lapband surgery in and of itself cannot force a person to lose weight. My goal this year is to follow the suggested Weightwise eating habits as much as possible. In addition I plan on walking somewhere between three times a week and five times a week (giving myself a little leeway), and (sigh) counting calories. My ultimate goal is to lose 100 pounds before my 20-year reunion. That’s pretty simple math — that’s a pound a week over the next two years. That seems achievable, doesn’t it?
02. Read More.
Another repeat offender, this one. The good news is, last year I did read more. The bad news is, more was a relative term, as in 2007 I read almost nothing. In 2009 I resolve to read at least one fiction book each month; that’s twelve books this year — certainly an achievable goal, and a sharp increase from last year. Ideally those twelve books will be fiction, or at least not dry technical manuals.
03. Remodel Upstairs.
My 600 square foot upstairs media/game room is overrun with clutter. It’s a non-kid-friendly, junk filled mess. This year I have several projects in mind for the room. The first is, remove the shoddy shelves I put up a couple of years ago. A bunch of two-by-fours nailed to one another isn’t fooling anybody. After that, the next project will be to relocate the flat panel television from the west wall to the south wall. I know you can’t visualize it but, trust me, it makes more sense over there. The television will be wall mounted and I plan on surrounding it with wall shelves, maybe to house the aforementioned Star Wars collection (or some subset thereof). A secret plan that you cannot tell Susan about is I plan to install a door in the upstairs closet that opens into the attic, where I can store more stuff. Shhh.
04. Thin Out Gaming Consoles.
There’s no reason to have three Nintendo 64 consoles hooked up and ready to play. Over the past several years I have fallen into the “quantity over quality” category when it comes to videogame collecting. Yes, I have a lot of old videogames and computers, but they don’t all need to be out on display all the time, especially the ones that never will get (or never have been) played. I’m not ready to sell everything, but a lot of things are about to be disconnected and stored away for the time being. I have a Sega Saturn that I’ve owned for five years now and have only played for fifteen minutes total.
05. Record an Album’s Worth of Music.
For the purpose of this one I’m going to define an album’s worth of material as ten songs, so there’s that. To achieve this goal, the ten songs must be complete and posted on robohara.com. I am not making any restrictions as to the type (or quality) of the music. Recording music is something I enjoy doing and I’m not going to let the fact that I can ‘t sing stop me from doing it.
06. Write (at least) One Book.
I have several books brewing, none of them associated with old computers or arcade games. Part two of this goal is to pursue a traditional publishing house. I have two self-published books under my belt now; I’ve done that. I am a good writer who could be great with a little guidance and editing. I also suspect I could do better in the sales department with an advertising department and distributor behind me.
07. Traincor — Get Moving.
I still dream of making Traincor (a training company based around technology-based training) a reality. Last year one of my resolutions was to get the ball rolling by teaching at least one class in the name of Traincor. That did not happen. I’m not giving up on this one just yet. I’m giving myself one more year to do something — anything — to get this off the ground. The resolution for this one is the same as it was last year: prepare, advertise, and publicly offer at least one training class in the name of Traincor within 2009. If I haven’t done anything with Traincor by the end of 2009, I resolve to let the domain name expire and move on.
08. Organize a Monthly “Movie” Night.
Technically, it doesn’t even have to be movies. It could be videogames, board games, poker, whatever. The point isn’t the activity, it’s to hang out with my friends more often, something I let slide in 2008. I need to come up with a set date (like the last Friday or Saturday of every month, something like that) and just throw it out there and see who shows up. I realize not everyone can come every month, but in trying to juggle schedules last year we ended up not doing it at all. That’s not going to happen this year. Wow, I think I just worked out the details while typing. The last Friday of every month is now officially “Movie Night.” (EDIT: Invitations for the first official movie night just went out. This one has already started rolling!)
09. Load and Begin Using Linux/Ubuntu
While Ubuntu 8.04 was good, 8.10 was even better. Since I’m not a big PC gamer, there are very few things at this point that I cannot do in Linux that I can do in Windows. Between cloud computing, DRM, and licensed-software packages, I have a bad feeling about the direction Windows is heading. I think now may be the time to make the switch and learn my way around before it’s too late, and I’m too old.
10. Attend, and Participate in, Blockparty.
Blockparty is a demoparty hosted by Jason Scott at Cleveland’s annual Notacon hacker convention each April. Demoparties consist of the creating and judging of computer-based demos. Not only do I plan to attend Blockparty this year, I plan to enter multiple categories. While I have no place entering some of the categories, Blockparty has several photography and music-related categories which, even if I cannot win, I can enter.
11. Go Digital.
I’ve been working on this one for a while now, and I expect to be done shortly. The two big focus areas of this one are: getting rid of all VHS tapes and getting rid of all cassette tapes. I am winning both of those battles and hope to have the house clean of both items shortly. That leaves music CDs, which are also slowly being ripped and copied up to the server. LPs are not really a problem at this point; I have a few, but they are more for artwork than listening now. I do have a few that need converting over but that is way down near the bottom of the list. Once the mp3s project is done I plan on rewarding myself by having an mp3-playing stereo installed in the truck.
12. Use RSS.
RSS has been around for years now and other than going, “well huh, that’s neat,” I’ve never actually used it. This is the year that changes. While typing this sentence I created an account for Google’s RSS reader and punched in RSS feeds for my top 10 favorite blogs. This is going to end up saving my a ton of time checking websites for new posts and a ton of money on my car insurance (just kidding on that second one). I’d like to move from “wow, neat toy” to “hey this is saving me a lot of time” mode. My only reservation is that, knowing me, I’ll soon be following 200 feeds and taking up the same amount of time reading that I was previously spending. Ah well, can’t fix everything in a single year. By the way, I moved the RSS feed for robohara.com back to Feedburner (RSS Link for robohara.com). It should be working better now.
13. Relaunch the Podcast
I did six episodes of You Don’t Know Flack last year — a decent start, but well below my projected amount. I ran into some technical recording quality difficulties along the way last year that I have since have ironed out. This year’s goal is lower than last year’s goal but higher than last year’s results; I plan on releasing one episode of You Don’t Know Flack per month. That’s only twelve episodes; surely I can manage that.
14. Clean out the Garage
Man I was so close this year, and Susan was actually able to park her car in the garage … for about a week. Old habits reappeared, and soon the garage was again full of crappola and there was no way to get a car inside it. If I could get the garage cleaned out enough for that (one car to fit inside), I would be happy. This one can be pushed back a bit since it will take a while to complete, so I’m giving myself until the fall to complete this one. It’s a goal, but on the back burner for now.
15. Drink … Water
Part of the Lapband plan is to not get any calories from drinks, period. Because of the surgery I can no longer have carbonated drinks (which I no longer drink), but unfortunately I made the switch to lemonade, fruit punch, and fruity-tooty iced coffees. No more. For all of 2009, from today forward, I will only drink water or other 0-calorie drinks (ie: Crystal Light or iced-tea). No more coffees, no more lemonade, no more sugary fruit punch. I am giving myself one out on this one; I will give myself one night a month off, in case we have visitors in from out of town or, you know, I happen to have a movie night.
I also made five gaming-related resolutions.
16. Set aside two mini-gaming sessions a week.
These will be anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes, twice a week (Tuesday and Wednesday night, perhaps?). One of these will be used to play a modern (PS3/360/Wii) game, the other will be used to play a retro game of my choosing (16 bit or older).
17. Update Review-o-Matic at least once a week.
This one originally said “write at least two game reviews a month,” but I figure one review a week isn’t too much to ask when you add in movies, music, books, and everything else. Ostensibly, the games that get played in the previous resolution will most likely be reviewed.
18. Spend at least one hour a week out in the arcade.
I have an arcade that I rarely play games in. In 2009 I plan on spending at least one hour a week out in the arcade. This time can be spent either playing games, or working on them. Most likely, it’ll be a combination of the two.
19. Set up a high-score tracking system out in the arcade.
A white board would work, but I’m thinking something fancier. I already tried my hand at writing one in Visual Basic and it didn’t go well, so Jeff is trying it now (I may retry my hand again soon as well, just because I hate failure). I think one of the best things about arcade games is the competition that arises from trying to break high scores, most of which are lost when the machines are powered off.
20. Set up a game night.
This one is actually a cop-out. I had originally written a long diatribe about how I own all these arcade games and videogames and never play them with anyone, but after I wrote all that I wrote resolution number 8 (“Movie Night”) and so I think this resolution will get rolled up into that one. For the first month we’ll watch movies; next month, we’ll play games. Two birds (er, resolutions) with one stone, so to speak.
Whew! A pretty meager list, really — write a book, record an album, and throw stuff away all while losing weight. Sounds reasonable to me. Let’s get started!