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Resolutions – 2010 in review



It’s that time of year again. Here’s what I posted last year for my 2010 goals, with some pity response to how things actually went down.

1) Get weight down… The ultimate goal will be to get to between 175-185 (target), but for 2010, I want to make sure I can get to and stay somewhere around the 190s. Along with this… spend time actually using Wii Fit, and improve my “Fit Age.”

Oh, yeah… I do have a Wii Fit, don’t I? I did manage to lose some weight, but it always managed to find its way back from the desolate backroads I had driven down to throw it out of the car. The upside here is that I have at least “maintained” instead of gaining more weight. Small consolation, but at least I learned a few tricks to help with an exercise routine.


2) Read 26-30 “new” books. [I have already gone through and pulled about twenty books, so far, to work on…] *I made it in 2009. Assuming I can do it again for the next two years as well, I’ll consider increasing the target, but for now, it’s still a good target.
Big 10-4. Final count was 35. I could have tried to squeeze one more in this last week, but just wasn’t feeling it, between the holidays, and just trying to claim “vacation” for a few days before the new year starts, and a new slate starts. More on that in the 2011 Outlook, still to come.

3) (a) Write. The daily routine (500-1000 words per day), with the year’s target being at least: 2 books (50k+ words) [finishing the two “Novels-in-Progress”], 6 short stories/novellas [three a given for class, and probably more that will be specifically going towards thesis plans], 1 script (long form) [draft]. Somewhere in all of this, I hope to also have most (if not all) of the thesis done. At the very least, I hope to have it ready to go so it can be submitted relatively early in the Spring 2011 semester, so I can call it a degree… Not quite. Almost there for the 6 shorts (a couple of them started as shorts, and the ideas kept growing into something bigger than a regular short story could hold, then they had to be turned in for class, still a fragment of what they are crying to be)… Scratch the script. The thesis was finished (not quite to the extent I was intending, but enough to graduate). And I wrote a few other things not listed above that has started me thinking about other types of writing as well. Except poetry.


3) (b) Marketing and sending submissions out.
Did some research, sent a few pieces out, but it was lower on my priority list while classes were in session.

4) Train for the local Biathlon (to be held 18 April 10 – 3 mile run, and 15 mile ride).

Nice thought, but missed the weekend.

5) Get “A”s in my classes. Close. Ended up with 1 B (from the same instructor that gave me my previous B), in a class that I didn’t really feel like it taught me anything that I was hoping to learn from it. But I graduated, a full semester ahead of when I was originally planning, and took an extra class that I didn’t really need but took it for the experience to boot.


6) Finish cleaning out at the old house. At this point, 99% of what I have left is stuff to be thrown away, which is something that I figure should be my work to do, not somebody elses.
With someone else living in the house, it becomes more an issue of matching schedules, or communicating fairly well to say, “Hey, mind if I come spend some time in your attic?” Circumstances improved late in the year to make the communicating a little easier, but getting good weekend time lined up has proven difficult.

7) Travel – like last year, 1-2 “good” trips, just me and MC, with a few weekend jaunts free of any familial obligations. [The “good” trips are already planned… A trip out to Denver in May so we can check out the area and a school out there that I’m considering for a PhD program, as well as a weekend trip to Boston in July for a conference.]

Denver was good, Boston (Burlington, actually) was fun. We went to Asheville (Biltmore House) for our anniversary just before Christmas, and to a B&B for my birthday weekend. I had a couple of solo trips out to the RDU area for writerly events (as noted in the “Summer Vacation” post).

8) Christmas shopping done by early November. [All of it, hopefully, but unlikely. At least enough to make the traditional “Thanksgiving to Christmas” madness easier to bear.]

Success all around… Only had a few last-minute things to pick up, and had most of them done by September. Go us.

9) [Continue to] Send out birthday and anniversary cards, etc. in a timely manner.

Sort of. Most of the credit should go to MC. Even the ones that I remembered and she didn’t, she still did the legwork.

10) [Continue to] Work on the photography skills… [Which means, actually, taking a lot of pictures, and carrying a camera around on some of the expeditions… or plan “photo trips”…]… I’m already thinking of some photo trips, as well as possibly taking a couple of clinic-style classes later in the year.

No clinic classes (thanks to other academic needs), but I’ve read a couple of books (they at least helped with the compositional thought process, and looking for different angles for interesting pictures). The camera’s also gotten some milage from some of our trips (LOTS of pictures from Denver).

11) Process the Netflix queue – watch 50 movies from the queue. *Having failed to hit the 100 movie mark in either of the last two years, I’m scaling back the ceiling. With the advent later this year (spring ?) of Netflix being able to stream through a Wii, maybe I’ll be able to get close or clear it.

Still not even close. If anything, the number of movies watched has declined. The streaming availability is great (especially now that Wii doesn’t need the disc anymore, and that it’s available on some of the portables that I have is something good for traveling – as long as Wi-Fi access isn’t an astronomical rate). I think a lot of it was due to class schedules (Best time to watch movies? Nights. When were my classes? Nights. When would I do any homework? Nights.), so maybe I can get a few more out of the queue. Otherwise, I may look into changing my service tier.

In other happy news, looking back at the year that was 2010:
Mary Catherine and I made it past the two-years-of-marriage mark. I got to see a buddy (nay, almost a brother) that I hadn’t seen in about eight years [right before he and his family were sent to Germany for a 3-year duty assignment]. I’ve made a much bigger shift in my thought pattern about writing, being a writer (generally), and what I want to do as an aspiring-professional writer.

In sad news, we lost a cat, and we lost a nephew-dog.
My cat, Snoopy, got out of the house/yard while we were out of town one weekend [escaping past the pet-sitter], back in August. Despite canvasing the neighborhood speaking to neighbors, posting flyers, and a lot of walking around shaking a treat tub, we never saw a trace. The morbid romantic in me thinks he may have felt it was his time to die and wanted to save us from seeing it. Whether he is still alive or not, he was a few months short of ten when he left.

In a long, convoluted story, my nephew-dog was staying at my sister-in-laws house (just nod and accept it, and move on). He was a beagle named Petey, and was a few months past 15 when I took him to the vet for “the shot.” It was a quality of life thing. He wasn’t moving well (hardly at all, actually, even if he had to go to the bathroom), his hearing was (near) gone. He was old, and deserved some peace, and the trip was hard.
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The 2010 Resolutions

[started 12 Jan 2010…. finished much later]

So the new year is now a month gone, and I am finally getting the 2010 resolutions completed… They’ve been here, mostly, for a couple of weeks (in draft form, so you couldn’t see them… nener-nener) but still needed some finishing touches. Here they are, finally mostly-polished, and readt to take their feeble first steps into the world.

1) Get weight down… The ultimate goal will be to get to between 175-185 (target), but for 2010, I want to make sure I can get to and stay somewhere around the 190s. Along with this… spend time actually using Wii Fit, and improve my “Fit Age.”

2) Read 26-30 “new” books. [I have already gone through and pulled about twenty books, so far, to work on…] *I made it in 2009. Assuming I can do it again for the next two years as well, I’ll consider increasing the target, but for now, it’s still a good target.

3) (a) Write. The daily routine (500-1000 words per day), with the year’s target being at least: 2 books (50k+ words) [finishing the two “Novels-in-Progress”], 6 short stories/novellas [three a given for class, and probably more that will be specifically going towards thesis plans], 1 script (long form) [draft]. Somewhere in all of this, I hope to also have most (if not all) of the thesis done. At the very least, I hope to have it ready to go so it can be submitted relatively early in the Spring 2011 semester, so I can call it a degree…

3) (b) Marketing and sending submissions out.

4) Train for the local Biathlon (to be held 18 April 10 – 3 mile run, and 15 mile ride).

5) Get “A”s in my classes.

6) Finish cleaning out at the old house. At this point, 99% of what I have left is stuff to be thrown away, which is something that I figure should be my work to do, not somebody elses.

7) Travel – like last year, 1-2 “good” trips, just me and MC, with a few weekend jaunts free of any familial obligations. [The “good” trips are already planned… A trip out to Denver in May so we can check out the area and a school out there that I’m considering for a PhD program, as well as a weekend trip to Boston in July for a conference.]

8) Christmas shopping done by early November. [All of it, hopefully, but unlikely. At least enough to make the traditional “Thanksgiving to Christmas” madness easier to bear.]

9) [Continue to] Send out birthday and anniversary cards, etc. in a timely manner.

10) [Continue to] Work on the photography skills… [Which means, actually, taking a lot of pictures, and carrying a camera around on some of the expeditions… or plan “photo trips”…]… I’m already thinking of some phot trips, as well as possibly taking a couple of clinic-style classes later in the year.

11) Process the Netflix queue – watch 50 movies from the queue. *Having failed to hit the 100 movie mark in either of the last two years, I’m scaling back the ceiling. With the advent later this year (spring ?) of Netflix being able to stream through a Wii, maybe I’ll be able to get close or clear it.

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On 2009 Resolutions

It is time for a quick recap of the 2009 list of resolutions (which will be followed up shortly by the 2010 list in a second post…

1) Get weight down to between 175-185 (target). Didn’t happen, exactly. I did manage to shave off about ten pounds before the holidays hit, I was still a longway from the target goal. But some is better than none, and gives me a good place to start.

2) Read 26-30 “new” books. Holy crap, is the best phrase that comes to mind. 44 books. Even if you drop off the one reread (for a class), I still managed a helluva lot of reading, across a pretty wide range of works (from academic, to various forms of fiction, both short story collections & novels, and some writerly advice books). Epic win is another phrase that come to mind.

3) (a) Write. The daily routine (500-1000 words per day), with the year’s target being at least: 2 books (50k+ words), 6 short stories/novellas, 2 scripts (long form), and 2 scripts (1 act/short form). Lofty goals, but no dice. I do have two books at almost half-done, and a few other projects that were worked with, butnothing “complete” in the sense I was looking for.

3) (b) Marketing and sending submissions out. I started the process, and made some short story submissions. Meager volume of works out, but I broke the (mental) ice, and began solicitation. I even scored a Finalist spot in a writing contest! A modest first step, but room for a lot of growth in 2010.

4) Train for the local Biathlon (to be held 5 April 09 – 3 mile run, and 15 mile ride). Nope, darn it.

5) Get “A”s in my classes. Done.

6) Finish cleaning out at the old house. Um, close but not quite. There’s still a lot of stuff that is in the attic that will need to be hauled away, and will need weather that is somewhere in a more comfortable range (neither freezing, nor roasting) before I try to clear the rest out.

7) Travel – like last year, 1-2 “good” trips, just me and MC, with a few weekend jaunts free of any familial obligations. A weekend trip to Myrtle Beach, and a week in the Carribean. Call it done!

8) Christmas shopping done by early November. Success, actually. Most of our shopping (for other people) was done by early November, and we were able to handle shopping for each other without a lot of the extra stress in the weeks before Christmas.

9) Send out birthday and anniversary cards, etc. in a timely manner. Also done, er…. sort of. Thank you cards were pretty much on the ball, and most birthday stuff, butthere were a few that probably slipped through the cracks.

10) Work on the photography skills… [Which means, actually, taking a lot of pictures, and carrying a camera around on some of the expeditions… or plan “photo trips”…] Sort of done, with some side credits. I played quite a bit with my phone’s camera (at concerts, etc.), and took quite a few pictures on our Carribean trip. Got a new camera for Christmas, and am readingthrough some stuff to be able to start getting some pretty nice shots. Definitely on the agenda for 2010 to try a variety of things.

11) Process the Netflix queue – watch 100 movies from the queue. Not quite. Made it the the 1/4 mark before the end of the year hit.

12) Work on my Wii Fit age (which, I suppose, goes with # 1). And I have not gotten on the Fit recently… which translates into a severe fail on my part.

All told, not too bad for the year. Not a glowing, star-studded success, but featuring a lot of areas that saw significant steps towards some level of acheivement. Which is part of the point. I think resolutions should be something to create a challenge, so completion carries some sense of accomplishment. And it’s the challenge that keeps things interesting along the way.

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Catching up…

I’ve been steady… doing a lot of stuff lately. Even though I’ve been sitting on the 15k word bubble, I’ve been tinkering my way (mentally) through a blocking point, trying to figure out the connection from where I am, to where I see the story going… That’s a hard bridge to find, at the moment… However, I do still see the target date for the first draft as before Thanksgiving…

In other news, starting with the more pressing news/dates… my first night of class will be this Thursday, which will begin spelling out the rest of my work patterns for the semester. Specifically, if it becomes a pressing issue that I cannot use my current work-in-progress, then that will mean juggling two projects at once (which, hopefully, will mean two completed 1st drafts by the end of the semester). If I’m feeling really frisky, I may try doing some of the exercises with two possible projects, anyway – working backwards on the current project, and starting sketches for one of the next projects.

And I have two kinda-big trips planned for next year…
First, in May, a trip out to Denver, where I am thinking of applying to University of Denver for the PhD program, when I finish the Master’s. Still a ways off, but I want to make sure I feel comfortable with my options before I get to the point of filing applications. If I’m going to have to move, I want to make sure I’ll actually enjoy wherever it may be.

Second, will be a trip to Readercon in Boston. As of this writing, it will be my first convention that I am attending (in any capacity)*. Granted, it will be as an attendee, not as a presenter/distinguised guest, but it will be an experience I’m looking forward to.

And lastly, for now, the triggering point for the post, meeting resolutions. There will likely be several that will end the year much like they began… wisps of hope. But there is one that I can safely say will be able to pass into the next year with a sticker, like the kind we used to get in grade school (or now, I guess, with the reading charts… will have to ask my nephews about that)… I have finished my 26th book for the year (and here it is, still August, with four full months to go)! Book number 27 is already underway, and 28 is in the bag now (to be started after work tonight), and at least one other book that will be guaranteed to be read (and possible three more after that, thanks to required reading for my class)… So the 26-30 books for the year – done and then some. We shall see where we’re at when the dust settles at the beginning of January to see how far beyond 30 I’ve been able to get…

* If I play my cards right, and keep my ears open, I may be able to attend something more local before next July. If I can align some of my stars, I may be able to have a paper available or in the drafting stage that might be possible to present. Especially if I want to work towards a PhD… more publications, projects, etc. = better chance of acceptance to a program (and better chances of employment after completion).

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The 2009 Resolutions…

At long last, I am finally getting the chance to post these… I sat down the other night and put them together, and proceeded to get some good-natured grief from MC – “How many of last year’s did you accomplish?” I guessed at about 4-5 out of about 21… “That’s not a good average,” she replied.

As usual, she was right. I looked over the list from last year, and realized that with the life changes (moving, marriage, and taking classes again), some of the other items became moot (like, Christmas shopping by early November – was struck entirely, since we got things on the honeymoon)… On the other hand, some of them started as good ideas, but didn’t have a defined timeline associated…

Without having a detailed timeline, for the moment, here’s the 2009 list – and a shorter one than in years past…

1) Get weight down to between 175-185 (target). [Especially motivating, with a late fall trip already planned for the Carribean.]

2) Read 26-30 “new” books. [I have already gone through and pulled about twenty books, so far, to work on…]

3) (a) Write. The daily routine (500-1000 words per day), with the year’s target being at least: 2 books (50k+ words), 6 short stories/novellas, 2 scripts (long form), and 2 scripts (1 act/short form).

3) (b) Marketing and sending submissions out.

4) Train for the local Biathlon (to be held 5 April 09 – 3 mile run, and 15 mile ride).

5) Get “A”s in my classes.

6) Finish cleaning out at the old house.

7) Travel – like last year, 1-2 “good” trips, just me and MC, with a few weekend jaunts free of any familial obligations. [One is already planned… the previously mentioned “Carribean” trip.]

8) Christmas shopping done by early November. [All of it, hopefully, but unlikely. At least enough to make the traditional “Thanksgiving to Christmas” madness easier to bear.]

9) Send out birthday and anniversary cards, etc. in a timely manner.

10) Work on the photography skills… [Which means, actually, taking a lot of pictures, and carrying a camera around on some of the expeditions… or plan “photo trips”…]

11) Process the Netflix queue – watch 100 movies from the queue.

12) Work on my Wii Fit age (which, I suppose, goes with # 1).

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2008 – year in Review – 1b (Resolutions)

Since I will be out of the country (and away from an internet connection) at the time the new year rolls in, I decided to start my “End of Year” reviews early. In this installment is a “resolution recap”, to see how well I did… And hints at what my 2009 list may hold…

I wrote them all here, and evaluate the results below…

1) Get my weight down to between 160-175 lbs.
–> Didn’t happen… If anything, I’ve actually gained a couple of pounds. But I have gotten Wii Fit, and MC and I have been walking around our neighborhood (when weather and daylight have permitted). Will I drop it all in the next year? Probably not, but I hope to make a dent…

2) Read between 26-30 new books during the year (meaning – reading a book for the first time)
–> Almost there… I will have 21 cleared within the week – 23 if you include the books started in 2007 and finished in 2008. And with another three weeks left (at this writing), I may still add a couple more to the list. (I’ll pop back and update with the final count after the new year)

3) Return to “Book 1” – the project started in November 2006’s NaNoWriMo. Continue the work, trying to push through to about a 1/2 novel… or about 100-150 pages, and shopping for critiques.
–> Nope… still stalled…

4) Write 8-10 short stories/articles/short scripts.
–> I sort of made this one… I know of four projects that were actually completed, and another couple of snippets that have been started – enough to be substantial, but not enough to be complete…

5) Complete 1st draft of a script idea I’ve been working with (working title: Four Corners)
–> Another “Sort of”… I feel like half of it is written, but once the class was over, the progress stalled.

6) Train to participate in the local Biathlon event (working up to around a 7-minute mile pace for up to five miles, and sustaining a 20mph pace on a bike for an hour).
–> Not so much…

7) Get an “A” in my graduate classes.
–> An “A” and a “B”… and the “B” was the script class for the first two classes. And I got a [ ] in my class this fall (Fiction Writing).

8) Clean, organize and purge my office (and keep it clean)… trust me… it is a bigger deal than one may think…
–> Still not 100%, but it’s better than it was. Moving the entire operation helped, making me have to actually go through things that hadn’t been gone through in quite some time…

9) Clean, organize and purge my attic space… a big undertaking, considering the attic has become one of the “catch-all” storage spaces…
–> Still a work in progress, especially since I don’t want to just move everything from that attic into the new garage…

10) Clean, organize and purge from the guestroom (the other “catch-all” storage space… which has made the room impossible to use for anything else… like, guests!)
–> The move made this much easier. The guest room has mantained managability, and has easily been tidied when people have stayed over.

11) Travel – at least 2 “decent” excursions, and a handful of weekend retreats – with some actually being “alone time” (read: no familial obligations).
–> A week in Vegas, and the pending honeymoon. Most of the other travels did actually include familial visitations, but we tried to find some time for side trips by ourselves… like shopping in Myrtle Beach when we visited some of her family near Wilmington.

12) Develop and maintain a daily writing routine (starting target: 500 words, or about 1 page a day), a regular blogging routine, and weekly postings to “Fictional Echoes”. Travel journals, and daily notes on life.
–> Hit or miss… The output has been sporadic – but the writing has been more plentiful than in years past.

13) Return to the “Call Center” project, aiming to complete a first draft.
–> Not quite, although I did submit the existing work-up for class, with some decent feedback.

14) Send birthday and anniversary cards, and regular emails. Send “Thank You” notes in a timely fashion.
–> Mmmm… stayed close, but missed a few, too…

15) Learn to write a query letter.
–> Not officially, nor has it been practiced.

16) Start building a marketing database/list of possible markets and submission locations – my personal version of a “Writer’s Market” if you will.
–> Started, after getting the 2009 Writer’s Guide, but still in progress.

17) Work on the 2007 NaNo Project – “Fantasy Gilligan” (with or without Chris, but preferably dragging him back into it so he can break out of his non-writing funk).
–> Nope…

18) Work with Ben on the “Player” script project (originally his script idea).
–> Uh-uh..

19) Finish 95% of my Christmas shopping by early November.
–> Doing all of the shopping while on the honeymoon. That was decided early in the year, otherwise things would have been done.

20) Work on my photography skills.
–> Marginally, but will be practicing on the honeymoon.

21) To watch at least 100 “new” films/items from my Netflix queue (which, as I write this, is sitting at almost 500 items – a lot are series collections, but still…).
–> Hmmm… currently at 20, but I plan to make it through a few more before leaving. Will update with the final count…

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Halftime…

Here we are, on the first day of July… half of the year is officially over. It is, at this point, that I decided to do a quick recap/update of things from the year (comparing to my “resolutions“).

Significant progress can be reported in a few areas, not-so-much progress in others… Specifically:

Reading – I have completed (first time reading) 11 books, 2 of which were started in 2007. I am currently working on number 12. Overall, this puts me almost on track to make the 26 book mark for the year…

Cleaning – I have bought a house and moved, so a lot of that has been “mostly” done… there are still some residual items that need to be moved (from the attic), and a garage that is screaming to be exposed (once again)… but the items (as listed in the resolutions) have been addressed.

Movies – There has been virtually no change in my NetFlix queue. There are three movies at the house that I have had since February (moving does put a damper on some movie watching, with mail changes, etc.), so I am a long way from clearing 100 movies from my list.

My writing regimen has improved, which is the point for several of the items previously listed. I have written a couple of short stories, and about half of the script for “Corners”… and I have the other works that are in progress… I just need to finish them…

Which I can be working on now… sort of…

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