mdlbear: (river)

At this point I could punt and simply carry all of last year's goals forward. Most of them -- Worldcon in San Jose is past its use-by date. But several of last year's goals were carried over from 2017. What makes me think I'd do any better this year? My biggest problem is still procrastination. It would be easy to blame it on depression or burnout but let's face it, those are largely effects rather than causes.

And many new challenges came in from the family health crisis that we couldn't possibly have forseen. Not my story to tell, but the drain on the household finances and on everyone's time and energy is huge.

  1. Okay, then. The number one goal is simply getting through the damned year, alive and with one or more roofs over our heads. Yeah, I know -- the problems aren't all my fault. Only most of them. That doesn't keep me from feeling responsible.
  2. There are two bucket-list events coming up; the first is my 50th college reunion. I don't want a repeat of the my high school reunion debacle. I'm going.
  3. The second is Mom's 99th birthday celebration.
  4. There's a lot of yard work that needs to get done in order to make the apartment over the garage attractive as a vacation rental. Weeding, mowing, and fixing the driveway are the high-order bits.
  5. There's also a huge amount of paperwork associated with setting up a vacation rental as well -- business license, tax stuff, all that. Not to mention putting (some fraction of) the associated remodeling on our taxes. Lots of figuring-out to do. Just the sort of thing I hate.
  6. I have to either get a job (which is unlikely and largely out of my control, but I have to at least crank out the applications) or start a business.
  7. I have to put in an amended tax return for 2017; that means finding the rest of the receipts for work done on the house. Mostly that's yard, deck, bathroom, studio, and the stairlifts.
  8. Having just found out that my posting software hasn't been passing the Music: header up to DW, I'm putting writing a good command-line DW client on the list. Most likely written in Perl, Python, or Go. Of course, it needs to be able to upload as well as post, in order to backfill the music.
  9. Speaking of music, we're working toward a concert at Conflikt in 2020. That means not only picking our setlist and rehearsing the heck out of it, but having CDs to sell. This is a huge stretch -- recording new CDs has been on my to-do list for over a decade now (CC&S came out in 2007).
  10. And then there's writing. No particular target, but definitely more curmudgeon and s4s posts.

Okay, ten is enough. Ship it.

mdlbear: (river)

... and as usual, even a lot of things that should have been easy didn't get done. I'd say that I blew it completely, but that's probably letting myself off easy.

Let's look at the goals for this year:

tl;dr: a total disaster )

45 1/3 out of a possible 1100. Average: 4.1%. Not one of my better years. Possibly my worst.

On a perhaps more encouraging note, here are my posting statistics by month:

Posting stats:
all of 2018 by month:
  14297 words in 11 posts	 in 2018/01 (average 1299/post)
   9412 words in  7 posts	 in 2018/02 (average 1344/post)
   8753 words in  5 posts	 in 2018/03 (average 1750/post)
  11671 words in  7 posts	 in 2018/04 (average 1667/post)
  11813 words in 17 posts	 in 2018/05 (average 694/post)
  14436 words in 15 posts	 in 2018/06 (average 962/post)
  19415 words in 17 posts	 in 2018/07 (average 1142/post)
   7579 words in 10 posts	 in 2018/08 (average 757/post)
   9339 words in 12 posts	 in 2018/09 (average 778/post)
  12017 words in 11 posts	 in 2018/10 (average 1092/post)
  15617 words in 30 posts	 in 2018/11 (average 520/post)
  12774 words in 18 posts	 in 2018/12 (average 709/post)
----------------------------------
 147123 words in 160 posts total in 2018 (average 919/post)

It looks as though I've been posting about every other day most months, and nearly every day in November. Not sure what happened in February through April -- those were little more than the done posts. Okay, that wasn't really very encouraging.

I'm not really up to writing a narrative summary of the year. I prefer stories with happy endings and, preferably, not too much bad stuff getting there. I also hate cliffhangers, and this year certainly counts in that category.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Last year, as you may recall, I titled my New Year's Day post "This had better work...". Last month I went back over it, in "That Was the Year That Was". I shorted myself some, by only reviewing my actual goals and not any other notable accomplishments along the way. Wait -- were there any?

Probably the biggest was simply living through it. It's not clear that anything else was that major.

Anyway, onward! Here are the goals for 2018:

  1. Find the money for 2016 taxes and the garage room remodel. This will almost certainly involve a loan, rather than pulling it out of my retirement savings, because of the tax hit.
  2. Get the garage sufficiently cleared out to serve as a workshop. Work some wood.
  3. Do some real programming. Find an interesting open-source project and get involved, maybe. Write a DW client that works the way I want it to.
  4. Learn Wordpress and Joomla. Maybe Drupal. Build the website that N is going to need for her business.
  5. Do a lot more music. Continue lessons, play at some open mics and farmers' markets, record a CD or three.
  6. Do a lot more writing. I wrote a book once; it's not impossible for me to do it again.
  7. Attend Worldcon in San Jose. There are a lot of people in the Bay Area who we haven't seen since we left.
  8. Take care of myself Self-care is still my weakest point. Walk. Find a therapist. Eat more green stuff.
  9. Do things that get me out among people. I'm still something of a loner, and very much an introvert, but I need this.

There were also a bunch of WIBNIFs, none of which actually got done. Three of them, "Get back into recording", "Do a lot more writing", and "Do a little woodworking", are included above. That pretty much leaves:

  • Record an album, either Amethyst Rose, Lookingglass Folk, or preferably both. Last year's version of this, "do some recording", is included in "do a lot more music". See above.
  • Do something that will bring in a little money. I'm not sure I'm up for contracting again, but writing could do it. So could an album or two. And maybe I could start a patreon.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

... or something like that. 2017 was very much a mixed bag. Let's go back to last New Year's Day, and a post titled "This had better work...". I think, for the most part, it did. That didn't keep it from being horrible.

So here were my goals for this year:

  1. Downsize. Get rid of as much stuff as we feasibly can, so that we can...
    Yeah; we still kept too much stuff, but we did a pretty good job and got rid of somewhere around 2/3 of it. In the end, it all packed down into three 8x8x16 containers. 100%
  2. Sell the house. Preferably in such a way that we can move out somewhere around the middle of June.
    About $100K less than we really planned on getting for it, but we did it. Between that and the necessary repairs, we ended up with a lot less money than we needed. 90%
  3. Retire. If possible, after the house is sold. If at all possible, after my stock vests in mid-June, because we're going to need it.
    Did that, at the end of April. 100%
  4. Move. No idea where; we've had enough monkey wrenches lobbed into our plans that I could start a hardware store.
    ... and here we are on Whidbey Island. 100%
  5. Settle in. We will have emergency exit plans, but hopefully won't have to use them.
    I wouldn't say we're completely settled, but the place feels like home now. 90% (unless you count unpacking all the boxes, in which case more like 75%)
  6. Take care of myself. Self-care is one of my weak points. Diet, exercise, ... damned if I know -- I hate exercise.
    I have not been taking very good care of myself. Still no walking to speak of, though I appear to have lost between 2 and 4 pounds since last January in spite of that. Psychologically, I don't feel as though I've made much progress either, but hopefully I'm learning to be a little easier on myself. 20%?

I wrote, "Is that too much to aim for? I hope not." I don't think it was too ambitions. I also wrote: "There are a few things I'd like to do, if I can:" -- That was a lot less successful. No surprise.

  • Get back into recording.
    nope. 10%, because N and I did start singing lessons.
  • Do a lot more writing. I wrote a book once; it's not impossible for me to do it again.

  • 0%
  • Do a little woodworking.
    10%, but only if you count putting up shelves in the new house.
  • Do something that will bring in a little money. I'm not sure I'm up for contracting again, but writing could do it. So could an album or two. And maybe I could start a patreon.
    Nope. 0% Didn't do any volunteering, either.

In spite of 2017 being really sucky in a lot of ways, our household (now called The Rainbow Caravan) seems to have gotten out of it more-or-less okay. We have a nice house, plans to make it better, and two new kittens. That has to count for something, right?

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So now that 2016 is dead and buried -- not necessarily in that order -- let's see what we can make of 2017. Hopefully the goals will be more achievable, if not necessarily easier, because if they're not I'm going to have trouble surviving the next year.

  1. Downsize. Get rid of as much stuff as we feasibly can, so that we can...
  2. Sell the house. Preferably in such a way that we can move out somewhere around the middle of June.
  3. Retire. If possible, after the house is sold. If at all possible, after my stock vests in mid-June, because we're going to need it.
  4. Move. No idea where; we've had enough monkey wrenches lobbed into our plans that I could start a hardware store.
  5. Settle in. We will have emergency exit plans, but hopefully won't have to use them.
  6. Take care of myself. Self-care is one of my weak points. Diet, exercise, ... damned if I know -- I hate exercise.

Is that too much to aim for? I hope not. There are a few things I'd like to do, if I can:

  • Get back into recording.
  • Do a lot more writing. I wrote a book once; it's not impossible for me to do it again.
  • Do a little woodworking.
  • Do something that will bring in a little money. I'm not sure I'm up for contracting again, but writing could do it. So could an album or two. And maybe I could start a patreon.

Seventeen years ago I wrote a song, "Millenium's dawn.". It was nostalgic, and disillsioned, and had a place between the last two choruses where a verse ought to have been, but nothing seemed to fit. A year and a half ago, I wrote that verse.

Now we're out where the daylight can find us,
But our journey has hardly begun;
There are old bridges blazing behind us,
And we're drawing new maps as we run.

If we want the bright future we charted
We must chase down our dreams where they've gone,
And finish the work that we started
By the light of the Millenium's dawn.

  Yes, we'll make the rockets thunder
  To carry us up past the skies;
  We will build new cities of wonder
  To gleam in the bright sunrise;
  
  Here's hope to heal your sorrow
  Now that the old dreams are gone,
  And the past has turned into tomorrow
  After the  Millenium's dawn.

mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

2016 SUCKED. Right up until the end, and it's planning to stick around for an extra (leap) second just to rub it in. I want to be up at 23:60 to watch it die. Not that I expect 2017 to be any better.

Last year at this time I wrote It's been a harrowing year. [...] What got us through it was the love and mutual support we have for one another, scary amounts of money, and a great deal of help. But we got through it. We got through as a family. There were times when I honestly didn't expect to. But here we are, at the end of another year.

Um... Yeah. That. Less money and outside help, but certainly Trump's election provided a lot in the way of outside motivation. Any plans we had at the beginning of the year were basically blown to hell in November.

So... let's look at last year's goals. Guidelines -- that's what I called them. Anyway.

  1. Music: I tried something indefinite last year, and didn't get very far with it. So this year, let's aim for an album: Amethyst Rose. The stretch goal would be to add Lookingglass Folk.
    Pretty much a total bust. And I gave two solid concerts and didn't manage to record either of them. 10% if you count concerts, 0% otherwise.
  2. Writing: Write more poetry, and aim for at least one non-fiction (software-related, most likely) article per month.
    No poetry to speak of. Between DW and Quora I managed quite a lot of writing, but very little of it was organized. Maybe 35%.
  3. Exercise: Walk on weekends. Stretch: get my bike repaired. (That's been on the list since before I moved to Seattle, so I don't have much hope.) Nope.
  4. Food: Eat better: more salads, fewer take-out lunches. Take off more weight -- I've been stalled for months. At least under 190, and preferably under 180.
    I ate a lot more leftovers this year, My weight went up ten pounds, thanks to my doctor taking me off my diuretic. I dunno - 10%?
  5. Psych: Last year's "health" goal was all about depression, but I also made a list of plausible stress-reduction techniques, a few of which I actually tried, and I'll keep working on that. But the main thing has to be procrastination. I'll get started on that... sometime? Tonight, preferably.
    Or later. I did get a fair amount done, though, and my dysthymia and anxiety were mostly under control -- at least up until November. 40%.
  6. Web: Convert the main websites to HTML-5 and CSS. Finally get around to writing the correct lyrics-to-HTML converter (using tables instead of monospaced fonts), and a good browser-based songbook/setlist viewer to go with it. Get some experience with popular CMSs: WordPress, and if possible Joomla and Drupal.
    Well, I got the lyrics converter written, if not actually deployed to the web. And my favorite emacs mode for web, html-helper-mode, has been upgraded to HTML-5. In addition, I put three projects up on GitHub. 75%?
  7. Work: Get a new job, or get unstuck at my present one. The former is more likely. If possible, something that's mostly or entirely work-from-home. If not, get started on building a consulting business (web-related, or something else in the software range) that can fill that role.
    Hmm. I did get unstuck. My present project looks dicey, but we may be able to pull it off. I may still have to jump ship, but if I can make it until next June I should be due for more stock, which the gods know will help. I'm going to give myself a 90% on this one.
  8. Household: Get the household workshop set up and, um, working. That means organizing the garage and the downstairs kitchen. Do some serious planning (as opposed to just reading blogs) toward the eventual move-out into tiny houses.
    Well, ... I'm not sure how to rate this one. A lot of organizing in the garage, to be sure. And the planning. Not the plan we expected to have, to be sure. But we have a plan.

To quote the song that has become another household anthem, "All the dreams that I had when we started, Have crumbled to dust in my hand."

Well, here's to an age that's departed,
And to pictures we drew in the sand.
All the dreams that I had when we started,
Have crumbled to dust in my hand.

Guess I'll pull a new map from my pocket
Never mind where the old ones have gone
And I'll look for a new road to follow
By the light of the Millennium's dawn







And we -- all of us together -- did. We found our new road. It looks kind of steep. OK, very steep. More next year, but the way forward involves selling the house, retiring, and moving. Hopefully in that order, because otherwise we can't afford it.

Wish us luck!

mdlbear: (river)

Now that we've said goodbye and good riddance to 2015, it's time to take a look ahead. As I've said before, I don't do resolutions. These are more, um, guidelines. Yeah; that's it. Guidelines.

  1. Music: I tried something indefinite last year, and didn't get very far with it. So this year, let's aim for an album: Amethyst Rose. The stretch goal would be to add Lookingglass Folk.
  2. Writing: Write more poetry, and aim for at least one non-fiction (software-related, most likely) article per month.
  3. Exercise: Walk on weekends. Stretch: get my bike repaired. (That's been on the list since before I moved to Seattle, so I don't have much hope.)
  4. Food: Eat better: more salads, fewer take-out lunches. Take off more weight -- I've been stalled for months. At least under 190, and preferably under 180.
  5. Psych: Last year's "health" goal was all about depression, but I also made a list of plausible stress-reduction techniques, a few of which I actually tried, and I'll keep working on that. But the main thing has to be procrastination. I'll get started on that... sometime? Tonight, preferably.
  6. Web: Convert the main websites to HTML-5 and CSS. Finally get around to writing the correct lyrics-to-HTML converter (using tables instead of monospaced fonts), and a good browser-based songbook/setlist viewer to go with it. Get some experience with popular CMSs: WordPress, and if possible Joomla and Drupal.
  7. Work: Get a new job, or get unstuck at my present one. The former is more likely. If possible, something that's mostly or entirely work-from-home. If not, get started on building a consulting business (web-related, or something else in the software range) that can fill that role.
  8. Household: Get the household workshop set up and, um, working. That means organizing the garage and the downstairs kitchen. Do some serious planning (as opposed to just reading blogs) toward the eventual move-out into tiny houses.

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