Tuesday, August 27, 2013

All about the p-dents

After some debate, I think I figured out what I’m doing for #20 on my list. As a refresher course, here it is! 

Learn a lot about one thing. I mostly know a little about a lot. I’d like to become fairly knowledgeable about something that isn’t serial killers, forensic pathology, or horror movies. Wow. I’m weird. I’m not sure what, yet? Any ideas?
The thing I picked? US Presidents! I’m moderately knowledgeable about them, as much as most standard High School grads are, I guess. I can discuss the major players and the heavy hitters, but what about the rest? Each month I will pick a more obscure President or one I’d like to learn more about and find out as much information as him that I can. Wikipedia pages, weird fan sites, possibly biographies (depending on how much time I have!)

What did Chester Arthur do?? Don’t know much about the guy. Zachary Taylor? I don’t know! He probably did stuff!!  Maybe it was important! I’m probably dumb for not knowing this! History buffs are probably rolling their eyes and cringing right now. Do you have a favorite President? I have a soft spot for Teddy Bear Roosevelt. I did a book report on him in the 6th grade and he’s been my favorite ever since. He got shot during a speech! AND HE FINISHED HIS SPEECH HOW COOL IS THIS GUY ANSWER, VERY COOL.

My first President shall be… Rutherford B. Hayes because his name is fun to say.

Monday, August 26, 2013

you shouldn't read underwater

This ties into #22. Which one is that? Glad you asked!

22. Start a club of some sort. Book club? Movie club? Underwater basket weavers club?

Okay, I think I decided to start a book club thing. I am reading two books a month, so I will make one of those a book club selection. I really have no idea what I’m doing. But. I think I will be posting discussions on g+ but for the local people also having an in person thing? I think that’s how book clubs work. Anyway, I have a list of the books I plan to read already and I don’t want to add to that significantly so the book list has basically been decided. I know some book clubs work by each person choosing one bla bla blah but not this one!  There’s a decent selection of “heavy” reading but also some lighter fare. It’s all what one would probably consider “literature” for whatever that’s worth. Which is mostly a way of saying we won’t be reading any Mary Higgins Clark or Stephen King. (Though I do enjoy those authors!)

Okay, so the first book will be The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. I know, it’s a big one! It’s 607 pages. A whopper of a biggun. That’s roughly 20 pages a day. I know, it’s a lot! Luckily we have a 3 day weekend to look forward to. It’s also kind of a heavy read. I love Murakami though, he has some of the most lyrical and beautiful writing. Hopefully this isn’t too much for anyone, the rest of the books chosen will probably be shorter! Or, you know, not.

Any Murakami fans? I read and ADORED Kafka on the Shore, but that’s the only one of his I’ve read so far. I’m really looking forward to this one!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I really like spreadsheets

So. I made a spreadsheet. I am doing this Aug-Aug so it’s 13 months, though not really full ones! I broke some of the more nebulous ones into manageable goals with monthly “Tasks”. I have one Tab for Monthly (with a line/row for each month and activity) and a tab for the more vague activities. I have 13 things to do each month! Yikes! Luckily some of them are incredibly easy (call family, go to a new place, write a letter) and will just require that I remain aware that I need to do them.

I also created separate tabs for movies and books. I assigned myself 8 movies each month, which is about 2 a week. 13 doesn’t divide evenly into 100 so I have some wiggle room. If I have seen the movie in the last 5 years OR more than once overall I am marking it off. If time allows, however, I will rewatch those movies towards the end. I am setting a very important ground rule for these viewings. I will watch them as if I were in a theater environment. That means no cell phones, tablets, computer usage, etc. Of course, I will allow myself bathroom breaks and such! This way I don’t end up playing Plants vs Zombies for 2 hours while On the Waterfront plays. Some of these movies will be an exercise in patience. For that reason each week I will probably choose one movie I either look forward to watching or have no expectations for and one movie I don’t particularly look forward to seeing. This way, the latter half of this year won’t be loaded with all the things I avoided seeing.

Books I am going to be pretty laissez-faire about. I have TONS of books so will have no problem finding 24 to read. I do, however, want to step outside my horizons a little bit. For that, I looked up Entertainment Weekly’s recently posted “100 must read” list. There are a lot that I’ve read already, but I picked the ones I find interesting that I haven’t. There’s a pretty decent selection there of classic classics, modern classics, high literature, popcorn reading, etc. My list is complete. I have a nice selection of stuff I own but haven’t read, and stuff I have neither read nor own. I am cheating slightly by choosing a book on the EW list I already started, but I only got about 50 pages into it so I’m giving myself a little leeway.

The first two movies are Apocalypse Now and The African Queen. I’ve only seen AN once about 8 years ago? I think I may have watched part of African Queen many, many, many years ago but this was well over 15 years ago so it hardly counts. Also, it quite possibly could have been a different movie entirely. Who knows! I can’t say I’m looking forward to seeing it. It was definitely on the “ugh, really?” side of the list. Anyone see this? Feedback?

The book I’m reading this month is A Confederacy of Dunces. Since the month is half over, I’m probably only going to be reading one book. The means I need to read about 20 pages a night to finish this one, which is more than doable. I like it so far. The main character is so unlikeable (purposefully) but in a way that delights me. He reminds me of most of the people in online comments on the internet. He’s just so terrible and smug! Ahahahaha.

So far, so good. At least as far as planning stages go. Plan, plan, plan. Planning is always my favorite part of just about everything. Next up I plan (heh) on making tabs for the more nebulous of goals and brainstorming.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Things to do before I'm dead.

If you’re reading this, you probably already know what this is all about, but if not.  Hi! Can I ask you a question? Do you like corn? Before you answer that. Hi!

Anyway. This is a project I’m doing. I just turned this week and want to get some things done before I turn 30 in a year. This is my list of 30 things. In the next post I’ll elaborate on some things and discuss my game plan. Spoiler alert: It involves spreadsheets. 

It was difficult to make this list. Most of the ones I could find online (and I looked at *dozens*) heavily featured either stuff I’ve already done or stuff I have no interest in doing or ability to do so. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a purse and I can in no way, shape, or form afford to spend a year living abroad or visit 30 different countries or things like that. So, this was mostly something I pulled together on my own.

I tried to pick things that will be both challenging and easy (with some effort!) Some will require additional followup.

Some of these are specific, some of these are a little more general. Please feel free to provide me with any input or advice you might have. :)

1.       Travel Overseas - already have designs on going to Amsterdam next year! Need to sit down and figure out a game plan.
2.       Make health a priority (vague, yes.) While I would like to lose weight, I don’t want to focus on that too much. Eat less junk food, more fruits and vegetables, exercise more, eat out less, etc. I won’t be weighing myself for awhile (I know what I weighed a few months ago) but I’ll probably do that on a monthly or so basis.
3.       Save money! Like… really save money. And don’t spend it! – I have some plans already in mind to reduce my spending each month.
4.       Take some sort of class. Anything, really. Learn a new skill! Improve a current one! The world is my oyster. – This will probably be a single session type thing, as opposed to a college course or something along those lines.
5.      {redacted} ~ for british eyes only ~ (it’s safe for work, but private!)
6.       Watch every movie on the AFI Top 100 list. – Some of these have already been accomplished. I need to make a list.
7.       Finish my duolingo French lessons - I got a decent way through and then kind of stopped. Time to start again!
8.       Watch The X-Files.  – I watched this off and on when it originally aired. I was only 9 when it started and 18 when it ended. I saw episodes on a scattered basis, but due to a) not having a dvr and b) being either in bed or out of the house, I missed a lot of episodes, and didn’t see any of the ones from probably 1999 until the end.
9.       Cook one semi elaborate meal a week. - Doesn’t have to be fancy, per se, just more involved than throwing pasta in a pot. I eat a lot of meals out, frozen stuff, or easily prepared things like tortillas + protein + cheese and the like. Goal: to use stove and oven more!
10.   Go to the gym 150 times. - That’s roughly 3x a week. Ties into #2!
11.   Start doing writing exercises. - This isn’t fully fleshed out. I’m not sure what process this will take, rather it’s finding a program to follow online or buy a book or something like that? Find writing prompts? Maybe one short story a month? This will require further elaboration/thought.
12.   Similar to the previous, do the same with photography exercises. Practice my skills! Will develop a more thought out plan.
13.   Volunteer – again a vague, nebulous thing. But I would like to start SOMEWHERE. Even if it’s just an hour handing out flyers. Do something for nothing. More research
14.   Start therapy – this is way totally long overdue and boy do they have their work cut out for them! They have generations of irish stoicism to work through. Hope you like corn, doctor! And by corn I mean crippling emotional neurosis
15.   Do one new thing a month – I tend to go to the same places, eat the same restaurants, shop at the same stores. Once a month I’d like to step outside my comfort zone and go somewhere/do something I’ve never done before. That weird looking bar on the corner I’ve always side-eyed but never gone in? Done. That small art museum I’ve never made time to visit? Doin’ it.
16.   {redacted} ~ for british eyes only ~ (it’s safe for work, but private!)
17.   Travel domestically more - Visit somewhere new. Resist urge to spend all your vacation time in Chicago. I hope to visit Seattle this year. Next year? Portland, Maybe Boston? Who knows.
18.   Talk to my family more - Call one of them at least once a month, which is a fair bit more than I do currently. We aren’t a close knit bunch!
19.   Go to at least one BIG concert - There are a lot of musical acts that I would like to see before they shuffle off this mortal coil. I keep putting it off because “there’s always next year” or “It’s too expensive” or whatever. Bands like Rolling Stones, The Who, stuff like that.
20.   Learn a lot about one thing. I mostly know a little about a lot. I’d like to become fairly knowledgeable about something that isn’t serial killers, forensic pathology, or horror movies. Wow. I’m weird. I’m not sure what, yet? Any ideas?
21.   Read more. A lot more - I haven’t been reading nearly as much. I used to spend about an hour a day on the bus and would get a lot of my reading done then. Not so much now! Goal is 24 books in a year which should be easily doable. I used to knock that out in a few months!
22.   Start a club of some sort. Book club? Movie club? Underwater basket weavers club?
23.   Have a real life, honest to god picnic. With red checkered blanket and brown wicker basket.
24.   Get a tattoo. I’ve been wanting to do this for years. I know what I want, I just near to decide where to get it done and where it’s going to go.
25.   Attend a significant cultural event. Opera, play, ballet, symphony performance. Something that involves getting very fancy and trying not to loudly curse too much.
26.   Send letters of thanks. To friends, family, or even celebrities, whatever! I think one a month is a good place to start.
27.   Send a weekend alone, but not at home. On the weekends I am usually oot and aboot with friends, OR I hole up the entire weekend by myself. I would like to take a weekend and spend it by myself, but out of my apartment. This could easily tie into #17, #25, #15, etc etc.
28.   {redacted} ~ for british eyes only ~ (it’s safe for work, but private!)
29.   Adopt another kitty. I’ve wanted to do this for awhile!
30.   Give up something for one month. Not necessarily a calendar month, but for at least a period of 31 days. Something I will actually miss. 

There’s a lot of ambitious stuff on here to do in even one year! I’m really going to have to stay on my own ass to make sure things don’t fall off the radar. If I can accomplish even *half* of these things though I will consider myself a success. Life moves quickly, man!

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