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31 December 2011 @ 02:33 pm
You Say You Want a Resolution ...  
... well, you know; we all want to change the world.

2011 draws to a close today, and for the first time in a long time, the farewell I bid the passing year is a fond one. I know it's been a hard year for many of us, and certainly, in the Big Picture, there have been grim tidings and outright catastrophes. I hope 2012 is better for every one of us.

On the small scale, on the personal scale ... 2011 has been a good year for Your Obedient Serpent. I haven't mentioned it often, but I finally landed full-time work that taps at least some of my science background, and while there were a few rough patches mid-year, I think I've settled in solidly now. Better yet, it looks like I'll be getting to do even more sciencey stuff in the upcoming year.

As for me, personally ... well, as Gloria Gaynor once sang, 2011 was the year that "I grew strong, and I learned how to carry on." I'm not the person I was, and for the first time in a long time, it feels like I'm starting to become someone I want to be.

So ... thank you, 2011. I know you won't be hearing that from many people, but you did right by me.

As for the Shape of Things to Come:

If the theme for 2011 was Crawling from the Wreckage, then 2012 is Building from the Wreckage. I've found my place to stand, precarious as the footing might be (it is on a pile of wreckage, after all); now it's time to get my levers into place and see if I can move the world, just a little.

Really, it comes down to Extropy, and the Extropian Ideal: Live your life to improve the human condition ... starting with the local human. I'm still assembling a solid foundation for Maslow's Pyramid, but I can at least start sketching out the higher levels.

So, here's the Outline for 2012. If you don't like calling them "Resolutions", think of it as a "To Do List" ...

I. Reduce internal rates of entropy.
  • Eat better.
  • 2011 was something of a dietary disaster; long commutes combined with eating out for lunch every day had a significant impact on my physical condition. I've got a head start on that already; I've been taking my lunch to work at least three days a week since the end of November. I've found the Healthy Choice frozen dinners are tasty, satisfying, well-balanced and inexpensive; it's no great effort to pick up four or five on the weekend, shove them into the freezer, and take them to work.

  • Get in shape.
  • I'm a firm believer in the premise that what you eat (or even how much you weigh isn't as important to your overall health as what you do, and how much of it. I started my life as a working adult in physically positions, and never quite mastered the idea of exercising on my own time. Still, I don't think eating out five days a week had nearly the negative impact on my health that losing the opportunity to walk three to five miles a day to the commute did.

    • A big, shiny gym is about to open up right around the corner from my current abode -- and I already have a membership. I've done a brief workout in their temporary facility, and by the time the main building opens up next weekend, my rotator cuff should have mostly recovered from it!

    • At the end of 2010, I did an internship with the San Jose Open Space Authority, doing GIS work. I was just about to start branching out into more general Land Steward projects when I landed the New Job and started falling into a coma most weekends. I've adjusted well enough that I need to get back and get going with them. Beyond the fact that time in an environment with more fractals than right angles is immensely beneficial to my mental health, I find it hard to take gym work seriously. Real health, real fitness, and real muscle tone comes from real work.

  • Control My Weight.
  • Yes, that's distinct from either of the above; my weight goals are secondary or tertiary to blood numbers and general sense-of-well-being. At the moment, my penciled-in weight goal is to get back down to where I was when I started this job back in FEB 2011. Long-term? Once I get there, I can think about what it'll take to push back down under 200.

    The idea is to control my weight; people who focus on losing weight tend to do unsustainable things like "go on a diet" instead of establishing a sustainable diet that will let them maintain their preferred weight levels indefinitely

II. Reduce entropy in my personal environment.
  • Declutter.
  • My personal quarters in thoughtsdriftby's house are ... um ... catastrophic. I had hoped to get a head start on that over the holiday break, but I spent those PTO days recovering from a virus my mother brought up from San Diego. Still ... I need to go through what's here, sort clothing out to give to charity, move some things to storage, move some things out of storage ... you know the drill. Better start doing some of that in the evenings, because my weekends are kinda booked for the rest of January!

  • Save money.
  • Again, I'm getting a head start on that, though a sudden influx of medical bills from October's little adventure in chest pain had an impact on my cushion -- just in time for the holidays, and more importantly, Further Confusion!1 I consider financial matters to be extremely private, so I'll just leave it at that.

III. Reduce entropy in my local environment.
  • This gets back to the Open Space Authority again, for starters. Once I feel I've got a handle on that, I'll find other ways to become more involved in my local community and ecosystem.

IV. Be more creative!
  • Host an RPG Campaign.
  • Again, progress is made; I have a cast of PCs, at least a year's worth of adventure scenarios in my head, and a ridiculously fanficcy and overdetailed campaign setting with notes going back as far as the Big Bang. Again, the virus interrupted my intention to finish everyone's PC over the break, but despite that, the first session should be in late January or early February.
    • I've had enough people express at least passing interest that I may find a venue to share setting notes, PC write-ups, and game summaries with my loyal readers. Any good suggestions for a free wiki host?

  • Write.

    • Finish the story I've been working on. It's a silly little piece of fluff that probably won't get shared with the world at large, but it's good practice.

    • With that story under my belt, I'm going to turn my attention to my Magnum Opus, a sword and sorcery series I call The Rune Star Tapestries. It has dragons! And nagic! And ninja pirate dinosaurs FROM SPACE!2

  • Draw?'Nuff said, really. Too many years of rust.

  • Get Back on Second Life. Yes, that was creative, as well as an enormous time sink. I was on my way to developing some pretty decent building skills, and I enjoyed it.

That seems like a good start.

Again, my best wishes to all of you, and I bid you all joy and hope for 2012.

1 Yes, I am entirely cognizant of the irony involved with medical bills disrupting my resources for this year's con. As if I wasn't already nonplussed about the inexplicable and disturbing hospital theme ...
2 Yes, I was fourteen when I first created those characters and came up with the title. Shut up. It's still epic.
I feel: hopefulhopeful
Moral Explorernotthebuddha on January 1st, 2012 12:54 am (UTC)
I'll be getting to do even more sciencey stuff in the upcoming year


Control My Weight

Very wise; I did Nutrisystem for a month back in February and it was just not just sustainable for me, but the habits of more frequent smaller portions and choosing lower fat alternatives has let me keep my weight at the end-of-Februrary level for the rest of the year.
Your Obedient Serpent: foodathelind on January 1st, 2012 01:04 am (UTC)
I'm going to see how well switching to Healthy Choice for lunch does for a couple of months, and then reassess my course of action from there.

In addition to smaller portion sizes and a meal that I know is well-balanced, it's also about as much to pick up HC lunches for a WEEK as I tend to spend per MEAL eating out.

Edited at 2012-01-01 01:05 am (UTC)
The Mystery of the Supranational Rabbit: Alec woohooporsupah on January 1st, 2012 01:10 am (UTC)
combined with eating out for lunch every day

That's a point that's long puzzled me - why eating out, so very often, has to be so damnably unhealthy. Not even sub-optimal, but downright "no, this isn't good". It frustrates me, as I love good food, and I'm perfectly aware of how to cook highly nutritionally - low in calories (for losing weight), whilst still maintaining good fiber, and all that. So, how come nowhere commercial can be bothered to do similarly?

(In part, yes, it's laziness. It's easy to get something crunchy if you just dunk it in hot oil. Takes a bit more to grill it nicely. But really, the differences just aren't so great)

Indeed, 2011 turned out brilliantly for me. A rough time for a bit in the Spring, with some uncomfortable stress, but Spring itself was fabulous, getting to enjoy the view of the San Bruno sorta-mountains, and grabbing a quick panorama therefrom. Once things settled down in the latter part of the year, of course, it was all change, again.. but for a rather good project. ^_^

Drawing? Ooh, where can I see something of yours? I've barely anything of mine, other than the icon I mentioned recently. I'll probably begin with just scans/photos of pencils on paper, though I admit a Cintiq does have appeal. *grin* (But there's so much in front of that.. lenses, how seductively you sing =:)

SL, yay! Do I have you on my f-list in-world? I'm terrible at keeping track of in-world names.
McGuffinhitchkitty on January 1st, 2012 05:50 am (UTC)
Why is eating out typically less healthy?
I tend to think it's part chicken-and-egg, part feedback loop.

Why do so many restaurants offer such unhealthy fare, and in such large portions? Because people want to spoil themselves, and think they're getting a good bargain, when they eat out.

Why do people equate "spoil myself" with "eat a day's worth of calories during the appetizer course"? Because of years of conditioning to prefer such fare.

And of course, we must consider what restaurants themselves are willing to buy and store. Fresh produce is expensive, and if nobody orders that fruit salad, it's money down the drain. So restaurants keep themselves stocked with things they know will sell (and/or last a good long time). And yes, as you point out, frying takes very little time (and, arguably, minimal training), so there's even more money to be saved.

Wow, just a real ray of sunshine tonight, ain't I?
Your Obedient Serpentathelind on January 1st, 2012 07:31 am (UTC)
Re: Why is eating out typically less healthy?
Another factor: these days, the cost of labor is a bigger part of the tab than the cost of raw materials. It doesn't cost much more to prepare a large meal than it does a small one.
McGuffinhitchkitty on January 1st, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Re: Why is eating out typically less healthy?
Ah, so the marginal cost of labor is less than the marginal cost to the customer.
Araquan Skytraceraraquan on January 1st, 2012 01:23 pm (UTC)
A good list to be sure. If I drew up one for myself, exercising more, eating better, and drawing now and then would surely be on it. Along with taking over the world, one embedded microcontroller at a time.

I haven't even attempted anything artlike in the last 15 months, but... Well, we'll see how all that goes.
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