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New year, new danger - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
New year, new danger
If I don't post this now I never will. I was going to try to keep the New Year's Resolutions analysis brief this year, but it's been sitting there accreting stuff since late December...

You won't miss anything important if you skip this post.



This is what I said last year. Here's how I did at keeping those resolutions:

*** Succeeded (total: 13) ***

• NO SANDWICHES FROM THE SANDWICH VAN
• No new plastic bags!

   Okay, we didn't manage to acquire absolutely no new plastic bags, but we did manage to average more like one a month as opposed to the previous one a day or so. And we recycled the broken ones and the useless ones.

• No unnecessary clothes over £2 until May
• No CDs over £2.99 until May
• Send fewer txts
• Read a poem every day

   We averaged a poem a day, with a bit of catching-up after short periods of poemlessness. Result: a renewed love of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and one or two other serendipitous finds which I will probably post here at some point.

• Knit at least one row a day until I've finished my scarf
• Cook more
• Dress better

   Being in the habit of dressing smarter and neater has proved incredibly useful now that I'm in a job where I usually have to be smart. I have even learned to look slightly less awkward in a suit.

• Get pto452 sorted out

   Sort of. Fuel pump is now fixed thanks to brrm's tender ministrations, but pto452 is still in the wrong city (or possibly the right city depending on how brrm's dad feels about his outdoor lodger).

• Sort out phone

   In the end I just upgraded downgraded my phone to one that does the things I need more simply and effectively.

• Make the first drink of the day a non-caffeinated one; stop taking so much sugar in coffee; drink more water

   I've stopped taking any sugar in coffee, and started drinking more water (though probably still not enough). As for the first-drink-of-the-day bit, I've succeeded at the important bit: thinking about it. That is, now that it's in the back of my mind, I sometimes remember to act on it, which is an improvement at least.

• Make some more usericons

   I've added some, but I still need more!

*** Failed (total: 11) ***

• Read 100+ books!
• Start sorting out Christmas cards/presents in October

   Both of these fell at the fairly significant hurdle of "moving house and job in early November", though to be fair the reading was already underperforming by then, and I did still manage to average a book a week.

• Give away clothes on LiveJournal

   I didn't actually do this, though I did give away about three suitcases' worth of clothes (mostly to Oxfam, Cancer Research, and EACH shops), so perhaps that should count as morally a success.

• Watch at least one film a month

   I did watch more films, but nowhere near the target.

• Don't have arguments with addedentry

   Sigh. I guess we're still rubbing the corners off each other. But we're settling in to each other better, we're building up a better map of the landmines, and I still wouldn't swap him for anything. Not even a million badgers.

• Read for at least one lunchtime a week
• Get to bed before midnight on school-nights unless doing something specific.

   Actually, I was much better at getting to bed for the month when we didn't have any net access yet at the new house. I should probably learn from this.

• No LJ/email/IRC until lunchtime

   HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

• Make sure work inbox contains less than 100 messages at the end of each day

   Actually, I did keep this up with my inbox at MISD; but see this year's resolutions...

• Tag my LiveJournal to date
• two other LiveJournal-related resolutions

   All LJ-related stuff got sidelined by work and moving house. That's probably right in terms of priorities and usefulness, but I haven't shelved the ideas completely.


I feel as though I spent a lot of last year trying to juggle doing far too many things, both in and out of work. However, moving house brought most of those things to an abrupt end, so I'll probably be spending a lot of this year finding new ways to fill up my 'free' time -- all the more necessary as I fear that work time (which, fact-fans, accounts for approximately 1/3 of the day) isn't going to be as much fun as it was before. Partly as a result of this, some of this year's resolutions are bigger, though the rest are the usual batch of administrivia:

• Get AND KEEP work, chiark, earth.li and freecycle inboxes under 100
• Sort out chiark mail to cope with spam

   By 'work' I mean my OUCS account, not the shared admin inbox (which is a law unto itself). The freecycle account frequently goes over 100 messages in the space of a millisecond (don't get me started), but usually I can delete the whole thing in ten seconds... I may yet decide that the net usefulness is negative.

   The spam is another matter. I'm getting anything between 50 and 200 spams a day, and it's got to the point where I can't keep up with manual deletion (or rather I'm extremely likely to delete real email by accident in the scramble to keep ahead of the spammers). Realistically, I'm only going to manage to keep my inbox to a sensible size if I can sort out my SAUCE config. The documentation is there, I just need to sit down and read it and Just Do It. I also want to try to sort out procmail, though last time I tried that I made all my email bounce, which was, er, not exactly what I had in mind.

• Slim my LJ friendslist

   No drama, just that I'd rather read a few things properly than skim everything inattentively and still struggle to keep up. Also, LJ probably isn't the right place to be reading some of the blogs I'm subscribed to, so I want to look into getting an RSS reader or a blogroller or whatever the young people use these days.

• Buy no more flatpack furniture after January

   In the last month or two I have assembled more flatpack than one person should do in a lifetime, sustaining various minor injuries to my fingers (and tights). 2007 is the year to say NO MORE to this ridiculous way of life.

• Fix back light and (if possible) lock on bike

   I finally bought a proper front light, the sort you can see by as well as being seen by. Comparatively expensive, but if you'd told me that I had to pay 35 quid to make my car road-safe I would have paid it without blinking, and my bike is my main means of transport.

• No caffeine after 8pm on schoolnights

   I often find I'm still drinking coke at 11pm, and while I'm usually too tired to actually have trouble getting to sleep, the caffeine isn't exactly helping me to feel rested. Also, limiting the caffeine window will mean cutting down on coke in general, which has got to be good from a health/weight/teeth point of view.

• Find a choir
• Find an orchestra or ensemble in which to play violin

   I did try the Leys Choir, thanks to bopeepsheep's recommendation, which was interesting but not really my thing; I've got a long list of possibilities to try, and if I haven't found people to sing with by the end of the year I will have probably gone slightly insane. The orchestra may prove harder -- as far as I can find out there just isn't an amateur Concert Orchestra (pop, musicals, light classics, etc.) around Oxford, so I may have to compromise and do something a bit different. Or I might try to find some people to start a quartet, as it's been ages since I've done any small-ensemble stuff and it's really good fun with the right people.

• Leave work on time unless I'm actually busy
• Switch computer off every night
• Try to convert every work-related whinge into a positive thing

   Okay, these are sort of related. Basically, I feel as though I may have taken a bit of a wrong turn, or at least a detour, in terms of my job/career. I'm finding myself feeling quite negative about the whole thing, so these are a few small ways I can combat that without making huge guilt-generating resolutions like "be less rubbish" and "make the job work". I'm going to try very hard to keep the work/life balance sane, which means getting out of work on time -- half the time if I'm there late it's because a) I'm faffing, b) I'm feeling guilty about my lack of productivity earlier in the day so don't feel I have the moral high ground to leave on time, and c) I feel that I can't leave before other people (this is mostly a knock-on effect from point b). This is all stupid: I'm quite willing to stay late when there's urgent work to be done or when I'm really in the middle of something absorbing or tricky, but time wasted is a sunk cost and isn't going to be recouped by wasting more time and feeling resentful about it.

   Switching the computer off every night is just an environmental thing. I want to be a bit more proactive about environmental issues at work, because it's a pretty wasteful organisation, but again, I won't really feel confident about doing that until I'm making a better job of the things they're actually paying me for.

   Converting whinges into positive things is harder (and less SMART), and probably won't involve some kind of pathological Pollyanna-ism ("Well, at least they can only fire you once"). I just want to try to get into a mental habit of stopping myself when I'm whinging and thinking "Is there a better way to look at this?"


That's it. Long overdue, but at least it's still only January.

Mind you, the real "resolutions" are all staying in my head -- the resolutions to do something, be something, make something, justify my oxygen-consumption in some way. They're vast and formless, and they don't fit in my head, but I can't work out how to get them out. Maybe that's why I've got a headache.

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Comments
atommickbrane From: atommickbrane Date: January 25th, 2007 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are so thoughtful and PRODUCTIVE! I wish I was together enough to have decent resolutions and stick to them! I always read about resolutions and those 1001 things... lists and think I should do them, but procrastination is the bane of something or wotsit.

On saying that - coke @ 11pm?! How do you ever sleep! My rule is no caffiene after 5pm (the amounts in food eg CHOCOLATE do not count I am sure). I can really tell the difference if I do have some - but I don't really like coke anyway so I don't find it difficult. Remember wot Dr. Alban said eh?
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
I can't remember what Dr Alban said apart from "it's my life"...

Really, though, I'm not at all productive! Part of the reason I make myself write these lists is that if I didn't I suspect would never do anything except lie around re-reading Chalet School books and eating chocolate.

1001 things or even 101 sounds like a crazy amount of things to think of though... 10 things sounds about right. There you go, make a list of 10 things to do by the end of the year, much more manageable. :-) Honestly, though, I am going to sound like some kind of loopy new-ager here but I've realised that the main thing about doing things is that you have to DO them, all the thinking and visualising and planning and list-writing in the world won't actually get things done. Just Do It! Feel the fear and do it anyway! There's no "i" in "Resolution"! Well, only one. Er.

But seriously. I used to spend a lot of time wishing I was the sort of person who got things done, until I realised that the way to be the sort of person who gets stuff done is to do stuff. The doing comes first, and it becomes a habit, until suddenly you're the sort of person who gets stuff done. If you see what I mean.

God, I sound awful, don't I. Someone shoot me please.
atommickbrane From: atommickbrane Date: January 25th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
No coke!

I think I have become better about doing *some* things, mind - just there's always room for improvement!

Perhaps you should send me all yr chocolate and chalet school books, just in case.
atommickbrane From: atommickbrane Date: January 25th, 2007 12:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
(I think I just don't feel the benefit, or the 'satisfaction' from the things I do very much - hence the confirming what they are, making them a goal thing...)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 01:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I just don't feel the benefit, or the 'satisfaction' from the things I do

Maybe time to do something different...? Seems a bit daft setting yourself goals in things you don't want to do in the first place (unless they're things you have to do for some reason).
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
Happy to send chocolate but you can't have the Chalet School books, they're ALL MINE AHAHAHA. (Sorry!) Though I may have one or two duplicates, it's hard to tell at the moment because the books are all over the place...

Will look at the YouTubez when I have a sound-enabled internets (ie at home).
burkesworks From: burkesworks Date: January 25th, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I want to look into getting an RSS reader

Aren't you on a Mac? If so, you'd be able to read RSS feeds in Safari, assuming you have OS X 10.4.
covertmusic From: covertmusic Date: January 25th, 2007 01:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I'm on a Mac (at home), but I'm still on 10.3, and I prefer Firefox for so many other things that I don't want to have to use Safari for just one thing.
ewx From: ewx Date: January 25th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)

Current Firefox has a couple of ways in which it knows RSS.

Firstly if you just visit the RSS URL it'll display it sensibly formatted. Secondly it gives you the opportunity to turn it into a 'live bookmark', which lets you have a dropdown menu of all the titles.

AFAIK it does have any support for aggregation, however.

ewx From: ewx Date: January 25th, 2007 01:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
e/does/doesn't
nja From: nja Date: January 25th, 2007 01:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sage (http://sage.mozdev.org/), or http://www.netvibes.com/ for a web-based approach.
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 02:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've heard of that one! 8-) Will have a look at it. Thanks for the suggestion.
j4 From: j4 Date: January 25th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
netvibes looks like what I'm currently doing (badly) with my Google 'personalised' homepage, only with MOAR THINGZ. I like the look of it. 8-) Will investigate. Thank you!
From: rgl Date: January 25th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I use NetNewsWire Lite on my Mac (10.3) at home. Seems to work fine, though I'm not particularly demanding of it.
emperor From: emperor Date: January 25th, 2007 01:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
SAUCE> if you need a hand with the config, do shout - I've battled it a few times now!
keirf From: keirf Date: January 25th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sprung rhythm! I guess you are back in Oxford.
jiggery_pokery From: jiggery_pokery Date: January 25th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
It seems to me that you have done so well with so many resolutions, even the ones where you say you've failed but have done so much towards succeeding even if you don't feel like giving yourself success for credit, that you must have done better than 99% of resolution-makers. Please recognise this at the same time as striving for the best job you can do.

Try to convert every work-related whinge into a positive thing

Surely a working definition of a happy-go-lucky person (certainly a good thing to be!) might be someone who can convert every whinge of all sorts into positive things?
j4 From: j4 Date: January 30th, 2007 11:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Surely a working definition of a happy-go-lucky person (certainly a good thing to be!) might be someone who can convert every whinge of all sorts into positive things?

Happy-go-lucky sounds to me as though it's more to do with not being bothered in the first place than making a conscious effort to avoid unhelpful patterns of thought, but maybe that's just a quibble.

I don't think whinging is harmful per se, I think sometimes it's a useful pressure-valve; but I don't want to just sit around whinging if I can change things instead.
From: ewtikins Date: January 25th, 2007 10:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
Impressive accomplishments, and a sensible-looking list for the year ahead.

I struggle a lot with the "just do it" thing. Working on it though.
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: February 1st, 2007 06:57 am (UTC) (Link)
There is a Shaped Note choir which meets, IIRC, once a month, at a house approximately 500 metres or less from your present abode. I have no idea if you like this style but it has its moments.
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