Yeah, been a while

I’ve been thinking about starting up another blog, based on geekdom, consisting of basically reposting and commenting on other articles online, which would cover these sorts of things: radio-control stuff (the industry I work in, basically) video/computer games computer stuff techie things political things like SOPA/PIPA, etc. that sort of thing I like reading and talking about this sort of thing, so that’s why I was thinking about doing another blog. Call it something like ‘geekgasm’ or ‘geektastic’ (the URLs of which are taken in nearly every form).

Then I thought about it some more and thought about what the end goal would be – monetizing? writing for another, bigger blog (like engadget, etc.)? what? Well monetizing is pointless for someone like me, because I don’t want to do the web SEO thing and try to write thought-provoking articles every day or two. And I already do enough writing in my day job and after hours that I don’t want to try to break into a whole new field, which will take loads of time and effort.

So I think I’ll just work on this blog here, get some writing done for my other blog and work on expanding my thoughts that I put into Twitter messages into longer blog posts.

Sound alright?

Day Zero Project

So here is something I thought would be cool to take part in: the Day Zero Project.

The idea is to skip short-term, easily done things or New Year’s resolutions and complete 101 goals in 1001 days. That’s roughly 10 days to complete every task, whether it’s climbing a mountain or sharpening all the knives in your kitchen.

So here’s the gist

The Challenge: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past – frequently simple challenges such as New Year’s resolutions or a ‘Bucket List’. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows you several seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organising and timing some tasks such as overseas trips, study semesters, or outdoor activities.

The official web site for the Day Zero Project isn’t working as I type this, but their Tumbler blog is working OK and has a lot of great ideas to start with.

I added a new page to my website that will compile all the goals I have added, so they’re easier to find than spread out on a bunch of blog posts.

Tonight is ‘get stuff done’ night UPDATE: ALL DONE

List of things to do:

hang laundry: check
put another load of laundry in: check
put plastic pipe under window to open it up more (it won’t stay open in its own): check
hang insect screen to keep the creepy crawlies out: check

quick haircut trim: check
bag up clothing, etc., for charity shop drop-off: check
take pictures of RC trucks for eBay: check
add listings to eBay: check
add stuff to give away on check
cut PVC pipe for massage rolling (ehhh...just look at this, basically it’s for sports massage): check
put the last of the camping stuff in the basement: check
put away clean clothes: check

Had to put the cat to sleep :(

My GF and I had to take her cat to the emergency vet Saturday morning, she had a blood clot (couldn’t move one of her back legs) and with recent vet bills adding up and no promise of preventing future blood clots we had to take the decision to put her to sleep. I’d only known the cat for just under 5 years, and only saw her 2-3 times a month at most, but she’d grown to like me and I’d grown to like her quite a bit (I need furry things I can cuddle and play with from time to time, I guess). It was really really sad, I’d never been with a pet that was being put to sleep before – I’d seen it exactly once, the one time I watched Animal Hospital on Discovery, and that reminded me why I couldn’t work with animals. She had a good long life (for an outdoor cat with a heart condition) though, and we even had our own little private time the day before.

The whole experience bummed me out the whole weekend, but my GF was at least prepared for it because of recent vet visits. I was even prompted to re-start journaling last night to get all my feelings out (I’ve been wanting to start up again) and I’ll go through all the pets I can remember in the near future, because they’ve been such a part of my life in many cases.

Also, my frustrations with my laptop trackpad while typing for 2 hours led me to Google for solutions to the stupid ‘jumping cursor’ problem while typing on a laptop, and I found Touchfreeze, which is awesome and helps me not want to toss my laptop out the window.

The daily grind

Well I wouldn’t say my life is super-busy, but when I have a project I want to do – like, say, repainting my car’s body panels, which I started to do last summer- it always takes way too long to reach the finish, if I even get anywhere near it at all. I have so many little projects and things I want to do that I can’t get to them all and can’t prioritize what to do, plus schedule them around the stuff I’m already doing.

In general, this would be my perfect weekday – assuming I don’t win the lottery:

  • 6:30-7 AM :: wake up, meditate for 15-20 minutes (not meditating at the moment, but I’d like to – I should start up again)
  • Shower, shave, dress, etc.
  • Nice sit-down breakfast (right now on the low-carb plan I’m having 4 eggs with salsa/cheese and 3 slices of bacon most mornings)
  • 7:45-8 :: leave for work (if I was riding my bike to work I’d leave around 6:30 if biking all the way or 7:15 if biking halfway)
  • 5:45-6 PM :: get home and talk with my girlfriend
  • 6:30-7:30 :: exercise (with podcast or music in the background) and shower
  • 8:00 :: nice healthy sit-down dinner, watch TV or a movie
  • 10:00 :: turn off the TV/computer
  • Write in a journal (note I don’t say ‘my journal’, because I haven’t started one) or work on a story/writing
  • Pull out a book and get comfy
  • 11:00 (or earlier) :: lights off, get some sleep
  • Rinse and repeat

This would be the ideal day. Normally I’m still up and at my computer, reading websites and watching videos and whatnot, until past midnight, but I’m slowly slowly slowly getting to the point where I can have the computer off by 11 or 12 at night more often than not, and I can settle down and get to bed. I think the regular exercise helps (with getting out frustrations from work and being tired at night!)  and so does waking up early most days. Usually I’m up at 7 or so, if I’m lazy I’m out of bed by half past. If I have to exercise I’m up at 6:30.

I dunno. I’m getting better at it, but even in the ‘ideal day’ there’s not much room for project stuff – and I don’t even have kids! I don’t know how parents of young kids do it.

I guess this mind-vomit type of blog post gets me to the point where I decide that I should start meditating again in the mornings. That might help me prepare for the workday ahead! Once I have that down firm I might start journaling and see where that takes me.

Most memorable Christmas gift?

Oh that’s easy – it would have to be the massive G.I. Joe Headquarters, pictured below

This was the biggest G.I. Joe toy I ever got, I think apart from the tank or helicopter (complete with ‘Wild Bill’ somethingorother, wearing a cowboy had and two six-shooters). The tank may have been my first motorized toy gift, actually.

Christmas movies and TV shows

I’m well into my movie-watching, as anyone who knows me can attest to, but when it comes to my holiday viewing pleasures I tend to stick with the tried-and-true stuff – movies I know I’ll like – rather than risk wasting time one something I’m not sure of.

In the US and the UK there’s a big emphasis on making the holiday programming easy for the various TV channels, and they set the computer to fill a day of programming with consecutive episodes of things like Bond movies, nature shows, documentary series and that sort of thing – kind of like how on Memorial/Remembrance Day the channels are stuffed full of WW2 documentaries.

I’m not really sure how Bond movies came to be a Christmas/Thanksgiving staple, but whatever – I think it’s because it’s the longest-running movie series the programmers can get the rights to.

I do like how the British TV shows have holiday specials…and I don’t mean a Christmas-themed episode of Friends or CSI – I mean it’s a common occurence to have the cast and writers from a long-defunct TV series get together to make a special show, long after the series ended. If you’re familiar with the The Office (UK) or The Royle Family, you know what I mean. Even less-popular shows I like such as Still Game (a Scottish show about two old Scotsmen) have a couple of holiday specials here and there. Every show doesn’t have a special, but sometimes when a TV series ends and the fans want to know ‘what happened next?’ and the creators of the show want to get together again, a really good follow-up holiday special gets made.

So anyway, here are the movies I like to watch every Christmas, in no particular order:

A Christmas Story (the one with the leg lamp and the kid who wants a BB gun)
The Nightmare Before Christmas (the animation is amazing, the songs are fun, the story is great)
Trading Places (an Eddie Murphy classic, and set around Christmas/New Year’s)
Elf (one of Will Ferrell’s greatest flicks)
…dammit I can’t think of any more! I’m going through my DVD set tonight to pick out movies to watch during the Christmas break, so I’ll add any more I find.

MIDI Christmas songs

Remember ye olde days of the internets? The tubes were filled with MIDI music and beeps, boops and chirps were the order of the day.

Especially around Christmas time!

Now you can enjoy the best MIDI versions of Christmas classics, including:

The 12 Days of Christmas

Beginning to look a Lot Like Christmas

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer

Silver Bells

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

and even
Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer

Check out more here holiday favorites!

No-Buy Month

March is going to have to be a ‘buy nothing month’ for me…

I used to buy stuff on a whim and ended up with loads and loads of things that were just conversation pieces and nothing else.

Living in the UK, in a small house and crammed into a small room (I rent one room in a 1900’s Victorian terraced house, and keep loads of things in the damp basement), I’m forced to be a bit sparing with the amount of crap I get. Every now and then I go on eBay selling sprees or Freecycle giveaways, so I’m happy to get rid of stuff I admit to myself I’ll probably never use again, but stuff just still seems to pile up from time to time.

Worse still, when I have it in my head that I want to do or get something, I’ll just go on Amazon or eBay, find it and order it. Hardly a week goes by at work that I don’t get something in the post. It’s like Christmas every week and some days I have to tell my workmates that I don’t even know what all these packages might be.

Maybe I’m a hoarder? I’m not as bad as the eBay lady that had a house literally crammed full of unopened boxes full of stuff bought on eBay (was a popular series of photos on the internet a while back)…but I do admit that I *like* getting stuff and opening it and seeing what it is. It’s just a thing about me. That in itself isn’t a problem, though. My problem is that I *buy* these things and eventually I run out of room for them all.

So: for all of March I have set a goal for myself that I WILL. NOT. BUY. ANYTHING. I spent enough in February for Valentine’s day, I have loads of books to read, plenty of video games to play, all the RC gear I need, so enough is enough. Other than rent, food, gas and necessities I won’t be buying anything. No games, books, hobby stuff, clothes, gear, whatever for a whole month.

We’ll see how I do.

Note that I didn’t choose the shortest month of the year to do this 😉