New Year’s Hopes: 2013 Edition

Happy new year everyone! It appears that I haven’t written a real post for a few weeks now, but this annual tradition is just the reason I need to start again. If you aren’t familiar with it, my Hopes are like Resolutions, except without the resolve so when I inevitably miss the goals, it isn’t a big deal.

I was also informed on New Year’s Eve that true resolutions are made before the new year and that putting them together the week after doesn’t count. So, despite the similarities between my Hopes and true Resolutions, consider these entirely separate.

First, let’s review how last year’s Hopes went.

1. Write a book, and get everything done to get to that point.

This didn’t happen. You may have seen a few blog posts about the moon this past year, but that slowed down significantly. Currently, my commitment to this goal is 2 RSS feeds to moon blogs and an book about the moon sitting unread in my bedroom. Still, I’m satisfied where I am with the intent. I may be reinterpreting the goal for a sense of achievement, but I really just wanted a way to continue to learn, digest, and create after finishing school. I’m now in a book club, which covers most of those points.

2. Play a few more video games.

Done. After finishing The Witcher, I also finished Mass Effect and tried both Fallout: New Vegas and Neverwinter Nights 2 (both of which I ended up dropping). Currently, I’m playing quite a few games, but it’s a good mix of different genres. I’m particularly happy that I can play most of them with my friends, and all of that has led to a more healthy mindset towards video games than I think I had growing up.

3. Cajun cooking.

Done. As expected, Cajun cooking isn’t vegetarian, but I picked up a good cookbook that I have been working from. Unfortunately, a lot of the recipes are more complicated and for more people than I can do regularly, but I now know the basics and have cooked a few good meals.

 

So, here’s the new set of Hopes:

1. Create or contribute to an open source project in a significant way and learn something new.

I have always had one or two side projects in mind, and very few of them have come to fruition. The projects are usually overly ambitious and easily discarded. If you take a look at my projects page and github account, there are successes: foodmarks was built and meets my family’s needs and the dnd online character sheet actually has a few users. Even those, however, were comfortably in my skill set and largely singular efforts, and I hope to find opportunities to grow more through side projects.

My current, overly ambitious idea is to create a program that can analyze a StarCraft 2 game replay and come up with an English summary of the game. This sounds really hard, but I think there’s a lot to learn at every stage of the project. Thankfully, a project already exists to parse replays in Ruby, so that will be a good starting place in a new language for me.

2. Do something cool with my house.

Well, first, I need to finish furnishing and getting blinds up in my house, but after that, I want to do something cool. I’m not really artsy and don’t really know how to do interior design, but I’m sure there are lots of do-it-yourself projects that could make my cooking or living room life much better. I think painting a magnetic whiteboard wall would be a neat first step, but again, I’ll re-evaluate once I’m furnished later this month.

3. Finish reading Paul Graham’s essays and Cooking for Geeks, and watch another 2 classes.

I have been reading Paul Graham’s essays slowly over the past 5 years, and it’s been slow. They’re excellent, but I haven’t read them consistently. That should get done.

I have been reading Cooking for Geeks on and off for the past year. That should also get done.

Finally, I would like to watch another 2 classes. Usually while cooking or washing dishes, I have been listening to Robert Sapolsky’s Human Behavioral Biology class and just finished this past break while at baggage claim. Although I’m not committed enough to take one of the massively open online courses, I do enjoy listening to lectures, and I have one on Game Theory that I watch half of when I was preparing to teach the Magic class. I also have another 2 from Bert Dreyfus on the philosopher Heidegger.

I think 3 is enough. Happy new year, and good luck with your Hopes and Resolutions!

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