New Year’s Hopes: 2008 Edition

Just like last year, I have another set of hopes. I call them hopes instead of resolutions because I feel that that term almost has inherent failure by tradition. Besides, it’s not a whole-hearted resolution; just a plan.

How did I do on the one from last year?
Exercise More. I could’ve picked up a book and walked down the street once a day and gotten more exercise than I did 2 years ago. Not a failure. I picked up running for awhile, and have been playing a lot more sports. And there are tons of opportunities for pick-up games and random fun at college.

So here’s what I came up for this year:
1) Read a book for fun every night. This isn’t too hard, since I usually read something or write in my journal before I sleep. I know a lot of people who love to read, but can’t find the energy or time. It just seems like there’s so much to read for school. I want to break past that. I know it’s an untruthful excuse. I have some books to read, and I really want to do it.

For Christmas, I picked up Marvin Minsky’s “The Emotion Machine”, a sequel to the great book “Society of Mind.” Minsky, a co-founder of the MIT AI laboratory, writes about the function of the mind in a series of simple essays. Very accessible for everyone.

The other book I got was Scott Adams’ “Religion War,” a sequel to “God’s Debris.” Adams is more famous for being the writer of “Dilbert,” but these books are just a series of thought experiments on the workings of the universe and people. Very interesting work.

2) Do something musical everyday. Another one I’ve always wanted to do. In the past several months, my view of music has expanded so much. Picking up bass trombone allowed me to actually get into jazz and discover how my favorite genre has been done. My conducting class exposed me to the human aspects of classical orchestral music, and that’s also been powerful. The Roots concert brought me hip-hop and contemporary music, which surprised me by proving that even popular music can be good.

To do this, I guess I’ll hack away at piano some, and teach myself how to play. I know how to form chords and read music, so it’ll be pure exploration past that. With tuba and trombone, I’ll be playing whatever seems fun, whether a new etude, or figuring out and playing through some of my favorite songs. I’m also planning to take a Chinese music class, where we learn to play the guzheng. That will be amazing, to learn non-western music, with different tuning and notation.

3) Get more sleep. This one is more a hope than the others. 8 1/2 sounds really good, but we’ll see how that goes.

And there it is. What a hack of a post. Anyways, good luck with whatever hopes or resolutions you might put out as well.

To Prove I’m just as dumb as everyone else…

Last year’s hopes
How did that turn out?
Study More: In a way. As school work goes, I’m studying smarter, not harder.
Practice More: Definitely. I feel way better about how much I’ve improved my tuba-ing this year. Though apparently I was still one card too short of a deck of cards. But I’ll blame that on Mr. Grange.
Screw Around Less: That was kind of a dumb one. If I’m doing more of the other stuff, there are still only 24 hrs in a day.
Find More Productivity Outside of School: AD.
Go to Sleep Earlier: Miserable failure. My bedtime, generally, sits somewhere in the 11-12 range. Very rarely earlier, never later (by conscious decision).
Being Nicer: You tell me.

Looking at that list, I think I did a pretty good job, but all of that really came after junior year ended, so to say that having those hopes caused me to change is faulty logic. I’m calling common response, on this one. These are just things I know I should do more of, and I said so, then got around to doing it in a separate action.
Regardless, the title so says that I must continue, so…

Exercise More
This one doesn’t sound that hard, because in truth, I really enjoy playing sports and doing athletic stuff. Screw the fact that I pretty much suck at it. Marching is over, and I need something to keep me physically active.

Uh, I think that’s about it, off the top of my head. The other stuff wouldn’t really count as a typical NYH, since it wouldn’t be a change.
Just keep swimming…

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

I could “scrooge” the time-honored tradition of New Year’s Resolutions, but I know other can more effectively ridicule the process (mr. castles), and I don’t think it’s a bad idea on the whole, if perhaps inaccurately named.
Encarta Dictionary Tools says that a resolution is “determination: firmness of mind or purpose”. Now, we all know that 99% of all NYR fail. And yes, I did just make that statistic up, though you know it’s probably accurate. Regardless, we can agree that a large majority do fail, most due not to external circumstances, but a lack of will to complete it. Well that doesn’t sound like a “firmness of mind or purpose” at all. In the end, NYR are things that we hope to change, yet often are mired by short-sighted impulses. Therefore, I will make my own New Year’s Hopes, hoping that I’ll find the will to implement them.

Study More
I must say, for the few times I truly, truly got down to working and studying for school, it was darn incredible what I managed to do. Unfortunately, I manage to fool myself with studying, which is completely different, and significantly less effective. Now I know that many of you are crying out something like, “NERD. You’re a loser. You probably study a bunch right now.” Well, I wish I did. I’ll admit, I’ve had it pretty easy. My grades are very good, yet I know they could be better. It can’t hurt.

Practice More
Same thing, basically, but for tuba, not school. Both last year’s S&E and this year’s Region Band have basically been 1 week’s worth of practicing. True, I had looked at the music for both for over a month beforehand, yet most of it was just playing the parts I liked/played pretty well, which is worthless. When I actually practiced an hour’s worth of real practicing, it was incredible how much I could get done. Now if only I did that all the time…

Screw Around Less
Well, that kind of goes along with the others things, but it sounds different to me. It’s been pretty sad when I think of how much time I’ve wasted this break doing, what is in the end, nothing. I could have been much more productive getting ready for the SAT in less than a month or wvr, but I haven’t been doing as much as I should. I need to be more productive, which can be solved with the next Hope.

Find More Productivity Outside of School
Most of the work I do (which is little) can be directly related to school. Even AD, number sense, and CSC stuff is all related to school. That stuff does suck, and I probably will continue to avoid that, but if I’m not doing that, I should still be productive. I have my Java RPG to work on, books on quantum mechanics to read, etc. I definitely need to invest myself in those more, so I can actually get around to learning something.

Go to Sleep Earlier
Sadly, this one has already been broken. Oh well. Regardless, I’d like to get back into the schedule of hitting the sack at 930-945 (since it takes me a bit to actually fall asleep). While I do go to sleep much earlier than many others on a regular basis, in the end, I’m still tired in the morning, and it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Begins at the beginning of the week. Sunday night, I stay up late, either because I’m not tired because I slept in and “caught up” from the week before (which really doesn’t work), or I have hw to do. Wake up for school tired, nap during classes a bit, and whine about it. Go home, screw around, do hw late, making me go to sleep late. Happens all week until the weekend, when I “catch up”, creating later bedtimes due to later wakeups, and only exacerbating the situation. True, this way, I actually go to sleep within 5 min of getting in bed, but it just doesn’t sound healthy.

Being Nicer
I realize that all of the above are for myself, so I’ll make an effort to reach out a bit. Now, I don’t think I’ve ever really been “mean”, per se, but I am a very sarcastic person. I know that often, in my more pragmatic states, I’ve been a little…uncaring to others. I also know, that just like everyone else, I also laugh behind others peoples’ back (though I always try to do it in a fun, non-harmful way). So, I will attempt to be more sympathetic to others, because even if I am just poking fun at you in a sarcastic way, mebbe it does hurt at some level.

And with that, have a Happy New Year’s, and good luck with your New Year’s Hopes.