Showing posts from January, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #9: A Social Networking Policy

This is dumb, but with such a high target for the number of resolutions I plan to make this year, some of them are bound to be duds. I joined Facebook several months ago. I find that it's much too much of a time-suck. But I keep going back every day. There's something nice about the idea (even if it is only an idea) that there's a place where I can go to find out if anything important has happened in the lives of old friends and that if anything important happens in my life, I can let my old friends know in case it matters to them (and where they can guiltlessly ignore it in case it doesn't). In practice, at least in my experience so far, Facebook is just a collection of mild amusements, where you get to daily see the faces and names of people you know or used to know. Thats fine. It's still pleasant, even if it's largely devoid of any real substance. Anyway, so far I have not asked anyone to be my Facebook friend. All of the "friends" I have gathered

25 (vaguely) Random Things About Me

I got invited by some Facebook friends to participate in this sharing exercise. To participate, you make a list of 25 random facts about yourself and share the list, inviting 25 friends to do the same. I found it an entertaining and challenging exercise. Just for fun, I figured I might as well also post my list to my blog. Here's what I came up with: 1) I tend to think in long, rambling sentences or even paragraphs, rather than simple declarative statements. 2) I have an astonishingly bad memory. This is especially true when it comes to remembering people's names, but that's certainly not the end of it. 3) I have started in the last few years to remember certain things about my childhood that I had thought were lost. For example, I now remember that at various times I thought I might like to become a stuntman, a lawyer, and a philosopher. These were never dreams, rather just ideas. 4) I am quite certain that I never had any desire to be a fireman, police officer, or soldie

02009 New Year's Resolution #8: Not So Lazy With the Saving of the Planet

I find that the recycling has become a bit more of a chore since we moved to Newport, NH. We have no curbside recycling pickup here. [I'm still peeved that the voters here turned down a brilliant proposal at town meeting a couple of years ago for a pay as you throw (PAYT) plan that would have encouraged recycling, in a town that ought to be deeply ashamed of itself for its embarrassingly low recycling rate.] In Maryland, we used to have curbside recycling pickup, and we lived in a county that achieved and maintained 50% recycling rates a few years ago. (However that's calculated, it's obviously better than the <15% recycling rate that's cited for this town.) Carrying the blue bin out to the curb once a week as I walked to my car before heading off to work was much more convenient than loading up the car for a special trip between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on a Saturday. Without that convenience, I allowed myself to get lazy about getting the recyclables out of the house. So,

02009 New Year's Resolution #7: Learning From Past Mistakes

My seventh New Year's Resolution of 02009 is pretty basic: I resolve that no matter how sensible they may seem at the time, I will keep in mind that certain "experiments" ought never to be repeated. [Cinnamon and steak are two great tastes that do not go great together! Lemon Pledge is not, even in a pinch, suitable for cleaning spills on the Pergo floor!] There are people in this world who would innately know ahead of time that these experiments are unwise. Not being blessed with such foresight, the best I can do is to avoid trying them again. I'm still trying to figure out why it is that kitchens don't ever seem to explode when people are experimenting with new recipes. (Mix stuff together, apply heat, shouldn't there be the occasional explosive reaction?) Perhaps it's best for me to stick to recipes that other people have already tried. As for that Pledge thing, trust me. Unless you want your own little indoor ice rink, don't try it.

02009 New Year's Resolution #6: A Cliche, You Say?

I've never really been one to judge myself on my physique. I think perhaps that's at least partly because for most of my life, I was fairly trim (if not downright skinny) without investing any effort in it at all. I ate food and I stayed thin. Well, in recent years, I've become somewhat more pudgy than I used to be. It's not really all that bad, but what bugged me was when I looked at a BMI chart in the doctor's office and realised that I qualify as "overweight". BMI is really a meaningless number because it doesn't take into account whether a person is muscular or just fat. It's basically just a ratio between height and weight, without regard to the different densities of various tissue types, and without regard to whether someone is broad shouldered or not, etc. Nonetheless, "overweight" isn't fun to think about, because it carries with it some increased risk of bad health. My cholesterol is all out of whack (way too little good, a

02009 New Year's Resolution #5: More Resolutions Than Reasonable

In 02007, I made exactly one New Year's Resolution: To be more willing to try new foods. That was the first year in recent memory during which I made a resolution. I kept that resolution. Sadly, in that year during which Beth and I took to calling me "Super Mr. Adventure Eater", there was only one new food that I tried that really knocked my socks off. It was some Indian food. Chicken Korma, perhaps? (I don't think it was Lamb Biryani, although given my longstanding love for the flavor of lamb, that would have been a more predictable choice.) I have continued my willingness to try different foods since then. This week, for example, I have started eating yogurt. It's not great, but I think I can get used to it. Anyway, the thing about that resolution is that I didn't get around to making my New Year's Resolution until June. I'm not sure that it happened exactly on the summer solstice, but I am quite certain that it wasn't more that a week removed f

02009 New Year's Resolution #4: A Positive Step Forward

The fourth in my series of 02009 New Year's Resolutions is one that will be very easy to measure my success at. It's a binary proposition. Either I will fulfill it or I won't. There's no grey area here. So, here's my fourth New Year's Resolution of 02009: I will finish typing and formatting my non-fiction book proposal and I will try to get at least one suitable publisher to entertain it. [The first publisher on my list is Oxford University Press.] My idea is a stroke of genius. I'm confident in that. However, there's some possibility that I arrived at it a few years too late. Not, as has happened with some of my best ideas, because somebody else beat me to the punch. Rather, because it is actually starting to look like there's some real chance that the age of the printed book is coming to a close. (Emphasis on "chance".) If "dead tree technology" is on its way out, then my book proposal has a very limited window of time to be of

02009 New Year's Resolution #3: A Conditional Resolution

My third New Year's Resolution of the year 02009 is conditional: If I get a new full time job in 02009, my new employer's main phone number will not end in "0330". Two in a row is strangely coincidental. [And it took me about 10 months at the current job to even realise it.] Three in a row would be downright creepy!

02009 New Year's Resolution #2: A Charity of Thought

My second New Year's Resolution of the year 02009 is similar to my first, inasmuch as there is really no measurable action to be taken as a direct result. It is again a resolution to try to improve my attitude towards the world. Unlike the first, this one would probably not be the sort of resolution that could reasonably be undertaken with any sincerity by most people. I think instead that it is applicable only to those of us who recognise our own snobbishness. If there is any real benefit to come from this resolution, it will be merely that I end up a little less of a sourpuss. So, here's my second New Year's Resolution for 02009: No matter how insipid I may think someone's music is [here I am thinking of acts ranging from Creed, Live, and Smashing Pumpkins (and The Smashing Pumpkins (why the nonsensical addition of "The", I will likely never comprehend)) to Steely Dan, Britney Spears and Celine Dion] , I resolve that I will try to keep in mind that everyone

02009 New Year's Resolution #1: A Change of Mindset

For the first in my series of 02009 New Year's Resolutions, I'm going with something not very tangible. It's about trying to be a better person in a vague sort of way. I think it's the sort of thing that most anyone could resolve to try, and might make just about anyone feel a little bit better as a result. So, here's my first New Year's Resolution for 02009: Whenever somebody makes a request of me, particularly if it is something that will cost me nothing but perhaps a little bit of time and effort, I resolve to try to ask myself the following question: "How would I respond to this request if it were being asked by a woman who told me that her son had been killed before his time and that this was his dying wish?" This is a thought exercise, and to my mind there's a series of questions that then follow quite directly from the initial one: "Does this change my attitude towards the request?" "Does this perspective conflict with my natu

January Hair Photos

Welcome to 02009! Well, I made it through all of 02008 without [much] breaking my New Year's Resolution. Sadly, a full year was not enough time to hit the target! As you will recall from previous posts, my 02008 New Year's Resolution was to try my best to resist the urge to cut my hair, with the ultimate goal of donating it to Locks of Love . With just one week left in the year, my resolve to keep my hair uncut was still intact. However, my attention was brought to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths program, which has an 8 inch requirement, rather than a 10 inch requirement. I've made no secret of my eagerness to get rid of the mess on my head. So, I have switched allegiance. I have no qualms about this, for at least two reasons: In my view, women with cancer are at least as deserving as are children with alopecia. I have heard that Locks of Love charges the kids for the wigs. Pantene, on the other hand, gives the wigs away. Here are the January 2, 02009 photos: Now it'