Archive for January, 2008

My New Year Brain Dump

January 2, 2008

I hope everyone out there had a safe and happy holiday. Happy New Year to all.

I just got back from a 4 day mini-trek down to Lockport NY to celebrate my daughter’s 6th birthday and New Years as well. And while we had a laptop and high-speed connectivity at the hotel, it just never got plugged in. And you know what? It was kind of nice.

Of course it’s back to the proverbial grindstone/rat race tomorrow but I feel somewhat refreshed and I’m ready to start chipping away at everything once again.

I’m not big on New Years resolutions. I’m one of those people that figures if you want to make a change, then you just go ahead and make it no matter what time of year. But I guess it’s an excuse to at least pony up some ideas. One of mine is to scale back and simplify. No, I’m not selling my house and living in a mud-hut off the grid – although that actually sounds cathartic at times. But I’ve got several goals which I intend to chip away at. Even if the chipping is just a little more aggressive than last year, I’ll be a happy camper. If you set the bar low enough, you can succeed at anything. 🙂

Some of the goals floating around inside my graying noggin at the moment:

  1. Eat less. Not salads and tofu. Just a little less of everything. I tend to eat well past the point of comfort sometimes. And many times when I’m not even hungry. And not a wholesale change of menu either. I’ll take my fancy for pizza, cereal and apple pie to my grave. I’m talking about quantity reduction. Not masochism.
  2. Exercise a little more. No Tai-Bo. Not looking for ripped abs in 10 weeks. I just want my pants and shirts to fit better. Nothing revolutionary – just less sedentary.
  3. Finish the blog and website. The website and blog theming are about 60% of the way there. It’s just going to take a little diligence and effort to get the job done – at least to the point where it’s presentable and not embarassing. 😉
  4. Simplify simplify simplify. Both online and in the ‘real world’, I plan on slowly removing things that are useless or counter productive. One by one, bit by bit. I have too much useless crap cluttering up my mind, my house, my desk at work and on my pc. I’m going to fight the pack-rat in me and try to give more crappy stuff the heave-ho.
  5. Move the focus points. Family, happiness, enjoyment and achievement. Less wasted time doing things that don’t further those things. And this does not preclude work either. I’m doing fine in that realm, but there is plenty of room to ‘sharpen the saw’ in all of those areas.

This post isn’t really meant as a goalpost or some highbrow social contract with myself. It’s just like most other blog posts, a brain dump just to get the process rolling.

Over the past week I also purchased a few interesting books and magazines. Whether they belong here in this post I don’t know. I may review a couple of them if I get the chance in the near term:

The Plenitude – Creativity, Innovation and Making Stuff by Rich Gold. This is a rather short, but interesting book. Rich Gold was a designer, inventor, writer, artist, and composer among other things. He worked at Xerox PARC and for Sega and Mattel. I’m halfway through this one and it’s very interesting reading. To me anyway.

Bulletproof Web Design by Dan Cederholm. This book is about improving the flexibility of web sites with XHTML and CSS. And while I’m very much an XHTML and CSS newbie, it seems to give some very valuable advice. Also, just going over the various sections, it seems like it will bolster my understanding of the basics as well.

Issue 100 of Linux Format magazine. I’ve read this mag in the past and quite like it, but the price is steep for me (around 20 bucks(!!) when purchased here). So I don’t buy a lot of these, but this one was special since it had an article on Linux related podcasts. I haven’t thoroughly read the article, but after skimming it I’m pretty sure I’m not entirely in agreement with their reviews on several fronts. Podcasts are highly subjective things. The review seems to read quite the opposite. We’ll see.

Design It Yourself edited by Ellen Lupton. This one is quite a nice inspiring book to browse through. It encourages creativity of the graphic design sort. There are lots of wonderful examples of practical projects and ideas. It’s far from a design reference and doesn’t pretend to be. It’s fun to read, and like I said, very inspiring for someone like me.

So there you have it, the first brain dump post for 2008. I hope everyone tries to make the most of the year ahead. Thanks to all for reading.

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