I don’t typically make New Years Resolution. Instead, I play a game of semantics, insisting that I make goals. Often, there is only one goal: I will read 52 books. This year, I think I will make a list. This is partly due to inspiration from an acquaintance’s blog, and partly because life is busy right now and it is hard to keep things straight in my head. I have too much stuff going on in my head at any given moment, and I often need a list to remember what to do in a given day. Why should a year be any different?
Besides, a new year, despite being no different from any other arbitrary time division, holds a type of psychological promise. It brings the lure of new beginnings or second chances (or third or fourth, etc). I rather miss the reset that would occur in college. Every three or four months, you had new classes and new teachers and new (potentially) classmates. After college, there really isn’t such a reset. Unless you take a new job or move to a new town, there is no natural division between “then” and “now”. So, we designate the new year as such a division. Maybe there is no real external change in circumstance, but we can try anew to change lifestyle and attitudes. Twenty-Eleven will be the year of Steven’s List. I may not succeed in accomplishing everything. But as these are not resolutions but things I would like to do, there is no real pressure. Items may be added as they occur to me. I also hope to chronicle my successes (or failures) along the way.
1. Read 28 books. This requires a bit of explanation. For the last four years I have made the goal of reading 52 books, roughly one book a week. 2010 was the first year I failed to meet this goal. The reasons were myriad, from increased busyness to more restrictions on which books I would count toward the goal. Thus, I’m lowering my standards a bit, taking the 23 books I did read and adding 20% to the total (then rounding up). This represents hitting the standard set and improving on it.
2. Continue the post-a-day on Edwardian Adventurer. Around October I started a Doctor Who blog that was devoted to watching and reviewing every episode of Doctor Who in broadcast order. My goal was to update once a day, six days a week. So far, I have hit that goal. I chose to do this to discipline myself to write more often, and made the task easier by wedding it to my favorite show. I may very well be sick of Doctor Who when I finish this task (which could take up to three years if I don’t include very many “intermission” posts). Since Doctor Who has 31 seasons (and counting), I resolve to not rush this task, even though I am occasionally tempted to do this. Besides, 312 blog posts in a year would hardly be considered slacking.
3. Clean my hold-shelf at work. I work in a second-hand book shop. As a bibliophile, I find this extremely tempting. Each employee has a small amount of shelf space in which to put books on hold. Over the last year I have accumulated quite a few (although significantly less than some of my co-workers). However, it is still a fair amount which will require a bit of work to empty. I have also found that for every book I purchase, another book will soon replace it. I want the shelf empty because it marks a type of end. It means that I will be less bound to a place.
4. Write reviews for every book I read, movie I go to, and show I watch. This seems to be a guaranteed way to drive myself crazy and take all the fun out of everything, but I still wish to maintain a strict discipline of writing.
5. Engage in a fairly in-depth study of American History. I have very rarely been interested in studying the history of my home country. There are no knights in American history. Our history is so short compared to the rest of the world. And with the exception of our inclusion in World War II, our history is not as inherently cool as that of China, Japan, or (my personal favorite) Rome. I am fully aware of the gross bias in this statement. However, I do enjoy history, and there have been a few instances where my interest has been piqued. This past year I saw HBO’s John Adams, which sparked my interest enough to do a very shallow study (which was enough for me to learn of many inaccuracies in the miniseries). This past weekend I saw an episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded in which the death of Merriweather Lewis was investigated to determine if he committed suicide as our text books say, or whether he was murdered. The evidence is for the murder is compelling, even if the conclusions are still uncertain. American history can be interesting. Or so I hope.
6. Train for The Agony by riding 75 miles. One of my sisters-in-law works at Christian Encounters Ministries in Grass Valley, California. Each summer they have a fund-raising 24-hour bike ride. I have seriously thought about participating, although it probably won’t be until the 2012 Agony that this becomes a realistic option. There are just a few problems. First, I don’t have a bike. Second, I have rarely ridden more than eight miles. Third, my iPod wouldn’t last 24 hours. This leads to the next two goals.
7. Get a bike. See above.
8. Get a new iPod. Preferably one that will last for 15-24 hours and doesn’t randomly shut off due to a loose connection because the owner dropped it a few times.
9. Go on vacation away from Springfield. My wife and I usually do this, but this year we didn’t because we moved and used our vacation for house-related activities. I’m glad to have a house, even if it isn’t completely set up, but I did miss the vacation.
10. Spend the weekend in Lawrence, KS. This last year I saw Pavement in Kansas City. I stayed with a friend who lived in Lawrence. It was a lot of fun. I would like to go to Lawrence again and just hang out. It’s a great town.
11. Write a LOST review blog. As if doing a daily Doctor Who blog was not enough (and truth be told, it isn’t), I have been toying with the idea of a blog dedicated to reviewing every episode of LOST. In truth, my ambition is to make this the most interesting and, quite frankly, the best LOST review blog on the internet. To this end, it will not be updated daily, but my goal is weekly. The purpose will be to write in-depth reviews of each episode, its themes, its characterizations, and how it contributes to the mythology of the show. Everything will lead up to the final episode, where I will determine whether or not I think the show succeeded in telling a satisfying story. This will be the first time I have watched any episode since the finale (which I didn’t like). I want to see if initial impressions hold, or if my mind will be changed now that I know the end. This is possibly my most ambitious project of the year. I hope the Doctor Who blog has adequately prepared me.