This Is Not a Blog

This Is Not a Blog

I’m almost certain that the W3C prevents me from calling this site a weblog anymore. The odd thing is, with the exception of very brief periods, I don’t know if I ever ran a blog. However, when the home page shows entries that date back nearly a year (and only displays 10 posts total), something about the format isn’t working.

My life is busy. Since my last entry, I’ve moved to a new apartment, bought a new (used) car, become engaged, was promoted to Web Developer at work, and started several freelance design projects. I’m trying to simplify a lot of things in my life: clutter, diet, goals, and more, but I realize that I won’t have less to do or more time to do it unless something drastic happens. Like winning the lottery or a generous windfall from the Walton family. My goal to write shorter entries more often is clearly not working. I just don’t have the time or the interest to prioritize it.

I’m thinking about deemphasizing the blog format of this site and shifting focus to the items that have been in the sidebar for-(almost)-ever: the photos, the links, and the reading. I would really like to put together a web-based library application for myself and include that on this site. There are better ways to incorporate my photos and links than just sidelining them. And perhaps I’d have time to write up some longer article-style entries. A home page that gives equal time to all of these areas of my digital life makes more sense than antiquated weblog entries hogging the home page real estate.

A Little Late for Resolutions

I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions; if it’s important enough to me, I don’t need a calendar switch to get started. That being said, some articles I’ve read recently have me feeling motivated to stop thinking and start doing things.

Work Out

My friend Joe recently blogged that he has been going to the gym this year and already noticing positive changes. I never really used the free gym when I was at Scranton, but I could definitely afford to join one now. Or maybe I could just run around the block a few times. Either way, I want to get more exercise than walking from my apartment to my car and back once or twice a day.

I’ve been feeling more drained every day I know the weight I’ve gained since college is partly to blame. It’s nothing Oprah-esque, but I’m sure I’d have more energy if I dropped a few. I’ve already been trying to eat less, but I need to make sure that what I eat is good for me. Since I’m such a lazy ass when it comes time to actually work out—right, Jason?—I think a paid gym membership might throw some financial motivation behind, you know, my health and all.

Read More Books

I read a tremendous amount of blogs, news, Wikipedia entries, and a cornucopia of random online articles. Trouble is that a large portion of that is trivial crap that I won’t remember the next day. Most of this stems from procrastinating something more useful. Theoretically, there’s nothing wrong with what I read online; it’s only that it prevents me from reading or doing more substantial (or productive) things.

I am going to start cutting down a half-hour to an hour of online time-wasting and try to read at least one book each month. It doesn’t matter if it’s fiction or non or whether it maintains any credible hold on the term “literature.” I don’t care if it’s Dan Brown or Dante at this point.

Create More

I like to think of myself as creative, but I haven’t created much in my spare time lately. The last thing I want to do is allow my writing or coding skills to stagnate. I’d love to be able to write articles again like I did for the Scranton Student, but I just don’t have the time at this point. As I’ve been saying for years, I want to write more here. I think if I force myself to write at least once or twice a week it will develop into something of a habit.

In terms of creating websites, I want to design, code, and program more. At this point, I might focus on improving some of my existing sites, but I’d also like to seek out clients for professional projects. I need to focus on finishing projects, rather than a series of false starts.

Organize

In order to make all of the above even remotely possible, I need to organize myself. I could blame it on a hundred things beyond my control, but staying organized has never come easy to me. I think I’ve always battled clutter, but lately it seems to be winning. I want to work on scheduling my time better, but cleaning my room is priority one. I recently read a Lifehacker article that had a few great ideas for pilers. Already it’s helping me, but I need to take it further.

I know this might seem a little… much. But I don’t expect to accomplish all of this in a week or a month. Gradually, I want to make these changes part of my life, not some random things I might be trying. It’s going to take time, but I’m committed this time.

Sideways: Book v. Movie

Annie and I rented Sideways from Blockbuster tonight and I was a little disappointed. I loved the book which inspired the movie—as you well know—so I was hoping for greatness with the film. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but it didn’t do much for me. It’s almost passé to say that the book was better than the movie, but it’s certainly true in this case. Sideways the book was smarter, funnier, more informative, and more fun than Sideways the movie. My recommendation is to watch the movie first—Annie hasn’t read the book yet and really liked the film version—before you ruin a good movie with a great book.

Summer Reading

For the past few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed having the time to read for fun. When I was in school, it was rare for me to have time to read a non-required book in my spare time; there really is a limit to how much reading is possible in one day. Since graduation I’ve already finished two books, a bunch of magazines, and innumerable articles on the web.

Annie gave me three books as a graduation present. I started with Sideways by Rex Pickett because it seemed like an easy read; it was. However, it contained smart prose, great character development, and many fun facts about wine. I borrowed Night by Elie Wiesel from my brother and read it in a few hours; I’m sure it was much more shocking when it came out, but it’s powerful and upsetting nonetheless.

At the moment, I’m working my way through Essays by George Orwell, a massive 1,400 page collection of 200 or so non-fiction essays he wrote during his life. It sounds like homework, but Orwell’s one of my favorite authors and his writing style is superb. Each article is polished to a shine that slides the reader through each sentence. I still haven’t touched The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck—it’s the third book from Annie—and I have a few other books I’ve bought on sale over the past year or two that I didn’t have time to read. I’m really enjoying reading on my own time: it’s fun.

I’ve posted a list of books I’m reading or have read recently in the sidebar. It’ll help you kids keep up with me. You can see a full list of books I’m interested in reading by viewing the books on my Amazon Wishlist.

What Book Are You?
The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman

You’re The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman! Though you’re interested in war, what you really want to know is what causes war. You’re out to expose imperialism, militarism, and nationalism for what they really are. Nevertheless, you’re always living in the past and have a hard time dealing with what’s going on today. You’re also far more focused on Europe than anywhere else in the world. A fitting motto for you might be “Guns do kill, but so can diplomats.”

Take the Book Quiz.