December 31st, 2012

2012 DayZero Recap

It's been a good year, and a big one in a lot of ways. I'm still working on a lot of my DayZero goals, but I figured a nice way to recap the accomplishments of 2012 would be to look back over the completed goals. And really, it's a nice way to give myself a push for bigger and better things in the year to come.

9. Get a really good idea of the general topic around which I want my career in teaching and research to revolve.
  I'm really enjoying Cultural Sociology, and I think it's very reasonable to expect that whatever I end up doing over the course of my career, my research will have a lot to do with cultural narratives, symbols, solidarity, etc.  I want to study the things that make humans amazing, and culture is a good place to start.
15. Invest some money in something more binding and official than a regular savings account.
  We bought a house.  There can be no investment more truly real.
16. Paint a whiteboard wall in the office.
  I did it!  It's even got a fancy Celtic border design!
19. Try something new that scares me.
  I started taking Zoloft this year.  I've been fairly private about it, and it was an incredibly difficult decision for me to make, but it's really payed off.  I feel a lot better, and my varied anxieties are nowhere near as debilitating as they might be, or as they once were.
26. Enter at least 3 art contests.
  This year has been insanely productive where art is concerned.  Among other things, I entered three deviantART contests.  I even came in third place in one of them (along with Kate Cragoe)!
36. Do some kind of wall-art in the house.
  The whiteboard wall kind of counted for this too, since it involved some artsy design incorporation.
37. Finish an entire crossword puzzle of at least 2-star difficulty (or equivalent) without help.
  I did it!  Twice!
42. Travel to at least 8 brand new places (each at least 30 miles from home).
  Roanoke, VA; Memphis, TN; Austin, TX; Sulphur, LA; Natchez, MP; Louisville, KY; Lexington, KY; Mammoth Caves National Park.
43. Visit 2 new states.
  Try five! Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, Texas
49. Visit Lisa Haines-Wright.
  I did!  It was wonderful!  And I got to see Gahdon and Rob Lafleur on the same day!
50. Try to be nicer, without sacrificing being funny, dry, or sarcastic.
  I'm not 100% sure I'm succeeding, but I really am trying.  I feel like I've been kind of an ass, and I'm trying to do that less.  Among other things, I'm trying to ask other people about themselves - how they're doing, what's new, etc.  It sounds like a little thing, but whenever people ask me these things, I tend to tell them how I'm doing and then neglect to return the courtesy.  I'm trying to pay more attention to other people.
51. Try to be less childish, without sacrificing being curious, wondering, or playful.
  Again, not sure it's working, but I'm trying to be less childish, especially at home.  As people are fond of pointing out, I tend to be rather curmudgeonly - this quality tends to overwhelm my personality in public, but it means that all my childishness comes out when I'm at home, and it gets irritating for Caitlin and myself, and it makes me feel very undignified.  I'm trying to do it less.
57. Visit a friend out-of-state.
  Robyn and Tucker got married!  I know, I was there!
58. Visit Katie in Austin (or whatever other odd place she happens to be living at the time).
  Just got back.  Katie is cool, Austin is cool, Katie's ladyfriend is cool, as are her roommate and her two weird gay cats.
69. Bike 15 miles in a single day.
  I did it!  17 miles, one day!  (Nevermind that it was accidental...)
70. Eat some really good bread pudding.
  Boltini's blueberry bread pudding in downtown Champaign.  Amazing stuff.
71. Win something.
  I won third prize with Katie in that art contest, and a bunch of board/card games.
72. Get my Illinois driver's license (finally).
  Done.  It took us forever, but we finally have in-state licenses.
75. Find a way to be civically/politically active that is more involved than just signing online petitions and contributing money.
  My activism has subsided a little since the contract negotiations ended, but for a while I was reasonably active in my union, going to meetings and marching around campus.  You know.  Yelling stuff.
76. Eat a better muffin than last time.
  I did.  It was a very satisfactory muffin.  Banana nut, I think.
81. Get a copy of Seven Samurai for Caitlin.
  Did it!  On a whim!
87. Find a Japanese food dish that I actually like, so that when Caitlin or others want to go get Japanese I'm not the dissenting vote.
  I like vegetable tempura!  Though I did confirm that sushi and sashimi are still gross.
89. Get better at living an ecologically sustainable lifestyle.
  I've actually been working pretty hard at this.  Leaving lights off unless I actually need them for things.  Taking shorter showers, and trying to shower when there's actually a reason, rather than just as a reflex.  Reusing art supplies and scrap paper.  Using the random blank pages in books as sketch/notepads.  Eating leftovers, sometimes.  I think I'm doing pretty well at it.
91. Either through actively changing or consciously accepting the status quo, become satisfied with my social life.
  It was sort of a combination of the two, really.  There are still days when I feel like Nobody likes me / Everybody hates me / Guess I'll go eat worms, but for the most part I'm pretty happy with the few friends I have here.  Especially after joining the ATLAS team, I feel like I have friends based on mutual compatibility, not just on common circumstance.
95. Buy the Harry Potter movies.
  Did it!  On a whim!
97. Learn to create tidy illuminated art, using actual gold leaf.
  Another artistic accomplishment I'm pretty happy about.  I've still got a lot to learn, but I've successfully created a couple of gold-leafed pieces that I'm really quite pleased with.
98. Become proficient in SPSS, Stata, and SAS.
  This feels a little like a lie, since I've kind of forgotten my training in Stata and SAS.  But I have eceived training in all three programs, and my intent is to get progressively better at the latter two in the coming semester.
100. Hug my dog.
  Almost every day.