On My Year of Reading or Reading Rainbow!

Do you like my super artsy art? I want to start making accompanying sketches to my post, even if they are stick scratchings. I think I have narrowed my books for the year all picked out. I tried to get a good mix of different genres and take a bunch of suggestions to get stuff that might not have been on my radar. Thanks to everyone who gave me suggestions, I really appreciate it!

1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand – January

2. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – February

3. The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli – March

4. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – April

5 .Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson – May

6 .Racing the Beam by Nick Montfort – June

7. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – July

8. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain – August

9. The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith – September

10. iWoz by Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith – October

11. The Big Short by Michael Lewis – November

12. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk -December

This is the list for this year, and if I read through them all with extra time I have a contingency list waiting as well, with a lot more of your suggestions.

I have all the books on my trusty iPad, Matilda, ready to be read. This is going to be great. What will you guys be reading this year, or are reading now? I am curious. Let me know in any way you can, comments preferable. I mean you can use any account now to post, there is nothing stopping you! Happy reading!

On The Beginning of the End or 2012: a Futurespective

Part of this whole “New Years Resolution” nonsense is to address the following year. To take a look back and see how you did on last years resolutions and what kind of progress has been made. Let’s get that out of the way first, close out 2011.

Get into shape – 50% See me after class

I started this so well. I was getting into the best shape of my life. I felt great, I was losing weight. I started the P90x program and was doing it every day. I was half-way through and for some reason I stopped. I got called for jury duty and that little change was enough to throw me off kilter. Day 45 of 90 exactly. I stopped. Which means…

Run a marathon. – Failed

I need to do this. Stop screwing around and just do it. It will always be a loose end unless I buckle down and do it. Dude, sack up.

Become a digital minimalist. – Success! (Well, succeeding)

This has been a gargantuan undertaking. Who knew 24 years of a primarily analog life would lead to so much work?  I am slowly downsizing the whole of everything. It is amazingly boring and time consuming. That being said, there is lights that are being seen at the end of the tunnel. Every little thing I get rid of takes one more rock off my chest. It’s an amazing feeling.

Be more adult. – Rousing Success

This was the big one for me. This is the one I really wanted to focus in on and I think I have done a pretty great job. It is something that, by my interaction at least, is being skipped over for most people. For most of us, as I mentioned in the post right before this one, we are incredibly lucky to live like we do, sure we are human and experience setbacks, but that doesn’t mean we need to complain about every one. That is adolescent. Something my peers should be exiting. Something I want to be done with. That might mean sucking it up and doing something that is painful or unpleasant, but we are nothing if not adaptable. This year I have made a conscious effort to do what needs to be done with little to no complaints because it was was needed to be done (That kind of makes me sound like a hit man, but I promise, I am not a hit man). To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t been easy. It was against my nature. It took stretching and growth, but it worked. An unintended, but welcomed side-effect of this has been that when everyone sucks it up and does what needs to be done, there is no drama (well, little drama). It’s great to see things go so smoothly.

Adapting that “do what needs to be done” mentality, I managed to pull the best grades since Summer 2007: A, A, A+, C (Seriously guys, that C is in ECE 311: Electromagnetics and I am more proud of that C than any of the others) Also, Yes, Mary that is me bragging. If there is one thing I know about Mary it is that she likes to say I always brag (I do not).

This has been the key to my recent successes. If you want to achieve a dream or goal it takes work and most of it consists of not things that are not constantly fun. In closing, this one mental change has transformed my life more than any other thing I have done in recent memory.

OK, on to 2012

Continue Being an Adult

Ok, good job 2011 me, but you are not in the clear. Growth is one thing, but maintaining that growth is something new all together. Regression is an easy thing, and I don’t want to regress. For the first time in a long time I feel my life is back in the right direction and reverting back to my formal bad habits and attitudes would be a monumental failure. This is the prime objective and the one on which everything hinges.

Get Healthy

This one is a comment on last years, but changed in a real way. Getting fit is one thing, but getting healthy is a whole other battle. I want to get in shape. I want to start and finish P90x and I want to continue to work on my running. This NEEDS to be the year in which I run that marathon. I am not getting any younger and there is no time like the present. The other side to this is diet. That is something I never took extremely serious, but it plays an as important, if not more important role in this. These all make up to a healthier me. I actually enjoy living and I want to do it as much as I can. I can’t control what happens to me externally, but I sure can keep the machine in top working order.

To ensure my success in this I am going to be keeping metrics on all the important things and posting them on here. Caloric intake, weight, exercise, dates, times, all of this and more will be updated weekly and a monthly wrap-up post detailing my thoughts and feelings. This will be aggregated somewhere on the blog, and available at large and all those details will be posted soon.

Read More Books

I read. I read a lot actually. The thing is that I don’t read books. I read articles, news, blogs, but not books. The one thing, more than anything else, that can improve your writing beyond actually writing is reading. Seeing different styles and words can help you learn and develop your own sort of style (Do you guys ever notice I use a lot of parenthetical asides when I write? This is part of the style I have created and I got it from reading). Since I have school, I want to make a realistic goal for this. 12 books, 12 months, 1 a month. That is completely manageable. Hopefully this will make me more smarter.

Finish Condensing My Life (Digital Minimalism cont.)

This is by far the most tedious but necessary thing on the list. I have done a pretty good job of becoming unattached to (most) material possessions, but I need to finish the job. I am giving myself a due date.  End of the year I better be finished minimizing. I should be a lean, streamlines, model of human existence. The reason for this is that I graduate in the Fall of 2013. I start senior design in Spring 2013. That will most likely take up all my time. What little free time I have I want to use to secure a job and get a place to live. I can’t be messing around with minimizing stuff. I want to “hit the ground running” as they say. I want to be move-out ready when I get that diploma.

More Music

I kind of started this back a couple months ago, but I need more new music. I used to be on the cusp of new, great music, but it dropped off. This is unacceptable. I love music and need to keep listening to new stuff. My goal is that every month I have at least 10 new albums (doesn’t have to be just released, just stuff I haven’t heard). I hope to share those with you guys, too. On here and via Spotify. I love Spotify. Go get Spotify.

Share More and Better

This blog is now 9 years old. (Wow, seriously 9 years old!) There has been some major changes to the site over the years. Names, and URLs. (So happy I own killertofu.com) With that I haven’t always had the easiest way to proliferate or interact with everyone about content. That is changing with Facebook and Twitter integration as well as the addition of Disqus as the comment manager. Disqus lets me respond to people and let other people respond to other people much easier and let’s you also use your Twitter, Facebook, or Google logins. Streamlined! I like writing and opening up dialogue, but speaking in a room by myself is never ideal. I want you guys, yeah you reading this right now, to join the discussion. I am genuinely interested in what you have to say.

I also want to share more with you guys, more than these long posts. I want to share stuff I watch, read, and maybe some quick photos. I can do that on Twitter now, but it is fleeting. It get buried in the annals of Twitter within a day. I could start a Tumblr, but I pretty much hate Tumblr and don’t have as much control over a Tumblr as I do my own site. So, here is what I’m going to do. I am going to start 2 “sub-sites” maybe they will change over time, but I am going to make something called KT Mini which is little photos and videos I make that don’t warrant a full post. This will all be from my life and not from sharing other internet related stuff. The second is KT Share, which is my Tumblr-esque site. It will have all stuff around the web I think you guys would enjoy or stuff I really enjoyed. These will remain semi-independent and not appear on the front page or within the blog itself. I need to still get this in order, but hopefully this will let me share more with you guys.

 

That’s all I really have for 2012. I am not winning any point for originality, but then again this isn’t about originality. It’s about making my life better and that is something I can whole-heatedly embrace. Look for updates to this site, where KT get’s a little better.
Since Disqus is live right now, leave me some comments. What do you guys think of my goals? What are your goals? Leave ’em!

Addendum

Get a Manicure

This might seem slightly strange, but this has an underlying point. I have had this terrible habit that I haven’t been able to kick: biting my nails. I have tried so many times, that I lost count. I am currently in the middle of the longest run of not biting my nails. I want to end this and not have hands that look like they have just seen war. The triumph for this would be to be actually able to get a manicure. A little effeminate, sure, but it is something I have never been able to do because of my lack of nail length. I want to be a pretty man.

Finish My Damn Short Story

I have had this idea kicking around for a short story for years now. I need to put the pen to the page and finish this. It keeps coming up in my head which means that until I close this loop it will always haunt me. I don’t do nearly enough fiction writing anyway, so it’s something to grow myself as a writer as well. All I need is a good weekend to sit down and bang it out. It needs some research to it, too, despite its fictional nature. Anyway, I will post it here when I do finish it for your ridicule.

Practice Japanese, You Know, if There is Time

This is not so much a resolution, but something I need to do, but it is not the top priority. So, if I find myself with a free moment and everything else is done (yeah right, dude) I want to continue practicing Japanese. I have forgotten so much of it. *sigh*

On Resolutions 2011.

Resolutions

My customary resolutions post. Late, but here. It might not interest any of you out there in the spacetubes, but to me it’s important to write this stuff down. Writing it down makes it real. It gives me a reference point. A way to evaluate myself at year’s end. A hard copy that can’t be rationalized out by my brain. In essence, this is why I do it. I am a firm believer in Kaizen: constant improvement. Every day you should strive to be a better person than you were the day before. Doing something small everyday will help you achieve you goals. That is really the problem with achieving goals. If you have a big goal in mind, break it down into manageable chunks. Taking something on that is huge and amorphous is setting yourself up for failure. Anyway, enough parables, onto my goalsolutions (goals and resolutions).

Get into shape.

This is pretty self-explanitory. Not only that, but it is the most tired resolution in the history of man. I have really been lax on this past year, or at least during most of it. There was a stint in the summer I was really making some headway, but then I lazied up. I want to get some definition and some stamina. It will happen. Also, this leads me into a two-year failed resolution:

Run a marathon.

Nothing I haven’t said before, but I really need to do this. It seems pretty arbitrary, but it’s a goal I need to reach. Two years I have tried and have not mustered up the motivation to get off my butt and train. Why is this year any different. Well, the overarching goalsolution should answer that. It’s going to happen. Are you pumped? I am so pumped.

Become a digital minimalist.

This one requires much more focus than just this little post. I will go much farther into detail in a separate post. In a nutshell, all my stuff is going digital, baby!

Be more adult.

No. Stop it now. I do not mean to be more adult (growl). I mean to grow up. Start acting more like an adult. I am definitely reaching that point if not already there and it’s not something that happens naturally, at least for me. So, I am making a conscious decision to do it. This is probably seems boring by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something my generation sorely lacks. Let me try to explain this in more certain terms.

Stop whining about doing things that are not desirable.

Chores, things for the family, homework, studying, anything that is not completely enjoyable at the start. I am guilty of complaining when doing certain activities and that’s find for an adolescent. I’m an adult now and it’s time to stop bitching. Bitching stops. Do it and grow a pair. It sucks, but it needs to get done and if it’s your responsibility then do it. Really, it’s as clear as that. To achieve things in life especially your dreams you are going to need to do some undesirable things and put work into it, but the reward is far greater.

Become organized and stick to it.

Over the past year I have really gotten more organized. Everything is calendarized and listed. It has helped improve my focus immensely. This year I need to get even more focused. Everything needs to be filed away and not left to swim around in my brain. All my papers and important documents need to be where I know them. Again, it’s all the boring parts of being an adult.

No excuses.

Stop making excuses for not doing things. This ties into stop whining. Just do it. Stop being so flippin’ lazy.

Learn skills that will be useful later.

I have a pretty vast skill set that may help me down the road, but there is some things I want to learn still, especially about mechanical stuff. I am pretty well versed in the ways of electricity, but my knowledge of fixing mechanical issues with cars or bikes is limited. I need to change that. Always good to improve your knowledge base as well as save a few bucks along the way.

Record keeping/ Finances

I need to start recording my financial transactions better. I have all this stat knowledge now and I need to start evaluating how I spend money. Along with that I need to track repairs and certain other boring stuff so I can reference later. Most people never get to this point in their entire lives. I will not be one of them.

 

This makes adulthood seems super boring, but if I get systems in place that I can rely on that makes the grown-up stuff go by quicker, I can go be a kid doing fun stuff. It is all about balance and if you sway too much in one direction or the other life becomes unenjoyable or unsustanable. Here is to 2011. Let’s make it a great one!

ADDENDUM

Learn more Japanese.

This one kid of slipped my mind when I was writing this, but it is important. These past couple of years I have let my Japanese skills go by the wayside. Not this year. I plan on creating a plan to study a specific amount every day. Even if it’s only a kanji or two and some vocab. The little bits add up and by the end of the year I will have accumulated quite a bit. No more slacking on this. I need to buckle down. So, look for me to be a lot more annoying as I sprinkle in new things about Japanese I learned into everyday conversation. Ja ne!