kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Good article: http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

I hate to be a downer on an already-somber day. And I agree that 2016 has overstayed its welcome. But really, can we expect 2017 to be any better? Celebrity deaths aside, you know what's slated to transpire on January 20, right? An author whose blog I often enjoy is Chuck Wendig, who penned this gem: "I mean, 2016 wasn’t a blip. It was the beginning of something. All the bad news that’s arisen isn’t isolated. It’s part of a pattern. This shit is just getting started. The bump that was 2016 isn’t a hill we’re climbing over. It’s the top of Cthulhu’s head as he emerges from the deep."

I hope that's not true, of course. But all signs point to Not So Good.

I just feel bummed. It's the time of year when reflection and introspection and resolution are all on the agenda, of course, which doesn't help. I just feel, all too often these days, like some hollow shell stuffed with all manner of bad things, and a heart that's lost its way, if it ever had one. I need to change something. I need to change everything. I have no idea where to begin.

Anyway. Sorry. Somewhat-happier post planned for tomorrow, I hope. For now, time to go home!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Another year-end thing I sometimes do is a recap of the year in photos. And usually there are a metric crap-ton of 'em. But to keep it (more) brief, this year I'm restricting myself to just one photo for each month. So let's see what I come up with, shall we?

January:

Clicky! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I always consider the fact that New Year's is such an arbitrary thing. Who decided that January should be the first month of the year? Makes more sense to me to start and end the year on some sort of astronomical event, a solstice or equinox. And as for resolutions, again it's arbitrary. Any day--any moment--is as good as any other to decide to change, or to set out to accomplish something. Narrowing that notion down to one day a year is pretty counterproductive, if you think about it for a moment.

But oh well, it's never stopped me from pausing to reflect and reorient anyway. :) So I've been looking over a few of my New Year's entries from years gone by. And it's a little depressing, I have to say. Last year's was pretty vague and a bit melancholy. But for 2014 I'd laid out some fairly specific goals for myself, to wit:

-At least once per month, do something alone with one or more of the girls.
-Write and record at least 3 new songs.
-Learn to play and sing at least 10 cover tunes, enough to put on a short impromptu solo show with an acoustic guitar.
-Get back to learning piano. And finish restoring the damn piano while you're at it.
-Pick 5 photographic skills to learn or improve (e.g., posing subjects, macro, astro, off-camera lighting, long-exposure).
-Keep track of books read/movies watched (LJ is a fine place for this).
-Limit soda intake to one per day; that stuff will kill you.
-At least twice per week, get some good exercise: hike, jog, bike, kayak, something!
-In conjunction with the above, spend less time on your rear at the PC and more time exploring the outdoors.
-A good way to spend more time outdoors and with the kids: geocaching! Get active and find at least 50 caches this year.
-Get the photo biz going strong again: at least one paid gig per month on average, and 4 weddings at full price.

And again I'm sad to say, the past 2 years haven't seen much of that come to fruition. I've been a little better at doing stuff with the girls, especially our trips to DC and NYC. Instead of restoring the damn piano, we sold it and replaced it with a nice digital piano instead. The soda intake hasn't much improved, and I started jogging for exercise but stopped. I've talked about learning and writing songs for years and done very little of that. I keep meaning to get back into geocaching with the kids, but something always derails that one too. The photo biz has picked up a little, but hasn't really been a focus. And as anyone who follows me on FB knows, I still spend way too much time there. But that's my politickin' place, and with an election coming up next year.. it's important, dammit! :)

So anyway, I still like those goals and I intend to refresh them for the new year. And we even get an extra day to accomplish stuff in 2016, yay! So I think I'll add one more: Write some stuff for money. I think there are plenty of websites I could contribute to, and that would be a good creative outlet (plus some extra cash!).

Happy New Year to you all--I hope it's a great one for everyone. Thanks for reading, and commenting, and caring.

I was also reminded of Trampled by Turtles in an old New Year's entry, so have another. :)

kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Sorry to say, my 2015 is not off to a stellar start. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad per se, and not even anything out of the ordinary. But maybe that's it--this time of year, I'm supposed to feel optimistic about what lies ahead, and I should be making plans for what to do with myself in the new year. And I'm really.. not, and just feeling really blah.

Maybe it's this lingering cold. I feel okay, but I keep coughing and clearing my throat in vain, with the gook firmly and stubbornly in place. I finally broke down today and got myself some Mucinex, hopefully that will help clear things out.

The bright point of the year so far was lunch today, with a couple colleagues at Buca di Beppo, a favorite place of mine. That Chicken Limone with fettucine alfredo.. mmmmm.

I was off work for the past 3 days, which makes today really feel like a Monday--but then I'm off again for the weekend, of course, so I'm all screwed up.

The days off themselves were.. meh. We had plans to go for a day trip to some distant state parks we like, and maybe toss in a new spot or two. But Tuesday the weather looked crappy, and said the next couple days would be better, so we waited. Wednesday, the weather still looked crappy, but Thursday would be better, so we waited. Thursday the weather looked iffy, but we went.. and it rained, of course. It ended up being an okay excursion, but not as good as it could have been.

Meanwhile, on the rainy days, at least I did get some things accomplished. I procured and installed a new set of speakers for my car, as I'd been talking about doing. Audio quality being so subjective, and cars being such varied listening environments, every speaker model I researched had reviews running the gamut from "omg these are awesome!!" to "wtf these are worse than the stock speakers." So finally I just decided to go with something reasonably priced by a manufacturer I respect, and got two pairs of Pioneers. And I do believe they accomplished what I was after, which was more clarity and sparkle on the high end and a tighter, punchier low end. So I consider it money well spent. I might go back in and apply some soundproofing material to the doors, which seems to help reduce road noise and better focus the sound from the speakers. But that can wait.

I also took Hallie to Home Depot, where we got stuff to build a puppet theater out of PVC piping. She's shown a proclivity for puppets for some time, and her favorite Christmas present was this nice Muppet-style princess puppet. We definitely want to encourage it, so I found a plan for a simple theater and I built the frame while Heather sewed some curtains. It came out pretty nicely, I'll have to take a photo sometime.

But anyway, here we are in 2015. I turn 40 this year. Maybe that's where my blahness really comes from. Getting old, with what seems so damn little to show for it. And lamenting the man I am, I guess. I've been a little down on myself lately, as a person, as a father, as a husband, as a friend.. you name it. I'm sure it will pass, as it always does. But for now I'm wallowing a little.

As for what I want out of this year? The same stuff I say I want every year, I guess. To learn more, to be more creative (and maybe monetize some of that creativity), just to be more and to be better. I'd like to start taking a little better care of myself physically, too. I'm rounding around the middle, definitely need to nip that in the bud. And cut back on sugar, mainly in the form of soda. And get to the dentist, and the doctor for that matter.

To help with the creativity angle, I jumped on a clearance deal earlier today--a guitar interface for my iPhone. I have an electric guitar here in the office which I often pick up while on conference calls or just waiting for something, but I have no amp so it's not all that satisfying, plus it lets me play sloppy. Maybe having lots of tones to play with via the smartphone will help make me pick it up more and get more out of it.

Okay, I'll leave it here for now. Happy New Year to you all--I hope 2015 has great things in store.
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
20130101-IMG_4497_HDR

Aaand here's Part Deux of my 2013 photo recap--mostly photographs from my travels around Florida and the country, and nature shots from as close as home and as far as Malibu. And a few made the cut more because of the memory than the photo itself. There's a lot, be warned. :)

Clicky! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
20130101-IMG_4557

So I promised a photo recap, right? But this is difficult: to give you an idea, there are 1,536 photos in my Family set on Flickr for 2013, and that obviously doesn't include my travel and nature stuff. So I'm gonna break it up into two parts, family and everything else. And I guess I'll start with the family, since they're most important!

So let's go! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So the time has come to close the door on 2013 and stride boldly into a fresh new year. I dunno, I always feel that warm thrill of hope in my chest thinking about a whole new year out there to explore. And I always have high hopes going into it. Typically I set a few goals for myself, and I just reviewed what I posted this time last year to see how I did. And I have to say, the answer is not too well. To wit:

I wanted to do regular date nights with the wife and more solo time with the girls. RESULT: one date night with the wife, and a handful of solo excursions with one or more kids. Definitely need to refocus here, time's a-wastin.
I wanted to be more positive overall, and not allow myself to wallow in negativity too much. RESULT: I guess I did okay here, I can't recall any major funks. Still, worth keeping in mind.
I wanted to be a bit more conscientious about my health, particularly about what I consume and the exercise I get. RESULT: Yeah, notsomuch. If anything, I got into the bad habit of drinking MORE soda, not less. And exercise was sporadic at best.
And as always, I wanted to be more creative, to produce less and consume more. RESULT: Um, next question please? I guess I did okay photographically, but I didn't really take anything--photography, musicality, writing, whatever--to the next level, and I feel I spent waaay too much time sitting here at the computer wasting time on social media, Reddit, etc. Big fail.

And really, these are what I want to focus and re-focus on for the new year as well, because they are the things that matter most to me: being creative, being active, being as good a person and husband and father as I can. But I think I need to get a little more specific, so here are some quantifiable goals for 2014, the better by which to mark my progress.

-At least once per month, do something alone with one or more of the girls.
-Write and record at least 3 new songs.
-Learn to play and sing at least 10 cover tunes, enough to put on a short impromptu solo show with an acoustic guitar.
-Get back to learning piano. And finish restoring the damn piano while you're at it.
-Pick 5 photographic skills to learn or improve (e.g., posing subjects, macro, astro, off-camera lighting, long-exposure).
-Keep track of books read/movies watched (LJ is a fine place for this).
-Limit soda intake to one per day; that stuff will kill you.
-At least twice per week, get some good exercise: hike, jog, bike, kayak, something!
-In conjunction with the above, spend less time on your rear at the PC and more time exploring the outdoors.
-A good way to spend more time outdoors and with the kids: geocaching! Get active and find at least 50 caches this year.
-Get the photo biz going strong again: at least one paid gig per month on average, and 4 weddings at full price.

And I think that's pretty good to be getting on with for the New Year. :)

Even though I didn't do so well with my goals for the past year, it was still a pretty decent trip 'round the sun. No big lifestyle changes, but there were some high points. Seeing the Pacific for the first time, our New England family vacation, some of my other business trips, all good times. Getting rid of 2 cars and the scooter and replacing them with a car I actually adore and am proud of, that was a nice development. Work continued just fine, everyone was generally healthy, there remains lots to appreciate about my life. And I should spend more time doing just that.

In other news, I find this .gif totally mesmerizing.



So: A very Happy New Year to you all--may your 2014 be happy and healthy, and may you make it the best year you possibly can.
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Jeez, that's a lot of responsibility. I'm feeling a little stagefright right now. "Stagefright," that's a cool Def Leppard song. I said a-welcome to my shooooooowwwwwww! 1983, now THAT was a pretty good year. Speaking of dates, did you know today's date is a palindrome? 01-02-2010. It's my Dad's birthday today! Also the birthday of my 1983 best friend, I should send him a quick birthday hello. I should probably write my sister, too--I basically ignored her for both her birthday and Christmas, and she sent me a Happy New Year e-mail. I'm a bad brother.

So anyway, what's up? As I expected from minute one, the Fox thing blew over with no real impact. As soon as midnight came and went and the first 'extension' was granted, I knew they'd blinked and that was that. So I went to work yesterday morning, but there was really no need. No need for any of the panic and preparation of the past few weeks, really. Oh well, it's over and that's good.

After I got home, for some reason we decided to go buy me a new flash for the camera. No complaints here, that was on my list of photographic resolutions for the year! I'd had my eye on the top-of-the-line 580EX II, but our nearest store didn't have that one and really it's a little more than I need currently anyway. So we went in to get the 430EX II instead, and discovered that they had an open-box one for $65 off, yes please! I played with it a little yesterday.. I do have much to learn, but it seems like a great piece of kit to have. Speaking of open-box, New Year's is apparently a GREAT day to go to Best Buy if you want open-box stuff. Right in the front door they had a table loaded with open-box home theater equipment, and back in cameras there was a whole endcap full of opened camcorders and digital point-and-shoots. Have to keep that in mind in future!

Today, since as I mentioned it's Dad's birthday, we're meeting him down in Kissimmee (he lives in Melbourne so 192 is a straight shot) for lunch and maybe a nature park. We'll have to see how the weather turns out, I guess. Might be too cold for a hike!

Okay, Happy 2010, everyone! Hope your year is off to a great start. Good Things this year, dammit!

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