New Years Resolutions – 2017

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The New Year is here! With a brand new year comes a new opportunity to look back and examine how things were, where I stand now, and decide how I want things to change in the future. For a great many people, that means New Year Resolutions.

I’ve never put much stock into new year resolutions, though I think I’ve always made them to one degree or another. They get broken very easily, after all, and nothing is quite as demoralizing as failing to live up to your own expectations.

However, I think the key to solid resolutions is, primarily, to remain general. Specific resolutions are the most fragile sort, and are easily broken. If approached more generally, little lapses are not crushing and adjustments are more likely to continue to mean success. In that vein, I make the following resolutions.

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The New Year – 2016

 

Blog Segment - Peeking Through The Window copyYou know, typically, I’m not big on the whole New Year’s Resolutions thing. It has always felt a little bit weird to me to have a specific time of the year to say “Things are going to be different, now!” when that’s generally the sort of thing that I would assume we should be ready to do, and be serious about, on any given day. If anything, having a national holiday (kinda) for it makes me realize all the more how bad I am at keeping “resolutions.” Despite this, I find myself here about to write down a little bit of a wrap up for last year, and a look ahead to this one, with a little of resolve for solutions thrown in the mix. So let’s get started.

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2009 Memories – Walk With Me For A Moment…

Ok, so this is my last blog of 2009! Woo-Hoo! It’s also probably my last blog before next semester starts up again because… well, I’ll be in Oklahoma with Katie, and I simply won’t have time.

So, in honor of the end of the year, I’m going to look back and see what I can remember of this last year. Seeing as how my brain works like a dusty attic when it comes to memories, chances are, this little wander down 2009 past is going to seem a little stilted.

See the clutter? Do you SEE it?


To put it simply, I remember the entertainment I have consumed better than anything else at the moment. I’ll try and do some meaningful looks back at some point too, but right now I’m just ruffling through the entertainment box in my head cause that’s all that’s coming to me at the moment…. Also, I know I’m going to miss something you loved, and probably something I loved too. I have a crappy memory.
Let’s begin, shall we?

First of all, there have been some real treats and some disappointing thuds at the movies this year.

I have too much time on my hands


AVATAR was fantastic, and if you want more of my opinions on why, you should check out My Movie Review, for more.
Star Trek made said franchise fun again, made possible by perfect casting and a great script, even if some of the science fiction was more fiction than science. It was another fantastic movie.
District 9 proved that Science Fiction doesn’t have to be only about explosions to be a good movie. Sure, you got Aliens, but the setting and story direction were all new and fresh. This is also probably the one movie this year that I hope they DON’T make a sequel to, at least not for a long while, just because the first one was so well done that I don’t want them to ruin it.

Don't let the dork in the middle fool you, this is a great movie.


You know what? I loved Watchmen. I really did. Not as good as the comic, true, but as far as adaptations go, it was pretty darn spectacular. Do I like the change they made at the end? Heck no. Do I understand why they did it? *Grumbles* … yeah… still, it was an action packed movie that made superhero movie mean something more than typical popcorn fare in the same vein (though not calibur) as the Dark Knight.
Drag Me to Hell is the first Horror movie I’ve seen in a theater, and it was really good, despite some overly cheesy moments and an ending I could spot from a mile away.
Zombieland delivered in many ways, and was ultimately more lasting in my memories than I gave it credit for at the time. I would totally bump my review score up a notch or two. Heck of a lot of fun, and yet it has more heart than many other comedies that I could think of.
Coraline was a fantastic stop-motion movie, based off a story by an author I love and put together by the same artist that worked with Tim Burton on Nightmare Before Christmas. Very good.

It's such a whistful poster


Up had one of the best first thirty minutes of film this year, but tapered off a bit toward the middle and end, loosing some of its charm and heart along the way. Not nearly as fantastic as Wall*e or The Incredibles, it is still another great movie from Pixar.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince had some big flaws, especially the hollow and anti-climactic ending, but it is still one of the most visually impressive Harry Potters yet, with excellent direction and a better than average script. It might very well be my favorite Harry yet. (Not necessarily saying much, considering I have low opinions of a number of those films.)
Disney’s A Christmas Carol was quite good in some parts, and quite bad in others. I personally quite enjoyed the art-style, CGI and character designs (I actually really enjoyed the Spirit of Christmas Past design,) but every time they did one of those roller-coaster moments, with scrooge sliding along rooftops, or turning as small as a mouse, I just rolled my eyes and endured it.
Terminator Salvation was just as dull and bleak as its setting. Thoroughly one-note, I felt that Sam Worthington was the best part of the movie and utterly wasted on the horrible ending. It wasn’t all bad, with some terrific set-piece action sequences, but it never got anywhere near the original James Cameron flicks in terms of storytelling.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine had some decent moments (like the terrific opening sequences,) and Hugh Jackman is always going to be Wolverine in my mind, now. But the terrible effects in some sequences, the poor dialogue, misusing or under-using some characters, and a horrible plot make this only a few steps higher that X-Men 3, which I despise.

Optimus Prime Couln't Save It


Easily the biggest disappointment of the year was Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. What with a horrible plot, bad dialogue, bad humor and borderline racial robots, it made it really hard to enjoy the sequel to what I thought was a pretty good first movie. The entire thing was summed up to me in one sequence in which a small evil robot dry-humps Meagan Fox’s leg.

When it comes to TV, I simply don’t watch stuff as it comes out. There’s just no time. So I tend to enjoy it on Netflix when it comes to DVD. So here are two standout television shows that I watched when they didn’t air and highly recommend.
Supernatural. The dialogue is great if melodramatic, the humor is spot-on and the plot is well conceived. I enjoy the effects and character designs a lot too. This sounds a little dryer, coming off of my films segment, but trust me when I say that if you enjoy supernatural dramas in any way, you’ve got to give Supernatural a try.

Man, this Anime was Epic


Code Geass. It is like Death Note slammed together with a Mecha anime with a healthy dose of politics and a dash of high-school drama. It’s utterly fantastic, and one of my new favorite anime. It’s broken into the top three, people. It’s really freaking fantastic. Go watch. Now.

2009 was also a great year for me in my Videogames hobby.

Helping your friends out of tight spots is awesome.


Resident Evil 5 was a blast to play alongside my brother, Ben. Nothing beats a successfully executed team-up against a horde of zombie-like monsters.
Madworld was a heck of a lot of fun on my Wii, and it has managed to be the most violent and explicit game I’ve played all year. On a Wii! O.O
Fallout 3 took up a huge swath of my time and I am happy it did. I still need to go back and play the expanded content sometime.
I’ve had some fun with WiiSports Resort, though I haven’t had a chance to really go through it yet. Dogfighting is already a classic, and me and Brandon are going to have to have a re-match again sometime soon.
God of War was a lot of fun, and holds up very well, even under modern console sensibilities.

Plants vs. Zombies sucked my life away for a little while there, with a hilarious premise, fun and surprisingly deep gameplay, and one of the best game-specific songs I’ve ever heard.
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a great look at gaming circa SNES and was fun, if occasionally frustrating. The definitive 2D Zelda experience.
Scribblenauts is massively innovative, and no amount of gameplay missteps can take that achievement away from it. Unfortunately the overall experience was marred by poor controls and wacky physics. I know it’s a puzzle game, but I still would’ve liked some sort of loose story thread connecting everything together.
Assassin’s Creed II was a lot of fun, and a much more polished version of Assassin’s Creed, with better storytelling and gameplay. At the same time, I loved the first one a whole lot too, and so I didn’t end up loving the second one much more than the first.

Can you believe this is how you start the game?


The Videogame experience that captured me most this year was my back to back Uncharted/Uncharted 2 play through. A modern Indiana Jones story, with loads of humor, action, and atmosphere, not to mention beautiful graphics and settings. I was blown away. Uncharted 2 is definitely my Game of the Year, as much as I loved some of the others. If you own a Playstation 3 and haven’t played through Uncharted, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
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Could've Used Better Cover Art Though...


2009 was also a great year for my reading hobby, as I’ve started branching out a bit more and read a higher volume of books. In many ways it was the year of Brandon Sanderson, with Warbreaker, Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians, the Mistborn Trilogy (I believe I read those this year…) and to top it all off, The Gathering Storm, which is still the finest book I’ve read this year (yes, I might be a little biased…)
2009 was also the Year of John Scalzi’s recommendations, as I’ve been following his Whatever Blog a lot as of late, and I’ve been taking his word for a number of interesting books, such as Give Up the Ghost, and Boneshaker (which I’m over half-way through at this moment.)
As for the books I’m borrowing from Dr. Robinson, I swear I’ll get to them, I will!

So, that was my 2009 in Entertainment, roughly speaking. Should I get down to the more personal stuff? Yeah… I guess so…

So what exactly have I done in 2009? Well, trust me when I say my memories are mostly going to cover this last semester.

Well, there are the successes.

First and foremost, you are reading my blog at this very moment. This blog is one of the major things I’ve started up this year. Finally giving myself a permanent home for my public face is important now, but it will likely grow in importance as I finally (hopefully) begin to be published. Should I (hopefully) get any fans, this will become a much livelier spot, and I can’t wait for that to (hopefully) happen.

National Novel Writing Month was a huge thing for me, and overwhelmingly successful. I am very happy I took part, and I’m even happier with the progress I made on Jaine and the things I learned.
Speaking of Jaine, this year has really seen the maturation of that particular project. Hopefully next year will see its completion, but I’ll say no more on that until the bottom of this post.
Also in the writing arena, my Encyclopedia for my book series, Ancient Conflict (still on the backburner,) is coming along nicely, if in fits and starts. While I wanted to write on Jaine over the Christmas reak, I found the Encyclopedia taking up all of my writing time, and while that isn’t good for Jaine, it is very good for the encyclopedia.

Scholastically, I’ve been pretty successful too, making an A in Feature Writing, in which I’m getting most of my articles published (huzzah!) and an A in Hebrew, which makes me ridiculously happy when compared to the Hell that was Intermediate Spanish Class. The B in Origins of the Bible was something of a downer, especially since it wasn’t because I didn’t know the material, but because I accidentally missed about four quizzes, seriously hurting my overall grade in the class.

Above all of these, however, I am happiest in the fact that another year has past and I am still together with Katie and we’re more in love than ever. ^__^

That doesn’t mean there weren’t some lack-luster moments, however…

Okay, those of you who follow my blog know that one of my articles, on KJCR, wasn’t published due to backroom squabbling at SWAU. Well, I dropped some hints about KJCR’s problems to receptive ears, hoping to start an up swell of support for the radio station.
Inadvertently, this led to a flyer being handed out at a school assembly causing a small on campus panic. I feel sorta responsible for this, especially since the KJCR situation was resolved by then.
While the fiasco was begun by the backroom nature of the KJCR deliberations, and wasn’t helped by the somewhat unfortunate nature of the way the word was passed (a flyer on the assembly of the year? Really?) I still feel like I was responsible for much of it, and that wasn’t cool.

I had a number of plans stewing in my head this year, the most interesting of them being a podcast for the school. That never panned out. Maybe next year?

Lackluster moments aside, this has been a very important year for me too.
This was a year of transitions.
Through my experience with NaNoWriMo and Feature Writing Class, I feel like I’m starting to make that shift from student to professional. I’m starting to grab more responsibility (such as becoming president of the Rough Writers), and actually face up to challenges that’ve been lingering on the horizon for a while now.
Part of this transition has been changing from a mere consumer to a producer. I no longer just read blogs, I write them. I no longer just read stories, I tell them. I no longer just browse Magazines, I sell articles to them. This is an important step to becoming independent, self-sustaining and a full-fledged writer.

Becoming a writer was also a big thing for me this year. Writing is no longer just a hobby to me. It is who I am. I am an author first, and whatever other career I use to pay the bills with second. If I can launch into a writing career without ever becoming a professor, I’ll do it. I’m an author first.

This sort of identification of who I am has also begun turning me into someone who can openly state my beliefs. I have always had views that might be volatile to certain people, but I’ve always shied back from saying them to anyone but my close friends and confidants. I’m becoming more and more open to expressing these beliefs and opinions, and standing by them despite opposition from people I like and/or respect. This was shown primarily in my article on my perspectives on church, but also in my views on death (sorry Cory, I don’t think we’re ever going to see eye-to-eye on this one.) We’ll see how I continue to progress in this vein.

Identifying who I am, however, has also opened my eyes to my limitations and flaws. I’m not going to go into those here (What? I can have my privacy!) but as a wise toy commercial once said, knowing is half the battle.

So, that’s it for 2009. But what about 2010? Ooooooo, it’s looking good! New movies like Iron Man 2, Alice in Wonderland, Prince of Persia and many others all promise great things. There are always more books to read (can’t wait for Towers of Midnight – WoT book 13) and videogames to play (Bioshock 2, GoW 3, FF XIII, etc. etc. etc.) And there are always new challenges to overcome.

Hmmmmm.....

It’s resolution time people! I’m going to keep it fairly simple.

New Year’s Resolution 1: Finish Jaine. I mean both the rough draft and the second draft. His year, I not only want it finished, I want to be shopping for a publisher. This is my first New Year Resolution.

Number 2: Start walking and eating less. Goodness knows I should have the time, with only two classes. I should be able to just put on a pocast (like the excellent Writing Excuses) and go walk in the park for an hour a day. Easy peasy. Eating less is the hard part. But if I cut down on my portions long enough, hopefully my stomach will shrink and I will actually crave less food at a time. We’ll see.

Number 3: Read more. I love books even more than I love videogames, so I should read more, dagnabbit.

Number 4: Work on my spiritual life. Obviously, there’s always work to be done in this realm no matter who you are, so it’s no different for me. I’ve even got a shiny new Bible from Christmas. Time to put it to use.

Number 5: Nuh-uh. You don’t get to find this one out. This is totally personal. The only way you’ll find this one out is if it happens, in which case I expect much gasping and wide-eyes. Don’t disappoint me.

Now let’s sing happy birthday to the New Year, shall we? 🙂

– Edward L. Cheever II