2012 Goals – August Retrospective

Yeah, I’m a little late on getting this thing up, but I’ve been busy and have just now found the time to write this bad boy.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

I feel I’ve been neutral on this, I haven’t improved, but I haven’t fallen backward.  I’m still going to do Tough Mudder and I’m still gonna beat it down, or at least try :).

#2 Propose PhD Topic

On my way to doing this.  I’ve gotten the proposal written and have a few changes left to be approved before all the paperwork fun time begins!  Oh, and I’ve got to write the presentation for the proposal.  Fun times ahead.

#3 Learn a new programming language

I’m diving deeper into Clojure and really loving it.  I’m also looking into Event Sourcing since it is a really neat idea.  Perhaps I’ll write something up about it.

#4 Housework

Removed some columns from inside my house, cleaning, etc.  It’s all going well.

#5 Learning Guitar

I’m taking guitar lessons and having fun.  If only I had a few hours a day to practice :).  I’m also sort of learning the piano as well, so soon I’ll be a multi-instrumentalist.

Overall

Things are going well.  I’m ready to rock and roll and as long as I can get the proposal presentation done and all the professors herded, I’ll be in awesome shape.

2012 Goals – July Retrospective

Well, I know this is a few days late, but it was because there was good news.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

I’ve adjusted my eating habits, cutting out carbohydrates from my diet completely Monday through Friday, then only allowing myself to have them on the weekend (and not too many!).  It’s already made a noticeable change and I’m also doing at least a walk and/or a jog each day.

#2 Propose my PhD Topic

I was given the ok to propose my PhD topic this semester.  I’m putting the finishing touches on the proposal document and the presentation.  My goal is to propose the before October 5th.  I’m sure I’m gonna be pulling some all-nighters pretty soon to make sure it looks awesome.

#3 Learn a new programming language

I’m still messing around with Clojure, although not as much as I’d like (the PhD basically takes over as #1 goal no matter what :).

#4 Housework

The crape myrtle trees I’ve planted are doing well so that is a good thing.  I’ve also cleaned up some vines that were growing on my fence and that is an even better thing since I now have a nice section of my yard back without having to dodge the vines.

Overall

I’ve got a few articles sitting here on my blog that I’m working on finishing up and publishing, it’s just taking some time since other more important things keep coming up (gotta love school).  Once I get past the PhD proposal, I’m sure it’ll feel like a large weight was taken off of my chest.  To be replaced by an even heavier weight that is my goal to graduate. 🙂

2012 Goals – June Retrospective

I suppose this is the half-way point of the year and I think I’ve done pretty well.  Without any further ado, let’s hop into the list.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

I think I’m doing pretty well here, I’m doing a lot of outdoor work (planting trees, building shelves, workbenches and the like, painting rooms, etc) which I suppose is helping me lose some weight but it definitely isn’t helping endurance any.  With my schedule being somewhat hectic recently I haven’t been able to get into the routine I’d like.  However, the rubber meets the road in October, so I’ve got to get on the ball.

#2 Propose my PhD Topic

I’m still making headway, it’s definitely much closer than it was before.  I’m hoping to have the code completed in the next week at which point I can clean up the proposal document and presentation.  Then, hopefully, start herding cats to make the proposal happen.

#3 Learn a new programming language

I’ve been playing around with Clojure some and dabbling a bit with Scala.  I have to say I prefer Clojure to Scala right now.

#4 Housework

I finished painting all the bedrooms I had planned to paint.  I still haven’t painted the master bedroom because I’m not really sure what I want to do with it, so it’ll stay white until further decisions are made.

Outside, my father and I installed three crape myrtle trees in my yard a few days ago.  Yes, it’s the middle of summer and probably the worst time to do landscaping, but at $13 a tree, it was worth it.  We also built workbenches for my garage which turned out nicely.  I’ve now got to arrange my garage and get everything in order out there.

Up next is figuring out what to do in respect to gutters around my house.  Do I pay someone to install them or do I attempt it myself?

Overall

And we’re done for this month!  I think it’s all moving along quite well and I just need to up my game on the working out since I’ll be paying the piper in a few months.

2012 Goals – May Retrospective

Five months down and another seven to go.  I accomplished a lot this month, but at the expense of some of my other goals, so let’s take a look at what I’ve done.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

Unfortunately, I fell off the bandwagon on this one last month and didn’t exercise or eat nearly as well as I should have been eating.  It become painfully obvious when I ended up hurting my back mowing my lawn.  So, I’m doubling down on this one this month and restarting the Insanity! workout to drop the weight I’ve gained and need to lose in order to be in great shape for Tough Mudder.

#2 Propose my PhD Topic

I made a lot of progress on this one, I’ve gotten a running version of what I need to do done and now I’m just adding a few bells and whistles to have it complete.  Of course, it needs some more complicated examples, so that’ll require more modification of the code I’m sure.  But, like I’ve said before, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m reasonably certain it isn’t a train.

#3 Learn a new programming language

I’ve gotten more comfortable with Scala and I picked up a book on Clojure and I’m using Promela in my PhD work so I think this one is moving along pretty well. I’d still like to write some posts about Scala but I don’t want to do that until I’ve got a better grasp on how to write prettier Scala code.

#4 Finish painting rooms in my house

I installed the oven as referenced in last month’s retrospective and did a bit more cleaning on the garage and with help from my dad, installed two attic vents in the attic above my garage.  It really helps keep the garage at a decent temperature (in fact it is either cooler than, or the exact temperature as outside) so I’m happy about that. I still need to paint the one bedroom, but I felt some other house items needed to be taken care of first.

#5 house cleaning and #6 brewing my own beer

I believe I’ve reasonably accomplished these from the previous month, so they’re off the list until I think of new things to add to my monthly goals.

Overall

So, other than seriously screwing up the first goal, I feel I accomplished a lot, but still have so much more to do.  I suppose this is how home ownership and life goes: you’re never done. 🙂

2012 Goals – April Retrospective

The fourth month of the year has come and gone and now, we’re into May and time to do a self-assessment of the goals I’ve set out for myself.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

I’ve been eating better in general (thanks to juicing and cutting carbs from my meals) and exercising, although not as much as I would have hoped.  It’s hard sometimes to cut carbs out completely, so I’ve been doing carb substitutions.  I know I still want some carbs, but I’ll forgo eating a certain type of carb to get another in return.  So, I’ve cut down on the carbs by not eating them at meals and giving myself a beer or two during the weekend as a reward.  Sure it might not be the healthiest, but life should be about having fun too.  I think I’ll be restarting Insanity! to help knock off that extra bit of fat that I shouldn’t have then transition back into doing P90X with more weight than I was using.

I’ve stopped using Fitocracy and SlimKicker as well.  I think Fitocracy is much better than SlimKicker since I don’t totally agree with SlimKicker’s point system when it comes to logging food.  It’s preferences are not the Paleo / low-carb diet that I find works best for me, but a low-fat diet that I don’t like and doesn’t help me at all.  I’ll probably start using Fitocracy again since it can interface with RunKeeper which is on my phone and it can track my bike rides.

#2 Propose my PhD Topic

I’m not where I totally want to be, but I am working on the end-to-end example and have one-third of it working right now.  The middle third I’m working on is going to be the toughest since it requires an awkward translation since the models have a mismatch in their representations.  I can make it happen, it is just requiring a bit more thought than I would have liked (but it’s a PhD, it isn’t supposed to be easy :)).  The last third is fairly simple and I could probably write it right now, but I want to save it for after what I’m working on so I’ll feel completely awesome about finishing it.

#3 Learn a new programming language

This lines up with completing my PhD so I might be moving this into that goal this coming month.  Either way, I think I’m making decent progress and I want to write a few posts about learning Scala from a different perspective than how they’ve been written thus far online.  So that might be my new goal.

#4 Finish painting rooms in my house

Still haven’t finished the room yet.  Instead, I cleaned out the garage and moved a palette of bricks from inside the garage to the side of my house and bought a new oven to replace the broken one in my house.  I’ll be installing the oven (hopefully) sometime this week and then perhaps I’ll work on painting this last room across a few nights.  Cut in the corners and trim one night and then roller it the next.

#5 Spring / Summer house cleaning

I started on this and cleaned up the formal living area of my house.  It resulted in a lot of things going out to the recycling bin and a few things going into the trash.  I’m hoping to focus on one room each week and try and clean it out either donating, selling, recycling, or throwing away unneeded thing in each room. Then, even if I don’t toss anything, as long as I organize it all and get it in order, it’ll be far ahead of where it currently is (looking clean, but sort of disorganized to my eye).

#6 Brew my own beer

I think I’ll be removing this one this month since I’ve got a Honey Kolsch that I’ll be tasting soon and I brewed my Belgian Beersperiment which is now aging in a secondary carboy (can’t wait until this one is ready to go!).

Overall

I think I’m doing ok, but I’m not having near the progress that I was hoping on some of the goals.  Of course, in the end, the point is to finish them while not going insane and having a life outside of these goals.

2012 Goals – March Retrospective

Ahh, March has come and gone and it’s now time for April showers and a look back at how successful or not I was at my goals for the year.

#1 Participate in Tough Mudder / Get in better shape

I back slid a little bit at the end of March since getting the flu, it really knocked a lot out of me.  I still made sure to bike and do some stretching but I didn’t focus on building muscle as much as I should have.  I did make strides in eating healthier however, I invested in a juicer and have begun juicing one meal a day (normally dinner) and have also made sure to make breakfast to hold my eating out to lunch time during the week.  I’d like to move in the direction of eating out only a few times a week as opposed to the eight or nine times a week that I do now.  To that end, I’m a big fan of Fitocracy and I just found a new app called SlimKicker that is a food / fitness logging app, so I’m gonna give that a try and see how I like it.

#2 Propose my PhD Topic 

I moved this up to number two since I figured I should prioritize these in order of importance.  Health should always be number one, so school becomes number two.  If I’m not healthy, then it makes school that much harder.  I feel that I’m definitely on a roll on this one.  I’m currently coding the end-to-end example that I need to propose and I’m hoping I can be done with the example by the middle of April.  At that point I should be able to start working through the paperwork to propose in May.

#3 Learn a new programming language

I thought I was going to remove this, but thinking about it more, learning another programming language is never a bad thing, so I’m putting it back on the list.  I could move this down below the other points, but for right now, it’s still closely related to the previous goal of proposing my PhD topic that I’ll keep it here.  I’ve been learning Scala and Promela, Spin’s model checking language, which I’m using in my PhD.

#4 Finish painting rooms in my house

I’ve been a little lazy on this.  I’ve prepared the last room I need to paint by pulling all the wall plates off and getting the drop cloth in the room.  I just need to take about an hour or two a night and just knock out the cutting in of each wall and then take another few days to just paint a wall a day or something.  Either way, it’s almost there, just have to knock it out over a few nights or one weekend.

#5 Remove the child playset from my backyard (completed) -> Spring / Summer house cleaning

It’s been torn down and ready to be taken to a dump or picked up as bulk trash.  It just depends on how soon bulk trash comes as to what I do with disposing of the pieces.  I’m going to say the new goal is to remove clutter and junk from my house by cleaning out closets and such.  A late Spring / early Summer cleaning!

#6 Brew my own beer

I just brewed the honey kolsch yesterday, so I’m going to move onto experimenting with brewing different beers.  This will be ongoing so there is no telling where this will end up.  I’m hoping to brew a Belgium Blonde with a banana nut bread flavor in it; so, yeah, it could be epically awesome, or epic fail.

Overall

Like last month I think everything is moving in the right direction, just a few lapses here and there that I need to take care of.