Thursday, January 26, 2012

I have become buried in projects.  It happens from time to time and it stems from the logical argument that since I don't really have many demands of my time, I can afford to spend that spare time to do something meaningful in some way, shape, or form.  "Meaning" is variable here.  Even video games have meaning because they're defined in some way as being different than just wasting time.  Finishing the StarCraft missions has a defined end-goal as opposed to say, playing a few games of Galaga, which doesn't have a set end at all.  That's not to say that Galaga is wrong in some way, but that it holds less meaning

That's not how all of my justifications work, but it's a guide to some of them.  Some of my present projects are quite open ended, but their value lies in the nature of the intended result.  For example, I've been a news hound for many years, but reading everything in the whole world today would still mean that I'd have to read the news tomorrow because there's something new happening all the time.  Of course, there's no way to read everything - but I try to be balanced and knowledgeable.  Hence, the pile of unread magazines as a project.

On a similar vein, elections are coming up.  I have the time to be an informed voter, so I need to make sure my vote isn't wasted on the best sounding name.  That's a project right there.  I've been watching the Republican presidential primary debates, I've been reading online materials, and I've been watching local city council meetings and I've recorded a school board meeting.  It's a lot of work to stay informed.

I'm trying to learn to program - really program, though the idea hasn't gotten much past the hopeful stages.  I've gotten some books and other materials and am slowly slogging my way through them.

I've always been interested in History and Science, and those have clogged up my DVR for some time.  I also try to stay current on movies, so those also fill my DVR.  There's no way to watch them all, but I certainly try.  I mean, I have all this time, right?  There are shows I want to watch or catch up on, series I want to get into, and books I want to read as well.  In short, in trying to bring meaning to a life that is really meaningless, I've filled all the nooks and crannies and spare spaces.  It keeps me busy, but I'm not sure I'm accomplishing what I really set out to do.

Finally, last but not least in mind, I want to write.  I've written enough random pages, I want to tell stories.  Even if no one else reads them, and I'm realistic about my chances of that, I need to write these stories - for myself if no one else.  Still, writing a book is more complicated than I've ever considered.  I've fallen into the classic trap of wanting the books to be perfect.  It annoys me to no end to read science fiction that is dated, or read fantasy novels that aren't historically accurate, even if set in other times and worlds.  And yet, here I am.  I won't say that all the research I do is pointless, because I think it adds realism and depth to the stories I tell, but such research is never-ending.  Theoretically, I could live the rest of my life learning and never write anything, all in the name of being a perfectionist or completist.

I'm not complaining... well, not really anyway.  But I have concluded that I need to at least spend some time catching up.  I have a list of goals for this year and I need to work on those as best I can.  To that end, I've designated my time until the end of February to get certain things done or caught up.  It's not inclusive of everything I work on and it certainly isn't more than a fraction of the things I want to accomplish all year, but I think it will make the other things easier. 

I don't think I'll change any of the countdown clocks on the side of the blog.  I still need to update them for the new year.  But, I figured I'd post and tell everyone I'm up to.  At the moment, it's trying to clear my DVR and trying to catch up on all the magazines that I'm behind on.  That's not the entire list, but it's the biggest chunk, I think.

- Jim