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Posts Tagged ‘new ideas for 2013’

It seems to me that now, before we get too bogged down in 2014, would be a good time to carry out the threatened review of my list of resolutions from this time last year. Anyone expecting a similar list this time round is probably going to be in for a disappointment, by the way. Why should this be? Well…

navelgazer

Although it didn’t always feel like it at the time, 2013 proved to be a bit of a big year for me in some respects, and I’ve no expectation that this year can match it, certainly not in terms of major events. Anyone anticipating a brave declaration that this year I’m going to buy my own place, start my own business, learn to drive, or become emotionally intimate with someone new is going to be disappointed. Sorry.

I think consolidation is the word I’m looking for; consolidation and balance (in terms of the different elements of my life). The only thing that did occur to me happened back in April, or whenever it was that Margaret Thatcher finally departed this world. It seemed to me that it’s all very well to make big noises about the state of society and poisonous political legacies, but unless you actually pull up your boots and wade into actual political activism all you’re doing is just mouthing off and indulging yourself. God knows there are enough things wrong in the world today, and enough ways of getting involved should you so wish. But can I actually see myself making that kind of serious, probably thankless commitment? In all honesty, no.

Anyway, moving on to last year’s resolutions and how they worked out:

1. Move Career On. This actually happened, which was probably inevitable, but what’s slightly surprising is that it’s happened in a very positive way. At one point this year I was seriously considering going off to Chile or Argentina and the life of a peripatetic TEFL grunt, but I found I could generate very little enthusiasm for this. That I eventually wound up – more by luck than anything else – working at the very place I would have chosen to, given the option, is obviously a real bonus.

The downside is that, one way or another, I am going to have knock my association with summer schools on the head. This is a cause of some sadness, as I always enjoyed the challenge of the work and it realistically means losing a few good friends who I never see at any other time. But I need to start thinking longer term.

2. Play Some WFB. Er, well. I don’t think half a demo game really qualifies. Partly this is because I went through a real period of engagement with my Blood Angel army near the beginning of the year, and partly because I took six months out of the hobby after having my Eldar army effortlessly tabled by some Space Marines in June. My misgivings with the current 40K metagame are considerable, but on the other hand no-one seems to be playing WFB at the venue I go to. Then again, we are surely due a new edition this year, which may stir things up a bit. Anyway – I would like to play some proper WFB, but a competitive 40K army I am happy with would also be satisfactory.

3. Write More and with More Variety. This didn’t really happen. I blew NaNo again this year, but then again i suppose this is like someone who never goes jogging entering a marathon and complaining they couldn’t finish it.

In the year to come I think I will revise this to ‘Be More Creatively Productive’, whether this means through writing, painting, or practising musically (someone gave me a guitar in November, rather to my surprise).

4. Waste Less Time Playing Computer Games. An indubitably spectacular fail here, given the epic sessions of Civilisation, Total War, and The Sims I have been clocking up of late. But are games as intricate and engrossing as these honestly a waste of time, any more than going to the cinema or reading a book, passive activities I indulge in without feeling the slightest regret? Perhaps the key is to make my sessions a bit less epic – balance, like I say.

5. More Radio and Less TV in the Background: Well, this was never really a big deal, though things have got to the point where I can join in with the voice-over on certain repeats of Top Gear.

6. Sleep More: Marginal. The new job means I don’t have to go to bed quite so ridiculously early, but the effort of will involved in stopping whatever I’m doing and going to bed is sometimes demanding. I am, as ever, reminded of Somerset Maugham’s declaration that he did two things against his will every day: getting up in the morning and going to bed at night.

7. Write About Different Old Films: Does gorging on Toho monster movies qualify? I suspect not. I find it hard to feel too guilty about this one, as all the films I write about are ones I enjoy (on some level). I think one can be too aspirational when setting resolutions.

8. Write Proper Doctor Who Reviews: Well, this one definitely happened, and will continue to happen, I think. I predict a touch of seventh Doctor bias in the early part of the year, as McCoy was the guy who I hardly saw anything of this year.

This would be an opportune moment to mention again that 2013 was the year I got my name on the back of a book, Outside In (a collection of Doctor Who reviews, inevitably) – my own contribution being one of least accomplished pieces in it. 2014 promises Outside In 2, featuring a piece written specifically for publication (not to mention, I understand, the second pressing of Who’s 50 with my acknowledgement added). A third similar volume is also on the cards but I am reluctant to say more ahead of the official announcement.

Not too bad a year, then, as I look back on it – certainly not too many regrets. Hopefully 2014 will be more or less the same, but we will inevitably see.

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I know, it’s probably a little bit late for the whole New Year resolution thing – but I’ve only got back to my own place today after spending time with family for the holidays, so now feels like the logical time to think about what (if anything) I want to change for 2013.

I did a lot of thinking about this on the train home today – partly, if we’re honest, because my inimitable father drove over my foot while dropping me off at the station, and this helped to take my mind off the discomfort in my toes. I’ve gone back and forth over whether or not to share some of these ideas via the blog, to be honest, because there are obviously pros and cons involved. To wit:

PROs:

  • It would add a bit of colour to a blog which usually goes on and on and on about the same three or four topics.
  • Having gone public (well, sort of) I will feel more incentivised to actually stick to my guns and do the things I talk about.

CONs:

  • Some of these ideas are really stupid and/or petty and I would look foolish for making such a fuss about them.
  • When I fail to stick to my guns and all my good intentions lapse after a week I would feel even more reproachful towards myself than I would’ve done anyway.

Ah, what the hell, I decided to go with it anyway, because every bit of motivation is useful, after all.

navelgazer

And so: in no particular order, what I am hoping to do, or do differently, in 2013, on the blog and elsewhere.

1. Look at moving my career on. I always thought that after getting the DELTA I would be happy to coast along for a year or so and not worry about professional stuff. However, six months later I find I am restive, and increasingly aware that my long-term ambitions are not really achieveable with the company I currently do most of my work for. Also, it would be nice to get all my books, etc, out of storage (it’ll be five years this summer) and I can’t do that until I’m making enough to be able to have my own place.

2. Actually play some WFB. I bought the 8th Edition rulebook on the day of release in 2010 but haven’t played a single game – my last WFB outing was, I think, in February or March 2006. I suppose I want a change from 40K as much as anything. This will, of course, involve finishing a WFB army, so this is what I’m going to look at doing in the short term.

3. Write more, and with more variety. Whether this means aiming for a thousand words a day of any kind, or something else, I don’t know. In all honesty I’m really talking about fiction as opposed to endless Doctor Who waffle and film reviews. Not sure how this will work – although I’d like to have another crack at ScriptFrenzy in April. In a proper spirit of working on something which will never, ever get made I think I will have a go at writing the movie version of Flesh (an obscure 1970s SF-horror comic strip to which I don’t have the rights).

4. Waste less time playing games over the internet. This is fairly self-explanatory.

5. Not always have the TV on as a source of background noise. Use Radio 3 instead. Being the solitary individual that I am, it’s nice not to live in dead silence when I’m at home, but at the same time there’s something to be said for not being a passive consumer of TV (or anything else – at least Radio 3 is likely to be more intellectually challenging).

6. Sleep more.  One thing I’ve noticed over the last 18 months is that if I have to work the 9am slot at work for more than a month straight I tend to get sick from sheer exhaustion, because going to bed at 10.30 simply doesn’t suit the way my brain is wired: I end up shaving five or ten minutes off my eight hours every night which ultimately leaves me tired out and prey to any passing bug. More self-discipline required when it comes to bedtimes.

7. Write about different kinds of old film. I have nearly a dozen Kurosawas on DVD, none of which I’ve touched yet. There’s a pile of other movies next to the TV I’ve had for over a year, none of which I’ve written about – LoveFilm is really to blame for this. (I have suspended my subscription for the time being.) I watched a bunch more 50s B-movies last summer, which I was mostly too busy to properly review, and there are still lots of Hammer movies I’ve not properly looked at.

You know, normally I’m not one of those people who finishes every single post with a ‘how about you? What’s your strongest memory of [insert topic here]? Do you have any tips on how to [insert challenging activity here]?’ Maybe this is why I only have 35 followers after two and a bit years of operation. Hey ho. Yet I am almost moved to enquire – reader (yes, this means you), you are probably here for the film reviews (that, or morbid fascination) – exactly what lured you in? The new stuff? The backlog from the 2000s? The 50s SF? The Hammer horror? The Jason Statham? What do you like to read about?

Then again, for me the pleasure of this undertaking has always been in the writing, not actually being read – although without the possibility of the latter, I’ve always found it hard to justify the former – Stephen King’s comment on ‘quacking into the void’ comes to mind. If the massed (ha) ranks of NCJG followers rise up and cry ‘For God’s sake lay off the Babylon 5 retrospective, and we don’t like Japanese movies either’ I think it is highly unlikely I will pay any attention to this. Sorry.

8. Actually write some proper Doctor Who reviews. (As opposed to gut reactions to new episodes, lengthy analyses of aspects of the whole show, or trots through the fictional universe.) I’ve kind of been dancing around this idea – in 2001 and 2002 I spent virtually a whole year watching as much of the series as I could lay my hands on, in chronological order, writing about the stories as I went along (one such piece eventually made it into Outside In: 160 New Perspectives on 160 Classic Doctor Who Stories by 160 Writers from ATB Publishing (ISBN 9780988221000), available to buy now, folks – at least I assume it is, my comp copy hasn’t turned up yet).

That was a major undertaking – a very rewarding one, nevertheless – and I’m wary of just repeating myself. However, this is the golden anniversary year, so if not now, then when? So I am working on a way of writing about Doctor Who stories in proper detail that will hopefully be fulfilling for me and rewarding for readers. Look for them around the 23rd of each month.

Eight not-quite-resolutions is enough for one year, I would say. Pop back in December, when I will feel obliged to see how well I did (or more likely just pretend this post never happened).

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