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Goals for 2010

I got distracted and forgot about making a list of goals for this year. D'oh!

  • Do a century ride on my unicycle (or bicycle- either one)
  • Construct a language (I've been meaning to do more work on it)
  • Build a metropolis (Simcity)
  • Become more politically active? Eh, I'm not sure on this one...
  • Hide more caches
  • Learn some unicycle tricks
  • Buy another [smaller] unicycle (to make it easier to learn new tricks, and to make it easier for mountain unicycling)
  • Clean up the junk I have laying around my apartment
  • Cook more often (egads, I'm so lazy)
  • Out with the old

    Last post of 2009. I think I'll spend tonight very similar to what I did last year: cheesy movie marathon. Killer Tomatoes, Airplane!, Top Secret!, and maybe a few episodes of Freakazoid! or the Tick. I'll be doing this while enjoying some six-cheese pizza. To drink, I have berry weiss (berry-flavored beer), everything to make white russians, and very probably some hot cocoa.

    I guess I'll do a highlight of the best things of the year:

    - I adopted (and befriended) many rats throughout the year (five to date, although two have passed on)
    - I learned to unicycle, and have gotten pretty decent on my 36"
    - I even made the paper because of my big wheel
    - I completed the Twelve Labors of Hercules cache series, which include caches placed on many of the mountain peaks in the area (many not on trail and extremely difficult to get to). The last of the series I found (both this year) were on Florida Peak's Unnamed Counterpart (technically, Florida Peak is a few feet lower but was named first... then it was discovered its twin is actually higher) and The Organ Needle (the highest peak in the Organ Mountains)
    - I started living a car-free life
    - I lost my GPS unit while hiking. Wait, this isn't a good thing. D'oh! It might still be out there, actually.

    Hopefully tomorrow, I'll remember to write a counterpart to this post with stuff I hope to accomplish for the new year... so I can promptly forget any expectations I have for it.

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    RIP, Whiskers

    Whiskers passed away this morning. He had been sick for the past month with respiratory problems; he was wheezing like the other rat I adopted him with (Wheezer) did. This week I could tell it was close for him. There were moments where he was almost heaving for air (not the best description- he just couldn't breathe well and would take long, deep breaths). As a result of this, I let him out of the cage a lot more. He was still able to get around, but only wanted to lay down on my lap. If I put him on the ground, he'd walk around until he saw me again. Then he's signal to me he wanted my attention by standing on my feet, or standing up and reaching for my leg. We spent the last few days watching hours of Farscape while on the couch. He seemed to enjoy this a lot. He mostly just slept on me (got somewhat annoyed when I had to move). He'd brux (teeth chattering) and boggle (his eyes would pop out) every once in a while, so I know he was happy. I'm going to miss him. He was one of the two rats I originally adopted from the humane society earlier this year (his brother, Wheezer, only was with me two months before dying from his respiratory problems). Besides Wheezer, he's the only rat I've had who will actually stay place to cuddle with me. Everyone else is just too energetic and wants to keep moving. He was a great tv companion. I just hope this past week of Farscape has been as enjoyable and peaceful for him as it was for me. It was very relaxing just laying on the couch with a rat sleeping on me as I watched tv. Thanks for all the memories.

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    Frell it, I bought Farscape

    I didn't want to a yotz and pass up a farhbot deal last week at Best Buy: $70 (plus tax) for the complete series of Farscape on DVD. The third incarnation of DVD sets was just released. The last edition (The Starburst Edition) became hard to find shortly after production due to the company going under. I'm extremely happy it's being released again (and is once again, affordable- compared to what the Starburst Edition DVDs went for on eBay after they stopped being produced).

    I'm generally satisified with this set. The artwork is very simple and stylized. It's not as cool as the Starburst Edition stuff (which was extremely shiny, and had a design that came together if you had all of the sets in a season). It's not ugly, though. The only thing I would have liked was a little pamphlet/guide with an episode list (and description). At least each DVD has the episodes printed on it.

    I was very happy to find out they actually planned it out quite well, too. Today I was watching a disc for season two. This disc only had two episodes on it (instead of the expected four). I couldn't figure out why, until I saw the next three episodes made a trilogy. Awesome. Now when I watch that three-part storyline, I won't have to change discs.

    I was also extremely happy to find that the Best Buy version I bought included the Peacekeeper Wars. The standard version doesn't- it's a Best Buy exclusive. I already had the mini-series on DVD, but it's just nice knowing I have it again in a complete set.

    Yesterday, I spent a lot time on the couch watching Farscape, with Whiskers on my lap (or shoulder). He slept through most of it. It was very peaceful. I'm trying to spend as much time with him as I can, since I don't think he has much time left in his life. I think he enjoyed it, though.

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    30 miles down, 70 to go

    I successfully completed a 30-mile uni ride yesterday. An added highlight of the ride was also finding three caches- all of which I had looked for in the past, but failed to find (oddly, I found them all easily yesterday). Other highlights include having a vehicle slow down so the passenger (a teenage kid) could take a picture of me, a few bicyclist groups waved at me as I rode along, taking a picture with my unicycle by a "Share the Road" sign (with bike iconography), and oddly running into another geocacher (not at a cache- he recognized me as he was driving along the road).

    This does motivate me and give me a bit of hope about doing the century ride in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future. I'm still planning it with an indefinite timeline, but it at least seems a bit more feasible. I can at least start thinking about different routes. I had jokingly suggested with my mom today the idea about unicycling on a track. I actually did give that some thought, as well as using the city's multi-use (bike) path.

    Running track: Pros- confined space, so I can easily encourage supporters to cheer me on or provide assistance (not to mention I wouldn't need to carry stuff around), safer (no traffic, stop signs/lights, and cycling at dark wouldn't be a problem), and it can be measured easily. Cons - very repetitive (100 miles on a unicycle might take as much as 16 hours with breaks- going around in a circle for that long would be insane), and I could lose track of how many times I've gone through (so, measuring how far I've gone becomes difficult- compared to traveling on a road where I can use Google Earth to find the distance between starting and stopping).

    Multi-use path: Less repetitive, but I'd still be covering the same area ~20-25 times. It's also hilly, and I'd have to deal with two traffic lights (otherwise, no other traffic problems).

    More than likely, I'll come up with a route on the highway. I'd prefer doing a non-loop route (going to place x and back) so I can avoid backtrack. I think it also sounds more impressive to say I went to "100x" (a place 100 miles away) rather than "50x and back" (50 miles away, but riding back to where I started). It's the same distance, sure, but the perspective seems different and more grand in some way. Plus, I wouldn't have to deal with, "Oh, I saw that on the way up" from going back over the same area I already rode through. It might also add in a bit of extra encouragement in keeping up the cycling for so long- I'm not sure which would be more encouraging, to have an ultimate destination so far away... or to get back home.

    Aside from thinking about possible routes, I still have quite a few more rides I want to go on. This will probably include a few more 30-ish mile rides, and a 60-70 mile ride (maybe two). If I can do the latter, I figure I'll probably be able to do the full 100 with good ol' fashioned motivation and determination. *gulp* Maybe. Maybe I'm also insane.

    Nanowrimo - day one

    National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts today. As I was searching for the novel I started writing in 2005, I came across other attempts (2007 and 2008). Neither was longer than about two pages. I'm just horrible starting. I'm going to push myself this year to do this. I'm motivated-ish right now, but I also don't really have anything in particular to write about. I'm going to start thinking about topics to write as I play a game of Civ. Correction: That will be this morning. After having a delicious salmon at my parents' house, my afternoon will be dedicated to writing. From a post I wrote years ago, I figured that in order to get the 175-page novel (or 50,000 words) written, I'd have to write an average of 5.8 pages (or 1666.7 words) a day.

    My goal today is to pick out a basic storyline and write 8 pages. I've been looking at older attempts to get some ideas. Sadly, I couldn't find my first (2005) attempt. All I know about it is that it took place in the future, skipped time frequently, and likely didn't make any sense. Another one of my attempts starts out by talking about yogurt. At the very least, if I can't think of a good strong storyline that would work in novel form, I can always do a Douglas Adams thing by conjoining several seemingly unrelated stories (this is especially true of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, which is concerned with the "fundamental interconnectedness of all things"). The good news about that method is that even I would be surprised at how it ends (which, if the story falls apart, I could also sort to something found in Mel Brooks movie).

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    NaNoWriMo 09: 50,000 words can't be wrong

    I'm going to attempt another NaNoWriMo this year. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo- I think I just sprained my shifting pinky) is held every Novemeber. The goal is to write a novel in a month. It's not supposed to be good (I'm sure this is quite rare that one is good); It's just supposed to be finished. The whole point is that anyone can write a novel, even with a chaotic life. It just takes planning (writing daily) and determination (keep writing no matter what- even if the whole novel is worse than 1950's science-fiction). Oh, and don't edit. You can edit once the novel's done, of course. You can't do any editing while the novel's in progress (hence, 50,000 words can't be wrong... or at least they have to be "right" enough to get through to the end while making some kind of sense [Actually, nevermind. No one ever said a novel has to make sense]).

    I know I attempted this in 05, since I found a "NaNoWriMo 05 Participant" image someplace recently. I think I had started, but gave up after a few days because I either didn't like the story so far or just ran out of ideas. Hopefully this year will turn out better- I'll just keep writing, even if I've lost any sort of originality, plot, or sanity. This can only end well, right? I suppose as long as I don't go off fighting windmills, I can call this whole thing a success if I come up with a novel.

    Is it Fall Yet?

    Finally, it gets cold here. Today was mostly a windy, cold day. I went to look for a cache (riding on my unicycle)- not too bad. A bit chilly, sometimes windy. I ended up not finding it. Tonight, it started raining lightly (drizzling). I see some of my friends' statuses on Facebook mention snow. I decided to take another unicycle ride, through the rain. It was, in fact, snowing in some places... or at least sleeting. Nothing was sticking to the ground, but there were snowflakes in the air landing on my hoody.

    It was a fun night. I went on a ~5 mile ride. I learned I could ride my unicycle pretty well with my hands in my hoody pocket. I only had to take my hands out every once in a while if I had to turn, or to get on my unicycle. That's a nice thing to know, although I should probably just remember to find my gloves for my next ride in the cold. I also learned how freaky it is unicycling through a tunnel at night, only to see your shadow on the wall change as cars drive through. It went from being big and in front of me, to shrinking by my side (and eventually disappearing behind me) in a matter of seconds. Freaky thing in the dark. At least the whole night made it very encouraging to make some hot cocoa when I got home and in some dry clothes. It'd be nice if the snow actually stuck. That would be extremely fun to unicycle in, or else I'm just insane.

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    The written language is definately definte

    While reading Reddit, someone replied to a comment with a link to http://www.d-e-f-i-n-i-t-e-l-y.com/, a site whose purpose is limited only to inform of the correct spelling of definitely. I understand that "good grammar" is important for communication (although it's important to keep in mind there are many varieties/dialects of English, and essentially, anyway that people can communicate effectively with one another could be considered good grammar). The key to communication is knowing your audience. That's usually more easily done with verbal communication.

    Written language, however, is very different. It's not natural to write. Writing is a tool to convey and represent language. Language itself, is something that is spoken, signed, and gestured. Writing, in that sense, is very limiting. I will admit that is why it's important to use punctuation as best you can (to indicate pauses and imitate how a sentence would be read outloud). Spelling isn't all that relevant. It's important only because it helps identify the word you want to use. As long as the word is understood, that should be good enough. Definitely. Definately. Same word, really. One is spelled "incorrectly," yes, but they both do just as good of a job representing that particular (verbal) word because most people would understand.

    The next time you're online and you see someone who spells badly, ignore it. It doesn't mean that person is stupid. Writing just isn't natural or instinctive- we're taught language by hearing it and verbalizing it (along with all the signs and gestures that go along with it- including sign language). Writing is just a tool to help language be used in different manners.

    Lost GPS

    If only I had the coordinates, I could go back and find it again using GPS.

    Friday, I was hiking in attempt to get to a cache high up in the mountains. When my nose became a fountain, and I realized how slow I was progressing towards my goal, I decided to turn back. I checked my GPS unit to see how far away from another cache I was that would point my way out. After some hiking, I went to check again. Oh, except it wasn't there. It wasn't in my backpack or in any pockets. I lost my GPS unit.

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