Friday, January 30, 2009

Come on and SLAM, if you wanna JAM!

Go to a W&M Basketball Game

On Wednesday night, I had my first official experience at a W&M basketball game!  And don't worry, I did it right - went ALL OUT!

First, I wore appropriate school colors...even a bandana!  Second, I went to dinner beforehand with Cait to make it a real event.  And by the way, I had pretty much the best lasagna of my life...  Seriously, it was delicious!  Then we walked over to the big game!

We met up with a bunch of my sisters there, which made it even more festive.  Also, my Lydia came too...  As an ardent basketball fan, she was able to show me the ropes in certain traditions like holding your hands up for silence when out team is making a foul shot!  So the game progressed pretty normally until the half time.  

They were doing a promotional game where the participants had to make 4 shots (layup, foul, 3-point, and half-court) in 26 seconds for a prize.  And wouldn't you know seat was called!  So, my immediate thought (and decision) was to give the opportunity away to someone else.  Cait said she would do it, so she ran down there!  But she was immediately sent back because she is a varsity athlete (field hockey, but apparently it doesn't matter).  So since everyone was looking at me...I decided the easiest thing was to just go up and do it! 

My attempt was rather feeble...  To be honest, I can shoot better than I did...but I was flustered/embarrassed.  So, I only ended up making the first two shots.  Still, it was cool, and I think pretty amazing that at my first game EVER I was called up for the contest.

So anyway, after I was back at my seat, a very nice lady came and brought me a little consolation prize...  It's a mini hoop and ball in W&M colors!  I think it's adorable, and I hung it up on the side of my desk for the enjoyment of my roomie & me.  Anyway, its value (had I bought it for myself at the W&M shop) is $17 dollars, so I would say that the situation was a win!  

We stayed for the rest of the game...  Cheering ridiculously for our sister on the dance team & almost as much for the actual players ;)  It was fun!  I probably won't be able to go to too many more this semester, so I'm glad I took this opportunity & made the most of it!

That's all for now:)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Setting Benchmarks...

At the suggestion of 101 Strategy, I have decided to make smaller benchmarks for myself. After all, doing 101 things in 1001 days can seem rather daunting. It would be too easy to try and rush to accomplish all the goals, rather than working at a non-stressful pace. It would be even easier to completely procrastinate these goals, finding oneself at the end of 1001 days with very few goals accomplished. Wouldn't that be sad!

So, I am going to break my 1001 days down into increments of 100 days. My first benchmark will take place on April 19! And in addition, I will outline the goals that I intend to accomplish in my first 100 days... As luck would have it, I need to accomplish roughly 10 goals in that time. If I accomplish a few more or less, that's fine as well. And I may end up accomplishing a different 10 than I had identify here. But looking over the next 100 days is a lot more manageable than trying to picture the next 1001 (well, actually it's only 989 as of today, but who's counting:P).

By April 19, 2009, I hope to have done the following:

1. Memorize a sonnet
2. Print out all of my old Livejournal entries on the backs of campus fliers
3. Go kayaking on Lake Matoaka
4. Go ice skating without hugging the sides
5. Drink only water for a month
6. Read the Ender's Shadow series
7. Give flowers to random strangers
8. Have a picnic in the Crim Dell meadow
9. Attend the King & Queens dance
10. Attend a W&M Basketball game
Bonus: Host 3-4 Game Nights & Attend at least 2 CW events

And I've already cleaned out my car! I think this is really good. And you know what else? For my 100 days that runs from April 19 through July 28, I will probably have other fun & seasonal things! I might try to accomplish more goals over the summer just because I will have a little less on my plate. But that is for another post! Let's just focus on this benchmark for now:)

"Life takes on meaning when you become motivated, set goals and charge after them in an unstoppable manner."


Read the Ender's Shadow Series

Commit a sonnet to memory

I have purchased and begun to read devour Shadow of the Hegemon, the first of the Ender's Shadow sequels. I am really enjoying it! Once again, I find that Card's fast-paced style of writing and the irresistible characters have overshadowed my natural tendency to become bored with political books. It's not exactly political in the traditional sense, but fantasy future-politics do comprise the majority of the plot. That, and the power struggles between the characters. Of course, as the characters are highly influential individual in this fantasy future-world, their struggles often manifest themselves into global politics.

Anyway, enough about that! I wouldn't be surprised if I finish this book before the end of the week... But I will probably postpone the second sequel just bit as I need to get situated for the new semester.

Also, I have a top contender for the Shakespearean Sonnet that I intend to commit to memory. If there are any suggestions out there of favorite sonnets, I would love to hear them. Otherwise, this is it. I may check my goal off the list, but I'm certainly not limiting myself to a single sonnet. In other words, I may pursue more memorization in the future.

Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck,
And yet methinks I have astronomy,
But not to tell of good, or evil luck,
Of plagues, of dearths, or seasons' quality,
Nor can I fortune to brief minutes tell;
Pointing to each his thunder, rain and wind,
Or say with princes if it shall go well
By oft predict that I in heaven find.
But from thine eyes my knowledge I derive,
And constant stars in them I read such art
As truth and beauty shall together thrive
If from thy self, to store thou wouldst convert:
Or else of thee this I prognosticate,
Thy end is truth's and beauty's doom and date.

"The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new."

Monday, January 5, 2009


Fully clean out my car (once a year)

The act of cleaning has never been one that I particularly enjoy. After all, it involves dealing with all the things you have been too lazy to deal with before. It involves slowing down or even backing up to bring your surroundings back to livable conditions.

However, I really LIKE when my surroundings are clean. That's a reality I first acknowledged last year... My mood reflects my surroundings (and it can also probably be said that my surroundings reflect my's a vicious cycle). So, when I have clean surroundings, it is easier for me to be in a good mood!

I've been able to keep up the habit of perpetually keeping my room clean. To me, the benefits of a clean room outweigh the annoyances of cleaning it. But a problem that I've been ignoring for MONTHS is the state of my car. Not only were all the seats covered in dirt and bits of trash, the trunk was absolutely stuffed with unidentifiable junk (some of which turned out to be not junk at all) that I had been avoiding.

So, today I finally bit the bullet and just decided to clean! A hand-held vacuum did the trick for most of the dirt...and I grabbed all the random leaves and receipt and put them in a garbage bag. The trunk was a little more interesting... Much to my dismay, some of the things left in there had gotten stained, mildewed, or otherwise ruined. Much of it was trash that I finally took out. And I found some unexpected things like my water shoes and a beloved hoodie (thankfully, neither of those were ruined).

Cleaning out the car may not sound like a particularly meaningful goal at first... But it has been weighing on my mind for months, so now that it's done...I feel much better. And now that it's clean, I am more likely to keep it clean, and thus more likely to feel better when I'm in my car. And I can finally use the trunk again!

I'm quite happy to check this goal off of my list. Hooray! Though, I did add that I'll be doing it yearly...which may or may not be necessary, depending on whether or not I manage to KEEP it clean.

“Keep your own house and its surroundings pure and clean. This hygiene will keep you healthy and benefit your worldly life.”

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First attempts

Print out all of my old Livejournal entries on the backs of campus fliers

I must say that I've had this goal in mind (consciously or subconsciously) for years. Online journaling has always been a huge part of my life for years. My main motivation for printing out all of my online records is really twofold. First, I doubt the long-term stability of sites like Livejournal (and even Blogger/Blogspot...though ownership by Google dispels that fear to a certain degree). If I were to discover one day down the line that all of my old journal entries, my cherished memories from 7th grade onward, had been lost, I would be heartbroken. It's not like the maintainers of Livejournal owe me anything - what would they care? Second, I've already begun periodically copying entries and putting them in word documents to protect them. And that is where they have all rot for eternity. I always say when I change computers that I am going to take care of my old files... But I honestly couldn't tell you where most of my high school files from my last computer have ended up (with the exception of music & photos). I believe that if I have the journals in hard copy, they will be not only protected but also easily accessible for my desired reminiscence!

So, having firmly established that this goal is worthwhile, I set about yesterday actually getting it done. Within a few hours, I had copied all the remaining Livejournal entries and put them in massive word documents (by year). Most of them are over 100 pages long... o_O I guess I am more expansive than I imagined? Though, much of the space is taken up by the little formatting things such as the icon-sized photo of me between the entries. It would take far too much time to remove it, so it remains...

Sizes of these huge files... I wasn't kidding...
'04 : 1.42 MB
'05 : 1.39 MB
'06 : 1.40 MB
'07 : 776 KB
'08 : 994 KB

But as I traveld further and further back into my archives, I was reminded of my first journal. Back in the days when many services (gmail and livejournal included) required access codes provided by friends, I did not yet have the privileged livejournal access. That did not come until late 2003, and by that point, I had already become well established on Xanga. Does anyone still use Xanga? I went back there to check out the remnants of my account...and it seemed to have changed quite a bit... In any event, I figured that as long as I was attempting to be thorough, I had better get the posts from Xanga, too. For a reasonably long period of time, I actually wrote in both Livejournal and Xanga (having friends in both places) and copied the entries between them, so there is certainly some overlap. However, that does NOT account for the myriad of entries I found when I got there. The size of the Xanga file (I thought I would only need one!) is 1.95 MB. And the file size is not padded with any additional formatting, because I copied the files into notepad first. (The Livejournal docs not only have pictures but also bolding, underlining, broken links, etc.) At well over 400 pages, I had truly forgotten how much I used to rely on Xanga for all of my random thoughts, etc. I decided not to get rid of the overlap entries... Better to leave Livejournal and Xanga as they are...two complete journals, together covering the time period from 2003 - 2009 (and beyond) of my life.

So, I've got a few more hours of formatting on the Xanga posts... But the next logical step is to start gathering all my campus fliers. I came into this with the idea that my current collection would be *almost* sufficient. I find now that I am quite wrong. I estimate that will have between 800 and 1000 pages of entries when all is said and done. And as a side note, I also use campus fliers to take random notes...and will be using them more extensively once my senior thesis article-reading gets underway... So, this is going to be slightly more challenging than I thought. I just need to be more vigilant from now on in flier-hunting. I need to hit the dorms weekly (maybe old campus one week, new campus the next?)...and Morton, too... And I wonder if I can talk to any of my friends "on the inside" at the SC and get them to either a) tell me when fliers are taken down by the SC staff or b) save any fliers they take down for me. I might even try to get my other friends in on this...ask them to patrol their own residence halls for me...or at least just give the message board a quick glance for old fliers as they run out the door!

The other big challenge here is where to PRINT these hundreds of pages. I will probably start on my own printer...but I wonder if this endeavor is worth the cost of a new cartridge? Need to look into cost of cartridge vs. cost per page on the school printers. We shall see...

Well, this ended up been a much longer explanation than I had imagined. But I look forward to printing (and eventually binding) my archives into a nice, accessible format:)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

How will the next 1001 days look?

1001 days from now, many things will have happened I will have graduated from college, I will have taken a year off (probably, though I need to decide whether I'm actually doing this by the end of the summer), and I will have entered a graduate school. I won't be living at home anymore. I will be on my own financially and preparing for my professional life. The ensuing 1001 days will mark my last major transition from childhood to adulthood.

What I mean to imply is that this period of transition for me will be tumultuous at best and terrifying at worst. My whole life will be changing and there's no turning back. I hope that by working towards the goals in this list, I can manage to make the best of this time and enjoy it.

Now, some of my major "learning" goals may take some real work. And some of my goals will be put on hold until a particular time. Grad school applications, for instance, will probably not take place until the summer of 2010. But that's okay. Because if every item on this list doesn't get checked off in 1001 days, it's not the end of the world. I've got my whole life ahead of me! And that's something to celebrate:)

And now, I'll end this with an inspirational quote:

"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." --Benjamin Mays

Every end is just another beginning.

With the close of 2008, I open a new chapter in my life. Moments ago (literally), I completed my list of 101 things that I will attempt to do over the next 1001 days. Not all of them are glamorous, and not all of them are firsts. This list represents a guide to accomplishing goals that I believe are worthy. Some of these goals are purely practical, but the majority of them exist only to bring about joy & fond memories.

The quality of life is not measured by the number of breaths you take,
but by the moments that take your breath away.