resolutions

2013 Resolution #12.

This year’s twelfth resolution was “I shall make a 12th resolution before June 30th, 2013.” I now have one.

As part of the NHL’s 2013-14 Winter Classic series, my two favorite hockey teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Chicago Blackhawks, will face off at Soldier Field on March 1, 2014. I want to be at that game, but I acknowledge that with both teams in good position to win the Stanley Cup this year, tickets are going to be scarce.

That got me thinking: I’ve never seen (in person) any of my favorite teams play a home game. That will change, preferably before the Pens-Hawks game next March. Thus, I hereby resolve that:

12. I shall visit Chicago to watch one of my favorite teams play.

And I’ll do the other stuff, too, like eat the pizza and visit family and eat the hot dogs and pay respects at the cemetery and eat the Italian beef sandwiches and visit friends. I suppose I could’ve included visiting Boston to watch the Celtics or Pittsburgh to watch the Pens, but the Bears, Bulls, Cubs, and Blackhawks are in Chicago, so that’s that.

2013 Resolution #11.

This year’s eleventh resolution was “I shall make a 11th resolution before April 30th, 2013.” I now have one. Simply put:

11. I shall henceforth employ “logical quotation”.

In other words, if the punctuation isn’t part of the quote, it ain’t going inside the quotation marks.

This may bring the fury of the grammar Nazis crashing down on my head. This may cause people to think I’m stupider than I actually are. This may even end some friendships. And worst of all, it leaves a ugly gap between the bottom of the last character inside the quotation marks and the end-of-sentence punctuation outside them. Look at it up there, between the “n” and the period. Ugh.

But you know what? It’s right. It increases the precision and accuracy of the written quotation while sacrificing nothing in terms of comprehension. Seriously, can you think of a written sentence you could not understand because somebody pushed the comma or the period outside the quotation mark?

Language, whether written or spoken, evolves, and as long as it does so slowly and comprehensibly while improving communication, I think we should welcome it. It wouldn’t be that difficult to adopt– plenty of folks already use logical quotation, though we’ve traditionally called it poor grammar. Maybe those kids who couldn’t quite pin down the rules of punctuation in grade school were just ahead of their time.

Now, let me point out an exception to the above resolution. I’m willing to let others think less of me for my usage, but I’m not willing to let others think less of other others for my usage. For instance, when I write college recommendations, I will continue to use the traditional style. If I live long enough to see logical quotation spread wide and afar, accepted by even the most rectally retentive of grammarians, then in those far-off days, I’ll probably employ it in letters of recommendation. In the meantime, my students won’t be denied entrance to any college because it looks like their recommendations were flung together by some half-literate crank who’s trying to change the world one keystroke at a time.

English is a beautiful language, and I’d like to keep it that way. I don’t mind having eighty-seven different pronunciations for the letter sequence “ough”, because I’m used to the looks of it. Give me “doughnuts”, not “donuts”. But sometimes the gains in precision and accuracy are too great to be ignored, and so it is here with logical quoting. In today’s tumultuous world, that’s the stand I’m taking.

2013 Resolution #10.

In my “Resolutions for 2013,” #10 was “I shall make a 10th resolution before February 28th, 2013.” I keep forgetting that “before” is not the same as “by,” but here it is anyways.

I’ve always been a night owl, which presents great difficulty when you have a job that requires you to be awake before noon. I would like to be less of a night owl and more of a early bird… perhaps even a day owl, unless that’s slang for something embarrassing. Word on the street is that eating breakfast helps you get going in the morning, and it’s probably good for you in other ways, too. Thus I hereby resolve that:

10. I shall eat breakfast before leaving for work at least three days per work week.

Said breakfast shall be more substantial than a mere piece of fruit, or buttered muffin, or rack of lamb.

Abject failure.

Sadly, I failed to finish building my model of the USS Constitution by January 31st. I got as far as what you see below by Wednesday night.

I planned to attach the sails and rigging on Thursday. Instead, I realized I didn’t have any sewing needles and didn’t feel like going out to buy any that night. So much for resolve. Good thing better men worked on the real thing.

The stand that came with the model is garbage and can’t hold the ship, so I’m stuck using two pieces of balsa wood to prop it up. I’ll have to come up with something purtier.

The masts are warped, a testament to the cheapness of the materials. The mizzenmast was so warped that the correct piece of plastic rigging couldn’t connect to it properly, so I had to cut up a larger piece of leftover rigging.

The painting instructions were screwy. They called for some pieces to be painted a particular color only to find that the picture on the box showed them to be painted a different color. Other pieces had no painting instruction, so I had to refer to the box again. And I’m not that good a painter to start off with: I had to go back over some white, gold, and copper with black. I left the name of the ship unpainted because I don’t have the fine motor control to paint letters only 2 mm tall.

But the ship does stand. I’ll finish up the sails and rigging this week, and have it over the mantle by next weekend.

2013 Resolution #9.

In my “Resolutions for 2013,” #9 was “I shall make a 9th resolution before January 31st, 2013.” I have one that’s been staring me in the face for some time.

Last summer I bought a plastic model kit of USS Constitution. The kit turned out to be a bit disappointing. The pieces don’t all fit well, the instructions call for painting certain pieces colors that don’t match those in any of the images of the finished product, and the images in the instructions are drawn from one particular angle over and over again instead of whatever angle would be most useful. Furthermore, the guy assembling the whole thing has the fine motor control of a stegosaur as well as no idea what he’s doing; he just likes sketching doodles of frigates, so he figured it might be nice to make a model of one.

I’ve been doing maybe one step a week over the last several months. Time to pick up the pace and let this thing adorn a mantle. Thus:

9. I shall complete the model of the USS Constitution by January 31st, 2013.

Today I ran across a three-part (so far) series of blog posts called “Hipsters on Food Stamps.” It’s about the affordability and utility of college in modern America. The author can be a bit blunt and perhaps harsh from time to time, not sure I agreed with it all, but it’s worth a read. Here’s part one. Here’s part two. Here’s part three.

Resolutions for 2013.

Resolution time again. First, let’s look at my resolutions from all the way back in The Year The World Ended:

1. I shall ride the exerbike for thirty minutes (or engage in the substantial equivalent of other exercise) at least three times per week. Nope. In fact, the exerbike is about done for, and I moved it into storage. Net weight gain: 2.5 pounds. I’ll have to broaden the forms of exercise a bit next time.

2. I shall cook two somethings I’ve never cooked before, and cook them at least three times each to fine-tune the recipes. Yes. They were simple somethings (steaks and pancakes just the way I want them and better than at my most-oft-attended restaurants), but they count.

3. I shall write at least one journal entry each week. I shall not go seven days without posting an entry. Yes, and I set another personal record for most posts in a year. I don’t know what that record is, I just know it’s a record.

4. If a task or chore will take less than one minute to accomplish and I have a minute to spare, I shall do it immediately. Kept as much as possible.

5. On weekends and days off, I shall awaken and get out of bed before 9:19 AM. Nope. Too many late nights.

6. When I leave my classroom at the end of each day, my desktop and the top of the filing cabinet next to my desk shall be clean, organized, and ready for the next day’s work. Kept, but it’s getting to the point where there’s a bit too much stuff organized and ready for the next day’s work on top of my desk and filing cabinet.

7. I shall buy lunch no more than once per workweek. ErmmmmmmNope. I’m pretty certain there were a few workweeks in which I bought lunch twice.

8. On any day I collect essays, I shall grade at least ten of those essays. Kept more often than last year, but still a no. Turns out there’s no way it can be kept on a Friday. This one probably needs to go.

9. I shall fly on an airplane in order to attend As I’m A Bassi’s wedding. Kept. Western New York is nice despite its lack of a Portillo’s.

10. I shall put all the books I’ve bought but not yet read on a particular shelf, and either read, sell or give away more than half of them. Kept. This freed up tons of storage space in my house, which I shall soon fill with plenty of other garbage.

11. I shall attend the Bears-Jaguars game on October 7th, 2012. Kept, and what a game it was!

12. I shall fly out west to visit my little sister. I did fly out west to visit my little sister. She wasn’t actually in the country when I arrived, so I hung out with my big sister instead. The flight back was awful; it somehow took 13 hours to make a 5-6 hour flight. Oh well.

So, that’s eight of twelve kept, a significant improvement over last year’s four of twelve. Time for this year’s, beginning with renewed (revised) resolutions:

1. I shall exercise for thirty minutes at least three times per week.

2. I shall write at least one journal entry each week. I shall not go seven days without posting an entry.

3. If a task or chore will take less than one minute to accomplish and I have a minute to spare, I shall do it immediately.

4. On weekends and days off, I shall awaken and get out of bed before 9:19 AM.

5. When I leave my classroom at the end of each day, my desktop and the top of the filing cabinet next to my desk shall be clean, organized, and ready for the next day’s work.

6. I shall buy lunch no more than once per workweek.

And two newbies:

7. I shall move out of my current home. I count too many obnoxious whippersnappers among my neighbors. Most of what they deserve to have happen to them is illegal.

8. I shall fly somewhere for something. I’ll invite suggestions from friends and family regarding the somewhere and the something.

And the flex resolutions, for which I will entertain suggestions:

9. I shall make a 9th resolution before January 31st, 2013.

10. I shall make a 10th resolution before February 28th, 2013.

11. I shall make a 11th resolution before April 30th, 2013.

12. I shall make a 12th resolution before June 30th, 2013.

This is the first year since 1987 that has no repeating digits. That means something. I know it. Here goes.

Bears 41, Jaguars 3.

Today, for the first time ever, I attended a Chicago Bears game, thus fulfilling my eleventh resolution of the year. It was a bit disappointing; I had a Bubba Burger instead of a brat, a bottomless Pepsi instead of a beer, and the Bears fell 40 points short of the 78-point victory I predicted. I even neglected to have Malnati’s and Portillo’s shipped in for the occasion. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

The Bears better be careful… they’re nearing their annual quota for offense. Click to embiggen:

On the long walk in, while we were sitting in the seats, in the club area, on the long walk out, it seemed like all anyone was talking about was the insane number of Bears fans at the game. I assume many of them were snowbirds and transplants who normally root for the Jags, but showed their true colors today since the Bears were in town.

I was in the second deck, at the 44-yard line, on the Bears’ side. I sat next to a lady who wore teal. She saw my navy C-shirt and said, “You’re brave.” I pointed behind her: the next several rows back were full of navy. I said, “I’m safe.”

By game’s end it seemed like there were only three colors worn in the stadium: navy blue, burnt orange, and white. And I don’t mean Jaguars white, I mean Bears white. The Jags fans must’ve taken off really early. Here’s a photo I took of the home side of the stadium with two minutes left in the game (click to embiggen):

Maybe it’s just me, but the only teal left was on the empty seats.

I love that both Peanut and Briggs got pick-sixes in consecutive games. I love that the Bears’ defense outscored their opponents. Those are usually the best games (e.g., Bears-Cardinals 2006, the “crown their ass” game).

The Bears are beating the tar out of the teams they’re supposed to. The schedule gets a little bit tougher in the coming weeks; we’ll see how it goes.

2012 Resolution #12.

In my “Resolutions for 2012,” #12 was “I shall make a 12th resolution before June 30th, 2012.” I now have one (though once again, I forgot to write “on or before” instead of “before”).

I do hereby resolve that:

12. I shall fly out west to visit my little sister.

Announcing a flight may not seem announcement-worthy to new readers and/or normal folks, but “the statistically safest mode of long-distance travel” is not how I typically roll. Thus the fanfare.

I’ll announce my flight dates well in advance of the trip so the sharper investors among you can time your purchases of stock in whatever companies make dramamine, rabbits’ feet and rosaries.

2012 Resolution #11.

In my “Resolutions for 2012,” #11 was “I shall make an 11th resolution before April 30th, 2012.” I now have one.

I am ashamed to confess that I have never seen the Bears play in person. But this fall, I shall atone: the Jags will host the Chicago Bears in October. And I will be there, come hell or high water.

It’s at EverBank, not Soldier Field. It’s an inter-conference game, not a Black-and-Blue division rivalry game. It will certainly be uncompetitive as the Bears roll to a Superfans-esque 78-point victory. But I’ll be there, brats and beers in hand.

I do hereby resolve that:

11. I shall attend the Bears-Jaguars game on October 7th, 2012.

I’ll even have some Malnati’s and Portillo’s shipped in for the occasion. Game Sunday, heart attack Monday.

2012 Resolution #10.

In my “Resolutions for 2012,” #10 was “I shall make a 10th resolution before February 29th, 2012.” I now have one.

After doing a bit of cleaning and reorganizing ’round the house this weekend, it occurred to me that roughly 82% of the total mass of my house is books. In fact, two of the piles were declared lode-bearing by the inspector. It’s time to renew one of my old resolutions from a few years back. Thus do I hereby resolve that:

10. I shall put all the books I’ve bought but not yet read on a particular shelf, and either read, sell or give away more than half of them.

The closing of Borders was a blessing in disguise.