The Obligatory New Year’s Post, 2017 Edition

Recently I wrote several thousand words on politics and another thousand words about the end of 2016. They’re sitting in the “Drafts” folder of WordPress, and believe me when I tell you that I spared you from them.

Writing functions as a form of therapy, a sort of house-cleaning for the brain. By the time I finished writing 3000+ words on the impending doom of the Orange Menace and the ineptitude of his opposition, I felt better (if a bit tired). But none of what I wrote was anything new. I mean, unless you’ve dug yourself a sound-proof bunker with a computer that only accesses my blog posts, you’ve probably heard everything I’ve had to say on the matter, put more eloquently by professional writers (or more succinctly by a dank meme).

When I tapped out 1000+ words on the shit-nado that was 2016, I realized by the end the only real insight could be summed up thusly:

Millennials are getting fucked in the ass by older generations (especially Boomers) and it’ll continue to happen for at least another 20 years, because we keep feeding them medicine that lets them live longer and vote against the interests of the younger populace.

The natural conclusion to that train of thought is “so kill your parents,” which is neither something I believe or want to condone. So it ended on the scrap-heap along with many other thousands of words about me being pissed that my father voted for a sentient Hate-Cheeto.

In order to slide off my soapbox with what little remaining dignity and grace I have, I’ve opted instead to pen the ever-generic year-recap/year preview post and hope that Fuckface Von Clownstick doesn’t blow us all up before 2018.

2016: The Year Our Heroes Died, Our Parents Abandoned Us, and a Soviet Puppet was Elected President

Ah 2016. The year started off so promising with the shooting of a beloved gorilla and an unstoppable swarm of death mosquitoes. Being neither a resident of the Cincinnati Zoo nor pregnant/elderly, my personal life was remarkably unscathed by the tragedies of 2016.

In fact, I might even say 2016 was a good year if it didn’t make me feel like the one dude with the gasmask on while everyone else slowly asphyxiates to death around me.

I met a great girl in January, and (knock on wood) I haven’t managed to fuck it up for almost a year. That’s probably more thanks to her endless patience than my actual growth as a person, but I’ll take the victories where I can get them.

Speaking of victories, my pumpkin ale took how the homebrew club’s Pumpkin Competition, and also managed to tie(/win) our Brewer of the Year award. In addition to that, I was elected President of the club, so it just goes to show that the club is going to hell. It’s actually an exciting time as we’re entering our third year as a club, so let’s hope it’s still standing by 2018.

Slightly smaller achievements that don’t warrant full sentences include:

  • Publishing an article in the local weekly alternative newspaper, The Boston Dig
  • Getting a pay raise at work
  • Reading over 20 books (through some graphic novel cheating)
  • Visiting St. Croix, San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Lousville, Maine, New Hamsphire, Cape Cod, and Baltimore

I fell slightly short in some of my ambitious goals for the year. For example, I never did reach 14% bodyfat, only getting into the mid-15% range for brief periods of time. It’s a goal I plan to re-up for 2017, especially since I have some trips coming up (more about which in a moment).

I also failed to hit my goals for beers/gallons brewed, blog posts published, and novel chapters written (the goal was one, I wrote 0). Overall, 2016 was a fairly ambitious year with success on a lot of fronts. Which brings us to…

2017: The Year – Nuclear Holocaust Permitting – We Get Some Shit Done

I managed above that I’m planning to re-up on some of my failed goals from 2016. First among them is the bodyfat goal. My goal is to get to 14% bodyfat in 2017. I’m making a concerted push for this goal right from jump street, because I have trip to St. Croix planned for early February and a trip to Greece planned for early May. I’m hoping to push my way into the mid-to-high 15% range for St. Croix and then get down into the 14% range for Greece. It’s doable; it might not be realistic, but it’s what I’m shooting for.

I fell short of my 2016 goal to brew 20 beers, but I did manage to get to 14, so my 2017 goal is to brew 15 beers (roughly 90-100 gallons). Given that I already have less time available on my calendar in 2017, this may prove to be a challenge. But the real challenge is finding ways to drink all this beer. To that end, I’m also planning to enter more competitions in 2017, and take home at least one medal. I’ve never entered many competitions (one actually) since I started brewing, mostly because I hate bottling/packaging and shipping my beer. It’s not a quality issue, I’m just lazy. But in order to brew more, I need to clear space, and if I’m trying to lose weight I can’t drink it all myself (again). Solution: make everyone else fatter by forcing my beer on them.

I’m also increasing my reading goal for 2017 to 15 books. Last year I set a goal of 10 books, because I’m a slow reader. Then I discovered I could use graphic novels and audiobooks to “cheat” my numbers up. Doing that I actually “read” 23 books in 2016. Now that I have some reading momentum, I want to set my goal a bit higher with a bit less cheating. The first book on my plate is Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, a short read at 1,252 pages. I’m also subscribed to Audible, so I’ll hopefully be able to sneak in a few audiobooks as well.

Writing, ah, writing. One of my biggest hurdles with writing is momentum. The piece of advice I’ve probably heard/read most often is “write every day.” It is a piece of advice I consistently fail to take, or (worse) try to further complicate. With that in mind, I’m hoping to write a daily journal in 2017. I’ve allowed myself some leeway with this. It can be by hand in my Moleskine journal, or here  – as part of my goal to write 50 blog posts –  or scrawled on the inside of the guy’s john. As long as fingers (and brain, I guess) produce words, it counts. Toward that end, I’m tabling my novel ambitions. I still intend to practice, produce small pieces, and continue reading about the process, but I do not plan to poop out a book in 2017.

Some miscellaneous personal betterment/home improvement goals, that also don’t deserve full sentences:

  • Volunteer (I’m doing Habitat for Humanity this weekend)
  • Get another (undeserved) raise at work
  • Remodel my kitchen and downstairs bathroom
  • Practice daily meditation/”mental practice”
  • DM a game of D&D (I’ve never done it and want to try)

Let’s Do This

Assuming that I’m not hanged for treasonous slander on January 21st, I’ve got a pretty full plate to gorge on this year. I know that plans change once you get hit in the face, so we’ll see how this all shakes out.

Until then.