Two Books: Vacationland and Inferno

Highly recommended!

I’ve read my first two books of the new year, both very different. John Hodgman’s (@hodgman) “Vacationland” is a funny, smart and melancholy rumination on adulthood, childhood and special places that define our lives. I envy him deeply as a writer.

Second book, which I just finished a few minutes ago, is Dan Brown’s “Inferno.” It’s absurdly goofy, but I’d also be lying if I didn’t admit to spending three hours of my Sunday burning through the second half. As guilty pleasures go, you could do worse, but if you’ve read “The Da Vinci Code,” you pretty much know what you’re getting here. It’s fine, but it’s seriously ridiculous.

Next up is finishing Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury.”

Kneel Before Zod archived podcasts

The Kneel Before Zod podcast (which I have a goal to resume in some form in 2018) ran for a few months in late 2016 into early 2017. My co-conspirator, Adam, and I had fun but lost the thread. I have archived the old episodes below since SoundCloud deactivates your older episodes when you stop paying them. If you’re made uncomfortable by the fact that the episode naming convention went awry in episode 9, this is a good chance to work on that.

https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode1-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode2-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode3-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode4-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode5-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode6-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode7-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/episode8-final.m4a
https://clontzville.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/kbz-episode-9_mixdown.mp3

Comprehensive Goals List

23593660_10101875299845897_74091043714745818_oI’ve broken my 2018 goals into six areas — running, writing, working, personal, development and extracurricular — where I believe that I can make focused, tactical improvements over the coming months. My focus, as much as possible, is on specific areas where I find myself wanting to grow and modify my behaviors, either by doing more or doing less. A broad overview of the goals I’ll be tracking is below, but I’ll be writing more specifically about them in the days to come. I’m not sure I can pull off all of this, but why not aim high?

Running

  • Train steadily throughout the year
  • Stay injury-free
  • Run the Snickers Albany Marathon on March 3 (hard)
  • Run the Georgia Publix Marathon on March 18 (easy)
  • Train for and run a fall marathon TBD
  • Run 1,600 miles throughout the year
  • Qualify for Boston with a 3:22 in Albany

Writing

  • Write something every day, minimum of 250 words
  • Complete first draft of novel
  • Find accountability opportunities (writing group?)

Working

  • Dress better
  • Take meeting management course
  • Run better meetings
  • “Eat the Frog” — do the hard things first
  • Become a better planner
  • Be a better mentor
  • Be more engaged and proactive
  • Review budget every two weeks
  • Work on memory
  • Listen harder
  • No social media at work

Personal

  • Do 20,000 pushups over the year (about 50/day average)
  • Get to 60 pushup set
  • Get to 10 pullup set
  • Read 25 books
  • Biweekly nice thing for Melissa
  • Make a practice of meditation
  • Focus on keeping my cool
  • Let my kids be themselves, not smaller me’s
  • Don’t argue politics on Facebook
  • Again, listen harder
  • Be a more actively engaged friend

Personal Development

  • Take a course in Unity
  • Take a calculus course
  • Take another Python course
  • Take another AWS course
  • Build a new Alexa skill
  • Relaunch personal site (yay!)
  • 10 tweets per week
  • Learn to play two songs competently on guitar
  • Build a serverless Web app
  • Relaunch podcast

Extracurricular

  • Publish a piece of writing somewhere
  • Invoice monthly for freelance work
  • Regular status reports for freelance work

 

 

Setting Goals for 2018

I’ve had this blog in various permutations now for the past 20 years. I started clontzville.com back when I was in graduate school as an early experiment in personal Web publishing and have come in and out of it ever since. As for the name, an email broker had, unbelievably, already bought the domain name clontz.com to sell email address to what must be an unbelievably small number of Clontzes who wanted to be [theirname]@clontz.com. That said, I have rented the lee@clontz.com email address from said email brokers for the past two decades, so maybe I’m the idiot here.

clontzville_98
AvantGo, The Phantom Menace, REM’s first post-Bill Berry album, cheesy askew photo: this was peak 90s for me.

Anyway, this blog has been various things for me over the years. The first version was built on the jankiest imaginable content management system that I built to learn Perl, wherein I posted stupid quotes and pictures and hot-takes on movies I’d seen. Y’know, blog stuff. Then it was for posting links to various Web crap I was working on, and, later, it became a WordPress-backed baby picture resource back in the days before social media made that irrelevant. Most recently it was an ill-tended marathon training blog that was read by users numbering in the single digits. Two years ago I just repointed it to my @clontz Twitter feed and let the blog go.

So why restart it now?

In short, it seems like the time. I’m not as young as I used to be and I have some goals I want to hit in 2018 and beyond. I need goals and metrics to strive toward, and if I’m not open about them, I’ll just let them lapse and die, and I really don’t want to do that. I want to write more, to run better, to talk less and build more, to be a more open manager at work and to be more in touch with myself and my family. I want to learn things — to meditate, to finish the things I begin, to keep in better touch with friends and family. I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I’m going to fail at some things (I’m looking at you, Boston), but I’d like to be open about what I’m working toward. I’ve made a list of 2018 goals that I’ll post subsequently, the tracking of which is really what this blog is all about. I want to do better, to be better and to fail better, and I think that this is the right place to do it, here where I started 20 years ago. I’m aiming for what Ray Dalio calls “Radical Openness,” which may be interesting to no one else but me, which is fine. If someone else finds it useful, so much the better.