My improbably grandiose plans for 2012: Update

On the 1st of January this year, I unwisely posted a list of things I planned to achieve this year, stupidly creating a whole series of hostages to fortune. Since it’s now the 31st December (or, as I like to think of it, Day 10 of the Postpocalypse…), I thought I’d do a quick hit post about how many of them I managed to achieve.

It has to be a quick hit post, naturally, since it’s Hogmanay, and, as the thrustingly dynamic party person you all know me to be, I of course have an excitingly glamorous soiree to get to, at which hordes of devastatingly attractive yet charmingly geeky men will compete for the honour of talking to me. (For the record, that statement is definitely true…but only if the many worlds interpretation of quantum theory is correct, and there are an infinite number of Aethelreads, to one of whom even something as wildly improbable as that must be happening…)

So, anyway the meat of the post – the five ‘not-really-resolutions-but-still-sort-of-resolutions’ that I made, and an update of how I did.

Eyesight – Win. The goal here was to get to the optician, get my eyes tested, and get new glasses. I achieved all of this, although the time scale slipped – instead of getting it done in early January, I got it done in August. Still, a win is a win.

Imagine these glasses perched alluringly on the nose of a bronzed Adonis and you will have a mental image of me. A mostly inaccurate mental image, true, but the glasses will be right.

Imagine these glasses perched alluringly on the nose of a bronzed Adonis and you will have a mental image of me. A mostly inaccurate mental image, true, but the glasses will be right.

Teeth – Win. The goal was to have had all of the most important work on my teeth completed. This took a lot longer than expected – in part because things turned out to be worse than my X-rays had suggested – but as of mid-summer I have been able to smile confidently in public, revealing in the process a mix-and-match assortment of enamel, ‘white composite material’ and ceramic that conspire together to look reasonably natural. There’s still work to be done, but the goal was to have had the important stuff done, and thus this was another win.

Computing I – Partial Win. The goal was to replace my crumbling, held-together-with-string-and-chewing-gum PC with a shiny new model, before the old one finally gave up the ghost. Being me, I of course prevaricated and postponed until my old machine actually died on me – some kind of power surge physically melted key parts of the power supply, and forever welded them to critical sections of the motherboard. Given that this coincided with a time when, for real life reasons, I absolutely had to have email access, my well-laid plans for buying a particular machine went out of the window, and I had to buy an off-the-shelf laptop. So I have a new computer, and it has better specs than my old one, but it’s not the computer I planned to have – so, a partial win.

Computing II – Partial Fail. The goal was to take advantage of the hardware upgrade to jump ship from Microsoft into the choppy waters of Linux, and open source software more generally. Since the hardware upgrade was forced on me unexpectedly, I didn’t have Linux downloaded and ready to install from the get-go, and the laptop inevitably came with Windows 7 pre-installed. The laptop also came without a Windows CD/ DVD, so any jump to Linux would have to have been irreversible. (Well, ok, technically I could make a disc image, and use that to rebuild an exact replica of the hard drive with Windows on it, but it would be an inelegant solution.) So, inevitably, the faff factor has been enough to keep me on Windows 7, even though it does seem to me to be clunky, and ugly, and – well, all the things one expects a Windows OS to be. I’ve tried out Linux a couple of times booting from a USB drive, and it seems pretty straightforward, but I haven’t actually made the jump yet. That would seem to make this a straightforward fail. The thing that makes it only a partial fail is that, aside from the OS, I have jumped lock, stock and barrel into open source software. Since I started using this computer, all of my web browsing has been done on Firefox, my image processing has been done on GIMP, and my word-processing (including the writing of all my Aethelread posts) has been done on LibreOffice. So I reckon that makes this neither a partial win, nor a total fail – hence, partial fail.

Learning – Fail. The goal was to begin working towards a possible Open University Maths degree by taking an initial introductory course intended for people like me whose highest Maths qualification is a lacklustre grade at GCSE. The course is run three times a year, and the plan was that I would register for the first offering of the course, in the spring, but I missed the deadline. And then I missed the deadline to register for the summer offering. And then I missed the deadline for the autumn offering. So that’s a straightforward fail – and the frustrating thing is I haven’t changed my mind about wanting to do it, or suffered a crisis of confidence in my ability, I just didn’t get round to it. I do have two slight excuses, in the form of being preoccupied by my dental phobia in the first half of the year, and suffering a bit of a rolling mental health crisis in the second half of the year, but this was unimpressive.

Still, there’s always 2013…

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