2015 Review, 2016 Goals

This week, as one civil year closes and another opens, I’ve been comparing the year that was to the goals I set last year, and setting new ones for 2016: for the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series-in-preparation, on Monday; for Strategic Primer, my strategy game, on Wednesday; and now for the rest.

Goals for 2015

First, a review of the goals I set for myself a year ago


  • Goal: Post at least one new poem per month, and at least thirteen in the year, on this blog.

Nowhere near! I only posted four poems on this blog this year.

  • Goal: Give copies of my collection to each person I had in mind in its dedication.

This still remains undone.

Miscellaneous Blogging

  • Goal: Post at least three “Best Books” reviews, or equivalent if two other book review posts count as one in this series.

I didn’t write a single one.

Nor one of these, either.

  • Stretch Goal: Post at least one (reasonably) substantive post having to do with neither the Shine Cycle nor Strategic Primer at least twenty-six weeks of the year.

I think I managed four.


  • Goal: Read the entire Bible through at least once.

I was close, but didn’t finish.

  • Intermediate Goal: Be on track for that each quarter.

I think I might have been on track as of the first or perhaps the second quarter, but not by the third.

  • Stretch Goal: Get at least a quarter of the way through the first volume of the Institutes.

I didn’t open that volume more than once, if that, and I may have lost my sheet of notes again.

  • Goal: Be more prompt in keeping up with correspondence.

This was a mixed bag: I feel like about half of those messages I answered, I anwered more promptly than my habit had been in previous years; on the other hand, there were some that I should have sent that I simply put off until “later” became “never.”

  • Goal: Finish my intensive critique of Peter’s Angel.

I’m up past page 185, about 56% of the way through it. But nowhere near finished.

  • Stretch Goal: Get caught up to no more than a year behind on “data backlog.”

The “data backlog” may have gotten bigger more slowly than in previous years, but at the moment it isn’t shrinking yet.

  • Goal: Master the material of each class I take each semester.

Later use will have to be the judge of this one.

  • Stretch Goal: Find paying and meaningful employment (after the internship ends).

Not yet.

Goals for 2016

Now for next year. Unlike my two magna opera, where I have a pretty good idea of what comes next but not necessarily of how much I’m going to get done, “miscellaneous” means smaller, much less predictable tasks. But here goes.


One of the “stories of my life” is that I have tended to let things to do, books to read, and especially papers and their digital equivalent build up around me, despite the draining effect this has on my mind and emotions. Every so often—about once a year on average, I think—I’ve tended to “come to my senses” and begin a renewed effort to reduce the clutter, but the efforts have tended to sputter out. However, in the past year and a half or so I’ve had greater (though still intermittent) success because I’ve begun to learn to break this down into discrete, measurable, and well-ordered steps.

The first few goals are summations of what I think and hope I may be able to accomplish this year in this area, based on what I accomplished last year and if I do things in the order I’ve put them in my task tracker. I’ve left out anything I would like to do but that isn’t likely to come up in my task tracker for more than a year.

  • Goal: In the process of reading and triage of (deciding whether to keep) issues from my stack of magazines and journal issues, make a decision about every issue through at least the end of 2013.
  • Stretch Goal: Make a decision for every issue through at least July 2015.
  • Goal: Move my personal Gentoo overlay to GitHub.
  • Goal: Finish reconsidering and tagging links from my old flat file of bookmarks that I’m currently working through.
  • Goal: In listening to recorded sermons that I download and store each week, catch up to at least February 2016.
  • Stretch Goal: In listening to recorded sermons, catch up to the present.
  • Stretch Goal: Ensure that every file “under my control” (thus excluding non-configuration application and OS files) is either under version control of some sort (to protect against silent corruption, among other reasons) or deliberately not under version control.
  • Stretch Goal: (As part of that) Carefully reconsider all files’ organization.
  • Goal: Ensure that I have no software installed on any of my computers anymore “just because it looked interesting” that I haven’t actually tried out.
  • Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all through packet #25.
  • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, consider and deal with all that I’ve divided into packets as of today, packet #35.
  • Stretch Goal: In “paper-clearing” process, divide all miscellaneous papers, that I haven’t deliberately decided to keep in this pass, into numbered packets for consideration.
  • Goal: Read all books I have been given for Christmas or my birthday in the last few years, that I haven’t already.
  • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with stacks of books (i.e. a specific order to read them, or enough of them to decide about them, in).
  • Goal: Develop a specific plan for dealing with “stacks” of electronic books.
  • Goal: Create project plans for, or decide to give up on forever, at least four of the software ideas that I’ve had in my files for years.

Writing and Blogging

I’ve already written about my goals for the Shine Cycle, my fantasy series in preparation, but just like I get lots of alternate-history ideas I’d like to read about, I sometimes tend to get lots of ideas for “essays,” or now blog posts, to write, and I then file those ideas away. Similarly, I tend to think of a few lines of a new poem, and if I happen to be in a position to write them down I write them down, but then they sit as a fragment in my files for a long time. As a related thread to the decluttering, I want to try to finalize some of these. And I want to make this blog be more than monthly “here’s how little I’ve gotten done in the past month” posts, which it’s tended to become the last couple of years.

  • Goal: Write and post at least twelve at least minimally substantive posts, not including retrospectives of the immediate past or posts related to Strategic Primer or the Shine Cycle.
  • Goal: Write and post at least six new poems.
  • Stretch Goal: Write and post at least twelve new poems.

This last is because a long-running blog, unless I regularly repost revisions to old content or am very proactive in keeping the blog’s static Pages (in the case of this blog the Archives) up to date and well-organized, is a pretty bad format for a self-introductory website. As part of such a site, it’s good; as the site, not good.

  • Goal: Have at least the skeleton of a “static” personal website set up somewhere.

Life and Miscellaneous

  • Stretch Goal: Finish my critique pass through Peter’s Angel.
  • Goal: be prompt in keeping up with correspondence.
  • Goal: Read the Bible in its entirety at least once.
  • Stretch Goal: Get at least a quarter of the way through the first volume of the Institutes.
  • Stretch Goal: Find paying and meaningful employment.

Now, to try to live them.


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