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Goals for 2017!

Okay, now that we're in 2017 and 2016 has been kicked out the door (and not a moment too soon) time to set some goals for the new year!

In the last couple of week so 2016 I started carrying around a little notebook that I use to jot down ideas, to-do lists (non-work related - those have their own notebook that STAYS AT WORK), etc. It's not really journalling per se, but I will try to write at least one sentence a day about something that happened that day.

I've once again taken the Goodreads Book Challenge and I decided to go back down to 30 books this year. Although one of my other goals is to catch up with some of the backlog of comic books I have, including some graphic novels and collected volumes, which I'm totally going to count in my book numbers (the novels/volumes that is, not the individual issues). I've tried to hit 35 in the past few years and came up short, so maybe 30 is more realistic.

Get a haircut. Yes, really. I'm way overdue.

More stitching! …

Good riddance 2016...

I know it has become a cliche over this year to yell invectives against 2016, but man, it really sucked in a lot of ways.

A lot of people have already been writing lists of all the horrible things in politics, terrorism, celebrity deaths, etc that have made 2016 just so depressing. There will be a lot of fallout from the politics alone that we'll be dealing with for years to come, but on the upside, it has motived a lot of people (myself included) to get more involved. We have come so far in recent years on many fronts and I'm going to fight like hell to keep us from sliding backwards. There were a lot of entertainers that we lost this year that I was a fan of, but the real kick in the teeth came in the last week of the year with the death of Carrie Fisher. I don't think I can begin to sum up the impact that Princess Leia had on me (starting when I was 5 and the first Star Wars movie came out) and how much I grew to admire Carrie Fisher as an adult. I'm lucky that I ha…

Uuuuuhhh, Happy New Year?

I guess if we still used March 25 as the start of the new year like they did back in Tudor times I would be early. Or if I used the Asian lunar calendar I wouldn't be as late? Oh wait, it's my birthday today, so it's the start of MY new year. Yes, that's what I meant!

While I was sitting in my office waiting to see if the clouds would clear so I could run the telescope tonight, I decided it was time to finally update this blog and check in with last year's goals and lay out the goals for 2016. Of last year's goals, the only one I 100% met was to take a real, honest-to-god vacation. I went to England for two weeks and had a great time! Eventually I'll process the thousands of photos I took and get them posted on Flickr.


Of the goals that I did decently on:

* Watch a 'new to me' movie every week -- not too bad. I skipped the two weeks I was on vacation and a week that I had to travel for work, but other than that, I did really well up to the last two…

Welcome 2015!

Given that we're already three weeks into the new year and I'm just now getting around to writing my "Happy New Year" post, any resolutions about not procrastinating have already gone out the window. (Thankfully, I didn't actually make any procrastination resolutions or goals, although I probably should have!)

So, it's time to check in on last year's goals, see how I did, and write down my goals for 2015.

One goal that I didn't actually write about last year was something work-related that I was going to try as an experiment. We get a lot of requests for help at events and I was going to try to do more of them myself (in addition to the regular ones that I already do every year) instead of just soliciting volunteers. Well, I did, and it really wore me out. Early in my career I did most outreach events myself for a variety of reasons, but as I've gotten older and the climate has gotten a little friendlier for getting volunteers, I've backed off…

Game of Thrones Exhibition at SXSW 2014

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One of the great advantages to living in Austin is that, even if you don't get SXSW badges and/or wristbands, there are plenty of great free events that also happen in Austin during that time. Last year, it was the NASA tent and the JWST model, this year, it was the Game of Thrones exhibition! They only allowed camera phones so these aren't the greatest photos ever, but I've uploaded the better ones to Flickr. The picture above goes to the full set. (Warning: there are spoilers in some of the photos!)

Happy New Year!

This is the obligatory Happy New Year post, but also another place for me to put some of my 2014 goals (note - not 'resolutions'!) to keep myself honest about them. I'll also be posting on twitter and a few other places.

The first thought I had for a goal is specifically connected to this being 2014, which is the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. I have been on a bit of a Shakespeare kick lately anyway, so I don't expect this one will be TOO hard to achieve: to read/watch/listen to all of Shakespeare's plays. I'm going to read a sonnet a day too as a bonus. I'll mostly likely be tweeting and blogging about this particular goal through my Tudor history accounts, etc.

The next one is a typical "lose weight" - in this case to continue losing weight since I had already lost about 10 pounds in the last few months of 2013 once I decided to kick myself in the arse about it. No, you're not going to get my goal number here, but I w…

Another arbitrary milestone!

Yesterday marked the 8th anniversary of this blog, so it's another time for me to lament not blogging more here. I've figured out that part of the fall-off of posts is due to the fact that I started using Twitter and a lot of things that I would have posted here end up posted there. But I will still continue to try to post more!

Sherwood Forest Faire photo set finally up at Flickr!

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Well, I posted the photos on Flickr a while back, I'm just now getting around to posting about it here too.

More thoughts on education

I have posted before on some of my thoughts on college education and a great post by Carl Zimmer over at his blog "The Loom": An Open Letter to Science Students and Science Teachers has prompted me to think on it some more. His post sounded *very* familiar to me, and after reading comments on Twitter, very familiar to a lot of other people working in popular science and outreach. And if you substitute "history" for "science" this is also what I see a lot of through my Tudor History site as well. The post is a good example of why Carl is such a great writer; he managed to describe and sum up something I've been struggling to put into a words for quite a while now. I don't really have much to add to what he said, but there are definitely conversations to be had between professionals and students and teachers.

JWST and NASA at SXSW

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Northrop Grumman and NASA brought the full-scale model of the James Webb Space Telescope to the annual craziness in Austin that is South By Southwest. (For the record, I twitch uncontrollably when people abbreviate it to "South By" - if for no other reason in that it breaks the reference to North By Northwest, one of my favorite movies!) Working with one of our professors, they asked for volunteers to come down and help talk about the telscope and work at some of the tables in the NASA Experience tent, so I was down there for a while on Friday and all day Sunday. At the last minute I decided to throw my DSLR and my little travel tripod into my backpack since I knew that they were lighting the model up colorfully at night and that I had to get some photos. And I'm glad I did since I'm really happy with the way the photos turned out! Click on the photo at the top to go to the full Flickr set.

I had a great time talking about the telescope for the first part of the day…