jon_chaisson: (Default)
About halfway through last week I was hit with -- well, not exactly feeling sick, but feeling exhausted.  No energy.  Unable to focus on things for that long.  I wasn't sleepy (which means that going back to bed would have entailed me lying there and shifting around)...just...tapped.  So I called in sick on Thursday (something I rarely do) and took the day off, doing little of import.  By mid-Friday I was better, having gotten my mojo back.  I even got some writing done.  This exhaustion rarely happens, but it'll come to me now and again, especially if I've stretched myself too thin and have been stressed by either life or Day Job.

Which got me thinking about readjusting my life schedule.  Not so much getting rid of the writing schedule I have in place -- that's working just fine -- but just being a little smarter about it.  You know how I am...I like switching things up every now and again, keeping it fresh.  Try a few things, put a few older things aside.  Maybe return to a few things I'd put aside in the past.  That sort of thing.

It also got me thinking about if this is age related.  I'm 46 as of this writing, and while I still feel young and nimble enough, I know and have accepted that I'm getting older.  Both my knees are shot so I doubt I'll be doing any sprints any time soon.  I probably shouldn't give into temptation and snarf down endless packages of Zingers and bottles of Mountain Dew.  I really should follow up at the doctor about my somewhat high blood pressure (which has always been higher than average to begin with).  As fun as all that was, I probably have to move on from them.  Mind you, I'm still nimble.  I can still bounce around if need be.  Just that maybe I should finally think of my health a little more seriously than I have.

That said...maybe in the next few weeks I'll start shifting my daily habits around.  Not just for the health reasons, but just to keep things interesting.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
The last week of the year always feels like a bit of a denouement, like I've been given time to put this past year's affairs in order, finish up what needs finishing, and wait for the clock to tick over to the next year. It's downtime, where I don't have anything last minute planned, but I should at least clean up and put things away.

As always, I'll be posting my writing and creative resolutions over at Welcome to Bridgetown, and posting my year-end music lists over at Walk in Silence, so that leaves me with the more personal resolutions here on the LJ.

So! What do I have on tap?

--Reading: I'd like to read more independently-published books in the coming year. Considering I'm now a self-published author, I'd like to read more books that were released the same way. This kind of ties in with what I've been doing for years on the music scene: using social media, indie epublishers (like Kindle and Smashwords), and other platforms (such as Kickstarter, Patreon, etc). I find a lot of these by word of mouth; either they follow me on Twitter, or they're suggested by another indie creator I already follow. I've made a pretty good dent in my TBR pile this year, and also culled quite a few titles for varying reasons.

--Music Listening: I've always been a bit iffy about streaming sites such as Pandora and Spotify. Not just because of the pittance the bands get, but that it tends to feel like I'm merely putting my own collection on shuffle. I still listen to a lot of terrestrial radio stations that stream online as well as internet radio such as Sirius XM, but now that I've signed up with Amazon Prime, I'd like to use that service to check out new bands that I otherwise might pass by. When new bands release music, I like to listen to the entire album and not just the singles, and sometimes it's hard to find streaming previews that I'd be interested in. It'll also help me rein in my music purchasing; do I really like the entire album, or should I just go with the few songs? Will I still be listening to this album six months down the road? In short: broadening my musical tastes, but calming my spending habits.

--Health: I've felt pretty good this year, having avoided any major illnesses and retaining my usual weight. The eating habits may have gotten away from me a bit, and our visits to the YMCA fell apart near the end of the year (due to weather, laziness, and Day Job hell), but again, that can be easily rectified. I wouldn't mind losing a bit more weight and getting back to the gym more. I really should cut back on the sweets. It's high time I got another eye exam (it's been 2+ years, I think). I should also continue my visits to the dentist. I'm at that age where I'm starting to feel the aches and pains, especially in my joints, so maybe a few checkups are in order as well. In short: Meets Expectations, with Room for Improvement.

--Life in General: One of my recent thoughts was expanding my horizons a bit. Since I spent most of 2015 giving myself a more stable platform mentally, emotionally and creatively, I'm ready to widen that platform with new possibilities. Try out new things, think about things from different angles, things like that. I'm also ready to let go of some old and tired habits as well. I'm not aiming just to fix my time management, only to clear it up a bit. I've done a lot of that this past year already, so it would mainly be a lot of small fiddly habits and distractions that I no longer need or want.


And that's about it for now on the non-creative end of things. Looks like 2016 will be a year for completely new things, and I'm looking forward to it. :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Another week over, and here we are on a wet Saturday morning here in SF. To us that's actually news, as we've been dangerously rain-free for the most part this past winter (not including that three-day storm a while back). I'm so not used to hearing the rain at night that it kept me up last night! The birds seem to be happy though, as they seem quite chatty outside our living room window.

Hmm, what else to report? There's not too much going on, as I've been focusing mostly on the new Mendaihu Universe story. I'm purposely not paying attention to the page or word count, though I can say that I'm still averaging around two handwritten pages a day. I haven't even come up with a title for this one yet, which is also interesting--I usually have a working title (or at least a title stolen from a song) as a placeholder at this point. It's been an interesting experience so far, returning to this old-school way of writing a book, but I'm really enjoying it, and I'm more than tempted to keep it as a permanent change.

The whole internet detox thing seems to be working well, actually. That was part of the deal for this longhand writing experiment. I had to think about it less as a temporary sacrifice and more as a semi-permanent thing...an 'I don't need this anymore' instead of an 'until further notice'. It also took me a while to get used to letting it go from a social perspective, but on the other hand that showed me just how prevalent it had become to me, and not always in a good way.

Am I finding myself with more time on my hands? Well, yes and no. Most of the time wasted online is now used for more creative or restful things--watching a show with A, doing some cleaning around the house, reading...and of course even playing a few rounds of FreeCell now and again if I'm tempted. I don't feel as rushed, don't feel like I've wasted time doing pointless things. And the best part? I'm actually feeling healthier. Boggles the mind, I tell you.

So what's going on this weekend? Well, not too much. We're planning on heading to Balboa Theater today to watch a film about Gustav Klimt, maybe have lunch in that neighborhood, and maybe hit the farmer's market at the other end of Clement tomorrow. And that's about it.

Yay, relaxing weekends!
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
That seems to be my buzzword as of late: organic.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, it's part of my new writing process, to be as organic as possible: write longhand, let the ideas come and write them down without pre-editing them in my head. In some ways it's a bit of a rocky road because I know I've created all sorts of inconsistencies and plotholes, but on the other hand I have a pretty decent memory when it comes to my writing, so I'll know what needs fixing once I revise on the PC.

On the social level, going organic seems to have been a brilliant move in retrospect, because I haven't felt this centered and relaxed in forever. I've pretty much trained myself to think my opinions through thoroughly before responding to something online, and nearly every time I get that 'oh, they're wrong, let me set them straight' feeling and start tweeting or commenting, I make myself realize how ridiculous I sound, and delete the comment without sending it.

Politically? Yeah, well, that's another kettle of fish. I avoid most news sites like the plague now. It's like giving up watching TV for six months; you pick it up again, and everything you thought was watchable suddenly looks pathetic. But yeah, politics...that ten year slog into politics taught me one thing--it ain't my bag. I'm just not a politically minded person. You can probably slot me in with the liberals if you had to, but if anything, I have my own thoughts about it all. I'll admit to having all kinds of contradictory politics in my head...not necessarily making me a hypocrite of sorts, more that I tend to pick and choose different facets of all sides that make sense to me. Above all, I just follow Wheaton's Law and call it done.

Now, on the health end of things...yeah, I really need to work more on that.
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
It's less than ten days before the end of 2013 and oddly enough, I'm caught up.

More to the point, I'm not rushing and freaking out trying to get stuff done by year end. Okay, there are a few writing-related things I was hoping to get done before then, but I'm okay with them going over by a few weeks. No, this is more about the fact that I've pretty much done what I set out to do this year:

--finish revision of A Division of Souls and submit
--rearrange and clean up Spare Oom and sell/donate things that have been taking up space
--step up on the health care (getting teeth fixed, going to the gym, cutting down my sugar intake)
--step up on the mental health (dropping a lot of stress, avoiding things I don't need to worry about)
--clarify focus on creative endeavors (upping my guitar chops, drawing, and of course writing better)
--expand travel experiences (more on this in a later post)
--more focusing on future endeavors and less focusing on past failures and near-misses

All in all, I'm pretty happy with how 2013 panned out. I'm seriously looking forward to next year, as I have quite a few neat things in store! :)
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
Hi there! Been meaning to update this all week but I've been rather busy with things personal and work-related. Workwise I've been rather busy...the volume in my job tends to come and go in waves, so there will be days where I'm ridiculously backlogged, and there are days where I can goof off breathe a bit easier. The good thing is that I've learned to balance all this and not get stressed out. It helps that I'm working from home and get to listen to music to keep me calm. As I've mentioned earlier, my music of choice lately has been Santa Clara University's college radio station (KSCU--you can listen online here), so musically I'm pretty much in my element there. I'm not nearly as stressed out as I was a few years go. There are a few stressful days here and there, but I've learned to balance it all out.

This week was also temporarily sidetracked by an unexpected health issue. Long story short, what I thought might have been a bug bite or a bruise on the back of my neck was actually an inflamed cebaceous cyst (non-cancerous--nonsquicky version, it's a buildup of dead cells under the skin that's actually quite common and completely harmless, unless it gets infected/inflamed like it had for me, via a bug bite at the Arboretum in GGP a few weeks previous). Monday I went in to have it checked, only to have it treated, with a follow-up on Thursday declaring a clean bill of health.

I mention this mainly because this was pretty much the impetus to get me off my duff and make good on my 2013 plan to get healthier. We've been going to the gym and walking around the neighborhood, of course, but this was me finally saying it was high time I actually headed to the doctor. I've already made plans to go for a check-up in a few weeks as well. And on a more personal note, I'm trying to be more healthy with my food choices as well, cutting down on my sugar intake [GASP OF HORROR!] (Okay, this should really be translated to: slowly finishing off the candy stash I have and holding back on buying new stuff) (ANYWAY) and soda intake as well.

Anyhoo...feeling relatively healthy, with room for improvement!


[Of course, I say this just as we're about to head out to Hamburger Haven and have a ridiculously greasy breakfast and possibly stop at the bakery on the way home. Everything in moderation, I guess... :p ]
jon_chaisson: (Mooch writing)
So ends another year.

Okay, there's one more day to go, but that last week after Christmas always seems to be more of a denouement rather than a big finish. It's when everyone takes stock in what they've done over the past year, what they've achieved, what they've missed out on, and what's still on their bucket list. Some people only think about it in passing, making vague plans or thinking about general aims rather than concrete ones. Others go into minute detail, mapping out exactly what they're going to do and when. I do a bit of both, come to think of it--I plan on going to the gym more, but I also plan on finishing the revision of A Division of Souls and getting it out in 2013. I plan on doing a bit more cooking, but I also plan on taking an evening class or two. This coming year promises to be full of interesting things.

Short retrospective bit about cleaning out the attic in 2012 )

That said...

I have resolutions for 2013!

Writing.
This coming year looks good for me. I'm about a third of the way through the revision of A Division of Souls, and I seem to be getting more done at a quicker pace now. I figure by Q3 I should have it done and ready to go. So this means that in Q1 and Q2 I'll start doing a bit of agent and publisher research and shopping around and prepare myself for the big sendout. And when that happens, I'll start in on the revision of Book 2.

I'm going to try and squeeze in another project this time, something that won't be a main focus but something I can work on "on the interim" during afternoons or something similar. I'm not sure if it'll be a new project or if it'll be one of my backburner projects, but I want to have something going, even if it ends up being more of an exercise than a full-blown project. I need to dust off the ol' noggin and get new words flowing again. It's been too long.

I've lapsed a bit on the poetry, since I ended the Dreamwidth project earlier this year, but I'm going to start picking that up again. When I assigned myself to write a poem on certain days of the week like I did a few years back, it was a fun exercise and I think I got some decent work out of it, so I'm thinking it's time to do so again.

Also, I will continue on the Walk in Silence project. I've let it lapse a bit lately so I can play catch-up with ADoS, but I have some 2013 plans for this one. My aim is to reserve weekends for this project, so I can spend a good chunk of time focusing on it, while the weekdays stay reserved for the Eden Cycle revisions and the possible new stuff.

Lastly, chances are good I may need to buy a new laptop, as I'm not feeling good about getting my current one fixed (I'm not complaining about the place I brought it to, he's actually quite a nice guy and does good work--it's more that it died only after a year and he's having problems finding replacement parts already). Not sure what I'm going to get, but I'm open to Windows 8 and touchscreen...as long as it has MS Word, a few USB ports and a cd drive, it's all good. [Note: I don't plan on getting Apple products for personal tastes and reasons, so no need to try to sell me on it. Just sayin'. ;) ] I'd like to be able to sit out in the living room with Emm while working instead of holing myself up in Spare Oom all day and night.

More on all of this come January 1, when I update my whiteboard.

Creativity.
So I received a Wacom Splash tablet and a Korg Monotribe mini synth for Christmas (thanks to my sister and Emm, respectively). Looks like 2013 is going to be ridiculously productive! I've been meaning to pick up the drawing and the music playing again in a more substantive way, and now I have two toys that will help me reach that goal. The drawing will most likely yield more results sooner, since the tablet is ridiculously easy to use and I've had a ton of fun with it already. The synth might take a bit longer as is a bit confusing to use, but I should be able to figure it out after a bit of playing around with it (that's how I learn most instruments anyway). I'm planning on getting some multitrack audio software at some point as well, so you might see me posting some homemade tunage some time down the road.

Health.
Despite our recent lapse in going to the YMCA (holidays and a business trip will do that), the both of us plan on getting back on that bandwagon as soon as we can. Basically we'll just be continuing our ongoing exercising, so this is more of a reminder than a resolution. Walking around the neighborhood on weekends continues as weather permits, of course.

On a more personal note, I think it's high time I had a physical checkup, as it's been way too long since the last one. I feel fine other than the usual aches and pains of getting older--in fact, I'm in much better shape than I was five years ago, so this would be more about seeing where I stand healthwise and seeing if there's anything I should do or at least be aware of. I'd also like to make a trip or two to a local dentist/orthodontist to get some work done as well. I'm not in pain, but I do need the cleaning and perhaps a new crown or two.

Work and Education.
Short version is that I'm about to start actively looking for a new job again, after taking some time off from doing so (partly due to no bites, but partly due to a work-related project that I ended up having quite a big hand in--who knew that I'd actually become an SME about OFAC regulations and check printing?). Still debating on what exactly I should look for. However, part of that debate will also lean on a few things: I'd like to find one of those professional job placement places in town, just to see where I should be jobwise. There's also the fact that I'm thinking of looking into some adult education courses for things that might help this future trajectory. Not sure where I'm going here, but I'm glad I'm in a position where I'll be able to do this.

Financial.
I've been sitting on my rollover IRA from Yankee Candle for too long and not putting any money into it or moving it around, so it hasn't really been making any money over the last few years. I think it's high time I started putting more money into it and reorganizing it, or maybe even moving it into another institution. I actually have some background on this from my old position at the bank, so it's not as if I'd be going in blind.

Lifecleaning.
Over the course of the last few months, I've been doing a bit of sorting and cleaning here and there, digitally and otherwise. Getting some things in order, finishing other things I've put aside. It's slow going, but I try to get some of it done on a daily if not weekly basis. I still have some papers and items to sort through, scan, shred, and whatnot, and I still need to bring quite a few items to Goodwill and books to bring to the Fort Mason bookstore. But other than that, I'm finally getting a lot of it in order to the point that any other cleaning is at the point of upkeep rather than getting things in order.


So that's my 2013 plans in a nutshell. A lot of stuff planned or scheduled to unfold, and I'm definitely looking forward to it.
jon_chaisson: (Default)
Vacation and work seems to have bent my schedule out of shape a bit, but I've decided that sticking to it instead of trying to play catch-up makes more sense. Which means that I'm a week behind on a few things, but I'm sure I can make it up elsewhere.

My writing-at-work project--a rough outline/ongoing personal commentary for Walk In Silence--is finally done as of last Friday, so that means that I can pick up on a newer longhand project. I'm torn between working on Can't Find My Way Home or something else, but I have an empty three-subject notebook burning a hole in my backpack, so I'd better decide soon. As for WIS, I've been doing the transcribing on Friday nights, which will then be edited/revised a bit further when I need to grab for them. And since that part's done, this means that the heavier research is about to kick in. I'm really looking forward to this part, since I have a vague idea of how I want it to play out but am not entirely sure what will and won't make it to the final version.

As for the other proejcts--the weekday revision of A Division of Souls (Mon-Tue) and Love Like Blood (Wed-Thu) is slow going, but it's going in the right direction. As time permits, I will most likely push myself a bit more and quicken the pace of my output, once I get more used to being on this schedule. Either way, though, it's still working out well and I find myself being even more excited about working on these things, especially when it's not the day to work on them. I like how that turned out. :)


In non-writing news...I'm thinking today is a good day to start my other resolution--to get in better shape. We were planning on heading up to the library this afternoon, so the walk will definitely do me good. And given that the weather is cooperating lately, I should start getting off at the Park Presidio stop rather than a few blocks away from the apartment, and walking home. And if the weather keeps cooperating, we may restart our weekend thing of doing some walking/hiking around the neighborhood, and perhaps either in the Presidio or at GGP (I do love how they're both within walking distance! :) ). And I should probably fire up the Wii Fit again and do some exercising again, just to get the rest of me in better shape too.


Other than that...we'll be on vacation again in a few weeks--my first week off is in February--and we'll be heading down to San Simeon to Hearst Castle again, with a two-day layover in the Carmel/Monterey area again. It's been a couple of years since we were last there (and it occurred to me that we were last there before Big Sur had the forest fires, so that area may look a bit different now). I'm really looking forward to that, as that area was one of my favorite places we visited on the coast. Pictures will of course be taken and I may bring Emm's IBL (Itty Bitty Laptop) for some nighttime writing sessions back at the hotel. Looking forward to that!


So yeah...2011 is shaping up to be a good year so far. Here's to hoping it stays that way!
jon_chaisson: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] emmalyon made us bento boxes o' tasty (and healthy!) goodness last night, and I think this is probably a good sign that the both of us are aiming towards eating better both at home and at work. Plus I'm trying out different things to manage my non-work time better (again, both at home and at work), and have managed to scribble out a good two hand-written pages of Walk in Silence notes during downtime.

Now to keep this going and not fall into a rut again. ;)
jon_chaisson: (Default)
As promised...

in which Jonc goes on about life, liberty and the purfuit of happineff.* )

* Why yes, that was a joke from Cheers. Yes, I'm old. :p

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