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2012 Personal Goals: year end wrap-up

by Rob Friesel

2012: that’s a wrap!

In a personal tradition going back to 2007, I set goals (“not resolutions”) for myself for the year, trying to stick to so-called “SMART” goals. The original 2012 goals post was here, and yes: I’ve been keeping track.1 As the year closes, it is time to reflect upon those goals once again, and to see how much I’ve managed to accomplish.

  1. Exercise: ≥4 days each week. Overall? Not too bad. Though I did not get outside or onto the treadmill 4 times each week every week, it was definitely most weeks, and with the exception of December,2 my actual walking/running achievements were about twice what I targeted. Climbing was way down this year (only 20 times), but anyone could have seen that coming. Now, the graphs:
    Total Exercise Sessions (2012)
    Total Miles Walked/Ran (2012)
    Total Climbing Sessions (2012)
  2. Reading: ≥36 books. Far and away my best year. Somewhere in the vicinity of 60 books–many of them by “new to me” authors, and a pretty even split between fiction and non-fiction.3
    Total Books Read (2012)

    Book Author Date Links
    Neanderthal John Darnton 1/2 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    The Cardinal of the Kremlin4 Tom Clancy 1/15 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Animal Farm4 George Orwell 1/19 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    We Are in a Book!5 Mo Willems 1/21 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Grendel4 John Gardner 1/24 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Embassytown China Miéville 2/12 my review; Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal4 Christopher Moore 2/22 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Quiet Susan Cain 3/1 my review; Goodreads; Amazon.com
    The Intuitionist6 Colson Whitehead 3/6 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Against a Dark Background Iain M. Banks 3/21 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    The Joy of Clojure47 Fogus & Houser 3/228 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Running Lean9 Ash Maurya 3/25 my review; Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Mobile Design Pattern Gallery9 Theresa Neil 3/29 my review; Goodreads; Amazon.com
    Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingalls Wilder 3/3110 Goodreads; Amazon.com
    jQuery UI9 Eric Sarrion 4/9 my review
    Code Simplicity9 Max Kanat-Alexander 4/26 my review
    Infinite Jest4 David Foster Wallace 4/29 Notes
    Farmer Boy10 Laura Ingalls-Wilder 5/1  
    Little House on the Prairie10 Laura Ingalls-Wilder 5/15  
    Clojure Programming9 Chas Emerick 5/19 my review
    Maintainable JavaScript Nicholas C. Zakas 5/23 my review
    The Wise Man’s Fear Patrick Rothfuss 5/27 Goodreads
    The Little MongoDB Book Karl Seguin 6/1 Goodreads
    The Invention of Hugo Cabret Brian Selznick 6/4  
    Kanban and Scrum: Making the Most of Both Henrik Kniberg 6/9 Goodreads
    Player Piano Kurt Vonnegut 6/10 Goodreads
    The REST API Design Rulebook9 Mark Massé 6/12 my review
    Imagine: How Creativity Works Jonah Lehrer 6/17 my review
    Alien Contact (anthology) Marty Halpern 6/21 my review
    Developing Web Applications with Haskell and Yesod9 Michael Snoyman 6/3011 my review
    Web Workers: Multithreaded Programs in JavaScript9 Ido Green 7/8 my review
    The Art of Agile Development James Shore & Shane Warden 7/9 Goodreads12
    A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers 7/10 Goodreads
    The Stars My Destination Alfred Bester 7/19 Goodreads
    Team Geek9 Brian W. Fitzpatrick & Ben Collins-Sussman 7/27 my review
    The Lost World Michael Crichton 7/28 Goodreads
    Maven by Example Tim O’Brien, John Casey, & Brian Fox 7/30 Goodreads
    Hyperion4 Dan Simmons 8/14 Goodreads
    Learn You a Haskell for Great Good! Miran Lipovača 8/17 n/a
    Python for Data Analysis79 Wes McKinney 8/23 Goodreads; my review
    Brief Interviews with Hideous Men4 David Foster Wallace 8/25 Goodreads
    Regular Expressions Cookbook (2nd Edition)9 Jan Goyvaerts & Steven Levithan 9/3 my review
    In the Country of Last Things Paul Auster 9/4 Goodreads
    Learning JavaScript Design Patterns9 Addy Osmani 9/15 my review, author’s response
    I, Robot Isaac Asimov 9/17 Goodreads
    Accessibility Handbook9 Katie Cunningham 9/24 my review
    The Caves of Steel Isaac Asimov 9/26 Goodreads
    Ignorance: How it Drives Science Stuart Firestein 10/5 Goodreads
    Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift 10/6 Goodreads
    Head First HTML and CSS9 Elisabeth Robson 10/6 my review
    Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World4 Haruki Murakami 10/21 Goodreads
    Valley of Death13 William Bebb 10/30 Goodreads
    Gun, with Occasional Music4 Jonathan Lethem 11/4 Goodreads
    Git in the Trenches Peter Savage 11/6 Goodreads
    JavaScript: The Definitive Guide (6th Ed.) David Flanagan 11/19 Goodreads
    The Hobbit414 J.R.R. Tolkein 11/20 Goodreads
    Node for Front-End Developers Garann Means 11/20 Goodreads
    HTML5 and JavaScript Web Apps9 Wesley Hales 11/24 my review
    My Father’s Dragon Ruth Stiles Gannett 12/5 Goodreads
    The Fellowship of the Ring4 J.R.R. Tolkien 12/8 Goodreads
    Testable JavaScript Mark Ethan Trostler 12/12 Goodreads
    ClojureScript: Up & Running9 Stuart Sierra & Luke VanderHart 12/16 my review
    Principles of Object-Oriented Programming in JavaScript7 Nicholas C. Zakas 12/18 Goodreads

    Additionally, here’s a few other books that I read15 during the year, but which I wouldn’t go so far as to say “I read it”:

    • The Bash Cookbook, Carl Albing;
    • Effective Java, by Joshua Bloch;
    • Beginning Java 7 by Jeff Friesen;
    • The JavaScript Pocket Reference (3rd Ed.), David Flanagan;
    • a bunch of stories from a bunch of John Joseph Adams collections, including: Wastelands, Federations, and Brave New Worlds; and also
    • …dozens and dozens of kids books. Golden books. “Magic School Bus” books. Kiddo science books. The list goes on and on.
  3. Reading: 10 new authors. Vide supra, and/but: 41 “new to me” authors all together.
  4. Writing: ≥5 hours each week; 1000+ words per session. Mixture of “huge success” and “epic failure” here. January through April (pre-baby) was a rocket ship of productivity. I even finished a pretty strong draft of my novel. That sharply dropped off after E. was born; May and June were practically non-starters–and/but that also had to do with some other stress. I made a go of it the rest of the year, but circumstances and fortune were not smiling upon me. The motivation is still there, but the wells for time, energy, and inspiration are all pretty dry at the moment. Perhaps when the boys are older and I’m better rested?
    Total Hours Spent Writing (2012)
    Also: no, no graph for “words per session”. I wound up not tracking that closely, especially since so many writing sessions also doubled as editing sessions and were as much “reading” as “writing”.
  5. Writing: Finish a draft of my novel-in-progress. Vide supra; this is complete. March 13th was when I “finished” that first draft. After a re-read and some notes, I sent it out to some beta readers in August; I even got a decent set of feedback/notes back from one of them. (The rest of you: where are your remarks!?) I’ve been slowly pecking away at revisions. I also submitted it to Harper Voyager during their “open submission” period this year. (As I haven’t heard back by now, I doubt that I will–still, it was worth a shot. And now I’m not locked in to that version of the story.)
  6. Code: Write something (anything!) in Clojure. Fell flat on my face here. I tinkered with it. I dicked around with it. I didn’t build anything substantial with it. I got about 25% of the way through a project, but kept fizzling out. (I was going to port my Goodreads Timeline Generator from Groovy to Clojure but got bogged down in the land of XML and “zippers”; then I got further distracted by trying to port that same app from Groovy to Node.js.) Anyway: here’s as far as I got.

Also: some other things that seemed worth noting:

  • We had another baby. That was… pretty awesome. (Also: we are doing a picture-a-day for his first year, just like we did with H.)
  • I tried beef liver for the first time; didn’t like it.
  • Though I didn’t ski my first black diamond trail (that was … 2 years ago?) I skied more of them in a single season than ever before. Including one or two at Bolton where I’d previously chickened out.16
  • For better or worse, I radically cut back on coffee. Like down to maybe 10% of my in-take from the beginning of the year.
  • I wound up getting pretty “engaged” with quite a few people on Twitter and Goodreads. A bunch of my blog posts got traction. Those were fun conversations. So… social media FTW?
  • I posted 1461 pictures to my Flickr stream this year. (And took many, many more.) This brings my total Flickr stream up to 13,164 photos and videos.
  • Favorite short story from the year: Jake Kerr’s “Requiem in the Key of Prose”.
  • Favorite novel read this year: The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. It’s hardly new (published in 1999) but it was new to me. Hell, somehow I hadn’t even heard of Colson Whitehead until this year. Anyway: it was amazing.
  • Favorite technical book of the year: Clojure Programming by Chas Emerick. I’ve said this a few times now: something about Clojure really brings out the “lucid” in those that choose to write about it.
  • Favorite non-technical non-fiction of the year: tie between Susan Cain’s Quiet and Team Geek by Brian Fitzpatrick and Ben Collins-Sussan. Want to know why? Reviews are here and here, respectively.
  • Most viewed post of 2012: still “ambulothanatophobia”. (I’m still #1 in Google for “zombie phobia”, I guess.)
  • Most viewed new post of 2012: my review of Clojure Programming. (I believe I have @fogus to thank for that.)
  • Most viewed new post of 2012 that wasn’t a book review: my post on headless JavaScript unit testing with Jasmine and PhantomJS — which was the “blog post” version of the VT Code Camp talk I gave this year. Pretty happy with how that all came together, actually.
  • Most controversial post: almost definitely “Agile for the Introvert”.

I’m sure I could go on, but I fear I’ve already gotten tedious. In any case, 2012 was a crazy year — and not just w/r/t/ the above goals. In many ways, I’m glad to see it coming to an end; let’s say that I’m happy to move on and away from some of its … dramatic flourish. Looking forward to 2013.17

See you next year.

  1. Check-in posts: Q1, Q2, and Q3. []
  2. ”Funny story there…” We were painting a door in that room. The treadmill was more/less out of commission the whole month of December. []
  3. We can thank the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program for that. []
  4. A re-read. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
  5. Yes, it’s a kid’s book. So what? I read it for The Boy enough times. []
  6. Which, seriously, I know I don’t have my own review posted anywhere but… 5-stars. Really: go out and read it right now. []
  7. Note: I had a hand in editing this book. [] [] []
  8. But I’d been working on this one since… July 2011? A good long while. []
  9. Note: read as part of the O’Reilly Blogger Review Program. [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] [] []
  10. Though admittedly: that was a co-read with A., for H.; and A. did most of the reading. [] [] []
  11. …or 7/1, depending on how you figure the fuzzy end on this one, for me. []
  12. Also: “Agile for the Introvert”. []
  13. Abandoned. []
  14. Read aloud with H. []
  15. As in “read stories from” or “referenced frequently” or “read significant portions of”… []
  16. Sure, laugh all you want. I’ll take my wins, however small. []
  17. Goals to follow soon! []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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