To start with here are the resolutions carried over from my previous self-criticism:
- Learn to drive (this has been an ongoing goal for the past three years).
- Get my rewritten masters thesis published somewhere.
- Write a simple introduction to gentrification. I actually started doing this over the winter break, wrote out a structure and then got badly sidetracked into trying to copy Neil Smith’s original rent gap graph.
Those all seem achievable enough, and in addition, here are some other projects I have planned:
- Have a go at another small coding project, this time in Ruby.
- Investigate webmention support on this site.
- Make a map of Leicester’s radical history, similar to the London Landmarks pamphlet.
- Move all the services I currently run on a VPS over to a raspi server running at home. This is to save money more than anything else.
- Write a book review for an academic journal.
- I’m already pretty proactive about contributing to open projects, but I do so in short sporadic bursts, usually when I’m procrastinating on a more important task. What I do ends up looking like an amateur version of Christopher Payne’s work, playing catch-all roles as blogger/livestreamer/photographer/podcaster/citizen journalist. I should plan ahead more, make sure to bring my audio recorder along to events.
Beyond specific projects, I’ve got some bad habits which generally need correcting. Starting with the fact that I consistently fail to make good use of my leisure time. This is especially important when doing a PhD and the concept of free time fades away, because you don’t have fixed working hours, and you can never truly relax when there is always writing to be done.
- Spend more time reading books, waste less time scrolling through reddit or twitter.
- Always exercise more, take the long route when cycling to campus.
- Go to the cinema more, waste less time on YouTube. If you’re ever bored in the evening and stuck looking for something to watch, stop looking and do something else.
Along the same lines as above, I want to be more focused with my political activities. I’ve had a tendency to accumulate positions and responsibilities, each of which is invidually rewarding and self-fulfiling, but I’ve lost the capacity to dedicate myself to any one particular effort. For a few groups my involvement has been limited to sitting on a mailing list, and attending a meeting every few months at most. I don’t believe that’s fair to my colleagues or helpful to the movement overall, so I should pick a handful of main things, and formally step down from everything else.
Here’s some other stuff I intend to do:
- Get plants for the windowsill of my flat.
- Get into using Sway.
- Learn to take photos with a very hipster analogue camera again.
- Get a hefty 4K monitor for my desk. No more squinting at small screens in 2021!
- Become a better webizen.
- Email people when I spot typos or issues online.
- File good bug reports for software I rely on.
- Leave more supportive comments on blogs I subscribe to.
- Start using AVIF images on this blog, once support lands in Firefox.
- When I read a comic book I really enjoy, write about it.
As for the whole situation outside, there are now several coronavirus vaccines in circulation, which means it’s now a straight race between rate of infection and rate of vaccination. Matthieu is hopeful that someone in the State is keeping a timetable of how much longer is left to go before things get better.
What do I want to do once the crisis has well and truly passed?
- Attend fewer online meetings. Because on reflection I do enjoy huddling round a table in the back room of the Friends of the Earth offices, and then going to the pub afterwards. I yearn for the day I can safely uninstall zoom from my computer.
- Go camping in Wales again.
- Visit sunny Bulgaria in the summer. Maybe? 🇧🇬
- Invite people over for dinner, or a LAN party, or a movie night. I never really did this before, but I live in a flat now, there’s no reason why I can’t hold social occasions here. Also in general I’m looking forward to actually meeting some of the new friends I made in 2020.
- Do some real, substantive field research for my PhD.
- Go on a big protest march, one of those massive events which involve hours of trudging slowly around London in the rain, followed by all the standard speeches from a platform in Parliament Square. I miss that.
Lastly, on this blog I put out one post a week on average over the course of 2020. I’ll be doing well if I can keep up that rate in 2021.