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2007, you are old news

2008.jpg2007 was a pretty good year for me. I began the year by travelling to Southeast Asia, something I’ve always wanted to do, and ended it with a trip to New York, which I’ve done before, but it was still awesome. I successfully completed my PhD proposal, which means my thesis outline has been accepted and now all I have to do it the research and writing. And now I’m on leave to work for a start-up, which — if I can hold off on the gadget-buying for a while — will give me the financial wherewithal to not have to work immediately when I do finish my thesis.

In 2007, I wrote or co-wrote five papers, and had two accepted. I won the Student Research Competition at SIGGRAPH, and have a big-ass plaque to prove it. With a few lapses, I’ve run or gone to the gym 3 or 4 times a week for most of 2007, which is a pretty huge accomplishment for a lazy lard-ass like myself, and is probably why 2007 passed without any of my usual extended periods of sullen moodiness and insomnia.

I know what you’re saying. Eric, you say, you’re awesome, and I envy you and/or want to date you. Clearly, there’s nothing you need to improve. Plus, New Year’s resolutions are way too hokey for someone as original and creative as you.

To which I can only say: thanks, anonymous reader! But don’t worry — these aren’t really “resolutions”. More like projects.

project 1: I am my own guinea pig

I’m currently about 20 pounds overweight. I’ve made my peace with probably always having a couple of extra pounds. Especially because when I was at my thinnest (in 1999, when I got somewhere below 140 lbs), it kind of sucked. I was cold and hungry all the time, and I could feel the bones in my ass when I sat down. But especially after the past month of vacationing and holiday eating and drinking, I’m probably a bit heavier than I should be. My project isn’t exactly weight loss — if I go to the gym regularly and eat properly and feel fine without losing weight, I won’t be upset. The project is to actually record and take measurements, including a regular gym schedule and weigh-ins.

To make things interesting, on or around the first of every month, I’ll be posting my results here. At the same time, I’ll be making one lifestyle change each month — like giving up alcohol, or switching from the gym to running — and reporting on what happens. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while now. Being my own guinea pig appeals to my scientific mindset.

project 2: I play the guitar

Now that I’ve switched from the student lifestyle to the start-up one, I have substantially less free time, so picking up a new hobby right now isn’t really an option. I mean, I have important DVDs to watch, yo. However, I do think I have time to make a bit of forward progress on the guitar. I picked up the guitar about four years ago, learned the basics from my roommates in a few months, and then basically haven’t advanced any further since then. My goal is to pick out some songs and and techniques each month and learn them. My goals are modest for the next few months — if I could learn ten songs and master barre chords, I’d be ecstatic. But come summer, I expect to have a bit more free time as I go back to being a PhD student, so I might even start taking lessons at that time.