When a hard year ends, sometimes the best thing to do is look forward. So I wanted to revisit this blog with the purpose to set some intentions for 2018. In 2017 I put a lot more of myself into things I didn’t see coming: doing activism in Charlottesville, traveling, speaking, and more. It took a toll. I lost a lot. So for 2018 I want to spend more time on the things that make me whole.

This post is a way to hold myself accountable. So here are the things I want to commit time to in 2018:

  • Working on renovating my house.

The house restoration projects were put on hold in 2017 due to my surgery and many other dramas. But now that we’re done with that, I want to resume getting the house in order and share the progress as I go. Goals for 2018 are to finish painting the exterior, to replace the floors in the upstairs, and to finish the room I’d like to use as my office.

To hold myself accountable and to plan this work, my wife and I have a shared Trello board. This way the work isn’t organized entirely in my head. It also helps with planning and budgeting for projects.

  • Work on coding and math.

I’ve not done spare-time programming in a while. I’d like to improve my skills, which are getting rusty. I want to play around with some Python data science architectures. And I’d like to start playing with F#. One way I want to get better with Python is to start working on HackerRank type projects and Exercism exercises more.

  • Study language.

Living in Europe for several months this year has emboldened me. Communicating in other languages is a ton of fun. So this year I want to really buckle down and work on my German and my Czech. It’s not unreasonable to set a goal of being A1 in German by the end of the year. To accomplish this, I’ve got Rosetta Stone and Chatterbug subscriptions and plenty of books. One way to work on this is to keep notebooks up to date and also use this blog to work on learning.

  • Read more

Years and years ago, I set a goal to read the Modern Library Top 100. I managed to get about a quarter of the way through, but it’s been a while since I’ve worked on it. And a lot in my life has changed, so I’m going to restart from scratch. I’m going to work on it in descending order, by 10s. So I’ll start with #100, then move to #90, #80, and so on. My goal for the end of the year is to finish all the books ranked $0 \bmod 10$, i.e. 10 books, give or take. Not all of the entries on the list are single books; some are trilogies, etc., so it’s a good amount of reading. Many of the books I plan to read this year I’ve already read, but it’s good to re-read them with a new perspective.

In fact, here are the books I intend to read:

100. The Magnificent Ambersons, Booth Tarkington.

This book is actually the second in a trilogy, preceded by The Turmoil and followed by The Midlander. I have read The Magnificent Ambersons once before, but never the trilogy. So I plan to knock out all three.

90. Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie

I loved this book the first time around and cannot wait to read it again.

80. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh

70. The Alexandria Quartet, Lawrence Durrell

These books blew my mind when I first read them. It’ll be a joy to get back to them again. I remember my young queer self being moved by the inclusion of bisexual characters.

60. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy

This was my favorite book to recommend to bratty high school students looking for a short read at the end of summer vacation when I worked at a bookstore.

50. Tropic of Cancer, Henry Miller

I’ll go ahead and read Tropic of Capricorn after this, too, but I remember the first 40 pages of this being absolutely bizarre and sexual.

40. The Heart of the Matter, Graham Greene

30. The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford

This took me forever to get through the first time around. Frankly, it was boring as fuck. I’ll power through it again.

20. Native Son, Richard Wright

This one I haven’t read yet. This is such an important book and I am glad I can read it when I am more mature.

10. The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

I have read this book at least three times but I’ll get through it again. It really is a spectacular novel.