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Personal

14 for ’14

01.03.14

Happy New Year, everyone!

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine today over hot beverages while trying to thaw out our toes. The discussion was about goals versus plans. We pretty much agreed that setting goals can be positive and constructive, but getting too set on specific plans can be negative and destructive.

So on that note, I’m making some New Year’s Resolutions this year. Because it’s good to have goals, even if I fully expect to mess them up, break them, diverge from the path many times over, and hopefully find something better in the process. Here goes:

  1. Always say yes. This was my one resolution last year, and it’s been working pretty well for me so far. Saying yes to new ideas, new opportunities and experiences is rewarding in sometimes unexpected ways. (In the spirit of improv, I probably should amend this to “always say yes, and…” but you get the idea.)
  2. Travel to at least 5 new places. A few travel plans got aborted this year, true. But temporary setbacks aside, my traveller’s spirit will prevail. I have lots of ideas already. Stay tuned.
  3. Blog weekly. There was a time when I was blogging multiple times a day, but Facebook and Twitter largely taken over for short one-off posts and links, so blog posts take longer to write these days. Still, I blog in four different places, so I’m going to aim to update each of them at least monthly.
  4. Learn a language. My many attempts at Spanish have yielded nothing but epic failure, and my Hebrew is getting rustier kol yom. I’m starting an ASL course in a couple of weeks, so maybe I’ll have better luck with a nonverbal language.
  5. Spin, baby, spin. Every year, the lose weight/exercise resolutions go unfulfilled like stale clichés. Instead, this year I’m resolving to sign up for some spinning classes, to stay in cycling shape during the Bixi off-season.
  6. Get at least 15 days on skis. The start of the season was promising, but the current deep freeze has put a damper on it. I’m at 2 days so far in December. Hopefully January and February will be better.
  7. Go camping. It’s been a few years since I’ve been on a camping trip. This summer, I resolve to fix that.
  8. Watch Team Canada win the hockey gold. This worked when I resolved it four years ago for Vancouver ’10. Hopefully it’ll work for Sochi ’14. Not that I’m superstitious or anything.
  9. Win Impossible Montreal 2014. Can the Hunny Badgers defend our title for the third consecutive year? I have no idea, but I sure intend to have a lot of fun finding out.
  10. Do everything in my power to get the PQ out of power. Come on, Quebecers, we deserve better than this sorry excuse of a provincial government. Let’s speak out against divide-and-conquer identity politics.
  11. Ditto for the Harper government. The next federal election likely won’t be ’til 2015, but that doesn’t mean I can’t keep calling Harper and his cronies out on their crap whenever I see it.
  12. Fail boldly. More improv wisdom. I will surely make mistakes this year. I resolve to make grand, decisive, epic mistakes.
  13. Be there for the people who matter. I resolve to do a better job of putting family and close friends first in my life.
  14. Take the road less travelled. Because it’s always more interesting than the beaten path.

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10 year blog anniversary

When I started this blog a decade ago, it was as an outlet for all of the thoughts that were screaming to get out of my head. It was barely a year after 9/11, Quebec had a wildly unpopular PQ government, Israel was reeling from some of the worst years of the second intifada, I was a recent graduate from a university where campus tensions were at an all-time high, and I felt like I had things I needed to say.

Blogging was a relatively new method of communication at the time. It took off like wildfire because it provided a quick and easy way to frequently update a website. Before I launched the blog (on Blogger at the time on a Geocities domain, no less), I had a website that was coded by hand, in HTML written in Notepad of all things. I’d posted a number of rant-style “thoughts”, but the update process was cumbersome. And nobody much was reading it.

Then, I discovered blogs written by people who were saying smart things about the issues I cared about. Blogs not only provided commentary, but they provided interaction via commenting and trackbacks. It was an early form of social media that created community and led me to discover others — some like-minded, some on other side of the fence — who wanted to discuss, debate and analyze.

I wrote my inaugural post without expecting much. Ten years, 2,500 posts, more than 6,000 comments and countless friends, contacts and connections later, this blog’s still going. But much has changed. I’ve migrated from a hosted Blogger solution to my own WordPress, added my own domain name, and refreshed the look and feel (though it’s overdue for another facelift).

The world has also changed. In 2002 there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram. This blog was the outlet for a lot of those random thoughts, one-off posts, links and amusing images. Today, those social channels have become much more efficient means of sharing that type of content. I blog much less frequently today. Back in 2002 I was posting several times a week or even a day, but now I might post a few times a month, if that. My posts have become lengthier, because the shorter posts tend to be tweeted or shared to my Facebook page instead.

The topics of conversation on the blog have also changed. I’m a decade removed from the happenings at Concordia and can’t really comment on them anymore, and Israeli and Mideast politics make me weary and depressed so I don’t post as much on the subject anymore. These days, I focus much more on Canadian and Quebec politics — and when there’s no lockout, hockey.

Very few of the people on my blogroll from back in ’02 are still at it. Independent blogs have largely been swallowed up by larger corporate-funded media outlets. Some of the early bloggers became media celebrities, journalists or social media gurus. Others have moved onto other things. I have a lot less time these days and I blog in multiple places, so my attention is certainly divided.

But from time to time, this space still serves its original purpose as an outlet for the things I have to say. Even if those things have changed, too.

Ten years. If you’ve been reading since the beginning, thanks for sticking with me. And be sure to check out the Hall of Fame for some trips down memory lane.

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Shana Tova 5772

09.27.2011

Happy new year to all the MOTs out there! It’s been a time of new initiatives and new beginnings for me. New job, new outlook, new projects… I do love the fall and the fact that Rosh Hashanah  always seems to signal a renewed sense of motivation in my life. Wishing you and yours all [...]

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120 things to do in 2010: Wrap-Up

12.30.2010

With only a day left until the end of 2010, it’s now time to once again pull out this list, which consisted of my 120 New Year’s resolutions for the year. At halftime in July, I’d managed to accomplish 46% of the things on the list. How did I do in the second half with [...]

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120 things to do in 2010: halftime update

07.05.2010

Some of you may remember this list, which I created at the start of the year as the mother-of-all resolution lists. Well, it’s July, which means half of 2010 is gone. So I thought it would be useful to do a quick update, to see what kind of progress I’m making. Go to Morocco. – [...]

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120 things to do in 2010

01.04.2010

I don’t tend to make New Year’s resolutions, and when I do, they’re usually simple and basic, like these ones. Last year I made mine at Rosh Hashanah, there were only five of them, and I didn’t keep three. Not a great track record. But, inspired by Andrea’s gargantuan list, I have decided that, new decade, [...]

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50,046 words

11.30.2009

Take that, NaNoWriMo!

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100 Years

02.15.2009

On February 15, 1909, exactly 100 years ago today, ice gorges dammed Niagara Falls, a New Zealand ship wrecked when encountering penguins, and the Lusitania had a rocky voyage, six years before it was sunk by a German torpedo in WWI. And in no less important news, at least from a personal perspective, a baby [...]

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New Year’s Resolutions

09.29.2008

My New Year’s Resolutions for 5769 are: Walk to (and from) work. See the post below. This one’s an easy resolution to make now, and might be tougher to stick to when the minus-30 weather begins, but I’m certainly going to try to stick to it! Pack my lunch. I’ve lapsed into laziness, and the [...]

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Night owls: It’s genetic

11.15.2007

No more being told that I’m lazy for my night-owl tendencies. Turns out, I’ve got a good excuse: It’s genetic: After struggling her whole working life to adapt to the dawn alarm that went with Denmark’s 8-to-4 workday, Dr. Kring, whose PhD was on work-life balance, began researching what was so different between her and [...]

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