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In 2005, I Absolutely Avoid Resolving To...

Well, itís the beginning of the year, which means resolutions. Iíve been thinking a bit about what I want to do with it and myself in it. Iím hoping that getting away from some of my troubles down here and moving to a nicer environment will help me focus on what I really want to do; as I (hopefully) wonít trying to distract myself from unpleasantness half the time, Iíll be able to realise whatís really pleasant (like, I hope, hard work).

Being the materialistic sod I am, of course, Iíve also been thinking about the things Iíd like to splurge on should I get some disposable income. These purely materialistic and utterly selfish Ė but god, what fun they are, eh?

So let me break it down:


The immediate and obvious resolutions for this year are to work like a bugger at both getting our house in Cairns ship-shape (which will probably make a handyman out of me) and finding a job that will pay all the bills.

Once those are out of the way, though, what else do I want to do?

Learn to Cook

Although the thought of learning to cook has popped into and out of my mind for a little while, it only stopped being a Big, Horrid Thing Iíll Have To Learn Some Day after watching Robert Rodriguezí Ten Minute Cooking School special feature on the Once Upon A Time In Mexico DVD. There was just something uncomplicated and straight up about how he went about cooking the movieís signature dish, puerco pibil. It was his last piece of advice that stuck with me, though: Learn to make your three favourite dishes. In other words, start small, but with what you like. (I also liked the idea of, once youíd expanded your repertoire to ten, of making your own house menu, but thatíll come later.) I was still a little stumped; I think lasagne would be a bit too much to bite off at first.

Vickie and I hired Once Upon A Time In Mexico from Video Ezy just before Christmas, and in an act of good timing, her daughter Gemma decided her Christmas present to me would be a cookbook called express recipes. Itís this ring-bound flip-book with a picture of the meal on one side and easy-to-read-and-follow instructions on the other. As it stands up on its own, itíll be very easy to have both handy and not in the way when in the kitchen. Iíve been slowly flipping through the pages, looking at dishes and putting little post-it notes on the ones I like. Okay, Iím not putting post-it notes on, but I really ought to be; some of those dishes Iíd quite like to prepare, for both the two of us (itís long past the time that me taking the dinner load off Vickie should be more than just nipping out for takeaway) and when we have guests.

Once we get our kitchen fixed, of course. Thanks to our tenantsí neglect and an accident that said neglect exacerbated, our kitchen needs thorough renovating. We have a quote from the insurers, but weíre waiting until we get there so we can direct the renovations a bit. Oh, yeah; we only found out yesterday that the tenants managed to blow the heating element on our barely-two-year-old stove.

Learn PERL and Web Server Maintenance

Marcus, the administrator of our web sites, gave me some form of access rights to his web hosting account on the server in the US, but I have no clue how to use them. In the meantime, Marcus is a fairly busy bloke; heís got a job to do, a move of his own to manage and chicks to chase. So sitting down to manage our web site usually winds up taking a back seat.

Ultimately, though, this ought to give me incentive to learn how to manage the server, or at least our corner of it, myself. As far as I can see, this will entail learning PERL at least, as well as Apache (Iím not sure precisely what hosting software the server runs, but I think the base platform is Windows Server 2000 or 2003). Once I have PERL under my belt, Iíll better understand how the guts of Movable Typeís scripts work, which I think will improve my ability to implement an upgrade to version 3.0.

And speaking of the site, I also want tog et all those old postings from October 2001 to April 2004 back onto the log. Hell, I canít even look at last yearís resolutions at the moment.


Find and/or make some Roleplayers in Cairns

Iíve already taken some small steps, including setting up that Meetup group that no one else has joined yet. The valiant =web searching Vickie initiated a couple of months ago has unfortunately been fruitless (although I must admit Iím yet to seriously trawl the forums of the Far North Queensland Gamerís League for tabletop gamers). The general consensus seems to be that if Iím to find gamers anywhere, theyíll be at James Cook University, so once I get some time Iíll try there.

I am, of course, being tempted by some RPGs that Iíd like to buy:

  • Blue Rose. This D20-based RPG bills itself as ďThe Roleplaying Game of Romantic FantasyĒ, and I rather like the idea. From the developerís journals, theyíve moved the emphasis away from traditional action-based challenges and levelling up, and actually managed to bring Ė well, a heart to fantasy roleplay, a little more human drama in the vein of writers like Mercedes Lackey. Regular roleplayers might find it a little offputting as a result, bout I think itíd be a good game to introduce non-gamers, especially females, to the hobby (all female players will subject to Vickieís approval, of course). And hell, I like Anne McCaffrey and enjoyed what Mercedes Lackey Iíve read, so why not?
  • Primetime Adventures. Another independent roleplaying game, this oneís been burning up the indie boards since its release. Itís all about simulating TV shows Ė not the echanics or the back-stage stuff, but the plot, charcters, arcs, pacing and (a little bit of) budget. I really like what Iíve read so far and wouldnít mind picking it up some time.
  • The Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition Core Books. I still want to run an Eberron campaign some time, but I donít have the core books aside from 3rd Edition Playerís Handbook. So when I have a spare $180 (and enough interested gamers to justify the investment), I might plunk it down on them.
  • Silhouette CORE, plus Heavy Gear 3rd Edition and Jovian Chronicles 2nd Edition. You already know how much I love Heavy Gear, and as much as I think Second Edition does what I need it to, I still want to be forward-compatible with the new stuff when it comes out. Iíve also loved Jovian Chronicles since I first bought the original Green Mekton Supplements, and the 2nd Edition, which compiles all sorts of goodies from the Silhouette First Edition books, seems like a great grab. Plus, Dream Pod 9ís Introductory Heavy Gear 3rd Edition Special gives me all the 3rd Edition HG product line for less than getting it at the bookstores here Ė even with shipping included!
Computer/Video Game Stuff

Less of a thing than the RPG stuff, especially as it tends to be a bit more expensive. Vickieís son Karl has an Xbox and Halo 2, and Iíd love to have some system link games with him (and any friends and relatives we can rope in) sometime. Xbox Live is also tempting, especially as we have that wireless hub; the only problem is, I still need a wireless bridge, and then thereís the XBL account itself. I think EB has them on sale for $50 at the moment, but it might be back to $100 by the time we get to Cairns and have some disposable income again. In the meantime, Burnout 3 and Knights of the Old Republic 2: The Sith Lords are singing their siren songÖ

Iím also starting to drool over World of Warcraft. It seems like the kind of MMORPG that not only I could get into, but also drag Vickie into; the reviews Iíve read say itís extremely polished and extremely fun; it could well be easier to play than co-operative Neverwinter Nights. Of course, thereís the prohibitive cost of two copies of the game plus two subscriptions, so Iíd say weíre more likely to knuckle down and polish off Shadows of Undrentide. In the meantime, given a decent ADSL connection and some plan I have in place with the Gavin, I should be able to hook up with the lads in Sydney for some Dawn of War.

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My resolution is easy...don't make any resolutions.


I'm going to NIDA!!!