25 before 25 – Checking in at 24

As some of you might know, I made a list of 25 things to do before I turned 25 a couple of years ago. I just turned 24, so I thought I would post an update of the list. Of course, I have changed some of the goals on the list because I just stopped wanting to do them. Take my old goal number 6 — Get married (well…after I find the right guy!) — Well, guess what? I have not found the right guy, and even if I did miraculously find the right guy sometime in the next 11 months, I don’t want to marry him before I turn 25. If, in the future, I actually find a man that I love and want to spend the rest of my life with, I will then marry him (if he decides to ask me). Until such a time occurs, guess who is not going to get married? Yep. That’s right. Me. So I’ve changed my goal number 6 to one of much greater importance — Be Happy –.

So these are my goals. The bold ones are DONE!, the italicized ones are in the works, and the regular ones are not yet completed.

  1. Get bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
  2. Get master’s degree in Computer Science (If all goes as planned, I should be done by the end of October which will be before my 25th birthday).
  3. Visit Florence.
  4. Visit Paris.
  5. Visit Spain (this used to be ‘visit Ukraine’, but with the political situation there, I decided that I wanted to visit Spain instead. Much less exotic, I know. And I did)
  6. Be Happy (I’m happy right now. So I just have to stay that way. =D I’m glad I’m a happy person, because it is going to be really easy to reach this goal)
  7. Build an operating system from scratch.
  8. Buy a big monitor (either two 20-inch screens or one >24 inch screen) 
  9. Use a raspberry pi to build a home server (I have a Raspberry Pi and COULD use it to build a home server, but that wouldn’t be very useful considering that I already have a really good webserver. But I built my Raspberry Pi and can boot it, so I’m marking this as finished anyway)
  10. Read a book about German history (this used to be write an App for Android, but I’m not a big fan of mobile development. I could write an App for Android easily with the skills that I had, but I have recently discovered an interest in non-fiction which I much prefer reading in my free time. I would like to read a good book on German history. Preferably in German, but I will probably have to ask around to see what is recommended)
  11. Learn to program in Python (I learned it last spring and was unpleasantly disappointed. Not that it isn’t a great scripting language, but I would NEVER use it to build a large application).
  12. Learn another language (I took a year of Spanish at the university. I need to start practicing regularly again, but I don’t actually know if I will be successful at this goal since I won’t have the opportunity to immerse myself in the language).
  13. Finish reading the Tintenherz trilogy.
  14. Get 10,000 hits on my blog in one year.
  15. Learn how to develop web-pages with php
  16. Buy graphic tablet and learn to do a bit of graphic design (I bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and made this comic which was all I really wanted to do, so I consider this to be done. I would like to practice copying other cartoonists so that I can learn to draw better (like Adam@Home or Big Top which are drawn by Rob Harrell. I didn’t realize that they were both drawn by Rob Harrell until I looked them up. Weird. I just know that I want to be able to draw like him. Not that I would complain if I could draw like Mark Tatulli (Lio) or Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine)))
  17. Read through the Life-study of the Bible (I’m plugging away, reading one message every day. I finished the Life-study of the Old Testament, and I am almost 80% finished, but we will see if I actually manage to complete this task. I have 414 messages left (as of this morning), so if I double up and read two messages a day for three months, I might be able to do it. We will see!) 
  18. Get into the habit of exercising at least 2-3 times a week (I’ve been really bad recently, but as soon as I get back into my rhythm, I should be able to get back into the habit. I have a running group on Mondays and go to yoga on Wednesday which is technically twice a week).
  19. Visit Amsterdam.
  20. Learn how to remotely access other computers
  21. Build a website from scratch 
  22. Go to the Opera (I got to see Magic Flute! Which was AMAZING! Love Mozart!)
  23. Build up a habit of having morning revival (I’m working on this. It is such a wonderful way to start my day. Now I just have to keep it up for another year!).
  24. Organize/scrapbook all of the souvenirs I have.
  25. Read through the Bible again (I’m hanging out in Philippians, but I’m sure I’ll finish on time. I am just taking longer than I normally would because I like Paul’s Epistles so much that I have been reading them much slower than I normally would).

15 DONE!7 in the works, and 3 to be done!

I’ll let you know in a year how it turns out. =)

To Write or not to Write

To those of you who have diligently read my blog over the past five years (even though I have posted next to nothing for the last couple of years), you know that November is a special month. It is NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. The month in which crazy, normal people like you and I buckle down and write a novel because we want to, and because we can do it. A friend (who really liked the novel I wrote in 2011) asked me if I was crazy enough to write another novel this year. The answer: NO.

I actually seriously considered it for about two hours. But no. Not going to happen.

Right now I’m in a really really good place. Like really good.

I’m inwardly very peaceful and happy, satisfied with my life as it is right now, and satisfied that the direction my life is headed is the direction that I want it to head. And I’m learning to find joy in the little things in life. I had a little happy attack on Monday because of baked vegetables. Not even kidding. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, broccoli, and mushrooms. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and pop in the oven for 30 minutes and you will have some DELICIOUS veggies to eat. Your welcome.

I’ve discovered a new interest in history (reading a book on the authenticity of the old testament which is really interesting), and I’m trying to get in the habit of exercising regularly. I’m trying to get out and sit in the sun (when Duesseldorf is nice enough to give me sun) so that I don’t get Winter depression this winter. The sun is unfortunately already setting at 4:30 and the sun has a habit of liking to hide behind clouds, but I am optimistic (don’t have the winter sads yet!). And the coffee at work is free this week! I have, of course, correspondingly increased my coffee intake.

Work has been a bit stressful since I’ve started my internship (which I’m doing at my work). Essentially, my internship means that I am working 600 hours for free. This means that I work a 40 hour week and am only paid for 17 hours, but it is ok because I’ll be done with it eventually. I’ve noticed that you get a lot more accomplished when you work twice as much. In the evenings I am also super busy, so I’m going to be very jealous over Thursdays, which is the one evening a week when I can go home and do nothing. I wish I could say as much for weekends, but I have pretty much booked my weekends solid for the next two months (including a visit to America at the end of November).

So I don’t know why I thought I had the time to write a novel. Even for two hours. I don’t. In case that wasn’t completely and totally clear. Besides the fact that I am worried I am getting RSI in my pinky fingers (I’ve rebound my keyboard for that reason and am trying to retrain myself to type differently and use my pinkies less). Typing a novel would NOT be a good idea.

Ich muss mich zusammenreißen

That is my overarching life philosophy for the next two weeks. Ich muss mich UNBEDINGT zusammenreißen (English translation: I ABSOLUTELY have to get myself together. It sounds better in German. I therefore employ the beautiful German language to express myself in the best way I know how).

After spending what seems like months (and possibly has been months) neglecting my practical duties, I had a moment of clarity amongst the haze of procrastination and laziness: Ich muss mich zusammenreißen. Punkt.

Of course, moments of clarity are not often followed by the will to carry out the great resolutions of heart. I followed my profound considerations by wasting the day playing Candy Crush and Tetris Friends, and rereading Orson Scott Card’s Shadows in Flight. Then I proceeded to waste the evening on Netflix…. NOT my proudest moment.

Fortunately, I had another moment of clarity today. And this one was followed by the terrifying fact that there is literally no time to waste. I have my first final in three weeks, and another one the week after that. Three weeks! This is not going to be good.

Luckily, I was able to get some friends on board with my plan. They will hopefully hold me accountable.

I’m going cold turkey for four weeks. No Tetris Friends. No Candy Crush. No Pandora. No Netflix. No YouTube. No books.

Suggested activities include:

  1. File the stacks of paper that are overflowing from my desk onto the floor
  2. Clean the apartment.
  3. Do laundry. ALL the laundry. And change the sheets on the bed.
  4. Exercise.
  5. Go grocery shopping so that I actually have food to eat and no longer have to resort to eating a can of kidney beans because there is literally NOTHING left to eat.
  6. Study. A LOT. At the very least, I should make sure that I know everything that I am going to be tested on. Logical right?

Of course, I’m a procrastinator by nature. What do I do when I ban myself from every time wasting activity on the planet? I decide to write on my blog instead of doing the homework for Spanish and Efficient Algorithms.

Typical.

The last months weren’t a complete waste of my time. In fact they were kind of jam packed with loads of things that do not help me be productive in the responsible side of life. I travelled. Visited Frankfurt, Southampton, London, Versmold. Got a tax return from the IRS (and am very glad I will not be having to pay American income tax for a long time. My life will be easier). Got a PGP public key, set up an awesome email address, and attended a key signing party (the Geek in me wanted to do that very badly). Hacked some password hashes (legally of course) and after realizing just how unsafe passwords can be, made a point to change all of the passwords on my important accounts. Of course, those last items were actually part of my Network Security course, so they probably count as being productive….

In any case, I think I am going to go eat the left over meat from the barbecue I went to on Saturday. MMmmmm…..

 

To do, or not to do: Project 2014

qmark

I just updated my Publications page to add a link to my Sketchbook, and I realized that I have accidentally completed one writing/doodling project every year for the past 4 years. So should Project 2014 be a thing???

I realize that my spurt of energy and resolve is due to the fact that I am thoroughly enjoying my five week vacation from work and school. But I completed most of my Sketchbook Project while I was doing my bachelor’s thesis, and I was so stressed out that doodling actually helped me to de-stress. I’m thinking that maybe a similar project would give me a little bit of focus on something else during the next semester and keep me from becoming the total stressed out wreck that I became last semester.

Any suggestions??

I recently had a marathon reading Dickens, so currently the idea of a serial novel sounds like a lot of fun. Maybe I could write a story and post an installment every two weeks or something like that??? It would be a little bit like NaNoWriMo except less stressful.

20 things about me

Reading a list that a friend posted on her blog this morning inspired me to write my own list. I tried to think of trivia that I might not have mentioned on this blog before, but I wasn’t completely successful. In any case, this is what I came up with. 20 things about me. (Disclaimer: This list does not attempt to present a well rounded picture of who I am. It’s just a list of 20 things about me.)

  1. I’m the third child in my family. I’ve always hated being the third child in my family.
  2. I’m fluent in Germany and have lived here for the past 4.5 years.
  3. The first “long” book I ever read was Little Women. I was in the third grade. It took me three days to finish it and I was SO proud of myself.
  4. I love God.
  5. I am a total computer geek. If you want to make me get excited just start throwing words around like i7 processor, 16 GB Ram, 1TB SSD….
  6. Growing up, I always considered myself to look average (dirty blonde hair, unremarkable features, not fat, not thin). My opinion on that subject has actually not changed, but I now don’t mind being average. It’s better than being ugly.
  7. When I was young I WORSHIPPED my brother and would do anything that he asked me to do (fetch him a sandwich, get his shoes, etc.)
  8. I was fat in 5th grade. Then I grew 10 inches and it evened out.
  9. I am lactose intolerant (which has not made me give up ice cream).
  10. I graduated as a valedictorian from high school.
  11. I love ducks. I collect stuffed animal ducks and rubber duckies.
  12. I am over flexible in my hip joints and my right leg is shorter than my left leg. This probably is one of the main reasons why I suffered from a major hip/groin injury when I ran in high school.
  13. My favorite topic in the Bible is studying how we can actually experience the life of God (as described in this book).
  14. In 10th grade I got mad at a guy because he said that I lived under a rock. I feel bad now because I totally did live under a rock.
  15. I’ve never had a boyfriend.
  16. My favorite place to be is in the woods next to a river.
  17. I think Paris is overrated.
  18. I think Vienna is amazing.
  19. I play guitar. I started playing when I moved to Germany because I found I was suddenly no longer surrounded by a whole bunch of musically talented friends who could already play guitar.
  20. I love to escape reality by immersing myself in other worlds. This is why I used to check out stacks of books every week from the library, and this is why television programs are my kryptonite.

Or maybe I am

 

Source here

Sorry for that super pessimistic post that I posted approximately an hour ago. I forgot that this week I had one day that was just GREAT! I got a 1,3 on my final, got a super fast 8GB RAM 64-Bit Processor AWESOME new computer to use at work, got to spend the day at work customizing previously mentioned computer. Then, to add icing to the top of the cake, I managed to do a headstand for the very first time! I actually did it! Without help from anyone.

And yes, I just tried to do it again and fell over, but I wasn’t warmed up yet, so it doesn’t count.

I can do a headstand.

The world is not so bleak after all.

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

I have big plans for 2014. My main plans include taking major advantage of my freedom as a student to travel all over Europe as much as I can. After all, with the new buses in Germany, I might actually be able to cheaply visit my friends in Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hamburg, Nuernberg, and Berlin, so I’m going to try to squeeze those in. I also have friends living in Bielefeld, Detmold, and Versmold, so I’m going to try to go there too (I don’t really have an excuse not to, since I can travel there for free with my Semesterticket).

I’m also planning a trip to Italy. I want to finally see Florence.

In March, I will also be travelling to the States for 5 weeks to visit my family and see my two adorable little nieces before they get all grown up!

My other resolution is to finish reading the Bible in German. I didn’t achieve my New Year’s Resolution last year of reading it all the way through, so I figure that my resolution for this year will be to finish what I started last year. I’ve calculated that if I read two chapters a day, I’ll finish the Bible relatively quickly.

In 2013 I…

  1. Visited London, Winchester, Male Ciche, Zakopane, Tilburg, Frankfurt, Romford, Aix en Provence, Spokane, Seattle, and Pullman.
  2. Started learning Spanish.
  3. Started exercising again for the first time in 4 years (running and yoga).
  4. Finished my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
  5. Showed off pictures of my two new cute nieces to everybody who would look at them.
  6. Bought a Lenovo ThinkPad x230.
  7. Learned the basics of the Clojure programming language (which, for the record, is currently my favorite programming language).
  8. Finished reading through the Life-Study of the Bible for the Old Testament.
  9. Spent a lot of good quality time with my dear Lord Jesus.

And how did I do on my New Year’s Resolutions from last year?

Become more healthy – this includes changing my diet so that I eat more healthily. I’d also like to lose a couple of kilograms. My goal weight is 73 Kg (160 lbs). This basically means that I have to lose about 2 Kg (7 lbs). I also want to start exercising a couple of times a week.

I would say I succeeded in this. I eat less and exercise two times a week regularly. And I’ve managed to get down to 70 Kg (154 lbs), which means I’ve surpassed my expectations on the losing weight front. That means that I’ve lost 5 Kg (11 lbs) in this past year.

Reading the Bible – the Bible is my favorite book, and I have already read it all the way through, but I haven’t done so since I was about 14 years old, and I haven’t read it all the way through in German. So my goal for this year is to read the whole Bible through.

Well…didn’t do quite as well on this one. I’ve gotten to Proverbs in the Old Testament and Romans in the New Testament, so I’ve read roughly half of the Bible this past year (in German). But I intend to pick up where I left off and finish the rest of it next year.

What is a nightmare?

rsz_moonI am not writing this post to define what a nightmare is. It is an honest question. I woke up this morning and realized that I have no idea what a nightmare is. I have never, to my knowledge, actually had a nightmare. When I am stressed out I have dreams where I can’t find anything on time and where I desperately need to get somewhere, but I somehow cannot get out of the house. When I had one of my finals last semester, I had a dream that I accidentally went into the wrong room and somehow could not get out and therefore missed my final. Do those count as nightmares? I’m not sure. They were pretty tame. They just felt tense, not scary.

Of course, when I was a child, I used to sleepwalk and I was a bit afraid of the dark. But what I was actually afraid of were the imaginations that would come into my head as soon as I was tucked safely into bed and before I actually fell asleep. I do recall being terrified of Pinocchio. To this day, I do not understand why that is a children’s film. He turns into a donkey! Do you really expect  children to be able to go to sleep after watching that happen?

Sleep is, in any case, a place that I enjoy visiting. I love my dream world. Often I am either a secret agent or I am running away from someone. But in my dreams, I am not the absentminded, clumsy girl that I am in real life. I never fear the people who are chasing me. I usually feel sorry for them because they obviously don’t have the skills that I do. My adventures often take place in hotels with unlimited number of rooms and large lobbies that I can zip-line across. I often find myself also in parking garages or shopping malls (or maybe it is always the same shopping mall. Don’t really know). But I love it the most when I find myself in the middle of a large lush forest. The trees in my dreams are larger than life and greener than anything I’ve ever seen. It is actually sort of how I picture the Amazon rain forest to look. Or how the forest in Avatar actually looks. The only thing that could be interpreted as disturbing in my dreams is that I am almost always alone, even when I happen to be surrounded by people. And I am always fully aware that I am alone and somehow absolutely certain that I always will remain alone. Not that it takes a large amount of brainpower to interpret that particular aspect of my subconscious. My only real fear in life is that I will end up alone.

RIP Google Reader

Rest in peace.

Wait no. What I actually want to say is WWYT Google Reader. Whatever were you thinking? Seriously?

I suppose the company has the right to close their very own free web app. But I am shocked at the inconvenience of the whole ordeal. Now I have to do some research to find some decent RSS reader. Ideally one that replaces all of the functionality that I currently have with Google Reader. Which means that it has to have an Android app with an indicator widget for the main screen. And I have to somehow be able to favorite articles that I read. With my current setup, I can star articles in Google Reader, and with an IFTTT task, I can archive them in Pocket. Which I love. Because I can always easily scan through my favorite articles.

One word comes to mind when thinking of the eminent close of Google Reader: inconvenient.

I’m frustrated and irritated. I’m going to have to put a lot of effort into finding an RSS reader and customizing it the way that I want it. It is even going to mess up my current daily routine.

So to Google: I stick my tongue out at you.

I don’t really get it. Google is putting all of its money and effort into customizing Google+. It has its special features for sure, but come on! No one has any NEED for it. Because that need was already filled by Facebook and Twitter. Google has, up to this point, come to be so prominent because they have created web applications that fill a niche in the Internet that no company has filled before. And they do it well. The best search engine? Google. An open source operating system for mobile platforms? Android. A way for multiple people to edit documents online without having to send the same document over and over again? Google docs.

But Google+? Nope.

Sorry for this rant. I will get over myself soon. And at least the way is now paved for some startup company somewhere to come up with something really good. I just hope they communicate with IFTTT and get their own channel quickly.