Friday, March 25, 2011

Weekly Summary #23

Gah. It's time for another weekly summary? Almost an inconvenience given my busy week of job hunting. I've been writing and fooling around with cover letters so much that I still feel resistance to blogging due to finite writing energy, so it won't be until I get a job that my writing practices will return to normalcy. I did have an interview, so I have yet to see how that goes. Anyhow, with my limited patience I'd rather tackle the list before going into deeper details about my week:

1.) Put new license plates on car: Finished, but it was quite troublesome. My car doesn't have an indentation on the front to put a license plate, and yet Texas law requires it. It was a laborious adventure trying to find what I needed and who would do it, but things concluded in success by my having a local mechanic attach my plates for free.

2.) Apply to at least two places per day, external circumstances not interfering: Yes. If memory serves correctly, I've either met or surpassed this goal almost every day this week, excluding Thursday and Friday (today). I should have kept tally. Anyhow, on Thursday the interview took up all my time, and Friday I'm just going to dedicate to callbacks given that there's limited opportune times to speak of a career at any particular place, and active hunting would cut into that phone time.

3.) Consider and research moving my money to Texas: Didn't do it. Honestly, I'd rather worry about getting a source of income first before dealing with the problem of where to store it, so I think I'll set this goal down until that other hurdle is jumped.

4.) Identify a way to turn my Big 8 workouts into two Big 4's: Didn't do. Virtually immaterial as well, as I won't shell for a gym membership quite yet. To explain this goal a little further, one of the essentials of the workout routine described in the book Body by Science is that one should work each muscle group only once ideally, so while at the gym I've been trying to figure out how to accomplish this in a proper amount of exercises. Doing bicep curls, for instance, before doing a seated row will harm one's performance in the latter exercise because the biceps were weakened in the prior exercise, and that weakness will be detrimental to exercising the back muscles, so exercise redundancy must be avoided. To give my muscles two weeks to heal I've been thinking about cutting up eight exercises into four exercises each week, but I haven't gotten around to contemplating how to optimize that. Perhaps an intuitive approach might be best during the actual workout, as I'll be able to rely on the feeling of my muscles and know when I did something wrong.

5.) Meditate for a half-hour each day with eyes open: I might have skipped a day, but otherwise stayed constant with it. It won't be until this upcoming week that I'll truly learn the value of the practice, however. An ongoing problem was numbness in my right leg being apparent in the last ten or so minutes of my sitting, and that numbness would become so bothersome that it broke and prevented any trance from then on. Luckily, I have remedied the problem by both taking the stuff out of my back pockets and utilizing two pillows to increase blood flow. I won't make it an official goal from here, but I'll set meditation on my routine next actions list in order to see it's longer-term effects, especially now that I can establish a longer trance more easily.

At first glance, it seems rather exhausting. Being extrospective for that long really strains the front of my brain, and I've yet to get used to it. We'll see. Right now I've noticed its greatest benefit is the improvement of my concentration.

6.) Watch two Alfred Hitchcock movies, Rear Window and Psycho: I tried to, but my computer wouldn't let me. Ever since I moved to Texas my computer has been acting glitchy. Whenever I put a movie in I ran into various problems. When using the Media Center program (I use Windows XP Media Center edition) my CPU would be taken up to the point that my computer would work at max capacity and make the audio choppy. Other programs, such as Quicktime and VLC player, refused to view the DVD as an integrated file, instead breaking it down into unplayable parts. Consequently I've just been unable to work on this goal. I didn't bring my television with me in the move, so my DVD player is temporarily useless.

Would any readers have a suggestion for a solution?

7.) Write a special article on an identification I made about anger: I've thought about it, but after posting this goal I've become very conflicted. Surprisingly, for once I'm feeling very reserved and private about this kind of thinking, so now I'm not sure whether I'll actually write the article or if I'll just publish it for a special audience. It is an issue of concern that would be beneficial to write about, but I don't know how yet or whether I'll have the motivation during this period of employment-based writing. More thinking must be done.

* * * * *

Overall, I've kept myself very busy in my job hunt as per my rational obligation to myself, but considering matters in whole I think I ought to be ashamed of myself. I've been very lazy in keeping on top of my lists, oftentimes going to bed without completing my daily goals or engaging in undeserved recreation. And, oh!, I've been especially terrible in keeping track of my perfectionism goals. If I haven't been keeping tally at all, then I've been flip-flopping on my methods. On some days I'll keep a total tally of all my perfectionism violations, and then on others I'll only add a single tally after having assessed the day in total. This latter method is dishonest, for it wipes out the emotional impact of my actions by making them seem small since they're represented by a single paper-thin slash mark. I need to be more consistent, and more so I need a new method.

After all this I would still consider myself back on track -- I'm being productive still after all -- only the problem is that I'm not totally driving on the rails as I should be. More effort must be made to regain my composure, and I think I'll dedicate this week to that. I mustn't be wasting my precious time like this given the new chance my move to Texas has given me. As such, here are my goals:

1.) Write an article on my connection to cooking: Recently I've identified why I value the culinary field so much, and making such an identification explicit ought to be helpful in determining my future goals.

2.) Read all of Green & Black's articles

3.) See if there's a way to drive down CPU usage on my computer: So I can watch those darned DVDs. I think I may likely need to do a virus scan in safe mode to clear matters up, though I'm dreading that measure since doing a scan in that mode can take ten or more hours.

4.) Be STRICT in completing my goals. Do not eat chocolate or watch Hulu if not all goals are completed: I've always been skeptical about taking the self-reward approach to self-improvement, but I guess I ought to try it before I knock it. To give myself extra motivation, I won't allow myself to enjoy certain values if I haven't completed my goals. Completing my daily goals will mean I'll allow myself to watch programs on Hulu as much as I want, but not before. Also, I'll allow myself to have three helpings of chocolate this week, but I must earn two by keeping my daily goals the day before. (The first helping will be the routine tasting for review.) Finally, I'll only allow myself on Facebook for twenty minutes after 5 PM before completing my daily goals and won't allow myself back on until those goals are completed. I know I've made this goal before, but I've eased up on it and should get back to this restriction.

I don't know how well this will work, but it appears beneficial. The reason why I'm skeptical is because the rewards are doled out at my arbitration, which means I could give myself the reward even if I haven't completed my goals (the chocolate isn't locked up, after all), but then again perhaps I should trust myself better.

5.) Write in my journal at least 3 times: Since moving I've really been off my special introspection techniques. The ease of hearing someone talk through the walls where I live prevents me from rubberducking with my Bowser statue, and I also haven't been doing the rubberducking in the car since I've been both forgetting to bring the statue and need to listen to my GPS anyways. My writing energy being eaten up has been keeping me away from my introspection journal, but I think that ought to change. I've been under stress lately, and to go without those beneficial introspection methods is to prolong the stress nonsensically. As such, I want to aim to write in my introspection journal at least three times this week.

6.) Clean out the useless papers in my car

7.) Look for the nearby Farmers Market: I'm surprised I've actually forgotten to do this since moving. I've been so focused on checking out all the grocery stores that I've neglected this prime culinary destination.

8.) De-frag computer: Another thing I think may speed up my computer, but am also dreading. It takes so long, and putting my computer in this mode keeps me from being able to access my to-do lists. Oh well, I'll just need to time it right so I don't need the computer during those times.

Outside of these goals, I'd also like to instigate the new practice of putting a thick horizontal line to mark my violations in my perfectionism categories. My new thought is that virtue is absolute, so it's silly to count my violations one by one since a single violation is a sufficient vice to be worried about on its own. So instead of counting my violations I'll assess my day as a whole or mark the violation as soon as I see it, and the horizontal line, what with its thickness and all, should be more emotionally intimidating and pressing to the conscious if I should be falling from grace. Nothing like a good guilt trip to keep one on track, right?

Most of all, I hope my employment situation changes soon, though I'll be actively engaged in changing it, of course. I continue to pine for the restaurant kitchen. It's pretty much what I daydream about right as I wake up and cook breakfast. I'd like to set my mind forth once again on solving the problem of maximizing my ability and skill, and to restart my serious studies, this time almost entirely concentrated on my culinary areas. Soon enough.

For now, it's time to get back to living morally.


  1. Sounds like Quicktime and VLC are missing the codecs that they need to decrypt the DVD data. Manufacturers encrypt DVDs to enforce DRM, region coding, and so forth, and an unforeseen circumstance of this is that legitimate users can't access the content that they paid for.

    VLC uses libdvdcss (official site). I don't know enough about Windows to offer a clear solution, but maybe you can install this, or maybe Windows will thwart your efforts.

    Concerning the antivirus, there are at least two versions of Clam Antivirus for Windows; maybe you will find them useful (I run the Linux version and I love it).

    If you get desperate enough, you could try running a live Linux session (ex. Ubuntu) from a USB key or a CD/DVD if you have two drives. It's not as scary as it sounds, but still I'll spare you the details until if/when you want them. I just wanted you to know that we have ways.

  2. Thank you. I'll check and see if I can get those codecs. As for my antivirus, I'm fairly confident that my AdAware or AVG will suffice; I'm just dreading doing the scans since they take so blasted long and keep me from my computer.

    I don't think it'll become a severe enough problem to warrant a new operating system. Somewhere in the short-term I plan on replacing my hunky computer monitor with a flat-screen television, so that I'll be able to both project my computer and use my DVD player.


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