December Goals Evaluation

December has gone. And so have the many stressors that came with it (mostly just finals). This is my December goals evaluation:

1. Reading 10 books-I surpassed this goal. YAY! I read about 17 books. Amazing, I know.

2. Watch classic movies-I did not do this because I was busy reading. I am okay with this. However, I did watch Serenity.

3. PL/RA application-Yes. I finished and submitted my application. And I am very proud of it. I am just waiting on my recommendations. I also really need to practice interviewing because I really suck at interviews.

4. Finish TV shows-Yeah! I finished SherlockFirefly, and Parks and Rec. I also started and finished Selfie, and started BroadchurchDollhouse, and House M.D.

5. Practice coding-Kind of. I used some coding apps to practice, but I didn’t actually code a webpage or anything.

6. Organize-Partially. I organized my Tumblr and updated my Goodreads account. But I didn’t get a chance to further organize my Chrome bookmarks and clean out my email.

7. Build online presence-Meh. I got over 30 followers on this blog! But I did not really do much else. I posted almost every day of winter break, and I have over 100 blog post ideas on Evernote, but I haven’t worked on YouTube or made a LinkedIn.

8. Work out-Complete and utter failure.

9. Productivity experiments-Also, fail. I didn’t do an productivity experiments at all. I guess I read approximately one book a day, but I am not going to count that.

Did you accomplish your December goals?

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4 Holiday Movies

There are only a couple more days of 12 Days of Book Lists left! Today’s list includes movies. I don’t actually celebrate any holidays during holiday season, so I don’t actively watch very many holiday movies. So these movies are those that I remember watching multiple times of childhood winter breaks.

4. The Santa Clause
The Santa Clause is a fun movie I guess. It has its funny and heart-warming moments. The last movie was kinda weird though, but that’s just me.

3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Dr. Seuss stories have a special place in my heart. And the corresponding movies do a surprisingly well job at evoking the outlandishness of his books. How the Grinch Stole Christmas seems to be the one that has most effectively stood the test of time.

2. Home Alone 2
I really love the first couple Home Alone movies, as most people do. But the second one was definitely my favorite. I especially love the whole plotting/scheming process.

1. Elf
I have never met anyone who does not enjoy Elf.

What are your favorite holiday movies?

7 Books I Always Recommend

Today marks the halfway point of 12 Days of Book Lists! I now present the 7 Books I Always Recommend. I’ve just now realized that the majority of these books have been adapted into movies. So if you’ve watched any of these movies, definitely check out the corresponding book. Even if you hated the movie. It’s worth it.

7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books ever. I would recommend it to anyone from middle grade on. If you like sci-fi or psychological thrillers, Ender’s story is one you will enjoy immensely. Or if you’ve seen the movie but haven’t read the book, READ THE BOOK. The movie was okay, but it doesn’t even come close to the magnificence of the book.

6. Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
I actually watched the movie version of Angels and Demons before I read the book. This does not happen to me very often. The movie was great. I might not have thought so if I had read the book first. But that’s because I am super-critical of book-to-movie adaptations. The movie was good, however, it left out huge story arcs. If you enjoyed the movie, or have read any of Dan Brown’s other marvelous books, or like National Treasure-type adventures, I would highly highly recommend this book. I’ve reread it a countless amount of times, and it is still remarkable every time. I have heard that the facts are not completely reliable, but the book is still very entertaining and complex.

5. The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner is so so so so so good. I’ve also reread this at least five times. I think every single person should read this.

4. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut was a genius. His writing style has a perfect combination of humor and irony and complexity. If you’re looking explore the writings of Kurt Vonnegut, I would start with Slaughterhouse Five. It can be confusing because the protagonist is unstuck in time. So if you get easily confused, this might not be the best book to read. You don’t really get the full picture of the story until you finish it, which is a beautiful writing tactic. It is also a book that everyone should reread once they’ve read it. Once you know the whole story, revisiting it allows you to understand the implications of the characters’ actions on the established future. Definitely read this if you like sci-fi, especially if you enjoy space-time theories such as string theory.

3. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank
Alas, Babylon was one of the first apocalyptic books. Though it was meant to inform the governments of the Cold War of the possible effects of their actions, Alas, Babylon can be a wake up call to readers of any time. I first read it for school, but once the story started picking up, I read the entire book in a couple of hours. It’s that good. It is one of my most favorite books, so I think everyone should read it.

2. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky
Since most of the public has been exposed to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, or at least watched the movies (though I do know at least three people that haven’t even watched the movies), I think HPMOR is a great addition to this list. This incredibly popular fan fiction explores how Harry’s first year at Hogwarts would progress if his aunt had married a distinguished professor instead of the brutish Vernon Dursley. They would have treated Harry well and instilled in him the values of education and science. In this epic retelling, Harry is not an idiot first-year, but a genius rational who wants to optimize the universe. It can also be confusing at times, but it is incredibly funny and incredibly wonderous.

1. World War Z by Max Brooks
So…World War Z. This movie sucked. So much. I watched the movie first, and thought it was thrilling, but the logic was screwed up and the production was also screwed up and the story was also screwed up. If the movie was off-putting to you as well, give the book a chance. The movie is nothing like the book at all. The book is written in a really cool way. The narrator is a journalist who is going around the world after the Zombie War has passed to collect stories about the War from its start to its finish. It shows the amazing ways that the human race can come together to fix our problems, and how our thirst for innovation and survival can save us from almost anything.

Which books do you find yourself recommending?

8 Books that Should be Movies

Today is day 5 of 12 Days of Book Lists. Which means it is time for 8 books that should be movies. I do realize that most of the books I’ve chosen are young adult series, but that stems from the fact that I haven’t read many books in the past year. And time-consuming series are definitely the most memorable. I also think that these books are popular enough and have interesting enough storylines that the movies would also be fairly successful.

8. Everlost (Skinjacker trilogy) by Neal Shusterman
The Skinjacker trilogy is amazing. I read the first book in middle school and recently caught up on the next two. This trilogy really needs to be more popular. Neal Shusterman’s ideas are amazing, and his characters are so complex. It’s about Everlost, the life between the life and the afterlife, but the only people living this “interlife” are children that don’t make it to the light at the end of the tunnel. I foresee this series becoming popular in a couple of years. So a movie might actually happen at some point.

9. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles is definitely the next YA craze. These books are undoubtedly going to become movies, and rightly so. If you haven’t heard of these, where have you been?

7. Branded (Fall of Angels trilogy) by Keary Taylor
I read this series last year. It is also not as popular as it should be. The Fall of Angels trilogy is about a girl that has nightmares every time she sleeps. These nightmares are about people who are being judged by a guild of angels. But in the next few days after each nightmare, she figures out that the people who she saw being judged were the recently deceased. I feel like the screenplay and cinematography of these books could be amazingly wonderful.

6. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudowsky
Realistically, this fan fic is probably not going to become a movie because of film rights and stuff. It does have J.K. Rowling’s seal of approval though. This book could probably become about 5 movies. I could see it as a Sherlock-ian take on the wizarding world. Having this as a movie would definitely confuse the Muggle public, which would be incredibly entertaining.

5. City of Masks (Stravaganza series) by Mary Hoffman
City of Masks is set in a parallel universe that is somewhat similar to ours, but the countries are different, time runs much slower, and science is replaced by magic. Oh, and a couple of people called “Stravagante” can travel between the universes. I feel like this series as a movie would be a historical fantasy/sci-fi, which we don’t see much of in the film industry.

4. Delirium (Delirium series) by Lauren Oliver
So Delirium has been tried out as a TV show, and the pilot was absolutely terrible. I think that it could have been a great series, so they should give it another try. And completely disregard the ideas from the pilot.

3. Shatter Me (Shatter Me series) by Tahereh Mafi
Shatter Me is also becoming very popular, as it is a YA dystopia. It will probably end up being a movie. YA dystopias are always popular because they are entertaining. And they make us think about the effects of our actions on the future Earth.

2. Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Gail Carson Levine was a very dominant author from my preteen years. Ella Enchanted has already made an amazing movie, and I think Fairest can make an even better movie, especially if it is done in the same comedic style as Ella Enchanted.

1. Legend (Legend trilogy) by Marie Lu
The Legend series is also a wildly popular YA series. It is also another dystopian series. CBS has the film rights, which means a movie is probably on the way. But the producers were the producers of the Twilight series. And those movies ruined the series for me. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen with this series.

What books do you think would make fantastic movies?

12 Days of Book Lists

My friend Sydney from Books and Stuff has started a tag for the holiday season called 12 days of book lists. I thought it was a great idea, and I am going to partake in it. I know it’s not strictly productivity-related, but having enough time to read is a consequence of being productive. Also, reading can help increase productivity in many different ways. Regardless, I am going to try my hardest to somehow relate each day’s post to productivity.

from sydneybollinger.wordpress.com
from sydneybollinger.wordpress.com

Click here for the original post.

I tag all of you. Mwahahaha!

December Goals

My month of December is split into two distinct periods: the stress-filled, first couple weeks, in which I must go through my first round of college finals, and the relaxing rest of the month, in which I can work on personal projects while on vacation.

My goals for the first half of December include but are not limited to:

  • getting through finals
  • not stressing out too much
  • being very productive
  • not dying

My goals for the second half of December include:

1. Reading 
I am going to read lots and lots of books because I haven’t had the chance to read as many books as I’ve wanted to lately. I don’t have a set goal yet, but I’m working on making a list of books I will read in December. My goal will probably be around 10. Last year, I read 15 books over winter break, and that break was much shorter than this year’s.

2. Watch movies
I need to catch up on some classic movies. There are quite a few movies that I’m embarrassed to admit I haven’t seen. So I’m not going to. I also want to catch up on movies from 2014 that I haven’t gotten the chance to watch. There’s also probably some from 2013. Maybe 2012. I need to watch some documentaries, too. I haven’t really seen many.

3. Apply for things
I really want to be a Peer Leader (PL), or Freshman RA, next year. The application has been out, and it’s due halfway through January. I am going to use winter break to write killer answers for the essay questions and making an awesome welcome letter, which is also part of the application.

4. Finish TV shows
There are quite a few TV shows that I have started but have never finished for reasons that I don’t even know myself. Over winter break, I am going to finish the following TV shows: Sherlock (BBC), Merlin (BBC), Parks and Recreation (actually, at the rate I’m going, I’ll probably finish this before next week), Firefly (I’ve only watched the first episode.), and Lost (Again, I’ve only seen the first episode). I thought there were more, but for the last month I’ve been trying to get through shows I haven’t finished. I guess I finished more than I thought I did. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I also want to watch the River Song episodes of Doctor Who in the order of her timeline.

5. Practice coding
I started to learn HTML over summer, and I need to practice. I also need to learn some more coding languages.

6. Organize
I really need to organize some things on my laptop. Not having them organized stresses me out. I already organized my YouTube subscriptions. But I still need to organize my Spotify songs, and I need to unsubscribe from/organize some Tumblr accounts I am following, as my interests have drastically changed since I first got a Tumblr. I also need to clean out my emails; I read all of my emails, but I want to delete all of the emails that are already read. I also need to unsubscribe from some email lists. My Google Chrome bookmarks have been organized for a while, but I need to clean them out and further organize some of the folders. I might need to uninstall some programs from my laptop because I don’t use them, but I’m not sure. I never really got into Goodreads, but now I really want to try to remember all of the books I’ve read and organize them on Goodreads. I use Wunderlist to collect lists, including my To Be Read book list. It currently holds around 200 book titles. I need to organize these into subcategories, so it is easier for me to find books I am interested in reading at the time that I am looking for them.

7. Build online presence
I really want to grow this blog over break. My goal is to post daily and create lots of new post ideas. I also need to make a LinkedIn profile. I am hoping to start a YouTube channel soon, so I’m going to try to work on that over break.

8. Work out
I have been really bad at working out this since school has started. I am hoping to start working out again over break.

9. Productivity experiments
With all of these goals, I’m going to have to be very productive, even though I will be on break. I am perfectly happy with this, as I like being productive in my downtime. I plan to experiment with various productivity techniques. Some of the experiments I’ve been thinking of trying out are:

  • waking up at 5 am every day (5 am club)
  • meditating for an hour a day
  • watching two-three hours of TED talks every day
  • using exclusively digital productivity techniques for a week
  • only using to-do lists for a week (no time-blocking)
  • reading a book a day
  • doing an hour of yoga a day

I think that’ it. For now. There’ll probably be a couple more items on this list by the time my break officially starts next Friday. Goodbye, and happy finals!

What are your December goals?