Monday, December 19, 2011

Things I've learned this year: Part I

Learning is one of my great pleasures in life.  I don't mind doing just about anything as long as I get to learn something new from it.  Sometimes I manage to turn even that on its head by thinking, "How could I be so stupid as not to know that sooner?"  I long ago stopped making New Years' resolutions, but I thought the end of 2011 might be a good time to contemplate what I have learned in the last 12 months.
  • Look first, then back up.  This is my big lesson.  It seems obvious, but for some reason I have a bad habit of starting to back up before looking behind me.  After smashing the rear window in my van last spring, as well as ruining a mailbox, I hope I have finally learned my lesson.  And I am thankful that I have not hurt anything worse in the meantime.
  • The Cyrillic and Arabic alphabets.  I only learned the Arabic consonants, and I've probably forgotten many of them by now, but it was nice to be able to make out some basic letters.  I hope I've retained more of the Cyrillic alphabet, which, unlike Arabic, actually comes in handy sometimes even if you don't know Russian, since there are many loan words in Russian that one can make out.
  • A lot about computer security, which I picked up recently in order to get my Security+ certification.  I've never worried too much about security in the past, but if I approach it from the point of view of, "How would I go about breaking into my network?", it's much more interesting -- and scarier.
  • I can do a lot more than I thought I could.  I was amazed to discover that I could lose 30 pounds this year just by going on the "don't eat too much" diet.  To think I paid hundreds of dollars for a weight-loss program about 10 years ago to do the same thing, and I gained all that back in a short time.
  • Invisible fences are wonderful.  They allow my dog to run around the yard to her heart's content, and still be able to see everything that is going on, and they are much cheaper and easier to install than physical fence (which might be against neighbourhood policy in any case).
  • Publishers are not interested in my book topic.  I say "book topic" because no one has bothered to look at the book -- the topic alone is enough to determine that "it does not fit into their list."
  • This blog has been attracting far more visitors than I realized.  I've been getting over a hundred hits a month, which isn't much, but it is if you consider that I've only posted a few times this year.  I was also surprised that the most popular post, by far, is the one on Hume and Popper.  The second most popular is the one on offensive mascots.
  • What I had in storage.  When we moved into a house this summer, we got all the stuff out of storage that we hadn't seen for over 2 years.  Some of it I could do without, but much of it I am glad to see.

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