A preface. (You do know that only the highest quality blogs sometimes have posts with a preface, right?) I usually try to present things in an orderly manner from blog post to blog post, but occasionally there is some temporal confusion. Which ought not to surprise anyone that knows me. The post below was originally intended for yesterday. Then I got a head of steam up for the rant, and wrote it, and it was topical and timely, and only at the end did I realize that one part of it sort of assumed you had read the post below first. Oops. I tweaked it a bit so the confusion wasn't quite so glaringly obvious. So read down, then go back to yesterday's rant, if you missed it.
Where shall I begin? It's become clear to me I need to set myself some goals. Most of you know of the SMART acronym. There's a couple variations on what the letters mean, but here it is for me.
Let's use an example that comes close to home, shall we? Deciding mid 2007 I really needed to start moving my ass more and improve my fitness. Lots more. I'd already started swimming, and I got hooked on triathlon by my buddy Susi. My goal at the time was to complete a half-Ironman. I'd looked at the distance and required time, and knew I couldn't do it. I got a bike and a coach and started training. Shortly after, I set the goal of doing a full Ironman (3.8 K open water swim, 180 K bike ride, 42.2 run, all done one after the other within 17 hours.)
Improving fitness is a nice aspiration, but it isn't SMART in any way. Doing Ironman is a SMART goal that directly relates to the desire to improve fitness. I already gave you the specific distances and time limit. They are about the most measurable things we can measure. Swimming, biking, and running are not difficult. A child can do them. The trick is to keep on doing them for a time period that most people call completely excessive. There are people who can help you learn to do that. That level of cardio fitness is directly related to overall fitness, along with all the other things that go with it, eating right, regular sleep, cross training activities, and many more. You can track your progress 6 ways from Sunday, and I have to admit, many triathletes seem to take more pleasure in the tracking than in the activity itself.
Which reminds me of a writer's joke.
Q: What's the best part about writing for a writer?
A: Having written.
Yeah, I know. Except I already gave up my day job.
That's kept me going more than 10 years, even though I actually finished Ironman Canada in 2010. Along the way, I picked up other fitness goals, although none so ambitious. I've picked up other goals besides fitness, like working on my novels, and learning photography. Yes, neither of those goals are particularly SMART.
Now I'm thinking about SMART goals to keep me going for the next 30 years, but I'm having trouble with the specifics. Improve my photography is all well and good, but it's sort of like the "improve fitness" I mentioned above. A goal like getting one of my photos on the cover a major magazine (Time, National Geographic, that sort of thing) doesn't cut it because someone else does the deciding. Sheer quantity of photos means nothing, since I can set the camera to click every few seconds all night long to capture star trails, and go to bed while it works. I could easily generate 10K photos in one night. A few weeks of that and I'd need to go buy a new camera. Similarly, having my photos hanging in a gallery or on display in an art show.
Writing at least I have the goal to massage the work into a publishable form, and go through the self-publish process. I'm thinking that's the way to go. Then I'll find out how many people are actually interested in reading what they've been hearing about for years.
More temporal jumping around. One the way back from the beaver dam ramble, I showed Sean the view from the Cross Conservation area. So far I haven't been past the parking lot. One of my neighbours is out there all the time and we keep talking about going together.
In any case, if you bring a big enough lens you get an ok skyline. The potential is there for sunrise and sunset to make it quite spectacular. I'd like to see a fog bank hiding that ugly layer of scrub. This is 600 mm on a full frame camera.
The view the other way isn't so shabby either. Again, sunrise and sunset could be spectacular.
A bit of a flashback here to when we had snow and lots of it. These lilies were poking out, not knowing what to think.
And since you ask, yesterday was busy. Today there are some people coming to work on the house. (Routine furnace servicing, and installing snow guards on the roof. Feel free to comment on what you think a snow guard does.) So I'm still thinking about Image of the Month. It's delicious looking at them full screen in Lightroom, on a 5K monitor.