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Author   Topic : "That's right--time for 2009 resolutions"

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Joined: 27 Jan 2001
Posts: 3303
Location: Lincoln, California

PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2008 11:02 pm     Reply with quote
Time for our little Sijun tradition.

Last Year

Mine from last year:

1) Complete the modeling of our house in China and build the studio I've always wanted (within reason)--with soundproofing, acoustic treatment...etc. Won't be cheap and won't be easy, but it's where we'll live for the foreseeable future, so we really need to love it.

Pretty much finished, with a few minor details left that would take another couple of weeks. Overall, we're quite pleased with the result, despite a few things we wish we could've done differently. I've already posted photos of the new studio--I'll post photos of the rest of the home soon.

2) Make a full transition into composing and leave art behind. This might be tricky because I'll have art clients that'll still come to me, and it'll be hard to turn the projects down, especially if the money is good. But I've wanted to make a career change for many years now, and each year that goes by I get a little bit older (just turned 35), it seems less possible. If I don't do it now, it'll never happen. I might not get much paying gigs in 2008 for composing, since I need to ramp up and fill out my portfolio more, but the idea is to be making music at least 8 hours a day.

I might start up a China Art department for the company I work for though, so I may not be able to make that transition as quickly as I'd like.

Full transition to music still hasn't quite happened, since I've been very busy with the construction of the new home, and also writing the material for an online workshop I'll be teaching soon.

The China studio never happened because the company I worked for picked Eastern Europe in the end over China, as we already had people there working remotely for us. I'm actually relieved because heading the entire China studio by myself and still remain the studio art director of the whole company (that's what they wanted) would've been way too stressful.

I did work on a score for an indie sci-fi short film, but I had to drop out as the construction of our new home became too time-consuming. It was a good experience though.

I'm looking forward to spending more time on music now that the new home/studio is finished, but soon I'll need to accompany Elena back to the States again to take care of her citizenship stuff, and this time we may have to stay for up to 6 months--that's 6 months without my music gears. I could do some stuff with a limited mobile setup, bit with "limited" being the keyword.

3) Eat healthier. Since moving back to the States, it's been hard to control the junk food intake, since I've missed all the goodies here I couldn't get in China. My bad habits are rubbing off on Elena too, so we really need to reign it in.

In general we've been eating healthier. We're not eating like some health nut or anything, but compared to the average person I'm pretty sure we're doing really well. Every once a while we'd go on a junk food binge, so we still need to wean ourselves off of that urge.

4) Move up to the next level in all the instruments I play (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums). I'd like to reach session player level ASAP. My guitar, bass, and drums are about intermediate (compared to my heroes), and my bass is at advanced beginner (my guitar skills carried over for the most part well). It'll take me another few years to become advanced in all of them, but it's something you can't rush, so one step at a time.

I've been practicing my instruments and I'm improving for sure. My drumming in particular has improved a lot. My guitar playing is getting back into the shape it used to be. My bass playing is improving, but I can't be too flashy on it yet (some minor slapping but nothing jaw-dropping). My keyboard is a little better as I've been doing the Rudess Jordan exercises. I also started playing harmonica (diatonic and chromatic) and I've been working on my note-bending. I'd like to be able to play a Toots Thielemans tune in the next year or two.

An unexpected achievement that happened was I learned how to properly program subtractive synthesizers, and result of my sound design work got very high praises from veteran sound designers. I even got offers to do sound design for commercial synths--all this from just one 32-preset bank I released for Synth1. If having only done it for a very short period of time and I'm already getting this kind of response, then I'm sure I'll only get better from here on.

5) Once back in China, adjust my own attitude so that I won't be angry all the time with the society/government there like I was last time. I'm going back this time because we have business opportunities that have far more potential than my art directing career here. We are business owners there, with room for expansion and new investments. Being a salaried employee, even if you're an art director, you're still just an employee, with a cap on your potential earnings. Our businesses will allow us to live comfortably, and I get to have more free time to compose.

This is a hard one. When you deal with the lack of professionalism and poor skills of the contractors you're paying good money for everyday, it's hard not to be pissed off. It's also very hard not to be pissed when you ride in a cab and the driver drives like it's a video game and your life is in danger every second (passing cars by driving into the oncoming traffic is the one that pisses me off every time, and I'd have to tell them not to do it every time I get in a cab). Shopping also wears on your nerves because the sales people are rarely knowledgeable or conduct business with professionalism, and the product quality is like playing Russian Roulette--you NEVER know which products you come home with will fail within the first week of ownership, or which vendor is lying about which feature to your face. So yeah, this may be something we'd never get used to, and we may have to simply wait for China to catch up to the rest of the developed world.

And now, this year's resolutions:

1) Help Elena get her American citizenship.

2) Do a kickass job on the workshop I'll be teaching for cgtalk.

3) Start writing seriously again (novel, screenplays).

4) Continue to grow as a composer, musician, and sound designer.

5) Now that I've been away from doing art for a living for a bit, I'm finding myself slowly getting the old passion back. I'll probably start painting for myself again soon.

I'm still going to refrain from making any resolutions about exercising, as it's proven to be something that I just don't seem to have the mentality for. If I happen to end up doing it regularly, then great--I'll make a resolution AFTER the fact to keep it up, but I'm not going to make a resolution about starting. Now that I have a proper studio, practicing drums is something I don't have to worry about anymore, so at least I burn some calories from drumming regularly.

Last edited by Lunatique on Thu Jan 01, 2009 7:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 13 Oct 2004
Posts: 1222
Location: USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:31 am     Reply with quote
With all the general "get better at art, lose weight/exercise, etc", I would say that my most important resolution would be to learn the Art of "small talk"/conversation when meeting new people, or people I don't know too well. I'm lacking in that field...
Oh, and to find a new hobby, since art/painting is what i do 24/7 at school, and need an external source of inspiration.
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Joined: 05 Dec 2006
Posts: 165
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 1:48 am     Reply with quote
1) start drawing and painting again

2) get healthy and fit

3) finish writing the short story i started
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alyssa milano

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Joined: 02 Aug 2008
Posts: 93
Location: uk

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 9:02 am     Reply with quote
This is a hard one. When you deal with the lack of professionalism and poor skills of the contractors you're paying good money for everyday, it's hard not to be pissed off. It's also very hard not to be pissed when you ride in a cab and the driver drives like it's a video game and your life is in danger every second

hehe that`s somehow something i pretty much like after it. it just free your mind from all thoses worries you can get...
once you step out the cab you feel grateful to just breath. sounds pretty healthy to me Wink

happy new year everyone!
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Joined: 23 Oct 1999
Posts: 751
Location: seattle, wa

PostPosted: Thu Jan 01, 2009 3:38 pm     Reply with quote
happy new year, all!

from last year

- be more organised -- check!
- buy a computer -- check

what i learned this year:

- to cook 3 things at once for dinner.

- run 2 miles a day most days a week.

- that hanging out with your good friends makes everything better. SUPER CHEESY

- that you need to plan and prepare for important things, like international trips. not *everything* can be spur of the moment and come out fine (though many things can and i will probably keep them that way)

- to worry less about things that dont matter.

- to oil paint.

so for 2009:
- further refine priorities
- get to work before 11 most days
- paint outside
- finish my model cars
- succeed with the current game project at work
- plan and prepare for next 5 years

see you back here in 1 year!

~ l

Last edited by nova on Fri Jan 02, 2009 11:58 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 12 Aug 2002
Posts: 3210
Location: MIND

PostPosted: Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:04 am     Reply with quote
Trying to loose everything in life that isn't of value.
Trying to understand universe and everything beyond.
Trying to reach the deepest there is.
Trying to talk, act and be kindly.
Trying to focus on nothing but everything.
Trying to make everyone around me happy.
Trying to let go. Even let go of trying to let go.
Trying to be happy, everyday, every moment.

Smile more and don't take myself and the universe too seriously! Wink
Cheers guys! Have a nice new Year! It'll be the best ever!!!!!!! WEEEEE Very Happy
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junior member

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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:03 pm     Reply with quote
I was just coming in to start this thread. Guess I'll never be punctual.

Resolutions for 2008 wrote:
1.Slow and steady wins the race. (what?)
2. Be slightly more punctual.
3. Save money.

1. This was sort of a weak resolution. I guess I succeeded?
2. hahahahahahahahahahahahah I'm just going to quit resolving to do this. Every year, I promise to be more punctual. It doesn't happen. I live literally two minutes away from my job, so now I just leave 3 minutes after I'm already supposed to be there, knowing that I'm going to only be 5 minutes late. It's ridiculous. The only way I'll ever be more punctual at this point is a major sea change in my entire approach to life. Maybe it'll happen some time, but it won't be of my own making.
3. This one was a great success. Starting in January, I started writing down every cent that I earned and spent on a little pack of index cards that I kept in my left butt pocket. Instantly, my spending habits improved. I was spending so much money on worthless, fleeting creature comforts that I couldn't even remember two hours later. They add up quickly. I was amazed at how much the quality of my life improved once I took control of my finances.


1. How to cook. This is figurative. I've been working in restaurants for close to 8 years now, but I only started working in a really decent fine dining joint about 9 months ago. The progress I've made is outstanding, and painful. This sort of fits in with my "slow and steady" blah blah blah from last year. I started the job as a kitchen manager of another restaurant, and so expected a small amount of prestige from day one. Instead, they started me out on salads (bottom of the totem pole in restaurant terms). I was hurt and embarassed, but I was determined to work my way up. It's been hard: chefs are famous for their tempers, and I work with four. I usually work from about three in the afternoon to one in the morning. But, slowly and surely I've worked my way up to saute (hotshot fancy pants position in a restaurant). In the meantime, I've learned more about cooking in nine months than I have in literally my entire life up to that point. And I'm still learning at an insane pace. Every night I'm learning something new.

2. Save your money! I thought being cheap would make my life boring and Dickensian. Turns out, it drastically increased the quality of my life. In six months of saving my money, I was able to 1. finally buy that dslr that I'd been resolving to for three years. I paid cash. 2. buy a cheap car, cash again. 3. eat at better restaurants and generally have nicer things. And I actually make less money at my new job than I did at my old one.

3. General wisdom. It's hard to describe eloquently, but I just feel.. smarter. I've had some seismic ruptures in my life in the last few months, and most of them have made me stronger and wiser. Maybe this is what getting old feels like.


No resolutions here, for me. I'd rather just live my life with the intent of learning as much as I can.

1. What kind of photos I really want to take. I've been taking photos for 13 years now and I still don't know what sort of photos I really want to take. Maybe this is something I can learn from you guys. How do I find my voice? I'm paralyzed with indecision, because I'll go out with my camera and not want to take any photos, for fear that it'll be a cliche, or that it just won't be a good photo.

2. How to bake. I'm not really a very good baker. It's not usually required of a savory cook. Still, I love sweets, and I love bread, and the strict food science behind it fascinates me.

3. How to bunny hop. Yeah. You know. The bicycle trick. I still can't do it. It's embarassing.
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Joined: 04 Dec 2003
Posts: 437
Location: Helsinki, Finland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 12:56 pm     Reply with quote
I will propably try not to promise anything, and perhaps start using more words like "should", "might" and "definetly maybe (and spell it wrong)".
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Joined: 22 Oct 1999
Posts: 1854
Location: Helsinki, Finland

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 2:07 pm     Reply with quote
I resolve to take no shit from anyone. I don't think I did last year, and I'm not really sure what the full implications of taking no shit are, or even how one goes about it, but it seems like a good resolution to make. I also resolve to stop worrying, which should be easy, since I haven't even started.
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Joined: 27 Jan 2001
Posts: 3303
Location: Lincoln, California

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:56 pm     Reply with quote
fence wrote:
I was just coming in to start this thread. Guess I'll never be punctual.

Hahaha. I used to be pretty bad with punctuality, and since getting married my wife's been on my ass about it. I'm better than before but still not perfect. The trick for me is to simply set a rule and follow it like a robot instead of "reasoning" with yourself and giving yourself excuses. If I set a rule to get dressed and ready 5 minutes before the designated time we're to leave the house, then that's what I'll do. Once dressed, I'll simply sit back down to do what I was doing before, but because I'm dressed, once it's time to leave, I simply save whatever file I was working on and turn off the monitor, and that's it. I get really bad when I'm in the middle of replying to a forum post though--I hate leaving a post half-way typed and not posted.

I have a friend that's very passionate about cooking, and he's been trying to get into Per Se (sister restaurant of French Laundry). I even helped him write his cover letter to them. I love talking to him because he teaches me so much about food. If I wasn't so immersed in multiple creative endeavors already, I'd probably get into cooking as well. One fear I do have is that the more you get into it, the harder it becomes to tolerate mediocre cooking, and you end up not being able to enjoy many foods you otherwise wouldn't have complained about. When I take him out to eat I always fear he's going to hate the food.

Regarding photos--I think you should first find out what kind of photography you're most interested in as a fan. Go to the photography section of your local book store and just browse of an hour or two. Soak it in and see what you respond to the most. For me, even though I enjoy all photography, I always respond to human subjects the most, with emphasis on attractive females. When I take photos, I usually have two things in mind:

1) Am I doing this to improve my photography skill?
2) Am I doing this mainly to record a moment in my life?

For the first, I usually setup some kind of imaginary assignment for myself, like I want to shoot a session of product photography that could be used in some magazine ad, or I want to shoot food photography that could be used in a menu, or I want to shoot street photography that would be suitable for journalism, or I want to shoot beautiful women just to capture their beauty. Once I became good enough I started to take on pro gigs, and that's a great way to put your skills and knowledge to the test. For the latter, I don't really think too much about it and just shoot. I try to streamline my lighting control for the latter so I can move very fast and be as spontaneous as possible (usually hotshoe flash bounced, and sometimes with a reflector to bounce off of).
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junior member

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Joined: 18 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:54 pm     Reply with quote
you know, one thing i've learned about chefs is that you never get over your love for simple comfort food. at a certain point you learn to call it "peasant food" (a derogatory, pretentious term, but everyone uses it), but you still love it nonetheless. hence, ratatouille.

on the other hand, if you do try and impress him with some haute cuisine type place, he'll probably criticize the menu relentlessly, especially if he's applying to Per Se (Keller is probably my favorite chef, by the way; I made reservations for French Laundry back in August, but my girlfriend broke up with me and I couldn't justify the money on anyone else). so, yeah. take him to authentic immigrant restaurants (Chinese especially!) and you can't go wrong.
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Joined: 30 Jun 2006
Posts: 134
Location: Savannah, GA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:36 am     Reply with quote
Well, I'm going to be turning 18 in about a month, so I consider this year a very important one that can effect my future life.

1) Be more active here,, and my DeviantART in order to get better with the help of some amazing people to continue to work on becoming a professional environment concept artist.
2) Be more open to people and not stay at home every day. I'm actually planning to go see a movie downtown next week... by myself.
3) Meet the girl of my dreams that loves art and video games as much as me with similar beliefs. My beliefs mean a lot to me(Straightedge, Atheism, etc.) and I haven't really found anyone around my area that thinks the same way I do.
4) Get another painting in a local gallery.
5) And overall, just enjoy life more and stop being the total douche that I am.
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Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Posts: 142

PostPosted: Sun Jan 11, 2009 7:04 am     Reply with quote
Well here's my first set of resolutions on sijun.

1) Work hard on my A-levels and get some good results at AS.
2) Work (even harder?) on arty things, ill set a target of 3 paintings a week, traditional media, i'm not too concerned about week long masterpieces, just a couple of hours.
3) Be Healthy, I do a good amount of exercise but i don't eat too healthily.
4) Complete Grade 8 Drums!
5) Learn to Drive
6) Go to 2 Music festivals in the summer!

I'll be 18 Late 2009 (november) and i'd like to live this year good and healthy to set me up nicely for being 18 and thus, the rest of my life!
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Joined: 04 Oct 2000
Posts: 3028
Location: Kelowna

PostPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 6:58 pm     Reply with quote
I think my resolution was to get my priorities straight this year.. so far... Im doing an interesting job of it..
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