What Have I Done?!?!

What indeed?

This post is about all of the stuff I accomplished over the break this year. It’s my way of patting myself on the back, and reminding myself that, no matter how huge and intimidating my todo list is, I’m making good progress.

Or maybe it’s just so I can see if I actually did anything.

So first and foremost, I applied to schools. Only two of them, but then, that’s me. I know where I want to go, down to these two, and much of it is not a matter of being accepted, it’s a matter of scholarships and, well, decisions. One of the two schools is U.T. Austin. It’s right here in town, and I’d still be living at home if I go there. The other school is U.N.T. in Denton, in north Texas, near Dallas/Fort Worth. To go there, I would definitely be moving out to a dorm, and, for the first time in my life, not living with my parents. Now, there’s many people who say I should move out and be independent by now (21), and I’m not sure I completely disagree with them. But that’s a topic for another entire post, so we’ll leave it be for now. Also, I only applied to two schools because it’s expensive to apply to schools; there’s a non-negligible fee for every single school. I’m stingy, and if I’ve picked my top two choices, I’ll apply there and not waste money on somewhere else I don’t want to go.

I also visited U.N.T. for a transfer fair, right at the beginning of the break. It’s about 4-5 hours drive away. I don’t know if I liked it that much or not. I wasn’t terribly impressed by the tour, but I like what I’ve read online about the school’s reputation, so I’m definitely not just going to go by the tour.

Right after the transfer fair, before I even came home, I spent a week at my Grandma’s house, teaching her how to use her new computer and smart phone. Let’s just say it was a test of my patience, but not my technical skills.

Right, so… I determined before my break that I would read the entire Wheel of Time series before the final book came out on the 8th. I failed at that. I read a lot, and I mean a lot, the first week or two of the break. I managed to read about 200-300 pages every day, and only missed one or two days. Then I started calculating. I was going to have to read about 500 pages per day to be done on time. I think that would have been 6-8 hours per day of nothing but reading. I decided against this for three reasons. First, I actually wanted to get other things done over the break. 6-8 hours sucks up most of the day. Also, I enjoy reading to a point. Yes, I love these books, but 6-8 hours every day is a lot, even for me. I wouldn’t be enjoying them by the point the last one came out. Also, I’ve read them before, I know generally what happens, so I’m not missing tons by not having them all re-read. I ended up spending an hour or two reading through a high-level (small paragraph per chapter) overview of the books 8-12, and then reading 13 (Towers of Midnight) at a leisurely pace over about two weeks before getting AMOL and tearing through it. I’m now back in #8 and reading all the way through the end. I expect to finish some time over the summer, at which point I can start working on an entire list of other books to read.

I read The Alloy of Law (Brandon Sanderson, set in the Mistborn world) right after I decided not to power through the entire WoT. It clocks in at just under 400 pages, and reads fast. It took me an afternoon to tear through it. It’s excellently paced with another incredible ending, as well as a completely new blend and feel to Brandon’s already well established Allomantic and Feruchemical magic systems. I highly recommend it.

Since I’ve found Brandon, I’ve set myself a new standard for books, and have started getting rid of some of the old ones that I didn’t particularly enjoy the first time through, and know that I certainly won’t enjoy now that I’ve read such amazingly good books by Brandon. This had led to an actual shrinking of the book collection in my room. I’m down to about 3.5 book cases, from 4 + a row on top of one book-case. I’m doing my best to find new good authors and catch up on the others that I like, to fill these gaps and my shelves again. During this process, I also scanned all of my books into my phone with the app for Goodreads; this is primarily so that I can check which books I have easily when I go to the bookstore; I won’t end up with duplicates or skipped books in a series any more. I hope.

I did a lot of cleaning up and organizing. I’ve got all of my schoolwork and books from the previous semester stored away in bins, all nicely labeled, with other previous work. (All of college and most of high-school.) I also prepared all of my school books for the spring semester, as well as notebooks, put my schedule on several calendars, and generally made sure I was ready to hit the ground running. I also cleaned up both the floor of my room and the area around where I practice the guitar. I’m not making any promises on how long they’ll stay clean, though.

While I’m thinking about my guitar. I learned 3 new pieces of music over the break, all Spanish. They’re named, one each, after the three cities that I stayed in during my trip; Madrid, Granada, y Córdoba. The piece about Madrid is a guitar piece, the other two are transcriptions of piano pieces by Isaac Albéniz. I was glad to have one piece written for the guitar, because the others were quite a trial. For Córdoba, I purchased an edition and started learning, but got frustrated very quickly. I eventually ended up cobbling together my own edition from 4 guitar editions, plus the original piano score. It was quite a trial, and I’m not done. But I’ve got it in a decent and workable form, and I have learned all of it and can work with my teacher from here to get it really polished and ready, both the edition and the performance. Granada, the edition I purchased was in the wrong key, so I found one online that was mostly good. There’s a few parts that I completely disagree with, but I’ve hand-written over them in my score. I’ll see what my teacher thinks of them (Some are rhythm corrections that go back to the original, away from the weirdness that the transcriber tried to introduce), and probably make typesetting that piece my first ongoing project for the semester.

I finished typesetting my edition of the Bach Cello Suite. It wasn’t actually as much work as I was expecting, since I had all of the fingerings and notes penciled in. It only took about 3 days to type-set the entire piece, and then another 2 to check things and do major neatening revisions; after that, it’s just been small typo fixes and tweaks as I’ve played through with them. I also, as mentioned above, typeset my own edition of Córdoba, although it’s not done. It will be though, and one of my goals is to figure out what to do with these editions. I believe that the music should be available to everyone, but I also think I should get some sort of compensation for the huge time investment I’ve put into typing these up. I need to think on that one some more, and will decide what to do later.

I wrote some on my story, which was a lot of fun. I’m definitely resolved to keep working on it, so I don’t let my momentum die.

So, now that I’ve written that, I feel much better. I did have a productive holiday. Quite productive. And wow, I’ve written a lot on this post. Maybe I should, like, become a writer? (Also, don’t expect this much of a post every week, please. This one comes to about 1500 words, which is a lot, even for me. Probably not a lot for Brandon, though…)

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