I don’t think I have ever successfully kept a new years resolution. Now, most of my resolutions are in the “lite” category, so not following up on them didn’t have any major impact on my life and it certainly didn’t impact anyone else. But still…something about a new year makes me think that this time (this time!) I’ll follow through.
(What’s that line about the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?)
So, without further ado, I present my resolutions of 2014. And a big “hello” to future me, looking back at this post in 12 months: don’t despair, future me. 2015 might just be your year.
1. Read 25 books in 2014.
Okay, that doesn’t seem like a lot. At first I had a book a week, but that was biting off too much. While I absolutely LOVE to read, I do a lot of reading for work so coming home at the end of the day to more reading isn’t really my cup of tea. 25 books is about two books a month, which seems manageable. And of the 25, 15 are going to come from my bookshelf. I don’t want this resolution to turn into an excuse to buy more books.
2. Organize this blog.
It’s a proper shambles! I need to figure out how to tag properly, organize things by subject, etc. The archivist in me is dying to get this organized.
3. Get new computer set up/learn to deal with Windows 8
My new Xmas computer is lovely, but there’s a bit of a learning curve with Windows 8, I’m discovering. Also, since this is the first time I have a new computer while the old one is still functional (not say, charred to a crisp due to an electrical surge — true story) I should take advantage of that fact and organize/edit my old stuff before throwing it onto the new computer.
4. Upload photos to Facebook
I haven’t done an album in over a year. Mostly, I’m frustrated that I take photos but never put them up for people to see. Because really — what’s the point? No need for a fancy album, just get it out there.
5. Eat more healthy stuff and less crappy stuff
Oye. Every year I try this and every year I fail. Well, I do think I become more aware each year of the importance of proper eating and what a positive effect it can have. Still, this does not mean eating just weeds and berries…I’m still going to chomp down on a bacon cheeseburger. Just less often.
6. “Exercise” every day
Note the quotes! While I want to get into a legitimate exercising routine, I think just moving every day would be helpful. Unless I’m building exhibits or transporting or cleaning, I’m pretty much at my desk at work. That’s no good. So even if it’s just the 7 Minute Workout app or a solo dance party, moving around more would be very beneficial.
7. Paint more
It’s hard to quantify this, as my last painting took nearly a year to complete. But I already have one idea in mind, so that’ s good. I just don’t want to go so long between paintings.
8. Cook more/better
This sorta goes with #5. I need to cook more for myself. I usually think cooking for one is a waste of time and money, but leftovers rule! I just tend to forget that and go with canned soup a lot.
9. No more Netflix binges — limit to 3 episodes at a time!
It’s been more than a year since I got rid of cable and went with just Netflix. And while I love it and genuinely believe that I am watching less TV, I do tend to binge a bit too much. Besides, this will free up more time for all that painting and reading!
10. Write more
Oh, that lovely novel I have been writing in my head for years now…I should probably get that on paper. Also, posting on this blog. Sure, it’s really just for me, but isn’t that point of most writing?
11. Make appropriate doctor/dentist/optometrist appointments
I really don’t like going to the doctor. But since I’m paying for the insurance, I might as well use it. Plus, it will get my mom off my back.
12. Organize/purge apartment
I’ve lived here for a little over a year — how did I acquire so much shit? I need to go room by room and chuck the crap I don’t use, which has got to be like, 30%, I swear. Also, I need to go through the stuff at my parents’ house, before their generosity runs out.
13. Find a volunteer opportunity
For a long time I’ve thought, “I work for a non-profit, that is my volunteering.” But really, I should be doing something else. I’ve got a lot of good things in my life and I should spread that goodness around.
14. Make a better effort to connect with family
I actually talk to my family quite a bit, but I could do better. I need to stop calling just when I’m in the car (I think mom’s getting a bit tired of this). Carve out some time and make them my focus.
What’s Going On? It’s a tricolor for sure, but the blocks are stacked wrong. Well, not “wrong” but you know…
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The green symbolizes hope and revival while the yellow is for wealth and the red for courage.
What’s Good About It? Green, yellow, and red pop up a lot on African flags as the colors represent the Pan-Africanist movement (sometimes black is thrown in as well). These colors are also the colors of the flag of Ethiopia, the only country not to be colonized by Europeans during the Days Of The White Dude Taking Stuff That Doesn’t Belong To Him, making this flag a bit of an homage.
What’s Bad About It? It reminds me a bit of those flags you see on the side of sailboats, the ones that mean different letters of the alphabet.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Knows better than to stick a huge AK-47 right on the front of its flag.”
At least it’s better than the flag of the People’s Republic of Benin, 1975-1990. That shit is just sad looking.
Country: Bermuda (overseas territory of the United Kingdom)
What’s Going On? My oh my, it’s (red) ensign time. (We all remember our discussion on British ensign flags, yes?) The Bermudans have defaced their flag with a red…uh, animal of some sort (I’d say lion but check out those feet!) holding up a picture of a boat sinking. Fun.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The Bermudian Coat of Arms depicts a red lion (really?) and the 1609 sinking of the ship Sea Venture. Said sinking led the Brits on board to abandon their plan of settling in Virginia and go with Plan B: Bermuda. In the long run, I think we can all agree that was one fortunate ship sinking. (Or to put it in the Latin that appears on the coat of arms but not on this flag: quo fata farunt — “wither the fates carry.”)
What’s Good About It? Oof, not much. Although having to work within the ensign parameters doesn’t make for a very fair fight.
What’s Bad About It? Well, depicting what many would consider to be a disaster on your flag is an interesting choice, fates aside. But everyone on the boat — including the dog! — survived, so maybe this was actually a happy occasion..?
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? n/a
Unlike other British territories, there doesn’t appear to be any “indigenous” flag option, which makes me think that Bermudans don’t care much about flag design. Then again, if I lived on a tropical island with pink sand beaches, maybe I wouldn’t care either…and this series would be titled “Judging Beaches” instead.
What’s Going On? A dragon — cool! 1970s color scheme — groovy!
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Orange represents Buddhism and yellow represents the ruling dynasty. The dragon is called Druk the Thunder Dragon. Druk is the sorta the mascot of Bhutan; the jewels he’s holding onto symbolize wealth while his white color symbolizes purity…two things that don’t always go together.
What’s Good About It? You mean besides the dragon? The diagonal background is different. And I like how it’s split equally between religion and the government — it shows the importance of both in Bhutanese life.
What’s Bad About It? I would be willing to accept the dragon — despite breaking all the rules regarding simplicity — if he had been colored in. I get you want to represent purity but the flag sorta looks like someone colored in the background but then didn’t want to tackle the tricky dragon in their coloring book. And cards on the table, a more stylistic rendition of a dragon would be better.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The dragon gives wisdom to those humble enough to receive it.”
I think this is the first time a religion other than Islam has been represented on a flag. (You could argue the “Union Jack” is an amalgamation of many crosses, but it doesn’t really have religious meaning anymore.) As for animals this is our first dragon, following a couple of eagles, a few dolphins, some cattle, and a creepy shipwreck-obsessed lion.
What’s Going On? It’s a tricolor. But it’s more square-y so that’s interesting…right?
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Apparently the vertical design is based on the French flag, so if you’re looking for someone to blame for another boring vertical tricolor, you found le bouc émissaire. The colors come from the duchy of Brabant’s coat of arms, which features a yellow lion with a red tongue and claws against a black background.
What’s Good About It? Well, it’s got to look better than a yellow lion with a red tongue and claws against a black background.
What’s Bad About It? Nothing really. Well, except that people might think, “That German flag is hung weird.”
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The flag of Belgium can be broken off and shared with two other friends.”
Loyal visitors will note that I haven’t done a flag post in awhile. Apologies. I started two new jobs which has kept me rather busy. I must say that it was a bit of a downer to come back to yet another tricolor. But don’t worry — things are about to get sexy…
What’s Going On? THERE ARE SHIRTLESS MEN HOLDING WEAPONS ON THIS MOTHERFUCKING FLAG. I didn’t even know this was something I wanted but now that I see it…I can’t imagine living without it!
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Besides the dudes in Dockers hanging out with their ax and sword? (That is a sword, right?) Does anything else even matter? Alright fine…the red and blue derive from the two main political parties in Belize. There are fifty green mahogany (apparently) leaves in a circle which represent…leaves, I wanna say? The two dudes are apparently workers and all the tools and whatnot refer to the fact that Belize’s main industry — when originally settled by the British — was logging. The motto reads, “I flourish in the shade.”
What’s Good About It? I take back all the mean things I’ve said about how crests/coats of arms are lame and how simplicity is paramount in flag design, blah blah blah. This is amazing. Who is going to forget the flag with the two shirtless guys on it holding edged weapons?
What’s Bad About It? Okay fine, it might not be easy to replicate, which is a minus. And all the other flags are probably taunting the Belize flag, “Put a shirt on!” or “Get a room you two!”
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Currently located at the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.”
Confession: I feel moderately bad giving this a higher rating. But I gotta give Belize props for putting together one ridiculous flag. Not only do you have human figures on your flag (which is weird/rare enough) but you put them in Dockers with belts and give them six-packs. (You can see a more detailed image here. And by the bye, do these guys have names?) And if having shirtless men wasn’t pimp enough, there’s that motto: “I flourish in the shade.” That’s just swag, and I don’t use that word very often. (Mostly because I’m a white girl from the suburbs but you get my point.) So in other words — I guess I don’t feel bad about recognizing a truly original flag. Well done, Belize. Well done.
What’s Going On? Japan is apparently celebrating Christmas, albeit a bit to the left.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? It’s a sun, silly! A rising sun that represents the “sacrifice to achieve independence.” The green is for the “lush” Bangladeshi vegetation. (Kinda skeeved out that the CIA World Factbook uses the word “lush.”)
What’s Good About It? Well, it’s a simple design in pleasing colors. And I like that the red circle is shifted to the left a bit…
What’s Bad About It? …well, I like it and I don’t like it. Part of me thinks that there needs to be a reason for doing so. Or it should be shifted further to the left so it looks more intentional.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Blood seeps out over the fertile lowlands with surprising precision.” (Fuck.)
Apparently, the Bangladeshi flag used to have a map on it in the middle of the red bit, but this was dropped because it was too difficult to replicate on both sides of the fabric. For the record, I dislike maps on flags. (And I freakin’ LOVE maps.) But on a flag? It just doesn’t work. It’s not as bad as a seal or coat of arms but still…it’s pretty bad. Points to the Bangladeshis for realizing this and making the appropriate changes.
What’s Going On? Apparently, Poseidon is a fan of tribands.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The blue — I’m sorry, the ultramarine – represents the sea and the sky. (Not sure if that’s left to right or right to left. Or maybe they both represent both. Am I over-thinking this?) The gold is for the sands of Barbados. The trident represents independence and a break with the past, as the colonial coat of arms had a complete trident.
What’s Good About It? And here I was, all ready to be shitty about the fact that this flag has a trident on it, make lots of Poseidon jokes and…turns out the reason for it’s inclusion on the flag is pretty cool. I don’t know if it looks like a “broken” trident per se, but having an obviously busted trident on the flag may have been weirder. And besides — it’s memorable! Name another flag that has a trident on it. Exactly. Keep your stars and crescents — Barbados is rocking the motherfucking trident.
What’s Bad About It? People like me will still make obvious jokes. (Also, the more I look at it, the trident looks like the Greek letters you’d see on the front of a fraternity house.) Additionally, I’m getting a little tired of all these island countries doing variations of blue and yellow for the sea and sand. I mean, I guess it’s okay — it makes for a convenient shorthand.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The god Neptune is in his third term as secretary of state.”
And besides, it’s not Poseidon’s or Neptune’s or the dad from The Little Mermaid‘s trident anyway. It’s this bitch’s.
What’s Going On? Not only Christmas colors, but an ugly sweater contest is breaking out on the hoist side!
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? Relax, I don’t think it’s “ugly.” The red and white pattern is “Belarusian national ornamentation.” The red band represents past struggles and the green represents hope for the future…and forests. Because Belarus has forests. Good to know.
What’s Good About It? I know I’m always going on about simplicity in flag design, but I sorta like that design on the hoist side. It feels old-school in a good way.
What’s Bad About It? I know that red and green is a popular color combination — but it just looks so Christmas-y! I’m not deducting points for it but…oye.
And I found a mistake in the CIA World Factbook! The flag depicted above was redesigned in 2012, and those silly sods at the CIA still have the old version up on their site. (Man, I bet they’re embarrassed!) The new design looks very similar, but the “Belarusian national ornamentation” on the hoist side is more 8-bit looking. It also kinda looks like a tile floor. Either way, not sure if I care for the redesign…but props for being the newest flag on the block!
Country: Bahamas, The
What’s Going On? I see your triband, and I raise you a sideways triangle.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The blue represents — oh, I’m sorry — the aquamarine represents the sea surrounding the golden (yellow) beaches of The Bahamas. The black triangle symbolizes the Bahamian people, the shape in particular “pointing” to the development of the resources of the land and sea.
What’s Good About It? Loads! Nice, clean design with symbolism that is obvious (the sea and sand bit) and not so obvious (the black triangle). The colors work well together — props for going with aquamarine and not regular blue — and I’m really digging how that triangle is superimposed over the traditional (read: boring) triband.
What’s Bad About It? If you tilt your head to the right, it looks sorta like the pyramid at the Luxor in Las Vegas. (I honestly couldn’t think of anything bad to say about this flag, so I figured I’d throw that in.)
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Bahamas’ national instructions for making a bed.”
Just a super-cool flag. I noticed that it was adopted in 1973, making it our newest flag thus far — it’s also our highest rated flag taking over for Antigua and Barbuda which scored a 4.8. Man, these island countries are crushing it!
What’s Going On? A zigzag! That’s new! Unless it’s sharp teeth biting into something that symbolizes blood.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? According to the good people at CIA World Factbook, red is the “traditional color of Gulf States,” thus its inclusion on this flag. No word on the white, except that the five white points are for the five pillars of Islam.
What’s Good About It? Well, zigzags are rather uncommon so this definitely stands out. I’d knock it for being too plain, but when you have a big zigzag-y edge like that, adding anything else probably isn’t a smart idea.
What’s Bad About It? I don’t know…something about zigzags doesn’t seem very “flag-like.” It feels almost too whimsical for a flag.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Utilizes the ancient flag-making technique of zigzags.”
Apparently, Bahrain’s flag use to be just solid red (you’re not the only one, former flag of Libya!) and a white stripe on the hoist side was added in 1820 after a peace treaty was signed with the UK. In the 1930s a “serrated edge” was added to distinguish the Baharaini from similar-looking flags in the neighborhood. Also, the original serrated edge flag had twenty-eight points (which makes it rather ugly looking) but it was reduced to eight points forty years later. In 2002, it was reduced to five so that they could represent the five pillars of Islam. (And just like that, The Bahamas is no longer the newest flag on the block.)
What’s Going On? I guess this isn’t a tricolor but a dualcolor, assuming that’s a thing.
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? This flag is, per the CIA World Factbook, “certainly one of the oldest — if not the oldest — national banner in the world.” And they mean OLD…like, the third fucking crusade old. As the story goes, in 1191 Duke Leopold V got his white tunic all blood splattered during battle (no word on if it was his blood or the blood of those he vanquished) and when he took off his belt it revealed a clean white horizontal band and voila — you got yourself a flag!
What’s Good About It? Well, it’s got loads of bloody, horrible history…so that’s fun.
What’s Bad About It? Do you really want your flag to basically be a stylized version of a blood-soaked shirt? And according to the CIA (and a quick internet search), the colors don’t have any other symbolism or meanings: it’s basically the first half of a really grim Tide commercial.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “Please send new flag ideas to: Austria, P.O. Box 2183.”
I feel kinda bad giving this a lower rating (while still technically above average) but there’s just not a lot going on here. And I couldn’t say for sure that I would’ve been able to identify this as Austria’s flag before as there are a lot of similar styles out there. Maybe Austria shouldn’t have gone with a stylized look but rather had red splattered on a white field — now that would be memorable. (Side note: this flag is considered a triband as it contains three parallel bands of color, but not a tricolor as it only has two colors. “Dualcolor” is, shockingly, not a thing.)
What’s Going On? A tricolor with some star and crescent action. Interestingly, these are the three colors I used when making a Thomas the Tank Engine birthday cake for my friend’s son. (Apologies for using the word “interestingly” wrongly in the previous sentence.)
Sure, But What’s Really Going On? The blue is for Azerbaijan’s Turkic heritage, the red is for progress and modernization (Not blood? Are you sure?), and the green is for Islam. And in case the symbolism of the green is lost on you, there’s a lovely crescent to really drive the point home. The eight pointed star is for the “eight Turkic peoples of the world” (whatever that means). There’s also a possibility that the star has eight points because when written in Arabic, “Azerbaijan” has eight letters, but that sounds like someone just making shit up.
What’s Good About It? The color combination is pretty unique, and the celestial motifs help separate it even more from the torrent of tricolors out there.
What’s Bad About It? Nothing really. Although I can see myself getting bored of crescents and stars eventually.
What Does Our Dumb World Say About It? “The flag of Azerbaijan does not strike fear into the hearts of infidels at all.”
I know very little about Azerbaijan, but for some reason I keep thinking this flag looks too colorful. They need a more serious flag like our old friends the Albanians.
And just like that we’re done with the A’s! Onward to the B’s: who will win in a Caribbean smack-down between the Bahamas, Barbados, and Bermuda? Just how annoying is Bhutan’s flag? And which B country’s flag made my eyes jump out of my head in protest? Stay tuned!