Jan 062014
 

So what did I do in 2013?  A whole heck of a lot, as it turns out.

First and foremost, I broadcast new episodes of Philosophy in Action Radio every Sunday and most Wednesdays — 80 episodes in total. 50 were Q&As, in which I answered 169 questions. 29 were interviews, and just one was a podcast. Happily, my listens and downloads increased by over 50% in 2013, to 371,621 in total. That’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself! You can read more in my Quick Year-End Report on Philosophy in Action Radio. Also, I wrote regularly for NoodleFood, publishing 653 blog posts. Oh, and I did a whole lot of behind-the-scenes development for the web site, including changing podcast hosts in July.

Apart from my radio show, my work efforts in 2013 were largely consumed by the editing, publication, and promotion of my first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. When I began working on it in late 2012, I never expected to do so much editing, but I’m very pleased with and proud of the results.

Now let’s look at some of the smaller events and projects, personal and professional.

The first quarter of 2013 was dominated by house repairs, mostly reconstructing the master bathroom and my office after the massive water leak discovered in December. That went well, with one notable and significant exception — namely, that the costly repairs done on the foundation to fix an occasional leak in the corner of my office didn’t work worth a damn. That’s a huge problem — not just because we wasted thousands of dollars on those repairs, but also because we installed new flooring, repaired drywall, painted walls, and re-installed baseboards on top of it. So fixing the problem again will require me to do repairs on all of that — yet again. Unfortunately, the company that did the work — Peak Basement Repair — has been nothing short of horrendous in response. They’ve attempted to wash their hands of any responsibility, and after going round and round with the owner’s wife, I don’t trust them one iota. I’m not willing to have them rip up my office, because goodness only knows whether they’ll fix the problem or just make a huge mess and cost me even more money. Hence, fixing that — with some better people — is on my list for 2014. But wow, I just wish that leak could magically go away. I hate having people working in my home with the passion of a thousand fiery suns.

Just before those repairs began in earnest, my parents visited. That was the first time that I’ve attended the National Western Stock Show… and wow, so much fun! It was a delightful — and exhausting — visit. My parents are very adept at running me ragged with fun!

In the midst of all the house repairs, I planned and prepared for SnowCon 2013. That happened in March, and the repairs were done just barely in time for us to have guests and host events at our home. (It was down to the wire!) You can read my report on SnowCon 2013 for more details.

In the spring, I travelled quite a bit too. Just before SnowCon, Paul and I travelled to South Carolina to attend the wedding of Eric Daniels and Rachael Griffin. That was lovely! In mid-April, Paul had a medical conference in Tucson, so I joined him for a few days of that. In early May, I attended my 25th high school reunion at Garrison Forest School. In late May, Paul and I travelled to Atlanta for ATLOSCon 2013. My lecture on “Moral Amplifiers” was new work, and I was glad that people were enthused about it. As always, I enjoyed spending time with my ATLOSCon peeps… and best of all, Greg and Tammy! That Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio was only the second time that Greg and I broadcasted together in person, and that’s always so much fun. In early June, I visited my sister Meredith, her husband, and their awesome son Clyde.

All that travelling was delightful, except that it interfered with my attempts to get Lila back in work and in shape. The weather was not helpful either: when I’d leave, we’d have delightful riding weather, and then I’d come home to cold and snow. I wasn’t able to work Lila consistently until May, in fact: my first lesson with Martha Deeds wasn’t until May 16th. BOO! This year, I’ve packed a good bit of my travelling into January — although dammit, I’m still running into the same problem!

Oh, and I was supposed to visit Paul’s family in late June, but the fire risk was too high for me to feel comfortable leaving the beasts. So I stayed home, and Paul visited without me. I’m visiting them now… finally!

On a sour note, the first half of 2013 featured some horrible behavior and ever-worse revelations from close in-town friends. My life improved dramatically when I cut ties with them after [events], although that was very hard for me to do for [reasons]. After that, I decided to be more self-protective. So I’m far less tolerant of creepy, dishonest, malicious, or otherwise uncalibrated behavior from people. Life is too precious to waste on crazy and/or awful people, just because they’re Objectivists.

By June, my work with Lila was in full swing — finally! Happily, I began riding regularly with my former instructor Cyndi Meredith. She’s an excellent western trainer: I’ve learned tons from her. She’s also become a good and trusted friend, for which I’m very grateful. At Martha’s suggestion, I bought a new jumping saddle — a barely used Jeffries Elite — to replace the saddle that I’d been riding in since middle school. That was much more comfortable for me, as well as for Lila.  (She was having problem with her hind end in my old saddle, which cropped up again later in the year.)

Also in June, Martha asked me whether I wanted to compete on Lila. I wasn’t sure, initially. However, I woke up in the middle of the night saying, “YES YES YES!” So we scheduled my first competition for the one-day trial at the Colorado Horse Park in early August. Suddenly — and to my surprise — I became so much more serious about my training. Also, I had so much to do to prepare, including equipment to buy.

Late in June, I attended one day of a Pat and Linda Parelli Tour. I learned quite a bit about horsemanship from that.

In July, I finally closed the OLists. They’d been very quiet for ages — partly due to the collapse of the Objectivist movement after repeated WTFery and partly due to the increased use of Facebook for such communications. Some of the OLists have become more-or-less active groups on Facebook, which makes me happy. July also featured a lovely visit from our good friends Kelly, Aaron, and Livy. I enjoyed teaching Livy to ride Lila, and I loved watching Paul geek out with Aaron. Kelly has been such a good friend to me, particularly this year; I always enjoy talking with her — not just lots, but positively too much.

As our first event approached, Lila and I made rapid progress. Still, I struggled with some bad habits, particularly that of dropping Lila just before fences, just when she needed me most. Those failures were often really difficult for me to manage psychologically, particularly in the lead-up to the competition. I had to learn to ease up the pressure on myself a bit, even while still working hard to do my best. In late July, I took Lila up to Longmont for a dressage schooling show. We did all three training level tests, and I was really proud of her (and me).

August featured my first three-phase event! The big surprise was that Lila was quite scared in the stadium jumping phase, refusing the first fence and sucking back at every one after that. We made it through, however, and she was great in cross-country. (Paul was very excited and supportive, which surprised and pleased me!)  As a result of that experience, I took Lila to two schooling jumper shows — one in late August and another in September — to get her used to jumping unfamiliar courses. By the second show, she was more calm and relaxed than me!

Later in August, I attended Clinton Anderson’s Walkabout Tour. I learned more about good horsemanship in that, but I was disappointed by his belligerent attitude and the too-long breaks between events.

Lila and I continued to work hard — until everything ground to halt in mid-September. In Colorado’s torrential rains and floods, we only got about four inches, but that was enough to do damage to Lila’s feet. They softened, and a small bit of gravel got stuck in her hoof under her shoe, and eventually worked its way out her heel after many, many days. She was very lame for about three weeks, and even after that, she wasn’t quite right. I was very stressed, mostly because our second (and last) event of the season was fast approaching!

In early October, the weekend before that event, Paul and I headed off to Atlanta for a small workshop among friends on personality theory that I’d organized. That was really interesting for me, both personally and professionally. Also, it was tons of fun! (Next year, I hope to do a similar workshop of the psychology of productivity.)

Lila seemed sound on returning home, thankfully. I had just four days to ride her before the event, which was not nearly enough time! Still, we managed. Lila and I did well — definitely better in all phases than our first event. Alas, the dressage judge noticed a “shimmy” in her hind end, so we scored badly. Still, we were allowed to continue after that, and Lila was excellent. My mother came into town for that event, and that was a huge treat for me. Her support of my riding — and her good example and knowledge — means so much to me. Paul attended the event too, and he was very enthused and supportive, which I loved!

After that event, I began foxhunting Lila with the Arapahoe Hunt, which I joined in November. It’s very different foxhunting than what I did as a junior with my mom. It’s wide-open territory, and we hunt coyote. So it’s often fast and hard hunting, with few stops. Still, I love it, and I’m so glad to be doing it again.

Even more exciting, Martha invited me to train in the warm weather with her and other students in the equestrian mecca of Aiken, South Carolina for the whole month of February. HOLY COW! I’m going, and I’m so excited!!

November featured a quick but fun visit from Rory, plus a quiet and lovely Thanksgiving with our friends Howard and Susan.

In November horse news, Lila’s hind-end shimmy showed up again — worse than ever. At Martha’s recommendation, I took her to Dr. Diane Wagner — a holistic vet. The problem seemed to be chronic pain, likely exacerbated by wearing a boot (and hence, being slightly uneven) to help her recover from that bit of gravel in her hoof. The first treatment went well, and the second treatment was the icing on the cake. However, in the three weeks in-between, Lila had to be on just light work. BOO!

So that I’d have a horse to foxhunt, I borrowed Dixie — a very quiet four-year-old paint mare — from my friend Cyndi. She was very quiet in the hunt field, and I started her over fences in some lessons with Martha too. She’s a good girl, and she did well. She’s been a fun project for me, although she’s not what I’d want in a horse. I still have her now, but I’ll give her back to Cyndi in late January, before I leave for Aiken.

In mid-December, I noticed that my favorite kitty, Elliot had become quite skinny. I took him to my vet, and he’d lost a pound, which is a big deal in a cat. My vet diagnosed him with kidney disease, and that makes me very sad. I can prolong his life by feeding him as much as he’s willing to eat of a modified diet. I’ve been doing that, and he’s already gained a bit of weight. Meanwhile, Mae decided to become “Houdini Dog,” and she’s been escaping from both the dog run and our property fence by various methods. She’s very smart and determined, and I hope to solve the problem soon… but we’ll see what happens!

For my birthday on December 13th, Paul bought me a wonderful dressage saddle! I’d been searching for it for quite some time, and I found it the day before my birthday, then tested it on Lila on my birthday. It’s wonderful to ride in: it’s already helped me get a better body position in my flatwork.

My parents visited again over Christmas. We went out to Breckenridge for a few days to downhill ski (me) and cross-country ski and snowshoe (Mom, Papa, and Paul). Also, Mom and I were able to ride twice. It was lovely to have two good quiet horses — Dixie and Lila — for her to ride. I feel really lucky to enjoy spending time with my parents as much as I do.  They’re fabulous people, and they set a great example by living life to the fullest!

In December, I began planning SnowCon 2014, as well as making definite plans for SnowCon Tahoe in late January. Fun times!

Did I mention that kitty Merlin was cute and naughty all year long? He’s now a big kitty, at least in body, if not in spirit.  Also, Paul was his usual awesome self all year long, working hard and publishing a slew of fabulous columns on health care and related topics.

That was my 2013! Holy cow, that was a big year!  I think it was my best year yet, and I’m looking forward to making the most of 2014 too!

Dec 312013
 

Before 2013 comes to a close, I want to post a quick year-end report, thank my contributors of 2013, and ask for your support in 2014.

In 2013, I produced 80 episodes of Philosophy in Action Radio. 50 were Q&As, in which I answered 169 questions. 29 were interviews, and just one was a podcast. (Later, I’ll work on compiling a list of some of my favorites.)

As for listening statistics:

  • I had 152,507 listens via BlogTalkRadio, with 6,110 of those being live. That’s an increase of nearly 45% over last year’s total of 105,380.
  • I had 219,114 downloads from my podcast archives. (That’s 152,402 downloads from my old host podbean and 66,712 downloads from my new host libsyn.) That’s an increase of nearly 60% over last year’s total of 137,350.

That’s 371,621 listens from all sources — an increase of over 50% from last year’s total of 242,730. Wowee, that’s even better than I expected! That growth makes me darn happy… and I hope to do even better in 2014!

In addition to those radio shows, I published my first book, Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame. That was far, far more work than I expected, but I’m so glad to have that work out in the world.

I’m particularly grateful to all the people who made that work — and more — possible by their financial support. That’s what makes what I do possible, and it keeps me motivated to work even harder on new projects. Here are some of the comments that I’ve received recently from some of those contributors:

I want to thank you for the great podcasts. I’ve been listening since September of 2009, and they just keep getting better! I’m a monthly contributor, and it’s worth every cent.

Diana, Thanks for your webcast, and all your reasoning analyses! I don’t have a good question to accompany this donation, but I may remind you of it when I do submit a question. -) Have a great new year!

I want to say i love your show. I really do enjoy the works and ideas of Ayn Rand, and I considered myself a total objectivist right up until I came in contact with the objectivist community online. Its refreshing to listen to your show and see that rationality is alive and well somewhere.

I have become a regular weekly listener to your show and I have started a regular $5 a month contribution to your tip jar. I know that this isn’t a huge amount but its all i can do for now. I hope that it does help and will continue to promote the show to my more than 1300 twitter followers just as often as I can.

I really enjoyed your recent podcast. You and Paul managed to convince me that personality theory is not just some foo-foo fluff stuff made up by academics, but can actually be quite valuable when formulated and applied in a certain way. This will be very useful for my career, and I think personal relationships as well. I’d be interested in hearing more about personality theory from you in the future. Keep up the great work, and thanks so much!!!

Oh, I love this comment that I just received on a last-minute order of a signed copy of Responsibility & Luck: A Defense of Praise and Blame.

I’ve been listening to your Sunday broadcast for about three years now, and have greatly enjoyed the variety of thought-provoking ideas you touch upon. While I’ve always been interested in ethics, I’ve never had a chance to examine moral luck, and am looking forward to reading your book.

Remember, today is the last day to order a signed copy, at least until April! It’s also the last day to contribute to Philosophy in Action’s Tip Jar in 2013! Remember…

2011 Year in Review

 Posted by on 3 September 2012 at 10:00 am  Year in Review
Sep 032012
 

Back in January, I meant to blog a “Year in Review” for 2011. Alas, I never got around to it, mostly thanks to the ridiculous distraction of the WTFuffles. Because of that, I’ve not wanted to just delete this planned post from my task list.

In thia case, my stubborn streak has served me well: although it’s September, I’ve done it! It’s absurd to do so late, but I’m glad that I did. I’m so impressed to see all that I did over the course of 2011… even though I know that I’m missing some of my accomplishments. Yay me!

Now, without further ado:

January

  • Produce Eric Daniels OList Webcast on Free Speech
  • Visit Greg and Tammy Perkins in Boise
  • Plan and promote SnowCon
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Launch OGeeks @ OList.com
  • Launch OLeaders @ OList.com
  • Lead Lone Tree Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
  • Write letter in support of Penley Dam Project
  • Ski

February

  • Snowshoe on the Snow Hut Trek in Breckenridge
  • Priduce Luc Travers OList Webcast on Art Appreciation
  • Plan and promote SnowCon
  • Become the aunt of my sister’s baby boy, Clyde
  • Begin skiing bumps and black runs
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Lead Lone Tree Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
  • Ski, including bumps and black runs now

March

  • Plan and promote SnowCon
  • Produce and enjoy a fantastically fun SnowCon
  • Lecture at SnowCon lecture on moral character
  • Publish SnowCon lectures
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Launch OPeople @ OList.com
  • Lead Lone Tree Atlas Shrugged Reading Group
  • Ski

April

  • Give webcast lecture on “Cultivating Moral Character”
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Ride Lila

May

  • Testify at Secretary of State’s hearing against campaign finance laws
  • Visit Eric Daniels
  • Test SuperSlow at Doug McGuff’s gym
  • Enjoy ATLOSCon
  • Lecture at AtlosCon on pride
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Ride Lila

June

  • Switch from CrossFit to SuperSlow
  • Recover from AtlosCon
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Ride Lila

July

  • Visit Hsiehs (that is, Paul’s family)
  • Update Explore Atlas Shurgged
  • Write letter in support of Penley Dam Project
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Ride Lila

August

  • Attend the Ancestral Health Symposium
  • Visit Brickells (that is, my family) in Steamboat Springs
  • Lecture at Colorado Springs Skepticamp on Christianity and capitalism
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Develop Philosophy in Action
  • Nurse Paul, gimpy with his broken hip
  • Ride Lila

September

  • Nurse Paul, gimpy with his broken hip
  • Develop Philosophy in Action
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Ride Lila
  • Create PaleoCooks, PaleoParents, and PaleoFitness for Modern Paleo

October

  • Lecture at the Free Minds Film Festival about myths about Ayn Rand
  • Develop Philosophy in Action
  • Broadcast Rationally Selfish Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Be interviewed for Colorado Public Radio on tea parties
  • Nurse Paul, gimpy with his broken hip
  • Renew Concealed Carry Permit
  • Ride Lila

November

  • Launch Philosophy in Action
  • Write paper with Ari Armstrong on abortion rights for The Objective Standard
  • Speak to Summit High School about Ayn Rand’s novels
  • Nurse Paul, gimpy with his broken hip
  • Attend FreedomWorks’ BlogCon
  • Broadcast Philosophy in Action Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood
  • Mourn the death of my old mare Tara dies
  • Acquire new horse Elsie

December

  • Speak at Liberty on the Rocks on campaign finance laws
  • Testify at Secretary of State’s hearing against campaign finance laws
  • Learn to snowboard
  • Begin elimination diet
  • Broadcast Philosophy in Action Webcasts
  • Blog for NoodleFood

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha