2019 Over!

2019 hasn’t been a standout year for me outside a couple of high points, but it was definitely a year of foundations; a year of trying to learn what is important to me. I’ve been both challenged and moulded by this year’s happenings. While I don’t necessarily wish to relive all of it, I understand it’s importance.

As I said, it’s a year of foundations; both spiritually and physically. It’s come with lots of change that I don’t think I would have been able to withstand without help, for which I am incredibly grateful.

Last year, I talked about being a different man. Today, I can say that in comparison to last year, I am not necessarily different, but I am better. There is a lot less struggle in my life today than there was this time last year, though the struggles that remain are much more pronounced. Lethargy and procrastination have reared their ugly head once more. I do what most people do; blame work, blame circumstance. Blame everything but me.

I’ve not done any of the projects that I really wanted to do because of the lethargy, or valuing untapped time and money too high to invest yet at the same time also wasting both. I made starts, but as is typical of me I stop partway through. There’s no excuse, just very poor reasoning.

Having said that, I went on a missions trip to the Phillipines, which is something I would not have believed possible if I had been told when I first showed up at church. That is definitely something I would revisit, even if I had to re-suffer the health issues that hounded me. It was chump change compared to the experience, both in terms of being a Christian and as just a man. It honestly feels so long ago, even though it was only April.

But I shall do the usual and take a look at the previous year’s goals and see how they panned out.

Lose 1st (14lbs) from my weight at the end of 2018.

Hahahano. This one just didn’t happen. Truth be told I was already 16st 6lbs when I got back from the Phillipines, but I was most certainly enjoying the food. But as I said, that was in April. I shrunk down and then rehit the 16st 6lbs weight about a month ago. Today I weigh 15st 13lbs. A couple of bouts of flu-like symptoms will do that to you. I prayed to control my gluttony, and I did get my answer; just not as expected!

Get my timekeeping back on track. (Keep a Bullet Journal for the year)

Once again, this didn’t happen, but I did legitimately try. All the way through to April I tried to keep up with it, but it just doesn’t work for me. Just as an intricate system can be intimidating, so can a blank canvas. It took far too long to set up a month in respect to the benefits I would reap. A diary is going to be much more useful. But I am very happy that I tried the experience.

DM (aka run) an adventure module and create my own campaign framework in D&D 5e.

This is in progress. I vastly overestimated the amount of time I had available for this sort of thing. But I’m running Dragons of Icespire Peak with a group of friends I know from church, and I’m getting deeper into the homebrew campaign I want to run, or at least the first chapter of it. I rarely get to sit down and work the details out, let alone the mechanics, but I’m doing what I can and I can’t wait to run it.

Camp at least twice in the year.

Half done. I camped once and loved it. I didn’t take advantage of the time earlier in the year prior to a church weekend away. I cannot wait to go again, though given the current weather I obviously will have to! The tent I have is a little small when all my gear is factored in, but it collapses so small that it perfectly sits across my panniers and provides a bit of back support!

So now, looking at 2020, I have these goals in mind:

  • Lose 21lbs from my weight at the end of 2019 – this makes my goal 14st 6lbs, the same as it was this year.
  • Build a mechanical keyboard from scratch – board, base, switches, keycaps etc.
  • Read a book every month – doesn’t matter what it is; I need to re-teach my mind to focus on one thing at once.
  • Return to blogging regularly – at least three times every two months. It helps me get my thoughts down on “paper”.

I know it’s trite for me to do this every year. I’ve done it for over a decade now, mostly in places that no longer exist. I continue because it’s a way for me to close one year out and open up the next. I use it as a measure for what I’ve done, what I need to do, and what I want to do.

And as I inferred earlier, I discovered something; this blog is important to me.

Dusting Off and Moving On

There’s been plenty of times this year when I considered just deleting this blog and turning it into something else, like a linklist or a resource area for other things to do. I haven’t, opting instead to leave it up.

Often when this happens I go through two phases. Usually I go through a phase where I’m afraid to write on here; that I have to curate every single sentence into perfect wording and structure. This leads inevitably to not having anything up here, because I don’t have anything I’m happy with. It’s not perfectionism, it’s OCD and a weight I put on myself because it will be online forever. The second phase usually follows (but can replace) the first and boils down to me hating what I’ve written or designed as I’ve let that lack of current content in turn reflect more harshly on what already exists.

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2018 In The Can!

I’ll be honest with you, I’m writing this at the end of November. It seems like I always do it this time of year, and then tweak it a little bit each time I want to add something.

The word that could describe my online presence this year is a sobering one: inconsequential. It’s one of the reasons why I haven’t written anything published since April; I’ve not been myself, or someone that at the beginning of 2018 I would call myself. But perhaps that isn’t a bad thing.

I’m a different man at the end of this year than I was at the beginning of it. I got a promotion for starters; took me from three days a week to five with a raise to match (even after tax!). Still in retail, but in a peripheral role as opposed to a central one. I’m always cagey about talking about work here, so I’m sorry for the vagueries.

But more important than that, I found God.

The fact that I even hesitate to write that for fear of ridicule is a reminder of how I used to be in regards to religion, but there it is. I rediscovered Christianity over two decades after walking away from it. I’m not going to change what I write about here; I want to keep that conversation in it’s own area for my sanity as well the perceived freedom. I’m sure I will crosspost or fold the two together eventually, but one step at a time.

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Technological Wanderlust

I love technology. I think by this point if anyone has read anything other than a surface-level skim here they already know that. I love trying new things in tech, trying to repurpose a piece of kit to get new life out of it. Before I was in college I’d go to the nearest scrapyard and buy a few broken PC towers, work out what was wrong with them, fix them and sell them on, minus the donor for whatever parts there were.

I’ve undetaken many such projects. “RasPrint” was making a CUPS server with an RPi Zero for a decade-old printer to add features. It meant spending £20 to get Google Print compatability without throwing away a perfectly good printer. “PiFi” used another RPi machine as a web-enabled, phone controllable Hi-Fi before Google Home or Amazon Echo existed. Then there were others like “FrankenNAS”, turning my EeePC into a NAS when it wasn’t useful as a laptop, before eventually gutting the whole thing and putting it on a shoebox to aid with cooling after removing the fan.

Each of these things were opportunities at the time. They were also relatively inexpensive and were chances to learn (mostly about linux) while making something cool or useful, or both if I was lucky. As I have become more ambitious with my projects, so have the costs involved. This one is a doozy; it would be a labour of love moreso than a simple project, not to mention probably taking most of the year to afford and build.

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It’s been about three months since I last wrote anything on here publicly. While I do have some things written in Draft form, I either decided they weren’t worth investing any more time in, or they weren’t up to whatever I consider a standard. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to the people that read(!)

My point is that there are reasons why I stop. I used to write entries twice a week when I was younger, and we’re not talking about LiveJournal or tumblr-esque diatribes that show very little insight on anything but the minutia of one’s day-to-day. It was about serious stuff, and I wrote for several sites as well, all of them gaming enthusiast press sites. I do miss those times, but at the same time I am glad they are behind me.

But more than that, this is me trying to explain my absences in as succinct a manner as I can. If a level of introspection doesn’t interest you, then by all means click elsewhere!

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