2023 Wrapped

I can’t even remember the last time I did bullets…

  • Reader, I apologize. I haven’t really been keeping you up to date.
  • I’m not going to really get into a lot of detail today, tho.
  • But maybe some broad strokes.
  • 2023 was basically a continuation of 2020.
  • 2020 Wrapped:
    • Bought a house
    • Decided (with Ellen, of course) to (at least stop trying not) to have a kid
    • Other stuff you’ve probably heard of. It’s not over.
  • About the house…
    • It turned out 2021 was a terrible year to get anyone to help you fix up a house.
    • 2022 wasn’t much better, but we were able to engage a buider and, by the end of the year, gut the place, cleaning up the mould (most of which we knew about when we bought) and the mouse droppings (which we didn’t).
    • So 2023 was spent getting a design to the point where we could submit a building permit and finding people and materials to do the job of giving us a place we can actually live.
    • 2024 will, with any luck at all, be the year my wife and son and I will live together in our own house.
    • We are, of course, blessed to have a place to live. And especially to own a house. And to be able to even attempt all of this. It’s not been easy.
    • But, you know, I sold my house in 2016. (That’s a blog post I wrote for friends and family at the time. I decided to unprotect it for context-related linking). It’ll have been an eight year journey to moving into this house.
  • About the kid…
    • He’s an absolute, goddamn delight. And exhausting. But utterly delightful.
  • Not sure what more to say.
  • Work’s fine.
  • Doctor Who is back.
  • I played a lot of Picross. And Spider Solitaire. And Sudoku apps.
  • And Pokemon Go.
  • You should really listen to my Christmas mixtape. It’s good, I promise.
  • Happy New Year.

My poor, neglected blog

I’ve got four or five drafts saved where I started writing something but never got around to finishing and posting. I should focus on trying to post more, shorter things, trying to avoid indulging my tendencies to ramble, because then I just lose interest and wander off. Anyway, I’m starting again, so I’d better just resort to bullets.

* My sister got married a couple weeks ago. One of the drafts was all about that. Ellen and I took some [pictures](http://picasaweb.google.com/dscassel/ErinSWedding). It was lovely, and I think I’ll leave it at that, lest I start rambling.
* I’m sad that [Dell Canada isn’t shipping the Inspiron Mini with Ubuntu](http://www1.ca.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/laptop-inspiron-9?c=ca&l=en&s=dhs&ref=homepg).
* I have [way too many Doctor Who toys](http://picasaweb.google.com/dscassel/Toys2008?authkey=opnNxkncRaE#5242954687098024690). I’ve been on a bit of a binge since Polaris, and I think I may be able to start cutting back now. Having to find places to put things is a good way to discourage hording instincts.
* Tomatoes! My garden managed to produce lots. We went to a heritage plant sale, and I got some Super Sweets (which produced lots), some Amish Paste (which I’m freezing for sauce) and a mystery tomato (which I think was a [Pink Brandywine](http://www.victoryseeds.com/information/craig_brandywine.html), but I only got one decent tomato out of it… weird slimy things got the few other promising tomatoes before I could. I did get a couple really good BLTs out of the one, though).
* Gonna sow some grass seed today. Looks like it’s gonna rain a lot this week.
* I’ve been working late a lot lately. I’ve got a hard deadline to make, and we’re pulling back the scope quite a bit, but it’s still going to be a challenge to get something that works and works well by the end of the year, even if it doesn’t sing and dance as much as we’d hoped it would. This is a bummer, but it’s kinda part of the job. I had to sacrifice a couple vacation days, which I’m not horrendously pleased about.
* I’d go into details, but you know… work stuff. And that would be rambling.
* I started going to the gym a while ago with Holly and Stela. It’s not quite as structured as the old gym routine, but it’s more fun to go with people. This gym is quite a bit cheaper, too.
* We finally (finally!) got a [Spirit of the Century](http://www.evilhat.com/home/?page_id=103) game off the ground. I ran three sessions comprising an adventure before handing GM duties off to Eric. That’ll give me a chance to come up with something else (and play a bit too, since I do like playing more than GMing). Fantastic game, and minimal prep required, which is good, since I don’t have many hours to plot out adventures.
* I visited with Matt when I was home for the wedding and he gave me a big stack of RPG books to look through. Still haven’t spent much time with them. Not that I’m actively *looking* for game systems, but having run a moderately successful game gives me delusions that I might be able to pull off other games. This is sure to be folly.
* I still haven’t said a lot about switching to Ubuntu, have I? I think that might be one of the drafts.
* I also have to do a post about MP3 players sometime.
* I really need to clean this place up.
* I’ve been biking a lot more too. I ended up more or less repeating my [adventure](http://flyingsquirrel.ca/squirrel/archive.php?article=46) from seven years ago, and discovered that the Grand River Trail is still really annoying to bike on, even if it is a bit more finished. I was going to go for a ride this morning, but ended up wasting time around the house. Which is good too. I could use the downtime.
* [Kittyhawk](http://www.sgvy.com/) is releasing all of her comics on a convenient USB key. Including The Jar, which was the best comic ever and has been sadly absent from the Internets. I bought one. I think what sold me was the “Amiga support coming Fall 1992!” line on the packaging.
* How many bullets are we up to? 16?
* It’s been a while…
* Ellen is awesome. I just wanted to say that.
* I bought new glasses. First time in almost 10 years. Hopefully my eye care coverage will help lessen the sting a bit. Still! I’ve desperately needed new glasses for a while, so this is a good thing. My old glasses are being held together with a bit of string.
* I have a bunch of new podcasts I’m listening too. I should post about them too.
* [I’m on Twitter](http://twitter.com/flying_squirrel) now, posting far more frequently than I’m posting here. I really want to get that script together that posts all the stuff I post here.
* I’m on Facebook too, but whatever.
* After various hardware failures earlier this year, I’m finally getting my office back in working order so that maybe I can work from home or something. I bought a nice 24″ widescreen monitor, which is pretty awesome. Next big thing is probably going to be a decent chair. There’s [a local company](http://www.prestigebusinessinteriors.com/products.htm) that sells Herman Miller chairs, and I might have to go check out their show room. All the chairs I own kinda suck. Particularly with my persistent ice-related back issues.
* Happy Birthday, Holly. :D
* 25 bullets? That might be a record. I think I’d probably better stop. Nobody’s gonna read much more than this anyway.

It’s May. I should post something

Not to belabour the obvious, but I’ve seriously gotten out of the habit of blogging. I’m not going to beat myself up over it or anything. Suffice to say I’m still around, and still doing stuff. I’m reasonably contented with my lot in general, so it’s not like I have lots of pent-up frustrations to vent about.

Little things, though:

* Went to see Iron Man last night. The first movie I’ve seen in ages and ages. Well, since the film festival last year at least, but that’s a different sort of experience. I went with a couple people from work. Iron Man’s good, silly fun. Thus, I heartily recommend it.
* We had a wonderful team-building exercise thing at work in Toronto on Tuesday. I suck at team-building exercises. This is probably not news. I took the opportunity to slip away and check out the windmill at the CNE grounds.
* I finished Phantom Hourglass last night. Good little game. The side quests seem kinda tacked on, but it’s neat going around solving puzzles and collecting stuff. I never did figure out how to get to the chest on the first island, though. Maybe I should look that up, since it’s been taunting me since the beginning of the game.
* I have Mario Kart for the Wii! I haven’t played that much, though. Supposedly it’s good for multi-player, but I’ve never been all that excited about playing against strangers on the Internets.


I’ve found that the two most useful benefits of having this thing are (mostly) that I can start to solidify ideas in my own head, possibly for later reference, and (tangentially) that it can spur conversation with friends, either online or in real life. Both are rather rewarding.

A lot of times, I come across something that I think is worth noting, but I don’t have enough of a grasp on it to dash off 500 or so words. I just want to make note of it, to get it out of my head and somewhere where I know it might do some good.

There are times when I just want to whip off a one-liner (possibly with a link) and send it out to the world. I realized a long time ago, however, that in the context of a blog (or journal or whatever this is), that that could be very annoying. People might get notified by RSS every time I did that and would get very sick of me. Or, at the very least, on this page, one line posts take up way more screen real estate than the one line.

My solution to the nuisance problems of the one-liner was to batch a bunch of them up and post them as [bullet posts](http://flying-squirrel.livejournal.com/tag/bullets%21). It seemed like a nice compromise.

These days, however, there are whole web 2.0 businesses dedicated to getting people to posting one-liners. Notably [Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/), but also [Jaiku](http://www.jaiku.com/), [Pownce](http://www.pownce.com/) and others. Kind of instant messenger status messages gone public. With friends lists and crap.

As I hinted with my [Facebook post](http://www.flyingsquirrel.ca/index.php/2007/11/05/dear-facebook-please-try-harder/), the idea of having to set up yet more social networks on yet more sites does not thrill me. I don’t have a problem getting a Twitter or Jaiku account, but I want to use the tools I want to use, not the tools the masses deem the most popular.

I’m kinda particular that way. I’ve been noticing it’s becoming a recurring theme this month.

At some point in the near future, I’m going to figure out a new way to do the Twitterish micro-blogging thing. I’m not going to do it, though, until I have a way to surface the data on my own site, and other places where I’m already spamming people. I kinda want to make it seamless, and I want to store history for it on my own server, so I have it even if the Web 2.0 bubble bursts and all (or even just some of) these ridiculous things go away.

My current plan is to do what I have been doing: bullets! posts. I’d use a micro-blogging service like Twitter, maybe, and have my blog fetch updates over the course of the day and post it as a bulleted list.

And I’d probably wrap the [linkblog](http://del.icio.us/flyingsquirrel/linkblog) into that, because it’s really the same sort of idea.

I’d also want to find a way to propagate the one-liner to any site that has a micro-blogging paradigm and where there are people who might be interested in reading. Like Facebook and its status messages.

Of course, Facebook being Facebook doesn’t make that easy, but it looks like there’s a way to do it…

That’s the plan, anyway. Not sure if I’ll get around to it this month, but I think I’m getting there–conceptually, if nothing else.

Bullets over Belleville

* I spent the weekend in **Ottawa** for a friend’s wedding. That was pretty wonderful. I’m a big fan of weddings, and this was the first one I’d been to for friends (surprisingly, it’s taken this long). That’s so much cooler than extended family sorts of weddings. Not that I don’t like my family… Weddings are (at their best, anyways) parties, and parties with friends are quantitatively better.

* After the wedding, I spent a couple days in **Belleville** setting up my parents with my sister’s old computer. Old, but still newer and better than theirs. Actually, my parents computer would still be serviceable, except I think the harddrive is toast.

* So I missed the first couple days of the **commuter challenge**. I’m kind of annoyed that the metric they’re using for participation is kilometres. So because I bought a house 2.5km from work, even if I walk every day, I can’t hope to come close to matching the contribution of some dude who decides to take the bus in from his monster house in Cambridge one day (and never again, because that takes like two hours). So I’m a little perturbed. My dedication to the cause is obviously superior and I should be acknowledged and lauded for that fact! Because I’m awesome.

* Dell’s Days of Deals are dangerous. I bought a new **printer** yesterday. My old one sucked, though, and the new one prints duplex and works fine with Linux and Mac OS X. I might give the old one to my sister or something.

* Speaking of walking, I’m debating whether it’s possible to do most of my regular **grocery shopping** between the butcher, the baker and the international grocer which are all on my route home from work. The only problem is the butcher and baker both close around 6. Hm. More on this in a future non-bullet post.

* **Doctor Who** on Sunday. 7pm my place, unless I hear a better idea.