Thoughts of a geek

9 February 2013

2012 in review

Filed under: Lists, Me — Tags: , , , , , , — qwandor @ 10:47 am

At the start of last year I wrote out some objectives for the year. This is a bit late being February already, but now that it is 2013 it is time to review how they worked out over the year. So going through the list from that post:

  • See some more of the world: I did see some more of the world. I did the east coast trip, and caught up with Teresa, Jordan and Kirsten. Unfortunately I did not manage to see Dave or Carlton, or various other people further away. It was enjoyable, I saw some new things (Niagara Falls, museums in DC, Boston…), met some new people, and had some fun dances. I went to Poland and Hungary, which ticks off the two more European countries. Though I think my intent with this was to take two trips, so I did not quite do that. I toured around Scotland for 9 days with my parents, which was excellent (apart from the rain), and we saw lots of beautiful scenery and castles. The only new place I went in the UK other than that was down to the Isle of Wight with some interns and other Googlers, which was pleasant enough.
    • Visit the east coast of the US / Canada, and see at least 3 of the 5 friends I know over that way: 0.9
    • Visit at least 2 more European countries: 0.8
    • Visit Scotland: 1.0
    • Visit 2 more places in the UK: 0.5

    Overall: 0.8

  • Improve my dancing (and enjoy it): Dance-wise, I did a couple of workshops and a few classes in Balboa, but then did not keep it up or get practice much. I have not really done any in the last six months or so. I have done a fair bit of Lindy and blues though, including going to several weekend festivals (Blues Shakedown, Berlin Blues Explosion, Blues Baby Blues). I went to LSF again as well, though did not find it as good as 2011. I did a bit of Lindy in Wellington while I was back, and it made it along to one night of NZX up in Auckland as well. Getting friends along proved a bit more difficult. Oh, and I managed to find some Lindy or blues in Toronto, Krakow, and of course New York City when I was there (which were variable, but interesting nonetheless), plus a great contra in Princeton.
    • Learn at least one new dance this year (probably Balboa): 0.3
    • Go out for social swing (Lindy Hop) dancing regularly: 1.0
    • Take some classes / workshops to improve my blues: 1.0
    • Do some swing and/or blues with friends while I am back in NZ visiting: 0.8
    • Go to the London Swing Festival again: 1.0

    Overall: 0.8

  • Work out where I stand with God, and what that means: No progress on this one really.
    • Discuss more with some friends. Not sure exactly what: 0.2
    • Finish reading some of the books that are on my shelf, and write up some responses to them: 0.1

    Overall: 0.1

  • Improve my social life, and build and maintain a good group of friends with whom I regularly do things: I had a people over for a barbecue for my birthday. I cannot remember what else, maybe that was all?
    • Host at least 3 social gatherings (parties / dinners / whatever) at my flat: 0.3
    • Any other ideas I come up with: 0.0

    Overall: 0.2

  • Improve how I dress: I bought a suit to wear to Daniel and Sharon’s wedding, and have not worn it since. It felt awkward. Otherwise no improvements to my fashion sense or wardrobe.
    • Buy a suit, or at least something a bit more formal, for the odd occasion when that might be necessary: 0.8
    • Find other ways to improve in general: 0.0

    Overall: 0.4

  • Maintain other hobbies: I did some baking, but do not think I made stuff for other people as often as once a month sadly. I did not do any work on theQuotebook, Fridge or anything else, nor any further electronics projects.
    • Bake something for other people at least once a month, preferably more often: 0.4
    • Do some work on my existing programming projects such as theQuotebook and Fridge: 0.0
    • Do some work on electronics projects, such as the paper keyboard I started on last year, some kind of floor instrument, or something else based on the Teensy: 0.0

    Overall: 0.1

I have some ideas for this year as well (and have even started on one of them), but I will leave that for another post, and I think I will organise them differently.

21 January 2011

Winter bits and pieces

Filed under: Me — Tags: , , , , — qwandor @ 10:54 am

Hello readers!

I figured it was time for another post of various bits and pieces about what I have been up to lately. No big trips this time, but I am sure there has been some stuff happening since my last post, let me see…

I spent Christmas in Billesdon, Leicestershire. Caroline and Kelvin, a couple I know from church back in Wellington, were over here for a while and staying at Caroline’s parents’ house, and invited me to spend Christmas with them, which was nice. They used to live in Nottingham but moved to Wellington about 18 months ago. I went up after work on Christmas Eve, stayed the weekend, and caught the train back down on the Monday. The train back was very crowded, especially towards the end of the journey when it ended up packed full of people all down the aisle with crowds of people at the stations unable to get on. It was also delayed by about an hour due to some overrun maintenance work on the track, so we had to wait at various points in and out of stations. I must say that it did not feel all that much like Christmas, despite the tree and such. I guess it was due partly to the lack of much buildup beforehand, the cold wintry weather, and not being with my family. It was not actually snowing during the Christmas weekend, but there was a fair bit of snow on the ground up in Leicestershire It was a nice weekend though, and I was very grateful to have people to spend it with rather than being all by myself, which had been looking likely earlier.

I went to the fireworks on New Year’s Eve with a few other people, and frankly would not recommend it. I left my flat at 6:30 pm, met a couple of people at Waterloo Station at 7:00 pm, and we crossed over the river and found ourselves a decent spot, not too far away from the front of the crowd, by about 7:30 pm. We then waited as the crowd got more and more crowded, to the point where we could not move anywhere at all, as half a million or so people gathered to get a view. There was some mediocre music until the fireworks started at midnight. The fireworks themselves were very good, and we had a decent view, but the hours of waiting hardly seemed worthwhile for 10 minutes of fireworks. We then slowly made our way back the way we had come, getting stuck in the massive crowds and various road closures, and I had to get back to my bike. Unfortunately the area where I had left it by the station had been closed off behind police barriers, so after finally making it around the long way I had to ask one of the policemen to let me through the barrier to get it and come back out, which fortunately he let me do. After wheeling it through all the broken class and rubbish on the street and then making my way home, I finally got back to my flat sometime around 2:00 am. All in all, over 7 hours for a 10 minute show.

The New Year’s Day parade was much better, both less crowded and more interesting. The only downside was the weather, which was cold and at times rainy. I took a few photos, but have not yet got around to organising and captioning them all to upload. The front of the parade reached our viewing spot partway along the route at about 12:15 pm, and it kept on going past for just over 3 hours with only a few gaps. It included, among other things, various dignitaries and societies, floats from some of the London boroughs (although quite a few of them never showed up, despite being on the programme!), vintage cars, Minis, motorbikes, giant inflatable cartoon characters, cheerleaders, morris dancers, miniature steam engines, clowns, buses, an excellent country dance group from Texas, and — for some reason — 23 different marching bands from various high schools across the USA. All in all quite a show, though unfortunately many of them did not stop in front of where we were watching. I really should get around to sorting out those photos sometime soon.

Other than that, I guess I have just had my usual routine of life and work and everything. I have been going to swing dancing classes on Wednesday nights, which have been fun and interesting. I recommend it! If you are in London, check out Swing Patrol (I go to the Camberwell class), otherwise I am sure you can find somewhere nearby. I am still going to a few ceilidhs too, which can be fun sometimes. The hiking Meetup group I have been hiking with a few times are having their first hike of the year this Saturday, which I am looking forward too.

I am moving flats at the end of February, moving into a room in a place in Balham. It is just across the road from Tooting Bec Common, which could be nice. It seems like a nice house. I will be living with 3 other people there, all in their late 20s or early 30: one American woman who just started working at Google and two policemen. The two I have met so far both seem nice. Unfortunately the flat is a bit more than twice as far from work as my current flat, which is a pity. I imagine it will take me about half an hour to bike to and from work each day. It is also a fair bit further away from my church. Such is life, London is a big place. The other issue is that what will be my bedroom is significantly smaller than my current one and (like all furnished flats here, apparently) has a (small) double bed, so I will not be able to fit a desk or table to work at. Hopefully that will not be too much of a problem. It does not seem like it should be too noisy a flat.

Well that is all I can think of for now… comment and tell me what else you want to hear about!

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