Today is January 1st and this blog turns 1 year old today. My resolution from last year was to blog weekly. I didn’t quite make my goal, but that’s all the more reason to write a yearly roundup! I was inspired by my friend Nat who does a similar style article every year. Kind of like sending out Christmas cards.
My family and I flew out to California to visit my grandparents, but also to finish my Cal Poly paperwork for my return. Then I celebrated my birthday with friends Emma and Sven who were traveling down the coast.
This month a close friend passed away unexpectedly. I tried to pour my focus into my class at the University of Illinois.
Mainly I was busy with group projects for my class, Operating Systems. My team members were entrenched in the student mindset, which I happily fed off of. We’d meet at Merry Ann’s diner and code into the night.
I visited Chicago twice, at the beginning and end of the month. First was visiting my cousin Sophia who goes to the University of Chicago. The second time was to visit my friend Tyler, who teaches high school in the area. We had a pretty mild winter, no snow to be seen at this point. Also, my Operating Systems midterm went well.
At first, I couldn’t remember much from April other than doing my taxes (and playing the new Zelda). But looking through my pictures I can tell the weather was getting warmer. I went on some walks and my friends were having cookouts. In Illinois, people jump at the first signs of Spring to spend time outdoors.
I finished my classes. To celebrate, I went up to Chicago again, this time for Anime Central. I’d never been to an anime convention before, I met lots of cool folks, saw some cool costumes.
The local farmers market started so my brothers and I busked on the weekends. It gets hot playing up a storm, so I was grateful for the powerful AC at my mall job afterwards. I’d get a cold brewed coffee from the market, and then lead game demos outside the store. What a great combo and a great memory.
I went to Chicago again, this time for Pokemon Go Fest. The actual event had technical issues, but I still got to wander around downtown with my family and friends.
Near the end of the month I visited a friend in Atlanta for the first time. I hiked up a hill with my violin and played music with a hula dancer by chance.
Playing at the farmer’s market got us a gig at a goat farm!
My family also continued our tradition of going to Gen Con, a board game convention in Indianapolis. There we saw a They Might Be Giants concert,. and the timing was right for driving south to the solar eclipse afterwards. Unfortunately, a cloud covered up the sun at the exact wrong time.
I drove from Illinois to California because it was time for classes at Cal Poly, the final step in getting my degree. I was anxious, as technically I was crashing one of the classes. But things went smoothly, I made it to San Luis Obispo on a rainy day, and started school a week later.
SLO life is good and I feel pretty much right at home here.
Right before the month began, my Dad flew out to visit, and near the end of the month my Mom flew out for a short visit as well. If there’s any reason I’m doing well it’s all the support I get. My main class was about ethics in software, and I ended up with several papers that will easily become future blog posts.
Even with my classes in the bag, I found it difficult not to stress over the final projects. I flew home briefly for Thanksgiving, which gave a nice reprise from school. The quarter ended with A’s and I only have my senior project left to earn my degree. I’m feeling pretty proud!
December was a whirlwind. First, a flight back to Illinois through Chicago where I saw some friends at a convention. Afterwards, down to Urbana to visit more. Finally, I traveled to Hawaii with my grandparents and family to celebrate Christmas.
Looking Back on 2017
Wow. I mean, I moved further along my degree this year than the previous four. Working at a board game store was overall great and I think I’m a better salesman than before. Driving cross country made me realize I’m older. Last time I drove that far I could go longer without the same soreness and fatigue. In general I sit too often, but otherwise I did a pretty good job keeping active physically and mentally in 2017.
I listened to most of my books through an Audible subscription. Mainly self-help style books and podcasts that make for easy listening in the car. War of Art, which is about procrastination, was my favorite and I listened to it twice. The book that engrossed me the most was a dystopian sci-fi series, Red Rising, and I am betting it will end up being made into a movie.
For next year, I think I can finish at least 20 books. Especially if I start using my Kindle more.
Last.fm says I only listened to 1,740 songs, which seems incredibly low. I must have been only tracking MP3s played on my phone. But either way, the top 3 albums reported were ones I enjoyed a lot. Spirit Phone is silly but still hits me hard, Sufjan Stevens is required listening for anyone who enjoys the Midwest, and Ghosting’s album samples all the Miyazaki films’ soundtracks.
I also saw some live music, most notably Andrew Bird (who makes me really want to learn to sing), Cashmere Cat, and They Might Be Giants.
Looking Forward to 2018
I’m definitely getting my degree in March, and I’m curious to see where that degree will take me. I’d love to stay in SLO. Regardless, I’m getting my software development career moving again.
My official New Year’s Resolution is to write more articles here. I have gotten a lot better at writing in the past year, but I’m still not satisfied with how I approach this strange art form. I’m going to publish 2 more articles this month, and will reevaluate my frequency on Jan 31st.
Some other mini goals I have:
- Music. People enjoy my violin so much, I ought to honor that and practice more. I could also practice voice seriously, for the sake of those who live around me.
- Running. I’m actually pretty good at endurance running, and I learned about a 10k run this Spring in SLO. Might be a great way to celebrate graduating.
- Stretching. This quarter I spent so much time coding in my chair that my neck and back suffered. Gotta do more stretches and also buy a new chair/desk this year.
- Using my phone less. I want to replace my bedtime phone habit with book reading.
- Open Source contributing. I keep seeing articles about doing this, just choose a project and run with it.
Lots of things to accomplish, and it’s tricky to think about the large scope of it all. I’ll try to take things one day at a time. Tonight is a supermoon, and that’s gotta be a good omen. My Dad took a picture of it rising over a snowy field, which strikes me as the correct way to sign off this post and start 2018. Thanks for reading.