RIP laptop

My laptop has died. RIP Rio* (2017-2022). I spent all day today trying to recover it, but unfortunately it seems the situation was terminal. Despite its tendency to shut down suddenly without warning when I was in the middle of an important Word document, I will miss it and its quirks.

I am really glad I’m in the habit of backing up all my files to memory stick every night, meaning I didn’t lose anything important. Unfortunately, I am also the type of person who has approximately 1,537 tabs open at any one time in Chrome, all carefully organised into groups. I rely very heavily on the setup of these tabs as I’m always doing thousands of different things, and I have realised too late that on Rio I did not have Chrome set up to sync tabs to other devices. I will not make that mistake again.

Until I manage to get a new laptop, I will be on Geth’s spare one. He doesn’t use it much so hopefully it will hold out for the interim!

*It was named after the Duran Duran song. Obviously. Don’t know what I’ll call my next one!

Eyeing the end of the month…

…though to be honest I’m not sure why. I’ve been trying to get out of the habit of ‘wishing my life away’ by constantly barrelling onwards to the next thing. Winter may be a bit rubbish and miserable weather-wise, but it’s also nice and quiet and enables me to hibernate indoors and get on with things. I should make the most of that before things start happening again in the spring and summer.

I’ve got an extension for my course deadline, which is a bit of a relief as it means I can focus all my study energies on the group project we’re doing at the moment and save the rest of the outstanding work for later. I should still be done with everything by the end of February, meaning that I can focus on my own tech work again from the spring onwards.

Spring will be nice… but I need to find a way of enjoying winter while it’s still around!

Long week

I am very glad that it’s Friday! Work and studying have combined in a fairly tiring way this week. I’m also very glad that January is quiet in terms of weekends, as I’m looking forward to dozing and hibernating a bit after parkrun volunteering tomorrow.

Because I’m very busy at the moment there are a few things I’ll need to do during the day tomorrow after I’m home, but I’m planning a really quiet day on Sunday!

More manic than blue Monday

(Yes, my ’80s pop playlist is back on heavy repeat. Can you tell?)

I expected to be struggling a bit today for various reasons (mostly outwith my control). I’m not, but let’s leave it at that. It’s been a busy day, certainly.

And here’s the only ‘Blue Monday’ I want to hear about today (like many people I expect):

Trying to be a bit more disciplined

(I’ll get back to the ice cream posts… sometime soon.)

I realised over Christmas that the first couple of months of 2022 were going to be a bit hectic with all the stuff I needed to do. As such, post-holiday I’ve got back into a strict weekday routine – running/housework/work/studying/life admin/downtime – with strict hours set for each so that nothing gets neglected. It feels a bit ‘go go go’ and so I’m sort of worried I’ll end up letting things slide (as usually happens), but I just have to keep remembering that it’s only for a couple of months. I’ll try and have a break after TechUP ends in February.

A proper weekend again

First work-ish week of the year done (I’m not back at work till next week but I have been back on my course and there’s been a lot to do so it’s felt like a normal work week in many ways) and so Friday night is appreciated once more. I’ll be back at my home parkrun tomorrow for the first time in ages and spending some time over the weekend setting out my marathon training plan for starting on Monday. In fact I’ve got a bit of a list of stuff to do in general over the weekend but we’ll see how much of it gets done, because I do need a quiet one before work starts in earnest.

The Christmas decorations came down yesterday, which has highlighted a few things that I feel look slightly ‘wrong’ in the house, so I may be doing some furniture moving soon as well.

No picture today (because I’ve decided that I will no longer post random just-taken pictures of whatever’s currently on my side table if I haven’t happened to photograph anything interesting during the week) and no earworm playlist either, because that will be going private and possibly returned to for statistical purposes in the future.

One eye on normality

Penultimate day of Christmas and we have begun to transition back to normal in our house! We have nearly eaten up all the seasonal goodies and my TechUp course has started again after the Christmas break. However, neither Geth nor I are back at work until next Monday, so we’ve still got a bit of breathing room before total normality resumes.

Between work, studying and marathon training, I’m about to head into a fairly intense few weeks. Nevertheless, I would much rather frontload the year with all the busy stuff in January and February (and hence be distracted from the rubbish parts of winter: bonus points). It looks (at the moment!) as though things will gradually get less busy throughout the course of 2022, which is the good way round.

Just need to avoid taking on too many new projects. Easier said than done!

Last tube of Pringles for this Christmas. The aim is for them to be gone by tonight… I suspect between the two of us we should manage it.

Goodbye 2021…

I always intend to post lots of blogs at the end of the year with lots of big lists of all the things I did and the media I consumed and my highlights… but December is always so insanely busy I never get round to it. Maybe in 2022 I will write them as I go along haha! It’ll just have to be one megapost this year…

This year’s big resolution was to sort the house out. I did not do that and now it is one of 2022’s big resolutions. Other things have just taken more priority.

Business exploded in a good way this year, which means that I’m now working a lot more hours. It’s taking a while to adjust my life to this, and I’m beginning to realise that I can no longer just plan a trip away midweek on the assumption that I won’t have much work to squeeze in. 2022 will be a lot stricter in this regard.

I continued writing and coding text adventures and being involved in the wider interactive fiction community, and managed to release four games for various competitions. My highlights were winning the Scott’s Choice Award from legendary text adventure game creator Scott Adams for Barry Basic and the Quick Escape, and winning PunyJam #2 with Morris, my first ever PunyInform release. I also enjoyed making a short game for ParserComp based on photos of the beautiful area around Causey Arch after visiting it with Mum and Dad, and my first ever attempt at speed IF for EctoComp!

Since October I’ve also been very busy with studying for the TechUP Software Development course. I have learnt a lot of Python and other very interesting things that I will be taking forward as my career gradually transitions more towards tech. (The Python knowledge will also enable me to do some very fun stuff with my game development!)

Running has continued on a more positive trajectory this year, with races and parkruns returning. I am nowhere near as fit as I was in March 2020 when everything shut down, but I have still managed two important PBs in 2021 – I took nearly five minutes off my 10k PB at the Sunderland 10k, and more than 45 minutes off my marathon PB at the London Marathon. I have also completed the second year of my daily run streak today and am hugely proud of that, as it’s been very difficult at times. Finally, parkrun-wise I have visited two new-to-me parkruns (Girvan Prom and Southwark) and earned my V25 t-shirt with my 25th volunteer stint!

As usual, I didn’t listen to much new music, but I absolutely loved the long-awaited new Duran Duran album Future Past, and I was over the moon at finally being able to see them live in Birmingham in September. Geth and I then saw Andy Taylor the very next night back home in Newcastle, and we had a great time seeing Soft Cell in Leeds in November. Lots more COVID-postponed gigs to come in 2022 (and some reviews of the ones I’ve recently attended!).

I watched pretty much zero new TV shows and films this year, though there were a few I added to my ‘buy the BluRay at some point’ list. I did record a lot of stuff on my digibox though! Geth has watched thousands of hours of YouTube channels about gaming and running, and I’ve enjoyed those by virtue of being in the same room. I did enjoy the Strictly series in the autumn, as ever.

I didn’t manage to find nearly as much time for videogaming this year as I would have liked, but there have still been a good few games to enjoy. In addition to playing all the other text adventure games in the jams and competitions I entered (see above – and also finishing off the Adventuron Christmas jam games from last year in January!), I finished Bravely Second in time for the much-anticipated Bravely Default II coming out, played Bravely Default II on and off from February but have still not made much headway ten months later, played the interesting demo of Project Triangle Strategy (set for full release on Switch in 2022 as just Triangle Strategy), finished Final Fantasy I (finally! I will be moving onto FFII for 2022), got very freaked out by Return of the Obra Dinn, got most of the way through The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, played about ten minutes of Pikmin Bloom before deciding it wasn’t for me, enjoyed a couple of old ’90s platformers for Christmas that I’ve loved since childhood, started Braid again (will actually finish it this time!), continued enjoying the lovely meditative filler game Link-A-Pix Colour, and COMPLETED EVERY SINGLE DEMO ON THE NINTENDO 3DS ESHOP (a project I’ve been working on for years). Watch out for next year, when I will be putting some serious effort into finding a lot more time for games!

I have lots of plans and resolutions for 2022, but I’ll talk about those tomorrow…

Winter nails
Snowflake leggings and new silver nails – all ready for New Year.

I’ll do a separate earworm playlist post soon…. maybe (I’m considering starting to log that separately from the blog and doing a yearly chart instead). So far it’s three weeks’ worth of Christmas music and Disney/Pixar soundtracks. I must admit I am looking forward to listening to something else in January in order to clear it all from my brain.