It is that time of year again, time for my retrospective. A look back on last
year’s goals and a reflection on what I would like out of
this year. It may be a month late for New Year’s resolutions, but I do get to
One thing that I started up last year was a much more rigorous interpretation of
David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I used a similar process towards breaking
down and getting to tasks in the past, but this last year was one where I
focused much more on continuously revising my goals, recording what I got done,
and asking myself what I needed to do next. Some time, I will get a series of
essays put together to discuss my process.
2014 closed out with my last day at 44 Interactive, and I hope a permanent move
away from the marketing side of web development and into the more fulfilling
realm of application development as a Software Engineer with my new employer,
Research Square out of Durham, NC. I am still remote, having moved from Ashton,
ID up to Jackson, WY – a town much more my style and now working out of Spark,
a nice co-working spot that has encouraged me to once more shed my outer humbug.
While working at 44 Interactive, I developed a bespoke shopping cart that saw
itself launched on Dakota Golf and Warriors Never
Giveup. This project implemented the entire
workflow that user’s expect of a shopping cart: adding products, customizing
product details, checkout, payment collection and processing through
Authorize.Net or PayPal, and shipping.
A few fun features I developed was a reworking of the underlying models of our
CMS to use the Eloquent ORM, integration with Composer and Bower for pulling in
libraries, building out a re-occurring events module for calculating things like
“occurs on every last Thursday of the month” or “repeat every Monday.” One
showcase item is the HTML5 Canvas powered course
tour on Dakota Golf whose
administrative tools allow for drawing arbitrary polygons and detecting when a
mouse enters a polygon.
In the brochure realm, I launched McDoctors,
Dakotastour, Wings of
Thunder, Howeinc, and
With my change of employers, I am hanging up my System Admin hat, which was a
fun one to wear for a time. No more debugging package conflicts, no more reading
PCI reports, or writing new rules for
mod_sec. I do delight in the fact that I
consolidated servers costs by 50% during my tenure and brought up time to 99.9%.
I am committed to continuous professional development in my field. I do this via
reading and writing blogs, reading technical manuals, as well as investigating
topics in computer science that might only be orthogonal to my day-to-day life.
In the last year, I read Miracle Man Month and Code Complete. After a short
affair in learning LateX last spring, I turned to devour every article and
online book I could find on the Rust language and began following the language
mailing list as well as subscribing to frameworks like Piston. I wanted to
really make some open source contributions, but never quite found a niche where
I could step in and help out.
After some consideration, I released the DropFramework and my
TimeKeeper application onto Github. The first, I
do not take seriously as anything more than a learning project and the latter is
a really helpful tool that I use every day.
Oh, and those projects I promised last year? I started on a lot of them, then
lost interest. Instead, I started Rusty Centipede –
a Centipede clone using Rust.
What about outside of work?
I had some great outings this last year. Helped out at the Ashton Dog Derby,
snowshoed to Warm River Cabin in Caribou-Targhee National Forest, visited
Gallatin National Forest,
backpacked the Escalante area of
Utah, hiked the St. Anthony
Sand Dunes, backpacked the tallest of
them: Juniper Hill, attended a field
class on native plants, stayed at Bishop
Mt. Cabin, canoed Big Springs, caved the Civil Defense Caves, camped at Granite
Hot Springs and Grassy Lake. Not to mention all the day hikes up Crystal Butte,
Cache Creek, Teton Pass, and the Gros Vertre since we got out into the Teton
National Forest area.
Oh and all these links to my blog posts. Last year, I set a goal of 12 articles
and right now, I count 15!
Tried my hands at roleplaying via Skype. Just never got the hang of it, and fell
out of doing it after a couple of months. Never did get up the courage to show
up at Friday Night Magic and Jackson, unfortunately does not seem to have much
of a gaming culture going on.
Took way too long of a break from playing any kinds of games. According to Steam
I didn’t play a single game from December of 2013 until November of 2014, almost
an entire year. My burst of gaming lately is an attempt to make up for that with
games like Bastion, Trine 2 and fun times on Terraria with friends.
Had good times with some friends. Keegan dropped by almost unannounced from
Death Valley. Clint came out and stayed with us for a month in June. I got out
to the Black Hills and Sioux Falls to hang out with friends on multiple
occasions and even made a trip out to San Diego, Portland and Rhinelander to hit
all the major family holidays.
At home, Jess finally talked me into a gym membership and I’m starting to shed
all the stress pounds that I’ve put on since the cave days. And, I’m making a
good dent in my student loans while feeling much more financially stable. No
more big rental houses that eat up each week’s paycheck.
My to-read bookshelf is considerably emptier. I caught up on my backlog of
National Geographic, read Mishima’s Death in Midsummer, Kawabata’s Snow
Country and Thousand cranes, Mobile Suit Gundam Origin volumes 1 through 6,
A Dance with Dragons, Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, Westward,
Traveler and Exalted. I started a larger stack of books that I never
finished though. In film and television, I watched Kill-la-Kill, Galaxy
Express 999, Battleship Potemkin, Dexter, Monogatari, Mushi-shi, Ping
Pong, Her, Under the Skin, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Guardians of
the Galaxy, The Hobbit, Mardy, and Terror in Requiem.
I started to study French and have, at this point, some what of a grasp of the
written language. I never got around to working on the Weird Tale, NaNoWriMo, or
Architectural Drawing. I am quite far behind on processing my photographs.
2015 In Resolution
If there were any regrets that I have this last this last year it would be that
the later half of the year was entirely eaten up by progressing my career – job
hunting, working on side projects to develop my skill set, and reading, reading,
reading up on sound development practices. I started 2014 on a good role with
healthy exercise, outdoor activities, calm reading at the lake shore. I am
looking forward to spending this year easing into my new job and finding time to
delight in my non-programing hobbies.
More Reading, More Anime, More Games
I had a good list of shows and books that I read last year but it’s nowhere near
when I was in college and could put away a novel a fortnight, an Anime a month,
and get four or five good games in each season. So above all else this year, I
want to spend some time clearing out my “to read” pile, getting more books off
my Amazon wish list, and more Anime’s off my “Plan to Watch” list on
More Hiking, More Caving, More Camping
Camping died out in August for me. Just too much going on, but this year I want
to see a return to the South West, I want to spend weeks out at camp and come in
to the coworking office. I have a laundry list of hikes, camping trips, canoing
trips, and a handful of local caves that I must out to this Winter, Spring,
Summer, and Fall.
Keep Studying French
Last year, I took up French out of frustration that the Manga for Galaxy
Express 999 has languished in Viz’s control. This year: Keep working on it.
Catch up on my backlog of photos from 2013 and 2014. Really get out into the
back country of Tetons with a D80 or a new DSLR and tripod. Get a gallery
showing somewhere calm, like Ashton.
Aim for another 12 solid articles.
I used to Journal a lot. An hour a day. I cut back on it as my career
progressed. Ran out of time. This last year, I started a 5-year journal. Six
lines a day every day. It’s a great way to get back into journaling.
NaNoWriMo & The Weird Tale
November is in the clear this year, nothing to get in the way for churning out a
quick novel. Also, there is little excuse for my draft of “The Weird Tale” to
still be sitting on my desk. Time to get it done.
Campaign Setting & Roleplaying
There has been several requests for me to update “The Rinn,” my Celtic,
otherwordly campaign setting and then to run a new game using either the D6 or
new D&D rulesets.
Jess got me a membership with the Art Association of Jackson. Now, I can get
back to working on my figure drawing and dreaming of that graphic novel I will
never get around to writing.
The Renaissance Man Project
This is an odd project that I came up with – to research what modern to
contemporary writers and philosophers have written about the concept of the
“Competent Man”, the “Renaissance Man,” or the “Polymath” and then compose (1) a
series of essays considering these thoughts, (2) whether it is possible to be a
modern Renaissance man and what criteria would encompass this feat, and (3) what
is laking in my own self development to be a well-rounded, competent individual.
Ghostify My Blog
Okay, I can’t help it, I do have some technical projects to work on – get this
blog off WordPress and on to Ghost. Export all my articles, build in discourse,
and finally get this theme to be 100% responsive bootstrap.
I started making a Centipede clone last year using Rust. My goals right now are
arcade games in my spare time.