Year in Review: 2018

Previously:

Personal Deets

It was a year, alright.

My big goal for 2018 was to take better care of myself. On that front, my biggest success was my commitment to walk to work every day. It went awry in the fall, but I kept it up for most of the year, even after we moved offices and it became a forty five minutes’ walk or twenty minutes’ bike ride. I lost about fifteen pounds. I even got a new doctor (again), got my blood work done, and found out that I’m actually in decent health.

I did the Irish lessons for a while, then stopped once I lost my streak on Duolingo. I took French lessons (again, in the app) for a while. In the fall I picked up Irish again, and while I won’t say I’m anything approaching a gaeilgeior (an Irish speaker), it’s been fun. (For more info on some of the glorious strangeness of Irish, check out The Irish Language on YouTube.)

In terms of politics, I voted yes in the referendum for proportional representation. I lost. Likewise, most of my picks in the Vancouver municipal election lost. I’ve been trying to ignore everything going on in the States, to the extent that anyone on Twitter constantly can do so.

Travel

Vancouver Island
I went to visit my parents three times, in the spring, in the fall, and for Christmas. The first two visits overlapped with my sister and her adorable children. Christmas was considerably more quiet. 😉
Nova Scotia and Quebec
This was my big trip for the year. My uncle threw a big celebration for his 70th birthday in Quebec, while the Nova Scotian half of my family held a giant reunion in Cape Breton the week before. I also got to spend a day in Halifax and catch up with my friend A– from Ireland. It was a great trip, and I’ll have to go back again.

Events

The Critical Hit Show @ the Rio (repeatedly)
It’s great. I can honestly say that when I was in Ireland, the two things I missed the most about living in Vancouver were poutine and the Critical Hit Show.
Improv at Theatresports
Thanks to Gavin, I finally went to see an improv show, and it was great. The first was “A Special Night with Colin Mochrie”. Dude’s a pro. The second was “Murder on the Improv Express”, which had a murder-mystery theme, and was undoubtedly my favourite. And we saw “Merry Kiss-Mas”, which riffed on Hallmark movies and was a good time.
Mission Folk Music Festival
It’s my excuse to go camping.
Vancouver Pride Parade
Justin Trudeau, like, practically walked past my apartment, man. I can’t believe it took me that long to see him in person.
Nodeschool
Again, thanks to Gavin, I started going to Nodeschool events. It’s good to dive into something completely unrelated to my regular work, and the Nodeschool people are good people.
VanCAF
I popped in, bought some stuff from H–, got slightly panicked from the crowd, and popped back out.
Motown
Great music.
Riverdance
Great dancing.
Kim’s Convenience
It’s not just a TV show, it’s also a play. Saw with E– and Y–. Was neat!
Slacks
It’s a sitcom in play form — imagine Seinfeld, except the characters are all lesbians. Quietly radical. Also fun.
Jim Jefferies
Good show! Pity there was a heckler they had to expel.
VCON
This year the theme was “The British Invasion”. I can’t say there was anything that was I was excited to go and see, but everything I did and saw was good.
The East Van Panto – The Wizard of Oz
Another year, another panto. “There’s no place like Poco.”
East Van Polka
I don’t know how to polka, but I do know how to drink litres of beer.
West End Heritage Tour
I finally went inside the Roedde House Mueseum, the Vancouver Park Board offices, some of the buildings in Mole Hill. It was worth it just to get some more local history.
Car Free Day
… I’m pretty sure I went to Car Free Day this year. The event in the West End was the same day as one of the Nodeschool sessions, so I missed out on most of that, but I’m pretty sure I walked to the bitter end of the event on Main Street.

Media

I’m forgotting stuff, to be sure.

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Probably the best made movie I saw this year. Hugely entertaining.
The Avengers: Infinity War
Honestly, kinda boring. I’m sick of watching superheros fight. But I kinda loved that downer of an ending.
Black Panther
Possibly the best MCU movie out.
The Incredibles 2
This was a special event with work, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have watched it. I dug it, tho.
Books
I didn’t really keep track of books this year. Uh, I tried reading the first Harry Potter novel in French, that didn’t go so well. Uh, “Sparks!” by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto is great. I also read books on “Spelunky”, “Chrono Trigger”, and “Final Fantasy V” from Boss Fight Books. I’d started in 2017, but I finally finished “Motherfoclóir: Dispatches from a not-so dead language” by Darach Ó Séaghdha. There was also “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen, “The Return of the Lazy DM” by Sly Flourish, and “All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft” by Geraldine DeRuiter. There should be some Pterry in there as well, courtesy of Mark Reads‘ ongoing read-through of the Discworld novels.
The Good Place
This is an amazing show and everyone who can deal with philosophy (and, to a lesser extent, cringe comedy) should watch it.
Derry Girls
They’re teen girls (except for one lad, who’s English) with teen girl problems! It’s set in LondonDerry in the middle of The Troubles! Comedy ensues. It’s now on Netflix.

Miscellaneous

Monday night gaming group
It’s been a rough year in terms campaigns, but we keep going. Hopefully 2019 will be a little more stable.
#SaveTheRio
I saved the Rio. Well, me, the city, and a whole lot of contributors.
Celeste
It’s a great platformer. Plus it’s local.
Loopy
My addiction for most of the year, wherein you determine a single non-overlapping loop. Puzzle games are the worst.
Dragon Quest XI
Yep. I haven’t touched the post-game content, but I sunk something like a hundred hours into the main quest.

Summation

It was a quiet year, which isn’t a bad thing. Here’s hoping for a productive 2019.

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Book Fight!

Hello! I’ve been meaning to post here about podcasts for the longest time. And so, let me ramble about … Book Fight!

I started listening to Book Fight! not long after moving to Dublin. Moving there was an adventure, but it was difficult, especially at the start. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit it, but listening to Book Fight! was a bit of a crutch for the lack of connection in my life. There’s an obvious and strong bond between the hosts, and I really needed that. I used to load up on episodes before going traveling, and rehearing some of them brings me back to walking around Cardiff, taking the train through the Scottish Lowlands, or wandering around Zurich.

Since moving back to Canada, I’ve continued listening, and support them through Patreon. I’m not all that fussed on them purposefully reading bad books for bonus episodes (that’s what I Don’t Even Own a Television is for), but they’re always pretty interesting.

Random points:

  • They have good rapport. They clearly know each other very well, and excel at the art of riffing.
  • Some of the books sound absolutely fascinating. I’ll probably never read most of them (especially at my current reading pace), but I still get a lot out of the discussions.
  • Every episode with a guest is gold.
  • I like the “Mike’s Fanfiction Corner” segments. Usually, anyway.

If all this sounds interesting, I’d suggest checking out the somewhat recent post on where to start. I really dug the old Writers Ask episodes, for what it’s worth. And the recent one on The Elementary Particles, by Michel Houellebecq was so good I … I left a comment (!).

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Riverdance

I saw Riverdance with my friend T– at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre back in April. They perform it every summer at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, I think; it’s something I meant to see before I left Ireland, but I didn’t. So when it came to town, I scooped up tickets as soon as they went on sale.

Continue reading

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Pride and Prejudice

I’m making a bit of an effort to read more lately. Jane Austen was one of my blind spots, so when I saw a copy of Pride and Prejudice at a used book store, I picked it up. And… I’m sure this comes as no surprize, but it’s a good story. The plot has fairly low stakes for most of it, but I got invested in the characters, and when the story does kick into gear it pulls on many plot threads it’d carefully laid and I hadn’t noticed. It’s a good book.

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