If there's any tradition that I try to keep on this blog, it's this annual post,
the one that recaps the previous year and tries to sound optimistic about the
future. I try to be thorough enough that someone might easily get a beat on
what my life's been like simply by reading one post a year for the last 11
years. Of course, I've not been as disciplined as I might have liked on this
front. I don't have anywhere near 11 "year in review" posts.
Looking back on some of those
posts though, I realise that it must have been easy to
write them: my life was either in transition, or just moving into or out of
one. 2014 by comparison hasn't been particularly remarkable -- at least in the
sense that one might be able to point to it as a time in my life that something
Mostly, 2014 was a year of being comfortable in my life here in Amsterdam. In
much the same theme as the my life and theirs post
from way back, 2014 has seen me get comfortable with the idea that I'm here for
Christina and I are the real deal, with three years together as of February. We
share a lovely place in Amsterdam with a beautiful view of the Ij and life here
is pretty good. Work hasn't changed much either, but I'm comfortable in my role
at RIPE and I enjoy working for a company that actually does Good for the world.
My life hasn't changed much at all this past year, but I still can report that
my life is going well. I'll try to recap some of the highlights here.
As with every year since my moving to the Netherlands, 2014 had a lot of
Travelling in it. Not as much as last year, but I did manage to seem some
As is becoming tradition, Christina and I took the trip down to Brussels for the
annual FOSDEM conference. There's not much
to report on this other than that FOSDEM is amazing and probably the best
conference I've ever been to. If you've never been, you should go.
Christina had a conference in Vienna in the Spring, and she took me with her so
I could meet her friends Max & Julia who promised to give us a tour of the city.
Vienna is lovely, and strangely grandiose, as if to give one the impression that
The Empire was still alive and kicking. Wide open spaces surrounded by tall
marble buildings, imposing in the shadow they cast on passers by -- it's not
like any other city I've been to.
But the hotdog I had there, OMG. The best thing I've ever had from a street
vendor. I ate something called a Bosna and every time someone mentions
Vienna, I salivate.
Seriously, I'd consider a trip back just for that sausage if I could justify the
environmental implications and financial costs.
Marseilles, Lyon, & The French Riviera
The other conference I attended in 2014 was DjangoCon Europe
which, in 2013, was held in Warsaw, but this year they decided to host a 3 day
conference on a tiny island off the south coast of France. I took the
opportunity to do some sightseeing around Southern France and find myself
surprisingly disappointed with Marseilles. Lyon on the other hand is beautiful
and impressively both managed and designed. Photos from my trip can be found in
my image gallery.
Manchester & Couch
Some of you may not know this, but Christina may have been born in Greece, but
her mother is British, and the other half of her family lives in a sleepy little
town called Chesterfield, or Couch as I lovingly refer to it.
Chesterfield is an out-of-the-way hamlet without an airport in the North of
England. When I asked people what I should see/do there, locals would always
say: "Have you seen the crooked spire?"
When I replied with "Yes, anything else?" I was met with silence. Yes,
Chesterfield is that boring.
I did get to meet Christina's other side though, so that made the trip worth it.
Thessaloniki, Athens & Nafplio
Christina had another conference in Thessaloniki (Θεσσαλονίκη),
so we decided to take a couple weeks and see some more of Greece. This was my
third trip to Greece, but my first time leaving Athens to see other parts of the
Thessaloniki is a town with a lot of promise, but the Euro crisis has taken its
toll. Some (touristy) areas are well maintained and busy, but there were whole
blocks with nothing but abandoned or condemned buildings. Some amazing graffiti
though. I wish the graffiti artists in the Netherlands had half as much talent.
We stopped off in Athens for a week or so to spend some time with Christina's
family, and then headed off to the Peloponnese (Πελοπόννησος).
Christina drove us from Athens to Nafplio (Ναύπλιο)
via Corinth (Κόρινθος), and we stayed
at a beautiful hotel nestled on a hill surrounded by an orange orchard.
We did a little touring in Nafplio (and lots of frozen yogurt), and also took a
trip up to the ruins of Mycenae (Μυκήνες)
where I was attacked by giant bugs and had a mild panic attack (good times).
Vancouver & Kelowna
Thanks to an um... lets go with scheduling conflict with my dear friend
Jeong-Yeon, I ended up in Vancouver this summer, burning most of my vacation
days and Jeong-Yeon was nowhere to be found.
Thankfully, I have lots of friends and family there, so it was hardly a waste of
a trip. I spent some time visiting in Vancouver, and then headed up to Kelowna
to help out around my parent's house and play with my adorable niece.
Photos are here for those
Sydney, Auckland, and much of New Zealand
The Big Trip of the year, possibly the biggest for a long time, was my trip to
the country I swore I'd never set foot in, (Australia) and a further adventure
into New Zealand.
My travelling partner for this one was the ever-ready-for-adventure Stephanie,
who had this whole idea in the first place. We did a few days in Sydney, where
I was confronted with a GIANT FUCKING ARACHNID in our hotel room and was
thoroughly terrified of the wildlife for the remainder of the trip.
We did yoga on Bondi Beach.
I cannot begin to confer how beautiful Bondi was. I am forever indebted to
Stephanie for convincing me to face my fear and visit such a beautiful place.
I got to pet a wombat, and a kangaroo, and an echidna, and a koala named
Claire. I saw penguins, and a tasmanian devil, and a cacophony of crazy looking
exotic animals that weren't trying to kill me, and then I ate a kangaroo burger.
Stephanie drank All The Beers, and I watched her consume what would appear to be
the finest beverage in the world... something called a rum old fashioned.
And that was just Australia.
We met Sue in Auckland, who was a welcome travelling companion for a few days.
She drove us from Auckland to Hobbiton where we
saw hobbit houses and drank at The Green Dragon, then onto the
Waitomo glow worm caves,
where we went cave diving with wet suits and inner tubes. Once again, Stephanie
convinced me to do something I never would have considered and I am once again
thankful for it. Imagine yourself floating in darkness with billions on tiny
blue lights overhead surrounded by cave walls and cool water. It was amazing.
From there we headed to Rotorua, where we visited Te Puia,
a Maori cultural centre, before heading back to Auckland and getting my picture
next to the
Xena Way sign. That was way more fun than it should have been.
We left Sue the next morning for the third and final leg of our trip: the South
Island. In Queenstown I rode a horse for the first time in my life and was less
terrified than I thought I'd be. I also got some really amazing pictures. We
also took the long trip to see Doubtful Sound,
an untouched wilderness of trees, water and wildlife, it was also the furthest
South either of us had ever been. Indeed, it's the furthest South most people,
alive or dead, have ever been.
We rented a car in Queenstown and Stephanie drove us on the left up to
Lake Tekapo where we
hiked to the top of Mt. John (less impressive than it sounds, but still lovely),
and we took advantage of the night sky reserve
one night to see the Southern Cross and explore the night sky as we'd never seen
From Tekapo, Stephanie drove us up to Mt. Cook, only to be turned around by the
weather. It would seem that we wouldn't get to see a glacier on this trip.
Instead, we drove East to the outskirts of Christchurch, where there was no cell
service and barely any people, so we could crash at a cool little place called
SiloStay which, as it turns out, wasn't really all that awesome, so I'm not
linking to them here. We did however have a quick dinner at a place called
Hilltop Tavern, which had prettiest view I've
ever seen from any tavern.
The next morning we drove to Christchurch to see what was left of the city after
the massive 2011 earthquake.
To say that the town was heavily hit is a colossal understatement, and I'm not
convinced that they'll ever recover entirely. Three years later, and there are
still houses and buildings everywhere that are just half-destroyed and
abandoned. However it was nice to see how some were taking advantage of the
opportunity to rebuild the city in a way that makes sense (more pedestrian
space, better cycling infrastructure etc.). We visited the earthquake museum,
learnt about the colourful use of the term munted by officials during the
crisis, and then crashed at our guesthouse before getting on our respective
planes the next morning.
It's was an amazing trip. It cost me thousands of Euros, sixty hours of air
travel, and twelve timezones of jetlag, and I regret nothing.
Photos from all of this, save for a good many lost from my Bondi Beach trip, are
Professionally, my life hasn't really changed this past year. The RIPE NCC is
still a pretty good place to work, if for no other reason than that working
there means that I don't go home feeling guilty every night. Instead, strangers
thank me publicly for the
work I do and my code is Free to share. It's pretty fabulous.
I did a lot of work this past year on a whole whack of mini projects. Now that
I'm finally understanding and using git, a tool written by people who show
very little interest in making tools other people can use, I'm now hosting a
lot of nifty stuff on GitHub, including my
ever-present side project, that mobile game Stephanie and I have been poking at
over the years...
I got a lot of work done on this in 2014. In fact, I had a working alpha back
in September, achieving my end-of-year goal months early. I managed this in
part by finally saying goodbye to doing bits of work for Collin, and in part by
getting some vitimin D into me. I got more work done on this project in 1 week
in Athens than I did for most of the rest of the year.
The big challenge for 2015 is going to be:
- Moving away from django-tastypie because it's effectively abandonware
- Switching to 1.7
- Getting some front-end working (coughStephaniecough)
- Getting some artists to sign on to provide some character artwork
That last one is especially tough, because let's be honest, nobody likes to work
for free, so I might just have to dip into my savings and pay for some artwork
up-front. I dunno.
I also started doing a lot of work for my father's side-project, RxLenses.ca,
an uncut lens reseller for retail optical stores. In the last months of the
year especially, I've been working on getting a big feature setup, and once
that's finished, the project should be mostly self-sustaining, so I can go back
to my other stuff.
Sagan was my first "public" component for the RIPE NCC. It was fun to write,
and it's been largely embraced by both the company and the community when it
comes to do doing the stuff it was designed to do, which is honestly the best
any Free software can ever hope for. That's pretty awesome.
So, this is a lot of stuff to read, so I hope that if you actually read it all,
you aren't bored by now. 2014 was good to me, albeit rather static. 2015
is looking good though: I've got a lot of travel planned, some more side
projects, and maybe even dance classes. I guess we'll see how that all pans out
in about twelve months.