Keeping the “crowbarring the Ps in” theme thing going.

Hi Jamie! You don’t have to read it. But I’m going to keep publishing these whilst I still consider the balance of my life is tipped towards “positive” than “negative”.

It’s the end of the decade too, but I forgot about that so this is just an end of year review. Although, like last year, amazingly there are actually two reviews from a decade ago to compare against.


I aimed to do two marathons and just about managed it. Really pushing for two was too many and didn’t give me enough time to deal with injury or “life”. I’m not good enough yet for that.

Probably the best thing about running this year is getting a headlamp so I can run more in winter months (although still weather dependent).


I’ve done a lot of programming, but it’s nearly all been at work so there isn’t much to talk about here. I have managed to work in Ruby, Python, Go and Haskell at work though which is pretty good going.

Outside of work:

  • Finally got that PR merged in on go-pagerduty and did this one one pdagent-integrations
  • Managed to get Spotifyd building on NetBSD and now maintain a Pkgsrc port for it. It’s exposed me to the Rust ecosystem, but I wouldn’t really say I’ve managed to do much programming in Rust yet. One of my goals from last year was to do more in Pkgsrc. I suppose this counts; I just don’t understand where all my time goes - I don’t seem to have any anymore
  • Picked up Lisp again when I switched to 1password
  • Really managed to do very little on Simplenote.vim and this year. Pretty much just this. Like I said: I just seem to have very little spare time any more


I finally cleared a backlog of film and no longer have any undeveloped films waiting to be sent off. Result! Got a few of shots I am really happy with (including some of my mum and dad!), but typically they are friends and family only.

I did like this one though that I decided could be public.

I also hit last year’s goal of shooting film and getting it developed in the same year


Not a great year for reading. Managed these:


I did put a bit of effort into learning languages again at the expense of reading books though:

  • Italian - got to the end of level two on Duolingo, for what it’s worth which is nothing really. The main problem with languages is that unless you get opportunity to use them regularly you (well, at least, I) don’t really seem to learn them. But I figure it’s better than just doing nothing at all
  • Maltese - got so far with this Basic Maltese course on Memrise, but it’s really no where near as good as Duolingo - I wish there was a Maltese course on Duolingo. Maltese is really hard to learn and to find opportunity to speak as everyone speaks English and a lot of people are actually English - i.e bus drivers on Gozo, so there is no point hopping on a bus and even saying “Erba” or “Tlieta”, etc for the number of tickets as they won’t understand; Unrelated: The Gozo bus service is excellent
  • Scots Gaelic - It arrived on Duolingo and so I made some headway into learning it. Will continue with that next year


We had our first night out (non-music related) together in twelve (!!) years in February - the downside of living hundreds of miles away from family - we were semi-well behaved; We then went to our first gig together in fifteen (!!) years to see Embrace, but that was on a school night and so we were well behaved. I just mention those to set the scene for us going to a combined gig / proper night out in May to see Spinn that was very messy. Which I guess it was going to be after so many years off.

Not many gigs in total, but 300% more than we are used to:

  • Embrace (On their The Good Will Out 21st anniversary tour. Everyone was old)
  • Spinn (Are actually really good, but seem to be a bit of a teengirl band and were were WAY too old and drunk)
  • Honeyblood and Lucia (Lucia were as fantastic as I thought they would be - it’s made my year getting to see them; I love Honeyblood too, but Lucia are special)

Came so close to seeing OK Button, but couldn’t make it in the end. Gutted about that.

Sooo many good albums this year so in an effort to not go on forever I’ll limit to a top ten eleven (although in no particular order):

  • International Teachers of Pop: International Teachers of Pop
  • Little Simz: GREY Area
  • Dream State: Primrose Path
  • Chase and Status: RTRN II JUNGLE
  • Better Oblivion Community Centre: Better Oblivion Community Centre
  • Chali 2NA and Krafty Kuts: Adventures of a Reluctant Superhero
  • Too Many T’s: LA FAM ILL
  • Bat for Lashes: Lost Girls
  • Loyle Carner: Not Waving, But Drowning
  • Jade Bird: Jade Bird
  • Honeyblood: In Plain Sight

That’s a good amount of genre coverage too. An album is still a thing for me.

Better Oblivion Community Centre could have easily been my favourite album as could have Little Simz GREY Area. But in the end I went for:

  • Album of the year: Dream State: Primose Path
  • EP of the year: OK Button: Sepia Spectres
  • Single of the year: Lucia and the Best Boys: Good Girls do Bad Things

Next year is going to be a toughy. If Lucia release an album that’s going to be hard to beat, but Grimes might release one too. And apparently Phoebe Bridgers too. Oof.

Protecting the world

Should have included this as a section last year. Pissing into the wind and all that, but got to try to settle my conscience a bit:

  • Switched our electricity to Bulb near the start of 2018
  • Stopped using coal. This is our second winter without using the coal fire. We still have to use heating oil for hot water and heating, but we’ve tried to cut down. We live in a rented “remote” property with no mains gas, water or sewerage so there is only so much we can do; In theory we could get the immersion heater mended (has never worked in all the years we’ve lived here) and use that for hot water and buy electrical heaters for all rooms, but in practice we haven’t… yet; Heating oil is scarily worse than flying from the point of view of CO2 emissions - it’s surprising there isn’t more “heating oil shame” going on, to go with the flygskam
  • Switched my pension to a mix of ethical funds. There is fuck all in there anyway and actually it’s a strategy that’s got to pay off eventually - some point very soon investments in fossil fuels, etc have got to dive
  • Have started offsetting my (just mine) lifetime of flights through (as opposed to climatecare because, although cheaper, that doesn’t really seem to be the point). Fortunately I haven’t taken many flights and I am almost back to 2010. I plan/hope to clear the remainder of these next year
  • Annoyingly we have a diesel car which we got second hand just before the whole diesel scandal happened and so seemed like a good environmental choice (“zero” emissions) at the time; I think my years of cycling which most sane people would have driven has got to clear me from this environmental debt though
  • We switched to using Who gives a crap for loo-roll. A no-brainer
  • Somewhat switched banking to Triodos after being with Smile for years when I became wary of how ethical they’d be being owned by a hedge fund; joint account still with Smile
  • Switched home insurance to Co-operative (supposedly very ethical)
  • Switched search engine from DuckDuckGo to Ecosia (seems like a no-brainer for such minimal effort)
  • Did some ethical shopping. Such as using Toast and Ethical Shop last Christmas. Spent ages researching ethical jeans this year before finally opting for the best ethical choice and buying secondhand off of Vinted; Two pairs for £4 each; I am not known for being fashion conscious though
  • Still vegetarian. It’s a compromise. I would probably have switched to vegan ages ago if it was just me. Despite what people think I probably could give up cheese. But I’m still out-numbered at home so being vegan would be selfish, veggie is a good enough compromise

Everything is a compromise.


Managed to get home for the first time in twelve years to see my mum, dad and brother, etc. That was pretty amazing.

Prostrating myself

Work has been hard this year. It’s a shame, but it has gone downhill since I started there (I hope not due to me - ha). I am hopeful though with a lot of tough projects out of the way this year, next year can be much better.

Of course I have keep reminding myself that at least I am not having to do this anymore.

Pocket money

Last year I said I’d up my allowance to 3% with the hope that the extra 1% would cover money that I ended up spending on others instead of me. And from rough calculations it looks like I did spend about 1% on other people. So I think next year I’ll be more explicit about this: Give myself 2% that is to go selfishly on me for things I want and 1% for stuff I get for other people.

I had thought about dropping back down to 2% total because money is now tighter again with the eldest away at college, but also… nope: It’s pissing in the wind territory and making life miserable for myself with no real need.


I think I only have proper plans around running next year…

  • One marathon, but more of an offroad based one
  • Run 300km in a month. I managed 230km this year. It’s not the distance itself that is unachievable, just fitting it in around weather, work and home
  • Maybe see if I can hit 2000km in a year (I got to 1767km this year)

…Everything else will probably just be what it will be, although also loosely these:

  • In lieu of having any plans/ideas of what books to read: Get to level 3 on Italian on Duolingo
  • And complete level 1 of Scots Gaelic on Duolingo
  • Learn and do something with Rust (although I’ve no idea what yet)
  • Try and find a little photography project. Sadly I’ve missed the years where my girls wouldn’t complain about having their photos taken so I need something new to take photos of. I’m not planning on taking many photos (else I end up with a backlog to develop), but it would be nice to get a roll and know what I’m going to use it for - I got two for Christmas and have managed a handful of shots on one roll because I can’t really get photos of the girls much anymore
  • One of the best things about being alive is all the new music I am yet to listen to. Seriously. Spotify is great, but I want to keep listening to the radio too. 6music has dominated this year, next year I want to make more of an effort to pick up certain shows from Dandelion, Foundation and Soho
  • On my “wishlist” the only real “backlogged” thing I have remaining is to resurrect the hard drives from the old powerbook G4. Will try to do this just to get photos off. Been meaning/wanting to do this for years
  • See if there is anything we can do about the heating oil situation. Carbon offsetting it is one (less effective and very expensive) option