It has been one year of full employment at NetNumber, which means the revival of the year retrospectives!

What Did I Learn This Year?

1. Being more efficient programming in Java. Now that my job requires me to care more about efficiency in the Java language I have picked up a couple new tricks in this area. Chief amongst them is thread locals which are a bit verbose to use, but helpful. I also am getting better at working with threads which still bend my mind on occasion.

2. I have an expensive gun fetish. It seems I realized this year I I could buy guns and just like that I went on a bit of a buying spree with an eye towards many more acquisitions. I think this newfound love is driven by two factors. One, I have a thing for old rifles which (since they are not making them anymore) means the stock is always being reduced and the price always going up. Better to get them now before they get more expensive. Two, the legal situation may make it so some pieces may be harder to find (e.g. AR-15s) which again means I should get them while I have a chance. And of course with all these nice pieces I need a place to use them which lead to me joining a local shooting club. It is nice, but I wish the range went out farther than ~100 yards. I would like to try some long range shooting at some point. Furthermore, it would be a shame to have my rights further restricted, so I have joined all manner of gun advocacy groups (GOA, NRA, GOAL) to protect what I have now. It remains to be seen how long this expensive affair will go on, but I am enjoying it so far.

3. I can win AMV awards! This was a pleasant surprise, especially for such a high profile convention, but I am a bit baffled about the disconnect between the AMVs I like and the ones that actually win awards. My tastes may be too eclectic for mainstream appeal. I am not sure if AMV hipsters exist, but I am happy to pioneer a new subculture. That said, I plan to keep experimenting and hopefully find a happy medium. Expect more progress in this area this year.

4. I can work on cars. I have joined a Lemon's team and we have been working feverishly for almost a year to get our car ready to race. We should be ready for our first race in August, but I will not feel comfortable about it until our car is actually running. That said, I have learned quite a bit about cars and with that knowledge I feel a lot more confident about conducting repairs. Luckily for me aside from needing some maintenance and basic repairs my daily drivers keeps on trucking. I do hate how dirty cars become though. I go through a lot of gloves when I work.

What Am I Looking To Explore This Year?

1. Ammo reloading. This is mostly as a way to save money as some of the pieces I shoot can be pretty expensive ($1.70 a round for 30-40 Krag for example), but I also like the idea of being able to reload what I shoot from a self sufficiency perspective. This also has some interesting offshoots like forming your own bullets or brass. For now I have acquired a book and I will be looking for some local classes so I have a good sense of what I am doing before investing in some equipment.

2. Some oddball AMV ideas. I have some ideas which are a bit out there as far as my next AMVs go. I am not sure how that will help me win any more awards, but they should be different from the usual fare if nothing else.

3. Home improvements. I am looking to tear the carpet up from my lower floor bathroom in order to make it a little less awful. I also need to do some work on the shower in there too as the lining is cracked and peeling. The yard also reminds a bit of a sore spot. I half want to make it very nice and half do not care. We shall see how it goes this year.

4. Cooking. I have grown a bit tired of my usual recipes. I need to branch out and find some new flavors. I hoping to solicit some simple recipes from people I know.

5. Video game development. I keep thinking about video games I would like to make myself, but I keep not doing anything about it. I hope this is the year I carve out some time to do some experimenting. I am thinking using unity would be a good start as it seems pretty feature rich and free.

What did I Fail at This Year?

1. Saving money. Despite my grand plans I am not saving as much money as I thought. Between unexpected house costs, my gun hobby, and our race car my savings rate has slowed. This is kind of concerning because I do want to retire by 40 still, but I also want to invest in my hobbies. It seems that the hobbies are winning for now, but I am disappointing a bit by my lack of will to save. I shall think on this.

2. Civil War Reenacting. I keep wanting to do this, but I keep delaying looking into it. I think this might be the year since it pairs nicely with my gun habit and new found willingness to spend money on my hobbies.

3. Blog writing. Nuff said.

In summary, I had a really good year. I will work to make this year even better.