As tradition dictates, once another year passes I must write up my thoughts.

What Did I Learn This Year?

1. My gun affair is not abating. If anything my collecting has increased in scope, complexity, and intensity. This has been unhelpful in terms of my long stated and long running goal of retiring early. That said there have been some nice unexpected benefits. I enjoy the atmosphere at the local club and this hobby is a good excuse to get outside on occasion. I am hoping to cool things down a bit this year as my collection rounds out, but I remain vigilant for new pieces. Right now this happens to be French rifles. I cannot imagine why.

2. Metallic cartridge reloading. Riffing off the above, I was able to reload small batches of cartridges this year (~200 or so total) in a few differing calibers. I considered taking a class on this, but instead I got a book and watched a lot of videos on the subject. This was sufficient to get me going, but I am still considering a class so I can clarify some of the finer points. This will be a skill I need to curate as my collecting habits lead me to pieces with no commercially available ammo. As a collector who shoots everything he has I will need to be able to "roll my own" as they say.

3. Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects. I used both of these applications extensively for my April 15th project. After Effects was definitely required, given all the rotoscoping I had to do, but I probably could have gotten away with using my old standby, Sony Vegas. I just wanted to branch out and try some other editing suites to see what they offered. What I found was I still prefer Sony Vegas, but it was a fun diversion to see how other applications handle similar tasks. I do like how Premiere manages effects on video clips though. Luckily, I tend not require a lot of that so it is no huge loss.

4. I am not a huge racing fan. After dabbling with a Lemons racing team for over a year I decided that the racing life was not for me and retired. We did have some success, taking home an Organizer's Choice award at our first race, but I decided that it was just too much of a time and money sink and I did not have the passion to needed continue. I do however still follow the team's progress and some parts of the car mysteriously keep finding their way to me.

5. Corn tortillas are weak. Flour is the ultimate tortilla. I tried corn again this year, just in case my taste buds have changed, but I can report they remain loyal to the one true tortilla.

What Am I Looking To Explore This Year?

1. Civil war reenacting. I mentioned this last year, but I feel more serious about it this year. That has not translated into any tangible actions yet, but with the money from the racing team freed up I think the stars are starting to align. This also lines up nicely with me wanting to go to more reenactments in general. There are a couple groups in MA I will investigate.

2. Convention Panel Running. Last year I ran a panel at Connecticon on firearm history and federal law. I think it went well (people showed up) and I am planning on running it again this year. I am hoping to spread out and bring it to other conventions, but I accept it can be a hard sell.

3. A new convention somewhere out west (we must go west young beans!). I think right now we have a good distribution and mix of conventions we go to, but I would like to rotate in a new one to try. Maybe Gen Con or Anime North in 2020.

4. Podcasting. I had so much fun doing this video about my April 15th project that I would like to do it again. I am not sure about what though or with whom. More research will be required.

What did I Fail at This Year?

1. Saving money. It is the same refrain as last year. I did increase my savings rate, but I will need to do better if I want to retire early. So long as I keep my hobbies though, this is looking doubtful.

2. Cooking. I have felt in a bit of a recipe rut as of late. The problem is I am too comfortable with my normal standbys so it is hard to branch out. Oftentimes I will find some new interesting recipe, but I will be intimidated by the steps or the new ingredients. I think I need to find simpler recipes.

3. Lawn care. That said, is it really failing if you do not care about the outcome? I do occasionally wish the grass looked a little nicer.

4. Home improvement. Last year I said I would work on the downstairs bathroom. The downstairs bathroom has not been worked on. The mission continues...