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
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
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