Twenty Twelve

2012. We’re all still here, which means another entry on the Wikipedia list of predicted doomsday dates that came to pass (it’s a thing) and another blog post for this sorely neglected site. So, without further ago, begin Operation: DESCRIBE YEAR IN REVIEW WITH FOLLOW UP GOALS FOR NEXT OPERATION.

Sport

Sports 2012

If a year can be defined by one thing, this one can be described as the year I got off my ass (or at least off the streets/out of the pool) and started doing actual sporting events. Here’s a selection of the things I’ve done this year, and for anyone who thinks they couldn’t do this, remember I used to a proper couch potato .

  • Sutton Fun Run My first public sporting event since Sports Day as a kid. 8.5 miles of running up and down hills in Sutton Park, I eventually finished in 1:04:19 placing me #248 out of 6,000.
  • Great Manchester Swim Another first, this time open water swimming (and wearing a wetsuit). The canals outside Media City weren’t what you would describe as pristine, but it was an awesome day despite all this. Finishing in 32:43 (after swimming the wrong way) was a great first attempt.
  • Sutton Triathlon My first triathlon! Admittedly only a Super Sprint distance for beginners, it comprised a 200 m swim, 10 km bike ride and a final 2.5 km run all through Sutton Park. The hardest part was treading water in the middle of Powells Pool for 20 minutes in the freezing cold water (no wetsuit) before starting. In the end I finished in 42:09, taking first place overall for the distance. I signed up for the next event as soon as I got home.
  • People’s Triathlon A Sprint distance triathlon, this race involved a 750 m swim, 20 km bike ride and 5 km sprint to the finish line. I came in at 1:27:20, well under my target time. As I was the only entrant in my age band (the average age is 49!) there wasn’t a prize for coming first. Even though I managed a good time on my trusty mountain bike as well, it showed me how valuable a road bike would be.
  • Spartan Race A 5 km slog under nets, through waist high water and over walls, this was more a test of endurance than raw speed. A great laugh, especially if you run as part of a team. Finished in just over an hour, coming in the top 100!
  • Birmingham Half Marathon The longest run of the Summer (but not my longest run of all time), the half really pushed me to my limits (and beyond), but was an excellent event. Finishing in 1:40:22, I was just glad to sit down afterwards.

Outside of the events, I got my first road bike, ran my first sub-20 minute 5K and upped my swimming distance to 2.5 km. Unfortunately, I did push myself a bit too hard. Since the half marathon my knees have been slowly recovering which has meant little to no running for the remainder of the year. Hopefully next year I can pick it back up again.

I’d also like to mention those I’ve raced with this year; My brother for driving me across the country to compete, Canning for been a good swim buddy and showing me how not to be a complete n00b in the water, Adam for some great conversation during the Spartan Race and John for motivating me to enter the Fun Run and half marathon.

Film

Another year means another bunch of visits to the cinema. This time I only managed to see 72 films (a total of 73 times) and overall there’s been a fairly large drop in my ratings. I’m not going to pick out a Top 10 (or Bottom 10), instead I’m just going to remark on what I’ve seen.

  • The Cabin in the Woods This easily takes the title for favourite film released this year. Smart, funny and unexpected, all the things you’d expect from a script with Joss Whedon’s fingerprints on it.
  • Chronicle takes the award for most unexpected film this year. Really liked the story it told, and also how it told it.
  • Coriolanus is the most unusual film I’ve seen. An adaptation of a Shakespearean play, this had a fairly A-list cast but still kept true to the original story (and dialogue).
  • Dredd definitely gets the award for most underrated movie. This was such a good sci-fi flick but it just didn’t get the chance it deserved.
  • Skyfall gets the award for biggest pile of steaming doggie doo-doo I’ve seen. This felt like such a let down after finally seeing Bond start to rise again. Thinking mans film? Nope, dimwitted setpieces strung together with less likelihood than DKR.

Geekery

What would a new year be without some new toys. The iPad mini is the best tablet ever made, hands down. It’s shocking how plasticky other devices feel when compared against this. It might not be retina (yet), but the dimensions make its big brother feel far too cumbersome. I also got one of the newfangled Slim Xboxes and I must say it’s a definite improvement over previous generations. Except for the touch sensitive buttons. Damn them to hell.

Dev-wise, I started learning the Go language and while I have yet to use it for a production app it does feel very nimble and modern. I especially love the visibility system, though not so much the loss of objects for structs (yet). I have also begun updating all of my PHP code to what it should be: dependency-injected, unit-tested, composable modules. Gone are the framework specific libraries, now I can share code around, much better.

Finally, I picked up an Arduino Uno after playing with one at a hack day. The world of electronics feels like a completely alien planet, with ohms and amps coming out my ears. I’m working on a few projects and having fun learning as I go, stay tuned for more announcements!

To The Next?

And that’s about it. I’m having fun expanding at 383, with internal projects growing to maturity and new projects providing a good challenge. Next year I hope to have finally moved out and put live a few projects I’ve been working on for a (long) time. Until then, Happy New Years everyone.

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