No, no recent updates. I'm not apologizing. Most of what I say is immediate, small in scope and sits in IM, on FB or suchlike. Still, end of the year is a good time to do a recap of the last little while.
Much of the year was taken up with a big focus on the Big Work Project. When it finally released in October (Thanksgiving weekend, no less), it was a very nice stress release. The project: an iPad application for one of the print magazines my employer publishes. It's gotten decent reviews. iOS 4.2 has caused some pain, but we'll see about that. :)
The gaps in the work year have been filled with the handful of other (iPhone) applications I'm responsible for. Or partly so, at least.
There was a reasonable amount of travel as well. Went down to New York City on business a few times (and used the trips to find some good times as well). Once was not a success due to February storms. Now it's slightly humorous, but at the time I was not amused at spending the whole day either circling Laguardia or being diverted to BWI...
Gallifrey One was quite fun, unsurprisingly. As usual, I got to see a few other bits of California as well. Getting home... well, I should have noticed the pattern, but didn't until much later... but it was another case of excessive travel woes. I am looking forward to 2011. Booked and everything.
New ink was acquired over the summer. Imperial Tattoo is a great place and Ronan is a fantastic artist. Of interest, one session was during the Police State Dry Run (i.e. when the G20 invaded the city).
Well, the G20 stuff needed a mention... let's just say that between the police tactics and the stupidity of the "black bloc" the city still isn't quite the place it was before. There was at least one rally that went the way it should.
I had an amazing time; Stockholm in particular is a very compatible city. Seeing so many fun performers at the year's final Diggiloo was wonderful, even if slightly incomprehensible in bits. The Vasa Museum is likewise an impressive place well worth most of a day.
In fact, it was so enjoyable, including hanging out with some old friends and new, that... I returned to Stockholm at the end of November. Definitely a different pace of visit, but another excellent time. And, by the Rule of Three... returning home was a complete circus. A 12 hour journey ended up taking 44 due to massive and continual incompetence by Air Canada, even though I started the day on British Airways. There's a long rant in here, but it's not necessary at the moment. Suffice it to say Air Canada is on the Recommend Against list, but as we tend to do, I made some new friends in the adversity.
The year wraps up with planning for Gallifrey 2011 as well as my third trip to Stockholm. Ticket right near the front for Melodifestivalen! Woot. Also, did manage to get to see the Priscilla, Queen of the Desert musical before it wraps up to head off to Broadway. An evening of fun performances and spectacular staging. Not entirely pleased with all the music changes from the movie, but that's largely irrelevant to the quality of the show.
I can see I've left out quite a lot. But that's fine; more to talk about one on one. :) For now...
Gott Nytt År! Jag önskar dig ett fantastiskt 2011!
There's not much to be worth saying lately.
Well. That's not entirely true. But nothing much to natter about. Mostly introspective things.
And planning for summertime travels. And small bits of home reorganization. And work, sometimes with the (definitely aging) fourfoot in tow. iPad stuff is fun on a technical level, but it's somewhat annoying watching the way that Jobs carries on. (Not just this recent thing, but... yeah...)
Yep. Lots of little things. None worth nattering on. Which is probably why I'm not so crazy about write-only social networking.
There's an evil_dwagon-shaped hole in my life. Life's scaffolding surrounds it as the endless assembly continues but none will obscure the gap -- it is part of the structure of who I am now.
It's what he left behind that counts, and that's a hell of a lot.
... A reasonable way to spend two hours (hint: it's a three hour movie).
... Implausible geography and improbable ecology provide fertile ground for demonstrating the state of the art in impressive CGI vistas, advanced image composition and motion capture. A demonstration of just how far all this has come, stitched together with bits recycled from classic SFnal stories.
... The paper thin stereotyped characterizations of the human population serve as a counterpoint to the depth of the visual artistry.
... A super-extended climactic battle scene seems de rigeur in modern epic cinema and Avatar honours its commitments here with vigour, ending with a resolution that begs the question: "what happens a week/month/year later when the next batch arrives?"
I am left with the impression that had I seen it in a 2D theatre I might have found it rather flat. (crickets)
As it was, it was an enjoyable ride that leaves few lasting impressions. Not bad for $300 million.
* - to wit: parallax problems on the periphery of the screen, a few eye-watering pans (mostly those involving on-screen computer displays), and all of the usual eyestrain problems you have when you play with depth of field in a 3D movie and have semi-interesting things in the background that people may want to (try to) focus on. Plus (of course) the seemingly irresistible temptation to continually make the point that THIS IS BIG, and HERE'S A(NOTHER) SWEEPING VISTA. That they seem to (mostly) hold their fascination through the extended period does Mr. Cameron credit.
(The first 3D movie I saw was Treasure of the Four Crowns. Things have come a fair ways since then.)
(And yes, I saw it in IMAX 3D)
Still, 2009 is done. Where'd I put that fork? I could manage a few final pokes.
The take-away from this year is "Everybody Leaves". Not a new one of course, just heavily reinforced this year.
Sometimes it's a bad thing. Sometimes it's a good thing. But it is universal. Everybody leaves. With skill, fate and effort, you might delay or alter the manner of its occurrence. You cannot, however, alter the fact. So... celebrate people while they are around, remember them after they leave, and don't close yourself to people arriving.
And bring on 2010.
After pretty much a year of continued suck, the last couple months have followed an uptick. Rebalancing of supplements has evened out the biologics. That's a useful basis, but it's not enough to rely on chemicals for improvements. Medical imaging shows that I'm about where I should be a year on from the surgery.
Intellectual challenge has been an important part of the recent trend as well. Getting to flex mental muscles is a good framing element -- getting paid for it makes it better. I'm doing iPhone application development now, stretching the minimal Objective C knowledge I've been carrying around for years. Any rants and raves about iPhone development (libraries, environment and app store policies) is quite a different post. It's certainly significantly more interesting than the work I was doing before.
The weather has been co-operating to an extent; I was riding my bike to work (12.5km) even this week. The last few days were a bit brisk (-10C, -15 windchills) but quite tolerable. Traffic this week was lighter than usual and I was actually fairly pleased to be doing it.
There's more, but it's all secret, you see. Or at least delayed to some future post. (ha!)
After Furp's BBQ, I took a side trip to New York. The DWNY monthly pub night was conveniently the following Wednesday and some blue sky searches on airline fares showed me that it was even slightly cheaper to swing through NYC on my way home from Milwaukee. For air fare, of course. The trip itself was more expensive, but it was still a good time. Did a few touristy things, one of the most amusing was my 'commute' up the Hudson (River, not the four foot) on the 'water taxi'. I was able to get a few cool pictures and not worry about being 'touristy'.
It's amusing to find that in NYC, as in most other places I go, people stop to ask me for directions. Sometimes I can even help! Not this time, though.
On Wednesday, the DWNY pub night was a fun time. SoHo is quite an interesting part of town. As with many places in New York, it resonates with parts of Toronto. Of course, the NYC versions are more likely to be the original, as they feel more complete and intense. The pub night was decently sized; perhaps 40 people there all told. Much fun and some alchohol was consumed.
The star attraction of the evening was Gary Russell, relatively well-known in Whovian circles. Of course, there was more than just Gary (but don't tell him that!). Eventually, some forays were made for food, and a place serving hot dogs with bulgogi and kimchee was located. Surprisingly good!
Eventually, the evening ended. I got to meet people from Gallifrey One, and some very cool new people. Unfortunately, JRB wasn't there; would have been excellent to see him again. But I can say I may well try to make it to more of the gatherings. Definitely fun.