A lot of people are down on 2008, but I had a great time last year. To recap:
At the end of 2007, I helped tamheals
move to Cañon City, the most significant event in our breakup process
At the beginning of January, I learned that DHL lost my passport en route to the Chinese embassy
. Fortunately, Denver has an expedited passport office, so for $150, four gallons of gas, and a few hours I was able to get a passport in 24 hours with enough time to get it to the embassy and back with a day or two to spare.
I spent the last week of January and most of February with mollybzz in China
. We visited Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province and Guilin and Yangshuo in Guangxi province. I taught an American geography lesson to Molly's students and had some relaxing fun in her home-for-the year, Xiamen. On my last day/night, I wandered around Macau and Hong Kong, enjoying the east-meets-west culture. My February LJ posts.
In March I finished the cost calculation project at work. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the smegging basements to calculate correctly. Outside of work I visited my family and some friends with gifts and stories of China. I updated my China travelogue. Not a very exciting month, but I saw some fun concerts.
In April I started playing 4th Edition D&D (a month or two before it was released) with a Dwarf Wizard with an Indian accent. I didn't play much 3rd Edition, partly because I got involved in other activities and partly because I didn't really get into the system. 4E is a fun, well-balanced, efficient system for killing monsters. It's got some neat features and significantly reduces the amount of crap you have to keep track of. I also hung out with some interesting people I met on OKCupid and played games and drums with old friends. I took some interesting pictures
after almost none outside of China in the first three months. At work, I quickly added a bunch of new features to our information extraction module. That was pretty fun.
In May, I concocted summer plans
, had fun on urban hills
, continued adding high-value data extraction features, and played more games.
In June, I went to Apogaea
(Colorado Burning Man event), having a great time with awesome burner people in a setting that feels more like home. There I helped build Syncopation Dome, a geodesic drum circle. I welcomed a cool photographer
as a summer roommate. I joined another D&D game, saw a great summer solstice concert
, joined a conga line
and otherwise had fun wandering around
. At work, I started researching new ways of doing named entity recognition.
In July I took a week-long trip around Colorado. I started at Valley View
(the only time I made it last year!), drove through lovely parts of southern Colorado to Piedra Hot Springs
in the national forest, and then checked out Mesa Verde National Park
. The focus of the week was the Dreamtime
festival where I camped with Justin (a friend from philosophy at CU) and his friends, danced in some absurd costumes, and listened to groovy music with my generation of hippies. I took some good pictures
with my roommate's camera. Since I was having so much fun, I didn't get much sleep, which meant I didn't get much effective work done on my open-ended project at work, but I helped a new developer get into our GIS module, the other fun project I worked on at Tyler.
In August, I picked mollybzz
up from the airport and whisked her up to Dragonfest
. The highlight of the week was 08/08/08: Molly led a workshop on infinity, I led a workshop on I Ching, and we conducted an infinity/I Ching/Chinese dragon dance ritual
. I took the cats to Tam's cute new (100-year-old) house in Pueblo. I bought my roommate's Canon digital SLR camera, which has helped me take much better pictures in the last five months. I took a week off work to photograph protests
outside the Democratic National Convention
. I think the experience was a worthwhile substitute for Burning Man. Since I took almost half the month off, I didn't get much work done.
In September, I hung out with Molly before she left town, saw some cool people in Boulder
, played games, and made progress at work. Nothing particularly noteworthy, but I was kind of recovering from all the fun in the summer.
In October, I spent a bunch of time learning and thinking about the economic crisis and the election
. I also made sure to enjoy the beautiful Colorado fall
, taking several walks including one getting out the vote for Barack Obama. My wide-scope work started coming together, and I got my first set of numbers for phase II of the information extraction project. I also finished my five-month project listening to all of my CDs
What happened in November? I volunteered with the Obama campaign on Election day
and celebrated as sanity returned to the American electorate. Several times later that week I found my eyes tearing up, overcome by a sense of wonder and beauty. I took an 8-year technological leap forward and bought a MacBook Pro. I continued learning about the economy and playing games with friends. I made a tasty curry quiche and brought Michelle's parents and their Uigher exchange student to pie night
. I made good progress on my project at work and struggled to decide when I wanted to officially quit and scamper off to Central America. I worked out a recipe for coconut oatmeal curry cookies/bars. I also didn't fail to write a novel
Much of December was butt-ass cold, but I spent lots of time relaxing at home and learning stuff from the Internet. I decided
I'd quit my job at the end of March, which will give me more time to transfer knowledge and achieve a sense of accomplishment, but may mean I get a lot wetter in the jungle. I bought some neat books for my parents, made mixed CDs for friends
, and generally didn't stress about the holiday season. I took neat pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and snow
In 2008 I saved over $20,000, visited lots of neat places, listened to lots of music, improved my photography, and kept my life simple and mostly uncluttered.
2009 got off to a great start with a hut trip outside Breckenridge with Michelle and her family. Pictures of that to come.