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Trevor Stone's Journal
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2008 Was Pretty Awesome 
3rd-Jan-2009 07:04 pm
spiral stone
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.
4th-Jan-2009 11:13 am (UTC)
Sounds like you had a very successful and interesting year. Congratulations! You are very good at setting and attaining goals.
4th-Jan-2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I really admire what you were able to accomplish last year. I hope 2009 is as fruitful!
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