Plans for 2014

Q2 Review of my plans for 2014

In January, I put together a list of things I wanted to get done in 2014, this is my second review of how I’m doing.

As I mentioned in my Q1 review back in April, it’s one thing to write down plans for the year, and another thing to review them at the end. But if that’s all you do, it’s almost like gambling blind. There’s no real focus, just

“this is what I want to do”, “did it work? 20%? Jolly good!”.

So I’m trying to do Quarterly reviews. I suspect… that monthly reviews might be the way forward, but we’ll see.


Pass my driving test and take lots of post-test tuition.

  • I passed my driving test!
    • Woop woop woop. I’m really pleased about this. Not the passing the test per se, but the “nailing a good deal of this goal” bit.
    • To celebrate passing my test, I’ve bought myself a …. road atlas! You can tell I know how to party.
  • I’ve done a great deal of post-test tuition, and have committed to doing a lot more:
    • We’ve driven over the Snake Pass (which was less scary and more fun than I’d expected), and round Torkington Bends in Hazel Grove (‘exciting’ bends).
    • We’ve done some motorway driving
      • Basic motorway driving seems ok, but junctions etc need more work.
      • I’m pretty sure we’ll get this nailed in the lessons with practice.
    • Parking with precision and clue is getting better. I think there’s more distance
    • We’ve done a few bits of “creative” driving, when traffic lights have failed (including failing on red!), road flooding and other things – all this is great
    • We’ve done some bits on single track, national speed limit roads, I think there’s more room for practice there.

Learn a new sport (or several)

  • In the last quarter, I took a one-day snowboarding class, but didn’t really manage to follow up quickly enough to maintain my confidence. So…
  • I’ve booked another one-day snowboarding class, which hopefully will help me find my feet, balance, and confidence. Although it’ll just be repeating the same things, it’ll let me get twice the practice, and lets face it, practice makes a massive difference.
  • Clara & I had a go at Surfing in Devon. It was interesting.
    • We had two lessons, and I think more would have been ideal to a higher level.
    • I’d how much more enjoyable falling into fresh water is compared to salt water.
      • Learning to surf is a lot about falling into salt water
    • “Popups” – going from lying to standing as fast as possible is as much about push ups and leg-bendyness as it is about balance
      • I think being able to do more (any) pushups, and doing more yoga would make it easier
  • I think, if the opportunity presented itself, I’d like to focus on making an effort to have go at Windsurfing, probably off-season, towards the autumn.

Skills I’m trying to develop:

Photography

Heptonstall Climbing
Heptonstall Climbing on evening
Shooting at MCC
Shooting at MCC

I’m not sure that I’ve developed my style much but I did get outside (and inside) and take some photos:

  • I did a whole blog post of pictures about of the Aonach Eagach, and all the exciting Scottish ridge scrambling that entailed.
  • I went on a few hikes, and scrambles, walked through a few fields, got some nice shots of fields, beachs, sunsets etc
  • I shot some outdoor climbing one sunny evening, and got some really pleasing shots.
  • I shot some indoor climbing.
    • It’s really difficult – I either need a f2.8 300mm lens…
    • …or, some great, predictable, one-directional light sources.
    • It’s really tough indoors, and so I think the answer is probably not to shoot indoors, (and expect great photos).
      • The light in indoor climbing walls often fluctuates between bright and dark so much that it can be really hard to see the climber in the murk, whilst being blinded by the light above/beyond them.

Climbing

  • I’ve climbed a few 6a’s (on toprope), I’m getting to the point where I can consider them on routes that don’t require too much stamina, and are mainly technical
  • I’ve tried (maybe done?) some 6a+’s (on top rope).
  • I’ve continued teaching a few people about climbing – from newbies, to indoor middling-newbies trying outdoor.
  • Unfortunately, I’ve not focused on climbing as much this quarter, and as a result I’d say I’ve not developed my rope skills further, or my stamina – something to work on!

Mountaineering/Hiking/Walking

  • I’d say I’ve not done as much as I wanted
    • A weekend in Glen Coe (resulting only in completing Aonach Eagach – which I’ve wanted to do for ages!)
      • It was great fun (but not for inexperienced) – clean, exposed, sustained, demanding scrambling – and great weather for it!
    • A chilled bimble around Malham Cove, Janets Foss, Goredale Scar
    • A gentle day hike from Croyde to Woolacombe and back
    • A spur of the moment overnight bivvy over midsummer night in Edale
    • A fun weekend in Langdale, which involved:
      • An exceptionally warm (also rainy), The Band, Crinkle Crags, linking up to Pike o’Blisco and back to Dungeon Gyll
        • Helped a Dad and his son, who’d set off from Seathwhaite to climb Scafell Pike via Great End, got mis-directed in the mist, and walked up Bowfell, and then walked the wrong way off Bowfell. They walked down to Dungeon Gyll and took the bus home
        • Made good use of GPS/OpenStreetMap
      • An exceptionally hot, sunny and lazy hike up Jack’s Rake, Pavey’s Ark and Harrison Stickle, descending via a path I’ve not done before, below Harrison Stickle
  • I’ve ruled out any significant summer expeditions. If you’re Tim, it’s too hot to do any real exercise in the northern hemisphere at the moment. I’m looking forward to a cooler climate!
  • I now have a proper 4 seasons tent – a Terra Nova Quasar
    • I quite like the idea of an autumn trek, probably as late as I can.
    • I’m also planning to make the most of Winter when it comes.
  • It might be fun to do some short weekends hiking and camping.
    • Maybe as lightweight as possible, bivvying or at least taking as little as possible!

Public speaking

  • It’s not really public “speaking”, but I finally finished editing the video for this Hiking EPIC Rap, and pushed it out there (where it got some minor attention on UKC)
    • I’m pleased it’s out there, considering the amount of time that went into it, the number of trips it spanned, and the quality of the footage in the video.
  • I’ve not done much public speaking really. There’s not much more to say. I’d like to, but nothing has presented itself, and I guess I’ve not sort after the opportunities.
  • I’m not really sure how to break the impasse here and do something. Perhaps you can help?
    • I can talk about tech, hiking, adventuring, life?
    • How do I find a deadline or opportunity to work towards writing something for?
      • Perhaps I should prepare something for Oggcamp? What?

Systems Engineering

  • On the home network front:
    • I’ve started to architecture my network onto new hardware (gig-E everywhere!)
    • I’ve bought a Micro-Tik router to replace my WRT54G that tops out at ~40mbps from the internet
      • It has a configuration interface designed by… people who wanted different things from me
      • So I’ve not got it set up yet.
      • In fact, the only thing I’ve succeeded in doing is learning the factory reset sequence very well.
  • I’ve got some more backups set up even better
    • Yay. Backups are good.
    • I still need to work out how best to rate-limit backups done over NFS, over 802.11g
  • I need to re-architect this blogs backend to remove nginx… or at least reduce its presence.
  • I probably should consider having a look at Ansible

Marketing

  • I read Contagious by Jonah Berger which addresses what makes things go viral.
  • I went to one of @stef’s Play Learn Hack workshops
  • I’ve got some interesting books about design, and interaction and user interfaces which… (I guess?) counts as fits into marketing. I’m planning to read those soon.
  • I’ve got some fun projects to think about, but I should probably not talk about them here.

Programming

  • I’ve been intending to learn more Ruby, but I’ve not actually done any since last time I wrote.
  • What I have been doing is looking at Bootstrap and attempting to understand how websites are designed, in (in)sane ways.
  • I’ve done a few unexciting bash scripts including a fugly hack of a bash one liner:
    • for i in {1..100000}; do sudo mount -t auto -o ro,loop,offset=$i CIV3.000 /mnt/; done”
    • Which mounts the utterly stupid .vc4 file format in linux, since it’s just a ISO image, with a custom header

Lose weight

  • Last quarter, I thought I was making progress on the weight loss front. This quarter, I know I’ve lost ground. Ideally I’d like to be ~10&1/2, 11ish stone , and I think I weigh closer to 14 stone than 13 at the moment.
    • This is mainly diet related.
    • I need to get back on the salad, protein and soup diet, and just stick to it. I know I can make a real difference, but as a friend said, it requires enormous discipline.
  • I don’t believe it would assist with weight per se (compared to dietary choices), but I’ve not been jogging since Q1 and I should start back on C25K.
    • If anyone wants a jogging partner in Manchester – give me a shout!

Blog More

  • I’ve pushed out a series of blog posts I’ve been drafting/wanting to get out there for a long time (these: 1, 2, 3), some new things, some photos, some business ideas and some anecdotes.
    • Despite this, I haven’t published nearly enough blog posts!
  • I still have 100+ draft blog posts, and bunch of ideas for pushing lots of blog posts out
    • So I need to make some of these happen!
  • I’d like to publish more in my “notes on a book” series – I haven’t published nearly enough given the number of books I’ve read!

Read more.

  • I’ve been doing well here. I’ve read a number of books, and what’s more, I’ve even published a number of sets of notes of some of the books I’ve read.
  • I’ve got a massive stack of books to read, and a lot of enthusiasm to read them, so hopefully I’ll continue along these lines just the same as I started.
  • So far this year, I’ve read:
  • I’m almost finished:
    • Peak by Chip Conley
    • How to Win Friends and Influence people by Dale Carnegie
    • Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  • My aim is to read “24 decent length” books this year, that’s 12 above.
    • I enjoy reading, though it requires focus and time, both things that you have to make an effort to provide. Both very good things though.
    • As I mentioned, I hope I can incorporate sets of notes of as many of these books as possible (all of them?) into blog posts for me (and others) to refer back to!

Socialise more.

  • I set myself aims to spend more time socialising this year. I’m sort of doing that, and I’m sort of changing it I think
  • I’d like to spend more time trying to socialise for leisure in real life.
    • Time spent with friends is always well spent if you’re enjoying it, or improving that connection.
  • I think I’d like to spend more time building professional connections remotely
    • and in real life one to one/small groups, improving those relationships
  • Over the past few months, I’ve done bits of this, but I need to get better it.

Travel as much as is appropriate

  • Clara and I went camping for a week to Croyde in Devon for a holiday.
  • I considered a summer trip to Sofia in Bulgaria (and Pirin Moutains, Burgas etc). I might still do this, but I’m less keen on it compared to when I originally thought of it if it means using valuable holiday which I could be using to visit a cooler climate

So there we go – That’s the last 3 months in summary!

See you in November for the next review!

Where will the future lead?

Q1 Review of my plans for 2014

It’s easy to write New Year’s Resolutions at the start of the year, then write about them at the end of the year, and wonder why you didn’t lose weight, save money, or do that thing you wanted to. Basically, taking one step after another into mediocrity and suppressed ambition.

It doesn’t have to be like that, and the first step was to write some things to do.

I published a extensive list of things I wanted to get done in 2014 towards the end of January this year, this is a review of how I’m doing.


Pass my driving test and take lots of post-test tuition.

  • I took a practical test. Failed it. (Justifiably – I don’t mind)
  • I’m comfortable driving and have another test booked in.
  • I’m still planning to continue lessons after I pass.

Learn a new sport (or several)

  •  I took one (day long) beginners, introduction to snowboarding class.
    • I need to book another one, and build my confidence and control.
  • I haven’t gone any further with any others, but windsurfing and kayaking currently appeal more than the others at the moment.

Skills I’m trying to develop:

Photography

  • I’m not sure I’ve made any super-progress yet in developing my style. I’ve taken photos, sure, but I don’t feel I’ve pushed myself and I don’t feel I’ve come up with anything “amazing” yet this year.
  • I need to get outside on grit and take more photos of climbing.

Climbing

  • I feel like I’m making progress here, slowly but surely. I recently set a personal best by seconding the main, overhanging, wall at MCC – a big personal milestone.
  • I’ve done some outside (in the dark!), but not enough – clearly the summer evenings will make that easier.
  • I’ve got my eye on a couple of books about climbing (which I’ll probably buy in the next few months when I feel I’ve time to read them) which should help me develop various bits of theory surrounding advanced ropework and multipitch climbing.

Mountaineering/Hiking/Walking

  • I’ve not done as much as this as I’d wanted to do, primarily because the weather has not been compliant.
    Chrome Hill (from Parkhouse Hill), Peak District
    Chrome Hill (from Parkhouse Hill), Peak District
    • A wet, windy and miserable weekend in Wales
    • A very windy, cold weekend in Patterdale
    • A gentle day hike near Ambleside in the Lake District.
    • A sunny day in the Peak District gave access to  Chrome & Parkhouse hill – the Peak’s best “mountains”.
    • A very wet and windy week in the Cuillns of Skye, I did get up some mountains in Skye, but not as many as I’d have liked.
  • I’d have liked to go winter camping in Jan or Feb, but the lack of snow kind of ruled it out.
  • I realise I really quite liked the idea of winter camping, and am considering the viability of snowshowing, igloo building, and reducing pack weight using a pulk to help carry supplies into a basecamp somewhere.
  • I have a new book on winter mountaineering that is thorough but not patronising which I’ve been absorbing piece by piece, but a lack of winter conditions has been slowing my reading of it.
  • I need to set some plans and challenges for the summer – maybe a set of backpacking weekends? For some reason, I don’t have maps of Snowdonia, so I should probably rectify that…

Public speaking

  • I did put myself forward for several public speaking opportunities, but I didn’t follow them through well, and I’ve not put my heart into it.
  • I really want to speak about my time in Kyrgyzstan, and I’m thinking of weaving a 15 minute narrative and then trying to put it into a Youtube video, but it’s tough.

Systems Engineering

  • Apart from some really boring system maintenance…
    • setting up better backups for this website,
    • setting up a FreeNAS box with ZFS so I can backup other stuff properly
    • upgrading my network, slowly, to gigabit, so it is not so slow
      • next step is a GPL-hating MicroTik modem-router thing.
  • …I’ve not done any(?) engineering that I’m particularly excited by.
  • Oh, I changed my WordPress theme too, but I’m still not really happy with it.
  • This is something I’m not going to push – when something I want to do arises, I’ll do it.
    • To start with, finding a WordPress theme that doesn’t suck would be good.

Marketing

  • I read some good books about advertising, and thought a great deal about advertising. I still can’t think creatively about concepts or come up with visual puns as easily as I’d like to be able to. I’ll come back to that soon.
  • I’ve got some interesting books about design, and interaction and user interfaces which… (I guess?) counts as fits into marketing. I’m planning to read those soon.
  • I’ve got some fun projects to think about, but I should probably not talk about them here.

Programming

  • I think I’m going to try and learn Ruby/Rails. I’d like to be able to build a very simple web app, and since I know (basic-level) HTML, I don’t think that’s unrealistic.
  • I pushed myself almost all the way through http://tryruby.org the other day – remembering lots from the last time I tried.
  • I’m going to try it again soon – and then see if I can push myself through the codecademy ruby courses whilst building something simple in Rails.

Lose weight

  • I’m doing… ok… on the weight loss front. I’m currently somewhere between 12 and 12 & 1/2 stone, probably a good stone heavier than I’d prefer to be.
  • It’s not directly related to weight loss, but I recently started following the NHS couch-to-5k jogging plan, partly to provide moral support for my jogging partner aka girlfriend, and partly to get fitter.
    • weirdly, I actually found myself slightly enjoying it.
    • that remind me, I need to go running!
  • I’m not doing so good at being super-sensible with my diet, if I’m to drop that extra stone, I’m going to need to step up there.

Blog More

  • This WordPress design doesn’t make it easy to see, but I’ve been doing pretty good at pushing out blog posts – things I’ve actually taken time to write about something interesting.
  • I’ve been trying to publish things I think could be interesting.

Read more.

  • I’ve been doing well here. I’ve read a number of books, and what’s more, I’ve even published a number of sets of notes of some of the books I’ve read.
  • I’ve got a massive stack of books to read, and a lot of enthusiasm to read them, so hopefully I’ll continue along these lines just the same as I started.

Socialise more.

  • I did hold a social gathering, it didn’t really work as well as I’d hoped, but that’s fine.
  • Some of the reading I’ve been doing, is probably likely to influence precisely how I do this, but I’ve not thought it through properly yet.
  • I’d like to organise some more gatherings in the near future, so I guess I need to just go and do that.
  • I’ve not done so well about finding more new social groups to meet every week – more like once a month – I think I need to make sure I get out there and make contact with different various groups I have disparate contact with.

Travel as much as is appropriate

  • I spent Easter in Edale, but I feel it’d be a stretch to count that as travel, and then ignore the number of times I’ve travelled around the country for work.
  • I considered a last minute camping trip to Svalbard, but after considering the pros, and particularly the big white furry cons called “hungry polar bears”, I decided that perhaps Northern Scandanavia might appeal more later on in the year, or maybe Scotland.
  • I think I’m going to upgrade my ‘large’ tent to a Terra Nova Quasar – a four season tent that should be able to take strong winds and rain without making me nervous…

And there you have it – that’s where I’m up to..

See you in July for the next review!

Descending Beinn Alligin, Torridon, 2013

Try not to be amazed, confused and maybe a bit tearful, when you read my plans for 2014

My first plan for 2014 is not to use upworthy-style headlines to drive people to my blog again, but since you’re here, why not take a glance?

Over the past few years, I’ve tried to make plans for the upcoming year.

Read over some of my plans for the coming year from 2013201220102009 – all guaranteed to make me cringe, and you giggle.

For 2014, there are various things I’d like to do: (in no order)

  • Pass my driving test and take lots of post-test tuition.

    • I don’t need or want a car in central Manchester, but I would like to be able to drive/hire cars for long trips.
    • I’ve taken about 30 hours of tuition in central Manchester in 2013, but haven’t sat my practical test yet.
    • I’m not really interested in it for the ‘reduced’ insurance premiums, and I think I’ll find motorways relatively similar to motorway-style dual carriageways.
    • My aims are to:
      • be a safe driver by having experience evaluating the complex and worst case road scenarios and thinking through the best course of action.
      • be able to park and manoeuvre with impressive precision.
      • get experience driving different vehicles (small vans, automatics, non-power steering, 4×4, trailers etc.)
      • get experience with less-than-optimal road conditions (snow, single-track, rain, night, steep hills etc)
    • I’ve booked my practical test in early February, so I’ll prepare for that, and we’ll take it from there.
  • Learn a new sport (or several)

    • This year I’ve learnt to climb. I wouldn’t say I’m very good, but I know enough basics to pass them on to other people.
    • Often people pose the question, “what would you do if money was no object?”. Well, I’d learn a new, exciting adventure sport (or maybe several). So that’s what I’m going to try and do.
    • I’m quite interested (at some point) in learning to:
      • snowboard
      • hangglide/paraglide
      • pilot/glide
      • jetski (without being a dick)
      • windsurf
      • surf
      • kayak (whitewater and/or sea)
      • ski (cross country and/or downhill)
    • Other stuff that is on the list but isn’t really as appealing:
      • skydiving
      • caving
      • horse-riding
    • For the moment, I’m learning to snowboarding at chillfactore in Manchester, and we’ll take it from there.
  • There are several skills I’d like to develop:

    Climbing indoors in Manchester
    Climbing indoors in Manchester
    • Photography:

      • I’m really pleased with what I’ve done in 2013, it’s been a big step up from 2012
      • I’ve started combining it with climbing, and I want to do more climbing/mountaineering photography
      • I’m hoping this year that perhaps I can take more landscape/action sports photos with people in shot.
      • I want to be better at framing and composition – specifically I want to break ‘the rules’ more – things like:
        • overexposing the sky on purpose
        • chopping off the top of peoples heads (just on photographs though!)
        • shooting greyscale
    • Climbing:

      • I’m really pleased how can far I’ve come since I started in March:
        • Indoors: I’ve led some 5+’s. I can currently top-rope some 6a’s.
        • Outdoors, I’ve done various little bits, but most significantly I’ve seconded a trad HS route.
      • This year, I’d like to:
        • Develop my stamina on overhangs (which are often within reach in terms of difficulty, but are too tiring).
        • Do more outside:
          • second more easy trad routes.
          • setting up some top ropes on easy climbs/grade 2/3 scrambles, to make fun scrambles better protected.
        • Improve my knowledge of different roping techniques, such as:
          • what to do if you drop your belay device
          • how to get down from high places
          • how to place simple gear on easy trad routes
          • how to setup a belay
          • do more multi-pitch trad routes
          • gain knowledge in snow related ropework and belays
    • Descending Beinn Alligin, Torridon, 2013
      Descending Beinn Alligin, Torridon, 2013
    • Mountaineering/Hiking/Walking

      • I’ve done a lot in 2013:
        • Snow camping on Pennines, camping to Langdale, winter mountaineering in Torridon, backpacking in the Mammores, exploration/backpacking in Kyrgyzstan
        • Assorted day hikes
      • Whilst I’ve done some impressive things in 2013, I feel I got out less frequently in 2013 than I did in 2012. I’d like to spend more days on the mountains in 2014
      • I’d like to improve my micro-navigation skills.
      • I’d like to do more things in snow.
        • In Jan/Feb/March, I’m planning to do several days winter backpacking fun, possibly in Scotland.
      • I’m going back to Skye around Easter and am on standby to decamp into a tent in the Peak District at the first sign of a snowy weekend.
    • Public speaking

      Speaking at FLOSSK13 in Pristina, Kosovo
      Speaking at FLOSSK13 in Pristina, Kosovo
      • I’ve done various bits of public speaking in the past, this year I even ‘keynoted’ at the FLOSSK13 conference in Pristina,
      • I think I have what it takes to be quite good at public speaking – confidence, interesting anecdotes, and the patience to try and breakdown high level concepts into things other people can understand, all wrapped up in a compelling narrative.
      • I’d like to do more public speaking events, of all sizes, and I need to establish a way of doing that, and find a style and set of topics I’m comfortable with. I’m considering joining Toastmasters.
    • Systems Engineering

      • I quite enjoy making systems do things. In the past when I’ve been on holiday, after several days I’ve found myself designing scalable live video streaming platforms in my head.
      • In the past I’ve blogged about systems a bit, but I’d like to investigate and play with more tools and test them different situations.
      • In particularly, I’d like to become more familiar with Varnish-ESI, which is currently powering this blogs Recently Added Articles box (though not in a very effective way) and discover and play with more server tools like that, which can do exciting things.
      • I’d like to play with Varnish-ESI, Icinga,
    • Personalised mug at Barcamp Blackpool 2013
      Personalised mug at Barcamp Blackpool 2013

      Marketing

        • In 2013, I’ve spent a good deal of my time thinking about marketing, promotional and communication questions – from reading a book on crisis PR and blogging about epic customer service, to visiting 20+ conferences for work and getting personalised mugs into the hands of thousands of people.
      • In 2014, I’d like to:
        • improve my analytical skills in rapidly prototyping and iterating campaigns and pulling conclusions from from them.
        • find better ways to understand of the potential customers, so as to tailor things to them as best possible.
        • improve at identifying areas where the users see the most pain. and then optimising those processes to reduce wasted unnecessary steps (essentially applying the Toyota Way to web-service end users).
        • understanding and using ‘clever’ and perhaps underused strategies to create self-amplifying campaigns.
        • improve my understanding or how good and bad PR works, in industries I’m unfamiliar with.
    • Programming

      I'd like to learn to understand programming better
      I’d like to learn to understand programming better
      • I can write basic bash scripts, and in the past I’ve written trivial programs in PHP, C++ & Javascript.
      • For a long time, I’ve largely been only able to read/hack around with high level programming environments. Obviously this has lots of benefits and can get you a long way, but even a small, self-written bit of code added to an existing codebase which does something I need, would be a massive step forward.
      • My ambition here isn’t really to become a good programmer, but simply be more literate, and able to use tools better to get things done.
      • I’d like to
        • Meticulously go back through a basics book for a common programming language to make sure I understand the concepts that frequently occur correctly.
        • Make sure I under some basics in procedural programming.
        • Learn to use these limited skills to manipulate a library/existing codebase that does stuff I want.
        • Have a look round and see where I want to get to next.
  • Lose weight

    • At the start of January 2013, I weighed 11 & 1/2 stone. I currently weigh 13 & 1/2 stone.
    • Losing weight makes Mountaineering easier (less weight on knees), it makes climbing easier (less weight on arms) and whilst it doesn’t make photography easier, it would leave more room for weighty camera gear!
    • I have enacted low carb diet, round two.
    • In 2014, I’d like to reach and maintain 11 stone, and then develop a sustainable lifestyle around that weight band.
  • Blog More

    • It’s super embarrassing that there are 3 months in this year where I didn’t publish a single blog post.
    • I don’t expect anyone reading to find it embarrassing, but I do – I enjoying writing blog posts. It’s challenging, and often very fulfilling to get my thoughts into a coherent shape..
    • I’d like to do a month of blogging again, but I don’t feel that frenetic “months of blogging”, with large gaps in between them, is the way it has to be.
  • Read more.

    • I grew up without a TV and when I was a child, before I had a computer, I ingested most knowledge through books. Then dialup came along, and suddenly, everything was a short-form article or video consumed  through a screen of distractions.
    • I am resistant to DRM-encumbered ebook platforms, but I enjoy dead-tree-style reading materials and have a great deal of books I’d like to read.
    • In 2014, I’d be very happy if I got through 24 decent length books from my “unread” shelf. I think its ambitious, but not unrealistic.

      Smoke and Lasers!
      Smoke and Lasers!
  • Socialise more.

    • Over the past year, I’d say I’ve done quite well at channeling and training introverted & extroverted sides for different tasks. I love my solitude, but I also enjoy catching up with friends.
    • Last autumn/winter, I held two ‘epic parties’, that were great, but on reflection aren’t going to be repeated. (Too large, too inpersonal, too disparate).
    • This year, I think I’ll try and arrange several gatherings, that are smaller in size, but more focused and perhaps easier to enjoy.
    • I’d like to try to perhaps aim to spend at least one day a week socialising with people who I don’t see every week – which is a great excuse to make contact with old friends.
  • Travel as much as is appropriate

    • I don’t have any particularly noteworthy travel plans, nor do I have particularly strong urges to go anywhere right now.
    • Most plans, I have tend to be semi-spontaneous, or preplanned and then rapidly executed when the occasion arrives.
    • On balance, I probably prefer solo-travel due to reduced communication requirements, and not feeling responsible for others’ welfare.

      Me and my fixer Jules in Kyrgyzstan
      Me and my fixer Jules in Kyrgyzstan
    • My current travel interests
      • Currently I’m interested in (historically) Russian/Soviet influenced areas (particularly Baltic states, Eastern areas of Europe and Central Asia), the Middle East and Northern Africa.
      • I have a personal preference to climates that don’t stray far outside ~-10C -> ~25C whilst I’m there.
      • I’m not a fan of painful insects (mosquitoes, midges, etc), parasites, viruses or large omnivorous animals (bears).
      • I prefer countryside to cities, cold to heat, cheap to expensive, obscure to well-touristed, quiet to busy, self-planned to chaparoned.
      • Selfishly, I prefer countries where a significant proportion of the population’s first or second language is English, Russian, French or Swedish.
    • I’d like to do more travel on a bike in 2014. I don’t really have an ideal bike for this, not that it’s stopped me before.
    • The chances are 2014 offers a few scenic tours of the UK, perhaps with one trip somewhere cool abroad, but if the opportunity presents itself, you’ll just see a blur as I grab my stuff and go!

And that’s it! I think that’s all my current plans and aspirations for 2014. What do you think?

Do you think I should be focusing on something I’m not?

Explain in the comments! :)