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2015 in review - John C. Kirk

Jan. 5th, 2016

01:32 am - 2015 in review

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Time for another yearly round-up. Here are some stats:

2012201320142015
SJA hours655342235233
Distance swum (km)0.02.911.04.2
Distance cycled (km)3678356032093059
Eddington number29323234
BCQ checkpoints8004
Books reviewed95403531
Cinema trips8342
Theatre trips2352
LARP events0566


I took up a new hobby in January: life drawing. I didn't make it to all the sessions in Croydon, but I think I have improved over the course of the year. I've posted my pictures from a few sessions (with more to come) and all of my finished pieces are on DeviantArt. Now I just need to use that practice to actually draw some new comics!

I also went down to Brighton to swim under each full moon, starting in January. Actually, I couldn't make it to one of them, but the quirks of the calendar meant that there were 13 full moons in 2015 and I went into the water during 12, so that's near enough. In July, I went off on a short cycle touring holiday around the Isle of Wight with a couple of my swimming friends: we visited each of the BCQ checkpoints (and a few beaches) and the daily distances were long enough to increase my Eddington number.

My theatre trips were fairly small scale, watching a couple of friends perform on stage in January (a panto and "The Three Musketeers"). At the opposite end of the scale, I only went to the cinema to watch the new "Avengers" and "Star Wars" films, since they'll benefit from the big screen; the rest of the time I'll wait to watch a film at home.

On the IT front, I passed a couple of new exams: CWTS and Network+. Those links both go to my tech blog; this time last year I'd "seeded" the blog by copying over relevant posts from LJ, and I put new content there in 2015. My most popular post by far was Installing dd-wrt on a Linksys WRT320N wireless router; I think that says something about how non-intuitive the installation process is! That fits into one of my other goals: I finally got IPv6 internet access at home, which is something I've been working towards for several years.

My plans went a bit awry in August, when I fell ill with acute sarcoidosis. Basically, my feet swelled up so much that I could barely walk. I spent 9 days in hospital, and I was off work for about a month. The good news is that I've now made a complete recovery.

That hospital trip unfortunately meant that I had to miss out on the biggest LARP event of the year (Renewal). However, I still attended the other 3 big events, as well as 3 faction events and a mini-meet (pub night) for my group in Bristol.

I'm surprised that my number of books is so low, but that's partly because it only counts books which are new to me (or at least the ones which I haven't reviewed on Goodreads before). For instance, after Terry Pratchett died, I started to re-read all his Discworld novels; I'm only about halfway through the series so far, but some of those books don't count towards my total. Also, I don't review individual issues of comics, only collections. 2000AD have been making a lot of their back issues available digitally, with each year available as a bundle; last year I read through all the weekly issues from 2006-2012, which kept me entertained while I was stuck in bed.

Meanwhile, I've continued to do volunteer work for St John Ambulance, and I think I've struck the right balance: I do enough to make myself useful, while still leaving time for my other hobbies and interests. This was my 11th year, so after next year I'll be eligible for a service medal.

My main goal for 2016 is the traditional one: do more exercise and lose weight. Specifically, I want to cycle (and swim) longer distances, so that I can get back to my pre-illness level of fitness. Aside from that, I'm aiming to draw at least 1 new comic and pass at least 1 more computer exam; hopefully I'll do more than that, but that seems like an attainable goal.

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