Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 in Review

I started this blog as part of a New Year's resolution in 2014. The goal was to end the year with 365 blog posts, and I ended up with 364 (due to a failure to hit a final Publish button properly). The year 2014 was a good year for keeping resolutions. The year 2015 was not. However, given all that's happened in the past year, I'm pretty content with that. It's been an active year, and tossing a few personal goals to the wayside was necessary in order to seize some unexpected opportunities that seemed more important than weekly blog posts and finding new music.

Some highlights of 2015:

I introduced Laura to Mardi Gras, a Louisiana tradition I'm unlikely to experience often so long as I live in Tucson. As a holiday, Mardi Gras got rather old to me while I lived in Louisiana, especially once I started working in town and had to dodge parades during parade season. Many people outside of Louisiana don't realize that Mardi Gras parades start several weeks before the actual Fat Tuesday. Basically, every weekend (weather permitting) you can expect a few parades to run through town, filling the streets with festivity, traffic, and drunk people. Not being one to party very much, my interest in the holiday waned in later years. However, it was all new to Laura, and her fascination breathed new life into the festivities for me as well. It was a lovely vacation.

Laura and I bought a house, the act of which prompted a couple of the very few blog posts I posted here last year. By now, the house is really feeling like home. A house, from what I understand, is a never ending project, and we have a list of things we want to adjust, change, and fix in the years to come.

Fangamer ran a convention called Camp Fangamer, which I was a part of. It was a truly magical experience, even though I spent most of my time there sitting in a comfortable chair playing EarthBound for hours and hours each day. Still, I got to be a hero for a little while, and I don't expect anybody there is likely to forget that experience. People were touched, and that's incredible.

I got a cat, who is currently sitting in my lap. Her name is Catalina, after the Catalina Mountains we can see out of our front window. We simple called her "cat" for a while before we settled on a name, which worked out since we still call her "Cat"--now it's just short for "Catalina." She's extremely affectionate.

I started taking classes in order to get into game design. Suffice to say, I have an idea for a game, and I'm determined to make it a reality. I've been developing this idea for a long time now, and it will never be made if I don't make it myself. After months of trying to learn to program games on my own, I realized that I would need some guidance. Luckily, Pima Community College has a game design program, so I started taking some classes to learn some basics, especially with Unity and C#. I'll be starting classes again in a few weeks, and after this semester I think I'll have the jump start I need to figure out the rest on my own. We'll see.

I returned to Japan, which seems to be becoming an annual event. It was a great time, and I particularly enjoyed actually using the public bath (I was too self-conscious last time). We also had a nice, long meeting with Shigesato Itoi--my second time meeting the man who created EarthBound. This time was much more familiar and conversational.

Fangamer grew a lot. Not in terms of team size, as I think we're still hovering around 20 people, but rather in terms of success. The employees we have are being paid... not exactly industry standards, but enough to live comfortably here in Tucson. We've gotten involved with some high-profile projects and started really making a name for ourselves as more than just people who make gaming shirts. There are some pretty major opportunities knocking on our door, and 2016 is already promising to be an interesting, busy year.

I'm sure I'm missing a few major events in the past year, but these are the big ones off the top of my head.

Regarding this blog, I'd really like to update it more. There were many topics I wanted to write about this past year, but I could never find the time. In 2014, writing here was a habit and started to come easily, though at times I struggled to figure out what to write. In 2015 I found many things I wanted to write about, but I had fallen out of the habit and couldn't put words to paper.

It seems to me that the only way I'll write reliably is if I write daily, which is a serious time commitment. That's time I could be spending with Laura, preparing for D&D, or working on my game.

On the other hand, it's not just writing. There aren't many people that read this blog, so I'm not exactly playing to an audience. Rather, writing was invaluable in helping me to organize my thoughts and opinions and to turn them into words I can express to others. It helped me to understand myself and think critically, which is very important to me.

So, I'm going to weigh this idea of returning to an almost-daily format. It's not an easy decision.

In any case, happy 2016 everybody.

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