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Jan. 1st, 2011 @ 04:58 pm I'm beginning to hear whispers
And before you know it, 2010 has come to a close. I really liked the retrospective I posted last year, so I figured I'd do another one here. I should take time to blog a bit more regularly, but with all the tweeting and facebooking, I guess I never feel like I've got enough built up to make a post. It's as if my internet catharsis release valve got much more sensitive.

Anyway, the year. It will have been last year by the time I finish this. On the whole, it was a good year, and it went by very fast by my reckoning. Compared to 2009, 2010 was downright tame, but even so it had its fair share of cool stuff.

Toward the beginning of the year, I had Lightwell, a game I designed and built, make a minor explosion on the internet thanks to plugs from both Hunz and Microsoft, among a few others that picked it up. Probably the first time my game work of any kind has really been publicly recognized outside of my immediate circle.

Right around that time, the gaming project I have at work got thrown through a blender. It was already a confusing setup to begin with and I nearly found something else to do at the office entirely, but in the end I still believe we're building something really cool. I've got a pretty great team of folks working with me on stuff, and it's largely let me take a designer's role. That's been an interesting change, but I'm finding that I prefer the designer role instead of the implementer role when it comes to games. I look forward to the day when I've got a publicly-available demo I can throw people at.

And this past year, finally, I've been able to get my own project at work. It's a small research project, basically enough funding for me and one other developer. But still -- I've been handed a budget and asked to go do cool stuff, stuff that I said that needed to be done. This has already resulted in me publishing a pair of IETF Internet Drafts: XML Encoding and Instance Information, both extensions for OAuth2, which I've also been deeply involved with. I'd be lying to say I wasn't terrified of screwing up this awesome opportunity to do cool stuff, but I'm just doing what I can.

For that project and others, I flew to California three times in 2010, not to mention a couple trips to DC and even one to Austin. Oddly enough, it was snowing when I landed in Texas. That isn't really supposed to happen, as best as I can tell. I was certainly one of only a handful of drivers that knew how to drive in the quarter inch of snow and slush on the ground. Let me tell you, that was an unnerving state of affairs. Still, that was a fun trip. I'm headed back to California at least twice this year, maybe more if I can swing it. Debbie and Luc even got to come with me to California one of the times. Luc was a champ on the six-hour flight there and back, spent most of his time flirting with the ladies in the seats behind us. The time change was a bit rough on him, but I think he had a pretty great time overall. I'm really glad we went when we did, since I think he's far too mobile now to really make the flight a realistic thing.

Luc has been growing like a weed this year. A very heavy weed; the kid is built like a little tank. We celebrated his first birthday this summer, and I can't believe that's already five months back. The change in him over the course of the year is amazing. He's got a handful of words for things (the first of which was "kitty cat"), he can walk when he feels bothered enough to do so, and in general he is still taking in all the world around him as quickly and deeply as he can. Debbie says he's made me melt, and I can't entirely disagree with her. I've certainly done more silly dances than ever before.

With Deb being a full-time stay at home mom, this has been our first full year on a single income. It's been a little tight from time to time, but in general we've gotten along just fine. This can actually work, and I feel incredibly blessed to be able to say that.

Speaking of jobs and California, I got headhunted by Google this year. That was an odd little experience. Their interview was very strange, and it became pretty clear to me that it wouldn't have been a good fit. They wanted a code monkey, and I'm really not a code monkey. I can write code, and do so when given the chance, but I really don't want to just sit in a cube someplace and fill in someone else's design spec.

I'm nearly done with school at this point, and in fact I'm going to be taking my final two classes this semester, which starts the end of this month. The next five months or so are going to be absolutely nuts because of that, but then I'll be done with my degree. Done! I really look forward to that.

My music really started to take on a life of its own this past year. It seems like this is the year that things actually became "legit" for my little project. For instance, Psycliq now has its very own website and domain, Facebook page, and Twitter account. I even have a mailing list set up. I also managed to release Results Not Typical in the midst of all of this. Also, the Kickstarter project was a roaring success, giving me not only the capital but also the wherewithal to get my albums up on Amazon.com and iTunes, among a few dozen other places. I'm still using the bandcamp site for things, and I really love the grassrootsness of it. Plus, it lets me put out special-edition albums and things that I don't really want to go through the overhead of a normal release, like the cover songs and remixes album, which is not only a free download but also an ongoing project that I've added two tracks to since its inception in July. This is also where I put the annual Christmas album, but since it's New Years, you've all sadly missed that -- you'll have to tune in next December and get it then.

Hm, I should really put something together for the Psycliq website about the new year and what's coming. Maybe I'll work on that after this is done. But I'm really excited for the future of Psycliq. I've got a ton of new ideas and song snippets, even some potential titles for the next album. Or albums, if I use more than one in the future. I have some ambitious things that I really want to do here. I've got a whole bunch of new tools at my disposal to make it happen, too: a Seagull acoustic guitar, Korg X50 synth, Radium61 MIDI controller (for software synths), and a Korg NanoKontrol (for controlling the mixing and recording software). I actually had to go out and buy a new USB hub to fit it all into the computer.

Speaking of which, I did manage to build myself a new machine this year. First time I did a complete build since 1998. I was hesitant to spend the cash, but I really needed it. The new machine is so much more capable of getting things done it's a little crazy. I recorded and mixed all of Results Not Typical on here, and I simply wouldn't have been able to on the old one. Now it's a year old and some things feel a little dusty, but really, I think I'll have plenty of growing room on here for a long time. That's the idea at least. Like with cars, I'd rather pay a little bit to keep something going than just throw out what I have and buy a new one every couple years. I even put my old desktop hard to work as the new file server in the house.

Speaking of servers, I need to really look into moving some of my hosting stuff outside of my house. I'm just not keen on keeping things up to date all the time and fighting off hackers. My mail server got hit with a zero-day exploit just a few weeks ago, and while cleanup wasn't too bad, I really didn't like being cut off for a few days like that. Unfortunately, I've really grown to like my ultra-custom setup and I don't really want to have a hosting bill each month to deal with.

With all the commitments on my time, I had to give up my Aikido training, at least for a little while. In the very least, I'm out until after my degree is wrapped up, and we'll just have to see how long it takes me to spool back up into it. I do miss it, but my attendance was so sporadic that it simply wasn't worth kidding myself anymore. My training has been stagnated for well over a year now, and if I'm going to do this, I want to be able to really do it. I hope that when I do get back to it I can really dive into it again and actually progress.

That's a lot of text, and I'm positive that I'm forgetting several major events. But in short, 2010 was a decent year. More stressful in a lot of ways than many previous, but it was a good one on balance. 2011 is here now, and I've got to figure out what I'm going to do with it. Finishing a master's degree, running my own project, turning 30, and having a 2-year-old son are all going to be interesting adventures. Many adventures in this life, with much to come.

Welcome to the party, 2011. Let's see what you've got.
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Date:January 10th, 2011 10:41 am (UTC)
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Happy new year to you man! Can't wait to see what you get up too and put out there .. ^_^

Thanks again for the Lightwell love!