2015 in Review
I started 2015 by actually writing down goals for the first time, and in retrospect feel like I did more than I otherwise would have had I not made them. The move to London sponged up a lot of free time in the latter half of the year, so here’s to hoping 2016 is a bit more productive.
- ✅Start blogging: I set up this blog earlier this month and hastily wrote a post, so we’ll call this one good
- 😕Read 12 classics: Originally, I made this goal because I felt grossly underread in a pretty broad swath of English classics; I ended the year with 5 out of 12, so the remaining ones will roll into next year’s list
- 😕Finish Duolingo Danish course: Got about 10 lessons further, but am not anywhere close to being finished
- ❌Take an acting or tap dancing class
- ❌Read 12 technical papers: I completely lost track of what papers I read so have no idea if I was close
- ❌Learn Rust
My amount of structured reading time fell off pretty dramatically as part of the move since I no longer have a commute via public transit, so the list here happened mostly before August.
- At Large and At Small and Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman
- Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Neil Gaiman
- The Martian, Andy Weir
- Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
- Tales of Adventure and Medical Life, Arthur Conan Doyle
- Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
- Boule de Suif, Guy de Maupassant
- The Dead Mountaineer’s Inn, Arkady Strugatsky
- Men at Arms, Terry Pratchett
- Feet of Clay, Terry Pratchett
- An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris Hadfield
- Guards! Guards, Terry Pratchett
- A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, James Joyce
- Gulp, Mary Roach
- The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer
- Siddartha, Hermann Hesse
- The Hippopotamus, Stephen Fry
- Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
- The Name of the Wind, Patrick Rothfuss
Though I haven’t been reading as much lately, I have been listening to podcasts regularly. Sinica, 99% Invisible, and This American Life are by far my favorites, and I’ve linked some notable episodes below.
I stumbled upon Sinica while trying to find things that would help me not forget (or improve) my Mandarin, and it’s been interesting to hear about a variety of cultural and political viewpoints about Beijing and China from foreigners who live there.
- Beijing’s Great Leap Forward: The craft microbrewery scene is just starting up in China, Carl Setzer tells his story about how he started his brewing company and a harrowing run in with regulators early on.
- Identity, Race and Civilization
- Comfort Women and the Struggle for Reparations
- Shanghai and the Future Now
I’ve enjoyed every episode of this podcast; they’re digestable and not super long (~20 minutes). Roman Mars also did a great TED talk about flags.
I didn’t take many contiguous blocks of vacation, but did manage to see some new places:
- Quebec City
- Spoke at Monitorama! This was my first real talk at a conference, and it was great to do it as a joint presentation with @DanielleSucher and @danielhfrank.
Goals for 2016
- Read 25 books, including the remaining 7 classics from 2015 (Lolita, Pride and Prejudice, Candide, Crime and Punishment, Macbeth, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Slaughterhouse Five)
- Finish the Duolingo Danish course
- Blog at least once a month
- Speak at another conference
- Relearn to do headstands unassisted
- Work on some side projects with the 100:10:1 method