Phew. What a challenging year! Difficult, but fun. And the whole sticker chart thing? What started out as a bit of a joke? Got pretty serious towards the end of the year. It kept me focused. The good news? I’m not going back to a ‘day job’ in 2016. It is going to be a whole lot more of discovering myself through making things. Scratching those odd ‘why don’t I just make…’ itches, along with putting some serious thought into a longer term project. But more on that another time.

CREATE

Darkwing Duck Sticker.

This month I made two little things, the first was a gift for my three year old for Christmas. She is a rabid Octonauts fan. Her favourite character from the show is ‘Peso’, a medic that carries around a medical bag. Well, considering my daughter has real tools, my wife and I thought ‘why not a real medical bag’? So I made one to scale out of foamcore, while my wife filled it with supplies.

Photo of a homemade medical bag inspired by Peso from Octonauts. Features real medical supplies

I also made a duffle bag thing for a large inflatable raft. It came out OK, but was surprisingly hard to sew. I think I will make a couple more tweaks (add some extra handles / straps). But it does the job, and is much better than the cardboard box I was using.

Large duffle bag for carrying an inflatable raft.

Having the time and space to make my own thing in 2015 was so much fun. And looking back through my photo album it looks like I made a few more things than I realised. I need to update my Project Archive, which only has seven. But I also made a digital museum, a shoe box and tool storage system. Plus a talk for CampJS along with the stuff I knocked up this month.

I need to spend a bit more time shaping my create goals for 2016, but I’m likely to ease up off the one a month thing. I have a couple of ideas I know I won’t be able to finish in just a single month. Plus I have also been doing the odd spot of consulting for the right projects. I know, not what I set out to do for 2015. But the projects were too interesting to turn down. Plus with the extra money it has brought in, I can now stretch for some more ambitious projects of my own.

I was hesitant to share the below chart, it is a bit embarrassing and making money wasn’t what this year was about. Plus the first version didn’t tell an accurate story. It made it look that by smashing my ‘goal’ (which was set pretty close to zero), I had made insane amounts of money. Which isn’t true. So I scaled it against my old full time equivalent ‘FTE’ wage for some perspective.

Eventually I am going to need to make a little coin to fund the monastic engineering experience. But for now? I’m just going to focus on creating, learning and exercising.

LEARN

No Sticker.

Just missed out on this sticker by about forty pages in December. My goal of reading a book a month was terrible in 2015. So for 2016 I’m shuffling this category around a little. This is all going to be about learning. So while aiming to read a book a month, I will also be including the other research and writing I do. I kinda fell off the writing wagon in the later half of 2015.

In 2016 topics I would like to learn more about are:

  • Getting back into neural networks. It was one of my favourite subjects at university and I haven’t kept up with it at all. I want to find out about the latest topologies and techniques.
  • Improving my functional programming skills.
  • Explore a couple of (new to me) web protocols such as HTTP/2 and IPFS.
  • Oh, and I will keep chipping away at my tree of influences. Writing more love letters and making little projects inspired by their work.

In 2016 I want to write a new article every week to reinforce the ideas I’m currently learning about. It is a bit of a vanity metric, but I’m hope that to take website visitors from 80k a year to 120k. I guess I use this metric as a proxy for how well I explain the concepts I’m learning about.

EXERCISE

Inspector Gadget Sticker.

Clocked up another 57.2kms for December and picked up my last exercise sticker for the year. Oh, and I got to trundle along Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas for a couple of runs too.

Photo south, down along four mile beach at Port Douglas.

In 2014, my brother wanted to race me to 600 kilometres over the year. Our lives kind of got in the way then and neither of us came close. So 2015 seemed like a good year to have another crack, I ticked over 600kms on the 14th of December. I was pretty surprised that exercise was my most consistent activity for 2015. I always managed to find time for it, and often would go out my way to make sure I got it done. So for 2016, I’m going to try for another 600kms, but this time I’m doing it with zombies chasing me.