2017

The end of the year once again. Last year, I vaguely remember feeling quite upbeat. Although I apparently had a cold, and yes, Trump had been elected and Brexit had been voted for and yadda yadda yadda. From a personal perspective, I was a new dad, I’d just had a huge break from work, I was going to the gym regularly, and the baby was basically just sleeping and eating, so I had plenty of time to Netflix and chill.

As babies get bigger, they become more work. You can’t let them out of sight for a moment, they’ll toddle off somewhere and start eating cables, or pulling things off tables, or climbing on pianos, or falling down staircases. They’re full of boundless energy, excited to be alive, and very cute as well. It’s exhausting. When I look back to my end-of-year assessment for the similar timeframe of the older boy, I see it says “we survived”. I feel similarly.

So, I must keep on top of the energetic baby and the rambunctious six year old and the wife who wakes up four times a night to feed and to hold, with never a moment off (no babysitters, no nearby relatives – we do things the hard way). In consequence, I quit the MBA course I was taking, I stopped going to the gym, I stopped running, I stopped watching much Netflix, and I haven’t chilled for more than about five minutes straight all year.

When I returned to work at the start of 2017, I decided to re-think my job. I had two prime motivations: one, I loved the heart and soul that my stand-in was bringing to the team and knew I couldn’t match it when my mind was on babies; two, I wanted to get involved in the abuse-handling efforts as much as possible. So, a week after returning, I handed off my team and scouted around the company for new roles. I offered myself as an EM to the abuse efforts, but it was one role they said they didn’t need filling. I considered becoming a PM for some web-related efforts, but that role is very different and I didn’t feel I’d be accepted by the team for that position yet. Ultimately, I realised that the abuse efforts were going to be long-term problems (possibly forever) rather than short-term fixes, and the best I could contribute would be to help push for a migration to a better stack, allowing us to make those changes more easily. I was also in a good position to make rapid fixes to the existing stack for any quick fix work.

And so, once again, I’m an IC. (Individual contributor)

(that means I’m coding again, dad).

It’s been fun. This year I’ve done some legal fixes (ok those weren’t fun), a lot of settings fixes, a world of bug fixes, and my favourite project was working with one of our interns to deliver Nightmode on desktop. It’s been the most positively received project I’ve ever seen. My Intern, David, also overdelivered. He threw in some code to make sure your colours in nightmode and daymode provide enough contrast to be visible, using proper accessibility-based contrast maths. Much respect.

I’d always planned to hop back to management again, but I’m currently reconsidering. It’s felt good to have colleagues again, to hang out and have fun with people who don’t report directly to you. Management can be a lonely job. We’ll see.

I stopped going to the gym because I just can’t find the time. If I cut time from work, then I’d need to make it up. If I cut time from home, then I get less time with the kids and my wife will go crazy. If they could only put a gym car on Bart, then it’d be doable. Anyway, my shoulders are killing me, and I can’t sleep comfortably, so in 2018 I’ll have to find time somewhere.

We went to see the total eclipse! It was AMAZING! Like a hole in the sky! If you’ve only seen a partial eclipse, even 99.9% partial, then you just haven’t seen it. You need totality. We flew up to Oregon for the day with the kids for it.

We had my parents visit for a couple of weeks. We had my mother-in-law visit for a couple of months. It is incredibly important to balance enough time to help and get to know the kids, with the need to not kill each other. The new (bigger) house helps. Mostly helps.

This year the brewery closed up. I’m still pleased I invested in a friend (to help him open), that operated honestly, and made some really very good quality beers. But sometimes you build it and they don’t come. I’ll miss the money I invested (which was significant), but I’ve learned some lessons (should I ever get any more money for investment).

I didn’t invest in Bitcoin, which hit nearly $20k this year. If I’d invested some years back, I could be a multimillionaire, which riles me slightly. BUT, I didn’t invest because I’m an immigrant and didn’t want to be accused of money-laundering (which was a concern at the time), AND I didn’t have much money back then, AND if I’d bought then I’d have used Mt Gox, which would’ve lost my investment, AND if I’d had any I would have sold at $10, at $100, at $200, at $500 and so on. NO WAY would I have the guts to hold.

I feel much better about losing my money to the brewery than I would have about losing money to Bitcoin.

This year:

  • Total eclipse. Wow.
  • Hawaii again (yay) with mother-in-law.
  • New baby is full of beans and friendly as anything
  • The boy started learning the alphabet for real in kindergarten in September. Now he’s reading Dr Seuss to himself. It’s fantastic.
  • My wife continues to be beautiful and indefatigable. And patient.
  • Twitter is still the best employer I’ve had (7 years now).
  • California is still better (sunnier) than London.

Next year (2018):

  • I need to settle my job. Decide if I’m management or code. Or both. Or something else.
  • I need to fix my shoulders. Seriously, I can only sleep on my back, and when I do that I lose feeling in my hands. It’s ridiculous.
  • With a zero-ending birthday impending, I need to stop getting older by *any means necessary*. It’s gone on too long.
  • I need to go home. I want to visit the friends that remember me, any family that still recognise me, and see the places we used to be.
  • I need to blog more. I have some ideas.
  • I need to work on my skills more. Instead of just doing work, I need to invest some time in growing my skills. Maybe I can link that to the blog thing.
  • I qualify to apply to be a US citizen.