2015 year-end meme

4 Jan 2016, 12:29 a.m.
Here's a retrospective meme about what happened to me in 2015.

01. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
So many things! Let's see if I can remember all of them.

  • visited Belgium, as opposed to just passing through it on the way to another country
  • visited Texas, where I also played cornhole and ate (American-style) biscuits for the first time
  • related to the first two: went to one PHP conference, and then WurstCon, and then another one
  • ate lunch in a synagogue canteen in Köln. The bombproof door and security to get in were pretty depressing, but the building itself was cool, the people were nice and the food was delicious!
  • hung out socially with a rabbi (not the rabbi from the synagogue, this one)
  • went to a book launch (for Fox's amazing debut novel, The Last Leaves Falling)
  • came out as nonbinary at work. Holy shit, that was scary, but I did it and people have been great about it
  • wrote a Symfony app sort-of from scratch, and a bundle completely from scratch. I know much more about dependency injection than I did this time last year!
  • gave a talk at a conference (DjangoCon Europe), as well as two tech talks at work
  • went to Florence for a long weekend with David. It was our first non-family, non-wedding-related holiday in years and it was wonderful. We ate and drank very well, visited the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and saw bats flying over the river in twilight
  • bought shirts in the men's department and tried out boxer briefs — this might be TMI but they are super comfortable, the underwear I've been looking for for years
  • lived with our awesome housemate Kelsey
  • went to A MAZE, the videogames festival in Berlin
  • got tattooed by my sister-in-law Lain
  • started learning Swedish (and maybe Spanish, or was that in 2014?) via Duolingo

02. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I wanted to go to the gym consistently (fail), cycle to work (fail, because of hayfever), and give a talk at a conference (success!). I did not find a psychological strategy to write a novel draft, but I did do a lot more writing overall in 2015 than 2014.

My goals for 2016 are: to keep walking to work; to do more writing that makes me happy (thanks to Fox for that wording); to give another conference talk; to get more tattoos; and to legally change my name. It's not a resolution as such, but I've told Goodreads that I want to read 40 books this year and I'd like to do it.

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend Saranga did.

04. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully, not this year.

05. What countries did you visit?
The UK, Germany, Belgium, the USA and Italy.

06. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
A lot more energy!

07. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Wednesday 3rd June, the day I gave my DjangoCon Europe talk.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Being sociable at various professional/public events.

09. What was your biggest failure?
The slow and painful progress of a big refactoring project at work, especially the part that got held up because I delayed asking for help out of embarrassment.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had horrible hayfever from February to September, which meant cycling was out, since it could apparently have given me asthma. I also had terribly heavy periods that gave me anaemia — which was likely a problem for the whole year, but really started to kick my arse in September, a month I pretty much slept through. It turns out I have a fibroid and need it removed. Less seriously but more irritatingly, I got bitten about 100 times by Florentine mosquitos and reacted badly to the bites. I've had this trouble both times I've been to Tuscany. Perhaps I am allergic to the type of mosquito they have there?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new battery for my laptop. I should probably have got it before talking at DjangoCon, when the old battery didn't hold enough charge to go from the front row of seating to the lectern without shutting down.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
David, who's achieved great things in his game development career and has worked hard even at the boring and difficult parts of being an ultra-indie dev. All my friends whose work was published in book form for the first time this year: Fox, John, Adam and Hayley. The coworkers who took it upon themselves to explain gender-neutral pronouns to other people so I didn't have to, or when I wasn't there.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The American police and judicial systems. The doctor who broke the news of my fibroid to me with the words, "You have a tumour ... a good tumour!" (It's benign, but it's not nice.)

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, travel and chocolate.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going to Texas! New albums from Vallendusk and Ensiferum! Mad Max: Fury Road! Fanfic! The Jupiter Challenge! My King of the Copper Mountains tattoo! Karaoke! Star Wars! The cats!

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Sia, Elastic Heart.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
(a) happier or sadder?
A bit happier
(b) thinner or fatter? A bit thinner
(c) richer or poorer? A bit richer

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing and staying in touch with friends. Reading actual books, as well as lots of fanfic.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Putting off making medical appointments.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
In a whistle-stop tour of my family in the UK, including a day spent in London with Fox getting tattoos (see full blog post, which I am totally going to write). We came back to Switzerland on the 30th and headed to David's grandmother Rose's village, where we spent New Year's Eve at a dinner party hosted by her neighbours.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
I stayed just as deeply in love with David as I have been for years. We are doomed for one another!

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Hannibal, which left a huge hole in my life when it finished.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No, I don't think hating is a thing I'm cut out for.

24. What was the best book you read?
Here are the books I read in 2015. I especially loved The Delicate Dependency by Michael Talbot.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Sia, Stromae, Elderwind, Hamilton

26. What did you want and get?
A good new housemate when David MacIver left us. The Lego Arctic research station (my Christmas present from David!). To get tattoos with Fox over Christmas.

27. What did you want and not get?
An assessment for Asperger syndrome, which I started trying to arrange in January. Hopefully that will happen early next year.

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Either Mad Max: Fury Road or A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, which I saw at the cinema right after Ex Machina. There were a lot of parallels in how the two handled the question of women's humanity.

I also loved The Martian and Everest, and was thrilled to get the chance to see the restored version of Nosferatu (one of my favourite films ever) with live accompaniment. It was a good year for films!

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31. A bunch of friends and coworkers came over for an afternoon barbecue in the garden, and stayed through the evening. We had beautifully clear, hot weather, plenty of good food and drinks, and someone even made cupcakes!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Better executive function.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Technically androgynous outfits that didn't appear androgynous because of my figure. In the winter: the same thing, but with cardigans. Turquoise hair.

32. What kept you sane?
David and Kelsey, venlafaxine and chocolate.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Scarlett Johansson (it was a shame Age of Ultron was, um, not very good, but it wasn't her fault). Gillian Anderson. Does Mister Lucian count as a celebrity yet?

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I know I got het up about politics this year, but it's hard to recall what exactly; everything mostly seemed very depressing. The two Davids and I got through a bottle of gin very quickly the night after the UK elections and the consequent hangover felt pretty fucking appropriate.

35. Who did you miss?
All my friends in the UK, like every year. David's grandmother Ruth.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I can't answer this question: I met a lot of new people this year, and most of them were pretty great.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
If you're giving a talk with slides on the computer, make a PDF version of the presentation and put it on your desktop for fast access. Also, include screenshots of any demonstration you want to do, so you can go through it even with no internet access or if the software crashes.

Refactoring is harder and will take longer than you think.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Destroy — fuck it up / Improve — come on / Rebuild / Turn that shit up!Faderhead.