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Summaries of Time

December 31, 2018

A 2018 Retrospective

Well, another year has pushed me to my psychological limit. Hopefully no one noticed.

Luckily it was a year packed with great experiences and even some new possessions. I will chronicle the best ones now:

10. Clearing an overgrown path to a cliff

This felt really good! I thought I’d have to use a hand axe, but was somewhat disappointed that the hacksaw was a better tool for the job. The sense of progress as I cut deeper and deeper into the undergrowth was very satisfying. Here's a video walkthrough of the cleared path.

9. Buying a wrecking bar

I bought a wrecking bar for a friend as a birthday joke, but discovered soon after the purchase that I did not want to give it away! So I bought myself an identical one the next day. Now I can wreck things if necessary.

8. Bailey’s with a single ice cube

Now this is a drink you can order at a club! So I assume, anyway. I’m going to try doing that next year, and see if I get embarrassed subsequently.

7. Heated vest

I knew I had to “turn up the heat” on my winter clothing this year, and, as such, ordered a battery-operated vest that I can wear under my normal coat. I tell you it is worth the money! Very cozy.

6. WD-40

How have I never used this before? Our locks glide now, and who knows what other problems it will solve. Such a good product. It also kind of inspired me to make products as absolutely essential as WD-40.

5. An obsidian egg I got

A worthy addition to my collection, this obsidian piece has an incredible ribbon of sheen through it. Photographs don’t do it justice so I won’t underwhelm you with one.

4. Table tennis

What an exciting test of skill this game is. Certainly, my favourite of the table sports.

3. Producing more metal comedy


This was a fun project to do, and I’ve got an idea to really get it off the ground in the new year. An... interactive idea.

2. Delicious cognac

Such a warming beverage! I’d say for this one, don’t have an ice cube. Starting a style magazine in the new year about this.

1. A goldstone egg I got

Now, here’s an egg that photographs properly! The combination of egg-smooth texture with natural sparkles makes this truly a fine egg, and the best thing about my 2018.



December 31, 2017

2017: Another Year to Evaluate

It’s 8:45 on New Year’s Eve, and I’ve just realized I still need to write one of these year-lists. Gonna blast through it quickly so I can go back to drinking.

10. Calvin and Hobbes

It’s good every year, but this year I read the complete collection. So good! My favourite running joke is that Calvin subscribes to and is heavily influenced by a chewing gum lifestyle magazine. There’s also a really nice part near the end where Calvin doesn’t terrorize Rosalyn the babysitter for once & they play Calvinball.

9. A new recycling system

The pile in the kitchen grows unmanageable in almost no time at all, but this year we got a new bin to hold some of the items before disposal. It’s certainly cut down on the clutter, and improved quality of life.

8. New couch

I’m just looking around the room at this point. Yes, the couch allows me to stretch out my 6'4" frame on a single piece of furniture in relative comfort. I recommend... couches.

7. New milk frother

This was on the list last year, but it’s still really good! Frothes up that milk real nice for lattes and hot chocolates. Such a good appliance. You’re still not getting an affiliate link though.

6. Vinegar store

I finally went to that oil and vinegar store nearby, and, turns out, they give you a spoon and let you taste all the vinegars! When I realized this, I almost cried. An employee came by and asked if I needed anything, and I was like, “I think everything is just fine right now.” Pretty sure she backed away.

5. New cat litter system

Instead of the classic way where the cats piss into sand and track it all over the house, and it ends up on my feet and in the bed, etc. this new product uses litter pellets and an absorbent pad beneath a sort of grate. It cuts down on the smell and the constant dirt, and using off-brand pads, it even ends up being cheaper!

4. All the new friends I made along the way

Can’t think off-hand who they are, but I think I built some solid relationships this year. If you’re reading this: it’s probably you.

3. All the old friends who stuck around

Too many to list, obviously, but thanks for making it a good year, old friends.

2. Almost being done this list

Just a little bit more to write before I can push the button on this post and cap it off for 2017 output.

1. Being done the list

I’ve really gotten lazier this year. Maybe kick it back into gear in 2018? Eh. Leave a comment and tell me to, if I ever build a comments system.

December 30, 2016

Obligatory 2016 Listicle

Time to break down another year into an easily-digestable list of positive characteristics. Positive for me, anyway:

10. Got a new cat

We adopted a second cat last winter, this one orange, and even though he steals bread out of the toaster and bites the doorframes, he’s a great little animal. There is much photography of him and the more annoying piebald one on my Twitter.

9. State-of-the-art phone

After ignoring peoples’ conversations about data plans for almost a decade, I finally found myself in a situation where some knowledge on the subject would have been useful. Luckily, the kiosk reps were more than helpful, and after playing them off each other for my own amusement, I now have a sleek new phone that tells me more conveniently when the next bus isn’t coming.

8. The Long Dark

GOD this game is good. Once past the learning curve, it’s a perfect balance of chilled-out winter exploration and super-tense making-sure-there-aren’t-wolves paranoia.

7. Bouldering

A sport I can do in all seasons, bouldering is as whole-body strenuous as it is fun. The community at the gym is friendly and helpful, and my unnaturally long arms and light frame allow me to succeed without necessarily being skilled!

6. Guest treatment at Hal-Con

Ah yes, this year the local sci-fi convention Hal-Con invited me as a Local Author Guest, as I am local and published a couple of books. I got car service, a PA, green room access, and all sorts of opportunities to meet actual celebrities.

It was an exhausting three days, but I sold a bunch of books, saw friends, and met new and old fans. And someone showed up with a cosplay of one of my characters!

Though I did have to admit to TV’s Aaron Ashmore that I don’t watch TV. That was kind of embarrassing.

5. Someone reviewed my shit

I was validated as an “author” when one of my unsuspecting Hal-Con customers decided to review Snapback for local alt-weekly The Coast. Luckily he did not trash it. Might have had to shut down the company.

4. Two kitties sitting on me at once

The orange cat I mentioned earlier sometimes teams up with the piebald one to be ultra cute. Right now they’re sitting on my lap, between me and the laptop, just licking each other all over the face. I’m pretty pleased about this, as I had specifically requested that I wanted this to happen on the adoption form.

3. Hella good Ruby on Rails jobs

My first programming job was good, compared to non-coding jobs, but it was, retrospectively, at a terrible company. After I left early this year, I got a much better job at a small crowdfunding agency, and when that contract ended, I had a few weeks to relax before starting at this new place. I’m using Ruby every day and the benefits are excellent.

2. That thing I can’t tell you about

Look, I can’t say a lot about this, but something good happened, and for one reason or another, it can’t be printed here. I apologize for that -- this company prides itself on its transparency. But trust me: it was worthy of spot #2. Which places it right above...

1. This new milk frother

Working at the ’Bucks in high school got me the taste for lattes, and a stovetop espresso machine has been ever-present in my kitchen since. Frothed milk, however, has always been the challenge. Those Bodum hand-pump frothers never seemed to hold enough, and the wand-style spinny ones were terrible. Plus, microwaving the milk and skimming off the fat was always annoying, not to mention washing all the damn dishes.

As such, I’ve let my morning coffees get pretty sad over the last few years, often doing little more than adding a splash of cold milk to the espresso before I slam it back.

But my girlfriend noticed this severe life decifiency and got me an automatic frother appliance. I put milk in the jug, press a button, and it becomes frothed to my desired temperature. And the jug rinses out in seconds! My lattes are so good now, and it appears I can also make hot chocolates.

So, I’m sorry this ended up to be more of a “Best things I can remember from the last 3 days”, but 2016 was long, and I didn’t keep detailed notes. What, did you want an affiliate link for the milk frother? Fuck you.

February 12, 2016

Belated 2015 round-up

It may be 42 days into 2016, but I still haven’t told you what my ten favourite things of 2015 were. Luckily you patiently waited.

10. eBook Distribution Platform

This should actually rank higher but I didn’t want to bury the lede: I made a way for you to buy eBooks of Ghostcrime without making me walk to the post office! If you promise to check out the site, I promise to make the rest of these list items not directly self-promotional.

9. Rental cars

It’s been a couple of years since I sold the ol’ ’96 Civic for parts, and I’ve been happier for it, but this summer I had reason to rent a vehicle for a week out of town. The Taurus was so new and technologically capable, I felt unworthy, but the driving was great. Though I was kind of concerned the rental agency would use the on-board computer to record my conversations and sell them in bulk to the highest bidder, so I tried not to sing along to the satellite radio too much.

8. Having a full-time coding job

Being self-employed was great and all, and the hours were fantastic. But there’s nothing like the routine and paycheque of a proper job, especially one as fun as programming. Could have used a little more vacation, though — I was itching to take a Taurus out again. I suspect they put a chemical into the air freshener to make you love the car.

7. Satellite radio

I alluded to this a few items up, but I guess everyone’s known about this for years? It’s pretty cool how it shows you what song is playing.

6. Gin Blossoms

I guess everyone already knew about them too but I was listening to some 90’s Alternative mixes at work (to, uh, get in the ’zone’) and they were pretty much the highlight. I was also introduced to Cake’s early output this way. They don’t get their own entry.

5. Bigger apartment

Being more employed helped finance a larger apartment. It’s got tons of space for animals to run around, and there isn’t an angry neighbour downstairs who slams his closet door whenever I drop a piece of fruit. I’ve been eating a lot more avocados as a result.

4. Avocados

Creamy and neutral, these really bulked up my 2015 — and my salads — with delicious vegetable fat.

3. Small octopi

On the topic of food, I had a weird experience this year where I went to a decently upscale restaurant and ordered octopus. They were served whole, stood up on their curled legs like chess pieces, and as I ate them, I felt like an alien king. I’m not going to say the name of the restaurant. That’s what Yelp is for.

2. Collab’ratin’

I somehow convinced the talented and hilarious Bruce Delo to do the cover for Ghostcrime in the middle of his own manic rush to complete the weighty KOBRA STALLION, Vol.1: Reptile Justice in the Stars. It’s the first (or second, depending on what you count) book in the series he’s doing which is already epic enough to have its own wiki (though it doesn’t actually have a wiki yet). It was pretty great to watch his creative process, tons of fun to bounce ideas around, and his daunting project gave me valuable perspective on my own. Also, we shared a table at Hal-Con, and that was a blast.

1. Pickled eggs

Sorry, Bruce — pickled eggs edged you out this year. The tanginess of a pickle, with the nourishment of an egg? It can only be pickled eggs. I bought them whenever they were on sale. No way I’m paying $4.79 for six eggs and a jar of vinegar.

Well, there you go. I hope it was worth the wait. So are you going to check out my new site where you can buy DRM-free Ghostcrime eBooks? There’s an easter egg where you can make it look like it’s raining.

December 31, 2014

Year in review: 2014

It’s that time of the year again — I mark the extra minute of daylight at both ends of the day, if it isn’t overcast, and have to think up another annual summary post. Like I have the energy. Let’s get this over with.

10. Pickled beans

These just made the list today. Crunchier than pickled eggs, these over-sized beans are sure to chase away the winter blues.

9. Blankets

I invested in some fuzzy blankets last winter and they’re certainly up there with the best.

8. Sunlight

At some point this year, there was sunlight, I’m sure, for most of the day. It was really warm outside, and sunlight was the root cause. It makes the list.

7. Riven: The Sequel to Myst

Decided to go back to this miserable cluster of islands after 16 years. I’d forgotten how it’s just one vague, sprawling puzzle, and I’d somehow romanticized the whole thing in my mind as a fun time. Which is why I also have to include...

6. Official Riven Strategy Guide

Kept this slim volume handy for over a decade just in case I ever had a Riven emergency. I know there are online walkthroughs, but what if there wasn’t Internet, or power, and only half a battery charge left?

5. Java programming language

The clean, easy-going Ruby language made the list last year, but this must have angered Java, as it’s back with a vengeance. So strict and unforgiving, under the guise of being helpful. UnsupportedOperationException? Thanks, you asshole, I kind of figured. If I give it a list spot, maybe it’ll go away.

4. Giving up on what I’m doing to go to sleep

An excellent strategy. Year-end wrap-ups are supposed to be about media that was released that year, anyway, and I actively avoided most of that. Hope it was good? I might have to read some lists later.