Leaving 2008 and Entering 2009: Reflections and Projections

By Christopher Allan Webber on Thu 01 January 2009

Well here we are, and 2008 is coming to a close. Sitting here between one year and another... I suppose this is a good time to reflect on things. I haven't talked enough about what I've done the last year, so I guess now is a good time to talk about that as well as what I see happening in this coming year. Not resolutions as much as expectations.

So, 2008 was a busy year... at the end of 2007, I proposed to Morgan, and so 2008 involved a lot of wedding planning (admittedly, more of that burden has been on Morgan's shoulders than on mine). Most of the difficult bits are planned now, and at the end of June 2009, we should be married. That's one thing which I'll be working on at the beginning of 2009... the wedding website. I still haven't gotten to it. I have a due date for the end of January. Well, at least I know what I'll be spending my weekends on during that month.

Speaking of which, I project I'll be leaving the shared hosting world and moving to my own virtual server for this website. Webfaction has been great... it was really refreshing to use a shared hosting service that actually felt like it respected developers. But I feel like my needs have outgrown that, and so I got an account on Linode. Not sure if I'm keeping the webfaction stuff for something else yet or not (I'd better decide soon), but I'm really looking forward to not using a control panel any more and to be able to put up whatever services I want, how I want, from the command line.

This last year I've also begun working on my artwork again, after a long hiatus during the three years in which I was both working fulltime and going to school fulltime. There have been some stills I have been working on, most of which I have not bothered to put up yet (I need to really put up a nice, basic image gallery on here). But the real thing I was hoping to work on in 2009 was a series of animations using the animation engine I developed to propose to Morgan. I still think that's something worth working on, but it slowly became apparent to me that I really should get a better sense of how the rest of the software world thinks about doing animation before I return to working on my engine.

Hence, I've had a renewed interest in Blender; I even actually completed my first actually-good-enough-to-be-considered-a-finished-project still image, titled A Fear of Flight (which I suppose I never really mentioned in my blog... ah well). People seemed to like it, minus the fact that I kind of skipped adding a background. They're right... I really don't know anything about creating backgrounds, just characters. So that's something I'll have to work on.

Probably not a big surprise to say that the next project is actually an animation in Blender. I've decided to created an animated version adapted from a reworking of the intro to SuperTux we had talked about while I was actually still involved in that project. I already had enough of an idea of the story and the characters, and it's short enough of a scene that it should be possible. I've begun planning out the project, and I've already storyboarded it. If my time estimations are right, it should be possible for me to get it done sometime between August and September. The wedding website has to be done first though... meanwhile I am waiting for my copies of Creature Factory and Learn Character Animation Using Blender to arrive. I've benefitted a lot from the other blender training dvds, and I think I'm finally coming to the point where I have enough skills to pull a decent animation off, and I think after watching these I'll be fairly ready.

In addition, last year I started paying a lot more attention to my health. I've recently begun focusing on changing my diet quite a bit, and I've actually come to discover that I am really enjoying the changes that I'm making. Someone asked in the comments of my last post if I am a vegetarian... the answer is no, since I do eat meat still, but increasingly less so. That's both for health reasons as well as responding to some pretty compelling arguments about lowering or eliminating the amount of meat in one's diet. But there have been more adjustments than that... I'm also generally just eating a lot healthier. In the last couple weeks I've been weeding fried food out of my diet, and I gave up drinking soda. But I've been eating and drinking so many other interesting (and healthier) things that I don't really regret it. I look forward to returning to outdoor biking again when spring comes around, too.

Lastly, there's no way I can end this post without mentioning the shift in my employment and programming activities. Since I began using Linux in 2001, it has been a dream of mine to be able to work on a significant free software project as my full time job. I didn't expect that to come true, but in 2008 I came on full time working for the PCF. I came on at an exciting time... Miro's architecture has gone through a major overhaul over these last many months. The new release is coming so close, and now it's clear enough how worth it all that work has been. I look forward to being part of all that advancement in the year to come.

So, a lot has happened, and a lot is on the horizon. Life has been a lot of things lately, but boring is not one of them. I'm anticipating that to be the same with the coming year as well.

Goodbye 2008. Hello 2009.