Dare to be Blue

This year I took part in the #worldsgreatestshave except minus the shaving. I promised to colour my hair blue for a month, and until April 11th I’ll be maintaining my current locks. I raised $1,189 at the time of this writing, just shy of a LEET $1,337 but not to be sneezed at.

(If however you feel inclined to help me part of those last $148 to the finishing line)

I prepared earlier in the week by bleaching my hair. As it turns out it isn’t quite as dark brown as I thought because 30 minutes in I looked in the mirror and panicked. Granted it looked lighter than it proved to be, but still…

Blue-1

On Friday 11th March, in the kitchen at work, I had some assistance with the turning blue. Thanks Farnaz; see, there was really no reason to panic, it came out just fine!

I was surprised at hoe many people expressed disbelief.

Blue-2

“Gosh you’re brave!” to a confused look on my face.

I’m not in the habit of backing down from a challenge, let alone a self-imposed one. As yet I believe my 365-challenge is still the greatest testament to my stubbornness.

And despite all my advertising and pestering, there was still at least one colleague who did a double-take after the fact and as of this morning was still wondering what was going on until I explained. Clearly Worlds’ Greatest Shave is not as universally known as I had thought.

Blue-3

It’s been a fun experience so far.

And if you want to see the results in person, find a way to see me before the middle of April. Time flies, so you better get in quick!

The Most Busiest Time of The Year

Relaxing is good.
The last four days I have done so excessively little.

But now I get to pay for it.

Tomorrow is Christmas and there are a bunch of last minute things to finish up before the day itself. I didn’t help myself by going back to Body Attack class for the first time in two years (OW), but I now realise how much I’ve missed it, so time to get back into that too. It means my legs don’t really want to do anything intense like… running… or walking… or standing.

I’ve started my last-minute cookery as well; I have decided to do a Gelato experiment using Port. I will report back how that worked out… [note to self: port boiling over = fireworks].

I also realised at the last minute that I was supposed to make my potato salads. I almost forgot, so I had to dash by the shops last-minute as well. But I think I am all set now for a sweltering afternoon in the kitchen For The Good Of All Mankind.

I think I can smell the evaporated port on the skin of my face.
Not sure how I feel about this.

Learning and Other Curves

I have turned my 365 earnings and my birthday present from my parents into an Adobe CS6 Master Suite. I am now the proud owner of All-Things-Adobe to further my creative future. Now I just need to learn how to use it all.

The installer barfed icons for 16 new products onto my Windows 8 Start screen.
They all range from complex to nigh-on-incomprehensible.
I need some training.

I had hoped to start learning today, but the day got away from me a bit. I had to get up early to make my 7:30am massage, which was both nice and horrible at the same time.

Then my day got both better and weirder at the gym. Apparently it was the third anniversary of the gym and there was an 80s Aerobics theme on. Meaning all the staff/instructors and many of the guests had dressed up in various short-shorts, lycra, and garish bright colours.

It wasn’t entirely an unpleasant sight.

I do think I let it go to my head, or out of it. I worked harder than I normally do, and now my legs don’t feel my own. I hope I have enough reserves for Yoga, because Thursday Yoga didn’t turn out so well… they had forgotten to substitute a sick instructor so they improvised at the last moment with someone who wasn’t quite up to the task.

By the time I finished my Saturday ritual with some reading at Michel’s I was already 7 hours into my day. And I’ve frittered away another 3 hours since with the Internet. I better get going with some real work and chores now, or I’ll feel horribly guilty tomorrow.

Day 366 – o.O – The Best

But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Internet a little boy and his Laptop will always be writing.” – A.A. Milne

There have been many highlights throughout the past blogging-year…

Done

For 9 of my 11 trips to Melbourne for work, I stayed at my favourite hotel with the odd rooms with multiple sets of internal stairs. The Grand Melbourne, pictured on Day 57 – The Oddest Hotel. My candy-bar supply at work has gone from mere “bribery” on Day 14 – Blatant Bribery, to what was recently described as “obscene”.

A seemingly insignificant post-gym-post about a tasty treat with an odd name on Day 139 – Squaffins and Stuff continues to generate search traffic to this day. I am the proud fifth Google search link for the word “Squaffins”, which is frankly not a real word, and I should feel ashamed rather than bemused.

I went to a pole-dance exhibition piece on Day 83 – Pole Position; I made some suggestions for improvements, but sadly the next exhibition was on 5th July and I was otherwise engaged, so I couldn’t check if any were taken up. I got to see Dan Savage in the flesh, and but for sold-out stock would have gotten his signature in a copy of his latest book on Day 109 – Dan Savage @ FoDI at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas.

I went to Wet’n’Wild more times than I can count (or should admit to) including on Day 170 – Dinner and a Show, and I will be back next season for more of the same. Although I might try to not repeat my Lobster experience on Day 180 – Adventures of Lobster-Boy if I can help it.

I had a great day in the city exploring my favourite book store and buying my first comics on Day 235 – Kinokuniya; I need more, better comics next. And I need to get back to that awesome food-court some more.

We bought a Canon 6D and spent a lot of time photographing things. I need to do more of that, but some proud examples were shot on Day 32 – Missed It by That Much and on Day 323 – Perspective. I also had an early run-in with some unwilling subjects on Day 39 – Not Always Welcome, which led me to get a clearer understanding of the relevant Australian law.

For Christmas I made my usual Ice Cream Delights, including many give-away batches. I made an awful lot of custard on Day 158 – Frozen Delights. This year though, I took on an additional challenge… I had never built a gingerbread house before. I started from a Gingerbread Inspiration, I did some initial trial-baking on Day 143 – Baking Trial to make sure I had a recipe with structural integrity. Then a mad rush to construct the house on Day 150 – Ginger Base Structure and finish the final product just-in-time on Day 151 – Penalty Rates.

I also wrote about feminism-related topics a few times throughout the year; it’s not my front-and-centre topic, but it’s something we all should pay some attention to. My bookmarked links had accumulated a lot of bad stuff, leading to Link Triage – On Sexism. I encountered a few questionable 100-lists towards the end of my challenge, including on Day 279 – Results May Startle You, and I couldn’t stay silent about #yesallwomen on Day 354 – #(Yes/Not) All (Women/Men).

I was wildly successful at one of my new years’ resolutions that I set on Day 172 – Simplify, well, two really… Simplify and 3200×1800. I started a general technology sell-buy-overhaul on Day 231 – Simplify: Technology, resulting in a QNAP on Day 246 – Timeline with further upgrades to it on Day 248 – Upgrades and Installs followed by a Chromecast from the US on Day 253 – Chromecast Rocks. It still rocks. And despite starting ripping on Day 263 – Entertainment Stacks, I am still not quite done digitizing my media library. Getting very close though; 9 movies and 28 seasons of TV on BluRay left now.

To Do

I also blogged about lots and lots of things I wanted to do, but haven’t yet. I created a list of 100 things I want to strive for on Day 305 – What Are Your 100 Things?, some of which I wrote about more specifically.

I had a weight goal on Day 26 – Weight, long before that list existed. I’ve been working on my flexibility working towards a full forward-fold, which I blogged on Day 353 – Forward Fold. Photography has also featured heavily earlier in the challenge, although there are still many Places to go Photographing left.

More staggering is the number of things I have mentioned that I haven’t even started yet. Bring on the slack-list!

I was going to make business cards, Just Because, on Day 4 – My Name Is…, several inventive ice-cream flavours on Day 214 – Winners, read more novels on Day 282 – Novel, watch more cult sci-fi movies on Day 295 – Not Quite Real, work on my presentation skills on Day 307 – How-To: Be Presentable, plan out a tattoo on Day 344 – Ink, and designing a board game from the ground up on Day 351 – I Want To Play A Game.

No Dice So Far.

Then there are the bigger renovation plans, that involve replacing the carpets with wooden floors on Day 88 – Matching the Drapes, finally finishing the bathroom renovations I mentioned on Day 149 – A Room’s Missing, some general party-compatibility renovations on Day 316 – Party Reno, and a kitchen overhaul on Day 315 – Who Needs a Kitchen Anyway?.

Which leads straight into an experiment with YouTube, camera gear, and cooking in a new kitchen. I first thought there might be something fun to do with kitchen antics on Day 134 – Isn’t It Ironic?. I want to get the camera gear/software together I mentioned on Day 349 – Go PRO, and I might even want to get the best cookbook in the world on Day 306 – Now We’re Cooking and on Day 345 – Cooking with Gas.

I also have come across a pair of software ideas I want to pursue. In light of the social networking landscape on Day 167 – Identity, and my own personal needs on Day 325 – My Fragmented Self, there must be enough ideas there for a creative solution that combines a diary, blogging and to-do in one neat package. And there is the little side-project on date ideas on Day 362 – But, What to Do?; if nobody gets there before I do, I might as well make All The Money myself.

And more than one post has been about travel. Awesome destinations on Day 124 – Surreal to Visit, exceptional hotels on Day 294 – Comparative Hotelling, small Australian towns on Day 309 – Little Places, and wineries not-yet-enjoyed on Day 317 – Wine-Me-Up.

As well as a completely original list-of-100 on Day 328 – My 100 Places.

I have put all my to-dos on a new page: My 100+ Things.

The Future of Blogging

I’m not going to stop writing.

I need somewhere to blog about technology and software… like my Floating Point One-Pager, and development standards on Day 72 – Personal Development. I haven’t had time to do hands-on technical for a while now, and I’ve only had time to skim the surface on so many topics over the past year. There is a lot more to be written on Day 281 – Nature of Programming, or the magic tricks pulled on Day 335 – Surprise and Wonder.

I need somewhere to blog about putting some more maths and science into management, because I think there are many quick-and-dirty tools that could help make more informed decisions. For example, how to estimate the impact of bringing on contractors when in-house resources are tapped out on Day 51 – Fractional Resource Plan, or how A faster than B, and B faster than C, doesn’t always mean A faster than C when it comes to programmers on Day 133 – Surprising Jobs and Dice. Or how a simple under-valued tool like OneNote can make life so much easier on Day 320 – Ode To OneNote.

And on a more personal front, I need somewhere to blog life as an adventurer. I am following the advice on Day 299 – Greatness: A Guide, I am treating life like a game on Day 278 – Life: A Game Review, and I have already prepared my character on Day 358 – Roll An Adventurer.

And A Scare

For years, the most read post on my blog had been slowly accumulating views; “On Reflection Performance in .NET” a programming post with careful benchmark stats that seems to draw regular visits.

Then… Bronte got sick.

And in the space of a week, he managed to blow all my other posts out of the water with his tear-jerker “Memories of Bronte“. Bastard.
(He’s still doing fine by the way).

But First…

I don’t know what the frequency of my posts is going to look like from this point on. I’d like to keep blogging often. But I also want to take it easy for a little bit.

I’m not going away though. That’s for sure.

It has been too much fun.

Day 358 – Roll An Adventurer

8 – 100+ amazing outdoor adventures

Somewhere along the way during this challenge I resolved to become an adventurer. I changed my Twitter tagline and everything. And I put it onto my list of 100 Things.

I have yet to decide how literal I want to be about it…
Continue reading Day 358 – Roll An Adventurer

Day 351 – I Want To Play A Game

15 – 100 Principles of Game Design

If you don’t know of the wealth of board games that exist beyond Risk, Stratego and Monopoly, you’re missing out on a lot of fun.

I have written about them often enough over the past year; almost every Wednesday some (variable) friends come over and we have some snacks, some dinner and some board games. Most of them have a strategic angle (the games), even when it’s just about building railway tracks. Some of them are collaborative. Some of them are really really tough.

It’s fun…

And inevitably it leads to making up of new house-rules and variants.
Or entirely new games essentially.
Continue reading Day 351 – I Want To Play A Game

Day 349 – Go PRO

17 – Digital Video Production Cookbook: 100 Professional Techniques for Independent and Amateur Filmmakers

Technically I have all the pieces of the puzzle.

I have a valid Camtasia license, I have a Canon 6D to work with, and in a pinch the Nexus 5 will do some decent video as well. Everything I need to put together a decent video on my own time.

But I suspect I need a few more pieces.
Continue reading Day 349 – Go PRO

Day 344 – Ink

22 – The 100 best video game tattoos

I’m not a tattoo aficionado by any definition of the word.
I’ve never seriously considered getting one.

I mean… I have been drawn to the idea. I am sure you and I both have contemplated what it might look like to put pictures over our bodies. Perhaps thinking it might define us in some way. Perhaps thinking SEGA is forever. Perhaps because we think it’ll make us part of a cool crowd with all the hot people in it.

But I was never ready to take the leap; caution in the face of the permanent. A few years back I read a very good article calling for caution as well. I cannot recall the publication it was in, nor its exact wording. But the gist was a woman retelling how she got a tattoo at an early age and regretted doing so. But rather than removing the tattoo, the regret itself gave it meaning she wanted to keep.

The symbol became a symbol of the reason it had no meaning to her.

And it got me thinking.
And now I want a tattoo.
Continue reading Day 344 – Ink

Day 325 – My Fragmented Self

41 – 100 Tips Essential to Being a Smarter Better Twitterer

I am plenty smart, and as a result, I don’t want to be a “better twitterer“.
If that is even a proper word.

I just want improve my writing, photography, makery… I don’t want to have to worry about where it goes. I don’t want to know about Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Instagram, or even WordPress. It is just totally unimportant.
Continue reading Day 325 – My Fragmented Self