Monday, 31 March 2014

Belated summary of 2013 and hello 2014

The famous Singapore Chilli Crab! The kind of reason for a few of my extra kilos.

I obviously haven't been writing much of anything here last year, though I did write about a few things I wanted to achieve in 2013 so coming up to April 2014, it's about time I write an update.

1. Context

I talked about consolidation, and I feel that was definitely done. I wasn't sure what it meant then, still not exactly sure what it means now, but I feel like it was a good to time to stop and take stock, which is done now.

I installed a few things to turn my spacious living room into an awesome cinema room - new HD projector and sweet speakers. My flat has become the main hangout for friends, and many chilled movie nights. It's nice to have a place to call my own again, I've been enjoying the creature comforts of home. I've made a great group of friends and a bunch more acquaintances to hang out with.

I threw a couple of big parties, Halloween in particular was pretty insane - over 60 people there and the cops came round to shut it down. Some of the Singaporeans there couldn't believe it, they'd never seen a house party like that (I don't think they'd ever attended a cool house party before). I dressed as a Bavarian beer maid and was serving beer to guests poured out of big fake breasts - corny but great fun. Sweetly decadent, at least by Singapore standards anyways.

I exceeded my money saving target for last year which is pretty cool, and I didn't have to particularly deprive myself of anything which is cool too. On the other hand I mostly failed at any kind health improvements or weight loss, I kept on my line of eating & drinking too much while not exercising much. I'll come back to that.

Work-wise it has been a really interesting year, learned a lot about business in Asia, won an Effie award, won a big piece of new business, learned to work on new industry categories, etc.

Now it's probably time for some change after a relatively quiet year - not sure what yet, I'll keep in touch when there are new news on that front.

2. New things to learn and new places to go

I said it was about time I learned how to drive. I've been saying that for a while, and I'll keep saying it for a while longer... The progress has been feeble. I signed for driving school back in August 2013. Found out it takes about 2 months in advance to book anything. I've booked to take my basic theory test twice, and didn't study at all. The third time was this morning and I didn't go. I was reading a more interesting book about yeast biology over the weekend. I might actually bother with the drivers license the day I actually really need it. 

About yeast biology, my main new thing from last year is home brewing beer. I'm having a blast doing that, I've progressed and I can make a pretty decent drinkable brew now. I want to get better at it and I've been investing in a few bits and pieces. I brewed my latest batch a week ago, which is going to be a vanilla bourbon oatmeal stout. It's already pretty tasty, the vanilla is soaking in there for another week before I bottle it up. I've also joined a group of home brewers in Singapore to learn from other people, bought a few books, and I'm participating in a beer tasting workshop at the moment.

I did an Arduino weekend workshop last year, so that idea was done as well. I got the whole basic kit and played around with it a little. It was a really interesting (and geeky) weekend and I'm glad I learned more about it, though I haven't done much with it since.

My little brother's birthday back in the South of France was awesome - fantastic party of fun debauchery wit the whole family. I didn't go visit many places in the area, I spent more time with the family and a little time helping my sister with her vines. She ended up being the first winemaker in France to crowd-fund a portion of the money she needed to get started, she even got some local press out of it I tasted her first wines over Christmas and they're really good - very proud of her.

Less travels last year but I still had an awesome time for cherry blossom in Japan, joined a fantastic party with loads of locals, foreigners, travellers, and expats for a huge Hanami (cherry blossom viewing party, basically getting trashed in the park under the cherry trees - crucial tradition in Japan) in Yoyogi Park, Tokyo. I also visited my friend Simon in Sabah, Borneo for a weekend, and did some business travelling round Southeast Asia. I also went to Bali and the Gili Islands for a few days, which was pretty sweet.

3. All fun, not so much practice

This last thing I'd mentioned was this silly idea to exercise. I went running a few times after I wrote it, and a few more times about mid-way through the year, but that's about it.

More craft beer bars have been opening in Singapore, I'm brewing the stuff myself, and the food here is just too good and varied to not indulge. I've made some awesome restaurant discoveries in all sorts of styles and cuisines, from close to fine dining to street food and tiny hole in the wall type places.

I did go to a few concerts, and a few more this year as well which is cool - the best thing is to spot some awesome musicians that Singaporeans wouldn't necessarily know about, in which tickets are generally cheap. I went to see Steve Vai a few weeks ago - one of  the best gigs I've been to in a very long time. 

Gaming we did occasionally with some friends, the odd board game night a few times last year which was cool.

Altogether pretty cool year in 2013, I've learned to appreciate Singapore and discover some cool things beneath the surface. Onwards and upwards for this year!