Wow, 2019 came and went in a flash! It's been an incredibly tough, rewarding and interesting year for me. There was a lot of change and turmoil in my personal and professional life, which made actually finding time to stop and do the things I love a lot more difficult.
I've barely cycled, I feel like I've barely touched personal projects, and the memories of what I did in January & February feel a million miles away.
So here's a few highlights of 2019 that I remember. I'd like to look back on this year with some fondness!
campGND happened again. Each year it grows a little, changes a little and becomes a little more silly. This year's edition was very rainy.
Nicko did a lot of deep frying using the 30kW gas ring I bought the consulate. Constant food was amazing, and we're moving towards a shared menu culture as it's a pretty great way to handle feeding your friends.
GB1GND happened, which took up a lot of my time and was a pile of fun to fiddle with! When amateur radio works, it's a great hobby!
campGND was originally tj's idea, but the two of us work on making it happen along with support from others @ 57North, and really it's something I'm immensely proud of.
Camp, and my role at it, is ever changing for me. I am always meeting new, challenging and interesting people, and the Scottish consulate brings in friends old and new for just this.
Yes, we ran our annual buckfast frenzy.
Yes, whiskyleaks happened.
Yes, I had some monstrous hangovers that I livetweeted on @scotconsulate in all caps.
Yes, I hammock camped for some of it and that was a great idea.
ScotCon continues to be a wildly rewarding hobby project. Other people are picking up the idea and running with it, becoming invested and making it a working community that is slowly changing to better represent our core values:
- Refugees Welcome
- In Buckfast we trust
I'm now much more a supervisor and coordinator of Scottish Consular beaurocratic process, as opposed to directly accosting people at the front gates. acute has made some fanastic forms, an enviable stamp and really worked on the beaurocracy jokes. Others are leaving their fingerprint on the group too, and I feel we're building something together now, as opposed to just me forcing ideas on people.
We're now of the size and notoriety that people are asking us on twitter for Buckfast, whether we're attending events and if we're going to run something. Usually in that order too.
It's a lot of fun that seems to resonate with a lot of people, and I'm immensely proud of the group. 2020 should hold some exciting fun, I imagine!
I accidentally got right back into curling this year, and coached Team Ireland to 9th place in the World Mixed Championships. From a 40 team field, that was a really big achievement, and we had a blast.
I maintain I did very little, but the team seemed greatful.
Scotiacon came and went this year. I nearly fell out of love with the event and the fandom due to what was going on in my personal life and strongly considered abandoning it at the last minute. Luckily, I didn't and I had a great time.
We've now got a ‘nosecount’ of 500, and as an organisational team this has not only become challenging, but super rewarding.
I work on registration (frontdesk) and tech backend - I spent one day in a formal kilt outfit welcoming people to Scotland, handing out badges, lanyards and goodie bags, and having photos taken with enthusiastic fursuiters from overseas.
Before the event, I rolled out pretalx to use for scheduling and eventing. We used a subset of the features, but it was wonderfully smooth compared to previous years.
I've got a list of changes and improvements I'm going to make based on feedback from our AV team, but I see it as a way to reduce overhead and time wasted by others.
I also spent a lot of this event out my tits in room parties and getting up to my normal tricks. By the end, I was a bit of an emotional wreck and was found ugly-happy-crying in a corner by some of my head of department colleagues after our cheese & port party. It was a big emotional realease after a difficult period in my personal life.
Every so often I fall out of love with the furry fandom, but then my friends drag me back in and I'm reminded of the amazing, supportive community I'm surrounded by and all of a sudden I'm joyously straight back into all that bullshit
NorthernRST was the end of year conference that tj and I signed up to running when we mistakenly told all our friends we'd run a conference. Only some months after did we realise this was a really big task!
We pulled it off, and it was super fun and a lot of work.
8 speakers, ~60 attendees, 1 day of conference and 2 days in the hacklab. irl secured the callsign for GB1RST and I spent some more time fiddling with radio.
There were some things we didn't do well, some things we did well and other things were excellent.
NorthernRST is happening in 2020, and we're going to be more clear and timely with our messaging, CFP, Tickets and maybe pigs will fly too.
The day after it was over, I was sat in my house feeling empty, drained and incapable of doing anything. At that point, I realised I'd hit burnout. I'm too invested in both my professional life and making sure all my personal commitments, of which there were a lot in Q4 2019, came off well, at the expense of myself.
I switched to 3 day weeks, partied withsome friends and caught up on sleep, as well as losing myself in the hills around Cape Wrath for a few days during the festive break.
I don't recommend burnout. I'm feeling a lot more recharged now, but I think I'll need to keep an eye on when the plates I'm spinning begin to fall in future.
I began this post thinking I'd had a bit of a quiet 2019, but it really picked up towards the end! In 2020 already scheduled I've got playing in the European Curling Championships, organsing campGND, EMFCamp & NorthernRST and also my social life to work on! It's going to be a busy year, but I think my things are spaced and I have others to work on them with, so I won't end up in the same mess.