Goals for 2015

  • Get a stable job (variants of this goal have been ongoing for three years)
  • Continue learning German
  • Learn python
  • Go to Europe
  • Read 20 books

2014 – The Year of Growth

Another year comes to an end. This year has been different to previous years, in particular, my first year properly working in a full time job. During this year I have achieved many of the goals I set myself in January:

  • Graduate and get a real job
    • My thesis was passed in May and I graduated in November.
    • In February I was offered a five month position at UNSW which was then extended through to the end of the year.
  • Continue Learning German – and go back to Germany.
    • I did well with the German in the middle of the year, but in the later months I have done none.
    • I still have a massive desire to return to Germany.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • Fourth year in a row that this hasn’t happened. But I did go skiing in the Snowy Mountains.
  • Publish a journal article – or two.
    • I published two conference papers, still got to get those journal articles done.
  • Read at least ten books – including the six paperbacks I currently have unread.
    • I have read 36 books! But have now amassed 14 more to be read. In May I decided to start reading on the bus in the morning rather than reading Facebook and Twitter on my phone.
  • Buy a VF Commodore – I’ve wanted a Holden since I was in my teens.
    • Still a pipe-dream
  • Keep this blog up to date.
    • I blogged fewer times than any previous year, so I avoided the problem.

The year has had many highlights: Continue reading “2014 – The Year of Growth”

Goals for 2014

In no particular, but some sort of order:

  • Graduate and get a real job – I’ve submitted the thesis, now just waiting on the marks.
  • Continue Learning German – and go back to Germany.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko – it has to be achieved some day soon.
  • Publish a journal article – or two.
  • Read at least ten books – including the six paperbacks I currently have unread.
  • Buy a VF Commodore – I’ve wanted a Holden since I was in my teens.
  • Keep this blog up to date – In the last few months I’ve been about three months behind on posts.

2013 – The Year of Adventure

2013 has been great. It’s been a year of fantastic fun, growth and personal achievement.

At the start of 2013 I laid out some goals for the year, they were:

  • Complete my PhD
    • Achieved!
    • I submitted on November 20.
  • Get a real job
    • Not completely achieved, I’m freelancing at the moment.
  • Learn German
    • I did far better at this than in 2012. I am still very much a beginner, but I am learning.
    • Duolingo has been great for this.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • Once again this goal was elusive.
  • Publish a paper and a journal article
    • I published two papers.
  • Go on a holiday for at least a week without internet access
    • I didn’t end up away for a whole week without internet, but there were a few weekends of digital silence.

An additional personal achievement was reading 12 books over the year – four histories, three science, three theology, and two novels.

There are also a number of highlights from throughout the year: Continue reading “2013 – The Year of Adventure”

Random goings-on in life

I really haven’t blogged much in the last twelve months. There have been times I have bookmarked some stuff to comment on but by the time I have decided to blog about it the moment or issue has passed.

Anyway at the moment my head is a mixup of random comments and thoughts about lots of things going on, so I thought I would just post them all down in one random blog post to get it out there:

  • When was the last weekend in Sydney that it didn’t rain! I’ve just got home from a walk and I am soaked.
  • I have started writing up my thesis and will hopefully be completed mid year. At this stage I have just cracked through 16,000 words and 70+ pages which is now the longest document I have ever written. I am sure I will come back later in the year and laugh at celebrating 16,000 words but right now it is a small win.
  • The first race of this year’s V8 Supercar season kicks off this afternoon. I am pretty happy that Shane van Gisbergen is on pole. With the new manufacturers in the game my loyalty is Holden, Ford, Mercedes, Nissan. I think the new merc looks and sounds amazing, but I bleed red and won’t openly cheer for anything but Holden.
  • I am currently reading the book Losing the head of Philip K. Dick. which is about android-like robots. It is a rather interesting read, however, I am getting both humour and frustration out of the portrayal of artificial intelligence, engineers and scientists in the book as it is written by a psychology perspective.
  • I have finally got a Kindle Paperwhite, so far I am using it to read every morning, the screen is amazing, lying in bed in low morning light and being able to see the text without any light on, or super bright screen glare is awesome.
  • I’ve been thinking recently about the things that give you geek cred after a 12 year old app developer spoke at TED, while I haven’t seen the video I remember two highlights of geekiness from my childhood include learning HTML and building websites at 11 years old and hacking a firmware update to my family’s internet router when I was 16 so that when they powered it off it wouldn’t reset all their account information.
  • I got myself a NLT bible, for lent I have decide to read a new testament letter every morning, so far I have been successful.
  • And why is it always when you go to brain dump stuff, you get a few things out and then forget, or can’t work out how to word everything else you wanted to post? I will keep editing this as more things come to me.

Goals for 2013

This year I have decided to make all my goals actually tangible and measurable.

They are, in no particular order:

  • Complete my PhD
  • Get a real job
  • Learn German
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
  • Publish a paper and a journal article
  • Go on a holiday for at least a week without internet access

2012 in review: the year ends, the world doesn’t

Rugby League
Rugby League

At the start of this year, as always, I set myself a set of goals, some of them in review:

  • Learn German
    • This went really well until about March and then I got busy.
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
    • This was all but forgot about, so will be a goal for 2013
  • Publish two papers
    • Achieved!
    • I presented work at AAAI-12 in Toronto, Canada, and at AI-12 in Sydney.
  • Keep PhD on track for completion in early 2013
    • Probably going to be mid 2013, but I am on track.
  • Spend more time on non-computer aided activities
    Easter Show
    Easter Show
    • Achieved!
    • I have spent more time in the evenings reading real books, and going out with mates on the weekends.

During the past year I haven’t done any hiking, and there have been fewer adventures. Having said that I have still done a fair amount of fun things around Sydney during the year:

January – went to Garie Beach, Symphony in the Domain, and Australia Day Celebrations.

February – went to the T20 Cricket, and spent a few weeks at home in Auckland.

V8 Supercars
V8 Supercars

March – spent a weekend on the Central Coast with church friends.

April – spent Good Friday at the rugby league, and did the annual afternoon at the Easter Show.

May – went to Vivid Sydney.

June – watched an orchestra perform at the Sydney Opera House, and went away for a weekend with mates to the Central Coast – again.

July – spent a day at the Biennale of Sydney, went to the winter festival at Bondi, and started my North American adventures – in Toronto and Niagara Falls.


August – continued the North American adventure in New York, Baltimore and Washington, and Montreal.

September – went the the V8 Supercars at Sydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek.

October – went to Sculpture by the Seatwice.

November – saw Coldplay perform at the Sydney Football Stadium.

December – watched the start of the Sydney to Hobart, and went to Warragamba Dam.

I will post my goals for 2013 on January 1.

Goals for 2012

In no particular order:

  • Learn German
  • Summit Mt Kosciusko
  • Be more financially stable
  • Be more generous
  • Keep my house cleaner
  • Publish two papers
  • Keep PhD on track for completion in early 2013
  • Spend more time on non-computer aided activities

Goal Review and Memoirs of 2011

Skillet in Sydney
Sleeping Koala
Vivid Sydney
Yarra River
My Happy Place

For me 2011 has been a year of extreme highs and deep lows. As cliché as it is, it has also past by way too quickly.

At the start of 2011 I set myself some goals for the year, which were, in summary:

  • Be out of all NZ debt (excluding student loan) by year’s end.
    • This didn’t happen. But I am over halfway there.
  • No more depression.
    • During the start of 2011 the exact opposite happened, I found myself in one of the deepest holes I have ever fallen into. But the second half of the year has seen this completely turn around.
  • Refine what I believe and find a church that meets those beliefs.
    • I think the refining is a continuing process. But the good news is I am now settled in a small but growing and vibrant church community.
  • Expand my network of Sydney-based friends to beyond computer science.
    • I would still like more friends, but this has been mostly achieved through finding a church home.
  • Keep my house cleaner and tidier.
    • Does four days of epic cleaning over the Christmas break count?
  • Get funding to travel to a conference in either Europe, Asia or America.
    • Does Perth count as overseas?

Unlike 2010 I spent a lot less time travelling, however, this was made up by attending a lot more events, activities and hiking around Sydney:

January – Watched Australia get defeated at The Ashes, Hiked through Lane Cove National Park, Rocked out to Skillet, and had fun days out with friends on Australia Day, Symphony in the Domain, and Opera in the Domain.

February – In February I said goodbye to a number of friends as they pursued their lives overseas. I also visited the Hunter Valley, and the Blue Mountains.

March – This month was also filled with farewells. I also hiked through the Royal National Park, and Wentworth Falls.

April – I went to the Easter Show… the absence of other photos from this month probably highlights the low point of the year.

May – During May there was yet more goodbyes, by this time five good friends had flown to far distant lands. I also spent a few days in NZ, and hiked with friends on the Manly Scenic Walk.

JuneA group of mates went to Vivid Sydney… I also seem to have a lack of photos from this month as well.

July – I went to Melbourne for a weekend. I also did some urban walking around parts of Sydney.

August – Yet more hiking was to be had, this time up around Jerusalem Bay, I also went skiing in NZ, Ice Skating in Sydney, was in the audience of The Gruen Transfer, and found a church home.

September – Rugby World Cup time! I spent many a cold and wet night at Darling Harbour watching NZ progress through the competition. I also went hiking at Berowra Waters.

October – Oh look more hiking around Berowra, I also attended the NRL Grand Final.

November – Yet more hiking near Berowra, and the lack of photos suggests really busy times the rest of the month.

December – The end of the year has been very busy. Early in the month I attended the V8 Supercar race in Sydney, spent a week in Perth for a conference and then a quick roadtrip, the rest of the month has been spent working on uni research and Christmas.

I will post my goals for 2012 on January 1.

The Masquerade of Humanity

Over the last few weeks I have been observing people and the way in which we all as humans wear different masks depending on the circumstances we are in. Some people claim that this is just their form of being “bi-polar” but I think there is something deeper to it.

I am always my harshest critic and often find myself getting pissed off at myself for the way in which I talk, act and do change depending on who I am around. Now it is perfectly natural to act more casual around your friends as you are more relaxed and not trying to fit into the societal norms that are expected within a workplace for instance. However, I find it frustrating how people become entirely different depending if they are at school, church, home, work and the associated social groups.

For instance within Christian circles there is a label applied to those who just come to church on a Sunday and spend the rest of the week acting as if they are just like everyone else – so called “Sunday Christians”. Now don’t get me wrong, it is very important to fit into society and to interact with it, but surely if you are as hardcore Christian as you make yourself out on a Sunday this should show through during the rest of the week.

Or how about those people who are uber geeks at uni but spend the rest of the time trying to play down their intellectual ability. I mean why can’t we just be who we are?

And yet as I write this I am also realising that in a way I fit the people who I am describing. Maybe this is why I get so annoyed at them, because I am one of them.

But I digress from my key point. Should humanity throw off the masks that they hide behind and show who they really are? Is true honesty too much to ask for? Or are we just too comfortable living in our dream world where all business men wear suits and all the artists wear clashing colours that they call fashion?

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr Seuss