A year in review and looking forward - part 1

I remember the look on the girl’s face as I swore at pretty much every person who was trying to get a taxi from a taxi rank outside Leeds’ train station. I couldn’t tell if she was disgusted or shocked, either way I considered that my New Years resolution was now complete.

I had a theory that to express yourself better you needed to let go of some inhibitions, I’ve seen people have complete rants in the most inappropriate places with swear words flying around like migrating birds. I wondered is the reverse true, if you swore more then would be more likely to express your opinions (there is probably a South Park episode in there? I decided to make that my NYR to just swear more, not at a particular person just more in general.

So for this review I had to look at my calendar, in which I keep most of my events archived. So what did I do, how did my life change and did it change for the good? Let’s explore.

The start

Well the year started pretty badly on a physical front. I was in hospital just after Christmas suffering from some severe back pain, so I was loaded up on codeine when the new year passed. I was off work for 2 weeks but luckily I had two wonderful doctors in my house who looked after me. They both moved out that month, probably not related.

It was at this time I decided to become more proactive about this problem, I had been on the NHS trying to find some solution. I had already had a epidural (which didn’t work) and physio, so I was booked in for another appointment with another spinal specialist. I also found myself an osteopath privately to see what that would do. I had already posted about how sceptical I was about seeing one, so I won’t go into detail here.

By February I had two new people in the house both guys. It became this male infested sweat shop, where it was discussed if vacuuming the stairs was optional. One particular house mate was new to Manchester, so I decided to try something different. I realised that if I went to a new city and didn’t know anyone, I would have to work hard to meet new people and make new friends. I figured I would try and take him out to everything I normally go to and hopefully this would fast track his social career if you will, even then at least he won’t be bored.

A few points jumped out at me: It seemed with a new person it immediately starts of as a reciprocal relationship, if you do something for me then I will do something for you. I remember my house mate saying, he would have to invite me to something now only after I took to him to his first board game event. I didn’t intend to get anything back from jump starting his new social life, I merely acted as I would expect someone to do to me if I was new. Considering I normally kept to myself, did this mean we would be at stalemate from the start if I didn’t make the first move?

The other is that even it gets awkward: Just push through. I had been asked numerous times if this is a bit strange or awkward, I just lied and said no. Of course it’s strange and awkward but I can’t think of a better way of meet new and different people outside of the usual trapping of work and social/sport clubs. But I did push it a bit when I would just randomly proclaim my house mate is coming over to a gathering of closely-knit friends.

Needless to say we are very good friends and have been going to mutual social events since.


I have now moved off the mobile stuff and now getting into the guts of the company’s core business. This also meant familiarising myself with the Java language once again. I still helped out with mobile now and again, it would seem my fate with that side of the business is now sealed and I will forever be known as the mobile guy.

I also organised my first work out going, it was pretty minor organisation but I have never really done anything like this before. Taking a group of people who I relate to in one context and placing them somewhere else. I even roped in a person from another team, I would have to say I am well chuffed.

It was now getting close to my birthday. it also just so happened that the work lot had organised a going out party of about 15 people, so I decided to hijack that as part of my celebrations. It was also time for some more incursions of my body, this time I would be getting a nerve block which should reduce the pain in my spine but this is not a solution just another way of masking the pain. The problem was that I was well in to my osteopathic treatment so I was unsure how effective this would be. I had it and it worked for about a week, pretty much pain free. I saw the spinal specialist and he couldn’t recommend any more treatment, surgery was too drastic. So I guess this is it for the NHS. Go, go osteopath!!

Around the same time my cinema goings were reaching the peak, the summer blockbusters were coming out I had seen over 30 films by now and it seemed like this was a like my little movie going meetup group. I would see the same people, especially if there was a special screening. There was one man who had (what looked like) a specially made hoody for the “The Raid”. I saw him a few times afterwards with the same hoody. While sitting in those screenings it was like I was part of some special club, these were not just your average punter, they pay a subscription so see these films. They probably enjoyed films as much as me and are serious about it.


Every year I had pretty much left he country looking for my adventure fix but I had always wanted to know what did Britain have to offer? This year I had the opportunity. A friend of mine loves his hiking and outside exploration, so he organised a hike and some caving in the north of the country. We went to the Gaping Gill ,where a few times a year they set up a winch to allow you to descend into the cave. I have to say what an experience while descending to have your face just centimetres away from the cave wall and suddenly have it drop away to reveal the cavern below. We went up further north into Scotland to hiking up a hill (albeit the wrong one) and only to find ourselves 3 miles from our car, to which I had to trek back to get along a straight highway reminding me of those American films where the tall, dark stranger is walking on the long cross country roads in the middle of the desert. Further adventures included trying to stargaze at 2am in the morning but there was too much sunlight, yes sunlight at 2am. After a 1000 miles and 4 days we had toured Scotland.