2019, the year that was…

So it’s now officially 2020 here, and this year wishing someone a “Happy New Year” seems somewhat hollow, I mean it’s kinda hard when a fair part of your country is quite literally on fire at the moment to think about having vast amounts of positivity for the new year, and reportedly, new decade.

2019 was a year where I had to focus more on my own health, and I’ve made some great gains. My diabetes is being managed effectively, and I’ve lost weight, around 15kg since this time last year. In my head I contextialise this last achievement by thinking how heavy a 5kg bad of potatos weighs when I pick it up at the supermarket, and I’m now three of those lighter!

Really it all comes down to paying attention to what I eat, and moderate excercise. I haven’t joined a gym or anything, but I ensure I do at least forty minutes of walking each day, having a watch with a built in pedometer helps the cause, so I can track my progress during the day.

Really it has been about building the routines though, the habits that mean I don’t evemn have to think about what I’m doing, I just do it. In terms of how I feel, I’m finally starting to get back to some sense of normality, as I was unwell throughout much of 2018, and recovering during 2019.

Diabetes is a degerative condition, which means it will get worse over time, but the steps I tale now can minimise the future impacts to a certain extent, so I’m buying myself time by getting on top of it now.

Books

I have actually managed to work my way through some books this year, mainly due to the fact that I’ve been using Audible as my entertainment for my daily work commute.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

Humble Pi by Matt Parker

Billed as a comedy of maths errors, Australian mathematician Matt Parker explores the impact of mathematical errors and misunderstandings, and their impacts, in an entertaining and engaging way. My favourite tale is one I’d heard about previously, the story of there 500 mile email, which you can read about in the original Reddit post here.

How to by Randall Munroe

Randall Munroe is the person behind the XKCD stick figure web comic, and he used to work for NASA. This book introduces itself as a book of “bad ideas”, apologising if any good ideas accidently sneak in. It looks at everyday scenarios, and the craziest ways of solving them. I love the Q&A with Chris Hadfield, it’s brilliantly left field and entertaining.

Spaceman by Mike Massimino

Mike Massimino is a former NASA astronaut, he’s flown to Hubble twice to service and repair the telescope. He tells his story of an ordinary kid, who dreams of going to space, and the challenges along the way to achieving that goal. He is also, incidently, the first person to tweet fro mspace, so there you go.

Failure is not an option by Gene Kranz

Gene was the Flight Director for NASA during the the program to land man on the moon. He gives a look at what it took to get Apollo 11 there and back again.

Lock in by John Scalzi

I found Scalzi accidently, I love Wil Wheations narrations, and was looking for more, and found Scalzi and his books. Lock in is a scifi police procedural in a world where a small percentage of the population suffers from being locked into their own bodies, unable to move, using artificial bodies, called “threeps” (for C3PO) to interact with the real world. Scalzis humour and style of tale telling greatly appeal to me, so I’ve been on a Scalzi binge since. Head On, a direct sequel to this tale is also excellent.

Old Mans War by John Scalzi

What if you could take the mind and experience of a seventy five year old, and place it in a genetically enhanced young body and make it a soldier? This story tells the tale of John Perry, who enlists in the Colonial Defense Force, on the promise of being made young again, to serve in the military. It’s an entertaining story told from Perry’s viewpoint.

Conclusion

So in the main, 2019 was a a win in many ways, however the world seems to going to hell in a handbasket some days, but on a personal level I leave it better than I entered it.

So happy new year, and welcome to 2020!

Andy