Welcome 2020

A little bit late, but here are my reflections on the new year. 2019 was a weird year. Last year I promised myself I would cut down on side projects, and ooh boy that didn’t work out — I did cut some of my projects off, but it felt like fighting a hydra: One down, two more pop up. This year I will try to keep simple, and go for a more concrete list of “resolutions” for 2020:

  • I want to learn some French. Last year I was at the head of three different collaboration projects with French universities, and there are at least two more new related projects bubbling up. These collaboration projects don’t count much for my promotion prospects, but they do satisfy me personally a whole lot. So I’m doubling down on them. More concretely, I’m going to do some Duolingo in January and go from there.
  • I want to improve my written Japanese. My two biggest time sinks at work are reading and responding to e-mails in Japanese, and filling out forms and documents. So I want to try and get some skills to deal with those. More concretely, I’m negotiating to have the university pony out some of those sweet sweet Faculty Development programs to help me improve my work tools.
  • I want to write an Alife paper. Two years ago I went to the Alife 2018 conference in Tokyo, and that was one of my best academic experiences in recent memory. A bunch of poor decisions made me lose most of my research time in 2019, but let’s fix that in 2020 and do something new, towards becoming the researcher I really want to be. I am reading some Alife books right now, but I need a more concrete plan for this one.
  • I want to run Ryutama. This one is a late addition. One of my constants in the last 17 years (wow) in Japan is my weekly RPG game at the Daydream Cafe. Mr. Okada, who has also worked at the cafe all this time, is the creator of Ryutama, a light-hearted RPG system about travel. It turns out that he is retiring from the shop this year, and it would be a pity if I did not play this game at least once before he left. Concretely, I will probably buy the PDF and read it through the weekend.
  • I want to make another game. I programmed way too little in the second half of 2019. Let’s make a game at Ludum Dare April 2020!
  • I want to have an average of one Blog post per month, and I want to host some service (bot, etc) at my website. Social media is all fine and all, but nothing beats a personal website. I pay a reasonable price for a virtual host here, and I would like to put it to some use. Last year I started trying to make a discord bot, and that was not bad, but this year I want to do something that anyone can use without a special account. Probably a summer project, maybe I can finally check out that Mastodon thing right.
  • I want to keep my weight under 66kg. During the winter holidays, I saw that I was reaching an alarming 69kg. Now, I am mostly satisfied with my body image, and I’m not looking at getting buff or anything, but I’d like to make sure that it stays under control.

That’s it. Maybe those are too many projects, but if I complete at least a third of them, I will be very happy at 2021.

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