Captain’s Log: December 2021

December was mostly a roaring success. I started to feel more like the me of old. I enjoyed time with my family and my partner. It was honestly a great end to the year. With a blip of being ill via Covid Booster in the last week of work. But C’est la vie. Progress isn’t a straight line and roads all get bumpy.

Time for the sort of monthly/annual summary:

11k steps a dayThis was a target I set 12 months ago. After I had managed a full 365 days of doing 10k steps a day. It seemed like a minimal increase and one that was entirely achievable. Having moved myself so regularly in 2020 I was ready for massively increased activity and to finally lose weight again. Sadly I hurt my foot/ankle in March and I never really recovered. This was dead from the first quarter basically.
150 active minutes per weekThis was the “real” target for 2021. Yea I had done raw movement but now I wanted to structure genuine exercise back on a regular basis. I did manage this from December 2020 until the “injury”. Then it was unachievable while I adopted a strategy of resting up until the pain went away.
1 technical blog a monthI started 2021 with about 8 posts in draft and figured I would just put those out. When I delved into it some of the posts were now more-or-less irrelevant as the technologies were pretty much retired, dwindling, or when I googled found others had been quicker at posting the ideas. If we substitute this ambition for “do more security research” then I definitely managed that.

I was involved in three research projects which generated 17 CVE vulnerabilities blogged out of my employers website. There has been a slow down at getting CVE numbers issued by Mitre noticeable in the back end of 2021 which has held my final disclosure posts up.
Support my partner to exerciseThey stopped asking for this and I now am just taking the kids on wild adventures on Saturday mornings.
Record five songsI have definitely managed this and then some. So well done me. Still got many years of learning to do here but it really helps to set aside time to make music.
OSWEReplaced this with sitting an exam that work needed me to do. One attempt was aborted last minute due to waiting on a kid’s negative COVID test meaning I could not travel to sit the exam. I did get to sit the exam in December and as I am writing this I await the result.
Panic AttacksDecember was an excellent month. So lets start with that. I got a lot more sleep than usual. I was far more relaxed as a result.

However, I did have one panic incident. This was triggered by the stress of travelling to London to sit the exam. I knew this one was going to come because I have been stuck in the house so long. The thought of getting on a plane was low key terrifying me for months. So obviously I had some proper white-knuckle terror moments after I checked my bag in at Glasgow airport. I just wanted to get in a taxi straight home and write off whatever was in my bag. You can make your own fight or flight joke here because I certainly have! It is plainly ridiculous to the cold logic engine which normally runs my brain.

I called my wife who talked me off the ledge. I splashed some water on my face and I took it one task at a time. As predicted the flight was actually fine and, as always, the journey home was an absolute riot where I felt none of the ill effects.

If we talk about the entirety of 2021 then I had fewer and much less impactful bouts than 2020. This is because I have coping strategies and I am exposing myself to triggers to challenge the absolute nonsense that is going on in the silly part of my brain. I think the trend will remain downwards in 2022.

Other bits

Audiobooks – still plodding on with the Shoal series. I have completed Nova War, and have moved on to Empire of Light. As I have gotten back some mobility I have been able to walk around listening to audiobooks. This has massively helped improve my mood. I listened to several hours of this on my trip to London.

Television 1 – Babylon 5. My partner (probably a bigger nerd than me) had never seen B5. So I halted my re-watch around season 3 and started it again with them in the evenings. It has been really nice seeing them predict the plot twists several times and use their fantastic talent of spotting any jobbing actor that has ever been in Star Trek within moments regardless of how heavily made up they were in either show. This is an honest to god super power! Sometimes the voice is enough. It is amazing.

Television 2 – Star Trek (Original Series). Such melodrama. I live for the musical cues. Episodic content where every character resets between the end of one show and the next week is kind of jarring in the modern age. I cannot get over how Ltd Uhura had her ENTIRE MEMORY ERASED in one episode. They start to teach her basic skills and by next week she was totally over it! If you have any example of a character being reset harder than that I would love to hear it!

Video Games 1 – Wolfenstein: the new colossus. What a wild ride! I am only a few hours into it and have massively enjoyed the story. It is absolutely nuts.

Video Games 2 – Football Manager 2021 (not the latest one). I do enjoy spreadsheets and I have certainly got my monies worth out of this over the last 12 months. I have a save game where Scotland won a Euros championship about 4 years from now. Lets hope life imitates that save game 😀

Family – Kid A has been improving their behaviour by virtue of finally maturing. Progress is not a straight line and we are still getting frequent calls from the school about them. But there are more good days than there were before. The penny is starting to drop. Kid B is now showing a hilarious and much more chilled personality than Kid A. They are very different beasts.

House – planning permission and drawings all done for a loft conversion so we are going to have to find building companies to give us quotes. Finding trusted partners to do projects is always the real challenge. We are fighting whatever Brexit nonsense RE: materials and labour so the project might be dead before it is off the ground if the prices are out of range.

  • Plan A is “top down” – loft conversion. If the quotes are reasonable. Otherwise…
  • Plan B is “bottom up” – the ground floor is an absolute mess and we can get significantly better living conditions by replacing the kitchen and bathroom which we definitely have the budget for. Annoying that the home report lied so hard about the condition of the place that this is now necessary to replace floors that are marked as “category 1 – Excellent”.

Health – saving the biggest bit for the end. I went to a private Physio twice before Christmas. I had been waiting several months for a GP referral to land before resuming exercise. I had put on weight due to inactivity and it was making me more miserable. The Physio has confirmed that the pain is now most likely because I have rested an injury too long and allowed that area to atrophy. A few stretches and exercises chucked my way and I have already significantly reduced the pain. The main thing I needed was confidence that resuming exercise was not going to risk further injury and I was told categorically this was not the case. So I am taking baby steps back to jogging which is an activity that always improves my physical and mental health enormously. I have been given a green light to do the thing I wanted to. I am already seeing early results and cannot wait!


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