What did Declan do in 2022?
One of the things that I started in 2022 was publishing a summary of what I got up to each week in the form of a week note. The notes evolved in structure throughout the 52 weeks, but the general idea was to log what I watched, what I read, if I'd changed anything on this site, and anything else that I wanted to make note of. With the help of those notes, here is a summary of what I got up to in 2022.
This post is quite long so I don't expect anyone to read through all of it. Here's a list of links so you can jump to the bits that might be of interest:
I started a new job as a software engineer at Twilio. I went from hybrid working to working for a remote-first company so I no longer have a commute which has been great and I've appreciated the additional time that I now have each day. I managed to visit the office in London for a social event, though I still haven't met (in-person) most of the team that I work with as they are all located outside of the UK.
I ventured into the Fediverse at the start of the year by creating my first Mastodon account. I moved accounts a bit, had a go at running my own single-user server, but in the end I settled on indieweb.social. It's great that more and more people have found Mastodon in the past 12 months for various reasons and that there are no algorithms.
To try and prevent sitting in front of a screen all day, in 2022 I started recording the books that I had read on this site. I managed to read 10 books and though I felt like I should have read more, it was also the same number that my mum's book group read so I'm not going to feel bad about it.
The one I enjoyed most was Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir though I know the notes that I wrote for it don't reflect how good I thought the book was. Some of the books that I chose to read this year made reading feel like a challenge rather than a way to unwind, so for 2023 I've chosen to only add books to the reading page if I finish them. I probably wouldn't have finished The Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien if I hadn't already added it to the reading page in anticipation that I would add notes later.
My alternative to reading books when I finished work for the day was often to play video games. At the beginning of 2022 I was using Google Stadia as my preferred platform and then used the Nintendo Switch when there were games that I wanted to play which weren't on Stadia. Then it was announced that Stadia was being shut down. As Google handed out refunds for all Stadia games and hardware, I was able to buy a PlayStation 5 digital edition. This meant that I hardly picked up the Switch or a Stadia controller for the rest of the year, immersed in the catalogue of new games that I could play. Of the games that I played this year, my favourites were Marvel's Spider-Man and Stray.
TV and Film
A consistency in my week notes was the list of TV and film that I'd watched each week. While most of what I watched was consumed on the smaller screens of my phone or laptop, I did get to visit my local cinema in Worthing to see some films on a bigger screen.
The two I enjoyed most on the big screen were The Batman and Everything Everywhere All at Once. The Batman was the first film I saw at the cinema where social distancing was no longer in place so while there was less personal space, the film had me gripped throughout. Everything Everywhere was just ridiculous, but the kind of ridiculous where despite thinking it could not get any weirder, it continued to.
The two TV programmes from 2022 that I enjoyed most were Rings of Power and Star Wars: Andor. Rings of Power made me feel like there was some of The Silmarillion that I did understand, and I did like the story it told. Andor was a pleasant surprise and although I'd pretty much forgotten who Cassian Andor was before I started watching it, the story was very good.
I also logged all the football games that I attended in 2022. In addition to watching Brighton play at home, I also got to watch them play away 6 times, only losing twice - 3-1 away at Tottenham in the FA cup and losing on penalties to Charlton in the Carabao cup. I didn't take well to Graham Potter very quickly leaving Brighton to join Chelsea, so while I enjoyed watching the big wins against Manchester United and Leicester, I particularly enjoyed watching Brighton win 4-1 against Chelsea to give Roberto De Zerbi his first win. Brighton now have a world cup winner in the squad in Alexis Mac Allister too. It's an exciting time to watch Brighton heading into 2023.
My week notes started to sound a bit repetitive when I mentioned how often I was playing basketball. I was only on the losing team once in 2022 and won the Basketball Sussex Men's league and cup in the 21/22 season.
I got to see some live music in 2022. In March, Becka and I went to see Royal Blood in Bournemouth. A couple of days later I tested positive for COVID-19 but I really enjoyed the gig. Becka and I also got to see Fatboy Slim on Brighton beach for the 20th anniversary of Big Beach Boutique.
The artist I enjoyed listening to most in 2022 was Fred again... The Boiler Room set appeared on my YouTube recommendations and while it feels weird watching the people standing in the background, I must have watched multiple times rather than opening Spotify. I also liked the Actual Life 3 album that was released in 2022 too.
I was fortunate enough to go on two holidays in 2022. Becka and I visited Bude in Cornwall in July for a UK based holiday that didn't require thinking about international travel and COVID restrictions. I'd been to Bude before but it was interesting to see how it changed since my childhood. Before I started my new job, we decided to take the Eurostar and visit Amsterdam. I hadn't been to the Netherlands before but we both very much enjoyed Amsterdam.