Sitting here trying to start writing, I am mentally noting to remember to take notes throughout the year if I want to write another year in review.
Naturally, the first things that come to mind are the big ones, so I will start there. In fact, I will tackle the most significant part of 2017 for me.
So, that happened.
Those were my actual thoughts when I went to bed at 4am after spending the day in the company of friends and relatives of both my older brother and my sister-in-law.
Ha! I can actually use the term sister-in-law now, which is cool. What is even cooler is that I have a sister, too, now.
It is funny how in one week I saw two sides of my brother that I had never seen before. Vastly different as well. On one hand there’s the bachelor party and on the other there is my brother saying Yes.
The weekend before the wedding (Wedding day was on Saturday), I flew back for the above mentioned bachelor’s party. To be completely honest, I had no idea what to expect.
Partying in the style of a young Bulgarian has never been my strong suit, especially considering that I never got the training of being an university student there.
Of course, I have been out with my brother before, so to say I was a stranger to his embarrassing dance skills would be a lie, but not much more than that.
Mingling with some of my brother’s friends was very interesting, though. Particularly the ones I did not know from before.
I do not expect anything less from my brother, but still, seeing and hearing everyone speaking the world of him is always nice. He is a great fella.
Then there was the club and the music. Long story short, having a glimpse in the life I could have led, I cannot be happier with my choices.
I do not want to go into details of what exactly happened, as there is more than 3h of footage to do that, but I would like to offer my feelings and thoughts as the day progressed.
Knowing it is a big day for both the soon to be newlyweds, it was a great privilege for me to be on my brother’s side throughout it. Putting on our suits, dancing, melting under the blazing heat, it was all there.
I had a great opportunity to meet with a lot of friends and family who I do not see that often, and to also introduce my partner to them. Having all the aunties saying how skinny she is was a good laugh.
A lot of parts of that day and the few ones before it struck my emotional side very strong, but hands down the most memorable feeling was during the ceremony.
I mean, I cried watching Finding Dory, but this was different.
Unfortunately, I cannot really explain it, but the only thing that comes close, was the realization that he is just standing there, getting married.
It was mental.
I remember, I was not very happy when he told me he is about to propose. It kind of felt, that I would be losing my brother to his new family. Funny though, I did not then understand that I was actually about to gain a sister to my family.
I know, so cheesy, but the fact that it really feels that way is really cool.
It is really hard to follow the wedding section, as nothing comes even close to it’s significance to me, but there were other cool and important for me developments throughout the year.
A highlight for me, definitely, is the start of my blog - Bindpose.
I had wanted to start one for quite a while. In fact the first few posts on it, are ones that I had been writing on and off throughout almost an year before publishing them.
I had told myself that I need to have a solid amount of work to publish before starting, so I can keep a bit of a buffer and also not have a completely empty website in the beginning.
I did not have any big ambitions for it, other than just being able to pour my thoughts about rigging ideas that I have had. Since, that’s my job, I spend a lot of time both developing those ideas and thinking about new ones. Hence, the only logical step was to start sharing them.
My initial articles, were way too general and I do not think anyone is getting much benefit from them, but I felt that I want to have some solid ground before getting into it. Even though, they just sit there at the bottom right now, they did help me get into writing more, since I already had planted some seeds.
A few months in, I had an amazing response from the community, with really great comments and quite a lot of readership. That led me to starting a newsletter, which has also been a lot of fun.
Granted, I do not provide much original content in the newsletter other than a bit more thoughts on the topic of the week.
Writing on bindpose and seeing people finding value in it, I felt like there is no good way for us - riggers - to find each other and communicate online.
There is twitter, of course, but it almost feels as a hack more than as a solutions, as there is so much junk there.
That is why, I wanted to start something, where people can get together and chat specifically and only about rigging and anything related to it.
With a quick landing page and a few posts, I was able to gauge, that other people felt the same way and would really appreciate a place for riggers to talk.
A month later I was almost ready with the development of it. I will talk more about programming in a following section.
Unfortunately, since starting it, I have been swamped in work and have not been able to maintain it as much as I want, as well as add much needed new features, but I hope I can crack on with those in the new year.
Additionally, I have not been writing on the blog in quite a while now, which also does not feel nice at all, so I am really looking forward to getting more of that done, as there always are cool rigging things to talk about.
I find myself doing a lot of it, and quite possibly 2017 has been the more code-prolific year for me, so far.
Other than the fact that about 70% of my work is writing Python and occasionally C++ for plugins, I also like spending a lot of time working on my, continuously in development, rigging framework at home, as well as a multitude of other little bits and pieces.
As mentioned above I developed the talk.bindpose.com from scratch, which was great fun. It was my first time using Flask and I have to say I really enjoyed using it. The minimal aspect of it and the fact that is very Pythonic help a lot when trying to design a web platform.
The last web app that I had built before that was a thing called GEBY (Gratitude, Exercise, Breakfast, You), based on an idea Noah Kagan wrote about on his blog. That one was my first ever attempt to create a web app from scratch and I had a lot of fun building it, especially since it helped me understand a lot more about how the web works in general.
Other more web-geared developments I have been working on in my free time are a couple of scrapers - one for properties, as me and my partner are looking to rent a decent 1 bed flat in London without having to pay with an arm and leg and another one for flights from London to Sofia, so I can stay on top of things when it comes to going back to see friends and family.
Most recently, I wrote a little REST api for controlling my computer remotely in Flask, which is just hosted locally, so I can only access it on our home wireless network.
So far, I have just added the ability to move the mouse around, make clicks, drags, etc. and also a few buttons for changing the volume and controlling playback as that is what I mostly need the remote for.
And lastly, I have been working on a clipboard manager over the last few days, as I have a very precise interface in mind, which I have not found an available solution for (I have to say I did not look very hard). It is a Python app using PySide and the interface I mentioned is that I want to maintain Ctrl + V‘s normal behaviour when tapped, but when it is being held, that is when I want for all the available options to pop out.
Other than that, I have dabbled with small things, and it seems to me the ones I came back to most oftenly are a custom virtual assistant (as I do not feel great about providing all my data to the available solutions) and simple multiplayer game development.
What this means to me is that hopefully in the new year I will explore these areas a lot more.
Similar to the programming section, I think 2017 has been the best reading year for me so far, too. I think a big helper is the fact that I spend at least about 50 minutes a day on the tube, so I have that time for nothing else but reading.
Occasionally that reading is articles, but mostly I read books on my kindle.
I have read a total of 30 books this year. Here is a complete list in chronological order.
Looking at these you can easily see the patterns.
I did find out this year that I really really like science fiction. I finalized my last year with the Hitchhiker’s series, and easily fell in love with Douglas Adams’ writing.
Since Isaac Asimov’s name comes up in any respectable science fiction list, I had no choice but to have a read, and obviously from the list I did quite enjoy it, since what followed was a reading spree through his most popular series.
Another huge highlight in this year’s reading list was Harry Potter and the methods of rationality. I found a lot of my own thoughts in the book, so it felt very close to me and also it made me aware of a lot of interesting quirks of the human nature, which we rarely think about, even though they have profound effects on our day-to-day lives. The examples that immediately come to mind are the sunk cost bias and the Stanford prison experiment.
SPOILER ALERT: And come on, Harry casting the true form of the patronus was just brilliant!
All in all, I am very pleased with my choice of books this year, even though, I would have liked to have read a bit more.
The only ones from the list that I would not necessarily recommend to everyone are The Martian Chronicles, Essentialism and Homo Deus.
Even though, I did a lot of things I am fond of during 2017, for me, it will always be the year my brother got married.
With all that, I am going into the new year motivated for exploring a lot more ideas and opportunities!