Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The machines are here

Every time the machines beat humans at something new there is a big kerfuffle.  It was a huge deal when Deep Blue beat Kasparov at chess years ago, and last year Go was finally dominated by a computer.  Now it is poker's turn.

There are many kinds of poker and various kinds have been beaten at various times but no limit heads up Hold Em was taken down just now, and that to me feels like the proper benchmark for computer dominance.

I recall when chess finally fell many people said that Go was simply too big, that machines would never beat humans.  They laughed at the idea of machines defeating the best poker players, because poker is so much about reading human expression and mood.  They were wrong.  The machines will beat us at everything.

And I do mean everything.  Not just mathematical games like Go, but far more difficult to quantify things like reading facial expressions and predicting behaviour.  They are even going to beat us at sex.  They aren't there now, not by a long shot, but eventually the robots will come for sex just the way cars came for carrying goods, computers came for chess mastery, and factories came for making shaped pieces of iron.  It is just a matter of time.

I am reading the Ancillary series of books by Ann Leckie, which is a science fiction series set in the distant future.  I recommend the series both as science fiction and as commentary on gender and sex, though the actual story and characters we never that compelling to me.  In it there are extremely powerful AIs that watch people all the time and learn their patterns by speech, facial expressions, and more.  They know when people are upset before the people themselves know.  This is going to be a reality given enough time because every time we have set ourselves the challenge to build a tool that will be better at something than a raw human we have succeeded, or are on the way to succeeding.  Reading and predicting human behaviour will be no different.

The idea of AIs watching me through myriad cameras and knowing what I think before I do isn't frightening to me.  Maybe it should be, but I honestly just shrug at the thought.  The machines already do pretty much everything better than me and my life is shaped by the rest of the world already so somehow it doesn't feel like it will be all that different.  Would machines watching me, trying to predict me really be that different from humans trying to do the same thing?  The only difference I see is one of efficiency.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Good Dad?

Today I tried to teach Pinkie Pie a lesson.  Not in an angry way, just in a learning way.  I might have taught her to be evil.  I can't tell.

Pinkie Pie has been watching a particular Youtuber called Dennis Daily.  She was desperately excited to look at his webpage and wanted to buy a shirt from it.  The shirts were fairly expensive, shipping was a lot, and they were in US dollars, so she was going to have to fork out nearly fifty dollars for the shirt.  This is more money than she has so she scoured the store on the website to find something, anything, to buy.

This is just not a state I get into.  I rarely buy anything that isn't food or transportation and when I do I go out to buy a specific thing I know I want.  I just don't get into a frenzy needing to buy something to satisfy my urge to consume.  Pinkie Pie does do this, and I think she is the normal one by far.

At any rate Pinkie Pie settled on a 'I <3 cats' mousepad.  With shipping and currency conversion it was going to add up to about $29, which seems ludicrous for a mousepad considering she already has a perfectly functional one.

So before ordering I typed in 'cat mousepad' into google to see what showed up.  Dennis Daily's website actually was in the top few on google which surprised me (I guess he is a bonefide celebrity, not that I would know) but also in the top few hits was Amazon.com.

Amazon has everything.  It turns out that in the set of everything there are cat themed mousepads, one of which was just as cute as the Dennis Daily offering.  Amazon, however, was willing to ship to us for a grand total of $9.

I don't like telling Pinkie Pie to skip out on paying the small scale content creator to buy from the multinational corporation, especially one that has a lot of sketchy business practices like Amazon does.

On the other hand I think it is a really good lesson that you should shop around a bit before actually committing to buy something.  In this case the shopping around took about 2 minutes and saved her $20 so it was quite worth it, particularly considering she gets $2.50 a week in allowance.

I don't know if I am on Team Good or Team Evil here.  I saved her money, promoted the faceless font of encroaching dystopia, taught her good lessons about being frugal, and failed to pay someone she wanted to support.

Maybe the lesson should have been "The ethics of shopping are highly complicated and making the right decision is difficult at best."

That might be a lesson for a few years down the road.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Nothing special, just The Rock

I daydream all the time.  While walking, while riding the subway, and especially while in a car.  My daydreams are pretty variable, as most people's are, but they really trend towards superhero type fantasies.

Sometimes I am just like Spider Man, superhumanly strong and fast, but not truly world bending.  I dream about fighting villains and saving innocents, about incredible adventure.

But other times I am more like Superman.  I am never so bland and dull as him though, my powers are bizarre and intricate.  Not all of the fantasy is about outrageous adventures against supervillains, because sometimes with world changing powers I take on real problems.  A ridiculous superhero of that power level can change governments, stop wars, and really remake the world.  What world leader could avoid at least nominally respecting someone who could simply flatten their home at will, with absolutely nothing that could be done to stop it?  The neat thing about this is often I try to figure out how I will cope with my loved ones being threatened once my super identity becomes known.  I am not silly enough to think that a tiny bit of cloth over my eyes will prevent facial recognition software, or just good old fashioned people's eyes, from figuring out who I was before I became super.  A superhero with nothing to lose and no attachments is far more dangerous than one who doesn't want certain specific people to be hurt.

Over the past year though my power trip fantasies have changed in tone.  I am still bigger than myself and have adventures I would avoid in real life, but instead of Superman I am just The Rock.  The Rock can't change the world, he can't intimidate world leaders, and he isn't invincible.  He could randomly pick someone up, hold them over his head, and then throw them through a window though and that is the sort of fantasy I have been having this past year.

This new style of daydream wouldn't require magic to make a reality, it would just need endless weightlifting, tons of steroids, and eating tremendous amounts of cod.  Just like The Rock!

Given that for the past year I have been working out a ton and getting a lot stronger we have a ready made explanation for why my daydreams and fantasies have suddenly shifted, but I wish I understood it better.  Being bigger and stronger has changed the way I feel around other people, and I have definitely noticed other people reacting to it.  I wish I could tell how much of it is physical change in my body and how much is the way I act.  Before I started all that though I certainly didn't expect it to change where my mind goes when I am just drifting, but it certainly seems to have done that.

Maybe it is that when I was smaller I felt like I wasn't "a big scary dude", the sort of person who could actually win a serious physical confrontation, and that I leapt right to magic for my fantasy fix.  Now I am closer to the The Rock template, perhaps I don't feel like being physically powerful is that far away, and I only need to reach a small distance.

I don't know, really.

But it is kind of neat to see how my unconscious perception of myself and what sorts of fantasies I come up with change with working out and getting big.  And it isn't as though I am suddenly gigantic - it is only a 7% change in body mass, give or take.  Yet that change has been enough to substantially alter the way I think in this way.

And all of that is kind of absurd no matter what because I still don't know the first thing about fighting and have no desire to do it in the first place.  That fact just doesn't seem to matter much to my brain when I am daydreaming though.

Brains are weird.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The greatest distraction

Trump is in office.  The world is soaked in concern about this.  My FB feed is full of it.  When I log into WOW public chat channels are clogged with people yelling about Trump.  No matter where I go I can't avoid it.

My social media is generally extremely Trump negative, largely because I end up friends with people who hate everything Trump is and everything he represents.  In less curated environments though, Trump arguments are virulent and I see both sides.  It is disturbing, for many reasons.

The main reason is, of course, Trump.  He could easily be a trainwreck for the US, but he could even be a disaster for the world.  He wants to nuke people as a matter of course!  But even beyond that it seems as though people seem emboldened to yell racist and misogynist things because Trump won, and that is another whole issue on its own.

But freaking out about it up here isn't doing me any good.  I can't do a damn thing about it, as I am not even IN the US, much less able to vote.

What I think I need to do is to try to avoid it as much as possible.  I don't want issues here in Canada to be ignored by me and mine just because the biggest dumpster fire on earth is blazing away nearby.

Canada's Conservative party has a new crop of candidates to choose from for their leader, and some of them are truly terrifying.

The Liberal party made a lot of promises during the election, and one of the most important, electoral reform, may get tossed by the wayside, largely because the Liberals think they might win more elections that way.


There are plenty of important things to think about here, and I want to focus my energy on them, not on the easy target down south.  It is so obvious and simple to be enraged at Trump, but I don't think that it is something I should spend my emotional energy on.  He is a mess, I can't do shit about it, time to make sure I pay attention to the things I have more control over and which affect me directly.

And hey, if you haven't already called up your local Liberal candidate to demand that the party stick to its election promises, do that.  I did, and I felt good about it, because I know they actually pay attention when you get on the phone and are polite but insistent.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

The price of sloppiness

Today I hurt myself while working out.  I was doing a one handed pull across my body and felt the muscle in my shoulder twinge.  It was near the end of the workout and I finished up, finding that the pain wasn't much and it didn't bother me doing the other exercises.  Tonight though, I hurt.  I got a massage and tried the hot tub and it is helping... but I hurt.

I know what I did wrong.  I have put on a lot of extra weight on that particular exercise because I was just cruising along too easily before, and I haven't got a good rhythm for it yet.  Tonight I was being sloppy and jerking the weight around too much instead of maintaining a good slow rhythm.

It is really tempting to do this.  I can make more weight go faster if I just move rapidly and jerkily, but then I end up doing this to myself and regretting it.  I need to go really slow and steady, and just accept that sometimes this means I won't be able to lift as much or do as many reps.  Breaks are ok, and they are far better than hurting myself.

I guess these are the lessons you have to learn over and over.  I know how I *should* do this stuff, but sometimes that good form gets lost in the attempt to just get it done already.

Being really consistent about this isn't just a matter of avoiding pain though.  It is also a matter of progress.  If I want to push harder, get bigger, and raise my numbers, I have to make sure that I don't break myself in the process.  Doing so will just slow me down and prevent me getting places.  I want this process to make me stronger, tougher, and healthier, not give me injuries I can nurse for the rest of my days!

I remember when I was a kid listening to the stories my dad's friends all told about their various surgeries to recover from football injuries in high school.  I vowed that I wouldn't be like those guys, sacrificing their bodies on the altar of entertainment.  I avoided football, but I need to keep that example in mind.  Lifting weights is a fine exercise, and healthy, as long as I don't get stupid.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Are you smart?

At a family event last week I was sitting beside Pinkie Pie when an older relative asked her the question "So, are you smart?"

She was taken aback, and didn't know what to say.  All she got out was a "Uhhhhh...." and stared down at the table.

Normally I try to strike a balance between just putting up with awkward questions from adults towards kids and calling people out but this time I definitely felt I had to step in.  Adults would feel that such a question to another adult would be extremely rude or at the very least ridiculous and I am quite sure it is just the same when a kid is asked such a thing.  What can the kid possibly say?

I turned to Pinkie Pie and said "Well, that is a hard question to answer, isn't it?  Because if you say yes people will think you are bragging, and if you say no, they will think it is false modesty or that you have no self esteem.  No good answers, are there?"

Pinkie Pie nodded in agreement.

I followed up.  "What you did was just fine.  When you are asked a terribly awkward question sometimes all you can do is say Uhhhhh, and that is okay.  Sometimes though you can try to handle it with humour.  You could point your finger up in the air and shout comically 'I am the smartest person .... IN THE WORLD!' and see how that goes."

Pinkie Pie replied that I could manage to pull that off just fine, but that she was sure she could not.

I agreed.  Her position is difficult, especially being the only kid at a table of adults, even more so when the questioner is an older relative she doesn't know.  Figuring out how to respond with humour to deflect awkwardness is a tricky skill especially in those sorts of circumstances.  Fortunately for me I am quite comfortable acting the fool in front of others, but I certainly wasn't so comfortable at her age.

The older relative who made the comment heard all of this quite clearly.  I don't know what they made of it, but they did remark later that I had quite a rapport with Pinkie Pie, so I guess that they weren't too offended by me basically saying that their question was absurd.

I wonder why adults act like this towards children.  I tend to try to treat children like people - people that have limited skills and experience, certainly, but people nonetheless.  Tell them a funny story, ask them what they do for fun, or just discuss things that you find interesting and see what they have to add.  But quizzing them directly in ways that leave them no good answers and which you honestly don't want the answers to anyway?  It boggles my mind.

Pinkie Pie seemed happy with my response to the situation and not particularly fussed about the whole thing.  In the end it was a good teachable moment.  Whether or not she took the basic lesson about responding to awkward questions from higher status people or the advanced lesson of flipping the table to make the asker of an awkward question feel awkward themselves is unclear to me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Run, the nipples are here!

Naked Man made a post on Facebook today asking people how they would feel about their children seeing a topless woman in a movie.  He has been doing a series of parenting questions like this on all kinds of topics, and I am beginning to wonder if a part of his motivation is getting me all riled up to rant about it and get into fights with his other friends who aren't on the same page I am.

Obviously the answer is that there shouldn't be any differentiation between showing topless people based on sex.  Ideally.  But we don't live in an ideal world, and in the world we live in showing a topless female has a different result than showing a topless male.  The female in this case would be sexualized, regardless of how she acted, but the male *might* be sexualized but in any case it would be far less so.

That distinction doesn't matter to me though in terms of my response to this question, and indeed it is a ridiculous question to me.  I am naked around Elli on a regular basis, and I am perfectly comfortable with her seeing other naked bodies too.  The idea that a child would be corrupted by the sight of a breast is so absurd to me I can't even think straight about it.  Most of them spent between half a year and two years with their faces smooshed into breasts!  How is it that after that seeing a naked breast will be a disaster?

I don't pretend that I am immune to cultural conditioning!  I notice breasts, a lot.  I saw the movie Riddick recently and I recall quick clearly that there is a topless scene for the one female character but I find myself unsure if there is a topless scene with any of the males in the movie.  I don't think so... but would I have noticed and remembered?  Topless females stand out to me due to a combination of cultural conditioning, feminist principles, and my sexual orientation.  Whereas if a male had been changing into a new shirt and been topless at some point I am not at all confident I would have recorded that, and I suspect this is a common thing, and not just amongst those who are sexually attracted to topless females.

This doesn't mean that we should shelter our children from topless females though.  Even though society conditions us to see that as a sexual thing the correct response is not to give in to it and cover our children's eyes in such situations.  We need to do the opposite.

Okay, maybe the opposite is seeking out topless females to show to our children, and we don't need to do that.  What we need to do is model indifference.  Sure, there are some shirtless people.  Whatever, it is just people's bodies, those don't hurt us.

I don't stop at topless though.  Bodies aren't offensive.  Nudity should not be a crime, nor should people feel like nudity is an attack on everyone else nearby.

But in the world I actually occupy you can't show a breast in a movie without the censors clutching at their pearls and marking the movie as only acceptable for adults.  I won't entirely throw the blame their way either, as those censors are by and large doing what the public wants.  People are terrified of sex, and breasts are sexualized, and thus people feel they must be controlled and hidden and marked 'filthy'.

Which all sucks.  I think things are shifting my way, but I also don't think I am going to live long enough for them to shift as far as I want.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Feral spaceman kills people. Are you not entertained?

This weekend I watched Riddick, a futuristic action movie starring Vin Diesel.  It is the third in the series, though I didn't even realize that when I watched it and I didn't feel like I was missing out.  I really liked it until right at the end a scene went wrong and it bothered me enough to shake my happy feelings about the movie.  (Massive spoilers, in case it wasn't obvious.)

The film got pretty meh reviews, but the complaints everybody else had were largely different from mine.  Mostly people hated the dialogue and the characters, whereas I quite liked them.  People think Vin Diesel is a horrible actor, and they are completely right.  He is the worst.  But even the worst actor can be fun to watch sometimes, and Vin wasn't called up on to do anything interesting here.

In short, Riddick is violent, gory, and brutal.  It has great conflict between four different factions that shifts throughout the movie in ways that are satisfying.  Many futuristic movies totally screw up tech, but Riddick does it right.  There is tech but they don't try to explain how it works or make me cringe with pseudo scientific gobbledegook - the characters just use the tech naturally.  There are advanced cybernetics, energy weapons, FLT travel, and other toys but they fit into the movie smoothly, by and large.  It feels dirty and rusted, patched together, a lot like a western setting but with lasers - it reminds me of Firefly, and that is a good thing.

The conflict mostly takes place between a bunch of violent mercenaries on a deserted planet, so one might expect that the token woman in the film would be there mostly to get rescued.  There is only a token woman called Dahl, but she is a total beast who kicks people's asses.  When they try shitty cat calling, she beats them up.  When one of the bastards tries to rape her, she kicks his ass and acts like it was no big thing.  She also is a lesbian which is great because more queer representation in film is good, especially amongst the hardcore hetero male action movie set.


Near the movie's end the shit is hitting the fan and Riddick tells people how it is going to be.  He goes on about who he is going to kill and how they are going to get away from the aliens, and finishes off with "And then I am going balls deep into Dahl, but only because she will ask me nicely."  It was a jarring because Dahl had already spent enough of the movie fighting off misogynistic crap from the evildoers, she hardly needed the hero presuming she will be available for sex too!

The plot continues, and at the end of the movie Riddick is being rescued by Dahl, pulled up a wire into a spaceship.  She grinds against him, then says "I want to act you something really nicely...." and we are left to assume that they run off to have sex as soon as they get into the safety of the ship.

This makes me grumpy.  You get points for putting lesbians into action movies as fighters, sure, but you lose ALL those points when you have them suddenly convert to being straight just because the male protagonist is so damn sexy.  It especially irked me because there was a superb way to finish that scene that the movie already set up!  Earlier in the movie Dahl says to a guy who is hitting on her "I don't fuck men."  All she had to do when rescuing Riddick was say "You know, you were right when you told us how things were going to play out.  Except for just one thing... I still don't fuck men."

Bam!  She gets to actually stay queer, the conclusion is nicely foreshadowed, and it is even a bit funny when the superman hero of the series actually gets it wrong.  It would humanize him a bit, and make him much more of a character, and less of a caricature.

I found a lot to like about Riddick, but it seems my misogyny detector is set higher these days than even before and stuff like this gets to me.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

For instant fun, just add people

Earlier this week I wrote about how people often overestimate how good other people have it.  They look at what others have, whether it be a relationship, experience, or object and figure it is an endless party.  When the jealous people actually get the thing they desperately crave they usually find out it isn't as good as they had thought it was.  This applies to owning homes (flooded basements), cars (replacing transmissions), kids (midnight tantrums), and sex (oops I bonked your ribs with my knee), and threesomes (oh no, that person has more impressive genitals than I do, how can I compete?).  That last one is what got people's attention.

In retrospect tossing in references to threesomes into a post about being realistic about what you want was going to get attention; I should have known that.

I got several responses to the post in person, on the blog, and on Facebook, and all of them were the same.  The responders generally agreed with my point that people often overestimate how much fun the thing they aren't doing is, but they all said that threesomes actually were just as good as everyone thought, and one person wondered why I said they weren't, given my enthusiasm for them.

There was also some bragging about how great their sex lives were on the basis of having great threesomes, and given my knowledge of the people involved I think the bragging was warranted.

So maybe I was wrong.  Or maybe I just wrote badly.  Possibly both.

Here is the thing:  I didn't write about threesomes not being as good as you think from personal experience.  My experience with group sex ranges from 'That was pretty fun' to 'I have never felt this good before in my life'.  My times with two men and one woman mostly cluster in the 'pretty fun' zone, and with two women it is more of the 'floating on a sea of bliss' type.

But I don't base my thoughts on how everyone works solely on my own experiences.  I have talked to lots of people about their group sex experiences and there are so many horror stories.  People talk about terrible jealousy and competitiveness and mind games.  They tell me about relationships ruined and having group sex because of pressure or guilt.  When I read about people's group sex experiences on sex advice columns or other internet sources there are tales of woe aplenty.

All of which led me to figure that there are people who have good times, no doubt, but that there are all kinds of disasters too.

I don't want to write advice based on my experiences alone.  It is clear I am a bit of an outlier in many ways, so I really ought to carefully consider how everyone else experiences a thing when I tell people what to do.  Yet maybe I give the wrong impression when I do this, and what people really need is my personal take on a subject, a catalogue of the things that happened to me and how I felt about them.  What would that look like though?  'Careers suck, don't bother.  Kids are hard.  Video games, super fun, do that all day.  Also orgies are great.  BAM!'  Is that really useful advice for anyone?

I suppose the real message I should have sent is this:  When you are desperately craving something someone else has, you should know that there is a good chance it won't be nearly as good as you imagine when you finally get it.  It will likely be as good as you imagine at times, but much worse at other times.  It might be great all the time though, or terrible all the time.

That message is true, but truth is random and messy and does not fit well on a motivational poster.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Greens over the fence

The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  More specifically, people always seem to desperately crave whatever it is that other people are doing that they aren't getting themselves.  When they do get it, it practically never lives up to expectations and they rapidly get onto desiring the next thing in line.  The hedonic treadmill, it is called, where people always want more and actually getting more is nothing more than a temporary hit of good chemicals before things get right back to where they were.

The Ferrett wrote a good piece a short while ago about this where he talked specifically about first time teenage sex and threesomes.  People who aren't having sex tend to be all wound up about it, and they have all these ideas about what sex will be like.  The reality is usually completely different from the imagined situation.  Real sex is messy, involves unexpected bodily fluids, falling down, poking people with elbows by accident, and farts that come out at the most inconvenient times.  It isn't usually like our imaginations, much less like porn, and particularly first times tend to be a bit of a disaster.  Mine was!  Not that it was terrible, because I sure wanted to do that again, but it would never have been described as smooth.  (It was my fault, since I was the one who had no idea what I was doing.)

Threesomes are the same thing according to Ferrett.  People not having them feel like it must be this outrageously perfect thing that takes you to a whole new level of sex.  In practice though they are like sex is when you get to the real doing of it - lots of figuring shit out and goofing up.  Also much like two person sex it is far more important to be involved with people that you are comfortable with who can laugh at whatever silliness happens than it is to aim for 'the perfect experience.'

I think though it is useful to extend this a lot further.  People who remember wanting sex, knowing everyone else is having it (even when they aren't), and being desperate to take part in the transcendant experience will also generally remember it being a lot more pedestrian when it actually happened, but this is true of nearly everything.  Remember wanting a car?  Then you get a car and it won't start and you have to cope with getting it to a mechanic and hoping that the mechanic won't announce that you owe $5000 for repairs.  Remember wanting a house?  Then it floods and there are mice and the mice are building rafts to get around during the flooding and can they even do that?

When other people have a thing you want that thing.  But when you get it you aren't going to be nearly as excited as you thought you would be, and the excitement you have won't last nearly as long as you think it will.

This is true for threesomes, sex, new board games, fancy suits, Porsches, vacations, and everything else.

You should keep on striving for new and interesting things, of course, but it is best to be realistic about how much different your life will be when you finally do get them.  Also don't worry too much about how much fun people who have those things are having - it is a hell of a lot less fun than you imagine it is.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Drop out and get big

2016 shall be remembered as the year I dropped out and got big.

I started off the year pretty badly.  My kickstarter for the game I made, Camp Nightmare, failed.  I didn't try as hard as I could to make it go, though honestly I don't think I stood much of a chance in any case.  Whether I should have just not done it at all or sucked it up and thrown a few months of time at a project I wasn't wholeheartedly behind isn't clear to me.  It wasn't great.

It was a good learning experience though.  I confirmed that entrepreneurship isn't for me.  I don't want to be a small scale game publisher.  I want to make games on my own time and I want to make them for me.  If I am going to make money I will do it directly, rather than trying to blend game design and work.  That conclusion satisfies me.

Camp Nightmare ended up being published on a website where people can just order it.  I got 100 copies made myself, and the reception was good.  I have a few left, but mostly they are gone, and this is a fine place to be as far as I am concerned.  I don't care about being widely distributed - I made a thing, (though Nathan Nun, the artist, also put in a ton of time, love, and effort, to be sure) and that thing is out there now.  This pleases me.

I started working out in 2016 and it stuck.  Partly it was to get ready for my Tough Mudder event in the summer but it was also about vanity and health.  If I am honest, vanity is probably top of the list.  I added on 12 pounds of muscle, increased my strength by roughly 80%, and I look better in ways that I enjoy, whether or not anyone else does.  My cardio is vastly better too, though I don't have that result measured the same way.  I am definitely fitter, stronger, and healthier than I have ever been before.  I intend to continue lifting weights, and I have a new goal to work towards - 200/300.  I want to add on another 15 pounds of muscle to get my weight up to 200 pounds and be able to bench 300 pounds.  I don't know that this will happen in 2017 because progress is slow at this point but that is where I am aiming myself.

Running the Tough Mudder was a blast.  I ran 14 kms solid but eventually my knee succumbed to an injury from earlier in the year and I had to walk the last 2 km.  That felt fine.  I pushed hard, had an opportunity to reinjure myself, declined to do that, and I feel good about it.  Doing stuff with my brother is a thing I really enjoy.  It cost a ton of money though and I am not sure that investing that amount of money in Tough Mudders is really the thing I want.  If I found a group of people I liked in Toronto doing it I would be totally on board to run it again, but I don't want to travel as far as I did in 2016.  Maybe I can convince my brother to come down here to do it this year....?

I went to the World Boardgaming Championships and came home with a couple second place trophies.  I found new games I love, met a ton of fantastic people, enjoyed a holiday away from kid and responsibility, and I want to go again.  I have not been playing that many board games since but I don't think I actually care that much about placing well in the coming year.  I want to go, to play, to be in the atmosphere of WBC, and trophies will come or they will not.

I started dating four different people.  Three of those ended in a breakup, but none was angry or bad, and I am on good terms with everyone and have a couple of friendships.  It makes me happy to be able to maintain the good bits of a relationship even when romance isn't going to work.  The fourth person is the Flautist, and she makes me all kinds of happy.  I can just say whatever is in my brain and it works.  I don't have to hide or be constantly on my guard, I can be with her and just exist.  This is looking like it will go a long time, and I definitely look forward to that.  The fact that it is a long distance relationship is not ideal, but it is so worth it.

Parenting is getting easier, generally.  Pinkie Pie has struggled this year in some ways, but as she gets older I have more and more fun with her.  I love watching her reach out and be more independent and I enjoy having challenging conversations with her.  I look forward to teaching her many things and watching her make leaps to new ideas.

Wendy and I are the same, really.  We have different sorts of adventures we want to go on in life, but there is a lot of overlap, and honestly being apart at times makes me appreciate her more when she is around.  My life is good, and she is a big part of that.  We chose well.

I got awesome tattoos!

They make me feel happy and I smile every time I look at my shoulders in the mirror.  I have plans for many more, though cost is a huge factor.  Hard to say.

2016 has gotten consistently better as it went onward, and I am in a great place in my life right now.  Here's hoping 2017 continues the trend.