Month: December 2020

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    2020 โ€” Review of the year

    Disclaimer — this post is still in a bit of a draft state. I have published it, however, as it is New Year’s Eve 2020 and if I don’t do it now I will probably forget to do it.

    What an absolute bloody shit show this year has been. Iโ€™ve been super lucky when compared with most and still itโ€™s probably been the most terrible year Iโ€™ve experienced.

    Inept and corrupt Government; complete idiots who think wearing safety masks are against their civil liberties and more besides.

    I thought Iโ€™d start a new tradition of reviewing the year just passed and looking towards a plan for the new year to come.


    I began this year working at a Birmingham based web agency called Substrakt. And although I enjoyed most aspects of the work, and 100% of the people, the job just didnโ€™t end up being the right one for me.

    From there I moved to another Birmingham based agency, Eastside Co — this time focusing on the Shopify platform. And despite having a great welcome and on-boarding, have decided that Shopify is not a platform I want to be focusing my time and energy.

    At the time of writing I have recently handed in my notice and am planning to start at a new company come February time. Really looking forward to seeing what the future brings there.

    Music I’ve discovered

    I have fallen in love with an American metal band called Skid Row — more specifically their excellent album “Slave to the Grind”.

    I have learnt to actually enjoy a couple of songs by The Killers. The two songs I have come to love are “The Man” and “Shot at the Night”.

    Eminem’s album “Music to be Murdered by” is incredible and the recently-released Side B album is growing on me too.

    The music of Low Roar was an obsession of mine thanks to the excellent PS4 game “Death Stranding“. My obsession was compounded when I was working at Substrakt as I would have to take my work laptop to and from work in a large laptop / travel backpack.

    Sam, sam – He’s our man

    Sam Porter Bridges from Death Stranding

    Books Iโ€™ve read

    This year I planned to read 12 books — 1 per month. However, I failed miserably and only manage a few.

    I kicked off the year with George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    Next came my trying to read Dune, but stopped reading part way through. Not sure why if I’m honest.

    I also tried to read Stephen King’s It, but I just couldn’t get my head around the shifting character points of view in a police interrogation scene near the start. Need to re-try that one.

    I read a classic horror book this year — Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And I loved it. I read it because it felt like it was one of those bedrocks of horror that I should read in my life. I’m glad to say that I really got lost in that one. I definitely plan to read it again soon.

    I have just (literally 1 hour before writing this) finished Stephen King’s Duma Key. One of the longest books Ive attempted, only surpassed by Clive Barker’s Gallilee some years ago. I really enjoyed the journey and characters of Duma Key but couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the closing chapters. To be honest I don’t think “disappointed” is fair to say. I think it was more like me just expecting a huge explosive ending, when in fact the ending was more low key. But I can’t really fault the book as a whole — it was a journey I enjoyed being taken on.

    Films I’ve watched

    I have been digging into Italian Giallo films more this year and even got round to watching the remake of Suspiria. Absolutely insane and incredible in equal measure.

    I finally began watching the Friday the 13th film series (only the first 2 so far). Loved part 2 and looking forward to continuing this journey soon.

    I really need to be making a note of the films I watch next year too. As I can only remember the ones I’ve written about on my site.

    The New York Ripper and Rosemary’s Baby were stand out films for me that I discovered in 2020.

    Games Iโ€™ve played

    I have come to the decision that Horizon Zero Dawn is my favourite game of all time — at least until Forbidden West comes out. I finally played through the story of The Frozen Wilds DLC and found to be a glorious addition to an already perfect game. At least perfect in my eyes. I really must write up a post about that game.

    Before the DLC, I conquered the game on Ultra Hard New Game plus, and really would have the game any other way. I am still working on getting 100% completion for it and its DLC content.

    The Last of Us part 2 was the stand-out new release for me this year. And despite having to big twist spoiled accidentally the night before release — yes I managed to not hear anything up until then — I still enjoyed it for the dark, brutal, often tough-to-endure story that it is.

    I have replayed Death Stranding and took my time, almost doubling the play time from my first play through.

    I made a meme

    2020’s Governor to 2021’s Negan — A Walking Dead meme I made

    Next Year

    Like many people I have some goals for the coming year. I want to buy my own home with my lady. I want to be move organised and more goal focused, which I’ve actually been working on in the latter part of this December 2020. I should thank Carl Pullein for this organisation boost as I am implementing his TIme / Sector system — it seems to be working for me so far.

    I want to read at least 12 books this year. I have written out the 12 I want to read and in which months. Only this time I am determined to actually pull through with it. I am starting on January 1st with Daphne Du Maurier’s The House on the Strand.

    I will be dedicating more time to building up my Junji Ito Manga site. Writing a lot more on there and building out the tag pages too.

    Along with writing the posts on the Junji Ito site, I will be aiming to write a lot more heavily on this site also. As well as keeping better track of what I watch, read, hear and play.

    I want to see many more Films this year too — specifically classic horror.

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    Latest photomode captures

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    Install MongoDB with Docker for local development

    Pull the docker image for mongo down to your computer.

    docker pull mongo

    Run the mongo container in the background, isolated from the rest of your computer.

    # Command explained below
    docker run -d -p 27017:27017 --name mongodb mongo -v /data/db:/data/db

    What I love about this approach is that I don’t start muddying up my computer installing new programs — especially if it’s just for the purposes of experimenting with new technologies.

    The main run command explained:

    • “docker run -d” tells docker to run in detached mode, which means it will run in the background. Otherwise if we close that terminal it will stop execution of the program docker is running (mongo in this case).
    • “-p 27017:27017” maps your computer’s port number 27017 so it forwards its requests into the container using the same port. (I always forget which port represents the computer and which is the container)
    • “–name mongodb” just gives the container that will be created a nice name. Otherwise Docker will generate and random name.
    • “mongo” is just telling Docker which image to create.
    • “-v /data/db:/data/db” tells Docker to map the /data/db directory on your computer to the /data/db directory in the container. This will ensure that if you restart the container, you will retain the mongo db data.

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    Setting up my own labs

    I’m going to begin setting up my own “labs” area to play around with various web technologies.

    For the longest time now I have been holding myself back quite a bit by only really learning technologies around current roles at the time and for my own personal site. This has mainly revolved around Laravel and to a lesser extent WordPress.

    Whilst I will continue to love both of those projects, I do want to start pushing myself to learn things that are completely out of my comfort zone.

    I will also begin writing more about my learning, discoveries and new things that excite me in web development — something I haven’t done for a long while.