2020 was a mess on a lot of fronts, but a bright spot for me personally was following through on my resolutions. My biggest and toughest resolution was to learn Unreal Engine. A year later, it’s honestly still a work in progress. I’ve been simultaneously learning the interface, art pipeline, animation pipeline, visual scripting logic, and performance optimization among other things. Somedays feel like I haven’t come very far at all, but others feel pretty good, considering less than a year ago the program wasn’t even installed on my computer yet. Hopefully it’s upwards and onwards from here, but it’s hard to say. As much fun as it is, it still feels incredibly daunting. Here’s a small peek at a game I’ve been developing with what I’ve learned so far:
My second resolution was to exercise at least every other day. Above all else, this one made sure a missed day or two didn’t snowball into a completely derailed week or month. Seemed like a cycle I’d been stuck in the past few years, but this simple rule got me out of it. I made exceptions to let my body bounce back from injury or for a long weekend getaway here and there, but for the most part I nailed it. It’s formed into a habit at this point, and hoping to keep it that way.
My third resolution was to avoid hangovers. I know, I know, the depth of my shame is bottomless. I wasn’t exactly swearing off alcohol, but I’ve long been ready to swear off hangovers. I drink socially, so the pandemic really dropped my consumption this year, and in turn lowered any chance of being hungover to begin with. Even so, I still fell short on a few occasions. At least three I can think of. It wasn’t perfect, but it was more wins than losses, and if I can keep it in the front of my mind, the record should be an undefeated one soon enough.
Lastly, I took a shot at some monthly challenges throughout the year and reflected on my experiences with them month by month. In short, I ended up satisfying some curiosities, kickstarted some better habits, and knocked back a few bad ones.
All in all, it was a win in a challenging year. I’d never done anything like it and ended up having a lot of fun with it. So much so, that it feels weird to just stop down at this point. So I think I’ll keep on. More on that later.
Levi and Ashley tied the knot. Yes, what I drew is supposed to be a rope being knotted, not links of sausage.
They exchanged vows on a warm Saturday, in Odessa Florida. It was a beautiful day. Felt really lucky to have witnessed it, and to have helped celebrate it. Was a little concerned my dance moves might get me ejected from the reception, but there was no harm done.
A couple days before the wedding, Alexis and I came to St. Petersburg to spend some time with my parents. Hurricane Matthew had other plans though. They had to hang back and secure their house in South Florida, so we didn’t see them this time. We made the best of it though.
Our friends Mike and Christina stayed in our extra room, and we spent the time with them instead. We walked around town a bit, checked out the Dali Museum, and paid the bars a visit. We stumbled upon a lip-sync karaoke contest. Mike won it. Not officially, but in our hearts we know. The next morning, before we headed up to Odessa for the wedding, we stopped to see Alexis’ Mom, and took her out for an early birthday lunch.
The 24 hours or so that led up to the wedding entailed logging hours in the hot tub, intervening a car accident, and talking politics. The 24 hours or so that followed entailed, sunburn, late night life talks, and literally sprinting through the Dallas Airport to make a connecting flight.
It was a great trip, filled with great people. Congrats guys.
Doodled this the morning I read about the Orlando shootings. I woke up to a barrage of Facebook notifications from friends who still live there. They all set a confirmed “Safe Status” to let friends and family know they weren’t dead. It’s as real as all this has gotten for me so far. Not just strangers in strange towns this time.
I don’t have a clue about the answers, but it certainly seems like something is terribly wrong.
My Uncle Tony, technically my Great Uncle, passed in April. I’d bet anything he’d want to be celebrated, not morned. So I’m gonna try my best here.
No matter what room he was in, his laugh was the loudest thing in it, and he was always laughing. He slept with a few thousand refrigerator magnets under his mattress because he said it helped his back. He was a character to say the least.
When we’d show up to visit, between my brother and I, he’d give one a BB gun, and the other a spear tied to one of our ankles. He’d tell us to go have some fun and catch something. He had a dock out back where the waters eventual led to the Gulf of Mexico. There was always a lot of fishing.
I learned for the first time I could swim without sinking in his pool. The same pool he told my brother and I had the “red dot” technology, so he’d know if we ever peed in it. We were mortified.
He and my dad would take us to watch the greyhounds race at the track. We always had ice cream and Uncle Tony always had a cigar.
He gave me my first magnifying glass and my first pocket knife. Still have the magnifying glass. He gave us a lot of great memories, the kind you never lose.
He died on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Honestly, I can’t imagine a more fitting way for him to go. He was a man full of life, till the very end.
Godspeed Uncle Tony.
My brother and I on Uncle Tony’s dock.