By Bryan McDowall -
A personal entry, sharing some of the things I've been working on recently and what I've been up to since my last post.
What’s new with you?
I bought a house in the suburbs. That’s the short version.
Towards the end of last year I applied to JET, but sadly didn’t make it to the interview stage. Whether I’m too old, too inexperienced, too gaijin or whatever other host of possible reasons, I’ll never know. I’ve always wanted to spend an extended period of time in Japan, in order to really absorb the culture and improve my language skills. Anyway, I had previously decided to double-down on home prospects if my application was unsuccessful, including using my savings as a deposit on my own place. So a couple of months after I started looking, I found somewhere super affordable a short commute from the city and was quick to put in an offer, which was accepted!
It needs work, but I’ve never been one to shy away from a project. Especially a fixer-upper. I’ll likely try and document some of the improvements I make here.
So now I’m just kinda settling, taking things slow whilst I try to rebuild my savings amidst repairs and paying for my (seemingly obligatory) annual trip to Japan.
Back to school
I’m more than half way through a Japanese evening course at Edinburgh University. It’s been so long since I’ve studied anything formally, but it’s nice to study with other people and try to keep the pace. I’m hoping to stick with formal classes going forward. It’s a nice routine if nothing else.
I’ve got a few new things I want to work on. Recently, I’ve been building little web apps during my commute; using public APIs to access weather and transport information. But I’m going to try and finish outstanding projects before starting anything big.
Hello! Yes, it’s been a few months since I’ve updated at all. I’m not going to suggest I’ll post more often, in fact I’m convinced there’s a negative correlation between post frequency following such statements. As always, I’ll post when I’ve got something worth writing about!
In compliance with recent changes to digital privacy laws in Europe, I’ve decided just to forgo any data collection on the site and have removed the mailing list, comments and analytics. I’ve also cleared any existing sign-ups on the mailing list, since I never really got around to using this.
At the end of the day, this is just a personal project. I don’t make money from it, so data collection isn’t really something I utilise enough to justify building an opt-in system for cookies etc. The blog’ll work just fine without ‘em.
I’ve stopped using separate Twitter accounts, so OZARINtweets is essentially dead now. I’ve also stopped updating my Facebook pages and in general I’m using that platform a lot less.
The best place to get in touch with me is my personal Twitter account, @bryoz - which I’ve been using more regularly recently.
These were a great learning experience, and I had a lot of fun recording with friends, but it took a lot of time and effort to produce each episode. Between coordinating presenters, researching content (sometimes), editing and publishing, I was really tiring myself out. My new place is a little further out, and I no longer have space for a permanent recording setup.
That said however, I still have some great material from interviews last year with local members of the indie game scene. Quite frankly I’m a little embarrassed to have sat on this for as long as I have without producing something from it, so I’d like to prioritise that over the coming weeks.
With regards to the older episodes, I would like to improve the quality of these a little, but it’s not a high priority given their topical nature. I will likely not renew the podcast’s Soundcloud account this year, so please grab these whilst they’re available if you’re interested.
I’m still toying with the idea of a new show, with more focussed content.
I’ve updated recently, mostly with local events. I’ll try to add more in the near future.
Something else I’ve been sitting on is a huge backlog of photos from as far back as 2014.
Mostly travel photography, I have a lot of photos which I haven’t “processed”, by which I actually mean played-around-with-in-lightroom. It’ll come as no surprised that I’ve got a bunch of photos from my Japan trips, but also have folders full of pics from a train journey around Europe, and plenty from the Scottish highlands.
I’ve set up a Kokin site on one of my domains, and playing around with it as a place to manage all my photography work going forward. I’ve got to say, it’s a pretty nice piece of software.
I also picked up a little drone camera recently. Affectionately dubbed Sparky McDronebutt, my DJI Spark has brought a fresh perspective to what and where I can shoot, not to mention the consideration of video! As such, it’s more important that I clear my backlog and get into a good workflow.
I’m mostly trying to get through my backlog. I’ve yet to complete Persona 5, mostly for lack of time. I’ve managed to enjoy a few smaller games recently, including Getting Over It (which I’m terrible at), Minit and Florence.
A friend loaned me the new God of War game to try. I was really intrigued following reviews, and tend to get sucked in by cinematic narratives. So far though, the combat sections have detracted largely from the story telling, and feel quite repetitive.
I’ve also gone back to Bloodborne, as a way of filling the void which Dark Souls 3 left behind. I am enjoying it immensely. Is The Old Hunters DLC worth picking up?
I’ll no doubt give Dark Souls Remastered a try at some point after completing Bloodborne.