2023 Wrapped

Wrapped culture has lost the plot but never one to miss a fad here’s my round up of 2023.


2023 saw me hit a couple of milestones. I turned 50 which still feels a bit surreal that I am THAT old. A couple of days after I paid off the mortgage. Boom. Something that I had planned and aggressively targeted five years ago landed, made more memorable by the bank employee who seemed happier than me as he declared you’re mortgage free. Brilliant.

Work also saw a significant change as I stepped into a director role and I’m now responsible for a team of not 15 but 150. First couple of months saw a few changes that have landed ok but lots more to do in 2024. Enjoying the challenge so far but also need to look after myself – more on that below.


Fitness wise I had an ok year. Kept the previous target of walking 2000km in a year and managed a bit more, clocking in at just over 2300km. Pace also better than the previous year.

Yearly total of walks

There are two points to the walks – to keep weight in control and also to get out from behind a keyboard/screen/controller. And while the stats show the weight is ok that wasn’t through choice.

Weight 2023

I had IBS for a couple of months from late August and it shows in the weight loss. It’s come back on quickly enough but I need to be mindful that some of the ailments I suffer from particularly migraines/headaches are stress related and there’s no doubt that some of the work I was involved in this year impacted my health. Some of that was self inflicted as I threw myself into the new role but some of it was pressures from elsewhere and I need to control that better and be more self aware going forward.

If I’m being honest I was approaching burnout and the body was shouting it loudly and the head was saying don’t be daft, it’s fine. The first 5 months of the year I was disciplined and did almost zero weekend work. That then changed and I worked flat out for weeks at a time which isn’t sustainable. However I’ve had a good long Christmas break and I’m now more determined to make time for me. My trusted friends inside and outside of work can spot the signs and they have looked out for me which I’ll always appreciate even if I don’t say it.


Made a concerted effort to watch more films this year and logged 88 films which is far more than the measly 25 in 2022. Highlights were Aftersun, Tár, Rye Lane, Air, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Oppenheimer, Blackberry, Killers of the Flower Moon and Past Lives. 100 in 2024?

Watched far too much TV and still have quite the backlog but series I really enjoyed included The Last of Us, Silo, Happy Valley, Poker Face, The Gold, Slow Horses, Race Across The World, Blue Lights, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Once Upon a Time in Northern Ireland, Foundation, The Bear and Boiling Point.

As for games I spent far too much on hardware and have a new gaming PC and a Steam Deck OLED. PC has a 4090 in it and while games look amazing my room is a sauna in the summer 😂. Games I enjoyed this year were limited to older titles although I’m committing to Balders Gate 3 in 2024. The improvement in Halo Infinite thanks to new maps and regular drops of content is huge so thats still my goto game. Also got back into Super Hexagon and its variants on the Steam Deck. God I love that game although my age is showing me up now.

One thing I’ve not missed is Twitter/X. A site I once loved but now fully embrace Mastodon with a bit of Threads mixed in. The brands and the politicians haven’t moved away though which is a shame but I’m missing those less than expected. Hopefully Space Karen walks away from X in 2024…or is pushed.

Finally, podcasts. The Rest is Entertainment and The Town are two new essentials. I’ve also had to drop a couple of the tech shows – they are just too long – regular 3 hour episodes are difficult to squeeze in.

Whats Next?

So 2024, no resolutions although I do put a theme together to help guide where I want to improve or change. The first three to four months will be very career and work focussed but I must take the time to separate work and home life and have proper down time. Need to give myself permission to switch off which I find easier to say, difficult to do…so work to be done.

Also want to put more effort into this little bit of the internet that I post on. Weeknotes are interesting but I fall out the habit, maybe more shorter form links and thoughts that I used to push onto Twitter will appear more regularly. Still thinking that through but got a bit of excitement around the website again which I haven’t had in a while.

2024 has so much potential that I can’t wait to get stuck in…here’s to a happy and healthy 2024 for you all.

Things I Liked in 2022

It’s a new year but before leaving 2022 behind here’s some of my favourite’s from the last 12 months, one dominated by some cracking TV shows. So in no particular order…

The Rest is Politics A new for 2022 podcast from Rory Stewart and Alastair Campbell has fast become my favourite pod. Good rapport between the odd couple and a variety of topics from around the political world and some cracking guests. Admittedly helped by the UK having increasingly bat shit crazy politicians.

Industry Stepped up a level in season 2 – great soundtrack, loads of backstabbing and a move into politics alongside the financial industry.

Everything Everywhere All At Once My favourite movie from last year. Clever, funny and far more inventive than any of the multiverse offerings from the big studio’s. Hope it gets the recognition it deserves at the award shows.

Glass Onion Only just out, but I really enjoyed the follow-up to Knives Out. Could be watched stand alone too.

Knotwords Zack Gage can do no wrong. Fill in a crossword puzzle without clues, only letters. Simple and another daily habit game.

We Own This City Can still hardly believe this was based on a true story. Another classic from David Simon – Jon Bernthal also owned every scene he was in.

The Responder I’m not a massive fan of Martin Freeman, but he was immense in this show based in Liverpool. Small cast but really delivered over a few episodes.

Bad Sisters Binged this in a couple of days and loved it. Sharon Horgan really can do no wrong and this is a great black comedy. Shout out to Claes Bang who was an excellent prick throughout.

Peacemaker A gem of a show, a bit like The Boys in that it’s adult superhero show…and it’s funny. The titles alone are worth a watch but my favourite parts were the banter between the various characters.

Derry Girls Stuck the landing – a superb comedy that finished on a high.

For All Mankind Still loving this – season three was pretty ambitious and they pulled it off. 

Prey Finally a good follow up to Predator. 

Apple Watch Ultra Thanks to my fat wrists, this doesn’t look huge on me. Love the flat and slightly larger screen, bigger battery life and the overall look of the watch. Do I do any of the extreme sports that Apple market the Ultra around? No. But it’s the best version of the Apple Watch so far and that’s good enough for me – and I like the orange pop.

Karen Pirie One of the better ITV drama’s of recent years – great story based on a Val McDermid book, but it was the performance of Lauren Lyle that kept me interested. Deserves a second series.

Black Adam Lots of people said this was a dud but I’m here to tell you…they were right. What a waste of time and money this was. I would say it was a waste of talent too, but there was little of that on screen apart from Pierce Brosnan – the rest were all very forgettable. 

The Boys Superhero satire at it’s best – a real refresher in amongst the Marvel shows.

Playdate hero shot 78c70891ea4f e1623180415168

Playdate It’s by no means perfect – the screen needs the ideal light to be playable, but what’s not to love about a small handheld device that’s yellow and has a crank. First season of games very hit and miss, but a couple have been nice to play through.

Severance I slept on this until last week – I’d dismissed it as some work place dystopian sci-fi but it’s so much more. Really asks “Who are you?” but the tension that builds throughout the series is so well done and the twists and characters threads that unfold are so good. Could have done with some more answers in the final episode but thats being picky.

This Is Going to Hurt Funny, raw, emotional – you’ll come for Ben Wishaw’s performance but it’s Ambika Mod as Shruti that will live long in the memory.

Plex Meta Manager I love Plex and have used it for years to manage my home media library. PMM takes it one step further, making your playlists far more dynamic. Great community behind it – it’s geeky and can be a bit tricky to setup but it makes my media library feel alive. Need to blog about this and my Plex setup someday.

Wordle Blew up in late 2021 but I’ve kept playing it through 2022 alongside some friends. It’s a nice start to the day, gets the brain engaged and what other games have so quickly spawned companion versions – Heardle, Framed, GuessTheGame. Ended the year with a 3.8 average.

IMG 0320

The Bear Set in a sandwich shop in Chicago, this is stressful but funny and a must-see. Great cast, you root for the characters, flaws and all. Cousin!

The Capture Second series was a real step up on the first – a good take on where deep fakes could take us.

Andor I put off watching this as it was a prequel to a prequel – do we need this? What an idiot – it was fantastic and by far the best Star Wars TV series so far. Darker and deeper than other Star Wars titles. A nice follow-up is this episode of Soundtracking where Edith Bowman talks to Andor show creator Tony Gilroy. 

Gear Steam Deck Valve

Steam Deck Pre-ordered when it was announced and sold it to a friend within days of getting it. When would I use it? What would I game on it? A few months later I bought his Steam Deck pre-order and never looked back. Great for the smaller indie titles on Steam alongside playing AAA’s wherever I am, but I also use Emudeck on it and have a library of classic games that only take a few seconds to launch. I love this handheld and while a higher res screen would have been nice, the compromise in battery life wouldn’t have been.

Top Gun Maverick Better than it deserved to be – watched it 3 or 4 times this year and enjoyed it all the more.

The Batman Gritty 70’s detective movie featuring Batman – what’s not to like?

The English Fresh take on a western, Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer are fantastic.

Slow Horses Another show I slept on and binged it over 48 hours. Great cast, good plot and there’s a second series already broadcast and a third filmed. 

Vampire Survivors I blasted this on the Steam Deck – saw a headline the other day that said the thing holding back the Steam Deck was the lack of exclusives. Clickbait headline, but everyone who has a Steam Deck should play Vampire Survivors. Simple (even basic) graphics , but its gameplay is so moreish that it’s hard to put down.

Covid Jag

I’ve been jagged. On Friday I drove out to Milngavie and got my first dose of the Covid vaccine. No waiting, slick process and didn’t even feel the needle. I got the Pfizer vaccine although I’d have no problem getting any version. Science is getting us out of this covid mess and I couldn’t wait to get my jag. Big thanks to the NHS staff and all the helpers – what a difference they are making.

So far the only side effect is I’ve been slightly more tired than normal but I’ve not needed to head to bed or anything. I also had a slight sore head on the afternoon of the jag but a walk and some fresh air soon cleared that…and I get sore heads at the best of time so I’ve no idea if it’s related.

Role on May 21st when my body will have built up more immunity and mid August when I’ll have had the second jag and be as immune as I can be without actually getting covid.

The biggest question though…jag or jab? I’m in the jag camp.

25 Years

July 13th 1995. The day I graduated from Glasgow University. Only just popped in my head a few minutes ago. Seems so long ago, yet still fresh. To mark the occasion, some graduation pics!

MECI 1995
MECI 1995
Usual Suspects
Why did no one fix my shoulder!
Hamid always had a smile for the camera
Big Ronald – loved a bit of Richard Clayderman
The Boys….just before we played some Bomberman….golden bomber!

Great times….and still in touch with so many from those days. Greyer, wrinklier but not so sure on the wiser.

The Streak Hits 1000

A while back I blogged on how I was using the Apple Watch to keep active. So much so I hit a streak of 365 days. That was a long time ago and like Forrest Gump said “For no particular reason I just kept on going”. Today was day 1000 of the streak.

1000 day streak….boom

I still find great benefit from doing this. It gets me out and about on days that I would literally do nothing apart from sit at a computer screen. It’s also kept my weight in a fairly good place despite not being able to get back to running or other more active pursuits. I know I’m being gamed doing this but if it’s helping what’s the harm?

There have definitely been days when I wanted to do anything apart from a 30 minute walk. Sick days, wet days, snowy days, windy days (remind me of this tomorrow when I’m getting blown away during a downpour), far too hot days but I’ve stuck with it. I’m sure I’ll keep going too until there’s a sick day that just stops me from continuing but hopefully thats a while away yet because there’s always more podcasts to listen to while walking. Onwards!

Farewell 2018

The end of another year spawns yet another wrap up post, so in no particular order.

I focussed a lot more on my photography this year. Always a keen snapper but was lazy when it came to actual editing and publishing online. It took me a while but towards the end of April I started a new Instagram account and in the middle of the year sorted out a website (still unfinished) and domain for my photography.

You’ll find my photographs at one of the following locations:

Instagram – iandick_photography
Website – https://www.iandickphotography.com
Flickr – ian_d

My biggest challenge is still getting out and about with the camera although I’ve done a better job of that since October. The shorter days certainly help with the sunrise/sunsets which seem to be popular for some reason 😉

My top nine liked images from 2018 on Instagram

Instagram has been interesting. I’ve been growing who I follow slowly and finding lots of inspiration from fellow photographers. However the constant nagging from Instagram/Facebook around boosting posts, the variation in engagement and the smell of shit in general from that company is making me question the investment in time. I’ve had a Flickr Pro account for years and amazingly, despite everyone saying it’s dead, I’ve found that to be the more rewarding place to visit. Images look so much better and you aren’t constantly being socially engineered when you use their platform. They also have an iPad app and I’ve a bit more confidence in their future since their tie up with SmugMug.

2019 will see me stretching my legs a bit more out and about around Scotland. Still focussing on landscape photography although I’d love to mix in a bit of street and astro.

Health has been slowly getting better. Still have really bad days with the viral chest thing I’ve got and still couldn’t go for a run yet but it feels like the running could be back in 2019. Really miss those frosty winter runs.

I have kept the rings streak going though. Today I closed my Apple Watch rings so thats a calendar year crossed off and day 657 of the streak. It’s still too easy for me to sit on my arse and do nothing so I find the rings a helpful nudge to stay active.

Finally my weight has stayed pretty consistent…but the trend is a slow increase. 1kg heavier than this time last year so need to keep an eye on things over 2019.

A pretty quiet tech year for me…kind off. The photography kit saw some upgrades starting off with a new drone – the DJI Mavic Air. Loved the size and portability of it. Also invested in Lee filters to help with long exposures. This meant the camera bag I had was just too small so bought the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW which has been fantastic in the last six months of usage. Everything fits well, it’s really comfy over long distances and I can carry just one bag and hold all my photography kit. Version 2 of the bag has now been released and it comes highly recommended.

The Lowepro even coped with another drone. DJI brought out the Mavic 2 Pro and although I called Shak mad for selling his Mavic Air and upgrading, I did the same a week later and have no regrets. Still portable it is faster, quieter and takes better images than the Air and my old Phantom. The extra battery life also allows you to do far more with one battery. The Mavic 2 Pro is my favourite purchase of 2018.

Dawn over Loch Ard from the Mavic 2 Pro

Two other upgrades were the Apple Watch and the iPad. The Apple Watch has been great. Much better battery life, bigger screen and general speed of operation are my favourite features. The iPad is also impressive. Went for the 12.9″ screen and I love it in every day use. Design is great, speed is fantastic but it is held back by iOS. Hopefully 2019 will see some much needed improvements to iOS and across the Apple software platform in general.

Final tech mention of 2018 is web hosts. Through the summer I moved over to Linode and it’s been a great move. Host all my sites with them and despite it being more work to setup this is outweighed by the power and flexibility they offer.

All good things…
One thing that is coming to an end is my “Weekly Digest” posts. I’ve been running a weekly “what I’ve read/watched” post since March 2015 but they’ve run their course and so last week’s was the final digest on the site. Although that was the final post here’s the final final what I’ve read/enjoyed this week:

If you want to keep up to date with things I read or store for future reference then Pinboard is the best bet or the associated RSS feed. Warning – there’s a lot of stuff I throw into Pinboard. I’ve also started to make more use of Letterboxd for my movie watching.

The End
2018 for me has been fine but in general has felt a pretty dark year. So much negativity with politics, brexit and around social networks and technology. 2019 promises more of the same…if anything worse. On that cheery note, all the best for 2019 and chin up – it is always darkest just before the day dawneth.

Activity Update

A couple of months back I posted about keeping active every day thanks to the Apple Watch. The tracking and alerts makes it easy to stay on top of what I’m doing and the activity seemed to be helping me health wise. Two months on, have I kept it going?

Apart from two days in March every day has been a circle filling day. Those two days were some of the most snot filled days I’ve had in a long time. Worked from home with a constant stream of snot from who knows where. Apart from that, every day I’ve been out and about keeping active. No running or cycling but walking to keep things ticking over.

I’m not too fussed about the missing days…I tell a lie. I’m more than slightly pissed off that my streak since Jan 16th has been broken by a fucking cold. Granted a stinker, but I’ve had days when I’ve felt worse and still went out and done things. As many others have said, it would be great to mark sick days in the Activity app and get a pass but then it would be easy to cheat. Cheaters always spoil the fun for the honest amongst us.

So will I keep this going? Probably but I’m not too fussed about keeping whole months. I certainly feel better physically and mentally for getting out and about more and intend to keep that up, even if it doesn’t help with any weight loss…but maintaining is good, right? I’ve also got my first audiobook to crack through over the coming weeks so that will help pass the hours. Onwards.

Staying Active

Apple ran a challenge this year – Ring in the New Year, which rewarded you if you kept active for a week. For me it was a nice goal to reach, keep active for a week and seeing as it was start of the year a chance to work on shedding some holiday weight. It also had a bit more meaning for me as I’ve still had a viral type thing hanging around so running or biking have been a no no. The week went well so why not carry on?

So during the month of February I kept a daily walk going. Most days it was easy to fit with a lunchtime stroll at work and some walks at the weekend. Some days it wasn’t so much especially after a 6 hour drive to and from Barrow…cue a 20 minute walk in the rain but I felt better for it.

I’ve enjoyed getting out and about again, even if it is just locally. The walks have been good at clearing my head especially during busy days at work. I’m also physically feeling a bit better so the plan is to keep up the schedule through March and all going well I’ll look at stepping up distance and then on to cycling and running again. I’m not going to be ruled by meeting the circles every day but I’m glad of the kick they have given me over the last few weeks. Onwards.


Eight weeks ago I fainted at work. I’d felt some back pain an hour earlier but nothing else. As I sat at my desk I could feel a rush of blood and my senses starting to go haywire and I blurted out to my colleague…I’m going to be ill. 30 seconds later I came round and was a bit lost. A couple of minutes later I was sweating. A couple of minutes later I was shaking. I was also struggling to breathe properly. What’s going on?

A few minutes later our emergency response team at work turned up, sat with me for a while then took me to the medical room and gave me oxygen. Not long after they called for an ambulance and before long two paramedics were on site and conducting an ECG and checking blood pressure. Apart from the shaking everything was checking out normal and after 20 minutes the shaking had subsided. Talking it through with the paramedics the best course of action was to take the day off, rest and get to my GP to check out what had happened. I lucked out and got an appointment later that same day but as time passed I was getting chest pains, pains down my arm and back and well…I won’t deny I was starting to worry about just what had happened in the morning.

The doctor was really good, checked my blood pressure again and assured me that it probably wasn’t heart related but more likely a muscle spasm. Blood tests were ordered and I was back at work a couple of days later still with the chest pains. As the week wore on things got worse. Waves of feeling sick and sore heads, chest pain worsening, pain in the left arm pretty constant and feeling cold most of the time. By Friday I was knackered and struggling to stay awake and when I got home I slept for 16 hours. The rest of the weekend was spent resting and on Monday I booked another GP appointment for the following Wednesday. I’d also lost 2kg over the space of 5 days. As diets go this was the best yet!

By the day of the appointment I’d gotten good news in that almost all my blood results were good with one marginal. However the GP appointment didn’t go well and it felt I was wasting her time despite feeling awful and my condition changing since I visited her colleague last week. She referred me to a heart specialist and also gave me an angina spray…which shouldn’t be taken by migraine sufferers i.e. me.

A couple of weeks passed until I visited the heart clinic. During that time I’d have good and bad days but the weight came back on and I was feeling less tired but the chest and arm pains remained. More good news from the hospital checkup in that the specialist was 95% sure that whatever was happening to me wasn’t heart related but maybe a viral infection attacking the heart or a slightly enlarged heart. Unfortunately it may take another few weeks to pass and if it doesn’t get back to the GP.

A few weeks did pass and last week I was back at the GP’s to try and get some help as pains, heads and sickness were less severe but didn’t seem to be leaving me anytime soon. The doctor was excellent and this time has diagnosed a non heart related issue as the cause of my woes. I’m now on a course of tablets and had an x-ray last week to rule out anything else. The pains while still there seem to be dissipating and I’ve taken a week off work to rest up and relax to help speed the recovery.

What I’ve missed the most is running. As the season changes into Autumn/Winter I love going out for a run, seeing the autumn colours and enjoying the colder mornings. It’s almost nine weeks since my last run and the way things are going I’m looking at probably next year before I can get out there again. I’ll probably start slowly and follow a couch to 5k program to get me back up to speed. Also frustrating is how unpredictable this is. One hour I’m fine, a couple of hours later I have zero energy and think I’m about to puke. An hour later and it’s passed and I feel not too bad again. Other days and it can be all day that I feel lousy.

Despite this I’m feeling pretty lucky as I’ve been checked for all the serious stuff and it’s come back negative and visiting hospital brings into sharp focus those that are really ill against those that are complaining about a cough or cold. I’m also thankful for the NHS which in general has been really good while clearly struggling with funding. That we are renewing Trident while the NHS falls around us boggles my mind. The SNP also need to focus on governing rather than banging the independence drum as it’s on their watch that the NHS in Scotland has declined the most.

Here’s hoping my next health related post is from a running injury!

Comic Con

I do love me a comic or two but I’ve never seen the big draw of visiting a Comic Con. However with me and Shak picking up new camera’s (more on that soon) it seemed a good excuse to visit one and also try the new camera’s.


We went on Sunday and it was pretty busy, but not as busy as Saturday. By far the biggest thing there was cosplay.

Black Widow, Winter Soldier and Captain America

There was loads of folk dressed up, some with just minor costumes but most had make a tremendous effort for the show. Also common were ‘free hugs’ signs which the cynical in me was a bit suspicious of but the overwhelming mood looked to be positive and the event was notable for no aggro, no wee neds and just good natured fun.

For me it was a bit dull though and I didn’t see much to buy. Load’s for the cosplayers but not so much for comic fans…or maybe I just didn’t spot the right shops in amongst the mobs.

Harley Quinn

As for the camera, it worked really well although I need to get used to using a prime lens and get in a bit closer to subjects. A confidence thing as I could see others doing it but it all felt a bit weird to be doing. More photo’s from Comic Con are on Flickr. Comic Con was interesting more than enjoyable but at least I’ve been to one as I can’t see me rushing back.