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General

My 2020 Spotify Unwrapped

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It’s funny how I’m writing this, thinking I’ve shared my music interests in the past on my blog. However, the only post I’ve created was in 2018 talking about Mike Shinoda’s release “Post Traumatic”. Seeing this has surprised me, and I want to change that because I absolutely love music and it’s a huge interest of mine.

An intro into my music taste

I’m a big rock and metal fan, but I dip into many different genres including; pop, dubstep, rap, hip hop, EDM and so much more. Music helps me concentrate, it helps me get through my anxiety and depression, and I listen to it every single day.

My Spotify Unwrapped

Since 2017, I started using Spotify for my music listening, and every year I enjoy their unwrapped feature. Spotify’s 2020 unwrapped was very surprising. The song I most listened to was not one I expected at all, and the list of genres was also surprising to me.

Discovered artists

This year, I have discovered a total of 888 new artists. How on earth have I managed to discover that many artists? I couldn’t even name 100, let alone 888 of them. There were some fantastic artists which I found through YouTube such as Halocene, Lauren Babic, Violet Orlandi and First To Eleven. They’re all incredibly amazing artists, and you should check them out.

Top 5 genres

My top 5 genres weren’t too surprising… Alternative metal, metalcore, modern rock, pop-punk and EDM were my top. EDM is definitely a big surprise to me because I thought it would be rap. However, it seems like I wasn’t listening to enough rap, and it never got into my top 5.

Top Song

Another surprise, because I knew I listen to this song a lot, but I never expected it to be my most listened to of the year. That song is “Absolute Zero” by Stone Sour. They are an all-time favourite band alongside Slipknot.

Top songs

  1. Absolute Zero – Stone Sour
  2. Catastrophist – Trivium
  3. Born for Greatness – Papa Roach
  4. Unsainted – Slipknot
  5. Help – Papa Roach

As you can see, I really like Papa Roach. Two of their songs are in my list, and they are great songs. Born for Greatness are a huge motivational song and one that I would recommend during workouts. Catastrophist by Trivium, while it’s a hard song to spell, it’s amazing. I have always loved Trivium since I saw them live around 2008. They were the first band I ever saw live, and have a special place in my heart. Unsainted by Slipknot, again, this is just a great song that I always enjoy listening to. Slipknot’s latest album has helped me through some tough moments this year, and I’m not surprised it was in my top 5.

Top Artist

Surprise surprise, it’s Linkin Park.

Linkin Park released an album this year. However, it’s not a newly recorded album; it’s a remaster of many of their previous songs including songs that were never released publicly before. It was a great album to see, and it got me listening to their older albums again. However, I didn’t realise how much the release of the new album affected my listening habits, and I would have never thought they were a top artist. Something else that is really cool for me is the fact I’m in their top 2% of listeners on Spotify, which is really cool.

Top Artists

  1. Linkin Park
  2. Trivium
  3. Mike Shinoda
  4. Five Finger Death Punch
  5. Papa Roach

Most of these artists being in my top 5 aren’t a surprise to me. However, I thought Mike Shinoda would be my number 1 or 2, and Linkin Park would be further down. I guess it shows how much I pay attention to what I’m actually listening to.

Conclusion

If you want to see my podcast list and a few extras that I didn’t post here, then you can check out the list of Tweets I posted on Twitter. This will give you a better picture of my listening habits, and you may find something you haven’t heard before.

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General

My Goals for 2021

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Every year from 2018 I go over my goals, and whether or not I managed to complete each one. This year will certainly be no different even though it’s been a very different year.

Last year’s goals

Clear £7k debt

This year gave me time to focus on my debts. My wife and I have only had one holiday this year. This has allowed us to pile on any left over money towards our credit cards and savings. I have now cleared my £7k debt, and we’re now working to clear my wife’s £8k (now £4k) debt.

Technically these debts are shared between us, but each debt is the total from our own credit cards. It has also allowed us to visualise what needs to go where.

Save at least £1,000 for a house

This one is amazing see because we have surpassed this saving. All together, we have £2,878.10 saved in a LISA account for a house. Part of this wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t read the book “Money: A User’s Guide”. That book has been worth every penny and is absolutely priceless.

Gain 100 subs on YouTube and Create at least 12 videos for my YouTube channels

I’ve decided to group these two together since they’re both YouTube related. I also didn’t achieve either of these goals. I know I would have gotten 100 subs easily if I just published some videos. However, I have not been in the right mindset this year. I constantly tried to push myself, but in the end, I couldn’t do it. Maybe next year, but it won’t be a goal.

Have at least 1 “date night” a month

Of course this one failed. We started off really well, and had some lovely date nights. However, due to the pandemic and lockdown we couldn’t see this one through. I would definitely like to try this one again when we’re certain the virus has gone.

Finish my course on Laravel

Another failed goal. I know failure isn’t a bad thing, and I don’t feel bad. However, this would have been really nice if I did succeed. I did rewrite my current posts for the latest major Laravel release, and released another post. Overall, I didn’t come anywhere near finishing and work was my biggest focus for this year.

Next year’s goals

  • Pay of my wife’s debt of £5k
  • Save £10k towards a house
  • Get 500 daily readers on this blog
  • Get 100 email subscribers on my development blog
  • Finish the free part of my development course

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General

Living with an unwell cat

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This isn’t a cat with cat flu or a small infection. This is a life-debilitating illness which we have yet to find a conclusion for.

Some of you know that I have a cat named Holly, and she is really unwell. We’ve taken her to the vets many times, and they haven’t managed to diagnose the issue. This week, we had to take her to a specialist vet in Bristol as a last resort.

It’s been horrible, scary, and frustrating, to say the least. Every so often, she will take a horrible turn. Leading to little to no food being eaten, or barely drinking any fluids. We then have to take her to the vets where she stays overnight. They then manage to stabilise her to a point we can bring her back home. She then comes back rested and seemingly well, but she’s never 100%.

Varying her diet to keep her healthy

We have gone through various diets, starting with cheap meat and biscuit, to hypoallergenic biscuit, which worked for a very long time. No, we’re at a point where we have to water her dry biscuit to make it softer for her. However, this week, she doesn’t want to touch her watered-down biscuit. We’ve now found some high-quality meat that she seems to enjoy. This is good, but I start to wonder how long it will last before she gets put off her food again.

She has a few issues, first off, she throws up. It used to be quite regular and was one of the reasons we went from cheap food to hypo. That really did help in her younger years, but more recently, she’s throwing up again. We took her to the vets, and they prescribed her with pills that helps keep the acid at bay. Then, there’s her other issue… She really struggles to swallow food. We believe it’s because of the acid coming up and damaging her oesophagus, and it gradually got worse. This is why we’re now watering down her biscuit, to hopefully make it easier for her to swallow.

The vets in Bristol took so many tests and plenty of x-rays. Including blast x-rays which fire a load of x-rays while she’s eating to see the food’s journey. Sounds intriguing, and I hope I can see those x-rays at some point.

Endless amounts of medication

She has gone through a large amount of medication. She has pills which prevent her from vomiting. Also, she has pipettes to reduce inflammation in the oesophagus. However, it seems like we’re just fighting a losing battle, and it stresses both her and me out. She used to be able to take the pills in her treat sticks. Making this go down as easily as possible felt like a huge win. Until she stopped eating her treats altogether.

It’s crazy how clever she is. Recently, I placed the pill in her treat stick, and turn it upside down in the hopes she’ll eat it. However, she turns the stick over, sees the blue pill and then walks away. I’m very proud of her, but at the same time, it makes both our lives harder. I now have to restrain her and try to chuck the pill in. She tried to fight me, but it’s still for her best interest.

Hoping to fix her ailments

Hopefully, next week we will get some more conclusive results back and start a proper course of treatment. Of course, we won’t know for sure until that time, and it may still come back inconclusive. However, I’m remaining hopeful because she’s the best cat I’ve ever owned. We have cuddles almost daily, and she’s super social with me.

I will write a blog post about her next week, and hopefully, it will be much more positive. In the meantime, my wife set up a GoFundMe to help with the expensive vet costs. We’ve had some fantastic donations and shares. We’re grateful for every single one, and to everyone who wishes her well. You mean the world to us right now. Thank you.

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General

Changing up how I share with my community

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Having a central place to communicate with my audience

Recently, I started a newsletter (which you can sign up to here). And I didn’t know what to do with it. So I wrote and posted to my blog once a week and released it on a Friday. I would then copy all of the content and post it straight to my newsletter ready for a 12:30 pm (GMT) schedule.

My recent thoughts have been, I would like to ramp up my blog posts and post more frequently. However, I don’t want to post all of my blog posts to my subscribers as this would be annoying. Instead, I will post more frequently to my blog post, and write summaries for each update in my weekly newsletter. Kinda like “This is what I have been up to in the past week”.

It will also have snippets of other things that I find interesting. Which could be a handful of tweets, video content from other creators, drawings and many other things. Hopefully, this will help bring in more people into the spotlight and help to cultivate my audience.


Having many interests can be a blessing and a curse.

I have many hobbies, interests, and things going on in my life, and I would hate to just focus on one thing. If I can somehow find a way to showcase all of these things and box them up into my weekly newsletter, then it would make me and hopefully my audience much happier.

Take, for instance, yesterday; I found out DC are releasing a ton of new movies and a couple of games for next year which I’m super excited about for next year. Also, I think it would be cool if I could share that excitement with my readers, but also have it bundled in with other bits just in case there are some aren’t so bothered.

I love what I do in the web development space, but I’m also a huge movie and gaming nerd. I love music and am quite open to any genre of music, from pop to classic, rock to dubstep. I’m very open to listening to new music. I like to workout and do CrossFit in the mornings, and I know not everyone is into that. However, if I could make it so it can catch someone who might be interested. And those not interested can find something else, then I think I’m onto a winner.

I believe life is one big experiment, and the fact I have a handful of subscribers right now means there is more room for experimentation and making mistakes. As Gary Vaynerchuck would say, you have to eat dirt until you get it right, and that’s what I’m going to do.


Conclusion

I hope you’re ready to join me on this new journey, and you can subscribe to my newsletter here. Which will allow you to like and comment on any of my previous newsletters. Hopefully, in the future, I’ll have more people communicating with each newsletter. To help control the future of what you would like to read.

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ActivityPub

ActivityPub Test

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This is a test for the ActivityPub plugin, I’ll write more about this later.

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Crossfit

Crossfit Open 2019

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In 4 to 5 days, we will be finding out what our first workout called 19.1 will be. This will be my third year going into the open, and I’m not nervous. The open workouts are just a way for me to see how I stack against my previous self and those within my box. It is nothing more than a benchmark, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of people. It’s always exciting to see athletes compete on top form and they always seem to make it look so easy. I used to think that I could do it like them, but I’ve learnt I’ll never be as good as they are.

This is because I simply don’t have the time. If I had the time and money, then sure I would definitely train like them. My goal would go from training for health to training at a competitive level. However, this isn’t the case and I’m here to enjoy myself, my training and the competitions I enter.

The atmosphere in each box during this time can be incredible. It can be the most supportive experience anyone will ever witness. Crowds spectating and encouraging their fellow athletes to push through each workout. To truly reach the pinnacle of their fitness during a workout. It’s simply amazing, wonderful and exhilirating all in one.

Are you entering the open? If so, what are your reasons, and what are you most looking forward to? Sound off in the comments below. Also, if you enjoyed reading this post, please consider following me, I would greatly appreciate it.

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General

Creating events calendar and updating status page

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I have now created an events page. You will be able to keep up to date with all of my events, and talks. My plan is to do at least 3 fundraising events this year, and with social media hiding lots of content, I thought it would be easier to add it here. You can head on over to Events, as well as look at the sidebar. Some events will be TBC until more details are confirmed, and others will be there straight away.

If you would like to join me in any of these events, then you can comment on the event, DM me on Twitter or message me on Facebook. I will try to get back to you as soon as I am free, but please be patient.

If you have any events you would like to share, then please comment below. I can even add them if others can take part as well.

Finally, I have also updated my status page. Consider it a little bit of social networking, but more static and less hidden.

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General

January 2019 is coming to an end

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Affiliate links:

Please be aware that the links in this article are affiliate links. If you click on them, I will gain some sort of commission. All money gained will help future blog posts.

This is our final week of January, and we only have 3 days left until it’s officially over. I’ve already had a few surprises, some bad and some good, and I wanted to share with you both my good and bad for this month.

The Bad:

The Good:

  • Posted every day this month to my Blog
  • Transferred my blog from Digital Ocean to SiteGround
  • Transferred my wife’s website to SiteGround
  • Setup MailChimp for email newsletters
  • Became a vegan
  • My wife gained 3 new pet sitting clients
  • She also renewed her passport (our first trip abroad will be this year)
  • Totalled 2,166 website views with 856 visitors, 27 likes, and 18 comments

That’s everything for this month and despite receiving tragic news from my best mate Josh, this month went well all things considered.
Ron will be forever in my heart as he was someone who I loved and was like a father to me, I will never forget all the good memories and times we shared, R.I.P Ron. My cat seems to be getting better with the help of steroids, although he will need to be properly looked at soon, I feel he will get better.

Finally, my website stats has been a huge surprise for me, and it’s all thanks to you, the reader. I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has viewed and reacted to my blog. Whether that’s through likes, comments, Facebook, Twitter or email, it all means so much to me and I am forever grateful. Towards the end of each month, I will be sharing my stats so you can see how it grows from now on, and I will strive to post daily with useful and personal content.

What have been your good and bad for this month? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll see you tomorrow.

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General

Blue Monday and National Hug Day

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Today is apparently blue Monday (I say apparently because of this post). It is also National Hug Day which is a better thing to celebrate. Our workplace decided to celebrate both days anyway, and we came in wearing blue and ready to hug anyone who was willing. ?

Overall, it was a superb day and pretty much like any other day at Lightfoot. I mean this in the most positive way too, because we’re like a family at Lightfoot. Everyone looks after each other and we try to ensure no one is struggling (mentally or with work). We try to pick each other up when one has fallen and no one dislikes anyone. There are 0 dramas which make days like “Blue Monday” a breeze.

What did you do to help battle Blue Monday, do you partake in National Hug Day? Sound off in the comments below. ?

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General

Watching Aquaman with my wife

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This blog post is uber late today due to a late-night showing of Aquaman. We were going to watch Glass but instead voted on Aquaman due to availability and other priorities. Overall, we were very impressed with the movie. Without going into too much detail and creating potential spoilers for those who have yet to see it.

The movie was visually stunning, the underwater scenes were truly breathtaking and I believe the overall plot was really good too. It was a lot better than Justice League and I would say it’s up there with Wonder Woman. The sea creatures were absolutely incredible, especially the ginormous and more mythic creatures of Aquaman.

We noticed a lot of people left during the credit scenes and usually, I would scoff at them and call them rookies. However, DC hasn’t really been renowned for post-credit scenes, so I did give them a pass. I for one (and others too) decided to wait it out and see what happens. Luck would have it, that there is 1 post-credit scene. If you go to watch it then please stay until this part.

Without giving any spoilers, it doesn’t lead up to another DC Universe character’s movie plot. (Cough! The Flash. Cough!). Instead, it’s leading up to a second Aquaman movie which in my eyes is fantastic news. I’ll embed the trailer to it in case you haven’t already watched. Please do, the trailer is incredible.