Out with 2017 and in with 2018

To answer a question for my Aunt Susan… yes, I’m still writing. This has just been a hectic year between the baby and work and life in general, so I’ve been bad about blogging. This was a weird year, to be sure. On a personal level, for me and my family it was pretty awesome. We welcomed a new member, Shane, into the mix. Chrissy started kindergarten. We bought a new car, I switched accounts at work (that demanded a lot of overtime recently). I purchased a Nintendo Switch and have more-or-less stopped collecting LEGO, have been working more on side project and learning. On that personal level, it has been a damn good year.

Of course, the greater world at large is a rolling dumpster fire that’s perched on top of a bigger dumpster fire, and all of the juices were elected to high office last year. Look, I honestly don’t care if you are liberal or conservative, just be a good person and treat others with respect and the way you would like to be treated. If you can’t do that, you should not be a person who is listened to or respected in the slightest. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that, and we have people at the top who only care about themselves and are wholesale looting the country and robbing the future (and present). The worst part is so many people support them despite overwhelming evidence that they are being lied to.

But, I don’t want this to be a political post so I’m going to put most of that in the background. It’s going to be a much more selfish post than that, and talking about my family and me, and what’s been going on in the past year.

The Obvious Big Change

So, clearly, there was one event that has sort of dominated the year. His name is Shane Alexander, and he was a little surprise we learned about late last year (though one both wanted and planned for). For those who are curious about the name… we just liked it. It’s not a family name (that we are aware of) or a friend or anything. It just sounded good and it fit him from the moment we laid eyes on him. He’s quite the little drooling cuddle-bug, and has smiles that are simply infectious.

Growing Up

I’m not exactly sure how this happened, but somehow we also gained a Kindergartner this year. She loves learning, and just loves to go over the things she learned (even though she always answers the “what did you learn today” question with “nothing”). She also really loves being a big sister, and has been sharing her new reading skills by reading to her brother nearly every night at bedtime.

Out With the Old

I mentioned it above… but this was a year that brought about a pretty big change for me, at least on the hobby side of things. It was the point where I think I hit the breaking point with LEGO as a company and a product. I have hundreds (if not more) sets that aren’t on display, tons of parts I don’t have time (or really motivation) to use… and as a company they’ve been getting considerably less consumer friendly lately. The prices of sets have been steadily going up, while part counts have been going down in weird ways. More than that, they seem to be in a really big creative rut that made for boring stuff.

Past that, the site I write for, FBTB.net, has seen a similar change, as both the owner and myself have been following similar tracks by strange coincidence. It was coming a long time for me… kids take up a lot of time and I’d gladly spend it with them over a toy. The cost had been getting to me for awhile, which was reflected in reviews for some time. Same with the creativity issue. There were also, honestly, some things about working on a fan site and dealing with LEGO that took off a lot of the shine. It got tiring to be one of the oldest and still frequented sites, but more or less ignored by the company. Other places got support from the company, received updates, etc, and we were frequently left out. More than that, LEGO has been making it very hard to be an adult fan lately, doing strange things with supplies and vastly raising the prices on AFOL-focused sets.

What I Want out of 2018

That isn’t to say that I’ve given up all my fun stuff. I’m still playing Role Playing Games, video games, painting miniatures, and enjoying time with my wife and kids. I’ve been trying to write more, but mostly around the background and fluff for my D&D campaign. There’s an underlying motive related to a couple of personal projects that I’m working on and will hopefully share later, but mostly it’s been an outlet.

For the world part… I just keep hoping that we’ll break out of this strange fever dream where hate and intolerance not only became acceptable but celebrated. We’d been making some painful progress in recent years towards just treating everyone better, and it feels like that has ground to a halt. I want my kids to grow up to be better than me, and I want them to have a world better than I did. That isn’t to say that I had it bad (though I’ve written enough about it)… just that I believe you should always leave a place better than you found it.

And, of course, a new season of MST3K coming up!