Goals of 2013 – What Was Achieved?

So at the beginning of the year, I made some goals for 2013, on where I see myself in 12 months. It’s safe to assume that a rather large book shaped 2 month time suck saw me not achieve all my goals, but even so, I am still relatively happy with my progress. Here is my goal update for 2013.

Start Speaking – Semi Pass/Fail

So my main goal of 2013 was to start speaking at conferences. I didn’t quite achieve it though I targeted speaking at WordCamps. This probably was a little bit of a mistake as at the beginning of the year I hadn’t actually been to a WordCamp. Nevertheless, I did sort a speaking gig, but it’s actually happening in January 2014. Not sure whether I call it a pass or a fail. I didn’t start speaking in 2013, but did sort my first speaking gig in 2013. Does that count?

Oh and I will mention where I’m speaking in the next few weeks.

Blog More – Pass

Yep definitely done more blogging. Heck I’ve done more writing than I ever have before.

Most of my non-book-writing has been on this here blog, but the odd post on You’re Supposed To Be At Home (though that has slowed down, I mean, just how many times can you talk about visiting Guiseley?) has been bolstered by my new blog – Wrestling Betting – which has been a sleeper hit for my site portfolios, so much so I’ve invested time in a redesign, and will push a competition live soon! Check it out.

Save More Cash – Pass (though could be better)

This was going so well, so well, until I hit Germany in October.

You see, I discovered myself a little bit whilst traveling. I discovered that I hated sleeping in dorms in hostels. Unfortunately in Cologne I nearly had a breakdown where – staying in a hostel dormitory, I encountered probably my least favourite person in 2013. A fairly obnoxious Norwegian bloke who punched and kicked me when snoring, but was quite happy keeping me up when getting to know the only girl in the dorm room. Sigh.

As a result, I quickly rebooked the remaining week and a bit of my holiday, at considerable expense, to avoid staying in hostels but in hotels instead. It was the right thing to do, as the rest of my trip was really good, but it cost me a fair bit. Not as bad as I thought it would be, but pretty bad that I had to dive into my “emergency” savings.

Nevertheless, I’ve more money stashed away than I had this time last year, which is a nice thought, but damn it could’ve been better.

Start a Pension – Dismal Failure

Yeah, this didn’t really happen. Bit gutted actually, as out of all my goals I thought this was the most achievable. Plus the father will probably have a go at me. So for me this is number 1 goal of 2014! Heck I’d like to get it done and dusted before I turn 30.

So these were my goals, what were yours? Did you achieve them?

The Two Best Things of 2013

So another year is over. It was the beginning of 2013 when I relaunched this blog, so I’ve been blogging on and off for a year. Of course, the next few posts are times for reflection on things – a post later this week is seeing how many of my goals for 2013 I have hit (take a guess?).

It’s has felt like a bit of a quiet, if uneventful year for me. I don’t know, but with loads happening in 2012, this year seemed a lot more settled. So much so that I really wanted to do “three things”, but couldn’t think of a third thing for the list – other that I’ve a few new dear friends in my life now, which is obviously number one!

So for me, these are my two highlights of 2013.

2. Writing of bbPress Complete

moments-of-2013-2

Seriously, if you told me at the beginning of 2013 I would be a published author by the end of the year, I wouldn’t believe it. But on Valentine’s Day I received an email asking me to pitch for a book (instantly becoming the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had), I started writing a book on the Histon away day, and finished writing it on the last day of the season against Gloucester City. Two months later, bbPress Complete was published.

I am quite chuffed that I wrote a book, even though it took my eye off a few projects, which are now going to be 2014 goals. Nevertheless I have a morbid fascination of something I’ve created still being here after I die. Now, with this book, I’d like to think there will be now.

1. My Wrestling Career

moments-of-2013-1

As surprising as it may sound, the number one highlight of this year is that – in my fifth year of being involved in professional wrestling in the UK – I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed this year more than all.

It has been superb. I have gone from being nervous before shows and finding any reason to miss shows to canceling semi-serious plans and going out of my way on a Sunday to make bookings. I’ve gone from feeling a bit player to a point whereby at the Christmas Party a few of the top guys in British wrestling told me they hope to work with me in 2014, which is incredibly humbling.

Amazingly, BWP have enough faith in me that I have helped with the training. Of course, not for anything athletic, but how to structure characters and helping with their confidence. It’s a huge change from the unconfident, stuttering embarrasment that first appeared on shows four and a half years ago.

I’m so happy working with the rookies, and incredibly happy with my progress in 2013. Hopefully this will only get better in 2014.

To all those who I’ve worked with, traveled with, supported me or even made a sign for me (yes! That happened this year), thank you. It’s been awesome.

bbPress Complete – Announcement & Launch Party

Otherwise known as “my big news from April as my April Challenge“.

I have written a book.

A genuine, published, “buy it in Waterstones if you ask for it but can buy it off Amazon no problem” book.

I was approached a few months ago by a publishing firm asking if I wanted pitch for the possible writing of a book. After a bit of research, and a pitch, I was accepted and for the last two months I’ve been scribbling away at a book.

It’s been hard, it’s been tough (writers block is so much worse when you have deadlines), but on or around the 19th of July, bbPress Complete (a provisional title) is expected to launch, all being well.

I haven’t done it alone, so a huge thank you to various people: Cass Brookes, Shane Jones, Alex Moss, John Wilson, Jem Turner, Joost de Valk, Nile Flores, Emily Clark & Adam Croft who have helped me or offered to help me in the process.

During one of those periods of writers block, I went out for a drink with Shane, and we decided that the best way to celebrate the release of the book would be a launch party on or around the launch date. As tonight I finally confirmed the venue for the book launch, I feel it’s a good point to share it with people.

The event will be held in The Nook in Chorlton, and is invite only. There will be free tickets available the week before the event, but for now, to gauge interest, there are only paid tickets, which includes a signed copy of the book (either at the event or as soon as I get the copies), and a free drink. To know how much I love buying drinks for people, that’s worth the price of admission itself.

To buy tickets, or to read more about the event, please visit Eventbrite.

So yeah, it’s been a secret for ages, I’m just delighted to share it. Feel free to ask questions/congratulate/mock me now. All I can say is yes I had a proof reader and no it’s not written in Welsh.

Top 3 Best Quiz Machine Games Ever

If you remember back to my Goals of 2013, one of my goals is to save a bit of cash. This manifested this month with my monthly challenge of giving myself a cash amount for what I will save. One way I’m doing this is by avoiding fruit machines (yeah it’s a habit I’ve kinda dabbled in since my University days), and instead, when bored, playing on quiz machines instead.

In truth, I’ve always liked a dabble on quizzers in my time, a small guilty pleasure with my pint. In fact I’ve probably played most games on quizzers during my time spent in pubs, so I’d like to think I’m pretty good at them, and know what makes a good game. As such, here’s my three favourite quiz machine games ever.

quizzer1

3. Monopoly: Streets Ahead

You’ll notice a theme with all games on this list, in that they have a fairly defined end game. Games such as Cluedo you can play for hours because the machine will eventually screw you over, rolling numbers on your dice that will miss all the good squares. Monopoly is another game, with early versions not even telling you the points you have to reach before the cash prize.

Monopoly: Streets Ahead though is one game that takes the classic Monopoly and provides you with an end game. For one, they get rid of the dice entirely. Instead you have to pick properties you would like to win. Answer all the questions on a variety of subjects in the round to bank the points. Get over the number of points and you enter the end game, which you’re nigh on guaranteed to win a prize.

You can also enter a “shop”, which gives you the chance to exchange points accumulated up to that point for properties, tokens (which give you perks) and extra passes and try agains, and there’s a couple of skill games.

In short, it’s quite a fun quiz game, and probably my favourite quiz based quiz machine game. It is fairly easy to win something, though does have a habit of throwing up “Hotel & House” repairs towards the end, which is a bit screwy, but not irrecoverable from. The fact that this screwy feature exists knocks it down from second to third.

2. Eliminator

This game is quite fast, but quite easy to win a pound or two on. The game features a 16 square grid, with 8 right answers to a question, and 8 wrong answers. You need to find all 8 correct answers. This game does have a habit of throwing up some nasty rounds early on (one in particular is “Find 8 Cigarette Brands”, as somebody who has smoked a grand total of one cigarette and one cigar in his life, it’s tough!), but overall they are pretty fair.

What’s nice about this game is that the random, but welcome, feature that after the end of rounds, your lives and assists (“Eliminator” which eliminates 2-3 wrong answers, and “Find 1” which finds one correct answer) are refilled, which is always handy when the random difficult question shows up.

The only thing that lets this game down is the speed of it. For 50p, you are probably getting a minute or two of game time. It’s frantic, particularly with the timer which speeds up at later levels, it could do with being a bit slower I think, but overall my usual #2 choice if #1 isn’t on the list.

quizzer2

1. Pints Win Prizes (ideally, the second edition, but the third is fine as well)

And lo, the best quiz machine game, in the world, ever is Pints Win Prizes. This game has a £10 jackpot, and is your basic hangman game. To win the game, each puzzle gets you a pre-determined amount of beer into a pint glass (or, if you have a “Happy Hour”, a small amount in each pint glass). Collect 10 pints to win the jackpot, but various prizes are available for complete pints (starting from 4 pints). Bonuses are the usual bonuses you get with hangman games (Pass, Extra Letters, Complete Phrase, Extra Vowels and Eliminator), and you get 6 lives. You can also “Pull The Barmaid”, which will get you 3 pints straight off.

In short, it’s fairly straightforward to get decent wins, and also really good fun. The diverse range of categories means most rounds have at least one category that you’ll like.

If you can find the second version of the game (green bar, rather than blue), then play that. It has far fewer categories than the third one, and doesn’t have as quite a difficult bonus round when it wants you off the machine.

Domain Names For Sale

I’ve scribbled my monthly challenge post already (that’ll be live in the next day or two), but just a heads up for now: I’m selling a bunch of domain names.

At the moment, there’s auctions running on Domain Lore and a couple of Sedo Holding pages. These are projects that I had big ideas for but didn’t get off the ground. Hopefully somebody will find them useful. Prices are listed but happy to entertain serious offers for them!

Domainlore Domains For Sale

Sedo Domains For Sale

I probably should get a page up for this…