The Year of the UK and Making

by Ron on January 13, 2014

in Life

Looking back at 2013 I was trying to come up with an ending to the line “2013 was the year of…” While thinking about it I wondered “What will 2014 be the year of? Maybe I should pick a theme.”

I’m declaring 2014 The Year of Making and the UK.

The UK.

Declaring it the year of the UK is easy because we are planning to go live there for 3 months. It isn’t so much a vacation as an experience.

Ever since I read The 4 Hour Work Week I’ve been fascinated with the idea of mini retirements. Working for someone else has kept this from happening but now that I work for myself and can do my work anywhere I can get an internet connection it is possible. Having a wife whose work has the summers off also helps.

We picked the UK because I’ve always wanted to go there, I (mostly*) speak the language, and we’ve got tickets to Loncon (WorldCon 2014).

I think most American’s has some level of fascination with the motherland. I’m no different. I want to see where Dr Who is made. Want to be where all the women have a sexy English accent of some kind. BTW: how does such a small country have so many accents?

Saying a speak the language has been interesting. I remember telling a British medic I interviewed on my EMS podcast that we were two countries separated by a common language. There are just so many words that mean different things. Looking for a place to stay two friends suggested I look at Their London page inspired this twitter conversion.

The World Science Fiction convention is the oldest and maybe most important convention in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genre. Especially in the literary area, where it awards the Hugo award. Every year it is in another location and this year it was in San Antonio. Being so close we couldn’t miss it and attended it for the first time. We got hooked and immediately bought memberships to next years in London. Then it was just a matter of deciding we wanted to make it a longer term stay.


I’ve been dabbling in Making – which I refer to as high tech DIY – since we went to Maker Faire two years ago, but this year I’m going to get more focused.

I’ve got three projects in my mental que for the year. The Shower computer, a sleep computer, and Killer Robot Heels. More on what those are to come.

These two themes do seem like they might conflict. When we go to the UK we’re traveling light. The idea is to only bring 1 bag for clothes and such, and only my laptop. I have a whole room full of stuff I use for making. Seems I will have to take the summer off of making, which does seem non-thematic.

I did think yesterday that maybe I can combine them. I’ve wanted to be part of a makerspace since I started making, but there isn’t one in Abilene. But there are at least 3 in the UK. Maybe I could be a “traveling Maker” at one of them and combine my two themes for the year.

There’s a lot of prep work and planning to be done for the trip, though we plan to mostly wing it. There’s also a lot of mental work to do as well. It’s a little scary to decided to travel half way around the world and live in a strange place. But that is what makes it an adventure.

Hopefully I’ll be blogging more this year and sharing these adventures.

Fear by lexapalooza
Fear by lexapalooza

I stumbled onto the post An Open Letter to Every Man Who Reads a Woman’s Blog via The Art of the Simple Life the first time I ever read that blog. It struck a chord with me and I ended up writing a 400+ word comment. I thought that comment would make a good blog post, so here it is, only slightly modified.

I haven’t been as active in the blogosphere as I used to be but this post did make me think. I completely understand your ‘creeper’ feeling.

I think there are a few of reasons guys are afraid to comment on women’s blogs.

1. One some guys are terrified to speak to women at all, and the more they admire them the worse it is. This is true for them in the real world, where they can talk all day with their guy friends but can’t put two words together with a female. It translates onto the Internet, where the often spend a lot of time.

2. Guys fear being labeled a creep because we feel a lot of women immediately attribute ulterior motives to any conversation we start with them. As a guy, if you start talking to the woman at the next table about the books she’s reading, you get at least a strong wariness, and sometimes barely veiled hostility, from the first word out of your mouth.

3. The other fear is the misconstrued word fear. Guys know in the modern age we are liable to say something completely innocently and get in trouble for it. This reaction also seems to be worse from women writers – which is logical because words have higher value to them. There is an example in this comment thread – though the female commenter was very kind in her response. But I’ve seen entire blog posts dedicated to blasting men for using the term “fangirl”. Often it is just easier not to comment than risk saying something that will get you rebuked.

4. When guys talk to guys, being rude is a sign of affection. We give each other crap because we know we are friends. We’d never do that to a guy we don’t like or know because then they are fighting words. But we know that’s not the kind of way you talk to women. And where on a guy’s blog a post might inspire sarcasm or jokes, on a woman’s blog that wouldn’t fly. If a guy spends most of his time interacting with men, he may be wise enough to know he shouldn’t post the first thing that pops into his head when reading a woman’s blog.

Thanks for the post Brian, obviously I felt strongly about it. ):

PS. I have no idea what that last emoticon actually means – it was a typo.

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