Got my blue belt
I've been doing karate for almost three years now, and the blue belt is seen as the halfway mark. By 2008, if all goes well, I could be a black belt. FEAR ME.
It was a particularly tough grading, too, as Shihan - the founder and senior instructor of the Kenshukai school of karate - was over from Australia and presided over the exam, pushing us that little bit further than usual. (He signed my belt!)
Oh, I can kick higher than my own head now, though I'm subsequently unable to climb stairs for 48 hours.
Booked a holiday
On February 25th, I will be flying to the wilderness of Swedish Lapland to do this. It's going to be scary and it's going to be cold, but it's certainly going to be the experience of a lifetime.
Gave a presentation
I know lots of people on my Friends list regularly stand up in front of an audience, and I take my hat off to them. I, however, have not done such a thing since I went in for the English Speaking Board exam at skool, so giving a paper at RNIB Techshare was highly alarming.
Journey to an Accessible Website seemed to go over pretty well, and once mine was safely out of the way I enjoyed the other presentations - as well as a ride on the Birmingham Wheel and a night in the Novotel. And the delegate satchel was bright orange, which made me wildly excited. Can you tell I'm new to this conference lark?
The website was also nominated for a Visionary Design Award. Which was nice.
Bought a new computer
You've all been hearing all year about the new G5 iMac I was going to buy just as soon as they came out. Yet MacExpo and the opening of the new Apple Store came and went without my actually stumping up the cash (though I got a free T-shirt at the latter after two and a half hours of queuing). In the end, it was only my faithful old ruby iMac going terminally tits-up after four years without a defrag that forced my hand. I then faced the problem of rescuing my data from the old machine, which involved much help from the Apple Store's Genius Bar and running to PC World for crossover cables. (I may have lost your email address, so if you think I ought to have it, mail me!)
Shiny and curvaceous as it is, and despite its astounding Panther-powered, DVD-playing, CD-burning, playing Black and White without crashing abilities, I can't yet muster as much love for the new model as I had for the old. It was cute and it was quirky, which are admittedly not ideal attributes for a PC but endeared it to my heart, and it was the first computer I was able to pick out and buy for myself out of my pay packet. Goodbye, Lara; you served me well.
Ooh, though, now I'm on OSX, for my next trick I can actually buy an iPod (the new models being incompatible with System 9).
Wrote a novel
I never thought I could manage to do NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words in a month sounded like a perfect recipe for getting stressed and beating myself up. Yet I bloody did it, in the face of overwhelming technical difficulties (see above, and big props to slightlyfoxed and spyinthehaus who lent me a laptop on Day 23).
I wrote, predictably enough, a novel about a team of misfit sled dogs who team up to enter the big race. It is not going to see the light of day, at least not in its present form, but as an exercise in proving to myself that I can start and finish something that long it certainly did its job.