2023 - July

Posted on Jul 26, 2023
tl;dr: Whoops, I'm back!

What’s this? A blog post? From Stuart? What ever happened to Stuart doing blog posts every month?! Yeah I don’t know either.

Maybe setting myself the goal of doing one EVERY month was a big ambitious, this time the goal is to “regularly” write a blog post… we’ll see how this goes.

Since last time…

Well the last blog post was back in February and in complete honestly, not that much has changed… except that I totally failed on my social media detox and that I’m in considerably better frame of mind!

The very thing that prompted me to write this blog post was a recent re-connection with a friend group, one that I had stupidly abandoned back at the end of February. It feels fresh and relaxing to re-join the friendship group, one that I had spent so much time with in January and February. I’ve talked previously about how I’m awful at reconnecting with people, I think the fact it took me 6 months in this case is just another example of that.

Writing this post it’s annoyingly easy to forget lots of the very cool and awesome things I’ve been doing over the past few months, including being a part of the core team at Pride Cymru helping to deliver an incredible pride event in Cardiff Castle. My partner and I went to KubeCon EU in Amsterdam back in April which was an short enjoyable trip to see sights, try local delicacy and get some free merch. We learnt something… not sure what but I’m sure we did! We also visited Canada at the end of last month, which was a very fast moving and travel heavy trip with their family though we did get some time to ourselves and chilled out. Of course being on holiday stopped neither of us from writing code or trying to handle ticket releases for Cubed! in the back of a car on a 4 hour drive!

But what about July?

Recently I’ve been able to find more time to work on my Minecraft mod Theatrical, which helped to also pick up my small time hobby of streaming on Twitch. I’ve been fighting with building some Cables, similar to those that exist in real life, but more, Blocky? It’s been a difficult battle but the fight is nearly over. I’m aiming to have feature parity to the 1.12.2 and 1.16.5 versions in 1.19.2 by the end of August. Then I’ll be able to port to newer versions and add some new features, I’m very keen to get some virtual audio working very soon! I’ve also been taking a deep dive into shaders, trying to figure out how volumetric lights work in the 3D game world and apply that knowledge to Theatrical so my lights are little more, realistic. Shaders are mostly maths though and so my head is very much struggling to wrap itself around most of it…

In my absence from writing blog posts I also started another project (yes another one, I know) trying to build a web application that assists in the organisation of large scale events. I don’t have that much experience organising such events but I’ve seen a few different management tools and they all seem to kind of do the job, but not at all well? I figured I’d like to also design a management tool that did the job but not at all well. It’s on the back burner at the moment but I’m hoping to pick it back up again soon with the aim of having it be Open Source but with specific license conditions. If you’re interested in this, please get in touch!

There’s been plenty of social gatherings too! Back in January a group of friends and I started a monthly Supper club which is still going strong! The idea of the group is for each month to meet with a different person picking the venue and organising it each time. We’ve been to all sorts of places which has been delightful, finding places I’d have never have been to and supporting local businesses. If you have any suggestions for places to go for food in the Cardiff area, please let me know (I’m yet to have my turn and I need some ideas!!!).

Naming things

Recently I’ve been putting a lot of thought, mostly in the back of my brain, as to my name. Stuart? Yes, my name, Stuart. As some of you may already know, I identify as non-binary (sorry if you’re someone close to me that I haven’t told, life is complex!)¹. That is to say I do not identify with the gender norms of Male & Female. I sit somewhere in the middle(ish) and I use they/them pronouns. Some non-binary people may change their appearance in order to feel more comfortable in themselves. If you’ve seen me in person, or a picture of me, recently then you’ll have noticed that I’m growing my hair out. It’s already quite long and I intend to keep growing it. Why? It’s just one of those things that makes me feel more comfortable, I enjoy having long hair and honestly It really shouldn’t have anything to do with my gender and yet it does. But anyway, aside from that, the real reason I started this ramble, my name.

One of the many things that some non-binary people chose to do is change their name. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about and, honestly, have been kind of struggling with. It’s somewhat a big deal and I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it. I somewhat like my name Stuart, it doesn’t really remind me of anything bad and I don’t really want to cut myself away from my past. Sure I’m not the same as I was a few years ago but It’s important to me to still be able to associate with where I’ve come from and the journey I’ve been on (It’s all about the Journey…). And that’s not to say that the name Stuart isn’t necessarily not gender-neutral but I don’t know many people called Stuart who don’t identify as Male. Regardless, Stuart isn’t necessarily the person I am now and perhaps not a name that reflects me now. Which leads the increasingly difficult question of, if I were to change my name, what in the hell would I change it to? Honestly I have no clue. It’s likely something that I’ll think about for a long time and not really get anywhere, but I just wanted to get it off my chest here. So, yeah, hope you enjoyed this rambling!

Into the future?!

I can see into the future…. well no I can just see what’s in my calendar for the next month.

At the start of August I’ll be attending ContinuumLan which is a small scale gaming LAN spread over 3 and a half days near Reading. By the time you’re reading this I imagine tickets are sold out! Looking forward to spending a few days writing code playing games and hanging out with friends! I suspect you’ll hear more about this in my next blog post TM.

I’m trying to find some topics that I can write more technical blog posts that are less about me and more about specific cool technical things I’ve done or are trying to do. Hopefully when I pick up some more of the shader work that I’ve been doing I’ll be able to write some blog posts on them with some visual examples and perhaps I’ll do blog posts on the more technical side of my Minecraft mod Theatrical once I’ve got more to show. If you’ve got any ideas on blog posts I could write or things you’d like to see more of, once again, please get in touch!

That’s all folks!

And that concludes the July (and March, April, May and June) blog post. It’s been nice to talk about things again! We’ll see you next time.

🦶 Notes

1 - Unless you’re the UK government in which case I can’t identify as non-binary and thus am still seen as Male insert politicalness here!

Yes I made an entire foot notes section just for this 1 comment!