Dec 25, 2022

#223 — End of 2022 Special

Merry Christmas! The end of the year is upon us once more!


This year I changed jobs. After after 4 years at GDS, I moved to GoCardless.

Over 2021 I started to feel like I needed a change. I’d been doing the same sort of thing for a while and, even if I changed teams, I’d still be doing something fairly similar. I wanted to work on larger and more complex systems, and I didn’t want to have my career advancement contingent upon doing more line management.

So I started looking around. I sent a total of 8 applications, of which 2 never responded, 5 rejected me before an interview, and 1 rejected me after an interview.

Then after all that work of tracking down and applying to interesting-sounding companies (I don’t just want a job, I want an interesting job), a GoCardless recruiter reached out to me over linkedin and that’s how I ended up at the new place.

I’ve been there for 9 months now, working on a team which owns a lot of the core logic and data which powers our payment processing. Right off the bat I was thrust into complex scalability work, so we could handle millions more payments a day than we currently processed, and it’s been a lot of fun.

It also pays more, which is nice.


As interesting as my job may be, it is still an unwanted imposition upon my life, an evil necessary to survive in our modern society. Were I financially independent, I would drop it in a heartbeat.

So, finances.

This year I didn’t really make any changes to my practices. I changed some account names up to make budgeting easier, but that’s it. I’m pretty happy with how I model things now, and don’t see myself making any big changes next year either.

I’m closer to financial independence (FIRE) than I was at the start of the year, but there’s still a long way to go.

Firstly, I’m now saving / investing over 50% of my net income. This is, really, the bare minimum to achieve FIRE, as it’ll let me FIRE in about 16 years. The next milestone I’m aiming for is 66%, which would let me FIRE in about 10 years; I’ll need to increase my income further to have a chance of hitting that, though.

Secondly, my “runway”—how long it would take to run out of cash if I quit my job this second, sold all my investments, and didn’t change my spending habits one bit—is now 3 years. That’s a long time to not need to work! But I shouldn’t relax now and actually quit my job for an extended break, that’d just eat up my savings and delay the goal of permanent retirement.

Knowing I’ll be working for 16 more years, at least, isn’t very encouraging. Likely longer, if inflation remains so high and wages don’t keep up. That’s half a lifetime away! But it’s better than working an entire lifetime.


This year I read 62 books, which is nothing to sniff at—it’s, on average, just over one book a week—but looking at what I actually read, it’s only that high because I read a lot of light novels. If we look at non-light-novel prose fiction specifically, which used to be the bulk of my reading, I read a mere 17 books this year! There were 15 weeks in which I didn’t finish any books at all!

Despite having so many books, quite often I felt as if I had nothing to read. No more big series I’d been meaning to get into. Just lots of individual books, some of which I’m really not that keen to read, and which have been sitting around unopened on my shelves for years. I should probably get rid of them. I’ve also not bought much new fiction this year (if you don’t count the light novels), but that’s partly because there’s not been much I’ve wanted to read.

I think I need to discover some new authors. Time to go hit up an actual physical book shop and see what’s recent.

All that said, here’s what I read this year:

My top three books read in 2022 are:


It’s been a year of changes, but few radical changes, just iterative improvements.

In October I moved these weeknotes from to this domain. I wrote about why I did that at the time, so go read that.

I’ve continued tweaking how I run my computers. I…

I also started using some new software and stopped using some old software:

The biggest change is that I dropped Pi-hole when my Raspberry Pi stopped working, and wrote my own recursive DNS resolver with adblocking, which has been powering my LAN DNS since mid March. It was a cool project which taught me that DNS is, in fact, fairly simple.


This was a good year for gaming.

Computer Games

I mostly play roleplaying games these days, when I pick up a computer game I tend to get really into it for a few weeks, then burn myself out and never touch it again. But in those few weeks it’s really fun! This year I’ve particularly enjoyed:

Roleplaying Games

Another good year for roleplaying games. I’ve played 8 systems and run another 5 (unless I’ve forgotten some we just used for a one-shot or something), with a total of 20 people across 4 groups:

Right now I’m running two campaigns:

I really like both OSE and Traveller. They and Call of Cthulhu are definitely up there as my favourite systems.

Of the other systems I’ve run this year:

Still, I don’t regret trying any of them.

Finally, this year, I switched from Roll20 to Foundry. It felt a bit silly paying $9.99/month to Roll20 to get… frankly, not very much. I’d used Foundry as a player a fair bit, so I decided to take the plunge and try it out as a GM. It worked very well, and I’m now happily self-hosting it.


I got back into baking bread this year. I kind of fell out of the habit when flour first became unavailable in 2020, but now I’m making nice loaves of sourdough every week or so. Also, I do sourdough now, previously I used instant yeast.

Here’s my recipe.


  1. Mix half cup rye flour and half cup water in a glass jar, lightly cover with a tea towel and leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
  2. Discard half the mixture, mix in another half cup rye flour and quarter cup water, re-cover and leave for another 24 hours.
  3. Repeat step 2 for 4 days.


  1. Prepare dough:
    1. Mix 6 cups bread flour with 2 cups water, 2.5tsp salt, and half cup starter.
    2. Lightly cover dough with a tea towel and leave at room temperature overnight.
  2. Proof:
    1. Move dough onto a lightly floured tea towel, and shape into a tight ball.
    2. Leave dough-ball at room temperature for 2 hours.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 200C with a dutch oven (or cast iron pan) (with lid) inside.
  4. Bake:
    1. Move dough ball from tea towel into hot dutch oven (with lid), and bake for 45 minutes.
    2. Remove lid and continue to bake until golden brown (10 to 15 minutes).
    3. Remove bread from dutch oven and leave to cool.

If your kitchen is cold, for the proofing step you can fill the sink with warm water, put the tea towel-wrapped dough-ball in a bowl, and float the bowl in the sink.