[OK, so this is a few days overdue; but I did write it before NYE. It rambles, feel free to skip it. I've just realised I should start recording what year things happened in ;)]

So that was 2008.

Heaps of people I know had a truly shitty year - to the point where one even made a website dedicated to the fact:!

Our year was kind of... a lot of crap, with pockets of awesome. If that makes sense.

This post is basically a random collection of thoughts and impressions when I think back over the year.

Random bits

  • It took months and months for L's foot to come right; and it also took months for us to finally get the car fixed. The two aren't related. They just happened at about the same time.
  • I took up indoor rock climbing. No really! Me, exercise, same room at the same time.
  • Turned 30 on the same day as the Web Directions South after party, which was actually really cool :)
  • Worked a lot. Promoted to "Front End Architect". Office moved twice, but at least we now sit on truly awesome chairs. Reaffirmed my blistering hatred for office politics.
  • Got happily addicted to Call of Duty 4.
  • Saw the inside of a fairly crazy number of pubs, including watching two State of Origin games with NSW pub crowds... :)
  • Nature attempted to make our families homeless back in Brisbane (massive storms, trees down, roof damage).
  • A very damp winter (and the lack of proper ventilation in this crappy unit) brought on a mould attack in our wardrobes, which has taken months to sort out (not least since this is a problem we've never experienced before - Brisbane just isn't that damp). Lots of stuff thrown away, dry cleaned, washed in vinegar etc. My beloved trench coat was a casualty.
  • Our building sucks and the neighbours are braindead, noisy, inconsiderate fucktards - and they got much worse in the later part of the year. Oh and then rats nested in the front bumper of the car in the carpark ($300 damage and I gave a sixpack to the poor bugger who got the cleaning job at the mechanics). We're now trying to move house in the Sydney rental market, which is also designed to send people insane.

There was some other shit going on that isn't really bloggable, but was crap too. I know things could have been much worse, it was just a bit of a grind-along year at times.


  • Sydney
  • Melbourne (for a day)
  • Perth

I can't quite get my head around the idea that we weren't in Brisbane at all in 2008. That seems quite bizarre.

The Perth trip was awesome - L came with me to Edge of the Web and we spent a few extra days in Perth before and after the event. I love hanging out with the Perth crew and Perth itself was chilled and a great place to be. We went to the Little Creatures brewery and spent many happy hours in the brew house. Many photos yet to be added to flickr.

Notable food

  • Discovered the joy of shopping at Fratelli Fresh.
  • Dinner at The Victoria Room a couple of times
  • Dinner (and a lot of cocktails) at the Bondi Tratt was particularly interesting to me, happening almost exactly 2 years after I had a meeting there on the day I flew down for the job interview with News. I even caught the train over, it was all a bit deja vu/freaky. But great food.
  • Best meal of the year: dinner at 44 King Street, Perth. Every last thing was perfect.


We had a few awesome cocktails and drinks this year.

  • At the Victoria Room I discovered the Rusty Mac, which is a cross between a Whisky Mac and a Rusty Nail. Scotch + Drambuie + ginger wine + ice. Yum.
  • My brother gave me a bottle of Bruichladdich for my birthday. Very nice!
  • I keep trying to drink irish whiskey in pubs, even though it confuses bar staff. "Irish and coke please." 'Huh??' "*sigh* Jamesons's and coke. *points*" 'Oh ok.'
  • I have to mention that drinking Little Creatures while sitting next to the brewing tanks is a highly worthwhile activity.

We'd never bought Drambuie before. Didja know it's made with scotch, herbs and honey? I didn't. Anyway it's very tasty.


  • Chemical Brothers (blog/photos)
  • VNV Nation
  • Covenant & Tycho Brahe

We had some disastrous attempts to see more bands. We should have seen Snog, Assemblage 23 and That 1 Guy; but on each occasion something went wrong. Annoying!


If anything was the soundtrack to my year, it was VNV Nation (or my ipod on random). But I also listened to a lot of, Headscan, The Presets, Gotye, Primus/Les Claypool as well as all the usual suspects.

The Cure, DJ Shadow and UNKLE all remain enduring favourites. I've also been listening to Tycho a bit more lately, since seeing them live down here :) ...and of course I listened to heaps of bleepy trance stuff.

Heard Rob Dougan's Furious Angels for the first time. Quite an album really.

I sort of "rediscovered" NIN - partly due to the new releases, but also because Mark Pesce used Just Like You Imagined in his WDS08 presentation "This, That and the Other Thing" and inspired me to go back and have another listen to The Fragile. I really didn't get into The Fragile when it was released, but Mark's presso made a big impression and set up a whole new association to the track.

Actually I listened to a fair bit of older music, stuff like The Tea Party, The Cult and Morphine. I also had to admit that the 80s did produce an absolutely stunning track (and clip) with Talk Talk's Life's what you make it.

Comedy shows

  • Bill Bailey - funny bastard!
  • Strassman - something a bit different for us and I think once was enough, but it was funny.
  • Wil Anderson... unless that was late last year, I forget now.

Conferences/web events

These are a big part of my life, even though I don't talk about them much on this blog.

  • Web Standards Group (spoke in Feb)
  • Open Publish (spoke)
  • Google Developer Day (attended)
  • LGWebNetwork (spoke)
  • Web Directions South (attended)
  • Edge of the Web, Perth (spoke) & WA Web Awards (judged)
  • WSG, BarCampSydney, Webjam, Web Blast...


Contributed three articles to the Opera Web Standards Curriculum. I'm proud to be part of that.

Material things

...because, why not. I know material shit is just material shit. But I bought some cool material shit this year :-P

  • Upgraded my ancient 17" CRT monitor to a 22" widescreen LCD. The experience led me to write my blog's most popular post of the year, Choose Your Resolution.
  • Bought an Eee PC 1000H and it's awesome, no more going to web events lugging around a massive, borrowed, overheating MacBook Pro. The Eee PC is the right tool for the job.
  • Finally bought a new camera, Canon S5 IS and it's awesome. I'd become frustrated with the limitations of my old 3mp Cybershot (which I'd had for 4 years) and the S5 has kicked me back into gear a bit, taking lots more shots.
  • We bought a red Kitchenaid coffee grinder as our Christmas present to each other. I am totally amazed at how much better espresso is when you grind fresh. I knew there'd be a difference but it far outstripped my expectations.

No I did not buy a bloody iPhone, why does everyone keep assuming I'd buy an iPhone?


So that was 2008. Or at least a really really random scattergun collection of thoughts loosely wrapped around the concept of 2008 ;)

Roll on 2009...



Blogger Kate Clarkson  

January 08, 2009 12:41 am

What a year Ben! I can completely share your sentiments on it having been a monster year for everyone. I've seen 2008 take me from a mortgage, career and relationship in Brisbane to a rented flat, the start of a different career and and entirely different relationship in London. Whew!

Random tidbit: According to numerology, 2008 is a "1" year (2+0+0+8=10, 1+0=1) which means a year of beginnings and endings, which generally means lots and lots of upheaval, both good and bad. Coincidence? I think not.

Blogger 200ok  

January 08, 2009 10:00 pm

Yeah I think your year beats mine ;)

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