It seems fitting to end the year in much the same way as it carried on — by gaming Google. It seems that several people spend this time of year Googling for "new year wishes" and turning up my belateds from last year somewhere in the forties. I have three words for these people:
Anything more baroque is considered pretentious. Such ribaldry dispensed with, let us attend to the nonce!
My first attempt to summarise the year may have been a little prolix, and further statistical methods abortive (especially when I realised that even I didn't give toss for knowing my most viewed post of the year (this one, since you asked)), but I intend to give 2004 a proper send-off. And what exactly constitutes a proper send-off? How about Mr. Fleming's retrospective in four parts? (I, II, III, IV.) Expect nothing so grand.
The first temptation is to lapse into a biannual sop-fest, and why the hell shouldn't I? I think the whole Uni thing came together for me this year — not in terms of academic success, but socially. We may not have invented the concept of going to the pub after classes on a Friday, holding a quiz-based competition in a public house, or singing over the backing tracks of popular songs, but we definitely raised them to an art form. It's rare that a group of people, thrown together in a degree class, should get on so well, and to each of you I am eternally grateful for making university be not just bearable, but enjoyable.
What else of significance happened this year? There were ten weeks spent in Guildford, for one thing, during which I worked my little heart out for Detica. The strange counterpoint to my previous excursion (to Berkshire) was that, when I lived in Reading, I looked forward to Monday morning; whereas, in Guildford, I couldn't wait for Friday afternoon. I should add that my first act on the majority of those Friday afternoons was to high-tail it out of Guildford as fast as possible, which took me to such exotic locations as Nottingham, Crawley and a small town called London.
I can't say much about the cultural aspects of 2004, mainly for the reason that I've already said too much. In terms of music, I can't recall a year in which I've bought so many newly-released albums, whether debuts (Franz Ferdinand, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, The Futureheads, The Zutons, The Ordinary Boys, Razorlight) or by established acts (Morrissey, The Divine Comedy, Ed Harcourt), to which I have thoroughly enjoyed listening. All facilitated by my prize possession, a 40Gb iPod, of course — music has taken on an additional role for me, providing a soundtrack to the more mundane passages of my daily routine.
I don't particularly care for reviewing my own web output, but I am particularly satisfied with GUFF, which currently brings together content from fourteen blogs of people associated with Glasgow University. Though its main aim is convenience, I hope that it has introduced new readers to the featured blogs, and thrown up some unexptected gems. The associated Sourceforge project, BEANS, has been somewhat slower to get off the ground, but I intend to continue adding features, and eventually back-port them to GUFF. Bear in mind, if you have a blog, that membership is open, free and no-strings-attached, so don't hesitate to submit yours.
Finally, let's look forward to what 2005 has in store. One word looms large on the horizon: graduation. Expect a particularly purple post in June or July, after everyone has left University to go their own separate ways. My future is somewhat uncertain: perhaps influenced by my loathing for the location, I turned down the opportunity to work in Guildford, and I intend to carry out postgraduate studies in my area of interest. Where that might be, I don't yet know.
I've saved writing this post until as close as possible to the new year. Now, with a few hours left to go, it is time to embark on the last caper of 2004. Happy New Year.
PS. If you are minded to follow Gary's advice to become less apathetic and do a bit to improve the world, I suggest making a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella organisation for the aid agencies that are providing relief to the survivors of the Indian Ocean tsunami.