My 2020 Retrospective

Howdy y’all, Jason here at 2020 year’s end for a look back at some personal highs and lows. The site is called, Jason Journals, ya know. So if you’re curious about a bit of my life beyond the blog, read on. I can’t promise a good read – it’s 2020 after all – but maybe you can relate.


January

Things started off well. I was preparing for my Kyokushin Karate belt test with extra physical conditioning. Tough, but I passed!

Also finally finished adding on a half-bath to the master bedroom, doing new plumbing work under the house for the new sink and custom counter. Nice!

Made a half-joking resolution: eat more Taco Casa. I can say I kept it all year long!

I finished the role-playing game Pokemon Sword on my Switch.

February

I played Octopath Traveler, another RPG, on my Switch. Great one! Still want to finish it…

Tremors about a viral outbreak infiltrating American shores began to shake things up.

March

This is when 2020 went off the rails. It wasn’t all bad though.

Covid-19 became a thing in America. Back then, I never thought it’d still be a thing in December! This, along with other factors, brought a first round of lay-offs, furloughs, and pay-cuts at my job. As of now, I’m still employed there. Thankfully!

Covid also shut down our YMCA and canceled my family’s karate class indefinitely. To this day, we have not been back to karate and are out of practice. Ugh. The Y is open, but at reduced hours; our class was never reinstated.

On the bright side, I finally bought a motorized sit/stand desk for my long cubicle work days. It’s great! Health matters.

Then we installed a new kitchen counter and cabinets in our old house. So much better.

Also, Animal Crossing: New Horizons landed on the Switch. And it’s totally still a thing to play today! The game never ends.

Speaking of animals, we had 5 baby male goats born at this time. Sold them at auction.

April

I worked remotely at home for 4 weeks. To “flatten the curve.” Because covid. I’ve worked in the office proper ever since, fine and dandy. Glad.

Bought a new Android phone, the Moto G Power, and switched away from my Apple iPhone 7. Because I’m a tech-nerd-geek-guy and had gone all-Google several months prior. This didn’t last long though…

May through August

The national news was full of bad stuff. I “socially distanced” from news media and social media: Facebook and Twitter. Since then, I’ve used them sparingly. Twitter is pretty good though since I just follow fun stuff.

I read a LOT of books and wrote several book reviews.

Re-finished playing Final Fantasy VII. Yes, an RPG. On the Switch.

My employer made a second round of lay-offs and other cost cutting measures. I got to keep my job while project work started to dwindle.

In August, our AC broke in one of the worst heat waves. It got up to 92 inside the house. The AC was out for a few days until it was fixed. And it wasn’t cheap!

Summer of 2020 was yuck. We had to mask up and lock down and re-open and wonder if life would ever return to “normal.”

September

I started, finally and for the first time, playing Final Fantasy X! The HD Remaster no less. Yes, on the Switch.

Fall arrived with at least some hope of cooler temps.

October

I took my wife on a 3 day vacay to a Bed & Breakfast for our 19th anniversary. It was time well spent.

My birthday pushed me further into my 40’s. This year, I feel my age more than ever. My body certainly needs more exercise.

I got to hike trails in Caprock Canyons State Park with family on my birthday. Nice!

Here in west Texas, we had a rare super early snow fall in October!

I finished Final Fantasy X and started Ni No Kuni. I love role-playing video games.

November

We had a national presidential election. It was in the news. A lot. I voted early for the first time!

I found a good deal on a like-new iPhone 8 Plus and switched away from Android. Also switched from Google to Apple, like the whole ecosystem. Although I still enjoy my Chromebook.

Thanksgiving arrived, and with it some hope of more joyful times. The holiday season started, which helps uplift the spirit, but it definitely felt more muted and truncated than in years past. Many typical festivities were canceled.

Work at my job continued to be very slow.

This month, my 3 middle kids started playing organized basketball at a local club. They enjoyed it. It helped to offset the lack of karate at the YMCA.

December

After resisting for years, I finally bought AirPods: love them! Also, I got my first Apple Watch (the SE) for Christmas. I don’t practice karate now, but I can at least “close my rings” and stay active. I’ve been jogging a lot more lately! Also hoping for an iPad in 2021.

Season 2 of the Mandalorian surprised and delighted me!

At our home, I finally fixed a broken circuit in the house! Two whole rooms, part of the living room, and our front porch lacked wired power. I had to supplement with extension cords for months.

The fix required I first create a new ceiling opening for attic access. Then as I troubleshot the wiring, I stumbled upon the fix: a loose wire connection in a light fixture/junction box, making the circuit open without tripping the breaker.

Once fixed, I then added new light switches and fixtures and wiring, improving what we had before. Lots of work, but tidy! Truly a bright side during long dark days.

Lastly, for this year’s annual reading challenge, I passed my goal of 12 books with 13 read. Over one book per month average along with many hours playing video games.


Looking forward to 2021

What does the future hold? Don’t know; haven’t been there yet. I do know that worrying won’t make it any better; that’s for sure. And while it seems most people think 2021 will be better than 2020, and I hope along with them, the fact is that 2021 could be worse. But not too much worse, right?

Thinking positively, I’ve got several new RPGs yet to play on my Switch. Escapism! What else? Maybe Stranger Things season 4 and Mandalorian season 3. Fun times ahead. I’m thankful to have such pleasantries and luxuries amidst uncertain and unsteady times.

What are some positive things you are looking forward to next year?


What do you think? Reply below with your comment. Contact or Email me at the buttons above. Thanks for reading!

What Happened To Blogger?

The Blog Spot

When it comes to blogging, there’s one site that always comes to mind: Blogger. My earliest blogs were hosted there with a blogspot address. Believe it or not, Blogger is still around, but it seems to have languished under Google’s passive watch. In fact, I’m surprised it has not already ended up in the Google graveyard, outliving even Google+. So what’s up with Blogger?


Spotty Blogging

Recently, I tried to follow the Blogger account on Twitter, @Blogger. I wanted to be in touch with the platform that I once enjoyed. But for some reason, I can’t follow Blogger’s Twitter account. I was told my “follow” was pending. I’m pretty sure the tweets were public before, but now the account is private. So why the change?

No Blogger Buzz

When you look at the updates on the Official Blogger Blog, what you find is saddening. The last update was over a year ago, in 2019. Then you’ll see there was only one update in 2018, and one in 2017.

In the last three years, there have been only three official updates for Blogger. That is very little activity; not a good sign.

The last hopeful news for Blogger was in May 2018. It promised “exciting updates coming soon…” We are now nearing the two year mark, and I can’t tell what those updates are or were. The only official announcement since that 2018 promise was about a feature deprecation (no more Google+ stuff). I hardly think that sparse update is exciting.

The single update in 2017 was about new themes! Now that is exciting, but that sort of change seems like it should be normal as part of staying fresh and moving the platform ever forward. Nonetheless, it was a sign of life. I can’t say I see any signs of life at Blogger in 2020.

I’ve always loved the orange color of Blogger.

The most encouraging blog post had to be the one in November 2016. It started out with hyping the popularity of Blogger as a publishing platform. But over three years later, it seems neglected or vacant now. How do you explain that? The post was hopeful, stating its overall purpose was:

“to bring you a faster, easier to use and more beautiful Blogger.”

Not Blogger Bashing

I’m not hating on Blogger. I’m asking these questions because I care. As a blogger with fond memories of the platform, and with a continued interest and appreciation for the simplicity of the Blogger interface and it being a Google product, I’m sad to see Blogger appear destined to follow Google+ to the Trash Folder.

Google is full of resources and experience, tools and talent. Surely it can make Blogger thrive, if it wanted to. That’s what bothers me about this. Blogger could be so much better. Imagine if it became more integrated into the Google ecosystem. For example, I love to use Google Keep for notes, and one of its best features is how integrated it is within other Google web-apps like Calendar, Gmail, and Docs.

Blogger is a writing and publishing platform. What if Google weaved it into Docs and Keep, two other places where you write within the Google ecosystem. There could be ways to write drafts within Docs and from there auto-publish to Blogger, similar to the WordPress Add-On I use!

And what if Blogger was tied into Google Calendar. I would love to see something like my scheduled posts on Blogger appear on my Calendar as a Reminder or Event.

A Few More Bits

I did end up finding a bit of new info about the ongoing support of Blogger. A story on 9to5Google in October 2019 reported that something new happened with Blogger (which was curiously not blogged about on the Official Blogger Blog). The Android app for Blogger got updated for the first time in 3 years! Well, that’s something.

This news also includes some updated info about the Blogger web app. A good place to check for Blogger updates outside the Official Blogger Blog is the Community Help Forum. So these updates are a few rays of hope that Blogger has not become abandon-ware.


Bleak Blogger Future

I know not to get my hopes up though. Blogger overall looks defunct, neglected. And Google has a history of killing great things despite being used by many: Google+, Google Reader, and Inbox to name a few. Although many bloggers are likely concerned over the state of Blogger. Another interesting article detailed a few reasons why Google is not (yet) shutting down Blogger.

Here’s my theory as to what is going on. Two major things have caused Google to ignore Blogger and let it flounder. First, Google+. The company was all-in on their major social network, weaving it into every other Google product. The resources expended on it left little room for much else. Then it slowly declined into oblivion. Meanwhile, Blogger was tossed around in that maelstrom.

The other thing is that while social media took over the internet, publishing and media as we knew it fundamentally changed. The paradigm shift left blogging upended, thus Blogger became less important.

Somehow, after all this, Blogger still exists. It has survived; I’d love to see it thrive. But at this point, even if it dies, I just want to know one way or the other. What’s up with Blogger these days, does it have a future or not?


Wonder what’s up with Blogger? Have you ever used it before? Comment below, or write to me here! Thanks for reading!