Well that’s the end of that: 2014


This year wasn’t nearly as busy as last year, but I’ve certainly had a lot going on, not least of which was finishing my Ph.D.

At the beginning of this year I finally received my Spanish drivers license, which I’d completed the practical exam for at the end of last year.

I started playing the still unfinished game Starbound and developed my own database of items from the game, StarboundBase. In the process I started to think about what I really enjoyed in work if I was spending my spare time developing a web site, just because I could.

Although Andrea and I didn’t manage as many overseas trips as last year, we did escape to Montserrat for a day and have some great weather for it.


For my birthday, Andrea gave me kitesurfing classes. I had my first class and absolutely loved it, although for reasons that will soon become clear, I’ve had to leave the next class until next year.

At the end of April I began the task that would occupy me for pretty much all of the rest of the year. I started writing my Ph.D. thesis dissertation.

Being the programmer that I am, I created an animation of the writing process over at The Original Takeaway.


In June, Chloe and Ben came to visit and we took a trip south of Barcelona to the Penedés region to visit some wineries. In July Andrea and I spent a night in the Parador in Vic as a treat for my birthday from Thea and Bruce. I suppose that in the end we have done a bit of travelling around Catalunya this year, so I shouldn’t complain.

After many, many revisions, I finished the dissertation and deposited in October, just after Andrea’s 30th birthday. In total it took my about five and a half months to write the dissertation and I was very happy with the result.


For Andrea’s birthday we went to Granada for a weekend and caught up with all her family. It was fantastic for Andrea and a great little break for me as well. Andrea and I went out for her birthday in Barcelona as well and enjoyed lunch at a great little sushi place in Sant Cugat.

On the 3rd of December Soph, the wife of my best friend Mike gave birth to their daughter, Eden Rose. I got lots of updates during the process and it was great to finally see photos of her after the birth. A huge congratulations to all the Popkiss family!


In December I defended my Ph.D. thesis. Bruce, Thea, Evan and Steph all came from Australia to see me, and although I’m not sure they understood anything, it was great to have them there. In fact the whole defence went well, after the first couple of slides I relaxed a bit, and I think my presentation went well. The questions weren’t too tough, and I was able to answer them all. In the end I completed my Ph.D. with a Cum Laude, so I was thrilled with the outcome.

The last four and a bit years have been really incredible, I’ve studied something that I knew almost nothing about at the beginning, and by the end I really felt like I have got a grip on the subject in general and earned my Ph.D. with my knowledge of my specific area.



To celebrate and finish off the year, Andrea and I joined the rest of my family in a trip to Iceland. In short, it was incredible. The best parts of the trip were hiking over a glacier and seeing the Aurora Borealis, something I’d wanted to see ever since reading Phillip Pullman’s series His Dark Materials.


We had a Stainsby-Templeton-Martínez christmas on the 25th in the town of Vík in the south of Iceland. It had been 7 years since Evan and I were both with Thea and Bruce for Christmas, so it was something very special made even more so by having Andrea and Steph there as well.

Now I’m with my other family, in Granada for New Years and Three Kings. And so ends one of my busiest years ever.

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