Since adding searching capability to my website, I was able to analyze my posts like never before.  Combined with me finally loading in my diary of pre-website entries (private, sorry, readers, only viewable for me, but believe me, it's better for you that way), this gave me a record of my thoughts during various times in my life spanning almost 14 years, or almost half my life.  Thus, there were some observations I could make.  

Putting aside the distinct changes in character and the mellowing out/maturing of my personality, in general, I noticed that while my posts give a good representation of my mindset and situation at the time that I wrote them, it does not provide much context beyond that.  While at the time, what is going on in the world seems redundant to share, years later, it becomes something of significant importance.  I think that having clues sprinkled here and there about the big things going on at the time would greatly benefit the reader, whoever it may be, who reads this far into the future, including myself.

As an aside, I must say that I'm really glad I was able to get my diary loaded in, after carefully hanging onto this text file created and edited using Notepad for 10 years (since my last entry in it).  While it's a reminder of how much time has passed, and by deduction, how old I have gotten, it is also something I've always wanted to have, but always lacked the persistence for.  My first diary started in grade school, but it only lasted a couple or entries, often having gaps of a few years in between.

As for my life since my last post, I added an updated "visitors" section to my website, where I now have statistics of visitors, broken up by date or country - using Google Charts.  This update was sorely needed, as the previous version had things broken up by IP, which is not very useful.  This was the last major feature for my website.  Since then, I have made minor tweaks (like adding a lightbox and getting Flash videos to work) and fixed bugs.  Since then, I've just been chilling, I suppose.

I am thinking about maybe enrolling in a teaching certification program.  My goal for after I retire is to become a high school teacher.  So, this is way down the line, but since I've been having too much free time on my hands, I decided to start researching it.  Here's where I left off:

I am also thinking about adding an ad onto my website for freelance web design services.  I think my website turned out really well, and showcases the kind of work I can do, and it is something lots of people out there could benefit from.

My life in general has been good; routine, but good.  I spend a bit more time with friends now, in my spare time, but what I have felt there is worthy of another post.  Besides that, I've been spending my free time re-watching Skip Beat, Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran and Hikaru no Go.  It's been more than 10 years since I last watched Hikaru no Go.

Now, for the snapshot.  I think the last time I talked about what was going on in the world was back in 2012 or 2013.  At the time, everyone was still depressed, and the job market seemed like it was still stalling.  However, since then, the economy has steadily improved, albeit unevenly.  Software developers were highly sought after, and there was a lot of enthusiasm around new technologies.  That may have slowed down.  The stock market rose steadily until mid-2015, when China's stock market imploded due to speculation.  A few large Chinese corporations with sizeable debt had to temper their ambitions.  The stock market in the US was also affected, and from mid-2015 until mid-2016, it steadily declined.  Apart from software development, the wider economy did not see much improvement in terms of jobs and wages, which led to Trump's election at the end of 2016.  To the dismay of most stock market forecasters, this was the beginning of a renewed stock market boom, which lasted an entire year before petering out at the beginning of this year, at all-time highs.  My friend, Frank, explained it as a whole section of the population who was under the impression that the economy was doing terribly during Obama's administration, had been sitting out of the stock market, came in when Trump was elected.  It seems, though, that the music is coming to an end.  The stock market has again stalled for this year, and the economy doesn't seem to be growing as quickly as in the past few years.  Trump has been combative, with talk of sparking trade wars, but has also pushed through a huge corporate tax cut.  The net effect, thus far, has been slightly positive, though the future looks more grim.  Looking back, I started my career in the throes of an economic recession, and have only experienced an economic recovery throughout my career, thus far.  I have not yet experienced the other side of the business cycle.  I wonder if my career can stand the test.

April 19, 2018
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