2012

January is gone, and I’ve yet to post this. More for my posterity, I figure it is worth auditing the last year of my life. The hardest part about writing things is the near instant embarrassment you feel after publishing. People change, and fast. Even looking back at the last year, it is apparent how much I’ve changed. Many thoughts and opinions that I held just months ago now seem terribly naïve. Taking a snapshot of your mind and writing about it is a bit unnerving since it will always be compared to a moving target. At the very least, this exercise provides a landmark for me to refer back to, even if I have to scowl while reading it.

Personal 

I became engaged. I’ve written more words about this which I haven’t yet published. This was the biggest decision I’ve had to make as an adult, and will be second only to the moment I recite vows on May 11th.

6 years after my dad died, my mom remarried. All parties involved are happy. My family is bigger now, and holidays look different. I think about my dad most days, and really miss him. If I am honest, I still sometimes feel cheated. He never got to meet my fiancé. He won’t get to watch me get married. I wonder all the time what advice he would give me about situations, but I don’t get to ask him. Losing him has changed me in so many ways. I don’t want to be defined by it, but it has shaped me. It is still hard not to feel like a part of me is missing.

I’ve grown so close with my dog Wilson. I spent the first 6 months wondering if I’d made a huge mistake. Puppies are a full-time job, but he has grown up into the most loving and friendly dog, and he is so easy to take care of. I consider him a part of my family.

I am still a Senior Software Engineer at the same company I joined after I graduated college. I’ve moved into a bit of a different role which involves less of being a production engineer, and more software architecture and design. I’m definitely having to flex some muscles that I haven’t used in a while, but I’m finding the problems more challenging and interesting. The fortunate thing about my company is that they offer reasonable avenues for advancement that don’t involve management. I like people, but I can’t imagine if it were my job to talk to them. For now, I am content to put my headphones on with my head down writing software, trying to solve problems that interest me.

I traveled a bit. Myself and 4 others hiked the Grand Canyon for 10 days. We traveled some 70-80 miles and were able to summit the north rim. The scale and beauty of the canyon is amazing. It is also harsh and unforgiving. It was a difficult hike, but I am so happy I got to experience it. Apart from that, I was able to make it to my family’s lake house pretty regularly in the summer. I didn’t get better at wakeboarding, but I didn’t get worse. I didn’t get to snowboard this year because of the abnormally warm winter. I wish I would have played more piano.

Health

I consider it a success if year over year, I don’t get worse. This year my health was largely unchanged. I weigh roughly the same as I did last year, though I’ve decided that this is a metric I am not too interested in. Weight fluctuates a decent amount due to many factors that don’t involve fat. I instead rely on tracking body composition. I realize that this is still imperfect, since weight is one of the primary inputs driving the algorithm to compute body fat, but using it in this way adds context that the number alone doesn’t provide. I bought a few different readers so that I could compare them and I found that the handheld versions are more accurate and consistent. But I still prefer the convenience of my fitbit aria scale for the wireless upload and charting features.

Earlier in the year, I completed the Insanity workout. This was useful in getting me to my target body fat percentage. I find that I can maintain roughly my same level of fitness by exercising enough to break a sweat three times a week, so this is what I shoot for. I still carry a fitbit. I mostly just like having the data, and am rarely compelled to be more active as a result.

I suffered grade three concussion while trying to learn a new wakeboarding trick. Fortunately this effort was recorded on video. I’ve never experienced anything like this. The amnesia was the most startling part, both retrograde and anterograde. By all accounts, I asked the same questions 20 times, and had no recollection of what I did before the crash. Some of these memories have since returned, but others are still fuzzy. I’ve watched the video enough now that I am pretty sure I know what I did wrong, and can prevent it from happening again when I try it next summer.

I now wear glasses when working on a computer. These relieve the continual strain I put on my eyes by focusing inwards all day, and let my eyes relax.

I need to sleep more, and at more regular hours.

Technology

Most days, I spend time on 4 different operating systems: Windows, OSX, linux, and VMS. I try to be as OS agnostic as possible, and mostly just enjoy being exposed to everything.

I upgraded my Evo 4g to an Evo 4g LTE. Android is still the right choice for me. I am reasonably happy with my hardware options. I love the community behind it, and it integrates perfectly with the google services my life lives in. iOS is compelling for sure, but in my opinion google is still a ways ahead in terms of their online services offered. It still is frustrating how much work carriers put into ruining Android though. The first thing I do when getting a new phone is to flash a new ROM, usually Cyanogen, to get me the vanilla Android experience. This is also why Google’s Nexus devices are interesting. I own a nexus 7, and have been very happy with it. The form factor is ideal. I still prefer reading on my kindle without a backlight.

At work, I program primarily in C++. At home, I’ve used perl, python, ruby, and java in the past year, and have played around with lua a bit lately. I did almost next to no Android development this year, but oddly sales of my app which I haven’t touched in over two years are steadily increasing. I can’t really explain this, and I don’t even want to link the app here because I’m no longer proud of it. At one point I got 95% done with a rewrite of the app which was way better using a cross-platform framework in native C++, but then got distracted by something else. At some point, I should really finish this and give the app an update, and a proper iOS release as well. Oh well.

I’ve also spent considerable amounts of time playing with Ruby on Rails, since that is what a lot of the kids are doing these days. As a web framework, it is fine. I’m attracted to the large community of developers and amount of pre-canned solutions I can just plug in. I still prefer to never write front-end code.

I’ve officially sworn off RAID for all the normal reasons that people do that sort of thing. I instead built a ZFS box running freeNAS as my file server, and decommissioned my RAID5 box. This has been rock solid, and I feel especially happy that I am not longer at the mercy of hardware specific implementations.

2013

The majority of my goals for the year involve preparing myself for marriage, so that I will be a productive half of a successful partnership.

But there are other things too. I tweeted the other day that I wonder if my downfall may turn out to be my refusal to specialize. My hobbies are a bit all over the place, and once I reach a certain level of proficiency I tend to move on to something else. It is a little frustrating to know that I am not an expert at anything, and that I probably don’t have the personality for it. I’d like to try to pare down my list of projects and hobbies a bit this year to apply myself more specifically to a few things.

Although, with that said I think I am already failing. I’ve got an itch, and I think I can convert my fermentation fridge into a curing chamber. Curing, smoking, and fermenting meats in my apartment sounds like a great idea. Here’s to 2013.

 

 

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