Life Update, March 2019

Hello everyone! It’s March and I’m still alive, and that’s good. I had such a productive January that last month looked like it might be barren and unproductive by comparison. Not so! I managed to make some good progress despite the lighter outlook.

Goals Completed

  • Exercise at the gym: I went to the student gym several times in February and even sometimes at work! Also got to play some ping-pong with Rob and Erik too.
  • Front door plants: Erik made us a really nice bench for the front door and we wanted to spruce it up, so we bought a couple of nice pots and plants for the front door area.
  • Trailer hitch: Got a hitch for my CR-V and tested it out by taking the bikes up to UCF. Works as expected, if not a little noisy; had to fish a bolt out of the sub-frame the installers “forgot” about.
  • Eye exam and new glasses: After taking a little tumble at work that scuffed up my glasses (and forehead), I popped over to LensCrafters for an eye exam and updated lenses and frames I’ve been putting off for far too long (since I lost my last pair in a lake in New Hampshire). Not a huge change in prescription and no eye problems, woo!
  • Aeron chair: After putting it off for a decade of working at a sit-down job (and coming home to sit the majority of nights), I finally took the time to try out some Steelcase and Herman Miller chairs. Thanks to a super helpful staff member, I specced out an Aeron chair and put some savings toward it. Thanks to Erik for buying an IKEA chair off of me to help fund it. No idea when I’ll get it but I’m excited!

Some other cool stuff:

  • I bought some rollerblades with my refund monies and rode them around the neighborhood!
  • Stuck a super-secret comment tag in my portfolio website
  • I got my first heavy full combo on a real DDR machine! AM-3P, but still!
  • Talked with some close friends about some mental health topics
  • Joined a Florida Springs website and shut down my old and languishing site
  • Finished listening to both Serial: Season 3 and The Dropout with Rob
  • Bought tickets to Medieval Times (and planning to go soon!)
  • Started tracking my overall mood per day in my notebook, for fun mostly
Continue reading “Life Update, March 2019”

Life Update, February 2019

I like writing small updates around the turn of the month, but this time I want to deep dive into what goals I tracked for January to give a sense of how varied and granular it can be and still be super helpful (to me).

I track my goals in Trello with a very simple board layout: columns for To Do, Upcoming, Doing, and Done (cleared out once a month at our goals dinner). I keep the mobile app on my home screen, keep visible bookmarks to the board on every browser, and remind myself to check the board in my habit tracker daily.

I completed over 30 goal cards on the board this past month (which is crazy) and I’d like to share all of them to show how even the smallest goals can add up to a real feeling of self confidence and success.

Continue reading “Life Update, February 2019”

My Favorite Games of 2018

My love of gaming started early and still burns bright, even if my relationship with it is a little weird right now (feeling pushed out of the AAA scene via boredom). Last year, I kept a quick ranking of every game I touched by enjoyment and thought I’d write a little about my favorites.

Honorable Mentions

Donut County: The game design is a bit simplistic but it’s an ear-to-ear grin inducer from start to finish with wonderful characters, snappy, aware writing, playful graphics, and a soul that exudes joy. And raccoons.

Deltarune: Who would have thought we were going to get a fully functional and super enjoyable first act to a sequel to Undertale out of the blue? Great music, interesting new characters and nostalgic hooks made for a really fulfilling experience and gave way to the excruciating wait for the final product someday, hopefully.

Forza Horizon 4: I’m actually kind of bummed that this didn’t make my top five, but the changes to the world economy and introduction of extremely silly personalization options really took me out of the perfect formula the team crafted for the previous iteration. That aside, the game is still one of the best racing games ever made and a wonderful co-op experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Continue reading “My Favorite Games of 2018”

2018 and 2019 Goals

It’s that time again! Halfway through January in the new year, it’s time to look back at 2018’s goals, see how they turned out, and use those lessons to set new and better goals for 2019. Let’s go!


2018 Goals in Review

  • Grow at Work: I made good progress in developing more fluency in Agile methodologies and techniques, bouncing from a successful Product Owner to a Scrum Master role after our team downsized a little. Despite really disliking being expected to motivate inherently unmotivated people, I have learned quite a bit about what the role can and cannot accomplish.
  • Start Exercising Regularly: My walking distance has crept up steadily and I’m thankful for that, but I never really found a rhythm for stretching or exercising in a regular fashion outside of long walks and semi-regular bike rides.
  • Plan Nights and Weekends: We tried this for most of spring (and it worked well for a bit), but it started to yield less and less results as it became less novel and less compatible with external stressors and obligations. Instead, we switched to a dedicated night per week for games and lightly planned weekends and that has worked well as a fallback.
  • Clear (Some) Game Backlog: Most of my legacy gaming backlog is still the same as last year. Now I know that it won’t solve itself and needs to be addressed a little more directly.
  • Play Myst 4, 5, and Obduction: I dipped my toe into Myst 4 just in time for Cyan to do a Kickstarter for a re-release of all of the Myst titles. Now that 4 finally runs on Steam, it’s back on my list for this year.
  • Read More Books: Unfortunately, my backlog is largely the same as it was a year ago. It’s just something I couldn’t find the time for, and when I did it was very difficult to slow down enough to focus on the simple task of reading.
  • Finish and Publish Oral History Project: Despite taking much more effort than I expected, I did follow through on this and I’m very happy with the outcome. I have shared it with most of my family members at this point and they have all been thankful. Good outcomes all around.
  • Publish Springs Photo Book: Basically no movement on this one, so it’s been pushed into 2019 with lower requirements and expectations.
  • Get (a Little) into Investing: I didn’t purchase any shares in 2018, but I did gather some information on Roth IRAs and opened one with Schwab. It will be a crucial piece of my budgeting strategy in 2019.
  • Relocate from Florida: Despite some genuine efforts (visiting Charlotte twice, talking to locals on Reddit), I didn’t make much headway on my Florida exit plan. A big reason: Rob got a killer job and it pumped the brakes on our planning (and I was fine with that).
Continue reading “2018 and 2019 Goals”

Blue Ridge 2018: The Hikes

Hey all! For anyone interested in some Blue Ridge hiking guidance, here are all of the hikes Rob and I did on our annual October Blue Ridge trip this year, ordered chronologically and labeled with our distance and elevation gain. These differ a little bit from the published info (we sometimes combined trails and extended them).

We accomplished a pretty large increase in our hiking distance this year: 79.5mi, up from 55.4mi. I don’t know if my poor aching IT bands could take much more, but it didn’t feel all that crazy!

  1. Sam Knob (2.5mi, 557ft)
  2. Cat Gap Loop to John Rock (6.2mi, 1154ft)
  3. Grassy Creek Falls (1.8mi, 400ft)
  4. Crabtree Falls Loop (2.6mi, 577ft)
  5. Trout Lake Carriage (3.3mi, 300ft)
  6. Rich Mountain Carriage / Deer Park Loop (5.3mi, 756ft)
  7. Cascades / Tompkins (2.3mi, 272ft)
  8. Rough Ridge (1.5mi, 362ft)
  9. Bass Lake Loop (1mi, 20ft)
  10. Black Ridge Loop (3mi, 574ft)
  11. Fisher Peak Loop (2.2mi, 233ft)
  12. Bass Lake Loop Extended (2.8mi, 170ft)
  13. Price Lake Loop (2.2mi, 72ft)
  14. Elk Knob Summit (4mi, 971ft)
  15. Green Knob Loop (2mi, 515ft)
Continue reading “Blue Ridge 2018: The Hikes”