Writing this required 3 lunch breaks and a camping trip so I don’t know if the end result will appear scattered but if so, it’s representative of the past year.
I usually start this process by reading last year’s birthday post. Crap, I missed it. I have my one from age 30 but not one for 31. Thinking back to this time last year, I can see how that happened but I’m still disappointed with myself that the task was skipped. Sorry everyone. Let’s do a 12 months in review?
- I lost another 10 pounds this year so I’m 240 now
- My credit score continued to rise after a dip last year from buying the house
- I picked up another income stream
- I bought a motorcycle right after my 31st birthday
- I bought another motorcycles right before my 32nd birthday
- The house projects sort of winded down although there’s still a lot to do which really deserves its own blog post
- My primary income source didn’t increase in earnings but I did gain a lot of responsibilities that show they’re overall satisfied with my work
- I continued to live things pretty much how I have the past few years and I’ll have time later to devote to what that means but it seems the year over year (YoY) changes are slowing and I’m okay with that. It makes life a little bit more predictable
i’m writing finishing up this post on September 6th. The birthday post isn’t one people ask for. I don’t get letters from people asking why I didn’t write a post last year. The fact that anyone visits this blog directly is amazing. I’m grateful to have an audience. I’ve had this blog for 10 years which is in itself very impressive. Doing anything for 10 whole years is unusual for me but that was the point of this domain name and this blog in particular. It was intended to be a catch-all for anything I cared about and those of you who read every post have followed the changes in me being reflected in this digital journal. That’s pretty cool unlike the highly specialized blogs of the past that fade away as I lose interest.
We can’t have an annual post without including that this is the end of 7 full years in New Hampshire. I moved here in September of 2010 just a few days after my birthday and once again, I sit here thinking I’ve been in NH longer than I was ever in SF. I don’t think SF me would ever believe I’d end up here but SF me was ready to move here as soon as I interviewed at my job which I still hold today. Would I still be here if the job didn’t exist? That’s not really up to me. If I lost my job, one that I want to keep for a very long time, I’d try to find equally paying work locally. If I was unable to find it, I’d certainly look elsewhere and go where my sails take me but I would try and stay here. New Hampshire doesn’t quite feel like home. SF did actually but it felt like a home which I was a tourist in but that’s because SF is this city that never really welcomes you home. You get little blips of comfort but earthquakes, unemployment and traffic sort of pushes you away and then someone breaks into your car and craps in your seat and you’re thinking again about moving.
New Hampshire has treated me well. I met Heather here, she’s up for living anywhere. I’ve met some people but very few people here that I’d call friends relative to who I’ve met and in New Hampshire, I’ve been geographically forced to let the startup world leave me behind. We still don’t have great cell service, we just got Uber in our area and still no one is using Foursquare or Twitter here. Everyone uses the ListServe to communicate over more modern methods. Facebook adoption is pretty high and it’s finally reaching a bit of annoyance for me. The problem with San Francisco is what they do now will be global in 5-10 years. Well, Facebook is finally a thing here….and I hate it. I left San Francisco partially because everyone was on social media. Up here, in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire, people I communicate with socially are now asking why I’m not on Facebook Messenger instead of just SMS. SMS works fine for me..or email, they now plan to see me through my girlfriend on Facebook. I won’t re-join that place or any of the social media sites. It’s annoying to me that even the rural parts of America are online and people so willingly just join these services where it used to be we were just a database table of a struggling startup that wouldn’t last. Now, joining a site or connecting with your Facebook account opens the flood-gates for more advertisements. I really hate it and I wish this area was immune from there. Maybe I move into Labrador Canada or Alaska next. Get further away from progress.
I love technology. I use it every day but the communication means we are all using is something I won’t participate in.
Ah, I should add more context of where I am. I’m writing to you from Goshen Vermont. I’m at a BMW Motorcycle Rally. I joined this club a year ago before the rally and I’m back. This is the rally where I met the Quebec group which I camped with in October and joined on our Tail of the Dragon trip in March. I’ve been to 10 of the last 12 months of monthly club breakfasts for the Vermont BMW Owners club and have certainly become a familiar face around these parts. Everyone here is 10-50 years old than me. All riders, good group of people but unfortunately, most are on their phones checking Facebook so I chose to grab my laptop and write by the fire. Usually the laptop stays home and the iPad is with me but I hate typing on it so I just use it for reading and nights like this would really help me whittle down on the Instapaper queue. Unfortunately, the iPad Pro 9.7” has been sold for $400. I’ll put that money toward a low-cost iPad Pro 2018 whenever that comes out. I noticed the downward trend of iPad prices so here we are, iPad-Less. I’ve written in the past about going without the iPad for a few weeks. I hate it. I love having the iPad. I get home, dock the iPhone, grab the iPad and that’s my home computing device in bred, couch and in the basement when I’m working on projects. Then to get work done, I wake the iMac up from sleep.
Holy crap, 13 hours and 29 minutes remaining on this MacBook Pro Charge. I doubt you’d want to read something I wrote for 13.5 hours.
Someone just asked me if I had Internet on my laptop. Infuriating because they just assume to use a computing device requires Internet service. Don’t they know you can do things offline like editing photos, video, writing, number crunching? sigh. Not every machine is just a portal to Facebook.
Alright, 32…what have we learned other than how to be a curmudgeon?
We certainly summarized how we’ve moved away from technology more but not really. More specifically modern social media. I still tinker with technology, programming, I’m doing a lot more with Amazon Web Services, scripting, a lot of video and photo work and I’m now leading a team of 7 people, 4 of which are programmers and we’re doing some great things inside of the mapping division at my job. This week, I had to upgrade my home NAS, an 8-bay Synology. It was starting to throw warnings about space. I yanked out two 6 terabyte drives and replaced them with two 8 terabyte drives. I wish the 10-12TB drives were more affordable. I now have eight 8 terabyte drives in the array with 1 drive dedicated to failover if a drive goes bad. I think by this time next year, 10TBs will finally be affordable. I hope my data-hoarding can sustain me for that long. having 48 terabytes to my disposal sounds like a lot…it’s really not.
While the liquid cooled R1200GS Adventure felt like a dream bike, it wasn’t serving my needs completely. It’s amazing for touring and I enjoy riding it off the beaten path but I have decided a proper enduro / dual sport was for me. In the last couple of years, the industry finally stopped calling BMW GS bikes “dual sports” and the category Adventure crept in which is far more appropriate. I did get a dual sport. A Beta 500 RR-S. It’s awesome. Just needed a few small changes but I’ll be able to ride it a bit this year and in the nature of adult things, I’ve added a trailer hitch to heather’s car and a trailer so she and I can go camping and then i can go out in the woods on the dirt bike during the day.
The house is doing okay. There is a lot to do still. We need to pave the driveway after smoothening it out and terra-forming our way into a 3 car driveway. There’s rot happening under the wood on dirt foundation out of the 2nd bedroom which doesn’t have insulation under it so it’s the same temp in that room as it is outside so we think it’ll be necessary to jack up that part of the house, pour concrete under it and finally get a sealed up basement from the constant 90% humidity in there. We want to get better insulation by replacing the front door and then finally after the 2nd bedroom is insulated, the driveway is paved and the front deck is built, we can finally finish the basement which involves a half bath, movie theatre and beer room. This was the plan this year but there’s just too much to do that is more important from a structural level. I think this house is going to cost me another 50 grand before it’s ready to be my home in a more perfect sense. Then I’ll probably get stuck with 1-2 kids and have to sell it because it’s too small.
This year, I started dabbling in real-estate on the side. Perhaps in 10 years, this will be my career. I don’t think so but anything is possible. On the nights and weekends, I help a local agent with things. Getting my feet wet. I went to classes over the Winter time and it’s not high paying. It’s only $9 an hour after tax, still a ways to go but the clients I have are saying good things. I think I’m on the right track here. I hope everything goes okay with my day job that I don’t have to do this full time until one day I decide to but for now, it’s supplementary and is a lot of fun. It doesn’t get into my daily job or my hobbies mostly. I’m only mentioning this because maybe a year from now it’s something a little more serious? We’ll see.
My day job in 2018. Man, we are doing so many great things. The head hunter who brought me out to interview here said they were looking for an entrepreneur with a love of maps and an innovation spirit. They did get that but then I was placed into a lot of different silos and some managers were better than others. I’m working with someone now who is asking me to be myself and do what I love and he is giving me those resources. I think there was a period of broken-ness like my spirit, excitement had fleeted a bit and it had started to just be a job. It was one I enjoyed but still just a job in an area I really liked and the job allowed me to stay there.
The boss I have now noticed all of my years of small projects, ideas, non-starters with programming and incubation. He told me to go ahead and do that. I can bring on 5-10 programmers and just build what is most exciting. That’s what I’ve been working on since January. Next year, we’ll get to grow a bit more and then I’ll be put on a special projects team of on-site events and a little bit of culture officer work. I hope things continue but more importantly, I hope that the work I’m doing contributes to the technology arm of our company and saves us money in the process. I believe this is going to work. It’s not turn-key. It is exciting though. The incubation itself has an end date that is completely up to me meaning if I squander the time and resources and we ship nothing, the project goes away. If we do well, this could be something huge. A massive maps R&D unit I get to lead innovating on our core technologies and keeping us competitive in a very fast-growing industry. If you want directions on your phone, autonomous driving, real-time maps, we need to build what we are setting out to and do it well. It’s very exciting.
Last winter, from December – March, I completely tore down my BMW motorcycle and built it up stronger. That bike is done save for an exhaust system and new luggage boxes and tires,. My dirt bike will be done in a week. It’s at the dealer getting $1400 of work done to it on top of what Ive already done. This Winter, I’m ordering a negative-film scanner and I’m setting out to digitize all of the photos from my family before digital cameras. Family members have been sending me photos from before I was born and I’ll be scanning them in, trying to add a date-tag to each of these and some of them will go up on Flickr.
This year definitely flew by. I was in the basement every night until March then down to Asheville and tail of the dragon with the Quebec club then I was working every day 7-4 then Saturdays at real-estate classes and 3 hours a day serving those clients in addition to the 2 hours a day I average editing videos, photos, writing and reading RSS feeds. I was able to upload YouTube videos at least 4 days a week this year and at one point, I was making $400 a month on YouTube. It has been $209 a month since June which is still impressive although I won’t keep up this schedule forever.
Before you know it, summer is here and I went camping 10 different weekends this year, then road 3,600 miles to Labrador Canada and back and since I bought the GS after my birthday last year, I’ve put 14,000 miles on the bike. Not bad for one year with a 5 month long winter.
The Golf R. IT’s doing great! I’ve driven it 2,000 miles since April. I gave it an oil change even though it didn’t need one. I will hit 40,000 miles at some point this Winter. I do currently have an insurance claim out because someone dinged it up pretty bad when it was parked. I’ll get that buffed out and re-painted and then re-OptiCoat on those 2 door panels. 40,000 miles in 3.5 years is a lot but 20K of the twas in the first year then I bought a motorcycle and everything changed. It’ll be paid off next year I think. Close to done and then I”ll have an extra $590 a month to save or put toward a vehicle that’s more practical. The Golf R is worth $30K at the current mileage. Paid off, it’ll still be around 24K. These Golf Rs really hold their value. It certainly makes me feel compelled to grab another one in 2020 even though they’re just not practical for my needs which is hauling a dirt bike around and going on road trips to the middle of nowhere. I keep saying I’ll keep this car forever. It’ll be my fast far and it’ll stay with Heather’s parents with basic insurance and every few months, I’ll take it out for a fun drive and just hang on to it for the next decade. We’ll see. I’m back and forth on it. The fact I have equity in both of my bikes, my car and my house though does make me feel good. It’s good to know that if I needed to, I could get rid of everything, have enough to buy a Prius and move to wherever I needed to next that had a job I wanted to do. It’d be a full re-set on everything but at least I’m not underwater and struggling to breathe. It makes work feel like work and I want to do things that I love.
If I go on much longer, we’ll be at 3,000 words. If you’re still reading, thank you.
Where is this all going to be in a year. Despite being more stable than ever, I feel like the next year is going to have a ton of changes. I don’t dare make any guesses this time around. Who knows what’s going to happen? I do know it’s going to be interesting. I just wish things were more certain.
I’m happy though where things are. No complaints here. Have to stop…we’re close to 3,000. thanks for taking the time to read and explore where I’ve been. I hope this was interesting to all of you. See you next year.