My 2022 turned out pretty well and I am looking forward to what 2023 brings. New Year's Resolutions can be frustrating, but I've found making realistic and fun goals helpful in past years. I've also found that publishing and discussing my goals creates some social pressure, which I respond well to, to keep with them. With that, here is what I am working on and aspiring to do better at this upcoming year…
Listen to less music
Take better notes
Eat Well & Drink Less
1. Listen to less music
This might seem counterintuitive since I love music, but one of the overarching themes that I want to work on this year is learning. Podcasts and audiobooks have been working their way into my day-to-day routine lately and I want to double down on that trend. As much as I love music, I am hoping to spend more of that time learning and thinking with more diction and purpose.
2. Take better notes
Bi-directional linked notes and tagging recently came across my radar, so I am experimenting with some new note software and techniques. My goto note system was Notational Velocity using SimpleNote for storage. I am currently experimenting with using Roam Research and Obsidian for notes and writing. My hope is to take more notes about things I am reading and learning throughout the year, then use Readwise to remind me of those notes periodically.
It feels like it's been a while since I was on my travel kick and I hope to get the “travel bug” again in 2023. I am off to a good start as I am about to take a trip to Jamaica this week. Also, I am currently planning a trip to Thailand for WordCamp Asia in February. My hope is that it will be an open-ended trip with a loose itinerary and maybe a chance to visit some new places.
Markets and crypto had an awful year in 2022 and, hopefully, they will rebound in 2023. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts on investing and plan to learn more about how to value companies and make more educated investments this year.
This is a bit of a bizarre one, but I feel like I stopped sharing things about my life with the world during the pandemic. I more or less stopped posting on social media, stopped taking photos, and stopped putting myself out there in a lot of ways. I'm hoping to turn this around in 2023 and put myself out there more.
6. Eat Well & Drink Less
This one is pretty easy. More veggies, less food, less meat, less beer and booze! I've been on a good start so far and have been making an effort not to drink during the week. I've been embracing bubbly water as a beer replacement and trying to be more mindful about what I am putting in my body.
With the start of a new year, I am inspired to start writing and journaling again. While I have a hard time sticking with the habit, I enjoy reading back on the bits of journaling I have done and regret the long periods of my life that I have little record of.
In hindsight, 2022 was a fantastic year. It feels like I broke out of a deep slump that plagued me during the peak and aftermath of the pandemic. After taking a long hiatus, I got back into several hobbies that I find tremendously therapeutic including cycling, live music, traveling, and festivals. I also discovered a new hobby, disc golf!
2022 brought some great experiences like seeing one of my photos become a painting, a lunar eclipse, a new relationship, and some delicious food. It wasn't all rainbows, though, I got pretty beat up in a bike vs car accident this year, and I got COVID. Lastly, I managed to largely give up several vices, and I feel like my overall well-being has benefited greatly from this.
One of the first major events of 2022 happened due to me starting the year on a bit of a fitness kick where I was riding my bike regularly. In February, I was hit from behind by a vehicle while riding near Foothill College.
I was pretty bruised and roughed up, and I broke my collarbone on my left side. My electric mountain bike got banged up pretty badly too. The frame was bent, which is essentially a death sentence for a bicycle, but the motor and battery were fine and I was able to swap them on to a new bike (that was paid for by the driver's insurance).
Luckily, I was wearing a helmet and can't help but imagine how much worse the injury could have been. I was laid up for a week or two and spent another several weeks recovering. One nice thing that came from the injury is doing physical therapy helped me get into a routine of regularly stretching and lifting weights – which I have kept to this day! Also, I injured my non-dominate shoulder which meant I could still throw a frisbee and maintain more normalcy in life.
Other Minor Health “Hiccups” 👩🏼⚕️
Later in the year, I caught COVID after avoiding it for ~2 years. My symptoms were minimal, and I took advantage of the time being quarantined to do a deep dive on guitar study. After a trip to Mexico, I also caught a nasty stomach bug and had to get on antibiotics to kill it. Apart from that, I was fortunate to be in great shape and health for most of the year.
Live Music, Festivals, and Volunteering at The Guild Theater
For the first time since the pandemic shutdown, I started going to concerts and live music again! My first “real” show back was The Monophonics at The Guild Theater in February. The Guild is a new music venue that opened up in Menlo Park, which is about 15 minutes away from where I've been living. I am ecstatic about the idea of having a live music venue so close to home.
While getting tickets for the Monophonics, I discovered The Guild was looking for volunteer ushers. I jumped at the opportunity and got to see a number of amazing bands and musicians that I otherwise wouldn't have known existed. I also met a community of live-music fans like myself, several of whom have become great friends.
The Guild Theater is a non-profit organization and I volunteered ~66 hours there in 2022!
2022 Musical Artist Highlights
Every show I saw was fantastic. These are the few I can come up with off the top of my head.
Royal Jelly Jive
Murder by Death
Amigo the Devil
Rodrigo Y Gabriela
AJ Lee & Blue Summit
Nathaniel Rateliff (with Bob Weir 😍)
Terrapin Family Band
Three Dog Night
Wow, what a list – and this isn't even every show! I've never made an effort to list out shows I've been to, and I sometimes feel like they blend together or fade away in my memory. I feel very fortunate and am inspired to attempt this every year from now on.
Along with one-off concerts, I got back into attending multi-day festivals. I deeply missed this part of my life and the communities and friendships built during these experiences.
Playing disc golf has quickly become one of my favorite things to do. It's a hobby that is challenging both physically and mentally. On the physical side, there is a ton of “best practice” advice out there on how to torque and release every part of your body in order to huck a disc as far as possible. Also, it tends to involve a lot of quiet hiking through beautiful natural settings (where I've run into a bunch of cool critters). On the mental side, there is a lot of opportunity to ponder things like angles, spin, wind speeds, aerodynamics, different disc shapes, elevation, and how they'll affect a particular shot.
I have been in the section of the learning curve where it feels like I am making big improvements without major effort. I.e., being a beginner, I've been able to quickly move through the initial learning curve and I haven't hit a plateau yet.
At its roots, disc golf is an opportunity to be outside hiking. I can practice on my home basket or out on any random field. There are courses everywhere, so I've made an effort to bring discs on my travels and play at as much as I can while on the road. Watching tournaments on YouTube is oddly therapeutic and makes for great background noise while doing whatever else. Disc golf is inexpensive to get started and can be enjoyed with friends or alone. I find it to be an extremely satisfying hobby especially after coming out of so much time being cooped up inside.
If you can't tell, I am slightly obsessed. 😂
Riding bikes has been a big part of my adult life starting around my mid-twenties, but this year I took it to a new level! Despite starting off the year with a fairly gnarly bike accident, I rode more than I ever have in years past.
According to my Strava profile, I logged 1,217 miles and over 63,000 feet of elevation! Although, that doesn't tell the full picture…
My eBike with cargo crate. I like to call it my working man's Tesla.
I put a rack and a sizable milk crate on the back of my RadRover eBike and turned it into a “grocery hauler.” Weather permitting, I did most of my grocery shopping and errands on a bike this year and rarely, if ever, logged them on Strava.
I also did something I never would have imagined doing before, I bought a road bike! I was keeping an eye on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for a cheap bike. I love my electric bikes, but I wanted something I could bring along on the back of the car or leave out without too much worry. I lucked out and picked up two bikes that were in great shape for just a couple hundred dollars!
I was expecting this bike to be a “burner” that I rarely used, but it quickly became my daily driver! It's so fast! After riding big, heavy, inefficient electric bikes for the last few years, there was something really magical about the pick-up-and-go this little bike has. I started blowing through Strava segment records that I had set on my electric bike and really enjoying riding under my own power.
Eating Well 🍣
My love for cooking, eating, and restaurants continued in 2022. One of my resolutions in a past year was to visit more new restaurants and order different menu items at my local favorites. When I was volunteering at The Guild, I made a point to try a new restaurant each time. I hadn't spent much time in Menlo Park before and there are great food options there.
In an effort to take advantage of living so close to where so much food is produced, I've been eating a LOT of local and seasonal fruits and veggies. I discovered (with Tracie's help) that I absolutely love figs and persimmons. I really couldn't get enough of them and have been struggling a bit now that they're out of season. We're fortunate to have a great produce stand here in town and I've become a regular patron there.
In hindsight, wearing shorts and open-toed shoes might not have been the best idea for turkey frying
I also had some fun cooking adventures. I had a very successful Dungeness crab fishing season in 2021, I fried turkeys for Thanksgiving after not doing them for several years, and I continued a new annual tradition of baking a prime rib roast for Christmas and an old tradition of making beef jerky for gifts.
I might have to make a 2022 food review post as I pulled out too many pictures for this post (over 25) of my eating adventures from the year and they all look absolutely delicious!
Jumping back on the travel wagon this year was a blast. I went about two years without getting on an airplane which was the longest I had gone since I fell in love with travel several years ago.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver all lit up for the Holidays, and a requisite order of poutine while in Canada.
This year, I visited two countries and several different cities! I went to Los Cabos, Mexico for one of my favorite work events, CaboPress! I visited with family in Bellingham, Washington, and, from there, took a road trip up to Canada with some of my family. I also spent a weekend in the Denver, Colorado area.
Garden of the Gods in Colorado
Last but not least, I took a trip down to San Diego for my first WordCamp in several years. WordCamps are my industry's “trade show” and networking events and they're one of my favorite ways to be involved with the WordPress community. Getting to see all my friends in person, as well as making some new ones, was long overdue.
I don't think I'll ever get tired of taking photos out of plane windows.
Over the last few years, I have developed a fascination with the weather. I believe it began when I was living next to the Lexington Reservoir in Los Gatos and started having a much greater appreciation for the storms which would drastically alter the water levels. Not long after, I started snowboarding and tracking the same storms in hopes that they would also leave snow on the mountains. One of my favorite websites is the Weather West blog by Dr. Daniel Swain. Along with the blog posts, there is a very active comment section that has near-realtime commentary on the latest model runs and weather phenomena on any given day.
In November 2022, I joined and started regularly working from a co-working space in Petaluma, CA. I've always heard how helpful it can be to have a dedicated workspace but I didn't realize how reinvigorating it would be for me. I've been spending a lot of time in Petaluma as I started seeing someone who lives there. ❤️ I've been exploring the town, dining at an array of new restaurants, and reconnecting with friends there that I would previously only see at summer festivals and concerts.
Let's go 9ers! 🏈
Progressively over the last few years, I've been getting deeper and deeper into 49ers fandom! My good friend is a season ticket holder and has generously been taking me to more and more games. I was beyond excited to watch Trey Lance play this year and quite devastated about his early-season injury. As I write this, the 9ers are heading into the 2023 NFL playoffs with a healthy team and a hotshot new quarterback (Brock Purdy) who has been nothing short of amazing since he was called up to play a few weeks ago.
Last but not least, this year is one of the longest stretches I have gone without smoking or playing video games – two vices that I leaned on heavily during the pandemic years. My mental health has been strong and I am very much hoping that continues in 2023. I am planning to write another post soon with aspirations and resolutions for this year, but, quickly, I am making an effort to drink less alcholol and write more.
I've been SO excited to tell this story for weeks now, but I had to wait for a few of the pieces to come together…
In what feels like a past life these days, several years ago I was doing a bunch of traveling and taking a bunch of photos. I uploaded all my favorite photos to a website called Unsplash and essentially gave them away to anyone that wanted to use them for designs or whatnot.
One of the highlights of my travels was doing a group photography trip to Japan with a company called Moment. I made great friends and had the opportunity to experiment with a lot of different photography styles that I otherwise wouldn't have been comfortable with – mainly street photography and candid portraits.
A couple of weeks ago, I was pleasantly surprised to be tagged on an Instagram post of an amazing painting that was based on one of the photos I took in Japan! The artist's name is Jasmin Dobrovsky and she is based in Austria.
I was blown away with the painting and, after a night of thinking about it, decided to buy it and worked with Jasmin to have it shipped across the world.
It finally arrived and is now hanging on my wall!!
I could hardly wait to share the story and give plugs to the people that made it happen. Thanks a ton to Jasmin for capturing a moment from my life with her unique talent and perspective. Shoot her a follow on Instagram and know that she's got experience shipping overseas if any of her pieces catch your eye!
Your future self will thank your past self for recording this history.
This whole starting a new habit thing is tough. I fell off for a few days, but I happened to stumble on an article about journaling this morning and going to try to get back at it!
We're back from Yosemite. Our retreat went great. We spent a good amount of time talking shop and a good amount of time having fun. I'm glad we got to spend some time with my Aunt and Uncle. We had a great time in the park snapping pictures and exploring. We ate at the Ahwahnee – I'd never been there before – and I got a new sticker for my collection.
The last day or two back at home have been “transition” days. I still need to do my laundry from the trip. I was only home for a couple of days in between road tripping and the Yosemite trip, and I spent a lot of that time preparing. I think my body was tired as I keep sleeping in way past the normal amount of time I usually sleep.
Brent got some fantastic photos during the trip. I am shamelessly stealing one to use as the featured image for this post.
It's super Tuesday. Beer virus and the stock market crash/swings are dominating the news.
I've been daydreaming about buying a house in Tahoe recently. I'm feeling the need for a new project in my life and to establish a home base that isn't my mom's house. The thought of having a new house opens the door to a bunch of fun micro-projects like building out a new workspace and or a garage, setting up a hosting and entertaining space, and getting the opportunity to explore deeply a new part of the world.
Brent and Anthony got into San Jose today and we took off for Yosemite! I broke down the “camper bed” set up in my car and put the back seats back in. We left the Bay around 1:30 and did a late lunch in Los Banos around 3 pm.
We got to the pines a little before 6 pm just as the sun was setting. We popped by the Pines Bar, then did dinner at Ducey's. Both were enjoyable and tasty! Then we went to my Aunt and Uncle's house for a nightcap and some time by the fire.
Yesterday was the last day of prep for our team retreat in Yosemite. I got my hair cut and I worked from the coffee shop across the street from my barber for a bit. My sister invited us to her house for dinner. I unsuccessfully tried to get her cats to like me. My sister lives in San Carlos in a house that I used to live in. My old room is now my Dad's room. I hadn't been in there in a while, but I had a chance to relive some old memories from that room yesterday.
Chrissy made chili and beer-batter bread. We talked about potentially watching the democratic debates; then we didn't. We all made an effort to wish my Great Uncle a happy birthday. He turned 81(?) yesterday.
Yesterday was uninspiring, I guess. All of three days into daily journaling and it feels like today is the first day where I am having to force it. I've been trying to get into the habit of writing about the day before with my cup of coffee each morning.
Chrissy came over yesterday. She was going to a movie in the evening with a friend, but she hung out at Miranda during the day.
I got the oil changed in my car. The car had been making some odd noises and the oil change seemed to eliminate all of them. It's officially ready to go for our trip to Yosemite tomorrow. The guys are flying in in the early afternoon and we're hitting the road to head to the Pines Resort on Bass Lake.
There are a few articles making rounds in the WordPress world about MAGA hats and WordCamps. I spent some time thinking about it yesterday. Part of me wants to comment on it and part of me doesn't. The WordPress community is predominately left-leaning and that was one of the things that attracted me to it in the first place. As a community, a lot of time and effort goes into making WordPress as accessible as we possibly can. I find it mind-boggling that despite all that, some folks are arguing to disallow others from attending WordCamps based on their political preference. It seems like a major regression to me.
The stock market was tanking yesterday, so I picked up some Tesla and added to my Apple position. I think today I will put some more cash in Wealthfront. I have still been eyeing houses in Lake Tahoe, so I want to keep some cash around for a potential down payment.
I went to Sumika for dinner. I've done this a few times now and I think it's going to be a new tradition for me when I am in Los Altos. Walk to Sumika, sit at the bar, then proceed to drink an entire bottle of Sake and gorge on Yakitori, rice, and salad. It's an upscale restaurant so there is always an interesting crowd there. From early “I want to impress you” style dates, to high-power business meetings, to “crazy rich Asian” family dinners. It's one of my favorite places!
In all honesty, it was a pretty uneventful day. I continued to knock out errands and veg out after returning home from my road trip. Laundry was done. I believe I successfully troubleshot an issue with my Macbook Pro's charging cable. I bought fresh coffee and fresh beer. I got groceries, er cheese. I went to the grocery store and bought nothing but cheese. I got my car washed.
I don't regularly wash my car. I like it to have an armor of dust and grime. My coworkers, Brent and Anthony, are coming into town on Wednesday for a team retreat in Yosemite, so I wanted the car to look nice for them. It was also extremely dirty after driving around in the snow and grit.
The stock market began a pre-market tank that is continuing through today. Fears of the Coronavirus are starting to affect the market. It will probably be a good day tomorrow to move some money around and pounce on some deals. It's been a while since I've bought stocks. I've been saving cash with the idea that I would like to put a down payment on a house soon.
I found the house I want too! Although, I have never seen it in person. It's on Kingsbury Grade on the Nevada side of South Lake Tahoe. It's been over a year since I have had a home base outside my mom's house. After the Yosemite trip, I am planning to do at least one more week up in Tahoe to go check out the house and go snowboarding. After that, I am loosely planning to head to Europe and particularly Kyiv to visit my friend Sabrina.
We went my favorite restaurant last night for dinner, State of Mind. My friend Lars was there and so was my friend Michela. It was great to see them both. We watched basketball and drank a few beers. I fell asleep watching late seasons of The Office. It was a good day.
P.S. – The only photo I took yesterday was of the cat.
I'm back home. Well, back at Mom's house in Los Altos after spending a month on the road. It was a gorgeous day in the Bay Area yesterday. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom. The sky was sunny, it was warm, and a steady wind was blowing the blossoms like snow all over my shorts, tshirt, and sandals as I was unpacking my car.
If I had timed it better, I think I could have caught a Bernie rally in Nevada. I am not a fan of his policies regarding taxes, but I do appreciate (which I appreciated about Trump) the way the internet is affecting our democracy and seemingly giving people and grassroots political efforts much more impact. I would have definitely visited a rally if I had the chance because I bet it's one hell of a party and a good way to meet cool idealistic women. It would love to grab a sticker too!
Speaking of stickers, I put some new travel stickers on my cooler. It's become a tradition when I get home from a trip. Reviewing my sticker haul and placing a few either favorite or appropriately sized stickers on the ongoing Yeti collection. I chose my Yeti cooler as the home to my favorite stickers because the thing is built like a tank. It will probably outlive me and dressing it up with stickers, I hope, will make it less enticing to thieves.
Mom and I went to Casa Lupe for margaritas and Mexican food. We both caught a little buzz from the extra-strong ritas they serve. Jamie is still in a baking phase, so I came home and feasted on a variety of week-old cakes, frosting, chocolate ganache, and homemade jam; then immediately felt guilty about it.
I went from a pretty sedentary existence to hiking and snowboarding 5 days a week. I wasn't eating clean on my road trip, but I was sticking to mostly one meal per day. I was excited to come home and see the end-of-summer weight I put on had melted away. Instead, while I definitely feel more tone and muscular, I was only down a pound or two from where I started.
I'm continuing to be conscious of working to generate some new healthy routines. Journaling, being more active, and stretching are the three current focuses. Oh, also I want to take at least one picture each day to add to these journals.
I just finished up a month-long road trip; ~3300 miles, 6 states, 1 WordCamp, 2 national parks, 4 ski resorts, ~150,000 vertical feet of snowboarding, 4 hotels, 3 AirBNBs, 10 miles of hiking, 3 breweries, lots restaurants, lots of bars, and lots of coffee shops.
Driving is therapeutic for me. Similar to being in the shower, it's time where my mind can wander without the normal interruptions of life. I usually listen to music, but on the drive home I put on a few podcasts. I love music but it feels like escapism whereas podcasts seem a much more mentally stimulating way to pass time. Tim Ferriss' interview with Penn Jillette made the miles and the hours melt away and I was inspired by the conversation about journaling.
I've never written a daily journal before in my life, but I am planning to give it a try. When I was traveling through Asia and Europe, I kept a loose “journal” of quick notes about the places I'd been and the things I'd seen. Memories that I didn't want to lose to the fog of time. Those notes are something I cherish now and they genuinely help jog my memory and bring me back to those times. I love the idea of being able to read back one week, one year, or one decade ago and get a glimpse into my past and what my thoughts were on that day.
My plan is to publish journals on my blog, but they're really only intended to be read by me. I won't be doing extensive proofreading or much effort to make them cohesive or entertaining. If someone happens to stumble upon them, though, I am okay with that.
I woke up in Park City, Utah knowing exactly what was in store for the day. I wanted to get to Tahoe around dinner time to meet with my friend Katie. That was going to be about 8 hours of driving, so I needed to get on the road early. Katie is from Minnesota, but she was visiting Tahoe that week. I skipped my daily ritual of making and drinking a cup of coffee. I quickly packed up all my gear into the car and stopped by Starbucks to get a cup of coffee for the road. Starbucks isn't my favorite, but it's always consistent and good enough; you know what you're going to get.
A few days earlier, I drove into Salt Lake City to see a Murder by Death show. It was dark when I was driving, so I didn't get to see any of the landscape, but the city and the lights were impressively sprawling when I came out of the mountains. SLC is a city surrounded by beautiful, snow-capped mountains and I was taken back by the scenery when I drove down during the daytime. There was a surprising amount of smog that created a stark contrast between the clear view of the mountains and the haze encompassing the city below. It looked like an inversion system was preventing the smog from rising and locking it in the valley between the peaks.
Utah had a subtle but noticeable conservative and traditional vibe to it. Lots of families. Lots of clean-cut blonde humans. While I enjoyed my time there very much, I couldn't help feeling out of place. I was excited to leave the state.
I drove past Salt Lake(?) and through what seemed like salt flats for several hours before arriving at the Nevada/Utah state line. While state borders are totally arbitrary, it was like the landscape immediately changed from salty, hazy, mountainous terrain to the dry, high-desert landscape that is synonymous in my mind with Nevada.
I started smoking a bit on my trip and I was tempted throughout the Nevada leg of the journey to pop into a dispensary and see what they had. I didn't end up stopping until I reached Fernley, NV. My uncle, aunt, cousin, and their extended family lives in Fernley. I'd been there before so it was familiar and easy to navigate. I didn't realize the route would take me through there otherwise I would have reached out to all of them ahead of time.
I stopped by the casino where my uncle works and, by chance, happened to catch him there. We chatted for a bit. He was quite surprised to see me out of the blue. It was great to see him and, after a quick visit, I got back on the road for Tahoe.
I had a bit of time to kill, so I stopped by Alibi brewery's new taproom in Incline Village. After a salmon toast and a pint, I picked up some Contradiction cans and started heading to meet Katie. We had another drink and watched a two-man string band play a few songs. One of the guys was playing bass on a pedalboard at his feet while singing and playing the guitar; it was impressive!
I met and chatted with Katie's friends and left them to enjoy their dinner while I knocked out the last couple of hours of driving. Passing through Auburn is always exciting since I was born there. The drive from Tahoe to Sacramento felt like it went faster than I expected, but the drive from around Davis back to the Bay felt like it was dragging on.
Mom was excited to see me when I got home. The cats took a few minutes to remember who I was, but they started following me through the house as I unloaded the car once they remembered. Jamie got home a few minutes after I got in the door. We chatted and quickly caught up then started heading to bed.
It was nice being able to comfortably walk outside in shorts and a tee-shirt. The day started at 7000 feet of elevation and single-digit temperatures and ended at sea level and a comfortable mid-sixty-degrees. As I started to fall asleep, I started to get excited about waking up and having my regular cup of coffee: fresh-ground Philtered Soul out of the Aeropress and a dash of real cream.