Toodle-oo, twenty-twenty-two


I feel obligated to keep my 22-year blogging streak intact here, even if what I'm about to say isn't particularly meaningful to anyone. So here it goes.

The year got off to a rough start. On New Year's Eve 2021, I came home after evacuating from the Marshall Fire. The fire destroyed over 1000 homes nearby, and the flames came within sight of my building. I spent that night at my sister's, sleeping in a recliner next to my ailing mother. Mom died less than two weeks later, finally succumbing to the stroke she had suffered the previous July. Really, nothing was great for mom after dad died in 2019, but it was nice to have her here in Colorado for a few years and I can't thank my sister and nephew enough for the care they gave her in those final months. It was hard for everyone.

My work at the Department of Education kept me exceedingly busy. I felt like the whole year was a constant state of never getting caught up. The last time I took a Friday off, I worked from 8 pm on Wednesday to 4 am on Thursday to stay ahead of things. That's kinda how it's been, and not how it should be. But the work is important and I do what I reasonably can to keep up.

It felt like I didn't do a lot of cycling this year but somehow I was in good enough shape to have a really good RAGBRAI. The hardest part was finding transportation, so huge thanks to my friend Joanna and her brother for helping me get to the start and finish. The weather was beautiful, the winds favorable, and the primary memory that comes to mind was the simple passing of the miles. It was just good to be on the bike.

I got to do some work travel for the first time in several years. My series of big math conferences was held at the end of September in Orange County and Los Angeles. The learning was great and I managed to sneak in an Angels game and a Dodgers game. In November, I made a trip to Austin for a two-day meeting on the UT Austin campus. I don't get excited about travel, necessarily, but if it means I get to learn a lot and do quality work with quality people, then it's worth it.

Then it was a couple of holidays and bam, here we are, December 31 all over again. Let's finish with a list of random year-in-review stuff:

  • A goal achieved: I filled my car with gas in Kansas on the way home from RAGBRAI at the end of July. Then I filled my tank again mid-September and made it a goal to get to the end of the year without filling again. I made it with plenty to spare.
  • By bike and by foot: Strava tells me that I was active 99 days and set 95 personal records. I went 1,787 miles and climbed 89,558 feet, which was way down from 2021 (17 fewer days, 891 fewer miles, and 57,962 fewer feet).
  • TV and movies: My Trakt statistics tell me that I spent 336 hours watching 40 different TV shows. Station Eleven was a pleasant surprise, Winning Time was fun (I seem to like Adam McKay-made stuff), and both Better Call Saul and Andor provided some really rich tension-filled drama. I started rewatching The Golden Girls when I traveled to L.A. (maybe it was the palm trees?) and I'm wrapping up Season 6 as I write this. I watched 79 hours of movies and finally tackled some long ones I'd been wanting to see, like Dances With Wolves, The Green Mile, The Great Escape, and Once Upon a Time in America. I don't have stats for it (and maybe that's for the best), but I spent a surprising amount of time on YouTube watching other people react to movies I've seen. I don't know what it is, exactly, but I find it enjoyable to watch someone discover a film I grew up with and know inside out, like Star Wars films or the Rocky series. After midnight tonight, I'll start the year the same way I have now for years, by rewatching Woody's wedding on Cheers. It's a 2-part episode and some of the most brilliant, fast-paced humor that show ever produced.
  • Music: tells me that my top artist was Cannons, my top album was Fever Dream (by Cannons), and my top track (62 listens) was Come Alive, again by Cannons. My 2022 Recap playlist from YouTube Music puts Riffs of the Night by Jos & Eli & Eli & Fur at the top. Beyond that, it wasn't a very memorable year music-wise.
  • Stuff I learned and used to keep busy: I built and/or rebuilt most of my computers and got quite proficient at creating ZFS pools and datasets and scripting the creation of snapshots and sending them to a backup server to keep my data safe. Lately I've been working with a lot of video and learning about the usage of h264, h265, and av1 codecs. It's a hobby.

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