Saturday, 31 December, 2005
Year end recap
This has been most interesting and satisfying year for me in quite some time. A recap:
- The beginning of the year found Debra and me hard at work training for the ride to Harlingen. We completed the trip, 335 miles in three days, as I chronicled here. The great achievement for me wasn't in completeing the ride--I'd already done that. The great thing for me was seeing Debra go from never having ridden a bike more than 10 miles (April 2004), to riding 100 miles with me in October 2004, and then completing this ride a year after she started training. It's amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it and work on it a little bit every day.
- In May, I finally got the contract I'd been working towards for over six months. I had become increasingly disillusioned with my consulting job at Catapult Systems, and was eager to move on to something new, different, and exciting. A week after I got the contract, I was on the airplane to Japan for meetings with the client and a huge culture shock. I wrote up some of my experiences here in my May 2005 entries.
- Debra and I didn't travel much this year, and to tell the truth I didn't keep up with my Random Notes as much as I would have liked to. Working on the 3D graphics project kept me busy, with little time for exploring and writing about new things.
- My truck died in October, and after considering my options for a while, I decided to replace the engine myself. This from a guy who used to say, "I don't work on cars." I amended that to mean, "I don't work on cars when there's a deadline," because I really wanted to see what was involved in replacing an engine. It's been an interesting project, but I think the major bit of knowledge I'll take away from the experience is a better understanding of why I pay other people to maintain my automobiles.
Those were the major happenings over the year. A few others of note:
- Debra and I disconnected the cable TV in January and haven't missed it a bit. What little time we spend in front of the idiot box these days is with DVD movies and some select TV series that we got on DVD. No longer are we slaves to the idiocy that the networks call entertainment.
- I still haven't settled on a blogging tool. I keep using this one (CityDesk) because it mostly works and I haven't found anything that I like better. That might change soon, though.
- My shoulder got worse, then better, and then I discovered that there's a structural problem in there. I'll almost certainly need surgery if I want it repaired. No amount of massage, chiropractic, or physical therapy is going to fix the underlying problem.
- I had a heck of a time with technical support departments this year. I'm glad I don't need to call them very often.
- I finally broke down and bought a laptop computer. For years I viewed them as nice toys or convenient indulgences. Two weeks with the new machine and I couldn't imagine living without it. Ditto wireless.
- A friend from high school found me on the Internet, and I managed to meet another friend whom I hadn't seen in almost 25 years.
- Debra and I joined Toastmasters in order to improve our public speaking skills. I'm somewhat surprised at how much I enjoy those weekly meetings. As of this writing, I'm halfway through the CTM program--10 speeches to get the "Competent Toastmaster" award.
- I had lots of fun with ham radio: a new antenna, pedal-powering a radio on Field Day, emergency communications with hurricane Rita, some emergency exercises, and learning a few new things. All in all, though, I'm finding ham radio somewhat lacking in excitement. It's an interesting hobby, but I think I need to put it aside until I can build a workshop and tinker with the hardware.
- We found a leak under the concrete in our master bathroom on the day before Thanksgiving. We had the leak repaired, and the insurance company has cut us a check for the damages. Now comes the big job: remodeling. We've finally decided to spend the money and have the work done.
All in all it's been an excellent year. The year end finds us healthy and happy, and ready to start the next one.