Well it’s that time of year again where it’s time for everyone to reflect back on the year that was, and although I know it’s cliché and over done, I think it holds value for me if no one else for no other reason then personal reflection, and with this year being one of probably the most change ever I think it bears getting it all down as best I can.

So lets start out with the Year in Review (Runtime: 12 minutes 10 seconds) a look back through photos and videos of the last year, set to some nice light tunes.  If you don’t have that long, let’s skip ahead.

A Move Across Country/New Job

Late in the year 2007, I got a phone call response to a job application that I had submitted a week or so before.  Two phone interviews and a quick trip to Seattle for an in person interview and it was pretty much settled.  We were moving.

Seattle Children’s Hospital recruited me to fill their Senior Web Developer position.  The skill set they were looking for very closely matched that of my own, and the job description was almost the exact same as what I was  currently doing.  My wife and I had been looking for some time at making a move West, we just weren’t sure exactly where, and this provided all the incentive we needed and more to make that happen.

The trip was a long one, which started off badly, and we dealt with a lot of weather all the way here, but a lot of luck got us here between and around storms.

In January we will have lived in Seattle for a year already.

Presidential Politics

One of the things that I think had a profound impact on me as well as millions of others was that of the Presidential election.

I don’t look upon Obama as “The Savior” that some do.  I don’t feel that he will be able to fix all the world’s problems. I do however look at him as a step in the right direction.   A figure that can inspire the world to move, unite, and pursue greater things.  Obama is something that this country has lacked since Kennedy, a young powerful, influential leader and I think that America’s youth really are excited, myself included.

The night of the election we spent time in downtown Seattle at a cabaret bar called “The Can Can”.  After the election party ended we headed back up to street level where we ran into people in the middle of the streets yelling, dancing, waving banners, high fiving, hugging, and slowing or stopping traffic as people banged on windows and jumped on beds of trucks.  As I started to take all this in I began hearing a drum beat in the distance and as I looked down Pike St. there was a huge swell of people marching down the street to the beat of drums.  Soon more then 3000 people crowded at the intersection of first and Pike just in front of the famous Pike’s Market.

More about the rally in the streets was printed up in Seattle’s Post Intelligencer newspaper.

5 Years

This September also marked my wife and my five year wedding anniversary, which is a milestone in itself.  We have been together for a little over 7 years now.

Conferences

Ektron Developer Training

I got to make my way to the East coast for the first time in my adult life and got to go to Nashua, NH for a 3 day training on a new product that we had purchased at Seattle Children’s.  Nashua is just about an hour outside of Boston, and although I never made it there due to time, jet lag, and a number of other things, just seeing that area of the country was pretty cool.  Lots of beautiful old buildings.

South By South West

In 2008 I got my first taste of South By South West, a conference held in Austin, TX.  I have been wanting to go to this one for 4 years and finally got the opportunity.

This was a huge conference and I got the opportunity to mingle with a lot of the designers and developers that have been mentors to me, even though I had never met them.  Although I am not going to make it back again for 2009’s event, I certainly want to get back again next year if possible and perhaps even make the music side of things.

Concerts

  • Hot Hot Heat, The Editors, Louis XIV
    This was the first concert we attended in Seattle and was at the Showbox Downtown.  At the time we were really only familiar with Hot Hot Heat, though we came out of the concert huge fans of the Editors.  All in all it was a great lineup from top to bottom, and a great intimate venue.
  • Eartha Kitt
    We got the chance to see Jazz legend and actor Eartha Kitt at a local Jazz club.  Not only was 80, but she didn’t act a day over 30.  Showing off plenty of leg with a dress that had a slit up to her waist she purred her way through a number of great songs while throwing jokes and laughing all the way.  We were really looking forward to seeing here again at her next performance in Seattle, but she succumbed to colon cancer on Christmas day 2007.
  • Conor Oberst
    We were lucky enough to be walking by Easy Street Records, a local record store, and Conor Oberst was playing a show that was standing room only inside the store.  It was very cool to see him play in such a small intimate venue.

Hiking

Something that we have always wanted to get into a little more was backpacking.  Since arriving in Washington we have been looking various hikes and new gear.  We have been able to take some amazing day hikes as well.  Here are the hikes we made this year along with photos to their corresponding Flickr sets.

Books/Reading

2008 brought in more reading for me then I had done in nearly 8 years.  I began using the bus system with a 45 minute commute which allowed a lot of time for reading.  In addition to this, my wife and I started a new Book Club in Seattle called The Book Pub,  that meets once a month to drink good beer, and discuss the monthly selection.

  1. The Catcher in the Rye
  2. The Road
  3. Water for Elephants
  4. Amsterdam
  5. The Speed of Trust
  6. The Audacity of Hope
  7. A Christmas Carol

My Top 10 Albums of 2008

2008 brought a lot of new music to my life.  From the music scene of Seattle, to a couple of friends of mine introducing me to a number of new artists that I love, to KEXP, a great local radio station that caters to indie artists.

As with last year, not having to try to compile this list manually is one of the reasons why I love Last.FM.  monitoring what I listen to everyday on my Laptop, and my IPod it reports back to the Web site and keeps everything neatly listed for me.   This years list is again dominated by Zero 7, however a number of new albums make the list along side them.

Here are the most played albums from my list for 2008.

  1. Simple Things – Zero 7
  2. For Emma, Forever Ago – Bon Iver
  3. When It Falls – Zero 7
  4. Plans – Death Cab for Cutie
  5. An End Has A Start – The Editors
  6. The Garden – Zero 7
  7. Boys And Girls in America – The Hold Steady
  8. We Are Not Alone – Breaking Benjamin
  9. In a Safe Place – The Album Leaf
  10. Where Shall You Take Me? – Damian Jurardo

2009 Predictions & Goals

Taking a look ahead I think especially with the world the way it is, it’s important to set some goals for the next year.  Something to work for, and that is attainable within that year.

  • Run a Half Marathon
    This is my primary goal for 2009.  A half marathon is 13 miles, or 21 kilometers.  Although i run several times a week, and usually around 4 miles each time, this should present a real challenge for me, and this goal tightly couples with the next one and should I complete this goal, the next should fall into place nicely.
  • Hit my Goal Weight
    Cliché number two!  I am also looking to hit my goal weight of 190 lbs this year as well.  Now that we are settled in, visitors have come and gone we can get back into our workout and diet routine.  This is not a cliché goal in that I am starting back on it early.  In fact I had started about 3 weeks ago until I injured my foot.  I am starting out early so that I don’t have to say at the 1st of the year that my goal is to lose weight.  Sounds like a small thing but it’s a big moral victory.
  • Overnight hiking trips
    One of the things my wife and I love to do is to hike.  Taking trips into the wilderness is a very calming Zen like experience for us.  We are well on our way and now have a number of the materials needed to make this happen including our tent, camp stove, and number of other small items.  We are targeting Spring of this year to get in our first overnight backpacking trip.
  • Quit Biting Fingernails
    I am already well into this one, but this has been a bad habit of mine for a really long time, and it’s really time to get it taken care of, and I think I am going to do it!