Looking Back at 2015
It was quite the year. 2015 wasn’t quite as eventful as 2014—hard to top the birth of Joanna and selling Pet360 to PetSmart—but it was close.
PetSmart went private in March, Joanna turned one, we spent two weeks in Korea, Aidan turned three, I left Pet360 / PetSmart in October, we spent November and December at my in-laws in Cockeysville, and I accepted a job with StitchFix in San Francisco.
2016 is shaping up to be another eventful year. We’re moving into our new house in Piedmont, CA next Monday and I start as Director of Engineering for Consumer at StitchFix on the 19th.
New Year, New Coast, New Job!
What follows are some more details of the year, mostly for my own benefit.
We spent 2 weeks in Korea in May / June. The first week was with my sister-in-law and family in Pyeongtaek, and then the second week in Seoul. Lots of fun and I’m always touched by how loving Royela’s extended family is.
Over the summer we spent two long weekends in Sea Isle, New Jersey. I’ve been visiting Phil’s family’s house for more than 10 years now and it brings me immense joy to see how the trips have changed as we’ve all gotten married and had children. So much fun to have the house full of little kids playing.
I did a bit of hectic solo traveling to interview. All in all I did three trips to San Francisco and two to New York City.
After the last trip to San Francisco, Royela and the kids met me in Chicago. We had two awesome days at The Virgin Hotel in Downtown and then visited one of Royela’s best friends in Hopedale, Illinois (which included a trip to the Caterpillar Headquarters Museum)
Royela and I wrapped up the year with a 3-night trip (without children!) to look at houses in the East Bay. Lots of good dinners with friends and we succeeded in finding a place to live.
I made a conscious effort to take better care of myself this year.
I started running consistently again. I ran my first 5k at the Philadelphia Hot Chocolate Run on April 4th. It was a lot of fun, and while I didn’t run any more races this year I hope to run a few more in 2016.
According to RunKeeper I ran a total of 292.5 miles in 2015 (140.8 were in October-December, as it turns out I have a lot more time for running when I don’t have a job)
I also began meditating with the help of Headspace. I was introduced to meditation in high school, but had never gotten back to it. According to Headspace I meditated 100 times for a total of 18 hours and 20 minutes. I found that on days I meditated I was calmer, more patient, and happier.
- Customers Included
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
- Korea: The Impossible Country
- Becoming Steve Jobs
- Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
- After Party
- The Martian
- Rails, Angular, Postgres, and Bootstrap: Powerful, Effective, and Efficient Full-Stack Web Development
- The Digital Doctor: Hope, Hype, and Harm at the Dawn of Medicine’s Computer Age
- The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands
- The Rap Year Book
- Creativity Inc
- Phishing for Phools: The Economics of Manipulation and Deception
- Foolproof: Why Safety Can Be Dangerous and How Danger Makes Us Safe
Favorite Kids Books:
In no particular order, my favorite shows of the year:
- Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
- Master of None
- Mr. Robot
- Game of Thrones
- The Americans
- Bojack Horseman
- You’re the Worst
There really is an amazing amount of quality television being produced.
I managed to see three (!) movies in theater this year.
Aidan and I saw Inside Out on Father’s Day. An amazing movie that I cannot recommend highly enough—even if the plotline of “father moves family to San Francisco to work at startup and barely escapes crippling his daughter emotionally” hit a little close to home.
The Martian was great. I very much enjoyed the book (see above) and was pleased with the adaptation. It was also the first 3D movie I’ve seen that I didn’t hate. Matt Damon was perfect.
Royela and I also got to go see The Force Awakens. It was fun (and funny) and expertly crafted, but I do think the critisicms that it doesn’t add anything new are valid. I doubt it is something I will go back and watch repeatedly.
Other movies I enjoyed this year:
- Her - My favorite movie that I saw this year.
- A Most Violent Year - Extraordinarily well acted and tense throughout.
- Ex Machina - Visually stunning and interesting throughout, even if… mild spoiler in footnote1
- Spy - Any movie that reduces Royela to a quivering ball of laughter is fine by me.
- The Prestige - Obviously, I’m late, and once I started watching I realized I’d heard the ending, but I love a Christopher Nolan movie. Although, I also watched Insomnia and that didn’t do it for me.
- Chef - Enjoyable, great cast, but I’m sort of amazed that Jon Favreau can get away with writing a movie where he sleeps with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara.
- Time is Illmatic - Deep look into how one of the greatest albums of all time came to be.
I’m old and have kids so don’t listen to that much new music anymore. I switched from Rdio (RIP) to Apple Music and have been taking advantage of their curated playlists to at least hear a little more variety than I would pick myself.
I made a point to try to cook at least one decent meal a week. I began to use Paprika to organize and store recipes. Paprika is great—sort of like Instapaper for recipes—and makes it very easy to put together a shopping list. Highly recommended if you want to cook more.
These were some of my favorites:
- Pork Schnitzel With Quick Pickles
- Parmesan Risotto with Roasted Shrimp
- Chard and White Bean Stew
- Tomato and Sausage risotto
- Coconut-Curry Mussels
- Shrimp alla Marinara
- Dry-Rubbed London Broil
- Bacon and Shallot Potato Salad
- Beer-Can Chicken
- Butternut Squash Polenta With Sausage and Onion
- Epic Lamb Roast with Cauliflower “Couscous”
- Eggs Fried with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
- Popovers: Giant Cheese and Sugar Crusted
the moral of the story could be reduced to “don’t fuck robots” ↩