2016 has finally come to a conclusion. For some the end of the year is merciful, many having claimed that it was the worst year ever. This year certainly wasn’t easy, but then again they never are, but I gave everything I had this year and while things were by no means perfect, in fact far from it, we are still here and sharpening our swords preparing for whatever 2017 throws at us.
As a connected society needs to be cognizant of is that with every passing year are going to encounter more and more celebrity deaths. Why, because with this connectivity we’ve created more celebrities and with a larger pool and a 100% guarantee of death, statistically, it makes sense that we’re going to see more deaths. Also, think about all the celebrities getting up in years who were partying hard in the 80s and now their bodies are breaking down. If you think 2016 was bad for that, wait until you see how things are going to go down over the next few years.
Ski Bum Week 2016
This year was our 3rd annual Ski Bum Week and this year we decided to do something different. For those unendoctrinated, Ski Bum Week is an event that was created in 2014 by me and my buddy Mario, who were doing a ski share house for the first time in Killington. We both had some extra vacation time and decided to use it for a week up in Killington and see what it would be like to live like a true ski bum for a week. The initial Ski Bum Week also gave birth to the High Falutin Ski Bum podcast.
After two years in Killington we decided to take our little concept on the road to Whistler, BC.
Over the summer we started throwing around ideas about where to go. Our pal Nick lives in Seattle so we decided it would be a relatively easy trip to fly out to Seattle and then just drive up to Whistler. Planning a ski trip in August is always a risky proposition, you never know what sort of conditions you’re going to get, but we decided to throw caution to the wind and book the trip.
Unlike SBW15, we lucked out with the weather. Whistler was pounded by snow starting back in October and we had top to bottom coverage. It was a quite cold while we were there with temperatures barely topping out over 20 degrees. Having someone like Nick made a big difference since was able to show us some pretty awesome spots where we could bootpack and find some nice lines. One of my favorites was up the Symphony lift to the Flute Bowl. It was roughly a 40 minute hike that lead us to a quite spectacular cornice, shoot and freshies.
Now I had been to Whistler before back in 2013 and it was my dream to go there. I loved everything about the village and the mountain. This time around I was a little less enamored with the village. The mountains are unbelieveable with so much amazing terrain. Something about the village really rubbed me the wrong way this time. We spoke to several bartenders and servers and I had just read an article in Powder on the flight out that the service workers in some of these more posh ski towns have been so priced out that they can’t even live in town anymore. If they do, they’re living with 10 other people in a 2 bedroom apartment. The ski bum dream is dying at places like Whistler, Jackson Hole and Aspen because most property owners own them not as primary residencies, but as their 2nd, 3rd or 12th homes. Many of the properties are empty or are being rented out with AirBnB for vacationers. This significantly reduces the number of available apartments for the people doing all the work to make these towns function – cooks, bartenders, lifties, baristas, maids, etc. Without these folks, the town would not function. Something about that really bothered me when I was there, especially seeing so many wealthy vacationers just trapsing around the town buying a bunch of things they didn’t need and not skiing.
High Falutin Ski Bum Podcast!
This year we stepped up the podcast and continued to build upon the momentum we started out with last year. We’ve managed to get some fans along the way and we’re doing our best to connect with them in real life and spread the word.
Later in the year I was finally able to launch the redesign for the site which I’ve been working on for quite a long time. It features a unique home page and individual podcast pages. I need to put together a blog post on how I came up with the ideas for the design.
I’m not really sure where the podcast is going but my goal would to be able to travel twice a month to a new ski town, check out and ski the town then do a podcast talking about some of the best food, drink and skiing options available in the town. That’s the ultimate goal.
Mix of the Year
The best mixes are the ones that find you in a particular mood and are able to instantly become the soundtrack to that mood and time in your life so that when you go back to listen you can relive that feeling from that time. This year, for me that mix was by Bob Moses. This essential mix was released March 5th and the first time I heard it was on the following Sunday night up in Killington. I was alone in the house and had a deadline for a project and was in need to focusing music. I was freaking out a bit about the project but the chill yet melancholy vibe of the mix helped me get over those freaking out fears and just get the job done. The songs range from Bob Moses tracks to the new Massive Attack track to Gnork’s funky and fantastic Blorp 93.
Whenever I listen to this mix it gets me focused which is why I love to listen to it when I’m designing, coding, writing or just messing around in Photoshop. I loved this mix so much, I subsequently bought both Bob Moses albums as well as saw them in concert (so much BASS).
Song of the Year
Radiohead – Burn the Witch
I always get worried when my favorite artists release a new album. For some reason I worry that they’re going to drop such a turd that it will taint their entire collection to a point where I can’t stand any of their music. It’s completely irrational thinking that all your favorites will somehow morph into Nickelback, but that’s the irrational thought I have in my head. Radiohead did the opposite, coming out with a brilliant album “A Moon Shaped Pool.” “Burn the Witch,” the first single was significantly more pop-y than a lot of the other tracks on the this album but it had such a slick and captivating hook and chorus it had me from the first time I heard it and still does now.
- Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra
- David Bowie – Blackstar
- Shooter Jennings – Countach
- Beck – Wow
- Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me
Album of the Year
David Bowie – Blackstar
Of all the celebrity deaths in 2o16, the one that hit me hardest was the loss of David Bowie. I’ve also found him and his personalities and ability to morph so fascinating. He was a true artist in every sense of the word. Bizarre, brilliant, thought provoking – that’s the best way to describe him. With his final release “Blackstar” he told us that he was dying, but knowing that he was artist, we didn’t know if he was speaking metaphorically or creating a character until it was too late. If one has to go out knowing it was the end, there could be no better way than how Bowie did it.
- Avalanches – Wildflower
- Tycho – Epoch
- Justice – Woman
- Radiohead – Moon Shaped Pool
Movie of the Year
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
I was a bit concerned when I heard about another Star Wars movie (notice a theme here?), especially one that wasn’t part of the new trilogy. My concern drew from the extreme over-commercialization of everything that is Star Wars ever since Lucasfilm was purchased by Disney back in 2012. With every commercial that I’ve seen for products being whored out with some sort of Star Wars tie-in, with each one I felt a small part of childhood being destroyed. With Star Wars everywhere, the over saturation prevented me from having the excitement that I would usually have for a new Star Wars movie. That and that I was at Whistler for Ski Bum Week so I had skiing on my mind, then Christmas so I didn’t even have time to go see it.
What got me excited was when I read about Kevin Smith’s review of the movie where he said it was, to paraphrase “‘Empire Strikes Back’ good.”
That got me very excited
We finally got around to seeing it on New Year’s Eve day. I managed to avoid 2 weeks of spoilers only knowing that there was a Darth Vader scene that was awesome. Other than that, I had no expectations.
SPOILER ALERTS AHEAD!!!
The first surprise was the cold open without the standard Star Wars thematic opening with the scrolling text and the iconic theme song. After that there was fantastic acting and a superb story tying up some loose ends in the story and creating a beatutiful setup story for a New Hope.
I don’t know what it is, maybe it’s because I loved Star Wars as a kid and the Rebel alliance always signified hope and doing the right thing, or maybe it’s because I think of my own life, my values and where I stand right now as a soon-to-be 40-year old man, but I was in tears several times during the movie. Seeing the struggles of the rebels, particularly Jyn and Cassian, coming from nothing and being able to sacrifice everything for a cause that was most likely to fail was so beautiful and inspriring. I don’t know what it was about that, but it made me thankful for everything I had but also made me question if I could make those sacrifices in my own life. Again, this is a terrible review and I’m making it all about me, but it is my website.
To sum it up, I loved it – the story telling was concise and gave us several new characters that took a bit of time to get familiar with and I know at times I wondered why none of these characters were every spoken of later in the saga, but that becomes very obvious by the end. The film is a tremendous asset to the Star Wars saga and I look forward to watching it again, hopefully this time with less waterworks.
Book of the Year
I was introduced to this during an episode from the Podcast of the Year (see below). The title is definitely an eye and ear catching one. The book doesn’t ultimately lead down a path where you don’t give a fuck about anything, it’s far more clever than that. What it all comes down to is focusing on the things that truly matter in your life and ignoring the things that waste your time/money/emotional capacity. Sure, bad things are going to happen and you may not choose to have those things happen to you, but you do choose how you react to those negative things. You can respond negatively and angrily, or you can save that energy and put it towards something you truly care about.
None of this is new, but in the fast-faced world of over-stimulation and over-celebrated celebrity and fame, it’s very easy to get angry at non-sense, wasting emotion and energy getting mad at the Kardashians because they’re famous for being useless and you’re not. They key is simple and it’s to just ignore the things that trigger anger. Your life is not effected by those types of folks, so why give them the power to make you that emotional. Again, not a new concept, but the examples are excellent and Manson’s writing style keeps the reader engaged and interested.
- The New Tsar – Steven Lee Myers
New Podcast of the Year
This year I spent a large chunk of time pondering my life, what I’m doing and what I want to be doing. What I want to be doing usually involves something that requires a significant amount of money to make it happen – usually skiing or driving fast cars on a track. Whenever I think about this, the only thing that makes sense to me in order to make these dreams to come true is having some sort of real estate investment that is creating passive income. That’s what this podcast is about.
I discovered this podcast when I was listening to the This Week in Tech podcast. One of the guests on the show was Clayton Morris whom I had followed on Twitter based on his previous appearances but grew a bit sour towards after reading some dismissive tweets regarding cannabis. Regardless, I checked out the podcast and was intrigued by what I heard. I’ve continued to do some additional research but Andrea and I are on board to procure our first real estate investment sometime in 2017. This podcast is a great way to get you thinking about you can get that passive income and start living life the way you’ve always wanted.
Comeback of the Year (Again)
Maybe after the past two years of having the comeback of the year, it can no longer be looked at as a comeback but as a coming out party. Bitcoin started the year at around 430 and closed it out around 970. Sometimes things are hidden in plain sight and I feel and have felt for the past three years that Bitcoin could be one of those things. We had the massive bubble in 2013 and the massive explosion of that bubble in 2014 (when I started buying – pretty much in the middle of the freefall, but continued almost all the way to the bottom). When you look at the way governments manipulate their currencies, specifically in India and China, you see that there is a need for a currency that has no borders and is digital. Bitcoin is now the leader in that space.
Digital gold it has been called – a digital wealth storage vessel and that purpose is the perceived reason for the most of the recent massive inflow of money. I know that’s the reason I’ve been putting money in over the past 2 years. That and folks who are way smarter than me have spoke of the technical capabilities and how the blockchain is going to change fintech in ways unlike anything else in our lifetimes. The more I read and watch videos, the more excited I get about the technology.
Now that it’s back to being valuable I made sure to get all my BTC off of exchanges and onto hardware wallets where I control the private keys, ensuring the Bitcoin I control are indeed in my control.
2016 – The Year of Bike Shorts.
I’m naming 2016 the Year of Bike Shorts, both metaphorically and literally. Bike shorts, for those not familiar, are usually made of lycra so they fit tight, but also have a foam padding in your “seat” area to protect and comfort your undercarriage from the pounding and fatigue that can occur while cycling.
This year, there was a lot of pounding going on from all directions. For a lot of these, the only thing we could do is put our bike shorts and just brace for impact. Some of the obstacles we saw from a long distance away and some we just didn’t think would ever need to be seriously contended with, but ended up in front of us. You get past it and you keep riding, that’s all you can do.
Also, this year I started commuting to work by bike, which has been quite adventurous. I’ve only had one crash and it was my own fault for not respecting the complete lack of friction that a wet boardwalk provides. Yes, I went ass-over-tea-kettle, but I didn’t hit anyone (it was close) and didn’t get hurt. I just composed myself and got back on that bike and started riding, which is all one can do.
Happy New Year, everyone!