]

2018 – Time to Pay the Piper

December 31st, 2018

We’ve all heard the phrase, “it’s time to pay the piper,” but do we really understand what it means? According to the first entry I saw when doing a Google search,

“[it] means to face the inevitable consequences of one’s actions.”

Ahhhh, then 2018 was the year where I felt the Piper coming at me from every direction, so here’s a little recap.


Work

I have worked at the same company for a long time and over the past year (since the birth of my son) I haven’t been hustling the way I had in the past. My managing director was sympathetic to my situation so she allowed me to proceed in such a manner. I was still doing a good job, but I wasn’t attacking with the gusto I had in the past.

But then, we had a massive reorganization and said Managing Director was unceremoniously removed. I knew, she would always have my back, but now my flank was completely exposed and I while I still had a job, my new position was certainly not a dream scenario.


Dentistry

This one is a little gross, but I think is quite important. It had been a gross and significant amount of time since my last dental visit. Having a new little person that needs me and will be looking at me for advice and guidance, I knew I had to stop being a child, face my fears and go to the dentist. One root canal and 3 cavities later, I learned a valuable lesson – don’t wait for things to be bad to go to the dentist, because by then, it will be way worse than you think.


Freelance

Over the past decade, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with freelance work. It has provided me some great experiences to work with great people and learn new skills. It also seems like the timing of a lot of those projects was never ideal and now with said son that I have alluded to multiple times above, time is at a premium which I’d rather spend either focusing on my “real” job or with my family. Well, after a 2017 that included a deluge of work, 2018 was bone dry. 

Nothing, zero, not-ah. 

Oh, don’t worry I still dedicated plenty of time to learning new skills and working on my podcast brand (which I had intended to focus on this year), but it showed me how much I counted on having a little extra money to buy some toys and to use for skiing. I always wondered what it would be like if I didn’t have any extra revenue from freelance, since I’ve had a steady stream of work since 2012, now I know and it sucks.


Bitcoin

It was 2014 when I first started including Bitcoin in my year-end reflections. That was when I jumped down the rabbit hole and I’ve included it every year since, because every year there has been something monumental that has happened in the space. 2017 and the massive bull run was one of the most amazing, unbelievable and scary things I’ve ever been a part of. It was truly euphoric and as someone a bit naive to financial bubbles felt like it was never going to end.

Welcome to the end of the 2018 and the bears are in full control of the bitcoin and cryptocurrency markets. We’ve gone from $16k at the beginning of the year to around $3000 at its lowest and are hovering around $3600 as I write this. I have no idea what’s going to happen in the future, but I started and survived the 2014-2015 bear market and didn’t expect bitcoin to explode until 2020, so I’m hanging tight.


Wow, Brian, it sure sounds like 2018 was a bit of a disaster for you, huh?

Let’s not be dramatic, we all have challenges in this world. To some, mine might seem pretty rough, but in the grand scheme of things, it would be extremely presumptuous and self-centered to think that I really have it bad. Relatively speaking, compared to last year, this year was not awesome, but it did smack me back to reality, something I probably needed. So here we are on the cusp of 2019, which means it’s put up or shut up time.

Enough of the bummers, let’s talk about something that was great in 2018:

skibumpodcast.com Redesign

When we started the podcast back in early 2015, I knew the design and logo were going to be temporary. Delusionally, I thought it was going to be far more temporary, but so is life. The cornerstone of the redesign is the new logo, which started it’s life back in early 2018, finally coming to light with a sneak preview at ski.com party in NYC right after Labor Day, followed by it’s debut with the new site in November. We even added a store where we sell some sweet shwag. I’m really proud of it, but also know it’s a work in progress.

AWARDS

Book of the Year

The Bitcoin Standard

Yes, we all know about the tumultuous year that Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies suffered. The price of Bitcoin dropped from around $15k at the beginning of the year to around $3600 at the end. Most people’s only measure of success is price. If you were to look at Bitcoin in that regard, then yes 2018 was definitely a failure.

But if you were to take into account network strength, functionality increase, competition and growth of usage, it would be a looked at as a resounding success

That’s why I love “The Bitcoin Standard.” It doesn’t focus on Bitcoin’s price at all. It looks at the history of what human’s have used at currency and what are the characteristics of sound money. When looking at the low time horizon, fixed supply and censorship-resistance of Bitcoin you start to see how it’s the strongest form of money that’s available on earth today.

Mix of the Year

Lone – BBC Essential Mix

This mix had me hooked from the the very first song. It’s super moody, deep house tracks sound best when listened to in great headphones, which is the only way I’ve ever consumed it.

Album of Year

Daniel Avery – Song for Alpha

New parents always use a baby as an excuse as to why they can’t do a lot of things they did in the past. I can tell you that my discovery of new music has suffered significantly. As much as I want to blame the baby, it’s not entirely his fault. The music landscape has changed in ways that make it far easier to consume music at a song level vs. an album level. When I finally live in my ideal world, I’ll have the time to sit back and listen to music instead of always being on the go and needing a cerebral soundtrack that doesn’t contain a lot of distracting lyrics.

That being said, the music I’ve been listening to has been more ambient, which is apparent if you listen my mix of the year by Lone. The same can be said for my album of the year – Daniel Avery – Song for Alpha. It’s deep, moody and provided the perfect soundtrack for this year. I love the album start to finish, but the highlights are “Projector,” “Slow Fade” and “Days From Now.”


Song of the Year

Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight

While my album listening has gone done, my new music consumption has continued thanks to great streaming services like KEXP.org and Amazon Unlimited music. There were several good choices this year, but I’m going from one of the tracks that really caught my ear early in the year.

If asked exactly why I chose it as my favorite song for the year, I honestly couldn’t tell you. It’s got a fun indie-pop beat, but done in a melancholy key, which really stuck in my head.

May 1st, 2017

I’ve also considered myself to have a very good work ethic and have always kept myself busy whether it was work, freelance, sports, etc. but now I’m starting to realize that I had no idea was busy really was.

Before getting into why things are going to get REALLY busy, I’ll start with why the title of this post is “Frustration.” For the past 2+ years my buddy and I have been creating a weekly podcast called the High Falutin Ski Bums where we drink cool beers and discuss ski news for the week adding thoughts and humor to the stories we find. In addition, we do one segment where we find and discuss random interesting stories called “Under the Ropes” and another called “From the Ganjala” where we talk about interesting stories in the cannabis world which is evolving and growing very quickly and has always been a friend to the ski industry. It’s been a lot of fun finding stories, creating the design and doing the production for the podcast. If or when we can monetize, it would be a perfect full-time job!

We’ve always had a few fans write in to us and people hitting us up on the socials and that was enough. Maybe it’s because we’re at the end of the ski season (for most), but our podcast and social media posts aren’t getting the love and traction they’ve gotten in the past. Over this time I’ve been resilient and just kept pushing to do more, completely unconcerned about statistics, but it’s getting to the point where my time is becoming too stretched and this needs to become something more than what it currently is.

Are we too niche?

Do people just not care?

Do we just suck?

I have delusionally grand plans for what I want from this podcast – to become of the Anthony Bourdains of skiing by going 2x/month to different ski towns and doing reviews/videos/podcasts about the experience, owning/renting ski country real estate and setting up boutique ski trips to epic locations all over the world. This is what I want, but these goals are a bit down the road.

Here is why something has to happen soon, which I mentioned earlier and about how things are going to get properly busy, my wife and I are expecting a child in August.

We’ve been planning this for a long time and we are so excited about this little dude, but it’s forcing me to throw caution to the wind and get things done before I want to spend all my free time with my new buddy.

Conclusions and Solutions

Efficiency is the #1 priority. If it isn’t going to lead to increasing our audience, it’s not a priority. We have a really fun and interesting podcast. Everyone who knows about it and has checked it out, likes it. It’s just up to us to get it into more people’s ears. I recently signed up and watched a webinar from the WordPress plugin Sumo which focused on developing your mailing list and monetizing your blog or podcast. This is my next step to get this set up.ski

As the driving force behind the podcast, I need to improve my leadership. Since I just I said that efficiency is my #1 priority, one way this will be achieved is through delegation of tasks that play to his strengths. For this to succeed I’m going to need to help and inspire my co-founder by showing him how important the success of this business is and how I need his help to make this happen.

January 1st, 2017

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.

Awards

Mix of the Year

Bob Moses – BBC Essential Mix

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).

Honorable Mentions

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.

Honorable Mentions
  • 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.

Honorable Mentions
  • 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.

Honorable Mentions
  • Deadpool
  • Keanu

Book of the Year

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck – Mark Manson

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.

Honorable Mentions
  • The New Tsar – Steven Lee Myers

New Podcast of the Year

Investing in Real Estate

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)

Bitcoin!

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!

January 3rd, 2015

Yes, we’ve finished another year, can you believe it? If you can’t try to think back to the World Cup which was 6 months ago. I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like forever ago. I’m sure you’ve also noticed that I’m a few days late here and for that I truly apologize. I should’ve started this earlier, but I was living my ski bum dream for 10 days in Killington in December and had to do it right, so I didn’t get much writing done. Anyway, I’m going to reflect on some of my favorite things for the year below, so strap in, get a cup of coffee and please feel free to comment below.

Book of the Year:

The Martian – Andy Weir

The_Martian_2014

Two years ago, my book of the year was Ready Player One, which I found out about from This Week in Tech and this years choice was also a recommendation from TWIT – The Martian by Andy Weir. The book takes place in the near future with a failed mission to Mars leaves our protoginist Mark Watney alone on the surface of Mars after his fellow astronauts aborted the mission, leaving Mars thinking that Mark was dead…but he wasn’t. If you’re into sci-fi you will enjoy this book, if you read about the power of human spirit and ingenuity this is a book for you.

Now, I had the audiobook version of this and I was finished the book while walking around the perimeter of the parking lot at work and all I can say is that I was glad I was alone, because I was in tears as I finished the book. I won’t get into why, because I don’t want to ruin it for you, if you’re going to read it. I also just saw that they are going to make a movie version of it coming out in November 2015, so if you can’t find the time to read it, you can atleast check out the movie version. It will be directed by Ridley Scott and Watney will be played by Matt Damon as well as Sean Bean (SPOILER ALERT – his character DOESN’T die – not really a spoiler, I assure you) so it could be quite good.

Technical Book of the Year:

Responsible Responsive Design – Scott Jehl

rrd

Just like last year’s technical book of the year – I haven’t finished this book yet! I know, that’s pretty lame, but it seems like this may just become the way I do things now. Responsive Design has been all the rage the past few years and even at work, it’s now becoming the defacto way we are creating websites. Responsible Responsive Design outlines the way that responsive design should be approached and defines the use cases and best practices that are often ignored by designers working on the latest retina MacBooks and testing on 4G iPhone 6s. Knowing the types of projects I will be working on in 2015, I know this book will be by my side at all times forcing me to take a different approach to optimizing for all users and make sure their experiences are optimal and they come back to use our site.

Album of the Year:

Aphex Twin – Syro

Syro-1024x658

Last year was pretty tough choice between Boards of Canada, Arcade Fire and My Bloody Valentine. Maybe I just love a comeback story. This year I felt that I didn’t listen to nearly as many albums. That’s the way of the music industry these days, we’re exposed to different ways of consuming music, least of which is listening to an entire album start to finish. Similar to last year’s surprise Boards of Canada release, the cryptic teases surprise news and then very shortly release of Aphex Twin took a lot people including me by surprise. This was Aphex Twin’s first full album release since Druqks way back in 2001.

It was worth the wait.

For me, a great return needs to reminds us of some of the old sounds, but also to challenge us with growth and push into a new direction. This album did just that just right. Songs like minipops 67 [120.2][source field mix] and 4 bit 9d api+e+6[126.26] are sonically amazing songs, but are also fun and playful enough to be considered pop. The whole album is high energy and works well as a soundtrack for a workout, banging out some code or as a soundtrack for a drive through the mountains. It’s an album that definitely works best when listened to with headphones as it’s the best way to appreciate the layers of sound that go into each song. Welcome back Aphex Twin! We hope you still have a few more albums

Honorable Mention:

Pink Floyd – The Endless River

Pink_Floyd_-_The_Endless_River_(Artwork)

There’s nothing new or groundbreaking about this album, we all know that. Much of the music on it was created during the Division Bell sessions in 1994 and a good part of the riffs have been taken from former Pink Floyd hit, but that is reason why I’m giving this the honorable mention. It’s a beautiful victory lap for the band and tribute to their friend and bandmate Richard Wright. Ever since David Gilmour came out to perform the guitar solo in “Comfortably Numb” in London during Roger Waters’ “The Wall” tour (embedded video below), I thought that maybe these doddering old musical geniuses might be able to push past their differences and perform one last reunion tour. As you see them age, those hopes dwindle to the point where it’s almost impossible at this point. But there’s something about this record that provides a soothing conclusion to Pink Floyd’s career and makes the fact that they’re never going to play again together OK. Another wonderful thing about this album is that it makes me want to go back and re-listen to all the other Pink Floyd albums again which has helped re-realize why they are probably the best rock band of all time.

Song of the Year

Todd Terje – Delorean Dynamite

Back in June I was listening to the Hot Natured essential mix, when all of a sudden this high energy, synthy monster started. After hearing only about 30 seconds of it, I immediately went to the playlist page and tried to figure out which song was now attaching itself to my brain, not unlike when Venom attaches itself to Spiderman. Often times in these mixes you get some unreleased or white label songs or samples that leave you SOL if you’re trying to find and acquire said song to add to your collection, but this time it was there – Todd Terje – Delorean Dynamite. I ended up finding the video on YouTube and watching it about 5 times in a row. The video was a collection of 80 styles graphics and mixed with 80s Corvette dashboard looking like it was plucked from the video game Test Drive. As much as the car geek in me appreciated the homage to the Vette, the song really didn’t even need to the retro awesomeness, but it was a nice bit of icing on the cake.

Mix of the Year:

Tycho – Palms DJ Set

It’s always exciting when weird coincidences occur and you learn something interesting. On New Year’s Eve, Andrea were at her sister’s place and I started talking to some guests and for whatever reason, I started mouth-saxing the saxophone riff a song which one fella knew by name as “Calabria.” I always knew and liked the song, but would mockingly mouth-sax the saxophone riff when referring to ghetto party anthem. Two days later on the Essential Mix Future Stars of 2014, Pete Tong’s essential mixer was Kolsch. As mentioned in Mr. Tong’s intro, Kolsch was perviously known as Rune RK, the man who created as he said “the saxtastic ‘Calabria’.” It was such a great Dj set filled with much of Kolsch’s 1977 album, which if I were to revisited my 2013 list of best albums, I would certainly add it to the list. As the year progressed there were some monster mixes, as there always are including Hot Natured, Jon Hopkins, Ten Walls and Caribou (voted Essential Mix of the year).

But this year, the mix of the year was not an Essential Mix. Nope, this year it goes to Tycho and his Palms DJ set. Over the summer I saw in my ISO50 rss feed, I saw posted that Tycho had posted a set on SoundCloud from the 4th of July weekend in Las Vegas. I took a listen and was instantly blown away. The mix of music was so perfect. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve listened to this mix in so many different situations – working, exercising, driving, relaxing – and it works perfectly in all of them. Tycho has put out several other sets over the year, but none of them are as good as the Palms DJ set.

Obsession of the year:

Bitcoin

opengraph

Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin – it’s been my biggest obsession this year, by far. I’ve been paying attention to it for the past few years and remember hearing about it at a family party back in 2011 and immediately swearing it at off as something stupid – which is a severe character flaw of mine – that I’ve done several times in my life before looking at things from a different point of view and coming around. Sadly, some of my favorite and best things in my life have come after going through this foolish exercise.

Well, looking at the price of Bitcoin, maybe it would’ve been smarter to wait, but this is how we learn. I’ve watched and listened to several podcasts from “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” to “The David Seaman Hour” to “Bitcoin Rush” and can’t get enough of it, always trying to learn more.

Bitcoin is starting to develop a reputation, much like people who become obsessed with CrossFit or becoming Vegan where they’re obsessed and all they can talk about is this new found hobby. I don’t think most of my real life friends would say that I’ve become one of those people, but my Twitter followers would probably disagree. It’s just one of those things that when you see how Bitcoin works and how it’s such a better solution than what we have, you just want to pound it into everyone’s head so that they can get on the train early with you in doing things the new and better way.

There was a situation a few months back where my wife went to a concert with some friends and needed to pay her friend back, but didn’t have any cash. The wife did what most people would do and got the checkbox to write her friend and check. Then said friend had to take said check, drive home 5 hours, go to bed (it was a Sunday), wake up, go to the bank, deposit the check, wait three days, receive money, pay student loans. Now, if that’s the way your used to, it doesn’t seem like a horrible system, since that’s what you’re used to, but you’ve pulled back the vail and seem what’s capable with Bitcoin and more specifically the blockchain, you realize how antiquated and silly this old system is and wonder how and why it’s still being used.

At this point, Bitcoin has been to my money invested much as a smoke detector is to a 9-volt battery, just slowly draining it while really providing nothing in return, but it’s still early days. There are great things to come in the future for Bitcoin and crytocurrency. It’s only a matter of time before we’ll wonder how and why we ever did things the way we are doing it now.

Favorite New YouTube Channel:

Regular Car Reviews

I love cars, but have only had one cool car – a 2002 Subaru WRX – but I’ve always enjoyed living vicariously through the blokes at TopGear or Chris Harris who get to play with some of the worlds most amazing cars. Somehow while searching for some nugget of car news, I encountered an review on Jalopnik of a 2007 Porsche Cayman by the guys at Regular Car Reviews. It was an absolutely beautiful and hilarious work done in the style of Hunter S. Thompson a la “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.” Over the next few weeks, I consumed all the Regular Car Reviews videos, particularly the Subaru WRX review. Believe it or not, what they do is take regular cars and do reviews. Mr. Regular, the main reviewer and voiceover, crafts very compelling reviews by combing history, engineering and humor, often times praising overlooked vehicles and criticizes other vehicles that are often proselytized in car forums and magazines (I’m looking at you S2000). Even if you’re not into cars, you’ll get a kick out of the clever writing and humor that Regular Car Reviews brings to all or their videos.

Word of the Year:

Bespoke

be·spoke
bəˈspōk/
adj.
(of goods, especially clothing) made to order.

Maybe I’m becoming a classier fella or maybe I just didn’t notice it before, but I’ve heard the word bespoke more times this year more times than I have over my entire life combined time 10.

Most Hated Word of the Year:

Literally

I literally don’t hear a word you’re saying after you say literally…literally. Please stop.

Best Travel Surprise:

Utah

The only things I knew about were SLC Punk and stereotypes from the Book of Mormon. All ski magazines have championed the “Champagne Powder” of the Wasatch Mountains, but I had no idea what to expect. Besides the one guy wearing Google Glass, my first impressions of Salt Lake City airport were very positive -everything was clean, organized and made for a quick disembarkment from the airport to the mountains. We hopped in our shuttle and were up at Snowbird in less than 45 minutes.

We stayed at the Cliff Lodge and it wasn’t terribly fancy, but it was ski-in and ski-out, which is what we were there to do, so it was perfect. The first thing we did was get a bite to eat and of course, a drink. Now this is something that I learned, Utah only has 3.2% alcohol content beer on draft. Indian Pale Ales (IPAs) are by definition 5% or higher, so you cannot get them on draft in Utah. After waking up at 4am and having been up until 1:00 packing and prepping, not drinking enough water on the plane, being above 8000 feet and then having a beer had negative, almost dire consequences. Andrea and I headed out to Snowbird, right outside our hotel after the meal and immediately had trouble catching our breath. We took the Peruvian Express Quad to the top of the Peruvian Gulch (10,500 feet) and started to ski down. It was an absolute train wreck. We had to stop every 15 seconds just to catch our respective breathe. In addition, we both started to get pounding headaches. We completed one run on the mountain. ONE. It was bad, but we survived the first day. We both slept over 10 hours that night and were slowly able to acclimate to the altitude. We had an amazing 4 days of skiing at Snowbird and Alta. The snow and the terrain were unlike anything I’d every skiied. My favorites were the Gad Valley at Snowbird and the Catharines of Alta where we hiked a bit to find some amazing fresh powder.

The second leg of our trip, we went to Park City for 3 days and 2 nights. Folks about at Alta and Snowbird were talking a bit of trash about Park City (or Park Shitty) as they called it, but we went there with an open mind and exhausted legs. What blew me away was the amount of amazing skiing that was so close together. From Salt Lake City you can go 45 minutes to Little Cottonwood (Alta and Snowbird) or 45 minutes to Park City where you have Canyons, Park City and Deer Valley, so much epic skiing all so close. We only skied Deer Valley which was easily the fanciest place I’ve ever skied. The bathrooms at the lodges were nicer than the bathrooms at a W Hotel. Some of the people that were “skiing” were ridiculous with their $2000+ ski outfits tearing up the green slopes and making sure they were seen at the lodges. Very different vibe than the hardcores at Snowbird and Alta. The mountain was beautiful and we were lucky to have snow fresh snow that day, but it was almost more fun just to take in the craziness of the mountain’s amenities and insane real estate ($23 million house, right on the mountain for sale). Here’s me at the top of the mountain…what a view!
web-IMG_3151

Park City the town.

The town of Park City itself was a blast. We stayed right it he Park City ski resort area and there were free shuttles running every 15 minutes that would take you to the town. What was even more awesome, was that there was a chairlift that went right out of the town, almost across the street from the High West Distillery (worth the wait in line for both the food and the whiskey). The town itself is the host of the Sundance Film Festival, so as you could imagine, it had a very cool artsy vibe, unlike most of what you would think of Utah. Main Street was filled with art galleries, bars, restaurants, shops and if the sun is out, you can see both the mountains and the planes.

I had such a wonderful time out there, I’ve added a Salt Lake City search to my Monster account so that if the right job opportunity comes up I will have an excuse to move out to the Wasatches!

That Does It

So that about wraps it up, my year in review. It’s been a fun and exciting year and this year is already off to a humdinger of a start, so we’ll see where we are a year from today. Happy 2015 everybody!

December 31st, 2011

It’s that time of the year, where everyone with an opinion makes their best of lists. Well this fella is no different. Below I’ve listed some of my favorite things of year, from web design books, to music, to apps. It’s all things that I feel strong enough to have an opinion about.

Album of the Year: Yuck (s/t)

This album came out of nowhere for me. It’s the self-title debut from the band Yuck. Their lo-fi sound is fun and sounds both new and familiar. I think the best description came from my Twitter friend, blogger, and former Program Director at the excellent WOXY.com Mike Taylor, where he described the album as sounding like a “singles collection.” This was not due to lack of cohesion, but because of uniqueness and high-quality of the tracks.

Highlight Tracks
  • Get Away
  • Holing Out
  • Georgia
Other Contenders
  • The Strokes – AnglesHad almost forgotten how great this band was! Their sound has matured over the years, but still have the rawness that “This Is It” such a hit.
  • Tycho – DiveAs someone who LOVES Boards of Canada and Ulrich Schnauss, I was excited when I heard about this album by Tycho (aka graphic artist Scott Hansen). The moody, post-electronic album is great when designing, coding, or just sitting around pondering the universe.

Song of the Year: “Amor Fati” by Washed Out

For me, this song just went into my ears and then spread into every cell in my body. It’s a beautiful piece of chill-wave that has such beauty and emotion that it makes me lose touch with reality and think about how lucky and blessed I am, but also that everyone I know and love is going to die, all within all within the same beat.

Other Contenders
  • Foster the People – Helena BeatTotally infectious. Makes me think about getting ready to go out for a night on the town with friends.
  • M83 – Midnight CityIn a year without “Amor Fati,” this would’ve been the song of the year. Hearing it used in a Victoria’s Secret commercial cheapened the artistic value of it a bit (says the guy with the Amazon affiliate links), but whenever I hear the song I think of Adriana Lima, which I guess isn’t a bad thing.

BBC Essential Mix of the Year: Seth Troxler

I can’t even count the number of times I’ve listened to this mix, mostly at the gym or running. The beat carries through so well and creates a great soundtrack for exercising that just makes you want to keep going. It’s also fantastic for just walking around town making you feel like you’re the too-cool, annoying character that you don’t really like, mostly out of jealousy in a movie that has sweet theme music. I mean, the mix starts out with Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy,” so right off the bat you know it’s going to be awesome.

Other Contenders
  • Derrick Carter
  • Japanese Pop Stars
  • Above & Beyond

App of the Year: Keyring

I just got an iPhone this year, so having a robust app universe to play in is a relatively new thing for me. Sure Android has some good apps, but they opften don’t have the refinement of their iOS counterparts. I’m not sure when this app came out, but since I only got an iPhone in October, it’s new to me. What’s made this so fantastic is that it has reduced the number of store loyalty cards I’ve had to carry which has reduced the bulk on my real keyring by about 20%, which in the world of skinny jeans with tight pockets is rather significant.

Other Contenders
  • Starbucks
    This app has given me a new perspective on addiction. I’ve never been a big Starbucks fan, but living in a one-bedroom condo, sometimes to get some of my freelance projects completed, I need to go to a coffee shop. I received a $10 Starbucks gift card from the good folks at Yahoo, so I downloaded the app and added the gift card to it.
  • Chase
    Depositing a check with your phone??? I felt like I was from the future the first time I did it and still can’t believe it worked.
  • Instagram
    All it is have some pre-made filters that you can apply to your photos, but the social aspect is so much fun and so addicting. I’ll take picture of the most pedestrian stuff, put it in Instagram and miraculously, it looks great.

Book of the Year (Technical) : Responsive Web Design by Ethan Marcotte

The last few years have brought so much change to the world of web design with broader options for web typography, expanded capabilities with HTML5 and CSS3, as well as the explosion in usage of mobile devices with web access. The increased usage of mobile devices that could access the web has caused designers to figure out a solution to creating sights that would work best on desktop devices and mobile devices. How could this be done without creating multiple fixed width sites that would be served up based on some sort of javascript that would detect browser size and serve up the appropriate website.

The biggest problem with that is that when you update your website you have to do that for multiple versions, but creates extra, unnecessary work. Responsive web design is the method coined by Ethan Marcotte that uses three components – a flexible grid layout using percentages for layout components, CSS3 media queries, and flexible images and media. This creates a single website that is flexible and able to provide an optimal site no matter what size browser is being used. The book is quite short, but is written in a very approachable voice and includes the link to great a example site that displays the concepts being described. I built this website using the things I’ve learned which I believe has helped to create a better website is able to age and evolve more gracefully than a fixed width site would.

Other Contenders

Book of the Year (Non-Technical) : Ready Player One

As a child of the 80s, I was immediately intrigued when I heard about this book. It takes place in 2044 where the Earth is in post-apocalyptic ruin do to wars and energy crisis. After the death of a billionaire who had been a video game designer, he had decided to give away his fortune to a person who could complete a challenge he created. The challenge takes place in a virtual reality world called “the Oasis” where people log in, use their avatars to live in a virtual world, and life the lives they would prefer to live in the real world. The challenges are all based on the billionaire’s favorite music, video games, tv shows and movies from the 80s and some of them are so geeky and wonderful, I get chills. I’ve also consumed the book in audio format, so it feels like I’m Fred Savage and Wil Wheaton is my pop-pop telling me a story. How’s that for the perfect 80’s metaphor.

Other Contenders
  • Steve Jobs – Walter IsaacsonOK, this was actually going to be the Book of Year until the very last week. This was a fascinating book about who has had a tremendous impact on the job I did today. It painted an interesting picture of a complex and brilliant man, who at many times was very cold sometimes even childish.
  • Just My Type: A Book About Type – Simon GarfieldThe History and interesting stories of Typography and how they are used, in both good and bad ways, in different areas of our society.
July 8th, 2011

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!