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Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Year In Review: 2014
Posted: 3:37:00 AM 0 comments
In many ways, 2014 was a big year for me. There were a lot of big changes made right at the beginning of the year, with some exciting plans starting to form up.

Where to begin?

Music


I will always remember the end of 2013 as being a kind of inspirational epiphany for me. In the span of 4 short months I wrote 4 songs complete beginning to end, managed to record 2 of them as stripped down versions, and penned the final lyrics of a few more that had been floating around.

The only major song that has come out of 2014 is a dance-ish piece I call "Bullseye", which is designed to be more about the music than about the lyrics. Even the lyrics that are sung focus more on the melody, making strong use of some of my unique vocal inflections. There is only a single verse and chorus, but the usage of such are designed to give the song added texture, not added meaning.

The main problem here is that a grand total of zero songs were released in 2014. After having such a strong finish to 2013, I expected things to carry over into the new year. Looking back, much of the music that came out of 2013 was due to having a lot of extra time on my hands while in San Francisco. I was able to put notes to Reason because I had little else to do, and with commute times being upwards of an hour some days, it was not uncommon for me to do some writing in my head, and then later pen it down into lyrics or Reason. I haven't had nearly the luxury this year since I've not been in San Francisco at all, and opportunities to write have been few and far in between. I've got this awesome guitar I want to play around with, and just haven't had the inspiration to do anything with it.

I've always toyed with the idea of setting aside just one night and dedicate myself to nothing but my music, but right now I take care of Six Minutes To Release five nights a week, spend Fridays with Kathy, and do the Six Gaming Podcast on Saturdays. Music has been playing second fiddle to pretty much everything else these days. I don't like it, but I know that I will never lose the drive for my music. It will come back some day.

Coding


After leaving Sift in February, I took a month off and then joined HCC Insurance Holdings as a .NET programmer. So far, I've been doing a lot of VB.Net in WinForms, but this last month has seen me start to work on an ASP.NET project again. It's in C# with a Bootstrap framework, and communicates with a lot of different moving parts within the company, so it'll be an exciting project to start 2015 with.

Personally, well, I'm always full of coding projects. My big project this past year has been the remake of roncli.com. This project is designed to stretch my understanding of the node.js stack, as I'm taking advantage of projects such as Bootstrap, Rendr, and Express, and have been working with APIs from Twitter, Google Blogger, and Tumblr, with many more in the works.

roncli.com as a domain turns 15 years old this February. The current design is its second, but is one that it has had for most of its lifespan. I've grown to absolutely HATE it. I've tried a number of times to remake it but nothing ever stuck... until now. Currently, I'm nearly done with integrating the blog into the site. It is going to be a pretty big hub of all things roncli, so I don't expect it to be complete any time soon, but I have made steady progress on it since May with no signs of slowing down. The fact that I'm learning the innards of these node.js projects is arguably more valuable than the site itself.

Gaming


2014 brought about a gaming renaissance of sorts. Sure, I'm still playing World of Warcraft, but I've expanded my horizons into games such as Diablo III, League of Legends, and countless other indie games that have been slowly filling up my Steam library. I've not exactly shaken off the "hardcore casual mobile gamer" title, either, as I still am very much into gaming on my iPhone.

What brought this on was the fact that while I was with Sift, I really did not have any time to myself. Gaming became a luxury to me, something that I couldn't spend a lot of time on. Once I left Sift and realized that evenings do exist, I had a lot of free time. I began streaming to Twitch regularly, and this past July took the reins of the Six Gaming Podcast while cohost Jacob "Showsan" Showalter is deployed in the military.

Between all this and the increase in popularity of streamers and professional gamers, gaming itself has taken on a new meaning for me, and is something I feel I could take advantage of given the right environment. After I am done with roncli.com, I want to build something gamer-centric around the whole "Six Gaming" concept we've got going on, so I don't expect much to change when it comes to my gaming, at least in the early part of this next year.

Life


This year I celebrated my 5 year anniversary of marriage to my lovely wife, Kathy. The fact that I've survived this long without her trying to cash in on the life insurance policy speaks volumes. And the fact that she has supported me through so many things, both good and bad, really makes me blessed.

Leaving Sift was a hard decision. I felt I held on a lot longer than I should have. In some ways, I did. Perhaps I could have made a more positive impact by leaving sooner. Or maybe I didn't hold on long enough, as it seems as though some of the things that caused me to leave have passed. Whatever, hindsight is 20/20, and I'm not going to dwell on the could-haves. I did what I did.

And what I did was start a new job. It's quite a switch going from the rushed startup environment to the slow-paced, meticulously-planned environment of a publicly traded company. At the same time, however, many of the habits I learned while at the startup I've been able to apply to the new job, and the transition couldn't have gone better.

But there is still that bit of emptiness, that missing sense of adventure.

I only managed to take 3 trips this year. The first was our 5 year anniversary trip on a cruise around southeast Alaska in June. Then came BlizzCon in Anaheim in November. Finally, I just returned from Christmas break in Buffalo, where the temperature averaged a balmy 45 degrees, much warmer than usual.

I'm hoping to get back to the Bay Area soon. I made a lot of connections out there, some friendly, some professional, and some both! I am still very much fascinated with how differently things work out there. It was very exciting to be a part of the culture, and I look forward to my next visit out there, whenever that may be.

A Look Ahead


It's hard to predict what's going to happen in the next year, but I'm going to state my goals here. No, they're not New Year's resolutions, but rather things I want to get done and say that I've accomplished.

  • Complete and release full versions of "All In My Head" and "Paper"
  • Finish the updated roncli.com site
  • Grow Six Gaming into a bigger and more general gaming community
  • Get back to the Bay Area at least once

Some strong goals. Now, to work on fulfilling them!

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