As with last year’s edition, this year’s annual year in pictures post is arriving late. Due to a combination of daycare germs, furnace outages and bomb cyclones this year’s “holiday” break was busy. But given how much I look forward to the exercise of looking back on the year past, I’m happy to be getting to it, delays notwithstanding.
For most of the world, 2017 was a year of unfortunate development after unfortunate development. Every time it seemed like rock bottom had been hit, the show reached a new low. Rinse, lather, repeat.
But rather than focus on the trainwreck of world events, my purpose here is to revisit and capture for posterity the personal highs and lows. If you want in the moment reactions, the newsletter archive is available at your leisure. This post is the pictures that captured moments that made up my year, large and small. Mostly small.
Before we get to the pictures, however: a couple of statistics from 2017.
Travel in 2017 was a bit of a good news / bad news situation. On the positive side, thanks in large part to a travel schedule that featured a large number of events on the east coast, my mileage was down significantly from 2016, which was in turn down from 2015. This was the fewest miles I’ve flown since I’ve been on TripIt, in fact. As with last year, I didn’t qualify for JetBlue’s loyalty program until my last trip of December. Most years, I’ve cleared that bar by June.
The bad news was that the low mileage was largely an artifact of geography and not reflective of my overall travel load. A trip to New York, for example, adds thousands of less miles to my ledger than one to San Francisco, but it’s still time away from home. At one point this fall, in fact, due to a series of unrelated factors, I was on the road eight weeks in a row. Typically, I try not to exceed three.
That kind of stretch I would rather not repeat, but here’s hoping I can keep the mileage down again in 2018.
- Distance: I flew 56,447 miles, down 18% or so from 2016.
- 100K: This was the fourth time in seven years I failed to reach 100,000 miles. Will try to keep it up.
- Carrier: After a couple of years of trying to make it work with Virgin America (who got bought by Alaska) because their loyalty program is much better than JetBlue’s, the former’s lack of routes finally killed off that experiment. With the exception of routes to London and one hop on Virgin, effectively all of my travel was on JetBlue. I still think their loyalty program is non-competitive and light on benefits, but that aside it’s a pretty good airline.
- Airport: Because I wasn’t flying on Virgin anymore, I spent more time this year in Portland than Boston in a reverse of 2016.
- First Time: Didn’t travel to any cities for the first time this year, though I did return to Richmond for the first time in almost twenty years.
- Where To: For the first time in a few years, New York narrowly tipped San Francisco as my most popular destination. Fingers crossed that repeats in 2018. Nothing against San Francisco, which I enjoy visiting, but a 45 minute flight is a hell of a lot more palatable than a six and a half hour one.
- My Top 5 non search-engine referrers to the work blog were 1) Twitter, 2) Reddit, 3) Android Apps (new category?) 4) Hacker News, 5) Facebook.
- For the first year in a while, I don’t have meaningful stats regarding my step count. The first problem was that my Fitbit Charge broke for the second time – they’d replaced it once already – and this time it was out of warranty. On the Wirecutter’s recommendation, I replaced it with a Garmin Vivosmart HR+ which includes heartrate – which I’ve found you have to take with a grain of salt. The bad news is that for two important use cases for me: 1) walking with a stroller and 2) working on a treadmill desk, it substantially underreported steps for me relative to the Fitbit hardware. So not only did I not have device continuity, there are significant observable differences in capture. Which means no step counts this year, alas.
With that, on to the pictures.
Started off the New Year on a down note, with my faithful ten year old Volvo S40 picked up at the crack of dawn and donated to charity due to a mechanical issue more costly than the car was worth. It was a fantastic car, and I still have no idea why Volvo killed the model.
Over in London for Monki Gras. Epic and bar-raising, yet again.
Ran out of our initial drop of wood. We’re on track to run out even earlier this year thanks to the weather.
Preferring to not have our roof caved in with snow, reluctantly brought out the roof rake.
I’m not entirely sure, but I believe this was the first political protest I’ve attended.
Continuing the baseball education.
Courtesy of an event, I and a few thousand other people had the run of the Giants park in San Francisco. It’s gorgeous.
Last time I was at this PATH station, I was in high school, working for my Dad. They’ve done an amazing job with the rebuild.
Love having this park ten minutes from the house.
And this lobster pound even closer.
First appearance at Fenway this season.
Continuing the baseball education.
Having been located on Newbury Street in Portland for the better part of eight years, RedMonk HQ officially moved across town to High Street. There were a number of reasons for the change: construction in the old neighborhood, crowds from the nearby cruise ships, an overall upgrade in aesthetics and function (new office has a shower). The best part of the move, however? Pai Men is now three blocks away.
Having realized a while back that a) I needed a table saw and b) my track record of injuries suggested that I invest in safety, I’d been saving up for a while to get a SawStop. Fortunately, the only one that would fit in my tiny shop was the cheapest model, their jobsite saw. It’s been a fantastic purchase, one I wish I’d saved up for years ago.
For the first time since my fifth reunion, maybe, a group of friends and I went back to our college reunion. It was a great time, particularly since we made the decision to get a house of our own rather than stay in the dorms. The Purple Pub that I once knew so well, however, has been replaced by something a lot more corporate.
This was the first speakeasy I’ve ever seen on a client site. The bartender within was competent to the point of being intimidating; I was glad I wasn’t the woman in front of me who asked what cocktails they had and was bluntly told, “everything.”
On a visit to my wife’s Uncle, we hopped the St John’s ferry.
Spent the fourth of July in Nova Scotia – Chester, to be precise. Great little town.
One of the folks in our local tech community had an excess of downed trees that I tried to assist him with.
I didn’t make it down in time for them, but I was heartened by the response of the city of Boston to the Nazi “free speech” demonstrators. The Nazis were outnumbered by something close to 1000 to 1, and yet no violence ensued. These news trucks lined every side of the commons in the aftermath.
Everybody deserves to retire at some point.
Worked outside throughout the eclipse, though I did get to view it quickly thanks to glasses from another member of the tech community.
This closet organizer wasn’t any better than the one I made last summer, but at least it didn’t almost amputate the tip of my finger.
Knocked out a couple of quick and easy chairs made from nothing more than dimensional lumber.
We weren’t there for very long because it turns out toddlers – or at least, our toddler – doesn’t like to wear hearing protection, but during a visit of the Blue Angels I got to see my favorite plane of all time, the Cadillac of the Skies.
The weather wasn’t ideal, but I managed to sneak in my annual pilgrimmage to the Houston Brook Falls.
Four or five years after creating the holes by ripping out a closet, I finally got around to patching the floor. Before you say it looks like crap, which it does, let me just say in my defense that that whole section of floor is likely to be ripped out so trying to match it wasn’t worth the effort.
Continuing the baseball education.
Toured the new Monktoberfest venue that Kate found. William Allen farm has a gorgeous barn and great people.
Over in London for our annual ThingMonk conference. Excellent experience.
Three cords of wood – which we are burning through both literally and figuratively – was dropped off.
Made it up to the Common Ground Fair for my favorite part, the sheepdog demonstration. These dogs are crazy smart. They can identify twenty plus different verbal commands, and can parse their individual names as part of the command. You can tell one dog to walk clockwise, in other words, and another to counter.
It’s not pretty, but the homemade cider press I made for Kate did in fact produce cider.
Finally got the woodshed loaded.
Made it through yet another Monktoberfest. Humbled by the experience, as always.
Stopped by Atlantic Hardwoods to pick up some rough 8/4 walnut stock. This will become relevant shortly.
One of my favorite beer festivals anywhere. Tough to beat drinking great and funky craft beers outside on a beatiful fall day.
Leaf peeping, from Kate’s parent’s house.
Had never been to an Alamo Drafthouse, but a dinner cancellation in NYC left me with just the opening I needed to pop over to Brooklyn to take in It. Both the venue and movie were worth every penny.
A huge windstorm unexpectedly hammered Maine, and in our neighborhood alone four or five houses were hit by downed trees. Took CMP five full days to restore our power, in fact.
First Williams homecoming win of her lifetime.
We’d never bought anything on Black Friday before, but my brother talked us into a $399 50″ 4K Samsung model. I didn’t think our 2005 Sharp was that bad until I set up the Samsung.
I flew out to San Francisco for my last work trip of the year only to spend most of it throwing up in my hotel with a stomach bug, then having to hop an early flight home while weak as a kitten because the same bug was wiping out the family at home. On the good news front, I confirmed that you can have nothing but bottled water and Gatorade delivered to you in San Francisco.
Remember that walnut lumber?
Eventually, I’m sure it will be assembling bikes or something, but this year, we spent Christmas Eve furiously trying to put the finishing touches on a dollhouse for the little one.
The pictures are dated this week, but these were all done before Christmas. Those two slabs of walnut were milled down and then cut up to make end-grain cutting boards. I’ll document that process later because it was weird and unorthodox, but I was almost pleased with how they came out. Mistakes were made, but at the very least, the folks on the receiving end were unlikely to get another one of these in their stockings for Christmas.