๐Ÿ“” 2020: A Recap

(Hey! I managed to post this even later than last year's! What an achievement.)

โœˆ๏ธ This post begins with the one (1) flown trip in 2020. In the midst of learning about this "novel coronavirus", I needed a break from work. So I took a plane to TYS then drove to Gatlinburg, Tennessee to live in a cabin near a river for a weekend. There's a lot I could speak about this trip. Whether it's being the last person on the plane through an absolutely amazing experience at SFB to needing to drive through gated backroads (the gates were for flooding areas) to seeing a small cropping of flowers on the side of the river, I had an... exciting time, and I can't wait to travel by air again. Maybe 2022 we'll be back to normalish?

โ€Žโ˜‘๏ธ After registering for it back in 2014, I was finally asked to be a poll worker in Florida this year. My job title was Voter Equipment Technician, which meant that I was in charge of the magic box that you dropped your ballot into. This is a picture I took of the official, public, paper vote count of the results of the Seminole County precinct that I worked, the same precinct that I just happen to vote in. I worked the Florida elections in March, August, and November.

Also, the 2020 elections were open, accurate, and free. And how anyone could claim that election workers across the country, who worked through a global, deadly pandemic to make sure that everyone could vote in the manner they chose, tried to make it otherwise, is beyond me. It's a laughable notion.

๐Ÿš€ Also in March, the software product I'd been working on for almost a year finally launched. It's literally the first bit of code I have ever professionally written that has seen a go-live. This is a screenshot of the landing page. We'll be launching 2.0 in March.

๐ŸŽฎ Animal Crossing came out this year, and you know The Dream Team played a bit of it together. We've been physically distanced since 2009; you think a little pandemic is gonna affect us???

It is. Please let us visit each other again. Please, I'm begging you. Let u-

๐ŸŽผ My preferred music service since 2011 was shut down. Google decided to shutter Play Music, even though I and multitudes of others have enjoyed every minute of it since launch. But with GPM shutting down and "transitioning" to YouTube Music (a lackluster comparison, imo), I instead switched to a self-hosted music service called Airsonic. It doesn't have the most features or whatever, but it does serve up my own music on my own devices on my own network. So I'll never need to switch again. Pictured is my Raspberry Pi 4 that's running Airsonic.

โฒ๏ธ Whitney, Samra, and I had a Chopped-style competition to see who could make the best meal from random ingredients. (Your own son got cauliflower rice, Flamin' Hot Cheetos, Andouille sausage, and rainbow chard.) I don't mean to brag, but on taste, color, and presentation, we all tied! Pictured is my kitchen aftermath.

๐Ÿง‘โ€๐Ÿณ Last is a collage of all the foods I got to cook over Thanksgiving and Christmas. Starting with pumpkin pie, then turkey stock (delicious), homemade pizza, and finishing with grilled steaks. Not much to add here except to highlight that I feel I'm becoming more comfortable in the kitchen and in kitchen-adjacent areas.

๐Ÿ“” 2019: A Recap

(Apparently my goal is to post this later and later each year because it's midway through January and I'm only now making this.)

๐Ÿš† While I've ridden Amtrak before (mainly to visit NYC in 2017), the 2019 Birthday Trip was traveling from San Francisco to Chicago. Here is a stop in Elko, NV, at 9p; temperature: 17ยฐF. The California Zephyr is a treasure, and you should ride it.

โ€Ž๐Ÿ‘ถ Hello, Clara Mae. My niece was born this year, and in this photo she's in the "I'm a warm, cute, quiet potato" stage. As the year progresses, you'll see that change.

๐Ÿฅ In April, I experienced dull, aching, immobilizing pain in my back which left me unable and unwilling to move. At all. One quick ER visit later, and I'm given pain pills and muscle relaxers. I've got a messed up spine and will probably have dull pain for quite a while yet. It is what it is.

๐ŸŽ›๏ธ How do you describe @marcrebillet? Maybe "improv musician that makes cocaine feel like a depressant"? He came to Orlando, a friend and I went, and it was everything I hoped it would be. "Concert" #1 of the year.

๐Ÿ The annual HOBY group photo. Group B was the best, and I always feel more optimistic about the future and our youth after it. The kids are alright, and so will we be.

๐ŸŽผ @florenceandthemachine. My mom was visiting, and because I had tickets I absolutely ditched her. Florence was a special thing that I wish I could experience again and again. I now understand those fans who follow bands on tour. Concert 2/2.

๐Ÿ‘ฐ๐Ÿป My best friend is getting married! With that comes bachelor(ette) parties, and we had a special one with @samrawiththecamera, @whitneykni, and myself. Between aquariums and bison restaurants and parks and Jackbox games, this was a great weekend.

๐Ÿ‘” Me, finalizing a work demo at 3:51am in Louisville, KY. Here I am working (and stressing) to get everything done. (Demo was a massive success, btw.)

๐Ÿ’ก The year is over, and you don't need to look any further than where Clara Mae is now: guiding people where she wants to go and having an unhealthy interest in hallway lights. CM, I can't wait to see everything that you do.

๐Ÿ“” 2018: A Recap

๐Ÿก Re-visited London and the UK and brought Mom along with me. We've decided to go along on regular (and sometimes out-of-the-country) trips together for the next few years. Here we are looking out at the beautiful garden of our B&B in Arnos Grove, London. Tell Jasmine that Jacob sent you.

โ€Ž๐ŸŽข I still haven't received my Hogwarts letter but that hasn't stopped me and @samrawiththecamera from continuing to visit Universal Orlando. Whether we're helping Dudley Do-Right capture the Bad Guyโ„ข or trying not to vomit after visiting Gringott's, it's always great to see her again.

๐Ÿ‘๏ธ The great Group I from @mississippihoby. This is the highlight of my summer every single year. Not pictured is @whitneykni who puts up with my nonsense every single year and provides a therapy session that always occurs unknowingly across the weekend. In any case: Kaiser; Sweet; Hoagie; Sushi; Tootise; Cinnamon.

๐ŸŒ† Got to visit Chicago after snagging a cheap flight. Had a great time watching Second City, going on a food tour, visiting their great park and zoo, and also having my return flight cancelled. Well... 3/4 of those things I enjoyed.

๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ฆ๐Ÿ‘ฆ Got to watch those good, good boys live. Was everything that I hoped for and more. It's like I told my friends as I arrived:

I showed up to the parking garage maybe 15 minutes before the show. And there was a line of 40 other cars waiting to get in. I've never seen that kind of line that late for a show before. And I was just thinking, Wow this is extremely on brand for us.

๐ŸŒƒ Another Welcome to Night Vale live show. My last live show of WtNV was in 2015 and in St. Augustine, FL. This time, I dragged @samrawiththecamera and her boo to listen to the happenings of a sleepy desert town. We visited all over Atlanta, and it only made me want to 1) visit Atlanta again, 2) watch more WtNV live shows, and (last but never not least) 3) visit Samra again. If The Dream Team could live in the same town for once, watch out world.

โ€Ž๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿณ Okay this is a weird one. But I made butter and am very proud of that. I bought a Southern cookbook in Atlanta (at the lovely Charis Books and More bookstore), and it included a butter recipe. So I obviously had to buy a better food processor and make some. Spoiler: it's good but not worth it.

๐ŸŒ‰ This year's "artistic" submission. Just an after-sunset photo of the entrance to the bridge across I-4 in Seminole County, Florida. "We go forward."

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘ง A photo of my sister and brother-in-law during Thanksgiving, while he cuts the cranberry sauce into a cross (???). Why does he do this? I have no idea. Maybe my soon-to-be-born niece (!!!) will have better luck understanding him.

๐Ÿ“” 2017: A Recap

โš“Visited Boston and walked all over the city. First time I tried to one-bag travel, first time staying in a hostel, first time tried budget travel in general. Totally worth it. (Boston Harbor)

โ€Ž๐ŸฒNever got my Hogwarts letter, but I did make it to Hogsmeade, fly with dragons, and threw back delicious butterbeer. @samrawiththecamera by my side the whole time. #TomFeltonInACowboyHat

๐ŸฟMad food scientist @altonbrown playing guitar and singing while surrounded by popcorn. Y'know. As you do.

๐ŸŒถ๏ธ๏ธHad the privilege of being a group leader for @mississippihoby again this year. Group J never looked so good.

๐Ÿ˜ŠA smiling rock. Honestly, could have used more smiling rocks this year, I think.

โ˜€๏ธThe Great American Solar Eclipse. Managed to get totality in the great city of Independence, MO. Wow. Just wow. I'm already planning for 2024.

โ€Ž๐Ÿ—ฝWent to New York for a business trip and managed to find time to get to NYC for a few hours. Here's Milton's, a jazz bar in Harlem.

๐Ÿ’’One of my best friends in the whole wide world married her best friend in the whole wide world. And if that's not amazing, then I don't know what else you want. @whitneykni

๐ŸŽ„Wrapped up the year with family and continuing our Christmas pizza tradition. Photobomb by my sister.