2016 Summary

At the end of last year, I promised that 2016 was going to be life-changing. As I sit here and type this year's journal entry in my apartment, I can say without a doubt that 2016 truly was.

Last year, I wrote:
2015 began and continued the same way 2014 ended, i.e. depressingly. This November and December, though, has brought me a lot of mental clarity that I was severely lacking for over a year and a half. I suppose, other than studying for various professional certifications throughout the year, being depressed was starting to become a second hobby. Talking to friends helped tremendously.
At the end of 2016, I get to say that I now know what recovering from depression feels like. My desire to seek logic in the illogical combined with my innate sentimental and obsessive nature hasn't served me well.

This year, I paid off my car loan in full on Jan 2, 2016, way ahead of schedule. I officially got my PE license on Jan 11, 2016, although I did not pursue my CxA like I had hoped. Earlier this year, I told my boss I was unhappy and planned to quit (though my feelings on the matter and my general irritability have since mellowed somewhat). I negotiated a 16% pay raise this summer. I stamped and signed my first engineering project just a few weeks ago. I've developed a decent working reputation with my suppliers and clients. Enough that one of the guys took me out to a Ravens game earlier this month, my first NFL game: Dolphins @ Ravens, which ended with yet another ridiculous Baltimore home game victory of 38-6. (See Orioles games from last year.)

I found myself getting back into woodworking and painting, and built myself a watch box out of laser cut birch plywood. Some assembly required. I bought myself a Kindle paperwhite and found myself reading again. I bought into the "smart home" idea, started getting back in to coding, and spent way more money on gadgets and devices than I'm willing to admit, especially for my tiny apartment. I went to a taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers in DC with a new friend back in October. I saw Lindsey Sterling perform in DAR Constitution Hall DC with old friends. I learned how to bleed and flush brake fluid with help from Taylor and Graham.

There were just a few vacations this year, but I did find time for relatively random excursions here and there: I went on a sponsored, week long engineering seminar near Atlanta during the last week of March, where I got way outside my comfort zone and learned to socialize and network with so many awesome people. I saw the "bean" in Chicago with the bros (and Myra) early May. I drove down to Richmond to see Blue Man Group with a friend late May. I went on a Boston-Portland (ME) trip with my sister in August. (No new airlines in 2016, but I get to add ORD and BOS to the list of airports I've visited!) I went home to Brooklyn five times this year, which is one more than last year. So I guess that's an improvement. And in case anyone's keeping track, I've visited Taylor in York
threefour times in 2016, including once for New Year's weekend.

I'm on track to round out 2016 with about 22,300 miles this year, for a total of about 66,600 miles on the three-year old SPC3SHP.

Last year, I said that I should meet some people and get a life. After some self-discovery and coming to terms with who I am, I think this year has finally set me on the right track. Given all that's been terrifying in politics, the news, and the real world this year, I find myself cherishing this opportunity for self-reflection and taking advantage of the post-election months by going on figurative long walks in the woods. I mean, it'd be nice to maybe find a new passion that I can commit to—something, for once, that's not related to my employment or professional career.

P.S. Against the sound advice of a friend and my better [objective] judgement, I was selfish and decided to "re-pursue" a relationship, just to have my heart broken again. I suppose it's true—nothing teaches life lessons quite like personal experience. Still though, I'm glad I did. No regrets.

Hypocrisy

This is how I see the next four years roll out​—with less obstructionism in Congress, with significant backtracks of Trump campaign promises, and with extreme Republican hypocrisy, for better or worse.

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Obama: We just went through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. We need to help our kickstart our recovering economy by putting Americans to work with shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Let's do this!

Republicans: We need to reign in the national debt starting right this second. No new taxes! No!

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Trump: Infrastructure, folks... we're like a third world country!

Republicans: Yes, it's about time! Reinvesting in America and American workers is exactly what we need now to save American jobs and recover.

Smell of Taiwan

Here in the East Coast, I am reminded occasionally of the nostalgic smell of Taiwan. I have only recently realized it's actually just a weird combination of the following:

5% Taiwanese People
15% Nature/Humidity/Dew
10% Taiwanese Street Food
25% Engine Exhaust
20% Cigarette Smoke
25% Sewage