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Merry New Year – yay 2015 !

After a big night with a back-yard-party at our house, the kids are playing video games, and the wife is reading a book – so I figured I’d do a look back on 2014.

I did a similar blogpost last Jan 1st – I just re-read that to see what I’d done in 2013, and the goals for 2014.

Like before, it’s good to view my life in three separate areas – usually with a lot of overlap – friends & activities and so forth.

WORK

I had some big plans and goals for my career path for 2014, with the extension into an “architect” role.  I was fairly excited to be involved in a massive SharePoint upgrade, which I’d been warned would be a trial-by-fire.

Well, I ended up with 1st and 2nd degree burns (metaphorically), and nearly drowned in the lava – and it was fvcking miserable, in retrospect.  

I handled it badly, and got out of my depth quickly – and it was a real struggle.   We re-structured the team, and I basically “quit” the architect role, feeling beaten, with a “fail” level state-of-mind – and almost a little embarrassed, to boot.   This was a 3-4 week period, and I lost my mind a few times.

But – the project still needed some technical depth (me), and we slogged on.  It ended up being the toughest project I’ve done in close to TEN years – in all honesty. 

Since I’d worked for the “Connex FMP upgrade”, I haven’t had such a horrible time at work.

It’s hard to work out how / why – through July, August, September and October, there was a massive effort from lots of very talented people (three MCM’s !) – and we were doing 60-70 hour weeks.   And it wasn’t just ME who was suffering it.

It was one of those I’m glad it didn’t kill me kinda projects – good riddance !

Other work during the year kinda blurred into the background – I don’t even remember what I worked on, back before April/May.

I’ve picked myself up off the floor recently – and ready to face some new challenges in 2015 – hopefully lots more technical in nature, than people/project challenges.

As for the wider OBS story, we moved offices into an amazing new floor overlooking Collins St.  This has meant more integration with Empired (parent company) – and another company joined as well – Intergen.  

I was VERY excited by this news, and I think it gave me a ‘boost’ after the tough winter months.   There are some changes ahead, with the new company structure, which will bring some opportunity – yet to be seen which/what – but I’m in a good place.

We had a bunch of people leave OBS through the year, but hasn’t detracted from my friendships with folk (Hi Ben !) – and my role/team is still very strong.

“Work Related” stuff such as user group + community was great in 2014 – with the opportunity to present TWO sessions at the SharePoint Conference in Australia (Sydney) and New Zealand (Auckland).

One topic was a co-present with Elaine, about YAMMER – which was some cool technical JavaScript bits & pieces – as well as THE FUTURE OF FORMS – one of my pet favourite topics (forms/workflow).

The session in Sydney was amazing, with standing room only – and people sitting on the floor – was over 120 ppl – the biggest audience I’ve ever presented to – and I spoke for an hour – and all demo’s went seamlessly.   A great moment in 2014.

New Zealand was amazing, with a very-different-vibe to the crowd and attendees – and had an awesome closing night with a bunch of technical folk from around the globe – with the now memorable “council of dudes” (you had to be there – LOL !)

And, I took a few days after the conference to go Mountain Biking !   (more in a sec)

More recently, and closer to home, we’re changing + merging the user groups to be the Melbourne Office 365 User Group – an evolution from the Melbourne SharePoint User Group.   And will be “Office 365 Saturday” moving ahead.

For 2015, get cracking with more Office365, and Azure project work.   Align with the Intergen folk, and get involved with R&D, product development and assisting the new “CNO” platform via Andy.

Learn some new topics to present more sessions at O365Sat, and user group – and do some more blogging & tinkering.

Enjoy the ride with OBS / Empired, as more changes take hold.

FAMILY

My quote from end of 2013 was >

I’m constantly amazed with how lucky I am, with three amazing young lads, and a darling wife – I have such a great family – and really love the ‘home’ we’ve built together.

I think this year, I only have to add that “I’m so lucky that it’s continuing”…!

We really do have such a great time together, and I’m so proud of my three sons, and the lives they’re building with friends, activities, interests and likes / dislikes.

Cameron turned 9 in February, and had a MineCraft party.  I heard someone refer to it as MineCrack – only that’s it more addictive.   He just loves it, and it provides so much creativity, and experimentation.   He’s progressed into the PC world of MineCraft, adding mods and expansion packs – he just loves it.

At school, Cam has been loving Maths, which fills me with great joy – and he has some great friends – Jett & Matt for a start – and I’ve become great friends with Matt’s Dad (Luke).   We’re now coaching the kids basketball team.

Cameron had his first season of basketball – and they won their grand final !   He’s now in his second season, and some of the older + more experienced kids have gone up a grade, so Cam has had to step up – and he’s doing so – so awesome to watch.

We had a fun day for “May The 4th” (Star Wars Day) when I took him to see StarWars, Empire and Jedi at the Village Cinema – lots of people were dressed up for the day – and I got force-choked by Darth Vader – LOL !

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Liam has been a delight through out 2014, with his (mostly) positive and joyous attitude towards things – I lost count of the number of times I heard “This is the best day ever”…!   

He turned 7 in October – and had a party with two buddies at the Jump Factory.  

He’s been great in school, as a Prep/Grade1 composite – and being one of the older kids – he looks out for the others, and helps the teacher and even had a student-of-the-week for his help in the Computer Lab.  

We had a great father/son night at school, during the week of Father’s Day.

Apart from MineCraft (as well !), Liam has his Karate once a week, with a few gradings during 2014, and new belt colours.   He even got a end-of-year award as one of the “most spirited” in the class – a great reward, for a great attitude.

He played AusKick during the year too – but wasn’t so keen/interested – and has almost forgotten all about it – he’s not really interested.

Charlie turned 5 in 2014, and has totally pwned his kinder group – with some great friends, and Donna helping to run the kinder committee. 

His confidence and approach to things is just “go in head first” – and I can’t wait to see how he goes at school.   He’s going to be amazing – and has his special girlfriend Ashee along for the ride.

They have been great for each other – writing notes & drawings, and walking along from school pickup chattering away about something-or-other.  

Charlie has gotten more and more interested in writing words and sentences, and often gotten straight outta bed, and to the table to start drawing.

He did AusKick as well in 2014, but only just learning to kick / handpass – we’ll see if he wants to do it in 2015 – I wouldn’t be surprised if he skipped it.  

Charlie’s other activity was swimming – he’s gotten great at it – and very confident jumping in+out whenever we go swimming at a friends place.

Donna has – again – been the family manager with the most-est.   She sorts out all the kids meals & washing and such – and still has time for the kindergarten committee, and lots of time for herself to read, or watch her TV shows.  

I’ve often found her dozed off in bed, with the remote in hand – just exhausted !

We had a great wedding anniversary – with a “padlock” on the bridge over the river, and then Yum Cha – and out to see Les Miserables.

Like last year – we struggled to get some time for “us” – but a busy household takes priority – and we both have the view that “us” actually means the FIVE of us – more so than the TWO of us.

We had a few awesome family get-aways through out the year – starting with an Anzac Day camping trip to Bellarine Big4 – with Sean+Ally (Lowe’s) – with kids charging about aaaall day – and then sleeping very well – with the adults playing Yahtzee + drinking home made Baileys.

We went away again in June (Queen’s Birthday) to my parents holiday place in Avoca – but realised that two nights wasn’t enough – with only ONE day there, other than travel up/back.

So, we went for 8 days in September school holidays – which was one of our family highlights for the year.   We played board games, went for walks together, and we built a bike track (!) into the side of the hill.   Nicknamed as the ‘Geronimo Swing Dipper’, the kids had a great time on their bikes.

Charlie got a new bike just before we went away ($40 on Gumtree !), and was so fast and confident.  

We had some friends come to stay for Grand Final day – with a winery stop off, and lookout – and then and a nice Sunday morning ride with the kids.   Another favourite memory for 2014.

We took the kids to the footy a few times in 2014 – completely decked out in Richmond Tigers gear – including a day out to the Richmond “family day”.

Other fun times with the kids has been to take them to the park with the dog, to ride bikes, or (my other passion) flying my kite.   One time, Cameron and I launched the kite, and lay on the ground watching it in the blue sky above – for 40 minutes.   I have my stunt kite too – with dual lines – great to carve it across a windy sky.

And, only recently, completed the creation of a concrete slab in the backyard, for a homemade basketball court – which is getting lots of use.   We sold the cubby house, and have a new chapter of back-yard fun in store.

We also got some new carpet in the back room at our house (June).

For 2015, continue to support Donna in all our family activities, especially as she starts to get back to work again, after 10 years.

Help the kids with school work – reading, maths, writing – and prepare to be blown away by Charlie’s first year at school – so proud !

Have fun with the incredible family I’ve created – and enjoy #DadLife.

PERSONAL

You’d think that I wouldn’t have much time for myself, after a crazy work schedule, and all the activities with family, but this year was a big fantastic year for “self”.

My cycling obsession was still fair high-on-the-agenda, but suffered a little through the winter months, with project work killing motivation and energies.

Earlier in the year, I did some of the “7 peaks challenge” and cycled up Lake Mountain with Nate – and then a few weeks later – cycled up Mt Buller, and Falls Creek (in the same day) – and then Mt.Buffalo, the next day !      (Three peaks in two days)

Having never done an ‘alpine’ climb, I ended up doing FOUR in a month.

The mountain biking race series was great in 2014, after a bikefit at the end of 2013, I was in a better place physically, and enjoying the atmosphere and people.

I rode 120km at the You Yangs race – in six hours – a new record for me (distance). 

I skipped a few races due to family activities or travel – but raced at Officer (wet/muddy), Castlemaine (tyre troubles) – and then Barjarg (incredibly tough !).

After only doing four events, I actually finished better than last season – was 9th out of 72 riders for the season – top ten !!

My cycling ended up as 2,900km for the year – less than previous years – but a healthy 40,000m of climbing – maybe I’ll aim for 50,000m in 2015.  

I also had fun with the LDTR (Lysterfield) club race series – helping with volunteering one night, with Cameron along to assist – and the next week – racing the laps with a pink afro wig on my helmet !    Many LOL’s, and great fun with new friends.

(And I grew a “MO” in November – lots of good+bad comments – Donna was very VERY happy when I finally shaved it off !)

I’ve been doing YOGA once a week (at the local gym), which is helping me greatly, and dropping a few KG’s – with thoughts to do some great races in 2015.

I got to do some Mountain Biking in New Zealand as well – with a day in Auckland, and then two days in Rotorua, riding with a good buddy from Brisbane (Mark). 

Rotorua had some of the best trails I’ve ever ridden – anywhere – and a really enjoyable trip.   I just wish we could have stayed longer !

Another BIG biking event was my two-day bike camping on the GoldFields.   I’d researched off/on for months – and picked the Melbourne Cup weekend to take off.   It was ambitious, and a long way out of my comfort zone – but an amazing trip.

Another FIRST for the year was my decision to get a tattoo – as part of my celebrations-for-self as I turned double-21 (yes – I’m 42 now !)

My tattoo was a combined logo from some Nine Inch Nails songs – without being a band “logo” as such – it has meaning to myself, which is the main reason, right ?

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There’s a DOT in the middle (which is ME), with FOUR WALLS closing in around me (sometimes) – but there’s always a way out in the corner – and then, there are four spikes spinning & protecting me around the outside – Donna, Cameron, Liam and Charlie.   Something like that anyways !

MUSIC during 2014 was great, with a few awesome concerts, and lots & lots of Spotify.   The kids even have a playlist each, and so they don’t even know about MP3’s, let alone CD’s, or vinyl, or cassettes – it’s all ‘streaming’ now-a-days.

SoundWave was brilliant, with a side wave show of BARONESS, GOJIRA and MASTODON.   And a late ticket to see BIFFY CLYRO – always impressive.

On the day of SoundWave, I had a few 10am bourbons and then got straight into some Swedish death metal with AMON AMARTH.   

I saw many MANY bands – some for a few songs – and some FULL sets.    FILTER were great – and GOJIRA (again).

Here’s the bands I saw in parts or entirety – amazing list !

The next show I went to was NINE INCH NAILS – along with QOTSA.   I can still see/hear it in my head – what an incredible show – I was ecstatic + delighted.

Not many other shows through the year – not that I can recall.    SEPULTURA was the next show – brilliant live set – and an awesome fun evening with good friends.

I also got to see DREAM THEATER – as my friend Mark was unwell, and couldn’t travel to see the show.   Not my cup-of-tea – but a musical tour-de-force – and great to see / hear it.

I have tickets for SOUNDWAVE 2015 – which is a two-day show !    And, the new MACHINEHEAD has grabbed me by both ears, and I can’t wait till they tour Oz.

On the ‘quiet’ front, I’ve been reading lots of great books – and even joined the Melbourne Library, as it’s directly behind the new OBS office.

I’ve completed two books by BEAR GRYLLS (Everest + Arctic Ocean), and a book about a guy who cycled from Alaska to Argentina.

I emailed him (Dominic) to say hello + thanks, and that I was inspired to do a bikecamping ride – and he replied an hour later with a long letter – was great to get a response !

After that, it was the STEVE JOBS biography, and also another book by SCOTT WIELAND – and now reading one about ICE-T.

I’m finding that my favourite style these days is biographies, or real-life adventures – no fiction for a long time – the last one was a ‘Jason Bourne’ book.

In other down time, I’ve played a bit of XBox – once the kids are in bed !

I’ve finished the newer Tomb Raider game (100% !!), and have begun a few games that are “in progress” – Wolfenstein, Bioshock Infinite, and now playing CallOfDuty:AdvancedWarfare (was a Christmas present).

For 2015, make sure to get out riding regularly, and drop more KG’s before the next race series.   Perhaps do the Alice Springs race in July – and do some Mt.Buller MTB’ing – and a few Alpine Climbs.

Play some XBox, read some books, fly a kite, and go kayaking !    (new Christmas present).

Look at finances, and see if we can manage to stretch to get a new car – we need a 7-seater – been looking at a Kia Sorento – very nice car !

That’s it for a 2014 wrap-up – pretty good ‘score’ in most departments – I’m glad I don’t have any massive ‘bad’ things that make me want to slam-the-door-on-2014 – some lessons and learning in my career – I got schooled, I guess is all.

I’m in a great place in life – and enjoying it – hope it continues “the same” !

Merry New Year to you !    

🙂

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One Response

  1. […] End of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.   […]

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