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Goodbye to 2016

It’s the last day of the year – has been an amazing year actually.  

There has been a bunch of social media stuff saying “worst year ever”. 

Yes – it’s been sad to say goodbye to so many celebrities – notably, David Bowie, Prince, George Micheal and Carrie Fisher.   And – yes, the year of BREXIT and TRUMP – it will be curious to see what changes happen in 2017.

For me, personally, 2016 has been a BIG year – starting out as my own sole operator, initially as a contractor (and sub-contractor), and then more freelance work.

I’ve managed a full year solo – and I’m doing rather well, IMHO.

Anyways – it’s time for a 12-month wrap-up and look back at the year that was.

I’ve been doing this for a while now – check out the same wrap-ups for 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.

It’s hard to know where to begin, with a BIG year of activity.  

I ended up looking at the calendar, and photos on FaceBook and Instagram.    It’s a lot of ‘family’ and ‘bikes’ and ‘music’ – that’s life these days !

Family

As our boys grow in age, we can do more and more amazing activities with them – as well as a variety of school related fun (and friends) – as well as sport – basketball and karate.

Donna is (as always), the lynchpin in the household – we couldn’t do it without her.

Here’s a quick memory list of some fun we’ve had through the year :

  • Took the family for some kayakking fun at Lysterfield Lake
  • Liam won a pancake parlour voucher – nice to go with him for a ‘dessert’ treat
  • Invited to a 40th party in Wodonga, took the whole family for an overnight road trip (Anthony Cheesman’s house)
  • Donna completed her course in Education Support – lots of study and reading/writing – and then placement, graduation, and starting work soon (early 2017)
  • Had a camping trip to Inverloch with the Lowes – Big4 caravan park, with swimming pool, and close to the beach
  • Another voucher, had me out on roller skates with Charlie
  • Went to a school information night about China, for Cameron (!) – but ended up that it clashed with our family holiday – will be other opportunities in high school
  • Easter time fun, took the boys to a tree top maze in Red Hill
  • Had fun with ex-OBS people at Andy’s 40th
  • Many (MANY) games nights with Thompson’s + Stella’s
  • Friends night out to a Trivia night, in Ringwood (Church fund-raiser)
  • Fancy-Schmancy-Dressy-Uppy dinner in Brighton
  • Great evening with the ‘mums group’ friends at Nicky’s 40th
  • Chris & Flip’s boy Aiden had his Christening – and recently 1st birthday
  • Family fun with a casino night at Martin’s 40th
  • Great house party to celebrate Sarah’s 18th – eldest daughter of my buddy I’ve known since high school – we were 11 when we met !
  • Did a high school tour at Highvale – Cameron will be in high school in 2018
  • Coached Liam’s basketball team – 2nd season – and then handed the reins to another Dad – helping, at arm’s length (assistant only)
  • “Tried” to complete the survey on Census night – along with all other Australians – as an IT person, I was embarrassed and angry at such a stuff-up
  • We got a new car !    Goodbye to Holden Commodore after 11 years, and a 3-yo Kia Sorrento – Donna is very happy, and sometimes lets ME drive !
  • BIG family holiday to Queensland – 4 days in Surfers, and went to Theme Parks – MovieWorld, SeaWorld, Wet-N-Wild, and then four days in Noosa, with some friend visits to Mark, and Sarah.   And – I managed to go MTB’ing in Noosa, dodged a magpie – and – grew a beard !
  • Home in time for Grand Final day at Nathan & Tracy’s – great win for the Bulldogs !
  • Bought ourselves a Table Tennis Table for Christmas – has been getting lots of use on the back patio – summer arvo’s + evenings
  • New Star Wars movie !    Rogue One – went to see it in Gold Class, and the again with the whole family – greeaat movie…
  • Cameron had a basketball Grand Final – and won !

The year was not without some sadness – we said goodbye to my sister Kath’s cancer (thankfully), but poor Uncle John fought it too – and lost.  

My Dad’s brother John, who he was very close to – it’s been a tough few months – and then, arranging funeral, and house auction, and all the paperwork, etc.   It’s been tough for Dad – I think Christmas was hard for him – I need to keep in touch with him to see that he’s OK.

For 2017 : enjoy the wonderful fun & games that our growing boys can bring, support Cameron through grade 6, and prepare him for high school.   Assist the household where I can, while Donna is doing more work – and needs more help at home.   Re-commence basketball coaching, and help Charlie with his first season !

Bikes

With my new business venture taking off, I had assumed (and allowed) myself to take the focus off cycling, after a massive 2015 – with 6,000km.   A lot of this was via commuting km’s – and the uncertainty of work placements would mean less consistency.    I was super bike-fit earlier in the year, but that waned off after mid-year – with winter time, and no regular work placement (bike parking/showers).

Also, I skipped a few MTB events, knowing that I was less practised – some months were less than 100km – as opposed to 100km a week…  

As a brief-run, here’s some highlights :

  • Had a split frame in my mountain bike, and needed a new rear triangle.   So, had a lot of work done – fully rebuilt suspension, and running gear – like a new MTB !
  • Went to a Specialized Demo Day at Lysterfield – Enduro, Epic + 6Fattie
  • Went to watch the National Road Race with Dad in Ballarat, was a regular event for my Uncle John, but he was too sick to go.   I’ll go again with Dad in early Jan 2017.
  • Did an ‘after work’ ride to Sky High with Dave Biggs, during summer, after realising we were both working close by
  • Stopped off in town to watch the opening section of the HeraldSun tour
  • Cameron turned 11 – and we got him a MTB !    Trek 27.5 hardtail
  • During April/May, was riding to work lots – BEST parking area ever, at Kiandra…
  • You Yangs MTB race – did 136km in 6 hours – felt great, best MTB race ever
  • The following weekend, did the Otway Classic 205km – tough conditions, and support vehicle (Dad) had to take a few riders who had DNF’ed
  • Did the Vic Enduro Series race at Lysterfield – met up with John Lazzara from High School days – now a regular riding buddy, better friends than 20 years ago
  • Watched the MTB DH – LIVE from Cairns
  • Rode MTB’s at Wombat State Forest – cold !
  • After not much riding, took a ticket for Ol’ Dirty in Marysville.   I’d needed a bike adventure, and suffered+sweated+swore, but regained a piece of joy – after not much riding.   Was a GREAT day out, in hindsight !
  • My buddy Jimmy & Christian both got new MTB’s – we have a good crew of riders, as well as Jake, Haider, Lawrence, and others – good to have a chat group using WhatsApp
  • Plans booked for a Rotorua MTB weekend’er in January – will be great to go back to NZ
  • I got a new bike – S-Works !    I’d promised myself a ‘carbon road bike’ as a present to myself, for starting my own business – and had a good deal with a friend who works for Specialized – thanks Matt !   
  • Rode the “Around The Bay” 135km from Geelong – and had baaad headwinds !    Great day with Jimmy & Dan – but hard work…
  • Melbourne Cup Day, did an MTB ride day at YouYangs
  • LDTR club ride at Plenty Gorge
  • Also, went MTB’ing at RedHill – first time riding there – short trails, but good fun
  • Has been great to ride Lysterfield on a regular basis – looking forward to more ‘crew rides’ in 2017 (Gentlemen Of Lyster Dirt – GOLD !)
  • Cameron did his first MTB race at Lysty – Friday Fun Lazy Loops
  • Santa got me a new Garmin for Xmas
  • Went for a Dandenongs ride with Bianca, Denis and Ben – after Christmas

For 2017:  I need to shape-up a little, and do MORE riding – make sure to get fit again, and ride the Otway Classic again – as well as enjoy riding in NZ.   And – there’s a Otway Odyssey in March – which will be a great camping weekend, but some hard hills and MTB trails.   And – I’d like to re-hit some of the VES 6-hr races.

I need to get outta bed earlier, do some local laps, and keep doing YOGA (had done a one-month trial in Glen Wav – and now found a better/closer group in Scoresby).

Music

Like my cycling in 2016, my exposure and attention to music has taken a back seat.   Rather than listening to music at work (a lot), I would often go a week or two without any ‘metal’ in my ears.

I still managed to get to a few gigs, and enjoy some new artists/albums.

  • No SoundWave – it was weird to NOT have a big event to prepare for, with Spotify setlists, and excitement on the day – it was a noticable omission in the calendar !
  • Went to see Fear Factory – as well as a pre-show backstage pass !    Very cool to chat to Burton and Dino – and get photos
  • Got a ticket to see COG – although my other friends missed out – doh !   I enjoyed the show on my own, and loved the support band/s.
  • Shihad – happened to be a few days after COG – I took my bro-in-law Mark as a birthday present
  • SleepMakesWaves – I went to see them in a headline show, after the support for COG
  • Baroness – one of the best shows all year – at a small venue
  • New album for Metallica, after 7 years – some good, some bad
  • Also – new album for Gojira – can’t wait to see them again

I’ve decided to NOT go see the big GUNS N ROSES show in February – I saw them back in 1993 – and keen to keep the old memory.   Also – it’s Cameron’s birthday !

For 2017 : Make sure to still enjoy some music, and metal – I’ll be getting some NURA headphones in April, which will change my listening – I’m already thinking of some bands/albums to try.   Also – WACKEN !!    I’ve already been loving the discovery of bands, and tunes – and will travel to Germany with friends, in August, for a four day camping trip – awesome !

Other personal stuff

On reflection, there’s been a heap of stuff that I’ve done – in/around the busy household schedule and work activities.   Sometimes, I dunno how I’ve managed the time – when you see a list like this :

  • Been to a HEAP of movies with Luke – we loved the Revenant, Jason Bourne, The Accountant, DeadPool, Independence Day, Captain America – and a whole stack that I can’t even remember
  • Attended the JetBack Coaches meeting – did a 2nd season of coaching for Liam’s team – but taking a break over the current summer season
  • New Lego Millenium Falcon, and Boba Fett Slave 1 – and a new display cabinet – I still need to get some new lamps for the display
  • Went to see Kevin Bloody Wilson with some buddies – an evening of severe wrongness and political incorrectness – but damn funny.  
  • Helped a few friends get a new job – with Mark from Freedom looking for a new Mortgage Broker, and I suggested Sean.   As well as George, to hire Matt Y (PAN).
  • Tried a session of Cross-Fit, but suffered for about 10 days afterwards, and realised that gym-training is beyond me (at the moment) – I’ll stick to Cycling, and Yoga for now.
  • Got some new glasses – thanks to SpecSavers, to get prescription glasses, and new prescription sunnies – and then my OLD sunnies got yellow lenses for riding.
  • Test drove some cars – Skoda Octavia VRS, and then later, VW Passat 206
  • Did a River Rafting trip with Matt Y – was a gift voucher from coaching basketball – and went on the Yarra River – great fun !

Video Games

Last Christmas, Santa got us an XBox One, and so I’ve been able to play a heap of great video games – as well as the kids playing lots of new ones.

Here’s a list of the highlights for me – and the TOP games I’ve enjoyed :

  • Rise Of The Tomb Raider – one of the main reasons I wanted to get an XBox One – amazing storyline, and graphics
  • Unravel – small indie game, platformer
  • Inside – sequel to Limbo, dark & brooding, challenging puzzles, and a big WTF ending
  • Quantum Break
  • Star Wars Battlefront
  • Doom
  • Halo Master Chief Collection – great old-school FPS fun
  • Call Of Duty Black Ops 3 – the kids have gotten into this one – as multi-player – and they’re all better than me !
  • Forza Horizon 3 – amazing car racing game – set in Australia

For 2017: I’d like to finish off a few games – including Quantum Break, and then get back to play The Last Of Us, on the PlayStation 3.   Beyond that, perhaps get the re-mastered BioShock collection – and try out Deus Ex (loaner from my buddy Mark)

Work

WOW – this has been the big stand out for 2016.   I’ve worked on my own with different projects/clients in the past, but now it’s entirely “all me”.   Including invoicing, payroll, and motiviation and feedback and so forth.

I’ve had a few moments of “holy crap” – and needed to prop myself up again – but it’s all gone fairly well.

I’ll write up a KACHIHRO blog post for 2016 – suffice to say – it’s been big, and “all good”.

For 2017 : Keep the magic alive, and don’t stress the small stuff.   Continue to delight customers, and enjoy some days to train, or attend a conference.   PauseFest and the SIY – two that I’ve earmarked for the new year.

Reading

With some train travel to/from town, I had a few books that I chugged through – some were work related, as well as biographies – which is my favourite these days.

Also – on holidays in Queensland – I took a few books – but didn’t read as much as I thought, I was tried most nights, and crashed out asleep !

If you don’t use GOOD READS, you should – here’s some links to a few of my faves through the year…

Also – I’ve finally got the ‘hang’ of using PodCasts – I’d tried a few times in the past – but never made it part of my routine.   And now, I listen in the car a LOT – and on the train to work.  

My main faves are THIS AMERICAN LIFE – and MICROSOFT CLOUD SHOW.

For 2017 : Get through a few more books – I’ve got a biography of Springsteen, as well as some other business related books.    And – the Masters Of Doom, about the creators of ID, Doom, Quake, etc.

Close out on 2016

So – there you have it.  

Was a damn GOOD year for me !     Aside from the loss of my dear Uncle John.  

And – I’m (sadly) preparing myself for some heartbreak again in 2017 – with our aging Chloe likely to find doggie heaven before long – she’s almost 14.5.    I don’t want to think anymore on that, not yet.

As for “good stuff” – I have a trip to NZ for mountain biking, and then Germany for a heavy metal festival – that’s a damn GOOD year ahead already !

It will be good to determine some funds/budgets and work out plans for a house extension – and perhaps consider a new car for ME – as a company car.

For YOU :

Hope you had a great year in 2016 – some ups and downs – that’s the way of it – but hopefully more UPS than DOWNS.

All the best for a wonderful start to 2017.  

Happy New Year – friends, family and everyone.

Smile

~wookie

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