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.
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 !
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 !
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).
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 !
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
- 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)
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.
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…
- The Introvert Entrepreneur: Amplify Your Strengths and Create Success on Your Own Terms
- Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE
- Snowden: Official Motion Picture Edition
- The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life
- Bryan Cranston : A Life in Parts
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.