2017 in review
As best as I can remember, 2017 was the first year I publicly set goals for myself. I posted a couple of status reports along the way, and now that the year is almost finished, I figured it appropriate to wrap things up and see how I did.
Run my first 5K
As noted in September, I did this! And by the end of the year, I'd run (run/walked) two more. As a general rule, I've been running three times a week, even as the weather has turned wintry. Of all the things I've done in the past, oh, ten years or so, this is what I'm most proud of.
I'm now able to run/walk at least five miles at a time, at least once per week. If you'd told me a year ago I'd be doing this, I wouldn't have believed you.
Speak at a technical conference
I just did this the once, in May. But I fully realize, now, the importance of doing this sort of thing on a regular basis. I'm happy that I was able to repurpose this talk at least three times–twice at local meetups, and once at an internal engineering event at my employer, O'Reilly Media.
And while I didn't leverage this early success into more big public talks in 2017, I submitted a new proposal for RailsConf 2018 the other day. I know it's a long shot, but I'm hoping to at least get some good feedback so I can present at at least one larger-scale event in the coming year. Wish me luck!
Rebuild passive income streams
I thought that a thorough upgrade to my Rails testing book would introduce it to a new audience, and help generate new revenue. I also felt confident that I could come up with a new idea or two that I could work on outside of my regular job to make the type of revenue I was earning back in the book's heyday.
I was wrong. Book sales have been disappointing, to say the least. And my ideas for new projects haven't panned out as I'd hoped. I won't lie; both of these factors are depressing. And I'm not sure how to address them in the coming year. In the meantime, I've started selling the book on Amazon, and am exploring print options.
Other items of note
I stepped down from running a local meetup group. I haven't talked about this publicly, but I resigned as organizer of Lawrence Coders in August, and the group pretty much ceased to be when nobody stepped in to formally pick it up. I had a lot of reasons for stepping down, none of which were financial. I'm disappointed that nobody took over, but that's how it goes. Lawrence Coders served an important purpose, and had a good run. In return, though, I've been able to give more to the Kansas City Ruby User Group, and have enjoyed that a great deal.
I got back into amateur woodworking, via Steve Ramsey's Weekend Woodworker online course. If you're interested in the craft, I highly recommend checking out Steve's six-week course. I'm still wrapping up the requirements as I write this, but it's done a lot toward helping me feel more comfortable with skills I already had, and understand things I can do with existing tools. I can't tell you how exiting it is to see, like, a beautiful, midcentury chair, and realize that I could totally build one of those myself.
I got pretty fucking good, if I may say so, at cooking on a grill and with a charcoal smoker. I wasn't a slouch before, but I leveled up this year. I owe most of it to reading Aaron Franklin's book (and watching his PBS series) on outdoor cooking. Not only did I cook for two more times than I've counted, but I cooked for large parties multiple times. I plan to do this more, and if you live somewhere I hope to be living this time next year, I hope you're listening. Because this is how I figure I'll have to make friends in a new place. In the meantime, follow my Instagram for highlights.