Car, Hoops, Sunshine, and Snow

Happy New Year’s Eve! Hard to believe 2016 is all but over and 2017 is right around the corner. I’m sure there are many people happy to start a new chapter in life, and that there are many who are not ready to turn the page. For me, and probably many others as well, 2016 was a mixed bag of good and bad. Here is a look at my 2016 from a quarterly perspective.

In late December 2015, I took my car in for some regular maintenance and to diagnose an issue that had tripped the Check Engine Light (CEL). The result was an $1800 bill that set the tone early for 2016. I had to drop all unnecessary expenses (mainly races and guitar lessons) and scale back elsewhere to fund the repairs.

Down, but not out, I went to local races during this time and cheered on Christine, my girlfriend, who had started training for her first marathon, and other friends at these races.

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Resolution Run, Mendon Ponds Park, Jan 1, 2016

My cheering continued indoors, where it was much warmer, as I watched my kids play basketball for the East Rochester Lady Bombers.

sam_basketballSam at foul line, ER JV Lady Bombers

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Syd at foul line, ER Modified Lady Bombers

Christine and I returned to Florida to visit her parents and escape from wintry Rochester. This trip featured a lot of running with Christine in the middle of her training for the Pittsburgh Marathon and I had started my training for the Buffalo Half Marathon (I refused to all this trip or race to be a casualty of my car repairs!). We had a great time with her folks and the weather was spectacular!

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Christine and me at Ringing Mansion

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Pier at Venice Beach, Florida (I was playing with filters on my phone)

My fifth semester of grad school was also underway with IDT 590: Visualizations in Science and Technology. This was an elective that focused on principles of graphic design with a focus on studying and creating functional art (information graphics like those found in magazines such as National Geographic).

Despite having limited artistic skills, I always enjoyed doodling as a kid. As a technical writer with Bosch Security Systems, Inc., I was responsible for creating a lot of 2D line art for our technical publications. Eventually, the department started creating wordless installation guides and 3D technical illustrations. My interest was piqued enough to research and present a topic at Spectrum 2010, but I felt I lacked the fundamentals of graphic design. IDT 590 helped fill some of those gaps. My topic was a piece describing the effects of a concussion with the emphasis on sports injuries. The following image is a piece of vector art I created in Adobe Illustrator that came from a photograph of a high school game that I found online. I learned a lot about tracing, splicing, color effects, and blending while creating this image.

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A sample of artwork from my IDT 590 class

How could I forget “Snowmaggedon?” First winter in my new place. No more “Parking Lot Olympics” during the winter at my previous place. This driveway had only two occupants: my car and my neighbor’s car (an elderly couple). For most of the winter, shoveling this driveway was no problem. Then “Snowmaggedon” came in mid-February. I now have a snow blower.

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~11 hours of shoveling over two days…

During this time, I managed to log ~187 miles of running. For many runners, that’s nothing for a three-month span. For me, who tends to hibernate during the winter, that was pretty good!

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2016 Year in Review: October – December

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