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.
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 at foul line, ER JV Lady Bombers
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!
Christine and me at Ringing Mansion
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.
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.
~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!