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My Year in Review: A Look Back At 2014

People have said that the O’Haras are not happy unless they are busy. If that’s the case, our family stayed pretty happy in 2014. We did lots of things, went lots of places, and saw lots of stuff. Mason and Morgan turned thirteen and nine, while Susan and I both turned 41.

Last year we took four vacations: two long ones to California and Florida and two shorter ones to Austin, Texas and Denver, Colorado. I’m now down to about five states I haven’t visited. I ate so much good food this year. I ate shrimp and crayfish grits in New Orleans (the kids had pancakes the size of medium pizzas), my first Freebird Flying Burrito in Austin, fresh fish off Pier 39 in San Francisco, a bowl of chili at Billy Mitchell’s Rickey’s Family Restaurant, Mexican food with margaritas on a beach resort in Florida, and lots of delicious sushi right here at home. It was a good year for eating. I’ll have more about those trips with some photos below.

In the summer of 2014 I finished writing my third book, Gastric Steps. In preparation for its release in the spring of 2015 I established a Website, Facebook Page, and Twitter Account. Inspired by the book and some of our friends I began exercising, lost twenty pounds in the month of October, and kept the weight off during the holiday months. I’ll be restarting my weight loss plan on January 1st.

This year I launched my Vintage Videogame Ads project. I posted roughly 300 old ads to the collection and have another 5,000 to go. I also kept up with most of my podcasts (You Don’t Know Flack and Throwback Reviews), let one slide (Sprite Castle), started a new one (Rusted Metal), and made appearances on iGrewUpStarWars and Idle Chatter. I wrote the forward for my friend Rob Strangman’s book Memoirs of a Virtual Caveman and contributed articles to theLogBook.com’s e-zine, Retroist.com and Videogame Collector Magazine among others.

It was a busy and wonderful year. Here are some of the highlights!

JANUARY: We added Mick Rib to the family. We also visited Dealey Plaza’s Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas, Texas.

FEBRUARY: February marked the end of both kids’ basketball seasons. It was also the month I launched Vintage Videogame Ads on Facebook.

MARCH: In March of 2014 we went on a 3,638 mile road trip to Florida and back. For the first time as a family we visited Disney World, visited a dolphin rescue park, and saw the southernmost point of the United States. We also spent some time in New Orleans, visiting Mardi Gras World and the famous St. Louis Cemetery.

APRIL: In April we visited the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma. We also attended the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Fan Appreciation Night for season ticket holders. I put down a small down payment on a three-wheeled Elio car. The last week of April I left for Las Vegas to attend a Microsoft Windows 2012 Bootcamp.

MAY: After a little more than two weeks in Vegas, I returned home with my Microsoft MCSA and MCSE certifications. We also attended the local Lawnmower Races. I also learned that my friend Rogmeister passed away at the age of 61.

JUNE: After visiting Florida in March, in June we decided to hit the other coast and visit California. On this vacation we visited Disneyland, Rancho Obi-Wan, the Computer History Museum, Alcatraz, Warner Bros. Studio, the Jelly Belly Factory, and Sequoia National Park, where we got to see the world’s largest living thing, the General Sherman tree. This was my first real trip to California.

JULY: I spent half of July traveling for work. I spent one week in Washington D.C. receiving an award for the work I did on our e-mail migration, and another week in Chicago loading servers. In between those two trips, our friend Jennifer Martin got married and Susan and I were honored to serve as her wedding photographers.

AUGUST: In August I turned 41 years old and Susan and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. I bought myself a Drone. Susan rappelled down Leadership Square.

SEPTEMBER: In September we visited Austin, Texas and crammed a ton of great experiences into a three day weekend. We saw roughly one million bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge Bats, played a ton of retro arcade and pinball games at Pinballz Arcade, had a splendid time at Austin’s Museum of the Weird (where, among other things, Morgan got to pull a nail out of a guy’s nose), and swam in Barton Springs, a naturally-fed spring pool that is 68 degrees year round. We also stopped by a museum and saw one of five existing copies of a Gutenberg Bible.

OCTOBER: In October we took our fourth and final vacation of the year and drove to Denver, Colorado to visit our friends the Martins. While there we met my friend Robb Sherwin for lunch at the 1-Up Arcade, visited Buffalo Bill’s grave site, ate at Casa Bonita (probably for the last time), went on a gold mining tour, went gold panning with the Martins, and climbed a freakin’ glacier. In between that I watched 31 horror movies throughout the month and wrote reviews of them.

NOVEMBER: In November we remodeled our front living room, a space that has largely gone unused since we purchased this house three years ago. We also made a trip down to visit my Uncle Kenny and Aunt Barbara, and hosted Thanksgiving dinner.

DECEMBER: In December my friend Justin visited us from Seattle. We also hosted Christmas. The kids got some weird stuff.

2014 has been one of the most amazing years ever. I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings.

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