In 2016, the FDA once again announced that eating raw cookie dough will kill us all. Somehow I survived, and celebrated by cutting off Beardie, the beard I grew throughout the entirety of 2015. Everyone rejoiced.
On January 1, 2016, our cruise ship docked in Ensenada, Mexico on our way back from Hawaii. Our vacation began in California where we watched Star Wars: A Force Awakens in Hollywood, and ended 2 1/2 weeks later. As of that trip, Susan and I have now been to all fifty states.
Last year we also took road trips to Broken Bow, Oklahoma, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where we visited the Titanic Museum, rode go-karts, and visited a llama farm outside Knoxville. In July we rented an RV and spent a week in and around Santa Fe, New Mexico. The highlight of that trip was visiting Meow Wolf. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
In 2016 Mason turned 15, Morgan turned 11, Susan and I turned 43, and the two of us celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary. Mason competed in a national Rubik’s Cube competition and came in under the 30 second mark, and Morgan began playing the trombone for band. Mason got his motorcycle’s license, and broke his collarbone (unrelated to the motorcycle) on Morgan’s birthday.
Last year I completed twelve hours of graduate school: Writing the Novel, Readings in Mass Communications, Tutorial in Writing, and Creative Nonfiction. I made headway on several books that I continue to work on, and spent a lot of time writing, editing, and submitting essays and short fiction to various magazines and websites. I lost a semi-regular writing gig when Video Game Trader magazine closed. I had one article published in Replay FX Retro Insider, sold another to the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and amassed a whole bunch of rejection slips in between the two. I’m hoping the two articles I sold are a sign of things to come in 2017.
School had a significant impact on my life. Over the past year, the scope of RobOHara.com changed quite a bit. I began posting fewer short updates on the blog (those moved to Facebook and Twitter) and shifted my focus to longer articles. When I couldn’t think of anything to write, I posted Star Wednesday entries about my collection. My school workload dug into my podcasting time, which saw a significant decrease in the fall. If it hadn’t been for my Patreon supporters, I might have hung my microphone up permanently. I’m in the process of creating a separate blog for my books and writing projects. Look for that in the next couple of weeks.
My only work trip this year was to meet with coworkers in Washington DC. Unfortunately for them, every time I meet with managers in DC I walk away with multiple job offers. (Eventually, they’ll learn to stop sending me out there!) In October, I accepted a new position and moved to the Client Planning and Design team, where I’ve been happy as a clam ever since. I don’t see any position changes (or trips to DC) in my immediate future.
I had a lot of fun with technology in 2016. I upgraded my workstation to a ThinkServer after in imploded, and replaced the keyboard on my laptop after I accidentally spilled a glass of lemonade into it. I bought two more Raspberry Pi computers; I loaded RetroPie on one and gave the other to Mason. I built a dedicated DOS machine for playing old PC games, and set up a dedicated area for my MiST FPGA computer. I didn’t have much luck finding retro games in thrift stores or antique malls this year, but I did find a used Nintendo Wii for $20 which I modded and set up as a spare game system for the kids. I purchased a WiFi modem for my Commodore 64 and a new Ultimate 1541 II+, meaning my Commodore 64 now has two separate IP addresses. Who could have imagined?
From a pop culture standpoint, 2016 was mostly awful. A few of the people who passed away this year included Kenny “R2-D2” Baker, Prince, Lemmy, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Muhammad Ali, Fidel Castro, John Glenn, Nancy Reagan, Janet Reno, Arnold Palmer, Alan Thicke, Florence Henderson, Garry Shandling, Gene Wilder, Patty Duke, Harper Lee, Abe Vigoda, Garry Marshall, Ron Glass, Doris Roberts, Merle Haggard, Craig Sager, Henry Heimlch, Alan Richman, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. In the time it took me to write this post, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds passed away. Oklahoma City lost Kevin Durant, and the country elected Donald Trump.
According to my Media Page, I watched 83 movies, watched 10 seasons of television, and read 10 books. The oldest movies I watched were Night Nurse (1931), A Day at the Races (1937), and Gone with the Wind (1939). In 2016 I experienced Twin Peaks for the first time, and made it through several seasons of Barney Miller and The Love Boat. New shows I watched were Stranger Things and Westworld. Of the 10 books I read, six were memoirs by musicians (Marilyn Manson, Sean Yseult, Rex Brown, Joe Jackson, Sebastian Bach, and Scott Ian). I want to, and will, read more books next year. Also next year, I plan to write a bit more about the media I consume — a sentence or two, and where/how I consumed it. In the past I’ve deleted my previous lists, but I think I might just start adding to them.
In December of 2015 we got Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and one year later in December of 2016 we got rogue One: A Star Wars Story. What a good way to begin and end the year.
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I visited Arkadia Retrocade and had a great visit with both old and new friends. Reading, writing, playing games, taking vacations, and visiting with old and new friends — my plans for 2017 won’t be changing a whole lot.
Happy 2017 to you all!