Best Things This Year (2015)

Speaking at Data Point Live in San Francisco
Speaking at Data Point Live in San Francisco

If 2013 was the year I shook up my life, and 2014 was the year I learned how to succeed in it, 2015 was about challenging myself not to accept the easiest trajectory. 2015 was a busy year and it threw interesting things my way. Sometimes that was difficult, even hopeless, but I will never forget you 2015.

1. Public speaking – I did so much public speaking in 2014 that I felt like I needed a break from it this year, but that certainly didn’t happen. I spoke at 6 events this year
Data Point Live, New York
Data Jawn, Philadelphia
Data Point Live, San Francisco
Games using the HTML5 canvas, Philly Javascript Devs
Thinking in Data, Data Science Philly
Directives as Components, Angular-Philly

It would be shocking to me if I did more than one or two events in 2016, but that’s what I said last year, too.

2. bengarvey’s brain – I created a twitter bot using twitter_ebooks to guess what I’m really thinking about. He tweets about every 9 hours and if you favorite his tweets, he might start bugging you. Some choice tweets:

3. Rocket Booster – I worked on a fun Jetpack Joyride clone with the kids called Rocketbooster. It’s not 100% complete, but it’s fun. It takes forever to load all the game assets, so be patient.

Rocket booster
You can play as Sasha or Owen. Collect stars to power your jetpack and get further.

I probably spent more time making the music for Rocketbooster than programming it. All the songs are available here on soundcloud.

4. Work
I’m coming up on 3 years at RJMetrics and just got promoted to Engineering Manager. I wrote cool stuff including our new Data Warehouse Manager, a huge improvement to dashboard sharing, and some crazy tricks to get data out of Amazon Redshift. I also spent an extended tour of duty leading our support team to crush the support queue.

The blue line is our net support queue
The blue line is our net support queue

5. Work Part 2
I won the RJMetrics chili cook off thanks to the now “award winning” Ben’s Awesome Chipotle Chili.

6. Odyssey of the Mind
I’m coaching Sasha’s Odyssey of the Mind team this year! We just started practicing and it’s been wild.

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7. Trello
I’ve been using Trello for years, but now I’m using it for everything including a shared grocery list.

8. The Bentindo Entertainment System
I gave Jake a raspberry pi powered game system for Christmas this year I white-labeled as the Bentindo. This was the image on the back of the box.

Back of the Bentindo box
Back of the Bentindo box

9. Books I Read
REAMDE by Neal Stephensen
Principles of Product Development Flow by Donald Reinertsen
The Call of Cthulu by HP Lovecraft
Ender’s Game by Orsen Scott Card
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo
What If? by Randall Munroe
The Innovators by Walter Iassacson
Welcome to the Monkey House by Kurt Vonnegut
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Axe Cop Vol.1 by Malachi Nicole
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

10. Moves / TV
Interstellar
Master of None
Cosmos
Black Mirror

11. Wine
The Formula Shiraz by Small Gully Wines

The Formula
Incredible

12. Music
Still listening to The Blow’s Paper Television weekly. Ok daily.
My favorite album released this year is Ratatat’s Magnifique

Other albums I enjoyed (not necessarily new)
Bleached’s Ride Your Heart
Bass Drum of Death’s GB City
Lana Del Ray’s Ultraviolence (but wow is it uncomfortable)
Bully’s Feels Like

Playlist of songs I’m super into right now

Especially this one

Previous years
2014
2013
2012
2011

Running Mix for Tomorrow’s Race

Chuck Berry – Maybellene
The Blow – Eat Your Heart Up
Ween – It’s Gonna Be A Long Night
The National – Abel
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Upon This Tidal Wave Of Young Blood
The Bloodhound Gang – Ralph Wiggum
Beck – Mattress
Neutral Milk Hotel – Holland, 1945
White Stripes – Blue Orchid
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Date With The Night
Pixies – Isla De Encanta

Local Music Playlist

I’ve been meaning to do this forever and it’s been sitting my drafts bin for month. ?Here’s a list of some great local singer-songwriters and bands who I’ve played with over the years.

Bevin Caulfield – Close
Catchy, simple, but the song’s real draw are the campy innuendos. ? Bevin’s unique singing style keeps it interesting and it’s no wonder she gets pestered to play this song every time she walks into Studio Luloo.

yearlongday – simple
Think of Belle and Sebastian as a rough acoustic duo.? yearlongday is not the typical group you expect to hear at local shows, but if you live in the South Jersey / Philly area you might.? The first time I heard them I was hypnotized.

Sweetheart Parade – Crooked Crow
When you see Sweetheart Parade live you may notice the singer’s missing fingers and interesting guitar setup (upside down, left handed, funky tuning), but there’s no way you can miss Josh Britton’s powerfullty effortless voice.? Their CD is great, but Josh brings the house down on Crooked Crow. ?It should be played during the ending credits of an episode of True Blood.

Apple of Discord – The World Will Never Defeat You
Myspace it cut off the last character, so it’s not titled “The World Will Never Defeat Yo.” ?I’ve only seen them live once or twice, but they’re really tight and when I bought one of their CDs, Nelson looked sad and said, “oh, that’s the one I’m not on.” ?This is probably my favorite song of theirs, even if I disagree with the title. ?Sometimes the world wins.

The Silence Kit – Reassurement
If you like The National and Radiohead you will love this band. Eight Years is my favorite song of theirs, but I couldn’t find it online.

Relay – Forgot to Tell You
I am a big fan of my cousin Mark’s band.? This is one of my favorite newer songs of theirs and it’s as fun on their album as it is live.

Adrien Reju – A Million Hearts
I met Adrien in 2002 and I haven’t heard a Philly singer/songwriter with a better voice yet. ?She’s in NY now, but I’ll always be a fan.

Jeff Ritchie – Sing the Note of Just Tryin’
Jeff used to stop by my open mic years ago and I always liked his stuff. ?It’s lo-fi, acoustic droll music that I think must have like 8 fans in the world and I’m one of them.

Johnny Miles – Modern Man
“Can’t Explain” is definitely my favorite Johnny Miles song, but Modern Man is great.

Sarah Allen – How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore?
Not local anymore, but after hearing Sarah play once a week for over a year, it was so hard to run the open mic after she moved to North Carolina.? She has some songs that are recorded better, but I love this because it takes me back to 2004. ?Can’t find this online anywhere, so you’re screwed.

Rob Whitekettle – The Pop Tart Song
How many times can you trick the Devil?? Can you sell your soul to the Devil for Pop Tarts?? This song takes on the tough questions.

John Shaughnessy – Feelin’ Good Again
Could easily be a song by Mathew Sweet, Fountains of Wayne, or the band from That Thing You Do. ?Also, check out Roberta Part 2.

Sara O’Brien – Train to the Moon
Only Sara O’Brien could get away with line about porn stars with kids singing backup vocals. ?Fun song.

Playing this Friday the 13th @ The Auction House

This Friday I’m opening up for Audizen and the Atomic Square this Friday at Audubon’s Auction House Loft. I’ll be playing at 8:00PM and doors open at 7:30. Also, the Atomic Square is now one of my favorite bands ever for making this AWESOME FLYER:

I remember playing this awful, awful game.
I remember playing this awful, awful game.

100 West Merchant Street
Audubon NJ 08106