2008 Year in Review

I’m home alone tonight with a wicked sinus infection, drinking a lot of tea, running warm saline through my nostrils and reading Jeremy Clarkson. I sent my parents on their planned new-years outing with Tim and Carol earlier today, and saw Danielle off to her ball-drop party an hour ago, so the house has now fallen quiet with only myself and the cat remaining – and neither of us is putting shoes on until at least tomorrow. It’s been relaxing and festive having my parents here for the last week and a half, and tonight my empty house feels exactly that without them all around but I’m taking advantage of tonight’s opportunity to recuperate so I can enjoy the last couple days of their stay to the fullest. I am truly blessed with an incredible family that love each other unconditionally and are the best of friends, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the powerful (and rare) gift of growing up in a happy home. I thank God every day for them, and pray that I never take them for granted.

At some point tonight, I’ll probably turn on Dick Clark and let a team of underpaid television interns tell me what noteworthy things happened in 2008 while the world toasts each other on this oh-so-magical of holidays centered around humans’ apparent fascination with nice round numbers. Before that hour arrives, though, I feel compelled to look back on my own noteworthy 2008 moments.

Brian’s 2008 Year in Review
I made my modeling debut in early 2008 when my face (and a Threadless t-shirt) graced the Crutchfield website and greeted readers of their email newsletter. So far I’m not America’s next top model, but regardless it will make a great bullet point on my A&E biography.
While I technically bought my condo and moved in Dec 2007, it wasn’t until my sister and I returned from the holidays in January that we really started making it our own. I spent many long nights last spring pushing a paintbrush or tearing up carpet and I owe so many thank-you’s to the friends, family and neighbors that have lent their assistance – especially my parents, who have worked tirelessly on my home as though it was their own. I’ve learned a great deal about homeownership, remodeling, and project management, as well as memorizing the number for Dominos. I felt like such a grown-up purchasing major appliances, and I can’t explain how satisfying it is to look at the mantle I built with Mom or picture the attic insulation I installed with Dad and see the successful results of our teamwork. Danielle’s creativity has really made the decor come together, and I love that she found ways to incorporate my model cars and nerdy fixtures into the scheme. It’s a place I’m very happy to come home to, but it’s not been an effortless year by any means and I’m not sure I’ll schedule 2009 with the same remodeling pace.

My job really turned into a career this year, and 2008 was full of exciting challenges, new faces, huge opportunities and the heartbreaking change that is inevitable in the business world. There have been many nights I’ve lied awake fretting over big decisions or writing and re-writing an email in my mind, a sign that the responsibility I bear at work is shaping me and becoming part of who I am. I’ve grown up a great deal (professionally, at least) this year and I don’t feel like the same person anymore that struggled so much 7 years ago to find any job at all. My title changed 5 times this year (although only 2 of them were actually promotions) but there’s an intangible promotion that happened somewhere along the way, wherein I became a professional in my field, and more than just a lucky bloke that landed a good job by being in the right place.
Travel – boy, did I. More new cities and new countries in 2008 than in any year of my life, by a long shot. Texas in April, visiting Clint, Christi and Lilly on the beach in Galveston, and then again in July for more fun in the sun. Denver in June, San Francisco in July, and New York in September, all on business – a part of my new job and something I’d always hoped would be asked of me. In August I visited North Carolina for the first time, and internationally there was London in June for an amazing 2 weeks with Audrey and back again in July for another week with Katie and the UK team. Then I spent half of October down under in Sydney, an experience that I will never forget. I put a lot of new dots in my TripAdvisor profile this year and it was all pretty awesome.
Hobbies-wise, 2008 was a pretty banner year for me. I finally bought a motorcycle like I’d been wanting to for years, and managed to promote the SLUT when I earned my rider’s license. Some amazing photoshoot opportunities presented themselves this year and I was ready with camera in hand, from picturesque Nissan shows (where my Z happened to take first place) to the British Motor Show, Australian Motor Show and Seattle Motorcycle Show. Other than cars (and bikes) I also managed to capture a lot of Sydney and take advantage of Danielle’s connections to shoot a private tour of the Ballard Fishermans’ Terminal. Next year I’m hoping to take better advantage of local Seattle places and events, and hopefully still fit in photos of a few exotic locales, as well. I’ve also got a renewed energy for my Z and the Nissan team, and I’m excited for another summer season with them (where hopefully I’ll be in Seattle for some of it). 😉

I lost 25 pounds in the first 3 months of 2008 and got back to size 34 jeans, a feat which I credit to a lot of determination on my part, a lot of protein shakes, and my excellent trainer Austin. I’m in better shape at 30 than I’ve been my whole life, and the spoils of victory have been sweet. I tackled wakeboarding this summer with Sean and Julia with more success than I’ve ever had learning a sport. I sold all my “fat jeans” on ebay and put the proceeds towards new designer ones, including a few from overseas shopping ventures. It’s been fun buying new, slimmer clothes, but even more fun having more energy and feeling healthier.
I turned 30! Yes, it’s just another celebration based on an arbitrary round number, but my parents, grandparents and friends all gathered to help me ring it in, and that’s what made it a milestone. The calendar says I’m officially a grown-up and in many ways I feel appropriately like one, but in others I feel as young as ever and as wide-eyed about the possibilities ahead of me as I’ve always been. Life continues to be good to me and despite small challenges I can honestly say my soul is very happy inside this body, following this path, living this life, and I think anytime you can say that you should consider yourself a success.

I think i’m overdosing on TV.

I think i’m overdosing on TV. I can feel my brain starting to turn into oatmeal. Or really, more like cream of wheat, some sugary artificial flavor, the kind that comes with a packet of frosting you’re supposed to tear the corner off and swirl over your instant gruel in some artistic manner. That’s right, my brain is turning into fake, rapid-cook sugary mush… and the giant free-will-and-creative-expression-sucking eyeball is to blame.

Some of it’s been good TV – wait, is there really such a thing? Ok, i don’t know if i can make that claim. But it at least felt more mind-expanding to watch anime for 3 solid evenings this past week than to, say, invite over a few friends for a Survivor marathon. A lot of InuYasha, Wolf’s Rain and – today – Naruto, enough that i’m starting to think in pictorial alphabets and hold a pen like it was chopsticks. To achieve some cultural balance, i’m also taking in several hours of Comedy Central’s sunday afternoon ‘big bust weekend’ fodder – Beverly Hills Cop and the intellectual highground that is Reno 911. All this wide-eyed chair-jockeying has given me a renewed energy and a new motivation to make each minute count… except for those minutes i spend draped limply into a chair with my eyes fixed straight ahead and my brain unplugged.

In between sessions of my aforementioned fitness routine, i spent several days trying to get a lot done while spending a little. This started with a visit to Travis at work, where he and his nifty mechanics stethescope told me that the Z does indeed have a couple of connecting rod bearings out of spec, and a few noisy hydraulic lifters. None of them, he said, are serious or urgent but… i’m sure dollar signs rolled past my eyes. He also pointed out that my tire had a nail in it, and was basically flat. Super! Since the last time i checked them was in Van, that means i potentially drove 125 miles home plus a couple loops around the city with 10psi and a roofing spike on the left rear corner. And he told me i need new brake pads – which i knew – and that the rotors are warped – again with the $ signs. The tire situation necessitated a stop at Discount Tire where, thanks to my previous purchase of rubber for the Maxima, they were willing to hook me up with a free repair. Problem: tire was not repairable. They did hook me up with a loaner in the closest size they had available, but thanks to it’s much-larger profile my car now looks like a monster truck from certain angles and rides with a distinctive lean towards the right. Oh, and the tire rubs inside the wheel well whenever i hit a bump. Thankfully, there are very few rough spots on Seattle’s meticulously-maintained roads and freeways (insert laugh here).

I had planned on parking it for the winter soon anyway, although i didn’t think it would be permanently parked, just locked inside a garage and started up every couple weeks if sunshine permitted or just on principle, to keep things lubricated. Now it looks like the sunshine is irrelevant, as it’s really not safe to drive, so it’ll just be a weekly session of idling inside a garage and killing my brain cells (if tv doesn’t get them first). Now you might be asking – which garage am i going to be parking it in? Well, i don’t know either. Thought i had another month to figure it out. 😉

In a sign people are actually getting smarter (or maybe that the ratio of better-educated european and asia-pacific web surfers is increasing, thus raising the overall average IQ of the internet… or maybe just that with florida all ravaged and whatnot less of them are on the internet lately, making the whole country seem more intelligent) the ratio of Mozilla users is increasing. So apparently more people have figured out that less viruses, pop-up ads and annoying floating fake error boxes will plague you as a web surfer if you shy away from internet explorer. It is, after all, the same internet no matter what the interface, and maybe a company like Mozilla that is agile, driven and determined to build the best web browser possible – spending all of their waking hours devoted to the task – is going to offer a better interface than a company like micro$oft whose browser is a secondary product that holds a comfortable market share. Mozilla has to earn your trust – micro$oft already has you in their clutches. Who do you think is going to try harder to give you what you want?

If all of this thinking about the subliminal motivations of personified corporate entities is too much for you, i suggest you go play hold the button. My workday is 12 hours… see if you can hold the button as long as i hold down this chair. 😉

Mixed bag, heavy bag

More photos up for ya, the NHRA drags a couple weekends ago. My excuse on the air show photos was that Gabe was too busy to help me label them… don’t know what my excuse was on these… 😉 Anyway, they’re up, go enjoy!

Heard from Josh Lambert this weekend, he’s headed to Bologna, Italy for sure, to find a job, buy a moped, and become a good Italian! We’re all very excited for him, and i’m sure next time i hear from him he’ll have some really cool life where he drives Ferraris or gets daily massages from hot Italian women or something. He’s nervous about it, but i’m not worried. He’s got more charisma than Ghandi – the Italians are gonna love him!

Got all ambitious this weekend and cleaned up a room in the basement so i have a nice gym. Still needs one more coat of paint on the floor, which i’ll do tonite, and then i’ll have no excuse not to work out. 😉 It will be really nice to go down there and exercise without the giant creepy spiders watching me from the shadows…

Lazy sunday

Okay, so it’s sunday morning… well, that’s not entirely true. It’s sunday afternoon. I’ve just only been up for a couple hours, so it still feels like morning. 😉 Don’t get all thinkin that i’m lazy now – i stayed up late last nite posting photos of yesterday’s bbq and watching bad movies with Josh. (Btw, never rent ‘Pluto Nash’, it’s terrible. I don’t know what we’re going to do with it for 4 more days…) And i ran a couple miles on the beach this morning before breakfast… so there! Anyway, Danielle and Miguel are both home safely now in their respective montana towns. It was a great week with them here, and i really hope Danielle can make it out here more often (like on, oh, a permanent basis! hint hint!). I’ll get pictures of their adventures up soon. So many pics to edit this week!

Perish the though i get any rest – Annie D should be in town any day now for her spring break, another week of fun with an out-of-town friend! And a quick shout-out to Christian (my most out-of-town friend 😉 – i noticed you reading the site this morning. So why didn’t you call me, you slacker? My learn-German-in-10-minutes-a-day book shipped from Amazon on friday! Only 6 more months…

Gotta jet now tho, gonna meet Steph in madison park for some lunch and a walk around the neighborhood, cause it’s a beautiful spring day in Seattle!