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Aaron N. Tubbs

Dragon chaser.

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I was reminded that it’s nearly February.

I am 33.

2013 was an odd year. Whatever follows, I killed no pets, lost no organs, and suffered no major deaths in the family. For that I am thankful.

As is tradition with these posts, what follows is an incoherent collection of thoughts about the year past.

I remain engaged and could not be happier with M. We’ve talked about getting married this year without any real concrete plans. I should get on that. M’s brother got married last year; we did not want to distract from that, but there’s no real reason to hold off now. We’ve talked about getting a dog, but raising a dog in this apartment complex has complications associated with it.

2013 was a good year for fine dining. The most notable meals were at Komi and Per Se. There were numerous other fine gastronomic experiences including a magical meal with winemaker Serge Hochar and half a dozen remarkable experiences in Napa and Sonoma.

I think I nailed dinner and wine pairings for fourteen for New Year’s Eve with a brilliant cassoulet and Madiran. Palates were also delighted with an assortment of fine Champagnes. None of this matters, as I caused great offense and injury to a guest and longtime friend via some careless remarks. This overshadows the entire evening for me and haunts my subconscious. It’s the sort of cruelty for which no apology will ever suffice.

I drove a Ferrari for the first time. I’m glad I did. While I would love one, I’m also content that it’s more car than I can appreciate in routine driving. It’s also vastly more expensive than I can afford anytime soon.

I made no real progress on weight, exercise, health, or alcohol consumption. I think I’m off to a better start in 2014 on this front, but will only announce victory if I feel the same way a year from now. I’ve reached a point in life where recovering from my mistakes on this front is expensive and where avoiding doing so is expensive. I think I’ve been eating healthier in general, but I’ve discovered that’s but one small part of the struggle.

I attempted to write a C++ compiler from scratch, but failed. In a sense I never believed I could achieve this, so I’m not surprised. At the same time, it’s another source of great disappointment. There’s no reason I couldn’t continue to progress in this endeavor, but having flunked out of the program, I lack the motivation to continue it independently. There’s something intrinsic to this that I picked up in childhood that will haunt me through the remainder of my existence.

It was an odd year for vacations, as well. The trip to DC was perhaps the only genuine vacation. We had a nice time in California with some time tacked onto my ex-wife’s wedding. While I haven’t gotten around to writing anything about it (and probably won’t, at this rate), we had a time in Guatemala during M’s brother’s wedding there as well. There weren’t a lot of trips for us, however. This is probably something that should be fixed this year.

I replaced my entire wireless and wired network fabric in 2013, along with my core router, servers, mac workstation, and gaming box. My storage subsystems were substantially cycled as well with 80% of storage being new. It was an expensive year for technology, but things are in a pretty good place right now.

I’ve spent far less time programming than I’d hoped. I can only really criticize myself. I did a few interesting things, but they didn’t end up going very far.

This is sort of cheating, but I got a nephew a few hours into 2014 (to be fair, he was due in 2013). This turned out to be far more meaningful and important than I imagined, and has a lot to do with why I’m still here.

I started a new blog about beverages. I’m pretty happy with the concept, but need to keep the content flowing. I have dozens of ideas sketched out and just need to complete them. This is a unique thing for me. To this point I’ve done very little that felt broad and deep enough to justify a separate blog from this site.

The wine cellar is in a good place; I’m not longer in accumulation mode whatsoever. I’m drinking predominantly from the cellar and won’t reenter accumulation mode for another 2-3 years. One can read about the best wines I had in 2013, there was really only one that was remarkable. It’s not clear whether dragon chasing ruined the fun or that it was just an off year in this regard.

I’m at the same company and in the same role. I participated in somewhat more senior activities this past year; that was interesting. I’m hitting a bit of a plateau at the moment. What’s not clear to me is why that’s the case. I may be running into my limitations or I may be thirsty for something bigger and/or different. What’s more unfortunate for me is that I’ve lost the ability to distinguish between the two.

I read fewer books than I intended, but have started more books than I imagined. Completing them remains a struggle.

I started to clean out and dispose of some things I no longer need. Notably I got rid of a bunch of glassware, audio equipment, board games, and LEGO. I struggle in these areas; I have various monuments and relics of things I enjoyed in the past, but that have sat unused for more than a year. As an example, there’s no point to my board game collection when not a single of my games has hit the table in a year.

I got into vinyl, something I’d hoped to postpone for a few more years. While I’ve done little to chronicle this, I’ve since gone far beyond the initial steps taken to upgrade my analog audio system. I’m pretty sure everybody thinks I’m crazy now, but I meant what I said to D last year. My dreams are haunted by musical passages that I’ve listened to on my rig at work.

I have a beard, and I’ve let it grow out further than ever before. This does not make it impressive by any objective terms, but I’m strangely fond of it.

My interest in space and rockets was amplified. I spent numerous hours studying things like turbopump design, gravity turn curves, and staging strategies. There’s no point to this, but it remains a topic that fascinates me.

The trends of my sentiment are predictable and cliche. Things continue to lose meaning. Time with friends and experiences increasingly dominate the value equation. Mistakes with friends and missed experience increasingly dominate my regrets.