2019 was an amazing year for me. I’ve listed some details of my experiences at the bottom of this post, but here are the highlight.
As 2018 ended, I did not feel comfortable with my job. I had moved to a new division (the company eliminated my old position) and I struggled to understand the new processes and to make a positive impact. In early 2019, things began to click. I was involved in a number of successful projects and I learned a great deal. I worked with customers to build and deploy valuable software and I mentored at OpenHacks and other workshops to teach developers how to write code and use the tools of IT.
My 2 sons also enjoyed success this year - both personally and professionally. In October, Nick was named Head Basketball Coach at Kalamazoo College. He and his longtime girlfriend became engaged in November. Tim began a new job in January working for an IT consulting company. He is enjoying the work and the people and he does not have the long commute of his old job. In the spring, I helped him move into a new house. His only major setback was tearing his Achilles tendon while playing basketball, but he is recovering well from this injury.
My brother Dan lives in Australia, but he spent much of this year working in Phoenix, AZ. In August, I flew to Phoenix and we spent some time together. Our trip included a Diamondbacks game, a visit to Flagstaff, and a musical journey to stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona.
My sister Debbie moved to Hawaii this year. With Dan living in Australia, family get-togethers are becoming smaller and smaller. Dan did fly to Michigan to celebrate Christmas with us.
If you know me, you know that I love music and I love to see live music. I attended 18 concerts in 2019 - many featuring bands and musicians I enjoyed in my youth. The most memorable concert was seeing Peter Frampton's farewell tour with my son Tim.
I've always enjoyed live theater. This year, I made an effort to see more, including some world class performances on Broadway and London's West End. I attended a London West End play on 2 separate visits and my friend Jon (a big theatre fan who lives in the UK) was kind enough to join me on my first visit.
I traveled internationally more this year than I ever have in the past. Most of my trips were for work, but I often stayed a couple extra days to explore. I made my first visits to Denmark and the Netherlands and I returned to Italy and Germany for the first time in 30 years. I also visited the UK, Sweden, and Canada this year, along with a number of US locations.
The best trips were those in which I stayed with friends: The aforementioned trip to Arizona to visit Dan; a few days in Las Vegas to stay with my friends Jay and Christina and their family; and a few days staying with my friend Tibi and his family in Helsingborg, Sweden. I'm also grateful to my friend Jon for allowing me to stay with him during the CodeMash conference in January.
I made a dent in my quest to visit every NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB stadium/arena, but not as much as I hoped. I visited 5 new places in 2019, barely staying ahead of the pace at which teams are building new homes.
I also attended a Minor League baseball game in Joliet, IL; college basketball games at Kalamazoo College, Western Michigan University, the University of Chicago, and Chicago State University; a US Women's National Team soccer game against Korea at Soldier Field; a WNBA Chicago Sky home game; and the NCAA Division 1 Women's Regional Finals basketball game, featuring Notre Dame vs Stanford.
The best game I saw was the 2019 Big Ten Basketball Tournament finals at the United Center, in which the Michigan State Spartans came from behind to defeat the university of michigan 65-60 for Tom Izzo's sixth conference tournament title. It was a highlight in a season of highlights that also included a regular season championship and a Final Four appearance.
For the second year in a row, I focused heavily on reading. Most of the books I chose this year came from Time Magazine's list of the Top 100 English language novels. I had hoped to finish the list by the end of the year, but I ran out of time and fell about 20 books short. In all, I completed 62 books in 2019.
A complete list of what I read is at the bottom of this post or you can follow me on Goodreads to see what I'm reading and my thoughts on the books I’ve completed.
In 2019, I published 226 blog posts – a new record for me.
I have significantly reduced the amount of public speaking that I do - mostly because it is no longer part of my day job and that job consumes so much of my time. But I did manage to deliver a few presentations. Most were local or online, but I did deliver presentations in Stockholm, Las Vegas, and Atlanta. I hope to return to a more frequent speaking schedule before the community forgets about me.
These past 12 months, I learned a lot, I experienced a lot, and I accomplished a lot. I feel blessed.
The one thing I did a poor job at this year was volunteering my time to charitable causes - something I had increased the 2 previous years. I plan to do better at this in 2020.
2019 was outstanding. I saw the world, I connected with old friends, my family had success, and I advanced in my career. Experience has taught me that this good fortune will not last forever - that eventually, things will go badly. But I don't dwell on that. Instead, I will treasure this year and recall it whenever I hit the hard times.
Concerts attended in 2019
- Nick Moss and Dan Carelli
- Mott the Hoople
- Al Green
- George Clinton and Funkadelic
- The Rolling Stones
- Peter Frampton
- Rev. Sekou
- Santana and The Doobie Brothers
- Max Weinberg
- Bruce Cockburn
- Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project featuring Randy Brecker
- Willie Nile
- John Hiatt
Live Theatre in 2019
- 'Matilda' at the Cambridge Theatre in London, UK
- 'Phantom of the Opera' at the Majestic Theatre in New York, NY
- 'Hamilton' at the CIBC Theatre in Chicago, IL
- 'True West' at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, IL
- 'Miss Saigon' at the Wharton Center in East Lansing, MI
- 'The Play That Goes Wrong' at the Duchess Theatre in London, UK
Places visited in 2019
- Peterborough, England
- London, England (2x)
- Rome, Italy
- Copenhagen, Denmark (2x)
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Helsingborg, Sweden
- Helsinore, Denmark
- Ottawa, Ontario (2x)
- Dallas, TX
- Seattle, WA
- Tampa, FL
- Phoenix, AZ
- Boston, MA
- Williamstown, MA
- Las Vegas, NV
- New York, NY
Books read in 2019
- 'The Man Who Loved Children' by Christina Stead
- 'Infinite Jest' by David Foster Wallace
- 'The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter' by Carson McCullers
- 'Through the Woods' by Emily Carroll
- 'Wide Sargasso Sea' by Jean Rhys
- 'Nimona' by Noelle Stevenson
- 'An American Tragedy' by Theodore Dreiser
- 'The Day of the Locust' by Nathanael West
- 'Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch' by Terry Pratchett
- 'White Noise' by Don DeLillo
- 'Their Eyes Were Watching God' by Zora Neale Hurston
- 'Light in August' by William Faulkner
- 'White Teeth' by Zadie Smith
- 'Herzog' by Saul Bellow
- 'Ubik' by Philip K. Dick
- 'Tropic of Cancer' by Henry Miller
- 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce
- 'A Handful of Dust' by Evelyn Waugh
- 'Mrs. Dalloway' by Virginia Woolf
- 'Deliverance' by James Dickey
- 'The French Lieutenant's Woman' by John Fowles
- 'Possession' by A.S. Byatt
- 'Housekeeping' by Marilynne Robinson
- 'Never Let Me Go' by Kazuo Ishiguro
- 'Arrow of God' by Chinua Achebe
- 'Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina' by Robert Graves
- 'The Sheltering Sky' by Paul Bowles
- 'No Longer at Ease' by Chinua Achebe
- 'The Power and the Glory' by Graham Greene
- 'Lucky Jim' by Kingsley Amis
- 'The Crying of Lot 49' by Thomas Pynchon
- 'The Moviegoer' by Walker Percy
- 'Call It Sleep' by Henry Roth
- 'The Assistant' by Bernard Malamud
- 'Ragtime' by E.L. Doctorow
- 'Under the Volcano' by Malcolm Lowry
- 'Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret' by Judy Blume
- 'I, Claudius' by Robert Graves
- 'The Heart of the Matter' by Graham Greene
- 'I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban' by Malala Yousafzai
- 'Rabbit, Run' by John Updike
- 'Odd and the Frost Giants' by Neil Gaiman
- 'Naked Lunch' by William S. Burroughs
- 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' by Muriel Spark
- 'American Pastoral' by Philip Roth
- 'A Passage to India' by E.M. Forster
- 'Invisible Man' by Ralph Ellison
- 'Atonement' by Ian McEwan
- 'Go Tell It on the Mountain' by James Baldwin
- 'Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story' by Martin Luther King Jr.
- 'A Death in the Family' by James Agee
- 'The Confessions of Nat Turner' by William Styron
- 'The Big Sleep' by Raymond Chandler
- 'Starship Troopers' by Robert A. Heinlein
- 'The Adventures of Augie March' by Saul Bellow
- 'The Painted Bird' by Jerzy Kosinski
- 'Death Comes for the Archbishop' by Willa Cather
- 'Revolutionary Road' by Richard Yates
- 'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe
- 'Hi Bob!' by Bob Newhart
- 'Red Harvest' by Dashiell Hammett
Professional Stadiums and Arenas visited in 2019
- Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field
- Boston Celtics at TD Garden
- Boston Bruins at TD Garden
- Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena
- Las Vegas Knights at T-Mobil Arena
|3/14/2019||Guest lecture: Cloud Computing and Azure||Michigan State University||East Lansing, MI|
|3/23/2019||How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist||SQL Saturday - Chicago||Lisle, IL|
|3/29/2019||How Cloud Computing Empowers a Data Scientist||T-Mobile Student hackathon||Atlanta, GA|
|5/11/2019||We Want the Func! Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||Chicago Code Camp||River Forest, IL|
|5/23/2019||We Want the Func! Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||DevSum||Stockholm, Sweden|
|7/18/2019||We Want the Func! Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||IndySA||Indianapolis, IN|
|7/22/2019||We Want the Func! Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||Chicago Cloud Conference||Chicago, IL|
|7/22/2019||Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||Chicago Cloud Conference||Chicago, IL|
|8/8/2019||Effective Data Visualization||SQL PASS Virtual UG||Online|
|10/10/2019||We Want the Func! Serverless Computing with Azure Functions||Las Vegas .NET User Group||Las Vegas, NV|
|10/30/2019||AI for Earth||JPMC IT Conference||Chicago, IL|