2022 in Review

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I was in a dark place in January 2022. It took some time and a lot of effort, but I was able to climb out and retake control of my life.

I will talk more about that later. First, I will list some of the things that happened and that I accomplished these past twelve months.


The big news this year was my son Nick's wedding. After years of dating, he and Adriana were married in Florida in a beautiful Florida ceremony presided over by her brother.

My sons continued success in their careers. Tim completed his second year as a consultant at Microsoft, and Nick began his fourth season as Head Basketball Coach at Kalamazoo College.


As the world began to reopen following the worst of the pandemic, I took advantage by traveling to some exciting places.

I made my annual trek to Sandusky, OH in January to speak at the CodeMash conference. This was a special one because COVID forced the cancellation of the 2021 event.

In March, I visited friends in Naples, Florida. It was a relaxing few days, highlighted by an afternoon bicycling through the Everglades.

Over Labor Day weekend, a group of us flew to Denver, then drove to Vail, CO, for a few days hiking in the mountains.

In October, I visited Portugal for the first time. We spent a week in and around Lisbon, seeing the sights and listening to music; then, we embarked on an organized bike trip across southern Portugal.

The last significant trip of the year was Thanksgiving week when I traveled to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Highlights included attending a Patriots home game, seeing my father's childhood home in Haverhill, and having dinner with my friend Bill and his family in Portland.

I also made several trips throughout the year to Kalamazoo and the Detroit area to visit my son and the rest of my family.

I did not have much travel for work, so I planned trips on my own. (NOTE: It is nicer when someone else pays for the flight). My two work trips were to the San Francisco area in April and to New York / New Jersey in May. I included personal time in each trip to visit friends and family and experience the area. In California, I went on a wine tour with my work team, had coffee with my friend Christine, and met my cousin John for lunch. During my New Jersey trip, I had breakfast with my friend Steve and his wife, attended a New York Islanders game, visited the Museum of Modern Art, and saw a concert at the Village Vanguard.

The Arts

Many artists stopped playing during the pandemic, which built up some demand - in their audiences and in me. I listened to and saw music and theater at a shocking pace in 2022.

At this point, I have to consider myself an Art Patron, as I attend a concert, theatrical performance, or museum nearly every weekend.


I think I saw more concerts this year than any other year in my life. Here is the list:

  • Joanna Connor + Li'l Ed and the Blues Imperials at Kingston Mines in Chicago
  • The Guess Who at The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan
  • Elton John at The United Center in Chicago
  • 10,000 Maniacs at The City Winery in Chicago
  • America at The Genesee Theatre in Waukegan
  • Billy Branch & The Sons of the Blues at SPACE in Evanston
  • Enter the Haggis at The City Winery in Chicago
  • John Paul White at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago
  • Joseph at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago
  • Daryl Hall and Todd Rundgren at The Auditorium Theatre in Chicago
  • The Tom Harrell Quartet at Jazz Showcase in Chicago
  • Joe Lovano at The Village Vanguard in New York City
  • The Indigo Girls at Cahn Auditorium in Evanston
  • The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band at The City Winery in Chicago
  • David Gray at The Huntington Bank Pavillion in Chicago
  • The Psychedelic Furs at The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago
  • Joe Pratt & Source One w/ New Orleans Beau at Willie Dixon's Blues Garden in Chicago
  • The Jim Irsay Band at The Navy Pier in Chicago
  • Howie Day at The City Winery in Chicago
  • The Fabulous Thunderbirds at The City Winery in Chicago
  • The Wallflowers at SPACE in Evanston
  • Al Dimeola at The City Winery in Chicago
  • Roxy Music at The United Center in Chicago
  • Michelle Branch at Park West in Chicago
  • Sergio Mendes at The City Winery in Chicago
  • Matt Maeson at The House of Blues in Chicago
  • The Who at The United Center in Chicago
  • Todd Rundgren and Adrian Belew at The Copernicus Center in Chicago
  • Los Lobos at The City Winery in Chicago
  • Jeff "Skunk" Baxter at SPACE in Evanston


I saw 13 plays in 2022:

  • 'The Virginian' at City Lit Theater Company
  • 'The Moors' at A Red Orchid Theatre
  • 'West Side Story' at Marriott Theatre
  • 'Good Night, Oscar' at Goodman Theatre
  • 'King James' at Steppenwolf Theatre
  • 'Spring Awakening' at Ruth Page Center for the Arts
  • 'Rasheeda Speaking' at Theater Wit
  • 'The Luckiest' at Raven Theatre
  • 'Teatro Zinzannit' at Cambria Hotel
  • 'Cruel Intentions: The Musical' at Chopin Theatre
  • 'Hay Fever' at City Lit Theater Company
  • 'The Island' at Court Theatre
  • 'Dear Evan Hansen' at Nederlander Theatre

Other Performances

In addition to the above performances, I attended a performance by Giordano Dance Chicago at the Auditorium Theater, 'The Signature Show' at the Chicago Magic Lounge, and The Moth Story Hour at Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture.


I visited the following museums for the first time last year:

Museum Location
Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
Museu De Artes Decorativas Portuguesas Lisbon, Portugal
Castelo de São Jorge Lisbon, Portugal
Sé de Lisboa Lisbon, Portugal
Saint Mary Magdalene Church Lisbon, Portugal
Saint Anthony Church Lisbon, Portugal
Museu Calouste Gulbenkian Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon Story Center Lisbon, Portugal
Pena Palace Sintra, Portugal
National Palace Sintra, Portugaal
Quinta da Regaleira Sintra, Portugal
Casa Romana Mertola, Portugal
Museum of Fine Arts Boston, MA
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Boston, MA

Sporting Events

Some of you know I have a goal to see a home game of every NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL team. I made progress toward that goal this year by seeing home games for the following teams:

New York Islanders Colorado Rockies Minnesota Vikings New England Patriots

Of course, I also attended many Kalamazoo College basketball games to watch my son Nick coach.

Public Speaking

I had hoped to do more public speaking in 2022, but circumstances conspired against me. I delivered 12 presentations at eight different events - four of which were in-person. I also co-led a Diversity & Inclusion workshop in Chicago for my former team, which involved a lot of presentations.

I would have increased these numbers, but a scheduled company offsite forced me to cancel two in-person events. Sadly, the company canceled the offsite two weeks before I was to fly to Atlanta.

Here are the presentations I delivered in 2022:

Date Title Event Location
01/13 Effective Data Visualization CodeMash Sandusky, OH
01/17 Effective Data Visualization Columbus .NET User Group Columbus, OH
02/23 Diving into Data: Analyzing massive data sets with Azure Data Explorer and Kusto Query Language Southeast Valley .NET User Group Phoenix, AZ
03/02 Diving into Data: Analyzing massive data sets with Azure Data Explorer and Kusto Query Language CodeCamp Romania - The One with Architecture & Design 2022 Online
05/20 Effective Data Visualization CSE Offsite Redmond, WA
06/14 Blood, Sweat, and Code Reviews Hampton Roads .NET User Group Hampton, VA
06/20 Diving into Data: Analyzing massive data sets with Azure Data Explorer and Kusto Query Language CSE Data Champions Roundtable Online
07/14 Blood, Sweat, and Code Reviews Nebraska.Code() Lincoln, NE
07/14 You and Your Technical Community Nebraska.Code() Lincoln, NE
07/15 Effective Data Visualization Nebraska.Code() Lincoln, NE
08/06 Blood, Sweat, and Code Reviews Beer City Code Grand Rapids, MI
12/04 Blood, Sweat, and Code Reviews FestiveTech Online

I hope to do more speaking next year, and I have already discussed this with my manager, who is supportive of the idea.


I volunteered at a Chicago high school to mentor students participating in the Illinois STEM Challenge. This fall marked the fifth consecutive year I have done this.


I completed 43 books in 2022. My most ambitious reading project is to finish Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time" series - a 14-volume epic that is so long that Jordan died before completing it, and Brandon Sanderson had to finish the final three books. I am currently on Book #12 of this series.


I continued to blog and produce video content. I have passed 3.5 years of GCast, and I am about to pass 14 years of Technology and Friends. At the close of 2022, these shows had 140 and 733 episodes, respectively.

I continue to blog at davidgiard.com, where I published 220 articles in 2022. This rate accelerated at the end of the year, as my new job allowed me to learn new skills. In October, I accomplished the rare feat of publishing a blog post every day of the month.

I also contributed two articles to the Azure Data Explorer blog.


Despite getting all my vaccinations, I tested positive for COVID twice in 2022. The first time happened after I returned from CodeMash. My symptoms were mild, so I only had to isolate myself for a couple of weeks. COVID struck me much harder in the fall, and I was bedridden for a few days. The good news is that I fully recovered both times.

Early in the year, I had some mental health issues as I dealt with things outside my control. It affected my mood and my sleep. I will talk about this now.

Challenges Overcome

If you have read this far, you must have some interest in my life, so I will talk about the dark times in early 2022 that I mentioned in the first paragraph.

Two major problems plagued me when the year began: a stalker and a toxic work environment.


A few years ago, a friend introduced me to her boyfriend. We spoke for about a half hour, and I gave him some advice on building a website. I never saw him again. A few months later, he convinced himself I was sleeping with his girlfriend. For more than a year, he harassed me with hundreds of texts and phone calls containing false accusations and threats of violence.

I hired an attorney and filed a petition that resulted in a restraining order against my stalker. The fear of arrest and prison seems to have worked to keep him away.


As 2022 began, I found myself trying to navigate a manager who was convinced I was incompetent, lazy, or both. I was frustrated that he would dismiss my accomplishments and focus his attention on areas he felt I was not meeting his expectations. Our conversations were not productive, but I made every effort to work hard, internalize his feedback, and act on it. Sadly, when he ran out of things to criticize, he began making up accusations. I spoke with others who had a similar experience with this manager in the past. It may have been a coincidence that all were within my age range. Eventually, I concluded there was nothing I could do to convince my manager that his preconceived notions were incorrect.

Afer nine years of a successful relationship, I came close to leaving Microsoft.

One advantage of working for a large company is that there are opportunities to move without the stress of changing employers. In June, I moved to a new team within my same company. The move was exactly right for me. I am learning interesting technologies, I am making a significant contribution, my new team is committed to helping one another, and my new manager provides much more support than my old one.

A few months after the move, my former team laid off 10% of their people, so I escaped a significant risk of losing my job.


I face this coming year with far more optimism than last year. I resolved the two major issues that negatively affected my mental health in the first half of 2022.

I am getting a fresh start, which feels good!