(This is the second-to-last post for this blog as it now exists. I created this years ago because I wanted to own my own online real estate, but I’ve grown beyond what this site is able to display. My next, powered by Pagely, will be more of a site with a blog, with actual categories, a focus, and will hopefully better show who I really am and what I can do. For everyone reading, thank you. You’ve made this an amazing learning experience.)
I’ve long put off writing a year-end or even a goodbye to AZ post because I wanted to pretend that nothing in my life would change much. Things would happen and I’d stay the same. The same guy that has a hard time believing he’s still freelancing, living one helluva life and not subject to believing in books like “The Power of Now” or anything written by Seth Godin.
I wanted to pretend I’m not a believer, even in me.
And then my wife called me a creative. To my parents, this means perpetually unemployed. To most of the world, this means beatnik, pot-smoking visual artist that rises in the afternoon and sits at run-down bars every night. To me and most of the people I associate with, a creative is just someone that works or has a job without an instruction manual. This COULD mean entrepreneur, it could mean a salesman. It could also mean freelance writer with an office.
(This blog post is really just for me, if you can’t tell already.)
Let’s jump back 12 months and see what kind of year I had:
Trained for and complete the first AZ Tough Mudder event. 12.5 miles of rocks, asphalt, dirt, logs, mud, obstacles, ice water and electric shocks made for one helluva time. The thing I’m most proud of? I ran the entire thing in Vibram Sprints, WITH a painful layer of pebbles and silt between my foot and footbed for 10 of those 12.5 miles. While that may seem easy to anyone that hasn’t done it, let’s go running on rocks sometime. It took me two years of running and three months of specific training to complete the run, and while I wouldn’t do it again, I’m proud I did.
This month came with a special treat: ingrown toenail surgery! After 33 years of thinking I was just really bad at cutting my toenails, I hoofed it to the doc so she could trim off the outside of each big toe. Turns out my nails curl under at the edges, which is really fucking painful. The first night was terrible, as the pain meds wore off at about 2am and I spent the next four hours alternating between sitting down with ice on my toes and laying on the ground with my feet up on the couch. So, so painful. After that first night, everything went well and they healed in three weeks, which is when I first visited Skora HQ here in Portland and they gave me a pair of Forms.
Oh, I forgot to mention that after reading Martin Cizmar’s Chubster in late January, I spent about two months counting calories and went from 227 lbs to 202.
Thanks to an invitation from Bob Diehl, I gave a speech on failure at a TEDx event. It sucked, and I was so disappointed in myself I didn’t stay to watch anyone else speak. I know it’s pretty ironic (or is that unironic?) to fail at giving a speech on failing, but I bombed pretty hard. Props to everyone else, though.
Later that same month, I got married. The week leading up to the wedding was one of the most stressful of my entire life, and I’m very appreciative of my friends (especially Kevin Wintersteen) and wife for not just beating my ass into compliance. My wife and I are very happy.
Later that next week, during the time normal people take honeymoons, I caught and gave away two batting practice balls to kids while waiting for the Diamondbacks spring training game to start. An employee saw me, and I ended up with tickets for three and a special ballpark tour later the next month. Debbie Walker accompanied me and the wife to that, which was way, way fun.
Uh…I have no idea, and I’m certainly not going to look on Facebook. If someone is offended because I don’t remember, deal with it. I’m sure I had a great time doing fun things, like StorytellersAZ.
Worked full-time for EventDay and LoopLogic, with lots of blog writing. Probably said something asshole-ish online.
Bought a new MacBook Air! Well, my first MacBook Air. 11.6″ of sleek computing power and finally a worthy replacement of my favorite computer ever, my last-version, 12″ Powerbook that died years ago. I also bought a great Tom Bihn bag, which fits right under the seat of my 50cc scooter I planned on driving around Portland. While the scooter is for sale — in order to buy bicycles — the laptop is fantastic and the bag is fun.
At the expense of far too much of my work (yeah, that’s right, I admit it), this month brought my very first Startup Weekend as an organizer. Thanks to months of hard work by about a dozen volunteers, a few local sponsors and our facilitator Katie Hurst, we spent 54 hours one late weekend in July taking business ideas from concept to minimum viable product. While I’d do most of the tasks the same way again, I overreached a bit with dinner on Saturday night, as I asked former chef Chris Coneybeer (with wife Wendy) to prepare food for 75 and then helped them with it. Food was fantastic, just took a ton of work to prep, cook and transport. Kudos to the Coneybeers!
Katie and I did…okay co-running the show. She’s much more by the book and organized, and I’m, well, not. We had a few hiccups with the initial voting, as well as one guy showing up Friday night then skipping every other hour until the Sunday presentations, but we stayed married and no one was irreparably damaged.
Uh…it was really hot in August. Really hot. I believe this is when I started marathon training, which required me to rise before the sun was up so I didn’t melt into the sidewalk. Up at 5:30-6ish, run 3.1+ miles, back inside and start my breakfast by about seven. Twice a week — starting in late 2011 — I played tennis with Matthew Coates. We’d play for at most an hour and a half, making it almost through two sets, depending on how well the either of us played. Matthew, who was playing in a few leagues at night, consistently improved during our time together. I, however, plateaued pretty quickly and thanks to a few things like a bum shoulder and being super tired from running, I did not improve as much. But man, it was always fun and I miss our sessions an absolute ton. It’s hard to find someone compatible for early morning anything, and we had a really cool thing going. Our last match was the Monday before I left. Or maybe Friday. Can’t remember. Either way, thanks, Matthew.
It was probably really hot during this month. According to Daily Mile I ran a lot, so I’m going to assume that most of my time was spent either hating the heat or running in it. Woo. Oh, about this time I officially became a member of Skora’s ambassador team, which means I received free shoes in exchange for doing what I do with products I really, really like and use constantly: talk about them. I like to brag, so these are the Cadillac level of running shoes, with goat leather and zero drop and stretchy mesh and super soles.
Oh, Katie was gone three weeks out of this month, I was gone half the week she was back. It was a long 30 days for Layla the dog and me.
The first week of this month was spent in Portland walking and driving around looking for a new home. After yelling at each other because we neglected to secure a vehicle and then didn’t map our destinations out, we hoofed it about two miles to a plain but nice looking apartment complex reminiscent of our first studio together at Roosevelt Square. It was carpeted, it had a dishwasher and the washing machines were in the building. Because this was a rent-controlled facility, we couldn’t make over a certain amount. As Katie didn’t yet have a Portland job and I don’t make much, we easily qualified to fill out what felt like mountains of paperwork.
After a week spent in GORGEOUS Pacific Northwest weather (no, it didn’t last), we headed back to the last three weeks of my nine-plus and Katie’s six-plus years in Arizona. Sadly, the ticker-tape parade didn’t end up happening, but we had a pleasant last few weeks hanging out with good friends — surprisingly, no one from the Katie Charland (Hurst) fan club stalked our apartment — and winding down.
Oh! We went on stage with The Torch Theatre! That’s always a highlight, whether I’m in the audience or in front of it.
The last two weeks were…hectic. Katie had handed most of her Gangplank duties over to her successor and chose to spend more time at home, which is great but I’m a huge diva and can’t handle anyone changing things in my life, especially BOTH my home and work environments. I pouted for a while, Katie smiled a lot and we got over it just fine.
And then came Katie’s last day at Gangplank…October 26, 2012 (remember that, it’s important). Just two days earlier, her successor Trish had sent her home under the guise of wanting to handle things on her own for practice while really helping Amanda Blum, Jonathan Kressaty, Derek Neighbors and pretty much everyone in Gangplank (sorry that I skipped over people, there are just too many to thank and I think those three were the gang leaders on this one) banded together to throw us a Wizard of Oz themed going away party, complete with Chandler Mayor Jay Tibshraeny declaring October 26, 2012 as Katie and Tyler Hurst Day in Chandler. We have a plaque and everything. There was a video and stuff, too.
(Whew, this is getting long)
Moving time, baby! After a painless last weekend and easy packing experience (props to Katie for making sure the boxes were ready to move into the truck and Kevin Wintersteen for supporting Katie with wine drinking and me emotionally), we spent the first Saturday in November finishing our loooooooooong (Phoenix to LA, LA to Sacramento, Sacramento to Ashland, Ashland to Portland) drive to our new home. Our new home that we had signed a lease on the Monday prior, after being reminded by Katie’s dad that we made just over the limit for our rent-controlled housing choice and to not acknowledge so would constitute fraud (to be fair, we signed the initial paper work before Katie’s new gig, so we never lied) and ended up picking a place right next to Reed College. It was more south than we would have liked, but it was clean, smelled great, had dishwasher and would accept us and the dog.
We unloaded Saturday afternoon (I’m strong like bull) and finishing unpacking Sunday. Sunday evening brought our first Sunday Dinner as Portland residents at Amanda Blum’s, and Katie started her new job our first Monday in town. I continued doing client work and training for the marathon I had planned the Sunday after Thanksgiving. At the end of the first week, while on my second to last long run before running 26.2 miles, disaster: I stepped on a sidewalk tree planter while zig-zagging between an obnoxious hugging couple oblivious to the rest of the sidewalk and a barking dog lunging so hard against a parked car’s window the vehicle shook.
Four months of training. Four months of before dawn rising. Four months of long runs up to 20 miles. Four runs of annoying everyone I know talking about running. While not wasted, I certainly was hoping those four months would lead to a successful marathon completion. By the time I made it home 2.2 miles later, I was fairly certain I was screwed. Sprained ankles don’t heal in under two weeks, and if mine started to swell or visibly bruise, I’d be screwed. And it did both. Marathon cancelled.
Thanksgiving week was spent with my buddy Don Crossland, who came up from L.A. to eat with my family and check out all the oysters places that were good between Seattle and Portland. We oystered up, drove back and forth from Kent to Portland twice, and had a blast. Katie was gone for Startup Weekend and a family visit from the Friday before until the Friday after turkey day.
Uh…I met with Skora a lot, scored some sweet new kicks, talked them into a project-based position with plans for more, researched offices with Si Robins, did rehab for my ankle, enjoyed a pleasant Christmas with my family and experience a prix fixe dinner in Seattle.
This is the part where I should wrap up with tales of all my plans for 2013, but I really don’t know what’s about to happen. I’m still a freelancer, but life’s more expensive up here and we’re not yet sure I’ll be able to garner enough clients to pay the bills. Katie’s gig is great, but she’s not yet making sugar mama money yet.
I’ve signed up for two races, signed a lease on an actual office, met people, wrote stuff, ran in the rain, fell in love with hard cider, realized that 99% of my problems with AZ were daily life stuff and now that I’m gone they don’t bother me (making it my top vacation destination FOR LIFE), stopped cutting my hair or trimming down my goatee, put the scooter up for sale to buy bicycles, and hoped beyond hope I will soon become the person I really want to be.
Thanks for reading. You’ve been great.