In Review: My Summer (Q3) 2017

What this is: Every “semester” (now a quarter in my post-grad life), I sit down to reflect on what I’ve accomplished and compare that to what I originally set out to do. I’ve found that this helps me be mindful of my current and preferred state of self and intentional in their revision. In addition, these reviews provide an opportunity to share what I’ve been up to with my network, you. Cause sharing is caring, y’all.

Meta: Shifting Reflection Focus

Over time, my reflections have grown from a short summary of featured facets of my life (like the 7-minute read on my summer of 2015) to deep dives into each of my endeavors and their relation to the human condition (like the 20-minute reads on my spring 2016 and my spring 2017). While I do love philosophizing, especially in verbose, ranty trains, I’ve come to realize that these reflections aren’t always the best place for them, detracting both from my goals for these posts and my goals for myself through these posts.

Instead of a way to look back and reflect on the things that I’ve done throughout the semester, recent reflections have become the thing I did in the semester. This isn’t necessarily bad, but I want more for myself. I want to see more, do more, and accomplish more. Writing cool posts every few months just doesn’t cut it.

So, moving forward (and I guess presently), these posts will be more of a shallow review of what I’ve done, with links to the actual creations should you find your interest piqued. This will hopefully allow, and perhaps force, me to focus more time and effort on my other creations, leading to larger and more thoughtful results.

Well, here I go ranting again. On to the review:

Adventure

Goal: Keep exploring. Take advantage of the warm weather as much as possible.

One of my goals this summer was to take advantage of the warm weather, my control over my schedule, and my new-found buying power to see and do things I’d never done before. Cause I’m young and I can and YOLO and what not.

And take advantage, I did.

Of the ~15 weekends between the posting of my spring reflection and the expected publish date of this review, I traveled for 8 of them. That means I was elsewhere a whopping ~53.3% of the weekends afforded to me. It’s still hard for me to believe, but I heard somewhere that seeing is believing, so here you go:

See Stephen? Proof that pie charts are good for something.

This quarter, I flew across the country twice, went to two music festivals (and quite a few more shows), and even made time to fly back home for Yom Kippur.

Oh, the places you’ll go

Happy Forest!
  • Michigan (Electric Forest): First time in Michigan, first time at Electric Forest, first time sleeping in a car in a thunderstorm, first time paying for a shower, first time eating spicy pie, first time at a school bus party, first time having a tent to myself…
No cheese steaks were had.
  • Philadelphia (Parent’s Day! ): First time bringing parents to work, first time going to Philly, first time seeing the liberty bell, first time Phoenix took a picture of me, first time getting a speeding ticket (at 8 am, going 33 in a 25), first time talking to a minute man, first time seeing a real live Benjamin on a real dead Benjamin…
  • New York (Work and play): First time in Bushwick, first time at The Whitney, first time at APT’s NYC office, first time riding Amtrak, first time in the Google office, first time walking from Bushwick to Smorgasburg, first time saving Halal Guys for later, first time using Via…
  • Seattle (Pretty Lights and friends): First time in Seattle without an interview, first time seeing Pretty Lights, first time at the Gorge, first time at the Gum Wall, first time eating at Biscuit Bitch, first time in a hostel on the west coast, first time meeting Tiny Riddle Master, first time at their library (super awesome)…
  • Los Angeles (Ty’s Bachelor Party!): First time in LA, first time eating multiple poke bowls in the same day, first time taking a pic with the Hollywood sign (outside of GTA), first west coast sticker premier, first time bitten by bed bugs, first time realizing LA is ginormous…
  • Atlanta (Recruiting): First time recruiting, first time at Mercedes-Benz, first time celebrating Arthur Blank’s birthday, first time at Caffeine and Octane, first time getting a chef’s business card, first time at MoDA, first time eating Sublime doughnuts, first time at Tech’s Panda Express…
Band name TBD.
  • Atlanta (Ty and Jen got married!): First time a best friend has gotten married, first time as a groomsmen, first time playing Monikers, first time winning Monikers, first time staying in an American Horror Story house, first time being a ghost, first time Milly Rocking, first time blowing up a wedding ring…
  • Atlanta (Homecoming): First time at Ladybird, first time at a soccer playoff game, first time at Six Feet Under…

I know everybody likes numbers, so let’s crunch some and see how far I actually traveled.

Miles Traveled this Quarter* = 14,710 miles
= ((DC ->Rothbury, MI)713 miles * 2) + 
((DC->Philadelphia, PA)147 miles * 2) + 
((DC->NYC, NY)234 miles * 2) + 
((DC->Seattle, WA)2,320 miles * 2) + 
((DC->Los Angeles, CA)2,300 miles * 2) + 
((DC->Atlanta, GA)547 miles * 6) 
= 14,710 miles

*Mile values taken from webflyer.com (for flights) and Google Maps (for drives).

Miles Traveled for Job Search = 14,621.5 miles (as calculated in my Fall 2016 review)

Circumference of the Earth = 24,901 miles

Surprisingly, I actually traveled a little further this quarter than I did for my recruiting trips last fall. So I guess you could say I’ve traveled halfway around the world for both (~58.7%) work and (~59.1%) play. #gogetter #flightsareexpensive #thisiswhereallmymoneysgone

But I wasn’t just a visitor to far off lands, in what remained (~46.7%) of my weekends I took the opportunity to explore more of DC and continue to cultivate my still-nascent hosting skills. As for how I did, you’ll have to check my Yelp score.

Disclaimer: Boat not ours.
  • DC (I live here): First time seeing the declaration of independence, first time getting yelled at for taking pictures in the National Archives, first time going to a (literal) underground rave, first time going to a Meetup, first time (successfully) crockpotting…

As for my guests, they had some rather pleasant experiences:

Phoenix couldn’t figure out why no one else had their name on a banner.

And some rather questionable ones:

Projects

Goal: Make. Then make some more. Then continue making.

Photography (Insta: SIRHAMY.IMG)

In the spring of 2016, I created an Instagram account to serve as an outlet for my photography. I’d been taking more and more photos and the thought of having them sit on my phone, never to see the light of day, bothered me. It bothered me significantly less to post said pictures on the interwebs and then have them sit there, never to be seen. I figured my efforts might not end up doing anything for me, but the potential to do so was better than naught at all.

To date, I’ve posted ~450 photos to that account. Over time, it’s slowly become focused on street art, particularly public murals and stickers. Nowadays, I try to post one picture every weekday, usually when I’m bored or on the porcelain throne.

Free stickers and/or at-cost canvas for first person to get the patterns I (intentionally) bestowed. There be 2.

New posts in Q3 = 80
= Posts at end of Q3 — Posts at end of Q2 = 436–356 = 80

New followers in Q3 = 86
= Followers at end of Q3 — Followers at end of Q2 = 208–122 = 86

Followers / Post (all-time) = 0.48
= Followers at end of Q3 / Posts at end of Q3 = 208 / 436= 0.477

Followers / Post (Q3) = 1.08
= New posts in Q3 / New followers in Q3 = 80 / 86 = 1.075

In the News:
* These Are The Most Instagram-Worthy DC Murals From Pow! Wow!

Digital/Street Art (Insta: SIRHAMY.MAKE)

In addition to my passion for capturing art in the wild, I’ve been cultivating my passion for releasing it. Earlier this year, I created, produced, and released my first pieces of public art in the form of stickers.

This quarter, my first sticker design has popped up in several cities around the U.S. (the high correlation between these sightings and my own itinerary of adventure is not lost on me). I leave the task of locating these points (Pokemon Go-style) as an exercise for the reader.

There seems to be a pattern here…

In the past few months, I’ve bolstered my sticker arsenal with a piece I’ve been loosely referring to as TrumpKu and have been experimenting with other forms of print.

Stickers and canvases are for sale and can probably ship worldwide. DM for inquiries.

Self

Goal: Focus on being a good team member and improving as a software engineer.

Professional

My goal for self-growth this quarter was primarily focused on my professional life. While I do believe that I’ve improved as an engineer, my growth hasn’t been as robust as I’d hoped, hindered by the amount of time and effort allocated towards other things (namely travel).

My hope is that a winter of routine (and staying inside) will help get me back on track.

Reading

I failed to stick to my ideal pattern of one “fun” book for every “growth” one this quarter, but I did get back in the habit of reading daily, which is something I’d been struggling with for the past year or so.

Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

Books Read = 2

That’s not fog. That’s smoke.

Running

I had high hopes to get back in running shape and join a club this summer, but I suffered a stress injury back in May that prevented me from doing so. The injury kept me from running for more than a few minutes at a time without acute knee pain until early September. My guess is that the extended duration of my injury was, in large part, due to my increasingly sedentary lifestyle and refusal to actively pursue treatment.

In hindsight, failure to take an active role in my recovery was a poor decision but there’s not much I can do about it now, save get back on the horse (or the hop for you Vikings) and take greater preventative measures in the future.

Total miles run = 54.06 miles

Misc.

  • Created monthly budget. Played around with Mint, GoodBudget, and You Need a Budget. YNAB is my go-to for now.
  • Got car and rental insurance.
  • Signed up for benefits.

Connection

Goal: Continue growing network, especially outside of work.

My efforts to grow my network this quarter were thwarted on several fronts. For running clubs, I didn’t run. For meetups around the city, I wasn’t in the city.

But it’s not all bad. I was able to reconnect with a bunch of peeps during my travels and my work network is still going strong. In the coming months, I plan to attend events put on by some local running, coding, and art groups to better gauge how I want to allocate my time.

Goals

My summer was full of adventure and I was able to make some good progress on my side projects, but I’m now looking forward to a winter in DC, cold weather and all.

  • Projects: Write more code, continue to productionalize art. I’ve been writing a lot of code at work, but haven’t been writing much for myself. Writing for yourself allows you to approach different problems in different ways and can be a great way to broaden and deepen your understanding of software and development in general. In the next few months, I plan to redesign and rebuild my website with a focus on publicizing my projects and build the scaffolding for a tool that will help me be even more mindful of what’s happening in my life. More deets to come.
  • Self: Build and maintain a healthy, sustainable lifestyle. “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” I didn’t come up with that, but the more and more I do this thing called life, the more and more I appreciate the message. I want a lot for myself, but there are a finite number of resources to go around — time, money, effort, HAMYs. Thus, instead of just focusing on the production side of the equation, I need to be aware of the consumption side. I expect that this will be a very long-running endeavor, one that won’t ever truly finish, but I want to hit some of the big pain-points early on in order to reap the rewards ASAP. My initial audits will focus on my money flows, my health (food, exercise, doctors), and my routines, particularly wrt necessary chores (cooking, cleaning, maintenance).
  • Connection: Expand network in areas of creative pursuit. Code, startups, art, maybe even some winter running clubs for motivation.
  • Adventure: Take advantage of a winter at home. Explore the music halls, go to art galleries, and explore new bar districts. Go to a theater, see a show, play in the snow. There’s a lot to see and do in DC and I’m told the winter tends to make people hibernate. While many of my goals assume that I’ll be doing the same (though working, not sleeping), I think it’s a great opportunity to explore without the crowds.

Fin.