It's that time of year again already! Here are some of the things I was up to in 2023. This year, with even more photos than in any post so far!
It's now been seven years since I started recording daily video clips with 1 Second Every Day! There are probably too many videos of me at Lake of the Isles or on my bike, but I went on lots of walks and rides, so what can I say. It's a good way to see a quick summary of a more notable activity each day, or something truly mundane if I forget to record something more exciting.
For the first time since 2020, I had the same job for the entire calendar year! I've been working at soona for a year and a half as a senior software engineer and truly enjoy it! During this year, I've migrated our bundler from Webpack to Vite, rebuilt our main application navigation twice, implemented an OAuth flow in Ruby on Rails, and even once fixed our database schema. I would not have believed you if you had told me that I would be fixing anything related to a database a year and a half ago. Since the summer, I've been going into the office about twice a week. It's been great to have a normal bike commute (6.5mi (ca. 10 km) each way), and to spend more time and socialize with my coworkers. I need to use my KN95 masks quickly somehow, right? 🤪
I've gotten much more comfortable with Ruby on Rails this year. It's been fun to expand my skills and write new kinds of code and request specs. I will always be a frontend developer at heart, but expanding out to writing some backend code every once in a while too is quite freeing. At the end of the year, I started working with TypeScript again, but in a NestJS API, and soon in Next.js and React applications. On top of the Vue code I've been writing a lot of in the last year and a half, I'm going to have a busy year next year with loads of different languages and frameworks all at the same time!
I finished my second year on the board for Streets.mn, and renewed for a second two-year term. My largest contribution this year was a website redesign. It's fun and slightly terrifying working on such a public-facing website. While it's not a huge site in terms of traffic, all things considered, it's much more public than anything I've worked on for my professional work. I'm also working on a post for our top-ten posts of the year, look out for that soon! Update, it's live!
Early this year I started volunteering with the MoveMN Minneapolis Volunteer Team. Our focus has been on the Lyndale Ave reconstruction in 2026, which is only a few blocks from where I live. Check out our Livable Lyndale work, we'd love for you to sign our pledge for a redesign that centers on people!
I had downward trends in terms of watching movies and TV this year. This is probably due to me being more busy doing things around town, watching more YouTube, and a general increase in time-wasting on the Internet.
I watched 16 movies this year, nearly half that of last year. I rewatched a 2022 favorite, RRR. For Barbenheimer, I saw Barbie on opening night, and Oppenheimer four days later, both great, but very different! The Marvels was really fun, and I'm really not sure why it wasn't more popular. Finally, I really enjoyed The Creator. It's a medium/large budget sci-fi movie that has great production design, and a compelling story.
I'm two years into a downward trend of TV watching. I'm behind on several shows that have aired a new season, I really need to get on that.
A top show I watched this year was Severance! I was a bit late to watching this 2022 show, but it was a great first season and cannot wait to see where they take the show for season 2 in 2024.
I just finished watching season 2 of What If…?, and absolutely loved the S02E06 episode, What If... Kahhori Reshaped the World?, which about a Mohawk woman getting powers from the Forbidden Lake. She is an original new character, and it is a fantastic origin story, I highly recommend watching it!
Okay, Star Trek time. I started watching Star Trek: Voyager this year, and am almost done with season 2, watching at most an episode or two a week. This show really is just so good right from the beginning (and I heard it gets even better in the later seasons), in a way that Star Trek: The Next Generation took several seasons to get to. Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Star Trek: Lower Decks are both truly top-tier shows and pretty much every episode is a banger. Star Trek: Picard season 3 was a great nostalgic wrap-up to the series.
I'm also really excited for Doctor Who again. The three specials with David Tennant and Catherine Tate were a fun nostalgia run. I'm most excited for Ncuti Gatwa to play the 15th Doctor, and loved the Christmas special that was his first full episode.
You can see what I'm watching in real time by following me on Trakt.
The 2023 Complete List of Shows I Watched
- Doctor Who
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
- Saturday Night Live
- Secret Invasion
- Sex Education
- Star Trek: Lower Decks
- Star Trek: Picard
- Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
- Ted Lasso
- The Peripheral
- What If…?
I think I listened to something in the realm of 80,000 minutes of music this year (according to Spotify Wrapped and Apple Music data), maybe 10,000 minutes less than last year. Big themes this year included genres like big room techno, melbourne bounce, drum and bass, hip-hop, some wubz, and just a lot of other electronic music. Check out my Last.fm artists page for my list of top artists for the year. I'm happy to see Will Sparks and Joel Fletcher as my top two artists, of which I've listened to for ten and nine years, respectfully.
Phew, was 2023 an epic return to going to shows! In August saw Luude and was at the front for the entire show with no breaks for an awesome night of drum and bass music. In September, I saw CloZee for the third time, and wow was it a good show! For October, I saw Apashe and his eight person brass orchestra. It was such a cool show and a fantastic blend of electronic and live music, one of my favorite shows. In November, I saw TroyBoi for the second time (he was my first show back in 2015), good to get back to the roots. Finally, in December I saw LSDREAM at The Armory. The scale of that show was next level, and it was a great set and openers. To finish out the year, I went to a Mechanix show to see some midwest drum and bass DJs, including a friend, DJ Dev!
I already bought a ticket to see Timmy Trumpet, Will Sparks, and Restricted at Skyway Theater in early April 2024. I cannot wait, I know and actually want to see everyone on the lineup ahead of time!
Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, that's all. An Apple TV+ show is in the works too. I bought a Kindle recently, I hope that will help make it a little more easy and convenient to read some more. I read a couple of non-fiction books this year too, but the list grows much faster than I read (very slowly).
After years of basically red-lining most of North and Northeast Minneapolis, I finally made a start and some progress on exploring those areas! I use the website Wandrer (requires an account to view) to import my Strava bike rides and track progress. I have a goal to bike nearly every street in the city, and I've gotten to 72.92% complete with 926.4 miles (ca. 1,491 km) by bike out of 1270.4 total miles (ca. 2,441 km), at the time of this writing. I didn't make as much progress this year as I have in the couple of years past, at 7.66% additional coverage. However, I've traveled along most of the streets on my normal routes through the city, so it takes more effort now.
Beyond biking, I use the app Fog of World to track everywhere I've been at all (since spring 2014). Partway through the year I used a tool to edit out all of my exploration from an airplane. However, in order to have a nice comparison, I wasn't able to take a screenshot of both the old and new data on my iPad without losing the map placement. So, you'll have to wait for next year to see a sweet plane-free map.
As my main form of transportation, commuting, and recreation, I biked a lot and sometimes feel like my life revolves around it. 😅 According to my Strava profile, I rode 3,327 mi (ca. 5,354 km) this year, my most in a year yet, beating my goal of 3,000 mi (ca. 4,828 km). My longest ride of the year was the Fulton Medio Fondo, where I rode just about 68 mi (ca. 109 km). I did a few social sporty rides with some local race teams in April and May, but got busy with summer activities and mostly commuted or biked with friends for the rest of the year.
I triple downed my love for All-City bikes and bought two more bikes this year (joining my commuter bike, an All-City Super Professional I bought last year). RIP to All-City, which will be closing down soon. In May, I bought myself an All-City Nature Cross Single Speed, naming it "Flamin' Hot SS" because just look at that frame color! 😍 This bike is so lightweight (pretty good quality steel frame and a carbon fiber fork) and fun to zip around. I plan to install a larger chainring on it next year in order to go a little faster without spinning so fast. I'd like to try riding some single track or gravel with it before I gear it up higher too.
Fast-forward to August and I saw a listing for a used All-City Gorilla Monsoon on the local used bikes Facebook Group. I had been wanting to eventually replace my winter bike with one that I actually enjoy riding, and this bike fit nearly everything I was looking for. I biked to meet the owner and got caught in a torrential rain and hail storm while biking to the meeting point, but I made it and still bought the bike! In the following months, I got front and rear racks, some wide fenders, and a dynamo hub and lights installed. I'm ready winter!! (I say this as it's currently 54℉ (ca. 12 ℃) and raining outside here as I write this in late December).
I have now finished spending all the money I got from selling my car in the fall of 2021, on bikes!
I try to only use my PTO to travel, and I was able to take several trips this year!
I started the year off while on a trip to Japan, having left early on December 26th, 2022, and staying for nearly two weeks. I spent a lot of time in Tokyo, but also visited Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe. It was a fantastic trip with absolutely delicious food, wonderful sights, really cool architecture, and incredible rail transit. The sheer size and density of the Tokyo metro area is mind-boggling, but it works and the transit is world-class. I travelled with a friend of mine who lived in Japan many years ago, which helped get by with my total lack of any Japanese language skills. We stayed in hostels, a friend's apartment, and a capsule hotel.
During the winter, I purchased an Indy Pass and spent many weekends downhill skiing. Shout out to my good friend Resa for dealing with me not having a car, and driving every time! This year, I went to Spirit Mountain in Duluth, MN, Buck Hill in Burnsville, MN, Lutsen Mountains Ski Resort in Lutsen, MN, Trollhaugen in Dresser, WI, Granite Peak in Wausau, WI, and Welch Village in Welch, MN.
Watch out 2024, I'm coming back to the real mountains!
Nearly every weekend had a weekend trip when I biked everywhere, but some weekends went further.
In June, I took my first US inter-city bus trip (other than college organized bus) to Madison, Wisconsin and visited with some friends (we all worked at Concordia Language Villages together ten years ago). We spent two days in Door County, camping at Potawatomi State Park. It was fun to hang out together as a group for the first time in five years and finally get to Door County! Shout out to Young Blood Beer Co. in Madison for having some fantastic sour beers.
Over Labor Day weekend, I biked to St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park with some friends and camped for three nights. A few friends met us and drove cars, so we were well equipped and could make some food runs for ice and ice cream over the super hot weekend. I think it reached just about 100℉ (ca. 38 ℃) on one day, and in the 90s℉ every other day. We made some bike day trips to Point Douglas Beach and Afton State Park. It was my first time camping with a large group since I was a kid in Boy Scouts, it was a fun time, even with the heat!
This October, I joined my parents and sister for a family trip to Maui, Hawaii. We stayed in a condo in Kihei and went to several beaches, went snorkeling, hiked at the top of Haleakalā in the National Park, biked down Haleakalā, and drove through the rainforest on the road to Hana. We arrived only a couple of months after the Maui fires and while we avoided the western part of the island, saw fire damage in the highlands, and people and messaging all over showing support for the victims. It was a fun trip, and I stand by my desire to travel in the spring and fall during off seasons. Maui truly had everything: beaches, volcanoes, rainforests, deserts, and the varying weather that comes with a towering mountain in the middle of the island. I only got a bit sunburnt like three times. 😅
This spring, my 97-year-old grandfather, Otto passed away. Just a couple of weeks earlier, he and my grandmother celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. He was a wonderful person, and I'm so glad to have been able to spend as much time with him as I was able to.
This late fall, a friend of mine (and coworker from a few years ago), Neil passed away unexpectedly. He was just 32 years old. The celebration of life ceremony his family and friends put together was a beautiful tribute to him. I miss him and the joy he brought to the world.
In less serious losses, a few of my favorite businesses closed this year. This fall, just a few blocks from my apartment, Fire & Nice Alehouse closed. It was a favorite meetup spot amongst friends after urbanist gatherings and bike rides for pizza and beer. East lake Brewing, formerly located in the Midtown Global Market, also closed this fall. It was a great meeting point for friends and other groups to gather for a beer coming from all over the city, with ample food options too. Finally, The Hub Bike Coop on Minnehaha Ave closed. It was such a good bike shop location not far from the Midtown Greenway, with a good selection of bikes, service, accessories, and do-it-yourself stations. They've shrunk from three locations a few years ago, to just one left, on Oak Street at the University of Minnesota.
- After disassembling a 14" iBook with a friend in 2008, I finally got around to turning the lid of the laptop into a wall light! The white plastic was partially opaque, so I added sticky aluminum tape to block out the light.
- It was a smokey summer in Minneapolis, and I probably lost a few days of my life by biking in ~250 AQI air (with two masks).
- I created a small but more design heavy landing page, https://projects.brianm.me.
- I did not drive a car at all this year.
- I've become an even bigger fan of Chrome Industries, they just make the best bags and urban/biking clothing! I love my Kadet Sling Bag and Southside 3.0 Sneakers that I bought this year.
- I will be 30 years old in less than two months. 😳
- After accidentally sitting on and breaking my nice pair of sunglasses, I went overboard and bought seven pairs of goodr sunglasses. They're just cheap enough and have such a variety of styles and colors that I couldn't resist.
- I went to three karaoke parties, including one at work!
- I bowled 35 games of bowling this year, with an average of 120 points. I just got a new pair of bowling shoes, maybe that will help improve my game some more 🤞🏻
You made it to the end! Here are some more fun photos from photo shoots at work this year.