Year in review - 2013

Now that 2013 is pulling to a close I feel the pull that anyone who has ever set pen to paper (metaphorically, in this case) feels now - the thick, crushing desire to “bang out” a top 10 Greatest Hits list before retreating sleepily back into the embrace of a thick holiday sweater for a few weeks’ hibernation. I had a great time in 2013 - got SUPER married to the love of my life, participated in Twitter’s IPO and then moved into a fulltime Software Engineer role while finishing a set of Stanford graduate CS courses. Busy year.

Twitter, naturally, was a common theme. It’s where I participated in and documented many of the significant parts of my year. Of course, many of my friends don’t use or even understand the service, so to them I’ve dropped off the face of the planet. Inspired by the great 2013.twitter.com retrospective, I thought I’d put together some of my notable moments into a smörgåsbord for those friends to feast upon.

My personal highlights, along with those listed above, have a certain diversity. I documented crafting Steph’s wedding ring and some of the design work we put into each other’s bands. A Tweet of mine caused our branding team to reach out to change Boar’s Head sandwich wrapping paper. An email I sent almost 8 years ago finally reached its destination. My first-ever restaurant reservation via Tweet happened. I got arrested and also Tweeted a LOT about food.

I participated in two 48-hour game competitions, one where I made something cool and one where I did not. My “something cool” was a little game called Moonshot which ranked #89 in Fun for Ludum Dare 26!

On Halloween, made a tribute to Adventure Time, a fantastic show I discovered during the year. I found this piece of shit pumpkin too. Speaking of terrible things, I totally RUINED recycling for everyone as well as any dignity my legacy might have had.

I also experienced a ton of interesting, infuriating, silly, and insightful content. While certainly not comprehensive, here are some of the accounts I’d like to highlight:

@SirPatStew

Sir Patrick Stewart. He’s just the best. I mean, we share a birthday and almost a wedding anniversary (just one day off!) He helped ring the bell at Twitter’s IPO:

He had the best Halloween costume ever and hung out with Sir Ian McKellan a lot. He documented his first NY “slice” and just generally made me laugh. Looking at Patrick Stewart’s Twitter stream is like finding a hidden facet of someone who I always thought was this stoic Shakespearean actor. I presumed Stewart was like Alec Guinness and probably hated being best known for his work in popular Sci-Fi. Instead, there’s this incredibly warm, hilarious man just having an amazing time living his life and doing what he loves to do. His spirit is infectious too - I always have a good day if I see Patrick Stewart tweeting from a ball pit, or a pizza parlor, or a tub while dressed as a lobster, etc.

@Cmdr_Hadfield

Commander Chris Hadfield. With a very good lens and the very best vantage point possible, Canadian astronaut Hadfield dropped regular Tweets containing pictures taken from the International Space Station this year. Adding sparse yet beautiful insight into why he admired each picture, his feed is one of my favorites ever. The images, whether of massive geologic structures, graceful river patterns, wrinkled brown earth, whorls in clouds over the Pacific, the Mother Earthbrain, outback smears, or ice cube farms are such a stunning and personal view of the world.

@ebertchicago

I mourned the passing of Roger Ebert in 2013. I even had a post titled “Interesting Tweeters - Roger Ebert” in my drafts folder, where I had sketched out a few ideas celebrating his weekly Netflix recommendations. They were simple things and the movies weren’t always great, but I had been putting off Bellflower for months until this Tweet prompted me to go out of my way to watch it. Something about his “hey, take the time to go enjoy a movie, it doesn’t have to be a lasting work of high art” style was really an inspiring way to approach Twitter, especially coming from a respected film critic.

Nobody can take Ebert’s place. For a while there it looked like Mark Duplass of all people would get into a Netflix recommendation habit, but he only posts time to time. Outlaw Vern is also on Twitter, and his reviews are always good for finding the gems in movies I would have otherwise written off. But I truly miss Ebert’s regular reminders that once in a while you just need to sit back and enjoy a movie (which just so happens to be available right away on Netflix).

One additional thing - when he passed, Salon’s reposting of I do not fear death turned out to be one of the most significant pieces of writing I read all year. It is haunting and frank and beautiful and brave. It stays with me today and will probably do so until I too die.

@PatrickRothfuss, or @Pat_Rothfuss, or was it @NotPatRothfuss

I purchased The Name of the Wind a few years ago to keep Steph entertained while I was away on vacation. It was the first in a series by a relatively unknown (at least to me) author named Patrick Rothfuss, and came well recommended by others on the internet. Steph wound up blowing through the book right away and made me read it when I got back. The book, filled with an expansive plot, an intuitive magic system, and beautifully written characters is now one of our favorites. We’ve been happy to see Patrick Rothfuss grow in popularity, even founding a celebrity author backed nonprofit named Worldbuilders.

Authors are some of my favorite people to follow on Twitter. While there were some high-profile sign-ups in 2013 such as Stephen King and Malcolm Gladwell, Patrick certainly had the most unique take on joining the service, creating 6 Twitter accounts and a contest for followers to guess which was staffed by the real Patrick Rothfuss. Watching the accounts play off of each other was amazing to watch, and it turned out that one of the fake accounts was convincing enough to win the popular vote as well as get itself “Verified” halfway through (a damning indictment of just how broken Twitter’s Verified Account system is). Luckily the real Patrick Rothfuss account is almost as interesting to follow as the fake!

In conclusion:

2013 held a lot of promise at the start of the year and managed to deliver on pretty much all of it. I also got to see a lot of interesting shit go down on Twitter. So on a personal level I feel completely set up to face a whole new set of goals and challenges in 2014. I feel impossibly blessed to have had such a good year and want to thank my family, friends, coworkers and other interested parties for the fantastic time. With that I’ll wish you a Happy New Year, crawl back into my sweater, and leave with two sentiments from two thousand thirteen:

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