The 2012 List

I’ve done a list in lieu of a holiday card note (since we don’t send out holiday cards) for about 6 of the last 7 years. 2012 was a pretty intense year: Giants-49ers playoff game where Bubba and I negotiated 3-hour traffic jams in and out of the Stick while laughing the whole time. Bubba’s early nod from Tufts. Giants Superbowl win. Deep, deep playoff run by the Devils, shared with good friends. Two Phish shows, three Coheed shows, Rush in the Garden with Bubba and Seamus. Another full year in the networking business, where I’m finally understanding how the acronyms fit together to make the bits flow. Trip to Israel where we had a Qassam rocket alert, and spent many hours with our “new families” on both sides of the Atlantic. Celebrating the Jewish New Year in Aruba, with services on the beach. Looking forward to a noisy house for Thanksgiving. Erik knocking out two more full comics featuring the Amphibimen, giving life to 30 years of drawings.

With a long preamble, here’s a best of:

Family Moment: In the space of a week I rented a U-Haul van and drove it round trip to Philadelphia and Boston. Moving Elana into her sophomore apartment at Penn wasn’t nearly as hard as saying good-bye last year as a first-time college parent. But after settling Ben into his dorm at Tufts, I drove the empty truck home to our now empty nest. Somewhere on the Merritt Parkway the enormity of being the parents of two adult children settled over me, and I was profoundly, deeply sad. For about fifteen minutes, and then I was much more proud of what they’ve accomplished and who they have become, and how Toby has been the most amazing partner in all things as we got to this point. Empty nesting has been fun, and it’s made me cherish every single minute with the kids since I heard the lonely bungee cords rattling around back there.

Work Moment: The composition of a 6-hour United delay, 4 hours in the Paris airport, and a mildly sketchy cab ride through Berlin put me in front of a group of our systems engineers from EMEA so we could talk about software and networks. Product engineering is full of people with great ideas, but systems engineers create great ideas under the twin duresses of time and customer expectations. Despite leaving at 4:30am the next day, it was well worth the trip. Runner up: Interview with the Newark Star-Ledger at the ribbon-cutting for Juniper’s OpenLab facility in Bridgewater.

Reading: I truly enjoyed Greg Bardsley’s “Cash Out,” and Keith Richards’ “Life.” Cory Doctorow’s “Pirate Cinema” was a very close second, but I think John Scalzi’s “Redshirts” was the best book I read this year. Just when you think it’s over, it gets you with a head fake and punches you in the heart.

T-Shirt: A very nerdy Moog t-shirt with Robert Moog’s modulator patent screened on the front. It’s a conversation starter with musicians, electrical engineers and intellectual property lawyers, sometimes all at the same time.

Nerd Toy: Declaring a tie this year. I bought a Scanbox via their Kickstarter, and not only did it cement my belief that Kickstarter is the right funding model for a whole new grass roots economy of people who build real-world things, but it convinced me to deactivate my low-quality printer/scanner devices. Whether it’s expense reports, a drawing for a video conference, or even a toy, I use my Scanbox and iPhone to generate consistently high quality, well-lit scans. And it fits in my other favorite nerd toy of the year — a Gura bag. I learned about Gura from BorrowLenses, and it has made my travel life 300% easier. I stuffed a Chiba bag with the camera equipment insert, and I tuck in my Macbook, Kindle, iPod, puzzle book, magazines, work reading, and a plethora of cords, connectors and dongles. There are enough pockets to keep things sorted by activity – creating a work place, doing work, sharing work — and the bag fits perfectly under the seat in front of me (when it’s not expanded). When I need to take my camera gear with me, I unzip the bag and pop in the insert with two long lenses, a body and a prime lens: One bag holds everything with a comfortable shoulder strap.

Thoughts for 2013: More writing. Keep a reading log (see the updated header for my first stab at this). Go see a lot of live music (on tap: Joe Bonamassa, three Coheed and Cambria shows, maybe a 3-album Yes show, hoping for a 2nd leg to the Rush tour and of course a Phish summer run). Spend as much time with my friends as I can. Lose 20 pounds. Thanks to my work friend Linda, think about a good deed every day. Play more poker but fewer hands. Enjoy every second with my kids, no matter what we’re doing. And the most important – celebrate 25 years of being married to the most wonderful woman in the world.

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