My 2009

I was taking a moment to reflect on my past year, and thought it would be worth noting here, even if just to remind myself later, how the year went.

2009 was an important year for me primarily because it’s a year where I had some specific goals.  I had a list of things I wanted to change or accomplish.  And even though I knew I wouldn’t accomplish the entire list, I felt if I could accomplish some of these items, I would feel productive.

Sure enough, I accomplished some of my goals, and some have been left for this year.  And much like travel, half the fun in the goals is getting there.  Here are some of my personal highlights from 2009.

SXSW in Austin

SXSW has become my favorite thing to do all year.  SXSW is a film/music/interactive festival that takes place in Austin for about 10 days in the spring.  Austin has become my favorite U.S. city to visit, especially since I now live in Las Vegas, and the event is always a blast.

Even though I primarily go for the interactive section for work, my favorite part of the festival is the films.  On top of attending the world premiere of films like I Love You Man, Observe and Report, and Drag Me To Hell, I saw some great indie films like Pontypool, My Suicide, and Splinterheads.

The only downside of this year was that I screwed up on the schedule and missed seeing Bob Schneider in concert, and the showing of The Hurt Locker (I caught it in the theatre a couple months later, and it was awesome).

Built a School

One of my goals for 2009 was to really give back more.  So to that end, I donated enough money to build a school in Cambodia.  It’s a nice little school near Angkor Watt that will educate a couple hundred children per year.  I went through American Assistance for Cambodia to build the school, and I named it the Rev. Kenneth Shull school, after my grandfather.

I haven’t visited the school yet, but I’m arranging a trip with my son to check it out.

Took Classes at Harvard

One of my bigger regrets in life is that I didn’t finish college.  I had plenty of credits, but my lack of focus left me without a degree.  As I get older, I feel the need to work my brain more, and the idea of taking a couple classes sounded exactly like what I needed.  So I looked into a couple schools where I could flex my brain, and ended up deciding that I should just go to the best school in the country, so I took a couple classes at Harvard.

The classes were more challenging that I had imagined.  Although, I don’t know why I thought Harvard would be easy.  But in the end, it looks like I did get A’s, so I’m proud of myself.  I’m considering taking another couple classes this semester, but I’ also try to tackle other things, so I’ll have to think about it a little more.

Ate on Top of the Eiffel Tower

I had decided a couple years ago that I needed to travel more.  In that time I visited Costa Rica, Hong Kong and Macau.  This year I decided that it was time for my 15 year old son to travel a bit, and we decided on a short trip to London and Paris.

We did most of the things you’re supposed to do while in these cities, but I think the highlight was having an incredibly expensive lunch at the Jules Verne restaurant on top of the Eiffel Tower.  The view was obviously fantastic.  It was nice to spend a couple leisurely hours having a nice quiet lunch on the tower, as opposed to standing in a crowded line in the heat, waiting to get 5 minutes of the view.  Hopefully it was a memorable experience for my son as well.

Made More Money With Less Time

Making more money wasn’t a direct goal of 2009, but it’s never a bad thing.  One of the goals I did have was to try to get rid of some dead weight professionally, and towards the later part of the year that happened.  An ancillary effect was that my company became much more profitable, and after the initial hassle, my work load lightened up.

On top of that, a side project has started to show a lot more revenue potential than I had originally thought, which is pretty exciting as well.  2010 should be an interesting year not only financially, but in how I handle my professional life.

Saw Leonard Cohen Live

I’ve long been a huge Leonard Cohen fan, but I had thought I was born a few years too late to ever catch him in person.  Unfortunately for Mr. Cohen, his financial manager decided to be less than ethical, and left his client near broke.  I’m ashamed to say that this worked pretty well for me, as I finally got my chance to see Leonard Cohen live.

I contributed a bit to the retirement fund and was treated to three-hours of amazing music at Caesars Palace.  I was amazed at how much energy Cohen still has.  By far my favorite concert.

Went Deep Sea Fishing in Costa Rica

I’ll admit to not really being a fisherman.  I’ll even admit to not really knowing the first thing about fishing.  But I still wanted to catch a really big fish.  So this year I spent part of my birthday on a first class flight south, and did some deep sea fishing off the coast of Costa Rica.

I had visions of catching a huge Marlin and getting an awesome Facebook picture, but in the end I was quite happy with the nearly 30 pound Mahi Mahi.  Frankly, after experiencing that, I’m not sure I would have been able to handle pulling in a Marlin.  It’s a lot more work than I had imagined to reel in a large fish.  But it was well worth it, especially after the hotel was nice enough to cook up our fish for our dinner that night.  The best fish I ever had.

I will also admit to spending more time than I would have liked hanging over the side of the boat.  But I still had a good time and I’m glad I experienced it.  I’m considering buying a Tamarindo beach vacation condo.

Attended Opening Weekend at City Center

I have been watching City Center be built in Las Vegas for few years, so it was nice to be part of opening weekend.  I stayed at Aria and ate at a couple of the restaurants.  Overall, it was a bit underwhelming, but I’m still glad I got the experience of being a small part of such a big piece of the Las Vegas story.

Hopefully I’ll live long enough to watch them implode Aria, and I’ll bore my grandchildren with the stories about opening weekend.  And it was pretty cool to be the first person to stay in a hotel room.

A Quiet New Years

I spent my last few moments of 2009 in a suite at Mandalay Bay, and had dinner at Red Square.  It’s become a type of tradition for my girlfriend and I.  But this year we didn’t go to any concerts or events, we just hung out and watched some movies, which, once I got over the feeling that we should be doing something more exciting, was very nice.

Those were the major things of my 2009.  There were small little items like finally got rid of a lingering legal issue, and finally installed a real home theatre, but those are minor items and even more boring than I have already been in this post.  I am excited that Michael took his first college class this past semester, and did very well, but that’s more his 2009.

I did not hit all my goals.  My weight being the primary issue that is lingering.  So that one if going on the 2010 list.  I hope everyone accomplished what they wanted in 2009, and if not, there is always 2010.

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