Looking Back to 2018 and Forward to 2019

January 1, 2019
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So it’s the new year and I guess I’ll join the party with my end of year wrap-up. It’s been a big year for me and I’m excited about this next year.

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you might remember that I did this last year. My goals were a bit hit and miss. Some I did really well, and others I struggled. But I think that’s the nature of it all.

This year I turn 50 and I feel old. When I started this job at 16, I didn’t think I’d be doing it 34 years later, but here I am. And I’m still loving it. I still code almost every day, and continue to make courses. Here are some categories of my life.

The Year in Software Development

CodeThis year I’ve stayed in my lane working and teaching web development. This is the year I had to embrace WebPack, something I never thought I’d do. I still don’t like the completity of it all, but the Angular CLI and Vue CLI are both making that easier.

With the fast updates of ASP.NET Core 2.0-2.2, I’ve spent a lot of the year updating my Pluralsight courses and launching my own courses on Bootstrap and Vue.js.

My IDE of choice is still Visual Studio, but Visual Studio Code is coming up fast. I am amazed at how well Code has done. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a Mac doing work at a coffeeshop with Code running. I am not even sure they know it’s Microsoft.

Speaking of Microsoft, I’m amazed at how Microsoft has continued to stay on track with their open source commitments. I still think they were the right benefactors of Github and their decision to move Edge to Chromium I think is going to benefit others. I don’t buy the argument of lower competition because Edge had so few users (in the big picture) that it wasn’t really viable competition. Having more than one voice on the Chromium teams I think will help.

As some of you may know, it’ll be harder to see me this year as I’m taking a year off from conferences (except for local to Atlanta) to get my film complete. That means I’ll need to spend more time getting involved locally.

The Film

TimelineIt’s been a long year with the film, but it’s finally in post-production. We completed the fifty interviews we wanted to do and we’re cutting the film now. I found a great editor to work with and we’re slogging through the 100 hours or so of footage (and nearly four TB of video) to find the story I want to tell. This has been really enlightening and difficult. But I think we’ve found the right story now. We’re still planning to have it complete by October with film festivals in early 2020.

We are still looking for a couple of sponsors for the film, so if you think you’re company is interested, please contact me via the website:


My health is at it’s best state in a decade. No heart issues, no kidney stones, lowered my blood pressure medicine. But my weight continues to be a struggle. I’m down about 10 lbs over the year, but I’m still about 170 lbs overweight and I can’t continue to hang on to that at my age. I’m on a good food plan but I need to really commit this year to making exercise a priority. My plan to stay home all year will help. Consistency and routine is part of my plan to move to a workout five days a week to accellerate the weight loss and increase muscle mass. Wish me luck. I’ve appreciated all the encouragement!


VenomOk, on to the fun stuff. I’ve been deep into documentaries so some of the films might be ones you’ve missed. But here are some of the films and TV shows (either short series or movies) I’ve seen this year (not all films were released this year). I’d recommend these (in no particular order):

Narrative Films:

  • Black Panther: Best comic book movie I saw this year, and yes, you’ll see Avengers below.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Exactly what I wanted from this film. Broke my heart, made me giddy, but the real test is if they can pull off the 2nd movie.
  • Get Out: Part horror movie, part political commentary. Loved it.
  • Collateral: British series (on Netflix I think), so tightly written that I was surprised at every turn with compelling acting.
  • Dave Made a Maze: A film, almost surreal it’s its art direction, that was fun, funny and heartfelt.
  • Venom: An honestly fun comic book story. I’m a sucker for Tom Hardy’s acting, so this was a no brainer…in that I mean, the story is a little weak but the acting and fun of the character worked for me.
  • Coco: My favorite Pixar movie in a long time. This is up there with Toy Story and Wall-E. Great, surprisingly strong story and just beautiful.
  • Haunting of Hill House: While I didn’t love the ending, one of the best shot stories and compelling narrative. Not a horror series, but a thoughtful family story that involved horror.
  • The Discovery: While a little weak in it’s execution, acting was great with a compelling conceit. Recommended.
  • Old Man and a Gun: A missed delight with Robert Redford in one of the last films. A delightful true story about a gentleman bank robber.
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story: This film has gotten a lot of backlash, but like Venom I liked it. It wasn’t perfect, but Star Wars needed a good heist movie. Sure, a stupid way to get his name, but it’s way better than the prequels.
  • Bohemian Rhapsody: I wanted to love this. The acting was great, but I found the story too ‘made for TV’. I know the facts of Queen too much to buy into the convinient narrative of the third act. Too bad, the music was amazing.

Documentary Films

  • 42 Grams: Amazing doc about the creation of a restaurant and the personal costs of being so dedicated to one thing.
  • Three Identical Strangers: My favorite documentary of the year. Amazing story true story of three triplets split up at birth for an illegal socialology experiment.
  • Adjust Your Tracking: Another doc I loved. About collectors of arcane VHS tapes. Yes it’s as wierd as it sounds.
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor: A delightful look back at the life of Mr. Rogers with surprising honestly.
  • Mercury 13: A doc about the women astronauts that were trained to go into space and the scuttling of the project to make way for the Apollo astronauts. Awesome.
  • Impact After the Crash: Distrubing doc about a school bus crash. Focuses much more on the scars of the survivors and less on the details of the crash. Super well done.
  • Blue Siding: An odd doc about a woman’s fight against the vinyl siding industry. I know, sounds boring. But watch it. Compelling.
  • The Bleeding Edge: A film about the resistence to new medical tests if it cuts down on revenue. This film got me to get a test to see if my heart was health (good news).
  • RBG: Great look at the life of ‘Notorius RBG’ and her life commitment to the law and the rights of women. Recommended.
  • 32 Pills: A heart breaking film (HBO) about going through someone’s life after a suicide. Hard to watch but amazing.
  • Evil Genius: This series about a failed bank robery will leave you angry, it did me.


Fallout 75This has been a disappointing year in gaming for me. Not a lot new this year that caught me. In fact, I’ve spent more time playing old games than new games. Here are some games that I played (not necessarly new):

  • Skyrim VR: Best VR conversion yet. Made me think about Skyrim in a new light.
  • Fallout 76: A mess, but I’m still playing it. Fallout is still a universe I love and I think they’ll fix it (like No Man Sky did). I’m giving it my patience, but wait three months before you dive in.
  • Subnautica:
  • Gris: More experience than game. This beautiful side scroller is perfect for a long flight with your Switch.
  • Zelda: BOTW: Still haven’t finished it, but I’ve found 120 shrines and defeated three of the beasts. So i’ll finish it this year…probably.
  • Wreckfest: Remember when racing was fun? This game loves realistic damage physics and gives you cars that are meant to scratch paint. Even included demolition derbies. So Much Fun!
  • That Dragon Cancer: Not as much of a game as it is the telling of a family struggle in game form. Hard to experience, but worth the effort.


It’s been a great year. I’m hoping that 2019 is just as compelling. Hope yours is too!