2013 was a year of great change (well, I changed jobs and started a business, but for someone that spent 14 years at his first job out of college, that qualifies as a “great change”). If I had to classify 2014, I’d have to say it was one of the best years I’ve had in a while. It was the year I started a serious running regimen and ran my first half-marathon. It was the year I started a podcast. It was the year I started archiving old user group newsletters on the Internet Archive. (On the downside, I lost both a cousin and a neighbor to cancer.) Of course, this is strictly on a personal level; at a nation and world-level, ish was pretty awful this year.

Here’s a look back at my year with unimportant events mixed in with unimportant events. A few pictures are thrown in. Some links. Etc. Thanks to ThinkUp for making it particularly easy to find content to include in this post.

(Previous years-in-review collected here.)

The Year, By Month


  • First (non-RT) tweet of the year: “Fans of the Daily Ping, rejoice! @paulmcaleer and I are happy to announce the launch of the Yearly Ping – http://yearlyping.com/”
  • We enter the 21st century with a new HDTV
  • The Sears TV stand saga begins


  • My cousin Carolyn passes away after a battle with cancer
  • 18ish inches of snow
  • Sears TV stand saga nearly ends


  • Apparently, nothing happened.


  • Apartment complex right by my work burns in a three-alarm fire
  • Met up with Arquay at MWC, our old stomping grounds
  • The podcast launches
  • Ramsey turns two. Birthday party is a combo train/flip-flop party.


  • Easy Star in Leesburg!
  • Apple is a jerk
  • 11th Poplar Spring 5k
  • Found a dog in Medford, kept him for the night, found his people the next morning


  • Rasine’s softball team wins their division’s championship
  • Ramsey does his Tall Man impression
  • Caught two flies humping
  • Ramsey makes his Washington Post debut
  • Started the second half of the year off by stepping up my running routine big time
  • Ran a good Race for Independence 8k (7:50/mile pace)

Ramsey in the paper


  • Hit the batting cages with Alex and Rob for the first time in years. Got an enormous blister.
  • Helped a turtle that was on his back


  • I get an e-mail from a third cousin that found me via a DNA match on 23andme. We’ve been in close touch since fleshing out our family tree!
  • Family trip to Smith Mountain Lake
  • Family trip to Lancaster, PA and Dutch Wonderland
  • Ran 13 miles and felt like I’d run into a brick wall by the end


  • Our neighbor Ron passes away after a long fight with brain cancer.


  • Ran my first half-marathon, the Freedom’s Run, which goes through the battlefields of Antietam. I finished in just under 1:57 (the official time was a bit off since it was gun time and not chip time). Ran it with middle school friend Tara and Loudoun Veg friend Sue.
  • The Bing Maps street view camera caught a shot of me walking at lunchtime. When they came back around, I mugged for them with the full-on gunshot finger points, but sadly that image did not get captured.
  • Ten years vegan!
  • My last birthday before turning 40.
  • 2nd Annual Vegan Food Stamp Challenge
  • Bitten by a dog while running.
  • Halloween: Rasine – Warrior Cat, Ramsey – Babymetal

Freedom's Run finish
Freedom's Run with Tara and Sue


  • Rasine in the Washington Post
  • Family trip to NYC for Thanksgiving
  • 10-minute catch-up with high school friend Dave one-year-and-a-day after our last meeting


  • Got called for jury duty, but was sent home after someone key to the case didn’t show up.
  • Rasine and her softball team make the Loudoun Times-Mirror

Shepp & Santa Paws

Favorite Picture of the Year


(courtesy of Deb Durant)


Based solely on the folks I RIP’ed on Twitter (or FB). People I knew personally in bold. Dates are when I tweeted, not the actual death date.

  • 1/10: Rynn Berry
  • 1/12: Sam Berns
  • 2/5: My cousin Carolyn
  • 2/17: Wayne Smith
  • 3/6: Geoff Edwards
  • 3/6: Edith Kramer
  • 4/15: Rocky the Goat at Poplar Spring
  • 6/2: Yuri Kochiyama
  • 7/30: David Middlesworth
  • 9/7: Ron Leoni
  • 11/14: RA Montgomery

Media Consumption in Numbers

Books finished: 21
Movies watched: 83
Songs listened to: 17,737

Books I Finished Reading

This year my goal was to finish Jan Potocki’s The Manuscript Found in Saragossa after having false-started a half-dozen times in the last ten years. Success! Finished the year out with three books tied in some way to death or dying. For those in the midst of dealing with it (or just looking to think about it after avoiding it), Being With Dying and Being Mortal are highly recommended and compliment each other nicely.

Listed in order finished.

  • A Straight Road with 99 Curves: Coming of Age on the Path of Zen
    by Gregory Shepherd
  • Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac (From Works of Eugene Field Vol VII)
    by Eugene Field
  • Confessions of a Mask
    by Yukio Mishima
  • The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad
    by Adam Gnade (zine)
  • A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power
    by Jimmy Carter
  • 33 Revolutions per Minute: A History of Protest Songs, from Billie Holiday to Green Day
    by Dorian Lynskey
  • Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men
    by Mara Hvistendahl
  • The Late Starters Orchestra
    by Ari L. Goldman
  • The River of Souls
    by Robert McCammon
  • Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece
    by Ashley Kahn
  • The Manuscript Found in Saragossa
    by Jan Potocki
  • The Fun Parts
    by Sam Lipsyte
  • The Dhammapada: A New Translation of the Buddhist Classic with Annotations translated by Gil Fronsdal
  • The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances
    by Matthew Inman
  • Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage: A novel
    by Haruki Murakami
  • The New Kings of Nonfiction
    by Ira Glass
  • Death of a King: The Real Story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Final Year
    by Tavis Smiley (with David Ritz)
  • Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death
    by Joan Halifax
  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
    by Atul Gawande
  • Nine Horses: Poems
    by Billy Collins
  • Rashomon and Other Stories
    by Ryunosuke Akutagawa

Total number of books finished: 21 (three fewer than 2013)

Books re-read: 0

Books written by someone I know or have at least spoken more than a sentence to: 1

Physical / Ebooks (incl. Kindle Singles) finished:
Fiction / Nonfiction / Poetry:
Buddhism / Music / Death (Buddhism & Death overlap by one book):

Books in progress at the end of the year: 2

Movies I Watched and Re-watched

I declared 2014 the Year of Argento, with a goal of watching all of Argento’s films (mostly) in order. I got just about halfway there and will continue the effort (which will surely get more difficult as I venture into his significantly less interesting later years).

Discovered a new favorite director this year in Krzysztof Kieślowski. Absolutely loved his Three Colors trilogy and got started on his Decalogue series. As usual, I didn’t see too many films from this year, but the ones I did see I really enjoyed (Birdman, Grand Budapest Hotel, Big Hero 6).

Listed in order watched.

Number of movies: 83

Number of those movies I’d already seen: 22

Average year: 1994

Average rating: 3.73

… more fun stuff at Letterboxd