April 18, 2011

In 2006 I had the good fortune to pick an apartment that's a 20-minute walk from every building I've worked at in Seattle — including one that wasn't built when I moved in. As the housing market here deflated, so did my rent. I'm now paying less for housing here than I ever did in Pittsburgh. Aside from a burst water tank that flooded my apartment last April, and the closure of the rooftop hot tub, it's a pretty good place to live.

Since last April, I've taken trips to Pittsburgh, Portland, New York (twice), Maui, Paris, and Milan (with a side trip to meet my relatives in Genoa). Those last few trips were with my friend and nursery-school sweetheart Andrea. Andrea took such a shine to Maui that she has since moved to Lahaina, the small tourist town where we spent four days over New Year's. She made the decision two days into the trip and found work at a restaurant three days after moving there permanently.

I'm continuing to fund the Amalgamated Compassion Fund, a charitable gift fund that I set up through Fidelity a few years ago. The Amalgamated Compassion Fund has issued more than $8,000 in grants to organizations local and national and, thanks to the stock market rebound, is doing well enough to fuel more grants to come.

I still own the house in Pittsburgh that I bought nearly six years ago. After moving out nearly five years ago, I eventually found a tenant to basically pay for my mortgage while I waited for the Pittsburgh housing market to improve. My house's 15-year loan will be paid off in 2019; there's a chance I might still be renting the house out then.

I still get more satisfaction out of disposing of stuff I don't need or want than out of acquiring new things. As I type this I can see at least a dozen large things that I'd like to sell or donate to someone else.

I'm so far behind on my stack of Xbox 360 games that I'm planning to skip PAX Prime this August. Still playing Dragon Age: Origins (about 9 hours in), Borderlands (35 hours), Fallout: New Vegas (about 35 hours), and Mass Effect 2 (about 40 hours). Portal 2 comes out tomorrow. Many more casual games on my console and my phone await my free time.

I've been reading a lot. Just finished The Hangman's Daughter and I'm about to start on Veins by Drew, the artist behind Toothpaste for Dinner. After that is Jaron Lanier's You Are Not a Gadget which of course I'll be reading on my gadgets.

Still rooting for the Steelers (who I watched lose Super Bowl XLV from my hotel bed in Paris at 4 AM, and who will come to Seattle if the NFL lockout is resolved this year) and for the Yankees (who I'm going to see at their ballpark next month). Haven't been to a Sounders or a Storm game in Seattle yet.

Still counteracting the sedentary life of a software engineer by going to the gym at least three times a week and having plenty of vegetables every day. Still drinking way too much coffee (black) and soda (diet), but less alcohol.

I'm happy that this post is more than twice as long as the one concerning what I've been doing at work for the past year.