Out of the Woodwork, and Into 2012

Every now and then, folks on the interwebs will disappear.

Then they’ll come back again, apologizing to their readers about their absence.


Now that we’ve covered that, let’s move on to what’s next (weeeeeeeeee)!


This is the year that everything is supposed to end. (Isn’t it?)

If that’s the case, then there’s no time to waste!

With that in mind, let’s talk goals.

I wanted to wait a week or so to post my 2012 goals, not because I wasn’t prepared come 12:01 on New Year’s Day, but to wait until most people had shared theirs. That way I knew I could get a decent amount of eyeballs to see what I’m planning (nothing like a little online accountability, eh?).

2011 was one of the first years that I didn’t really set any specific goals. Looking back in retrospect, there wasn’t much that I felt like I was pursuing. Not to say that it wasn’t a great year, it was! There were many highs, and a few lows.


It’s time to get back in the saddle. It’s time to write some things down and make them happen.

My goal ahead of all these goals would be this: That they were pursued with such a passion and fury that I’m forced to write many new goals in 3, 4, or 6 months.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty:

My 2012 Goals

(in no particular order, with reasons why following the list)

     – Run in the Tough Mudder
     – Keuka Lake Short Triathlon
     – 400,000 Airline miles, for the purpose of…
     – …Travel to France, Germany, and UK with Bethany
     – Take a trip with Bethany and the girls in a train
     – Go to a Dallas Cowboys home game
     – Less Facebook, more Twitter
     – Increased reading speed
     – Become SCUBA certified
     – Purchase, and learn to use a nice DSLR camera
     – Skydive
     – Learn to code


Way back in 2007, in the red clay hills of Fort Benning, GA, my love for obstacle courses was reborn. I say “re”born, because what kid doesn’t love obstacle courses?

As a Basic Trainee in the U.S. Army, the obstacle course was required for graduation. I remember thinking, “We’re actually getting PAID to do this stuff?!” In the past 5 years, with a military job that’s often limited from doing cool stuff like this (I’m an engineer), I’m anxious to run around, over, and through obstacles once again.

What a great time to do the Tough Mudder!

Thankfully, I won’t be alone doing it either, as an alpha-dawg team of friends who will be running with me is assembling as you’re reading this. Pictures and videos will be sure to follow!


Joel Runyon recently issued the challenge to his audience that this is the year they (we) should run a triathlon. After a brief convo with Mr. Impossible, I decided to take him up on his challenge.

Yes, this will be a “sprint” triathlon (not a full-distance one), but it’ll also be the first race of its kind that I’ve ever done. Sitting here at my laptop, clicking through to sign up and pay for this race, I’m very-near crapping my pants.


Because it’s stepping into the unknown.

Even though I personally know people who have competed in triathlons, I have never experienced it myself. The question that friends have asked is this:

“What do you think the hardest part will be for you? Running, biking, or swimming?”

My answer – “Showing up.”

I’ll report in from the finish line. 🙂


Speaking of things that make us crap our pants….

Neither my wife nor I have ever traveled outside of the U.S. (No, Canada and a cruise to the Bahamas don’t count)


The night that I asked Bethany to marry me, after she’d already said “yes” (whew!), I distinctly remember telling her, “Marry me, and I’ll show you the world.” (Awwwwwwwwww!)

Now, of course, at the time I had no solid plans for what that meant, or whether it was even literal or metaphorical.

But now, it’s 7 years later, and so far, I’ve really sucked at the literal portion of that promise.

Not any more!

Last year, through the help of Chris Guillebeau‘s Frequent Flyer Master ebook and Travel Hacking Cartel subscription, I was able to take my total airline points (miles) from 19,000 to 154,000 miles in less than 4 months, with only 15,000 of those points coming from ACTUAL flights I took(!).

How can this happen? Click those links about Chris, and also check here to read how Chief NerdFitness Rebel Steve Kamb was able to travel around the world for only $418.

Now that I know my way around some of these hacking tools, I’ve set the lofty goal of being able to acquire over 400,000 miles in 2012. Will it be hard? Maybe. Will it be worth it? Hell ya!


This one is simple to execute, something that my oldest daughter (3 years old) has been asking about since she was able to talk, but something that we’ve seemed to simply neglect over the past few years.

Not this time sucka!

Much like I plan on taking many of these airline trips for free, I plan on using some of Nathan Agin‘s tactics for our train travel. Booyah!


Although I live in the heart of Buffalo Bill country, I’ve been a Dallas Cowboys fan since I was a young lad. With a friend’s wedding coming up in the fall of 2012 in Dallas, what better time to visit the world’s best football stadium and watch my favorite team play?

Dallas is also the home to my bro dawg, David Crandall. Expect to see some adventures and mischief come from the two of us when I visit Texas this year.


Not really a high and lofty goal, but for those that spend any serious time online, you can tell the difference between the types of interactions each platform allows you to have.

My most basic observation about the two is this: The successful people that I want to be like use Twitter more. Plain and simple. Not that I dislike Facebook, it’s just that there somehow seems to be some communicational (is that a George W. Bush word?) magic to being limited to 140 characters.

Speaking of Twitter, have we met?


Since my graduation from military training in 2007, I’ve really come to love books, reading on average, about 25 books per year.

One of the biggest roadblocks I’ve had to wanting to take in (and share) more, is how fast I’m able to read. With the help of Spreeder (and other tools), I think I’ll finally be able to bust through my speed limit and work my way up to book-aholic status (here’s looking at you, Annie).


My extended family took a rockin’ cruise in April of 2011 (also a first for me and my family). While on the cruise in the Bahamas, I had about 6 hours to myself where I was able to go snorkeling.

The underwater world is fascinating!

I could SEE the difference in the size and color of fish simply by swimming out just a little farther. In most cases, I would see the exact same species of fish, but the fish were much bigger when the water was 40 feet deep instead of 20.

I kept wanting to dive deeper, but was limited by my feeble lung capacity (hopefully something that my Tough Mudder and triathlon training will help to increase).

Enter SCUBA certification.

A friend let me know that there’s a local SCUBA club that does all of the certifications, equipment rentals, and paperwork over the course of a few weeks at a local high school. Sweet! Be on the lookout for some GoPRO footage from yours truly when I cross this one off my list.


Since high school, great photography and videography has always been so beautiful to me.

The Internetz (I can’t take credit for that spelling – thanks JC) is chock full of people ready and willing to teach you how to shoot great videos and take great pictures. I’d really love to learn this skill this year.

I’ll keep y’all posted on this one as it progresses.


I hope my wife doesn’t read this post, because she’s coming along too. 🙂

Not sure if this is something that we’ll do locally or venture out somewhere else in the world to experience. If you’ve got suggestions of great places to go to skydive, I’m all ears!


This is one of those skill sets that I keep putting off to do “someday”.

As all great goal-setters tell those who aren’t that good at it (and I’m throwing myself in with the latter crowd), “Someday isn’t a day of the week.”

Someday starts today.

Thanks to the folks at Codeacademy, I’ll be working through their Codeyear program every week this year. The big picture here would be to create my first iPhone app, but that may change as I progress and learn more (hence the reason you don’t see it on this list).


And that’s my list for 2012!

I will give progress reports as each one gets crossed off the list, and am actually reading through a really great book right now that will help to make sure the achieving of these goals becomes a reality.

With all that said, let me finish with a question:

What big goals and dreams do you have for 2012?

Talk to y’all soon.

– JC



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