From 2012 to 2013

Most people like to post their “2012 in Review” and their “2013 Resolutions” posts before the end of the year instead of in January. This year I’ve been engrossed in so many good things and I have been brewing so many things in my head that it’s taken me this long to put together a post.

Australian Open of Surfing Score Card 2012

2012 started with a lot of work in January. Kyle and I put in many late nights working on app software for the Australian Open of Surfing 2012 at Manly Beach in Australia. There were some interesting technical hurdles to overcome using new hardware, new software and running an event in an entirely new location which is on the other side of the world! 

However, this highpoint in the year was followed by a low point from which I’m not sure I will ever fully recover. My cat, Artemis, had been having a rough time in the last couple of months. She had blacked out and fallen off her very tall cat tree (8 ft) and hurt her leg, and she started behaving strangely. She was becoming reclusive and trying to find dark, closed places to sleep in which is very cat-like in and of itself, but I could tell this was different. At the end of January, she freaked out while trying to scratch at the roof of her mouth. Her claws cut through the roof and her paw got stuck in her own mouth. She yanked it out and there was blood, etc. It wasn’t a happy moment. So, I rushed her to the vet which ended up being one of many trips to the vet that culminated with her very last trip to the vet because we found out the reason she had blacked out and the reason she had been clawing at the roof of her mouth is that she had a cancerous tumor in her sinuses. The cancer was far too advanced for any real possibility of treatment. We brought her home so that those who loved her so much could say goodbye. I’m crying again as I type this. As I said, I’m not sure I’ll ever fully recover.

Artemis and MeArtemis and Me SleepingArtemis in a Drawer

When I go back to my private and public journaling looking for notes to use in compiling this year in review… they drop off after that. I retreated into my work a bit and tried to spend extra time with my family, but whenever I would go to write it would be tough. I could overcome the hurdle when very focused with a task at hand, especially if the topic was a deep one. If I could really submerge myself in it then I could find my voice again. 

I put together a series of posts for Atheist Week in which I tried to help my believer friends (and anyone else willing to read) understand Atheism a little better… and sometimes just understand Science a little better, because some of the fundamental discussions about religion often involve science. Here are a couple of the links from my old blog:

The middle of the year was filled with TONS of work and I could not have survived those months without the love and support of Theresa and Trang. I had/got to learn an entirely new technology called Drupal, a content-management system for websites. It’s a very good thing to have, because I’ve been developing websites from scratch with a simple text editor since the web existed (damn, I’m Internet Old). My skills in cutting edge web technologies have been atrophying a bit and this helped me get back in touch with modern websites. I’ve still got a bit to go, but I can stand up a new website with all of the standard modern requirements of a website in just a day or two. Each new drupal site I create helps me understand it better and allows me to streamline the process. This whirlwind of work mid-year produced the US Open of Surfing website which was a pretty big accomplishment.

Simultaneously, I was working with Kyle to produce app and server software to run the Score Card game for the US Open of Surfing as well. The photo below are the lines of people waiting to play the game! It was a huge success!

Score Card at US Open of Surfing

In October, we had the priviledge to attend and sponsor I Survived Real Estate 2012, a black-tie charity event for real estate investors which raised $77,000 for children’s cancer research via the Make-a-Wish Foundation and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This is the third year we’ve attended I Survived Real Estate, it has been a pleasure and has been informative every time. The event is organized by The Norris Group and Bruce Norris is renowned for his analysis of real estate markets and how his charts can shatter your pre-conceived notions.

I’ve attended some fantastic real estate classes from some phenomenally knowledgable and good people.

Kyle and I have done three financial math presentations to different real estate investors in Southern California and are hoping to increase that number in 2013.

Theresa and I celebrated our third year together and we celebrated our first year living with Trang, our friend and pseudo-adopted daughter. 

I converted my 401k into a self-directed Roth IRA at the end of 2011 and in 2012 I lent that money out to another real estate investor. I’m collecting interest each month. (Let me know if you’re interested in how to do this, because I’m sure I could help you earn far better interest than you can get in the stock market or at any bank). 

I was ALMOST able to refinance the unweildy loan on one of my rentals which was one of the big goals for 2012. It looks like I’m in a solid position to get this done in 2013 though, so keep your fingers crossed for me.

Kyle and I purchased part of a mobile home park and should be enjoying the cashflow for many years to come. 

I have 5 great tenants (4 residential and 1 storage unit) who pay rent each month. I unfortunately did not get any new rentals for my personal collection this year, which I consider a failure, but I’ll fix that in 2013. 

My friend, Ken, once suggested that instead of resolutions for the New Year that he would simply set goals for the New Year and I liked it. That’s what I’ve done ever since.

Goals for 2013:

  • Celebrate my fourth year with Theresa and go on a vacation trip somewhere nice.
  • Play strategy games with friends frequently and regularly.
  • Refinance my West Los Angeles rental.
  • Purchase at least 1 new rental each quarter. (This was my goal for 2012 and it is a reasonable goal, but I didn’t give it the proper attention.)
  • Develop and release at least 2 entirely new iOS apps.
  • Improve our financial math presentations and present to new groups of investors.