Who is ArcoJedi? A life-journeying Christian, ecstatic husband, proud father of four, web guru, all-around geek and Star Wars fanatic. Read these thoughts that he felt were worthwhile. Then wonder why he thought that way.

2012/12/14

2012: Year in Review (Facebook)

Today I noticed that Facebook has a new feature showing snippets and photos from the past year as some sort of summary.

A look at your 20 biggest moments from the year including life events, highlighted posts and your popular stories.

"Big moments" include life events, posts you've highlighted, popular posts you've been tagged in and popular posts you've shared.

Since Facebook is ephemeral and my blog is less so, I thought I'd post some of the moments and photos and reminisce with a little bit more detail. I'll try and repost all the photos and stories with more details, but this could turn into a really long long post if I get too carried away.

33 Friends Added This Year

I'm not one to brag about a large number of friends on Facebook. Feels weird. If the number gets too high it begins to look artificially inflated. I'd rather have a small set of really close friends than a large set of loosely-associated acquaintances. Additionally, some folks (including me) get carried away with some Facebook games that encourage you to share/invite as many friends as possible into the game to get more bonus "widgets" of some kind. So you end up inviting folks you barely know to be on your friends list. I'm well aware of this and have fallen victim to it sometimes. However, I've not jumped up and done a 'friend-purge' as some folks are wont to do. It is what it is.

However, I was honestly surprised that the number of friends that I'd added this whole year was as high as 33. I'd had this idea that I've previously added all the friends in my life that I already knew and it was not going to increase much. Who are all these people? I thought as I looked them over.

The large part of the group are folks I met and became fast friends with when I joined the band Dirty Soap. Funny enough, I was actually looking on Craigslist for a used car when my old PT Cruiser died. I got bored with not finding the right one and kicking scammers around, so I browsed other areas like musicians and web designers. I found a band looking for a trombone player and we got along great. I did find a car eventually of course, thanks mostly to my brother's help.

Dirty Soap had quite a number of gigs over the summer. And it was some of the most fun I've had in years. It's cliched to say it made me feel young again. Since the fall things have dried up a bit since most of the gang is away at school in various places. I'm hoping and expecting we will get back together in the spring.

The band had a number of photo shoots that our different photographer friends wanted to take for us, so there's plenty of fun shots. Some of the best ones were really popular.

Dirty Soap

Other new friends on my account were a few family, work or church friends that I was finally catching up with.

38 Pages Liked This Year

This number was lower than it seemed to be in years previous. Obviously, I liked the Dirty Soap page, but I was also administering the page part-time, so it makes sense. I was also liking other bands that we met and partnered with, locations we played at (like St. Charles Coffee House) and similarly related stuff. Additionally, I created a few pages for work at SoTel Systems, including MTR. Other than that, I've actually streamlined out a lot of the "Likes" that I subscribe to on Facebook as it was getting a little overblown. Most of the new ones from this year are related to projects my friends are working on or other businesses I'm close to.

For instance, one of my friends Vinnie from back in the Network Solutions days (2008-ish) has a home studio which he's working on building up. He helped Dirty Soap a bit with one gig where we needed a bassist to stand in AND he helped us start a project to record a demo set (on indefinite hold). He has also entered a few contests this year with remixes he's done in his basement of raw tracks.

I've got another buddy Ian, who has been doing music and mixing for what's probably just as long. Even back in high school, Ian always struck me as a guy who juggled a lot of projects and over the last year I liked at least three separate pages for projects he worked on.

Check out Ian on the drums/bass at the beginning of this in-process clip for a project that Arjuna Sound is doing.

Did I forget to mention previously on my blog that I did a one-time guest shot on a project that Ian did in 2010? Ian sang in a band in high school called Since Hector Was a Pup. In 2010, Ian and his brother Wade put together a new album called 2010: The Year We Forgo Contact. At the time, I asked if he needed a Trombone on anything and he did. You should check out the whole album, but you can hear me on the following track.

I've learned quite a bit in the last few years and I cringe a little hearing myself on that track now. But that's me. The rest of the song and album are awesome. Hmm, this is technically a flashback to 2010, rather than topical to 2012. I'm getting off-topic. But it occurs to me I hadn't mentioned this back when it was relevant.

Let's see, what else? Regarding FB pages, there was at least one other band I tried out for after most of Dirty Soap got busy with school. I met and played briefly with the folks from Bullseye Womprats. They are a class act, good people with more of a pop dance band. I did my best, but ultimately they decided to add a trumpet player instead of a trombone player. That's okay, they gained at least one new fan.

More Photos?

After the new friends and new likes, the year is summarized by a bunch of highlighted images posted by me.

Cover Photo

That looks pretty random. This was a cool abstract image I'd made using Aviary advanced suite, which as I've blogged about before is now gone. Still, I use this as a fun background for my online portfolio --which at some point I'll get around to finishing.

Thanksgiving

Holidays are always a fun time for family. Here's my extended family on my dad's side. This is what Thanksgiving looks like at my Aunt Jeannie's house which is always one of my favorite spots. If it's possible, here's an almost bigger group at the Arconati Family reunion, which was this past summer. My dad's a fan of group shots and despite the grumbles, so am I.

Arconati Family Reunion 2012

And speaking of family photos, the year would not be complete without another photo shoot with JLL Photography.

This past year also has a momentous occasion in that we finally returned to our church home once again as reconstruction completed on Ferguson Christian Church after the tornado in 2011. It was a long wait, but it was worth it. We had a fun revival weekend when the building first reopened and things are really great right now. I don't actually have photos that I took, but a few news crews showed up to interview and I think I can find some of those. Here's probably the best one...

The fact that my wife is one of the folks interviewed does not affect my bias at all. Of course, she played a part behind-the-scenes getting the interviews set up and writing the press release. Here's another interview.

This has also been the year when my son Sam has started to get into everything.

Sam Driving
Sammy In Garden

After seeing this next photo, you may ask yourself if that's my son sitting between two girls, but that would be a redundant question because I'm telling you now that it is. Third kid from the right. Like a boss.

Lunch Outside

Something that Facebook didn't include on my retrospective wall; my brother-in-law got married to his long-time fiance this year. Congratulations to Nate and Beth! Do they look like it was freakishly cold? Even in October in Chicago? Yes, it was ridiculously cold.

Nate and Beth's Wedding

What else has been happening this year? My daughters keep getting smarter and taller and I keep getting prouder. My wife keeps getting skinnier and I get luckier (yep). This spare tire I'm carrying keeps getting smaller then bigger again with the wrong frequency. But I am taking better care of myself in small strides and making new commitments to less of too much. We also have a guinea pig named Vicious. Random.

Lisa and Jim Lisa and Jim

So all-in-all, a very good year. I'm filtering these stories through the Facebook tool, which admittedly did okay with surfacing some of the best and most popular posts and photos relevant to me. I said goodbye to one job and am picking up a different one this next week, so the end of the year will meet me at a really great spot. I may or may not post again before 2012 is kaput, so in case I forget; Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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