December 22, 2005

Nought Five in Review

Tomorrow we blast off to the Caribbean for a week aboard a ship at sea. Preliminary reports indicate that we will spend all our waking time eating, and we will probably stay up late and wake up early in an effort to increase the amount of eating we are able to do. Apparently, free midnight buffets are standard operating procedure on cruise ships. What’s also interesting is that our ship has multiple night clubs. I like this. I like the idea that I can be sitting in a club in the middle of the ocean, and turn to a friend and say, “You know what? This club sucks. Let’s go to that other club.”

This is to be a week of unrepentant gorging of the body and soul. In that, this trip will be exactly like all holidays of years past, only this time it will be eighty degrees warmer.

And so, in the continuing human tradition of talking about things that have come to pass, I present to ya’ll the year in review. 2005 has been monumental and surreal. Words are insufficient to do it justice, but they are all I have to work with and will have to do, at least until we invent a way to broadcast interpretive dance over the internet.

In January 2005 I left my job at Alpine, to much tears and thrown punches, to go forth into the world and find my glory. I had lived in Bend for over a year, which set a record for me staying in one spot since leaving my hometown five years ago. It was a difficult place to leave, certainly, but fortunately I was moving in on some familiar territory. Later that month I moved back to Hood River to work as a web developer for my windsurfing shop, semantically upgrading from my previous position as webmaster.

In February I took a two-week kiteboarding trip to the town of Los Barilles in Baja California. Here was where I stood in the surf, got attacked by my kiteboard, and received a three-inch gash to the back of my head. A ride into town on the four-wheeler revealed that the American clinic was closed and the Mexican clinic was on siesta. Fortunately, the doctor for the Mexican clinic was driving by at that very moment in his red Pontiac, saw our predicament, and cut his break short to stitch my head back together. His name was Roman Soria and he is my favorite person in the whole world.

It may be worth noting that in March 2004, not even a year prior, I broke my leg while snowboarding at Mount Bachelor. That being said, I insist that the correct way to describe my condition is active and not accident-prone. There is a difference.

In March I went snowshoeing for the first time in my life, learned from a doctor that I had a broken funny bone that would cause computers to ruin me for the rest of my life, and cared for my landlady’s chickens for a week while she was on vacation. Also, Joe and I planned on climbing Mount Hood. Instead I got really sick and we did nothing. This is the most uninteresting story ever.

I visited Bend in April, went snowboarding with my old roommate Shane, and threw back tallboys with the guys from Alpine. I also spent a good deal of April trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life, and eventually gave up. I moved back to Minnesota in early May to much fanfare and rejoicing, and began catching up with friends who I hadn’t seen in years. By the end of May I was driving to the northern reaches of the state to start my month-long gauntlet of training, so I could guide wilderness trips for the summer.

By June I was deep in the wilderness, and I guided my first canoe trip. We almost lost all our gear to a freak 50 mph windstorm, which bend our tent poles at 90 degree angles. Afterwards we were treated to the most beautiful sunset ever. Meanwhile, my nephew Soren Dean Zenner was born in late June. It would be September before I would have a chance to see him for the first time.

I spent July guiding more trips, and driving to Lake Winnipeg to pick up some groups who had spent 20-some-odd days canoeing in the Canadian wilderness. In late July I fulfilled a lifelong goal, and spent 11 days and 100 miles guiding a group and backpacking across Isle Royale. We had an incident involving chocolate and a pocketknife, but I stopped the bleeding with a maxi pad.

I guided more trips throughout August, reveling in the fresh air and freedom of the wilds. Summer session came to a close at the end of August, and I took a week-long break from camp and returned to civilization. It was an awkward time of obsessing over ice, feeling uncomfortable around mirrors, and getting choked up over toothpaste. I was trying to come to grips with culture shock, and meanwhile hurricanes were slamming into the Gulf Coast and wiping cities off the map.

Convinced that reality had come completely unhinged, I was more than happy to return to camp and work into the fall. By the end of September I was ready to interact with the world again, and returned to Minneapolis to visit with friends, see tons of live music, and start a web design business. I also switched whole-hog over to the Mac platform, a move that I still find absolutely delightful. What’s more, I discovered an ergonomic solution that allowed me to use computers without being pitched into a universe of pain. This was key.

October came and went, and I never really got around to moving to Duluth. Maybe in the future, maybe not. As one insightful person put it, “Why would you move back to Duluth? All your friends are moving down here and buying cats.” In November I traveled down to Madison to hang out with my nephew (oh, and his parents too, I suppose) and catch some more music. I finally saw matt pond PA live, which is something I’ve wanted to do since 2002 but had never been in the cards until now.

By December the whole Brainside Out Industries thing was pretty well established, and as the month progressed our business grew like crazy. Well, it didn’t grow as far as gobbling up smaller companies and opening up offices across the globe and stuff like that, but it grew substantially as far as clients go. You know, the kind of growth that actually matters. That being said, we took a well-deserved break from the daily grind and spent a long weekend snowboarding all over this great state, and got to kick around our old Duluth stomping grounds.

And now we go to the Caribbean. We’ve covered a lot of ground this year, and 2006 is shaping up to suggest no slackening of pace. What’s more, we’re proud to report that for the last couple months we’ve been keeping a tasty secret from ya’ll, which we shall reveal in the first week of nought six.

Until then, Brainside Out wishes you a safe and wonderful Christmas and New Year’s and Festivus and all that. Eat heartily, drink merrily, and keep your hands off your cousins.