2011 in Review and Top Lists!

So there goes another year! Goodbye 2011 and welcome 2012. For my movies and music lists I went ahead and included 2010 as well since I totally didn’t do a recap post then. Enjoy!

Notable happenings from 2011:

  1. WMC Fest 2011. Just watch this video and you’ll see. It was a vast improvement from year one and the 20/20/20 format worked really well. Lots of great energy, feedback, and buzz and this has got to be one of the most positive things going for me right now. 2012 plans are already underway and we should be launching the new website in the next 1-2 months.
  2. Bought a new car! A 2011 Toyota Prius to be exact (see photo). So far, I love the car. It’s got great gas mileage of course, which I liked from owning a hybrid vehicle before, but it’s also just plain fun and it’s got some nice modern stylings which I like.
  3. Published my first book! Thread’s Not Dead came out in April in ebook format and in October it was released as a hardcover.  Watch this lovely video of the event by Purple Films. This was a major accomplishment and it’s still weird to say that I’m an “author.” I suppose that’s more accurate than saying I’m a writer, even though I write a lot!  But after 8-9 months of planning, writing, designing, and executing, I finally put it out and I’ve managed to sell nearly 1,300 ebook bundles, 266 Kindle editions, 39 Nook editions, and over 300 hard copies so far.  (I had to login to about 5 different sites to get reports on all these sales, it’s a pain in the ass I must say. Amazon has 3 different admin backends btw!)
  4. Kim and I celebrated 3 years of marriage. We went to downtown Kent, which was home of our 2nd date. We went to the University Plaza theater to see a movie, just like we did on our 2nd date back in 2003. The movie we saw was called Contagion. In 2003 it was Bruce Almighty. Fun fact!
  5. I celebrated one year of breakdancing class. I started taking breakdancing classes in Aug/Sept 2010 at a studio called Rock City Dance in Middleburg Heights. It’s taught by BBoy Swift Ali. This has been seriously some of the most fun I’ve had, despite it being exhausting. I love breaking and I love learning the dances. I just want to keep getting better. You can watch some of my practice videos here.
  6. Our pet bunny Cocoa died. This was extremely sad for Kim and I as he was our first pet. We had him for 5 years and to see him pass away was heartbreaking. He got sick with an ear infection and after several vet trips and tons of medicine later, he just wasn’t improving. He had head tilt and eventually couldn’t even stand up. He would wobble up, fall over, tumble and roll violently in his cage and it was awful to watch. He finally passed away one evening while Kim and I cried as we pet him during his final breaths. This was the first time a pet died in front of me and it was hard to deal with. I am sad just writing this. We then got Cocoa cremated and his remains preserved in a special bunny urn with a small pouch with a lock of hair and his paw prints to remember him. We will miss him!!
  7. I spoke in Columbus, Georgia with Von Glitschka. This was super fun, as I was invited to an event called Columbus Creative Artist Roundup 2011. I talked about Side Projects, Synergy, and Self Promotion. Mike and Karen were awesome!
  8. I won a AIGA CLE Design Award. I don’t really submit my work for awards, but our goal was to get more involved in AIGA so I was encouraged to submit work for their CLE Design Awards in 2011. I won for the site I designed for wmcfest.com.
  9.  We launched On the Map. The brainchild one of our designers Chris Comella at Go Media. It was a video series that profiled a handful of people and brands to make mini-documentaries about and screened them in our studio last November. The project seems to be taking off and we are really excited about its future.
  10. Built out our kitchen at Go Media. We finally installed real cabinets and a kitchen sink for the “break room” in our office. Washing dishes in the bathroom sink sucked!
  11. We got our first cat! Kim and I adopted our first cat, which we call Cookie, from the Cleveland APL. She’s super friendly and playful, although sometimes a little needy and hyperactive!  But it’s cool to have some more excitement in the house!
  12. I became an Uncle to Leihetta! My brother Jon and his fiance Felicia had a baby named Leihetta and she’s so cute!  My parents are happy to finally be grandparents.
  13. More babies and more marriages. My business partner Wilson and his wife Rachel gave birth to Audrey Violet earlier this year. My former By Bread Alone bandmate Eugene Lin got married, my long-time friend Dan Haylett and his wife Gemma are pregnant and so is my former college roommate Jeff Barton and his wife Shelly. Congrats to them all!
  14. We did some updates on the house. We got the living room completely made over with advice from an interior designer. We were stumped with what to do with it and it was never getting done so we asked for help. We got it painted, got a new sectional sofa, and other stuff. We bought a nice futon for our spare bedroom for overnight guests. We got part of our basement waterproofed. We also got new flooring and a toilet in our half bathroom. My wife Kim posts on her blog about our updates sometimes.
  15. I started doing Yoga. A former elementary schoolmate of mine April Arotin reached out to me to help her with a flyer for her new yoga studio she was opening. I was happy to help and she offered me some free Yoga classes in return. That was great because I’ve been wanting to try Yoga to supplement my breakdancing training and I love it.
  16. Got Back into Magic: The Gathering. My brother Jon started playing Magic and got me to dust off my cards and that was enough to fuel the fire. After WMC Fest I was pretty burnt out like normal and needed a hobby to distract me from the design world. It was refreshing!  I started playing Magic in 1995 or so and stopped around 2004. So it was a good 7 years of new cards and rules changes I had to catch up with. But fortunately, there is a PS3 game called Duels of the Planeswalkers that successfully brought the experience of playing Magic to a video game. That helped a lot. I made a new friend Gene Tanner who has helped me build some pretty competetive decks like Zoo and Merfolk in Legacy and Wolf Run Ramp in Standard. The Innistrad prerelease was a blast and I remember what it was like to be obsessed with Magic. The good ole days!

Here is my top list for 2011 (and 2010 because I missed last year)

Fav Movies and TV Shows

  • $100 and a T-Shirt
  • Abel Raises Cain
  • Amazing Race (TV Series)
  • Antichrist
  • Ballast
  • Beautiful Losers
  • Best Worst Movie
  • Blue Valentine
  • Capturing Reality: The Art of Documentary
  • Catfish
  • Come and See
  • Dexter (TV Series)
  • Dogtooth
  • Down to the Bone
  • Enter the Void
  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Fishing with John
  • Fish Tank
  • Forgetting Dad
  • Frontline: Death by Fire
  • God’s Country
  • Harpers Island (TV Series)
  • Hoarders (TV Series)
  • Hunger
  • Impaler
  • In a Better World
  • IT Crowd (TV Series)
  • Lorna’s Silence
  • Melancholia
  • Paradise Lost 1 and 2
  • Paranormal Activity
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley
  • Premonition
  • Second Skin
  • Tabloid
  • Talhotblond
  • The First 48 (TV Series)
  • The House of the Devil
  • The Parking Lot Movie
  • The Road
  • The Room
  • The Wild and Wonderful Whites
  • This American Life (TV series)
  • Thumbs Up (TV Series)
  • Toy Story 3
  • Troubled Water
  • Winnebago Man
  • Winter’s Bone
  • Witch Hunt
  • Zero Day

Fav Podcasts

  • Content Talks
  • MtG Cast (various Magic podcasts)
  • So Many Insane Plays (Magic)
  • Stuff Mom Never Told You
  • Stuff You Should Know
  • The Big Web Show
  • The Documentary Blog Podcast
  • The Pipeline
  • This American Life
  • Yale University Psychology Lectures from Paul Bloom
Bands in my Playlist

  • Anti-Flag
  • Beastie Boys
  • Blink-182
  • Box Car Racer
  • Cherry Cola Champions
  • Dropkick Murphys
  • Forest Swords
  • Four Year Strong
  • I Call Fives
  • La Dispute
  • Metavari
  • New Found Glory
  • Parachute Journalists
  • Red City Radio
  • Save Your Breath
  • Set Your Goals
  • Signals Midwest
  • Spraynard
  • Such Gold
  • The Story So Far
  • The Wonder Years
  • Title Fight
  • Transit

Books I Read the Past Two Years

  • A Book Apart: Elements of Content Strategy
  • A Book Apart: Mobile First
  • A Book Apart: Responsive Web Design
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
  • E-Myth Revisited
  • Freakonomics
  • Getting Things Done (partially)
  • Good to Great (partially)
  • How Pleasure Works
  • How to Launch the Shit out of Your eBook
  • Linchpin (partially)
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxiety
  • Rework
  • Switch: How to Change When Change is Hard
  • Thank You Economy
  • The Four Hour Workweek
  • The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest (partially)
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • The Power of Less
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs
  • The Return to the Little Kingdom (partially)
  • The Tipping Point
  • Think and Grow Rich (partially)
  • Trust Agents
  • Yes! 50 Proven Ways to be Persuasive

Wow that was exhaustive, but fun looking at my history.  Take it for what it is!

Looking ahead:

2012 is shaping up to be a busy year already.  Here are some things already planned on the calendar:

  1. Releasing 3 more songs from my band Parachute Journalists and then closing the book on that chapter. Maybe there will be a new band in the future?
  2. WMC Fest 2012 to be bigger and better!
  3. On the Map event will itself get “on the map” and more people will know about it.
  4. My wife Kim will finish her Paralegal education and get her certificate.
  5. Going to Montreal with my wife for Montreal Meets 2.
  6. More home improvement updates like fixing the furnace, cleaning air ducts, new kitchen faucet, etc.
  7. Finish and post a Beastie Boys music video that my wife and I are doing for fun.
  8. We will build out a private workout area at Go Media. We bought equipment at the end of 2011 and will receive it in 2012. New employee perk and we also got some funding from COSE Wellness. Sweet!
  9. I’ll be better at breakdancing for sure, but I don’t know how much better. We’ll see!
2 Comments Short URL

2 Responses to “2011 in Review and Top Lists!”

  1. Dave January 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    Jeff, we don’t know each other very well yet (I hope that can change in 2012), but you’re an inspiration to others (me) who want to live a fulfilling life. You pursue new projects with intensity and passion and don’t seem to fear anything. You’re very good at producing efficiently. I know quality matters too, but you get so much done it’s amazing. I hope to be more like Jeff Finley in 2012!

    • Jeff Finley January 4, 2012 at 12:15 am #

      Hey Dave, that’s nice of you to say! I certainly fear my share of things, but I try to manage. I’m honored to be able to inspire you!

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