2017 Year In Review

I want to make this a more official, annual post, so here it goes. 2017 was an interesting year, to say the least, and that interesting-ness spread into every aspect of my world – political, financial, career, physical, etc.

I want to make sure that I remember all the good things rather than focus on just the bad parts of the year, with the hope of increasing the good and reducing the bad in my life in 2018.

This year I turned 34, which seemed – for whatever reason – a bigger deal than both 33 and 30, the two previous benchmarks for emotionally charged birthdays.

Here’s some of the great stuff that happened this year:

Work/Personal Projects

I finally put a portfolio together of all of the fun projects I’ve been able to work on in the last few years. No big projects this year – it was a weird work year to say the least. We fired one client for being terrible at paying on time, and for treating us as disposable vendors, and had two large projects that we started back in February and March stretch out to the point where they still aren’t finished. Lame.

The big thing that happened this year work wise is that I left Telekinesis Entertainment after working there for the last (almost) 9 years. It’s been an incredible time but it was necessary to move on. I’m now freelancing and looking for a new position, which is just sucky all around. I haven’t had a “real job” since about 2005, so i’m out of practice.

One thing that has happened through all of this though is a slough of new personal projects that I expect to bring into fruition in 2018 – a new screenplay, a book, a website for filmmakers, a musical, and a web-series. Some are further along than others, some may never happen, but it feels good to have so many personal projects to choose from in case (when) one or more of them don’t work out the way I expect.

Personal Life

This year I found a new respect for my incredible wife, April, and for my close friends who are willing to support me through thick and thin.

Some of the habits that I’m really proud of starting and working to maintain are a daily writing habit and a workout habit.

I attempted in the first part of 2017 to do a 100 day writing challenge, and bailed after about 33 days in a row. The content wasn’t the type of content I wanted to create (you can scroll back on this blog to see the posts…) and I’m not sure I really had a good reason to write daily other than to “grow my audience”, which I also didn’t have a good reason for other than the typical vanity metric related reasons.

Then, about 6 months ago, I started writing daily emails for Daily Mormon and as of this point I’ve gone 180 days straight writing an email a day, averaging around 350 words per post. That’s a huge accomplishment for me, and is a habit that I can keep up for a long time.

The other personal goals that I had were workout related. I wanted to gain some strength and size, and so I started doing regular deadlifts and bench presses – about 3 times a week. Each time I hit a weight for 3 reps, I’d add 10 pounds and work up to 3 reps at that weight.

At the beginning of the year I could deadlift about 250 pounds for 3 reps. Yesterday – literally the last day of the year that the rec center was open – I lifted 315 pounds for 5 reps! I was going for 3 but felt so good that I knocked out two more! My 1 rep max went from 265 to 331, a 66 pound increase over a year.

My bench also improved from a 175 1 rep max to a 250 pound 1 rep max, a 75 pound increase. I’ve seen a difference in my physique, especially upper body, and all from two simple lifts that provide essentially a full body workout in a super minimalist regimen.

Goals for next year are to tone up and drop 15+ pounds of body fat, now that my size, muscular wise, is closer to where I want it to be.

Concerts & Albums

There were some incredible shows we got to attend this year. From Fix The Fox to LoveLoud – oddly enough both included Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons – it was a great year for music.


Fictionist – Sleep Machine @ Velour

Book on Tape Worm – Velour Slumber Party, Songbirds of North America (Album & CD Release), A-Frame concert

Sego/Pinguin Mofex – Rooftop Concerts

The Brocks – Velour

Dark Rooms – Velour

Halloween P-Jam

Mideau – The A Frame

Stuart Wheeler – Recital @ Boxcar Studios

Ryan Innes – John Curtis Campaign Dinner


Beck – Colors

Baby Driver – Soundtrack

The Brocks – The Brocks

Pinguin Mofex – Side B Act 1

Book on Tape Worm – Songbirds of North America

Mideau – The Zell

Haarlem – EP 1

Sing Street – Soundtrack


I did more reading this year than in any past year, in part thanks to more time listening to audio books. Here’s everything, but the favorites have been starred.

Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

Tribe of Mentors* – Tim Ferriss

Siddhartha* – Herman Hesse

The E-Myth Revisited* – Michael E Gerber

Profit First* – Mike Michalowicz

Essentialism – Greg McKeown

Show Your Work* – Austin Kleon

The Startup of You – Reid Hoffman

Perennial Seller – Ryan Holliday

The San Francisco Fallacy – Jonathan Siegel

The Art of Profitability* – Adrian Slywotzky

Principles: Life And Work* – Ray Dalio

The Master Key System* – Charles F. Haanel

Raising An Emotionally Intelligent Child* – John Gottman

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F— – Mark Manson

The War of Art*** – Steven Pressfield (I read this at least 1x per year)

Shoe Dog* – Phil Knight

Better Than Before – Gretchen Rubin

Benjamin Franklin* – Walter Isaacson

Daring Greatly* – Brené Brown

Rising Strong* – Brené Brown

Wild At Heart – John Eldredge

Steve Jobs* – Walter Isaacson

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Snow Crash – Neal Stephenson


What a year for movies! Oh man, and there are currently 12 movies in theaters I’m DYING to see. Here’s everything I saw this year, with a rating next to each.

2017 Releases:

Mudbound – 10/10

The Big Sick – 10/10

To The Bone – 9/10

Get Out – 10/10

Lemon – 6/10

The Polka King – 7/10

Wind River – 8/10

An Inconvenient Sequel – 8/10

Split – 8/10

The Lego Batman Movie – 6/10

John Wick: Chapter 2 – 8/10

Logan – 8/10

Table 19 – 7/10

Kong: Skull Island – 5/10

Beauty And The Beast – 6/10

The Belko Experiment – 8/10

Ghost In The Shell – 6/10

The Boss Baby – 5/10

Smurfs: The Lost Village – 5/10

Colossal – 7/10

The Fate Of The Furious – 6/10

The Circle – 6/10

Guardians Of The Galaxy: Vol. 2 – 7/10

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – 7/10

Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – 6/10

Wonder Woman – 9/10

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie – 7/10

The Mummy – 5/10

Cars 3 – 6/10

Baby Driver – 10/10

Despicable Me 3 – 6/10

Spider-Man: Homecoming – 8/10

Dunkirk – 8/10

Atomic Blonde – 9/10

Kingsman: The Golden Circle – 7/10

The Lego Ninjago Movie – 5/10

American Made – 7/10

Flatliners – 6/10

Blade Runner 2049 – 10/10

Happy Death Day – 7/10

Thor: Ragnarok – 8/10

Murder on the Orient Express – 8/10

Coco – 9/10

The Shape Of Water – 10/10

Ferdinand – 7/10

Bright – 7/10

Older Movies:

Sunset Boulevard – 9/10

Sing Street – 9/10

Dr. Strangelove – 8/10

Network – 9/10

Knock Knock – 6/10

Manchester By The Sea – 8/10

Cafe Society – 7/10

Green Room – 9/10

TV Shows

If I’d known I was going to do this at the end of the year I would have kept better track of the shows I watched. I’m probably leaving some things out, but here’s my favorite TV that I consumed this year:

Santa Clarita Diet

Sherlock: Series 4

Person of Interest

Orange Is The New Black

American Vandal



Stranger Things


Black Mirror


Jean Claude Van Johnson

Future Man

Shut Eye

The Orville

The Handmaid’s Tale

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency





The Good Place

Bob’s Burgers

Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Curb Your Enthusiasm


Big Little Lies


And I FINALLY binged the entire SERIES of Seinfeld. Whew. What a year!


Not a ton of travel this year, but some epic adventures to say the least. A fun short trip to Seattle with April for her birthday, trips to San Francisco and LA for work, a campout in Mt. Diablo state park in August, and the creme de la creme, as it were, a week long trip to PARIS with April in September. It was absolutely incredible, and one of my favorite memories of our 8+ years together.

2018 More or Less

One thing I wanted to do this year was recommended by Tim Ferriss as well as others. You spend 30-60 minutes going through every week of the year on your calendar, and marking down all of the positive and all of the negative people, things, events, etc. that occurred this year. Then you go through your list and highlight the positive and negative peaks and what caused them, and then take action on doing more of the good things (improving your life) and removing the negative (raising the bar).

That said, the main things I want to do more of in 2018:

  •  Travel (going to Italy and Spain in March!)
  • More movie premiers of friends movies
  • More consistent date nights with April
  • More lunches/one-on-one time with friends

And the things I want do do less of next year:

  • Spend time with negative people
  • Missing events I want to go to
  • Distracted time, either at work or with/around the kids
  • People with no work ethic

I’m really looking forward to the changes and opportunities coming my way in 2018. I hope you’ve got some goals and some changes you’re making to your lives as well, and if you’re one of my friends or loved ones – thank you for your influence and your friendship throughout the year, and let’s get together more often in 2018!

1 thought on “2017 Year In Review”

  1. Daren,

    I loved reading about your goals and what you did and didn’t accomplish last year. Sounds like a great 2017! I’d love to know your thoughts on an idea my friend and I are playing with about accomplishing goals. If you have time would you mind checking out 50six.life and letting me know your thoughts? I’ve enjoyed your posts. Keep them coming.


Share Your Thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.