Jan 19, 2024

What I'm Up To - Vol. 78

Here's what I've been up to since Volume 77...

What I'm Up To Volume 78

Hey friends,

Here’s what I’ve been up to since Vol. 77

1. December Happenings

I kicked off the month with my 18th annual pilgrimage to Port O’Conner for “Fishmas.” This year our fishing holiday coincided with an early Hanukkah. So in honor of fellow angler Dan Oko, we dubbed the weekend “Fishmukkah” this year. The weather was mild and the bite was on. Wendy and I enjoyed grilled redfish on the half-shell for several meals.  

Happy, tired anglers after two dawn-to-dusk days on the water.

I also enjoyed my first hunt at the ranch with some new friends from Kansas City, Nathan and Jake. Both were experienced hunters, helped with many chores, brought outstanding Kentucky bourbon, and taught me how to properly enjoy a cigar. I met Nathan at the Maui BetterLife event in June. He’s an accomplished real estate investor and jiu-jitsu fighter with a pro-MMA fight on his resume. As testosterone-laced as the proceeding sentences sound, it was a chill weekend centered on nature, parenting, and personal growth. We spotted a bald eagle and I found a small fossil of a Coelurosauria track.

Another gorgeous sunrise at Better Ranch...

Just before Christmas, I had my first serious accident since high school. I was turning left from the outside lane, a Silverado went straight from the inside lane. The speeding truck hit my driver-side, atomizing my side-view mirror and breaking my front left axle. I hope to know if my Bronco will get repaired or totaled soon. I’m thankful no one was injured and that the driver had insurance!

We celebrated Christmas at home this year with just our family. Wendy’s sister moved to Austin in December, so we had her entire crew. We also hosted our neighbor, Mark with his kids and parents. Prepping for the holiday meal, we spotted a stray Corgie-mix without his collar. He spent Christmas with us, playing with Taco and exploring our home. We posted to NextDoor, the neighborhood listserve, and posted signs. We started wondering if we were about to adopt a new pet. Finally, the owners called. His name was Checkers and he’s 17 years old. He’s back home with his humans now but reminded us all you’re never too old for a little adventure!

New book idea: Checker's Christmas Adventure?

I finished the year with a good ten days off. It’s been a challenging year professionally so the extra R&R was invaluable. It also allowed me to compile my “Best of 2023” list a month early.

2. Best Reads, Movies, and Shows of 2023

I finished 48 books this year, so I was unable to keep my lists to just the top five.


  1. The Mountain is You by Brianna Wiest
  2. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
  3. Same as Ever by Morgan Housel
  4. Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield
  5. Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara
  6. Die with Zero by Bill Perkins


  1. The Gates of Fire by Stephen Pressfield
  2. Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  3. Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
  4. What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada
  5. Red Rising by Pierce Brown
  6. The Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros


  1. Barbie
  2. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
  3. The Boy and the Heron
  4. Godzilla Minus One
  5. Bottoms
  6. John Wick, Chapter 4


  1. The Bear, Season 2
  2. Silo
  3. The Last of Us
  4. Better Call Saul – The whole series
  5. Black Bird
  6. Broadchurch – The whole series
  7. Hijack
  8. Parks and Recreation, Season 2

3. What I’m Reading

The Challenger Sale by Matthew Dixon is a solid book for enterprise sales. The author documents how the best salespeople make themselves invaluable with research. Like great coaches, they help their clients navigate the markets. It’s a “solutions over sales” approach, which I prefer. Same as Ever is Morgan Housel’s follow-up to his blockbuster, The Psychology of Money. Housel proposes that focusing on the aspects of the human condition that never change is the best form of forecasting. He joins Ryan Holiday as one of my favorite non-fiction storytellers.

For the break, I ripped through the first two books in the Red Rising series by Pierce Brown, Red Rising and Golden Son. It has a strong Hunger Games vibe. Wendy is trailing me and also enjoying the series.

4. What I’m Watching

We made it to theaters to catch The Boy and the Heron from Hayao Miyazaki & Studio Ghibli. I love their work and Miyazaki’s latest lived up to the hype. Feeling nostalgic, Wendy and I streamed Nausicaa (Max) that same weekend. We also enjoyed Godzilla Minus One, kind of a prequel to the Godzilla series. It’s as much a period piece on post-War Japan as it is a kaiju movie.

That’s it for this month. Please reply back and let me know what you’re up to!

Be well, do good deeds, and eat tacos!


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