I write... occasionally

Here's a collection of 634 pieces of nonsense that I've felt the need to journal about over the past 21.24 years.

Picking up an M-series in Germany

First of all, some things I noticed about Germans: no one is staring at phones. Everyone rides bikes - mostly cruisers with kickstands and barely locked up. They are big rule followers. They seem to require very little policing and are generally very respectful people. They love super cheesy t-shirts, especially if the F word is on them.

And now, for a long breakdown of our trip.

Day 1 - Munich

As we fly into Munich, I notice all the farmland, rolling hills, and small villages and am getting even more excited about having the opportunity to drive around this beautiful country.

We land, get taken to our hotel, take a quick nap, and then do some exploring and shopping around the Marienplatz area. It didn't take us long to find our first …

Leaving Southeast Rio Drive

Seriously, who in the hell puts an offer on a house when they're 22 years old? ... and then stays in that house for the next 11-12 years?

Me, apparently.

It was a house on Southeast Rio Drive in Suburban, Ankeny, Iowa, that... because in my brief stint of looking, I realized, I could afford "a lot more house" in Ankeny. So, I closed on the house and moved in with Kari just after we turned 23. Shortly after, while she was cleaning our new bathroom, I asked her to marry me. lol.

The only way I can think to sum things up while living on Rio is via list.

Oh yea... 2015 was awesome

Three weeks into 2016 and I've finally taken a second to think about last year. A year I visited both coasts, sang for a couple thousand people, celebrated 10 years with Kari, sold a company I helped build, and bought a new house.

2015 really was an amazing year.

I travelled to Minnesota for beer, California for meetings, Maine for lobster, Boston for fun, Mayakoba for an amazing wedding, Madison for Shenanigans, the wilderness for disconnecting, and of course a dozen trips to Chicago (for both work and play).

The big thing, though, which I haven't really talked much about is the sale of our company, Modest...

My friends, Harper, Dylan, Clint and I built a product and a team that an incredibly successful and seasoned vet in the industry

Brooks' Dead End Ranch

After 6+ years of wanting to move out of the suburban house that I bought when I was 24 years old, Kari and I finally found a new home to move into.

We must've looked at/walked through 100 potential houses or lots (no exaggeration) over the years, but our picky asses could never find one we liked.

Our top 3 priorities were pretty simple: a ranch home, within 5 miles of downtown, and garage space for 3+ cars and a workshop.

Our other top priorities were: an open floor plan for entertaining, walk out basement, back yard privacy, an office near main living areas, 3 bedrooms, full master bath, full guest bath, a powder room, and to be near bike trails.

Our "nice-to-haves" were: something unique and awesome with garage/shed space in the back …

The Road Rally

Almost every time I talk about participating in the Mid Coast Road Rally event that I do in Iowa, I get asked what exactly it is. I'm sure there are different variations, but the one that Road Rally Charities puts together every year in Iowa goes like this...

The event is full of cars ranging from Ford Escorts to Ferraris and on to giant SUVs.

Each car has a driver and at least one passenger that acts as a navigator. We all meet at the designated kickoff point... which is the only destination you know about for the entire day. You just assume that you'll be driving ~300 miles and have 3-5 different check points... but you have no idea where those check points are or how or when you'll be getting to them.

So, just as you're pulling out …

Riot Fest 2015

Kari pretty much ordered us a set of Riot Fest tickets as soon as she saw this year's line-up. There wasn't many current acts, but it was chock full of bands we would've gone to 10+ years ago if we had money... or knew that we liked going to shows. I'd barely seen any of these people play before, but was definitely into a ton of them at least one point in my life.

After watching Lollapalooza get a bigger and bigger, molly fueled, EDM crowd over the last 10 years, the crowd at Riot Fest was a much welcomed change. Almost everyone there knew how to go to a show and navigate crowds without being a huge dick. Everyone was still partying, dancing, and having a good time, but the vibe, older crowd and smaller fest was just super awesome.

Add …

BWCA 2015 - The year of the portage

This trip to the boundary waters wound up being the hardest, but also the warmest... actually, it was just straight up, unseasonably hot. We spent a good portion of every day shirtless, in our swimwear, or cooling off in the (very) cool lakes.

Our trip started at the southeast corner of the BWCA Wilderness at Kawishiwi Lake and we traveled 30-40 miles northeast to take out at Round Lake along the Gunflint Trail.

It was the most lakes I'd ever crossed (21) and the most portaging (carrying all of your packs and canoes across land from one lake to the next) I've ever done in a single trip. I was pretty surprised at how out of shape I felt this time around. I mean... I guess that really shouldn't have been much of a surprise... but anyway...

Lollapalooza 2015

This was one of the weaker lineups I've seen at Lollapalooza, but out of tradition, we of course still went. On top of a few great shows, we got to hang out with good family and friends, eat some good food, enjoy a few cocktails, and shop on Milwaukee Ave. Here's who we saw...

Friday

Kari's dad joined us so that he could see Paul McCartney, which was awesome.

Maine

Over the 4th of July, my wife's extended family from Boston hosted a family reunion at their cabin in Maine... Kari'd never been to the state, and I hadn't been since I was a kid, so ... duh ... we went!

I'd forgotten just how beautiful and untouched a lot of Maine is. Flying into Portland and seeing the hills, trees, freshwater lakes, and ocean along the way made me seriously question why we live in Iowa. It is such an amazing place.

So, once Kari and I landed, her parents picked us up and we headed past the small town of Damariscotta and onto Biscay Pond ... Lake to meet the rest of the family. Here, we had 2 cottages and her family's cabin... all split amongst 20+ people.

Everyone in her family was awesome and the east coasters were …

Mayakoba

For years, Kari has been hoping that one of our friends would have a destination wedding. I mean, she loves weddings and she loves tropical/resort vacations... so an excuse to combine the two was obviously something she was interested in.

This year, it finally happened. Our friend Mindy invited us to her wedding at a place in Mexico called Mayakoba... we couldn't refuse.

We booked our tickets not really knowing much about about the place, but quickly learned that Mayakoba was this beautiful, tropical, lagoon area that housed 3 upscale resorts, a super nice golf course, and a bit of private housing. The entrance to Mayakoba takes you from a highway and through these tree covered, super narrow, winding, one-way(ish) roads - sometimes …

Becoming Middle Aged

So, my friend Carol has this theory that you truly begin your middle aged life once you become thirty three and a third. She's based this on the idea that if we live to be ~100 years old (yea right), the first third of your life is from 0 to 33.3 years old, the second (middle) third is until you're 66.6 years old, and so on...

She totally buys into this thing too. Like she'll even make you a 33.3, middle aged narwhal birthday cake if you're lucky like my buddy, Nick.

So anyway, with that said, Carol tells me that today marks my 33.3 year old birthday... and by her standards, I'm now officially middle aged.

And to be honest, even without this incredibly important milestone, I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Over the past few …

Lollapalooza 2014

So when Kari was diagnosed with MS last fall, no joke, one of the first things she asked me (nearly in tears) from her hospital bed was, "what are we going to do about lollapalooza?" Not even lying, she wanted to know that if she wasn't able to walk anymore, I'd be able to get her to the front like the guy we saw at Kendrick Lamar last year. It sounds totally cheesy, but live music is just something we do and it's been a huge part of our relationship.

Well, fast forward 10 crazy months and aside from needing an arm through some rough terrain, Lollapalooza was absolutely no thang for Kari. No handicapped pass was needed, we had a blast, saw some amazing shows, walked ~60,000 steps, and hung out with some good friends.

As far as music …

Experiences

Anyone who's visited my personal website probably knows that it's pretty much just about telling my life story (filled with a ton of TMI, of course). Every thought I've had for the past 13 years is on here. Nearly every photo I've ever taken is here. Shit, if you want to know how much I slept, walked, or even what I weighed yesterday, it's all here.

But over the past couple years, I've been thinking a lot about experiences and contextual stories.

So, a lot of times after an event, I like to send around a link to the photos i took. But more and more, I'm finding that these photo albums don't capture everything. They're missing important thoughts, places visited, and many other things that tell the full story - at least from my perspective.

Walk this way!

Friends!

Many of you know that I started a team to walk, grill, and hang out in support of that amazing chick, Kari Brooks on May 17.

So we're almost a month out and I just want to make sure you know that we really do want as many of you to join us as possible. All of you!

Walk

A lot of you have expressed interest in walking with us but haven't registered yet. To walk with us, you just need to click the orange "Join Our Team" button on Kari's team page or just click this link. The site is confusing and awful.

Donate

I didn't originally want to push the fundraising thing, because honestly, we're just looking for an excuse to get everyone together, hang out, and show our gratitude for your support. But as it stands now, Team kbroox has …

The Dominican Republic

At the risk of forfeiting any future travel with my amazing in-laws, I really need to get this story down in a blog.

Last year, Kari, her family, and I started planning a vacation to the caribbean. We'd narrowed it down to a few non-U.S. islands. So needless to say, we all had to make sure our passports were in check. Kari's dad, being the world traveler that he is put a lot of stress on making sure we got this done ASAP... possibly bundled with a few snarky remarks.

Fast-forward to March.

Our flights were booked out of O'hare on the 10th, so we all drove to Chicago on the 9th to kick it with family and friends for a night. It was great.

On the 10th we woke up and took the shuttle to O'Hare, super stoked to finally escape our cruel …

Some things that I learned in 2013

2013 was a roller coaster of a year for me. A roller coaster with some serious business highs, lows, and hardly anything in between.

A few of the key happenings were...

There was also a lot of awesome travel, weddings, concerts, festivals, friends, a huge tattoo, these stats, and other things I could talk about... But really, all …

Checking out. Back to the Boundary Waters

One day last year, amidst the shitstorm of a job and life I was living in the city of Chicago, I IM'd my buddy, Josh and told him that I needed another trip to the Boundary Waters. I wanted to check out from technology, humans, the city, insanity, everything.

A trip to the Boundary Waters, a complete wilderness area absent of all civilization, modern conveniences, and man made structure seemed like exactly what I needed. This is a place where canoes and feet are the only modes of transportation, paper topographic maps are the only way to navigate, and you only take what you can carry. There are no cell phone towers, electricity, roads, running water, man made structure, and minimal human contact. In short, you treat a trip to the boundary …

Lollapalooza 2013

Didn't have the best lineup ever, but it was definitely better than 2012… Add in not having a crazy job to pull me back to the office, a free place to stay, the beautiful weather, and the amount of butts hanging out of daisy duke mom jorts, this turned out to be one of the best lollapalooza experiences so far.

Here's how it went...

Friday

  • Crystal Castles - This was my 3rd time seeing them. Their producer, Ethan is amazing and Alice is batshit crazy on stage… smoking, drinking jameson out of the bottle, and just putting on a great show. They sounded awesome.
  • Theophilus London - was a nice surprise. He sounded great and sort of quick mixed his set which made things fun and let us hear a ton of songs. He actually moved a bit too fast and …

Biking in Iowa is awesome... and confusing!

I've been trying to take a lot of random bike adventures around central Iowa this summer… and the more I bike, the more I'm coming to realize that biking in Iowa is both amazing and confusing as shit.

Where should I be?
One of my biggest concerns about biking here is that there isn't a clear definition of where bikers are supposed to be. If you ride your bike in any urban setting, you know (or learn fast) that bicycles belong on the street. Bicyclists "Share the road" or "GTFO the sidewalk" (depending on whether you're learning from a sign or a pissed off pedestrian).

In Iowa though, things are a bit different because barely anyone commutes by bicycle. Riding bikes is primarily a leisure activity that's done on our amazing trail …

My first attempt at using Des Moines Public Transit

It's no secret that I fell in love with public transit while I spent those 15 months in Chicago. So last night, when Iowa Senator Janet Petersen scheduled a meeting with me in downtown Des Moines, I decided to leave my truck in the garage and finally try out our public transit system.

Here's how it went.

Step 1, get directions

I looked up transit directions to my meeting via google maps (like ya do) and was instantly shut down. "Public transit coverage may not be available in this area."

Step 1, get directions (take 2)

I visited ridedart.com hoping for a place to put in some addresses or plan a route map, but I couldn't find one. This is either because it doesn't exist or due to my inability or impatience while using their …