The Coaster 2016 & 2017

The Coaster

I won’t retell the history of the coaster, but it’s a complex New Year’s Resolution tradition that I’ve carried with me to Australia.

How did BJR do on last year’s Coaster?

BJR did poorly.

  1. Writing Mum a handwritten card once/month. DeliveredWhen I visited Mom, she had several cards displayed. In the world of email, a handwritten note can have more meaning than it used to.
  2. Microadventure with my pal Tash once a quarter – 0/4. Didn’t even do one. Huge fail.
  3. Meditation – this went away after one month. Unfocused.
  4. Sub 11 hour Ironman at Cairns – this one disappeared quickly. Without question the least training I’ve done for any half or full. Led to “retirement” from triathlon. Slow.
  5. Swim 250K in the last six months of the year.  Maybe I did 10K total in those six months. Drowned.
  6. Apply for Aussie Citizenship. Good on ya! And passed my test. Just waiting to be sworn in…
  7. Raise $100K for Room to Read. Proud. My friends are crazy generous.
  8. Private goal A: Failed. 
  9. Private goal B: Failed.

So, 3/9 is a pretty poor year. That’s an F- for those of you scoring at home (insert your favorite scoring at home joke here – actually insert mine, mine is funnier).

How does BJR feel about 2016 in general?

In response to all the dramatic emotional outbursts about 2016 and the death of celebrities, I recently said:

Stop anthropomorphizing an arbitrary revolution of the earth around the sun. It bears you no ill will.

So, while yes, 2016 is an arbitrary period of time, it does give us all a chance to reflect. There is no shortage of things I should be grateful for, and at the same time, a mountain of ways I could have been a better human. But to try and sum it up in a few simple statements:

  • I am proud of the people I work with, and amazed by them every day.
  • My inability to understand my own limits not only caused myself, but others, a great deal of pain.
  • I am fortunate beyond anything I could possibly deserve, and need to spend more time appreciating that
  • I need to spend more time serving others and less time on a laptop, iPad, or phone.

Best of ’16


  • Best Movie: Captain Fantastic
  • Best Movie made before last year but I hadn’t seen: Warrior
  • Best Night’s Sleep: first night in Poland in late November.
  • Best Yogurt: Greek (specifically the Tamar stuff)
  • Best Non-fiction Book: Sapiens
  • Best Adventure: Kepler Track with NVB
  • Best Day: Cycling in the mountains around Barcelona
  • Comeback Fruit of the Year: Peaches

In the year of our BJR two-thousand-and-seventeen

This year’s coaster ceremony was a tight knit group. We moved from the home of the Buntings to try something new, to a Japanese restaurant (still not quite the pub origins of the coaster). Overall, this coaster probably doesn’t push my limits as much as some have in the past, but last year I simply over-committed and as a result was miserable in many aspects of my life. So, here’s 2017:

1. Be the fly that hits the wall

The World Transplant Games record for the 200m Individual Medley for age group 40-49 is 03.01.99. Mr T. O’Hagan of the United Kingdom, I think I can get within 30 seconds of that. We’ll see. Right now, I can only do about 15m of Butterfly, and I’ll need to get to 50m.

2. Mum, it’s me. Your son. Your son Bryan. The one in Australia.

I didn’t talk to Mum nearly enough this year. I will call Mum every three weeks. Minimum talk time: 30 minutes.

3. Secret Squirrel

My friends put this one on my Coaster. I’m an open book. Perhaps too open. Regardless, I now must go on three dates with the same person, and not tell a single other soul (other than the person I’m on the date with). I’m still not sure if my friends think it’s not healthy for me to talk about all the details of my life, or whether they are just sick of hearing me talk and will find any reason to shut me up.

4. Me llamo Bryan. ¿Donde están sus pantalones?

I will visit Spain twice this year, first for our European customer conference in Barcelona, and then again for the World Transplant Games in Málaga. I studied Spanish in high school, but it’s stale and at best ‘survival Spanish’ and I’d love to rekindle my meager conversational skills. I’ll spend two hours each month from January through June speaking Spanish with a fluent speaker, and dealing with them laughing at my horrible verb conjugation. Voy a la playa con su hermana. No, no – Fuí a la playa con su madre.

5. Build a Belly

A few good friends are Buddhists, and my travels in Cambodia have made me want to understand it more. I’ll spend 15 hours studying Buddhism this year to understand the history, the philosophy, and the practice. I hear reincarnation is making a comeback (not a BJR original, 100% plagiarism).

6. Hermit on the Horizon

At some point in my life, I will flee the city of Sydney and head to a smaller town. Ideally, I’d live on the beach somewhere between Forster and Noosa. But, I actually know next to nothing about most of the towns along that coastal stretch. So, I’ll take at least a week long trip North of Sydney to figure out if that’s really the someday-future home of BJR.

7. Where’s the Beef?

I will have 2 servings or less of red meat in the entire year of 2017. I don’t each much red meat – even after discovering that lamb is red meat (they are white on the outside, so I just assumed). I’m going to cut it out entirely this year, largely for ecological reasons. It’s a small measure, but every year I try and reduce my footprint a little bit more, while still keeping my feet the same size. My friends suggested I allow myself 2 servings in case of emergency, like if I’m trapped in an elevator with a cow and a BBQ for 24 hours. Note that would still count in my book as 1 serving.

8. Build a Clock

I can’t provide the details on this one. It’s private, because it impacts other people, and I want them to be surprised when I build my army of sociopathic robots. I, for one, welcome our new artificially intelligent overlords.

9. Kampouchea

Before the end of the year, I will return to Cambodia. Just thinking about this makes me smile.


Here’s to a great 2017.

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