2021, my son is born!

This year has been one of the most joyful and life-changing of my entire life. My son was born this year in October. Val and I spent so long reading books, preparing the house, and going on adventures until the day of delivery. This post describes some of these adventures and how I have felt being a dad so far.

Early in the year we got a positive pregnancy test and decided to go on tons of adventures as a “baby-moon”. We went to Zion National Park and then stayed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. I really would not have taken myself as someone who takes “outdoor national park” vacations, but since we went to Acadia last year, we got the itch. We hiked up Angel’s Landing and saw some of the most beautiful geography. The Overlook Pass was also a fantastic experience to look over the small town of Springdale. We had such amazing food at the King’s Landing Bistro after a long day of hiking. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend a Memorial Day weekend.

The next adventure for me was flying to Oshkosh with my dad for the weekend. We had some special moments sitting under the wing of the airplane drinking coffee and reflecting on life. At 78, he’s slower than he used to be, but boy did he have a blast just being there. It feels like a great gift from God that we got to go there together. We got to park next to 50 other short-wing Pipers! We had a grand time and a safe flight with beautiful weather. What more could you ask for? We went on a few more trips during the summer, including Florida (to fail to watch a rocket launch), and to Michigan for an Urbanik family vacation. We had all the adventure we could ask for prior to the adventure of bring a baby boy home.

I remember when our son was born, I was in tears. It was so miraculous to witness, I can barely put it into words. I was so happy to finally meet him. I was happy that he was healthy, and mom was healthy. Whew! I love him so much. I remember sitting in the hospital room cuddling him on my chest and just talking, saying whatever was on my mind. I am a different person having gone through this. I feel more able to be raw with my true feelings and want to share my whole self in love for my son. I’ve been learning some really interesting things about God as well. I love my son so much with a deep burning love. God loves me that much and more. I understand that in a tangible way that I haven’t before.

He’s 9 weeks old now and we’re about to start many more adventures in the coming year. I can’t wait to see how it plays out.



2020, the year of working from home

This year started off hopefully. Val and I were going to go to Cambodia to support Fountain of Hope. However, in March, COVID-19 shutdown everything and sent our lives into Work From Home mode. This was two weeks after we planted into Omaha.

It’s been a tough year for the entire world. It is difficult to change the way we live life. Masks, no indoor dining, not seeing my parents much or hanging out with friends or co-workers. The vaccine is coming in 2021, hopefully everything will be back to normal by next year.

Flying the Tri-Pacer is still lots of fun! We did at least get to go on a trip to Panama City Beach, Florida. We had absolutely perfect weather as we flew down and as we flew back. I will never forget how beautiful it was flying south of Norris Lake. It is a great privilege.

The exciting things have been in spaceflight. The first humans launched on Falcon 9 rocket this year, and the Starship SN8 prototype flew for the first time. SLS is almost ready to go.

Farewell 2019

The end of the decade is upon me. It’s crazy to think back over the last 10 years as to how different my life is than I imagined it. I imagined being a world class game developer, being single until I was 40, and never leaving the safety and comfort of the basement with my suite of video game consoles.

Although those things didn’t work out how I expected, I’m glad that they didn’t, ultimately. Being married is a sweet gift. Having friendships and community is a sweet gift. Some things haven’t changed. I still get to fly and go on adventures, and I have a partner to share them with!

We had an interesting adventure going to Oshkosh this year. It was totally soaked in the Vintage area. Vintage is almost never closed and almost always has open parking. As we arrived up in Wisconsin, we ended up diverting to the Fondulac airport and camping there for a night. The next morning we flew into Oshkosh, and we got parked right on the end of a row, as though we were a show plane (of course we always get attention with the Tri-Pacer!). Many old friends stopped by to say hello, and our whole family gathered under her wing for shade, coffee, and conversation. We are all EAA Lifetime members and got to enjoy the benefits during the airshow. This year’s show was one of a kind. It is a great privilege to get to experience.

This year involved a lot of growth in my personal security before God. I notice this in cases where I can more readily say ‘yes’ to being involved in social situations. I can say ‘yes’ to more family time, whereas I was prone to shy away. It’s cool to be in the same experience a year later and realize that you are a different person from a year ago. My friends are also different people, in the best possible ways. My wife, the same way. There is so much richness to the soul and to personality. We even see it in the youngest of babies. Anyway, it’s cool to reflect on a year of changes. I started at Kudu Dynamics, LLC this year, and it’s been really cool to finally get out of the basement that I used to love to dwell in.

2018 is almost over!

Another year is almost under our belts. This year brought forth adventures, trials, and joys. We went to Oshkosh in the Tri-Pacer and had plenty of maple-bacon ice cream. This is one tradition that I hope will not fade away. That ice cream is delicious. It’s been fun to get to fly as much as I did this year. Val and I flew to Thompsonville, Michigan amongst a sea of trees and deepest blue lakes. With the afternoon sun glinting off the lake, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the scene. Flying to Sylvania during the sunrise casting its long shadow over the ground was also such a memorable experience.

Having these experiences are awesome, but it is even better to have someone to share it with. My mind is up in the clouds, and it is a great privilege to get to share that with other people. We went on a cruise earlier this year down to the Bahamas and Key West during the middle of winter. That was a smart move. I hope we do something like that again.

Every year there is something exciting, and this year is no exception. I get to help out with Friends of Fountain of Hope and continue to support the Christians in Cambodia. The other exciting news is that we bought a house! We got to put a lot of equity into it already with a new water line, furnace, AC, thermostat, garage door, and garage door opener. Whew! It was the first house we put an offer on. We didn’t get it initially, but the previous buyer fell through.

Nothing is more awesome than following God alongside my wife Valerie. I am so grateful to have a partner! I am so grateful to get to use our house to serve people. It is time to hibernate for another winter.

I am thankful for time off work around the holidays, and it feels like I have time to be clear minded and rested. This time of rest certainly restores me to come back and hit the ground running into the new year.


This is my 10th year of annual blog posts!

I am married! Marriage is such a great privilege. Valerie and I had a fun wedding on April 8th and then we jetted off to Maui for our honeymoon. We are living in Clintonville and enjoying quiet apartment life. We saw Hamilton in New York and got to fly to Oshkosh together. I feel so glad to get to be involved in spiritual community with fellow Christians. I do not deserve it at all, but I am grateful for it because nothing else in the world is quite as satisfying to my soul as loving those that God has put in my life. I’m still involved in Robotics with team 1014 and working alongside Saaj and Isaac in discipleship! Joy exists in my soul by God’s grace.

I can’t wait to see what further adventures are in store for us!

A great year

This year had more excitement and adventure than I expected! I went to Cambodia on a mission trip to support Fountain of Hope. I got engaged to my fiancee Valerie. I had the incredible privilege of learning and teaching the Bible. I taught our college home church and high schoolers in New Albany. Nothing can match the joys and trials this year has brought forth.
The airplane has been in the maintenance hangar for over 5 months. My dad and I recovered the elevator in our garage, which turned out to be the adventure. A week before my Cambodia trip he had a stroke. I am thankful that He is recovering well. It was a scary time for sure. We finished the elevator then found out that there were 3 cracked cylinders on the engine! Ahh! The GPS still isn’t working, but the plane is ready for flight.
I am 26 and overwhelmed with how much knowledge and experience I have. I am also overwhelmed by my minimal knowledge I have in these areas.

A technology nightmare

It’s an incredible world we live in today. There are so many services to help us manage our lives and data in ways that we could not have imagined twenty years ago. However, I have a major problem that is starting to become quite burdensome.

Here is my dilemma. I use many different services to manage my digital life. I use services from Microsoft, Google, and Apple along with a few others on a regular basis. This did not particularly happen by plan or by choice. I used to develop a lot of software for Microsoft platforms. I had a Windows Phone that uploaded every picture to OneDrive automatically. I went to a developer conference where they gave everyone 100GB of cloud storage for life! In 2011 Google Docs was far more advanced than Office Online, so I ended up storing most of my documents in Google Drive. Gmail also integrates with Google Drive. Four years ago I went back to iOS and bought a MacBook to do game development. I also use an app called ForeFlight for use while I am flying that only works on iOS. Apple’s iCloud synced all of my Photos between the Mac and iPhone seamlessly. iCloud also offers a shared calendar that syncs between our family which works through the iOS Calendar app, but I have a shared Google Calendar that doesn’t sync with the default calendar app. The last piece of the puzzle comes from taking notes/reminders. I had been using Microsoft OneNote. I switched to the Notes app on iOS. When I initially setup Notes, they were stored in iCloud. Now they are stored with Google through Gmail. I am currently trying out Evernote, which has been okay so far. The default iOS Mail app doesn’t support push notifications for Gmail. Trying to share a photo through the Photos app to an email doesn’t offer the Inbox or Gmail app! Arg! It is so frustrating! Everything is separate and isolated. I have notes stored in four different places!

Each service has things that I like. The greatest schism comes from Google. I use Google Chrome and Gmail. They do not integrate well with Apple’s ecosystem (Calendar, Notes, Mail), yet they are superior products on the web. I love using these services. I want to consolidate all of my data, but where should it live?

I believe the key problem here is with platform ecosystem loyalty. If I pick one platform, and all my friends and co-workers use that platform, I believe that all my problems will go away. These companies want to force us into that. Not only do these services fail to work together, they purposefully design their services to be isolated from one another.

How can we solve this?

Life as an adult

I am now an adult, here at age 25. I am enjoying my job at Battelle and getting to work on some really neat things. I am starting to lose my inquisitive sharpness and excitement for software development though since I haven’t done much app or video game development in quite some time. I feel truly satisfied as a result of knowing God and developing sweet friendships in our Voltron bible study. I feel that I’ve accomplished everything I’ve set out to do in my life, and I want to use my time to help others and serve. This has truly been the greatest period of my life. I also seem to be at a cross-roads. Most of my life has been focused on my needs and my will. It’s incredibly difficult, yet rewarding to think about others as more important than myself. I seek different things than I would have imagined myself seeking. I simply don’t want anything more out of life, because I am filled up in the most important things. Being married or not, leading a home church or not, studying the Bible with friends or not, I know that it is drawing near to God that fills me up.

Flying is still fun. I flew to Oshkosh this year despite an incredible amount of drama with the annual. A cylinder needed to be replaced, but no one had any stock of that particular model available. It took months of beautiful flying weather for everything to get worked out. Apparently our propeller had never been approved with the Tri-Pacer, yet it had been flying with that prop for over 40 years! I ended up buying a new propeller, and everything worked out to make it to Oshkosh and camp for several days. Approval for our old propeller finally came through several months later. Along with a new magneto and a new vacuum pump, it’s been an expensive year as an aircraft owner. I did get to fly 20 hours within the next month after having the airplane back in service. Flying as the leaves had all turned color in the fall was absolutely beautiful.

Is it time to settle down or is it time to put the foot on the gas? My personality will not let me rest, so I’d imagine putting the foot on the gas is going to happen. Get ready world. Here I come.

Good timing

Here is my once yearly blog post, coming to you for another year. This has been going on for the last 7 years without fail. This is the last day of 2014, so I’m glad that I didn’t miss it. It’s been a busy year, like all of the past years have been. Life never seems to slow down or get easier. Knowing this, it is exciting to face life this way. There’s always a response required to a challenge. Do I meet the challenge head on, or do I run away? From my experience, it’s definitely worth it to face challenge head on. In my life, the challenges have always been different.

Since last writing, I moved in with 8 roommates in Voltron home church, my friend got married, and I have been fortunate enough to help mentor people in robotics and in knowledge of the Bible. I’m incredibly grateful for all of the wonderful relationships that I now have with people. I’ve grown substantially as a person by learning how to rest in God. All action flows from what a person ultimately believes. I’ve had the great privilege of learning a lot about the Bible this year, and it’s been really exciting to critically think about what it says instead of simply having “blind faith”.

The Tri-Pacer is still flying, and I’ve kept my instrument rating current. Now I need more excuses to go flying! One highlight of flying this year was going to Wolf Run State Park to go camping at their “Fly-in Camp Ground”. It was so fun to fly in and camp. Scott even made a fishing pole, and we caught a fish with it! It was so much fun to enjoy nature and relax. I made it to Oshkosh this year in a Cessna 2010 and camped next to the airplane for most of the week. The Thunderbirds performed this year and put on a pretty cool show. I hope to get to Sun N Fun this upcoming year.

Another wonderful highlight of my year was going to San Francisco for the Game Developers Conference. It was so much fun to go to sessions and see the exhibit hall (and acquire tons of free stuff!). We stayed in a hostel a mile or so away, but it only cost us $70 for the whole week we were there! I definitely want to go back there. There was a restaurant called TBD that we went to that was fantastic. Everything there was cooked on a wood fire. I specifically remember eating this marshmallow “smore” dessert that blew my mind. A lot happens in a year, and I think it’s interesting that a food experience even makes a mention in this post. It was seriously delicious though!

The real bummer of the year is putting Soulfire on hold due to funding issues. I really hope we’ll have the opportunity to revisit it at some point to finish what we started. The games were fun, but making the games with the people we had was the most fun. Work is still going well, and I’m having the opportunity to work on such a variety of things that I never would have imagined two years ago when I started. A lot of things have happened over this past year that have legitimately allowed me to experience great joy in my soul. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Cheers to another year!

Life over the past year

I’ve been out of school now for one year, and it has been an incredible year so far. I feel like I’ve been everywhere, done everything, and am still just as busy as I was during school. There are always good and bad times, but I am so blessed to be happy and view life as good. Life is about experiences, and I have enjoyed the trials and tribulations to the fullest. That’s what it means to truly live. I flew back from Oshkosh 2013 today, so that is the subject most readily on my mind to start out on.

On July 24, 2013, I passed my IFR practical test and received my instrument rating in the Piper Tripacer. OSU Avionics did a fantastic job of installing the Garmin 430W in our panel to enable this to happen. This was probably my most heavily ingrained desire that’d been burning for years. With the incredible instruction from John Wilson, I was able to finish my rating in less than two months. I passed my IFR written test with a score of 90% just one week before I took my practical test. I intend to have a future couple of blog posts in the coming weeks that go into more depth of this endeavour.

Earlier in March, I had the privilege to demo our SignWave hand-based biometric login application at SXSW. SXSW was one of the coolest places to be ever if you love Music, Film, or what they call “Interactive”. Interactive means anything from gaming to entrepreneurship, changing the world, or just changing our perspective of it. There was so much stuff everywhere. I even got to see Coolio and deadmau5. One of the downsides of the life happened shortly after when my car got broken into the day after St. Patricks day. My work laptop and flight bag were stolen from my car. About a month later, they stole my radio and my 12″ JL Audio subwoofers. Yikes. After a few weeks of not having a radio, you don’t really miss it. It’s pretty interesting to see how you “think” you need things (like cable), but when you are without them for a few weeks you don’t really miss them all that much. Humans have survived many thousands of years without the internet or smartphones.

Soulfire Software is still cooking. We’re still working on our first released 3D game. We hope to finish it by early next year. I’m really excited to see where that leads. Scott should be graduating by December, and that should help spur our progress tremendously. We’re using the Unity3D game engine, which has enhanced our development pipeline significantly. Our team did a gamejam a few months ago which was ridiculously successful. We hadn’t ever built a working 3D game yet to that point. In 48-hours, I think we nailed it. I’ll try to post a link to the version on the Soulfire website soon.

Work at Battelle has been going well. I’ve been working on some neat projects and learned an absurd amount about working with a team of engineers. At Soulfire, almost everyone is an artist. Everyone is a programmer at work except for one UI designer. It’s fascinating to see all of the pieces that need to fit into place to release a product into the consumer market. I’ve released/shipped over a half-dozen medium-scale projects to consumers. I have a love and passion for crafting fun, high quality product experiences for customers. I’m not a computer-scientist, I’m a software engineer. I know how to get things done, and I enjoy that immensely.

This last year has been an adventure. In fact, every year has been an adventure. This was the first year that I’ve been able to do things that have been useful other than spending time in school. Just because I’m no longer in school doesn’t mean I stop learning. I hope to never stop exploring and learning. This concludes my sixth yearly blog post. Cheers to another year!