I’m not even going to introduce this as I think everyone know what this year has been like.

So for once I am gonna just look at some of the good stuff that has come out of ol’ 2020.

Moving to a new country is always pretty exciting and I was super excited to make to move from the UK to California and we had a really nice slow start. I’d hop in the car with Alyssa as my legal co pilot, and we’d just do a whole bunch of nothin’. We were transitioning happily into our 6 month stay before moving to Sonoma in July.

Hello Covid – I need something to do whilst you’re in town

I got laid off just after covid started to kick off here and in the UK and was fortunate enough to have the good folks at Crossriver Bank reach out and ask if I wanted to help out with the PPP as it got introduced to the world. And holy cow was that a wild ride! Originally planned as two weeks temp work, I was on the PPP ship for nearly 3 months helping folks to get the aid they needed to stay afloat. I thank Lexie and all the good eggs at Cross River for being there and helping me get through the initial shock of shelter in place. You guys are great and this was a great temp job through and through.

In terms of learning, this was such a fast moving workplace (updates and changes almost every hour for the first few weeks). It will be a while before I work in such a rapidly changing work environment I think!

I got the chance also to join the Code in Place course that Stanford ran in April/May which was a really happy breakthrough. I’m still very much in my infacy with code, but it opened up a whole load of new possiblities for me and gave me a launch pad to grow this skill set. It was also another purpose that I could wake up and focus on alongside the PPP gig. I had stability in the beginning of the pandemic which I am sure did me a whole ton of good.

Schedule for April-July
Wake up
PPP
Lunch
Code in place (in APr/May)
Apply for jobs/interviews
Slepe

Whilst this was going on, it took 77 applications, a whole bunch of phone calls, 3 positions blocked by covid freeze (damn) to then get the offer at Leadfeeder (hit rate of 1.29%), and I am so happy that this happened. Huge shoutout to Jenn for being my champion in the process. I’m super happy with how work has been since July and I’m delighted to be a part of such a great team. I really enjoy and value working with you fine folks.

Then we moved

Moving is a task and a half during any time let alone the covid year. So safe to say it was a good distraction. I think. it’s taken us around 4 months to properly settle in which is nice now that we have arrived. Everything had been carefully planned and we got most/all of our furniture and house things through second hand listings. In short we had a house in a box ready to unpack once we were ready.

Alyssa was super excited to get involved with all things home improvement and took it upon herself to remodel our guest bathroom from scratch using Youtube university. She is doing an excellent job and I am super proud of what she has achieved and she is so close to finishing now (completion date in a few days! She has come along in leaps and bounds this year and this has been a big motivation for me to get up and do things.

Another small/big win for the year was learning to drive from scratch and getting myself that driving license. Sods/murphys law was that my practical test was the day after the cut off when covid kicked into gear (noooo) and I had to wait til 3 months later to take it. But dang it, the wait was worth it! Now I can beep beep on my own which leads me to another event of 2020:

I accidentally opened an online record store.

Yeah it was a total accident. I started out heading to some local garage sales looking for old cameras, and started being drawn to the boxes of vinyl. When it’s 50c – $1 for an album it’s an easy gateway for sure!

One crisp morning I rocked up to a sale and there was a whole bucketload of cassettes and 8 tracks but no vinyl in sight. I said hello to the owner and asked if they had any records “sure there’s a whole bunch in the garage!”. I helped to unload two big ol crates filled to the brim and it was the usual sort of stuff you find but with some gems within (think Judas Priest, Rush, other classic hard rock stuff). I think I picked up 3 Rush albums, Little Deuce Coupe by The Beach Boys and another copy of Led Zeppelin 2 (LZII) to see if it sounded better than my one. I wasn’t buying to sell at this point, I just wanted to beef up my own collection.

I got back home, gave LZII a spin and heck yeah. It sounded great! Much beefier than the version I had. I’m still not too sure why, but I felt compelled to check the version on discogs and realised I had one of the desirable “RL” pressings in fantastic condition and well you guessed it. This thing was worth a fair chonk of cash (I still hold the highest price sold for this record­čĺ¬)! Now this whole record selling thing had me interested.

I started finding odds and sods from local garage sales for both me and for future sales, and it was a steady 3-5 records a week. I checked craigslist, facebook marketplace and the like for listings every now and then and I came across a free collection about an hours drive away. And thats how it started. I found more and more folks having their covid/shelter in place clearouts and began to pick up collections for a really reasonable price and got to build my own stack as well a   s gathering some really cool stock as I went.

I’m now running a super simple script (thanks Code in Place) that helps me in checking listings daily, and I’ll jump on most anything I see. It’s been so fun getting introduced to a whole bunch of new genres and discovering some really niche music in the process. It’s a really fun side hustle!

I’m ending 2020 with a whole bunch of good things having happened despite the poopy vibe that it has brought. Here’s to 2021! You’ve not got much to improve upon so no pressure! :- )

You can check out some cool things on instagram at either @jack.w.allan or @jacksrecordstore

December 31, 2020

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