Marshall Bowers

Conjurer of code. Devourer of art. Pursuer of æsthetics.

Planet A

Thursday, December 31, 2015
1665 words
9 minute read

How time flies. It feels like not too long ago that I found myself writing about 2014. In comparison, 2015 as a whole has been pretty dreadful. Based on some of the other musings I have read on the internet, it would seem I am not alone in thinking this. Now without further ado, here is my 2015 year in review.

Love, Loss, and Awful Grades

While I traditionally refrain from airing my personal life on the open internet, I think there is definitely something to be said for being open with one's life. Everyone has something they are currently dealing with, and it is my hope that keeping a record of my experiences could serve as an encouragement for anyone else going through a similarly dark time.

The tail end of this year found me a complete emotional wreck. My girlfriend of two years left me on July 24th, and I spiralled downhill from there. Coupled with what I consider my toughest academic semester yet, things were pretty terrible for a few months. While the fall semester started out alright, by mid-November my SAD had begun to set in, and my grades began to suffer as I sank into depression. Being newly 21 and severely depressed, I started drinking pretty heavily as my way of coping with everything.

Ultimately and thankfully, I survived. In what I consider to be an act of Divine Providence, I was able to pass all of my classes, and maintain a 3.44 overall GPA.

I also rekindled some old friendships that had been severely neglected over the course of my previous romantic relationship. Two years of focusing solely on one person resulted in me becoming rather narrow-minded, and, much to my regret, shutting out some extraordinary people in the process. Keeping balance in relationships is an art, and one that I will definitely be keeping in mind the next time I find myself romantically involved with someone.

The Start of a Career

Probably the biggest and best thing that has happened to me this year is that I got my first salaried job. After a short (and somewhat wishful) stint with a recruiter at Google, I accepted an offer from Gravic for a full-time developer position. I have been interning as a programmer at Gravic, Inc. since May of 2013, and in December I started as a full-time Programmer Associate. This is a major milestone in my life, and I could not be happier about this opportunity.



I continued to write a lot of code this year, but I found myself working less on personal projects and spending more time coding for school and work. I pushed a total of 4,280 commits over the course of the year, with a peak commit streak of 14 days. Of those 4,280 commits, 3,194 were done at work, meaning I spend 74.6% of my coding time at work. I am still a little unsure how I feel about the transition to more commits done at work. I love my job, and I have been working on some pretty cool stuff, but the fact that I cannot share the work with others is a little disheartening. This is one area I will definitely be watching closely as I move into 2016.


I listened to a lot of music in 2015. By Spotify's Year in Music count, I listened to 102,000 minutes of music this year, which translates to 1,695 hours or 71 days. Here you will find my top 15 albums of 2015, as reported by


Reading last year's end-of-year post, I get a feeling of déjà vu. Since I do not think I can say it better, I will just stick to quoting myself:

Each new year is a chance at a fresh start. A time to burn bridges and kick bad habits. A time to cut out the cancer from one's life and hone in on the desired qualities. A time for new routines, new mentors, and new ways of thinking.

These words, written 365 days ago, were as pertinent then as they are today. It goes without saying that there are many things which will not be joining me in 2016.


I hate writing "New Year's resolutions" in the trite sense of the phrase. Self-improvement is a continual process, not just something that the masses do on December 31st. That being said, there is something wonderful about looking at a blank slate and visualising all of the things that can be done with it.

In no particular order, here are some things I will strive to change in 2016:

  • Spend more meaningful time with my friends
  • Develop more personal friendships with those I admire
  • Start weightlifting and tone my physique
  • Buy a bike and start riding
  • Ship one of my (numerous) personal projects
  • Automate more (especially at work)
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Read 12 books
  • Write 24 blog posts
  • Start using a solid backup solution
  • Push 10k Git commits
  • Get my first big tattoo
  • Make it to Platinum in League of Legends
  • Leave the country (for a little while)
  • Minimize my possessions
  • Graduate college with honors
  • Relearn and practice my Mandarin


There are lots of people who inspire me every day, and I think it is only fitting that I thank them appropriately for their positive impacts on my life. I apologize in advance for any embarrassment I may induce with these public acknowledgements.


I know I definitely do not tell my mother that I love her as much as I should. But I really do love her. I admire her for her constant compassion and love for those around her. I appreciate her for putting up with all of my issues and quirks, especially my recent propensity for drinking. Life is not easy, but my mom makes it endurable.


I probably do not tell me father that I love him enough either. He is the hardest working man that I know, often for little to no reward. This past year has been financially difficult for our family, but I have never seen him falter in the face of it. I admire and respect him more than anyone else in the world, and I would be lucky to be like him some day.


I have known Calli since our freshman year of college, and despite me being rather distant at times, I have the privilege of calling her my best friend. I am thankful that she has been there for me, especially during the past few difficult months, and has kept me grounded through the good and the bad. I do not know what this year holds for us, especially with college graduation rapidly approaching, but I know that we will always be there for each other.


Neauoire aka Aliceffekt aka Devine Lu Linvega has been a constant inspiration to me since I first discovered and met him in October 2014. His artfulness in everything he puts his hand to is incredible. But I think that even more inspiring than his works themselves is the process that surrounds them. I do not know Devine nearly as well as I would like, but the extent to which he has impacted me is phenomenal. As he pursues his dreams of living on a boat with Rekka, I wish him the best of fortunes in his adventures on the high seas.


Anand is the only person I consider a close friend who I have yet to meet in real life. He is also the only person so far who has been able to guess my MBTI type correctly on his first try. He brings such a unique perspective on the world whenever I talk with him, and there have been many late nights where we have done just that. Anand is also a great artist, and crafts experiences that are almost as remarkable as he is.


Rich is my boss at Gravic. I have worked with him a lot over the past year, and have spent countless hours in his office brainstorming and bouncing ideas off of him. He is a great programmer, and even though we disagree sometimes about things (like comment syntax), I value and respect his opinion. Rich always offers a fresh perspective on a problem, and often suggests something that I would not have considered initially. I look forward to working with him more in the coming year.


Chris is my other boss at Gravic and Rich's boss. Much of my interaction with Chris is having my bad ideas shot down by him. And while I found this incredibly frustrating at first, I have grown to appreciate his rationale, especially when I let my ideas run away from me. Much like with Rich, I value Chris' input highly, and will often run an idea by him just to make sure that I have not let some major piece slip through the cracks. He has helped mold me into a much better programmer than what I was a year before.

et al.

There are far too many people to thank for being in my life in 2015. If you were not mentioned, know that I am still thankful for you, and chances are I will make that known to you in a less public fashion.


I have big expectations for 2016, perhaps too big. I do not think there is anything intrinsically special about 2016, in particular. I just know that I have been given 31,622,400 more seconds to live my life in the best way I know how. And when those seconds are over, I will look back and see how I did.