The rumors are true - The Graph Guy is retiring!
I've been working at SAS for about 30 years, and had lots of fun stretching the limits of SAS' graphing & mapping software over the years. But I've decided to retire while I'm still young enough to pursue a lot of my hobbies (and perhaps even start a few new ones). That's a young 56, in case you're curious!
And what does a Graph Guy do to prepare for retirement? I dug up all the old SAS graphs & maps I created about fun things I'd like to do ... so I can go and actually do them after I retire! It turned out to be such a great list, I decided to share them (in case you'd like to do them too!)
Here's a picture to get you in the mood for some retirement graphs. This is my recently-retired buddy Ed (original author of Proc Geocode and Proc SGmap, and former SAS/GIS developer) enjoying retirement. He's my "gold standard" for being happily retired. 🙂
And now, without further delay, here is my list of things I might do during retirement ... in graphical form (click the images, to see the interactive graphs and/or blog posts with details):
The US has many wonderful National Parks (NPs). I could probably spend my entire retirement traveling around the country visiting them. Luckily, I created a graph for each park, showing its "popularity" - I can use that information to choose a popular/crowded park, or a less popular (aka, not crowded) park, depending on whether I want to be around a lot of people. Here's the graph for Glacier National Park (click the graph to see the other NP graphs!)
I'm a big fan of nature - especially Natural Wonders. This map shows the locations of some impressive Natural Wonders, and you can click the markers to to find out more about them:
Many retirees buy a camper, and hit the open road. For example, that's exactly what my buddy Ed did (see the photo above). Camping can be more economical than staying in hotels ... and you have all your 'stuff' with you. And if I finally buy a camper, I might finally get to put my North Carolina (NC) campground map to use!
I really like boating, and when I retire I might move to a house on a lake, or at least near the water. Hopefully my house would have its own boat dock, but if it doesn't then it would be good to know where all the marinas are located - in which case my NC marina map might come in handy:
A decade or so ago, I got certified for SCUBA diving, and went on several dive trips. Perhaps it's time to get back into that after I retire! And I can use one of my dive site maps to help pick interesting diving locations around NC:
I typically get bored if I spend a whole week somewhere on vacation. Therefore I'm a big fan of "day trips". This map should give me lots of ideas for short trips close to home!
And if those day trips aren't enough, I'm sure I could keep busy visiting various places mentioned in this Tar Heel Traveler map. Scott Mason does a great job of finding interesting places and people, and sharing their stories!
When I head out on all those day trips to every nook and cranny of NC, I better know how to pronounce the names of the places like a local - otherwise I'll get the dreaded "You ain't from around here, are ya?". This map of commonly mispronounced places should help me blend in - it shows the tricky names, along with how to pronounce them.
While I'm traveling around NC and seeing all the sights, I'm bound to get hungry. And of course my favorite meal is some good ole barbecue. And of course, the best barbecue is cooked over a real wood fire (rather than charcoal, gas, or electric). Restaurants that use real wood are getting more and more rare, therefore I downloaded a list from truecue.org, and created a map:
And this other map will let me know what kind of sauce to expect in various locations (I'm not a big fan of the mustard based sauce, therefore I might avoid eating barbecue in those areas!)
My grandmother did some research and found that our last name (Allison) came from Scotland. Therefore I'm interested in the Scottish heritage, and like to attend Scottish festivals when I can. Therefore I created an interactive map to help me keep track of the festivals in my area. Who knows - with all this free time in my retirement, I might become one of those guys running around in a kilt, tossing cabers!
Statistics show that as the US population ages, women tend to live longer than men. Therefore, being a "betting man" (or a statistician), I would say that (in general) the older I get, the ratio of single/available women to men in my age range will increase. Or, in graphical terms (see my graph below) the pink bars on the right (females), are longer than the blue bars on the left (males) for the retired age groups ... and the difference increases the as age increases.
Myrtle Beach, SC seems to be a mecca for retired people - especially during the off season. I think I got an early start, because I liked going to Myrtle Beach during the off season, event before I turned 50 (it's just too crowded for me, during the warmer months). Therefore I'll probably be heading down to Myrtle Beach a bit more often after I retire. I set up the following map so I can click on my favorite waterfront resorts/hotels, to quickly/easily check their prices and availability:
Over the years, I've created several 'city guide' maps for various SAS Global Forum cities, showing fun things to do there. Maybe I'll have time to visit those cities now, and check out all those places!
I've shown examples of places to go in NC and United States (above) ... but what about the rest of the world? Well, I'm not much of a long-distance traveler. However, I might make an exception for the Beautiful and Interesting Places in this map...
I really enjoy paddling boats (canoes, kayaks, surfskis, etc). It's healthy to be outdoors, and it's good exercise when you paddle them fast. I have a few locations I usually go to (Lake Crabtree, Lake Wheeler, Jordan Lake, Beaver Dam section of Falls Lake, etc) ... but with lots of extra time in retirement, I'll probably branch out and try some new locations. Here's a map I created, that might help:
I have two motorcycles (that I don't ride nearly enough). After I retire, I'll have plenty of time to ride them. I could do things like head out to the western part of the state, to enjoy the colorful leaves in the fall. I might even try cruising down the Tail of the Dragon - a very curvy stretch of road in the mountains on the NC/Tennessee border. This map can tell me which portions to be particularly careful on. You can click each red marker to zoom-in to a Google street view map.
By buddy Abby (dad of a former Carolina Rollergirl superstar) is an older guy who does a lot of outdoor roller blading - and he's really good at it, by the way! Most of my skating has been indoors on quad skates, but maybe it's time to dust off my outdoor roller blades and hit the skate trails! And if I do, this map will show me where to go:
Back in my younger days, I volunteered to help earthwatch.org researchers collect data in the Bahamas for a coral bleaching study. This particular project was on a remote and sparsely populated island (San Salvador Island), and I really enjoyed my week there. I think I should do more projects like that after I retire! Here's a map I created, showing where San Salvador Island is located, in case you haven't heard of it:
My best buddy at work (John) is an avid astronomer, and spends countless hours at night capturing images, and then countless more hours combining the layers of images to reveal spectacular pictures of nebulae (or is that nebulas? ... I should go ask John!) Well, you know how friends tend to influence each other, and they often adopt each others' hobbies ... therefore I wouldn't be surprised if John pulls me into astrophotography. And here's a map of observatories in NC (large and small), that I might could do a little 'networking' with, to help get started:
We all have a favorite temperature we prefer. Once I'm retired, and have a camper, perhaps I could plan my route and schedule so that I'm always in my "perfect temperature" using this animated map:
Once I retire, there's no longer a reason why I need to live 2 miles from SAS' headquarters any more (especially with this area getting more crowded, and the traffic getting worse every year). If I decide to move, there are many factors to consider in picking a new location. For example, I might want to move to an area with a certain mix of political preferences. The following map could help find such an area:
Or, I might want to move to an area with a certain 'culture', in which case this map might come in handy:
I learned to paddle and steer dragon boats in the Raleigh Dragon Boat Club (RDBC). And these days, I'm a coach and steersman for two of the companies that organize dragon boat races (High Five, and PanAm). I should have plenty of time to work at more dragon boat events after I retire! Here are some blog posts where I analyze data from some dragon boat races, and below is a map showing some of the dragon boat races within a reasonably short drive from Raleigh.
One of my hobbies is DJing (playing music for dances and events). My main gig these days is volunteer DJing at charity fundraiser car shows - I play lots of oldies, feel-good music, and songs about cars. With all the free time after retiring, I might do a little more DJing, and I will probably end up DJing a wedding (against my better judgement, of course!). In which case, I might need to know which songs people are tired of hearing at wedding receptions ... in which case this fun list of 'banned' wedding songs might be helpful:
I do a lot of paddling, and I like racing outrigger canoes and surfskis (a sit-on-top racing kayak). I plan to do more of this after I retire. Here's a map I created, with links to several of the nearby races:
I might even go to some races out on the west coast, such as the Gorge Downwind Challenge. Since I've never paddled in that area, I'm glad I studied and plotted the course ahead of time!
My regular blog readers will know how important it is to be familiar with the race route - because, if the leaders in a race take a wrong turn, then the people behind them (like me) get to pass them ... like I did in this race at Hunting Island, SC! 😉
And for the races I compete in (such as this one in Pine Knoll Shores at the NC coast), I might want to plot the results, to see how I compared to the other racers:
Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish!
So, I guess this is goodbye ... my last day working for SAS is Nov 1, 2021. I enjoyed all the discussions I've had with you fellow graph experts and data analysts, and I appreciate all your great feedback and suggestions over the years (it really helped me improve my "graph game"). Feel free to keep in touch with me on social media (Twitter & LinkedIn).
But it might not be goodbye forever. I'm checking into the possibilities of doing some graph consulting work as a SAS Partner, or sub-contractor of a Partner, etc. So if you've got some special graphing or mapping needs, you might try asking for me by name ... who knows, you might get me!