Time Flies When You Are Having Fun

It’s been a while since my last post. So long in fact, that the entire winter has almost passed us by! Unlike last year, which was record-breaking for snowfall, this winter has been kinder. We’ve had our share of snow and cold weather, but nothing like last year. That’s been very good for my running, as I have been able to get outside for most of the runs that I wanted to complete. I’m already more than double the year-to-date mileage compared to last year, which should put me in better overall shape for the spring. This year is the year I am running the marathon in the fall, and I really want to give it a solid attempt. So I’ve been focussed on ensuring my running base is stronger than it has been in other years post-winter. I’ve been primarily maintenance running, which for me means repeating the same running patterns and distances, since I am not actually training for any specific event in the near-term. I have also been mixing in some stationary bike work as well, which I think is helping with some additional leg strength. Now I just have to get my diet and sleep working a little better, and I may actually be dangerous!

The Xbox One has been a huge hit at our house, with Luke and I banging through all kinds of games over the last few months. My personal favourite has been Forza Motorsports 6, but I absolutely loved playing through Ori and the Blind Forest as well. I’ve replayed a good chunk of the amazing Rayman Legends, this time on the Xbox One. Forza Horizons 2 is a more recent additional, and has been super fun compliment to Forza Motorsports. I have not yet started Shadows of Mordor, and it continues to wait patiently until I can spend some quality time with it. I love the fact that you can stream your games to a Windows 10 PC, since Tammie often wants to use the TV when I would like to be playing a game. All I need to do is fire up the Xbox One and the PC and then connect from one to the other. We have a pretty good network setup in the house, so it works really well for me. I haven’t really been playing anything new on the PC. When I do pull something up, it has been primarily Diablo 3 or Hearthstone.

A little later in the spring we are headed to Calgary to visit my sister. The plane tickets are purchased and the hotel rooms booked, so that makes it about as official as you can get. I am hoping that the weather is pretty good out there when we visit, as I’d like to take the kids to see some of the mountains in Banff. One particular climb I would love to do with them is Sulphur Mountain, but it is currently closed while they renovate the gondola platforms. Rumour is that the opening date is just before we arrive in Calgary, but I’ll have to check closer to the day. And in other exciting news, we are heading to Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo! We get to check out one day of that convention, which should be pretty exciting. I have never been to a comic expo of this size, so it is sure to be a new experience. And given the amount of awesome merchandise, it could be an expensive experience too!

Work was a little slower over the Christmas holidays, but has been pretty steady since then. It has been interesting working from home. Definitely a lot more off-site meetings and phone calls than when people could drop by the office. Most of our workflow has been sorted, although some elements are certainly more cumbersome when they transition to completely remote functions. When deep into coding, I would often prop up my Google Nexus 7 and have it streaming music or a movie, but then the thing just died one day! Turns out it was a memory fault, so truly bricked. I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8 recently, and while it is certainly a cheaper feeling machine than the Google Nexus, it does the trick. The slightly larger screen is better for Comixology as well, which is one of my main uses!

Okay, gonna go drag everyone outside for a hike or walk. Until next time!

Randy

Might Need New Shoes

So here we are on the last day of November. I’d like to say that winter hasn’t arrived just yet, but that’d be a bit misleading. We have snow covering the ground today, and I had to clean off both vehicles this morning before work and school. So in my books, that counts as winter! But I am getting head of myself. In running news, I did two races since my last update. In October, I ran the PEI half marathon, which was the culmination of this summer’s training. I had a pretty good time and overall position, finishing 43rd out of 536 runners. It wasn’t my fastest time on the course, but I wasn’t expecting to be very fast since my summer training lacked any speed training. Shortly after the half marathon, I ran a 10k race and had a pretty good finish, coming in just over 45 minutes. Again I was pretty far off any personal best times, but overall was pleased with the result. In early November, I crossed over 1000km total mileage for the year, which I am also pretty happy about. It has been a long time since I crossed the 1000km mark, and it took a lot of work and perseverance to do so. I had quite an injury plagued year, and was only feeling 100% come mid-September. My goal for the winter is to keep a good base for running the 10k to 15k distance, and then get back into longer mileage come the spring. Next year is marathon training year, with my attempt at the 42k coming in October.

In gaming news, we finally entered the current generation of consoles, purchasing an Xbox One. My son Luke is a pretty big gamer, so we got the entire family to pitch in and get him an Xbox One for his birthday. It is a fantastic machine, and I am very happy with it. Our house pulses on a Windows 10 eco-system, so it plugs seamlessly into the whole show. No matter where you are in the house or whatever your device you are on, you can access almost anything in our digital library. My personal obsession right now is Forza Motorsports 6. I have always loved racing games, and it is just so slick. I also picked up Shadows of Mordor on sale, and can’t wait to start that game. But it’ll wait until I am sick of burning up rubber on the tracks of Forza!

Work has been steady the last month or so. We have transitioned to a work-from-home scenario, and so far that is working out pretty well. It took us a little while to get all our remote workflow sorted, but I think we’re crossed off most of the challenges on that front. I’ve got an office space set up at home, and after I ship Tammie and the kids off to work and school, it’s a short commute (like 5 second walk) to the office. Skype has certainly become my best friend recently!

It is about a month away from Christmas, which means the kids are getting excited for the holiday season. Christmas concerts at school, lists to Santa, watching Christmas movies, and all that stuff. Tammie loves Christmas as well, so it’s a month-long event at our house! Even though I’d be considered the household Grinch, there is something pretty cool about being able to experience the excitement of Christmas morning with the kids. It reflects back to the time when you were young and it was so exciting to wake up and run out to the tree.

Until next time!

Randy

What Did You Do Last Summer?

Where has the summer gone! The entire summer has gone by since my last update, so I suppose it is time to check in. The summer was definitely a mixed bag on the weather front, with a few weeks of hot weather, but overall it has been cool and wet. I had a few weeks off with the kids, in between their attendance at day camps. Tammie unfortunately had very little time off this summer, so kids were stuck with their grumpy old Dad! We had fun times, trying to balance days out adventuring and with others spent at home. We saw art galleries, played tennis at the park, went mini-golfing near the beach, watched movies at home, and played video games at our local arcade. We might have had one-too-many pizza days too, but you can’t be good all the time! The kids spent a lot of time at swimming lessons this summer, and learned a huge amount in the pool. Samantha is a better swimmer than I am, and Luke will go off the high dive that makes me pause when I am standing on it! They had another great soccer season as well, playing twice a week. Both of them are getting to be solid little soccer players, and I really enjoy watching them play.

I ran my 100th race in June, and had a 5k time of 20:33. I was very pleased with that, given my near 50-minute 10k earlier in the spring. I switched my training over to longer distances after that. My intention is to run a half marathon in the fall, but I have been helping my friend train for the full marathon. We just finished a 32k run the other day, which is the longest run I have done in about 10 years. Next year is full marathon for me, and I am using the long runs this year to work out the kinks. I don’t really remember what it is like to exceed the 30k mark, so you have to re-learn what it feels like! By the way, it feels terrible. Samantha decided she wanted to run a 5k race in the summer, so I helped her train for that. She was awesome to run with, and did a fantastic job on race day. She has easy-speed, which was well-demonstrated as her little eight-year-old legs passed many adults on race day with ease. I can’t help but be proud. I didn’t race very much over the summer, as I have been battling various little aches and pains all season. My achilles and calves have been very bothersome, and will likely not be 100% come the half marathon in October. I should probably take at least a month off, but I am too stubborn at this point.

Despite a strong early season in the movies with Avengers: Age of Ulton, Mad Max: Fury Road, and Jurassic World, I haven’t really had much of a reason to be in the theatre since. I missed Ant Man, but that was partly because I didn’t go out of my way to make sure I saw it. I saw the latest Pixar film Inside Out, but didn’t fall in love with it as much as some of the previous Pixar films. I’ve probably developed into too much of an action junkie! In games, I have once again fell back into playing Diablo 3, the endless gear hunt continuing! Blizzard also just announced the release date for the last part of StarCraft 2, Legacy of the Void. Going to be busy come November 10, 2015!

Battling a bit of a cold tonight, so I should probably head to bed. Until next time.

Randy

Finally Free

We are finally free of winter’s grasp. Spring has arrived and there was actually some beautiful sunny days this month. Overall temperatures are lower than they should be, but I’ll take that over more snow. The winter was oppressive, and I have never seen people so happy to see it over. The other day I was out running and people were doing yard work around the piles of snow. You could tell that they just couldn’t wait inside any longer!

Speaking of running, I am on week 8 of an advanced 5k training schedule. After an embarrassing 10k race result last month, I decided it was time to buckle down and get my butt in shape. The program has been challenging, but I think it is working out okay. I have run two 5k races this month, both of which produced decent times; nothing too special. My goal is the Deltaware 5k, which will be my 100th race. No matter what the weather or how I am feeling that day, I am going to throw caution to the wind and see how things go. It’s been a while since I really tried to race a 5k with reckless abandon, so I figure I am due. It doesn’t always work out, but that’s part of the fun! The strange thing about this 5k program is that you do some pretty long runs in it. I ran 18k the other day, so they really want you to be able to run through that 5k finish line!

I went to see Avengers: Age of Ultron, and it was awesome! It didn’t eclipse Avengers as my favourite Marvel film, but it was pretty close. I don’t care for Hawkeye (in print or on-screen), so that hampered my enjoyment since the film focusses on him somewhat. I also thought the romance between Romanov and Banner was ridiculous. It didn’t help the story in any way and cheapened both of their characters. Oh well, Whedon is allowed one misstep I suppose. In other movie news, Mad Max: Fury Road was spectacular. You don’t go to see a film like that for the story, because there really isn’t one. But when you are talking about action sequences… wow. There are moments when you are sitting there with your mouth wide open, hardly believing what you are watching on-screen. Definitely one of the greatest action flicks of the last 10-15 years.

Work has been a lot of hurry-up-and-wait recently. We were supposed to launch a major project back in February, but that has been delayed indefinitely. I am also working on several other medium-sized projects that have had lots of starts and stops. I suspect that they will all clear up and be due at the same time, because that’s how things go. We shall see.

Haven’t been playing a lot of games recently, except for the occasional game of Hearthstone or Diablo 3. I’ve been hankering to do some drawing as well, but have only been getting a bit of sketching in here and there. I suspect the summer will strip out the time even more for those things, as it seems to do. And speaking of less time, it is late in the evening and I still have a few errands to complete (laundry, yay!). So until next time.

Randy

Knee Deep in Fun

In my last blog post, I committed the cardinal sin with regards to weather comments: I said that the winter weather was not too bad. Here we are two months later, and we have set an all-time record snowfall for a winter season. We’ve received over 3 metres of snow since my last post, which is one helluvalot of snow, for lack of a better term. We received nearly 70cm of snow in one 24 hour period. It took me nearly 10 hours of shovelling over two days to get the lane and driveway cleared out. I have never encountered snow like that in my life (and I suppose because we set records, no one else around here has either). You cannot see the street or the neighbours house from our front windows. The kids bedroom windows are almost completely covered in snow, creating a perpetual darkness of sorts. We’ve had quite a few days of school cancellations, which has provided some challenge for Tammie and I on the care side. And also having mountains of snow everywhere has made it quite difficult to get any outside running. Instead, I have been doing some indoor track running and some stationary bike work. Winter was always my least favourite season, but it is quickly becoming one that I actively wish to avoid.

Speaking of winter stuff, the kids have been taking ski lessons again this year. They seem to enjoy skiing, and Tammie really enjoys being on the slopes. Skiing has never been one of my go-to activities, but I don’t mind being outside on the nicer days. I can make my way down the easier runs without too much trouble, but the harder ones always represent one twisted knee or ankle away from a missed running season. Tammie is trying to get me to love the whole ski process, but she may have to accept I’ll be sitting in the chalet at the bottom of the ski hill awaiting her return with a hot chocolate and my sketchpad.

Not a whole lot new on the work front. We are nearing the launch date for the big project we have been working on for the past few months. It has been delayed several times, which has given us the opportunity to make some refinements. We have a few other projects in the hopper as well, and I was able to launch three new websites in the past month or so. I have been spending more and more time with a mobile-first philosophy that has really changed how I view websites in general. I still enjoy using Bootstrap as my mobile framework, although I have a few WordPress themes that work out pretty well in a pinch when going the CMS route.

Haven’t been to a movie in a while, nor have I really been doing anything new on the gaming front. I’d like to say that I got a bunch of new art pieces done, but I haven’t been doing that either. I feel more productive when there is more natural light in the evenings, so as the days get longer I’ll probably feel more like working on some personal projects at home. Right now I am battling a flu, which is being compounded by shovelling out yesterday’s winter storm. More snow tonight. Yay!

Until next time, when hopefully I can report that we haven’t added to our record for snowfall.

Randy

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