Autumn Leaves

Sleep Is for the Weak

Here we are in October, which means that autumn is upon us! The weather has been pretty good thus far, and it hasn’t gotten too cold just yet. The big October race weekend has come and gone, and I ran in the 10k race as planned. I finished 10th out of 402 people, so I am pretty happy with how the race went. It wasn’t my fastest time on that particular course, but it was a close second. And considering I was battling a bad cold for the run, not too shabby! I have one more race I’d like to run before calling it a season. It is another 10k, so it lines up nicely with my overall training this season. Next year I’ll be working on the half-marathon distances, which will increase my overall mileage.  I am going to take a little break in November and early December, then right back on my feet. I want to add more speed over longer distances, which is going to be very difficult. I’ve had very little success in getting faster over the last few years, so I may have to try something different.

We recently headed over to Fundy National Park and hiked Third Vault Falls. We had completed the same trail in the spring of this year, but it looked quite different in the fall. Unfortunately, our overnight stay in a Moncton hotel was disrupted by a group of drunken hockey parents in our hotel. People can be such inconsiderate jerks. Tammie was unable to join us on the hike because of the poor nights sleep, and the kids came along but were extra tired. We soldiered on, and in the end had a pretty good hike. The weather was perfect and the snacks were plentiful, so that certainly helped get us through. The fall themselves were just as beautiful as they were in the spring, although all the damp leaf litter certainly made the hike a bit more challenging!

Work was supposed to be extremely busy through September and October, but some disruptions in the overall schedule has given us a little more breathing room. We have two major projects that we want to complete before Christmas break, so we are knuckling down to get those finished up. We are dependent upon another company for some of the project inputs, so that’s a bit of a challenge. You always prefer to be the master of your own destiny, as it were.

I haven’t been drawing much recently, but I have several projects floating around in my head. It seems like the evenings zip by, and it’s bedtime before you know it. Going to have to start stretching the days out a little longer perhaps. I have managed to find some time for playing Hearthstone and getting back into Diablo 3 a bit. I picked up the Diablo 3 expansion, Reaper of Souls, and it really helps improve the overall game. I scooped up Lego Marvel Heroes on a Steam sale as well, which Luke has been playing quite a bit. He really enjoys the Lego games, although all of the others are only playable on the XBox 360.

And speaking of not finding enough time in the evenings, I have a few other errands to run before bed, so I best get to them. Until next time!

Randy

I am Groot

We Are Groot!

August has finished up and it appears to have taken summer with it. The temperatures have definitely gotten cooler quickly, and the days are already noticeably shorter. That’s life in the Great White North! August was a good month of the running side. I feel like I finally have my running base back, and am starting to get some speed. It was also the first month in a very long time that I went over 100km for the month. I slipped in a few races in July and August as well, although not as many as I would have liked. Just today was a 5k race, and I managed to come in third place! Small crowd, so that gave me a distinct advantage, but it is always exciting to place high in the field. I may have had a shot at second place, but I didn’t have the confidence to make a move late in the race. That is the downside to not racing; you’re not sure when you can really push or not.

Guardians of the Galaxy was the hot summer movie this year, and I went to see it twice! It was a fantastic movie with wonderful characterization, a fun plot, and awesome special effects. Marvel Studios has definitely hit their groove the last couple of years. The highlight of the film is definitely Rocket Raccoon, who I initially thought was going to be the dumbest. I don’t really care for Bradley Cooper all that much, but he 100% nailed Rocket’s voice. Groot was also a fun character, and is the centre of some nice emotional scenes.  And of course Chrit Pratt was clever and compelling as Star-Lord, delivering a wonderfully human performance in a film filled with crazy aliens. Oh, and a shout-out to Thanos who looked and sounded spectacular

Work has been pretty steady over the summer, and the fall is looking quite busy. I took a few weeks off to stay home with the kids on their summer vacation, and we had a fun time. They had a great summer filled with soccer, beaches, biking, and just general nonsense. This year was a big festival year in Charlottetown, so we benefitted by being able to attend a lot of those little functions. If it’s got a bouncy castle, Luke is a happy boy! School is approaching soon, and Luke will be entering Kingergarten. Samantha is heading into Grade 2, so she is an old pro at this school thing. I expect Luke to adjust well, but we will see. He is more of a home body than Samantha, generally speaking.

Well, a work week is ahead so I best get to bed. Til next time!

Randy

Up, Up, and Away

Up, Up, and Away!

The June weather hasn’t been so bad, which has allowed me to get out running pretty regularly. I also ran my first race of the year as well. In fact, it was my first race in 11 months! I did okay, running 5k in 21:41, but that’s nowhere near my regular 5k pace. I am hoping that I will gain some speed as the summer progresses, but so far my training runs have not been very fast. I also haven’t been getting out for any longer runs either. It feels a little bit like I am squeezing them in whenever I can get them, which sometimes makes me rush through them or go shorter than I had intended. I have been running in the evenings, but I may have to switch back to mornings.

Tammie and I went to the Rise and Climb Adventure Course recently, and it was really fun. The course is a set of three levels, each higher than the previous one. And within in each level, there are a set of climing challenges divided by rest platforms. It was quite fun and I managed to climb all three levels and complete most of the challenges. Tammie did really well too, getting through level 2 even though she is not crazy about heights. They also had a tandem zipline, which was quite exciting. We only rode it once because we spent so much time climbing, but it would have been fun to do again. We spent three and a half hours at the course, so we were pretty tired when we were done. I’d like to do the course again sometime, maybe when it isn’t quite so hot. They offer night climbing, which sounds pretty interesting. I wonder what it feels like to be hanging 10 meters in the air with only the blackness beneath you.

Tammie and I also got to see X-Men: Day of Future Past. It was marginal at best. I felt like I was watching an entire two hour movie whose sole purpose was to undo X-Men: The Last Stand (which I suppose it kinda was). I didn’t care for most of the characterizations, and really thought they missed the mark with Wolverine. I also found it didn’t contain enough action and way too much introspection and brooding. I don’t really enjoy dramas that are disguised as action films because a few of the characters are wearing superhero costumes, but maybe I am in the minority.

Samantha is finished of Grade 1, so is starting her summer vacation. We have her in several camps over the summer, such as swimming and tennis, and I hope she enjoys her time there. I am taking a few weeks off with the kids as well, so we’ll find some nonsense to get up to. Work has been pretty busy lately, but more manageable than it was in the spring. I am trying to keep on top of the projects so my weeks off don’t mess with the scheduling too much.

Well, another work week is on the horizon, so I best wrap it up for the evening. Another Monday ahead!

Randy

Time Rushes Like Water

Time Rushes Like Water

Winter has finally let us go from its icy grasp, and I think that spring is upon us. The last time we had snow was only two weeks ago, but it was short lasting and soon replaced by rain. The warm temperatures are arriving a little bit more frequently now, although it is still much cooler than it was last year. I have tried not to let the weather dampen my spirits for running, and I am getting back into a good schedule. I have not run any races yet, but my training runs are getting better. Faster speed and shorter recovery time, plus I am just starting to enjoy them more. The warmer weather to come always helps give me a boost on the running cycle too.

We just got back from a trip to Fundy National Park. We struck out on the Three Vault Falls trail, since many of the other trails were closed this early in the season. The trail is easy it first, but then gets to a few challenging sections. On the way down, these come in the form of a steep descent, and on the way back they are a steady climb. The falls themselves were amazing, and the water was flowing spectacularly with the spring runoff. There was even still some snow tucked away near the falls, since the sun hardly gets that deep into those ravines. The kids had a great time, although they were pretty beat by the time we got off the trail. We had lots of snacks and breaks to keep morale high, and they seemed to do the trick. The weather was absolutely perfect, and there were almost no bugs to speak of. We are hoping to get a few more trail hikes crossed off this summer, but we almost always have to leave Prince Edward Island to complete them. Most of the trails here are very flat showcase much of the same scenery. Trails in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have more variety in both difficulty and vistas.

I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was awesome! Totally loved it. Captain America is one of my favourite Marvel characters, and they did such a good job with him in his second feature. Lots of great battle scenes and good-guy heroics. I also really liked the way they handled the Black Widow. She served a really strong role in the overall story and they resisted using her as a sexpot or just a pretty face. In fact, the only one who had a gratuitous shower scene was Steve Rogers! Next up is X-Men: Days of Future Past, and I am not so sure about that film. I didn’t like X-Men: First Class, so I am a little worried about the franchise carrying over on those characters. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Well, I guess that’s it for now. Summertime here we come!

Randy

The Storm Rages

The Storm Rages

It’s been a rough winter in the Great White North. We are digging out from another storm today, in which we received almost 50cm of snow in one night. The winds were also incredibly strong, topping out at over 100 km per hour. It isn’t very often that the entire province literally shuts down completely, but yesterday was one of those days. The sun is out today, but the winds are still really strong. I’ve spent about 3 hours shovelling snow, and I’m feeling pretty tired. Tammie and I decided this year to not hire any snow removal services, and with record snowfalls this year, we kinda got bitten in the ass. Oh well, you win some and lose some. Hopefully spring will soon kick in and we can finally get on the road to summer!

I took off almost six months from running because of a foot injury. It wasn’t broken, but became very painful. I have narrowed it down to swapping to a new kind of shoes that have a foot-box that is not the right shape for me. I have begun training again, starting with a novice program, and am about four weeks into the schedule. I am hoping to have a good base back under me come spring, so that I can get some decent races in for the summer. My goal is to mix in more cross-training with my running this year as well, because I’d like to be in better overall condition. I think a little strength training will help with my speed as well. I have no particular racing goals this year, although it’d be nice to get ten races in or so. I’d be happy with that.

Work has been pretty busy since December. We have been working on a few larger projects, in addition to our flagship software. One of the newer projects is using the Laravel framework. It has some nice features, including very powerful routing and object relational mapping. I have to admit that I find using Composer to be cumbersome. I suppose you don’t really need to use Composer again after initially installing Laravel, but we use it for almost all our update processes. Some people love the Linux command line, but not me!

The first must-see movie of the year is coming up in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I loved the first Captain America so I can’t wait to see this one. It is awesome that Scarlett Witch and the Falcon are also in the movie. The apparent take is that Cap has some issues with how Shield is working a little too pre-emptively, perhaps not always been the “good guys”. I think that creates an awesome moral dilemma for Steve Rogers that will play out well on-screen. We shall see!

Hopefully next update will bring better weather!

Randy