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.


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.


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.


Cool Running

So far this winter hasn’t been too bad, but with the arrival of the New Year came the arrival of the cold weather! We’ve been averaging -15C or so for the last couple of weeks, which certainly makes going outside less than awesome. The older I get, the less I enjoy winter. We actually had a green Christmas this year, which I didn’t mind at all. Speaking of Christmas, the kids made out like bandits again. With essentially three rounds of presents (at home, and at the two grandparents), it’s almost like having three Christmases for them. Tammie was quite sick over Christmas, so she spent most of her time recouping in bed. Tammie really loves Christmas as well, so it was sad that she felt so terrible. But there is no scheduling illnesses; those little bugs don’t keep a calendar.

Work was actually pretty busy over the Christmas period. I picked up three new projects in the last two weeks of December, in addition to our big project with our largest client. So things have been hopping in January! My co-worker has been out for the last three weeks or so with the birth of his son, so it’s been just Randy holding down the fort.

I have been out for a few runs already in January, which is more than I could say last year. I ended up 2014 with about 650km in total mileage, which is not too bad overall. I would have liked to be a little closer to 700km, but a back injury in late November put me down for a few weeks. This year is leading me up to half-marathon distances, so I’d like to just keep myself in running maintenance mode for the next couple of months. Keep my baseline conditioning and then be ready to start stretching things out as soon as the cold weather begins to let up. The key is to not get injured and try and avoid the nasty winter sicknesses. Fingers crossed!

I haven’t really been out to see many new movies recently. I think the last thing I saw in the theatre was Big Hero 6, and I thought it was just okay. I have been playing a bit of Hearthstone and Diablo 3 over the last few weeks. Hearthstone has turned into my version of Solitaire before bed. And with the release of the Android version in the fall, I can actually play it in bed!  I am also trying to get one of my Seasonal heroes to level 70 in Diablo 3 before Season 1 ends in February. The whole Season concept has been an interesting experiment, but I don’t think I’d play another Seasonal character; just stick the regular old ones.

Well, only a few minutes until the family arrives home from skiing lessons, so I should probably see if I can wrangle up a snack for them. Hungry business skiing in the cold!


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!