Mid-Summer Summary

The Open RoadHere we are in mid-July, and it hardly feels like summer has started.  We’ve had a little bit of nice weather, but lots of cool and wet days.  I haven’t been running very much, only completing two races all year.  But I have been getting out most weeks for 3 runs or so, which at least means I am in some semblance of shape.  I’ve been battling a cold for a few weeks now, which is very unusual for me in the summer time.  I guess my frail immune system is no match for the viruses that Samantha keeps bringing home from daycare!  Tammie and I also had food poisoning recently, which was all kinds of fun.  We had to take her to the hospital to get her fluids back up, and thankfully it was short-lived.  Speaking of which, Tammie is starting to feel a little better during this pregnancy.  For months and months she was sick all the time, but now it seems rarer and rarer.  She’s still extra-tired, but that’s to be expected.

Samantha just turned two a few days ago, and we had a big birthday party for her.  It is amazing that she is two years old already, as it didn’t seem so long ago when she was just a little baby.  She enjoys singing and swinging, and can make jigsaw puzzles on her own.  She is definitely developing into her own person, with her own likes and dislikes.  One of the dislikes right now is going to bed.  Takes a while to get her all settled and to sleep, but I shouldn’t be surprised.  I was and still am a horrible sleeper.

Work has been super-busy.  We are working on several web and Flash applications for TourismPEI, and I am trying to close out two of them before the end of this month.  One of them is the ambitious touch screen application I’ve referred to before (which ended up seeing multiple delays).  It’s a challenge from a design and programming perspective, and I’ve migrated all my work to ActionScript 3.0 and Flash 10.  The combination is very powerful, but requires re-learning a lot of the stuff I knew from ActionScript 2.0.  It’s important to me that I keep my skills up-to-date, as otherwise the tech world just passes you by.  I’ve also been delving back into PHP-mySQL development recently as well.  I slapped a new coat of paint on the Sketchjam website, doing the grunt work with PHP instead of Flash.  Not only do you need to keep current, but you also need to be diversified.

The last movie I went to go see was “Terminator: Salvation“, which sucked.  I had such high hopes for it too.  My World of Warcraft time is up for the summer, so I probably won’t log back into there until the Fall.  There are so many events to go to, and projects around the house to complete, so I won’t be missing the distraction.  Tammie and I had a good time in Halifax for our anniversary, and enjoyed Cirque de Soleil.  Not 100% sure it was worth the money we spent on the tickets, but it was a very entertaining show.  I’d love to take some more time off for a few summer adventures, but work is just too busy to get something together.  Plus I’m saving vacation time for when the baby comes in November.

Well, speaking of work, I have some touch screen optimizations to complete, so I best get to them.  As my boss would say “Excitement, she wrote!”

Randy

I Conquered the Tree!

Red Sand ShoreAfter quite a cold and wet spring, we have finally had some warm and sunny days.  I won’t declare that summer has arrived just yet, but there is at least a hint of it in the air.  In most years, I would be back into my running routine by now, but I have barely managed to get out once a week.  There is just so much to do at work and at the house that I just haven’t been able to find the time and energy.  As with any homeowner, the list of things to do around your property seems never-ending, and one project often opens up another.  But we’ve getting lots of things done, and it is nice to see the place really becoming home for my family.  Back to running, I think this year I will try and focus on shorter distances, since it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to carve out the necessary time for longer runs.  I’ll probably be doing a lot less racing this year as well, but there is always next year to get back into the competitive mode.

Work has been very busy, and it looks like we have lots to do right into the summer.  Right now I am working on a touch screen application that will appear in Visitor Information Centres.  It’s an interesting challenge because you have to abandon a lot of the fallback conventions used in web-design and consider the application at a more basic level.  I’m pretty happy with how it is coming together, and can hopefully get it launched in the next few weeks.  I’ve been feeling the artistic bug biting at me lately too, although I haven’t really been able to sit down and play with too much visually (outside of work).  I got it in my head the other day that I wanted to draw a series based on Golden Age comic book characters.  They would appear in their original costumes, but drawn in a more modern style.  I’ve been reading the original 1939-1940 runs of Superman and Batman, so that theme is caught up in my head right now.  Anyways, I’ll post some stuff here if I get anything done.

The summer movie blockbusters are upon us, and I have seen “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” and “Star Trek” so far.  I really enjoyed “Wolverine”, even if some of the characters (especially Deadpool) were not that faithful to the comic.  Hugh Jackman does such a good job as Logan.  “Star Trek” was a pleasant surprise, and is a fantastic reboot of the franchise.  It pays homage to the original, but gives itself enough new direction to be its own entity.  Next up will be “Terminator: Salvation“, which I have high hopes for.  I had no interest in the Terminator series until Christain Bale became attached to it.  I expect that “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe” will be complete train wrecks, but I’ll still be going to see them.

Tammie and I are going to see Cirque du Soleil in Halifax in a few weeks, as part of our anniversary celebration.  It’ll be nice to get out of the province for a few days, and I think the show will be fun to watch.  With all the housing expenses and our second child on the way, it’s a modest trip that we can afford.  Tammie is absolutely addicted to “So You Think You Can Dance”, so she’s pretty excited to be seeing one of the world’s elite dance troupes.

Well, it’s been a busy day of yard work, so I think a little World of Warcraft is in order and then off to bed!

Randy

Long Time No See

Still WinterOkay, I am pretty sure this is the longest I’ve ever gone without some kind of update. A lot has happened since December, and the hits just keep on coming!

Firstly, we sold our mini-home and bought a beautiful house closer to our work. It’s a bungalow with lots of room and an amazing sunroom on the back. Samantha has claimed that as her playroom, but some day it will be a nice retreat for Tammie and I. We are close to the city core, but a small river runs behind our house, so we have no neighbors in our backyard.  I have office space again, which is fantastic, since I’m kind of the creative type that needs a little space for that kind of thing. We’re still getting it into shape, but so far we love it.

Also in the big news department I have changed jobs. I know works as web designer for InternetWorks, a small web-shop that has deep ties with the tourism industry here. I’m kind of the interface guy, doing everything from designing shopping carts to self-serve kiosks. It’s very busy right now, and has been fun and challenging. I spend a lot more time thinking about design-type issues than I am used to, but am starting to get geared up and a little faster with each decision. There are some pretty cool projects coming down the pipe too, especially some Flash-specific ones. As much as I enjoy basic web-design, working on the application type stuff is the most challenging and rewarding.

I’m still working my way through the new expansion content in World of Warcraft, and it’s been a blast to group up with some friends a lot more than we did during the first expansion. We get together at least once a week to run some dungeons, and I’d say we are getting pretty good at it. My orc hunter has some pretty nice gear and lots of achievements (my main WoW weakness right now), and I can see keeping the account alive for at least a few more months.

I ran my first race of the year on Saturday, even though it was literally my fourth run since Christmas. I am definitely not in game shape, but it’s been really hard to get the time to get outside. I’m going to have to do a better job, or else I am going to get fat and lazy. And I definitely don’t want to be the scrawny guy with the big belly, nosiree.

Well, I am off to finish a Watchmen sketch that I started. Great movie, even if it doesn’t have the mass appeal of a Spider-Man or Batman Begins. I’m very excited about the new Wolverine flick!

Randy