Terminal Tennis Elbow

Despite best efforts this morning, Diana and I got to the train station later than we hoped. All the open tables were gone, and now I’m using the new MacBook in a position that the Surface Pro was really having trouble with. Huge improvement, and this was just the test it needed with a couple of days to go in the return period.

Normally I’m working on websites in the morning. Honestly, the past few train days it was more planning and getting various tools installed, like Laravel Valet. I decided on two projects, one to be worked on at home and one to be worked on while on the train.

The home project I’m calling Rings, after the Aesop Rock song of the same name. It’s a wheel reinvention, but a necessary one. It is meant to reproduce much of the functionality of the CoreManager package, which is a web package used to manage private World of Warcraft servers. CoreManager does work, but it’s pretty ugly, very insecure, and generally in need of a full rewrite, and I’m happy to give it a try. So far I’ve got the ability to register a new account for the server, and you can log in on Rings and be taken to a dashboard that, currently, doesn’t do squat. But that’s fine, the logon was a heck of a thing to figure out since I had to replace Laravel’s authentication stack with a setup that would work with my WoW server.

The project I’m working on while on the train is called Kirby, also after the Aesop Rock song. This is a project that Diana and I discussed months ago, and was sort of tabled without a resolution. Now that she’s on a new career path, and I’ve had a change of heart with regards to web design, I’m happy to take it on. Essentially, it’s a thing to manage Diana’s sewing projects, with pictures, tags, measurements, comments, and so on. I can see a long-term plan with it that’s really social and interesting.

There’s a third project brewing in my head, a second attempt at a site I tried to build in 2007 or 2008 and failed, aimed at the perfume-maker and aromatherapy community. The framework I’m building with seems perfectly suited for this project, and now it can be done in a much safer way too.

I’m having this internal debate on whether or not “going easy on myself” is actually doing myself any good. From a mental standpoint, sure, I should probably not give past me (or present me) so much shit. But physically it’s probably not a good thing.

The walking every day ended abruptly when I had an object thrown at me on the sidewalk from a vehicle doing about 40 miles an hour. Three guys, they threw a little red ball, like a stress ball. Soft, but less soft when traveling at that speed. Knocked my headphone out of my ear. It still pisses me off because it killed my enjoyment of something I was really into. Much as I said I would not let it affect me, I have not walked down that street since. That’s been a couple of months, now. My weight has gone back up slightly, though not a full reversion to where it was. Diana and I have been playing a fair bit of tennis. We both had to get new racquets since the car was broken into. I got to pick up my new one on Saturday and it’s just what I was looking for.

There is, after a long radio silence, progress being made on our house. The pad and plumbing are in, and the slab will be poured his week. Then things are going to start moving rapidly. I was shocked to hear during our construction meeting, that they are still targeting the house to be finished before the end of the calendar year. They’re actually targeting late November, which means about two months end-to-end. That seems aggressive to me, but what do I know? I suspect it will be mid-to-late December.

I think my review on Friday set me up in good shape to get stuff done today. The first half of the day is wide-open, too. I’m envisioning a good day, here. It’s been about three straight weeks of spinning my wheels between outages, long weekends, and being sick. There are about 6 really productive weeks left in the year, and I need to make the most of them.

Stole a Mac, Call that an Apple Jack

I’ve been out sick for the last two days, and I’m pretty sure whatever I got was contagious because there’s been a ton of people out. It’s been a lot of sitting with the dog, half-watching nature documentaries and half-hoping my head would stop pounding. Not sure what it is, but I feel mostly over it today and I’m mostly just irritated I had to burn two days of sick leave.

Went ahead and grabbed a 13” MacBook Air last night. I was hoping Diana would make use of the Surface Pro 3, but it doesn’t sound like she’s terribly interested, so I’m gonna put it up for sale I guess. I think I’m going to try to get her to use it at least a little bit, see how she likes the stylus and such before committing to that. If she doesn’t want it, it’ll offset almost all of the cost of this machine. Initial impressions are really good, I’m really happy that it’s got an SDXC slot, that simplest route to expandable storage.

I have no regrets about buying the SP3, it was the nicest laptop I’d ever owned, except for its inability to actually sit on a lap. Now that using it in that manner is more and more likely, and given the change in workload, it’s just not the right tool for the job. Not getting hung up on buying new gear to help me either be productive or relax on my own time is important. Diana pointed out that this could be seen as an extension of keeping work at work. I have a very good test lab setup on my computer at the office. There’s no reason anymore to extend that to what I’m doing on what little off-time I am afforded.

I also spent a little time playing the FIFA 17 demo and my theory that the odd-numbered years are the ones to pay attention to has held true for the seventh consecutive year. It feels really incredible. I played a match with all the assists off and won 4-1. I’m gonna play the hell out of it when it drops, Tuesday after next.

I’m getting a bit disgusted with not only the lack of progress on the house, but the sheer lack of communication. I get that to them it’s just work, but for me it’s the biggest purchase I’ve ever made in my life, by far. It deserves more than three phone calls over as many months. So far I haven’t had a single person on this home-buying process that committed to weekly communication with me even come close to doing so. What has happened to the value of a person’s word? These are all people older than I. They are, by some measure or another, professionals. If you aren’t going to come even close to honoring a commitment, maybe you shouldn’t have made it in the first place. I think I’m going to call today and raise a little Hell.

There’s a book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog! that is some 130 pages on the concept that procrastination is bad, and you should get the least desirable task out of the way first. Right now, my frog is my email inbox, which badly needs processing. Not doing it is interfering with my weekly review. Not to mention, one of the applications which is now available to me with the switch to OS X, Omnifocus 2, is very much reliant on keeping up with that weekly review schedule. I don’t have high hopes for today, but if I can get that out of the way, I’ll call the day a success.

It seems like our ISP’s network finally stabilized yesterday. We had a solid week of sporadic packet loss, sometimes dropping out entirely, the worst of which lasted an hour in the middle of the work day. At least it wasn’t just us, pretty much all the agencies were affected. The post-mortem on this will be a lot of fun.

Going to be an interesting day today, but I very much need to get a lot of stuff accomplished and close out the week strong. Let’s get after it.

I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel this chair…

We’ve managed to catch the train for about three weeks straight. Time that I’d spent in the past writing or doing malware research has instead been used to sharpen my web development skills. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur, I’m not looking to change jobs, I just enjoy it and I didn’t like that I’d eliminated it from my life.

Earlier this year, Aesop Rock released a new album, and one of the tracks really connected with me.

The drifting away from the things that you used to enjoy, used to consider part of your fabric of being, part of your soul, and that initially that drifting away was temporary, then a protracted hiatus, then you’re saying “Well, I used to do that.”

I don’t want to overdramatize my love-affair with web-design, but I built my first webpage in 1997. That’s almost 20 years ago. For comparison’s sake, I played guitar from my 13th birthday on to my first semester in college, so about five and a half years. I derive too much enjoyment from it to deny myself of it on some weird professionalism issues.

Whether I’m doing the work for myself or someone else is really secondary to the creation element. I’m learning how to do things the right way in my language of choice, and I’m building little applications that exist only on this tablet I’m writing from. They’re built for an audience of one, and they do exactly what I need, and want, and nothing more or less. At some point I’ll expand that scope, but making peace with the fact that I enjoy it for the sake of creation, has been useful. I’m not getting hung-up on justifying the hobby with being able to monetize it. If I come up with a million-dollar idea, fantastic. Those probably won’t happen unless I’m creating in the first place.

One of the problems I’m having with the new train situation is that Diana and I have been sitting together every time, which highly restricts the seating options. Sometimes I don’t get a seat with a table, and it makes for a very awkward setup, trying to use my knees as a table and having my legs and feet go to sleep. I’m debating getting a different laptop to accommodate. The Surface Pro 3 has been about the best laptop I’ve ever owned, but for the lap part of laptop, it fails spectacularly. Since I’m no longer doing any really specialized Windows work, I’m strongly considering a MacBook Air or Pro. I really enjoyed by Early 2008 MBP, and about all I am going to be using it for anymore is writing, web development, and general surfing. Most of the “gee whiz” stuff on the SP3 is stuff I haven’t really used. And it still holds most of its value. I could get in for not much more money and probably be much happier on the commute. As I’m currently crunched up with pretty much my whole lower body going numb, it’s very intriguing indeed.