604 Days Later

Write something.

There’s been no lack of time, opportunity, or content. And yet this is feeling like an immense struggle. I’m having to really pull the words out from myself.

My dad used to read this, it was the way he followed along with what was going on in my life. Learning that he was still following along was first concerning, then comforting.

Dad died on June 22nd, and I suspect that brought the readership numbers back down to zero.

Is it strange to have the wind taken out of your sails thus? That the writing might seem less valuable for lack of an audience? Who am I writing for, here?

I never really thought about an answer to that question.

It’s always been that I just write, and then I’ve written and then it’s over.

You know what, that’s not true. Diana reads this when I update it. In fact, the times that the blog has gone the longest without updates coincides with the absolute lack of people that might give a shit to read it. So that’s interesting. The content doesn’t really change with the readership, but the lack of readership makes this feel like a waste of time.

This is getting a bit easier.

I launched three websites today, and I’ll probably talk about that some other time. But the net result as it relates to this place as a writing space is that I can use it to work through problems and generally heal. The fragrance-related stuff is going to another blog. The sysadmin stuff is going to another blog. The DDR stuff is going to another blog. The diary stuff is…here. And it’s perhaps the sensible way to go about it.

Or it’ll be a huge mistake when some future employer (or, hell, my current employer) Googles me and reads through the struggles.

Know what? I started seeing a therapist after Dad died. I contemplated suicide and scared the hell out of myself and decided that it was time to ask for help. I said I would, 653 days ago. The first session…

Well, it’s worth it’s own article.

In looking back to see exactly when I acknowledged I was going to get help, I realize just how much I was writing when I was working for Environment.

I haven’t updated the blog since I lost my job. Well, until today. I don’t know if there’s anyone out there at this point. I don’t know if this has been a major cliffhanger.

The house is wonderful. I haven’t updated the blog since we moved in.

Anyway, I said that the diary is here. While I’ve always had a bunch of ideas and things that I think are worth working on, I’ve really come to think that there needs to be a more open discussion on mental health. The embarrassed silence that people struggle with needn’t be. Everybody hurts, and everybody needs a little help sometimes.

If I can do some piece, some tiny thing that helps normalize those discussions, make them a source for growth and not shame, then I’ll consider myself worthy of the compliments I’ve been given.

That can’t start without interrupting the silence.

I was gonna call this Regularly Scheduled Interruptions but it turns out I used that title…604 days ago.

High-Speed Rustbucket

It’s a thoroughly nasty rain/mist/drizzle combo outside, a weather pattern more suited to Kentucky teenage depression in October than April in the desert. The music shuffle today has given an equally somber song to set the mood.

We’ve made it about 10 miles north and it’s turned to snow. I’m altogether not looking forward to what this has turned into when we get to Santa Fe County. In like a lion, out like a lamb? Not quite. The fog pattern is an unusual one, I’ve got what I estimate to be 15 miles of visibility except for Albuquerque which looks to be positively covered in fog, a cloud ending abruptly at the foothills of Sandia Peak and about a thousand feet tall. It looks for all the world like someone poured a giant bucket of dry ice on the city.

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I’m mostly at peace going into today, I busted my ass yesterday and today is Read-Only Friday. I’m not looking to be a hero today, being a hero is not making anyone work this weekend. I can work in the lab, I can do documentation, I can follow up on quotes, I can do my weekly review, I can plan new security initiatives, there’s a lot of stuff to be done that doesn’t involve poking production systems.

I’m surprisingly awake today. I think it’s a combination of “yay friday”, realizing I had slept in and had to rush, and more upbeat music. I think I’ll start doing this a little more often, the embedding of songs as I’m listening to them. Last.fm only updates when I get home and run iTunes, which isn’t terribly often, and I like the look of them.

I’m considering a redesign of the blog, nothing major, but widening the main column a bit, and making it work better on mobile. The latter is trivial thanks to Jetpack, the former will need a little elbow grease. I bet I’ll figure it out though.

I’ve started using a USB mobile hotspot, and sometimes it’s more distraction than anything. The signal just isn’t great out here, particularly when you’re rolling through uninhabited high desert. And when I decide that I want to do something online on the train, if it’s not posting these blogs, it’s something complex. Case in point, I decided I needed ffmpeg to rip the youtube video above because I forgot to put the song on my phone, and rather than wait half an hour to get to the office I’d rather have it now…and then wait half an hour to get good enough signal to finish a 26MB download.

We’re rolling through Santa Fe proper now. Snow fucking everywhere. Fuuuuuuck this. Glad I brought my ski jacket. And it’s still snowing! This is crap. Diana would say it’s cute and picturesque. I say it’s horseshit.

See you on the other side of Friday.

Read My Lips, No New Fart Apps

I took the plunge, bit the bullet, followed the crowd and clichéd all the clichés. I bought a Mac, specifically a MacBook Pro from Late 2008. I’ve already pre-emptively deleted a paragraph that sounded like gushing because I’m honestly very impressed with OS X, moreso than I expected to be.

Anyway, the reason I’m writing this post is that I bought this thing to write iOS apps on, and I’ll be sharing my experience learning, debugging, testing and (probably) swearing with all of you. I hope it is informative to some of you, because I’m coming from a background in function-oriented PHP. It has done everything I needed it to do, and while OO programming is definitely cleaner, more secure code, I have seen little appeal in such a mental overhaul of my approach. So I approach this with no small amount of trepidation, the tutorials I’ve read so far haven’t really clicked with me yet, and I still feel out of my depth. I have one app I’m going to be working on right away, the series of posts will be mostly unfiltered, I will be learning, breaking things, and fixing things from post to post, so you get a feel of what I’m going through; my reasoning for this is that I know I’m not the only one making this transition from function-oriented PHP to Objective-C and Xcode.

The first post will be up before Friday, dealing mostly with Xcode and my understanding of things going in. I’m also revealing my studio name (obviously an important step in being an iPhone millionaire, much like how “writers” will have a grand story in their head, but when you ask “oh, how far along is the book?” they respond with, “Well, I haven’t actually written anything yet, but that part’s easy.” For the record, I don’t care. My studio name is awesome and you’ll just have to deal with my hypocrisy.

Pie to Finger Ratio

I thought it would help me focus if I wrote down all the web projects I’m working on now.

Project Havana: Lot of work to go, got some pretty jQuery animations going on but very little content. Lot of data entry to go, but I feel like this project has the best odds of being monetizable. (Is that a word? It is now.) Day-to-day investment of time seems like it could be quite high for a while.

Project Xenon: Data entry’s done, and hell a lot of the code from Project FAST is reusable. jQTouch is still eluding me with regards to passing data across the POST in PHP and still getting those pretty animations. I need to buy that peepcode screencast and get it over with. If I had a week to knock this out it would be donezo. Not much oversight needed once the code is stable, especially when I’m not expecting much of an audience.

Ogre Game Labs: Pretty much from scratch. I think the stuff you learn from Project Havana will pay off here, because you’re gonna want that asynchronous data transfer. It’s a must, actually. So get Havana up and going, spread the word in the channels where you’ll get an instant audience. Then re-evaluate how much of this you can do. Day-to-day is a real wildcard, as is the eventual size of the audience. Main competitor is only about 5,000-6,000 registered users but up to 200 concurrent sessions. That’s serious stuff, but we’ve got a level of flexibility that they don’t. I think.

Ogre Lair: Operational. Needs customization and getting moved to the correct domain. I like that I’ll be able to hand the day-to-day of this one off.

Paid job for IPC: Mostly data entry and their calendar left.

Paid job for AUMC: Done? No callbacks so I think they’re done.

Paid job for NMBA: Just the one associates page left, knock that out and get it off the whiteboard.

Project CSA: Goodness this one is never gonna end. Downside of working with the end-user on a daily basis is the scope of work is always changing. Need to figure out a plan of attack, and where to start with the code. You have the existing WO tool done, maybe that can be retrofitted.

Eight balls to juggle at once is about all I can stand, I need to knock these out. Can we order them by ETA?
AUMC (done?)
NMBA (one page? come on)
IPC
Ogre Lair
Havana
CSA
Xenon (just in no rush to do this one)
Ogre Game Labs

Time Management Fail

I should be getting ready for work right about now, but I feel like writing too. So writing wins for now. I’m getting myself psyched up for 2011 with plans and ideas for how I’m gonna keep things interesting for this Monday-Wednesday-Friday regularity of posting. My work schedule actually calls for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday off, and I have no plans to change that. So I’ll be writing a week ahead or two.

Mondays are gonna be fairly mixed with regards to music. Reviews of varying formality, top 10s, that sort of thing.

Wednesdays, my wildcard days, will likely have a lot of gaming. That’s for sure. That and whatever else I feel like writing about.

Fridays will be split between reviewing fragrances and a journal tracking Diana and I as we attempt to make custom perfumes, we’ve got about a year of off-and-on experience with it and I think we’re going to be stocking up on some new oils too. We haven’t broken out the EOs since we moved in together, so we’re both excited to get back to it.

Unrelated note, but if you haven’t been following the Steam Holiday Sale, you’re missing the true reason of the $ea$on. You can buy 55 games for $55, for crying out loud.

Polished Turds and Reinvented Wheels

I did a pretty major reskin of the blog, in anticipation of some upcoming projects. I liked the previous theme, don’t get me wrong, but it was difficult to work with and had some nasty bugs of it’s own. This one is simple and quite a pleasure to use so far.

One thing I’ve come to accept is for the past 7 years I’ve been blogging, it’s been largely an emotional outlet. I have Twitter that serves admirably in that regard, and it’s taken away from the amount of other writing I do. I’m hoping I can keep motivated through 2011 and stick to the weekly schedule of Music Mondays, Wildcard Wednesdays (photography, gaming, rambling), and Fragrant Fridays. The latter will be crossposted on Il Mondo di Odore, a blog run by several high-profile Basenoters and some good friends. I’ve never been a contributor to a blog that wasn’t my own, so I’m quite excited about that.

The site is more secure than ever, I’m seeing the occasional 500 error I can’t pin down, but a refresh always seems to clear it up. I have four days to finish my final group project for Professional Writing and then I suspect I’ll start trying to get a feel for the self-set schedule and how much work and design I want to do. Stay tuned.

Live From The Bunker

I’m working with my guys at Dreamhost to resolve the recent attack and clean up all affected sites. For now if you see the Google warning, don’t visit as I’ll have them check it when we’re finished with cleanup.

You may be wondering, then, why I’m writing this if nobody is supposed to see it for a while. This one’s for those of you that receive me via Facebook, as that shouldn’t be affected at all.

More updates when I’ve got news.

Niche Experiment Volume Two

Luckyscent is getting more business from me as I delve back into reviewing niche. Expect to see reviews for:

Andy Tauer Lonestar Memories
Andy Tauer Une Rose Chypree
CdG Series 2 (Red): Sequoia
CdG Series 3 (Incense): Avignon
Domenico Caraceni 1913
Keiko Mecheri Bois de Santal
L’Artisan Timbuktu
Le Labo Rose 31
Mazzolari Lui
Montale Red Vetyver
Parfums 06130 Cedre
Parfums de Nicolai New York

Not dead. Not, in fact, deceased.

I’m alive, and in fact have been writing all this time, albeit in smaller, 140-character chunks on my Twitter account. So what happened after that fateful evening of March 15th? Well, an hour or two after writing that, I sent a message to a member on Basenotes named exquisitely_me, and the message said…

“What’s new with you? :)”

The conversation’s been going on for over two months since then, and I’ve discovered some new things, namely that I love this girl named exquisitely_me and she loves me back. The gossip was a-flyin’ when Facebook had the hot scoop around the end of March, it was the first to report that…

“Daniel is in a relationship with Diana Kotyk.”

I fell completely off the map for about eleven days starting back on the 9th of this month, the last bit of communication being a tweet that said…

“Diana is going to be in my arms in five minutes tops!”

I did manage to get off one little blurb during that time, that read…

“I am having, without reservation, the best week of my life.”

My perfume reviews have been on pen and paper, shoulder to shoulder with Diana, over a vial of fragrance, or perhaps a verbal review (also known as an ‘opinion’), soft words of like or dislike, learning, exploring, and expanding knowledge of the art. She’s encouraged me to get back into writing, though, so I trade comfortable seclusion for another round of writing for the masses.

In love. That’s where I’ve been, and in fact it’s the locale I write from even now, dear reader.