nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills

March 10th, 2015

Its absolutely true, you gotta have skills.

In a slight change of pace for me I have been going back to listening to a lot of MPR at work and in the evening while making dinner. One of the big hits that has been going on (specifically with Cathy Wurzer & Kerri Miller) has been income inequality and the job market. It has had me thinking about what I can do to further future proof myself and the clear answer is that I need additional Skills.

The great thing about this point in history is that if you want to learn skills there are more avenues than there has ever been before. Last year I went down the route of getting a CAPM certificate through a (somewhat terrible) online class and test. This year I am exploring a MOOC that will, in theory, teach me VBA. The primary difference is that there isn’t a particular goal (beyond the obvious of learning VBA) in doing this mooc other than having a chance to learn something new and use it as means to pad my resume somewhat. Perhaps after that mooc I will continue and try additional moocs, or I might explore yet other methods of learning new skills.

It really is somewhat amazing to think that we really do have that many opportunities to learn skills.

Speaking of skills, I learned some new plumbing skills recently. Its the joys of owning a home rather than renting. A leaky sink followed by an unrelated leaking garbage disposal are both things that I have never really considered in the past however neither proved insurmountable. It felt pretty good actually, to do something and afterwards be able to look at it and go ‘whelp, I did that and I didn’t fuck it up beyond repair. Good job!’ Hopefully in the future I can continue to do a lot of the stuff myself although I absolutely know that there are things that are beyond my ability. But hey, learnt new skills!

I also used some of my existing skills this week to get my motorcycle up and running for the summer. Its not quite time to go riding however I absolutely could tomorrow or even today if I wanted to. Its a pleasant thought and hopefully this year I will be able ride more than I did last year. Between the miserable weather that was around for most of last summer and everything that I had going on definitely kept me off of two wheels more than I would prefer. Hopefully this year I can manage to ride to work as well, which I haven’t done in over a year or maybe longer.

I also have spent some significant time this past weekend using some of my existing skills to get my budget nice, neat and automated. As I had my review last month right before a long weekend away in Florida I had to spend some time figuring out what to do with the financial results that come from that. I won’t know for sure until tomorrow as that will be the first check with additional cash on it but if I am correct I am pretty much spot on which is rather nice. A little bit of additional money put away towards retirement as well as my day to day life. The amazing part of it to me is just how many people I know who don’t have any sort of budget at all. They have a vague idea of money in and out…. even before I started using a true budget I still had a close eye on what my money situation was. Although I suppose if I was Warren Buffett rich I wouldn’t care much…. Different strokes for different folks I suppose. I am not one to throw any stones if it works for other people.

As I mentioned, last month I spent a bit of time in South Florida. While there I read the first two books of Dan Simmons Hyperion Cantos. I haven’t finished the second two books (Which are almost a separate series) but so far I consider it Highly Recommended. It was a great way to spend some time away and spend some time warm. Hopefully my next trip is just as warm…. Although it is getting warm here as well which is pretty great. Its prior to my birthday and already in the 60s during the day sometimes. I don’t think we are going to beat 2012 where it was in the 80s on Saint Patrick’s day but I still think its going to be a pretty good spring.

So heres a toast to Spring.

Explore your craft

January 24th, 2015

Looking back over the past year its clear that there have been some major changes. Positive and negative both. What spurred this look back is the fact that on Monday the 26th the two domains I bought will both expire. Thats fine (although man does the registrar want me to renew) and I won’t particularly miss them. In fact I never did a damn thing with one of them so losing that one will do literally nothing to hurt me. The other one, 8feet.me, was something I did with a purpose and it was ultimately a great thing for me. It made sure that I got out of my home and actually did stuff. It helped me get out of a fairly dark period in my life that was filled with negativity. It forced me to be accountable to the promise I had made to myself that I would get out and just fucking do stuff. On the other hand I have gotten much better about actually doing stuff so I feel as though that promise has both been fulfilled and more importantly it has, at least partially, been converted to a habit rather than an exception.

Speaking of habits, there is the simple truth that I am at a point in my life where I need to change some existing habits and create some other habits. I still drink a bit more beer than is really good for me. I still need to get really full bore back into the habit of exercising. I still need to follow through with my decision to learn some programming. I still need to get better about reading. I still need to get better about my diet. I still need to get better about going to bed at a consistent hour. I still need to spend more time with idoru and writing in general. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. On the other hand I am realizing that I need to make these changes which is a huge step from a while ago and they say that it is truly the first step. So with that step made its on to the next steps.

In much lighter news, I will be going on a long weekend away in February with the lady which is something I sort of need. Maybe not with the lady, just the getting away portion is what I need/want. I believe that it is also something she feels that she needs so that makes it an easier sell for both of us. A nice long weekend in south Florida sounds amazing, particularly in the light of all the bad news that I have had this previous week. Planning on doing some reading (I’m looking at you Peripheral), getting some sunshine, and just generally having almost nothing in the way of obligations. We are also, tentatively, planning on getting away towards the end of March but really no clue where to. Which is actually pretty ok at this point other than the fact that plane tickets will increase in cost. Such is life however.

Speaking of traveling, I am starting to explore the idea of a trip to Munich for oktoberfest again. I abandoned the idea last year after making the decision instead to buy a home and knowing that it would eat up the majority of my finances. It also did in fact eat up the majority of my finances. But now that I am not planning on shelling out tens of thousands of dollars, its very tempting to explore the idea f a trip to Munich, drinking beer, and then stopping at Reykjavik on the way home to sit in some hot springs. It also ties in well with the whole point from earlier about ‘getting out’ since that is… truthfully quite far out.

One of the other big changes that I still reflect on from time to time is the change in my employment. This time last year I had a job I hated that I was completely dispassionate about. I liked (most of) the people but that was as close as it got to something I didn’t hate. And now I have a job that I enjoy a great deal more and that pays me better. Those are all some great things, however the real lesson that I took out of that job was the fact that I need to not grow complacent and instead keep focusing on getting new challenges. Otherwise I end up bored and stagnant which leads me towards unhappiness. Hence why I am already starting to explore new opportunities that might be out there; its already apparent that I will outgrow my current job.

But man thats a lot of, mostly good, changes in the last year. Now its time to make some more good changes for 2015. Like losing 15 or 20 pounds. Like lowering my cholesterol (when did I hit middle age again?). Like traveling some where I can. Like exploring my craft and creating new ones.

Man that shit got real sappy real quick.

Fingernails and Cigarettes, a lousy dinner

December 2nd, 2014

 

So its time for my once a month (or so) update of whatever is actually going on in my life that gets rarely read by anybody (including myself). On the other hand I own idoru until December 2020 so its a good way to pass the time. Speaking of domains I own, next month TCBR and 8feet.me will both expire. I considered renewing 8feet but as I am n8feet usage statsot using it very much anymore and I don’t feel like spending $20 a year for it I think its time to let that go the way of the dodo. Which is just as well I suppose, I can free up some space on the server. Hopefully nobody will miss it, but after checking the logs I am not that concerned(see inset). Its obviously a huge driver of, well, nothing if I am honest with myself. That said it did a fantastic job of doing what I wanted it to do and if it was $10 or less a year I would strongly consider renewing it (especially after just discovering that my host has increased my storage a great deal even though I was in no danger of running out).

Regardless, on to other things. Work has been going awesomely lately. I have earned a lot less overtime money than I earned last year yet I am overall not terribly worried about it. My raise when i took this job was large enough that I am already making more and I am actually doing well at this job. Thats a huge boost for my morale and my general sense of feeling like I have a future in employment. Plus I just discovered that I am apparently in the top 3 for my department and one of those three is moving to a new position in roughly a month and a half…. room for advancement here I come! There are certain monetary rewards that come with that as well which will come in handy in the near future. In the meantime, suffice to say that my work life is pretty darn great.

In terms of the condo… I have been very slow. Not that much of a surprise to people who actually know me. I tend to do things in a flurry of activity and I see a flurry coming up with some of that new found money. Counter stools (yes, I still haven’t gotten more), ceiling fans, closet organizers, wall art, light fixtures…. god I am so domestic I make myself sick at times. But I learn to live. The only actual major project I have planned (as in I might need to hire it out) is to redo the master shower at some point. Oh and adding a backsplash to the kitchen but that one is easier. And painting I suppose but thats really DIY. Still I am really overall happy with this place so 6+ months on I am still thinking it was a good deal.

Speaking of 6+, I think i have finally settled on getting an iPhone6 for my next phone. I wanted to wait until the Nexus6 came out (which it did) and unfortunately it is just as dan big as the iPhone6+ which is too large in my mind. I have a 7″ tablet, I don’t need a 5.5″ phone that I can only sort of put in my pocket. That left it to the year old Nexus5 and the iPhone6 and since the N5 is apparently discontinued its become an easy decision mostly. I can honestly say that apple pay holds only barely more interest to me than CurrentC which holds literally no interest. I will be curious to see if google is able to turn google wallet into an actual contender in that fight though.

Its a concert picture

I went to see a concert a week or two ago, which is something I hadn’t done in a long time. I went and saw M. Doughty at the Dakota and it was a great experience to actually go see a show again. It as also kind of sobering to realize I really enjoyed going to a show where I could sit on my duff at a table in the balcony (the entire venue is sitting room only) and hear everything clearly and just enjoy the show. I am also going to 2 nights of the Doomtree blowout later this month. The Friday & Saturday night shows at First Ave which will be about as far opposite as possible. I am looking forward to that in a very different way.

Beyond that, I haven’t been doing that much actually. Getting back into regular gym habits which i had long neglected, reading some (although i have at least temporarily abandoned my re-read of the Wheel of Time due to the slower middle books), mucking around online, playing some steam games (Escape Goat is surprisingly fun FYI), drinking beer a little too often, planning home improvement stuff, just generally taking things a bit slower as we slide into winter here. Or crash headlong into winter, whatever. Trying to tackle some other, miscellaneous, projects and maybe plan a vacation or three. So in other words, yeah my life is that boring. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion though. At least not currently.