Has It Really Been Over a Year!

WOW! I have not blogged or posted anything to this site in over a year. That is bad… I must try and post more often. I also need to do some maintenance to this site and my godaddy.com experience in general as this site is very slow. So first a couple goals for the upcoming weeks:

  • Improve site performance (possibly a new template or something)
  • Post at least 3 times in the next 2 weeks and 1 post every week thereafter

Now on the plus side I have had a lot happen in that year of absense so there should be a lot to talk about. Look for future topics on:

  • My decision to leave the Guild and pursue a startup
  • Development in Electron/NodeJS
  • Development using Electron-Edge to access .NET code from my electron app
  • Kinect Programming
  • Unity 3D programming
  • Leadership, mentoring junior developers and IT staff
  • Leading from the trenches to improve productivity and chemistry
  • Development of my own MVC ASP.NET web application
  • Implementing Git in the workplace
  • and much, much more…

Another post I will be sure to get off here in the next few days is my initial review of the Google Pixel 2 phone as I just upgraded.

Stay Tuned!

Changing the Past

So I just finished season 1 of the Flash on Netflix and the episode ended in a very profound fashion. SPOILER ALERT!!! (kinda anyway) The Flash had the opportunity to change something in his past and made the move to do so but then didn’t change the past. Instead, he said goodbye to what could have been and accepted what is. This immediately led to me wonder would I change my past if I could. I can definitely think of a couple events that I could alter that would have the same kind of profound effect but would I change them?…

NO…

The past happened the way it did for a reason. That reason is sometimes very difficult to understand or justify but there is a reason.

My life is what it is because of the events that have occurred. I think of the events that led to me applying for late admission to Cleveland State University and how my life would be different if I truly did go away to school and I don’t even get passed that… Mostly, because I was at Cleveland State when I started dating my now wife and we had our two beautiful kids then. I started my career on the path it has gone because of my connection to CSU and can’t imagine any other life. I don’t want to imagine any other life.

I have thought of what life would be in a two parent home and realize I am the father I am because I didn’t have my biological father around. I instead saw various people as role models and looked up to different people for different reasons. I tried to take all the good of those experiences and put that into what I thought a father should be. I know what I felt I missed and I won’t ever let my kids miss on that. I may not have had a father but they will have the best I can be.

Saying, “If only this one event didn’t happen” is easy. Because that event happened and there is nothing you can do about it. Living through that event and driving forward is hard, no doubt there. But if life was easy wouldn’t we all be millionaires living on a beach with yachts, cars and everything we always wanted?…

Some call it Cold, I call it Resilience

Normally I wouldn’t post something like this. I would hold in the feelings, my thoughts and just go on with life. However, this week a series of unfortunate events coincided with the topic of resilience in my unstoppable course. That being said I thought I would share.

So this past week started with the tragic news of a fallen classmate. A great girl I went to high school with, was lab partners with and saw most every day of high school passed away. She was 33 years old and although we haven’t spoken since high school I followed her unfortunate journey through her cancer. She used a blog to express her emotions reach many other people giving them hope. She was an amazing women…

This news was followed 3 days later with the news that my Godmother passed away. My Godmother, but she wasn’t sick, she wasn’t in and out of the hospital. I saw her not long ago. I was going to see her again in a week for Easter. How? Why? I don’t understand.

In both cases I have noticed that the outside world didn’t notice that I received such news unless I told them. I hold the emotions in, but I still feel the pain, I feel the loss. I somehow am able to put those feelings aside and grieve while continuing my day. In the case of my Godmother, I received the news at lunch with my coworkers and somehow finished lunch, went back into work and continued the mock client meetings I had scheduled with the teams of my cohort. I know I wasn’t on my “A” game, but the game I was on wasn’t off enough for some to notice. The next few days I continued this path and finished the work week and have now made it to the weekend. Even this weekend I am taking my time to grieve but pushing forward with work and other obligations.

Thinking about this I wonder if some think I am not grieving their deaths, that I do not feel the loss. Perhaps they see me as being cold and feeling nothing. I don’t exhibit any substantial emotional reaction. The only way others know something is wrong is my sleep is worse that the normal bad it has been. I know this reaction isn’t the typical emotional response of someone who has lost anyone. I know or at least I feel I should be showing more of an emotional response.

Instead, I was able to lose some ground during the week while letting my emotions get the best of me when appropriate. I was taking time for myself and doing what I had to so that I could continue with all the major tasks of my day to day life, work and my family. Then this weekend I started to try to make up those tasks that I let slip. I planned ahead for time away for the wake and funeral and plan to dive right back into work following the funeral. This isn’t because I am cold or I don’t care. It is because I do care and I don’t want to let anyone down and I want to honor the memory of especially my Godmother by continuing to strive forward and live each day doing what I love. I love my work, I have been offered day(s) off to grieve and graciously declined because being around the staff and apprentices at the Guild brings my joy, happiness and in a time of need like this I need that to show me how great life really is.

Thus, although I exhibit the traits of a cold, non-feeling individual, I feel, I miss those that have passed. I choose to push forward, continue to pursue those things that bring me joy. I have made time for my family and will be there for the grieving process. I have put family first and if my family needed me I would put things aside and be there in an instant. That doesn’t mean that I can’t appropriately plan for the time I will be out or try to return to work for special events. For years, I never understood how I could move on like this. Now I call this resilience. I bend to the situation but return to form quickly. I stay the course, remember my Godmother and even my classmate and somehow make time for family, plan ahead and keep my head on straight. I’m not cold, I see it as multiprocessing and just somehow was able to put my grieving to a background process.

New Task System Wows

This week the unstoppable course has left a mark of reflection yet again… Only in a very unexpected way…

Ever feel that your system of staying organized was good and that you were on top of your to-do list? I did. I thought I had a pretty good system and that I was very responsive to the things that I had to get done. Rarely would I let something fall through the cracks and quite often I would be thanked by colleagues and family members for getting things done and in a relatively timely manner. I really thought I had a decent system.

I thought wrong…

Through the last couple of weeks I have been challenged to write out my goals, my to-do items and basically do a brain dump of everything going on in my head. Ever do this? If not, try it… It is very liberating. When I did what I found is that I was barely scratching the surface with the lists and inboxes that I kept in trying to stay on task. What I also realized is that I was very NOT in control of my task lists.

Let’s start with a picture of my old system.

My old system had multiple pieces that would float in and out as time allotted and as my mind remembered to use them. The key medium were my email inboxes, a to-do list application on my mobile device and written to-dos I would put on either post-it notes or a whiteboard. Quite often the email inboxes would take precedence followed by the phone and then paper. Occasionally if I knew something was super important I would use the post-it first. With this system I thought I had control because I knew all the places to look for items to do. I knew to look in my email, then this email and my app and then paper. I thought I had control. WHOOPS!

In just a nice of sitting down in front of Nozbe, an application I am asked to test run as part of Unstoppable I realized how bad I had become. My lists covered upwards of 20 some projects and over 66 tasks I wrote down. As I started breaking things into projects I started adding smaller more focused tasks. I have not come near completion of my lists but what I can tell you is that I owe some people a world of apologies. I was putting things off and not focusing on projects that mattered to me because I thought they took too much effort and the tasks were too big. I felt I didn’t have time to work on this or that because well, to get that done I had to do 5 things. Well sure, but what if I did item 1 now, 2 in a day or two and 3 and 4 over the weekend.

Once I started writing out the tasks I had to do I lost my sense of control with my old system. I don’t know that I feel control yet with this this new system but I can tell you that I know I need to get control and once I do I think that I can get even more done. The challenge is getting out of my head and into something I can see. One place to rule them all and to see a complete list of tasks and items. I don’t know if Nozbe will be my answer but I will definitely be finding out now that I see the multiple approach really had me out of control and at the mercy of the lists.