It has been waaaay too long since I’ve written a blog post. The last one I wrote was back in July, right after the Celebration of Lights. Things have been a bit crazy since then.
So, what’s happened since then?
- started a new job at Bardel
- got my ham radio license: VA7SPH!
- started a new hobby: fountain pens!
- started another hobby: fishing!
Okay, let’s talk some of these a bit more in-depth.
At the beginning of December, I started at Bardel Entertainment. They’ve recently been growing quite a bit, and I’ve been hired to help out the software department. I’m going to be helping to build a new asset management system. I always had an inkling that working on a production at an animation studio was two steps from total chaos – but being on the periphery has totally confirmed it.
I’ve been dropped into one of those… interesting situations. There’s software that was developed by people who left several years ago, and have been tinkered with by many hands since then ( all of whom are also no longer with the company ). I guess they came to a point where they had to make a decision: do some major refactoring, or re-write it from scratch. They apparently decided to re-write it from scratch.
However, the folks working there don’t have a ton of experience writing a full-stack web app from scratch – that’s where I come in. I’ve been involved in a few applications at various stages, including writing one or two from scratch to finish. So apparently I’m going to be able to choose what role I play: I can be just a developer, or I can take a bit more of a project-lead role. At the moment, I’m leaning towards the project lead role, although I know that’ll mean less time for coding.
We’ll see how that goes.
At the start of 2014, I decided there were a few licenses that I wanted to get:
- ham radio
I wanted to get a gun license because I went to a gun range last January for my birthday and I had a lot of fun. I’d also like to go hunting with a rifle at some point in my life, and I figure having the license beforehand would be useful ( although hunting with a bow or crossbow sounds fun too ).
I’ve always wanted to have a motorcycle, because they just seem like a ton of fun to ride. Part of the reason that I wanted a Jeep way back when was because I liked the idea of riding in a convertible – although with one with a bit more muscle on it. I just figure that a motorcycle would be an extension of that. I guess it’d be a more primal experience: riding around on a motor with two wheels, and nearly nothing between you and the road. I don’t know about you, but that sounds fun to me.
I wanted to get a boat license because living on the West Coast and being a fan of the ocean makes me want to be able to get out on a boat more often. I’ve ridden on enough boats to know that I’d like to be able to rent one and go camping on the coast at some point in my life. Actually, what I’d really like to do is spend a few months on a sail boat, sailing down the West coast – but that will require a bit more learning than getting a regular boat license.
Lastly: ham radio license. This one came about for mostly practical reasons. A few years ago I took a road trip down to San Diego, and I’d like to do something similar in the next year or so. I figured that having either a CB radio or a ham radio with me would be a good idea, especially if something happens. While I’ll probably have a cell phone, I might not always be somewhere with cell phone coverage. I figured that having some sort of radio with me would be a good backup.
However, once I started researching getting a ham radio license, I found out that there was so much more that I could do. Bouncing signals off the moon, talking to the ISS, talking to folks across the ocean or on the other side of the planet – there are so many things that I could do with a ham radio license. So I signed up for a class at VHS, and as of November 19th I’m officially VA7SPH! It’s only the Basic license, so there are a few restrictions. I’m planning to start studying for the Advanced license, so that I can build my own radios from scratch.
Earlier this year I kind of fell into the every day carry community. Basically, the idea behind every day carry ( or EDC ) is that you carry with you the minimal amount of things that you need to be able to handle nearly any situation. It’s not just about carrying more or less stuff, it’s also about carrying better stuff. Instead of carrying around a dull Swiss Army knife, why not carry around a Leatherman Wave? Instead of a crappy BIC pen, why not a Fisher Space Pen, or a nice entry-level fountain pen like the Pilot Varsity.
I found out about this community because I’ve always wanted a multi-tool, and earlier this year I gave in and bought one. Once I found out about the EDC community though, I added a few things.
I used to just carry my phone, (somewhat thick) wallet, and keys. Now I carry a few more things: * the Fisher Space Pen - it’s awesome to always have a pen, and it’s so small and light that I never feel it in my pocket * an EZGO Slim Wallet - I don’t carry cash, and I only need two or three cards at any time, so this was a good purchase * either the Kershaw Funxion or the Kershaw Shallot * a SOG multi-tool * a simple flashlight
Some of the stuff I’m thinking of replacing: I’d like a flashlight with a few more lumens, and maybe a Leatherman Wave instead of the SOG.
Anyways, fountain pens! When I got into the whole EDC thing, I found that a lot of people seemed to prefer fountain pens to other styles of pens. I decided to get a Pilot Varsity to see what the fuss was about. Once I got it, I was instantly a convert. I’ve found that fountain pens write better and smoother than any other pen I’ve had. There’s also a side benefit to using a fountain pens: inks! So very many inks. Since that Varsity, I’ve picked up a few other pens, and I’ve got a few more coming to me in the mail.
There’s also just something… indefinable about fountain pens. There’s something fun about writing with one. I definitely recommend trying it out.
Lastly, fishing. Last summer the GF and I went out to Quebec to visit her family. While we were there, her brother took me out fishing a few times. I may have gotten hooked ( not at all sorry for that pun ).
Once I got home, I picked up a cheap rod and a fishing license, and started going to Deer Lake Park. I haven’t caught anything yet – at least, nothing worth keeping. Deer Lake park is stocked every few months with Rainbow Trout. About two or three months ago, we saw Rainbow Trout for sale in Superstore, so we picked them up. After a bit of pan-frying, they turned out absolutely delicious. So if I do manage to catch one big enough to cook, I’m definitely keeping it.
Those are the big highlights of the year so far. It’s nearly 2015 now though, and I’m hoping to write posts more often. I’ve got a few projects on the go that I’d like to document my progress on, as well as a few trip ideas that I’d like to get some feedback on.