On a positive note…

Reviewing the last several posts, it would appear that for a few months that I have been in the doldrums of despair. While that is partly true, it is not where I have spent the majority of my time.

At work, I’ve been working on several projects dealing with online video, digital publishing, and helping out a team re-architecting several systems within a client’s structure. In other words, work has me busy and it’s been the good kind of interesting.

If you’ve been paying attention to the weather in the mid-western United States, then you can guess that I have been mostly indoors during the record cold and snows this year. It’s put my woodworking, and anything in the garage on hold, almost everything.

Earlier I had a picture of a cat resting in the partly assembled shelves of a bookcase I build last year. That cat, Angel, is kind of the neighborhood cat, and since her original owners didn’t take her in anymore, we’ve had her wintering in the garage. She’s quite happy there, but a little stir crazy like all of us since she can’t go outside. She’s even gotten into the house a few times, and while our dog likes her, the cats in the house, one of which is a daughter of her’s, definitely do not like sharing the house with the newcomer.

I’ve been working on a talk about Grunt, a task running utility that I use at work to reduce the redundant things I do (building, running tests on code, and making deployments). I’ve applied to give a talk at Chicago Code Camp in a few months, and plan to give the talk before then to the people at work.

I was planning on going to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this year, but that doesn’t seem to be in the cards given the current focus of projects at work. Though I should be seeing Jim Van Verth next month, and he will be speaking there. He is wicked smart, and now works at Google. Sometimes I hope by being in the room with him that I get better at my own math skills.

So until it warms up outside, I plan on continuing the inside hobbies. Oh, I’ve also played far to many games while stuck inside this winter, finishing Batman Arkham Asylum, Arkham City, Tomb Raider, and playing many levels of Orcs Must Die 2 with Erin (my wife). When it warms up, the workshop will be aired out, and I can continue on the secret project. Until then, I am endeavoring to not distract myself from writing and editing the writing I have done. It’s a losing battle right now, but I hope for at least a Pyrrhic victory over my procrastination.

Erin hasn’t seen the Avengers movie yet, and I am making sure that she is fixing that gap in her knowledge now. So until next time, stay warm.

Life, it’s never dull.

[Warning: This is an update post, and may ramble a bit. Carry on!]

Things at the tail end of this year have certainly been interesting. Interesting times indeed, in all of the senses of the word.

You’ve read hear about some of the things that have gone on, and if you haven’t I invite you to take a look. I can wait.

Back? Good.

In addition to family health issues, building a deck, participating in HoNoToGroABeMo, and the normal things like work, raising kids, etc. I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve been working on my Secret Project, though much less of that lately. I’ve built a 3D printer, the PrintrBot Simple, and it’s printing nicely now. I’ve also been researching Machine Learning and Adaptive Bitrate Streaming, trying to see how the former can work with and for the latter.

Over this last week, things continued to be interesting.

On Monday, I was told that my new MacBook Pro had arrived and on Tuesday I had it in my hot little hands. I’ve been working with it and my Windows desktop off and on since then. I will have a post soon about the reasons why I switched to a Mac from Windows, and how my switch has gone so far. A teaser: It’s going pretty well, with the normal bumps of getting used to the different places for the things I normally use.

Tuesday night, I found a fairly heavy package sitting on the kitchen counter when I got home. I have been expecting my Kickstarter order of my FATE Core and FATE Accelerated books (along with a few others) to come in soon, but this package was far too heavy and large for a few books. What could it be?

To my great surprise, I found that the 3D printer parts for the Eventorbot had arrived! It had been over a year since I backed that Kickstarter, and given that the creator had disappeared for nearly three months, I had resigned myself to never seeing it. The creator had a bout of depression, and in my opinion, was overwhelmed to an extent that he stopped communicating. Which unfortunately made the problem worse.

So now I have parts for a second printer. So what will I do with it?

Well, I’ve written a book on 3D printing, I enjoy learning the technology, so I’m diving into it deeper by putting out a 3D printing show. My friend and former co-producer on The Game Master Show, will be joining me as I delve into the current events of the 3D printing industry, and tackle subjects both beginners and experts of the subjects can learn from.

Is that all? Nope!

Tuesday evening, Erin called me with news about her father. He’s doing much better, still not great, but he’s sitting up, eating, and has a positive attitude. The ICU nurse let Erin sneak the girls in to visit, and he really perked up when he saw them, vowing to get better and get out of the hospital so that he could be with them more.

So after a very interesting several months, more good things than bad are starting to happen. I’d like to take credit for planning it, for navigating my way through the storm, but I can’t. I tried my best to make my own luck, but it wasn’t all me. It was a combination of people, of supporters, of genuine luck (that’s what you call it when you can’t pin down the butterfly that caused the events).

So the light is shining. The deck is nearly done. My beard does itch (go donate!). It’s a good time right now, just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the start of new year just after.

Life. It’s never dull unless you let it be.

HoNoToGroABeMo – or – How Not To Grow A Beard Month

So for the last few years I was only able to watch on the sidelines as my beardless brothers took the fight to breast cancer by growing their beards for breast cancer research. This year is different. This year, I am back in the normal office, and my face is back in the race!

HoNoToGroABeMo has been a tradition for the last six years, growing like… facial hair on a grown man. Ok, so my simile and metaphor abilities are hampered at the moment. It was started by Kris Johnson in a tradition similar to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and then added to by others, and built upon by Bob Voegerl to build the site that now houses the event.

The past two years were won by my protege, Peter Dilillo. He is taking a much deserved hiatus this year, and so it is up to me to continue his streak.

I’ve been doing my blog posts in video form over on the site, and they can also be viewed on You Tube. So if you want to fill your head with Follicle Facts, want to watch me being somewhat silly, or just want to support our cause and donate to breast cancer research (which you should do anyway), head over to the following links:

HoNoToGroABeMo: http://honotogroabemo.org

YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/honotogroabemo

Donation page: http://www.fundraiseforbcrf.org/vandermore

Comment, subscribe to the YouTube channel, read the posts on the site, have fun, and help us grow the best beards these faces can. I understand that facial hair grows better with donations!

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat.

As of late, this saying has rung true for life. The meaning in English: All hours wound; the last one kills. It is seen on sundials, and is found in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which by the way is where I first remember learning it. Life isn’t all like this, of course, but at times like the one I and my family is going through, it certainly feels like it.

My father-in-law has taken a turn for the worse and is in the hospital again. We are having a very hard time making sure that he takes care of himself. We hope that when he is released he will again come stay with us instead of insisting to staying at his home.

It’s not an easy thing for me to talk about, and not something that I usually talk about here. It is something that I am pushed, to do otherwise I won’t be able to deal with it productively.

There isn’t much we can do other than hope for the best and plan for the worst. His room is still made up in our house, and he seemed to enjoy the time when he was in it.

In my own personal beliefs, life should be fought for, cherished, something you only ever get one chance at. It boggles my mind how some people waste it, or are content to be miserable while living it. Even if you believe that there is life after death, why would you want the life you are living to be miserable?

Quality of life, the oh so subjective standard that we look at people who are terminally ill or toward the end of their lives, is terribly important. It is the last chance to enjoy what time you have left, with yourself and those you choose to spend it with.

This post hasn’t been entirely lucid, I know. This is one of the things that has been weighing on my mind of late, and causing my thoughts to scatter. I am hoping by putting some of these things down here, that I can focus on the things that need doing.

It’s a dark tunnel right now. I feel that it’s going to get darker before I come out into the light. Right now, each hour hurts. The difference for me is that I embrace that pain, make it my own, and see it through until the end. Since there is so much more worth seeing and doing. Erin has a saying she loves from a movie. Unfortunately, I don’t remember either the movie, or the actual quote, paraphrased though it’s: “Another sunrise, another day alive.”

Those are the mantras I live by. To live, and love, life itself.

Thanks for listening.