Hour of Code

This morning I was able to spend a bit of time with Noah in his class. They were participating in the Hour of Code. It was really neat seeing all the kids with Chromebooks working away.

Noah and I started out playing with Scratch. He wanted to build a basketball game but we didn’t have that much time and I haven’t spent a lot of time with Scratch so I’m not really familiar. We did make a character dribble a basketball across the screen.

From there we moved onto Code.org where we went through the steps to make a flappy bird game. It had ten steps where it gets you to setup the concepts of the game and change them around to immediately see the effect they have on the game. At the end he received a certificate he could print out.

He grasps the different concepts pretty quickly and seemed to really enjoy things. Im going to have to brush up on Scratch and maybe we can work at building that basketball game he wanted.

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Three Years

Three Years

A few days ago I had a mini little celebration by myself. It was my three year anniversary of joining Automattic full time. It’s crazy to me that it’s been that long and at the same time it feels like I’ve been here forever.

This is the longest continuous full time job I’ve ever had. That’s saying something for someone my age who started working before I became a teenager. Unlike other jobs I’ve had I haven’t once looked for another job anywhere else. There is still so much I can learn and so much impact I can have on the company itself. There are challenges, frustrations, and things I struggle with, but nothing that makes me hate the job.

While I believe in the mission and the creed, my favourite part is that Automattic has introduced me to so many colleagues who I now consider friends. These are truly amazing people who I very much look forward to hanging out with and working together in person when able. Traveling to different places is all well and good, but I could never leave a hotel and still have an amazing time.

Though sometimes hard to balance I’m especially lucky because I’m essentially on two teams. There is my smaller direct team Jupiter who I work with. It has grown and then shrunk, and now growing again over this past year. They are patient with me as I grow, hard working, and just fun to interact with. There is also the group of WordPress.com Happiness Leads who I get to work closely with. Such a smart and dedicated bunch. I’m humbled to be able to work and learn from, and with, them.

These are the people I work the closest with, but everyone at Automattic who I’ve been able to interact with is helpful, friendly, and smart.

As long as they don’t get sick of me, I’m looking forward to many more years of working here and being able to publish posts like this.

The Great Swapping Week

This week has been the week of many swaps. It’s felt like I’ve spent a large amount of time moving things from one room to another, it’s not quite over yet but all the main moving is behind me now.

It started with Jen and I getting a new bed. I can’t recall ever having a new bed before so it’s pretty exciting. One downfall though is the bed is from Ikea so I had to put it all together. There is still a new mattress which we ordered that has been delayed a bit so we’re still sleeping on the old mattress but on a new frame.

Us getting the new bed though set off a bit of a chain reaction. Alex who has been sleeping on a twin bed decided she wanted a bigger one. In preparation for our new bed we had to get rid of her old one. The mattress she had was still pretty good but we had other twin mattresses on  top bunks which weren’t so great. When we found someone to take her old bed frame we grabbed one of the top bunk mattresses to go with it. We moved our old frame and box spring into her room but because our new mattress isn’t here yet we put her twin on top which makes for an awkward looking bed 😆 I keep thinking about the episode of Seinfeld where Kramer planned on adding a bunch of levels to his apartment with carpet and pillows.

In summary we had one bed out the door, one mattress moved, our bed and box spring moved, and new bed built and setup.

This next part is going to make us sound like TV addicts but honestly not a lot of TV gets watched in our house. I’m honestly not sure why we have so many TVs. The one main TV that does get watched is in our living room. It is an older TV we bought refurbished quite a few years ago. It still works pretty well but some of the buttons don’t function great and it likely doesn’t have a lot of life left. With that in mind when we saw a decent deal on Black Friday sales we ordered a new one for our living room.

We’ve had a TV mounted on the wall in a room which was previously a play room for Jen’s Day Care. Since that is done we’ve been turning it into a sitting room of sort. The TV in there was small and almost never turned on. We figured we could move the Wii in there for the kids to play but it would be better with the bigger TV. The old one from the living room moved in there and mounted on the wall. The TV we took off the wall from the old play room we swapped with the TV mounted on the wall in Noah’s room. Another TV that never gets watched. It was in there from when the room was Alex’s but they swapped rooms a while back. The TV in his room then moved to her new room.

The TV that was in Alex’s room was actually Caile’s but she let Alex borrow it because she never watched it. She didn’t want it back so she ended up selling it to my In Laws instead. The moving of TV’s from sitting to mounted and vice versa was a kind of pain. Finding where we stored the bases, finding screws to either put the base on or screws to connect the mount to the back of the TV. Thank goodness for my mason jar full of odd screws which saved us in this process.

The last part of all the TV swapping is the room my In Laws wanted the TV for doesn’t have any connectors, so we’re upgrading our cable plan to one that supports wireless TV. That will mean taking some TV’s off the wall to be able to disconnect and hook up the new boxes required, but it’s almost done now too.

This all seems like a lot of work for one new bed and one new TV.

Stupidity and Laziness

Back in August 2014 I had reached a big milestone after a lot of hard work. I was so proud of myself and swore I would never go back. At that time I reached my goal weight of under 180lbs after months of hard work and dedication. Things went up and down from there but for a long time I stayed in pretty decent shape. In March 2016 I ran my longest distance ever, 20km. Since then though I’ve been on a pretty steady decline health wise and really broke the promise to myself. I’m getting pretty close to having put back on all the weight I worked so hard to lose in 2014.

For the past bit I’ve been in a pretty big funk, not myself, unhappy. This is a big part of that, though there are other factors of course. Most of them are beyond my control, but my health is solely mine to control. How could I be so stupid and lazy?

Today I went on the incredibly demoralizing task of organizing my closet. Over the past few months I’ve been slowly buying new clothes that fit because I’ve gotten too fat for the ones I had. My closet was getting overrun with clothes because I still had all the clothes that I should fit in but they were making their way to the back of the closet. So today I moved everything out that I no longer fit in and put them into storage under the bed. Time for things to change, again.

Instead of just keeping up with a pretty healthy eating plan and exercise I reverted back to my old ways and now need to go through all the hard work again. Of course as I get older that will likely be even harder than it was almost four years ago.

Last time I blogged and shared on social media constantly about my progress, how far I ran today etc. I won’t put people through that again, especially because it isn’t nearly as meaningful the second time around, but I’ll work hard anyway. I’ve ordered myself a new Fitbit to help me track progress and keep my honest. Last time that sort of tracking was really motivational, I just won’t publicize it so much.

So I’m getting started, again, and hopefully I’ll finally be smart enough to get off this weight roller coaster I’ve been on permanently.

Automattic Pumpkin

Noah and I have most of the day together. We’re off to play some basketball shortly but this morning he helped me carve my pumpkin.

He choose to paint his own this year, it has the first coat only so far, so not ready to share.

For a while I’ve wanted to try this kind of carving where you more skin the pumpkin, so I choose a fairly simple design. Maybe I’ll try something more detailed next year.

Happiness Patches

Happiness Patches

A few Grand Meetups ago some of my awesome colleagues started a new cool thing, Happiness Patches. For any team you have been on, or done a rotation with, you get a patch. There are a few fun patches as well and they’re expanding a bit. The idea is similar to merit badges.

Each Grand Meetup I’d collect new patches and then they would live in a bag in my office, I never knew what to do with them. The one main idea I had saw others do was to put them on a backpack. Backpacks wear out though and I didn’t want to lose these. Finally this weekend I did something with them and I’m really happy with the result.

While the kids were doing a craft at our local Michaels store I went and grabbed a shadow box to frame the patches in. Had I just been doing the patches a regular frame would have likely worked, but I had a few pins to throw in as well so needed a big more depth. It has now joined the Automattic wall in my office.

The wall started out with just the print based on the Automattic creed, then shortly after I added the three logos and it has continued to grow since then. A local business, who creates custom pillows, made the WordPress logo pillow for me. Jen wouldn’t let me use it in the living room so now it lives on the top of my bookcase. The next additions were the award I received at work, and the WordPress pennant. One of my previous team members brought me a big glow in the dark Jupiter sticker which made it’s way to the wall as well. Jupiter is our team name. Last night I re-arranged things a bit so I could make room for the new shadow box. The wall can still use some adjustments to fit things better, but I really like it and it makes me happy when ever I walk into my office.

 

 

 

2017 Automattic Grand Meetup

2017 Automattic Grand Meetup

Another Automattic Grand Meetup has come and gone. It is always such an amazing, overwhelming, stressful, fun, exciting, unique, and tiring experience. This year was no exception to that.

Shortly before the meetup the team I’m on added three new people. That is exciting, always fun to get to meet and hangout with more awesome Automatticians. However this made our team fairly big and with more people going to be hired soon we split our team in half. That’s the sad part 🙁 Some of this wonderful group of people I’ve gotten to know are now moving on to form their own team. They’ll certainly thrive as a team and individuals, but still tough knowing we won’t be working quite as close together and on the next team meetup they won’t be with us. Luckily we were still able to spend time together this trip.

Another first for this meetup is the first one Jen was coming along too. Getting to work and travel so closely with her is another one of the things I’ll never take for granted working with Automattic. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together because we are on different teams and the week is so busy, but we made the most of the time we did have. In the beginning we made sure our flight was in early enough that we were able to go visit the water front in Vancouver and made our way to a beach as well. The day before we had left home we went to the shore here and Jen put her feet in the ocean. We did the same thing the very next day except in the Pacific! We also got in some walks in the mornings, chats at night before we both exhaustively fell on our pillows, and with big group we took the gondola up to the top of the Whistler mountains!

We took most of my old team, some of Jen’s team, and one of my buddies from when I first joined the company. Couldn’t ask for a better group to share this experience with. We took the Peak to Peak Gondola trip which takes you up the mountain, then across to a neighbouring peak, then back down again. The views, the air, and the company were all 💯!

Getting to share meals, work, and a new home room concept with all my colleagues, allowed me to meet many new people I hadn’t yet. My Meetamattician score is at a high of 52% of the company being met. Some of those were pretty quick conversations though.

This year I was particularly nervous as we were trying to keep support open  for our customers at a much larger scale than we ever had in the past. We had many Happiness Engineers doing their regular job for part of the meetup, and a whole host of others throughout the company join us as well. We started and finished the week in great shape thanks to all their hard work. It was such a cool experience having everyone pull together and work in person.

Being part of this company leaves me thankful just about every day. There are stressful parts, and parts that aren’t always so fun, but the people, the work, and the company all make it so worth while. Can’t wait to find out where we will get together next year to do it all over again!

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl

My incredibly strong wife shares her feelings from a rough day 14 years ago.

I Dream of Summer

I truly believe that each day we are alive changes our life somehow. Some days are big changes and other days, little changes. 14 years ago this morning our sweet Brianna Lynne was born and later that evening we said Goodbye.

For me this was one of those big change days. For me that day tore me apart and made me a new person, a better person. I think with each struggle, pain, upset we go through we have the opportunity to grow and become someone better or we have the opportunity to do just the very opposite. I promise you that I did not wake up that next morning feeling like a better person, or wanting to be one. I woke up instead a very angry person and I felt that way for quite some time.

Those next few months I have never prayed so much in all of…

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Pointless Learning

Pointless Learning

After driving through some of the more boring states and provinces on our way out west I decided I was going to have something to do while sitting in the passenger seat on the way home.

For a while now Noah has wanted a Rubik’s Cube so we finally got him one. I remembered as a kid wanting badly to figure out how to solve one but never putting in the time to do it. There was going to be lots of time on this drive home, so I picked one up for myself as well.

Thanks to the internet I was able to figure it out and can now solve one pretty quickly! I’ll not be going to competitions, but I’m just happy to solve one.

This the first time in a while I learned something not useful to me but it was still fun to do. Who knows, maybe someday knowing how to solve a Rubik’s Cube will come in handy for something.