Stating Where It’s At

Note: I wrote this in a text editor around October 2nd, nearly three weeks ago. I’m posting with only minor edits to what was in the text file.

My latest contract is going very well technically, I’m enjoying using SilverStripe as well as jQuery day in and day out. It’s a pleasure to write OO PHP. And my JavaScript is so clean you can eat off it — I love vetting it using jslint. Why SilverStripe? Because it’s got a beautiful and easy to use backend, and the documentation is great at and

My latest contract is having the usual big corporation slowness with regards to paying, and as a result I’m owed 4 1/2 weeks worth of paychecks. But it’s really coming Real Soon Now™. Really. (Note: we’ve been paid now, and expect to be paid again real soon now).

Personally, I feel pretty good. The end of the summer has been a bummer, and I’ve not swum in a while, but I have been working extensively in the garage. Where we could not walk around inside the garage before, now we can. I’ve even cleared enough room so that the treadmill can be used, and set up a desk out there. I’ve got more to do, but it’s very satisfying to take control over something that was so chaotic. I think it’s been good exercise moving boxes, adjusting. The impetus for all this was that several weeks ago the Simi Valley Dump had a FREE DUMP DAY. I got rid of two mattresses and a box spring that we’d not used in 2 years and I was unable to give away on FreeCycle. I observed that I was far happier about the prospect of a free trip to the dump than seemed rational. Sure, it’s a savings of $18.60 minimum, but still.

I suppose it’s something to do with being approximately middle-aged plus or minus. I’m 38 years old — multiply times to is 72 — as I work on my health that seems not unreasonable given the good genes I have.

Back to FREE DUMP DAY though–I was talking about how excited I was for a free dump day for several weeks. Put it on my calendar, and got there 20 minutes before the listed opening time and I got right in–no line. I dumped the mattresses and box spring and was on my way. I was very pleased as, on my way out, there was a line of 20 vehicles waiting to get in. Double-win!

In High School some of my friends said I was "like a middle-aged man" — I had a very serious manner, and took to wearing a khaki businessman’s coat and carrying a black umbrella sometimes. To the "Senior Sleep In" thing I wore a thick red robe, further solidifying their impression that I was like some guy already in his thirties or forties. I suppose I was parentalized early, having to be the man of the house at times while my Dad was away at school, at work, or at sea.

Well, these days I am a patriarch, the head of a household that I am proud to care for and be concerned about. Granted, the kids are not with us most of the time, but I feel a need to be parental and fatherly toward them that’s strong. We’re not financially able to do much, but money is not everything.

Spiritually I’ve been reinvigorated to be going to Mass a bit more regularly. I went to the San Buenaventura Mission for Mass last weekend. It’s got a rather rich history–founded in 1792 by Father Junipero Serra himself . It’s an honor to worship in an edifice that is over 200 years old, an age rare for a site in the Western United States. Of course California was Spanish when it was founded, part of the Virreinato de Nueva España, the Spanish Viceroyalty of New Spain. Usually I go down to the Cathedral, which I really like. It’s usually minimal traffic, and free parking, and any chance to hit Los Angeles is a good excuse.

In other news, I have a pile of new and rediscovered books to read I’ve largely neglected, owing to other priorities, but I look forward to curling up with some of them.

The financial crises the nation is going through remind me of James Howard Kunstler‘s predictions about The Long Emergency, but I’m not sure that’s where we’re headed. In fact, I have doubts that the trouble in the financial markets will affect me at all. Leah and I bank with WaMu, which was bought recently by Chase, but there’s been no interruption of service.

I do think the country is in for more hard stuff before there’s easy stuff. I sure don’t want President Barack Obama’s future job. Looks like it’s going to be a tough one. In the short term, things look bleak for the home team, but for me personally I just need to do precisely what I’m doing, generating the income I need to, paying down my debts, and looking forward to being debt-free and prospering. In the meantime I have family, friends, and things like DrupalCamp, BarCamp, excellent books, great movies like Michael Clayton, and yes, those books I have been neglecting.

It’s all good.

So, that was what I had to say a month ago. So what now?

Contract still going well, it will persist through the end of November then I’ll be on the market again after Thanksgiving.

We have to move, which stinks, but our landlord will pay us a premium for us to break the lease, so we’re going to do it.

My Grandfather’s 90th Brithday was this year–we’re having a celebration in Las Vegas, probably his favorite destination, and I’m helping with some of the behind the scenes on that.

Leah is doing well and her work on projects is stunning, hat, jewelry, and otherwise. Expect news on her blog in the next few weeks.

The election is a big one. I have seen several emails from family smearing Obama, and I’m not impressed. Fight The Smears!

I went to BarCamp Los Angeles this weekend and had a great time. Learned a panoply of stuff and if I can swing it, will write a separate post about it. I participated in a WordPress Birds of the Feather the first day, and I gave an interactive jQuery Basics seminar today. I created a sample HTML page and other files, had the audience download a zip file of the, then we changed a javascript file to do some basic effects. I hope it was effective, there were maybe a dozen people in the audience. I was real nervous, but I told them that up front, and having said it out loud it dissipated. The projector did fail about 3 minutes in, so that was exciting to "speak" the code out loud till that came back up. But I hope I demystified jQuery. If you attended, or have been to BarCamp, I’d be interested to hear what kind of things people would want to do in an interactive session with JavaScript.

Another thing about BarCamp was meeting some folks I only knew through Twitter: kamylynn, DocHobbes, and mskendo101 — they’re actually local to me in Simi Valley. Mark Gibbs was collecting email addresses of VenCo geeks, but I think it’s time to do more there. And there’s Markus in Ojai — surely more stuff can be done, eh? Shoot me an email or leave a comment if you have ideas for Ventura County Web and Tech Meetup type stuff.

Okay, I’m beat. Enough for now.



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