Reflections

I have a birthday coming up next week. I’ll be the big 3-8. 38? Thirty-eight?!? How the hell did I get to be 38?

I’ve been feeling a bit down since Monday … more so than usual. It has me reflecting on my life and where I am.

Yes … I am a home owner. I worked hard to be able to own a house. And I did it all on my own. But I’m ALONE in the house.

Yes … I do love being a web programmer. I love the challenges, and it’s awesome to see something that I built come to life on the internet. And I worked hard to get to the point that I’m at. I’ve been doing this since the middle of 2004 with no formal training. I’ve taught myself everything that I know. I’ve built a CMS package and turned that into a network of websites that take about 30 minutes or less to set up. I’ve built a mobile app (both Android and iPhone versions). So why do I feel like just a code monkey sitting in the corner banging on the keyboard?

I never thought I’d be famous or a millionaire by this time in my life. But I thought that I would at least have a family by now and not still be living paycheck to paycheck.

I wish I didn’t always focus on the negatives. I have some awesome friends. No, I don’t have a lot of friends. But I’d rather have a small handful of awesome friends that a ton of “friends“. And I’m close to family. When something goes wrong around the house or with the car, I can call and ask Dad for help. And when I have a cooking question, I can call and ask Mom.

But no matter what I try to do, I always end up back down the rabbit hole. Part of me keeps screaming that I need therapy, but I have no idea how much, if any, of that that my insurance would cover. I have a $50 co-pay for my prescription eye drops for crying out loud. So I turn to Twitter and Facebook instead. I know I should stop doing that, but …

Goodbye Windows

For a long time now (over a year), I’ve been thinking about switching from Windows to Mac. The major thing holding me back was the fact that a MacBook Pro laptop starts at $1800. That’s a LOT of money.

Back in August (or around there), I decided to just go for it. The main reasons for this decision are …

  1. My current laptop (a Dell Inspiron 1520 that is about almost 6 years old) has been getting increasingly unstable with every passing day. The video driver keeps crashing (but I think there might be something more than that that is causing problems). The display freezes up and requires a hard reboot or it just shuts the computer off … when I’m no where near it and haven’t used it for a couple days. It takes 3 hard reboots in order for it to be stable enough to keep running … until it decides to freeze up again. I’ve gotten a few BSOD too. One of these times, it’s not going to recover.
  2. I don’t want a laptop running Windows 8. I won a Windows tablet that has Windows 8 Pro on it at the end of April at a conference I went to. Windows 8 works just fine for the tablet, but it’s really clunky when I hook up a keyboard and mouse.
  3. I’m just tired of Windows. Period. :)

I started doing some research before just pulling the trigger. I found out that those “in the know” were saying to wait to buy a MacBook Pro because Apple was supposed to be updating them in the fall. So I have been impatiently waiting since then for Apple to announce the new MacBook Pro models.

The latest rumors are that Apple will be announcing the new models at their event that is this coming Tuesday (Oct. 22nd) and that they will be available for order a few days after that. I sure the hell hope so.

But I’m concerned that Apple will only be announcing new models for the retina MacBook Pro (based on the rumors that I’ve been reading). I’ve decided on the non-retina version. Why? Well …

  • I don’t need a retina display … I’m not a gamer or a designer. Yes … I’m a web developer, but my personal websites don’t need retina images. My work laptop should be a retina one for that purpose.
  • The retina one doesn’t have a DVD/CD drive.
  • I can’t upgrade the memory myself on the retina one … it’s soldered in.
  • If I run out of disk space on the retina one, I’d have to buy a new laptop … it’s not possible to put in a new one since it uses flash storage.
  • The retina version starts $300 more than the non-retina one.

I’m not sure what I’ll do it Apple doesn’t update the non-retina MacBook Pro. It really depends on what they do with the new retina models. If they come out with some sort of hybrid … a retina model with DVD/CD drive … then I *might* get the retina one. But those will probably start at around $2200. Even though I’ll be financing whatever I get (i.e. putting it on my credit card), that’s a LOT of money. Especially if I have to get a new printer and software.

I guess I just need to try to be patient for a few more days.

Dear Santa

Hey there Santa. How ya doin’? I hope your “off season” treated you well.

I’ll skip the BS this year Santa. :D Here’s some ideas for what to bring me.

Random Stuff:

  • Starbucks gift card
  • Amazon gift card
  • gift cards for stores with kitchen stuff or decorating stuff
  • chocolate (preferably dark; favorite brand is Ghirardelli)
  • 15″ MacBook Pro
  • iPad or Android tablet
  • foot spa
  • candles that smell like men’s cologne (Midsummer’s Night from Yankee Candle)
  • session with a personal trainer
  • makeover or spa treatment or massage
  • a cowboy
Music:

Stuff for the House:

  • ice cream maker (something like this … don’t care about brand)
  • offset spatula
  • Kitchenaid mixer
  • food processor (full size)
  • tv for the basement (32″ flat)
  • couch or chairs for basement
  • couch for living room
  • SodaStream
  • handheld vacuum
  • a cowboy

Stuff for my Car:

  • portable air compressor (in case I get another flat)
  • a cowboy

P.S. I’ll leave you some extra baked goodies. :)

Actually, I’m just ignoring you

A while back, I bought some noise canceling headphones to use at work. I got a good deal on them from NewEgg, and I needed some new ones anyway. They’re not completely noise canceling, but they do a pretty good job at blocking things out.

I share an office with 3 co-workers, and my back is to the door. When I have my headphones in and I’m in “the zone”, I can’t really hear when someone comes in the office. Sometimes I can … if I don’t have the volume up too loud. But people don’t come in to talk to me all that often, so I usually just keep going about my business.

For the past couple weeks, it seems like when I’m really in “the zone”, that’s when someone comes in and wants to actually talk to me. I can tell when that happens because my co-workers start laughing. Really?

I’ve come up with a solution …

Install buttons or switches next to the door that connect to lights on our monitors. When someone comes in and needs to talk to us, if we don’t hear you, you hit the button or flip the switch for the person you want to talk to. That triggers an LED light on the corner of our monitor to flash, thus getting our attention.

Brilliant, right? I wonder if I could get the company to implement that. :)

The only problem with this solution … I’d no longer be able to use the excuse that I didn’t hear you when I was actually just ignoring you. :D

Hazards of being a web programmer

I have been meaning to completely re-do this place since WordPress 3.0 came out. The current version is 3.4.2, and I *still* haven’t managed to get this place redeveloped. Oops.

I work on other people’s websites all day at work. I get ideas for my own sites (this one and my professional site) from time to time while working on stuff at work. But by the time I get home in the evenings, I’ve lost all of my motivation to work on my own sites.

I have started on a re-do a few times. My biggest issue is figuring out how I want the site to look. I’m a KodeMonkey™ and not a designer. My logo is pieced together from an online paper doll site and a couple images (hat and laptop) that I found from Google Images. How sad is that? I think I need to beg some of the designers at work to make me a new one.

I need to just stop the excuses and dive in. Get my ass out of the recliner and downstairs in my computer chair and just do it.

If you’re a web developer/programmer by day, how do you get yourself motivated to work on your own sites in your free time?