2016, reviewed.

You’re supposed to do this on the last day of the year, but I’ve never been one for following the rules. Which probably partly explains how it is I’ve never been married–well, aside from the fact that just no. Still, it’s over, it’s done with, and I’m still breathing, so let’s see how I did.

The major thing in 2016 was already written about, though due to things related to web hosts that I’ll write about later it might have snuck under the radar–I survived college. I walked out of my geek in training program having successfully put skills on paper, and walked right into the job market. I submitted more applications for jobs in 16 days than I submitted in pretty much the entire 3 years before that. At least one of these things is probably going to pull me in. In the meantime, 2017’s got a few more that might just interest me.

I finally started getting the rest of my crap together after the way 2015 ended. Ending the year single sucks, but it didn’t kill me. And actually, it made putting the boot to the rest of what needed to happen just a little bit easier. Reconnecting with people I let slide because of academia and relationship complications happened, which pretty much guaranteed the summer of 2016 looked a hell of a lot prettier than the summer of 2015, and opened the door to meeting a few people I wouldn’t have met had things stayed pretty much the same. Whether or not some of those meetings end up being bad for people who aren’t me is still very much to be determined, but that’s what 2017’s for.

2016 wasn’t all sunshine and roses, though–and no, we’re not discussing the racist sexist they elected on the dark side of the Canada US border (by the way, brilliant move, guys). Small parts of it sucked on a personal level as well. Specifically around the end of October. That would be when, after coming back from celebrating a friend’s birthday, I ended up having my ID among other things stolen from me. Neither I nor the friend who was with me were hurt, and the guy responsible probably had a headache when he woke up the next morning, but I’m still working on replacing things that had gone missing that night. To protect the innocent, details are being kept out of the public eye, but people who should know already do.

I moved, again, in 2016–out of the apartment I was sharing with my now ex-girlfriend, and into a nice little apartment within walking distance of places that could potentially be useful. Places like a local beach, which also has the advantage of being connected to at least one hiking trail–this proving to eventually be a good thing, on account of in an effort to further improve the summer of 2016 over that of 2015, me, my cousin Trish, and her husband Roger officially launched Trail Trio. That’s been eating up the time that wasn’t already being stolen by academia, and I wouldn’t have it any different. It’ll be much more interesting now, seeing as we haven’t been out doing much since before Ottawa was whacked with the snow stick, but I see us testing winter in the not too distant future.

Lots of other, little things happened in 2016, but I’m fairly sure these are the important pieces. As for 2017, this is the first time in a while I can safely say I wouldn’t mind a little bit more of the same. I saw some doors opening near the end of 2016, and they look promising. I’m planning to give a few of them a shove in 2017 and see what waits for me on the other side. And barring complications, I’ll actually remember to note the things down somewhere this time.

By no means was 2016 perfect. But overall, I have to say 2016 was a good year for me, and significantly better than was 2015. If things are half this good the next year or so, I don’t know that I’ll have much to complain about. Which I’ll take, because I really need to spend more time mocking other people.

2013 in review.

To say things changed in a wicked fast way in 2013 would probably be a slight understatement. And it started pretty much right at the beginning. Before the new year actually showed up, May and I had gone and signed the lease for the place we’re living in now. We fell in love with the place the day we saw it, and are still in love with it nearly a year later–that does not mean we’ll be renewing our lease, sorry Minto. We actually took possession of the place at the end of January.

In february, I started the process of getting me back in school–and we started the process of getting us ready to bring a little one into the mix. Both processes ended up taking just a little bit longer than I’d have liked, and the school process required I bounce between colleges a while until I found one that actually, you know, bothered to answer me with a little bit more than a boilerplate “We’re looking into it.”. In and around all that, there were trips to see family, attempts to reconnect with friends, attempts to reasure some of those friends that I do, in fact, still remember they exist–even if I’ve half the time been too damn busy to say so.

For the first time in a few years, I can actually honestly say 2013’s the year I finally started to get my feet back under me. There was still the odd little issue with the folks we used to rent from, but that little controversy died off after a while. May and I got closer, if that’s possible, and learned a little bit more about how we both work. Sure, that meant some personal drama here and there, and we tested each other’s sanity probably more than either of us would have liked to admit, but I like to think we’re better for it.

I didn’t actually end up *starting* class until closer to October, sadly–the majority of that time was spent trying to beat an actual answer out of college people at the other end of the city. And it’s not quite where I was hoping to be at this point in my life, but it’s a foot in the door and getting me closer to where I’d like to be, so I’m not about to shake my head at it too much. The rest has pretty much been routine as usual–go do the thing, come home, relax, spend time with May, take a little time for family, do the hockey thing, that kinda thing. And in and around all that I somehow managed to remember I still have a website to post to. I’d still call it a pretty up and down year overall, but at least this time it’s been mostly up. Hopefully I can shove that along with me into 2014 and we can pick up where that left off–minus the way 2014 actually started. I’m on steadier ground now, with a mostly solid support system–again, minus how this year actually started–and it’s kept me relatively sane even when things were trying their hardest to blow up in my face. If that continues, I don’t think I’ll have any problem owning 2014. And that, right now, is exactly what I’m off to get a start on. Get onboard if you’re coming, because when this thing starts moving, I’m not touching the breaks.

On 2012: the year that made my head spin.

I can usually think of much more creative ways of describing a year when it’s all said and done. But all I can find to describe 2012 is oh my freaking god. It was 365 opposite days all rolled into one huge box of where the hell were you all my life. So because I love me some lists, and I’m lazy, and there’s a monopoly ass kicking that needs happening before my victim goes to bed for the night, have a year in review, in a list.

  • I ended 2011 single and not very surprised. I ended 2012 not only dating someone, but living with her, and more than a little surprised. This was certainly not what I planned when I posted a similar entry last year.
  • In the beginning of 2011, I had to take in a roommate. I lived in the middle of freaking nowhere and was staring down the barel of moving back in with my parents. Fast forward to 2012, and I’m back in Ottawa, in a much bigger place, and the only time I think of going back to Petawawa is after the 5th phone call from the parents wondering when I’m going back to Petawawa.
  • I learned a hell of a lot about my own limits coming out of 2011. I learned a hell of a lot about other people, including some people I thought I knew, coming out of 2012. I like to think I’m a fair bit smarter because of it, but I’ve been wrong before.
  • I actually followed through with what I’d been threatening to do a while and hooked up with one or two folks I only knew online in 2012. The sad part? They were local during my first tour through Ottawa–just neither they nor I had the time to do anything about it.
  • I started and later stopped trying to get myself into Algonquin college. I haven’t given up on going back to school–just on going back to *that* school.
  • From a website perspective, I moved things to their own, fully dedicated server in 2012. It was on a server I shared with someone else, but seeing as they decided causing me issues was the thing to do, that was changed in a right royal heartbeat. But hey–it’s been over a month since I killed the last of the bugs and so far, I haven’t seen an implosion.
  • In 2011, I had a vision of making a little tiny bit of money doing the hosting thing. That was pretty much all it was, though, a vision–again, a thing I got into with the person I used to share the server with. Sure, we had the domain name, and a couple people we hosted, but it was hardly what I’d call a business–and it didn’t do a whole lot of making money. Ending 2012, I’m a little bit closer to that. I don’t expect super rich or anything, but hey–a discount here and there on the hosting bill, or maybe an extra caffeine run just in case things decide to implode in future, never hurt anyone.
  • I actually had a job interview or two in 2012. I didn’t have that much luck in 2011, and even less of a shot at it in 2012–which is what makes the 1 or 2 I did land worth noting. This was probably my least active year on the job search front.
  • And of course, no end of 2012 review would be worth making without mentioning July 1, 2012. On that day, and for every day after, the year of opposite days took on a whole new meaning. Maybe eventually I’ll get detailed as to why I say that. But even though the reason for my saying that is over a year old, I still haven’t figured out in my head how to actually explain it. But on that day, I knew 2012 would be different. I just had no idea it would be *this* different.

And that’s what 2012 looks like in the rear view mirror, if you’re me. I do have one or two newyears resolutions, and sure, they’ll be a couple days late, but they’ll make it up here. In the meantime, I have an ass to kick. C’mere, monopoly.

2011 in review. Or an entry.

I’d love to say last year was exceedingly exciting, but in reality, the best I can come up with is average. And, since I haven’t been keeping up with statistics and the like for about half the year, there’s not much sense in pulling a year-long popular posts type thing–those will return starting end of this month, life permitting. The year was so average that, well, I can listify it. So, I will. Because lazy wins on this day after booze.

  • Of course, the team I call my own (hint: over here) choked again. In spectacular fashion. They call this the rebuilding year–well, those of us who haven’t seen the playoffs since 2004 are still waiting. Oh well. We’re also used to it.
  • I got a lot closer to spending the rest of my life with someone–I even had a quote in hand for a wedding, which was something a lot of people–myself included–didn’t see me doing.
  • I moved back to Ottawa, where I actually started to put my life back together–or, rather, where I actually started to have a life again. This whole getting out and doing things idea? Yeah, let’s keep hold of that, yeah?
  • That wedding quote I mentioned? Turned out it wasn’t going to be needed after all–I ended up single this year. It was hard getting there, a lot of things went down that kind of kicked me in the face, but I can’t say I didn’t see it coming.
  • Met some extremely awesome people this year–and actually started talking to a couple of them more regularly. Get these people in the same room with a nifty amount of something alcoholic and there may not be a room left, but hey, we’d have fun doing it.
  • Did a ton of job searching. No job finding, but plenty of searching. That’s halfway, right? That’s what they tell me, anyway.
  • And, most importantly, survived to see 2012. Some days I don’t know how, but you’ll have that. Provided life doesn’t continue to kick me in the face, this year will rock in comparison.

So how was your year?

2010’s most read blog posts.

I started this latest incarnation of the blog in late 2009 and had absolutely no idea where it’d end up going. Over a year later, I still have absolutely no idea where it’s going. But I have a thousand or so posts to show for it. Here’s what caught people’s attention last year. Now I get to start reminding myself every 5 minutes to write 2011. I hate you, calendar.

  • Last year was a continuation of the year of the geek, started at about the midway point of 2009. And in november, it culminated in the instalation of an OS inside an OS. I had some issues, but nothing a complete reinstall couldn’t fix. Perhaps this year I’ll get around to breaking it.
  • I have the pleasure of having spent the last year on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP). It took me not very long to figure out we’re not a whole lot less screwed over by this system than we were in 2006 when I left in favour of work. I wrote a few open letters to various political figures re: the current situation. I’ll probably write a few dozen more. You can find all of them I’ve sent so far over here.
  • In 2008, Dell closed its Ottawa office, putting an end to several hundred jobs–including mine. The city of Ottawa didn’t do a whole lot to help us out back then. Neither did the provincial or federal governments. Flash forward to March of last year, when an outsourcing call center, convergys, did the same to its Ottawa office. This time, those employees got help. Nearly 9 months later and this post still made it into the top 5 reads. It’s a top 3 read on the year.
  • H1N1 was declared dead in August of last year. And not 48 hours later, they’d picked a new one to replace it. And hey look, the H1N1 vaccination may not apply. Be scared, now. Except not really.
  • American Airlines needs an education in the worst way. In October of this year, a blind traveller had to surrender his cane for fear it could be used as a weapon. Also in October, I asked what kind of crack they were smoking. To this day, people are still asking.
  • Back to the ODSP theme for a second. In September, there was a brief episode of discussion on the blog after ODSP was ordered to make payments to two alcoholic recipients. The human rights tribunal had escentially declared an unwillingness to deal with alcoholism a disability. ODSP had been fighting it for years and, in my opinion, rightly so. Not everyone agreed with me. Fortunately, that’s why I do this.
  • Clive Doucet doesn’t much like me. And with good reason. In 2009, I exchanged a brief series of emails with him over the OC Transpo strike that virtually shut down parts of the city. Since then, he’d been mailing me promotional material re: his position as city counsellor, and later, his platform as mayoral candidate. I asked him to stop. Then, I told him to stop. Then, I ranted. Fortunately he’s no longer a city counsellor. Bright side: he stopped.
  • Everyone who knows me knows I haven’t legally purchased a CD in years. Nearly everyone I know can probably say the same. In May of 2010, with the help of another blog I frequently read, I explained why. I still haven’t heard very many, if any, opposing points of view. And even less of those that haven’t already been disproven 6 ways from Sunday.
  • I’ve been using Linode for some of my interests for a few years. Now, it hosts a small portion of the professional endeavor I’m currently involved in setting up–more on that when we’ve got the groundwork laid out. A very nifty promotion in June nearly prompted me to move everything. Occasionally, I still consider doing so–though now, I may just move it to the afore mentioned professional endeavor. No, you’re not getting details yet.
  • Technology hasn’t been very nice this year. Neither have the various cellular phone cariers. Wind Mobile, champions of the “we’re different” line of thinking, was a little extra naughty in October. I called their CEO out for it. Surprise, I still haven’t heard back. And neither has the customer who commented on that post. Different? Perhaps not.
  • June was a busy, and surprising, month in the James household. Linode promotions, birthday cellebrations, time spent with family, and of course, getting engaged. I’m still not used to that last one. It’s a nice feeling, though.
  • And lastly, my current web host is usually uber awesome. Largely part of why I have yet to pack up and move everything–see above. Sometimes, though, they’re awesome in ways not immediately noticeable to potential new customers. Like when they mistakenly send you an email offering customers who haven’t gone VPS a discount to do so after you’ve already done so. And then, because they can, giving you the discount. You made my year, DreamHost. Now please try not to break things–that’s my job.

That’s 2010 according to the blog. Sadly, or perhaps not so, the year’s been fairly uneventful otherwise–kind of how I like it. There are one or two things that didn’t get posted, or make the list. You’ll see those tonight. Or tomorrow. Or eventually. So how was your 2010?

2009, in review.

It’s been a relatively quiet year, all things considering, with the majority of the excitement coming in the last few months. In fact, so little has happened that I do believe I’ll pull out one of my rare list format entries. So, without further delay, my year, in a nutshell.

  • Nothing professionally to speak of, save for a few interviews that didn’t actually lead anywhere
  • Spent plenty of time on both sides of the border with Jessica, getting even closer to her than we were already
  • Got to watch my cousin Stephen get married, the third in this bracket of our family to do so
  • Had to return to disability against my will after unemployment insurance ran out, what with the nonexistent professional life at the moment as mentioned above
  • Moved back to the Petawawa/Pembroke area as a result of having lost said unemployment insurance
  • And, in and around all of this, became an uncle to a potential future quarterback

All in all, a few bumps and scrapes but an otherwise fairly average, bordering on dull, year. I’d like to say I hope 2010 turns out the same way, but really, I like a little more excitement than that. And I wouldn’t say no to a job. But, that was 2009. One of these days I’ll actually come up with a resolution for the next year. But it won’t be today.

2008: year in review.

Because, well, everyone else is doing it. Granted I’m hella late, but… well, y’know. One has to give a shit first. Things happened in spirts this year, starting about halfway through. The first few months were relatively uneventful, though. By about the beginning of march, my old job over at Dell had started the conversion from software to hardware technician. I’d originally ducked out of the night shift so I could avoid it, but they were sending everyone over there anyway. I’d since applied for the advanced qualification, though at the time of the switchover I hadn’t heard anything about it. It would be May of the year, near the end of it, when I’d received my sort of promotion and the pay increase that comes with. I observed when I heard the word about it that in about a month’s time, it wouldn’t have made a whole lot of difference. And, in fact, on June 27th of that year, I twittered it. The month-long vacation began at that point. In July of this same year, I started talking to Jessica (samari76). we’d had several conversations, and shortly after I was laid off, we decided to meet. So, on the 25th of July, she made what would be her first of a few trips to this side of the border and we met. During the course of that week, we decided to make things official. It was before she even got here that I’d gone and got certain things started in that particular area. It’s been a lot of back and forth since then, including the most recent trip up here for Christmas. There was an interview or two along the way, not that they got me anywhere. A few things of lesser importance also took place over the course of the year.

  • My brother ended up getting married
  • Though he might be going to afghanistan
  • Found out he can’t go, due to a fairly bad knee injury
  • sorted out unemployment things, and started actually receiving the relevant income

And now, I crack open and finish slamming back my first coke of 2009.