Well I'll start by saying that I'm sorry, both to myself and whoever reads this, that I haven't been keeping up with posting. Work has kept me swamped with programming goals lately. Requirements have changed (constantly) as well the the defined database structure (which is by far the largest task that I still have in front of me). The company still only has a vague idea of what they want in terms of deliverables and their behaviour, so I find myself inventing a lot of it as I go along. Some of the time I produce something that isn't what they want, and then I need to go back and re-write it all. To be fair though, I was warned that this would be the case in my interview for the position. I'm just letting the world know of the nature of my absence :-)

In other news I'm working at becoming a pillar of the community for an online game that I play. Player managed, hosted, and run events are essentially non-existent and I'm trying to change that by hosting such events. It is hard, as the game is played worldwide and I only live in one time zone, so attendance isn't always as good as it could be. Being a community manager (as a job) for something like this would actually be pretty cool, I think. Carving out a player-managed community from the game is fun, and challenging. I'm learning how to publicize events and organizations, which is challenging in an online gaming context.

The Winter conditions here in Calgary have raged on, and are only now beginning to subside. Most day's it is pretty manageable, but on the days when it's not I find myself trapped at home. Being trapped at home isn't all that bad as long as the internet connection stays consistent (which it has). It gives me more time to continue my quest for better compensation for my work as well, which feels like fishing from a dry lakebed. I send out applications and try to get in touch with companies, but my lack of success brings serious doubts about my worthiness in the working world. Self doubt leads to more self doubt, and this Ouroboros of self doubt eventually leads to depression (which, in case you were wondering, is NOT a good time). The feeling comes and goes like a tide though, it always has, and I'll come out on the other side of it soon enough.

In summary, I AM still alive and well. I'm sorry that I haven't made the time to keep this blog updated but there really isn't anything exciting going on in my life right now. Watching an episode of Seinfeld would keep you more entertained than this blog. Life marches on, but at variable speeds so I'm not sure when the next installment of this blog will be. Until it does happen, however, I bid you adieu for now.

The new job has been going great. I'm learning a ton of new things (both programming languages and technologies) a lot of which are on the cutting edge of new. The Cypher database language and it's application in the neo4j database structure is the highlight of all of this (as I have always loved database systems and working with them. neo4j is cool because of its flexibility (which is both a convenience and a headache, as data structures in our graph database are used for multiple contexts, which makes parsing them more... interesting.

It's a challenge that I love and it keeps me engaged throughout the day. I anticipate that t will for a while though, as the requirements and use-cases of this software are constantly in flux. The most complicated component I helped write in this software is being extended to include new data points and the corresponding data structure is being expended to include entirely new contexts. It's the good, the bad, and the ugly of working on an Agile project, where expected outputs change on a semi-daily basis. The completed product is something we have a rough idea of what it looks like, and are constantly getting new feedback and suggestions from the industry whom we intend on selling this to.

Building a changeling is fun, though. I'm always working with new stuff, and as such I'm learning new and interesting ways to use React.js and Node.js and all of the middleware we have employed between the two. I feel like a Forest Gump-eque chocolatier; I'm making a box of chocolates and I never know what I'm going to get.

That's all that's new from me. Life marches on, and I'm still here. I'll try to post more soon (time allowing).

I've recently been accepted on as a Junior Developer at a new startup company! I've gathered that I'll be programming in JavaScript and Cypher mainly, with maybe some Python thrown in there, as well as implementing UX and UI redesign plans. This all looks to be challenging and interesting work, and I'll have the chance to dive deeper into these programming languages to master their usage. The company is called PIR-a, and I'll be programming towards an application to be used for environmental surveys for the decommissioning of oil well sites throughout the province. At PIR-a our goal is to streamline this decomission process in order to more quickly make better use of the land in question. I'm finishing up my employment at the University of Calgary this week and next. I have had a wonderful experience working at the University and I'm sad to leave, but I am glad to be parting on good terms with everyone here and into a position where I can grow as a programmer.

In other news, my attentions have been diverted from side projects and sample code to focus on learning the machinery and application of JavaScript and Cypher. Most of my free time has been taken by this goal to better prepare for my new position. I want to be able to start going through the code base with some knowledge of what I'm looking at, and I'll be able to contribute more fully to the project with this language skill under my belt.

I have, however, seen the new Blade Runner film and I absolutely loved it. It wasn't the action-based superhero movie with explosions that we have all enjoyed over the past few years, but it was still very rich in the content that it delivered. It encompassed everything that I love about the Science Fiction novels that I read, and beautifully rendered a grim future that is all but unimaginable. The story is very centered in reality, and some of the issues portrayed in the film are not all that dissimilar from issues that we know and are growing today. The world and the mood of the original Blade Runner film was maintained quite well in this film, which is refreshing to see in a sequel made so long after its original. Not all movies achieve this sort of consistency (Blues Brothers 2000, for example). Blade Runner (the original) was based on a novel by Philip K. Dick (who happens to be my favorite author) and was the only film based on his work that he was alive to contribute to. I think that Dick would have approved of this sequel for it's mood matching that of the original work.

Apart from that I've started playing with ideas in my head about how to expand on a story that I'm currently writing. I'm just brainstorming at this stage; I wrote the story initially as part of a Fiction Writing class I took in my undergraduate degree and it was quite short, as small assignment stories tend to be. I'm looking to build a larger world for the story and I can then enrich the story and characters with that world as a framework. When I find the time though...

Well, progress is being made. Ever slowly it moves, but things are happening. Who thought life could ever get so busy? I haven't had time to start any new GitHub projects, which I'm sorry for (because I can't find the time). I'll also have to go through my movies to pick more favorites. There are definitely more than 6 or 7, but it will take me some time to find them again. I watch movies a lot (at least I used to when I had time), so there are bound to be another handful of gems in my collection.

I know I promised more content weeks ago, but life has just been too busy, what with the job hunt and cat problems and sorting bits of my life into handily compartmentalized units. I'll get there eventually, and I just wanted to say that progress is being made. It's happening. Give it time.

My very first blog post! I'll talk a little bit about the project I have going on right now. I've started getting into the 'elgg' social network engine, and have come up with an idea for a small community. I won't go too much into it, but my intention is to use this community to deploy web-based creative writing tasks. I've got the first type of task conceptualized, and I'll get to developing it in code once I can set up the site the way I need it to be. It's going to be a walled-garden type of site, so only registered users will be able to join. I'm not sure how if I'll let registered users invite more, or if registration has to go through admin. At this point this is just a side project, and will only be available to the group of writers that I know, but I'd like to be able to let it grow naturally without having to worry about trolls and the like.

Beyond that, I'm slowly starting into the Ruby programming language. My intention is to take that into Ruby on Rails eventually, but that seems like a long way off with the chaos of life going on every day.

In the personal sphere, my girlfriend and I have just purchased a Playstation 4. We went for the PS4 Pro, just because it's more future-proof (and not because we have a 4k TV, because we don't). I've started playing Horizon Zero Dawn, which is an amazing game. The story is set in a wonderfully built post-apocalyptic world, and the art in the game is very well done. I'm also playing Final Fantasy XV because I saw the movie and it looked cool.

I've just added a link to my GitHub profile in the Coding menu (top), which is sparsely populated with projects I've done over my degree. I'll add my GitLab profile (when it comes back online; the service is currently down), or maybe I'll just migrate everything to GitHub because it's convenient to have it all in one place. Either way I'll still post the link to GitLab, and continue to use that for any of the projects that will be private.
The main page of the coding section will be a little bit of info and maybe some finished and polished projects for download. I'll think about what I want to go there.

The overall template for this site will be the first thing that changes bit by bit over the next couple weeks. Really, only the framework is up currently; I've still got a lot of CSS to go through and content to organize. This is the general idea for the look of the website, but there will be little changes here and there.

Lots of work to do, so that's where I'll be. I have a Mumble server (voice chat) that I idle in whenever I'm at my PC, which I'll post info on one of these days. Until next time, keep a weather eye on the horizon.

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