What is this all about?

Over the past several weeks, I’ve been posting almost week-daily.  Some days, it’s hard to find something to write about.  Some days, I write several posts in advance.

So, when I kicked-off my renewed blogging, I had gone into it with the goal of making a habit of writing.  By writing more, my skills will improve.  Maybe, one day, I’ll actually put a 50k novel out for NaNoWriMo.  The point ultimately was not to write about something in particular, but to just write on a regular basis.  This blog isn’t the only place I write regularly, but it is the only place that doesn’t have a content requirement.

After re-reading my last post (Lesser of evils), I realized that particular post was really more about me putting some thoughts into the wild than it was about putting something coherent together to argue a point.  And I ultimately think that those sorts of posts are what makes this blog important to me.  It’s a place to put ideas ‘to paper’ and just have a bit of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing make it out.  Most times, I’ve suppressed these kinds of articles, since well, they’re a big mess.

Not anymore.  I’m going to try to make sure that most posts here are coherent and logical, but sometimes, they might not be.  Sometimes, I need to work something out, and this blog will let me talk it out.

With that said, I still welcome comments on anything I have to say, or even to help me along with my thought processes on topics that are perhaps in need of a debate.  Maybe some days, I’ll put a short story up.  Maybe I’ll talk about my hobbies.  Maybe I’ll talk about something else.

But in the end, I’m writing.  And that’s the goal.

What a day…

The past three days are traditionally the busiest for my office, on a customer service front.  Annual membership dues were billed March 1 and due April 2 before service termination.  Like pretty much everyone, the majority of our members waited until the very end of the month to make their payments.

Now, yesterday was the busiest day for us.  And, of COURSE, the computer system decided to act up.  Anyone who was accessing the system through the web-front (ie, our members) had no problem logging in and making payments, but those of us in the office could not get on to verify payments, check invoice amounts, issue receipts, and pretty much anything else that fell under the ‘customer service’ umbrella.

Let’s just say, I was freaking out a little bit.

Some deep breaths and we looked at what we had available to us.  Our debit machine wasn’t tied to the system in a meaningful way, so we could still take debit payments.  Same with cheques and cash – we just didn’t have a way to validate invoice totals or issue a receipt. So, anyone that had brought their invoice was easily helped – we took their payment and bundled it with that invoice for later processing.

So, for those that did not have their invoice, how could we help them?  Invoices were emailed to the members, so we had to pull the email logs and search for their invoices in the outbox of our unmonitored ecommerce account.  Problems solved.  Again, bundle payments with identifying information for later processing.

Our local internet terminals worked fine, so anyone that came to the office wanting to pay with credit card was helped in paying their fees through the web portal.

After about 2 hours of downtime, our system was back up again and we could get back to business as usual.  We got through the trouble spot and the affected members were sympathetic and understanding (which, I can’t say THANK YOU enough for).

The busiest is over and I can get back to focusing on the launch of the new financial system in a month.

Returning to normal

I have no idea what hit me on Monday, but it was not pleasant. I won’t get into the gory details, but I was in significant pain and slept a lot.

Yesterday was a bit better. I had a few naps throughout the day and just rested. I honestly got nothing done (a single chapter of reading, some forum and blog posts), which is just fine with me. Sure, later in the day, it started to get a bit bored but as I moved about the house to play with the baby and help wife out with stuff, I started feeling drained again. So, I took another nap.

I’m at work today. So far, so good. I’m still not 100%, but definitely better.

Slept all day

Yesterday, I didn’t feel great before I headed in to work. I went to work and it quickly became apparent that I should not be there.

I came home at about 11. I went to bed and slept for several hours. I got up and saw my kids for a bit before dinner before I went back to bed. I slept again until about 8. I watched a TV show with my wife, then I was back to bed. I slept all night.

Today, I feel a little better. It’s the worst time for me to be sick for work, but I really wouldn’t be useful at work today.

An honour

On Friday, the great folks at #yeggeek gave me the honour of spotlighting this very blog on their Facebook page.  It’s great to know that there are others reading my blog since I’ve started regularly posting, and that it’s being recognized as something worth reading!

So, for all those reading that don’t already like #yeggeek, I suggest you do, especially if you want to be kept up to date with all the latest in the Edmonton geek community, or if you want to have your events advertised to this community.

Now, I know that I’m getting pretty regular traffic and I would really like to reciprocate.  So, if you read my blog and you’ve got one yourself, please let me know so that I can give you a link in my blogroll and start reading.

Rekindling past joy

When I was younger, I enthusiastically built plastic model kits.  I had several fighter jets, cars and even a rotary engine.  It was a hobby that I really enjoyed.  It was like building a Lego kit (which, I did as well…) but had that layer of permanence to it.

For the past week, I’ve been working hard at putting together enough Space Wolf models for the game of WH40k that I am participating in this weekend.  It’s brought back a lot of the enjoyment that I used to have when building models in my past and that’s really cool.

I hope that when my kids get older they’ll be interested in model building too, among other hobbies I hope to share with them.

Taking risks

I’m not one that typically makes real new years resolutions.  Sure, I say, I should lose some weight, eat better, blah blah.  I don’t mean it.  Generally speaking, I’m satisfied with all that crap.

But, this year, I decided that I needed to make some changes.  I was turning 30 and I was (am) a introvert and avoider of doing stuff that might make me uncomfortable.

So I decided (after some discussions with @AliKira) that this year, I’d take some more risks, try to stop worrying about stuff out of my control, and damnit, have some fun.

What does this mean?

Well, for one, I’m trying to meet some of my local twitter followers.  These people that I interact with regularly online, so why can’t I do the same in person?  If it gets too weird, we can just sit at the same table and tweet each other, right?

Secondly, if I’m having a get together and I’m inviting my friends, it isn’t (really) up to me to ensure everyone has a ‘group’ there.  Invite the people I want there.  They can find conversation with new people (or choose not to attend).  That’s all out of my control (and not worth my worry)!

Finally, make some time to do the things I want to do.  Go out and have fun with friends.  Find the time around my family’s schedule.  Yea, maybe it’s going to be later at night and I’ll have to miss my bedtime.  If I keep telling myself I like to play games and do stuff with friends, damnit, I better actually go do it, rather than bitching about not having the time to do it.

So, James, let’s do Picolino’s in April.

Well, I failed.

I missed posting to the blog yesterday.

As anyone that does read this blog will note, I’ve been a steadily inconsistent blogger throughout my time in keeping joshbazin.com.  In the past week, I’ve been posting every weekday as sort of a challenge to myself.  Its also an outlet to ramble, in a forum more appropriate than posting on twitter.  It’s also about writing and being in a habit to do so – as my friend, Robert Marion (someone who encourages me to to NaNoWriMo every year) always reminds me during his ‘encouragement’.

Anyway.  Yesterday, I didn’t make the time to post.  So, I failed.

But, I’m back today and plan to be here tomorrow.

Mental Health is more than one day

Unless you are completely immune to all advertising, or don’t read my twitter feed, February 8th was Bell Let’s Talk Day 2012.  Let’s Talk Day is an awareness/fundraising campaign for mental health initiatives in Canada and is something that I think is extremely important. This year, the initiative created a donation of $3,926,014.20.  I was also able to talk a bit about my depression with @confessionality, who was also kind enough to share her experience with me.

While this is all good – mental health is more than just one day.  If there are people in your life that are struggling, or appear to be struggling, talk to them.  Help them find whatever help they need.  As someone that has experienced depression, I know that it isn’t as easy as some think to just ‘get better’.  Hell, it took a lot of convincing that I had something wrong to start with, let alone asking for help with it.

Mental health still has a lot of negative stigma attached to it.  But, chances are, you know someone that has experienced, overcome, or struggles daily with some sort of mental health issue.  We aren’t outcasts.  We aren’t invalids.  We are people, just like you.

Let’s Talk is a great initiative.  Don’t get me wrong.  I just want to see more people get the help they deserve and be supported by those around them.  Don’t let mental health only be on your mind one day a year.