I’m Back…

And now I’ve got the Eric Bischoff WWE entrance in my head, but at least it’s driven out the Special Agent Oso special assignment codename “Snapfinger” song out.

But seriously.  I’m already digressing.

It’s been a few weeks since my last update.  Finding time for writing has been difficult.  Work has been really busy (which, is good, but it’s a little more on my plate than I’d like right now).  On top of that, I’ve been having problems – which, I’m sure is not much of a surprise to anyone that reads the blog.

After consultation with my doctor, I’ve started anti-depressants.  My moods have been too ‘swingy’ and I’ve not been feeling right for a while.  It was time to do something about it, since what I was doing myself wasn’t working.  It’s been about a week now and aside from the initial lightheadedness as my brain chemistry readjusted, I’ve been doing much better.

So, that’s that.  I’m feeling better and I’m glad I decided to seek help when I needed it.

Not knowing where to go…

I’ve been a bit of a loner for a good portion of my life.  Meeting people has always been hard for me and letting them in has been harder.  I always assume it has something to do with being ill as a child and being hurt because of the things that came out of that.  Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.  I don’t know.

What I do know is that my base isn’t as solid as maybe it should be.  Or, more appropriately, I don’t know where my base is, outside of my family.  I may have people that would gladly help when needed, but either, I’m too proud to ask them, or I don’t know they’re willing to be there – and damnit, its hard to ask people to be a pillar of stability if you don’t know that they are willing to be there.

Yes, I have my wife, and yes, she is someone I know I can turn to.  But, you can’t load everything on one person (or take the load for one person, on top of your own things).  I think that leads down a path that may result in resentment or whatnot, and simply, that’s not something I want to test.

Yes, this is me asking for help.  But let’s not make it just about me.  Here’s my challenge to everyone.  Let at least one person you care about know that you are there for them for whatever they need, even if you think they know, because maybe they don’t.

Behind the velvet rope

It was my six year wedding anniversary.  My parents took the kids on Sunday and Em and I had a ‘date day’.  Part of this was seeing The Avengers.  Anyone groaning – she picked the movie, I just happily agreed to it.

We decided to go to the new theater in Windermere and chose to do the VIP experience (at a $7 premium over the regular ticket price).

What does the VIP get you?  For starters, it’s 18+, which is nice.  Assigned seating.  In-seat ordering (until movie starts).  VIP Lounge area.  Expanded menu.

We arrived a little early to the theater, so we sat in the VIP Lounge while we waited.  The seating area was really nice and the servers were attentive. We had had lunch before we came to the theater, so we were only really wanting popcorn, but we did glance at the expanded menu.  The food sounded good (and from the items we saw others having, it looked good too) and was pretty reasonably priced for the movie theater.  There was also a variety of alcoholic drinks that also sounded pretty darn tasty.  We were offered water, so we took that while we waited.

When the theater opened, we took our seats and intended on ordering our popcorn and the like from our seat.  Unfortunately, the people taking orders did not seem to want to acknowledge us (or our entire row), so I had to run out to get our snacks and drinks (I missed the previews!).  Em had a Daquiri and I had a frozen raspberry mojito (we HAD to have booze, just because we could!), the drinks were quite good (and again, priced pretty reasonably).

The seats were comfortable.  The seats were grouped in twos with a gap between each group, so you didn’t have to sit too close to a random.  Each seat has a tray for food/drinks.  The sound and the screen were great (I ASSUME that the VIP theaters are equivalent to the AVX).

Alright, so aside from the failure in the in-seat service, I liked what the VIP offered.  It was an experience similar to one that I’ve experienced at the Opera or Concerts (at venues like the Windspear or Jubilee).  The $23 weekend ticket price seems steep, but the reserved seating of the AVX is $18 and that’s something I’m willing to pay to avoid waiting in line for a popular film.  Is the $5 extra for the other stuff worthwhile?  I don’t know.  Maybe.

But, it’s definitely worth going to the VIP theater just to experience it, just once.

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.