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  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.

Life changes

Recently, I left my position at Pinnacle Wealth Brokers.  Unfortunately, the position there was not quite the right fit for my professional development.  I do thank everyone at PWB for the experience and wish them the best.

To fill the work void, I have joined the REALTORS Association of Edmonton as the Financial Methods Analyst.  I am very excited about the work I am going to be doing with RAE, which includes leading the redesign of accounting processes, thanks to the implementation of new accounting software and eCommerce solutions.

Related to work, my CMA group has been working through the cases for the first half of the second year.  I think we have a good team and we are starting to find our stride, and I feel we will be well equipped to do well come M7.

I am planning on making time come March to be involved in my own initiative, NaAdWriMo.  I think this project has great potential for helping the gaming community share stories.  I sincerely hope it takes off.

My Strengths

Recently at work, the CEO gave me a copy of Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and asked me to read through it and take the online test.  He noted that several of the other individuals that work in the company have taken it and have been very pleased with the results.

I gave the introduction to the book a read and I was impressed.  The strategy that this book suggests is not discovering and mitigating weaknesses, but finding and capitalizing strengths.  While at first glance, this seems to be the same idea (and it basically is), the key difference is that coaching on an individual’s strengths is a more postive management techinque and is more likely to have positive effects.  This is because psychologically to the employee, working on a positive trait just feels better.  The book does note that you cannot completely ignore weaknesses – they should be addressed, and you may have to work in an area of weakness, work cannot always be shuffled to only be in your wheelhouse.

I took the test, quite interested in discovering what it was going to tell me.

My top five strengths are:

  1. Learner
  2. Responsibility
  3. Restorative
  4. Input
  5. Arranger

Now you’re asking – what do these mean?  Very generally, these strengths mean:

  1. Learner – I have a great desire to learn and want to have continuous improvement
  2. Responsibility – I take psychological ownership of what I do.
  3. Restorative – I like to solve problems.
  4. Input – I like to collect and archive information.
  5. Arranger – I like to organize resources into the most productive arrangements.

The test also gives more in-depth discussions about these strengths, as well as action plans on how to maximize their usefulness in my work.

When I recieved the results and read the basic descriptions, it was very clear to me that 1,2,&3 were clearly me.  4&5 Seemed off.  I read more about them.  Yes, they’re me, very much so.  Was this useful to me? Yes. Did it tell me anything I didn’t already know? Not really. Did it give me some insight on how to do better at my job by focusing on these strengths? Absolutely.

I think this is an excellent tool (much like the DiSC profile that I completed in the first year of the CMA SLP program) that should be viewed as such.  It is not the be-all end all of management tools.  Using these tests, along with other tools can help to better understand yourself and the people you work with.

Saving your portfolio on EAv

Since yesterday’s announcement of the price correction, I’ve seen several people freak out about the effects of this on their share price and the effect on their portfolios.  I’ve got a few thoughts on the situation.

EAv is in beta. Changes should be expected – especially in regards to share prices.  EAv is about valuing content – so, it makes sense that the core mechanic (the share price) is going to be tweaked along the way.  Invest in content you like, then interact with those content producers – the interaction will help their price stay high.

If for one reason or another, you think EAv is only a game and you want to protect your ‘hard earned’ portfolio value, I have one tip.  Sell everything, then you won’t see any drop in portfolio value.

Empire Avenue

I joined Empire Avenue roughly a month before the opening of the public beta.  I thought, oh hey, cool, a stock market simulator.  I promptly went on my way, treating it as such.

I had it wrong, as do most people on the site.  Empire Avenue (or EAv) uses a stock-like system to help value content.  As the site says, it’s in beta, and the people behind the site are constantly making changes.  The next release will be changing the way content is valued slightly to give more weight to the quality of your content (as measured by audience and engagement).  I suspect on September 7/8 we will have many people angry about their price dropping (but hey, maybe it will only have a positive effect).

The more time I spend thinking about EAv, the more I get frustrated with the ads and the apparent mentality of the users.  I struggle to find interesting/new content.  I’ve met some new ‘friends’, had lively discussions about the site, and even bitched about cheating (or gaming, if you want to call it that).  In an effort to walk the talk (ie, using EAv for content, not a game), I’ve begun divesting (and investing) based on content.

If we talk on Twitter/Facebook/whatever, then I’m probably going to be buying you.  If I like your website/blog, I’ll probably buy you.  If we are in an EAv community together and you’re active, I’ll buy you.

If you don’t have good content, then I won’t be investing.

And that’s the way I think everyone should be ‘playing’ the ‘game’.