My 2014 In Review

Posted by & filed under About Me.

I had, frankly, a fantastic 2014, both personally and professionally.

Personally, we took the kids on a Disney Cruise, which was mere months after Char and I had returned from a trip of a lifetime in Cancun.  My batteries were more recharged than they have been in a long time, and I spent March through August burning myself out by working full time and putting everything I had left into making BalanceDo a success.

Unfortunately, we failed with BalanceDo. A combination of a bunch of factors killed the project, and in late August the team and I made the painful decision to close down the business.

I promised myself I wouldn’t take on any side projects, and that for four months (September, October, November, and December), I did nothing more strenuous with my non-working hours than play video games.  It was everything I had ever hoped for, completely wasted time where all I had to concern myself with was where my next loot cave was going to come from. Read more »

Stuff I Like: Dollar Shave Club

Posted by & filed under General.

Dollar Shave ClubI hate shaving, but I like to be freshly shaved. It’s a dichotomy that has plagued me since my teen years. I am what the old folks call “hirsute”, meaning I’ve got a lot of hair, but it’s thick and shaving wrecks my skin, so I only shave every three or so days. My usual routine is Sunday night and Wednesday night (unless we’re doing something fancy which requires a touch-up). I shave my head too, but that’s usually once a week.

I have an electric razor, but it is slow, and hard to groom around ye olde goatee. My preferred battle weapon is a wet blade, usually a three bladed job (although a twin blade works well on my head). Of course like most men, I usually forget to buy blades, so I’m left hacking up my skin with something dumb.

I’m not gonna say Dollar Shave Club saved my life, but it probably saved my skin. Literally.

I initially signed up for “The 4x”, for $6.50/month, which gets you a monthly shipment of a package of four – four bladed razors. Your initial shipment also comes with a nice metal handle which has some heft to it.

I quickly found that four blades a month is too many for me, I only go through about 2 a month. I switched to the “Humble Twin” for a couple of months at $3.50, which I used for just my head.

The blades fit perfectly on my “HeadBlade“, which takes Gillette Atra style blades.

The only problem with The Humble Twin is that the handle is really flimsy plastic that is intended to bend, but a couple of trips across my head, and I broke the thing.

I’ve stopped ordering the Twins, and now I just get The 4x every other month (they have a “not so hairy” option), so every two months, I get charged $6.50 to have blades delivered right to my mailbox. It’s a pretty good deal, and I never think about whether or not I want to get one more shave out of that blade, I just chuck it and use a fresh one after about two shaves.

Their packaging is pretty bare bones, but comes with one little feature I really like. Every month they spotlight one of their members’ businesses. It’s about post card sized, and it’s usually a fun little story.

Dollar Shave Club, I’ve been a member for two years now, and as their ad says “I’m practically a genius”. I highly recommend them.

My Favourite Comics of 2014

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Best comics in 2014

I like putting together a few year in review lists that remind me what I enjoyed in a year.  Comics are a big passion of mine, big enough that I take the kids to two or three conventions every year, and always make plans to go to one of the bigger ones (like C2E2, WizardWorld Chicago, or the big daddy of them all, San Diego Comicon).

I sat down this year to put together a little list of my favourite comics of 2014. This is by no means a comprehensive list, there was plenty of one-off stuff that I enjoyed through the year, but this is the stuff that stood out to me month-in and month-out. Read more »

Multiversity Makes Me Happy

Posted by & filed under Comics.

The Multiversity

This is my first new comic book review since August 31, 2011 when I reviewed Justice League #1, the first comic of the “New 52″.  This one shouldn’t come as a surprise though, as Grant Morrison owned a full 10% of my “50 Greatest Comic Runs“.

Grant Morrison and Ivan Reis bring us the first iinstalment in the culmination of Morrison’s involvement in the mainstream DC Universe with The Multiversity.  Morrison is bringing all of his chickens home to roost with this one, and with this issue he deftly ties in threads from his runs on JLA, Final Crisis and Action Comics among others.

Morrison is a massive DC Comics fanboy, he’s been a fan his entire life, and loves to pay homage to tradition, while taking things in entirely new and unique directions.  One of my favourite Morrison concepts, the “Super Young Team”, a Japanese super hero group, was his take on Jack Kirby’s “Forever People”, which is amazing because the two couldn’t be more different.

His run on Batman is among my very favourites, and he wrote what I consider the definitive “Dick Grayson as Batman” story in Batman and Robin. Read more »

Fan Expo Canada 2014

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Fan Expo, Kaylin and MaksI wasn’t even planning on going to Fan Expo this year.  I’ve been pretty much every year for the last eight years, and this year I thought I’d skip it.

Then some stuff happened, and I realized I’d like to see my friends, some of whom I only get to see once a year.  So I contacted Peter, and asked him if he had space at the All New Comics booth.  He did, so it was settled.

Then I mentioned to my kids that I was going to the convention on Friday, and I got a chorus of “awww’s”, and I thought…why not take them?  It meant paying $35 for a ticket, and waiting in line ups…but what the heck?

No sooner had I suggested it, than they had figured out their cosplay (Finn and Fiona from Adventure Time), and promised that they would be up bright and early.

Read more »

See You Around Mike

Posted by & filed under General.

Least Flattering Picture of All Time

Today is my friend Michael Halliday’s last day at work.  I’ve been at Info-Tech for seven years, he’s not the first person who’s left, and he won’t be the last…but he’s the one I’ll miss the most.

It all started when I didn’t hire him.

Mike came in for an interview at Info-Tech with my boss Gord and I.  He was charming, personable, and incredibly bright.  He’d worked with Gord before, and was a solid coder.  He answered everything right, and told us he was doing iOS development (this is four years ago when that was still a relatively rare skill).

We left the interview promising him we’d get back to him, and had him on our short list.

But I didn’t hire him. Read more »

The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers

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One of my favourite parts of RailsConf is the lightning talks.  These are 5 minute talks that can be about anything.  As a result, you see a lot of cool stuff in two hours, and if you get a bad one…you just need to wait 5 minutes until the next one comes along.

This year, inspired by not only my own team, but also by the many talks I saw about harnessing your creativity at RailsConf, I decided to give a talk on one of my own personal pet peeves.  People who say “but I can’t draw”, and how that internal script is holding you back.

I got a really good reception from people, which kind of surprised me since most of the talks were super technical, and mine was only one of two or three that were about non code related skills.

This is my talk from RailsConf – The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers Read more »

The Walking Dead Season 4 Finale – A

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The final panel from Walking Dead #63

I have some thoughts on The Walking Dead and the season finale, if you aren’t caught up, turn back, because I am about to combine what we saw on TV with some comic book stuff.

It’s important to remember that while the big arcs are similar between comic and show, individual beats are not, the most obvious of these is that Daryl isn’t even in the comics, and Sophia is still alive 120 issues on. This is all just speculation, I have no idea how right or wrong I am.

Spoilers, do not pass. Read more »

Our Disney Cruise

Posted by & filed under About Me, Our Family.

Our Disney CruiseClan Garside sailed the majestic Disney Magic from February 24th through 28th, and while it was a welcome break from the ridiculous winter that we’ve been dealing with back home, it wasn’t exactly the “magical experience” that others have raved about.

We’ve been on two other cruises, both by Royal Caribbean…and we were recently spoiled with an all expenses resort vacation to Le Blanc in Cancun (which was one of the most amazing vacations I have ever taken).

This was our first “big trip” with our kids.  The first time either of them have flown, the first time that either have travelled 6-8 hours in a day, and the first time that either of them have been at sea.  I have to say that they were amazing little travellers and are among my favourite people to travel with.  They were easy going, listened well when we needed them to stick with us for safety, and enjoyed exploring off on their own then the opportunities presented themselves.

They had an amazing time – so much so that Maks cried when it was over because he didn’t want our vacation to be done.  This review is just how I felt about things. Read more »