Mark is not really the worst

Mark exits stage left.

I’m getting pretty tired of saying goodbye to my friends at work.  Unfortunately it’s one of the realities of being a long time veteran at a place.  Before Info-Tech, my longest tenure at a place was five years.  I’m in my ninth year here right now though.

Yesterday I said goodbye to Mark Litnewski, a guy who I’ve known for my entire eight and a half years here at Info-Tech, one of my first friends in the building, one of the first people I managed here, and one of the people I relied on the most…even though I consistently and repeatedly called him “The Worst”. Continue Reading

Destiny Six Months In

Destiny

Back in September, after my PS3 died and I bought a replacement for it, I picked up a copy of Destiny with the new system (along with Last of Us, and GTA V).  I blitzed through the single player story, and started doing some of the end game content.  In the last six months, it is the only game I have played. Continue Reading

My 2014 In Review

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. Continue Reading

Stuff I Like: Dollar Shave Club

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

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. Continue Reading

Multiversity Makes Me Happy

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. Continue Reading

Fan Expo Canada 2014

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.

Continue Reading

See You Around Mike

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. Continue Reading

Why I Love Drawing Bears

Socially Awkward BearA few people have asked me why I have been drawing bears so much in the last two years, it all started out innocently enough. I drew a not-very-good picture of a doofy looking teddy-bear creature on a post-it-note, and put the caption “Socially Awkward Bear” on it. Continue Reading

The Magic Word to Transform Developers into Designers

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 Continue Reading