Sea Changes

March 13th, 2011

The last time I put pixel to page here, I wrote about change. My words spoke of newfound opportunities, needing to be brave and sizing up what life was giving to me. Then the line went dark for nine and a half months as I put my head down and did the best I could to give life to those words.

Well, let’s just say I jumped on the opportunities, and they’re starting to pay off.

As I write this, I’m sit in the bay window of my new home — an apartment my girlfriend Shannon and I share in San Francisco. We made the move out here over three weeks ago with only her new job and a pull-out couch in our friend Nick’s place as knowns in a vastly swirling sea of variables. I also have two job offer letters in my possession, with one more a near certainty. Not bad, considering January ended for me with the notification that I was being laid off from my job, which all but eliminated my chances at working remotely — even if just for a short time while I made my transition.

Those who have been following along on Facebook and Twitter should have a decent idea of some of the ups and downs, but I plan to go back and share in the outlines with full color details and insights to my life as it was through all this transition, and life as it happens in this new land of opportunity.

Here’s to the adventure!

Moving forward at great velocity

May 23rd, 2010

I’ve been away from the writing for so long, I don’t even think I’m the same person anymore. Once again, my purposes here seem to be at a crossroads, and I’m starting from square one. Fine by me — I could use the excuse to rebrand and refocus.

For certain, my life hasn’t been dull since last I wrote. My work has been satisfying in ways it hasn’t been for years. The skills I ply for my trade of choice have never been sharper, and as I write this I’m on a train to Boston to give them a further tune-up. The majority of my writing these days has been focused in the professional and personal realms, mostly sequestered in the walled gardens of email. And I’ve even managed to add spice to my life where relationships are concerned — slow and steady, but satisfying to a degree I’ve never known before.

I can say with no sense of sarcasm that it’s never been a better time to be me.

Of course, to make all this new Andrew version 3.3 work, some deep changes in old habits and expectations have been made. Old hobbies that were dead on the vine (like the podcast I always expected to get back to “someday”) have been pruned away. Spoiled expectations (such as my decade of 10 am start times my work day) have been brought back to the new reality — I’m an adult. Time to fuckin’ act like one.

I’m generally healthy, mostly happy, and the chance to make the most of all these newfound opportunities is there in front of me. I just have to be brave enough to take it.

Lately…

February 24th, 2010

Awww Geek Out!

…I’ve been learning so much more about this craft of mine.  I’ve found it humbling and exciting all at the same time.  Thanks to a lot of great info out there on the net and the wonder that is jQuery, I’m actually starting to learn how to program.  I give it two years until I’ll be as confident in my scripting as I am with my CSS and HTML, but it has been fun as hell so far.  This is kind of how it felt just before I had my “matrix moment” and could actually picture a layout in my head just by reading the HTML.

…I’ve tweaked some things around here.  Mostly back-end optimizations so far as I experiment and put what I’m learning into practice, but you might notice some of the fonts look a little nicer, courtesy of Typekit.  There will be more of that to be sure, but this place has been like a fallow lot as of late, and I have to fix a lot more of the structure before I can really think of giving this design — which to be honest was never truly finished — a long overdue remix.

…I’ve decided that “design-in-progress” I wrote a dissertation on back in the summer of unemployment will not appear as shown.  That bundle of code was born when time was plentiful and goals were lofty.  Since then, that seed has grown and morphed as I’ve used it as the basis of about every project I’ve worked on since.  There’s a lot I love about the artwork and the ideas, but I think I’m taking it to the chop shop and using some of the parts here and some on my portfolio remix.

And if it wasn’t for Twitter, a lot of you would think I was dead.  Am I right or what?  ^_^

The Confidence Game

December 15th, 2009

There’s a soft glow of contentment surrounding my view of the world tonight, something I find quite amazing in light of the events of the past year. The void of the unknown and I got to spend quite a lot of time together. Over time I would learn to resent its appearance, but at the start my nervous energy was focused through a prism of confidence and anticipation of new challenges. I had been feeling rudderless in my professional life; under-utilized and pushed to the sidelines. Now I would be able to refocus my mind and hone my skills. Really, it went as much to plan as it could have.

But like the unforgiving surf on a stormy day, there was another wave lurking. Unseen. Ready to blindside me. My second swim in the job market started much like the first, but this time I didn’t surface so quickly. There were long series of interviews that ended nowhere, bad matches, and taking what projects one could find freelancing. I gasped and struggled at times, and I’m sure there’s more gray in my hair now for having survived it.

The sanctuary I found has turned out to be a much greener pasture than I first realized. The turmoil certainly isn’t gone, but it feels more healthy than malicious. The kind of chaos a growing company needs to thrive. There’s a challenge ahead, but I really feel we’re up to the task. You can be damn sure I’m doing all I can to push things in the right direction.

Next Time: Cryptic recap of the year in the personal. Or maybe not.

Feed your eyes and your head

November 1st, 2009

Gather ’round, children. It’s show and tell time, and I’m eager to share what I’ve been doing at work for the last month. I have to admit, there’s a little extra pride in how this one turned out. May I present the new Inform.com.

In just about one month’s time we completely rewrote the site with a new look, a greatly improved standards-based framework, and a new backend system to power it all. Still some bugs and the usual gremlins to try and work out, but it’s been one of the smoother site launches I’ve ever been involved with.

Inform.com's fresh new look.  Already I'm planning how to improve the design.

Inform.com's fresh new look. Already I'm planning how to improve the design.

The best part about all of this is that the project is really just starting out. Our original plans were much more ambitious, and now that we have this new modern framework up and running, we should be able to start testing, tweaking, and tuning the site as we try to grow our numbers.

Be sure to share your impressions and ideas.