Posts in category “Blog”

2020

Hello Everyone,

Not sure which of these I'm going to publish first, 2019 reflection or looking forward at 2020. Let's see what happens. Not so much resolutions because I don't particularly like the thought of New Year Resolutions but just things I'd like to get done or aim for this year. They're goals, not resolutions! Read the bold text for the cliff notes or read the whole thing if you're really that interested ;)

Goal #1: Save more money

To get pessimistic for a moment... Record low interest rates and exorbitantly high housing prices (a long term goal of mine) with unsustainable immigration and the general public reluctant to spend money (hence lowering interest rates) is powder-keg for an economic reset to my mind. So being in a position to prepare for what may come as a result of that might be a good idea. Without providing specific numbers at this time (public blog yo!) the goal is an average 5 figure amount just in case work dries up or an opportunity to invest that money arises (see #7 for more on this). This will probably mean shifting my previous habits which leads to goal 2.

Goal #2: Cook more

I know my way around a kitchen. I'm not clueless when it comes to cooking I just don't do it often enough (partly because I hate the dishes that come as a result but I just need to get over that, partly because I haven't previously dedicated a lot of time to spending in the kitchen). So goal 2 for 2020 is to cook more, especially more batch meals that can be used for lunches during the week. Not to say I'm going to stop having lunch or dinner out with people altogether, just not all the time. Saves money and is probably better for me. Which leads to...

Goal #3: Better physical shape

Going pretty well with the segues. I'm a lot better now than I was out of Uni back in 2011, I was close on 120kg and generally felt like crap. I couldn't run 100 metres without just about passing out from exhaustion and the thought of doing anything physically exerting was daunting. Just walking to the station to catch a train (a walk of around 1 kilometre) had me hyperventilating at the idea. I was in a bad spot, no motivation and no confidence; I hated going to places where I would be meeting new people. So I made changes. I started slow, eating one less piece of potato in the roast, not eating the entire bowl of pasta (and definitely not going back for seconds), not smashing all the chips in the Fish and Chips wrap. That was a process that took around four years to come to fruition.

I got down to 86kg at the lowest level around 2015/16. I'm back up to a nudge over 90kg but part of that will be muscle buildup from this yard work I'm doing (lifting blocks and hand mixing water into pre-mix mortar is hard work!). I'd like to try and get back down to that 85-86 mark though, hopefully that cooking will help with that. I've had a couple of offers to be a gym buddy, need to weigh up (no pun intended) whether that works with Goal #1 in mind.

Goal #4: More productivity/less games

This one probably sounds a little strange without some context but I waste a lot of time. I've been an expert procrastinator for things outside of work and study the last few years. I'd rather watch YouTube, Netflix or lately Disney+ than do any actual productive work. It's either that or games. You'd just have to take a look at my overall hours in Steam to know this. Even if half of them are idle hours, or leaving sim games (Cities Skylines was like a drug!) running overnight to gather more resources/money, or accidentally leaving launchers open that track active playing time, the remaining time spent playing is still A LOT. And I no longer have the excuse of gaming to make YouTube videos like I once did. So the next few goals are going to relate to things I can be productive about without major capital investment (as mentioned above and in my 2019 post). Starting with playing less games unless I get back into making videos of it.

Goal #5: STATS

Oh STATS. How I have treated you poorly. Countless hours spent ripping code apart and rebuilding it. Deciding part way through to transition to Object Oriented instead of the spaghetti procedural code I had. This is a case of being over productive through perfectionism. I've found myself spending too much time correcting things I'm not happy with instead of leaving it in place until everything is done then improving it. I would love to get a production version of STATS live at some stage this year though. Like a proper working build not the development piece of garbage that's live at the moment.

Goal #6: Personal Website

I'd started learning Grav with the idea of using it to make a new personal website last year. With everything that went on I dropped it and haven't been back to it yet and I'm starting to think for my next one I'll just make it hard code style and then port it over to Grav later once I've got the hang of it. Pretty keen to learn the system as I think I'd eventually be able to apply Twig in other places.

Goal #7: Productive Viewing

If I'm going to be watching so much stuff, I might as well mix in some productive viewing. In fact I've already started this by following some general financial advice channels on YouTube (the kind that have disclaimers saying they're not real financial advisors they're just documenting their own findings, which is still interesting) and using my access to LinkedIn Learning through work to pick up additional skills. It's been interesting learning about passive income ideas and general stock market advice. Not as daunting as it initially sounded and potentially something I'll look into as part of Goal #1. Courses on LinkedIn Learning are quite good, allowing you to piecemeal learning or info dump an entire course in a day and go back later to revisit bits you need a refresher on. I've already started with PHP and Python courses to further improve my skills.

Goal #8: Reconnect (and better connect) with people

A bit of a left field one but as far as productive things go there's nothing more productive than healthy friendships. I mentioned in the 2019 post that I've been getting better at picking up when someone is just as interested with what's going on with me as I am with them, and lowering my interest in those who aren't. I classify this as productive because I'm not spending as much time focusing on what other people are up to when they are really not as concerned with what I'm up to or what's going on with me.

Is eight enough? I feel like ten would be a well rounded number so let's rattle off a couple more and then wrap things up.

Goal #9: Get better organised

I am a messy person. Just ask my mum. Thing is I hate that I'm a messy person so this seems like a good time to start doing something about that. I have a lot of stuff. I've kept a fair bit of it around in anticipation of one day using it in my own space but right now that just seems too far away to warrant keeping some of these things around. I've also got a lot of crap I just don't use any more, and am unlikely to use even if I had my own space. It's a bit late for a Spring clean but better late than never, right?

Goal #10: Keep this thing updated

I had a tough time coming up with a 10th goal until I realised it was staring me in the face. I've said it and not really done it a couple of times now, but I want to keep this blog thing going this year. So that's goal 10. Write more here.

So that's the outline for 2020. Let's see at the end of this year where I'm standing on these. Goal 10 should be easy for you to keep track of and hassle me about it if I start falling behind on posting ;)

That is all for now,

  • Scott

2019

Hello Everyone,

I want to talk about my plans for this year, both professional and personal, but first I should touch on last year so check out the next post for my plans for 2020. Because 2019 was quite a turbulent year I think it is worth talking about. I remember saying in the 2017 appreciation post that:

A bit of a revealing year surrounding who you are as a person and how you approach (or will approach) things differently now compared to a year ago.

I'm starting to feel like this is becoming just an ongoing trend. Partly because I keep coming across new situations that mean a new part of me is revealed I hadn't had to deal with before and partly because old situations keep popping back up to deal with differently to the first time. Back in 2017 I said I was still thinking about the idea of getting into teaching after it was suggested to me by the Program Leader at the time. I ended up doing that and 2019 was my first year of teaching. I keep saying it was great and I really enjoy it but at this stage I haven't had a group that has been difficult to deal with. I'll come back to you with my feedback on that when I cross that bridge (I say when because I know it will happen).

However, it's worthwhile pointing out it was a highly stressful year. Especially in the later months leading into summer.

We had two major projects, I thought there was a chance one would be winding down as the other ramped up (for me at least, my higher ups were quite busy with both projects early on at around the same time). That... didn't happen. Both ended up aligning and hitting the critical point at nearly the same time. There were some late nights and stressful days as we frantically worked to meet deadlines. It was reaching a point where I was missing basic tasks in my role because I just had zero mental capacity left to think about it. Oh and at the time there was uncertainty around the entire institute due to the dreaded "corporate restructure". Anyone who's been through those knows enough about how stressful those are. So yeah, three things all kind of aligned into a perfect storm for me. And that's just the work stuff.

It wasn't all bad though. As with previous years I've met, or better got to know, people and am further picking up my own cues on the kinds of people that are as interested in what's going on with me as I am with what's going on with them and reallocating time where that doesn't line up. There's been a small number of people who have really helped me swim against the tide of a torrential river, and I apologise if I've been a bit distant lately but hopefully they know who they are and how helpful they've been. Also I guess as an extension to this how I prefer to hang out with these people. I'm starting to realise I don't need to have big lavish nights out (or in) with huge crowds of people, in fact I'm starting to prefer smaller groups and ordering in (or even cooking!) and relaxing in a private space.

Some things I was hoping to get done this year (not resolutions, just goals as you'll see in my 2020 post) but didn't really get to. A big one was probably getting into diorama and model making. Followed closely by getting back into woodworking more seriously. Both require more space than I have available right now, and a bit of cash I now see I can't afford to spend at this time. At least I've got the 3D printer and access to 3D modelling software to start messing with things I want to create in the diorama space so that when I do have the space and money I can start working on it again. I've got some tools and spare wood lying around so I can at least work up some little day projects when the weather is nice.

I guess I can sum it all up by saying that 2019, especially the second half of the year, was a regretfully stressful time that just didn't line up with where I wanted to be or what I wanted to do. So I guess something for 2020 is to head into the new year with a goal to do some things I've been putting off. More on that in my 2020 post though.

Have a happy new year everyone. I have spoken,

  • Scott

(did you get that reference?)

Updates and Reorganising

Hey,

It's been a little while since my last post. There's a couple of reasons for that, I was sick during last week just after unplugging all my gear to rearrange things after painting. So not only was I sick, but all my gear was disconnected and I had no energy to plug it back in again. I've only just managed to get to the point of having the essentials plugged back in to post this.

The new lick of paint has come up better than I thought, the new colours work really well together. Now I just to need to get all my artworks and shelving back up on the walls (covering the newly minted paint...) and go through all the crap I moved out of here and get rid of stuff I no longer need or want because I've got too much stuff.

We've been going through some scope approval stuff at work so I haven't had time to look into more Grav things lately. That process is winding up soon though so I should be able to put some time back into it at the start of September. And don't think that I've forgotten about STATS. The minds been working on some ideas for that.

That's all for now. :)

2019 Updates

Hi

So. I haven't been very good at keeping a blog up to date. To be honest the Wordpress install wasn't the greatest idea and I don't really like the Gutenberg update so I stopped using it.

I've moved to ChyrpLite for this iteration. It does everything I need it to do. I just need to go back and re-add images to my posts I brought over from the Wordpress site. I'll get around to that eventually because I've got to upload them somewhere first then link to them using markdown rather than adding media to a post like Wordpress. I need to do that before I delete my current website, which I can't do until my new one is finished anyway so I've got a bit of time as that's not a priority project at this time.

So what's going to happen then?

First off you'll notice I haven't styled this at all. I'm not worrying about it until I know for certain I'm actually going to make use of this more than the last few times I've tried. If I keep it up to date I might look into it.

In general though I'll be aiming to use this more to keep a running log of projects I'm working on and occasionally updating on life stuff. I want to get into a habit of keeping a track record of projects because looking through other people's backlogs of projects has been really inspirational for me so if I can add to that and provide inspiration for someone then it makes the project/creative world a better place.

So what are my current projects I might be writing about?

I've got a few things on the go at the moment, some long term stuff but hoping there's also some short turn around items I'd like to look at. Let me give you a quick run down:

  • Landscaping: Our backyard is going through some changes, improving on some changes I made a few years ago. Getting fit without hitting a gym.
  • Old shed teardown: My grandfather built a shed about the time the house was built, it's seen better days so it's coming down (once we get it checked for asbestos)
  • 3D Printing: I've got an Ender 5 I need to start making good use of. I need a better place to run it though because it's noisy.
  • Dioramas: I've seen a lot of Luke Towan's videos on YouTube, feeling inspired to up my scenery game for when I've got the space to make a model railroad again.
  • STATS: I'm still working on this thing, I've got it working to a good level in it's current format but considering shifting either to a PHP MVC framework or even going to a Python-based system. Would mean I either need to learn something like Laravel or just learn Python. Both things I want to do but can't decide which to prioritise.
  • Furniture making: I've always loved making things. My year 12 coffee table still sits proudly in the loungeroom. It's not as solid as it was when I first made it but it's still kicking. I'm planning some bookshelves and desk modifications but have some long term things I'd love to have a go at (some of those have pre-requisites though, like, a workstation needs a decent workshop which I don't have right now).
  • Drawing: I stopped drawing after starting Uni, thought I was pretty good then got there and thought I was not that good. Really all I needed to do was more of it. So I want to do more of it and get better at it again.
  • I also want to learn a couple of different CMS's. So if I end up getting back into development for clients I can vary which CMS I'm using based on the type of project it is. So far my list is down to Typo3, Grav, and something like Fork. We're moving to a platform called Umbraco at work so I might look into that too. So far everything I've picked uses Twig for it's layouts so I'm keen to get my head around that. Wordpress is an obvious addition to that list but I'd like to be in a position where I can offer alternatives for people who may not need the bloat that comes with Wordpress.
  • Minor Edit I also forgot to mention a bunch of projects involving Raspberry Pis and maybe even Arduinos.

I think that's about it for now. Let's see if my track record improves with this one.

Melbourne Polytechnic Graduation 2018

What a fantastic night!

There aren't a lot of words to describe the feeling on Thursday night on the way home. The best I could summarise it as on Instagram was honoured. Not only to have been nominated and awarded the school of Engineering, Design and Construction's Vocational Student of the Year, but to also have received the overall Melbourne Polytechnic Vocational Student of the Year. There was a great field of school winners in both Vocational and Higher Education, and my congratulations goes out to all of them. The interviews we saw on the second night all highlighted their efforts that earned them their awards and I look forward to seeing the video interviews of the other recipients soon.

In the end there were only three of us from the Advanced Diploma at the graduation. Andreana, Lauren and myself. Callum from our Diploma group in 2016 was also there to graduate, and my long time friend Georgina from my University days was also graduating from her Advanced Diploma in Building Design. In the end Andreana and I both had the same thought that we knew more staff than students at the event with the work we do within the institute.

The night wasn't without its hiccups. We'd been instructed on the procedure during the rehearsal for receiving our graduation letters (in our case we got letters as we'd already received our certificates in the mail). There was a bit of a slow burn getting into the rhythm of the process before it became a smooth flow, at one point it actually went the opposite way and resulted in a backlog of graduands waiting to cross the stage. A bit of an error, but nothing that couldn't be resolved with a moment of respite to allow them to flow through before continuing.

There was a mistake with the Student of the Year awards. Though I admit it was one that wasn't really picked up on fully at first. When I received the school award (the non-overall one) I remember looking at it thinking that it probably should have listed the school somewhere on the award as it only had "Outstanding Student of the Year". Uh-oh. I thought to myself. Was this a mistake? When the announcement was made for the overall vocational student of the year I handed the first award to Lauren and made my way to the stage to collect the award and that was the one that had Engineering, Design and Construction written on it. Lauren even asked me when I got back to my seat what the second award had written on it as her and Andreana had also picked up on the wording. So while I didn't know for certain I had a strong feeling the mistake had been made. But that didn't make the overall announcement any less nerve racking as my heart rate reading from my fitbit will tell you...

Other than that though the event went well, it was well organised (as I knew it would be having spent the last month and a bit working with the Marketing team who were organising it even though they wouldn't tell me anything because I was graduating) and though it started a bit later than planned the only other major fault was venue based. As the caterers seemed unaware of the contents of the food (nuts, gluten, and the like) and didn't have a lot of variation.

At the end of the night I attempted to find as many of the other award winners as possible to congratulate them all, there was a lot of people around so it was very difficult to find everyone. I caught up with Georgina after the ceremony, Mark and Chiara (G's sister) had been sitting with mum and dad so finding them was relatively easy. Frank and Joanna (who initially nominated me for the school of EDC award) also found us in the crowd. I believe we were just outside where they were gowned so it probably wasn't hard for them to find us. We made our way downstairs and had an offer for a couple of photos to be taken by Phil (another colleague who was taking photos for the institute of the whole event) with mum and dad in front of an MP banner and the CityWatch representative (the award sponsor for this year) congratulated me again. At that stage we started hearing an announcement that the venue was closing (though it wasn't in the end and I would have liked to stay a bit longer) so we started making our way out, on our way mum was handed a bouquet of flowers by Frances Coppolillo (the CE of the institute) who congratulated both her and dad. That was a special moment to top off a special night.

That's all for this post, until next time!