I feel like it’s time for another update, so here it goes.
I passed the 70-680 exam and am working on the 70-685 exam. I also passed the Apple Integration 10.8 exam and have started working on their newest exam which is all about deploying Macs in an enterprise, and maintaining the software on them. This one is more technical than the first two Apple exams I took, but it’s really interesting stuff. I’ve always wanted to learn how to manage Macs on a large scale basis, and this exam (along with the Integration exams) give you a really good overview. In some ways it’s easier to deploy a Mac in an enterprise, but in other ways, such as deploying policies, you don’t have as much flexibility as you would have in the Microsoft world.
Back in early March I started going to the gym a few days a week. Now I’m maintaining a four day a week regimen and will be starting a Couch to 5K program in two weeks. The Cto5K program will have me getting up early three days a week to go jogging for 30 minutes. I’ll continue with my after work routine for exercising as well so hopefully the weight will really start to come off then. Once the eight week Cto5K program is done, I’m going to either start taking Krav Maga classes, or I’m going to do a 5Kto10K program. I’m not sure yet, part of me really wants to build my running stamina up so that I can do a half marathon, but I also want to learn to defend myself.
School is going well. I’m nearly finished with my first semester and I’m fairly sure I’ve got an A. I have to take my final exam yet though, so we’ll see how that goes. Today I took a practice exam that’s similar to the final, and I did well on it.
Work is going well too. I’m learning a lot and am taking on additional responsibility. I hope to get promoted at some point soon. i’ve already talked to my manager about it a bit and the discussions were positive. I think I just need to keep doing what I’m doing and it’ll come eventually.
Earlier this year when I wrote up my resolutions for the year I promised myself that I would write more, but it seems like I’ve been falling behind on that front. I don’t know if a single post in more than a month can make me feel any better about letting my resolution lapse, but I’m going to give it a try. Let’s just call this post a March Update and call it a day.
What have I been doing? Well, aside from working a lot, I’ve been learning a lot. I’m currently working on the Microsoft 70-680 exam, and I hope to be ready to take it in a few weeks. Today I made a list of all the exams that I need to take for the Microsoft certifications that I want so I can more easily make a plan of attack. Once those are done, I would like to work on some CompTia exams. I don’t really need the CompTia exams, but they’re something that I really want. Since I’ve been working in the Information Technology field (11+ years) those exams have always been hanging over my head. I just want to get them done so I can say that I’ve passed them. It’s more for me than my resume, though it will make my resume look awesome at the same time.
I’ve finally found a system that works for me with studying for exams. I can’t read a book and learn what I need to know, that just doesn’t work for me. It never really has. I have to see it, and I have to be lectured on it. So, for me, I’ve found that watching CBT’s from a source like CBTNuggets.com or TrainSignal.com really make the most impact for me. I can watch a CBT once and remember the majority of the content whereas I could read an entire chapter in a technical book and remember absolutely nothing about what I just read.
You know, it’s weird. Over the last couple of years I’ve really learned a lot about myself and how I think. I’ve learned the methods of learning that work for me, and the methods that don’t. I’ve also learned that I have limits for certain types of activities and that if I feel like I’m getting overwhelmed, I need to pull things back a bit. I think all of that self discovery has made me a better learner and a better person. I feel like my mind is more organized and I also feel like I am in better control of my thoughts. It only took 30 years, eeh?
Finallly, I’ve been trying to watch one Khan Academy video and one TED talk a day. As of today I’ve watched 302 Khan Academy videos and 276 TED talks. Just thought I’d make a record of that somewhere.
So I’m learning Spanish, while relearning HTML, while learning CSS, while learning my company’s business intelligence software, while learning the stuff needed for the OS X 10.7 and 10.8 MS Integration certifications, while getting ready to learn all that’s required for a computer science degree. On the list of things to learn, various MS certifications, Python, geography (States, their Capitals, and the location of each on a map), lock picking, playing the harmonica, and a dozen other things. I just don’t have enough hours in the day. If I ever win the lottery I’m going to spend the rest of my life learning about all the things that interest me. On my yacht.
I’ll be receiving my tax refund this week. I had originally planned on putting some in savings and paying down some credit card debt, but I changed my plans when it hit me that my clothes were falling apart. My work pants are getting kind of thin in the crotch, and most of them have seams that are coming undone. My shoes are falling apart and my causal clothes are in pretty rough shape too. So, today, I bought a new wardrobe with my refund. New work pants, new shorts, new polo shirts, new shoes (causal and work), and new underwear. Additionally I paid off the remainder of my balance with T-Mobile so I’m free and clear with them. I’m going to make an appointment for next Saturday to get new tires put on my car along with an oil change, and then, poof, just like that, the refund is gone.
I don’t mind spending so much money on things if it’s stuff I actually need. I paid a little more for my new work pants and shoes than I would have normally, but I want them to last longer that the stuff I have now has lasted (about a year). The last pair of shoes I bought for work have only lasted about four months and now the sole is starting to separate from the shoe. I want some nice things, and I figured that I may as well buy them now while I have the money. I only need to buy some tanks, some v neck shirts, a new wallet, and a watch to complete the wardrobe. I’ll then have all new stuff.
If I have any money left over, I’m seriously thinking about purchasing one of those $250 Samsung Chromebooks, but I’m not so sure if a 11.6in screen will be big enough for me. I’m going to walk over to the Apple store sometimes this week and take a look at the 11.6in Macbook Airs for a size reference, just to see if it’s feasible. I have a 13.3in screen right now and it seems to be a good size. The Chromebook is less than two inches smaller so it may work out.
Today my manager and my new director were in town, but I really didn’t get much of a chance to chat with them. We had lunch together, but after that they were in meetings the rest of the day. I spent the day keeping busy and being as productive as possible. I’ve been pretty low key the last couple of days, and whenever I’m like that I find it easier to focus on getting things done.
Now that I’m home though, my legs and knees are aching, and I know the only thing that will help is a good night’s sleep. So, here in a bit, I’m going to take my nightly melatonin pill and hit the hay. I’ve got to work Thursday night, and Saturday I’m going to be going to my friend’s funeral.
In life there are certain people who weave in and out of the strands of your existence like a piece of thread being sewn into cloth. Every so often you will see them out and about somewhere, share a few laughs, and then go back to the business that is your own life. You think about them now and again, always with fond memories, and you wonder what they’ve been up to. You know you don’t see them enough, and you feel bad about it, but, you know, they’re probably busy too. For me, one of those people was a gentleman by the name of Dondi Ward.
Dondi and I first met when I worked at Kash n’ Karry as a teenager. I was a cashier and Dondi was a bagger. Physically he was larger than me and when we worked together on a register some of the customers gave us odd looks because of how big we were. We also went to the same high school together, and I saw him often in the halls. Even though he was a large man, and could look fairly intimidating if he wanted to, he was one of the most gentle people I’ve ever met. Dondi always had a smile on his face, and I can’t remember a single time when I saw him unhappy or down.
I use to go to a public dock in San Antonio that is on Lake Jovita. I wouldn’t go to fish or anything; I’d go for the quiet. Sometimes when I went out there, Dondi would be there fishing with a piece of fishing line using his hands to pull it in when he caught something. We’d often joke around that we’d never leave the area and fifty years from now we’d be the old grumpy men sitting in front of the local store, playing checkers and complaining about the young people.
Dondi lit up a room and anyone that met him fell in love with him. He was just a good, gentle, and kind person. One of the best I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Saturday he passed away. He’s been on my mind constantly and I can’t believe he’s gone. He was my age, and now, he’s just gone. I’ll go to the service and pay my respects. He deserves that much from me.
I’ll miss you Dondi, and I’ll never forget you.
I went over to my parent’s house tonight for a visit. My dad cooked some steaks on the grill and my mom set us up with some baked potatoes and some salad. Me? Well, I just supervised.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to next week. My boss and my new director will be in town so I’ll get to spend some time with them. Plus I’m taking Friday off, so the week won’t be too terribly long. Even though I have Friday off, I do have some work to do Saturday, but I’m hoping that I can schedule that to run automatically. The wonders of modern technology, eeh?
Other than that, there’s not a whole lot going on. I’m trying to learn Spanish via Duolingo, but I’m realizing for the first time that it’s harder as a 30 year old to memorize stuff than it was when I was 16. I can still do it, it just takes more repetition, which I’m fine with.
I’m not sure what happened with today, but it was frustrating from start to end. Little things everywhere just picking away at my sanity and filling my life with stress. Maybe today I just couldn’t tolerate things as well as I normally can, or maybe it actually was more stressful than usual. I’m not really sure at this point. I’m just glad that my cold is nearly gone, tomorrow is Friday (and payday), and I don’t have to work this weekend. Tonight will be an early night and tomorrow will be better.
Early January saw me getting over a bad cold, but it looks like another one is going to make a run on me. I’ve been taking vitamins since my previous cold, and I’ve generally been staying away from unhealthy stuff, so I’m hoping this one will be milder. I’m also avoiding the nighttime medicine that I took the last time, because it caused my sinuses to get clogged so much that I got a sinus infection. This time I’m just going to stick with the daytime stuff because it has a decongestant and to help me sleep at night I’ll just take melatonin. We just had a bout of colder weather so I think the temperature change and the lack of moisture in the air caused this one.
You know, sometimes you just wake up knowing that the rest of your day is going to be a messy blur.
Today, my friend, was one of those days.
I don’t really want to go into it, I’m just glad it’s over. Hopefully tomorrow will work out better.
I’m home now, just finished a dinner of fresh strawberries. I’m going to be taking my daily melatonin pill in about a half hour. Oh, as an update to that, I’m sleeping much much better, and I’m actually getting to bed on time. This week has been pretty stressful and I’ve been able to handle it fairly well and I think that’s mostly due to getting plenty of sleep at night.