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Life Inertia

Life Inertia

A few people know that I sometimes battle with some mild depression. Sometimes I just slide into a state of being where I have a lot of anxiety and my mood goes super low for a few days or weeks. I always manage to come out of it for a while, but it sucks. I've been struggling there for most of February. One thing it does tend to do is cause me to do a lot of introspection and reevaluating of priorities.

One of the things I've kinda figured out is that I'm struggling against what I can only describe as life inertia. You set yourself on this path in life by making various decisions and pursuing different goals. And like a boulder rolling down a hill, you build up inertia. But then when you want to change course, trying to steer that boulder into another direction feels impossible. Even more so, when you and your partner are a pair of boulders rolling down the hill together.

I had a whole post planned out about the specifics. How I'm trying to morph my career from a successful web developer into making games. How I'm working so hard to get myself back on a healthy track, both financially and physically.  And about how much I dislike living in New England and the internal conflict that causes. But I don't think I'm going to go much into detail right now. Mostly I can't find a way to phrase it all that doesn't sound like whining or doesn't turn into an essay length diatribe.

I'm going to Game Developers Conference next week. I'm hoping that spending a week immersed in the world which I really want to break into will be the impetus I need to push myself harder. I'm making better choices with my money and with my health. And I have Dani helping me along the way. As for being stuck in Somerville... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

So I guess all I can do for now is continue to nudge that rolling boulder and hope that eventually it will shift.

Peace Out 2016, Don't Let the Door Hit Ya

Peace Out 2016, Don't Let the Door Hit Ya

Happy New Year!

Hope everyone had a great New Years Eve and start to the new year.  Dani and I had a great quiet night at home with the pups.

I should have known this year wasn't gong to go out quietly. Walking to the train the other morning I caught my foot and took a tumble on the sidewalk. I landed on my left knee, my right elbow, and.... my iPhone. And so I pretty much destroyed the screen. A nice little end of year expense I didn't expect. But hey, bright side, I upgraded to the 7.

So with 2016, the world around us has been filled with way too much bad stuff.  From the many beloved celebrities who passed on, the tragedy at Pulse nightclub, the fact that our country elected a orange faced, facist, man-baby to be our next president, the tragedies in Syria, and many other tragedies around the world . It's been a shitty year.

But with the bad, there's also good. Looking back over the year, Dani and I had some pretty great adventures this year.

  • Went to Disneyland & Dani completed the Star Wars Light Side Challenge
  • Chicago Visit and Dani's first Comic Con - C2E2

  • Received my Associates Degree in general studies

  • Went to Disney World & Completed the RunDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge

  • Attended my First PAX Ever!

  • Visited "Comic Book Men's" Comic shop in NJ and met couple of the guys from the show.

  • Attended 3 Weddings

  • Built Companimals at the Microsoft Hololens Hackathon

  • Built a gaming rig and entered the world of VR with my Oculus Rift

  • Dani Completed her Ultra Marathon

  • Saw Billy Joel in concert at Fenway Park

  • Finally got Dani to take me to King Richards Faire

  • Philadelphia Trip

  • Montreal Trip (first time in Canada)

  • Attended our first BU Hockey Game

  • Another trip to Disney World and the Wine and Dine Festival / Race Weekend

  • Star Wars Rogue One! (I love Star Wars)

The other big change that happened this year, was taking the jump back into the start-up world again.  At the end of July I took a new position as the lead front-end developer / architect with Indico Data Solutions. It's been a great move for me, allowing me to be a lot more creative and work to improve my leadership skills.  And in my field, there's always more technology to learn and stay up to date on.

But what about 2017 you ask?  I'm not much of a person for resolutions, mostly because I'm not good at keeping them and I think that New Year's is an arbitrary point in time for self improvement. But it's as good a time as any to take stock of where you are and set some new goals. I have a few in mind I'd like to work towards in the coming months.

  • First off, I vow to keep fighting. This country is going to need people to keep fighting for the rights of women, minorities, and immigrants under the incoming administration. I could go on and on about how terrified I am that the progress we've made over the past few years could be rolled back and then some.  But I think most people who have been paying attention understand.  The only thing we can do is to keep fighting and show up at the next elections in 2 and 4 years.
     
  • Project: I'm planning to build a "droid".  It's a multi-disciplinary project that I think will take me the better part of a year. But I'm very excited to take the plunge. The plan is to build a motorized life size Chopper from Star wars rebels. For an idea of what I'm talking about, check out this amazing build by "Darth Will", https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL4SFNwV-Po. I'm hoping to build something similar.
     
  • Continue Learning. I bought a ukulele in Hawaii several years back  when Dani and honeymooned.  And I've not found the time to learn how to play. I'm going to try to prioritize time to learn.  I also plan to devote more time to working on and learning more game development.  I'm very excited to be attending the Game Developer / Virtual Reality Developer conference this year.
     
  • Give myself an Attitude Adjustment. So we've been living in Somerville for pretty close to five years now. While I moved here with an open mind and even a bit of excitement, I've never really fallen in love with the Boston area to put it kindly. I'm going to try to suck it up, deal with the overcrowding and horrible public transit and try to be somewhat positive about living here for now.

I'm looking forward to the next year.  I'm also terrified about what effects the Trump presidency will have on the world and on my life, but nothing to do but forge ahead and get ready to fight. And play some hockey. Yeah, I'm gonna play a lot of hockey.

Smiling Hill Farm with the Gilligans

This past weekend, Dani and I took a trip up to Portland to visit our good friends the Gilligans. First stop Saturday morning was to Smiling Hill Farm to pet some animals, ride a tractor and pick a pumpkin.  Although the weather kept us from the tractor ride and pumpkin picking, we still had a blast seeing all the farm animals.  I didn't take my nice camera, but I managed to get some fun shots with the iPhone.  I even took a selfie with a very handsome goat (which is much harder than it sounds).

May old 2013 ever be forgotten

As I sit here in the closing 36 hours of 2013 the first words that come to mind are, "thank fucking goodness this year is over!".  While this year has had it's highlights, those have been largely overshadowed by a couple of pretty crappy events.

The first being the Boston Marathon bombings. I was one of the unfortunate people to have a nearly front row seat to the awfulness from that day (which I wrote about here). While physically I came away unhurt, it still eats at my brain. It'll be hard to ever see the world the same way again. The other setback was tearing my ACL in my knee and having surgery the day after my birthday.  It's been tough going nearly six months so far without playing hockey. That's always been my primary stress relief and a major source of enjoyment.

But despite all of that, I also did have some pretty awesome stuff happen.  Dani and I went to Disney last January where we both took part in the half marathon through the parks.  I traveled to Chicago for the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo.  I got to do a little bit of sailing. I went to my first ever Stanley Cup finals game. And the Blackhawks beat the Bruins for their second Stanley up in four years (cough... 19 seconds... cough). And I finally got to see a bit of New York City, including my first trip to New York Comic Con.

I also switched jobs this year.  I left the creative agency behind and stepped into a lead development role with a young (start-upish) company.  It's been a crazy hectic year there, and I've put in a lot more time and work than I have in previous places. But I think in the end it will be worth it.  I also dissolved my LLC this year. I've decided to step back from extracurricular development for the most part so I can focus on some of my other interests.

So I sort of had this blog tradition of ever year going back over goals I set out the previous New Years and see how I did. And since I am one for tradition, here we go:

  • "In 2012 I went a little spend crazy on my toy collecting hobby.  2013 will bring fiscal responsibility."  - Eh... no comment
  • "Also in 2012 I kind of let my goal of not being a fat-ass go by the wayside.  I shall right that ship." - Torn ACL equaled sitting on my ass and getting fatter.
  • "Actually finish a personal project.  Time to rein in this project ADHD and actually finish one. Milkcap Museum, I'm looking at you!" - I am currently working on this now, so only half fail...
  • "Finally, I'd like to spend more time outdoors.  New England is beautiful, I must have more! Starting with finally learning to snowboard this month." - I did take a snowboard lesson, and went sailing a handful of times. So I tried right?

So not a lot of great accomplishments this year. But in my defense this has been a pretty rough year.  For 2014 my goals are less specific and more about being happier.

  1. Get my groove back. Spent way to much of 2013 depressed. It's time to be just be fucking awesome and not waste time with anyone who thinks otherwise!
  2. Live healthier... financially, physically, and emotionally.
  3. Draw something everyday. Doodle, sketch, illustration, whatever... Must. Be. More. Creative.

So yeah, that's about it other than a few pictures from the past twelve months below. Hoping everyone has a safe and Happy New Years!

The Day After

I have to keep writing this stuff down and talking about it. Keeping it inside is just too hard. Thanks for listening, it helps more than you know.

Firstly a thank you to everyone who has called, texted, tweeted, emailed and reached out to me. It truly means so much to know that everyone cares so much about myself, Dani and our family.

Secondly, thank you for all the interview requests. I appreciate the offers, but I'm not ready to do that. Feel free to use my stories about the event that I share here if it gives help and perspective in any way.

Last night did not go well. I was so tired I was able to fall asleep. But at 4 am I woke up and the first and only thing I could think about was what I saw yesterday. Every time my mind wanders, I see the explosions over and over again.  All the television and radio stations are talking about the events, it's been hard to see all the devastation over and over again.. I learned today that I witness three people die including an 8 year old. It's absolutely heart-breaking.

I came to the odd realization today that I was hit by a bomb. I was hit by the concussive force of a explosion which meant to and did kill and maim people. It's surreal. It's hard to put down those feelings in words. I was just far enough away that I wasn't hit hard enough to do any damage or stuck by any shrapnel. But it was a weird feeling when the adrenaline wears off, time is taken to reflect on what happened and reaize that I wasn't just a witness to this horrible thing.

After seeing the news today I also started to feel incredible guilty that I did not go back to help people like others did. I'm not sure what I could have done. I was pretty emotional and singularly focused on finding my family. I'm amazed and thankful or all those people who were willing to rush in and provide aid to those who needed it so much.

This afternoon I got around to downloading the pictures I took at the finish line. I have a bunch I took when we first got to our watching spot and then several of Dani I took when she ran past. Amount those I took was the one below of the crowd looking back towards the finish line. A far cry from how it would look 45 minutes later. It's kind of hard to tell, but I marked where my father in law, Tom, and I  were walking (white/blue) arrow and where the first bomb went off, the best I can remember. We were just walking past that second red awning when everything turned upside down. Tom said to me last night "Tori, we were so close...", and that has suck in my head ever since then. I still can't believe how close we were, and how incredibly lucky we were. 

We were right in front of the second red awing. (White/Blue arrow). Explosion was at the orange and white avenue.

Scariest Moment of my Life

I'm in bed with Dani. My ears are still ringing, but I have to get this down. Have to get this out of my head.

 It had been a great day so far. Dani had forgotten her GPS watch so Tom and I had ventured up to Hopkington, the start, this morning to bring it to her and stayed to watch everybody start their 26.2 mile trek down to Boston. Later in the afternoon Dani's parents, Tom and Jill, and I headed into Boston to watch Dani complete her first Boston Marathon.

Tom and I were there watching about half way between the finish line and the 26 mile marker.  Jill was waiting a little further past the finish line to meet up with us all after. Dani had just run by so Tom and I were walking down to the finish line to meet her. I had just gotten the text notification that she finished, and then about 20-30 feet in front of me something exploded.

The heat and concussive force hit me and for a second I couldn't hear anything. The ground shook and a huge fireball went up in the air. I just froze, I don't think in that moment I knew what happened. Tom asked if I was ok and started to pull me back when the second bomb went off very close to the first. Again I felt the force of the explosion and had some plastic shrapnel fall down on us.  Still frozen, all I could do was stare. There were people laying on the ground not moving.  There was smoke everywhere. I saw a guy running with his girlfriend in his arms... her jeans and legs torn apart and bleeding. So many people injured and bleeding running by.

Finally Tom pulled me around and away from and down Exeter where I promptly lost my shit and started bawling. I was so scared for Dani since I knew she was close to it as well. I texted her and thankfully got a response before all the cell communications got overwhelmed. Thank goodness both Dani and Jill were not hurt. We walked down the alley behind the finish line and people were tending to their injured friends and family members. The injuries were horrifying

It took a while, but all four of us were able to meet up. When I finally found Dani I hugged her close and did not want to let her go. We luckily found a cab and were able back home.

So now all I can do is think about the what-ifs. What if Tom and I had walked a little faster. What if the explosions had a been a few seconds later. Ten more feet and I probably would have been injured. A few more feet than that it could have been worse. I'm relieved that the people I love are safe. I'm devastated about all those that were hurt or killed. I'm so very angry that this happened. What kind of cowards bomb innocent people and won't claim it. What's the point?

Today was a close call. I don't think I'll ever be able to erase what I've seen today.