Archive for Jake

Year 2017 in review

Ah, the year 2017! An interesting year! (just apparently not interesting enough to write about)

Year 2017 | 2017 to 2018

First and foremost, yes, I know that I haven’t been really using this in the year 2017. I think the same issue came up that I mentioned in the previous (non-guest) post. I really didn’t have that much overall to report. But as I like to do, here is my year in review.

So let’s go down the list.

Firstly, Ashley moved here from Utah after getting a job as a revenue manager at a hotel in Denver. She moved to an apartment on the north side of Greenwood Village (though technically it’s Denver). Needless to say, I am quite happy because of this. It was difficult maintaining a relationship with someone in a different city. Now we are twenty minutes from one another (if there is no traffic) and we meet up at least once a week (though often times more) plus we both get Sundays together due to my work schedule.

Speaking of work, while I am still with Trustwave in the year 2017, some things have changed. I don’t fault my previous boss, but he and I really didn’t gel well. I know he was trying hard, and with my constant need to change my schedule, I am sure I wasn’t the easiest to manage. However, he has since changed positions and has even changed countries so I hope he is happy with his new role.

Needless to say, my stress levels went down at work and my performance metrics have gone up. I get along great with my current boss and, while I may change jobs in the future, I am content where I am now. I am even getting along with people who hated me from day one. Not really sure what happened there, but I can’t complain about this new development.

Health-wise, I still have my cough that the doctor says is nothing to worry about. I am changing insurance in 2018 and will have a whole new crop of doctors so I will get a second opinion from the new doctors. Ever since changing bosses, my blood pressure has gone down. Additionally, thanks to a new diet, I’ve lost more weight. I plan on losing more weight in 2018. So far, I’ve lost around 30 pounds.

I did get a new vehicle. My old Honda CRV needed a lot of work to keep it driveable. However, I decided that it was time to get a new vehicle. To that end, I purchased a year 2017 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Year 2017 | 2017 Toyota RAV4

I do like the gas mileage and the features. Firstly, it gets about 35 MPG which is 15 higher than my old car. It is also a hybrid so it functions off electric motors and, in traffic, can do 40 MPG or higher. I have had some minor issues with it. For example, the nav system locks up sometimes, but a reboot fixes it. I did have one critical issue where it refused to start and I had to have it towed to the dealership. Here is hoping that doesn’t happen again.

Overall though, I’ve mostly been doing what I usually do. I’ve done a few new experiences with Ashley and said goodbye to old friends. For example, in year 2017, Julia, a former girlfriend whom I’d become quite close with ever since we broke up, moved away to Michigan. She wouldn’t know this as I tend not to let things like this show, but I nearly cried at her going away party. I tried to keep things light and happy though.

I did go and visit with Ashley’s family in Utah in September. We spent the weekend at a resort and I got to spend more time with them. The last time, I was there for Christmas and got to meet them briefly over an evening. For Christmas this year, we are doing it again, so that will be interesting. As a result of that, I will be doing Christmas with my family a week early, but it works out for both myself and my sister so that we can go see our other families.

In 2018, the plan exists to move in with Ashley. Once my lease is up we will move in. Not sure where yet, but in February-ish, we will start looking and see if we can find a place we like. My lease isn’t up until June so we have a little while.

Anyways, that is the basic happenings of year 2017. It wasn’t a majorly eventful year, but I will honestly try to do even more in 2018 as far as blogging. Just had too many irons in the fire this year.

Here is to 2018!

Year 2017 | champagne

Guest Post: Self-Improvement for Your Holiday Wish List

 

Self-Improvement for Your Holiday Wish List

 

Every year, come the holidays, we have to make a list of things we really, truly want. It’s usually just material items and not always things we genuinely desire but simply saw advertised in a catalog. This year, why not encourage yourself to break tradition and ask for things that can improve your life? Whether it’s learning a craft, picking up an instrument, or trying your hand at a language you’ve always wanted to speak, here are some holiday wish-list ideas that can help you make improvements in your life.

 

Learn a Sport

 

Not only can playing a sport be an excellent form of exercise, it’s a way to meet new people. It can be a fun way to improve your health and make some new friends. If you’re having trouble picking one, look at what is being played locally in your town. Sports offer the physical benefit of exercise, and many can improve self-esteem and mental wellness. This year, treat yourself to something that will benefit you all year long and pick a new sport to engage in.

 

Learn to Play an Instrument

 

There are so many benefits to playing an instrument; not only can you improve your response and reaction time, it’s proven to keep your brain young as you age. It can seem intimidating to start, but it doesn’t have to be. Choose a string instrument, like a guitar—or even simpler, a ukulele—and start to learn easily.

 

Learn a Craft

 

A great investment this holiday season is learning a craft for yourself. Not only will you be learning something valuable, but the holidays are the perfect time for crafting. You can work with others to make presents and support local businesses when buying your craft supplies, and it turns out that crafting is actually quite good for your brain too! Even if it’s just learning to knit to keep your hands busy while you watch TV at the end of the day, learning how to craft is a great treat for this holiday season.

 

Learn to Cook

 

With how busy and hectic our lives are in this day and age, it’s easy to rely on takeout restaurants and premade food from the store to save time, effort, and energy when you’re exhausted after a long day of work. However, while is it often healthier to make your own meals, it can also save you money and can actually be a way to relax at the end of your day or week. Look to your local community center for affordable cooking classes.  You will learn new skills, and you’ll meet new people in an organic way. Sign up with a friend and have even more fun while you learn the basics, more complex techniques if you’re already familiar with cooking, or something specific—like how to make cocktails for seasonal dinner parties.

 

Learn a New Language

 

Let’s face it—learning a new language is one of the best things you can do for your brain’s health. But, it can also be a fun adventure for self-improvement. You can usually find a class at your local community center and find tutors locally as well to practice conversational speaking. There are also courses that offer immersive learning to really help you pick up your new language.

 

This year, take a break from the material aspect of the holiday season and learn something for self-improvement (and fun!) instead. You can do something to really benefit yourself for your entire life, all while supporting local businesses. Bring in friends or family to learn with you, and make it an entertaining way to socialize and spend time with your loved ones.

 

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Written by Julie Morris

 

Where did you go?

Life is hard but so very beautiful

I realize that it’s been over a year since I’ve posted here. Some have asked why did I stop using the blog. I suppose it’s a good thing. My life became busy. I hardly have time for gaming anymore much less blogging on a daily basis. However, I am going to try and rekindle this blog. I can’t say I’d be updating it regularly, but maybe every other week. Between work and all my other projects, it can be hard. Being a grown up is tough sometimes.

Canada Days 43-49

Canada Days 43-49

So this week, I had John in town. We ended up going out to dinner a lot more than I did with the previous person. This weekend, we went to the Toronto Zoo.

Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo

Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo Canada Days 43-49 | Toronto Zoo

 

We also tried to go to a laser tag place, but we unable to get in. Guess they don’t want us decimating the children. We did end up playing in Cambridge, but I don’t think John really enjoyed himself. I didn’t exactly go easy on him.

 

Sunday, we went to a Casino as John hadn’t been in a while, much less while he was up here. I didn’t do well, but I never expect to. He actually made a little money, but nothing to quit your job over.

 

Only a few days left. For some reason, I thought that an 8am flight would be a good idea. That means I need to be at the airport 3 hours prior, which means 5am, plus one hour for the drive, so that means leaving at 4am. So get up at 3am, check out of the hotel and head to Toronto. Still it will be nice to be home.

 

When I get home there will be a new set of challenges, but I’ll deal with those when I get there. So to everyone that has missed me for these 50+ days, I’m coming back!

 

I understand that today (Wednesday) it snowed in Denver (though looking at the cameras it seems to have melted). Funny that there is no snow up here, but I suppose we are close to a body of water which might act like a thermal storage device.

Canada Days 28-43

Canada Days 28-43

It’s been tough to keep at this (I want to be in the moment and somehow stopping to take pictures detracts from that), but rest assured I do have things I did. So here are some of the things I’ve done in these 20 days

 

Niagara Falls

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Hockey rink in a shopping mall (go figure)

Canada Days 28-43 2015-10-24 12.16.42 Canada Days 28-43

Ontario Science Center

Ontario Science Center Canada Days 28-43

Air Combat Zone (F-18 Fighter Jet Simulators)

Air Combat Zone Canada Days 28-43 Air Combat Zone Canada Days 28-43

Royal Ontario Museum

Museum Canada Days 28-43 Museum Canada Days 28-43 Museum

Side note: Subway in Canada has Cheddar Cheese Slices! (Why not in the United States?)

Subway Canada Days 28-43 Subway Canada Days 28-43

 

There are also some things I’ve done that I didn’t take photos for

  • Visited Eaton Mall
  • Played games at palladium (big arcade)
  • Various restaurants
  • Played at Casinos

It has been a memorable experience. I will be returning home on the 13th of November. It will be nice to be home (though I’ll admit it will be harder since I can’t expense everything). Still, I look forward to returning to the USA. It has been a memorable time. I’ll admit that aside from a handful of things, very little is different from here to the United States overall. It feels a little like Fort Collins to be honest. However, it was a pleasure meeting people and generally enjoying an area that I would not normally get to go to, much less on the company dime. There may be other opportunities in the future to go to other places across Europe and Asia. Maybe these will come to pass.

Canada Day 11-27

Canada Day 11-27

It has been a long few days. I’ve gone and done a few things for fun. One thing we (my co-worker and I) have done is visit the Royal Ontario Museum. It was a little like a jack of all trade museum. They had various sections, from life to ancient Canada to geology. I found this million dollar loonie coin interesting:

Canada Day 11-27 | Million Dollar Coin Canada Day 11-27 | CoinCanada Day 11-27 | Coin

 

One interesting thing I saw was that Subway up here actually has Cheddar. Needless to say, if you know me, you know that makes me very happy.

Canada Day 11-27 | Subway Canada Day 11-27 | Subway

This Friday, I am taking my co-worker home, and I think I’ll go visit Niagara falls. The weekend before, we ran into an issue with Canadian Thanksgiving. I had to work on the day that I would normally venture out. But that shouldn’t be an issue from now on. Some of the other things I might do is an fighter jet simulator, Legoland, and a haunted house. I did visit a cheese store as well. It was the first time I found sharp cheddar up here. Admittedly, it’s 30 minutes away, but it is good. We also went to a casino, and I doubled my money. $200 CAD turned into $410 CAD. Whee!

Canada Day 10

Canada Day 10

Today, we did the toursity stuff I wanted to do last Sunday. Robert and I went and did the Ripley’s Aquarium and the CN tower. I’ll tell ya though, they are not messing around with security at the CN tower. Not only is there a metal detector and a bag search, but after you buy your ticket, there is one of those air puff scanners as well.

Canada Day 10 | Outside the tower Canada Day 10 | Aquarium Canada Day 10 | View from top of tower Canada Day 10 | View from top of tower Canada Day 10 | View from top of tower Canada Day 10 | View from top of tower Canada Day 10 | Glass floor

After that, we went to a Poutinery

It was interesting. Admittedly, I’m not a huge gravy fan, but it wasn’t bad.

Canada Day 9

Canada Day 9

Canada Day 9 | Laser Quest

Today, since my Co-Worker works on Saturdays, I decided to do some things that most people don’t enjoy as much as I do. I was planning on hitting Laser Quest and then a Laser Runner, but I realized two things:

  1. I didn’t bring my emergency inhaler
  2. I’m not as spry as I used to be

Needless to say, after 2 games I was having trouble breathing and figured I’d better stop. When I do go to Laser Runner, I’ll take it easy and just be tactical instead of physical. Had lunch at a nice German place and generally just bummed around for the day until it was time to pick Robert up.

Canada Days 4-8

Canada Days 4-8

Nothing too much to report for these days. I mostly worked and went back to the hotel. On day 7 I attended a hiring fair for my company. Sadly, most of the people there were Developers and not operations. We might have 1-2 though to fill the security operations center here. Did also spend day 7 with the recruiting team (after the hiring fair). If you are looking for a job in the Waterloo, Kitchner area though let me know. We are looking for Developers and Operations people.

Canada Day 4-8 | Interviews

Canada Day 3

Canada Day 3

Canada Day 3 | AGO

Today is the day that I pick up my Co-Worker. Yay, no longer “alone” here. I decided that rather than drive up there and then drive back, I’d go to Toronto and just goof off. Went to the Art Gallery of Ontario, it was interesting. The basement had model ships. The remaining floors had what you’d expect from an art gallery. I was excited about the photography wing, but it was all photos from Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Still, the museum was interesting. Then it was time to pick Robert up from the airport.

 

What I learned today:

  • Toronto Airport has 2 arrival areas, good to know.
  • Baseball a big thing? I went downtown originally to see the aquarium and ran into a Toronto Blue Jays game that was jamming up the city. Apparently it’s not just hockey. I suppose the Rockies do the same thing.