Another fond farewell to Cody

It has been a while since we originally said goodbye to Cody. He has been back for a month or two now from college, and will be moving to Seattle on Friday to make games and be awesome. We’ll keep in touch, though–he has agreed to help me with Project AwesomeSquirrel.

The tone of this blog is going to change some over the next few weeks, or at least that’s my goal. There will be more of a focus on writing–that is, on style and tone, how to write, and observations about writing. I look forward to stretching and working.

But not today, because I wrote this last night around 10:15 p.m. after a very long day of work followed by wishing Cody a happy trip. Instead, let me share with you an iPhone 4 review I found inspiring. I couldn’t read this style for too long (this article pretty much hit my limit), but I enjoyed it in this context.

Moving to the Library

Am I busy? Yes. But it’s also wonderful.

If you follow my Twitter you’ve already got a good idea what the last few days have been like. We’ve been booked solid, working or running errands all day and entertaining every evening, so we haven’t had a lot of downtime, let alone writing time. In the last three days I’ve found an hour to learn Evernote and forty-five more minutes to transcribe notes into it and play with organization schemas. I’m also learning/trying Remember the Milk as a task list and I’m liking it quite a bit better than anything I have tried before.

The current flurry of activity has a few different catalysts. On the social side, we have become increasingly active at Vineyard, the church we have joined. There have been birthday parties, going away parties, dinner parties, luncheons, and a variety of other things going on, and we’re really liking all the people we have met so far. It’s been a good time, but it has also taken a lot of time. In addition, my old friend Cody is back in town for a week, so we had him and a few others over for dinner and a movie last night and we’re LANning on Thursday night. Busy busy.

On the work side, I’m moving over to the Missouri State Library. Tomorrow. I’m not changing jobs or anything–my title is still Centralized User Support Specialist for Computer Services–but I will be in the computer lab on the second floor of the library. Previously this lab was run by ETC (Educational Technology Center), but talks have been going back and forth for years now for Computer Services to take over operations there. Now we have, and I’m moving over there to oversee everything. It’s going to be a lot of new challenges, but I’m extremely excited for the possibilities there. We’re going to do a lot of new things and I’m anxious to experiment.

Suffice it to say that I’ve been exhausted most evenings, yet still busy. We were running all last weekend, and though it was all fun and enjoyable stuff, it also didn’t allow much time for writing or reflection. I’ve stalled on the book I’m reading as well, because even that time has been lost.

There’s nothing going on tonight, though I may go to the pub after work, so I would ostensibly like to get some writing done… but I’m also very, very tired. I may end up crashed out on the Sumosac to read and go to bed around eight.

I have to be at work at seven in the morning tomorrow, for the library opens earlier than anywhere else on campus (except for our Cheek Hall Open-Access Computer Lab, which is open 24 hours a day most of the week). The new schedule will take some getting used to, just like everything else, but I’m up to it. I can’t wait to start over there and begin getting things sorted.

Oh, and on the collarbone front, it’s still broken, but it is better. I stopped wearing the sling on Saturday and, though it has been somewhat painful/uncomfortable, it is going OK. I have my follow-up X-Rays tomorrow morning to make sure it’s healing well, and if it is then that means no surgery. If it’s not… well, they’ll have to rebreak it and schedule surgery for me. Praying for the former, and I’m fairly confident that it’ll all be fine.

I’m being taken out to lunch today since it’s my last day in the Help Desk (I’m switching from the faculty/staff side to the student side of the house), but I wanted to at least jot something here quickly to let people know why I’ve been incommunicado. I’ve got one or two dozen things in Evernote I’d like to write, I just need to find the time to do it.

Until then.

What’s your working space?

cleandesk

I decided to do some cleaning on Saturday, prompted by needing some room for my Macbook. I kicked myself halfway through the process for not taking a picture before I began, because my desk was all kinds of gross: covered in milk splatters from where I eat my cereal every morning; papers, receipts, books, trash, and dirty dishes crowding the workspace; where the Macbook is now, a large, black tower PC previously resided; the monitor was far closer to the front of the desk.

I needed room to move the Macbook down onto the keyboard tray, which meant I needed room to move the keyboard somewhere else (a giant Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, which I HIGHLY recommend; more on ergonomics on Wednesday). I’d previously been using the laptop on the small table in our formal dining room, and the height was too high to be comfortable for my arms. And I also wanted to move my desktop (which still drives the Dell LCD monitor) down onto the floor.

My rather small desk was originally purchased to fit into my bedroom back when I lived in a townhouse with a couple mates of mine. The room was maybe half the size of my current office, and between a twin bed, this desk, and my computer chair, it was packed. Obviously, height rather than width was a priority, but now that I have room to spread out, my desk can be occupied by more personal rather than just essential items.

Up top are two pictures. On the left is my niece Lynette, who died in a car accident in 2001. She’d just had her senior pictures taken a month before she died, and I keep my favourite on my desk where I can always look up and see her smiling.

The picture on the right is of my wife April and me on our first date (which happened to be on Valentine’s Day in 2006) and serves as part of the frame for a wood carving from my friend Cody. This may be one of my favourite gifts ever, and has some good inside jokes built into it.

Stubbs was my nickname from grade school (based on my last name, Stublefield), and doing a roundhouse kick above my name is Chuck Norris in all his glory. To the left of my name is a cutout of the pope holding a staff, a reference to my nick in Counterstrike for a long time: The Pope (followed later by Gun Totin’ Pope when my doubles teammate ditched out on me; our team name had been The Fundamentalists, despite the fact that I wasn’t Christian at the time). The words on the right say, “It’s DM Magic!” For those of you who know, dmmagic is my new(est) online nick, and I’ve been slowly converting accounts to it for the last year. This is a reference to my many years of running Dungeons & Dragons for our group of friends, and it became a catch-phrase for explaining why something happened the way it did.

Below all this are my Klipsch speakers, which flank my various D&D manuals and my collector’s edition of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King.

I refer to the D&D manuals occasionally when writing fantasy fiction, and the Ptolus book is mostly there to remind me of my hubris and what not to do (I should probably write an in-depth review of Ptolus some day…).

What’s your working space like? Do you keep it cluttered or neat? And are ergonomics a primary concern for you or just a big word you could care less about?

Ironic Independence

Earlier today, I started to update my Facebook status with a saying (or something very near what we were saying) from last night. April and I went out to Cody’s parent’s house to celebrate the 4th of July, and we commented (as so many do) that we were celebrating our country’s independence by blowing up a small portion of it. Of course, we didn’t really–blow up a part of our country, that is–but we did get a number of parachutes caught in power lines and trees, dropped them on his neighbour’s homes and into their yards, and left long streaks of ash and char upon the street. Lots of explosions and pretty lights filled the neighbourhood.

As I typed my status into Facebook, however, I realized that it could be misconstrued as somewhat terroristic. “Matthew celebrated Independence Day by blowing up a part of America!” That just seemed like a bad idea in today’s climate of governmental paranoia and arrest-first-torture-later. The Supreme Court finally ruled that terrorist suspects deserve a trial, but that took 5+ years. It’d be silly to get myself arrested for something so minor as a Facebook status.

Regardless, the somewhat silly line of thought left me with the amused realization that our current state of affairs has left us 1) fearing terrorists who blow things up but 2) celebrating our independence by blowing things up.

I’m not the first to wonder whether we give up too much for the sake of security, and I don’t have any deep concluding thought, but it was an intriguing realization. It puts me in mind of I Am Legend, which Kevin (my boss) recommended to me on Thursday. I haven’t read it yet, but I think I’ll have to now: we must always be wary of becoming that which we fear most. How does Harvy Dent put it in the upcoming Batman movie?

Oh yes. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Week of Cody

Last January, Cody left us for Orlando, Florida so he could attend some crappy school to learn something completely worthless. This week, for one week only, he has returned.

I’ve been preparing for a couple of weeks now, buying the requisite books, planning a LAN party, making phone calls and scheduling people, etc. And I had hoped to get a set of stories together so they could go live this week, because I knew I’d be unable to write.

Then last week hit. I was able to keep up with writing, but I wasn’t able to get ahead. I couldn’t focus on Thursday night, and on Friday we went out for fondue with some people I work with, followed by a movie at church. Early on Saturday, April and I began the trip to Kansas City so we could attend my old friend Justin’s wedding, and immediately afterwards we went to an Asian Lawn Party with April’s brother, Adam. When we arrived back on Sunday, we had enough time to unload the car, eat, and sit for at least half an hour (maybe even a whole hour, I don’t recall) until I was required to put on my robe and wizard hat and do some role-playing at Dan’s. Suffice it to say that when I got home after 11 p.m. on Sunday, I elected to sleep rather than write.

So, it’s Tuesday, and still there are no new stories for this week. Last night, April and I went to see a house (more on that tomorrow), and then spent the rest of the evening looking up houses online. Tonight, I’m running a new game of Dungeons & Dragons (4th edition) in honour of Cody’s week back in Springfield. I’ll be hanging with Brenda tomorrow evening, and then throwing a LAN party for Cody on Thursday. I might write on Friday, but I might also spontaneously combust. Only time will tell.