Design, Programming, Music and Life

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Watching the kids bloom

10:35 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , , , No comments
Summer has finally hit at my house, the kids are all out of school and Donna has been working days as often as possible, while I have been trying to fit in my Web Design work as much as I can surfing the day. On a good day, I can fit in a good 3-5 hours worth of work, so I have to change something soon to allow me a little more time each day to dedicate to my work. I should also remember to fit in my family time during some evenings, since I'm spending the days primarily with the kids during the week, and the wife has the weekends off. I'll figure it all out, it just might take me a couple weeks.

On a different note, I started to do some stretches and katas with my kids during the days. They are seeing the katas more like yoga right now, whatever floats their boat I say. Taking what I learned from Kuk Sool Won and Aikido, I'm trying my best to only show them things that will help others around them. Mandie has really been the one who likes it the most so far, the boys haven't found what they like about it. I keep on telling them that they will eventually find what they like about it, they just have to practice with me. I'm not planning on showing my kids how to hit, kick or even block. I'm planning on showing them how to redirect. This way we can not have any focus on violence, and the focus is on finding a balance. I figure we get into it over the summer, and when winter hits, we find ways to use some of the fluid motions around the house. Who knows, this might be the key to getting them to clean!!

Our collection of flowers and plants in the house has also taken off lately, we have over 20 plants. This is incredible for us, since we have never had a green thumb, but all of a sudden, plants are sprouting and growing up. I am thinking it is because this summer, we have a healthy Willow, so that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

All about Jenga

1:24 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , , , No comments
Yesterday was a bit of an odd day. It was planned out from the beginning, and most of it was executed to plan, with the exception of a few things. But the day started off on a bit of an odd note, and when I was explaining something to my wife, I used a reference to Jenga. Then later on that day, I had been doing something else, and I said it was like Jenga again. WTF? Why would I mention a game I haven't seen or played for years, twice in one day?

I spend the rest of my day doing my thing, then when my wife and I were talking about it later that night, we had both thought that if another Jenga something came into play later on that day, it has to be a sign for something. Well, the day went by, and we finished out all of our planned activities with minimal difficulty, then when I got to the relaxing part of my evening, I pulled out my iPad, and opened up Draw Something, and noticed i had one game that was my turn. I clicked the play button, and watched my friend guess my previous artistic rendering of a word, then it was my turn. And there the word was again, Jenga.

I cant seem to resist tempting fate sometimes, so I clicked on the word, and proceded to draw a Jenga game, then my iPad crashed, and the app closed. Before i could hit the send button. When I opened it back up, Jenga was not on the word list for that game. So I just picked a random word and did my best to depict it. The Jenga and the game crashing was my third sign, and it also explained what the sign was pointing to.

Earlier that week, I had been offered another contract position for a local company, and I was seriously considering taking their offer and balancing the work between them, and the company I am currently doing web work for. The prospect of doing both of those contracts would be great for our current financial abilities, but it would have also beeen a lot of work. Seeing as my Wife's current employer has adjusted her hours to allow her more work durring the week, this whole thing would have possibly come toppling down, just like a Jenga game.

The lesson here is that it doesnt matter how well i can do something, or how much money i can make doing so, because if I try to build my tower too high, using the same pieces I use as a foundation, things are likely to come crashing down with the slightest disruption. Do I really want to put myself in that position? Not really. I think I'll stick with my current pace, and when this job is done, I will take another offer.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Family Picnic

9:18 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , , No comments
So today, we did our normal Sunday morning thing, but when it came to lunch time, we changed things up a bit and went to Meijers for non perishable groceries and Lunchables. Then we set out to find a park we haven't been to yet. We ended up going to a ball field by Lamoreaux Park, and had a picnic there. Then the kids also got to play a bit in the field. They all had fun, and it was a nice break from the norm of rushing home, doing the dishes, and then finally making lunch.

It was a nice little break from the norm, and it got me to thinking a little bit about how we usually spend time with our families. Typically, I count being in the same room with my kids as spending time with them, but I have been missing the clue. The interaction is what our kids need, not us just being there with them. In the long run, it doesn't really matter what we are doing with them, as long as it is something.  

A life on the line

5:07 PM Posted by Jon West , , , , , , , , No comments
I'm trying to make myself remember to post more often, but it doesn't always happen the way I want it. This is also because I am trying to remind myself to stop working and spend more time with my Wife and kids. So it is a double edged sword, so to speak.

On the subject of employment and work, I have been happily helping out a local limo and party bus rental company with a couple websites they run. This job has been running for a couple weeks now, and I'm making a lot of progress on their sites. So far, I have mostly finished fixing all the issues with one site. The only thing left on that is adding a payment feature that somehow ties in to an old, unsupported version of Vacation Rental Script 4 (VRS4). And to make things worse, the PHP for the system has been obfuscated, and there is no record of the key... Well, there is that brick wall... So I have come up with a couple options for this: a) Pass the variable for current_property_rate to another system, like Paypal or, but I would have to set up a second site to handle just that one function, like a simple, but expandable Joomla site with a shopping cart and payment component. Or b) I could put a different custom package into each of the rental property listings that will just shortcut to a paypal or payment form, but that will require me to calculate both a downpayment and pay in full number for every property by hand, and continue to do so for each new property. I so wish I could just add a payment function to this site as is. :(

Now that I am thoroughly depressed again, let's move on to some of the positive things I have done with the sites. I started a new Joomla site for the Rental Property site, already finished redoing the logo and designing a template for it. Added slideshow, payment, and rental property organization to the site already, and it will look great once I get the properties in there. But that requires a new expensive component that we are holding off on till I am ready. On the Limo and Partybus rental site, I have already finished building The site and getting 90% of the article info and links into the site. All I have to do on that is format the pages, and move the 100's of photos to a slideshow, sorted by article. On this site, I was able to build a seamless experience from mobile to full desktop browser, with no change in the UI. This is great for them, because it kills two birds with one stone, and saves me some time down the road as well as them some time in the future.

I still have to add up the time I spent on the web sites today, and get that sent out, but I at least got a whole lot of work done on it all this week, despite me being out of commission till Wednesday. I also got to save a friend from a live or death experience too! He had gone and updated his computer to the new Windows 8 release preview, and had lost years of photos in the process, so it was only a matter of time for the poor guy, before his wife would end his life for him, saving him the trouble of having to to do it himself. Me, being the nice guy I am, put my skills to work and was able to recover all the photos plus all of his documents and downloads too. Took me about 15 minutes, so not bad on time consumption. I am glad though that the fix was an easy one and he didn't actually loose everything in the long run. LOL, even though the thought of his wife beating him up is rather amusing.