Time to begin the slow and unpredictable process of change. Time to buckle down and start capturing the many thoughts and events of my life before they escape me. Time to stop waiting for changes and start making them happen. Time to begin creating my online persona.
Let's start with some context.
It's Monday, September 30th, 2013. The NHL season is getting ready to start. The MLB regular season is over (at least for the Atlanta Braves) and the post-season is about to begin. We're four weeks into the NFL season and, thus, four weeks into my fantasy football league season (Let The Wookiee Win is 1-3, yikes).
I just got back from vacation in Orlando with my wife's family. We ate at Bubba Gump's in Universal Studios, took my four kids to Disney World's Magic Kingdom for a day, went to Kennedy Space Center (which has an awesome Atlantis space shuttle exhibit), relaxed at the pool, and spent some quality time with relatives we rarely get to see. And even though I don't really like Orlando (and I have come to despise Disney World), it was mostly good.
Then my mom nearly died from an unexpected heart attack. She was visiting my brother's family in Macon while we were in Florida. It started with pain in her elbows and wrists, which gradually got worse. Then tingling sensations in her hands and feet. Then nausea. Then profuse sweating. Then realization of what was happening.
Long story short, it was a stressful event for everyone involved, but thankfully it ended well. She eventually made it to the hospital where an emergency cardiac catheterization was performed to place a stent in a blocked vein. That took care of all immediate problems, and my mom said she felt better (almost normal) not long after. She had to stay in ICU for two nights, but then my dad was able to take her home Friday. She had another scare this morning due to complications with the meds she is now required to take (and she's in the hospital as I type), but prescriptions have been modified and she's doing ok. Will probably go home tomorrow. And at least this time I was able to go see her in the ER and make sure she was doing ok before going into work.
Back at our household, we get home from vacation only to find that our HOA is fining us for a broken window, and they are requiring us to get our house painted. Not only that, but we also find out that a doctor's office visit for my oldest son's broken finger from earlier this summer claims we are delinquent in paying a bill. Supposedly this bill was mailed to use on three separate occasions; however, no bills have ever arrived.
Two friends from college are getting married, and their wedding is less than two weeks away. It's a trip to Nashville that my wife and I have been planning to make for months - without kids - the first trip without kids in about 8 years. But that's pretty much out the window now. I'm supposed to be a groomsmen. Pants have been rented, vest and shoes have been bought, and hotel reservations have been made. But now I'm not sure I can make it at all.
This brings us to today.
I've been building up to this moment pretty much all summer. Even though I've been working as a successful software engineer for the past eight years (six of which have been at my current company, where I am Technical Architect and Team Lead), all of my work has been closed source for private companies. I have been the largest contributor to the software projects that have turned a $20 million company into a $120 million company, but nobody knows who I am in the outside world.
I have a GitHub account (two, actually), but there's very little to show from them. I spent what little spare time I had this summer on StackOverflow to build up a little reputation, mostly just for fun, where the coveted Fanatic gold badge still eludes me (made it 90 days before dropping the ball). I have submitted patches to the Spring framework (before they were on GitHub) and have contributed to Jira issues for Spring Integration. I also follow the Gradle development mailing list with some interest. I am a member of AJUG, and I occasionally get to attend certain tech Meetups for Spring, MongoDB, and JBoss user groups. I'm also very interested in learning Ruby.
I got inspired at the beginning of the summer to finally work on a personal project of mine, but I never had time to seriously work on it. I bought myself the nicest hardware I could afford, spent some money on a domain name, and planned to leverage some of the coolest PaaS and DBaaS solutions that are out there, but I've yet to deploy anything.
Partly by choice and partly from circumstance, I currently have no online persona. I enjoy some amount of anonymity (most of my online usernames up to this point have not used my actual name), and I have avoided wasting my time on social media.
- I have no Facebook account.
- I had no Twitter account.
- I barely use LinkedIn.
And I also had no blog.
Then I found Silvrback and I knew it was time.
I really admire Damian Sowers and the quality product he has put together here. I had looked for decent hosted blogging platforms before (I had even dabbled with Wordpress at one time) and always liked the look of Medium, but I always wanted a simple Markdown-based solution and never found something that suited me. That was ok before because I didn't have time to blog anyway. But now it's different. I need to make time.
I signed up as an early adopter for Silvrback, got my invitation, and here I am. I even started a Twitter account too.
So thank you, Damian, for providing this critical piece to the puzzle, and for doing it at just the right time. Now I can begin to build this online persona and look toward whatever changes the future holds. Maybe I'll even have some motivation to work on other personal projects of mine (like that ESPN Fantasy Football web scraping library I want to write as a way to learn Ruby).
And thus, a blog is born.
Happy birthday, Blog. Hope to see you again soon.