DJ Badger:  The News and the Journal

Entry Fifty-Six.
Thursday, 2007.11.01, 11:11 PM CST.
Halloween 2007... and Re-Prioritization.

Well, October has come and gone.  It wasn't the easiest month, especially since my mother's birthday was on the 18th.  Also, I have been under the weather off and on for the last couple of weeks, with an intermittent fever that has occasionally run up around 101° F.

Halloween went well.  I haven't really been all that excited about Halloween over the last couple of years, but this year I was looking forward to it a lot more than usual since I now have a son.

Yesterday, I took X out to a church-run "pumpkin patch" to pick out a pumpkin.  Of course, since he is only a little under seven months old, he had no idea what was going on, but hopefully he enjoyed the pretty colours of the pumpkins.

I bought a really decent, round one and headed home.  I had been juggling around different ideas in my head regarding the exact way that I wanted to carve the pumpkin.  I knew that I could go with something traditional since it was X's first Halloween, or I could go with something really disturbing or disgusting.  However, I decided to go with something different.

I present...  The X-o-Lantern™.

X-O-Lantern Picture 1

Yes, those were actual pictures of the X-o-Lantern™.  The only things I adjusted in Fireworks were the brightness/contrast settings.  This was the first time I'd carved a pumpkin for Halloween in over 10 years.  Not bad, eh?

At our new home, Lanna and I weren't sure how many trick-or-treaters we would have.  I'd say that only about 12-15 kids showed up.  Also, a few of Lanna's family members came by to see X in his costume (he was a penguin).  All in all, I think Halloween went okay this year.

It's time for some major changes...

Since Mum's death in July, I have obviously been going through a long period of introspection.  Unfortunately, this "introspection" has forced me into a bit of a psychological rut.  As Trent Reznor sang quite some time ago, "every day is exactly the same."

I think that I can at least say that I've made some recovery since she passed away.  To say that it has been difficult would be an understatement.  It's been over three months, and part of me is disappointed that I'm not more "over it."  But, I guess different people must react differently to such an event.  I am "functional," but I know that I still have a lot of healing to do.

I've been trying to find a new "day job," but it's been tougher than I expected.  In the meantime, I have done a decent job playing the role of "stay-at-home dad," and it has given me a much greater opportunity to bond with X.

Still, I feel like I've been stuck in that aforementioned rut.  Between the physiological illness I've recently endured and my psychological issues surrounding my recent life changes (new kid, new home, no mum), I feel like my brain is now forcing itself to make a few major decisions.  So, here are a couple of things that I've decided...

I need to learn more valuable technological skills.
This is a fact of which I have been aware for quite some time.  Last year, after liberating myself from the bonds of Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group (those bastards), I took some time off to learn a few new programming languages and Web development tools.  Unfortunately, I only really learned CSS, but I ended up also buying books to teach myself ASP.NET, PHP/MySQL, Java, and some other relevant stuff.

So, I've decided that it's time that I finally learn all of these and basically raise my skillset up a bit, which will then make me vastly more valuable in the job market.  I have started by reintroducing myself to Adobe's Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) and improving my old, rudimentary Flash skills.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do after I finish polishing up my Flash knowledge, but I have no plans of giving up.

So, wish me luck.

I need to understand the value of friendships and rediscover past friends.
This is a big one with me.  I will be the first to admit that I don't have many close friends, and often I tend to lose touch with friends over time.  I've been making a conscious effort to track down, revisit, and rebuild some special old friendships.  Last year, I re-established contact with Kevin and Billy (essentially two of my best friends, from the early days of EKG), and Billy even visited my mother in the hospital and then attended her funeral.  (Kevin lives far away, unfortunately, so he couldn't make it.)

Within these last few months, I've made efforts to find and re-contact a number of other old friends.  I've even managed to find my old DJ mentor, Dave, and we've corresponded a bit.

Basically, I want to have more friends and better friendships.  There are much more fulfilling and important things in this life than sitting behind a computer like I often do (even though sometimes I really do need to do so).

This brings me to a major point, which I want to make before I head off and sleep...

Hold on to your friends.  When you care about people, make sure they know it.  Take the time to enjoy experiences (like dinner, coffee, a trip to the park, or even just hanging out in your living room watching videos) with the people you love.  You don't have to spend a lot of money to tell your friends how special they are.  Never let them feel neglected, and never let them feel as if you've forgotten them.  Time is too precious to waste, and you never know when it will be the last time you get to see somebody.

To paraphrase one of the nicest and most insightful IT guys I ever met, a gentleman named Chester Beebe, "Time is really all we have."  He made a great point there.  Take advantage of the time you have.  It's a precious resource and too many people in this world take it for granted.

I know that I certainly did so, for far too long.

Good night...  More later.