The last few months have been very interesting for me. A couple of doors have closed and several others have opened. Life is like that!

A giant project at work just wrapped up, and the team I was working with was very successful. We’ve gotten attention from all over IT and said we were a “model for how Sysadmins and Programmers should work together.” The project was to work on the speed of our online catalog – which is the biggest application on the website, and the one that receives the most traffic. It’s been great to dig into the “hard problems” and figure out what was actually wrong… which wasn’t any one thing, but a bunch of things that all combined together equaled a giant mess. My background as both a Systems Engineer and a Java Developer has been invaluable.

The data speaks for itself. Before: (11.9 seconds from here in the US, and you don’t want to know what it was overseas!)

And here’s that same page today: (3 seconds!)

I’m getting started on another project now that’s like this one, but it’s for an internal-facing application that WebPageTest can’t hit. (Well, the public version anyhow!) The new app I’m working on is one of the most hated apps internally… if we can deliver the same type of results people will be very happy. (I dunno if it’ll happen. It’s a lot more complex than a catalog page.)

The last few months have not all be positive. The biggest door that shut is that after four years I have made the decision to leave the staff and Board of Directors for Rocket City FurMeet. This year was pretty rough, and something happened on Sunday afternoon that set in motion a series of events that ultimately led to me stepping down six weeks later. (I won’t go over what happened here on LJ out of respect for RCFM. It would not be a healthy thing for them or myself to rehash what’s already been settled.) RCFM was a big piece of my life the last few years and it’s been weird not having it there, but it was just time for me to move on.

Do I have second thoughts? No. I did at first, but now I am sure I made the right decision. It was a hard one to make — I had invested many hours of my time into that convention. I wrote the registration tool RCFM used the last two years completely from the ground up… I went from nothing to (what I think is, anyhow) one of the slickest convention registration systems I’d ever seen. This year myself and a friend ran the registration room, and while we were both totally green at it, the lines never got very long and not once was the computer system a bottleneck. I’m still quite proud of that and I’m kinda sad that it won’t be used anymore, but that’s just a risk I took when I invested so much time into something like that. Oh well!

Do I miss it? Sorta. I miss what RCFM was when it was “what furries do on vacation.” It had changed so much the last few years that I hardly recognized it anymore and certainly was not the convention that I fell in love with.

Once I recover from the stress that the last few weeks of RCFM caused I’ll consider myself a free agent and look around for another con that might need some help — hopefully one that’s closer to Texas this time! If I can find some folks to go with me I’ll make Furry Fiesta my “spring” con and keep MFM as my “fall” con.

On a happier note, I have been dieting since RCFM and have managed to drop 23 lbs so far. My goal is to drop 30 before MFM (Labor Day). I don’t think I’ll make 30, but it’ll be 27-28, which is excellent no matter how you look at it. After MFM I don’t intend to stop and would like to be down 50 by Christmas. My trainer at the gym thinks I can drop 100 in the next year, but I think he’s crazy. 🙂 I do intend to take a little bit of a break around MFM and have some fun with my friends. I won’t go nuts, but I will allow myself to go out to eat with friends if the opportunity presents itself.

I have been fighting the urge to get on the scale more than once a week. I have an “official weigh-in” every Monday morning on my bathroom scale, and then I never get on it again for the rest of the week. I’ve made the mistake of getting on a scale every day before and driven myself nuts – it’s amazing how much your weight can go up or down over the course of a few days. The key is that you want it to trend downward (or remain the same, I guess)… but you’ve gotta know that it’s not going to be steady no matter what you do.

I am at a crossroads at work. When I started this job I promised I’d give myself two years to see if I was a good fit or not. I’m coming up on the two year mark and I’m still not sure of the answer to that question. I go back and forth and have good days and bad days — but I admit that’s totally normal in any job.

What has me concerned is trying to figure out what the career path is for me here. It’s not very clear at the moment. My heart is in the web and has been my entire professional career… but there’s only so many places for a web person to be at this company. I’m not qualified to work in R&D and not really all that interested in being a manager. (The thought of having to deal with people and budgets all day sounds TOTALLY unappealing.) I like hard tech problems. I like solving hard tech problems… but I don’t want to get myself right back into the same position I was in at Mad River where I’d been promoted as far as I could go and was backed into a corner.

And that’s what I’ve been up to the last few months. I’ve been working crazy numbers of hours, getting really stressed out at life changes and dieting. That sums it up in a nutshell. 🙂

Oh, and on a totally random note, Apple’s AirPlay and the Remote App for iPhone is awesome!!

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