The BLT (Books, Learning, and The Usual)

Well, it’s been a really long time since I last updated my blog and let everyone know what’s been going on in my life. In essence, I’ve been busy as usual, but have made progress by leaps and bounds in most things I’m actually involved in, and also have a new addition to our (Melissa and my) family (more to come later).

So, a few weeks ago, Melissa and myself went to Denver, Colorado for a break from College Station and so that I could take some training in the infamous (and totally ripped off) programming language C# using the ASP.NET 2.0 framework. The reason I say it’s totally ripped off is that if you learn the language and learn Java (or vice-versa), you’ll notice that C# = Java. Barring that fact, I had a really cool instructor named Michael who kept me interested in learning the language and I did learn a lot. Essentially, I learned the syntax and how C# works and afterwards learned how to use Visual Studio 2005 along with parts of the Framework and how to create ASP.NET websites - simple ones at least. Besides the awesome (yet expensive learning) that it was, Melissa and I got to know her Aunt Kathy and Uncle Greg as well as do fun and cool things around Denver, a town that I haven’t been to in a long time.

While we were in Denver and staying at Aunt Kathy’s place, I fell in love with their large Lab and Golden Retriever dogs. It reminded me of how much I had always wanted a big dog, but never had one. They were extremely sweet animals and I told Nissa that we had to get a dog sometime in the future. I was thinking she was going to get one for me for my birthday, but as it turned out we went out and got a Collie puppy (also something I had always wanted). We had quite a bit of troubles trying to adopt it (read Nissa’s article), but we were happy when we finally got to adopt her. She’s truly very sweet and utterly cute and Melissa made me extremely happy that she did that for me (really for us). The collie is what Melissa had expressed that she really wanted, and when we went to the pound to look for a puppy, she saw the collie (we named her Sophie, eventually), she fell in love with her and it really seemed as though I wasn’t going to get out of the pound without her. I’m not upset by any means, though. Collies are sweet, wonderful, and really smart dogs - not to mention it’s the official mascot of A&M, but that’s not a selling point for me. :-P I’ll have pictures of her soon to share with everyone.

Past that, it’s been crazy-busy at work because I’ve been involved with so many projects that have stringent deadlines and high requirements (isn’t that how it usually goes?). All of the projects are PHP, none of my time is actually budgeted to them (with the exception of one), and all of them have SQL Injection vulnerabilities! :-D ‘Tis a shame that I don’t get paid more for security consulting and fixing these damn things. Same going for the documents I’ve been creating. I think I spent 2 days making a 40 page document for the proposed changes to one of the projects. I’ve essentially been doing the work of a Senior Software Applications Developer, but my title (and regrettably, my pay) is at the level of a Sr. IT Associate - someone that’s not really important. I’m not really upset, though, because I’m at least appreciated where I’m at. The managers (and associate director) understand that I provide valuable service to CIS, and that matters a lot to me. Of course, I’m still gonna demand a position upgrade at the time I was originally promised.

As of now, I’m in Chicago taking the advanced C# course right at this moment. The course has been even better than the intro course that I took. Our instructor Brad is very outgoing, humorous, and very intelligent. The course has definitely helped me to learn a lot about C# and I’m really looking forward to building websites with it. Another really cool thing is my business partner Tom came up yesterday and is staying until Friday. I don’t get to hang out during the day, but the evenings we actually get to hang out.

I feel really bad because I didn’t bring my wife along with me (because we didn’t have the money for it). From now on, though, I’ll definitely need to bring her along (assuming she can and assuming we can afford it). I love her dearly and I hate leaving her alone, and she likewise hates being left alone.

In any case, back to my course. I’ll update soon (hopefully).