Keeping Everything Tidy

So with attempt of blogging more and more I migrated all of the posts on this site to http://encryptdesigns.com/blog so if you follow me via RSS please update your links 🙂

Thanks!

Advertisements

A New Year Brings New Challenges

So a lot has happened right out of the gate into 2010. First of all I cannot even believe we are in 2010. Where did this past decade go? I’ll reflect on that in another post…

Last Thursday my boss at America’s Family Networks called me into his office. This wasn’t out of the ordinary as we would use that time to discuss new projects and how the other projects I was working on were going. But a few moments into the conversation I knew what was coming. You see we were not very busy at all. Of course there were always things to look at when we did not have production for clients to update, new splash pages to build, email newsletters to send out, banners to build, etc…but, as he explained, we were doing a tenth of what we were doing 2 years ago. He said it wasn’t anything that I did and that I had done a great job with everything there. I helped the sales people out immensely, greatly improved our Email Newsletters and helped Kevin, my colleague, out a LOT. I remember one of the first things that Kevin told me when I started there. I’m sure he was used to doing everything related to changing things directly on the server and since I had a ton of experience with command line operations from my time with Premier Hosting, he said to me “You’re going to be really handy having around here!” So that always made me feel good. He no longer had to do everything when a PHP script had to be changed, MySQL statements had to be run, or basic changes to this or that via the command prompt.

I did learn a lot about print, although we didn’t do a ton of it, as well as email marketing too. I had some experience with print and email marketing but as time went along there I improved everything about both processes. I did not get as much play (or even say) in a lot of the design aspects as I would have liked, but it was not a waste of time for the most part. But with that said I was not really all that sad about being let go either. Many know that I was not happy with how some things went down there and certain people’s attitudes towards me either. But I guess that is bound to happen from time to time.

Now I get to focus on my freelance work, collect unemployment, work on music (yay!!) and overall just figure out what it is that I would like to do! I have been told that with my skill set that I would prosper in the freelancing environment and now I can see for myself if that’s a good venture to take on or not. If it is not working out then there are always a plethra of opportunities for me out there. I have already begun working with a few small projects to get my feet wet. One does sound aspiring so far, so we will see how that goes.

Overall I am happy that things came to an end with my last job. There were times that I really liked what I did, but the majority of the time the work was uninspiring and down right monotunous. I did not feel like my skills were being used and that is a tough thing to put up with sometimes. But I am grateful for that job in a lot of ways too. It helped get me out of the whole that was created with the whole GoUrban.net thing sinking and got me doing some different things too. Kevin was great to work with too.

But now with this new year embarking I am excited to see what God has in store for me. I am now forced into checking out full-time freelancing and am excited to see what projects that environment brings. It should be a fun ride and so far I am enjoying every moment of it…

Less Use = Less Headaches

That’s what I tweeted to a follower of mine when he was having issues running Windows. I can safely say that my switch to Linux Mint has been nothing short of glorious! I have been running this Operating System for over a month now! I love how slick, compact and yet powerful it is. I still run Windows, but only in a Virtual environment. So the less I actually use Windows the more work and overall demeanor about doing the work, the better it gets! I take solace in the fact that I don’t have to worry about my computer’s registry getting bombarded by everything that Windows throws at it which eventually slows everything down.

Linux Mint is a beaut and I would highly recommend anyone sick of Windows to give it a shot! A few years back I probably never would have switched, but when you repeatedly want to throw your computer out the window only to be struck by car which then in turn sends it down a hill, rolling end over end, then you know it’s time to either reformat your Windows computer or try an alternative.

If you are anything like me you want your computer to be smart, intuitive and to get things done quickly so you can enjoy the rest of your life. Linux allows me to do everything that I need to do. I use it to check email, facebook, talk with friends, play some games on occasion and do 90% of my work. For the other 10% I’ll fire up my Windows Virtual Machine and loading Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc… is a sinch. Eventually I may get away from using those programs altogether, but for now I really don’t mind loading Windows up. The virtual machine is simply a program that runs Windows inside of Linux. I can easily jump back and forth with no worries, copy-and-paste and do whatever I need to do. It works just like an actual Windows computer, but is only in a Virtual Environment. So I don’t need to use it THAT much and don’t get annoyed with it THAT much either 🙂

Let’s fire this bad boy up again…

It’s funny how our intentions are good, but we still suck at following through with things. Take this blog for instance, the last post was back in January! So let’s give this another whirl…

So what has happened since then? Here’s are highlights in no particular order:

  • I had started the new job and over time really began disliking my job, some more than other days. I started liking my job again last week until yesterday. Well now I’m more actively looking for a new job again! I won’t get into the details at this point, but let’s just say  I felt extremely hurt by what was said and I don’t think anyone should ever have to feel like that. Complete garbage.
  • I found out I got approved from Aetna about my Intacs surgery!!! WoooWeee! I think I might be getting one eye done on the 19th! Wish me luck!
  • The band went through a bunch of changes. More on that below.
  • I got more freelance work! (see RJintina.com, GhostworkInkPrinting.com, GloryApparel.net). Also re-designed EncryptDesigns.com too!
  • Hmm I think that’s the big stuff!

It’s been crazy these past 6 months with a lot of things. I’ve been writing and writing lyrics, poems or whatever you want to call them. I never considered myself a writer really, hence why this blog never gets the love it deserves 🙂 But these past few months God has been waking me up in the middle of the night, sometimes whilst actual sleeping, and giving me a line or two to write. Or I’ll lay in bed and just allow my mind to wander and these lyrics come into my head. I’ll try and be lazy and say “Nah, I’ll remember them and write them down in the morning…” and I won’t be able to fall asleep til I write them down!

I had no idea what all of this really meant. “Cool, I’m writing!” is what I thought before. But around a month or so after all of this started happening I began thinking of what it would be like to be a front man in a band. I mean Dave Grohl did it, so why can’t I? haha well I’m no Davey Grohl, but still the thought of it began to really consume me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Our friends band were trying out vocalists and I thought “just my chance!”. But unfortunately things didn’t work out with that as they found someone before I had my chance to throw down.

So a week later we had parted ways with a new keyboardist and vocalist, that we thought were going to work out, but alas did not. So Evan, my bassist, said “Mark!! You should try out for our vocalist spot!” Initially I was surprised he asked me. I mean I had done backup vocals since the beginning but I thought it was awesome that him and the rest of the guys thought it was a good idea 🙂 So I screwed around on the mic while Evan and Vinny took turns trying to drum for some songs. Now that was fun! haha Kevin thought my vocals were sick and I thought more and more about all those nights I dreamt of being the front man and things started really working out!

We had a friend of ours fill in on drums and now, about a month later, we have our finalized lineup! Our new drummer is effin sick! He’s way more skilled than I on the set and gives us what we need and pushes all of us musically too. I wasn’t fooling anyone with my wanna-be double bass :] I loved playing drums and at some point will start a side project band to drum again or something. But at this point I’m taking this whole vocalist thing and running with it!

I recently purchased the Zen of Screaming DVD’s and really, really loving them. There’s a proper way to scream (you probably didn’t know that did you??) and I’m just trying to be as good as I can be! I got a gym membership at 24 Hour Fitness and loving working out again! I’m really taking this seriously and trying to use my voice as weapon against all that is negative out there.

It’s been crazy fun so far and more and more lyrical ideas come to me and I really hope to share all of my stories and hope to impact people in a positive way. Even typing that last line just gives me goose bumps thinking about that. I’ve already been talking to a TON of kids on our myspace page and have seen us get 2K friends in a month. Yeah that’s not THAT many but a lot of them like our old stuff and are excited to hear the new us. I think God is already using me to reach out to these kids and I really want to do this for a living. So we’ll see what happens in order to get us to that point.

We are hoping to have a few new demos made in a couple of weeks and I’m excited to hear myself on the new songs! It’s just an exciting time, despite my job issues, and I find myself letting my mind wandering about what life would be on the road and spreading a positive message of hope, unity and having fun doing it. Yeah sure the job had me down a bit yesterday, but you have to pick yourself and brush yourself off and remember what’s important. Hey I just got another idea for a song….

Til the next six months, haha, just kidding 🙂

Cheers…

Geighspace

Myspace, or as some of those in my circle of friends aptly call it “geigh space,” continues to baffle me with their eagerness to make their website more and more difficult to view and use to communicate with friends, bands, etc…

Myspace does have good things about it like music, connecting with friends and family but for the most part it ends there, at least for me. If it wasn’t for it’s nice music player so I can listen to new bands I would never use the damn thing. Even that I don’t use that much. I would much rather talk to my friends about new bands or use the cliean and efficient PureVolume.com website for that jazz.

What’s amusing to me is that Alexa.com ranks Facebook at number 5 and Myspace at number 7! I was just thinking that Facebook is probably going to pass Myspace any day now in popularity because I really think people overall are just getting sick and tired of myspace like myself. Facebook is waaaay easier to use since you don’t have to see ads, ads, ads and more ads piled on top of more ads that slow your computer down and the website just plain sucks. 

I guess what really bothers me is all the girls requested to be my friends that are taking semi nude pictures of themselves and myspace allowing it. Then throw in that stupid CAPTCHA thing (you know that annoying thing that was designed to figure out if you are a human or not?) and just the relentlessness of ads and, although it’s getting slightly better, the overall speed and ease of use with myspace. It’s funny looking at how facebook will do something and myspace will basically copy it. Just like Blockbuster did with Netflix, but don’t be started on that! 🙂

I guess I wouldn’t mind the captcha thing so much if it didn’t ask it for you everytime. Even on my iPhone myspace app they are asking me for that!! What the eff, Tom, seriously! You are asking me to insert a series of letters and numbers on my phone because you think I’m sort of android or bot that is trying to login to your precious little system. If myspace can’t see the retardedness (geigh-ness) in that then well they really aren’t very bright.

Do any of you find these things retodded or annoying? I’d like to hear your thoughts on other reasons why people really should just start using facebook over this quagmire that is myspace.

On the job…

My new job

So my first full week working for USFamilyGuide.com has been going pretty well. It’s funny though looking back right before my vacation I only worked 3 days then was off to Wisconsin for three weeks. Then came back on the 18th, started working again the 19th and 20th (insert weekend here) then finally starting my first full week here now.

My official title is Web Developer and that’s a pretty broad statement I know. So far I am mainly in charge of maintaining the vast network of websites for ColoradoKids.com and maintaining listings, coupons, events and the like. USFG is basically an online marketing company that works with all these kid-o9rientated market companies, ski resorts through DiscoverColorado.com, and tons of other things too.

So I help out wherever I can and so far I’m enjoying most of it. Yeah some of it is kind of mundane but it’s not so bad and it’s paying the bills! So hopefully in a few months I’ll be completely caught up!

The people I work with are great. Vic, one of our sales guys, is effin hilarious! He is from Long Island so his accent is awesome. Listening to him on phone calls he makes, gives me the feeling I get when watching the Sopranos. So you can’t really complain about that. Kevin, our IT guy, is a middle aged individual that is uber smart. He’s got a lot going on here with all these projects going on, but he doesn’t let the stress get to him, at least not what I can see. I know he’s excited about me working here since I’ll be able to help him out a lot. Mike, my boss, is a funny and smart guy too as well as his wife, Sylvia, that works here between being a mom and a girl scout lady.

So that’s just the jist of what the new job is like. I really can’t believe how these things worked out. I saw the job posting on 12/12/08, emailed about it and Mike called me 45 minutes later! So we for a few and he said he didn’t have a chance to look over everything about my resume but loved my portfolio as well as what he caught about my resume. He then asked me if I wanted to come in and talk. I was thinking maybe the following week, but he wanted me to come in “in an hour”! Holy crap right?? So I said sure , met with him, talked about Wisconsin a little bit since he did some business there and knew the whereabouts that I lived, and we talked salary that I was looking for and said we’d be in touch since he had another guy waiting to talk to him.

So before working (which would turn out to be my last shift) at Starbucks at 230 that day, the interview was at 1pm) I get an email from Mike asking me for my references! So I put my notice in at Starbucks, found someone to cover my shifts the following week (since they scheduled me when they weren’t supposed to at which it was the 18-20, which was the day I was FLYING back to Wisconsin, idiots!) and the next morning Mike called me and offered me the job and I started the following Monday!

It’s just amazing to me how good God is! I told Him “God I need a job! If you want me to stay here then help me out!” I never really wanted to move back home but at the same time I didn’t know what else to do! Anyway I’ll digress more into that later and share with anyone who cares what I learned about being poor for the past 6 months and the trials and struggles I went through.

On the iphone

So with hopes of using this lovely blog more I have installed the WordPress app on my iPhone! I don’t know how many of you are like me but I use my little device when I’m in the toilet:p Some may say that’s gross but seriously what else are you going to do? At least now I can do something more constructive when I’m taking a break from whatever I was doing. Isn’t technology great?

I’m finally proud…

Of our country! I’m not a huge political dude, but I must say that I am really proud of the American people for electing the right guy. And no I didn’t actually vote, I wanted to but being that I am too poor to even get my own Colorado plates and don’t remember what info I used for my previous election and because I completely forgot about registering beforehand, plus knowing that Obama would win hands down (and he did) I figured I’d be okay with this one 🙂

So I got that out of the way!

Well I am not even going to say that I am sorry about not updating this blog in 6 months (because I am) because it wouldn’t do any good for me to say it will never happen again, because it probably will! So maybe I’ll just update it with what’s going on now and share something interesting (or not interesting, funny, witty, in any shape or form) whenever I remember too 🙂

So what’s going on with me as of right this second? you ask?

Well I was freaking out a couple months ago because I had no idea how I was going to pay rent, car payment, eat, sleep, whatever. But as always God had my back and my ridiculously amazing friend Chad helped me out big time! Plus for the past couple of months my freelance work has been somewhat steady. I am working with ShoppingQ.com on some things for their new software release, with my father’s company sporadically back home, crazy myspace pages for bands and even doing work for Heritage Web Solutions.

photoSo things are better with that and I’m also working at Starbucks! I have always heard stories of friends who’ve worked there and how much fun they are always having. So I decided to work there for the benefits, change up from freelance on certain days, and just meeting new people. So it’s been pretty fun for the most part. I like working with some people over others, but overall we have a pretty good store. The mannequin head mysteriously dwelling in the attic of the store is a bit weird but I guess it’s not as weird as the “No Dead Babies” stenciled on another Starbucks garbage can in the back alley!

The band is doing great too. We have been playing a lot of shows this month and play at Lifespot tomorrow nite and I really love that place. We’ve been getting screwed money-wise at the last couple of shows, so that hinders us from getting new merch and saving money for studio time again, but we aren’t really in it for the money anyways, but it sure would be nice to get a fair cut every once in awhile!

Like anyone who moves far away from home, I have thought about moving back at times. At some points if it wasn’t for the band I may or may not have already moved back. I figured I could save money and see my 2 leetle sisters grow up and be with my friends and family back home. That would be really nice.

But on the other hand I know that there is some unfinished business out here. When I moved out here in July of 2007 I was really thinking that GoUrban.net would take off. But now thinking of it I think perhaps I was out here to make music. I mean what else could explain me always having this yearning and passion to reach out to people in a positive way being that I was pretty much in the band before I even moved out here. Since I had talked with Kevin over the phone and myspace a month or two before I moved out.

Sure we have made changes to the lineup and the music only keeps getting better and better. I’ve never really considered myself a metal/hardcore drummer but I am really having the time of my life when we play and write music. I don’t think I’m ready, or maybe never will be, to give that up. I tried soooo hard to make bands, after No Moons for Mercury, work back home. I prayed and prayed for that. God knew my heart and my desires. Isn’t there a scripture that says “Trust in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”? That whole moving out here situation was tough! Really tough actually now that I look back on that.whole situation. But I won’t digress into that.

Anyway things are tight here financially but like my good friend Jeramey said “I think that these times [times that we are the poorest we’ve ever been] are the times that are the best, because you know you won’t be in this situation forever and you’ll probably never be in this situation again…” I think I agree with that for the most part. I mean look at all the poor people in the Bible. Like Paul who was jailed most of his life or any of the disciples too. Russ always tells me that “I think we are like this because when things get good again then we’ll know what it was like to have nothing.” So maybe that’s it too. I am really not sure but just trusting in God that the right job will come, or that I’ll just keep making lattes and websites. It’s been okay lately just doing that and know that God has my best interests at heart.

That’s a basic and probably really random update, but hopefully the two people that read this thing will find some of it interesting 🙂

Changes in store…

So I haven’t been able to actively do this blog thing. I really do enjoy it and it helps get things off of my chest, but at the same time I wish I could just blog more. I guess its kind of similar, although in a different way, to getting closer to God. I really need to dig in more with quiet time with Him and it is so very rewarding and enriching! Can you guys pray for me with that? I know that God wants me to and I really want to as well! Thank you!

###

Anyway a lot of things have been going on lately. We kicked out our bassist a few weeks ago, gave my phone number to this HOT cop at the Battle of the Bands, took 2nd place in that btw by FIVE POINTS!, and I am looking for a new full time job because GoUrban.net (again) doesn’t have the money to keep things flowing and plus I wasn’t making the money I feel like I deserve.

So yeah we parted ways with Dom in a really messy situation. Things seem fine now but he basically flipped out on us and that was entirely inexcusable. If you guys want details on that I’ll share them, but not here.

###

So then we played our first show without him at the Battle of the Bands at the Brighton Rec Center. It was a ton of fun! There were way too many cops there, but I guess there’s nothing to do in that City anyway! But there was a super effin hot cop there! An early band said something about “Hey, this next song is for that girl cop up there….we all love hot girls in uniforms!” hahah! That made everyone laugh!

So after we had played we were just hanging out by the merch table and I said that I should go give her a sticker. Then after a little bit of conversation about it my friends were like “Put your number on the back of it!” haha so that I did along with a little smiley face. So I had the zest to go over and hand her the sticker. On the way there I ran into one of the other bands and shared what I was about to do and they of course thought I was the Man. I walked closer to her and man she was cuter up close! Almost as cute as the girl in Super Troopers. I wasn’t nervous though. I get these feelings at points that I can do whatever I want and not feel nervous about it. This was definitely one of those times.

I handed her the sticker and told her that I think she would like it or something to that effect. She said thanks and I walked back with an accomplished feeling.

Man everyone in our group was stoked for me 🙂 They all couldn’t believe I did it and continued to say that I was amazing and blah blah blah.

The copper was looking at the sticker with a smile on her face then she flipped it over, and her reaction was priceless! A huge :o!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then a quick “I’m going to cover this up with a yawn” moment happened immediately there after. That was soooo funny.

But throughout the rest of the day she kept looking over at my hottness, obviously right? Then leaving there was a herd of cops and they were all laughing. Of course it was about me. Then some male cop said to me “Oh thanks for your number buddy!” as he was laughing:) She never called, not surprisingly, but that day I’m sure I will never forget and I’m sure she won’t either. So the next thing for me to do is to speed throughout Brighton.

###

So a few weeks ago I talked to Russ about things and again we are at that point of not having enough money to pay me or the rest of the bills. There are some really good things happening, which there always seems to be, but nothing more I can do with them full time. Its fine but also quite annoying too. I mean I passed up on a job in Boulder a few months ago that paid really well to continue to see where things go with GoUrban.net. Its been fine, but makes me wonder if I was doing the right thing or not as my mom also mentioned. She thought I should have taken that other job but at the same time I didn’t really want to sit in an office all day.

But now I am looking for a full time job that can provide some stability for me. I have been hurting financially a bit these last couple of months. I should be getting paid for last months service in 2 weeks, but things like that make it hard. Gas prices going up doesn’t help either. But I know things will work out:)

I had a meeting in Boulder last week with a Highlands Staffing agency lady named Maureen, that is helping with the hiring for a Junior Website Design position at Crocs, http://www.Crocs.com! I’m sure you’ve seen them. they are this cushy-foamy sandal like thing. I don’t know how I feel about those but they are extremely popular! That job pays really well and is in beautiful Boulder, CO. So I really hope to hear something back this week so I can move to the Arvada area, which I’ve been trying to do for awhile!

So if you could keep all of that in your prayers for me that would be awesome. I also don’t know what’s going on with my stupid tax return! I’m trying to pay off my Africa trip from TWO YEARS AGO (yes you read that right) and so I don’t know what is taking that sooo long. But whatever, God will work it out! I’ll get a new job and be able to pay it off with some personal added interest and move on from that 🙂

###

So that is kind of a wide update for anyone who cares or bothers to read my blog. I will be home on June 11th for 15 days so we can all get together then.

Anyway thanks for reading and talk with you soon…

Bright and Early

So I have been struggling for the past few weeks on feeling motivated. You know, that feeling inside that you can do anything and feel like you are contributing to something, anything? Yeah I’m sure we all get like that from time to time. I think it all started when I moved out here and started working in a Virtual Office. Its just way easier to be lazy. I wouldn’t say it started on a certain day or was like BOOM – instant laziness. It hardly works like that at all. I think it has to do with a lot of things. At the time I knew I wasn’t happy working for my dad anymore and there was NOTHING TO DO for months on end. I mean I could do a leetle thing here and there but overall it was pretty blazee’.

Well now working with GoUrban.net has had its fair share of down time too. So I was really struggling with feeling adequate with what I was doing for the company. So I simply prayed and asked God to help me with feeling motivated. Maybe He’s the reason why I went to bed early last nite (no halo 3 either! :p) and woke up without an alarm at 6:15 am. If this is His way of kicking my ace back into gear then I’m all for it! I probably should have asked Him weeks ago for that help, but isn’t that how we are as Christ Followers? We wait and wait and wait to figure things out on our own sometimes, when in reality He can fix us or whatever much faster if we only ask!

Well I’m at the office now and have a lot of things going on! I’m revamping the site a bit and I’ll talk more about what’s going on next week.

I guess I just want to challenge anyone to not hesitate to ask. Matthew 6 (yeah I read my Bible this morning too, I’m on a rizoll!) and part of it talked about God already knowing what we need, sometimes He’s just waiting for us to ask!

« Older entries