June 24th, 2008
We leave for the big bike trip this Friday, and I’ve been stepping up the training these past few weeks. While doing some longer training rides, I’ve discovered a couple of things about being on a bike for an extended period of time.
First of all, I realized that if I’m going on a longer ride (more than 25km), the first 40 minutes to an hour is usually shit. I’m sure it’s all mental, and it’s definitely getting better, but I’ve noticed a few times that I’ll feel crappy or tired for no reason. I’ll usually think there’s no way I am going to make the distance and the thought of turning back home creeps into my mind a lot.
If I press on and push through the discomfort/pain/bad thoughts, the rest of the ride goes really well. I’ll pass a point where it seems like all of a sudden I’m “in the zone” and I could just keep riding all day. I think it’s probably similar to a runner’s high. I will ride for an hour straight and then sort of snap out of my trance and realize I’ve just gone a long distance, not totally sure how I got there.
At this point, I am as prepared as I can be for the trip. By Thursday, I will have put 1,000km on my bike this year. The hills are not as daunting as they used to be, and I almost look forward to some big climbs. The only thing I’m not sure about is riding long days back-to-back for four days straight. I think if I get enough rest, eat well and stay hydrated, I should be fine. The rest will all be psychological.
I’m really looking forward to this trip. I think it will be a great test of my abilities, and I’ll be pushing myself to the limit physically and mentally. I just keep thinking of the great feeling of accomplishment I’ll have when we roll into Montreal on June 30th.
June 17th, 2008
I recently learned the true meaning of that phrase. About a month and a half ago, I was contacted out of the blue by an old friend from university. He is working for a consulting company in the USA, and was looking to hire a programmer/database guy for their Canadian office. The job sounded great at first, with a nice salary, an interesting work environment and there was even a career path already mapped out for me. The only reservation I had was that the job was in Oakville, which is about 100km west of where I currently live.
After talking with my friend for a bit, the possibility of getting the job sounded very promising. He told me if it were up to him, he’d hire me right away, but of course it wouldn’t be that easy.
Almost immediately, my mind started racing with thoughts of relocating to a new city for this new job. The very next weekend, I drove out to Oakville to get a feel for the town and see what it was like. I started thinking about finding a new place to live, how soon I would be able to move and all the other things that come with a big life changing event.
As time passed, I got a bit more information about parts of the job, and about relocating/commuting. That last part really put my mind at ease. My friend basically told me to try commuting for the first month or so, and then figure out how close or far away I could move to keep a balance between getting to work and still being close to my family, friends and everything else in Whitby that I’m used to.
As the hiring process continued, I had several phone interviews. They went very well, except for the last one. In this particular interview, I was asked a lot of tough technical questions, and I had no idea how to answer them. Suddenly, the job was not what it originally appeared to be – it was sort of similar to what I do now, but not really…
Needless to say, I was contacted several days later and was informed they would be moving forward with several other applicants. They thanked me for my time and that was that.
Overall, the entire process was interesting, but the time and stress could have been lessened if so many assumptions weren’t made from the start. I learned a lot, and I’ll take that with me moving forward. It was a long, drawn out process, and even though things didn’t work out, I’m glad it’s finally over, because the uncertainty was annoying.
June 12th, 2008
A while ago, while we were planning our bike trip, Spencer’s mom asked us if we would consider doing some fundraising for one of their neighbours. The lady’s son was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, which caused a severe heart defect. Baby Wyatt is just over a year old, and he’s already had three open heart surgeries and countless other medical procedures.
We agreed to raise some money and get people to sponsor us for our ride to Montreal. I am hoping we can raise $1000, and all proceeds will go towards Wyatt’s family and the Cardiology Department at The Hospital for Sick Children, through the SickKids Foundation.
I think it’s a great cause, and it really makes the trip to Montreal a lot more meaningful. It also puts a lot more pressure on us to actually go the distance. A lot of people have been very generous, making donations and offering support, which is great. If you are interested in helping out, contact me and we’ll make arrangements.
For more information about Wyatt, see:
June 5th, 2008
Last week I went to log into my robmaeder.com webmail account, and I was greeted with a little message saying “Hosting for this domain has been suspended”. Perplexed, I checked some of the other domains I host, and they were all working fine. I contacted my hosting provider, and I was informed my account had been compromised and a bunch of shit was being uploaded to my webspace.
After digging around, I realized I was using a pretty old version of WordPress, and it contained some security holes that were exploited by someone who thought they could use robmaeder.com for their nefarious purposes.
The entire domain was locked down to prevent any further problems, and I spent a good hour or two cleaning up the mess that was left behind. Lucky for me, nothing was deleted, but a bunch of weird files and scripts were uploaded all over the place. Once that was all fixed, I upgraded to the latest version of WordPress, and also installed the Automatic Upgrade Plugin to make future upgrades easier.
Once WordPress was upgraded to the latest stable version, I noticed the theme I was using was broken, since there were some major changes made to the software. That’s why I’ve got this spiffy new layout here now.
I learned an important lesson: keep your blog software up-to-date. WordPress is open source, so it’s always being updated and fixed up. But there’s also new exploits and security issues being found all the time, so it’s important to get the latest versions, which will fix bugs and patch up the security holes.