No matter where you've been or what you've experienced, things change. They always change. You might be lucky if a thing or two doesn't change, and hopefully they are the things you want to stay in place, but by and large everything else in life is pretty fluid.

Take me, for example. A year ago, I was working a job where I stood on the side of roads with a stop sign trying to keep one set of idiots from being killed accidentally by another set of the same in large railway machines that can crush bone and metal in an eyeblink. I know that's harsh, and I know that they aren't all really idiots, but it sounded kinda good at first, didn't it? Didja like that?

Anyway.

I worked at a job that certainly did not pay well enough for one to make the self-determination of how much of a pluviophile they were. Sometimes there were long days or nights, and the job was 100% outdoors. I stood through rain, sleet, snow, scorching heat and in some really nasty and remote areas. We saw plenty of deer, wild boars, sometimes snakes, and ran off a possum once.

I say that all to tell you that a year ago I would never even remotely have dreamed I would be here now sitting in relative comfort on Christmas Eve, while I am technically at work, I am not going to be standing outside where it is just above freezing. I am, in fact, preparing to instigate a barrage of coding (which I could not do a year ago) on artificial intelligence and virtual reality to bring a dream about.

A dream that was not on my radar a year ago when I was parked in another state binging between shifts on a Doctor Who marathon.

i am grateful

I felt like I had been "put out" of the industry, but it really wasn't the case. I had personally run out of juice in my tank, and I was in a position where I lacked belief in myself, what my purpose was, and what good could really come of me. I had been demoralised and demolished from personal situations that had taken over almost every waking moment, and if you have ever had the pleasure of dealing with a clinical level malignant narcissist, you understand. If not, just keep reading. I'm not going to speak much more about it.

Those three years were necessary. I quickly rose the ranks and proved myself as a good worker, quality person, and made friends that feel like family to me. I could have and would have stayed in that position until my wheels fell off because none of it was about the money as much as about having a purpose. People literally trusted me with their lives, and I am just thankful that I was able to deliver a perfect record on that count.

I got that particular job because someone saw me and both judged me as a worthy and dependable candidate and someone who would not shirk the opportunity. As I said before I would have stayed at that position, and I lasted through two management companies, and at varying points, both wished to hire me directly. Eventually, their wheels fell off and I was without work.

I did okay, still had a good work ethic, was doing the Mike Rowe thing, but I needed to get myself established, and that was no longer on the table. When you eat in the green pasture for a while and don't take it as seriously as you should, you forget what you are doing. Then when you are between mouthfuls of milkweed and can't get to the dandelions you want, then you realise, "Hey, wait a minute... I belong over there!"

here's to new gigs

Now I work for a company that has been very, very good to me. They are also about being good to their customers and they are not a big corporation. No, I'm not going to name them. Anywhere. I honestly got this job much faster than I expected to have one. I was looking at entry level positions when a recruiter found me. After the first interview that made me much more nervous than comforted, I discovered that they could see that some of that old talent still remained.

I'm Welsh. I had to showboat that situation. Think about it, three years out of the technology field is no small thing. It's a career killer. I know someone who is in a different area of technology, and they have been out about the same length of time and it is going to be a bear for them to get back in. Especially since many companies have jettisoned his brands for mine.

I study at the educational facilities provided by work, as well as several others outside of work. Lately, more outside venues. I have learned Python3, Javascript, have a working knowledge of Node.js and PHP, and am regaining my SQL chops.

When I met the recruiter after being hired, they offhandedly said to me that the first thing the hiring manager told them while in a teleconference was basically, Yes, we want this guy but more specifically, "Where in the hell did you find this guy?" I highly doubt that living in a vehicle in the Midwest was the answer they would have expected.

she is coming

I have been on this 100 Days of Coding challenge for roughly a fifth of the way through it, and the results have been fascinating. I have also made a few other lifestyle changes that have incredibly accelerated my thinking processes and physical vitality. I lost 80 pounds of body weight in the last year, got my diabetes under full control, and made a few other changes in thought, belief, and action. In short, I am recharged. In some ways, back to where I was in the mid-1990s. It's almost like being in mental hibernation for 20 years.

Now I am entering the realm of machine learning and virtual reality. That is part of what my Straylight project is about. I am creating a personal assistant to help me with a lot of my day to day activities and to help fill in my blind spots. Sure, you can say it is like Tony Stark's Jarvis, but I have to do this. It has been eating at me for over 20 years and now it is finally time to do something about it.

So I am relegating the 100 days to more local projects like the website and coding some virtual reality in relation to that. I am now in the middle of three communities, Google's VR work, Oculus, and Mozilla. There is a lot to learn and work with, and that committed hour a day will be necessary.

This project is special, however, and it gets its own hour in the 301 Days of Code which will begin January 3rd, 2019. We are going to see just how far we can push the envelopes on both. Until then, I hope everyone is having a fruitful and pleasant holiday season. Perhaps my plans for the next nine days of clinomania will also be successful.