Finding my calling.

It's always best to take a personal inventory now and then, to see what you've done up to the present, what you need to do in the immediate future, and what you want to do for the rest of your life.

I last did this, on a serious level, in 2009. I decided to focus entirely on my job, to drop my general studies classes in college for the time being, with the plan of picking up in a degree program in a few years. I was burnt out on a mental level, having spent way too much energy in my senior year of high school just to choose to go to a community college. In hindsight, I think I was really afraid of venturing out into the world, finding comfort in what I knew best: the school district I had grown up in and, now, was working for.

Now, six years later, I think it's become pretty obvious just how frustrated I've become with how things are going. Don't get me wrong, the job's great; I really do enjoy keeping the district running on a technical level, preparing the next generation for the world. But, I've spent the last eight years of my life working in the same buildings that I'd spent the previous twelve years learning in. All good things must come to an end.

No, I haven't decided to leave, nor have I decided when I'm going to decide. That's still to come. First, I really should decide what I want to do next.

That's a tough decision in itself. First, there's the elephant in the room -- rather, it's 46 miles west. The restaurant that my mother opened nearly eighteen months ago is still going strong, doing quite well. And, while it's never been something I've ever thought of doing, helping to keep the trains running in a fifty-seat restaurant does sound oddly appealing.

It would, however, require me to spend a majority of my week an hour away from the home I bought (and still haven't finished!), not to mention from Kat (leaving her job is most likely out of the cards). I doubt I'd want to make a daily commute out of it.

Mom's always said that she didn't want to run the kitchen herself forever, as the stress is quite daunting. Eventually, she wants to take care of the front end of the restaurant, the public side. And Jay, well, she's never wanted to stay in small-town America. She has her sights on the big city, forging her own path. Whether these two things make the restaurant more or less appealing depends on things beyond me.

My other choice is questionable, crazy, and possibly quite silly.

Production and editing has always been one of those things I've wanted to do, but I've held back primarily because I'm never sure if my perfectionist streak would cause more harm than good in such a situation. I didn't take Advanced Speech in high school, which would have let me try out my editing chops, nor did I participate in theater. In school, I really didn't want to deviate from the academics; I took as few fine arts courses as I could manage. (Foreign Language, especially Latin, in my view, is an academic course.)

But, I've always really, really enjoyed working on layouts. For documents, for websites, it's one of those things that I'll spend hours pouring over and over the same minute details, working endlessly until I've got it looking exactly how I want it. (It's something Kat has brought up many, many times.)

For now, I'm going to tackle this as a hobby, as something I do in my free time with whatever content I can get my hands on. (I should also work on actually producing quality content myself, as getting quality content from others is not only time-consuming, it's often also futile.) Maybe this can work, maybe not.

But, I do have to say: editing is some of the most fun I've had sitting for long periods in front of my computer in a long, long time.

Red like roses, fills my dreams.

I'm going to admit something awful.

I haven't watched past episode three of RWBY.

It's really silly, too. I've really, really enjoyed what little I've seen of the show. Sure, it has some faults, but the concept is sound, the style is amazing, and the animation blew me away when I saw the awesome trailers and it still blows me away now. It's also not like I've not had time to watch the series; I've only watched (most of) The West Wing about six times now.

I guess that it was just something that I'd eventually get to, something that I'd convince Kat to actually sit down and watch without judging.

I still haven't. And that's tragic now and it sucks.

Netflix now has both volumes of RWBY available for streaming, in a nice, movie-cut version that gets rid of some of the awkwardness of having 10-minute episodes. It'll most likely be the version I'll watch first.

I've always wanted to go to RTX, meet the people who have created so much hilarious content that has gotten me through the rough moments in life. And now, while I'll still be going (eventually!), there'll always be one amazing, one brilliant guy I'll never get to thank in person.

So I'll do it here. Thank you for everything you ever created, Monty. It was an amazing ride, and we'll make sure that your work is never forgotten.

Keep moving forward.


Aside: Are you someone who thinks that anime has to be created by Japanese in Japan, despite the work being stylistically and heavily inspired by anime, and will staunchly defend this puritan position? You can shove it.


So, in case you were wondering what happened to the site...

I did a dumb.

The site runs on a content management system called Drupal. It's a fairly complicated open-source content management system that's very robust, allowing me to customize it however I see fit. I've used it on many sites, and I use it on my own site as a testbed for other sites; I can screw around with different third-party modules here and, once things work, migrate what I've learned to other production sites.

As an open-source project, Drupal has a large community of developers that are constantly looking for vulnerabilities both in the Drupal codebase and in third-party modules. Frequently, security patches will be released for one or the other; it is up to the site maintainer to deploy these patches based on severity.

One day, I get an email from the security group warning of a critical vulnerability in the core Drupal codebase. Unfortunately, I didn't see the email until very late at night and I only half-read it; so, I left the actual patching to the next day.

At which point, twelve hours had passed and the security group had sent out a second email, warning that the critical vulnerability was already being exploited by sites in the wild and that any sites that hadn't been patched immediately should look at possible malicious code dropped into their sites.

Well, crap.

So, I did the only reasonable thing that I could immediately think of: I backed up my entire Drupal installation, downloaded it to my local machine, then killed the entirety of the site on my host. File storage, MySQL databases, everything.

Yay, no more site.

Now, I could have gone through the backups and verified that they were clean (which, for all intents and purposes, they appeared to be), but I decided that I'd just start from scratch again. After all, there just wasn't that much here yet. It just took me a while to actually.. do that.

And there we are. Site's mostly back up on a fresh install and, from now on, I'll be actively updating my code when vulnerabilities are discovered. Did I overreact? Probably. But, in this day and age, you really can't be too careful.


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