I know it’s not technically the spring yet, at least not if you’re paying any attention to equinoxes, but here in Houston it sure feels like spring already. It’s 60, muggy, and the mosquitoes are into their spring training warm-ups and are looking forward to a promising season and probably a spot in the playoffs.

Things are going well, at least in a day to day sense. As a whole, the winter has been rather miserable. Family health problems, personal health problems, a death in the family (Lauren’s grandfather), long work hours and little to no sleep has me wanting, for the first time ever, for spring to finally get here. Normally I love the winter so much that spring signals the end to my season of play and acceptable temperatures. Not so this year. This year I’m well and done with winter and we can just move on with our year as far as I’m concerned.

Work is certainly ramping up like it’s the spring. I was able to convince my company that WordPress is in fact the way we should go in terms of a corporate website. Now I’ve got the always awesome task of “make that happen” and a nice hard deadline. The IT guys were none too pleased that I was able to convince upper management of this, they had their hopes set on continuing to use the horrid Microsoft Windows ISS server we have and running nothing but .Net apps for the rest of their lives. My insistence that we install MySQL and PHP were met with heavy resistance. Now they’re stuck trying to shoe-horn into the Windows server (which they won’t give up) an acceptable install of both and they’re not liking it. I’m laughing my ass off.

Most of this is because I learned a very long time ago (thank you EXPI) that managers like to “see” things working and if you can provide a working demo of something, they’ll pick it over a theoretical alternative every time. I merely set up a hosting account, multiple WordPress installs with custom tailored themes and they were on-board. They were really sold when I told them that WordPress was free. They had been shelling out $20,000 a year for a license to this bloated piece of crap CMS that everyone hated. Worst part was that they had tasked the programmers to maintain it. Instead of actually using the tools the CMS provided for page creation, they had created a custom .Net “framework” where pieces of content were pulled from the CMS and assembled on the fly in the browser. Essentially they replaced the CMS with a harder to use and less featured evil-CMS. It created job security for them since they were the only ones would could maintain it. Yeah… they’re really not all that happy with me at the moment either.

I look at it this way: if you put me in charge of designing websites, that means I’m going to have to maintain them as well. If I’m going to maintain them, I’m sure as hell not going to fight my publishing system every time I need to change something. Even if WordPress isn’t the final solution for us, it’s both free and easy to use. There’s little to no down-side in at least trying it. I get a system that’s more friendly, the company saves $20,000 and hundreds of man-hours, it’s a win-win for everyone. Well, accept for the .Net programmers.

Anyway, work is not what I wanted to update about, but I guess it was the foremost on my mind. Everything else seems to be going ok. I’ve got a couple tiny freelance projects here and there. Two other websites, a graphic design logo project, two photo shoots. I’m a busy guy. The logo I think is the funniest at the moment, mostly because of it’s absurdity. They thought I was “helping them out” while I was under the impression that I was “being paid”. They actually said, “umm, so, is $20 good for today?” Seriously. Listen, this is for all the graphic designers out there being screwed over by clients. If you want me to design you something, I’m going to charge you my normal hourly rate, which is $75 an hour (if I like you). That’s LESS than what you would pay a maid service per hour to clean your house. With no disrespect meant to people in the cleaning profession, I think graphic design is slightly more creative and specialized. So, when I say that your logo will run you $300 with additional drafts at my hourly rate, no, I’m not joking. That’s so much cheaper than you would pay a graphic design firm. Be happy I’m not charging you a couple grand just to talk to me. So, they’re “discussing it” over a super-ultra-low resolution preview while I sit on a nice happy Illustrator file waiting for my check. I hate to be all cut-throat and everything, but I’ve gots to get my monies yo.

Let’s see, what else. Oh yeah, my paintball gun is rockin’. I’m really loving it. What’s funny is that I told my parents about it and they said they couldn’t picture me as the “aggressive” type. I took that to mean that I’m the non-athletic, quiet, artistic type. I like to disappoint, lol. They’ve clearly never been on my bad side, or maybe they’ve just blocked it out over the years. Either way, I’m having a good time with it. I’m kind of treating it as a replacement for modding my computer, which has recently turned into more of an expensive hobby than I have the cash for. Paintball parts, by comparison, are relatively cheap. $600 graphic cards might be out, but $50 sniper barrels are certainly in.

I also picked up Mass Effect 2 a little while back. I’m loving it so far. They’ve certainly improved over the original. There are a couple things I think are a little quirky, but for the most part it’s an awesome game. I never actually had a problem with the inventory system that they got rid of. They decided to replace it with an “upgrade” system which means you essentially have the same guns for the entire game, which is kinda boring. It also takes away the ability to use weapons your not an expert on. My character is “Vanguard” which means he gets a mix of powers and guns. Shotguns and pistols to be exact. Are they honestly telling me that someone who can both make shit float AND shoot said shit with a shotgun isn’t capable of using a rifle? Sorry, I don’t buy it. I should be able to equip whatever I want. In the first game I could equip anything, including sniper rifles. Now, I wasn’t “trained” with them, so I couldn’t hit the broadside of a space barn, but I could at least try. Anyway, if that’s my only grief with the game, you know it’s got to be good.

That’s about it from here. I’ve got about 4 more websites to update today. At least they’re all in WordPress now though, so I get the pleasure of staring at this same lovely interface all day, lol.

Matt out.