January 2018

walking around in quebec

Bummin’ around in Quebec

Tetchi’s thoughts and ramblings from January, 2018.

Stuff that happened

Right before the new year I went to Quebec City with my girlfriend for two nights. It was stupid cold so we lounged in our hotel room and cafes for the most part (which we were planning on doing anyway). It was great opportunity to catch up on some reading and writing.

I also reached my 62nd consecutive day of absolutely no alcohol! I decided to stop drinking when I came back from Japan, for no other reason than I want to get in better shape. So far I don’t really miss it, except for the odd time at social gatherings when I feel like I could use a beer to ease up a bit. I’ve found that club soda is a great solution for when I just want a drink in my hand. Shoutouts to club soda for getting me off both shitty sugary sodas in the past, and now alcohol!

Finally, I reached the 9 year mark of my career at Shopify. Holy moly does time ever fly! I still remember being a 21-year old intern with no idea what I was doing… and here I am, almost 30 with still no idea what the fuck I’m doing!

It’s been a crazy ride at Shopify, and looking back it’s insane to see how much it’s grown. I vividly remember the days of Shopify’s tiny 185 Rideau St office, above what used to be Blockbusters. Many-a-days we would get free DVDs from goofballs who’d think our mail slot was Blockbuster’s DVD returns slot. It was a nice, cozy office and when I started back in January 2009 there were maybe 15 employees.

My fondest memories of this place include:

Most importantly, I remember how much I LOVED going to the office to get work done. I loved learning about how to make websites, learn cool Photoshop techniques from Mark and Daniel, and to just hang out with the Shopify crew. I loved waking up and going to work; it beat the hell out of pulling all-nighters on school projects and cramming for exams. After a full year of internship at Shopify, I dreaded going back to school to finish up my degree (though in the end I’m happy I completed school).

Big shoutout to Ryan Langlois who referred me for a position at Shopify when I had given up hope on finding an internship. Shopify wouldn’t be on Carleton U’s Co-op radar until many years later. It was Ryan who suggested I reach out to Shopify for an intern position. And of course, big thank you to Tobi and Daniel for giving a clueless student a chance. I’m super grateful for the positive impact they had on my life.

I totally digress from the monthly digest but reflecting back on January 2009 really tingled my nostalgia-feels. Man, those were some fucking good times!

Things I learned

This month I played around more with React JS. To get more familiar with React, I decided to take last year’s MTL Murals project and convert it into a React app. It’s still a work-in-progress, but I’m really starting to dig React.

I also had a bit of a rough patch at work where I was stuck on one problem for a long time. I was struggling with why some of my unit tests weren’t passing and when I finally sat down with my lead to go over my code, he spotted the problem right away. On hindsight it seemed so obvious. I had been overly focused on the wrong part of problem and had missed an obvious error.

I suppose it’s okay to get stuck, but I need to learn to step back and approach a problem from a different/fresh perspective.

Books I read

girl who kicked hornet's nest

I finished reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, which was a solid read. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest is a crime/thriller and is the third book of the Millenium Trilogy. I read the first two books back in 2011 but for some reason I never finished the third.

I really enjoyed The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, especially near the end of the book when things start to pick up. The ending was satisfying as well. I’m looking forward to checking out the Swedish movie adaptations of the trilogy.

I also read Tragic Design cowritten by my coworker Cynthia which was also a solid read. It does a great job explaining how design can evoke a wide range of emotions, from anger, sadness, to self-defeat. It also includes many excellent real world examples of how bad design resulted in tragic results. If you are in the UX field I’d definitely recommend this book.

What’s on my mind

For the past month or two, I’ve been contemplating buying the Nintendo Switch. Lucky for me, my good friend Pierre lent me his Switch over the break and I got a chance to really get a feel for it, and at the same time play through Mario Odyssey.

super mario odyssey

Honestly speaking I really didn’t enjoy Mario Odyssey at first. I thought it was way to easy and had too much filler content. I was surprised to find some really awesome platforming challenges and riddles after the main story, and I ended up playing enough to collect all 999 Power Moons.

With that said, it’s nowhere near as good as Mario Galaxy 1 & 2 in my opinion. Many of the Power Moons were tedious to collect, and I hated that you have to farm coins to fully complete the game. I would’ve preferred fewer, more challenging Power Moons.

The Switch console itself is pretty sweet. It has the quality build that Nintendo is known for, and navigating the menu feels very snappy. There are little annoyances about it like how you can’t connect Bluetooth headphones and the complete absence of Virtual Console. All in all though it’s a great console, and I seriously underestimated how awesome it is to be able to switch from playing on the TV to taking the console on-the-go.

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