#JourneyToMars

Orion is NASA’s spacecraft for taking humans to Mars. They’re about to begin test flights, and you can have YOUR NAME (or your children’s names) sitting on board when it does. Interested? Just fill out a boarding pass by October 31st.

Might as well send my kids, right?

Watch their video, Orion: Trial by Fire, below.

15 Ways I Completely Changed My Life At 30

I wouldn’t call it a “mid-life crisis.” That would paint a rather cynical picture of my health. I wouldn’t call it a “quarter-life crisis,” either, as that would be terribly optimistic. Perhaps the best term is “third-life crisis.” Whichever you call it, one year ago today, everything changed. I shrugged off the last of my twenties and stepped anxiously into my thirties. I reflected on the past year’s meager achievements. Rather than finding solace in a year well spent, panic seized me. For days the question, “What have you done with your life?” whispered in every breeze.

I could have indulged unsavory habits, but I resisted. Instead, I pulled up my sleeves and got motivated. I didn’t turn 30; 30 turned me. Here are the 15 ways I completely kicked 30 in the ass.

Continue reading “15 Ways I Completely Changed My Life At 30”

The Final Miles at Lawrence & Schiller

On August 24th, I started working for a company called Security Labs. I’ll still be doing ColdFusion development but more product-based. Leaving L&S was difficult, and I departed on good terms (but only after we had lunch at HuHot).

TL;DR

On August 24th, I concluded my employment at Lawrence & Schiller and started working for a company called Security Labs. I’ll still be doing ColdFusion development but without the marketing focus. This will be more product-based. Leaving L&S was difficult, and I departed on good terms (but only after we had lunch at HuHot).

A Growing Unhappiness

What do you do when you suddenly realize that you haven’t been happy? In my case, the realization came in a flash, although the unhappiness was a slowly growing thing. I looked back on the past year or two, and I tried to identify exactly what had changed. There had been some personnel shifts, some reassignments. Client relationships had changed. The air conditioning had actually gotten colder. But, what was the root of my problem?

All of those are temporary changes. They’re things that can be fixed. I could request a different personnel shift. I could help change a client relationship for the better. I could wear a sweater and a coat. Yet, contemplating those changes didn’t lift the feeling. As I considered what an ideal job for me would look like, I noticed it was missing something key to my time at L&S. I realized my interest in marketing and advertising had waned.

This was something significant. For one, Lawrence & Schiller is a marketing and advertising agency. It’s what they do. So, if I’m unhappy with marketing, I was surrounded by it there. That also meant I wouldn’t be happy at any other marketing or advertising agency, which limited my options quite a bit. Ultimately, though, it meant that L&S couldn’t fix my problem and make me happy. It meant my time there was limited.

A Modest Search

I looked mostly at telecommute opportunities, given the small number of non-marketing development jobs in the area. I also explored frontend positions (HTML, CSS, and JavaScript) along with ColdFusion positions. Some of the leads were promising, but I had my doubts about telecommuting. I think it takes a strange kind of discipline to work that lifestyle, and I didn’t know if I was up for it. My search seemed at an impasse.

Then, the miraculous happened. A job listing appeared on a popular ColdFusion blogger‘s job board: it was a ColdFusion job listed in Sioux Falls, SD. Really? What are the chances! I sent an email to a guy named Adam who worked for a company called Security Labs, and I waited to see what would happen.

After some interviewing, an offer was made. I discussed it with Eric Cross, my discipline coach, and I explained the position I was in. He reacted as all good bosses should, torn between wanting me to be happy and wanting to keep me on the team. If I remember right, he broke down in tears, sobbing, “You’re a much more 1337 hacker than me. Please don’t leave. I’m nothing without you!” It was obvious to both of us how this would play out.

It was a difficult two weeks. Coincidentally, I announced to my team that I was leaving on the same day another developer was having his going away lunch. Talk about a downer. (Also, it was another opportunity to upstage Bob.) Things didn’t really get better from there. I was as torn up with leaving as everyone else was. I had not been wronged, or passed over for promotion, or slighted by my peers; there was none of the bad blood that would have made things easier. Instead it was all legitimate, sincere sadness.

When you work at a place for almost five years, it gets in your bloodstream. I’m very thankful that I made my decision to leave based on logic. Had I stopped to consider the emotional toll it would take, I don’t know that I could have gone through with it. With the magic of Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and IM it’s kinda like I never left – they just asked that I start working on other clients from another building with other people.

Security Labs

Security Labs is a tiny Sioux Falls company of four people that does ColdFusion development. Their primary product is a classifieds engine. It specializes in automotive, although it’s been adapted to agricultural and real estate listings as well. A good example of their handiwork is Car Truck Trader.

My role will be as the second ColdFusion developer. It looks like I’ll be doing much the same type of programming as at L&S. Based on the status meeting we had today, there are some very interesting projects coming up that I’ll get to partake in. I think it’ll be a good opportunity to learn and grow my development skills with an agile, focused team.

Conclusion

My time at L&S was priceless. I learned so much from so many people, and I got to teach a lot to a lot of people. I’ve never met so many energetic, intelligent, creative people in one building. I miss them already, but I’m looking forward to my new adventure. And, who knows? Maybe I’m not done going the extra mile just yet.

Thank You, All

Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us. It’s been eye-opening to read so many stories and experiences that mirror or reflect our own. It’s also been very touching to get your condolences.

Thank you, all, again for your love and support.

I haven’t been very “online” since the last post about the baby. I think a part of me felt that to do anything “normal” like that would be disrespectful. So, I retreated from blogging, reading blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. I disappeared for a short time, but I will soon return. I don’t think our baby would want us to stop being us just because we’re sad, and I, for one, don’t want to disappoint our baby.

So, here’s an LOLbunny.

Godspeed, Our Sweet Angel

This is not what I intended for this post. I had imagined the grainy, gray-scale image of a tiny human being, barely recognizable as such, in profile. I had imagined large, bold letters declaring “I’m a father!”. I had imagined joy. Instead, I’ll be sharing sorrow.

On Friday, December 5th, Holli and I discovered that we had been experiencing an Anembryonic pregnancy.  What we were looking at, instead of the grainy, gray-scale image of a tiny human being, was the grainy, gray-scale image of an empty uterus. That’s when the sorrow began, and it has yet to abate.

It’s hard to describe how I feel. Soon after we discovered our pregnancy, I began to write to our new child. Below, I’ve included the final letter in that series, which can hopefully shed some light.

Dear Future Kid:

This will be the final letter I write to you.

We had an ultrasound today, and you were more than shy; you were already gone. We had been experiencing what is known as an Anembryonic pregnancy. Essentially, you were conceived, began to grow a short while, were unable to continue growing, and were reabsorbed. I like to think of it as you were so special that God wanted you back as soon as possible. Meanwhile, Holli’s body proceeded as if it was a viable pregnancy, even to the point of having symptoms (like sickness and loss of appetite) and physical changes (development of egg sac and enlarged uterus). All of these things happen on auto-pilot, the results of conception.

So it would seem that while we were praying for you to be healthy and safe, you were all-the-while up in Heaven being perfect. I like to imagine you helping prepare your future brothers and sisters for Earth, perhaps giving them tips on how to deal with their Mom and Dad. (Babies always forget that kind of stuff, but nice try. They’ll relearn it.)

We’re sad. We never even got to meet you. The images we saw were of a room prepared, but empty. It felt like some cruel joke, especially after how cautious I tried to be. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, as it’s said, but this event will do a little of both. In time, the pain will fade. We will forget you; not entirely, but more and more until we meet you again, for the first time.

I still love you more than anything.

Yours,

Your Future Dad

Please, don’t feel obligated to leave a comment, but feel free to share your stories. Many of you have already expressed heart-felt condolences and best wishes, and we both greatly greatly appreciate them. We have a great group of friends and family as a support base. You were there for our happiness, and you’re still here at our grief.

We feel fortunate in that what happened isn’t an indication of anything wrong with either of us, and it also isn’t an indication of potential complications in pregnancies to come. Also, it was entirely painless for both mom and baby.

We intend to try again, possibly soon, but it’s hard to think of that now. When I look back at all the emotions that came with our first pregnancy, it’s difficult to imagine facing them all again after this. It feels like we’d only gotten to experience the hardships of pregnancy, without the benefits.

You can read Holli’s thoughts at her Empty Inside post on HolliRausch.com.

Number Five ALIVE

MilesRausch.com readers and bloggers, lend me your ears.  I recently upgraded my web space to PHP 5.2.6.  This means very little to you, but it means a lot to me.  Because my web space is setup on a hosted environment, there might be issues with this upgrade.  Let me know if you experience any problem behavior, particularly HTTP 500 error pages.  I did my best to minimize these issues, but I care very little about all of you, and so I’m sure I missed something along the way.

Official: Olsen seeks immunity in Ledger probe – Yahoo! News

At first, I thought this headline was a joke. Here’s an excerpt from the AP article.

The official confirmed a report that Olsen wants a promise of immunity from prosecution before speaking to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Olsen was a close friend of Ledger’s, and was the first person called by a masseuse who found the 28-year-old “Dark Knight” actor’s lifeless body in his Manhattan apartment.

Wow. She went from being a cute, precocious child on Full House to the (possible) killer of the Joker. Not bad.

Official: Olsen seeks immunity in Ledger probe – Yahoo! News