Unspoken bond

Back in 2006 I moved out with my sister and my fiance. We lived in a two bedroom apartment and I was working as an assistant general manager until they let me go. I took some time off only because I wasn’t looking for a job. I landed one as a short order cook at Mel’s Diner. I would be working overnight from 10pm to 6am cooking. I wasn’t getting as many hours as I needed but worked hard to learn what I needed to do and what needed to be cooked.

Shortly after I found a second job. Working at Starbucks. This was the one that lasted me the longest to date. Nine years working there, making coffee, meeting new people and learning a lot about others as well as myself. During that time I attempted to attend online courses for Web Design and Multimedia in hopes to get a Bachelor’s Degree. Held out as long as I could but ultimately would not be able to finish the courses.

This didn’t stop me from learning about the web and its technologies. I began collecting books on PHP, CSS, JavaScript and reading as much as I could because I knew that needed to learn these things in order to advance myself. There were days when I felt like giving it all up and just be another person living day-to-day – paycheck to paycheck.

Jamie has always pushed my buttons. Both good and bad. She irritates me like nobody can but I couldn’t image my life without her. We have shared good things and bad things about each other and I feel like I really lucked out with her. She makes me feel beyond elated when she pushes me to better myself.

This is shown when I draw, when I paint, when I take a picture.

For years she was the artist in the family – and I still feel like she is. I love when she teaches me new things about art. In a way we do have that unspoken bond: art. She brings out the artistic side of me and it does bring a smile to my face. Not just when I express my artistic side but hers as well. She is the tripod to my camera.

All these years she’s supported me in every aspect of my life. She gave me an amazing gift four years ago that to this very day I am thankful for. Our son, Salvador.

little-monster

Our little monster.

He makes me so proud when I see him. The things he does, the things he says make me happy to know that we are both raising a child with a bright future. It hasn’t been easy the last two years because he does take after dad a lot. I guess karma babies can happen.

I am lucky and blessed to have amazing people in my life and even luckier to be married to one and raising one.

When encouragement just isn’t enough

About two weeks ago I chose to slow down on contributing to reviewing WordPress themes. I have my many reasons for doing so.

  • Burn out
  • Repetition
  • Discouraging
  • Frustrating

I think the biggest one is frustration. That’s not to say I am going to stop. I just won’t do as many. In the last four years, a lot has changed in the reviewing world. Many of those changes good and a few bad. I met a lot of people, helped a lot of new reviewers and some theme authors along the way. Yes, I would do all of that over again in a heartbeat.

What really drove me over the edge was when somebody asked for clarification on one thing. A blatantly obvious and simple question but they chose to try and find a way to go around it. I’m sorry if I start rambling about code but that’s what will happen.

As a theme reviewer I should know about security. When I began, I knew of it. I knew some basic practices because I looked the up and read about them. I tried finding resources, tutorials, videos about WordPress security and best practices. I even looked up basic PHP security practices to get a better understanding.

Why?

So that I can not only understand what the theme was doing but also pass on that knowledge to the author if they didn’t know. I say “I should,” only because there are no documents, articles, tutorials, references on what a theme reviewer needs to know in order to actually do a theme review. Could that be an issue? Quite possibly.

Now, over the last four years, I learned a great deal on how WordPress works and even contributed a few patches along the way. I got to see my name in the credits and it was a great feeling knowing I helped more than twenty percent of the web in some manner.

This last year has been rough. I’m not going to lie when I say that I actually dread looking at the current state of the themes being submitted. The biggest reason being repetition. I log on, look at the theme’s code and see the same mistake I saw last month. Or the month before that, or that, or that – you get the idea. A lot of those are from the same author that submits many themes at once or use a the same framework on all their themes but neglect to fix the issues on the other themes. It’s not hard!

The biggest frustration though is in the form of authors “cheating” the system. Okay, bad term, really bad term but that’s the feeling I get a lot of the time when I see those types of submissions or when I see an author asking questions about what is allowed and edge cases. It’s like they are trying to find a way to cheat the system. That was one thing I despised about working at Starbucks a lot of the time. People asking for “cheaper” ways of getting a drink. Those are generally the ones that ruin it for the others down the road. That was part of the reason prices had to be adjusted in certain market areas.

It hurts not only the person working but those that stop by later on as well.

For now, I’m just going to keep on posting on the forums and helping when I can on there and not so much on the theme review. It’s been fun but not so much lately and it makes me sad to see others feel along the same lines as I do.

Random mental rants

The last couple of weeks were cool. I’ve been lucky enough to work from home and get a lot of the things I wanted to get knocked out of my random list. It hasn’t been the easiest of things to get used to but I’ve managed to do it. I’m getting more comfortable with what I need to do and how to do it.

I think the biggest perk for me is that I now have a bit more free time to help out with other things within WordPress.

The biggest issue right now is because I can sleep at night and not worry about not being able to watch SJ I tend to oversleep. It drives me crazy. I actually sleep! How do you people do this? I miss the days of working on four hours of sleep and being awake until six in the morning. Okay, not always but a lot of the times.

The things that make me happy are cleaning the apartment, doing dishes, making coffee, and cooking. A bit odd that cleaning can do that for me but it does. Cooking and coffee are a great thing. Which does remind me that I do need to make tiramisu pretty soon here.

Yes, I am somewhat domesticated but it makes me happy. There are a few things in the last couple of weeks that did grind my gears a little.

Seeing people take advantage of a system is a big one for me. Especially when it hurts – or hinders – others in that system. I try to let it go but it is hard to do. It’s the, “all it take is one person to ruin it for everyone,” type of thing for me. When there are rules applied it blows when all it takes is one bad apple.

It sucks. It blows. It’s just not a good feeling all around.

A lot has changed as well and couldn’t be happier about it and a lot more will be happening this year as well. Looking forward to it and really excited about the changes this year will hold.

The father role

The last four years were amazing! Salvador was born, my little sister got married and now my older brother is getting married. All my other siblings have also experienced their own moments of joy and happiness.

Today a lot of things changed.

Today my dad passed away.

He was happy, he was proud, and he waited for the right moment to do so.

Yes, there are a lot of emotions that are running through my mind but sad is far from that. The biggest reason is because growing up my dad showed us that laughter will always be the best medicine. Negativity can ruin a day.

Lessons learned

I was about seven years old when I first moved to America and I had no clue what my future wold hold. All I knew was that I was moving and that I would be experiencing new things with a new life.

When we arrived, we had just a few things. Clothes and some bags. My dad had a job at a Chevron gas station working the graveyards shifts. My mom later got a job at a Taco Bell. We made friends, we made memories.

Some lasted longer than others.

In our time living in the Los Angeles area we experienced a quake, a car chase, and several other events that not only changed people around us but us as well. Comedy got us through a lot of those times.

I have my dad to thank for that.

His high spirit was the motivation and that little spark that relit a flickering candle. He was never afraid to make those around him smile. He would always have a joke, a story, a punchline ready. To this day I still question how he knew exactly what to say and when to say it when it comes to jokes. I have my moments here and I have him to thank for that.

I mentioned my dad worked graveyards. He did. My mom would work during the day. He would drive her to work and would often pick us up from school. In a way I take after him on that. The last couple of months I would get home from work, take maybe an hour nap, and then take Salvador to school and pick him up two hours later.

It’s a small sacrifice we both chose to make to see our family happy.

Over the years, we grew up, moved to Northern California and got educated a little along the way. I graduated high school, tried the college thing twice and now am working with a bunch of people who are happy to help when they can. My dad was that same way. He would always be one of the first to volunteer.

He taught me that. I’m glad he did.

I wouldn’t be where I am if I hadn’t learned that. Over the years I learned more and more from him. I learned things I never thought I would need.

He began his own business and from that I learned that visual communication was something I really enjoyed doing. I just hated having somebody looking over my back while doing it. I loved the freedom to create what I wanted but meeting the requirement was never easy. This of course can come in handy when dealing with customer support or even trying to break things down to a toddler.

I think the biggest lessons I got from my dad were the ones that he never tried to teach me but showed with his actions.  He showed the type of relationship I want to have not only with Jamie but with Salvador as well. He showed me that even the smallest thing can turn somebody’s day completely around. He showed me that even a stranger is human and you treat them with respect. Compassion was his lesson to me.

A lot of lessons I’ve taken over the years from a man I would come to dislike for actions he would do. He had his moments but he is human and he wasn’t afraid of that.

I love my dad and I always will.

The biggest and greatest lesson I hope to pass on to my son is to care about those around you and you will be happy, you will be proud, and you will never be lonely.