J. Michael Ward

PHP Developer, Board Game Aficianado, and Donut Snob

The Second of a Twice-yearly Check-in

I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘crazy’ past 6 months, but life has ramped up a bit and, as usual, I haven’t bothered to write about any of it in this space. It’s probably for the best.

Here are a couple of exciting things that have occurred since the last time I wrote:

1. I got a new job! On November 3rd, I joined the development team over at Westwerk, where I’ve been taking all of the things I’ve learned about WordPress and have been applying them to myriad customization projects for clients big and small. It’s been great being back in a larger office after several years of working for companies with just a handful of employees. We have 19! When I haven’t been working on development projects, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to brush up on my foosball and Super Smash Bros. skills, both of which have been collecting rust for years. One of these days, I may become a feared opponent, but more importantly, I hope to be viewed as a go-to employee and someone who’s able to solve any challenging problem that can be thrown at him.

2. My new band played some shows! And we recorded a demo this summer! We’ve been quiet these past few months while Zabby learns what it’s like to be a dad for the first time, but the whole gang’s been back in the rehearsal space for the last couple of weeks, so perhaps we’ll find ourselves on a stage again before long this winter.

3. Since sometime around mid-May, I’ve been helping Jonathan Sundquist organize the annual Midwest PHP Conference, and this morning we just began sending out acceptance letters to our panel of speakers. As with previous years, the conference will be a two-day event, and this year we’ve accepted 32 talks on a variety of topics (from a collection of 331 submissions!). The website will be updated very soon with information about the talks we selected and the speakers who will be giving them, and registration is now open. It’s been a long road thus far and there’s still much to do, but it will be March before long and I’m looking forward to catching as many presentations as I can during those two days.

In addition to the items above, I’ve been keeping busy with some freelance work, catching a show here and there, and planning out some ways to be better about setting and achieving goals in the new year. I’ve been so focused on my weekly routine of activities that I’ve let some other important goals slip by the wayside, and I’m looking forward to sitting down and figuring out how to broaden my horizons in the new year. Hopefully, I’ll get to enjoy a little traveling, do some cycling, join a bowling league, and catch up on all of the reading I’ve been putting off in 2014. Nothing is more satisfying than going through your list of goals from January and seeing just how many you’ve accomplished, and unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll get much satisfaction from reviewing that list this year. That said, I’ve been working on some things that will help put me in a better position for the new year, and I’m really excited about all of the potential 2015 has in store. Keeping my fingers crossed for big things!