2022 has begun! With the new year comes a new mcnuggies.dev.
Technically, the "new" year is kind of arbitrary; normally, I don't make any kinds of "resolutions" at the start of a new year. However, this year is different, because last year was also "different". This article recounts 2021 as well as states my goals for the future with this site.
With that said, 2021 was by far one of the most challenging years of my adult life. I would have liked to update this site more, but life had other plans. I would like to take this time to explain what went on over the past 12 months and why any side projects I had took a backseat.
Just a bit of forewarning; this is quite a long article. A lot went down for me in 2021 - a summary wouldn't quite do it justice.
Health is of the utmost importance to me, and unfortunately, last year was not a good one in that regard. Growing up, I had heard all kinds of horror stories about people having their Achilles tendon tear; it was certainly one of the injuries that messed with my head the most. In January, 2021, I sustained a complete Achilles tendon rupture while pushing a broken-down vehicle, basically realizing one of my biggest fears.
Admittedly, though an Achilles tendon rupture is not "fun" by any metric, it certainly was not as bad as I had made it out to be in my head. The pain, while present, was far more muted than I had expected. The truly difficult part was what followed; I have ADHD, so being unable to physically exert myself was, and has been, quite devastating.
For the next 4 months, my doctor had me on non-surgical road to recovery. This involved being placed in a cast that locks your foot into a pointed position, which keeps your calf muscle relaxed while the ends of the Achilles tendon reconnect (apparently, your body can repair such injuries on it's own this way).
The plan was to keep my foot and leg completely immobilized for a month before starting increasing degrees of physical activity, albeit very limited, until I fully recovered. This process would take about a year in total.
After a month, the cast was removed and I began light physical therapy, which simply involved slowly pointing and flexing my foot and light body weight shifting exercises. During this time, I was weighed down and demoralized by not being able to walk around on my own. Almost everything I did, I had to do it with assistance. I could only move around the house on mobility knee scooter, which meant upstairs was basically off limits to me. It was difficult not being able to do things on my own, but I was able to keep my head "above water", so to speak, just by knowing I would able to walk again at the end of May.
Life, however, delivered an unexpected blow. While fighting mounting depression stemming from my limited mobility, my performance at work had started to slip. I had finally picked steam back up after fighting off COVID lock-down fatigue before the lack of mobility knocked me back down. This slip in performance was apparently enough for my employer at the time to find it fit to lay me off. It was completely unexpected as I had been made to believe that employees would be given the chance to recover if performance had slipped (something they called a "Performance Improvement Plan"), but that did not happen. I was simply told the company was being restructured and my role was no longer needed. To my knowledge, I was the only one impacted by this restructure, so it really looked to me as though they had simply looked for a route to let me go, and found one. I don't know for sure what went on behind the scenes; all I can say for sure is what the optics were from my position.
I made it to early May pursuing the non-surgical route before disaster struck again. While attempting to maneuver myself to the shower, my cat darted in front of me at just the right angle so that I stepped in a way that, once again, caused my Achilles tendon to rupture. There was a loud snap, just as there was the first time - I knew what had happened. I was beyond defeated; 4 months of progress and a lost job and I was back to square one in my recovery.
Though I was at a low point, I was determined to not let it get the best of me. I went back to the doctor who informed me that the rupture is likely too severe to recover from non-surgically. Fortunately, since I am on my partner's insurance, I was immediately able to get scheduled for surgery at the end of May. The only bummer was that the recovery for the surgery is the same as it was for the non-surgical route, except that the initial immobilization phase is far longer to allow your body to heal the surgery site. I wasn't too happy about that.
However, there was nothing to do except keep moving forward, which is exactly what I did. The surgery went well, as did the recovery. I was soon getting solid boosts in confidence in the form of multiple job offers from different places for roles that were actually better than my previous one. Though things were tough at the time, I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The Achilles Hell nightmare mostly came to an end once I was given an offer from Cypress.io. As a former QA test engineer, I was keenly aware of Cypress and jumped at the opportunity to work with them. The offer pulled me out of my funk that came from being locked into my computer chair, mobility scooter, or couch. By the time I started my role at Cypress, I was once again able to walk, and free of most restrictions (though, I still can't run or jump around freely at the time of writing this).
It seems like in life, when one issue resolves, two more pop up. At least, this was the case for 2021.
Starting in early September, my partner started encountering some worrying health issues and was unable to eat consistently. We went to various doctors, though no one has been able to really find the root cause, other than she had some really concerning blood work come back at the time. Since then, things have seemed to resolve, but I would be lying if I said it doesn't still occupy my mind frequently.
In addition to my partner's health, one of our huskies decided to up the ante and ate a rock right before Thanksgiving. We had originally planned to visit my partner's parents, but our big derp of a dog needed round-the-clock attention after he had surgery to remove the rock. Fortunately, he recovered well, and after a great deal of time and effort, our yard is now relatively rock-free. Gotta say - that wasn't something I ever expected to be an issue, but Zuzu (the problem husky) is a bit of a wild card. Extremely loving, but a wild card nonetheless.
Outside of my family, my fall was also impacted by the death of a family friend. The death was not expected, and the nature surrounding it is... dark. I feel for the family of the departed, but the situation is hard for me to rectify both morally and emotionally. It was the last thing any of us expected could happen. At least, to those of us not part of their immediate family. We have since moved past it as best as we can. Time, fortunately, does heal all wounds, if you let it.
The future of mcnuggies.dev
Going forward, I intend to update this site far more actively. However, I will not commit to regular update cadence.
iI don't consider myself to be a blogger. I simply write when I feel like I have something to say. Personally, I despise "content" creators that simply rehash old content just to drive user engagement, or bury fresh content within a rapaciously aggressive ad campaign. While I do acknowledge the need to drive such user engagement when blogging is your livelihood, that's simply not the case for me.
This site is simply my personal sounding board for a variety of different things I work on, or am interested in.
For the past year or two, I've intermittently dabbled with 3D modeling using an open-source application called Blender.
For the uninitiated, the learning curve for 3D modeling is incredibly steep. Fortunately, the 3D modeling community is incredibly active and helpful. There are a range of free resources out there that are immensely helpful. YouTubers like Blender Guru and Royal Skies have gone to great lengths to relay the information they have picked up over the years, but even they will tell you that there is always more to learn (including for them).
Though I am by no metric an expert on 3D modeling, I would like to continue the 3D modeling community's collective effort to share and disseminate useful tips and tricks. Though there are certainly paid options for learning 3D modeling, the overwhelming majority of what I learned, I learned from free resources. Any reference material I release will also be free.
On a related note, the header image on this post is actually a screenshot of a render I made; I modeled some low-poly assets from one of my favorite games, The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion. I wanted to start modeling in earnest using things I was familiar with. Since I've dumped more time than I would like to admit into this game, I figured why not model some of my favorite things from the game. What you see in the header image is a render of Welkynd stone positioned in the standard pedestals you often find them in throughout the game.
Don't buy online courses for 3D modeling!!! The only reference material I would recommend you buy (so far) is from Blender Secrets. The book is about $40 (USD), but has tons of concise guides on a variety of different topics in Blender. You absolutely do not NEED this book! I only recommend it if A). You are relatively familiar with the basics of Blender and 2). You have some extra money to spend and are looking for useful tips and tricks in Blender.
I've been an avid gamer for as long as I can remember. While I am certainly no pro gamer, and never was, I consider myself knowledgeable enough to give some meaningful insight into the goings on of the gaming industry.
Additionally, I am working on some games myself. Many of my future posts will likely discuss the updates on ongoing projects I have, once they are closer to a more "ready" state.
Coding is hard, and I like problem solving. In the past, I've written reference and guide material on Medium, but have since taken a break. I would like to start back up with writing such guides and putting them here in the future.
Aside from a gamer and coder, I am also just a general tech-head. I really enjoy leveraging Docker to host a myriad of game servers on our home server. Some of the older site content I have here covers some of these topics already. I'm sure I will post more of this kind in the future.