WordPress Weekly Co-Host Spot

Update: Here’s the link to the episode, if you want to check it out:
WPWeekly Episode 284 – Catching Up with David Peralty

So on August 9th at 3:00 PM Eastern, I’ll be a guest on the WordPress Weekly podcast with Jeff Chandler. You can watch a live stream of it on YouTube if you are interested. Check the podcast page, on the WordPress Tavern website, before it goes live to see a link to the live stream.

What will we be talking about? You’ll have to tune in to find out.

This is extra special for me because I used to be a regular on the podcast, way back in the day, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Want to listen to my last episode? Check out Episode 75. It is from 2009!

Anyways, I recommend listening to all 282 current episodes if you are looking to fill some time and want to basically listen to the history of WordPress recorded a week at a time over the last several years.

And of course, please don’t forget to listen to WordPress Weekly live on August 9th, but if you miss it, check on the WordPress Tavern website for the latest WordPress Weekly podcast after it records!

Mistakes Were Made: Upgrading Database Edition

So today, on a personal project, a plugin I’m using pointed out that I’m not using the most up to date database software on my server, so I went to backup my database and upgrade the database software, unfortunately, the upgrade went wrong and the backup was empty.

All of the work, approximately twenty hours or so, was gone.

But, I had a copy of the IBD and FRM files for the database. This meant that I had the essence of the database, but there was no easy way to make it go live again.

I was so frustrated. I had dozens of tabs open, asked some people that I knew were smarter than me at server management and database administration and the consensus was that there was no easy way to get my data back. I was going to have to start over…

I spent the afternoon trying everything I could find in hopes of getting back up and running without starting over, and by the end of the day, I was successful. I was able to restore about 90% of my work and the last 10% isn’t super important and would take less time to redo than restore.

It all worked out because of the IBD files and discarding and importing the tablespace as seen at this StackExchange Discussion – How to Recover an InnoDB table whose files were moved around.

I’ve activated additional backup tools so that this doesn’t happen again and I’ll definitely check backup file sizes before doing something so risky in the future.

Please learn from my mistake, and don’t just backup, but check that you have good backups!

Why I’m on the Hunt for a New Job

I was let go from my position at Innovate Kingston today, as the organization needs to go extra lean to keep things rolling for its next big event.

I was really hopeful that the position would continue on for some time as I enjoyed not only the people I worked with but also the focuses of the organization.

I still feel connected to the brand and want to see it succeed. I want Innovate Kingston to find all the funding it needs going forward to be as successful as possible. Kingston needs more innovative companies.

I’m a bit stressed about my employment situation, as I’m not only the sole earner in the household, but also Annie is planning on going back to school this fall to pursue her dream of being a grief and loss counsellor.

So, begrudgingly, I am back on the hunt for a new opportunity. I am an experienced Project Manager. I was the Technical Project Manager for The Breakout Project, as well as running many projects for 10up, a WordPress focused digital agency.

Hopefully, it won’t take long to find something to fill the gap so our overarching plans don’t have to change.

A huge thank you to everyone that has shown support and compassion already today and those that continue to do so!

Going to Visit Gael This Weekend

Annie’s mom hasn’t been well. She suffered another noticeable decline and has been in the hospital for over a month now. Annie and I are looking forward to seeing her, though reading reports from other people’s visits, while slightly humorous, they are quite sad. She has been having difficulty differentiating between what is real and what isn’t, and often spends more time focused on hallucinations than the real people in her room.

We got word today that she likely won’t be going back home with Mary and Bill unless she makes a rapid improvement (which she has done before with previous medical events). I am still processing that information, hence why I’m writing this post.

I really don’t like the idea of a slow decline like Gael is going through. While every positive interaction is a blessing, the logical side of my brain weighs it against the strain and stress that her current state puts on everyone, including her.

When I first met Gael, she was ready to marry me off to her daughter. I don’t know if that was a commentary on how nice she thought I was, or how much of a hurry she was in to see her youngest child married off. She was kind, inviting, friendly, and witty. As my relationship with Annie grew, so did my relationship with Gael. There was a ton of sarcasm tossed around, as well as some light jokes at the expense of her limited hearing. She patiently dealt with all of the technical hoops I made her jump through to watch her favourite shows while staying with us. It has been hard seeing her slowly step down these stairs of health.

I hope we have a good visit with Gael and that this weekend goes well. Hopefully, we will also get to visit more often in the next few months, as we haven’t been so great about it lately.

If you pray, please do so for Gael, Annie, and her family. They need every positive intention they can get for strength, love, and healing. I hope the universe is listening…

Learning to Make Video Games

I really want to learn to make simple video games. I watched Quill18 create his latest Ludum Dare competition game, and was super inspired. When the theme was announced, I immediately thought of an idea. I went to try to make it in Unity and Game Maker Studio 2 and quickly realized how over my head I was. I watched some tutorial videos and tried again, only to remain frustrated.

Since then, I have had my nephew come and show me how to do some things in Game Maker. I was super impressed, but soon after he left to go home, I started struggling trying to replicate the things that seemed to come so simply to him.

Thankfully, I was born stubborn. I have been watching many tutorial videos, reading documents, and even following along with some demonstration videos to get results. I am slowly building an understanding of how to use Unity, but I like to say that I am currently on the “how” stage, but I lack any of the “why”.

I said to Annie that “you don’t learn English by reading a dictionary”, so I’m hopeful by continuing to try to do what these Unity tutorials and demo videos show me, I’ll build up enough knowledge to produce results, and can get to a point where I’m comfortable enough with the “how” that the “why” starts to come naturally, and I will only need to fill small gaps.

My goal is to be able to complete my Ludum Dare idea before the next one this August, in hopes that I’ll be knowledgeable enough to take part this fall.

So far, all I’ve learned is how to move the camera around using my mouse, move a small sprite character around with my keyboard, and how to load in images. I have a long way to go, but I’m enjoying working on it when I can find the time.

Creating a Card Game

I’ve been working on creating a card game for a few months now. The idea has been bouncing around in my head for over a year, and when I tried to translate it into a game that I wanted to make, I realized I didn’t have the skills to make it, but that I could rapidly create a paper prototype. So I did.

Second Class Supers is a book that my wife and I wrote and self-published thanks to Kickstarter. I created a card game that exists within that universe (though much earlier than the book).

I started with the basic mechanics. I wanted it to be a deck builder game, as that dodges the whole “person with the most money to buy cool cards wins” option that collectible card games have. I liked how, for the most part, Hearthstone is a “fair” game each time you play and had recently played Star Realms, which felt even more balanced.

I knew that I wanted to make it as simple as possible, but provide opportunities for depth of gameplay. I wanted someone to be able to learn most of the mechanics of the game in a single turn, and I feel that I was able to figure that out.

I have three primary stats to contend with: Power, Credits, and Alignment. Power is how much damage you can do to your foes. Credits are the cost of purchasing a card but also allows for positive balance cards that provide credits on subsequent turns. Lastly, Alignment is a mechanic that creates the hero versus villain option. Alignment controls what cards you should try to purchase, and when you can use them.

Each player starts with 100 Health, and I am hoping to make a game board with character markers in the future to visually show how healthy a character is.

Each player starts with a basic deck of eight cards and on their turn, they draw five. Providing more cards than the draw makes for more uniqueness in the starting round.

There are two flops of five cards each. One is for Supers, which are cards that cost 20,000 credits each but are persistent, meaning that they get added to your character rather than your deck and apply each turn. The other flop is for the main buying cards, such as henchmen, winning the lottery, removing an opponent’s Super, healing, and synergy cards for Supers.

So if you have telekinesis, you might also have “tanks are weightless to my mind”. These synergy cards quickly make a player very powerful, and health starts dropping quickly in the later rounds. Having “tanks are weightless to my mind” acts as a blank card in your draw if you don’t have telekinesis.

Credits and Alignment stall the game from being over too quickly. You can earn credits each round if you have certain cards, but then you might have the choice to save up for a Super or purchase a higher value credit paying card to be able to save up credits faster in future turns.

Alignment restricts the cards you want to purchase and use. Alignment ranges from -10 to +10. Some cards can only be used if your alignment is negative, and others if it is positive. I also created one card that says Super Hero and one that says Super Villain that can only be picked up or used if your alignment is +10 or -10 respectively. This card is considered a “quick win” card if you can acquire it. It doesn’t cost any credits to acquire and each time you draw it, you deal 10 power of damage. Other players might have cards that affect your alignment, making it more difficult to pick up or use.

In the end, I have play tested it about a dozen times with various people. Sometimes just with my wife and I, and we’ve had as many as four people play a version of the game. I think I’m on the seventh revision. Staples has been really nice to me as I’ve continually had them print and cut hundreds of cards.

Ideally, I would turn this into a product, but that process is very expensive. I am currently trying to figure out the art piece for the cards, as well as finding any other tweaks I might need. I am hopeful in the next few months to have the card art created, maybe even the board, and some other interesting pieces, and then get a prototype printed for Annie and me.

If anyone is interested in beta testing it for me, I can send you the PDFs of the cards as well as the rules. A print shop should be able to set you up for less than $10. The only pain is tracking health and alignment. For Health, we’ve been using the Ticket to Ride game board. For alignment, we’ve been using a computer text editor. Though, my nephew did make a cool web page with the ability to track the stats, which was super nice of him (I can probably send the link if anyone needs it).

Anyways, if you are interested in hearing or seeing more about the Second Class Supers Card Game, please let me know, and I’ll continue to add more information about it.

Anti-Smoking Drug Helping My Depression

I can’t believe I haven’t written a blog post about this already. As many of you know, I write pretty openly about my battles with anxiety and depression, and I am happy to say that Wellbutrin has been super effective for me.

A little over five months ago, I started taking Wellbutrin, the marketing name for Bupropion, a drug that started out as an anti-depressant and switched to be primarily used for a smoking cessation drug.

I went into the Doctor’s office, and he was busy at the hospital dealing with an emergency patient. I sat with his medical student and talked through what I was experiencing. I had a drop in my mood to the point where I was getting concerned, so I sought out help, as I have done before.

The medical student was super nice but very overwhelmed dealing with my situation. Thankfully, I came in with a ton of information. I had printed out sheets regarding what I’ve taken, what I felt, what I wanted to take and a few other pieces of information.

I had also found out, from genetic testing, that certain anti-depressant drugs wouldn’t work very effectively for me. As I compared them to the list I had previously used, one thing was clear… I had been taking all the wrong medication.

Thankfully, after a phone call with my doctor, I was prescribed Wellbutrin and began taking it. The effect was slow and very gradual. It wasn’t much of a lift at first, but it also didn’t have any side-effects for me.

I was put on a stronger dose after a few weeks, and that raised my mood further. My doctor wanted to raise my dose up even more, but I declined as I had read information about people having seizures on higher doses. My doctor said that due to how large of a man I am, and my experiences on previous medication, I should be able to sustain a higher dose, but again, I declined and he accepted.

I have now been taking Wellbutrin for over five months and have found it to be very helpful. I feel I am taking a medication that no doctor would have recommended as it isn’t one of the popular drugs put out in the last while, especially since I also suffer from anxiety issues and Wellbutrin doesn’t address anxiety issues. But, with my depression in check, I’m much more able to manage my anxiety and move forward with a high quality of life.

I still get a bit worried that someday Wellbutrin might not work for me anymore or that I might have to take it forever (though I don’t understand why that is such a concerning thought), but right now, more often than not, I feel “normal”. I get to experience the full range of emotions. I don’t feel artificially happy. I don’t feel like my emotional range is being constricted. Sometimes, I wonder if I’m just doing better. There is a strong mental draw to stop being on medication, but when I was running low between prescriptions, I scaled back for a while, only to realize that I still require its positive effect.

I don’t know what the future holds for working on my depression and anxiety, but I’m glad I’ve finally found a medicine that provides me some relief. It only took nearly twenty years…