Bailing Bucket is AFK

So, by now, I suspect most of you have heard the news, but if you haven’t: I accepted a job as the “Digital Marketing Manager” with the Western Producer in Saskatoon and I start on May 2.

All I need to do is: get our house ready for sale, sell the house, find a home in Saskatoon (whether that means buying or renting, not sure), move everything and start a new job with responsibilities that I’ve never held before. Oh and did I mention that Leah is defending her thesis on April 22? So she’s working like crazy and as such unable to help me with any of the above for the next couple of weeks.

I am totally freaking out. However, I am doing my best to deal with the stress by taking on one project at a time and that seems to be working. One of the things I hope you’ll accept is that I’m stepping away from the blog for the next month or two, including the infamous podcast. By the time I actually have time to release the podcast it will be so infamous that it will be sure to let everyone down, but that’s the way it will have to be.

It’s going to be a crazy-ass month, but I am really looking forward to being back home in Saskatchewan and it will truly be a new beginning for Leah and I as neither of us have ever lived in Saskatoon, for the first time in our marriage she won’t be a student and it’s a big new step in my career and I can’t wait to get started.

I know that I’ve disappeared from blogging in the past, but this is the first time I’ve purposefully stepped away from it. I’ll miss you, but I’ll keep notes and try to have a whole bunch of new stuff as soon as I’m settled in Saskatoon.

CloudFlare Added to Bailing Bucket

I just wanted to let you all know that a couple weeks ago I added the service CloudFlare to Bailing Bucket. Basically, this has made the site faster and more secure against everything from spammers to hackers.

Generally, I wouldn’t alert you if I was testing new plugins or services, but in this instance CloudFlare acts as the primary wall to visitors and hopefully is screening out the bad visitors and letting in the good visitors. However, it just tried to screen me so I wanted to alert you to this possibility. All that it requires is that you enter the CAPTCHA code and you’ll come directly into the site.

If you encounter this or are experiencing any issues with the site please let me know. I’m feeling pretty positive about CloudFlare so far, but if you have any thoughts I’d be happy to hear. Subsequently, if you have a blog and domain, I’d recommend that you give it a try.

Vacation Notice

I’m off early for my “vacation” today. This has probably been the worst December I’ve ever had. You know, I was excited for Christmas this year but everything caught up with me in December.

For instance, a close family friend is close to death, add in some significant family stress, plus some interpersonal work explosions and yesterday my grandma passed away (which is why I’m on “vacation” early).

Oh and Leah just chipped a tooth so she’s at the dentist while I wait at the spa for a Vietnamese woman to yank out the excessive eyebrows from my face and then we start the 7 hour drive to Regina.

I was trying to lighten the mood with that last one…

The good news is that, while I’m feeling lost knowing my grandma isn’t here, I have the next two weeks off with all different kinds of family. I’ve also recorded about 3/4 of my first podcast and will begin learning the ins and outs of audio production so that you have something to new and exciting to listen to in the new year. And finally I feel like things (hopefully) can’t get much worse in 2011 and right now I’m beginning to look forward to a new year with new challenges.

I wish you all a happy and safe holidays. To life!

From the Bottom of My Bucket

Bailing Bucket illustration by Ken Leigh-Smith

Bailing Bucket illustration by Ken Leigh-Smith

Welcome to the new and improved Bailing Bucket. There is still a lot to add to this page, but this is the basic layout that I’ll be using going forward.

New Logo/Illustration and Design

The impetus behind all of this is that I finally want to commit to this blog in a way that I haven’t before, but the visual aspect of the site came together when I saw the Brown Blog. It is so simple and perfect. No distracting sidebars and a really interesting illustration. Plus, it just focuses on the content, the writing and the story—which is what I plan on doing going forward.

I asked my very good friend, Ken Leigh-Smith, if he would be willing and interested in doing a simple illustration for me—a bucket throwing out some water. Just a simple line drawing, but I threw in “but you have total creative control”. Because he’s a very charitable and kind person, he agreed.

And this is the amazing graphic that he came back with. I’ve never met a designer who nailed a design so quickly. From what Ken knows about me (a fair amount) and from what I asked for, he came up with probably the best summation of who I am and what I want this blog to be. He says he got lucky, but Ken is one of those annoyingly smart and perceptive people—the ones who are crazy smart without trying—so I don’t believe it was luck.

The Origin & Future of Bailing Bucket

I’d been struggling for a long time to explain what Bailing Bucket is and I’ve never had the words to do it—but now I have an illustration. The act of bailing water is generally a fairly serious one. I don’t know that anyone knows this, but I actually bought because I wanted to start a Christian apologetic blog—bailing out Christianity one post at a time, I guess. Though I no longer have any interest in Christian apologetics, the desire to do something meaningful, to save something/anyone is still very much at my core.

So that takes care of the serious side, but my struggle was mixing it with the other side. The absurd and silly side. Ken adding the boat was the cherry on top. It’s like throwing out the baby with the bath water. Serious and silly.

Over the last year or two, I’ve struggled with whether I believe in something or nothing—and I mean that across the board, not just Christianity. I mean, am I a nihilist (it is exhausting) or do I subscribe to idea of inter-connectedness and a point to life? The difference between saving or throwing it all out.

This illustration is the perfect representation of the paradoxes/dichotomies I struggle with and now I expect to evolve a voice here with both: my love, laughter & happiness and my depression, anger and fear.

More Thanks

Design is an important part of any site, but my other good friend Lucas Karpiuk helped me with the CSS. I’d like to think I could hack/figure out the CSS, but Lucas did it for me and saved me so much hassle. He already knows this, but it was a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to just launch this new design without worrying about the front-end development. Thank you, Lucas.

Addition: I should have thought of this earlier, but I also really want to thank my good friend Connor who did the previous big purple logo for me. It was brilliant and if it worked with the bucket I would’ve kept it.

What About You

I’ve written “I need to post here more often” on this blog too many times. But I’ve learned so much over the last year at up! magazine that I finally understand how I can make this work. The other thing you can expect is the launch of a Bailing Bucket podcast in the next month. So now that I’ve said it out-loud, I better produce.

To re-cap, I’m promising a wide variety of better writing and in a variety of formats. All I want from you is your attention, maybe you could pass my blog on to your friends and to hear what you’re thinking.

So, what are you thinking?

And, to end where I started, from the bottom of my bucket, I would like to thank you for sticking with me and I hope you’re up for the rest of the ride.

P.S. I had to nuke the Lifestream page because of some serious security problems. Once I have a solution, it will be back. Uncle Leslie, I hope the Archives page works for you.

The First 500,000

It’s funny how squirrelly I get when I don’t write anything for two months. Lately, I’ve even been thinking in poems. POEMS! I thought I gave that nonsense up years ago. Poetry is the worst.

I miss writing, a lot. But I’ve also been doing quite a bit of thinking about what the heck I am doing here on Bailing Bucket. Well, I’d like to move in two directions:

  1. Share more links and neat stuff
  2. Create prepared, well written and bitchin’ stories

Sharing is caring

Let’s just get this out of the way—I am way cooler/nerdier than almost everyone who reads this blog. By that I mean, when you share a funny video on Facebook I probably saw it a week before. Don’t let it get you down. It’s not really that cool to be part of the internet 31337 (elite). The sad part is, I’m not even in the upper echelons of the web. Those are the Digg kids and no one wants to be a Digg kid. But I figure I am in the first 500,000 to see most neat stuff online. It’s rare that I miss something.

In any case, in order to help you be web cool and because the web is all about sharing, I’m going to share more fun stuff.

Writing thoughtfully

I’d like to move towards producing solid, well-crafted stories. My time at NETELLER, as a copywriter, was great to get me back into working on writing. Now, working for up!, it’s taught me a lot about editing and developing ideas. I think this blog could easily just be a place where I come and recite my day, but I think in order to be successful it’s not necessarily frequency but quality. My goal is to write one solid story a week and actively grow readers as possible (that’s where I’ll need your help (if you like what you’re reading)).

That’s all for now. More to come. Also, I’ll try and finish that SXSW Live Blog.

Announcements: A Terrible Death to Die

We used to sing this song at camp, every day at lunch, when we had announcements.

Announcements, Announcements, Announcements *clap, clap*
Announcements, Announcements, Announcements *clap, clap*
A terrible death to die, a terrible death to die
A terrible death to talk to death, a terrible death to die
Announcements, Announcements, Announcements *clap, clap*
Announcements, Announcements, Announcements *clap, clap*

*Repeat until your ears are bleeding*

What a bizarre song. I have no idea where it came from or why it was remotely appropriate for a Baptist camp. However, to this day, I can still hear that horrible song. Well, today, I have some announcements. First, I apologize for my disappearing act, but I will explain why it had to happen below. Second, welcome to 2010. I hope it’s going alright for you so far.

Re-launch of up! magazine

As you know, I am the Web Editor of WestJet’s up! magazine. I took on this job and title last August. Well, I have been hard at work to make this a more usable and enjoyable website. At the beginning of January we re-launched this site with a new design and functionality. This was a massive undertaking that was months of work and that work was only starting with the re-launch in January. I’m hoping I’ll return a more sane work schedule in the coming months.

A large part of my disappearing act in January was because of the new site. I was so worn out at the end of every work day that I didn’t blog. In any case, going forward, I should be a little more regular. I am also happy to report that the new website is performing well and I’m well on my way to producing a very successful website.

I hope you take some time to enter the contests we run every month and if you’re travelling check it out. There’s over 2000 articles on all the WestJet destinations. Lots of good ideas to take advantage of while your travelling.

Today for Lunch

My good friend Brendan and I have just launched a new blog called Today for Lunch. It’s an idea that Brendan stole from another friend of his. That’s what good writers do, right? Steal. It’s fun.

The premise is a letter-style blog regarding what we had for lunch. We’ve just started, but I think it’s going to be interesting. Plus, presuming we eat, we’ll always have something to write about. Brendan and I had started doing this on Facebook and we’ve decided to move it into a blog format. Also, my posts on Facebook went missing (Brendan deleted them, I suspect), so it looks like Brendan has written a lot more than me. He has, but not that much.

Bookmark it today or grab the RSS feed. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.

What to expect in 2010

I don’t know, but it’s going to be awesome.

Comments welcome and appreciated.