I know what you did last summer

Yes, bram.us is still a thing. Save a few posts mid July not that much has happened around here.

So, what have I been up to the past two months? Here’s a small list (saving the best for last):

  1. I reviewed a book
  2. I went diving
  3. I renovated my house
  4. I went camping with my kids
  5. I reexamined my students
  6. I went cooking with the Scouts
  7. I quit my job as a lecturer

Told you I’d save the best for last! 😉

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1. I reviewed a book

Having reviewed Google Maps JavaScript API Cookbook before, Packt Publishing contacted me in June to be the lead technical reviewer for Learning Ionic, a book that gives one a solid introduction to Ionic, a framework I fell in love with about a year ago.

learning-ionic

The reviewing process went really smooth because the author – Arvind Ravulavaru – has done a really good job I must say; my corrections were very limited this time. The book itself got released mid July. If you’re curious about Ionic but don’t have a clue where to start this book is for you. All code samples can be found on Github.

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2. I went diving

Back in 2009 – in Australia – I got my Open Water Diver Certification. During the course of this summer I got several PADI Specialty certifications. Some of the Specialty Courses I had already started in May/June, yet it was only in July/August that I finally finished all of them.

Having gathered the “Night Diver”, “Deep Diver”, “Enriched Air”, “Wreck Diver”, and “Underwater Navigator” specialties I am now a certified PADI “Advanced Open Water Diver”.

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Night Diving … is at night.

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If an ice-cream truck stops by in between two dives you don’t say no.

Except for the “Wreck Diver” specialty, I took all courses at Bubble and Dive — the PADI 5* IDC Dive Center Center to which the diving club I am a member of (“Bubbledivers”) is allied to. Many thanks go out to Carol (Owner), Peter (Course Director), and especially Bart (IDC Staff Instructor) who was my instructor during all specialties.

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Celebrating after the dive with my instructor Bart
(the bottle of champagne is just outside of the frame ;-))

Thanks also go out to Mickel and Koen who, back in February 2015, got me diving again after a hiatus of more than 5 years. With them I spent a week on Malta where I got the aforementioned “Wreck Diver” certificate. On Malta we logged 17 dives in 6 days. Quite fun 🙂

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Cirkewwa, Malta.

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At the pool at the hotel, ready to study.

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Diving in between the (massive) tuna fish in a tuna pen
(here’s a good description of that experience, yet we did it without getting sucked down)

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Diving in Malta

In September I’ll top of the list of specialties with the “Peak Performance Buoyancy“ specialty and “Rescue Diver“ certification. Given the latter I’ll become a PADI “Master SCUBA Diver”. The “Dry Suit Diver” specialty is also on my agenda.

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3. I renovated my house

Room by room I am renovating my house. Two years ago I redid part of the roof, last year I refurbished the master bedroom, and during the first week of August I insulated the living room: removing the existing drywall (you might know this as Gyproc/Gypsum/plasterboard), filling up an old doorway in the main wall (so that’s why it was cold in that corner of the house!?), placing the insulation, placing the sealing layer, putting new drywall in place, … .

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Mid renovation

Many thanks go out to my brother Ian and Xaf for helping out. The job is not finished yet – stil have to scrape off some of the drywall compound – but at least the living room is livable again.

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4. I went camping with my kids

Being a scout I like to go camping. During the second week of August I went camping at La Roche with my two kids, my brother, his girlfriend, and their daughter. My kids had a wonderful time, as they have been asking for it quite a while now.

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On the river Ourthe.

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On the river Ourthe.

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Both.

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My daughter, helping out my brother whilst cooking.

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Finn.

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Tila.

A selection of photos can be found on Flickr (if you’re my Facebook friend you can view the entire set there).

You’ll notice that I’ve cropped most of the photos to 16:9, a format that I’ve grown quite fond of the past few months as my iPhone – and computer screen before – have the very same aspect ratio. The pictures fill up the screen nicely.

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5. I re-examined my students

Ah, students will be students … mid August and early September is re-examination time!

For some course I’m positively surprised by the results: for the course “PHP1” 24 of the 25 participants passed, and 11 students (that’s 28% of those that had to retake it) didn’t show up. For “PHP2” the results are less good: 16 (40%) passed, 8 (20%) failed, but 17 (40%) didn’t show up. I guess it has something to do with the fact that “PHP1” is more reproduction-oriented, and “PHP2” (the project part) is more creation-oriented.

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Part of the PHP2 exam (not the project):
Rebuild this Ghent Festival event browser with filter and pagination.

The most depressing results are for “Web and Mobile Development” – the optional specialty course in the third year – though: 7 of the 12 students that had to retake the exam (that’s 60%) didn’t even show up!? Of the 5 that did retake the exam only 3 passed. Knowing that for most of those that didn’t show up it was the only course that is standing between them and getting their degree I really don’t understand this. Especially if you then see photos on Facebook of them going mad at festivals, chillaxing on holiday, raving at parties, etc. and successively getting an email from them stating that “they didn’t have the time to prepare anything” … priorities people!?

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6. I went cooking with the Scouts

During the last weekend of August, at the jearly “Herfstontmoeting” (literally: “Fall Meetup”), about 3000 Scouts leaders from “Scouts en Gidsen Vlaanderen” gather at “De Hoge Rielen” to kick off the new Scout year. This years slogan is “Be Prepared”.

Gouwies.
“Gouwies” (= Gouw Gent Core Team).

For the past five years I help out cooking at Gouw Gent (200 – 250 leaders). This year the theme at Gouw Gent was “De Stroppendragers” (= noose bearers; the term Ghent citizens are known by ever since the Revolt of Ghent so we cooked up some typical Ghentian food: Spitburger and Flemish Beef Stew. I also helped out the few days leading up to the actual “Herfstontmoeting”.

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Thumbs up for us, cooks.

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Constructing the Ghent Belfort.

Regen.
A bit of rain won’t stop us

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Truck / Shelter.

Adriaan.
Adriaan.

Philippe.
Philippe / Reflection.

Spitburger.
Spitburger.

Stoverij voor 200 man maak je zo.
What’s cooking? Flemish Stew!

After the rush.
After the rush.

Nachtelijke frietjes zijn de lekkerste frietjes.
Frenched Fries at night are the bestest [sic] fries.

The full set of photos can be found on Flickr.

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7. I quit my job as a lecturer

Having worked in education for seven years I learned quite a few things about the inner workings of it. Some things are good, yet quite a few things are oh-so-wrong. Having tried to turn things around (and having succeeded doing so in some areas) I had come to a point where I kept on hitting too many walls, over and over again.

Eventually I got fed up with that, so back in April I decided that the academic year 2014-2015 would be my final one. — Don’t get me wrong: I’ll miss lecturing, and based on some initial reactions I overheard my students will miss me too. What I won’t miss however is the mismanagement, the tardiness, the ingratitude, the … oh, I’ll spare you the details (although you might find some clues here). No need to kick back … onwards!

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With some students at our Open Day, April 2014
(photo © Rogier van der Linde)

So, what now? On September 1st I have joined the team at Small Town Heroes (Ghent, Belgium) to break builds of their frontend and hybrid projects.

smallTownHeroes

Having done some freelance work for STH before (Zapplive Swipe, Also tested on humans, De 327, etc.) the transition has gone really smooth as I already knew most of the team and how they work. Right now I’m working on an Ionic project that will be launched mid October.

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Now that I’ve gotten you up-to-date, it’s time to get this blog up-to-date … expect some posts soon 😉

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6 Comments

  1. really very interesting and now i do understand more why you switched jobs as i had the same problems with it. thanks for the pictures of the kids and i loved the ” diving part “.

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