January recap


Is it February already? Really? I can’t believe it! How times passes! December was just now, then Christmas and finally New Year’s Eve. Where did January go?

It was a busy month for me, like every beginning of the year. I made my new year resolutions and started to keep my promise.

After returning from our one week vacation in the mountains, I completely dived into my work. A long list of tasks was waiting for me and I was really looking forward to it. I tried to relax in the total of 3 weeks vacation I had at the end of December + beginning of January and I succeeded not to think or do any work, but I missed it. So it felt really good to be back, start up my notebook, open Visual Studio and code away.  Armed with fresh energy and motivation, I’ve literally spent every day from morning till evening in the office, sometimes being the last one to leave.

I started to read more and more. I’m so grateful to have my Kindle and to be able to download a book whenever and wherever I want. I finished countless books in only one month, both techie and other (I highly recommend The Hunger Games!). I decided to dedicate the workdays to tech books and the weekends to all other types to help me enjoy the free time. It turned out to be a good idea and I’ll keep it up.

I’m currently focusing on client-side development and web usability, by reading “Don’t make me think” and “jQuery: from novice to ninja”. “Universal Principles of Design, Revised and Updated: 125 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decision” is next on my to-read list (no Kindle version though) and Scott Kelby’s “Photoshop Elements 9 Book for Digital Photographers (Voices That Matter)“.

I’m also studying for the MCPD Upgrade exam. Since there’s no special book for this exam, I’m first going through the study guide for the 70-562 exam. The first chapters are quite easy but I expect it to become harder.

What’s quite interesting is that this exam costs 50$ + taxes in Romania and 140 Euros + taxes in Germany. So I’m inclining to take the exam in Romania when I visit my family in April (why not save some of the company’s money, if I can?) but I’m not sure if I’ll be prepared till then. After the 70-562 study guide, I am planning to read a second ASP.NET 3.5 book, then another one about Linq and also the study guide for the 70-564 exam. I would also like to do some practice tests. So this is a lot to cover in only 3 months. I hope I’ll make it and then I can finally start preparing to upgrade my exam to ASP.NET 4.0, which is my objective in the first place. I am actually working with ASP.NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010 already so learning now to take an exam for an older version (ASP.NET 3.5 & VS2008) seems stupid but this is the only way I can upgrade to the newest version.

December was a disaster for my healthy eating habit and workout plan. As promised with my new year resolution, in January I started to diet and go regularly to the gym. I’m still going strong about it, although it’s incredibly difficult. I enjoy the workouts in the gym, which I do twice a week for 2 hours each. I meant to start a 6-week challenge on the Wii Active Trainer but I finally didn’t. I have much more fun playing on Kinect and that counts as a tough workout too. (I highly recommend Dance Central and Kinect Sports!)

Back to the diet part, I had a few short fallbacks but I managed to get back on track fast. I cut out the carbs (bread, potatoes, pasta, rice,…) so I’m having only fresh salad and steamed veggies as a side dish. It felt good at the beginning to eat lighter but now it’s getting a bit boring and my appetite is decreasing. But this is also a good trick to eat less. I’m starting to see some improvements which is keeping me motivated.

We managed to squeeze in some time to go to the cinema too. All work but we should have some fun too, right? I enjoyed Black Swan and the cartoon Tangled in 3D a lot.

I’m sorry that I didn’t have time to process the images I took while we were vacationing in Finkenberg in December and in Bad Hofgastein in January. It’s still on my to-do list with lower priority but I hope I’ll get to it soon.

Unfortunately the weather is one of my biggest mood breakers. It’s very cold and gray. It snowed a couple of times but the snow hasn’t stayed and it just left mud behind. I can’t wait for spring to come!