There are bosses that feed off you and ones that propel you forward. I’ve experienced both. The former is too common and is one that I hope to avoid going forward in my career.

Year In Review

I realized I had never done a 2012 year end review, so I decided I would go ahead and do it now since my birthday is coming up and perhaps I would switch over to writing them to coincide with my birthdays instead1.


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Carrie and I got the opportunity to visit Seattle for a long weekend in summer. We lucked out and had awesome weather while we were there. We got to see fish being thrown at Pike Place, the Space Needle, and even original Starbucks ;) I would definitely like to go back sometime and hopefully have some more time available to see more.

Late in 2012 I started a new job with CapTech Consulting. So far I have been really enjoying it. A friend, and former co-worker from a previous company, referred me to the position. I have to say I’m really glad that I decided to pursue it. It has provided me with the opportunity to move into mobile web development and PhoneGap development. I’ve come pretty far in my JavaScript abilities and have been enjoying software development again2.

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In October, we celebrated our one-year anniversary. We went back and had dinner to celebrate at The Boathouse, where we were married and had our reception. Then, later that week went to the Outer Banks in North Carolina with my mom, step-dad, and brother for a few days. It was nice that we got a chance to celebrate and both take some time off work to relax a little.

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Probably one of the biggest things that happened to us was purchasing a new house. We moved out to Goochland by purchasing this home and I think it has been totally worth it. There’s a large fenced-in back yard for the dogs, good deck for entertaining, and a large enough garage for me to have a work shop. All together we have just over 8-acres of property. We’ve been working on fixing things up, both on the inside and outside. It’s been a lot of work getting things personalized how we want them, and there’s still plenty of work left to do, but we are getting there.

1Eventually I need to put up my old year end posts on this blog, I still have them.
2I had become a little burned out on coding for a bit, but the change of technologies has been refreshing.

Richmond City Hall Sucks

tl;dr

Richmond City Hall is trying to make me pay back-taxes on a car from 2009-Present. The car was sold in 2009 and I hadn’t lived in Richmond since 2008, so I shouldn’t have been accruing taxes on the vehicle with them anyhow. At least some of their service representatives are incompetent and incapable of helping someone resolve this type of situation. Subaru of Richmond largely saved the day.

Full version

So earlier today I tweeted, “Richmond city hall should be truly ashamed of itself. I know they don’t care. But they should be really, really ashamed”.

Some history

Leading up to that tweet, my morning was interrupted by a collection agency leaving me a voicemail on an old phone number. I called them back and asked what this was in regards to. They informed me that the Richmond City Court had turned me over for back-personal property taxes on a car. Now, I had in fact owned the car in question … 3 cars ago. They were claiming that I owed taxes dating back to 2009 and that, in fact, the bill was still running to this day.

The car in question was used as a trade-in on another vehicle in 2009. I hadn’t seen any requests for me to pay registration on it, and it hadn’t shown up at the DMV when I’ve gotten licenses renewed, etc over the past few years. This leads me to believe that the car dealership where I traded it in, notified the DMV and then either the DMV never notified anyone else, or Richmond City dropped the ball.

I informed the collection agency of all of this and asked if they had a phone number I could contact for Richmond. They told me to “google it.”

So, a google later, I’m on the phone with Richmond City Courts, transferred to City Hall, and talking to a guy. I am purposefully not calling him a gentleman, and really “guy” is giving him too much credit. I tell him why I’m calling in and he gets my account pulled up. He is who informed me that the bill was still running and how much I owed. He kept referring to the money I owed, so I stopped him and said something to the effect of, “I don’t owe Richmond anything, as I’ve already explained, the car was sold in 2009 and I am trying to get your records straight,” this was stated very calmly.

He asked if I informed the DMV that the car was disposed of. I told him it wasn’t disposed, it was sold to a dealership as a trade-in. He again asked if I notified the DMV it was disposed of. I told him the dealership had. This back-and-forth happened 3-4 times, and I stated, rather simply, “You can keep asking that question all day, it’s not going to change my answer [so we need to figure out how to move forward].”

He snapped. His voice raised and the rest of the conversation was a bit of a flurry of him telling me I owed them money, with me repeating, still calmly, “I want to speak with your supervisor.” He finally slowed down and lowered his voice somewhat, still louder then when the conversation started. He said he would put in a ticket to have his supervisor call me back. I kept trying to push to get someone on the phone but it wasn’t happening. I don’t expect to ever hear from his supervisor, and since I knew it was a lost cause, I told him he needed to work on his professional service skills and that if he thinks how he treated me was professional then he has some serious life lessons that he needed to learn. This got him going again … not surprisingly, but not excusable either. I finally told him he was a fool and hung up.

That’s when I sent out my tweet above.

Since then

I went to the dealership where I traded the car in. Thank goodness I still live in the general area and could do that semi-conveniently. Here, so far at least, my luck seems to turn around. I explain my situation to someone in their finance/title area and her jaw dropped. She asked me for my last name and what year I traded the car in. A minute or two later she came back and had pulled up my trade-in paperwork.

She then offered to call the city and see if she could straighten it out for me. Holy cow, talk about good service. If you’re in the market for a vehicle and Subaru is a possibility for you, check out Subaru of Richmond in the West End.

She gets on the phone with them, explains the situation, passes me the phone for them to verify my identity and give them permission to talk to her regarding my account. She then takes it from there. At the end, I spoke with the lady from Richmond that she was talking to. This representative was much nicer and explained the rest of the process to me, gave me a reference number in case I needed to speak about it further. She said that someone from the cities finance office would be in touch with me and that she would take care of calling off the collection agency.

Going forward

Given that this was all several years ago and a LOT in my life has changed (new jobs, getting married, moving a couple times, buying a house, etc), my recollection of the timeline back to 2009 takes a good bit of mental capacity to put together. As I’m driving away from the dealership, I start putting things together and suddenly realize, I moved out of Richmond City in 2008. Memorial Day weekend to be specific.

Since I had left the city in 2008, I shouldn’t have even owed taxes in 2009 for Richmond City whether I still owned that car or not.

Ugh!

So my plan is when the finance department finally calls, I plan to explain this to them and see if I can just get it all expunged / cancelled / whatever. It’s so frustrating that I had to waste time over this and deal with the stress that comes from dealing with the incompetence that is Richmond City Hall.

Hopefully things will get straight soon.

Sublimewebinspector

I found it a little weird to get running and start really understanding it, but it was pretty cool once I had things up and going.

When Apple does use iCloud, it most often doesn’t even use Core Data to sync information. Apps like Keynote, for example, use the far simpler Document-based syncing method. Keynote must work, so Apple keeps a close eye on Document-based syncing functionality. And when it does rely on Core Data, Apple’s software has no more luck than third party developers. Apple’s simple Trailers app uses Core Data to sync, and periodically loses track of user Favorites.

I think this article is making some liberal use of the “just work” quotes from Steve Jobs, but it still has many fair points in it. Obviously, “it just works”, was meant to be from a User perspective, but they’re applying it in this article to the Developers perspective.

But like I said, there are still fair points to be had in the article. If Apple can’t get it to work reliably in their apps, how do they expect other developers to get it working any better?

Apple’s broken promise: why doesn’t iCloud ‘just work’? | The Verge

When we moved out here, it included getting a bigger yard.  We were pretty excited about this not just for ourselves, but for our dogs as well.  They’ve really been enjoying the extra space to run around in and play.

Of course, this also meant a lot more grass to cut.  So when we saw a special deal at Lowe’s on lawn tractors we went ahead and made the purchase.  We were able to get free delivery and a free dump cart that the lawn tractor can pull.  I’m sure the cart will come in handy once we start having to mulch.  I’m also hoping it will help me with moving around logs from some of the tree’s I’ve been cutting, which my back will most certainly appreciate.

via lifeintheg

When we moved out here, it included getting a bigger yard. We were pretty excited about this not just for ourselves, but for our dogs as well. They’ve really been enjoying the extra space to run around in and play.

Of course, this also meant a lot more grass to cut. So when we saw a special deal at Lowe’s on lawn tractors we went ahead and made the purchase. We were able to get free delivery and a free dump cart that the lawn tractor can pull. I’m sure the cart will come in handy once we start having to mulch. I’m also hoping it will help me with moving around logs from some of the tree’s I’ve been cutting, which my back will most certainly appreciate.

via lifeintheg

Marco seems to have taken to life in the country quite well.  This is his new favorite sleeping spot in the window next to my desk.

Marco seems to have taken to life in the country quite well. This is his new favorite sleeping spot in the window next to my desk.

Seeing Sass/SCSS rules in Chrome Inspector

Came across this yesterday and started playing with it this morning. If you’re using SASS/SCSS and Chrome, it can be pretty nice. Basically, it let’s the inspector show you what SCSS files and line numbers are applying styles to the selected element even when you are combining all of your CSS into one file.

It would require separate settings for dev vs production. I feel that is, generally, easy to support though. The article is taking it from a rails perspective, however, at the bottom he mentions the config options necessary if you’re compiling your Sass manually.

lifeintheg:

This morning I woke up to my back yard looking like this.  While I am mostly ready for winter to be done and for leaves to start showing up on the tree’s along with warmer weather … I must admit, I thought this scene was very pretty.  The snow was so wet that it really stuck to the tree branches.

lifeintheg:

This morning I woke up to my back yard looking like this. While I am mostly ready for winter to be done and for leaves to start showing up on the tree’s along with warmer weather … I must admit, I thought this scene was very pretty. The snow was so wet that it really stuck to the tree branches.

lifeintheg:

Just another Sunday with the chainsaw

lifeintheg:

Just another Sunday with the chainsaw