After waiting so long for an update last time I found myself oddly motivated to crank out more empty store space. As it is, these 3 are the last "stores" for the mall. Everything else is specialty areas - like a food court. And bathrooms.
To mix up the floor plans, I left the office off of these 3 stores. I did a better job of filling over the gaps in the wall where the extra wall slides in. It's still not perfect, but it's an improvement over my previous attempt. Plastic-Wood filler and sanding it down again, but this time I made sure to over-fill the hole a little more, so that sanding it down would better cover the lines of the gap. I also put a strip of painters tape on the back for support, instead of just using the mat I paint and glue on.
Out side of that, there wasn't really anything special for building these.
I had primed a batch of 7 Studio Miniatures minis when I finished the last round of mall buildings. I've yet to touch those. There's specialty areas remaining for the mall: 2 double-wide areas (food court and bathrooms) and 2 single-wide (security office and loading dock). All of these come setup to sit on the first floor. I'm not sure if putting these together will fit in my current mode of building the basic structure and leaving the details to fill in until later.
And with that, there's no telling what the next post will contain.
After 3 months, I thought it time to check in on the interweb. Last time here I mentioned a 6 week bootcamp for the Salesforce Platform Developer
certification. The bootcamp ended up being trailhead lessons I'd done over the past couple of years, save for two. There was also some overview about how to program
and caveats for what happens in Salesforce. I knew most of those going into the class, too. I would have been disappointed, but the price of the class included a voucher
for taking the exam, and was reduced to the cost of the exam. In essence, free training and tips.
Post bootcamp, I took a half-day webinar on prepping for the exam. Again, I was good on most of this stuff.
In April, I purchased training materials from Focus on Force. Good content, and 15 practice exams. I was making 75-90 on practice exams. On the real exam, I would have to make a 65 (out of 100). I felt good going into this.
My scheduled exam time came and I began my remotely proctored test. After 55 minutes of my 105 minute allotted time, I had answered everything and gone back and reviewed those answers I was unsure about. Out of 65 questions, there were 5 that I had no idea on. The scenario based questions were a little different from what I had studied - and there were a lot more questions about messaging services than I was expected. As I submitted the test, I was pretty sure I'd passed - maybe something in the 70% range.
59%. 3 questions short of passing. Well. Shit.
The summary of my score tells me what percentage of each major (5) categories I got right. In essence, I really didn't know what I had gotten right and what I had gotten wrong.
After being down, a little mad, and not knowing what to do next, I realized a couple of things. This test was an exam to see what I knew, not guide me to study what I didn't know (those category scores just weren't as helpful as I wanted). My high scores on the Focus on Force practice tests had come from me taking those tests enough that I had basically memorized those answers and questions - in that order. It's the way my brain had gotten geared for tests in school - these will be the questions asked, and these will be the answers.
So I went back to re-study, now that I knew what the test looked like. Better understand what solutions go with general scenarios, that was my big lacking. I did this for 3 weeks and scheduled my 2nd attempt. To make my life easier, the half day webinar I sat in on included a discount voucher that could be applied to follow up exam attempts (so it only cost me $30 instead of $100). Attempt #2 saw me more confident. Luckily for me, I saw questions I remembered from my first attempt - questions I had gone back afterward and double checked what the right answer should be. I went through and once again had everything answered after 55 minutes. This time, I went back and double checked every question regardless of my first impulse on whether or not I'd gotten it right. On the second pass I changed some answers. Some of those I'd marked to double check, some not. When it came time to submit my answers, I was confident. Surely I'd done better than the last time. In my gut I was sure I was in the 90% range.
73%. I passed by 4 questions. Not 90%, but I passed and can now claim Platform Developer Certifiability.
It still bothers me that I don't know specifics on what I missed. It bothers me more that there are things I was sure I was right on and that I know, but I'm wrong. I'm most likely doing some of that wrong stuff day to day.
There are a couple more certifications I told myself would be nice. After the uphill battle of getting this one, I'm not speeding toward trying to grab either of those. My brain has to learn that my old method of studying for tests doesn't work here. And while I know how to program and code, there are some quirky Salesforce things that are possible that I just don't do, but need to know how to do when the day comes along that they're needed. That's the hard part to figure out how I need to learn and retain.
With all of that work/Salesforce stuff going on, I really haven't done much else for fun. The 4Ground Mall managed to get 1 store "completed", which I need to take some pics of. There was a little Black Friday procuring of some minis on sale. I've also been working for a homemade shelves idea to go in the mall stores - now on version 3. With the holidays coming up I should have a normal hobby-related post before too long.
In the past month, I've painted absolutely nothing. The only hobby-associated thing I've done was (finally) finished a batch of the 7½" to 6" map tiles: 64 double sided grass/sidewalk cakeboards cut and glued! There was a lot of documentaries and GTA Roleplay Youtibe videos in the background while all of that was going on.
It's the busy season at work. I'm in the midst of "I'm not sure how to do ...." and anywhere from 10 minutes to a day later I've got it figured out. Roughly half the time it's actually close to the right way of figuring it out. I feel like I'm behind where I should be, and I'm vocal if anyone asks, but I've yet to be called out for it. I've committed to being done in 2 weeks. Roughly a week to wrap up all the stuff I know needs to be done (which I think should take 3 days), then another week for testing and filling in holes. So yeah. 3 weeks. Maybe 4.
I've got a side web project for Contractor Craig I've been trying to find time to fit in also. I started down a rabbit hole of setting up a mobile-friendly picture uploader. After a long break, where and (maybe) how those pictures get uploaded will depend on the site layout. The site's a pre-paid template. The goal there was to bypass the early grunt work. Now it's time for the middle grunt work of putting pictures in the right spots at the right size, and making the colors pretty enough.
Once I get caught up on all of this, I'm going to take a couple of days off and paint. Or build some buildings. Thanks to Black Friday sales, I've got 2 floors of mall to eventually build.
And that's a helluva teaser right there!
Nashville has long been my close/weekend getaway spot, but last week said location became the target of a business trip. Is training business? It think it is.
Back in March I took a class in Nashville to become a Certified Scrum Master. This time I went back to become an Advanced Certified Scrum Master. Same venue. Same trainer. I even managed to stay in the same hotel room.
Advanced Scrum Mastering involves a lot of facilitation. Since March, I've learned that was a skill I was especially lacking. Besides being the second of three certifications on my current career track, learning how to (better) facilitate made me want to take the class RIGHT NOW. So I did.
I learned a lot in the 2 days of class. I learned things I was doing wrong. I learned I was just not doing some things that I thought I was - the difference between coaching and mentoring sneaks up on me faster and harder than I would have thought. I lucked out again with class and was with a good group of 20 people. Within that group I found that with any problem I thought I had coming into the class, at least one other people shared. It wasn't always the same person, and in a way that made me feel better.
As with any multi-day trip to Nashville, Dr Blondie is in charge of my evening meal selection as long as she's in town. Class was scheduled for the right week and she was, indeed, in town. I give Dr Blondie a very specific rule for dining selection: No nation-wide chains. The local joints ruled again as we went 3/3 on good eats!
My personal side trip was to go to McKays to trade in some boardgames. Dr Blondie introduced me to this used Everything I'm Interested In store on my last trip. On the boardgame shelf at work (ie Overflow Storage), the top shelf is mostly taken up by Target/Clearance riff-raff that nobody is going to play, and is not worth the shipping cost for anyone I might be able to sell to online. Various versions of Scene-It, Trivial Pursuit, Jenga, and that damn Jeff Foxworthy Game that got about 3 rounds played. It was an opportunity to free up some shelf space and get some store credit, so I loaded up the car before I left with about 30 of those games. Oddly, it didn't seem to make that much of a difference when looking at the games I left in my office.
I wasn't expecting much for trading in the games, and Dr Blondie told me they likely wouldn't take everything. I bet they wouldn't take Mall World, near the top of my list on bad, uninvestigated impulse buys. But they did take Mall World. They took everything I brought. For the ~30 games I brought, which I admitted were crap (crap in great condition, but crap) I was hoping for $3, maybe $4 per game of credit. By the time they totaled up everything up, I had $212 in credit.
I was overjoyed with $212 in credit.
I didn't spend it all. I barely made a dent in it. Now I've started a list of things specifically to look for on my next McKays trip. DVDs over a year old. A couple of books that they might have that I'm in no hurry to read.
The day back was a long day. I gave Brenda a heads up that I was going to be in Nashville in case she was planning any trips to Florence. I'd hate for her to fly into Huntsville while I'm 2 hrs away in Nashville. She took this opportunity to find a great deal on flight into Nashville (on Tuesday), then back home on Saturday. I had 4 hours between the end of class and picking up Brenda at BNA. Pizza with Dr Blondie took up part of that, plus she let me use her home internet to take care of a little work that made Wednesday start off a little easier.
I forgot that BNA uses cell phone waiting instead of park & wait at the terminal, and the waiting area was pretty full. I ended up making 3 laps around the terminal when Brenda called to let me know where she was, which happened to be about 20 ft away. She got loaded up into the car, and we got to Florence about midnight. A little after 1 and I was home and in bed. While normally on End of Sprint Wednesday I go in about 6, I slept completely thorugh the alarm and didn't get out of bed until 7:15. Luckily, it didn't make a bit of difference.
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
Tags have been added to posts back to 2005. There may be an occasional old blog that gets added to the tag list, but in reality what could be noteworthy from that far back?
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