My avatar across the web: a photo of my feet in grey-white socks and brown sandals.

Ben Babcock

3 Articles in June 2017

  1. One key fewer

    Hey, look, it’s been ten years since I graduated high school. Look at that. Time flies.

    This post isn’t really about graduation decennials, though. This is about quitting my longest-held job.

    Eleven years ago I dropped off a resume at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. I was just finishing up Grade 11, and I wanted a summer job that wasn’t going through old files in the creepy storage room beneath the Chapple Building for my dad’s law firm. The Gallery Attendant position being advertised in the Lakehead University job bank seemed like it would work. I got an interview, and for reasons I still don’t fathom, I got the job.

    The full-time, minimum wage job turned into a part-time, minimum wage job during my last year of high school. Then I worked all summer again. This pattern continued for a few years. After about three summers, I took a research job over the summer at the university instead. But I kept coming back during the school year to work at the front desk.

    Last night was my last regular shift as a gallery attendant.

    I’ve left before, of course. I couldn’t very well commute to the gallery when I…

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  2. Code fatigue and an amateur dilemma

    I believe this is what we call an impasse.

    My first forays online were in direct proportion to me learning how to code. I crafted my website in HTML, by hand, on GeoCities, for upwards of three years. Then I learned PHP, and MySQL, and from there the sky was the limit. For a long time, I loved coding for the web.

    This website is currently running a Frankensteined combination of frameworks. this blog is custom-built in Flask, a Python framework. You can learn more about this in a post I wrote back when I switched over to it from the previous software. The rest of the site sits on top of the PHP framework Symphony CMS (not to be confused with Symfony, another framework).

    I really like Symphony CMS. It does so much right, in my amateur’s opinion, as a framework, and it has an active and passionate community of developers. But I have two reasons I want to migrate my site away from it.

    Firstly, my interest in hacking in PHP has dropped to nearly zero over the past several years. The language itself is evolving at a healthy clip, although detractors would point…

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  3. I bought a house

    Those of you who occasionally pay attention to my posts on Twitter and Goodreads might have noticed I’ve been quieter than usual. May has been a busy month, to the point where it has seriously affected my reading (and that is saying something). I’ve only managed 5 books in May (and 7 books in April—what is wrong with me?).

    One of the reasons I’ve been so busy is that I’m buying a house (hence, you know, the title of this post).

    Since moving back from the UK, I’ve generally had a plan to buy a house by the time I’m 30. At the beginning of this year, I decided I wanted to advance that timeline (I’m currently 27). I had enough money for a reasonable downpayment and was as certain as anyone can be in this era of my job security. So at the end of March Break, I sought pre-approval for a mortgage. Then I found a realtor and started looking at houses.

    I’ve been very lucky. My dad doesn’t charge me for room or board, so there are no pressures on me to move out. I could quite comfortably keep living here for another decade. But as much…

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About Me

I’m a 27-year-old math and English teacher back in Canada after two years teaching in England. In my free time, I read books! When I’m not reading, I’m writing, coding, or knitting.

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About this site

I started coding websites, in bad HTML on Geocities, in 2004 in a fit of whimsy. Since then I’ve learned PHP/MySQL, coded my own blog software, and rebuilt this site several times. With the exception of the blog, it’s currently running on the exquisite Symphony CMS. This website is hosted by HawkHost

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