It's never easy.

Had an interesting meeting earlier today at work. It looks like my job is going to be moving in a new direction, and one which I am actually enthusiastic about going... This could be a deal breaker for my planned move back home. The decision to move still remains, now it's just a question of where do I want to go. One one hand I could stay here and keep working in addition to going to school, I'd just have to move closer to work and find a place that's a little less expensive. On the other hand I could move back to AZ and try to find a job, establish residency, and eventually move back out of my parents' house once I found a place that I'd want to stay. On the gripping hand I could come across something unexpected and do something else entirely. Sometimes I wish my life were simpler.

Have to cut this one a little short as I'm at work right now, and though it's a little slow I don't like spending too much time on personal matters. Damned ethics...


Sweet sorrow.

How is it possible for life to be so beautiful and suck so much at the same time? I just had the best night of my life in about the last 5 years. But the one that I was with is already someone else's. And I love her, and him, too much to do anything that would screw that up. Classic Romeo and Juliet syndrome, but fortunately (unfortunately?) I'm a lot smarter than either of those two tragic youths to throw away so much of my life on a brief moment of exquisite joy and pain that would be involved.

This might be part of the problem that I have in forming lasting relationships. I'm already in love with someone, and I know that the feeling is mutual. This might just be a problem of the fantasy always being better than the reality, but we've never had a reality beyond just being friends, so who's to say. Granted, we've had our problems in the past, and would definitely have them in the future, but at the same time, we agree on so many things, but have the benefit of differences that the other finds interesting. In order to acheive the same depth of feeling for someone else, I'll have to have known them for as long as I've known her. More than half my life at this point. Troublesome to say the least.

Since I recently had a birthday, I've been reflecting a lot on the last year, and my position in life in general, so this might also be some kind of natural extendion of that. I've definitely had an interesting year. Losing a job that I was expecting to be a career, and finding a new one. Asking lots of questions about where I am, and for the first time really deciding that I may not be on a path that I really want to continue down. Love, life, religion, status, the eternal questions that may never have answers. I think I've got a fairly good plan for moving forward, now I just have to stick to my guns and follow through, as opposed to just going where the current takes me. It's both exciting and frightening at the same time. Tonight is just helping point out to me that I need to CHANGE! and drastically before the option to make any significant change is passed.

I may not have been posting much as of late, but if I've got something to say, then I'll be here writing about it most likely. Enjoy the ride.


Back and Badder than Before

Well, I'm feeling a little better today. Still have a touch of a headache, but it's nowhere near as debilitating as it was previously. I've also got food in the fridge again, so that's one less thing to hassle with. Eating more is one of the things I seriously need to think about again. I found a scale at work and discovered that I weigh 145#. Great if I was 5'10", but since I'm 6'4" that gives me a BMI of only 17.6 putting me well into the underweight category. Granted I look ok with some very well defined musculature as my body fat is probably down around 1-2%, but I also look extremely skinny. Not to the point that I look malnourished yet, but if I don't start eating more then that's probably not far off.

On a happier note, the Hawk is Back! Granted, it's slightly offcenter and a little bit thinner than I had hoped, but really no worse than when I had a "professional" cut it last time. Also right now it's a little on the short side, but I think it might actually work out better that way. It's easier to spike and, given the natural curl of my hair, tangles less. They haven't yet seen it at my new place of work, so tomorrow night should be interesting. The guy who rides his Harley will no doubt think it's pretty cool, but my lead, well, I don't really know what he's going to think. Still though, it's nice to ride the motorcycle and feel the wind on my freshly shorn scalp. It's a sensation that is undescribable if you've never felt it, but the closest I can think of would be like having a scalp massage after a really long tough day, only all over at once and lasting longer to boot. Now somewhat perversely this style is a lot easier to maintain than my previous '50s generic male, but it requires far more maintenance. Have to shave it again at least twice a week, and preferrably every other day if not more. But hey, nobody ever said that looking THIS good was easy, right? XD



I hate being sick. Of course, this could all just be an allergy reaction combined with not having eaten anything in the last 24 hours or so and oversleeping. But I've got the headache, nausea, and a fever so who knows. I don't have any food in the house, was supposed to go shopping when I woke up earlier, so I'm going to have to get up and moving just so I can garner SOME sustenance. Just not really looking forward to it right now. Hopefully I'll feel better after taking a shower.


I'm Not Dead Just Yet

I hate writers block. This one was somewhat self imposed though. I looked back over my past entries and found that I didn't really have much to say that wasn't there already, so I decided not to post for a bit to see if I could spend some time coming up with exciting or interesting things to write. I've discovered that I'm a fairly boring person... Don't get me wrong, I enjoy my life and I have quite a few different things that I'm interested in, it's just that I don't do a lot that I feel would be interesting to others. But, given what I've seen in other blogs making their way through the aether that's not really the point. The point seems to be to tell your story no matter how boring or uninteresting you might think it is, because someone out there will probably find something that you never even thought to look for. Maybe they will even let you know about it and allow you to realize that your life isn't just marking time until you die and allow you a greater appreciation for some of the small things that make you a wonderful person. Of course the flip side is that someone might point out to you just how shallow and uninspiring the things that you do take pride in are. Either way, just write something, and even if nobody else ever sees it you will at least have one more activity that you can feel some sense of accomplishment for.

So, had a few interesting commutes over the past week. Despite their best efforts the cagers have yet to succeed in killing me. At one point I almost had a core sample of my head taken by a pipe sticking off the back of a truck... Weather has been rather amazing with all of the storms coming through and temps getting up to the 90s. It's kind of strange really, the same people that will drive 80MPH through a blizzard with a foot of snow already on the ground won't go more than 20MPH once that first drop of rain hits the windshield. The duality can be rather aggravating at times. Also had an interesting couple of days at work escorting a technician. He didn't really know what the heck he was doing and I ended up teaching him a lot about his job. The routine is becoming more so every day.

It's odd how rapidly one can fall into a routine. Here I am, not yet a month into my new job, and I'm already used to it. There are still a few surprises here and there and I'm still building relationships with coworkers, but the pace of change and discovery is already slacking off. Now would probably be a good time to start working on getting a few of those certifications that will help me get a better job down the line.



Work was about the usual last night, but the drive in was interesting... Attached is the weather map from about 5 minutes before I left with my approximate start and end points showing as the red markers. I'm sure my mother would be happy to note that I took my car. Not that I mind riding the motorcycle in the rain, but for an hour and a half in full rain gear in 75-90 degree weather means that I would be severely dehydrated after sweating my brains out while trying to remain relatively dry. It did make for some very pretty scenery on the way home in the morning, but alas, the battery on my phone died so no pictures. It's fairly interesting to see snow on the mountains when it's still this hot out. Fortunately (?) the storm system is supposed to stay here for a couple more days at least, so I might get another opportunity soon.

Just finished reading The Years of Rice and Salt again and it's made me reexamine a few things in my life. If you haven't read it, then I would recommend it. Basically it reaffirmed that, at it's core precepts, I still remain Buddhist in my outlook. But as with seemingly all religions nowadays, the dogma seems to have overtaken the message in importance and thus I find myself unable to join the congregation. I digress though, back to my examination of my life. I find myself fairly content with my life, but it feels somehow lacking. With all of my gifts, I somehow feel that I should be making a greater contribution somewhere. I suppose I'm just waiting for that one "Dare to be Great" moment to come along so that I can make an important choice, and hopefully make one that makes the world a better place. Not that I haven't had my share of crucial choices in my life, but most of them seem to affect me and my life more than they do anyone else's. I'm fairly certain that in most of those I made the right decisions, or at least I don't regret the majority of the choices I have made. There are still a few that still remain in contention as to whether or not the correct path was chosen, but things seem to be working out so far. I guess my main worry right now is that for most of my life I've been alone, but for the first time I'm starting to feel lonely. How does one change at this point? How can I somehow transform myself into a person that actively seeks out more and more friends, when my life up to this point has marked me as a lone wolf with just a small number of blood trusted companions who have shared the path for a while? Is that what I really want, or do I just want to get back to alone without being lonely?

I know a lot of that sounds fairly depressing, but I'm not really seeing it that way. It's more of a "Here I am, now where do I want to go?" feeling. More hopeful than maudlin. Definitely something to spend some time on.


Sammy's a Fighter

I know I don't mention too much about my family or what's going on in other people's lives, but I felt like sharing this. My nephew has been having a rough time as of late but it looks like his chance at a future is getting a lot better. Check out my sister's blog if you want to know more details. Suffice it to say that I'm happy for the little guy. Also, no offence to Olivia and George, but for never having met them, Samuel has always been my favorite. It's great to hear that my odds of seeing him grow up are steadily improving. And a little bit of an aside, since familial relationships are awesome, but since no one I know seems to know what to call the relationship once you get beyond immediate ties, I found a handy chart that explains it all.

And after talking to a few more people from my last job, apparently the layoff was an actual layoff this time. I suppose that the suits at my old company are evil, just not as evil as I had imagined. Of course, this is most likely just round one or a precursor to them shutting down the command center entirely and moving it elsewhere, but at least they had enough honor left in their shriveled little souls to do the right thing when cutting the remaining numbers in half. Either way, I'm better off having gotten out when I did and am happy working at my new job so no tears there.


Past and Future

Apparently my old job had another round of layoffs yesterday. Don't know too many details as of yet, mainly whether these were in fact layoffs, or more thin excuses to fire people in order to avoid having to pay severance or unemployment. I'll probably find out more over the next few days, but as I'm working again it's not too important to me other than I feel bad for some of the people still there. I suppose there's something to be said for leading the wave. Now I'll just have to crack down and get moving forward on my plans to make myself more marketable in the future.

I am making a few friends at work. There are a lot of rabbits and prairie dogs running around as well as a few squirrels, and they seem to keep to specific areas of the campus. There's also one enormous crow who has got to be about 12" from beak to rectrices, haven't thought of a real good name for him yet but I'm leaning towards Ogre. One rabbit in particular as well whom I've decided to dub Crazy Legs. He might just be young and his body hasn't quite caught up with his hind legs yet, but he's got some of the most disproportionate hind legs of any lagomorph I've seen around here. He tends to hang out near the smoking area for my building, so I see quite a bit of him. Got a nice pic of him just lounging about. No pics of the crow yet, but I'll have to see if I can get one.


The More I Learn.

Week 1 has come to a close. I've got two more days with a teammate on my shift and then I've pretty much got the run of the place to myself. There's still a few people in the other buildings, Helpdesk, Security, miscellaneous System Admins in to work on their machines, etc... but I can go the whole night without seeing another person. There seems to be a much lower workload at night, mainly doing installs and upgrades that have been scheduled well in advance, and since it's not normal working hours the few calls I get seem to have a little less urgency attatched to them. This doesn't mean I'm going to slack though, if it's work related then it automatically gets flagged as urgent in my brain and everything else becomes a secondary concern. It's that combination of extreme work ethic and extreme laziness that makes me an efficiency expert. I get the job done right and in as little time as possible so that I can get back to doing my own thing and remain undisturbed as long as possible. Now if only I could apply that to my personal life instead of just my professional one.

I came across an interesting moral dilemma last night. A little background to start it out. I work in a 24*7 environment. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, that means that someone is there ALL the time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365.242199 days a year. Most companies that do this generally have four shifts of people working 12 hours at a time on some sort of schedule where one week you work four days and the next you work three. Now it just so happens that the contracting agency that I'm working for has a different end of week than the company I work at. It's going to work out that I'll have FIVE days on one paycheck and two on the next. So instead of the more normal 40+8 and 36 hour paychecks, I'm going to have a 40+20 and a 24. Or in other words I'll be working 84 hours every two weeks, and originally I thought I'd be getting paid for 88 (anything over forty hours gets paid at one and a half times the normal rate) but it turns out I'll be getting paid for 94 hours every two weeks instead. So the dilemma is this: Do I call my contracting agency and possibly give them a heads up that their current system is going to increase my pay by about 7%, or just wait until they get my timecards and a nasty shock to boot?



I am definitely going to have to start taking my fleece in to work with me. The room where my cubicle is located is kept at about 65º and the data centers where I go when I have work to do are about 55-60º. Plus, on my way home in the morning it's about 55-60º and when you tack on 75MPH of wind chill it's about 45-50º. I'm already wearing the leather jacket but it doesn't really have any insulation to speak of unless I put the liner in, and that would pretty much cook me on the way in. So this pretty much means I'm going to have to start taking my backpack instead of my tailbag. Since there's nothing to eat at work except for what I bring with me, plus any books or other diversions, there just won't be room.

As for around the house, I haven't really had much of an opportunity to do much lately what with my long commute, 12-hour workday, and trying to squeeze in a little sleep here and there. My lawnmower recently decided that it doesn't want to start so I'm going to have to get it serviced, but that's going to have to wait for another paycheck or two. But it looks like one of my neighbors mowed it for me yesterday, so whoever it was, thank you! Also, I've got a wasp's nest about the size of a softball, or a medium grapefruit over my front door. So I'll need to grab a can of spray and suit up in my full winter riding outfit and bomb the sucker. I figure since air can't find it's way inside, then the wasps won't have much of a chance either. Not that I relish the task, but it should prove an interesting, if momentary, diversion.


Movin' On Up

Well, I've finally gotten access to all of the places I need to go to do my job, and all of the required databases. Not too shabby, considering that at my last job the physical access would have taken two or three weeks, and even after working there for four years I still hadn't gotten all of the database accesses required. Granted, my current job is slightly more limited in scope, but I still can't help but be impressed by how well everyone seems to know their job or who to talk to to get what needs to be done done. Speaking of knowing the job, apparently I have impressed my coworkers with how fast I'm catching on and instead of waiting until next week to start my normal shift, I've got today off and am starting on tomorrow night. It's a little scary actually, I don't really believe that I'm ready, and working at night I'm not going to have as many people around if I've got a question. But, on the other hand the vote of confidence is inspiring and I'll probably be able to muddle my way through any difficulties that arise. Only time will tell I suppose and the times should definitely be interesting to say the least.

The balloons were back yesterday morning, there must be a park or something nearby where they land or take off. Not sure if there is such a thing as an airfield for hot air balloons, I suppose I'll have to take a look and see what I can find.

The drive was a lot less exciting today, though the collar of my shirt did manage to escape the confines of my jacket. The constant flapping as my collar beat a tattoo against the side of my helmet just about drove me mad. Also once my shift was over at 1700 I stuck around for a bit shooting the breeze with the guys just so I wouldn't have to wade through as much traffic on the way home. Left at about 1730 and though there were a few slow spots, it was nowhere near as bad as the previous day when I might as well have walked home. Ended up getting home just before 1900. Of course now that I've figured out a pattern it is rendered moot due to my change in schedule.

Now begins the test. Can I manage to flip my schedule back around in one day and actually make it through a night at work? We'll soon find out I suppose.


Excitement and Adventure

Yesterday was interesting. Had a near death experience on my way to work. The guy in the truck in front of me wasn't paying attention and slid into the SUV he was following. I jammed on my brakes, then let go and swerved off to the side between him and the median where I came to a stop and fell over. The guy who was following me managed to stop before he hit the truck that I was following, but not before I would have been smashed between the two vehicles had I still been there. Guy behind me comes over and makes sure I'm OK then helps me stand the bike back up. Says "I'm glad you managed to get out of the way." I smile back and manage to get out "So am I, thanks." He slaps me on the back and goes back to his vehicle, and I continue on my journey. Of course about a mile down the road I'm shaking like a leaf in the throes of adrenaline withdrawal. That stuff will definitely wake you up quickly, but it's a pretty harsh come-down.

Of course unbeknownst to me at the time, one of the bungees holding my tailbag in place has come unhooked. So farther down the road it slides off to the right and comes to a rest against my rear wheel. Of course, about 20 or 30 miles later I notice something's amiss I reach back with my left hand (my right is on the throttle and you can't really let go with that one) and don't feel my bag at all. Great, now I think I lost my bag. Ok, nothing too important in there, except a bunch of new hire paperwork with more than enough information on it to steal my identity, and my checkbook for setting up automatic deposit. Oh well, we'll just have to call the bank when I get to work, and start looking for web pages on identity theft... The last 10 miles or so in wasn't very fun as I was going over this in my head. When I finally get to work however, Lo and Behold! it's there, just fell off to the right! Of course it was resting against my wheel so I now have a huge melted spot on one corner, (didn't quite breach to the interior of the bag) and one of my bungees is melted half through. Still, better than losing it completely. Plus, there were a bunch of hot air balloons taking off from the fields across from work, and it's still pretty cool out. Maybe today won't be so bad after all...

Actually had quite a bit of fun at work. Couple of interesting problems to work on. One of them actually made me miss lunch, but I was busy, so I didn't really notice. Cafeteria opens at 1100 and starts closing around 1400. We got the call at 1130, just about the time I'm starting to think of getting a snack, and then I'm up to my elbows in a mass of cabling, rebooting and logging on, helping one of the women on the build team, and updating SAs and the customer on a conference call. By them time we figure out enough to leave it for now and possibly come back later once they've got a fix for the problem, it's 1530. No food for me! Especially seeing as how now we've got to go work on a few other things that came up while we were busy. Not too bad though, got some Skittles from a vending machine and stopped on the way home to grab some real food.

Speaking of the ride home... I really despise traffic. Monday I left work Just before 1800 and got home a little bit after 1900. Not too bad seeing as how my morning drive (with very little traffic to speak of) takes about 50-60 minutes. But yesterday, I leave just a little after 1700, and get home... a little bit after 1900. Stop and go traffic for about 20 miles through the heart of downtown. My hands are cramping up from constantly working the clutch, brake, and throttle, and it's one of the hotter days of the year so far so I'm getting pretty worn out. After I get home I hear that it's probably due to the final American Idol tryouts being held downtown with lines wrapping all the way around the stadium and traffic being a huge mess with all the people coming in from out of state. Just one more reason for me to hate that show in particular and TV in general I suppose.



It's nice to be working again. The job is about what I expected, and seems interesting enough. My only complaint so far is that the buildings are a maze. It's going to take me quite some time to figure out my way around. Also once I'm on my regular shift, I'm going to have to start bringing in my own lunch. We have to stay on-site, and the cafeteria is only open for lunch... Still, looks like there will be plenty of time for learning new things and maybe taking a few on-line courses. I'll have to reread the policies to see what's acceptable and what's not. Kind of a short post today, because I spent most of my free time sleeping, just getting myself set to work the day schedule. I'll have to write more later.


Minor Greivance

Well, I did finally get a confirmation on the start date for my new job. Monday, but instead of putting me to work on my shift, they want me from 0800 to 1700 M-F for the first week, because that's when the regulars (non-contract) will be there to train me. Not a bad idea, it's just that now I'm going to have to flip back to a day schedule since I had already changed to my "normal" mode of staying up all night. Oh well, should be interesting nonetheless, though traffic is probably going to have a little extra helping of suck added on to it.

I was reading a book today and couldn't help but notice that the author kept referring to the brakes on a character's car as "breaks." I hate it when things like that happen. It breaks up the whole flow of the story for me. Things like this jump out at me and kill whatever other mental processes are going on at the time. It's not really much, but it does lower my overall enjoyment of the experience. Now in normal amateur writings (like blogs or forum posts for instance) I really don't mind this, and to a certain extent expect it. But in a novel put out by a publisher that has presumably been gone over by professional editors and through several readings this sort of thing shouldn't happen.

I notice small spelling and grammatical mistakes quite often, and in some rather unusual places. I suppose I have my mother the english teacher to thank for this. I do make it a point not to correct the individual unless of course I have been asked to proofread or edit. I suppose that would make me a closet grammar-nazi. I notice the mistakes, and as loudly as I'm screaming profanities against the abuser within my mind, but I don't point them out in any sort of public way. I suppose I could blame the education system for failing to teach these people proper spelling and grammar, but that would be too easy. Granted, the education system in this country is far from ideal, but I believe that it is merely indicative of a greater societal problem. Nobody cares about spelling or grammar anymore. Especially with the texting and internet focus of our younger members where the idea is to get across a complete idea using as few keystrokes as possible. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing as it takes a little bit of critical thinking ability to figure out what "gtgttyl" actually means, but I think it's a poor substitute for actual communication.

Which brings me to my next topic. I don't like communicating with people unless it's face to face and in person. My preferences for talking to another individual would be as follows, from most preferred to least: In person, telephone, webcam, e-mail, chat, writing a letter, semaphore, smoke signals, texting, carrier pigeon. In a face to face conversation you can impart more information in a shorter time than any other listed mode, not just with your words, but with body language, tone, intonation, and whatever other subtle cues you may not even realize you are sending or receiving. Telephone would be next because although you lose the visual medium, you are still able to hear inflection and intonation. Webcam would actually be one higher if it weren't for two things, it pretty much means you're rooted to one spot, and it's still not perfected resulting in flat sounds and choppy motion. E-mail, while chopping off both the visual and audible aspects, still allows for full words and sentences, plus it has the added benefit of contemplation of what you are saying and your word choices before you send them. Chat would be another one that could be higher, but people tend to focus more on the instantaneous aspect than the communication aspect, typing in shorthand, or worse, in a group chat, everyone talking at once. Letter writing might be higher given that it has the potential for hand-writing and thus imparting some sense of the personal, but it takes too long (relatively) and is expensive (again, relatively). Semaphore and smoke signals, while impractical would still re-incorporate the visual aspect. Texting... texting could be a lot higher on my list, but the modern attitudes towards it are just abysmal, basically, you only really text when you have a cell phone, so why not just give me a call and allow for more information to be exchanged in a shorter period of time with more personality behind it as well. Carrier pigeon would be the archaic version of texting, 'nuff said.


The Most Diffucult Part

The hardest part of writing these things is coming up with a title. Especially when most of my writing is off the cuff and unplanned. How do you come up with a title when you're not too clear on what the contents are going to be? I suppose it might make a little more sense to write first and title later when I don't have any clear idea of where I'm going. As for the whole point of the excercise of writing a Blog? To become a better writer. I figured I'd try out the Jim Green method of writing, and while I'm not sticking to it quite as closely as I'd hoped, I think I'm making progress. If nothing else, I'm improving my typing speed. For the full method, check out http://www.anthologiesonline.com/writing_basics.htm

I did notice something a little odd when I was jumping around to random blogs looking for inspiration. Most of the ones that I came across in English are written by women, generally about family activities, or crafts. Most of the ones that I came across that were written by men were usually artists showcasing their work with very little writing in them whatsoever. Now my random sampling is in no way a scientific method, and my results could be fairly anomolous, so don't read too much into them. The one thing that most blogs have in common though, is the creative drive. People who have created something and want to share it with others (yes I include family in that). This brought up the question of, what have I created that I am sharing? Nothing. My blog is more of a narrative account, and possibly a stream of consciousness project. Though it could be argued that what I am creating to share is, in fact, the blog itself. Is that shallow? Does this make my words somehow less meaningful than those who are sharing other creative activities? Or is the reverse true that mine are somehow MORE meaningful because I am sharing of myself and not just one aspect of my life? Or, am I just reading entirely too much into this? Any amateur psychologists out there who can help me clear this up, or should I seek professional help? :D

Went through the ordeal of trimming my dog's nails today... Ended up quicking him once, and it's actually kind of strange, he put up less of a fuss on that nail than any of the other ones. I'm not suggesting that I should start cutting them too short on purpose in order to make it less of a hassle, but it was odd. I did have the astringent ready, as I always do when I'm trimming his nails, so he didn't bleed too much though. Also, while were on the subject of my dog, I found an interesting photography technique called tilt-shifting. I'm sure my sister would know more about this as she actually studied the subject, but in short, by blurring the top and bottom of a picture, you fool the eye into thinking that it's looking at a miniature replica. Don't know how effective it is, but instead of spending a couple grand on a lens, I found a website that you can upload pictures to and then apply a filter. http://tiltshiftmaker.com/ I tried it out on a picture of my dog basking in the sun, but for how effective it is, I'll let you be the judge.


Why is six afraid of seven?

Happy 7/8/9 everyone! (say it out loud...) Not much going on here, just finished up the remainder of my new hire paperwork this morning, and it's looking like Monday is going to be my first day of work. Still not set in stone, but looking firmer every day. I'm starting to worry that I may be getting too anxious. Sure, it's going to be great to be working again, but it's still a job. Every job has it's bad points to go along with the good. No matter how excited I am, this is not going to be my dream job where I'll never want to leave. Just have to relax and get into more of a neutral attitude.

Thinking of starting to shave my head again. Hair's getting long and since I ride the motorcycle, there's not too much I can do with it. Basically I'm starting to look like Egon. Now don't get me wrong, Ghostbusters was a great movie but I don't really want to start looking like what was ostensibly the dorkiest character of the lot. Suppose I should at least wait until I get the picture taken for my new badge. Then I can even go back to the mohawk! Yes, I can already hear certain family members groaning. But, if I'm going to be going back to school, then I'll need to reassert some of my latent personality traits which don't necessarily go well with corporate america.

Let's face it, I'm a punk. Of course my dad would only all to readily agree, but he has a different idea of what it means to be a punk than I do. Basically, to me at least, being a punk means identifying with yourself before anything else. Too many people all too readily identify themselves with some type of external organization, be it political, religious, gender-based, social clique, whatever. To me, being a punk is the ultimate statement of "I am ME!" and I tend to define external organizations by how closely they follow along with my ideals rather than the other way around. It might take a little bit of mental judo to really wrap your mind around the idea, but once you do, you might want to be a punk too. Of course, my parents will probably understand where I'm coming from since they pretty much brought me up to be this way, so I suppose that thanks are in order.

Well, I suppose that's all for now. Check back later for more wacky adventures! Excelsior!



Fireworks to be more precise... 5 different houses in my neighborhood had their own little fireworks shows going on. From the awesome, one of my neighbors is an ex-special effects guy and he was launching two inch mortars, and another one who just likes fireworks who lacked the connections for the two inchers but made up for it with the quantity of everything else. To the merely cool, kids with sparklers, bottle rockets, and roman candle wars with some of my more adventuresome neighbors. Was going to go down and see a friend in the Springs, but didn't get in touch with them so ended up staying home and partying with the rest of the block. Rain cleared up right before sundown so it was pleasantly cool and everyone was outside and just talking. Pretty nice and laid back holiday if you ask me.

It's always fun to watch stuff explode. Granted, this was stuff that is designed, and whose only purpose is, to explode so it lacks a little bit of the cool factor. I always secretly keep hoping to see a mortar fall over and fire into someones garage or something. Am I alone there, or does anybody else wish for just that extra little bit of chaos to make the event more memorable?

My computer is at about 95% of the functionality I had before the problems. Just a few programs left to install, but they're not that critical and so will probably wait until I need to use them again. Speaking of which, I still need to get in touch with a few ex-co-workers and recover some of the software/books/music/etc... that I loaned out. Not that big of a problem, it might actually be nice to talk to a few of them again and see how things are going.

I did get a call today from one of my ex-co-workers who just got back from his class trip to Croatia. Sounds like he had a great time. Got a lot of pictures too, so we're gonna have to hang out sometime soon. He told me that they did finally manage to fill my position, but that training isn't going nearly as well as the managers had hoped. Looks like they're starting to realize just how valuable I was... Too bad they fired me, that means they can't hire me back now that they're realizing just how stupid a move that was. I never claimed to be irreplaceable, but I wore some pretty big shoes.

Still going stir crazy. Only one more week, and I get to start working! I've pretty much beaten that topic to death though, so I'll just say that that's where I still am and we'll just have to see how the week goes by.


Up and Running

My computer is fully functional again! Well, mostly functional at any rate. Haven't spent much time with the Windows partition other than getting all of the updates. My Linux partition is all the way back, and possibly just a little better since I got the latest version of Ubuntu on a clean install. Previously when I would try to boot using the 2.6.28-13 kernel, my system would crash, now it's running smooth. Plus, as an added benefit, they fixed the problem that was preventing my external USB hard drive from auto-mounting on startup.

But, both of my questions have been answered. It wasn't using the rest of the drive because I had set it up using the Wubi installer in windows, and it was on a virtual drive. And it was filling up because one of my video editing programs wasn't deleting the temp files after it was done. But why, you might ask, did this require a complete re-install of your OSes? Well it really didn't, but one of the earlier steps I had taken, booting the computer off of a GPartEd live CD jacked up my GRUB boot loader settings which meant my computer wasn't booting at all, and I decided that it's been 9 or 10 months so it's about time for a clean install anyways. I usually do one about once a year anyways. It keeps my system fresher, and makes sure I've only got programs that I'm using installed. If you've got the time and the savvy, I would highly recommend it.

On another note, looks like our fourth might not be that fabulous this year. Severe thunderstorm warnings for the Denver metro area. Fortunately (?) I hadn't planned on going anywhere to watch fireworks. Just going over to a friends house whose spouse is working, and ex has the kids. Maybe watch some fireworks on TV, play a few hands of cribbage, drink a few beers, grill up some hot dogs... You know, just a relaxed, kick-back and talk kind of day. Of course I'm going to have to take the dog, what with the thunderstorms and people still lighting off what fireworks they can he's going to be a wreck, and it'll be interesting to see how he gets along with my friends pets... Suppose I should put his spiked collar back on.

Well, it's getting late, and I need to take a nap before I head out tonight. Yes, I stayed up all night working on my computer. I'll have more later, but right now it's getting difficult to see the keyboard.


Beautiful Day

It was about 80º out and nice and sunny earlier. Now it's about 60º and torrential downpour with lots of thunder and lightning. I always love rainy days, possibly due to growing up in AZ where you appreciate them all the more. Of course with all of the thunder and lightning, my dog has become my shadow again, never more than 5 feet away from me. After living here for a couple of years I'm starting to appreciate the sunny ones too though. For one, it makes it easier to ride the motorcycle. Which is what I did this morning before meeting a friend for lunch. Not that I won't ride in bad weather (rain, snow, cold, etc...) but it means that I have to spend the extra time gearing up. But, riding in the rain can actually be quite soothing. The sound of the traffic is muted, not as many people on the roads, and the gentle pitter-patter of the drops hitting your helmet can be very relaxing. Riding in the snow can be a zen experience.

Met my friend at C. B. & Potts as it's been about 3-4 months since I last had a Monte Cristo sandwich. Yes, it was delicious, and no, I'm not worried about my weight. Since I haven't been working, I found that I'm eating a lot less, and am now down to 150# again. Wouldn't be that bad if I was 5'8", but since I'm 6'4" it means I'm getting beyond skinny again. My muscle tone is still good, and I'm not feeling achy or short of breath so I'm still doing OK, but I'm definitely going to need to start eating more. While we're on the subject of health, I really do need to quit smoking too, and possibly exercising more as well, but these are both relegated to secondary concern status right now. Once I'm in a more stable position I'll start giving them some serious thought, but now is just not the time.

Having a few problems w/ my computer too, but I usually look on this as a good thing as it allows me to learn a little bit more about it as I'm fixing it. My Linux partition is running out of space. It's on a 60GB drive all by itself, but for some reason it's only allocating 13GB for itself... Rest of the drive is empty. I need to figure out A) why it's not using the other 45GB, and B) why it's even using 15GB as last week it was only using about 8. Looks like I've got a fun afternoon ahead of me, cheers!


No More Hunting

Well, the job search is finally over. I accepted the job that I wanted but was a one hour commute. After some serious number crunching, it did end up paying more, and after a look at the benefits available it made more sense. Still, the drive is going to be a killer, but I figure if I still have the job in a year or so, then I can move to that side of town, and possibly in to a house that's a little bit closer to a usable size... Anyways, the paperwork is all sent in, with the exception of the I-9 form which has to be done in person (that's gonna be interesting to work out), and my tentative start date is July 13. Nice to not have to worry about it anymore, though it's still going to be a little tight for the first couple of months as I get my finances back in order. On the plus side, I'd rather have to worry about not having enough money to go see a movie, than worry about not having enough money to buy groceries.

At this point, I'm emotionally drained, but looking forward to getting my life back on track. Plus, with the recent experience of my last two months, actually setting a goal or two that will help me out in the future should a situation like this arise again. With the schedule I'll be working, it's going to be difficult to go back to school, but the contracting agency I'm working for does offer some on-line programs which will allow me to study up for some certifications. And if in a year or so, I do end up moving closer to the job, I'll also be moving closer to a couple of schools, so it'll be easier to go back and start working on getting my degree. Don't know if I want to continue working in the IT field, so I've given some thought to possible majors, and I think I'm going to shoot for Mechanical Engineering. Looks like it's be the right mix of skull sweat and hands on that I'd really enjoy myself. Plus as an added benefit, engineers are usually one of the exempted professions on most countries immigration lists, so if I wanted to get a job in another country then I could go pretty easily. Nice to have a dream, now all that I need to do is spend the next couple of years making it happen. Ought to be fun.


The Sledge of Time.

Yup, I'm bored. There's only so much slacking I can do before the need to be about something chips away at my sanity like some mad artist turning a marble plinth into a bowling trophy. I fear that I have inherited the work ethic of my grandfather and my father (though he has denied that he possesses it) in that neither of them are content to just do nothing and be retired. Unfortunately, I don't have a retirement yet and actually need to work in order to continue eating, thus adding to the weight of the burden of slack upon me. I've actually faced this a couple of times in the past few months, but the prospect of getting a job, instead of easing my worry, has increased my anxiety levels. I feel like a kid at christmas; I'm about to be given a gift that I know the shape of through the packaging, but have yet to unwrap it to find out which bike, or train, or LEGO set has been given to me. I'm excited at the prospect of working again, and being given the opportunity to not only learn something new, but be given the chance to apply it in a meaningful fashion as well. The thrill of discovery coupled with the fulfillment of making a difference, however small, that is meaningful to others. Of course none of this writing is proving as cathartic as I'd hoped...

My dog is back to his old self again. Eyes bright and shining... and open. Basking in the sun, chasing the birds out of the yard, and generally making a nuisance of himself. Always nice to have a companion as loving and loyal as a dog, someone who will keep me from dropping off the edge of benign insanity and hopeful cynicism into the abyssal reaches of the emo psychotic. No I'm not emo, I don't use broodiness and insecurity as hooks to become more popular and feel like a part of some clique. I do wear a lot of black and surround myself with symbols of death and even listen to some of the same music from time to time, but, for the most part, I'm a pretty cheerful person and have no desire to change myself in order to get more people to like me. I am me, and if you like that and want to share the journey down the road of life with me, Great! the more the merrier. If you can't get along with me, find me annoying, can't stand the questions that I force you to ask yourself, that's fine too, nice knowing you, good luck, and if you ever change your mind, I'll still be here, maybe not the same as when you left, but still being me nonetheless.

Of course, there's a little bit of a difference when it comes to forced interaction in the form of a shared work environment, or some form of social obligation like a party or company picnic or something. In one of those cases I'll still be myself, but I'll tone it down a lot at first and gradually dial back the opacity until I've found your tolerance level for the force of my personality. Of course, I'll constantly be testing the boundaries, and ever striving to get you relaxed and comfortable enough with me (yourself maybe?) that there is no need for me to downplay, which has gotten me into trouble a few times.

All of that said, however, relationships are no one-way street. I'll be learning about you, your hopes, aspirations, hobbies, and the things that are uniquely you. And as I gradually get to know and appreciate the other person, their interests also become interesting to me, and I share joy in their successes and sorrow at their miseries. So gradually, I'll grow to have more in common with you, and yet at the same time lose nothing of who I was before. One of the things that shocks a lot of people that I meet is that not only am I genuinely interested in them, but I actually listen and pay attention to what the other person is saying. Most of the people that I know use the time that someone else is talking thinking of what they're going to say next, or looking for a place to drop in with some prepared statement in order to shift the focus of the conversation back to themself. Listening is actually quite an effective way of eliciting information from others, as most are quite willing to keep talking and revealing far more than they usually do when someone is willing to let them, and the occasional brief statement, nod, or suble shift in body language can keep them going down the paths that you find interesting.

So there's my tip for the day. Listen more, and you might just be surprised at how much less you hate someone. Of course, you might also find that there actually is a valid reason for loathing them, which if nothing else will bring you some peace of mind from actual knowledge replacing what was previously just an instinctive response.



Since I've been without a steady source of income I usually go out to eat once or twice a week. Helps keep the spirits up, after all, mac & cheese, ramen, and bologna sandwiches can grate on you after a while. Today it was Panda Express, and the fortune in my cookie read "Be careful of extravagance." I found this strangely ironic as the meal that I was eating was one of the few extravagances that I've been indulging in for the past few months. Also, this struck me as odd because this is quite possibly the closest I've seen to a "bad" fortune in quite some time. This is one of the reasons that I don't place much faith in modern forms of prognostication, the mass market stuff never says anything bad. Since bad stuff happens to people all the time, then why not mix in some bad ones. Same for the horoscopes in the newspaper (yes mom, I'm talking to YOU), why is the worst you ever get a kind of "this WON'T be the greatest day of your life." Why not go all out and say something like "might as well give up and go back to bed now," or "be wary of buses today, they're gunning for you." I would look upon this as a breath of fresh air, and a quite entertaining way to start my mornings, but that just might be my grim sense of humor.

Speaking of bad luck, this has been a terrible month for celebrities... David Carradine, Ed McMahon, Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, and Billy Mays. And, we've still got two days to go before the month is out. Granted, given the total number of "celebrities" and the lifestyles that many of them lead, it's really not all that statistically significant that 5 die in the same month... Must just be a slow news month that this is what the media is focusing on.

News that's a little closer to home, my dog seems to have some kind of problem with his eyes, or he might just be really tired. This is a shot of him paying attention to me. A little odd to say the least. He still opens his eyes a little when he's moving around the house, but if he's not looking at something, they're closed. Have to give it a day or two to see if it gets better, then go spend money I don't really have on a visit to the vet. Hopefully he's better soon.

I did give the whole super heroes question some thought. I believe that my preferences are probably a reflection of my own aspirations. While I can aspire to be the super heroes who don't have any extra-human abilities, the suspension of disbelief goes right out the window when you start talking about magic, invulnerability, laser-eyes, etc... Plus, if I had super powers, I think the temptation NOT to help others would be just a little too strong. Not neccessarily become a super villain, using them for the detriment of others, but just giving myself the occasional leg up. Think about how awesome a construction worker Superman would be, lifting girders into place, welding them with his heat vision, able to detect structural defects with the x-ray vision, don't have to worry about getting killed by a falling brick or getting accidentally cut on the band saw... So in conclusion, I tend to like reading about the super heroes that I could become without any serious bending of the laws of reality.


Down Time

Well, the job thing seems to have sorted itself out ok. The job that I want to do is the only one that has made an offer so far. Apparently, I didn't make the first round of "final inerviews" for the other one, but there's still another one coming up. If they make an offer, I'll have to accept it being as that it might pay less, but only if you don't factor in drive time and fuel costs. Plus, an hour commute isn't really bad, but once the winter storms hit... that hour drive turns into a 2-4 hour drive, and with a 12 hour workday I'd only be getting 3-6 hours of sleep. Such is life in the big city I guess...

Riding the bike out to the interview was great. Little chilly in the morning, but nothing I couldn't handle. The ride back was awesome, took some back roads and was going entirely too fast on the long straights and found some interesting twisties. Unfortunately, my GPS mount has a bad connection on it so it's no longer running off the bike's electrical system and ended up shutting down when I was in the middle of nowhere. Glad my phone has a GPS and Google maps on it. GPS + mapping software = one of the best things to happen to the outdoors since the national parks system. Thanks Grandad!

Other than that, not too much going on right now. Still reading a lot, watching movies, playing video games, etc... Just keeping busy until I have a job that will keep me busy and give me the money I need to start going out more. Also thinking a lot about the future lately. Wondering where I'll be in 10 years. The job that I get right now might have a lot to do with that too. If I get the one I want, then I probably won't be able to go back to school, but they have an on-line system set up so that you can get all the certifications you could want or need. That would push me further down the path of becoming a Systems Admin. If I get the other one, then I'm pretty much locked into going back to school and getting my degree. I'm thinking that I'd want to go for Mechanical Engineering, which won't specifically help me in my current carreer, but might offer me a lot more opportunity to break away from IT if I choose to.

One thing I did want to mention. I just finished reading the Transmetropolitan comic books by Warren Ellis. If you liked the Watchmen movie then read the comic, and if you liked the comic then read Transmetropolitan. In my opinion, it's better. Can't really put a finger on why, but I definitely grew more attatched to Spider and the FAs than I did to any of the Watchmen. Brings up an interesting question. Why are all of my favorite super-heroes (and super-villans for that matter) the ones that don't have any super powers? Worthy of some thought, but I'm going to wrap up here, maybe I'll get to it next post. Later.


5279997 feet to go.

Where to begin? Screw background, I'm just going to spill what's going on right now. I've been out of work for two months and have run out of things to do that will allow me to avoid the things I don't want to do. On the plus side I've finally got not one, but two separate job offers. The problem is that one of them I want to do, and the other offers better future potential.

The one I want to do would be a Contract position as a Hands and Feet SA. That's basically an extremely junior systems administrator, doing all of the grunt work for the "real" SAs. The reasons behind my wanting this job are: It's a step in the right direction towards becoming an SA myself, I'm familiar with the work, and the salary is enough to keep me comfortable. Drawbacks to it are: Contract work, it's a 50 mile commute (not a problem now, but when it snows...), somewhat of an odd schedule, and it's Contract work.

The other one would be as a Tech Support phone worker. Advantages: It's 5 minutes from where I live, Awesome benefits package, 8-hour days (allowing me more time for school, social, etc...), and opportunity for advancement. Drawbacks: Pay is just barely enough, feels like it's a step back, and it's a call-center job.

I'm truly torn over this, but these are the best things to come my way in some time, and I'm going to have to make a decision soon. While neither of them is my dream job, and neither of them is quite as decent as my previous job, there's not much out there that I can prove that I'm qualified for.

Life definitely has interesting ways of sucking. For two months I was worried about finding work, maybe having to sell the house and move back to live with the parents while I go to school or something. Now, in the space of a week, that worry has been supplanted by choosing the lesser of two evils for my immediate future with no sure way to determine which is which. Suppose I'm going to have to make a few phone calls and talk with some people whose opinions I value in order to get through this one.