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.