Mar 242007
 
ANDI HAD A FRICKIN BABY!

——— Other business ———

I’m looking for a job. The two people that know about this blog and work in my building both already know that, and I’ve told my boss, although it’s not yet public knowledge, for both mine and my boss’s reasons. Speaking of which, Bossman wrote me a glowing letter of recommendation, which is available upon request. Highlight of the letter: “He brings professionalism to the work environment.” *ROFL* I can’t read that with a straight face. He must not have caught me throwing paper airplanes, or seen my five inch deep pile of airplanes, or paid attention to my ongoing retirement count (11,000-ish days to go), or noticed that half of my draft documents are red-rubber-stamped “STUPID” instead of “DRAFT” (or both)…

I have a ‘recruiter‘, a lady named Carol, who is supposed to find me a job. She’s not very good at this. She got me an interview for a company that’s in the process of being bought by another company (future status of any positions there unknown), but there was never any specific job title or description for which I was interviewing. So that was interesting. I didn’t get that job, even though the dude told me he liked me and wasn’t “blowing smoke up my ass.” But, I got a free trip to KrisDi, as I probably mentioned a bajillion years ago when I posted last. Then she got my hopes up with another company, and crushed them, then told me about another company to interview with, but hasn’t gotten back to me. *L* I don’t like her. But, I’ll let her do her thing. Makes no difference to me, and if she finds me interviews, great. Even if they don’t lead anywhere, it’s good to practice interviewing and it’s great to visit KrisDi for free.

I had a non-Carol related phone interview for a “Senior Electrical Engineer” position for Precor, a fitness equipment company. It sounded like a great job. It’s exactly what I want to do (aside from the whole robotics thing), and of course, I have no doubt of my ability to excel there. But I didn’t get it. *sigh* I must have applied for around 75 jobs or more by now.

Randomly, yesterday I heard back from two government jobs I didn’t expect to hear from. I applied for one of them mid-December, and now I have a phone interview on Monday. Sounds boring as all hell, and I’m not genuinely qualified (although my supreme [and ridiculous] level of confidence tells me there’s no job in or near my field I can’t perform admirably), but it’s a government job. Seriously now. How hard can it be? The other actually wrote me a letter. I didn’t know anyone wrote letters anymore. I have the feeling that they have someone in particular in mind, since the job was only listed for four days, over a weekend, and I just got lucky and happened to find it. But, it’s within the same Department, Command, and Center where I currently work, and my experience should line up remarkably well. “If my background matches what the manager is looking for, I may be called in for an interview.” So that sounds great.

But we’re rapidly approaching the point of no return. My lease ends with April, and I’m going to move regardless of job status. That’s five-ish weeks. And I’ll take the last week to move, and I want to take a week to pull my wisdom teeth out if I can schedule a way to do that without interrupting any interviews. At this point I have no confidence that any government job would be able to get their act together quickly enough for me to leave earlier, and if I don’t hear back from non-government jobs saying they want to hire me immediately, chances are my plans aren’t changing and I’m moving on my own money and becoming a kept man, at least for a little while. Thanks, KrisDi! It’s a good thing for me that the girl loves me. For a lot of reasons.

Speaking of KrisDi again, I gave her a *really* early birthday present today (84 days to go!). I gave her MLB.TV, so she can watch White Sox games on a computer. I got her that (instead of the Digital Cable package that I assume exists) so she can watch it on any computer on the internet. Hopefully, that means she can watch it at work. Certainly, it means she can watch the games at home, which she wouldn’t have normally been able to do because the ubiquitous WGN is not shown in the Seattle area. In fact, she can watch it on her laptop while she’s cooking, or exercising, or sitting on the couch watching TV.

Oh yeah, and three more photoshop entries: One, two, three. I got kicked out of #2 because of #2, and I entered twice in #3.

——— Books & Such ———

Wizard and Glass, by Stephen King. Book 4 of the Dark Tower series. I felt like I was trudging through this. 99% of the book was flashback. Great, explore the characters more, but Christ, let’s advance the plot, shall we?

Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. This movie wasn’t very good. It had a couple funny parts, but I wouldn’t say it was worth the time it took to watch it.

Mar 052007
 

I went to Chicago a couple weeks ago to visit KrisDi while she visited her family. P-Dubs made me pie because he’s the bomb when it comes to baking. The crust was phenomenal. Filling was sweet enough for me (barely), but apparently not for P-Dubs. We went to the Chicago Auto Show. I went to the mall with KrisDi to buy jeans, and was tricked into buying a suit (which leads into a complicated story which I will share at a later date, which will hopefully be soon). I’m a big monkey-armed boy. Apparently I wear 17-36/37 shirt. Nobody but the lady with the tape measure believed this, until I tried a shirt of that size on. It was awesome. The first time a dress shirt was ever comfortable while moving my arms. But it’s difficult to find that size in stores. My jacket size is somewhere between 44L, 46R, and 46L, depending on the brand apparently. Unfortunately, most brands assume someone with shoulders that broad weighs about 40 pounds more than I do. Damn fatass Americans. Here’s some pictures of the suit, as well as some abuses of said suit by means of Photoshopping.

Part of that suit story involves the reason for my visit to Washington the following weekend, which was fun. I was there from Thursday night (late, after my stupid flights were delayed) to Tuesday night (a day past I planned, since I had to stay for an extra day for Work, as will be explained on the aforementioned unappointed later date). We went to a used bookstore in Kent, where I spent a lot of money ($90! Good selection!). We visited Mom, where I carried a futon mattress, KrisDi and Mom disassembled and moved the bits of the frame for said futon, I helped move some furniture, and I sawed holes in Ma’s wall with powertool. No one but me seems comfortable with me wielding a power saw. Especially when I’m doing so on a ladder. We visited Grandma, finally, which I’ve missed the last couple times I’ve gone to Washington due to overloaded schedules. We tried Ezell’s, which was good, although I still prefer my local (CA) Broasted Chicken place. However, Ezell’s is WAY better than KFC. We also visited Mr. & Mrs. Pope for one evening, which I enjoyed thoroughly. KrisDi’s elder brother E-Dubs took us out for dinner at Chinooks, which was quite good both times I’ve gone now.

Which brings me to an important point: KrisDi’s gone and I’m not and that makes me sad.

She gave me some pre-emptive birthday presents: Earphones and some related accessories, two Fred Saberhagen books, three dress shirts and a tie, and two suits. The earphones are totally awesome — they’re more comfortable than the iPod’s original ones, for one thing, and they sound better for another because they actually fit right. Plus, and this is the big kicker, they block sound like an earplug, and apparently do a great job of it. I put them in and played music at a normal volume, and went out the door to get the mail. I didn’t even hear a whisper of the door closing — I had to turn around and check to make sure the door had closed behind me. They wouldn’t be perfect for a jogger, though — internal sounds (your voice, coughing, feet hitting the ground) have the effect of sounding amplified, just like with earplugs. But really, how often do I jog? Ha!

Let’s see…I actually entered two Fark photoshop contests. One based on a hedgehog thingy, and one based on two people being towed behind a boat. I was surprised to get any votes at all, but that was neat. I think Crash Mandicoot (E-Dubs’ girlfriend) should enter these things, since she actually has some skills in the area.

Also, I played around with Photoshop some more and was frightened by how easily my brothers’ and my faces can be swapped. View the results here.

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Moving Mars by Greg Bear. This came highly recommended by Monocular Ben (the Plaid Amoeba). I now know where he got one of his oldest screen names — from the main character of the book. Majumdar — roll it around in your mouth. Majumdar. Lovely! Anyway, I think this was the best-written first person book I’ve ever read. It’s a very good book overall, I think (although it could use a better editor — in one paragraph alone, the word ‘casual’ was used in place of ‘causal’ three times — unless physicists in a sci-fi book plumbing the depths of physics really were talking about a ‘casual universe’). Anyway, it’s first person, and the main character is a woman, which is strange for anyone but Ben. The ‘hero’ is not enthused about her ‘adventures’. She looks at them as a burden (which they genuinely are). Realistic and believable, excellent treatment of very good characters, fun science, etc. Very engaging. I liked it. Thanks Ben!

Omnivore by Piers Anthony. I don’t think I liked it much. It wasn’t horrible, but it was not very good. But, read on, if you want to be enlightened on the basic superiority of fungi.

Mar 022007
 

I remember Dad coming home from work, smelling like ammonia. I think that’s what it was. I don’t recall the smell specifically…just the acridness (acridity?) and strength of the odor, and its ability to pervade anything. That was way back in the day. He didn’t work a steady shift, sometimes nights, sometimes four-on-four-off or whatever it was…that was why we had dinner so early, so we could eat our last meal with Dad as he ate his first meal. For some reason (probably because it’s bill time), I also remembered back when I was in fourth or fifth grade, and my assignment was to write two letters or something like that. So I needed two envelopes and two stamps, which I got, but I put the stamps on the wrong corners of the envelopes (probably upside down on the bottom left), and I was so embarrassed and ashamed I threw them away rather than showing anyone, and told Dad I lost them, and he got unreasonably mad at me for losing two stamps. I wonder why.

Dad recently sent a pet project of his to me…there’s an old picture of my brothers and me sitting on the couch together (see here), and he made us re-pose for it over Christmas (see here). And here are the rest of the pics from 1989.

I thought I ought to write in here before it got completely bogged down by the books I’ve read, but it’s probably too late for that. So, I’ll section the books off at the bottom.

Anyway…before KrisDi moved, we cashed in our coins for an Amazon gift certificate, and it totaled out to $575.10. KrisDi had 284 quarters, 267 dimes, 145 nickels, and 502 pennies for $109.97. I had 676 quarters, 1916 dimes, 1186 nickels, and 4523 pennies, for $465.13. That’s a lot of god damn change. So of course we’ve been buying stuff with it. I don’t know if we’ve really made a dent yet.

Yeah, so there was a lot more than that going on, but Christ, I’ve been bogged down. I’ll post this for now, and update again if I can. Below are the book reviews. On reflection, I’ve really enjoyed the books I’ve read lately, so if you’re interested in the kinds of books I read, perhaps you should read on. If not, skip it.

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The Cyberiad by Stanislaw Lem. Hilarious! The technical jargon wordplay gets a bit tiresome and repetitive, but if this was really tranlated from Polish to English, it’s a damn marvel. Half the damn humor is innuendo, and the rest of it’s puns. Whether you want to read the whole thing or not, go to the bookstore, open it up, and read the section entitled, mumble, mumble mumble. I can’t remember what it’s called. It’s one of the first three sections, I think, and it’s relatively short and it’s hilarious. Here’s a link to the first story online, which is also worthwhile, although not quite as funny. Dammit. Go read the damn book.

The Book of Merlin by TH White. Much more boring and preachy than the rest of the Arthur books. In fact, large sections of this were stuck into the Once and Future King, word for word.

Manalive by GK Chesterton. Chesterton forcefully drove his point home: Conformant behavior != ethical behavior, Nonconformant behavior != unethical behavior. Fun and funny, though, and relatively short, so it’s not like you’re wasting a month getting a repetitive lesson. I liked it.

Knife of Dreams by Robert Jordan. Yes, it’s the 11th book in Jordan’s never ending series. Did anything happen in this one? Yes. Still nowhere near as good as the first book in the series. Wind it up, Jordan. Before you die of your horrific disease.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. Having only read two of Dick’s books, I seem to recognize a pattern: Dystopian futures with troubled antagonists and moral ambiguities. I love his writing though, because none of the dystopias are exactly the same (although they seem to all be post-WWII- or III-ish themes), and he goes into wonderful detail on the society and the inhabitants’ anxieties. Anyway, this is the book on which Bladerunner was based, and the book and the movie are different enough for both of them to be exceptional. Plot: Rick Deckard’s job is to retire (kill) androids, which are becoming so advanced as to be nearly (NEARLY) indistinguishable from humans.

The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. This is deservedly a classic. If you haven’t read it, do so now. I command thee. Incidentally, it appears that a LOT of sci-fi chronologically following this book references it, for some odd reason. Huh.

The Stars my Destination by Alfred Bester. The Count of Monte Cristo…IN SPAAAAACE! Moderately dark throughout the bulk of the story. Definitely good enough to keep me turning the pages. Apparently this was also once titled “Tiger! Tiger!”, which makes sense if you read the book. Which I’d recommend for people who like wacky sci-fi.