Monthly Archives: June 2004

The Week That Should Not Be

So now we’re into this weird interstitial week, between last week’s non-interview and subsequent drive home from Chicago and next week’s departure to Anthrocon. I don’t have a lot planned for the week, besides more job hunting and the usual housework, though there will be some brief departure from the usual when I go to pick up me_not_you and wildmouse from RDU this afternoon as they return from their two weeks in Hawaii. I’m going to need to get out of the house a bit more this week, though, or I’ll go stir-crazy.

BoingBoing delved into the subject of obsessive coffee enthusiasm yesterday, and…I fear. I fear getting hooked, that is. This site is a treasure trove of information about coffee making equipment and paraphernalia. When the money comes available, I have my eye on the FreshRoast roaster and I found a really nice place to order green coffee beans from (I especially like their “Coffee Matrix” to help you narrow down which beans to buy). Checking out some of the beans I might like, it looks like they run around $4.50/pound. I like that price! And hey, if you thought I was obsessive in my instructions on how to brew coffee, this guy has me beat all to hell.

OK, off to shower…

Linkages

In the absence of anything interesting to talk about, here’s some fun links:

Spiderman just got a whole lot more interesting! (refresh the page for new strips – there are about 20 in all) (Oh, uh, by the way – this contains Bad Words and may not be work safe)

Office Space + Star Wars = Office Space Wars

Gizmodo has a great profile of cell phones currently available to Sprint customers. Hopefully, they’ll be covering more providers soon. (I’m keeping my eye on the Treo 610/660/Ace, though)

A little something for the railroad geeks out there: I came across this collection of pre-1900 railroad maps from the Library of Congress (may require installation of MrSID browser plugin)

For those who missed it, Graham Norton’s new show premiered on Comedy Central this week. It is typical Graham: lewd, juvenile, and very, very funny. I like!

In other good news, Something Positive is (theoretically) going to seven days a week. Yay! Plus, new New Gold Dream strips three days a week. Keen! (Plus, via a link on S*P, I really like the T-Shirts for sale at Goats) (Something Positive also contains Bad Words and is by no means safe for work)

Enjoy!

Random post bits

Slow Livejournal. Annoying.

Anthrocon preparations. Worries about Artists Alley logistics. Worries about hotel room logistics. Worries about worrying too much.

Househusbanding. Laundry. Cooking. Mowing. Yay.

Job hunting. Shotgunning resumes across the Internet. No nibbles.

Quiet weekend ahead. More posting later.

Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry…

So I came up near Abbott early, figuring I’d find a place with wi-fi, grab some lunch, and prep before my interview at 1 PM. At about 11:30 AM, I get a phone call from the recruiter. There’s a slight problem: Abbott has cancelled the job order. No interviews, no nothing.

I could rant and whine and complain here, but that would be counterproductive. Thanks anyway to roho and genet for their support and feren for his extended hospitality. Maybe there’s still some possibilities at Abbott – I’ll keep chasing it down until I’m sure there’s nothing to be had.

Meanwhile, back to the drawing board.

Serendipity Can Be Your Friend

After getting up at a godawful hour of the morning and taking takaza to O’Hare in time for his 6:30 AM flight yesterday, I collapsed back into bed on my return to Z’Ha’Dum. Four hours later I woke up feeling much better albeit with my internal clock completely out of whack. Feren was feeling under the weather so he was around when I woke up. We trekked to Meijer in search of storage containers for the MFF Art Show components, then grabbed some lunch. After that I hit the phones, calling ten different temp/contract agencies around Chicago that I had identified as handling technical/engineering placements.

Around the last place I called, lightning struck. By the time I hung up, I had an interview at Abbott Laboratories lined up for the afternoon of Monday, June 21. The job description sounded vaguely familiar. Hmm. After all the phone calls (and getting my ass beaten in Bloody Roar Extreme a bit more), I met roho, genet, linnaeus, datahawk, and posicat for dinner at a yummy brewpub in Libertyville. Over dinner Roho confirmed my suspicions: the position I’m interviewing for is in his group. We’re going to meet for dinner later this week and discuss more about the job, but from what it sounds like there’s a very good probability that I’ll get the job. Wowsers!

Granted, it’s only a 6-month contract making about 75% of what I used to make, but that is still a hell of a lot more than the zero income I currently have! Plus, of the people hired for similar six-month contracts in January, there’s been no word about getting rid of them, so this could last for a while. This opens up several useful possibilities: it gets me a toehold at Abbott, and it opens up a new possible career direction. I may or may not pursue either, but more options are always good. The position starts with four weeks of classes, and those start on July 12 – the day after Anthrocon. This means I’ll probably be flying out Sunday night of Anthrocon, which sucks but it’s unavoidable.

In the meantime, I’ll still be looking at other positions – a salary matching my last one and a full-time job are always preferable, but I’m grabbing whichever real, paying job is made available, be it at Abbott or someplace else. The time for holding out for other possibilities is past – it’s time to lock something down now.

In the short term, the one downside is that I won’t be in North Carolina with my love until next Tuesday at the earliest. Yes, I’ll get to spend more time with the friends that I care for so much up here in Chicago and even catch a Carbon Leaf concert on Saturday, but it’s not the same without Dan. I saw him off yesterday morning and I miss him already. Not much to do but try to be as useful as possible up here and stay busy. And by the way, special thanks to Feren for letting me stick around for a lot longer than expected! His hospitality has made this whole venture a lot less stressful and it’s very much appreciated!

On the road again

Well, in about an hour I’ll be heading out of here. First up: a “meeting” (not an interview, apparently) with a prospective employer in Winston-Salem, NC. After that, it’s off to points north! I’ll be driving as far as aerofox and loriana‘s place tonight (thanks again for putting me up on such short notice!). Then tomorrow it’s a short(er) drive over to Chicago. takaza flies in at 9 PM and then it’s over to feren‘s lovely home for the weekend (and then some, for me).

Looks like we’ll be at LAFF softball on Saturday, and of course the MFF staff meeting. I’ll be sticking around into next week making the rounds of temp agencies and possibly meeting with a prospective employer while I’m up there. Who knows? Maybe I’ll even get motivated enough to put together a short-notice Western Suburbs Dinner.

Well, it’s off to pack the car and get my butt outta here!

Meanwhile, back at the oasis…

Not a particularly productive weekend, but that’s OK. Friday night we met folks at Remington Grill at Crossroads for dinner (oof – bad idea), then went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Arizona. One of the better HP movies, I think, and Cuaron’s directing was a vast improvement over Chris Columbus’ soft touch. There were many, many nice touches with the camerawork (the mirror in the first session with the boggart, Hedwig’s flight showing the passing of time) that made this movie so much of an improvement. Plus, there necessary condensation of plot was handled reasonably well, with only a few clunkers (like it would have been nice to actually explain who Mooney, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs were). Oy, but that werewolf. Ugh. Anyway, it was good overall, and I look forward to see what Mike Newell can make of Goblet of Fire.

On Saturday we bummed around the house a bit and watched some Tivo, then went over to me_not_you and wildmouse‘s place for dinner with friends. Much fun, grillables, and champagne were had. Sunday was even less motivated, though we got some work done on MFF-related stuff.

I’ve got a bunch of phone calls to make today in preparation to my drive up to Chicago this week. I need to make contact with some other temp agencies and see what else I can get going. One nice possibility: meeting the plant manager with the Ringwood job for lunch, outside of the rigid interview environment. That would be really cool, if the recruiter can actually set it up. I had originally planned on coming up Wednesday, but I just got a phone call from the recruiter with the Kernersville job; they want to meet with me at 11 AM on Thursday. Quick change of plans – I’ll be leaving from that meeting and driving part of the way to Chicago that day. Not sure where I’ll crash for the night just yet, but there is no way I could leave by 1 PM and get to Chicago at a reasonable hour. Hmm, work to be done there…

So while we’re up in Chicago, we’ll definitely be there for the LAFF softball game, and of course the staff meeting. I’ll have to work out exactly how long I’ll be staying up there, possibly through Thursday. Hmm, if I came down to Chambana Thursday, think you could put me up for the night, mirkowuff? After all, I need to see how the new waitron is working out for y’all at Happy Hour…

Randomness

So, I spent several fruitless hours yesterday trying to get my wireless networking working properly. I picked up a Netgear MA521wireless adapter at Staples (hey, $10 after rebate? Yeah, I’ll take that) and discovered that it couldn’t see the wireless access point we have in the basement. After some rearranging, a little rewiring, and a minor injury, I was able to put the access point in the kitchen, where it should provide a nice, strong signal sine it’s about ten feet from where I usually sit. Well, one would think, anyway. My network connection was dropping all over the place, and after screwing with it for a few hours I finally gave up and went back to a wire. Judging from the fact that the link light on the card seemed to go on and off at random (independently of whether I had connectivity or not), I’m suspecting it’s a driver conflict of some variety. I also note that some reviews indicated that the newest revision of the MA521 switched from the industry-standard Prism II chipset to a RealTek chipset; that’s another possible source of problems. Oddly enough, it works fine on takaza‘s laptop, which is good since he was using a Netgear MA111 USB wireless adapter but due to wear and tear, one of the two USB ports on his laptop broke. Rather than risk the other port, he’ll just use the card. (I’d use the MA111 on my laptop, but all I get is random BSD’s and reboots. What fun!)

Bleah.

So, we also tried making Alton Brown’s fried plantain recipe last night (aka tostones). This was my first attempt at cooking with plantains. The recipe was good, but I learned something very important: the riper plantains get, the more banana-like flavor they develop. The recipe calls for green plantains but by the time I got around to preparing them, the plantains we had were more yellow than green. I cooked them up and while they tasted OK, the combination of a faint banana aftertaste and garlic was…off-putting. And after eating a couple of them, just plain unappetizing. It would be worth trying again, but I’d make sure that the plantains were green next time. Also, they could really be improved by a dipping sauce of some variety. Blue Corn Cafe in Durham make a fabulous mango dipping sauce to go with their fried plantain chips; I’ll have to investigate something like that.

We’re going tonight to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Absalom. Word has it that Goblet of Fire will be out in November of next year. I know what we’re doing the Monday after MFF 2005!

This week, and next

So here we are. The latest news on the employment front is that there isn’t much to report, sadly. A quick rundown of currently open possibilities:
– Abbott filled the Validation Auditor position, so the contract position in Chicago is on hold until a new position comes available (which, I’m told, occurs on a daily basis)
– Honeywell in Moncure, NC is still waffling about when to bring people in to interview (need to follow up with them today)
– A recruiter mentioned a possibility between Akron and Cleveland, OH several weeks back, but I can’t reach him to follow up. Try again today.
– The position in Ringwood, IL is on hold as well, trying to find out why. I e-mailed the recruiter just now.
– A possibility just popped up in Kernersville, NC that I might be receiving a call on soon. Not sure how I feel about that (we’re talking between Winston-Salem and Greensboro), but hey, it’s a job.
– Finally there’s an interesting position in epoxy resins that a recruiter floated by me yesterday in Houston, TX. See prior comment re: location.

Such is life these days – a lot of maybes, and not much else. Oh well, I just keep trying.

So, the big deal this coming weekend is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Ashkenazy. Takaza wants to see it opening night, so we’re going to maybe get together with some friends and check it out. Not much else planned for the weekend, though, which is kind of nice.

Next week, pending any new job developments, I’ll be driving up to Chicago in preparation for the Midwest FurFest staff meeting on Sunday the 13th. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a couple more contacts with temp agencies while I’m up there, and maybe even put together a Western Suburbs Dinner. We shall see…

One Thing Leads To Another

Yes, I’ll be writing up something about Memorial Day weekend, which was a world of fun. But in the meantime, I wanted to write this down:

As I was driving around today, I listened to a couple of tracks by The Flash Girls on my MP3 player. Their music is/was a delightful blend of gothic folk that is really fun, with lyrics by luminaries like Dorothy Parker and Neil Gaiman. One-half of The Flash Girls is Emma Bull, who is one of my favorite writers. Her best book is War for the Oaks, a stories of a war between the Faerie courts that takes place in modern Minneapolis. It was through her writing that I found Boiled in Lead (my favorite Celtic-rock-and-whatever band) and Cats Laughing (another musical venture by Emma, which included author Steven Brust as well), among others. Emma was also one of the authors featured in the Borderlands anthology, a well-written exploration of what might happen at the border of Elfland and the mundane world, a sort of magical Tijuana, which served to introduce me to several other excellent writers: Ellen Kushner (whose Swordspoint is just gorgeous!), Will Shetterly (Emma’s husband), Terri Windling, and others.

So – I read and listened to all of these years ago. I decided to see what is going on these days. It looks like another Borderlands book came out that I need to track down, as well as another Flash Girls album. Ellen Kushner is still hosting Sound and Spirit, which is just an amazing anthology of music of all genres – and even has old shows available for listening online!

The most interesting thing, though was when I did some web searches to see what Terri Windling has been up to. This led to The Endicott Studio, a site devoted to mythic art – myth, folklore, fairy tales, and their use in contemporary arts. What an amazing site! From the Journal to the Bulletin Boards to the Gallery and Coffeehouse – so many of my favorite authors and artists are there, and there’s so much wonderful information and stories. It’s going to take me a while to read through all of it, but I’m really glad I found the site (and yes, this is me being a fanboy. Deal 🙂

Then there’s the capper: This weekend in Atlanta is Mythic Journeys – a collection of authors, academicians, philosophers, and artists discussing the role of myth in society and everyday life. Wow. Just wow. It’s a pity that registration starts at $475 for the weekend – this ain’t no SF convention, by any means! Still, it would be very cool to attend, even if half the discussion flew straight over my head (hey, I’m an engineer, not a philosopher).

So you see, this is what happens when you listen to an album you haven’t heard in a while!