Will I ever get this writeback thing to work?

So I think this time I’m really coming down with something besides unemployment. I thought the trucks were beeping reverse awfully early in the morning, but what really happened was that I slept through my alarm. When I thought it was 7AM, it was 9AM. Later on in the day I got a cramp between my shoulderblades and now I can’t hold my head up straight. I’m falling apart.

In any case, I’m still fighting with one computer running MacOS X and Apple’s X11. It just doesn’t act like the X that I’m used to. I’m also still trying to get blosxom writebacks to work on a BSD box.

This weekend I get to house sit or at least watch my friend’s cat. The cat hates me, and hides from me whenever I go to feed her, but I have to replace cat-pee soaked towels off of the wall because the cat misses the litter box.

I am truly blessed.

One of those creepy days.

I got up this morning feeling like today, something would go wrong. So far, so good. I only have a couple more minutes to go and today, at least officially, will be over.

I did a lot of computer-fighting, called a recruiter who told me I was unqualified for any of his jobs, especially in this job market, bought some coffee for my mom to take to Japan as presents, and basically did nothing.

I’m beginning to think the creepy feeling is actually from the huge salt intake from the KFC I ate last night.

Well, I’m still jobless and looks like I’m going to stay jobless (unless I can somehow convince people to let me wait tables.) I think everyone who knows me knows that’s a bad idea.

Rainy running season.

In any case, my times are getting slower and I’m gaining weight. It’s just a couple minutes on a 45 minute run and five pounds but, still, that and the Marlins winning aren’t cheering me up. (I try to stick to superficial disappointments because the real ones tend to bother me a lot more.)

I’m not real sure about my weight gain, since I weight myself after running, and a 20°F drop in the temperature from the eighties to the sixties probably means I’m not losing as much water weight during the run. I’d measure it and graph it because I am that big a geek, but I’m also kind of lazy.

My friend Megan is starting to feel tired from her chemo, and she just started. I wish I could do more than just hope for the best. Maybe if I got her the proper talisman. There’s no proof it doesn’t work.

Watching monitors.

What did I watch today? My computers continuing to compile things, two Major League Baseball™ games, The Secret of Roan Inish, and since the Yankees winning and the The Secret of Roan Inish were a bit disappointing, I watched Antonio Banderas shoot up the bar in Desperado and parts of one of my favorite movies, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.

So someone asked me what my three favorite movies were. I suppose if I count the number of times I’ve seen a movie, it’s pretty easy, in no order:

  • Blade
  • Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
  • Undercover Brother

And I suppose honorable mention goes to Batman and the gayest movie (in homoerotic terms) I have, Top Gun.

Actually, I’d like to see both the Yankees and Red Sox lose. I may get my wish. I’d like to see the Cubs win it all.

Computer destruction time.

Usually, one of my computers goes on the fritz about finals week. I don’t have any finals any more, so I figured I’d generate some trouble for myself now. I usually update my NetBSD system daily (the NetBSD-current churn) and that’s why I have my fastest computer doing just that. I also decided to update my Macs to the alpha-release of Fink where I can run gcc-3.3 on Jaguar. And I fixed some, but not all, errors on my web site.

So, basically, I spent all day trying to get my computers to do the exact same thing they did yesterday. Of course I screwed it up and ended up reinstalling the NetBSD and my fink install.

This is all very geeky. What it means is that I played with my computers today. And tomorrow and the next day too, I bet.

My friend has decided he needs to see naked women and the only way he can do that is to go to strip clubs (and there are many in Portland) and dragged me to another one. I’ve got nothing against them but I can’t imagine anything good happening in one. Except maybe I’ll get drunk by paying a lot of money.

Once I was minding my own business in the local strip bar, having a good time, when a young woman came in and wanted to start a fight. She told me, “She’s going home with ME, not YOU!” Heck, nobody’s going home with me. I was just trying to spend all my money, a dollar at a time. I told her that. Finally, the bartender had to tell her to knock it off.

So there you have it. I can go to a strip club and not only can I spend a lot of money for bad drinks and marginal food (though I’ve had better food than you’d expect at a couple of strip clubs) but I can also get beat up by women in their early 20’s who want to go out with strippers. Too bad I’m not into kinky stuff.

Now what did I do today?

I think I was going to either write some code I don’t need to, or some database work I don’t need to. I think I talked myself out of coding, since it’s a parser of semi-freeform resumes. Instead, I spent most of the day trying to get a laptop ready for the ham radio contest season. And I’m updating software on several of my computers.

We had a big lightning storm today but fortunately we didn’t lose power this time. PGE is doing some substation work in the neighborhood and the power can go out even without any help from the weather.

Perhaps I should make a list of the things I should be working on (besides looking for an elusive job):

  • Porting TrustedQSL software to NetBSD and MacOS X
  • Putting the DX club roster in a database
  • Fixing my blog software

And once again, I can’t think of what else I was going to put on the list.

Why don’t rich people pay for other people to their dirty work?

Tonight, I helped my friend with some work on his yacht. He paid somewhere in the hundreds of thousands for the thing, and he’s doing his own maintenance on it. No big deal, but why does he insist on doing the icky things like replacing the holding tank (where the sewage is held)? He bought me part of dinner, but of course Mister Moneybags didn’t have much cash on him and I had to pitch in. You think that helping someone work on any sort of sewer systems would get you dinner at the very least. Heh.

I suppose my friend Keith still owes me the proper payment for helping him move years ago (beer and pizza) but after all this time I really just want my copy of the first season of Futurama back. Plus, he’s a destitute gradual student. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to help him count the Vaux swift populations as they flew into the chimney at Chapman School in Portland, OR. Night after night, counting the silly things. (I’ve helped him for several years already.) His specialty is ornithology, but mine is computer science

What do I know about birds? I just divide them into two types: tasty and non-tasty.

What a goofy day.

Arnold is the governator, eh?

I’ve had a day feeling a bit tired all day. As my brother-in-law would say, I have the punes (pyoonz). Of course, I ran a better 5 miles than I’ve been running even though I feel so lethargic.

Nothing more to report, really. I guess I’ve been looking for a job for six weeks. No bites. I’m still single. No bites. And my friend Megan starts chemo on Friday. Wish her well!

Today’s list, the last 20 calls on my caller ID.

  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (VOIP call from Intel)
  • OPEN SOURCE DEV (job I’m unqualified for)
  • CONSUMER RSRCH (520 area code, about a local election)
  • my friend John
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • my friend Greg
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • Bank of America (courtesy call from my ‘personal banker’)
  • my friend John
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • my friend Il
  • PRIVATE (360 area code, about local election)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)
  • OUT OF AREA (i.e. junk fax/telemarketer)

These are all the calls I got last week. 70% are unwanted calls. Popular guy, huh?

Desperation time.

I don’t know what’s worse. Job fairs in this economy, or singles events. I’ve only been to a couple of singles events and there’s certainly a strange feeling in the air. But current job fairs are worse.

I went to the fair and was told I had to get my résumé “reviewed” before I could be let into the engineering section of the fair. There were only three exhibitors present plus the Navy and I’m too old to enter the military (35 is the maximum). Two of the exhibitors had openings I am underqualified for, senior electrical engineering jobs when I’m not at that level. No jobs in -the field where all the jobs are being sent to India- Computer Science. Good thing I (probably) got my Master’s Degree.

I did get a call from a company in town for a web monkey job, but I’ve been told by a friend, “The boss is nutty … [and] doesn’t like to be told he’s wrong. … You wouldn’t make it a month.” I also checked on the machine shop job and it’s been filled already.

I did score some swag, though.

Job fair swag.

There goes the marathon.

Once again, I volunteered at the Portland Marathon instead of running. I seemed like ideal weather for the marathon. At 7AM, the start time, the temperature was about 65 degrees. It actually cooled down after that. I figure the best marathon weather is probably 55 and overcast, but I only ran one in San Francisco in an unseasonably warm 70-80 degrees.

My job as a radio operator is pretty simple. First, I call in when the first three wheelchair, men, and women pass the marker at mile 12. More importantly, I call for the sag wagon for people who can’t make it any further. I’m also supposed to call for ambulances and police but fortunately I’ve had no reason to call for anything but the sag wagon.

There are lots of reasons that people have to drop out. 26.2 miles is a long ways to go, and the slower you run or walk, the longer it takes. Staying on your feet for four, five, six hours or more is really taxing. Mile 12 is pretty early to have to drop out on a cool day — mile 16 seems about the time that big problems usually surface. Hot days (like last year) means more heat cramping and dehydration even early in the race.

This year we only had one woman sag from mile 12, and she said she had problems before the marathon. I think if she can get healthy for another marathon, she should train for another one. No need compounding her injury.

So I mainly stood around, at the ready, from 7:00AM to 11:30AM which is the way I like it. It means no problems for the runners and as support staff, I’m just there in case there are problems.

My sister’s leaving tomorrow.

Last couple of weeks, we’ve had our share of visitors. Some old friends from Japan, and my sister was here for two weeks. Her friends are in town as well and I haven’t seen them recently. So my sister is leaving tomorrow, just in time to miss the marathon.

She’s really the runner in the family. I only run 5 miles 3 times a week on a nice flat waterfront course. I avoid cars and off-leash dogs and that makes me much happier about my running. People ask why I don’t run the trails in my neighborhood but I almost twisted my ankle earlier this year on two consecutive trail runs so I’m back to running on the awful concrete. She’s run a few marathons &emdash; SF with me, Portland a few times, Chicago, Big Sur? and others I’m sure I forgot &emdash; trained with ultra-marathoners, and is much faster than I am.

Oh I also went up to my friend Greg’s house in the woods of Scappoose, but it won’t be wooded much longer. He has heavy machinery clearing the land so he can buy his daughter a horse. I am not too partial to horses. I’d rather walk or, barring that, ride a motorcycle.

The logging machines take trees and yank them out of the ground. They look like backhoes on steroids. Sometimes the trees break off, but I saw a clump of vine maples 40 – 50′ tall and 10′ across just yanked straight out of the ground. Taller firs and alders as well. It’s pretty amazing. He lives in previously logged tree farm-like property, so I can’t say too much against the logging, other than my previously mentioned aversion to horses.

I’m trying to come up with a list of songs I’ve used to cheer myself up. There are songs that I like, but aren’t quite peppy enough, like “Oh, Sherry” by Steve Perry. (I’m missing my best of Journey CD by the way.) While my favorite CDs include several Pet Shop Boys CDs and Scritti Politti, they’re not guaranteed mood elevators, either. So here’s what I can think of so far:

Song Artist
Breakout Swing Out Sister
Player’s Holiday Too Short
How to be a Millionaire ABC
Favourite Shirts Haircut 100

I can’t remember what else was on the list, which is why I wanted to make a list in the first place.

Perhaps I should list all the versions of “Blue Monday” I have.

Japanese is really hard.

We had some visitors from Japan the other week and one of them, a doctor about my age, thinks I should try to get into Japanese medical school. Funny, I was looking at the titles of Japanese novels at the local Kinokuniya bookstore and I couldn’t remember any of the kanji. Any fantasies I might have had about getting into med school in Japan were dashed to bits on the rocks of difficult kanji. Woo. What a horrible metaphor.

I wonder why I’m running so slowly lately. Perhaps I should add more measurements to my running routine. Yeah, like one of those Nike or Timex watches that has a pulse rate monitor, mileage counter, and even downloads to my computer. And I can pay for it all with my fancy new job.

Wait, I don’t have a fancy new job.

I’ll let my girlfriend buy it for Christmas.

Wait, I don’t have a girlfriend. And I’m not Christian.

How about graduation present?

I’m not sure I graduated. All I got was a form with a rubber-stamped signature on it that said my prerequisites were completed.

Well, I better get on with just dreaming about it. That’s going to take time away from my imaginary girlfriend and she’s not going to like that one bit.

Some people don't believe my luck.