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.


Just to let you know that have chosen another candidate for the position of system administrator at XXX.

Thanks very much for taking part in our interview process.

Lets’s see:

  • I got a call on Monday for an interview on Tuesday.
  • My interview was only scheduled for 30 minutes.
  • Secondary interviews were supposed to take place on Thursday.
  • The above came in an email at 10:32AM on Thursday.

So that means either the email is poorly worded, or I’m just being jerked around. Either way, one (unsuccessful) interview in 6 weeks of looking for a job is pretty poor.

And why should I find a job after, what, eight years of looking?

I have to admit that I’m more upset than I should be that I didn’t get a call back from the art school about the sysadmin job. They told me that the second round of interviewing would be Thursday, so I’m not expecting a call. Currently it’s Wednesday night, about quarter to eleven.

My sister thinks I shouldn’t try for the machining job. She says, “Oh, you should just get a computer job.” How close is that to winning the lottery nowadays?

Oh, and Hall-Kinion, worthless headhunters who have never found a single job for me since I started asking in 1998, are now posting jobs in Portland, OR that require you work in India. And guess what? has an article sayiing, “Non-Indians can’t get work visas to work in India.” Well, I’m sure their unemployment rate is a lot higher than ours.

I met my sister’s friend’s baby today, but for some reason I don’t think I have much more to say about her. She’s quite cute and intelligent, but as a guy, I’m sort of at a loss for words.

Well, I’d go drown my sorrows but I don’t have the energy.

Starting my blog. Expect earlier postings to arrive.

Here it is, my first attempt at keeping a blog. Just trying different software.

Today was an eventful day. I went running and had a guy try to run me down. Near homicide by people who either blow stop signs or stop all the way into an intersection isn’t an unusual occurrence, and I usually end up screaming obscenities at the driver. But this time I just yelled, “Hey, stop sign!” and listened to him scream at me so enthusiastically that he was spitting out of his grey SUV, “What the F*CK is your PROBLEM? I SAW the sign! That’s why I stopped!” (Three feet into the intersection.)

My reply was just, “What’s your problem? You need to calm down,” in a very quiet, even voice, like he was nuts.

I had my first job interview since graduating with my MS in the field where all the jobs are being sent to India Computer Science. Running computers for an art school, which actually sounds like a good match for me. Now only if they think the same thing.

On my way back from the interview I went to see a friend who rewinds electric motors. He just let me know of a possible job running a CNC milling machine. So there you have it. Two leads for jobs I’m actually interested in, but one for a job I could do without going to graduate school, and another where all my practical experience was freshman year at Benson Polytechnic High School.

Easy dating

Hey, I found out how my neighbors who split up recently found other people to date within months when I spent most of my 30’s in my parent’s basement. Heck, they have kids and dogs and everything. One had a fraternity brother introduce him to a relative, the other had a friend who is a hairdresser introduce her to a client. Of course, my hairdresser friends are convinced I need to be going out with guys, so they aren’t doing me much good.

So, discussing this with my friends, I need to find a woman who wants:

  • A guy who lives at home with his parents,
  • has no job, and
  • sweats a lot.

Oh, and not insane would be good.

I found out that on my thrice weekly 5-mile runs that I lose about 3 to 5 pounds by sweating. That’s three to five pints. A half-gallon of sweat? I must be leaving body parts on the road without realizing it.

A day of disappointments

I set myself up for most of my disappointments. First was finally realizing that I couldn’t really go through with nursing school. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I tried to get into medical school. I figure I really wasn’t doctor material. I sure didn’t like many of the other people who were on their way to disillusionment that way. They didn’t like people, they didn’t like science, but they were quite competitive. I was quite bitter about my failure (well, more bitter than I am now) but after getting a useless graduate degree in the field where all the jobs are being sent to India Computer Science, I had something else to be bitter about and I thought I could finally pursue a different career in medicine.

I know Vicki Fields from OHSU told me, “You ever thought about becoming an X-Ray Tech?” when I asked about nursing, but what’s more needed than nursing? There are even “Alternate Entry” programs where people with Bachelor’s Degrees in other majors can get a Master’s Degree in Nursing. There are specialties like Family Nurse Practitioner (my choice), or Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (my ex-girlfriend’s choice).

But after taking a single class of cartoonish Anatomy and Physiology, I realized I couldn’t do it. Also, every single one of my friends told me my patients wouldn’t be their greatest worry; I’d probably find a pushy doctor who wasn’t as smart as I am and I’d tell him to shove his stethoscope up his ass. My neighbor, a nurse, told me the day I would find a doctor who wasn’t as smart as I am is the first day I work as a nurse. Heh.

Disappointment number two was finding out that a woman I was fantasizing about had a new boyfriend. I have been encouraged by others to just bite the bullet and ask her out. I’ve received this advice before, but always to my detriment. People like to see you try, even if you fail. Anyway, I’ll have to make a list of the replies I’ve received when I ask women out. I think, “Hah. With YOU?” is the worst one I can remember off the top of my head. Anyway, at least I kept my fantasy going for an extra season by not asking her out.

I also found out that a friend of mine, who is only 36, has breast cancer. She’s quite scrappy, and is quite upbeat about the whole thing. Her family is taking it harder than she is. Even if you think I’m an idiot, wish Megan well.

Some people don't believe my luck.