Archive for Random Thoughts

Merry Christmas

To you and yours, from me and mine…

… Merry Christmas!

This year we got a ten foot tree.

This year we got a ten foot tree.

Doing My Part

Today I loaded up the car with all the things I’ll never sell at my garage sales: 3 monitors, 2 printers, and 2 scanners.  They were all old.  The monitors were not LCD or Plasma, they are 15″ and 17″ tubes.  The printers were an old EPSON and an HP, both with printing speeds of about 1 page per minute, and requiring old ink cartridges that are getting harder and harder to find.  The scanners ran about a page a minute as well… or rather a page every two minutes since they don’t have feeders and you have to manually change pages.  They all functioned, however, and so I was loathe to just throw them away and have them wind up in a landfill.  Most places won’t take them for free, asking you to pay anywhere from five to twenty-five dollars per item to “recycle” electronics, though I suspect many places are just taking the money to offset the cost of landfilling the items and make a little profit to boot.

But today I took my treasure trove of unwanted goods to a local place that was running a one day collection of small electronics.  They were sorting them, palleting them and trundling them off for donation and auction.  In other words, asking for your old junk that someone else might want and trying to keep them out of the landfill if they can.

So, feeling pretty good about clearing out a good bit of storage space without dropping it into a dumpster, I decided that I should blog today and once again pimp out GreenDimes and urge people to do their part to eliminate waste.

Back when I lived in an apartment complex, they would keep trash cans next to the mailboxes specifically for people to dump their junk mail into.  It would be overflowing in a couple of days, often just after one.  So much unwanted crap gets mailed to people, and it just goes in the garbage.  When I bought my own house, in only took a month or two for the junk mailers to find me.  Soon I was bringing in an armload of mail each day, of which maybe one or two items a day were actually anything I wanted to see.  At first I decided to try to fight the glut myself.  I called the companies, who would direct me to other companies, who would promise me I was being removed.  For the first year, I fought the good fight, but I was losing.  The mail didn’t stop.

Then I found GreenDimes.  It was recommended to me by a friend, and I figured that twenty bucks was worth giving it a shot.  I am so supremely happy with the service, that I highly recommend it to everyone.  They have been far more successful at getting me (and the previous owners of my house) removed from mailing lists, and that combined with my switching to paying all of my bills online, I actually get no mail at all a few days each week now.  I still do get a few local mailers, and I even use them… see, when I get mailers or coupons once or twice a week, I actually read them, unlike when I was getting eight to ten a day and would put them straight into the recycle bin or trash can.

Sure, some people might argue that I am missing out on things by not getting junk mail… but seriously, we call it junk mail for a reason.  Arguing in favor of junk mail is like arguing in favor of email spam.  Does anyone actually think email spam is a good thing?

Anyway, overall cutting out the junk makes me feel good, and I would highly recommend it to everyone.

I Voted

To be honest, I voted last week.  Have you voted?  If you haven’t and you are registered, you should.

Times are Changing

There are two days out of the year that I hate.  One in the beginning of Daylight Saving Time and the other is the end of Daylight Saving Time.

I really wish the United States would do away with it.  Its rubbish.  The only thing is really does is confuse people, make them anxious and stressed, and throw off their sleep schedules.  Sure, the extra hour in the fall is great, but that lost hour in the spring is dreadful.

Anyway… don’t forget to check all your clocks.  Sync up with the Naval clock here.

October`s End

Halloween.

It is my favorite holiday, and it marks the end of my favorite month.  Tomorrow is November.  Tonight, I’ve got people coming over to the house, where we will hide in the basement watching scary movies.

This October has been a roller coaster for me.  My birthday, Halloween, and all the usual stuff has been good, but I also became unemployed, which sucked.  Tomorrow is November.  Thirty days of possible unemployment, and thirty days of participating in the NaNoWriMo.  The bad and the good.

Tonight is Halloween.  Tomorrow is November.

Zombies!!! coming to Xbox Live

As seen over on Fidget last week, Zombies!!!, the board game where you try to survive a zombie apocalypse, is coming to the Xbox Live Arcade (and the PS3 and PC, via Steam, but I don’t care about them).

I may never get my dream of a Dead Rising 2, but hey, beggers can’t be choosers.  Zombies rule!

A Dream Deferred

Langston Hughes once posed the question in a poem, “What happens to a dream deferred?”

The search for a new job is never easy.  The hardest part of it is finding work you love to do in an industry you love working for.  Over the past four years I have learned that one thing I love to do is program, and more specifically, I love programming dynamic tools over programming static solutions.  You see, I’d rather give someone a tool they can use to get their own answers than to give them the answers.  When you give a person answers, later, if the specifications change, you have to give them new answers, but if you originally gave them a tool, then they can tweak the tool to the new specifications and get their own answers.

A couple of weeks ago I had a job interview.  It was literally, my dream job.  As best as I could understand it from the interview I had, they wanted tools integration between purchased applications that would allow them to pull customized reports to support job functions.  This is pretty much exactly what I have been doing for the last four years, and I loved doing it.  My only problem in my last position was that I didn’t like the industry: telecommunications.  But this new job, being as I said it was my dream job, was in the gaming industry.  A company developing an MMO was looking for someone to do tools integration, custom reporting and web design.  I nearly messed my pants.

So, I suppose you can imagine my disappointment when I learned that of the seven people who interviewed for the position, three were asked back for a second interview and I was not one of them.  Now I am faced with a couple of weeks of interviews for companies in industries at least as uninteresting to me as telecommunications, and all doing work I’m not particularly enthusiastic about doing.

What exactly does happen to a dream deferred?  I guess I’m about to find out…

Choose Your Own Zombie Adventure

The Outbreak is an interesting bit of work.  Essentially, its a short film about people during a zombie uprising.  But rather than write just one story and film it, they wrote “all” the stories and filmed them.  From their website:

The Outbreak is an interactive movie. At certain points of the movie, you will be prompted to make a choice — These choices will determine your survival.

As an example, the very first choice you must make is whether or not to interfere when one of the people in your group is going to shoot the injured member of your group for fear he might be infected.

Very cool.

Special thanks go to my older brother for sending me the link.

Seeing Signs

Normally I am not one to believe in signs.  Every time in my life I have thought I have seen something that indicated I should make one choice over another, the only thing I can say is that nothing fantastic has ever come of it.  I’ve never won the lottery using numbers sent to me by cosmic alignment, nor on any day where I bought a ticket because something said I should.  Of course, I also can’t say these supposed signs didn’t steer me away from danger.  As far as I know, I’ve never decided not to get on a particular bus and that bus ended up exploding, or missed a flight that crashed, or avoided any other disaster by listening to signs.

However, it has come to my attention that this week, the one which signifies the end of my current contract job leaving me unemployed, is the forty second week of the year.  42.  The answer to life, the universe and everything.

Should this mean something?

Thirty-Four

Happy Birthday to me!

It has been a year since my wonderful self-examination post called “Thirty-Three“, where I said I needed to do the following:

  • Stop being a lazy shit and get my work ethic back.
  • Stop being a lazy shit and exercise to get my waistline back.
  • Stop being a lazy shit and find a new job that engages and excites me.
  • Stop being a lazy shit and finish some of these projects around the house.

So how did I do?

Well, I can say that somewhat I have gotten my work ethic back.  I’ve been working smarter and harder and not letting the corporate jackassery get me down.  I still need to do more, but my problems now are related to item three and that I have no passion for my current job.

I have occasionally exercised, but more importantly I completely kicked caffiene and sodas.  I drink only water and Crystal Light now.  I’m also sort of eating better.  I have lost weight, but not enough.

If you have been reading my blog, you know that item three is now a self-fulfilling prophesy.  I will get a new job because the contract is over and I have to get a new job.  So, there is that.  And I am trying very hard to make sure I only pursue jobs that I will enjoy.

And lastly… well… there are still projects around the house that need doing.  But I’m not going anywhere (especially in this housing market), so I have time.

Looking ahead to Thirty-Four, I want to get an awesome job, one I love going to.  And I want to write more, so I’ll be making more of a concerted effort to do the NaNoWriMo this year.  And that’s really all I want out of the year to come.  It doesn’t seem so much to ask…