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User Journal

Journal Journal: Hm. Well, that sucked.

So, I got the job of my dreams. Then I got laid off. Kinda annoying. Not something I'd like to repeat, but that's the way the cookie crumbles.

The good thing is I now have time to rebuild my website, code stuff, and look for a job I love again. It's not really that hard to live on what I get on unemployment. I'm thinking about starting a blog and writing a novel, too. I've actually been quite productive, minus the sudden addiction to How It's Made.

Does anyone know of a company working in renewable energy looking for a PHP / PostgreSQL / CSS / everything else programmer?

User Journal

Journal Journal: And life is on an even keel. 3

It's funny, having everything kinda together. Feels like the glue is drying, still, but I'm six months into having a decent job where I bike to work and do good things for people I pretty much respect all day. (, if anyone's THAT interested) Learned to type Dvorak finally, have a completely code-based job. A weird job, but a good job overall nonetheless. I'm happy and balanced. And glassblowing's going well too. Homepage is up, and under my REAL name... Funny that once you're willing to tell everyone you're a dog the world is a weirdly comfortable place.

Perhaps I'm maturing, finally.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Nerd Need New Job.

It's that time again. My contract with the bank is ending five weeks off (cue voices of angels) and I'm moving on up. I don't expect ascention into heaven, but I'm certainly hoping for something interesting. So how about it? Anyone looking for a mildly qualified QA engineer or complete noob programmer? I absolutely promise I'm much more mature in person than I have ever been on teh intrawebs.

Just thought I'd throw that bad boy out there. I've been struggling professionally for a while, but I'm getting better at this 'professionalism' thing.

Portland area, unless it's something so unbelievable I would be willing to uproot entire life at extreme cost. Since I've just started a term in both glassblowing and physics, the cost is not minor.
User Journal

Journal Journal: There are two important things about getting knocked down.

1. Getting back up, and 2. Figuring out why you got knocked down in the first place.

Time to quit again. Let's say, fifteen minutes of video games max a day for the next month.

Yoga time. Diet time. New job time. Physics starts next week, and MCSD exams should happen not this weekend, but next weekend. New glassblowing pictures up tomorrow night. (the new stuff looks good) Personal website to be up soon,(tm) as said by CCP. (It's up, I'm just not sure linking my jerk self on the internet to my real name is such a good idea yet. I'm warming to it. Perhaps I could be enough of a bitter wanker to sell ads.....)

Anyways. New year's resolutions are dumb. This is not a resolution set, this is some changes I want to make again; last time I succumbed to loneliness, doubt, fear, the dark side, Cheetos, blah blah blah. Go. Now. It's time; I'm getting younger again. Did anyone else know that Upton Sinclair, when interviewed by a biographer after running as a communist in California, was described as the most spry and energetic man the author of said biography ever met? He was something like seventy or eighty years old at the time.

Anyways. New year, bank's lame, but I don't have to be.

ED, next morning: This post brought to you by excessive amounts of alcohol.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Meeting Linus and learning about Git

So. Last night I head to this bar in Portland for a networking thing because I want out of testing bank software at almost any cost it is killing me. Turns out that I've missed the networking part, and on we go to the "Advanced Topics" portion. I'm the idiot who doesn't know what the name they keep using for their hashes is. (SHA-1)

There I introduce myself to a few people, one of which is a prof at the local university and the other does something so technical and low-level I know he's done lots more math than I. We chat a bit about what they do. It's harder than VBScript in a completely different way. Anyways. Then on to the main event - an hour and a half about git.

I've worked with VSS. VSS is ineffective in some ways, but extremely nice in others. Everyone else in the room was a user of CVS, Mercuria, or some other command-line based tool. This presentation seemed to be aimed at them, mainly because they are more of a core user group. (I'd say 'target market') Groupwise, source code management is important to these people.

On to my impressions of the presentation. The real advantages of Git are supposed to be speed and usability. The project aimed to enable 10 comparisons / updates per second to the kernel source tree. These updates can be pulled directly out of e-mails, and are individually marked and identified by a 41-character SHA-1 hash unique identifier. Essentially, Git supposedly tears your source tree into thousands of little 'leaves' and individually marks them. After doing this, it is able to track when you move the leaves around, as well as managing an extremely large linear history of the changes to each individual leaf in the tree. This is apparently handled extremely efficiently. The number that was mentioned in the room was ~300MB for the change history of the source tree of the kernel. Some guy spent fifteen minutes downloading it through his wireless in the room.

Merging and branching were handled extremely effectively, as well. Git outputs a text history of all the branching done, but gitk comes in the package; gitk pulls up a KDE window where all the files, contributors, and history can be viewed in an extremely friendly graphical format. I thought it was pretty cool. However, the graphical interface seemed to be a bit behind what I've seen of VSS. I'm sorry to be a whiny little wanker, but I've been Microspoonfed for many years, and I like the Apple way of thinking - if you have to memorize the command, you're wasting brain cells that could be used figuring out how to use functionality. Regardless, given that it doesn't require much of a server - and can easily be hosted, can be handled in a comparatively easy setup, and leaves little to no footprint in base code directories, I'm quite impressed. The encouraged "Branch, then merge," functionality is something I had not seen before, and made quite a bit of sense.... However, I was surprised and disappointed there was no way to save branches I thought were promising but didn't end up keeping. I like hiding promising little snippets of code in my home directory, in the hope that someday a use will come for them despite their utter uselessness for the task at hand. Perhaps I'll have a separate repository for that. Regardless, you can import into Git from a bunch of other tools, and export to CVS for sure.... No real loss to try it if you've got control over your tools and time to try something new.

Overall, though, I know enough to know I am incapable of truly grasping all the functionality on the back end of Git, as well as all the functionality embedded in the front end... It's designed so I wouldn't need to. I plan on using it to manage my personal little website development project at home.

On to The Great Man Himself. This morning I read that he was, "one of the less controversial figures" in the Linux community on Wikipedia. If this is factual, I have to say that I'm surprised society as a whole has not attempted to eradicate them en masse. About thirty minutes into the presentation, the nervous presenter said, "And for those three of you in the audience who do not know who the man heckling me is, he's Linus Torvaldis." I thought to myself, "What a surprise. The smartass in the corner wearing sneakers." He knew what he was talking about better than the Mac user giving the presentation. In fact, he had apparently written the demo. What shocked me was his rather blatant disparaging of other people's work. "I was surprised and disappointed everyone had their heads up their asses." He referred to other developers as being so positioned multiple times, in a very blanket fashion. This always disappoints me, because it shows a lack of emptathy. For even Wikipedia to mark him as pretty amicable in comparison shows there must be some really intense people out there behind Linux. I have no real problem with that.

However, it does tell me a lot about why it's so hard for me to find a job using Linux instead of M$ junk. I work in a bank. Money is coming out of these people's ears. But the reason I am able to continue working in the bank is because I am mildly anonymous in my spite for how they do things. And I'm certainly not vocal about how I think things here should be done in such a disparaging way. For someone considered 'mild' in the Linux community to be so harsh about other people within the community, trying to help no matter how misguided or self-defensive they may be, shows.... Well. Yeah. I came away with a negative impression. Here I thought I'd be basked in hero worship and I was disappointed. It made me sad to see someone I look up to, someone I see as creating a better world for himself and others, say stuff like this about his community.

And that would never fly where I work. Seen as a sign of immaturity, it probably wouldn't get you fired, but a vendor selling software with this manner would be slowly phased out. Ergo less Linux and more Microsoft, no matter how cruddy the software I work with on a daily basis is.

What programmers seem to forget is that computers as a whole are a social endeavor. Data, on its own, is not important. That people can access it and shift it and realign it, well, that's important. And that people are willing to work with it and you is extremely important. The best code in the world is useless if you hand it to someone who thinks it's crap before they start working with it.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Heh. 2

I said this to someone today and had to write it down.
Give a man some help, he may not bother you for a few minutes. Teach him to help himself, and hopefully he goes away forever.

It's a blessing and a curse being so apt with Office products. There's a certain weird feeling involved with knowing you'll always be able to find and hold down a job where you're frustrated by the inability of people to use a tool they sit in front of all day.

Doing well in Physics. Only five more years until I'm a real engineer. Man. This is weird. I have this strange urge to tell the world I burnt the crud out of my left ring finger on Sunday and it hurts. Blogging must be making me dumber.

User Journal

Journal Journal: More random ramblings in an Internet-enabled world. 4

I've never held a job in a big corporation for this long. I guess it's that they don't really ask anything of me beyond presence for 40 hours a week and the ability to answer all their questions promptly and efficiently. I've been using my spare time continuing in Engineering classes (physics at the moment) and so far it's going quite well, I guess. And glassblowing.

If you collect / like the look of glass, um, well, I'm going to have a website up as soon as my stuff's worth looking at. Funding this particular hobby is a little rough. But it's everything I ever hoped for in a passtime. And maybe eventually a profession. If only I felt about programming like I do about glass, I would already be wealthy beyond what I could ever need. Sad. But it's worth it to love something I'm doing for once. And the engineering degree, well, with that I can eventually get into doing something good for the world.

I've now got a five year plan and I'm waiting for the monkey wrench. But I finally think I'm on the right track, and capable of defending my direction.

Job's still utter crap, though. Thank goodness for iPods, or I'd be spending my days listening to everyone unbelievably angry at Bank X's credit card department going off the hook. I've learned a lot about biting my tongue and swallowing my bile and working with tools built to handle half of what I'm asking of them.

Anyways. Statements aren't thought provoking, so I have a question. I've been working in computers for a very long time at a scut level. I do VB script code like a champ, but I've done lots of more interesting things in the past - I coded Mandelbrot series calculations in parallel in high school, fer chrissake. The last few years I've really been just programming the MS Office applications to do more than office applications should. But I don't really care about what I'm doing, and I feel stuck in it. I would like to get back into coding interesting things. So my question is this: how? I've spent so long not programming in OOD-based languages that I've forgotten most of what I knew about it, (I've gone through the Head First series learning some Java, and done some .Net classes over the last six months) but I can still answer half the basic questions directly from memory and look the rest up in less than thirty seconds. Should I just lie my head off and get a job that I can grow into within three months? Should I continue to pursue the certification track, or will that keep me stuck in the same environment I'm in now? Should I just pack it in on the hope for a better job and keep taking stuff that requires little mental effort in the anticipation of getting an engineering degree in something physical so that I have real personal value in what I do? The only problem with the last option is that I feel like I'm going braindead in my cube.

I'm apparently successful. People tell me so occasionally; I make a decent living for where I live. Way over the fifty percent mark. My co-workers and boss value both what I have to say and how productive I can be for them. But I'm dissatisfied with my own accomplishments. I know I can do more than sit here and test bank software. I want more. This is driving me nuts.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Mod points and an exploding job market.

Never, and I mean never, have I gotten four calls off of four e-mails. But I did this week. It was amazing. I'm totally down with it. That's about all I have to say on that one. Perhaps Ishall no longer be working for people I don't exactly think are brilliant after a few more months. Awesome, and stuff.

Now, on to mod points. I keep getting loads of them. Why? After modding someone insightful for calling someone else a poopy pants, I thought that I would be pretty much left without for a while, and that now appears to not be the case. Weeeird. I've had mod points between five and ten times in the last month and I've spent them, but it just strikes me as strange that I would get them less often than I do. Just a comment.

Soon, I shall be a good enough glassblower to design myself a little online, "Doodle yourself a commission for me" engine. That will be a double-plus cool, and everyone who actually bothers to read my journal should be dying to have a piece they drew themselves :P

Or at least that's the idea. Anyways, have a good one y'all. For those of you with boring lame-ass jobs that don't involve people yammering at you for the full 100% of your time, I recommend an iPod. I bought one and my QA life will never be the same.

Peace out and crap.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Despising one's job. 2

Apparently, my Head First Java book is unacceptable when I open it on the desk in front of me and work over it all day. It's not that I read it all day, just that it's sitting there. And since I have a lot of time spent waiting for crappy software to respond, I end up spending a lot of time either idle or working on Java. I prefer the latter. I had the best job I've ever had when I was twenty, screwed it up by futzing around, and now all I want is to have another like it. I despise the corporate world. The way I look at it is people who have never accomplished anything notable in their entire lives end up telling me what to do for the rest of mine. Great. Everyone keeps saying I'm just "paying my dues," but that's complete bullshit. It's designed like a tree. There is a root node to the tree, and that root node still has to spend most of its time placating someone.

I just thought I'd rant. Turning my brain off for hours upon hours at a time is really taking its toll on me, and it has been for years, and I hadn't noticed it until now, really, because I'd been using gaming to dull the pain. I want to just pack it all in on this crap but then I couldn't afford to do what has become the most important thing to me - glassblowing. I guess it doesn't really matter, and I've got stuff in the pipeline that will make me happier with what I do for that majority share of my waking life, but crikey do I loathe the work I'm doing now. I can't find worse words. I'm going to end up more unhappy than Kafka if nothing changes.
User Journal

Journal Journal: And suddenly, all free time was an illusion. 1

It's time for the raaacess.... off we go, folks, to glassblowing and MCSD C# classes and yoga and Calculus.... I've suddenly got something scheduled each of the seven days of the week, and my brain is on fry. Six or seven weeks since I started the job, and as soon as I had the money and was bored out of my skull I decided to fill time and life with so much stuff I can barely manage to keep my eyes open I'm so tired. Bad things, however, are on the rise. Ex who I left for Germany because of is back in town soon and I'm totally interested in seeing her but she may not be.... And the lack of sleep thing is getting on my nerves. I just don't know how easy it's going to be to take it for much longer. Anyways. That's about all I have to say for the moment.

Except, of course, that once I get my damn MCSD and MCDBA's in a year and a half, I better be able to get a goddamn good job. I wish there was a Linux education and certification organization that actually did something. It's really too bad that I'm going to get stuck in this Microsoft thing because I just can't get organizized enough to learn out of a book. *sigh*....

Anyways. One day of my weekend contains as much sleep as I like. Aufwiederzehen.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Yarr! Banking it is! 1

Hey, anyone else notice that banking is about as fascinating as watching paint dry? I have.

You know, I've got this new contract that pays me quite well for the area and so on, but I just can't bring myself to concentrate on it because it's just soooooo freaking boring. I could do 70% of what these people do while sleeping, 9% while drunk, and the last 21% while dead.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Unemployment, Counseling, Go, Yoga, and Age.

Sooo.... I have started playing huge amounts of Go online. Enormous. Like ten to twelve hours three or four days a week. Since I've been seeing an addiction counselor about my gaming problem, he's suddenly told me that I'm supposed to go cold turkey. Actually, he said that since I was bringing a gambling mentality into my games, there was no way I could use the 'reduction' approach he had wanted to apply. I don't really mind - I've been playing 20-60 hours a week since I was eight or so, I think. That adds up to a huge block of my life, seeing as I just had my 28th birthday... So off I go.

It's not like I don't have anything to do, just that this is so goddamn terrifying I can't believe it. Last time I tried this I was so emotionally unstable I went virtually nuts. So maybe this will work, maybe it won't we are going to see very very soon.

I'm still jobless. Well, half a job. I keep talking to people about jobs but I don't know the OOD theory they want me to to program in C++/ C# / Java / etc, and I hate VBA with such a passion I can't express it. Speaking of boring, how about a scripting language that has no real depth? Ergh. In about eight or nine months I took it as far as it would go and now I'm done with it. And I wasn't even really concentrating.

If it weren't for Yoga, which has given me stress-related injuries, I'd be unable to handle any of this.... People are calling this my quarter-life crisis. I thought I'd had one already. Whatever. Anyways, that's my whining for the month. I'm going to try and write my novel. I've been trying for years, but perhaps this whole cold turkey thing is what will finally get me the impetus to do it.
User Journal

Journal Journal: This is harder than I thought it would be. 2

Yeah, so, my dashing MS Access development credentials aren't getting me the step-up job I want. Rather, they're getting me interviews for the step-across, keep reporting, keep doing the same things forever type jobs. I'm not exactly happy with this, and learning C# to remedy the situation. However, if anyone knows of a job in the Portland area (or on the f*ing moon, if it's an interesting job that will pay my expenses, really) please do comment in my journal so I can e-mail you a resume.

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