Thursday, December 28, 2006

I went from tri-weekly to try weekly to try weakly

It's official: after many years of growth and learning, I have finally taken a decidely adult move, and I have officially become a responsible grown-up... I bought a chainsaw. 'Next year, get me a chainsaw' - Doug McKenzie, 12 Days Of Xmas It's a Stihl MS-180 with a 14" bar and the highest rating in a recent survey by Consumer Reports. I realize that among lumberjacks saying you have a 14" bar is like telling the guys at the pub you have a five inch dick -- it's functional and utilitarian, it does what you need it to do and does it well, but it's not going to impress anyone when you hold it up, even if you can get it started in only three pulls. (er...) My Y-chromosome isn't very prominent and a device like this doesn't make me particularly macho, but just owning it and using it is making me feel like a man. I've started trying to clean up my yard, and this may take awhile because the yardwaste bin is picked up by the garbage collector every two weeks. The thought of renting a wood chipper has crossed our minds, yes. I've only used the saw for an hour or two (plus a little test run yesterday) and already I need to sharpen the blade because the wood is so wet. That's the price of progress.

"Christmas, how was that?" you ask. It went well. My bride got nearly twice as many gifts as me (but I gave her quite a bit and she has giving friends so I didn't expect equity), and I got stuff I wanted -- including a record player. I was given the Crosley that I hoped for, or rather the one I had expected, and discovered that it didn't have any way to plug it into anything else (no speaker jacks in back, no earphone jack in front) so it wasn't going to be suiting my needs... my intention was to rip vinyl and tape to the computer. I replaced it with an Innovative Technology brand device with an earphone jack, and I'm really enjoying listening to my records and creating high-quality MP3s. Funny, IT's website isn't mentioned in the manual, only on the bottom of the box; the page hasn't been updated this year so it contains the 2005 product lineup (which doesn't include this ITRETRO-401); email sent to the address on the site bounces as "no longer accepts mail"; the manual and site do not mention anything about replacement needles, though I suspect the one Crosley lists for sale in their pack-in materials will fit. Christmas itself was as expected spent at home (we got up at 1 p.m.!) having a very nice quiet time together in our jammies the whole day. We liked it a lot.

Job search... As you can imagine, last week was not a good time to look for work because there wasn't much up my alley (or most people's) listed. I discovered a stupidity about the Unemployment Dept's online weekly filing thing: Question number two is "did you actively look for work?" Yes. Question number three is "you certify that you put in 3 applications or participated in 3 programs or a combination thereof for 3 contacts?" No, I make no such claim. And it bounces back to question two, as though Looking equals Finding. Great job, guys. Anyhow, so I was contacted a week or two ago about meeting with someone to go over my job search list for a particular week. ZOMG, an audit!!!1! But I had put in three applications that week so I had nothing to ph34r. So I show up at the appointed place at the appointed time to talk to the appointed person, who presumably does this very task several times a day and is better versed in where to look for employment than I. Eventually I get called back, sit at this desk and hand the guy my search list, and after a cursory glance Manure [or something like that, it was an Indian subcontinental name] leans forward and gives me a patronizing look, then tells me I can't list the same job twice. Look again, dipstick; the first line of the two entries say they were found online at, but the next two lines after that on each says what agency they were through and what the business being served was. He'd never heard of despite the fact that every streetcorner in Pierce and King County has a sign with that name poked into the ground or nailed to a pole (and when I visited Portland OR last summer, it was written on every streetcorner and sidewalk in chalk!), and you'd think that dozens of people he's talked to have used the site. So he pulls out the White-Out and erases the '' from the Who column and writes it in on the How column -- in the email address blank, though he noticed earlier that I'd checked the 'from website' box directly below it. say what? Right-o. I rolled with his punches, making sure he was clear on the fact that I had done my three contacts. He moved on to the you-need-a-résumé portion of his rote presentation, and luckily there was something that sounded like "do you have one?" at the end of one of his sentences (though I'm sure that's not what he actually said) so I pulled mine out cheerfully. Much like the college professors my friend Emil had a decade and a half ago when he'd hand in 5 page papers that were entirely composed and written by me (on subjects for which I had never taken a class), he didn't actually read my résumé so much as eyeball it to make sure it looked like it had a table of contents, a thesis statement, a body, a conclusion, and a bibliography. Passed his sniff test. He printed out a listing for some "technology tech" job with a community college's 'puter lab, had me sign a form saying that either I'd apply for this job by the end of the week or not get paid (mentally I'm hearing the voice of my bud from my last two major support jobs, Marcie, saying "I'm a little pink poodle and I LOVE to jump through hoops!") and that I'd call his voicemail once I'd done that, and away I went to put in an application at a craft store a mile away to be a framer. I hope they call, that sounds like a cool change, though I have to say their (front of store) staff organization was about as disorganized as the state office I had just left... maybe the framers, in the back of the store, are more elite and snobby. :) So that's where I am; two apps for this week, one to go. The next day was more amusing, I went to a mostly-unannounced auction at a defunct furniture store and it turns out the auctioneer (who has a storage building in the Lower Yakima Valley) knows my parents. It's a small world afterall...

Now go see the January 2007 update to Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul!

you should apply through parker, tell them you have experience troubleshooting cellphones, see if you get put in a training class before they realize you have the scarlet letter.
Muahaha... Parker got me that job in the first place, so they should be of some assistance. Problem is, the cool staff they had a year ago has attritioned (possibly due to the bankrupcy by their parent company) and the current staff hasn't presented itself as being on my side.
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