Thursday, February 22, 2007

set this website to 'vibrate', it's now a dildo

Greetings, blogosphere. The home improvements just keep coming. We've finished painting the livingroom (colors below) -- the darker grey is on the left side of the room (the one with the window and front door) and the back (which is mostly hidden by a bookshelf), the lighter grey covers the front and right side plus is on both sides of the hall. What's odd is that while swatches and samples make it seem like it'd be dark, it really isn't... the light parts look off-white in good light and the darker parts look the same color as the light parts in low light. Cheddar under a chair You'd probably have to see it to wrap your head around it, I know I did. We had the drapes cleaned and replaced the curtain rod, and that was sort of an adventure because it seems the curtain is a lot wider than it should be for that size window. So now we know why the bar was so rediculously long! I cut the trim strips last night [and repurchased / redid the ones I screwed up this morning] but we haven't bothered to prime and paint them yet. I got flak for a week for not doing my end of the trim deal, then she doesn't do anything with the goods once I have them ready (and she stayed home from work today so she had every chance to prepare them). Anyhow, they should be done and in place in a few days, hopefully. We can't put the furniture back in place until that happens! We also spent about $400 to get the heater and ducts cleaned, which may sound extreme but it'd not been done since 1995 according to the log taped on the front of the system. And looking in the crud-filled intakes as I replaced the grilles in the hallway during the paint spree... it was 10 years overdue. Two reusable electrostatic filters in the hall will replace the one disposable paper filter in the heater.

It's time for a word about our sponsor, Blogger. As I think I mentioned last time, I was involuntarily converted into the login-with-Google thing while writing last week's entry. Typically I do my text editing while viewing the page with Opera 6, but upload the picture(s) by creating the entry with Internet Explorer 6 -- and it's done that way because Blogger would not insert pictures if I didn't add them first thing (later attempts would say they were complete but the code wouldn't show up) and any attempts to add pictures at any time with Opera would fail (same story, it'd say done then no code). So today I try logging in through IE, and it wouldn't finish putting up the Google Login box. Okay, click Old Blogger Login, and enter my old Blogger info, and it chastises me that I am supposed to use my Google login, and fills in the Gmail address. Great, here's my password, and... still doesn't finish loading the page. Ahh, but if I go back to Opera, not only can I log in with the Google address without a hitch, I can now upload pictures with it and have the code show. (Doing so first thing, no sense tempting fate that later would work.) Er, guys? Thanks for fixing my gripe while breaking a lot of other people's logins!

Employment update, in brief: It's sliding over the "midweek" hump and I'm ready to hear now. I've had both of my contacts contacted, both gave glowing reports, and the interviewer even said he'd only heard good things about me. A couple people have told me that if the place bothered calling my contacts, that means I must have passed the second interview. Good to know, but I sort of expected to get that call or an email on Wednesday... there's always today. Else I'll jingle their chimes tomorrow, and they'd better have good news. It won't be them I'd be upset with if I get bad news, it'd be whatever the cause of the bad news is; call it paranoia or total lack of trust in the people I've worked for and the third-parties that get consulted about my worthiness as a human being, but I fear others actively trying to deep-six my chances of getting a worthwhile job because I've seen it happen before. The concept of working for a business for over a year yet not wanting to list them on one's work history due to them always giving bad reports, or being punished by the future for something you didn't get punished for in the past, annoy me.

I don't have a real stupidity to list, though I did have a couple historical anecdotes I wanted to share but it's 2:35am so I can't remember what they were. Will say that the amount of spam I've been getting lately has taken a sudden spike -- I'd been getting almost none for weeks (to the point of not getting any mail at all; how I miss your letters, Ariel!) and then suddenly a few days ago, a massive onslaught started on three of my accounts at the same time. Thought it was interesting when Royal Canadian Bank wrote me twice asking me to fix my account information. There's an anti-stupidity, though; 25 days after I mailed that package of candy to Hungary by the US Postal Service and Posta Magyar (since UPS wanted an obscene amount) I got word that it has arrived, hopefully unmolested, raising the delivery rate of my packages there back to 50%. Anyhow, here's the paint, as seen in the corner behind the television. The entire room used to be matte white, with yellow undertones where the previous crackheads' furniture used to be because they painted around it, so this is a vast improvement. Keep thinking good thoughts for me, and I'll be posting ASAP about my new job. *crossing fingers* [update 11pm: I received an email with an employment offer letter at 3:45pm... yaaay!!! Details about when I start training will be worked out tomorrow.]
smoke screen / faint flicker
Smoke Screen -=|=- Faint Flicker

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

our reality breaks down at the subatomic level into ghosts and shadows

I'm still on the wild ride. In the last entry, I told about how Ken had reminded me of an old friend / my sophomore year locker partner, Dean. Totally on his own with no prompting from Ken (they apparently had lost track of each other for vengeful human reasons beyond their control), Dean did a websearch for his name and found my Daybook entry... and got in touch with me. And I put him in touch with Ken. So the wonderment of reminiscing with folks I havent seen in 20 years continues. I wonder who comes next...?

There's no stupidity to report on the employment scene at this moment because I just got back from a second interview. In fact, it may be the opposite of stupid, if things are the way they look (and I have never claimed I'm able to read people in a hiring capacity). huge primrose and double primrose So here's the deal: I sat down with the guy who interviewed me last week, who had a Criminal Records Check form for me to fill out and sign, and he sat with me until one of the managing partners was ready to discuss stuff. I talked to the manager for awhile, we chewed the fat about computer bad-guys and 1980's soft rock (really, it was relevant!), and then he pushes the form to me to fill out and goes out, and I'm to wait for the first guy to return to pick it up. I get the form completed, I'm twiddling, and I decide to have a look at the copy of my résumé he printed for this meeting. There's a bonus page tacked to the end: the first guy had typed up his thoughts about my first interview, a whole page's worth in detail, and apparently I made such a good impression that his final comment was "my recommendation: hire this guy ASAP". *warm fuzzies* It'll be the first half of next week before they get back to me (once that CRC goes through and shows I'm not a felon), which works for me since this weekend will be spent painting the livingroom and hallway if we can get our asses in gear. (And if on the off-chance y'all are reading this, Chris et aliis... You're a good judge of character, and don't hold my investigation skills against me; they're an asset in your business, right?)

Valentine's Day went down perfect for me. Last week I bought two planters of very unique primroses (see above -- a double-primrose and this surprisingly large cultivar of primrose), a bar of 70% dark chocolate with almonds and a heart-shaped box of truffle Hershey Kisses, a cute card (1940's photo of a couple making out on a parkbench, inside says "Any chair we sit in together is a loveseat"), and... I went to Jared. For those blissfully unaware, the Jared Galleria Of Diamonds chain of jewelry stores advertises themselves with the simple slogan "[pronoun] got it at Jared." (Ads go like this: Man says confidently to wife as she opens the box, "I got it at Jared." Woman loves the gift and beams proudly, "He got it at Jared!!" Woman's friend turns snidely to her husband and snipes, "HE got it at Jared!" Friend's husband rhetorically says embarassed, "He got it at Jared.") Last week when I got home from that interview, I parked in the front driveway rather than trying to scoot past my wife's car because I intended to go do some shopping, and she asked why I didn't park in back. I told her that I was going to go to Jared. She laughed, not taking me at my word. Okay, fast-forward a week to today. When she got into the shower, I put on my sweats and went to the shed to get the plants and put them on my side of the bed, covered by clothes, then put the chocolate under her pillow, the card under my pillow, and the Jared bag in her sock drawer. She comes in after she'd dried off, and the show started... She's starting to get her underthings on, and I whip out the card and say "here's your card", pull the candy out and say "here's your candy", take the shirt off the pots and put them on the bed then said "and here's your flowers." She gives me a kiss and thanks me. She thinks that's all there is. She puts her outer clothes on, and the socks are the last thing she puts on... opens the drawer, and there's the bag. Totally takes her by surprise. The gift is a pair of emerald earrings, five stones per earring in a downward arc. I told her to put them on, "they match your shirt and socks" I said persuasively and she agreed. Yeah, she might have been a couple minutes late getting to work but she had something to show for it.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Don't cry over spilled stupid (didja get any onya?)

The final chapter in the most recent job saga does not have a happy ending. I interviewed with Rectangulon South on Monday, and it seemed to go well. The person at another branch who would be handling me wanted to talk to me herself, so an interview was scheduled for Tuesday. So I interviewed with Rectangulon North on Tuesday, and it seemed to go well. The woman sent me to the jobsite to interview with them. I interviewed with the medical insurance call center, and it seemed to go well. I'd been told that decisions would be made and I'd be getting a call from Rectangulon (North) on Wednesday morning. The AM hours were slept away. The PM hours started to whittle away too, so I gave the woman a call and she said she hadn't heard back from the jobsite, which was making both of us a little itchy since training was set to start on Thursday at 8am. (Who starts a week-long training on a Thursday?) I went about my life, had a good night's sleep, and at 11:30am Thursday I finally get a call from Rectangulon North saying the client "did not think I was a good fit". I'm presuming this is because I was realistic and said, when asked how often it is okay to be tardy to work in 6 months, that once a month is okay. The road that business is on was closed for a few days due to snow and ice a mere few weeks ago, you see. But silly me, I should know by now that the correct response is to gasp in horror and exclaim, "There is never a valid reason why anyone should ever be at work even a moment late!" I bet they lose more skilled applicants due to getting sticky about that question. Okay, fine dandy, that case is closed. I have since applied for another job that sounds suspiciously like the one I just was aced out of (same pay rate, same town, same agency, different agent)... and did so by email since now I can't even log into Rectangulon's website for some reason.

Having had the slate for Thursday cleared, I started in on the latest set of home improvement tasks, beginning with... that new ceiling fan for the livingroom. The old fan, which I admit I didn't take a photo of because I'm a knob, was gold with a frosted lighted glass dome and five lights below (four small bells pointing out and one large bell pointing down) and some stray paint on the 54" diameter blades. Hunter Eclipse The new one is brushed nickel with a frosted glass bowl that matches the three bathroom lights' bells, and the blade diameter is 42". (If you read the diagrams on the top of any ceiling fan box, you'll find that larger fans are for higher ceilings and the scale for what size fan to use starts at 8'. Our ceilings are 7½'.) I got it down in short order, took the mounting bracket off the ceiling utility box, and set it aside. Since the utility box had been supporting the fan's weight for several years, I figured it didn't need replacement. The directions Hunter puts in its fans are very good, so in minutes I had the new fan base mounted to the ceiling, the wiring done, and the motor in place. I envisioned myself in fast-motion video as I got the lighting kit installed, the fan blades assembled and attached, and the light's bowl and chains configured. I flipped the breaker back on, flipped the wall switch, and flopped out on the couch to admire my work [see photo]. Flip flip flop! It's very quiet and at its highest setting it moves a hell of a lot of air... and best of all no one gets decapitated by it; the distance between ceiling and the bottom of the blades is 11", where with the old one the bottoms of the blades were 6' off the ground! (I'm 5'11" and my wife is 5'9", so this all kinda mattered.) But we specifically did not buy a fan with a lot of lighting to it, so after putting in a couple 60 watt incandescent bulbs for the time being (the fixtures' maximum rating, and I'll replace the tungsten bulbs with 11 watt fluorescent 'bulbs' from IKEA once the track lighting is put in this weekend) I pulled a floor lamp from the familyroom in so there'd be enough light with which to read the newspaper. (Though not enough for a book.) Once again, great pride in a job done well. Since I'm going to have to insert a utility box in the livingroom ceiling and wire power and a new switch (oh, and cut a hole for the switch and put in the box for that...) for it, this could take me a wee bit more time than the fan, ya know?

One final note, which isn't stupid at all because frankly it's amazing. A full report on this will show up on Say Something Cryptic's Daybook in a day or two, so here's the overview: A guy I went to camp with twenty years ago emailed me, courtesy of some things I'd written about our friend Lucas which came up in Google, and his letter was very eye-opening. In the mid-1980's he was rather aloof, guarded, to himself, or that's how he came off to me. I think in all the years we knew each other, there was only one time we ever laughed together. So he tells me in this email about all these people we knew that he was in contact with until about 1990, and that he wished that he'd known how much Lucas meant to me because Luke meant a lot to him too and wanted to talk about him with someone. I'd never seen this guy have a human side; I suspected it lurked somewhere but like so many of us at camp there was one personality we use at home and one we use at camp. Anyhow, in email terms this rather sizeable letter was a page-turner. I spent until 4am writing him back; it seems we had a lot to say and in my reply I asked that he keep in touch because I sense that we both have more to let out. He'd noticed that I didn't mention him by name in the list in the Daybook of people I was wondering about (and jokingly said he was hurt); I replied in total honesty that he was among the first names I thought of when I was writing it but for some reason didn't put it in... I guess something in me knew that I should but I didn't follow my heart. The one name I omit is the one person who has responded to my "where are they now?" request. Always listen to the voice in your head, it's usually right.

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