Firefox, keyboards, diving for goodies, and my beloved Steelcase chair.

So is it just me, or has Firefox been really slow since the last update? It takes for-freaking-ever to load pages. I’m paranoid I’ve gotten some sort of weird virus on it. I’m hoping that maybe it’s some sort of issue with the latest version instead, though, mostly because viruses are a huge pain. Chrome works fine though, and for all I know IE might work fine too (though whether I’ll actually check is debatable). In the process of being frustrated, I defragged, so my C drive is feeling much better. Also found out that Steam, which I used for Portal-related purposes and have barely touched since then, was taking up multiple gigs of space. Not completely sure why, as, though I had several random trial downloads, none of them were in any way fancy. Nonetheless, it got uninstalled.

My computer area is now oolong-flavored. Yesterday I had the fabulous fortune to whack my still-too-hot-to-drink cup of tea with my elbow, thus giving some things a bath. Nothing too important though, lucky for me there is apparently some serious indentation going on in the middle of my computer desk. Though, the left arrow on my keyboard is sticking in a rather unfortunate way. I feel lucky that the keyboard works at all, though, given my luck with spilling things on keyboards. Which I suppose is the price one inevitably pays for keeping beverages at one’s desk.

So this past Saturday! Diving madness! As Christine is unemployed and I am a lover of Free, we both went up to the U of R for their moving out day to check out all the detritus the students were leaving behind. At first I was disappointed due to the lack of VA-friendly items, but in the end all was well. Drew and I now have about 25+ packets of microwaveable popcorn (butter lover’s, to be precise). Someone had a great big box of the stuff and had chucked it, with barely any used at all. I also have a hula hoop! The best find though was a super sweet jacket. It’s made by Diesel, and is cut and designed in a really interesting manner, with joyous zippers. Once I’ve washed it I’ll post a picture of the awesomeness.

On a final note, I essentially have had a free drafting chair for the past several years. Back when I started doing contract work for OWP, I bought a really nice used Steelcase drafting chair from Hull St Outlet for $100. It was a really high-quality chair and was amazing for my posture. I used it constantly for two good years, and then when I went to work in-house, it just kinda sat around. I finally decided to suck it up and sell it. As much as I liked the chair, I liked the money more, and I feel bad if I own something and never use it, I feel like that item would be happier if it were owned by a person who appreciated it more then me. So I sold the chair on Craigslist – for $100. Yay!

Job hunting, Florida, and more Twilight

So I spent a bunch of time finessing my resume, seeking out references, trying to figure out how to write a salary history that doesn’t make my actual salary history look wacky, and writing the perfect cover letter, all for a job that sounded rather ideal. I submit the materials, only to get an email back soon after stating that the position had already been filled. Which was a surprise to me, as the position was still listed under the “Employment” heading of their website. Ah, waste of time. I suppose I at least have a cover letter and resume with more finesse at the point, at least. Am still snouting around for other jobs. I’ve gotten rejected by a few, have heard nothing from others, and have also gotten vague “We’ll contact you if something comes up that fits” messages from recruiting agencies. No matter what, we’re vacating this apartment in two months and heading westward, so something needs to rear it’s head at some point in the near future. If not, I can always get a job driving a van or something, and write lots of PHP in my off time to keep up skills, in the hopes of acquiring employment at a time when not everyone else in the entire freaking universe is also attempting to acquire employment. I have the advantage of being a cheap bastard, so my standard of living never bothered to increase along with my salary. While I’d be a bit sad to need to take a job that isn’t exactly what I want and that pays less, I’m not going to be suffering economically or anything.

In other news, in a few weeks Drew and I are gonna head off to Florida. He’s got multitudes of grandparents there, as well as a friend or two, and I have a penchant for palm trees. We’ll have couches to crash on, and a tent for nights when we don’t. Aside from obligatory stops at Shake and Steak that Drew requires, I figure we can hit grocery stores and fruit stands for food and be cheap that way. Gas prices are rising a bit, but still under $2 a gallon around here, which still seems incredibly cheap compared to the almost $4 a gallon we were seeing not too long ago.

I’m also wanting to bike to Williamsburg sometime soon. Haven’t done a long ride in awhile, and I really need to stretch the ole legs a bit. Also need to consider other closer adventures, like biking to Regency or something.

So I finished reading New Moon. I liked it better then the first Twilight book. Still full of drama by the bucketloads, but less of the *long stare….dramatic thoughts…..glancing away…..dramatic thoughts…* and more of the *dramatic misery….time to do something really stupid that will entertain the reader!….holy cow, wolves!…*. Mostly, it’s just got more action, along with a main character that actually isn’t all dramatic (well, for the first half of the book, at least). They’re working on a New Moon movie, and I really hope it’s better then the freaking Twilight movie, which was aesthetically pleasing, but that’s about it. It’s like the director(s) took all those godawful long pauses in the book literally and stuck every one of them in the movie. Err, to be honest I only got about halfway through the movie because my brain fell out at some point.

Next up, I’m reading either some sci-fi book about bears, or another fantasy Bujold book (“Paladin of Souls”), which I’m really hoping is more enjoyable then “Curse of Chalion”. If only I didn’t compare everything else she writes to the Miles books.

Jewelry for fun and profit

So here’s a rundown on how I did at the Black Market this past Thursday. I made a bit over $40 total, got rid of some stuff, and now have more stuff then I need. I made a bunch of jewelry in anticipation of people potentially wanting jewelry. However, for what I made, this was the wrong market it seems:

jewelry

I had high hopes for the dice necklaces. I was selling them for $8 apiece. You can get ones just like it from Thinkgeek.com for $10 apiece plus shipping, or from Etsy.com for $15 plus shipping. Alas, not as many nerdy types there as I could have hoped for, so no go for any of them. I may try sticking the rest on Etsy to get rid of them, or hold onto them for future sales. No one was interested in glow in the dark bracelets either. I wonder where all the kandy raver and cybergoth types have gone, anyhow. I also did “experimental” jewelry involving keypads and beads. They looked rather tacky, so I’m probably gonna disassemble them. It’s a shame, I really like the look of computer and keyboard and phone innards, and I feel there’s much potential for jewelry use there, but hell if I can figure out anything attractive to make out of them. Oh, and for some bizarre reason no one wanted a bracelet that says “phallus”.

I did, however, make lots of money off of the brownies I baked. I also sold all of my remaining Magic card packs. Apparently someone out there loves some Homelands. No takers on the CDs, which was a bit surprising at first. But then I thought about it, and realised that part of the reason I was selling the CDs is that I prefer to just have everything on my computer rather then deal with pesky extraneous disks all over the place. Someday I will own no disks, just a teeny pile of memory sticks and hard drives that will hold everything in the world that is important to me, minus a Drew. And then I will be so infinitely portable, and can carry all of my worldly goods on my ultralight and fly around with geeses.

Babble about books

First off, this is highly amusing (if you know programming stuffs at least), especially with the alt text: http://xkcd.com/571/

I was a bit disappointed back when I saw Blade Runner. It’s entirely likely that had I seen it when it came out (rather then about 4 years ago), I’d have had a higher opinion of it, it being cutting edge for it’s time and all. Instead, I was busy being cranky for all of the stuff I found interesting in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” that didn’t make it into the movie. Like the sheep. And Mercerism, for that matter. It was interesting counting all of the quotes from Covenant songs, at least. I still really need to see A Scanner Darkly, and read more Philip K Dick, for that matter.

I’ve also decided that, tempting as they may be, I shall not attempt to reread any Harry Potter books until all of the movies come out. See, I have a really crappy memory for books. This is beneficial when seeing a movie based on a book. If the book were fresh in my memory, I might spend all of my time being cranky at the inconsistencies between the two, and this would greatly decrease my enjoyment of the movie. And this being a Harry Potter movie, I suspect there shall be all sorts of things that get changed in ways a devotee of the books shall get cranky over, given that’s been the tendency for the last few movies. Thus, I shall go to see this upcoming movie (and the movie(s) for the 7th book as well) with my memories of the books fading away slowly, so all I’ll remember is the really major stuff, which is highly unlikely to get screwed up (I shall hope, at least). Then, when all the movies are done, I can reread all the books and think “Wow, the movie really messed this part up! Sure glad I’m reading this book and caught that!” Doesn’t change anything but my enjoyment of the movie, but as I prefer to enjoy as many things as possible to the highest degree that they can be enjoyed, this seems ideal to me.

Read The Tipping Point recently, it gave me Freakonomics flashbacks. Very enjoyable read, as was Freakonomics. What I apparently need to do is go locate the shelf on the library that holds all of those sorts of social sciences sort of books, and go through them. It’s rather fun stuff.

On a non-book related note, I need to figure out things that I have that I wish to exchange for dollars. I shall be doing the black market at Fallout this Thursday, and am very interested in earning as many dollars as possible!

Art, Books, and Cats

I sold the piece I entered up in Baltimore, this piece to be precise. I won’t be sure of how much I get for it until I get the check (it was an art auction), but it’s at least 50 bucks (I started at $100, and the gallery keeps 50%). Entirely too little, based on the amount of work that went into it, but at the same time, it’s a piece that I don’t like as much as others, and is thus not very likely to be in my wall anytime soon. And thus, $50 in my pocket sure beats a painting sitting and collecting dust in the closet. Better for me to have one less thing to keep track of, better for the painting to have someone that appreciates it more then I do. I’ve got scans as well, so I can continue my magical fantasy of selling prints of all of this stuff to eager buyers.

I finally got around to reading The Tipping Point, which gave me mild Freakonomics flashbacks and makes me want to go prowl around the social sciences section of Ye Local Library. Also need to get ahold of the two pre-Miles Bujold books at some point. Read her fantasy book “Curse of Chalion”, it was OK but fantasy just doesn’t seem to be my cup of tea, methinks. Either that, or I’m reading the wrong kind of fantasy.

The cats were getting all yowley last night and staring at me with googoo eyes, as it was dinner time. So I got out my camera and decided to mess with them. They’re so used to eating out of the bowl, I wondered what would happen if I just laid the bag of food down in front of them. Took them awhile, sniffing around and staring at me and such, but eventually they figured out what was going on. Kinda.

mew!

They each managed to nibble a little bit, then wandered off, apparently bored with the exercise, deciding that waiting for dinner wasn’t worth dealing with this weird bag that also extruded food. I want to put little saddles on them and get gerbils in cowboy hats to ride on them.

Salami Day T-Shirts!

It’s the moment that you all have been waiting for…Salami Day shirts are finally available to the public! There’s two designs at the moment (and hopefully two more to come in the near future), available in a select variety of shirt styles and colors. September’s just around the corner, so get your Salami Day t-shirt now!

salamiday.spreadshirt.com

Single salamiSausage Party?!

Adventures in Job Hunting

As luck may have it, I seem to be looking for a job at the same time that everyone else in this country is also looking for a job. Ah, my bad timing. I have considered what things would have been like if I had chosen to stick with OWP, rather then quitting. I was already bored out of my mind and discouraged, and suspect this would have only worsened. Bored because I’d long since mastered the techniques needed to get the job done, and was simply going through the motions. There was nothing left to learn, and I needed something more then just the Pimsleur Spanish CDs to get me by. The discouragement was for various reasons. Firstly, realising that doing art on the outside and getting it into the line was not the direction I was feeling: the art that sold was not art I was really into making, and the amount of pieces I’d have to produce to make any sort of decent profit was entirely more then I was really up to producing. The kicker was the company website. For quite awhile, I’d lamented it’s awful database search function and known I could make it far better. So when the bosses talked about a site redesign, I was super excited. Quite sadly, I was not even given the opportunity to give them my resume or show a portfolio of sites, as they were insistent about hiring from the outside. This was horribly discouraging, and only added to my feelings of the production artists being the drones of that company. So I moved on. If I had somehow forced myself to stick with it (the money and company were good, after all), I could have gotten laid off about 2 months ago along with a bunch of other people from the company, and had the sweet sweet benefit of unemployment to experience. Alas, that was not meant to be. I can still at least be glad for the time off, as I’ve done some serious portfolio and skill building, even if my client-getting has been rather lacking.

So yeah, job hunting. I’m reading a Fortune magazine article at Drew’s mom’s place the other day, and it made me irate. Most of it is your standard article, of the “Hey, getting a job is tough, especially right now! Here’s some helpful tips for you!” And then came the last two paragraphs, which said that you really needed to hold out for a job that’s worth it and in your career path, as taking the wrong job could completely throw your career off whack. This really frustrated me. See, in an ideal world every person out there could plot out their career trajectory, what job they’d like to have to get them to the next job. However, this is not an ideal world, and thought like this will depress even the most optimistic of job searchers. The crappy flip-side of the “You can do anything you want to do” ideology of the United States is the possibility that if you end up doing something you didn’t want to do, that you’re not living up to your potential and wasting your life. When jobs are few and applicants are plentiful, it’s rather inevitable that some of those people won’t get the job they want. And why is this such a bad thing, anyhow? There’s opportunity to be found in every job, and, if nothing else, a lesser job gives you a paycheck until a better job can be found. And while you’re not serving your forty hours at that job, there’s plenty of time to be skill-building for your next job.

I sent out a resume last friday for something prospective, a junior developer position that I seemed to fit fairly well, albeit not perfectly. I was good with the required languages, and the rest would be fairly easy to familiarize myself with. The job was posted on Dice by a recruiter, so there were no details about the employer, and only the minimum necessary for the position itself. This is the downside of recruiter-posted positions, there’s no good way to research the company beforehand to see if it’s actually worth your time to apply to the position. In any case, I heard back from the woman this morning, and, after some phone tag, finally got hold of her. Discussed my skills, discussed the employer’s reluctance to hire anyone that’s not already local to the company. She then begins, hesitantly, to tell me of the employer. Based on her tone of voice, as well as experience from a past recruiter (who did hiring for Phillip Morris, among other places), I’m waiting to be warned of the fact that it’s for a cigarette company or something of equivalent potential distaste. But nope. Turns out that job would involve a lot of hardcore pornography. Those people use recruiters to get their hires? And as intriguing as it would be to some people, I really have no desire to stare at porn for 40 hours a week. Alas. Back to the job search.

Adventures in Baltimore

I somehow managed to end up in Baltimore today. Went up with Christine, Charlie & Tara to deposit art at an art show (no entry charge!). There shall be a gala and auction on Friday which we will most likely not attend, due to the fact that it is three freaking hours away. Hopefully, someone will bid on my piece and give me boatloads of dollars. If not, then we head back up next Thursday to retrieve the forlorn art. While up there, we saw a show with some medieval illuminated religious texts, as well as originals for a new version of parts of the bible being illuminated by some people at a church in Minnesota. A lot of the medieval illuminations were really nice, makes me want to have texts to draw all over.

We ate at Mekong Delta, which I highly recommend eating at if you’re ever up there. My pork and spring rolls on vermicelli was quite delish, and I even had enough left over for meal #2.

Whereupon I ramble about Asheville, the internet, and all sorts of nonsense

First off, I have found my new time sucking void. It is located at http://www.brokenpicturetelephone.com. I seriously wish I’d had the genius to think this site up. You play “telephone”, except alternating between drawing pictures from a sentence, and writing sentences based on someone else’s picture. It is all sorts of fun.

So Christine and I went to Asheville for several days, and a good time was had by all. Downtown Asheville is essentially one skyscraper surrounded by a bunch of hippie shops. I really needed to discover this place about 13 years ago, back when I was all into hippie stuff. Lots of altered clothing shops as well, ranging from the really innovative and neat to the overpriced and banal. I appreciated the wide range of restaurants, as well as the fact that were three sushi shops on the same street in downtown, all within about 8 minutes walking distance of each other. Mmm sushi. There was a crazy bead store there, whereupon I acquired some UV-receptive beads. Also, chocolate shops. I heart fudge.

We got badgered for money a few times. A few scammers were running around with some holey stories about being a veteran and needing money for staying at a hotel who price had suddenly increased (my fabulous suggestion that he go to a hotel further out, as the prices were cheaper, was quickly rejected for a nonsensical reason). There were also a few pseudo-homeless about. By pseudo-homeless, I mean some young, articulate fashion conscious faux-gutterpunk kids prowling for dollars. I did end up giving some dude my leftovers for his dog, but then again, “dragon pâté” wasn’t quite what it could have been.

We did the Biltmore. Expensive, though the house is interesting. Swimming pool in the basement is all sorts of bonus creepy. The food there is totally not worth it, they’re totally tarnishing the “we are a fancy place to visit” image by offering a turkey and swiss wrap for $8+, only to have the swiss be white american. It was one of the worst wraps I’d ever eaten. The pizza suffered from similar issues, the description told of lavish ingredients, but the reality looked like your standard flat ordinary pizza. Alas.

Then, we attempted to find nightlife. My research had proved to be a bit fruitful, but only so much. We started off at a bar called Getaways, whereupon we played some Wii and I attempted some Guitar Hero until the futility of playing a rhythm game without actually being able to hear the music kicked in. We then ventured forth to Club Hairspray, which was chock full of redneck lesbian karaoke. We sang a Joan Jett song, and enjoyed the ambiance. Also, apparently “getting dressed up for a night on the town” means wearing jeans with heels. My totally rocking party dress was completely unnecessary, dang.

No hiking, alas. It was wet pretty much the entire time we were there. And now, I am back. And really need to jump all the way into this whole “job hunting” thing. And learning me some Joomla. It’s a gradual process.

Blathering!

So you know what’s really stupid? Pine Sol. Have you ever read the back of the bottle? It is not recommended for wood floors. In fact, the things it recommends using the stuff for are tiles and ceramic type surfaces and whatnot. Why mention pine in the name when you can’t actually use it on wood? Which, uh, I’ve been doing up until I read the bottle today. This is because I am super bright. I will just console myself with the thought that it’s all just soap in different packaging.

By the way, if you want to waste hours of your life in a most entertaining way, this is the method I currently suggest.

I bought a new domain. Impulse buy, couldn’t help it. (http://www.ambulophilia.com, to be precise). I hate how there’s no centralized and easy to use means of finding hiking trails out there on the web, one that uses google maps and has all sorts of search options. There’s some good resources, but they tend to be more localized and not too searchable (i.e. park websites). Or there’s other resources that look like they’re superuseful but only have like 3 trails total for the state of VA. Anyhow, I’m just gonna make my own.