mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The CTO of $T called me at the originally-scheduled time on Wednesday, not the rescheduled time on Tuesday -- by that time I'd already made my decision. Thursday I went in and signed the paperwork with $K for my contract job at $D. I start Monday the 15th. There are a couple of good perks from $K, including free access to SkillSoft courseware. (I think I also get that through my recently-renewed ACM membership.)

Even after only six months of "retirement", the thought of going back to work is somewhat scary. It's also rather surprising how few of the things on my list I got done. (Of course, "moving" was also on the list, and occupied an unexpectedly large fraction of my time. But still.)

I'll be at Orycon. The plan is to drive down after work (possibly after a short day) on Friday, and return Sunday night -- it's only a 3-hour drive, which makes it possible. I think I will have a concert, though I might have missed my window for that by not turning in the questionaire on time.

Of course, now that I know I'm going to have an income, I promptly went out and ordered a few things that I'd been waiting on. The first to arrive, because it was nearly instantaneous, was the download of Cat Faber's new CD, The King's Lute -- the physical copy will arrive soon. (You get the download, which includes the sheet music and lyrics, free with the CD.) You can get yours at her Bandcamp page. I highly recommend it -- Cat's a brilliant songwriter and a fine performer. This album is drawn from her recent "Alice Day" posts. It's hard to pick favorites here, but I think I'd have to go with "Cedarglass" and "Atheist's Anthem".

I really need to get a Bandcamp page up, don't I? Good project for tomorrow? Maybe.

I also pulled down a copy of Heather Dale's Perpetual Gift (which is free, as the title indicates, but I made a donation anyway).

Oh, and Janis Ian will be at the Triple Door in Seattle, Saturday, April 6th

The usual collection of links in the notes. Here: have a CPR ad, with zombies.

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mdlbear: (wtf-logo)

Yesterday I had a dentist appointment at 11am, to get my teeth deep-cleaned. As I was pulling in to the parking lot I got a phone call from $K (the contract agency) saying I'd gotten the contract at $D.

In spite of the fact that I think I'd probably prefer a full-time job at $T, which is a smaller company with a really cool product that I actually want to use, the timing for that just isn't likely to work out -- I haven't even had a phone interview yet (I expect one this afternoon, but still...) So my mood has been distinctly mixed -- it was something like depression last night. (I'll get to that later.)

The teeth-cleaning went very well -- the hygienist was surprised that I was able to handle it with just a topical anesthetic. Yeah, there were a couple of twinges, but I often get worse from my arthritis just getting out of bed in the morning, and much worse after sitting with my legs crossed for half an hour.

Which brings us to the evening, when I was feeling depressed, and made a joke about something I thought was unrelated that N. misinterpreted as sounding suicidal. And then couldn't get back in touch with me.

Apparently several of my followup IM messages simply got dropped on the floor between here and there. And she couldn't raise me by phone or text, apparently because I was reading a book in the Kindle app! The text, in fact, finally arrived a minute or so after I exited the app. WTF?????!!! Anyone ever encounter that one?

OK, getting back to the down mood. I don't know how much of that is due to uncertainty over $D vs. $T, how much is due to simple relief, and how much is due to the fact that I've gotten used to being "retired". Have I mentioned alexithymia lately? It means that, very often, I don't know what I'm feeling. It's a problem.

A few links in the notes, though nothing exceedingly noteworthy.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

High-order bit, out of sequence. I got a call this morning from (contract agency) $K saying I have the job at $D!!! There's a slight chance I may be able to swing something at $T, but I'm not going to count on it -- the timing is rotten, and I'm not in a position to take even a medium-risk chance over a sure thing.

I may, however, have screwed up my medicare by misunderstanding the way the various special enrollment periods interact. GAAAAK!

Anyway, back to your regularly scheduled update. I took Colleen down to RainFurrest Saturday, then came back up to hang out with Naomi and work on music (and laundry) for a couple of hours. Then I picked her up, grabbed some dinner (corned beef, from the crock pot), and we attempted to go to Wayward Coffeehouse. Didn't make it. Colleen's scooter nearly tipped over after it suddenly lost power trying to get out of an underground parking garage the size of a postage stamp, with a too-steep ramp. At that point, after I stopped shaking, we headed back home.

Have I mentioned that I lose control over my voice when I'm stressed? Trying to talk to me makes it worse. Trying to "calm me down" makes it *much* worse. Probably not fixable at my age. I'm not (usually) in a panic, I just don't have the bandwidth to both deal with the situation and try to figure out what to say to people and where they are and what volume to set my voice at to be heard without seeming to shout. I shout.

Sunday I made corned beef hash, hash browns, and fried eggs for brunch, and went out for a walk during which I had the revelation that of course I can't cope -- my coping saw is in storage. I know: lame.

I don't even remember what I made for dinner.

The usual collection of links in the notes.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I finally made the call to my benefits people that I should have made two months ago, to find out what the options and prices were going to be to keep my medical and dental COBRA coverage going. I was not expecting the total to be more than the mortgage on the old house! $2100. I am *so* *screwed*

And I actually have a gap in coverage, between the end of this month (when Ricoh stops paying for it) and the time I pay my first bill. At which point they cover me retroactively. I went ahead and got my crown started before I knew the details, but that'll be ok.

I still have a month, I *think*, to sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan. Anyone have recommendations re: GroupHealth vs. Blue Cross/Blue Shield? If I can get into that now, I can drop my COBRA coverage and just go with Colleen and the YD.

On the job front, $A3 looked at my resume and said "other candidates are more qualified". So much for that. $A also rejected me -- that was actually a relief. On the other hand, my interview at $D was the easiest so far -- I think I have a good chance at that.

And on the gripping hand, the CTO at $T wants to talk to me on Wednesday. Looking at the company and what they do, I *really* *really* want it. And I think I'm a good fit. And it's a cool product -- I signed up for a month's free trial, and at $40/year may very well keep it. Unlimited file sharing from your own computers, with nothing stored in the cloud.

Only problem is the overlap with $D, which I expect to hear about next week. They'll probably want me to start on the 15th. Tight.

I went to my interviews by bus again. I *love* being this close to the bus line and downtown.

Links in the notes, as usual.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

So it looks like another weekly update. That may be the new norm. Or not; we'll see.

We've moved. Our Stuff is on its way -- apparently it filled a good deal less of the truck than they had planned for, so they added another load. I'm guessing it'll get here Monday. We left Tuesday; we'd been hoping to squeeze into the Honda so that I could take the van up with the stuff like computers that I either hadn't fully sorted or didn't want to be spending a couple of days in a hot truck. We didn't fit.

Yes, we came back from Reno with three people in the Honda, but one of those people was Naomi, with a single small suitcase and a large purse. Not the YD with a *huge* suitcase, a large stuffed critter, and an attitude. We took the van. I'm glad we did; it made the trip a lot more comfortable than it could possibly have been in the Honda, even if it does complicate next week's logistics.

Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were absolutely frantic, but we managed. I got quite appropriately ruthless with the random debris in the bedroom and office - look at a tray or shelf of the stuff, poke through it, pick out the one or two items worth saving, and toss the rest. Boxes and boxes of it.

When I get back next weekend I'll have to make another pass, and either squash it down into the Honda, or have a roof rack installed. I'd like to avoid having to rent a trailer if I can. There's not going to be much room in the apartment.

The movers came on Wednesday, with Devon in charge of the load-in. A couple of oopses, but nothing too bad. And they took the bikes, which I'd been expecting to have to take up next week, so that's good.

Somehow I managed to forget to pack a VGA and power cable. Again. Idiot bear! But the server came up ok anyhow, so we have a fully-operational Starport network again.

Friday -- yesterday -- I had an interview at EnergySavvy. Funky old building that used to be a warehouse. Parking something of a nightmare; if I get the job I'll do most of my commuting by bus. Great bunch of people, and a company in the energy conservation sector that I could be proud to work for.

We'll see.

Sometime next week we'll have an apartment full of boxes. Gleep!

Links, as usual, in the notes.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Oh, good grief! An entire week... maybe I should just give up and post weekly. It's been a long month since last Saturday.

The big news was the bad news from Google: they don't want me. All my "cautious optimism" collapsed in a heap Thursday evening, leaving me to wonder how in hell I'm going to pay for the move, the house improvements, and Colleen's ferociously expensive meds. Two months of overlap between work and severance pay would have covered it.

I'm probably screwed. I have one set of interviews scheduled for Friday, but I've been letting the move (and the web :P) take most of my attention. I decided Thursday night that the move had better take all of it for now -- the movers come Wednesday.

*sigh*

I am getting the packing done, at least. A little belatedly; and I'm probably going to panic tomorrow night. The office still has seven boxes and a handful of flats to sort through, and the tools in the garage and bedroom need to be boxed. Gleep! We'll manage, though, because we have to.

"You do what you have to" is familiar, at least -- it was my mantra all through the year Dad was dying and I was flying back and forth to Florida to see him as often as I could. And again, the six months Colleen was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes and I burned through my sick time, most of my vacation time, and about 150% of my cope visiting and taking care of her.

I had help then, and I do now. Liz, Og, and Devon are awesome! And Colleen keeps assuring me "we'll make it." I hope so.

Lots of links. Many of them, unfortunately, are also bad news. Can't be helped.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I started the day with a walk after breakfast -- the weather was glorious. Have to do more of that. I took it a little easy after somewhat overdoing it on Sunday.

Main job-search-related stuff for the day involved more work on my resume and LinkedIn profiles, and replying to three headhunters. One's a total wash-out -- the job's in Los Gatos. The other two are pending. Plus a plain text version of the resume, for including in email.

We have a concert at Westercon! It'll be half an hour; don't know which day yet.

I picked up Colleen's new scooter at Bischoff's. It's a Go-Go Elite Traveller Plus HD -- basically the heavy-duty version of the old one, which is in pretty sorry shape after three years of hard use. It's noticably more powerful, and the rear motor/transaxle assembly is correspondingly heavier and a little wider. The platform is wider, too, with a couple more inches on each side in front for her feet. Maybe an inch or two longer. Made of win.

As for links, What If A Collapse Happened And Nobody Noticed? is pretty chilling. But Lincoln High School in Walla Walla, WA, tries new approach to school discipline — suspensions drop 85% is hopeful, if you ignore how wrong everyplace else is doing it.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

The house looks very strange: all full of boxes, and big gaps on the shelves. The garage attic has space in it! Colleen and her minions have made huge progress, and I've started triaging the books in the office as well. Half-Price Books in Fremont loves us.

It feels strange, too. Definitely a roller-coaster ride. I was shocked to realize how many lives we're affecting with this; how much we'll be missed; how much a part of the community (for certain values of "the") we and our house have become. It's time, but Oh! it's difficult.

I have not been walking much. Not nearly enough. Nor have I been doing enough music. Though I've at least started there, doing a little work under the Albums directory. This is in part because I really want to get restarted on my second album, and in part because [personal profile] chaoswolf has asked for a recording of The Queen of Night so she can learn it.

I also went to my first (of two) coaching session at LHH, plus another on-site course. That was on Wednesday; I've spent much of the time since then working on my resume and LinkedIn profile. One of the cool things my coach showed me was wordle.net, which makes word-clouds. Very cool, and a great tool for seeing what words are most (over)used in one's profile or resume.

Here's one for Quiet Victories. I'm strongly considering doing this for all my songs.

I received the invitation to my brother's wedding: it's a little over a week before Westercon, in Logan, Utah. So we decided to make it a family road trip. It'll be somewhat crazy, but probably cheaper than flying even when you factor in the hotel rooms and gas. And an Adventure!

Oh. Wait. Adventure?

Lots of links, many of them rather disturbing. But... a sub-$500 3D printer would be way cool. So would a Pebble E-Paper watch.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Much of the afternoon was eaten up by Colleen's phone. Yesterday evening it fell into her recliner and got pinched in the mechanism. It mostly worked, but a sensor was broken that caused it to turn the screen off when you made a call, and not turn it back on. We ordered a new one via insurance (which required a phone call -- the web interface didn't work), then proceeded to the AT&T store to get a GoPhone to tide us over in the interim. And back to the store, when we found out that her contacts hadn't gotten transfered. So I spent most of Earth Day making two trips in my car. Right.

The fact that smartphones and dumb phones use different size SIM cards is stupid and sucky. Also the fact that smartphones aren't available cheaply. *sigh*

When I first realized that the contacts hadn't transfered and that I was going to have to make a second trip, I had a brief screaming meltdown. Apparently I'm closer to the edge than I thought. I guess it's not surprising -- I am under a lot of perfectly understandable stress right now. I just hadn't realized it.

I need to pay more attention to self care, don't I? I always have a lot of trouble with that -- walks and music are about the only things I know of that I can do to relieve stress, and I never make the time for them when I have "important" things to do. :P

Silly old bear!

'One Day on Earth': The Most International Movie Premiere Ever looks pretty amazing; I hope it comes out on DVD sometime soon. FORTUNE Magazine's Top 100 Employers to Work For was interesting, but not as useful as one might hope -- there are only two or three with IT-type jobs in the Seattle area (though, oddly, Google's Seattle-area offices aren't mentioned).

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

Feels like it's been a long week. Um... ok, it's been a long, tiring week. Not enough self-care -- I need to walk more, and practice. Like most things that I know I'll enjoy and I know will be good for me, I don't do enough of them.

Spent quite a lot of time expanding my connections on LinkedIn and Facebook. I can see how that kind of thing can easily become an addiction. Neither, unfortunately, will import connections from LJ; I find myself duplicating a lot of effort. On the other hand, I'm finding people from my past. Can't complain, except about the number of hours in a day. At least this isn't Jupiter.

Also in the job search direction, took a lot of online courses on the LHH web, and one onsite.

Friday and Saturday we talked with people at our bank about our rollover IRAs. We can certainly get better yield on one of them; they're looking into the other. The side conversation proved that it's not just me -- salaries in general have not kept up with inflation since around 1970, and of course taxes have gone up at least twice as fast as inflation. So my buying power is probably only 75-80% of what it was when I entered the job market. :P

See all the pretty links.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

I spent most of yesterday on job-search-related stuff, and although that includes a lot of time looking for people on linkedin and creating an account on facebook, it also included a webinar on effective networking. No, those are not unrelated. Several job sites tap your facebook network to find contacts.

Yes, I'm way out of my comfort zone. I'm still waiting for my Wile E. Coyote moment.

Also went to a presentation on 401K plans; only mildly useful, but I can still probably make some helpful changes. And set up three medical appointments for early June.

Hmm. I see no links in the notes today. Must have been busy.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)

A very busy three days. Sunday I finished up the taxes, and e-filed. Should probably have filed the state taxes on paper; the e-filing cost extra. Monday I started with Lee Hecht Harrison, the "career transition" firm that Ricoh is paying for. The initial session on Monday was very useful, since it included a "resume and linkedin jumpstart" segment. The experience section of my resume will need to be completely redone, of course.

I almost all of yesterday online, mostly on LHH and linkedin. Yesterday I took an LHH "webinar" -- in spite of the setup website telling me my browser was fully functional, the actual applet or whatever it was needed to be set up with a JVM and libraries, and couldn't find them on my Debian system. I switched to the Mac, but lost the visuals for about the first 15 minutes. Probably lost more to divided attention. Still useful.

A nice st/roll on Sunday, and a walk yesterday. A little walking Monday, but just a couple of blocks. Still, walkies good.

Some links down in the notes.

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mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
How to stay up in a down economy
"Everybody is saying you can write off 2009 because there are no indicators it will get any better," Lieberman sums up. "We're praying for 2010."

But that doesn't mean you have to spend the rest of the year as an emotional cellar dweller. It's not easy, but it is possible for tech pros to nurture themselves and even bolster their professional credentials during these tough times, whether you're laid off and looking, or left behind and overworked.

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