Wednesday, 29 December 2010 13:18
fatrockstar: (hello)
Grady is going to Dr. K to be drained today. How he can be engorged with fluid and still be dehydrated to the point where he gorges himself on water is a mystery to me. Most of the major vomiting episodes over the last week have been due to him overdoing it with water. His last one was in a place that was much easier to clean up -- all water.

His appetite is improving. He has this odd tendency to only eat if one of us is nearby eating, and if he's feeling ornery he'll ignore the food we've put out for him and come begging. I hate that. This morning was the first morning in a long time he hopped up on the bed to beg for breakfast. Ken got up to feed him while I tried to wake up. When served, Grady just stared at the plate. "You gonna eat that?" Ken asked. «Yeah... I guess.» And then he ate. By the time I was ready for coffee it was gone, and that was good.

The Christmas tree came down yesterday along with all the other holiday decor. As I packed everything up I wondered how much of my ornaments and other stuff wound up with Garret. I'm missing a lot of garland and my childhood stocking. I'd be willing to trade him if he did. I'm pretty sure I have at least one major holiday decoration he wishes he hadn't left behind.

Working from home today, but not a lot is crossing my desk and my to-do list was pretty much covered by 9 this morning. I'm in "waiting for email" mode.
fatrockstar: (band)
Despite the Friday the 13th show date, our show up in Duvall turned out better than expected. We had planned about 50 minutes of music but ended up playing a little over an hour due to a mid-set request from the crowd to wait for a couple more people to arrive and a technical difficulty. Okay, two technical difficulties if you count me breaking Ron's tambourine during his performance of "Psycho Killer." I guess I need to cut back on those bicep curls.

The stage was brand-new, the grounds nice and green and surrounded by trees, and when night fell it was nothing but sky. Ken and I stuck around after Ron & Baz went home -- it turned out that Ken knew one of the property owners, so he wasn't totally our of his element there. I am pretty much night-blind and spent most of my time there by the bonfire. The only low point was realizing on the way home that I had been attacked mercilessly by mosquitoes! I have concentrations of bites on my feet that are making me crazy, and no amount of goo is helping. My guess is that they loved me because I have been going crazy with the sugar lately. I remember one summer when I was a kid I stopped drinking soda and the mosquito bites never happened.

Donnie is still back East -- none of us have heard from him since he headed out there this time, which is a little worrisome. I wrote him an email on Sunday letting him know how Friday's show went. I hope he's doing alright out there. Y'all send some strength to the Ivans, there's no such thing as sending too much love and strength during a difficult time.

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

Of course the heat hasn't helped. I know many of my friends in warmer climates may think it's no big deal to have the temperature hit 95, here it's very unusual. Every year I sit in my house and wonder if I should spring for the a/c upgrade, and every year I decide against it. During the entire summer we have a total of maybe ten days that get over 90, and all the rest of them can be managed with an hour or two or night air circulated through the house in the morning. I'll save my money for a new roof.

Right now I'm rather comfortable in front of my computer in shorts and a tee shirt. If I open any of the doors it will suck out all the cool air, so I'm stuck for a while. Grady is all flattened out on his favorite chair. I have a to-do list I have put off for too long and will work on that while waiting for responses to my followups and applications roll in.

That's about it.


Wednesday, 21 July 2010 15:33
fatrockstar: (Default)
Oh, the horrible drama that is my automobile. Around the time my last contract was ending (April, probably) I blew a coolant line. I fixed it without incident, but since then I have stopped driving to avoid getting a ticket for expired tabs. Two months of inactivity later, I fired up the engine only to have her run really rough. That can't be good for the emissions test I need to pass before renewing my tabs. I took her to the shop and they told me I had blown a head gasket. Crap.

I *just* put new brake shoes on this thing. Thank god it didn't cost me more than $70 to do so.

So the owner of this shop I took it to (Josh, the founder's son) gave me the news and what their standard procedure for head gasket leaks includes. It was thorough and expensive. He advised a few options, none of them involved going through with the repair.* I ended up doing some research online and talking to the mechanic that actually worked on my engine. I have to say, I am impressed. The mechanic's findings and explanations were almost word-for-word from my research.

I will have to do some work on the car myself if I want to drive her, and that includes the emissions test and new tabs. Until then I am still stuck walking or biking. At least it's good weather for it.

In the meantime my friend Amy wants to sell me her Cavalier for $1200, payable in installments. Her original email said it was a manual transmission -- I'd have to learn to drive a clutch all over again, unless she wrote that by mistake.

Tuesday was a cry-really-loud-and-scare-the-cat kinda day. I was very upset at the prospect of either a $2k repair bill or having to get rid of the car I'm so very attached to. Knowing I can probably fix it myself is encouraging.

It probably didn't hurt that I got email from two different recruiters with very promising opportunities in them. Close a door, open a window.

* The standard procedure included sending my engine head off to another garage to be pressure-tested for cracks. I'm pretty sure that's why the repair quote was so high. Josh said he couldn't in good conscience replace the head gasket for me if there could possibly be a crack and didn't want to see me waste my money. Finding a crack would only make the repair bill BIGGER.
fatrockstar: (madmen)
I ordered my eyeglasses on Saturday. My current benefits end at the end of this month, so I am taking full advantage of them. It's about time -- I've been with this agency through three contracts and paid for benefits without using them until now, so I don't feel the least bit guilty about the optical and dental appointments I've made now that I have the time for them.

The glasses themselves, well, I was told to go to Costco ("they have the best prices!") but they don't accept insurance. I was given a few places, really, but settled on LensCrafters. They take insurance and have a slightly larger selection of frames. I picked the most flattering nerd-glasses I could find and called it good. All in all, I paid about $150. I hear that's decent.

The only sucky thing is that I have to wait ten days for them to be finished. At this point in time my eyes are so beaten up from the poor hardware at my last job that I can barely look at a screen for more than an hour at a time. This includes television screens, computer screens, DS screens, movie screens... they all create problems, and the $20 readers you get at the drugstore aren't weak enough for the adjustment I need. I will do what I can online in one-hour increments and keep my fingers crossed that the glasses get finished early.

+ + + + + + +

In other news, my car is almost inoperable. The brakes chirp because I need new ones, and recently my engine has begun threatening to overheat unless I turn the heater on full blast. The brakes issue is the easy part. The engine temp is a tougher one to figure out -- the radiator is full and there are no leaks to be found. All the automobile knowledge in my head is no help, and until my next job I am unable to take it to a shop.

Not being able to drive is not new. A couple of summers ago I rode my bike almost everywhere and saved a fortune in gas (it was about $4/gallon then). The new challenge is figuring out how to pay for the bus to get me to the major areas where biking the entire way isn't practical. ORCA cards aren't nearly as much of a money saver as good old bus passes were.

+ + + + + + +

I was denied mortgage assistance because I could not "provide enough evidence of financial hardship." In other words, because I had $200 left over after my monthly expenses and had not missed a mortgage payment even when un- and under-employed, I'm ineligible. This sucks. I pretty much destroyed my credit for no reason by applying for assistance at all, and now I have nothing to show for it. I feel I'm justified in being angry about this. I worked very hard and made a lot of sacrifices to stay current in my payments -- this is my reward for being an honest citizen and trying to do the right thing. I shouldn't have to commit fraud to get the help I need.

+ + + + + + +

Those glasses can't get here soon enough. Seriously, they can't. I'm dividing my time between catching up on housework, taking care of band business, and job-hunting, and two of those things will require use of my eyes at 100% capacity.

The good news is that I know I will find something a lot sooner than I did the last time I was job hunting, and it will pay enough for me to catch up with everything I fell behind in during my last job.

If any of you local job-hunters find something that looks like a good fit and ISN'T at Microsoft (I'm not eligible to work there again until late August at the earliest), please feel free to send it my way.

Sunday? No.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 20:50
fatrockstar: (band)
Ethan asked me yesterday if I was up for a gig on Sunday. I said sure, the rest of his band said okay, and then he had to quickly throw together a rehearsal. He then said that it would be tonight, and late. Given the series of events that happened this afternoon I don't think I'll be at that show on Sunday. Around 4 he texted me that the garage door wouldn't shut and he had to leave. I called him right back and he was already on the freeway -- why he didn't call me when he realized it wouldn't close I have no idea. I thought I'd have to go home early to fix it, but Ken stepped in. He's one of those people who does the 6 - 3 shift, so he was available. Problem solved.

Ethan wouldn't open the garage if he didn't need something out of it. In this case it was his amplifier. I guess I won't be at any rehearsal. Not that I'm upset, but man... what is it about humans that makes communication so difficult? Grady is better at this than we are, and he speaks NO LANGUAGE KNOWN TO MAN. True facts.

Anyway, the door is fixed, I'm at home, and things are okay. If anyone is interested, Ethan will be playing the early show at The Skylark Cafe this Sunday. I'm not sure if I'll be performing with him or not.

In case you've been skimming )
fatrockstar: (The Man in Black)
I had almond m&m's for dinner after staying late at work and missing two buses home.

Word to the wise: Just get a new damn PC. Upgrading from Vista to 7 will fuck up all your existing shit. I was kept at work for over an hour making up for a failed Mail Merge that worked prior to my upgrade to 7, and had to copy/paste customized content for 34 new email messages that would normally take five minutes.

I *deserved* those almond m&m's, dammit.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009 22:41
fatrockstar: (jokermartha)
I went home Monday feeling so queasy I could hardly function. It didn't help that my officemate was wearing a fragrance that made my nausea worse. He must wear it every day -- he was genuinely surprised I asked him what that smell was.

I originally thought "food poisoning," but that usually clears up after a purge. After the third trip to the bathroom I ruled that out. I must have a stomach bug. Today I worked from home.

I haven't eaten much over the last 48 hours. Saltines, some Sprite, maybe some Gatorade. Tonight I felt well enough to eat half of a turkey sandwich, and now it's sitting like a rock in my gut. Ugh. At least I'm not vomiting (knock on wood).

Grady has been by my side constantly during all this. He's such a good boy.

There's more stress-inducing crap that has made my recovery slow, but I won't go into it here. It's hard enough to focus on getting things uploaded to my Etsy store: wynnec.etsy.com

I should be back at the office on Wednesday. Should.
fatrockstar: (hello)
If you donated to Grady's vet fund and have not received a sculpture from me, please do not fret -- I miscalculated and had to go back into production mode. They should go out soon. In the meantime please take solace in knowing that your generosity is much appreciated, even as Grady plays his nightly OH NO I'M IN THE WRONG ROOM game like his tail is on fire.

Next weekend is going to be a little crazy. I am participating in the town Junk In Your Trunk rummage sale at Juanita Beach this Saturday. There is so much to get rid of... I had no idea. I've been decluttering this house with a little more determination for the last couple of years and managed to fill up half of my garage with furniture, knicknacks, dinnerware, and other items I haven't used in ages AND a bunch of stuff that could only be what Garret abandoned when he moved out. The things I think I can cash in on are working their way to eBay and Craigslist. The rest will be at the JIYT rummage sale.

A while back I submitted my resume through a site called JobFox. Last week I got an email letting me know that as a "member" I was entitled to a free resume critique, no strings attached. The good news: I am a qualified program manager. The bad news: My resume doesn't express that as clearly as I think it does. According to my resume I'm a "doer" and not an "achiever." This makes sense to me, actually. I've been contracting for so long I still write my resume like a contractor. "This is what I did at my last job. This is what I did at the job before that. This is what I can do." instead of "I'm an awesome manager because I took action and made changes that people benefited from. Let me tell you how cool that is." It probably doesn't help that I'm still on the lean side of experience in my new management career and have been relying on an old resume format. I gotta get on that.

It was a nice weekend. There was a strange smell coming from one of the rooms I don't go in very often and I tracked it down and REMOVED IT. It is now in the garage. Don't ask.

I paid a bunch of bills. Now it's time to tighten the belt again.
fatrockstar: (Default)
Grady ate some wet food day before yesterday. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough. I'd had a rough day and was feeling down, and seeing him make that little bit of progress made me burst into tears.

He is eating kibble at a regular rate, though. Kibble and water. Lots of water. I know he's getting food during the day, which is good.

I really need him to eat on his own again. His feeding schedule is cutting into my sleep, and I haven't been able to get to work without driving for a while now. The lack of activity is affecting my mood, and I'm having a difficult time snapping out of it. I can't think or write without that little black raincloud hovering above. I got nitpicky with my manager over grammar in email yesterday, something I probably could have handled a little better. It does nothing to take out my poor mood on others except make me look like a jackass.

Lately I have felt pretty stifled online, so I have been offline more often. Facebook, Twitter, and LiveJournal will get little bits of me, but not the soul-baring essays on Things That Irritate Me or My Misadventures With Men & Cats like everyone is used to. I still like to write letters, and I've been doing a little more of that.

It helps that I'm still making progress on the sculptures I promised to those who donated to Grady's veterinary fund. There was a setback or two, but they were minor. Right now it's all about getting everything in place and baked. My biggest concern is survival in shipping. I have folks from all over the country I want to send these to, and my last sculpture didn't make it to its destination in one piece (that piece was a little more complex, but still -- I don't want any breakage)!

For now, there is work. I'm still figuring out what all this stuff has to do with the price of tea in China.

Wish me luck

Thursday, 11 June 2009 20:28
fatrockstar: (Default)
Phone screen in the morning. When I know more, I'll say more.
fatrockstar: (hello)
Grady hopped up on the dining room table again, this time to chew on a different piece of plastic. I guess this means he's feeling better. I put some tuna with juice on a plate tonight and he attempted to eat it. I guess I shouldn't have watched him so intently -- I may have hindered that progress.

Still stressed, still looking for work. At least now there are more bites than there were a month ago. I'm not on the short list of any manager's preferred candidates right now due to my limited experience. You'd think my 12 years in IT would speak for itself, but no. I'm trying to make a living and build a career while staying sane here. I'm told two out of three ain't bad, but in this case my money isn't worth much if I go off the deep end.


Goodwill Hunting

Wednesday, 3 June 2009 13:19
fatrockstar: (Mrs. Clean)
I have discovered that about 80% of the jobs listed on Monster.com and Indeed.com, among other places, are jobs I have already applied to. I have been searching since February. At the beginning of April it became clear that my usual collection of agency recruiters would be unable to help me and I stepped up applying directly to employers. Not too long ago I even ventured into searching-in-other-cities territory. Nothing ever came of that, which is disappointing.

I keep my job log for the unemployment office pretty full, and have a few weeks where I applied for ten times the number of required job contacts to collect my UI check.

My options are to keep looking for a management job or slide back into test. Those of you who have worked with me know why I left test. Coming home every evening to fight the urge to shoot myself in the face was only one of the reasons I decided to take my career in another direction. Retaining the will to live is extremely important to me. That said, I am also looking outside of tech to keep my head above water.

It would help if the companies out there posting jobs were better about their "no thank you" responses. I appreciate acknowledgment of my submission, but I'd rather hear "no thank you" before seeing the job posting reappear. Nothing is more annoying than seeing a job posted that I know I'd be perfect for, only to realize I already applied for it more than a month earlier. How long does it take to fill a position in this economy anyway?

I am a good manager. The only thing I lack is industry management experience. I have managed engineers, artists, volunteers, and teenagers, while organizing and documenting processes, resources, and plans. My early job titles may not reflect this, but I'm not going to put an outright lie in bold type. What good would that do? I risk being kicked out of an interview before I even get to explain why.

I remain hopeful, though. There's no reason not to. I have friends who have landed work recently, and I'm feeling good enough to continue trying. Only now, the search has become a little trickier as I sift through all those jobs I'd be perfect for but was declined an interview. There are new opportunities out there, I just need to find my glasses...
fatrockstar: (The Man in Black)
Today's second wave of layoffs over at MS will make the job search a little harder. Not that I'm not used to it by now. My life as a musician isn't bad, it's just severely lacking in funds. I don't know what I'd do if Ethan wasn't here.

Today all the fired people will flood the job hunter market immediately. For the next six weeks, applying to any MS job through their website will be pointless as those who remain place an unofficial priority on their former employees to fill those open positions. It's the law they have to post the job publicly, but they don't have to look at your resume. After six weeks the employees whose positions were eliminated will have run out of time to find new ones, and they will be removed from the payroll. Maybe then I'll have a chance.

It's unfair, but then again getting into MS as a full-time employee hasn't ever been a cake walk. The only place harder to get on the payroll for is probably Google, and that's only because Larry & Sergei want so badly to "not be evil" that they became "total assholes" about screening applicants. I did wonders for that company, but their prerequisites overlooked the person and focused on what I was missing in my past. It's not my resume, y'all. My resume, accomplishments, and references are solid, and my experience provocative -- I'm a Rock Star in every sense of the term -- but you can't hire someone based on a piece of paper. Sometimes I think hiring managers forget that.

My heart goes out to all that lost their jobs today. My only advice is to find something you love to do and throw yourself into it. If it makes money, that's even better.

That, and network, network, network...
fatrockstar: (Default)
I told the Public Health people how much I was getting from unemployment and it was too much to get any kind of reprieve on the cost. I gave what I could, which was about $50, but I still owe about $80. For a visit. There's more to the story here I don't want to go into, but the bottom line is that I have NO disposable income, NO bill-paying income, and all the money I have goes to the mortgage, period, but that doesn't make me eligible for any kind of state help.

With the kind of money I bring in now I should be able to pay full price. This bothers me a lot. If I sell this house I will put myself into about $40k of debt since it's not worth what I owe on the mortgage. Having a car is also a disadvantage -- it's an asset, and I get the feeling I'm expected to to sell it to make ends meet. Sell the house, sell the car, be in debt and homeless, THEN I can get some medical attention. I will wait to panic until I actually talk to the rep for that clinic.

My symptom has lingered for a couple of months. I didn't think about it the first month because I figured it would go away on its own. Now I'm concerned. Sometimes it's there and sometimes it is not, but when it is, it is difficult to ignore. I'm beginning to wonder if it is stress-related and not a symptom of something else at all.

What a pain in the ass all this is. 50 resumes submitted this week so far. Nobody's calling back -- yet.
fatrockstar: (Default)
I'm making this public because there's nothing in what I'm about to say that needs hiding. As someone directly affected by the entire situation I feel I am entitled to voice an opinion, and would hope that a hiring manager motivated to investigate my blog would understand my position and respect it. Nothing in this entry is illegal. All figures stated are either mine to share or a speculation.

Recent events that began with a mass firing/layoff at Microsoft have finally reached contract staffing. Microsoft's mandate to reduce billing rates is being passed directly to the contractor by almost every agency that provides such staff to them. I was told earlier today that this manifests as a $10/hour pay cut for people in my line of work with my level of experience. I was appalled. I expected to take a hit, but not such a big one.

Let's do the math here. )

Emotions run high on this issue. )

I worked long and hard to reach the amount of pay I get now. )

Everyone I know is affected by this situation. )

In the meantime I will wait and see how this whole pay cut thing works out. With the amount of press it's getting, it may fix itself.
fatrockstar: (band)
Grady burped at me today. I don't think I've heard it quite like that before. Just a little "UGKH" like he'd just taken a big swig of soda pop. He sits on the chair next to me while I'm on the computer, so it was hard to miss. I looked at him and he stared at me for a few seconds. «What? You do this all the time.» He then began to wash his face. «Whatever,» he dismissed.

I hate sneezing. )

Interviews! )

Who the hell are these people? )

Monday is band rehearsal night )

Tuesday is another phone interview. I keep my fingers crossed for each one.
fatrockstar: (cookie monster)
It hit me. Not feeling that great physically. My interview today went well, I have another tomorrow, and yet another manager wants to meet me in person before the week is out.

I can't wait until this chapter of my life is over. If I didn't have this cold I could leave the house. The car is useless right now. Grrr.

I started putting color on the goofy-looking bird creature and now I hate it. I will either sand it off or put yet another coat of white on it. Each coat of paint obscures some of the charming detail, though. Color is not my strong suit, and I'm pissed at myself for ruining such a cute little bird. Damn.

Wednesday is Robert Plant/Allison Krauss. I am not up for much else. Just need to get some sleep. Sleep and I are enemies for some reason. I really wish we could work something out. All this avoidance is making me cranky.

Rehearsal tonight. We need to go through the set list. We also need to polish the newer songs. Mark your calendars: Skylark, Thursday, Oct 30. If enough people show up I will wear my Wonder Woman outfit.
fatrockstar: (Default)
That's been my week so far. But, it's been a pretty good week. I have some good things coming down the pipe, and I'm happy about them.

Aside from good news I don't want to jinx, I am still collecting items from my personal inventory to sell or donate. I have a number of clothes I can no longer fit in without having to pin them to my body, so those will have to go. I also have a bunch of books and software I don't really want to hang on to. The software is mostly games or something similar that you would not expect an update for.

The big things are going to be hard to get rid of. I have a 300-disk CD changer that I have never used. My dad thought it was the awesomest thing ever ten years ago and I have yet to put more than five disks in it. CraigsList has a few listed for about $50. I'm sure there's someone out there who doesn't want to rip their collection. It's not me -- I just came across a box of CD's I don't know if I'll ever listen to again.

I have a shiny new eBay account and will probably use that for some small things.

I'm uncovering so much. Not all of it are things I really wanted to deal with again. I found pictures of Garret and his siblings from the time we all went up to Stevens Pass to take pictures, and both he and his sister acquired giardiasis. Fun. While those were better times, I remember staying out of family pictures because deep down I knew I wouldn't be family for much longer. I regret that now, but back then I just didn't want to become an unpleasant memory. Now I will be no memory at all except for the white gold band around Garret's finger.

Allison suggested again that we might end up as roommates. I think that would be fun, but I worry about Grady. She has two cats and a small dog, and Grady freaks out in the presence of other furry mammals.

Oh hey, do you like my new yearbookyourself.com icon? It's the 1960 one. I also have the one from 1968 that is slightly insane looking because I used a different base photo. Too intense, actually. I'll save it for later.
fatrockstar: (evilG1)
Yes, it's me again. I'm sorry if I annoy you, but I want a job. Not just any job, because I'm better than just any old job. I want a job that is interesting and challenging, and pays my bills with a little left over to eat with. My current situation will not allow me anything less.

So I'm curious: What was that last year of experience all about if it wasn't completely useless? I kicked ass at that job! People loved me and everything I accomplished -- I think that and everything else on my resume is plenty to get me into my next gig. If one year isn't enough, then I suggest you open another window of opportunity where I can see it, and fast. I don't have to work in IT. I can work anywhere. My resume proves it.

I'm good at what I do and I get along with damn near everyone. My rapport with engineers and artists is the stuff of legend. I am worth the rate I ask for. I am an excellent manager. Excellent.

I would love to sit here and be the timid soul that asks for whatever you can spare, but I'm no longer going to settle for that. I'm done settling. I have settled in every facet of my life and paid for it dearly, and I'm not going to do it anymore. I deserve better. I refuse to waste my god-given talent on a position that is beneath me just because something is better than nothing. That's not good enough anymore. I'm tired of you guys jerking me around because I've been too eager to please you in the past.

I want a PM job with a company that produces a product or service I understand and would use myself, that pays at least four bucks more an hour than the last test gig I had. In return, I will continue to be the incredibly competent, creative, kickass manager I am and then some.

It's not too much to ask, and I refuse to believe it is anyway.