Change is in the air

Change

As of this morning I’ve got a new job.

Without going into all the details, I’m returning to the work-a-day world. This job is something I think I can get into, and it’s a foot in the door to a new industry.

The initial pay is a bit on the low side, but it’s a foot in the door.

I’m looking at it as my package of vacuum packed potatoes. If you haven’t seen The Martian you’re not going to have any idea what I’m talking about. So rent the movie or read the book.

Many changes are forthcoming not all of them easy, but then again when are big changes ever easy?

I’m going to be very busy over the next month or two, so blogs may be sporadic because there is a whole lot to do.

Frustrating Job Search

What I can say, is that the Job search sites and most of the headhunters that will contact you or that you’ll contact are pretty much useless. It turns out that the best way into a new position is still who you know, or who’s willing to give you a “heads-up” that positions within their company are available.

Who knows, I may end up writing a book about the insanity of the job search in America.  At the very least, as I have time I’ll likely post a series of blogs about my experience. Perhaps my experiences will save someone else some of the pain.

As always, your milage will vary.

Talk about taking it right down to the freakin wire! Less than 2k left in any of the accounts that translates to about 2 months or less. Of course, now all the calculations about burn rates go right the heck out the window. 

Moving

For the first time in 20 years or so I’m going to be working hourly. But I’ll have corporate insurance and various benefits. 

I’m also moving.

There is no way that a commute is possible.

So I’m going to be in a rental of some sort that will cost at least half of what the mortgage on this house is.

Yes, I’m keeping the house too, the other half needs to remain in this area.  I’m not exactly sure how I’m going to pull this rabbit out of the hat but I’m creative, driven, and I could afford to lose a few pounds too.

LATraffic

The distance is only twenty miles further than I used to commute, but the freeway conditions make that completely out of the question. If it’s not construction, it’s accidents, or car chases. So I need to find living arrangements.

On the plus side, I’ll be able to work overtime, and still have time to make some new friends. 

The overtime means my base take home pay will probably be more than the amount a 40 hour work week would provide, and the new friends means that I’ll be socially stimulated which I desperately need.

People

There’s another upside, I won’t be spending a ton of money on gas, and auto maintenance monthly. As I think about it, it might be nice to have access to things like choices when it comes to internet and I won’t have to necessarily pay premium prices for repairs like plumbers and such.

I do pretty much ok alone, but I’ve become very lonely in recent years, and a loner in the process.  I look forward to a little more social interaction. Living where I’ve been living has been likened to living where Jesus lost his other sandal. It might be nice to live somewhere that I don’t have to pack summer and winter clothing for a day’s outing.

SSherpasadly, I still haven’t made it out of the Republic of Kalifornia. But at this point I’ll take what I can get.

The funniest part of all of this is that I was only in one interview for this position. That was a refreshing change. I’ve sat through interminable interviews with companies and (One was six full hours with various groups. Talk about fear of commitment!) even though I felt I’d answered their questions and been a good little boy, I didn’t get the position.

SanDiego Skyline JohnBahu 1280x642 downsized

As was said in House of Cards, “It’s so refreshing to work with someone who’ll throw a saddle on a gift horse rather than look it in the mouth.” 

I mean when I was talking with these other companies, I was talking about working really cheap!

So sunny San Diego, here I come.

Getting ready to purge a lot of crap

Purge

Over 500 contacts – Several hundred of which are people I met, have forgotten, headhunters who are largely forgettable and useless, or folks that I simply haven’t heard from in years. 

Reduction 300 contacts

Online presence across a ton of web sites – Sites for job search over the past 4 years. I have to log on and manually delete every one of those accounts and that’s going to take a lot of time. I’m thinking I might try to automate the process.

Estimated reduction 500 sites

Social media accounts shared across other sites – I don’t really want the social media and sure as heck don’t want the data being shared.

Reduction 4 

So despite some articles that suggest people that drop off the internet are anti-social and possibly even dangerous. I’m going to do just that.

Well, I’m addicted to the internet… So I’m not dropping completely off the net, I’m just going to significantly reduce my footprint. It’s time, actually well past time.

I’ll still be blogging.

More unintended consequences

I ran across an article talking about a bill that would require folks buying prepaid mobile devices A.K.A. “Burner phones” to register.

Burnerphone

As was pointed out in the article, “Burners” are used legitimately by reporters, investigators, and inside sources, for whom maintaining their anonymity is sometimes a matter of life and death.

Granted there are some criminal elements that use “Burners” for criminal activity. That’s what this proposed legislation is aimed at stopping. 

As I was reading the article a few things went through my mind.

Congress

These lawmakers are trying to demand that everyone purchasing and activating a phone be identified, and registered.

But, these same lawmakers will fight tooth and nail against a voter ID law, on the grounds that the poor can’t afford to have identification.

Yet, the primary market for cheap contract free “Burner” phones is the poor, and often the poorest of the poor, who use these phones as lifelines and methods for finding work. 

Homeless People and their Dogs Unconditional Love 3

Homeless people will sometimes have a “Burner” because they scraped together enough money to buy one, and until they use up its minutes the phone works. If they’re looking for work the phone is important even if they have no permanent address.

But if you force registration, doesn’t that exclude all of the homeless population, further disenfranchising them and forcing them further to the fringes of our society? 

Abused Woman

Then there are abused women for whom a “Burner” may be their only option, if they’re trying to escape their abuser. 

How about runaway children who might realize that a “Burner” would allow them to reach out and call their parents? They likely wouldn’t have a method to “Register” either.

R TEACHERS RUNAWAY CHILDREN large570

Bills like this, aimed at preventing the use of phones for trafficking, anti-terrorism, the drug war, or general criminality, tend to cause as much collateral damage as the very things the Bill is supposed to prevent.

The Representatives who come up with these ideas either never knew or have forgotten what it’s like to be on the lower end of the economic ladder.

They’re like the person I encountered on New Years Eve. They’ve led such charmed lives where nothing really bad happened to them that they can’t even conceive of a situation where they might not have easy access to their ID, or cash, or communication, or travel.

Try bankruptcy, or having your house burn down with your ID, wallet, cash and credit cards inside, for a taste of what it’s like to have nothing and to be excluded from the system. For giggles, leave you house some day without your wallet, that will give you a taste.

110909114759 am wain power outage 00010023 story top

These are the spoiled brats that scream bloody murder when they can’t use their cell phones after a natural disaster. When the power goes out they’re mad because they can’t buy gasoline for their generators, and their frozen dinners have thawed. God forbid they’ve planned for anything, or know how to siphon gas out of their cars.

Remember the chaos of the great Orange County blackout? The folks in Orange County were so horribly inconvenienced they thought their lives had ended. Meanwhile the homeless folks were laughing their asses off because they know what it’s like to live daily without “Essential Services”. Hell afterward there were hearings to blame the cell phone providers for not providing service during an “Emergency”. 

The Martian

In SCUBA there’s a saying. “No matter what else is happening, ask yourself, ‘am I breathing?’ If the answer is yes, then you can set about fixing whatever else is fucked up.

The movie The Martian was an awesome exploration of that concept. “I’m alive, now how do I stay that way?

offthegrid

I guess since I’ve been looking at falling off the grid due to unemployment, and being a planner, perhaps these issues are more relevant to me.

Even now, my big pack downstairs is loaded with my tent and supplies in case of natural disaster, or me deciding it’s just time to walk away from a society that no longer has a place for me. And yes, there’s a “Burner” phone stashed in the pack too.

Welder 011

It’s because of my experiences that I’ve come to believe we don’t need or want a bunch of lawyers, or wealthy people in government.

We need common people because they’re far more likely to bring practicality to government.  It’s why I’m a believer in term limits, campaign spending caps, and grass roots politics.

I’d rather have a welder in congress representing me than some asshole lawyer.

At least the welder, is more likely to have his constituents in mind while he’s sitting in congress. I’ll bet someone like that is also a lot more likely to be in his seat every day congress is in session because that’s his job.

If any of this is ringing a bell with you, take the time to call these elitist politicians out on their stupid ideas. Write to them and tell them they’re idiots and explain politely why you think so.

jackiespeier

I know I’m writing Jackie Speier (D-CA) to tell her my thoughts.

Starbucks Encounters

Starbucks Logo

Starbucks is an interesting place to observe people.

I’m sitting at a small table, waiting for the traffic to die down. I’m blogging, which is also kinda normal for me. But as I was blogging, I thought to myself there are all kinds of stories here. 

There are the usual students, and hipsters. The hipster kid in the beanie on his Macbook FaceTiming on the free WiFi, heedless of the impact he’s having on all the other patrons in the place. 

The disgruntled looks from the other students trying to do research who now have throughput that’s slower than 300 Baud ever was. (You whippersnappers, look it up.)

The annoyed patrons around the kid, as they’re being forcibly included in the kids’ conversation. 

Hipsters1

I’m immune to the throughput issues, because I’m using the hotspot on my phone. I’m at a small table with only one chair in a far corner of the room. The Kid notices me looking at him as he fairly shouts into his headset “I like having you play with my asshole!” 

Ahem, he forgot that the muffling effect of his earbuds meant he couldn’t hear himself and when you can’t hear yourself speak, you tend to yell.

There’s no embarrassment for his part, he’s looking at me with doe eyed innocence, either not realizing that the entire place now knows he likes having his ass played with or simply not caring.

WOW! 


Standing in line

Two people ahead of me. 

Starbucks line

First person has gotten to the counter but has still not decided what they want. Suddenly everything is in slow motion. I’m questioning if I actually need coffee. 

The person finally figures out what they want, and pay for their order.

The next person steps to the counter, “I don’t know what I want…” TIME STOPS! After slow tedious questions and descriptions by the counter person a beverage decision is made.

Only NOW does the lady start digging in her purse for her wallet and a method of payment.

While the lady in front is learning about the merits and growing conditions of Columbian coffee beans, (Which by the way she didn’t buy) Another lady is behind me.

And she’s stepping into my personal space, on my left, then on my right, then on my left, then on my right and she’s bumping me in the process.  All this un-necessary motion in close proximity activates my security instincts.

I turn to carefully look this woman over. I mean carefully, with intensity and precision. 

“What are you a perv,” she asks annoyed at the attention.

“No, I’m just making sure you don’t have a bomb vest on, since you’re obviously agitated, in a rush, and had NO PROBLEM trying to bum rush me out of your way. DO YOU WANT TO GO AHEAD OF ME?” I replied firmly.

Now “crazy lady” is looking at me like I’ve got two heads.  Hey, as far as I’m concerned her opening line about my being a perv was intended to be shocking. So I replied in kind and I think I trumped her

The lady at the counter is still getting her education about coffee beans. 

Crazy Starbucks Lady.

“I’m an American!”

“As am I, ma’m, however apparently I’ve got much better manners and understanding of “waiting in line” social etiquette, than you do.”

“I repeat, do you want to go ahead of me? Honestly, your invasion of my personal space and obvious impatience is putting me very much on edge.”

She blinked like I’d slapped her.

“Uh no.”

“As you wish.”

I turned back to the counter. The lady ahead of us having now completed her coffee bean education, digs into her purse for her wallet… Sigh.


Placing orders.

your order please

My turn: “Cafe Mocha, no whip.” I flash my Starbucks App barcode at the scanner and I’m on my way to the pickup station. Before I get to the pickup station, my phone vibrates telling me that the purchase receipt has arrived.

“Crazy Lady” is asking questions about the coffee drinks… Four minutes later, Cafe Mocha in hand, I’m heading out the door. The line too is out the door, “Crazy Lady” is only now digging in her purse for her wallet…  

There oughta be two lines. One for those of us who know what the hell we want, and another for those who don’t know what they want, and aren’t organized enough to have their method of payment ready.

I know you can place your order on-line, I’m just enough of a luddite I still like having the interaction. 

I’d like the lines…

If you get in the “I know what I want line,” and don’t have your order and payment ready, you get asked to step to the other line.

10 Seconds! That’s all you get, If you don’t have your cash out, or payment thing ready, your order is canceled and you’re asked to step to the back of the other line. 

Fitting punishment, I’d say.


Sitting at a table

Starbucks Table

When I sit at a Starbucks table, I like to hang out, out of the main flow of people.

I’m often working on a book or a blog, or coding something on a website. Generally, I can shut out the hustle and bustle around me as white noise and be in my own little world.

Sometimes though, my attention is drawn to the mini-dramas playing out in the rest of the place.

The crying child. The angry person on their phone. The older person having their first experience with Starbucks. The students, and hipsters grooving to their own beats. The gaudy dude in the tasteless suit wearing fake diamonds bigger than the Hope diamond in his ears, and the cheap flashy Rolex knock-off. (Dude, here’s a hint, we know it’s all fake because of your shoes and the POS beater car we saw you get out of.) The homeless guy outside on the patio trying to stay out of the wind and find a little shade drinking the left-overs, and getting a little charity from the occasional good soul.

Starbucks Crowd

It’s a cross section of humanity, and very often an interesting mélange of people. There’s a texture to the people at Starbucks, with some variations dependent on region, all Starbucks are the same.

The mélange of people is essentially the same, and when you’ve been in enough Starbucks you start to think you’re seeing even the same individuals in every store.

So much for originality or uniqueness! 


Relaxation

Crowd1

Sitting there doing my thing and tuning in and out of the mini dramas is strangely relaxing for me.

I’ve never run into anyone I actually knew at a Starbucks. Everyone in the place are strangers. I get to engage in judgement without guilt.

Starbucks mini dramas provide material for my writing. I think I’m relieved that I don’t actually have to live all of the drama to get a feel for what it’s about.

I think I’m relaxed because I’m reminded that my problems aren’t unique, and my focus is expanded beyond my immediate crisis. 

What’s that old saying?

Misery loves company…

In San Diego …

I slugged my way down to San Diego, for a 30 minute Job interview. The trip took 3 1/4 hours. It’s only 120 miles. Sigh!

The interview went pretty well, I’m hoping that I’ll see some kind of an offer that I can take. I keep running the numbers, and it’s gonna be tight. This is only doable if they’re willing to pay me starting at the absolute upper end of the pay scale.

Perhaps there will be enough to keep all my finances from collapsing and if that’s the case I’m going to count my blessings. There will be damn little to spare.

Prometheus david8

Long term this could be a break, allowing me to enter a growth field using my technology skills. I keep thinking of David in Prometheus “Big things have small beginnings.”

Of course any company hiring me would probably not end in such a disaster as the Prometheus mission.

I’m chilling it at a Starbucks, waiting for the traffic to abate… 

YEAH RIGHT! Like that ever happens anymore in Southern California.

I’ve decided that should I be offered a position, I’m moving down here. I can’t abide 2 and 3 hour commutes anymore. I have zero desire to piss my life away sitting on a damn freeway.

So that’s what’s happening, for those of you wanting an update.

 

The Precious!

Apple march event invitation 800home thumb800

Apple is making new product announcements today!

Bright shiny more powerful machines. Whoo hooo!

I’ll be taking time off from the incessant job search to see what new covetable things Apple will release on the world.

Comey fbi


I was thinking, in one of my more insane moments, that Apple could offer two versions of IOS and let the public decide the outcome of Apple’s fight with the FBI. One version would be secured as the OS is today, and the GovIOS version would be one where the government held the encryption keys

If the majority of the people installed GovIOS then Apple could focus their security research on GovIOS and move on. Somehow, I think that people who installed GovIOS would be in the infinitesimal minority. 

I’d also love to see James Comey’s face when the press asked if he’d installed GovIOS on his personal iPhone.


IPhone lineup

Apple is supposed to be releasing a new iPhone and a new tablet today.

The new phone is rumored to be about the same size as the iPhone5s. But it’s supposed to have features of the iPhone 6s. I’m hoping that Apple manages to just put the iPhone 6s into the iPhone 5s size. 

Some of the rumors have suggested that Apple is going to cheapen the smaller phone by limiting options. I of course, ask why? I genuinely like the size of my iPhone5s. it fits in my hand and my pocket comfortably.  If I could have the memory, NFC (for Apple Pay), improved cellular radio, WiFi and camera of the iPhone 6s in the 5s size, I’d pay for it. I’m not sure I’d pay the $849 Apple is charging for the iPhone 6s (Because of the screen size differences) but I could see myself really weighing the options. Maybe $749 for 128GB in a phone the size of the iPhone5s?

Nonetheless, I’m curious about the new iPhone and depending on the price / features and the outcome of the pending legislation in California regarding encrypted phones and the outcome of the FBI v. Apple case, I may wait for the iPhone 7s or buy an iPhone SE or have to go with a 6s.

If the Idiots in Sacramento have their way, no encrypted cellphone will be sold in California after Jan 1, 2017.  I swear, if lawmakers keep on fooling around, Apple will relocate to Ireland.  At the same time, the idiots will manage to kill the retail cellular market in the state.

I’m sure that Nevada and Arizona will appreciate the boon to tourism and business. I can see weekend planning sounding like, “Oh, lets take a quick run up to Las Vegas for the weekend while we’re there we can buy new phones!


IPad lineup

I’m interested in the new iPad as well. I’ve got an iPad Mini that I really like. But it’s getting tired, I’ve been intrigued by the iPad Air for its size and weight. So I’m curious about the update to the iPad line. I could get very excited about an iPad Mini that included features from the iPad Pro. The pencil for example? But depending on size and weight, the new iPad might tempt me long before Apple rolls a Mini with “Pro” features.


I don’t have the cash for any of this. But planning to update my machines is an expression of hope / faith that I will find a new job and I’ll have the cash in the future.

Misty Forest

The alternative is to hike into a forest with my tent, and go off-grid in a seriously old school way. I’m a very out of practice hunter, an OK angler, and tend to do ok without people.

Oddly enough, that has some appeal.