Monday, December 18, 2023

Nice Try Though

last week my in-laws gave us their tickets to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  It was a date night but because it was last minute, so many things went wrong.

The good:  loved the pyro-techno part.

|The Bad: some of the slow songs (something about a train) were boring.

The Ugly: after the "Christmas story" was over, the lead came out and said "I know it's a school night but we are gonna play a couple of songs from our newest album.

I was under the impression that there would be two more songs and it would be over.  but they just kept playing.  and playing ..and playing.  

IF I had known the encore was gonna go on for an hour, that would have been one thing.  but I felt like they were just gonna play one more song and then we could go.  so I was trapped.

when the concert finally ended, it took a ridiculous amount of time to exit the FedEx Arena because 1) a lot of Slow Moving People and 2) The Powers that be decided that everyone should exit the way they came exit location for 7200 people.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

2023 Bears Predication Update: Need Some Help

 The Chicago Bears have now played 13 games and before going to a 17-game season, this would be the last quarter of the season, so I'm gonna check in with my 2023 predictions.

The Asterik games are games I didn't make a prediction but did lean a certain way. 
 so I'm going to count them at face value

Thus my record is 8-5, the opposite of the Bears' Win-Loss record (5-8).  Do the Bears still have a chance?  Mathematically, sure.  Realistically, they need a lot of help.  They should have won the Tampa Bay, Broncos, and Saints games, and first meetings with the Vikings and Lions, but didn't.   

To make the playoffs, first, the Bears have to Win out the rest of the season.  A single loss now essentially eliminates them.  So let's assume they win their next 4 games and finish the season 9-8.  The next four games are winnable but given how they blew other winnable games, I'm not holding my breath.

Second, they need a bunch of teams to lose at least 2, if not 3 more games.   

It's a little too early to come up with scenarios where they make the playoffs.  San Francisco is the only team that has clinched a playoff berth, but Dallas and Philadelphia aren't going away.  The Rams, Seahawks, and Giants are trying to sneak in and playing very well right now.

There might be a scenario where Detroit implodes and finishes 9 and 8, and I think the Bears would win that tiebreaker?  Unfortunately, that would mean the Vikings win the division.  

It gets even trickier with the NFC South because the Bears lost to the Saints and Buccaneers, but beat Carolina.  They have to win the game against Atlanta (since becoming a fan, the Bears have missed the playoffs twice to Atlanta because of tie-breaker rules). 

But here's the thing.  Even if they do and have a 9-8 record, they would still miss the playoffs because of tiebreakers because that is who the Bears are.  They fail to control their destiny.

Let's assume over the next four games everyone goes 2-2 while the Bears go 4-0.  Lions would win the division, Minnesota would get the last wild Card and the Bears would be watching the playoffs from home.  

Friday, December 1, 2023

first full week at the New Contract Gig

This is my first full week at the New Contract Gig.  I started the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and worked was online the three days before Thanksgiving.  And my official start date might have been even earlier because onboarding as a contractor is messy.

On the positive side, this is probably the best time to come aboard because things are winding down on most people's calendars and our clients tend to have restrictions on upgrades and installations at the end of the year.  The only downside is my colleagues likely look forward to this downtime and don't really want to teach the newbie things when they could be mailing it in for the next month.

Finally, even though this is a contract role, and I'm dealing with the 3rd party BS that comes with that, it feels different.  The team is treating me like I'm part of the company.  NG didn't really want me to get a job because she would prefer I be the SAHD.  However, we can use the income and I feel this is my best shot at staying in the job market in case things go South in the South.

Since moving to Olive Branch, we now do the reverse commute of what we previously did to visit the in-laws when we lived in Chicago.  So we left here on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and drove to Mt Vernon.  While we are getting better and better at this, we still manage to forget something.  Luckily it wasn't anything important this time.

However, Natasha was not feeling well when we got there.  It turns out she had a UTI/Kidney infection and we had to get her on antibiotics.  Which is really easy to do when you are 4 hours from home.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Live Life With Confidence Using These Methods

Are you struggling to achieve your goals while feeling like something is holding you back? It's a common problem these days as people struggle with building enough confidence to go after the things they really want in life. Fortunately, there are plenty of things that can help invigorate your confidence and set you on the right path. Today, the Mysteries of Life shares some practical tips to help you make measurable progress toward living your best life.


by Colleen Stewart

Update Your Resume and Find Your Dream Job

Finding a new job can be a long and tedious process, but having the right tools at your disposal can make it easier. You can use a template for a resume that allows you to create a professional-looking resume using the info you want. That way, you’ll be prepared and have the confidence to go into a job interview and nail it. Get started by looking at local job postings and researching the companies that interest you.


Start Your Own Company

Entrepreneurship is becoming more popular than ever before so why not consider taking the plunge? Developing a detailed business plan, creating marketing strategies for success, and choosing a business structure are all important steps when starting your own business. Do some research on the market and your competitors, as this info will need to go into your business plan along with financial projections and your funding needs. This plan will serve as a guide for both you and potential lenders/investors.


Refinance Your Loans

Another simple but effective way to reduce stress is by reducing your loan payments. Especially if adding a second job is out of the question (or isn’t quite enough to help), lowering your loan payments could make a big difference when it comes to trying to optimize your budget and make your expenses a little more manageable.


Return to School

Returning to school online for an advanced nursing degree is a promising step towards boosting confidence and advancing your career. It allows you to expand your knowledge base, improve cognitive performance, and enhance psychomotor skills, all of which contribute significantly to self-assurance in professional settings. Moreover, pursuing an advanced degree such as a Bachelor's or a DNP can open up opportunities for higher earnings and more challenging roles, further improving your self-belief. Online programs offer the flexibility to balance your studies with personal and professional commitments, making them an ideal choice for working professionals. If you're a nurse looking to elevate your career and boost your confidence, look further into online advanced nursing degrees.


Take Up a New Hobby

Your happiness isn't totally dependent on your career. Finding a new hobby is a great way to reduce stress and find joy in the little things. Whether it’s painting, playing an instrument, or learning a new language, dedicating time to something that brings you joy can help alleviate stress levels and give you something productive to focus on.


Deep Clean Your Home and Get Organized

A deep clean of your home can help make it feel more organized and inviting, which in turn can boost your confidence levels. Click here to find cleaning product reviews and cleaning tips from experts to get the most out of each cleaning session. Doing this will also save time as well as money in the long run.


Get Active

Exercising regularly has been proven to improve moods while boosting energy levels, which is essential when trying to achieve goals or live life to its fullest potential. GoodRx Health suggests making small changes like taking walks around the neighborhood or joining an online fitness class if joining a gym isn’t feasible. You might even consider playing a sport, such as golf or tennis, to get active each day. Engaging in physical activity can help boost your self-esteem while helping you feel strong and capable.


Develop Your Style

WHBM notes that investing in some new clothes can be incredibly satisfying, as it helps boost self-confidence while also making sure one looks their best when heading out into public spaces. Take some time browsing different stores for clothes that bring you comfort while remaining stylish. You can also splurge on a new bag or a great pair of shoes if it's within the budget.


Start Making Positive Changes

Making changes to improve your confidence and take control of your own path can take some time, so try to be patient. Work out a plan that will help you stay motivated, whether you're starting a business, looking for a new job, or deep-cleaning your home. Keep in mind that tracking your progress can help you stick to your goals.

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

2023 Bears Predication Update: Not promising

The Chicago Bears have played 8 games and before going to a 17-game season, this would be the midpoint so I'm gonna check in with my 2023 predictions.

The Asterik games are games I didn't technically make a prediction but did lean a certain way.  so I'm going to count them at face value.

Thus my record is 4-4.  Do the Bears still have a chance?  Mathematically, sure.  Realistically, nope.  They should have won the Tampa Bay, Broncos, and Vikings games but didn't.  

The rest of the schedule is comprised of beatable teams and the Lions so they could go 7 and 2.  They won't.  But they could.  Last year the Detroit Lions started 1-6 and finished 9-8.  The difference is some of those losses were helped by the refs. 

But here's the thing.  Even if they do and have a 9-8 record, they would still miss the playoffs because of tiebreakers because that is who the Bears are.  They fail to control their destiny.

Crafting Your Home Oasis: Balancing Comfort and Productivity

by Colleen Stewart

In the rapidly evolving landscape of remote work and personal responsibilities, the quest for a harmonious living and working environment has never been more pressing. Achieving a seamless blend of comfort and productivity within your home is no longer a luxury — it's a necessity. This article from Mysteries of Life guides you through the essentials of creating a balanced space that caters to both relaxation and effective work.


Soften Your Workspace


Incorporating soft furnishings like carpets can significantly elevate the comfort level of your workspace. A carpet doesn't just add aesthetic value; it also provides much-needed comfort for your feet during long work sessions. When choosing the right carpet, focus on textures and colors that reflect your style, creating a cohesive look that promotes focus and well-being.


Enhancing Solace and Property Worth


In the quest for a balanced home environment, value-adding modifications can play a dual role. Ergonomic furniture, built-in storage options, and refined decor not only contribute to a peaceful atmosphere but can also boost the overall value of your home. With such upgrades, your home becomes a worthwhile investment, beneficial in both the short and long term.


Streamline Your Work Environment


Transitioning to the next key point, the integration of modern technology into your workspace is an absolute game-changer. The right gadgets and high-speed internet connection can substantially increase your efficiency, cutting down on work-related stress. By staying ahead of technological requirements, you pave the way for a smooth, hassle-free work environment.


Renovate Your Kitchen


Renovating your kitchen not only enhances the aesthetics of your home but can significantly increase its value, making it a worthwhile investment. From installing modern appliances and a wall-mounted range hood to updating cabinets and countertops, a kitchen renovation can transform your space into a functional and stylish area that boosts your home's appeal.


Consider Plants


Houseplants can add a touch of nature to your home, making spaces feel more welcoming for both work and relaxation. They have the added benefit of improving air quality and can offer a sense of calm. For beginners, consider starting with low-maintenance options like snake plants, pothos, or ZZ plants. Philodendron Gloriosum, with its large, heart-shaped, velvety leaves and easy-to-care-for nature, makes a great plant choice for adding a touch of tropical elegance to any indoor space. These varieties are forgiving and adapt well to various conditions, making them ideal for those looking to introduce a bit of greenery into their dual-purpose homes.


Comfort and Circulation


Shifting the focus toward physical well-being, the inclusion of ergonomic enhancements like a footrest can be particularly beneficial. A well-placed cushion or footrest can improve blood circulation and lessen the discomfort of prolonged sitting. This can result in increased productivity and reduced fatigue, effectively serving the dual purposes of comfort and efficiency.


Scents for Concentration


Fragrances have a powerful influence on mood and concentration. A strategically placed diffuser with essential oils like mint or jasmine can dramatically improve focus. While scents are a matter of personal preference, the right aroma can truly enhance your workspace's overall ambiance, offering a balance of relaxation and productivity.


Elevate Your Workstation


When it comes to work, posture plays a pivotal role in overall health and comfort. A laptop stand can serve as a simple yet effective ergonomic solution to combat poor posture and subsequent neck strain. By adjusting your screen to eye level, you promote a neutral neck position, which can reduce the risk of musculoskeletal issues in the long run.


Make It Yours


Lastly, a workspace devoid of personal touches can feel sterile and uninspiring. Incorporate elements that resonate with you, such as family photos or artwork. These personalized details not only imbue your workspace with character but also contribute to a deeper sense of belonging and motivation.


Balancing the elements of comfort and productivity in your home is a nuanced undertaking that requires thoughtful planning and execution. Through strategic choices in furnishings, technology, and decor, your home can be transformed into a multifaceted sanctuary that encourages both relaxation and efficient work. Keep in mind that the key to achieving this ideal balance lies in aligning these elements with your own unique preferences and needs. With the right approach, your home can seamlessly serve as both a tranquil retreat and a bustling hub of productivity.

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween 2023

for those who celebrate.  Back in Chicago, it was rare that Halloween --  or the Halloween season once
Halloween became more of an adult holiday  -- had good weather.  As a kid, I recall many a Halloween where I had to wear a coat over my costume.   

Well, it looks like the South is trying to make me feel at home.  We had great weather last week, and last weekend and will have good weather after Wednesday.  But yesterday, today, and tomorrow are COLD.  We actually have frost warnings.

According to Facebook, it is snowing in Chicago today.  It also snowed 9 years ago on Halloween.  I remember our decorations being covered in snow and trick-or-treaters showing up with coats.  

We have discovered that going to my in-laws' subdivision for trick-or-treating is the best option.  The houses are closer together and there are sidewalks.  Our subdivision is comprised of homes with 1-2 acres of land and no sidewalks.

Our first year my Brother in Law Jethrow told us that no one trick-or-treat until after dark.  Unfortunately, he didn't tell us until the last minute.


Last Friday we went to Marshall's Steakhouse to celebrate my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary.  The planning had been in the works for quite some time.  We did a last minute switch from the Bass Pro Shop to Marshall's because 1) ostensibly the food is terrible there and 2) Memphis at night is scary for some white people.

My belly isn't this big, camera angle I swear!

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Today's Southern Town Drama

Every Wednesday I have to take Boris to his OT at 8 am.  I've worked out that I need to leave here by 7:50 to comfortably be in the parking lot waiting for the therapist who walks to the car by 8:03 (this is their protocol, although now we can go into the building if we desire).

While I'm doing that, Grandpa Cartwright is taking Natasha to school.  He does this every Wednesday unless we cancel OT or there is some other conflict.  

Today he didn't show up and by the time I realized it, it was really too late to do anything about this potential scenario.  Luckily Nightingale and I talked about this and we decided that if that happens, Natasha comes with us to OT and she goes to school late as well.

Fortunately, my SIL was able to come to the rescue and meet us at OT and take Natasha to school on time so she doesn't have an unexcused tardy on her record (oh the horror).

Thursday, October 12, 2023

The offer

   I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

I heard back from the recruiter today.  They want to offer me a contract position that could transition into FTE if I gel with the team.  They are also offering me less than we initially discussed.  

On the one hand, I have the luxury of being able to take $50/hr and not worry about making the rent.  On the other hand, the Job Description has not changed.  So they are trying to get Prime Rib at Pub Burger prices.

Update from the future:  The recruiter, who is jaunting around Europe right now came back with the following:

We are still getting some ducks in a row, but these are the details being discussed:


6-month contract (with option to promote to full-time after 3 months)

40 hours per week (minus holidays)

Exclusively working for us, but this is our preference (J thinks he will be able to keep you busy 😊)

I should know more on Monday.

10/12/23 1:39pm

The exclusive thing is because I asked about taking on a side gig if the work was anything like the contract job I had 2 years ago where I literally just earned money by pushing a button every hour.  It's telling that they don't want me to do anything like that even if it wouldn't interfere.  

Friday, October 6, 2023

Third and final Interview

   I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

|The 3rd interview with No-Name Software Company Adjacent Company came and went.  The only timeslot was not ideal because it comes at the time I normally get in line to pick up Moose and Squirrel at school.  But since all these interviews have had Hard Stops after 30 minutes (this one should too) I decided to risk it because I should still be able to get in line before the school starts releasing students.

The interview wasn't as good as the first two.  We finished early and she asked the usually bullshit "what are you passionate about and what motivates you to come into the office" type interview question.

The obvious answer is "a fucking paycheck" but they don't want to hear that.  They want you to give them some bullshit bougie answer.  It's on par with asking "why do you want to work here".  They want a virtual blowjob and a pony.  


Thursday, October 5, 2023

The Second Interview

  I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

So the 2nd interview with No-Name Software Company Adjacent Company came and went.  As with the first interview, it was painless as far as interviews go.

And as with the first interview, as far as I can tell, it went well.  I don't recall if I grabbed the lead or let her ask the first question but she asked me why I got into technology.  That tells me that she, like many people, don't consider interviews as the primary part of their job.

Labor Laws are a bit lax down here

It's certainly better than the old guy who was going over my resume line by line and asking me things about my college major and who was my boss at a job almost two decades ago.  

I have  3rd and final interview today.  The only timeslot was not ideal because it comes at the time I normally get in line to pick up Moose and Squirrel at school.  But since all these interviews have had Hard Stops after 30 minutes (this one should too) I decided to risk it because I should still be able to get in line before the school starts releasing students.

10/5/2023 11:26 am

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Every Movie In The Halloween Series, Ranked

While going down an Internet Rabbit hole, I came across this piece by Alexandra Ramos: Halloween: Every Movie In The Horror Series, Ranked

I'm delighted to find a writer who is into Horror and Sci-Fi as much as I am since it seems the two
genres rarely cross (and please don't bring up Jason X).

Halloween Movie Source, the Halloween fanboy I follow on Twitter (@sourcehalloween) often asks people to rank their moves and it's cumbersome to do in the character limit constraint.  So I think I'll take this opportunity to do my list and schedule it for October.

I pretty much agree with Ramos' list but with some slight exceptions.  So working backward from

Worst to Best 

  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)
  • Halloween Kills (2021)
  • Halloween Ends (2022)
  • Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
  • Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
  • Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers (1995)
  • Halloween (2018)
  • Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)
  • Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
  • Halloween II (1981)
  • Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
  • Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later (1998)
  • Halloween (1978)

Note: My criteria are mostly would I watch it again and perhaps that is what I should call this list because I find myself watching everything from #3 down over and over.

13.  Rob Zombie’s Halloween II (2009)

In all (un)fairness, I have not seen this one from start to finish.  I've read the Movie Pooper script and have seen enough clips to justify putting this at the end.  This was a missed opportunity, but then again so was the 2007 remake as well.  I might try to watch it to give a more complete review but for now, I think they should have gone with the alternate ending.

12.  Halloween Kills (2021) 

Even the most casual viewer has to ask, just how long is Halloween night in Haddonfield?  I didn't like the First Responder slaughter scene or the subsequent murder of the interracial couple who did nothing wrong (breaking rules I'll get to later).  And while I really liked both the "Officer McCabe Down Flashback Scene" and that Tommy, Lindsay, and Nurse Marion from the original are back, their roles were wasted.  

11. Halloween Ends (2022)

Like Resurrection, this is really two movies in one.  We have the anticlimactic end of Michael and the tragic story of Corey's descent into evil.  It would have been better to introduce Corey's arc in Kills, perhaps replacing that awful Haddonfield mob scene at the hospital.   Allyson has now lost both her parents to the Shape, yet there is barely any acknowledgment of this.  Karen died for nothing.

10 - 8. Halloween 4, 5, 6 (1988, 1989 and 1995)

These three movies are the same three movies with different actors and slightly different plot lines. They rely more on gory kills than the Cat and Mouse game that Michael is famous for.   They are failed attempts at rebooting the franchise while exploring the Samhain mythos behind Michael's power and his terrible family reunions.  

7. Halloween (2018)

As far as retconning goes, this one really retcons.  Nothing after Halloween 1978 exists in this universe.  And so the premise that Michael Myers is a serial killer worthy of a visit by British Podcasters seems a bit far-fetched since he only killed 5 people in this timeline.

Also, Michael and Jamie are not siblings.  So it begs the question, why would he bother coming after Jamie after 40 years?  And while I respect that PSTD does things to a person, after the first couple of decades, wouldn't you breathe a little easier?  

6. Halloween (2007)

One of the things that bothered me about the original Halloween storyline was Jamie being Michael's sister (obviously and admittedly retconned).    But looking at the timeline, Judith was a teenager, Michael was six and Jamie was apparently one.  That's a lot of Oops Babies.  Zombie reboot attempted to smooth the edges with a more plausible backstory.  And yet, I'm not likely to rewatch this one anytime soon (see my tweet).  

5. Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Should we even include this one-off?  It only ranks this high in part because the previously listed were that bad.  This was an attempt to resurrect the concept of the Halloween anthology series and as far as early 80s sci-fi/horror goes, it wasn't half bad.  They should rebrand and reboot this as simply Season of the Witch, with a slightly more pausable plot.  

4. Halloween II (1981)

Remember that broken rule I mentioned?  In this movie, Michael breaks the Don't Kill Innocent People rule.  Michael only kills teens who are having sex and thus are horrible babysitters, or people who get in his way of killing horrible babysitters.  But in this movie, he kills an innocent babysitter and several nurses who did nothing to him.  

3. Halloween: Resurrection (2002)

Like Halloween Ends, this was also two movies in one.  This movie gets a lot of hate from fans because it had some horrible acting.  But if you can look past that, the plot was unique and innovative for the time.  Watching Michael kill people on the internet in real-time.  If you skip the last 10 minutes, it's a decent movie.  

Notes: Tyra Banks must have a hella of an agent to get an offscreen kill.  Also, Busta Rhymes.  

2. Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later (1998)

This is the movie that brought Jamie Lee Curtis back to the franchise.  Its reconning ignores all the previous sequels and is a direct sequel to Halloween II.  It also brings back Nurse Marion (briefly) and had a cameo by Jamie's real-life mom, Janet Leigh.  It too has a rapper.

I recently re-watched this movie and what I noticed is the Three Acts Rule.  In the First Act, Michael kills, just like in the original.  In the Second Act, he has the opportunity to kill but doesn't.  He steals car keys from a mom with a child in a roadside rest station but doesn't kill them.  He also passes on killing the Rapper Security Guard even though it would be in his best interest to eliminate this threat. 

1.  Halloween (1978)

Naturally, this would be Numero Uno.  It's the movie that launched the slasher genre.  

Friday, September 29, 2023

Today on Facebook

 If you don't want to pay the fee to go to the highest floor of the Hancock, a hack was to go to the Signature Room and order a drink, appetizer, or whatever.  You got the same view and at least something
for your money.  An employee told me that the best time to go is just before Sunset, he swore you could see ghosts floating around ChicagoHedge (we didn't call it that then).  Never made the effort to do that.

As a native Chicagoan, I've been to the Signature Room exactly two times that I can remember.  Once because a friend wanted to have a birthday drink there.  another time was for a date.

both were F-ing lame.  

Most Chicagoans only do stuff like this when they have friends from out of town visiting.  Oh, and the Sears/Willis Tower has or had a similar room.  We ended up there one New Year's Eve and it was also...lame.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Shelves and Steaks

 I did a couple of things around the house.   First, I finally used these shelves I bought at my in-laws bi-annual yard sale.   

I've always wanted to set up a coffee bar (with hidden liquor bar components) but didn't have the chance to do so until now.

Next, I created this shelf from a shelf we used on our old sectional.  The kids destroyed the sectional and parts of it are in the Master Bedroom and Kid's room.  

Finally, here are some steaks I grilled for Nightingale's 49th birthday.  I thought about buying some lobster tails but as I have never cooked those before, I didn't want to screw up a $29/lb purchase.

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Interview

 I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts.

So the interview with No-Name Software Company Adjacent Company came and went.  As far as I can tell, it went well.  At the same time, there wasn't any moment I could point to that said "Yes they want me" or "No they won't hire me".  

As far as interviews go, this one was painless.  I took the lead and asked him to describe the role beyond what the recruiter told me and factoring in any changes in the Job Description (JD) since initial posting. 

The interview was conducted by a nice enough fellow who wears the title of Director but is really just a techie who has been doing this far too long.  We of course ran out of time before he could ask me any significant questions, had he the desire and ability to do so.

Best case he is kicking the can down the road and setting up a technical interview where I can really show my knowledge of the No-Name Software platform.  It seems all their products integrate with it so my knowledge gives me a leg up on other candidates, at least on paper.  

Nightingale has given me permission to stop job hunting and focus on being a SAHD.  We were good savers and she now has a good paying job in a low-cost-of-living state.  That said, I would like my own income and to keep padding our retirement funds.  

BTW, this role turns out to be more implementation consultant than customer solution oriented.  Honestly, I can do it if they give me a chance.  I really just want to be able to add to my resume and be able to subtract some of the pointless contract work I had to take on.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

No-Name Software Company Adjacent

  I'm writing these entries as they happen and as I have time to jot things down but I may not publish until months from now (or ever). Note: This post was written when the events were still fresh.  I waited for a while to post this because I didn’t want to risk my job-hunting efforts. 

Near the end of last year, I interviewed for a job that I really wanted.  It was No-Name Software Company Adjacent, meaning my experience with that software platform would have been advantageous.  I had three rounds of interviews only to return from the holidays to a "We've made the decision to continue the process with another candidate"  only to see the job reposted on LinkedIn less than a month later.

This year has been even stranger in the job hunt because I had a few recruiters reach out about positions that weren't actually available yet, or the movement stalled or the Job Hunting Gods just want to fuck with me.

'bout to drop a sic album

My options are in-house at a law firm (or if I'm lucky, an in-house at a non-law firm), working for a consulting company, or one of the rare No-Name Software adjacent opportunities.

Even during the Remote Heyday, most law firms require you to live in a state where they have an office for tax compliance reasons.  And now they are pushing back to the office at least in Hybrid Mode.  

The consulting companies want someone with my No-Name Software Company experience, but not my Corporate America experience, because they want to take advantage of less seasoned employees.  And if we are being honest, a lot of people I've worked with over the years work at these places and they simply do not like me.

Finally, there are the No-Name Software Company Adjacent roles which are harder to find and I've already been passed up on 2-3.

I'm interviewing for one of those tomorrow but I have so little hope that I haven't even mentioned it to Nightingale.  Besides the usual lethargic haze, the cadence on this one has been abysmal.  It's a little fuzzy when I actually applied but I recall when I got a call (Sept 7th) from the in-house recruiter, my thought was "Wow I applied 2 weeks and I'm hearing from you now".

We had a call but ran out of time.  He did say he would present me and hope I moved forward.  When I didn't hear from him on Monday as he suggested, I reached out Tuesday via email.  He didn't respond until Thursday saying that he hadn't heard anything but would ping the person.

I waited until the middle of this week to send a "Hey what's going on" in the cacophony of Corporate America speak.  He responded EOD and said the directory wanted to interview me and set it up for tomorrow.

A couple of things.  The pace he responds to emails is ridiculous.  That tells me that he is inefficient, his company can't get things done in a timely fashion, or both.  

He declined my request for some pre-interview coaching so I don't really think I'm gonna ace this interview.   

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Overcoming Home Stretch Complacency

 Two additional items to check off my ToDo List.  Yesterday I painted the Ultimate Playset after powerwashing and preping over the weekend.  

When the set arrived, the builders put it together and did some painting.  Most of it was pre-painted but apparently, there are some components that don't get painted until post-assembly.   It didn't take long for the paint to start to flake and chip.  I suspect it was because they rushed it trying to make up for their Colossal Fuckup of not having the Playset ready on time.  

Note: Those three boards look bad but they are just dirty;
They were the only ones that didn't need painting

I don't have the exact timeline and am too lazy to look it up, but at some point, I went to a local paint franchise and asked if they could sell me smaller sizes of the paint I needed for both the workroom and the playset.  They were able to do so.  I can only assume their business model allows them to do this on the assumption I'll come back for all my paint needs (I will) or the Big Box stores are lying when they say they can only sell me a gallon of some paint that  I only need 8 oz.

To Review:

Home Stretch Complacency.  

"The symptoms of HSC are, after spending years on a difficult and time-consuming renovation project, crashing on the last lap. That final room doesn’t get done, the trim doesn’t go up, and the primer doesn’t get painted. You sink into lethargy and just live with it."   Brooklyn Row House

For the Playset, it started out as just a few flakes off one or two boards.  But over time, it became more and more.  

For the WorkRoom, even painting a small 9 sq ft section like this still involves prep work and mess.  I washed the floor and taped the wall.  And even though I was careful with the paint, I still got some on my hands and it wasn't easy to get a good clean stroke.  But then again, it's just a workroom and it will be fine.  

The nice thing is that Farrell Calhoun Paint was able to make it happen.  You cannot tell that these are different source paints.  

Monday, September 11, 2023

Keeping Busy

 While Nightingale is away at her new job, I have been trying to keep busy and be productive by working on projects around the house.  The weather is more favorable and I can do outdoor things in the morning before it heats up, then switch to inside stuff just before picking up the kids from school.

  • patched a small dent in the kids room wall 
  • painted scratched paint in the master bedroom 
  • various garage organizations/cleaning/purging  
  • installing bike racks
  • Cut some dead tree limbs 
  • cleaned and polished printer stand

It might be hard to notice but the stand looks much cleaner and has a darker finish.  I don't dare try to sand, stain, and seal this antique.  

There are many more things on my ToDo list.  Some are actually quite ambitious.   Stay Tuned.

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Last Day of August

We got another good week of what qualifies as Cool Weather down here.  I was able to get some stuff done in the garages, which always makes me happy.  I hung the bike racks and put some other racks.  I'm glad I talked myself out of moving the lumber racks because that would have been a PITA.

There's still about 10% that could/should go away but I will take it for now.  One morning I need to just take everything on the floor out to the driveway and put it back in whatever order makes sense.  I want to epoxy the floor but for now, that's a pipe dream.  

Nightingale started her job at the VA this week.  Because she has to be there so early, she gets up and gets ready and packs moose and squirrel's lunch for school.  Now that orientation is over, she literally leaves just as we get up.  We have also moved the wakeup time from 7:30 to 7 am...ish.   Boris has no trouble getting up early, but Natasha hates mornings.  Our cat Ryder does his best to mitigate this by gently purring next to her.

The kiddos have been great.  Very helpful and cooperative in eating breakfast (as in telling me what the F they would like to eat), getting dressed, brushing teeth, and out the door just before 8 am all this week.   

This was also the week that my in-laws decided to visit Michigan, so we were flying without a parachute.  We had to watch their purse dogs, who are old and have health issues.  When they stay here, we have to move our cats' food dishes to the top of the washing machine.  They also need to go outside to do their business every 3-4 hours which makes it tough to sleep through the night.  

A Perfect Month

I managed to get 10K steps every day for August, something I don't know if I have achieved ever before.  The two weeks Nightingale was between jobs and the kids were at school were the easiest; I'd hit 10K before noon most days because we were purging and organizing.  I even hit the 20K one day and could have hit it more if I really wanted to.  Back in my running days, I would have hit the top steps that the app tracks, and maybe when the weather gets even cooler, I will attempt a short run to see what I got.

But there were also days where I was trying to get the last 2K just before bedtime as well, just not as many as most months.  Now are these quality steps?  No.  But every little bit helps.  

Now that I have achieved the Perfect Month, I'm gonna try and relax on the steps.  But I do have to find a way to lose some weight.  

Monday, August 28, 2023

My LinkedIn Diet

 Last Wednesday I decided to take advantage of the option in the settings of my LinkedIn account and "take a break" from LinkedIn.  What this does is log one out of LinkedIn and make your profile invisible to searches.

and it was necessary.  LinkedIn is one of the 6 or 7 places I browse constantly, looking for new content.  Not to mention hope for a new job.  but unfortunately, the possibility of a new job is gone while I live in Miss.  And honestly, my No-Name Software Skillset isn't getting any sharper.  I'm not likely to re-enter that sphere ever again.  

I only plan for this LinkedIn diet to last until after Labor Day.  It's a slow time of year anyway and I doubt I'm missing anything besides the cagey recruiter who wants to see my cards before telling me anything useful.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

About that weather

 Remember how I said 

"It won't get cool enough to work on the garden for at least another month but we need to get that done too.  Right now we have bags of mulch and dirt sitting on the driveway."

As it turns out, The Weather gods gifted us two wonderful, relatively cool (70s to low 80s) days this week.  We were able to finish the garden and clear up that driveway space.  I am also able to start my project of organizing the detached garage.

Last year, I installed some racks to store the lumber more neatly.  I was thinking of moving those to the other side of the window and putting bike racks in their place.  Upon dwelling on it for a few weeks, I think it might be better to leave them alone and just put the bike racks closer to the garage door.  Less work and it makes the back of the garage more of a work area.  

So far we have organized the linen closet, and a back bathroom closet, and culled a lot of kids' clothes.  Next up is purging the toys they no longer play with.  That will likely take the rest of this week.  Then we tackle the pantry and the office.  We have a few sit-down and research projects too like getting cheaper car insurance.

Friday, August 11, 2023

The End of An Era

|Two quick factoids to mention.  First, the kids went back to school last Thursday and this is the end of their first full week.  They are Third Graders now.

Second, I have lived here for two years.  We loaded U-haul #1 on July 31st and came down here with the kids.  I think we brought the cats on the second trip.  Nightingale was able to join us on October 1st.

Now for the really big news

In May of 2022, Nightingale took a contract remote job with Big Pharma.  The work was glorified data entry but she hoped it would lead to an opportunity to come on board FTE.  The timing was good because my contract gig was about to end.  While I did get another gig, it was short and I haven't found anything since.

Today is Nightingale's last day.  She gets two weeks off and then starts her new gig at a Veterans Administration Hospital.  The pay is substantially better but will require her to go into the office.

Since moving down here we have not been unemployed at the same time.  We had planned to spend October of 2021 exploring Memphis but then I got a contract job.  

We have big plans for the two weeks off. We hope to purge, purge, purge.  We also hope to organize, organize, organize.  I know her goals are ambitious and it will be my job to help keep them in check and avoid scope creep.  It will be better to have a few finished items than to have more unfinished ones before she goes back to work.

If there is any time left, we will start the framework on some home upgrades.  I'm thinking of tackling what we call the kids'/guest bathroom.  I believe I can sand, prime, and paint the vanity a better color than the 80s dark faux wood.

Part of that is predicated on it getting cooler so I can organize the detached garage and then use it as a workshop to paint the doors.  And eventually, maybe do real furniture flipping.

It won't get cool enough to work on the garden for at least another month but we need to get that done too.  Right now we have bags of mulch and dirt sitting on the driveway.

I'm also thinking of epoxying the detached garage, assuming I get it organized enough that moving things out of it is easier.  

Monday, July 31, 2023

Last Day of July

 We are about halfway through the Summer Weather here in lovely and exotic Olive Branch, Mississippi.  The Summers are brutally hot.  June is Hell's porch.  July is Satan's crotch.  August makes you long for June.  May starts out okay but gets hot mid-month.  September is the mirror opposite.  

My job hunt is showing no signs of improvement.  I did have an interview with a law firm that seemed positive and I was advancing to the next round.  Unfortunately, they would want me in Chicago immediately, no remote until we can move there on our schedule.

And that is part of the problem.  Even when remote work was more prevalent, law firms -- where the bulk of my potential employers are -- require you to live in a state where they have an office for tax compliance reasons.  

And now the Return To Office (TRO) is being pushed so it makes it even more unlikely I will find anything again.

July was also a bad month for steps.  Between the heat down here, and spending most of our time at the beach (where my phone would be in my backpack) I did not hit my target 99% of the time.

States I have visited in the USA

 Gonna put this here for a gimmick.  This represents, to the best of my memory, the state I have visited in the United States of America.  This is including states I may have had a short layover via airplane or just drove through on the way to somewhere else.  

This map probably isn't entirely correct.  I find it hard to believe I haven't somehow wound up driving through Oklahoma or New Mexico, but I cannot remember a specific instance where I would have. 

In the mid 90s, when I went to Yellowstone, my friend drove from New York to Chicago to pick me up.  We then drove through Wisconsin, Minnesota to get to South Dakota to visit other friends.  Did we technically touch North Dakota on the way?  No idea.  

BTW: The Blogger dot com HTML editor will let me paste the code for this map but won't let me edit it.  It's very annoying how limited Blogger has become but since it's free, I cannot really complain.

Create Your Own Visited States Map

Friday, July 28, 2023

A step in the right direction

First, a story.  When we were getting married NG and I did the wedding protocol.  We sent out Save-the-dates and subsequently, wedding invites.  A particular person was dodgy on providing their address the first time I asked and I should have taken that as a hint.

Fast forward, on our wedding invite RSVP they wrote that not only couldn't they attend, they couldn't attend because they had a block party they had to be at.  As someone who has been accused of being tactless, not reading the room, social manners lite, etc, I fail to understand why people overshare shit like this.  What is the thought process?  why share that the most important day of my life gets trumped by a bouncy house and drunk neighbors!  And the kicker?  this asshat went through a wedding themself so they should know how precious each limited seat is.

Now to the present.  Another friend is getting married soon and we are invited to the wedding.  It's impractical to attend, especially since we have had plans to be in Chicago two weeks prior.  But there is also the "this friend has been on radio silence" for a bit factor.

Dark Icarus would look at it like, oh you reach out when you need something from me but have ignored my texts and messages.  But trying to be a better person Icarus is thinking that the right thing to do here is not hold a seat hostage until the last minute.   

So I declined the invite well in advance of the RSVP date.