Thursday, January 31, 2008

bye bye Comcast...

well, today the internet access got turned off... now I have to resort to my neighbour's internet connection. I guess it isn't that bad, but it is just annoying to think that she can't even handle one simple bill. I mean, I know that I am not completely supporting myself 100% out here, but I can at least handle myself part of the time. She can't even hold a job for more than 2 months... and even with Mani paying all her bills, she can't even handle asking for money to pay her bills.

oh well... what can I say... what can I say...

Well, I met with someone from Insight Global today. They said that they wanted to put me on the Microsoft Zune Social project. I said good idea. He called my old manager Jessica from the Zune Editorial team and she gave me a great recommendation. I hope that she spreads her word over to the Social project. I am also hoping to hear back from my other managers from Microsoft and Bungie. Hopefully I will be able to get the same excellent references from my other managers.

I just heard that Washington schools will not be serving beef for lunch at school. The Hallmark Meat Packing Company, in Chino California, was caught abusing cows! I just can't believe what I was seeing, but the worst part is that this sort of thing happens all the time! It almost makes me not want to eat beef... I somehow know that won't happen, but I really think that something needs to be done.

WARNING!!!!!! THIS VIDEO IS DISTURBING!!!!!!! WATCH AT OWN RISK!!!!!!!



That is one of the saddest thing I have ever seen.

Anyway, I'm hoping that tomorrow will be the day of change. I've been trying so hard to make progress, and I really feel good about this one.

Later,
SteveO

P.S. This is the fourth snowiest winter ever recorded for us. Snoqualmie pass has been closed for days, and we don't know how long it will take before the pass can be opened again. Steven's pass was opened today, and the passes down in Oregon we opened, but the snow is still falling hard.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What is your Zombie Plan?

I found what I am pretty sure is my favorite episode of Red vs Blue.



I think it might be my favorite because I've been watching a lot of Zombie movies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

good old RvB...

I finally finished watching all 102 episodes, plus all the bonus footage from Red vs Blue (aka RvB)... the epic tale of the red team and the blue team talking about beating the each other. The Blood Gulch Chronicles tells the story of eight people, one jeep type vehicle known as a warthog, a tank (that talks)... an alien baby... a bomb (that talks)... and miscellaneous guest appearances... it really is an awesome series. I had watched all the episodes before, but I decided to put my $10 to good use and re-watch the whole story in my spare time. If you want to check out what the whole story is about just Click Here.

Just as a pre-view, here is my favorite episode that is still available online:


Other than that, I guess in a way we are snowed in... and by we I mean the entire population of Western Washington and Northern Oregon... and by snowed in I mean we can't cross over the mountains heading East, North, or South. It really is kind of crazy. The snow has been falling in the mountains in record amounts for days now. Both passes across the Cascades are closed due to avalanche conditions. There was an avalanche at Snoqualmie pass that closed I-90 and one in the middle of Oregon that closed I-5. The snow has slowed down to an inch per hour, so they think Snoqualmie pass will open in a day or two. In the mean time, they are setting off explosions in the mountains to cause controlled avalanches to prevent the snow from piling up in key areas where it can cover the road again, and every hour a police escorted group of people are coming down from the mountain pass. Hundreds of people are stranded up there (in the town) and unable to drive their cars down through the snow.

On the lighter side the ski resort on Snoqualmie pass is milking all the stranded people for what they've got! No, not really, people are getting discounted lift passes to encourage them to come back up even if they think they will be stranded. The remainder of the ski season, which is looking to be one of the best in years, should make up for any losses. Steven's pass (to the North) and White pass (to the South) are both in similar situations, except my friend James was lucky enough to get stranded at White pass.... he has been on his board for 6 days now. Every day, sun rise to sun set (which is like 2 or 3 times down the mountain a day)... lucky guy, trapped on the mountain with three beautiful women... Sometimes I wonder why I didn't go... oh yea, that's right, I had a job interview because Volt Sucks! Just like Red Sucks!

So, other than that, I think I'm going to bed. Be sure to watch some of the episodes of RvB!

Later,

SteveO

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sunshine, on a cloudy day.

Driving North on 509 just 7 miles North of Tacoma... 27 Miles South of Seattle... and 10 miles away from my house... I could see that it is a clear and sunny day in the Olympic Mountains (West of here), but I'm not in the Olympic Mountains... Earlier this morning I could see it was a cloudy and snowy day in the Cascade Mountains (East of here)... Mt Rainier (In the Cascade Mountains) went away today; it's been out for almost a whole week now ('cept for Saturday)... clear as can see. I am driving North, on 509... admiring the sunshine over in the Olympics, but not too much... the roads are icy. I decided that on my way home from an interview in Tacoma this morning, I would try to take 509 home... It is an express way leaving the city... and the part of it that I drive South out of Seattle is an express way... so I figured it would be more direct than I5... and probably less traveled...

It turns out that yes, 509 is less travelled... however there is a good reason. 7 miles North of Tacoma, I feel like I'm on an old mountain road, and that civilization must be miles and miles away. I can see that the Puget Sound is about 200 or 300 feet down on the left side of the road. Just on the other side of that metal barrier, the hill slopes down almost vertically to the water. To my right, a wall of rock and dirt that stretches nearly another 300 feet above me. In the back of my mind, I know there is probably a shopping center or a neighbourhood right at the top of the hill (this is the Suburbs after all) however, if I didn't know that, I wouldn't be able to tell. From here, you can't see the city. You can't see houses. You can only see the water, then hills, and finally the mountains on the horizon. The sky is cloudy here, the snow is falling lightly, but the clouds stop not more than a dozen or so miles away, and the sun is out there.

I change the track on my CD to a song by MXPX called "Move to Bremerton"... This is because I know that it is sunny in Bremerton, I can see it! James moved out there, and Bri (his girlfriend) is having a birthday party out there tomorrow. Which means that I am going to pack up my rain gear and head to the Olympics! I did the math, and it is cheaper to drive than to take the ferry. Even with the $3 fee coming back over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (Successor to the infamous "Galloping Gurty") . There wasn't always a fee, until just a few months ago, when they completed a toll bridge next to the stable Tacoma Narrows bridge. Now there are two nearly identical bridges spanning the narrows right next to each other... it really is kinda interesting when you think about it. So many people travel across the bridges, that they need 4 lanes in each direction... crazy.

Anyway... The job search continues. I wish Volt would speed things up a little. I had an interview through Parker Staffing today, it is a tech support position in Tacoma. I guess the nice part is that Tacoma is a cheaper area to live in than Seattle. However, I really do want to move toward the Redmond/Bellevue area. Most of the people I work with live in that area, so obviously they must make enough to live there. I hear that some areas up there are really cheap, and others are ridiculously expensive. Any away you look at it though, it would make my commute so much easier.

So... I just looked outside. It is snowing. It has snowed a lot this year. I am glad that I have fire wood, and a fire place. I heard that last year the power went out for two weeks. I am not too concerned about that though. I have a charcoal grill, charcoal, a fireplace, and firewood. Plus, a lot of canned food, Mac and cheese, and a little bit of frozen food... And if the power goes out, I can just put most of that stuff outside in the storage shed.

Anyway, I'm going to make a few calls... make some coffee... then probably brave the snow to walk the dog.

Later,
SteveO

Monday, January 21, 2008

Stupid Volt...

Sometimes it is really hard to deal with Volt. I have 5 different people from Volt talking to me now. I had 2 interviews today... and another person called me, making a grand total of 6 people from Volt. I don't know why these people call me and ask me if I am looking for a position if they don't have one to fill. It is like they just want to call someone to talk about their technical skills and then say, "ok, well, I'll keep an eye out in our database..." As if I hadn't been asked the same set of questions by four or five other people at that company. It really gets frustrating. I really just wish they would write it down the first time they ask. Which it seems like someone finally did that.
The person who called me today was able to tell me that the notes on my profile in their database suggested that I would be a good fit for a build engineer position, however, she didn't want to submit my resume, despite the fact that I asked her to several times, for the position. She wanted to wait to hear the results of the interview I had through Volt today. I told her, I do not think I will take it unless they are willing to pay me more. $13 / hour for a STE position is ridiculous. I have had several offers for STE positions paying at least $16, and that was the lowest. People with half of my technical knowledge get payed over $20 for those types of positions... I know, I've worked with them, and they told me that.
In a way, I really hope that I don't get the STE position. Build engineer would be exactly what I'm looking for, and I would be able to get at least $16 plus, I would get to do some scripting.
On the other hand, I need to start working. really really bad, and in the long run, I think it would be much more worth while to wait for a higher paying position, but if she won't submit my resume now, it will take at least a week to hear back to see if I can even get an interview.
Part of me wants to just come out and say either submit the resume, or don't waste my time with stupid phone calls. I guess the worst part now is that I won't even make rent if I start work by the end of the week... Unless I go to Labor Ready... then I might be able to make it... but then I won't have any time to interview for a real job... and I still wouldn't make all my bills.
This is the worst part about contract jobs. Anyway... back to the old drawing board.

Later,
SteveO

Friday, January 11, 2008

Holding out...

I found a better position. I hope I hear back from the hiring manager about it. It is an STE position, and we discussed $16 dollars per hour. It would last me until June, which is good. That means I can have a steady job for the next few months, and also a steady job when I'm moving. Other than that, I have 4 more leads to follow up on. The job I'm looking at and three others are through Volt... I have a back up job through Robert Half Technology... and I have leads for Tek Systems, Aerotek, and Judge...

I have been trying to figure out if I like CareerBuilder.com or Thingamajob.com better. They both seem to give me a lot of job openings, but Volt only uses Career Builder... they seem to both really like me, and they call me back right away. One time, when I applied in the morning, they even called me back that day. I guess all of my managers gave me good reviews, so I get a higher priority, plus everybody likes to see Microsoft on a resume... Volt does over half of Microsoft's hiring. Plus they have VMC... which the "bull-pen" really sucks to work at, but it is a last resort.

The "bull-pen" is this place at VMC. You sign up for it, and technically call you when they need you to show up the next day. However, it is best to just show up at about 6AM and hang out in the cafeteria until 8AM to find out if they need anyone to work. Otherwise, they might call you to come in, and then there is no work for you because it is a first come first serve basis. You are also lucky if you can make $9 /hr there.

The only benefit I can see is that it is better than $7.50 /hr at Labor Ready doing road construction or crap jobs for some contractor somewhere. Also, if you have any knowledge about testing or using computers, or... really if you don't smoke crack you can get promoted to a position where you will make $10 /hr and have reliable temporary work... but they don't like to keep anyone at VMC very long, and once you go through the process they try and keep you away from it. It is kinda a way to weed out the pot heads that think that testing video games is all about playing games all day long... but anyway...

Also I saw this awesome link on cousin Liz's blog: The story of Stuff with Annie Leonard that made me think.

Other than that, I also discovered that the head lamp I got for christmas is perfect for Jaani to use while walking at night. I can put it around his neck, and then he has a light to see and be seen with.

So... that's life in Seattle.

Later,
SteveO

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The interview...

So, today I had a job interview. It went well, but I don't know if you job they chose is really the job I want. So, I guess I have a back up plan just in case I can't find a better job in the next week.

The position is a Web Support Technician, which is a fancy way to say help desk position. It might be a good thing however, it would allow me a good amount of time to go back to school. It's a third shift position... 4 days a week, midnight to 10AM.

In the mean time, I have several other positions that I am looking at, for which I have 3 interviews next week. I think it's a good sign that for every position I got an interview for, I got a job. The key things about this job would be a higher pay rate, few calls would come in, 12 month contract, opportunities to move up, and benefits. The downside is that I would have to work a call centre in the middle of the night. I have to be honest, I was really looking forward to actually seeing the sun and getting out this summer.

It's a hard decision, but I'm sure I'll be in good shape. All I have to do is make my car payment, and make sure I get a job in the next week.

Other than that, I went to Cost-Co today(that means that dad's Cost-Co card works for me) and got some food, logs for the fire, and razor cartridges. So now I can look nice and sharp for my interviews. I also got a nice pair of pants for interviewing. I have a lot of pants, but I just realized that most of them are no good if I want to interview somewhere.

So tonight I'm curling up by the fireplace to watch a move with my Cost-Co spinach salad and Jaani (he actually eats spinach... if it has the dressing on it...)

I hope the fire logs will have the impact on my heating bill I want them to have.

So, that's all for now.

Later,
SteveO

Monday, January 7, 2008

3 hours and counting.

in three more hours gOS v2 will be available for download! I have been anticipating it so much for the past couple of days. I just loaded it up on one of the Dells, and it runs great!

Funny thing today. I am pretty sure the Evelyn is definately going to cancel the Internet access. I am making a big deal out of it, even though I really don't care. I can still connect via our neighbor's connection, but I want to make her think that she is really upsetting me with it.

The final straw came when the Dell she was using broke. I still haven't figured out what is wrong with it. the main problem is that the screen won't turn on. Honestly, I suspect that she broke it by throwing it or something. She is trying so hard to make it sound like it was my fault, which is why. Part of me wants to tell her that she has to pay for it, but I just don't want to put up with her kicking and screaming about it. I guess it is lost now. I have two laptops and a desktop that all work. Now one of them even has the best parts from each of the Dells. I'm happy about that. The only thing I need now is an internal laptop blue-tooth antenna. but for the time being, I actually have 2 extra internal Wifi cards, 2 sticks of 256BM DDR RAM, 2 ATA 80GB Laptop HDDs, a 15.4" WXGA LCD laptop screen, a 15" XGA LCD laptop screen, and misc parts for my desktop computer.

Ev has been a real handful today... it is that time of the month... I guess it's only times like this when I remember that sometimes it isn't that time of the month. She needed more pads. She said it last night... then started to throw a hissy fit about nothing in particular and didn't want to go... she said she was using her last one earlier today, but she was too busy telling me that I am her problem to go to the store... so then after that she called me when I was at Jet City. She said that she was out of pads and was going to stay in the shower until I got home with some. I told her that I would come home when I finished my coffee. What I didn't realize that by stay in the shower, she meant that she was going to run the shower the whole time I was gone. She called me a little later, and asked if I left yet, I told her not yet, and that I have no sympathy for her because she refused to go to the store, and she was not only asking me to get them, but she wanted me to pay for them too. She hung up on me.

Over the next little while, I took Jaani for a walk, got dinner for myself, and eventually went by walgreens to pick up the smallest pack of pads for her I could find. Meanwhile, she called me at least 2 or 3 dozen times. eventually I picked up right before I got to walgreens. She said to hurry up... and I said I would be there soon. She called again after I left Walgreens... she said never mind, she would have Mani bring it... I thought to myself, self, it sure would have been nice if he did something about this 3 or 4 hours ago.

The moral of the story is that Ev is an ungrateful B**** that probably broke my computer, blamed it on me, and is now going to cancel the Internet access because she is too worthless to go out an get a good job, her own computer, her license, or do anything for herself.

I have never met a more ungreatful and thankless person in my life.

Later,
SteveO

Saturday, January 5, 2008

$199 (Linux based) PC at Wal-Mart!

Wal-Mart has is shipping a PC that comes pre-loaded with Linux! Granted, it is a desktop PC, but I am excited to see Linux pre loaded on a machine sold at Wal-Mart!

Click Here!

I think this is sweet, but the best part is that they are selling out everywhere! On the surface it doesn't look like much. It is pretty much the laptop I just got... but it comes pre-loaded with Linux. gOS to be exact. Which is almost the same thing I put on my laptop... An OS based on Ubuntu that uses a different GUI (Graphical User Interface) and a few other minor changes... but it is something that excites me to see and hear about!

anyway... just wanted to share.

Later,
SteveO

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A new OS for a new computer!

Today I finally got my new computer running on Ubuntu. From my experience I have learned that Windows Vista will crash constantly if you run it on a machine with less that 1GB of RAM. Which makes it the biggest abomination sense Windows ME.

On the plus side, my computer is running twice as fast with Ubuntu. I use less than half of my RAM... I didn't have to install any drivers for my Web Cam, Bluetooth adapter, Printer... or anything. It just took me a minute to figure out that my wireless networking adapter uses a non-free driver, so I had to enable the restricted drivers. I didn't have to spend hours installing software... I didn't have to click 2 billion ok boxes to install extra stuff I wanted... I just set it up, and now it works like a charm. and the ReiserFS runs like a charm with my 7200RPM SATA HDD.

Yes, life is grand.

I have a light weight, fast, reliable machine. It works on networks with Windows XP machines... Vista machines... Macintoshes... even other Linux machines (duh...)

I was more than happy this morning to wake up to my old familiar default background for Ubuntu.

Actually, my only issue was that the Live CD wouldn't run. It booted, but then it just wouldn't load all the way.

I thought it was interesting that so many other people had problems with a Lenovo 3000 N200... then once I looked at the Lenovo site, I realized that I most have purchased an older model of it, and that is why everyone else had problems. Just my luck, if I chose the Acer, I would have had trouble too... nobody could get the graphics to work right with the ATI chipset... it even seems like people were having trouble with the newer Nvidia chipsets... but not me with my Intel 965 chipset. works like a charm. and once I get another GB of RAM I'll have no problem editing a dozen or so pictures at a time in GIMP... while surfing the web... and compiling some code... and chatting on Pidgin... and updating my blog for mom... and I'm sure I'll come up with something else that can't wait until all that is done... cause all that will take forever.

Yes... and now with a battery that actually lasts me 3 1/2 hours... I mean it did with Windows Vista... now it last me almost 5 full hours... I can even do things outside the house with my laptop... heck, my laptop is even light enough for me to be happy to toss it into my backpack and roam the city!

It turns out this machine is less than half the weight of my dell. at a mere 3 1/2 lbs. oh yes...

well, to finish, Thank you mom and dad! the Laptop is great, the rain gear has come in handy several times (even today!), and everything out here is going great!

Later,
SteveO