Impressions of work, and lots of movies

Welp, after just over a week of nothing, I’ve finally made it back over here to update things again. Sorry about the lack of updates…but now that I’m back on a work schedule (Monday – Friday, 8am – 5pm), by the time I’m off work, bussing out to Ballard to dink around on the ‘puter isn’t the highest thing on my list of priorities. I’ve gotta admit, I’m going to be _so_ incredibly happy when I can finally get all set up at my apartment and don’t have to do all this goofball running around anymore.

Work is going well. It’s been really interesting so far…a very big change from the prinshop environments I’ve worked at in the past (TimeFrame and [Kinko’s][2]). As [XBS][3]@[Andersen, LLP][4] (the official name for where I’m stationed) isn’t open to the public, but is the private printshop for Anderson, it’s much more focused than the more ‘anything-goes’ workloads I was used to. There are five or six primary styles of reports that I’ll be making that make up the majority of the work, plus whatever other copy projects the company comes up with, but it’s a lot more predictable. Definitely takes some getting used to…I’m not really sure if I can say if it’s better or worse, but it’s definitely different.

[1]: “The printshop I’m working in.”
[2]: “Kinko’s”
[3]: “Xerox Business Solutions”
[4]: “Andersen, LLP”

[Seattle, WA][5]One thing’s for sure though — I miss my DocuTech! I got really spoiled by my years of working on that beast, I think. As this printshop is much smaller and has much more limited runs, they don’t have the high-end equipment I’ve been able to play with for the last few years. I’m back to working with analog equipment…and the digital copiers we have aren’t networked, so _everything_ I work with is hardcopy. A big switch from the push towards all-digital (or at least as much as possible) that TimeFrame was working for. It seems like every time I turn around, with almost every job I do here, I’m seeing ways it would be easier and/or faster for both myself and the client if I had a DocuTech at my disposal…but at the same time, I know that the volume isn’t high enough to justify the expenditure that that would be. A shame…maybe if things go well I can talk them into networking the newer machines in so we can get some digital quality. Who knows? Since I’m still on temp status at the moment, though, I’m not going to start pushing for that just yet.

[5]: “Seattle, WA”

In other news…well, there isn’t really any other news. Now that I’m working again, I don’t have my days free to wander wherever I want, and I’m still not quite financially comfortable. I’m not in dire straits or anything, but I’m not to a point where I can drop money every time I feel like it, either. I’ve been killing a lot of evening hours watching movied rented from [Blockbuster][6]…however, I can’t remember quite all of them. Hrm. Let’s see&…ones I remember as being on the better end of things include [The Million Dollar Hotel][7], [The Talented Mr. Ripley][8], [The Gift][9], [Snatch][10], [Wonder Boys][11]…[What Lies Beneath][12] was better than I expected…and I know there have been a few more, I’m just spacing on them at the moment. I also got to go see [Dr. Strangelove (or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb)][13] at the Egyptian’s midnight show last Friday. That was a lot of fun…more so because there were a few people near me who obviously had never seen it before, and it was great to hear people laughing at it for the first time. In a day and age when most people won’t be satisfied unless the newest and fanciest CGI graphics are splashed across the screen every fifteen seconds, it’s great to hear that there are still people entertained by a mid-60’s (?) black-and-white political comedy that appeals to the mind rather than being just pure eye candy.

[6]: “Blockbuster”
[7]: “Amazon: The Million Dollar Hotel”
[8]: “Amazon: The Talented Mr. Ripley”
[9]: “Amazon: The Gift”
[10]: “Amazon: Snatch”
[11]: “Amazon: Wonder Boys”
[12]: “Amazon: What Lies Beneath”
[13]: “Amazon: Dr. Strangelove”

So anyway, that’s about it for the past week. It may very well be another week before I get to another post, due to my work schedule. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on figuring out what to do about getting my ‘puters over to my place so I don’t have to keep making this trek. Wish me luck!

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I’m employed!

Rock on — when I started typing this update out, I was under the impression that I’d have another round of interviews to go through on the job I’ve been trying to get…but I just got a call, and I’m hired! :D Here’s the scoop….

Got up this morning and got ahold of the Todays office to figure out where to go — I knew that I had an 11am appointment set up, but not much more than that. The staff of Todays got me the address, I called the bus system to figure out how to get there, and hopped a bus out to the Tukwila area (south of Seattle proper) to the local [Xerox][1] headquarters.

[1]: “Xerox”

[Xerox entrance][2]The interview seemed to go really well. Sat and talked with Shelly for probably around half an hour or so as we went over my qualifications and what the expectations of this position would be. At the end of the interview, she handed me a card with the name of the gentleman who I’ll eventually be replacing so that I could set up a time to go by the site, check it out, and see what I’ll be getting myself into. I took that as a fairly good sign, and headed back to the Shoebox to set up that appointment. As it turned out, when I called him at about 1pm things were slowing down for him, so we set to meet on site at 2pm.

[2]: “Xerox entrance”

After chatting with Melvin (the landlord for my apartment building) when he stopped by for a few minutes, I wandered my way downtown to the site — [Arthur Andersen][3], a financial consulting and accounting firm. There I met John, some of the other staff (both Xerox and AA personnel), and went over the equipment and got a quick tour of the office. Some of their equipment I’m familiar with, some I’m not, but I don’t think any of it will be too hard to pick up.

[3]: “Arthur Andersen”

When I left the site, it looked like there would be one more round of interviews before I got any definite word one way or another. The actual head of the department at AA wasn’t in today, and generally they like to have a round with them before making the final decision. Apparently I made a pretty good impression, however, as I just got a phone call from Today’s letting me know that I’ve got the spot — and they want me to start tomorrow! This even took Todays by surprise — I’m supposed to get drug tested before starting work, but it looks like we’ll have to find a way to get that done at some other point, and they decided to go ahead and forego that little technicality to keep their client happy and get me in ASAP. The pay scale isn’t definite yet either — it should start somewhere between $11/hr and $13/hr, and Todays says they’re going to try to push it up towards the top of that scale, due to my experience — but all the little details will get taken care of soon enough. The end result is – _I’m employed!!!_

Then, just to make it even better — I’m rapidly discovering that I lucked into finding a _really_ good temp agency to work through. They’ve got a lot of bonuses — health benefits, training seminars, and so on — but the pay system I think is going to be one of my favorite bits. Not only do they pay weekly, but they pay for the week that you just worked. So you work Monday to Friday, take your timecard down to the office, they run it into their computer, and hand you a check right then and there. So with that, not only did I just land a job, but Friday will be my first payday! This _rocks_!

And now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go do a silly little happydance for while….

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Books and movies

Not much of an update today…things have been pretty slow this weekend. Spent just about all day Saturday at home, doing a lot of reading. Finished [Snow Crash][1], burned right through [Mindplayers][2], by Pat Cadigan, and just got started today on [Sophie’s World][3], by Jostein Gaarder.

[1]: “Amazon: Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash”
[2]: “Amazon: Pat Cadigan: Mindplayers”
[3]: “Amazon: Jostein Gaarder: Sophie’s World”

I did hit Blockbuster video and picked up three movies I hadn’t seen before. I went with [Scary Movie][4] (figured I might as well finally watch the thing — I think I was better off beforehand, though), [Cherry Falls][5] (about as entertaining as a silly little modern cheeseball teen-horror flick can get), and [The Contender][6] (by far the best of the three, a nice political drama). Of the three, the only one really worth watching was The Contender.

[4]: “Amazon: Scary Movie”
[5]: “Amazon: Cherry Falls/Terror Tract”
[6]: “Amazon: The Contender”

At the moment, I’m just pretty bored…looking forward to the day when I can get my ‘puters to my apartment. Ah, well. Tomorrow morning’s the second interview for the job I’m working on getting…hopefully all will go well.

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Job details, more books, and monkeys

First off — as far as I can tell, I think the interview this morning went great! :) Here’s the details I’ve got on the job I may be getting hired for.

Turns out that the place I interviewed at today was a temp staffing agency called [Todays][1]. I’d actually applied for a data entry position through [][2], but when they saw my resume, they felt I was better qualified for a posting that wasn’t quite official yet. Should I get this spot, I’ll be working (pay attention now, this gets slightly tricky) at a local firm who’s name I can’t remember for [Xerox][3] as an employee of Todays. Got that?

[1]: “Today’s Office Staffing”
[2]: “”
[3]: “Xerox”

See, Xerox has a service where they send trained operators out to various firms to run their equipment — Xerox knows that people who know what they’re doing are touching their equipment, and the firm doesn’t have to spend its own personnel resources on keeping the copiers going — works well for all parties involved. I’d end up getting dropped in the middle of this — officially a Today’s employee, temping with Xerox, but working at this firm.

But, there’s even a little more to it than this. As it turns out, this firm had a special request with this posting. They have an employee working in this area with ‘special needs’ — exactly what that means hasn’t been specified — and they wanted to see if they could get someone with at least some management/leadership experience. They don’t need a manager, but they did want someone who would be more able to and comfortable with working with this employee; able to give help when needed, act as something of a liason between this employee and others, and the like. Given the supervisorial (is that a word?) experience I have on my resume, Today’s felt that I would be a good pick, and apparently that impression held true during the interview today, as they seemed highly confident that I’d be called in on this job posting. So…now I just cross my fingers, but at least from where I’m standing, things look really good. Woohoo!

In other news….

Yeah, I’m a voracious reader. I posted yesterday that I’d just started re-reading Cliff Stoll’s [The Cuckoo’s Egg][4]. Welp…that’s done with. Next up on the dock is Neal Stephenson’s [Snow Crash][5], one of (if not the single) seminal works of “cyberpunk” fiction, and an acknowledged source of inspiration for many of today’s top computer/VR developers. Great stuff.

[4]: “Amazon: Cliff Stoll: The Cuckoo’s Egg”
[5]: “Amazon: Neal Stephenson: Snow Crash”

As for the monkeys. My parents were kind enough to drop me a bit of money to help me out until I start getting paychecks and get up and on my feet. So, me being the fine, upstanding, and responsible young man I am — I took the opportunity today after my job interview to go see a movie! Erm…hey, it was a whopping five bucks for the matinee, and I was in a good mood after the interview. So sue me. Anyway…went out to see Tim Burton’s [Planet of the Apes][6], one of the big films I’d been waiting to see this summer. So how was it? Horrid — the end result was it’s a matinee at best…quite possibly only a rental. Much as it pains me to say that about a Tim Burton film, it’s true.

[6]: “Amazon: Planet of the Apes”

New talkback feature

One last thing for today. I’m experimenting with more ‘toys’ to play with on my website, and have found a talkback system that seems to fit quite nicely between the limited interactivity of the polls I toss up occasionally and the full messageboard I have running. Whenever I turn it on (which I probably won’t do for every post), you should be able to click the ‘Comments’ link at the end of a post to spout off about my babble, should you wish. As with the other doo-dads I’ve got on here, I have no idea how much or how often they’ll actually get used…but hey, it’s fun to play with, and it’s my website, so I can do what I want. So there. Bleah. ;)

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Cool people and new books

First off — with as many complete momos as there are running around in the world today, it’s always nice to be reminded that there actually are some truly cool people out there, too. A couple days ago I posted a bit of a whine/moan/rant about how the combination of lack of response on the job front and lack of money was getting to me. Since then I’ve gotten a couple e-mails and a couple conversations over [Yahoo! Messenger][1] with some very kind words of support. Much as I try not to let things get to me, and keep a healthy and happy outlook on whatever’s going on in my life, sometimes it’s neccesary to let my frustrations fly — and when I do, it’s wonderful to get the occasional “buck up, kiddo” from people out there. Thanks to all of you — you rock.

[1]: “Yahoo! Messenger”

Last night I managed to finish two projects I’d been working on. The first was a large puzzle of M. C. Escher’s work ‘High and Low’ — a real bear of a puzzle too, as the entire thing is black, white, and shades of grey. The second was the book I’d been reading, [The Autobiography of Henry VIII: With Notes by his Fool, Will Somers: A Novel][3], by Margaret George. Very good historical fiction.

[3]: “Amazon: Margaret George: The Autobiography of Henry VIII”

Having finished those, I’ve just started re-reading (as I don’t want to spend the money on something brand-new at the moment) a book that I was reminded of while reading [The Jargon File][4] — [The Cuckoo’s Egg][5], by Cliff Stoll. This is a great little techno-spy thriller detailing the chase of a West-German hacker (this was written in the late 80’s) who was tunnelling through the then-new Internet, breaking into U.S. Military computers, and selling secrets to the Russians. The entire trail started from a 75-cent billing error in a Universities computer system, and the real kicker to the story — is that it’s all true. It’s been years since I’ve read it, though — I’ll babble more about it once I’m done.

[4]: “The Jargon File”
[5]: “Amazon: Cliff Stoll: The Cuckoo’s Egg”

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I’ve got an interview!


Yesterday in the midst of all my bitching and moaning about not having gotten any leads in the job search, I had sent off a bunch of online apps for Data Entry positions. I hadn’t thought about this approach before, but Stacey recommended it while we were chatting, so I figured it was worth a shot. Today I had a return e-mail waiting for me, and now I’ve got an interview set up for Friday morning at 9am.

Turns out that when Cathy (the lady reviewing the online apps) saw my resume she realized that I was somewhat over-qualified for a simple data-entry spot, but also knew that there were positions opening in the reprographics industry that I’m eminently qualified for. Sounds good to me…and hopefully my interview goes as well as the phone conversation today did.

Wish me luck!

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I want a Klein Bottle kitty

People never fail to amuse and amaze me. I got an e-mail today that was (yet another) internet-based petition. I’m sure you’ve all gotten them before — they’re rapidly becoming the most popular of the variants of [spam (see sense 5)][1] floating around these days.

[1]: “Jargon File: Spam”

This particular one was railing about cruelty to animals, cats in particular. Here’s the gist of it:

> In New York there is a Japanese [sic] who sells ‘bonsai-kittens.’ Sounds like fun huh? NOT! These animals are squeezed into a bottle. Their urine and feces are removed through probes. They feed them with a kind of tube. They feed them chemicals to keep their bones soft and flexible so the kittens grow into the shape of the bottle. The animals will stay there as long as they live. They can’t walk or move or wash themselves. Bonsai-kittens are becoming a fashion in New York and Asia. See this horror at: [][2] Please sign this email in protest against these tortures. If you receive an email with over 500 names, please send a copy to: [edited]. From there this protest will be sent to USA and Mexican animal protection organizations.

[2]: “Bonsai Kitten”

My first question — did anyone actually _look_ at this site before signing the petition? I’m not sure what gets to me more — that anyone could actually take this site seriously, or that by the time I got the petition, there were 239 names on it, and who knows how long it’s been circulating around the ‘net? Okay, sure, so the site doesn’t have a disclaimer anywhere on it…but does it really need one? I mean, come on…I started going through it, and I almost fell off my chair here because I was laughing so hard. So maybe I’ve got something of a sick sense of humor — that’s fine with me.

Another question — why in the world would the petition be sent to animal-protection agencies in the US and Mexico? That just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, as the information given states that this ‘business’ is run by “a Japanese” (person) in New York.

Ah, well. _I_ think it’s funny. So there. Bleah. :)

Here’s some other sites that may be of interest to cat lovers, cat haters, or cat humor afficianados: [Cat-Scan][3], [Pet Mummification][4], [Live Nude Cats!][5], [Stop Kitty Porn][6], [Dancing With Cats][7], and [Cat Dynamics — Cat Technology Specialists][8].

[3]: “CliffyB’s Cat Scan!”
[4]: “Mummification for pets and animals”
[5]: “Live! Nude! Cats!”
[6]: “Respect the pussy: Stop kitty porn!”
[7]: “Dancing with cats”
[8]: “Cat Dynamics”

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Is this going to work?

I’m starting to get really worried as to whether this whole thing is going to work out for me. It seems I may have made a bit of a mistake in moving my departure date up to when I did — I arrived in Seattle at a time when the job market is pretty nasty, and I’m getting really tired of being unemployed.

As all of my computer knowledge is self-taught and I hold no actual degrees that prove I know what I know, getting into anything computer-related at this point is something of a pipe dream. Since I knew that was a possibility, I had counted on being able to get hired on either at Kinko’s or Suncoast or both — I thought that eight years of experience plus Xerox certification on the DocuTech and DigiPath would give me a good chance at getting into Kinko’s, and I had just completed almost a full year at the Suncoast in the Dimond Center in Anchorage. Unfortunately, Suncoast is currently full with their summer hires and likely won’t be hiring until around the end of summer/beginning of the school season, so that isn’t happening to quickly; and Kinko’s has switched to a system where you can’t actually apply in person at a store — merely check their website to see where any openings are, and there aren’t currently any posted spots at the stores that I know I can get to easily.

At the moment, then, that leaves me still unemployed, pretty much broke (I’m down to my last $50 at the moment), and getting more and more disgruntled every time one more day goes by with no return calls or e-mails from the jobs that I’ve been applying for over the web. I’m about to start hitting the lowest tier of employment — everything I can find in the Capitol Hill area, from grocery stores to fast-food — just to see if I can get _some_ form of income fairly quickly.

I just hate the fact that I have to end up doing that. Tons of computer knowledge that does me no good because I haven’t been certified in anything, close to a decade in the quick-print industry and I can’t get to a Kinko’s that has an open spot (and the other print shops I’ve checked with so far aren’t hiring), retail experience that currently is filled with summer hires…and all of a sudden, everything that looked so good and promising from Anchorage is starting to look frighteningly like a momentous waste of time and money if I can’t come up with something really soon. I’ve sold off or given away the majority of what I own that I felt able to part with, including my car, and have already burned through almost all my finances through the move down and into my Shoebox — even if I wanted to throw in the towel and head back to Alaska (something that I’m still too stubborn to resort to yet), I couldn’t afford to do that at this point. Something needs to come through soon…I’m not sure what I’m going to do if it doesn’t.

I just hope this wasn’t all a big mistake.

However, in slightly happier news, when I met up with Holly and Ryan at the Baltic Room last night, she reminded me that the girl who’s name I couldn’t remember in the last post is named Courtney, so now I can go through and fix that post so I don’t look quite so retarded. Hrm. Well, that’s something, I guess.

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A Talitribe party

So Friday evening I got a call from Holly seeing if I was up to heading out for another party with her group of friends. Not very hard to answer — I’m still (unfortunately) unemployed, so have no set schedule, and I had a lot of fun at the her birthday party…so it was a go, as far as I was concerned.

Saturday day I spent just hanging out at home. As I don’t have my computers set up over there yet, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and working on a jigsaw puzzle, so those took up the majority of the day. That afternoon Holly called, and I walked a block down to [Toys in Babeland][1] where Holly, Ken, and Courtney were doing some shopping. I have to admit, I had no idea there were so many varieties of vibrator available…!

[1]: “Toys in Babeland”

Once done there, we headed up to (the other) Ken’s apartment, where we met up with (the other) Ken, Ryan, and another guy who’s name I’ve completely spaced on. After a bit of time there (where I introduced them to [Divine Interventions][2], home of the “Baby-Jesus Buttplug”), we divided into seperate cars — Holly and Ryan in one car, Ken and Courtney and I in another, while (the other) Ken and his friend waited to head out later, and went out to Tali’s house for the party.

[2]: “Divine Interventions”

[Talitribe][3]I had a lot of fun during the ensuing party. Saw a lot of the people I met at Holly’s birthday party again, and met a few more members of the Talitribe (that being the name of this family of friends, with Tali being the ‘mother’ of everyone). Just a very relaxing evening of having fun, talking and joking around a lot, soaking in the hot tub — something I don’t get to do very often — and generally enjoying myself. This seems to be a really good group of people — the general atmosphere during these parties really reminds me a lot of the parties I used to have at the Pit a few years back, when that group was still going strong. I’ve missed those days, and it’s nice to have found something similar down here.

[3]: “Talitribe”

The party lasted long into the night and next day, as is common for these things, and I ended up grabbing a few hours sleep in Tali’s room next to Renda, Griffin, and (at times) Ken, (the other) Ken, Tali, Amber — and there may have been some others floating in and out, too. Much of Sunday was spent kicking back and waking up, as various people reappeared from wherever they’d passed out for the night. I ended up at one point watching the Adam Sandler comedy [Billy Madison][4] — and I have to admit, I think I was better off standing by my previous desire never to see any Adam Sandler flick other than [The Wedding Singer][5], as I find him to be one of the least funny ‘comedians’ out there.

[4]: “Amazon: Billy Madison”
[5]: “Amazon: The Wedding Singer”

Eventually everyone was up and mobile, and we headed out for dinner (as it was now almost 6pm) at Charlie’s, a restaurant on Broadway. After a good meal and more general hilarity and whatnot, I wandered my way back to the Shoebox, as Charlie’s is just 10 blocks or so away. A few minutes of attempting to work on the puzzle was enough to convince me that I was absolutely beat, so I just spread out my ‘bed’ (blankets and pillows on the floor for the moment), and crashed out.

Today’s been pretty standard so far — got up and came over here to Casey’s to check in on things here. Tonight I’ll be meeting up with Ryan at a bar called [The Baltic Room][6] to catch some of the downtempo beats being spun. Hopefully that should turn out to be pretty good…and hey, it’s exploring someplace new, which I generally enjoy. We’ll see this evening.

[6]: “CitySearch: The Baltic Room”

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