01/17/07 - 2:21 am Short update. New Years Eve was fun.... not prefect (because someone didn't come visit) but fun nonetheless. Life since then has been as follows: work has been insane (both jobs), dating has sucked because I only seem to attract crazy fucking women. Onto a completely different topic... macs suck (I didn't capitalize "mac" because they don't deserve to it). I saw at least two new mac commercials tonight that pissed me off. The first had the "PC" having a webcam taped to the top of his head and the "mac" saying something to the affect of "I have that built in." Big fucking deal "mac"... you have a shitty webcam built in. Your customers get to pay for a webcam whether they want one or not while "PC" users get to choose if they want one AND what brand/make/model they want. The second commercial was about the "PC" upgrading to Windows Vista and how it had to pass tests and requirements and upgrade its hardware. The "mac" just said that it was ready for the latest version of the OS... which is complete and utter bullshit. There are entire websites dedicated to the minimum hardware requirements for each point release of the macOS. Go ahead, try to stick Jaguar on a first generation G3... see what happens. macs suck... for EVERYTHING but graphic design... and even then they aren't ready "right out of the box" like they advertise. Okay... off the soapbox for tonight.
01/23/07 - 10:53 pm I wish I could say that this past weekend was stressful for me but it wasn't, at least not when compared to other people that I care about. I've said this before to my married friends... but "married people piss me off." If I am ever lucky enough to get married and have a family, and I complain to you about how hard marriage is, I want you married friends to yell at me and remind me of this entry and that I said "marriage shouldn't be this difficult." Since I don't have a relationship of my own to worry about, I do one of two things... work... or worry about the relationships of those closest to me. Work is a happy thing... for those of you that haven't figured that out about me by now. Worrying about other people isn't so happy, but I seldom lose sleep over it because I do realize that it is well beyond my control. For those that may be having issues right now, you know I'm here for you. I can't promise you that I'll take your side until I've heard the truth from both sides, but I can promise that I'll listen to what you have to say. On to other stuff. I had lunch with a friend on Friday after what seems like not seeing her for a year and got caught up on some stuff I didn't know about. Gossip aside... it looks like plans are in the works for a trip back to OBX this year. It will be a different kind of trip for me, but hopefully the first of many "family" type trips. I talked to another friend this weekend that I hadn't talked to in months and got caught up with her... thankfully I don't have to worry about her. I did get to see another friend this weekend (all too briefly) but had a difficult time getting to her on account of the "snow" we had on Sunday. I use the term "snow" loosely because it was hardly a dusting... but enough to freak out most Maryland drivers. I was on RT70 caught between people driving in the "fast" lane going 40mph with their flashers on and people driving 4wd vehicles that thought just because they had 4wd, that meant they could ignore things like lanes, speed limits, common sense, etc. Hrm... I seem to be on a bit of a soapbox rant since the new year. And another thing... macs still suck.
02/04/07 - 11:14 pm It was a long, long week of work. I spent the entire week working on an upgrade to the main piece of software used by our Children and Youth Services people. It wouldn't have been so bad if the people training the CYS staff knew what our requirements were. The trainers were from the company that built the software and were experts in every aspect of it, but they didn't know how the Army was making me deploy it. Basically, the Army had me install extra software for absolutely no reason that just slows down the systems and causes the program to not work correctly in some cases. I managed to get it figured out and now this week I need to finish up a couple more systems and re-write all of the documentation so other techs know how to install the program and make it work. The side job has been mighty insane as well... I know I did at least three calls this week and still have a computer to deliver tomorrow night. On top of all that, I managed to get my system so infected with viruses/spyware while trying to fix someone else's system that I ended up putting in a new drive and starting from scratch. What else... oh, I'm all paid up and ready to hit the beach in May... I'm a little nervous about it but excited too. Last thing, tonight was the Super Bowl and since I didn't have any other plans, I watched it with the parents (which will get them off my back about visiting for a couple weeks). I very nearly left before the 1st quarter even ended because I was having a hard time dealing with mother. She wanted to "watch the game" with dad and I but didn't do anything of the sort. She read the newspaper, magazines, did school work, and couldn't manage to be silent for more than 10 seconds at a time. When she did talk it was either something not football related or the same "the game is better than it was supposed to be, isn't it" line. Besides all that, she did utter another one of her amazingly bigoted remarks. First she saw the Snickers commercial where the two guys accidentally kiss and then do "something manly." Then there was the commercial for the David Letterman Show where he is a Colts fan, and his wife (I presume) is a Bears fan, and he says something about enjoying it together or something like that. Well, the woman in the commercial was black and mother immediately makes a remark about it and the Snickers commercial, and how its a statement on "the direction the country is going." Honestly, I can't really do her remarks justice on here, you really need to hear them for yourself to understand exactly how much of a bigot she is. All I can say is that I'm glad she's going to church and that its helping her with her bigotry... oh wait... sorry... its actually making it worse. Okay, time to hit the sack.
03/07/07 - 12:11 am Holy crap has it really been over a month?!?!?!?! It doesn't seem like its been that long but I know it has been. Unlike other long periods of no updates, I just haven't been able to update anything in the past month. My trusty computer made it almost four years without having to be rebuilt but in the past 30 days I've have to rebuild her three time ("her" was a "him" until [s]he let me down, then he got a gender change and became a "her"). Yell at me if you want for that, but the simple fact is that the vast majority or hurt, pain, and betrayal I've had in my life has come from the female gender... so as long as anything doesn't hurt me or let me down, its either a male or neutral gender... the second it cheats, betrays, or otherwise hurts me, it becomes female. She is back up and running for the moment so I thought I'd update while I had the chance. Work has been nuts... mostly the main job but the side job has been bad too. We instituted a new "ticket distribution" system at the main job last week and its worked out spectacularly so far. Now that we have one person responsible for handing out and overseeing tickets, the total number of outstanding tickets have dropped from the mid-to-upper teens to the mid-to-low single digits. A great example of the new system happened just this evening... I had two active tickets I was working on and two new tickets came in around 4:45pm. Under the old system, those working until 5pm would have ignored those tickets and left me to pick them up after they left. Tonight, I walked back to the tech room at 4:55pm, saw three techs (two that had zero tickets) and without saying a word they picked up the tickets by the time I got back to my desk. On a happy/sad note... we (the contract) picked up a new client late last week... but have to permanently reassign an outstanding tech to make sure they get the support they need. Not only do we lose a good tech, but I lose my officemate. Okay, yeah, we've had some professional differences in the past, but he is still a good tech and my room is going to be mighty empty now with just me in it. On to the personal life... nothing to report. I can't wait for St. Patty's Day... not for the drinking, but because I am hoping to spend it with at least one friend. That's it for now.
03/25/07 - 10:10 pm Well, as usual things didn't work out exactly as planned but it was still a very good St. Patty's Day weekend. I was supposed to have been off the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before the 17th but I was asked to cancel Wednesday and Thursday because we suddenly found ourselves shorthanded at work. It was a really good kind of shorthanded though, people moving on to other jobs, getting promoted, getting a new organization to support... it all kinda happened at the same time and they did give me the choice. The downside of it was that instead of being in Mo'town Thursday night, I had to drive over Friday during some very shitty weather. My usual 2 hour trip took nearly 4, mostly due to a very slow start and people not having any clue how to drive in snow and ice. St. Patty's Day itself was very fully and very good. I went to a desert fund raiser for Caritas House at 7pm and had a lot better time than expected. Had I known about the auctions they were having, I may have brought extra money and bid on something. I don't think they raised as much as they did last year or even came close, but it sounded like it was different this year. I can tell you that the MC they got from the radio station sucked and that the sound system was even worse. There was this one outstanding good thing that happened... at least it was good at the time... now its just kinda "there" and I can't do anything about it. More on that later... maybe never. The desert thing ended around 9:30pm and my friend and I finally got around to celebrating St. Patty's Day. We did a little drinking in my hotel room but finally made it down to the Sports Page to meet up with another friend. The three of us headed out of there and went to shoot some pool for a bit afterwards. We eventually called it a night and went our separate ways.... I was the most intoxicated but that was hardly a surprise since I was the only one that didn't have to drive home. I'm glad I went over and had such a good time.... as of Thursday night I was seriously considering not going because I thought I'd end up in my hotel room by myself the whole night. The plans I had made in my head seemed to have completely fallen apart by Thursday and I figured that I should just save the money, gas, and time. But then I did make a commitment to a friend to go to that desert thing so I decided to go.... and I am really glad I did. So that weekend was good this past week was spent catching up from the weekend and from being loaned out to another organization the week before. I was only technically off for two days but spent nine days away from my normal duties, and did it ever put me behind. Anyway, back to work tomorrow :) The next big thing is vacation in May and at the moment I can't wait... although I may get more excited about it or less excited about it depending on how life goes between now and then. Off to bed.
05/01/07 - 10:44 pm Its been another very long time since I updated this thing, but honestly I haven't had the time and have been waiting for something good to happen. I made an impromptu trip back over to Mo'town way back on April 1st to see BiggerBetterFasterMore play and to hang out with friends and had a great time. The crowd was a little different than I'm used to for a BBFM show but it didn't matter since I was with some friends that have never seen them before. Life since then has been non-stop work. I sat down and calculated the hours I work per week and its somewhere around 70 counting the regular job and the side job. I like the work though, it keeps my mind off of things I'd rather not think about. The regular job has been very busy this week due to a long-awaited project that I'm working on. I've been going in at 8am, working through lunch, and still leaving at 6pm for three days and I'll be doing that at least for the rest of this week. I'll be happy when its finally over and this program is finally up to date after waiting for this project for two years. Anyway, today was the best day I've had in a while thanks to some good news that I got just a little while ago. I'm taking it as good news anyway... it was in a text message and I haven't talked to the friend that sent it yet to get any details. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to this weekend too since I have plans to hang out with friends and semi-celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Other news... I have two friends that got new jobs and the beach is just over three weeks away. To sum up... "WOO HOO!!!"
06/17/07 - 10:46 pm If you don't have anything good to say, don't say anything at all, right? Pretty much sums up the lack of updates. Life since the last update has not been the greatest. Work, as usual, is what keeps me going and is what manages to cheer me up when I need it. The "good news" from the last update was all too short lived despite things looking so positive. My trip to the beach was pretty good but as expected, not like the "good old days." I managed to deal with the one person I intensely disliked down there without any problems, although I still dislike him and now have new reasons to dislike him too. The most humorous part of the trip would have to be my friends' two year old and her complete and total fear of me. All I had to do was make eye-contact and she'd run the other way... which is apparently an effect I have on most females, its just the older ones try to spare my feelings and not actually run away. By the middle of the week she was at least saying "bye" to me after I left the room, of course that could easily not be seen as a positive. Also since the last update my coaching duties have ended for the year. I drove to Baltimore last Saturday to see the girls play in a tournament and watch my goalie play a shutout, which isn't an easy feat in lacrosse. I couldn't make it back for the games on Sunday but they ended up losing their second game, to a very dirty team apparently. Any, I'm glad its over for the year since my nightmare seemed to be in overdrive while I was helping out. Its usually contained to once every 7 to 10 days but coaching increased it frequency to two to three times a week, usually following practice or game days. I couldn't figure it out at first but then I realized that I was working with 11 and 12 year olds and that they'd be about that age by now, almost 13. But anyway, its over for this year and I'm already looking forward to next year, even with the nightmare thing. So that brings me up to this weekend... which was one of the most horrid in many years. Friday was so bad that it obliterated any chances of Saturday or Sunday being "good". I really don't want to go into details, it just sucked. Saturday I saw the new Fantastic Four movie and just wasn't impressed. The pre-movie entertainment was interesting though... there was a woman that took offense if people near her were talking... before the previews even started. She gave the finger to a couple of young girls and called them "pussies" and told the few people sitting behind her to "shhhh" very loudly a couple time. She didn't make it to the previews, which is what happens when several people complain before the lights even dim. Today was Father's Day, and the plan was for dad to come over, for us to make a few batches of beef jerky, have a few beers, and watch golf in HD. Well, all of that happened, in two hours. I expected dad to sit and relax and watch golf and drink beers with me but he said he had "stuff to do" at home and left before we were done making jerky. I was a bit disappointed, and a little annoyed since I moved my tv from my room to the living room just so we could watch it. Last year he chose church over a Yankees game with me, and this year he spends a minimum of time with me to go do "stuff" at home. At least I still have a dad though, so I guess I shouldn't complain. Okay, off to bed.
08/17/07 - 10:15 pm Yes, I fucking know.... no update in ages... nothing good to report... a better update coming soon... maybe in a week or so.
09/09/07 - 10:39 pm Okay, I just can't wait any longer to have something good to report here's an update. Lots to talk about as far as work goes. September 1st should have been the start of a new 5 year contract but it wasn't. We all should have known what companies won the contract well before the 1st but that news didn't come until the middle of August. My company and their new partner did not win the contract like pretty much everyone was hoping for so we were all on pins and needles until the winners showed up and gave us offers. Unfortunately the offers didn't come until August 24th and came as a bit of a surprise when they did arrive. We all knew that we were losing two positions at my level, one of which was decided for us when a long time employee took another job in early August. Everyone was expecting the second cut to be a no-brainer... the newest employee gets cut. This was further expected when this employee turned out to be totally incapable of doing the job. The rumors are that both current companies knew he wasn't up to the task shortly after hiring him but kept him on because he'd be an obvious choice when it came time to cut people. As you can probably guess, things didn't turn out that way. The day before we got our offer letter we get the word who is getting cut, our third newest tech and the second newest person on the helpdesk. The helpdesk cut was a total surprise because their numbers weren't changing... or at least they had the right number and simply didn't have to re-hire the one vacant slot. As for my level... lets just say that some of us were a bit upset. Even the guy that everyone thought was going to get cut (known as Nonja, as named by the other techs) was surprised. The main reason behind these two getting cut was the fact that they didn't live in a HUBzone. I'm sure I've ranted about the HUBzone thing before but this time its a lot worse. The primary company on the contract must be a HUBzone company and X% of its employees must live in a HUBzone. Well, it appears that the new primary company is either a new HUBzone company or.... well.... there is no or, they just don't have close to enough HUBzone employees. The helpdesk guy will presumably be replaced by a HUBzone employee and Nonja gets to keep his job even though the new company has been told that he is not cutting it just because he lives in a HUBzone. Believe it or not, that isn't the worst part, at least not in my view. The worst part is that the new primary company has already lied to us and quite possibly lied to the government as well. They lied to us in our interviews when they said that they had no desire to break up a team that is doing such a good job. They said that if some people don't accept their offers then they can't help that but otherwise wanted to keep us together, especially since we were only days from the start of the new contract. Well, that was a lie since two excellent employees got cut before the offer letters came out. Rumor has it more names were on the list but got saved by someone. I've been lucky to work for an outstanding company for five years and maybe that's spoiled me, but this is not a good start to my relationship with my new company. So the offer letters are handed out on the 24th and are due back by close of business on the 27th... only problem is that the "close of business" on the 27th never got a chance to happen. T3, the lead company on the current contract, filed a protest and brought everything to a screeching halt the morning of the 27th. The program manger literally had to pack up his stuff and leave post that morning. T3 is protesting two separate things, the first being about clearances which sounds to be the more minor of the two. The second goes back to when I mentioned about them lying to the government. Basically, T3 is challenging whether they are in fact a HUBzone company. One of the requirements is that the company's principle office be located in a HUBzone. The story goes that shortly before the contract was awarded, the new company heard that their primary address may be challenged so they told the government "oops, our bad, we gave you the wrong address" and changed it to a different address. The original address was nothing but a vacant office with a nameplate by the door. The business across the hall said they had never seen anyone in the office in the 2+ years they had been there. Clearly this couldn't have been the company's "principle office" if no one is ever there. That address disappeared from their website shortly afterwards. Then the contract is officially awarded and T3 files its protest on the NEW principle address, which I've been told is someone's vacation home. If you use Google Maps and look at the satellite view of this address, it doesn't seem to be in a business area, and it has some boat docks pretty close by... doesn't look like the headquarters for a government contracting company to me. So as of right now the current contract has a 30 day extension while the protest is looked into. If the protest is upheld, the new company loses the contract and the contract is awarded to the team in 2nd place, which the government has said is my company and their new partner. Most surprising in all this is the fact that T3 put up the protest at all. The protesting company has to pay the legal fees and would only benefit if they knew they were in 2nd place. T3 knew that they weren't and basically did it because it was the right thing to do. Sadly, the damage has already been done... most of the techs have gone on interviews already and are more than willing to leave if offered jobs. The only hope is that this gets resolved quickly, preferably in my company's favor, and the guys are finally shown some loyalty... except for Nonja... who will probably not be offered a position.
Despite all the drama going on at work I have had other drama in my life since the last real update. I had a girlfriend for about a month not too long ago. A co-worker set us up and while we had an awful lot in common the feelings just weren't there. We could easily talk for several hours at a time on the phone but that started to become a nightly event and I just didn't have the time nor desire for it. I told her from day one that I didn't want someone that I felt like I had to talk to every day or spend every free moment with and while she agreed with me, it just didn't happen. Getting off the phone with her felt like I was ripping her heart out and took 15 extra minutes. Saying goodbye in person was an ordeal in and of itself. I was hoping for the desire to talk to her or see her every day to develop over time but things moved too quickly and became very one-sided. I was worried about the age difference (10 years) and probably should have listened to my gut but I didn't want to pass up a chance at something good. In the end the age difference really showed as it was easily the worst breakup I've ever had to do. She didn't give me that "the one" feeling that I usually rely on when I meet and talk to someone in person for the first time and I tried to ignore that. I thought it may have been because we had talked so much on the phone already but I shouldn't have doubted myself. There are a lot more details but I don't feel like getting into them now... ask me about her if you want to know. Other stuff... a friend and ex got married a couple weeks ago and I had a great time at the wedding. I usually hate even hearing about weddings of ex's or people that I loved and actually going to one is a thousand time worse, but this one was a lot of fun. WVU football has officially started and my first trip to Mo'town was a lot of fun. It wasn't perfect and certainly didn't go as planned, but I got to see who I wanted to see, visit the tailgates I wanted to visit, and see the band do the first pre-game of the year. That brings us up to this weekend. A friend and her husband were in town for a wedding and stopped by the Post bowling alley Friday night to hang out with me. I had been waiting for this for a while since I knew my friend would like most of the people I hang out with there. I think they had a good time, I know I did. Okay, that's it for this update... off to bed for another week of contract-limbo at work.
12/26/07 - 12:28 pm Lets see now... what has happened since the last update. The contract crap that we had been going through finally got settled on November 1st. The week that the change happened didn't give me the warm fuzzies because a lot of things just didn't seem to be happening like they should. First, my new company wasn't going to have anyone sign paperwork until the afternoon of the 1st... which means I couldn't have come to work that day until I signed the paperwork since the old contract ended at midnight the night before. My then Program Manager mentioned this to them and they changed the paperwork signing meeting to October 31st. At the October 31st meeting we didn't get stuff like an employee handbook or a proper 401k package because they didn't have time to get it together. Mind you, we just had two months of extensions so I'm not sure what they were doing during this time... but apparently it wasn't getting stuff printed or organized. That was pretty much the last time I felt any misgivings though. Since then they have done a good job and have even surprised me with things like an open bar at our "welcome aboard" party, a very generous Xmas bonus, business cards, and a really nice holiday brunch that was catered. I haven't had my review yet (its supposedly on Feb 1st) so I haven't received any kind of raise yet but that is the last thing that needs to go well to relieve me of any nagging doubt. I'm mostly concerned that all of the goodies we have received will be in lieu of an actual raise. That works well for some people (one sub-standard tech comes to mind) but shortchanges me and others that do good work. We'll just have to wait and see. Other work stuff... I've been on loan to another organization since Sept 24th and am itching to return to my normal duties. This organization is a tech down but no one could be hired until the contract was settled and they had a hard time finding someone once it did get settled. The new guy has been hired and is being trained now, but it still may be several week before I get out of here since there seems to be a hang-up with his clearances... basically he's been here two weeks and hasn't touched a computer yet. This organization is not much fun for me since it is all on one floor and is relatively slow. The work environment isn't very friendly either, thanks entirely to the man in charge. I've never been to an organization where everyone has the same opinion of one person and that the turnover rate is so high. I think we lose a person about every week and a half... either they get fired or they get fed up and leave. I like work related stress and usually do well with it but not over here. The stress is completely different, it isn't the "I have a deadline to meet" kind of stress, its more of the "if I don't do every completely unreasonable thing asked of me I'll be fired" kind of stress. Quick example of the craziness, the boss has a Blackberry and it needed reactivated but he was on his way out of the country when this was discovered. Instead of waiting the hour it takes to reactivate it, he had us activate a different one and FedEx it to him overseas, overnight shipping. There is a lot more to that story but that's the idea.
Other stuff... football season ended rather poorly this year. WVU managed to blow its final game against Pitt and screw up a shot at the BCS Championship. If you are a WVU fan for long enough you kind of expect this kind of thing so while it did make me sad, it wasn't the end of the world. What really pissed me off was WVU's coach accepting a job with Michigan and bailing on the bowl game. Lots of people are defending him saying it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up but that's just total bullshit. He did it for the money, pure and simple. He threatened to leave last year and got a raise, this year he asked for some additional staff and bonuses for his coaches and left the day after he was turned down. It wouldn't surprise me if he blew the Pitt game just so he could leave... yes, I have so little respect for him that I could easily see him doing that. Enough about that. On a slightly related topic, my regular football game partner and close friend is going through a rough time in her life. She is one of the reasons I haven't been updating this page at all since a lot of what I'd vent about would be related to her and her husband would find a way to use it against her. I've done my best to try to keep the two of them together but it came to a point where she asked me to stop defending him and I did. I was glad to stop though since it was becoming more and more difficult to offer an objective viewpoint. The final straw was when he accused her of cheating on him with me. I know he doesn't know me that well (certainly not for lack of trying on my part) but I would hope that most people that do know me know that I do not pursue other guy's girlfriends/fiances/wives. Funny thing is, she has absolutely no interest in me at all, never has... but because we talk often and go to football games together we must be having an affair. I could go on about this for pages but I don't think she would want me to go into too much detail about everything that's going on. My parents have been marginally less annoying in recent months, thanks mostly to their busy church schedule. Some weeks I can escape with only talking to them once, others they call me three days in a row then claim they never talk to me anymore. Mother just had surgery on her foot and my recently retired dad is her nurse until she is better... unfortunately this actually causes more work for my mother. This is her last year of teaching and she was trying to put off the surgery until school was out but the doctors told her she had to have it done. Hrm... not much else I don't think.
12/28/07 - 4:18 pm Holy sweet merciful crap... its another update!!! It must be Xmastime or something! Today I got some great news... I get to go back to my normal job on Monday! I had heard that my replacement just got his account yesterday so I figured that I would still be here for at least another week while he starts his real training but it looks like I'm wrong :) I already have a list of things I need to do but I'm really looking forward to getting back to my own desk. One other thing that's totally unrelated... former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated yesterday. It really wasn't a surprise to a lot of people given that she had death threats and multiple bounties on her head from various terrorist organizations and religious nut jobs in general. Her death is an extremely sad moment in Pakistan's already sad enough existance but what will probably happen in the coming months could make it nothing more than a footnote. Its a bit scary that she is killed just days before a Presidential election, that she would have won easily, and that she pre-blamed (I just made that up) her death on the current President for either planning it, or making sure her security was so inadequate as to make her an easy target. I don't know if I believe either of those theories but I do know that Pakistan has about 60 nukes, has a western border that is entirely controlled by terrorists, and is increasingly less stable every day. While their nukes can't reach us, they can reach India and China, both of whom have nukes of their own, or the nukes can fall into terrorist hands. Okay, just wanted to throw that out there since I've been watching the coverage over the past two days. Speaking of China... we haven't heard from my cousin that is supposedly in China for months. Personally, I am not particularly worried about him. He has proven himself to be a survivor over and over again so I'm sure he, his wife, and their son (Equinox Solitare) will be just fine.
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