Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Jay: Recruiter

So I spent $28 we don’t have for gas to go meet with a recruiter for 15 minutes yesterday, throwing in a stop for Sadie’s birth certificate on the way.  It was kind of an obligatory thing they do because they promise their client companies that they have personally met and screened the prospects.  It mainly consisted of a get to know you slightly better and discuss what want to do.  Which, as I told him, is part of my problem, but the obvious option of project management sounds good to me.  He could get me DBA (database administrator) work with SQL Server if I were more qualified.  That’s a case of probably could, but wouldn’t be what they really want.  Trouble with me is my tremulous “probably could” is probably more capable than half the people who assertively put themselves forth as such.

I have no idea whether he’ll really come up with anything for me, and it’s got to be just one basket.  Today I need to start invoking my plan weeks in the brewing for which now it may be too late, which includes begging for work here and to a mailing list of contacts*, begging for help with the gas & electric bill, and holding a fundraising CotC most of which would also go to the gas & electric so it doesn’t get turned off before I have more income.  All of this was supposed to go hand in hand and happen a while ago, though originally I hadn’t thought of having people send money straight to the utility and the emphasis was one fundraising CotC and hello, need work.

Today I also might want to run to storage for a while.  It’s paid through the 16th, so there are 3 more days on which I can go inventory it and remove stuff before it gets overlocked pending being able to pay for it.  Or clean it out completely and put the stuff somewhere else pending sale of whatever can and should be sold.

Anyway, if the recruiter gets me work, I can expect it to pay in the 60-100k range, sounds like most likely around 80k.  I’ll believe it when I see it, but it’d be nice to be in that kind of turnaround territory.

* I tend to assume most people already know my situation - needing work, if not the about to be homeless part - but recently one of the former colleagues I am closest to, to the point of being in the group of friends I get together with periodically, chastised me because he had no idea.  So apparently I have to advertise heavily.

10:26 AM | BloggingBusinessJob HuntingKidsMassachusettsMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Jay: Hell’s Dreams

I woke up from a crazy dream in which I’d been tapped to be on Hell’s Kitchen, but as far as I could tell from the orientation, it wasn’t much like Hell’s Kitchen as we know it.  Deb was picked to be on it as well, just so they could use the husband and wife thing promotionally.

I was obviously the most steady, competent person there, no imposter, which of course surprised me.  I was mainly worried, as I’d be in reality, about overcooking stuff and needing too long partly as a result of that.  It shocks me sometimes how quickly they prepare a dish or cook a given item.

We were all given a pack of spices and ingredients, ad I had trouble with mine staying closed, because it was flimsy.  That was part of a pitch for a product of Ramsay’s own design, which used right wouldn’t have that problem.

Then he dramatically told us that, as we might have guessed, don’t be surprised if we’re told a list of who will leave in what order, and just deal if we didn’t like it.  Subject to change, of course, if someone seriously exceeded expectations in their week to go.

Most of this took place in an alley behind the building where the show set was, or just inside, in a delivery and storage area.

Later he came up to one girl, a tall blond with long hair, to tell her she would be the first.  Before we even competed!  She had been picked as first to go, to which she just fell apart, which happened at the same time someone drove a delivery truck into a pallet of butter, sent it flying and smooshed a lot of it.  I tried to organize people to go pick it up and put away it and other things.  That’s when I found out that unless it was punishment, never worry about that kind of thing, as they had crew to handle it.

Then I woke up.

10:22 AM | BusinessFood & CookingTotally RandomTV • (0) CommentsPermalink

Friday, June 27, 2008

Jay: On The Agenda

Herding kids per usual.

Making beans to supplement leftovers.  I love cooking two nights and then having two nights of the leftovers making it easier.

Dealing with bureaucracy.

(Pause for literally hours to do aforementioned herding and post a couple items that were easier or whatnot...)

Nursing my hand that’s too sore to want to use the mouse and isn’t so thrilled about typing.

Work on composing and preparing a bleg, of it can be called that, for work, in context of explaining what we have in mind and why, subject to possible change or serious traditional offers considered, depending how serious and what happens with Deb’s career.

Work on the same basic thing to mass quantities of contacts, some of whom may not know even peripherally about the situation, and many of whom would be well aware my abilities.

The usual dishes and cleaning and organizing.

Work on a more traditional bleg on the possibility there might be any additional sympathy when I explain the next major hurdle we have to get past in order not to be completely screwed.  The PayPal button is still here, in any event, and won’t stop being useful for a long time, or appreciated ever.

Look at the washing machine, which seems to be acting up, and try to find the info for the service plan we paid for, if needed.

Test our electric usage to see if something is draining excess power, including the possibility that something not in our apartment or on our cellar outlet might be tapping it.

Clean the office.  Still.  Again.

Clean the bedroom.

Go through our stuff to purge/segregate/organize for sale more of it.

Run the car before the battery has a chance to fade out again.

Find a plate holder for the front of the car without spending any money, since there is none to spend.  Don’t want to drive it too much with the front plate sitting in on the dashboard.

Backup some pictures.

Reorganize some site hosting stuff.

Post ad info regarding our sites, maybe try to sell more to existing accounts, and pimp that further in any event.

Put together a “back from hiatus” fundraising Carnival of the Capitalists edition, speaking of raising money and advertising.  A couple people donated to us a while back and mentioned it as a thanks or hoping for return of CotC, so it’s partly for them, but also both to let people put their money where their interest is, and help me determine whether that site should remain ad-free or ad-limited, or whether I should load it up or seek sponsorship more vigorously.  In any event, that’s been part of my plan for trying to raise about $3000 in the next six weeks, some of which would be needed no matter how much I can make conventionally.

Update my LinkedIn profile and my resume and extend some of that to other networking-oriented sites.  Update the business site to reflect what I actually intend, until such time as someone makes me a serious enough offer to back off of that.

Probably a slew of other things I’m forgetting or that are trivial or that are implicit.

04:58 PM | BloggingBusinessCarsGeekeryJob HuntingKidsMassachusettsMedicalMoneyTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Epic Fail

Holmes window fan that’s reversible… by physically removing and turning it around.

Ironically, my excellent window fan that is switchable to exhaust is also Holmes brand.

The first one also isn’t as good otherwise.  Because we use it in a window in the kid’s room, at the top of the window, whenever someone burns and stinks up the place, I have to remove it, reverse it, fight to get it back in so it doesn’t rattle or vibrate, and turn it back on so there’s airflow and white noise, but it’s keeping out further smoke and removing what had come in.

The other one is in an office window, also high, and if I need to reverse it I only have to turn it off and change the setting on each of the separately controlled pair of fans.  The other one is all in one.  I only have to remove it for the rare times I operate the AC, which has only been run on a couple of days so far.  We got blasted so badly up front that, say, 85 and humid feels reasonable.

I must have paid less for the bad version, but I don’t remember it being that noticeably inexpensive.  I just can’t imagine what led to a design decision to promote a fan as reversible and making that a physical rather than electronic feature.

01:00 PM | BusinessKidsTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

For the last time this month, it’s a day with no birthdays to post.  I could have sworn I had one for the 25th, but it’s not in my calendar, so none it is.

This is the first day of what will be Deb’s “permanent” schedule, until next time it changes.  At least from my perspective, since I think Monday through Sunday, while the employer’s week is Saturday through Friday.  Where last week it was Tuesday and Wednesday off, this week and presumably beyond it will be Monday and Tuesday.  Which makes them my prime work days, and days when leaving the house is easiest.  Obviously with a running car the kids fit in, I can go places with all of them, or can get someone to sit while I am able to go if needed.  Part of the reasoning behind two weekdays off instead of at least one weekend day off is that we only have three days to cover during the traditional business week, if I am engaged fully during that at any point, even for short bursts.

Since it’s the first day she goes back after two off, that means it stands to be more… interesting, as the kids have to adjust again.  On the other hand, with hours the same each day, it all works more smoothly than it did with alternating shifts.

Perhaps I can even do something useful today… perhaps even remunerative.  What a concept!

11:29 AM | BirthdaysBusinessKidsMoneyTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Monday, June 23, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

Another day with no birthdays to mention, and so it gets a placeholder post.  Don’t you feel special?

This is a full working day for me, whatever that may entail, as it’s an off day for Deb.  In effect, we both “work” seven days a week, and let it never be said that taking care of the kids - or house, to the degree the kids allow it - is either “not work” or “woman’s work.” I’d like to think we’re a bit more enlightened than that in 2008.  It is 2008, right?  Yeah.

Some of these posts, and the birthdays, have been pre-posted in a batch, dated for the appropriate time, so I don’t have to get up every single morning and post any birthdays there may be, or feel obligated to post something to keep the blog looking lively.  Presumably there’s been some stuff between the batch posts, but if not, well, it’s something anyway.

10:39 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessKidsMoneyTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

Another day of no birthdays so soon?  Well, it’s only the 4th of 6 during June.  Seven, if you count as none the one where there was a birthday of an obscure relative, of unknown mortality, I barely saw fit to mention.

Presumably this is the longest day of the year, all 24 and a fraction hours of it.  It’s all downhill from here, but I guess we can take solstice in it taking six months.

Actually, looks like the solstice was technically the 20th, but at a minute before midnight, so yeah.

This is a work day for Deb, so for me it’s a day being nibbled to death by ducks, in the form of a slew of kids, while trying to get something, anything done.  As I get into a groove of more work that pays or generates money indirectly, I will definitely need cheap babysitting part of the time I am here alone with the gang of three.  The great thing is even that will have flexibility.  Even a day of it, in the absence of scheduled out of house work, would be helpful, and it shouldn’t matter which day, so if I have my mother come down, it needn’t interfere with the bit of sitting she still does for my brother.

11:02 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessGeekeryKidsMoneyNewsWeatherTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jay: Geeky Hosting Post

I was looking closely at our hosting, as one of the accounts was up for renewal the 10th and I have no idea how I’m going to pay the $112.20 for the year yet.  Failure isn’t an option, as there are people advertising there who we’re obligated to keep the site up for in some form, and it’s the content that would be hardest to move.

I was thinking maybe we could get a hosting account with greater capacity and merge two of the three together (having more than one, even more than two, does have valid reasoning, so I had no plans to consolidate all three).  Credit the balance of what’s been paid already on one of the plans, bringing the outlay down.  Sadly, we’re 8 months into the year for the one in question, so the net would be more.  Oh well.

Partly for any who might be interested, and partly as an additional place where I can refer to the info, here are fun details about our hosting accounts (well, there’s a 4th, with GoDaddy, but that’s just used for a static site for now, and an e-mail address, and the hosting isn’t good).

Elhide hosting (the one that needs to be paid)
Using 362 of 700 MB disk space, 18 of 80 e-mails, 6 of 25 Addon domains (total 7 domains, in other words), 7 of 25 FTP accounts, 5 of 8 MySQL databases (that is, there are 5 blogs there), 1 of 4 mailing lists.  So far this month we have used 1895 MB of 40,000 MB bandwidth.

AV hosting (this one)
Using 282 of 700 MB disk space, 7 of 80 e-mails, 1 of 25 Addon domains (total 2 domains, in other words), 3 of 25 FTP accounts, 2 of 8 MySQL databases (that is, there are 2 blogs here).  So far this month we have used 5716 MB of 40,000 MB bandwidth.  The reason more domains aren’t here is because we were low on disk space and bandwidth before the hosting specs were upgraded and our traffic fell dramatically.

GP hosting (still mainly for business or stuff that was expressing intended to be commercial, like CotC/Bizosphere)
Using 154 of 550 MB disk space, 15 of 60 e-mails, 6 of 15 Addon domains (total 7 domains, in other words), 4 of 5 FTP accounts, 5 of 6 MySQL databases (that is, there are 5 blogs here, one of which I expect to purge), 1 of 2 mailing lists.  So far this month we have used 570 MB of 30,000 MB bandwidth.  The disk space and bandwidth suggest room for more activity here, but this hosting has yet to be upgraded, which seems to be a matter of rolling upgrades as servers are updated, so there’s mainly a database limitation.

Anyway, back to work sprucing one of the blogs to allow it to host ads more easily, so I can list it, and then other work and errands.  If I’m lucky, a small check from a client will be here on time to go to the bank while I am out anyway.

04:57 PM | BloggingBusinessGeekeryMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: No Birthdays

This is one of those blank days for birthdays, a rarity in June.

Deb is home today, so it’ll be another day of my trying to do work, plus some errands and organizing what money there is.  If I didn’t already, I may start some reposts/updates of particularly good, relevant or classic posts from my old blogs.  We’ll see, but I sometimes have trouble creating content these days, and the content is important to making the blogs worthy of ads, and the ads help finance our continued existence.

11:46 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Jay: Yardsale

Well, the yard sale was kind of a bust, except the kids had a blast, it was fun, and including what we left on the side of the road, we got rid of a few large items.  The big sale was the old vacuum cleaner from the office, which went for $5 to an eager buyer, the 2nd to express an interest.

What next?  Maybe another try in our yard.  Maybe at my grandmother’s, which would be better for the kids having fun and location would be good enough, with some promotion.  Maybe some attempts to sell some of the same items in other ways.

The take was $13.75, where I was expecting at least $50.  Oh well.

12:41 PM | BusinessKidsMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jay: Today’s Order of Busy

Today I’m participating in a yardsale in what should be a better location than my own would be, on a busy road in town.  I dropped stuff off last night, wishing I could come up with even more, despite filling the truck.  Well, I add what it’ll fetch and wish I could come up with more.  I may yet grab more small stuff.  My nephew is giving me and the brats a ride there between 9:00 and 10:00, and my brother will be working on my car nearby, so later there will be some shuffling along those lines.

I started typing this before 8:40, now it’s 9:03.  Sadie is up but the others are still sleeping.  I have to wake and dress them and have everyone ready ASAP.  Looked in on Valerie and went to snap a picture of her sleeping angelically.  Dead batteries.  Apparently every AA battery around is dead too.  We haven’t been able to afford new ones, and no longer have a BJ’s card to get the very best price on lithium ones that actually last.  We’ve been using up my “buy in bulk so you never don’t have batteries” supply of standard ones and nursing them.  Unfortunately, batteries are a necessary business expense and some must be bought.  Apparently right away.

Okay, off to torment sleeping children so we might be ready to go on time.

11:37 AM | BusinessCarsKidsMoneyTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jay: No Birthdays

No birthdays I know of today, a rarity in June, so this’ll be my obligatory post for the day.

The car remains stranded in Sharon.  I called my brother and left a message last night, as it was rumored he could help me with it today, which is possible because Deb is on all early shifts now.  Meanwhile, I suppose I really ought to work on getting stuff for the yard sale ready, even if I have to drop it off and have it sold by others, or get a ride, or whatever.  That all hinged on having the car, but I also needed to spend pretty serious time working toward preparing.  If we can’t do much with this one, we may ask the landlord if he’d object to our having one here.  Probably not, as he seems to object to little besides having a pool for kids.  But then we’d feel like we had to ask the neighbors, too, see if they wanted to participate.  Damn politeness!

I’m trying to organize the whole “do what I can to make money from home” thing better, with some explicit unfettered time allotted me evenings and Deb’s days off.  Some things can be done in those minute or two or five interludes I get between kid demands, but I need to have them listed and planned out enough so the whole effort isn’t wasted on “so what did I need to do next?” There’s a lot more ad revenue available, and while we won’t live on that, not without serious content and traffic buildup at least, managing that is one of those little things, and boom, there’s the money for, say, utilities each month.

Posting more actively, even if it’s quick links to interesting stuff, makes the blogs more viable for ads, so you’ll see more of that.  At least on the WordPress ones, since I can post so quickly via w.bloggar, which doesn’t work with Expression Engine.  That’s about the only thing it doesn’t work with, and there’s even a version now that doesn’t use Internet Explorer in the background.  It was always annoying, that links in preview in the editor would open in IE, and of course IE was used programatically for the HTML rendering in the editor.  There’s now a version that uses Firefox instead.

One of the reasons Carnival of the Capitalists went on hiatus was the time it took me that was annoyingly uncompensated.  I miss the structure it gave each week, with a publishing schedule, but TANSTAAFL needs to rule.  I’m planning to revive it, starting with a fundraising edition, the success of which will help determine to what degree it continues, and the amount of advertising I deploy at that site.  Another project, which isn’t impossible to do in small chunks so much as it’s annoying.

Anyway, off to it.  Need more coffee, and a glass of water.  Have to keep drinking to combat the gout, which seems to go hand in hand with some swelling and water retention, duh, from getting underhydrated.

10:51 AM | BirthdaysBloggingBusinessCarsFood & CookingGeekeryJob HuntingKidsMedicalMoneyTotally Random • (0) CommentsPermalink

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Jay: Then There’s…

The advertising-related stuff, and the plans to do a CotC and try to restart that.  If people will contribute above a threshold when I do a fundraising edition back from hiatus, I’ll not only believe they are interested, but also delay advertising on that site for a duration depending on donations.  If not, that’ll be added to the stable, and it’s the most potentially lucrative one.  Plus I’ve started posting there again, even aside from restarting CotC or not.  The other thing is a hardcore “hire us, dammit” post and associated features across blogs, along with updating of the business and resume sites.

All of which will be relevant, even if I get the support job I’m up for that can be done from anywhere, including if we were to move anywhere in the country with decent broadband.  Obviously, I’d prefer to stay somewhere with FiOS, so it’s good that’s an increasingly widespread option.

Anyway, off to working on something, even if it’s dishes and a shower to start.  And maybe something for lunch, since I feel hollow.  As well I should, given that I fit OK in a T-shirt I’ve seldom worn because it’s too tight.  Oh, about to post more pictures, too, which I started working on at an adjacent computer, after forgetting this post was in progress.

02:10 PM | BloggingBusinessGeekeryJob HuntingMoney • (0) CommentsPermalink

Jay: Today, Maybe

Looks like we’ll participate in a yard sale on the weekend of the 14th.  I probably have stuff in storage that can be sold that way.  We’re constrained by what days Deb works, and the weather, and an expected function on the 8th, and the need for me to run around and register the car because even though we can’t afford it, we can’t not do it.  On the far side, we’re constrained by the prepayment on the storage running through July 16, and my not being sure how I’ll make that $40 a month payment once it does.

So I need to go open the storage unit, which is packed like a cartoon closet that sproings out onto the floor when the door is opened, and at least get sort of an inventory of what is there that can be sold or otherwise disposed of.  Maybe I’ll take Sadie along.  Probably I’ll bring some stuff home for the kids to destroy before it can be sold.

Trouble is, some of that is stuff like the little refrigerator, which might be Craigable, if the smell is gone.  Other than something left in it too long, it’s pristine and works great.  If our circumstances were different, we’d probably keep it as an office or cellar fridge, maybe store soda or water or unopened juice there.  Except we don’t drink soda, can’t afford it, and I think limiting helps me lose weight.  And we limit juice, since Henry can’t drink it, it’s suspect if probably OK for Valerie, and it’s expensive.  And we drink tap water, except as a matter of portability when needed with work lunches.  Where I was going with that is the size.  Some of it’s big, and if I am to sell it, it has to come here and go...?  At least comics are small, and lucrative for their size.  And seriously buried.  The storage contents is like a giant 3D puzzle crossed with a house of cards.  Which makes me not want to touch it…

I could potentially save some of that for tomorrow or Tuesday, when I am out for other things.  It’s just… I am sure there are things that can sell, one way or another, or that I put there and aren’t worth keeping.  No extracting the value without diving into it.

01:49 PM | BusinessCarsMoneyTotally Random • (1) CommentsPermalink

Monday, May 19, 2008

Jay: Postpourri

Gloria Constance Irving would have been 75 today.  She was the second child of seven and first daughter of three of my mother’s parents.  She died February 12, 1934.

Nine months isn’t as young as I grew up thinking it was.  There’s a lot of distinctive person there, and a lot of intensive time spent.  With that sharpened appreciation of just how traumatic it had to be, I’ve always sort of kept my fingers mentally crossed and noted the passing of the nine month point as significant.

Which in our observation it is regardless.  We have a theory of nine months inside and nine months outside before baby is done cooking, after observing how dramatically they leap into clearer personhood at nine months.

Henry will be nine months old tomorrow.

Henry is on the verge of taking steps, having become talented at standing and even doing stuff like drinking while he stands.

Henry appears to have survived trying green beans last night, and enjoyed them, so that’s good.  The other day, Deb rubbed his belly with wool yarn to test his reaction, of which one had been apparent.  Nothing.  Later, I tested Suave shampoo, Irish Spring, soy oil, pork grease (which would also have contained traces of soy oil used in the pan originally), my antiperspirant, our current bar of hand soap, and Equate liquid hand soap, all rubbed on his skin.  That might not say anything about reaction to ingesting the edible ones.  Nothing.  Well, except maybe a tiny little reaction, small enough not to be certain, to the pork grease of all things, and which I only tried because he’d eaten pork as part of a meal he seemed to and shouldn’t possibly have been able to get itchy from.  But he may also have eaten found food and reacted to that.

In general, he’s been good and we’ve been managing it pretty well, but against food boredom for him we vainly struggle.

I survived the Easter egg hunt gathering yesterday.  Which was made interesting by an inexplicable flareup of knee pain, which had been kind of in check until I went down the stairs, and by Valerie gluing herself to me almost the entire time.  Sadie seemed like she’d be standoffish forever, but she’s totally confident, self-directed, and interactive with other people.  She had a blast, flying a kite, and is excited that the wind she so loathes is actually good for something.

The kids got in last straw trouble last night, though, after Sadie was caught puring water out of the tub, onto the floor, which required two additional bath mats to get mostly dry.  No more bath toys, and that’s one of the reasons I’m in a clean and organize the place mood today, trying to get them reordered.

Also on the agenda, I have to pick up a couple groceries, and Deb needs to get material for a custom order.

And on that note, and seeing other people start to get up, off I go.

Well, except to note that I appear to be down another pound this morning, which makes 46 from my peak and 36 this year.  Yay!

Well, and except to note that I was able to solve an RSS problem for Ith that had been longstanding.  Go me!  (It was actually easy to diagnose.)

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