Monday, March 31, 2008
Jay: Interview Day
I’ll be gone a chunk of the day to Boston for an interview or two, as noted yesterday. If this were WordPress, I could post from the Blackberry in my travels, but that’ll have to wait until I get home.
Jay: Happy Birthday (Updated)
To my aunt Jean, who is
69 70 today.
Sadly, my aunt Joan, her fraternal twin, is no longer among us to share the day.
I stand corrected, or at least I am going to assume the son of one of the above knows better the year of birth than I do based on what I’ve gathered and recorded along the way. I thought I’d mentioned their ages before and nobody’s said anything.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Jay: I Have To Note
That I am sitting here in size 38 jeans right now.
I was trying on old non-jeans and a couple jackets and some shirts, in preparation for tomorrow’s foray to Boston for interviews. I was fitting comfortably, even loosely, into pants that were size 40 and not jeans. When an unexpected size 38 came close, we decided to try size 38 jeans. They aren’t even excessively tight. Enough so I might prefer to stick to loose in size 40 jeans for another several pounds, but not as you might expect.
I was wearing size 42 jeans three months ago, and had nothing that wasn’t jeans that could fit me.
Yay for losing 30 pounds! And a disproportionate amount of belly in the process, for whatever reason.
Jay: Happy Birthday
To my friend and former colleague Bob Tsiaras.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Jay: I Once Had A Title In Mind
So today should be fun. I need to take some rolled coin to the bank for more readily spendable and carryable currency, so I have enough to buy train tickets for Monday morning, and potentially a small bite to eat or whatever if I have to, entirely aside from the cash being useful in a couple days when we need more something like milk from Hannaford or Stop & Shop. Maybe I’ll deposit $8 in change too, so I’ll have $10 available on the debit card.
Train? That ought to be an adventure. I have an interview in Boston Monday morning, which will probably be followed by meeting with someone nearby who has a potential temporary gig during part of this month.
I’ve never taken the commuter rail before, but it’s great it’s so handy. I need to check out precisely where and how for getting into it and buying tickets and all that.
This also means having to dig out clothes that might be remotely appropriate for an interview. I’ve spent too many years casual, and with clothes one of the last spending priorities on too little income. A casualty of insane housing and even more insane medical insurance costs, you could say.
Shoes? It’s going to have to be my almost formal looking black sneakers, because I last got new shoes 20 years ago, and if I can find them, I can’t wear them without them scraping my feet raw. That’s if the gout is calm enough to get them on, which it may be, since it seems to be attacking my knee instead. Or that might be something else, but it’s that kind of painful.
At least I’ve lost enough weight that I have pants that aren’t jeans that should fit me.
The last time I interviewed for a job at a company I wasn’t already part of was 1994. Internal interview was 1997. The closest I came since then was 1999, when my partner who was the face of the business to the big client left for a day job and I had to talk them into keeping us, pointing out that in reality they may have noticed I’d been doing most of the support for them for months.
I always had a hard time getting to an interview, and an easy time getting a job based on an interview.
Apparently my resume and the internet and my networking are taking car of the first part for me. Besides those two, I have an e-mail about a WordPress development gig, which is intriguing, but I cautioned them I am far from a PHP expert, which is what they say in the description.
I need to find a bread recipe that doesn’t take milk, as Deb is going to try adding back wheat, but not milk. I still haven’t found milk-free margarine in a store. I can’t believe it all contains milk, when the point was that margarine is a sub for butter. Also need to make banana bread today, or else accept throwing out some bananas at that stage of ripe.
I really hate taking the first two hours of the day to dash of a 15 minute this and that post. Plus I should probably post to the other blogs instead, since this one lost Page Rank, those didn’t, and those could use a traffic/activity boost.
Did I mention I need to setup a computer for Henry, on the living room floor, so he has that as a distraction?
Today I’d like to make significant progress in my office arranging and cleaning project, which stalloed yesterday and went backwards as Valerie trashed things, even stuff that had been in reach for months and not touched.
Off to it, I guess. If there was anything else, I forget. Oh, I stopped at my grandmother’s and picked up a special mattress cover my mother’s cousin bought for Henry. It’s pretty astounding that a cousin I’d forgotten existed until a few years ago heard about his problems and did something like that. Apparently she has major allergy problems herself, so knows all the places and stuff to get from them. Even if all this means is he can nap in the crib for a couple hours at a stretch, that’ll help. Previously he couldn’t go more than half an hour before he was awake, scratching himself frantically and complaining. Poor kid. But he still can’t be exempt from being put down sometimes. We go entire days sometimes with him on one of us for all but a couple waking hours, tops. And when he’s on one of us and awake, he wants to be active. All your keyboard are belong to us.
Jay: Happy Birthday
To former colleague Joe Durak.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Jay: Dreams Are Weird
I haven’t seen my stepsister in years, yet she was in dreams two nights in a row. Night before last, there was a mishmash of stuff that included one of my father’s houses, the dream version of it, which in the dream she’d ended up buying. Last night’s dreams included a scene in which I was telling my stepsister about the dream I’d had the night before. Very meta, self-referential, or whatever you want to call it.
The seemingly lengthy end part of the dreams last night involved being somewhere to the north, like NH, ME or VT - the highway I drove down was a generic stretch of what looks like northern New England highway that seems to recycle in dreams where it’s needed - and there being a giant snow storm. I needed to get home, apparently for work, and was trying and trying to get through it, leaving when I shouldn’t have, getting in shoveling scenarios, trying to bash through a snowbank a few feet taller than the car, that sort of thing. Eventually I gave up and stayed in a motel, though even that was a matter of getting a room, then continuing to try to flee.
In the motel, which seemed to double as one of those side of the highway tourist rest stops and the offices of some business (for that matter, in part it looked like a miniature section of some airport terminal, in rustic), there was the challenge of getting something to eat. People were strangely open, but not open, at a lunch counter and small store. I found my way into the dining area, where someone had just been served a sandwich, but most people were just hanging out, and was told they would be serving starting at a specific time. An odd time, though I forget when. It was at the motel where I ran into my stepsister, as I recall.
Fast forward and I am driving down the highway in the morning, bright, sunny, and not a speck of snow, immediately south of where I had stayed. I was fuming at having had to spend the money and time to stay over. I was also alone, but then I wasn’t, because Deb and a kid, presumably Sadie as a baby, were with me. This would fit with the blizzard when we had to stay an extra night at the Park Plaza for Arisia, when Sadie was less than 4 months old. On the way, we discussed the state of the credit cards, and which one I’d used for the stay, and how it sucked to have needed to do that because we so couldn’t afford the $40.
Next thing I know, pressed for time, I was driving straight to work with family in tow, which is odd in that we’d gotten almost home when I got onto the highway going north from here. In reality, I’d have had to pass work on the way there, then changed my mind and not spent an extra 10 minutes dropping them home. Then there was a bit of fuss about where Deb and the kid would hang out at the office, which was a cross between my former large client, a larger business, and the motel I’d stayed at in the dream.
That was about it. I woke up, amused at the whole thing, and started coffee brewing. I certainly hope we don’t get any snow, and that dreaming about my stepsister has no prescient bad significance. However, this wasn’t like one of those “dreams that happen” dreams, or like when I flashed “this could be the last time I talk to her” out of the blue and sat to converse with my grandmother at length less than 36 hours before she died.
Being Friday and not having had it early enough to mail it, I have to make arrangements to drop money to the landlord. We may look like we’re sitting around watching soaps and playing with the kids, but each week we have to come up with $250 or $300 toward rent to defer eviction proceedings. The drop-ins by people who are bringing food donations and don’t care what the house looks like at any random time are welcome but are still disruptions. Visits that are just visits on a couple hours notice tend to get “well, this is really a bad day” pretty uniformly. Friday is especially bad with the actual rent delivery, but today I need to make a post office run - a small contribution to our finances a couple weeks hence because someone bought a book, I need to go to Wal-Mart and figure out how to stretch $30 beyond all recognition - including a couple bucks for yarn for a custom order to help our finances in a week or two, stop at my mother’s for a special crib mattress cover a cousin got us for Henry not to be allergic to the crib anymore (she’s allergic to everything herself, apparently), reply to the person who is offering temp work that’ll be great if the interview Monday doesn’t work out, figure out whether I need $8 or $16 for the train Monday and walking directions from South Station to my destination, help unbury and select clothes sealed in the leaky closet for the winter, continue my office organizing project, make banana bread, figure out what’s for supper and start it ahead of time if needed, and probably some things I’ve forgotten. Like e-mailing someone who might want me to do a computer cleanup Sunday, or Monday evening, and might have others who could use that, if she’s recovered enough from surgery. A few of those and it’s close to another rent week.
And I still haven’t worked on the giant “we’re back” fundraiser edition of Carnival of the Capitalists, but I should, because that could contribute to groceries or to the rent on the 11th. Or gas for the truck, because even if you take six weeks to use a tank, eventually you need more.
And with that, off I go, because the day is getting no younger.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Jay: Album Watch
So much for the obvious conclusion about who would leave American Idol this week. We’ll miss Chikezie, and will be looking for whatever CD he produces down the line. That’s not a level of appeal I would normally ascribe to a tenth place finisher, but I don’t think he ever recovered with the voters from that top 24 performance and the orange suit.
Kristy’s brilliant strategy gets her into the top 8, at least, because it’s country next week. At which Chikezie would have been good, and Ramiele likely will not.
Process of elimination and who’s who this year gets you a bottom three next week of Ramiele, Jason and Syesha. Bottom three alternate is Carly, who I placed in the middle with Michael. Top four should be the Davids, Kristy, and Brooke. Changing from that likely lineup will take disproportionate performances from some of them. Eliminated? Could be any of the three, but not Michael or Carly if they wind up there somehow.
Then again, there are always shock eliminations, country is a minefield, and the judges don’t like country and will be down on most of the performances.
One more thing, harking back to the title of this post, which was supposed to focus on this week and Chikezie, not next week. Who else might we look for an album from? David Cook, despite our initial dislike, Michael Johns, though with him it’s as much the watching due to his charisma and Jim Morrison vibe, not sure who else. Perhaps Carly, in the end, despite our initial dislike, and depending. We’ll see.
Jay: Happy Birthday
To blogger Beth Mauldin, who my entry tells me is 40 today.
Jay: Happy Birthday
To Deb’s friend Jen, not a blogger.
Jay: Happy Birthday
To blogger Jen.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Jay: Speaking of “Famous”
Jay: American Idol Top Ten
I’ve seldom been so sure about who is going home, and that would be Ramiele. There’s no contest otherwise, at least once you factor in fan bases, built momentum, and demographics. The song was too big for her. I’m impressed she did it as well as she did, and had it not been a good night for the field, it could have saved her.
Obviously Jason has been sucking, but has a deeper fan base keeping him there. This week shouldn’t change that, unless we’re getting down to it enough for the fan base to dissipate, and he was better this week. Problematic for him: With three more performances to go, the two of us were ticking through the list of who had already gone, and both forgot he existed. He was a total non-entity half an hour later, forgotten until they showed the recap clips.
Brooke would have to be a lot worse. We lurve her, and so do a lot of people, just for being her. She was better than the judges seemed to think, but pretty predictable. It’s no longer “obvious” the final two might be her versus Achoo. It could instead be a battle of the Davids.
I prefer the original arrangement, and was, as I so often am, surprised that the song was from her so recent year of birth, never having noticed it was covered then. That said, Syesha was as good as she’s been, and showed what she had that made us fans. Will it be enough? Probably to keep her this week.
Chikezie sang brilliantly, has some demographics, did nothing less than what he was advised, only to be slammed by the judges, is personable, likable and memorable, and should be staying regardless of any appearance he might make near the bottom.
Michael Johns should apparently stick to covering Queen and the Doors, since he’s great when he does either of those.
Carly was better than the judges gave her credit for, and it was fascinating to watch the dynamic of them backing off their formerly outrageous support.
Achoo-Bot sang just fine, more upbeat than usual, but I felt like I was at one of those Christian music festivals a former colleague used to attend and get all excited about. The message songs? Not so much. I loved Simon’s zing at Stage Dad, holder of the radio-controlled bot remote. The prom thing was cute, and Achoo seemed a bit more normal than sometimes in the profile and banter.
Kristy Lee was brilliant of song choice. The song is insipid if you pay any attention, but it’s catchy, well-loved, and gets the heartland voters going. She also sang it well, finally showing the much-touted ability that made her one of the too-many-to-sustain plants this season. Just remember, lyrical liberties notwithstanding, the rights already exist, and nobody dies to manufacture them.
David Cook did what I wanted to think was a bizarre version of Billie Jean, which having not been aware of the cover he was covering, I kept expecting to speed up. It was brilliant, showing off his control, singing ability, and vocal quality. It seems to have been one of those watershed performances, to the point where Dial Idol’s results graph shows him, not Achoo, as the runaway number one of the night.
Of course, if you believe Dial Idol, Chikezie goes home, but they’re still in margin of error territory with at least their bottom five. Still, apart from flipping Chikezie to third or fourth from the bottom and Ramiele into the bottom, it seems a pretty accurate reflection of how people did combined with fan bases, trends and demographics.
Jay: Crazy Dream
I had a dream in which I essentially “woke up” most of the way through a call with a prospective employer, suddenly realizing we’d been talking for a while and I had no idea what we’d said. I couldn’t remember anything prior to that point when I suddenly snapped to awareness, though it apparently had gone well.
It was also a Sunday, in the dream, so now I can’t shake the notion that it’s Sunday.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Jay: Yes, No Bananas
We’ve ruled one food into the allergen or sensitivity camp for Henry: Bananas.
On one level, they are rare as an allergen. On another, they are related to latex allergies, which are very common and which he may also have to some degree, as I seem to.
We’re pleased with having suspected bananas enough to stop feeding them to him, in baby food form, after the very first time he ate them. The trouble was, it was non-obvious what things might be causing the skin issues, and that could, at the time, have been a red herring.
He seems to be able to eat safely rice, oatmeal, chicken, and apples. We’ll give him a couple days off and then try him with butternut, sweet potatoes, or carrots. That was the plan, until he saw the bananas and remembered them enough to go absolutely nuts begging for one. From a standpoint of answers, that worked out.