Friday, December 17, 2004

Server Outtage
Please allow me to explain why the Gloop server has been inaccessible lately. It seems that my employer and their team of esteemed accountants simply forgot to pay the electric bill for the small facility that currently hosts my server. Seeing that the power bill was months overdue, our local electric company simply pulled the plug. I'm not sure when the facility will again regain it's power. But when it does, I believe that the server will immediately come back online. I guess there are some good qualities to AT power supplies (you real geeks know what I mean).
A Long Week In The Making
Boy, it sure has been a busy week! I suppose any week that I teach a class, and work Best Buy at nights makes for a 'long week'. This week at the training center I was teaching 2273a which is a Windows Server 2003 course. The course is a bit rocky to deliver because it's actually two seperate courses that were smacked together. One was a five day course, and the other a three day. It's a tad tough to get through the 'good stuff', but at the same time it allows the instructor to slice and dice material like there is no tomorrow.

Meanwhile, halfway through the week I got my two Microsoft "Welcome Kits". One for my MCSE, and one for my MCT. Yay for me. I have TWO new lapel pins to wear. Oh, happy day. I can use them as money clips and pin the two dollars I have together with them.
Mindless Rant #102
So I was strolling into work the other day at about 8:40 and I got grabbed by the owner of the company. He found it in his heart to remind me that the work day starts at 8:00AM. It seems he had come lurking around the training center again in another stab at micro-management. It seems he had some genuine concern. "Is there something going on that we should be aware of?". At that moment, it was like a bomb went off inside of me. "Well, I have been sick all week and teaching anyway. I also have two dead cars ...", but it seemed that was enough information for him. He really didn't need me to continue. What's this? I thought you were concerned. You want to know why I'm late? I'LL TELL YOU!

So then, he goes on to tell me that he would like to meet with me and the two other instructors that came from my previous employer before the buyout ... I mean MERGER. Of course, I was teaching all day so he asked that we do it over the lunch hour. "Will that work for you?", he asked. "Not really", I replied, "I need to get to the bank and move some money around, or I will be bouncing checks". Hey, if he was really concerned, I will tell him about all of my problems in life. But again, I get the feeling he really wasn't interested.

And so, I agreed to meet for a few minutes so that I could still get out and get my errands run over lunch. When I got to this meeting, the owner wasn't there. In his place was his right hand man (we could call him a henchman) who was getting things started. I hate that guy. He likes to make really retarted 'points' which usually involve stories that don't really go anywhere. He also sometimes writes down a few words while you are talking to him, and then he reads them back to you with explanations that could only be described as an SNL sketch gone wrong.

Eventually the owner showed up to ask us "what we think could be done differently". We have to wonder about the timing of this meeting. Just yesterday we (the instructors and a few others) had held a meeting that did *not* involve any member of management (including our 'manager'). The topic was "how do improve this training center, since management is failing to do so". So here we are speaking with the owner about "how things should run" when we just held this discussion withouth him one day prior. Everyone seems to agree that the real problem with the company is that our manager doesn't really 'manage' anything.

The owner goes on to tell us that 'leadership is with the individual' and that managers aren't necessarily 'leaders'. The whole point made absolutely no fucking sense. If you don't move people in the right direction, and improve business strategy, you are not a fucking manager. Fucking duh. Call our boss something else, and give her a pay cut. We also argued that because our manager lacks technical skill, she is unable to understand issues that arise. He disagreed. So whatever.

Meanwhile the henchman was busy writing down his 'thought words' and pulled out a sheet of paper. "Here's what we need to do", he says, "do you know what this is?". He passes a sheet of paper onto the table which reads, "TO DO". Oh, that's brilliant. We need to make a "to do" list for our manager. Why didn't I think of that. If we tell our manager what to do, she will actually be a great leader! Here's a better idea though. How about we just do it ourselves, and you can give her salary to us? How many managers need a fucking "to do" list? That's pretty insulting.

Anyhow, the instructors gave up on management a long time ago. We have decided that we will just have to take this training business into our own hands while there is still some business left. At this next so called "training meeting" the managers may notice a sudden shift in power.

Now, I really must get moving. I want to exchange the battery in my Bug today before I have to head to my second job. I ended up calling off this morning, and asking another instructor to cover my last day of class. I hate when people do that shit to me, but ... I couldn't get off of the toilet. They seems to understand. And hell, I did teach all four days with a cold. Now that my digestive track seems to be back in order, I can buckle up for a nice long shift at Best Buy (now with extended holiday hours).

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Unfinished Work
After weeks of not Blogging much of anything, I feel the need to play catch up' once again. I was lucky enough to get a weekend off from Best Buy. I don't imagine getting Saturday and Sunday both off will be a regular occurance for me. So going into the weekend it seemed pretty nice. Not that I don't mind staying busy with work. Keeping busy is nice and rewarding in it's own ways. Saturday morning I awoke about 10:00AM as if I was arising from a coma. It was probably the after-effect of the drug cocktail I had gulped down to send of a headache the night before. But if the kids hadn't been outside my door making some noise I probably would have slept until noon. It's not that I didn't get enough sleep, I just felt knocked out.

That morning I choked down my breakfast and made quick to get into my working clothes. Then, it was off to the garage to get working on my Bug. I had a couple of projects for the weekend, but putting a new generator in my Bug was at the top of my list. Little did I know I would be in the garage until around 9:00PM.

Don't ever let anyone tell you it's easy working on a Volkswagen Beetle. Sure, you can rebuild the carbeurator in about an hour. You can hold up one side while your friend changes a tire. But changing out something simple like a generator ... that's quite dificult. Before I got going, I sat down and read through my "how to keep your Volkswagen alive" book. The author, John Muir, had some entertaining comments. He started with removal instructions for the 50's Bugs, and then worked his way through the seventies. As he did, he noted "look how things get more complicated as the years go on". I picked a good Bug to work on. I had attempted a generator swap on a 1974 and it about drove me insane. Of course, that was over 10 years ago, and I didn't own a full set of metric tools yet.

It was clear that I was going to have to remove the carbeurator, fuel pump, solenoid, and a few other parts to get to the generator. I would also have to unbolt and lift the fan shrouding to gain access to some hard to reach bolts. In the process of removing the carbeurator for probably the third time in a month, I decided to make things easier on myself. There is a bolt on the rear of the carb' which falles under a bent pipe. The bend prevents you from getting a socket wrench into the area. An open ended wrench put at the right angle and just catch it, and turn it about 1/8 of a revolution. At which point, you need to grab your other wrench and work it another 1/8 around. I would NOT be going through that again. Thanks to a rusty old 13 milimeter wrench, bolt cutters, and a grinder, I came up with a fantastic little tool which allowed me to get the carb out with EASE. That tool is going right next to "The Motherfucker" in my garage. It's a real keeper.

Hours into the project it occured to me that it would take equally long to get everything back into the car, and it was getting dark outside. But I didn't let that bother me. What bothered me is that I was in the same spot I was in when I last removed a generator 10 years ago. On one end of the generator goes a pully. It of course, loops on a belt to the main drive pully to provide the spinning action. On the other end however, is a giant fan blower that resemblers a water-mill. This fan is attached by a big honkin' 36mm bolt. The bolt naturally is put on with the strength of God. It is not meant to be removed by man. I just happen to own a 36mm socket (thanks to a buddy of mine who shelled out ten bucks for it for a tire job) and a big ass breaker bar (2 feet long). The problem is not in the muscle. It's the fact that as you work your weight into the bolt, the generator just rotates.

I thought I was smart.

I went to Lowes (I hate that fucking place) and spent 72 cents on two 12mm nuts. I slid those nuts onto the opposite side of the generator, then slid a socket over the two nuts and popped a smaller breaker bar onto the socket. That'll hold it! While putting my weight onto both ends ... I was able to ... bruise myself in an embarassing area. But alas, the bolt did not come off. After lunch, a few beers, and some hateful words I went back to work.

I could drill it out! I didn't mind ruining the end of the generator. It was going to the trash anyway. So I started drilling. Every time I have ever hollowed out a bolt until there is nothing left, I have been able to turn it to dust with a screwdriver and a mallet. But not this bastard. Tougher than dirt. I was eventually able to free the 26mm nut, but I left behind a fair bit of threading from the bolt that was not coming out easy. In fact, holding it into the light it looks like the two were bonded on some molecular level. Fuck. I ruined it. I took it inside and showed it to my wife. "How much will that cost?" she asked. I headed downstairs and began looking across several sites. It was a very special bolt. It contained an inner circular cutout which allowed it to slide over part of the fan shrouding. After quite a bit of searching it was clear that I could not buy a new nut. I would have to either fabricate a new one or repair the old on.

Back to Lowes. I really hate Lowes. I brought the nut with me, along with a nut from the other end of the generator which was still in good shape. Using the guide that was nailed up at Lowes, I was able to determine the threading and size of the nut. It was 12m 1.5. Now all I needed was a "re-threader" to fix the big nut. After asking three or four people who don't know anything about the store that they work in, I found the small assortmant of threaders. The only metric ones were all packed into one set which stopped at 10mm and had an asking price of $31. Eeek.

So I went to Wal-Mart. I fucking hate Wal-Mart. They had about 10 different tools. Total. What a waste of time. Then I went to the auto-part store. They had a small assortment of threaders, but not the size I needed. The woman who worked there sent me to Pep-Boys which was just up the road. I had never noticed it in passing, and I must not have noticed it when I went looking for it, because I drove halfway to downtown. Along the way I noticed a "True Value" hardware store. Those places are generally a joke, because the cost is so high on everything, that I don't think "true value" is a fitting name for the store.

Would you believe that this shop had the VERY piece I needed? I was so excited, that I didn't mind paying the $7 for it. Pulling the part out of my pocket I flashed it to the old man working the counter who helped me track it down. This shop had the finest assortment of threaders I have ever seen.

And so once home, I was able to get the threader threading, and I cranked out the old bolt remnants with ease. It dropped out with a plunk looking like a little corkscrew. I was amazed at it's strength. Something so thin should be easily crushable, but this crap was solid. So onto the next challenge. I would need to get the old fan and pully pieces off of the old alternator and they were on there really good.

This is when I wouldn't mind calling up my grandfather and thanking him for one of this finest tools. The heat gun. What looks like a hairdryer on crack, coughs out a couple hundred degrees of fire hot air. Combined with a can of penetrating oil, you can losen, unbolt, or remove damned near anything. Parts that I couldn't pry off given an hour of jerking and hammering practically fell off with the heat and oil combo.

Putting the new generator back in was pretty tough. It seemed even tougher given that I was really tired, hungry, sore, dirty ... and just plain cranky. I decided to drop it, and go to bed. It has been getting pretty cold in that garage since the sun went down anyway and my tiny little ceramic heater was not keeping up.

This morning I went back to work, and muscled the new generator back into place in no time. A nights rest was definitely the right move. Of course, I did sleep in again. I slept like a damned corpse. Felt good though. Part after part, everything went back into the car like a jig-saw puzzle with no major snags. It's a good thing too. This afternoon, my wife got a call from her sister. She wanted her car back. We had been driving it around since my car was out a generator and her car was out a muffler. Becoming worried that we would have no transportation at all, she began checking in on me every once in a while.

Once everything was back together, I drummed up the car and watched the generator spin happily. I was overjoyed that the pully no longer jumped around like it had before. It was definitely a lose belt, but I was unable to tighten it before. Since I had taken the pully completely off I could see that thin shims (or spacers) had been used to push the pully apart. I removed a couple of those before re-assembling the pully, and now I was able to tighten the pully perfectly. No more awkward rattling.

Into the car I went, on my first trip in weeks. It was good to be behind the wheel of the ol' blue monster again. I headed back to the auto part store. There was one item I desperately needed. Hand cleaner! The good orange stuff with the gritty stuff in it. The drive was a good one. The car was running good, my windshield wipers were "responsive" (they hadn't been with the bad generator) and it seemed to idle nicely. It was also noticeable quieter. I was able to slap on my iPod and listen to some tunes over the noise of the car. Oh, did I mention that I got my iPod?

Ray gets his iPod
So I came home from work last week, tired as hell. I went straight to the kitchen for a snack and then right to bed. I normally check my e-mail, but I didn't bother. The following morning (Thursday) I decided to check my mail. Who knows, maybe someone loves me. I was overjoyed to find that my iPod status had changed to SHIPPED! I couldn't wait to get a look at this shipping details. Expecting to find that it would be taking a week or two, it looked like it was coming today. It had shipped the say before from Michigan, and was in Columbus the same day for delivery.

Sure enough, a few hours later it was at my door. I was having such a miserable day at work. Not getting much done. My clothes didn't fit. And I had a horrible headache. And so I decided to go home, changed into better clothes, and play with my iPod before returning to work. What a gem! I hooked her up, got it charged and updated, and then began synchronizing. Within a few minutes, it was now carrying my entire music collection of 9 gigs (and I still have 11 gigs left!). It sounds great, and the whole click-wheel feature is truely a wonder of modern engineering and design. Oh, and I didn't pay a thing for it.

For those of you still going for your free iPod, don't give up hope!

Web Pages, Databases, and Stables
I have so much left to do that I couldn't squeeze into this weekend. I had planned on finishing a pony stable that I am building from oak for my daughter. I was going to work on this database that I am working on for a woman at the department of insurance. I was going to wrap up some work on a friends web site (which he has all ready paid me for). But I just ran out of time. Sure, I could be doing any ONE of those things right now instead of kicking up my feet and blogging. But ... I am fucking tired.

It feels good to kick my feet up and recollect. If I don't do this once in a while, I forget to sit down and tell myself "you have made progress". In all the rushing around to get things done, and balance my time I often feel as if I am not accomplishing much of anything. But alas, I DO get things done once in a while don't I?

My Employers Are Fags
Do I have time for one more topic? Is anyone still reading? Good. So, this past Friday I was talking to this guy I work with, Dustin. I hadn't seen him in a while. We don't often cross paths much other than when we are heating up our lunches (if we have lunches). Dustin lives an hour and a half from the office, and doesn't come in if he doesn't have to. Lately, he has been spending a lot of time at home. His wife has been chronically ill with a kidney infection that has lead to the need for surgery.

So why was he at the office when he wasn't teaching? Because he was asked to come into the office even when he is not teaching. So that we can all have a better sense of "community". This past Tuesday the office had it's usual Tuesday morning staff meeting which I skipped as usual. I could have got in on time and sat through it, but I never do. None of the bullshit discussed ever does anything positive to my attitude. Afterwards, I was approached by the owner who more or less told me to start coming to these mandatory meetings. Whatever.

The last meeting I was in he told us all a story about his trip to a salon in an effort to relate some moral about "good customer service". Needing a haircut myself, I was a little annoyed. Hell, I needed more than a haircut. I needed a raise. But this guy was going to salons and blowing $100 on a bad haircut. At any rate, I have been a lot happier at work by NOT attending those meetings. Now, I am being told I must return to them.

The same way Dustin was told that he would have to travel next week to Louisianna. His wife is having surgery. She may not live. Kidney surgeries are a bit dangerous. So why is he going to Louisiana? He was told to go teach a class there. This is after he told them that he couldn't be sent out of town for that week and that he might need some time off. No warning, no apologies. Go to Lousiana and teach this course, or you lose your job.

I need to get out of this company.

That's all for now. I don't want to go griping again, I will make myself angry. And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Current Mood: Not angry yet.
Musical Inspiration: The random shuffle on my iPod.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Catching Up
Man, it's been a while hasn't it? Looking back at these past few weeks I am taking a deep breath and beginning to smile. My blood pressure is through the roof. I should be calm at this point. I passed an exam today that effectively lifted the last of the 'loads' on my back. It was a real relief. I am now officially an MCSE and an MCT as well (or at least I will be once my fee is paid). When I started down the road to certification, I expected that I would feel better about the accomplishment. But what do I have to celebrate? I am now ever further underpaid than I was when I began my employment with the new company. But hey, I "put one in the for the team". The company owner personally shook my hand. It was ... nifty. I was tempted to look at my palm and reply "I was hoping you had put some money in it".

I have had ZERO idle time lately, which has been good. Usually when I find myself in a world of financial misery, I have plenty of idle time to sit around and stew about it. But teaching a five day class, studying for an exam, and having started my new job ... hasn't left much free time.

In fact, I am at my new job right now. I got here about 1.5 hours early, just so that I wasn't stuck in traffic trying to get here. Best Buy has this nice little employee lounge, complete with leather furnature and wireless access. The new job has been a lot of fun for me. It's been years since I was working with people right off the street. It's been "interesting" to say the least. The number one thing that keeps the Best Buy Geek Squad in business? Spyware! The average cost of a Spyware cleansing is about $100. Eeek. Note to self: start charging people $5 when I do it, and tell them I am saving them $95.

So, why haven't I blogged? I am at the light at the end of my dark tunnel. When I am depressed, I generally Blog. When I am deeply depressed, I generally do not. But things are on the "up and up". In the past few weeks I have bounced a mortgage check ... three times. Put off a car payment (for about 2.5 months) and bounced a few checks with groceries, pizza delivery places, etc. (because the mortgage check screwed me).

Last night when I got home, my wife was a wreck. She seemed to be in one of those depressions that begins after consuming massive amounts of alcohol. But, she hadn't been drinking. Likely, she had been listening to messages all day from people who want their money and are leaving angry messages on the answering machine. I was actually in a pretty good mood. In fact, I was a bit loopy. I was in such a good mood (I'm really not sure why) I decided to call the mortgage company and tell them "we're broke!".

The mortgage company was extremely nice (as always) and offered me the chance at a "financial assistance plan". This will buy me a few weeks to 'recover' from my current state of financial madness ... but will result in a bloated mortgage payment for the next year (or so). But ... what can you do? The good news is: I keep my house. I can make my car payment. I have money to buy important stuff like 'utilities' and 'food'.

So, today I celebrate! We will survive Christmas! I am an MCSE/MCT/Whatever! I have a fun part time job with 'cool people'. It's all good.

I better get to work. Bye.

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Reoccurring Dreams
I had this dream last night that I was exploring an old house with my wife. It seems we were living there and we were in the basement checking things out. While it was terribly run down and dark, we were still impressed with the possibilities. I had stumbled upon some sort of bunker. It was a room built out of bricks. It was like a giant cylindrical room. A tube of some sort. And it was huge. We had to unlock some sort of gate to walk into it. I thought it looked like a great place to hold a party. It was really dark. But, we were underground.

In one of the other rooms we were doing our best to make it into a guest bedroom. But the room was awkwardly shaped, unusually large, and pretty cold. We had laid out a long white carpet, and pushed a bed into the middle of the room.

The question is, why do I keep finding myself redecorating the basement of a run down house? It's always cold, dark, and crumbling. But ... I never seem to mind. Instead I am always rushing around to dedecorate it. My curiosity got the best of me, and I started looking it up. It seems that it's quite common to dream of a strange house. Psychologists refer to it as "the House Dream". The house, represents me. I guess if you see an old house that is run down and falling apart, it's the sense that your body is getting old and falling apart. Hrm.

The idea of finding new rooms in your house, and discovering something represents discovering something about yourself. This makes a lot of sense. Once I get into these rooms, I am always pleased at what I find. The fact that the rooms are always locked, gated, or in some cases 'bricked over' tells me that I am keeping myself away from these discoveries. Mental blocks of some kind? Colors take on special meanings too. For instance, red would indicate fear. I never seem to see any of that. The rooms in my "house dreams" are always painted white. Even in the dark, dank basement, white oil paint covers every wall and every brick cieling.

White, it seems, represents cleanliness, purity, and dignity. I'm not sure how that applies to my "undiscovered rooms". A more sensible finding said that "white rooms" or "large white spaces" are a canvas for creativity. They represent room to grow and "paint a picture".

Anyhow, I always wake up smiling from these dreams wishing that I lived in a giant old house, or a dirty old warehouse with a deep, dark basement. Hah!

In The News
I thought it might be fun to cover some news topics with you all. There have been some interesting stories going around.

Microsoft Unleashes NEW MSN Search Engine! - In an attempt to steal away some of Google's spotlight, Microsoft has built their own search engine ... and it almost works! If you have ever had to search Microsofts Knowledge Base or TechNet, you are all ready familiar with Microsoft's search capabilities. So ... we can all keep using Google (I use it to find Knowledge Base articles too).

Arafat Dies - Nothing much to add to this. That poor old bastard should have been dead long ago. The president said some nice things about the loss of this world leader. Or course, he was still alive at the time as he made those comments days ago. That's Bush for you. Always planning ahead!

ABC Bans Saving Private Ryan - ABC planned on airing the Spielberg film "Saving Private Ryan" in it's entirety today to celebrate Veteran's day. They quickly pulled the show off the schedule at the last minute in about 20 large markets. They say that their reasoning was due to some complaints from "right winged assholes", and the lingering FCC. In fact, they asked the FCC if showing the film would be a problem, and FCC refused to comment. Because the deal with Spielberg would not allow the film to be edited, ABC didn't want to risk airing the film with it's 48 uses of "explicit language". I tuned into CNN earlier to listen to some Bush-mongers arguing that "ABC was only airing that to draw sympathy to the war effort!". WTF? I guess when we are at war, we shouldn't honor veterans - even with sappy Spielberg films.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

All right. So I was in a bad mood. I was so pissed at ... well ... at everything. I went right after the mood altering drug known as cream Irish Liquor. Damn it's good. And as I lay in bed with my wife, smelling and sipping my liquor, and wondering if I could still stand and walk to the bathroom to piss, something hit me. It's not that bad.

I had a woman in front of me yesterday heading towards the grocery. She must have had about three winter coats on. I imagine it was cold in that car. Being that a window was missing and it was about 20 degrees outside. The tags on the car were temporary and they expired in 24 hours. As she rounded the corner, her car leaned and creaked as if it were going to burst apart at the seams and I noticed she was driving on her do-nut style spare. She too, was having a bad day it seems.

It then dawned upon me that I was telling this story out loud to my wife who was probably somewhere between a sitcom, and being asleep and probably didn't want to hear my story. Woops. I went to bed. Sleeping never seems dificult after a full cup of Irish Liquor on the rocks.

But when I woke up, it was all okay. I was a little dry, and woozie. Must have been all the liquor I drank. But I was able to smile again. I guess I must have dreamt about the things in life that make me happy, even on the worst days. So, let me try to reverse the hatred from my last evening's poetry with some new thoughts.

My wife's devotional love.
Hugs from my kids.
My Beetle when it works.

These are things I enjoy about life.

Oh, but FUCK BUSH.

Wardriving Book Pre-Release
As I head toward picking up a part time job, I will surely put an end to any free time that I might have had to work on this book project of mine. As a kind Blog reader has noted, a pre-release would be kindly appreciated. It's not a bad idea. You all have been after me for a while to show you something, and I think I probably should break down and do it.

I was holding off in the hopes that I could somehow find the time to work on it. But it just hasn't been possible. While I normally have some idle time in the holiday season, it's going to be eaten up with my new part time gig.

And so, I will try to find time to clean up the randomness and missing pieces from my book in progress, and offer it from the website. I will keep everyone informed. The price will be a mere "free ninety-nine". Perhaps I could charge $0.99 like iTunes. Only 51 cents would go to me of course, just like the recording industry.

Or I could donate all the money to my victims like some serial killer with a book deal.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Drive It Off a Bridge
I hopped in my car this morning and headed off to work. I noticed that I had left the window cracked yesterday and the cold air was freezing me out. I reached for my window crank to roll it up and it was gone. The window crank was missing. Fuck! In my window crankiness, I got on the wrong highway entrance. This was bad, because the next exit was closed for construction. So I had to drive a good 5 miles just to turn the car around and head back.

Whan I got to work and started marching up the steps I noticed everyone was gathered into the conference room. Woops. I had blown off yet another meeting. I had better not show up now (it was about over). So I headed back downstairs to hide.

A while later I get a call from one of the salespeople upstairs. It was my lucky day. This woman who I was supposed to be teaching Access to had got her funding. And so a class that I was praising God for cancelling was back on again, and I would have to be there in an hour. This was going to be a problem, because I needed to go take a piss test today. I had my interview with Best Buy last night, and of course I was hired. But I had to go donate some urine for my manditory drug test.

I call the woman, and we planned for tomorrow morning to start things. I am not looking forward to this shit. I don't know a damn thing about Access anymore. I don't use it. I almost hope it turns out awful and they complain that I don't know anything. Then perhaps they will stop putting me into gigs' like this that I wasn't consulted on before hand.

So having put off this training for another day, I headed out for my drug test in Westerville (about 40 minutes away). Low and behold, my battery was flat dead. I know that my battery has been weak lately. It had finally died. It took me a while to find someone to jump me. So after asking everyone I work with for jumper cables I finally found someone willing and I got on my way.

There was contruction and the exit I needed was closed. This was ... not good. The next exit was a full 20 miles away. I had to leave the city ... to turn around .... to drive all the way back. Are you seeing a pattern to my day? When I got to the drug testing place, I had to leave my car running, unlocked, with a Dell and my laptop sitting in my front seat. Fuck it.

I peed in my cup, signed a bunch of shit, and was on my way. When I got home and pulled into my driveway I found my window crank. It must have fallen off as I left home this morning. I was finally able to roll up my window!

Then I spent an hour or so looking for the keys to my dead Volvo so I could steal the battery out of it. I never found the keys. Once I went for a coat-hanger and started jamming it in the glass, my wife joined in the search for the keys and found them rather quickly. And so I switched batteries, jumping the dead battery from the nearly-dead battery (with the trickle charger still attached!). I let the bug run a bit while I chomped down dinner, but I could tell it needed a good long charge.

After dinner I took the bug for a long trip to get er' charged up. It was kind of peaceful driving around in the cold night. Nowhere inparticular to go. At some point I came off the highway, and rolled through Dublin, then went back on the highway and racked up another 30 miles or more. I hate this time of year. The cold air biting at me. Reminding me that Christmas is right around the corner. Once again I am entering the holiday season miles in debt, and a mortgage payment behind. Or is it two payments behind? Hell, it doesn't matter.

Study for a test you don't have time to take.
Learn Access in one hour, so you can teach it tomorrow.
Set up a class for next week.
Fix your car (one of them).
Rinse, repeat.

Fuck my job. Fuck the cold of winter. Fuck Access. Fuck our president. Fuck spending all my spare time setting up classes.


Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Second Interview
At about 10:30AM Saturday morning I waltzed into Best Buy ready for my first interview. I was early, so I poked around and checked out the store. It was about the same as I remember it. A few things have changed with the layout of the store since I last worked there six or more years ago. But the demographics were about the same. A mix of highschool aged and early twenty-somethings manning the posts. About the only older fellow I noticed was a retiree running the Loss Prevention podium by the door.

At around 11:00AM I wandered to the customer service desk and alerted them that I was there to be interviewed. They parked me off to the side of customer service where there were some chairs for customers to wait in while their PC's were worked on. This waiting period gave me a good opperunity to spy on the "Geek Squad" bench that I would be working at. They had certainly cleaned up that area. When I was working there, it was a sad little extension to customer service with little to do other than send out PC's for repair somewhere else. Now, it was a bright orange and black "Geek Squad" center. They have a nice line up of overhead flat screens, and mounted keyboards. So you can drop a PC and plug er' in for service. There were two employees working the counter and they were keeping pretty busy with a small line of customers forming. One woman brought a PC in, and they hooked it up for a "quick analysis". The screen read "NTLDR not found or missing". If you have seen this message before, it doesn't need much analyzing to realize that this won't be a quick fix. At this point, they sent the customer away to shop around and they began a virus scan from a bootable CD.

About 11:15AM a young girl emerged from what used to be (and probably still is) a conference room. She walked me back to the "storage room" to be interviewed. She apoligized for the mess. The interview area was just a couple of folding chairs in the corner of a messy closet full of cleaning supplies and junk. In my day of working there, this was known as "the smoking room". She found that rather amusing, because they had stopped letting people smoke inside years before she started working there. She says "when I came here, I wondered why this room had it's own ventilation system".

It was a little strange being interviewed by someone so young, but then it is a retail job. I will probably be one of the few "older" people there. It's actually quite refreshing. I have good memories of working in that store because the people were a lot of fun to work with. It will be a nice change to having worked with people who take their jobs far too seriously. Ah, but focus. I am being interviewed.

I wasn't ready for the questions. "Give us one time when you helped someone, but you didn't have to". I tried to explain that in the training industry, that's "what we do all the time". It was hard coming up with anything specific. "Would you call yourself dependable?". "Yes!", that one was easy. "Tell us about a time that you let someone down on a committment and felt bad about it". I totally drew a blank on that one. "Work related?", I asked. She said, "It can be anything ... I just have to write down something". I replied, "I'm sure in all my years of marriage I have let my wife down a couple of times. That makes me feel lousy ... but I can't think of anything specific". Good enough, next question.

I could see that this interview was more of a formality than a hiring process. They had all ready looked at my information and were pleased. "I see you are A+ certfified", she said. "Yes", I added, "I currently hold seven CompTIA certifications". She nodded. She admittidly knew nothing about the IT field. I was being interviewed by the Operations Manager. He day to day tasks are financial, not really technical.

After 15 minutes or so of strange questions, and extra paperwork, she said "I have no problem recommending you for a third interview". This was actually only my first interview, but I wasn't going to argue. At that point she took me out to meet the store manager who she said "is really cool". He was stuck on the phone at the time, probably trying to put out a fire with a customer. So she popped open the master schedule and found a spot for me. "Monday at six?". I agreed. And so, tomorrow at six, I will have my third and final interview with the store manager.

I would have to go out of my way NOT to get this job. It then dawned on my that I would need black pants. I'm not sure how much of the "Geek Squad" uniform they provide. I'm hoping the clip-on tie is something the store provides. It's not something that I would wear to any other function, and I don't know of anyone off hand selling them. The same goes for "short sleeve" white button up shirts. Nobody is selling those during the cold months. The rest of the store wears company owned Polo shirts. So maybe they will flip the bill for the white button up shirts. At any rate, I know for sure they aren't buying my pants. And I don't have a single pair of black pants.

So off to the the thrift shops I went. I had to hit about three in all, and out of that I got two pairs of good fitting pants. One pair was $3.99 with 50% off. Can't beat that! There was nowhere to try them on, so buying them was a gamble. But after a good wash, I slipped into them. Like a glove.

Now, as my weekend rolls to a close I have to put my priorities in order. I am teaching/mentoring a woman on Microsoft Access the first three days next week. I really don't know why. I don't use Access. But they volunteered me because "Steve has taught that before". She will certainly be asking me how to do things, that I won't know how to do. But nobody at the office wanted to hear that. They had made promises without speaking to me about it. If it all goes to hell in a hand-basket I will surely be blamed. I LOVE MY JOB.

I also need to be studying for my last MCSE exam, 70-298. I have done very little to prepare for this test, and I have to schedule to take the exam on Friday. I would like to plan it so that by the time Thursday rolls around I will be "cramming" instead of "starting to study for it". Time will tell.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Internet Sucks
I haven't even bothered firing up my instant messenger lately. The ISP who hosts has been "down" more than up the past few days. Every once in a while I try to grab my mail before it loses it's connection again. But then, I don't have any mail because nobody the server has been disconnected.

I decided I would add something to my Blog about what's been happening, but Blogger is having problems. Sometimes I really HATE IT. It's been one of those weeks.

My buddy Rob tells me a couple of days ago, "you need to join the Geek Squad". I wasn't sure what the hell he was talking about so he sent me the URL to The "Geek Squad" looks like some strange cult where you have to wear short sleeve white shirts and black clip on ties (seriously). If you go "on call" you get to drive around the swank company cars which are black and white beetles (new ones) with a big logo on the side. Neat. The goal is to "repair PC problems". It's a bit like a glorified help desk

The company is owned by Best Buy, and it seems that all Best Buys are getting "geek squads" if they don't all ready have them. So I applied. I need the money. It would be nice to perhaps pay off my Honda someday. And I bounced my last mortgage check (which in turn bounced a few other checks). Additionally my wife and I are going to try and stow away some cash so that we can take a vacation in Canada to 'check it out'. The bottom line is ... we need money. More than I make.

The application went through Best Buy who "owns" and hosts the Geek Squad. Their online application process was horrific. It included all sorts of weird questions about welfare and a 20 page personality test. Grueling. Today, I got a call from Best Buy (they left a message on my machine) that said "we want to talk to you! Call us!". But ... they didn't leave a number. Doing the application on the web page, I had no idea who to call. Luckily, it was the first store on my list.

I will be interviewing for the job Saturday morning. I don't think it should be too hard to land this job. If anything, I am overqualified. But I am applying for the Geek Squad, and that's all I want to do. I'm not going to let them stick me in "stereos" or "video" in Best Buy.

I'm not sure what my employer will make of me working a retail gig on the side. I don't think anyone in management would ever consider working a retail position. They would sooner collect unemployment and live off of their savings I gather. But I felt it is probably a good idea to tell my boss what I am up to. It shouldn't be a conflict of interest, or a breach of my non-compete contract. But just so that they don't can me for working a part time gig, I sent her an e-mail.

Britain Thinks We're Dumb
I was watching one of the news channels today and it seems that Britain called Americans retards on one of their popular papers. While not very nice, I doubt the rest of the world feels any different about things. I think when the election results began pouring in, people around the world stood in front of their TV sets slapping their foreheads and doing that Homer Simpson thing. At least I did. Are Americans this easily misled? Yes.

I also watched on the news as the local school commissioner stepped up to the podium with her colleagues and announced that she was "disappointed" in the votes. With tears in her eyes she informed everyone that there would be cut backs, and most likely lay-offs. She added that she didn't understand the lack of support for our children. Nor did I.

I know those of you who supported Bush are happy that he made it. But to see supporters of the other team weep, should strike a nerve. It's not like losing a football game. They are weeping because they care about this country and they are concerned about it's future. We all should be.

My Blog comments have been really interesting. I am glad that you all are taking an interest in what's going on. I hope that you all continue to share your thoughts and learn from each other. It's been getting a little viscous in there, but that's to be expected. We are lucky enough to have the right to slander each other and our president for that matter. I say we use that right!

Keep your fingers crossed for me Saturday when I interview for my $8.00 an hour job, will ya? When I get hired, I think I will send a letter to Bush. You know, to thank him for this opportunity at one of his 1.6 million jobs.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Right Wings Win
It is a sad, sad, week for me. I spent last week wondering what I could do with my career. Would I be fired? Would I be forced out after the e-mail I sent to my boss? Would I be the next "John" to be fired for speaking out against how this company operates? That weekend I watched my son lose his first championship game. He cried. We did our best to cheer him up and put him in good spirits. After all, they started off the season as the absolute worst team in the league. It was a victory to have shown up. Yet, the officials didn't seem to notice any of the foul play in the game. Perhaps because the commissioner was coaching the winning team. In the end, he awarded himself the trophy, and it left a bad taste in our mouths. He had hand picked his winning team at the start of the season, and took home his own prize at the seasons end.

I woke up at 6:00AM yesterday morning and rushed to the polls to vote. I returned home at 9:30AM to grab my laptop and rush off to work. It was a long, grueling three hours in line. My wife would later also wait about the same length of time to cast her vote. And then we prayed. We prayed that maybe there was some hope. Yet, last evening, we watched in horror as red poured over the map. Like blood pouring from the soil. It was a shameful victory. This country is obviously fooled. Put a bible under your arm, tell people you are "pro life" and suddenly, the real issues don't matter any more. I heard one woman for the Republican party tell the camera "in a time of war we need a president with morals". Nevermind that we are only in a war, because the president launched an attack with the wrong enemy. She added "it's a bad time to switch presidents". Yeah, so let's re-elect the president to show the president our support.

People were blinded to the issues. We watched issue one become adopted. This will not only ban gay marriages in Ohio, but it will also disallow them the right to healthcare, and transferring ownership of property. Did you notice how they snuck that in? Nobody else did. But gay people are bad. They don't deserve rights. God doesn't like them, and neither should YOU!

We also watched our local zoo win a levy that will allow them to take from our taxes to make it better. Yet, the zoo is actually based in a different county that doesn't pay any taxes for it.

Our schools will now certainly be laying off teachers, because people couldn't part with some tax dollars to pay for school development. Thank you for fucking over my children to save a few bucks. I will be knocking on your doors to sell shitty fundraiser items now. So don't complain when I come to your house.

It was a win for the dark side.

Now, I am left with rising health care costs and my wife with a chronic disease. I am working in an industry which is closing up and moving overseas. My so called leader is going to further screw over countries, remove leaders, and wonder why terrorism is at an all time high. So where does that leave me?

My friends, I am taking a long serious look into leaving this country. I give up. You can have it. My wife and I are going to make every attempt to take a quick trip into Canada to check it out. I cannot afford to stay here. And I am not saying that to be sarcastic. I honestly don't have the money. I can't pay the rising healthcare costs. I have nothing to give the hospitals. I can barely pay my mortgage and car payments. In Canada, healthcare grows on trees.

My children are going to be deprived of a good education. They are being pulled out of class now to attend workshops where they are trained on how to pass the state mandated exams. This is part of Bush's fabulous "no child left behind" act. Nevermind that they don't have the resources to train the foriegn children who barely speak English.

Canada is looking pretty green my friends. Who's with me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I got an e-mail from my bos yesterday. The subject was something to the effect of "take your last test". I am one exam away from my MCSE and my MCT, so I was expecting a request to get that last exam in. They are anxious to have me teach some Windows 2000 and 2003 classes.

Instead of writing something encouraging, or even remotely friendly, I was being told that I would take my next exam next Friday. It was a demand, not a request. My boss further went on to say that they have given me plenty of time throughout the summer, and "many people have had to study in their own time" so I should have no problem passing that exam next week. She went on to tell me that "unless I had any objectives" that I would be expected to schedule and take that exam next week.

So, I had a few objections. I was pretty pissed off. I was at the end of a very long day of teaching this three day Linux Plus class in Yellow Springs, OH. It's a big class, and an important one. I hit the reply button and let er' rip. My personal time belongs to ME. Not the company. If people want to spend all night studying for the big test, than they are wasting their time. The company will never reimburse them for that time, nor will they ever recognize and reward the efforts. My family comes befroe my work. And if I work all day out of town, when I get home I am spending time with my FAMILY. I completely resent the fact that I should be expected to study in my own time. I let her know that I have made the decision NOT to study at home. Neither my family (or myself0 have anything to gain by me sitting in a corner and studying for hours. I challange her to show me otherwise.

Noone I have talked to at this company has seen a raise in more than two years time. I'm sure we are supposed to recognize that this new facility they built costs money. That the good coffee we serve our students is expensive. That the management folks upstairs who sit around and yell at each other all day are overpaid. But the people that are putting profit into the company are seeing nothing for it. I wonder what motivates them? So if they continue to work hard, and waste all their personal time studying ... good for the company in convincing them to do so. I however, will not be following that lead.

So in the end, I let her know that I will take the exam if they want me to. But in no way do I guarantee I will pass it. In fact, it's likely I will fail the exam, seeing that I am working through Thursday in Yellow Springs, and all five days next week back home. That leaves me one day of study time, which is not nearly enough for such a "feared" Active Directory exam.

I'm sure I probably could have handled the e-mail better. I probably left my boss in a place where she will have to wonder "how to handle this situation" which probably puts me in a bad position. When I drove back into town yesterday and met my wife and kids on the field (football practice) I let her know that I may have put my job on the rocks. I hope after explaining the whole thing that she understands my position. She asked if I thought they would try to "force me out". Possibly. I am probably becoming a threat to the powers that be. And that's not good.

I need to suck up my pride, and get through a couple more of these exams. So I can get the hell out of this place. :-) Anyone hiring?

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Sunday, October 17, 2004

I passed yet another exam. Hooray for me. Just look at my amazing Microsoft Transcript (and ph33r).

One more and I will be an officially underpaid MCSE and MCT in Windows 2003 Server.

Now I have to prepare for my class next week. I will have roughly 20 students in a Security+ class. It's a 5 day class, and I have to do it in three days (God only knows why). Maybe this will be a blessing. All the parts of this class taht I hate to teach can be skipped "in the interest of time".

I have threatened to put together my own version of a security class. One that shows you the ACTUAL tools that you use to attack and defend a network. Not the goofy ass Win32 tools you use in the Security+ class (like "Superscan" for portscanning). Lame.

Anyway, I had better grab my book and start prepping. Congratulate me by drinking a few beers. Thanks.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

The IT Progress Bar
Maybe I am the only one that notices these subtleties. But ... I can't be the only one. In every Windows operating system when you stop or start a service you are given a "progress indicator". Sometimes you are lucky, and the indicator goes away before reaching 100 percent. Other times, you will watch in amazement as it run's full, starts back at zero, and loops again. Is this really a progress indicator? It's more like an "I haven't locked up" indicator. You will also see one of these when Windows is booting. More useful would be something that tells you how much longer you have to wait before this thing is done. But, I am guessing that it was extra work on the programming staff to make something like that.

I installed a Xerox laser printer this morning and it took ages. I got the ol' progress-less progress indicator for what had to be four minutes. God only knows what it was doing, if anything. All I saw was this ...

I think little bars like this represent our progress in the IT industry. You think we are moving forward, but then ... we have no basis for comparison. Sometimes it seems we are moving ahead, only to see our progress goes back to zero again.

Don't even get me started on the debates last night. I hate that our current president stumbles with big words like "Information Technology". Someone should tell him we call it "IT". That would keep him from screwing up his ramblings about "education". Asked, "what do you tell a guy who's job has been shipped overseas?" Bush responds, "educate him and his children". Greaaat. So he will be REALLY smart, and unemployed. That'll show those foriegners!

Bush, I am praying that you get sick and die on November 1st. Do you [i]feel my prayers[/i]?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Just Stolen!
I was working on a friends web site last night. I kept opening video clips and getting the little "would you like to upgrade?" messages with Media Player. Finally, I gave in and said "Yes". About 15 minutes later, the "all new" Microsoft Media Player version 10 was installed, and so I ran it.

What in the hell is this? It looks strangely familiar. It's like they took Apple's iTunes, and painted it in the blue color that Apple decided to stop using (probably because Microsoft stole it and put it in Windows XP). The new format was BLATANTLY ripped off.

Observe Apple's iTunes.

And you know how Apple launched that highly successful music store? Now everyone is trying to take a bite out of it. There are probably 10 large music stores popping up everywhere. Buy Pepsi, and get a free song! Buy Coke, and get a free song. The MS Media Player lets you chose a store to shop from. You have around five choices, all of which I am sure paid out the ass to be listed in the Media Player window. Oddly enough, Apple's music store is not listed there.

And just so you don't think I am making this shit up. Have a look at the iTunes Music Store ...

Microsoft doesn't have a single original thought. That should concern you. It concerns me. Here, we have the Industry leader in Server software, and Desktop Operating Systems. All of which are built entirely on ideas that were blatantly stolen from others.

Oh, and on an unrelated note ... I am beginning to get the feeling that Christoper Reeves will never walk again.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The Walls Have Ears
I just love burying myself into a cubicle and hiding ... For hours. I can listen to the conversations all around me through the walls of the cubicles, and sometimes I am lucky enough to hear people talk about me.

This afternoon I finally wrote up some "quiz" questions I was asked to create last week. Why I am being asked to write questions for a class to "screen" the students, I will never know. I was told, "write some questions about HTML and Dreamweaver to qualify students for the class". Hrm. So ... I can't ask them questions about Dreamweaver for a Dreamweaver class. They don't know it yet. I can't quiz someone on how to use HTML Tables if they aren't expected to know that yet. And why is the instructor writing the pre-screening questions? Isn't that a conflict of interest?

At any rate I put it off for days, and I knew I would be bugged again about it if I didn't git-r-done. So, I threw together my 15 questions and e-mailed them to the "training administrator". A few minutes later, one of the other employees here wandered to her desk. She says, "Steve sent me these questions in notepad! Why would he do that?". I could hear every *grunt* and *sigh*. It was super.

I actually sent the file to her in PLAIN TEXT. Notepad just happened to be her "plain text viewer" of choice. Obviously, she didn't know how to move it into Microsoft Word, and she really wanted a Word document. But now that I heard her talking snotty about me, I was ready to have fun with her. I had forgot to include the answers to the questions I had sent her, and she was asking "what kind of questions" they were. So when I replied, I saved it into a different format ... RTF! Microsoft Word (once installed) adopts the RTF format, but the icon is strange and it's sure to keep her guessing. Besides, I could probably do better.

I just know that she will ask me to change them ... which is why I put them off for almost a week in the first place. I all ready have my next format of file lined up, XML! XML is the future. And since we are in a discussion about Web Development, I think that the XML format is appropriate.

Breaking Protocol
When I came into work this morning, there was a small pow-wow of the consultants gathered around and they were giggling at my expense. They gathered around my desk and had a look at what I was wearing. One of them tells me, "they got on my case last winter about wearing a sweater over a t-shirt". I made a face. He continued, "they told me that it was 'unfashionable' and that you should wear a collared shirt under your sweater". Hah! They should have seen what I was wearing last week. Anyhow, I hiked up my sweater and showed them the t-shirt I was wearing. It says "SPLASH!" and has a picture of a bare chested Mermaid on it. One of the best Thrift Shop finds of this century. I threatened that if anyone complains about the way that I'm dressed, the sweater comes off and I will parade around in the mermaid shirt until I'm forced out the door.

Ray's iPod ... On It's Way!!
I would like to thank those of you who helped me get my iPod. Last night, I got my fifth referral. I went ahead and clicked the little "Request Approval" button, and went to bed. About 11:00AM this morning, they approved me. Not even 12 hours later. That was quick! Most people have wait a week or more. Now all that was left for me to do was to fill out my shipping information, and finalize the deal! Now my order reads as "Processing". Next, it will move onto "STV" (Sent To Vendor), and from that point, it's just a matter of waiting for it to show up on my door step.

To repay those of you who used me as a referral, now randomly chooses one of my 5 referral friends and uses their referral ID. I wish all of you luck. I will be sure to keep everyone posted on new details, etc.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Slackware Found
After having royally fucked up my Slackware installation, it was time to reach for the CD and re-install. I don't know what the hell my problem was the first time around, but for some reason, LiLo just wasn't taking my changes to /etc/lilo.conf. Who knows. At any rate, last night I got the latest kernel and starting building.

The first time through I got a strange error about not bing able to mount the root file system. So I went back though the "make menuconfig" process and noticed that I hadn't given support for the ReiserFS (which was what I was using). Woops. While poking around, I also found that I could build in support for a writable NTFS file system. Nifty!

One all that worked, I went to work on my wireless card. There are no linux drivers, and probably never will be. But thankfully, ndiswrapper had fixed all that. This time around though, it didn't want to install cleanly. I kept getting errors about "wireless_send_event". To fix it, I rebuilt the kernel *again* and included Wireless Networking (not Radio), as well as several wireless cards I don't own. That last part was important. Because it fixed the issues. And now I have support for about 10 other cards if I should ever happen to get one. :-)

One last obstacle. Sound! I had never got my sound card to work before, but I could see that the new kernel picked it up and recognized it with the help of "ALSA". So I headed into the config and un-muted it. It worked! That's a first.

This morning I popped into work, laid down my laptop, and began to play. I had gotten EVERYTHING working last night, and I was anxious to get all my software re-installed. But ... alas I didn't have a working NIC. My on-board 3-Com NIC was nowhere to be found. I guess I didn't include it in the kernel config. One more kernel rebuild later, I was all set.

I put back Ettercap (new version all ready), Ethereal, driftnet, PSI (for chatting), and some other fun stuff like dependencies. Now here I am all these hours later ... and I haven't studied. Woops! Back to the books. No more fucking around! Really.

Oh yeah, and my buddy Rob filled out a credit card offer on his free account. So that means in about a week, he will get credit for the offer, and so will I. That will make five for me. Hah! I can almost smell that new iPod.

Lastly, did anyone notice that the monster updated his Blog?

Current Mood: SPiFFy
Musical Inspiration: Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism (fantastic album)

Monday, October 04, 2004

Back To The Books
I have not missed studying for exams at all. It's been weeks since I took my last one, and I decided then that I was taking a nice long break. Today marks the first week in several weeks that I am not teaching, so it was back to studying for me. My boss flags me down every time I see her. She always smiles real big and then says, "so when do you think you will take your last test". I actually have two exams left, and I explain this every time. Then I tell her something like "hopefully soon".

The truth is, I don't think I should have to study at home. When I study at home, I spend that time ignoring my family, and making myself miserable. Why should I do all that in my free time? If I am not teaching, I have no problem studying. After all, they are paying for this time. So I will use it to their advantage. But if I am going to spend my personal time studying, I should personally be granted something for it. Like ... A RAISE?

I had a conversation with another instructor last week. He just passed an exam that makes him an instructor for two different Microsoft development tracks. Basically, it increases his value as an instructor tenfold. He complained to me that he spent $22 on some lousy exam "dumps" and then spent hours memorizing about 150 questions. I found it amusing. I wondered what his secret to passing all those exams were. He's been buying the questions. Now I don't feel so guilty for the "study guides" that I often pass the test with. Not that any of this studying matters. None of us are gaining anything financially for it. Oh ... but ... GO TEAM!! Let's do it for the TEAM!

Presidential Madness
I have enjoyed all the comments in my Blog. It's fun to partake in political debates with you all. It seems I am not the only one paying attention this election. I am not really political at all, but I have really been surprised at the world around me. There are some things that need changing, and I don't know that a new president is what we need (although I am willing to try). One example: Gay Marriage. If you ask me, it's none of my business what people do. If they want to be openly gay and marry someone of the same sex, how do we have the right to tell them no?

I found it rather disturbing that so many folks in congress rushed to BAN gay marriages before it could be voted upon. Knowing some gay couples myself, it's pretty sad. We seem to be living in an age where we can put our differences aside and give people the personal freedom they seek. So who is it that is so opposed to gay marriage? My wife and I were watching a show a few nights ago where an interviewer asked a room full of college students, "do you believe in gay marriage?". Every one of them raised their hands. Young people seem to be a little more open minded than those who are making the laws for us. All the more reason for young people to get out and vote.

The Blockbuster Deal
To fulfill my end of the free ipod deal I signed up for Blockbuster Online. I was instantly granted my two free "in store" rentals. You get two every month. The coupons arrived by mail, so I printed them out and my wife and I went to Blockbuster yesterday with them in hand. The cashier googled over them like he had never seen such a thing. After reading the entire text on both coupons (it was the same text on both) he finally pulled out the magic laser-wand and scanned them. Duh. I happily paid my extremely overdue $9 late fee, knowing that this would be the last time I ever had a late fee with my online membership. Then he tells me, "your rewards membership expired, would you like to renew it?". Well ... I don't need it. So, "No thanks". Then he tells me, "but you won't get any more free offers like this". Obviously he needed some clues.

I explained that I get the free coupons from the online deal, not from the store. Then I got asked, "would like like your movie for a week or for two days?". Gee. There's a tough question. Normally I pay more to get it for more days. But ... it's fucking free. Why would I say anything other than a week? So I got my movie for a week. Duh.

Anyhow, it's nice to know that I will get those free in store rentals every month, as well as my 'rotating deal' where I can have any three movies by mail from here to eternity. Oh, but there is bad news.

My buddy Rob also signed up for the free ipod deal under me, and he too wanted the Blockbuster offer. But oddly enough, he can't sign up for it. It seems that because I chose that offer, he can't. Or something like that. I went through the free ipod's FAQ and all I could find was some vague explanation that "not all offers are visible to all people, all the time". Wierd. At any rate, if any of you have had that kind of experience, post a comment. I'm curious to see if you others had the same problem.

Oh, and if you STILL haven't signed up for the free iPod, now is the time. ;-) One more note ... if you sign up (or have signed up) chose the HP over the Apple (if you get the 20GB). The HP model has a one year warranty, and the Apple only has a 90 day. Also, the HP has been shipping much faster, since they have a large quantity of them and the Apple's are backordered.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I had a single student for my "Excel Level 1" class today. I was almost hoping that I would get a moron, so that it would feel worthwhile. The labs in the materials were so simple that my kids could have done them, and not have felt challanged. My student however, was a young and inteligent receptionist who had all ready learned quite a bit about Excel after having struggled through it for months. Having been "self taught" as she was, the day was a bit of a waste. She was very kind, and went through all the labs with me ocassionally learning something new. The day ended pretty early, and so I decided I would finish something I started about a month ago. I would update the kernel on my laptop.

I don't know that I have ever updated a kernel and *not* had a problem. At least with Linux. On the other hand, I have never had problems updating a BSD kernel. Anyhow, I ran through the ./configure, make, make modules_install, make install, etc. process just fine. Of course, my kernel was honkin' huge. So I had to run back and do a 'make zImage'. Still too big. One more run, 'make bzImage' and I had a good kernel.

The trick now was getting LiLo to display the new kernel. So I copied the kernel image to the root, and edited /etc/lilo.conf. Then I ran /sbin/lilo to finalize everything. I reboot ... and there is no choice for the new kernel. Even though I added it. I remember having this problem before. What the fuck is the deal with LiLo?

I went out and started Googling around to see what to do next, and I found a solution. The kernel can install itself, and add itself to LiLo for you! So I gave it a go. It was something like 'make lilo_install'. I rebooted, and I got "9A" printed across the screen about 100 times. Not good. Now I couldn't boot into Linux, OR Windows. Yanking out my Windows XP CD, I booted up and ran recovery console. Then I ran a 'fixboot' and a 'fixmbr'. Rebooting, XP loaded okay, and I decided it was time to leave. I had enough.

I ran all my errands (bank, pay off a check loan, get my voter registration card so I can re-defeat Bush, made a very late car payment) and then headed home for dinner.

Other than my Slackware Woes, it has been a delightful day. I had an easy work day, and no class next week. I aim to study next week for my next big Microsoft exam. I only have two left. I need to bite my tongue and get through them. Then I can study something more interesting.

I would like to thank those of you who have helped me in getting my free iPod. I am now only a single referral away from meeting my goal. Four down, and I completed my offer. Also, note to those of you who have participated. I have been reading that the Apple 20GB iPods are backordered with Apple, and the mini iPods ship all the way from a supplier in China (takes weeks). If you want to speed up the process, you should switch to the "HP iPod". Its just like the Apple 20GB in every way (except for the HP logo on the front).

Also, as soon as I get that last referral, I would like to help those of you who have helped me out. I plan on leaving that link up on the left for "free iPods", and I will set it up to refer my referrals! Ryan (wardriver) will be first on the list, since he was the first to sign up under me. ;-)

If you haven't signed up for your free iPod yet ... why the heck not? Do it now!

Friday, September 24, 2004

How To Sneak Out
Here it is, Friday afternoon and I am looking at the door. My class is done ... and I am done. I am SO ready to get out of here for a couple of days. I am trying to think of a good way to make an exit and not get caught. Here are some ideas and tips that I came up with.

He Just Left - Have the receptionist tell whoever comes looking for you that you just left. I could leave now, and if anyone comes looking for me at 4:45PM I will have them fooled.

The Disappearing Man! - Give the illusion that you just slipped out. Maybe scatter some papers around your desk, and leave things in a state of disarray. If anyone comes looking, they will think that you must be around this building somewhere.

Hot Coffee - Go get a cup of coffee and put it in the microwave for 5:00 minutes. Remove it with pot-holders and put it on your desk. It should produce steam for up to half an hour, and stay warm for about one hour. It will add to that illusion that you must have just set that cup of coffee down and walked away from it.

I Saw Him A Minute Ago (Human Timestamp) - Make a pass through the office and say hello to everyone. Look busy, so you won't get stuck in a conversation. Perhaps ask someone what time it is. They may later recall, "he was still here at 3:00PM".

That's enough tips for now. I am going to go practice a few of these myself. I will let you know how they work. Enjoy your Friday afteroon.

I will be back in a moment!

Don't forget to sign up for your free iPod!. And come talk with us in the new Gloop Forums.

*Ray grabs his laptop and exits the building*

Thursday, September 23, 2004

They Blinded Me With (Computer) Science
This past week has been a real blur. Come to think of it, these past few months have been a blur. I've really had my head into my various projects and studies. It's not healthy, and it usually takes my wife to tell me that there seems to be a problem. I feel like a druggie sometimes because I deny that I spend too much time on my fruitless projects. Then I try to think back, and really scrutinize what I have done with my time. It's truely manic depression. I hate calling it that, because "depressed" is not how I see myself. But many years ago, when I heard manic depression explained, I got a lump in my throat. In fact, if I go far enough back in my own Blog I will see that I dicusses this with myself a year or more ago. I have come full circle!

I have definitely wasted away a lot of good hours and made my family feel ignored. For that, I feel pretty lousy. And while I am trying to correct these minor mind glitches, and stay "un-plugged" for a while ... my employer is chasing me around yelling at me to take two exams before the end of this month (which is just about here).

I have been sick this past week with the flue. I come home every day after having taught my Network Plus class, and just crash out. Every day this week, I have some home, crashed on a couch, ate, and then gone to bed. Every morning I wake up thinking that this flue is gone. Then, an hour or so later, I am drinking down thera-flue. Blah!

A few days ago, one of my students stumbled across my Blog because I used in an example for DNS during class. It never really occured to me that I use from time to time in classroom discussions. That wouldn't be so bad, but the web site has a few pictures of me, and it links right to this very Blog. I suppose it's probably not good for a student to come here and read about me trashing my company. Which is what happened.

It was quite embarassing. Not just because I trash my employer on a regular basis here, but because I am a different person when I go to work. At times, my alter ego (Ray Dios Haque) slips out and before I know it I am showing my students incriminating facts about what I do in my spare time. But for the most part, I play the role of "Steve the instructor". Steve the instructor loves his job, pays his taxes, and always enjoys teaching! Steve is also financially stable, of course. And there is never trouble at home.

I think this week has been a bit of a coming out for me. I can't hide forever in this part that I play for my co-workers. It only breaks me down inside. Yet, I am not entirely the character I play here either (as Ray). I have become a pretty good actor for everyone that I know and I'm not sure why I can't just be myself. I sometimes think that my wife is about the only one that really knows me. The real me. Not the many parts I play.

Well, that's enough psycho-analysis for me. I need to spend some time with my daughter. We were going to do a special activity at her school tonight, and when we got there we found out that it's next week. Woops. We are going to paint her nails! :-) Girl stuff is cool.

Before I go, I just want to say that I am glad my wife is understanding of me. She may not understand why I disappear into a laptop for hours. But she knows that I love her, and I have a re-occurring problem with what can only be described as manic depression. Thanks for keeping me around, babe. ;-)

Oh, and I started a discussion forum on Nothing fancy. Head over to and check it out!

Current Mood: Still sick (in more ways than one), but feeling better.
Musical Inspiration: None at the moment.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Getting Back To 100%
Yesterday I woke up with a sore throat. The weather here has been crazy, so I fooled myself into thinking it was just sinus trouble. When evening struck I knew I had caught the "house cold". At 9:30PM I made the decision to take down a few shots of Niquil and sleep it off. Some time around 3:00AM I was suddenly awake and I didn't know why. It was like rising from the grave. I was heavily sedated. Sitting next to me, practically nudging my arm was one of our dogs. I hadn't seem him act that strange since the hamster got loose and was runing amuck in our bedroom. Then I heard a light rap on my door. It was my daughter, standing in her PJ's and making an "unhappy face". "I'm sick she said". This translates to "I puked somewhere in my room".

After shoveling the vomit away I tucked my daughter in and gave her some kids Tylenol to lower her slight fever. I think I must have been back to sleep 30 seconds after laying down. That Nyquil really works! This morning ... it was likt rising from the dead a second time. But I had to stay awak this time, and go to work. You might know, the one class I have taught in weeks and I get a cold. It was one long day. I find that once I get rolling teaching something I can practically turn off the part of my brain that says "you're sick stupid". But when lunch time came, and I sat down for a break I thought I was going to pass out.

When I came home, my daughter was bouncing off the walls. Kids don't stay sick long. Meanwhile, my wife is just starting to recover from this cold after having it pretty bad for about two solid weeks. Blah! Being a grown up sucks.

Good News Is On The Way
I e-mailed BTI this morning asking where my battery was. They responded back only ten minutes later with a tracking number. It was shipped days ago, and looking up the tracking number I could see that my battery was being delivered today! The UPS truck just stopped by a few minutes ago and dumped it off to me. So far, so good. I am at 78 percent on my replacement battery, and charging. I think I too am at 78 percent. I should be back to 100 percent in no time!

Replay It Again, Sam
Last night I learned some neat new tricks. There is a tool called "tcpreplay" which allows you to take packet logs and play them back in real time. They have to be in a generic format, such as "pcap" style (which is how Ethereal stores them). I just so happen to have three random logs from the coffee shop Friday night, so I got to work installing this replay tool. It was a bit dificult to get onto my Mac, because a few of the files it wanted to install were all ready installed as part of Ethereal. The tool I used to get it installed, Fink, would not allow it to overwrite as a security precaution. Doing some googling I found a quick solution. You can add "--force-install" to fink on the command line and replace those files. Both tools (tcpreplay, and Ethereal) work great.

For experimental purposes, I ran tcpreplay on the three log files, while running driftnet in another window. Driftnet has some really neat options that I have never really made use of. One, is to save away pictures instead of displaying them in a window. So I got driftnet going, played back the files, and then checked the directory I had specified. There I had 30 or so small images that had been "sniffed" Friday night. Neat! I wonder what else I can sniff after the fact? It never occurred to me to save my old Ethercap files for anything.

This is definitely good stuff to put in the book. I think on my next "outing" I will try some of these new tricks and produce some fresh and interesting material to share.

And now, I will rest and see if my neighbors are using their wireless network today while watching my battery charge up.

Current Mood: I'm Smiling
Musical Inspiration: I have a new Prodigy Album downloaded! Yay!

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Chaos Over Coffee
Friday night the notorious Discount Man paid me a visit. He had been visiting with his girlfriend, and came right over afterwards so he didn't have a laptop or any other form of entertainment. After about an hour, I handed him my Dell, picked up my iBook and said "let's go". Rotary Girl has been quite ill lately with her anual upper-respiratory sickness. So we made a stop to the grocery up the street and made the liquor store just before closing. The remedy: whiskey, thera-flu, and honey. Rotary would tell me later, "it worked for a short while". After the quick stop, we hit the road for the coffee house.

Stauff's (the coffee house) was THE place to be on a Friday night. It took us a while to find a parking spot, and we worried about finding a seat inside. Once we made it inside, we found that there were plenty of places to sit down, and one of those vacant areas was next to a six plug outlet! Jackpot! The downside to sitting here, is that we had to share the area with a strange little hunchbacked hermit who was dressed like Johnny Cash. He was all right though, and offered to watch our laptops so we could go get some coffee. After getting some java, I went to work. Naturally, I had to answer the question that I get all the time ... "what the hell is all that crap on the back of your laptop?".

I was definitely not prepared for this "invasion" at the coffee shop. My collection of compiled tools were a wreck. I had tried to install a newer version of ettercap, which hadn't gone well. The result was that I had a new and an old version of it installed, and neither one worked. I was really wanting some material for my book, but it was not going to happen. So instead I thought I might just "play". It's been a while since I just aimlessly screwed around.

I went back and forth between driftnet, ethereal, and Terminal. I was determined to get ettercap running before we had to leave, but it never happened. Discount Man was anxious to get back to his girlfriend and was counting the minutes until she called him. I teased that she must be out with another man. And she was actually going out with an ex-boyfriend (out of kindness). Woops. I had to open my mouth.

Driftnet didn't catch anything too interesting, and neither did ethereal. Although, I have a few logs that are several megs each of "un-explored" packets. Maybe I have some juicy stuff, and it just hasn't been found yet.

Here are some shots of my various drifnet findings. What you are seeing is pictures that were loaded by the visitors of the coffee shop (and Discount Man for that matter). You can click on these small pictures to see the full size screenshot.

Nothing too interesting here. It looks like someone was browsing an online photo collection of some kind.

It looks like someone was surfing for a new wireless card.

Here is a business man of some sort (I passed him on the way to the bathroom) who was looking for his hotel. He was using a nice new Powerbook. Way to go, dude! At some point he was accessing his .Mac iDisk (online storage from Apple). I catpured it in Ethereal, but I haven't check it out yet. Here is what he was seeing ...

Here are some more "personal" images. It looked like we were getting close to seeing some proverbial "booty pics". But, it's a busy coffee shop. So I doubt we were going to see anything too juicy. About this time Discount Man got the call from his girlfriend telling him to come get her. He had the Dell packed up in seconds.

I stalled him as long as I could, and got one more screen for you. Again, nothing really juicy here. I'm not sure who this dude is, but I saw a lot of him that night.

I had also planned on some shots of Ethereal, but I was caught up in trying to get ettercap running, and we were only in the shop for about 40 minutes before we had to dash out.

Here is one shot anyway. It's someone visiting BBC news sites.

When I got home, I was pretty frustrated with my trashed operating system. I had made such a mess with the OS I decided to blow it away. I spent the rest of the night fishing out files and backing everything up. Saturday morning, I began the long process of reinstalling.

Apple Presents: Tiger
I have been pretty anxious to try Apple's new Tiger OS, and I have had the OS in a DMG file for a week or too now. I decided that this time, I would install everything I would ever need. So, first I installed OS9, and then I installed OS X Panther. That way, I could run shitty old "Classic Mac" applications if I wanted too. I was sure to leave behind 5 gigs of space on my hard drive for Tiger!

Once I got all that crap installed, an updated I went to install Tiger only to find that I couldn't create a partition. I had left behind the space I needed, but the installation wouldn't make use of it. Sure, I could use the disk utility to make a partition, but it would blow away everything else. Damn. So I started over installing OS9 (and making TWO partitions this time), then Panther, and then Tiger. The second time around, I was able to install Tiger from the DMG, to my 5 gig spot. By the way, a big thanks goes out to Wardriver who sent me a URL explaining how it's possible to get OS X installed from a Disk Mounted Image. Neat. Here is a shot of my "About this Mac" window ...

Tiger is not all that different from Panther from what I am seeing. There are several fixes, and a new version of Safari which seems pretty cool. The first thing I found with it was an option called "Private Browsing". What the hell is that you may ask? Private Browsing lets you surf the wab without really caching anything, or putting anything into your history. Teens who share PC's with their parents will love this feature. Because they can surf porn and nobody will ever know! Thanks Apple! :-)

I goofed around with the new DashBoard feature too. I guess it's neat and all, but nothing I am interested in using. I was in a hurry to get back to work, and leave Tiger alone. I have decided that I will do my work and experimentation in Panther, and leave Tiger alone as a failsafe. So next time I have utterly ruined my OS installation and I want to invade a coffee shop, I can boot to a working OS!

Back to the drawing board!
Getting back to the task at hand, I have been installing Ettercap-NG since yesterday. That's right, since YESTERDAY. Installing the new version of Ettercap on linux was cake. But putting it onto my Mac has been a real mess. The dependencies range somewhere in the 50's (and still counting). As 1:00PM approaches I may be getting close. I have to get the remaining GTK+2 libraries installed and I should be good! I am thinking of trying to get all the libraries and binaries together in the end, and put it into a package. The idea there being to save others my pain.

Speaking of which ... I think I will go check on my progress. In the meantime, why haven't any of you signed up for an offer to get your free iPod? Now look, I WANT my free iPod and I am waiting on 5 of you to help me out. So click here and get to it! I don't know how many of you read Kevin Roses' Blog, but he just got his $250 gift certificate last week from this site.

Friday, September 17, 2004

fuq werk d00d!
I got up yesterday, confident that I could get all my work done for next week in a few hours. I had to go into the "old office" because that is where I was teaching next week. I wasn't all that upset that I was going to be in the old place (with the shitty hardware) because it was a week away from the "real office". It's like a vacationing training center. When I got there, I found two full classrooms with classes still running. I had been told that one of those classes had ended Wednesday. What I wasn't told is that another class started Thursday. So I thought I might as well hang out until these students took a break. When they did, I planned on sneaking in and stealing a computer to take home (so I could set up my class on it for imaging).

After an hour and a half of waiting (those bastards never take a break!) I got a phone call. "You are going to hold your class here next week". "Here" meaning, at the main office. I had wasted my time, efforts, and fuel. Now I had to travel a couple miles to the other office, having wasted my time. I really, REALLY, did not want to go to the main office. I had the feeling someone would try to rope me into a stupid project. I was also wearing my "civies" (t-shirt, jeans, and Chuck-T's). When I got there, I headed right into hiding in the "setup room". There I began installing stuff for next week. I never thought installing Windows 98 could be such a pain in the ass. This Dell computer I was installing to just wouldn't take it. Piece of shit! I hate you Dell, and your horrible hardware. Then ... I got another phone call.

I should just start screening all my calls. It was my ol' boss Bob who wanted me to attend a meeting with him about "testing" with a State agency out by the airport. I had tried to stay out of this whole project as much as possible but I had just been roped in. I tried to worm out of it explaining that I was wearing a t-shirt and dirty sneakers, but he wanted me to go home and change since I had the time. Motherfucker.

So I rush home, change, and off to the airport I go. When I get there I am briefed on the "issues at hand". It seems my company has promised these State workers a series of screening exams that they can use to evaluate folks who are applying for employment. They were complaining that the exams were too much geared for "vendor products" instead of "applicable skills". Basically Bob had sold them a bunch of certification questions and they didn't like the lack of realism. I had to agree with the customer. The questions were bullshit. I did my best to keep my mouth shut, and I only spoke a few times the entire meeting. They used my vast knowledge (?) of exams to have me translate certain exan categories. After the meeting I headed home, having accomplished absolutely nothing.

I ate, and hung out with my daughter for a few hours while my wife and son went off to football. Later, I decided that I am getting way too fat so I got in the treadmill for a while. This morning, I felt great! I should do the treadmill every night. But instead, I will probably continue to sit on my ass and be fat. Time will tell.

This morning I came to work and began beating on the Dell that wouldn't take Windows 98. It still doesn't want to take it. It seems that Windows 98 has a heart attack if you throw a gig and a half of RAM at it. I have since given up and installed Windows 98 into a Virtual PC for my class next week. Good enough!

At about 9:00AM one of the consultants popped into the room throwing himself around in a bit of a tissy. It seems he had been told he needs to get a testing room set up within a few hours so that these State folks can come try it out. He was not pleased. Seeing that I was busy setting up my class for next week, he left me alone. Another hour later, one of the other consultants crashes in asking "what are you working on?". Now, when you are asked something like that, you have to first sigh (as if you have been defeated) and reply "trying to get this stuff done for next week". Then, you look at your watch. I don't wear one, but I looked anyway. This little trick seems to get me out of a lot of projects. It worked this time.

Within the next few hours, three of the consultants worked away on setting up a testing lab and then vanished. My boss stuck her head in the door looking panicked. "They will be here really soon", she says, "we need to lock down those workstations to a single website only, and turn off the pop-up blockers!". I told her "I don't know where the three guys ran off to", and pointed her towards the classroom area. She added, "our ass is on the chopping block here!". I nodded. Shaking my head I added, "yeah, I don't know where they are at". This is the point where you are supposed to volunteer yourself. I refrained.

As I would later explain to my wife, why should I give 120 percent, when I only get paid 60 percent for the 100 percent I am required? From here on out, I am not a team player. I threatened to make a button and wear it proudly on my chest. NOT A TEAM PLAYER. What does that get me? Extra work, and no extra pay? No thanks. Keep your extra work, and I will keep looking for a higher paying job.

I know, this is a negative attitude to have. Normally I would worry about something like this showing up on my next review. But then, we aren't reviewed here. To have a review would indicate the possibility for a raise.

And even while I type this to you all, facing the door, waiting for my virtual Windows 98 to finish installing I have people poking their heads in and out of this room nervously. I can be glad I did not get involved in what is transpiring outside. Just let me get my class done for next week so I can pull a disappearing act.

Current Mood:
Musical Inspiration:

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

It's Me Against Corporate America
I am definitely in the wrong place. I put on a tie this morning. Not because I like ties. In fact, when I was a bit younger and maybe a little naive I often made the statement that I would never take a job that required me to wear a tie. Now, I slap one on several times a week. My wife generally wraps them around shirts that I own so that they match a little bit. I have no desire to look fashionable, and if I pick out my own clothing, it definitely shows.

I only wore a tie this morning so that I could come to the weekly staff meeting and show my support for the company. I was the only instructor there. The others were either teaching, or just not showing up (which was a respectable decision). I shouldn't have gone. It has driven my negativity toward this company to an all time high. The topic of this meeting was "serving the customer", I think. I wasn't paying all that much attention. Our sales manager raised a concern that "people shouldn't hang out in the kitchen of the training area". He feels that if a group of employees are standing around a public area drinking their coffee, that a student might feel left out, ignored, or intimidated. The "concerns" that are raised just infuriate me. So a coffee pot was brought upstairs. Now, we can get the coffee from the "office kitchen" and we won't have to worry about accidentally socializing with our clients.

The owner of the company chimed in with feelings, agreeing with the drone. His "real life experience" came from getting his hair cut over the weekend. He tells us that he went to "Charles Panzone" on Sunday, because they were open on Sunday. This is not a place where normal people get haircuts. It's a salon. It's where wealthy people spend all day hanging out, wasting money, and talking about politics. But that's beside the point. In his story, he tells us that the atmosphere was great, and the haircut was wonderful. But while waiting to be "seated" and later while waiting to pay, he was put on hold by the person at the counter so that they could answer the phone.

It seems that having to wait on the receptionist (or whatever you call that person) left a bad taste in his mouth which brought a point to this story. Ignoring customers is bad. Gee. Thanks for the tip? I'm sure the receptionist who is probably paid $8.00 an hour has a big heart for all of the overpaid corporate clients she deals with.

I try to imagine what it must be like getting a bad haircut in a salon. But then, I have never been in a salon. For the past 10 years, my wife has been cutting my hair, as well as our children (and herself for that matter) with clippers that like to jam up. I want to feel the pain of getting bad service in a classy resteraunt, but the best I can do is talk about how bad the fries usually are at McDonalds. Or perhaps I can use Ramen noodles as my example. It's what I usually have for lunch, because I don't have the free flowing cash to head out to lunch everyday like the majority of the schmucks here. "Would anyone like to add anything?" he asked. Sure! How would this work as an example? "Last week I went to eat my Ramen noodles only to find that there was no flavor pack in the bag. The fools at the Ramen noodle factory must have forgot to put it in there. So, I went into the fridge and looked for remnants of other peoples old lunches to eat".

My story doesn't seem to have a moral. But it does! It's a hidden lesson. See if you can find it.

And while I have passed another exam, and gotten another pat on the back, I see no signs of ever making more money. Ever. I spoke with one of the other instructors yesterday. He just passed an XML exam, and is one exam away from completing his MCDBA. It's a valuable certification, especiially when you combine it with an MCSE and an MCT (and a couple of other certifications he has picked up). But has he been rewarded? No. Has our third wheel been rewarded for her exam triump for new Netware products? No. Will I be rewarded for obtaining my MCSE and MCT? I'm venturing a "no" answer here.

I have revised my plan for my employment here. When I first came here, my plan was to grow my skills, and grow my paycheck to cover my increased cost of living expenses. Needless to say it's been a few years since I recieved a raise of any kind. Now, a couple of years later, I am growing my skills, but not my wallet. It seems I should continue to take my low pay in exchange for free training, and study time (lots of it). But in the end, they will have raised the perfect employee for someone else to hire. In fact, I see that they have raised four instructors whose only stipulation in new employment (referring to a signed non-compete contract) is that they cannot teach in their new position.

I think I will lean back toward what I actually enjoy doing. As much as I have danced around the issue, I love network security (or lack thereof). I need to focus on finishing my MCSE, adding one more exam to become an MCSE+Security, and then push toward my CISSP. And then of course, I will move onto a job that pays me what I am worth on the market. According to and their salary calculator, that is about $24,000 more than I make now.

Current Mood: Uninspired
Musical Inspiration: Instead of listening to music today, I am picking up conversations around the office over the cubical walls.