Is that good or bad?

March 30, 2006

Mood: Apprehensive.
Music: I’m The One, Van Halen
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion
Book: Learning PHP 5, Sklar/O’Reilly
Weather: 52, partly cloudy.
Jobs applied to today: 0.

OK…so I just had my phone interview.

While we spent a good amount of time agreeing and such, I think he’s decided I’m not the right guy for the job.

He’s impressed with my credentials and my experience…he thinks that I’m exactly what another group needs. He believes that there should be a place for me at the company, because someone with my experience is invaluable….

I hope that’s true.

Now, I’m going to go eat some lunch and pout.


Onward!

March 29, 2006

Mood: Awesome.
Music: Don’t Leave Me This Way, Communards
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion
Book: Learning PHP 5, Sklar/O’Reilly
Weather: 55, partly cloudy.
Jobs applied to today: 0.

Have another phone interview for that job tomorrow morning. Very excited!

Need to head into the city tomorrow after the interview and buy a suit. The suits I have are old, and don’t really fit all that well any more. Thinking conservative…charcoal grey pinstripe. Wondering if it’s not a little over the top. Gladly taking opinions. Suits obviously aren’t my milieu.

WoW patched yesterday…that meant all sorts of insanity as something went wrong with their updating process, knocking the servers out for the better part of 18 hours. As for me, I don’t really expect much better than that…this was a pretty major patch. But by reading the forums and such, you’d think the world was ending. Amazing how addicted some people are.

I’ve stopped playing GR:AW. Not because I don’t like the game…quite the contrary…I like it a lot. Oblivion has all but destroyed any chance of finding anyone to play with. My friends list is full of people playing Oblivion. And I can’t say I didn’t expect it…but I’ve never seen a game take over the Live community like Oblivion has. It’s VERY fun…and curiously, DOES have replay value. There’s so much to do that you can play several characters and never do the same quests twice…not to mention that certain quests become available or unavailable based on who you are, how you play, and who you mess with.

In other news, I still find myself enjoying DDO once or twice a week. It’s a nice change of pace from WoW…and I don’t get the “addicted” hook, like WoW. DDO is perfect for the casual gamer. You can jump in, play a very satisfying 90 minutes, and leave, feeling you accomplished things.

As experienced MMO players will tell you, one of the hardest parts of playing an MMO is finding a group to play with, and that if you “only have an hour” you have no chance of really being able to accomplish anything. DDO is all about the quick chunk of action. Since you can’t really do ANYTHING solo, you can almost ALWAYS find a group in minutes of looking, and head on in.

Anyway, I think I’m gonna get back to coding. Wish me luck tomorrow.

By the way, my birthday is on the 3rd. Be sure to buy me lots of presents. I’m getting old.


Yeah, baby.

March 27, 2006

Mood: Awesome.
Music: Stairway to Heaven, LedZeppelin
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), GR:Advanced Warfighter, Oblivion
Book: Learning PHP 5, Sklar/O’Reilly, King of the Vagabonds, Stephenson
Weather: 57, sunny and clear.
Jobs applied to today: 0.

I think I did a kickassed job during my phone interview today.

The job, as explained, is perfect for me. I LOVE doing that job.

They want to set up another phone interview with the next level up…which is a good sign.

I can’t wait.

And now, time to make a leg of lamb.

By the way, I have no idea who Mike Furir is? But my spam filter is catching all his bullshit spam. Get it, Mike? You can knock it off…you get no links. Fuck off.


Moving right along…

March 26, 2006

Mood: Good.
Music: Play the Game, Queen
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), GR:Advanced Warfighter, Oblivion
Book: Learning PHP 5, Sklar/O’Reilly, King of the Vagabonds, Stephenson
Weather: 60, partly cloudy.
Jobs applied to today: 0. (Weekend listings generally suck.)

Been a few days since my last entry. Have a lot to cover, so pay attention. There may be a quiz.

My lunch meeting was pretty cool. Met with my brother’s wife’s brother-in-law for lunch. You get that? My brother’s wife has a sister who’s married to this guy, and they live in Seattle. So I met him for lunch at this Cajun/Creole restaurant, which was pretty tasty. We discussed my job search, and stuff in general. He’s a pretty nice guy, and had some decent feedback on my resume, and suggested some directions I could look.

After that, I wandered to World Spice. It’s like making a pilgrimage to Mecca, I tell you. For anyone who cooks, and has a spice fetish like I do, the place is simply brilliant. Jars full of fresh spices…order what you need in plastic bags, or in glass jars. Watch ’em measure and weigh it out…and at this visit, they ran out of the curry blend I wanted…so they made it fresh in front of me while I waited. While it took a couple of minutes, I definitely didn’t mind. I walked out of there with a fabulous Kashmiri Curry, a refill of my Japanese Sea Salt that I like so much, and of course, some more flaked Chipotle Morita. I also walked out of there with a new spice blender…since I gave my old one away when I left New York. I like this one a lot better, as the stainless steel bowl is removable and is dishwasher safe. It’s really a coffee grinder, but who has to know?

Speaking of that Curry, my lamb curry came out fabulously. Really yummy. I’ll share the recipe just as soon as I remember what I did. Basically chopped two onions, two fresh chiles, and 3 cloves of garlic, sauteed in some olive oil, browned 2 pounds of lamb separately, put them all together with about 2 pounds of diced potatoes, added 3 tablespoons of the Kashmiri Curry powder that I ground freshly in my new spice blender, tossed in about 3 cups of chicken stock to cover the whole mixture, added two handfuls of chopped spinach, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 3 hours. It had a nice low heat level that built fabulously. Threw in a handful of fresh chopped coriander when I served, put a couple of pieces of sliced naan next to it, and I’m a happy camper. It also, as if it needs to be said, was even better the day after.

My phone screen on Wednesday was pretty good. I think I was a bit talky, but I’m pretty sure I asked some decent questions. I guess I did something right, because on Friday afternoon, I got a call to schedule a phone interview for this Monday, tomorrow. I’m pretty excited. I think I’d really like this job…and I think I’ve been unemployed long enough for now. No doubt I’ll be regretting that last statement in a year or two, but for now? If I were independently wealthy, it’d be a different story, no doubt. But I’m not. Might as well do something I want to do.

I wonder if other people spend as much time as I do forwarding past songs on my iPod/iTunes? I mean, presumably, the stuff is in my music collection…so I wanted it at some point. So why do I find myself jumping past 2 or 3 songs for every song I listen to?

Elder Scrolls IV:Oblivion…now THAT’S fun. While it’s not exactly completely bug-free, it’s largely playable, unlike Morrowind. I did notice that the forums are pretty much full of exploits and get-rich-quick bugs. But I avoid that style of play entirely. I’m not trying to “beat” the game. I’m trying to have fun exploring the world. The quests are varied and fun, the rewards pretty cool, the monsters largely varied, and the world? Huge and involved. I’m spending hours at a clip playing…sometimes to 2-3am. I did have two hiccups that required me to load a previous save in order to complete a quest or to avoid an event that ended up being bugged…but overall, I’ve had great fun.

The best part about it is talking to all my friends in my buddy list, and seeing how they’re playing their characters. Some are pure mages, some are thieves, some are a mix, some are learning how to play, some are experts, some are finding very cool things along the way, and relating stories. But NO ONE has the same story. It’s VERY cool. We’re all playing the same game…but none are playing the same way…and that’s the sign of a great game. There’s no “right” way to play…just whatever fits your style. I like that a lot.

WoW has been picking up a bit for me. I’m finding more enjoyment in playing these days, because I rarely force myself to play. When I don’t feel like playing, I don’t. I go play Oblivion or DDO until I feel like playing again. In the last few weeks, I finished my Epic quest for my Priest staff, which rocks. Smitty lent me the money I needed for the component to get it finished, which was really cool of him,…as I just can’t farm an area for hours on end looking for a rare drop. I just can’t.

I did get my third piece of Tier 2 epic gear when we killed Razorgore on Friday night, so that was pretty cool.

Now, I need to finish the laundry, clean the house, and so on.

Wish me luck tomorrow. I really want that job.


Stuff.

March 21, 2006

Mood: Pretty good.
Music: Everything is Everything, Lauryn Hill
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), GR:Advanced Warfighter
Book: Learning PHP 5, Sklar/O’Reilly, Watchmen, Moore.
Weather: Cloudy, cool.
Jobs applied to today: 0. (Haven’t looked yet…)

This post is likely to be scattered, as I’ve got a lot of different things I’ve been meaning to write about.

—-

I saw V for Vendetta…and was suitably impressed. Fabulous casting…except maybe for Natalie Portman. Not sure why they cast her, exactly. The remainder of the cast provided a very, very British feel…in fact, the feel for the entire film felt very much like a 70s British drama. The set design and costuming were great. Portman’s accent was a bit strained…but not undoable…at least to my ears. Yes, the story was neatly over the top, and the intended (or unintended) parallels and easy shots to the current American government could be a bit heavy handed at times…but overall, they did a great job of providing a view into an alternate, yet not so far away, present. I’d recommend it.

—-

Lately, I’ve been drinking a fair amount of Crystal Light. Crystal Light’s done a really cool thing where they have these little packets of pre-measured amounts of flavoring for 16.9oz bottles of water. For some reason, lots of bottled water comes in that size. Why it’s not an even pint, I don’t know, but I suppose there’s some sort of marketing reason. Anyway, these little Crystal Light packets are exactly the size for one of these bottles. You just open the bottle, dump in the packet, shake, and you have a bottle of lemonade or peach iced tea (my favorite) or raspberry or whatever. I’ve been drinking a fair amount of these. I just buy cases of water, and flavor them when I want something a bit different. It’s certainly cheaper than buying cases of Snapple.

—-

I got a callback. Well, not exactly. I followed up with a company that I really wanted the job, and the lady said that she’d been meaning to call the candidates they wanted to speak to but hadn’t got around to that yet, as she’d been out of the office. She checked her list, and sure enough, I was on it. So I have a voice screening tomorrow at 3pm. Wish me luck. I think I’d be really good at this job. At least with my present understanding of the job.

—-

Lately, a few of my friends have put down their blogs. There have been a number of reasons why they’ve done so…but all of them have at least mentioned in passing that one of the reasons (although not the deciding reason) is that certain people have found their blog, and they don’t feel comfortable having those people read it.

I am not going to criticize that position. A few days ago, I made the comment that I self-censor to some extent. It’s certainly true that there are people that I never expected that read my blog…and none of them are unwelcome. For example, I strongly suspect that my mother and my brother do not read my blog. They might…they’ve made no comment that they do…and I’ve never told them of its existence.

Initially, my blog was meant to be my diary, or a journal…just a place to vent a bit, help organize my thoughts, and so on. This may have included my frustrations with my family (of which I have very few, to be honest…) or things that would be a bit awkward to discuss with my mother or brother. Both my mother and brother are more than capable of finding things on the web, and I knew it was a distinct possibility that they would find it some day. As far as I know, they have yet to do so…or are savvy enough not to mention it.

That’s not my point here. My point is that I’ve always been aware of the fact that someone who I didn’t expect could find my blog…and I didn’t want to find myself in the position of having to explain myself to my boss, my brother, or someone else that I least expected.

This isn’t to say that I still wouldn’t have to do so. There are definitely things in here that would start some heated discussions with certain people should they read them. Or create familiarity with me that isn’t quite appropriate, such as in a professional relationship.

In any case, I’ve never had any real desire to start discussing my sex life, how I feel about religion (for the most part) or anything like that. Not because I don’t have sex, or don’t have my views on religion, but because I’ve never really discussed such things with anyone (at least not very many people at all.) So I don’t have a whole lot of internal dialogues on those topics…and it’s not something that I feel like writing about.

In short, the blog community is definitely a worse place for seeing moufaisbad go bye bye. Yes, Landry’s still out there (and we still love her…) and if you find her, be all sly and stuff and don’t out her. Which, if you think about it, is a pretty fucking funny thing to say about Landry.

—-

I’m re-reading The Watchmen, by Alan Moore, of aforementioned V for Vendetta fame. It’s not hard to see why Moore is often cited by most graphic novelists as a major influence on their work. Moore took comics and wholly transformed them into a vehicle for serious storytelling…for adults. Watchmen is NOT for kids. Yes, there were hundreds of “adult” comics…but Watchmen isn’t one of them. It’s a great look at an alternate world…one where superheroes exist…and are outlawed as vigilantes…and what happens to them as a result.

The very ability to create a believable world with superheroes is tough enough…but then totally discard the accepted superhero universe by making the world hate and fear these people…showing them as people with flaws, showing that the powers don’t make them moral, or sane, or rational. Just amazing.

—-

Today, I’m having lunch with my brother’s wife’s brother-in-law. Say that 10 times fast. Never met him before, but apparently he lives in Seattle, and he’s family (if a bit far removed) and so I’ve been wanting to meet him. He’s in tech something or other…which is what family members say about me. So I figure he’ll tell me what he actually does for a living. Maybe he has some suggestions on how to find a job (assuming that Weds doesn’t work out…) or maybe I’ll just have a decent cajun/creole lunch.

I’m also planning on getting a bit of shopping done downtown…I’m planning on making a lamb curry for dinner tonight. If it comes out, I’ll post the recipe. It’ll be my first visit to World Spice since I’ve moved here…which is odd on its own, given how much I love the place.

—-

Oblivion was released yesterday/today. My pre-ordered version ought to be available tomorrow…so, before my interview, I’m going to shoot out to Game Crazy and pick it up. Looking forward to being able to sit on my couch and chill with an RPG instead of having to sit upright on the computer. By all accounts, it’s racking up the good reviews and awards. Maybe this one won’t be riddled with horrible bugs like the last one.

—-

And last, it’s my birthday in 2 weeks. I’ll be 38. I can’t even believe that number when I look at it. Where the fuck did all that time go? Thirty-eight. I’ve been 18 for 20 years.

—-

I think that’s enough of an entry for today. I need to do my morning chores and get read to head into the city. Y’all have a good day.


Productivity.

March 20, 2006

Mood: Pretty good.
Music: Aftermath, Tricky.
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), GR:Advanced Warfighter
Book: Beginning PHP5, Apache, MySQL Web Development, Naramore, Gerner, et al
Weather: 50, partly cloudy.

Jobs applied to today: 0…but I DID follow up, and got a phone screen on Weds.

OK…so what’s happened over the last few days?

I’ll tell you tomorrow. Going to bed now.


Wasn’t feeling it…

March 16, 2006

Mood: Bleh.
Music: The Queen is Dead, Smiths.
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), GR:Advanced Warfighter
Book: Beginning PHP5, Apache, MySQL Web Development, Naramore, Gerner, et al
Weather: Cloudy, cool.
Jobs applied to today: 0.

I went to the dentist again yesterday, and my mouth just hurt after the anesthetic wore off. I didn’t really feel much like writing with my mouth oozing blood and throbbing. You know you had a good dentist visit when you wake up the following morning and there’s blood on your pillow. Lovely. At least it’s stopped now, and it doesn’t hurt much now…although it’s a bit sensitive.

I feel like I’m in limbo…I can’t find a job, I’m getting bored of the games I’m playing, mostly…not bored, per se…I just don’t want to play them for 12 hours a day. I know that sounds weird…but I really want something else to do. I think I’ll try to plunge deeper into the coding thing…maybe I’ll redo my website. Maybe I’ll build a tool to do something…no idea what. I’ll think about it.

I don’t even feel like sitting at this keyboard right now to finish this entry. I think I’ll go make some lunch and watch a movie.