Now that was odd…

April 27, 2006

Mood: Cautiously Excited.
Music: Apron Strings, EBTG
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 56 and sunny.
Jobs applied to today: None…sort of.

So I went to the interview at the ad agency yesterday…went pretty well, I think.

Don’t know how excited I am about the job…the folks there seem to think it’s not a really good job. All tactical, no strategic, and I’m not sure if they’re sure about the longevity/strategy behind the group.

The group is small, which is a plus, it’s centrally located, plus, and it’s very varied work, big plus.

On the other hand, I think their goal is to strictly do whatever work comes their way, with no intention of drumming up more business, or creating relationship, or whatever. I don’t know now much of that appeals to me. But it seems like the folks I’d be working with are nice, which is important, especially in a small group.

However.

On the way into the elevator, I hear behind me “I know that guy!”

Turn around, and I’m looking at a guy I used to work with at Modem Media like 10 years ago.

Turns out his last day’s today, and what the hell am I doing there?

I tell him, and he says “let’s talk a minute.”

He pulls me into his office and I find out that he was up until very recently running the XBox business for that agency, and I’d be perfect for a PM position in that group.

He introduces me to a member of the team, and says “You need to hire this guy right away. He knows more about interactive technology than just about anyone, and he’s perfect for that PM position in the loyalty group.” I point out that I’m a really avid gamer, that I got my 360 on the first day, and I beta’d XBox Live…along with the fact that I’ve betatested dozens of MMOs and so on, and they’re both like “Yeah…he’s perfect.”

So I left with a recommendation, a business card of that guy, and the guy I know wrote a letter to the guy who’s going to be heading up the team in his place, and told him that they need to hire me immediately.

Now…a job in advertising working on the XBox account in customer loyalty programs worldwide?

OK…I think I’ve found the perfect job for me.

Hope it all works out. It’s hard not to get really excited…but it would really suck for it not to happen…..

Guess we’ll see. I really really want that job.


Assault.

April 26, 2006

Mood: Excited.
Music: And Your Bird Can Sing, Sid and Suzie (Matthew Sweet/Suzanna Hoffs)
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 68 and sunny.
Jobs applied to today: None. Interview at 3pm.

Quick one today.

Have an interview for a senior project manager position at a major traditional ad agency for DM and Interactive advertising.

Location of the job is good, pay scale is right, I can do the job…and getting back into advertising would be good.

3pm today. Wish me luck. Back later to tell you all how it went.


Springtime…when a young man’s thoughts turn to…

April 24, 2006

Mood: Not bad.
Music: Life’s What You Make It, Talk Talk
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 68 and sunny.
Jobs applied to today: Got another call from a recruiter…

Grilling.

Today, it’s a gorgeous 68 degrees here, there’s a ton of sunlight in the apartment, and I’m dying for a grill.

I’m honing in on employment…couple of opportunities. No offers yet…but I’m getting letters and calls saying “Don’t go anywhere…we definitely want to talk more.” I hope that’s a good sign.

Anyway, when I get a job, I think the first thing I’m getting is a barbecue. I can’t have a charcoal grill, which is kind of a drag…but on the flipside, it’s not as much of a hassle. I’ve been looking at the Weber grills. I don’t much about them, it’s true, though…so I think I’m falling victim to brand awareness and advertising. Anyone have any opinions/reviews for a good grill?

Right now, I’m making lamb to slice and put in a salad…but how much better would that lamb be if I were grilling it? Man…I really really really want a barbecue. Chicken, lamb, steaks, fish…it’s all going to be SO GOOD. I have a deck with an overhang…I can grill any time I want, once I get the thing. I’ll probably use it a lot at first. Very exciting.

The second part of the summer deck bonanza will be a hammock. I can’t think of anything that would make me happier than chilling on a hammock with a lime soda, smelling the steaks on the grill, sun on my face…eesh. So easy to please….

Now I really really want a job so I can get my grill and hammock……

Oh, and I don’t really WANT to stop playing DDO…it’s just that the guy I was playing with quit videogames altogether…and DDO is definitely not a solo players’ game. So I guess I’ll hold onto it a bit until I really need a change of pace, and jump into it again. Unfortunate. DDO is a really fun game.


I guess…

April 20, 2006

Mood: Still a little sleepy.
Music: Jumping Someone Else’s Train, Cure
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 48, Cloudy…Supposed to go up to 61 today.
Jobs applied to today: None, but….

So I had my phone screen yesterday. The nice lady was helpful…I think she thinks I’d probably be a good fit, but I get the impression she can’t figure out why I’m willing to settle for less money. It’s almost as if she thinks I’m all of a sudden say “Oh, yeah…I need 30k more…” and she even mentioned as much in passing. “Like, if all of a sudden you say you need 100k, I know I can’t get that.” I explained to her that I’m not looking for that. I emphasized that I’m looking for a good work-life balance, that I don’t want an hour commute, that I don’t want the level of responsibility right now that would occasion that kind of money. That I would expect that over the next several years, I’ll have plenty of opportunity to prove my worth to the organization, and I didn’t expect to remain at that salary level….but I think she didn’t fully believe me.

On the flip side, I’m pretty sure she’s going to pass my resume on to the hiring manager, because I think she’s thinking that if I really will take the kind of money I’m asking for, and I’ll stay around, I’d be a steal at that money…which is kinda the point of being willing to take that kind of money. I guess we’ll see how that works out.

In other employment news, yesterday afternoon, I got a phone call from a recruiter who had a couple of opportunities for me. She mailed them to me last night, and I’m looking them over. I sent her my resumes…both the project manager resume that she responded to, and my full-on resume. I’ll call her this afternoon, and see what she thinks.

I’m glad to see that I’m getting some action on these fronts…but it’s pretty clear that my experience is harming me here. People aren’t looking for people with my level of experience. I guess I’m supposed to tone down my experience if I expect to get hired here. Like the guy from that other company that interviewed me said “You have a ton of great experience…you’re an obvious fit for the company…I just don’t know where.” I’ve been through that several times. In fact, I’ve never been hired for a job where that wasn’t the case.

At Modem, Mike Aubrey had to hire me on the pretense of the fact that I had onsite film production which would be good for the onsite Olympic Games stuff we were doing for AT&T. At TEC, they weren’t sure what I was going to do exactly…but they knew that they wanted me around. At iTV1, I knew enough about everything that they were doing that they wanted to pick my brain. The net of it is that I need to talk to someone somewhere who will say “I’m not 100% sure what you’re going to do here right now…but I know you’re the right guy for here, and I know you’ll work out.” That hasn’t happened yet. So I need to dumb down what I’ve done and what I know so that people can fit me in a box…a box that they can get their arms around, and don’t get concerned about my willingness to do a job.

I guess.

In other news, I’ve picked up the PMBOK Guide, an exam prep book, and I’m starting to work my way through it again. I’ve decided to finally get my PMP certification. It seems like that people love those letters. Which is kinda funny…because I’ve yet to meet a project manager in any field who actively uses any of the methods or even most of the lingo that PMI touts as key to “proper” project management.

Don’t get me wrong…there’s a lot that makes a lot of sense in the PMBOK. But my experience tells me that, usually, senior management doesn’t buy in to PMI methodology to the extent that occasions the project manager to lock stuff down. I’ve yet to see a Strongly Matrixed Organization in practice. The closest I’ve seen is Modem…and in structure, they were…but in practice, they didn’t REALLY control costs and time. I suppose they might now…but they didn’t then. Anyway, if me being able to put those letters after my name is going to make a difference, I’ll do it. And in the meantime, I’ll be able to speak the language well enough.

I’d really like to have a job by May. Six months out of work is enough, thanks. Don’t get me wrong…I’d like to be out of work forever…if someone will pay me for it. But seeing as that probably won’t happen….

Right…back to looking for work.


Knew it.

April 19, 2006

Mood: Amused.
Music: Shellshock, New Order
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 45, Cloudy…what do you expect for 5:30am?
Jobs applied to today: 12 in the last 2 days…and…..

OK…so I revised my resume as mentioned on Monday. Took me about 90 minutes. Basically, I ripped out all of the management stuff. No revenue growth, no opening or closing offices, no P&L stuff, nothing like that.

So, I jumped on Monster, uploaded the new resume, sent it out to 10 places without even the benefit of a cover letter. Sure enough, in 6 hours, I got a phone call wanting to set up a phone interview for Wednesday (today.)

Now, I didn’t ask for less money, nor did I change anything about me…or even lie. In fact, everything there is the gospel truth. But sure enough, it took no time at all to get a callback. It definitely makes me wonder sometimes…but I’d like this job, it seems like a good fit, and I won’t mention that I applied for a similar position at this same company 3 months ago with the other resume.

Valuable lesson, hm?

Anyway, I have a phone interview this morning…wish me luck.

Enough about that. I have decided to slow down on raiding in World of Warcraft with the guild. The reason? I can’t afford to do it any longer.

Last night, I went on an “informal” raid with the crew, AQ20. By the end of the night, I had racked up a 9g repair bill, and had spent 6g on reagents, and another 5g on potions and such. Of course, I walked out of there with no loot to speak of, save for some vendor trash for a grand total of 30s…bringing my cost for the night to about 19g70s.

Since the guild has shifted to what largely amounts to a 7-day a week raid schedule, I no longer have time to do casual raids or farming to earn enough cash to support myself raiding every night. In the last five days, I’ve spent over 100g in repairs, reagents, and potions.

Now, it’s true that the cost is due to 3 major factors:

1) My gear is very rare, very expensive, and so very expensive to fix, even if it just gets lightly damaged. I’ve calculated that every time I die, it costs me 1g85s. Doesn’t matter the reason, or whatever. I die, cha-ching.

2) The increase in number of group buff spells that I can now cast all require a 9s reagent. I can cast 3 different group buff spells…and because of my spec, I am usually one of two or three priests in a raid group that can cast all three of them. Last night, I was the ONLY one who could cast DS and had improved Fortitude…so that meant that every round of buffs (like after a wipe) I ended up using at LEAST 6 candles…or half a gold every time I had to buff.

3) I come prepared. This means that I have protection potions and mana potions. Since I can’t make them or farm them myself, I end up paying for them…case in point, I bought raw materials to make 27 Greater Fire Protection potions…needed for any BWL run, plus useful in Onyxia and MC where needed. The materials for 27 potions ran me about 40g. They’ll last me about 2 weeks…depending on how the runs go, and so on. Yes, friends give me potions all the time…but I can’t keep mooching potions, because it’s no better for them to go without than me…plus I hate mooching.

So in a nutshell, I need to make cash, because I am bound to spend it when I raid. Since raiding is NEVER about cash (in a 20 or 40 person run, how likely is it that you walk off with much at all? You’re lucky if you get a piece of gear you can actually use, forget about selling.) you need to make cash on your own time. Which is kind of a funny thing to be saying about a game.

Anyway, I think I’m going to get coding after getting a light bite to eat. Want to be awake and chipper for my interview later. Tell you how it went tomorrow.


Tempus Fugit.

April 17, 2006

Mood: Recharged.
Music: Spin Spin Sugar, Sneaker Pimps
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion, Tomb Raider:Legend
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 42, Mostly Cloudy.
Jobs applied to today: 0…so far.

So, it’s been a week since I’ve updated. Every time I sat down to update my blog, I got distracted by something or other. But the last week’s been pretty good, save for not getting a job, and basically confirming that there’s no interest in me at that company that said there might be.

Whatever…can’t have everything. Otherwise, you’d be too happy, and that’s just not a good thing.

Been eating healthier, and been taking walks during the day to generally get my blood moving. Hopefully I’ll lose a little weight.

Last Friday, I was feeling pretty down. Mainly just stressed about finances…everything else is going really well. But Chelsea, or the Easter Bunny (I’m not sure which…) brought me an Easter Basket with cookies, and jalapeno peanuts, and the new Tomb Raider game for the 360 all in a really neat colander (I love kitchen stuff…). I have to say it pretty much made my whole week…which was going pretty well anyway. In short, it was a fabulous thing that made me grin the whole weekend.

On Saturday, Chelsea made an effort to find us a Chinese restaurant for dinner. We live in Seattle…the city has a pretty large Asian population…and we haven’t been able to find a decent Chinese place. Now, on Saturday, we travelled about 25 mins to a place that wasn’t bad. I mean, it was American Chinese food…and VERY tasty when reheated. But it ain’t exactly gonna replace Hop Kee…or even be considered in the same class. But there’s nothing wrong with hometown Chinese food…the places with the menus where you circle what you want, and the sauces come in plastic packets. Definitely a place for that. But more importantly, Chelsea decided that I needed it to make me happy, and just dragged me along for the experience…and it made me really happy.

CoD2 got a much needed patch, adding Punkbuster and two new(ish) maps. One of the new maps is Harbor, an old favorite (or loathed map, depending on your point of view) and the other is a new map that’s pretty rough. The addition of Punkbuster was sorely needed. Funny how when Punkbuster shows up, all of a sudden a bunch of people disappear from the servers. But whatever. Think I’ll play some CoD2 this week.

The Raid Tool that’s I’m coding with Ryan and Matt is going well…we’re in final debugging mode. Have a dozen things that need to be fixed or so, and we’ll be set for initial launch. Looking forward to having something done. Could use a feeling of accomplishment…

Aside from finishing Tomb Raider:Legend this weekend. I’d say it was about 12 hours of gameplay…probably could do it in 8 hours. I mean, I’m gonna go back to it and find all the little secret doohickeys and unlock all the outfits and so on…but curiously, the story/acting/music was so good, I just wanted to keep the thing moving. The puzzles didn’t disappoint, and there’s nothing in there that’s SO hard that you can’t deal with it. Additionally, the variety made me laugh with joy. Nothing like a running gun battle on a motorcycle while chasing a train to make you giggle every so often. The variety in levels was also well appreciated…from jungle ruins to Tokyo office buildings, the game just doesn’t disappoint. Yes, I’d have liked it to be longer…but there’s something satisfying about completing a game, too.

A great deal of the games I play have no finite ending…WoW, Oblivion, CoD2 (the multiplayer anyway…the single player was VERY enjoyable.)…you just keep going until you don’t feel like playing any more. Tomb Raider has a storyline that comes to a very definite conclusion. Oh, did I mention that TR:L is just amazing looking? You probably could have guessed that…but it is.

Today, I’ll be redoing my resume again. This time, I’ve decided to strip out all the management stuff. I am going to be a plain old project manager/producer. I never ran offices, I never had P&L responsibility, and I certainly never managed over 150 people. I managed several projects at once, ranging in size from 2 thousand-2 million dollars, I know how to use MS Project, and I’m in the middle of working on my PMP certification. I just cannot find a simple $65-75k a year job. I want to make HALF what I usually make, and I can’t find a job. Yeah, I’m frustrated.

Yes, I completed my taxes. I’m getting a refund, which gets neatly applied to the money I already owe the government. I suppose reducing debt is the same thing as getting cash in my pocket. Yeah, right. I suppose it’s not a bad thing. Paying off chunks of debt decreases interest payments…so it’s probably the right thing to do in any case.

I’m still loving my Logitech G15 keyboard. I love the LCD display. I’m such a geek.

Now? Back to editing my resume.

If anyone has a lead on a job or a really good Chinese restaurant, let me know, please. Thanks.


Are you kidding?

April 9, 2006

Mood: Good…now.
Music: Dream On, Aerosmith (Live)
Game: World of Warcraft, COD2, Dungeons and Dragons Online (Khyber Server), Oblivion
Book: Odalisque, Neal Stephenson
Weather: 55, clear.
Jobs applied to today: 0.

So I went to a movie last night, Lucky Number Slevin. Entertaining…holes you could drive a truck through, and altogether too “neat” to be a great film, but the casting was very, very good, and the acting was excellent. I loved Lucy Liu’s character…even if people like that don’t exist in New York City.

Here’s the part I want to write about, however. Last night, before the movie, was a trailer for Flight 93. Now, if you don’t know anything about this film, you could probably infer from the title that it’s a movie about Flight 93 on 9/11, the flight that the passengers supposedly fought the terrorists in the plane, and eventually crashed it rather than become a flying bomb.

I’ll say this…I’ve never been that close to walking out of a movie theatre in my life.

I was there to see a light-hearted black comedy. What I did NOT expect to see was snippets of 9/11, including the moment an aircraft flew directly into the World Trade Center. As dumb as it sounds, I cannot look at that footage, or see a photo of that without choking up and clenching my teeth so hard, my jaw is in danger of breaking.

I do not begrudge someone making a film about the passengers of flight 93. It is their right to do so, and if I choose not to go see it, that is my right. What I do NOT expect is to be subjected to something like that without warning, in an environment when I least expect it.

I can’t call what I am as offended. I’m not offended. I’m shocked. I’m hurt. And I’m pissed. Of course, those emotions may very well be the heart of being offended, so maybe I am. I acknowledge that not everyone will have the visceral reaction to such an event…but I did. And I’m angry that a perfectly nice night out with my fiancee came to a screeching halt while I reigned in my emotions and tried to nail that little door in the back of my head closed again.

I am an ardent advocate of free speech and freedom of expression. What I am NOT an advocate of is tricking someone into hearing or watching something that they did not choose to hear or watch. If I buy a copy of Cinderella for my nephew, and someone replaced the middle hour of the film with some porn film, I assure you, I would not be amused in the slightest. Freedom of speech does not entail mandatory listeners.

In any case, I am writing a letter to the studio, and the theatre in which I saw it, and I am telling them that I applaud their courage for making a film on this topic this close to the event…but if I ever see anything like that again, I will personally enact a class-action lawsuit for harrassment. Actually, I’m surprised that there isn’t that much of an uproar…although, I wonder what would happen if they went and showed this trailer in New York, say at the Battery Park cinema? Is that freedom of speech? Or incitement to riot?

I could have done without that.