howeird: (screwed)

At work just after 9, sent the usual over-the-weekend test update to the team, then opened a calendar item from boss' boss' boss. 10 am, same time as our team meeting, in the conference room upstairs. His meeting of course takes precedence. Only my name was on the "to" line, but it was obvious that there was a hidden list of other attendees.

Last week the CEO (in Suwanee, GA) sent a Bad News email message, hinting that merit increases were getting the axe, so I figured this was going to be one of those bad financial news meetings boss3 holds once a quarter. When boss and boss2 joined the meeting it looked more like that. Until we started noticing several of our team were not there.

And there was a stranger sitting in the left hand of God seat. Bosscubed stuttered that she was from HR to tell us that all our jobs have been terminated. Among the casualties was bosssquared, who is the last of the remaining founders of the original company which current company had swallowed up. Plus both engineering program managers for the soon-to-be-released new product.

And everyone on the staff named Nguyen - Automation guy and two lab IT guys. And the Russian woman whom I beat out for the job, who was later hired for another department. All told about 20 people. There is no way they can get this product out the door with the remaining staff, so I'm guessing they will be cutting their losses and eventually offering those folks jobs in other sections of the company. Or not. 

Horrible timing. Boss and Automation Guy had just bought houses. 

HR woman said we were good till the end of the month, but were free to go home after the meeting. She handed out personalized severance packages, and mine works out to about 7½ pay periods, plus another 4 of vacation pay.

We need to come back Thursday morning for a sign-your-life-away meeting, which is supposed to include some more nuts and bolts. She said COBRA will be paid for a month, which is pretty stingy - when Moto laid me off from the same job in 2008, they gave me 3 months' worth.

After the meeting there was a lot of visits from the non-afflicted, while I was deleting all my personal stuff from the PC, which included my wireless mouse and English/Thai keyboard. And all my browser links, cookies, etc. And my Windows desktop is back to Windows 7 theme, with no icons.

And to seal the irony, I went onto Dice.com and filled in a new profile (I had deleted mine because I was getting too many people with foreign accents calling about contract jobs way far away which did not even come close to my areas of expertise). Shortened my resume a bit first.

About 2 pm, went home by way of U-haul, where I bought some boxes which I will take back to work tomorrow and fill. There is my collection of coffee cups from around the world, a photo frame and a handful of mounted photos. Plus misc. tools, files and such. I am leaving the cardboard 2D foldable palm tree.

Coming home woke up Spook, but she's back on her perch above the window overlooking the garden. But she's not looking.

Plans for the rest of the day are to read the severance packet, cancel my hotel reservations for Worldcon in KC, see what job boards are still worth posting on (despite Obama fans' claims of vastly improved employment, job boards have pretty much dried up).  

howeird: (Default)
Recently my company announced 4,000 layoffs. Most of the company does cell phones, but I'm in the 5% or so which does high end industrial equipment for cable and satellite companies.

As expected, I started getting bombarded with email and phone calls from hungry recruiters who had cell phone jobs for me. So I went to my LinkedIn account (where most of these were coming from) and put up a note at the top of my profile, addressed to recruiters, saying I am not a cell phone guy, and linking to the product I work on, which is way too big to fit in a pocket.

The next day I get a LinkedIn message from a recruiter offering to hook me up with Netflix's cell phone group. I checked out his profile, and it said he was a recent Washington State U grad, and being a University of Washington alum I felt it was my duty to tweak him. I replied that I see Wazoo still does not teach reading comprehension, pointed him to my profile note, and told him to lose my contact info.

Almost immediately he replied with a mildly insulting note that someone with 40 years in the industry (I have 30 - another reading error) should know better than to be undiplomatic, ending with a rah-rah line for his alma mater.

I considered answering, but decided to just delete the message rather than have a battle of wits with an unarmed person. I suppose I could have forwarded the conversation to his boss, who knows me (I worked as a contractor at Netflix for a year), but why bother?
howeird: (Default)
One good news bad news thing about work is on Thursdays they bring in fresh fruit (lately bananas and apples) which is placed in the break rooms in the morning. I got to work at 9:30, there was no trace of the stuff. They don't buy nearly enough to meet the demand.

Spent most of the day running 2-hour tests, and I think most of them passed but I could not mark them as such because there is a series of bugs with the display which sometimes shows a program is recording when it isn't, or shows a program is not scheduled to record in the future when it is. Not a total waste of time, but close to it.

I left the cubicle a few times during the thumb-twiddling parts to hang out in my team's area and play movie title hangman, and eavesdrop on team members who were running real-time tests. And I also did some optical audio testing, and closed a few bugs.

Toward the end of the day the manager's manager came by the team area, and had another of a long series of management "whoops" moments. She forgot my exit interview is tomorrow, and she won't be in the office tomorrow. I can leave my badge in her desk drawer. I did get a chance to tell her how great the people have been. She already knows hjow sucky everything else is there.

I wrote to the Moto HR admin asking why I had not heard anything from her when I sent my acceptance letter a week ago. She wrote back that she did recceive it, and my start date will be Aug 22 unless the security clearance doesn't come back by then. Not as helpful as it should have been. 

Home, relaxed with Domino on head-butting me for petting - a new habit of hers. Picked up my baritone and headed off to Ye Olde Towne Band practice. We had three new pieces to try, the first was Louie, Louie I told my section about the unique place in Washington State history this song holds. The other pieces were a difficult circus march and a not particularly tuneful German waltz.

Home from band, watched the Seahawks beat the Chargers in fast forward (recorded on my home Tivo). It was a squeaker, went down to the last minute.

Got some more shirts from KingSizeDirect, they are excellent.

Plans for tomorrow:
Last day at contract job
Maybe have dinner in Alviso. Vahl's has a piano bar on Fridays, I think. No need to fight rush hour traffic.

F Day

Jul. 29th, 2011 07:10 pm
howeird: (Default)
Last things first, the Moto recruiter did not call or email. Monday, I guess. I looked him up on the web, and it has been years since he updated his web site, he is not on LinkedIn and is definitely doing this on a commission basis. A major waste of Moto resources in my case.

Had a field day filing bugs at work. Blew through a lot of easy, overlapping test cases. Got bogged down toward the end of the day as I hit a barrage of cases to test a feature which is not on our devices. Gave me time to write my weekly report and fill in my time card, which had to be screen captured and sent to my agency.

Traffic was light in both directions today. Yay for Friday in the summer.

Plans for tomorrow:
nails
laundry
Our Miss Gibbs at MVCPA, Lyric Theater's little-known operetta series, always a treat.
howeird: (Default)
I'll preface this by saying that I don't know how much I am allowed to say about the project I am working on at Tivo, other than this year-old official press release.

The testing is still in alpha, so the less said about the product the better.

I brought headphones so I could listen to the many tutorial videos on the internal web site, but they turned out to be mostly engineering classes, none of them were about the product I'll be working on, and none that I played appeared to speak to anything useful for my job. But it took a while to try as many as looked like they might, and there was one which answered some questions I had about the flow chart for serving content.

The janitors cleaned up my very dusty cubicle a bit, including throwing away the paper strip which is supposed to go on my phone with the phone number and what all the buttons are for, but was lying loose because IT did not provide the plastic slip which keeps it on the phone. They did a slipshod job, half a shelf still has 1/4 inch of dust on it, and they did not give me a wastebasket. My "ergonnomics" request to get the too-deep keyboard platform out of my way has so far not been assigned to anyone.

I got tired of kicking the computer, which IT had installed on the floor, so I shut it down, disconnected everything and reconnected up on the desktop, where I can get to the CD drive and USB ports. And discovered that they had installed a dual-monitor cable, stupidly it is two VGA connectors for the monitors, but plugs into the DVI video port on the PC. I'll bring a DVI-to-DVI cable Monday. The 4:3 Dell monitor is cheesy enough without dumbing down the signal.

Lunchtime I had plenty of time so I drove into town and ate at Vahl's. They freshened up the paint job, and the staff is now well under retirement age, probably because the owner passed away in 2004 and her nephews took over. She was 84, so I expect her nephews are about my age. The menu is simple, though I think it was always so. I went with the spaghetti and meatballs with a side salad and home made apple pie for dessert. The blue cheese dressing was very watery, and the salad very basic. The main course was okay, but the apple pie was not up to my home made. Price was a little high, $20, but the service was superb. I was tempted to go back tonight for the piano bar, but some other time.

My manager sat down with me in the afternoon and showed me the test case software, and how to find the tests. There was some delay in identifying which of three identical on the outside, but very different on the inside boxes were for me, so  I won't get to actually do real work till Monday. Did manage to enter my time card, I think, but it didn't give me the kind of response I expected. I'll know Monday. Meanwhile I get to mail in my last unemployment check request tomorrow.

Meanwhile, a recruiter contacted me about a job at Apple which may be obtainable after this contract is over. Moto is still my first choice, but I may not be theirs.

I went through a lot of the test cases, and was amused to see that in a series of tests written by the same person on the same day, one of the most common menu items was abbreviated three different ways. But for the most part they are well written, I could understand what the test was, and if I had a box to beat up I could have done so.

And I spent way too much time configuring my android phone to get Tivo mail. When I was done I wrote up more concise instructions than were scattered across four internal web pages and sent them to my manager, who wanted to do the same thing.

After work I drove out to the Alviso Marina and walked a lot, it was very windy, but sunny and not too nippy. I got some video of an Amtrak Capitol Corridor train passing by one of the salt pools.

Went to Michael's in search of 8x12 poster frames, or mattes, but they didn't have any. They used to, but they seem to have dropped the MCS brand. Online searches are not showing anything either. Some well-meaning folks on Flickr suggest cutting my own mattes, but that is not one of the skills I have. It is only easy for people who can cut in a straight line. I don't care what tool you give me, what I use it to cut is not going to straight after I get done with it. I have plenty of rather thick 8x12 frames which I used at Baycon, but they are too heavy to wish on [livejournal.com profile] yourbob in the quantity I would want to display at Reno. I'll figure something out. I may have to reprint some in 12x18, and not display all my first choices. I've already bagged all my 20x30s.

Plans for tomorrow:
If the wind dies down, NASA Ames for the rocket launch, and maybe take photos of the "make and take" event where LUNAR members will help 50 kids build a rocket from a standard kit, and take it out to the range to launch. It could make a good photo spread for SFinSF.
Maybe go to the Thai Temple for Buddhist Lent. Maybe.
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Miraculous but true, Moto HR arranged for an interview for tomorrow late morning. The names on the list of interviewees are all friends I worked with for 2 years, up until about 2 years ago, with my old boss as the final one on the list.

Started the day filling out Moto job application, which wanted my last three jobs. The third one was the one I was applying for, with the same manager. Eerie. If I get re-hired, it will be the second time a company which laid me of re-hired me, and the fourth company I have worked for more than once, but it will be the first time I would be re-hired for the same job I was laid off from.
Gory details: )


Went over to A&J's house to look at their new PC, and it was indeed hijacked by Media Center on A's login. J's login worked fine. But with A's profile, anything you clicked on brought up Media Center. The PC is not a media center PC, so this is not just annoying, but silly. So I disabled Media Center, and everything came up the way it should. I'd forgotten last time to put their wireless printer onto their new home wi-fi, so I did that. HP's setup wizard is easy and in plain English.

And then we chatted about linguistics, travel and stuff for half an hour.

Costco is close by, so I went there to pick up the last print for the Reno show. One of Radar in her Princess Leia gown holding a large weapon. She looks sweetly threatening. I've shown this photo at several cons, but this time I cropped it to fit the frame, and it looks a lot better. If it sells, she gets the procedes (an old promise I made which I hope this time will come through).  En route I checked my voicemail, it was Costco saying the new tires I'd ordered were in, a week early. So after I picked up the prints, I dropped off the car. They said an hour and a half, so I wandered through the pet store and the comix store and then remembered the Krispy Kreme. Should have brought the netbook, they have free wi-fi now. It's a nice place to sit and waste time over a custard-filled donut and their version of a slurpee.

Costco called in 45 minutes, the car was done. Nice to have Michelins again, and to have 4 tires which are the same age. Long story short, about 2 years ago a chunk of concrete from a truck ahead of me took a bite out of one tire, so I replaced it. The alignment has not been quite right ever since. Plenty of center tread left, but the sides were awful. Bad for taking off from a stop, especially in the wet.

So, home, checked the pickles, they all sealed well, though it's clear some had been slightly over-filled and dripped a little before sealing. They look pretty - grape leaves and garlic cloves and one bright red chili pepper, with a bunch of green dill seeds in a light green broth. Cthuhlu would be proud.

I was fresh out of pirogi, which meant a trip to Crossroads World Market. There is always some Hebrew being spoken there, sometimes Russian and other Eastern European languages. Most of the Middle Eastern products are in Hebrew. They sell Halvah by the metric tonne. Or so it seems. Today's haul was Ukranian and Siberian meat pirogi, German garlic sausages, German duck pate, Costa Rican 77% chocolate, and a Russian sampler of thinly sliced smoked sea bass, trout and salmon. 

With fish on my mind, I stopped by PetSmart on the way home and picked up a male betta and two more female auratus, which are now in their repective tanks entertaining the other tenants.

Found Keith Olbermann on Current TV (it's only in SD on my lineup) and listened to him gloat about Rupert Murdoch. I did not find his charge of blackmail at all credible. I have been in a similar position back in my newspaper days, and the bottom line is people who own news companies tend to be bullies. It's why they buy news organizations instead of starting up a charity.

The more I watched Mr. O., the less impressed I became. He has learned one lesson: to be up-front about which of his guests he has contributed campaign $$ to, but he has not learned the lesson of not putting those people on the air.

I was switching between that and the All Star Game. Top of the 9th, Joel Hanrahan looked like a total bozo pitching for Bochy's team, and I kept saying "put in a real pitcher". We were ahead 5-1, but the tying run was at the plate when The Beard finally came in to save the day. The mood in the stadium flipped 180°. I'm not much of a baseball fan, in fact it mostly bores me to tears, but even I can see Brian Wilson is the real deal.
Put the filk tunes on the iPod and listened to them in the car today. Forgot how very much I enjoy Gwen Knighton. Love the Box of Fairies CD.


Plans for tomorrow:
Moto interview
PAMF for a blood test & drop off my filled sharps container
PO to mail another eBay sale
howeird: (Default)
Much to my surprise, this morning the recruiter for the Tivo job said they made me an offer. It's at a decent pay rate, reasonable commute, in my area of expertise and the people seem nice enough. But I'd rather have a high-paying permanent job, so I told the recruiter to let me check with HR at Harmonic and see if it makes any sense now that 2.5 weeks have passed, to wait for them to hire me.  I left HR voicemail, haven't heard anything.

Re-thinking this, I didn't really like what I saw at Harmonic, did not click with the people, did not see a lab which was conducive to testing. OTOH, I was not shown Tivo's facilities at all.

At noon tomorrow, it'll probably be bird-in-hand time.

When I sent in my security check form, I asked the recruiter to see if I can take time off for Worldcon. She said she didn't think it would be a problem, but this is a short term contract so it may be. I'll burn that bridge when I come to it. Worst case, I'll ship my photos and have them hang them, and just fly in for the weekend.
Started the day with a massage. Got a new, waif-like Chinese girl this time, but from how deep the massage was I reckon she is bionic. Some light carbon filament or something.

Manicure was next. My manicurist was just finishing up with an tall elegant black woman who may have been a supermodel. She came over to chat after I told her I liked her hairdo. Very sweet person, with a huge sparkley gold thing on her ring finger. I also go a chance to tease the Thai hair colorist, who was chatting with someone who was getting a pedicure. I quoted an old Thai pop song which starts "working people, on their day off, chat with the people who are working". She got the reference.

Got the recruiter call during the manicure, so had to wait till after to listen to the voicemail. Decided to go to WalMart first, call the Harmonic HR person and then the recruiter, but recruiter called again while I was walking through the parking lot to WalMart. So instead of more shopping I went home and did the security clearance paperwork, which needed to be done today what with the holiday coming up and a July 7 start date.
Took another taste of the now-3-week-old pickles, and decided it tasted better, but maybe another month... While I was at WalMart I picked up a couple of the tried and true pickle mix, and another dozen mason jars. I think I will take one more stab at my own recipe first. Need to do some shopping for that. Need garlic and chili peppers and a ton of pickling cucumbers. Picked up a tank of vinegar at WM, too. I have everything else I need.

Plans for tomorrow:
Wish my Canuck friends a happy Canada Day
Wish everyone a happy July Fools' Day
Attend Westercon. Is it my imagination, or is Mr. rec.humor.funny on a panel in every time slot Friday?

Anecdotery

Jun. 24th, 2011 06:00 pm
howeird: (Default)
I had this great idea for a nostalgic, tell-all kind of post as I was walking across the parking lot, but by the time I had my mocha frappuccino it had retreated to the tip of my tongue, the back of my mind. Or maybe one of its many ragged edges. If I keep staring into space maybe it will come back. Something about a person. A person of the male persuasion.

Frak.

Meanwhile, I have the new-ish bluetooth stereo headset on my neck, earbuds shoved firmly in place because there is a jerk at the table behind me, facing me, who has been blabbering non-stop into his cell phone as if he was in his livingroom. Half an hour now, one would think his battery would be drained. Sounds like his mind has been already. Marketing blather.

So I guess this will be my daily journal entry. Started at the clinic with a follow-up with my endocrinologist. Routine, suggested by my nephrologist. She is one hot number, knows how to dress too. She doesn't do white lab coats. Last time was a very sexy muted orange and black diagonally striped dress, this time a knit white top over a black dress. The knit was too tight to call net, but open enough to accent what she wanted accented. Nothing new except my A1C is much lower, but needs to go down one more notch. My BP was actually low, and I've lost another 3 lbs since last month.

From there to Custom Audio, to see if the talented Mr. T. Le could pair the car alarm remote I'd bought on the Clifford web site with my Clifford car alarm. Nope, he couldn't get it to work. Because it was the wrong one. Clifford's web site said the same unit worked with both the 10 and 12 series of this model, but they lied. He sold me (and paired successfully) the right version. Custom Audio charged me $120, Clifford soaked me for $240. Home, RMA applied for, lunch made & inhaled.

Then to OSH with my music stand. At rehearsals I discovered that what I thought was a permanent fix for the one stupid design item in an otherwise brilliant design was not. The stand has two screws on the main shaft, one has a handy soft plastic/rubberized handle, the other has to be adjusted with a hex tool. The nice man, whom I looked for for 10 minutes before finding him, helped me remove the hex screw and find a replacement hex head bolt and wing nut which can be adjusted without any tools.

Next stop, CVS, picked up my monthly insulin.

Home, dropped that off because it needs to go in the fridge, and then to Starbucks. Thought about Clocktower, but they are not air conditioned and it's a bit too warm today for that.

And now for the daily dose of recruiter stupidity:
Read more... )

No plans for tonight, which is sad because I really wanted to go to the preview of a local community theater's Sound of Mucus, directed by one of my all-time favorite theater people and I know at least half the cast. But this particular group kicked me out of one of their shows for what I suspect was being the wrong religion, and as long as the asswipes who did that are still involved with the group, I'm not patronizing anything they do. What added insult to injury is the person they called to take my place was told I'd gotten sick, and he had no idea it was political. He is a long time good theater friend and continues to be. He just happens to teach Sunday school and is happy to spread the word of Jesus to anyone who asks. What I admire most about him is until you ask, you won't even suspect he is That Way.  When I told him years later I had been the person he replaced, and what the circumstances were, he said had he known he would have refused the part.

So no plans for tonight.

Plans for tomorrow:
Litterbox duty
NASA/Ames for a long-awaited model rocket launch
Possibly go to the Fremont Thai Temple's annual bash, which they hold at a much larger Zen Buddhist temple down the block.
Pick up a friend at SJC who has spent 2 weeks volunteering with Red Cross flood aid in Montana.
howeird: (Default)
So the plan was to do laundry and have a banana split and relax. Done, done and done. There was only one other person in the laundromat when I got there, three families when I left, who managed to block all the aisles.

Went to the Denny's on Mathilda instead of the one on Awhanee,  because the latter had served my banana split in a soup bowl last time. And I ordered something which came with egg-beater scrambled eggs and they asked how I wanted the eggs done.

This time, they did not ask how I wanted the eggs done, they just delivered something which looked like two whole eggs without the yolks, looking like sunnyside up eggs without the sun. And the banana split was in a soup bowl. Will have to find another source for banana splits. They are high in potassium, and I need more potassium according to my doctor.

Home, the replacement car alarm remote arrived. Followed the directions about a dozen times but couldn't get it to pair. Will see if the folks who installed my nav system will do it for me. The original remote has been dropped too many times, and is mostly super-glued together.

Mail arrived early, unemployment check was there, on time for a change. Also in the mail was the LP I'd ordered a couple of weeks ago, it went slow boat from Alabama. Mint condition, though, just like the listing said. Will have to hook up the turnable and rip it to WAV and MP3. Maybe tonight.

A recruiting company calling themselves Maxonic, with offices in SF and Mumbai, called too many times with jobs in the video area. Typical of the Indian recruiters, nothing else in the job descriptions even came close to what is in my resume. I will email them to take me off their lists. And I will take one more look at my resume, in case there is anything in there which hints of programmer skilz. 

Went online looking for charter fishing boats, but the ones in HMB leave at the crack of OMG, as do the ones from Santa Cruz, and that's a sure way to get me seasick. So searched some more and discovered Pacifica pier and the beach next door are rated the best fishing in the area, and maybe in the country. So I think I'll drive out there and take a look.

Finished ripping the classical CDs, and made some playlists for all my music so far in iTunes, but kept getting an "unknown" error message. It had a number, which means it was not really unknown. Looked it up on Apple's web site, there was nothing in the official support pages but a ton of pretty much identical info in the forums. Turns out the error happens if iTunes glitches while uploading to the iPod/iPhone, and leaves a partial file. The cure is to tell iTunes to not sync anything, which causes iTunes to erase everything on the iPod/phone which had previously been uploaded. Since I was converting the phone to a music player, this was good news, it let me nuke all the apps and stuff which was just eating battery and space. Next step is simply tell it to sync music, run sync again (which took about 2 hours for my stash) and no more phantom files or error messages.

Still left to rip are showtunes, folkdance, Thai & Chinese pop, and filk. I won't rip my sound effects or Thai classical - not things I would want to listen to in the car. Those all may go slowly, because except for three or four Thai singers, I'll want to cherrypick only my favorite tracks.


Plans for tomorrow:
Job hunt
Car alarm
Pacifica (?)
Ye Olde Towne Band rehearsals. Concert Sunday.
howeird: (Default)
The light at the end of the tunnel got a giant leap closer today. The recruiter I have been waiting to hear from called at about 1 pm to ask when I could come in for an interview. I told her "any time this week" and admitted that next week could be arranged too. 5:30 pm she called again, can I make it tomorrow morning at 9? Sure. The sooner the better. She cc'ed some folks, whom I figure are the interviewers, so I'll see what LinkedIn has to say about them. The site is theoretically 11 minutes from home, but since it involves a segment of 237, at 8:30 am we're probably talking half an hour. But Yay!

All morning I was bombarded with calls from east coast numbers, starting at 7 effing AM, which I ignored. It means AT&T is looking for a contractor again to test set top boxes. The job is in San Ramon, which is a pain in the butt to get to for an interview, and I would have to move if I took the job. Not something I am eager to do for a contract, And I definitely do not want to work for a contract agency 3,000 miles away whose employees don't speak comprehensible English.

The first adventure of the day was a stop at Lowe's to see what they had in the way of ladders. I figured I needed an 8-footer, but did not think it would fit in the car without sticking out the back, and since I was not going directly home that went on the "later" list.

Then came my noon appointment with the Nephrologist. He has a really cute nurse. My BP reading was way high. Coincidence? My BP readings for the month have been lower, but still higher than his target, so he's having me take three chlorthalidone tablets. We started with one, last month was two. Max would be 4. Also told him about a much younger friend who just started on dialysis, asked if there is anything I can tell my friend. He said moral support is a good start, make sure he gets on a kidney transplant list if he needs one, but don't jump to any conclusions, because sometimes dialysis is used to correct reversible conditions. Friend has a huge group of supporting friends and an SO, which helps.

Went from there to Clocktower, has a Pina Colada smoothie and a chocolate croissant. The have the ones dipped in chocolate. Yum. The recruiter called while I was enjoying those. There was much eye candy too.

I was procrastinating. I needed to buy a ladder, but first I had to go home and take care of some stuff.

After relaxing at home for a bit, I drove to OSH and bought a 6-foot ladder. It fit in the car with a foot to spare. And it was on sale! Saved $20 over Lowe's. And OSH is closer. Home, hauled it upstairs, and it was too short to really do the job, which was to staple gun some faux batik over the trapezoidal and triangular skylight windows in the bedroom. I have lived here for 4.5 years, and should have done this the week I moved in. LSS, the triangle, which is lower and smaller, is all covered but the trapezoid is still letting light in through a right-triangular opening at the top about a foot high, and the width of a bolt of cloth - 45"(?) which looks a lot like this:

Maybe the angle at C is a bit more acute. Anyhow it is a major improvement, and I may further improve it by the intelligent application of an old Coast Survey flag, double-sided tape and a broomstick.

That was a major sweat-maker, mostly because I am deathly afraid of heights, and thanks to some stupid architecture the top right corner of the trapezoid was not reachable from the same side as the top left corner, so there was much ladder maneuvering to be done.

Did some recovery on the recliner with Pumpkin on my arm, and some out on the balcony with Domino on my thigh. A rare cuddling session for her.

Then it was off to BASFA, which was in stealth mode. When I got there at a bit after 7:30, the place was half-empty, but by a little after 8 it was packed. I got in a few good puns, including the Rumor of the Week. A bunch of CDs I'd brought sold at auction for mostly adequate prices, and the somewhat obscure iPhone to component cable was picked up for a decent price by someone who will get good use out of it.

I've continued ripping CDs, am about halfway through my pop music, Billy Joel is in the ripper at the moment. There are still show tunes, classical and foreign language to do, which combined are equal in number to the pop albums. This could take weeks.

Plans for tomorrow:
Interview will last most of the day. Nothing planned for after. Since I'll be in the area, maybe a meal at Vahl's. Good food, variable service since the wait staff are the original crew from 1941.
howeird: (Default)
My parents made me an avid fan of Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald, mostly by watching their movies on late night TV and a little bit from listening to records.

One of my current projects is to put titles and artists on the 200+ recordings I've transferred into iTunes. Some of these, maybe all of them, ought to be re-recorded (I have my parents' collection of 78s, 45s and 33 1/3s). But for now I'm just labeling what I have, which is a bit of a challenge because of the path these clips have taken. When I was a radio/TV major in 1969, I had access to a professional radio studio, and put all the parental 78s onto cassette tapes. I labeled each tape with the name and artist of each track, and also typed up a list.

A few years ago, probably when I was working in Redmond (1997-ish) I scanned the list into a Excel spreadsheet, and have worksheets sorted by tape#/side/track# and by artist. I think it was at my father's request, but when I transferred all the tapes to CDs, I did them by genre. About two years ago I ripped the CDs to my hard drive, and either the program I used did not have CDText capability, or the CDs did not have CDText embedded, but either way I have no titles  on the files and iTunes just labeled them Track_1 Track_2 and so on.

So last night I started listening to each track, editing the titles into them, adding artist names if I knew them. Somewhere in CD4, I start hearing duets Eddy & MacDonald were famous for. But the baritone did not quite sound like Nelson, and the soprano, well it was hard to tell because 78s don't do well in the higher frequencies. I was convinced it was them, and blamed the many layers of re-recording on the "not-quite". So I looked up the song titles (I knew them all, of course) in the spreadsheet, and only see Nelson & Jeanette listed for two of the duets, but on another tape, which probably means another CD too. The spreadsheet listed "Kirsten & Knight" as the artists. Kirsten who? Online searches did not find a Kirsten Knight, or a soprano Kirsten from that era. Knight I was able to identify via Amazon as Felix Knight, a well-known musicals star about  8 years younger than Nelson.

I went downstairs and found the album the recordings were from (it was an album with a dozen 78s by the same orchestra on the Angel label, of favorite love songs). In very small print, it said  Dorothy Kirsten and Felix Knight did the vocals. Dorothy was a major opera star who had some brief forays into radio and movies, and recorded for Angel. Reviews I have read hint that she was not the strong coloratura MacDonald was, but held her own in moderately challenging leading roles in Pucini operas. As I was putting the album back, next to it was an album with the highlights from The Desert Song, starring Felix Knight. Now I know where I heard that voice before. Interesting, because Knight was a tenor in that role, but Eddy was a baritone.

Had a call from a recruiter last night whom I had been working with, Tivo wanted to do a phone interview, so I told her Tues-Wed any time is fine, just let me know. Had the interview at 1 this afternoon, French fellow, it took a bit to understand his English, but he asked some good questions, and only one stupid QA theory question, and only one stupid in-house jargon question. I think it went well, but we'll see. Tivo is a reasonable commute, except for Hwy 237.

That done, it was time to do something about the three tubs of chicken liver and one or two of the three onions I'd bought last night. Long story short, there are now three tubs of chopped liver on the fridge which include an onion and some scrambled "best-of-the-egg" mixed in. Mixed in a little too well, though. I did not expect the dough blade on the food processor to be nearly as energetic as it was. So I fried up another onion with some sliced garlic, and will mash that in later. I figure half a tub's worth on some sourdough will be dinner tonight. Or part of dinner.

There are also three turkey drumsticks in the fridge which need to be cooked. Should go nicely with the third onion. I wonder if I should marinate them. I have some Madiera and also some el cheapo red wine just sitting there waiting to become part of a recipe.

We'll see. Right now I'm in Santa Clara, having dropped off some stuff at Goodwill. Somehow I missed the turn into the Sunnyvale branch. It's not on my GPS. Strange, that.

While I was waiting for the Tivo call, a recruiter in New Jersey with a mostly understandable Indian accent called about a contract in  San Jose. The job description is one I can actually do, so I broke my rule and told him to go ahead and submit my name. Probably should not have, he is merely a phone bank person, the company his email said the job was with is a recruiting firm.



Plans for tomorrow:
Job hunt stuff
????
howeird: (Default)
Not knowing how long it would take to have the car maintenanced, today's schedule was wide open. 

Breakfast was white fist on a plain bagel with Delice de B cheese melted on it.  This expensive French cheese tasted like normal cream cheese when I first tried it, which is why it got bagelized. While it is just like Philadelphia cream cheese cold, heated it is like Philadephia cream cheese which hadn't showered lately. Taste was fine but it smelled mildly of road kill. Kind of like the durian of cream cheeses.

Dropped the car off a little after 9, walked half a block to the bus stop to wait for the 9:33 #32. Which never arrived. At 9:48 I started walking, and of course as soon as I was in sight of my stop the bus passed by. I had my netbook in my knapsack, and the plan was to park for a while at the local Starbucks, but it was full and there was a long line so I just walked home instead.

Got the microwave packed up and ready to ship back. Waited for a recruiter to call about a contract at Tivo, but she didn't. At about 11:30 the Toyota place called, the car was done, sort of. The recall part, which my car definitely needs (part of the recall was to check lot numbers), is out of stock. Apparently the notice was sent just before the tsunami screwed up delivery. I looked at the bus schedule, and walked, since I just missed the hourly bus.

Got the car, came home, loaded up the microwave and took it to UPS. Home again, cooked up two of the turkey sausages for lunch, watched some Maury and some The Talk, and last night's The Voice.

Voice was almost total fail for me. Three of the four winners I thought were the better voice. I thought it was Just Plain Stupid to have members of the same team compete with each other. And it wasn't really a competition, because they were all duets. I'm pretty close to removing the show from my Tivo schedule.

Checked the mail, my unemployment dole was there, took that to the ATM, and now I'm at *$s waiting for Janice. She has a new Motorola Atrix phone, wants me to help her figure it out. It's her first smartphone, and though she is really very competent with electronics, she thinks she is not, so I help her. It's usually easy, she's pretty smart.

Plans for tomorrow:
Blood test
Ye Olde Towne Band rehearsal
Lots of padding in between
howeird: (Default)
Is anyone else here old enough to get that joke? Did not think so.

After my weird dream it was a low key day.  Did some low key shopping, kind of a loop in the morning, starting at CVS which had given me a $5.50 monthly rewards coupon which I used on $6 worth of paper plates, which were at the top of my shopping list. CVS does not carry anything else on the list for a reasonable price.  On to the Rose Market, which was a regular stop back when I was addicted to halvah. They also carry all the spices for growing my own pickling mix. Or so I thought. Coriander seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaf, cumin seeds, but no dill seeds. Then to Safeway for frozen stuff and seltzer. They had dill seeds, I bought two jars but they are kind of pricey.  Home, I ordered a huge packet online for about what I'd paid at Safeway for one small jar.

Had another of the Friday batch of pickles, but I'll wait a while to eat more. They need at least a week, and the longer they soak the better. Looked up a salt-free recipe in a pickles book I have, but it's a no-cook formula. I think I can do low-sodium with the spices I have. But that won't be for a while yet. I have 6 jars of 4 pickles to munch through yet.

Spent much of the afternoon processing the photos from the trip. Not a total loss, but only about 160 posted to Flickr out of 500+.  A bunch of my favorites behind the cut )

Hgl reading of about 80, meant I needed some sugar, so I went to Starbucks and had a frappucino. From there to Piazza's for some frozen matzo balls and to see if they had any good new cheeses. Nope. But they had wings, and I figured the Sharks needed all the help they could get tonight, so I bought a package. Also got some of their house mild Italian turkey sausage, which was a couple of dollars a pound less than any of the commercial ones. And there will be white fish for breakfast tomorrow, if I have breakfast tomorrow. Which is iffy.

When I got home, the toothpaste from amazon was there, but not the microwave. It was due today. Did some stuff in the kitchen, and when I was done the microwave magically had appeared on the patio rack. The UPS guy didn't bother to ring the bell.

Unpacked it, set it up, and as I feared it was too small.  Packed back up, went online for an RMA, ordered the right one.

Made dinner in the old microwave, took my wings & veggies out to the livingroom and turned on the hockey game. Sharks were up 1-0 in the 3rd period. I guess Detroit saw what I was doing, and scored three unanswered points to tie the series. Sharks Choke on Wings - Film at 11. :-(

I'm not a sports fan, but I like to see the local teams win big. I have no idea why. It may explain why I still wear my Seattle SuperSonics windbreaker. Or not.

Got calls from two recruiters about the same contract opportunity at Tivo. Told the one from India I was not interested. Told the local woman from the locally owned company to submit my resume. It's not prejudice when it is learned from experience.

Plans for tomorrow:
Bring the car in for its recall and 35,000 mile check-up
Chat with a recruiter about a contract at Tivo
Coffee with Janice
howeird: (Train)

Two weeks or so ago, a recruiter called asking if I would be interested in a QA contract for a well-known company which paid barely more than unemployment insurance. I said if they were paying that little, don't bother, and then promptly forgot all about it.

Last week another recruiter emailed with an identically worded advert from the same company, sans salary. I told her I had already been contacted by another recruiter about this job, so no, she can't represent me. Her advert had an hourly wage on it which was a bit lower than what I usually get, but high enough to not refuse outright. I agreed that if she finds that the hiring manager has not seen a resume from me, she could send it in. Yesterday she called, the company (of course) has not seen my resume, so I said she could have her people send it in. This morning someone called wanting to have me add a paragraph of skills to the resume, but I managed to convince her that the last thing my resume needs is more words.

Truth is, every time I have provided a list of skills, it has been a FAIL. There are too many things I can do, poorly, which I'd rather not, and too many tools and such I know how to use which just make managers' eyes cross. Yes I can cut for geekTMI )




Am in the late-night Starbucks, just in time for their 3pm-5pm "Frappy Hour". Frappucinos half price. They have 3x as many baristas on hand as usual, and it is a virtual FrapFactory. Way lots of people-watching, which includes eye candy but also some diverse characters which could come in handy if I ever sit down and write a novel.

A woman walked in about half an hour ago wearing a blouse which looked like a silk/polyester mix, semi-translucent off-white with a hint of silver, denser vertical bands of material (or maybe material doubled over and stitched) tightly cinched at the waist which strongly accentuated her narrow waist and made the most of her small breasts (there was a bra underneath). She was wearing light beige cargo pants which were tailored in back to leave no doubt that she was wearing a thong underneath. Very slender athletic figure. And she was working it all the way from the door to the "order here" spot. The only thing that spoiled the look was the wedding ring and diamond solitaire. And the thought popped into my mind, "looks like some else has rented her first."

But I digress.

I was up early again, a good thing because in another 5 minutes I probably would have fallen out of bed. Pumpkin had splayed out and was pushed up against my side, nudging me towards the edge. Also good because it had cooled off overnight, and cucumbers were waiting to be made into pickles.

This time I was a lot more organized, now that I have done the process once before. Read more... )So just as everything was ready, I had to turn off the stove, put on shoes, and drive to the produce store for 8 more pickling cucumbers. I stopped along the way at PAMF and picked up the CD of my angiogram. I bought 10 cukes just in case.

The drive may have cost more than the $1.20 for the cucumbers. :-(

So, back to the kitchen, Read more... )

Watched Divorce Court while waiting for the pickles to cook. I like the judge, she has a way of cutting through the BS without being Judge Judy about it. And she's more articulate. And also more about pushing her book, her Facebook page, etc.

Back to the kitchen. Read more... )

Popped the disc from PAMF into the PC, turns out to be a DVD, and the images are in a proprietary format with a totally useless reader application. It's supposed to be able to export to an AVI file, but when I gave it my preferred settings it crashed each time. Will try again later using the defaults. The disc came with a printout with a detailed description of what they did and what was found. I will have to spend some time researching online to understand all the words. But in a nutshell, my arteries are not healthy, but they are far from bad enough to panic about.

After pickles & cardio, I took myself here.  Mocha coconut frap is okay, could use more chocolate.

Plans for tonight:
Pack
Plans for tomorrow:
SJC Amtrak around 10, catch the southbound Coast Starlight for Santa Barbara with, if they are running on time, a long enough stop to hear Justin Au and pieces of the Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band at SLO station. Unfortunately, their redheaded lead singer is not expected to be there. Santa Barbara by about 7 pm if all goes well. Not that I expect the Coast Starlight to ever be on time. I've been surprised before, though.

howeird: (Default)
Even if the job hunt was hit upside the head double today, the day wasn't all bad. It started with one of the models I'd shot last weekend sending me an address to mail a CD of her photos. I was up and out early, blame the very hot weather, took my camp chair to a local park and sat by the lake, watching Canada geese and several sets of goslings of different ages. Weird, because usually I see different sets of the same age. Posted some craptastic quality iPhone videos on FB. Read some more Chesterton on the Kindle. There was a lot of fast page flipping when he started getting into a pedantic essay on capitalism vs. bolshevism which was utterly devoid of his usual sense of humor.

There's a nice café with lots of shaded outdoor seating, and I had their pretty decent fish & chips & a diet coke.

Went downtown to a park behind the library which had good cell and wi-fi signals, and not much noise, and waited for the phone call from the Moto manager. Instead I got a call from the recruiter who had arranged the interview with rgb networks, telling me he is confused, they passed on me. Which is when the Moto manager called, so I dumped the recruiter for that interview. It was iffy. The job is with the cell phone group and I've never worked on QA for cell phones. I don't think that one is going anywhere, but I would not be disappointed if it did.

And then to the library to slurp up their air conditioning, because it was 85° outside. And also to slurp up some power because my iPhone battery was down to 20%. Their aircon upstairs was not quite up to the task, and downstairs all the available seats were on the sunny side by the windows. Checked my email, and there was a lovely message from the other model I'd shot last weekend, squeeing about how good the photos are on her CD, and wanting to do some more shoots with me. I hope we can figure out something, she is charming and very photogenic, and right now she's mostly interested in building up her portfolio.

Signed up for a photo shoot later in the month, then looked at my calendar and I have a band concert that day. Boo, hiss. Will have to un-sign up. But I think I'll wait till it has a waiting list.

Stopped by OSH, picked up a 3-way light socket to convert the 1-way lamp in the livingroom so it can use the 150W-equivalent daylight bulb. On the 1-way I only get 50W-eq. Also got some sanding sponges to scrape the glue off the dashboard which I'd used to mount the GPS before I got the in-dash unit. As I was pulling into the parking lot, the pharmacy called, the one I was in walking distance of before I went to OSH, to let me know that a prescription which lists for $700 that I did not think my insurance covered actually was covered, after my doctor did some extra paperwork, and it was available for pickup for $70. Much better. So I went and got that.

Dinner was a two part snackfest. I fried up a pair of roti, and reheated the Penaeng curry left over from last night's dinner, and did some dipping. Then after my mouth was no longer on fire, I finished the Lingot d'Argental cheese slice I'd started working on last night. The baguettes were all rock-hard stale so I had it straight up. Yummy stuff.

Last night I also tried this cheese called Delice de Bourgogne. It tastes just like Philadelphia cream cheese. Only more expensive, and it has a rind instead of a foil wrapper. It reminds me of that line in funny girl where he orders paté de foie gras, she tastes it and says "Ooh! Chopped liver!" :-)

Took some time to arrange the 78s playlist on the iPhone into a folder structure which I can live with. Eventually I'll add titles and artists, but it's more than 300 tunes, some in Yiddish and Hungarian.

Plans for tomorrow:
None. Considered seeing some friends in Cabaret, but remembered that the only thing I like about that show is the older couple's musical numbers. And I don't need something that dark right now.
I guess I'll change out the light socket. And maybe I ought to get the bike ready to ride. So funny, it has been too cold and wet, now it's too hot.

Rug Pulled

May. 4th, 2011 03:41 pm
howeird: (Default)
So I'm sitting in Pioneer Park behind the library & city hall, on a park bench in the shade, with three bars of 3G signal and far from street noise, 5 minutes past to 2 p.m. time the manager at Motorola was supposed to call when a call comes in from the recruiter who arranged last week's interview. He says they will not be hiring me. Just after he says that, the Moto call comes in, we have a short interview, but I don't hear any enthusiasm at the other end of the line.

Hopes dashed and all that.
howeird: (Colonel Sanders)
A couple of weeks ago, I responded to a recruiter's feeler about a contract job doing QA for a company which he did not know anything about, but I knew them as the main competitor of a product I did QA for a couple of years ago. He lined up a phone interview for me with the hiring manager, which was rather neutral. The questions she asked were mostly out of the final exam for a degree in Quality Assurance, my answers were mostly "well, it depends on what, exactly, you are testing." It was a pleasant chat, but inconclusive. She struck me as being very young, and without a broad range of experience.



Last week the recruiter calls, he has been asked to work with their HR department to line up an in-person interview. This is somewhat unusual for a contract - usually the next step is a face-to-face interview with the hiring manager, who usually has the authority to decide yes/no on contractors. Sometimes that interview will include a chat with the manager's boss, sometimes not.



After not connecting with HR for a couple of days, recruiter lines up an interview for 2 pm today. He has given me a single contact name, but it is clear I will be speaking with more than one person.



Long story short, I am there till 6. Met with 6 people, including the woman who did the phone screen, who turns out to be a middle-aged engineer who is much easier to communicate with in person.



They all speak my language (video and audio quality analysis) and it is so nice. And this is for a regular employee position, not a contract.



It's early in their interview process, there is no ETA for a decision, and it may not happen. But it was great to go on an interview in a place which does exactly the kind of work I want to be doing.
howeird: (Default)
Someone was supposed to phone me for a job interview screening thing at 2, and I needed to pick up a rare prescription drug across town at about noon. Got to the drugstore and the idiot child said they were out of stock, looking at the computer rather than looking in the pile of recently filled prescriptions. After 10 minutes of waiting her boss gave her the package to give to me. On my way out I found waterproof pre-medicated Band Aids I've been looking for, but more importantly dark chocolate hollow bunnies for Sunday's head-biting ritual. Big WTF: they have lots of hollow milk chocolate bunnies and solid dark chocolate bunnies, but it's rare to find hollow dark chocolate.

Lunchtime, Round Table next door was having a pizza and salad buffet, so I did that, and walked to Smart & Final for some fudgesicles.

Home by 1:40, had a fudgesicle for dessert, plugged my earbuds into the iPhone, listened to some music and waited for the interviewer to call. Nothing. 2:30 I call the recruiter, he calls back later to let me know the boss of the interviewer will call me at 4 to do the phone screening himself. Fine.

Unpacked the new telescope, put it together, mounted it on my best photo tripod and took it on the balcony to see if it would work for ultra close-up hummingbird pix from across the balcony. Nope, it would not focus that close. It took a while to figure out which way to turn the focus knob (there's no indicator on the scope, the instructions don't say, and it's not intuitive). Finally pointed it at a tree about 100 feet away, and was amazed at how much magnification it gave me. Tried out the camera mount attachment with mixed results, mostly because my best tripod does not have the best quick-release gadget.

Put that all aside at 3:55 and plugged in to wait for the call. 4:05, the original interviewer phoned, not her boss. She turns out to be very new to her job, and a lot of her questions were based on the very bad guess that all audio/video transcoder devices have the same features and thus have the same set of tests performed on them. It was a bit awkward, but we finally reached some level of communications, but I really wish her boss had been the one calling.

It would be a good job to land, but a lot depends on what recommendation she makes to her boss, and I don't think she's qualified to make one. That doesn't mean she isn't excellent at her job.

Thursday nights are Ye Olde Towne Band rehearsals in Los Altos, I took the long way around because they are tearing up my usual route, apparently the town has $$ for beautifying downtown, but they have to make it really ugly first. We played some new music, and tried getting through the worst arrangement of music from Gigi I have ever seen. The conductor played a recording of the band's last public performance of the piece - 11 years ago - and I did not hear on it the part which was in front of me. Maybe they only had one Baritone Horn then. I'd say none, but I did hear short snippets of what sounded like a Baritone. We got through the first page and a half (out of 6) before he sent us home.

Have been obsessing over Elisabeth Sladen's untimely passing, ordered the 3rd series of the Sarah Jane Adventures which has been on my wish list since before it started shipping (I have seen the first two) and then looked her up on IMDB to find her first appearance on Doctor Who. 1973. Amazon has it available, part of the John Pertwee Years DVD set, so I ordered one of those too.

Plans for tomorrow:
P/U more drugs at CVS
More job hunting
maybe see Cabaret at Sunnyvale Community Players but maybe not. I just looked at the cast list and am not impressed.
howeird: (Default)
Went to the clinic, had the angiogram instructions explained and given to me. Then to the nephrologist who added some notes and one med of his own. The cardio nurse suggested I bring PJ bottoms to the hospital when the time came, but I don't own any. So I went to Macy's, which used to have tons of them. They don't stock them, or robes, anymore. Target had two kinds in my size, but they wanted $20, bar code scanner on the iPhone said they were $13 on Amazon. I picked up a nice pair of above-the-knee gym shorts which I think are better than PJ bottoms for the purpose.  Also got some cat treats and inexpensive stereo earbuds for the computer & Kindle.

Parked at the Cherry Orchard Starbucks until it was time for my recruiter interview. That went well, he said he may have some luck with the folks who make the Kindle.

Spent an hour at a dive I hung out at when I lived in Scummyvale about 10 years ago. They have changed hands and become part of a chain, remodeled into a much classier place, and are no longer so paranoid about being raided that they made customers open their wallets to check for badges.  There was a time when politics had the police filing spurious complaints and staging raids which resulted in no convictions, but made it really tough to stay in business. I'm guessing the new owners may have been encouraging that.

On to my 2nd choice Starbucks, the unsweetened green tea is filling and not fattening and low on caffeine and makes it look like I'm spending $$ there. It was an eye candy cavalcade. I do not believe the bottoms on some of those women. Including one of the staff.

Got two interesting pieces of email. One from a recruiter who said his company had worked with me in the past (they had not) asking if I would be interested in being the 5th employee at a stealth startup which sounded like it was probably not in my field. I replied that it did not sound like a match, but we could talk about it tomorrow. Also got an invite to audition for a musical Assisted Living which looks like a small time production. I set up an audition for next week. The audition and show will be in a restaurant in Chinatown which has a small theater. Haven't done a gig like that since Bangkok in 1976. It's only 5 performances, sat & sun over 2 weekends. I doubt if I'll get it, but it will be fun to try out.

Plans for tomorrow:
The usual in the morning
Art show at Stanford at 5
Ye Olde Towne Band rehearsal at 7:30

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