Rats chasing themselves

June 8th, 2007

So here is the job situation that has kept me without internet access for the last few weeks. To sum it up, I'm unemployed. Well, kind of unemployed. More like I start a new job Monday.

Unemployment does have its perks: lots of time for naps, my yard is well-mowed, and I took a trip to sunny South Padre Island over the weekend. I'm also now a Starcraft master.

The work situation is 2-fold. For the last few months, we've (The Hertz Corporation) been looming under the threat of outsourcing. It's pretty much a guarantee that some of us are going to be outsourced, the only question is who. We'll find out sometime in the next couple of months. Late September probably.

Some of it is happening even as we speak. We were told that there would be a "handful" of people layed off in the coming month or two to get ready for outsourcing analysts to come in after that. That "handful" turned out to be about 500 people.

I have 3 plans to deal with that:

  • Plan A : Stay with Hertz, and be pretty sure I'm not getting outsourced. My department is not one that could go easily, and if the department stays, I'm fine. Another option is that if my department goes, I can use my Lean/6-sigma training to stay at Hertz in a different area.
  • Plan B : Find another comparable job. I don't like change, but I may be forced into it.
  • Plan C : Take on another roommate (Bryan or otherwise) and a part-time job doing...something, take out loans to finish school as quickly as possible (3 semesters). This operates under the assumption that the reason that plans A and B didn't pan out was the lack of a degree. This wouldn't be that big a deal, but is the bottom plan for how big a change it would be.

Now, at the beginning of May, the rumors around the IT campfire have been about a massive offshoring of jobs at IBM. The media has it that there are to be about 150,000 layoffs in the States, and slightly fewer hires in India. They'll take over about half of IBM's Global Services division. That means that, in a world where Hertz outsources me a couple of months afterward, I have to compete not just with the 3000 or so reasonably qualified, degree-holding people for jobs nearby, but also the 150,000 similar professionals country-wide. The pickins may get rather slim.

My response was to start moving forward with Plan B, to see what the world could offer me that was more stable, but comparable with Hertz. I freaked out about that one night, and couldn't get to sleep over it so I updated my resume. The next morning I had 2 offers, and more came in the following few days. After a round of interviews, I decided to take a job with The Harris Corporation that is just a few miles from my house and seems to be a pretty happenin' place. I was also able to hook Chris Brodt up with one of the jobs that I didn't find quite as attractive. He's a sell-out now too. Commence the fun-making.

So that's the story. For obvious reasons I didn't really want to post too much information about it where people from Hertz could easily find it. Thoughts?

This Sunday night, btw, is a Roller Derby bout. 7 p.m. at the Rocking Roller Rink in Edmond.

Welcome in readership to attractive girls from Australia. Always glad to have a more international look at my daily grind.

It was always worth it
That's the part I seem to hide
And the busy ant empire
Put up the closing sign.

1513 Aspen Drive, Moore OK 73160

April 25th, 2007

Yes, it's true. I bought a house. I've really gone and sold out this time. White male landowner. I can even retroactively vote in the election of 1844. 54-40-or-Fight!

Immediate next steps are to get it cleaned and sprayed for bugs. I hate bugs so very much. Steps in a similar timeframe are to purchase such needless little conveniences as a fridge, and a washer and dryer. Also installing them. Luckily, new super-roommate Chris Brodt is up to the task, as I manage things, beer in hand.

Matt Steenson came for a visit, just before the Man did extend his tour. It's really upsetting that he got here 50% of the way through his time in the hot hot desert, and left 40% of the way through.

Modest Mouse's new album is pretty good. It'll take some getting used to, much like the last album, but I'm pretty sure it'll sit in my CD player for a while. Favorite track so far is #4, Florida. It's not the single (oddly enough).

Home buying is an adventure. Look forward to a few more-frequent updates with pictures and commentary and such.

Even as I left Florida

Try to forget about the Gorlax

March 6th, 2007

I think that every shot I've taken in the last 6 months or so has been in honor of Pvt. Matt Steenson. So is today's title.
Comic from Mitch Clem's San Antonio Rock City extolling the sexiness of M(r)s. Ray
Intrigue hit 125,000 on the 20th of February. Backtracking, I found out that I drive right about 20,000 miles per year. After an oil change and transmission flush today, hopefully she'll make the next 20 as easy as the last.

Doug made his decision. I'm proud of him.

Doug's experience brought up an interesting discussion with an interesting womun, about what amount of civil disobedience is justified in a society under the rule of law. Despite my revolutionary attitudes, I tend to side with the law in most instances. I like the existence of a police force. I think that a lot of flouting the law is juvenile rebellion that was fun when the consequences were minimal, but is counterproductive to the way that I want my life to go, not just because of fear of punishment, but because they are honest-to-God idiotic things to be doing. Drug use, for instance. The place I run into trouble is when people are actually being hurt by laws that are achieving the exact opposite of the goal that they are trying to get. Not just if it's easier to skirt the rules than abide, even by silly ones. Not if the program just isn't working very effectively overall. I'm requiring a failure in a specific case, along with a specific harm. An example is my Uncle Phil. He's in the hospital right now, and is not expected to be with us much longer. He worked for Rainbow Bread all his life and retired with a modest pension which he used to raise his kids, including a daughter with Down's Syndrome. Where this gets him is that while his income invalidates him for Medicaid, he still can't actually afford health insurance for himself. So, his options are:

  1. Cut off his daughter to keep more money
  2. Die painfully but cheaply instead of in a hospital
  3. Funny magic with the taxes

He's going with the third option, and I'm 100% fine with it. In this case, the goal of Medicaid is to let people who don't have enough money to pay for health insurance not die painfully. That goal is not being met, and is at the same time hurting either my uncle or his daughter. I think the same applies for Doug.

There I go justifying the Rev again.

I've decided that I'm moving domains off of GoDaddy, just as soon as I can find a competitive host who does not run their servers on a closed OS, and whose advertisements are not quite so sexually charged.

One instance where sexual advertisements are currently not bothering me is in the wonderful land of Triscuits. As mentioned before, Rachael Ray is the only womun capable of getting me to eat those little chunks of grass. She's also the inspiration for peach salsa on top of the triscuits. Even better. She's so hot.

Hertz, whose owners paid themselves almost $1.4 billion in dividends last year, will cut jobs primarily in the U.S., as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand. The reductions will cost $9 million to $11 million in the first quarter, the Park Ridge, New Jersey-based company said today in a statement.

Great.

And we'll never see a city not marred by advertisements,
And we'll NEVER have a future not working for those companies,
And it's sure as shit not getting better so we might as well accept it now, oh.

Even Winning Feels Bad

February 18th, 2007

Well, so much for New Year's Resolutions. All the best ones last just until February anyway.

As I type this, I'm sitting in a sports bar in Chicago, up here with Patrick hanging out with the wonderful young womun who shared our same company in Paris those three whole months ago. Chicago is actually pretty nice. It took me a day or so to get acclimated, but of the larger towns I've been to, it's one of the better ones. Traffic is terrible and bizarre, but there's a pretty decent train/subway system that keeps me from having to borrow Patrick's foreign SUV in order to get around. Sadly, there are no Cubs games going on for me to disdain. Instead, I'm watching competitive jump roping which I didn't even know was a televisable event, and listening to "Living on a Prayer" which I didn't know was this listenable a song. Educational in all respects.

In other news, Blake and Conor are the best debaters in the country. Probably ever.

The power of the internet is now situated in user-generated content. It defies the historic/archaic channels of even complex communication, and will likely end up just flat replacing them. It's that distributed understanding and integration that keeps the incredible innovation coming. Too bad MS still doesn't get it. Open standards are not "MS standards that were pushed into a larger forum." There's a process to these things, and all input and modifications are important.

Video games and gaming have captured a bit of my attention recently. I had my first Wii-sperience a couple of weekends ago. Let it be known here and now. I am the greatest bowler in all the virtual land. Current plan is to pick one up around Spring Break, presuming that housing negotiations are in full swing. It should provide at least a couple hours of entertainment. Now to get a TV that is of a size that can enhance the fun...

Further on that train of thought, I was given a copy of the new Zelda game which I was able to course through during some downtime. It's really fun. An actual and valid successor to Ocarina of Time, with more subgames and whatnot to break up the hack-and-slash bits.

Why is it so hard for me to come up with things to write to Jon? What does someone say to a friend in prison?

How come noone told me?
All throughout history, the loneliest people
were the ones who always spoke the truth...
should I take that risk, or just smile?

The Casimir effect

January 15th, 2007

Driving home from work the other day, I was (treated|subjected) to a dazzling display of light and color, along with a small plume of smoke. It seems that Pancho's LiquorTown's sign had decided to erupt in flames. The sign itself is in two parts; the upper old-style florescent-backed part was the one that pulled a phoenix. Really the only long-term implication of this is that it will be a little harder to explain where the best liquor store on the Northwest side is to newcomers, at least up until the sign finishes the whole cycle-of-rebirth thing.

I'm still considering buying a house this year, and to that end, I looked up my credit report. Turns out there are still a couple of leftover bills from the time before that are throwing kinks in my plan. I may end up having to make momma cosign, though I do not look with eager anticipation on being back under her financial thumb. My repayment for sullying her good legal name will likely come in the form of an adorably inept roommate who happens to share many of my genes. Probably not the worst case scenario.

School starts tomorrow. I'm back to taking 6 whole hours, which should work better with the work schedule. Maybe I can bypass round 2 of layoffs.

And now it's sleeting again. The news is all a-twitter. Fleece-lined jeans are awesome. As is the new Zelda. As are 40 oz bottles of Camo brand malt liquor. As is croque madame. As is hot tea.

Rachael Ray is proof of either the advancement or devolution of culture. Ms. Julia Child would never have been in FHM. She also would never have gotten me to eat Triscuits.

A single shot rifle and a one-eyed dog