Category Archives: Current Events

When the Day is Done

The days seem to go by pretty quickly and my contract end date looms. They've made noises about extending me but you never know until the recruiter sings. It's dawned on me that I don't care if I stay or not. I think I can get something else pretty quickly. I walked this evening for almost 1.5 hours and thoughts wing their way through my head. If this, then that. But it's dawned on me too I cannot operate like my friend free. He wants everything decided down to the last degree. Life is all defined and there is no real mystery to it. I prefer to go day by day. Tomorrow will come for sure. And the next day. And the next. I cannot part the veil so I don't know what will happen. I will live day by day. Life is meant for enjoyment I think. He will not leave his new house except to drive to town. There is no wanderlust in his soul. No desire to stress himself in a new country.

So my day is done and the old movies play after pizza and salad that was yummy. My iDevices got upgraded tonight to 9.2.1. I'm spoiled with the iPhone and iPad. Upgrades just happen. I found an iOS app I like for walking. It writes my distance to my google calendar each day with a url I can click on to see things about the walk. It records the walk using gps on google maps. Today I did almost 1.5 hours and about 4.3 miles.

I found a thing I enjoy. I like to read on a kindle until I fall asleep at night. Then later on at 1am or whatever I wake up and turn off the light. Reading on a kindle paper white is better than on a tablet or phone. More relaxing. More engaging. Better quality time.

Well, tomorrow perhaps I find out if I stay st TiVo or not. Stay tuned for more adventures!

In Fours

In Japan, things that happen in 4’s are bad. I’ve often tried to count when things start happening and whether they get there. Most recently, our beloved landlord decided he was going to sell the house we all live in. That means we all must leave. There are 4 of us impacted. One will go to Oregon. I will go to Milpitas to be closer to work. The other two guys will go on to what awaits them.

The last 1 year and some months have been marked by a deterioration in how our landlord manages the place. We often must follow-up with him to clean up messes, pick up dirty dishes, clean up dirty clothing. Somewhere along the line he has let most of this stuff go.

Now its the house he is selling and as I look around, I cannot imagine someone actually buying it. Yet he has gotten a so-called bridge loan to help him renovate the house. Renovation is not what this house needs. This place needs basic construction. Its that bad.

So I will move along now and I found a place to look at this weekend in Milpitas. Its more money but there is carpet on the floor, central air and heat, the windows work, the bathrooms look clean. All of the things you kinda expect when you rent a place.

All of this happens as I wait to start the new gig next Monday. Life would not be anything if not in 4’s.

I’ll be sure to count things from here on out. If I get close to 4’s, I’m gonna stop.

New Car Happiness

Today I finally replaced my old 1999 Ford Expedition. I had hoped to have the car another year but reality and the the facts of car ownership conspired against me. I bought a 2008 Hyundai Elantra from the local Toyota dealer and the car is really nice. It gets about 27 miles per gallon on the streets and 32 on the highways. Much better than the 12 and 15 or so before.

I drove the car off the lot with a full tank of gas and the dealer washed and detailed it a bit for me. I also got the 3 year warranty for no real additional cost. I pay the first $100 and they do the rest.

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This car will get me to and from work and also over to get my kids for dinners and stuff. It was a good day and I was able to find a car I felt really good about. Now perhaps a few Saturday night beers!

Enjoy your weekend all.

The No Car Friday

Just a slightly sad memory. The 1999 Ford Expedition which was my half of a divorce settlement went away today. I had this car for years and it served its purpose and more. It moved me out of a dead relationship to a new place which has its issues. It took my son and daughter out numerous times for food, escapes, transit to airports and AMTRAK stations.

Now I’m without a car. No more having independence of movement for awhile. My next step is to rent a car on Tuesday for a final interview at TiVo. I’m told its a formality and I am all but assured the job. I’ve heard that before. If I get an offer letter by Friday, I’ll go buy a car that will last me some bit of time. Some car that will cost about $3500.00. If it lasts a year; I’m okay with that. I don’t want a car long-term.

I also put up my iPad Air 2 and its bluetooth keyboard on eBay for sale. Its a nice bundle of a deal I think and I redid my Nexus 7 2013 tablet which I can use for the small bit of tablet type stuff I need. I don’t know why I wiped the iPad Air 2 or put it up on sale. Its not because I hate it. Perhaps I just need a change. Apple gear is always a casualty when I do want a difference. I really dislike a lot of its “locked in” nature.

I guess I will survive the long weekend and start by going on a long walk tonight and buying beer while I’m out. I’ll drink until I’m done and I’ll remember the good ole car and its times. Its fitting that even the divorce things have their lifetime and then things become different. Just another etcha sketch line which is quickly fading to obscurity.

Life Comes Running

Sometimes life lets you wait and confront things at a comfortable pace. Other times you have to make a decision on a thing immediately. It came for me for the car I have had since the divorce and I was awarded the 50% which included the older 1999 Ford Expedition. I never felt I got the worst of the deal because the car was always there for me. However, of late, it has become more of an issue with things happening to it, making me spend more money, having to have it towed when it does not start. So I gave up on it and I’m blue. The car took me out of the house. Moved my stuff, took my daughter and I off to Monterey or to the Amtrak train station.

I sat out this evening drinking a cold beer with the car remembering the times spent with it. Now I’ll be without a car until I get a job. Maybe a week. Maybe longer. Not having a car is going to be painful but having the poor old car not being able to do what I need was more so. So I’ll move on and let the car go. Its the last thing I got from the divorce which I still have and it did me well. 

Such it is when life comes running. Choices to be made. Moments to consider. I’ll have to make more choices about work soon. This or that. Stay here or go there. I’ll be glad to go back to work and when the time comes, a decision will be made. Its not all about money but some of it is. I just don’t trust the whole IBM thing and I would prefer to work for TiVo. We will wait and see. I can see life running to meet me just around the next block. It will be some of what I want, some of what I need, and the rest totally unexpected.

Such is the way of it. I typed this on my iPad Air 2 and my bluetooth keyboard BTW. I’m still liking the tablet and there is still not an android competitor. Perhaps there will never be. Tablets are going somewhere and I think soon they will not be needed. I could actually get by with the Chromebook and my Nexus 6. Its just another device that I could see I guess. I don’ really need it.

Maybe ebay is next for this iPad.

Waiting is hard when you are impatient

Prior to having kids, I had no patience. Then when I had the two spawn of the devil, I learned the act of patience. Its not a virtue though. I don’t know why people say that. Being patient is not virtuous and its completely unlike people to have patience. People want things. Let me ask. If you want a thing and someone says,

you can have it but you have to wait for a year. believe me its worth it

Would you just accept that? I would not. Perhaps as a project manager, I would go try to figure out how to get the thing earlier. Once when working for IBM GTS, someone told me I could get a thing but it would take 4 weeks. I was in disbelief. I asked the person if he had other conflicting requirements or work. He told me not really and I should not assume just because I want something, I should get it right away. There is that impatient twinge of mine. Its really not for me you see. Its for this client that is impatient. He was undeterred. I tried nicely to explain why it was in his best interests to get the thing done. Finally he asked me,

will you escalate me?

Bingo! The magical phrase in IBM speak. People expect or almost require escalation. It amazes me. Once I called his Service Delivery Manager, the thing was done in three days. Now why would I want to wait weeks for a thing that took days? I have wondered the same thing myself. I think its in IBM’s corporate culture. So many times, I’ve had to do that when the normal channels wore out. Escalate to get a PO done. Escalate to get a piece of hardware installed. Escalate this. Escalate that. Its like not what you know but who you know. Who has the biggest stick? My sector director? Yours? My senior Project Executive? She is known for dropping the hammer. So, of course, if I will escalate, I will find a bigger hammer by using the intranet to find out who reports to who and then find someone bigger.

Does that sound mean? Ugly? Impatient? Yeppers.

On to the thing of note. When looking for work, you have to be patient. There is no one to escalate to. You must wait. So I must now wait until next week but that does not mean I stop looking. A job is not yours until the ink is dry on the offer letter. A person can promise any number of things. Its yours. Its yours tomorrow. Just wait and see.

Just like that person that told me I had to wait weeks. Patience is not a virtue. Its a vice. People ask because some know they can get away with a thing. Others to see if you escalate them. There is always an answer. An architect I worked a lot with at IBM told me I was tenacious. Tenacious because I knew the answer to many things.

Maybe that’s why they want me back. Maybe because I know some answers to questions about patience. Maybe TiVo knows that too but their questions have not all been asked and its an attractive thing to me.

You gonna escalate me?

Its a good time to be looking…

For work I think. The whole job search thing is very dynamic now. Lots of project management positions for various amounts of time. Companies want people that have delivered in a variety of settings and they seem to like some of my work history around finance and global data center services. If I were an optimist, I would believe next week no matter what is my last week of being unemployed. I just have this feeling that a thing will happen then. It may be I go back to IBM GTS. I would not mind that. Working from home is a thing I’ve gotten used to. If I accept a more traditional position, I will most likely move from this place within the first month of work. I would want to get closer to Fremont or Union City BART.

I’m really amazed at the sheer number of positions I’m called about the last few weeks since I have been actively searching. If you’re interested and want to get a basic job service for free, forget the CareerBuilder, Linkedin Jobs, Monster. Even Dice. Consider using a site dedicated to bringing together all the job search enginers into one format that’s free to use. I prefer to use indeed and have only one or so job alert sent me via email every day. Its easy to just take the alerts from each place but why do that? You can keep your profile active on each but just use indeed. They even offer a resume/placement thing for free and I have been referred and taken interviews from their own job and resume service.

Secondarily, consider how you store your resume. For me, all my stuff ends up on Google Drive and I can reach the files via my smart phone, tablet, or my windows or chrome laptop. Don’t be caught without the resume handy. Use the cloud to your benefit.

Finally, consider what you want to accomplish with the search and remain positive. The job market for project managers is rich now. Lots of incoming stuff. But a person has to remain positive and not talk themselves out of something without understanding the whole thing. Communicating is part listening and understanding.

I have a good feeling that this time being unemployed will end soon for me. I’ll get a position where my particular abilities are needed or desired. I’ll have the work for the period of time I need it. The grand master plan will still be in effect.

Friday Pixel Pushing

Another week really without work. I had hoped somehow to get an IBM contract and get back to things I am comfortable doing with teams that perhaps still need me. I’m not really sure if they do any longer and I feel that the weekends don’t signify what they used to. Now they are just continuations of weekdays of pixel pushing and keyboard mangling. I write things in google docs that perhaps makes a difference; but who really knows how we differentiate ourselves from the herd of disruptive open source consultants out there.

I also think about things which perhaps I never had time to think of before. When I am busy doing project management and making things happen; I don’t have time for:

  1. wondering how to make things happen
  2. caring about what it feels like to not make things happen
  3. wanting a change to making things happen again

These three states bug me. If I just had one thing, I could deal with it but going through a month without work where once these three things never bothered me is tough. I guess I could go out again and start looking for work but truth be told I don’t want to today. Its Friday after all and today I got the Chromecast ethernet dongle thing which hopefully means I can geek out at faster speeds casting from things. If it arrives today, I will most likely netflix and hulu plus myself into a state of oblivion with episodes of anime this and documentary that and TV series the other.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that while I enjoy working with certain people and may enjoy somewhat living with them in the same house; I definitely would not want them sharing my room or having them sharing a house with me only. I don’t get why one of the people will never leave the house yet the person hates it. I don’t particularly hate it here. I could live here as long as I want to live here without some kind of disruption going. There are things which bug me here. Our landlord never seems to be able to carry through on things for the house but for his things, no real problem. The house is an odd assortment of things almost failing, less than clean conditions making daily life difficult, and an assortment of roommates here now and gone which baffles me. I know I am so much less than perfect especially trying to match up the three things above; but some of the people that have come and gone here… I mean seriously?

Now I’ll pixel push and more some more bytes around and find things to occupy me until something real comes along. It could be this. It could be that. IBM could call me and invite me back. Unfortunately, its about money now like it always is. I’m unwilling to let me personal savings dwindle because the 2016 plan hinges on a certain amount being saved. We’ll see what happens after the day of pushing and writing and pulling.

Sunday No Work Times

Here its Sunday and the end of a few days without work. The pace of work before seems to have become something I got used to because now boring time sets in and I cast around for a thing or two to do. Tonight I’ll get some chicken at KFC for a change and perhaps drink a beer and watch Seinfeld on Hulu. All of the seasons are there now so I renewed my subscription so I can watch the movies on Netflix and the TV on Hulu.

We’re at the sports stagnating time before the pre-season NFL games start. Sundays seem particularly lackluster without some good football smash to happen. Boring times set in and I think about buying perhaps a new tech doodad. Been looking at the new Asus android tablets particularly. The Zenpad 8 inch with intel inside looks interesting but I have the same fear as with all consumer grade stuff. There is no guarantee of an upgrade whatsoever and I would be faced with yet another device which ends its useful life way before the hardware is obsolete. I sold the Surface 3 and have the iPad Air on the ebay selling list for various reasons not due to the hardware issues on android. I get tired of Windows devices and Apple IOS is itself boring. There is just not a lot you can do to brand it and make yours. No alternative launchers. No real widgets. No icon changers. I’ve decided to stick with the Toshiba Chromebook 2 and the Nexus 6 phone.

I almost decided to pull the plug and hit the road tomorrow for a few days. I could hop on Amtrak and ride somewhere. Take another shorter vacation. A few destinations like Santa Barbara and anyplace Oregon come to mind. I’ve decided to wait it out for a few days though. I’m supposed to get word on new work with my old group in a few days. I guess I could take off for Monterey though and still be within 2 hours of home or so. Very tempting.

End of Days at IBM

I was called today and told that my time at IBM will end in two days. My last day of work is Wednesday. They may have another account or two which needs me and I guess they are working on that now. It means that I have to stop though and wait for them to decide if I should stay with another account or just go. I’m not terribly unhappy and after reading a site dedicated to recent restructurings or RAs at IBM, there are actions ongoing now around the geographies letting people go. This time it includes consultants it appears.

I almost lasted two years at IBM and perhaps I will continue if one of the other accounts can get their requirements defined and offer me a new gig. I’ve enjoyed working at IBM on three different large projects for two companies. I will most likely take the rest of the week off if there is another offer out there.

I do have this feeling I’d like to take something new. There is a venture out there with friends which is percolating along which could be quite good for me at a few levels. Financially is always one of the points but there are others. Technical challenge, travel again, and more.

We’ll see what happens over the next few days.

Excuse the Elegant Grunge

I applied a new theme and got fingerprints and dirt all over it. I’ll try to be more careful next time 🙂