Category Archives: Current Events

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 🙂

Saturdays I don’t work

On Saturdays I “day off” and watch things on television or my chromecast. Sometimes I consider things that were with either a skeptical eye or wondering how they ever lasted so long. I have my weekend faults. Up until yesterday I waited for my Moto 360 to update to Wear 5.1.1. That happened. Its a bit different but the watch to me is a toy only and not a productivity or feature enhancement device.

I bailed on the whole Android tablet thing and am on the dark side using an iPad Air 2 with 128gb of memory. Why? Because there is nothing better at the moment. My main device has been and will continue to be the Nexus 6. I don’t want a small phone ever again. When I hold my Nexus 5 I feel like someone put it in my dirty jeans pocket and I dried it and it shrunk. I don’t think these old hands could finger and swoop and touch and gesture on it.

On Saturdays I also remember time spent in Chennai and Singapore and Japan. Places where I set up living at some point or another. Chennai occupies special consideration because I lived there in 2009, went there many times for work almost at the rate of three weeks every 90 days. I learned a few things about the city. Its a crowded, wondrous, sometimes strange place where there are so many ways of getting around. Singapore always seemed like the place to live too. Clean, safe, a great starter city state for someone wanting to a place to go. Its bars, food, city sights are unsurpassed and the walker in me loves the places to get to by foot power. Finally, there is Japan. A mystical match of past and present. I was last there in 2011 and I miss it more with each day. The bustle of Tokyo or Shinjuku or one street suddenly switched with a sleepy neighborhood street where school kids laugh and wave and ask me questions.

Saturdays are special no work and memory days and the memories of divorce, sadness, happiness, learning to live in spite of a thing. There is no acceptance to things. Saturdays let me see that I can move forward best by not standing still. I still blog after 10 years and putting this thing on a number of places both self-hosted and here. I tried a few times to stop but I’ve come to realize I need it.

I finally realized this is not written for you or them or someone. Its a selfish enterprise written by a somewhat egotistical and narcissistic me. When you get old you learn to accept the things you are. There is no point in trying to change any longer on a a Saturday or any other day. Its better to get on with living.

Living and enjoying each Saturday. Like next Saturday when I bail on this area and go to Portland, Oregon for a time of drinking the best craft beer in the world, walking miles each day in different directions in the city, eating, blogging.

And thinking. Always thinking. How do I turn this thing off?

The 8 Years of this Blog

I started this thing back in 2005 with this post. When thinking back on those years, a few things never really dawned on me then. I never realized how the marriage thing which had seemed to last for so many years would be doomed to fail. Yet with hindsight being 20/20, the warning signs were all around me then. There was weirdness in the whole relationship thing that perhaps simple wanting to be in love blinds. My mom used to say,

there is being in love and in love with the idea of being in love

She had a few gems about people and events which when looking back, I should have applied more stringently. She would often tell me if someone says they have your best interests at heart to run for the hills.

Roger would also tell me things which seemed to hint now at the circumstance I ended up finding myself in years later. Its hard to really believe that there were only 4 years between the start of this blog, the end of various jobs, the start of Celestix, the end of the marriage. Wow! How many life events can a person cram into the passage of time and space?

Now when I think back on the humble starts of my Hello World post; it dawns on me that many of the things were doomed to fail but as I mentioned, I was blind. So many little events which happened which I never added up. It amazes me, being an anthropologist and archeologist, I could see so much of other cultures, values, mores, institutions; but never really see how mine was lacking.

I’ve come a long way baby!

Now we move forward in the life of the blog. Over 1880 weblog posts. So much of Android, Linux, travel, anthropology. I enjoy those categories the most on this blog. I love to deal Android and look at what I see are the reasons why open systems will always prevail against walled gardens. Its not just that you can download the code or modify it. Its the community that springs up much like the institutions which spring up to support societies when in need.

Android simply excels because its Linux. Linux is never done. There is another kernel to release. Another thing to get done. Apple has never really stood a chance given the juggernaut. They’d have to open the doors and its too late. They shoulda, woulda, coulda years ago. Now they are the victim of their own closed garden. Innovation in a walled garden seems pretty suspect to me.

On the anthropology side, I’ve never truly given up. I always remember the way of things. The gentle lessons that RWR taught me in the deserts of the Mojave. The hills and mountains of the Techachapi. Feeling the haboob winds stir up and whip my face in Barstow or sit in the pizza parlor and drink another pitcher of the golden elixir of life.

Finally, on the travel. The travel has been my narcotic. Its taken me to a country where I could live and dream of staying. India is the most beautiful, wonderful and sometimes strange place I have ever been. I enjoyed the friendships I garnered like precious stones during my days on the roads. The sidetrips to Japan were and are precious to me. They were mile markers and long jaunts in Kyoto and Shinjuku and Tokyo with beers in the evenings sometimes at the Lion Beer Hall in the Ginza.

Now I know though that the next two years are the formative years for me. The new thing haunts my vision and is just beyond the current thing. I’ll one day go forth and write more travel category posts. I’ll add more years to the blog. I may never set foot in India again; but there are the places I’ve mapped in Evernote. I know where I need to go. I’ve spent the last 4 years dealing with the whole divorce and finally seeing my life be re-born out of the ashes of some previous creature. There is no “doomed to defeat” after 8 years writing here.

I decided to write this a day early from that propitious day to merely mark the time. Eight years is a long time on a single thing folks. This blog has been the positive and negative force in my life. I’ve made friends and lost them with this thing. Its an agent of change and driver to Hell sometimes. I hate it often and wish some of the things it cataloged would disappear. I wonder about its reverse ordering at times.

The truth is though these are my 8 years and not yours. You may not visit the blog too often and search only on how to resize a VDI or some of my ramblings on Linux. I’m good with that. In the last 8 years I’ve seen friends come and go and I still feel that missing chord for the DaveR. He would have known a thing to say to me now.

So in the end I mark the passage of the eight years of time spent either well or in Hell. I’ve turned the fucking corner though. I think I forgot the seminal creed of the solitary person I am. There is loneliness and being alone. I’ll take the second. Relationships avail me not so don’t wonder if I’ll just meet another person and give up whatever remains of my life.

The blog persists and so do I. Bring on the next 8. I venture to say that this blog will live on and I will live on. The blog will be hosted right here in the good old US. But Mike will not. His hosting agreement runs out and a new plan dawns.

Welcome the next 8 years. Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

Fuck em all if they can’t take a joke.

Another Saturday Same Starbucks

Last night was the same beer, television, going to bed happily inebriated. Usually by the last part of the beer intake I’ve figured out how to deal with it all. Unfortunately Saturday mornings don’t still yield that enlightenment.

After work yesterday I did this walk from Costco in Foster City all the way to the Bay Trail, up the trail to east Hillsdale, and then back. Took me the better part of two hours. Nothing like the unplanned 4 to 5 hour meanders in Japan and Sydney I’ve done. It still puts the challenge on though and gives me time to consider… Or not.

Now I sit here at my Starbucks alone but not lonely. Watching the parade of people moving. My Nexus 7 gives me the access and means to travel, read, wonder.

This blog will turn over yet again in about a week. Another year spent on mike and his thoughts. More time spent on news, views, and subterfuge. Ain’t it grand.

Crazy Cool

Coming up on my third week already at Visa. I have a few projects gracing my plate and have seen a few friends from the days before. Tomorrow is payday and I also will drive down to Cisco and see a friend that works on the team I was on.

I kinda feel like this is the best thing I could get and I’m pretty happy with how things ended up with leaving Cisco. I don’t miss some of the political and people BS there. Visa has its own levels of entrenched bureaucracy around actually doing the activities around converting teams to new data centers. It’s the best part though of the work I got to do with the teams though.

Android is going crazy so I gave up on the whole thing and bought apple gear. There is too much choice on the Nexus devices. Help! Now we see a Galaxy S4 Nexus and perhaps a HTC One coming without the sense skin. Is this the end of the entire Nexus thing? I doubt it. I think we’re seeing the fanning out of what customers want from the vendors. That would be choice. People will pay for choice. And tablets like the new Nexus 7 that’s coming. Choice plus high quality, low cost. It makes the common person and habilis say…

Crazy Cool!!