So, I haven't updated in a long time. Lots of things have happened... I think. I believe I've topped my previous record of not posting anything here.
At any rate, things are pretty good. Nothing overly exciting or different with me I don't suppose. I'm still working at the same place. It's boring, but the pay is good. Christi and I are still doing good. It's nice having someone to do things with that I would never be able to get anyone else to do. Last weekend we went to go see the 1925 silent version of Phantom of the Opera, with music played live by the Chattanooga Symphony. I could never get anyone else to come with me to places like that, and she feels the same way, so that works out.
I started taking classes again. Not many, just a few in the evening. Maybe I'll actually complete my degree someday... I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish at this rate. Maybe if I get just a semester left, I'll quit my job and go full-time to finish it out. It's not like I'm overly attached to the position I'm in.
My job usually isn't very difficult and isn't very exciting. I've been thinking a lot about what I should do about that, lately. I could go get another job working on something more interesting and probably get more money if I moved closer to Atlanta, but I've pretty well resolved that I don't like working for someone else. I think I'd be a lot better and happier working for myself. It's not that I don't want to work everyday, it's just that I hate the set schedule thing. I mean if I'm done with what I need to do for the day at noon and I know that I have no more work and I'm going to spend the next hew hours just browsing the Internet, what's the point of being there? This of course begs the question of what could I do? I've got a few ideas, and I think some of them could work out very nicely. Hopefully they will.
Hmm... my last post was in April, so I guess I never said anything about Bonnaroo. Well, it was awesome, very dusty, very hot, but totally awesome. I got to see a ton of great bands and it was truly unlike anything I've ever done in my life.
Wow, it's been quite a while since I last wrote anything here. That's probably been about the longest time span without me posting anything.
Things have changed since my last post. First of all, when I came back from my parents' house for Christmas/New Years, I brought back the only farm cat who was outwardly friendly. So, I have a cat now. His name is Spooky. He's a pretty big solid black cat who is completely insane. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. He acts strange most of the time, not very cat-like... but not very dog-like either. He has a very distinctive personality. For one thing, he loves to pick up small objects in his mouth and hide them. I've seen cats knock around pens before, but not just horde lots of objects. His favorite things to take seem to be my glasses and watch off of my nightstand, maybe because those are the two things that I'll chase him down for. He does other strange things too... like his obsessive need to pluck my guitar's strings with his teeth.
So... the other big thing is that I sort of got a girlfriend. Her name is Christi. She lives in the same apartments as me, so I had met her once last year for just a few minutes, and thought she seemed kind of cool but I never saw her again to strike up a conversation or anything. Coincidentally, she works for the same company I work for and I wound up sitting next to her at this class that I had to go to for work. I talked to her for a bit, but they made everyone sit somewhere else in the following days to "Get to know other people." Well, the other people were boring.
Anyways, I left the class never really asking her out or anything. And I regretted it for a while. However, a couple of weeks later I figured "What have I got to lose?" and got in touch with her to see if she wanted to go get something to eat. It turns out she's more like me than probably anyone else I've ever known, male or female. Some of the similarities are almost scary. I think most of our first conversations were like "Have you seen (obscure movie/tv series)?" "Of course! I have it on DVD!" So a month later, things are going pretty well with us. It's nice to have a girl to take to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie who actually watches Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Unfortunately, if we ever decide to do something on the weekend, horrible weather tends to ensue. Maybe that will change soon.
So, Christmas is done for another year. It was fun being here and hanging out with all of the family. I got some decent stuff, but I think I found it more fun this year to give people stuff. I probably spent more this year than any other year before. I drove all around on grand adventures to get special gifts (have you ever been to South Pittsburg, TN?) and waited until the last day possible to order things off of the internet, just for the excitement of it... well not really, but it was kinda neat ordering things on Thursday and getting them in time to give away on Saturday (we did Christmas early this year).
But now it's all over and I'm out at the farm alone. There are things to do outside here, but it's kinda cold for the moment, although I hear it's going to warm up later today. I'm kinda bored, and I had even considered going back to GA early, but I suppose I'll stay until New Year's. I did get to finish up a book that I had been reading, so that was a plus. And I did start reading the new Warcraft book, which seems to be pretty good. Did you know that orcs had brown skin prior to dealing with the Burning Legion? Of course you didn't.
Actually, I started playing WoW again with a new character a little before I left home. I made a warlock, and all I can say is, good lord they are overpowered. I even destroy the twinks in WSG with relative ease.
So, I have faithfully ignored my posting duties for a while.
As an update on the last post, I never did get a dog. I came really really close, but I didn't do it. The main thing that stopped me was the constant care that it would need, especially with me living alone and not having a yard. I would need to organize my schedule around always coming home and letting the dog out, and I really don't want to have to do that right now. I still value the complete freedom that I have when I'm not at work.
I went to the Chattanooga animal shelter two weeks ago to look at dogs. Of all things, I found a mislabeled Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, my #1 pick. He even appeared to be purebred. I came very very close to getting him... but I just couldn't do it. So, I think I've decided to hold off on a dog for a while. Although something like a cat that requires much less constant care is possible in the near future.
As for what I've been doing since then. I bought a new camera. I finally gave up film for digital. It wasn't exactly what I would call cheap, but I think it was worth it. I have been taking pictures like crazy since I've gotten it.
Today, I've been watching Star Wars... all of them. They're having a marathon on Cinemax and it just happens to be in HD. Seeing the original trilogy especially in HD is fantastic. And as much as I usually bash them, I have to say, watching all of the movies in order allows me to appreciate some things about episodes 1-3 that I wouldn't normally acknowledge. I still can't watch episode 1 all at once, and I usually have to go do something else for the entire time they're on Tatooine, but other than that, I enjoyed it. I planned on doing other things this afternoon/evening, but with so much Star Wars, that just didn't happen. I guess I'll get back to it now.
So... I haven't updated in a while, but I've now fixed that, so there.
Work's been going pretty well. We've moved from our old building at the corporate headquarters to a new place downtown. My company rented out the top three floors of this bank here and I wound up getting an office in the corner of the top (5th) floor. It's pretty sweet up there, you can see all of downtown and the mountains in the distance. It's a nice, although distracting view.
Archie, my tarantula finally molted today after weeks of fasting (he hasn't eaten since Aug 30th) and sitting barricaded in his burrow. It was really cool to see him start to get his adult colors as he came out of his old skin, he went from dark brown with tan stripes to black with off-white stripes. He also gained nearly an inch in legspan, which brings him up to about 4 inches.
In other pet news... I've been seriously considering getting a dog. I've been looking at all of the different breeds and weighing options all week, but I'm still not totally decided... on which breed or whether or not I'll be getting one at all.
My current favorites... for all different reasons are:
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Black Russian Terrier
And no, those pictures aren't to scale, the Clumber Spaniel is very short, the Black Russian Terrier is very large. The Toller is in between. Unfortunately for me, the breeds I like are pretty rare, which could be part of the reason I like them, but that also means that they're generally more expensive since they're harder to come by. :(
Then again... maybe I'll just go to a shelter and pick up a mixed breed of some sort. But I've never really had a pure-bred anything (well other than my tarantula) it might be nice to actually have an idea about what kind of dog I'm be getting before I get it.
Hmm... my first video actually has quite a few views for it only being up for a couple of hours. I think I'm the only one who watched my other one. It's kinda neat though, so I feel the need to plug it too. It's a video of a muskrat that I filmed a few years ago.
I did get a myspace account, but I think I'll stick to LJ as far as my blog posts go. I've already got more stuff here, and myspace just loads sooooo sloooooow. And it's has tons of bugs. I'm getting one right now as I type this. Hurrah. Anyways, here's a video I shot of my pet tarantula eating a cricket...
I hadn't mentioned this on here, but I suppose I will. A few weeks ago, I decided to undertake a new project. This one was to build a cigar box guitar. Back in the days before mass-produced low-price guitars, people made their own guitars out of things found around the house... like cigar boxes, thanks to their all-wood construction and good natural acoustics.
At any rate, I made one. And I think it turned out quite well. Since I was going through the trouble to scan in pictures, I scanned some of my guitar, just to show off my handiwork. So, here it is. I didn't even stop there though. I actually went to the trouble to make and install an electric pickup for it. Here's the picture of the bottom with the phono jack to plug into the amp.
I got a new pet last Sunday. It's a tarantula. I'm betting half of the people reading this are thinking "YUCK!" or "WHY?!" and the other half are thinking "Cool!" At any rate, I guess I've always wanted one, but my mom would never let me have one when I was a kid. I'm not sure why it took me 5 years of living on my own to realize that I could get one, but anyways, I did.
A few weeks ago, I was bored and driving around Chattanooga, browsing random stores. Somehow, I wound up at the pet store, just to look around. While I was there, I saw some neat off-beat pets like ferrets and rats and all sorts of lizards. Also, I rather unexpectedly saw some invertabrate-type pets (scorpions, tarantulas, and millipedes). I looked at them for a while and thought "neat" and went on my way. Later on, I started thinking about them more and more, so I decided to browse the internet to see what keeping a tarantula entailed.
Much to my delight, they don't have the one issue that has kept me from getting a pet up until this point: the need for constant care. It's not that I'm irresponsible or anything, it's just that I'm occassionally gone for long periods of time and it's a hassle to either board a pet or get someone to come by and take care of it. I don't want to feel like I can't just leave and go do whatever I want, whenever I want. I'm sure I'll eventually wind up with a cat or dog, I just don't want one right now. Tarantulas have very slow metabolisms, they eat very large meals (sometimes nearly the same size as themselves) and can go a long time between feedings. So, he can take care of himself pretty well.
I haven't picked him up yet, since he does belong to a species that's know for being rather skiddish and will attempt to run and escape at the slightest sign of danger (which means he might hurt himself if he jumps out of my hands), but I'll probably do it eventually. When I first got him, I kept my distance at all times and was nervous whenever I took the lid off of his terrarium, but I've become pretty used to him now and he seems to not be bothered by me very much. He has yet to show any of the defensive threat poses towards me when I change his water or even today when I scooted him into a container today for a few minutes while I added more soil to his enclosure. It turns out that his species loves to burrow and I hadn't given him enough soil depth to make a good burrow, so I corrected that today.
I took some pictures of him, but since I've yet to spend the money on a good digital camera, they were regular film pictures. So, whenever I hook my scanner up again and scan these in, I'll post some pictures of him. Well, I'm tired now, so I guess it'll have to wait till tomorrow.
Edit: here's the pic of him He looks a little bright since his hair seemed to shine from the flash. In real life he's a dark brown color.
I was just wasting time browsing the Internet today when I stumbled across something terrific. A few years ago, Mike Mignola took a break from creating Hellboy comics and decided to do a one-shot comic called the Amazing Screw on Head. It was a hilarious action-adventure-steam-punk-horror-comedy comic that remains possibly my favorite single comic book I've ever read. I don't seem to be alone in that regard either since it won the Eisner award (comic book equivalent of the Oscars) for best humor publication that year.
Anyways, shortly after it came out, he said that there were no plans to make additional comics, however there was a possibility that it could be turned into a cartoon. I had completely forgotten about it, since it's been 4 years. However, it turns out that they did make a cartoon, and the pilot episode is available right here on SciFi.com. So, go watch the episode, that's about 20 minutes long, I promise you won't regret it. And then go take the survey and demand more Screw-On Head cartoons. The world needs Mike Mignola-style animation.
Well, in less than a year since the last time my life drastically changed, it changed again. Will this change stick for at least a year? We'll see.
Anyways, I got a job in Dalton, GA. That's just a bit south of Chattanooga. I'm programming java for Shaw, the world's largest flooring company (exciting!). Ah well, it's not like I learned much about the weather during my whole stay at AFWA. It never really matters what a company does to the programmers. If I wanted to make it sound more exciting, I could point out that it's owned by Berkshire-Hathaway, Warren Buffet's company. The same guy who just announced that he's going to donate $37 billion dollars to some charities.
As for the area, it's a big improvement over Martin. Chattanooga is only 20-30 minutes to the north, and Atlanta is only a little over an hour to the south. Most everything I need, minus a Best Buy, is here in a Dalton, but there is a Best Buy in Chattanooga that's only a 20 minute drive.
I'm really digging my new apartment too. It's certainly the coolest apartment I've ever had (or been in for that matter). It's an old cotton mill that was built in 1885 that was condemned to be demolished 2 years ago, until someone bought it and restored the building and converted it into loft apartments. It's really cool, I've got the old, original brick wall for my front wall, and the original hard-wood floor upstairs in my bathroom and bedroom (I think the wood floor must have been damaged beyond repair downstairs, so it's just shiny concrete with some strange designs on it).
The worst part about being out here is that I'm far away from most of my family and Memphis friends (and now incredibly far away from Omaha friends). However, I have already met some pretty cool people, so I'm not totally alone like I was when I was in Martin. And yes, it's odd that I can make friends quicker here in less than a week than I made in almost a year in Martin.
So far this move has been working out, hopefully it continues to do so.
And sorry to all my Memphis friends for leaving so suddenly. :\ I promise to at least come visit more than when I was in Omaha, I am only half the distance away this time.
So, Nintendo named their new system. It's not the "Revolution". It's the Wii. I shit you not.
What an awful name. Then again, I thought "Gamecube" was horrible when they announced that one. Now that I think about it, that's still a horrible name.
I don't talk about games much anymore, so here's another thing: Mother 3 (Earthbound 2) Nintendo had better bring this game to the states, or I'll be angry. I mean it's not like Nintendo has a huge list of awesome titles that need to come ahead of it. They've got Zelda. And that's it. The big N has really gone down hill.
So, I got bored and started browsing my old LJ entries. I used to update this thing a lot. Oh and curse, I used to curse all the fucking time. I guess I'm not as angry now as I used to be. Sure, my life is quite a bit more boring than it used to be, but I'm not as angry.
The phone interview went well. In fact, the guy wants to me to meet the people there in person sometime very soon. It looks like I might be heading over there next Tuesday to check it out and meet the people. Things are happening quickly... as usual.
So... my life continues to take strange turns. I looked into some of those security clearance jobs and they sound all good and stuff, but then little thoughts started to pop up in my head. Things like... "Geez, it costs a lot of money to live in Washington D.C." and "Man, that's going to be a pain to move all that way on my own dime." and things like that. They weren't all related to money. I had other qualms about it as well.
So, I thought about it for a bit and tried to figure out what the best course of action is for me right now. As much as I hate to admit it, and you'll probably never catch me saying it again, a degree is a useful thing. When you put that little line on your resume that says "Bachelor's Degree in XXX" (where the XXX is a field of study and not something related to pr0n) you get a little better chance at getting that job. I think it must cast some dubious shadow on the whole thing if you don't have that on there.
Don't get me wrong, I think college is a tremendous waste of time. I can do other things that take up a line on the resume in much less than 4 years. Yes, you learn things there, but if you were just working a low-level job in that field, you'd be learning things too, only all of that would be useful application for things that you're learning. But I'm getting off topic now.
So, I decided that I'd see if maybe I could get a decent paying job somewhere and then finish up school as I worked. That way I'd be getting money, more experience, and be able to finish my degree all at once. Oh, and I could live in a real city, and not tiny, diminutive Martin. I applied to many places in Memphis. And not a one has replied yet. So here's where things get strange...
Other places that I didn't even send my resume to contacted me. It seems they just searched through Monster.com for people with the skills that they needed. These aren't even little insignificant companies either... I won't name them all, but let's just say that one of them makes the operating system that we're all using (oh come on, no one really has just a Mac). Why do people like FedEx not even respond and other companies seek me out? No clue. But that's not all. The companies who have sought me out are offering double (and sometimes more) what I was asking for from FedEx and other random Memphis companies.
Most of the people who respond from TN seem to be in Chattanooga, although one was from Nashville. I guess no one in Memphis really programs. I looked it up and Chattanooga seems like a nice place, it's got most everything that I'm looking for in a place. A university (a UT branch no less, so I think that'd make transferring credits easier), a nice-sized city with plenty to do, low cost of living, and more.
This one company from Chattanooga seems to be my best bet at the moment. They didn't care much for degrees, they just wanted me to take this on-line J2EE test that turned out to be probably the hardest test I've ever taken. Regardless, I did "excellent" in their opinion. I looked at the score and the stats and sure enough I did get a higher score than most people who took the test. They wanted more info from me, resume and references and stuff, which I gave to them. This morning I got another call from them, they're very interested in me and want to set up a phone interview on Friday. Hopefully that will go well too.
Oh, I found this little gif of Neo Poke Kun walking around, so I made it my new icon. I'm sure that none of you know who he is, but that's okay, I forgive you.
Okay, time for a rant on something that's been bugging me for a year or so now. Why on earth would a company manufacture a portable electronic device that's all smooth and shiny, just asking for fingerprints and scratches?! To date I have 3 of these dubious devices: IPod nano, Gameboy Micro, and PSP. They're all very shiny on the front and wind up looking like something that I made while finger-painting in kindergarten after about 10 seconds of use.
Why, oh why would you make a portable device like this? I know, it looks "neat" but there are plenty of neat looking things they could have done with it that didn't involve installing a black mirror on the front of it. I shouldn't have to carry around a cleaning cloth with me when I use one of these. How many times did I need to rub fingerprints off my old Gameboy? Almost never, and that was only when I accidentally touched the screen a few times.
Dear Apple/Sony/Nintendo: Please make portable electronics that are covered in sandpaper from now on, thanks.
I haven't updated this in a while. And I always seem to start posts like that. I should remember to not do that on the next post... in a few months or so.
Lots of things have changed since my last post. Hmm... to mention them or not. Ah well, here's one: this will be my last semester going to school full-time, even though it was only my second semester. My only reason for going to college was to get a stupid piece of paper so someone else could get a nice warm fuzzy feeling when hiring me. Really, that's all it was. I think I've covered this all before. So, anyways, I'm getting the hell out of here once this semester ends.
It turns out that I had completely ignored my most marketable aspect: my security clearance. Top Secret/SCI clearances are hard to obtain, take a long time to get, and are expensive for companies. Defense contractors need people with clearances. A clearance is actually more useful than a degree for them, and on top of that, they pay better than any other group of people in the programming field. I already tried submitting a resume to a few places just to "test the waters" and wound up getting a few offers, unfortunately they needed me right away. So, I'm just going to hang on a submit it to tons of places in May, then take my pick of where I want to go the most.
The funny part about all of this is my clearance would be inactive before I'd have a chance to finish my degree if I stayed here. That makes my choices: leave now and make lots of money in a big city where I would be happier or stay here, be depressed for another couple of years and then start making about half of that amount of money with my degree. I think the choice is pretty obvious.
Okay, that was a terrible rhyme. It's not like I was trying for anything special there.
So, I just decided that I'd update my journal. Christmas was good. I got to see most of the family, some of whom I only see at Christmas. I wound up cooking quite a bit and everyone seemed genuinely impressed. I always have to question feedback I get on anything I cook, probably because only friends and family eat what I cook and I can't always rely on them to tell me if something tastes like dirt or not. They're just trying to be nice, after all.
I got a guitar and amp for Christmas, quite unexpectedly. I had an old hand-me down guitar and had tried to get an amp off of eBay but due to screw ups that were both my fault and the seller's fault I wound up never getting it. I had pretty much written it off and thought I'd get around to getting one at some point, but it seems that's not necessary any more. Getting cool presents that you didn't even ask for always seems to be much better than getting exactly what you were expecting.
Just like every year, things seemed to go by so fast. Christmas came and went before I could take much notice.
I finally went back to Memphis for New Year's and saw many old friends. I resolved to go visit them more often, since the last time I saw any of them was a year and a half ago, some far longer than that.
I suppose I'm just wasting the last part of my break now. This break from school is way too long, and I never thought I'd say that. Personally, I'd rather them give us less time right now and more at the end of the semester since I don't think there will be a very big break between the spring and summer semesters.
Speaking of school, it turns out that they finally added more of my transfer credits to my total. I'm not sure what the long hold up was, but it's glad to finally have them. If I had any confusion as to what year in college I am before, I certainly have it now that I've gotten over an extra semester's worth of credits added to it. It's always difficult for me to give an answer to the common question "What year are you?" "Umm... err... well you see... I'm like a uh... sophomore or junior... or something. But I'm taking some senior classes... and freshman classes."
On the subject of Freshman classes... the only class that I was taking that was explicitly a freshman class was English (although I guess precalculus is 95% freshmen). We had to write a lot of essays in there, which is fine with me, because as you have probably noticed, I can write at great lengths about simple things. I seem to be quite verbose. Although, I must admit that Live Journal falls into the much more relaxed category of writing. Anyways, I wrote this essay in there at the beginning of the semester, and at the end of the semester my teacher wanted a copy of it. She said it was the best essay that she read from any of her students all year and she wanted to enter it into some kind of writing contest for college students. I was a bit shocked but was more than happy to give her a copy of it, I'm not sure if it will actually win anything, but it did feel pretty good to have her say it was "the best" all semester.
Something pretty odd happened today, and I still can't think of a logical explanation for it. Let me talk about something else first, so this is in some sort of perspective. A few weeks ago, I stood in line all night at the local Wal-Mart for an Xbox 360, that's a long story in its own right, but me and another guy in line had a strange sort of connection. It turns out that he used to live in the exact apartment that I live in right now. He mentioned "strange things" happening when he lived in this apartment. You know, paranormal type things. I just shrugged and said I hadn't noticed anything. This of course set off a conversation between everyone of ghost stories and strange experiences that people had encountered.
I hadn't really given it much thought since then, until I came back today, after being gone the whole weekend. When I got back, I turned on the TV, strangely, I was getting sound coming out of the speakers, but no picture. I tried messing with the source selector box for a second before I leaned behind everything to try and figure out the problem. After a minute, I realized that the video cable from the Tivo to the selector box was unplugged. So, no problem, I just plugged it back up. I looked back at the TV, now a bit surprised that I was still not getting a picture. I leaned back behind the TV and receiver again to make sure I had plugged up the right thing. That was when I noticed something strange... all of my video cables had been unplugged, all of the audio cables were untouched.
My first thought was that someone had been in the apartment, but a quick look around showed everything else exactly as I had left it. I also remembered that I had locked the deadbolt when I left on Friday (which I don't normally do) and I had unlocked it when I came back. So, only someone with both of my keys could have gotten in, and it wouldn't make sense to go through all of that trouble and then just unplug my video cables and leave. Things got stranger when I looked at the shows my TiVo had recorded. My only reasonable thought left was that maybe I had unplugged it on accident on Friday when I was messing with something back there (even though I don't recall plugging or unplugging anything back there on Friday.) Looking at the TiVo recordings, I can tell that the video cables running into it were still okay sometime this morning when it recorded a TV show.
I'm not going to go so far as to say "My apartment is haunted." but it is certainly a strange coincidence that all of my video cables just happened to unplug themselves. At the very least, I can understand what that guy meant by "strange things" happening.
Two Names You Go By 1. Brandon 2. Capt Monkey Two Parts of Your Heritage 1. English 2. Choctaw Two Things That Scare You 1. The world's dependency on rapidly depleting resources. 2. Aluminum. Cause it's scary. Two of Your Everyday Essentials 1. The Daily Show 2. The Internet Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now 1. Pants (whew!) 2. Socks Two of Your Favorite Bands or Musical Artists (at the moment) 1. The Faint 2. Criteria Two Things You Want in a Relationship (other than Real Love) 1. Companionship 2. Pants Two Truths 1. College is a waste of time/effort/money. 2. I put off important things to post on Live Journal Two Physical Things that Appeal to You 1. rocks 2. grass Two of Your Favorite Hobbies 1. Video Games 2. Running Two Things You Want Really Badly 1. $8,000,000 2. A computer science degree... so I can get out of this college thing Two Places You Want to go on Vacation 1. The Moon 2. Who cares? #1 was the friggin' Moon, you can't beat that! Two Things You Want to Do Before You Die 1. Go to the Moon. 2. Become insanely rich so I can just lounge about, not having to do anything. Two Ways that you are stereotypically a Guy 1. I like lounging about, not doing anything. 2. I can be very competitive at times. Two Things You Normally Wouldn't Admit 1. I have no fucking clue what I'm doing anymore. 2. No... no, I guess I'd admit that too. There's not much I wouldn't admit. Two Things You Are Thinking About Now 1. Going to bed. 2. I shouldn't put things off till so late that I just go to bed and don't do them. Two Stores You Shop At 1. Best Buy (even when I have to drive an hour to get there) 2. Wal-Mart (because I don't have to drive an hour to get there) Two people I haven't talked to in a while 1. Nick... I should really call Nick sometime. 2. Dan... I've only talked to him once since he went back to NE