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07 June 2008 @ 09:12 pm
All of this is just for the record, everyone who would want to know already knows. I finally bought and moved into a house. The deal closed at the beginning of February. I am paying slightly more than the house is worth, but not much, at least I am putting money into something which will retain some value instead of giving money away to a landlord. It is mostly in good shape, the only major projects will be relacing the roof sometime in the next couple of years, replacing most of the windows and window sills, and replacing the old wiring in the house. The rest is all cosmetic and mostly just making things the way I want them to be.

Work is going well. We were very short handed for a few weeks since one tech was on fmla leave, one tech quit, and one engineer quit. The engineer that quit seems to be doing well, secretly a few of us are hoping he comes back but that will not happen for quite a while at least if at all. For now the job has been posted and we will see what comes up and we have hired an intern to help out. She has the same last name as my grandparents which is interesting.

Personal life is the same as always, I know very few people outside of work. I would go out more but money is a little tighter than I would like. I just got out of my lease in Lubbock but am spending quite a bit on bills trying to get some things paid off before student loans start coming in. I will also be helping family financially, as always seems to happen when I start getting more fiscally stable.

There are really only two bad things happening right now. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last month so she will not be working much, and my brother is out of work and doesn't yet seem to want to find a job. His wedding anniversary is coming up and that may have a big influence on him.

That is all.
03 January 2008 @ 11:12 pm
I watched "The Last Samurai" the other day. It was a remarkably good film and I am surprised that I did not notice certain things about "ancient" Japanese culture before. I have always, at least to my memory, loved warrior cultures. The high level of personal strength, discipline, and the concept of honor have always appealed to me. I never cared for the Japanese warrior culture and it never struck me before the actual reason why.

Humans have not evolved past their physical form and as such we still need, to varying extents depending on the individual, emotions and warmth. We need at least a few people to show us that we are cared for and are loved and needed as part of our community. The Japanese culture was, and still is in many ways, a very cold culture. They say/said that the warriors killed themselves when they lost a battle, or for almost any other reason, because it was the honorable thing to do and/or that they could not live with the dishonor of losing. I think it goes deeper than that. I believe that part of the reason why, or at least something that made the deed easier, people were so willing to kill themselves was that they were so very unhappy. Discipline can only be pushed so far before it begins to become a detriment to the person. People were never meant to live in such a vacuum of emotion.

I haven't read anything about ancient culture about this but one thing I do not like about modern Japanese culture is the concept of saving face. Many, particularly those in positions of some power, i.e. management, will give a bold face lie to make themselves look less at fault. The major difference between them and us, my experiences in this country, is that they are expected to do so. While many people in this country try to cover up their own wrong doings or shortcomings we at least find it contemptible to do so.
21 December 2007 @ 04:20 pm
I submitted the contract with the counter offer today. It was a little bit of running around I dropped off a few checks on my way out of Amarillo and had to fax a few things when I got back to Lubbock. I feel that it really is a good deal but I will find out for sure after the inspection next week.

I also took the opportunity while I was out to buy some groceries and rent a couple of games. Hopefully I will not have to leave my apartment this weekend. I really hate this time of year. Everyone and their dog thinks they have to be out in the stores so it makes things a lot more inconvenient for me when I go out to get a few necessities so my plan is to not have to. I don't know if I hate going out this time of year enough to do without if I run out of something important but I may try. Everyone is out this weekend just buying things they can't afford for people who don't want what they are getting and will then spend the next two weeks taking things back making this month hell to be out in stores.

I am looking forward to next week for the inspections and eventually moving into a new home. Also Happy New Year to me!!!!
11 December 2007 @ 07:07 pm
It was very hard in those first few months to quit drinking soft drinks. That hard time passed though, I did have a few cans here and there but the first few didn't taste very good at all and any others that I have had since then have given me headaches or hiccups. I think it is my body's way of telling me that I made the right decision to quit.

The first week of work went ok. I choose to start work a little early so that I could attend some training. The only problem was that the training started as 7. Luckily I have a coworker who is allowing me to stay the week at his place but those days which I drove in from Lubbock were harsh. I get my first full-time paycheck this Friday and I am excited about that.

I am also looking at houses. Due to the bad weather I have not been able to look inside any so I am getting a little behind schedule where looking is concerned.

The prototype of the sword I ordered a couple of years ago is finally finished!!!! It looks absolutely beautiful from the pictures. In a few weeks I should have it in my hands. Now I am getting concerned about if I want to display it and where to get a display case or if I want to make it myself.

02 December 2007 @ 10:20 pm
I cleaned out my office on campus today. Today wasn't exactly the last day I will be there but it is close, I will probably only be going back one more time but that act seemed so final. It's not that I do not want to leave but remembering all the time I spent there, I felt a little saddened. Memories of sneaking into the machine shop after hours, I did that last night to put some things back, all of the hours spent in the student lounge, almost every day of the semester I spent a few hours there, my office and the bench where I usually smoked not so much, I didn't start spending time there until this past year.

Next week I start full-time and since my responsibilities are mostly officially over I will begin looking more seriously into a place to live there. Until then I will have to deal with the long drive or stay with a friend. Speaking of which it is late and I need to get to bed.

That is all.
10 November 2007 @ 04:29 pm
I would have to rate the conference a 5 out of 10. We left a day early so that we could see the city before starting the conference but thanks to a few lazy people and the changing of plans we ended up wasting the entire first day. There was a halloween social the first night and everyone in the group was supposed to dress up in a common theme. Someone had the brilliant idea of dressing up as luchadores. That was ok except two of us wear glasses and glasses and masks don't go well together. Mine fell off in the dark when I went to get a drink and I spent about 10 minutes crawling around on the floor looking for them with people coming and going in my area, no one bothered to help or ask if I needed any, until one of the people I was with showed back up. I left the party after that. There was a contest for best group and it was supposed to be based on the quality of the costumes, how well the group kept to the theme, and originality. There was one group dressed as ancient Egyptians. From what I was told a group dressed as a soccer team and another as characters from Shrek won, wow...how original.

I overslept and missed the first workshop but there were none that I think would have been interesting. We had Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast, yumm. The first workshop I attended wasn't that good. The presenter spoke more about the company than the topic. I did learn a couple of things though. The other workshops were much better. There was a "black and white" social that night on board the U.S.S. Iwo Jima I was on the first bus there and we got to see a little of the ship. There were quite a few of those in attendance who didn't seem to understand the concept of "black and white" and when the speaker started speaking half of the people there continued talking. There was also no seating on board. What's worse when we tried to leave people were rushing the buses, even while the buses were still moving. As one of my comrades put it, "It was like the fall of Saigon". There was no order in the crowd and it was like that for the entire conference.

The second day was better with all of the workshops I attended being of at least a good quality. We took off early and saw part of the city. At the dinner that night the crowd was even more rude than before with almost everyone in the room talking during the speaker. A comrade said that perhaps it was a difference in culture but I have never heard of a culture where it was not rude to speak when someone else was. I skipped the social that night to go to bed early.

The last day not much went on for me. That was the day of the career fair and since I already had a job I just kind of hung out and tried to get some work done. We went to see more of the city that afternoon and some of the others went out that night. I tried to get a little sleep but our comrades who went out that night came back drunk and loud. They were constantly coming and going into our room and yelling in the hall. It got worse when we started getting ready to leave at about 3am. We had taken one of the cars back and it took two trips and overall about 2 hours to get everyone to the airport.

The conference overall was well organized but the attendees were not that great. I attribute it mostly to the fact that there were no advisors present and there were not enough mature people present to maintain any sort of order.
05 November 2007 @ 09:49 pm
Returned from a conference in Philadelphia yesterday. The "city of Brotherly Love" seems to live up to it's name. Having experienced the big city rudeness firsthand in certain cities I was caught by surprise. People were genuinely pleasant for the most part and some people would have the courtesy to look you in the eye as you passed by on the street and excuse themselves if they bumped into you. We only really experienced downtown but is that not usually the ruder part of town? I had more rude/inconsiderate behavior from the people I was traveling with than I had with any particular group of people in the city.

We stayed at the Marriot downtown and most of what people would want to see is within walking distance of the hotel. There were bus and subway stops near the hotel and the hotel has a bellroom to store luggage but despite this my companions decided to rent vehicles. Parking in the area is very expensive by most standards. The cheapest lot we were able to find was 4.75 per hour. Parking on the street was much cheaper at $1 per hour ($.25/15 min) but was limited from anywhere to 30 minutes to 2 hours. The hotel has a per day rate and lets you come and go at will. Definitely the best way to go if you plan on doing a lot of driving. Since the others decided on a car rental I did not get to see what the public transportation was like. Judging from the frequency of busses and subway trams it should be as good as the reviews I have read. Since most of the tourist attractions are so close to this particular hotel one scarcely needs transportation besides to and from the airport. For this there were options of which we found out after our arrival we could either have taken a shuttle which would have costed $10 or a cab(s) for roughly $25 (at least from what I was told). It would definitely be my recommendation to pay for the shuttle and buy a day pass for the public transportation system ($6) if you plan on going far.

The following were places I visited.
Liberty Bell: 6 blocks, free
Independence Hall: 7 blocks, free but need tickets from building in which Liberty Bell is housed. A nice lady from NY was nice enough to give us her extra tickets as we did not know we needed to get them elsewhere.
Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary Soldiers: 8 blocks, free
Mütter Museum: ca. 20 blocks, $8 students $12 adults
Miscellaneous art museums: 10-20 blocks, we did not go in any but I looked at some of the artwork and fountains on my way to meet my companions who wanted to see the Rocky statue.
Places I ate:
Hardrock Cafe: 0 blocks, good but somewhat expensive
Dunkin' Donuts: 0 blocks, very good, fast breakfast very cheap
Ho So Gai: 3-4 blocks, very good Chinese restaurant in Chinatown
Reading Station Market: 0 blocks, various vendors and restaurants vary in quality
Pizza Palace: 2-3 blocks, pizza was good but had been warmed over and they were stingy with the topping by my standards

I will write about the conference in a separate post.
27 October 2007 @ 10:15 am
Working two days a week makes my projects/work time seem almost unproductive. My project is coming along very slowly. It seems that I spend anywhere from 2-6 hours each day doing training or taking care of other paperwork due to me being new. That does not leave much time to accomplish useful stuff. At this time I am not sure how much I can post about the job due to the company's policy on information.

The drive isn't that bad, I am from Texas after all, but the alternatively getting up at 7 and 5 coupled with going to bed late can wear the normal person out after awhile. Today I forwent a community service project because I did not want to get up early, and partly because I was not interested. I am completely and utterly not a football fan which is strange for Texas and did not want to spend 6 hours of my day centered around a game of said sport, even if it was to take some underprivileged kids.

Overall things in my life are much better, I have a better outlook, and am not so worried about things which is very weird for me. I know I will not get to see friends as often with the new job but I am sure I will make some new ones, maybe. Ok for me but not so much (maybe) for the friends I have now. That is one thing I have been thinking about, which of the acquaintances and friends I have here will actually make the effort to keep in touch. I will do my part but I guess only time will tell.
15 October 2007 @ 09:22 am
The two people who probably read this already know but I wanted to post for the sake of longevity. I always say that I have incredibly bad luck and I can usually count on that. I told my mother last month when I was deciding on a place to move into that as soon as I get committed into staying in Lubbock I would probably get an offer and have to leave. Well two weeks after I signed a year long lease I was made an offer to work in Amarillo. I am not really sure about the town but I will be working in the industry I want to work in and the job is going to allow me to work with every part of the plant.

I start part-time this week, and excited and nervous all at the same time. So far it looks like everything is working out fine and that makes me a little more nervous (I am sure a psycho(ill)logi(c)st would have a field day with me) I am simply so used to things not going perfectly. I had to drop another class so I am (technically) down to only two. Those two courses and my TA work are not currently enough to keep me busy so I am finding a difficult time getting things done in a timely manner. I procrastinate a little too much but I'll work on that later ;)

The only thing bad that has happened lately is that the University did not pay us on the 1st like they were supposed to. Instead most of us are having to wait until the 24th for this months pay. Other things are going so well that that does not even seem to bother me right now. I seriously doubt that they will pay for the overdraft charges so I have not even bothered.

Chucky is getting along well in the neighborhood. No one has said anything since the first week about him being outside and even then it was only someone who thought he had "gotten" out. It kind of sucks for him to be on the second floor with dogs about because there really is nowhere for him to go if a dog blocks the stairway except for him to try to jump to another building, they are actually close enough, or jump down to the first floor. The kids in the complex seem to like him but he is not quite used to them yet.
How did you earn extra money as a child (i.e. lemonade stands, household chores, etc)?
Mostly by recycling, we had 50 gallon drums which I would fill with aluminum cans from our household and any that I collected in the neighborhood. It took a long time to fill but two 50 gallong containers would bring about $50 back then. I tried other materials but it took a lot longer to collect and did not bring in as much.