Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Where was I?

It's been the requisite minimum 90 days between blog posts so let's see, where was I? Oh yeah, the virtual certainty that I was getting a high-paying new job at a hot internet company based in San Francisco.

WELL, IT TURNS OUT I didn't exactly"get" that job. In fact, they sued me for wasting their time in the interview process. Just kidding, they didn't do that. No, the recruiter sent me a short, very apologetic email that said they were sorry "we" weren't the right fit or something like that, and that they couldn't provide me any more information. So, there's that. I'm not mad or anything -- how could I be, since they paid for me to go to SF completely needlessly and eat some great Indian food and a very good brunch (and some good BBQ and a Lone Star in the Austin airport, and a single bagel at this little SF place famous for their traditional sourdough recipe, called "Panera") -- but I do wish I had not mentioned the whole thing to anybody. Well, anybody but you, blog. I'd never keep anything from you.

The process of not getting that job led to me looking at other jobs in "the private sector" -- that's the phrase that means, roughly, "the place where people are paid to perform in their jobs instead of taking up required space in an org chart," whether my conception of it is realistic or not -- and interviewing for another job at a very large upscale grocer/health food concern based in my hometown. I also didn't get that job, but the process of not getting THAT job was good, and has led me to feel better about the things I can do in my current job to improve my chances of moving on to something that I'll be happier with in the long run.

This has all led me to a few realizations:

1. I am, quite obviously, having a midlife crisis in the most boring way possible
2. I think programming is probably the best career path for me, but
3. it's possible that I'm not well-suited for any kind of modern employment because
4. I'm really bad at being happy doing the same thing -- anything -- for a very long period of time because
5a. I'm a flibbertigibbet
5b. A will-of-the-wisps
5c. a CLOWN
5d. (How do you solve a problem like logorrhea?)
6. The best career for me would be something like programmer / teacher / researcher / theologian / IT manager / blacksmith / chicken tend-er

So, this is where I'm working from. I'm using the flexibility of my current job to work on improving my skills in various facets of the wider arena of information technology, and I'm happier here than I've been in a long time. I'm still looking for jobs, but really it seems likelier than ever that I'm going to spend the rest of my career at the University. And I'm mostly okay with that.

God, what a fucking mess that post was.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Don't go to the Tenderloin

Apparently the worst thing you can do if you want to start blogging about your life again is to tell your blog that you're going to do that.

The condition of perpetual lethargy that I wrote about below persists. It's probably gotten a bit better in the last two months, though, since we have managed to do some of the things humans typically do. We've cleaned our house, had friends over for dinner, cleaned our house some more, celebrated my 34th birthday, done dishes, gotten another dog, cleaned some, eaten takeout, worked in the yard, been to a bunch of school events, camping, etc, etc, etc.

I also have been in the process of potentially (hopefully) getting a new job. My friend Elle who works at a hot internet company from San Francisco that's expanding its offices into our fair city invited me to a recruiting/schmoozing event. I figured the odds were very low that I'd be interested in anything they had to offer but hey -- free food in a nice restaurant! That plus the fact that the illusion that they were interested in me is very appealing to my baser instincts. So, my friend Doc Holliday and I -- looking very much like a gay couple for some reason -- headed out there to hang out with desperate dot-com types occupying various spots on the business-casual to hipster-interview-wear spectrum. The food was good and the weather was nice, but I talked exclusively to Doc, Elle, and a waiter who probably thought I was hitting on him. In short, I didn't exactly get fired up about leaving my extremely secure job at the university. But I checked out the job listings after the event -- mostly to be polite since I had just enjoyed delicious potato balls and kinda-weird doughnuts on this company's dime. Long story short, since then (Oct. 23), I've had two phone interviews, an in-person interview here in town, and most recently they flew me to San Francisco for a 4.5-hour interview gauntlet with nine employees of their company (individually).

So it's looking like I might be leaving the university nest. I've been in my current job for just over five years -- at the university in all my roles for over ten years -- and it's my little city that I love. I will miss it. I'll miss having a post office of my own and being on campus when all the students are gone and the wind could probably blow some tumbleweeds through. I'll miss going to the gym with creepy old faculty members who make me feel like a strapping young Atlas. I'll miss my Thursday bowling league and the complete lack of scrutiny into anything I do at work, ever.

I won't miss the boredom; it can be incredibly dull here when there are no fires to put out and I just have projects to plan -- with nothing on the line, really, if my projects are wildly successful or fail horribly. The dullness can be soul-crushing, and I definitely won't miss that.

Anyway, blog, I just wanted you to know what was going on. Looking at a new job. Probably going to get it. Hopefully it pays all right -- otherwise I will have wasted a lot of people's time and money. Although I did eat the best chicken tikka masala I've ever had when I was in SF for the interview. So at least that will have come out of it if this doesn't pan out.

Monday, September 30, 2013


As I mentioned somewhere down the page there, Baby started a new job about three weeks ago. It's great in so many ways -- they treat her like a real person who is going to be there unlike her other job (which she still works at one day a week), where her boss only recently stopped saying, "oh, you're here today?" EVERY SINGLE TIME she came in to work her scheduled shifts, despite the fact that she's been there for over three years. It's great also because she's making more money, and because we're actually on the same campus and I get to see her at work every day, if even for just a few minutes. Really, pretty much everything about it is great. The only problem is that we're ludicrously tired, all the time.

We can't really explain it, but somehow, for the last three weeks, Baby working a new job has made us walking dead. We have to plan everything in ways we've never had to before -- I actually make a full week's worth of lunches for myself on Sunday, and we (mostly Baby) make 2-3 days of lunches for the kids. That's not even quite enough as it is, though, because once we run out of those we don't just make a couple days' more. No, we aim solely for survival during the work week and do the least we possibly can to make sure that we and our kids don't die or develop socially embarrassing diseases. The days aren't flying by, either -- every moment of every day is acutely felt. Last week I somehow mustered up the strength to be extremely productive at work for a couple days, so on Monday and Tuesday I accomplished more than I have in weeks. Unfortunately it turns out I have only a limited amount of energy, because those two days apparently sapped all my resources for the rest of the week, leading all the way up to today, where I'm sitting at my desk, looking at a lengthy to-do list and trying to figure out which items can be postponed with the smallest number of people who could potentially fire me getting angry. (Just kidding, I work for the government. I can't be fired.)

Regardless, I'm looking forward to whatever happening that needs to in order for us to feel like humans again, instead of overworked draft horses.

(Speaking of which, one of the many rad things about our new neighborhood is that we have neighbors with a HORSE. An old white one named MERLIN. How awesome is that? He's very old and just stands around in their back yard, but he is MAJESTIC AS SHIT and classes up the whole neighborhood.)

I think routine is very important to good living, and this recent change is forcing us into a routine more than ever -- so ultimately this is all very good. But right now, I feel like I want to roll the grass up on the ground and find a secret bed down there and go to sleep until everything is normal. (Is that just me?) Or I want to move to the country and live in an Airstream with a big workshop behind it and never have to think about commuting or scheduling kids' pickups or dinner groups again and just sit on the porch (it has a sort of deck porch) and watch it rain and drink some coffee, iced tea, or beer (depending on what time of day we're talking about). Or I want to do that but in a cabin in the mountains of New Mexico. Or live in a hotel in a small town. I don't know.

Anyway, here's me complaining about how sweepy I am because poor me and Baby have to work at our fulfilling jobs that pay us decently for work we enjoy. BOO HOO.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

New stuff like houses, jobs, and toddlers

Over the summer we sold our condo, moved out of our rental house, and bought a house -- which we love. We've been waiting so long for this that it maybe started to feel like the Answer To All Our Problems. It's great but it turns out it didn't bring our dead loved ones back to life, ease the difficulty in other family relationships, or resolve any of the problems associated with being kind of poor. But it's a very good thing overall. I can see Baby and I getting old in this house. I don't want to say dying because that's morbid and we've had quite enough of that, but I'll say it's the kind of place I can imagine us keeping indefinitely.

(I know we're not "poor" by any reasonable definition of the word and we are not directly affected by systemic generational poverty, but considering that there are five people in our family now we have a lot of expenses and don't make a lot of money. I don't really mind the lack of money -- it's the stress that comes along with it that sucks.)

But in related, great news: Baby got a job! Well, she already had a job, but she got a half-time salaried librarian job! I feel like this isn't my news to share in a public forum and she has, for some reason, not made it widely known -- but the blog is the perfect place to say I think she's awesome and I'm glad that she had to go out and buy a bunch of "boring librarian clothes" that I find oddly hot.

That means figuring out where our boy is going to be hanging out for about four hours a day, five days a week. Oh yeah, that's something else I probably haven't mentioned on the blog before: we had another baby. He's two-and-a-half now. He's awesome. Let's call him ... wow, I can't even remember what I called my oldest child on here ... huh. Okay, her name is Satsuki. The middle child is still Alia (for obvious reasons). And the Boy, born in October of 2010, is going to be ... well, I can't think of any TV or movie characters he reminds me of so I'm going to go with D. Tiger since that's probably his favorite thing in the world right now other than building train tracks, playing "rocket ships," and claiming to not like everything that he in fact loves or desperately needs like going to sleep.

(Rocket ships is a game or series of interrelated games that can include pretending a wooden block is a "rocket ship" that will endlessly blast off the moon and come back. It can also, as of last week, entail going repeatedly down a water slide that also, somehow, sends you to the moon.)

So yesterday we checked out a day care place for D. Tiger. Finding one of these is tricky because it has to (a) work with our schedule, (b) be cheap enough for us to afford, (c) be close enough to where Baby and I work, (d) not be shitty, and (e) have at least one opening available. The place we checked out mostly passes on these points, but it smelled FUCKING AWFUL. At first I thought one of the kids must have just shit everywhere, but I realized eventually that it was the broccoli stems and greasy-looking lettuce they were serving the kids for lunch. I've never walked out into 100-degree heat so gratefully in my life. We're still looking around, since we have a little over a week to figure this thing out. But man, that lunch did not look or smell like anything I want, ever.

So, here's to a new house, a new job, a not-so-new member of our family, and boiled goose. Well, not that actually, but the other stuff.

Friday, August 30, 2013

I'm back

Hi LAAAZLO blog readers. I am back. I am going to start writing here again. Here are things I like to write about:

1. Music. This one is evident. It's a safe choice. I know how to write about it in an amusing way without offending people I love, like, or at least don't hate. Music is neat. I like music. I will continue to write about it sometimes.

2. Theology. This has been an occasional topic for me on this blog, and in book reviews I have written over the years elsewhere. The problem with writing about theology is that nobody gives a shit. If, by some chance, a few people who happened to be interested in what I have to say read something I wrote, I might be able to say something insightful. But: 1. People who don't care would be bored. 2. People who do care but disagree will be pissed off and are unlikely to engage in any productive way (see: Facebook), and will be reinforced in their beliefs. So farrrrt. But I'm probably going to write on the topic anyway. Don't hate me.

3. My family. I love my family and I could write about them every day. But you know what? This is another thing that nobody gives a shit about. My mom -- the only person who gave a shit in the first place -- is dead. My dad can't use a computer. Baby's mom is too cool for school and pretends not to care about our lives -- and I wouldn't really want to write for her anyway (and she doesn't know how to use a computer). Baby's wonderful dad is also unfortunately dead. All of our grandparents are dead. That leaves a few people outside of our families that could potentially care. Most of them already know what's going on in our lives, and the rest of them are probably distant enough that they're not all that interested either. But maybe not. Regardless, Baby has a much better blog that keeps loose tabs on what we're up to.

4. My job. Actually I don't like to write about my job, but I used to do it with some regularity due to a highly incompetent coworker you know of as Mustafa. In truth, not much of interest happens here. I like my job. Is good job.

But I need to write. WE ARE STARTING A NEW CHAPTER IN OUR LIVES (THAT METAPHOR IS UNDERUSED I FEEL) AND EVERY MOMENT IS TRULY PRECIOUS. The all caps reads like sarcasm but it is assuredly not. I could write about my life in so many places, but none of them is quite like a blog. I could write emails to my friends but WHAT WHY WOULD ANYBODY DO THAT. I could write on Facebook but do I really want some dude I went to middle school with to comment on my life? I could and do write on Twitter but between the 140 character limit and the fact that people on there expect me to be at least a little bit amusing, it's not a great place for that. So here we are. This is all to say that I'm back, and I'll be writing here in the way I used to -- not just dumb posts about pop songs, but other dumb posts about my wonderful and boring-to-read-about life.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Why I hate Lil Wayne, pt. 329

My dislike for Lil Wayne is well-documented. In short, I think he's a lazy bastard with decent flow but some of the least intelligent lyrics ever recorded in a genre that celebrates quick wits. If he weren't popular I wouldn't care, but he has been lauded by cultural institutions as lofty as the fucking New Yorker as possibly the "best rapper alive." That, coupled with a recent Groupon for Lil Wayne tickets (50% off, but I contend that a better promotion would have been to offer a complimentary bottle of Robitussin with the purchase instead) leads me to believe that the soft bigotry of low expectations has somehow paid off massively for Mr. Carter, as he's been propelled all the way to the top of middle class white culture. I mean, if tickets to your shows are being hawked alongside urban beekeeping classes (which are awesome) and day spa discounts, how do you have any street cred left?

Last night I was listening to 102.3 The Beat on my way to pick up the Captain America movie from a Redbox, (how do you enable the thing where you get paid for mentioning brands on your blog?) when I heard B.o.B's "Strange Clouds." It's certainly not the first time I've heard the song, but I hadn't really paid attention to the lyrics before. First of all, I have to say it's a great song. It can't be ruined even by the requisite Lil Wayne appearance. However, it really demonstrates what I hate about Lil Wayne.

It is easily shown that Lil Wayne is far inferior to B.o.B as a rapper. The whole song is a demonstration of this fact, but the perfect example is when B.o.B says "I'm top chef, you top ramen, I'm top shelf / No last call, to the bartender, what you got left?" That's a reasonably clever lyric -- I mean, it's no "I hit her with that pipe, call that Nancy Kerrigan / Stay on the greenest greens, call us vegetarians," but they can't all be home runs. (By the way, what is a guy born in 1988 doing referring to the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan rivalry?) But when it's Lil Wayne's turn at the mic, he predictably just spits out a bunch of juvenile free-associations that ultimately add up to nothing -- followed by his own take on the previous verse, saying "I'm top dog, you top ramen, I'm top dog / Piru, gangsters, outlaws." This guy is the "feat." on this track, and he doesn't seem to understand the concept of wordplay that extends beyond the most basic of references. Another example of Wayne's work on this track: "Hello World, I'm with a yellow girl, number 2 pencil / These rappers is washed up, spin cycle, rinse you."

B.o.B has gotten plenty of airplay recently, but I say it's entirely possible this track wouldn't have gotten on the radio as it has if it weren't for the presence of this no-talent ass clown. And that's why I hate Lil Wayne: despite a lack of appreciable talent at rapping or producing, he has somehow become the kingmaker for top 40 hip-hop artists who are better than him in every way.

So, in summary, I hate Lil Wayne because he's popular. If that makes me a hipster, then just call me this guy:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Annals of Questionable Music

The last song I heard before I got on the bus this morning was almost "Hips Don't Lie," which in all honesty I would have been cool with. Instead it happened to be this awesome/terrible thing:

And that's just not right. Especially offensive is the lyric: "hear the cricket singing softly / never heard a sweeter sound / and you know crickets do their singing / by just rubbin' their legs around." Could this be country music's only frottage reference?

So when I got to work I had to combat it by listening to something else. I don't think you can just get rid of an earworm by listening to another catchy song, though. First you have to subject yourself to the offending song (if possible) and listen all the way through, so you have some closure. Then, you have to put it in its context by listening to similar shitty songs. In this case, I had to find some more terrible pop-country with clumsily suggestive lyrics. Let's see ...

No, that won't do, because that song is actually kind of good. Actually, once Baby I watched this TERRIBLE independent movie because Parker Posey was in it. That song was literally the only good thing about the movie. Regardless, I think the innuendo isn't bad enough. Let's see what else we have. How about this:

Holy shit, that's actually pretty awesome. And that innuendo is truly perplexing! What exactly is the plastic saddle? Do I even want to know? I could speculate, but I feel it's beneath the diginity of even this mostly-defunct blog to make suggestions. And God only knows what would happen to my search hits if I mentioned revagination.