Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Fall 2006 - Time Of Transition

I've been with my current employer, ISS Group, since May of 1998. For those of you too lazy to do the math, that's about 8½ years so far. In that time, I've:
  • Moved from Metairie, LA, to Bloomfield, NJ to take the job in the first place.
  • Married my wife (1999) and moved from the Bloomfield apartment to a house in West Orange, NJ.
  • Had a son, Nate, and a daughter, Maren.
  • Won over the affections of a notoriously antisocial cat (Meepy), and a few years later had to put her down in her old age.
  • Adopted a new kitten (Max).
  • Sold my 10+ years old Saturn, and taken over my wife's old Subaru wagon.
  • Replaced the Saturn with a 2004 Mazda.
  • Become active within my synagogue, Congregation Agudath Israel (CAI)
  • Begun a relatively successful freelance operation, assisting home users with their computers.
  • Taken an active role on the Digital Press web-forums, and become active among the Northern New Jersey videogame collecting scene.
That's a lot of water under the bridge. Understandably, I've grown comfortable, and I'm not fond of change. I *LIKE* the way things had come to be.

Sometime at the end of the summer my employer, ISS, underwent a significant change in the company's leadership and upper management. I am not at all happy or comfortable with the current leadership, and am now in the unpleasant position of having to look for a new job. I DON'T like this. I still hold my job, but for how long is anybody's guess.

As if I hadn't enough stress, around the time my new boss threatened to terminate me, I was told by my mechanic that I should trade my car in ASAP, as it needed repairs that would, at best, run around $1500, and the car was worth possibly $4000-5000. Also, during this period, a pet adoption shelter effectively told my wife and I that we couldn't adopt a cat, as they didn't believe we were suitable parents for the cat. (!!!!)

If anybody ever had any doubts about my survival-instinct or a tendency toward suicide, let this put those to bed. I've never considered killing myself, and if I didn't consider it over the last 8 weeks it's never gonna happen.

So, let's fast-forward 3 weeks, shall we?

  • The first weekend of November we adopted Max, an 8-month old kitten. While Max is adorable, he's the klutziest cat I've ever known. He attempts the same amazing acrobatic feats every young, healthy cat tries, but Max misses his jumps most of the time.
  • Saturday, Nov. 18, I traded in the '99 Subaru Outback for a 2004 Mazda 6s Sport Wagon, with a 5-speed. The car had about 18,000 miles, and looked almost-new. I love the car. It was my first choice, and after a week-and-a-half the thrill hasn't worn off.
  • Last Wednesday, Nov.22, I had an interview for a new job with a company about 20 minutes west of my home. The company and job looked appealing to me, and I think I impressed the folks I interviewed with (co-founders/owners of the company). I hope they call me back, and think I've got a good shot.
  • Sometime last week our garage door opener suffered a dramatic death, leaving a steel-pole-shaped hole in the garage ceiling. On Saturday, Nov 25, I removed the old opener and installed a brand-new one. Belt-drive. 2 remote transmitters. Wireless keypad on outside of garage door. Homelink compatible, in case we ever own a fancier car than we have now.
  • Also on Saturday, I removed the console from the new Mazda, and installed an RF modulator for my Sirius satellite receiver. The Sirius signal is now fed directly into the stereo now, and I don't have to try and find a clear frequency to use with it. (An often impossible task in Northern New Jersey.) While the console was sitting in the back seat, I also took advantage of the opportunity and spliced into the power wires feeding the cigarette lighter. I've now got a couple of wires coming out of the top of the dash, running straight to the Sirius unit. The end result is that, instead of seeing a few feet of wire running out the side of the Sirius unit, and then down in front of the dash and running under and behind the dash by the footwell, there are 2 inches of wire going straight down into the top-center of the dash, and everything looks much neater. The Sirius signal is much clearer now as well.
Other things on my mind lately -
US Politics - On the one hand, I'm more relieved than words can describe that the Dems did so well in the Mid-Term elections. On the other hand, I sincerely believe the 2000, 2002, and 2004 national elections were rigged, and I'm therefore suspicious of this year's result. After getting away with things in the last few elections, why would the people pulling the strings let the Dems win this year? It has me slightly worried, but hopefully I'm wrong and things are simply on a positive, improving track.

The new videogames - The Sony Playstation 3 is simply too expensive. I've nearly zero interest in it, quite possibly because I could cover a couple of months of car insurance for the cost of the console alone, with no games. I *WILL* be getting a Nintendo Wii sooner or later. It's very interesting to me, seems like it may even promote a slight bit of physical exercise, and includes a game. The relatively reasonable price is nice as well. And, the hype is beginning to influence me toward buying the new Zelda game with the Wii, once I break down and get one. Until now the only Zelda I've ever played was the very first Zelda on the original Nintendo Entertainment System, and that one didn't appeal to me at all. Whatever the point of the game was, I just didn't get it. Videogame RPGs have never appealed to me. But there's nothing but positive talk about Wii Zelda, and the idea of using the controller as a sword, or bow and arrow, certainly sounds neat.

My MythTV computer - A couple of weeks ago the system hung, for the second time since I built it in late August/early September. After rebooting, all of the recorded programs were gone. This was a big annoyance. Since then, the remote control hasn't worked, and I haven't had time to investigate. I'm toying with upgrading to Myth 0.20 (currently on 0.19), but haven't dealt with that yet. In the meantime, the box is still recording every episode of My Name Is Earl and Heroes. Speaking of....

Heroes - Have You Watched This Show Yet???? Heroes is far and away my favorite show to come along in years. It's really, really good. Oh, and do you recall the whiny, annoying 'Jess' from Gilmore Girls? Well, the actor that portrayed Jess is on Heroes, and not nearly as annoying. In fact, his character is a pretty good guy, and not too earnest most of the time. I hate being such a sucker, but I know I'm going to end up with Heroes Series DVDs sooner or later.

My Digital Camera - New Car, New Kitten, etc...., and no pictures here on the blog? What's going on? Well, it's like this..... A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store, and saw these new Panasonic Oxyride batteries. The packaging described these batteries as being intended for high-drain devices like digital cameras, and explained the batteries lasted much longer than alkalines. Not being satisfied with the life of our NiMH rechargeables, standard alkaline, or the expensive Lithium batteries in our digital camera, I thought I'd give the Oxyrides a try. After inserting Oxyride batteries in our Olympus digicam, the camera drains any batteries inserted into ti, INSTANTLY. Brand-new Duracells? 5 minutes, 5 pictures, and then they are toast. Well, as a Panasonic customer care rep explained to me, my camera is incompatible with Manganese batteries, as the Olympus owner's manual clearly states on page 10. And of course Oxyrides are Manganese batteries. So the camera is currently at Olympus being repaired. Hopefully it will be sent back to me soon, and you'll see pictures of things begin to appear on this site.

I think this is long enough for now. Have a good December.

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