Happy 2012!!!

Posted January 1st, 2012 (5:31 pm) || 5 Comments

Well, we now have less than 12 months before the end of the world. Even now rumors of apocalyptic destruction are flying about the delusional half of the new age crowd. If such foretellings are true, the Earth shall be consumed by a black hole, annihilated (somehow) by the solar maximum, or collide with Nibiru. Some also believe 2012 will actually issue in an age of enlightenment and peace in some kind of “Age of Aquarius”. But if you believe all the futurist sci-fi literature, all we can really expect is the total economic collapse America and a possible religious takeover of the government.

2011 was an… interesting year. This has been my first year since becoming unemployed from a full-time permanent job that I’ve not worked or earned any money at all. None. I’ve gotten a few interviews but nothing that’s actually progressed all the up to a pay check. I’ve also received no freelance work. Fortunately DeAnna is still gainfully employed and her job alone can cover the majority of our expenses. I know I can’t expect to receive unemployment benefits forever, and they are really dwindling now, but the supplemental income is helping to make ends meet. Seeing as how I can expect them to run out sometime in February I’m going to expand my job search to part-time and minimum wage positions, as any wage is better than no wage.

Back in October I receive a new smartphone for my birthday. It’s a Samsung T-499, which is kinda low-end, but function and does all those things I want a smartphone to do. I’m actually quite impressed with it. Even without installing any apps it was capable of just about everything I was looking for in a phone. A few apps later and it can now do things I never expected a phone to do (such as roll dice and look up rules for RPGs). I’m gonna have to get DeAnna one of these for her birthday, provided we have the income to afford the extra $35/month T-Mobile wants for 3G service.

Our cat Ember is now over a year old and has spent a full year with us. She is still so tiny. Here is a (blurry) photo of her:

ember3

We lost Jared this year. He was old, but not ancient, but very sick. I’ve had Jared since he was a kitten. I adopted him from the Humane Society, almost by accident. I had given a friend a ride so she could adopt a cat of her own, and I had asked to see a black kitten only a month or so old while I was waiting. As it turned out, she could not adopt as her apartment management could not be contacted to confirm they allowed pets, but rather than leaving empty handed she paid for my adoption of the kitten, which I named Jared. That was so long ago. I miss you Jared.

With our loss of Jared, we’ve considered getting a new kitten to keep Ember company, though we wanted to wait until after the new year to look. I’m not sure what we’ll be looking for but as with Ember, I’m sure something will come up and just the right time and will be perfect.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my cousin Mark moved in. His job is going well, though I’m not sure if it’s paying him enough to give him any independence. This coming year I’m hoping he’ll look into getting financial aid and get into school for something better. Any amount of independence won’t happen until after college, but he’ll be working in that direction and will be expanding his network of people he knows here in Phoenix. I’m worried he doesn’t get out enough, but who am I to talk?

Another one of our friends moved up to Seattle just prior to Thanksgiving. It seems that’s really the place to go, as we now know more people living up there than we do locally. Kinda weird since a long time ago DeAnna and I had decided if we were going to move anywhere but here, it’d be to Seattle. It’s comforting to know what once we make the move we’ll already know so many people there.

In the gaming world, my MMO of choice, City of Heroes, went free to play. This thrills me to no end. There are still plenty of perks to having a paid subscription, but it’s good to know if I can’t make the subscription payment for a month or two I can still play. My other MMO of choice (Lord of the Rings Online) went free to play last year, and I’m loving that as well. My new D&D campaign is going surprisingly well, though I’m still aching to actually play something rather than be the GM all the time. One of my players has offered to run, and is interested in taking over as GM for my campaign. I’ve never handed over the reins of my own campaign world before, so I’m a little scared and a lot excited over the idea. Best of all I’ll have a chance to play. I just hope I don’t try to back-seat GM or criticize too much.

Christmas has come and gone, and despite not having a lot of money to go around we managed to get gifts for everyone. Mom was thrilled to get Cowboys & Aliens, and we got Jacob a remote control helicopter (which I immediately broke after opening, but I’ll get him a new one come payday). We got mark an iTunes gift card for use with his iPhone and a 6-pack of Lucky Buddha beer (the bottles are shaped like a Buddha and the beer tastes great!). We did a gift exchange with our D&D group as well, which was awesome. I got Bruno, who is new to the game and who I don’t know that well, a 6-pack of Lucky Buddha beer. DeAnna got Marianne a set of spooky shot glasses. Rob made us an ornament made of copper wire which bears our name (we might keep this up year ’round). Shane got me a t-shirt (Sarcasm: the body’s natural defense against stupid) which actually fits. I’m of a large size and impossible to buy clothing for, and this is the first time anyone has bought me a piece of clothing that fit since I was 12. (Not entirely true, but I’m not counting the t-shirt gifts from my friend who already knew my size because he was the same).

Christmas Eve DeAnna and I took a drive around the neighborhood to take a look at all the decorations once more. Right around midnight some had decorated an entire neighborhood with luminaries. It was incredible! Many of them were still lit and they made the night more magical. I have no idea who was responsible for it, but I thank them for such a grand effort, despite the lateness of the hour it did not go unappreciated.

Well, it’s now the new year, and it’s time to pack up our decorations, and hopefully pack up a few things for a potential move in a few years. Provided the world doesn’t come to an end before then of course.

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Marijuana Legal?

Posted October 10th, 2010 (8:53 am) || Comments Off

On the ballet this year in California is Proposition 19, which would enable persons age 21 older to legally possess, consume and even grow marijuana. As I’m not a resident of California, I have no say in the matter and will not be significantly influenced either way if the proposition passes or fails. I have some thoughts on the matter though.

I’m no expert on the substance, but I understand it has a number of short-term physical and neurological effects, some of which may interfere with any number of physical and cognitive tasks, just as driving or taking a math test. How much interference I’m not sure of, but having been near enough to some friends who’ve been under the influence I can easily say I’d rather not be in the road while someone driving high, and know not to expect such a person to finish that test on time (at least not without a lot of guessing to save time). What I’d like to do is discuss how, if legalized, users under the influence of marijuana may be treated.

My first concerns involve the workplace. With marijuana illegal, having traces of it how up on a drug test would be immediate grounds for termination from any employer which uses drug screening. As a legal substance, its presence would have to be ignored. Like alcohol, there would have to be indicators an employee is under the influence while on the job. I know some tests may indicate how recently marijuana was consumed, but I’m worried it would be impossible to distinguish between people using it responsibly away from work, medicinally, or at work in violation of company policy.

I have similar concerns for law enforcement, whose tests performed in the field are far less accurate than a full lab test.

I suppose these issues are matters for the employers to figure out, but it leaves a lot of room for error. I’d also rather not smell pot at work.

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CASFS Is Using My Logo

Posted April 11th, 2010 (2:51 pm) || Comments Off

A few years ago the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society held a contest for armature graphic designers to produce a new logo for their organization. Mine (pictured below) was the winning entry. I didn’t get much for it, just an announcement in the next issue of Connotations and a couple of tickets into the next convention of my choice. But that’s cool, as I just wanted something I designed in print, on websites and such with credit to me for doing it.  Unfortunately at the time CASFS was kinda taking blow after blow from within and from without and was slowly falling apart, while those who really cared tried like hell to keep it all together. In the chaos no one managed to locate the paperwork I needed to sign at the same time they managed to locate me. Eventually I just sent in a number of emails (and posted elsewhere publicly) giving CASFS permission to use the logo I had created (I’d received my payment after all).

Well, after all these years, they are finally using it on their website: http://www.casfs.org/index.shtml

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Working

Posted April 2nd, 2010 (10:12 pm) || Comments Off

It looks like the job thing is turning out okay, because I start on Monday! Yippee!!!

It’s a customer service position, involving the U.S. Census, so I’ll probably talking to people who haven’t filled out the info yet and maybe don’t wanna. I really have no idea, but I’m gonna have to take a lifetime oath or something (according to the commercials) not to talk about it. But whatever… there was this one person, who call in… and said stuff to me… and… then I had to say stuff back or something…

…Right.

So I’m looking forward to this. I still will have weekends off, and I’ll be working a similar shift to DeAnna, so we’ll still get to see each other about as much as we do now. I still have to work out some details about transportation, but it’s right up the street to if the bus won’t work I can always walk.

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Am I Working?

Posted March 25th, 2010 (11:51 am) || Comments Off

Well, I got a tip about a potential job working for the 2010 U.S. Census. Unfortunately, by the time I got this tip, the positions had all be filled. Then yesterday I got a call from a recruiter who said the agency was just notified about a new position that just opened up, only this one is just up the street from where I live and I’m the first in line for getting it. W00t!

So I just got back from my interview and background screening/fingerprinting and need to wait a week or so for the results. Assuming nothing totally wonky happens, I’ll be employed in a temporary, full-time position making about what I did at GoDaddy. This should definitely help get our friends and family who owe money to paid back, and might also get our computers upgraded.

Wish me luck!

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