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Well, I'm finally back among the workforce. Started the three week training for my new tech/customer support job with Apple of all places. Brand new building, we appear to be among the first classes. Though they are running 8 classes of approximately 25 people simultaneously. The job looks to be cake, support for iPod and iPod touch. The pay is not bad, $15 hr. We're contracting through Volt, so benefits aren't the best, but the do at least offer medical(Up yours AT&T.). And from what our trainer has said, something like 60% of Apples employees were hired from Volt. And as it's a new location, lots of promotion opportunities, such as Tier 2 support. I also heard mention of an email support department, which I'd definitely be interested in. The training hours are a bit annoying, 3:30pm - 12:30am but not awful. The building isn't finished being turned into a cube farm yet, the department manager apologized profusely for that, but it does mean they're going to be adding more perks and amenities for the employees. Generally I'm impressed. So far all of the Apple management I've met give the impression the actually care about the employees and don't just consider them expendable resources. I'm not terribly fond of the Apple propaganda(We actually watched Apple commercials as part of training.), but getting paid to become proficient in OS 10.5 is worth the minor annoyance. This will at least be a nice resume addition, both for work experience and skill set. I'd still rather have gotten the job at Highwind, but this one has some good points as well, not the least of which it's fairly close. About 7 miles one way. Farther than Go Daddy was, but much better than the 15 for Highwind. My run home tonight only took about 11 minutes.

Updates...

Jul. 23rd, 2008 11:09 am
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Been a fairly busy couple of weeks. I've been on three job interviews in the past five days. For those of you that don't know, Go Daddy decided to let me go back in early March. This was despite me having the highest QA average on my team for the past month and numbers well above average. However, I was in good shape financially. I had enough in savings that I didn't have to worry about finding a job immediately, so decided to slack off for a couple months. I started looking in mid May and found out from Bob AT&T was hiring Tier 2 Support reps for their U-Verse service only about two miles away. Applied and got hired and went through the three weeks of training. And over the third weekend came down with a plague-like coughing sickness and missed a couple days. It turns out I had written down the wrong sick line number, so I contact my temp agency and told them such. They said they didn't have the number but they'd take care of it with AT&T. Turns out they didn't do anything and AT&T let me go for not calling in properly. I'd suggest avoiding Adino if you're looking for employment. Fortunately, finances are still good. The three weeks of AT&T pay extended things a bit. But I started serious hunting again last week. I've applied and interviewed for two third shift help desk positions. They're not super close by(6 and 10 miles away.), but the pay is acceptable, and I like the sound of the environments at both companies. I'm hoping to hear back from them with either a job offer or request for additional interviews soon.

While I've been slacking off, pretty much the only thing I've spent money on is bills, food, and the drive-in. Generally, the routine is to head to Quik Trip to grab drinks and snacks. Then head to either In-N-Out for some animal style double doubles or McDonald's for $1 double cheeseburgers to 'sneak' into the drive-in. Seen quite a few movies this summer. Indiana Jones 4, Wall-E, Hulk, Hellboy 2, and The Dark Knight. All from separate trips. The local drive-in is usually pretty bad about pairing movies, and on the rare occasions that both movies are good Drea usually claims she is melting by the time the first one is over. I liked all of the above movies, even Indiana Jones with the aliens. Could have been better, but didn't hate it. I put it third in my order of preference among the series(1, 3, 4, 2). I may give a more in depth review at a later date. Finally the trailers included with The Dark Night. I'd already seen the Watchmen trailer, so it wasn't a surprise. But looks good. All the characters look correct, and the trailer is pretty much a spot on flash of the entire movie. The one that did surprise me Terminator Salvation. Yay, finally the movie I've been wanting since I saw Terminator back in '84, the war against the machines. I don't even really care if it's good or not. Now if they'll make a Colonial Space Marines movie, and sequels to Buckaroo Banzai and Sword and the Sorcerer all of my 80s movie wants will be fulfilled.

Movies

May. 2nd, 2008 11:19 am
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I've been to the drive-in twice this week. Saw Forbidden Kingdom on Sunday and Ironman last night. Both were good. Forbidden Kingdom was exactly what you'd expect from the trailers. A solid, fun Kung-Fu flick. Michael Angranaro was not terribly annoying as the American kid. Basically, if you're interested in the movie by the trailer, you'll probably like it. Ironman was also good. A solid origin story. Only two complaints really. Not enough action with the Ironman suit as most of the movie is spent either before it's built or in the building and testing of it. And the finale is a bit weak. It'd be a spoiler to say why exactly, but neither of them ruin the experience. They've definitely set things up for sequels and the inclusion of Warmachine. Also, be sure to stay until the end of the credits. 

Stuffs

Mar. 2nd, 2008 06:47 am
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I haven't posted in a while, but not a whole lot has been going on. I declared Nerf War on Friday as I had to go to Walmart to gen some kitchen flourescene bulbs. Bought a Maverick, informed Drea that a Nerf Arms Race had started, and that she'd better arm herself of be content to be a target. They work ok, the cylnder has a bit of an alignment issue that causes misfires if your not careful with how hard you pull the trigger. On the other hand, the cats run when the hear one cocked.

I've been watching movies and anime all weekend. I bought a bunch of DVDs from Amazon this week. On the movie front, watched Gangs of New York, Support Your Local Sherriff, Support Your Local Gunfighter, and Adventures in Babysitting yesterday. Friday I finished off watching Planetes. I liked it quite a bit. A hard science fiction series was refreshing. It starts a bit slow, but around episode 4 or 5, is where I started liking it. I really like the opening them, Dive into the Sky, along with the opening credits which are a nifty montage of the history of rocketry and space flight. Dive in the Sky is also a blast to play on Audiosurf, but more about that later. I've moved on to The Mars Daybreak. Martian submarine pirates. What more could you want? Plus it has mechs, talking cats, and talking Beluga whales in powersuits. About all it's missing is ninjas. It's not brilliant, but plenty entertaining. And they have little, round, worker robots called BALLS. This leads to Drea and I snickering like 12 year olds whenever the mention them in the dialogue.

Now, to Audiosurf. Drea told me about it once it popped up on Steam. It's alot more fun than it should be for such a simple game. It has a variety of little F-Zeroesque racing ships that you pilot along a course made by Audiosurf based on the MP3 you select. Variables such as the tempo of the song determine the layout of the course. Typically fast and loud means the course is downhill and fast, slow and soft means slow and uphill. Along the way you collect colored blocks. You get three touching each other and the clear out and you score addition points, kinda like Tetris. The more blocks connected and cleared, the more bonus points. There's other variables based on the ship used but that's the basic idea. As I said before, more fun than it should be. It's also forced me to ensure all the text data for my MP3s is accurate. It won't upload and compare scores if it can't read the text info.

Finally, Fresh & Easy. These are small grocery stores the British company Tesco has been talking about opening in the US for a couple years now. They're available in California, Nevada, and Arizona so far. Basically a smaller sized grocery store, specializing in fresh and prepackaged meals. They have stuff like lasanga, sandwiches, sushi, burritos, baked potatos, and a variety of other things in small meal sized packages ready for microwave or other type of heating. They're very good too. Fresh, they have a sell by date, usually within three days. Half price if you buy them on the sell by date. Prices in general are very good. I bought a beef lasanga dish, about 1 1/2 pounds, for $4. The first visit was before work, and about 10 minutes before the store was closed, so they were pretty picked over. But the next visit was right at opening when they had a much better selection. Their packaged chicken salad is VERY good. I also bought some pork carnitas that made for some excellent burritos. Just emptied the package in a skillet and heated on medium for ten minutes. Drea bought a fajita package. Beef strips, onions, and a variety of peppers. Again just dump into a skillet with a little oil and cook for 10 minutes. They also have regular groceries, also very competitively priced, but the primary draw is the pre-packed stuff. Either finished meals or ingredients in meal packages. They do the ingredient packages with all sorts of vegetables and meats. Check out is through those automated terminals, which is somewhat fun. I don't think it's gonna replace ordering online from Safeway as my primary grocery source, mainly because their hours a not terribly compatible with my schedule. But once I have purchased a freezer unit, I definitely intend to visit every couple of weeks to stock up on meats and pre-made meals.
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It's a couple days late this year, but better late than never. 33 this year. Again, don't feel any different than years previous. Took three days off to have a mini-vacation as is my custom. Didn't do anything but watch movies, read comics, and play games. But I bought approximate 25 or so new DVDs in October(3 paycheck month and the first month after car was paid off equals lots of disposable income.). Been on an Adam Warren kick after stumbling across his Deviantart site. Bought Empowered 1 and 2, Livewires, and a couple of his Gen 13 trade books. I especially like Empowered. Demonwolf, the "Fusion Phallused Violator of Worlds, the "Eldritch 12 Cylinder Engine of Destruction" amuses me to no end.
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From the Better Living Through Chemistry Department, I present BaconSalt.
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Sho'Nuff!
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Drea: So Monster Squad and Sparklie Girlie anime.
Me: There will be no Sparklie Girlie anime. We are watching World War II Mecha anime!

I am posting this because Drea told me to. But you get no context for it to make sense.

Movies

Jun. 30th, 2007 11:19 pm
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Went to the West Wind Scottsdale Drive - In tonight. 1408 and Fantastic Four 2 were playing. We went well prepared, hit QT for drinks and snacks, then Long John Silvers for greasy fishies. Got there well early, web page said 8:30 start, we were there at 8:00. Got through the line in about five minutes, got our spot. Waited for sunset. Found out they LIE!. 9:00 start. But 1408 was good.Creepy premise, and pretty well executed, but no fear chills. I think it's because they didn't do enough to set up an antagonist as a character. Of course the room is the antagonist, but they didn't do enough to characterize it. Most of the stuff that happens just seems to be stuff that happens to the character not being DONE to him. More of a amusement park ride kinda vibe. Still good overall though. Didn't stay for the second movie. Drea was too hot. The clincher was me finishing my drink in the middle of the credits to 1408. And that was my big 64 OZ Carl's Jr cup. So, it was decided. No Fantasic Four 2. As I didn't care for the first, I can wait for DVD. Drea is certain to buy and/or Netflix is. Oh an there was a trailer for Shoot 'Em Up. I admire it's title for straight forward honesty. Looks like a good, gun blazing action-fest.
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http://static.bethsoft.com/fo3/fallout.wmv Stupid 2008. So far away.
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Due to May being a three paycheck month, and $850 free cash from work incentive contests, I decided to upgrade the old computer. Well, just based on the extra pay check I planned on upgrading. The extra $850 just upgraded to more of a 'replace' than 'upgrade'. After everything was setup, only the floppy drive, DVD burner, and my 2 250 GB serial ATA2 drives were kept.

In researching motherboards, I found that virtually no current boards have VGA ports. This was a problem as I had 2 21" Trinitrons at the time. And the old one, that I'd relegated to rarely used second, looked like crap with a VGA to DVI adaptor. I HOPED getting a better adaptor and using the newer Trinitron wouldn't have the same problems, but I bought a nice 22" X2gen panel just to be safe. Only $250 or so with a one year replace for any reason warranty. And it looks way nice. A bit TOO bright though. Even tweaked. To get what I consider a good brightness screws up colors. I'm getting used to it. The good new is the Trinitron doesn't look bad with one of the other adaptors I bought. But definitely not as good as with a straight VGA connection. Good enough for a second monitor though.

The new Antec P180B case is very nice. Power supply in the bottom of the case which made cable routing interesting. Came with 3 120mm 3 speed fans and space for 2 more, which I also bought. So with a total of 6 120mm fans(One on the heatsink/fan combo, Tuniq Tower.), it's virtually silent. I have to actively listen for it when the AC is not running, and that's with all 6 on the high setting. It's totally silent on medium or low. I don't like the new panel compared to my trusty old Antec 1040b, but everything else is very nice. The power supply was a bit of a gamble. 575 watt but only cost $25. 90+% of the Newegg reviews said good things and most of the bad were of the 'It was dead in the box' variety so I figured I'd take a change. No problems so far after two weeks, so looks likke the gamble paid off.

I hadn't decided on whether to go with a Core2Duo or an X2 processor, but when looking at pricing there was a combo deal on the X2 3600+ Brisbane core chip and 2GB of nice Corsair memory, so that decided things. This one with modest air cooling, and I have much better than just modest, should do at least 3 ghz from it's stock 1.9. I haven't tried yet, stock the dual core chip is significantly faster than my old Athlon XP at 2ghz. Twice the RAM and it being much faster RAM doesn't hurt either. I went with an Asus Nforce 570 ultra board. I don't see myself ever buying two video cards at once, so I didn't want to waste any cash on an SLI board. I went with an XFX Geforce 7950GT 512MB card. Since I don't plan on buying Vista any time in the forseeable future, getting one of the 8xxx series Geforce cards would have been a waste. This card is plenty. I have Dawn of War Dark Crusade running at the new panel's native 1680x1050 will everything set on max and 4x antialiasing and I've not seen any slowdowns, even when I've filled a map with Waugh! banners and had a full cap of Orkies attack a base. Additionally, the card only warms up about 2 degrees over idle temp. So I am plenty pleased with the performance. No game I've tried so far has had any problems running at the panel's native resolution. I may dig out Fear and see how it does. Finally I grabbed a new Western Digital 320 GB serial ATA2 hard drive. I really didn't need more space. The idea was behind it was two fold: A. It was cheap. B. I wanted to have a complete system without taking the old one down. Makes researching install problems easier and I wanted to have the new system totally functional with all my normal apps before I did something permanent. Problems. I forgot I don't have an extra keyboard. But the install went without a hitch and I did have just about everything running before taking the old system apart. Turns out the only thing I lost this time was a text file on my desktop that I had my movie want list on. Not a major problem.

So, to sum up new system:

AMD A64 X2 3600+ 1.9ghz soon to be 3+ghz
2 x 1GB CORSAIR TWIN2X2048-6400 RAM
ASUS M2N-E NForce 570 ULTRA AM2 motherboard
XFX GF7950GT 512MB video card
Western Digital 320GB ATA2 hard drive.
2x Western Digital 250GB ATA2 hard drives from old system
Pioneer DVR111D Dual layer burner from old system.
Sony 3 1/2" floppy drive(Just because some driver companies are stupid about their utilities.) from old system.
Tuniq Tower HSF
X2gen 22" LCD.

Price for parts not counting LCD was just a bit under $900. And the LCD was around $250. The free $850 from work pretty much covered the system. And I bought the LCD out of the extra paycheck. I like the LCD enough I may get a second some time this year. While I have a ton of deskspace, you can always use more. The downside is, you can't stand toys on an LCD. Currently I have a Tachikoma, 'Alphonse' from Patlabor, a Microsoft Sidewinder joystick, and a Viking Kitten plushy on top of mine.

Damn WotC

Apr. 20th, 2007 05:50 pm
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Per press releases from both WotC and Paizo, looks like August will be the last issues of Dungeon and Dragon magazines. The only reason given is some nebulous BS about moving periodical content to an online forum.
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Been an irritating March so far. I caught a chest infection on 02/27, or at least that's what the doctor said it was. I finished my antibiotics over a week ago and still cough like mad. Dry, hacking cough. Very annoying. However, other than the cough all is pretty good. I got a new LCD TV. TV! Got it from Woot for only $495. It's very pretty an JUST fits in the shelves in the wall with maybe a finger of space on either side. PS2 games look very good and it's nice watching all my 16x9 format DVDs with no bars. On an semi-unrelated note, it amazes me how cheap electronic stuff such as remote control vehicles have become. I bought a nice remote control Sherman tank for $20 including shipping. Something like this would have cost over $100 when I was a kid. It's fun to run around the apartment, the cats are split. Kougin thinks it's his new best friend. Alex is terrified of it.
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Oddly enough spending money at Best Buy was harder than I'd imagined when I HAVE to spend it at Buy. Work was having a performance incentive contest. They had two second prizes, your choice of a Wii or X-Box 360. I won both second prizes, and chose one of each. Unfortunately work did not have the foresight to purchase the Wii prior to the contest ending. As a result, I got a $425 Best Buy gift card. Not bad, as $425 is significantly more than a Wii costs, but being forced to buy from one store is a tad annoying. $425 isn't really enough for any of the big ticket items I want, not enough for a better TV than what I have, and I don't really have a use for a laptop in that price range. So I ended up buying stuff that I'd been looking at as 'Nifty' but could never justify spending 'real' money on. I bought a Roomba(Works well, scares one cat, the other thinks it's his new best friend.). A Nostromo Speedpad(Been eyeing on for years. Also works pretty well. A bit of a learning curve to get used to it.). Battlefield 1942 The Complete Collection, Battlefield 2, and F.E.A.R. Been playing F.E.A.R. so far. It's pretty good and since it was a new game for me, I didn't have to unlearn as many habits to use the Speedpad. I finished off the rest of the card with DVDs. Reservoir Dogs 10th Anniversary Edition, Star Trek II, The Mummy Collection(On backorder, stupid Best Buy.), the second part of Full Metal Panic Second Raid, and Hard Target(To annoy my roommate.). I managed to spend all buy $5 bucks on the card. Took a couple tries, tax kept putting me over.

Christmas

Dec. 24th, 2006 10:29 pm
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Just finished dinner. I made ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, broccoli au gratin, green been casserole, hawaiian sweet rolls, and country gravy. All from mixes, but it still turned out pretty good. Especially considering it took about 30 minutes total, not counting cook time for the ham. I am officially 'stuffed' at this point.
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Decided to do something different this year. Ordered overnight BBQ from Carson's Chicago. Got two racks of ribs, two half pound pork chops, au gratin potatoes, cole slaw, and baguettes. It arrived in a styrofoam case still frozen with a dry ice pack. They forgot the potatoes, so I made mashed potatoes instead. Turned out good. And there's still on rack of ribs left for leftovers.

Birfdays

Nov. 4th, 2006 07:09 pm
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Another year has passed, and again, things are pretty much the same. Again November is an extra paycheck month, so I've bought some new toys and stuffs. Bought a bunch of DVDs on Ebay last week in preparation of days off. Most of them have arrived. Didn't go out for food as I normally do, didn't feel like leaving the house today. Will probably do so tomorrow, and maybe hit the drive in.

I also bought Neverwinter Nights 2. So far it's been a disappointment. Really limited character appearance options. The camera is really clunky. Enough so I'm not gonna play it anymore until a few weeks goes by and some fixes are released. There was already a major patch released by the time I installed it, and I preordered it with overnight shipping. From what I've seen and from other comments it's REALLY linear, two encounters into the tutorial, they throw enough XP at you to get to level 2. That and the forced companions for the early part of the game is annoying. The interface is seriously clunky as well, the didn't use any of the radial menu of the original. Not to mention no, or awkward remapping of keys and buttons. Very disappointing, I expect better of obsidian, especially considering how much more polished KOTOR 2 was.

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As it is 4th of July and I do not have any explosives. I shall celebrate by cooking. Ribeyes and steak fries FTW. I have new BBQ rub from Dizzy Piggy that makes them even better than usual.
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A) Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Pizza, delivery 7+ place last count.
2. Knife Salesman(Bleeding during an in home demo = guilt sale.).
3. Laborer in a steel mill.
4. Tech support in 4+ places.

B) Four movies you would watch over and over: (I do this for way more than four movies. So in no particular order or importance.)
1. Goonies
2. Master and Commander
3. Big Trouble in Little China
4. The Right Stuff

C) Four places you have lived:
1. Capistrano Beach, CA
2. Herndon, VA
3. Pittsburgh, PA
4. Mesa, AZ

D) Four TV shows you love to watch: (I pretty much don't watch TV anymore, haven't had TV cable in over a year.)
1. Just about anything on the History Channel.
2. Azumanga Daioh
3. Probe(Let's go for the totally obscure.)
4. Deadwood (One of the few things I miss from cable.)

E) Four places you have been on vacation:
1. The Grand Canyon
2. Washington, DC
3. Catalina Island, CA
4. Various backwoods in PA and CA.

F) Websites you visit daily:
1. Fark
2. Livejournal
3. TotalFark
4. Google(It is my friend.)

G) Four of my favourite foods:
1. Medium rare Ribeyes.
2. My home cooked 1 lb. burgers.
3. My home cooked pulled pork BBQ sandwiches.
4. Pork Lo Mein.

H) Four places I would rather be right now: (I LOVE my apartment. I have spent lots of money and effort making it my favorite place.
1.
2.
3.
4.

I) Four friends I think will respond: (Beats me, they are an unpredicatable lot.)
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