This was not what I meant when I said I wanted to try Corona.

If there’s one good thing that’s come out of this whole Covid-19 mess, besides me having time to actually do moderately useful things with this platform, it’s that I finally get to see how I’d do if I had a mostly working from home job. It helps that nothing about my job requires I physically be in the office to begin with, but it’s nice to be able to quantify what that means. That being said, I was kind of hoping my first Corona would be just slightly different–and, ideally, not result in the ruining of anyone’s life but my own.

I don’t know if the fact this mess came on so quick scares me more, or the fact most places still have no clue what to do with/about it and we’re a month into this thing. Surprisingly, neither our provincial nor our federal government have entirely gummed up the works yet, but there’s still plenty of time for one or both to trip over themselves–and both Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau are shockingly good at tripping over themselves at inopportune times. But right now, I don’t feel like slapping either of them. That’s a first.

I haven’t touched this thing in over 2 years, which I think is the longest I’ve gone without at least making sure it was still breathing. Note to self: this was a good habit to get into–stay there this time. Unfortunately, me not touching this thing for a couple years didn’t do this place any favours. Code that hadn’t seen an update since 2015 was still floating about like it had a place to be. So a quarantine project of mine has been to clean that up. Half the junk that was here I’d forgotten I put here, so that’s a thing. Now, at least, when I remember to use it, the platform should run slightly faster. Or it’s fired.

Life’s been pretty much turned up side down everywhere. Except probably a couple places in the US that are up for nomination at this year’s Darwin awards. If I had a routine of any sort, the province’s not quite a lockdown would have probably torn it to pieces. As it is, I’m noticing even the small things I would normally do just because they were handy have gotten complicated. Going for a walk to the convenience store next door just for an excuse to be somewhere else, for example. And coming back with a couple slices of really good, really cheap pizza because I might as well seeing as I was already there. Stuff I don’t notice I do semi-regularly until it becomes no longer an option.

I’m not sure if I’ll like where we’re going once we come out the other side of this thing. Mostly because I have no idea what the other side will look like. Will there be more working from home? Will talk of a basic income actually go places? Will I land somewhere that wants to do more than pay peanuts for a metric ton of work? I have no clue. A bunch of people who are presently working from home would like to think this is the new normal. The way the government’s spending money now on an emergency response to Covid-19 than any level has ever spent on a social safety net in as long as I’ve been breathing, and there’s a bunch of people who don’t currently qualify that are hoping this becomes the new floor. I got an email from an HR person saying they want to talk to me after the dust settles, so I’m semi-hoping there’s a job offer attached to that conversation. But I have absolutely no clue. The only thing I know for certain, this was not exactly what I meant when I said I wanted to try Corona. Yall can have this back, now.

7 months and still a geek.

So remember when I had all these plans for doing all this stuff and junk? Remember when that was going to be a thing? Yeah, neither do I. But apparently that was in August–7 months and 2 days ago, at least according to the last time I touched this website. So what’s kept me busy?

The short version: Life sometimes sucks. The slightly longer version: I’ve been alternating between doing the job I’ve had since last February and getting my life something vaguely resembling back in order. It’s resulted in no shortage of doing everything at once and forgetting I’ve left half of it in the air, but that’s apparently how 2017-2018 me rolls. It’s only because I happen to have found half an hour while at work that I can even give this thing a poke here and there for old time’s sake. Perhaps this time around I’ll actually, you know, stick with it like I used to before it all went to hell.

While I’ve been ignoring this thing, a bunch of stuff’s happened. Like Ottawa eventually at some point maybe possibly getting Lyft, assuming we ask nicely. And my hockey team actually looking like there might be a slim chance the next time it gains the playoffs it’ll do slightly more than roll over and play dead. And if this management’s worth more than the last one, it won’t do something braindead in the off season–like, for instance, deciding they can’t afford to keep Austin Matthews. I swear to chocolate, that is probably the one thing guaranteed to have me not watching another Leafs game. Not that I’ve been watching much hockey this year–yes, I know, I’m surprised too, but you’ll have that.

The job itself’s going well, even if the pay itself isn’t. I’m still getting my hands dirty at every opportunity, and there’s been plenty–one of our customers is currently putting up with a pretty major outage, so I’ve been spending the bulk of the day poking around inside their equipment and waiting on other people from other companies in other parts of the country to get their asses in gear. I’m learning a lot about technology that I thought I knew about from school, only to find out they only slightly scratched the surface, which is both extremely nice and way freaky. For example, going into this job I assumed a router was a router was a router. Oh, I know business level routers and such are a hell of a lot more flexible than, say, the router that comes built into your ISP’s modem, but they get a lot more involved than that. In particular, if you can afford to set up a proper VOIP system, you’ve got separate connections for your voice circuits and your data circuits (read: your phone and internet run through separate lines). Apparently, there is such a beast as a router explicitly designed to handle voice connectivity. This I did not know until I started working at Nova, and only because at times like today’s major incident I end up needing to poke at one. So I’m getting paid, albeit not well, to take the things I’ve been paying to learn and spin them around a few times, occasionally spitting out something slightly more useful than I had an hour ago.

Beyond that, though, it’s been pretty routine. Get up, go to work, come home, chill, try to find that social life–I’m actually figuring out how to use that again, and–oh yeah–replace a dead desktop–the thing was over 7 years old and finally gave up the ghost in October. That gave me an excuse to poke around inside the thing, which of course having nothing to lose I did in about 45 seconds. The long and short of that poking? Computer’s dead, hard drive’s perfectly fine. So one USB enclosure later and the data that was on my now retired desktop llives on one of my external hard drives. As for the drive that used to belong to that desktop? It has a new life now as someone else’s video drive–I already have 3 external drives, I did not need a fourth. The drive itself is maybe 3-4 years old, so has plenty of life left–it was the only part I ever had to replace in what was essentially a hand-me-down computer. And just as soon as I get my financial life in slightly more of an order, a desktop that is not a hand-me-down computer is on my shopping list.

That’s life, if you’re me. There’s a bunch of other things too, but this post’s already longer than it should be. Perhaps hell will freeze and I’ll remember what this thing’s supposed to do. And perhaps I’ll land a job that wants to pay me $50k. Let’s see which one of these things is likely. While we’re seeing, let’s see if submitting this makes the site crash. Hey, you’d freeze and panic too if you ran into something you’d forgotten how to do–like, for example, tolerate my pointless rambling. There will be actual content. Just, well, perhaps not today. Mostly because chasing other people has fried my brain. A lot has changed, but sometimes, technology is still wicked evil.

So life happened. It’s still happening.

So a funny thing happened. I got all enthusiastic like about having some free time to do the geek things I’ve been putting off because academia. I even have, written down somewhere I’ve probably forgotten exactly where, very specific plans re: what I was hoping I might accomplish between the end of said academia and, uh, now. And then stuff happened and now suddenly it’s August and I need to relearn how to do basic things–like, you know, having a social life. Or tinkering with PHP without bringing the whole damned server down around my ears (that’s harder than you think when you haven’t touched it in an age). Or remembering the proper credentials for getting into a website I took great pains in securing after a complete rebuild before those security precautions locked the thing down to the point where it required manual, behind the scenes intervension. So basically it’s been a bit. But with good reason. See, what I wasn’t planning on was life deciding it was going to rather considerably pick up speed after I left school. Since it did, a bunch of crap happened, most of it good, some of it not so much, all of it in very short order.

I’d planned to kick back and take it easy for a month or two after leaving the college. I should have known better than to plan anything, because the minute I did, the universe had other ideas. Not long after I was finished, I had a rather sudden family emergency to deal with. Certain members of my family are still dealing with the aftermath of that emergency, and out of respect for them we’ll not be delving into too many details, but I will say it’s been way too long since I’ve had any reason to throw everything I owned into a suitcase that fast. While we were dealing with that, I got a call back here in Ottawa for a job interview–this was, keep in mind, mid-February, so considerably quicker than I had any reason to expect.

The interview was for a company I hadn’t really heard of until I’d applied for a position there. The position, which they’ve essentially generalized as network operations analyst, is pretty much exactly what my time at college was–some exposure to everything from a Windows server to the networking gear connecting it to the rest of the world. The interview took a bit, but was pretty much just your standard “How would you solve X problem in Y situation” type conversation. And in that interview, something else I wasn’t planning for happened. The conversation circled around for a bit, then the guy doing the interview–who, as it turns out, would also be the guy I would end up directly reporting to–walked out of the room to have a conversation with someone further up the food chain. 20 minutes later he was back and I was signing an employment contract. I walked out of that interview with a foot in the door for a paycheck.

Since that was definitely not on the immediate agenda when I got up that morning, and since I had a week and a bit to get me settled before I started, that meant a lot of very quickly moving parts in very many moving directions and I spent more time on the phone in that week than I did the 6 months previous. By the time I stepped foot in the office for the first time as an actual employee, my head had been spinning for 3 days–and there was still a ton I had to do, most of it involving learning how to not break their systems. But it became official nonetheless, and I ended up the latest name on the Nova Networks roster.

The next bit was essentially me learning exactly how they do things, which is still taking some getting used to and I’ve been there for a few months already. And while I was knee deep in that, I was also officially graduating from the college–with flimsy little diploma thing and everything, which they were thoughtful enough to mail to me ages before graduation, just in case I said to hang with it and hit the bar instead (it was tempting). It was a good excuse to catch up with people, and I discovered–not for the first time–I wasn’t the only one to land a job pretty much right out of college. A few of those folks actually landed jobs at the same company I did, but not necessarily with the same team, so there’s that. Honestly the alcohol would have been fun, but tying up loose ends seemed the marginally better choice. Besides the alcohol came later.

With all that out of the way, I found the room to start getting the rest of my life back on track, so that’s been a thing. It’s a bit of a trick, particularly given it involves a wee bit of financial creativity in spots and as nice as the job is I’m not exactly rolling in finances with which to be creative, but barring a complete implosion the likes of which I haven’t seen in a number of years, it shouldn’t be too extremely painful for too extremely long. The only thing now is to remember exactly where I left that social life.

It’s been crazy, and will probably get crazier, but I think I’m starting to get used to it. Which, more than likely, means I’ll find some other excuse to forget how to get back into this thing. That’s what happens when life happens. But who knows? With things becoming slightly more routine now and academia not sucking out my soul, maybe–just maybe–the rest of my old habbits will catch up with me. Or maybe I need another drink.

A job for me, but not with thee. Or, how to guarantee you don’t see my resume.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done the job market thing. Since leaving college, I’ve pretty much lived there. That’s brought back some things that used to annoy me about job searches. Admittedly this isn’t most employers–and so far, I’ve not seen it from any of the supposedly average to good employers, but for the ones who I’ve seen it from, I’ve put together a few things I strongly recommend you don’t do if you expect me to actually do more than toss your job advertisement in the trash before I get past the second line. And because it’s what I do, have a thing in list format–because 3:00 AM is not the time for an essay.

  1. Gmail. Don’t bother. No, seriously. You are a professional employer, presumedly. This means you have something that vaguely resembles a professional working environment. If you can afford to pay me to do your IT work, you can afford $10 for web hosting. Most of that web hosting comes with at least one email address. There’s no excuse for on a job ad.
    • If you’re using Hotmail (now instead, just don’t bother posting your job ad. Seriously, you need more help than I can provide.
  2. Know the language. Or, if nothing else, hire someone to proofread you that knows the language–if you need suggestions, I’ve got a few. I’m not suggesting you suddenly develop a university level degree in English. But if I need to read your ad to get the point, then read it again to make sure, you’re doing it wrong.
    • This becomes significantly more important when one of your requirements is that your IT geek know the language. I’m your IT geek. I’m not your editor. If you need an editor, I’ve got names.
  3. Be specific. “IT Help Wanted” is an awesome title for a job ad. It’s also very probably the most generalized request you are ever going to see in the history of ever. What kind of IT help do you want? Tech support? Someone to handle your sysadmin stuff? Or do you just need a guy what knows what a gigabyte is so you don’t go buying an external hard drive when what you actually need is a better machine? Seriously, the possibilities are endless and I’m qualified to do most of them, but I’m not going to apply without a bit more info.
  4. Stay off of Kijiji. Not kidding. Qualified IT people, if that’s what you’re looking for, don’t hang out on Kijiji. The reasons may or may not have something to do with the first two points above. I lived on Kijiji before I started college, and most of what I’ve seen are people who know just enough to know they want to pay someone. which is awesome. But you’re looking for me. I’m not looking for you. And you won’t find me on Kijiji because see points 1 and 2 above.
  5. wording is everything. You’re not looking for a rock star, or you wouldn’t be posting to a job site. I’m not looking to become a rock star, or I wouldn’t be looking on a job site. Remember my “It Help Wanted” example from earlier? Use that. It’s not perfect, but I’ll read that before I’ll read your “Rock Stars Wanted!” posting. Especially if you have no idea–or, at least, you don’t give me the impression you have an idea–exactly what you’re expecting me to bring to the table.
  6. Know your market. Okay, so you want someone who can handle all the Linux things because holy scary as hell and the guy you had left on no notice. I get that. I’m qualified to do that. Call me. Unless, that is, you’re offering minimum wage. Then, I’m sorry, I’d love to help, but I’m just too gosh darned busy. I’m a believer in the often proven theory that you get what you pay for. If you can find someone who’ll do the things for you at minimum wage, congratulations. I’m happy for you. And if it breaks, you get to keep both pieces.
  7. Lastly, please, please, please for the love of all things holy, get a website. At least get a domain name. It’s 2017. You’re looking for people who presumedly know how to do a few things online. I can’t speak for John Q. Techy, but if I need to show up at your door with resume in hand, I’m probably going to slide you down to the bottom of the list after the half dozen other jobs I need to review and possibly apply to who’ll let me do that online. And then I’ll very probably get busy with something and you’ll be forgotten. That’s just how I roll–because, to borrow a phrase from everyone’s favourite Prime Minister, it’s 2017.

since exiting from the college scene, I’ve fired off a lot of applications. If a few more people had done some of these things here, I’d have very likely sent off a couple more. What it boils down to is my impression of you and your reputation. If my impression of you is you haven’t put a whole lot of thought into your advertising, I’m not putting a whole lot of thought into letting you know I’m here. And if you’ve developed a frequent history of doing this thing, I’m very likely to skip over your job ads. Since that doesn’t do either side of the equasion a whole lot of good, someone had best make sure their HR person has a look at this. In the meantime, I think I hear another job ad calling.

Academia says goodbye, all the crazy says hello.

TLDR: I need to do this more often, I’m out of practice, and still brain fried by academia. I also may not be finished.

So I thought things would slow down once I was done with college things. And then I was done with college things, and haven’t stopped since. Which may or may not explain why the last time I did more than keep this site online was before the semester started–and why I’m just now making a vague attempt at solving that problem now.

It was 3 years in the making, but on the 15th of this monthI sat down to write the last ever exam in the last ever course of the last ever semester of my college program. And right on schedule, I walked out of that exam room and straight into the job market. No, there were no offers of crazy high paychecks yet, but since finishing my course I’ve already tossed off half a dozen applications–and half of them have already poked at me, soI’m officially on notice to be available when the calendar turns over. From September to December it’s been a healthy dose of crazy topped with insane and lightly sprinkled with chaos. In other words, perfect. And somehow, despite its best efforts, it did not kill me.

I traded one crazy in for another when exams were over. On top of applying for jobs, I got the hell out of Ottawa. For reasons both related and not to academic things, I needed a vacation. So I’ve been doing the small town thing–which, naturally, means we haven’t stopped since I got here.

I’ve always said I couldn’t live here, despite the fact pretty much my entire family’s essentially right here. Places like this just really aren’t my thing. But that makes my occasional ventures into Crazyville and all the holy hell that comes with just that much more enjoyable (*). And doing it over Christmas basically means close your eyes, hold your breath and dive in, because once we start we do not stop until the guy doing the driving hits the floor. And then that’s only so the next in line can take his place. In the weirdest possible way, quite probably entirely to blame on how I was raised, visits like this end up helping me relax despite the fact they should just about kill me. But, when I return to Ottawa, I’m pretty damn sure I’ll sleep for a week.

I’ll probably do a 2016 in review post one of these decades, but suffice it to say it’s been just a wee bit all over the place. I don’t expect it to get a whole lot calmer in 2017, though I do expect it to get slightly more affordable. That by itself will make inflicting that kind of brain damage on myself more than worth it. Which, in turn, will probably motivate me to take another stab at doing the academic thing next year–I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms that having taken this program just made a few other things about ten times easier for me, and since I like easy, yes please. The end of my academic plan, if it goes the way I’m hoping, essentially guarantees me a foot in the door just about anywhere. Useful, when you’ve got people suggesting places like, say, Edmonton are good for you.

Long story short: I am officially no longer a geek in training. However the first person to declare me an expert is going to receive an essay on why there are, in fact, no such things as experts–particularly in all things geek. In the meantime, if some aspiring project wants to hire me and is willing to actually, you know, pay me…

(*): I always find visits with family to be enjoyable, though usually after I’ve had a few days to recover back in Ottawa. It may or may not be related to the fact that by the time we stop, we’re all about 45 seconds away from passing out where we’re standing, at which point 5 hours of sleep feels like about 5 minutes. I wouldn’t trade it for a thing–but in the new year, I’m gonna want a vacation from my vacation.

So how did you spend your summer vacation?

I’ve managed some kind of personal best–three months or so without having done more than respond to a few comments over here. Well, that and do the usual updating for security reasons and, um, malware prevention reasons. So why have I been quiet? Simply put, I need a vacation from my vacation.

College kicked my ass. so much so that I’ve lined up to do it again in a week and change. so I thought I’d take the summer off and let my brain recharge. apparently, if you’re me, that means you get a poke from a long-time friend a week or so after the dust settles who asks if you happen to by any chance know Linux. I tell her I may have heard of it, and she lets me in on a possible something I might be interested in. This possible something, as it happens, involves setting up an Asterisk phone system for a small startup based in the US. That project ended up branching off into a few other areas of Linux administration, primarily for the same company, and it’s kept me largely out of trouble. Needless to say I’ve had my hands full, and every minute of it has been essentially exactly what I just finished doing the month before I started. And now they’re talking about the possibility of developing a system based on exactly what I just set up that they can potentially sell to businesses who could use a halfway decent system without being whacked over the head by a price in the millions and a contract with Microsoft. So that’s apparently a thing.

When I haven’t been busy with that, which hasn’t been very often, I’ve been busy catching up on all the things I couldn’t catch up on because I pretty much lived at the college. Things like, say, a social life. I’ve been to see the family a handful of times, been actually managing to meet up with some folks I’ve been meaning to do that with for a while, and started sort of reconnecting with one or two people I’ve had to let go of for life reasons. And in and around all of that, I’ve gotten myself mixed up with a completely different sort of project locally–you can sort of see what it looks like over here. That project’s still very much in the initial stages, but the brains behind the operation has plans, so this has the potential to be either incredibly amazing or wickedly embarrassing–and I’m having just a wee bit of difficulty figuring out if I care which. So basically when college does start up again I may just be looking slightly forward to the break.

I had plans for this summer. They mostly involved being lazy. Instead I’ve been up and all over the place. and this is why I just about never make plans. It’s been fun, and I’d do every minute of it over again in a heartbeat, but now I need a vacation. So how was your summer?

So this is what free time looks like…

It’s amazing what happens when you’re having to do all the things. Like, for instance, you’re undoubtedly going to realize you’re running out of room for things. That is my academic life. So when the end of April hit and another semester ended up falling away behind me, this meant all the things that were put off because lack of time during the school year… well… now get to show up front and center and in a big way. so while the time off school’s been nice, today is the actual first day in which I’ve been able to say–and mean–I’m on vacation.

The thing about academia is even when you’re done, you’re not really done. I had exams the last week of April–which clearly did not hurt nearly as bad as I thought they would, but even while that was underway I was fielding questions about my next steps. Would I be coming back for the spring semester? How about the fall? If I’m coming back in the fall, what services will I need access to–hint: exactly the same as I just got finished using. And now that I’ve had time to catch up on all the non-academic things, I’ve geared up to start that whole process all over again. Why? Because clearly, I am insane.

The official last bit of final semester (*) paperwork was submitted this afternoon, in the form of the application to have the government continue to pay for said final semester. That officially signified that the vacation, if you’re me, now has clearance to actually do something useful. Oh, there’ll still be trips back and forth to the college over the next few months I’m sure–it may be 2016, but folks still have this thing with doing as little possible online–but the actual work part of all of this can now sit and spin until I’m good and ready to care about it. And that will be… ahem… a while.

While I’ve got the time, this means some overdue personal projects can finally get some attention. Like the overhauling and updating of a resume that hasn’t seen much of an update in a few years. And the casing out of places that might could possibly want to hire me. And somewhere in there, because I have been informed that failure to do so may result in my head becoming detached from my shoulders, there will be trips to see people–mostly because I was informed either they’d pay for my way down there or they’d come and get me, and you don’t generally back away from choices like that if you like breathing. Since I’m rather fond of breathing, as soon as paperwork and other people’s loose ends are squared away, I have travel plans. Considering the year I’ve had, they’re not entirely unwelcome.

Between that, and the fact I’ve still got a fair bit of unpacking to get done post-move, I fully expect I’ll still be far too busy for my own good. But, this is the kind of busy I can live with. And in the meantime, I can maybe possibly become aquainted again with what free time looks like.

Not entirely unrelated: If you know anyone who needs a geek and will pay well, I’m available…

(*): Yes, it took me long enough, but September of this year marks the start of my fourth and final semester in this program. There’s an optional cybersecurity extension program I can go for if I qualify, but I will be finished the program I was aiming for–and therefore significantly more marketable than I was even 10 years ago, and I was pretty freaking marketable 10 years ago. Now there’s just the matter of the upside down economy, but, you know, small progress and all that.

In which my former employer loses its mind. Again.

Every once in a while, I actually miss working at Dell. Not necessarily because I could see myself still doing that exact same job 7 years later, but for what it was, the job was something useful. Besides, I got a ton of free software out of the deal, which never hurts. But I have a pretty good feeling if something like ended up on my desk, I probably wouldn’t be doing much in the way of, you know, working there for much longer.

There are times when big brands with “social media people” might want to teach those junior level employees to recognize that using one of the standard “scripted” answers might be inappropriate. Take, for example, if you’re Dell and a new report has come out suggesting that the NSA has pretty much compromised your servers at the BIOS level with spy bugs, then, when someone — especially a respected security guy like Martin Wismeijer — tweets at you, you don’t go with the standard scripted “sorry for the inconvenience” response. But, apparently, that’s not how Dell handled things this time (thanks to Mike Mozart for the pointer).

Nope, instead, a complaint that your server’s been bugged by the NSA before Dell handed it off to you nets you this response:

Thank you for reaching out and regret the inconvenience. Our colleagues at @dellcarespro will be able to help you out.

Okay, now, granted the only server I deal with is the one this site’s sitting on, but somehow, I’m pretty sure the guys getting paid to deal with servers for way more important reasons could probably do without the standard punt script to the Twitter version of India’s tech support queue–who very likely won’t actually be able to help anyway, and that’s if they’re even allowed to do anything other than deny the existence of any kind of NSA involvement whatsoever in the first place. But, on the bright side, no innocent customer pictures were publicised in this customer service manglement scheme…

In which truer words were never spoken.

And every once in a while, somebody drops by and leaves me a something I can relate to. This is the last 5 years or so, roughly summarized. And it needs to be said–I couldn’t do it any better myself.

Nov 26 12:10pm: nowhere is hiring

Truer words were never spoken, young googler. By the way, could you use a geek? I’m cheap…

Better late than never: TD Bank takes 4 months to tell me no.

I haven’t applied for a job since moving to where I’m living now. Mostly because I’ve been fighting with things of a school related nature, but also because it hasn’t gotten me very far. But at least on days wherein it hasn’t gotten me all that far, it’s usually taken maybe two weeks for someone to tell me to please play again. TD Bank apparently likes building up the suspense factor, I guess?

Sent: January 16, 2013 3:40 PM
To: my@email.address (I’m alergic to spam)
Subject: Thank you for your application on TD Opportunities – Full-Time Customer Service Officer

Dear James,

Thank you for your interest in employment opportunities with TD Bank Group.

We received your application for the position of Full-Time Customer Service Officer at TD Bank Group. We wish to advise you that this position has been filled and as such, we will not be proceeding further with your application. Your online profile information will remain available for future reference.

Please continue to visit the Careers/Job Opportunities section of to update your personal details, review current job listings and apply for new opportunities.

Thank you for your interest in TD Bank Group and we wish you success in future endeavors.

Human Resources
TD Bank Group

Dear TD Bank Group,

Thank you for letting me know you were at least still considering. I’m sorry to hear that it took you somewhere around 4 months to finally fill this position. I don’t suppose now is the correct time to point out that it would have taken you significantly less time to do so had you just elected to hire me. I won’t be offended, however, at the fact you instead took this long to say no.

Deciding what to pay someone with my level of geek can sometimes be a tiny bit tricky–especially if you’re also trying to figure out how best to avoid paying someone with my level of geek and not, at the same time, shoot yourself in the foot. It’s a bit of a balancing act, made even more so by the fact you must not have had a whole lot of actual, honest to goodness interest in the posting–either that or your automated “thanks for coming out” system is just really, really backlogged. Still, it’s nice to know you’re thinking of me. Perhaps I’ll check in in another 4 months. Here’s hoping you’ve found second gear by then.

James Homuth

In which Klout gets to decide how valuable my skills are. Awesome. Now what the hell is Kloute?

this is an older post, but if it’s a trend, it’s a goofy one. Klout, which I so have never used–and will probably never use, is being used as a prerequisit for positions being filled by at least one company. While the ads the article references are filled, the point’s still extremely valid. Ask anyone what Klout is, and you’ll probably get a blank stare. Even Klout’s own website just calls it “the standard of influence”, but doesn’t quite answer the key question–who the hell’s standard of influence?

The company mentioned in that article, Salesforce, was looking for applicants with a Klout score of at least 35. which is awesome. Or, well, not. You see, no one actually knows–beyond how many people are following you and how many people retweet you–how the hell a score like that’s calculated. And yet, at least one company wants to use that as a determination of–and this is a guess, here–how qualified you are to fill a position. I’d explain more, but this paragraph from that article does a better job.

Just so you know, my Klout score is like 80 and I don’t know what it means. The hiring manager at Salesforce in that video above? 64. Does that make me smarter than him? More talented? Should I replace him? Should he be replaced by someone with a higher Klout score? NO! Of course not. Because it’s a worthless number.

But, at least as of the time I was staring at this article, it’s a worthless number that may or may not contribute to someone’s future career. And that’s, well, rather funky. In a thanks but no thanks kinda way.

Why I should probably give up on Simply Hired.

Shortly after I lost my job at Dell, I jumped on to every job advertising bandwagon going. Canada’s Job Bank. Indeed. Eluta. Hell, even Kijiji. They used to land me quite a few halfway decent interviews. In recent months, though, at least some of them have gone quite down-hill. Which leads to ads not unlike, well, this one, from Simply Hired.

Asdf at Gimpy (Ottawa, ON)

I’m thinking it may be time for me to toss Simply Hired off to one side. In other, related news, does anyone need a geek?

Wanted: employer. Must have: good grasp of English language.

Let’s assume you’re in the market for a job. Let’s also assume you have the qualifications to fill pretty much any position you could lay your hands on. Now let’s also assume an ad like this one rolled across your desk.

.Net Devleopers at Zylog Systems Canada (Ottawa, ON)

Given the above assumptions, would you, a clear thinking, educated, presumedly decently written individual, jump head first into a position overseen by the creator of this ad? If you answered yes to that question, please move to Ottawa and call this company immediately. clearly they need you. If you answered no to that very same question, please immediately move to Ottawa and call this company. Clearly, they need a replacement for the creator of this ad. Things to note, in other ads I’ve seen from this and similar companies:

  • It’s “I’m”, not “Im”. You’re a professional employer, not a 16-year-old texting addict. Similarly, “you” is how the educated say it, not “U”.
  • Do not spend the first 3/4 of the ad asking me if I can answer yes to your 50 questions that feel more like a personality survey than a job ad. Who are you, what do you need, and how can the skills I have help you get there? Two of those questions, you should be answering. That third one? that’s my department.
  • And for the love of cheese, I’ve said this before, do not, as in ever, tell me to send my resume to a hotmail address. That is, unless you’d like me to instead send your job ad to /dev/null–which I’ll gladly do, if you really really would like me to.

I may not possess a university level education, but I’m qualified enough for most things–just as soon as I can put most of those things on paper. Still, if I were qualified for a job like the above, you’d have just turned me off of it. But, thanks for trying. Now, let’s talk bilingualism.

the job market’s flirting with me again.

Occasionally I go through these little once-in-a-while meetup type things. I kind of compare them to a sort of first date type deal, only for employment reasons rather than familial/whatever the hell else is out there. Company catches your eye from across the way, you try not to let them catch you looking until you think you’ve got the nerve. then you go up and introduce yourself. You get to talking, find out you’ve got a few things in common, decide hey, let’s give the dinner thing a try. Pick you up at 3? Awesome. so you go, you do the thing, you say the stuff, and it hopefully doesn’t blow up in your face. From here, it goes one of a few ways. You stick to casual dating–nothing exclusive, you see, you decide eventually that maybe you wanna get a little more on the serious side, or you decide hey, that was fun, but what else ya got? Then you do it all over again with the next one, or multiple ones. and on their end, they’re doing the exact same thing–playing the field, if you will, with a whole bunch of other shmucks probably not too unlike you. It’s the business equivalent to the bar scene, if you’re into that kinda thing. and that’s where this post kind of grows a point of its own.

I’ve stepped back into the dating scene again, at least from an employment viewpoint. Had the dinner date (read: interview) and everything. It looks like it could be promising, right up until she says “I’ll call you”. well crap. and it was going so well. So now, I get to sit around and see if my most recent date wants to see me again. either she’ll call me, or I’ll see her at the same damn bar in a couple days with another guy on her arm and thank caffeine I’ve got a plan B–more on that in another entry. Meanwhile, I learn something I probably should have learned by now. If the job market’s a bar scene, then your average employer’s a freakin’ tease. All the fun and flirting you can handle, but the ride stops real quick when it gets to “your place or mine?”. And, of course, the minute I walk through the door, some dreamy lookin’ thing wants to flirt. Thank christ I’ve got nothing but time. and that plan B.

In which the job market tries my patience. New catch word: trilingual.

For at least the last few years, even in the private sector Ottawa’s favourite word has been bilingual. And no, sadly, they don’t mean *our* bilingual (*), as much as myself and Shane would really, really love it if they did. Escentially, it means two things.

By law, it means you must be fully fluent in English and that other, Quebec-centric language. Yeah, that one. Occasionally, it means English and some other language, like for instance, Spannish–who the hell offers official services in Spannish, in Canada? It also means positions I’m otherwise fully qualified for–hello, jobs so damn similar to the one I was booted from in 2008 it’s not funny–become so far above my pay grade it’s almost embarrassing to say so. Yes, I can fix your computer. Yes, I can even take your static HTML-based website (yes, some companies still use those) and turn it into a dynamic, blow your socks off accessible, website in any language and on any platform of your freaking dreams–and probably customize the thing to boot, without knowing a damn thing about the specific ins and outs of that language (go open source technology go). But I can only speak one, much more widely used, language. Yeah, sure I’ll wait for you to call me. What, no call? Oh–you hired the French-speaking guy who has no idea what WordPress or even PHP is. Gotcha. But at least I got this nifty little thanks for coming out letter. I’ll add it to the pile. See, employment insurance folks? I *am* looking for work. Here’s all my “thanks for applying but we don’t want you” emails.

Folks have stepped up their game in this area now. Where you could get buy if you only survived on two languages, in the last couple weeks I’ve seen a growing number of trilingual positions. Usually, again, the first two are obvious–the legally required ones. But that third, who the hell uses it officially in Canada language–again, usually Spannish–makes itself known. And again, positions I could nail in, say, 2008 or earlier? Yeah, those ones? Thanks for coming, but can you please leave? It’s what lead me to apply for a position completely out of my field, with a company who’s interviewing/hiring practices give me cause for concern–that’s an entry for later.

Guys. You’ve got a ton of qualified people hanging about. Most of them probably more qualified than me. A few of them even used to work with me–and, at last report, were still looking. Only problem? I can count on one hand how many of them speak two languages, nevermind three. And you’re not even asking for folks who can speak the secondary language some of these people can. That’s just asking for a tool with decent linguistic skills is all that is. And half of them probably still don’t speak *our* second language.

(*): I speak English, and Clue. Sadly, as far as employable folks go, I’m probably in the minority–at least by legal standards. As far as folks who’re actually employed? That second language is endangered–I’m looking directly at you, Rogers.

My first ever employment related psych?

I am now convinced the job market’s just playing games with me. I found a job earlier this afternoon that fit my very loose requirements nearly exactly. I could do it pretty well in my sleep, it didn’t require I already be as fluent in French as I am in English, it didn’t require a college degree, and it didn’t require 80 years’ experience. Yeah, you could probably guess I was on it like a heat seakin’ missile. Fired that application off in 5 minutes or less, and had to stop myself from grinning like an idiot in spite of the fact the only other person in here with me couldn’t see it anyway. Yeah, enthused would probably be an understatement. It didn’t pay much, but at this point, I’d flip burgers if I felt reasonably confident the act of doing so wouldn’t put half of them at least on the bloody floor. So I did the thing with the thing, sent it in, then sat back with full expectation that I’d not get much back but a form letter. Well, I got the form letter. Then maybe half an hour later, I got an actual, living, breathing human being. Or at least something that pretended to be one. Hot damn, I thought. Application’s not even an hour old yet and the folks over there are bouncing things off me. So yeah, I’m all over the email. It’s a skills assessment they want me to fill out. Wicked nifty cool. This usually takes folks a week or so to get around to sending me. And that’s if they’re going to send the thing at all. Progress indeed, right? Hell, I thought so. I wasn’t sure if I’d had the battery left on this laptop to do it right then, and me not being at home until much later than, well, now, I wouldn’t be able to just randomly switch machines. So I let the battery get pretty much dead on this thing, which subsequently takes out the battery in the phone shortly afterwards–at the moment, it’s my connection to the internet. So I get both plugged in and charging, and now have all the time in the world to do this assessment. Awesome. I pull up their page type thing, go through their “this is who I am, this is why I’m here” screen, hit start test… and get dumped into an inaccessible flash object of absolutely no real use whatsoever. Well. That was highly anticlimactic, not to mention generally not recommended. Mister quick responder got a very polite, “Hey uh, thanks for this, but she no worky with my stuff” type email from me. That he’s not as of yet been as quick to respond to, but you’ll have that. So now, the job market makes me wait, again. In the meantime, anyone have use for a slightly out of practice geek? Will work for coffee.

Job application fail.

You are a manufacturer of computers. Most if not all of those computers will be running Microsoft software. Yes, up to and including Internet Explorer. There are techy type folks who still use Internet Explorer–mostly because what they do doesn’t yet fully support those other browsers (damn you, industry standards). You need techy type people. Or, at least, the job advertisement that just bounced off my head says you do. The application is straightforward enough–pretty basic, for a tech company. Supporting Windows and Internet Explorer and other such M$ software is pretty much a requirement of the position. I got that in about 10 seconds. So when your application does some kind of funkyness I don’t have time to figure out that makes IE choke on it? Yeah, I get concerned. I should not have had to demonstrate my ability to stop the broken pre-hiring–particularly in a forum you wouldn’t have been able to actually see until I smacked submit. Good job. I promise, if you hire me, I’ll fix you. But you’re providing the vodka.

No love,
The techy who just had to finish your application in Firefox.

I has an oh my god busy.

Things that happen when you go 3 weeks without updating, episode number I’m not sure how many. House hunting, of a sort, didn’t turn out to be a complete and total flop–hence the, well, nearly a month without updating this thing. Which, yes, means I’m once again nearly a month late with April’s highlights–that’s on the list. In between all the other insanity. Sandwitched between trips to see family, an entire life shift kicked me in the face. Not only has the job market actually at least done a relatively average job of not sucking, but as of 3 days ago officially, I have a location that will for the foreseeable future pretend to be a new place to live. And, surprise, it’s back in Ottawa–roughly across the street more or less from where I used to be. The apartment’s laid out pretty well like the old one was. And, to boot, it’s in the same building as–and, in fact, is directly below–the rental office that used to manage the building I moved out of.

Shane and I have had a running joke amongst ourselves since before he moved in here that I’d eventually be evicting him from my living room. So, when we first got wind we’d be landing this apartment, I wrote him an informal eviction notice–which, naturally, got blogged. It generally wasn’t received all that well by many, in spite of references to it for the majority of the 5 or 6 months he’s been living here. Still, it was mildly entertaining to those who actually had some involvement with it. And, officially official now, on the 15th of this month–yes, that’s in 2 days–I sign the papers for the new apartment, and officially evict him from my living room. Larger apartment, more space, major city, and in a decent area for getting to potential places of employment–not much could be better. Well, except for having something to do at one of those potential places of employment–but we’re working on that.

Speaking of potential places of employment, I’m encountering indications things might actually be trying very hard to return to some kind of pre-2010 level as far as job market activity goes in Ottawa. What lead me to that theory? For the first time in just about ever, Rogers, who I’ve gone rounds with before for other reasons on the customer side, has once again at least temporarily started posting openings–and I’ve applied for just about all of them. And if that wasn’t a vague attempt to possibly lull me into a false sense of getting somewhere, another potential employer I hadn’t heard from in nearly a year threw out a few positions of its own. Alcatel-Lucent, who I’ve had an interview with in the past–and who’s building is actually laid out very similar to the one Dell used to own–is, also at least temporarily, back in the hiring business–and likewise got poked with an application or two. I’m not sure what all will come from any of that, or the few job postings I responded to by more conventional means from companies I haven’t seen much of in the 3 years I’ve been looking, but hey, I can’t exactly do much worse off on the job front.

what all of this means is I’ll potentially have plenty more in-person things to comment on and/or mock rather than the occasional dumping of links that also hasn’t actually been happening in quite a while–I need to fix that–or the seemingly lacking actual coherent thought that happens to have more to it than 140 characters. Such thoughts may or may not involve version 3.0 of the pot-smelling basement. Or, they may be extremely disjointed list-type stream of consciousness “I’m sick, so have an entry” type posts–not entirely unlike this one. Or they may be little more than 140 character thoughts in blog format–at least, if Twitter keeps doing what it was doing for most of today, anyway. Still, things are trying real hard to calm down now–and will do a whole lot more of that after this weekend. Which, you guessed it, means the mockworthy comes right back to where it started. Hey, on second thought, I should go 3 weeks without updating more often. No, wait–next time something important might actually happen.

Fourth time’s a charm? Second career thinks so.

For the better part of the last two years, I’ve been dealing with the second career program up here in the name of trying to find a non-retail job in a town of primarily retail jobs. After going a round or two with the local college–note to self: round 3 should probably happen soon, we’ve sort of refocused our attention on the one call center in the area, Online Support. Ignoring the fact I’ve had more than one interview with these folks and haven’t exactly gotten anywhere with them, it’s not even what I’d call conducive to getting me back where I want to be–not directly, at least. Still, it’s a step up from where I’m at, and the folks over at second career seem convinced that this time I’ll get in, so on Friday, I took another run at an interview with the company. I’d been given the impression it was going to be a second interview, since I’d already gone through the initial process and they had my stuff on file, but apparently they’d switched HR folks since last time and my info ended up tucked away in storage somewhere. So, it was back to square 1. I went through their 20 questions, and pretty much recited all of their information back to them before the interviewer did–you’d think I’d done this before. It was pretty well the same old song and dance from interviews past, with one potentially noteable exception–I had brought the laptop I recently purchased with me, which prompted the interviewer to go see if she could track down their IT personnel to play their own version of 20 questions. We talked tech for a few minutes, then after some creative use of the said laptop and an iPhone for the purposes of network connectivity–note to Online Support: tell your HR people your wireless password already–I was able to simultaneously show off and complete their required assessments at the same time. we played another round of 20 questions, then I got the standard “we’ll call you” response on the way out the door–again, you’d think I’d heard that before.

It’s no secret this isn’t exactly where I planned on being, but then, it’s even less of a secret that I didn’t plan on being nearly 3 years without work either–thanks, Dell. Love ya. Really. And right around the start of a recession too. Strike 3–you’re fired. But, hey, if this slight change in interview tactics works, I’ll be pleasantly surprised. And somewhat gainfully employed–at least until such time as something more promising shows up, or these jobs go overseas. which, yeah, would be a hell of an improvement. So, I’ll just go on about my day, occasionally poke the second career folks so they don’t think I’ve fled to Mexico to join the drug trade or something, and busy myself with not holding my breath. Hey, I haven’t taken out a loan just to buy groceries–I’m good. Now, let’s see if I can perhaps possibly get a little better. Anyone want a techy? I charge reasonably.

A first in a long time, and a first… ever?

It’s been at least 3 months, but probably longer, since I’ve actually been able to say I’ve successfully found at least a job to apply for, even if I don’t end up landing it. It’s been longer since I’ve found one that on paper actually varifies I did, in fact, apply for work–useful when dealing with second career folks. I got one of these last night.


This email is to confirm that we have received the application that you recently submitted on our website for the CUSTOMER INTERACTION REPRESENTATIVE position. Your information has been entered in our system and we will review it at the next earliest opportunity.

Yay for automated form letter confirmation thinggies. Yay for actually receiving one for the first time since, I think, the last time I applied for a job at Rogers–who, by the way, still hasn’t called me back more than once since I started applying there. Oh, yeah, and yay for this.

You also might want to bookmark our website or subscribe to our RSS feed, as positions we add in the near future may also be of interest to you.

Hang on. An employer who actually offers RSS feeds of job postings? For serious? Bonus. Now, let’s talk pay and benefits and we’ll go from there. Hey, I may not actually land this job, but considering how long it’s been since I actually found one to apply for–and the fact this is the only company that’s actually using current-ish technology to advertise jobs (selectively using Twitter doesn’t count, Rogers), I’ll take it. Now let’s see if they offer it.

Roommates, apartment hunting, and inching forward with employment. Sort of.

The job market’s been doing a very good impression of a miserable failure the last year or two, at least up here. Very slowly, the interviews I was involved in began to slow to a trickle, then eventually stop. Then the same happened with jobs I didn’t have to have lived in a university for the past 10 years to apply to. Now, jobs in the Ottawa and valley area are kind of at a premium. I’ve been doing the disability income thing for the last year out of desperation, so I’m not forced to go back to living at home–not that I don’t like my parents, but from over here, please. This after being on employment insurance since the job I did have went to India in 2008. That has, naturally, required some financial creativity to keep myself ahead of the curve. My latest attempt at financial creativity consists of turning my one-bedroom apartment into a somewhat improvized two-bedroom, and taking in a roommate. It kind of works, seeing as he’s needing to get just about as financially creative as I am. I love my own space, but sometimes, sharing is caring. Or in this case, sharing is not ending up in the poor house. So on December first, shane will be borrowing my living room. Bright side: there will be much geeking. Not so bright side: some of our debates, when we start having actually meaningful ones, may or may not end up bloody. But hell, that’s half the fun, no?

The roommate situation has kind of pushed forward the necessity of looking for a new apartment. Because, really, while this works, I’m not quite so mean as to restrict him to the coutch for the foreseeable future. Particularly given he’s probably just about as likely to have a significant guest show up over here as I am. The coutch, while folding out and quite comfortable, is probably not conducive to, well, much of anything beyond sleeping. I’ve been looking for a bigger place the last week or so as a result, and have come to a very not quite surprising realization. Finding an apartment that doesn’t generally suck, have craptastic heating, or fit rather easily into this one is pretty near to impossible–at least in Pembroke. Which may mean our financial creativity will probably end up taking us back to Ottawa. Good, ish. Except for that part where the rent in Ottawa was what sent me all the way over here in the first place. Fortunately, the only deadlines we have are how long we can keep this whole creativity thing going. And the only restrictions we have location-wise really depends on whether or not, and where, one or both of us may end up working when we decide to move. In the meantime, hey, I like this kind of adventure.

As for where one or both of us may be working, it’s pretty much certain I’m probably not going to be working at Online Support after all. You may or may not recall I was waiting for questions to be answered, and paperwork to be processed before I could start over there. And oh yeah, Freedom Scientific‘s JAWS for Windows program so I could actually, you know, use their computer and know what it’s yelling at me. It took a little longer than I expected, but the ball’s finally rolling on the purchase of the screenreader–give or take the time it takes me to drop kick certain answers from certain individuals, I should have a copy that runs on windows 7 professional by the end of the month. Problem being now, though? Online Support hasn’t responded to me since a day or two after I wrote that last entry. The guy I’m dealing with from Ontario’s second career program has been trying to get a shot at them as well and hasn’t gotten anywhere. I’m leaning very much in the direction of just writing off the company. except for the fact they’re pretty much the only thread that hasn’t snapped off completely over here–yet. I’ve always suspected if I did end up employed again, it would probably be somewhere that isn’t Pembroke. This is kind of lending a bit more support to that suspicion.

Things are definitely happening, and in a quickly kind of way. But they’re definitely happening. And in a couple weeks, it’ll be nearly four years since the last time I developed a roommate–no better time to snap that streak. Or something. And just in time for that, we’re lining things up for a goodly portion of insanity. In other words, just another day in the life of me. I think I need a new one.

Things to keep in mind if you’re a politician: accessible does not mean blame the other guys.

When it’s brought to your attention that your office is somewhat less than accessible, particularly when you happen to be the member of parliament in charge of things to do with people with disabilities, the appropriate response would be to:
A: Appologise and work towards fixing it where possible, such as possibly looking for a more accessible location to have your riding office moved to.
B: Propose alternative locations to meet with people who have difficulty actually getting to the offending riding office.
C: Issue a fluff press release about how much your government’s doing for people with disabilities, then move on.
D: Blame the liberals.

Diane Finley, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, decided to pick option D.

“Bob Speller is simply trying to distract from the dismal Liberal record on helping person with disabilities,” said a statement from Finley’s office. “In fact, Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals are constantly voting against support for persons with disabilities such as when they voted against the creation of the historic Registered Disabilities Saving Plan and the Enabling Accessibility Fund.”

That’s cold comfort to her constituents who must make an appointment with Finley and meet her off-site, perhaps at Tim Horton’s.

I’m not sure what to be more irritated with. The fact this chick’s got a visual impairment and should therefore know better than to make a statement like that, or that statements like that are the norm when folks get called out for crap like this–at just about all levels of government. Or both, in equal proportions.

Small note to Minister Finley. You’re in charge of things to do with people finding employment. You’re also in charge of things to do with people with disabilities. You are, therefore, in charge of things to do with people with disabilities finding employment. Please stop being a tool and actually try removing a barrier that keeps certain individuals in your constituency away from you. And please, for God’s sake, stop with the making it all about the liberals. I’m sure they didn’t put you in an inaccessible office. Nor, I’m sure, are they making it difficult for you to move, should you decide to do so.

Note to Stephen Harper. I think you need a new minister.

Fun, family and festivities, oh my!

Okay, so escentially since Friday life’s been kind of non-stop. But I’ve been meaning to start this update before then, so we’ll get to that in a minute. I had a meeting with the ODSP person who’s heading up the purchasing of a copy of the screenreader I’ll be using at whichever job I end up landing in the foreseeable future. The meeting only lasted an hour or two, and pretty much just confirmed what I already knew–I’d be having no problem getting the dollars for it, and they’d just be going right ahead with the wiring that to me ASAP. Wicked nifty cool–things in that sector actually doing what they’re supposed to without me needing to apply a liberal amount of drop kick. That can’t be anything but good. So I left a couple messages with the employment opportunity here in Pembroke that I’ve been chasing for the last few weeks. They’ve yet to get back to me, naturally, and will promptly be hearing from me again tomorrow. The job I’d applied for in Ottawa, I’ve pretty much decided, has run off a cliff. Calls to them resulted in them saying they’d be looking into why it is the screenreading technology wouldn’t work with their chosen software, and how best to get it to play nice. They said they’d forward my contact info on to the person(s) responsible for testing such things, but poking them on that hasn’t gotten me very far yet. Another thing to attempt to do tomorrow.

In more positive and non-employment-related news, after the near fail that was Greyhound’s website and an epic fail that had surprisingly absolutely nothing to do with Greyhound at all–I’m looking straight at you, Canadian customs–Jessica got in safely and in one piece on Friday. We left early for Ottawa to pick her up, hence my running out of time to throw together an update before hand. We finally, after the afore mentioned Canadian customs failure, got her off the bus and in the car with us at about 10:00, and it was pretty much right back here after where she promptly recovered from not having slept since wednesday night. Friday was the lazy day of lazy as a result; we took it fairly easy at that point and just stuck around here.

Most of the next three days were spent with the family–we hung out with them Saturday evening, did all manner of shooting the shit and watching a little TV, and generally kept it low-key. Sunday we went back over there for dinner again, and received a sound ass kicking in a game of Rummoli–I still think certain members of my family cheat, but whatcha gonna do? that was only Jessica’s second time playing that game–she played once before with us last Christmas–and she pretty much did better than me for the majority of the game. I’m blaming beginner’s luck on that one.

Today being thanksgiving, we took off late this morning to go for our usual round of visiting, then headed back to the parents’ for a dinner who’s overall quality and quantity resulted in at least two food comas. There was more sitting around and shooting the shit, with a M*A*S*H marathon in the background on the history channel–my father’s always had a fondness for that show; it’s a military thing. When food comas started to set in, we decided to shuffle on back home and let life kind of slow itself down for a while. Now, I think I’ve managed to regain some of my balance here, so taking the rest of the week at full tilt will be fun.

Life’s been spinning pretty chaotically the last few days, but it’s been a hell of a lot of fun. Now with the holiday coming to a close, though, we can start to at least pretend like there’s some kind of a routine here. Which means it’s back to my usual being pulled in a few different directions–including taking considerable chunks of my day just to hang out and do absolutely nothing with Jess. And really, if I could have it any other way, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t even think about it. There’s no better way to spend any holiday weekend. And hey, if it ends up being back to the usual routine tomorrow, it’ll all have been worth it. Now, I think I’ll just go do that holiday thing a little more.

Strike 1: Ottawa goes on the back burner. But, I get an accessibility thing to sort.

And we all know I like tormenting things until they agree to be accessible. Or developers until they agree to make things that way. I wrote a while back I was trying to get my foot in the door with Davis and Henderson, a financial services company by the looks of it with an office in Ottawa. After going last week without much in the way of an actual response, I finally got one this morning. Or rather, I called and pried one out of the HR contact I’ve been trying to deal with. What it boils down to from where I sit is blindness technology doesn’t play nice with their choice of phone technology. This, naturally, from supposedly the mouth of the guy or guys who’re supposedly trying to convince the two to play nice together. And filtered through at least two people I’m aware of, so something probably got lost in translation.

HR chicky wasn’t exactly very forthcoming with the details, even on a non-technical level, except to say the phone system they use is a Cisco one–I’m assuming that includes whatever softphone application(s) they’re using, but that’s a guess on my part. The only thing I pulled out of her was the screenreader won’t work with it–which, yeah, I got when she told me they were having problems with it. I nudged her in the direction of putting me in touch with the person or persons behind the attempt to get things to play nice with each other, and I get the impression she’s going to at least make the attempt to filter my contact info up the chain to where it needs to go. I’m not holding my breath on it getting anywhere, naturally, but if it doesn’t I’m not entirely sure I can justifiably be pissed at her. Which, at end of day, means for the immediate future any plans I had on a return to Ottawa are kind of going in that other direction. But, I now have what I might call a halfway attempt at an accessibility project to work on. Assuming the phone rings between now and before I forget I ever had any dealing with the company in question. Now to wait until later this week, when I can give a few friendly shoves in the right direction to the other employment project I’ve got cooking. And maybe, barring complications, apply a liberal amount of education to an Ottawa company. I should hang out and not do much more often–productivity happens that way.

Update: That didn’t take long. My HR contact’s supervisor just called and seems not quite opposed to the idea of me working with them on this. Thus slightly increasing the chances I’ll actually get to speak with someone who’s involved in the process. This should be wicked interesting, if nothing else. Small progress is, after all, still small progress. Particularly considering I’m apparently not the first person to try and apply there in my current situation. We shall see what happens.

What happens when you slam one foot on the gas, the other on the break?

You go precisely where my current employment situation’s going. In the Online Support department, I’m waiting on papers to be pushed, things to be signed, and heads to be kicked in before HR people call me back with a potential start date. On the job possibility in Ottawa, I’m waiting for HR lady to get back to me. I spoke with her last week. She said she was looking into something. I called her the last two or three days this week, got her voicemail and no returned phone call. My mission, and I will choose to accept it, is to continue haunting her voicemail until such time as she either calls me back or suffers a small mental breakdown. In the meantime, I have an appointment this coming week to iron out a few more details re: the position here in Pembroke. Once that appointment happens, I should have a better idea who’s doing what and for how many cookies. Which means Ottawa’d better start haulling ass if they want me that badly. My bank account can’t take much more of this being unemployed thing–it may be first come, first served. Yes, even if the first that comes rates only slightly above jabbing me in the eye with a pitchfork. I can always move up from here; I can’t go much further down. I can, however, go back to this hockey game. So that’s what I’ll do.

PS: I said it before, and I’ll say it again. Job market, die in a goddamn grease fire. Thank you.