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Friday, July 1st, 2011
7:17 am
It turns out that sometimes I can get what I want.


Friday, June 10th, 2011
11:33 pm - Week 1635
What a week.
Late last week, Josh contacted me to tell me about a job opportunity from somebody he met at a party. I sent them my resume and managed to get an interview with them on Tuesday morning. My anxiety was incredibly high during part of the interview, and it made things incredibly difficult. They got back to me a few days later, and I didn't get the job, but at least I did my best.
On Monday and Wednesday I took my first couple Tai Chi classes at Wu Dao Kung Fu in Cambridge. I'm really enjoying it and looking forward to taking more classes in the future.
Today, I had another interview, and this one went horribly. It started off with a written test, which wasn't much of a problem. I had an hour to write a program to compare several arrays out on paper. I came up with a pretty good algorithm and implemented it as best I could under the circumstances. The guy who came in to review it with me and continue the interview had a very different method of thinking and problem solving from me, and it was incredibly difficult to explain things to him. He was the most strictly mathematical thinker I've encountered since college and I have a much more intuitive way of doing things. At one point, after I tried to explain my algorithm to him a couple of times, he asked me point blank if I'd gotten the question ahead of time and just memorized a solution without understanding it. It didn't help that I was incredibly nervous. I felt a bit like a D&D Sorcerer trying to discuss magic theory with a D&D Wizard. I think it's safe to assume that I didn't get that one either. How exhausting!
Tomorrow, I go to western Mass to play Twilight Imperium all day.

(2 whiny kitties | Meow?)

Thursday, February 17th, 2011
6:23 pm - Suspense
I've got a few irons in the fire at this point.

I've got an interview tomorrow morning for a contracting position in Wakefield. The commute would be an absolute killer, but it's just a 3 month contract. I really just want to get back to work, and am going crazy with the stress that comes from doing so many interviews.

I'm also waiting to hear back from two other potential positions. One is a full time position that I'm kind of afraid of, because it involves significant client communication, which is not what I got into the industry to do and the very fear of is what keeps me from doing a lot more freelance work. The other is a 3 month contract, with possibility of extension, and my first choice at this point.

The recruiters that I'm working with have made sure that all three jobs actually know that there are other people interviewing me, and used that information as part of their sales pitches, meaning that these three companies are planning to make their decisions very, very quickly, possibly by the end of the day tomorrow.

Or they all might slip through my fingers again. Time will tell.

current mood: tired

(4 whiny kitties | Meow?)

Saturday, February 12th, 2011
11:05 pm - No Third Round
I recently found out that the 3rd round interview I was looking forward to will not be happening. My recruiter found out on Friday that the company made an offer to the other candidate. My recruiter was really pissed off by this. Stringing all of us along for two weeks before making the decision without additional input on our part is considered incredibly unprofessional. I'm just disappointed. This is what I get for getting my hopes up. At least I know that I did everything right.

The search continues.

current mood: tired


Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
11:26 am - Third Round
I just found out that the company in the sky wants to bring me in for a third round of interviews next Wednesday. Apparently, the choice is down to me and one other candidate at this point.
This process is taking a very long time. Let's reflect. Every person that I've met with I met with individually, so if I met with 2 people, it was like having 2 separate interviews. The 1st round was on January 20th, and I was there for 3 hours and met with 3 people. The second round was January 26th, and I was there for 4 hours and met with 5 people. The third round will be February 9th, and I'm scheduled to be there for 2 hours and meet with 3 people.
To do the math on this one, I'll've been interviewed 11 times for a total of 9 hours over the course of four weeks.
And people are starting to ask why I've been out of work for so long.

current mood: excited


Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
6:35 pm - Optimism
I had a second round interview today. I met with 5 people over the course of 4 hours. I think it went pretty well, because everybody had positive things to say. I left there feeling really enthusiastic about the company and the position, but I have to do my best to not get my hopes up. Getting my hopes up won't accomplish anything, and I'm pretty sure that there are other candidates who made it this far as well. Optimism can be a bitch.

current mood: secretly optimistic

(1 whiny kitty | Meow?)

Friday, January 14th, 2011
4:20 pm - Didn't get it
I just found out that I didn't get the job I've been agonizing over. The feedback the gave was that they gave was that they want someone with more direct development experience, despite telling me over and over that it's not a direct development job.

This is what I get for getting my hopes up.


Thursday, January 13th, 2011
10:03 pm - Interview
Today's interview actually went very well. So well, in fact, that I'm feeling very conflicted.
I was prepared to just write this one off because it's in Waltham, and the commute would be a problem. In fact, it's about 3 miles from my old West Newton apartment. I'd have to take the commuter rail, making sure that I made it to the 8:12 train from North Station, and I'd have to catch the 5:35 train to get home. If I miss it, there isn't another until 7:43. Not a friendly schedule. Driving would actually take about as long as the Commuter Rail, but getting a car is still an option, even if I hate the idea of commuting by car. One thing I've learned from this job hunt is that it's unrealistic to expect to find another place I can get to by bike. The commute is a gigantic minus.

The company itself, however, seems really, really cool. I got along great with the people who would be my coworkers and I got a really positive feeling from the place. That's an entirely unexpected plus.

The last factor is the work itself. The position I was interviewing for wasn't exactly what I was expecting. Forever, I've been trying to get deeper into pure programming roles. That's what I've been hunting after. This role would be more like what I was doing a few years ago, which involves some coding, but mostly finding bugs in the code (although not necessarily fixing them), making sure that automated processes actually ran properly, and occasionally being on call in case of super serious bugs. I'd be on the team that cleans up everybody else's messes, in real time. In a way, it feels like a step down from my ambition, but the thing is that I actually enjoyed that kind of work when I was doing it. The only problem I had at that other job came from the environment and personality clashes. How much more fun would it be if I liked the environment? Does my ambition still match my reality, or did I redouble my efforts so many times that I lost sight of my real goal?

They told me in the interview that they really liked me. The initial comments that came back to the recruiter were positive. I fully expect to be offered this job, quite probably tomorrow. I guess I'll have to make up my mind overnight.

current mood: indecisive

(3 whiny kitties | Meow?)

1:57 am - Job Hunting
The job hunt continues.

The other day I had an interview. I was very excited for the company. The interview was particularly difficult for me, because I was being interviewed by four people simultaneously, and being asked nothing but technical questions and to define technical terms, for roughly an hour. I think the interview went well, and I feel that I did well on the verbal part. I did make a stupid mistake when they asked me to write some code on a white board, but I was extra nervous for that part, so my concentration was right out the window.
I found out the next day that they decided to go with one of the other candidates. I gave it my best, and they can only pick one, so there's no shame in being beaten. I feel that whatever mistakes I made were minor enough that they probably didn't end up making a difference. It's disappointing because I'd gotten my hopes up, but that's the way it goes. I'd be a lot happier if I were a pessimist.

I have another interview tomorrow, this time at a company out in Waltham. I'm not sure how I feel about this. I'll have to take the commuter rail to get to Waltham, and the schedule is not friendly. The interview is at 1, but I'm going to have to leave home by 11 in order to make it, and then I won't get home until around 5:30. That doesn't bode well.
It's also bad because I'm still exhausted from the interview earlier this week. Keeping it together under that much stress for that long is really draining. It's hard enough investing that much energy into an interview only to end up not getting it, but to have to do it again before I've recovered, for a job with this many geographical problems, all right before Arisia? That's the worst part of job hunting.

And, wouldn't you know it? I can't get to sleep the night before the interview. That's just fantastic.

current mood: tired


Saturday, January 1st, 2011
2:57 am - 2010
Last year, I resolved to lose weight and regain my physical health. I've been at it for a year, and have managed to attain a certain amount of success. I succeeded in losing approximately 30 pounds and 4 inches of circumference from my roundest point. That's reasonably successful.

After much consideration, I've decided on my resolution for this year. I'm going to double down on last year's resolution. I've still got close to 100 pounds to go before I'm within my "normal" weight range again, and I feel that fitness is important enough to trump all of the other reasonable contenders that I could come up with for 2011 resolutions. Let's see where this takes me.

current mood: resolute


Saturday, November 27th, 2010
10:01 am - ADF Update
Alternate Day Fasting as been going well. I've been seeing very encouraging results so far. I've been on a plateau since September, so it's nice to see something happening. Let's keep it going for another week and see what happens.

This post brought to you by the number 240.

current mood: hopeful


Friday, November 26th, 2010
12:04 pm - Thanksgiving
Holidays are hard.

Once upon a time, DM and I had a tradition. Every year, we went to visit her parents on Thanksgiving, and for one day, I got to feel what it was like to sit around a table and have a real, happy family. When it was all over, I got to go back home with my own little family, DM and the kitties, and so much snuggling.

I woke up this morning feeling really emo. I wake up every morning wanting nothing more than to be held. A poet once said that it's better to have loved and lost, but I feel like life was easier when I didn't know what I was missing.

current mood: emo


Sunday, November 21st, 2010
10:50 pm - Alternate Day Fasting
For some time now, I've been reading about Alternate Day Fasting. Since being laid off, I've been finding my self falling into my old habits of simply forgetting to eat some days, but that's bad for my metabolism and counterproductive to my long term goals.

The theory behind Alternate Day Fasting is that it's a way to drastically cut back on your overall caloric intake without triggering starvation mode, which has been my great enemy in the past. Since I don't feel hunger the way other people do, I shouldn't run into the same problems I keep reading about.

My reading suggests that results should come quickly, although I've been dieting and exercising for over a year now, so my situation may be atypical. My magic number is 244. Let's see where I am in a week.

current mood: curious

(1 whiny kitty | Meow?)

3:02 pm - Time to Party
I had a two party weekend. I was invited to a weekend long party at Kyle's place, and stayed for the first 14 hours or so. While it was awkward being the only one there over the age of 22 or so, I did have lots of fun after most of the people went to bed, and the remaining revelers just sat around talking.

On Saturday night, I went to Liz's birthday party at the Courtside Karaoke Bar near my apartment. It was lots of fun, even if I didn't do any singing. It reminded me a lot of my high school karaoke days.

Sunday was Amber. Always a fun time. I over socialized quite a bit this weekend, and drained my emotional reserves. I hope that challenging my limits really does expand them.

current mood: tired


Monday, November 15th, 2010
10:34 am - Danpocalypse
So much happened this weekend.

On Friday, I got laid off by my job. My Voter Activation Network adventure is now over. It makes sense that a company built around elections wouldn't need everybody immediately after an election cycle is over, especially when they're merging with another similar software company. I was still a bit surprised, though.

Friday night, I recorded episode 2 of the Retrovikings podcast. I'll get them up on itunes sooner or later.

Saturday, I met with Nick and Neil to make characters for Nick's X-Crawl game. After that, I went on a date with a girl called Kate. I don't know if there will be a second date, but I do think I'm getting better at these first dates. Time will tell.

Sunday was the Danpocalypse. Flash Gordon followed by gaming. Fun was had.

Next time: Kylefest and a trip to Amber

(2 whiny kitties | Meow?)

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010
7:51 pm - Cancun
Last weekend, my work sent me to Cancun. I left on Friday and returned on Monday. I did a good job filling my days with exciting activities. On Saturday, I spent the day on a bus going out to the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We also stopped at a couple of Cenotes along the way. The tourguide, Simon, talked almost the entire way there, and was very interesting. The whole trip took about 12 hours. When I got back to the hotel, I made sure to upload my pictures right away and write captions while I could still remember what everything was. I posted all of my pictures here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=246311&id=505058741&l=a543c12df7

On Sunday, the company rented a catamaran and we sailed out to Isla Mujeres, where I bought a straw hat. I made sure to wake up extra early on my last day there to watch the sunrise over the Caribbean. All in all, a very exciting and rewarding weekend.

Next weekend: XCrawl and the Danpocalypse!

current mood: busy


Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010
10:08 am - Halloween
Life continues to be interesting. On Halloween, I went on a spooky walking tour of Beacon Hill hosted by Boston By Foot. I've been on a few other BBF tours, and they never disappoint. The guide told stories of ghosts and murders throughout the neighborhood. My favorite story was about a highwayman named Walton who, upon his death requested that his skin be made into leather and used to bind a copy of his autobiography, which is currently in the Athenaeum. More info, with a picture and the full text of the book, can be found here: http://www.bostonathenaeum.org/node/191. Spooky! Then I went dancing, dressed as one of the ghosts from Pacman.

All in all, a successful weekend...

...but not as successful as next weekend, when I visit Cancun and Chichen Itza!

current mood: cold


Wednesday, July 14th, 2010
4:28 pm - Where have all the cowboys gone?
Work continues to go well. Sometimes I'm anxious that I'm not doing a very good job, but other days I'm able to make it up to myself. Let's hope that it all evens out.

I've been riding my bike basically everywhere for the last three months or so. That includes the 3 miles to and from work every day. My stamina is improving to the point where I hardly ever have to stop for rest anymore. It's amazing what having iron in your blood can do!

I've been taking a hiatus from the gym while working on my biking, but it may be time to start going again.

I'm gaming more than ever before. Sometimes it feels like it's too much, in fact. I have a semi-regular Sunday Amber group, a Monday D&D group, a biweekly Tuesday Amber group and SGB on Wednesdays. Also, I sometimes go dancing in Concord on Thursdays.

I dropped out of Jiu Jitsu when my car broke down and I was having job troubles. I fully intended to return, but there are many things stacked against it, primary among these are the 5.4 mile bike ride from home to the dojo and my other commitments on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I really love the place and believe in the instructor, but I may need to start looking at other dojos. Perhaps I should take another look at that Aikido place in Porter.

I've gotten some good freelance work done, but none of the gigs I've gotten thusfar will lead directly to other gigs, but they will look good in a portfolio, whenever I get around to finishing it.

Dragon Quest IX finally arrived in America the other day. I'm only a few hours in, but the latest installment of my favorite game series of all time hasn't disappointed.

I recently read Snow Crash, American Gods and The Hero with a Thousand Faces all in a row and they provided some kind of synergy bonus to each other. That was unexpected.

I don't get to Meeting as often as I should. I very much want to be a part of that community.

Dancing is still fun, but my anxiety has been causing me to sit out most, if not all, of the dances.

ǝɹɐnbs sı pןɹoʍ ǝɥʇ

current mood: busy


Tuesday, March 9th, 2010
1:10 pm - Amber!
Big Mike got a Amber Diceless game together. We had the attibute auction last Sunday and I made out pretty swell. I'm looking forward eagerly to the first session in a couple weeks. Hey, it's also given me an excuse to reread the Amber books, which is always worth it.


Monday, February 15th, 2010
5:53 pm - Eating Well
When I came back to Boston after several years away, during which time I'd been eating nothing but healthy food, I saw came across a restaurant in Downtown Crossing which I ate at frequently during my college years. Shortly afterwards, I threw up.

The strange thing about eating well is that it makes it very difficult to resume eating poorly.

I've spent the last few weeks making a concerted effort to eat things that are good for me, to avoid anything that comes in a box or contains high fructose corn syrup.
After my party last week, I had a lot of leftovers and made a valiant effort to eat them over the next couple of days, and came to regret it. Besides all the problems I had with my digestion, my energy levels, motivation and even my mood were all messed up for the better part of a week.

Lesson learned.

current mood: full


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