Categories
Politics

I had a dream (about Obama)

So I had a dream last night about Barack Obama.

No, not that kind of dream sicko.

The dream was that there was a debate between Obama, Clinton and some new lady who entered the race. During the debate Obama gave some rousing speech and then actually began to cry at the end of his speech. My first thought was “Oh crap, now we people will make fun of him for that”, but that really wasn’t the focus of the dream. Then at the end of the debate, the third candidate lady decided to withdraw from the race, at which point Obama immediately announced that he would have her as his running mate. And I remember thinking “wow, that’s a killer team”. But this STILL wasn’t the focus of the dream. Next, I was in a different part of town and I spilled some of my drink on my shirt. So then I went down to my basement and started scrubbing my shirt trying to get the drink off of it. I woke up still scrubbing when my dog started pacing around my room, wanting to be let out to go to the bathroom.

The point of the dream and this post: I had a dream about politics/politicians/something that wasn’t me scrubbing a shirt for 3 hours straight (although that did happen)

Why would I have a dream about politics? Why would I write a blog post about it? Why would I involve myself with something I have been trying so hard to ignore since it started (much much too early)? Why are you now here reading this?

Because I now care. That’s all there is to it. Check out my other blog posts, you’ll see. I hardly ever post to my blog. I definitely don’t post anything having to do with anything other than myself. So maybe this is me turning a corner or maybe it’s just not wanting to deal with thinking about this stuff anymore, I dunno. Maybe I just no longer just want Hillary or McCain to be in the white house (although I’ve never really wanted McCain in there). I think what I really want is to be able to listen to NPR in the morning on my way to work and not be like “Goddamn it, Bush” or “What the hell are you thinking, you stupid #$@#%#$@! politician?!”. Prime example: This morning I was listening to a story on NPR about Bush trying to move a deadly cattle disease (foot and mouth) research center from its secluded island location to right next to a bunch of cattle on the mainland in NY. All I could think about as I heard this report was “Oh, who is he helping out now? Which of the good ol’ boys needs a building contract or a military contract or a favor or wants to kill his neighbors cattle?” WHEN THE HELL DID THIS BECOME ALRIGHT? OK, calming back down now. Ooooohhhhooommm (Zen chant).

So that’s what I want. I want to turn on the radio in the morning and not be disappointed with what I hear. I want some other country to talk positively about the US. I want the good ol’ boys and girls of the country to stop getting handouts from the government. I’d like those same people to pay some goddamn taxes.

And sure, in the process I’d love to have better education, health care, foreign policy, equality, social programs, accountability for politicians, environmental conscientiousness, a thriving economy and so on and so forth. But really, I’d settle for a decent story on the radio in the mornings (the reporting is good, they just have to give crappy news). And to go along with the Obama campaign message, I HOPE this can happen if Obama gets elected.

So I did something I’ve never done before and from what I’ve read more people are doing than ever before. I gave money to a political campaign. It wasn’t much but I plan on giving again for the general election. I also plan to do something I haven’t done in the 7 years I’ve been able to do so. I will vote. If that isn’t a measure of how this election season has gotten my apathetic butt motivated, I don’t know what is.

Well, maybe this blog post.

Categories
Health

Another goal: Muscle!

I hadn’t lifted free weights in about 1.5 years.

Ouch.

However, I’ve done this before. As a full disclosure, I once almost hit 180 pounds. I wasn’t exactly rippling, and beer had given me that inertial advantage, but still I almost hit 180. Now the story is a little different. Due to working night shift at my last job, stress in my personal life and other factors (mostly lack of grocery shopping), I dropped to under 150 for the first time since high school. It wasn’t pretty and I’m not too proud of myself for letting it happen. However, all of that has changed, hopefully for good. I’m back up to a healthy weight at least (well, for my body type and historical weight).

Anyway, Jess and I joined the JCC back in March. And since today is May 1st, I thought it was a good time to talk about my goal of gaining 10 pounds of muscle by April. Basically, yeah, I’ve failed. But really that goal wasn’t practical. I once read that a guy can expect about 2 pounds of muscle a month with consistent lifting and a high protein diet. Since we only really started working out again in March, I really should have only gained 4 pounds of muscle. And I think I have! Really, I stopped weighing myself, and that’s the really important thing. Now it’s more of a subjective gaging (how I feel right after working out and the next two days) and objective gaging (did I go to the gym). So here are my new goals for my personal health, which expand beyond just the gym:

  1. Work out 3 times a week. This is also tied into a workout competition at work. If we don’t do our workouts, we have to give money to charity each time we miss. My goal is to do two or more of the following per workout:
    1. 20 minutes running
    2. 20 minutes swimming
    3. 100 pushups/250 situps
    4. 30 minutes lifting free weights
  2. Eat a low fat, high protein diet. Also try to maintain some semblance of a budget while doing so.
  3. Drink in moderation and be sure to workout the next day after having a drink.

Also as a long term goal, I’d like to run another 10k, bench press my own weight and be able to swim 1000m without stopping (swimming is really hard). As a really long term goal I’d also like to run a half marathon and a full marathon.

So that’s my story for working out. I think about my blogging and am interested to think about who might be reading it, but really this post is for me. I sometimes need reminders and I figure I read this site more than most.

Categories
Life Work

Moving is hard!

So I don’t mean to complain…but well let’s be serious, that’s what blogs are all about, right?

Ok, so I won’t complain per se, but wow, moving is not how I remember it. I’ve even made the same move in the opposite direction. Granted, last time I did not have a dog nor a girlfriend moving with me (having Jess there actually made it easier), but I think I actually had more stuff back then (somehow). In reality, I’ve had it really easy. Here’s some of the stuff that made it easier on me:

1. Movers to pack and ship everything! That was a crazy idea to me. I actually wasn’t allowed to pack anything, or else I was liable. They were really nice too. Now that I’m in Cleveland, all I have to do is say the word and they will come and unload and unpack a bunch of the stuff. How crazy is that?

2. Having a furnished apartment for a few weeks. This saved me and Jess the trip up to Cleveland before we actually moved. Not like there was actually a lot of time in between finding out and our move (3 weeks maybe?), but it took a lot of the stress off. We’ve had the time to look for a place since we arrived.

3. 2 weeks off before starting. Normally I’d say this isn’t much time, but really getting this job was predicated on the fact that they need someone to start as soon as possible. This allowed us the time to find a place, which we are renting. Buying may be something we look at in the next few months with the idea that we would sublet our current place.

So what’s the bad of all this? I mean, we really do have it easy overall. However, there are always downsides:

1. Expense. We had to pay a lot of stuff out of pocket. Most noticeably, we had to pay to ship Jess’ car up here. Sure, we could have driven it up with each of in each car, but that would have been miserable. Plus, we had just had some work done on the car and we weren’t exactly confident in the car. C’est la vie, it’s a tax write off at least ūüôā

2. Holy Crap, February is the worst month to move. Doubly so for Cleveland. Man, even moving to Austin would have been bad. As a good example, the moving company that packed and moved all of out stuff only had our stuff coming back up to Cleveland. That’s a huge moving van with maybe enough room to move 2 full houses and it really only had our 900 sq foot house. But nope, we had it all to ourselves, because NO ONE wants to move to Cleveland in February. We’re special!

3. Finding a place. You’d think finding a house in this crappy real estate market would be easy, but it really wasn’t. First off, I made the wrong assumption that the real estate agents were no good around here as I thought they were in Austin. But we ended up using an agent who was really helpful (for a rental). We would have liked to look for a house to buy with this buyers market, but there really wasn’t time. We tried craigslist at first, and that was an almost complete bust. Let’s just say the first house we looked at had this creepy lady who was insisting that we should buy her house…even though water damage on the first floor destroyed almost the entire house…and she showed it to us in that condition. Psychooooooo.

So yeah, I’m a bit of a whiner, but moving really is hard. We are probably moving again in a year, but hopefully we won’t have to deal with it until then. Let me know if you want to see pictures of our new place, they should be up in a bit.

Categories
Life Work

1 goal down…New Job!

I haven’t posted for a while, obviously.

But in the interim, good things have been happening. The number 1 thing being: I got a new job!

I will be working for Keithley Instruments, located in Solon, OH. My position will be Manufacturing Design Engineer, and I will be working directly with my good friend Dave Young. I am really excited about this opportunity and company. Here’s some of the highlights:

  1. I will be doing design work. Not all the time, but some. And the learning opportunities in this position are boundless. That is what has me most excited. Every day will be different, every day will be a challenge; this is the reason I got into engineering. Plus, I will have the opportunity to go back to school for my masters in a related field (analog)! How awesome is that??
  2. Jess will be moving with me to Ohio. We have talked about doing this for a while, mostly because nightshift nearly ruined our relationship. This is a perfect chance for us to start fresh and it is going to be great. Jess will have to find a new job, which is unfortunately stressful for her, but we are hoping she can get back into career counseling, which is her chosen field.
  3. I will be roughly 1200 miles closer to my family. This is obviously not part of the job, but a side benefit. No more hunting for plane tickets and sitting in airports for 8 hours. Now all I have to do is hop on the I-90, watch out for cops and fight the snow! Plus, Jess gets to see Buffalo! (yay?)
  4. I get to meet Jess’ family. Apparently it’s bad form to not meet your girlfriends’ extended family after dating for a year and a half :/ But now I get to! We will be within 2 hours of the farm, where we look forward to seeing her family and watching Lola romp with the cattle.
  5. Back to the job, the hours are flextime, which was a goal listed in my New Years resolution. Make no mistake, these will be non-stop, brain pulsing activity, which is in contrast to the Samsung sit and wait (due to waiting for tools/experiments to finish). This will make for a healthier work environment. Plus I can now spend each evening with Jess and Lola, something I won’t take for granted.

There are, of course, downsides to any situation. And while these should be downplayed in most situations, I think they should be listed here for the sake of historical accuracy (or at least until this blog dies a slow, quiet death)…

  1. The people. How can I describe how wonderful the people have been? Austinites in general are¬†very friendly people and I think I have joined them in that regard.¬†But my friends that I have made while I’ve been down here will be the hardest to leave. Most are friends I made¬†when¬†I started at Samsung and we’ve all been through a lot together.¬†I have also made other friends in town that will be missed dearly, not to mention¬†my¬†roomate¬†Steve,¬†who seems destined to follow me back to¬†Cleveland (he’s followed me everywhere else!). You will all be¬†missed and you will¬†all be visited…by me…and I’ll probably drink all the beer in your fridge while I do…
  2. The weather. No denying that this is a huge climate shift, as it was when I moved down here. The day I wrote this (in February), was 75 and sunny all day. Contrast with the gray and cloudy 40 degree Cleveland, and yeah, there’s a difference. We’re going to try our best to fight the winter blues (tanning, working out, going skiing, beer) and when spring and summer come around, we’ll appreciate it that much more.
  3. The city. Granted, Austin did not turn out to be what I expected. I expected full on, 24/7, can’t escape it, the most euphoric sound ever to bounce off your eardrums, music. Instead I have had some really great concerts and music experiences peppered in with a slew of mediocre bands trying to get their name out by playing covers (when does this work?). Music aside though, I love Austin. It’s like that adolescent kid trying to fit into his old elmo t-shirt. It’s geeky, yet hip. It’s growing, yet feels intimate. It’s old, yet new.¬†I could definitely see myself ending up in Austin again as long as it maintains some integrity and doesn’t turn into Dallas.
  4. The pay is less because I won’t be working nightshift. To this I say: Good riddance. Working at Samsung taught me that quality of life is a very important factor in work. In fact, this extends beyond salary and benefits (both of which were better at Samsung). If you are being better compensated for a job that overworks you and you don’t enjoy the work, you probably need to step back and re-evaluate. So I did…and I tried to get¬† a new job…and then this one fell in my lap. Sometimes things just work out the way they should, you know?

So that’s it. Pretty big news. I’m super stressed about the move, but I’m sure everything will go fine. I’ll try to update once we get to Cleveland. Ohio, here we come!

Categories
Life Work

New Year’s Resolutions

I’m not one to make resolutions. Personally, I think many times people are setting themselves up for failure when they pick a random day to start doing everything they meant to in life, especially the big broad goals. However, in the spirit of the season, I’m going to throw everything I just mentioned out the window and list some stuff I want to do this year, mostly so I have these things recorded somewhere I’ll view them again.

  1.  Gain 10 pounds of muscle by April. Achieve this by going to the gym at least 2 times per week and doing high intensity lifting workouts.
  2. Be able to play a Chopin piano piece. Also, be able to improvise with piano over a simple chord progression (ii-V-I)
  3. Join a band and play 1 gig in the next year (drums)
  4. Increase my investing prowess by reading annual reports of all currently held stocks and doing thorough analysis of any new stocks that interest me.
  5. Finally and most importantly, I would like to find work that is more fitting to my personality and needs. However, I would like to make sure this position leaves me enough time to live life and spend time with those I love. I am willing to sacrifice money and possibly even my future career prospects to achieve this goal. This means I desire to:
    1. Work roughly 40-45 hours per week (the most negotiable of these desires)
    2. Have flexible vacation time and some amount of assurance that I will not be working on major holidays.
    3. Given responsibility and be judged on merit, and not time spent at the office.
    4. Be driven to create value and something of use to the world and my company
    5. Enjoy spending time with my co-workers

The last item about work is indicative of my generation. We realize that work is a main part of life and want to integrate it with all other aspects of living. To do so I think I need many of the things listed above. To end this post, I will paste in a story that I have sitting by my desk at work and read just about every day. I must admit, I found the story on the wall at Jimmy John’s first (my favorite sub shop), but it was too good to pass up. Here it is with the link where I found it. I hope it helps to illuminate how I think about work.

An American tourist was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The tourist complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, “Only a little while.”

The tourist then asked, “Why didn’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?”

The Mexican said, “With this I have more than enough to support my family’s needs.”

The tourist then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life.”

The tourist scoffed, ” I can help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You could leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you could run your ever-expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But, how long will this all take?”

The tourist replied, “15 to 20 years.”

“But what then?” asked the Mexican.

The tourist laughed and said, “That’s the best part. When the time is right you would sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions.”

“Millions?…Then what?”

The American said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

Reposted from http://www.noogenesis.com/pineapple/fisherman.html

Categories
Work

Lesson’s learned on Christmas Eve

I worked Christmas Eve at Samsung.

This was and is an unfortunate side effect of having an odd schedule, and even more so of being scheduled to work Tuesdays when holidays happen to fall on said Tuesdays. Regardless, I could not take off work because when we were scheduling the holiday season I was working by myself and had to be there. Fine, no problem. My counterpart on the opposite end of the week was kind enough to cover for me on the evening of the 25th, so I got to go home on Christmas morning after work.

However, after all of this, I found something sad and sweet about being there. It’s really touching to see people working Christmas Eve; not because they want to, but because they care so much about the people they leave at home on those evenings. Those same people that are so understanding about the situation their family members’ are in, and how they must work these days as part of their job.

I was particularly touched upon hearing one of my female co-workers talk to her family on Christmas Eve. She works the day shift and was not getting home until around 8 pm. She had left her kids with her parents and was calling to wish them goodnight. This would possibly be fine in my mind if she was going home to them, but the knowledge was particular heart wrenching for me.

Another instance was my counter part on nights, Jason. He was distraught and in a similar situation as me (I’m not married). He left his new wife at home on Christmas, and they were both hurting being away on the first major holiday they had as a married couple. My heart goes out to them, as I know how hard it is being on nights with a loved one at home.

Yet another co-worker on nights with me took Christmas eve off, but only because his wife was working that evening. They had to have Christmas on the morning of the 24th (hardly a travesty for the kids I’m sure). However, work coming in front of family is a rough thing for anyone, especially when there are younger children involved. This is a sad reality of many families today, with credit cards and house payments. Doubly so at Christmas.

And lastly were those crazy people I work with that didn’t take (or get) any time off. These were mostly the people my age who are working day shift. Granted, some of these unfortunate individuals are workaholics, others were forced to be there, and that’s just not right. I don’t care who you are or what you do, nothing is really getting done on a major holiday, especially Christmas. Paperwork, maybe, but that can usually wait.

So why this rambling post? I guess to offset my current situation from my sheltered childhood. I grew up in a suburban neighborhood, with parents that stayed together, loved me, showered me with too many gifts and made a big deal of the holidays (they still do on all counts and I love them for it). I guess it’s just weird to see how others have to deal with work schedules and tougher situations. I never have had to experience it or even really think about it that much. So even though I did not particularly enjoy working on Christmas eve and not spending that time with my loved ones, it gave me a unique perspective on how people deal with holiday scheduling; moreso, it helped to show me that holidays usually are not as important as we make them out to be. Everything generally worked out fine, what with coming home on Christmas morning (and probably would have been the same if I had to come home 2 days earlier or later). The idea is to spend SOME time with those you love, around the holidays. This has been helpful to me also, because I have to work New Years Eve. Thumbs down.

Anyway, I hope this perspective was helpful for all who read it.

Categories
Life

Why?

Hello everyone. I figured for a first post, it would be useful to explain why I decided to start a namesake site and subsequently begin blogging (again). The site is for three things:

  1. To create a personal brand, mostly for my professional life. This does not mean that I will speak and post only about work and work related issues, but more so that I will keep this blog and site clean of vulgar and incriminating content.
  2. My ego. Everyone has one, and I’m no exception.
  3. People are going to find information on you no matter where they look, why not put it all in one place and help them out?

So who are you?

I’m guessing you’re either a new acquaintance looking me up for the first time, an old friend checking in to see how I’m doing, a potential or current employer doing due diligence on a wonderful human being, or a family member who somehow finagled the web address out of me. To all of you, welcome. I hope you learn a little more about me.

In first line of this post I alluded to the fact that this is not my first blog. I have had multiple personal blogs, ranging from life experiences, to trips to Korea, to my most recent attempt at starting a money making site. To be fair, you (the reader) have probably never read any of the other sites, as I usually fall in and out of favor with my inner-poet. Translation: I’m not very good at updating blogs. So if you see this site start to fall by the way-side, feel free to contact me and tell me to post something new. I won’t post my email for fear of spam, but I’m sure you either already have my email (how else would you have found me?) or you are resourceful enough to find it.

Again, thanks for coming.