Nothing Special, Really

Monday, March 16, 2009

Thanks For Ruining April Fools

Damn you all for being such concerned, attentive, good friends.

It would have made for a pretty good April Fool's joke, at least for some of you, if I said nothing about the new job until the end of the month, at which point I was going to put up a blog post about how I got laid off again. But the number of people hassling me with questions like "What's it like being employed again" or "How was the first week?" is getting to be too much.

At least I know I have friends that care about me, so that's always good. I guess.

So, yeah, new job. It feels the same yet different. It didn't take long for me to feel comfortable. Within the first day I was already manipulating reports, playing around with Excel, and trying to see if I could check my email from work. I haven't necessarily been thrown in the fire the first week, but I've been given a couple of projects to work on as soon as the 2nd day. Even with those, I've still had a lot of free time on my hand, but that's slowly dwindling as I get situated.

But it feels different too. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have a career, like I'm a professional. It'll probably feel inconsequential soon enough, but it was kind of surreal walking in the first day and having things like business cards and a laptop. I still have a cubicle, but with a window for the first time ever. That won't last long since we're moving downstairs next month, but then, I'll have my own office, complete with a door. I'm meeting people around the office, and they just don't know who I am, they know why I was brought on and they're excited about it. Once a week I go downtown to Seattle, where I share an office on the 17th floor of a high rise. Of course, another stupid condo is being built, blocking my view of Elliot Bay except for a sliver, but still, that's a sliver of a view that I've never had before. These are perks that many probably take for granted, but for me, it's a sign that I'm finally back on the career path I started planning for myself about 18 months ago.

I try not to feel guilty about where I'm at, given all the gloom and doom lately, and for the most part, I don't. I "put in my dues" over the past 10 months, and I worked my ass off to get to this point. But still, there's thousands of people who are happy taking a cut in pay, in responsibility, in anything, just to make sure they have a paycheck again, and here I am, finding my way into quite possibly the perfect job. Even the commute is manageable. It's 50 minutes back through a section of some of the worst traffic in the country, but it hasn't bothered me yet, and it probably never will. I know what it's like to not have this, I know that what I have now is absolutely great; crawling my way home a couple times a week isn't enough to faze me.

So for all those interested; life is good, for now. It doesn't mean that I'm still not immune to a job loss anymore. If it happens again, c'est la vie. I'm just going to enjoy this as long as I can.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Change I Can Believe In

I hate Daylight Savings time.

Growing up in Arizona, I never had to deal with DST beyond adjusting an arrival time in Vegas depending on the time of year. It wasn't until Seattle where I felt the full effects of the time change, the first effect being that eerie feeling in October when I would walk out of work at 4:30pm that first week and it would already be dark.

I still don't fully understand the concept; is the change to give us an hour more of daylight in the evenings during the summer, or an hour more in the mornings during the winter? Either way, I think it's a retarded idea. What's an hour more either way? I may be misunderstood, but I believe that it was enacted to provide farmers more time to work depending on the season. Maybe if we were still a primarily agrarian economy it would make sense (perhaps if this recession really runs deep enough we'll get back to that point) but now, I don't see the point, unless it's part of a enormous conspiracy to fuck with my sleep schedule (which it could very well be).

I didn't really adjust my sleep schedule going into this first week back into the workforce because, even though I was usually getting up no earlier than 10am, I've been able to wake up early on short notice many times before & still function. However, if I had realized sooner that I would be getting up earlier for the work THE SAME WEEK that DST kicked in, then I would have adjusted. Going from waking up at 10am to 6:30am sucks, but it's doable; now that 6:30am is what 5:30am was last week, that's a big difference. I can't think of a more perfect cliche than to say that I'm probably in for a rude awakening this week.


Speaking of the new job, I'm definitely excited about this opportunity, but also little bit sad and nervous, equally. One thing I realized during these past 10 months is that, in the event that I somehow became independently wealthy, I wouldn't be one of those people who "has to work" to stay busy or keep from being bored. Most of the time I felt myself being bored during this time wasn't because I didn't know how to spend my time, it was a lack of resources that kept me from spending my time the way I wanted to, and that's not to mention the fact that I didn't even do non-financially dependent activities as much as I should have (i.e. working out, reading, etc.) Yeah, I was a homebody for the majority of my time, but for the most part I enjoyed it. That's not to say that I prefer it, but it wasn't the worst thing in the world either. A small part of me is going to miss my daily routine of waking up late, playing XBox or poker, hanging out with Wac during our brief hours together, then rinsing and repeating.

I'm also a bit nervous because, heading into tomorrow, I don't know what to expect. Well, let me rephrase: I know what to expect, considering my boss already planned out my first week. What I should say is that I don't know how I'm going to feel. Aside from the mental adjustment from being a lazy bum to being a highly productive HR professional, there's also things like fitting in with my first new company in 13 years, getting accustomed to one of the worst commutes in the U.S. three times a week, etc. I don't know how much sense this makes to anyone else, but over these past 10 months, it felt like my job was just to be a professional applicant. Of course the goal was to get a job, but because it was so prolonged, I kind of forgot about that end result. Now that it's all coming to an end, it feels...weird.


I already celebrated my new job several weeks ago when I first accepted the position, but since this past weekend was kind of my "last weekend of freedom", I took one more opportunity to get hammered on Friday night. It didn't end poorly, but it didn't end well either. Wac found me sitting on the floor at 5am, cross-legged, hiccuping and searching frantically for my glasses; I remember none of this. I also vaguely remember the various drunken messages I left on some internet social mediums, one message which resulted in having to confront a former friend of mine one last time about why we're no longer friends. Granted, most of these messages were hysterical and harmless, but the feeling of waking up and forgetting so many of my actions isn't as funny as it used to be. Not to mention the aches in my bones and the disappointment that my Saturdays weren't starting until around Noon; the price of drinking has certainly gone up as I've gotten older.

I also got some weird idea in my head to lose weight again. I've fallen off the physical fitness wagon pretty hard since the 1\2 marathon in January, and I've hit a point where I'm finally starting to appreciate the time when I was on that wagon. Certainly one culprit of all this is how much I've been drinking. I wouldn't come anywhere close to saying I've got a problem; 95% of my drinking is concentrated between the hours of 5pm-1am on Fridays. But alcoholism aside, drinking directly conflicts with any healthy objectives I set for myself.

So, as if I didn't need enough changes in my life this week, I'm setting one more. Complete sobriety until Memorial Day weekend. I can't hold it any longer than that, because we've got a music festival planned that weekend, with one of the days devoted specifically to getting wasted at the campsite. Until then, however, I'm back to being boring and sober. No more knocking down signs, no more falling asleep at bars, no more putting random objects in other people's beers, no more drunken messages in the middle of the night.

I know, no more fun. Just bear with me until Memorial Day. After that, I promise you: things will change.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Ramble On

I'm not tired enough to go to sleep yet but too tired to really do anything else that one would do at 1am. I should probably start working on getting to bed earlier, as well as getting up earlier, with that whole job thing starting next week. Oh well.

Let's do a stream of consciousness post and see how it turns out. And away we go!


Earlier tonight I walked by a bum on the street. In Seattle, that's not hard to do, and normally they don't stick out to me anymore. This one did, mostly because he had a TV with him. Not a little hand held one either, at least a 13 inch one. He was parked in front of a record store, turning the knob from station to station. I didn't see how he got it plugged in but I assume it was from the record store. As I walked past, I couldn't help but think that June is really going to suck for him when TV goes all digital. Obviously not the worst of his problems but doesn't make it any easier for him either.

One of my lasting memories of Seattle involves a homeless person. I visited up her almost a year before I moved up, just to make sure that I would like this city. I stayed at a hostel near Pike Place Market, one that doesn't exist anymore. As I was going back and forth between the hostel and whatever destination, I came across a young homeless person, not much older than me. She stood with her gaze fixed on the sidewalk, with a sign reading something like "Dreaming of a Big Mac & Fries. Please help make my dream come true." Obviously her sign was meant to be somewhat humorous, at least it was to me. For some reason, it made me enjoy Seattle even more on that trip. I thought to myself "even the homeless are cooler up here!" On my last day, I finally talked to her for a bit and even asked for a picture. She was hesitant until I assured her I wasn't publishing it anywhere. She was really a nice person and I truly believe she was just down on her luck. I gave her something like $10 but she seemed even more grateful that I asked her to take her picture, as most others would do it without asking. I never saw her again after that.

More proof that the homeless are cooler in Seattle. A friend of mine told me the most awesome story last week about when he saw two drunk bums outside his bus stop. One was insisting that the other bum was dead. The supposedly dead bum then began asking people if he could hear him. He reported to the first bum that he got two no responses and three "I don't know", so maybe he was really dead. The first bum was hysterically laughing his ass off.

We get approached all the time from homeless in this city, it just goes with the territory. Usually I just ignore them, other times I'll politely decline. I'm actually really bothered by the amount of homeless in our city, and I know that a large number of them are really just people who ran into some bad circumstances trying to find someway to get their lives together. I choose not to help only because there's no way to really determine which of the homeless are like that, and which are just hopeless beggars and drug addicts. Not to mention, quite frankly, I'm not in the most secure financial situation either.

Enough about bums. The Suns lost tonight. I watched a lot of the Suns-Lakers game on Sunday. We looked really good that day, especially Barbosa. For the first time ever, I watched him lead the team like an actual point guard. I've never seen him play so poised and so in control, especially in the half court setting. He also cherry-picked like crazy but I won't complain. He seems to mesh better with Shaq than Nash does, although I haven't caught any of the post All-Star games with Nash, so I have nothing to compare too. Anyways, our defense is and will always be a problem. I'm resigned to the fact that we're possibly looking at no playoffs this year, and honestly, I'm fine with that. That'll give us a lottery pick, add some more youth to this team, and take one last hurrah next year with the 7 Seconds or Shaq philosophy, for a full year, and see where it goes.

It's getting weirder to think that I start work next week. Although I'm definitely looking forward to it, it's a little sad that I'll have to give up this lifestyle that I've been accustomed to over the past 10 months. There's definitely some things I would have done differently, mostly remember to get my car fixed sooner and devote more time to exercising, but I don't have many regrets about how I've spent my time or my money. I can't say that I'm not going to miss sleeping in until whenever I want or staying up late as well, but in the end, I'm sure I'll prefer getting on a more regular schedule, especially when I see those first couple of paychecks.

We're going to the Sasquatch Music Festival again this year, the third time in a row. Last year, some of our friends took the middle of the three days off and just spent the day in the campsite, drinking and partying. I have to admit, part of me was a little jealous of that idea, so this year, we're only going to one day of music so that we can spend all day Saturday doing the same. We were going to go two days, Sunday & Monday, but I ultimately decided against going on Monday. I was kind of able to justify the ticket price considering the bands that will be there that day, but I figured it was best to save the $70 (not to mention addt'l money for food and whatever), mostly because I realized that economic situations are different this time around, and that just because I'll have a higher paying job doesn't change the fact that I need to be even smarter with my earnings this time around.

I bought a bottle of what I thought was one of those clear water drinks that's carb-free but tastes like soda. Instead, it's sparkling water. I hate sparkling water, and I hated that when we were in Europe years ago, we had to specifically ask for non-sparkling water when we went to restaurants. Seriously, I don't understand why people think this tastes good. I'm all for putting lemon in water, but this just tastes like sour water. I have a headache now, which I'm completely blaming on that nasty faux-soda crap.