Sunday, May 24, 2009

Update for the Five Of You Who Care :)

It's been a little while since I ego-blogged, so here's a lil' update about me:

1) Employment - I recently took a job as a contractor at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. I obviously didn't agree with everything they espoused politically, but I did enjoy working as an A/V, IT, and broadcasting support guy. They had so many events in their building - speeches, seminars, documentary showings, minglers - and it was nice to meet a few folks I've seen quoted in the news. While I'm not the little conservative I was 20 years ago - far from it, actually - I do strongly agree with their points on controlling the National Debt and cutting entitlement programs. I fortunately was not there long enough to get into a political discussion with anybody of import. As soon as they'd find out that I voted for a Democrat in 2008, I'd probably be shown the door.

Having said that, the job itself was great. My direct boss was quite a pill, however. I've never worked with somebody so...blatantly hard to work with. She was a nice enough person on her own, but so incredibly odd. For instance - she's a micromanager to the ultimate degree. She didn't think I was taking enough notes on my first day, and physically yanked the pen out from my hands and wrote the notes herself. I have never had anybody do that ever, and she did it four times my first two days. She also forbade chit-chat. No talking, just sit at your desk quietly until the phone rang. So, it was next to impossible to ask the other members of the team for advice. She gave me four different shifts my first week - it's nice to know when you're working before you're working. 8-5? 7-4? 10-8? (not a typo) Pick one, lady. On top of that, the guy who was responsible for training me didn't talk at all, and then gave me bad information every chance he could. Not cool. It was like he was deliberately sabotaging me.

Ultimately, though, my issues with the job were directly tied to the odd boss. I can't work in silence. I'm 36, not in the 3rd grade. I need human interaction. And, I need my pen to remain in my hand until I set it down of my own accord.

The contracting company was of little help, either. They were paying a straight by-the-hour rate. No benefits, no sick leave, no medical insurance, no nothing. Need time off? Lose a paycheck. Need a 401k? Get it yourself, slick. That they also did not disclose the true working hours were set at 37.5 hours, not 40. So, when we did the math at 40 hours, it was a substantial, yet doable pay cut from my previous job. Knock another 2.5 hours off per week, and it suddenly became too dear to handle. I gave my two week notice last week, and they let me go that Friday night.

Why would I leave so quickly? Can you say "Department of Health?" That's where I'm working on Tuesday, after Memorial Day. One of my older job applications came through, and they offered me the job while I was at Heritage. It's a great pay and benefit increase from Heritage, about what I made at the Pentagon, but with better health care. Awesome, I say. My new employer is AVI-SPL - much more professional than Chronos and with all sorts of great projects going on across the country.

Hopefully this one will work out for a while.

2) Projects - The great digitalization movement is in full effect. I've filled up one 500GB hard drive with tunes. All my CDs are getting dumped into iTunes' lossless format so I can store these discs away and never have to see them again. I'm going to back up the entire music collection on a 1TB drive and probably connect that to a wireless network device. Yes, I know I'm a geek. Bite me.

I'm also putting everything in bins. I have bins for my bins.

3) Personal - Um...I took myself out of the dating world while unemployed, and now I'm looking to get back into the world of being at least semi-social again. Went on a nice date last week with a woman to Oyamel. She's a funny one - great taste in music, fierce independent streak, killer hair. However, I promptly followed up our date by getting a sinus infection, and that took me out of commission the last week. Thanks, karma?

I went to see "Lying In State" in Hagerstown today. Erika played "Bubbles," a stripper/Senate candidate in this political spoof. First time I've seen her in about 9 months, I guess. She's a natural on stage. Makes me want to dust off the olde head shots and audition myself. Wonder how I'd do with nearly a decade between roles?

4) Food - The gang have moved over to a new server, and the page looks good. Now that I'm employed, I'll be dining out more, and should be able to write about something.

5) Comedy - Ole' Wayne Man convinced me to do standup comedy a few weeks ago. I'm finding myself writing down little bits and lines again. I swear...if I get the jones to tour again... hopefully I'll be better at it.

6) Photos - Jan Louis, the stinkin' Cuban, has borrowed my Sony gear for nearly three weeks now. He's gone to Puerto Rico and Chicago and Gold Cup during that time. I've been to Hagerstown. He's unemployed, and has more frequent-flier miles than a professional baseball team. How does he afford his rock-and-roll lifestyle?

So, I'm stuck with the sad Canon and no good shots to speak of, except of this:

This is what happens when the Weirdest Thing Ever happens.

Two Sundays ago, Bart called me over to his room to see something on his computer. Kramer was laying down in front of Bart's door, and I stepped over him gently. As I'm doing this, a freak gust of wind outside created a vacuum in our house, and caused Bart's door to slam shut...right into my nose and eye, hard. I started to step back, but could feel Kramer's leg under my foot, so I lifted my leg off the ground. I went butt-first into the drywall, holding my possibly-bleeding nose and eye with my right hand, and trying to brace myself with my left. Fortunately, I was only left with a small red mark on my face - I must have somehow stopped the door with my right hand or something microns from my pupil. However, look at the hole. Notice the perfect circle. It's like Dana Carvey's old George Michael impersonation.

"It is so perfectly round that British scientists use it to calibrate their instruments."

I'll probably patch up my butt hole next week. I included the sleeping dogs in the shot to give a basis for scale. My butt is mighty.