Monday, August 29, 2011


Two weeks in Madera.  That’s where I’ve been.

Do you know how hot it gets there?  It’s just north of Fresno.  Do you know what they make in Fresno?  Raisins.  they put perfectly good grapes outside and let them shrivel up in the sun.  Today in Madera, (while I was in “scenic” yet gloriously temperate Hunter’s Point) it got up to 104 degrees F.  I am glad to be home.

The best thing about today was working, coming home, and having dinner with my wife.

And tomorrow I have the office all to myself.  the newest hire if off south to take my place in Madera (poor soul) for the rest of the project, the other two engineers are working at Hunter’s Point, and my Supervisor is there as well for a meeting with the public.

And the best part? I’ve been instructed to play with some Excel files; get to know them and see what I can do with them; fill in some data.  I get to play all day tomorrow.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Debunking Makes Me Feel Good

I’m sure a lot of people have seen this picture by now.  It’s even made it onto some news shows.  The claim is that hurricane Irene flooded one of the Caribbean Islands so badly that a shark was seen in a flooded street.


Now check this old motivational out.


Now compare the sharks.

Especially not the divots in the fin caused by light refraction and the wake around the tail and dorsal fin.  See anything familiar?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 3: Madera, Day 1

I’ve been training.  The refresher course took some time because the online course had a timer, and you had to have 8 hours elapsed to take the test.

I got through the training in 6 hours, and thought that if I left the training up, it would accrue the time.  But the recording has to actually be playing for the timer to count.

I had some time on Tuesday, but the power went out at the server site of the company hosting the training.  I finally finished my training Tuesday night about 9:00.  Which was good because I had to be in Madera to be on the job site at 8:00.

I’ll be here through Friday, and then back out next week from Monday through Thursday.

Monday, August 15, 2011

BART Excitement

So I’m sure by now that everyone has heard about  how Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) shut down cell repeaters in its San Francisco stations and in the Trans-Bay Tube last week.
Well, now the FCC is looking into whether or not this is a fineable offense.  Last night, Anonymous hacked the MyBart database, and there was a protest scheduled for today.
Around 4:45, the principal of our company was watching a group of helicopters circling west of our office.  I figured they were over the Civic Center BART station as that was where I had heard the protest was going to be staged.
I just checked the BART iPhone app to see if Civic Center had been reoopened, and the BART Twitter feed is an amazing read (Times are relative to 8:00 PM PDT).
All stations open. For advisories visit or; sign up for email/sms at; or txt "BART delay" to 878787
7:40 PM
Embarcadero Station reopened.
7:18 PM
Embarcadero Station now closed for entries and exits.
6:46 PM
Embarcadero now open for exits only.
6:41 PM
Montgomery Station reopens for entries and exits.
6:30 PM
Civic Center Station reopens for entries and exits.
6:20 PM
Trains now stopping for riders to disembark at Powell.
6:12 PM
Montgomery Station closed due to civil disturbance.
6:02 PM
Powell Station closed due to civil disturbance; trains now stopping to let riders off at Civic Center.
5:47 PM
Civic Center Station has been closed. Trains are running through.
5:29 PM
I got to the Montgomery station gates about 5:05, and waited less than 5 minutes for a train.  We sat for a long time for people to board (I got a seat, lucky me), so I think the times above may be the announced closure times, but not when it really happened.

Looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring.

UPDATE: Got the real times off of the Twitter feed on the BART app.

Working For A Living

If yesterday felt like the Sunday before school started, then this morning was definitely like school.

I woke up several times during the night, and not because I didn’t trust my alarm.  It was all just on my mind.

Then this morning, I walked to the bus stop, and waited in silence with the other people.  No bullies at the stop, but also no cute girls either.

Emery-Go-Round is such a nice service.  And it’s free.  the BART ride was fine.  Being at MacArthur, there’s just so many choices in the morning.

My day at work consisted of taking my online refresher for HAZWOPER, and getting my picture taken for the building security system.  I also got to sit in on a conference call.

It’s looking like I’m going to be the office guy who helps take the load off of the principal (yeah, another school-like reference) so that he can get some work done.  Tomorrow, we’re going to Hunter’s Point for a bit, and then the rest of the week (maybe) I’ll be in Madera.  But somewhere in there I need to get my physical.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back to School

That is exactly what today has felt like.

Think back to those long summers as a child.  The endless days of doing what you wanted.

And then it’s August.

And then school is almost back in session.

And then it’s the Sunday before school starts on Monday.

That’s what today feels like for me after my six and a half months off.

Luckily tomorrow, I only have one street to cross by myself.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Color Test

So I’ve had a coloring book style copy of my tattoo for a bit.  and now that I’ve finally scheduled more color work (for November, Phil’s a busy guy), I’m closing in on getting the rocket colored in.
So I did a collection of color tests by coloring in.  It’s a variation based on body/fins/trim.
Now, the original rocket was blue, and DC went back to that in one retelling.  In another the ship was golden.  So I have my choices below.  Some color combinations were no good, so they’ve been ignored.
I cut the colored ships out, and had Jennifer take pictures of them all while in place.  the copy is a little larger than the actual rocket on my back, but it’ll do for now.
Please give me your color opinions.

Yellow with Blue Fins

Yellow with Red Fins

Blue with Red Fins

Work, Work, Work

So, it’s official, I’ll be starting work on Monday with PIVOX Consulting Management.
They’re based out of Irvine, and I’ll be in their San Francisco office.  I’ll be taking the Emery-Go-Round to BART, and getting off at the Montgomery station.  Then I’ll walk a few steps, and enter the building.
I’m not sure what exactly I’ll be doing to start, but it will all come out on Monday.
Thanks again to everyone who’s been supporting me emotionally.  I could hardly believe the outpouring of support on Facebook when I announced that I’d gotten the job.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Full of Rice

Lots of food in the past few days, and almost all of it has involved rice.

Thursday, Jennifer made enchiladas, and Mexican rice to with them.  She made the seasoning herself from a recipe she found on the internet, and it was just amazing.

Friday for lunch, I went out to Pleasant Hill and had lunch with a bunch of former coworkers at Ming’s.  I had my usual, and was pretty stuffed until late in the day.

Friday for dinner, Jennifer had a creole craving, so we made a late night run for Popeye’s.  I had the jambalaya, and was really stuffed.

This morning, she wanted to know if I wanted a big breakfast, and I said that Cheerios would be just fine as I needed to cleanse myself before we did any more heavy eating.

Friday, we had also run out to San Rafael, and bought a replacement bike for the one that was stolen a week and a half ago.  Today we did a significant ride.  We went to Jack London and had a beer at Heinhold’s First and Last Chance Saloon.  Then we rode to Solana Avenue, and had another couple of beers at The Pub in Albany.  This was mostly to kill time until Sushi Solana was open.

This was truly the best experience we’ve ever had at a sushi restaurant.  The ambience was nice, and sitting at the bar, we chatted with the sushi chef.  He talked tings over with Jennifer for exactly what she wanted, and helped with our experimentations.  Jennifer had a dogs head fish liver pate that she said knocked foie gras on its ear.  I had a rice bowl of sushi with 7 types of fish plus a shrimp tail.  As a palette cleanser and meal closer we had lotus root that was amazing; crunchy and sweet.

Thursday, August 04, 2011


This morning, I read this article:

Strong Solar Activity / Spotted Sunsets

And then all day we were overcast.  Until about 10 minutes ago.

Now as a kid I used to always play with a magnifying glass.  I burned ants and sow bugs, but I also burned paper and wood.  I loved being out in the summer because it was right over head, but in the evening I could watch the sun’s rays travel up the wall.

One of the other things I noticed was the way I could recreate the image of the sun.  And I knew to never look into a telescope or binoculars with the naked eye.

Tonight, I recreated the image of the sun on a piece of white comic book backing board using a pair of binoculars.  Jennifer held the board, and I focused the image.  We were able to clearly see sunspot set 1263 and faintly see 1261.

We were so excited we didn’t think of taking a picture, but the sun was only out for maybe 5 minutes as it passed below the clouds, and then passed behind the Marin hills.

I love science.


Last night I got a callback from the company.  he apologized that he hadn’t called me during the day, but he’d been in meetings all day.

I asked for clarification on his statement in the email, and he said that he didn’t want to leave bad feelings between us over their response.  he said they thought my letter was an all of nothing, not a step in negotiations.

He told me that the VP will be back up Thursday and Friday, and since Thursday was mostly meetings, that they would likely give me a call Friday to discuss things with me, and do some verbal negotiations.

So now I get to ponder my true feelings for this company.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Another Interview (Still Not Mine)

And the interviewee and interviewer reverse tasks.

Interview (Not Mine)

Two of my newer favorite authors talking about the latest Harry Dresden book.

Getting the Smackdown

So let’s talk about the last week.  I interviewed last Monday, and was told I could expect an offer letter in the next few days.  I was told that the salary I was asking was higher than they were willing to pay, so I was expecting a slight decrease.

Wednesday I received the letter as an attached PDF (poorly scanned, I might add) to an email.  The offered pay rate was less than 90% of what I had asked for and and even less than what I had been making at my former position.

I looked up some information, and wrote a negotiation letter with a counter offer.  I suggested a salary halfway between my original asking rate and their offer.  I also asked for a third week of vacation and that the company pay my wife’s insurance coverage as well as mine.  I was hoping that all the things I asked for would be met, but I figured that some would be denied in a counter offer.

Now, I deliberated over this with Jennifer and sent it in the evening of the day I received the offer letter (Thursday night). Last night (Tuesday) at almost 11:00 PM, I received a reply email.
Thank you for the time meeting with us in person and the counter offer letter presented for our review.  We have discussed the counter offer submitted for consideration, and feel that the original offer is still appropriate.  We certainly appreciate your time throughout the process, and wish you the best going forward.
It’s pretty vague, so I called this morning for clarification.  The cell phone I called rang twice, and then went to voice mail.  So I know I was ignored.

And did I mention that they have absolutely no webpage?  It's really odd.

The hunt goes on.  I filled out four new applications today.

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