Busy busy busy … and more busy …

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Friday I started yet another online course (also from Udemy) on building a CMS (Content Management System) from scratch.

While there are some minor annoyances with this one, I have completed the first part, and am thrilled. I have my little routines set up to pull data from a table and load a menu (a simple menu, but a menu none-the-less), and I am starting to see code running through my head, puzzling out how to do some of the bigger projects that have been floating around waiting for me to get here.

Friday, however, CJ was home from work. Sigh. She was trying to do some SCA exchequery stuff, and we had home network-fu. Argh. Spent a lot of time running upstairs, downstairs, comparing things, trying to get it to work, all kinds of … fun. What’s weird is that after all that, the closest I could get is her machine requesting a username and password to connect to the desktop, which I have never required. Er? Today (Sunday), however, it is working. Microsoft’s home networking leaves a lot to be desired, I tell ya’.

Friday evening we took my mother and brother Tim to dinner at the Claim Jumper restaurant in Concord. They were staying at a hotel near the Concord airport. Concord has an airport? Who knew. (Well, lots of people, I just never realized it was more than a private-plane type airport …) Yesterday we got them in the morning, headed to the BART station, hopped on BART to SF, and got off at the Embarcadero. Walked past and through the Farmer’s Market and straight to the ferry, caught the next ferry to Sausolito.

Spent the rest of the morning and early afternoon there, walking up and down, stopping in a couple shops. My wife found something pretty cool for her sister, most likely a Christmas present.

Found a bulk-candy store (think it was there the last time mom and Tim were here …) and bought some Salt Water Taffy and some Bit O’Honey pieces (had a craving a few months ago and couldn’t find it anywhere). About a lb. I guess. Gonna try to be good and only eat a small amount at a time, so it lasts longer than usual (I tend to binge on this stuff). We had lunch at a nice little deli there.

Before catching the ferry we had this incredible view across the bay of San Francisco:

View of SF from Sausolito

View of SF from Sausolito, Sept. 2015

It was a bit warm, bit a nice day. Wended our way to BART and home, and we hung out here for a couple hours just chatting.

Took them to dinner at Great Wall (Chinese food in Lafayette), always good. Took them to the hotel and got home … had some wine, collapsed a bit. A good day although tiring. Mom, in her 80s, did pretty well there.

Today Jeremy and Dawn are coming over, so CJ can train him on some of the exchequery stuff. Having dinner, then we’re done with the social activities. Gad. Sometimes it can be tiring.

Tomorrow CJ has off as well, she’s planning on just being a vegetable, watch some videos, do some needlework, not much else. Me, I have to get back into a groove, back to walking, back to “stuff”. And back to my Udemy class, and see if I can make more headway and learn more about what I need here. And of course apply for jobs, and … sigh. Getting tired of that, 5 months … two interviews. That’s it. Hard on the ego. Sigh.

Weird day, not all bad, but …

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This morning I made some serious progress on the one online course, except for one issue I need an answer to (something doesn’t look right). Wasn’t able to finish the project, will do so tomorrow.

Decided to try the latest “Hires” event — the email they sent me said there would be at least 600 job titles available. Wow. Okay, so I got my sh*t together, got a new print of my resume (some minor updates since last time), dressed up a bit, went to San Francisco … and they had a few more businesses than the one in Concord, and there is NO WAY there were 600 job titles. And none of the businesses were ones I was particularly interested (and I’m a bit old to sign up for the Army, thank you very much).

That was four hours (well, running around and getting resume done, BART to the city, having lunch, doing the event, coming home) that were pretty much a complete bust, except they did get me out of the house.

Got home to find the heralds’ meeting minutes from Sunday’s meeting were ready to go. Gadzooks. So I put in a couple hours on that and the draft is up.

Time to head downstairs. At least the temperatures aren’t in the highest ranges, although 80+ is still warm, it’s doable. Much more so than triple digits. The next two days are supposed to head back up, and then the weekend will cool a bit — great, my mom will be here — be nice to have better weather.

Follow-up on last post …

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Interview was weird. I went to lunch the day of the interview (Thursday), and had the phone ringer turned off. Because of where I carry my phone I didn’t feel the buzz … the interviewer called me an hour earlier than planned. When I got home the phone reminded me of the interview (1/2 hour early), and I noticed I had missed a call (no message left). I also noted in was a San Francisco number, so … called back. Ended up doing the interview early, because it seemed silly to hang up and get called back later. The interviewer was a bit embarrassed, and I think both of us were off our stride due to the oddity of the call. It felt “ok”, but am not 100% sure it was a great interview. Sigh.

After completing the last Udemy course on web development I decided to take them up on the offer of another class at $24, so searched and found a class on Bootstrap — focusing entirely on using this tool for web development. Class had enough stars by reviewers I figured what the heck? Am three (out of 8 ) projects in. I gave up on the second one — it was using so many third-party tools it made me crazy. This one doesn’t feel like the instructor is used to teaching. He talks monotone most of the time, and is worse about doing things with the style sheet than the previous one — he just goes in and adds a bunch of stuff without explaining why he’s doing it. His videos have not been edited to remove mistakes … “Oh wait, I didn’t meant to do that here …” oh well. He also doesn’t provide the source code for the project, so you cannot compare your work to his. Probably the hardest thing is he has his source code editor set to a black background and some of the text is red — it’s very hard to read (especially when dealing with hexadecimal values for colors and such). The other course the instructor provided PDFs of at least many of the web pages … The instructor seems to know his stuff, the difficulty is in explaining it. I am learning a lot, but it’s sometimes a very frustrating process.

Weather has been HOT, but it is supposed to be 20 degrees cooler today (from triple digits down to the 80s). Have plans, including going to Trader Joe’s to restock some things. Tomorrow there’s a job fair in San Francisco, so need to look over the resume, and get copies printed (I have made some changes, adding more “keywords” into the top section) …

The heat has made it hard to sleep. CJ sleeps downstairs with the back door open when it gets that hot. I can’t sleep on the sofa (which she’s on anyway), and my comfy chair is not easy to do more than light nap in. So I suffer the heat with the ceiling fan on. Got sleep but still feel a bit wiped.

The folk at the publisher I’m doing some tech editing for had a last-minute scramble — publication date is 28th for two books I’ve been helping edit. Problem is the authors have not been getting things done on schedule (or someone else is not …), and they dumped three chapters for one book and another for the second book on us with “please get done as soon as you can, Monday or Tuesday if possible” … eep! Normally I have a week for a chapter. I don’t NEED a week, but … so Saturday while CJ was doing more exchequery stuff, I was tech editing, and got the three chapters for the one book done (honestly not that bad – a couple hours on each), and about half of the other one (Capstone “project” — really a series of projects) complete. Finished the last one yesterday (Monday), and dealt with invoicing. That process looked a lot more complicated than it turned out to be.

Well, gotta trim the beard, then get ready to go for a walk. Didn’t do it yesterday for two reasons, the first is that it was already warm by the time I usually walk, and CJ was home throwing my whole schedule off. She decided last minute (without telling me) that she was working from home. Such is life.

Finished my online course and …

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Odd morning. Got up determined to finish the online course I was taking on Udemy about Web development. It was an interesting course, with a cursory look at many different topics. Was frustrated with yesterday’s part so stopped, but finished this morning.

Certificate of Completion

Finished Web Development Course

While I was working on that, I got an email request for a preliminary interview for a position I applied for earlier this week — surprise! I haven’t had an interview in a month, and did NOT expect this. No details at this time — don’t want to jinx anything (I’m really not superstitious, but still …).

In the middle of all the above, I did my morning walk. It’s definitely cooler this last few days — 64 degrees (f), where this time last week it was in the 70s or higher (10am).

Don’t have a lot else to say at this point. I scheduled the interview for tomorrow (could have done it today) just so I had some time to get used to the idea, and to psych myself up. We’ll see how that goes.

Fall is about to happen … weather is changing …

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Yesterday the temperatures broke (actually probably sometime in the night before), and it’s a lot cooler in this part of the world. On the bad side N. California is burning badly (Lake County fire has been nasty). Rumors we might get a little rain — at this point any rain is welcome …

Feel tired all the time lately. I think it has to do with not keeping as busy as I could, not really accomplishing all that much. Which is odd in some ways. I mean, I’ve completed a book and gotten it to press; I’ve been job hunting (unsuccessfully, mind you, but …); I’ve been working on some projects; I am nearly done with a very lengthy web-development course (one more set of lessons to go) … but I just don’t feel that engaged in … well, much of anything. It may just be a case of feeling like I’m not accomplishing much. I dunno …

I’m sure I’ll pull out of it. I usually do. It’s just difficult. The only news I hear on the job hunt side is “while your resume shows you are very qualified, we chose to go with someone else” (words to that effect). What’s really frustrating is seeing that same job still listed on the web. (Of course, they may have filled it and not taken it down, but …)

Not a lot else to say right now. I have information and ideas for a couple of big projects, but actually getting them started is tricky.

Am thinking about taking an online course on Project Management, but then saw that the PMP exam is over $500 to take. EEEP. I can afford it, but still. I may take one of the courses anyway. Udemy (where I’ve been taking the other course) has an offer of many courses at $24, and have a couple of PMP Prep courses that are fairly involved (and normally much more expensive).

Argh. Simply … argh.

Freaking heatwave …

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We’ve been having record-breaking heat lately. Yipee. Records like that don’t need to be broken, so stop trying so hard, Mother Nature!

Luckily today is supposed to be the end of a week-long triple-digit monster.

Have been doing the usual — applying for jobs, working on things, continuing with my Udemy course.

Just a few updates:

  • SCA Award List: some updates on how the data is output for the web (application generates a TON of HTML files) in two different areas.
  • SCA History: updates on getting data FROM the award list and added FTP upload of files.
  • UDEMY Web coding course: Making headway, and feeling like things are starting to come together. I can start to see how to actually build an application using some of the tools I’ve been learning. The instructor is kind of a sloppy coder, but most people are these days, so I have to sometimes stop the video because I’m being more structured in my code, and adding comments throughout so I can come back to it and understand what the heck I was doing. On the plus side, the instructor got into (in the part of the course I was working on today) password encryption and concerns with hackers, showing some of the tools hackers use. Nothing is perfect, but what he showed looks really good.

On other fronts … CJ is working from home today, because we’re leaving sometime around 4ish to Benicia to hang out with Don and BJ, and then heading off to dinner and Napa to (or maybe Napa and dinner) to eventually see Eddie Izzard. That’ll be fun.

CJ found out that she gets a 30% discount on Opera tickets. That sounds great, but for the show we decided to see (I have never seen an Opera live, and have only seen The Ring cycle on PBS, years ago when I taped it for CJ early in our relationship) — a matinee on a Sunday, the price is still close to $100 per ticket. Good grief. We’re going to see The Barber of Seville, the only thing we have to be careful of is not singing the Bugs Bunny “Rabbit of Seville” lyrics to some of the numbers. :) That should be fun, though. We’re going with her sister Gail. That’ll be in November (Sunday of Turkey-Day Weekend).

Tomorrow we have some Golden Stag Player folk over to do costume design. (Never completely gone from the GSP, but … :) )

And in a couple weeks my mother and brother (Tim) are coming down to this end of the world, and we’ll be taking them out site-seeing (CJ has some ideas).

Other than that, it’s pretty much the same ol’ same ol’ … got another job rejection letter today (sigh). I’m getting used to it. At least they sent me something. The one job I had hopes for — the hopes are dwindling as I haven’t heard anything in over a month. I have about two months (or less) of Unemployment … argh. The contract with Pearson is slow-going as the author takes a LONG time to get a chapter done. (In the time I have been doing this contract, I wrote and published a 300+ page book! Sheesh!)

Hot … probably heading downstairs in a bit, watch something on the toob, but will have to not play it real loud because CJ is working in the dining room. Luckily tomorrow will cool down. It can’t happen soon enough.

Well, if I am not finding a full-time job, at least I’m busy

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Labor Day weekend, what did we do? CJ worked on Exchequery stuff (all those audits and things), and I worked on enhancements to software I’ve been using.

Exciting, that’s us. Sheesh.

Oh well. The enhancements improve some of the communication between the two main programs I use regularly for the SCA — the Award List and the Who’s Who database used for the History site. The two interact, but didn’t do as well as they could. If I changed someone’s name (it got registered, they changed a use-name, whatever) in the Award List, I had to manually do that again in the History/Who’s Who. Ick. Now the only situation I have to deal with is a merge of data in the Award List (happens every so often, when someone gets awards under different names and no one realizes it …), I still have to drop the data in the Who’s Who, but otherwise … The update process on the Who’s Who takes longer, but it’s worth it.

I may actually get paid for some of the work with Pearson soon (“soon” being a relative term, of course), I have to get a couple of chapters done, but when they come in, I can bill for some of it. Of course I’ll have to report that to unemployment which may screw up payments there a bit, but oh well. I’ll survive somehow. Sigh.

Still applying for jobs, ranging from management to teaching to tech writing, and still getting nowhere real fast. Getting kind of tired of it, really. Book sales are not taking off real fast. But I didn’t expect them to. I did that mostly for me, I guess. The fact that there are some sales is at least something.

Once in a blue moon that dark thought comes through my head and says “Why bother?” but it goes away. I am not that kind of depressed. Just frustrated. A guy with my experience should be able to find work easily enough. The job market is so frustrating …

Enough bemoaning my fate. In the meantime I’ve been getting a little stuff done here and there. I have been working through the web developer course, and finished the PHP section except the final project, which has me befuddled. I finally gave up and asked someone to look at it. It was working, then it wasn’t. Argh.

I have used some of the techniques picked up earlier in the course to revise the appearance of a bunch of web pages, that was fun. Will hopefully keep tinkering with the Bootstrap code, because there’s some really nice-looking stuff there.

It’s getting hot. This whole week is supposed to be hot, up to the triple-digits hot. Joy. I may head downstairs soon and nap. However, I need to decide what I’m making for dinner, pick up anything I need … ramble ramble ramble. I’m a ramblin’ guy … (channeling Steve Martin, starting to hear the banjo in my head …). Time to go ramble somewhere else, for now.