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Life in my world this week:

1. I've been interviewing for a job with Amazon. The third interview was a technical interview. It can be summed up in 3 words: Don't expect callback. *sigh* I'm very very tempted to call the first person on who I talked to (who is also the program manager) to let her know that there seems to be an expectation mismatch between the type of potential instructor she is looking for and what the technical side is looking for. By my estimates, the technical side is looking for knowledge that is unnecessary and unrelated to what they need in a technical instructor. (I mean seriously, I know of no one who actually needs to know exactly, down to the protocols and DNS routing, how to go from the user typing in a URL and how that gets translated into a HTML page back on their browser. The generalities? Sure. The specific protocols and how the route from point A to point B is figured out by the internet? No.

2. There is a difference between a client and a customer. Clients come back again and again because of quality, service and the other intangibles relevant to a product. Customers come for the price and only the price. The rest is unimportant in most cases. I really dislike people who only care about getting customers under this definition. It's what my company calls the 'butts in seats' model. It's great when you are first getting going, but after that it's a sign of a bad business model or a bad company overall.

3. Thursday evening I finally, for the first time, actually met a guy that I have been gaming with/ IMing with for about 8 years. It was exciting and terrifying at the same time. He's almost 11 years younger than me so at times I felt incredibly old and at others, I felt like it was about the same age. Kind of odd, overall. Now we both have faces and voices to go with everything else. Kind of cool, actually.

4. I have decided to start a business. It will, for good or bad, be secondary to my full time job and will be internet based. I have two ideas and will likely pursue both. One will be an Etsy store - I figure as much as I crochet while on the road, I may as well sell some of it instead of having it sitting around and taking up space. =)  When I figure out more how I'm going to do it, I'll come back here and see if anyone wants to give me feed back and/or wants to try my designs. (I figure why not. Only maybe 3 people actually read my LJ so it wouldn't be too difficult to make a few sets and get feedback on the good, bad and ugly of it...)

5. I have determined that Torai prefers orange tomatoes to snow cucumbers. After being in the kennel for 3 weeks, guess what she ate first from her 'snack bar'.
My crazy dog (shown in my user pic) did it again. She kept poking at the cucumbers in my garden so stupid me picked one for her and gave it to her. It took her between 5 and 10 minutes to figure out how to bite into it - they were similar to lemon cucumbers, but about twice as big and actually called something else, think the size of making a fist, then wrapping your other hand around your fist. That's about the right sized.  Anyway, after she figured that out, she proceeded to eat the rest of them in the garden. In one night. There were about 12. Now there are none. I knew I shouldn't have given her one...
Because pandas are always cute and these are actually funny too!


Since depression has been a topic of late and one that I talk about quite often about in my everyday life, I thought I would share this:

It is a website for an organization that is trying to remove the stigma of mental illness. I found the videos and stories to be very encouraging and possibly a way to explain what is going on for those who are trying to combat the stigma along with finding out how to live with the problem.
Last week I was in San Francisco for work. There is an area on around Market St. close to the Arts district that is called the Tenderloin. For some reason, it seems that someone thought the Tenderloin needed a national forest... It was just too funny/surreal for me not to share.


And then this is the rest of the 'forest'...


Yes, you saw that correctly. This national forest is 3 or 4 square cedar planters on the sidewalk. And whomever put it there was nice enough to include benches for the humans to sit on and gaze at the lovely forest it is!
I don't know whether to scream in frustration or laugh maniacally at this. Next week I'm teaching for one of our partners, meaning that they sold the class, but they are contracting me from my company to teach it because they don't have anyone else to do it. That is not a big deal. Through a rather long chain of e-mails, I ended up finding out today that they wanted me to call the company that is contracting me and then the company that I'm teaching for. Initially, I'm annoyed by this. They have given me all of the information that I need to make the class work, to get to the right place, etc. so calling them should be a waste of time.

So I call. Figure I should play nice and all that jazz. Long story short, there were some 'customizations' to the class that they wanted to make sure I'm aware of. Contact at contracting company sends me an e-mail, while we are talking, with the changes so that we can discuss them. The first thing out of my mouth was that they should have been sold a completely different class than the one they have. Contracting contact is not amused. He goes into long ramble about how it's a management vs. student issue and that the management thought they needed one thing, but the reality that they are finding in the class is that that isn't the case. So, instead of fixing the problem and getting them the right class, they are asking the instructors (I'm the third instructor for the third running of this class, different group of students each time) to cover three of the topics that they want. Contracting company is afraid that if they corrected course and put the students into the correct class, then the new course would cost less and they would have to give a refund.

Sorry. I don't give a rats ass who all was on the call to determine what class these people should be in (supposedly the sales person, the person at the contracting company, an instructor and maybe someone else). They were sold the  wrong class. If I can see that just from a partial list of what they wanted without any preamble, then someone dropped the ball and sold the wrong fucking class!!! And they know it! But instead of doing the 'right' thing and changing the rest of the classes to be the correct one, they go with what they think will be the easiest and most profitable of the routes.

This is why I like my company. The sales people my not be technical, hell the owners aren't technical, but they know what to ask to get the person in the correct class and when they screw up, which frankly isn't often, they admit it and get the student into the correct one. They definitely don't pull the instructor aside and tell them that 'oh, I know this is an advanced programming class, but your students don't program and what they really want is...' and hope that we can sing and dance the tune correctly. The sales people at my company don't get mad at me when I call a skunk a skunk, and they don't try to convince me that it is really a cat with a white stripe.

I guess when it comes down to it, I have two issues at hand. The first is that they are being greedy and not caring about the students. The student is the first, last and only person that needs to be made happy. The rest of it should be a non-issue. If they are unhappy and you could have done something about it, then it's no wonder why they don't come back for more training.

The second issue is that I do not like people who try to tell me that skunks are cats, can't take someone being blunt or brutally honest, or treat me like I'm an idiot. This guy hit all three buttons.

*** On a very different note: Why does LJ's location detection button think that I'm in Washington D.C. instead of Montreal, Quebec? Or even anything in Canada?

Transit of Venus

I admit it, I'm a geek. Tuesday was the "Transit of Venus" which is when Venus passes between the earth and the sun. It happens in pairs, in this case once in 2004 and then 2012, then we don't see it again for 105 years. In Sacramento, there were actually several places that had 'official' gatherings where people with telescopes went and set them up so that the general public could come and see it. The Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society set up at Prairie City SUV park, which is near where I live. The images were SO pretty. Obviously some telescopes were better than others, but one was setup such that it was really easy to see the solar flares coming off of the sun.


This one is my favorite picture out of the ones I got. Someone else actually had to take it for me. All the colors, including the pinkish hue on the sun are artifacts of taking the picture through a telescope. Also, the telescope reflected the image inverted from where it should have been. Venus was actually in the northeast quadrant instead of the southwest as the image shows. Feel free to click on here to see the others that I have.

Jun. 1st, 2012

What is it about the possibility of being descended from Vikings that interests guys so much? I've been working on my genealogy for years now. My dad has only showed a little interest in his side of the family, my mom has showed no interest in hers. Over Christmas I mentioned that I had found a poem regarding Norse mythology that had our last name in it as a proper noun, but that I didn't know enough to know what it meant. Wasn't it cool that we could maybe be descended from vikings? His eyes all lit up and he got interested. I didn't know how interested until earlier this week when he told me that his brother wanted to know what I had on our tree, and did I really have us traced back to Vikings? No, Dad, just a postulation. No proof yet.

But now my uncle is suddenly interested in this possibility, and where did I get it from. And oh hey, he's got a friend who has been working on our family's genealogy, so I should get together and see what he has that I don't have...

Now, these people have known for years that I was working on it. The one person in the family who I knew did genealogy wouldn't help me when I first started and I asked everyone else in the family but no one knew how to get started on it. No one has ever been interested. All of a sudden, because there is a slight possibility that we might have Viking blood in us, they are all excited and interested.  WTF is up with that??

Things that amuse me today...

1. One of my students has a screensaver of an aquarium, or maybe the ocean. It is in ASCII art =) It is called asciiquarium.

2. For whatever reason, this political cartoon that I found at my local newspaper:

3. My class lets out at 5 today. My plane is supposed to leave at 5:38 for home. It takes about 40 minutes to get from the office to the airport and I have to turn in my rental car first. I find this to be immensely humorous for unknown reasons. Granted, I'll try to get my students done by 2:30 or so, but still... I wonder if I'll actually make it. =)

May. 2nd, 2012

Use Your Brain or What does this say?


I always find these to be humorous, so I'm posting it here for everyone's enjoyment, or just so that I have a place to go find it again. Either way... If you can understand what it says, please let me know =)


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