May 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 2011
theodosia: (thousand elephants (by heuradys))
From my current Twitter stream:

  • 09:04 Pandagon discussion of Chris Brown/Rihanna situation that doesn't make me physically ill. pandagon.net/index.php/site/comments/pu ... #
  • 09:20 @snacky you never know when a Snack Emergency will break out. #
  • 09:21 @crysothemis -- I found myself actually eating medicinal ice cream last night while waiting for a sleeping pill to take effect. #
  • 09:23 oh crap, I should have been dressed and out of here by now. #
  • 10:35 Networking meeting must have more than 60 people! #
  • 15:47 I think I have to totally rewrite my resume, because it's just not working. #
  • 16:53 tinyurl.com/ctk6cj #


I've been reading far too much about Race Fail again and having to physically restrain myself from saying angry things when I know I don't know enough to make wise judgments, and certainly don't have the talent to say things that would calm the situation much.

Edited to add corrected link below
Anyway, I found the Amanda Marcotte piece in Pandagon thoughtful reading, though I think she discounts how much "love" can influence someone staying in an abusive relationship.

The blind link above is to a short Andrew Sullivan piece -- yeah, just a paragraph, which I may as well excerpt here, because:

Obama's predecessor secretly invoked the power to suspend the First and Fourth Amendments for seven years, authorized the seizure and torture of American citizens, launched two decade-long wars of attrition, doubled the national debt, presided over the worst financial bubble since the 1930s, provided the weakest level of economic growth in decades, and left the US in the grip of the steepest depression since the 1930s. But after five weeks, it's Obama who should be impeached? Ooookaaaay.


The WIND (Wednesday Is Networking Day -- yes, it's on a Friday) meeting was interesting, although it's a good indication that it was more crowded than I've ever seen, more than 60 people I'd estimate. That may be because the speakers this time were professional headhunters talking about their work and what to expect from working with one, but it's another good indicator about how many people are unemployed and trying every way they can to find work.

I'm becoming convinced that my resume as currently written is actually discouraging inquiries, so I'm looking to talk to a professional and see what they can come up with.
theodosia: (crafty)
From my current Twitter stream:

  • 07:04 took half a Flexeril last night. is all relaxed and floppy now but with an extra portion of gronnnnnnnnnnk #
  • 07:35 lowers shade to protect her tender eyes from the cold merciless rising sunbeams #
  • 11:48 went to Networking, except that it's next Monday. So I grocery shopped and talked myself out of buying a game at MicroCenter. #
  • 11:50 remembers she bought sourdough bread... should go and eat a sandwich RIGHT NOWNOWNOW #
  • 15:37 finally remembered to get around to following @scifri #
  • 16:27 tinyurl.com/bvxw4m #


Hmmm, not that yesterday was all that special, but Loud Twitter seems to have skipped yesterday and gone straight through to today in updating you. Oh well, you'll just have to live without the updates about my vacuuming the living room and et cetera. Though it IS an achievement that looms large in my life.

I at least TRIED to go Networking, but it turns out that the meeting is the first and third Fridays of each month... and this was one of those near-mythical FIFTH Fridays, so I got out my car and drove over for nothing.

But then I went grocery shopping and got good and healthy Stuff, so it was all happy making in the end, right?

Watched the first episode of Leverage last night, which was slick and light-hearted, and then I watch the new episode of Lost which was vastly improved by having very little Sawyer, and almost no Kate and Jack in it.

Today the prospect of actually getting a job seems nigh unto impossible. I think I need a big old helping of Optimism with a side of Can Do. Tomorrow I'll have programming class, and perhaps getting my hands, and mind, back into coding and Making Cool Things will help some.
theodosia: (smiling face)
From my current Twitter stream:

  • 07:55 I misread the schedule and got Mom up a half hour before the Home Health Aide came to do her morning stuff. #
  • 08:51 Bizarro-KISS in some truly alternate universe: tinyurl.com/5pfcga #
  • 10:02 My aunt says that she's most likely coming on Monday, so I have an End Date for this stint. She's 80, so it's dependent on her health. #
  • 10:23 waiting on hold with Unemployment -- expected time is 40 minutes to speak to someone. #
  • 11:03 Unemployment lady SUCCESSFUL in reopening my claim (at long last!) so I've got another 20 weeks via Federal extensions! #
  • 12:18 @victoriajanssen I sure do! Want something web-designafied or know somebody who does? tinyurl.com/au5v84 #


Well, the Unemployment bureaucratic Catch-22 is finally unsnarled, which took getting my claim for extended Section 30 (Educational exception) disallowed -- note that school ended officially in October? (I was auditing after that, but it doesn't count in my eligibility as a job-searcher.) Anyway, I'm now fully qualified for the Federal extensions, of which there are 20 weeks remaining, and always hope for more if the Feds come through with more funding.

Given how dire the finding-work situation is, I may need all that, but by June the economy will be booming again, right? :: pauses to admire the view through her large and rose-colored glasses ::

I used up my allotment of bureaucratic-fu though, because trying to get my prescriptions through a local CVS meant that I found that my health insurance check hadn't gone through yet. I did find out that there's now a way to pay over the web, and signed up for a regular automatic payment. Then I had to call BCBS-MA and get them to allow an override.

By then it was too late to go back to the CVS, so I'll head over there this morning. Good thing it wasn't for anything that's absolutely necessary.

Boy, was I tired last night -- collapsed halfway through Flashpoint, so you know I was tired if I couldn't stay up for The Hugh, let alone BSG. But at least that gives me something to look forward to watching tonight, even if it's on my computer.
theodosia: (never run towards a fire)
Wordle: Cover Letter

----------------
Now playing: The Poozies - Another Train
http://foxytunes.com/artist/the+poozies/track/another+train
theodosia: (SF)
From my current Twitter stream:

  • 07:27 6F out #
  • 08:58 off to a networking meeting #
  • 14:26 Ran into an old RPG friend at the networking event! So strange to have worlds cross! #
  • 17:12 Is at Arisia, waiting for fun to begin. Got here early to get good free parking. #


Out of the house, not once, but twice, and for extended periods! Whoo!

The networking event is WIND East, over in Watertown, which is professional-oriented and if nothing else serves as a spur to me to keep working hard at this 'finding a job' thing no matter how impossible the task seems. Also, you sometimes get the damnedest tip (like that I could get Unemployment extended while I was in school -- that was as great a tip as I ever could want, you know?)

Anyway, there was some good information, especially about keywords your resume should have in the first 3rd, but about halfway through, the woman sitting across the room who looked vaguely familiar introduced herself in the introductions section and I realized this was most likely an old teammate from my roleplaying days whom I haven't seen for at least 15 years! So I got to catch up a little (she had to leave promptly) and that was damn cool!

Then home for some lunch, and gathering myself up, and off to Arisia which is inconveniently situated at a hotel not walkable from the T (especially in this deep freeze) and with very limited free parking on the streets nearby... so I decided to go on the early side, leaving 4-ish, which meant although I found a prime spot between the local workers leaving and the after-work commuters coming in, there wasn't all that much going on yet, so I hung in the Con Suite and got my iTouch talking to the hotel WiFi.

(I don't know how people can use those things for much posting -- I find trying to tap the damn virtual keyboard to be so clumsy. Give me a damn stylus and Graphiti, and I can write quick and accurately, you know?)

Panels seen: one on historical costuming (conducted by Actual Costume Professionals), a Science Track about so-called 'criminal genes' with Actual Science Professionals explaining why there aren't such things, and a group reading by Broad Universe, which was fun if widely varied in polish.

Then, somehow it was going for 10 PM and I decided to head home, being more than sufficiently tired, so courtesy of the TiVo I got to see the first new episode of BSG!

And now I'll get myself together and head off for another festive day of panels, friends (did run into a couple, some very pleasant surprises like Greer and CKD), and knitting -- I also bought some new needles from Fabric Dragon and good Ghod, they make a difference on this scarf project....
theodosia: (carrots)
From my current Twitter stream:

  • 07:39 the street outside is white with salt and it's 12. Welcome to February? #
  • 08:09 Er... make that January. Though we've hit the Ides, so I suppose I can claim to be rounding up. #
  • 08:52 is contemplating applying for a Census job. #
  • 09:47 wonders how to celebrate More Joy Day #
  • 10:32 Expected wait on hold for Unemployment Services: 32 minutes. #
  • 10:33 This is still better than when they told you to call back the next day, as they were doing a couple weeks ago.... #
  • 11:03 Unemployment update: am now on hold for another department, expected wait is... 23 minutes! #
  • 11:40 more hold time at Unemployment #
  • 11:45 Finally got to leave a message for someone. Who is supposed to get back to me. #
  • 12:59 Unemployment guy is supposed to make a determination by tomorrow? SIGH #
  • 14:17 made followup appt with PCP next Thursday. Go me! #
  • 16:22 @chickwriter -- from the pictures of people standing on the wings, here's hoping there's little loss of life! #
  • 17:48 is so glad to hear that the first reports are correct and everyone on the plane in the Hudson got out OK! Congrats to the pilots! #
  • 19:35 reading through Census employment practice test #


Oy, dealing with capital-B Bureaucracy is so tough for me, especially when you can only call in on two days a week, since I've been out of town and rather ::koff:: preocuppied with holiday, family, and sickness issues. So taking up the struggle again, because my eligibility is STILL not cleared up, the Section 30 extension needs some sort of sign-off and its still.dragging.on.

On the brighter side, I'm seriously considering trying out for a Census Taker job, which would get me out into the neighborhoods. Although, I'm expecting competition will be fierce this year....
theodosia: (art!)
1. My first week of no-school, no-work actually went pretty quickly. I heard back from not one of the jobs I applied for, which probably shouldn't surprise much, but there you have it. The one contact that I got didn't seem to pan out, a headhunter wanted to submit me for something, and then didn't follow up.

2. I stopped by the school briefly yesterday -- I'd promised 3D instructor Scott that I'd make him a copy of the motion capture files that the previous instructor had given us. He was so sorry that I couldn't continue, which is nice for my ego, really. I know I was a little upset, because I managed to misplace my glasses, which I finally found had slipped down inside my sweater.

3. I talked to the education coordinator, and I'll get to retake the sections of the programming course that I didn't get grades on (actually some of them are because the instructor screwed up, I think) so there's some structure in my future. However, the first class isn't until Jan 17th. Since the classes are at night and on weekends, even if I start working, I should be able to continue, so yay.

4. I'm working on a "Flash resume" to go along with my regularly formatted resume. I figure that if I'm going to show off my skills as an ActionScript developer, it's not altogether a bad thing to have a resume that actually shows off. Not that I'd use it for another kind of job. It uses a 3D "carousel" effect which is very Web 2.0, pulls in the icons and text through XML and HTML files, and styles the latter with CSS. Along the way I'm having to figure out all sorts of aspects, like that AS 2.0 isn't evidently acknowleding DIVs like straight CSS should, and I need to come up with a little more unified art direction to make the icons both snazzy and decipherable.

5. I really need to work on some real websites, to get more portfolio material. If anyone knows of opportunities to work for free, or deserving people who need web work done, I'm wide open and willing. If there was anything like a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities, that would be fabulous to try....
theodosia: (dead like me)
It's been like forever since I sat out in the garden in the shade with my laptop. It might have happened a week or two ago, but with both classes having scheduled their final projects for May 7th, there hasn't been all that much time to sit out and enjoy the spring, or for that matter catch up on LJ.

I've got both projects well under way -- I'm still rendering the animation for the 3D class, which may take all night and into the morning at this rate. I WOULD like the shiny, shiny and also very computer-intensive geometry and very high resolution methods, and while it looks terrific, it's also slow as all hell.

To top off the week, I got a call from my ex-coworker Sally, that she'd heard from a recruiter who was looking for a Notes developer for a 4-month contract, would I be interested? Given that my Unemployment is scheduled to run out a couple weeks before school does, I would be a complete fool at least not to consider it, so I'm scheduled for a phone screen interview on Friday. If I don't get it, I can go ahead with my Video Editing course that starts next Monday (yes, we have an entire 4 DAYS off!) and plan on eating some of my savings before the beginning of August (and maybe after, depending on how long it takes me to get work after that).

If not, I can take the Video Editing later, since there are night courses offered, so either way I can finish.

The 3D teacher said today that he thinks I could go pro, which is an awesome compliment coming from him. Now if I can just get all the sequences finished rendering for my final project...
theodosia: (emu)
* We took a field trip in the Visual Design class, over to a Borders to get some books out of the Art and Design section and pick out some designs for brochures, business cards and so on that were particularly good or bad and discuss why. Plus some instruction on Bezier curves and so on in Illustrator, which always defeated me before. I can now make "ocean waves" like a champ, but drawing a shark still eludes at this point.

* Orientation was had. Program director had many reassuring/encouraging things to say. I have already received more personal attention than I did in four years at Boston University. There are only about 100 students currently at this campus, and maybe as many out in Woburn, so I guess you can't escape Actual Contact.

* C# is so easy-peasy to me at this point, as we were only covering the basics of flow control, so tripping over the fact that it's not formally "if then else end if" but "if () {} else {}". We still don't have any homework. Our first day-long Saturday class is the 8th, which I'm telling myself isn't any worse than any work day I ever had at my jobs, but damn if it doesn't start at 8:30 AM

* Got a 'bonus' severance check, since I miscounted by a week, evidently, which is like Free Money at this point. Also got a couple weeks back Unemployment benefits, so for a little while I can feel flush.

* And Health Insurance starts tomorrow! Just a few hours more to wait nervously!
theodosia: (rhino brain in a box)
In case you haven't gotten enough of me burbling about my sudden college career just like, plopping into my lap, here's a link to the website about the program(s) that I'll be taking at Clark University Computer Career Institute:

http://www.clarktrain.com/index.aspx

I'm in both the Visual Communication series and the part of the Information Technology series labeled " Enterprise Solution Developer Master Certificate Program". Sounds busy as all hell, but at least you're doing one module at a time for each series.

This morning I have to cancel a bunch of appointments, take my resume down off of Monster.com, et cetera -- all the commitments I made when I had my Tuesday and Thursday nights free, my commitments to go to Networking, let the nice people at Right know that I've 'landed,' call my ex-coworkers to share the news, and so on. I've already printed out the Google map and directions to school tonight, which is against rush hour traffic, so we'll see if the optimistic "19 minutes" that the mapping predicts has any basis in reality!
theodosia: (smiling face)
Big life-altering news of the good kind: starting tomorrow, I'm going to be a full-time student for a year's worth of professional programming and web graphic design at Clark University CCI, while Unemployment gives me enough money to pay my mortgage and utilities and shoestring necessities.

I feel like I won the lottery, even it's going to be the kind of prize where you have to work really really hard instead of sitting by the pool sipping Mai Tais.

The two courses of study I'll be taking are Enterprise Solutions Designer (C#, Java, XML, J2EE, Web Services) at night and Digital Media Designer (all flavors of Adobe, HTML, Flash, Premiere Pro - yes, vidding -- and 3D animation) on weekday mornings for a total of about 1600 in-class hours. Like I said, a lottery prize where you work really hard!

The visual media stuff is on weekday mornings 8:30 to 12:30, in Cambridge which is less than 2 miles away. The programming courses are in Woburn, about 10 miles away, and are structured for working students, so it's 6 to 10 on Tuesday and Thursdays and every other Saturday. So it's definitely going to be busy, but at least do-able. Because of the way the courses are structured, I'll basically be working on only two subjects at a time, which will help me concentration-wise.

It doesn't hurt that I really like the subject matter of what I'll be doing, truly.

And really: I'm starting tomorrow! Which surprises and pleases me, because since the clock is ticking on my benefits, that's all to the good to get started, but the timing couldn't have worked out any better. I got to talk to a counselor this afternoon -- intending to only information-gather -- and by 3 PM the train was gathering steam, when I found out that I could piggy-back these two certificate programs for the cost of one, and also qualify for a special reduced-tuition scheme because of the Unemployment program.

So while I'm going to be on a tight leash money-wise, I should be able to get by while I get some really good qualifications.
theodosia: (never run towards a fire)
Ooooh!!! :: dances around computer :: I found out that not only is the Clark University Enterprise Solutions Developer certificate course held on a rolling enrollment basis, meaning that you can start, like every two months instead of September & January dates, but the courses are held about two miles from here!

This means that I'm not up against and hard and fast deadline to get the Section 30 training extension on my Unemployment benefits, so I can stop fretting that they still haven't gotten back to me after a week. That would mean that not only would my coursework qualify for Unemployment, it would be specially extended for me to finish the certificate, up to about a year.

Yeah, it would mean belt-tightening for a year, but I'd come away much more employable and competitive....

Description:
The program is targeted at the IT professional who whishes to upgrade their skills as a software developer to a true solutions developer. Students will explore the Microsoft .Net framework with concentrations on C# as well as the J2EE environment. This intense program educates the student on the architectural approaches used in the enterprise projects and the technical skills needed to build, support and integrate enterprise applications. The program focuses on technologies such as C#, JAVA, ASP.NET, ADO.NET, SQL Server, Oracle, XML, and Web Services. Student who complete the program have a sound, practical and hands-on experience as Enterprise Developers ready to fit into and succeed in today's complex information systems environment


Eligibility/Entry Requirements:
Prerequisites: Programming knowledge of a high-level language. Database concepts. File Management skills using either Windows Operating System. Program solving and analytical skills.


Results
This course will result in the following: Certificate
Description: Enterprise Solution Developer Master Certificate


I have an interview scheduled for this afternoon, so maybe I'll have come down to earth via harsh reality later, but damn, this is exactly the kind of thing that I've been wanting. Knowing that the time pressure is not so bad makes my incipient worry-ulcer calm right down because knowing that so many schools start up in September was really getting to me!
theodosia: (freaking)
And now an offer from a "lawyer in Kuala Lumpur" who wants to use me to transfer funds because a client of his with the same last name (in Malaysia -- not entirely unbelievable, but slim chance, really) died leaving funds behind.

The scams are ahead of the actual legit queries about work related stuff.
theodosia: (never run towards a fire)
Currently I have on makeup and a suit that is not yet covered in the Cat Hair and I'm about to go out the door to the so-call job "Fair" which makes it sound all sort of festive and midway ish instead of a meat market for the unemployed rejects.

No, I'm not bitter.

I also printed out my resume two-sided, folded them up and paper-clipped my business card to them with clever colored paper clips, and also have printed out a small supply of just business cards.

Off to do battle with the Forces of Employment....
theodosia: (Theoden (from kathlaw))
I had kind of an up and down week -- mostly very down on Thursday, but my spirits started perking up a little on Friday, partially because I got my paperwork from Unemployment, which means I will start getting paid, and it's enough to pay for mortgage, car payment, average utilities and health insurance, plus enough that if I'm severely frugal with the rest of my monthly spending I won't be eating away at my savings.

Of course, I've got to get some work done on the house, but then that's what I have the savings for, plus since it increases (or at least maintains) the investment in the house it's more like shifting money between investments than regular ol' blowing your savings.

My company-sponsored program with the job search counseling company comes to an end next week, so I finished up with a flurry of classes this week, one each day, culminating in the Alumni Orientation yesterday where we talked about how to keep up the job search, and considerations for when you start your next job. Which brought up something that I'd never thought about, even with all the jobs that I went through as a contractor -- sit down with your new boss and figure out benchmarks that you two can agree on for the first couple of months, so that you both know what constitutes success.

More Job Search Details )
theodosia: (dead like me)
Title of this post is in honor of Eureka.

Ugh! So tired, but at least it was in a good cause: helping [livejournal.com profile] veejane move into her new place. Part of which meant sitting in a comfortable chair amongst the piled possessions waiting for the cable guy (or someone like him) to come while she, poor thing, went back to the old apartment with a list of essential left-behind items.

I'm reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, which I'm finding fairly gripping. So it wasn't too harsh to wait, but it was even better when Jane got back with the air conditioner.

So aside from the actual lugging and sweating, there was enough rest that I shouldn't be 100% exhausted, just 95% or so.

In other news, I heard back from one job with a "short simple test" of SQL that has questions like "Question 4 - What are $$, $*, $# and $? ?" which looks like it's not something that I've worked with before. :-( I'm barely up to MySQL using $ in variable names -- we sure didn't use those symbols in the Ingres that I worked with for so long, nor in the Oracle or Sybase queries I was running earlier this year. SIGH.
theodosia: (rhino brain in a box)
I'm off to a quick run out to the Belmont Library to pick up a supposedly-good PHP/MySQL text.

With much labor I got MAMP (Mac-Apache-MySQL-PHP) loaded and running on my iBook this weekend, and I've been looking through a "MYSQL Weekend Crash Course" book which leaves a lot to be desired yet is enough to show me that I can rock the SQL part of the MySQL pretty well.

I met Tim Spaulding (of LibraryThing fame) this weekend, and found out that he used to run Houghton Mifflin School Technology when I worked for the School IT department -- not that we ever met, since they were on the other side of the Iron Curtain between editorial and business. Still... small world, no?

He recommended one of the books I'm going to get. I sent away for the "for Dummies" book from Amazon this morning which shoudl arrive tomorrow. I feel surprisingly full of purpose today....
theodosia: (never run towards a fire)
A plea for anyone local: I've tried to install MySQL on my iBook, but while I've done exactly what the instructions say twice over, it still doesn't start running. Is there anyone local that I could show my installation to who could take a look at it? Or talk me through it over the phone?
theodosia: (never run towards a fire)
Well, week 2 and still not hired!

However, I made some good moves in a job-seeking direction, including attending my first Networking event -- a 'breakfast' at Right Management, which is the career search counseling firm, so it was just with my fellow job-seekers there, but it was a good dry run for other events. I spent most of my time talking to the two other tech people there, a DBA and a senior QA engineer about Bad Tech Management we've known.

Most of the other people in the room are former managers, directors, vice presidents and such -- I got the 'professional' severance package from my former company, all right. If anything, it makes me just a little more at ease with going out on interviews, because I should know by now that people who interview you are people, too. I really do expect I'll be presenting myself a whole lot better in general than I used to.

I also entered my full resume over at LinkedIn and gathered a few more direct connections there. (If any of my Flisters are already on it and would like to link to me, or if they would like to get onto it, just let me know, okay?), and sent either a link to that off or the text version of my resume to several offerings on the Right job bank and stuff that I found at LinkedIn's job listings.

So far I've gotten two queries back asking to look at my resume... not exactly a land-slide, but promising all the same. Another avenue I'm looking into is connecting up with the job recruiting firm (still in business!) that hooked me up with my contract-to-perm job ten years ago, on the theory that they'd probably be glad to be able to work again with one of their success stories. We'll see....

I just went out to an SF-writers gathering over dim sum in Chinatown, and gave my brand-spanking-new business card to a couple people who said they would pass it on to their work places, so who knows? I printed out the card this week, finally, after fiddling with it quite a lot, and finally deciding to go with it and use a picture (this in miniature) of myself in the lower right corner because this is my Networking Card and I want them to remember what I looked like when I hand it to people. Where you put a company name, it reads: "application architecting * workflow designing * info managing * db wrangling".

And yes, I know 'architecting' isn't a word. I swear I will work for half-price for any prospective employer who tells me that.
theodosia: (Theoden (from kathlaw))
I'm relatively (for me) well-dressed in a silk-cotton knit top and a denim skirt, with a necklace and my lucky cat ring for confidence-reminding purposes, and I'm going off to the job counseling firm's own Networking Breakfast in a few minutes more, with my freshly-printed business cards and a tentative song in my heart entitled "OMGWTFGiveMeAJob".

It does seem a 'safe' space to try this networking thing all the cool kids are talking about.

I was real eager about it on Tuesday, when I felt well and had an appointment with my anti-anxiety-drug-dispensing doctor because, yes, I'm better suited than ever to presenting myself with the confidence that I actually do objectively deserve to present.

("It ain't boasting if it's true" said some baseball great.)

But then yesterday I had tummy issues and felt like crap warmed over and napped like five hours during the day. Today I hope to have an up day, and put no more pressure on myself than would be ordinarily necessary.

Actually, I do have a Goal for networking -- I need to find out how much retraining I might need to qualify for some jobs, and whether I should do something like take professional Java training, which I think I'd ace, frankly. What's hot for hiring, and what's going to be hot, rather than falling back on the few jobs up for Lotus Notes right now....

Goals are good. So is showing up on time....

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