Venting Frustration: Graduation Requirements, etc

October 31, 2008 at 10:08 am (Uncategorized)

This morning after getting out of my history class, I stopped into the school’s counseling center to talk to an advisor about next semester – as from what I could tell, it looked like I only needed one science class before finally, finally getting my AA degree.

Well, according to mister advisor, even after completing the two classes I’m in now (which are kicking my ass – I’m getting good marks in them but I have no time for pretty much anything else) still three short – a physical sciences class with lab (which, with the lab, pretty much means it’s actually two classes time-wise), a humanities class and another art class. So, really, four classes.
For an AA degree that is, career-wise, basically worthless. I have enough experience in the work world to know that there are scant few employers that when hiring for a position give a flying shit if somebody in their mid-30’s has a two year liberal arts degree. It pretty much says that this person may know a lot, but they know a lot about a whole bunch of stuff that probably has jack to do with the actual job they’re applying for.
Really the only reason I decided to finish it was because it seemed like I was so close – but now with this update it probably looks like another year at least, along with a couple of grand of cash that I don’t just have laying around ready to burn.
For, again, a degree that won’t really do anything for me other than to give me a warm feeling of actually completing it.

*Sigh* I’m also really frustrated right now because my “career” has been in a rut for years – since giving up on the IT industry, there really isn’t a hell of a lot out there for those with my skill set other than menial grunt work. Really I want a job that is mentally engaging, allows for at least a little creative thought, and that pays well. That kind of work doesn’t seem to exist for those without specialized training.

So now I’m really wondering if I might be better off with vocational training rather than the general degree. Those who have known me for a while will probably remember it was only five or six years ago after getting laid off from the IT biz that I signed up for an apprenticeship with a cabinetry company – which unfortunately never panned out, mostly due to their lack of confidence because of my experience level – that being that I’ve never worked with wood in my life (I find it fascinating, but haven’t really had real-life exposure to it, and you can’t set up a wood shop in an apartment).

I’m actually looking at those vocational schools you see advertised all over the place and wondering if I should look into it – you know the deal – “Learn from home! You can learn accounting! Small engine repair! Locksmithing! Plumbing!” etc etc. In fact I’m actually wondering right this second if there’s a local HVAC training program – I seem to recall both that those guys are in demand and that they make a fair assload of money to boot. That or maybe an electrician might be good too.

I just know I need something. I have a shit job, and I’m basically stuck with it because I know if I get something else it will just be a slightly different shit job.

*sigh* I think I need a cookie.

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Quick movie mention: The Duchess

October 30, 2008 at 11:28 pm (Movies & TV)

Took another day off with LabGirl today, and among other things we went to see one of those “limited release” films that never seem to make it to the huge chain theaters – we went to see The Duchess.

It’s a story that takes place in the late 1700’s (beginning in 1774, if I recall the text flashed on the screen correctly), about a woman who marries into power to the Duke of Devonshire in England, only to soon discover that he’s an adulterous asshole who has no interest in her other than his hopes that she will be a baby-boy making machine while at the same time she’s conflicted about not choosing the guy who actually cares for her.

It’s a beautifully done film with some amazing costuming and set work, and I felt it did a pretty good job of immersing us into the time period. And although there’s no real “action” in the film to speak of, the story was pretty intriguing – LabGirl liked the movie quite a bit, and I thought it was pretty good as well, only feeling it was maybe just a tad too long and that it had a couple of places where it dragged a bit tempting me to nod off.

So – not great, but still pretty good, and probably worth checking out if you enjoy a decent period film now and then.

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A quick gaming site mention

October 28, 2008 at 11:28 pm (Gaming & RPGs)

Just wanted to mention that Yucata.de is a dang cool PBEM gaming site, and has been my favorite for quite a while now.

Been playing a whole bunch of Carcassonne H&G, Balloon Cup, Tally Ho, and others there, and have a few others I’m about to try out such as Down Under and Vikings.

Actually decided that considering I get at least a few minutes of fun out of their site pretty much daily that it was time to cough up a few euros to donate – which doesn’t get me anything special except the knowledge that I’m helping support the site, and a special little symbol by my player name (OooOOOoooo!). And hey, it was only a few euros and the euros were easy to pay out using PayPal, so all’s good.

I’ve also heard good things about SpielByWeb, but checking that one out will probably have to wait until I have free time to learn new games.

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Something I just noticed sucks about WordPress

October 28, 2008 at 11:22 pm (Uncategorized)

I can’t do extended entries – you know, the kind where I can tuck away extended content on huge-ass posts.

That really kinda sucks.

[Edit: Just checked out BlogSpot/Blogger, appears to be exactly the same….]

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New music, financial restraints, and singles

October 26, 2008 at 11:52 pm (Uncategorized)

Warning: Very Youtube-heavy 😛

So I’ve got a fairly large and eclectic music collection, however I listen to music A LOT thanks mostly to spending 40+ hours a week mindlessly typing crap into a computer, so I’ve gotten bored with most of it.

Tonight I went over to good ole’ Amazon.com to preview the new Metallica album to see if it was worth buying – and yeah, I was less than impressed. Although it’s nowhere near as bad as that last stinking turdpile of an album (St. Anger), it still isn’t exactly something I’d go out of my way to listen to.
But, while there, I decided to do some poking around, and surfed the “People who bought this album also liked….” selections to see if there was anything more interesting.

I ran across a sort of sub-genre that I found pretty interesting, called “orchestral metal,” or sometimes referred to as “progressive metal.” Reminds me a bit of the stuff I was more into back in the 90s, actually.
Most of it seems to be sort of an odd mixture of music that borderlines on death-metal (which I hate), but with the constant twin bas drums and screaming dialed back just a notch, and with the addition of synthesizers. Adds some interesting sound to music that I otherwise probably wouldn’t have found very interesting.

A few of the things I found were (noting that studio videos will be “more pop-y” than most of their music in hopes of more mass appeal):

Avantasia

A side project of the lead of another “heavier” band by the name of Edguy, this album has several tracks that are much heavier than this one, and a few that are more on this “pop” level. Actually not sold on this one yet, but I find it sorta intriguing.

Within Temptation

From the “I can’t believe it’s not Evanescence” files

Epica

From the same file as the last band, although this one mixes it up by occasionally throwing in a gravelly death-metal dude into the vocals.

Symphony X

These guys seem to just be a little closer to more traditional “heavy metal” with the addition of a keyboard – not bad.

Blackmore’s Night

Not even in the same genre as the other bands, but interestingly still came up in the “People who bought this also bought…” selections. This band seems pretty cool – sort of a mix of traditional tunes as well as some more modern stuff all with a Renaissance and/or Celtic flair. Sort of reminds me of that Lorena McKinnet chick. This video, like so many of the studio created ones, is probably not the best of their work.

And man, those are just the ones I discovered tonight.

Also in the plans:

A Fine Frenzy

Young Dubliners

Jack Johnson

Rebecca Pidgeon

Jeremy Camp


(I’m not usually into “God Rock,” but this dude is surprisingly talented regardless of the subject matter)

Digby

Armored Saint

Bernard Allison

The Spin Doctors released Nice Talking to Me which from what I’ve heard actually doesn’t suck, going more back towards their original sound.

Oh, and Mark Selby, one of my favorites blues rock artists, recently released a new CD that I haven’t picked up yet as well.

….So – that leaves me with a problem. that being that I don’t have an extra $250 or so to blow on new CDs! So if I do blow some cash, what do I blow it on? Hmmm…

One solution might be to just buy the tracks I really like, I suppose. Many of these have the option to buy individual mp3s over Amazon for about a buck a pop – it’s something I’ve done before when I wanted a specific song but didn’t care about the rest of the album.

Actually that makes me wonder if the onset of these mp3 singles has increased revenue for the record companies – I’ve heard their numbers have started to go back up again. I remember hearing as well that they were thinking to doing CD singles again – something they stopped doing years and years ago when they figured they could just sucker people into paying $15+ for the whole CD even if all they wanted was the one song they heard on the radio.
I think the mp3 single is probably a better idea, especially since you can pick and choose which songs you want, rather than only getting the choice of whatever song is popular on the radio at the time – and especially better if, like myself, most of the music you listen to just plain isn’t on popular radio.
Hmm… it’s a thought…

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Simple Pleasures: I Want One of These

October 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Japan is the home of a whole lot of freaky and/or retarded shit, but this is genius!

That so rocks! I totally want one!

With a little bit of research I’ve also seen that they come in several different colors and “sound themes” – some just give random little noises (honks, mooing, etc) for the “reward” sounds, others have different ones – I think my personal preference might be the “maid” themed one, which is black with white buttons, and every 50 presses or so “rewards” you with some cute or steamy female voice clip – of course, it’d be in Japanese so I’d have no clue what it was saying, but still 😛

Actually I’ve seen comments from people seeing they’ve seen knockoffs of these in dollar stores and at Target, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen one. And the “real” imported ones from Japan are on eBay but are about $15-20, which is kind of steep for this little thing I think.

Ah well – maybe I’ll either luck out and run across one, or maybe Santa will be extra nice this year 😉

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Random car vandals: WTF

October 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, it didn’t happen to my car, which I suppose is a good thing in itself, but it did happen to LabGirl’s, which probably makes me feel even worse for her than it would have for myself. Especially considering she just bought her car less than two weeks ago.

We were visiting her brother and his wife last night to celebrate his birthday, and we discovered what happened around 12:45a when we left to go home.

We got into the car (small SUV actually), shut the doors, and heard something falling at the back of the car.
Of course instantly wondering WTF the noise was, we look back, and notice that a pretty sizeable portion of the rear window is missing.
We get out to take a look, and yeah, there’s tinted glass everywhere, mostly on the inside of the rear compartment, but some also on the ground, and a few pieces in the back seat and all the way up into the cup holder area in the front of the car – somebody whacked that window with some pretty solid force – we’re thinking possibly with a baseball bat or something.

We’ve really no idea why it happened – she’s seriously not the type of person who would be specifically targeted by that sort of hatefulness, so I can only figure she must have been the unlucky receiptient of some shithead’s random vandolism.

She’s got insurance for it but will still have to pay the $100 deductable.
Unbelievable – brand new (at least to her) car, and somebody fucks it up in less than two weeks.

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Back in the Market

October 21, 2008 at 10:49 pm (Money & Investing)

Yeah, so let’s see how much I can lose this time 😛

Just put about a grand into Reliant Energy (RRI) this morning.

This is a stock that got hit hard over the last few weeks after the market had a huge dive when that 850 billion dollar bailout was immediately judged by the market to be not enough help – dropping the price nearly 75% in a matter of a few weeks. This stock was at nearly $30 a few months ago, and last week had a low in the $3 range.

However it’s financials all look good, so it looks like it probably took a much heavier hit than it should have, and appears to be in the first couple of days of starting a strong upwards trend – in fact just today the stock went up nearly 7% (a little over 4% from the price I bought it at) – and this was a day when most of the market was down after more bad market news.

Looks like this one may be a winner – here’s crossin’ the fingers.

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Hookie Day

October 20, 2008 at 11:04 pm (Dating and Girls)

Well, OK, I suppose it’s not “technically” hookie since we planned it out beforehand, but LabGirl had today off, and I decided to take the day  off with her, figuring it’d be nice to have a relaxing non-weekend day together.

We did end up both having to take care of things in the morning – I had a class and she had a meeting, but after that we got together for a nice lunch at Panera Bread (turkey sandwiches with soup and multigrain bread – good stuff), and spent some time at Edwards Apple Orchard, where I bought a half peck of apples (with plans to bring them to work in hopes that I’ll actually think to eat them), some apple butter, a few cider donuts, and some cookies-n-creme fudge.

We then snuggled under a blanket and watched the fourth episode of Firefly (which she’s liking quite a bit so far) before she had to take off to a prior dinner engagement with her brother and sister-in-law.

Overall a pretty nice fall afternoon with the girlie.

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Dumbass of the Week: PETA intern changes her name to an internet URL

October 18, 2008 at 12:49 am (Uncategorized)

I’m not sure if she actually convinced some idiot judge to allow her to legally change it, or if she just convinced some dumbass at the DMV to enter her name in as the URL, but she’s now going around telling everybody her name is “Cutoutdissection.com,” and her driver’s license even has her down as “Dissection.com, Cutout.”

Yes, of course PETA’s blog has an interview.

Yeah, nothing like giving up your entire fucking identity in order to pimp some shitty anti-science website. Dumbass.

Why don’t you just take it a step father, and maybe take inspiration from this even dumber dumbass?

(BTW, yes, that’s a real tattoo. She did it in exchange for $10K. That’s the equivalent of only a few months or so of wages to most of us. Dumbass.)

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