Sunday, December 06, 2009

Chicago Dog

I finally had my first Chicago dog yesterday, and I think I started out right. I waited in line in the freezing cold for about forty-five minutes to have my first taste of these legendary concoctions come from the acclaimed Hot Doug's Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium. The wait was definitely worth it.

For the uninitiated, a Chicago dog consists of a grilled (not broiled), hot dog sharing a bun with a dill pickle spear. This is then topped with onions, tomato slices, mustard, and that phosphorescent, neon green relish that looks like it emits radioactivity. And if you wanted ketchup on your hot dog, get the fuck out of Chicago! There are a few more intricacies into what may and may not go on a Chicago dog, but those are the basics. And let me tell you, it is quite a treat.

In addition to making the Chicago standard, Hot Doug's also has specialty dogs that all look, smell, and sound amazing. I tried the rattlesnake sausage topped with several different cheeses and an interesting sweet sauce. I was expecting the meat to have that over-spiced taste that most game meats have to cover up the gamey-ness, but it tasted just like a poultry or a delicate pork sausage. It was very delicious.

I never really knew there was such a thing as gourmet hot dogs, but Hot Doug's showed me the error of my ways. I'll definitely have to go back some time, preferably when it's not freezing outside, though.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

You Can Catch More McBastards with Vinegar than Honey

Tuna salad is really just an excuse for me to eat spoonfuls of mustard and pickles without worrying about anyone giving me guff. To me the tuna is just filler or a garnish.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prove You're a Good American

Just in case you were looking to buy ol' Mr McBastard a gift for American Consumerism Holiday™, I've updated my Wish List.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mucca Pazza

To me, marching band always seemed pretty lame. In middle school and high school I chose to join the chess club, I was made captain of the junior varsity and then the varsity academic quiz bowl team, and was elected president of the drama club. I was essentially king among the dorks, and yet even I thought marching band was for losers. Last night I was shown just how wrong I was.

My blogger friend, Rini, and I went to a concert of a band named Mucca Pazza. And for a bunch of marching band nerds, they rocked pretty hard.

Much of their music sounded gypsy-esque. (I actually have no idea what music gypsies play and/or listen to; this is the only way I can find to describe music that sounds eastern European but isn't oompahpah or polka. Think of a more upbeat Gogol Bordello, minus the singing.) It was lively and beat-driven and pretty intense. Adding to the intensity were the band's colorful array of tattered and modified band uniforms, their wacky stage antics (The trombone section was particularly entertaining.), the inclusion of some cheerleaders, and audience interaction. The show began with the band entering the house through the back, making their way through the crowd, and finally ending up on stage. And randomly throughout the show, some sections would jump off stage and start playing from on top of the bar or up in the balcony. Even if I hadn't liked the music, I would have found them entertaining to watch.

But I did enjoy their music! I encourage anyone who is looking to find something a little different and unique to listen to, especially someone who was once a high school band nerd, to check them out. And I highly recommend catching a live show if you can.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

White Castle Memory

Today I had White Castle for lunch. Up to then, I had not had a genuine White Castle slider in about a decade. It was as delicious as I remember, and even more satisfying was that my memory of it actually lived up to reality.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Mismanagement 101

I think they must teach this in a business class or something:

  1. Discover a competent employee who understands complex directions and takes initiative
  2. Reward him with compliments, raise
  3. Give him more autonomy and trust him to set his own priorities
  4. Get rid of employee's not doing as well
  5. Give incompetent employees duties to competent employee
  6. Promise to hire people to work under competent employee and also to have developers create workflow management tools to aid him in his job
  7. Never make good on your promises
  8. Continue to grow your business but not to scale it in any reasonable way, giving competent employee even more work
  9. Half-heartedly listen to competent employee's request for help more manpower
  10. Hire incompetent temp to do work that you didn't trust incompetent full-time employees to do
  11. Fire temp; wonder why temp didn't work out
  12. Confront competent employee about his duties not getting done
  13. Tell competent employee that you will begin to prioritize his work for him
  14. Don't prioritize his work for him
  15. Have competent employee explain to you just what is so hard about his job
  16. Disregard his attempt to tell you that the two halves of his job are actually two jobs requiring two employees
  17. Inform him that one of the "halves" is the most important part of his workload, but that it should only be taking him one or two hours a day maximum
  18. Constantly and with suspicion question once-competent employee about what he is currently working on
  19. Act surprised when employee is disgruntled

Seriously, I've seen this happen before to a number of coworkers, and have even experienced it first hand. Where do managers pick this stuff up?

Maybe I'm being a bit over-dramatic here. I mean I still like my job and, despite me no longer thinking he's a good manager, I still like my boss. And I don't plan on quitting any time soon.

This all stems from my work getting increasingly difficult as our company grows, but no one listening to me asking for help. But the kicker is what happened today. Basically, my boss sat down behind me today and told me, in so many words, to prove that I was actually working and not jackassing around.

It is beyond annoying that he doesn't realize that I'm working diligently, no matter how hard I try to explain and demonstrate that fact. Hell, one night last week I didn't even go home! I stayed at the goddamn office all night because I was that dedicated to getting a project done. But now it's in doubt whether or not I'm wasting time.

Part of me wants to become the incompetent employee I'm assumed to be. I would get to be lazy and would not shatter anyone's current expectations. Another part of me wants to put even more hours in, get everything that is done that is expected of me, no matter the cost to my personal life or health. I would get to be a martyr and could revel in my own self-righteousness. The more reasonable part of me, though, knows that I should just keep doing what I'm doing: working as hard as I can, within reason, and doing my best. It's not my job to make sure the business is being managed properly. If my boss sees that work is not getting done and can do nothing more about it than blame an employee that is already working hard, then that is not my problem. If it comes to me being fired for incompetence, then he is even more stupid than I thought.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Crappy Idea

I'm thinking of starting a new blog entitled My Magnificent BM and Other Colontastic Adventures.

Its content will at least be better than the shit on this blog.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Dear Paul Baribeau

I tried to listen to your first, self-titled album the other day on my way home from work, but I had to turn it off after a few songs. I didn't feel like breaking out into tears on the bus. You should really be more considerate of those in your listening audience who don't like experiencing emotions.

Perhaps you could tone down the references to events in your life that are eerily similar to the life experiences of certain audience members. And perhaps you could be a little less accurate in describing the thought processes and justifications of actions of those who relate to your songs. In short, it would be much appreciated if you didn't make your listeners want to laugh and cry and shout, sometimes all within the same song. Perhaps something a little more poppy-sounding with a little less substance?

Looking forward to hearing bland and uninspired music from you in the future,

Your fan

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Do you ever get out of the shower all clean and shiney, and then you think to yourself, "Dammit! I forgot to masturbate?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


I forgot to mention that a week or two ago the president of my company said, "Morning, Josh," as I was walking into the building.

"Morning," I replied, "but I'm not Josh." I really shouldn't lie to people like that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I know my previous posts about my new job have been just short of gushing, making it seem as though I've found the most awesome job in the world, so I thought I'd make a post about how it does frustrate me sometimes.

The "president" of the company ... (Tangent: In such a small company, traditional corporate titles become ridiculous, being both ostentatious and not descriptive enough. Our president is a figurehead for the company, but he also is the sales department slash account representative slash the guy who smooths things over when shit goes wrong.) ... where was I?

Anyway, the president and I have very frustrating miscommunications sometimes. The miscommunications sometime come in the form of novel-length email strings or whole days of walking back and forth between each other's office looking confused. This is a result of us being two distinctly different types of people. In the time-honored tradition of reducing a complex society into an oversimplified dichotomy, he is a Talker and I am a Doer. (This is not to be confused with the Thinker vs Doer generalization.)

Talkers react to issues that would best be solved by discussion and negotiation and schmoozing and other human interaction. Doers react to issues that would best be solved by planning and organizing and completing tasks. This is not to say that Talkers don't do anything, and that Doers don't talk. It's just that each group doesn't see what the other does as necessary to resolving an issue. They often can't see or don't understand the issues that the other can.

For instance, the president spends his day wheeling and dealing, and he finally pulls in an account. The talk is over, so to him the deal is done. The only thing that's left is that pesky problem of delivering on the promises he made during his speal. He doesn't care if what he promises is reasonable, feasible, or even doable. It's not an issue to him; he just talks until the deal is closed.

Enter me. I've got to make what he said we could do a reality. I need to take the client's specifications, and the extras he said we would do for them, and figure out a way to execute them. Whether or not he promised something we can't do or that can't be done is not an issue to me. It was just talk.

Obviously, this is where we don't see eye to eye.

When he closes a deal, he'll send me reams of email strings that criss-cross, overlap, back-track, and repeat themselves, as well specification documents that the client created and negotiation documents that he and the client made together. It takes me literally hours to sort through all this crap to find out what it is I'm supposed to do. There's stuff in there like, "Hey, it was good seeing you at the convention! Are you going to the next one?", "The next time you're in town, I know a great steak place to eat.", and "You have a great weekend with your daughter!" It's all mixed in with relevant details about the deal, which also might be mixed in with relevant details about other simultaneous deals. Writing code and entering information in to a database is easy. Parsing through this bullshit is one of more difficult parts of my job. It get's a little frustrating.

Similarly though, when he asks me for a status update on a project so that he can impress, reassure, or otherwise talk at his clients, I give him a list of what I've completed, what I am working on, and what I have left to do. He often gets flustered and asks, "Yeah, but is it done yet? What do I tell the client?" I'm trying to do something, and all he cares about is what he'll say.

So, there you have it. In summary, my job's not perfect, the world is full of confusion, and this post is done.

Monday, August 10, 2009


I don't get it. Apparently, you have a problem with people getting married. Well, not all people. You don't care if some people get married. And you don't care how long they stay married. And you really don't care how many times they get married. The confusing part is, you don't even seem to care what species is getting married, just as long as one is male and the other is female. So, what's the deal with not wanting queers to marry? I must have missed the part where that seemed totally ridiculous.

Is this over the word? The word 'marriage?' Is that what all the fuss is about? Fine, keep your stupid word. 'Marriage' can be a religious ceremony between a man and a woman. Neat, now your precious word is still sacred. Now the rest of us will enjoy 'scribblybop,' a new word I just made up that signifies a legal union between two consenting adults. Okay? Are you happy now? Your religion's got its word, the US has got its word, and never the twain shall meet. Done. Issue solved. Case closed.

But, just out of curiosity, what was it to you? What is so goddamned precious about your word? Is it some magic incantation? Is it a secret password? What is it? You fought so vehemently to protect it; it must have some special power that you're not telling us about. No? It doesn't? It's just some plain, ol', stupid word? Huh ... Weird.

Well, if we're just coopting words, then we get 'God.' You can't use 'God' to mean what it means to you any more. Yeah, sorry. We called it; you should have been quicker on the draw.

So, now we get to choose how to narrowly define 'God' to suit our whims. You can't use 'God' anymore to mean an excuse to be narrow-minded or as a means for being self-righteous in your persecution of others. Nope, sorry. We have a new definition of 'God.' Yeah, from now on, God is defined as a compassionate, all-loving force that unites humanity and is diametrically opposed to suffering and injustice. I guess you'll have to make up your own word for whatever you had been calling 'God' (and 'scribblybop' is already taken).

For a more practical method of bringing about change than made-up words and sarcasm, Mom in Real Life would like a moment of your time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Not Mad

The other day my roommates accused me of not having any emotions except for Anger, to which I rebutted that I did have emotions, such as ... Anger ... and Hunger ... and all the others that end in "-ger." I was later informed that Hunger is not an emotion.

I'm not sure why Anger is the only emotion I can fluently express. I was raised by parents who expressed the whole gamut of emotions -- indeed a mother so emotive I don't think she could hold her feelings in if her life depended on it. But Angry is the only emotional state people can readily identify in me.

I wouldn't consider myself a particularly angry person. I feel happy and sad and confused and surprised, as well. I'm predominantly not angry, preferring Contentment or Indifference instead. It just seems like the only feeling that seeps out from underneath this hardened exterior on a regular basis, in any noticeable terms, is a simmering rage.

Sometimes I'm anxious about it, worrying how this has, does, and will affect my friendships and relationships. Though I can't say that this behavior hasn't come without some negative consequences, for the most part it's been tolerated. Not too many people yell at me, and I still have some friends left, so I see no pressing need to change. And if it were the case that I should change this about myself, would I even be able to? Plus, is a Happy McBastard any better than this current version?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

My Week as a Social Person

Or How to Make Friends and Influence People with Alcohol

In true McBastard fasion this post is a week late. The week before last I decided to take a tentative step out of the comfortable darkness of my hermitude and venture into the blindingly bright light of social interaction. Aside from the occasional taggings along with my roommates past and present, over the past year I've hardly made an effort to meet new people and make new friends. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but I've felt that I may not be making the most of my experience in a new city. The other week, though, I made up for that a little bit.

First up was a date on Tuesday. I guess I have gone on several dates in the past year, so this is nothing new, per se. But, to coin a phrase, one can never go on too many first dates. It was a pretty good date, too, in my opinion. We were just supposed to meet each other after work and get a couple drinks, but it turned into a dinner date. The bad part was that I drank way too much, but the good part was that she did too and didn't seem to notice. I'm hoping to arrange a second date for some time this week, but she just moved into a new place over the weekend, so I don't know how feasible that will be.

Most of the rest of the week was occupied by what the Intarwebs calls a "meetup" in which a group of people who've met online but usually have not met in meatspace get together and apparently drink copious amounts of alcohol. And that's just what we did.

On Thursday, I met up with some other twenty-something bloggers, from the aptly named Twenty-Something Bloggers community, for some Chicago-style pizza. And then we went to a bar and got drunk. On Friday, we skipped the dinner part and went straight to a bar. On Saturday, we met up at a wine tasting, then went to a bar, then went to dinner, and then went to another bar. On Sunday, we stroked our livers gingerly and went to the Pride Parade. Overall, it was a great success. I met some interesting local bloggers as well as a few from the far reaches of the country. Now I've got so many more blogs to read that'll never get bored. They even convinced me to get on Twitter. So now there's a whole new avenue through which I can annoy you, dear readers!

Now I must scurry back into my cave, biding my time until the next event lures me back into the sunlight.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Interesting Start

Aside from the excitement of just having a new job, there have been several other interesting things happen at work.

The week before last, the guy who used to have my job, whom I assumed got promoted, was fired. It turns out he wasn't promoted, he was moved to a new position because he couldn't (or wouldn't) complete the tasks of my position. Apparently, he didn't do the work of his new position either, so they canned him. I guess I viewed this as a warning: Incompetence and laziness will not be tolerated.

This past week, my boss, the CTO, has been on vacation. Before he left, I got a crash-course in how to do my job. One of the last things he said before he left on Friday was that he was impressed with how much I've picked up. That was heartening.

Last Monday was the first day my boss was gone. A guy who started the same day as I did, and the only other tech guy in the place, left on his lunch break and never came back. This is more stunning than it is disappointing. I mean, to come in, get your paycheck, and then go on an early lunch, never to be heard from again -- that takes a disregard for professionalism that I doubt even I could muster. But, really, I'm not disappointed because he wasn't that cool of a person anyway. As far as coworkers go, I guess he was decent, but something about him was a bit off, and not in that nerdy, computer geek kind of way. He was bigoted, crass, and a bit full of himself. Plus he spoke in ghetto slang unironically. Imagine if Eminem had gotten a degree in computer science -- that's what this guy was like.

So, last week I'm the only tech-oriented person in the place and they've just launched a new web portal, and because the guy before me wasn't doing his job we're behind schedule on the old portal. On top of it all, I barely know how to do my job, I've got no direction from my absent boss, and I've got to figure out problems originally intended for the AWOL software engineer. I thought I was barely treading water. But, at the end of the week, the CEO came in to talk to me. He told me how impressed he was that I was getting so much done despite the circumstances. I was pretty relieved, though I know I'll feel even better when my boss is back next week.

It's been an interesting go so far. I hope everyone remembers how impressive I am when it comes time to hand out bonuses and raises. We'll see.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Liking the Job So Far

After a week of employment, I think that I will really enjoy my new job. Though some of these feelings may be due to newness of the experience, I think some facets of the job will lend to it being pretty cool long after the novelty has worn off.

The role I'm in, "web application support," has quite a few diverse functions. It's a little bit of tech support, a little bit of web development, a little bit of database management, a little bit of technical writing, etc. Essentially, it's got enough interesting little bits happening continuously to keep the wriggly organ between my ears from getting bored and mushy.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Not How It Works

Someone needs to tell these guys this is not how the Internet works.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

You're Hired!

Yesterday I interviewed with a small web marketing start-up for a Web Application Support position. I walked out of the interview with a job -- and dumbstruck look on my face, I'm sure.

It was mostly like any other interview I've been one, except the person interviewing me was the CEO. (Like I said, it is a tiny company.) He explained that the company takes schools on as clients and gathers information from its and others' websites on prospective students to give to the schools, at a premium, of course. The particulars of how such a company based on this business model works is beyond my knowledge or interest, so I didn't ask. But, having been in operation for less than a year, they have already cleared their overhead and made a profit, so they must be doing something right.

Anyway, the CEO continued to explain the job in pretty basic terms, letting me know that the CTO would explain it to me more in-depth. He then leaned in and explained that the CTO is a stickler for details. He's a very particular, stringent guy, so much so that the last two people they'd hired for this position hadn't lasted long. With that newly minted terror in my mind, he told me that he would send the CTO in to talk with me. This didn't bode well.

The CTO was a tall, relaxed guy with a big smile, not at all what I was picturing. He came in with a set of questions the CEO had given him to ask me, but after only getting through a couple of them, he tossed them aside and said, "These are stupid." We just started talking. He was interested to find that I'd started college as a Computer Science major, and even more intrigued to find that what web programming knowledge I have is self-taught.

Finally, he explained that the position does require a little bit of technical knowledge, but more importantly, it requires an ability to quickly learn new concepts, fully comprehend complex processes, and thoroughly document gained knowledge. With that, he got up and said he'd send the CEO back in.

I was anxious. I thought that I had the necessary skills to be good in this position. However, historically speaking, I've always thought this during job interviews, but have had much difficulty in conveying this to the interviewers.

The CEO came back in and nonchalantly mentioned that the CTO was impressed with me. "Can you start tomorrow?" he asked. I was almost too stunned to answer. I've never been hired during an interview before. It felt, in short, fucking awesome.

A couple hours later, while I was celebrating with my roommates, the CEO called me to let me know that they wouldn't have my computer ready by tomorrow, so to just come in Wednesday. So, today's my last day of unemployment. I can't say that I'll miss it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Faith Enough

Last night I prayed, sincerely, for the first time in half a decade. I prayed to a god that most days I'm not even sure exists. And even if it does, I hardly think that it's in this god's nature to heed prayer and grant wishes. But I prayed, and, like most prayers made by people who only have faith enough to believe in a god when it's convenient, my prayer was desperate and selfish.

I prayed as I've been taught, by asking for something and then offering up the sins I'm ready to repent. This is a strange vision of the economy of prayers: God grants us the things we request in exchange for a few paltry mea culpas. It doesn't seem like a reasonable exchange or a sound investment -- heaven's own sub-prime lending scheme.

I've eschewed dogmatic, institutional sins, preferring to believe that my character flaws will suffice in their place. My sins include Lacking Humility, Being Irresponsible, and Indulging in Anger. I confessed the sins I knew I'd committed; the one's I've yet to realize will have to wait.

In exchange I asked for Peace of Mind, Perseverance, and Contentment. And a job that pays rent.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where Am I?

Two people asked me for directions while I was wandering around downtown today. I had to explain that I had just moved here, and that I wasn't even certain where I was. I guess my Where The Hell Am I? Face (patent pending) looks confident and knowledgeable. I'm glad that at least strangers think I know where I'm going and what I'm doing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And Then

I'm all moved, partially unpacked, still unemployed, and back online. I'm slowly-but-surely succeeding in this relocation scheme I came up with. Hopefully, the job problem will be solved soon, and then ...

I don't know, I guess I start feeling comfortable with being somewhere I've wanted to be.

Monday, May 04, 2009


So, I'm about to head out the door and into the city. I'll be without an internet connection for a while. So, if you need to get in touch with me, give me a call instead.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Dumb Move

I'm not sure why I haven't mentioned this before now; like Ron Burgundy, it's kind of a big deal: I'm moving tomorrow.

I'm moving out of the Happy Times's house in the suburbs to live with The Long-Dater Goober and her previous and my soon-to-be roommate, Sneezy. (I'll come up with better nicknames later, I promise.) We're moving into an apartment on the north side of the city, just off the Red Line. It's in a decent neighborhood, and I'll finally fulfill my wish to actually live in the city.

While I'm pretty excited about this move, I'm also really nervous. I came here a year ago with only a few hundred dollars and no job prospects in a faltering economy but with some trusty friends to rely on. This time I'm moving with only a few hundred dollars and no job prospects in a full-on recession and no one but myself to fall back on. This is, without a doubt, the stupidest literal and figurative move I've made in a while.

So, if you've got some extra luck laying around, send it my way. Or if praying's your thing, please mention me to your deity of choice. Well-wishes and heaping helpings of hope are greatly appreciated. I'm going to need it.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Can't Shut Me Up

This is my mobile phone usage for April. Granted, it's only so far this month; it's possible I could go on a talking spree some time in the next five days.

So, basically I've paid thirty-five bucks for eight minutes of use. T-Mobile is getting a deal with me. Maybe I should look into prepaid.

Anyway, if you feel like helping me get my money's worth, go ahead and give me a call sometime soon. If I'm not at work, I'll try to answer.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Birthday Haul

Thank you to TunaHell, TunaHelper, Happy Time, and Stellar for getting me (or providing me the funds with which to get) the following nerdery:

  • Buckaroo Banzai in Return of the Screw
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Player's Handbook
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Player's Handbook 2
  • Preacher, Volume 3: Proud Americans
  • Preacher, Volume 4: Ancient History
  • Preacher, Volume 5: Dixie Fried
  • Serenity, Volume 1: Those Left Behind
  • Serenity, Volume 2: Better Days

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What I've Learned in my Twenty-Sixth Year

I turned twenty-six yesterday. I decided to make a list of things I've learned:

  • Making sudden, life-altering decisions may not work out how I plan
  • It is more valuable and useful to make the decision to change than to decide on what (I hope) that change will be
  • If I want to pay off my debt, I shouldn't quit my job, especially in the middle of a recession
  • I am not well-adapted to work in customer service
  • I am horrible at keeping in contact with good but distant friends (though, I think I already knew this)
  • I have a very skewed perception of how strangers, coworkers, friends, and family view me
  • The Cubs are awesome and the Sox suck ... I guess
  • The thought of going back to school doesn't utterly repulse me anymore
  • I am capable of enduring
  • Apple soda is delicious
  • Possessions -- things, stuff, junk -- are a liability; one that I am happy to eschew when needs be
  • I still really like programming, and I should find a way to get back into it
  • CTA buses don't give change cards
  • I still hate old people

In addition, there are some things that I have failed to learn:

  • Employers do not care about The Way I Think Things Should Be Done™, no matter how efficient, cost-effective, or time-saving I believe it to be (or that it actually is)
  • Why the only emotion I can fluently express is Anger
  • What it is like to live by myself, on my own
  • How to motivate myself to write again
  • How to fix a motorcycle

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Over a week ago, I had to shave my beard because of a job interview. As this image illustrates, I was saddened. To make matters worse, when I got to the interview, the interviewer was sporting a beard. Oh, tragic irony! Oh yeah, and I didn't get the job either. I guess that was kind of a bummer.

Then, over the weekend, I shaved my head. Partially because Happy Time and Stellar shaved theirs in support of Happy Time's mother enduring chemotherapy. Additionally, I so desperately want a change in my life, and this is the only one I can afford. Please, someone give me a job soon, or lord knows what else I'll cut off!

Friday, February 27, 2009


Distant hope is encouraging and inspiring. Hope so nearly realized is tortuous and maddening.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Radio Silence

After six months of hearing nothing -- literally nothing but automated email responses -- back from potential employers, I finally have landed a job interview! I'm excited by the opportunity and confident that I'm qualified for the job, but I don't want to presume that I'll actually get the job. I don't want to raise my expectations only to have them squashed.

Actually, in the past couple weeks, I've gotten a few other promising inquiries:

  • A small, Chicago-based web company contacted me to write some online help for their site. This is turning into a story unto itself, and there will probably more to tell later
  • A headhunter in Kansas City must have found one of my old resumes and has asked if she could submit it to a few companies back in Missouri. I gave her the go-ahead because the jobs sounded kind of interesting
  • The state of Illinois has asked me to come in for a competency test to see if I'm qualified for a position that I applied for a month ago. I'm waiting on my college transcript to arrive
  • Even a regular customer at worked asked me if I would be interested in helping her walk dogs. I gave her my number

I'm not sure if this is the end of the radio silence of the past half-year or just a momentary reprieve. Either way, I'm grateful for the much needed morale boost.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


When people ask me whether or not I'm one of those skinny people that can eat a ton and never get fat, I say, "Yes." And while this is sort of true, it's not the entire story.

I can pack away large amounts of grub, and I have been known to snack all day. While I do have a high metabolism, the real reason I'm so skinny is because on the whole I don't eat very much at all.

I'm not really a grazer. If there's unlimited food sitting in front of me, I'll eventually get full and stop eating. I'm not a forager, either. I won't go looking for the perfect food to sate my hunger. I'm more of a scavenger. I'll wait until food presents itself and then I'll swoop in and gorge myself. I'm an opportunistic eater.

So, while I can eat quite a bit in one sitting or devour a constant stream of snacks for a while, I will usually go for long stretches of time where I eat nothing at all. Take, for instance, a few days ago. Without realizing it, I went nearly 48 hours only eating a bowl of cereal.

It's not that I don't get hungry. I do -- especially in the case of the previous example -- but that's usually only when I'm nearly starved. When I'm only slightly hungry, I usually don't notice until I think about it. And if my stomach doesn't rumble (which it usually doesn't) then I don't think about it. Basically, and this sounds pretty stupid, but I forget to eat until it's way past time to do so.

Recently I've begun to recognize something about myself and my body. When I've gone a while without eating, I tend to get even more surly than normal. (I know, it doesn't sound possible.) I believe this is because my blood-sugar is so low and I'm experiencing something similar to what diabetics feel if they haven't taken their insulin. So, I'm trying to recognize when I feel inordinately cranky, and take that as my cue to eat something. It's just sad that it's taken me 25 years to recognize this.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Despite whatever talents I have, think I have, forget I have, or wish I had, one talent I know I have is a talent for picking friends. They are quick to point out when I am selling myself short (no pun intended), and they have seemingly never-ending patience for showing me the positive when all I see is the negative.

Thanks to all my friends, far and near, who call me out on my bullshit, don't let me wallow in my own self-pity, and otherwise encourage me to be a better me than I am willing to settle being.

That said, there's no accounting for why I have good family. I'm just lucky, I guess.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dripping and Shivering

When we were still dating, sometimes The Magster Magdus and I would take showers together. When the shower was over, we would throw back the curtain, grab our towels, and wrap them about ourselves. She would step out onto the bathmat and begin to dry her body and hair. I would not, instead choosing to shiver and complain about the cold world outside the shower, mustering up the initiative to step out of the tub. She would chastise me for dripping dry instead of toweling off. Often she was fully dried and dressed before I would begin to mop the remaining moisture from my skin.

But this isn't about Magdus or showering. It's about dripping and shivering.

My shower ended last year. I threw back the curtain and stepped out of the tub onto the Chicago area. Since then I've been watching my friends getting dressed and getting ready for the rest of their lives.

For starters, Magdus is finding peace and reconnecting with her family. As for my other Kansas City friends, P. Tott is finding his niche and advancing in his career. Katie has her Master's now. Rachel has her own place and is enjoying her job. Jaysix is finishing up one of his Semi-Concrete Life Goals™. Here near Chicago, Nico has gotten a place with her boyfriend and is taking classes. Happy Time and Stellar are learning how to not only live with addiction, but also live better in spite of it and because of it.

All the while, I seem to be huddled in my towel, dripping and shivering -- wishing to move on.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

December Photo Dump

I forgot to mention that I dropped the last of my pictures from 2008 into Flickr. Be prepared for a lot of photos of annoyingly adorable chihuahua puppies.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


In a Hispanic accent, Josh sounds like "yosh." Apparently, the Mexican stockmen at the Piggly Wiggly know me better than I thought.

Circa Now