Yeah, a lot of you are saying to yourselves, “Shit, when he said he’d send us an email update I didn’t think it would just be a link to his website. That douche!” and some of you are saying, “When he said he’d send an email update soon I didn’t know that ‘soon’ was 5 months later”.
Regardless of which camp you’re in, this is that.
So what has been going on? Well quite a lot, actually…life has a way of keeping going, regardless of how much you’d like to take a break.
Some of you may have noticed a lack of tweets (that isn’t entirely explained by the lack of posts). Both of these things are tied to the same changes in my life: 1) A new job and 2) disgust. Firstly, the new job is absolutely fantastic. I was brought on as a 2nd tier tech and for once am treated not just with the respect of my peers, but also the respect of the leadership over me. Of course, I’ve only been here six months…things could change, but it’s unlikely to change as frequently as it has at my past jobs, so I’m gonna run with it.
So it’s not completely proper for me to say where I’m working on my personal blog, but it’s an enormous company, and not only is there plenty of upward mobility possible, lateral mobility happens all of the time. Right now I’m fixing hardware (the parts you can kick), but I literally have a pick of jobs that I could migrate to should I so desire. Since I initially started into computers because if an interest in programming (and in Linux), I now have the opportunity to work with both of them as much as I like – this is freaking awesome!
The bad side is that it’s about 150 miles away from home 🙁 With a shorter work-week, that helps – I generally get 2 1/2 days with Liz and Ian before heading back to work, but it’s still 4 days away. Considering that Liz has been working a job that’s had her traveling during the week though, we really aren’t losing a lot of time together (except for weeks like this where I picked up an extra shift and it didn’t make sense for me to go home, which are infrequent). It’ll be a much nicer trip when CHOPT is back on the road though – guaranteed 5 hours of riding every week, sometimes through some of the most beautiful areas that Oregon has to offer…hopefully she’ll be ready for riding in the next couple of weeks (blew a gasket last fall and didn’t have the money to fix it until getting hired).
The disgust is mostly with my rose coloured glasses being shattered. A lot of political bullshit has just made me completely lose any interest that I may have had in politics. This has led me to pursue fewer political websites, and thusly fewer political articles. If any of you were looking to me for political advice or clarity, I can sum it up in the below paragraph:
Politicians are paid by people that don’t care about you. They want to keep their jobs, and as a result do not care about you. They are not your friends. Rather, they are the people that your Constitution was designed to protect you from. It might be more complicated than that, and I’m sure there are a lot more dynamics at play, but honestly, the outcome is the same: Unethical people doing unethical things because even though they should know better, they just plain don’t care about anyone other than themselves.
So yeah, that’s kind of made me a bit more insular. I’ve pulled back from most of the social networking that I used to do, and I do most of my online reading without being signed in. Of course, I’m not ignorant enough to think that I’m not being monitored, but if it makes “them” work just a little bit harder to track me, then it’s a good thing (“them” meaning anyone that wants to track me, my habits, my purchases, or any of my other private business without my permission. This includes websites (Facebook, Google, etc) who make money off of my data and don’t give me any of it back, as well as the NSA and other Government agencies. I can’t think of a reason why the latter would be paying attention, but the less I show up on their radar as an ‘entity’, the better.
Those of you that follow my Twitter feed know that I haven’t been shy about calling them all douchbags and having it tied to my name – that’s my one place of political rebellion…if I have an opinion it’s likely to be there more than anywhere else.
Vacations and Other Excitement
Since the Ride (see the links above), I’ve attempted to do something new every year. Something big. Something exciting. Something fun. At least once, but we’ve managed to experience a lot more over the last few years just by remembering that it’s something we should do.
We started with Bungee Jumping – 192′ is a long way down…much longer when you’re tied to a giant rubber band 🙂 and we followed that up by a trip to Boston.
Neither of us had been to the city before for anything fun, although Liz had made a couple of work-related trips over the years. Her job has been phenomenal at supplying us with what we need to take the vacations…during that particular trip, the only money we spent was on food and tours.
The same year we decided to try camping, and after a few near-successful starts, we finally found an area that we really love on the west side of Mt. Hood. As such, we’ve tried to make it a point to go camping at least once a year, if only to shake off the tech for a few days and get the hell away from idiots. Sure, we’ve tried fishing a few times, but have been completely unsuccessful so far…we may begin hunting in the next few years, something that Liz and I have always wanted to try.
Next we managed to swing a trip to Costa Rica. Absolutely beautiful country, we loved our entire week and a half there, only wishing we had had a little more time. We went jet-skiing in the Pacific and snorkeling in the Atlantic, getting a horrible sunburn in the process. We found wild poison dart frogs and real live army ants. We woke up to howler monkeys (holy shit for primal fear) and saw fireflies for the first time. An awesome experience, tarnished only by the poverty…but that seems to be pretty much everywhere.
Last year we did over 2 miles of ziplining which was not nearly as scary as the bungee jumping, but lasted a whole lot longer 🙂
Unfortunately, due to Liz and I both getting new jobs, vacation time is at a premium. Not only that, but because I work a wonky week, it’ll make it a little more difficult for us to plan things together. It’s not the end of the world – this year we have two events planned, and one that we’re considering.
For my birthday I’m taking a week off of work. Due to the timing of my work week, I’ll be getting off of work on a Sunday morning and heading to the tri-cities to go skydiving. Liz and Ian haven’t decided whether or not they actually want to jump, but dammit it’s something new that I haven’t done before and it’s not likely to kill me, so what the hell? After the jump we’re going to head out to go camping. I’m not sure how long Liz will stay out there, but I’ll have about 9 workable days, so I may just spend most of it out in the middle of the woods with my kindle, my guitar, and my whittling knife. Oh, and a hammock. 😀
Next September or so we may be making a trip to Hawaii if we can score the time off. The plan is to spend it on the Big Island, mainly because in the 4 years I spent on Oahu I never actually left that island unless I was heading back to the mainland. Since Liz has never been to Hawaii at all, this is a nice compromise for both of us. We’re not so much interested in the tourism thing, just in seeing and doing new stuff 🙂
On Keeping in Touch
I’m horrible. I’m absolutely terrible. I lose phone numbers every time I change my phone, I lose email addresses every time I change providers (hopefully this is almost at an end, since I’m my own provider now), and for all of my good intentions I always seem to have something else to do at the time. Not better, just else. In my own defense? With the exceptions of Mic, Tim, and Mom, y’all are worse at it than me, so there.
For the record, my email address is currently: roknrol (at) roknrol (dot) info. I tend to not get too much spam, so I’d appreciate it if you don’t sign me up for stuff :p If you want me to check something out, copy the link into an email and send it across…my spam filters are pretty persnickety and I’ll probably never see it otherwise.
I’m horrible. I have a lot more time to write now that I’m working away from home, but unfortunately I haven’t had anything in particular that’s worth talking about. Since I haven’t been getting pissed at the Government (less news passes my eyes), I’m less pissed about the Freedoms that we’re losing (or have already lost). That doesn’t make me feel any better, but I don’t think my piddly little blog was doing much in that regard anyway. No, I just need to find a topic that I enjoy talking about. So far the only one I’ve found that’s consistent is me, and y’all don’t want to hear me blather on about me all of the time…that’s what Facebook is for.
For the last 10 years or so this has been another area of disgust with me. I originally became interested in computers because I learned that you could do your own stuff with them. I learned how to program, largely, because of my interest in role-playing games and an interest in Artificial Intelligence (silly me, thinking it’d be easy). I ended up getting into the Helpdesk area mostly out of necessity – I couldn’t be a file clerk forever, and I wasn’t able to find work programming without any experience. Unfortunately a lack of focus, time, and support led me astray and I started fixing shit instead of creating shit.
Now that I finally have a job that doesn’t have me answering helpdesk calls 24/7, I’ve been able to explore and experiment a bit more with the things that intrigued me 20 years ago. Some of you may not realize it, but Windows is extremely restrictive for someone that likes to see how things work (and make them dance on their own). Everything from hundreds of dollars to the OS, to hundreds of dollars for the software to make it work, and there aren’t any fewer security holes than there are in a free operating system that has free software packages that (usually) do exactly what you want them to do. The fact that it’s far easier to get it to “dance” is a nice perk that can’t be underestimated. The new job has definitely helped me get back into my groove a bit, even if I’m less excited about it two decades later.
I’ve taken this “free time” opportunity to work on the servers at my house. While the majority of the outages that folks have seen have been due to internet or power outages, there’s a lot that just doesn’t seem to work as well as it should, so I’m rebuilding the whole system from the ground up. The upside is that I’m learning a lot more about how these things work on a fundamental level, the downside is that it’s slow going – usually there are groups of people doing this, not just one guy 😉
That being said, technology isn’t secure. It’s not likely that it ever will be secure, especially if the NSA continues to have its way with the people building the technology. I encourage each and every one of you to practice safe habits when you’re online, especially from your smartphone. Don’t use free WiFi. Simple things like that can keep you safer than most.
The Near Future
Right now Liz and I are looking into buying property. We’ve been renting a house for the last two years, and while we love the area and we like the house, the management company is crap and we’re overspending. Having been recently burned (although not as badly as others) in the housing crisis, we’re a bit more cautious this time around.
We’re planning on starting with a large manufactured home on a small piece of property. When that’s paid off (or close to), we’re planning on purchasing a much larger property somewhere semi-secluded and moving the trailer after we’ve gotten the property properly prepped. I like alliteration.
We’re currently in the “hunting” stage, and have discovered that we qualify for way more than twice what we’re prepared to spend, so getting a loan shouldn’t be a problem, and paying it off should be even less of one. This time around we shouldn’t get in over our heads, and we should end up with something we would be happy to die in. As far as I’m concerned I can’t think of a better goal than that 🙂
So for now it’s just plugging along at the job, saving money and paying off debt (we’re getting there!). With all of the false decisions that we’re handed in the world we’ve created, eliminating as many of those as possible is kind of a dream. Hopefully that means that other things will be simplified in my life, leaving more time for experiencing it 🙂
That’s pretty much it for now – if anyone has suggestions for blog posts I’m all ears (ie, if you want to hear an oversimplification of a complicated topic and an opinion that’s probably just on the verge of ‘extreme’ ). I’ve considered the possibility of a Vlog as well, but I’m not sure how well received that would be. I imagine I would have an easier/better time with recording and uploading, but I also know a lot of people do their surfing from work when it’s not exactly appropriate to be playing videos…so feedback on that would be cool too. I could certainly do a hybrid version too with video and text, but unless there’s a high demand for both I’d rather save myself the effort :p
That’s it, pretty long, but that’s the expected result. Take care of yourselves folks, help out where you can and when you can – if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem 😉