Thursday, October 26, 2006

So, How's It Going, You Ask?

This is a great week. The new job is everything I could have asked for. I keep remarking how it feels like IBM used to back when IBM was good, and that was very good indeed.

The first day, after a 1/2 day of boring orientation, I met with my manager and she took me to my cubicle. She had personally ordered and stocked my desk with office supplies, and cleaned it herself on Friday evening. A brand new Thinkpad with a docking station was installed and working, with all the applications I need already installed. She had already requested all the passwords I would need (only half of them were processed by Monday, but that's certainly not her fault!) I had a nice new office chair, and my phone had the instructions for setting up voice mail taped in front of it. She had printed out my ID's and passwords and handed them to me personally.

This company uses the "buddy system" for new hires. The Senior Business Analyst was my buddy and she had prepared a binder for me with business processes, all the current requirements that the team was working on, org charts, maps of the building...just about everything I needed to know.

This company is VERY strict about use of their IT assets. NO NON-BUSINESS USE INTERNET! And their IT team is actually competent because there's no way around it. If you try a non-approved web site, it's blocked. If you try an approved site outside of the firewall, you get 10 minutes on a timer before it starts tracking you. Chat clients are blocked. No goofing off.

Now, the above might have been a bad thing for me in the past. My previous jobs have sometimes had the work run dry, leaving me with not much to do on occasion. Well, the good thing here is that there is a great deal of work to do, all of it interesting, and the day seems to pass quite quickly. I don't mind getting up in the morning (much) any more.

Now that I'm no longer employed by my previous employer, I have to say that the worst part of working there was the people. I swear, there weren't three people working there that I would have spit on to put them out if they were on fire. Arrogant, abrasive, unhelpful snobs, every one of them with very few exceptions. All of them were indispensible because of their knowledge and experience, and they were very jealous of it and wouldn't spend a moment trying to teach you anything. I spent two years there and never found anyone I wanted to go to lunch with. Until this week, I didn't realize how that experience completely drained me every day. I don't know how I put up with it for so long.

Anyhow, I've already executed a test script, uncovered some bugs in the code, rewritten the same test script, and documented the business process that takes the requirements from concept to production with a Visio flow. Once I get access to some SQL databases, I should be full speed ahead.

Did I mention that I like my boss?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Starting the New Job!

Tomorrow, the new job begins. Orientation early in the morning, followed by HR paperwork, then "getting to know" the new department! I have to dress fairly nice, which is a big change from the slob company I just left. I'm sure wearing true business casual clothing will chafe a bit after the jeans and t-shirts I've gotten used to. This is going to be like IBM was before IBM decided to let the PC division rot on the vine and drown in its own filth. People taking pride in making changes for the better, I mean.

I'm excited. I'm going to knock them dead. They're going to want me to run the company in less than a month. I'm gonna be a STAR, baby!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Update On The Stealing Thing

Grrrr...It doesn't go on my Dad's car insurance policy. It goes on my Homeowner's policy, which has a $500 deductible. So these scumbags cost me 500 bucks. Makes me want to go back and kick some carnie butt, is what it makes me want to do. (The NC State police officer says it was almost certainly done by carnival people)

The best revenge will be that I will probably see $300 after the deductible, and I'm planning on replacing the camera on the Friday after Thanksgiving with something better that will probably be on sale.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Quick Update On The Big Weekend

We're back home for a quick nap before heading to the mountains for 3 days. We went to Raleigh and Chapel Hill this weekend and stayed overnight on Saturday to go to the State Fair. We had a great time, but someone broke into my parents' van while we were there and took my Dad's new Q phone, my Zen MP3 player, and my video camera. We got a police report, and I guess insurance will cover most of the loss. They rifled through my Mom's purse but declined to take the credit cards in there, choosing to take the quick score of electronics. We gave all the serial numbers to the police, and Dad got the phone turned off by Verizon.

Here's a strange coincidence - Bernie left her purse at my Parents' house and was complaining about it most of the weekend. If she had remembered to bring it, it almost certainly would have been left in the car and stolen. Sometimes fate works in mysterious ways.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Last Day On The Job!

Well, tomorrow (technically today, since it's after midnight) is my last day at my job. Today, I sent the customers the "I'm leaving" email, and I immediately realized that was a bad idea, the result being akin to saying "Well, we're about out of time, are there any more questions?" EMAIL FLOOD! Lots of "Wait, before you leave, can you do this?" emails.

Anyways, nothing serious. The boss took me and the department to lunch and we had a good time. I don't expect to spend too much time there Friday, probably just handing in my badge and going home. I'm grateful to them for giving me a job when I needed it, but I won't miss the constant stress one bit. I'm off to a better job where I won't have customers calling me. What I'm really looking forward to, however, is the WEEK OFF.

Bliss. Sheer bliss.

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Weekend Events

Whew! I feel like I spent the entire weekend at a party! Friday night we had the family over for take-out fish, then Saturday, we went to the flea market and to the Asian Corner Mall to pick up some things.

Saturday night we went to Oktoberfest at the Waldhorn Restaurant and had dinner in the restaurant, then went outside to the beerhall and danced and partied until late. Papa Lau got a slice of black forest cake with a candle because his birthday was on Sunday. The waitresses and the accordian player came over to sing to him after dinner. Mama Lau danced quite a bit and had the best time of all of us, I think. The band was very good. Maybe next year I'll get my Raleigh friends to come and do this with me.

Sunday, the family went to church, but I stayed home to child-proof the house and make lunch, since I didn't want to miss any of the Panthers' game at 1pm. After the game, the family came over again and we celebrated Papa Lau's birthday again with cake, pie and pizza. Bernie got her "kid fix" with the nephews, who had a great time. We all collapsed afterwards and only Bernie still had the energy to stay up until 11pm. I was in bed and nearly asleep.

Tonight, I have to watch last week's Heroes before it comes on again for this week's episode. I may have to start watching this show on Friday nights when Sci-Fi channel replays it and be 4 days behind everyone else.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Strange Dreams

Two nights ago, we opened the windows in the house. The influx of oxygen has given me strange dreams both nights. Last night's took the cake, I must say.

I started out attending a parade on a college campus. As the parade rode by, some guy in a convertible pulled out a gun and fired a shot into the crowd and drove off. I saw it and told a policeman and gave a description of the man and the gun (a 44 Ruger, black). I turned the corner from the cop and somehow ended up in the basement of one of the buildings.

I came face to face with a homicidal maniac that looked like Pin Gillette, only 8 feet tall, 400 lbs, wild hair, unshaven, wearing overalls - kinda like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you know? He chased me around the basement of this large building with some sort of weapon. I grabbed some sort of garden tool and hid and snuck up on him and hit him (You know how you can never actually hit someone hard in a dream, everything being sort of slow motion?) and ran away.

OK, well somehow, I ended back up in the basement again, only this time I had my friends from high school with me. Ed, Brendan, Jeff, Bert, and Dave. The maniac came after us and we all grabbed shovels, axes, picks, etc and scattered. A long melee and chase followed and after I hit the guy twice in the head with an axe, causing very little damage, Jeff managed the telling blow with a pick. It took two more whacks with the pick to kill the guy. (Again, this being a dream, there wasn't any blood or gore - his head was empty).

Congrats to Jeff! Now somebody tell me what this means.

Monday, October 02, 2006

They Have Arrived!

Bernie's parents got here safe and sound this morning. We got up at 4:30 to get to the airport at 5:45 because I knew the red-eye from LAX always arrives early. It did (6:12am scheduled, arrived at 5:54), and there were apparently less than 20 people on board. We got out of the airport at 6:30 and took them straight to Waffle House (best to get them acclimated to grease right away). Dad and I had to go to work, so I missed the initial reactions to our house and lifestyle.

I've checked with Bernie and her Dad is asleep (they've been awake for all but 3 hours in the last 48) and her Mom can't manage to sleep, so is watching TV.

Poor Bernie was soooooo stressed out, but now she can relax.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


  • Made breakfast
  • Both cars vacuumed
  • Shopped at Aldi for groceries (LOTS of Dutch and German people there)
  • Bought more plants from a local nursery (banana tree and elephant ears)
  • Lunch
  • Panthers game
  • Garage parking ball hung up
  • Pot rack put away
  • Kitchen ceiling sanded and painted
  • Stop sign removed from front yard and planted in a place any person with an IQ over 50 would have chosen

Just need to clean the kitchen and vacuum the house and I think we're all ready for Bernie's parents!

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