Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Philipine Journey

My e-chum, Veronica, recently returned from a trip to the Phllippines. This picture is part of her trip, and just made me howl.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Clipmarks - WHO Swine Flu FAQ

clipped from www.who.int
Swine influenza, or “swine flu”, is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses. Morbidity tends to be high and mortality low (1-4%). The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and asymptomatic carrier pigs. Outbreaks in pigs occur year round, with an increased incidence in the fall and winter in temperate zones. Many countries routinely vaccinate swine populations against swine influenza.


How can I protect myself from getting swine influenza from infected people?

To protect yourself, practice general preventive measures for influenza:
  • Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and who have fever and cough.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and thoroughly.
  • Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.

  • What is swine influenza?

     blog it

    Journalism Is Not A Crime

    Another piece of the Free Roxana campaign.



    A nice piece of work by James Buck.

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    Photos

    After I left my magnanimous former employer, I was out access to Photoshop. Now, I suppose I could manage with the Vista built-in tool, or Picasa. But I'm not one to do things the easy way. I chose to mess with Gimp, the illustrious open source image editing tool. More specifically, especially since I have a PhotoShop background, I went with Gimpshop, which gives me a Photoshop-esque experience. Better, I suppose, than downloading CS3 from bit torrent or something. Though I'm not a power user, I find the thing quite nice. Some day, I hope that I'll be able to turn the most grotesque face into a supermodel. We all have our dreams, eh?

    Jobs, Searching and Other Delights

    I had a lovely interview this afternoon and feel good about how it went. However, this is balanced with the knowledge that many others have also been interviewed. Though it is for a position that I would be excited to get, I'm not all angsty. I'm just not too worried about the whole unemployed thing right now. However, that's due to luck, and some skill (I guess). Savings will hold out for a bit yet, and my wife works...and it's quite unlikely she'll loose her job (she teaches junior high special ed...I shudder at the thought). Our worst case scenario is a radical lifestyle shift. Perhaps losing one of the cars (and it's payment), and dropping such things as cable (the horror!). And I'm not so hell-bent on working. Work, for me, is more about contributing and making an impact. That, truly, is a luxury.

    Reminds me of my grandfather. He was "retired" (acted upon him, not of his choice) when I was about 12. His life was wrapped up in his job. He was in the same role for 30+ years, and was devastated when it ended. I learned, way back then, that I would never fully roll my identity into my job/career.

    However, there is something that's giving me chills right now: the Swine Flu outbreak. Job loss sucks; bankruptcy sucks, too. But neither one of them will kill you, or worse, someone you love. Fortunately, here in the States, that's less of a worry since we have some of the best medical care on the globe. Still, the severity of this helps keep all the other problems in perspective.

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    Comic of the day

    Ah, this fits me sometimes.




    from xkcd

    Sneezing ultra slow motion

    Update: This clip was pulled due to terms of use violation. Thus, I've pulled the link

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    Careers, Jobs and Random Thoughts

    I've developed several plans since my layoff back in February. My first, main, plan A, whatever, has been to pursue a BA in Applied Computing at the University of Washington's Bothell campus. Part of this was to have the State pay for this (I've been taking classes part-time in the evenings pursuing this). However, it doesn't look like that's going to work. Mainly, degree completion is NOT on of the Commissioner Approved Training options. Thus, though I still await the official answer, I'm pursuing alternative tracks.

     

    Now, I'm trying to position myself as a communicator with solid "social media" skills. I've seen several positions for such. Sadly, no bites in this sector yet. We'll see, though. This is where I put the lion's share of my resume focus.

     

    Lastly, I have my fall-back of administrative assistant work, which I've done plenty of. My resume is strong for this, and I have several opportunities lurking nearby via temping. "Contract work" is particularly tempting as I would have some additional freedom to continue my tech development. This is especially nice since I have no idea when I will get an answer from the WA Employment Security folks. Their letters say 4-6 weeks; currently, we're at 9 (yes, I've reached out to them, and have been told "it'll take more time", they're swamped". Sigh...

    Web Comics



    from xkcd.com

    Good Causes

    My e-chum, Suburan Diva, has partnered with Hebrew National for Picnic with a Purpose. Ok, I don't know how formal this arrangement is, but the idea is great. However, I'm finding bits and pieces about this around the web.

    Anyway, the idea of an informal gathering, with friends and family, to raise funds, gather gifts, or otherwise pitch-in and help out the community is wonderfully gracious. This, really, is something I must try to make happen, too.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    Tests


    I spent a good chunk of my day, yesterday, on a skills inventory for a temp firm. Now, some would hate this. I, however, actually enjoy this. These give me some great insights into the job market's software needs and expectations. Also, as someone who tries hard to be cutting, if not bleeding edge, I always tend to be well ahead of the curve. There were only a few areas I didn't know strongly, particularly with the Office suite. Of course, I hold myself to a high standard here. Not knowing how to code a macro in Word 2007 bugs me. I know how to get to that screen, but it's different enough from 2003 (where I haven't coded a macro in years) that I was puzzled how to actually code the thing.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Windows and other fun

    As much as I love the Mac OS, and Macs in general, I'm finding myself using Vista much more. Simply, it works better with everything that I need to do right now. Several employment applications are IE only. There have been several skills tests that have only worked on Windows as well. Though it makes me a little sad, at least I'm not one of the Windows bashers who has
    to eat his words. *Ahem*

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Wars and History

    As I watch a History Channel production about Pickett's Charge, I remember feeling a glorious sentiment towards these warriors in years past. Now, though, all I feel is sadness. The stunning mass destruction and pain must be considered for the immeasurable sorrow generated. Though, probably, necessary, the loss must be remembered.

    Via BlackBerry

    Monday, April 13, 2009

    Literary Birthdays Today

    Per today's "The Writer's Alamanac", this is the birthday of both Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney.

    I've been fond of both for years. Early on, upon seeing "Godot" for the first time, I spent much too much time trying to figure out "what it's all about". Nothing is more absurd than trying to locate reason within absurdity. However, Heaney really captured my attention when I sought to understand the contemporary Irish soul. My first deep exposure to his works, "Station Island", is amazing. Though slightly lower in esteem than Gary Snyder (which I hope causes no offense), Heaney holds high regard in my heart.

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Quote Du Jour

    “To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there.” ~Kofi Annan

    Friday, April 10, 2009

    Travel Channel

    I love Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain’s team rocks. Not only do they put him in some outrageous situations, his staff does a fantastic job editing and mixing sound. His acerbic passion delights me. The Travel Channel, though, is on strange laughable kick. You’ve got Dhani tying his cart to the Bourdain wagon. Now Andrew Zimmerman is, too. Particularly funny with Zimmerman; I’ve enjoyed his show and don’t need to Bourdain tie-in. I noticed that they haven’t tried to tie-in Bridget with Tony. Actually, I’d love to see a Bourdain/Bridget travel cross-over. Of course, finding where Bourdain hides her body might be challenging.

    Thursday, April 09, 2009

    Every time I hear an anti-gay-marriage supporter ad, or read anything they've written, I become more puzzled by their "logic". I was hoping this was a farcical piece, but it appears not. I'm just stunned.

    Hidden Cameras

    A friendly reminder that video cameras are everywhere.



    Shout out to AdRants for this. And this is from a promo postcard for an upcoming movie, "Look".

    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Sunny Daze

    Days like today are true gems here. It was truly a delight to completely avoid shoes. Though the weather was a bit too cold yet for shorts, I refused to let that deter me. My need for vitamin D was simply too great. An ideal, for me at least, a day with sunshine and freedom. Very close to Zen mastery, my delight somewhat meditative. Bob Marley runs through my head, and I know "Every Little Thing's Gonna Be Alright". I feel very calm and centered. Life, truly, blessedly peaceful.

    Via BlackBerry

    Saturday, April 04, 2009

    My Challenge

    I struggle with competing visions. There is a sense of me as counter-cultural, standing against the wretched excesses of the prevalent culture. Against that, though, is an appreciation of life's finer things. This dichotomy is painful at times. Finding myself staring wistfully at the latest Mercedes sometimes frustrates me.

    Perhaps I misunderstand myself. Could I earn such things without exploitation? I believe it not only true, but that many have already done so. Finding the "win-win", this place that rewards both sides of the equation. That, truly, is innovative.

    Via BlackBerry

    Saturday Thoughts

    Perhaps you would think that being unemployed leaves me with heaps of free-time. You would be mistaken. My days are extremely full. And I was filled with all kinds of ideas, like being able to catch up on my reading, maybe even digesting the daily paper. Ha! I have been mildly frustrated by this, but no more. Fortunately, I do a good job of keeping track of my time, so I don't end up wondering where the day went.

    I love mornings like this, though, where everyone else is still tucked safely away in bed and I'm able to enjoy quiet. Now, if you excuse me, I'm diving back into Scoble & Israel's "Naked Conversations", which has been long on my "to read" list. Getting some good insights into blogging's potential, even though the book was published back in 2006. Much of their basic premise, though, I've long agreed with. These notions of transparency and anti-marketing/anti-hype, in particular. I've long believed that our ability to filter this stuff has grown, and that the most prevalent response to most marketing is simple annoyance. Or, perhaps, extreme annoyance. Anyway, the long-term affects are this general sense of distrust of "business". And so many executives are surprised by this tendency to assume the worst of any company in the news.

    Via BlackBerry

    Friday, April 03, 2009

    New Blog

    So, in the interests of expressing my interest in blogs, public affairs and communications, I've launched another blog, Digitized Collective. My goal is to focus this on how communications is being changed by the "digital medium". Sounds cool, eh?

    Job Search

    The past few weeks has been one of serious self-evaluation. Though I liked my last position, I suffered from a lingering sense of "blah". I've been trying to figure out what I've wanted to do in order to grow. Getting laid off provides a crucial moment to dive into this self-assessment. Besides the time (which hasn't been as present as I hoped) to do so, there also is the element of necessity. Knowing that I need to find another job, and wanting to ensure that whatever I land next is something with more satisfaction, has compelled me to be deliberate.

    So, after all this, I'm thinking of diving into the "communications" space. Particularly, I hope to blend my love of writing with tech and blogs. We'll see what comes of it. I have seen some companies searching for folks with this background.

    With all this, I've had several tools recommended to me. Particularly, LinkedIn, Jobster and Indeed. I'm just starting my dive into these sites, so I'll keep you abreast of my learnings. I can tell you that I've found Jobster very interesting, at least as far as the jobs it's presented.

    One last idea that I'm coming to terms with is this notion of "Me, inc". Basically, I need to look at my career in terms of, well, myself. My attachment to a company needs to be conditional.  I guess another way to look at this is to think of myself as a contractor. As you can see, I'm just developing this notion. Expect me to flesh this out more soon.