Archive for category Day to Day

A New Adventure Begins

Two weeks into the new position and things are moving along well. I am shadowing on a project today to get a feel for a ‘client site’.

I also have a few leads on assignments, and all I am waiting on is to see if folks think I fit the particular roles.

More updates to come.

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Going Through the Motions

I wake up groggy and achy. I get ready and spend forty minutes surrounded by humanity on it’s way to the grind. I sit at work, knowing what needs to be done, but fighting an often times loosing battle against apathy. I go home with the same human mass I came in with, all as lost as I am. I consume the opiate of entertainment and then I return to fitful dreams, only to begin all over again. I am going through the motions.

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My Charlie

Tragedy struck me recently. My dog of ten years died of cancer. I had to bring her to the vet and have them put her to sleep, as she was no longer eating, and what little she ate she would regurgitate late at night. She was beginning to suffer, and I could not bear to watch one of the most beautiful animals I have ever met, suffer in any way.

I walked home from the vet that night, crying my eyes out in a way I never have before. I walked by people, who probably thought I was crazy, but cared not. I had lost something very dear to me, and nothing else in the world mattered.

From the moment the decision was made, the story below ran through my head. I do not know who the author is, nor do I care. I only care that the story exemplifies my experience with my dog, My Charlie.

On that day, and many since, the spot in my heart that held the piece of Charlie’s has lamented the loss. I know in time, the lament will fade and I will look fondly on the memories. For now though, my heart aches, and I long to see my Charlie one more time.

One day a young man was standing in the middle of the town proclaiming that he had the most beautiful heart in the whole valley. A large crowd gathered and they all admired his heart for it was perfect. There was not a mark or a flaw in it. Yes, they all agreed it truly was the most beautiful heart they had ever seen. The young man was very proud and boasted more loudly about his beautiful heart.

Suddenly, an old man appeared at the front of the crowd and said, “Why your heart is not nearly as beautiful as mine.”

The crowd and the young man looked at the old man’s heart. It was beating strongly, but full of scars, it had places where pieces had been removed and other pieces put in, but they didn’t fit quite right and there were several jagged edges. In fact, in some places there were deep gouges where whole pieces were missing.

The people stared — how can he say his heart is more beautiful, they thought? The young man looked at the old man’s heart and saw its state and laughed.

“You must be joking,” he said. “Compare your heart with mine, mine is perfect and yours is a mess of scars and tears.”

“Yes,” said the old man, “Yours is perfect looking but I would never trade with you. You see, every scar represents a person to whom I have given my love – I tear out a piece of my heart and give it to them, and often they give me a piece of their heart which fits into the empty place in my heart, but because the pieces aren’t exact, I have some rough edges, which I cherish, because they remind me of the love we shared.”

“Sometimes I have given pieces of my heart away, and the other person hasn’t returned a piece of his heart to me. These are the empty gouges — giving love is taking a chance. Although these gouges are painful, they stay open, reminding me of the love I have for these people too, and I hope someday they may return and fill the space I have waiting. So now do you see what true beauty is?”

The young man stood silently with tears running down his cheeks. He walked up to the old man, reached into his perfect young and beautiful heart, and ripped a piece out. He offered it to the old man with trembling hands.

The old man took his offering, placed it in his heart and then took a piece from his old scarred heart and placed it in the wound in the young man’s heart. It fit, but not perfectly, as there were some jagged edges. The young man looked at his heart, not perfect anymore but more beautiful than ever, since love from the old man’s heart flowed into his.

They embraced and walked away side by side.


The Next Step

Although the previous entry sounded a bit dark as to the prospects of my lateral move within my company, it was not the case. I have been offered and have taken a new position within my company that is client facing.

The new job is most definitely a step in the right direction career wise, as the opportunities for learning new skills, using the skills, and developing upon those skills are enormous.

On top of that, I feel that the good possibility of travel will help to nourish and expand my other interests. Chances to read while traveling, meet more people throughout the company, and to write more about my experiences will be available as well.

I am really excited about this and looking forward to beginning this next step.

As always, more to come as it develops.


The Interview

I have had the flaky interview. I have had the interview that was done so that a quota could be met. I have had the interview that was a pyramid scheme pitch. And I have had the one that was really just a formality. Today, however, I had the interview that slapped me around and called me Susan…

Everyone has had this interview. You go in expecting to have a decent interview, not a pushover, but a decent one. And then it happens. For some reason the big guns get sent in. The person who knows it all and really is as good as you know they are. They nail you to the wall. The only thing you can think of is the scene from the Matrix, after Morpheus has handed Neo a whoopin, looks down at him and asks:

Do you think that’s air you are breathing? Hmmm..

It can really blow your day to hell.

That’s basically how it went down for me today. I didn’t go in there with any expectations of unbridled success. I know that there are areas of my knowledge that need work, and I am hoping this move into another group (in my company) will provide that. I actually APPRECIATE what this guy did, and I hope that he saw that I am willing to work hard to fill in those gaps….

But DAMN does it really give the ego a good kick in the bean bag….an unexpected one at that.

Adding a bit of insult to injury, I think I’m getting a cold.

Oh and its raining.

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We Are Here: The Pale Blue Dot from dmahr on Vimeo.

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5 Years is a Long Time

This might be a premature statement, and I will have to eat crow when it is proven wrong…..but I have to….I just have to get it out or it is going to drive me nutters….

I think….THINK…..that I am done playing World of Warcraft for now….

Yeah….I had the same reaction when it dawned on me too.

Since going to PAX and seeing the plethora (yes, I know what plethora means) of games available on Xbox and Xbox Live Arcade and playing games OTHER THAN WoW the entire weekend, I see that there is more to gaming than just one all consuming game.

In the past, even when I was tired and angry at the game I still played it. I hid from guildmates by leveling an alt or playing on another server, but I still played the game, and still found the enjoyment of it. But right now, right now I find no enjoyment in any part of the game. It as become stale and repetitive. There is no impetus in me to level ANOTHER toon, grind ANOTHER reputation, do all those low level quests AGAIN!

I know, I know…..I looked outside when it dawned on me as well….thinking that maybe the 7th Seal had been opened and the the dog was moving in with the feral cat down the road. But, alas, noting changed in the world. Only something in me changed. And it feels GOOD!

This is not to say that I will play no more video games, quite the contrary! There is a whole UNIVERSE of new games for me to consume!

And I took my first step the other night….I beat Halo 3 on Normal mode. 😉

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PAX East Recap

I have posted my pictures from PAX East here on Flickr. Not surprisingly, there isn’t a single picture of me. There are several of my host for the weekend, Jeff, but none of me. Nor any of his awesome house in New Hampshire. Or of his Doberman puppy. I am quite horrible at the picture taking thing. Something I am planning on remedying in the coming months.

PAX East was a great time. I unfortunately did not get to see Wil Wheaton do the keynote, but I did get to see NVidia release their GeForce GTX 480 GPU that supports 3D gaming technology. Quite impressive. And Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which supports 3D using this card, looked very nice. Of course they were using a high-end rig with triple monitors to demo it, but that isn’t too unreasonable of a setup for a dedicated gamer. 😉

Of the many bands that were playing for the Friday and Saturday night concerts, the only one we really had any interest in was the Video Game Orchestra. And even with them only running a skeleton crew of about 15 people, they were very entertaining to watch and listen to. The ‘band leader’ is quite the music nerd and a ham when comes to talking to crowds. But he did keep everyone involved and engaged. Many of the cosplay pictures were taken at that concert.

There were several good displays on the exposition floor from Alienware, Turbine, Tritton, NVidia, AMD, Rockstar and a ton of independent game houses. I saw a bunch Xbox Live Arcade games that looked to be a lot of fun. There were also a few booth babes, a surprisingly rare species of expo attendee that have almost become extinct since E3 toned itself down.

The Alienware booth was running hourly tournaments of multiplayer BioShock 2 and Aliens Vs. Predator to win a free PC. Free swag was also being handed out by taking a quick survey and then playing a ‘slot machine’ app to see what you won. I got a t-shirt and a canvas bag out of the deal, as did my compatriots. None of us got the free USB drive. Also on display were several custom rigs, many with water-cooling setups, massive video cards and awesome hard drive arrays. Oh, and pretty pretty lights!

There were several Free Play rooms running everything from Xbox 360 and PS3s to Contra on 8 Bit NES, ColecoVision and a working Atari 2600! Two rooms were dedicated completely to the original Xbox game Steel Battalion which is so immersive it comes with a specialized controller that costs $150. It makes the piloting of a Mech more realistic with clutch, accelerator, and breaking system plus an actual eject button. If you take too much damage, it begins to flash and if you do not hit the button to ‘punch out’ within 5 seconds, you ‘die’ inside the game. There was no replaying of your character after that. Really cool to watch people playing and fighting using that game. There were also several spots that had RockBand running in one form or another for people to play in front of their own little audience. Quite the display of talent…..:-p

There was a first for me during the weekend as well; I played my first ever game of Magic: The Gathering. There were free, ready to play decks of the new Planeswalker series in the Penny Arcade swag bag. The group of us sat down Friday night with several beers and I learned how to play. I had always thought the game was more complicated then it truly was and I am surprised I never got into it in college when a bunch of folks I know did. It did give me a +2 to nerd cred by the end of the night! Now I have two Green Magic decks in my possession. Perhaps I can find folks around NYC to play against.

What was really good about the weekend though was hanging out and reconnecting with friends, playing more Xbox then I have ever before, drinking good beer and eating good food. I’m glad that I went, and I am definitely thinking about going again next year.

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PAX East Weekend

It is 1am on Monday morning, I have just finished a marathon day of XBOX/Wii, beer, booze and food and I am trying to wind down from the events of the last 3 days.

I have pictures and videos to share documenting my trip. I am hoping to find the impetus to get those up tomorrow after I am home.

The quick and dirty version is that PAX East was fun. I missed some of what I wanted to see, I saw many other things that I did not plan on; 3D gaming on the PC is going to rock; Starcraft 2 is very pretty; Crackdown 2 is going to be fun, but it plays like Prototype; indie games on XBOX Live Arcade and Wii Sports Resort are a BLAST; good beer, good food, and good friends are what life is about.

Pictures and better explanations to come the rest of the week.

Sleep well. 😉

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PAX East

This weekend I will be trekking to Boston to attend the Penny Arcade Expo East Coast 2010. This is their inaugural Expo on the East Coast and I am really looking forward to it.

PAX has been something I have wanted to attend since it’s humble beginnings in 2004, but since it was Seattle based, it was a bit cost prohibitive. Also, I have limited vacation time, most of which is used to visit family during the holidays.

But this year, having it within spitting distance of NYC, makes it all the better!

I shall be crashing with a college friend (and fellow WoW Guildmate) at his place just over the border in New Hampshire.

There will also be an attempt to LiveBlog/PhotBlog the event here on this site….we’ll see how that goes.

More to come!!

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