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    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2008
    Ahhh, I should check in here more often, shouldn't I?

    I spent this past weekend in Connecticut, during the yearly superbowl festivities my friends and I typically take part in. We play a game every year, dubbed "Fat bowl" (because we like to eat a lot and some of us are, well, fat) and then we watch the super bowl that night. The night before, we typically all get together and have a party. It was somewhat lower key this year than some previous years, we basically just played video games and drank, but it was still a lot of fun. I had a good game on Sunday morning too - 3 touchdown receptions and an interception...

    Of course, I really didn't care about the outcome of the super bowl (I hate the division rival Giants, and the Pats beat the Eagles in the super bowl a few years ago...), but it turned out to be a pretty good game. It helped that almost all of my friends were Giants or Pats fans, and it's always more exciting when you watch a game with people who are so invested in the outcome.

    I have a new roommate, but probably only for a couple of months (if that). I was actually at his house in Connecticut this past weekend... but since he used to live here, he's still trying to find a job in Connecticut, and he's having a rough time. His wife moved up already, but he doesn't want to quit his job down here until he gets a new one up there. The job market is a little rough right now, so he's having a tough time of it. He's actually got 4 interviews this week, so hopefully things will turn around.

    Let's see, what else? Has anyone played Rock Band? A few weeks ago, I went over a buddy's house and played with him and someone else for about 5 hours straight. Our band was Coastal Variant. We rock. The drums are really hard though. I can generally handle the actual drums, it's the bass kick thingy that kicks my ass. The guitar for Rock Band is a little easier than the one for Guitar Hero (which I've played a bit of as well). At the end of the night, as I was driving home, I was seeing the little music notes flying up the road ahead of me. Heh.

    So after my insanely busy work year, I'm slowing down a bit. It's still very busy these days, but not as bad as last year (yet!). I actually got nominated for 2 company awards, which is a reasonably big deal. But in any case, I've got a ton of vacation time, so I'm planning on taking a bunch this year. I've got a couple of weekend trips planned in March (one Poconos trip, another to Rhode Island) and in April I'm planning on taking a week to go to the Philly Film Festival. I've got a bachelor party towards the end of April (in glorious Atlantic City) and a wedding in Vegas in July. Other than that, I'm not sure, but I'll need to take some days off or else my time will accrue. I guess this is a good problem to have...

    So what's new with everyone else? I hope you're all doing well...

    • CommentTimeFeb 7th 2008 edited
    I changed my mind about grad school. I realized I didn't really like information studies as much as I thought, or hoped, I would. It would be hard to explain. So, I withdrew from the university and am trying to decide what to do now.

    I have no strong passion for any one thing, like you peeps with your love of engineering, and computers, and...stuff. There are lots of things I enjoy, but no thing that I think I would enjoy as a job. A big part of the problem is that I can't be happy working in an office, or anything that requires lots of routine. I need variety. I also strongly desire complete independence.

    I've been thinking about veterinary technology as a career. That would require two years of school. I like that I wouldn't be stuck in the traditional office setting, that I would be working with animals, and that I would need to learn lots of biology-related stuff, which has always been one of my favorite subjects. But, physically I may not be able to handle being on my feet all day because of my back. And how am I to know if I really would enjoy being a vet tech? It seems interesting on paper, but so did library science. I don't trust my own judgment.

    I'm volunteering at a wildlife rehabilitation center two days a week. It's alright. Baby squirrels are adorable. Raccoons are cute but disgusting. I like most of the physical work (aside from scooping poop - who does?), but my body hates me afterward.

    Otherwise, I'm basically a stay-at-home-wife. I hate that that is what I've become. I never thought I would get married young or have no career. This really is the total opposite of the dreams I had for myself at 18.
    But the thing is, I like lots of things about staying home, most of the time. I'm introverted. I can't stand being held to a schedule. I like to do whatever I want when I want. I like that I can get household chores and errands done and still have time to do what I enjoy. But, staying home gets boring at times, I don't like being financially dependent on my husband, and I know that I don't want to do nothing forever.

    Fortunately, my family has been very supportive of me. My in-laws understand what I'm going through because they never had a sure idea of what they wanted to do when they were young. My husband is fine with me not working while I figure things out.

    Everyone thinks I should work with animals in some fashion because I've been a huge animal lover since I was born, pretty much. They were all like, "Duh Crystal!" I mean, if there's one thing about me that's obvious, it's that I love cats. I only have three cats right now, but people still call me a crazy cat-lady because they know if I had the space, I'd adopt more. And I would -- and not care what people think.

    Not much else going on. My husband and I are thinking of going on a vacation later this year. Obviously I don't really need one since I'm not working, but what better time to travel than when you have no other obligations? If my sister can save some money, then we might all go to NYC. She loves NYC and has been twice before, but I think she'd love to go with us since we like to do the same sort of things (i.e., not shop). I don't really care where we go.

    I have yet to play Guitar Hero, Rock Band, or anything similar. We don't have any of the new consoles. I have strong doubts about spending money on an XBox 360 or PS3, even the cheaper Wii. Charles has been playing poker online (with fake money) and Command & Conquer: The First Decade. Before that he was playing lots of Supreme Commander and SC: Forged Alliance online. I never know what he's going to be obsessed with next. Two years ago it was Go. Next month it could be chess or juggling.

    Congratulations on the award nominations! I certainly think you deserve them just from the amount of time you've spent working.

    Ooh, and I'd love to go to the Poconos one day. I saw lots of info about that area when I did flood certs for Pennsylvania. And I love the accent of Pennsylvanians. Y'all probably don't hear that often eh?

    Edited to add: I wrote a loooong post in my livejournal about my career crisis. It's not interesting. But, if you're bored at work...lol, take a gander. (I've been using too many animal-related idioms.)
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2008
    I watched the Superbowl at a friends' family's place on their 42" plasma. 'Twas fun. I actually enjoyed watching the game quite a bit, which is nice considering I normally can't stand watching football. I was rooting for the Giants just because they were the underdogs going in but not with any great zeal or anything.

    I feel for you Spence, not having a great passion for any one thing. I feel like I lucked out ending up in web development because I really like it and want to continue working in it but basically went for the job because I was almost broke and unemployed and I knew HTML. I was also applying for every boring office job I could find, none of which I was hired for because unbeknownst to me my resume looked like the perfect candidate for an entry-level webdev job and the kind of person who would bolt a boring office job for something better as soon as it came along. I really love photography, and there was a point where I thought that's what I should be doing with my life, but it eventually got a point where I didn't feel challenged enough by it anymore. It's weird, because I love photography so much I feel like I'm being an asshole by implying that photography wasn't enough for me, but it obviously wasn't quite where I should have been. There were a lot of things where I thought "aha, this is it" and it turns out, no, I was done with whatever in a few months or a year and change. Work's actually been pretty good lately too. I have my own office for the moment (this might change if we hire someone new in my department as we're running out of space) and have been assigned a new project that's more interesting than what I was doing before.

    Anyway, I'm heading up to Sacramento this weekend to visit a friend. I'd drive but on a recent attempt to get to Phoenix my car threw a rod. Fun times, waiting for a tow truck in the middle of the desert at 2am, spending the night in Blythe. Blythe is in California, very close to Arizona. So close, the gas stations in Blythe sell Arizona t-shirts, like you left Arizona and forgot to get a souvenir or something. We found a 76 station with a restaurant! Hottest place in town if you ask me. Also, don't ever just stay at the cheapest motel so you can get some sleep. You need one more thing. You need hot water. And clean walls. You might not touch them anyway, but trust me, you want the walls to be clean. And the blanket on the bed should be more than what heats like two sheets taped together. Really. So... I've since had a new engine put in with the intention of selling the car because I can at least get a few grand for it this way, even factoring in the cost of the new engine, as opposed to like $200 from a scrapyard for a non-operational car. I don't know what kind of car I want to get yet. I should get a rocket ship instead. When making my airline and hotel reservations for the coming weekend, I told both that I was a doctor. That means I basically am one, right?
    • CommentTimeFeb 12th 2008
    Good luck Spence! I just finished reading the Paradox of Choice book (I've been writing about it on my blog for a while now, but I hadn't read it until recently. One of the "choices" he gets into is profession. He says that opportunities are so vast now that the number of available professions is staggering, and a lot of young people have trouble picking something. Part of the reason it's so hard is that everyone keeps telling them that it's so important, so they get exhausted trying to consider all their options, and when they do finally settle on a career, they're plagued by anticipated regret, "what if" scenarios and other forms of remorse (even if they end up choosing a good career). When I was working all those hours last year, I thought about changing jobs, but in general, I like what I do and I'm not sure I'd be happy doing anything else. Who knows? Anyway, good luck. It's good that all those around you are being supportive, but I know what you mean about wanting to find something.

    For video games, I've been playing Sins of a Solar Empire (see blog for more details), and I've been more or less getting demolished by the computer. I don't have all the subtleties of the game down yet, though I think I am improving. My roommate bought a game for the Wii called "No More Heroes" which is this sword fighting game that has a pretty darn cool controller scheme, but is otherwise kinda crappy, for a number of reasons. It's really only got one soundtrack song that just keeps repeating and the sound effects are also the same every time. The graphics are genuinely crappy, and on top of that, they try for this random assortment of pixelated retro styles in the graphics that seriously don't fit with the style of the game. It wants so badly to be like Grand Theft Auto, it's even taken to stealing the lamest pieces of the GTA series, like going to the Gym and working out! The main character that you play is a total douchebag, and the story makes no sense (you're the 11th ranked assassin in the world, and you want to be number one so you have to kill the other 10 people... but the way you do so is by paying to get the fights set up. To get paid, you have to do stupid shit like mow lawns (seriously) and harvest coconuts (seriously), and everyone keeps calling you a "Third Rater" which makes no sense because you're one of the top 10 assassins in the world). So yeah, it's repetitive, annoying, repetitive and annoying.

    Nice to meet you, Dr. DyRE.

    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
    I don't blame you for not wanting to commit to grad school, Spence, especially if you're uncertain as to what you do want to do. School will always be there if you do decide to go back...that's how I've been looking at it.

    Dr. DyRE...that has a nice ring to it. DyRE MD also sounds pretty good, almost like an 80's TV series. You should use either one to pick up women. Also, I think I have a cousin that lives in Sacramento...if you see her while you're up there, be sure to say hi.

    I am smack in the midst of concert season. Mars Volta was a month ago, and was awesome. Last Friday, I went to see Down, a kickass metal band consisting of members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, plus some other guys. Fantastic show...pics are up on facebook and myspace. I should really set up an account with one of those photo posting sites, though, so viewing my pictures isn't limited to myspace and whatnot, since DyRE is (I think) the only other one from here on those silly sites. But anyway, the show was awesome. Flogging Molly is next Wednesday, up at the Palladium in Worcester (Massachusetts)...very fun venue. Nice and small; you can sit at the bar and see perfectly. And Medeski, Martin, and Wood, a jazz band that I love, is playing on the 29th, somewhere in Massachusetts. I might have to drag my brother to that one, since most of my friends don't dig the acid jazz. And that might be it for shows for a wihle, but hopefully not, I'm having a blast hitting all these, though it is getting expensive.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeFeb 13th 2008
    I actually had no idea that the superbowl was even going on until I called my mom in the middle of it and she asked me why I wasn't watching. My superbowl tradition was usually watching the Animal Planet Puppy Bowl instead. I have no idea if they did that again this year. I missed the cuteness if they did. I don't really care much for pro football. My only stake for the outcome would have been rooting for R.W. McQuarters, just because he is the only NFL player I have met.

    Work is going not so wonderful, but no horrible. I'm swamped, they've been assigning us 4 claims a day, with no overtime available, during this ridiculous time of the year when there are holidays every two weeks. And they stick all our mandatory training at the end and the beginning of the year it seems, instead of spreading it out. But, I no longer have the highest pending in my unit and my midpoint review went ok. I'm happy where I am, but I also feel a little bit of pressure to go to grad school. It's not something that I wished and hoped and dreamed to be, but I have a good job. I generally like it...I just feel like there's this pride thing that some people have with settling for something that's good enough. But, I'm not sure that I want my life to be my job. Part of it is also that my boyfriend is in graduate school. I could easily be in your place in a few years, Spencer, when my boyfriend graduates. I know we will move if he finds a fantastic library job and I have no idea what I will do if that happens. It's a little scary and a big part of it is the thought the he will be supporting me and I might not be able to find something that want to do or even that I can do as easily. As much as I would love to stay home and have dogs, it just goes against everything I was taught and every (good) example I had growing up not to work. But, since I have gone and gotten a college degree there's a catch 22 in that I'm wasting my degree and all that it cost me if I don't have a 'good job'. And then there's the other part of me that feels really guilty about sometimes thinking it would be great if he had an awesome job and I could work part time somewhere and volunteer more or get a puppy. I don't really have problems sticking to a schedule or dealing with the humdrum routine...I'm just not sure I see the point in working 40 hours a week for wealth that we might not actually need. It's a conundrum. Keep us posted on how you work through these kind of issues, but I'm not looking forward to my turn.

    I also have traveling coming up. Hawaii is next month! We have a wedding in Atlanta in April. I would like to make it back home sometime during the summer too, but I have no set plans yet.

    I have no Wii yet either. Saving up for all of these trips really cramps the gaming style.
    • CommentTimeFeb 19th 2008
    "I just feel like there's this pride thing that some people have with settling for something that's good enough."

    I definitely felt pressure to go to grad school and to have a more exciting life. How many times have you heard that having a Bachelor's isn't good enough anymore? Now a Master's is required, and soon it will be a PhD. Required for what? More money? More happiness?

    And while my life isn't exciting or interesting to the outside world, I like it. In fact, it's a huge improvement over my childhood. I'm now middle-class instead of poor.

    "As much as I would love to stay home and have dogs, it just goes against everything I was taught and every (good) example I had growing up not to work. But, since I have gone and gotten a college degree there's a catch 22 in that I'm wasting my degree and all that it cost me if I don't have a 'good job'."

    Same here. Even though my parents were quite old-fashioned in many respects, and held on to sexist ideas, they both strongly encouraged me to focus on school so that I could go to college and support myself financially. They didn't want me to be only a wife or a mom (although they knew being a mom is hard work and honorable, but they also knew the reality of the world would require me to work for money). They also didn't tolerate laziness. I did chores without having to be asked and without complaint. And I started working a paying job a month after I turned 16. So it's been very hard for me emotionally not to work because I was taught that not working = loser. Volunteering certainly helps to counteract that feeling, but society still doesn't regard non-paid work as highly as a six-figure management position in a respected company (which is a path I could have taken).

    "I'm just not sure I see the point in working 40 hours a week for wealth that we might not actually need."

    Neither do I. If I worked, the money I made would allow us to live a much more extravagant lifestyle, if that's what we wanted, but we don't. I guess we could buy a house sooner or pay off loans 5 years ahead of time, but eh *shrugs*.

    "Keep us posted on how you work through these kind of issues"

    Step 1: Accept myself for who I am.

    I very much want to go to Hawaii. I'm not even a big beach/ocean person, but there are so many great things to do there while surrounded by beautiful scenery. I would want to do the location justice and spend at least a whole week there, so it would be a costly vacation. Let us know what you like best.
    • CommentAuthorSovawanea
    • CommentTimeFeb 21st 2008
    Well, the one thing I really wanted to do most of all is not on the big island...and that's a zipline tour. I know for sure we will be visiting a coffee farm and a place that makes honey. Other than that, no set plans. I was so bummed about the zipline tour, so if you are going all out and saving up for a Hawaii vacation plan to visit more than one island. I actually probably would not have picked Hawaii as my first off continent adventure, but we are going to visit (well, meet for me actually) my boyfriend's grandma. We're leaving on a Monday and coming back on a Wednesday.