October 14th, 2016


That didn't go as hoped

The afternoon appointment with a NOVA counselor was a mere 15 minutes of what should have been info in training grants, but instead she treated it as if I was a new member, and she didn't have any of the info she was supposed to have on what classes I'd already taken.  So she recommended I take two that I've already taken. And she said I would have to sign up for them online.

Then she took me to get a new ID badge, because I have a new ID number. The woman at that desk is also a counselor, she recognized me, and pointed out that those classes are walk-ins, no online registration required. And she said soto voce that the counselor I talked to is less than adequate. She also explained that the training counselors want to have me already decided on a career, and have researched it, before they see me. And she suggested the not very intuitive caljobs web site as a place to look for schools which partner with NOVA.

I drove over to downtown, played some Ingress, walked to *$s and set up the laptop at an outdoor table. Nice day, temps in the low 70's, pleasant breeze, occasional eye candy.  Logged into caljobs, which pointed me to O*net, which reminded me that with training to update my skills, I could be a computer repair tech. That's how I started in computers, but other than what I taught myself by building my own PCs, my skills are 30 years old. And I need to add Apple to the list. I know PC/linux hardware pretty well, but haven't opened up a Mac server in years. According to O*net, there are 54 openings in my county for those jobs. I doubt it, but it almost topped their list.

Home, I took a couple of eyeglass wipes to the laptop, it had a lot of mocha drops on the screen, and an imprint from the keys because they have fingertip oil on them.

Spent some time on the porch wondering where the hummingbirds were. It has gotten cooler and cloudy and the humidity is palpable. Lee brought her younger dog by on the way to walkies, and it came up the steps and came to me to be petted. Last time it nearly bit my arm off barking. Lee pointed out Spook on the other side of the screen door, and the cat hissing set of the dog barking, until we took the dog back to street level.

I was early for NOVA, and for the first time since I'd been there, the gate to the community garden was open and people were giving some kids a tour. So I took 15 minutes to walk around, looking for ideas. I also chatted with one of the gardeners. Okra thrives in this climate, some plants were 7 feet tall. I don't like okra, but I bet Lee does. There was a huge bush which looked to me like rosemary, but the sign said Mexican Tarragon. Turns out the sign lies. They did have Mexican Taragon, but in a different planter. And then I saw this weird plant:

with this weirder seed "parachute"

One of my online friends recognized it as a kind of milkweed. Monarch butterfly food. I mean to grow some.

While I was in the garden, a recruiter from Adecco called, she interviewed me about a hardware QA job I'd applied for, and we established that my skills are out of date.  Earlier in the day some Indian whom I could not understand called, I had to hang up on him. I saw his email later, but it was for automation.

Delivered was the Thai-English keyboard, which I am using now. Much higher quality printing on the keys than the Logitech. Springier feel too. I am making new and different typos.

It does not have a sleep key, but I have a .bat file on my desktop for that. Also doesn't have volume keys, so I'll have to use the Windows ones.

My day started with news that the King of Thailand died. He would have been 89 in December. Until yesterday he was the longest reigning monarch in the world. More than 70 years. He was an incredible person, doing so many good things for the country and its people. Amazing considering he was born in Boston and schooled in Switzerland, and had to learn Thai for his coronation. He was an excellent jazz musician, played clarinet with Benny Goodman once, wrote more than 100 pop tunes, many of which would be hits in the US if they had been translated to English. Most of them are a blend of Thai popular music and 40's American jazz. He has the international patent on cloud seeding technology, won a gold medal in SE Asian games sailing, was a superb photographer, which is a neat trick because he lost an eye in his teens, racing his car in the Alps. His father died young, 40's, his mother lived to be 103. I guess he split the difference.

He made what I consider many mistakes politically, always blessing the coup leaders, and recently appointing his son as Crown Prince & heir. Recently the laws of ascension were changed to allow a female on the throne, and the Queen, I think, would do a better job than the prince, and any of the younger princesses would as well. The older princess was disowned for a few decades, and while she's been forgiven for marrying a non-Thai commoner, she would not be considered to wear the crown.

The current dictator looked like he was setting up the Crown Prince to become king, but the prince told him to back off. There's a striking parallel between him and Prince Charles, actually. Divorced from a minor princess, married a gold digger commoner. Only the Thai prince's gal is now out because her parents were caught selling access to the Royals through her.

Watched the Chargers try their hardest to blow a big lead and give the game to Denver, but in the end they failed to fail.

Dinner was Marie C herb roasted chicken, with a turnover for dessert.
Spook went all blatant hint on me. While I was in the living room watching the game, she ran into the office and climbed up to the top tier of her tree, circling around sniffing, and then parked herself there, staring at me.

So I got a meat stick treat out of the kitchen and put it in front of her.

As usual, she groomed herself, then jumped one tier down, batted the treat to a lower level, jumped down there, picked it up in her mouth and brought it to the ground, where she devoured it.
Plans for tomorrow:
More career change searchingMovie night at the community center
While I'm there I'll check the notebook in the library for someone to replace the kitchen light fixture.

What I did today

Played with Spook

Much early morning phone activity:
- Fast-talking recruiter with a job in SF he insists doesn't require coding even though the job title does. Above my usual hourly rate. Probably contract-to-hire. And when I saw the name of the company, one of the engineering managers I worked with at my last job is now one of their engineering managers. Instant reference.
- Almost inaudible Indian recruiter's assistant, all he knew was it was a contract with a contract agency for a job at Cisco. I don't think this is going anywhere
- Spook's vet, the appointment time I asked for is booked, we scheduled for another day/time.

Channel surfed without finding anything worth watching on morning TV
Watched 2 recorded episodes of TMZ then deleted the next 5. I don't like the new format.
Spent a lot of time on the porch watching it not rain
Took a break from that to look out the back of the carport to see the dark clouds circling and heading east
In the mail was the massive CA election guide.
Delivered was a set of 4 long-sleeved shirts
Chatted with Lee as Cal made table saw noises as he's finally building a soundproof doghouse. Cal's taste in music, which he plays loudly while working in the yard, is hard to tell. It sounds vaguely country, but I can't make it out. No tunes I am familiar with.
As we chatted it started drizzling so lightly all we noticed was it was cooler and more windy.
Read lots of articles on King Bhumibol (the final "l" is pronounced "n"). I may go to the Thai temple Sunday for services.
One of my sodastream bottles has stopped holding a charge. Ordered another set.
When it was clear we were not getting any serious rain, I drove to Lowe's ISO milkweed and Mexican tarragon. I spent about half an hour perusing every aisle, did not find anything I wanted to add to the garden, and the only help was a bored cashier who had no clue what they stocked. So I went inside to maybe buy some seeds, and saw this abomination:

Complete with Jesus music.
It isn't even Halloween!!!!!

So I parked the cart, turned around and left the store. I won't be returning until 2017.

It drizzled lightly all the time I was there. On the way home my automatic wipers kicked in, but it was only a trace of rain. The nearest NOAA station, which is not all that near, reported 1/3" in 24 hours.

Caught up on PTI and flipped between two college football games until the high pitched twang of one of the commentators refused to be muted.

6:30 walked to the community center for movie night, 1950's Sinatra, Debbie Reynolds, Gig Young vehicle on a not large enough TV with horrible speakers. The company was nice, but I won't be doing that again. Painful to listen to.

Dinner was Mari C Salisbury steak, not their finest offering. Cut red potatoes, and the vegetable was broccoli and it's evil white cousin cauliflower with some yellow cheese-like substance on top. I didn't even want that on my compost pile.

Emailed a short condolence letter to ex-boss, to pass along to his Thai wife, kids and friends.

Plans for tomorrow:
Morning "free" lecture on the "true causes of Type II diabetes" followed by lunch. Salad, it sounds like
Coffee w/Janice a little early, as she is traveling Sunday early
College football