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24 October 2008 @ 09:59 pm
It was a big day today, friends.  First of all, I began a huge lifestep today.  I received a job offer for a position which has nothing to do with my current career.  Seeing as how architectural drafting holds very little interest for me now, that's a great thing.  That said, I still feel somewhat off kilter.  First off, the offer is a verbal one.  Until I get the paper in my hands, it's nothing more than gossamer and fairy dust (which is what I often compare CAD drawings to, actually).  Secondly, and more seriously, I have no idea whether this new job will be any better than the old one if it does come through.  All I know is that the old one isn't working, and I can't do it for the next quarter-century plus I have to muddle through until I can retire and game full time.

More importantly, and much more seriously, I came face to face with something terribly sad today:  I don't believe in magic anymore.  I'm a hard-headed university-educated science geek.  I always knew that magic wasn't part of the day to day equation of life.  But, still, there was a part of me that thought "maybe."  Maybe there is something special out there.  Maybe there's more than the day-to-day humdrum.  Maybe... maybe there really are fairies, somewhere.  Or heroes.

I don't believe that anymore.  Somehow, in the last few years, that last little piece of child-Derek got snuffed out.  I think he might be gone forever.  I can't hear the bell ringing anymore.  I'm a Grup.  D&D has made the transition from "if only" to a tactical miniature game.

I really hope this is temporary, because I need that little piece of me.  I want my little Derek self back.  If you see him, send him my way, okay?
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
10 October 2008 @ 09:20 pm

So, I had my second job interview in a month today.  I already have a job, which puts me ahead of many in this world right now, but it's a job in the construction industry, which is about as secure as a three-legged daschund in a tiger pit.  Moreover, I just don't like my job, and I haven't liked it for quite some time.  There was a time when drawing put me into a trancelike state where hours could fly by in the blink of an eye, but now every drawing is an exercise in pure will and my will is weak and flabby.

In some ways, I feel like I'm copping out.  Abandoning my career is okay; I don't enjoy it, I've got another 20+ years of work ahead of me, and I don't want to spend that time doing something I dislike.  The problem is that I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, so I'm settling and going for jobs in the Civil Service with good benefits and a pension.  My rationale being that if I'm going to hate my job, I may as well hate a job with decent pay and a tasty pension.
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
24 September 2008 @ 09:19 pm
Rule 1:  Don't post drunk

Rule 2:  There is no rule 2... no wait, that's 7.  Damn.

Okay, I may not be drunk, but I am not entirely (as a friend of mine used to say) "sabre".  He said that as he was sliding slowly down the wall into a crumpled heap, so you can imagine.  And the number of typos I've been editing as I go through this indicate that I'm not quite right.  Nevertheless, I'm here... and I think I will be here a little more often in the future, though it would be unfair of me to promise that.

So, to the few who have not unfriended/delisted me, "hello again!"  I'm sorry I was gone so long but... parenthood.  Yeah.  It's more than anything anybody ever warned me about.  It is the Alpha and the Omega.  It absorbs all.  I can't even begin to tell you.  Ask me, if you will, but otherwise I'll bumble on.


I still game, albeit only once a month.  And I've upgraded to 4.0.  (Sue me) I also game on the PC, and also once a month.  One of these days I WILL finish Mass Effect.  And I'm still married!  Yay, my wife!  Other then that, I am Dad.  Welcome to the Collective.
Current Location: home
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Current Music: NCIS in the background
01 March 2008 @ 10:32 pm
So, I logged into LJ for the first time in a while, and found to my shock that nearly two years has passed.  In best LJ/Gen-X'er/wired user fashion, all I have to say about that is "wtf?" 

It seems implausible at best to try to update the few of who who might still have me friended after all this time as to what might be going on.  Let me just say that parenthood is unbelievably complex, time-consuming, and not at all for those who have ambitions to do anything else with their lives.  It is more all-consuming then anything I have ever done.  It is beautiful, terrible, boring, wonderful, and indescribable.  It changes everything.  After keeping Beth healthy and reasonably happy, and then hopefully keeping my wife sane, there is very little left over for Derek/Dreadmouse.

In summary:

-- Beth is doing wonderfully.  She just turned two years old and after a rough start, medically speaking, she is doing wonderfully, and is a constant source of joy.  She is back on both the height and weight growth charts, albeit on the low side, and doing wonderfully at her Montessori dShe is also far too smart and will cause me unspeakable trouble in years to come.

-- My wife is doing well, although she struggles with balancing career and motherhood.  I don't think this struggle will ease anytime soon.

I do miss reading about you all, and now that I have managed to get past babyhood and into toddlerland it is remotely possible that I will be around more.  I promise nothing, however, because my track records at extracurricular promises have been politician-like in their repeatedly shattered nature.  I no longer train in karate (no time) or write (no time) and my RPG gaming has been cut to one session every six weeks or so.  That said, I still read voraciously (though I'm down to one novel every two weeks instead of two every week) and play the occasional video game, lately Twilight Princess on the Wii and BioShock on the PC, so I'm not completely gone.
Current Location: home
Current Mood: amazed
Current Music: CBC radio One
20 December 2006 @ 01:34 pm
I'm really, really tired.

This year I've become a father, sold a home and bought another, broken ribs and lost my abdominal muscles, been laid off and found another job, and in general changed just about everything I can in my life.  I'm certainly not the same person I was 365 days ago.  It's too early yet to say if all this change is for good or evil but, as John M. Ford wrote in The Final Reflection, "Nal khomerex, khesterex."  That which does not grow, dies.

I've had enough growing this year, thanks.
Current Mood: rushedrandom
10 December 2006 @ 09:28 am

Hey Everybody!  Have any of you managed to get your paws on a Wii?  Now that I'm employed again I want to treat my wife and I to a Christmas present and I've heard fun things about the Wii, especially the Zelda and Trauma Center games.  The trouble is, none of my friends have gotten their grimy hands on a console yet; they're all XBox360 fans.  I seek feedback and knowledge, folks!  

(I should clarify that the Wii would be my present; I'll be getting Karen some technogear that is more her, probably a Palm or an iPod)

Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Women & Songs collection
08 December 2006 @ 11:12 am
Muscles in my back and neck that have been clenched tight for months, or maybe even years, are slowly unknotting.  I can feel weight coming off my shoulders and my breathing easing.  The chest pains are disappearing.  Even coffee tastes better, if such a thing is possible.

I have a new job.

The sand has been trickling down on my sentance in purgatory and, much as I need to leave my current job, the fact that I had nothing to go to and a family to help support was stressing me to the breaking point.  I try not to buy into any of society's "real man" crap, but being unemployed is something I haven't experienced since I graduated and I haven't been taking the possibility well.  I was feeling useless, and scared, and terribly weak.

Yesterday I interviewed with an architectural firm that my current company often deals with for external consulting.  They know me fairly well there, and in fact were one of the first places that I had called when I got the news of my layoff.  They had no openings at that time, but since then one of their people has left and now they have a hole to fill.  Thankfully, they called me and offered me a position, which I accepted today.

I'm thrilled.  I'll be moving from a large corporation to a much smaller office with more of a family feel.  I already know my bosses and I like them.  Moreover, I'll finally be doing the work that I trained to do.  The next few months will answer, once and for all, the question of whether or not I should stay in architecture.  If the answer is "no" then I'll be able to leave at the end of my three-month probation with the knowledge that I have given one of my dreams a best shot, instead of always wondering if I would have/could have/should have.  If the answer is "yes" then I will have finally found work that matters to me.

It's going to be a very, very good Christmas this year!

In closing, to those of you who read this and are looking for work yourselves, I'd like to add that all the "How to Find Work" books are right:  

1)  I sent out dozens of resumes and I had two interviews.  Those interviews both resulted from cold calls to people I knew or had been referred to, not from any of the posted jobs on the net and in the newspaper that I applied to.  My success in looking for work came through networking, not traditional want ads.  I'm one of the worst networkers in the world, so if I can do it then you can too.

2)  I negotiated after I received their first offer and it was worth it.  I had to psyche myself up to make that call and come back with a counteroffer, instead of just lunging over the table and signing before they realized their mistake and took the original offer away.  It was worth it.  Always negotiate.  Once the company has made you an offer it's your best chance, maybe your only chance, to make a real difference in your compensation.  If you don't believe that you're worth more, pretend you believe it anyway!
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: Christmas Carols!
06 December 2006 @ 10:22 am

Last night was a mildly disturbing revelation for me.  My wife was out of the house, my daughter was fast asleep, and it was 10pm.  Party time for the single guy!  The Victoria Secret Fashion Show was just about to start... and I didn't even consider staying up.  I went to bed.

I think the teenager in me must be dead.  No great loss, really, he was a bit of a jerk.

Current Mood: sillysilly
04 December 2006 @ 02:05 pm
Life is change. 
Before Beth came into my life it was easier to ignore that axiom, but there’s nothing that drives the truth home like watching my daughter grow into greater consciousness and ability with every day.  Last week Beth took a huge step forward and became a full-fledged biped. Her current record is seventeen steps without sitting down, and at the rate she’s learning I fully expect her to be running laps around the house next week.
Nobody told me that as Beth’s star rises mine will inevitably fall. I knew that, I suppose, but I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. The very same week that Beth learned to walk I slipped and fell in the shower. As the wheel turns I seem to be turning into an shaky octogenarian. Hey, at least I didn’t break my hip.  That's good, right?
Current Mood: pleasedproud
23 November 2006 @ 12:48 pm

This post is about roleplaying/video games so many of you may want to move along now.  Don't worry, I won't be offended.

Current Mood: geekygeeky
Current Music: Canadian Driftwood - The Band