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(no subject) [Feb. 3rd, 2013|09:42 am]
I've been back in Austin for almost three months now, and every time I drive on Mopac or I35, I still get a surreal feeling. Last night on my way to my friend Paul's house, I stared in awe at the beauty of the Austin skyline. I open the blinds to my apartment's office when the sky is clear like I did when I lived on the second floor of a Scofield Ridge apartment. I have to work today, and every Sunday hereafter for the foreseeable future. My schedule has changed to Sunday through Thursday 11am to 7:30pm CST, and I've been a little anxious about it while trying to rationalize its pros and cons. I went to bed at midnight last night and didn't get to sleep easily, and I don't think I'll be totally shifting my activity schedule over immediately. That may make it so I get the opportunity to catch up on sleep, but it also means I have hardly any life Sunday through Thursday. I can't decide whether I'll start lifting in the morning or after work, and I suspect it'll be after work. I'm not sure whether I'm going to like having so much extra time before starting my shift, but I do know I'm going to like not feeling so damn tired when I wake up in the mornings, despite the fact I've been working a Monday through Friday 9-5 type shift for the past thirteen years. I haven't been taking Concerta for more than a month now since I went to the doctor's office and had high blood pressure. It was taken twice and went up while in the office, so I imagine it was white coat hypertension more than anything. It's been tough adjusting to not taking it, and amazingly my regular physical activity and eating habits have helped me not gain unwanted weight. All in all, I'm thankful to be an IBM employee in Austin for as long as it lasts, and I look forward to getting my Texas resident status in the next nine months. I keep telling myself I should register for 1-2 classes until then, but I'd be a lot happier if life in general were a little more inspiring.
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(no subject) [Oct. 25th, 2012|06:06 pm]
I'll be flying into Austin, Texas this Sunday morning to stay until Wednesday, then the first full week of November I'll be in Marlborough, Massachusetts being trained. I have no one to thank but those who made it possible for me to take a job supporting Netezza data warehouse appliances from a location of my choice. Even if my former manager fought as much as he could to keep me from leaving Dubuque, I suspect the gratitude I'll carry with me will remain indefinitely. It hasn't been easy for me these past few months. It took all my energy to get out of bed and go into the office. If there's anything anyone from the Dubuque office can say, it's that my insistent behavior cannot mean anything other than my need to get into a situation where my mood can become positive and stay positive. No one was going to help me improve my mood but myself, and the immense sadness I've felt recently is assuredly attached to feelings of remorse over the behavior I had to exhibit to get to this point. I wouldn't say charisma is a word I'd use to describe what I asserted, but I imagine with great delight that after I've signed a lease and moved back to Austin, life will once again be reasonably good. Netezza is a significant opportunity for me, and Austin, Texas has always been nothing but significant opportunity for me. In the end, those feelings of remorse should have been worth it.
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you should be embarrassed [Jul. 29th, 2012|06:39 pm]
Financial engineering is a phrase used to describe IBM's level of creativity under the helm of Sam Palmisano and now Ginni Rometty. I read a rumor on the Alliance@IBM website stating Software Group will be axing a major product line, and up to 2,600 people could be laid off. Evidently this is why Software Group and Systems and Technology Group are restricted to hiring from within their division. Nothing put me in a worse mood than getting my hopes up then having them dashed yet again. For this reason, I really wish IBM's management, and IBM's brain share for that matter, focused more on running the company with some level of emotional intelligence. Instead, we have cold, hard numbers all day every day. There's irony hidden beneath all that, too. I take my example from my efforts at strength training. Just this past Tuesday, I picked up the 75lb dumbbells thinking I'd bench press them for 3 sets of 4-6 reps. I rolled them back, got them in the air, brought them down, then couldn't get them back up. Of course, all the while, my elbows were shaking, so I picked up the 70lb dumbbells and did 2 sets before deciding to start using the Smith machine for a while since it's easier to push more weight. Yesterday I picked up two dumbbells and sat down for two sets, and while I was working them, I couldn't understand why my right arm was having so much trouble. I put them away, did my Smith sets, then eventually sat back down on the bench for skull-crushers. While I was looking at the row, I noticed a 75lb and 70lb dumbbell were out of order. I'd been pushing 75lbs with my right arm and 70lbs with my left arm. One day I couldn't even get them up, and the next day I got one up without knowing. So my co-worker says, "It's all psychological, man." Likewise, if IBM's management at all levels put real effort into providing for their employees, everything would move better. Instead, what we have is a company which is very good at white-washing a rosy picture of its performance. Exempt employees are asked to work massive amounts of overtime for free, then are given an average rating, and non-exempt employees are restricted to either no overtime at all so they work 40 hours, or their schedules vary from week to week because they're told to take time off some other time to compensate for what would normally be overtime. What happens when there's no overtime? More people have to be hired and then the bonus pool gets smaller. None of those regular activities are ever any good for an employee, and could hardly be called work-life balance. The only redeeming light I've seen recently is an article stating IBM executives weren't getting pay raises either. Of course, the top-level executives hardly need a pay raise when their bonus compensation is in the form of stock options and it's tied to how much of our stock we can repurchase and how much money we can keep flowing at the expense of those who make their options possible. So, it's hard for me to say IBM is a corporation worthy of respect.
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"come at me, bro" [Jun. 26th, 2012|08:26 pm]
I had a really great nightmare last night where I was stuck in a basement filled with cobwebs and spiders. It disgusted me while simultaneously making me feel trapped. When I woke up, I was incredibly tense. Consequently, for the first time in weeks, I almost had an ulcer incident this morning. I was eating Special K Protein Plus (with 10 grams of soy!) and all of the sudden I started to feel the reminiscent churn. I sat back in my chair and started breathing deeply and suddenly I felt the onset of relaxation like a switch was flipped. The good news I got yesterday about paperwork involved in transferring from IBM Services to IBM Software clearly wasn't enough to totally soothe my state of mind. I'm patiently waiting for status from the hiring manager, and let my manager know today she contacted me after he said he was going to tell me he hadn't heard from her. He said he didn't want to lose my skills after I asked him about knowledge transfer then I said, honestly, there isn't much for me to transfer. He knows that, and I'll be damned if I'll let pride or arrogance overcome the best of me and tell him he can't find someone out there with my skills. That's just plain nonsense.
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(no subject) [Jun. 18th, 2012|05:25 pm]
I thought I'd write about the major milestones I reached of bench pressing 50lb dumbbells, which means when I move up again, I'll be on the bottom row, as well as having my right arm buckle from failure for the first time ever and weighing more than I've ever weighed (184lbs), but it seems silly. Soon enough I'm going to have to become skilled at rolling back on the bench, and I will, because regardless of my mental state, I'm past the point of no return. I look forward to the next session and fret over the days I'll miss when I move back to Austin. Even a few minutes ago, I thought about skipping today as a rest day and getting right back into chest, back, and triceps to change my schedule, then I got home. I wasn't feeling well before I left work, but that was probably because I had spicy chicken at Yen Ching. I was tired this morning, but for the most part my mental state's been optimistic. For reasons left to be seen, I became reconnected with a massive hole in my heart. We were acquainted for a few days then we separated -- until now.
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(no subject) [Jun. 6th, 2012|07:34 pm]
Today I was given bad news and I responded to it in my best, rational and professional manner. I felt like that was it, and now since I received disappointment, I have to step up my search for work where I want to be. Subsequently, I left work and went to the gym only to find I couldn't use the elliptical machines because of renovation. So I warmed up a little by stretching, then doing my usual leg extension for the first exercise. I plowed through 4 sets of 10 reps of 80lb bicep curls on the resistance machine whereas the past 2-3 times I've done that workout, I could barely make it to 8 on the second set, and not the same on the subsequent sets. I squatted 3 sets of 155lbs then 1 set of 135lbs before moving up to 331lbs on the hammer strength leg press. For the first time, instead of squatting while lifting the 100lb plates with two arms, I picked them up with one arm and moved them to their respective places. The first 3 sets were only 311lbs and I plowed through them so I added 20lbs and that was a bit tiring. Since my balance has improved, or rather gotten closer to my youthful skill level, I've since added to that routine where I hold the weight in place with my knees unlocked. The trick is to make my legs stop shaking like Thumper. Also for the first time, I had to readjust my feet slightly and noticed with my knees unlocked, I could hold it in place with one leg. When I lifted in Austin, my legs gave out merely from getting up from the couch to go to the bathroom after pressing something like 1 45lb plate and 1 35lb plate on each side. I didn't feel any happier when I got home, but it is kind of interesting to learn elliptical trainers made more of a difference than I would've thought.
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i want candy [May. 6th, 2012|10:08 am]
The recent debate between Ron Paul and Paul Krugman brought me to Randy Barnett again. When Ron Paul says to eliminate the Federal Reserve, then qualifies in debates how his writings don't call for an abrupt end, he seems to ignore an important power granted to the U.S. government. To persist the battle for truth and honesty and make a difference requires occasional novelty. Randy Barnett's argument that the Commerce Clause entails making commerce occur with regularity, and does not necessarily entail prohibition of certain activities, could be construed as support for the incorporation of the Federal Reserve system. The availability of liquidity does not have to begin with the elimination of constitutional money. Congress is given the power to regulate the value of coined money and fix the standard of weights and measures. If Congress is to keep the economy all steamed up, then revaluation of the currency combined with tax policy should be how that occurs. When the currency remains constitutional -- when its availability remains limited -- the government is properly bridled and the value of savings is conserved. Perhaps Krugman would consider it a red herring, but it's not insignificant that 90% silver remained in circulation after World War II, and gold was tied to the dollar. Instead of making a silver dollar smaller to compensate for population growth, we replace it with zinc? This ignores Congress' power to change the economic system in favor of a policy which is unconstitutional and results in silver holding its value while zinc does not. I can still buy more than one and a half gallons of gas for three silver dimes when in 1964 they'd buy one gallon. Give me a smaller dime and I get my gallon of gas? Always choose what's explicit before what could be inferred.

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(no subject) [Mar. 31st, 2012|07:26 pm]
I have two co-workers who play Magic: the Gathering so finally I had the opportunity to play a deck I constructed over a year ago. They'd never played multi-player where turns are played clockwise. The deck consists of all five colors, and it was built around liege cards like the Balefire Liege. In fact, almost every creature card in the deck is multi-colored, including cards from the vintage Legends series. I thought if I was going to play a deck centered around the liege cards, I might as well play with the vintage cards as well, and make a pun out of it. The deck is designed according to the Highlander format, and as the name implies, there can only be one of any named card. Since the liege cards give bonuses to power and toughness to other creatures of specific colors, and some of the other multi-colored cards also give such bonuses, each multi-colored creature summoned thereafter hits the ground all beefed up. It's the "high lander" deck.
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(no subject) [Mar. 24th, 2012|06:03 pm]
Instead of spending too much time being whiny and all "woe is me" about my failures, I've made a regular habit of going to the gym. The last few weeks have resulted in having to move over to the last notch in my brown leather belt. Eventually I'll have to buy a new one, but I've resolved to not spend any money on clothing for a few months. I've been eating foods known to support testosterone production, and other than supporting making me stronger, it's made me really moody. I put up with some really petty annoyances in my periphery, and I'm beginning to think I should be more like Bob Schneider. In an effort to be discreet, I'll merely link to it. It's so flaunty.
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(no subject) [Feb. 20th, 2012|06:28 pm]
If I could go back in time and think more about what my old friend Shay meant when she lauded whatever passion I had back then, instead of acting the way I acted, who's to say what today would be like. More than a decade has passed, and what mistake could I have made now without learning from my past mistakes? What I had going for me now which I didn't have going for me then is the difference between the general and the specific. Shay tells me she likes something which is so general that I have to have half a clue to figure out what it really was, and what it really was most certainly was not what I pursued. For six months I've had the specifics justifying a crush where a much stronger phrase was used, so instead of working too hard at it with significant concern for focus, I just let it happen naturally. I took it seriously as if here was something which could become true incentive -- the kind of motivating factor some people hardly require. That may have been a total surprise to the confessor: I didn't jump all over it as if that was going to be the difference between wanting what I want and actually getting what I want. As far as I was concerned, the quickest way to turn what could've been a genuine attraction to something I would've never given any thought was to make the same mistake.
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