Not Dead Yet

So, I looked at the clock, then the calendar, and realized I am about to go 6 months without posting to the blog.  It’s funny how you can go from posting every three days like clockwork  for years to suddenly making it months between posts.  Still, as the title says, it’s not quite dead yet.  I think I just need a reason to post.  I went for a long time treating this like a diary of sorts that happened to be open to the public.  Problem is, that really only appeals to a few friends voyeur sides, and not really to the larger crowd.  I haven’t figured out what direction to take yet, but I think once I pick a direction the journey itself will seem less daunting (that actually sounds a bit more “inspirational email signature” than I wanted, but will do).

The big news, I suppose, is that I am working, and have been since January 6, for Shape Corp in Grand Haven.  I am a Quality Engineer there on the GM launch team.  Shape, if you are not familiar (which you probably are not), is a rollforming and stamping company.  The main products are “impact beams”, the steel structure within bumpers.  The product line I am involved in primarily involves rollforming the beam then welding on several stamped components.  It is not a permanent position, at least not yet.  I am coming up to 4 months of a currently 5 month contract (originally 3 month, so thats something).  No real word on what the future might bring, though I kind of expect something next week (it will be 1 month from contract end, which was when my last extenuation was announced).  Honestly, even when my 5 months are up it may not mean the end, just a less certain future.

In other news, my 10 year high school graduation is this year, scary as that it.  Venue and date are supposed to be announced tomorrow via the FaceBook group.  It is rather exciting to look forward to seeing everyone and such, though it would be nice to be able to say I had a permanent job by then.

I am getting closer to my eventual backpacking trip.  I have been picking up supplies here and there for quite some time, and its high time to actually put it all to use.  This summer I really want to make at least one, mane two trips.  I actually even got into making and selling hammocks after making myself one.  I am not pre-making them anymore but will build them upon request.  It helped with the bills for a little while.

The SME Disc Golf Fundraiser continued on this year, for the third year.  Nice to see something I helped put together still going after I am gone.  Unfortunately, the current SME group doesn’t use the Facebook group much and none of use knew about it until it was too late.  Hopefully next years group will realize that reaching out to alumni during fundraisers is a good thing.  The Christmas Parade float also was built again this year, another tradition I helped get off the ground.  I went up to see it and ride along, and had quite a bit of fun.

The fish are, somehow, still getting bigger.  I occasionally walk by and notice just how huge Kitty and Jill are.  They need a bigger tank, but its just low on the list of needs right now.

Without job interviews, out travel has been semi limited.  Also, time has been factoring in as well, with both Jenn and I having off being semi rare.  We went to Bay City and Alpena for Christmas, NAIAS in January, and to Traverse City in March.  Not much else though.  I think a trip is due soon here though.

Jenn taught a Nursing CLinical course this winter for Baker College, Cadallac.  It was held at Mecosta County where she works.  She was also taking a class at GRCC over the internet at the same time.  It was one of the pre-reqs she needed to apply for her master’s degree.  Which leads us to…  Jenn was accepted into the Nurse Practitioner program at MSU earlier this month.  She will start in about a month with a spring/summer course, then get full bore into it come fall.  It is online with approximately monthly trips to Lansing for tests and such.  Very excited and proud of her, obviously.  Something like 800 apply, 200 are interviews, and 50 are accepted each year, so definitely something big to get in.

Obviously there is much more I could probably write about, having about 6 months of stuff that is unshared, but I don’t want to bore you with most of it.  I think 800 words is a pretty decent start after such an absence anyway.  So, I will leave it here and hopefully be back well before November 1 rolls around.

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Spring Break

Being that I have never really done anything Spring Break-like, and this is my last Spring Break, Jon and I are trying to come up with something.  We have no idea what, and it has to be decently cheap.  Will let you all know if it’s anything fun.

I called Apple and requested repair on my MacBook, since I can live without it for the next week.  The damn palmrest cracked again just after Christmas break, so need that repaired, again.  If I need to send it in a third time (very likely, probably about May) I am going to bitch that I want it FIXED, not just repaired, and if that means I get a new aluminum unibody MacBook, then so be it.  Apple has opened repair to all MacBooks, including those out of warranty, and though it is not publicly stated, they obviously recognize this as a know issue.  If they know it’s an issue, why should I have to send in my computer every 6 months for repairs?

Speaking of my computer, I added a new program/service last week.  It’s called DropBox, and it’s like a virtual thumb drive.  You sign up (name and email, thats it) and download the software.  It makes a folder on your computer and anything up put in it gets upladed to their servers.  You get 2GB for free (2.25 if you follow my referral link), and an additional 250MB for every person you refer, up to a total of 3GB.  You can also pay them money for more space but I’m cheap, and 2-3Gb is pretty good.  Note: you wont see your 250MB bonus until you actually download and install the software, it won’t appear when you first sign up.  It’s worth a try, right?

I cleaned the aquarium, holy crap was it dirty.  I mean, I do a water change and vacuum every week or 2, but I actually pulled and rinsed all the gravel and wow, there was a lot of crud in there.

Started watching more movies again.  Get Smart, Dead Like Me – Life After Death, Stranded with Les Stroudt (the prelude to Survivorman) in the last week, with a few more to go.  Trying to get them watched and free up space on the HD so it will be easier to do a Backup before sending computer off.

I also started reading The Watchmen.  I am through the first chapter and addicted already.  Have heard mixed reviews of movie, but hoping having read the book will help me enjoy the movie more.

Unfortunately no job yet.  Still looking though.  Market is not good, but all I can do is keep trying.  I graduate 2 months from Monday, is almost time to start freaking out, but not yet.

And that would be it for this post.  See you next time.

New Fish Pics

I threw up some new pics of the fish Friday night.  I took them on my phone, so are unfortunately a bit grainy.  Jill is getting huge, and Tiger is doing well.  Surprisingly, the snails are still alive, though I can see some chips in their shells.  Pictures really don’t do Tiger justice, her colors just don’t show up right.

You can view the pics on my picasa album.

Little Late, lol

Well, I guess I should update.  I haven’t since November 16th, as the Christmas post was actually Jenn.

This past weekend we went to Bay City for Christmas.  We were going to leave Saturday, but was really foggy so we left Sunday afternoon and stayed through the evening.

Weekend before we went up to Alpena for christmas with Jenn’s family.  Drive home was really crappy as it was snowing faster than the plows were cleaning up.

Other than that, have done nothing for the last week and a half, and enjoyed the hell out of it.  It’s my last christmas break after all, I intend to enjoy it.

Exams were not bad, grades came out a 2 A’s, 2 A-‘s, and a B-.  GPA is at 3.72, would like to get it up to a 3.75 for Magna Cum Laude.  Just need 3 out of 4 A’s over winter, with no less than A- in the fourth.

During late November, I made a site for my SME group.  I  also helped organize our Christmas Parade float, which their are pictures of on the SME site.  We were competing for $100 prizes for most festive, most participants, and most lights.  We had a good chance at most lights, but haven’t heard yet (which presumably means we lost).

Also have not heard from UniSolar.  I interviewed with them mid November and was told I would hear by the holiday.  I emailed them 2 weeks ago and was told they would get back to me.  I’m not giving up on them though, with this economy (especially in MI) I’m sure they are looking long and hard before making any decisions.

You would think I would have more after 6 weeks, huh?

I have been watching DiggNation rather regularly now.  I downloaded it to watch on my iPod and got into it.  I had watched a few about a year ago but stopped after 2 or 3 episodes.  I used to watch all of Kevin Rose’s “the Broken” episodes, but with the death of TechTV I lost trach of his whereabouts for a while, and didn’t even realize he was the guy that started Digg.com until about 2 years ago.

Next week is MacWorld Expo, and Steve Jobs is not doing the keynote.  Further, it is to be the last expo attended by Apple.  In the past, Apple’s priority was to keep their user base from migrating away, so attended user expos.  Now, Apple has a large enough base that they can just use their TV spots and stores to build a bigger base.  So, its sad news for lovers of the keynotes, but understandable.  Many of Apple’s major announcements over the last few years have been at special events outside the expo anyway, and there is still Apple’s own WWDC in May-ish.

Only 16 hours left in 2008 right now.  That is a little scary.  Amazing how the year can seem so short and so long at the same time.

My beer came out decent.  Guys liked it, Jenn and I rather enjoyed it, Jenn’s Dad and his friend didn’t, lol.  Its not for people who are set on drinking one beer, and especially if that is a lighter beer.  My “Creative Juices #1” is rather heavy, and a bit bitter.

Fish are doing well.  We had a second Jack Dempsey (Buster), but he passed a few weeks ago.  Our unknown cichlid (Tiger) is doing well though.  Will need to get some pics.  I still really wat a bigger aquarium, and saw an awesome 65 gallon at PetSmart in Saginaw, but need to wait at least until after the move.

Finding a job is looking like it will be a royal pain.  most companies are laying off far more than hiring.  Still, I know they are out there.  Most of the layoffs are production workers while Manufacturing Engineers are exactly what they need to help trim inefficiency and reduce costs.

Went to Birch Run shopping with Jenn and her Mom and Sister a few weeks ago.  Was the first time I had been there in probably 5 years.  A lot of stores that have been there for as long as I can remember, and a few new ones.  I was excited to see a Merrill store, but Nordstrom’s Rack is still a better deal.

Other site work, other than SME listed above, is our wedding site.  Jenn made one up a few weeks ago, and I did a redo a few days ago.  I should have a final composite up within a couple weeks, as well as possibly its own domain.

I think, that is it.  I know there is more, especially after 6 weeks, but can’t think of it right now.  Will try and make my next most a little sooner.

nick

My Last Last Day Off

Today was my last ever day of summer vacation, ever, for the rest of my life.  Tomorrow though, will be my last ever first day of school (in theory, though I will likely get a MS or MBA eventually).

Last weekend, we went to bay City, hung out for a while at my Mom’s, then to Hooligan’s for a while.  Good to see all the guys from the Library, and talked to Todd for a bit about his wedding to get some ideas for ours.

Sunday morning, Casey (Dad’s dog) got sprayed by a skunk, so he had to cancel going to Ren Fest with us to clean him up.  My brother was short on cash, so he was a no.  So, Jenn and I went off on our own.  My dad called us when we were about to Bridgeport to see if we had left yet, we offered to wait for him but weren’t up to going back.  He said no, so we kept going.

Ren fair was a lot bigger than Battle Creek’s, but kind of blah since we had just been to one a few weeks ago.  I was complemented three times on my kilt, and once on my “Pluto Replies” t-shirt.  We shot some archery, saw a 4 man joust, I got a t-shirt, and got a nice tan.

When we were finished there, we drove up to Garland to check them out.  We got half off as we were looking at a wedding there.  We had dinner, slept for the night, then met with the wedding coordinator in the morning.  It is a very beautiful place, and we are certainly interested.  Too many questions left though that we need to figure out on our own, and were not ready to commit to it.

Spent the week relaxing.  My biggest accomplishment was probably attaining Pro level at WiiSports Golf.

Yesterday Dane and Greg moved in so we went to El Burrito to catch up then went for a round of Disk Golf.  We made it through 14, played 15 – 17 as speed rounds, and called it too dark to do 18.

We gained 2 new family members Friday night.  Got a second Jack Dempsey and a snail, that are in a second aquarium.  As they are rather small, I don’t trust Jill not to pick on or outright eat them, so they are in my old 2.5 gallon.  It is way too old to keep them very long, but until I feel thay can go in the big one it will suffice.  When we move next year and are settled in, maybe I will get a 55 or 70 gallon for everyone to stay in.

I was right on my computer, it returned on Monday.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t here, so I didn’t get it until Tuesday.  It’s all fixed though so I am happy so long as it doesn’t reoccur.

OK, thats all for now.  Will let you all know how classes are Wednesday evening or so.

BTW, 1 week to my birthday!

nick

Service

Well, my box arrived today for the MacBook to go in for repairs.  That crack in the palmrest that happened in March is finally going to get fixed.  Hopefully it doesn’t happen again.  If it does, hopefully its in time to ship in over Christmas break.  Still, preferably, it hopefully doesn’t happen again.

Weekend with Jenn’s sister and family went well.  Sat around Friday night, went to GR Saturday, and they left Sunday morning.  We had some Red Robin which is always good, and tried to get my computer fixed at the Apple Store, but they wont ship so would require a trip back which sounded un-fun.

I got my PPG paycheck a week and a half early, always nice.  Will be useful when we got to Bay City this weekend, and to Ren Fest in Holly.

School is down to about a week and a half now, and my birthday 2 and a half.

Still haven’t gotten another crawfish.  Aquarium looks kind of empty.  At least need some plants.

OK, think that is all.  Will update hopefully Monday, if my computer is back.  Can always use Jenn’s though too.

nick

Freedom

I am free!  Yesterday was my last day of work at PPG.  We tried to work out something for the fall but my school schedule just didn’t allow for much.  Despite feeling like the $10/hour peon sometimes, I did enjoy it.  It’s too bad it took so long for them to start giving me more engineering assignments though, as that was sort of what I was there for.  I did get a lot of quality management though.  I should be back for a visit with SME in October or so.

I just checked Nearly Free Speech and my bandwidth has finally exceeded 1GB, which now means I pay under $1 per GB of transfer ($0.991 currently).  It goes down in a log type formula as I use more bandwidth.  Sadly, this deal began February 1st, so it took me six months to get in that first GB.  It goes down constantly, so I keep paying slightly less to transfer every single page load though.  Once I reach 10GB of transfer, my cost will be down to $0.50 per GB, in about 5 more years.  Unfortunately, bandwidth (obviously) is not my primary cost but server space.  Still, I only use about $4 or $5 per year excluding domain name.

Jenn managed to plan about half of our wedding in the last week.  She gets a little obsessed sometimes.  Tentatively (very), it is scheduled for 10/10/09 at Garland Resort, but that could change overnight.

School is down to about 3 weeks away now.  August 2nd.  I am looking forward to it, nerd that I am.  It’s my last year of school, it is very sad.  😦

Sunday morning I went to feed the fish, and we had lost another one.  Rosy, the remaining rosy barb had perished.  Not sure how, but somehow overnight.  She was oldest, now it is Kitty.  She was about 2 weeks over a year old.  Was much smaller than Jill or Sunny, and were kind of expecting her to go in the next couple months as Jill keeps growing.  We still haven’t replaced Bubba yet, but maybe in the next week or two I will go to the pet shop since I am off.

I watched MST3K: the Movie tonight.  I was never a fan of the show (not that I didn’t like, but just never watched) but that was funny as hell.  A lot of the comments are very so-so, but they just throw one after another after another, and suddenly you break out laughing at the stupidest one-liner.

Uhm…

Apple has refurbished iPod touch for $199.  I really want one, but my extravagant spending for the year was my kilt.  There are nanos for like $149 too.

On that note, my birthday is one month from yesterday.

That would be it I think.

nick