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.

It's Spring

OK, lets begin the time machine…

Spring break I sent out my MacBook on Monday to have the palmrest repaired.  The next couple days I read a decent amount of “the Watchmen” as I had no computer.  Tuesday I drove to Bay City for the day.  Went to William’s Cheese and The Turkey Roost with my Mom, then installed RAM for my Dad and Grandma.  Meanwhile, my brother was driving to Bitely, just a few miles from me.

Thursday my computer returned, but my initial excitement was quickly squashed when I started it up and found they had formatted my HD.  Thankfully I had backed up to my new flash drive I picked up Sunday at Staples (for really cheap too).  Still, I only had my files, not a full backup.  Reinstalling all my Mac apps, plus Windows and those apps is a pain.  Why they needed to erase my HD to do a case repair I have no idea.

Saturday, my Dad and Grandma came here to visit.  We took them downtown, to Schuberg’s, pet store, shoe store, Old Pioneer Store.  Following that, we played some Wii here (Grandma is really good at bowling, who knew?) and they headed home.

Then, it was one more day off and back to school for this week.  School was hum drum.  We talked about the disc golf tournament at the SME meeting Tuesday, most of my friends spent Tuesday in various bars while I tried to enjoy the weather.  We got a couple games of disc in over the week.  Thursday I got my Lean test back and pulled off a 102/105,  which he counts as a 100%.

Still no job yet.  I would be happy with a few more decline letters so I at least know they are getting through.  All I can do is keep trying.

Edited a few pages on the site today, and got a pair of new themes.  The About and Project pages just weren’t real organized.  Haven’t tried the themes yet.

Jenn and I were going to head to Bay City today for the St. Patty’s Day Parade.  We woke up and didn’t feel it though, and weather looked rather blah.  I may head in next weekend though, as Scott will be in town on leave.

Watched a few movies.  “Alvin and the Chipmunks” was meh, “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” was really good.  Saw a few other but can’t remember them right now.  Guess they probably weren’t that great.

I think that wraps it up for now.  Will try and get another post up over the week, maybe this weekend.

nick

Sno*Drift and AutoShow

So, last weekend was Sno*Drift, the rally race in Atlanta, MI.  Was decent, but very cold.

Jon, Jenn, and I went up Friday night and met Jon’s friend Amber there.  The Holiday Inn Express in Gaylord was awesome.  We had dinner at La Seniorita and then did some shopping around town, including Jay’s of course.  We got a late start Saturday morning, so went straight for the 12:00 repair stop at Atlanta High School.  The next scheduled event was a race at the gravel pit, or a race in the woods.  We went to the gravel pit, which ended up a poor choice, as we were rather far from the cars.  Was still cool, but after that one race we were pretty much done, so didn’t stay for any of the three more that night.  Jon and Amber went there separate way, and Jenn and I went to Big Buck Brewery for dinner, then headed home.

This past week was mostly just school home, repeat.  Thursday was the winter job fair.  That was a complete joke.  There were barely any employers there, and nobody really looking for MfgEng.  Still, I keep applying online, at least 5 a week average.

Yesterday was the Grand Rapids Auto Show.  Unlike Detroit of Chicago where the automakers bring cars, this was more the dealers showing off what’s new.  You get a lot more freedom to inspect the vehicles here though, can get right in, pop the hood, whatever you want.  Was pretty good.

This week we are supposed to be working on a snow sculpture for SME, but the weather doesn’t seem to want that to happen.  Supposed to be 40s most of the week, and get some rain, not ideal conditions.  SHould drop back under freezing Thursday, so if there is any snow left then, we will try sculpting it.

So, thats about it for now.  Hopefully I find a job, will keep you updated.

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

Busy Busy

You can always tell when mid semester has come. Reports are due, projects are due, you have tests in every class over a 2 week period, and it sometimes seems like none of you professors realize of care that you have 3 other classes. And, you stop updating your blog after being decent for a while. The good news is, it should die down in a week or so, at least a little bit.

So, 2.5 weeks ago…

Jenn and I went up to her Aunt’s wedding, was fairly good. Wedding in East Jordan, went to Gaylord to check into hotel and found a nail in Jenn’s tire, so watched that rest of weekend. Reception in Elmira just outside Gaylord, then hotel for night. Sunday morning we shopped around Gaylord with Jenn’s sister and had lunch at Gobbler’s. Place is similar to Turkey Roost, but more expensive and not as good, I was disappointed. Next, we headed to Lewiston for our “free” night at Garland. We got a room upgrade, and had to pay tax on the would-be value, but was still less than much crappier Baymont the night before. Pics of room are on Picassa. Monday we headed home through Greyling, we we tried to get tire fixed. They quoted up to an hour wait so we risked it and made it back in time for me to get to class with an hour to spare. Jenn took car in following day, and nail was broken off, just stuck in tread, no actual puncture.

Weekend of 11th was stay at home weekend. Did laundry which was a major project. Worked on quite a bit of homework as well. That Sunday we did our SME barbeque, but turnout was not what we expected. No juniors, no sophomores, no freshman, just a few of the seniors. Week was busy, report due and work on project.

This weekend went to Bay City Saturday, saw Mom and Dad and Grandma, nothing real exciting. Actually, there was, I took apart my Mom’s old swing which was rotten and falling apart using a sledgehammer. Was a little excessive force, but oh well. A wrench would have took less energy, but much more time. Sunday night we had an SME BBQ redux. Decided it should be a regular thing. Jenn was up in Alpena Saturday and Sunday, got back around 7pm. They threw a surprise party for her Dad’s birthday.

Last night, I was up till after 3 working on statistics project. Finally got it done, sleep for 4 hours, in to class. Everyone starts complaining about how they couldn’t finish and didn’t figure out this or that, so he moved it back to Thursday. Grrrr! On one hand, I worked ass off to finish, I should get credit for that. On the other hand, things were brought up that I can change in my report to make it a little better. Oh well.

Played some disc golf here and there, but not a lot. Between school and people going hunting on weekends, just hasn’t been the time. We did get to see part of a Pro Ace Race here on Sunday, but was kind of pathetic. We actually could have been contenders.

This Saturday is our SME skeet shoot. I am not shooting, but Jenn will be. I think I am photographer, but not sure. We are, unfortunately, unorganized. Sunday, I am hosting the weekly dinner, making a big pot of stew.

Over the coming weeks, when I have time, I plan on making Jenn and I’s wedding site, and making a site for our SME group. Will be a very part time thing.

Also, looking ahead, we will be heading up to Atlanta, MI for SnoDrift the last weekend of January, and possibly to Detroit for NAIAS around the same time.

In addition to the Garland pics I mentioned, I finally added the pics from the Ren Fair to picasa also.

I think, that wraps it up. As I said, should die down some and updates will come more regular again soon.

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