Job Requirements: None?

Note to employers the world around: If the position you are trying to fill has 1 important requirement, please make sure that your selected candidate can actually handle said requirement.

Case in point: I spent the majority of my day yesterday sitting on my butt, watching movies, and playing my Nintendo DS from 8:45AM – 3:00PM. I was called upon by the state of Arizona to do so. Now, on this particular day, it was very apparent to me (and probably the other 100+ people there) that there was a new employee in training. His job was to accomplish 1 thing: Read a list of names that have been given to him (apparently selected at random) over the loudspeaker so that everybody can hear him. That, in essence, is the job (at least what I could see of it). Read a list of names.

Unfortunately, this cat – who is definitely not speaking his native language (and was not from a country located less than 400 miles from Phoenix) – cannot pronounce 90% of the names on the list. So, what should have taken 3 minutes for an English-as-a-first-language speaker, took 10. It was painful. It made the agony of expecting your name to be called, but praying that it wouldn’t be, all that much more terrifying.

Would it be so hard to give an interviewee for this position a list of 15 names, mix some english- and spanish-based names in there, and have them read it to you during the interview? Isn’t that like asking a software developer to show you how to write a function and call it, or having a telemarketer show you how to answer a phone?

Fortunately, my name was only mentioned once – at the end of the day (to make sure I was present) when they released us. And for as basic and simple of an American name as mine is, it was still butchered: Joe-Shwaah Smitt.

Lady and Gentleman, Your tax dollars at work.

“I’m an Idiot”, or “The One That Got Away”

Hi. I’m an idiot. And I get reminded of it often. But every once in a while, the reminder is so explosive that I just cannot help but to reexamine exactly what went wrong.

I guess it was 1999 (which seems like an eternity ago – heck, it was nearly a quarter of my lifetime ago), when I decided to break up with my girlfriend. I was in my second year of college, and she still in high school (chicks dig older men). She also happened to be one of my sisters 2 best friends, which can certainly be awkward. But it worked for the most part. Until I decided, however the hell I convinced myself of it, that she just wasnt quite mature enough for me. Perhaps it was the fact that I was working and in college and she was still in high school. It really doesnt matter because it was set in my mind that the relationship wasnt going anywhere.

She ended up going to U of A that fall to study medicine. I kept in touch every once in a while, mostly through AIM and email. And then communication just stopped. Its like that with everybody – there’s no real attachment (certainly not a relationship based in love) to maintain – and therefore you just stop talking (like with Vici, or friends like Sarah D. or Kevin G.). But, unfortunately for me, she is still friends with my sister, and therefore I am privy to information that I may not hear elsewhere. Like the bombshell that blew apart my world.

I don’t remember the exact year, but I do remember the exact day: Valentine’s Day. This wasn’t the day that I found out, but when they got together. I thought to myself, “How cheesy is that? Hooking up on Valentine’s Day?” And I didn’t necessarily agree with it either. Somewhat because he was the roommate of her best friend’s boyfriend and it was just circumstance – two single people hanging out with each other on Valentine’s Day with nothing better to do because each of their best friends were already dating (mayhaps even engaged at that point) – that brought them together, but ultimately I was jealous. For by this time, I already knew that I had made the mistake.

Over the years, I heard that they had broken up. And I heard that they got back together. And I heard that they got engaged. And I got an invitation to the wedding. Somewhere in there, after the engagement, I had lunch with her. It was quaint, just kind of catching up. Me congratulating her. Me being an AFC, bringing her a rose (this was before I knew what an AFC even was). And the wedding came and went. I showed up for the reception, but not the ceremony. Truth is that I slept in. I really didn’t intend to do that, but am not sure if I can convince anybody that it was not intentional. Perhaps it was subconsciously intentional, but I didn’t mean to do so. If there is one thing that I do know about me, it is that I wish nothing but the best for her. And if her choice is him, so be it. I am genuinely happy for her. And genuinely miserable for me.

The one that got away. I get reminded of it every so often. It’s a running joke, that doesn’t rear its ugly head too often (fortunately), within my family. She will come up in conversation, and my dad will remind me. Or my brother (who you would expect nothing less from) will remind me. My sister, my mom, my brother-in-law. They all remind me. She’s the one that I let get away.

Rumor has it that if I had made some sort of move to get her back, I could have done so (I have no evidence that this rumor is true). Maybe I should have told her that day at Mimi’s Cafe that I was crazy about her. But being a ‘nice guy’ has its major downsides – like bottling up feeling and emotion. But sometimes you have to keep your mouth shut if what you really want to say has possible major life-altering implications.

Do I believe that I am better than he is? Not really. I don’t have the confidence to justly say such a thing. Could I provide for her better than he can? Probably not. Is there anything that would suggest that I have a positive going for me? Well, there’s 1 thing for sure: I play a mean game of Guitar Hero.

Which brings us back to that reminder that got this entire post started. Today, I helped my sister and brother-in-law move into their new house (btw – congrats Jabbi). And this afternoon, Abbi’s 2 best friends stopped by to have a look. I hadn’t seen her in years, so when they arrived, I kept myself busy by unloading the truck and having some lunch. Mostly because her husband came along too, and I was a sweaty pig from moving stuff, but also because it was hard for me to make eye contact with her. After all these years, I just couldn’t look at her and not think about all of the stuff written above. I warmed up a bit after a while, and became all smiles, life is wonderful, I am awesome, all that stuff (like playing some Guitar Hero with my brother, then the husband (who had never played before)). But I don’t think I can hide my pain very well anymore. Hence, I lay it all out here, names withdrawn, for you to read for yourself.

Getting this out in the open will make me feel better. It has been bottled up for too long. If, by chance, any of the parties involved read this story, I apologize if you are offended or have any other non-positive emotion. I am not trying to hurt anybody, just get it off of my chest for perhaps the last time.

Certainly, life for me has been good overall. I have a good job and great friends. And the best family in the world. Who knows where I would be today if things had been different. Maybe in Tucson (which sucks, but is totally worth it for the company that moving there would provide). Or maybe on the east coast somewhere. But I wouldn’t be as close to Jott as I am today; nor to my family; nor to Rickey, Randy, or Mark; nor would I have ever spent 6 wonderful months with Courtney; nor hung out with Denny, Bob & Kel, or Stinkle; nor ever have met Doom, Shorty, Mikey, Ben Araiza, Richard, Lary & Laurel, or Sandii (to name a few – sorry if I missed any of my dear readers); nor enjoyed 3 of the best years of my life in Phoenix Down.

But regardless of all that, she’s the one who got away. She will always be the one who got away.

[tags]Love, Heartbreak, Life[/tags]

Yarsh – always willing to help those less fortunate

The other day, I gave some advice to a friend in need. He was having trouble understanding why his heart got ripped out of his chest by the girl who he was dating for nearly a year. It’s not often that I get a chance to give such advice, especially considering my current relationship status (non-existent), and prior relationships (only 3 actual ‘girlfriends’ – the others never included anything besides talking and hanging out). That’s right – 27 years old, 3 girlfriends. And none of them lasted longer than 6 months.

But I have done my reading, my research. I know what I need to do when the time comes, how to handle a woman in a relationship, how to not become an emotional tampon, and ultimately how to not bore her to the point that she just walks out one day.

There are a number of websites dedicated to helping those of us in need. My main sources are So Suave, The Don Juan forum and David DeAngelo’s Double Your Dating.

The following is the advice that I imparted on him.

A disclaimer: I am saying this as a guy and as a friend, so this will differ from the female perspective that you have already received. Also, I do not want to hurt your feelings in any way, but you may take it that way. Please believe that my comment has your best interest in mind…

… So, here is what I have to say. This may be more your fault than you believe. I hate to say this to you because you are a nice guy. And therein lies the problem. Women, no matter how young or old, want a mystery. A man who is confident, unpredictable, a challenge, and even somewhat cocky. Women don’t want a nice guy. They may say that they do, but it is BS. Women want a good guy (not a nice guy – there is a difference) who is confident of himself and is unpredictable in his actions.

You treated her like a queen. That is a good selling point… at the beginning. But no matter how well you treat them, they will get bored. You have to mix it up. Sure, treat her like a queen one day. But the next day, tell her that you are too busy to see her. In fact, everything should be on your schedule, not hers. And your schedule should NEVER be open ALL of the time, for whenever she wants to see you. If she wants to see you, but you can’t see her that day, it will make her want to see you even more the next day.

You gave her “…roses, poems, whatever…” for no specific reason, which is good on occasion. But soon enough, these actions become predictable. I believe that giving her flowers for no reason is a good thing once in a LONG while (but roses are so overdone – try lillies or tulips. Everyone does roses). But, even if they are “surprise” gifts, you are still giving her gifts and she knows to expect them – you have become predictable, whether they are surprises or not, she expects them to come.

You rubbed her feet, painted her toe nails… you became her bitch. She knew that she could make you do anything and you wouldn’t care. You stopped being a challenge to her and she got bored. Ultimately, this is what it comes down to. If she gets bored, it’s over.

So, [name withheld], this is what you need to remedy. I have no doubt that you are confident. I have no doubt that you are a good person. I have no doubt that all you ever cared about was making her happy. And I have no doubt who is more upset about this breakup. But what I do worry about is your well being, current and future. You need to make some mental changes in how you approach a relationship. You need to be the good guy, not the nice guy. The guy who is charming, caring, and wicked hot. The guy who is confident and unpredictable. They want excitement. They want a mystery man.

My friend has already started taking the steps necessary to get his life back on track, and is dropping the bitch completely from his life. He’s ready to start again. His story has made me want to do more with myself. I am once again a student of the masters. And soon enough, I will put what I have learned into action.

Who’s up for going to Barnes and Noble?

[tags]Dating, Relationships, Don Juan[/tags]

Phoenix, the city of ‘Next Year’

I knew it was too good to be true. That The Suns would have enough steam to plow through the Dallas Mavericks. It is just so heartbreaking to watch your favorite team go down in flames (pun slightly intended). And once again, like all faithful Suns fans, we say “Wait until next year.” And we did it last year, too.

Well, if Joe Johnson hadn’t been injured, we would have beaten San Antonio. But wait until next year…

But it’s not just The Suns. We say the same thing every year with the Arizona Cardinals. The beginning of the football season can’t come soon enough, because we all know that The Cardinals have made some good moves in the off season to shore up some problem spots in the roster. And what are we all saying right now? Wait until this coming football season… The Cardinals have a healthy Kurt Warner. They signed one of the best running backs in football – Edgerrin James. They got a steal in the college draft – Matt Leinart, former USC star quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner; future Cardinals starting quarterback. And all of this talk about a team that was 5-11 last year…

There is no single city* in the USA that can feel our collective pain. If it wasn’t for a then-4-year-old Diamondbacks team, Phoenix/Arizona would have a total of zero pro sports championship trophies.

But we really want the NBA trophy.

So, wait until next year, when we have Amare back.
Wait until next year, when we have Kurt Thomas back.
Wait until next year, when Nash has had another year to let another Western Conference finals loss sink in.
Wait until next year, when Raja Bell doesn’t have a torn calf muscle.
Wait until next year. The Suns will win it all.

*This assumes a minimum of 2 Pro franchises in the following leagues: NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL.
And I’m really just guessing about that… but it certainly feels like Phoenix endures the most pain.

Kevin Smith’s “Me and My Shadow” – UPDATED

I was really hoping to hold off my post about this until the story is completed (in the online blog format), but some other sites have gotten a hold of the story and are starting to link to it. For that reason, I am going to link to it now as well.

I read Kevin Smith’s blog regularly, mostly because of his awesome sense of humor and his extreme candor when it comes to everything in his life (Sex, Movies, et cetera). A couple of weeks ago, he mentioned that a few of the things he had said, in a Q&A session at a college, had become tabloid fodder. It had to do with Jason Mewes, or “Jay” of the famous “Jay & Silent Bob”, and his battle with heroin. But the only thing that spread from that story was a short blurb about how Mewes had sex with Nicole Richie.

This pretty much angered Smith, mostly because of stories being taken out of context. So he did what anybody in his position would do – he began writing the actual story of Jason Mewes, how he came to be friends with him, and how heroin is… bad. He has written 8 parts of the story he callse “Me and My Shadow” thus far, and the story is extremely riveting – I find myself checking to see if the next chapter has been published several times a day.

If anybody has any interest in… anything Kevin Smith related, this story is a must not miss. Keep in mind that you may end up wasting an hour or 2 in reading because it is getting quite long, but is SO worth it. I will update this post whenever a new part is released.

Kevin Smith’s Me and My Shadow
   Part 1
   Part 2
   Part 3
   Part 4
   Part 5
   Part 6
   Part 7
   Part 8
   Part 9 – Conclusion (Update)

A Lesson in Integrity, aka “She bit my f***ing lip”

Saturday night, Randall and I went to the Chamber 8 show. It started off pretty slow, but I ended up with quite a story…

Part 1: Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi…
Our story begins after Chamber 8 finished their set. Randall and I were just chillin’, talking with Anne, Amy, Gary, and a couple of others. We notice that Sommer and Yazmin are getting hit on by a couple of guys (intent on taking them home). Sommer breaks away and joins the group near us (she eventually gets followed by her stalker, Mexidude), while Yaz continues to get free beer from her stalker – Spikeyman (this sort of action has been known to happen in the past). Yazmin is finally able to break free as well, and immediately heads over to Randall and I.

“Help me,” she says. We laugh a bit, but this is where our lesson in integrity truly begins. Randall is a stand-up guy, probably the best I know. If you are a friend in need, he will help. Now, Yazmin isn’t exactly a friend – she’s more like a user, but she asked for help and Randall obliged. The struggle between 2 on-again-off-again lovers had commenced.

“You had sex with another girl…” “Yeah, we were on a break! We were separated for 2 weeks and therefore I am fair game…” (I chime in) “You shouldn’t talk – I was there when he needed a friend. You weren’t.” It seemed to be doing the trick on Spikeyman – he would walk away for a bit, but eventually return. And every time he returned to the area, Yazmin walked back up to him, only to flock right back to us begging for help again.

Finally, it’s nearing closing time and Spikeyman gets kicked out because of some rules they have regarding the purchase of a take-home 6 pack. Yazmin somewhat thanks us after I tell her that Randall saved her, and I ask why she won’t do the same for one of her close friends (Sommer was still being attacked by Mexidude). She calls Sommer over to our little corner and she thanks Yaz for saving her. Bar closes, and we get kicked out.

Part 2: The Persistent Bitches
Like I said, Spikeyman was intent on taking Yazmin home. The charade had to continue outside of the bar due to the screams of “Yazmin!” coming from Spikeyman, who was standing not 15 feet away from us. Yaz ignored him and continued to pursue Randall. This went on for 10 minutes, as Spikeyman continued his raving “Yazmin” and “Bye Yazmin” chants and yells.

She tells Randall to kiss her so that S-man would go away, to which he refuses for a bit, but then finally agrees. It seemed to work, but Spikeyman and Mexidude still were not leaving. We were leaving though, heading to Denny’s for some crappy sober up food. We walk out toward the cars and Randall says “You bit my lip!” She says sorry and that she always does that. I tell her that she owes Randall – BIG time. She agrees – “You want to have sex?… Too bad.”

We get in our cars, and only then do Spikeyman and Mexidude get in their car. Not feeling threatened anymore, we leave. Randall calls me on the road to bitch about Yazmin biting his lip and the entire proceedings.

Part 3: A Sobering Experience
At Denny’s, the whole story is all of the rage between Randall, Anne, Amy, Gary, and I. R refuses to talk to Yazmin, and I protect him from any interference by her. Randall decides to play a little hangman. He writes out the phrase and I answer it correctly before a single letter is guessed…

The only reason I mention being at Denny’s is that I got to chat some more with Amy and Gary, who are awesome and good people to hang out with (and I wanted to give them their due props).

Part 4: A Lesson Learned
I have had a few days now to ponder the proceedings of Saturday night. They include a couple of lessons that are valuable to me and perhaps others.

1. I should not have let this situation happen for Randall’s sake. If I was in the same position, I would have done exactly the same thing. But I didn’t prevent anything from happening when I could have.

If you are a good looking girl, who uses her looks to get free booze (and probably a whole lot more), then you should know how to handle that sort of situation on your own. You’re asking for it because you lead the guy on with no intention of making any of their hopes a reality. On the flip side, what Yaz did was probably exactly how she would handle the situation any other time – by using another guy to do her dirty work. I didn’t see this until it was too late. And for this, I apologize to Randall.

2. Grow some balls. I could have, at any time, saved Sommer from Mexidude myself. But since I was intimidated by her looks and personality, I let it be. Only after we got Yazmin away from Spikeyman did I suggest helping Sommer (and I wasn’t the one that even did it).

3. Twice we have seen Chamber 8 play, and twice I have had interesting stories to tell about the night. I’m looking forward to the next…


Phone-Camera pic of Yarsh and Randall @ Denny’s (3:30am) courtesy of Amy

Fin

Yesterday marked the end of my tenure with Trax Technologies. I am full of mixed emotions about this. I have been, and will continue to be, restrained in what I say about the company that has given me 2+ years of employment. However, I did want to say a few final things.

To start, my job was outsourced, or ‘offshored’ as they like to say, and therefore it was not my decision to leave. Over the past 6-8 months, company-wide morale has been going down. I could probably count on 1 hand the number of people in the U.S. office who are truely happy with their jobs. With this in mind, I was not upset when I found out that I was being “released.” I actually saw it as a blessing and a great opportunity for growth. And now the time has officially come to move on.

And that’s where the mixed emotions come into play. I now need to find a new job. This actually scares me because I had been stuck in a mostly configuration and support-based role for the last 8 months, and although I do feel that I have a grasp on programming in C# and ASP.NET (with my skills extending into classic ASP, Javascript, VB, CSS, HTML, etc), I tend to doubt my skills when I truely need them. Like in job interviews.

There’s the rub.

I will break out of this funk, I have no doubt of that. And I am hitting C# hard right now, with individual time – in books, contract work, and sample projects – as well as in a group environment with Jeff (who is, and will continue to be, my development mentor). I am confident that my skills are getting back into shape daily.

I’m ready to move up and move on.

Goodbye Sober Day

I have 2 things to say.

1) I have entered the last 26 days of employment with my current employer. I don’t necessarily see this as a bad thing, more like a good opportunity, but the reason for leaving is… unfortunate to say the least. My boss has chosen to move in-house development to a far-off land (outside of the USA). I don’t agree with the idea of moving a job outside of the USA when it is to replace a worker in the States. Creating new jobs overseas is not an issue with me – in fact, I welcome it. But not at the expense of someone in the USA (it’s ironic: Saving money at the expense of others. Me, in this case).

The good news is that I am close to finding my next employment residence. I have an interview next week with a company that could be a perfect match for me. I just hope that my programming knowledge doesn’t go into hiding during the interview. I have, in the past, choked while taking a development proficiency test. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Wish me luck…

2) I am not the only person who is losing their job. My brother‘s last day here was on Tuesday. I am sure that everything will be just fine for him. The thing that upsets me the most is that I won’t get to see him every day (of the work week). Sure we’ll still hang out, but we won’t have the convenience of chatting every day like we had here. Someday, though, I hope to be in a position to help him like he has helped me in the past. And then we can get our chat on.