Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Waiting ...

I hate to wait!  I hate uncertainty!  I hate being chained to the phone.

Yesterday I got a phone call from one of the headhunters that I have been working with telling me that I was on a list of three coders for a job in Des Moines.  The department wanted all three but Management had only approved two.  I was not told my position on the list.

This morning I received a couple of phone calls from a couple of headhunters on this same requirement.  I was asked about my commitment to going to Iowa to do the work and ability to get there quickly.  I was also told to be available for the whole day.  I feel like a caged animal pacing around in my apartment all day.  And I didn’t get the bloody phone call.

Right now I still don’t know how the whole thing played out.  Was I #3 and they would only take 2?  Are they going to wait until both 1 and 2 accepted to tell me I am the odd man out?  Did the client resent being pressured by the headhunters?  Will I find out tomorrow that everything’s groovy?

Normally I hate cell phones: I like the idea of being out of touch.  This is a time where it would come in handy.  The problem with cell phones is that you have to buy in to the whole thing.  I can’t just get a cell phone for a day or two and not drink the cell phone cool-aid.  If I give someone my cell phone number, they would expect to be able to use it any time.

I guess I could get a cell phone and have my land line forward it when I want to play that game, but I really can’t justify the expense being a free agent programmer who hasn’t paid off the dot com bust yet.  I will put up with the dark side of not having a cell phone to avoid the dark side of having one.

Now I have to get ready for an early phone interview with a company in Cleveland.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Christmas time is here!

Christmas time is here, and it’s time to for us to go out and max out our credit cards.  As a free agent programmer, I’m really concerned about my budget.  Every time I see an ad suggesting that a 72” high-def plasma TV would be the “perfect gift” for the caretaker of my building, I am reminded of the fact that I don’t have much $$$, and I won’t have much $$$ until I can find my next gig.

It seams to me that Christmas was all about guilting me into buying stuff that no one needs for all my casual relations.  The whole retail economy is based on our buying ridiculous gift for our family, friends, co-workers, enemies, etc.

I see ads on the tube that suggest things like big ass TV’s, monster computers, luxury cars, etc.  I’m surprised that I haven’t seen ads for real estate (wouldn’t you love to get a Des Moines bungalow this year).

I know some people who give as a competitive sport (and I can’t figure out how to become the target of their giving).  I knew two guys who were life long friends and they would try to give the other person the better gift; that is a contest I could enjoy loosing.

I refuse to take Christmas gifting seriously.  I do give everyone in my family something for Christmas (I even wrap up junk for my ma, she likes to open presents); I just don’t go overboard.  If I were ever in a position to be generous, I would give for other occasions.  I think this holiday overload corrupts the whole idea of the holiday.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Heresy

It’s Thanksgiving and I’m not having turkey.

I know that it is un-American.  With this confession, I am risking W’s black helicopters coming to my apartment and taking me to Guantanamo Bay.

How did I loose faith in such an important American Institution?  Well, my mother didn’t like to cook.  The only thing she cooked well was Lasagna, so that is what we had for Thanksgiving.  We were thankful to have food that tasted good instead of carbonized turkey, dressing stew, etc.

(I don’t have Lasagna every year; I’ve also had pizza, lamb, salmon, steak, more pizza, etc.)

My other un-American confession: I will not do any shopping on Friday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The TC

Today I got an email from a Monster with a job description from an organization called The Technical Committee or “The TC”.  If you don’t know what the TC is, it’s an organization that ensures that Microsoft follows the 2002 settlement on behalf of the various plaintiffs.  You can read all about it on their site

If you want to have some fun with their site:

Browse to their site using FireFox (or most other W3C compliant browser, I also tried it with Amaya, I don’t have Opera) and click on the link “What is The TC?”,  Where do you go? Nowhere (the link is to file:///Y:/Web/Thetc.htm#What is the TC).

Do a View Page Source.  In the code you will see:

<META content=FrontPage.Editor.Document name=ProgId>

That means they used Microsoft FrontPage. If you view the page in IE (which will render the page correctly) you will see:

<meta name="GENERATOR" content="Microsoft FrontPage 5.0">

FrontPage is this truly evil software that implements themes with out the help of CSS (or XLST) and only works properly in IE.  So, if you are a citric of Microsoft and want to follow the adventures of this important committee you need to use a Microsoft browser!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

So I decided to Blog

Allow me to introduce myself ...

I'm Jack Stephens, an unemployed ASP.NET / C# programmer currently located in Spokane.

So I decided to cave in and start a blog.    I gave into the overwhelming pressure of Internet fashion and this is the unfortunate result.

Starting a blog begs questions, like:

  1. Do I have anything to say? No.
  2. What will I blog about?  I don’t know.  Probably what I know:

Being unemployed and my quest to find a job.

Programming and the technologies that I use: The Evil Empire’s .NET.  Including: the .NET Framework ASP.NET, ADO.NET, C#, VB.NET, etc.

Geekdom in Spokane (and wherever I end up after the job search)

  1. Will anyone outside of my family ever read this?  Probably not.
  2. Will anyone in my family ever read this? Again, probably not.

So here’s my blog.  I know that I’m late into the game, but I need to get into it someone if I don’t want to be totally lame.