I will smack you like a bad bad donkey, ok?

Archive for February, 2006


Posted by pete on 27th February 2006

I’ve been ranting a bit lately on much of the “show security” you see around here, mostly at airports, but also on subways and in other public spaces. Here is a good article by Patrick Smith on the matter, put much better than I can. Bruce Schneier has also written a lot about stupid U.S. airline security. (Here is a particularly good article.)

Mr. Smith article describes the fairly low-key reaction of Spain to the Madrid subway bombings. Why so low-key when we’re so wound-up? We both have experienced terrorist attacks. (Anyone remember Oklahoma City or the first World Trade Center bombing?) Maybe it’s because they have a much longer history with being a terrorist target? How about England’s reaction to their (more recent) terrorist attacks? They have a long history with terrorists too. I seem to recall that their reaction is closer to ours, at least with respect to abrogation of personal freedoms. (Maybe the English feel less entitled than Americans do, at least with respect to personal freedoms?)

Here’s a paragraph from Mr. Smith’s article that I especially like.

Except the Spanish, as victims, are sensible enough to realize that there’s only so much you can do, and don’t squander their resources on measures that do nothing to prevent bombings and everything to waste time and infringe on people’s rights. The citizens of Madrid might be fearful of additional carnage, but they’re also sensible and, in a quiet way, defiant. Our own reaction to terrorism has been anything but defiant — other than dropping bombs and shooting rockets at people, most of whom have nothing to do with the problem.

I think Americans are confusing offense for defiance.

Posted in Geekery | No Comments »


Posted by pete on 18th February 2006

Just under three weeks left until I’m let go at work and the anxiety is quickly mounting. I’ve gotten a couple bites internally, but I’m only interested in one of them. It seems to be a small step in the right direction towards my dream job of today, but might include a lot of things I’m not interested in, so I’m still looking around. Sadly, I’ve seen very little external interest. I’ve applied for a position at GMU that I only half qualified for — Oracle and Linux Admin — mostly because it’d be a great commute that I could easily make on my bike. I’ve also applied for a few positions at Mitre and one at Booz Allen Hamilton, but they both seem to have a very long hiring process, if they’re even interested.

There are a few things I’ve learned in this process so far:

  • I don’t speak the language. I am unfamiliar with Governmentese. Holy crap! The computer industry has nothing on government. This makes filling out applications for government contractors (such as Mitre and BAH) rather frustrating and depressing. I’m sure I’ve got all kinds of things covered by those acronyms, but none of it fits exactly to them.
  • If I had a security clearance, I’d be golden. At least half to two-thirds of the job postings I see require a current clearance. I’m sure I could be cleared, but nobody wants to clear a new applicant. Heck, I’d even apply for some of these positions if they didn’t have a directive right at the top in BIG BOLD LETTERS saying that only people with active clearances should apply.
  • Most online job application systems are terrible interfaces.

Anyway, the search continues. Here’s my updated resume (text, PDF). As usual, comments and corrections are welcome.

Posted in Job Search | No Comments »

Something Interesting and V2.0

Posted by pete on 13th February 2006

Lis found an interesting posting on the Washington Post Jobs site, so I rushed out v2.0 of Resume 2006 by incorporating a few of Knitbot’s suggestions. Hopefully, it’s not too bad. Any comments welcome.

Posted in Job Search | 1 Comment »

Hacking the System

Posted by pete on 8th February 2006

I’ve been playing games with G on the computer over the past month or so. There is the new game that we got her recently that’s based on a movie series she likes. As with most of the games for her age group, it consists of a handful of activities for her to do combined with some reward — usually video clips — that they earn by playing the activities. In this game, playing one activity earns one video clip.

Since G really likes the characters in this game, she’s especially interested in the reward part. She learned on her own that she only has to enter an activity, then exit for it to register as having played an activity, She then goes to the reward area to see another video. Wash, rinse, repeat with the tenacity of a three year old.

I’m so proud. :-D

Posted in Geekery, Parenthood | No Comments »

Resume 2006, v1.0

Posted by pete on 6th February 2006

I did get some feedback on my resume (thanks dad and Lis), so here’s the first release version. Any of the three or four of you who read this blog are welcome to scatter this to the wind. Maybe one of them will find suitable purchase. Any constructive feedback is also welcome. Thanks.

Posted in Job Search | No Comments »

The State of the Music is Good

Posted by pete on 4th February 2006

A little over a year ago, I posted about how incredibly crappy the radio is around here in northern Virginia. This, as far as I know, hasn’t changed. It’s still crappy music radio and possibly even more crappy. The good news is that I’ve found a few sources of new music. First, I eventually did get XM, although kind of ironically, I spend most of my time listening to the comedy channels. The 80s music station just serves to remind us that, while there was a lot of good 80s music, a lot of it as crappy too.

To me, the most interesting discovery was Salon Audiofile. Just about every day, the provide at least one link to some free MP3 download from somewhere around the Internet. Every-so-often, they’ll have an exclusive track. I’ve heard a huge amount of good music from them and got turned onto Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Brujeria, Clap You Hands Say Yeah, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Brendan Benson (the links I had have expired), Alex Chilton, and Great Lakes Myth Society (reminds me of being in Buffalo, for some reason), to name just a tiny few. It’s highly worth the $35/yr membership cost.

I’ve also recently discovered Stereogum. They have a download feed like Salon’s Audiofile, but it’s free. I haven’t had the time to listen to the tracks I’ve gotten from them yet, but it looks promising.

So anyway, this past year’s been pretty good musically. Not the best, but definitely the best in at least 10 years. It’s pretty refreshing to hear all this great new stuff.

Posted in Music | No Comments »

Ugh, Resume

Posted by pete on 4th February 2006

Now that I’ve been laid-off, a fire’s been lit under my butt to get my resume done. I hate doing resumes as everyone has a different opinion as to how things should be, what should be said, what should not be said, where things should go, etc. Nevertheless, I’ve talked with Lis about this and made some changes and I’d like the three or four people who read this to help me too. Would you read over my resume and let me know what you think? Any errors or improvements? Better yet, any jobs? :)

Posted in Job Search | No Comments »

So This Is How It Feels

Posted by pete on 1st February 2006

So this is how it feels to be laid off. My position is being eliminated. I can’t say I’m really surprised by it and I’m glad that I was given a good amount of time before it’s effective (3/10, FWIW). I now have this time to help transition my responsibilities to other people in my team, other groups in the company, and to eliminate the rest.

I also have time to find a new position either within or outside. Now I really need to get working on that resume. I’ve been suspecting that I’ve needed to, but inertia is not my friend. At least this is a good kick in the pants with respect to overcoming said inertia.
I haven’t yet decided whether or not I want to stay or go. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. I guess the best thing I can do is to keep an open mind and see what’s available. So… Anyone know of any good job openings?

Posted in Job Search | No Comments »

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