3:40 PM

So here's the thing.  I drink Monster.  I drink a lot of Monster and I've gotten Meg addicted to the stuff as well.  Whenever I have one there is usually a feeling of euphoria that comes over me along with a sense that I can accomplish nearly anything.  Nothing crazy like Become President, or Solve World Hunger.  Littler things like I can get a book published, or become a songwriter as a career.

Lately, I've worried that my dreams of becoming a Lawyer or even just getting a Bachelors Degree in History are too ambitious.  Particularly when I listen to the news about the economy and stories on NPR about how being unemployed long term changes a person.

The latest Monster induced fantasy is about blogging.  Dumb, lame and been done.  I know.  That's what happens when you drink and read Wil Wheaton though.  You start thinking, 'Ok, I'm enjoying this, but I could totally do this just as well'.  It isn't until after the caffeine withdrawals hit and your endorphin levels steady that the reality sets in.  Wil Wheaton was famous before he started blogging.  He had a small but fanatical fan base. If he wants to write about nothing in particular, there are people that will listen.

Other bloggers like the one my wife reads, TheBloggess, are just so damn entertaining that you can't help but enjoy the humor and irreverence of the stories.  I bust a gut laughing about the metal chicken incident.

But what do I have?  Seriously, what in the world can I contribute the landscape of the blogosphere.  It's already been made apparent to me that "Everyone is a writer" (the '.. thinks they are...' clause is implied in that statement.  The same way that "Everyone is a photographer".  So seriously, do I have a shot?

Then there's the passion thing.  You're supposed to LOVE what you do.  In Mr. Wheaton's book he says something like, "You have to love it so much that it's worth all the rejection".  That could easily be modified to say "... it's worth the work".  There are only a two things that I really really enjoy, and one of them no one would pay me to do, and the other... well no one would pay me to do that either.

So what's the solution.  An elephant bred with a rhinoceros.

3:39 PM

New Truck in Town

San Diego has a new trend it seems like.  Gobs of food are available on the street.  Not litterally on the street because that would be gross, but the concept of having food accessible to people on the sidewalk from the street is a legitimate one.  Food Trucks.  San Diego has them.  Especially if you're looking at www.foodtrucksd.com .  That site can show where they are and when they'll be there and you'll be able to find one quickly and if you're hungry, they will satisfy that hunger with delicious foods.

The FoodTrucks that I have found were MIHO Gastrotruck which serves all Farm Fresh food.  They have the best hamburger I think I've ever eaten.  It was so non-traditional.  Instead of pickles, mustard, mayo and ketchup, it had things like aioli and arugula.  The Lamb-Burger was especially good.

The best Cheese Steak I also found on www.foodtrucksd.com.  It was from Devilicious.  Who would have thought that food coming from a grill off a truck could be that delicious.  They were actually on the Food Network on a show especially for food trucks.

12:21 PM

Had a phone interview today

It's still only just past noon today, but it's turning out to be a good one I think.  There's a Law Firm that is looking for a computer support specialist, and gave me a phone interview this morning.  Finger's crossed, I'll be called back for an in person interview with the hiring manager.

Funny thing is, I don't know if I want the job or not.  Getting it will introduce a hole slew of other issues.  Will I be able to finish my bachelor's degree in the next 2 years if I take it?  Can I really leave Meg and the kids to go to Bakersfield anyway?  I would kind of rather go to CSUB and maybe CSUSM, I still don't know.

With Meg leaving to Honduras in a couple of weeks here (wow, less than 2) Can I really start a new job?  How will it affect my unemployment, financial aid, school plans ...

It almost seems easier to just not get the job and keep focusing on school.

8:51 PM

Over a Year

At the age of 36 I had still never walked in any kind of commencement ceremony.  You wouldn't think it would be that big a deal, or at least that over time the regret would subside.  I thought it had until I got the email from my community college that I had qualified for an Associate's Degree and would be able to participate in the 2011 graduation ceremony.  All my life I had belittled that college calling it "Harvard on the Hill" and "13th grade" implying that it was only barely more than a high school.  While that still may be true, and while community colleges get no respect (mostly due to the non-exclusivity factor) I was proud to have earned that degree.  It may not seem like an accomplishment to most people.  In fact, I still minimize it somewhat.  The fact is though, had it not been for that school, at this time in my life, I would have lost hope.

Jobless, and feeling worthless it was just my last opportunity to prove to myself that I am not an idiot.  I put a good show for people and they get the sense that I'm an intelligent guy who thinks deeply.  The reality is that I talk slowly because I am not quick witted.  Like anyone, I can see humor in things and inconsistencies, but this degree is tangible proof that I have put in the work, the studying, the analysis, the critical thinking to earn it.  With it, I see the possibility of no longer playing the part of a scholar, I can be one.

I intend to go on, and that ceremony moved me to tears.  Helped me to feel that opportunities are attainable.  I enjoyed that feeling immensely, and I want it again.  I plan to continue my education and now have a goal to walk again in 2 years, and again two years after that.  I'm not stopping until I have a law degree, and maybe not even then.

8:03 PM

nook II

This post unlike the other nook post is just about the nook and not done from my nook.

I'm pretty impressed by it so far.  I've been able to read more than I have in the entire time we've been married since getting it.  That number would be really impressive if reading was a hobby up until now.  Strange that it took a geek device for me to appreciate the joy of quietly getting engrossed in a storyline.  Maybe not so strange seeing as I am a geek.

There are benefits and drawbacks to it though and with the newest firmware upgrade, there are more of both.

First the main draw is that you can download books (some free through the Google Books project) straight to the device, through AT&T's mobile network.  I find though that for free books, the quality of gutenberg.org and feedbooks.org are superior.  Many of the free books are also available from Barnes & Noble (the only place you can purchase books through for the nook) for very cheap.  Usually $0.99 - $2 and somehow, no sales tax.

The price of most books is cheaper too.  One example is American Lion about Andrew Jackson.  The hardcover is $18 and the eBook is $10.  Score.  I got a $30 gift card from my mother-in-law and still haven't used it all.  I'm very frugal with books still.

With the newest firmware upgrade the additions have been
1) Games
  - Sudoku
  - Chess
2) Web Browser
3) an improved dictionary function.
4) Moved the Audio Player to the main menu

Now I think that putting games on it is a bad idea.  It minimizes the point of the device and tries poorly to do something that it's not for.  Let PS3 and Apple do "everything".  nook should just do one thing and do it well. Playing chess has nothing to do with reading, except that it might be the same segment of the population that gets into both in a big way.  Still, for me it's a distraction which I don't need.

The web browser would be cool if it did two things that it doesn't.  You can only browse if you're using you're using the WiFi and not using the AT&T's network.  That's lame.  The other thing that would make it cool is if you could download books from other sources like the aforementioned gutenberg.org and feedbooks.org.  But you can't.  You still have to download them to your laptop, PS3, PC, iCrap, G1, smartphone ..... and then sideload (and yes I know I'm a sellout for using that word) to the nook.  Which begs the question; Why not just read the book on one of those?

My G1 for example has an eBook reader app that will go and get a book, download it and let me read it, while listening to music on the music player, and let me use thefreedictionary.com (app) to look up words.  All with a backlight.  And it fits in my pocket.  Pretty much it does everything my nook does, better, other than the screen size and battery life, which is why I got my nook in the first place.

So anyway, nook is cool, but should stick to doing the one thing it does well.  Keep the music player, bag the games, improve the dictionary or use an online one, and mostly add text to speech.  That would make it perfect in my mind.  A browser that let's me use the cell network to download free better books would just be gravy.

12:57 PM

nook

I m writin this blog from my n crap i just hit the home 'n' and thought i lost it all. ook that i bought before i got fired. I won't be correcring any mispelling just to see ho
w accuratr it is. It seems pretty c goo

8:03 AM

Unemployment

So I just got my first unemployment check yesterday.  It seems weird to have been paid for getting fired and filling out the appropriate paperwork.  Oddly enough, it didn't come until I'd been out of work for almost a month.  If I was truly in need, I'd be living on the street right now.  Luckily my final paycheck and tax refund were sufficient to hold us.

Additionally we qualified for "food stamps" and have been eating really well.  Costco accepts them so we bought in bulk and have plenty of food.  On this part I was feeling a little guilty.  Enough so that I didn't want my parents to find out, a challenge considering the tight knit nature of my family.  Mom especially would have put me on a guilt trip for being 'part of the problem'.  That's pretty much been my take on any kind of government assistance too.  They are a group that takes from the system instead of contributing.

When mom did find out, she was not only understanding, she was almost excited for me.  The perspective finally came when she said "You have nothing to feel guilty about.  You've been contributing and this is exactly the situation that it's there for."

That felt good to realize that I'm not 'bilking the government'.  Instead I'm drawing on the monies that for years I have been paying into Social Security and Unemployment and Disability Ins.  Maybe that makes me a Democrat, that I'm grateful that the government took my money for .... 15 years?  So that I could draw on it when I needed it.

Hmm.  That brings up an interesting math question then.  How much have I paid in vs. how much am I alloted to draw?  A question for another post I guess.