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I was listening to my iPod this morning, set on random, and it only seemed to play either German music (in the original German, like Nena’s 99 Luftballons or Falco’s Vienna Calling) or music about rain (like Tina Turner’s I Can’t Stand The Rain or Eurythmics’ Here Comes The Rain Again). It was sort of eerie.

I passed my test yesterday, and it was sort of interesting because they had stopped giving scores on the Microsoft certification tests, but I got a score. I passed with a 913 (700 being the minimum passing score). Assuming all of the questions are equally weighted, that means I missed five of the 55 questions… but since that doesn’t quite work out to 91.3%, I don’t think the questions are all worth the same. Regardless, they also broke the score up into topic areas (like different points the test was trying to cover) and I got “strong” ratings on all of the areas (ratings range from “strong” to “needs development”), so I’m feeling pretty good.

That leaves me with one more test before I get my MCSD.NET certification. The next one, Analyzing Requirements for .NET Applications (or something like that), I haven’t had the class for; I only have the practice test. I will have to look over the practice test to see how the questions look. From the title of the test, I’m thinking I may be able to muddle through.

But not tonight. Tonight, in celebration, I’m taking the night off from studying and, since Jenn’s out at one of her meetings, I’ll be playing Playstation. Oh, yeah.

You know, this morning driving in to work I had a lot more to say. I don’t even remember what now. Man, such is the way my life’s going anymore. I can’t remember shit.

My boss was telling me that he may not be able to post his thoughts as cathartically on his blog as I do on mine because he “might say something he’ll regret.” I dunno about that. I mean, it’s your site, right? Why be censored? There’s gotta be somewhere in the world where you can just be you without having to factor in what everyone else thinks, otherwise you’re living in a prison. I mean, if the company wants to fire me because I say something they don’t like, well… I guess in that instance I’d decide that working for the Third Reich is not quite where I needed to be. But that hasn’t happened (yet) so let’s hope it never comes down to that. Right?

I’ve been getting random job-offer-related spam lately in my inbox (how can you take a job offer that gets mass-mailed seriously?). For those recruiters who are sifting through sites and wanting me to come work for you, here’s the deal:

You have to offer equal or better benefits compared to what I’m getting now. You definitely have to offer better pay, and probably significantly so since changing jobs is a big pain. The position has to be a permanent, full-time position - I don’t do contracts since I don’t like guessing whether I’m going to get paid again, and I don’t do part-time because I do need to pay the rent. I’m not interested in relocating unless you’re really paying well, and by that I mean I’m not relocating if I can’t get rich off you or have the potential of retiring 10+ years early. Moving around for the same amount of money just won’t cut it. And, finally, I am getting certified as an MCSD.NET. That means I’m working with some pretty recent technology and am doing well with that. I really don’t want to go back to programming VB6 stuff or writing low-level shit like device drivers, nor do I feel the need to work in Windows 95 or even Windows 98 anymore. If you’re not in the now, don’t bother spamming me.

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A good weekend was generally had by all, yet it still seems like it could have been longer. Amazing how that is.

Friday my friend Darren called me up and let me know that his brothers Greg and Glen were in town on tour with Delerium and Conjure One, and wondered if I’d like to go.

Hell, yeah!

Headed over to the Crystal Ballroom, caught some awesome tunes, finally met Darren’s brothers, and had a great time.

Jenn wasn’t so into it, but what can I say? She likes what she likes and she’s not really a “music person,” if you know what I mean.

Saturday I went to Fry’s and Costco and ended up getting a couple more Best Of Saturday Night Live DVDs. I got the Adam Sandler one and the Molly Shannon one.

After watching them both, I’m now remembering that Adam Sandler, while funny, didn’t actually do a whole lot on SNL. Molly Shannon, though… she just cracks me up. I hope they come out with a Cheri Oteri disc. She’s my favorite.

Saturday afternoon Jenn and I went to my cousin Jenni’s son Shane’s (what does that make Shane to me? is that a cousin too?) birthday party. Pretty much my whole extended family was there from my mom’s side, so it was good to see them and catch up. Most of them live in the Seattle area, so I’m going to have to plan a trip up there to visit soon.

Cousin Jenni starts chemo for the tumor behind her left knee on Tuesday. Ugh. With any luck, she’ll pull through. I’m sure she’ll be fine; she’s a survivor.

The party was sort of interesting, though. Not only was my family there, but Jenni (and her husband Jesse) had their friends, too. Jenni and Jesse are into the Harley motorcycle thing, so there were a lot of biker folks there. Interesting people, but I did feel a bit like I was guest-starring on American Chopper.

Sunday was pretty relaxing. Didn’t do much, and it was the first day of rain we’ve had in a while, so it was a good day to stay in. Played some more PS2. Watched some movies (Identity, From Justin To Kelly, A Man Apart). That’s about it.

Today, I’m finally wearing normal shoes (not sandals) and one of my I [Heart] Toxic Waste shirts, Real Genius style. I have a test at 2:00 today on ASP.NET - the second to last test for my MCSD.NET certification. One more after this, and it’s done. Jury’s still out on whether I’ll go for the MCDBA. It’s a lot of work.

My boss finally put up his own blog. Took him long enough. I figured he’d have jumped on this bandwagon long ago. Let’s see how long he’ll keep up with it before he gets too busy and stops posting or just generally forgets it’s there…

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It turns out that my cousin has had a lump the size of a walnut sitting on the back of her knee for the past two years but was afraid to get it checked… and now it’s the size of a tennis ball and wrapped around her vascular system. She went in and got the official word - it’s cancer. She’ll be starting chemotherapy on Tuesday. Unfortunately, due to the way it’s wrapped around in there, they can’t operate on it. If the chemo doesn’t work, she may lose her leg.

The day just gets better and better.

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I scheduled my next test, MS 070-315: Developing and Implementing Web Applications with Microsoft Visual C#.NET and Microsoft Visual Studio.NET, for this coming Monday at 2:00p. It’s scheduled to run for two-and-a-half hours, but I’m hoping it doesn’t actually take that long. The last few have been like that - scheduled for a long time but only taking about an hour. Here’s hoping. I’ve been studying the practice test I have and it’s feeling pretty good. It covers pretty much everything that wasn’t in the training course, which figures. I think I should be able to muddle through reasonably well with my existing experience and some good old logic. Maybe.

Jenn’s birthday is coming up and I nearly had to beat her to death to get a list of things she’d like for gifts. She says she doesn’t know what she wants, but somehow expects me to come up with some surprise thing that she wants but doesn’t know it. Riiiiight. I basically laid out that I’m tired of being the critical thinking problem solver when I provide a HUGE list for people every holiday (like, over a hundred different things) and people still complain that I didn’t provide a big enough selection. Fuck that, man. No list = Sizzler gift certificate.

I was playing Amplitude again last night and the more I play it, the more I realize how true it is that you can’t think while you play, you just have to play. I mean, like, Jenn was trying to talk at me (more “at” than “to” at the time, methinks) while I was working on a particularly difficult song, and while she was talking there was no way I could do it because I was trying to concentrate on her words. Same goes for checking the score - I can’t be looking around, thinking about the score or anything - I just have to play the game. No explicit brain work involved; simple implicit functioning. And let me tell you how nice and relaxing that is. To not have to think, just to do.

I believe that’s what’s wearing me out at work. When I’m at work (which, seriously, anymore I totally dread), I’m wiped out. Why? Because I don’t just get to program stuff and exercise knowledge that I’ve learned; I only ever get to fight these difficult uphill battles of me vs. technology - work on undocumented product with no help and too much to do… you don’t realize how totally exhausting it is.

Plus, for the last few months I go home and I study to take the certification tests. So it’s not like I get a break when I get home. I don’t remember most of college being this stressful, but the parts that were… well, let’s just say that I took a break from studying over the Labor Day holiday last weekend and I didn’t miss it a bit.

All that, combined with stuff like “I don’t know what I want for my birthday but I won’t be happy with a gift certificate so you’d best figure something out” makes me either want to pass out or kill someone. I’m honestly not sure which.

I’ll survive. It would just be nice to not have to fight all day to get things to work. It would be nice if I could do something easy for a change. It’d be nice to work on something other than SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Somehow, I don’t see ever escaping this thing, though. Even after rollout, there’s user training and continued development and everything else on SPS 2003, so regardless of how optimistic my boss is about “seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” I’m convinced it’s more a black hole than a tunnel. There’s no light, just endless dark.

I wonder what’s on Monster today…

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So the mayor of Portland forced the police chief to resign a week ago and then had a press conference to tell us why.

She said something about how there was a “rift in the community” and that she was trying to get people to come together.

This morning it clicked for me as to why this happened, and it looks like Marty sort of had it click, too.

See, back in May, this cop pulled over Kendra James, an African-American individual who had existing drug and escape charges against her and a warrant out for her arrest. They told her to get out of the car, she didn’t. They tried to pull her out of the car. She wouldn’t come out. Then she started driving away, so they shot at her. One shot hit her and ended up killing her.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if the cops tell me to get out of the car and I decide not to and try to drive away, I fully expect them to shoot at me. If I end up getting killed, it’s probably because I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I mean, you get fair warning, right? It’s not like you don’t know you’re in trouble.

Further, consider this - she’d been in and out of jail for other robbery, theft, and drug convictions. Four times she’d been in and out of jail for this stuff. Am I sorry they shot her? Well, I don’t like the unnecessary loss of human life in any event, but let’s just say it’s not hurting my feelings that my tax dollars don’t have to support her delinquent ass in jail. Again.

So, anyway, this got huge in the press around here. Holy shit, man, a white cop from a precinct headed by a white cop shooting a black lady? What is the world coming to? God forbid we try to stop the bad people in the world, but especially don’t try if they’re a minority

Back to the forced resignation of the police chief:

The mayor said she wanted to get the community back behind the police, and I didn’t understand why the resignation of the chief would do that… until I saw that she had appointed a black guy to be the new chief.

Huh. That’s an interesting thing. Everything’s going well, except for the media coverage… but everything else is fine - the chief’s doing a decent job and wants to continue doing so. The media goes south, and we’ve got a new police chief. Funny how things work.

For the record, I hate racism. I think it’s a deplorable act to be prejudiced against someone based on the color of their skin (or, really, for any other reason - I’m totally in favor of tolerance and acceptance for all). And if you’re a criminal, you should get what’s coming to you. Regardless of your skin color. If you run from the cops, you’re taking that risk on yourself. It’s not the police’s fault you decided to resist arrest. And it’s not the color of your skin that’s making you rip off the local liquor store. Face up to your responsibilities and accept the consequences of your actions, people. Things would work a lot smoother around here if you would.