Saturday, September 09, 2006

Updates, updates, updates...

Been a long time since I've managed to post, so here goes:


And I'm lovin' it! Things didn't quite go how I'd planned--I had to sort of wing it on a few things--grabbing opportunities that presented themselves and such. I quit my job at the beginning of June and came up to NH to work at an awesome camp I found online.

I spent the summer working as an athletics counselor and rowing instructor for boys between 10 and 13. I had an absolute blast! The folks who run the camp are awesome--intelligent, interesting, talented, competent, and professional. The other summer staff were really cool--the above goes for them as well. And the boys were just great! I am going to try my best to work with them again next summer.

Now living in Canterbury, NH, way out in the boonies. I don't have cell phone signal (although the Verizon and Cingular subscribers seem to). I'm living on an "estate" with the personal assistant of the woman who owns the estate. My roommate is Allayn, female, 50, and she's cool. First night I was here, I found out she's a big Warren Zevon fan as well. So I broke out my Zevon CDs and we listened to them and drank all night.

The folks here are sort of hippies, which isn't too bad. They're into the organic farming thing, but they aren't doing it as a business, apparently. They've got a nice dog (Nanook) who looks a bit like a miniature polar bear. They've got several cats, and a couple of horses. The view is wonderful, and it's quiet out here.

I'm looking for a job. I've got a temporary job as a security guard for New Hampshire International Speedway. Went to orientation for that job today. That's not a great paying job, and it's only until the 17th or so, but it's something. I've dropped a bunch of resumes off looking for an entry level machinist job. Haven't had any calls yet, but it's still early. There are a lot of jobs up here--I may have to take something else until I can find a machine shop that will take a chance on me.

Had to buy a new computer first thing--my other one died sitting in my car all summer. Just got the net hooked to my 'puter finally tonight--thus the update.

Monday, April 17, 2006

And again: Still Alive

Been really busy lately. Looks like I may be moving to Exeter, NH in May--perhaps the early part of the month. Talking to a great company about a good job. Looking at apartments--probably look for somone who is looking for a roommate.

I can't wait. I feel like I've been marking time, just spinning my wheels with everything on hold while I've been in Alabama.

Still dealing with stupid crap at work. I don't think I'll be working at any universities any more. Too many folks in positions of authority who are there because they lack the competence to rise above assistant french fry cook in the marketplace.

I end up questioning my sanity and my senses all the time. "They didn't actually say what I thought I heard them say, did they?" "I must be hallucinating--they can't actually be doing that, can they?" "I'm crazy for suspecting someone must be either severely mentally damaged or too stupid to live to think that they would do or say X, right?"

I am convinced that I am capable of handling any customer service oriented job after this place--because it is literally customer service hell--stupid, illiterate, innumerate, and downright insane people, asking stupid, nsane questions, having absolutely no clue where they are, what the problem is, or what exactly it is they want, and asking for the 1)literally impossible; or 2) things above and beyond our current capabilities, without decreasing their prior demands, and most certainly without being willing to pay for the increased demands. Furthermore, they are extremely rude, do not bother to take responsibility for doing their own jobs (such as complaining to us about their not having AC, when they have the purchase order from the contractor who is to repair the system on their desk, and they refuse to sign it), and refuse to follow even basic submission guidelines--e.g. they will call me to ask to speak to my boss, who is out of state. When informed of this, they will refuse to tell me what they need. They will instead call him on his cell phone, and then he will have to drag the nature of the problem out of them, and then call me back to tell me what it is, so I can pass it on to the proper manager. Of course, when they call him, they will also complain that I was unhelpful.

Of course, the one that amuses me is when they call me asking for something that is completely outside out contract--e.g wanting me to dispatch someone to fix something at their private residence, or a piece of precision equipment, or something for which the University contracts with another company (e.g. elevators or pest control). When I explain to them that we do not cover that, they get irritated with me, and "go over my head" by asking to speak to one of the ladies who work for me. Despite my having explained to them that these ladies work for me, and not vice versa, and that, therefore, they cannot overrule my decisions, and despite explaining to them that I am more than happy to pass them on to my boss, the Director, they persist in trying to call the wrong person.

They have been provided with the "Manager On Call" list with all the relevant phone numbers, and yet they will NEVER call the manager on call until they have exhausted EVERY OTHER NUMBER ON THE LIST FIRST! The Campus Police call us to handle animal control--we are neither trained nor equipped for that function, nor is it in our contract. Yet they (who are, of course, the only ones allowed to be armed on campus) will call us at 2 am about someone living next to the woods having seen a snake on the edge of their lawn.

We have faculty members who lock themselves out of their office--no shit--4 days out of every week. The policy is that we do NOT unlock offices (as we don't know who is supposed to have access to any particular place) unless the campus police make the request and have an officer on the spot giving his approval. The procedure if somone is locked out is to first go to the head of their department (each of whom has been issued a master key for all offices belonging to their department). If that's a no-go (incidentally, all the department heads deny ever having been issued these keys, despite having signed for them) the next step is to call the campus police (who refuse to accept responsibility for any keys--the Chief says he can't trust his officers with they keys. But apparantly they can be trusted with guns. More on that later).

The police will then (in theory, if they determine that the inidividual is supposed to have access to that room--in fact, they just approve it without bothering to check) contact us with their approval and let us know when an officer will be there to oversee the granting of access. So every time these faculty members lock themselves out, they immediately call me. And I patiently (externally so, at least) explain to them yet again the proper procedures for getting back into the office they locked themselves out of. Then, rather than calling their department head or the campus police (as I have just explained to them they must do) they will call everyone BUT the folks they are supposed to--seekling to have me overrulled. They will call my boss, they will call the ladies who work for me, they will call the vice president of the university, etc. And then they will finally, after having screwed around for 4 hours trying to work around the system, they will finally call their department head, who will deny ever having heard of any such keys.

Then they will call me again. And I will explain the policy and procedures to them again. And they will call a few more people, then they will finally call the campus police. Who will immediately call me back and ask me to send someone to unlock the door. And I will have to explain to the campus police yet again that they will have to send an officer, and they will screw around and cry and complain, and we'll have to kick it up through a few levels of university administration again, and then it will come back to the Chief, who will tell them to send an officer. By this time, we will have wasted 6 hours going round and round about unlocking a damn door. And the same friggin person will call back tomorrow, and we will go through the same 6 hour song and dance.

On the campus police and their guns. First of all, a story that makes me (tyet again) question my sanity. I spent 2 hours talking to an armed campus police officer, who didn't know the difference between a revolver and an automatic. I thought he was joking when he told me he didn't know which he was carrying (it was a Smith and Wesson .38 Special). He wasn't. I was afraid to ask if he'd ever qualified with it. But he hadn't heard of the 4 basic rules of firearms safety, nor did he have even the foggiest grasp of basic marksmanship (based on my questioning). I gave him a crash course, if only in the feeble hopes that it would slightly reduce my chances of being shot through stupidity on his part. He also didn't know how to wear his vest properly, and he thought it made him impervious to bullets. I explained to him the difference between pistols and rifles (he thought rifles and shotguns were the same, and that pistols were more powerful than rifles--because pistol bullets were bigger around than rifle bullets), and explained the velocity differences and their effects on small caliber pistol-rated vests.

And folks wonder why I develop a twitch when I'm at work.

The ROTC--both students and faculty--bother me as well. I know I shouldn't, but I am inclined to hold them to a higher standard, based on my own experience. One Air Force Captain can't reliably plan her way out of a wet paper bag. This would merely be a problem for some prospective young zoomies, except she is the one who is in charge of all their event planning. So we never know they're having an event until the evening before the event, and inevitably we have to do all the planning for her. Sadly, we pull off a miracle, and this makes her look like she can get things done. So she is considered the "go-to event coordinator." So the system persists.

The ROTC cadets who are just about to be commissioned are helpless. They can't navigate their way across campus during the day without getting lost. It's absolutely true--the most dangerous creature in the universe is a 2LT with a map and a radio. I'm glad I ain't in anymore.

Anyway, enough rants about this place. I'll be leaving soon, and I'll never come back.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Still Alive...

Been a while since I posted. Been busy--moved to another place in Auburn, did all the holiday stuff, been really busy at work. Been sick, might be getting sick again (damn crud keeps goin' round, and I'm not drinking enough whiskey to keep it away).

Still getting backed up on projects. Have about three articles I've been kicking around to finish and publish. One about the need for some real strategic planning in the Libertarian Party, I keep re-writing in an attempt to get the point across without insulting folks.

Still working on making The Ancap Agency a real paying gig--I've been doing too many jobs for no charge. Advertising is a problem for a business based on helping its clients maintain a low profile. Can't really offer references, can't advertise in the normal ways and places. I'm hoping some referrals will kick some business my way, but I'll have to build up a rather large number of clients to generate enough referrals--so it's going to be a while. In the meantime, I need to do some fishing, find a few likely candidates, generate proposals, and sell them on the ideas. We'll see.

Still haven't found any likely jobs in NH. I may have to actually take the time and go up to look around. I'd rather not jump in without having some things set up in advance, but haven't had much like trying to do things by remote.

Anyone knows of a decent paying job for someone with my skills (drop me a line if you don't know what they are) in NH, send me the info. I'd also be interested in an entry-level machinist job, esp. if its an apprenticeship job. I want to add that to my skill set, and I'd eventually like to have my own machine shop (not as a business, but for my own projects).

The Commando's Prayer

Give me, my God, what you still have;
give me what no one asks for.
I do not ask for wealth, nor success,
nor even health.

People ask you so often, God, for all that,
that you cannot have any left.
Give me, my God, what you still have.
Give me what people refuse to accept from you.
I want insecurity and disquietude;
I want turmoil and brawl.

And if you should give them to me,
my God, once and for all,
let me be sure to have them always,
for I will not always
have the courage to ask for them.

Corporal Zirnheld
Special Air Service

Monday, November 07, 2005

It's Alive!

I've been without net access for 41 days now. But tonight I have finally reconnected!

I've been having a hell of a time with this damn thing. I lost connections, and couldn't get it back. So I called my ISP tech support. The first time, they tell me it's my modem. So I buy a new modem--no go. The next guy tells me it's my network card, so I buy and install a new one. Again, no go. I've already traded out all the cables, pulled my VOIP phone out of the system, etc. Still no go. The thrid tech support guy tells me it's something with my BIOS, and thus outside of their tech support parameters.

Basically, being the stubborn hack I am, I created a software ugly stick, and waded in banging on things. I believe in percussive maintenance. After I beat the hell out of a few programs (mostly the damn Windows OS) I just tonight got the damn thing working again. Probably because I just intimidated the hell out of the CPU. What the hell--it worked. Like I said, I am a believer in percussive maintenance.

If it don't fit, force it. If it breaks, it needed fixed anyway. Give it a sound thrashing, shout, shout, and shout some more. If hitting it with a hammer doesn't work, get a bigger hammer.

Monday, October 03, 2005


Friday I caught Serenity at the theater. Excellent movie--I highly recommend it to all. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, so I won't give any details.

Saturday I just spent reading and screwing off. Had to make 2 trips to the bookstore--one in the morning, and another in the afternoon. Finished 3 books, so now I need to go again and get some more. I'm waiting for about 6 different authors to finish books I know are in progress right now--not including the next Harry Potter, the two I'm waiting for L. Neil Smith to release, and about 7 different authors I'm hoping will be releasing new ones soon. Of course, that's just the fiction side--I haven't included the non-fiction side. I admit it, I'm a junkie.

Sunday I spent the range testing out my new scout mount for my K31. The scope mount seems to work pretty well. I'm fine-tuning the scope--I've got the elevation down pretty well at 25 yards, I still need to work on the windage. I'd like to find a 500 yard range to really work on it, but for now I'll probably just have to try to get it as tight as possible at 100 yards. This is the first time I've mounted and adjusted a scope--I've always just used iron sights in the past.

Thursday evening I found a 5 foot snakeskin shed on the threshold of my kitchen. It looks like a blacksnake. The entire skin is in perfect condition--I don't think I've ever seen one so complete. I have been having a problem with mice, and I noticed this weekend the mice don't seem to be in evidence anymore. I haven't seen the snake, but I have seen some evidence that it's still around.

I also noticed that there are a good many spiders around my house. I was going to get some spray, but then I saw that a few of them had some small scorpions in their webs, so I reckon I'll let the spiders stay as well. Between the spiders and the snakes, it seems I'm relatively free of scorpions and mice. Ah, the joy of country living!

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Just finished the book version of Joss Whedon's "Serenity." That's the movie continuation of his excellent "Firefly" TV series that Fox sabotaged and cancelled in its first season. "Serenity" will be in theaters 30SEP05--I've been waiting to catch it for more than a year now. It was supposed to be opening in April, but due to marketing concerns with the scheduling, it was moved to September.

The book is good. I know the movie is going to be great. I don't want to give any spoilers, but for any "Firefly" fans out there (call us "Browncoats") it's a powerful story.

I dearly hope the movie isn't the end of this series--Joss needs to either continue with another TV series or with a series of movies. I think a TV series would work best, with the nature of the plot.

If anyone out there hasn't seen the series, I recommend you do so at the earliest opportunity. You won't regret it.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Anti-War Rally in Birmingham

Just got back from my first Anti-War March and Rally. Lasted from about 2pm to 5pm. Saw lots of interesting people, talked to a couple, and listened to a couple of good speakers and a few good singers. Listened to a good many bad ones as well, but so it goes.

All the reaction seemed to be positive, and there didn't seem to be anyone there to counter-protest or anything. Of course, most of the folks there seemed to be too obsessed with "W"--which gives me the distinct impression that if Clinton or Kerry or someone of their ilk had initiated this war, many of these folks would have been spot on with it. Of course, that may be unfair in many cases, but that is my impression.

Had a pretty good time, and managed to stay fairly separate from the crowd, so I didn't have any problems with too many people around me. Most folks seemed pretty friendly.

The Auburn Campus Libertarians were great--they had some good signs, got a few folks to come along, and had their own table rather than just "riding along" on the state party table. Dick Clark had a good sign: "Make Money, Not War." That was unusual enough to get him some media attention, so we'll see how that comes out.

The state party crew was there, of course, and they seemed to be getting a good number of visitors to their table. It was nice to see them away from the executive committee meetings. Gotta do that more often.

Had a pretty good time overall, so maybe I'll do it again some time.

I was disappointed that I missed the Veterans For Peace and their Anti-Recruiter seminar--I didn't realize they were doing it in the morning. Guess I should have paid more attention--I reckon I might be able to catch up with them later on. I have some ideas, but I want to see what they do already first.