C'est un blague.

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  • Thursday, November 27, 2008

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Last week, SM and I listed out a few things that make us happy -- and for which we are grateful. Here are some of them. Some are mine; some are SM's.
  • Our doghter. There’s something really happy about a dog who expresses unmitigated joy every time you come home or snuggles up against you at night. I don’t know what she’s thinking or feeling, but it feels like affection, and it’s pretty damn cool.
  • Our family and friends. We have lots of people out there who love us.
  • President Elect Obama. 58 Democratic Senators. 257 Democratic House Members. That’s just a remarkable thing. We haven’t seen a government like this in a long time.
  • West Wing Reruns, which remind us how good television can be.
  • Fat Tire beer, which is fine craftsmanship and tastes great, but from now on will taste even better because I will inevitably associate it with the kindness and love of my darling wife and our friends.
  • The Boston Red Sox… and the fact that they won not just one but two World Series while Grampy was around to see it.
  • Having a job. I may not like it, but given this economy, a job is a good thing. And it gives me options for moving on.
  • We just were given a very nice car. We would never have such a fancy car if not for the generosity of family. Comfy driving and more safety features. Yay.
  • Anyway you look at it, I will get a $3K salary bump next month. And after the new year, we'll get a COLA. I don't know how much it will be, but I'm guessing it will bump me another $2K.
  • Leg and footrubs at night every night.
  • These are just a few of the many gifts we have in our lives. And it's nice to take the time to remember them, especially when our lives get a little crazy and out of control -- or are dominated by something not-so-pleasant.

    Happy Thanksgiving, all!


    Clearly , it's on my mind

    I had a dream about the job thing last night. I was meeting with the woman who was collecting references and conducting the background check. I saw that she had received instructions that indicated that they had made their selection -- and I was the #2 choice for the job.

    Walsh was #1.

    I don't know who Walsh is, but dammmit, I don't like him 'cuz he took MY job.

    Eh, I know it was only a dream. But clearly, this process is weighing on me.


    Monday, November 24, 2008

    Despite GenderAnalyzer's algorithms and whatnot...

    EMcPan appeared to me to be female when SM and I met her for lunch on Saturday. 

    Nice meeting you McPan-san (using the Japanese gender-neutral suffix, which replaces "Mr." or "Ms." in function and is repectfully appropriate to address anyone)!


    By way of explanation...

    So here’s why I was asking for positive vibes – and why I also said on Friday that I was giving up.

    I was in the final running for a new job.  It was not only a new job for me, but also a newly-created job with some very interesting responsibilities.  And I really wanted that job.  It sounded like a fantastic opportunity.  It sounded like something I would really enjoy.  And yes, it was a great exit from my current situation, which is almost intolerable some days.

    I went in for two interviews.  The first was with three folks – two “supervisors” for the different areas of responsibility and a senior colleague.  They asked all sorts of questions and wanted a writing sample.  It went fairly well, although they were a tough bunch to read.

    But, I guess it went well enough because I got called back for a second interview with the director.  That interview went amazingly well.  He and I hit it off, and, at the close of the interview, he even said that it had been a “joy” to speak with me.  I figured that I did okay when he said that.  I mean, who says that after interviewing a prospective employee unless it was an atypically interesting conversation?  And, one of the admin folks bumped into me in the hall afterwards and made some positive comments too.  I came away from there feeling very excited, especially since I had overheard the tail end of the interview with the woman before me.  It was very sedate and blah and unremarkable – a stark contrast to my interaction with the director.  And, mine was the final interview of that day, so I figured that I was the final impression that would stick with him (easier to remember the last person than the first).

    Also, during the course of the interview, the director told me that the position had attracted more than 300 applicants.  That number was culled down to 30 who were qualified.  And then the first team interview about 20 folks.  From that, they passed along 6 for the final interview.  So I made it from 300 to the final 6.  I was pretty happy about that.  I think I was also the first person they called for a second interview, so I figured that I was close to the top of their list.  The director told me that he expected to make a decision by the end of that week.

    The next day, I got a call asking for my last performance appraisal.  I took that as a positive sign, that he was still considering me for the position after the interview.  Hiring officials don’t waste their time calling references for everyone, only the final serious contenders.  So I think I made it to the final 3.  At least, I felt pretty confident that I had done better than the mousey woman before me.

    But that was all last week.  I sent him my performance appraisal late on Wednesday.  And I haven’t heard a peep since.  Considering how quickly everything else moved along before… considering that he expected to make a decision by Thursday… well, I haven’t heard boo.   So I’ve gotta figure that I’ve got a form letter coming in the next coupla' weeks.

    I made it down to the final 3 -- top 1% of the pool -- but I didn’t make it to #1.  I can be proud that I got as far as I did.  But second doesn’t count for squat in these situations.  Just ask John McCain.

    SM tells me to think positively – that I made it that far with this one, so that shows I’ve got the skills and personality to be hired.  This one didn’t work out, but there will be others.  And he’s right: I did my job.  I presented myself well on all occasions – in my application, my interviews and my writing sample.  I can’t control who else is being interviewed or what their qualifications are.  I can’t control what the office wants in a new employee.  So, I will try to think positively moving forward.  I will remind myself that there will be other really cool jobs out there, especially with the change of administration.

    But I cannot help but feel really down about this.  This is the second sooooooooooo close, near miss.  I was a finalist for another position in the spring (which didn’t work out for political reasons), so losing out again really does stink.  Especially since I really wanted this one.  It wasn’t just another job to get out of my current situation; I was excited about the actual job (not just the prospect of it).

    And while I haven’t gotten the final word… my brain keeps coming up with reasons why I haven’t gotten the call yet – like he had a compressed work week and had Friday off (but who would take this past Friday off when next Friday is a natural to take off instead?)…  but I also haven’t heard from my friends and others listed on my resume as supervisors that they’ve gotten calls about me either.

    So this all tells me to give up.  Stop waiting for a call.  Expect the form letter.

    But it’s so hard.  It’s so disappointing.  I was thinking positively and trying to envision the outcome I wanted to somehow force it into reality (which is quite the balancing act when you’re also trying to manage expectations to avoid serious disappointment…. Guess I didn’t do that so well.).  Now I’m trying to come back down to reality.  I went from being almost there to falling down the longest chute back to start.  And that’s what’s so hard.  I feel knocked down. Having progressed so far along only to have to start from scratch again truly stinks.  I went from fast forward momentum to slamming on the brakes.  It’s jolting, and I’m trying to recover.

    So I need to get more job applications out there.  I have hope something will come along with the new administration (because hope is, after all, the message of our president-elect).  I will try to manage my expectations better next time.  I will try not to feel so diminished by my current situation.  I will remember that I am lucky to have a secure job in this economy.  I will focus on other, happy things.

    Most of all, I will try not to feel so freakin’ sorry for myself.  There’s nothing more I could have done to get this job.

    So there ya’ have it.

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    Friday, November 21, 2008

    Well, I've always been a tomboy...

    Apparently, my blog is quite gender-neutral but the odds are 56% that I am a woman.

    (snagged from EMcPan... who is, apparently, a man...)


    I give up.

    (More details later... after I get over myself.)


    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    Sending it out into the 'net

    Asking for positive vibes in my general -- and specific -- direction, please.



    Tuesday, November 11, 2008

    Thank you to everyone who has ever served our nation, in uniform or in support of those who wear one.


    Sounds familiar

    Got this link from Kady in a comment about my post-election post.

    Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

    We weren't Obamanics, but I have to admit that this isn't too far from the truth. Don't get me wrong, we were glued to the returns for the presidential race, but we were also very interested in Hill races. Because SM works for a Member of Congress, he had a spreadsheet following all of the House races to see how many seats the Ds would pick up. He had predicted 22 and was mildly bummed that he wasn't right (although he still could be because there are still five not yet decided). We also wanted 58 Ds in the Senate.

    So yeah, now we need something to fill the hours we used to spend poll-watching, race-analyzing and political blog-reading. So far, The West Wing has worked out nicely.

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    Sunday, November 09, 2008

    How we're dealing with post-election let down

    Don't get me wrong: we're thrilled with the outcome of the Presidential election. Also mostly thrilled with the Congressional and Senate races.

    But we have this post-election let down. No more checking the polls. No more mocking Sarah Palin. No more reading political analysis. I think a lotta people are going through this.

    So, ya' know how we're dealing with this? We're watching re-runs of The West Wing. Woo-hoo!

    And we're reminded how well it was written and acted... and how fun it was to have a progressive, if fictional, administration. It's especially interesting to watch the final season, which pitted a young, inexperienced Latino against an older, moderate Republican. The dialogue and storylines are almost prescient, eerily so. Stuff like the Republican getting hit with a freak disaster that undercuts his credibility late in the campaign. At one point, the Republican campaign talks about hitting the Dem with negative ads. One staffer comments that there are just some [white] people who aren't going to vote for a Latino. Everyone agrees that that's the reality, but it's nothing anyone is going to say, so they instead say that "inexperience" is the problem. (Okay, it was expressed much more artfully by The West Wing writers, but you get the point.)

    Ahh, gotta love The West Wing, soft porn for liberals.

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    Friday, November 07, 2008


    Another of our Obama lawn signs was stolen this morning.  They left the wire part and just took the plastic sign.


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    Thursday, November 06, 2008

    Last report from Iowa aunt...

    SM's aunt, a fervent(?) and very thrilled Democrat, sent us this email today:
    In [XYZ] County Iowa we had over 40,000 early voters.  That accounted for 1/3 of the eligible voters.  We had tons of people (a little bit of an exaggeration) sign up to vote for the first time on the day of the election.  I worked the polls and had over 1,000 people vote in my precinct.  My dad worked the polls and also had over 1,000 people vote in his precinct.  We had temperatures in the 70's and had great voter turnout.  I did have to turn away 2 people because they lived in Illinois, but used to live here and they wanted to vote here.  Since they lived across the river I had to tell them to go there.  The polls there closed earlier than Iowa, so they were already too late, but I had to follow the rules.  They should have thought of it earlier.

    I was very pleased with the results of the election!  I know [SM's dad] thinks the world is coming to an end financially because of Obama, but I think he is wrong.  I guess time will tell.
    Indeed, time will tell. The way I figure it, how much worse could things get financially?  And what SM's dad refuses to recognize is that at his retirement income, Obama's tax plan will help him out a whole lot more than McCain's proposal.  But, people believe what they hear from people they trust, regardless of the facts.

    I guess time will tell.

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    Tuesday, November 04, 2008


    I may cry. This is huge. The news coverage is calling the presidential race for Obama.

    And it's not even midnight.

    All of the votes aren't in yet, but the McCain folks can't even envision a scenario where he could win.

    Holy shit.

    Holy shit.

    Holy shit.

    Soon I will be able to say, "That's my president. I am proud to have voted for him."

    "President-elect Obama" sounds fantastic.

    UPDATE: I was very impressed by McCain's concession speech (although kinda surprised that he conceded before all the polls were even closed). When McCain is guided by his integrity, rather than his ambitions or politics, he really is very impressive.


    I feel giddy, oh so giddy...

    And I am going to be glued to the TV all night. Yippee!

    GObama, gObama, gObama...!

    And seriously, I know this is ethnocentric, but it feels like the whole world is watching what we do today.


    I voted.

    And I can honestly say -- and feel somewhat hokie saying -- that I felt a real sense of the occasion.  It was momentus.  It was noteworthy.  It was history.  No matter the outcome.

    I'll tell future family members, "Yes, I helped to elect our first African American president."

    You betcha'!


    Monday, November 03, 2008

    It feels like Christmas Eve

    The expectation and excitement are building...


    Sunday, November 02, 2008

    "New" wheels

    I've never owned a new car. Neither has SM. My first car was a 1982 Datsun 200 SX, bought for $3K in 1986 with 33K miles. I sold that to a friend when I moved to Japan in 1990. It had 66K miles after I drove it for four year. My second car is the one I still own and drive, a 1988 Toyota Corolla, bought for $5600 in 1994 with not even 27K miles. Now it has all of 90K miles.

    So, yeah, I've only owned two used cars, but I bought them both myself.

    SM's first car was a 1976 Plymouth Volare, cherry red with white leather seats, given to him by his father in 1986 (it was the family's extra car). His second was a 1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, bought from his grandfather for $600 later in 1986. SM's dad traded that in when he bought a new car (SM was annoyed because the Cutlass was his car). SM's next car was a 1986 Chevy Nova that he got from his dad in 1991 as a present. That one got totaled in a minor accident, and he got $900 from his insurance for it.

    So basically, SM is $300 ahead in terms of cars, and he has never gotten a new car, nor one that was not previously owned by a relative.

    Well, we are about to get a "new" set of wheels. It's a car that we have borrowed many time from my parents, and every time we do, SM says how much he loves it. It's a 1998 Acura RL. Apparently, my dad wants to get a new car, so they need to get rid of one of their fleet. Not to make room. Not for money. But because they just don't need as many cars as they have now. And adding one more on top of that would be just silly.

    So dad offered to sell us the car. SM was very excited about it. We only have one car right now, my 1988 classic. We were going to pay something between trade-in and private resell Bluebook value for the Acura. Then, yesterday, my stepmother called and told us she would just give us the car. I don't know why the change. I guess it had something to do with my father bitching about how they needed to cut spending but then wanting to go out and buy a brand new car (yeah, that's my dad's logic). So my stepmother said they needed to get rid of a car, but I guess she wasn't so impressed that he was going to sell it to his kid. I dunno what they were thinking, but it looks like we're getting a very generous Christmas present.

    Soon we'll have two cars, and the "new" one will be 10 years old. Yup, that's us. SM continues his trend of only getting cars from relatives. I continue my trend of only getting used cars, but this is the first one I haven't bought all on my own.

    Even though it has 150K miles, the car is in good shape -- and much nicer than anyone we could ever afford on our own (or would consider buying).

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