My First World Problems


This is one of those weeks when little things caught up to me.

I had my eye exam that I've been putting off for 6 months. I only put it off because for some reason we didn't just schedule the time for my follow up eye appointment when I had my last eye exam. The doctor's office sent a reminder that it was time for a checkup, but of course I was too busy at the time to make an appointment. It's been 3 years since my prescription changed, and last time I was right on the cusp of needing a notch stronger. Over the past few months I've been noticing how billboards and road signs were harder to focus on, so it was time to go forward with that notch. The saving grace for this year's exam is that I could, with a guilt free conscience, skip getting my pupils dilated and my eyeball touched - I hate that part.

After getting checked out I was told I was still right on the edge, prescription wise, but I seemed to notice the difference a little more of the finer details with the stronger lenses. I go forward with picking out new glasses. I also decide to get new lenses for one of my existing set of frames, and also replacement lenses for my sunglasses since I'm not getting any type of transitioning lenses. There goes $1000, but this is the one thing I mess with every day so I'd rather pay the money for something I like that be frustrated and pissed off every time I look in the mirror.

Last week my garage door opener died. It's close to 20 years old and these things wear out (according to YouTube). I watched a video or 3 on how to replace one and it seemed to be within my realm of ability. Off to Amazon I went and ordered as close to my existing model as I could find, hoping that I could just switch out wires 1:1. New opener arrives and I start looking at everything closer. First, the wiring connections are just different enough that I can see I'll connect things wrong the first 3 times. Then, I see where the screws that hold everything to the ceiling are and can easily see everything falling down on me as things likely require more than 2 hand and one ladder. I return to my normal ways - getting people. I email garage people and tell them I want to replace an existing opener with one that I have, and I live out in the boonies. I get no replies, as I expected. I call garage people. I learn none of them will install equipment they don't sale. I know it's a scam since they'll service anything, and Chamberlain makes 90% of the garage equipment out there. The hard part, as ever, is getting someone to show up at my house. After learning I can return my Amazon purchased opener I make an appointment for this Friday to have garage people come and install their opener, with the early estimate being about $120 more than what I paid at Amazon - so in essence it will come to $120 in labor which is fair enough to me. Except I think the end price will be higher. I'll find out Friday.

While doing laundry this weekend I washed the key fob for my car. I've washed these before, but something didn't feel right when I picked it out of the washer. Sure enough, it didn't work. The problem here is that it's a smart fob and I don't have anywhere to insert a key, the car just knows the key is nearby. I can press the car start button with the fob and it starts (this is magic to me) but the car doesn't recognize that the key is present and will turn off after 10 minutes. Luckily, I have 1 2nd fob so I'm not completely screwed. I called the service department and they said it just needed a new battery. I don't believe them, but I'll try sticking a new battery in it now that I've again gone to YouTube and learned how to crack open the fob and replace the battery.

I ordered a new battery from Amazon that will be here in 2 days. I could go to some local battery shop and get a battery, and it would be close to $10. I ordered a 4-pack on Amazon for $2.50. It would make even more sense for me to take the battery out of the working fob and stick it in the one I washed to see if it works. With the way it feels my luck has been going, though, I can see that messing up the working battery or maybe I can't put it back together right, then I'm stuck with no way to run the car for more than 10 minutes at a time.

I'm now very paranoid about emptying my pockets when I walk in the door.

With luck in a couple of days all of this will be fixed and I can stop worrying about it. I only worry because it's completely out of my control and I'm at the whim of garage people, USPS delivery, potentially the Hyundai service department, and the eyeglasses construction lab/whoever delivers their stuff to the office. There's probably one of those phobia names for this. Hopefully I'm not at the phobia level though. Damn close though, I bet.

rambling random

Grumpy old codger


As I get older I seem to get more opinionated about others opinions, and the irony isn't lost on me.


A distinct lack of updates


This coming Friday I have the interview I've been hopeful for since starting my 2014 job search. As such, I've been studying since the interview was scheduled, hence part of the lack of updates for you two people who read this to check in on me :)

With any luck, both the interview will go well and I'll have something of interest to post about. As it is, the rest of the week will probably be pretty silent here.

In the meantime, feel free to enjoy a little Sam Smith.


For Want of a Widgey


My board game playing has been lax the past few months. My gaming with Jer & Keith has dwindled to where the last time all 3 of us played was back in March. Keith and I have played a few games since, even joining some of the Dealnews gang for some game nights. Overall though, my gaming interest has waned this year.

Maybe it's cyclical? In 2005 Jerry and I started playing games again after a 10 year hiatus. That 10 year hiatus followed a 10 year run of game playing. Granted, the last few years of that run were sparse in playing. Now we're closing in on the end of another 10 year run of playing.

I know part of my problem is due to the type of game I enjoy. I'm very much an Ameritrash gamer. Games that ooze theme and lots of pretty pieces appeal to me. The drawback for these is that generally the rules are thick and take a while to learn, plus the time and effort to set up all of those pretty pieces for a game. When you want to play a quick game of something for the first time, the games I like take longer to set up and learn than to play. There have been many times where we've learned partway through that first game that the game in question just isn't for us, which leads it all to feel like a wast of time.

The games we've played lately have been quick, semi-abstract (to me) games like Splendor, Quantum, and Smash Up (which was completely over my head). All are good games and enjoyable in their own right, except for Smash Up - it's going to take me a while to get the hang of that one as there's a lot more going on that I originally thought there would be. These games play more as a classically thought board game in that you, as the player, don't immerse yourself into the game via an avatar.

Immersion into the game is more fun more me. It tends to lead toward more social interaction, which is the real reason I play board games. Ticket To Ride is a lot easier to play on a computer or iPad and let the software take care of all the bookkeeping, but it lacks the fun of taunting and goading other players as well as cursing them to their face when a route you want is taken. While I don't feel like I'm the train in Ticket to Ride, I feel more ownership of the routes I'm placing which puts me in the game. Maybe it's because pieces aren't picked up and moved, but placed and forever stay? I hadn't really thought of that before now....

The games I've most enjoyed of late have been those in which I immerse myself. Star Wars X-Wing has been the game I've been playing the most, and each time I feel like I'm in a dogfight inside a Star Wars movie. The X-Wing game has led me to find that I'm a fan boy of the publisher, Fantasy Flight Games, which I've come to think of as the President of Ameritrash as all of their games reek of theme, have lots of pretty pieces, and even better - most of them have expansions which pile on even more theme, pieces, and rules.

It's those expansions which may be burning me out on the games I enjoy. As with Car Wars in the 80's, enough content can be added on to a game as to make it encompass so much that it gets bogged down to where it's almost unplayable. But, I don't want to get behind in the rules or miss some cool new thing, so I have to keep up with the expansions. Expansions I end up not caring about or using, but my completest gene of acquisition forces me to collect.

With all of the above, I still like board games. I don't want to get rid of the closet full of games I've still yet to play. I feel a little guilty for not playing as much as I think I should, but forcing myself to play isn't really fun, and shouldn't playing games be fun?

boardgames rambling

The search continues


Job Search 2014 has been going on for a month now. I last had to search for a job in 2006. It was the first time that I didn't have an "in" somewhere and actually had to hunt down job opportunities all on my own. Things have changed a little in 8 years. All the jobs are listed online (way back when, some were only listed in the Classifieds section of the newspaper). Luckily, job titles have gotten better so I can search for more than "software developer".

LinkedIn seems to be the go-to source for recruiters. I've had a profile for years but never really used it. A couple of weeks ago I filled out my work history and started to connect with people I've worked with. Not everyone I've worked with... I learned that lesson on Facebook. Since updating my profile I've been contacted by 4 recruiters and replied to 2 of them. For the 2 I didn't respond, I'm not desperate enough for a Nashville commute just yet, and I didn't really qualify for the details of the other.

I'm not sure if making those LinkedIn connections will make a difference - does number of connections affect whatever search parameters recruiters are putting in? Hopefully people I haven't spoken to in over 5 years won't wonder why I'm suddenly poking them on LinkedIn. I don't want to be a creepy Linker.

I've had 1 interview out of the 17+ resumes I've emailed out. Thus far I've been primarily applying for PHP jobs (I like the PHP), but on paper I may look overqualified for most of those jobs since they ask for ~5 years experience and I've got 12 years of PHP & 19 years of programming experience. But I'm not too dejected yet.

With that said, I still stay up until 2:00 in the morning at least once a week scouring the job listings online because I can't sleep.

rambling random

Blog Archive

As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).

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