Tempting Time – Animals as Leaders

Tosin Abasi is my MCM.

Been working out to the new Animals as Leaders album, but it still doesn’t top their first album.  Definitely my favorite song from these guys, and one of the coolest sounding guitar instrumentals ever.

Including a live performance to demonstrate how insane his finger work is to the layman.

Bonus track from the same album, and a close second to my favorite song from these guys:

New Post Formats Incoming

I’m going to toy around with some of WordPress’s post formats.  I’m always listening to music, so I might try to regularly post music I’m listening to.  Whether that’s a video or audio, I don’t know.  But I’m going to play around with formatting, and that might extend to the look and feel of the blog.

The current blog theme is just a slight modification of a default theme form WordPress, and I slapped it together in about an hour.  I think I can do much better.

Babies and Jobs

Huge news changes my perspective on my career.

So my wife told me last week that she’s pregnant.  We’ve been trying for three months to start a family, so I’m very happy to say the least.  I’ve always dreamed about this and I couldn’t be more excited that it’s finally happening.  She’s only five weeks as of this past Saturday, so we haven’t even seen a doctor yet, that happens in a few weeks.  I haven’t told anyone, none of my family or friends know yet.  It’s kind of exciting to have this secret between my wife and I, we both know there are huge changes yet but no one in our life know’s it yet.  I even bought plans to make a crib, and I’ve never even built anything before! It’s a very emotional and happy time for us.

However, this has definitely changed my perspective on the job hunt.  I’ve been pursuing a job with a local hospital to implement their electronic health record.  I was really excited about this opportunity and I have the right experience and skills to do really well.  However, it isn’t much of a raise, they can’t guarantee me paternity leave, and I’m leaving a job with 4 weeks vacation a year for a job with 1 week a year.  Seeing as I’m starting a family, I’m really going to want that time off.  And on top of that, during the actual go live implementation, I’m expected to work 60-70 hours a week for up to 2 months.  If the timing works out right, I’d be working 20-30 hours of overtime a week with a 4-5 month old baby at home.

I’m really torn.  My wife told me last Wednesday at 9 am that we’re pregnant, and I got a call at 10 am to come in for an interview that same day.  My perspective changed so quickly after talking to my wife.  I was so gung ho for this job, but now that I know there’s a real live baby inside my wife, I see things very differently.  I’m pretty certain that this is a God thing, the timing on the baby news and the call for the interview seem too coincidental to me.  I’ve been trying to be more prayerful and listen to God recently, and I think this is a pretty clear message.  I find out life changing news that immediately makes me see this new job differently, RIGHT before they call me in for an interview. I don’t see how the timing could be anything but a sign from God.

jobhunting

It’s a very strange place to be, because I am basically walking into this job with ease.  I’m the perfect candidate for what they need, and every step in the hiring process feels like a formality.  I haven’t decided what to do yet, but I’m probably not going to take the job.  It doesn’t really further my current goals, other than getting me out of my current job.  Outside of that one thing, everything else about it is a negative for me.

This is a very confusing time for me in my career.  I want to work as a web developer because I think that would make me most happy.  I can’t get a job doing that though, because I don’t have any education or experience.  I hate my current boss and want a change, but the benefits working for local government are very attractive for a brand new dad.  I am perfectly suited for this new job, but the benefits aren’t great and ultimately it doesn’t further my long term goals.  It actually further mires me down in the work I’m currently doing, which I don’t really enjoy and don’t want to do long term.

I think I’m going to stick it out here for a while.  The baby changes things for me.  Ideally, I could get hired on for some remote company doing some kind of entry level web design and learn the tools of the trade from their senior staff.  That way I could work from home for them for awhile, before ultimately starting my own web development business.  However, I don’t see that in the cards, at least not right now.  I think I’ll stay here in my current job, unless something becomes available at the hospital in the town I live in.  currently, I commute 45 minutes away from home.  If I could get hired on in my hometown, I’d see that as a worthy compromise for the time off I’d be losing.  I’d have more time at home to work on web development, so that’s the only thing I’m going to be looking at, at least until after the baby is born.

Whatever happens, at least I have my wife and my baby on the way.  I know this blog has been pretty heavy on the job hunt, but I’m honestly in a very lucky place.  I have a decent job with a lot of built in security, I have good benefits, I have a wife who loves me, I have a baby on the way, we live in the richest country in the world in a time of great financial and technological prosperity (despite Trump’s election), I honestly don’t have much to complain about.  Maybe it’s from reading The Rational Optimist recently, but my outlook on life is pretty good right now.

Now I just need to get started on that crib!

Review – Misspent Youth

A disappointing introduction to a widely praised sci-fi author.

I finished The Judging Eye about a month ago, and when I did I felt I needed a change of pace from my usual epic fantasy fare.  I looked up some sci-fi reviews on the internet and found a review of a recent book by Peter Hamilton.  I found many people praising him for his Commonwealth Saga books.  I figured I’d start with the prequel to that series, Misspent Youth.

The story is about a world famous humanitarian, Jeff, and his family in the near future.  He invented a method that allowed for incredibly high data storage, changing the way technology works for the entire planet.  At the end of his life, he is living with his trophy wife and son.  He volunteers for a rejuvenation experiment, which changes his body from that of a mid-70’s man to a 20 year old man.  The novel follows his change and the fallout, and how it affects his wife Sue and their son Tim.

I did not enjoy this novel very much.  I was excited for a hard sci-fi space opera, but what I got ended up being a melodramatic soap opera with awkward and gratuitous sex scenes.  Jeff is rejuvenated and most of the novel is about how he sleeps with his son’s girlfriend and their ensuing relationship.  The sex scenes really stood out to me, in a very bad way.  For whatever reason, I’ve always struggled with sex in literature.  I’m not a prude by any means, but it always feels awkward to me when an author describes the act of sex.  This novel had a large number of these scenes, and none of them felt natural.  Most of them didn’t feel necessary to the story either.  I could understand maybe including one, because the stories linchpin is Jeff’s rejuvenation.  Including one sex scene to demonstrate how Jeff’s rejuvenated body responds to physical intimacy makes sense.  But there were far too many such scenes for me, and many of them felt out of place.  On top of that, Tim and his friends constantly talk about sex in that same unnatural way.  I don’t want to harp on the sex stuff for too long, but it definitely took me out of the book.

Jeff starts out as a likable enough character, but ultimately becomes a very difficult character to sympathize with.  He seduces his son’s girlfriend and has a baby with her.  His son Tim is understandably outraged, and the resolution between them felt forced.  I can’t imagine anyone resolving such a colossal betrayal so simply, especially when Hamilton spends a good amount of time describing their relationship as “distant.”

There is some cool, if very subtle world building.  There is a constant political struggle happening in the background of the novel that comes to a head at the climax.  And the data storage and human rejuvenation are a cool sci-fi set up for the future novels in this series.  However, I just could never get into this book.  I was constantly hoping it would get better, and Hamilton never turned it around for me.  If I hadn’t read such great things about the future novels, I would have put this book down in the first couple of chapters.

I’ve since gone back and looked at Goodreads for this specific book, and a lot of the community reviews echo my feelings on this book.  They also say that this book is not at all representative of Hamilton’s other works.  I’m going to try the next book in the series and give him one more shot, but if I’m not hooked right away I’m not going to move forward.  I don’t have much free time and I’ve already pushed myself to read one book I didn’t enjoy, I’m not going to keep doing that.  If you’re a Hamilton fan already, you might find something to enjoy here.  But if you’re not, I would advise you to steer clear.

1.5 Gibson’s out of 5.

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Rough Month

It’s been a difficult month.  I get a lot out of writing, and I haven’t been able to do that for a few weeks.  My buddy at work left and I’m literally running this ship on my own.  I’ve barely had any down time, so I’m trying to find a good balance to allow myself time to post on this blog.

There was a huge UFC event on Saturday and I finished a book the other day, so I’m going to try and find time this week to post about those. I definitely need to find the balance, life is really stressful right now and I need a good release.