People ask me what it’s like, being unemployed this long. Certainly it’s not easy, but everyone gets that. Every day is a repeat of the last: get up late (because I’m a night owl), wake up by reading my email, catch up on Twitter and Facebook, and then look at jobs for a while, maybe an hour or so. At this point, I’ve got my lists—daily, weekly, monthly—that I check. I keep records of what I’ve checked when. I have a system, and it’s well-tuned.
But that leaves me with a lot of spare time on my hands. If I’m spending two or three hours on jobs—and that’s what I spend on a busy day when there are three or four things worth applying to at new companies and/or at companies that allow cover letters—that still leaves a lot of time for everything else. This explains why I spent a year as an undergraduate last year working on a mathematics degree that I don’t think that I’ll get though I’m just six classes away; it also explains why I’m in graduate school for engineering management now. I need something to do with my time other than sit in coffeeshops and read, which is something I do enough of as it is.
I’ve tried to find some part-time work, but I’m vastly overqualified for most of it to the point that no one wants to talk to me. I’ve gone to bartending school, but breaking in around here hasn’t happened for me yet. I’m continuing to try.
As for breaking in: I live in this paradox: I will finally get a job, but it won’t be whatever one that I’m applying to now. I’ve believed in jobs that seemed like sure things to the point that I quit looking for a couple of weeks while I waited to hear. And I waited. When I got the “no”, it was pretty devastating. The next one was, too. So was the one after that. After that third big, draining one, I’ve learned that I have to live the paradox.
I went on what I think was a great interview last Tuesday, but I refuse to spend a lot of time thinking about what it would like to have that job, what I would do, how I would dig myself out financially once I had it, how I would have to drop my concert choir … you see, I have thought about it, but I try to not dream of it. It’s where I have to live.
It’s not any fun, but I’m still in my house, my car’s paid off, I’m losing weight, I’m in graduate school, etc. It could be much worse.
- I usually haven’t read the book involved, and so I don’t find endless debate to be anything much above prattling based on anything more than one tribe not liking a specific author.
- When I have read the book, the nature of the opposite criticism is usually of such fervor that I can’t be bothered to give those opinions much thought. Why? I like to keep my blood pressure down.
I’m glad that some people enjoy these things; I do not.
Check out Christoph Malin’s sweet TRON treatment of some ISS DSLR data. The little jutting platform that you see going to the left in the first frame—and you see it a lot—has a lot of the hardware that my friends and I worked on over the years. Of all of them, the Pump Modules for which I managed the cradle builds are the two boxes on the top of that External Stowage Platform, visible in multiple spots for the white blankets with two black racing (okay, alignment) stripes on them.
((This isn’t going to interest you at all unless you 1) are a Whiskerooni or 2) enjoy watching me systematize things.)) Early last month, I wrote “On the Future of Whiskerino”, in which I argued for Whiskerino becoming a college-style system: you get four cycles and then you’re done. Here’s the key bit:
This will take some awesome talent from us right away, but the thing is this: we already have their great body of work to inspire us. Mackle himself pulls off some killer stuff, but he would be an alumnus this time around, as would (I’m going to miss people, don’t get mad): Ben Frank, Christopher Wood, Chad Pugh, David Bean, Jeremy Okai Davis, KC Jones, Ryan Hale, Stephen Major Chisholm. I got teary-eyed typing that list, because man, I love those guys. They’d be gone but not forgotten.
I was, of course, counting Beard Contest 2K3 in this; the first named-as-Whiskerino didn’t start until 2005. So we’ve had 05-07-09 with no 11; anyone who had participated in all three years would be a “senior”. This would give us a bigger senior class as well: “This gives you a final ‘senior year’ by names like Paragone, jandrewtaylor, damnweather, rnnbrwn, Paul Armstrong, Bobby Marko, and Falfa.” What a group that would be, no?
The question of people who’ve participated sporadically—say 05 and 09 but not 07—should be counted. I’ve come to the following thinking: they’re “juniors”, but they don’t get priority registration, but they would get help in finishing out the pool.
So let’s consider getting new people into the system. Say we have 137 returning people with unbroken progression through Whiskerino, and say Mackle wants to cap Whiskerino at 250 people.1 To get a spot in the next Whiskerino—which seems destined to be 13 at this rate unless Mackle either 1) starts later or 2) goes on a mad coding spree in the next two weeks—you would apply. Everyone who applies gets a chip into the pool: wayfaring former members and newbies alike.
If you’ve been a part of Whiskerino before but do not have an unbroken chain, you get an extra chip in the pool. People who have 05-07-!09 or 05-!07-09 have broken chains but two years in the system, so they get three chips and junior status if selected. One-year people—those who participated only in 05 or 07—get two chips.
Mackle would then set an application period of, say, seven days. Going back to my pool example earlier, there’d be 113 slots to be filled. Once the application period is over, Mackle would use a random number generator to select 113 applicants. Those who have more Whiskerino seniority have a better chance of being selected, but they have no guarantee.
Mackle could pick these people in advance of November 1st so that people could know who was going to be a part of the next Whiskerino. Old friendships could be re-kindled, and maybe there’s even a program to match old hands with the new students, sort of a mentoring program.
Or maybe this is an overly-wrought solution. But dammit, I want Whiskerino 13—better, 12, but I have no expectation of it.
- Both of those numbers are made-up, but I bet that the latter is closer to true than the former. [↩]