Friday, January 27, 2006


Well I know that I just said that I hate job searching--I still so, somewhat. ;-) I've had two promising interviews now, and hopefully they'll both lead a bit further so I can make a decision. Though honestly I'd rather not make a decision, I'd rather pick and choose, take features from one job and combine them with the other, ;-).

The first interview was on Wednesday with a copier company (they don't make copiers, just distribute and service them). The position is data entry in the warehouse behind their offices where they keep many parts on-site so they can conduct repairs as soon as possible. The pay is definately good, nearly what I would need to live on my own--I wish I knew somebody I could room with (somebody in Kentucky that is, ;-)) and it includes benefits. I'm waiting for the warehouse manager to get back to me so I can go in for a real interview--on Wednesday I just spoke to the hiring director briefly. The place is a bit far (about twenty miles north, but that means it is out of downtoan).

The second interview was today--it was for a local financial services firm. The position is in the mail room of one of their subordinate companies. The pay would probably be less than the other job, but I might like it more--and the benefits are great. The core company is an insurance firm, so health insurance and such are in-house and heavily subsidized by the firm. They also have private parking garages with rates better than normal public garages (which you have to use, it being downtown and all parking is paid in structures or metered) as well as an in house cafeteria with breakfast and lunch free for associates. There is also a fitness center free for associates before and after work hours. I'm scheduled to go in and speak with a man from the other company Monday morning, today I spoke with a woman from HR for the main company.

At this point I'm going to go forward with both opportunities if I can--I hope the copier place contacts me soon (or I guess I can call them by Monday). Then hopefully I'll be able to decide between the two, but if one offers to hire me and the other doesn't I'll definately take the job. So I'm just hoping that at least one offers. :-)

~Matt Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Job Searching

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate looking for work? Well on the off chance that I haven't, I'll say it again--I hate the process!! Yes, I know part of it is my fault for not going through with a teaching credential, because I'd not really prepared myself for anything else. But I still wish that the whole process was just a bit easier. Searching through endless lists and applying again and again...all for a very low rate of return. I actually never had any solid leads my last time searching (before I started work at the museum in March) except for the Museum. Well there was one position in Covington with the city that I was going to take a test for--but I dropped that when I was hired at the museum. I've wondered how I would have done--I think it was a typing test with perhaps a bit more. *sigh*

Well I think that I mentioned applying for a position with WesternSouthern. It is full-time with benefits, but doesn't have the greatest pay. However, I'm scheduled to go in for an interview on Thursday. I think at this point that my plans are to land whatever kind of non temporary (even if part-time) job that I can and treat it as temporary. I know that seems like a contradiction, but let me explain. My problem during the last year is that I didn't look beyond the museum (except for my UPS job in December). I just kept going from special exhibit to special exhibit, when none of them paid enough for me to live on my own. This job at WesternSouthern won't pay that much either--but it is full-time. What I need right now is a steady source of income so that I can turn back quite a bit of it into savings while looking continually for a better job.

I would never say that my years at Master's were a waste, but the student loan payments are a bit of a burden now when my degree didn't segue right into a job after all. But again, that was my decision, and now I have to live with it and make things work. But of course that involves job searching...*sigh* I'll just have to keep going. Unless I find something really good I think I'll be searching for the next few months, even if I land something in the meantime. Actually, though I've applied to the History Museum in a way I don't want the job. I guess that I would take it if I had to, but that would involve giving up evening events and it would only be something I'd hold down while looking for something to pay better (unless it pays quite a bit more than the similar position in Natural History, and I doubt that it does). At this point I think I'd rather find a temporary full-time position elsewhere so that I can keep doing Evening Events and be involved at the museum.

~Matt Posted by Picasa


Here is a map of the planet Marduk from the books that I mentioned yesterday, the Empire of Man series by Weber and Ringo. It is one of the reasons that Baen Books is now one of my favourite publishers.

For some time Baen has had its Free Library up on the internet. It is a great site where you can download completely free copies of many of their books. Now what you'll get are generally the first couple books of a series to whet your appetites for either purchasing the books in print, or at least their sequels. I've certainly enjoyed the library and downloaded several books. Oh, one more thing, you get your choice of formats, i.e. Microsoft Reader, html, and others. Personally I find MS Reader the easiest to read. Even if you don't like Microsoft you should check it out, ;-). You can download dictionaries, translation dictionaries, and even many old free books no longer in copywright. But enough of the program, back to Baen.

Baen also has a purchase program on its website, WebScriptions. Via this part of their site you can purchase books individually or as they come out, say by the month. It is part of they way they hope to hook you in with the Free Library. So far I've not yet done anything with it because I don't want to pay for eBooks at this point, but I might in the future since their eBook prices are very reasonable and far below prices for print books. But for the moment I have access to an even greater treasure trove!

In some of their recent books Baen has begun including CD-ROMs with electronic copies of the author's books. I was reading through David Weber's Honor Harrington series (the latter books checked out from the library) when I found my first CD in a book. Excited I looked at it and found that it was completely free to distribute, so long as it wasn't sold. I of course copied the CD after downloading all of the MS Reader files on it. Then I found something even better. Here you can access all of the CDs that Baen has distributed, and you can even download ISO files with which you can create your own copies of the CD if you don't want to download each individual file. The first David Weber CD that I found only had his Honor Harrington novels on it, but the later one from his newest hardcover has all of his novels, including those he co-wrote with other authors! Now I would really recomend a laptop, or a handheld (I've not yet tried a PalmPilot for reading but I think it would be good) over a desktop as you can be much more comfortable--but if you like Sci-Fi and Fantasy here is a way to read some excellent titles. Oh, and another bonus--the David Weber CDs have art galleries that include many cover images and maps and diagrams from the books.

So yeah, for all that they have done to make their books more accessible I'm really starting to like Baen, besides the fact that I like many of the books their authors publish, ;-). As I continue to read books by their authors I'll not only look for paper copies at book sales but I'm sure that I'll start buying books new (at least in paperback) in series that I'm trying to keep up with.

~Matt Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 23, 2006


If you've watched many Star Trek episodes you might have noticed how often the number 47 appears to appear. By this time it definately is deliberate in some aspects, and some people keep track of the appearances. Check out Memory Alpha's article. There is also a link to a list of references. Anyway, I was looking through some old pictures and I found this one.

This picture is from last December when for one of my nephew's birthdays we all went on a Polar Express themed train ride. I enjoyed this picture because it is just a close up of the train without any other distractions, and I don't get as many of these pictures as I'd like--I try, but Chris is much better at it than I.

Well I have at least one more lead lined up. I've applied for a position at a company called Western-Southern--it is an insurance firm. One of the people I work with on evening events at the Museum works there. I'm still looking for other leads, *sigh*... Have I ever mentioned how much I hate looking for work? ;-)

The weekend was a bit sparse on posts, ;-), but I didn't do much, well not much aside from reading. I've been reading through David Weber and John Ringo's Empire of Man series, including a couple in MS Reader eBook form because I don't have hard copies. I only have the hard copies of March Upcountry and March to the Stars because I picked them up at book sales recently. But with a fully functional laptop it isn't really that bad at all to read eBooks--they're very readable and the only inconvience is not being able to take them from the house easily. For that I'll need a PalmPilot or other handheld someday. I've procured many free Baen books and I enjoy their authors that I've read so far (David Weber primarily) so assuming they continue to release CDs with books in electronic format for free I'll keep reading.

~Matt Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 20, 2006

Easy Come, Easy Go

Well most of yesterday's snow (well by now I must clarify that as Wednesday's snow) is gone. This was actually a fun snowstorm because the roads weren't ever troubled and it was quite nice to look at a blanket of fluffy white stuff over everything. *shrugs* But it wasn't very durable, and the temperatures were warm today--in the fifities. I didn't even wear a jacket when I went to work.

Yeah, I had an event to work for the third night in a row. Technically only one was mine--I supervised Tuesday night. But due to a shortage of staff available to work we supervisors had to fill in. I'm not going to complain about the extra money of course, but it was ackward the last couple nights as I forgot about the events until my cell phone alarm went off. Last night (Thursday evening) I was much better. Laurie was cooking chicken in some strange tomato sauce in the crock pot--but it was fully cooked. Since everybody wouldn't be eating until I left--and they did sit down and pray just before I left--I had to eat early.

So dinner was a piece of chicken (it was white meat--for some unfathomable reason my sister prefers white meat *shudder*) with three slices of homemade bread. It wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't terrible either. And honestly I'm trying not to eat as much. If I let myself I'll eat until I'm full, and when I get two or three good homecooked meals a day that isn't a good thing with the amount of exercise I do (or rather don't) get. Therefore since I'm not in the mood to exercise more just right now, or have easy means, I'm trying to make sure I don't eat too much.

Oh, a bit of good news from just a few minutes ago. The nephew that I share a room with woke up and tossed me something. It was a deck of cards that I'd let him borrow nearly a year ago--but he'd taken it to his grandma's house (my brother-in-law's mom) and lost it. Normally that wouldn't be that bad as I'd ask that he buy a new deck or just forget about it--but these were one of my card decks from my last trip to Vegas, from the Sahara. They're not exactly easy to replace from Kentucky! I'd given up on them as lost and was periodically bugging my nephew to remind him taht he owed me a deck of casino cards--I really never thought that I'd actually see my cards again. I'm definately glad that I was wrong! He told me that his grandma found them in a drawer.

Well I'm off to sleep now, better late than never, eh? And tomorrow I'm off to a library sale in Cincinnati--and job hunting. I need to e-mail the library about another position and e-mail a resume to a co-worker at the museum who will turn it in at her other job.

~Matt Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Blogging via Picasa

Okay, well I'm actually starting over with this post since I had the last version partially typed up when I navigated away to check a setting, not realizing that the text wouldn't be saved. *sigh* I won't make that mistake again.

I decided to make this post not only because I wanted to describe the new blogging features of Picasa that I'm using, but because I thought that my comments in my last post might have been confusing.

Right now I'm typing this blog post up from within Google's Picasa photo program. I've been using the program for quite a while now and I really enjoy it. It has some basic photo editing capabilities and if what I read is correct when you make changes it doesn't change the original file, only the display within Picasa! If you do any work with digital photos you'll know this is important--you don't want to change your original picture files because once you make a change you can't undo it--so you save corrected (i.e. for red eye) or edited pictures as new files--but with Picasa that shouldn't be a problem. But that isn't what I wanted to type about, ;-). I'm more interested with the e-mail and blogging features.

I've used the e-mail features frequently as Picasa will not only seamlessly mesh with Gmail but it will resize files so that I'm not attaching massive pictures to my e-mails. The blogging feature was nice, but I didn't ever use it much because I could only upload one picture at a time and I had to go to my blog and edit the post to put in a title and more than one paragraph of text--plus I could only upload one picture at a time. Well I can still only upload one picture at a time, I'm not sure if that is just because I'm not doing something right or if that is all the program can do--but several new features are making blogging much easier!

First of all the program formerly used in conjuction (Hello--responsible for several of the faults) with Picasa is no longer required. Now when I want to blog with a picture I simply select it in Picasa, click the "BlogThis" button and a window identical to the new blog post window on Blogger opens--the only difference being that it already has the picture uploaded. Furthermore you can determine if you want the picture within the text to the right (as above) or left, or you can center it above the text--much like normal placing of a picture tag does. I'm sure I could have messed with the blog's HTML and perhaps achieved this same picture-in-text result before, but I don't quite have the knowledge at this point, so Picasa is much easier. Anyway, I'm very happy with the results and I even took one older post and converted it (the one entitled Cheysuli), but that wasn't quite enough of a test so I had to type up this post! :-) If I keep up this momentum I might be picture blogging quite a bit, but I'm not sure--right now this is new and easy, we'll see what happens. I'm not yet as reliable as Mark.


PS There is only one flaw to this interface that I can see, no save as draft setting--and if you change the settings to determine where the picture is located your text won't be saved. Posted by Picasa

Not Quite Snow Day

Well it wasn't quite a snow day today, but then it rarely is at the school my nerfs attend (the school is K-12 and everybody lives locally so it takes quite a bit of snow for them to cancel). When I left the museum last night around 23:00 the security guard told me to be careful because of the snow when I turned in my keys. I thanked him but figured that it was just a few flurries. Instead when I got out to my car I discovered that the winshield was covered with snow (not as bad as this picture here though). I was surprised because it had been raining all day and I didn't figure that snow would stick.

I planned to wake up early today as my sister made donughts yesterday and they were to be for breakfast today--but I was up a bit late and so I turned off my alarm when it woke me up at seven. It was later (I don't remember exactly when) and I was deeply sleeping, and dreaming when the phone woke me up--I'm not sure where my sister was, but she wasn't around. It was a rather rude awakening, but I was definately awake after I ran down the stairs to answer the phone! ;-)

Today I looked at the Cincinnati Library's website and found another opening at another branch within fiften miles. :-) I have a few days so I'll print out another application and turn it in.

Well that is all for now, but I still need to figure out how to post multiple pictures with Picasa--if it can be done. I'm definately happy with the new interface that allows me to type up text with the picture and type in the title--it is quite a nice mesh, easy to post. Oh yeah, and another plus is that now I can put the pictures in with the text--I wasn't able to do that just linking them in. :-)

~Matt Posted by Picasa


Well I was busy and I wasn't. I worked this evening at the museum, so that time was busy--especially since I was hungry, not having time to eat before I left to go in. On the way home (just before 23:00) I stopped by Wendy's and picked up three dollar menu items: bacon cheeseburger, chicken nuggets, and french fries. I felt so hungry that it tasted amazing...;-)

Earlier I went back to the library book sale--today they had a much better selection than yesterday. I think I'll go back Thursday and/or Friday. Friday is the five dollars a bag final day sale. I'm not sure if there will be enough good books left at that point to justify doing that, so I might just go Thursday to make sure that I get everything good. But buying a couple dozen paperbacks at a quarter a book isn't bad at all! Especially when I've been looking for some for quite a while, and others will eventually give me places to expand my collection to complete trilogies and other series--for now they're just getting packed away if I don't think I might read them in the near future.

Chris also dropped off my application at the Cincinnati library since I didn't have time to go in with it myself (it was due today--I just found the position on-line a day or two ago). I was planning on running up with him, but he took off thinking that I'd already been to the library. And while he was walking around Cincinnati he walked by the library. But I had to drop the sportsnut nephew (;-)) off at physical therapy (and then pick him up) so I didn't have time for anything before work. *shrugs*

It was a good night--but I'll be back tomorrow for another night. But that night I'll not be the supervisor, but filling in since I couldn't get enough staff to work. Now I'd much rather schedule enough staff, but I'm not adverse to working more and thus getting paid more than I would otherwise. :-)

No more author reports right now--but I've just started Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea, and I'm enjoying it.


PS My nephew's surgery went great--he was home a couple hours after it was over. It will take him a bit to heal, but at this point everything looks great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


Well I just finished Jennifer Roberson's Chronicles of the Cheysuli last night and I'm still thinking about it. A few months ago I was in a bookstore looking for new fantasy when I saw her books--they were in omnibus format, four paperback volumes instead of the original eight. I'm so glad the publisher made this decision because the original books are unfortunately out of print. They sat here on my yet-to-read bookshelf for quite some time. I thought they definitely looked interesting, but I wasn't quite ready to read them for whatever reason.

Well whatever that reason was I wish I'd not had it! ;-) I thoroughly enjoyed each of the books and had only two regrets, that they were over and that I'd not read them earlier. But I have found out that the author has published other books (which I'll definitely be investigating) and that in the next five to eight years she'll be publishing more Cheysuli novels. Sure, it is a while to wait, but at least they're coming--unlike some authors that have finished their sagas for good.

The stories are definitely different--the Cheysuli (the central race of the novels) are shapechangers. Roberson explained that she had wanted for some time to write a book about good shapechangers, and so she did--but it turned into an eight book series! The Cheysuli (well now only the men, the warriors) each have an animal that they bond to, called their lir. They can speak to this lir and take on the shape of the lir--not the lir itself, but whatever animal it is--say a wolf, hawk, mountain lion, etc...

The library only has Roberson's historical fiction (which I nonetheless have on hold) and no other fantasy. So I'm going to have to wait until the books come out in omnibus format later this year and I'll be able to afford them. Now I'm reading Ursula K Le Guin's Earthsea and enjoying it. I watched the Sci-Fi miniseries a while back, but apparently it bears little resemblance to the books. That is certainly true so far--there are similarities in the plot and characters certainly, but beyond how they shortened the plot for the small screen the script writers did more. Apparently Le Guin didn't have any creative control and didn't like the miniseries. *shrugs* It was enjoyable, but I envision the books being even better.


PS Yes, please pray for one of my nephews. He goes in for surgery in the morning--it isn't terribly serious or an emergency. It is a scheduled procedure to remove a device that was implanted to help to straighten some bones. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Manufacturing Names

I've always loved old maps and atlases, but I recently found a great new use for them. I'd like to think that I'm good at coming up with invented names for my stories, but sometimes I feel as though they're all too similar. This isn't a problem if they're in different worlds or in the future where influences could come from anywhere--but when you're trying to produce distinct national cultures (such as in a fantasy world) it can be a problem.

While working on my master map for my fantasy universe I recently started turning to one of my atlases. It is of course a Hammond atlas (historically they're my favourite company and I must have a dozen distinct volumes by now), a New Era Atlas of the World from 1945 (though some of the information predates the end of World War II, therefore I naturally assume that as is the custome today the information must be from the end of 1944 when it was likely printed and sold). To come up with more gutteral germanic names I turned to the map of Germany and started pulling names and parts of names off of the map to name cities--then I turned to France and did the same for a neighboring region. Today I'm trying to come up with names for Eastern tribes, so I'm turning to the map of East Asia.


Friday, January 13, 2006

Day end/In Review

Well despite the TSA news the day wasn't a complete loss. I did come up with several ideas for my fantasy universe while I was waiting for the test to begin. One of the things I want to avoid above all costs in my writing are the cliches that I see many of my favourite authors fall into. My ideas today were about the historical formation of a college of magic. No, it is nothing like Hogwarts or Unseen University, ;-).

Tomorrow I go to the museum to turn in my application for the position in the History Museum--okay, I lie, actually later today, after I've slept since it is technically now Friday.

That is all for now. Hey, isn't somebody (Don't try to type somebody and someone at the same time, somebone doesn't work too well.) proud of me for my three posts! ;-)


Thursday, January 12, 2006

A bust

Well apparently I didn't pass the test...I'm not sure what happened but I recieved an e-mail indicating that I didn't meet the standards for the position. *sigh* Well I'm not sure exactly why, the test had several different portions... *sigh* Well it is good that I wasn't exclusively relying on this--but it is somewhat disappointing that this was put in front of me after a year and then it doesn't go well. Bah...well onward to other opportunities. :-)


Job Searching

Today I go to take a computerized test for a job I applied for last January! It was a position with the TSA at the local airport and I'd forgotten all about it until I recieved a phone call a couple weeks ago asking me if I was still interested.

There is also a position in the History Museum that is open (I need to get my application in) and I'm investigating other opportunities. *sigh* I HATE looking for work.

On the positive side though I've been reading some good books lately. I just hate having to pack them away into my storage unit. I'm definately more than ready to move into my own place so that I can have bookcases again!