Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Monday, August 28, 2006
Regarding the weekend, I accomplished a lot less than I had hoped. Friday night at The Duo Trio CD release party, I had a great time hanging out with Terry and Nicole. We found ourselves at Town Topic at 3:30am via The News Room. Ouch. I was a zombie for most of Saturday.
Saturday night I skipped going to see the NHL-rules hockey game and grabbed some tasty LC's Barbecue carry out. Then, Nic and I rolled to Adam's birthday party. Fun! til 4am. I got to see the UFC fights, even. Chuck Liddell is an animal.
Sunday, I rested on the sofa and zoned out playing online poker. I doubled my buy-in in a cash Hold'Em game. I came in second in an Omaha tournament and won 300,000 play money chips. I find Omaha to be much more engaging than Hold'Em. I basically only played hands with a suited king or ace and/or pocket pairs. I limped unless I had two pairs or a pair of face cards in my hand. I bet a medium sized bluff at every flush possibility on the board. This worked because I'd get caught bluffing a couple of times, but covered the damage to my stack when I made the same size bet with the nut flush and got callers or the opportunity to reraise. I folded to any post flop raise unless I had the nuts or good odds to draw the nuts. I was chip leader until heads up, then my inexperience showed. I need to practice heads up Omaha. I might start coming in first. I think I'm ready to switch from play money to cash Omaha.
Thursday, August 24, 2006
I received a desperate sounding email from Lutzie, the man who rents the ice rink for his invitation only games twice a week.
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They're a fun bunch to socialize with, so I called him to say that I'd like to fill in. It's worth the $18 for the ice time, but they grill after they play, and the food is excellent. I learned that Lutzie owns many millions of dollars worth of construction equipment and an excavation and landscaping company. I knew he had a bank. I wonder if it's repo stuff? At any rate, I rushed around and made it to the game a few minutes late, and had a lot of fun. But I'm wiped out. I can tell I'll be sore tomorrow. Playing hockey three days in a row, I've probably lost six pounds. I'm at 190 now. My scale says I'm 21% body fat. I think it reads a bit high. No thanks to the fact that I pigged out on brats with sriracha sauce and mustard right after I had already had a chili dog. . . I'm going to be feeling the heartburn later.
I don't know if my skate blades are just dull or I hit a soft spot on the ice, but my skate slid out and I strained my groin. I will be sitting out any hockey opportunities this weekend. I need to have the blades sharpened tomorrow. I wanted to go to the rink anyway. There's a Friday Night Lights 2 hockey challenge game tomorrow at Pepsi Ice Midwest. It's a semi-annual NHL rules game for anyone brave enough or stupid enough or tough enough. Full bodycontact. 5 minutes for fighting. I'm glad that's becoming a tradition. Seems like fun.
I have conflicting party invitations for Saturday, but I know I'll end up at Adam's birthday party after showing my face at the UFC watch party (and poker tourney).
Sunday is the KC Curling Club Open House at the rink from 11a-1p. They're begging for volunteers to help with the event, so I might show up and lend a hand.
I hope tomorrow is asfun and productive.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
September 9, I start school. It's a network security course taught by a Sprint employee, Mr. Xie. Since Sprint will be reimbursing my tuition, I can use the super low interest school loan money to pay off higher interest debt. . . and I have accumulated plenty of that over the past couple of months being "self-employed".
I'm going to celebrate by playing some drop-in hockey tonight.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Friday, August 18, 2006
I received a birthday greeting from a radio station. How do they know my birthday? I got a nice card from Southwest Airlines and a free birthday burger coupon from Red Robin. I need more birthday freebies. Know of any? Can't you eat free at Denny's on your birthday?
In the wake of my parents' visit I'm getting chores done, like actually cutting my grass. When a squirrel steps off the driveway into the lawn and completely disappears, it's time.
The kitchenette downstairs is coming along. I'm pulling out the remaining nails by which the 1973 style paneling was previously hung. I have a verbal commitment from Kris to work off some back rent by doing more flooring work. I have a friend, Tim, who has a construction business who will give me a discount on the electrical work and plumbing. He will be here on Saturday to get started. The cabinets are bought on credit, and I'm assembling them today. Big fun.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Anyway, a job opening at SAIC appeared today, which suits me. Alternatively, I could go to work now for Spherion working for ACS working at Hallmark for 26 an hour. But I think ACS would rather hire someone directly than through a staffing service like Spherion. Spherion's cut must be huge, because I got the indication from the other engineers there that 26 is pretty low, based on their facial expressions. I only went to the interview for the purpose of meeting the people at Hallmark, anyway. I think it was worthwhile. It would be a great place to do contract work. The commute to Hallmark headquarters is super easy.
Today, I'm spewing resumes and cover letters and soliciting for a job at places where I would like to work, whether they have openings posted or not. So far, I've gotten one response. I think going direct and ignoring the staffing service recruiters is more my style. Especially so, after that bait and switch burn yesterday.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Wednesday, August 9, 2006
Once in a while, I stumble upon a job where I just want to meet the candidates. This is one of those. Senior Military Analyst. You pretty much have to be some sort of bad ass.
I was just considering how low the odds are that a female will get this job. I'm not being chauvinistic; I'm just saying that chicks with this amount of tech in their background are rare and the fact that bombs are involved really narrows the field.
"Date: 8-8-2006 Location: Fort Leavenworth, KS Area code: 913 Tax term: FULLTIME Pay rate: Competitive Length: FULLTIME Position ID: 62623 Dice ID: saicbot Job description: The CG, U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) is the Army Electronic Warfare (EW) Proponent and responsible for all facets of the Army EW program development and management. The USA EW Proponent is a subdivision of the USA Information Operations Proponent and is designated the CAC executive agent for day-to-day interface with the HQDA G3 EW Directorate and other Army agencies. Lead agency responsibilities for the subdivisions of EW are assigned to various TRADOC schools and centers. CG, CAC retains overall decision authority for all DOTMLPF requirements and the synchronization and coordination of all subdivisions of EW. This position provides on site support at Fort Leavenworth to the USAEWP office in carrying out program responsibilities related to Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Office (JIEDDO) initiatives, and may require occasional travel. Tasks may include: 1) advocating and coordinating Army EW support to DoD-wide efforts to reduce or eliminate the effects of all forms of improvised explosive devices (IED) used against U.S. and coalition forces by being the focal point for the EW aspects of policy, resourcing, materiel, technology, training, operations, information, intelligence, assessment, and research; 2) participating in "defeat of the IED" initiatives by analyzing the EW aspects (including electronic attack, electronic protection, and electronic warfare support) of the efforts to reduce the effects of IED detonations, including route clearance, device neutralization, explosive detection, military explosive ordnance disposal, and vehicle and personnel protection; 3) participating in "defeat of the IED system" effort by focusing on EW aspects designed to reduce the effects and interrupt the insurgent chain of IED activities through intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, information operations, counter-bomber targeting, device technical and forensic exploitation, disposal of unexploded and captured ordnance, and persistent surveillance; 4) participating in "training the force" initiatives by focusing on the EW aspects that mitigate the effects of insurgent IED employment through multi-echelon training, technology training, information management and dissemination, strategic communications, and doctrinal and institutional training changes; 5) analyzing (perhaps by using the Joint Common Intelligence Picture of the global IED threat) how EW capabilities influence or disrupt adversary IED tactics, techniques, and procedures; IED threat system products; and IED adversary networks and vulnerability of products; 6) identifying new capabilities and tools such as systems and counter-measures to fight the IED threat.Education/Skills:BA or BS degreeRequired Skills: Current theater operations experience with an understanding of the acquisition system development process and the acquisition relationships between the government and industry. Minimum of 12 years of honorable service with the US military. Disciplined analytical approach to problem solving. Ability to identify problems, develop alternatives, pursue tradeoffs and recommend choices. Superior analytical, writing, and public speaking skills. Proficiency with the Microsoft Office - Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. Desired Skills: An advanced degree in an area relevant to the tasks; experience in educational development; military personnel management; service related EW school training; recent experience in EW or EW related activity; experience in determining, documenting, and processing war fighting concepts, future operational capabilities, and doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel and facilities (DOTMLPF) requirements. Completed the DoD Program Manager's Course or Acquisition 101."
Tuesday, August 8, 2006
I called up my flooring guy, my tenant who needs to work off his back rent, to finally finish up some work he left unfinished. I hate to lose my cool, but he's been stringing me along for 3 days and my new roommie has boxes piled in the middle of the floor waiting for him to glue some corners. Just annoying, but he came over at 11pm and knocked it out.
My house was appraised today. The amount it appraised for will determine how much cash I can get out of it by refinancing. Not the smartest thing financially in the long run, but sort of necessary for the time being.
I had some pretty good Vietnamese noodle soup at a different place than Pho 97. The breaded and fried sweet potato appetizer object with shrimp in the middle was everything I had remembered. Afterwards, a walk up the hill to a coffee shop which was having a 10 year anniversary yielded free coffee. It was a zen moment. Happy tummy.
I think I applied for a dozen jobs today, and spent over 100 minutes on the phone with recruiters and got very little else accomplished. The roommies fridge is in place in the kitchen/bar to be. Rinse, repeat tomorrow.
Friday, August 4, 2006
My priorities this week have been 1) to work on getting the vacant house ready to show, 2) get my basement apartment ready to move into, and 3) set in motion a cash-out refi on one of my rental properties to stay financially afloat while I focus on the job search. I got those things accomplished while getting bombarded from every angle by recruiters. I have also heard every get rich quick scheme imaginable. I also learned that getting a good interest rate on a mortgage while unemployed, or self-employed, is difficult. The problem is this, a lot of my rental income went directly into my wallet and never saw a bank account. So, now that the mortgage companies are saying, if you were really self employed for over a year, show us the bank deposits. I have faxed twelve months of bank statements to multiple underwriters, identifying which were rent deposits and which deposits were from my day job. If you say you're self-employed, you can't count the money from your day job as income for the purpose of loan underwriting unless you're still working there. Fine. I'm poor and desperate and I'm in your crosshairs, despite my flawless mortgage payment history. Stick me with a crappy interest rate, give me some cash, and watch me refinance to a better rate at my first opportunity.
I also filed for a Nevada S-Corporation. I got two new job titles out of the deal. Owner. President. I like. The legal fees to file articles of incorporation and the amout of bookkeeping chores for a corporation are only slightly obnoxious. But, from now on the rental thing is going to be a business, and be run like a business instead of a hobby, for all the tax benefits possible. I will lease office space, a portion of my house, to my company. I will lease my vehicle to my company when I drive it on company business. This year, I have to squeeze every dollar I can out of what I have. That includes leveraging every tax benefit I can muster. Signing a lease as an officer of a company where you are both the Lessee and the Lessor, feels like writing a letter to yourself. . . or much like writing your own paycheck. :-) I had an accounting job at a freight broker where I literally wrote my payroll check once a week for three months, and it was gratifying. Everything will be setup once I deed my investment properties to my company, and the tenants sign new leases from Alpha Chief Leasing, Inc. Then if someone slips on an icy stair because of a leaky gutter and ruptures their spleen to death, my company can go down, and I can walk away undevastated.
I applied for federal student loans. The interest rates are amazing. 3 point something? And I can keep the excess? No payment til I finish? Hehe. I guess if a job doesn't happen in the next week or so, I'll just be a full time student. Whatever it takes to make my mortgage, car, and insurance payments. I told the Feds to ship the results of the loan app to all the local schools which have Masters programs which I am interested in. I hope that when they smell the money, they'll come looking for me. ITT Tech, University of Phoenix, and Colorado Tech already have. The ITT Tech campus is literally a quarter mile from my house, while the University of Phoenix and Colorado Tech campuses are each about 20 minutes away.
I completely skipped out on First Friday today, but my basement is clean for once. It has fresh paint and carpet as of today, except for one room. And the only 1970's style paneling left in my house is in the stairwell. There's a sizeable pile in my driveway right now. The front room is being converted into an eat-in kitchen, and I ran out of money. So, I'll have to wait for my refi to complete it. Cabinets ain't cheap. They're not even affordable. My new roommate, Nic, is flexible. I'm glad of that. I simply didn't have time this week to hang the bead board wainscoting and trim boards in the kitchen to be. The shower is also a work in progress, but she can use the upstairs one while I complete repair downstairs over the next few days. I need a break after huffing asbestos dust while taking up a layer of asbestos tile down there. No lie. There's a dumpster in a neighborhood apartment complex which will soon receive a visit by a man dumping asbestos tiles quietly in the night.
Out of the blue, Karen from Time Warner called today to say that the job for which I attended a two hour technical screening by two people, three levels of interviews, and a mock sales presentation in front of the decision makers a MONTH ago. . . is "on hold". Ikinda figured that someone would have been hired for that position, but apparently nobody has been, or will be any time soon. That's okay. I have hot job leads locally from Embarq, F5 Networks, and Standard and Poors. I would enjoy doing any of those jobs, and would be proud to work for any of those companies.
I have an opportunity to take on a CM IT Solutions franchise. The territory including Liberty, Independence, Blue Springs, and Lees Summit is not taken, and the company has customer leads here, but they're feeding them to a franchise in Shawnee. Grrr. I think I could run one of those. That may be the ticket. I am in the running to be selected for that franchise. I have to go to Austin for the interview/application process, and hopefully the training.
I actually showed my vacant house to a potential tenant today. It felt like a test run. When you're showing a place for the first time, you can identify the flaws and the selling points just by watching their eyes. They'll zero in on the slightest water stain, even if you never saw it. I had no idea there was chartreuse carpet on the stairs going down into the garage. Until I fixed the house up, that wasn't the worst thing. . . by a long shot. She said, "That bathroom wall *is* a butt ugly color." And without taking a breath, "That vanity is cute." I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "You should have seen the color in the master bedroom before I painted it." Or, "You should have seen the vinyl flooring that was here before." I hope she rents it, her credit rawks. Not even a slow-pay.
Next week's priorities, tax paperwork!, getting a tenant in my vacant house!, and preparing to host the folks as houseguests for a few days. Oh, and find a job! Jetta repair is on hold. It's off my insurance now, so I don't want the liability. It's better off parked, and I have more important things on my plate. Driving the Jeep around is tough at the pump, but cheaper on the car insurance front, and I'm in miser mode.