Baby, it’s [raining] cold outside

Saturday was the last day of school for the semester as well as two final exams. UGH! For the second Saturday in a row I drove in pouring rain to class. The weather here has just sucked lately – I can’t remember this much rain last year. So, I didn’t do well at all on my Cisco exam. I was pretty bummed about that. I have no idea why they offer practice exams if none of the questions are going to be on the actual exam – which, they weren’t. I totally studied the wrong stuff and ended up with a terrible score that sunk my grade to a C. At least the next final in my security class went well and I think I have an A going in there. So, on to the certification exam next weekend. I don’t even want to think about that right now. I plan on cramming all next week for it.

By the time all that was over I was ready to blow off some steam. We had tickets to see Charlie Mars at Edie’s and Emil was going with. I had another friend who was supposed to go bail at the last minute and had to eat the ticket but whatever -she’s off my invite list for AWHILE. But, we had fun without her and for once Edie’s wasn’t packed to the gills – we kind of felt like we were in our own little private show. There’s something to be said for going there when it’s pouring rain and Atlanta United is playing in their cup game. We managed to catch the last bit of the win after the show. It’s nice that Atlanta has one sports team that can bring it.

Last night, we had peeps coming over to help us eat this huge lasagna we’ve had in the freezer. I think so far we have 9 confirmed and maybe a 10th. I went to the farmers market later that day and picked up stuff to make a salad- which, turned out to be a hit. I think goat cheese and pears are in my future. It was kind of an early Christmas dinner as Charlie and I don’t really have any plans for the holiday. While it was hard to get into the spirit with rain pouring down outside the dinner was very cheery and everyone seemed to have a good time.

So, nothing really became of that interview I had a few weeks back. The guy said he would call on Friday, never did. I sent him and email to check in last week and he said he’d be in touch in a few days, never did. So, at this point I’m going to stick it out until bonus time and start working on my independent projects with my security mentors at my current job. They’re going to offer another retirement package come February so I believe that I’m going to lose both my coworkers to that. One is retiring and the other wants out. He’s seriously job hunting right now. I told him if he leaves before me then I want his office. So, pretty soon it could just be me sitting up there in the central office. Granted, I’d love for the one coworker to retire because he’s a bit annoying. But, the other is going to be a blow because he knows so much. There won’t be anyone around to answer questions once he’s gone.

So, on to more studying! You probably won’t see me until after December 15th. Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

 

 

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school/work chex

I had this post all worked out for the post-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas/New Years and 2018 rundown. Yeah, no. I’ll probably post that one later.

Today I have that interview. I have waffled back and forth over it. I’ve talked to my spouse, my friends and my sister (who shit all over it) about it. It all comes down to $$ honestly. If they can’t make it worth my while then I’m staying where I am and taking two classes next semester.

Part of me wishes to stay and grind out another semester. Part of me wishes for a change and to be done with school a little while. Like for instance my Linux class. I am so ready to kick that stupid class out the door.

Our prof is a dick-throb. He opens up his virtual machine and just starts typing in DOS commands like we’re supposed to know what he’s doing. He stands there and lectures for 2-1/2 hours doing that. I usually get up and leave around 8. I mean, I’m not going to be held hostage by this man until 8:40 if he’s just going to drone on and not include the class in anything. The only reason I even show up is because he’s been known to drop a pop quiz on us. The other night, I walk in and see the following schedule on the board.

6-6:30 pm – makeup exam 1

6:30-7 pm – makeup exam 2

7-7:30 pm – makeup labs

7:30-8 pm – chapter 14

8-8:40 pm – final exam review

I was incensed. So, I’m supposed to sit around until 7:30 for class to start because these jokers that weren’t here to take their exams the first time need time to do them or the other jokers who can’t turn in their labs on time need time to complete them? Because I get all my shit done on time I’m being penalized? I went to the Dean’s office to complain. He really didn’t see it my way but whatever. I was one more person who complained about this guy to him.  On top of all that we were discussing the final exam. This one girl in the class who is raging mad at him and who was in the Dean’s office before me yelling asked if there was going to be a scripting component on the test. The last test he made us all script something (which, we later found out that none of the other Linux classes were made to do that on their exams) and only two people in the class knew how to do it. He said there wouldn’t be a scripting component but I still wrote down the script from lecture just in case. This exam is an open book and we typically take the sample tests prior to the exams and bring in the printouts to help. Well, this time he said no printouts. Only the book (which is worthless) and handwritten notes. So, guess who wrote out 120 practice questions by hand? I don’t know why I care so much. Maybe it’s because I’m still hoping for an A in this class even though I know it will probably be a B. Which, blows my 4.0 GPA. This is another thing that burns me up. I still may track down the president of the college email address and send him a letter.

I have two other classes I have finals for next week that don’t have open book exams so I will be studying for sure. Then, after that I have a Network + exam to study for. Hopefully, by the beginning of 2019 I will have one more cert under my belt.

turkey time chex mix

It’s Charlie’s favorite time of the year, Thanksgiving. I don’t really mind this time of the year now that I have fun people in my life to spend it with. The kids are coming up on Wednesday and staying through Sunday. We have a bunch stuff planned along with just hanging out. It’s always fun having them here. Charlie already made pumpkin pies and put them in the freezer. I made these Maple Pecan bars and added smoked maple bourbon. They are insanely sweet, y’all. Yesterday, we made a couple of lasagna to put in the freezer as well. We plan on having at least one of them on Saturday after we’re tired of turkey.

Today, I filled up the propane tank at Ace Hardware so we’ll have plenty to grill with and hook up to our outside fireplace. I’m also going to go to the store again for the 45th time and get stuff to make green bean casserole to go with the squash casserole I’m going to make. If we can ever thaw the turkey out….

So, the things I’m thankful for:

Charlie and the boys and daughter-in-law

My health

Friends

That I have a job  – for now – that may change after 2019 but –

I have an interview next week so everything concerning work could change in 2019.

I was resigned in staying where I am until the ax fell and hopefully moving into a promotion – which is no guarantee that I’d get one – but I got a call from the hiring manager for this conglomerate and the job sounded interesting. Plus, I felt we really hit it off on the phone. So, today he called and asked to set up a face to face interview. Trying not to get my hopes up on this because we all know I’ve been there before.

I have one more day of work then we’re off to the races of Thanksgiving cooking madness. Everyone have a happy one! Cheers!

 

 

 

the past is the past chex mix

Sometimes I feel like I am too gullible in my old age. I always seem to think the best of people until I’m smacked in the face with reality. Those who know me may think otherwise as I can be a bit sarcastic. Even so, I’ve recently been going over in my mind of what happened with my friend who committed suicide last year.

Last year was such a fucker. I lost my step mother and my friend committed suicide. As I’m sure a lot of people that have had someone they know commit suicide they are left wondering what the hell happened. I think back to all the times I hung out with this friend of mine – it was quite a bit back in the early 2000’s. I wonder what it was that went wrong. She was a pharmacy rep so I always wondered if that gave her access to drugs. One of the last conversations we’d had she said she was diagnosed with narcolepsy. I really have no inkling at to what that involves to this day. I wondered if it was just a cover up to a real addiction such as oxy. These are questions that I will never know the answer to so I tell myself it doesn’t matter. Stop wasting time thinking about it because you will never know.

Then, fast forward. The other day I was working on a lab for my security class. It wanted you to do a series of web searches on yourself to see if you existed on the web. Not wanting to type in my own name I typed in an ex of mine and, voila, a mug shot came up.  I was shocked. Here all these years I’d assumed she would be some English or Political Science professor all in tweed at a progressive university somewhere with a pencil stuck in her bun.

Man, was I wrong. I copied/pasted the link and sent it to a friend of mine who we went to school with saying WTF?? I haven’t heard back from her yet – she’s in Cali maybe dealing with fires and probably this is the last thing she’d be concerned with is checking her FB messages. All the same, how could I be so stupid? That time at college we were dating she was a huge cokehead and lying was practically a minor. She eventually started seeing another ex of mine and last I heard they moved out to California together. At the time, I had just accepted an internship in Atlanta and thankfully they were gone by the time I got back to graduate. I don’t know why I should be surprised.

Speaking of the loserville past, the independent film/documentary, Monrovia Indiana, has finally hit the theaters. This happens to be the town where I grew up.

I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats to see it. I have not. A friend of mine from high school Facebook messaged me that she saw it the other day and wondered if I had.  I told her I had not. Not saying, Why would I want to be reminded of the backwoods ignorance of where I came from? I did say that I thought I’d be going to see Bohemian Rhapsody first. Like my Grandma used to say if you can’t say anything nice then don’t say anything at all. Or don’t text back.

it’s back on chex mix

So, I privatized the blog for a little while. I’m going to do this from time to time just so you know. Sometimes it’s nice to write in general without worrying about soliciting readers. This week I’ve been trying to get as much school work done as possible before the semester is up. I just want to get it all done so I only have to worry about finals. Out of all my classes this semester I think the Cisco one is the best. The other two – not so much. The Linux class could be a lot better if the prof wasn’t such a brick and had one iota of ability to teach. He just pulls up his virtual window and starts typing in Linux commands while he drones on about what they’re for. It’s completely boring. I’ve already finished all the labs in this class on my own and taken all the chapter review tests. All I have to do now is take a test – our third – next Monday and then the final -and, show up for his boring-ass lectures. Might I add it’s completely stupid to take a test next Monday when we have to turn around and take a final exam three weeks later but whatever.

Monday evenings I usually show up early to the lab and talk to my friend, Nancy, who is in the same program. We were in this asinine networking class together last summer. At first I thought she was a complete dolt but once I got to know her a little better she seems really driven and we seem to agree on a lot of things concerning the program.  The other night we met in the cyber security classroom with some other people in the program. The idea is to create our own little study group and “cyber team” – I say this very loosely because it’s in the draft stages right now. I don’t mind meeting early on a night I have to be there anyway but I will not devote any additional time to a club where we’re just sitting around bullshitting about cyber security. I could be studying towards a certification. Certs are going to get me a job not sitting around b.s.-ing. Speaking of certs I signed up to take the Network + exam in December a week after the semester is over. I’d really like to ring in the new year with another cert under my belt.

As we were sitting there discussing a potential “club” my security prof walked in. I have her for my Saturday class that is just so-so. My beef with it is that we haven’t learned any tangible skills it’s just all lecturing and our final project is developing some game for the class to play which I find very cheezy. I plan on submitting a mediocre review of the class at the end of the semester when they send out surveys. I like the prof ok – I think she’s a very intelligent lady – I thought she was a dyke at first but after introductions at the beginning of the semester I learned her husband retired from the company I currently work for. I think maybe she’s a frustrated straight – lol. I have her next semester for firewall configuration and by-gawd she’d better teach me something. I tried to ask her if she had a synopsis of the class next semester and she said they’re currently re-writing it. I wish I could foresee the future because if it’s lame like my current class with her then I’m going to drop it and take a VMware class instead. The prof that’s teaching firewall configuration this summer is supposed to be good so I could possibly wait until then to take it with him. Decisions, decisions…….

I currently have two mentors where I work. I work for a HUGE company that has millions of employees and multiple departments. One mentor is a director of security and his team configures firewalls – why I want to take firewall configuration. The other director deals with regulation and policy. I have monthly telephone meetings with them both and am really hoping to take on independent projects with each of them next year -also, why I’m only going to take two classes next semester. In the long run, I’m hoping that one of them will offer me a job on their team. This is really a long shot, I know. It’s the whole reason I’m doing this but there’s no guarantee. I could be swooped up by another company in the meantime. Who knows. It’s all very uncertain. 2019 is going to be a very interesting year, I have a feeling. It could be either really good or meh. I could lose my job where I am come January or I could stay on – hopefully long enough to get a promotion or another job. It’s a hustle and shake year for sure.

In other news, Charlie and I have decided to abstain from alcohol during the week. This does not include Fridays or Saturdays. Not sure about Sundays yet since it technically is a school night. This is mostly for weight loss reasons. I need to lose some weight. We’re on day four and it really hasn’t been that bad. Although, I’m not planning on blowing it out Friday or this weekend, either. Along with that we’re trying to cut down on the carbs and eat healthy snacks or none at all. I usually try to work in at least one salad per day for a meal.

This weekend, I’m hoping we’ll go catch Bohemian Rapsody at the movies. Supposed to be frigid here (well, 50’s -frigid by southen standards). Everyone have a great weeekend! I’ll leave you with this: 4 drink recipes that won’t ruin your diet

and this:

we did it!

Well, the party went on without a hitch. We had everything set up in time, no major problems and the rain decided to quit a few hours prior drying it out a bit before everyone set up. Emil’s (front and center in the pic) group (Tuesday Nights Live) went first and filled up the entire shed deck and more. They were a great kickoff to the party and sounded fantastic!

Our friends who were going to bring the baby never showed, probably a good thing but other friends of ours who had twin boys came because their dickweed father decided to just drop them off to their mom right as she was leaving for the party so she brought them but they never cried and last I checked they were dancing along to the music. All in all we had about 40 – 45 people (yes, I counted) including all the band members and people they invited.

Lessons learned: burying the whiskey before the party to ensure no rain actually worked. We’ll probably be doing that again next year – although, next time we will mark the spot so we dont have to dig up half the yard looking for it, lol.

Probably 1/2 a pork butt next year instead of the ENTIRE 5 lb butt.

More spicy slaw, though.

Probably same date (well, the 19th next year as it will be a Saturday) but maybe a costume theme next year – completely optional, though. Charlie will be wearing this:

 

 

Pre-party prep

Yesterday, I went to the airport to pick up Charlie’s family who had just flown up from Orlando for the music party. Ok, Hartsfield airport is EVEN MORE of a nightmare than I’ve ever experienced and I’ve lived in Atlanta over 20 years. The airport construction seems to be going on and on and on. Yesterday, all of the parking lots – including the long term – were full. Park and ride was no option for Charlie’s father who uses a walker. After receiving a parking receipt from the attendant and being told that if I don’t find a space in 15 minutes I’ll be charged, I squeezed in between a Benz and a 4Runner and started the long walk to the terminal and baggage. Charlie’s parents and brother met me in their baggage claim and I told them to meet me outside the door that I would go get the car and circle around. Back out to the parking lot and circling the airport – twice – before I could pull over to get them. There were Atlanta police officers directing traffic and yelling at cars basically. I saw one officer chew out this couple who had pulled over to drop off in a striped area. The second time I was coming through I couldn’t pull over and Charlies family just came out and loaded into the SUV. Once in amidst total chaos another cop was yelling at me because I didnt drive over the cross walk fast enough. Hello, what if pedestrians were in the path?

I seriously think that the Atlanta police department puts their officers with the biggest anger management issues at the airport to deal with traffic. It’s scary that they’re carrying firearms, too. And, we worry about terrorists when we have angry gun-toting fools right in front of us.  I was never so glad to get the hell out of there.

Back at the house, finally, we unloaded and the airport experience was already making me ready for a drink. Too early we decided to go shopping at the liquor store instead – lol. The people who run Toco Giant see Charlie’s bro who likes to mix mean martinis coming a mile away with his shopping cart and are saying, Cha-ching to themselves. By the time we got back with cases of booze (which, reminded me of the time ten of us walked over the border into Juarez Mexico to buy alcohol for a New Years Eve party) it was time to go have one at Argosy in East Atlanta. We went there strictly for the atmosphere alone. Nestled in a warehouse-like building it has low lighting and a huge craft beer selection. The bartenders were very attentive even when Charlie’s mom asked about one of them’s stretched ear lobes. (Lord) Charlie’s bro was like Yeah, mom and those are tattoos – lol.

Next, we went to dinner at everyone’s favorite Apres Diem (even my picky-@ss sister likes this place and that’s saying alot). After dinner we went over to the Golden Eagle to have an after-dinner drink and to show everyone just how dark this place is inside. It’s always a shock until your eyes get used to it then you see the huge moose over the bar. This place always mixes a mean cocktail.

So, on the Facebook invite we strictly said NO KIDS. ADULT ONLY PARTY. What happens? We have these friends down the street that just had a baby. Charlie had spoken to them and one 1/2 of the couple expressed interest in stopping by just to say hi and she was like sure. We thought, husband would stop in and have a drink while wife had baby or vice versa or even the sister-in-law would watch baby while they both stopped in for 30 minutes or so. Well it turned into them posting on our site saying We’re bringing the baby and our sister-in-law and next thing you know every person with kids under 10 are asking us if they can bring their kids. Noooooooooo.

This is so annoying.

I took their bringing-the-baby post down and told them they can stop by with the baby but that I had to take their post down because everyone with a child would see that and ask if they could bring their children, too.  I hate to be like this but it’s really not fair to the other people invited with kids. I hate when people think they are the exception to the rule.  I already got a text from a friend of mine who has two children saying she saw that and had a babysitter but wondered if she could bring her kids, too. I was like, No, sorry.  Seriously, I never thought this was going to be a problem!

So far I think it’s supposed to be clear and no rain before the party but cross your fingers!

 

 

weekend chex mix

Whew! What a weekend! It all started out celebrating with Emil on Wednesday night at the Mexican restaurant with Adrianne. Adrianne had been wanting to surprise Emil with a birthday dinner and was able to schedule it that evening.

We no more pulled up and Adrianne got out – we’d all been texting how hungry we were and that maybe we needed to push the meeting time up to 5:30 instead of 6. Emil pulled up just then having gotten off work on time and we headed in to the restaurant to have margaritas and beer. This was the first time we’d been out with Adrianne and we had a blast talking and laughing over drinks. We all thought that night if we didn’t have to work the next day we would have been out a lot later. That night Emil mentioned that Benjii and Goya had texted her to see if she wanted to do something on her actual bday, Friday.

Fast forward to Friday Charlie and I decided to have a crab boil and whoever wanted to show up, show up. I picked up a half cake just in case Emil showed and it ended up they all showed. We hung out at the she-shed and listened to music while the potatoes and corn cooked in the pot we had going outside.

The next day, I managed to talk Charlie in to going to see A Star is Born. (Gaga does not disappoint) and we ran into Emil, Benji and Goya. We all ended up sitting together in the back row.

Yesterday, Charlie was a little hung over didn’t feel well and we threw together some cheese tortellini chicken soup  (if you make this halve the onion and add some more veggies – it was kind of plain but I know chicken soup is supposed to be that way) and camped out in front of the TV to watch this new series on Netflix, Maniac.

(what do you think of that? Were only on the 4th episode but it’s very strange)

As we were sitting down Emil texted and wanted to know if we were around as she was in the neighborhood and I called her back and said, Come over!

So, she came over for soup and we watched the first two episodes together. It was a great end to a fantastic weekend! Things are about to get cra-cra around here getting ready for the party and next weekend we have gay pride and the porchfest that Charlie is going to help Emil record her playing with both of her bands. I’m going to try to get out of school early so I can run down there and take in at least a little bit of music before it’s over. The hot weather is finally moving out this week so hopefully we’ll get some nice, cool long sleeved shirt weather. It will feel good to put on jeans again.

Have a great rest of your week and talk soon!

 

No Mas

I am so tired this morning. We had a very busy weekend and all I want right now is have some down time.

Saturday, we met up with a friend of mine who I used to work with. She’s had an exceptionally hard time lately so it was plans I didn’t want to cancel despite feeling tired and her being an hour late getting to the restaurant we decided to meet at. We ended up closing the bar with our favorite bartender (in Decatur), Wendy. As we were walking to the car we passed this late night restaurant/bar named Victory and my friend said, What’s that? Let’s go there!

Both Charlie and I were like, No, maybe next time, we’re beat.

It would be one thing if my friend drove herself home from Decatur but she comes in to town via the train and we have to drive her back to the train station so she can drive home. She doesn’t like to drive why it’s like this. So, long story short – it was good to see her but next time it needs to be at around 5:00.

The next day, we had tickets to Dawes at the Tabernacle with Emil. They were good but I really doubt I’d see them again. I love seeing shows at that venue, though. Before the concert we went down to this restaurant on the west side of town called No Mas (which, means “no more” in English – look at the writing on the wall, Lanie!). We met Emil’s friend Erin down there for dinner and she was originally going to go with us to the concert. When Charlie and I were at that restaurant before we had a really great time and the food was ok. One of the great things about the place is that they have this really great store that they sell goods from Mexico and we like to go in there. Well, had we realized that we’d get slung up in a bunch of Falcons/surly Saints traffic we surely would have decided to go somewhere else. Plus, once there it was packed to the gills with drunk football fans. There were two couples at the table next to us and one of the women of the couples just started going off on her boyfriend? Husband? (God, I hope not for his sake) guy friend? It was so bad at one point we were looking around for a manager. People seemed to ignore it except for us. We were all kinds of stressed. All I could think about was the time I went out with this Bi-polar woman who did that same kind of stuff. We’d be at a restaurant with all her friends and she’d start screaming at me across the table in front of everyone.

I got up and went to exchange a very bad margarita for a Mexican beer and use the restroom and by the time I got back the woman had thankfully stopped shouting aggressively at her man and was even snugged up to him holding his arm.

Yep, that’s Bi-polar – one minute you’re a piece of shit and the next it’s all puppies and flowers and love you’s. In place of aggressive shouting was the shouting over the crowd and noise – so either way she kept shouting. As we left and passed by their booth and if I still had my drink I thought about accidentally on purpose tripping and spilling my beer on her head but knew it would an even bigger fight after that.

I was so glad to get out of there. Erin excused herself and said she wasn’t feeling well and caught an Uber home and Charlie, me and Emil went on to the concert from there. The concert was even quieter than that restaurant it seemed. It was a very mixed crowd there, too. There were people our parent’s age mouthing all the lyrics of the songs like they knew them all. I had to look up how long this band had been around and they didn’t really look that old.

The next day, I was pretty fried from being out late all weekend. I skipped my Linux class – honestly, I don’t think I could have done it if a gun were pointed to my head. But, I can skip once in a while just not always. This guy loves to throw a pop quiz on us from time to time just to keep everyone showing up because honestly, the class is so boring.  This week we’re just laying low and having some friends over for dinner on Friday. That will hopefully not be a late night because I have class the next day.

So, between work and school my butt is kicked this semester and we have all kinds of people coming to our music party next month so I’d better rest up because it’s going to get even crazier.

 

 

middle of the road chex mix

So, this week Charlie has been out in Idaho on a ranch with her mom. It’s been just me and the furry babies holding down the fort. Thankfully, we’re off from school this weekend for the holiday so I won’t have to find someone to cover letting the dogs out on Saturday again. Aside from Emil coming over last Saturday to eat Chinese food and get wasted I haven’t really done anything except work & homework. (I plan on getting ahead of the game over break). I’ve been kind of a dull bird, although I have asked Benji and her to do something as I haven’t seen those girls since they moved into a new house together. I guess they have been nesting.

I joined this information security club through school and tomorrow night I’m going to one of their meetings and a representative from a [major airlines] is going to be there to talk about security. Should be interesting and I’m looking forward to getting out of the house. I decided to take off a few days from work and go to a hacker’s convention in a couple of weeks. I’m hoping to network my @ss off at this thing. Ever since our merger everyone at work has had this doomsday attitude. All they talk about is that we’re going to get laid off. Every meeting our boss schedules everyone’s says “Here it comes, it’s going to happen.”

Sure, everyone’s bracing themselves but why do we have to talk about it all the time? I understand their concerns but honestly can we just shut up about it? The time it takes bitching about it could be the time it takes to write up a resume and send it off to a couple of openings to see what happens. Me, I’ve already been doing that for months now. This is normal for me. I’m just hoping I can find something that coincides with my current curriculum – cyber security.

Meanwhile, my wife is partying with a Heisman trophy winner’s fiance’e.  I got the football question on the phone last night of do you know of…….I was thinking my wife is really missing football and me – lol. So, she’s meeting famous people out there. I’m glad she’s having a good time and no, I still don’t want to go horseback riding -but fly fishing – I could work with that.

But, it’s all about school and career right now and which direction I’m going. I could kick myself for not sitting for the Network + exam this month but honestly, I knew I wouldn’t pass it and it would be a waste of $$. I ordered a new book to study for it so hopefully by Christmas I’ll be ready. I have to get these certs and get the hale out of here. It’s the only way. In the meantime, I’m just keeping my head down and working, studying and networking my @ss off – in more ways than one. This song comes to mind and such a great live recording, too. Enjoy!