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I've found that cheap beer isn't so bad, after all.

Yesterday morning at the grocery store, standing in the beer aisle, I noted that my normal favourite beer/ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, costs about $8.00 for a six pack. A little further down the aisle, toward the end where only a few varieties are stored but plenty of space is reserved to make sure there are a lot of packages of those few varieties, I noticed that a 12 pack of Bud Ice is also $8.00. And so, I threw caution into the wind, and decided that since the results of consuming six or 12 bottles of, indeed, any given brand of beer, were probably going to be very similar, that I would get the 12 pack of Bud Ice. Color me BADD.

Oh, and before I forget. My 26th birthday is on August 4, so I'm having a little party of sorts on Saturday night, August 3, starting at around 9:00, I think. If you can read this, and you're in or will be in the New Orleans area that night, you're invited. I hope to see you there. /msg me for directions to my place.

Added bonus: If you can make it, you'll get to meet me and my sweetie girlfriend (who'll be in town as well) and consume adult beverages with reckless abandon, if that's you're thing.

NB: This writeup contains extensive use of the F-word, and general bad language and bitterness.

Excuse my language, but I'm fucking pissed off.

Had a job interview yesterday with a BIG company.

"Hi, we got your CV and we're wondering if you're still looking for work at the moment. You are? Great, great. Could you come in and see us tomorrow for a chat. We're really looking for someone with your skills at the moment."

And so I go to the interview and meet Mr. Management, the 42 year old pseudo-geek, who begins instantly drilling me with inane questions about obscure code snippets and out of date methodology.

"Around here, we do things fast. We work fast, we think fast, we talk fast."

Please, give me a fucking break you prick. Instead of trying to get me to slip up, why don't you converse with me like an human being instead of a asset.

"Well you have an impresssive CV, oh it says here you have an MCP too. Well done, very good."

Do you even know what an MCP is?

"If we were to offer this job to you, would you be able to start first thing on Monday morning?"

Course I would, I've knocked about ten grand off my salary expectations because I'm so desperate to get a job.

"Well, it all looks good from here, we'll give you a call first thing in the morning to let you know."

Great, we shake hands, we part company, I feel confident.

I get the phone call this morning.

"Hi, it's xyz here. We think you would be perfect for this job and could do really well at our company, and you obviously love what you do a lot, but we've decided not to give you a position at this time because we feel you need more experience in the area of (insert shit scripting language here). Call us back in August and we may have a position for you, best of luck."

Luck? Luck??? Don't fucking insult me! If you think I'd be perfect for this job, then give it to me for fuck's sake. Don't put me on a fucking pedestal and then tell me to go and shite. I could pick up (shit scripting language) syntax in one day, I have more experience than anyone in that poxy design studio and I'm offering you my services for a knock-down bargain basement price.

"Can I give you some advice? You're salary expectations are a little too high for a job like this."

Really, despite the fact that it's over ten thousand euro LESS per annum than what I was being paid BEFORE I went to college and got even MORE qualified? Well, you know what? Shove it up your fucking hole you miserable shower of bastards. Call you in August? Fine. I'll sit around for the next two months poring over (shit scripting language) syntax for you, then I may be worthy of a position in the hallowed halls of your super-1337 company.

Blow me.

A good day. I have been at work for week now. The people are nice, but being English, it’s hard to get close to them. I am even close to fixing the bug that I have been tasked to do at work. What’s more I am doing it by unit testing methods that I have wanted to try before, but never got around to. They seem receptive to my Software engineering rambles.

I received notification that I have passed the urine test that I was given last week, so my job is safe and my past is buried.

I have calculated that I will be able to afford a home PC next month.

Do not attempt to reproduce the experience described in the following node in your own house. In fact, it's probably best that you don't do this anywhere.

It's not that I exactly tried it so much as it swooped down and grabbed me by the neck, tackled to me the floor, and beat me to death with my own mother. I was in the bathroom, minding my own business, and it just happened. I'd just popped out of the luxoriously cold shower, steaming and wet. Well, chilly and moist, anyway. Much refreshed, I was now ready for yet another of my daily holy wars against morning breath. I hadn't put my glasses back on yet, because I didn't want them to get splattered with dental residue. Big mistake.

It was it this point that I moistened my toothbrush, and applied some toothpaste to my little electronic instrument of vibrating cleanliness. Baking soda toothpaste. Angry and abrasive baking soda toothpaste. And so, I stuck the thing in my mouth and pressed the button. Naturally, a large glob of the paste managed fling itself out of my mouth and become lodged in my left eye. If I'd been wearing glasses that day, I probably would've been shielded from the painful assault. I'm not sure if it was because I'm clumsy or just because fate was frowning upon me that day, but there I was, in my bathroom, with toothpaste in my eye.

'Ack! What the... ow! This is really... what the hell? It's starting to... Christ! (expletive deleted), dude, it's in my (expletive deleted) eye! Good, I think it's starting to... geez, when will the hurting stop? Alright, I think I'm okay now, it's cool, it's...oh, ah, ow... gah!'

This went on for about five minutes.

In conclusion, getting toothpaste in your eye is not a pleasant experience in any way. Several minutes of searing eyepain is not fun. I am not encouraging anybody to attempt it. Who knows, you could die. So take this writeup as a piece of advice. Toothpaste should be used on teeth whenever possible, and certainly not as a way to soothe one's eyes after a day of wearing contacts. Unless you like that sort of thing.

i've been away...avoiding you guys. sorry. it's just that for a while i was seeing stuff i didn't like. instead of going away mad, i just went away.

life has continued on. i am jobless, penniless, with no desire to return to school. i am car-shopping. i am done with greater vancouver public transit.

car-shopping when you have no money and no income is no fun. if i had a car, i would have a job. if i didn't have to cross the lower mainland's biggest ditch on a daily basis, i would buy a vespa.

my best friend is going to waterloo, my roommate is going to kill herself. i am going to sit around, look for work, look for a car, and maybe eat some more ice cream. maybe go camping. maybe

Well, my week just gets better..... Yesterday, I found out the job I interviewed for I didn't get. I agree with ReiToei about how some of the excuses for not hiring you are the lamest reasons ever. I mean who comes up with thoughts like these. Most be the evil bastards in Human Resources. Oh did I mention that I had to call about my job, in other words if I hadn't followed up after the interview I still might be wondering whats going on.....

To top the week off I now have a cold. Who gets a cold in the middle of summer, the middle of July? Well looks like I did. When it rains, it pours.

I've never done this before - writing in a daylog that is. I wanted to come back and look at the day I joined E2 and see what was going on. Why'd I write here instead of August 25, 2002? I'm not exactly sure - I wanted a marker of my humble beginnings I could look back at from my humble present. I'm really starting to get the hang of this E2 thing, I think.

I learn a bit more each day. I've heard the sagas of Dman and Wharfinger - seen some great nodes and some that really should be subject to ridicule before being burned at the stake. I learned something the other day too. Dannye and I, who agree entirely on capitalizing node titles by the way, disagreed on one of my writeups - I wrote "The perfect hamburger" which was essentially about the process of making what I consider to be a perfect hamburger. He moved it to hamburger stressing the need for simplicity. I disagreed.

I thought the process and the thing should be in separate writeups because they were very different things, and cited the excellent How to cook the perfect steak as an example. He said that it should be under steak. Well, I went to Quizro who has given me excellent advice, and Quizro equivocated, saying we both had our points but leaning if just a bit toward dannye. I surrendered to their superior E2ned intellects and dropped the matter. In doing so I have learned a bit more about the shape of E2 - and that's fine by me.

I've met some great people, lost only two nodes to Node Heaven (and rightfully so - they stunk!), and have had the immense privilege of writing an E2 FAQ! (E2 FAQ: Prescription medications) I'm really getting to like this place!

My scratchpad is kludged up with half-written writeups, but I also use it to store private lists, so it has become a mess. I wish you could have two or three "working nodes" for stuff in progress - maybe I'll suggest it someday. Perhaps from time to time I'll put some stuff here in the past just to see how it looks. All in all, it's been a great month!

Thoughts on E2Medicine

It was just a few days after the conversion of my prescription FAQ unexpectedly to a superdoc that I thought of the E2Medicine usergroup. I had accepted admission to E2Religion, and had gotten the feel of how it (that usergroup at least) worked. I thought "How great if there was something for medical nodes too! I thought with the wealth of information in the medical field, that it was ripe for a usergroup all its own. Dem Bones was somewhat skeptical, but softened when I explained that it wasn't just for medicine=medication, it was for medicine=the whole field of human health. He had me join E2Science whil I gathered a requisite 10 noders total to join. I looked diligently, searching out nodes with the help of two others excited about the possibility. I found many willing, but not quite as many able, and finally was able to find seven more good noder to join us and make E2Medicine.

One month after I found E2, the usergroup was formed. Since then we have found many more great noders. I am very happy to have each and every one of you as part of the group. I feel that we need a concensus to go on with. You and I, as the charter members of E2Medicine, can, and should, decide its direction for the future. I founded it, and have the responsibility and desire to steer it in a certain direction to a certain goal, but I am not so megamaniacal that I will do that without agreement of our group as it stands right now. What we decide will be the standard from here on out. And so, let me share what I envision for E2Medicine and why.

My reasons for wanting the usergroup were twofold:

  1. To improve the quality and quantity of medical writeups on E2. I knew I had no chance of impacting the content significantly on my own.
  2. A much lesser but still, to me, important goal: to meet and become friends with others who share my interests.
The second would come automatically with the usergroup formation. But I approached the first goal with this logical progression:
  1. I want people to have good reasons for joining E2Medicine and noding medical writeups, therefore
  2. There must be benefits to being a group member who nodes medical items, and
  3. Compliments are fine, encouragement is better, but in the long run, the best encouragement on E2 is votes. That was purposefully intended by its creators and thus, it is designed that way. Therefore,
  4. I should structure the usergroup to provide both a community of noders with a common interest, and provide usergroup members with benefits in the form of increased XP for their writeups.
I struggled with this at first, because within the general structure of E2 nodevertising is discouraged, and expecting upvotes on every writeup, even if they are all of good quality, breeds disappointment. After participating in two Quests, however, and seeing both the quantity and quality of writups that came out of them, I saw that if structured correctly, the same drives that made the Quests so successful could be harnessed to meet the original goals of E2Medicine.

I looked back a bit in the msg archives of E2Science and E2Religion. Yes, people felt comfortable letting others know when they had noded something relating to the usergroups emphasis, and within the group structure, this resulted in beneficial feedback and critiqus, and ultimately in more accurate, better written, and more attractive and readable nodes.

Finally, I took what I had learned, and wrote a list of Do's and Don'ts, and posted them on the E2 Medicine homepage.

Just a few days ago, I looked back at my writeup list and noticed several writeups that I has msg'ed the group about and added to the homenode list, that languished with a low reputation despite being not exciting, but (I thought) decently well-written and solid nodes. I began to look at other users' lists and noticed that the same thing was happening there. This resulted in my recent message encouraging more active voting on medical nodes.

Let me address current E2Medicine members, especially those of you above level three. I was recently a newbie. The drive for approval is a big part of E2, at least in the early stages. We have members across a spectrum of different levels, including some talented and promising newbies. If they see that their medical nodes languish with reputations of +2 or +3 and idiotic "How to pick up girl" and "Here's my disgusting but funny story" nodes get C!'s and wild XP, then what will they be more inclined to write?

And for all of us, I think we can be a solid, cohesive group of noders, supporting each other with encouragement, constructive criticism, our individual areas of knowledge, and our upvotes, without descending into a clique mentality. I deeply appreciate those of you who sounded a measured warning about my message - please be assured I don't want to preside over a back-slapping party any more than you want to participate in one, but I do think the goal of encouraging good medical writeups can be reached reasonably and effectively by doing things within the usergroup that can't be accomplished outside of one - otherwise, what's the purpose? I have boiled down to its essentials what I feel is a good purpose statement for E2Medicine:

Each member of E2Medicine is encouraged to uphold the following standards:
  • Be willing to share your knowledge freely.
  • Be willing to share your medical writeups with the usergroup so it can be improved by group input, or so that the other members can enjoy a well-written node.
  • Be willing to provide positive contructive criticism and accept it in turn.
  • Attempt to review every writeup noded by members of E2Medicine that time and energy permit.
  • Reward good writeups with your votes.
  • Improve fair writeups by helping others improve them, or by improving them if they happen to be yours.
And above all, enjoy yourself!

Let's all ponder this purpose, come to a consensus, and then get on with writing! I do not want to lose one of you over a perceived disagreement with the group's goals, so let's make sure we all can live with E2Medicine as it is, or adjust it until we all agree. We should set the standard now so there's no question later.

Reformation - September 28, 2002

After the thoughtful and insightful comments by BlueDragon and momomom, I have pondered quite a bit about the future of E2M. As a doctor, I understand intimately the pressures of work, family, and personla time, and don't wish to alienate anybody by making them feel pressured to node quantity.

I think a shift in emphasis away from quantity is fine - no usergroup could expect to completely node their field of study in every aspect (except perhaps the E2Dungbeetle usergroup), and so quantity is not really an important issue.

I have been quite pleased with the quality of writeups by each member of our group, and by the response of everyone to which I have given suggestions about additional content or formatting. We have a great group!

If everyone agrees (or fails to disagree) I would like to rewrite the homenod "Purpose" statement to reflect this shift in emphasis. I can't bear to lose another noder of such unusual quality as BD, and don't wish anyone to feel left out. This is, after all, something that should be enjoyable and rewarding.

Thus, I'd like to emphasize quality of writeups and the community aspects of E2Medicine. I'd truly be just as pleased to see one amazingly excellent writeup as a dozen plain ones. Both are needed, and each of us should node toward our strengths, and use the group to hone our skills.

Please msg me privately about your thoughts, or if you have a point that bears discussion within the group, bring it up consisely so as not to flood everyone's message boxes.

Your fearless leader, Chark

See also...
May 20, 2002 (idea) and Writing for a wider audience by BlueDragon
These are well worth considering while formulating writeups


weill in japan: day 15

Getting into a routine has its downside. Today was the third consecutive day that I got up after 7:00 AM, despite the fact that I set my alarm to ring at a more realistic 6:30 AM. Because of my continued late start, I had to blaze in and out of the shower. My older brother Nori arrived from his home in Kyoto for a visit in the morning, but I didn't get to meet him until the afternoon.

first bad day

Milestone: Today was my first Bad Day in class.

Taking a lightning-quick shower, throwing on clothes, and getting ready to leave the house in 90 seconds doesn't exactly make for a good morning. My concept of "breakfast" has been reduced to coffee: a half-liter bottle of coffee milk from a kiosk on the station platform, and a demitasse of espresso from the vending machine between classes. Total cost: ¥260 ($2.25) for about 200 milligrams of caffeine.

On top of it all, we have two hours of repetitive, mindless parroting of stale material starting at 8:30 AM. It's getting to the point where I can't take much more of this boring dreck, but fortunately the next two hours are more involved and lively.

I don't think the caffeine worked today. I was on the verge of falling asleep in class on many occasions, and it was nearly impossible to stay focused. Maybe I just need more sleep.

On top of it all, I had a meeting with one of my professors this afternoon regarding my brief speech in class last week. Every student is doing these reviews: we listen to the tape along with an instructor, as he/she helpfully asks me to identify all the mistakes I made. It's a humiliating ten minutes to review a speech of about one minute on tape, repeated ad nauseum. It didn't do anything for my mood today.

family matters

After getting back from campus, I was able to finally meet Nori, my older brother who now lives in Kyoto while working for an American wine importing company. We spoke for a while about my experience so far, and about his business. The conversation was in English, as my host mother wants me to help Nori maintain his English skills.

Nori's English is exceptional, the result of extensive study both in Japan and in America. He speaks English much better than any of the bilingual volunteers on campus, although his job with an American company demands that his conversational English be excellent. All Japanese students study English as early as elementary school, but the style of lessons is very repetitive and doesn't accent conversational skills at all. Private study, including study abroad, is a much better method to learn the language.

Despite the fact that Australia is much closer to Japan than America is, students overwhelmingly learn the American style and pronunciation. Most students learning English elsewhere in the world learn the British style known as "International English," but the only sign of Japanese influence in English here is the use of metric units for measurements. American music, TV shows, movies, and the general cachet of all things American are seen as very cool here. It's not uncommon for the occasional Japanese-language variety show to include the odd American panelist speaking in fluent Japanese.


Game note: I have beaten an arcade version of Tetris, completing the "normal mode" and getting one of the day's high scores. I fell short of the high score table in "master mode," though.

Find: A 100-yen shop near Musashi-Sakai station has a refrigerator selling cold 500-mL cans of Pepsi products and one-liter bottles of generic "USA Cola," all for ¥100 ($0.85) each. That's a much better deal than the machines in the train station right next door.

Tip: If a cafeteria anywhere in the world offers something called "crab croquettes," do not buy them.

Time to get some sleep, and hope for the best tomorrow on my first C5-level vocabulary quizzes.

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