Thursday, June 26, 2008

Stranger in a Strange Land

The voting on my last post was a bit sparse, but the one vote I did get was to not delete this blog.  Alrighty then.  (Thanks, Celes). 

This post runs the risk of being one of those sad, depressed entries I so despise.  I'm in my second week in Minnesota, and I'm starting to wonder if this is all worth it.  It's true that earlier tonight I attended my first XNA user's group meeting ever (KC doesn't have one that I'm aware of), and sat next to one of the most well known people in the history of software development.  In fact, I was supposed to talk to him afterwards, but I bolted because I didn't want to miss the nightly phone call I have with my kids.  I haven't seen them in nearly two weeks. 

In short, this place is starting to wear on me. 

I've never been a consultant before.  It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but the lifestyle seems a bit lonely.  Especially when you come home to an empty apartment.  You get switched around to different projects alot.  So far I've been on two different projects in my two weeks there.  Tomorrow I go to interview for my third.  This is the part of consulting I didn't expect.  You have to actually go interview for each gig.  It's like constantly applying for a job.  And if you don't get it, you're not making your employers any money.  When you become overhead, you run the risk of unemployment.  E.g. you had probably better get that gig. 

I find interviewing depressing.  It's probably why I stayed at my last job for two years, and the one before that for five.  I made lots of friends at both places, and I miss all of them.  Most of all I miss my family, especially my kids, and yes, my wife too.  I'm feeling a little bit socially deprived.

I had cable and Internet hooked up two days ago.  So far only Internet works.  That wouldn't be such a big deal if I could figure out how to stream Dr. Who.  I need my Doctor Who.  BSG is on hiatus, and one can only watch The Matrix so many times.  Wow, yet again Neo is the "One".  Shocker.  I can watch streaming news, but my laptop is pathetically old, and the video is choppy and difficult to watch.  Forget about full screen viewing.  It just ain't happening. 

I do have my XBox.  That helps, but I've only got so many games, and they get old too.  I left my violin in Kansas City, because I thought I'd be traveling right off the bat. 

Add to all this the stress of realizing that I probably can't sell my house, and I'll have to give up on this whole endeavor and move back to KC, and I'm feeling just a little down at the moment. 

A thought occurred to me the other day.  Some of you may remember  I don't know who did this, but he was a freaking genius.  Basically he put up a web site where he threatened to kill a cute bunny unless people sent him money.  He made a killing.  Finally some company came in and bought him out to put a stop to it.  Who knows if he really would have killed the bunny.  It doesn't matter.  He made the money. 

I need money. 

I can make websites.

When you put those two facts together, it's almost like there's some kind of idea just out of reach that might save me from my impending financial ruin. 

Anyway, I wanted my legions of loyal fans to know that I hadn't forgotten about them, and I'll continue to blog here in the near future.  Expect some boring technical content as I try to establish myself as an expert in compooters along with the self aggrandizing political and general rants you've come to know and love me for.  Tootles.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Birthday, Idiot with a blog!

Actually I'm a bit late.  My first entry in this incarnation of my blog was on May 6, 2007.  It's interesting how it turned out, as in, not what I intended at all.  Sometimes if you just let things happen they way they're meant to happen, you get a bit surprised by the result. 

I intended to do two things with this blog when I created it.  One was chronicle a spiritual journey as it happened.  The journey never really happened, or at least not the way I thought it would.  So there wasn't much to chronicle there.  Occasionally I needed to re-center myself.  All I ever really did was remind myself of what I already knew. 

Two was to create some technical content.  I think I did one of those, and all it really did was point to a code project article I wrote.  That leads me to what I'm really thinking about here.

I've been pretty much absent for about a month and a half now.  I apologize to the 4 or 5 regular readers I have, and the smattering of casual readers.  This has been due to a couple of things.  In my last post I hinted that something big was going to happen, but I couldn't talk about it yet.  I couldn't talk about it because I couldn't be sure that people at my job didn't read my blog and that the information wouldn't get to people who could make things hard for me.  Let me try that again.....

I was about to quit and I didn't want management to know. 

There, that was much simpler.

An opportunity came up, and (for me, at least) it was big.  I try to avoid mentioning my employer's names in my blog, mainly because I'd rather that the content here didn't embarrass them.  That's probably even more important now, because this is a consulting job, so public appearance is even more important that it was before.  So I'll suffice it to say, that it's a well known company, with a handful of Microsoft MVPs, some .NET rockstars, and, as of about 8:00 this morning, me.

Oh, and they're in Minnesota.  That's right, I moved for this job.  I moved a long frakin' way away for this job.  I got the hell out of Kansas.  Don't get me wrong, I actually kind of like Kansas, even if there isn't much to do there.  That's what the Internet is for, right?  So here I am in a little tiny studio apartment in Minneapolis trying to find a house to buy while my wife tries to sell the one back in Kansas.  We're getting along pretty well lately.  Who knew all I needed to do was get us out of Dodge?

So I'm at a bit of a crossroads.  The vast majority of content here if various rants, followed by a bit of spiritual dogma, with a little bit of attempted humor thrown in.  Not really what I was trying to do.  As I left my old job, I saved a couple of blog posts I had written on their tech blog, and realized that I'm not all that bad of a technical blogger, I've just never done it here.  I'd like to focus on technical content more, but I don't want to alienate the little bit of readership I've managed to acquire. So here are my options as I see them.

  1. Delete this blog.  I've put a bit of effort into the online presence known as The Cowboy, so that feels a little like shooting an old friend in the head.  I've never hidden my real identity from anybody who asked, but very few have.  In fact, if you look carefully you can actually figure out my name without even asking me.  I leave that one to the "Where's Waldo" fans out there.  If I delete this blog I'm free to create another filled with purely technical content, and become the next Robert Scoble.  Shuh, right.
  2. Create a new blog, while maintaining this one.  That feels a bit like having a split personality.  But it works.  So far this seems like the most likely prospect.  I might even link from this blog to the other occasionally, but I doubt I would link the other way.  This seems like the best way to maintain the anonymity needed to not embarrass my employer and/or get me fired while still providing you, my loyal readers, with the incredible entertainment value known as Another Idiot with a Blog.  Eh?
  3. Come out of the closet.  No, not like that, dumbass.  I mean just start posting technical content here and use my real name.  Damn the consequences.  It worked for Rory Blyth, didn't it?  He even ended up with the kickass job at Microsoft I'm so hot for.  I'm just not sure I'm that cool.  I've also given up a lot to get this job, it would really suck to blow it now.  I've also been wondering how I could use the words "suck" and "blow" in the same sentence without being crude.

Okay, loyal readers.  This is where you come in.  I need you to comment like you've never commented before.  If you want to save this blog, now is the time to speak up.  If you're a lurker, time to come out of the shadows.  Let me know how you guys feel.