Friday, November 20, 2009

An announcement:

As of last Monday I am officially unemployed once more.  That's four times in two years.  There's something very discouraging about that...

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Employed, sort of.

I was recently contacted by the Callos Companies for a temporary position for one of their clients.  The position that I was asked to fill was for customer service over the phone, and when I presented them with concerns that this was not only what I didn't want to do but also that it was exactly the sort of work that I wholeheartedly despised I was told that it might open up various other opportunities.  Eventually they won me over with the hourly amount which is considerably less than I feel I should be making at this point in my life but considerably more than my last job or unemployment.  I do have bills to pay, after all.

While I can't discuss the identity of my employer or the specifics of the job, the people there seem to be really nice, though most have done little to assuage my fears that it is a stressful and unrewarding task.

Now they're cutting back hours.  After one week I dropped from 40 to 32, which financially puts me back to what I was making while I was unemployed, but with the conscientious satisfaction of not being a burden on the state and the added stress of having to perform a service that pains me with every fiber of my being.  In truth, I told management that they could give some of my hours to a fellow Callos temp, because they had originally sidelined him with only 16 wage hours for the week, and I believe him to be a far more competent customer service agent than I.

If anyone from Callos is reading this, I will not simply abandon the position because my hours have been cut for one week.  I am far more professional than that.  I will be calling my local Callos agency with this concern, and I will continue with my job search -- I will be damned if I let any employment agency pressure me into a permanent position that I don't want just to get me hooked on mediocre money (like the last temp agency tried to do to me for less than nine dollars an hour).  The reduced number of hours is not what I agreed to when I said that I would do this job.  I will continue to act as a representative of your company's interests  and to meet or exceed their expectations, until February when I have been told the temps will be let go.

The job has already impacted my recent explosion of entries in my other blogs, but this might only be a temporary slump while my sleep schedule, time, and anxiety levels even out.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I made this for my friend AmigaBill's birthday. It took five hours, but was actually came out pretty close to what I had in mind. Not bad for a first effort.

UPDATE:  I added some new controls that make this less annoying.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm just experimenting with the idea of a video blog right now. 

Yes, I have a face for radio!

The "project" started this morning when I booted up my machine and clicked off the irritating "you have unused icons on your desktop" balloon.  Then I took a good look at my desktop and noticed a shortcut to Vidcap32.  Not really knowing what it was for (and having recently deleted some bloatware off of my hard drive) I opened it up to see.  It was using my Playstation EyeToy for the video capture device (I put modified drivers on my PC to accommodate it) and the capture quality was okay, but every time I adjusted the settings or tried to modify the video it would either crash or drop 75% of the frames. 

That's when I remembered that I had an old copy of Adobe Premiere 6.5.  I didn't really expect it to capture live video, but it did it well.  All right, it did it tolerably for the clunky old machine that my PC is, but the point is it was watchable.  The still graphics were created in Adobe Illustrator and then rasterized in Photoshop.  The file size for a 320 x 240 video seems a bit large, so I'll have to figure out how to change those settings in the future.

Learning is a time-consuming process.  Five hours of work = one minute of video.  This was mostly due to the fact that I trained on Premiere CS in school but the money just wasn't there for a new or even reasonably priced copy.  The fundamental differences are few, but the interface is just different enough to cause confusion.  In fairness, it did take me a couple of minutes to sketch that "Technical Difficulties" screen graphic.  It also seems to be taking over an hour to upload the damn thing, though it is 310 mb on my hard drive and our DSL connection here could be properly referred  to as "quaint."  It doesn't help that there is apparently no progress bar in either my browser or on Blogger for uploads.

Man, this upload is taking a really long time...

If this works I'll see about making more (and more interesting) videos.

UPDATE: I've been trying to encode it smaller all day, just to make the upload speed a bit less cumbersome, but Premiere 6.5 has been crashing every time I try to trim it.  Yeah.  Turns out that it was the audio compression that was making it freak out, and now that I know what to do it I can make the videos less than 1/6th their original size. 

Technology can be hard to deal with!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Carnegie Mellon Application

Today I applied to Carnegie Mellon University. Not to go to school there (which would be a pipe dream in my case), but to work as an administrative assistant to their art department. After filling out the prerequisite online form I was asked to submit a resume. Here's what I posted (note that I am leaving off all contact information in the interest of internet security):

Working professional with over eight years of experience in computer operations and data entry,including five years of data maintenance with error checking and over two years of web-based research and retrieval.

- Worked as an intermediary between customers and other departments to resolve
mortgage processing problems.
- Consistently had the highest and most accurate output of employer's document recording department for over a year; involved online searches through county-level government websites for various documents.
- Ability to meet difficult monthly deadlines for clients without incurring undue cost.

- Have used MS Word and Excel extensively.
- Extensive training using a variety of programs ranging a gamut of business software to graphic software to programming.
- Familiar to varying degrees with multiple operating systems (MS DOS, Windows 3.1 to Vista, some Linux distributions, IBM ISPF(TSO), and Mac OS/OSX); not afraid of learning a new interface.

- Have received praise from multiple employers throughout professional career for being conscientious.
- Self-motivated, but will occasionally ask employer/client questions for clarity and understanding.
- Easy to train, and have no objection to training others.
- Have an ability to grasp difficult concepts to assemble complex systems.
- Reliable and a proven hard worker.


Express Employment Professionals,
Robinson Township, PA
10/2008 to 06/2009

Field Representative
Pro Marketing Inc., Alpharetta, GA
01/2008 to 06/2008

Mortgage Recording Specialist
Integrated Real Estate Processing,
Pittsburgh, PA
09/2006 to 10/2007

DiCenzo Personnel, Pittsburgh, PA
06/2006 to 09/2006

Merchandise Assistant
Sears Roebuck & Co., Pittsburgh, PA
09/2003 to 03/2006

Electronics Boutique, Warren, PA
10/2001 to 03/2003

Computer Operator
Blair Corporation, Warren, PA
04/1994 to 09/2001

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Game Art & Design, 2003-2006
Warren Area Vocational-Technical School, Electronics, 1990-1993

I felt that this was a fair estimation of my office abilities. That wasn't good enough for the website though -- it wanted a cover letter as well. Cover letters are often too long and bloated to get to a point, and as recent efforts haven't yielded any results in my favor I tried a different route:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I'll keep this brief. I am third-and-three-quarters-year art school dropout with a professional background in IT that has only worked in industries poised on the brink of collapse (retail, the mortgage industry, home improvement industry, shipping industry, et al.). I have been told repeatedly by both teachers an employers that I am a hard worker and that I show exceptional promise, but I have yet to benefit from this in any way.

So consider this: I have the skills that you need but I am not an exceptional person. However, knowing how hard my own path through life has been makes me exceptionally sensitive to the needs of your students.

I'll just have to cross my fingers and see how this one goes.

Any comments/suggestions would be most welcome.

The New Blog

I'm launching this new blog in a completely new idiom than my previous efforts. Rather than complain about video games or... everything else, I have decided that this blog will be complaint-free.

The purpose of this one is simply to document my job search and my purely creative endeavors in the hopes that someone can make sense out of them.

You might notice that the title of my blog is "Make It So" (a line that was made famous by a certain British actor portraying a certain French starship captain), and it was originally planned to be the address as well, but because other parties have decided to take this name and do absolutely nothing with it I chose the alternative