January 2004 Archives

free turkey!

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What a screwed up day. Today was the first day of classes, which normally isn't that big a deal, just means more traffic and a parking nightmare. If only today were that simple. First I get a phone call from my (irresponsible) sister at around 9am (I was supposed to wake up at 10ish) begging me to drop off some shoes she needed for some class. No friggin way. I'm not gonna be held accountable for her lack of responsibility. So then I hang up with her and try to grab any sleep I can before it's time to go. A few mins later my mom calls to tell me something about a dentist appointment and if it'll conflict with my classes, which of course it does, so she says she'll try and reschedule. So I hang up with her and try to grab a few more mins of sleep. 5 minutes later she calls back to tell me that I'm now on the cancellation list for the dentist. whatever. Hang up, try to sleep again. 10 mins later my mom calls again to let me know the neighbor is coming by to finish working on the tile in our entryway and bathroom and that I need to move the car so he won't block me. whatever. Hang up, attempt sleep. 10 mins after that my sister calls again pleading with me to bring her shoes. She claims it's on the way to class. She obviously has no idea where UT is in relation to Crockett (her high school). No friggin way. Hang up, try to sleep. 5 mins after that my cell phone alarm goes off. Time go to class. I was robbed of almost an hour of sleep thanks to all those dumb phone calls. So fine whatever, I woke up early. I got ready to go and I start my morning speed-drive to campus. As I get to the intersection of my street and the next, I look both ways so I can go into the street. As I look to my right, I notice a brown thing in the street. It looks really out of place and I do a double take. wth is that?? that can't be what I think it is... So I turn right and drive down the street (in the complete opposite direction I need to be going) to get a closer look. As I get closer, the thing in the street begins to run, then stops dead in its tracks and just stares at me as I'm stopped in the middle of the street. Sure enough, I wasn't seeing things. There in the street, 4 feet from my car, stood a big female turkey. Now, it's odd enough seeing a live, wild turkey that's not on tv. But compound that with the fact it's in the middle of a residential neighborhood, with no major wooded areas nearby, standing in the middle of the street, staring me in the eye. It was a bizarre scene. I was pretty much speechless, but my mind was going W.. T.. F..!? I guess that was an omen or something. It pretty much set the tone for the rest of the day. I ended up getting to campus later than desired. There was literally no parking and I missed my first class (Anthropology). I decided to come all the way back home to eat lunch, then drive back to campus for work. At work everything was broken. The printers wouldn't print. Acrobat wouldn't save. UT's webservers were intolerably slow. And to make my life that much worse, everyone decided to change their class schedules, which meant the AppDev Team Leader™ and I had to redo the work schedule to accomodate the new class schedules. The schedule is almost definitely going to need to be changed every day thanks to last minute add/drops (grrr). My Government class sounds lame (as all gov is) and even though the professor is a Japanese guy, he seems a little strict. Immediately after Gov I went to my Japanese Religion and Society class which goes from 5pm to 8pm (blech) and it sounds like it's going to be the end of me. We have to read a ton of crap, like a book a week and write short papers each week. I hate reading. We saw an interesting, if not old, video on Buddhism in Japan which was pretty cool. I wish we could just watch videos/movies instead of reading. I'm screwed. Tomorrow I only have one class (Stats) so it should be a little less messed up. Unless I see an elephant in the street or something. Guess we'll find out..

(I'm not gonna bother to proofread this, hence the one-huge-paragraph'ness of it all, so forgive any jacked up engrish you may find in this post. I have to be at work at 8am so I have to go to sleep like right now)

I was born to synthesize

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Wow what a hectic week. Even though school doesn't start until Tuesday, you'd have never known if you were at the lab where I work this week. We had so much to do in preparation for the upcoming semester. I was in meetings every day this week. As I mentioned last time, we opened up the 4th floor lab on Wednesday. There were only a small handful of users who came in, so it was kinda slow in that aspect. I was so busy with my preparatory work that I didn't really get to enjoy the lack of people though.

Let me just say that making a work schedule is really hard and quite annoying. I thought it would be cool because I could set my own hours, but it's not nearly as glamorous as I imagined it to be. The unfortunate thing is that now that even though I got the schedule done, once classes start I'll have to go back and change it due to add/drops. blargg!

Thursday I had the priveledge of sitting in on interviews for the customer service position they were hiring for. Being that I'm the Customer Service Team Leader™ I had to greet the applicants, show them to the interview room, and sit in on their interview. I also had to ask them interview questions, which was kinda cool. I tried not to be too much of a jerk so I asked fairly simple questions. I guess I could have seized the opportunity to be evil, but the last thing I'd want when being interviewed is for some gimp to ask me retarded questions.

We interviewed 4 people and I got to see a variety of interview behavior which I must say was rather interesting. The first girl who interviewed was quite noticably nervous. Her interview started off well. She seemed quite proficient in the use of Macs which is very helpful for the job. The thing that got her though were the dreaded scenarios. My manager gives them an imaginary scenario and they have to say how they'd respond. My favorite question is the one about there being 2 phones in a house and one rings and the other doesn't, and you desperately want to know why. The interviewee has to then say how they'd go about figuring it out. This is a pretty simple question, but the scenarious usually blindside the applicants. They are often caught so off-guard they can't respond correctly. So the first girl blew the phone question completely. She got the other scenarios ok though. My managers were wanting to hire more girls to our predominantly male batch of employees, so she left the interview a strong candidate.

The second girl took the silent approach to the whole interview thing. Her responses were way too brief, she didn't seem very enthusiastic about the whole thing, and she blew the scenarios. On top of that, she didn't seem to have a whole lot of computer-related experience (which is pretty necessary for working in a friggin computer lab..). Needless to say, she walked out of her interview with an X next to her name.

We had a short break before the next applicant's interview, so I sat with my managers discussing the previous interviews until the next guy showed up. Once he arrived, we got his interview underway. His interview went well, since he had a lot of the experience we were looking for, so he left as the top candidate. One of my managers thought his personality was a bit dry, but I didn't really think so. So after he left we discussed the applicants and then decided to bring in one last person for a last-minute interview. His application seemed promising, so we thought we'd get him in to see what he can offer. He was able to come in despite the short notice so we gave him a shot. He seemed well-suited for the job and had a lot of webdesign experience, but lacked some of the other experience we were looking for. He also provided several URLs to sites he did, but none of them were very impressive. (For the love of god don't design a website in Word, kthx.) Basically it came down to this guy or the previous guy. One thing was for sure though. It felt good to be on the other side of a job interview. ;)

This is where I myself was caught off-guard. After the final interviewee left, my manager told me take some time and pick who I thought would be best for us. I just figured he meant I'd offer my thoughts on who to hire and they'd make the decision. However, the final decision was completely up to me. I wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility. Basically I held the future of 4 people in my hands and it was up to me to decide who would be granted this job. What a burden. I don't know why, but I didn't like the feeling I got having to bear such responsibility, but it had to be done. I ended up hiring guy #3. I kinda think my managers were leaning toward #4, but they made no real indication of this to me, so I just went with my gut feeling. Hopefully he does well with us, because if he doesn't, it's gonna be all on me. :(

Yesterday I spent the day with the AppDev Team Leader™ training the two new peeps. (We hired another AppDev but I had no part in that since I'm not on that team.) It's a little difficult to train people on what we do because there is just way too much info to cover in one day. They'll manage though. When I was hired there I was basically thrown into the fray and had to figure most of it out myself. Meh.


Classes start Tuesday, and I won't be taking any japanese classes (something I haven't done since first semester of my freshman year). I'm kinda sad I've taken all the japanese classes at UT. I really want to take more. :'( I am taking an asian studies class about japan though, so that's almost like taking japanese. Plus, the professor for the gov class I'm taking is a japanese guy, so I guess it's not a total loss, heh. I'm not looking forward to this semester but it's coming regardless, so I might as well grin and bear it. I could really use another month of vacation though..

get back to work!

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Wasabi peeps. Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I went back to work on Tuesday of last week and I've been working almost full time (9 to 4:30) every day since then. It's kinda nice because I'll be earning more money, but it's rough waking up so early, especially since before I went back to work, I was going to sleep at the time I have to get up now. It's all good though, since we haven't been open to the general public, it's just been the Team Leaders and a few other staff working. We just kinda hang out all day while working on our projects, then go to lunch for some nerdy conversation, then back to work and meetings. It's a pretty sweet deal. Tomorrow is the day we open up the 4th floor lab, so finally I don't have to deal with folks jiggling the locked doornobs and tapping on the glass doors for me to open up.

One of the cooler aspects of going back to work is that since I'm now a Team Leader, I get to make the work schedule. Not only that, today I got to review applications from people interested in working here and pick ones I thought might be promising. I might even get to sit in on their interviews too. The interviewing begins tomorrow, so hopefull I will. Sounds like fun.

Every day now the other 3 team leaders, our two managers, and I have meetings. So many meetings, I know. It's kinda weird but I'm starting to enjoy all these meetings, especially since I sit at the desk all day and my neck starts to really hurt after a while. Sitting at the desk has it's perks though. Since we're not officially open yet, I can listen to music and eat (a little) food at the desk. Needless to say, I listen to dnb all day. :) Thank god for Shoutcast and a ton of cds!

Well, I'm sure I had more to say, but I don't feel like typing anymore. later

look Ma, I'm an artist!

As I was catching up on my fav webcomic, I came across a site which features a cool flash dealy that lets you pretend you're an artist, so after I spent a little time fooling around with it, I came up with this:

I'm an artist!

Click the picture to see it in the gallery on the site. The pic above isn't exactly the same as what I submitted, but the difference is minute. Anyway, I just thought I'd share it given the nature of the last post. :)

now this I like

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Today I experienced one of the most moving, inspirational, painful, annoying, awe-inspiring art exhibits ever. The Museum of Fine Art in Houston had an exhibit called The Heroic Century featuring hundreds of works from countless famous artists including, but not limited to, Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse, Monet, Munch, Dali, Pollock, Duchamp, Rothko, Johns, and Warhol. The list just goes on and on. All of these wonderful works of art in one place. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had known the exhibit was coming for a long time, but I never heard when it got here, and a few days ago I learned that it was going to be leaving tomorrow (the 4th). There was no way I could possibly miss such a collection, so I convinced my parents to take me down to Houston for the exhibit.

At first they weren't going to take me, so I was busy last night planning my solo trip to Houston, as there was no way I was going to let something like this get away from me. But at the last minute my mom said we'll all go, but we had to leave at 8am. I couldn't sleep at all so I got up at 6am and just messed around on my computer until it was time to go. We didn't leave until around 9am, thus putting us in Houston at around 12, at which point we ate briefly and headed to the museum. Nothing could prepare us for the horror we witnessed once we pulled up to the museum though. There were lines wrapping around the buildings. TONS of people everywhere. Apparently everyone waited until the last minute to see the exhibit. So, after parking we got into one of the lines so we could purchase tickets. It was about 12:30 when we got in line and took a good hour just to get to the desk so we could buy the tickets. Unfortunately the tickets were for 4:30pm, so we had to wait around 3 hours before we could go to see the exhibit. During the 3 hours we walked around another gallery which had some cool stuff, particularly the japanese art, but nothing there was all that spectacular. After 3 hours of wandering around aimlessly, my legs were hurting, my back was aching, and I was really sleepy. Once 4:30 rolled around we had to stand in another line so we could get into the real exhibit. After 30 or so mins of standing around in line, we were able to enter the building to see the exhibit. Once inside, my mom said she wanted to do the audio tour, so that meant we had to get headsets so we could hear the audio. At first I was like meh, but then decided I might as well. Unfortunately that meant getting in yet another line. The line was fast moving, so I didn't mind much, but right when we got about 10 feet from the front of the line, it just stopped. Apparently they ran out of headsets, and it took 30 friggin mins for them to get another batch for us. :?

So after getting up early, driving to Houston for 3 hours, standing in line for an hour, wandering around a gallery for 3 hours, then standing in another line for an hour, we finally got to go in and see the exhibit we had waited so long to see. This is when it really hit the fan though. Obviously the museum curators weren't prepared for the insane amount of people visiting, as the layout of the exhibit was about as crappy as it could possibly be. As soon as you enter the exhibit, you are greeted with works by Matisse, Braque, and Van Gogh. Immediately upon entering, the crowd pretty much bottlenecked, making it extremly difficult to navigate around the works. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the exhibit. It was so incredibly crowded, the only way you could see anything was to push and shove your way over to the piece you wanted to see. It was like being at a concert, sans moshing. Unfortunately, Van Gogh's The Starry Night was in the first room, and most of the people there came to see that piece specifically, so it was rather difficult to get in close to see it. Luckily though I managed to get right in the front and spent a great deal of time staring at it, awestruck. Defintely one of the highlights of the exhibit, despite the hordes of gimps, kids, and old people. After that came works by Picasso, Munch, Matisse, Seurat, Monet, and Braque. Seeing the cubist works up close such as Picasso's Ma Jolie or Three Musicians, or Braque's Man with a Guitar alongside Picasso's similar version was pretty sweet, as was Monet's massive Water Lilies painting. Following the cubism section came the abstract expressionism area, which I found pretty cool, particularly because most people don't really get abstract expressionism, so they just glance at the works, then move on. That section was relatively empty compared to the others. This area contained another highlight for me, seeing Brancusi's Bird in Space, which was a lot bigger than I expected. Even though it looks like just a big pen on a stationary set, something about it really struck me as fascinating.

The next room contained some interesting surrealist works including Oppenheim's Object, which I'm sure you've seen. It's a fur covered saucer, cup, and spoon. It also included some Dada art such as Duchamp's Bicycle Wheel, but there isn't a whole lot to say about that. gj Dadaism. The crowd hit a huge bottleneck at Dali's works, which were probably the most poorly placed works in the whole exhibit, as they were right next to the doorway to the next room, and everyone wanted to see them, so it was near impossible to get by, god forbid you want to actually see the works. I stood behind a guy in a wheelchair though, so he just kinda carved a path through the crowd right up to Dali's works and I got to see them up close, including the ever-popular The Persistence of Memory and the highly detailed Illumined Pleasures.

However, the biggest surprise and highlight of the exhibit was when I found Andre Masson's Battle of Fishes which just happens to be one of my favorite pieces ever. Not only that, but no one else seemed to like it, so there was no ungodly crowd surrounding it, in fact, there weren't any people looking at it at all, so I spent a long time just staring at it in shock, surprise, and admiration. I wasn't expecting that at all. What a treat.

The next area had a bunch of paintings that really didn't catch my eye, so I just briefly looked at them and moved on to the next section with more great abstract expressionist art by such artists as Pollock and Rothko. This area also didn't have very many people, as most people just quickly glance and continue on their way. Again, there isn't a whole lot to see other than splatterpaint, rectangles, circles, lines, or empty canvases. Good stuff. It was exciting to see Pollock and Rothko's works up close, as was the case for most everything there.

The following area contained modern and pop art, featuring such artists at Jasper Johns and Andy Warhol. Unfortunately there weren't any green coke bottles, campbell's soup cans, or giant pencils but it was interesting anyway. This section also featured a few of Lichtenstein's prints, which I wasn't expecting. Another interesting piece was by a guy I don't remember the name of, which was nothing more than a canvas painted dark blue with the word 'OOF' painted in big yellow text on it. You said it buddy. OOF indeed. After that came some minimalist art (woohoo). My personal fav was Martin's Red Bird which was nothing more than a white canvas, yet numerous people were there staring hard at it trying desperately to find this fabled red bird. Now that's what I call art!

Another main highlight for me was seeing Boccioni's sculpture, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, which is much more impressive in person. I forgot what section it was in, but it was somewhere back there.

Once I got to the end of the exhibit, I turned in my audio tour headset (which I barely used), and was going to go back for a round 2, but I noticed on my cell phone that my parents had called me 6 or 7 times trying to get me to hurry up, since they had been waiting for me for quite some time. My legs and shoulders were killing me anyway, so it was for the best. Once we all got back together, we headed for the truck and then home, thus concluding a long, tiring, awesome, art-filled day. I'm so glad I got to see this exhibit before it left. I'll probably never get an opportunity like this again. I learned that I retained a lot from my art history class a few years ago, especially after being reinforced by a day in the art gallery.

In other news my mom bought a Mazda Tribute yesterday. I hate SUVs, bah. Ok, I think that's enough blabbing for now. My legs are in so much pain, I think I'll go rest them.

Did I mention I hate Houston?