Yesterday Was a Long Day

Wow. 8 hours is a long time to spend alone in a car.

I misreported on facebook via twitter that I had driven for 6 hours and gone 260 miles during my work day yesterday, while I visited 18 convenience stores on a list that had me testing (as part of the training program, rather than getting people in serious trouble) whether I would be carded when trying to buy tobacco products.

Unfortunately my tired brain was incapable of basic time-math and thought that 11am-7pm was 6 hours. No, it’s 8. I am aware of this now. My first stop was at 11:10am and the last one was at 5:10pm, but then required a nearly 2 hour drive from West Virginia over US-33 back to Harrisonburg and up to Broadway. This involved a near miss with a deer (a couple had run in front of me, and one stopped short of running into the side of the car while I was doing ~ 55mph), and several near misses with 25mph turns over 33, which when they said “25mph” actually meant “You should probably do 25mph, not the 40mph that you could do one the 25mph turns further down the mountain..” It was on these that I really felt the vibration of the brakes that really needs to be looked at soon, as well as the transmission error light that has been coming up for a couple of weeks. I really hope that is just a faulty sensor that needs replacing and not a serious transmission issue, but who knows. I’m about 75% sure that the vibration issue is a warped brake disc on the front left wheel, but it is too cold to try looking at it and even then there is no guarantee that I could spot it. With our luck recently, if the car breaks it is probably an indication that we are about to get a job or something to keep us barely-floating still, rather than providing a useful means to dig ourselves out of this hole we are in.

In better news, and still on the job front, I’ve been talking to a lady from church who knows a lot of people (IE: companies/organizations) who are or may be in need of IT people. She gave me one set of contact info and was going to call around today and tonight and give me another call to let me know if she came up with anything. It really seems to be a case of not so much what you know (although it certainly helps!) but who you know.

Looking for People?

With the advent of, I have been going through old quotes to add to kick-start the site and have been coming across old names that I think of occasionally and wouldn’t mind talking to again.

Here is a list, and if you are one of these, leave me a comment or drop by and let me know who you are 😉

Generically (because I know I’ll miss some on the specifics list):

If you used,,,, PowerZone-IRC, 24-7Christians or any affiliated site or network between 2000 and 2006, I’d like to know who you were (and if we knew each other), and what you’re up to now.

Specifically (in no particular order):

  • tqo
  • GenesisX/Ken
  • Outsiders/Chris
  • OutCast/Megathunder/Jesse
  • Sentinal/David
  • LordzAngel/Katie
  • Cassie
  • Buddy
  • Nodren
  • rdolph/Rachel
  • kac4him
  • Matt (The Windows-loving-linux-hating guy ;-))
  • Underdog
  • Dan
  • Angel4Dios
  • hawkeyeaz1
  • Jared
  • fac3less
  • gimp80995
  • SalvadorChicka
  • Brad
  • Dani
  • counselor/Albert

Possibly to be added to/ammended 😉

Silence is Golden

At least, that’s what they tell me. I haven’t posted for a while, and I don’t really have a whole lot to say.

I’ve been whining recently about trying to find work, I’m still looking for a full-time IT job while I continue to apply for anything I see in a two-hour radius from where I live.

I applied recently for an IT position via fax, because the organization’s mail server wasn’t accepting emails. This amused me. I also forwarded messages I’d printed with the error messages so they could look into fixing it.

Yesterday and today I worked high ropes, yesterday with a church retreat from in/near DC, and today with a bunch of kids from DC’s Public Schools. A few funny things were said, but the one that stood out was a girl yesterday who said the 3 places she wanted to visit before she died were Argentina, Australia and Alabama. On querying her wish to visit Alabama, she explained her desire to visit “The South” and drink “Real” sweet tea. I tried (in vain) to suggest she could get real sweet tea just by visiting this far south in Virginia, but she wouldn’t have any of it. The only place, in her mind, where she could get such a delicacy was if she went to a “Real” southern state like Alabama.

I had a great time, today I got to try out the new gloves I got for doing ropes work with (and they were amazing!), and had a good laugh or two with some really cool people.

The other day I set up a new website on a domain that has been empty for a few weeks, is now a quote board for amusing or moving quotes from Christian chat rooms all over. Not necessarily UCCN, or even IRC. They can be from Yahoo! or anywhere else for all it matters!

Tonight is a thanksgiving dinner at church, and tomorrow morning Kelly and I leave to house-sit for two weeks! I’m sure many photos will abound.


So, I was surfing around this morning, looking at free/cheap stuff (as I do..), and noticed two things that reminded me once again how stupid the human race as a whole is.

Now, I caught up with the whole Kanye thing yesterday, and to be honest I think it was rude and uncalled for. Unless of course, it was a publicity stunt, in which case it wasn’t a very good one. I heard rumors last night that he’d offed himself, which again is another stupid facet of the human race. More on that later. Maybe.

Yesterday I also read that Kanye had written all kinds of apologies to people, and this is where I get confused and frustrated (and to a degree, hypocritical). When someone does something wrong, and they apologize for it, and have been punished by the appropriate authorities, I believe that should be the end of it. This is where I have a problem with capital punishment too, because if anyone believes the United States is a Christian country (which I don’t believe it is or should be, by law at least), then by Christian nature we have an obligation to show forgiveness to those who have sinned against God and against us. That is, if I kill your daughter, and I’ve served my required prison sentence under law, and I’ve shown regret, apologized and asked forgiveness of both you and of God, then our religious obligation is to forgive and forget. Anyway, getting off-topic.

IF Kanye had messed up, realized, regretted, apologized, and we’d all said “OK, don’t do it again..”, all would be swell. But that’s not what’s happening. In my search for cool cheap stuff this morning I came across two “one-day-only” deals for T-shirts. Let me show images, because I doubt the links will work too long into the future..

kanye1kanye2These two shirts are the epitome of my dislike for todays societal culture. Sure, one of the side-effects of being famous is that everyone sees everything you do, and they all get in line to either crucify or congratulate you. And commending is fine, everyone needs some love, crucifying also has it’s place – noone likes the stuck-up people who are never wrong. But I mean, really guys. Are T-shirts professing your ‘hatred’ for someone you’ve probably never met necessary?

Just for reference:

From Dictionary:

v., hat·ed, hat·ing, hates.

    1. To feel hostility or animosity toward.
    2. To detest.
  1. To feel dislike or distaste for: hates washing dishes.


To feel hatred.


  1. Intense animosity or dislike; hatred.
  2. An object of detestation or hatred: My pet hate is tardiness.

[Middle English haten, from Old English hatian. N., Middle English, from Old English hete.]

And from Thesaurus:


    To regard with extreme dislike and hostility: abhor, abominate, despise, detest, execrate, loathe. Seelove/hatred.


  1. Extreme hostility and dislike: abhorrence, abomination, antipathy, aversion, detestation, hatred, horror, loathing, repellence, repellency, repugnance, repugnancy, repulsion, revulsion. See love/hatred.
  • An object of extreme dislike: abhorrence, abomination, anathema, aversion, bête noire, bugbear, detestation, execration. Informal horror. See love/hatred.
  • Now, many people might say “THAT’S HOW I FEEL!” and this last point is aimed at you (although I doubt you’ll get it..):

    “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.” — C. S. Lewis


    I had my interview with Rackspace today, and it went really well. Not too many difficult questions so not too many difficult answers. The drive up was quick and painless, stopping only to pee near our exit (also allowing us to grab our map/directions printed earlier).

    The datacenter is easy to get to, and easy to get out of. The people are really nice and friendly, and from what I could tell they really know what they’re doing. I was promised a very good salary (I was given a specific window that I’d likely be offered, but won’t repeat here), and they give bonuses quarterly on top of that. It’s based on an hourly rate, so if I work overtime then I get the reperation for that too. From what I understood, there is a 10% increase on that rate for those working second shift, and a 15% increase for third shift (which would be me, working 11pm-8am).

    The drive home was just as uneventful, though we stopped in Front Royal (where we’re thinking about moving to) to get lunch, have a look around, and to get Crash some Puppy Chow. It seems a really cool place, and nice to live in. In other good news, I’d used less than 3/4 of a tank of gas (it’s an 11 gallon tank, I was expecting to be nearly empty), meaning it’d cost us $10-15 a day vs. $20. Doesn’t sound much, but saves us $25-50 a week..

    I was gonna blog this part last night, but didn’t get a chance to. We went to the Chinese restaurant for lunch for Mothers day yesterday, and we had our traditional fortune cookies. Kelly’s said “Keep your goals away from the trolls,” and mine said “A cheerful letter or message is on its way to you.” I’m not superstitious, I believe God is telling us something, but perhaps in this case the message will be from God saying “the challenging times are over for now.” I really hope so, at least.

    Church and a Lawnmower

    Yesterday I mowed the lawns around the house. Usually my brother-in-law does it, but he was busy helping his girlfriend and her mom do yard work at their house, and after being offered the chance to try last week (and enjoying it) I decided to take the opportunity again.

    I got out my iPod and started the Christian playlist, thinking I would have my own mini-pentecostal service while mowing the lawns. I thought that an awesome song would come on, that I’d just rock out thinking how awesome God is. I thought that God and I would have a moment, and how cool it would be to blog about what happened. I mean, it’s not the most normal place for God and Man to connect..

    But it didn’t happen. I guess God knew that I would have used it for a completely wrong purpose, making it about me rather than about him. Don’t we do that all too often? When things go wrong, it’s God’s fault. When things go right, we’re such awesome people that do such a good job. Right? How often has God done something good in your life and you’ve shifted the focus from the greatness and awesomeness of God onto yourself, whether it be by taking all the credit or by focussing on how funny it was to happen when/where it did, with the intention of building self and intentionally or otherwise detracting from whatever it was that God did for you.

    Yesterday I got my full Virginia drivers license, and am now fully prepared to drive to work in Washington DC alone every day (assuming I get the job I’m interviewing for tommorrow morning). Speaking of which, I’ll have another 4 hours tomorrow to church alone (well, with my wife), and if I get the job I’ll also have 4 hours a day to church (really alone!) as well.

    In other news, last night I made two phone calls to New Zealand, the first being to my Mum, and got to talk to my Dad and my brother as well. Mum was doing well, Dad was getting over a cold/flu thing, and my brother was doing pretty well also. I asked my brother if he had given any thought to what he wanted to do in the future (work/study-wise), and he said “Film and Media, or higher English” and on asking to clarify the higher English, he suggested he would like to write fan-fictions (fiction stories using famous characters in a prequel/sequel-type situation, think a continuation of Star Wars or the Matrix, or episodes of CSI or Law and Order). I suggested he could try to create his own characters and write something original as well, or even go so far as writing stick-figure based cartoons, since he described himself as a poor drawing artist.

    The second call was to my only living Grandma (my Mum’s Mum passed away nearly a year ago now), again to wish her a happy mothers day and to catch up a little. She also had a chance to talk, for the first time, to her grand-daughter-in-law. I was worried about calling them after Dad mentioned that my Grandad wasn’t doing well mentally, warning me that “..if the man who answers the phone sounds like Grandad, but doesn’t recognise or seem to know who you are, don’t be surprised or upset..” He’s in his 9th decade (80’s ;-)), and after a stroke or two these things tend to happen! I was rather pleased when he did answer and was very quick at responding to what I was needing, seeming at least to recognise me (may have had something to do with sounding like my Dad and calling him Grandad?)

    We’re also house-sitting for a friend (who was housesitting and had to go to New York with her family for the weekend). It’s a pretty awesome house, we’re planning to take photos of some cool things we’d like to try to make or remember when our turn to decorate comes around. They don’t have a lot of things on display, so there is minimal clutter, but what they do have is high up and generally pet friendly.

    Lastly I wanted to mention that we’re going to stop in at Front Royal on the way home from the interview tomorrow and check it out for size and shopping facilities etc etc. It’s apparently somewhere between Broadway and Harrisonburg for size with a population of around 13-14,000 people and we wanted to get a feel for what was there and what was close by compared to what we would have to drive for.

    Anyway, thats more than enough rambling from me for another day or two. Happy Mothers Day!

    3 Out Of 50 Ain’t…All That Great, Actually.

    Over the last 2 months or so I’ve been scouring ads online and in papers for jobs. I’m looking for something entry-level IT so that I can gain real and valuable experience. Mostly this means Level 1 Service/Help Desk positions. 2 huge negatives against me are a lack of college education (I might explain that in a later post) and lack of US Citizenship.

    This means I’ve been able to apply for about 50 jobs, from DC to Richmond to Blacksburg in Virginia. [It just got more complicated, I’ll explain that in a paragraph or two]. Of the 50 jobs I sent applications to I received exactly 3 responses. I don’t know about anyone else, but I was kinda hoping I’d have had a few more rejection notices rather than just being ignored.

    The first application I got a response from was James Madison University. They’d advertised a User Support position, and I applied within 30 minutes of seeing the ad in the paper. A few days later I received an automated email saying the position had been filled.

    The second application I got a response from was Highland Retreat, a Christian Camp about 15-20 minutes drive away in Bergton, VA. I just got a call from the director there, who reminded me how complicated my future employment status is just with a phone call to update me on how well things are going with that application.

    The third application I got a response from was RackSpace, an IT company with several ventures including MailTrust (Mail services) and SliceHost (a VPS company). I applied for a Datacenter Operations Technician position which would involve building servers, installing OS’s and diagnosing hardware and OS faults on servers in the datacenter. I have a phone interview with them tomorrow at 4pm, and I’m kinda nervous.

    My biggest worry right now is that I’ll jeoperdize one position and the other will fall through, primarily the camp one. The camp job is looking very certain, they’re waiting contact from the camps in NZ that I worked with so they have a NZ camp reference. The RackSpace job is a much better option in the long term though, but isn’t guaranteed. The fact that they had 5 positions listed on their careers site makes my chances of getting one of them that much bigger, but I don’t want to commit or decline Highland’s offer until RackSpace offers or rejects me, because $160/wk is better than nothing at all.

    So that is my complication – I want both jobs for different reasons, but the one I want more may not want me, and is moving slower so I may have to turn RackSpace down prematurely. I REALLY hope I don’t have to, a rejection I can handle, I’d much prefer that to having to say “well, you took too long and I’ve decided to work in a camp over the summer…” It’d be one of the most illogical things I’ve said in a long time..

    That’s my dillemma, suggestions from people who have been in a similar situation would be helpful!


    A couple of weeks ago I started 3 new channels on 3 different IRC networks. They’re all effectively the same, and are run by 3 versions of the same bot split out into the 3 networks.

    But this is all technical crap. Basically if you use ZoeLife4U, aBlazeNet or UnitedChristianChat (GodsIRC/Christian-IRC/AwesomeChristians/LoveOfTheology), you can join #News and watch the news feeds from CNN, Fox, CrossWalk and others fill the channel. You can feel free to discuss current events as they are happening.

    Additionally, if you are interested in having a similar channel (news feeds can be adjusted as desired) on another network, let me know and I’ll see what we can arrange.


    So I have been given the task of giving purpose to a couple of domain names. The rules? They must be Christian-focussed in some way. This isn’t going to be a long post, in fact it is just very short and a couple of things I probably don’t want to hear argued for.

    Can you think of a Christian-themed website that EITHER:

    You would like to exist, that doesn’t already.


    You are aware exists, but could be done much better.

    Let me give some examples of things I don’t think will fly:

    – Christian Singles site (Tried it, it’s already a washed out market, didn’t work)

    – Christian Videos site (Think GodTube, many others like it, already a washed out market)

    – Christian Social Networking site (Could work, but I imagine there are others already. Will consider viable arguments on this one)

    So hit me with ideas. There probably won’t be a prize, but there’ll be some form of credit given on the finished product when it’s done.

    Highland Retreat Staff Assistance Program

    Hello all,

    If you read regularly or know me well then you’re probably aware I don’t ask for things much, especially when I understand so many others are struggling right now, in other ways as well, but financially especially.

    I’m waiting for confirmation (final paperwork was sent in yesterday, expecting a decision next week probably), but I’m expecting to be working at Highland Retreat over the summer, a non-profit camp focused at children and young people. I’ll be making somewhere in the vicinity of $20 a day, for around 22 hours work (a day) – because apparently when I’m sleeping it counts as work (in the same room as campers, and they’re still my responsibility).

    They’ve suggested, and this is what this post is about, that I spread the word and try to gain further financial support beyond what they are able to provide themselves. Below is a copy of their suggested letter, and I’ll attach links to images of the original sample letter and the form provided on the back thereof.

    Highland Retreat is a non-profit Mennonite camp located near Bergton, Virginia. Summer staff members often give up the possibility of better-paying jobs in order to minister in service to the youth who attend summer camp at Highland. Full-time summer staff work at Highland for 9 weeks and receive from $70­ – $130 per week, plus meals and lodging, for their service. These committed young people give their summer to help share their faith in the natural setting of camp.

    In order to help make this ministry a financial possibility for those staff willing to serve, Highland has initiated the Staff Assistance Program. You are invited to help meet the financial needs of those serving at Highland through your support, thus allowing them to commit their gifts and energies in summer ministry. There are three ways you can contribute to this program.

    1. Make a contribution to Highland Retreat and designate it for the Staff Assistance fund without naming a specific beneficiary. Such contributions will be used at the desecration of the camp leadership in assisting individuals who need help. Such a contribution is fully tax deductible.

    2. Make a contribution to Highland Retreat and designate that it to be directed to a specific summer staff individual. Such contributions are not tax deductible.

    (When funds given according to options 1 & 2 above are dispersed, payroll taxes apply both to the individual and to Highland Retreat. . Consequently the individual actually receives slightly less than you give.)

    3. You can also make a gift directly to the summer staff individual. In this case the gift is not tax deductible but no taxes are withheld and the individual receives the full amount. Such a contribution should be sent to Highland Retreat Staff Assistance Fund but the check should be written to the designated staff person.

    We will hold the check until the term of service is complete then pass it on to the individual.

    Option three is the most efficient if you want to designate a specific beneficiary because it is a gift and is not reported on a person’s W-2. However if your contribution will allow the individual to receive matching funds from a Mennonite college or University you must use Option 2 because the contribution can only be matched by the college if it comes from Highland Retreat. The beneficiary of your gift should inform you if they qualify for matching funds.

    Contributions can be made any time up until the individual completes his/her term of service. You will receive a receipt for your contribution when it is made. Upon completion of the individual’s term the support will be forward, either to the individual or to the institution as requested by the individual. If the person does not complete their term of service as agreed upon, your contribution will be returned to you, or we will consult you about an alternative.

    Please prayerfully consider what you can do to help these young men and women share Christ with our youth.

    For reference, I am not eligible for a college matching grant (as far as I am aware).

    Here is the letter and form as promised! They’re PDF files so you may need Acrobat Reader to view them.

    The Letter and The Form.

    Your assistance is appreciated, thank you.