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Showing posts from April, 2008

Cooking Question

Now, I'm fairly certain I've never done this, so this is truly just a hypothetical question. I don't want anyone casting aspersions my way thinking I'm asking about something I've done. ;-)

First, the set up:

Let's say you have four chicken breasts that are on the far side of safe to prepare and need to be cooked now. Let's say you grill or broil them, but you don't use enough heat or time and the four breasts are undercooked. Since they were so late in the "use by" date, let's further say that two of the four are far enough gone and undercooked enough that you would get food poisoning eating them.

Second, the situation:

You finish cooking the four breasts, eat one of them for your dinner, and you luck out that you don't get sick (this breast is not spoiled, but it is undercooked). That gives you a false sense of security that you did a good enough job cooking the chicken that you wrap up the remainder and put it in the fridge. Since you d…

Life Changes

Last week was an experience, going from losing my job, to finding out that my cat has pretty bad diabetes, not receiving and having to ask after my severance, and then getting my confirmation and approval of permanent residence in Canada on Friday. Saturday was a nice day spent with my wife and mother in downtown Los Angeles for my birthday. Sunday my wife started her trek home, which was sad. But boy was it wonderful having her here for such a topsy-turvy and emotional week.

Thank you to everyone for their kind comments, words of encouragement, and prayers during this time.

I am still a little upset with how my company handled the severance issues and dissemination of information to those of us who were laid off. This is only our lives you hold in your hand, so of course delaying it not once, not twice, but thrice without telling us hardly anything is not okay. Get it straight and get it right. However, the severance is decent, so I cannot complain about that. It should be enough to ti…

More Good News (Not!)

The week keeps getting better. Took Calypso into the vet yesterday because she was vomiting and had peed twice on the bed within a week-- which is very unusual behavior for her. Yes, I know I've written before about her peeing habits, but she has never peed on the bed during those indiscretions. She sleeps there as well as me, knows that it is wrong, and felt so ashamed that she ran and "hid" in her hidey-hole under the bookcase.

So this was something different, especially when you consider the vomiting. Add in the rampant drinking of water, the $300 test yesterday, and it turned out to be feline diabetes.

Caly is 10 years old this month. With my birthday (37), she has been with me for about 27% of my life to-date. That's a significant amount of time. She's been with me through some significant changes and events in my life, she's been my confidante and companion while others have come and gone, and she's been a sounding board through good times and bad.

How…

Glass Half Full or Empty?

Well, I got "the script" from Renee today. I knew something was up at work with the number of mid-level managers who were present much earlier than usual, and the fact that Tom (one of the higher managers of our business unit) was going from office to office with papers in his hand. I hoped he wouldn't stop at Renee's office, but when he did, I was expecting the inevitable call in and scripted "you're fired" message. The new company will not be extending an offer of employment to me upon the close of the purchase deal.

I'm a little sad, a very small touch bitter, but mostly just disappointed in this. I will get a severance package from the previous company and I am getting three days this week off on them (paid leave) to help me "adjust" to this decision. Then, by April 30, I need to transition my work to her, including training her on the more technical things I do, and then it is adios.

It was a good run. I was hired on January 8, 2001. I …

Strength In Unity

My wife flies in tomorrow afternoon for a week's stay in SoCal. While excited as always for her visit, it happens to come at a great time. As you know from previous posts, I find out no later than next Tuesday if I will be offered a position with the new company. If I am not, I look forward to working out the rest of the month for my current employer and then getting a severance package from them. If I do, then it is all-systems go for the new job.

Under this stressful time, it will be nice to have my wife her for support, encouragement, and to talk with about the various permutations. Also, I will have paperwork to fill out either way that I can bring home and discuss with her in person.

It will be, in many ways, one of the first times we'll be together for a "momentous" happening in our lives that we can discuss in person and make decisions about together. It gets frustrating sometimes to have nearly all of these conversations by phone, email, or IM. However, I canno…

Facebook

I joined Facebook to be closer to my Canadian friends, who switched en masse from blogging to using that tool. I found the site initially very intimidating, as it is not set up in a way that makes sense to my mind, the features and especially the toggles and switches, were hard to find and not very well labeled. But I struggled through so I could be more connected.

And then the applications started bombarding me. Every little quirky thing that someone sent me required the installation of a new application in order to see it, read it, or respond to it. Every one of these apps then had a page that involved sending the results to everyone on my Facebook account unless I could find the (often) small or well-hidden Cancel or Skip button. Even using that, I was finding that a bunch of my stuff still was sent to people in my Facebook list, which frustrated me.

The last straw for me was the recent addition of the "People you might know" feature. This feature looks at my Facebook list …

What a Difference a Day Makes

When we had our all-hands meeting explaining the purchase of our division by a new company, one of our leaders apparently misspoke and said that the new company was very interested in all of the people in our division and we would all have jobs at the new company. A week or so later we got an email from the former company's head of HR wherein he made the statement that some people may not be offered positions with the new company. This immediately took the feeling of lightness and relief that had finally permeated the offices after weeks of not knowing what was going on and turned it on its ear.

Yesterday we had an all-hands with the leads of the new company. They gave a presentation, an overview of the company, and answered a lot of our HR questions. One person asked the inevitable question: "Will we all be offered positions?" The same lead of our division stood and said frankly that, while most would, some would not. They were working on a final roster during this week …

News and Notes

Taxes
I managed to get my taxes done and I put them in the mail today. Decided to go for claiming an exemption for my wife, as the JK Lasser book and the nice guy on the IRS phone line both agreed that it totally applied in these circumstances. However, that means that I had to send my taxes to a different address in Texas to be processed for her ITIN first, and then they process the tax forms for the refund. Pretty significant difference in my refund, so worth a shot. When you add in the $600 bonus refund amount this year, will get a tidy sum back-- just in time, hopefully, to help with the costs of moving.

Immigration
My file has moved to the Los Angeles consulate from the one in Buffalo, NY. The letter stating this claimed it was for "final processing" and to determine and perform an interview, if required. I would guess that we are close to having approval on this puppy!

Work
Not only was my division sold to another company, but the company we are moving to has just announced…

The Death of the Movie Theater

I was reading this article about theater attendance declining. I was amused by it, as people have been prognosticating the death of the movie theater since the first Betamax and VHS machines were released in the 70s, and again when the internet finally took off in the 90s. And, while attendance has declined nearly every year, millions of people still flock to theaters every weekend to see films shown "as they were meant to be seen."

Here is my reaction to this article, and others like it:
One thing that home-viewing cannot replace is the audience experience. While more and more it seems there are rude people, children there not paying attention, etc., few thing are as exciting as that shared experience of everyone gasping together at the villain's actions, everyone laughing at the same joke, everyone cheering for the hero at the same time. Those times are priceless. And, I think, that is primarily what people go to the theaters for these days-- the shared movie watching ex…

The More Things Stay the Same, the More Things Change

I'm still employed. The company for which I work decided to restructure and divest itself of components that did not fit with its new direction. My division was the main one divested. It decided to eliminate approximately 200 jobs and $100 million a year today. By divesting itself of this division, the company is saving approximately $65 million a year in costs and gets a little more than half-way to its goal of 200 people. They are restructuring out the other people, gaining about $30 million, and then are closing some facilities and doing some odds and ends clean up to achieve the remaining $10 million per year.

The (now) former company was a decent one, but we never quite fit into its needs. We've been actively on the block for at least 18 months now. The company that is purchasing this division is privately owned, directly in the same industry as we are, and has wanted to acquire us for a long time because we are one of their direct competitors and, frankly, do what they wa…