asher553: (Default)
Around the beginning of 2017, I got set up as a driver for Uber Eats, figuring I might make a little extra money in my spare time by driving food deliveries. But not much came of it, as I discovered that there was very little work to be had. I'd turn on the app, and wait for calls ... and wait and wait and wait. Eventually I gave up, and shelved the idea.

Recently I got an email from Uber saying that they'd brought a lot more restaurants on board and made numerous other improvements to the service. So last weekend I decided to see for myself, and lo and behold it was a world of difference. Calls started coming in, and finally I was driving deliveries and making money. I drove every day from Sunday through Thursday, and drove again yesterday. I'm taking tonight (Monday night) off, but looking forward to doing some runs tomorrow night.

For most of my adult life I've had some degree of anxiety around driving, but I think this is going to finally let me get over it once and for all. Plus it's a great way to explore Portland, especially the east side where I expect to be moving soon - and, of course, I could use the money.
asher553: (Default)
So, the first day went really well and I'm happy with my decision. Aside from the pay rate, this looks like it's going to be a 1000% improvement over my last gig in every single area where I was dissatisfied. It's a team environment, not a cube farm, so I'll be working with real live people. They are taking training seriously and it's clear I will be gaining a lot of new skills over the next 90 days. (At TheBank, I learned to reset passwords and ... reset passwords.) The location is in a hotel downtown, not a prison-like building out in the boondocks. And it's only 90 days, so even if I end up hating it - which is unlikely - I can put up with it for that long.

BTW this is a different gig from the one I was looking at earlier. The onboarding process seemed to take forever, and they kept demanding more and more information about my employment history, and started asking me to dig up pay stubs and W2s from three years ago. For a position that doesn't even start until 8/21, I began to wonder if it was worth it. Suppose they wanted some piece of documentation that I just couldn't provide? What if I missed all this work time and ended up not getting the job after all?

So I started looking at other options, and when this other agency called about this position, I jumped on it. I interviewed Monday and the manager must have liked me, because on Tuesday I got the call from the agency that I got the job. Email from the agency with the usual paperwork, sign it, scan it, send it back, done and done. And Wednesday - yesterday - was my first day at work.
asher553: (Default)
... until you pee in the cup.

Tomorrow, I pee in the cup.
asher553: (Default)
I start work tomorrow morning at 7am!
asher553: (Default)
I've had my new phone for about two weeks now and I'm happy with it. I bought a handsfree headset at the same time, in preparation for my debut as an Uber delivery driver, and started wearing it daily. I thought it would be hard to get used to (I'm of the generation that grew up with corded dial phones) but it became natural almost immediately. I forgot to put it on today and it feels weird *not* having it on.

So, I stopped by the Uber Greenlight location on the Eastside last night - my first time dealing with any of the staff in person - and they were great. A guy named Paul helped me and he was very nice and professional. And I'm officially ready to start driving! I'll turn on my driver app tonight after my day job and we'll see how it goes.

And my social life is moving right along ... got some dating happening, yay. Details anon. For now, got to get to work at my day job!
asher553: (Default)
Yom Kippur was beautiful - the weather was great, the services were inspiring, and I survived the fast. Oh, and I lost a couple of pounds!

Now the rainy season is well and truly upon us. I'm looking forward to spending more time with books, in various formats - audio, Kindle, and (of course) print.

I'm re-"reading" (on audio) Toni Morrison's fourth novel, 'Tar Baby'. It is her only novel to date set mainly outside of the continental US (a pastoral, in genre), and therefore is, georgraphically speaking, literally an outlier. Uniquely among TM novels, the setting is heavily personified, so that the island becomes a 'character'. 'Tar Baby' is Morrison's first novel to be set in contemporary times (the post-Vietnam 70s, contemporary with the time of the book's composition) and her first to include major non-black characters (Valerian Street, the retired candy tycoon, and his wife, the red-headed former Miss Maine, Margaret).

The book has many of the familiar Toni Morrison trademarks: the role of folklore (as in, for example, 'Song of Solomon'), problem mothers, anxiety over skin color (Jadine's, but also Margaret's), and ambivalence toward identity. At the end, as Jadine and Son are drawn inexorably back toward one another, I wonder if the island itself is the 'tar baby' of the title. Anyway, I hope to post a full write-up on the book soon, when I'm finished re-reading it.

Also, I want to get active on Goodreads. (Readers, ping me if you're on Goodreads.)

I'm hopefully close to getting that studio in my old apartment building, which for convenience I'll call the Admiral here.

Okay, now I've got to get to work.
asher553: (Default)
At the end of last May, I was working at an underpaid and overstressful position at a local utility company. My boss, "Darla", was impossible to please and I was looking forward to the end of the assignment. In my off-time I was finishing up an online course in digital cryptography from Stanford, offered for free through Coursera. On May 27, I took the final and aced it. (This was the second of two goals I'd set for myself - earlier in the month, on May 4, I took the test for my ham radio Technician license - and got 100% on that one, too.)

By the end of August, I'd mostly gotten the old junk cleared out of my new place - it would've been a lot cheaper to do it before I moved, obviously, but there wasn't time. There wasn't much in the way of excitement, except that on the 22nd some goofball came up to me on the street and snapped a picture of me. With the radio license and cryptography course under my belt, I got busy signing up for an online CompTIA computer certification course and classes at Portland State. It would be a crunch, because the PSU term started almost immediately after the computer class ended, but I figured I could do the computer classes at home - with no distractions, and in comfort. Or so I thought.
asher553: (asher63)
OK, I will admit that I was not prepared for "Thomas and Friends" being narrated by George Carlin.

("'Well, for one thing,' puffed Thomas ...")

When I'm not captive to Bunny's entertainment on Sprout, I'm currently involved with my own TV obsession - 'Hatufim'. It's the Israeli series on which 'Homeland' is based. I have the first two seasons on DVD, with English subtitles. (My Hebrew is good, but not so good that I don't need captions.) It's just a terrific show - psychological spy drama, with plot twists galore. Major Haim Cohen is the military psychologist charged with questioning two returned POWs about their time in captivity - trying to ascertain how much information they may have given the enemy, and, even more important, whether they may have been "turned". And then he runs up against this sooper-seekrit top-level Mossad operation ... wheels within wheels. Great stuff. Very intense, definitely not advised for children! BTW, the dialog is mostly in Hebrew, with some Arabic. Like I say, it's captioned, so you don't have to know Arabic or Hebrew to enjoy the show - but it helps if you can tell which language they're speaking, because it's not always the one you expect!

I'm working again, doing one of the things I do well - office services. Don't ask me why, but this stupid, picky, administrative stuff is what I'm good at. I've got a gig with Ricoh, and they're rotating me through the several sites they run in downtown San Francisco. I'm doing copy center, mailroom, reception, and probably some filing. I'm enjoying the work and getting good performance reviews. It's good to be back in the professional world.

Bunny went to Disneyland over the weekend with a friend and the friend's mother. She had a good time (although friend's mother was beat). She's doing much better these days - the tantruming hasn't entirely disappeared but it is definitely tapering off.

And now for your listening pleasure, here is Miss Bunny with "Molly Malone":
asher553: (Default)
As San Francisco goes, where I live isn't bad. But I'm looking forward to moving back to Portland.

Long-term, living in SF isn't viable for me in terms of money or mental health. I've toyed with the idea of moving to a suburb or smaller town somewhere in the Bay Area, but I don't really see that happening. It'll still be California, it'll still be the Bay Area, and the cost of living will catch up with me one way or another. It would get me out of the city, but if I wanted city life (entertainment, shopping, culture, work, school) I'd still have to deal with getting in and out of San Francisco - or Oakland, Berkeley, San Jose, etc.

And I'm concerned about what California will be like in the next few years. The economy isn't in great shape here or anywhere else, but I'm thinking in particular of what will happen if (or when) the State's budget goes over the cliff. I am not conjuring up apocalyptic scenarios here, but I do worry. California is a big state. What will happen if Sacramento can't keep up basic services like infrastructure and state law enforcement? What will happen when state benefits and programs are cut? I worry about basic things like health, safety, crime.

Oregon is a much smaller state, and its biggest city isn't very big. It's a smaller economy, and I almost feel like it doesn't have as far to fall.

I've been getting job offers steadily - most recently from a Bay Area tech firm whose name is associated with very large numbers. If I can focus on building a good resume over the next year and a half, I'll be in a strong position to get work in Portland when I move back. That new Intel plant [ ] should be opening up just about the time I get there.

Wish me luck.
asher553: (Default)
It was only a matter of time, but -

Nevertheless, there are some really kool things in the world. Otter Box for your cellphone is one of the koolest IMO. Stylish, sturdy, and helps you keep your grip. And if you're prone to abusing your phone - like a certain adolescent gentleman of my acquaintance - it's a must.

I'm getting in touch with my inner bardophile and preparing to start on the tetralogy, beginning with Richard 2. I watched Henry 4 + 5 on DVD a few years ago and loved the plays. Looking forward to experiencing the whole Henriad again from the beginning.

The job is going well - details in a flocked post. This morning was a challenge, but I think the toughest part is over.

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