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Phantomgraph's Mystic Muse

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Ideas that change the World Nov. 15th, 2008 @ 04:12 pm

Something Tens and I were talking about last night was the fact that we have so many good ideas that could potentially change the world for the better. We also spoke about the fact that we can't possibly invest time in every one of our ideas. That's a problem, so our solution so far is to post our ideas here on the Internet and let folks extrapolate from them and hopefully inspire some real projects to come to life.

It came to our minds based on a simple question. We were watching a program on TV called Survivor man, and I wondered why something didn't happen. I posed something I thing makes perfect sense that doesn't happen IRL and we talked about it and came up with a simple solution for it...

If your ready, here it is... Your lost in the woods and a search and rescue helicopter finds you. They hover for a long moment to let you know they have found you and then they fly off. (This is what happens.)

Why didn't they drop a survival package with simple things like some water, a couple of protean bars and some VERY basic first aid stuff along with instructions on what is about to happen.. (Stay put, we know where your at now.. don't move from your location. Listen for folks calling for you.. Respond to them... )

In the package I would assume their is a super simple communication pack. Here is how I think it works..

The instructions say "Stay put, we will be back during the daylight soon. If our ground rescue team dosn't arrive before we return use one of the two self igniting smoke bombs to tell us of your condition.. use the green smoke bomb. Only use the red one if you have a serious medical condition so we can have a surgeon ready at a close location."

Sounds reasonable to me to drop a care package from the chopper for the survivor... but we don't.. My question is Why?
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: Eric Clapton - Change the World

July 19, 2008, Independance Day Jul. 19th, 2008 @ 08:55 am
Well it had to happen sometime.. and this morning it did.

Some folks might call me a hypocrite for this post because I'm the one who drinks, but damn I WAS the one the held together the relationship and the hope.

Over the last year the hope has died. I've asked him only to get his life back in order and take seriously his responsibilities. His response has been to borrow money from folks he has no intention of paying back, asking me to send him updates for his DAZ toy, buy him a new computer because his old one won't run DAZ fast enought, AND send him money so he can move out here so he can live under my roof with me taking care of him.

I can't abide by that. He's shown me nothing in the past months to show he's even trying (Thou he has lots of excuses) and their for today, July 19 at about 7 AM I declared MY Independence day.

I'm sorry for those who think I'm uncaring, but I can't justify the way he used folks to pay off his wrongs. I'm a dragon, and all things SHOULD balance.

Today is the day,my Independence day, July 19, 2008 and to hell with it all I'm celebrating being single again after 10 years!
Current Mood: rejuvenatedrejuvenated

Put giraffes in the air! Apr. 30th, 2008 @ 06:05 pm
Warning! Foul Language! NSFW and all that rot!

FA posted this as the link O the day..
I found a better version of the song by DJ Tempo up on You Tube };8>

Considering what I work on now, it's like a perfect theme song!

Also I just updated my Ubuntu box to 8.04 LTS (Hardy Heron).. almost everything is working perfectly without any changes including my custom installed video drivers.... so go for the update while your giraffes in the air!

PG };8>
Current Mood: happyhappy

Report from the new job. Apr. 17th, 2008 @ 06:37 pm
If you have been reading these things you know I started at my new place of employment last Monday. Now it's time for a report card of how well I'm doing.

OK most of Monday was spent filing out paper work, safety training and meeting some of the folks that I am working with so I'll kinda skip most of that day because not much happened other than I got excited about the companies benefits. }:8>

Tuesday I spent most of the day just learning where stuff is at, where to get tools, how production moves around in the area I work and so on. Now although I'm not going to tell you the name of the company, (it's not hard to figure out) I have decided to tell you what I make.

I help make utility trucks. Yes, the kind that the power company uses.

I work in the part of the plant that makes the custom huge monster models that can take a pair or workers up to around 150 feet in the air. (That's more than 15 stories folks!) The trucks themselves come from various companies and range in size from giant "douly" diesel trucks to absolute monster semi's. (Peter-built, International, Mac and so on.)

The smaller 'standard' models that you see running around rural areas are made up in the front of the plant. I work in the custom department in which, a little like "CMT's Trick My Truck", we take a brand new extended bed semi (with nothing behind the cab except the frame and axel(s) and with a lot of welding, work, and ingenuity build a custom made super boom truck, a digger derrick (The truck/machine that digs the holes and installs telephone / electrical poles) or whatever the heck the customer wants.

An example is a truck we sent to California this week. It can take two men up to about 120' in the air.. has hand made custom tool boxes, an industrial generator with built in 500 watt halogen flood lamps and 110/220 outlets, drop down / fold away steps, remote control spotlights, a bathroom AND a break room on the back. (That's pretty flipping kewl eah?)

On Wednesday I had one of the managers stop by and ask me how it was going. He told me that he had heard that I was going great, already way ahead of the curve. That made me feel good of course. Later on in the morning the folks that were in charge of electrical systems were busy so I dove in and helped out a guy that's been at the company for a couple of months wiring the main battery box.

I was training this other guy on my third day when I had never even seen the inside of a battery box!

Latter on when the guy in charge of electrical had some time to check up on us and he was rather stunned that I had wired it correctly with out any training the very first time.

Dragons are good.. hehehe };8>

Now considering that second shift (which I'm destined to be the electrical systems guru for) and most of the other folks I work with have little knowledge of electronics or electrical systems, I decide to play it safe and disconnect the main battery from the electrical box. (So that the circuits are basically dead and no one can short anything out while their wiring stuff.)

Flash to this morning. I'm at work, asking the electrical systems guy if it is OK that second shift wired the rear junction boxes backwards to the diagram (not kidding they did) and I start wiring up the trailer connectors, tail lights and all that jazz by, you guessed it.. with just the schematic. (I spent most of my time making sure the other shift had the thing wired correctly albeit backwards!)

Once again Dragon did it right the first time... thou I did have to ask a couple of questions because the junction box had several of the same colored wires in it! (Unmarked of course)

So after that I'm about to start on some other wiring and the electrical systems guy calls me over to another station and shows me how to upload the programming on a certain kind of rig. (Modern semi's are computer controlled. If you know how, you can reprogram the windshield wiper button to turn on the head lights if you want.) My trainer specifically chose the most difficult model to show me on. (I think to see if I would understand.) The whole process of training (after I fixed the laptop =) took about a half hour.

When he was done he asked me if I thought I understood. I summarized the process in about two minutes verbally while he stood there and grinned. (In truth semi's are nothing more than glorified PLC's =) Out of four hundred folks at the plant where I work, four (1%) have the knowledge to program a rigs computer. The software / system engineer, the electrical systems guy on my shift and two line managers. I was told today that it looks like I'm going to take over some of the software / system engineer's job and start designing and building the software & circuits on the custom line.

OK, so the day is going great and I'm about to wrap up my shift and head home. Second shift comes in and the guy that wired the rear junction box comes in and fumbles about trying to see if he had wired one of the lines correctly. I of course let him sweat the fact that he can't get any voltage back at the rear box. In a panic the guy is trying to figured out what he did wrong. I grin, walk up and temporarily reconnect the battery to the battery box. Low and behold he's got juice! *ROTFL* Show's ya how much he tested last night eah?

Anyway.. not too bad I would have to say after day four on the job...

PG };8>
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic

The tests Apr. 7th, 2008 @ 09:03 pm
Today I nervously went in for my drug test and physical exam. I wan't worried about the drug test, I was worried about my back, my hearing and my color blindness.

So here's how the old dragon measured up...

I passed the drug test with flying colors.

I didn't have my vision tested for colors so no problem on that!

Now my back. The guy testing me noticed I was locking up trying to move into some of the positions he asked me to get to.. I failed only one test.. the one he called the superman test. For that one you have to lay down flat on a mat, raise your head to a ninety degree angle to your back and look forward as raise your legs and your arms up off the mat and hold them their for a minute. After 20 seconds I couldn't hold it and one of my knees touched the mat. Game over.. I failed.

So now I'm really nervous.. The next test was the repetitive 50 lb weight lift. Despite the fact that my back was twitching I went up and did the test.. (I used my legs to lift like your supposed to..) I did freak the instructor out because I cantilevered the weight with my arms so I could pull the weight to my center of gravity before lifting. (In other words I brought the weight up with my arms to my body then used my legs to stand up.)

The test guy asked me not to do that, but mentioned that he was surprised I could with my upper arm strength alone. He even went so far as to say that I should do that if I can in the real world, as it it the more correct way of lifting.. which I know because I screwed my back up lifting wrong before.

Anyway up down repeat and so on.. he hurmmed and asked for another test. Lay flat with my head against the mat and lift a bar over my head.. So I did.. way back, as far up as I could. He was surprised how much of an angle I could make with very little effort.

The last set of tests were to measure my ability to basically bend. Now I have a twisted spine, it's called scoliosis, (that thing they test you for when you were in grade school.) The test guy noted instantly that one of my legs is shorter that the other. What could I do? I had to agree that I knew about it. Then we did the bending tests. What do you know... One way I can bend 100% more than the other..

So the tests are over and I'm sitting on the exam table. I know My friends are all counting on me to pass these tests and stuff and I'm nervous so I just blurt it out... "Well, how did I do? Did I pass or fail?"

The test guy looks up and says... "Well your drug test came back clean, you have a problem in your lower back with it not flexing but you passed the lift test with flying colors so I'm going to call the company tomorrow morning and tell them you passed."

He asked my if I had any questions, and I did, about how to help myself better with the test I failed and he gave me some exercises to do even thou I know the reason why I failed is I have fused vertebrae.. we shook hands and I went on to the hearing test.

Oddly, despite the fact that my hearing isn't all that great and I damn near failed my MEPS (Military Entrance Physical Standard) hearing test... I passed wonderfully. (I can hear the tones, but when they modulate (like when you speak) it kinda turns into mush.. :) Once again, on the high end of the scale I was hearing stuff that most folks can't.. but I showed up average for all the other frequencies.. close but within normal hearing range!

So the results... Unless something weird that shouldn't shows up in my background, I passed my tests and should start next Monday! (YEA!)
Current Mood: amusedamused
Other entries
» The hunt is over!
Well it had to happen at one time or another and yesterday it finally did. On a whim I went to a job fair for one of the local manufacturing companies, walked in with my degree and a resume and walked out with a job offer. It's been a long road as the song says, getting from their to here, but I think it'll be worth it in the long run.

Next Monday I have the obligatory drug test and general physical exam and as long as my background check comes back OK I will be starting the Monday following. Yea!

Now I'm just starting as a production worker, but from what they have told me my degree in Electronic Engineering Technology is going to put me in a good place with the company. I'll not say what company it is, but we make some very large and very kewl stuff that almost everyone who is reading this has seen on a relatively regular basis. Hehehe...

Well all thanks so much for all your good wishes, it seems this old dragon has now got a job!
» Woot!
Welp, new stuff on my FA and FAP accounts.. Le mal.. about an hundred and a half hours modeling.. (yea I'm slow) =>

Oh yea, and you can get the images from http://www.phantomgraph.com now...

See FA or FAP :)
» The hunt for the golden egg continues...
Well now, it's been an odd week so far and it's not even half way done!

Lets start with the job search. Yep I did get a call from the college I've been applying at and I have my third interview on Friday of this week. I also got a call from the Vice Presidents office telling me of a job opening at the local high school, also for a IT person.

Now I've thought about this a lot and to give folks a little hint, the college and the high school are 'married' in some ways, meaning they often share resources and personal depending on who gets the funding and how much they have to work with.

I've talked this over with Tens and we kind have come to a consensus of what this probably means.

First, I must have obviously impressed them quite a bit for them to call me on the first day of the closing and to set up an appointment that is probably at the end of the interview process. (Remember this is my third interview with them.)

Second, by the VP's office calling me It and telling me about a job at the high school (which for all intents and purposes is like another division) I'm thinking that they are VERY interested in tapping my skills because they will still be available to them.

Third. How many jobs have you applied for and have gotten hand written notes from a company VP AND calls from his office regarding other positions in their infrastructure.

This all boils down to a lot of waiting and quite a bit of confidence on my part. I do hope to get into the college, but I'm not going to knock the HS either. After all, since both places get their funding from the state it may simply be that they are more worried about funding issues for my salary. *grins*
» The interview
Well today is the day! It's about two hours from my interview and I'm just about ready to slam down a mountain dew, take my morning pills and hop into the shower in preparation to don the 'monkey suit' again. I think Tens is going to want to get a picture of it so I'll be sure we post it later on this afternoon.

Last night I spent several hours reviewing several web sites that had the infamous 100 questions an interviewer may ask. I'm a little tired as I'm not quite used to being up this early but I feel I'm about as prepared as I can get for the interview.

I know a lot of folks out there have been hoping and wishing me luck for this interview, and I just wanted to thank all of you before I even get started. Everyone's encouragement and belief in my abilities have been a tremendous support that is worth more than any of your will likely ever know. My claws are crossed and I'll spin the tale of the interview sometime this afternoon.


Well the interview went well. I was interrogated in a round robin style by the director of IT, his assistant and the Vice president of the college. I of course got the usual questions like tell me about yourself.. about my accomplishments in IT and so on.

During the interview I projected and smile and spoke to each person and the group in whole as I answered each question. As the interview progressed their were lots of smiles and even a few laughs going around the table. I backed up each one of my statements with real world examples from my life demonstrating my team work skills, how I've worked though some difficult situations with co workers and of course customers.

Their biggest concern was the fact that I've been out of the industry for nearly seven years, and that is a perfectly reasonable concern. I did impress them with my knowledge of Linux and of the general services required to operate a network.

Somewhere in the middle of the interview the Vice President asked if I wasn't selected for the position I applied for if I would be interested in a lower level one than network tech III (he hinted at Tech II). Of course I said I would be very interested.

The very last question they asked was from the Vice President. "What does your bumper sticker say?" *chuckles* First time for that one, so I talked about what I call the "Make it Work Foundation" and compared it to McGuyver's Phoenix foundation and my love for just getting things working properly again. That one brought a couple of chuckles from the group.

As the interview was mostly over I asked a few questions about the network and the technology used on campus, why they choose some solutions rather than others and so on to show a level of interest and to let them know that I wasn't afraid of the technology they were using.

All and all I feel that I had the interview pocketed, the only glitch seemed to be my lack of current experience, thou I stressed that I'm a quick learner. The Vice President himself even complimented me by saying that I interviewed very well and I was told that I should hear something by the end of next week or the beginning of the next at the latest.

If I were to grade myself on the interview I think I would have pulled a 65% to 75%, which is what i estimate my chances are of getting the position. Considering I don't know any of the other applicants (Or even if their are any) I think that's very good sign. All in all, theirs very little I think that I could have done differently, so I'm happy with my presentation.

So, lets all keep our claws and paws crossed that is was enough!
» Dawn: The age of aquarious
Well, yesterday I got all dressed up in my monkey suit (A dragon in a tie *lol*) to take my application and resume in to one of the local electronics manufactures. I had been told that most of the time when your turned in a application this company would take you in for a interview right away. "Printed circuit board layout person." I keep mumbling to myself as I walked up to the building, getting all ready to dazzle some HR person with fancy words like Ohms law, latent capacitance and garbly gook like that. Instead I ending up turning over my paperwork to the person in the lobby and turning around and heading back outside.

I have to admit I was a little disappointed. So far I haden't even so much as gotten a call from any of the places I applied to. Now granted, I have been applying over the week before and week of Christmas, so I can understand folks arn't really working on stuffs that week, but I was hoping I would have gotten at least one call.

Now flash forward to this morning. I've been developing a cold over the last couple of days and today my head is all stuffed up. My plan for today was to scribble up a couple of more resumes for the last couple of nifty (read not factory production work) jobs and get ready to print them up and start ground pounding on the 2nd.

Then the Phone rings.

Tens answers it and hands it over to me. It turns out it was Mike, from the first place I applied for, and incidentally the job I want the most... at the local technical college! I conducted the on the fly phone interview rather well I think despite the fact that I was having a little difficulty hearing him because he had me on the speaker phone.

Humm.. speaker phone... *grin*

For those of you that are wondering this is a IT position at the college, not instructor or broom pusher.. so it's quite likely that the first part of any review process would be a phone interview to ditch any candidates that just don't have a clue or the qualifications.

I was asked some questions that I knew was coming, including the 'how come you haven't been working in the IT field over the last seven years?' So I fixed that one easily, I answered truthfully that I had been running my own small business on the side, doing whatever was needed by whom ever called, but had been employed consistently over the years, which of course is also true.

The next major question of course was about any certification. Again, I was able to answer honestly that I was certified with Cisco in 1998 or 99. I told Mike about how we had been having trouble with configuring routers and the like because of some problems with the windows software that they had shipped. (It would cause the Router to lock up totally, sometimes you had to have some one come out and hard flash the cmos.) I also told him truthfully that we just basically gave up on the software and began configuring the equipment with either telnet or the serial ports.

At about this time is where Mike 'remembers' to tell me that the director of IT is standing right next to him listening to the conversation. I had already guessed this because of the speaker phone and some grunts and some pauses that indicated to me Mike was looking at someone else to see if what I was saying made any sense.

Their were a few more general questions and at end of the phone interview Mike asked the IT guy if he had any questions. He didn't. Then Mike and I scheduled an interview for next week!

Hehehe "Go dragon, go dragon, go dragon!" *lol*

So that was how I ended up scheduling my very first interview here in South Dakota }:8>

Anyway every body wish me good luck on the third thou I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket until I here the magic words.. 'when can you start!'

As always I'll keep you all posted and every body wish me good luck on the third. I'm not putting all my eggs in one basket until I hear the magic words.. 'When can you start?' but it goes to show you that I got a call on the most difficult position to obtain that I applied for and I've already passed the first test.
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