Saturday, July 30, 2005

Rampant Silliness

It occurred to me that I should blog now, because I won't have time early in the week. I'll get the sad news out of the way first. One of my oak trees died this week. As you can see from the picture, it's quite large. Our neighbor/landscaper thinks that it was from all the dirt piled on the roots during construction. Plus, the weather has been extremely hot. This is the hottest July in over fifty years and we had several days over 100F this week.

Monday, I went to RTP for an interview with a recruiter for a particular job with a startup. That went well and the building was very nice. I've been amazed at some of the interesting architecture in the buildings that I've gone to recently.

I don't really remember Tuesday, but I know it involved lots of phone calls and e-mail. That might be the night that my dad and I went to Vinny's for dinner.

Wednesday, I went to a recruiter's office in North Raleigh for no job in particular. That was interesting and the building was even more impressive than the one I went to on Monday. This one had glass and marble, rather than just glass.

Thursday, I went to the career center. I originally went there solely to prepare for interviews with the instructor of the workshop I took in June, but then I found out that a bunch of the former IBMers were going to have lunch in the break room. How could I not participate? I grabbed a surprisingly good egg salad sandwich from the vending machine and joined them. I met some interesting new people nad participated in some interesting discussions about resumes, business cards, and just what categories of people got laid off.

Thursday was probably the night that I made faux jambalaya. In fact, since I left out the tomatoes, onions, peppers, hot sauce and added curry, it wasn't really like jambalaya at all. It was, however, good. I had two packages of pre-cooked Jimmy Dean sausage, which I cut up in little pieces. I sauteed a lot of minced garlic and then I added the sausage, shrimp, thyme, curry, parsley, chives and eight ounces of chicken broth. That was all served over basmati rice, with peas on the side. It turned out quite well but, in hindsight, it would have been better in a bowl than on a plate.

Friday night, my parents and I went to Nikos for dinner. They actually had fried oysters! I've been going there since 1992 and I have never seen oysters there. Apparently, they've been having them for lunch periodically. I almost always go there from dinner. Of course, my regular readers probably know that.

Saturday, I met GM and AE at SouthPoint and we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now, I've never seen the original version of the movie, but I did read the books forever and a half ago.
Johnny Depp seemed somewhat creepy to me in this movie, but I think this was primarily because they must have done something strange to his teeth. Parts of it are quite funny and clever and overall it's a very good story. It was well done.

Afterwards, we went to Rockfish. JH, back from Princeton, joined us with a friend of his. That made it an evening of rampant silliness. I had fried oysters, for the second night in a row. They were different, though. Really. Then, we headed over to Marble Slab Creamery and I had a cup of coconut with pineapple and shredded coconut. Finally, we wandered over to Barnes and Noble for a while.

This week I tried a diet avoiding all vegetables in the solanaceae or "nightshade" family. That includes tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and peppers. My mom read on Eschaton that a doctor told the writer of a comment that many people with symptoms of arthritis are actually allergic to those vegetables. Avoiding those foods has really worked for my mom. I, however, didn't really notice a difference after almost a week, so was I back to eating waffle fries with ketchup for dinner tonight. I'm sure I will try it again sometime, although it's very hard to avoid tomatoes.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Love Sponge

I forgot to mention that probably the highlight of yesterday's party, aside from seeing all my friends, was MC's dog, Anna. She is a beautiful Chow and Beagle mix, with a wonderful personality. She wasn't hyper at all and enjoyed petting like a love sponge. She was sized somewhere between a Chow and Beagle and her coat length was probalby somewhere in between as well, but she was Chow colored. She had droopy but shorter than Beagle length ears. I thought she was absolutely adorable.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Unstructured Diligence and Food

You would think that my not working would mean that I would be relaxing and saving money on gas. No, I'm afraid not. For one thing, looking for a job is full time, plus overtime. Secondly, I've been out to Durham or RTP every day since my last day at IBM.

Wednesday, I met CL, JL and SH for lunch at Rudino's. I, of course, had the Spinach Sophia grinder. That is the ultimate meal. It was fun to see them. I went to DBM afterwards to pick up more resume paper and meet with MB.

Thursday, I met JJ at the Baba Ghannouj Bistro for lunch. I hadn't realized until just now that it's a local chain. It's at Erwin Square, which is the same building as Parizade. I had a veggie platter and the food was excellent. It came with three falafels, baba ghannouj, hummus, "cucumber sauce", a huge portion of salad, and a big bowl of warm pita. I ordered tabouli for my salad.

I forgot to mention in my last post that when I went to JJ and JA's house that they had Locopops. Their neighbors recently opened a popsicle shop on Hillsborough Road, in Durham, next to Don Hill's Lock Shop. They have very unusual flavors, including avacado! I tried the Lavendar Cream and that was delicious. I really want to try Tamarind, Pineapple Mint, and Chocolate Orange. I'd like to try them all, but that's just a start. I need to go to the shop and take my cooler. Considering the hot weather we've been having, that would be the only way to get them home. From what I've heard, this is the hottest July on record since 1948.

Friday, I had a phone interview, which I felt went really well. I should hear something next week. I'm very excited about that particular job, so I hope I get it. That night I made an interesting concoction for my parents. I made sauteed onions, orange juice, honey, pine nuts, rasisins and cinnamon with barely warmed smoked salmon pieces over rice. It was good, but I think it would have been somewhat better with chicken or shrimp. I also think it would be good with toasted coconut and pineapple chunks added to it.

Today I went to MC's party, in Creedmoor. It was great to see everyone from work that I hadn't seen in a week and a half. The food was great, too, particularly KC's potato salad. They have a pool and it looked as if the kids and a couple of the adults were having a great refreshing time. They have improved I-85 considerably, so it wasn't a bad trip at all.

Tonight, my parents and I went to Nantucket Cafe & Grill and I tried their chicken teriyaki kabobs, which I hadn't noticed on the menu before. They were good and had huge chunks of grilled breast meat. Normally I prefer fried dark meat, so it's saying a lot that I liked it. The meat was very tender and flavorful.

I've also spent lots of time sending e-mail to various people I met at the job fair and interviewers. I've been looking at job sites and applying to places. It's very time consuming, but it's kind of fun.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Job Search Underway

I finally feel as if I have time to take a deep breath, but just one. I've been extremely busy since last week, when my job search truly began.

I spent the early part of last week packing up the oodles of things I'd collected in the four years that I lived in my office. Lived isn't too much of an exagerration, even though I never even napped there.

Wednesday was my last day at IBM. We went out to Taverna Nikos for lunch and I got the impression that most people enjoyed it. There were approximately twenty people there and everyone signed a card. It was funny how many people referred to my gathering up people to head to the cafeteria every day. I wouldn't surprised if they've quit eating since I've been gone.
GA gave me a bag of going-way gifts, including a beautiful book with photographs of flowers.
She also gave me a box of adorable mini-cheesecakes that people could have when they stopped by to say goodbye. They were really quite delicious.

Thursday I started my preparations by going to the DBM career center to work on my resume, a cover letter and order some business cards. I also attended a workshop on How to Work a Job Fair.

Friday, my mom and I met GA at Champa, for lunch. That was a lot of fun and I, of course, had Pad Thai with shrimp.

Saturday, I went over to JJ and JA's and saw their beautiful new garage and shop. They are very good at design. After cooking an excellent meal, including grilled duck, they gave me a mock interview, which was very helpful.

Sunday, I continued to prepare and we went to Oishii for dinner. This time I tried the Teppanyaki shrimp. Like everything else I've tried, it was delicious.

Monday I had an interview with a local startup. It looks like a great company, particularly because they seem so optimistic about the future. I enjoyed being interviewed, but that's not unusual in the least.

Today I went to a career fair for former IBMers. Like most of these things, I find going to a career fair to be a blast. I didn't pick up too many toys this time, so it must be the opportunity to accost strangers.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Secret's in the Sauce

I have now switched to Blogger comments. The good thing about that is that now I will actually get notified when there are new comments so I can respond to questions within the same decade. The bad thing is that now all the previous comments are gone. In the long run, I think it will be worth it.

During my job search, I decided to look up one of the startup companies that I interviewed with over five years ago, when I was looking for my first job out of college. I interviewed with Metagenix, which was based in Durham. It turns out that after selling their first product for 4.5 million and the second product didn't go so well, the owners started selling barbecue sauce instead. That's just not what I would have expected when I interviewed, but it definitely looks like a good and saucy site.

Last night, GM and AE came over. I made shrimp and bacon pasta and we had Pepperidge Farm apple turnovers for dessert. I love those things. Yesterday afternoon, I made AE a pair of sterling silver and malachite earrings for her birthday, so I got to give those to her. We also watched another episode of Hitchiker's Guide to Galaxy and watched a movie, The Russians are Coming. It was entertaining and funny.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Long Weekend

On Friday, my parents and I went to Oishii, in Chapel Hill. Just as we arrived, the fire alarm went off at the dry cleaner's a couple of doors down. The sprinkler system had turned on at there was water pouring out onto the sidewalk. There's nothing like a little excitement before a meal. After dinner, we looked and everything looked fine inside. Dinner was excellent. I had an order of shrimp shumai dumplings and a dragon roll.

Saturday, I mostly cleaned the house.

Sunday, GM, AE and FT came over. We ordered pizza, watched an episode of the Young Ones, and several Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy BBC Miniseries episodes. The pizza was great, because AE and I got one with anchovies and onions. I've been slowly discovering that I like anchovies. When I was about five or six years old, I had an anchovy pizza when we were in Indiana for my uncle's wedding. They also have anchovies on the Village Salad at Taverna Nikos. For years I didn't eat them at all, but I've been eating more and more of them each time and gotten to like them. So, this was the first time I've had them on pizza in 24 years and I rather liked them. The Young Ones is very strange.

I didn't really do much on the 4th, but my parents and I went to Nantucket for dinner. GM is letting me borrow the 5th season of Babylon 5, which I missed when it moved to cable. We watched the first episode.

Tuesday night, I went out to dinner with JJ and JA to El Corral, in Durham. I had grilled shrimp in fried flour tortillas covered with melted white cheese and guacamole sauce. It was quite good.

Wednesday, there was a frog crawling around on my windows in the great room. That's pretty high up. Since my camera died, I had to use my Treo 650. It's pretty dark, but hopefully you can make it out. Speaking of my phone, I downloaded some cool software from for it. I got VolumeCare so I can actually hear using the earpiece, rather than always relying on the speakerphone. I also got Volkeys which allow one to scroll with the volume buttons on the side. Like most Treo software packages, they are shareware, so I'll have to decide if they are really worth it. I'm guessing that VolumeCare definitely will be.

Today I went back to work, checked on the status of things and packed up a few other things. I went to out to lunch to Rudino's with BO. A few other friends of mine had planned to go there today, but that was cancelled. I still wanted a Spinach Sophia grinder, so I thought that would be a good place.

Belated Mention of Rained Out Concert

I forgot to mention that a couple of weeks ago, I went to SouthPoint with my mom to hear GM play in the Durham Community Concert Band, but it got rained out. AE would have normally enjoyed performing in the precipitation, but she was out of town. I got a good picture with my phone, just before it started pouring. We also managed to get back to my van before the real gulley washer began.