typing

Fall depression cycle begins

I've been in a pretty bad place... well always, but this is my tiny rant for my current situation :) :| :/

I keep waffling about my job. I love the place, the people, the culture. I don't have any job satisfaction at all though. I have little to no creative outlet here. I find most of the work I'm assigned is redundant time filler exercises. I do them, but I pay very little attention to them. I'm either on workwebpage, or reddit, or imgur, or clickerheroes, etc. etc. I rarely do only work. My attention is split and I'm only halfway here.

I keep getting told by both peers and managers that when I choose to put my mind on it they're amazed by my contributions to the team. I'm told that the things I know and do are invaluable. At the same time I'm told that I need to fall in line and do what everyone else is doing. That simply doesn't add up to me. If I'm valuable at doing the things I'm doing, and also meeting the requirements set out in front of me, then that should be at least adequate, if not good performance.

After 3 years of commuting 117 miles round trip daily I uprooted my family from their home of 8 years. We needed the change, but in doing so I feel like we killed our sense of place in community. We were Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders and members. We were active with a community center Karate program. We were actively involved at Church with small devotional groups. It was rare to go shopping and not run into someone we knew and cared for in the community.

Now my oldest needs be prodded, and nearly dragged to Boy Scout meetings. My youngest has also asked to quit Scouting. The Mrs has a new job (in part what prompted the ability to move) and doesn't have the time to volunteer that she used to.

We haven't sold our old house yet. We bought our new place in late June, so we've had dual mortgages and utility bills for 4 months so far. The house we bought has been full of problems including foundation issues, water damage, mold, and more. We bought the place "as-is" from the local church that we'd be attending if we had the time to do anything other than juggle house repairs.

I drained our family stocks last year when my wife had a panic-attack over her student loans and no job yet. I paid off my sister for her half of my grandmothers house that she left the two of us. The house that my Mom and Dad live in rent free. Bought new windows and a new heating/air conditioning unit this year too for that house. So yeah, I'm up to three houses now with the insurance and taxes to go along with them.

Wednesday my account balance was < $6. I'm not used to living paycheck to paycheck at all. We haven't had to live that way since very early in our marriage. We were DualIncomeNoChildren for a while, and both active duty Military, when we started out.

So on my way home from night shift Wednesday I swung by Radio Shack. I wanted to pick up a simple little servo for my 3d printer, to add in auto bed levelling functionality. I checked the account balance from my phone in the lot, and started crying.

It seemed like such a frivolous simple thing to be defeated over, but that was my tipping point.

Things are looking slightly up though. We got an offer on the house that we accepted. It's about $6k less take home than we wanted.

I also applied for a different job. It looks like something right up my alley: automation and simulation, with a focus on the US Navy, specifically my old department and ship class. I'd hate to leave my friends and coworkers here, but I need some more personal fulfilment at work. Right now I loathe and resent myself because that's the perceived attitude I have reflected from a few of my peers.

/rant.
typing

Time to sleep.

Listen, you all. I'm gonna need your full attention for an overnighter. Our Grandle didn't pull the compile Monday, so we're going to really need to give it 110% to pull four nines. Let's take the terraquad of qbits, run it through eclipse, and make sure to add three Internet. We'll also want to ensure our BdoSs protection is running. I've got the two servers running through a dedicated IP. Once we have a stable existing project, we'll be able to synergize with the Mumble group to ensure full SQL saturation. Ready?

Gotam son. What have you been drinking? Everyone knows you'll need a hands-free magnified Cat6of9 just to get the jitter to an acceptable range. We don't even have GabeN's permission to downsize the discount. What we really want is to get Live with the Ody Memes. I'll grab the labtops, you make sure you don't hit the glasses with your face. Remember now, it's time to show dem nips ifn you need some Cheeze Wiz in your 'Nilla Wafers.

I know you're getting upset. That's why we need to coalesce the frontpage, backwash, IRC, and Mumble. Chaos, mad chaos, like debating youself in Breaking News simply because you can't stand to be right. Pil? How much time do we have until the DoTs cooldown is completed? Listen. We need to get this moving nao son. This would be simple with a table saw, you have no idea. We just need the right tools.

Sorry. I'm doing this from my phone. The government really is watching, since I gave them our logfiles. It's okay, they're gzipped with the torrents in my sharted drive. Nothing can get past that 8 bit encryption. It'd take a compy literal seconds to get past my firewalls.

Day 12470 started like any other day. Waking up early to Leroy Jenkins having a nightmare, had to go pee. Sleeping on the chair while he licked my feet, trying to sleep, trying to decide to wake up. Another failure to launch, another failure to understand, to comprehend. Maybe if the threadlock didn't get all up in this place, and people could return to nice, rational discussions. Instead we have heated arguments over the poorly drank Art that isn't even in the native form of the artist. Art, in the form of a 9mm. Atheistic spaghetti invading Texas? Not in my country, by damn.

Failing. Fourth Grade. How could it be so hard? Is it my fault? What should I have done differently. Mister Mom isn't the jorb I felt like it would be. Spaghetti Tacos, sure, that's fun once in a while. But day 5 of Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches really can strain the bio tubes. Clogged tubes, no fun, 404 that toilet. Formula 404. And why the hell did Peter Cullen sign on to read those forsaken lines. I'll Kill you All!?! No faith to his original character.

Listen. If there's only one thing you can take out of this it's this: Fire your Reddit, eat your bank account, and hit the DMCA. If you do that, you'll be sure to take down the crowd funded open source project in Three Twinks. This message brought to you by Thomas Jefferson. "It is much easier to avoid errors by having good information at first, than to unravel and correct them after they are committed."

/drops. mic.
typing

We're all losing to the machines.

I had a fucking UP day today.

I ran out of my prozac 3 days ago. I found a bottle at work with 7 pills in it, so I took one. I also took a fat burner, Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite, drank 2 energy drinks, ate a protien bar, a couple of fiber one bars.

I sat at my desk and interneted. The total amount of work I did today was a simple calculation that I had made a spreadsheet for, helped someone set up the video conference hardware (twice), answered some emails, and delegated a task.

I was beaming by 2 in the afternoon. High on life.

On the other hand, I am completely and irreparably broken. I know that I know that I'm a pattern of information trapped in a mush of grey matter locked in a sack of mostly meat, an insignificant speck crawling on a ball of dirt that in of itself is an insignificant speck in the vast cold dark uncaring space.

And I couldn't have been happier about it.

On the drive home, ride share van, The new girl was talking about how she was getting tasked with re-working the training program, same recommendations I had made years ago.

It is incredibly frustrating. Before I switched to the Big G, I was programming thousands of possible scenarios into multi generator switchgear, capable of transferring a half dozen substations, automatically in closed transition with soft-load transfer, from utility to generator with the press of a single button.

And this week I plugged 5 numbers into a spreadsheet.

The entire fucking world is changing around us. There isn't a single job that isn't replaceable by a machine.

Self driving cars are coming. They're a decade around the corner. Do you know what that's going to do to fucking society. Truck drivers, gone. Taxi drivers, gone. People will be able to schedule a drive to work and a drive home. They won't need to own a car. A car will show up at your house, pick you up, drop you off, then pick some other guy up, drop him off.

Truck drivers gone, right? No big deal. But then so are the insurance adjusters, the legal teams, the people who make the little notepads that drivers record their driving miles and hours on.

Speeding tickets go away, as do most moving violations. There goes a huge chunk out of municipalities tax revenue. How will they pay to repair the roads?

People start moving to green energy. Solar, wind, cheap, reliable enough... but then they don't pay the city municipalities for their energy consumption. The cities can only charge for Sales Tax, or Energy Tax. About 50% of the cities revenue come from the Energy Tax. About 50% of the revenue goes towards Law Enforcement.

Money comes from nowhere. It's fucking loaned into existence. A bank comes and gives you a mortgage for your house. They write 1s and 0s into the ledger, + asset, your house, and - debt, the money they paid out to your previous home owner. It's real money they send out, though. They have the new asset in the bank ledger to prove it.

The head bank just looks at how much digital money it whipped up and says, hey, look, buy our Bonds because that's some nice stuff that'll pay out more in the future. Because it has to. Because if it doesn't, it all crumbles down.

Because the gold standard died in the 70s, the US Dollar is the default currency of the world, and it's only based on debt. A entire generation slave to debt of the past and present. A new generation enslaved to the commercial, the teevee, the internet, and the dollar.
sad

Hello again, LJ, it's been a while.

1am rants are always fun, aren't they?

I'm at a point in life where we are hitting an overwhelming number of options. I'm currently working for the best company ever doing a job that I'm content at. Not happy, only content. It's a job that I can see myself doing for years and years, never really accomplishing anything of significance, and eventually retiring from.

MrsGroovy has finished college... 9 months ago. She hasn't yet had a full-time job in her field as a petroleum engineer.

We're heavily embedded in our local community: Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Martial Arts, Church...

My commute is killing me slowly. 57 miles each way, 114 miles per day, 2 hours plus in my car every work day. About $14 in gas each day, plus mileage on the car. 60.8 cents per mile for maintenance, according to some report, so 27360 miles annually, about $0.75 per mile including gas and maintenance, or about $20,000.

It really hurts on the 12 hour shift days. I'm gaining weight. Never find time to make it to a gym, even though I've got an impressive enough gym in my home and at my office. When I do work out, my knee and hip feel like I've got an ice pick jabbed in there.

I have a hard time talking about my job problems these days. How can I complain about the best company in the world? Still, I see corporatization occurring daily, growing pains, and no matter where you are people are assholes and you still have to deal with assholes.

That, and I'm not truly happy there.

So I told myself for the last few years that I was going to force the issue this year and drag the family, kicking and screaming, to move closer to work. When I broke the news to the kids it went pretty well, all things considered. LilGroovy is all excited about getting a new bedroom to himself that he won't have to share with GroovyJr. WGGirl wants to have a big yard so she can design and build a roller coaster.

The house hunting started in earnest in February. We've spent days looking and looking for a house to buy. Pryor, Sapulpa, Verdigris, Inola, Choteau, Coweta... All about 30-20 minutes closer to work for me. None of the houses were MrsGroovy's dream house, and none of the communities felt like home. This one doesn't have an open floor plan, that one doesn't have 4 bedrooms, this one has a neighborhood association, that one is across the street from some shady looking trailer park.

So we started looking for land. $30,000 an acre? No decent internet connections.

During this time my Grandpa's cancer finally claimed his life. He lived an amazing 5 years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The weeks leading up to his death were filled with listening to bickering between family members over things that really don't matter in the long run... Why can't family come together and simply celebrate the life of a loved one? Why do we so often clash and hurt and lash out at each other when in pain. My sister ... She's going through her own personal issues at this time. She had little to no visible sympathy for my Mom, who just lost her Dad. The man who worked for years and years, often away from home, only to die alone in a hospice bed at 2 am one cold Saturday morning.

And so where am I going with my life? What am I doing? Do I keep working a job that I'm not really happy at, driving for hours each day, only to find myself worn out and withered, bitter and alone... I'm emotionally exhausted. I'm physically in pain due to my weight and my knee.

I'm back in a holding pattern, waiting to see if MrsG gets a job. She has an unofficial offer in the air, with promises of a good written offer in the works. It's been 3 weeks since she last heard from them, 3 months since her on site interview. Everyone tells us that the hiring process for this company is slow, but this is infuriating.

So here I sit, 1am, typing out how I feel. Thinking about going back to college. At nearly 34. My oldest child starting high school the same time I'm thinking of starting college. I know that I cannot do family + work + college. I'll fail miserably at all three. I'm already barely scraping by with just family + work.

I'm exploring options and feeling out the future with a strange mixture of hope and dread.
typing

Advice for service members separating to join the civilian sector

I'll likely edit this over time as I come up with different things, but here goes:

Document every ache, pain, and problem you have physically or mentally. It may not be a problem now, while you are in, but if it develops into something debilitating down the line you may be covered by VA health care.

Get a fresh paper copy of your medical record, your wife's medical record, and your wife's OB records. And your kids. And dental. Don't give these copies away. Keep them. Make copies of them for your future doctors.

Don't be ashamed to file for any and all disability. I'm currently rated 30% due to depression (due to being fat and getting kicked out of the navy), ringing of the ears (tinnitus), and hip pain and mobility limitation due to a car accident while I was in. That disability rating pays for my VGLI, and my gas to and from work each month.

GET VGLI. Don't let it lapse. Don't forget, or put it off, or think it's not worth it. Too often my friends in the civilian world have left their jobs, or gotten new jobs, or started private small business ventures, then one of them suffered medical problems or even passed away. It's a benefit that veterans have earned and too few have taken advantage of. My wife regrets letting her lapse.

Copy all your records. I keep a copy of all my evaluations, awards, etc. in a dropbox folder inside my google drive, triple + redundancy.

Keep a copy of your DD-214 with you. I keep mine, again, in digital form in my dropbox in my google drive. I can usually print it right from my phone or show it to someone if necessary on the phone.

Keep in touch with your network of contacts in the Navy, including some of your previous superiors. I think that's one that I'm more sad about than anything. My Senior Chiefs and Chief's I'd like to be able to get in touch with weren't part of the facebook age. LinkedIn is good, Togetherweserved is garbage, but I keep an account there as well.

Get a professional picture of yourself in uniform with your current/highest rank (while it still fits).

Don't be afraid to ask for help in transitioning to civilian terminology. It's a whole different world out here.

By now you are used to being the top dog, go to guy for everything. Be prepared to get treated like a Dinq Nub for quite a while. All ears, ask for clarification.

Get instructions/expectations in writing from your superiors for a while in the civilian world. Sometimes I would overdo or undershoot project expectations because I was expecting one result and my boss another.
typing

Amazon product review: Autobot medium & large emblems

This is my review for the Autobot emblems on sale on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005AK6JBE/

http://www.amazon.com/Transformers-Autobots-Aluminum-Large-Emblem/dp/B004H65JZ4/

Here are the two shortly after installation:

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#2 (medium)

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#4 (medium)

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#3 (large)


and here they are 8 months later:

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#8 (medium)

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#9 (medium)

Color fades in sunlight. Drove approx 25,000 miles in Oklahoma, August - April.

May do better with either clear coat or uv protection.

Larger emblem, currently sold out, before and after, installed on back:

http://imgur.com/a/sBu5U#7 (large)

Much less fade.

After 10 months, 30,000 miles in Oklahoma, August - June, there is zero color left on the side mounted medium emblems, and some color left on the large emblem on my trunk.
typing

My thoughts on joining the Naval Nuclear Power pipeline

Almost fifteen years ago I joined the navy with Jen, enrolled in the Naval Nuclear Power program. If I were asked 'should my relative join the navy nuclear power program?' this is my response.

Read the wiki, it's pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Power_School

My recruiter was pretty honest with me. Bootcamp would suck: part physical, part mind game. During bootcamp, as a male recruit, I was given the opportunity to volunteer for submarine services. One thing they tell you when you are there is that you're only volunteering, it doesn't mean you will definitely get in. Unless you are physically disqualified from sub service, this is not true. You will be a submariner if you volunteer at that point. Sub sailors get a bit higher pay at the expense of quality of life. The hardest part of boot camp is the mind game. The division commanders are not your friend, nor your enemy. They're sailors who have been in only a few years more than you, and they're trying to filter out the punks, assholes, and people who aren't fit for military service while getting you into shape. You will be at your peak physical condition after boot camp. You will likely never again be in better shape.

A-School: It depends on how you are at 'high speed' schooling. I went to a college prep middle and high school. I stopped and went to a public school for my last semester of high school. Public high school does not prepare you at all for the level of information they throw at you in NNPTC. A-school is relatively simple: No reactor physics. Just mechanical, electric, or electronics, with a heavy dose of math (from addition/subtraction to early calculus 2). 1 hour of physical fitness, 4 hours of classroom, cafeteria lunch, 4 hours of classroom, 2-6 hours of study/homework. A-School is an extension of high school, and the next step in filtering out people.

Between A-school and power school is likely the first time you'll be able to take leave (or vacation) and go home, or about 26 week after you left home. The next few weeks you will wait until the next power school class up begins.

Power School is where the physics and reactor information gets thrown at you. 6 months of schooling, similar to A-School schedule. You will be presented with new materials of study on actual reactor design theory. But that's all you get presented in this school, theory. NPTU, or prototype, is your next stop. The Boy Scouts of America really do provide a top notch preparation for the military's qualification program. NPTU is there to ensure you are able to learn the Navy qualification process. Your job there is to qualify to operate as either a mechanical, electrical, or reactor operator, depending on your rate. Qualifications cards give you checklists of things you need to learn. For each item, you need to learn the basics of each part of the system in question, it's block diagram or higher level drawing, it's function, and it's interactions with other systems. The important part isn't the information... it's learning how to find the info quickly in a book, regurgitate it, get assigned followup questions, and repeat.

Joining as a nuke does not guarantee service as a nuke. When we went through, about 10% of the recruits who signed up as nukes didn't make it through boot camp. A similar amount dropped out at A-school, another 10% or so at Power School, and around 5% didn't make it through prototype. By the end of the pipeline, we're down to ~68.5% of the number of people who signed up for the program. About 8-10% of navy recruits qualify for the nuclear program, but only 3% of the navy is actively in the program.

Your first year on ship is a repeat of prototype: Qualifications. You are the bottom of the barrel. You will spend time washing dishes, cleaning/busing tables, ejecting trash, doing crap mess work, on the scale of months. Simultaneously you will need to make progress towards qualifications. Your tracking will be percentage complete over time, with a difficult to achieve goal rate. This is a hard time on any sailor. You're away from home, away from your friends/classmates from the last year and a half, away from shore potentially. Your future friends, your division mates? You are holding one of their billets, but not supporting their duties... You are now a NUB, or Non useful body.

You should complete ship qualifications in under 12 months, fully qualified nuclear by 18 months on board. At this point, you're at the top of your game. 4 ish years in, with only 2 years to go. This is when they'll hit you up for star-reenlistment. If you haven't made E-5 yet, they will offer it to you, for a 4 year re-enlistment. They will, however, drop 2 of your initial 6 year obligation off, for a total of 8 years required. Over 50% of nukes that make it this far do it. Oh, about 10% of the nukes that made it through school never finish their first required 6 years. And if you drop out during a-school, power school, or prototype, you still owe the full 6 years you signed up for, but without any of the extra benefits.

Every enlisted sailor should, during this period, be tracking his work for the related civilian field. I, for example, was an electrician. I should have been recording journeyman hours for my training and work. Always have an exit strategy. After completion of your senior in rate qualifications, that is the time to take advantage of schooling, if possible. Use any tuition assistance given, but don't over-reach.

During your time in the Navy, you will meet some of the most incredible people you can imagine. Some, not for the better. Looking back at it, it's not the job or the training I miss, it's the people. You can grow closer to your shipmates than you do with some siblings. The sad thing is, it's a constant cycle of new people coming, and older people going. Being 30 years old in the Navy is OLD. The service is full of adult children. It's not something that you think of when you're 18 and joining... you don't see yourself as only a kid. Now, I see people that were my age thinking of joining a service and I want to scream at them, You're just a KID!

One of the worse things I remember of the nuclear power program was the lack of integrity. Cheating on academics, at every level, from boot camp to qualifications to nuclear certification examinations underway. People usually get caught, but not right away. It was so rampant that it was almost justified by those who had been in for a while. I hope things have changed since I've gotten out, but I doubt it.

Another problem is the retention: The military isn't good about keeping good people. They tend to keep people who are too afraid to venture out into the real world. The incompetent can get promoted simply because there isn't a large volume of good people that stay in. There are, of course, exceptions... but not as many as I'd want to be.

Much of the work you do is simply because the paperwork needs to be generated. Work, for the sake of work. Working hours for Just In Case. Cleaning for 6 hours because that's the way it's been done for decades, and that's the way it will continue to be done.

After serving for 8 years, my family was started. When I left the service I was not able to jump in and go use my MGIB. I had a family to take care of. I was able to get a good job coming out as a field service technician. I drove around my state and surrounding states, travelling, paid windshield time. Now I work at the 'best company in America' taking care of building maintenance. I get paid well, in the top % of the World, but at a cost.

Enlisted Nuke is NOT the easiest way to become an officer. I think that was one of the biggest lies I heard from others in the program. Going to college and joining as an officer is the easiest way to become an officer.

I'll add to this and edit it as time goes on.