Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sometimes Work's a Pisser

Remember I mention I posted for a potential big promotion at work? Did I mention my boss had already interviewed a friend of the CIO twice for this position? That I was a little annoyed that it hadn't been posted so I could get a shot at it? And that it was finally posted so I applied and the forwarded my resme to the CIO?

Well, Tuesday we had a departmental meeting. And someone asked the status of that open position (not me BTW). Know what the answer was?

They were drafting an offer to a candidate (also not me) and that if the person didn't accept the offer they would have to engage recruiters. Looks like I know how this story is ending.

However, also during the meeting we were instructed to ask our managers at our next one on one meeting what one thing we could do better in our jobs in order to focus on it. So I asked my boss that question today. His answer?

He couldn't think of anything and needed to get back to me. He feels I'm doing such a good job he can't find any area in my performance that needs significant improvement. He aslo mentioned that he was quite pleased on how smoothly my team was running. The positive feedback was much appreciated and I said so.

Now, to top all of this off, there's a couple of projects under way that affect my particular location. I'm going to have to focus a lot of energy on them over the next few months. One of them is a project that has not been going well. One in which no one asked my advice but they should have since I know a lot about what they're doing (don't want to get too technical). It's now going very badly. And the only person talking any sense? You guessed it. Me. Guess who the project manager is now trying to get to make sure everything goes smooth? Yup. Me again. On the plus side, more people (in upper levels of management) are seeing how wide my knowledge and skills are. On the down side, if they'd realized this 8 months ago, this project would be done and completed correctly.

Anyway, I'm going to do what I always do. Namely, just go kick ass, take names, and let the results speak for themselves. I've been fairly lucky in that I seldom have to beat my own drum, so to speak. Most people figure out pretty quickly how good I am. So I'll keep you guys posted on how things were going.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And the Winner Is....

They even threw in 2 free kids.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Done Doed It


I've spent a week off with the kids cleaning carpets in the house and looking at cars. I've looked at every manufacturer you can think of and went back to a few twice. By Wednesday I was most impressed with the Subaru Impreza. Sporty car, handled good, price was good. So what did I get?

A Nissan Altima. 3.5 SE. On a whim (literally, I was running other errands and went on a lark) I stopped at a Nissan dealer to check out what they had. I'd seen the Rogue on line and it seemed bigger than the Impreza, which it was. However, it was a sport ute, which I wasn't sure I wanted. So I checked out the Altima, which I did like. It was narrowed down to the Subaru and the Nissan. So I started doing research on the Nissan and found that if I could get my hands on a low milage 2007 model, I'd save a bundle. I called the salesperson on Friday, told her what I was looking for, and had an appointment Saturday afternoon to meet with her. She was going to do some research for me.

Come Saturday morning, I look in the auto section of the paper and I find a local competing dealer (about an hour drive out of town but with stupid low prices) had a BRAND NEW 2007 Altima with a V6 at a stupidly low price. As it so happens, the dealer I was working with had a very similarly equipped BRAND NEW 2007 Altima. The only difference was the car in the paper had a sunroof. So I drove the car the dealer had, liked what I drove, and then handed the salesperson the newspaper with the price circled and asked if they could match that stupidly low price (like $6000 below sticker price). And, of course, THEY DID!

I am now the proud owner of a kick ass Nissan Altima. I pick it up tomorrow. It's a dark slate (grey) metallic with black interior. I'll post a picture after I pick it up. For now, a picture of my old vehicle. I'd say I'm sorry to see it go, but I'm not. It's at the point where it needs work, and it's got lots of little things that are beginning to annoy the snot out of me. As a side note, when getting all the papers on my old car I found the sticker for it. It listed at about $2000 less than the car I'm buying, and the Altima is costing me about what I paid for the Olds back in 2000. Did I get a great deal or what?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Got the itch

The car buying itch, that is. My dad had it real bad. Every few years, he'd come home with something new. I don't think he ever kept a car more than 5 years. Me, I get the itch much more infrequently. Since graduating college, I've owned 2 cars. Yes people, in the last 20 years, I've bought TWO vehicles. In 1988 I purchased a Chevy Baretta. Very nice blue coupe. V6, power everything. Such a fun car. I kept it for 13 years. I finally traded it in back in 2000 cause it was on it's last legs and I had 2 kids and really needed a 4 door. So I bought an Olds Intrigue. Which I'm still driving.

I'm a bit torn. It hasn't even been 8 years. I have 100000 miles on the car but it's still got life. However, I can tell it's feeling it's age. Still, a little bit of work can probably bring it up to snuff. Probably needs a little brake work, needs an air pump in the front. I have a Check Engine light on that I'm not sure what the problem is. But I bought this particular car because it was the best deal I could get at the time. It wasn't what I really wanted. It's worked out nice, but still.

So I've been test driving a lot of cars. I've looked at the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda 3 hatchback, and Toyota Camry. All very nice cars. Today I drove a Subaru Imprezza 5 door. Of all the cars I've driven, I like the Subaru and Mazda the best. The others were nice but screamed "Boring Old Guy" car. I need something sporty. The Mazda was really nice, but a litle small. The Subaru was very fun to drive and about the same price as the Mazda, only much bigger.

My biggest problem is that I'm choking on the price. Any decent car (new or used for that matter) that's been worth looking at is around $20000. That may be "reasonable" for a new car these days but that's a lot of money. Call me cheap, but dammit when did cars get so expensive? And margins are so slim on cars these days who knows how much they'll deal? Mind you, I haven't had any serious discussions with a dealer to talk about price or anything. So far, I'm leaning towards the Subaru. Any thoughts from the peanut gallery on car models? The Wife and I want to get a car that's quality and will last, but also has good safety ratings.

Did I mention that I love shopping for cars but hate paying for them? Anyone know a way to get one without paying and not ending up in jail?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Work Woes

Not that work is going poorly, it's actually quite busy and crazy. However, I've had some frustration around improving my position. You may recall last month I had lunch with the CIO. I expressed interest in a position opening up soon that would be a significant promotion for me. We also talked about how I might gain more opportunities in the department. Well, since then I've heard nothing. Not that this is necessarily bad, since I don't see the CIO every day or anything.

However, recently my current boss has mentioned that he's interviewed a potential candidate for this position. He found it awkward since this person would be HIS boss. Not too fun interviewing someone you might report to. He interviewed this person twice. And this person is a friend of the CIO.

What annoys me most about the whole situation is that company policy states that all positions must be posted internally to allow existing employees a chance to apply before it becomes available to outside candidates. Any guesses as to whether or not this position is posted yet? Any?

Exactly. It's not. My biggest problem will come if we hire someone from the outside without giving me a chance to at least formally apply. I still might not get the job, but I'd like a chance at it. I know at some level the rules don't apply, but that would be blatantly unfair. Which is what riles me most.

However, I've decided to do the smart thing and simply pray on it. If I'm meant to have that job, then I'll get it. In the mean time, I'm doing what I always do. We've been going through leadership seminar's lately and the last one talked about influencing those things you have control over. I have control over who I interact with and how I interact with them. So I'm continuing to do that. I'm getting involved in things outside my normal area of expertise when the opportunity arises. I'm acting confident in meetings. I'm getting my ideas out to people that will listen. I'm taking opportunities to lead voice my vision for the future. In short, I'm doing the things I always do. Over the last few months I think more people in my department have come to realize my competence and that it goes beyond just my area of responsibility. Eventually, it will pay off. I just need to be patient.

Next week the boys are off from school so I'll be home. It will be a nice break from work, though it's a good bet I'll be doing some work from home to keep caught up. Too many important things going on to be completely disconnected for a week. Hope everyone has a good weekend. I'm off to play Wii.

Monday, February 11, 2008

One extra day

We had a typical weekend at our household. Maverick went on a camping trip with his boy scout troop. Yes, people in the cold. They got a cabin in one of the local parks. And guess which kid was crazy enough to sleep outside in a tent? You got it, Maverick. Both Friday night and Saturday night. And the little nut was actually warmer in his tent than the scouts and dad's in the cabin. I, of course, stayed nice and warm at home with the Wife.

Saturday was a mini-retreat at church for Grasshopper since he's making his first Reconcilliation this year. I was asked to play music at the retreat so it was fun. And Grasshopper learned some really cool things. What he remember's most is the tradition that when a priest is ordained, the priest's mom gives up her diamond to put on a chalice that only that priest uses. The Wife was horrifed at the thought of course. We would encourage our boys to be priests if they have that calling, but they ain't getting her diamond, let me tell you.

Sunday was teaching Family Faith formation followed by playing 5 pm Mass. Good thing they fed us afterwards. So when did we get anything done, you ask? Well, today, actually.

Last night and today were very cold, with wind chills in the sub-zero category. This morning when I got up, it was 6 degrees. I turn on the TV to check the news, and they're scrolling school closings. As it turns out, the boys got a snow day. Or perhaps an ice day. The wind chills were so bad they didn't let the kids go to school.

Normally I would enjoy a day home with the boys. But as it turns out, I travelled to Schenectady today so the Wife stayed home instead. She got a chance to do a lot of the things we didn't do this weekend. I had originally planned to drive to Schenectady, but on Friday the forcast called for crappy weather, so I wrode the train instead. Best decision I ever made. The cost of the train ride is about the same as renting a car and fuel, and I got to ride in comfort. AND get some work done on the trip. I think I'll be doing that much more often. It's much more comfy and far less stressful.

Tomorrow is an all day meeting for work, so I'll probably spend the ride back catching up on work stuff. I'll try and keep up with everyone this week. Always so much going on. Hope everyone enduring the cold weather is staying warm.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

I done did it

Today being Super-Tuesday, I did my civic duty and voted in the NYS Democratic primary. And what an adventure it was! I literally did not know who I was going to vote for until I got in the booth. First thing I did was vote for 5 delegates to the convention. I looked at my choices and chose the women and foriegn sounding names. Why? Diversity baby! Why should all the old white guys get to go?

So then I need to make a choice for the presidential candidate. Before I can make a selection, my phone beeps. I check it, and I have a text message from a number I don't recognize. It reads: "Think of this as my one woman get out the vote text. Have you voted yet today?" Thats it. I later googled the number and it's an NYC number. Wonder who the woman was?

Anyway, I noticed Edwards was still on the ballot, so I think "Cool!" and pull the lever. Then I realize that I can't throw away my vote on a candidate that's not running, tempting though it was. So I unselected it. And selected another candidate. I pretty much let the Spirit move me. For some reason, my hand couldn't go to the top of the row and select that candidate. Those voting in NY will probably know who that is. So I selected the other candidate. Vote cast. Now we'll see who wins.

In other news, there's some stuff going on at work that is concerning me. More on that later. But I have some feelers out. I think I need to pray on some things and figure out what I need to do career wise. Not that I'm planning on leaving my company. Far from it. Question is whether to keep doing what I'm doing or take a shot at something else. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Weekend Wrapup - updated

First of all, while this is by no means any sort of sports blog, I need to give prop’s to the Wife’s team, the NY Giants, for coming up big in yesterday’s game. It was great to see an overly proud team knocked down and to watch the underdog win the big one. Plus, being a Miami fan myself, it’s nice to know that my team still remains the only one to be undefeated for the whole season.

On to other things. I didn’t put a bid in on the guitar. While it would be nice to have, that’s just way too expensive. Also, what I REALLY need to work on is my sound. Meaning, I’m looking at amps and/or a Line 6 POD. Without getting TOO technical, I really want that great early 70’s kind of overdrive that not only Queen got, but also like early Judas Priest. In order to get the Queen sound, I’d need a Vox AC 30. To get the Priest sound, I’d need a Marshall JCM800. Either is close to $2000. Although I could get an effects rig that would approximate both sounds for less than $500. So I’d rather spend my money on one of those. Besides, the guitars I have are more than adequate for what I do. Thanks to everyone for the advice.

The other big thing this weekend is that yesterday was Scout Sunday (in case you didn’t know). We had a very nice service at our church with about 50 scouts from the parish. Additionally, we just happened to schedule a Mass to honor the Wife’s parents yesterday. We didn’t realize the two would end up being the same day. The best part of all was that Grasshopper received the scout religious medal we’d worked on. Both boys were part of the service, but Maverick (being the shy one) only brought in the flag. Grasshopper did some readings in front of the whole congregation and did a great job! Then at the end of the service he was awarded his medal with some other boys. He was quite proud of himself! Afterwards we had a nice little coffee hour. The boys got to eat donuts and drink hot chocolate! Also, I was speaking with Grasshopper’s den leader and she asked me if I’d give her older boy guitar lessons. It appears I may have a student that I can mold into the next generation of rockers!

In other news this weekend, I got a chance to have coffee with my pay Roy. We chatted for a while and he’s doing well. He’s interested in auditioning for the band. It would be great to play with him again. He’s interested in writing original music which is something I’d like to do as well. So we’ll see how it goes! Could be some new and exciting things ahead!

So hope your weekend was fun filled as well!

Update - I almost forgot! Both the Wife and I saw an article about "specialty" cruises in the weekend newspaper. One was a blues cruise where you get to jam with blues musicians and hear great blues on the trip. However, just for my pals Julz, Aimee, and ESC, they have THIS. Go check it you. You'll thank me later. Or curse me for making you aware of it.