A Lousy Month To Look For A New Job

WTF KeyboardI knew October would become a lousy month at the end of September when my car died from a blown head gasket. The timing was bad. Since my last two non-writing tech jobs ended after nine months or so, and the company I worked for had announced layoffs for its full-time workers, I expected to lose my job. And, not surprisingly, I got my layoff notice the following Monday morning. If being without a car and out of the job wasn’t bad enough, the Republicans shut down the government.

The last two times I looked for work last year, I got a job within three weeks and collected one week of unemployment. Under “normal” circumstances (and nothing has been normal since the Great Recession started five years ago), I could have expected the same success with my current job search this time. But with the Republican shutdown casting a pall over the economy, I wasn’t certain that I could get a job that soon before I ran out of money. If the Republicans were successful in destroying the global economy by defaulting on the good faith and credit of the United States, it didn’t matter anyway.

With two weeks left on the job, I updated and posted my resume to the job search websites, sat back and waited for my cellphone to ring. It didn’t. During the Republican shutdown, no one was calling me back. I scanned the websites, submitted my resumes to interesting positions and continued to wait. Only after the Republicans backed off from the economic cliff, and President Barack Obama signed the continuing resolution into law, did my cellphone started ringing off the hook.

I immediately had two meet-and-greet interviews with local recruiters. They claim to have numerous jobs available, but they never do and were more interested in my interactions with other recruiters. I went to these meetings to dust off the cobwebs and figure out what I need to change from being out of the job market for nine months.

One recruiter suggested that I changed my chronological resume to a functional resume. Since I had so many contract jobs over the last few years, I could highlight the various job skills that I have accumulated over the years (i.e., quality assurance testing, PC refresh technician, network support, help desk/desktop support and data center technician). I spent a day rewriting my resume at work since all my responsibilities got transferred to someone else, uploaded the resume to the job search websites and more phone calls came in.

It’s difficult to look for work while still working. Now that I’m not working, I’m playing the waiting game with recruiters who have submitted my resumes to hiring managers. The clock is ticking down. If I don’t have a paycheck by the end of November, I won’t have rent for December and things will fall apart from there. After surviving two years of unemployment, six months of underemployment (i.e., working 20 hours per month), and filing Chapter Seven bankruptcy, I’m not sure if I can put up with surviving on the edge again.

We The People Must Designate The GOP As Terrorists

New York Daily News CoverOne of the best ideas in the run up to the government shutdown was a petition on the White House website to designate the Republican Party as a terrorist organization. Think about it. The Republicans want to force President Obama to give up his signature achievement of changing the healthcare system. That didn’t work. The healthcare exchanges opened for business yesterday because it’s not affected by the shutdown, which is costing the American taxpayers $300 million USD per day. In short, the Republicans are economic terrorists.

Ironically, the petition page got disabled from the Republican shutdown:

Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, We the People has been temporarily disabled.

As a result, you will be unable to create or sign We the People petitions. Once government funding has been restored, We the People will be reenabled. Petitions that were open as of October 1, 2013 will have their deadlines extended.

Updates regarding government operating status and resumption of normal operations can be found at USA.GOV.

Now would be perfect time for Americans to sign the petition en masse to break the 100,000 signature minimum requirement for the White House to consider the petition. Most petitions don’t get enough signatures to warrant a response, and the few that do often get boilerplate response on why the government can’t do this or that. (The most unique response was for a petition to build the Death Star.) Sometimes a petition with a very good idea gets implemented.

Would the White House designate the Republican Party as a terrorist organization? No.

If the Obama Administration branded the Republican Party as a terrorist organization, it would probably be the opening salvo for a second civil war as extreme conservatives from the southern states will assert their Second Amendment right to bear arms and go to war with the government. To paraphrase the old miner (Mel Brooks) in Blazing Saddles who shouted from the rooftop: “The president is a [church bells pealing]!” That a black man can become president despite their repeated attempts to sabotage the economy galls these angry old white guys like nothing else.

What the country need is a new political party for moderate conservatives to rally around and isolate the extreme conservatives in the Republican Party. (Some liberals will argue that a progressive party needs to split away from Democratic Party, but that’s taking political extremism in the opposite direction.) I recently changed my political affiliation because I don’t feel welcome as a moderate conservative in a party hijacked by the extreme conservatives. Until another political party can replace the Republican Party, we the people must continue to suffer the economic consequences of our duly elected terrorists.

Can We PLEASE Shut Up About The New Bay Bridge?

[youtube url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDUIYZKlknk]

The next time I hear the words, “Bay Bridge,” on the radio, I’m going to run over an orange cone in a construction zone on the freeway. Bad enough that the bolt fastener problem got talked about endlessly for months on “The Ronn Owens Show” during the morning commute and the news roundup during the evening commute. A week-long drumbeat to the closure of the Bay Bridge over Labor Day weekend was especially aggravating. But was it really necessary for KGO Radio to host their news desk on Yerba Buena Island—where the eastern and western spans meet—for the week following the bridge reopening on Labor Day?

I’m not sure if I will ever drive over the new eastern span anytime soon. Since I live and work in the south bay, I rarely have to cross the bay. The last time was a few years ago when I did a temp job in San Mateo and drove over the San Mateo Bridge to visit my father in a Sacramento, taking the 580 out to the I-5 in the central valley to avoid paying the bridge toll at the Benicia Bridge on the 680 in the north bay.

The last time I was on the Bay Bridge was the day of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. I was working with my father in construction at the time. We visited a job site in Walnut Creek, crossed the Bay Bridge after lunch to visit a job site in San Francisco, and came home in time for the earthquake. We saw on TV the collapsed section of the Bay Bridge that we drove over hours before, which started the 24 year ordeal to replace the eastern span. The job isn’t done yet: still got bike lanes to add to the western span and the dismantling of the old eastern span over the next few years.

Now talk on the Bay Bridge has shifted to arguing over renaming the western span to the Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge. Tim Montemayor of “The Monty Show” screamed over the radio on Saturday that the state legislators gave in to being “blackmailed” by the NAACP, which is pushing to rename the bridge after the former mayor of San Francisco. That’s a bit of stretch even for conspiracy nuts. If you’re naming the bridge after Willie Brown on the western span, name the eastern span after Governor Jerry Brown and call it the Slick Willie/Moonbeam Jerry Bay Bridge.

Let’s shut up about the Bay Bridge and talk about something else for a change. The BART contract negotiations will rear its ugly head when the 60-day cooling off period imposed by the governor expires in October. The union is threatening to have the longest strike since the 1970’s if they don’t get a 23 percent pay increase, and BART management is threatening to run the trains during a strike. Although all the screaming and hollering might get tiresome, no one will be talking about the Bay Bridge outside of the traffic reports.

A Curious Tale of The American Guillotine

Execution By GuillotineIf you pay any attention to American politics, especially the virulent strain known as the Tea Party that have driven moderate conservatives out of the Republican Party, you get used to hearing about all kinds of conspiracy theories. One of the weirdest conspiracy theory is the United States government buying guillotines, the medieval device that the French used to chop the heads of political prisoners. Why would the government need to buy 30,000 to 50,000 of these contraptions?

The country does have a black president in the White House. The only thing God-fearing white people are afraid of the most is the ANGRY BLACK MAN who can rape and pillage, riot in the cities and destroy Western (white) civilization as we know it. (This was why Trayvon Martin got shot and killed in Florida.) Since the ANGRY WHITE MAN is dying off from old age, it’s only a matter of time before the country goes down the toilet.

The government could declare martial law and summary execute its own citizens at secret detention centers around the country for the following reasons:

  • All the white people for making black people slaves in body and spirit.
  • Resistance against replacing American law with Sharia law by the Islamists.
  • Prevent all the illegals from returning California to Mexico.

The guillotine conspiracy theory doesn’t pan out.

If the U.S. government was buying guillotines, it’s the paper trimmers with the long blade that you pull up and push down by the handle. I’ve always wondered what to call those things besides paper trimmers. No grade school teacher ever called them a guillotine. Maybe because we—the white students who will grow up to vote one day—were gullible and stupid enough to believe that the guillotine might be used for something else besides trimming paper.

Becoming A Registered Democrat Again

The American VoteI got a DMV notice in the mail to renew my California identity card. That’s weird. I surrendered my identity card to the DMV in 2007 when I got my driver license at the tender age of 37. (Yeah, I’m a late bloomer.) Both my identity card and driver license have the same identification number. When it came time to shop for car insurance, AAA charged me $420 USD per year for minimum liability and no collision because of my unblemished driving record that dates back to my teenage years.

No sense in renewing my old identity card now. Looking through the paperwork inside the DMV envelope, I came across a voter registration form. The last time I filled out one of those was when I moved into my apartment almost eight years ago.

I was a flaming liberal as a teenager, growing up on the various political scandals during the Carter and Reagan administrations to become a political news junkie in the 1980’s. If the Internet was available ten years earlier and I wasn’t 20 years behind the times, I would have blogged those Republican scandals to death.

My first election was in 1988. I voted for Governor Mike Dukakis (D) who lost to Vice President George H.W. Bush (R), which my mother cruelly jeered me because my “wasted” vote didn’t count towards the winner. But I also voted for a state-wide cigarette tax initiative that forced my father to quit smoking because he couldn’t afford to buy his weekly carton.

After becoming a Christian in college in 1992, my political views became more conservative and I eventually registered as a Republican. I voted twice against President Bill Clinton (D) after he defeated H.W. in 1992 and Senator Bob Dole (R) in 1996. Although the Internet came about in the late 1990’s, I was still 20 years behind the time and didn’t blogged those Democratic scandals to death.

I was working at Accolade/Infogrames/Atari (same company, different owners, multiple identity crises) during the 2000 election, being the only fat white boy Republican in a QA department filled with Democrats. Everyone gave me a hard time for voting for the “losing” side. The mood turned ugly when the Supreme Court anointed Governor George W. Bush (R) over Vice President Al Gore (D) as president a few months later. No one was a happy, and, being a Christian, I couldn’t gloat about my “winning” vote.

I voted for Senator John Kerry (D) in 2004 after W. ignored the real war in Afghanistan and dragged the country into an unnecessary war in Iraq. I voted twice for President Barack Obama (D)—the best conservative president that the Democrats ever nominated—after Senator John McCain (R) in 2008 and Governor Mitt Romney (R) in 2012 led the Republican Party down the rabbit hole into political extremism.

With the registration form in hand, I filled it out to become a registered Democrat again to match my recent voting record. I still consider myself a moderate conservative. This comes after the Supreme Court announced their 5-4 decision to gut the 1965 Voting Rights Act that protects all Americans.

The Slick Willie-Moonbeam Jerry Bay Bridge

Bay Bridge Western SpanWhen politicians have nothing better to do, they love to rename public buildings and infrastructures. The U.S. Congress, for example, made renaming the local post offices a top legislative priority that such bills constitute 20% of their “do nothing” agenda. California state legislators are getting into the renaming frenzy by proposing to rename the western half of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after “Slick” Willie Brown. As for the scandal-plagued eastern half that connects to Oakland, they should rename it after Governor “Moonbeam” Jerry Brown.

On the bright side, they’re not selling the naming rights to the highest bidder.

The public naming convention for the person being given the honor of having a local landmark rename after him—almost always a man who gets this honor—should have been dead for at least five years. Not anymore. At least, not in Silicon Valley.

The San Jose Convention Center got renamed in 1991 after Tom McEnery, a former mayor of San Jose who spearheaded much of the downtown redevelopment that included the convention center and the arena.

The downtown San Jose train station had many names over the years as ownership changed from Southern Pacific to Caltrain. The most recent name change in 1994 was after Ron Diridon, a former county supervisor who spearheaded the renovation of the station to become a future transportation hub for the light rail (done), high-speed rail (someday) and BART (when hell freezes over).

The San Jose International Airport was rename in 2001 after Norman Mineta, a former mayor of San Jose who went on to serve as a congressman, commerce secretary for President Bill Clinton and transportation secretary for President George W. Bush.

Notice the general trend here? If you can spend a substantial amount of taxpayer monies on facilities and transportation networks, you too can have something rename after you without being buried in the ground for five years.

If we have to rename the bay bridge after the Browns, let’s use their political nicknames to sum up the absurdity of the situation: The Slick Willie-Moonbeam Jerry Bay Bridge.

Another Ho-Hum Name For The San Jose Arena

HP_PavilionBefore the the arena opened in 1993, the San Jose Mercury News held a contest for readers to name the new public facility. THE EPICENTER was the winning name, which meant being the middle of things and shaking up the world that represented both California and Silicon Valley. The newspaper incorporated the name with a cool earthquake circular pattern and seismograph line logo.

Alas, the city council ignored the naming contest.

For the next seven years, everyone called it the San Jose Arena. When selling the naming rights to public buildings became vogue for cash-strapped cities to do, Compaq bought the naming rights and renamed the arena as the Compaq Center in 2001. After Hewlett-Packard bought Compaq in 2002, the arena became the HP Pavilion.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, the arena will become the SAP Center in 2016.

But a city description of the upcoming agenda item described it as a deal between Hewlett-Packard, San Jose Arena Management and the city to terminate the current naming rights agreement and approve a new five-year deal with SAP Global Marketing Inc. to rename the San Jose Arena SAP Center at San Jose. The city would receive $1.675 million annually for a total of $8.375 million over the term of the deal.

Why the SAP Center? The founder of SAP (a German-based business software company), Hasso Plattner, is the majority owner of the San Jose Sharks. As Mayor Chuck Reed explained to KGO Radio, SAP does a lot of advertising at the arena and it made sense for them to put their name on the arena.

My first visit to the arena was a Bruce Springsteen concert in 2008 after my friend won tickets to the mosh pit. A very memorable night: the number “666” was on the wristband I wore to get in, a pair of Christian fundamentalists stood on the sidewalk with a megaphone to denounce rock and roll as Satan’s music, and a young woman rub her ass against my crotch for two minutes before she realized that her boyfriend wandered off for a restroom break.

Since then I’ve been to several Shark hockey games, another Bruce Springsteen concert, a San Francisco Bulls exhibition game, and a Harlem Globetrotters game.

As for the San Francisco 49er’s new stadium in Santa Clara, no one bothered with a naming contest. Levi Strauss & Co. is paying $220 million USD over the next 20 years to call the new stadium the Levi’s Stadium. With Super Bowl 50 on deck for 2016, scoring a pair of tickets will be a seat of the pants affair.