the human machine

The end of the Spring semester approaches signaling the completion of 25% of my short-term goal. I should be done with the first stage about a year from now. I’m following a path that I should have chosen ten years ago, but this past decade was spent discovering life.

Now that my twenties are almost over, the stage of my life where I need to be a responsible adult has taken over my existence. The monotony of everyday life sprinkled with happiness has become my personal routine. As mundane as that sounds, I actually enjoy the redundancy.

The schedule goes a little something like this for the next couple weeks until I get a couple weeks off before the Summer semester begins: Mondays thru Thursdays are occupied with my full-time day job and school in the evenings. Fridays are celebrated, because I just have an eight-hour shift followed by a relaxing evening and the weekend ahead. Saturdays and Sundays fly by, because I do whatever I want with them unless the calendar tells me otherwise.

At work, I plug into my workstation from 7am to 3pm with a couple breaks during that time. I’m connected to a machine which is connected to another machine which is connected to yet another machine and who knows how many more machines until you’ve reached the backbone of this vast network that records our lives.

When I am not in front of this type of device that you’re using to read this, I am living. Go do the same. You’re better than this.

the quick recap of the past two weeks

The last update here was a couple weeks ago right before I moved to a new apartment. Time has flown as usual. March has arrived. The cold is leaving, and the Spring transition is in progress.

On February 19th, Mary and I officially moved into our new apartment. Moving was physically taxing, but we managed to get through with it by the end of the month with life’s usual routine of sleep, work, and school went on. Fortunately, our new apartment has an attached garage that no one is renting and we’re currently using it for storage. Our belongings would have restricted us from moving around the apartment comfortably if it wasn’t for that garage. This weekend, I plan on chipping away at what’s in the garage.

On February 20th, a mouse made its way into the apartment and stayed for almost a week. I’ve never had to deal with mice but I’ve dealt with cockroaches and other insect pests. I ended up getting some mouse traps and baiting them with peanut butter. In less than twelve hours, the mouse was terminated. The crime scene wasn’t too bad, and the clean-up was a cinch.

The house my brother rented the past few years needed to be completely moved out this past weekend as well. Along with the moving Mary and I did through the week especially on Friday and the cleaning I did on the old place on Saturday, helping move what was left in the house and cleaning it as well definitely took all of the energy I had left. I was nodding off at work and school on Monday and Tueday, but I’ve made it this far in the week A-OK. TGTF.

I’ve taken my first couple exams for the two classes I’m taking this semester. So far so good. The addition of taking classes to the 40-hour work week keeps me occupied Monday thru Friday. I still have a little time between work and school to relax as much as I can, and I’ve been doing a bunch of recovering earlier this week from all the moving I did over the weekend. Again: Thank Goodness Tomorrow’s Friday. I’m looking forward to this weekend when I won’t be hauling stuff back and forth in vehicles and unloading them or doing any type of deep cleaning.

My inner circle is making a much-needed transition, and we’re taking advantage of 2010. I hope to see some of our projects come to fruition by the end of the year, and the future is looking bright. As long as we stay focused and motivated, our work will amount to something we accomplished with our own effort.

We’ve been going over this routine for years, and we’re not trying to be huge nor make a huge dent in the world, but it’s better than being and doing nothing or not following through with our projects and ideas. We’re grown up a bit in the past half-decade, and we’re making changes that’ll take couple years to get us to that next level. We’re patient though. We’ve taken up this much time already, and we just need a little bit more.

I’m going to be a godfather in a couple months. Thanks, Joe. This means so much to me. The fact that you selected me to be part of your daughter’s life shows that we’ve formed a solid trust over the 10+ years that we’ve been close friends. I know I haven’t been around all the time, but we’ve always kept in touch. The time has arrived where I’ll have to be more active ’cause she’s going grow up so fast and we’re not getting any younger. I got this. =)

Now that the moving has tapered off and all that Mary and I have left is to get the apartment arranged, I’ll update this more frequently. So much for my New Year’s resolution to update this at least twice a week, but life has its way of getting in the way and resolutions are usually broken. ‘Til next time. Peace out.

the trouble with misplacing your keys

Before I go to bed during the work week, I go through a mental checklist to make sure that everything is in its right place when I wake up and get ready for work in the morning. The checklist is pretty typical to most people employed full-time and includes:

  • setting the alarm clock (two in my case: the actual alarm clock that gets the beatdown when it goes off in the morning and the alarm on my cell phone that cuddles with me during that last hour of rest as I hit snooze on it when it goes off and on multiple times during that hour)
  • getting the pocket residents together to go back in my pocket: keys, wallet, mp3 players, headphones

Last night, I didn’t do everything on my checklist mainly putting my wallet and keys in their specific location for easy retrieval. When I was ready to leave for work this morning, I couldn’t find my keys. I drove to work using a spare key but didn’t have my access key to get into the building so I had to ring the doorbell to have someone let me in.

On my ~8am break, I put on my jacket, went outside, and reached for the spare to get into my car and pulled out my keys. Ha.

the nesesary audioverload + the wurkweek rootene

My schedule during the weekdays have been very routine for the past several months now. I try to be in bed by 11pm each night and asleep before midnight. I first wake up in the morning when the first alarm goes off on my cell at 5:16am. Three more alarms at 5:47am, 5:57am and 6:05am plus the 10-minute snoozes continue to go off on my phone as I cradle the device with me enjoying the last moments of half-asleep before my alarm clock fires off full blast at 6:00am with the last song before The Morning X with Jason and Deb commences.

I sleep through the 6am news and usually out of bed getting ready for work by the time Morning X Rewind is played. I go through the morning weekday routine: pack my lunch, shower, dress up, and gather my portable audio devices and other necessary items I carry around with me (wallet, keys, cell). By the time I’m putting on my clothes, Morning X Sports is playing. On a good day, I’m out the door before the 1st hour Sports segment ends. On a normal day, I’m looking over at the clock on the microwave in the kitchen and it reads 6:40, 6:41, or 6:42.

I exit my dwelling unit, lock the door, and I’m in my car and warming it up during this time of the year. The face plate goes on my CD player and 101X is tuned to continue Morning X. Commercials or a song are usually playing at this time as I make the very short trek to work. Depending on whether or not I catch the light, the commute averages around seven minutes.

I get to work, scan in at the entrance to the fortress where I’ll be for the next eight hours, put my lunch in the break room fridge, go to my desk, clock in somewhere between 6:55-6:59, and start the grind. While my application loads, I equip my ears with ear buds and continue Morning X on the portable HD radio that my Maribell got me for the holiday. From the time I arrive ’til about 10am, I am tuned in to 101X listening to my favorite morning show of all time.

When Morning X concludes (now click that Play button but adjust your volume first) and the commercials starts to play again, I disconnect my headphones from the HD radio and plug in my custom-engraved iPod Shuffle I received as a gift for being the Best Man at one of my best friend’s wedding. I go through the playlist on shuffle ’til about ten minutes ’til noon.

At 11:50am, I switch back to the HD radio, exit my app, log my break, go to the break room, grab my lunch, exit the building, and stroll to my car. I enter my car, remove my headphones, and turn on the radio. I text my request to Flashback Lunch as soon as the lines open then proceed to consume my lunch which has been mostly the same thing every weekday: a can of soda (usually Coke® Zero™) and a sandwich (premium bread + premium sliced cheese + white chicken or turkey that was formed and packaged into a cylinder).

While I eat my lunch, I text the daily trivia question to TW. I hang out in my car for the radio ads to play and the first couple Flashback Lunch requests hoping that txt to 29217 was picked. When I finish my lunch and ready to return to the grind, the headphones go back on as I listen to Flashback Lunch for the hour.

Flashback Lunch finishes around 1pm. If Lawless is DJing, he plays a track from across the pond for UKTX. This is where I heard “Dominos” by The Big Pink and got into them. I scored a promo copy of their debut album at Cheapo Discs and really like it. UKTX recently played “Velvet” off the same album, A Brief History of Love, and that’s an excellent track, too.

After UKTX, I plugged back into the Shuffle and continue the mix ’til my shift ends at around 3pm. I remove my headphones, clock out, log off, and go back to my car. By this time, Toby is DJing and it’s about time for his 3 O’Clock Whatever. He was going to play Soul Coughing’s “Soft Serve” today but opted for System of a Down’s “Psycho.” He’s played “Soft Serve” before, but that song is a great jam and should be his go-to track if he doesn’t have anything else queued up.

I make the short drive home or to run an errand or two with the radio playing, and the audio doesn’t stop ’til the car stereo turns off when I pull into a parking space, shut off the car, remove the face plate, and enter my abode after a usual day at work.

the 5-4-3-2-1’s

I haven’t updated you guys with what’s been going on with me for a while, so here’s that post.

I’ve been working at my new job for a couple months now, and I like it. It’s a job. It keeps the bills paid and keeps me from starving. Some days are difficult to wake up to at four in the morning especially if I went to bed late. My circadian rhythm takes a couple days to adjust, but it’s not too bad.

My weekly schedule has become relatively routine. I’ll get into detail about it right now, because I have your attention and it’s fun to re-read these in the future to see what I was doing back then. Ready or not…

The 40-hour work week seems to go by almost as quickly as the weekend, since I have a routine that I follow as much as possible if nothing else interrupts it or a scheduling conflict occurs. I must warn you that this isn’t very exciting but makes for a good indulgent ramble.

I work from 5am to 1pm Monday thru Friday. I work out to the gym for an hour after work on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I go to the library after work on Tuesdays to borrow more materials to expand my data collection and to return materials I’ve checked out from the previous week that I’m done using. On Wednesdays, I meet Mare down at campus have lunch somewhere nearby. After we finish lunch, I’ll pass by the comic shop to pick up my week’s pull.

I enjoy FOX and NBC television programming Monday thru Friday with my favorite shows. If I am home anywhere between 2pm-4pm, then I am usually watching Rachael Ray at 2, The Doctors at 3, and/or Jeopardy! at 4. I don’t watch much of the news from 5-6:30, but I always try to catch Wheel of Fortune at 6:30. Between 5-6:30, I’ll either do something on the computer or spend the time doing chores or reading something. After Wheel, the evening programming goes underway which will usually take me to my bedtime.

On Mondays, Heroes comes on at 8. We’ve been watching more Chuck mainly because it’s right after Wheel and before Heroes and we usually eat dinner around that time. I didn’t like Chuck much in the beginning, but I’ve seen so many episodes I just watch it.

On Tuesday, American Idol is currently going on followed by the results show the next day. I don’t watch Fringe, so I stop watching TV after 8 on Tuesdays. Wednesday has Lie to Me before the Idol results show, and I’m enjoying that show. Thursday programming is a conflict between FOX and NBC right now, but I go with FOX for Bones and Hell’s Kitchen and catch up on NBC comedy over the weekend via Mininova.

I try to do something other than watch TV after Wheel of Fortune, because Howie Do It just isn’t good. I try to go out to the Hideout every other week on Friday and have been keeping up with it since I started. The Hideout is a great pub nearby which has an excellent jukebox selection. On weeks that I just want to stay in, I’ll chill out at the apartment watching ISO TV, a DVD, playing PS3,

I keep Saturdays and Sundays open for whatever. I try to visit my parents every couple weeks at least. I take care of something that I am unable to do during the week or do something that was either happening on the weekend or is best saved for the weekend. For example, yesterday was Record Store Day. I had to get me a copy of Dookie on vinyl. When Mare and I arrived at Waterloo Records only about ten minutes after they opened, all of the copies were gone. Fortunately, a guy put down the last copy and Mare scooped it right up. Score!

On most Sundays, I like to do next to nothing or whatever wasn’t done on Saturday. After the weekend is up, the process is repeated. Peace out.

the quiet office necessity

A few weeks ago, I started a new day job. For eight hours a day, I am plugged into a computer working with data. This pays the bills but is a very monotonous task. The office sounds are mostly white noise and the sounds of fingers tapping keys on keyboards.

To drown out these perpetual sounds, listening devices are necessary. I’ve had a Transcend T.sonic 310 for almost a few years now, but it’s a 1GB MP3 player that plays the tracks in the order that they were copied onto the flash drive. 1GB of music isn’t much, so the selection gets stale if it’s played often. In this environment, I do my best to keep the earbuds on for the shift.

I was in the market to purchase another USB media player when I knew I needed a listening device to stay sane at work. This media player needed to fulfill three requirements: fits my budget, FM tuner, and a built-in lithium-ion battery that recharges via USB.

My budget was no more than $40, but I managed to find something that fit the guidelines for $25. This MP3 player holds 2GB of data, has an FM tuner, and recharges via USB. I get an average of about 5½ hours of playback on a charge which is kind of unfortunate, but I switch to the Transcend when this one is juiced.

While browsing’s Weekly Deals tonight, I stumbled across an 8GB MP3 player on Sale for $40! Although it’s $15 more than the MP3 player I purchased recently, it has enough better features to make up for it all.

First off, it has 8GB of storage as opposed to 2GB. It also has the FM tuner and the lithium-ion battery. The features list claims that it has up to eight hours of playback time which would be ideal if it’s on for an entire shift. Another bonus is that it supports MP4 and has a 1.8″ screen that displays 65,000 colors so it can play videos with amazing clarity. It may be an off-brand, but I have tried a couple off-brand MP3 players and can say that you get your money’s worth.

Although I’m satisfied with the MP3 players I have now, I would have definitely considered purchasing one of these if I had known about this deal a few weeks ago. I believe that you don’t need to buy a fancy iPod or MP3 players in the $100+ range if all you’re looking for is to listen to music or the radio.

the return to the working world

Last Monday, I started my new job. The shift starts at 5am and ends at 1pm. When I drive to work, night still covers the sky. When I’m off, it’s daytime. I wake up around 4:15-4:25am to get ready for work. My commute is less than ten minutes. I had to adjust my sleep schedule to accommodate the shift, but I have adjusted.

The job is easy and pays decent. What I enjoy most is the lack of stress. I don’t deal with customers, my tasks are not very challenging but are monitored for performance, and I can listen to my MP3 player all day long. I hope to have this job for a while, because it makes life much better than my previous job.

After I leave work, I don’t have to worry about it until I return. My co-workers are nice people, and the company has a good amount of projects to stay busy. I gave up a bunch of perks leaving my last job like a real coffee machine, a snack machine where everything costs a quarter, a soda machine where everything costs a quarter, a big desk with drawers, and health insurance that didn’t cost me anything out of pocket. Sacrifices have to be made, and I’ll be OK without any of that for now.

I sit in front of a computer in a quiet room with only a couple other workstations crunching on a keyboard all day. The day goes by relatively quick and stress-free. I look forward to leaving for the day to get things done because I can, but I don’t dread being at work nor do I dread having to go back.

I try to take a nap around 3 after I return from work, so I don’t have to go to bed around 9. I like having the ability to run errands when traffic is relatively light, and everywhere is open. I am getting my current comics read in a timely manner now. I’ve been keeping up with watching movies and catching my favorite TV shows. The worry about finding a new job is gone for now. This routine makes me happy.

This upcoming Thursday will be interesting. I plan on getting my eight hours of sleep right after my shift ends, so I can wake up in time to get prepared for the Watchmen midnight premiere at Alamo. I’m not super excited, but I am looking forward to seeing it. Once I get that movie out of my system, I’ll be eager to see the new Wolverine movie.

My bedtime is near. Peace out.