Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone. You all are spending time with your families instead of being on a computer. I'm just making a quick post to wish you all a happy holiday season.

For anyone still curious, no, almost nothing in the last week has worked out in my favour. But Christmas gifts have a way of dampening the disappointment of failure. I hope everyone else got what they wanted.

I'm fairly satisfied with what I got.

And then I'm reminded of less than acceptable results.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Technical difficulties

I've been having a few troubles on my end the last week and was hoping that something would get resolved (or go horribly awry) so I could talk about it. Unfortunately, this hasn't been the case so I'm kind of left with 3 half stories.

Just when I thought things were kind of going smoothly for me, turns out that they aren't. As to what these things are, we'll find out before the new year. They will have resolved themselves by then, whether I like it or not.

I seem to have a lot of flying bus gifs.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Project Vegas: The Traveller

Once upon a time, a certain special someone mentioned how much she liked Las Vegas. She had only been there once, but had always expressed a desire to go back there. Unfortunately, we were both University students that had accrued a significant amount of debt. But despite all of that, I promised that I'd find a way around it and take her back one day.

Then again, she promised that she'd love me forever. Funny how things change.

Wow, even just rereading some of those break-up posts are making me depressed.

Yes, the purpose of this project was to find a way to take my then-girlfriend (now ex) to Vegas without breaking the bank. Airfare was always a massive barrier, and if there was a way to significantly reduce the cost (or fly for free) it be a huge help. In the end I managed to not only accomplish that, but potentially find ways to get hotel rooms for free too.

I never had the heart to change the name of the project. I don't know why. It was always for her as I have no interest of going back to Vegas. I've been there twice and once to the Asian equivalent, Macau. Maybe some small part of me hoped that she would have had a change of heart by the time I got this project to work and we could have gone together.

Unfortunately, I'm still single. You'd have seen a blog post about it had I gotten back with her.

Ok, I'll stop being depressing now.

Onto how this project works.

It was simple really, potentially abusive but hey, that's not my problem. See, there are lots of credit cards with rewards, but most of these rewards are junk. The amount of points gained per amount spent is worthless, points can't be spent on things that are actually worth anything, you have to spend a ludicrous amount to get anywhere, or get charged a yearly fee for owning the card.

But once you find a card that works, now we can have some fun. Most of the time you're looking for cards that ask you to spend X amount of dollars in Y amount of time to get Z amount of points. And then when you've spent said amount, cancel the card if there's a yearly fee. Reapply or get a new credit card until you can travel around the world as many times as you want.

And honestly, I'm pretty sure most people can spend over $1000 dollars on groceries in the span of 3 months. So it's not like you're going out of your way to spend more. Also, spending $1000 on things you need to get 40,000 airmiles? That's a pretty good deal if you ask me.


That is, if you're an American.

The first project update post I did back in January mentioned that Americans have an edge over Canadians. You Americans are so lucky, I found nearly a dozen credit cards that would have worked with great rewards. I could have flown to Japan twice and back for free with points to spare. So I had to make due with what I had left.

And then we hit the second roadblock. The few cards that remained required that I be making X amount annually to even apply. Great, my limited student income was limiting me in more ways that one. So Project Vegas went on hold for many months.

Until I got a full-time job as a dispatcher.

I saw an opportunity, and I grabbed it. I applied immediately to one of the cards I picked out months ago and the instant I got it in the mail, I started spending. Did you know that video games purchased counted too? It's true!

I regret nothing.

Unfortunately, I got laid off, meaning that I no longer qualify for some of the other cards. The good news is that I still managed to get all those points in time. The card I used is the American Express Gold Rewards card. It's funny because I still had to use an American card to get a significant number of points.

Spend $500 in 3 months to get 25,000 points which convert to 25,000 Aeroplan miles. You still earn 1 point per dollar spent and double points on groceries and travel related things so in the end you'll have at least 25,500. The first year is free and I fully intend to cancel this card sometime in August or September before my free year is up. I hear that some cards will try and plead with you to stay by giving you extra points if you delay cancelling for a week. We'll see if American Express is that desperate to keep me in the future.

So, I have at my disposal nearly 26,000 airmiles, I have no interest in going to Vegas, so what will I be doing? I want to go to Maryland, Baltimore. I'll only spend a fraction of my points, and it's about time I did something nice for myself.

Why you may ask? If you couldn't tell, I like video games. And for the last two years, there was this gaming/music convention that I wanted to go to, and now, I have a way to go. Hopefully I'll be making plans to go to Magfest in January. Last year two of my favorite bands were there and right now, they aren't on the current list of musicians.

I hope that changes.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013


Despite December just barely starting I'm looking ahead into January and trying to prepare for things. I decided that going back to school was the best course of action simply because the available jobs I could find were fairly terrible. May as well ride out the dead of winter and maybe try again in the Spring.

But things rarely if ever go according to plan. And before we get into that, I'd like to address a few comments on the linked post.

Seriously, comments are like fan mail and it's great.

Firstly, I have a bachelor's degree in Psychology, but I decided that going for a second bachelor's degree in Business would be the next best step. Keith suggested that I go for a master's in Psychology instead simply because it looks much, much better than two bachelor degrees.

And for the most part, I agree. I'm honestly not going into Economics because of interest. So why go the business route then? I'm going in because career and job-wise, it seems a lot safer and viable than Psychology. Grab an internship, get cozy or get connections with the people there, find a job, good to go.

But it's not just that. The Universities in my province have suffered mass budget cuts, I doubt they want to take on more grad students when they're kicking out sessional professors and support staff in the Psychology department. And EVEN if this wasn't an issue, I don't have enough professors to use as references.

I didn't expect Patt to go insane. A reference letter from him would probably hurt my chances of getting into grad school.

The last I heard he's currently in Malaysia or something with his new bride.

But I was missing 2 per-requisites to get into the BCOM (Business of Commerce) program, Economics 101 and 102. And while I easily added myself to the 102 class, the 101 class was completely full. Fine, no problem. The Psychology advisers were very helpful to me in the past, so I booked an appointment with the Business advisers to see if they could do anything for me. The conversation went like this:

"Yeah, tough luck. You and hundreds of other kids are trying to get in. All you can do is sit, wait, and hope a spot opens.".

Well that's just peachy.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised due to the aforementioned budget cuts.

A week passed. An average of one spot for the class opened up each day. And I was never able to grab it on time. I needed a back-up plan, what if I didn't get into Econ 101? There really was no point in just taking Econ 102, and I couldn't take Econ 101 in the Spring or Summer because the deadline to apply for the BCOM program was in March.

So I started job hunting again.

Some you asked why I don't like manual labour. It's simple, I'm lazy. If possible, I'd rather sit on my butt all day and not move from my computer. Almost all my projects are computer or online based, with the exception of Project Jason. I assure you, I don't workout because I like it, I workout because I'm tired of being thin and looking like a malnourished child in the mirror.

Back on topic, my friend Chase, managed to hook me up with an interview with an energy company. It's not the most amazing job, I'd be cold calling, there appears to be a lot of emphasis on making sales, and my pay is directly linked to sales. Still, better than nothing.

Hello sir or madam, please buy stuff from me so I don't lose my job.

And then yesterday a spot opened up and by some miracle I managed to enroll in the course before anyone else.

Wow, that was anticlimactic.

Why couldn't all my problems be resolved in this fashion?

Looks like I'll be heading back to school in January afterall. And with all my classes crammed on Tuesday and Thursday, I get that nice 4 day weekend again. Lovely.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Projects Update

Current debt: $6000

Wow. It's been a long time. I can't believe I've been working on these projects for so long, or that I've managed to stick with them. I mean, my first projects post was all the way back in January. Many projects have come and gone, many ended up no longer being viable and had to be dropped.

Or in the case of something like Project Cold, actually succeeded. Sure it was just a simple marketing job, but I feel that even the small achievements should be celebrated. And today, we have another project that has finally worked in my favour. Let's find out which one.

 It's about time!

Project Derp:

Goal: $$$$

For one month, Project Derp managed to become self-sustaining. Meaning that without any extra work on my part, it was able to pay off it's monthly expenses. Had it managed to maintain this, I would consider Phase 2 of this project a success and begun work on Phase 3.

And then in November it kind of died a bit. If you track the progress of Project Derp since January you'd see that it's a nice upward slope but it's still not enough. I don't feel comfortable kicking it up a notch beyond this.

Project Vegas:

Goal: Travel

So much speculation on this project. Limited by both status and money, this project was also one of the first that I conceived back in January, but unfortunately could not have started working on it until October.

And within 2 months of work I have succeeded.

I fear I've kind of hyped this one up a lot. It's nothing too crazy or amazing but it's one of those things that sound too good to be true. So I wanted to personally verify its efficacy before posting about it. But I'm still slightly giddy that I managed to get it to work. I'll have a post about it in the coming weeks with explanations.

Aw yeah.

Project Pandering:

Goal: Learn and re-learn skills.

This project has become 3 smaller projects that I felt didn't deserve their own names, so I crammed them into one big one because of their similar foundations.

It goes slowly. Especially since I'm further splitting up time dedicated to this project. Based on how things have been going, I expect to have something worthy of showing from at least one of these by February.

Mostly because I'm kind of vain, and I'd be embarrassed to show something subpar or incomplete.

Project Jason:

Goal: Exercise.

The snow has not been kind to us up here in Canada. Leading to both travel and car problems for both my personal trainer Eli and myself. There have been numerous days in which we've had to cancel workouts because 1 or not both of us couldn't make it to the gym for various reasons.

So to compensate, we started doing double workouts. Chest and back on the same day, shoulders and legs on the same day, etc. etc..

You'd think that this would completely destroy me, but the odd thing is, I'm not that sore after workouts anymore. I mean, yes, it's uncomfortable, but I'm no longer the hobbling cripple I was two weeks ago.

I don't think it's because workouts are less intense, I'm still pretty tired after them. Leg day still requires that I take a epsom salt bath and a nap when I get home because I'm so worn out compared to the other workouts.

Also I've gained another 5 pounds. Go me.

So that's it for now. Still chugging away at everything. Progress in anything is good no matter how slow.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Ex-Car Hunting

At the beginning of November, my friend Terry and I went out on a little journey. With the influx of money I was getting from my job I decided that it was time that I stopped borrowing the spare car and get one of my own.

The timing couldn't have been better. I would have a few weeks to get used to it before the snow arrived, my Mother wanted to start using the spare car instead, and I was in high hopes that I was going to make probation at my job which would greatly help with car payments.

Though we all know how that went.

I'm still kind of miffed about it.

We had compiled a list of dealerships to go to and wanted to see as many as possible before the day was done. We started off with Nissan, though I'm certain it was Terry who wanted to see the cars more than me.

Immediately, the salesperson was very, very pushy. Maybe he was new, maybe he was just anxious about something, maybe it was the fact that I could see that his suit jacket was slightly too big for him and was slightly stained and I could smell freshly applied cologne on him.

The point is, I didn't like this guy. Nor the fact that he kept pressuring me to buy the first car at the first dealership I entered. And you know what, maybe if the cars I test drove were nice I wouldn't have be so bothered.

Both the sales manager and associate.

I tried the Sentra and the Versa. The first thing Terry and I noticed for both cars was the noise. This kind of rumbling/rattling noise from the engine. It wasn't bad now, but I knew that after an hour of this I'd go mad. I also didn't like how the Sentra controlled. Terry commented that both cars looked kind of like crap with crappy interiors. I'm going to default to his opinion because honestly, all the cars look the same to me.

When we mentioned our concern with the noise, we were assured that all cars in this price range would have this nuisance, it was an inevitability. Note that they also refused to give us a specific price. I smiled politely, and we left.

Next we went to the Mazda dealership, where to my surprise, we found a guy who:

a) Wasn't pushy.
b) Wasn't pushy.

The Mazda 3 also surprisingly didn't have that awful noise, felt great to drive, Terry wouldn't shut up about how nice it looked, and it had heated seats.

Heated seats are the most amazing thing ever. I have no idea how I've managed to go so many Canadian winters without them.

My butt was so warm.

The Mazda salesperson was also the only guy to give me a price on the spot, no pressure, come back when you feel ready. Impressed, we then went to see what Kia had to offer. The Forte was... how do we put this... It felt like a cheaper Mazda 3.

Terry didn't like the interior, sure it had heated seats and handled as well as the Mazda 3, and the salesguy was considering offering it at several thousand cheaper than the Mazda. But something felt off. Something just didn't feel right. Couldn't put my finger on it.

Oh wait, yes I can. Pushy salesguy. Man, I'm a pretty easy guy to satisfy eh? Don't try and push me into a massive investment on day 1 and we'll get along just fine.

Unfortunately, we all know how this story ends. I got laid off, I can't afford a new car at this point in time and I guess I'll just have restricted access to the spare one.

But the entire trip wasn't for naught. At least now I have a better idea of what kind of car I'd be looking for in the future and where to go. Seriously though, heated seats are amazing. God I love heated seats.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Project Jason: The Pain

Project Jason was about working out and no longer looking like a twig. In my last post I've discussed how I got a personal trainer named Eli because I noticed that I wasn't getting that much out of my workouts anymore. Or rather, I wasn't satisfied with the rate of progress.

Things were going good with Eli, I was satisfied with the intensity of the workouts. Back when I was working late overtime shifts I was still able to pop in late at night and get in a session before going home and Eli didn't mind, he was flexible. And since being laid off I've been trying to go every day. Might as well do something instead of sleep in all the time.

And then suddenly I get a text saying that he quit. Sound familiar?

This is an unpleasant trend.

BUT WAIT. He wasn't quitting being a personal trainer, he quit being a trainer at that gym. He was fed up with management there so he decided to become independent. I liked him as a trainer so eventually we met up and discussed how to continue our sessions. I'm actually paying half as much to just have him (as opposed to before) so I'm saving money. Plus, because we aren't at that gym anymore, we can go longer, be more flexible with times, etc. etc..

Everyone wins.

Well, I'm not entirely in the clear yet. Unfortunately, I purchased a set number of trainer sessions at the old gym. I now need to find a way to sell them off or be sneaky and exploit some loophole and talk my way out of them. Preferably the latter, put my Psychology degree to use right?

Wouldn't be the first time I've talked my way out of something.

Eli is also recommending protein drinks, specific foods to eat, and vitamins to take. And you know what, it can't hurt, especially if it'll supposedly make me bulk faster. The protein shake is a bit gross to be honest, or maybe this vanilla flavouring is just bad. I've been mixing hot chocolate in it to make it more palatable, shhh....

Actually I've noticed more visible progress in myself and I'm not the only one. My fast food job is the only place where I'm forced to wear a short-sleeved shirt and my coworkers claim my arms are larger. Well, my forearms are a bit, but not by that much.

Still, it's nice to see someone taking notice.

With that being said, the workouts have been hurting. One thing that Eli suggested to do to help the soreness is taking a bath in Epsom salts. I haven't taken a bath in years, and the tub in my bathroom is tiny, but I decided to give it a try after a particularly rough back workout session.

Feels good man. Even if it means half my body is sticking out of the water at any given time.

I still hate leg day though. Friday for whatever reason has been dedicated to leg day. And let me repeat, I hate leg day. I am still hobbling around from last Friday and it hurts to bend over to pick something up. If this is what it feels like to be old, I am not looking forward to it.

And my butt hurts. From working out. This is uncomfortable. It hurts to sit.

But hey, might as well do something with all this excessive spare time. Work-out, come home exhausted, and then fall asleep in front of my computer with a half drunk protein shake in my hand.

Is this how other people deal with unemployment? It's not bad.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Preparing for the Future

It's been about a week since I got laid off from my job. My last paycheque has come in, essentially being the last reminder that I ever worked as a dispatcher. But I'm not one to idle if I can help it. And after a few well deserved days of sleeping in, immediately I started job hunting again.

What I found was not promising.

Going to need a few drinks for this.

Many of the jobs I found I immediately didn't qualify for, requiring experience that I simply did not have and/or not enough of. What remained were often jobs requiring physical labour. There is one thing I will not do (out of preference and physical capability) and that's physical labour. No heavy lifting, no working outdoors, nothing that will get me dirty.

So what did we have left? A lot of temporary work, a few weeks, maybe a month or two at a time. And worst of all, they paid considerably poorly. Maybe a slight bump above minimum wage. My friends tell me that it's generally not a good time to job hunt now, something about budgets not being rewritten until Spring.

And after much mulling, I decided to head back to school in January.

I wish.

Yep. Back to school. I realize that as it is, just having a degree in Psychology isn't enough. I need a way to supplement it, and what better way to do that but by going back to school? I had a similar conversation back in this post. I could go get a Master's in Psychology, but again, situation at my University, not looking so great. And that left me with one remaining viable option.

A second degree in Business.

It makes the most sense with my previous degree in Psychology. If I get a Bachelors of Commerce (or BCOM for short) this opens up things such as Marketing or Human Resources. This would be a two year program with the option for a co-op program or internship thing.

And so I jump to register for the  courses that I still need before I qualify for the BCOM, Economics 101, 102, and a course of my choice so that I qualify for a full-courseload. Econ 102 I get through with no problem, it's the other two that have issues.

For starters, I am completely unable to sign up for Econ 101. Apparently it's reserved for a group of students who have English as a second language. I'm going to have to have a talk an academic adviser or something, because I am literally 2 courses away from applying for a BCOM.

Also, because I'm extremely fluent in English (at least, I'd like to think so) I'd have a massive advantage over my classmates.

As for the course of my choice, I was hoping to take something in Psychology. Though I shouldn't have been surprised when I discovered that there weren't that many Psych courses left. And those remaining I had already taken.

Damn those budget cuts.

So now I'm left floundering, wondering what to take for the remaining course. I want something easy because I'm lazy but something that will still be relatively interesting. Feel free to suggest something in the comments below.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Return of the CPAP Machine

I am not a healthy individual. For anyone who isn't aware, since the inception of my blog I have discussed my numerous health problems like my lung cysts and sleep apnea, and those posts are from 2011. And while my lungs haven't really bothered me (much) since my fatigue has always been an issue.

I've just kind of powered through it. I had a mouth guard for a while because we thought my sleep apnea was caused by my jaw crushing my throat. But eventually I stopped using it because it was causing jaw soreness and alignment issues as well as hearing problems.

And then I started gasping awake at night.

Well this is unsettling.

It was odd. Waking up up to 3 times a night. It was then I realized that my sleep apnea was getting worse. Much worse. We had suspicions that I was unconsciously waking up at night (which explains why I was always so tired) but now I was aware of it.

Powering through wasn't working. I booked an appointment with a sleep specialist and took another kit home to see how badly I was sleeping at night.

And it was pretty bad.

In 5 hours of sleep I had apparently woke up a total of 44 times.

Now this is horrifying.

Alright, time to get back onto the CPAP machine. For those unaware, it's a little device that hooks into a tube, and the tube is connected to a mask, and the mask connects to your face. The machine pumps moist air into your face and that helps you sleep better.

If your jaw is crushing your throat, the increased air pressure will force things open. If your brain is stupid and forgets to breath, then hopefully this will stimulate breathing.

But that's assuming you can breathe to begin with. Immediately with the CPAP, I was having trouble adjusting to the mask. I was only able to wear it for an hour at a time before tearing it off my face because I was suffocating.

It took 3 weeks before we finally found a mask that worked for me. Up until now, the data collected was kind of skewed, what with 1 hour of sleep recorded. NOW we had 3 to 5 hours of sleep recorded at a time.


And guess what we found?

My brain is stupid.

They think that in addition to the possibility that my jaw is crushing my throat, my brain ALSO forgets to breathe. For up to half a minute at a time I stop breathing at night. This would explain why I would start gasping awake in the middle of the night. Lack of oxygen will do that to you.

Scumbag brain.


But we're slowing fixing things I think. The rate of my "not-breathing" has dropped to an average of only 5 times an hour.

For now.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Probation Results

I started my job working as a dispatcher back in August, though it really does feel like I've been here forever. I've gotten used to all my coworkers and I like all of them. All of them have their own little quirks and they're pleasant to be around. I've also started to get to know some of our drivers better and for the most part I like most of them.

Note that I said most. Some are really whiny, rude, or just outright annoying.

Like the guy who asked for directions, didn't follow said directions, and then complains when lost.

But this entire time I've been on probation. In these three months I've been evaluated to see if I would be worth keeping for the long term. This would mean a raise, health benefits, bonuses, statuary holiday pay, etc. etc.. I mean, I thought I was being paid pretty well as it was, so an additional bump up from this is certainly appreciated.

And then last week, my boss pulled me over into a boardroom, we sat down and then he told me he had to let me go.

Well this is certainly a downer.

Apparently I hadn't been improving as much as they would have liked over the last month or so. My boss wasn't able to provide me with any one specific event or thing. I mean, yes I made mistakes, but I tried my best to rectify them and not repeat them in the future. Really not sure what to make of this.

A little voice in my head says that they wanted a guy to for the busy fall season and get rid of him during the dead winter season. This would coincide with my boss's claims that the timing wasn't right for me. Though, that wouldn't make much sense. Train a guy only to do a few month's work.

With that being said, they're not firing me per se. If any position opens up in the Spring for the company, they'd like me to reapply and try again. Try another 3 months probation and see where that goes. And honestly, I probably will try again if nothing else pops up from now and spring.

Because I have started job hunting again.

I know some of you may be wondering why I'd be so willing to head back to a company that just booted me out. Well, for starters, the pay was great. For a guy who just popped out fresh from University, this was phenomenal especially consider that this was just probation pay. The other jobs I've looked at so far provide much less for far more work and stress.

But my coworkers were also great. If there was an issue, they'd pull me aside and show me how to properly do something. No one was passive aggressive, rude, or stupid. And all of them were genuinely surprised that I didn't make the probation. I made an effort to say goodbye to as many as I could before I left the office. I'm going to miss them, they were good people.

I'm also considering maybe heading back to University just for a single term. Maybe get working on a second degree. I'd rather not though, because my debt is still in the thousands. No need to increase it any further.

Which brings me to my next point. If there's anything being jobless has done to me, it's give me A LOT of free time. I guess I can start reliably blogging again as well as working on certain projects. Though, being jobless means I have to carefully budget my money again. Which sucks.

Also probably a good thing that I didn't quit my fast food job. I'll probably try and snatch as many shifts there as I can until I can get something full-time again or head back to classes.

I'm really disappointed though. I fully expected to get through my probation period with no problems.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Projects Update

Current debt: $6000

Almost under $5000 now! Just one more paycheque and I'll be good to go. I always need to reserve a chunk of my pay for myself to pay off things such as my trainer, buying miscellaneous gifts, and just being self-indulgent. Computer games that I won't have time to play won't buy themselves you know.

Speaking of time, I've been doing what I can with each project and while it has been a struggle seeing as I've started shutting down at the end of the night. I'm getting used to doing a minimum of 10 hour if not 12 hour shifts every day. While the OT is great, it doesn't leave much me-time.

But I'll need that OT, especially if I make a certain purchase in the comings weeks which will greatly increase my debt.

Oh my poor wallet...

Project Derp:

Goal: $$$$

I had high hopes of making this project self-sustaining last month, but various other parties stopped talking to me so we're back to working on it on my own. It's still churning along, and I keep wishing I had more time to work on it.

And then I realized that I did have the time. I just had to be sneaky about it.

You see, being stuck in the office late at night isn't so bad. Especially when I'm the last one there with no one around to watch me. It's kind of funny, to think that I'm getting paid OT to work on this. Despite the lack of internet, I can still whip out my laptop and type things up for an hour or so before the last truck rolls into the plant.

Hopefully this can continue, despite the reduced work hours now that the construction season has ended.

Project Vegas:

Goal: Travel

Almost done this one here. I'm at about the 1/4, maybe 1/3 mark, and within the month I should have completed it. The oncoming Christmas season should definitely help though again, I am jealous of Americans. This would have been so much easier if I lived there but alas.

I'll make due with what I have in Canada.

It just snowed, and there is ice everywhere.

Project Pandering:

Goal: Learn and re-learn skills.

This is one project where I definitely need a day off to effectively do anything. And unfortunately, there haven't been many of those as of late. I mean, I could dedicate an hour in the evenings, or I could spend an hour letting my brain melt on Youtube after a long day at work.

Guess which one wins out more.

But again, the construction season has ended. So maybe I'll be able to make it home for dinner for the first time in a long time.

Project Jason:

Goal: Exercise

Again, this project has been the most consistent of all of them. Especially since I started working out with my personal trainer Eli. And he works me, and it hurts, and I love it. Well, I mostly love it. I still don't like leg day. Actually, I really dislike leg day, even before I started work with Eli.

I mean, I did a leg day workout with him last Tuesday. At the time of this post, it is Sunday. My calves have ALMOST stopped hurting. Almost. Oh, and want to hear a funny story?

It's a story about Damian sitting on a toilet after leg day. And then being unable to stand back up. He had to kind of push himself off the edge of the sink or else flop onto the cold bathroom floor and then wiggle back up. You realize how much fun that is right?

Luckily, my arms still worked fine.

Whoo! Lots of fun this month. If only I had more time to blog about it. Project progress inching along, the story regarding my CPAP machine to help with my sleeping problems will be posted as soon as I hear back from the doctors, and the purchase that will sink me far back into debt.

Oh, and my probation for my job is coming up within the next week or two. Wish me luck.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Project Jason: The Trainer

It's been about three months now since I've started going to the gym. As my shifts at work end up getting later and later it really makes me appreciate that my gym is open 24 hours half the week. Also because the gym is pretty much dead that late at night. No need to wait for equipment.

And in my last post I was pretty happy. I had gained a bit of definition, about 10-15 pounds, and I'd like to think I'm feeling healthier with more energy? I was able to lift a bit more each time and things were looking good.

And then things started to plateau.


I was lifting more, pushing myself harder but I wasn't making progress as fast as I had during the initial few months. I mean, I wasn't expecting to be buff but come on, to an outsider I probably look the same. Thin.

Maybe I was doing something wrong, or my work-outs just weren't as effective as I could be doing them. By some coincidence, my gym was offering a few free personal trainer sessions again. For those who aren't familiar with the last few personal trainers I tried out here's a quick recap:

Trainer #1: Good workouts, but mysteriously bailed.
Trainer #2: Nice guy, but didn't really push me.

And so here I was with Trainer #3, Eli. Seemed nice enough, but the important thing was, would he be able to help me build the muscle I wanted?

Short answer: Yes.


We only had enough time to do a few half workout sessions, but they hurt. I don't think I could have pushed myself this badly on my own. At least, not without worrying I was going to injure myself due to improper posture or something.

My arms were sore for the next 3 days. I couldn't even get through his chest workout because my shoulder's were literally giving out. This was perfect, this was exactly what I wanted. I felt completely beat up after the work-out and for days later.

If this doesn't get me out of my spaghetti arms and malnourished-looking body, I don't know what will.

Asides from using this.

One of the original reasons that I didn't sign up with Trainer #2 was not only because I wasn't getting much out of the work-outs, but also because I couldn't afford it at the time. This was before I got my full-time job.

Eli is pushes me, I can afford it (still really expensive though), and bonus: he also can work around my stupid late schedule. I signed up for roughly half a year of sessions and we'll see where this goes.

Our first official session begins tomorrow. And I'm excited to see how battered I'll be by the end.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Work Updates

Things at work have gone fairly well. Well as well as things can go I guess. It's still the fall season and things are absolutely busy but it's still bearable. I'm used to doing 10 hour shifts a day and fully expect them. To leave after only 8 hours is unexpected, especially since I'm now being trained to finish up at the end of the night, i.e., stay behind and make sure everyone else gets back safely before I leave.

The joys of dispatch. At least I'm getting overtime. Also, it's dead. So I often do other things while I'm waiting for the last truck to come back.

Shhh... Don't tell my bosses....

The rest of the days are still eventful though. For some reason, no one can get my name right. I'm going to blame terrible phones on either end, maybe bad reception. Most phone calls sound something like this:

Me: Damian here.
Client: Hi Dennis, I need you to...


Me: Hi, Damian speaking.
Client: David, if you could...

Or even better:

Me: Hello, this is Damian.
Client: Janice, for my order on...


How did you get Janice.


But they don't intentionally get my name wrong. It's always funny to have them call back later requesting to speak to "Dennis" only to be corrected by my coworkers that no one by that name works here. It's gotten to the point where if a client asks for a fictitious individual, the client probably wants me.

And most clients are fairly civil. Though we still get the odd individual who is unable to control himself. For example, a few weeks back, this guy who has an order. At one point he, or someone on his site calls to delay the order. No problem. Later, we also call to let him know that his concrete is going to be late, probably going to arrive at X time, because traffic is exceptionally bad. Also rush hour. We like to give clients a bit of a heads-up when we're late.

Half an hour before our estimated arrival time, I get an angry phone call that I can't transcribe because of the language used AND because I had no idea what the guy was saying half the time. I blame his bad phone, him being angry, and his heavy accent. One part of his rant sticks out to me because for a good 10 minutes he was complaining about how last winter he somehow got a cement truck out of a snow bank with a bobcat. At least, that's what I think he was saying.

What I do know is that he kept me on the phone for half an hour until the trucks arrived and then he turned his rage towards the drivers.

He didn't seem to understand that:
a) Someone on his end had delayed the order.
b) Delaying the order made it so that trucks would be right in the middle of rush hour traffic.
c) That rush hour traffic makes things slow.

3 variables that lead to delayed arrivals. Apparently the guys he had working for him also screwed up because the following week we received pictures of the finished job and it looked like someone didn't know what they were doing.

Somehow, this was our fault because we were late. Or for some other arbitrary reason. We really don't know. The sales associate for this client also had trouble understanding him through the bad phone, angry talking, and heavy accent. This continued for about 2 weeks until we cut communications. Also because he had started making threats towards us.

Yelling "HOW OLD ARE YOU?" to one of our senior sales associates is very mature.

In more positive news, my probationary period is coming to end. Which is great. I haven't been fired yet, my coworkers seem to like me. Also, with the end of my probation it means a raise.

More money. I can get behind that.

I just need to get through the end of the month without screwing up horribly or causing any disasters. I make still make mistakes, it's expected, and luckily they're small. But they're still mistakes, and I can't afford to look careless. I just need to get by without making anymore, be super-thorough and I'll be safe.

Also raise.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you all ate a ton of food, spent some quality time with friends or family, and enjoyed your day off. I know I certainly did, as it was my first day off in over a month of non-stop working. I slept in past noon and spent the entire day on my computer before gorging myself on food.

For everyone else that isn't in Canada, too bad.

I had a good day.

How is my life going otherwise? I'm still alive somehow. But the reason why I haven't been posting as much is simply because all I have left at the moment is a bunch of half stories. Half completed projects, series of smaller interesting events from work, waiting for things to come in the mail or be picked up, research that needs to be done.

And I don't like telling stories before they're complete. But it's only a matter of time before they start finishing up.

Why do I even have this picture saved on my computer?

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Projects Update

Current debt: $9000

Phew! It's about time I've made a significant dent in my debt, I'm now under 10k. Slowly but surely we'll destroy this thing, though because I'm no longer a student I've had to get a new bank account which requires that I have $2500 sitting in it at all times so I don't get charged a fee. A minor setback.

I'm still really pushing to find time to work on my projects. It's hard to find it in you to continue being productive after a long day of work. I just want to let me brain go to waste in front of my computer as I watch videos of cats doing stupid things.

But I've managed to do some work, and so, update time.

I could watch this all day.

Project Derp:

Goal: $$$$

I experienced a massive traffic drop last month for some reason. Are things running slower? Is it due to summer ending? I can't say for certain but I'm certain it affected my already minimal profits. It also doesn't help that for all of September I maybe put in 2 hours of work, at best.

That being said, I may have found a way to get Phase 2 to work. Fingers crossed. It be nice to finally have this project be self-sustaining. I'll make a post about it when it happens, and then finally get working on Phase 3.

Project Vegas:

Goal: Travel 

I finally got the required items in the mail to get this project running. I'm still reading through a few things to make sure I do this right. Even though I have the most disposable income I've had in a long time, I still want to make spend my money efficiently.

I have a time limit of 3 months. I hope this works.


Project Pandering:

Goal: Learn and re-learn skills.

This one has been iffy to gauge because it's an amalgamation of smaller little skills that I don't think qualify for individual projects. So on a whole, this project has had quite a bit of time dedicated to it, but the individual components are a bit lackluster.

I recently got more hardware and I'm tinkering with things as we go along. There are just so many tutorials and guides online. No way I'd would have been able to learn how to do this (or even consider doing this) half a decade ago.

Project Jason:

Goal: Exercise

This is still the only project that I'm consistently dedicating time to. Though I'm "averaging" 3 times a week. Sometimes I go twice, and then I make up for it the next week by going 4 times. It's a bit of a balance really, the only time I can meet up with people is for dinner after work so it's either meet with friends or go lift weights.

Unfortunately my feet are still cramping up. I think it might be because I've been so tired lately. The lack of sleep might be the cause because I've changed shoes, reduced reps and weight, etc. etc.. I think the fatigue might be affecting my appetite as well, I'm eating less and that's not good. I can't gain weight if I'm not eating.


And that's this month's update. Debts are being paid, I'm trying to be productive outside of work. And I'm slowly losing my mind because my sleep is deteriorating. I'm actually gasping awake now in the middle of the night, which I think is a pretty clear sign my sleep apnea is worsening.

Fear not though, the appointment I booked weeks ago is finally coming up. I'll make a post about that when it happens.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Damian Reporting In

Just wanted to make a quick post letting everyone know that I'm still alive. Yes, I have worked 21 consecutive days so far with no plans of stopping. Yes they have all been a minimum of 9 hours shifts (except for my 6 hour ones on Sunday with my part-time job).

Again, I'm fine. Just a bit tired. I can't tell if I'm exhausted from work, the poor sleep, or working out. Probably a combination of all of them. I have a few interesting things going on that can be turned into full blog posts but I'm going to wait until they "ripen" a bit more first.

Damian out.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Disasters in Concrete

It's scary how fast things can go from calm to complete chaos within the span of half of an hour. This has become very apparent as I spend more time in job as a dispatcher for concrete. I can definitely see why some people would find this job stressful and why it isn't exactly the most desirable position. In fact, a lot of my coworkers wonder if I'm stressed out.

I'm not. I'm just very tired and haven't been sleeping well lately.

And someone keeps drinking up all the coffee in the office.

An example of this is Thursday. Everything is going well, sure some trucks are a bit late, but everything is going fine.

Suddenly we are informed that one of our 4 major plants has run out of a crucial material needed to make concrete.

In the middle of the day.

After a meeting about warning people about running low on supplies.

So now we need to run reroute all trucks and jobs out of the dead plant to our remaining ones. The trucks need time to travel to a working plant, load up, and travel again. This is A LOT of wasted time spent traveling. All the jobs coming out of that plant are delayed by an hour AT BEST. Remember, labourers are not cheap, and with some projects, they need a continuous flow of concrete, otherwise they need to rip everything out and redo it.

Later that same day, a different plant suffers critical computer failure. Concrete is unable to be produced for a different reason now. All trucks and jobs need to be rerouted AGAIN as we try our best to make the best of a bad situation. Slap another half an hour delay. My supervisor is losing his mind beside me as we try our best to deal with the disgruntled customers and our bad situation.

Also I forgot my lunch and had to eat a disgusting instant noodle cup from a vending machine.

Later on my Saturday shift it looks good. Everything is calm and serene. It looks like it'll be a quiet shift. Did you know that we also rent out trucks to companies to pump concrete? It's true. All we have to do is make sure the pump drivers are notified of their respective jobs, details, etc..

Then we get a phone call asking where the pump truck is.

No one told the guy he had a job to go to.

Normally, not such a big deal. Except this was for a major client. Who was working via a permit that limited how much time he could use workers. He would now be idling for at least 3 hours as we scrambled to get the driver onsite.

To make matters worse, this is one of those instances where it is partially my fault as a dispatcher. Even though I'm still a junior and I don't have the scheduling responsibilities yet, it's my job to catch little errors like this and stop them before they happen.

And this error is one of those mistakes that will cost the company tens of thousands of dollars, and quite possibly the client. It's these kinds of mistakes that can cost people their jobs.

I think I'm safe though. Still not looking forward to the "meeting" with my supervisor.

Oh. And then we had the day where I walk into the office. I notice that there are an abnormal number of trucks outside the main plant and my supervisor looks more distressed than usual. I ask why.

"Well Damian, it be because we currently have 9 trucks that are down to due mechanical errors".

Losing even one truck during peak season can result in people getting concrete half an hour late. Imagine what 9 trucks would do to us first thing in the morning. Imagine how that affects the rest of the schedule for the day.

"Oh and the reason why there are so many trucks out front is because the main plant has shut down. We had a major blockage with a special mix of concrete for a client."

Great, we now need to reroute trucks again. Find and use a plant that has the materials to make the special concrete, and apologize to customers for late deliveries. By noon, the main plant is back online and we have lost a dozen trucks in total (though some have been repaired and are back on the road by this point).

Oh, and for anyone curious, this all happened in the time since I made a post about my job. And these big events are littered with small events such as computer crashes, truck drivers getting lost, concrete being rejected by clients, etc. etc..

A lot can happen in a week.

Don't worry. I mean it when I don't get stressed easily. I'm taking most of these events as best I can, making the best of a bad situation. My lack of stress could be because I'm not as experienced or laden with as many responsibilities as everyone else yet, but I like to imagine I have a better tolerance for stressful situations.

In the meantime, it's another day of work tomorrow. I hope it rains. So many people cancel their concrete orders when it rains. Maybe it won't be a hectic day for once.