Sunday, 31 March 2013

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone's enjoying their Easter long weekend. I know I am, and by enjoying I mean I get to sleep in and sit around being unproductive. I wish I could have had more chocolate but I think my Dad ate all of it already. Or maybe I did. It's hard to say, we're both kind of notorious for having a sweet tooth.

Or you know, I could just wait until the end of the the holiday and then rush to buy all the discount chocolate I can get my grubby hands on.

No one is safe.

In other non-Easter related news, this weekend I'm finally getting around to upgrading my computer. EVA has faithfully served me for nearly all of my years of University, and her hardware is starting to show its age a bit.

And yes, I name all my computers (my Mac, for example, is called Commander Fabulous, he has a pink case, my first laptop was named Lappy) and I'm considering renaming EVA to CABAL. For anyone wondering where I got the names from, they're the names of the AI from the once great RTS series Command and Conquer: Tiberium Sun. Back in the days before Electronic Arts ruined the series.

EVA stands for Electronic Video Agent whereas CABAL is Computer Assisted Biologically Augmented Lifeform. CABAL was also the more powerful AI which is why I was considering the name switch.

Wait, CABAL went rogue and tried to kill everyone. Maybe I should stick with EVA instead.

Nah, he looks safe to me.

Also, my specialist appointment is coming up. It's time to see if I have Marfan's. I want to say that I feel nervous but again, even if I have it, nothing that can do. So why bother worrying?

Finals are around the corner, so I'm going to try and rest a bit more while I can. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Project Cold: Phase 1: The Marketer

The idea behind Project Cold was to find a way to force myself to interact with people. I'm by no means a socially awkward or anti-social person, but I feel that I could do with a bit more extroversion and comfort with conversing with strangers. But there's that caveat as always, I needed to find a way to monetize this project.

My first attempt was online. I failed miserably and we'll pretend like it never happened. Maybe I didn't have enough practice? However, a friend of mine was looking to hire marketers and I saw this as an opportunity to further my Project Cold in a different prospect.

I guess I basically just got myself a second part-time job.

Maybe I'm less trustworthy online or something?

I'm certain most of you are familiar with student painting companies. And so my job was to head out, knock on doors, find people who were willing to get an estimate of a painting job, and repeat. At first, I was only making commission. I was paid a set amount for every phone number/booking that I succeeded in getting. I needed to quickly learn how to convince people to give me their phone numbers or else I wouldn't make any money at all.

(Un)fortunately my friend had to stop for personal reasons but at least he transferred me to a different manager.

Who then started paying me a flat rate + commission which was a significant boost in wages.

Still, it wasn't easy. Easily half of the houses I visit have no one home. Then, most of people who are home aren't interested, or recently got painting done, or plan on doing it themselves. It's funny because I look at some of these houses and the garage door is literally peeling away. Yes, I'm sure you did a lovely job painting it last summer.

So it's that small fraction of "maybe" interested people I have to work at convincing to go and get an estimate. To put things in perspective, if I get even one booking an hour, my total earnings become over double that of minimum wage. 2 bookings? I'm making over quadruple minimum wage. So you have poor Damian running around, trying to hit up as many houses as possible.

During January and February it was cold, dark and miserable with snow everywhere. I'm jumping over snow piles and sliding on ice. Now in March all that snow is melting and I'm jumping over puddles and slush.

Puddles > Snow piles though.

And how successful have I been at persuading people? Maybe I've just been lucky but I've been consistently making at least double minimum wage. On my best days, I earn over quadruple that of minimum wage. Less than 20 hours work and almost $500 richer for it.

I know it's not much, a second part-time job isn't that amazing but this is way better than my part-time minimum wage fast-food job. Plus, I'm actually talking and interacting with people to the point where I can push them to get what I want. AND I'm getting exercise because I need to get away from my computer to do this. I also set my own hours which is great. I head out when I can and I'm motivated to do so because $$$$.

That is until I find a way to make money playing computer games.

Some of you may have noticed that this is Phase 1 of Project Cold. This is because I may have a way to improve and make things more efficient (i.e. more money, less work). Unfortunately I won't be start doing this until May.

Until then, if you live in Canada and are greeting at the door by a tall, out-of-breath Asian trying to get your number for a free estimate on painting, give him your number. He needs the money.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Taking it Too Easy?

Ok, as much fun as its been, I think it's time I get off my butt and back to work on something. All this spare time could be used a lot more efficiently. As relaxing as its been, even after just 1 week I'm starting to feel like a bum doing nothing but sleeping in past noon, and then sitting around until I either have classes and/or work to go to.

And then coming home to lounge about, staring at cat pictures on Reddit.

I mean, I could work on the massive backlog of games I have on Steam but again, somehow I think my time could be used a bit better. Maybe if I could start making a consistent amount of profit from some my projects I could take a break or something.

Speaking of which I believe I've found something that could drastically improve efficiency and progress of the second phase of Project Derp. What would take me a few months to do by hand could be automated and ready to go within a few weeks.

For the low, low price of $20.

Sounds suspicious...

I'm hesitant because it sounds too good to be true. It's also fairly new, barely a few months old, and yet there are rave reviews for it. Also, I've seen the quality of work produced by similar products and I am less than impressed. There is a demo which I definitely will be trying but I'm not going to be expecting a miracle.

It'll be quickly apparent if this works or not. And that means I can actually do a blog post about it pending its success instead of being vague and cryptic. I've learned a lot these last few months thanks to my projects but I want this knowledge to translate into something tangible.

And by that I mostly mean money.

Which I will proceed to spend on hotdogs.

In other news, I've started a new project which I am dubbing Project Koi. I've only been working on it for a week and already it has disappointed me, surprised me, filled me with dread and regret, only to surprise me again.

Seriously, I am letting this thing run for another week, and if it keeps horrifying me like this, I'm cutting it off. I know my limits, I know what I am capable of. And if this project turns into a failure, I'll immediately make a blog post about it and we can have a good laugh.

Don't worry, from an outsider's view, this is probably hilarious. But from an insider? Probably less fun.

People on the internet are scary.

I'll see you guys Thursday.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Taking it Easy

I've been surprisingly at ease since my last midterm on Tuesday. And I don't see why I wouldn't be. With that out of the way, I only have 1 paper left to write that's not due for another 2 weeks and the only exams I have left to do are finals, which aren't for another 3-4 weeks.

It's really unsettling. For the first time in years I'm not stressing, panicking, or worrying about something or another. Every part of my mind is used to thinking about something I should be preparing for. And when it fails to find anything, I feel lazy.

Plus, I've been sleeping in a lot. As in, past noon, on weekdays. Is this a bad thing? Maybe. Do I feel awesome and well-rested for once? Yes. Yes I do. Well, sort of. I've been meaning to work on my various projects during the mornings, except that I'm asleep.

In more productive news, I've added another project to the queue. I'm not expecting much from it and I'll give additional details at the beginning of the next month as per project update.

I've also found a potential way to speed Project Derp up substantially. In theory, if I get this working, I could have phase 2 done in a fraction of the time needed. Which would be awesome. Because then I could actually do a blog post about it.

Project Cold is actually going very well too, but I want to make sure my previous work with it wasn't a fluke before I discuss it.

Pre-emptive thumbs up until then.

Last thing before I end this post, the last midterm I wrote was Linguistics. I distinctly remember not studying that well for this exam, I also remember falling asleep a lot during the class. And some of the concepts were brand new to me when I read my notes.

So I pretty much set myself up for failure for that midterm.

Though lately as long as I beat class average, I'm happy.

And so, I get that midterm back and what was my mark?

. . . .


An exam I have-heartedly studied for. Beat class average by over 30%. I feel pretty awesome right now. You know what? I'm probably going to feel awesome for a while.


Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Status Report

The last of my midterms are done. Round 2 is finished. I have maybe 2 papers left to do and then the term is done. Which is good, I can breathe easy for a little bit now, maybe try and relax. Work on some other things that aren't academically related for the time being.

You know, until finals rear their ugly head.

I was reading through comments and I think it was Dezzy who mentioned that I tend to have really negative and depressing posts. I really apologize for that, I assure you that writing those posts are just as painful as reading them.

And it's probably worse considering that Grumpster recently gave me a shout-out and anyone coming to my blog for the first time is just going to be overwhelmed by this mass of recent negativity from me.

Um, here's something more positive:

But yeah, I apologize again. I'd like to say everything is going fine right now, but it isn't. And I'm not about to delude myself into thinking so. That's even more unhealthy and kind of stupid.

Speaking of health, the appointment with the specialist is looming closer and closer. So it'll be time to confirm whether or not I have Marfan's. Also I'm really, really tired. Daylight saving's is still affecting me I think and the studying has not been helping.

Maybe I'll go to bed early, I'll see you guys on Friday.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

200 Posts

Wow. That's all I really have to say is wow. 200 posts. I honestly can't believe I've been blogging for this long, it feels a lot shorter than that. I should feel happy or proud of this accomplishment but I'm really not. I wish I could be happier, but all I have to do is look back on my first post.

Things have stagnated for me at best, or gone downhill at worst since then. Yes this is going to be another ranting post and it's a lot longer than usual. You've been warned.

Let me explain for anyone who hasn't followed me since day one. When I started this blog I wasn't exactly thrilled with where I was going. I had a year or so left until my degree finished, the job market wasn't looking great, and prospects of future schooling honestly not looking so appealing either. Now, almost two years later, I still feel the same way, except now I have my degree.

People claim the recession is over and I don't believe that at all. When jobs for people like me start popping up maybe I'll be less skeptical. I see lawyers working at Walmart, Honor students struggling to get sales positions, or even worse no jobs at all. Unless you're in the medical field good luck getting anything and even then, there are rumors around about budget cuts and the like.

I've applied to over a dozen jobs and internships since I've entered University. Half of those got interviews, all of them rejections. So I guess I'll keep making sandwiches until I get a job somewhere else.

So fine, job market not so good, why not go back to school and ride it out? Academia isn't looking so great either, at least where I am. There are confirmed budget cuts here and it doesn't look good for anyone. Well except for the President of the University and her little group of cronies. I bet she'll give herself another raise...

And this is sort of the reason why I lost interest in getting a job in academia or research. I'm watching professors get cut on a whim, last year a prof with tenure got kicked (or something similar) over a grade dispute with a student, research funds are dropping, and is more school and work worth all this stress at the end? To add insult to injury, there was one professor who was completely useless (aka ditched her research students so she could go on an early vacation) and did nothing. She won a teaching award recently because of she supported cuts to various departments. Why would she support this? She retired last year.

If I could do this to her without being expelled I'd go for it.

Ok, things not looking so great at University, but at least I can bum around home for a while until things look better. Nope. Nope nope nope. My father has for years been trying to get me out of the house. Even before I turned 18 the notion of me "moving out" has never been far from his mind. And ever since I turned 20, I noticed his campaign has been slowly getting more aggressive. I turn 23 this year and I can only imagine how bad it'll get if I'm still around when I'm older.

And it's over stupid things like me deciding to take a nap during the middle of the day or having a messy room during exam time. Any justification I try to use results in "Well if you don't like it, move out". He's dead serious and I'm certain that my Mother is the only person keeping him from physically throwing me out. My father knows very well that I don't have the means to support myself yet but that hasn't stopped him from constantly bringing up the subject. Note that since my brother turned 18 he's been turning his attention to Brian as well. My sister has been spared for whatever reason, so lucky her.

But at least I have support elsewhere right? Mental or moral support? Unfortunately, I've lost contact with a lot of close friends due to everyone being busy but at least I have a girlfriend I could talk to. Well I did, until my now ex-girlfriend decided to dump me earlier this year. We decided to stay friends, except everything she says and does makes it look like she's still interested in having a relationship. I said I moved on and I did, until she started playing with the fragments of my heart.

I don't care if she's unintentionally doing it, it's still tearing me apart and driving me insane. She's not normally a flirty person, she doesn't flirt with anyone else EXCEPT for me. When we meet up in person for coffee or something, she performs tons of physical gestures that suggest she has the intention of intimacy. And I think my female readers can back me up on this. When seated, would you touch/grab the inner thigh of a person you weren't interested in? How about their forearm? What about grabbing and holding their arm while walking? What about making questionable innuendos? A combination of these and much, much more? Either I'm a terrible psychologist and I read too much into small details OR something is not quite right here.

Of course when confronted she tells me she's still not interested and apologizes. And then she wonders why I keep asking "Do you want to get back together?". You, are becoming a doctor Theresa. You, are NOT some idiotic high school girl with the mentality of a handicapped dog. She apparently misses me and "us" BUT not enough to get back together.

I was willing to work things out. She wasn't. And it still bothers me a lot. I made a ton of sacrifices and compromises to make things work. I wasn't perfect, but I was more than happy to change things or myself to maintain the relationship. I know I discussed why we broke up in an earlier post (she wanted more time for school) but subsequent conversations with her resulted in contradictory and/or questionable reasons. The only thing that has remained consistent is she wanted to be single.


Now let's be realistic for a moment. Ideally, the best thing to do would be go out and get another girlfriend. I've been single for months, time to put myself back on the market. Except, I don't really have all that much to offer. Don't give me that "Oh you're a nice guy!" nonsense (also, I'm not). I'm a student, who is in debt, with only a part-time fast food job, with no car, who lives with his parents. These credentials basically mean that online, speed, and blind dating are out of the question.

I have a few friends who claims they'll be on the lookout for any potential girlfriends for me but I'm not holding my breath. There's a small irony here in that when I was in a relationship, nearly all my friends were single. Now that I'm single, nearly all of them have significant others.

I would be more than happy to return to a relationship with Theresa. Not out of desperation or loneliness, but because she was a fairly good girlfriend. And I was happy with her. Yeah she has her problems but so do I. I'm not perfect, and I'm not going to judge her for her faults. Except for being unwilling to change yourself for me. I think I'm allowed to judge her for that considering how much I changed myself for her.

Ok, not that dramatic, but still.

So where does that leave me? Bitter, disgruntled, and very, very unhappy. I've been pretty much miserable for the entirety of 2013 so far. If any of the above problems happened one at a time, I'm sure I could handle it, no problem. But when things start stacking up it becomes a tad overwhelming. I'm feeling a lot of pressure here and I'm not liking it. I'm running on borrowed time and it's not getting extended any time soon.

This blog post is mostly to get this all of my chest and vent a little. I think that's my favorite part about having a blog is that I can rant like this to calm myself down. In the end though, it's much better to actually find a solution. Complaining only gets you so far and it's not very productive.

And so now the question is, what your solution Damian? Do you have one? What are you going to do about all of this? And to that I respond:

Why do you think I'm working on so many projects?

There's a reason why I'm constantly brainstorming, working during my spare time, and pushing myself. Each project is a potential solution and/or will buy me more time. Wish me luck, I have a lot of work ahead of me still.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Two Least Favorite Co-Workers

I have a part-time fast food job. It's nothing special, the pay isn't amazing but my boss has a fairly flexible work schedule and I get a discount for food. Plus, it's not like I'm getting hired anywhere else anytime soon and I like most of the people that I work with.

The keyword is "most".

Is what I'd like to say to two people in particular.

Due to shifting in work schedules I have been working with 2 people more than I usually would. The first is a Filipino woman named Darla, the other is an East Indian woman named Karob. And they're both slowly driving me insane.

Darla wasn't so bad. She's always had a lot of energy, kind of loud, bordering obnoxious really but I kind of ignored it because she did her job and all the customers liked her. And honestly, what could I really say to her? Her English isn't that great and it be weird scolding a middle-aged woman.

But these last couple of months it's almost like she's losing her mind. It's like she losing her grip on reality. I'm not sure whether she doesn't understand or she can't understand. The clearest example I can give is "Darla! Don't do X. Ok? Don't do X. The customer doesn't want X on their sandwich". And she'll go "Ok! Ok!" and proceed to do X in front of you.

My face when.

The rumor is that she's having family troubles back at home or that she's worried about health issues. I personally think she's always been this crazy but I didn't work around her enough to really notice them. Also, she keeps slapping my butt. I may be single now but I'm not into women who are probably double my age.

But Darla is nothing, nothing compared to how bad of a coworker Karob is. After just one week of working with her I started to dread my shifts.

First, Karob is the only person in the restaurant who cannot work as a cashier AND a sandwich artist. For whatever reason she refuses to learn how to work the till. This presents multiple problems. For example, say it's just her and I working and I need to go throw out garbage or grab something in the stockroom.

NOPE. If we get a customer she comes running to the back to get me so I can take the order. I literally cannot leave her alone for a minute. Anyone else could take the order and then complete it. Meanwhile, she'll randomly ditch me to go on 15 minute bathroom breaks whenever she feels like it.

Which results in me making this face.

Fine no problem, IF she did a good job making sandwiches. Except that it takes her forever. I could take orders, and then run to the back to make sandwiches faster than this woman. And you know what? I have. So nice of her to ditch me in the middle of a dinner rush.

And even stranger is once she left to go to the bathroom and then we realized that she wasn't even heading towards the bathroom. In fact, she wasn't even walking anywhere near the bathrooms. To this day, we have no idea where she went or where she goes.

On second thought, I don't really want to know.

My dad recently took my resume and said he'd see if there were any jobs available in the company that works in. I'd happily take it especially if the entry-level pay is as good as my dad said it was.

Plus, it be nice to not come home smelling like fryer oil for once.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Round 2 of Midterms

I really can't be complaining, I only have one midterm this week and one more next week before finals start. I have a way better deal than my sister who has 3 this week and all my friends in medicine who are being bombarded with labs and tests.

I really have no motivation left to study though.

I mean I'll still do it but the energy and the drive that I used to have it just gone. I get distracted way too easily, I don't feel like I care anymore. I just want this to be done with so I can get back to doing something else.

But there really isn't anything else for me besides studying. I don't have a job lined up like some other people and in this economy, it's unlikely I can find one without going for more school. And if I want to continue studying, I need to keep my grades up.

It's kind of sad, studying is all I've known and I'm just sick of it.


So it's back to forcing myself to my textbooks and papers. I don't know how many more years of school I'd need to do, I'm really not looking forward to this.

It's slightly ironic because we were looking at this exact phenomenon in the class I'm studying for. I'm not the only one stuck in this loop of trying to get more education in hopes of grabbing ANY job once we're done.

I mean I have a friend who graduated with an honors degree and is struggling to grab a job as a sales associate.

And I only have a specialization degree.

So back to studying I guess. I haven't been feeling mentally well lately and I guess it shows.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Project Derp: Phase 1: The Blog

A lot of people have asked about these projects of mine and I've been scant on information for a reason. See, contrary to popular belief, telling people that you're doing something actually doesn't encourage you to work on it any harder. A lot of people get a rush of satisfaction from sharing that "I am working on X". So much satisfaction that they stop working on X because they got that mental award already.

So I try to not to tell too much so as to better deny myself from that false sense of achievement. However, seeing as I've already succeeded on a significant portion of one of my projects, I think I can safely share the details here.

Also because nothing else amazing has happened in my life and I need to maintain my posting schedule somehow.

I'm so clever!

You hear stories about people making a living off their blogs, and so with a little research I decided to try it myself. See if it was possible or not. Yes, I started this blog as an alternate means to make money. Yes, I'm one of those people, you can crucify me later. But unlike most of those people I actually stuck with it.

I had a set of endpoints, goals, terms of success, etc. etc. and they boil down to the following:

Expected costs: $0
Skills to be learned: Regular posting, understanding how online advertisements work.
Estimated time: 50-100 hours.
Terms of success: 50< Blog posts, $100< Earned.
Bonus skills: Web design, basic coding.

Fairly simply, I didn't expect to spend any money on just a "theory'. For all I knew maybe some idiot got lucky and everyone else failed. But not any amount of money would be acceptable. Who wants to put in 100 hours of work and get $0.25? Not me. But at the same time, if I never posted and didn't make any money, that's my own fault, hence the 50 post minimum requirement.

Internet coupons are also not acceptable.

This would also serve as a chance to get into the groove of posting online in some sort of schedule. I would need to learn all the rules and requirements of having advertisements. If I was really keen, I would also learn how to make my blog look pretty. I didn't succeed. My blog has looked the same since day 1. But it was just a bonus requirement so I can let that slide.

I can safely say that I made well over the $100 requirement. Way over, much more than I expected. I don't feel comfortable revealing the exact amount though. I'm also actually nearing my 200th post so I beat the minimum post requirement as well.

So for these reasons I can safely declare Phase 1 of Project Derp to be a success.

Also, if you're wondering why it's called Project Derp, read the name of my blog.

But, I can hear a lot of you saying "$100 for even 50 hours of work = $2 an hour! That's not even minimum wage!". I'm certain that I've made more than many bloggers but you're right, these aren't the most amazing earnings. In addition, my earnings have been dropping for a long time now. Blogging is not an efficient way to earn money, or at least, not the way I'm doing it.

However, remember, what was phase 1 about? Testing. Testing to see if it was possible to earn money online by writing. And I passed with flying colours. It's not efficient though, but what is?

How can I possibly expand from this point?

And that's what phase 2 of Project Derp is about. Testing is over, it's time to kick it up a notch. It's time to try and make things efficient. Using the earnings gained from phase 1, I've been working on the next theory. 

The idea is that (if done right) you invest time into something and it perpetually earns you money. Forever. How awesome is that? It's like working for a month, stopping, but still getting a salary for the rest of your life.

However, I've encountered roadblocks, lack of time and sleep, and progress has not moved as fast as I wanted. I've literally been stuck at this phase since last summer and only since January have I really been putting in a lot of work into this.

But the last two weeks have been excited, I've started to show signs of phase 2 working. I just need to find time to make that (hopefully) final push into meeting the requirements for success. But based on my track record I'm not going to have a chance of finishing before April ends.

Oh well...

Phew! This post went on a bit longer than normal so I hope no one minds the massive blocks of text. I'm hoping that some of my other projects start working out so I can share them. Really handy for days that I have nothing else to talk about.

Comments appreciated. Feel free to call me an idiot if you think I'm wasting my time.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Projects Update

It's that time of month again, time to see how (un)productive I've been with regards to my respective projects. Unfortunately as midterms and papers come and go the amount of work I can do on these things also significantly decreases.

And then when those are done, I can chose between sleeping or getting back to work. And some days, I literally collapse in front of my computer mid-typing if I chose not to sleep.

And then I fall asleep.

Project Pitch:
Ugh, this is the one that has been really bothering me. Editors still haven't looked at my previous proposal, it's literally sat there for weeks now. If it's any consolation, there are about a dozen other proposals also gathering dust alongside mine. I guess I'll get notified or something when someone finally looks at it.

However I haven't really had time to research or write up anything else. I had a half coherent jumble of ideas that could be refined into another proposal if I have enough time. But until then, I won't be able to send anything to the editors to look at.

Project Derp:

I was hoping to get 5000 words written for this project during Reading Week. Unfortunately I only got half that amount done. The chances of making it to phase 3 within half of March is becoming less and less likely, and I probably won't be able to get to that stage until the end of April.

In more positive news, I'm finally starting to see additional signs of being able to get to phase 3. It took 30k words, and if my calculations are correct, 20k more will be enough to move things forward.

Project Vegas:

Permanent hiatus until Project Derp enters phase 3. I'm not spending enough money to fully utilize what I've learned.

Project Cold:

The person I was originally doing this with dropped out recently. It was unfortunate but understandable. Luckily he managed to switch me over to a friend of his and now I'm working with her. An added benefit with working with her is that I am making significantly higher profits.

It's funny that this is called Project Cold because it has been cold outside. Running around and talking to people for hours at a time has not been pleasant. Though, this has been the most exercise I've gotten in years.

Project Copy:

It goes, I'm way behind on schedule for this one simply because some days I can't dedicate an hour a day to it. I'm hoping to just take a day off and work on it and try and catch up but that has yet to be seen.

In the meantime, it'll just keep piling up
That's it for now. I need to work on all of the above this week because midterms start up again next week. :(