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Philip Parker
 
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Philip Parker's LiveJournal:

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Monday, January 11th, 2010
1:48 am
Nothing in particular
I see that an idiot or two deleted a few of my postings. I went to Chicago for a couple of years and am now back in Edmond, OK.
Saturday, August 4th, 2007
12:37 pm
The Day After
Today is my first day as a civilian after being stuck in the Army for a year. I'm back in Edmond, OK for a few weeks while I straighten things out a bit. I've still got to do VA paperwork for my benefits and such but I'll do that tomorrow. For now I'm enjoying going outside when I want to, getting coffee without having to hide it and enjoying being treated like a normal adult male again. I want to say that this last year had a huge impact on me and that I'm trying to get used to civilian life again, but as I look back on my lost time it just seems like a bad dream. I was in the Army from July 11, 2006 to August 3, 2007.

Current Mood: hopeful
Sunday, July 15th, 2007
7:31 pm
More Army crap...
I was just looking at my postings and realized that two that I made during March 07 are missing. I was at a couple of casinos with my mother and posting out of boredom because I don't gamble.

Anyway, I'm still in the Army and in the same screwed up rehab unit. But now my one year anniversary in the Army passed on July 11 and now I'm in the "Med board" (medical discharge) process. I should've been out by now but the stupid government workers lost my stupid government paperwork for a month without anyone knowing anything about it. It should've been sent out to Ft Lewis in WA back in late March but as of last Wednesday morning it still hadn't been sent out. I'm deeply annoyed but that one incident gives a good example of the crap I'm dealing with here. And as a "Private" in a technically training status, you have zero power to get anything done so I've pretty much had to sit and watch nothing happen. It's really frustrating because this place keeps you locked down in a non-learning environment. And it's filled with younger morons that are always getting in trouble so we all get punished. I wish I was a little more eloquent right now so I could convey my contempt, frustration and hatred for this place. I could leave at any point but the fear of "them" putting a black mark on a my record keeps me here to finish this out on their terms. But if they did happen to send off my paperwork I could be out of here in 3 weeks. I guess I'll just wait and see.

Current Mood: aggravated
Friday, March 16th, 2007
12:50 am
Injured again, back in OK, the Army saga continues...
After 5 months of sitting on my ass in the Army's idea of physical rehab, I was pushed back into training. I lasted 3 wks before my other ankle got stress fractures and I ended up back in rehab again. This time I got 30 days paid leave to sit at home and heal. I'm sitting in the nearest bar to my parent's place called "Danny Bob's Hideout" and Whitesnake's "Here I Go Again" is blaring. OH! Guitar solo!!! Over. Just writing to say that I don't think I'll be smoking anymore. I'm 34 and have to stop taking on damage. It's hard to do this with a really hard buzz that's about to make my hands numb. I'm off to go observe civilian women in real civilian clothes.

Current Mood: Buzzed hard
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007
6:18 pm
Before I Return
Today is my last full day before I have to return to the Ft Leonard Wood, MO. If anyone reads this, my new mobile number is (773)272-2929. I'll probably only have my phone on Wednesday evenings and probably the weekends so call me. I have absolutely nothing else to do, there's nothing else I can do but sit there. I'll save my complaints about the military for later. I have a feeling I'm going to get in trouble for posting this.

I've just loaded up on movies and music to take back as well as a couple of books. Unfortunately, since my heal is no longer cracked (though still kinda achy) I might have to return to training. I might try running on it tonight so I can see if I can.

Since my new phone has a camera, I might post a pic of myself. That should be amusing.

Current Mood: blah
Monday, January 1st, 2007
11:18 pm
Philip's Army Adventure...
OK, here I am.

I'm in the bar area at Remington casino in Oklahoma City while my mother and her friend are busy gambling at the machines. I'm on a 2 wk vacation from the Army so I had to spend it here because I had to give up my place in beautiful Chicago. Updating the LJ is tedious just now because I'm doing it on my week old Palm Treo 700P wonderphone.

Long story short:
The Army lied to me to get me to sign and lied to get me to ship when I found out. AT&T in downtown Chicago and my old employer who fired me both offered me a job but the recruiters wouldn't let me out. They just continued to lie and play word games and showed little interest in providing me information after my initial signing. My programming related position now looks very doubtful. BUT, it looks like I have chance of getting discharged. On the 2nd week of training I cracked my heel while running. It was misdiagnosed as tendonitis so I continued to run/train/etc though they took it easy on me. 3 weeks and 3 doctors later it was finally properly diagnosed as a "complete stress fracture of the right calcaneus". A couple of good jumps and I would've snapped it in two. So they finally stuck me in a rehab unit that's "not supposed to exist" and is under investigation. There's 20-30 people but only 5 chairs. You can't go outside unless they call you out for meals, a lame class or something else. The windows are frosted over and cannot be opened, they also have alarms. They only recently started allowing a non-receiving TV that only plays movies. We can only go buy books/movies/toiletries from the shop on base on the first saturday of the month and only for 3-4 hrs. That's if we are lucky. And I've been living like this for 4.5 months. A few years ago before the enlistment numbers started dwindling they would just discharge people with injuries like mine and allow them to re-enlist but not anymore. Now they keep them locked down to heal. And I literally mean "lock down". And the treatment by the medical staff is a whole other story though I personally haven't had any serious issues with them. I'll just say the whole thing is a big mess. Which is probably why there's a rumor this place is getting shutdown in February. I can only hope. And I hope they discharge me.

I'll write more later, this tiny keyboard is killing me. But for now I'll just say that so far the Army has been an extremely disappointing experience for me. Starting from the first day I spoke with those lying recruiters.

Current Mood: sad
Monday, June 12th, 2006
7:26 pm
Doubts and second thoughts...
I'm having second thoughts on my Army decision. I want to finish my retraining grant that's giving me my .NET and Java2 classes and see what those can do. They were originally scheduled to end in August but might go until Septemeber now. I panicked as soon as my power was turned off and talked to the Army and accepted a position that doesn't really suit me. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do now except pray, pray, pray.

Current Mood: anxious
Friday, June 9th, 2006
10:18 pm
Army training stuff...
I just looked up where I'm going to be going for training. Basic training is going to be in Fort Leonard Wood, MO very close to Rolla, MO home of my newest nemesis Jeanie Welker. After 9 months of that I'm off to Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX for about 5 months. The food's got to be incredible though I'm not sure if it's going to be worth shaving my head and confining myself to a uniform.

I have to be at the recruiting station tomorrow morning at 8am so we can be shuttled off to some mass pre-training thing somewhere for a few hours. I was also asked if I wanted to go to a Cubs game at Wrigley field on June 14 (I think) since it's the Army's birthday. If I go, I'm supposed to go on field with a bunch of other people for a mock swear in. Probably televised. I'll probably do it. I'll probably be nervous as hell and will probably be recognized by people I knew. Oh well.

Current Mood: defeated
Thursday, June 8th, 2006
11:32 pm
The Army...
I joined on the afternoon of June 5. I went through the whole process again and was told once again that I was technically color blind, had too much debt to pass the security interview for the Military Intelligence positions and that not having a driver's license would eliminate still more jobs. But I listened to the recruiter and the one from Oklahoma and trusted that once I got in and spent some time it would be much easier to change positions because they'd be much more flexible. The only position they had that held the promise of giving me tons of info to sit and study that might also lead to a job outside was the "Healthcare Specialist" or 91W. I'm going to be a medic. And this will truly be a backassward way of getting what I want because I DO want an Intelligence position as a Cryptanalyst or Linguist but if not, I could get a bunch of hospital experience and weasel my way into a bioinformatics or hospital IT position (which I kind of had with Picis). It does bother me that one can be colorblind and work with medications, charts and such.

I have been fighting the military possibility since high school and even mocked it. Now truly lousy life experiences have practically dragged me kicking and screaming into the Army. Think Jonah and the whale.

But it may not be that bad. Since the medical unit is a non-combative one there will be females. And since it deals with healthcare, there's an even greater chance of females. The bad thing is that most of the ones I saw at MEPS while processing were just out of high school and were in much better shape than I was. I think it'll be a good thing though. It'll be like having a bunch of sisters around though I know some of them would hate that perspective. More later, I have to leave.

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, May 30th, 2006
10:18 pm
The Army once again and intellectual high/moral low...
I went to the Army recruiter's office today to see if possibilities have changed for me. I get to go through the same crap I went through in Oklahoma, filling out forms, another trip to MEPS, another physical, the ASVAB again. They weren't looking for programmer people today so I had to settle for asking about the Intelligence positions. If something interests me I'll probably try for it and try to "reclassify" after getting in. I just want a good analytical position with a secret clearance. It's been over two years since my Oklahoma Army recruiter experience so they can't get to my records. No matter. I'll see what happens.

It makes me realize how incredibly unviable I am. No degree, Fine Arts major, spotty resume, etc. I realized a few days ago that I qualified for (in ascending order of exclusivity) the International High IQ Society, Mensa,
Sigma Society and the Top One Percent Society though I don't think this is going to help much I'm still getting my test scores and applying anyway. I do wish I had done this some time ago though just to have on my resume. It may sound pretentious but after working with a job recruiting company I can tell you that some corporate clients do specifically ask for resumes with "Mensa" in them. That probably would've helped me quite a bit in my earlier job searches and may have prevented me from having to go through my unemployment hell.

A few days ago I applied to an adult bookstore chain here in Chicago. If nothing else, that'll help eliminate my advanced prudishness. I need some sort of job, but I'm kind of hoping I don't get that one.

Current Mood: disappointed
Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
6:37 pm
Life still sucks...
WARNING: Depressing non-entertaining/interesting journal entry below...

I'm still jobless and still plodding through my .NET/MCSD class downtown although I've missed the last 3 classes. I'm too far behind and annoyed but I'm going to continue on just to get that completion certificate. The teacher's style and other issues (like joblessness) have caused me to lose interest for now. I'll study later and take the exam some other time.

I think "hackers" messed with my journal and other things some time ago. I know they've been in my laptop and messed with my email accounts but I think I'm missing a few journal entries as well. They've helped mangle a couple of friendships over email (one with the French ex) and probably destroyed a few emails concerning jobs. I'm annoyed. A lot of it is because I do most of my net access through a wireless connection at a local coffee shop. Wireless access has TERRIBLE security but I'm kinda stuck with that for now until I get a decent job and get internet setup in my apartment.

I'm thinking about putting the IT industry on hold for a while because I just feel worn out. And because nothing's happening for me. I just took the Brainbench Perl exam and got a 3.25 (out of 4.0) which they list as "proficient" but isn't great. It also knocked me out of consideration for a certain position downtown. I'll do something else for now. I've also been thinking that if I did get a decent job I'd save up a small chunk of money and maybe go to India before I get too old. Or maybe France. I just haven't had a decent vacation since I left St Louis long ago.

On a positive note, I'm still liking my Vaio laptop. I'm also planning on applying to 2 places I thought I'd never apply to due to my prude-ishness. I'll write about those if anything interesting happens. It's warm and nice here (~70F) in Chicago so I should forget about some of this and go outside. Or maybe find beer.

Current Mood: hopeful
Monday, April 24th, 2006
9:51 pm
Found
I was wandering around Montrose beach on Saturday and saw a book positioned upright at the base of a tree at around 5pm. It turned out to be a copy of Found (although my copy's cover looks different that the one on Amazon). The same book whose author was on NPR's This American Life. I think I remember hearing last year about how the author likes leaving copies lying around Chicago but I'm not sure. A lot of the examples in the book are from around Chicago so that makes sense. Funny weird book. I need to see if he's doing appearances anywhere so I can have my copy signed.

Current Mood: amused
Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
4:51 pm
Fired again...
Just got fired at a 2:30p meeting today. I saw it coming and am kinda relieved. The company is Xxxx (www.#^&%+.com), doing hospital info systems. Interesting points:

Learn and be productive at a new system, but "don't read documentation at the office."

Don't try and work with the employee by creating projects that the employee can dig into. Emphasize learning the system independently (see above).

Explicitly discourage beneficial side projects ("Who told you to do that?" and more).

You can manage programmers without being a programmer, not know how to code, not liking programming, not thinking like a programmer.

Have micro-manager tendencies. Think in terms of yourself instead of the company. Have employee come to work when you do. Try to be the employee's sole contact for information.

There's more but I don't want to sound vindictive. I am actually relieved. Now I don't have to deal with getting out to Rosemont (near O'Hare airport) for the next year or two. I'm going to try to get a job downtown. But for now, I'm off to update my resume.

I really wish I had a TV right now so I could go rent "Office Space". Crap.

Current Mood: giddy
Monday, December 19th, 2005
6:08 pm
New job, laptop...
Been working almost 3 months at a company called Xxxx (www.*(%@$.com, duh.) Interesting and NOT a dotcom. Laptop:
Sony Vaio FS742/W from MicroCenter

Still don't haven't settled into a real apartment of my own but I'm waiting to hear word from the prospective landlord any moment. And I hope it's soon since my current "place" is old and REALLY drafty. If I get the place I want it'll be near a place called Piece. It's a brewery/pizzeria in Wicker Park. Been there everyday for the past week and a half. The owner's name is Bill, he's cool. Gotta go, the building shuttle leaves soon. Things are better, much better. Later.
Saturday, March 26th, 2005
3:11 pm
Spring in Chicago...
Things are warming up a bit here in the Windy City. It's 38F right now with Tuesday expected to go up to 60F. That's good for Chicago.

I discovered that I'm 798 miles from my birthplace (Dallas, TX). http://www.indo.com/distance/

I also just took the Brainbench Perl exam since all their exams are free for 2 weeks. I'm a bit rusty but I was expecting to get higher than the 3.24 (87 percentile) that I got. It also says my weakness is "Expressions" which is bad because I state on my resume that I am good at those, and I thought I was. Oh well. I am rusty and I did start to blow it off after a while. I really just wanted to go through it once so I knew what it was like when I actually decide to pay and take it again. I need to do some research since I have an issue with one of the questions.

I'm still jobless but am working on putting my resume in a one page functional format. I feel pretty good about this and even better now since things seem to be picking up around here for the past month or so. More later...

Current Mood: accomplished
Friday, July 2nd, 2004
10:06 am
In CHICAGO!!!
Ok, this is day 2 of my return to Chicago and it's NICE. I'm surprised that things are still changing, high rises where there was a gas station, etc. It's not as hot here either, and the lake smells nice though I haven't even seen it yet.

I'm updating from the Native American community center where they now have a bunch of computers. When I was here I fixed a whole bunch of old ones so they have to let me use these newer ones now. I'm still excited just being here so nothing can really get me down right now.

I'm off to go look for grunt work and talk to people.
Tuesday, June 29th, 2004
3:48 pm
"Fleeing Oklahoma" Part 2...
Just went downtown this morning to change my ticket to Wed June 30, 6:55pm. NOW I'm leaving. This was the latest possible date for a re-scheduled ticket since July 4th is coming up and I must be in Chicago for the fireworks.

Oh yes. The NM road trip. That was a bit grueling even though I didn't drive much. It was interesting to see so many Native people in one area, especially ones of my tribe. It really hit me that over there I don't look like a full blood at all. They probably think I'm half though I'm 3/4. That 1/4 Irish really screws things up. But over here, people usually consider me full blooded. The funeral was sad, first one I've been to.

Current Mood: awake
Wednesday, June 23rd, 2004
9:48 pm
Slight change of plans...
This afternoon I decided to go with my mother to the funeral in NM. My mother, brother and I leave in the morning around 5am and probably return on sunday. THEN I'm off to Chicago. Seriously.

Sent off Amazon questionnaire to recruiter today. He wanted details of my interaction with the head of HRIS there because he was presenting to them today. I have a feeling this'll at least get me the phone interview.

Made one last final effort to get a license at the DMV. Idiot woman there told me they were too full today to even let me take a number and hope, even for a written test. The room was only half full and I don't think it was any later than 3pm. I left despising Edmond, OK just a little bit more.

Current Mood: contemplative
Tuesday, June 22nd, 2004
10:09 pm
Countdown...
I've got less than 24 hours here in this town before I depart to CHICAGO. I've said my goodbyes and now I'm mostly ready to leave. Still no plans or any real idea of just what I'm doing once I get there. I figure the first thing I do is kiss the ground with the expectation that, since it's in the city and ground is scarcer than concrete, it will probably have been sprinkled with a bit of dog urine. At this point, I do not care.

Got a coupon in the mail today for a pack of Black & Mild pipe tobacco cigars and tried one. Hated it and gave the rest away to a guy at Taco Bell. I guess I can scratch that off my list.

Family drama:
Mother might be going to her brother's funeral alone. Why? Messed up stupid story that I'll not record here.

Time to start packing...

Current Mood: anxious
Sunday, June 20th, 2004
10:51 pm
Expensive Chicago...
Just found out that Chicago has the 3rd highest cost of living in the US after New York and Los Angeles. And I'm arriving there on Thursday with no money, no plans, no nothing. I'm such a desparate dumbass. But it will be fun albeit a bit awkward.

Maybe after I get there this lame journal of mine will finally start to have some semi-real content.

I just have to say one more time that "Damn, Edmond sucks."
But the cops have stopped stopping me. That's good.

And my mother's brother died yesterday morning. He was a really nice person though he didn't speak a whole lot of English. Or maybe he just didn't like to. He seemed to be very well liked because my mother tells me there are hordes of people calling about him and planning on attending the funeral and whatever else. I'm sure a lot of sheep are gonna be slaughtered for this one. (Mutton is a big thing out there, "out there" being NW New Mexico). I remember he used to work at Chaco Canyon.

Current Mood: anxious
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