After almost 2 years of looking...

Although I had a wonderful birthday weekend (post to follow), one of the best presents I got was... A NEW JOB!

A good friend of mine has also been looking for a job, and he asked me how I found out about it, and what I did to get it. I felt a bit guilty, because I didn't do anything to find out about the job; it found me.

Back up to a couple months ago. A recruiter from Jobspring called Mike (goodolmike ) and said "we have somebody who would be perfect for a job with you".
Mike said that they didn't really have any positions available right then. He was about to hang up, when the recruiter said "oh, well do you know anybody who is looking for a job?"
Mike said "why yes, I do!" and gave them my number. They called me, we talked a bit, and they decided to set up an interview with me.

Since Jobspring is located in Orange County, we did an interview over Skype so I didn't have to drive up there. I talked to 4 different people there during the interview.

They called me back a week or so later and said they had a job as a back-end web programmer that I might be good for. We set up a phone interview with the CTO at the company.

I talked to the guy for about 30 minutes. I thought the interview didn't go that well (I was really nervous), but the recruiter said I did great, and that the compnay wanted me to do a programming test. The test was hard, and took me about 5 hours to complete. I sent it in, but didn't hear anything back for another week or so.

The recruiter called me again, and said that they were thinking I might be better for a front-end developer position at the same company, if I was interested (which of course I was. That's more along the lines of what I wanted, anyway!).

They had me do another test, this time I was to take a phoshop file and turn it into a functioning, static HTML page using a CSS framework as well as my own CSS, and then answer a bunch of questions about CSS and jQuery.

I aced it, of course. :-)

They called back a couple days later, and asked me in to interview at the offices.

When I got there, I interviewed with the CTO for half an hour, and then he brought in 3 programmers, and they asked me a slew of questions– some theoretical, and some about specific technologies.

An hour and a half later, I felt like I should have panini char marks on my chest, they grilled me that much.

The next day, the recruiter said that they were getting ready to make me an offer. The CTO had to clear it through the CEO first.

That was on a Tuesday. I didn't hear back from the recruiter until Friday.

Not only did I get the job, I got stock options, a signing bonus, a brand new computer (they asked me if I wanted a PC or a Mac. I told 'em "Mac, of course!") and actually MORE salary than what I was expecting!

I spent the rest of Friday (and much of the weekend) bouncing around, grinning, and totally on cloud 9. I may have actually giggled a few times.

So if it hadn't been for a recruiter cold-calling Mike, and then him giving them my number, I wouldn't have this job. Thank you very much to my sweet, sexy, handsome, and kinda awesome boyfriend. :-)

I start on Monday the 14th.
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Birthday 2012

All sorts of exciting things going on these days, but what I want to talk about is MY BIRTHDAY!!

Yesterday, Rob ( crimsonsaint) took me to lunch at this Mediterranean/Juice bar place we've been to a few times before. Lunch was delicious, as always, but… well, more on that later.

Anyway, while we were sitting there, I realized that I had Mike (goodolmike) all to myself this weekend. I wanted to do something a little different that maybe we haven't done before. Something fun, that wasn't just sitting around the house, or just going to a coffeeshop and hanging out there. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with going to a coffeeshop and hanging out. It's a great, relaxing way to spend an afternoon; drinking coffee, reading books on our e-readers, and just being together and relaxing and stuff.

But this weekend, I wanted to do something different and fun, and I thought to myself "what about renting some bikes and going to, like, Fiesta Island or something? take a little picnic maybe, or whatever"

Skip forward a few hours. Mike stops by to pick me up to go to dinner. I tell him about my plans for the weekend. He was surprised, and said "oh! yeah, sure. We could do that".

@goodolmike got me a beach cruiser! It's so cool! Best. Boyfriend. Ever.We jump in his car, and swing by his house so I can open my presents before going to dinner. And there, in the living room, was a brand new beach cruiser bike!

I freaked out. It's PERFECT! It's brown and orange and retro style and so totally "me" it's crazy. I love it.

Best. Boyfriend. evar!

Needless to say, we're totally going bike riding this weekend! YAY.

Oh, and then at dinner, something I ate at lunch totally didn't agree with me, and I had to excuse myself from dinner 3 times to use the restroom. Ugh. Nothing like a case of the squishies to put a damper on your birthday celebrations.

But that's ok, 'cause I got a totally sweet bike! YAY!!

As a side note:
I am allergic to almost everything— pollen especially. So it's kind of a cruel joke that my birthday is smack-dab in the middle of spring and allergy season. Every birthday I have spent sneezing and stuffy nosed, watery eyes, and just miserable. Last year I wished for just one birthday without allergies. Well, it's been gray and humid here this past week. And that translated to almost zero pollen on my birthday. For the first time in forever, I actually had a really nice, non-allergy birthday!

At about midnight, tho, my allergies came back in full force. I sneezed non-stop for 10 minutes. My room mate can corroborate this.

But if my birthday wish from last year was so powerful that I was able to adjust weather patterns in San Diego, maybe my next birthday wish should be a little grander… a pony, perhaps? or maybe a million bajillion dollars in my bank account.

Oh, ok... and world peace.

If I gotta.

(but i still want that pony!)

First Anniversary!

Up until now, I haven't had a lot of good luck dating people; the longest relationship I had had before was about 7 months.

But then I met Mike, and all that changed. We started dating near the end of January, 2011, and last weekend, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary.

It's been a pretty amazing time for me. The past year has been filled with some downs, and a lot of ups. To name a few: I'm still unemployed, my cash reserves are running pretty low, and I'm feeling like I've missed out on a lot simply by not having the money to travel and do too much. On the other hand, I'm dating a great guy who's fun and cute and sexy and makes me laugh.

We've had a lot of fun times together, too: we've been to Palm Springs many times – including Coachella. We've visited our friends Richard and Reid in San Clemente more times than I can remember. We've been to San Francisco together, and stayed with friends in LA. We have been to concerts, dances, and bar nights. And lots and lots of fun dinners with friends and good times.

Being in a relationship hasn't been easy all the time, but I've learned a few things: there's going to be times when you don't always agree; times when you need to meet each other half-way; times when compromises need to be made, and times when you (or your partner) need to just give in.

The year has also been filled with a lot of dating firsts. After meeting his family for a birthday party, and then having Thanksgiving with them, I decided I wanted to do something special for our 1 year anniversary… and I wanted it to be a surprise for Mike.

It was pretty easy to figure out what to do for the surprise, too. Everytime we were at Disney, he would almost always say how much he wanted to stay in the Grand Californian hotel some day. I dug out my credit card, went online, and booked the room for us.

Caveot Emptor: If you are a Disney annual passholder, make sure you compare prices. When I booked the room, they were having a winter special. The cost of the room was about $80 less than if I used my annual passholder discount.

Throughout the rest of November, December, and January - right up to when we were in the car and about 15 minutes away from our destination, Mike had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. He would ask me questions. I would answer them truthfully, but occasionally I would have to throw a red herring in there – a little misdirection by simply omitting a detail here, or emphasizing some other irrelevant detail there. e.g.
Mike Have I ever been there before?
Me I don't think so, no.
(I wasn't sure if he had ever stayed in the hotel before. I knew he had been to Disney's California Adventure, but that's not where we were staying. We were in the hotel, which just happens to be smack-dab next to DCA)

Mike How far away is it?
Me It's less than 5 hours drive from my house
(Disney is normally an hour and 45 minutes from the house. So that's true. However, one time we were driving up to a friend's house on a Friday after work, and what should have been a 2 hour drive became a 5 1/2 hour drive in bumper-to-bumper traffic. So just to cover my bases, I said it was going to be less than 5 hours.)

Mike Will there be nudity?
Me Oh yeah. Totally.
(I think Mike was worried that I would try to take him to a 'clothing optional' resort in Palm Springs or something. I was simply refering to the times when we would be naked, like when we were taking a shower, or changing, or… you know… [wink] )

The reason I had to tell him before we got there was because I realized a potentially weekend-busting wrinkle; I had forgotten to make sure Mike had brought his annual pass with him. As we were approaching the exit on the highway, it suddenly hit me… "oh crap! what if he doesn't have his pass with him?". Which, it turnes out, he DIDN'T; he had left it in his truck back at home. We quickly looked up what to do about a lost season pass on the Disney website (thank you, iPhone, for letting us look stuff up online while in a car), and discovered that you can replace a stolen or lost pass for $20. YAY! the weekend was saved, and we didn't have to drive all the way back to San Diego, and then back up again, just to get Mike's season pass. *whew*

The room was awesome, and the hotel staff was amazing. Although the hotel is kinda pricey – especially for an unemployed web developer – I totally reccomend it for anybody who's considering a stay at Disneyland / Disney California Adventure.

We had such a great weekend, too, and so many stories! We did a bunch of stuff we don't normally get to do when we're with a group of people. We took a drawing class, and paddled canoes around the Pirate's Cove ( I think that's what it's called now. It used to be Sawyer Island). And one time, we were having dinner outside a restaurant in Downtown Disney, and we saw about 4 police and a few security guards take down a guy – full on, face-in-the-ground, handcuffed and restrained take down. And 3 minutes later, they had all cleared out with the miscreant and everything was back to quiet and normal. It was fascinating to watch. And no, we never did find out with the guy did.

When we checked in to the hotel, they asked if we were celebrating anything special. I said "yes, it's our anniversary". The woman dissapeared for a few minutes to the back room, and came out with a "Disney Magic" anniversary package, which included a couple pins that said "Happy Anniversary!", a signed photograph of Mikey and Mini wishing us a happy anniversary, balloons, and a couple instant fast passes. These things are amazing! All we had to do was walk up to a fast-pass distribution machine, use those cards instead of our season passes, and they would print out a fast-pass that could be used immediatly. Each card could be used twice, so we saved them for the most important (and busy) rides: Star Tours and Space Mountain!

Mike made a little video about the hotel and our weekend. Check it out!

I heart technology

I was just talking to Mike goodolmike about watching a movie later. I checked to see if it was on Netflix streaming (It wasn't). I decided to give Redbox a try. Downloaded the free app, entered in my home address, checked to see if the movie was available (it was), entered in my CC info, and reserved the movie for me to pick up later.

All from my iPhone while sitting at a Starbucks about 5 miles away. Then I made this LJ update from my iPhone, too.

We truly are living in the future.

I fucking love technology.

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Best year end ever

Thanks to a certain someone (goodolmike), this year has been pretty awesome. I accomplished a lot of firsts this year, two of which involve boyfriends and families.

I have never dated somebody long enough to be introduced to their family as "the boyfriend", nor have I been able to introduce him to my family. Once, I was dating a guy and I was all set to introduce him to my mom when she was out visiting, but he broke up with me a week before she got here.

I met Mike's family first at a birthday party for his sister-in-law a few months ago. I was really really nervous, but it turns out I didn't need to be; they were awesome and welcoming. The second time, we went to his parents house for Thanksgiving dinner. I made a veggie lasagna using a (slightly modified) recipe from the awesome qbear. The third time was for Christmas dinner. Each time, I have felt welcomed, and that's pretty awesome. (side note: yeah, I have used "awesome" 3 times in a paragraph. I guess I need to use my thesaurus more…)

But then, my dad and step-mother came to visit from Dec 28-Jan 3rd. For some reason, I had never really talked to him about dating Mike. I come from a Presbyterian family; we don't talk about anything. So when I mentioned that I was going to have Christmas dinner at Mike's house, my dad said "Mike? Who is Mike?"
I said " Mike is this guy I have been dating for almost a year, now"
"what does this Mike do? Where is he from? Is he an upstanding citizen, and all that?" he asked.

Yeah. "Upstanding citizen". I had to laugh. Dad was being a concerned father. That was kind of nice, actually. He wasn't always that way. 20 years ago, he would have just said nothing, or else spluttered out something like "well, just be careful", then walked away looking a little uncomfortable.

The first night they were here, it was just Dad, Pat, and me for dinner. I wasn't sure how he was going to be, not just in regards to Mike and grilling me on everything about him, but also on my weight (which is at an all-time high). Turns out, he was pretty relaxed and easy-going the whole evening. This is the same man who is known amongst his friends as being more than a little uptight. Not the case on that night; he was completely at ease.

001/365On Jan 1st, we got together for dinner again. This time I brought Mike. I was so nervous at first. After all, this was the first time I had ever introduced a boyfriend to my family. Ever. But dinner went great, everybody got along, conversation was interesting, there were no awkward silences. It was about as great as a first meeting could go!

Of course, Mike and I were both a bit tired, too. On Dec 31st, we started the final remodeling of his bathroom. He had already painted it, and then we installed a new light fixture, vanity, sink, and toilet. Granted, Mike did most of the work, but I helped with the lifting, and the problem solving and the reading of directions, and stuff. We started on Saturday, and got everything done except the vanity and sink, which we finished on Sunday (Jan 1st). Add in having gone to a raging New Years Eve pool party the night before, and we were both pretty tired by the time we went to dinner with Dad and Pat.

This year I learned that:

  • having a boyfriend is kinda awesome (not even going to try to find a better word. "awesome" is exactly what I meant)
  • being a part of your boyfriend's family's celebrations is a great feeling
  • sometimes, your parents can surprise you in welcome ways

I am looking forward to 2012. Now, I just need a job.

P.S.Thanks, Mike, for letting me use your pictures here

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.


Modern technology forges ahead

I am so totally not a social media kinda guy. I rarely check Facebook, I check Google+ even less, and I post to LiveJournal once every equinox or so.

The other day I was going through some of my old iPhone apps that I never use, and removing the stupid ones from my iTunes library, when I saw I had an LJ app. I remember it being kinda clunky and useless, but I thought "huh. I should take another look at this. Maybe it will help me stay in touch with distant friends better. That is if they have updated it"

To my surprise, it's pretty decent! So... Yeah. Let's try this experiment again, shall we? I promise to try to think about being more active on social websites more. Maybe. And now that I have an iPhone and iPad app for it, hopefully I will :-)

(pecked clumsily into my iPhone using my two thumbs and a virtual keyboard. I blame autocorrectfor any typos. )

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPhone.


Naked Civil Servant

With all this brouhaha over Netflix' pricing changes, and the just released details of how they are restructuring the company, and that one of their streaming providers (Starz) will no longer be providing content for them after January 28th, 2012, I decided I should probably start watching some of the nearly 100 movies in my instant queue.

Tonight, I watched a movie I haven't seen since college: The Naked Civil Servant. The movie follows Quentin Crisp's early life in London. Crisp is a very effeminate gay man, and he doesn't hide it. He pretty much takes it on himself to be a silent, if flamboyant, constant reminder to the people in pre— and post— WWII London that homosexuals exist. He was a one man Act Up. Just by walking down the street, he was letting everybody know "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it (and please don't beat me up)".

After watching the movie, I was really struck by just how much he did for the gay movement, without really doing anything other than living his life out loud.

When the movie was done, Netflix showed a list of other movies I might be interested in, including a movie called An Englishman in New York, which has John Hurt reprising his role as Quentin Crisp, but many years later when he moved to New York in the early 80's. As an aside, the the song "Englishman in New York" was written by Sting about Quentin Crisp.

I found this movie to be even more entertaining. It's almost a new twist on the fish-out-of-water story. Here we see an aging queen of the old guard who existed by being flamboyant, now living in a city where most of the gays looked just like the "great dark man" that he so wanted when he was younger. Flamboyancy was out, masculinity was in.

In one of his performances, he said something that really dropped him out of favor with the public. They address that in this movie, and some really interesting insight into his character and what he really meant by the statement. If any of you remember the incident i'm talking about, I really recommend watching the movie.

In the end, he makes a really really interesting statement:

"you should make no effort to try and join society. Stay right where you are. Give your name and serial number, and wait for society to form itself around you, because it most certainly will. "

In other words: live your life, be proud, be happy, and don't try to "blend in". The rest of the world will, eventually, accept you and welcome you. But they can't do that if they don't know you are there.

I was really moved by this. I had kind of written off Crisp as a relic of a different age, out of touch with where gay life was now. Turns out, he really was in touch with how the world works.

It's been 13 years...

It's been 13 years since my mom died.

I wasn't really thinking about it this year, but I guess my subconscious was; I dreamt about her this morning. In the dream she was still alive, and we were making plans to have dinner. She and my dad left to go do something, and it suddenly struck me that she shouldn't have been there because she had died. I started asking my friends if they has seen her, or was I just going crazy. My friends were consoling me, and I started crying because I was grateful for their concern, and also sad at my loss.

I woke up crying.

Thirteen years ago, my parents were going to visit my brother and his family in Hong Kong. I talked to my Mom and Dad on the phone before they left, said the usual " have a great trip! I love you" stuff, and that was that. Three days later, I get a call from my Dad saying Mom was in a coma and it didn't look like she was going to make it.

I really don't remember much of the next three months. As I told a friend of mine, it was like my reality check bounced. I remember going to work every once in a while, but mostly I was just numb. I have a couple really amazing friends that made sure I got out of the house at least once a week, even if it was just to come over to their place for dinner, or a little get-together.

Thirteen years later, I still miss my mom.

My Dad (Bill), brother Steve, and sister-in-law Wendy wrote a recap of what happened to share with family and friends so they could understand everything that happened. Although it ends with my Mom dying, it is an amazing story of the goodness of people; strangers working together to help somebody— somebody they don't know, but who needs their help.

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Mike, Reid and I went to Disneyland. The park was really crowded, and we were all just in a relaxed kinda space, so we ended up wandering around, doing some shopping, and going to see places that we don't usually go to. When we're with "the bears", we usually just go on tons of rides. They really know how to work the fast-pass system, and know which rides to go on at which times. It's all kinda voodoo to me.

But in doing that, there are a lot of places in Disney we never get to see… like Toon Town. Sure, it's meant for kids, but it was fun to see it anyway. We also walked through Cinderella's castle, and took the train ride across the park. The train ride takes you throug a super-cheesy 1950's era diorama of the Grand Canyon. There are views of the canyon as it is today, and what it might have looked like with the dinosaurs roaming about (nevermind that the Grand Canyon is only about 16 million years old, and the dinosaurs died out about 65 million years ago).

It was a great, relaxing day at Disneyland, even if we didn't go on any rides.

(Picture taken by: Reid / animbear)

65 / 365, originally uploaded by JP in SD.

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Mike and I are visiting Richard & Reid this weekend. Today was such a beautiful SoCal day (about 76 degrees) that we went for a nice long walk from the R&R Tiki Retreat down to the beach and out to the San Clemente pier. The pier is so long, it feels like you are about a mile out in the ocean looking back at the shore. After the pier, we stopped for pizza at this amazing little hole-in-the-wall place, where Reid snapped this shot.

All in all, a great relaxing day!

64 / 365, originally uploaded by JP in SD.