Saturday, January 27, 2007

Career Fair Blues

I just got back from the Stanford Engineering Career Fair and boy do I have the blues. The four hours I spent their recruiting for my company made me feel crummy. I really struggled to get a job when I was just out of college and the career fair brings back some really bad memories. Sending out dozens of resumes and getting no calls back. Finally getting an interview and then being offered slightly above minimum wage. Having to sell myself in front of people during the 2 minutes they would speak to you. Dressing up in my black suit to go on interviews. And then the endless waiting...

Since I am recruiting instead of looking for a job, I am not experiencing the same stress as before. But I just really feel for all of the job seekers that I met today. I had to tell a Ph.D that he would be hired at the same level as a person with their masters degree. (He asked, and I wanted to be honest with him.) I had to tell countless people that their skill set was not what we needed. Their faces would fall, but they would try not to show it. They would mumble thanks and then float back into the crowd of students.

Argh, I just dont have the heart for this recruiting stuff! And combine that with being on the Stanford campus, a place I hate and love at the same time. Going to Stanford is like being a trust fund baby. You are forever blessed with privilege, yet you feel crummy being associated with rich Uncle Leland who is a conservative prick.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Introducing...Count Bassy!

I would like to introduce everyone to my new bass, Count Bassy.

Yes, at the ripe old age of 29 and 11/12 I have decided to start playing the bass again! Count Bassy is a beautiful 3/4 Korean-made student bass that I bought from a guy in Hollister off of Craigslist. He has a beautiful sound and is only a little finicky in cold/wet weather.

I want to learn jazz bass, but I am not sure if it would be better to formally learn classical bass and jazz bass at the same time, or just learn jazz bass. Does anyone have any advice?

I am waiting to get an instructor until after I hear back from the State on whether or not I passed the Professional Engineer (PE) exam. I will find out in a couple weeks. If I didn't pass, I need to start studying again (sigh); if I did pass, I get to start bass lessons!

In the mean time I am relearning all of the scales and doing some simple tunes in my old student books from high school. I am not really using the bow as the bow that came with the bass is crappy. So I am plucking a lot and trying to get my callouses built up. So right now Vince is putting up with a lot of crappy, out-of-tune scales, until I get up to par.... :) I need a metronome. Do any of you Bay Area folks have one you don't need? I found one on Craigslist that I might go check out next weekend too.

Happy Music, everyone! Count Bassy has a mellowing affect on me. I am glad to have some music back in my life.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The New California Ice Age


If you aren't here to experience it yourself, take my word for it, it is damn cold. Bone-chilling-can't-feel-your-toes-C-O-L-D! I was sad to see that many of the plants in my garden are dying from the frost. The weather is normally so temperate here that we plant things that can't withstand frost, since a real frost only comes every 20 years. When I saw the brown deadness of the frost in my garden, I went out to pick all of the lemons on the lemon tree. I wonder what will come back and what will be lost...I will know in the next couple of weeks...

While I am mourning seven or eight plants, CA citrus growers might have lost an entire crop, right before harvest. Small farmers already have a tough life and this frost will surely push many families into bankruptcy.

On the topic of small farmers, I am a big advocate of farm subsidies, but not in the "grow corn sugar and genetically processesed soybeans" sort of manner. Rather, I like the idea of farm subsidies to preserve greenspace and the farm culture that we (allegedly) revere here in the US. Other countries have found inventive ways of helping out small farmers. In Italy, they encourage farmers to rent out converted barns or guest houses to tourists, as part of their agriturismoitalia campaign. In France, the gite program brings tourists out to rural areas. A similar goverment funded program in the US would help preserve small farms here. But we would rather have corn syrup I suppose...

On a more upbeat note, I found a wonderful blog called I Heart Farms, that highlights life on a small farm in Santa Cruz County...