Thursday, May 31, 2007

End of May Report

Okay. I'm finally ready to get the 'everything up 'til now' post out of the way, so here goes...

It's been a pretty turbulent month in the ol' Jozic household. The job search, which had the Red Cross position as the place to be, turned out to be not exactly what I had hoped. After a long deliberation period the fine folks with the Canadian Red Cross (Saskatoon branch) decided to go with someone who had previous experience with the organization and I was given a cold reminder why one should never put all of his eggs in one basket.

I was feeling pretty spun afterwards and started firing résumés off here and there, mostly in the area of communications, with nothing resembling a reply but the sound of wee crickets in the wilderness. Jen, naturally, was going absolutely bonkers even though things were going better than ever with her job-related stuff. An impending possible promotion and extension of her contract were greatly overshadowed in her mind by the impending doom my job situation was presenting for the near future.

Add to this the Irish Dance Competition (from here on referred to as the Feis) that was building up a head of steam as its start date approached and we were really starting to pull out our hair in earnest.

My involvement with the Feis as hospitality chair meant that I would be tied up all weekend, working the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Jen's was more labour intensive. She had agreed to make and handle the printing for the program, which seemed like a weekend job at the time but grew to monstrous proportions as May 18th came closer and closer. Naturally, everything that could go wrong did and she was going on practically no sleep for those last couple of days before the event.

Then she had to ramp up and do it all over again for her boss as they were going to be attending/hosting the biggest academic conference of the year (that happened this week, by the way).

In the midst of all this we still had to ferry the kids around to all their practices and school events (the year is wrapping up and field trip season has begun in earnest) and with my parents gone on holidays we called in the in-laws to lend a hand with the younguns. This was a big help but did take some recoordinating since the system we had set-up with my mother was tweaked somewhat to better suit Jen's folks. Nothing major, mind you, but any change when things are that off-balance and you feel every twitch and twitter.

With all that stress floating around it's no wonder the homefront became a demilitarized zone. We got so far behind on so many things we're still scrambling to catch up, or at least get things back to a reasonable semblance of order.

Part of the reason I can be sitting here typing this is because when I look around at the room I'm in, I can actually see the couches and not huge piles of clean but untended laundry and the work area around the computer is more or less back to its usual state of disrepair as opposed to the vortex of chaos it had become over the last 30-60 days. The dishwasher is humming away in the kitchen doing what it does best and the kidlings are all upstairs falling asleep after a pleasant evening of tidying up and some quiet reading time.

All of these things are helping dial down the tension and I've got some sweet Charlie Parker playing on the media player right now, so the state of mind can be said to be good.

On the upside, there were some great things that came out of May that deserve acknowledgement. Like I said before, Jen has some sweet career climbing ahead of her and the conference led to another conference, this time only as an attendee and not a coordinator, program maker or go to girl when things go wacky. It's a pretty sweet deal, too, since the admission alone for this one is $450 per person. The fact that they spent the money to send her to what is, in effect, a huge networking opportunity means that they don't plan on getting rid of her just yet.

I finally snagged myself some decent employment with the Saskatoon Co-op. It's retail, and I'm not sure I know any more about selling plumbing and electrical goods as I did about cars, but the pay is decent, the hours are full-time with regular pay raises and there are benefits and a pension plan which all kick in after the 3 month probation. They're also looking at me as more of a management trainee candidate because of my degree and background, so the whole clerk thing could be a thing of the past in a little while.

The kids have been keeping on despite all the kookiness. To be honest, I think they were probably the best shielded from the chaos since their schedules demanded they spend a lot of time away from home and us. I know they saw the seams fraying and they had their share of getting balled out for missing some of the simple things but, as always, we did our best to keep their lives running smoothly, even if ours were falling apart.

Their school seems to be wrapping up nicely and both girls did great at the Feis, winning several medals and trophies between them. We're really hoping that Emma moves ahead a level after this year so fingers are crossed. Simon got to go to the lake with his grandparents and be pampered for a little while

Bucky also benefitted, somewhat. While I was off work and home, he got to go outside for around 30-60 minutes everyday, which he was sorry to see go when I started work again. That time outside with the cat was some probably part of the reason why I didn't totally cave under all the pressure. I would sit there with my book, whatever it happened to be at the time, and read a chapter or four while he prowled around and made sure he sniffed every corner of the yard. It was very calming. Even though things are lightening up a bit, I miss those afternoon yard brakes with the cat terribly.

Another good thing about May was appliance related. We toasted our old kitchen hardware and picked up a new fridge which has officially started the unofficial kitchen renovation of 2007. Jen's been wanting to replace those eyesores for, oh, 7 years and she finally got her wish. I won't get into details but with things finally rearranged, family dinners are now possible for the first time since moving in almost a decade ago.

There are some other things that made May an okay month after all, such as my acquisition of this Jonny Quest figure from McFarlane toys' Hanna-Barbera series and the purchase of the Ultimate Superman DVD collection as a 'you got a job' gift to myself, but those things will probably get their own post at some point. I'm sure one day I'll get around to addressing all the stuff I keep saying I'll post about.

Anyway, that's my rant on May and a 'keep you up to date' for anyone who actually cares about what goes on at Jozic HQ. I'll get back to the minutia of stuff as I settle into a regular posting schedule again.

Onwards and upwards!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Connor Hawke Bit of a Disappointment

Probably much like this post.

It's been forever and a day since I've posted on here and so much has been happening in my life right now that I thought instead of giving you guys a big 'what's been shakin' at the Jozic pad' I'd post on something smaller and easier to digest.

I posted some time ago how much I was looking forward to this limited series so I was a little surprised when I stared at it on the shelf and passed it over month after month until there was no point in picking it up. Connor Hawke replaced Oliver Queen in the pages of Green Arrow as the title character after Olly died a while ago and something about the combination of Chuck Dixon's writing and Rodolfo Dimaggio's artwork just hooked me completely on this book that I hadn't given the time of day since long before Mike Grell left to do other projects. Considering how jaded I've gotten in recent years with super-hero comics my hope was that this would be a cry back to the days when I was still excited about this character and the DC Universe as a whole.

When the book debuted there was just something about the presentation and the first impressions of it that didn't speak to highly for it so I always just left it alone.

I finally found a copy of the first issue for a buck the other day so I figured there was nothing to lose and picked it up to give it a try, only to find that all my reservations were well founded. I know that a first issue is supposed to be all set-up for the next 3, 4 or 5 issues, but Dixon doesn't really do a good job of making these characters live and breathe the way he did back in Green Arrow. For that matter, they weren't as good as when Dixon had Connor and Eddie do a guest-shot in Birds of Prey. Heck, when I hit the point where I just knew that this was going to be a hackneyed intro story I even tried to give it the benefit of the doubt so far as looking for a deeper hook in the potential for a cool continuing plot.

Alas, the effort was in vain.

I should probably mention that I did not mind the artwork of Derec Donovan whom I was first exposed to as a fill-in for Karl Moline on Rogue. He was no Rodolfo, to be sure, and there was a simplicity to the style that I don't think really helped the book, but it wasn't bad. It still looked like Eddie, Conner, Shado, and the whole gang, it just didn't excite me too much. Javier Pulido would have been a nice choice, as would Moline or ex-Green Arrow/Connor Hawke artist, Will Rosado.

So, that's my story, there's my review, and this is my big come back post. I hope it wasn't too much of a waste of time.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jobless No More

What a difference a week can make. A couple of days ago I was given the word that I would be working again, full-time, as of this coming Tuesday (I think the 22nd). I just wanted to put up a quick note here since it's been forever since I was last on, but I will be back later with more details. This Feis (Irish Dance competition) thing Jen and I are volunteering for is sucking the life right out of us. It'll all be over by the weekend, though.



Thursday, May 10, 2007

Still Jobless

The search continues, although I'm starting to wonder if it's all in vain. I've put out a number of applications in the last little while and haven't heard back from any of them to date (well, that's not entirely true. I did get an interview with a local co-operative retail company, but I'm not holding out hope for that one). I know it can sometimes take a while to hear back, especially when you're dealing with competitions where you have to wait for the application deadline to hit, then wait for the selection process, but the whole soul-sucking experience is starting to take its toll on me. I'm starting to feel that mental exhaustion that comes from doing something unsuccessfully for a duration of time and I don't see that playing too well to the significant other when there are pressing matters bearing down on us over the course of the next 3 to 6 weeks.

In the meantime, my wife is starting to grasp at straws and encouraging me to join the RCMP who offer a great salary, good benefits package and are, apparently, desperate for candidates. They've had a lot of retirings in the last little while and have spent so much time and effort encouraging equal hiring practices that they are now in need of hiring some "big white guys" for the force. It looks almost attractive except for the part where I'm not all that physical a person and have no love of being shot at.

And so, the frustration grows and the days drag on and nothing seems to change.

Until next time.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Lupo the Butcher Takes the Stage

It's been a few days since I've posted and I know it'll be a little while longer before I get anything new done on here so I figured I'd post a YouTube video that I caught a short time ago.

This clip is an animated short done by Danny Antonucci, the creator of Ed, Edd and Eddy, only this one's a little less work friendly than that show.

It's as disgusting as it is hilarious.