Monthly Archives: September 2015


This morning, I was called into a meeting with my bosses boss.  As soon as he asked for the meeting, I was pretty sure what the meeting was about, and I was right.  I have been given a sixty day notice that my job is being eliminated.  I am getting generous severance package, and Qualcomm is providing outplacement services which I plan on taking full advantage of.

I sent some more job applications out, before seeing advise from the outplacement agency not to start sending applications right away.  However, I’ll wait until I talk to them on Monday before doing anything more.  But, I intend to be as aggressive as I can in looking until I find something.

My hope is that I’ll be able to find something during the next sixty days that I can start in mid-December or early January.  Obviously, I’d prefer something in San Diego, or possibly parts of Orange County where I can fairly easily commute from Rancho Bernardo.  A job that could be 100% telecommuting would be the same as any job in San Diego.  If I have to relocate, we’d probably prefer Albuquerque since there is family there, and we have contacts who have contacts who might know how to deal with The Kid – who would probably have to relocate with us, but not live with us.  The Chicago area (at least as long as we could move back to the Bartlett/Hanover Park area) would be in play, as would Silicon Valley (provided the job was good enough to deal with the cost of living).  I’d consider Seattle, but Tara is less sure since we’d be further from family.

I’ve started reducing expenses – suspended piano lessons, reduced the number of DVDs Netflix will deliver, dropped premium channels, canceling newspaper, etc.

There are a few other things I need to do soon.  I need a new suit since my really nice suit fit about 100 pounds ago.  I’m sure that there are a couple of others, but I cannot think of any.

I’d appreciate prayers/good thoughts.  I’ll accept any job leads that you want to provide (thank you already to Glenn and Susan – I’ve followed up on your leads already).

Musical Updates

For much of the year, and into last year, I have been (was) taking music lessons.  First voice lessons and then piano lessons.  Of the two, the voice lessons have been more successful.  However, those ended in the spring when my instructor moved away and I’ve not resumed them with a new instructor – at least not yet.

I still have three piano lessons scheduled this month, but may put them on hiatus as well to let some other things calm down (mostly some house rearranging and minor remolding – replacing the flooring in two rooms as part of the rearrangement).  Hopefully, once rearranged I’ll be able to set up the keyboard in my new office without it taking up the whole room and may feel like I can practice and resume lessons.

But, overall, I’m thinking that singing is my strength.  So, that is what I should focus on.   I will need to go back to the songs I worked on when I had voice lessons and try them again – recording them and listening back so that I can be sure I’m still on key, pitch, etc.

But, I’d also like to expand my {word I cannot spell well enough to fix with spell check, that means list of works one is able to perform}.  I’ve got a few songs that I have lyrics and accompaniment tracks for that I could work on.  Obviously, most of these are mainstream songs – although thanks to a program that does an OK job at stripping vocals from sufficiently complex tracks (it fails miserably if the track is essentially mono) I have a couple of filk standards (“Mal’s Song” and “Hope Eyrie”) available.

However, I’m running into an odd problem.  Having only recently discovered it, I’m finding Stan Rogers’ “White Squall” a very inviting song to learn to sing.  [It is a bit odd to think that someone from New Mexico enjoys songs about The Great Lakes, many of which are disaster songs – fictional or non-fictional.  On the other hand, I spent many years in the Chicago area, and my dad’s family comes from Grand Haven, Michigan].  But, doesn’t have a version.  Nor have I turned any up in my other searches.  And, I cannot strip the version I (currently) have because it is from Apple Music making it a DRMed AA3 and the program needs a non-DRM MP3 to work.

Another thing I’m thinking I should try a bit is song writing.  One idea I have is to take my grandfather’s story about an ancestor who ended up working in Chicago (or Milwaukee) as an operating engineer for a hotel boiler; but would periodically swap jobs with a friend who worked a steamer crossing to Grand Haven.  This song would fit well with “White Squall” and “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” (another song I’m tempted to learn).

One other thing that I’m still tempted to do is pick up and learn (or refine to correct skills) a cajon and/or other hand drum.  At least short-term, I think if (when) I start spending more time in filk circles these might be useful instruments.  Longer run, these might also become what I’d be likely to use should I end up doing more formal performances; relying on either accompaniment tracks or (preferred) someone else providing accompaniment.