So I was thinking……

So I stumbled upthinking man stock photo thinker questioning puzzling manon a interesting page this morning. Courtesy of someone who dropped it on my timeline on facebook. While I do not fully agree with everything that has been stated, it did make me ponder a bit (which is always a good thing). Go read it for yourself if you want:

 

http://markmanson.net/life-purpose/

 

So now keep in my mind: my brain isn’t always wired right. So if it makes me think, it might make me think over a lot of different topics, far removed from what the author wants me to think about. For a long time I have been sitting on this blog and thinking: “What the hell am I going to write about?!?”. This mostly fueled by all the bloggers who actually have a central theme. Who have a purpose. But what if you have no idea (and WordPress so kindly pointed out to have a purpose for your blog before you start writing), then what.

 

But then today I realised. So what. No-one has any idea what they really want (save the rare individual who has been working on their dream since they have been sitting in diapers). We are all just a little lost, and coping with being lost in our very own way. So no: I have no purpose with this blog. It just IS. And what I might find interesting. So there.

The sigilhype?

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When I was still working with Yacht, I was in the fortunate position to be able to drive around in a company car. In fact this car I was allowed to drive in was rather luxurious: it even came with a standard USB port with which to connect a thumbdrive. Obviously I used this to my advantage to do away with having to use the CD part of the car stereo: I could now play MP’s on the integrated audio/navigation system.

This ofcourse created the fortunate situation (coupled with driving long distances) that I could listten to books while driving. Getting more positively entertained or educated while driving. And catching up on books for which I did not have the patience to read them in hardcopy.

Fast forward to today: I have a secondhand, 2003 model renault with buitl in entertainment system. With no USB or MP3 functionality. However the habit of listening to books is still there (it makes the long drives bearable), fortunately I do still have an Ipod Nano. Although it is still quite an unnerving experience to shut oneself off of everything (soundwise) while driving.

And thus, I put on the (relatively short) new audio drama, The Sigillite. The artwork has been out for quite some time (I read about it over 4 months ago on the bolter and chainsword forums). And it raises quite a few expectations (mostly the roman numericals on the skulls as seen above). Without diving into spoiler territory, I will just tick off the good and the bad (or at least, my opinion):

The good

  • Sound and atmospheric quality was awesome. I really liked the voice work, though int the latter half of the drama I was way more interested in the dialogue, thus it could have been toned down slightly.
  • It finally references what the Emperor has been/is doing after Magnus’ wonderfully thoughtout message. I would love to see that whole story, the history of that project and all its side, and completion paths fully fleshed out in a 10 hour+ audio book.
  • It shows that being truly powerful in one way does not equate in power over all the fields.

The bad

  • The story felt rushed in the end. I am a sucker for lore, and love to have it fully fleshed out. I want to know all the details, the histories. the thoughts etcetera. Its a bit of a sore spot for me in the whole Horus Heresy: for being all powerfull in mind and body, none of the superhuman beings ask the obvious question: WHY. Too often things are left as hints or as half said words. This breaks down a bit of the wall of wonder one should feel in such a dark and extensive setting.
  • The hype is a lie. If you know what I mean by the hype, then sorry, now you know the answer.
  • I am left wondering what the importance of this story is in Horus Heresy line. It does not show a truly deep motivation beyond the obvious. It’s not deep enoiugh to show a deep insight into the psyche of the sigillite. Nor does it give any arm twister plotwise.

All in all I am not sure if i should recommend this audio drama. If you like a bit of atmosphere, sure go right ahead. If your looking for a revelation or a plot twist, or anything that promotes the broader story, honestly, I am not sure if this will add anything.

WooT! Holiday!

Well: fortunately the world hasn’t ended all around us. Too bad for everyone who had hoped it would (if it di, it would be the worst apocalypse ever…… not spectacular shows or great pandemics or anything). But Still, I am happy as can be. Today my Christmas holidays have started. And thats a good thing: I was knackered from all the hard work at my job. Time to kick up my feet and enjoy.

 

My question to you, seeing as I am just going to relax and spend some quality time with my girlfriend, her daughter and friends. What are YOUR plans?

Stuck on a new (android) game

For the nerds amongst you, the following meme should be VERY familiar:

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A couple of years back, I played pandemic 2. They key cotry to that game (in most games anyway) used to be Madagascar. It closed down its port (the only way of entering that country) in record breaking time. So finishing up a game (i.e. killing all the inhabitants on earth) was nearly impossible. Go give the flash game a go.

I was surprised to see: Ndemic creations has made the jump to iOS and android with the updated game Plague Inc.

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As addictive as the “original”, it adds a host of new options to upgrade your disease (virus, bacateria etc.) to a new level. And Madagascar isn’t the lynchpin anymore (I have had some problems with Greenland though), and always watch out you don’t make the next Ebola: killing off the infected too fast, before they can reinfect other people.

A game to definitely try out on your mobile gaming device of choice (iPad, iPhone, Android, Android tablet), just beware of the battery drain!

The odd parent out

Being a father after a divorce can be quite challenging. Ofcourse there are those couples out there who still get a long quite fine after a divorce. And they can still discuss everything that matters between them and their child, and split the care for their child evenly.

 

I wasn’t so fortunate.

 

After I got divorced, I got the short end of the stick. The lawyers (mine and the one from my ex) decided it was a terrific idea that I would both only see my son for 6 hours in two weeks, and pick him up and drop him back home (I had a company car when I gor divorced). With the arrangement that My time with my son would be expanded after I got my own place. But as the intro would predict, my ex turned out to be a bit more, for a lack of words, bitchy about it all. The expansion of my time with my son is being constantly thwarthed. I have been relegated to a “secondary” father role. I have no clue what or how he does at school. I read on the internet that he plays soccer. It’s awesome.

 

But actually it’s quite sad. Being the odd one out, mostly out of your sons life, is the worst thing that can happen to a father. Granted I still get to see him (despite having to foot an enormous gasoline bill since I have my own car now, and there is no budging in being a bit forthcoming in traveling to where I live), it is still painfull. Especially when your child looks at ouy with the sad look only children can give you and tells you he wants to stay over with you. No matter how tough you are, you will be heart broken after it all.

So what can I say. It has been a very emotional weekend. And what did YOU do?

Life is better with friends

Let me just come forward: I am no good when it comes to making up blog post titles. My practical side always shines through, thus you are now stuck with a boring title, eventhough it does cover the contents of this post perfectly.

 

I am still enjoying the after effects of the good time I had yesterday. A good time, shared with friends. Friends I did not know a hear and a half ago. And I am still amazed this could happen. You see, for most of my life I have been a loner. Without delving into details: I grew up with a limited exposure to other kids. Add in the fact that I am a pretty introvert person, and I could count the friends I had on the fingers of one hand. And none of them I shared soemthing deep with, always keeping a bit of a distance to protect myself from harm. In college it dwindled down even further. And at the end of my first 4 years in college, I was left with only my girlfriend (my now ex-wife), after I found out that of all the people I knew in college, the poeple I counted as friends only used me for reports and such. Fast forward two deaths, a birth, and a failed marriage. Despite me being quite okay with being alone, I was pretty lonely. I did have one friend, but i rarely saw her. Mostly on the account of me being an ass and not wanting to show up and disturb the relationship she was starting up at the time.

And then, shy of a year and a half ago, I met my girlfriend. We hit it off pretty fast, and I took it upon myself to never repeat the mistakes of the past. And I landed and settled in her circle of friends. And wouldn’t you know it, they became my friends too. And I was shocked. For the first time I had a circle of people around me who didn’t judge. They met me, they saw I was okay people, and that was it. It was up to me to be myself. And that was/is highly confusing and enlighting at the same time. I am enjoying every minute of it. The serious talks, the hearty laughs and the sad moments. I still am getting used to it all, still feeling the pressure from inside to make sure I can compensate for what I feel that they are giving me (as in: for most of my life I was always judged on what I did/give versus what I was givven, and mostly it always had to be more from my side to compensate a trickle from the other side). But I know that isn’t necessary. And I enjoy every moment of it.

 

Dammit: An introvert even was made to dance thanks to these great people.

Life can and will smile on you, when it feels you deserve it the most.

Job Applications II

So the last time my rant about trying to find a job was, in retrospect, slightly incoherent. Though the point being: why is it that all companies calim they can’t find the right person, while all they do is skim a resume and refuse to dig deeper?

As mentioned before: I have found this to be a big hurdle in trying to find a job. I have sent my resume to many companies, and they all came back to me stating I never fitted any profile. Quite surprisingly, a tertiary party would contact me shortly after to ask me if they could send my resume to the very same company. Lo and behold: you do get a positive response and an invitation for an interview. Now it does make you wonder: what are these companies doing?

While browsing linkedIn I see many stories flying by (posted by recruiters no less) about how to be a better recruiter. And how to bypass the simple resume skipping part. And dive into someone’s profile to determine if a prospect is suitable for the job. Not qualification wise but person wise (as qualifications are but a tiny part of the story). No where are these stories going besides being awesome blog fillings? My personal experience: absolutley nothing has changed. It’s all hot air, and everybody is still only looking at your resume. And esppecially if you have done the EXACT same thing before. In nearly every company that is still looking for new hires in this economy. Only the intermediates (as in the temp agencies) will looking slightly beyond. But don’t be fooled by their promises I have found.

I am reminded of two applicattions I was invited for, in which an aganecy had “scouted” my resume (or more accurately, they had pulled it off of monsterboard……). I got this big talk that they had a client who was very interested in me. And were really happy with my profile. The first application was with Van Oort in Rotterdam, all the way back in 2006. I had traveled by train (2,5 hours) to be picked up from the station by the intermediate. Over coffee he hardly gave me any details on the job, mostly we discussed my resume and my education. I had just graduated so there wasn’t much to mention on my resume. We took off to Van Oort (a big dredgind company), and on arriving there, the HR person asked the intermediate to please wait outside. They only wnated to interview me. The gist being: they had heard I was really enthousiatic about being a project leader. And I had to explain them and persuade them why, because they werent so sure about me. Which was, well, quite a shock. And the polar oppossite of the meeting I had only 5 minutes before! That was a blundering failure. I wasn’t surprised to see that afterwards I was standing alone in the lobby of Van Oort. Shortly afterwards I signed with Yacht. Who did take me seriously.

The second emabrrasment wasn’t quite unlike the first. It was shortly before I lost my job with Yacht, and I met with soemone who had started his own company after having worked for a few years with Yacht. Again I heard of a great opportunity with a company who could truly use someone of my calibre and expertise. So when the meeting finally came with said company (surprisingly, I had to attend the interview on my own! Why were they the intermidairies again????), I was questioned about my excellent expertise on construction and management. The areas I had mentioned I wanted to work on in my next job. If you end an interview where the company your applying at rates you as worse than a college graduate, one has to wonder what they were promised before the candidate came over. I was both shocked and highly dissapointed.

 

Luckily: it all ended well. Shortly after this failure, I got a call from a company who asked me if I knew someone who could fill in a specific role. Instead of browsing through my network, I jumped on it. Despite not being my expertise, I felt it would give me an opportunity to explore my management skills. And give me the chance to expand my leadership qualities. And believe it or not, despite absolutely no ties to the industry, I am not working as the assistant manager of their southern branch. Good times (and proof to myself that I can perform well at interviews).

Update

Well it has been quite some time since my last post. Was I posting about games and starting a review about interim agencies little over a month ago: in the mean time I have been up and down the lenght of the Netherlands a little too often to my liking. Despite the awesome economy, I was finally hired and got a new job! Not exactly what I had thought of when I first applied, but a job nonetheless. And quite surprisingly in the construction sector of the job market. With all the huge declines happening, and all the budget cuts, its really good this has happened indeed.

 

Not surprisingly: a new job is like a new stage in your life. A new place to commute to every day. A new place to get to know the routine of. The hierachy and the pecking order. The ego’s and the no-go’s. And ofcourse a new place to assert yourself, and find your own spot.

 

I am excited and tired!

Job applications I

ImageOn the first of August this year I was let go. After having worked for nearly 6 years at a subisdary of Randstad, and fullfilling assignements for them (with the longest one lasting for 4 years in Germany), they were not able to find a new job for me for a whole 6 months. Thus they offered to let me go with a settlement. And that was that.

 

Not going into the somewhat depressing period you get after losing your job (despite the fact you were very happy with the job and its perks), the positive side of being let go is ofcourse the opportunity of finding an even better job (with better perks…… well thats what you try to get anyway).

 

Now the biggest hurdle I faced in the beginning: I work in construction (not on the site itself, I am a structural engineer after all, thus I get to sit in a comfy chairr and decide what the boys outside need to do). And as some of you might have noticed, with the current crisis going on, in the Netherlands, construction is not a very favourable market to be in. Not counting the number of businesses which are going out of business at the moment!

 

Lats backtrack a little. Since the first of Jan I havent had an assignement anymore. Add in the 6 months, and you can fill in that by the end of May/June it was clear I had to find a job outside of the company that I worked for at that moment. And I was quite amazed at what happened after I filled in the proper words in my job title on Linked In. Companies started calling me left righ and center. However one small little thing stood out: none of them were actually companies you could work for. For the lack of a better word, it was only “head hunting that” was done by companies like Brunel, Maandag etc.  Contacting construction companies themselves netted me nothing. They liked my resume but no, sorry, we really don’t need your services, or we don’t have the money (one company literally wrote me that), or some other excuse. This, coupled with some other adventures in job hunting, got me thinking lately: the big corporations hav recruiters and the like, and post many job applications on their websites. However, from my perspective most of the jobs are being filled in by these glorified resume skimmers. And I wonder what an HR department does in terms of recruitment if they rely on these agencies for proper candidates? Or is my view point to narrow?

 

Anyway stay tuned for part II as at the moment I am on the verge of picking between 3 jobs, and yes all of them are through tertiary agencies (as they seem to be the only ones being able to cut through the outer layer of many companies.

WANT WANT WANT

Forgeworld posted a new preview video on youtube about their upcoming book (and implied new models on top of what they have already published) here: http://goo.gl/tK3bY

Eventhough I don’t actively play the game (I love the lore and working on the models, which reminds me, I have to take pictres of the last models I painted up a long time ago), I am still very much excited about this.

Why?

Well the video implies “older” models (instead of the year 41st millenium, we are now focussing on the 31st milennium), and models like the cataphactii terminators. And THATS quite exciting. Now lets hope Forgeworld will release a whole slew of models, and not just one or two every two weeks or so. Time to take the painting hobby back up (and collected all my painting materials from my old house). And my wallet will hate me in a few years time.