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Nothing. I hate "nothing."

"We'll call you on Friday."

It is now Tuesday.  Four days after the Friday referenced above.  I can only imagine what's going on in the offices of Johns Manville.

After my equally dismal and brilliant performances in French on Thursday, there is a debate raging over whether or not I am hireable into the French-speaking position.  They have offered the position to another candidate (rumour has it there were only two of us), and they are waiting for that person to make a decision.  I am their fall-back.

Or they're looking for someone else altogether and will only tell me the bad news when I call or e-mail.  This begs the question, "How long does one wait until asking about where the process stands?"  (Real question, by the way...opinions welcome.)

On another note, I have a rather remarkable opportunity to move to Japan.  I am VERY intrigued by it, but I'm not sure about Japan.  I've been there and I love it - living there would be one of the most unique experiences of my life, I think, and doing business in Japan could definitely expand my horizons.  If I were to be offered the same position in Spain or Argentina or Finland or Canada my decision would be much easier...

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Surgery!

Monday, 12 March 2007.  

Positive thoughts, ice cream, beer and cards appreciated. 

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Les intrevues (Oui! Plural!)

Now I don't know what to think.

I had the day off yesterday, so I was out and about taking my car in for service when my phone rang.  403 area code...Alberta!  Nerves, butterflies, and all thoughts of French went out of my head.

I had received an e-mail that morning telling me that I would receive a call from either Monique or Tony with the company's Canadian offices.  I didn't know who was where, so I answered, and the raspy voice of a dedicated smoker came on, in English.  It was Monique.  I could barely understand her English, to tell the truth...and after the nicities we switched to French.

It was horrendous.  I couldn't understand a thing she said to me.  Barely a word.  I just started talking, trying to direct the conversation as best I could, but I knew that she was asking me things and I was answering completely incorrectly.  What I thought was, "Ou est tu?" (Where are you?) was actually, "Ou est-ce que tu travailles?" (Where do you work?).  My answer, at an auto service garage, conflicted with the resume she had in front of her.  It conflicted with my basic skill-set, as well, obviously.  Needless to say, Monique very empathetically told me that she would NOT be recommending me for the French-speaking position.

After about 15 minutes I ended it.  I was embarrassed, disappointed, and exhausted.  I speak French with some friends here regularly, and I really did think that I was "conversational," as I have it listed on my resume.  Is that wrong?  Am I lying?  Why would they want to hire someone ho exaggerates or lies on his resume?  I was devastated, so I called my best friend (with whom I speak French regularly!) and began to tell her all about the call.

Call waiting beeps in, and it's a 450 area code - Quebec.  I get off the call with Jen and answer.  It's Tony from Montreal, and he wants to put me through my French paces.  I explained to him what had just happened with Monique, and he asked me, "So you don't even want to try?" (in a very sexy, masculine French Canadian accent...of course I want to try!).  I launched into French immediately, and we had an extremely complete, accurate, and informative conversation for about 20 minutes, all in French!  Everything he said was very understandable and I responded appropriately each time.  At the end of the conversation he told me that he WILL recommend me for the position.

So now I wonder who has more pull.  It's Monique's position I'll be taking since she has decided not to move to Denver with the closure of the Canadian facility, so she could be perceived as having a chip on her shoulder, but she's also the person with all of the contacts, and who knows her clients (the future clients of whoever gets this position) and how to speak with them.  Tony is a client - I think - and based on that he might have lots of weight to his opinion.  I can't get my hopes up, but I've already put feelers out for a French Canadian tutor to get me up to speed with Quebecois.

Positive thoughts, ice cream and beer are always welcome.

Interview Day

I don't know what to make of today, truthfully.  I couldn't fall asleep last night, but that was due as much to the nap I took as to nerves, I'm sure.  When the clock rolled around to 1:09 and I realized that I had less than four hours before I had to get up, I groaned and tried to force myself to sleep.  Does that work for anyone?  Not for me.

Anyway, 5:00 comes and I woke much more easilly than I would have expected.  Note that I said, "woke" - I stayed in bed until 5:30, but that was the plan.  Finally got up and logged into my e-mail to see if the e-mail that was supposed to have been sent yesterday with all of the information about my interview (where, when, who, etc.) had arrived, and it hadn't.  Good thing I've begun to recognize the "REI voice," you know, that voice that says, "Yeaeah, maaan, I'll get it duuun..." so I had asked for the address the day before and had already Mapquested it.  

Shower.  Shave.  Deodorize.  Find a shirt.  Nope.  Find a shirt with all of its buttons.  Nope.  Find a shirt that fits.  Barely.  Find a suit.  Nope.  Find a suit that fits.  Nope.  Nope.  Nope.  Barely.  One last try.  Success - my fat suit from a few years ago!  Fits perfectly.  Hmmm...

By the time I was hosed off, suitably attired and had printed all of the documents one takes to an interview, it was 7:00am and time to leave.  And boy am I glad I gave myself time.  Finding the place wan't difficult at all.  It was the God-awful morning commute.  The boring details: I-25 South to Santa Fe South to C-470 to Kipling to Ute to Johns Manville.  95% of the drive on Santa Fe was along the light rail tracks, and even going against traffic I watched the trains wistfully as they sped by us.  I already knew that if I get the job I'll find a way to take the train down to work; I just didn't think that the day of my interview was the appropriate morning to try a new mode of transportation.

---------------- OK, Next day (Thursday) 22:16 - I fell asleep ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

It was a fun interview, actually.  Really, it wasn't like any other interview I've been on before - it appeared more like they were selling me on the company more than asking the questions about past accomplishments and achievements.  When I asked one of my standard interview questions ("What about my resume caught your eye?") I was told language.  She struggled to find something else, it seemed, and latched onto something on the same page as my languages which surprised me, but hey, if it got me the interview, I'm happy!  It lasted about 45 minutes and I was told that there would be two people calling me the next day (today, now) to speak with me in French to make sure that my French is up to par for the position.  Ugh.

And that was that.  All in all an interesting day and experience.

I hope I get it.

Back to the ice!

Tonight was my second game with my team after my Achilles tendon injury.  I haven't been as good about posting after the games because they've both been at 11:15pm (from here on out I'm going to use 24-hour time, I think, just like I do at work and in almost everything else I write) and I have been dead tired afterwards.  I'm tired now, but not ready to sleep...I want to have a few glasses of wine and then sleep until it's time to go to Beer Bust tomorrow.

Ah!  Yes!  Some quick tangential info...this is the first full weekend I've had off since August, so I'm taking full advantage of it to sleep in and drink WAY too much.  I always requested to have Sundays off since I like to watch the games (Broncos) and then there's the Beer Bust at the Wrangler...like no other beer bust I've come across...where I can see lots of people I don't see very often.  Besides, it's not called a "beer gut" for nothing...

And I bought a combo toaster/egg poacher at Target today - a guy I dated had one and I really liked it, so I finally got one for myself.  Might have to get up a little earlier so that I can have breakfast (at 14:00).  So there's the little stuff not worthy of its own post.

Back to the subject at hand...hockey.  Last week we played Copperheads II, who beat us 7-0 the first time we met.  It was my first time back on the ice, and I have to admit that I was feeling really, really good.  All of the conditioning I did in physical therapy apparently paid off, and I was faster than I have ever been.  It felt good!  And my team is coming together - we are playing our positions instead of clustering around the puck, giving the defense people to pass to since the wingers (including me) are staying at our positions.  We lost that game 2-1, but it was a fantastic showing for us.

Tonight wasn't quite so good, but better than any game we played in 2006 (except for the score).  It was another game at 23:15 and I was TIRED.  It showed.  I could barely keep my skates straight, and I wasn't able to keep up or skate as fast as I did last week.  There were only 10 of us, so that's two lines...we were all tired.  Tonight we played the Cruisers who we beat the first time in a shoot-out, they beat us 5-0 the second time we met them, and tonight...they won 3-0.  They scored all three goals in the first period, and we did a fantastic job of keeping them scoreless for the second and third periods. 

There were the standard problems of some players not skating to the puck, not skating very quickly, and making bad passes.  The Cruisers are a remarkably physical team and we were out-skated, out-pushed, out-tripped, and ended up with zero penalty minuted to their 12.  Keeping them scoreless for two periods represents incredible progress. 

What can we do to start winning games?  The main thing would be to SHOW THE FUCK UP TO THE GAMES.  There are 18 of us in the team - only 10 have showed for the last two games.  There are some legitimate reasons, and there are some absolute slackers.  The slackers are pissing me off.  People who are injured aren't even coming to cheer for us - I was at EVERY game when I was injured; I thought it was common sense that I was still on the team and a part of it, regardless of whether I suited up or not.  I sense a profound lack of dedication on the part of some team members.

So that's that.  Maybe we'll win a game in regulation play before the season ends - I don't envy the team that suffers that loss! 

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Stupid gravity

Argh.  Slipped on the ice leaving the W at 2:15am and now have about 50% use of my right hand.  But YES I still love this weather!  I wouldn't trade it for anything.,.I just need to work on my balance after a few beers...

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So, skiing and snowboarding accomplished, we boarded the gondola back to the parking area.  While I was relaxing in the bar of the lodge patiently waiting for Josh to finish with his lesson my friend Jimbo called and offered me his tickets to that night's Avalanche game.  I turned him down at that point because I thought that Josh would be in his class until 3:30, and it would be tough for us to get back to Denver in time to get to the game.

Thank God for small miracles in the form of injuries (I really hope you're alright, Josh...I really do!).  Josh injured his arm on the bunny slope and called off his class early, so just as I was finishing the call with Jimbo, he beeped in.  I got off the phone with Jim with my sincerest thanks for thinking of me, talked with Josh who was already returning his rental gear (no additional visit to see Pablo Perez from Buenos Aires, Argentina for me - thanks a lot, Josh) and set out to meet him.  And thus we arrive at our current place on the gondola going down to the parking area.

While I am trying to pry Josh for  more emotive answers to my questions about his day, I realize that since we're leaving early I CAN make it to the Avalanche game!  Out came the phone and in short order the tickets were held for me at Pepsi Center's Will Call.  Horray and Huzzah!  But who to take...

Josh said "no" when I offered the spare ticket to him - supposedly he was going home to work.  Hah.  I have a feeling he was either in bed or in the roof-top jacuzzi within minutes of arriving home.  So I called Cody (the Cody of hockey posts who is now living with me...) and offered him a night of hockey and fun.  He sounded very unenthusiastic about the game, but did say yes, so he was my "date."

Driving home was a horrendous affair.  I was tired, the streets were slick from all of the new snow and there was a ton of traffic.  And Josh says the ride up was harrowing?  Comparatively it was a walk in the frigging park compared to the drive home.  But we made it.

It took all of my effort NOT to fall asleep as soon as I hit the sofa when I walking into my place, but Cody was uber excited and couldn't stop talking about something - I don't remember what.  But I'm glad he was energetic because it got me re-energized.  I showered, changed into my Avalanche jersey and we set out on our walk to Pepsi Center.  The game was great, we won, and Cody had a beer which means that he was a little tipsy.  Cute.

And then a mandatory trip to the Wrangler.  Cody met a boy, and I didn't.  We left early on and I was in bed quickly after that.  Overall a fun night, and a great day.
I enjoyed every minute of the day, but I realized how... gay... so many aspects of my life have become, and how difficult it can be to leave that behind.  I found myself editing so much of what would normally come out of my mouth and realizing how... gay... I really am.  I'm not distressed about it, but it is certainly a realization.  It's much easier to claim to have lots of straight guy friends than it is to actually have them after a period of not having any.

Anyway, beyond all of that, yesterday was possibly one of the best days I've had in a very, very long time.  Josh   mcsnee and I got ourselves out of bed at 5:00am (although Josh admitted to being awake since 3:00am - from the excitement of the first day of snowboarding, I suppose), loaded up the Jeep and got on the road to Breckenridge for a day of winter fun.

Regardless of reports of a "harrowing drive" up to Breckenridge (we stopped only five or six times to clear the windshield when the wipers became completely ineffective) we made it in about the usual amount of time.  I really loved the drive, truthfully, since this is the weather I love most.  It was disappointing that there was no visibility for more than five feet off of the highway since Josh hadn't been quite so far west on I-70 before, but now he'll be even more impressed when he sees what he missed.  Between the weather and it being a Friday there was very little traffic going in our direction which made the drive even better.

I haven't skied at Breckenridge in over a decade, and I have to admit that I was (still am!) very impressed.  This season they opened a free remote parking lot connected directly to Peak 8 Base Area by gondola.  I'm still shocked that we were able to park so easily and close.  Josh and I got ourselves put together after the drive and schlepped ourselves (well, I schlepped, since I had skis, poles, etc, and he had nothing since he was renting at the base) to the gondola.  I was taken aback for a moment when we arrived - there was no place to put my skis outside of the cabin.  Every other gondola I've been on in the world (at a ski area, that is) has some sort of holder for skis and boards on the outside, so as Josh climbed in the cabin, I stood outside watching it pass me by as I tried to understand how to get my skis up to the base with me.  Just as the cabin began to pass by the boarding area the realization that I was supposed to take my skis INTO the cabin hit me.  I never claimed to be the swiftest duck in the pond...

In retrospect I didn't give Josh very much time to get acclimated to the entire experience, and I hope that I didn't rush him through the process.  We got to the base area, located the Ski and Ride School office where Josh ended up signing up for a full day lesson instead of the half-day he had planned on.  I think it was probably for the best; the very, VERY first time on a board or skis usually requires more than three hours of instruction.  Plus the full-day class was only $10 more than the half-day - a bargain! 

Then came the rental process which was quite different from the way I remember renting (oh, God, here I go..."When I was your age I had to walk barefoot uphill in the snow to school every day...").  First he filled out a form at a computer station, walked into the line where his paperwork printed out, got his boots - shoes retained as collateral/evidence - then continued down the line to get his board. 

Gay Alert!  The boy who helped to mount Josh's bindings to the board - Pablo Perez of Buenos Aires, Argentina - was a little on the hot side, and Pablo Lewis of Denver, Colorado couldn't help but to try to flirt just a smidge.  In Spanish.  Damn latin boys - all that pasion en la sangre throws my gaydar way off - he was very friendly right back to me, either because he thought my accent was cute or because he is actually family.  Regardless, it was a nice start to the day.

So Josh now looks like he knows what he's doing (remember the saying about books and covers...) and I'm ready to get up the mountain.  I couldn't believe the snow!  Powder to my knees for the first six runs, and I even got to make first tracks on a few of the trails.  It was a bit of a double-edged sword - as much as I love the powder, it requires MUCH more power from the legs, glutes and core, so for this being my first day on the slopes this season, it wore me out very quickly.  Josh and I met for lunch at about 12:30, and it couldn't have come soon enough for me and my legs of spaghetti.

Gay Alert!  We ended up sitting with Josh's instructor (21 years old and totally family) and another student from his class.  Let the flirting begin.  Again.  I even found a way to slip him my business card, even though he's 21 and not incredibly attractive - there's something about being surrounded by so many hot guys at a ski area (anyone who's been up to a ski area knows that there are a lot of hot guys at any time) that makes me make grotesque moves on boys who could be my son had I made babies when I first started having sex.  I am becoming the dirty old man I never wanted to be.  But it is kind of fun...

After lunch I tried some of the bowls at the top of Peaks 6 and 7 (those are their proper names - the number - so I'm not spelling it out as one normally would with numbers up to ten for all of you grammar and syntax freaks out there) which are labeled as double diamond/most expert/if you like whips and chains in the bedroom you'll love this run.  They lived up to their ratings and I soon realized that I was fork done.  I hit the lodge at about 2:30pm, and lo and behold Josh calls to tell me he's done, too.  Perfect timing. 

The continuation of the Perfect Day in the next post - yes, there's more than a day of great skiing!

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Dec. 27th, 2006

Things are looking up, which is nice. 

I really did not enjoy Christmas this year - my Mom and I went to her former neighbor's very family-oriented celebration and I felt very out of place.  Plus Mom didn't catch the hints about when the appropriate time to leave would have been, so we most definitely overstayed our welcome.  I know that she's lonely, but imposing ourselves on them like that wasn't overly appropriate, I don't think.  Plus the food sucked.  Who the hell serves goose, paella and Anthony's Pizza for Christmas?  I wouldn't have disliked it quite so much if I hadn't been put on the spot about the paella since I have so much experience in Spain - I had to lie through my tightly-clenched teeth to be charitable and diplomatic.

But that's over!  Woo hoo!  Last night I had dinner at a new friend's house and had the meal I missed for Christmas - he roasted a chicken, made stuffing, veggies, potatoes, even cranberry sauce!  My traditional side showing itself again, but I've given into it.  We had good wine, and finished the evening by watching the disaster scene from Poseidon (SO much better than the tidal wave scene in the original - much more gore and death) and then started some movie staring quite a few drag queens and a guy with one hell of an ass.  Very fun.

Another weight was taken off of me when I received my renewal notice for my lease - I had heard from other residents that their rents had gone up by $100 to $200.  Imagine my surprise to learn that my rent isn't going up at all!  It appears that we are the beneficiaries of the recent blizzard - the corporate office didn't get a report on time to approve to send back to the property manager so she didn't get the renewal notices out on time, so they let her offer a new 12-month lease to us with no increase!  Sometimes red tape does work in the little guy's favor...

Of course, next year will probably be a different story.  Yikes.

The best news of all...another storm!  I can tell that the news is trying not to be alarmist so they are trying to stay conservative with their predictions of six to 12 inches of snow.  Others are saying that it could be just as big as the last storm!  Heaven...

Hopefully all of this positive energy will carry over into my job hunt and bring me to some epiphany about what I really want to be doing with my life...and how to make a living doing it!

Bah...



My sentiments exactly.  Suddenly this year I understand the holiday syndrome of depression, albeit temporary.  I wish I'd just stayed home all day instead of trying to pretend that I'm a part of a family that I'm not.  Families should be with families, orphans with orphans, and na'er the twain shall meet.

Thank God for beer.