New job!

As most of you may know, I started a new job a few weeks ago. What you may not know is the story behind getting this job.

While I was taking time off between jobs, I found out that GitHub was looking for volunteers for RailsConf. I signed up, and for a few hours of volunteer work on the first day, I got a free ticket. I knew that I was going to this event, not knowing Ruby or Rails, with the aim of learning new things and shaking hands. And that is exactly what happened.

However, the fun part was during a break in sessions, we were all given cheesecake to enjoy during a bit of a social hour. I sat down at a table and introduced myself to the folks there. At this point, it was just for social reasons, I was trying to do all my hand shaking at the vendor booths.

One of the guys at the table was a really nice guy I talked to for a long while. As we got up and exchanged business cards, I found out he’s the VP of Engineering at his company. Wow! I had no idea! He did email me the following week asking me to interview there as well, and … well .. he is now my boss.

I am now officially a DevOps Engineer, and I really like all of the people I am working with at this new job. So — the risk I took in quitting the last job worked out.

I am counting my lucky stars on this.


Taking a risk, professionally

I’m doing something I have never done before, something I never thought I would or could do. I quit my job without having something to go to. This is a tremendous risk, but one I think I can undertake.

Why? Several years ago I did quit my job at the time to go back to school, an action similar in nature to what I am doing now, but it still felt like it had less risk. I didn’t own a home at the time, so I could return to living with my Mom to ease the financial burden. I also would come out of that with a degree that I could use to further my career.

At least, that is what I thought.

Unfortunately, since getting that degree, my career has careened further and further away from programming, my first love, and the more architecturally technical elements of computers, my second love. I mean, I have done technical work in all of the jobs I had, and continued to script up things for myself and others to automate routine tasks, but this is not the path I wanted after getting my degree.

So enter Wombat Technologies, and their acquisition by ProofPoint. I got a bit of money from the stock I had with them, enough to survive for a few months without pay. Enough months that I figured I could work on getting back on track with the career I really want. So, the idea for this risk was born.

I am now taking this risk, I quit, and I am working on at least one AWS certification, and coding more. I even revamped my resume this morning with the help of many sources. It is a scary risk, but one that I feel I needed to do. Wish me luck!

The Grand Duke is coming!

The Grand Duke opens THIS FRIDAY, March 2nd! I play The Baroness on Saturday March 3rd, 9th, and 11th, but the other casting for this role is Sally Danmead, who is amazing. Our cast overall for this production is wonderful, and I think that I have now fallen in love with the music — my new favorite of all of the Gilbert and Sullivan shows. And Rob Hockenberry has outdone himself with the choreography for this one, taking advantage of some wonderful dancers among the cast!


Have I mentioned that The Pittsburgh Savoyards haven’t performed this particular show in something like 50 years?


You really must come see this production. I have a few tickets left at the $15 price, good for any show, and I do accept Paypal and can leave them at Will Call for you. Otherwise you can purchase them online or at the door for $25.

AAA: The towing from hell.

So, my jeep started having trouble with the clutch in the Liberty Tubes, and having seen this before, I realized that it was probably losing clutch fluid. I planned to just drop it at the shop at 15th in the South Side, and hike it home from there. Sadly, 4 blocks shy of the shop the last of the fluid left, and I could no longer get the jeep into gear. I pulled the car over to the side and called AAA at 10:20pm.

“Expect a 2 hour wait right now.”
“OK, it’s cold, so I’ll head over to somewhere warm to wait. Just make sure I know when it’s coming.”
“No problem!”

I went to a nice warm bar, had some food and a cider while I waited.

At 11:25pm, I get a text saying the tow truck is on the way, so I head over to the jeep to wait.

and wait.

at 12:40am, I call AAA again, “Hey, where’s this tow truck?”
“It’s about 10 minutes out.”
“OK, I’ve been waiting in the cold for an hour, any reason I got a text so early?”
“The truck started to respond to your call after it dropped off the last vehicle, but it had to drop the last vehicle off an hour out of town.”
“Oh, where is it now?”
“The 6th street bridge.”
“Why would it be on the 6th Street Bridge coming from an hour out of town? Well, no matter, I’ll wait.”

and wait.

at 1:20am, I call AAA again. “OK, I’m really really cold, and shivering now, and I’ve been waiting for this tow truck now for 1.5 hours. Where is it?”
“He had to respond to a call just around the corner from you, but he’s just finishing up there and will be to you.”
“Wait, what? But he was coming here, why didn’t he come here?”
“The other call was older than yours. You need to be patient.”
“But why would I get told he was coming when he wasn’t?”
“Look, he’ll be there any minute now. Just be patient.”

I’m not sure what happened here (it was late and I was starting to pass out in the cold so my memory is fuzzy), but I got transferred to another rep who was much nicer after this, and she did get concerned about my well being and suggested that I authorize the tow truck to pick up my car without me there. OK, I did that.

I called a Lyft, and he got me at 1:50am. I saw the tow truck pull up as I got into the Lyft, so we went over to talk to him.. he said he’d take my car the 4 blocks to the garage. OK, great.

I got home and passed out. Somehow dragged myself out of bed in the morning, and at 8am was entering the number for the garage into my phone when it started ringing.

“Hello, this is AAA calling to inform you that a tow truck is on its way to pick up your car.”

WHAT? The robosystem suggested I dial 0 for an operator, which I did, then waited an hour on hold.

After an hour, I got annoyed, hung up, and called the regular number and got through to someone right away.

“OK, the tow truck is on its way to the South Side Giant Eagle to pick up your car right now.”
“OK, let me explain that I am really angry right now. [Details of what had happened overnight.] It has now been over 10 hours since I first called for a tow, and it has not yet happened. And now I find out my car isn’t even where I left it. What is going on?”
“The tow truck couldn’t find a parking lot or street parking to put your car at, so they took it to another location.”
(They could have called me and I would have said it is totally OK for them to put it in front of the garage doors, but of course…. the theme of this whole thing is lack of communication.)
“OK, look, this is beyond ridiculous. Why was this not relayed to me?”
“I don’t know. But the tow truck is there right now to take it to the garage.”

I head into work (another Lyft, sigh). When I get into work, i have some stuff to do, but at 11am I call the garage. They haven’t seen the Jeep. WTH.

I call AAA.
“OK, at this point I need to let you know I am livid. It has now been over 12 hours to tow my car 4 blocks, and this has not happened yet. Furthermore, my car has been left without my knowledge in another location. I’d like to know why it is that no one is informing me about what is going on with it, and why it has not yet been towed to the garage? Because I am tempted to call the police and report my car as a stolen vehicle at this point.”
This rep was fortunately sympathetic and she tracked down what was going on, removed this as a service call against my plan, and apologized that the tow trucks were not communicating the status to me (neat trick, blaming the tow agencies AAA is supposed to represent and interface for me.) Turns out that the tow truck broke down, so they had to send out another one.
“OK, look, I get that tow trucks break down, but this was not communicated to me at all. I am left wondering where my car is, and remember that we are over 12 hours of my car not reaching its destination 4 blocks from its origin.”
Again, side-winding apologies were made.

At 1pm, I call AAA, “Has my car been towed yet?”
“I am unable to find that information, I’ll have a towing dispatch superviser get back in touch with you about that.”
I call the garage, they finally have my Jeep. I don’t expect to ever hear from the dispatcher at this point.

So  I now realize that I pay AAA to just press a button and claim no responsibility for what happens to my car. I am going to switch to a different roadside assistance provider.

A Couple of Big Announcements

I promised this in the last post, but missed my “couple weeks” deadline, sorry about that!

In any case, here is announcement #1: I was cast as The Baronness in The Grand Duke by The Pittsburgh Savoyards. This is double cast, so keep an eye on the site for which days I’ll be performing this role. But also know I am cast with someone who is absolutely super phenomenal, so you can’t go wrong seeing her as well! I am really excited for this role because I get to play someone very different from any previous roles; and someone who is entirely unlike me. It’ll be a challenge! But I am performing with an amazing cast of great people too.

As for announcement #2: Cryptic Canticles will be putting on The Medium next year. We’re still undergoing the early planning for this, but we have decided this should be done finally. It’s going to be a major undertaking putting together an opera ourselves!

More on these later, but I am now very excited for what is to come in 2018.