ripley: (Hurt Angel)
 Well that was annoying. I had a whole post ready to go and went to double-check the crosspost settings and *poof*

Anyway, I have been on a TV re-watch kick lately and after watching Lost and then Battlestar Galactica, I am now watching Angel. I'm in the middle of season 2 and loving it. I forgot how much I enjoyed this show. Such a great team. 

Last night I was reading my old LJ entries about season 4 and getting myself pumped, but then decided to stop so I wouldn't spoil myself about stuff I've previously seen, but forgotten about. it's fun watching TV you haven't seen in a decade.

So how are you? What's shaking? I miss you guys!
ripley: (Blackboard punishment)
I'm sorry Kassie's death is what has brought me out of the woodwork, but I am thankful that we are still here to share with each other so I think it's a good time to do my annual update. I will be 52 years old in October. It seems unreal. It is also unreal that I started my LJ in September of 2002, 14 years ago! Holy crap, where does time go?! It never feels like it is a year between posts.

So where I am?

Not in Yellowstone anymore. I'm back in Boston. I left Yellowstone at the end of March 2016 because I accepted a position as an Assistant HR/Housing Manager for a hotel on Martha's Vineyard. I thought it would be the best of both worlds. I could enjoy the seasonal lifestyle with its housing and lack of bills as well as two to three months off every year while also being a lot closer to home so I could see my folks more often.

Alas it was not to be. My boss was batshit and completely non-collaborative, we were working at least 60 hours a week if not more (leaving me no time to actually see my family or Martha's Vineyard) and the hotel itself is poorly run for a place that is ridiculously expensive. So I quit. Twice. The first time I quit was less than five weeks after getting there. They talked me out of it and offered me a lot more money and promised things would change. So I left the island for three weeks and went home. When I got back to the island nothing had changed. In fact, it was probably worse so less than two weeks later I quit again. This time for good.

Currently I'm in Boston, living with my folks yet again, and I am in a contract job for a MAJOR technology company. My gig is up here at the end of October. They may or may not extend me as a contractor. They may or may not offer me a permanent job. I may or may not know whether the hell I would even want it.

On the plus side.... close to home and the salary would be great. But I miss Yellowstone and I've always hated winters in Boston a lot. And I can't continue to live with my parents for another 8 years like I did the last time and buying a place anywhere in MA is ridiculously expensive even with a good salary. So.... I'm just going to wait and see what happens.
ripley: (Merchant of venice)
Yesterday [livejournal.com profile] sparkymonster called to let me know that [livejournal.com profile] ethrosdemon passed away on Wednesday, September 28th, 2016 (edited to correct date). [livejournal.com profile] missyjack has reported this news as well.

Kassie and I had not been friends in a very long time, but I often thought of her, mostly fondly despite how exasperating she could be. I am very sorry to learn of her passing from liver failure.

My understanding is that her family has chosen not to acknowledge her passing with any of the normal accompaniments of death such as an obituary, a wake or funeral or a memorial of some kind -- at Kassie's request. I know many people will be asking about these things so I just wanted to share the information that the standard acknowledgements of death will not be forthcoming. If I learn about any changes in this status I'll post about it.

I'm not really sure what to say about Kassie. It has been well over 10 years since I spoke to her and of course our blow-up online was about something that doesn't even matter that much anymore, but prior to that heated moment we had some great times hanging out together. I thought she was funny and smart and I always enjoyed her egging me on into fictional depravity *g*

So rest in peace, my dear Frenemy.
ripley: (Blackboard punishment)
So I guess I lied about not waiting 7 months to update again. I've waited a full year lol

I am still in Yellowstone! In March 2014 I left a job I hated where I kept getting passed over for promotion after promotion and moved to a job where it turns out they love me and I get promoted over and over again. Hah! Fuck you Tufts Health Plan, fuck you!

Last summer I worked as a "Residence Coordinator" which is a combination of dorm mom and custodian. It was the most perfect shift I've ever worked, a split shift from 1pm to 5pm and then 10pm to 2am. So I got to sleep in late every day and could spend four or so hours in the evening either out looking for grizzlies or playing video games or watching movies or sleeping or whatever. Often I was actually up until 3 or 4 in the morning because most of my friends also worked evening so they would be up half the night and we would hang out, watching movies and drinking bourbon after I got off duty at 2 in the morning.

For winter 2014 I had applied for jobs in Death Valley and Grand Canyon and was offered a position at Grand Canyon as a Front Desk agent, but then an HR Staff Assistant position opened up in Yellowstone so I applied for that and was offered the job. I started that job in December 2014 after about a two month break. On my break I took Mom to Vero Beach for a week and basically played a lot of video games and caught up on a lot of TV and doctor's visits and collected unemployment.

The HR Staff Assistant job was originally supposed to be a "long season" agreement. I would have been in the HR office in Gardiner, MT for 10 months straight, but when they opened up the Summer hiring for this season I decided to go ahead and apply for one of the Assistant Personnel Manager positions and was ultimately offered Assistant HR Manager at Old Faithful -- the largest location at Yellowstone.

So life has been good. I spent my winter in Gardiner, MT until the end of March and it was a very mild winter. I spent a lot of time in Lamar Valley looking for wolves and I was successful four different times although I don't have much to show for it because usually they are so far away that the camera I had at the time wasn't capable of showing them. I have some video I can upload though of the first time I saw one of the packs as they were reasonably close to the road.

In March I took a week to go to Park City and Las Vegas where I won over $900 so that paid for my Vegas trip. I drank a LOT of cocktails and ate a lot of amazing food and then visited one of my best friends in Salt Lake City before heading back to Yellowstone.

I'm currently at Old Faithful. Since Housing and HR is a split function here, I don't have to deal with any housing issues at all, which is great because that's super tedious. We do lots of investigations and I end up firing a lot of people which sometimes sucks and sometimes is "good riddance". We don't do a hell of a lot of screening before people arrive though so I guess it is not surprising that so many are just not suited to this lifestyle.

The great thing about being a Manager is I now get free room & board. I also now get medical coverage (I have an HSA) and I just qualified for "Core" status which means I get other benefits too. They have a 401K where the employer contribution vests on day 1 -- they only match 4%, but vesting on day 1 is amazing. And I was just able to add vision and dental. They use Blue Cross so when I go back to Boston on my break in October I can just see all the same doctors and dentists I used to see on my previous insurance. And now I get paid for holidays whether I work them or not (as long as I'm "checked in") and next year I'll get vacation pay too which they just pay you out at the end of each season and I can use that money to pay to continue my insurance during my breaks.

Basically I've finally fallen into my perfect lifestyle -- I can work 9-10 months out of the year and have benefits like someone working year round with two weeks vacation. Instead I get to spend two months doing whatever I want. So in October I'm going to Ireland with my mother for 10 days and then I'll spend a week at Epcot Food & Wine at Disney World. Pretty much the only thing that sucks is the internet here is brutally awful so I had to switch to Verizon and I usually have to buy extra data from them every month. I finally decided to bite the bullet and sign up for Netflix DVDs by mail for the first time in years because we can't stream for shit. I can barely load a text page or an image.

Right now I'm waiting to hear on what I'll be doing this winter. If I don't get offered one of the few manager slots available (only two locations are open in Winter so there are far fewer jobs available) then I'll hopefully be offered a Recruiting position back in Gardiner. I should know in a few weeks. Even if I end up in a non-manager role, I will likely still be able to get on a free room & board plan as they want their managers to stick around for summer so they offer that as an incentive to keep us.

And that's the news. I'm posting this one to friends only (editing 2016 to unlock) and I'll catch up with all kinds of media related stuff in a public post. I feel like I want to starting journaling more on a regular basis even if no one reads it lol Maybe I can actually stick to that (yeah, right!).

I hope everyone else who is STILL HERE is doing well :)
ripley: (Blackboard punishment)
I've had a terrible time getting any good still photos of bears, but my video camera was a very good buy :)

The first video is of a grizzly bear feeding on a carcass very close to the road that runs through Hayden Valley, about eight miles from where I work at Lake Yellowstone Hotel.



This second one I captured while driving through a Bear Jam near Tower Falls. I was shooting with one hand on the steering wheel. This black bear is trying to get across the road with her two cubs. She did make it safely and finally escaped the hordes of camera-toting fools ;)

ripley: (Blackboard punishment)
Wow! I can't believe it's been since December since I last posted. And I never even posted my big news! I quit working at my call center job in March and started working in Yellowstone National Park on May 1st :)

In my December post I mentioned that I was applying for some Personnel jobs at Yellowstone. I never heard back from one company, but the other one contacted me in January for a phone interview. I thought it went well, but several weeks went by and I never heard from them. In the meantime, I was passed over for yet another promotion at the call c enter. Well, one day at work in March was particularly horrible and stressful and I decided that I had enough and I resolved to give my notice the very next day. I was figuring out how I was going to explain this to my mother on my way home from work. Walking in the door, I checked the mailbox which is usually empty by the time I get home because usually the mail has already been grabbed. This time it wasn't though and sitting in the mailbox was my Hiring Package from Xanterra at Yellowstone, offering me the job I interviewed for -- Residence Coordinator -- starting on May 1st.

I may have danced with glee!

So I delayed  giving notice another two weeks and finished up at Tufts on March 30th. Then I spent a week at home lounging around, shopping for my trip and packing the car. The final three weeks of April I spent on the road, including one week in Taos NM and one week in Vegas. And then YELLOWSTONE GLORIOUS YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK.

The first month was amazing here. I literally lost count of the number of grizzly bears I have seen, especially during that month when there were hardly any tourists in the park and still a ton of snow on the ground. Right now it's a little hectic here and I'm hating all the tourists, but fortunately I don't have to deal with them since I work in a non-customer facing job. I only deal with fellow employees and most of them are awesome and fun and 20 years younger than me lol. I am looking forward to late August when visitation dies down a bit and I can get out and explore the park again myself without hitting three miles of traffic backed up due to a single BISON. My family is coming out to visit in September and then I finish here in October. I may return for the winter season or I may be going to Grand Canyon or Death Valley  for the winter. Hopefully I will know which by the end of August!

I have more to share, but I will save that for the next post...which will not be 7 months from now :)

I hope you are all well... those of you who are still here!

See my Yellowstone Pics! )

Click here to view this photo book larger

Create your own personalized photo books at Shutterfly.com.

ripley: (Blackboard punishment)
It's hard to believe that a year ago I was actually enthusiastic about my current job and employer. Well, over a year in the call center has completely ground me down. Not to mention the two different promotions I've been passed over even though I am literally the TOP PERFORMER in the call center. Like seriously, there's a fucking sign over my head that says that for everyone to see.

Apparently the manager (whose been manager for maybe five months) must hate me though. Which sucks, because all the other supervisors and the director love me, but he's the jackass cock-blocking my promotions while promoting idiots instead. For the last one, the other person who interviewed me with him told me later that multiple people tried to talk him out of NOT offering me a position to no avail. So there's that.

And our HR dept is useless. This company is supposed to be big on internal promoting, but my resume never seems to make it out of the black hole it goes into. I found out from another director that I just bumped into by chance that she never even knew there were internal candidates for a position that I did apply for, and they ended up hiring externally. WHAT KIND OF BULLSHIT IS THAT??

So... hate. Also, morale in the call center is pretty much THE WORST. This is my second most hated job. Ugh.

Well, I never stay anywhere I hate for long so I took a flyer on something and emailed two of the park concessionaires for Yellowstone National Park over a week ago to see if they will be hiring seasonal HR assistants since I have four years of experience processing seasonal hires back when I worked for the City of La's Parks dept, a HUGE seasonal employer.

The first responded immediately to advise that they hire their seasonal HR staff for the winter season, but recommended some other positions I should apply for that are HR related. The other one didn't respond. Until today... with an email telling me that they may be hiring an HR assistant for the 2014 season and if I'm still interested they'd like to see my resume!! AWESOME.

So let's cross our fingers... maybe I will have an interesting summer. lol
ripley: (Hurt Angel)
Watching The Originals makes me pine for the good ole days of the Buffy wildfeed when you could watch a highspeed version of the show the night before it aired or read a detailed transcript of it. Because every time an episode ends I want to scream that there isn't already another episode....and now the mid-season hiatus. STABS EVERYONE!


And now to post this to Tumblr because no one reads or cares about LJ anymore *sigh*
ripley: (I want to marry my Tivo)
I'm jonesing so bad between episodes of The Originals, it's ridiculous. I'm enjoying it so much more than The Vampire Diaries this season.
ripley: (Reese)
I went to see Gravity today at the Jordan's Furniture IMAX. I recommend that if you are going to see it, this is the only way too see it. This is probably the most over-hyped movie ever with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%.

It is a good movie, just not THAT good. It has a few significant issues, namely the fact that Sandra Bullock spends most of the movie talking to herself.... out loud. I found it very distracting, unnecessary and unbelievable and there are moments where it verges on the maudlin. Someone should have taken an eraser to the bulk of the scripted dialogue (monologue?) and it would have been a much tenser, more meaningful experience.

I'm pretty sure the main reason it is so over-hyped is because it is pretty much the most SPECTACULAR movie you will ever look at and the special effects don't appear green-screened at all. I think this is what the reviewers are responding to... the amazing cinematography and SFX and the awe-inspiring views that resemble what NASA has shared with us. It looks real as real (unlike Avatar which is great looking but super fake looking too) .... which is why I recommend you see Gravity at the IMAX in 3D. I don't think it will have quite the same effect on a normal size screen or a television.

Also, I spent the whole movie wishing it was an Aliens film and that Sandra Bullock was being threatened by a monster instead of ... space debris. I can't helps it!

Hey Blondie

Sep. 9th, 2013 09:30 pm
ripley: (Shoulder)
Guess who's back?



As much as I like his natural hair color, the blond always did really suit him. Also, his face looks back to normal. THANK GOD.
ripley: (I want to marry my Tivo)
Even though it is occasionally unbearably smug and self-righteous, I love The Newsroom so so much. Jeff Daniels knocks it out of the park every week and I ship Don and Sloan bigtime. SO OTP!

Also, the credits are 100% improved from last year's OLD WHITE DUDES Love fest.
ripley: (Ruin me)
I was almost going to say I'm over Justin, but that's a bit strong. I just really hate this relentlessly happy and boring and ridiculously repetitive album. In fact, I hate it so much that I canceled my day off work and sold my concert ticket on Stubhub.

Ugh. I miss the cynical stalker and kinda of a douchebag Justin. This happy lovestruck dude has GOT TO GO! Happy musicians are boring as fuck. Get divorced, become a junky, spiral into depression. I don't care!! Just stop being dull. It enrages me LOL
ripley: (Default)
This Animal Crossing game is ridiculously addictive. Best feature is the fact that you can leave your gates open and other players can visit your town or vice versa. I showed up at one person's town just as they are getting on a boat to go to the island so I hustled down to the beach to get on board and then we played mini-games together.

And people usually leave me presents when they visit my town, even if I'm not not really there!
ripley: (Mickey leaps for joy)
Just got my adorable Animal Crossing 3DS XL today! Finally! If you happen to have a 3DS, my friend code is 0318-7403-6714. Feel free to Swapnote me :) If you are going to be playing Animal Crossing we can swap fruit too!
ripley: (Em wins friends)
Due to the announcements that the next generation of gaming consoles won't be backwards compatible, I've had a rethink about keeping games. Up until know I've been keeping every game I really love even if I don't replay it. But now it seems kind of pointless to amass a collection I will eventually not be able to play so I've been culling. I managed to sell two games this week for more than I paid for them and they were each at least a year old.

Sadly, some of my other games aren't even worth bothering to sell, but still - selling a game for $99 when I was able to buy it with a gift card I got for Christmas is kind of awesome. :)

I also did a Redbox rental for Resident Evil Revelations over the weekend. Three days and I finished the game in nine hours total playtime. That cost me $6 instead of the nearly $50 I would have spent buying it from Amazon. I probably could have sold it back for around $35 if I'd been as motivated to finish it as quickly, but Amazon would have taken 20% of that so I'm significantly ahead!
ripley: (It's showtime!)
I went to see Iron Man 3 over the weekend. I enjoyed it much more than Iron Man 2. I'm pretty happy when Stark is just puttering around and being snarky. I could watch two hours of that. That's what I enjoyed the most about the first movie.

Of course, I spent a good third of the movie thinking, "Wormhole and aliens, wuh??" until it finally dawned on me that they were referencing The Avengers movie and not Iron Man 2. Umm, seriously? If we're going to start doing this with Marvel universe movies, maybe a "Previously On" segment wouldn't go astray, hmmmm????

I also went to see Oblivion. It's kind of annoying that someone I find kind of annoying favors my preferred genre so I end up seeing way more Tom Cruise movies than I ever meant to see LOL But I actually liked it quite a bit and I think he only had his shirt off once so I didn't have to get all creeped out the whole movie by his weird proportions.

I'm looking forward to The Wolverine. I'm also looking forward to Gatsby and finally seeing Tobey Maguire back where he belongs - in a decent fucking movie. I get so bitter sometimes. I enjoyed the first Spider-Man movie he was in, but I feel like that franchise stalled his acting career. Ugh. I wanted more movies like Pleasantville and Seabiscuit, not shitty Spider-Man movies.
ripley: (Em wins friends)
The Accidental Time Machine by Joe Haldeman - a fun romp

Software by Rudy Rucker - not bad, but kind of tiresome due to made-up lingo. Thankfully, it's short.

The Honor of the Queen by David Weber - another fun romp, but do I really want to get stuck into such a long book series? I'm not so sure.

Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky - excellent and very short!

I downloaded Ready Player One by Ernest Cline from the Boston Public Library's Overdrive site. Most of the time I forget to check the library because either they don't have an electronic copy of what I want to read or there's 20 people ahead of me waiting for it There's that many waiting for Justin Cronin's The Twelve in Ebook format. For an actual paper edition, there's no wait. In fact, there's 15 copies available.

I'm thankful that Ready Player One was available so I didn't have to pay for it because I'm already kind of hating it. It appears to be short as well though and it is also YA (which I was unaware of until I started reading) so I'll persevere just to finish it because I'm sure it will be quick.

Justin!

Feb. 27th, 2013 09:25 pm
ripley: (Rock the fuck on!)
In a somewhat bizarre turn of events I am going to see Justin in Hershey, PA instead of Boston. The Boston presale crapped out on me and refused to take my Citibank code and then would not load in a new browser. The PA link worked and the ticket was a much better seat anyway -- 7th row vs 24th row.

I'm kind of disgusted over the ticket prices, but I ended up paying it anyway so I'm the fool. But that's it. I'm just doing one stadium show and will hold out for any club shows that he may announce. I may regret this decision in the future, but at nearly $300 a ticket for the best seats all I can think about is how much more amazing I can make my Alaskan cruise by keeping that money available to spend on excursions, etc.