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Wakum Mata!
Politcally Incorrect Musings
What I am doing 
27th-Jan-2006 12:28 pm
Not much traffic from me, I know. Some of you might not be complaining about that. ;-)

Well, here's what I have been up to:

In December I was laid off. I was wanting to do more of my financial posts (for those on my friends list) regarding daytrading. I was a little distracted from that by having to look for work. Well, I am back at work - my company hired me back January 11. On January 20, the BIG BOSS came down to visit. We all had a meeting. We all are guaranteed a job until September 30, 2006. After that, he told me they cannot guarantee anything. The big boss even reccommended that we all look for work. "You gotta do what you gotta do."

Such openess blew my mind. I have never had a company deal so straight forward with me. I never have stopped looking, actually.

Back to school
What I discovered in my job searching is that I am lacking a few skills to make myself marketable:
C++, and VHDL. I am trying to learn both. VHDL is proving to be a real challenge as the book I purchased at Borders (the only one they had) is rather poorly written. It is "VHDL - A Starter's Guide, Second Edition" by Sudhakar Yalamanchili. I should have been afraid when I saw the author's name.

Book Review
The book is written to be supplementary material to a VHDL course. The coding style is not consistant so it makes it confusing to the utter novice as to what is a keyword. There is no glossary. There is no style guide in the preface like there are in most other programming language books. A particular software tool is assumed but not referenced or noted until the appendix. The first exercise in the book (in chapter 3) incorporates simulation of a circuit but nothing is mentioned on how to write a stimulus (you need some sort of signal to input to it to get something out) for it until chapter 7. Even then it is unclear what is going on. The book also makes for a poor language reference - as I said, there is no glossary. This book is only useful if you want to get more detailed understanding of the VHDL you already know.

I'll need to get another book. I will have to make a trek to Phoenix to find one, I think. There *might* be good stuff at the UofA bookstore (is there one?) in Tucson.

Since I have been reemployed, I have scaled back on my job hunting. There is no mad urgency now so I can concentrate on training and fun stuff. The fun stuff now is gold prospecting. I went out last Saturday and panned up some real gold. Maybe about US$1.00 for a days work. Not a money maker, but definitely a fun hobby. I bought a 14inch Garrett pan and a rock pick, plus some tools that might be useful for digging into crevices in the rocks. You never know. There might be a nugget hiding in the cracks.

To further my knowledge of VHDL I plan on making a chip that can interface a Motorola/Freescale 68HC11 microcontroller to a flash memory chip. This would be used on a demonstrator board that I will design that I will take with me on job interviews. That way the propective employer will have proof that I am not just talking smack and I really do know what I know. This involves learning new schematic tools, PCB layout tools, new cross compilers, buying chip programming hardware, and so on. Not a small undertaking but robotics is also a hobby so I need to do all this anyway to build decent robots.

At some point I need to get back to looking for suitable stocks to daytrade. Since I still have only US$1000 to play with, I'll need to look for something cheap. Detailed stock attributes, search methodologies, and the whats and whys, will be posted later for those on my friends list. I am excited to get back to trading. The economy looks like it is still getting better. "But Robomarkov! You were laid off! How can you say that?!" Because my job is tied very closely to DoD funding. If Congress can get off their butts and pass some legislation (ie, do the job we elected them to do) instead of political posturing, then the defense spending bills will be passed and my company would get funded for its contracts.

Wedding Bells
My brother is getting married in March and I am the best man. That turkey lives only a day's drive away and I *still* have not heard from him about bachelor party plans, tuxedos, or other wedding details. All I know is the date, and the place (I have made hotel reservations). I swear, I'm gonna show up in ripped bluejeans, unshaved, wearing sandals and a Hawaiian shirt, and the gift will be a McDonald's gift card.

Kill Me Now, Please
Estrella War is fast approaching. I have been to one war practice. My chinstrap failed so I need to make armor repairs. Then there is the cooking. I have found that the best way to cook at large camping event is to not cook. All the food is to be premade, frozen, and vacuumn sealed. All I'll need to do is to boil the bags. I have a lot of cooking yet to do. I don't even have a menu laid out and I will be at war on February 16. GAH!

Today, in about 1/2 hour, my darling wife has a OB/GYN doctor's appointment. She is about five months pregnant and we get to, hopefully, find out what the sex of the baby is today.

And that is the end of that. Off to accompany the wife at the doctor now.

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