Thursday, January 28, 2010

So what's happening with that Army thing?

A few weeks ago, someone suggested that I look into the National Guard.
I've heard the comercials, "one weekened a month, two weeks a year".
I decided to give them a look.

Their web-site wasn't very helpful. I was hesitant to click "send me more information" because I didn't want to be hounded by recruiters.
But it seemed like that would be the only way to get the information that I wanted.
So I took a look at the form.

Besides all of the normal contact info, they asked "Do you want to be a linguist/translator?"


Wait, what? They didn't ask "Can you fly a helicopter" or "Do you like shooting guns?" They asked "Do you want to be a linguist/translator?".

Okay, I'll bite.

Moments later I recived an automated verification e-mail.

Instead of saying "click here to register your e-mail address" or "click here if you didn't request info", they said

please click on the link below to verify your information."
please click on the link below to remove your application from the system"

They got me again. Of course I'm going to proceed with the "path of honor"! How could I not‽

Eventually I managed to find an e-mail address for the local recruiter which eventualy resulted in my taking the ASVAB.
I got an 84. He seemed very impressed. He said that basically any job the military had was open to me. He suggested Military Intellagence.

Then there was a stack of paperwork to fill out.

They needed the last 10 years of my life. Where I worked, where I lived, people that knew me at each of those places.
Medical details, financial information.

They're the military, can't they just do a search?

I was given a list of the current openings in the Army.

Oh, I've decided to go "active first". Basically that means that while I'm signing up with the Guard, I'll be active Army.

So I looked through the list of openings and picked MOS (think "job") 25S. I'll be working with satalites. Cool.

And then came MEPS. It was to start with a physical and end with swearing in.

I'll spare you the details, 'cause I'm sure you don't want to know.

I'll sum it up, though.


I had two problems. I have wax in my ear (doesn't everyone?), and I have a pectus excavatum.

Apparently the Military started caring about the whole chest thing this past May (or was it March?).
Anyway, it's a recent thing.

I didn't qualify.

However I can get a waiver. The Doctor even recommended it (then why'd he fail me?).

So Monday afternoon while I was not swearing in, I was informed that we could get a waiver on Thursday.

That's today.

Turns out while the waiver has been gotten, it has to be sent off to Virginia for approval. It'll take a week or more to process. Nice.

But they don't see any problems with it being approved.

So yes, I'm going in. No I don't know exactly when anything is going to happen.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Palm needs to start advertising like Star Wars

I'm a Trekkie.

And I love my Palm Prē.

But I'll be the first to say that their advertising sucks (not including the latest "Star Trek" film).

Star Trek is older than Star Wars.
Star Trek has more screen time than Star Wars.
But for some reason, Star Wars manages to get all of the hype when they re-release a 20 year old film.
They get cereal boxes and children's toys and everything else you could use to market a movie.

Star Trek seems to hide under a rock.
Flip cell phones are based on Star Trek's communicator. Why am I not holding a working communicator?

Palm seems to be working the same way.
Their existing fanbase all showed up to the midnight showing and bought a Prē.

But what about the rest of the population?

I didn't see a Prē ad until after I had one in my hand. About a month after.

And the ads for it and the Pixi don't seem to say anything.
If you're going to spend 30-60 seconds on a smartphone ad, you need to have someone selling the phone.

The "Droid does" ads come to mind. It does two things: it makes fun of the iPhone, and it states what the device can do. Win win.

iPhone ads also brag about what the phone can do. (not the part about "apps, apps, apps", but the "look what the phone is doing".

Palm needs more of that.
Show off the fact that it can multi-task. Show off the 3-D gaming. Just show it off in a way that the audience can follow.

People know what the iPhone is.
Apple doesn't need to advertise in a big way.
Google is also a household name. And they can stick ads practically anywhere with their Google Ads.

Palm needs to remind people who they are, that they're back in the game, and that they're not going away.

Typed and sent on my Star Trek themed Palm Prē

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Career Workshop

Back in late October/early November I attended a Career Workshop.
I'd like to stress the "career" in the title.
It was for people with careers to further their careers and find jobs in that career.

I don't have much of a career.

So for the purpose of most of the exercises, I went with "transportation/logistics".
I've been a courier for about 2 years, it's all the "career" I have. It's not what I want to do for the rest of my life, but it's what I have experience in.

What I really need right now is a job. Or a way to break into a career. But that's another post.

The instructors gave us several different ways to network within our careers. Ways to further our careers and so forth.
Most of the stuff I learned didn't really transfer well to being a courier.

But what I did notice is that it transfered quite well to being a linguist/translator.
In fact, I'm doing almost everything right to further my career as a professional Klingon translator.

  • Join professional organizations. Wear lapel pins. Et cetera.
I'm a member of The Klingon Language Institute. I proudly wear a KLI lapel pin on my suit coat, and have my membership card in my wallet.
I'm also a member of Klingon Assault Group (and a member of thier Klingon Language Guild), The Empire, and KlingonSpace.

  • Use LinkedIn!
If you were to go to my LinkedIn profile, it would clearly list me as a "Professional Klingon translator". I have all of my translating work listed (along with my "real" jobs).

  • Other stuff that I'm doing that I don't remember the "category" of...
I also have a Google Profile. Most of my translation jobs come through it. I don't know how they end up there, but it seems to work.

Twitter. My first paid translation gig was through twitter. For a while, I read every tweet that used the word "Klingon". One such tweet contained a request for a Klingon translator. Next thing I know I have a job.

  • Networking
I'm semi-active on the KLI's e-mail discussion group. Recently I made a contact through the list, and we're co-hosting a panel on tlhIngan Hol at an upcoming convention.

I have 333 followers on Twitter (I just looked, I don't memorize the number). They're all aware (or should be...) that I speak Klingon. My twitter bio clearly states my professional status, and every third Wednesday of the month, I tweet exclusively in Klingon.
I have made several new language-related contacts through twitter.

Part of networking is just getting your name out there. My e-mail signature (and my signatures in my various groups) state that I'm a translator and link to my Google Profile.

  • Seminars
Each summer the Klingon Language Institute holds their qep'a'. As of yet, I haven't been able to attend one. However, this past November, I co-hosted a panel on the Klingon language at a local convention.
And as I mentioned, I'll be dong so again this coming July.

So if Klingon translators were in higher demand, I'd probably have a job by now.

Is there something wrong with being a straight, white, male?

Next month is February. It's "Black History Month". Not that long ago I was hearing about "Hispanic Heritage Month". It seems that almost every ethnicity has some special time set aside for them; unless you're white. Apparently there's something wrong with having a lack of pigmentation in your skin that makes people not want to talk about you. And if you do try to brag about yourself or others of a similar complexion, you're suddenly racist.

A while back, a friend of mine was getting ready for a Gay Pride Parade (or something...).
The term "gay pride" is tossed around quite a bit. I've never heard anyone say "straight pride" though. I'm assuming if I organized a parade in downtown Indy about "straight rights" and "straight pride", I'd have a lot of angry people on my case. I'd be viewed in a very negative light.
(I don't really understand the whole "gay pride parade" in the first place. I really don't need to know about your bedroom practices. And parading them in public? Really?
Maybe I'll march down the street with a sign that says that I like vaginæ (the plural of "vagina"). Or "I Breasts".)

I hear lots of radio spots for "girl power" and such. Stressing the importance of being female, and the power that comes from being around other people who don't have a Y chromosome. Go girls!

While I have nothing against homosexuals, "people of colour", or females, I wonder what it is about our society that doesn't want to embrace being heterosexual, white, and male. (Oh, and Facebook deleted the "White Pride Isn't Hate" [or whatever it was called] group because it was racist. A few more have popped up though.)


Disclaimer: I was sick all day yesterday, and I'm still not feeling so hot. Forgive me for my ramblings.