Watermelon rinds

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I can’t be the only one who slices watermelon rinds into long thin strips, then takes the time to feed them one by one down the disposal, just to avoid taking the rind out in the trash. I can’t be alone in this.

Can I?

My path to a change

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I got my first job as a bagger at Kroger when I was sixteen years old. Since then all my jobs have been in either retail or food service. I turned 40 last October. That means I have been working in the toxic customer service industry for twenty-four years. I’ve decided I’m ready for a change.

Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated with codes and ciphers. While I know that computer cryptography is far superior to anything that uses pencil and paper (other than a one-time pad) I still enjoy doing ciphers by hand. A few months ago I came across the VIC cipher, which most consider was the most complicated hand cipher ever used in the field. I played with it for a while, encoding and decoding messages to myself, but realized I could write a program to encode messages for me to decode. Yes, this sounds fun to me. My coding skills are a decade or so out of date, so I bought the newest edition of my favorite programming book, JavaScript: The Definitive Guide and started reading up.

At the same time, I was hired at Starbucks. They paid for me to go to collage. I had been wanting to go to collage since I was a kid but life kept getting in the way. I decided that I was going to make a change in my life to get out of this industry. Starbucks didn’t work out, but the motivation has stayed with me. I have completed the Responsive Web Design Certification at freeCodeCamp. I’ve been watching YouTube videos and reading articles on how to break into a career as a developer.

I’m getting out of customer service jobs. I’m committed to learning all I can and improving my life. And I’m going to post updates of what I’m learning and doing along the way.

Android unrooted

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When I got my first modern Android phone, a Nexus 4, back in 2012, the first thing I did was root it. I had owned a bunch of cheap no-name Android phones before, but none of them had available roots, and were all locked up pretty tightly. My N4 was the first phone I had that made rooting easy. Since then, I have owned a N5, N6, and N6P. Every single one, I rooted as soon as I turned it on. However, after getting the upgrade to the latest Android version, Nougat, I unrooted my phone for the first time in years. I have been running without root for over a week and don’t miss it at all.

There are several apps I always install that depend on root, but all of them are now either rolled into the system, or have a rootless alternative. Greenify is one of the first root apps I ever used, but most of its functionality is absorbed into Doze on the Go.

Another main reason I always rooted was for AdAway, a simple way to block ads across my entire phone instead of just in the browser. However, I have since found that AdGuard can also block ads very well, without root. To do so system-wide requires paying for it, but if you change the currency you are paying in to Russian rubles, after converting the currency it is about $5 for a lifetime subscription. You can block ads in browsers only for free. Through a bit of sneakery, you are even able to block ads on HTTPS sites and on compressed pages in Chrome, which AdAway was not able to do.

I used Xposed, mainly for two modules: Greenify and GravityBox. GravityBox is a very comprehensive module that is able to interact with several parts of your system. A lot of its less useful functionality is lost but the parts I used the most have similar features built in to Nougat. Settings->Display->Size lets you change the size of your interface, mimicking shrinking the navbar and allowing more info on your screen at a time. Quick setting tiles are now editable. UI Tweaks (open quick settings menu and press and hold on settings icon) lets you make adjustments to how notifications, silent mode, and status bar icons are handled.

Android’s greatest strength has always been that you can modify it to do whatever you wanted or needed it to with enough work, but after eight years it has matured to the point where you no longer need to take drastic measures or void your warranty to do so.

Garbage

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When @vixenlenore and I first met in April 2003, there was not much we had in common music-wise. She liked music I had previously liked but no longer listened to. She had not heard most of the music I liked. The biggest common denominator we both liked was Garbage. We had both been fans since their first album was released in 1995. We are both still fans, and have been fans longer than any other band either of us listen to.

Last Saturday, I took a rare weekend day off of work and we went to see them on their Strange Little Birds tour, promoting their new album. It was only the second time we had gone to a concert together, and the first time either of us had seen them live.

It was awesome! I took several pictures and videos. We had an amazing time, though our feet really hurt by the time it was all over.

Protip: when going to a concert that is standing room only wear comfortable shoes.

Totally worth it though. We had an amazing time, and if they are going through your town on their tour you are missing out if you don’t go see them.

Career

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The last time I had written here in 2011, I had recently been hired to provide free samples at Sam’s club. While there, I met Mary, who worked in the bakery during the day but moonlit at a regionally popular burger chain. She mentioned that her store was in need of good management, and suggested that I apply. I eventually did, and was hired. I had originally thought that this, like every job I’ve had, would be something to keep me afloat until I went on to somewhere else.

I was wrong.

I have been a vegetarian since 1989, and while the restaurant I work for is well known for high quality, I have never tasted a burger from there. Yet it is a great company, whom I have been working for just short of five years. This is the longest I have held a position in my life, and the first job that I feel I can actually say I have turned into a career. A little over a year ago I was given a promotion and am now General Manager of an entire restaurant. This required my wife and I to pack up and move, but it is worth it. I am happy overall with my job; of course it is a stressful industry, but I can manage stress better than most.

Teachers used to tell me if I didn’t live up to my potential I’d wind up flipping burgers. It turns out that living up to my potential has me doing exactly that.

And I couldn’t be happier about it.