In today's news, I got a phone call from my insurance company to talk to me about the accident my car was involved in.

On March 19th.

In Irvine.

While someone else was driving it.

If you're not clear on California's geography, I live in Oakland, 413.6 miles (according to Yahoo Maps) from the center of Irvine. Furthermore, I was in Sunnyvale and San Francisco on the 19th. The scenario here would have to be that someone stole the car while I was asleep in Oakland, drove it to Irvine, banged it up, exchanged insurance information, got the car fixed, and returned it to me, in the space of maybe 10 hours, at most.

Um, no. My insurance agent is currently installing a new asshole for the insurance company. I like my insurance agent.

Mom and Dad called the other day, since it's been a while since the last journal entry--hi, guys. I do appreciate that you care. *grin*

It's been an interesting couple of weeks: I got emails from VA Software last week asking if I was interested in a job there. I hadn't planned on looking for a little while, since I just started a 3-month contract, but someone submitted my resume, and it's not as though good jobs have been falling on my head recently. And the manager/team leader exhibited a level of candor and honesty in her email that I've never encountered before, so while I was wary about the job (product support engineer), based on that email I figured I'd check it out.

It turned out to be a little bit of a mixed bag, but far better than I thought it would be. The job is doing support for the SourceForge product, but it's almost entirely by email, and with more technical users who are more likely to find real bugs than make usage errors. Which is why they could use a software engineer: I don't think they have one, and there is both debugging and bugfixing to be done, and there are lots of development things laying around that need picking up. They also want to port SourceForge to server-side Java, which, as it happens, is my more expert-level technology (it's currently in PHP, which I don't know yet).

I've been really frustrated with my career recently, such as it is, and my difficulty in finding a job during the bust (I can't speak for the rest of the nation, but Silicon Valley is currently resurging) has impressed upon me the importance of a more solid foundation of work experience, including getting into positions of more responsibility, and managing and designing products. My ambition, as much as I can figure, is to be a software architect, being responsible for designing Extremely Large And Complicated Systems. Certainly for the next few years I want to do more and harder engineering problems.

None of this, as far as I've been able to tell, is amenable to a startup. By all accounts VA is the sort of place that does in fact promote people and allow movement to different projects. The position comes with some on-call time shared with the rest of the team--reportedly nothing happens, but you get paid extra anyway--and occasional travel for deployments or emergencies, which is fine because I'd like to get out of town more anyway.

I also told them outright that I'd rather do full-time software development, and they didn't seem to blink at my salary requirements either. I'm not thrilled about bailing early on the contract, but who knows. This company is very far away for me to work permanently here, even if it materializes (VA is in Fremont, about 10 miles closer and north of where 880 normally starts to clog up even in off hours). Much as I'm pulled by the prospect of hitting the right startup and not having to worry about money any more, I think that goal is better served by my subgoal of becoming a software architect, and that's not going to happen without a lot of growth experience.

Just got back from seeing Blade 2. It's pretty bad, but if you keep your expectations reasonable (which we did) it's fun. They trouble even less with plot and character development than in the original, but the style is a bit jerky and blurred, much more like Baz Luhrmann's Romeo+Juliet, made for the MTV generation. I think I liked the first one better: it was brooding and dark, even if you couldn't take it seriously, whereas they just went ahead and made the sequel cartoonish.