Ken in class clowning around

Greetings all, I just wanted to update this site with the latest on what’s going on in my life. I know that it’s been a while since I sat down to do a full update, but life has been fairly hectic the last couple of weeks. So hectic that even when I have time to write I’m not in the right mindset to do anything productive like updating this blog.

Since my last update I have actually made the move to Nebraska City in the southeast corner of Nebraska. I won’t go into the details on how much I like it here except to say that it looks and feels like the perfect small town in middle America. It really is beautiful. The town is small, I think I read somewhere that the population is about 9,000.

Last Saturday my Brother drove down from Portland, Oregon to drive me up to NC. It was so nice of him to do that, and it really made the move so much easier for me. Instead of taking more than 24 hours to go by bus, or even an estimated 12 hours to do a combination of flights and taxis, we made the trip in about 14 hours. Not bad considering how much nicer it was to not have to sit and wait for the plane to leave, or layovers for the next bus.

We got to the apartment building at about 5pm and moved my stuff into my apartment. The apartment is okay, kind of mid-seventies style, but it works for now. One of my major concerns was just finding a place to live and this works well for that. In a year or so I’ll probably start looking around for something that fits me a little better.

I spent most of this week walking to Walmart at least once a day, sometimes a couple of trips a day. Mostly for groceries and the basics of outfitting an apartment. It’s not that far, Google maps lists it at 1.6 miles away which seems about right. It may not be that far, but with the hills in the city my calves are aching at the end of the day.

I bought a car on Wednesday. Technically getting a vehicle has seemed the most daunting to me. I won’t lie, there have been a least a few times where I just wanted to give up on the whole process.

The school I’ll be working at is about 20 miles away, so a car is a necessity. There is no way around this, I have to have a car to function in my new position. The problem is that my last license expired in November of last year. So I need to get a new one except I haven’t had a permanent residence to prove I live in the state.

The whole process is like a Möbius strip that there doesn’t seem a place to get off of it once you get stuck inside.  In order to get a license, I need a car. I can’t technically drive a car without insurance, and I can’t get insurance without a license. The only break in this ‘chain’ is that I could get insurance as a non-driver. I paid for that with a premium that was probably double what I’d pay otherwise, but at least I was able to get it. So although I stressed over everything for quite a while, I now have a car and insurance. On Monday, I expect to have a license too. So although it may be premature right now, it appears that everything will work out.

Oh, and the car I bought was an old Ford Explorer. I made the mistake of assuming that there would be a branch of my bank here, but I found out that it closed a couple of years ago. The nearest was about 60 miles away. There isn’t really a problem with that if I am doing purchases that I can use a debit card or cash that I can get out of an ATM, but when purchasing a car, you need cash, lots of it and I couldn’t seem to figure out a way to get my money here fast enough to buy a vehicle from a private party. I bit the bullet and went with a used car place, for the reason I could wire the money to them.

The car is a 2002 Eddie Bauer Ford Explorer. It’s okay, not something that I will keep long term, but it should get me back and forth from the school. Maybe next summer I can buy something more to my liking.

Anyway, I went into more details that I thought I would on this posting and I don’t know how much I’ll leave up. There’s a good chance I’ll go back in and edit it or delete things that seem to private for the blog. For now though, that’s my life in 500 words.

So things have really heated up for me in the last few weeks, and I’m not referring to the summer heat, although the temp is nearing 100 degrees outside. I’m referring to my life and being back in the US for the last few months. I’m not going to go into all the details, but I will give an overview of what I’ve been up to. It has been close to a month since my last post so I think an update is long overdue.

About two weeks ago I accepted a position in Nebraska teaching graphic design and all the related fields that go along with it. It’s an exciting position and I’m looking forward to the start of the semester. All the people that I met on my interview were great. Without exception they were all kind and engaging and I’m looking forward working with them.

The campus is small, but it is postcard perfect. It sits on a hill and everywhere you look there are mature trees and green grass. I think it’s safe to say that I was overwhelmed by the amount of green while I was there.

Now all the hard parts become real like moving to the new city and setting up a new household. Because I lived oversees for so long I really don’t have anything to actually set up a house. I have one towel and clothes, and of course all my tech.

I’m in the process of renting an apartment (sight unseen) and if my instincts are accurate I think I’ve got one lined up. I’m just waiting for my application to go through. After that I’ll be looking for a car.

I’ll be leaving NM in about two or three days. I haven’t bought tickets yet just because I can’t seem to find a direct route to my new home. Since I’m not really familiar with the area I’m having some trouble picking the best way to go. Tomorrow though, it has got to be done.

Okay, I know this update is short but I don’t want to tell the world what’s going on in detail. I think just a basic update will suffice for now.

ken curtis on the beach

Just as the title says, I’ve started a new series on kennethcurtis.com. It’s based on my need to learn wireframing for web design. I decided not that long ago to again try to pick up where I left off on learning Balsamiq Mockup for wireframing. I had started it a couple of years ago and got to a working level with it but I never really took to the concept of creating a site without having a visually pleasing end result.

When a friend asked me to work on a concept that he had been thinking about I thought that this would be a good chance to construct the site in a more contemporary way. The result was that I decided to start a video/written series where I record my process of learning the software. The thought is that maybe there are others out there that may be in the same place I am and would enjoy working along with me. I think my friends somewhat simple site is a good project to work on. I really like the idea on my end if only it gives me an incentive to keep at it. The last time I worked with Balsamiq I simply lost interest in it.

So I’ve been pretty much stuck here for about two months. I won’t give too much info because I’m a little embarrassed of my situation. What I will say is that I’ve been really lazy about getting out and walking around. I’m not really sure why but coming back to America has kind of reset my normal routine that I had in Asia. The things that I did on a regular basis in Kuala Lumpur or Taipei don’t really fit in Clovis, New Mexico. Even if those things were location independent, like something simple like walking. I used to love going for a long walk along the Keelung River in Taipei or doing the 3-mile walk to Little India in KL. Ever since I got to Clovis I’ve pretty much done none of it.

So about two days ago I decided to walk around and take some photos. Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky I’ll find something to start my next project on. I am staying fairly close to some railroad tracks and the trains pass by on a very regular basis. I like trains and I thought maybe I’ll go get some footage of them.

So two days ago I take off for the tracks to film some trains going by. It had been a while since I used my gopro but I thought it would be maybe a good video to have a train going over it. So everything went as expected, and of course I ran into problems with the gopro. No worries, I mean this wasn’t any important, just a possible project in the making.

So yesterday I was kind of tempered with the mistakes that I made the day before, I decide to really make an effort. I took both my camera and had the attitude I’m going to get the footage that I need to create something interesting.

I head out and I’m loving the walking. Seriously, I am thoroughly enjoying the feeling of just walking, the crunching of the gravel and the sounds of birds was too perfect. Before I really notice it I’m probably about five or six miles away from my starting point. Besides, my ultimate goal of this walk was to get some footage of trains for a project. I decide to head back and head toward the tracks.

About a mile away I finally make it to the tracks, it’s a crossroads of tracks and cars. The spot is barely marked and is pretty nondescript. There are two cars parked on the right side faced in opposite directions like the drivers are talking to each other. As I’m walking towards the service road along side the tracks I start to hear a horn honking. I ignored it. Even though I didn’t look, I guessed that it was coming from the parked cars. It honked again and again. I still ignored it. At that point I realized that I was the intended “honkee,” but I didn’t care.

I hear the car driving up to me and I of course turn around. This guy, maybe 23 years old tells me that I’m not allowed to be here. I asked why, and he told me it was private property. I said that I’m not doing anything, just taking some photos and he told me that it was illegal to take photos of a train. What!? I could feel myself starting to get angry and decided that I didn’t need the hassle so I walked off toward the road. I ended up walking about 4 miles along a busy four lane highway. A hour and a half I made it home.

I’m kind of mixed on the interaction this this guy. He was driving a truck that had BNSF on the side, but what authority did he have to kick me out? I don’t think that the guy sweeping up at Burger King would have the gumption or right to kick someone out of the building for not cleaning up after themselves. This BNSF guy was no more than 23 years old and definitely not a supervisor, and I keep thinking, maybe unfairly, that he was a supreme douche. It’s been bugging me all day today, a full 24 hours later. I had barely stepped onto the private property… like maybe 25 feet onto it before he jumped.

This site doesn’t have a Supreme Douche award but it did, you, the guy in the BNSF truck are awarded the honor. You can now go home and brag about how you kicked some guy off the service road for taking photos and being on private property. Maybe your girlfriend will give you an extra hug tonight just for being such a big man.

ken curtis on the beach

It’s Sunday and the day is almost over. The sun is going down and I am trying to accomplish something before the day is completely over. I worked all day on the kennethcurtis.com site refining and adding little bits here and there. Even though I worked all day on it I don’t really feel like got enough done.

ken curtis on the beach
Ken walking on the beach in Vietnam

If you’re new to this site, then you probably don’t know about my other sites. I’ve just finished a hosting site about a week or two ago, and about a month ago I finished my bigger site. The bigger site is Kennethcurtis.com. This site I’m trying to make into a true successful one. A site that gets a decent amount of visitors and maybe gets a following. With all the highly professional, team run sites there are out on the web, it’s pretty unlikely that I’ll succeed. I’m still going to try though.

I kind of set a loose goal of writing a new article about every few days. I’ve been doing it, but sometimes it gets tough to find something to write about. I usually go a few days without finding anything interesting, and then there will be about four or so items that I find and write for a few days. The weekends are particularly weak on subjects.

I sent a person a request to do an interview about a week ago, though the way times flies, it could have been two weeks. As of tonight I haven’t heard anything from him. It’s too bad, I really liked his videos and thought that I’d at least get a response. Nothing though. Not a rejection or sorry no.

Ken in class clowning around

If you’ve been following my posts lately I think I fixed one of the major errors with the blog. I say ‘think’ because it was such an easy fix that it’s almost laughable that I didn’t find it at first go. There are some other problems that I still need to get into and fix, but the one that was really bothering me was that the columns weren’t acting as they should have.

In total, I think a conservative estimate was that I worked on the blog for about six hours. No lie, it was probably closer to double that. In the end it was one css style that was messing the whole blogs formatting. I went through nearly every check that I could think of and nothing was working. I restored the blog to before I fixed the static pages and no luck, everything was like it was before I started working on it, and common sense would mean that it would be like it was, but for reasons I don’t understand it took changing the width of the main div.

It’s fixed so at least I don’t have to be embarrassed if someone goes to the blog.