A New Job

Most of my small group of readers are probably aware by now that I have tendered my resignation at NewEnergy Associates, the software company that I have worked for over the last nine years. My friends and family know that for many of those years I was deeply unsatisfied with my career path and with the work that I was doing. That all changed over the last three years, and I had finally found a place at NewEnergy where I was doing things that made a difference and where I enjoyed my work.

So for once, I wasn’t looking for another job because I was satisfied with the one I had.

Naturally, that is when opportunity came knocking on my door.

A friend of my wife put me into contact with the owner of a startup that was looking to hire a Rails developer and within two weeks of our initial contact, I made the decision to leave NewEnergy and join Systino to do Rails development work.

Working for a startup company will be both exciting and challenging, but that’s just part of the fun. On top of it, I will get to do the web development work that love and get to work with my favorite programming language Ruby. Finally, Systino is an Mac company and so I will be getting a nice new MacBook on which to develop.

Needless to say I am thrilled and can’t wait to get started next week.

In the mean time, today starts my last week with NewEnergy. In some ways, it is sad. I will miss the many wonderful people that I have come to know over nearly a decade, but this opportunity was something that I would always regret not taking and I think the time was right for a change.

Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion Cuisine

Yesterday (September 7) was my five year wedding anniversary. Usually, my wife and I take a trip somewhere out of town for this occasion, but this year we decided to stay in town during our vacation with no plans in particular other than that we would eat dinner at a nice restaurant on the actual day of our anniversary. This is no small feat mind you as my wife suffers from celiac disease aka gluten-intolerance. Essentially, this means she cannot eat anything derived from wheat, rye, barley, or oats (usually) without getting really sick in her digestive system for days. So if you think about how much food out there involves bread, pasta, or just seasonings that involve wheat as a filler product, then you can start to imagine how annoying and hard it is to find places where we can safely eat worry free. Fortunately, there are more and more places that are gluten aware and a few that even offer gluten-free menus, but even then we have to worry about whether the staff is truly well-informed because we have often encountered staff who prepare a salad with croûtons and simply scoop them off when they see the note about gluten-free food thinking that this will suffice when it will not.

Over the last few years since her diagnosis, our restaurant choices have been pretty narrow as it’s such a pain to feel out a new place for safety and suitability, but in the last year we have had a new resource to turn to for guidance in the shape of the Atlanta Gluten Free Dining club. People share reviews there of places where they have successfully enjoyed gluten-free meals. So with our anniversary rapidly approaching and wishing to try someplace different, we consulted the group’s forum and found a few options including the one that we eventually settled upon: Roy’s.
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Dexter – The Best Show on TV

Two weeks ago, I was visiting the excellent horror film review site the Arrow In The Head and saw a round up of the newest horror, suspense, or just plain cool releases on DVD. One of the new releases caught my eye: the first season of the Showtime original series Dexter.  What about it caught my eye? Well, to start with the cover artwork surely did. But then I read about the premise and found myself instantly hooked. You see Dexter is a black comedy and crime drama that follows the life of one Dexter Morgan who works for the Miami-Dade police department as a blood spatter expert. He also happens to moonlight as a serial killer – one who only targets other serial killers.

From the product description on Amazon:

Dexter is based on the compelling novel “Darkly Dreaming Dexter” by Jeff Lindsay. Orphaned at the age of four and harboring a traumatic secret, Dexter Morgan (Dexter Morgan (Emmy®- and Golden Globe®- nominated actor Michael C. Hall from “Six Feet Under”) is adopted by a police officer who recognizes Dexter’s homicidal tendencies and guides his son to channel his gruesome passion for human vivisection in a constructive way – by killing those heinous perpetrators that are above the law or who have slipped through the cracks of justice. A respected member of the police force, a perfect gentleman and a man with a soft spot for children, it’s hard not to like Dexter. Although his drive to kill is unflinching, he struggles to emulate normal emotions he doesn’t feel, and to keep up his appearance as a caring, socially responsible human being.

I put Dexter on my Netflix list, but got impatient and so last Sunday, my wife and I rented the first disc from Blockbusters. My wife was worried at first because the show doesn’t flinch when it comes to showing the gruesome crime scenes left behind by serial killers; however, by the end of the second episode she too was hooked. Why? Because this show is truly a gem of TV. It is incredibly well-written. All the characters are very realistic and well-fleshed out with their own interesting story-arcs that mesh well together and with the season’s quite compelling overall story arc. The acting is top notch all around with a truly excellent ensemble cast. Special kudos go out to the incredible performances by Michael C. Hall as Dexter and Julie Benz as his girlfriend Rita – a damaged single mother of two kids.

The writers of the series have created a very cerebral and well-pieced together show that keeps you coming back for more. They make clever use of foreshadowing and metaphors to enrich the whole package while using the fascinating concept of the show to explore how people interact with one another and what masks we all wear to hide our true selves.

Speaking of which: it is truly fascinating and hilarious (in a dark and morbid way) to watch Dexter try to pretend to be a person with normal feelings and desires and to hear his inner monologues contrasted with his conversations with those around him.

My wife and I were so hooked by this show that we found that we couldn’t wait for Netflix to deliver each disc and instead wound up renting the last two discs from Blockbuster as well.

Now we’re doing the unthinkable (for people who have avoided premium cable for five years) and ordering Showtime – all so we can watch Dexter Season Two which starts on September 30!

Do yourself a favor and rent or buy Dexter Season One! It’s truly the best TV show I think I’ve had the pleasure of watching.