I have now come to an end of the job at Cymer. They had me there for a full year as a temp. My one year mark was on the 19th of April. In the months prior, my boss at Cymer told me my position was funded through the end of the year and that he was all for getting me hired on as a regular Cymer employee. A couple of weeks later he told me that the then current reorganizations were keeping things up in the air but that my position was authorized for at least another month. And that he was still pushing for my being hired on.
On the 19th my one year mark passed without note from Cymer. No surprise that, as the folk in my management chain were both overseas. And there were the usual fire drills firing.
On the 20th, I got a call from a company I'd interviewed with so long ago that I forgot exactly when that was. It might have been early last fall or perhaps back in January of this year. In any event, they were in a rush and wanted me to start a new contracting gig on the 27th. Whilst still trying to figure out who, exactly, these folks were I told them I had to give at least two week's notice to Cymer. That's the right 'n proper thing to do and doing so also doesn't burn bridges. The new job still had a need to at least get me out there to the job site so I could do a handoff with their guy who had to leave by the 27th. So, while I booked that, I used the weekend to try and get Cymer to budge.
My boss at Cymer, was in Singapore at the time but I got a hold of him via email and his cellphone. He then started lighting things up on his end. Come Monday morning however, there was no joy from Cymer. I'd hoped for at least some sort of counter offer. Something which I could justify remaining in San Diego for as life on the road has its downsides. But, the upper management at Cymer has never seen the need for a dedicated project scheduler. So, they refused to budge. And thus I gave my official notice on Monday the 23rd and set May 4th as my last day.
On the 7th I'm due to start as a contractor at Goodrich ISR in Albuquerque. This'll be like the first contractor gig I had with SM&A back in '08. Base hourly rate plus full GSA per diem on the rest. The difference though, will be that they only do expense reimbursements on a monthly basis. SM&A ran things on a weekly basis. That's a lot to do up front.
I made sure to do my "i's" and cross my "t's" at work and spoke with our HR rep about my leaving. It was at that time that I was informed that my last day might actually be the 30th. Turns out that the "another month" my Cymer boss had spoken of was this month and, since I was leaving anyway, they elected not to do any extending whatsoever. So, even though I pushed back my starting on this new job so as to be fair to Cymer, Cymer in turn decided to short me. Just business, nothing personal. While I understand that, and as a temp I've no grounds to bitch at all, it still leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
It also makes it clear to me that heading for newer pastures is a wise choice as Cymer management's consideration of me and my time their was obviously not of value to them.
I am looking forward to working at Goodrich. The pay will be very substantially better. I'll still be keeping my digs in San Diego as the new gig is only three months long, officially. The guy I'm replacing was there for only three months as well. Then they extended him for another three. He's only leaving as he has family issues to tend to. He gave them six weeks notice and Goodrich only got busy dealing with it five weeks later! So, it looks like I could well be there well past the three month mark. I wouldn't mind that at all. The new income will enable me to really knock down the debt I piled up with all that unemployment I've endured over the past few years.
I'm gonna make good use of the "downtime" I'm now "enjoying." There's a bunchaton of stuff I must needs get done before jetting off to ABQ. Now I'll have more time to put that to effect.
Well, like they say, change is good, change or die. So, time for a change.
I know I used to use this place quite a bit. Of late? No. Hardly at all. I'll check it occasionally. But when I do I don't find much that's terribly new. Reposts of twitter entries and some pro forma cut and paste broadcasts. Not like it used to be with a lot more content and commentary. Seems Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Tumblr have sucked up all the bandwidth otherwise.
Finally, after more than six months with nothing coming in but curiousity and frustrations, I've landed new work.
I just started a job as a temporary employee at Cymer.
This time - for the first time in over a year and a half - it's a company here in California.
This time - for over three years - it's a company in San Diego, even.
This time it's also a job that pays me only about what I was making about eight years ago - if not loger ago.
This time - like the last time - I exhausted the funds in my unemployment claim before a new job came in.
This is however, a job. A real job. One that pays more than unemployment.
This is also a company and a job that has great potential.
It's a temp gig and only three months, officially, at that.
But, Cymer is growing like gangbusters and they're doing an awful lot of hiring from the temps they bring on. They've also made it abundantly clear that they desperately need scheduling professionals on their team. All of which bodes well for me!
Prior to my interviewing with these guys I'd never heard of Cymer before.
No surprise that, as Cymer doesn't sell anything to the general public. They're a half a billion dollar a year company that sells lightsources to the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Sounds sexy, eh? But, odds on, any bit of electronics you own - from your PC to your cellphone to your microwave to your alarm clock - is there as a result of a Cymer tool.
Cymer got its start back in '86 by two very bright guys who'd tired of working in Defense and wanted to make some money with their skills in working with lasers. They started Cymer and soon drove their company to own about 70% of the market in providing the light sources used in the photo-lithographic process used to print the circuit pattern on the wafers of silicon that eventually become computer chips. Cymer doesn't make the chips, they make a tool which the chip makers use to make their chips. In particular, Cymer uses excimer (hence the name - Cymer) lasers to zap droplets of tin which then produce light in wavelengths that are exceptionally short. The shorter the light wavelength, the smaller and closer the circuit patterns can be rendered on the "photo-resist" layer applied on the silicon wafers. Once that layer has been exposed to the Cymer laser enduced light source, the wafers are run through an acid bath which disolves away the portions of the wafer not protected by the exposed parts of that photo-resist layer.
The wafers are then run through another process which strips the remaining photo-resist bits and deposits copper or gold in the microscopic channels left behind - thus creating the circuits on the chip surface.
No, it's not very dramatic to describe and only slightly more so to watch happen. But, this process is at the heart of what our civilization is now based on. And Cymer produces the light source tool which most of the chip makers in the world use to make their chips.
What got me on to this job though, is a new venture by Cymer - TCZ. That stands for "Team Cymer Zeiss" and was a joint venture between them and the Zeiss Company out of Germany. Cymer sought for a new way to apply its skills with lasers. This time to use a laser beam to anneal the surface of a flat panel display. Annealing recrystalizes the display panel surface thereby making it more durable and sharper in its image capabilities. Traditional annealing involves putting the panel into an oven and heating the whole thing up. Aside from taking longer, it also means that the new technology of plastic OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) can not be annealed as that would melt the plastic.
With the TCZ laser process however, that annealing can take place with such speed that only the very surface of the panel is heated. Just enough to anneal it, recrystalize it and thereby make it durable and sharper imaging.
This opens the way to plastic OLED displays of any size you might wish. And that opens the way to "roll-up" computers no bigger than a fountain pen. All the electronics could be embedded in the material of the screen and the screen itself would be coated with an OLED.
This is hella cool stuff here. And Cymer is just now starting to crack this market. And I'm getting in at its ground level.
Yeah, I'm pretty enthused.
I'm also thrilled that the primary demand for the TCZ products is coming from Asia and NOT the US. Aside from yielding an even greater potential for growth once the US market starts for it, this also means that the current demand is not dependent upon our economy climbing up out of the Depression we're currently in.
Today marks the first full week I've been at Cymer. I just collected my first paycheck from the temp agency that's gotten me in there. Next week's will be my first full check and not another partial like today's. I'll be getting caught up on my bills and knocking down my credit card debts. And putting away what I can in case I do not get picked up come July. I plan on making myself indespensible to the TCZ program at Cymer. But, I'm not going to bet the farm on it.
In the meantime though, I am tremendously relieved to be working again. I don't do unemployed well. Not well at all.
So, yay me! I'm working again. And working at a company with enormous potential!
The folks over at Attic Room Production have created a wonder filled reproduction of Yuri Gagarin's flight.
It runs just about an hour and a half long - slightly longer than Yuri's actual flight - and has the audio track of Gagarin's radio conversations with Korolev and others back on the ground as the monitored and controlled the flight.
This was the first time a human being had traveled into space and it was an amazing achievement for our race.
Definitely something worth remembering and celebrating. Which is something that this film does well.
The visuals here are taken from the International Space Station and are definitely worth watching just for the sheer beauty of them on their own.
All in all, this is a thing of wonder and a joy to behold.
I've had substantial misgivings about this misadventure our Nobel Peace Prize Laureate president has set this nation upon.
Upon reading this article on the American Interest site I now realize things are worse - much worse - than I'd thought.
Our president has thrown us into a conflict that we have nothing to gain from, a conflict that is only going to escalate, a conflict that is only going to worsen, and a conflict from which we can not now extricate ourselves from. We have rushed - blindly - to aid "rebels" we know nothing about, who may very well be Al Qaeda terrorists or are at the least militant anti-western Islamists, and ultimately, who also can not possibly hold the entire country together even if they succeeded in overthrowing Qaddafi.
Our mission in Libya was to enforce a "no-fly zone" to "protect civilians." We interpreted that to mean just destroying Libya's air force and air defense capabilities. France has interpreted the mission to mean destroying the rest of the Libyan military on the ground. The mission was originally not to target Qaddafi. Now the mission has morphed into requiring him to step down - at the least - if not outright gunning for him directly.
All that the "no-fly zone" could accomplish on its own was to create a stalemate between the anti-government rebels and Gaddafi's forces. To do anything more - in particular if the rebels can not muster far more capability than they've thus far shown - will require us to send our troops in to do the job for them.
Folks, read through this essay as it paints things very clearly as to just how huge a mistake we've just made by getting involved in Libya's civil war. We're going to be damned by our war with Libya. Damned for years to come.
Back when Barrack Hussein Obama was but a mere presidential candidate he made a solemn vow and promise. Well, actually, he made bunches of them. This one though is not just another one that he's gone on to break - there's bunches of those to! - but it's one that's particularly relevant right now with the demonstrations going on up in Madison, Wisconsin.
That's right, Barrack Hussein Obama promised to march alongside any US worker demonstrating for their collective bargaining rights.
Niall Ferguson is a history professor at Harvard - the original one - and he tears Obama a new one for the way he completely blew it in handling Egypt.
This clip is eleven and a half minutes long but it's worth every second to listen to. Among other things worth hearing and seeing is the complete degree of loss the MSNBC hosts are at what to say or how to respond to The One's being so vividly - and precisely - cut down. Nothing partisan here as Mr. Ferguson can not vote in our elections and his comments are on Obama's foreign "accomplishments."
In a rational world that'd be about it. Oh, perhaps there'd be a just and thorough examination of how this obviously unbalanced individual could've slipped through our society's numerous mental health safeguards before his mental instabilities exploded in such a lethal way.
But, we live not in a rational world.
At least not when there's political points to be made.
Even before the bodies of the dead at the shooting scene had cooled - the left's hate machine was cranked up to full blast. With absolutely no facts on the ground the media, commentators, and far, far too many liberals in general were chiming in as to the obvious guilt here.
Obviously, the shooter was a right-wing nutjob. Obviously. It was a Democrat who was shot, so, obviously, the shooter had to be a Republican - and more to the point, a rabid, conservative, gun-loving, pro-war, Palin worshiping, Republican. Obviously.
In the blink of an eye, the hate machine trotted out all its tried and true anti-Palin filth. She, obviously, was the direct inspiration and cause of Lougher's rampage. Obviously.
In a rational world, those facts should've stopped the hate machine cold. In a rational world, the left would've issued a collective apology for their assumptions and spewings. In a rational world they would've examined their own failings.
And suddenly it became apparent that the left was blood dancing.
That is to say that the left was using the deaths in Arizona for purely political purposes. It was, effectively, dancing in the blood of the victims by screaming its lies about the right - who had nothing to do with the shooter.
That's what it has become.
In a rational world, the left would never have even started such dancing. At the very least it would have turned off its hate machine, it would've stopped it's blame game, it would've reined in its near ceaseless attacks on Palin once the facts became known.
In a rational world the left would've seen that it has been spewing hate that's just as bad if not worse and doing so for as long if not longer.
In a rational world.
Instead, the blood dancing continues.
No pause. No admission of even a slight contribution by the left to the current tone of political discourse. No admission of its own murderous and hateful rhetoric.
Officially, the Great Recession lasted from December 2007 to June 2009. A mere 18 months—about average, as recessions go. Yet if the trauma this time feels deep and lasting, that may be because, as the figures on these pages show, so many disruptions have upended national life at once.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, nearly every state faces a budget shortfall, and hundreds of banks have shut their doors. The young are unemployed, living at home, and playing video games. The ranks of third-party candidates have swollen, militias have proliferated, and national leaders of both parties have seen their support decline. Of course, times of flux are often times of anxiety and unrest. But as the economy begins its slow and stuttering recovery, the vast changes wrought by this recession will continue to reverberate for many years—in ways predictable and otherwise.