Tuesday, June 29, 2010


So I'm currently sitting in my favorite bar (Nomad World Pub) starting my second beer of the day. The Paraguay-Japan game has been fairly lackluster so far and the bar is pretty empty- maybe 9 people including myself out here since 9:00 cheering on Japan, Paraguay or simply the game itself. I've had my laptop out, like many times before, except this time I have few distractions. The game is on halftime right now and music is playing, and I can finally sit down and write a blog post.

This past month has been pretty hectic. Work has ramped up as it always does during the summer, and this time I have two employees to help me out. They're hired through the Youth Job Corps of St Paul and I've been having mixed success with them. One is a natural at any task that I give him, while the other is a bit more of a challenge. I knew this from the outset, though- the YJC program is half intended to help me and half supposed to be me giving the YJCs valuable work and growth experience, which is always a good thing for a resume I hear.

I don't understand how my classes are going, as it seems to be fits and starts. My Adult classes have had their members grow by magnitudes over the past two weeks, though actual attendance is still touch and go at times. The YJCs have really helped this out, providing translation and outreach for me. Unfortunately I also need to make sure that they have something to do all the time, which can be tricky when all I want to do is plan the next lesson or send out some e-mails. Outreach time I guess?

I've also gotten a new projector, and it is a GODSEND. Suddenly I don't have to be sitting right next to a student to show him or her how to perform a particular task- I can just show it to the class entire on my projector! I can also now manage large class sizes, which is fantastic, and have real class discussion about what I am showing on the screen (which is a glorified bed sheet. Budget budget budget... where hast thou gone?).

My kids classes, though, are not doing so hot. I thought that a class designed around the world cup would be a GREAT class for a predominantly immigrant population. But summer school and the early morning hours that are all that I have to use have apparently sapped all the will out of the children and teens, even if I promise them free food. I can get them to show up on Thursdays for the game and free time, but even then they don't watch the game. It's all about the lab time.

But all is not dark in my life- I had an onsite interview with Epic a week ago that I think went pretty well. I could wax poetical about their philosophy, work space and possible pay for hours (and will if you ask me!), but we'll sum it up this way:

1. You can book a meeting IN A TREEHOUSE.
2. They theoretically want to pay me in real, American currency.
3. Except for a few people outside the company I have heard nothing bad about them.
4. They have a very focused environmental policy and are one of the most bike friendly companies in one of the most bike friendly cities in America.
5. On the coffee table in the HR department they had several books, including a Calvin and Hobbes anthology, How to Be a Villain, and The Pop-Up Book of Phobias.

The interview lasted from 9:15-3:30 and had quite a few parts. First there was a tour of the campus, then an introduction to my potential job (Technical Services- trouble shooter and integrator of stuff into hospital mainframes), then the actual interview. First was a series of situations, which I did well except for the first question. Second was a standard interview, including the excellent question of "What is a common misconception about you?" Third was me vainly trying to remember how to pseudo-code to answer several questions, but that part apparently won't make or break me, especially since I've had two classes in a language that isn't terribly useful to modern day programming.

I came away very hopeful, and they said that they would let me know their decision within two weeks. It's one week now, so I'm starting to get a little nervous, but hopefully they will let me know soon and in the affirmative.

Sorry if that was a bit rambling- probably the beer is having some interesting effect on my literary style, and I do have a lot to talk about. It's definitely a time of great change right now- old friends are fleeing the city, my employment of the past two years is ending in about two months, and I have to think about moving to a new city, a new state, and a place where I know no one. I haven't had this big of a change since I left high school to start college, and it's a bit scary. I've grown comfortable in my current position, but it's probably time for something new. Six years is a long time- a quarter of my life so far- but it's probably time. Time for something new.

Next time, some more looks at my experience of this World Cup.

Until next time...

"When your watch gets out of order you have a choice of two things to do: throw it in the fire or take it to the watch-tinker. The former is the quickest."
- Following the Equator, Pudd'nhead Wilson's New Calendar