Followup …

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Meant to followup the previous post yesterday but got absorbed in code.

  1. Exploratorium Adult Night is brilliant. No kids underfoot, pushing you out of the way to play with an exhibit … AND you can purchase alcoholic beverages (at an exorbitant cost, mind you), and … In the four hours they are open for Adult Night, you can’t possibly see everything, it’s huge, but still, it was fun. We’ll have to do it again, maybe with some friends.
  2. CJ is okay. Kaiser was just being super cautious, whatever it was they found was not cancer.
  3. Got an email yesterday morning from the publisher, I am now “on the Tech Edit Team”. Have asked some questions, but with my luck and timing, my contact had (most likely) left work by the time I wrote back, or didn’t get to it, or … (I need to know things like, oh, is it contract work (I assume the answer is “Yes”), how much will I get paid … that kind of thing …).
  4. Making some progress on the book, but every time I think I am close to getting the base code done for the app, I run into some oddity. A good portion of it is an issue of writing code that has been handled “behind the scenes” in the past, but because of the way I am writing the app, I am having to re-create a LOT of stuff. It means dealing with navigating properly, and what happens when you delete a row and it was the last one in the table, and … oy. (And making sure the screen updates properly, and ….)

We went out with Gail, my sister-in-law, CJ’s younger sister last night to a place in Danville. Nice place, good food, pricey. But … it was pleasant.

Started working on the book, figured I’d stop right about now, and the spouse and I would grocery shop, but … she just called her BF, so gawd knows when we’ll go shopping. Sheesh. Oh well. Next week herself goes back to work, so that’s something (my days will be my own again — until I get a full-time job).

Next Saturday three of the Heald Campuses are having a graduation ceremony for the students who should have had one in July (would have completed their programs in April). It will be in Roseville. I will probably go to that. CJ has a deployment, and then really ought to go to the SCA event happening in Milpitas. Gonna be a weird day …

Whatta week … and it ain’t over yet

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Thursday … must be a freaking Thursday …

Took the spouse in to Kaiser to do some routine exams (mammogram, etc.).

She got a call awhile ago … they found something. They don’t want her to panic (yeah, right), but … So tomorrow morning (rather than doing the various things I haven’t done all week because she’s been home from work, taking some vacation time) we get to go to Kaiser (in Martinez this time, different view) for more testing. (Worried because a friend of ours who is much younger than herself had to go through chemo, etc., from something that was found … for a year … gah!)

Sigh. Beginning to not want to do any exams anymore … I mean, I had to have a colonoscopy because of the last thing I did. Luckily it turned out to be nothing serious but it was a difficult couple of days, and my intestines haven’t quite recovered yet (you tend to wipe out most of the biotics in your system, so …).

On the plus side, yesterday we saw Tomorrowland (the Disney movie), and overall enjoyed it. Not a spectacular movie, but fun. (Better than the others that Disney has done that were based on their theme park areas …).

This evening we’re finally going to take advantage of Adult Night at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. We’ve wanted to do that since they announced it a couple years ago — no one under 18 allowed. Heading to BART in an hour and a half, go have dinner before … I have already purchased the tickets … so we’re close to ready to go.

AND tomorrow evening we’re going out to dinner at a nice restaurant in Danville with herself’s sister.

Making more progress on the book, but it’s been a long haul. The one chapter has turned into two, and might end up at three …

The job search has sucked. I really ought to put more effort into it. I have been waiting to hear from the publisher that I did the tech editing test for last week. If I hear nothing by tomorrow afternoon I’ll drop a note out to my contact. I don’t want to be pushy though.

The problem with job hunting is that despite all the advice that says that it is a full-time job of its own, you can’t do that to yourself. It is ego-crushing, it is frustrating. One annoying thing is that for whatever reason the EDD (unemployment folk) want to see me Monday for an in-person interview (already did a phone interview that lasted … 3 minutes?), and then there’s a training session … on how to find a job. Sheesh. Teach your mother to suck eggs. Seriously. I have taught students how to do that, I really doubt they’re going to teach me anything. But it is mandatory. Sigh. CJ was unemployed for nearly nine months and never had to go through this. But this time, and the last time I applied for unemployment … (not that it’s been that often, but still …).

Oh well. Just have to keep moving, keep myself going, keep trying. Something will come up, but it’s been hard. Try to stay positive. Not always an easy proposition. After awhile “discouraged” doesn’t really say how one feels.

And trundling along … no job in sight … sigh.

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The job market may be better, but for those with my background it ain’t all that much better.

Eight years in the same job, one I loved, but with for-profit colleges in the gun sights of the Federal Board of Education, it’s getting harder and harder to find anything.

Have not heard back from the publisher (mentioned in previous post), but not really surprised. I completed the tech edit test on Thursday, and sent it back, but this was a three-day weekend. Hopefully soon.

In the meantime I have to do an interview with the EDD (Employment dept.) and if I don’t, I won’t get my unemployment money. grr. So I have to fill out a list of places I have applied to, and I have to attend some other “service appointment” which is probably some training on how to find a job. I used to teach my students this shit … (well, it’s been awhile, but I have taught Professional Career Development …). PITA.

So … I have been working on my book and made some breakthroughs in the code, now it is time to explain, and finish. But the current chapter is getting huge … may have to break it up. (Sigh)

My wife took this week off to have some down-time from work, and to try to catch up with some stuff, including spend some time with some of her friends. So what happens at the end of last week? She came down with a head-cold. She’s finally recovering. However, today she was supposed to be out and about with her BF, and BF needs to have dental work done today. Sheesh. (I had plans including running some errands that I’d rather not do when she’s home …) C’est le vie. Tomorrow another good friend is coming over and they’re going to binge-watch a BBC costume show. Thursday I have to take her to Kaiser to get some medical checkups done. Oy.

Regarding the cold, I at least have had minimal symptoms, so may not come down with it. Sure hope not.

Anyway, gonna watch Orphan Black latest episode and do some job-search stuff, then come back to my book again. Long way to go there.

And … out of nowhere …

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Okay, really quickly before crashing …

When I was teaching at Heald, one of the many things I did was textbook reviews. I was one of a few people largely responsible for all of Heald moving to a specific publisher for the Office 2007 textbooks, because the current ones were not great, and the online software we were using with the books was pretty horrid.

Turns out that networking can be handy. Over the years since we did that move, I have spent time sending corrections to the publisher for the 2007, 2010 and 2013 textbooks, as well as issues with the online software (nothing is perfect, but this was much better than the previous … my feeling is — they can’t fix it if they don’t know about it).

One of the primary authors for the books and I had made a small bit of connection (we met at a couple of conferences, and had a nice phone call at one point discussing what had happened with one of the books at one point).

When we got laid off, I dropped a note out to the faculty community using the online software, figuring “Well, it can’t hurt …”. I got contacted over the weekend by said author, who suggested I contact the publisher about possibly doing some technical editing, as they were gearing up for Office 2016, and the books would be modified, etc.

This morning I did so, and within a couple hours was contacted, and will be doing a Technical Editing test for the publisher. If I do well, I may be doing at least some contract work, which is better than nothing.

I don’t expect it to turn into full-time work, but one never knows, I can develop MORE contacts/networking here, and …

That’s pretty cool. Networking can work for you … it has for me in the past, but it’s been awhile.

Feeling a bit better about the universe today. For a Monday, that’s saying something.

Two Posts in One Week? Is the world about to end?

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Feels like it might … but it’s been that kind of week.

I just want to bitch a bit first about how much I really hate the SCA Exchequer’s office (just the West Kingdom, and she’s NOT taking the full SCA-Wide position). My wife and I have almost no life. She comes home from work, and works. Weekends where we don’t have either an SCA event or she’s working on the Exchequer’s office are rare … it’s insane. 1.5 years of this, and we have another year to go. Argh.

Oh well. On the other side of things … resume out to some more places (including LucasArts, which surprised me). I have no clue if there are any nibbles (so far nothing). The job market is always weird, and my skill-set is unusual. This may be good, it may be bad … but oh well. Most of the jobs I am seeing that I might be qualified for are Corporate Training jobs. I am sure I could do some of them, others might be a push, but I am a quick study with software.

Positive: I did get an email from the financial firm handling my 401K, CCI finally got around to the termination paperwork, my account is unlocked, and is being rolled over to an IRA. This means that when I get another job, I can roll it over to that 401K, etc. Back under my control …

The book … well … it’s an uphill climb. Dealing with the concepts involved in working with SQL Server databases through dBASE … oof. Multiple connections (read-only and read/write), writing your own buffering routines (because the built-in ones don’t work properly with SQL Servers … really??) … ack. Then trying to turn things around and explain them (which is the point of this exercise). Trying to figure out how to write code that is generic (not specific to one SQL Server engine), and will handle most situations … brain hurts. Once I get past this next chapter, I should have a bit more fun with the software, although the deployment part is going to be tricksy.

Oh well, one bit at a time. I did send two chapters of the book off to one of the folk at dBASE, and she returned it with just a couple suggestions and some nice compliments. So that’s good.

The van went into the shop yesterday as the parts had come in. The rental car is okay (Nisson Altima) — it’s black, which the spouse loves. It’s keyless which is confusing, although I guess in the long run most cars will be, so what the heck. You still need a fob with an RF chip. Was told yesterday two days, guess we’ll see tomorrow.

We got a tiny touch of rain, the South Bay (San Jose) got the big part (someone posted on Facebook that it has rained for 3 hours). Sigh. We just got the ground damp. We need some serious rain, and lots of it.

Not much else at the moment. Slogging along … not as productive as I’d like, but not being completely a slug and getting nothing done.

Feeling … odd. Not angry. Not frustrated. Not happy. Just … odd.

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So, it’s now the start of third week after being laid off (last Sunday of April).

If someone brings up the parent corporation that was responsible for my current employment concerns, yeah, I’ll feel a bit angry, a bit hurt, seriously annoyed at a few people … but that’s already dulling down a bit.

The job search is, not surprisingly, a bit tough. For-Profit colleges are under fire by the federal Board of Education, they’re really trying to put them out of business. The goal apparently is to get more and more students in community colleges. However, many jobs as an instructor in those schools require a Master’s Degree, which I don’t have.

A friend of mine (whom I met in the SCA) who is almost done with her PhD (finishing the Doctoral Thesis phase) gave me a bunch of websites to check out that are aimed at the academic world. I’ve been tinkering, filling out profiles, using search options …

Last week I also sent my resume off to 7 different Corporate Training jobs. I have a sneaking suspicion that may be the way to go. It may not. Some of them require huge amounts of travel (one is at 65% or something like that).

I’ve had a couple dBASE coders contact me with potential work, but I am trying to avoid falling into that trap. I was never very happy doing that kind of work. I mean, it was challenging, and it paid okay, but … I never really liked it that much.

Honestly, I really just want to work for someone at a job I am good at (and hopefully enjoy) until I’m 65, and see how the retirement options look at that point.

I have received a contact list of former Heald people from our campus, which has email addresses and phone numbers. I have a decent list of references. My resume looks pretty durn good, if I may say so. It’s just trying to find work now. Not an easy task.

I have never liked the job search process, but I know few people who really do. It’s a bit hard on the ego. You send your resume out into the ether (it’s all done electronically these days) and hope someone actually reads it, actually thinks you may be worthy of contact, etc. Most of the time if you hear anything back, which 99% of the time you don’t, it is negative. It can be brutal.

Today was a weird one for me. I spent quite a bit of time this morning setting up a profile on a relatively new Academic site, not feeling all that confident it will do me much good. I did some job searches, but didn’t find much. Didn’t actually apply for anything, but the one site includes an upload of my resume. So I feel I did something there.

I’ve been slowly working on a new dBASE book, meant to bridge the changes from the last book to the current release (and future release) of the software, but the challenges are pretty steep. Mostly the issue is in understanding how to work with dBASE through to SQL Server databases. My brain wants to just go with the way I’m used to dealing with databases, which is all local-table — very interactive — once you change a record anyone on the network can see the change. It is not that straight-forward with SQL Server databases. Argh. I’m trying to get a grip on the concepts, and how to actually interact with the data in the most efficient way, and explain it to readers who have done dBASE development the way I have over the years. Boy, when I set myself a task, it’s not an easy one.

Of course some of the feeling of defeat comes from doing my best to think positive when everyone knew Heald was going under. I really wanted to believe the folk at the Heald corporate office would convince one of the buyers to do it. Hope against hope, I guess. When you put that much into it, and then lose anyway, it’s pretty disheartening.

Oh well. Anyway, I’m feeling like I am getting nowhere real fast, which is really my “odd” feeling. I promised myself I would try to avoid this, but the older I get, the easier it is to feel this way, I fear. I know there is stuff getting done, but it doesn’t feel like anything’s getting done. That’s hard. I’ll get through it, I’m sure. I’ll find a job, I may even find the one I stay in until I retire (which is, honestly, what I was hoping for with my last job …). Until then, I’ll keep citing the Pixar movie Finding Nemo: “Just keep on swimming …”. I need to find the positive me. I need to stay up-beat. I need to not feel defeated. I have former students pulling for me, ones that I connected with shortly after the school got closed. I have lots of friends pulling for me, offering advice (asked for or no), all because they want to see me do well. That’s good … it does help, seriously.

Sundays. Beginning to really dislike Sundays …

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So, last Sunday (April 26), I found I no longer had a job.

This Sunday (yesterday, May 3), coming back from West Kingdom (SCA, obviously) Beltane, traffic was horrid (3+ hours to get home — 100 miles …), and … we got rear-ended. It was minor, the damage isn’t horrid, no-one got hurt. Stop-and-go traffic, guy behind us who has been working long hours fell asleep at the wheel. If it hadn’t been stop-and-go there might not have been an accident. Sigh.

Today has been a lot of phone tag, dealing with insurance, car repair, etc. Haven’t taken it in, waiting to hear back from someone. Since it wasn’t our fault, it’s covered completely, and we don’t even have to pay the deductible. This won’t be horrid, the bumper will probably need replacing, but that’s about it (unless something bad happened to the undercarriage).

The event itself was fine, mostly enjoyed it. Wasn’t prepared for it to be pretty cold yesterday morning, the weather reports all were “80s+” before the weekend started. Had to borrow a viking coat from my apprentices’ apprentice. Looked a little silly, but I was warmer.

In and around the phone tag I’ve tried to get some web coding done to test something, but it seems to be being blocked. ARGH. And the person who can help has a day job and can’t really look at it until later (no blame there). Haven’t really wrapped my head around what I want to do next with the book I’m working on (actually need to finish the chapter I’m on) …

Bleah. Spouse and I may try to see the latest Avengers movie this evening. That would be fun. We want to go over my resume one last time though, and tomorrow I start seriously working on getting it out there. Unless I’m taking the car to the shop. Or something.

Well, off to do something productive. Maybe.