Saturday, July 12, 2003

Chapel Hill
I had a very nice chat with the professor in Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, he didn't tell me anything good. Carolina doesn't let you get a second bachelor's degree. I can't go right into a master's program in archeology, either. I can't go right into a master's program in classics at Carolina because they expect everyone to on to get a Ph.d, and they require that students really know their stuff.
The professor actually recommended that I take another year of Greek classes where I work, and then next summer, go to a good, intensive summer Latin program, the kind of thing where you learn a year or more of material in eight weeks or something. The program he recommended is at a college in Brooklyn. Like I'm made of money. But his point was that then I could go into a post-bacc program and it wouldn't take so long to get through it because I'd have so much preparation.
I don't think I could actually do that. Money, mostly.
At one point he was saying why not get a master's in library science. I told him no one with that degree that I spoke to about getting one could tell me anything positive about the experience. I related the tale of a guy who used to work in reference where I work. He had gotten a law degree, and then decided he didn't want to practice law, and so he was getting a library degree at Carolina to become a law librarian. I spoke to the guy about it, and he said, "If you get a library degree, go someplace where it's a one-year program. I'm in that two-year program at Carolina, and it's like pulling teeth."
And I said to the professor yesterday, "This is supposed to encourage me?" in a voice approaching that of Zoidberg.
The professor seemed to understand.
Maybe I should give up on this classics grad school idea. Maybe I should just try and be a classics dilettante, like Tony Perrottet. His book is good.

Friday, July 11, 2003

Yesterday afternoon I decided to really meet with the post-bacc professor. I wrote to him and asked if he was available. He wrote back, "What about early tomorrow afternoon?" So I'm leaving work at noon and going over there. I wonder if it's too late in the summer to switch gears for the fall.
On Wednesday I went to the post office on my lunch break and mailed a bunch of bills in anticipation of getting paid today. When I got back to my desk and checked my e-mail, I had a message from the payroll office. Because of the merger of Wachovia and First Union, something has gone haywire with the direct deposit system. Instead of getting a stub today, I will be getting a "live check." Good thing Wachovia pushed back their same-day deposit deadline from two to four pm.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Moths Round a Flame
That's what the thoughts in my head now are like. I'm thinking of going over and meeting with the professor in charge of the program I want to go into. I'm thinking of asking him questions like (but more politely), "My undergraduate degree is in English. If I wanted to get a master's in history, I could. Why the hell can't I do that with classical studies? And if I decide to just go into archeology, can I go right into a master's program?"
Until I was in my mid-twenties, I thought you had to go into grad school in the same field your undergraduate degree was in. I've realised I have had another thought, which I'm starting to believe is also a misconception. I thought if you had an undergraduate degree, you couldn't get a second one. But some of the paperwork I've been filling out asks if I'm getting a second bachelor's. I'm thinking of asking that professor if I can just get a second bachelor's in classics instead of mucking with this post-bacc program, hmmm?

The Continuing Story . . .
Late yesterday afternoon the psycho boyfriend (see below) wrote to me. He fell all over himself apologising to me. It was a bit much because I hadn't thought about him at all in years. I think he's in a twelve-step program where you're supposed to apologise to everybody you ever did wrong.
Yesterday when I got home I got a form letter from the financial aid office at Carolina. It featured the lovely sentence "I regret that we will not be able to offer assistence because you are not enrolled in an eligible program of study."
This morning I e-mailed the woman whose signature was on the letter. I asked, Do you you say that because I haven't registerd for any classes yet? Or is there really no financial aid for people in the classical studies post-baccalaureate program?
She wrote back fairly quickly. She wrote that there really is no financial aid for that program because the students aren't enrolled for enough hours.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Summer of Blasts from the Past
I just got an e-mail from a woman in Charlotte who was a housemate in Boone when I was at Appalachian. She had this psycho boyfriend, and at one point he was supposed to be another real housemate. I was in charge of getting people to contribute to the power bill. However, this psycho guy would get quarts of King Cobra, and only drink half of it, and re-cap it and put it back in the fridge, and go to bed. Sometimes, I would drink it, thinking he wouldn't want it once it was flat. Apparently he took great offense at this but never said anything about it while he was still living there. He got another housemate worked up about it, and the other housemate super-glued me in my room one night. But neither ever said anything about it. Until . . .
The psycho boyfriend got his own place. Several of our gang were walking down King Street and we saw this guy, and he still owed me money for the power bill, and I confronted him about it. He went ballistic, saying he didn't owe me any money, that the malt liquor I drank made up for it. And he got in my face and screamed, "Why don't you just come out of the closet, you fucking faggot?"
I never talked to the guy again.
Today, over ten years later, I get this e-mail, saying that the psycho guy wants to apologise to me for this. The woman wrote that he was going to write to me himself, but he thought I would just delete the message. Actually, I probably would have, but just because I would have thought it was junk mail.
At the beginning of the summer, an very good old friend who parted ways with me in 1997 because he didn't want any friend who smoked or drank wrote to me and said he wanted to get in touch again.
Monday a woman back home who ran a screen-printing shop with her husband where I worked on and off in the nineties called my dad because she saw an old Volkswagen like I used to have. She wanted to know if I was around, and what I'm up to. I quit working for them seven years ago.
What is up with this? Is there some cosmic force at work here? Should I take it as a good omen?
Even if it isn't, I'm going to take it as a good omen. I need something positive going on.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

The HR Gambit
It failed.
Yesterday afternoon I told the other folks in my department I was coming in late today. That was a lot less traumatic than it would be if my boss wasn't still on vacation.
This morning I went over to the university human resources office. I told the receptionist I am currently a member of university staff, and I wanted to talk to someone about transferring into a different job.
The receptionist told me to register with the HR website.
I told the woman I had registered with the HR website several times over the past three years, and I had never gotten a call-back. She said she knew people who had been trying to transfer for longer than that (I'll quit outright before this goes on much longer). But she did look me up in their system, and she told the last time I registered was last August. She said my information in the database had stayed current for six months, and in that period of time, two potential employers had looked at my record. She said it may seem there are a lot of jobs open, but that there are so many more people wanting jobs than that.
I said a co-worker had told me the HR department had advisors to help people transfer. She said that was no longer true. The advisors were axed six or seven years ago.
So that was that. I had walked all the way across East Campus, and even though it was before ten am, it was like a blast furnace outside. And I never even got past the receptionist.
But it's an ill wind blah blah blah. After this fruitless interview I rode to work on the campus bus and I didn't have to listen to my chauffeur's innane attempts at conversation.

Monday, July 07, 2003

The Next Problem
My car has been running pretty well recently. Which is grounds for suspicion that something is going to go wrong with it pretty soon.
Yesterday when I got back into town after seeing my friend Rob in Southern Pines, I went to the grocery store. When I was finished and ready to leave, the car wouldn't start.
There was a click under the hood. The little red symbol-lights, the ones shaped like an oil can and a thermometer and a person wearing a seat belt, lit up. The beeping that tells me I hadn't put my seat belt on yet beeped. But the engine didn't turn over.
I got out and looked under the hood. I looked for any loose wires. I saw none.
I looked around to see if the parking lot had any elevation. I was thinking of pushing the car to a slightly higher part of the lot and trying to roll start it. There wasn't much of a hill anywhere.
I got back in and tried one more time. This time I turned on the ignaition and held it on. All the same things happened again, but this time, after a few seconds, the radio came on and the needle on the gas gauge started to rise. And then the engine cranked.
I have no idea what's up that some electronic things on the car worked, and then some didn't.

The Turn of the Year
A message came through from the library director. The two coolest people here are both putting in for early retirement at the end of the year. It's because we're getting a new circulation and catalogue database. A selection committee was formed, consisting of people from all the campus libraries. This committee compared three databases, and then made a recomendation to the directors' committee, who gave it the official okay-dokay. The problem is that the voices of people from the main campus library carried more clout, and they wanted a different database than what the people here wanted. The people from this library on the committee had to go with the majority. People here are unhappy.
I have decided to investigate the possibility of getting some full-time job somewhere with the university with a flexible schedule, and starting the post-bacc program taking one class a semester. In theory, you can register through the human resources department's website for a transfer. I have done this several times over the past three years and never gotten any call-backs. I'm going to go over there in person.