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I am grateful this Holiday season to still be employed at my Public Library. I had to agree to a reclassification (and demotion) to do it, but it kept me employed full-time with benefits, and that's all that matters. Basically it codifies what I had been doing (more or less) and formally strips me of any cataloging responsibility. My boss is happy about that, and I am happy about no longer having to pull my hair out to satisfy someone who cannot be satisfied in that area of work. My ILL responsibilities have expanded somewhat and I find I really do enjoy ILL work. I would enjoy doing ILL as a Librarian I at a University library someday as well. But for now I am reduced to being a humble Library Clerk II, despite having an MLS. So it goes.
In this economy you take whatever you can get, and in 5 years I'll be vested with the county based on my prior state service with other state institutions. Which means I'll get a modest pension and benefits as well as social security, which is a big effing deal, to paraphrase the current US Vice President.

In the meantime, I plan to begin actively schmoozing with the Public Services crowd and trying to move in the direction (eventually) of becoming a Reference librarian someday, and out from under my current boss.
The director knows this is my long term goal and is willing to consider it if I do well with my "new" duties.

Not much else to report; Life on the home front is fine. Don't have as much "me" time as I'd like, but I get enough I guess.

Grateful for my friends at the Library that I've made, especially my fellow gamer nerds. They're like the only people I can really talk to sometimes. My boss did show a real bit of kindness in swapping lunches with me so that I could have the full hour with them. I remain eternally grateful for that.

Not much else I care to talk about. Still belong to PLG-CC, still vote on resolutions, sign-ons, etc.

I do sometimes apply for library positions, and I did get an offer of an interview, but it was for a Metadata librarian at a university and I just don't feel up to it anymore. I was hopeful to get an interview for another cataloging position in a nearby public library system to the north of town, but nada. That was disappointing--to not even get a phone interview out of it. Yet this university turns around and offers an interview--weird. I declined, as I said, because I just don't feel like pretending I care about "New Emerging Metadata" when the truth is I don't care about it much at all. I accept it as a fact of professional life, but I don't like it or have much interest. And I think Cataloging is slipping into collective insanity with RDA, but probably best to keep that opinion to myself. It's also what fuels my interest in moving in a Public Services direction here or even ILL direction elsewhere (like a university setting). I'm pretty burned out on cataloging all around, and I'm afraid that would be obvious if I had accepted that interview.

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My latest job with a local public library system has been in jeopardy since about two weeks ago. My impatient boss was not satisfied with my job performance; Despite my getting better and better, my cataloging editing was still not 100% error free and she indicated her intention to dismiss me by Friday if I did not show the necessary improvement by then.

On Thursday morning, I asked for another conference with her and presented her with my Diagnosis letter from UT Health Sciences based in Houston, Texas. I took the screening test(s) for Asperger's after being hired by FBCL; they came back positive, with co-diagnosis of depression (what else is new).

Disclosing this information got me a high level meeting with the library director, head of HR for FBCL, and my boss. The HR person was straight to the point, "what sort of accommodation do you think you need?" More time, basically, I said. I noted how some sources I read said that Aspies can have difficulty with memorization and that I needed more time, more practice, and more patience and compassion from my boss. I also averred that my personality quirks from being an Aspie may have colored my boss's judgment of me as a person, and perhaps shortened her patience with me. The Library Director was most negative of all, expressing her doubts that I could turn things around in 3 weeks (which is what I had asked for). My boss relented and agreed to do more hands on training with feedback. She also expressed her fears that I would not be able to replace her as manager someday because my management experience heretofore has been so superficial (I personally think managers overestimate their own importance, but I wasn't about to say so).

My boss even showed unusual compassion after this meeting, allowing me to switch lunch hours with her so that I could spend a full hour with my friends in the library, D.T. and M.W., a pair of gamer & comic book nerds with whom I've developed a good rapport.

I've done a lot of thinking as to why I'm struggling in this cataloging job. I think part of it is because in an academic institution, I deal mainly with pristine DLC records that require almost no editing, whereas with more general reading material as found in public libraries, where bibs are often vendor-generated and of poor quality, a great deal more editing is required. That and original cataloging from scratch is actually *easier* than catching and fixing someone else's mistakes. I did a LOT of original AV cataloging at TWU. Like archival VHS stuff. It was interesting.

Also, feedback in Academic Libraries is a lot slower than in public libraries. If you screw up cataloging in a public library, a branch manager is going to call your boss the day she gets the item. Feedback is immediate and highly demanding. Everybody knows your mistakes if you make one.

As I said, I am learning, I am continually improving. I've had shitty luck finding any senior cataloger willing to mentor me along the way. In the big meeting with the director and senior HR person, I praised my current boss for being the best library manager I've ever had (which is true) and for being willing to do any mentoring/training whatsoever at all. I described it has been like pulling hen's teeth to try to get other senior catalogers before my current boss to do the same for me. I've mostly had to teach myself, and rely on AUTOCAT and ILS vendor conferences and sometimes remote senior catalogers on distant main campuses for help.

What I didn't say but have also been thinking is that I was hoping so much to transition over to reference work. When I interviewed for this job and found out it was in Tech Services, I couldn't help but feel a brief pang of disappointment. I mentally had to do a quick game change and get my mind back into Tech Services mode whether I wanted to or not. I'd been so disillusioned with cataloging/tech services but here I was again, back in the struggle. The interview went well and my boss offered me the job on the spot...I now realize because she thought my background was more extensive and comprehensive than perhaps it actually is. My academic pedigree looks impressive on paper, that much is for certain. And I am intelligent. But I'm not Neurotypical.

One would think that Asperger's would lend itself to a job like cataloging, and perhaps someday it will turn out to be more of an asset than a liability, but it also has cast a long shadow across my library career up to this point. Because at TWU the issue was NOT with my cataloging but with all the other "meta" stuff "professional librarians" are expected to do...especially long term, open ended projects that have always been the bane of my career.

My boss was out all last week on Jury duty, but left behind for me two trucks of cataloging which occupied me sufficiently. We will go over my work this coming week, which definitely gives me butterflies in the stomach (stage fright, as it were). I don't know if I'm 100% error free but I hope I'm ever closer if not. We're starting to close in on the more subjective aspects of cataloging, especially assigning DDC call numbers, which is a completely new experience for me. My cataloging classes in grad school didn't get to DDC, we only covered LC, and I've only ever dealt with LC in my professional library jobs up until now as well.

I know that I have to take extensive written hand-written notes (which I later type up and edit) whenever my boss explains a new procedure to me or else I just won't retain it. I've discovered that I had been overestimating my ability to do so without written notes. I keep revising and editing my notes into a logical order and narrative so that I can refer back to them while working.

I have also really enjoyed learning the Interlibrary Loan side of my job as well, and working with my colleague J.S. who deals with the borrowing side of ILL, while I handle the lending side. I covered for her for about 3 days when she was on vacation; it was nerve wracking the first day but I did eventually get the hang of it and appreciated that her job is WAY more stressful than mine. The ILL is nice and zen...I can do it just fine with no worries, and the best days are when I have a large number of requests to process and it keeps me busy for a large chunk of the morning.

But I'm learning to enjoy cataloging again, especially enjoy learning the ins and outs of the DDC, weighing various call number options against each other, etc. I also ordered a copy of the latest Free Floating Subdivisions guidebook from CDS for myself to study at home. We have these at work, but I wanted to be able to look them up after hours as well. I have a copy of DDC21 at home as well as a personal reference, as well as a circa 1992 set of Big Red Books. I also have a Sears subject heading book but our system doesn't use Sears. I also have AACR2 of course and study the MARC21 guides produced by LC and by OCLC.

It's been a challenge to learn about keeping series straight in fiction...our library continues to use 440 fields because my boss disagreed with the decision to discontinue it, as did I. My boss also disagrees with RDA getting rid of the [gmd], which I also agree with. I think we both think RDA is largely an exercise in collective insanity that simply won't work well for FBCL, so we stick mostly to AACR2r2. In our system, for non-fiction, we do not allow publishers to establish self-referential series statements of any kind. We also don't let them use 7XX fields for themselves.

I've learned all the special additional steps needed to process Large Print books...a special [gmd], (large print) after the pagination in the 300 field, and 650 _ 0 $a Large type books.
I've also learned the local practices for music cataloging (copy-catalog editing, to be precise), including the assigning of a localized call number based on a local genre scheme.
Sometimes this requires me to sample some tracks to get a "feel" for the music and where it belongs. Sometimes it's a compromise or a best guess, especially for really experimental stuff that crosses boundaries, etc, which musicians love to do. Musicians love freedom and hate to be stamped, classified, boxed in, etc, but our task as catalogers and classifiers is to do exactly that...to nail a work down as this and not that, etc, however imperfect our criteria may be.

Outside of work, I still keep physically fit, I work out all the time, take long walks, etc, because of wanting to preserve my health but also because of the necessity for staying flexible, such as being physically able and ready to opt for my Plan B if I get fired from a library yet again...and radically reinvent myself as a Law Enforcement professional of some kind. It's not something I necessarily want to do, but it's something I want to be physically able to do if I had to do it someday. Police work is preferable to the alternative (military).
But I'm still hopeful of being able to salvage a library career at this point.

If I can satisfy my boss that I can produce error-free records without supervision, I should be safe for the time being.

Well, that's all for now.

Last week my chant was...Hooray, hooray for the ADA, it just saved my job today!

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The latest saga in my computer woes...my full-sized ACER laptop expired, probably a victim of malware. It kept shutting down inexplicably...I thought it might be a faulty fan causing it to overheat...but eventually it stopped booting up at all and all attempts to recover it failed.

Which means I lost all the messages in my Windows Mail file AND even worse lost my iTunes with linked iTunes store account that I used to keep my best iPod updated/synched, including quite a few song purchases. This means if I re-synch my iPod to a different computer's iTunes (like my mother's) I will *lose* all of those purchased songs, which really really stinks.

I also lost my desktop PC from Denton, during our last major T-storm down here. Totally got zapped. Well, I consulted our local PC geeks, Sugarland PC dot com, and they speculated it was probably just the power source that was dead but the rest of the computer was probably ok. They wanted to charge $125 to send a tech out, and $69 for a new power source. Instead I bought a new power source on sale at Fry's Electronics for $25 (with a $9 rebate), installed it myself, and brought my Denton desktop PC back from the dead!! In fact I'm typing this message on it right now. I had been using my laptop in the interim as my "main" PC in my bedroom, but after it died yesterday it became imperative for me to repair my old desktop PC and press it back into service. It was *not* easy to replace the power supply, and I don't relish ever having to do it again, but I managed to get it to work and bolted it in and closed the case. I shut its power down then reconnected all the peripherals; I did swap out the track-ball mouse for the laser mouse I used with the laptop...I was so happy when it reconnected to the internet and everything worked perfectly again...

My computer woes took up most of my day yesterday as my laptop slowly died, and then on into the evening as I did radical surgery to bring back the desktop PC from the dead. I'm just glad to have a working PC again in my bedroom.

I also managed---finally---to download the proper driver for Windows Vista for my HP Printer/Scanner/Copier 1410v, which is hooked up to my mom's computer. I'd tried installing the driver from the CD, but since mom's computer uses Vista and the CD was rated only up to Windows XP, it didn't work. For the longest time I had a bear of a time trying to get the proper driver to download from the HP ftp site. I did some googling and figured out I had to change 1 setting in internet explorer and then it finally worked! Now I can fully scan with the thing whereas before I could only do basic print & copy.

I also salvaged my dad's old laptop whose screen had died (the liquid crystal display went kaputt)...using a VGA cable I hooked it up to the flat-screen TV downstairs and installed a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard setup. So now I can do "couch top computing", so to speak. Actually I mainly use it to watch Netflix streaming movies and also sometimes to watch YouTube in full screen size on a big television. Dad's old Compaq Presario laptop is just too slow to do anything else, so I've deleted most of the main programs that were installed on it to make it as "lean and mean" as possible. Better to give it some use until it crashes for good...it's useless as a laptop due to the dead screen, but it works in this capacity as a "poor man's back-up Roku player"

I did also download iTunes so I can listen to internet radio in stereo sound through the TV.

I don't think I'm going to replace my full-sized ACER laptop, since I still have the pint-sized ACER Netbook that is much more portable/totable, and it works just fine, and is easier to travel with anyway. If we do end up buying a new computer in the next few years, it will probably go to mom, I will inherit her current machine, and if Dad's Compaq Presario laptop gives up the ghost by then, I will move this Denton desktop downstairs and hook it up to the television instead, and reconnect the wireless keyboard/mouse to it instead.

I almost regret gutting our oldest PC in the closet, mom's oldest, which also probably only had a dead power supply. I should've revived it also, but I was just ignorant of how to do it at the time. So instead I stripped out the hard drive and am using it as back-up storage on this Denton desktop.

Anyway, I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment, however small, in all these hands-on high-tech tune ups that I've done lately.

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I've pulled back on the Law school idea anind am now looking at Paralegal certificate programs. I looked at the Center for Advanced Legal Studies off Kirby Drive here in Houston. But my Dad just doesn't like or trust them; He has a gut negative reaction to them as a fly-by-night operation even though they've been in Houston 20 h. Main thing is I think he doesn't like that their tuition is only a few thousand short of a law degree at TSU. Luckily, Rice U, or specifically their Glasscock School of Continuing Studies, has a Paralegal certificate program for 1/2 the price. My parents go all goo-goo when they hear the name Rice U, so I think I'll go with it. The Rice School of Continuing Studies they will support. It's more up-front, but the price tag overall isn't bad and is half of the Center for Advanced Legal Studies.

I am registered to take the LSAT in early June. I need to be cramming on it, but I didn't get around to it this week, which just flew on by. Still have a couple weeks to go, to cram. I have to go take it in Shreveport, LA because I waited until the last minute and all the Houston centers were full/wait-listed. Shreveport had availability so I grabbed it. The score, whatever I get, will be valid for 9 or so years. If I get into Paralegal work and love it, Law school is always a possibility later. Plus I would have better references, and they would be able to write me more persuasive letters of recommendation, not to mention maybe give me tips and pointers on my own writing sample. Might later retake the LSAT if I don't do so hot this time around.

I would probably take one of the national Paralegal certification exams, probably the NFPA's PACE exam. If passed, I could add the title "RP" after my name, for Registered Paralegal.

So it would look thus:

John J. Ronald, MA, MLS, RP

The PACE exam is less grueling that NALA's examination.
If I took the NALA exam, it would read:

John J. Ronald, MA, MLS, CLA
(for Certified Legal Assistant)

I'm hopeful for the future, and hope my MLS background will mesh well with Paralegal certification...maybe eventually leading to a Law librarian job at some point. Most Law Librarian jobs these days seem aimed at burned-out Lawyers who go back to get their MLS; less and less of them employ straight MLS-holding librarians, and I can't see a librarian heading to law school to get the JD only for the purpose of being competitive for Law Librarian jobs.

There's also the possibility of specialization through the Paralegal Division of the Texas State Bar...but I haven't any notion of what I would want to specialize in just yet.

Anyway, that's what I'm thinking about these days.

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I attended an informational meeting at Houston Community College's main admin building in downtown Houston, on the corner of Main & Elgin, yesterday afternoon at 3pm until about 5:30pm. Basically HCC was doing a presentation for potential candidates to help them with staffing and opening the Community College of Qatar...CCQ; The first of its kind, an American-style Community College in Doha, Qatar. It is an initiative being pushed by the Queen of the country, wife of the Emir. In addition to Departmental Chairs and individual instructors/professors, they were seeking recruits for the position of Librarian ("Dual Masters") and Library Associate ("Masters").

Unfortunately the job descriptions are not yet up on the website...so I am very curious what the description for Library Associate is and what Master's degree they want...MLS? Or any Masters?
I would hope MLS, but in any case I am qualified for the "Dual Masters" for the 'full' Librarian job, since I have an MA (German Studies) and an (ALA-accredited) MLS. The only downside is they want someone with 5 years professional experience. I have 2.5 of Professional experience...but 2 years paraprofessional experience as a Circulation Clerk (Library Assistant 1), plus about a years worth of practicum & library-volunteer related experience. So close to 5 full years depending on how you look at it.

They are recruiting staff hoping to open by Fall 2010. I went ahead and submitted my resumes for both positions, so who knows...it would entail a 2 year contract. Plus I would have the full support of HCC Library services back in Houston with respect to cataloging, e-resources, and acquisitions...so I would think the main focus for the librarian in the field would be teaching information literacy and providing excellent reference service. I asked if materials would be collected in Arabic as well as English. The HCC administrator said English to begin with, but they might expand to add Arabic resources later. The first year would be devoted to TESOL, getting students up to speed on their English skills before moving into core content areas (business, chemistry, mathematics) and teaching English "across the curriculum", etc.
The Librarian would be supporting the ESL angle as well, of course, and there would be incentive for staff to take classes after hours to learn Arabic, at least passably so, to facilitate communication and help overcome language barriers.

On one level, that sounds really cool. But also kind of intimidating....it's a long way from home...and even though by mid-east standards Qatar is comparatively liberal and enlightened with a relatively free press, censorship still exists, Islamic law still rules (albeit a liberal version of it) and it is still an absolute Monarchy. Doha is reportedly very safe and some say one of the best places in the world to live. But I would imagine the beach life probably gets boring after awhile. If they censored books coming in that could be a real pain, and especially if they censored the internet in such a way as to hinder my access to my favorite Japanese anime (English-dubbed).

I'm fantasizing about what it would be like to live/work there, but truth is, they're going to give first dibs to currently employed HCC staff and faculty...the rest of us outsiders will be considered only after current HCC people apply or don't. So it's an extreme longshot anyway that I'd ever get selected to go. On the other hand it is kind of cool that there's a direct flight from Doha to Houston on Qatar Airways....that is mega cool. And it would be kind of awesome to devote most of my free time to learning to read/speak Arabic...might open doors for me later doing National security work, perhaps, or law enforcement. On the other hand, there are so many dialects of Modern Arabic, I'm not sure what the value would be of learning the version spoken in Qatar versus anyplace else.

I'll be happy even if all I get is a phone interview or face-to-face interview. If I actually get picked I'd have to think about it long and hard...it's a 2 year commitment that I'd have to devote myself to, give it my absolute best and hope it passes muster with my superior(s). I'd rather be the back up librarian than the head, but even as head, you're like only a branch manager--you'd still report to the main Library director back at HCC Central, so that's cool.
Cataloging, E-resources, and Acquisitions would all be managed back at HCC Central, so no major budget worries that I can foresee.

It is interesting to think about, would be interesting if it actually happened. Would look damn good on a resume. If I did well enough and they wanted to extend my contract another 2-3 years I would gladly work abroad 5 years. The salary doesn't pay into Social Security (not good) but it does pay into Texas Teacher Retirement (which is good, since I have an ongoing account with them), and you can contribute to a 403B retirement fund, which I would probably want to do. I would also probably want to live as frugally as possible. I probably could not afford a new car over there nor could I afford to ship my Honda...unless perhaps there was a way I could lease an Indian TATA Nano for not very much money a month...that I could do...or if the car payments weren't very much more per month, even purchase a Nano (their total price is around $2200 for the bare-bones basic model, not much more than a good Honda motor scooter) then sell it when I leave. I would pay extra to have AC (the basic model doesn't have AC), but I don't mind manual roll-down windows. Again, all pure fantasy and speculation. I might just get by with a monthly bus pass and walking and maybe biking....that's probably more realistic.

It would be a means to an end...maybe give me a shot at a good reference job back stateside.
Who knows. I would probably eschew vacations my first few years. If I could live frugally and save up enough, I might allow myself a side trip to Europe, probably Austria, maybe Bulgaria.
Maybe Germany, maybe Scotland. Or since Qatar is already in SW Asia, maybe Thailand isn't so far from there...spend some quality time in old Bangkok (assuming they haven't erupted into Civil War by then). I'd feel more comfortable as a librarian abroad than as an English teacher.
It would be really funny if I wound up teaching a section of German for HCC/CCQ someday, outside of my librarian duties, for a little extra pay on the side...especially if my Arabic got good enough that I could explain German language concepts in Arabic, or at least make comparisons that made sense, etc.

Mixed feelings but if it came through I think I'd have to go for it, despite whatever reservations I might have.

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I have, through conversation with my mother, through careful reading, and consultation with friends who are medical professionals whom I've worked with for several years, come to the tentative conclusion that I have a mild version of Asperger's syndrome. I'm very high functioning, which is why my most recent therapist didn't zero in on it. She says she only briefly considered it, but admits her main experience is with children and teens who had much more severe cases, closer to full-blown autism. But the more I've shared with her about what I've read, and the response of friends and family, she is coming around to accepting my view of this as a probable diagnosis for me. Have not sought out a formal, clinical DX from an MD as yet, nor am I sure I will do so anytime soon. AS is harder to DX in adults than in children or teens. My ex-wife had once thought I was ADHD. Turns out this was wrong, but it is a common mis-diagnosis for AS people. I've also read a book _22 Things a Woman Must Know If She Loves a Man With Asperger's_, and it reads like a map of "what went wrong" in my failed marriage. Not 100%, and she surely had her own issues and baggage she brought to the relationship...but our collective failure to recognize the signs of AS at work in my personality and interpersonal relationships contributed much confusion and pain to an already shaky relationship.

It also casts a revealing, though at times painful light on what went wrong for me on the job in libraries, both at TAMUG and TWU. It also sheds light for me on why my previous work at AIG International Services was such an extraordinarily good "fit" for me. If I had been armed with this knowledge previously, I would have never left AIG and could potentially still be working there today and saving for retirement...instead I wandered off into the minefield of library employment.

I had (incorrectly) assumed that university library work would be not unlike university teaching positions, with a high tolerance for eccentricity and weirdness so long as you did the work. I was wrong. Libraries, even academic libraries, are a lot more like conventional 9-to-5 office jobs, especially in Technical Services departments increasingly managed by gruff, business-minded Acquisitions librarians with a low tolerance for cataloger eccentricities on their staff. They like Cataloging Assistants who obey unquestioningly and resent Catalogers who think for themselves and might disagree professionally with you. You might think Cataloging would be a good fit for an Asperger's patient but not necessarily. Maybe 30 years ago, when Cataloging Departments were more autonomous and lead by a senior cataloger who understood sympathetically the odd-bird catalogers under them, and took up for them, went to bat for them, etc. But there seems to be no room for narrow specialists anymore...the new ideology is "every (professional) librarian is a manager first", whether they want to be or not, whether they're any good at it or not. You wanna earn the halfway decent Librarian annual salary, you have to step up and at least pretend to be a manager, "provide direction and leadership", etc, even if you think vision statements are mostly a superfluous joke, etc.
The AS person tends to have a hard time asking for help, pursues what interests them, and does what they think is right, even if that isn't necessarily what the organization wants...if the organization provides no feedback or direction, the person is going to keep on doing what they do. They can't read minds.

But apparent failure to pick up on social cues, failure to maintain face-to-face relations with my supervisor(s) on a regular basis, have cost me jobs at both places, I think. How I long to work for a senior cataloger who will both a) mentor me and b) understand me. But when I say such things I get tut-tutted by Neurotypical Acquisitions supervisors who say I need to pull my own weight, bootstrap myself, etc. and that there's no time/room for hand-holding, etc. To which I privately say f*ck you already. Good luck finding your Nietzschean supermen who can also catalog well. Maybe they do exist, and if so I'm kind of S.O.L.

I've pondered alternative career paths, including Law Enforcement. I do have mixed feelings about that, but on the other hand, I do sincerely worry about finding a job with steady income and good retirement. Getting bounced around from academic library gig to academic library gig every few years...in two out two (or three) isn't my idea of steady employment. If I could go back to AIG, I would and I would never leave again. It was a great fit, but it was a strange job, unlike any other I've had before or since. I guess I could go work for their competition, International SOS, but their Alarm Centre is in Philadelphia, PA and that's a long way to go for an underpaid job like that. Ditto the AIG site in Stevens Point, WI, even if such a job were available (and last time I checked, there were no such jobs available like the one I used to hold). The shrinking of the travel industry necessarily entails the shrinking of industries created to support and service that industry, like travel insurance assistance services.
I know such a job is not sustainable into a post-peak oil future, but Law Enforcement just might be.

It's hard not to feel depressed, and a little resentful. Asperger's would explain a lot of my erratic behavior as a college student, both as an undergrad and later as a grad student. I got supremely lucky in High School to fall in with NJROTC. We were the original Geek squad and looked out for each other. Capt. Lyons and Commander Lindsey taught us about correct social behavior, about looking people in the eye and shaking hands firmly, etc. I learned intellectually what others picked up intuitively at a much younger age. All of my social graces and facility with small talk is based on coming to an intellectual understanding of these things; they were not innate or intuitive to me at all. I've absorbed so much by means of the intellect that I can *seem* more intuitive than I really am at bottom. I've gotten good at "playing" extrovert, even when I'm not. On Myers-Briggs I'm consistently INTJ. I can "play" extrovert in limited bursts, but it's always exhausting, and I need private "me" time away from others to recharge, something my ex-wife never could understand about me...which she always interpreted as a personal rejection of her, which in turned colored my perception of her as needy and excessively clingy.

Asperger's also makes me take new stock of my comparative lack of success on the romantic front. Re-focused through the lens of Asperger's, I can see that actually, I must be one of the modest success stories. I had a girlfriend in High School (albeit short lived), my first true love in High School (not synonymous with said girlfriend, since it was an on-again, off again kind of thing)...I lost my virginity at 18 as a college freshman. Every time a woman has chosen to make love to me has come as a complete surprise. I probably could have lost it sooner with a hot young sophomore I met at fish camp--who was just a tad too Jesus-y for me, though; I very crassly assumed she wouldn't go all they way---took me years to learn that "good christian girls" do also willing engage in premarital sex--they just feel guilty afterward; my ex-wife, also a christian, said she rationalized that since she "knew in her heart" was going to marry me someday anyway, it didn't matter if she gave herself to me ahead of schedule, as it were. That cute sophomore was definitely hitting on me, and I *could* tell it, but I played dumb.

Anyway, it took years later...not until my 30s, for me to reach the confidence levels that my peers already had in their teens. Alcohol allowed me to lower my inhibitions enough to learn trial and error style the rules of social discourse, etc, and to spend a lot of time observing people from the sidelines of life, in between getting lost in my own thoughts while downing another chugger of Shiner Bock alone in a corner booth, sometimes with a book in hand, other times just listening to the music on the PA system. The chugger...the perfect loner drink...nearly half a pitcher, the largest draught size an individual could legally order at one time.

Loner...yeah, I was one...but didn't always want to be one. Sometimes more lonely...but after awhile more deliberate loner...a kind of "oh, yeah, well f*ck all ya'll anyway, I don't need you."; I also played alone in after school daycare, that I recall. I got more popular when I had some Battle Star Galactica toys to share, I remember. But I still didn't have any really close friends until middle school...and my closest relationships didn't get that way until High School...people I could bare my soul to, that kind of thing.

I also attended Rice University for graduate school....Rice Humanities student is virtually synonymous with "socially inept", or at least it used to be, when Rice was still "small & weird". And yet I mainly hung out with UTMB biology grad students, and some Baylor biology grad students...not that I could relate when they would "talk shop", but just enjoy it when they talked about pop culture and politics and topics I could relate to in a general way with people roughly my own age in the mid 1990s. I actually had more dating opportunities at Rice than I did at TAMU...maybe more aware of them, finally? Though I flubbed nearly all of them, both as a grad student and later living and socializing near Rice while working for AIG in the early days of the late late 1990s.

I was not a smashing success among peers at AIG either, but I got results, and that's what mattered most to my bosses, thankfully...and I did soften my arrogant edges as time wore on at AIG. I became more forgiving of others' mistakes, more easygoing, easier to relate to and talk to...more approachable...I even began to make friends and have lunch with those friends at regular times. I had clients who genuinely loved what I did for them and even became a bit distraught when I would be ending my work-week and passing their case off to my colleagues.

One of the traits of Asperger's is said to be "lack of imagination" or "strange imagination". Under "lack of imagination", I've been saying that about my career choices earlier in life for years...I was continually stumped by the question "what do you want to do for a living?"...It took me forever to finally say "librarianship", though after two failed attempts my conviction about that answer falters. I was genuinely happy at AIG, but my mom was frustrated by my low salary for someone as obviously "gifted and smart" as me. She just couldn't accept that that doesn't always automatically translate into a higher salary, that there are sometimes even unacceptable moral consequences to trying to force that to be true along certain paths of action.

I really don't know what I want to do next. I say Law Enforcement, but maybe that's not a good fit. Maybe it's subconsciously an attempt to punish myself for so far not succeeding in libraries..."you failed at libraries so now you have to go and do this dirty/dangerous job as punishment". Maybe. On the other hand, part of me welcomes the challenge to improve myself physically, to get back into top fighting form. To wear a uniform proudly again. I'm too old for the military to be a practical consideration anymore (I'd even bee to old to be a JAG for the NAVY by now--something else that, were it not for my earlier lack of imagination, I could be doing by now; or working for NCIS)...but police work I could still conceivably do. Put in my time as a patrol officer then buck for promotion to plainclothes investigator. Just have to see. I still think about law school, but mainly so I could become a law librarian more than a practicing lawyer necessarily. The idea of being a private practice attorney scares the crap out of me.

I still hold out hope for reinventing myself as a Reference librarian, though it could take a good long while before that transformation is complete and can be realized in concrete form. And I recognize it will be a struggle to keep such a job once I manage to obtain it, if I manage. I'll probably never get to retire and will work right down to my dying day.
I'd still like to stay in Houston and inherit this house in Sugar Land. I could most easily do that as a member of HPD or SLPD, build up a solid 20 years service and a good pension.

Not sure what the point of this post is, other than just to get down my thoughts and feelings in light of the realization that I very likely have Asperger's syndrome. Really wish I'd come to the realization sooner. Teens and children are thankfully getting recognized and getting the help they need today that just wasn't available to me growing up. It was a brand new diagnosis even as I was suffering most in the mid-1990s as a (as yet undiagnosed) Rice graduate student. Today I am what the literature refers to as "self-diagnosed". It's not a true DX with a formal stamp of approval, but it to me seems the likeliest theory to explain the data, as it were. I'm wary of a formal DX, either impacting my future insurability or even employability. It shouldn't but it could, even with some limited ADA protections afforded to people with diagnosed AS.

I'm surprised how many close friends and friends of those friends also describe telltale social awkwardness, anxiety, etc. that sound like AS. I probably have many more fellow Aspergian friends of both sexes which I wasn't fully aware before. Heck, even my Ex may be one, since that book on _22 Things a Woman Should Know..._ states that the emotional response of the female partner with an AS male seems to be the same regardless if she is Neurotypical or even an AS herself.

There is no "cure" for Asperger's...it's a neurological problem to do with how the brain is hard-wired. I don't like the "lack or difficulty with empathy" aspect of Asperger's, though I don't deny it...sociopaths lack empathy also, but they also lack SYMPATHY as well, while we Aspergians have enormously deep wells of sympathy once we understand someone, and can connect.
We can be annoyingly literal minded, and though i've gotten better at this, it still slips me up from time to time, even now. Genuine empathy, as I hear it described, sounds so alien and mysterious to me that it might as well be a superpower out of the comic books. But sympathy I have deep wells of indeed. Even my ex would admit I can be very genuinely loving and caring.
I don't like to kill harmless insects...I capture them and release them outdoors. If they won't or can't hurt me, I don't like to hurt them. A ladybug hitched a ride on my shirt this morning and sort of freaked me out. When i turned on the lights and saw her, I scooped her up (she had fallen onto the chair in my panic) and took her outside and let her go.

True mosquitos on the other hand, I have no compunction about killing those blood-sucking spreaders of disease. Or roaches. Spiders I give a break...if I can get you out of the house without your biting me, you get to live. Bite me and you die.

Geckos I absolutely will not harm, as I understand how beneficial these lizards are.

Even moths, annoying as they can be, I prefer not to kill. The birds or spiders may get them outside, but that's not my concern.

I'm looking at a few prison librarian jobs, but honestly, I'd rather not work in one of those.
I didn't know you had to have school librarian certification to work in one anyway. Kinda weird.

Anyway, I'm just sort of rambling now, so I'll sign off for now.

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Current Location: United States, Sugar Land, Lakeview Dr, 807
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This morning I'm going to take the exam for US Census takers; If I pass and get selected, it will be a temporary assignment but should look good on a resume. I'll lose my unemployment benefits, but re-apply once the assignment is over, albeit with reduced benefits since it would be based on the Census taker salary and no longer on the librarian salary I had. So far my employer has not contested my UI claim, let's hope they don't at all. Also hoping I qualify for reduced premium for COBRA, that would help out a lot. Should know any day about that.

Also got approached by a head-hunter for Schlumberger who are looking for a "Tape Librarian"; position doesn't require an MLS so the title is a bit of puffery, but still, it would look good on a resume also. It is a 4 month gig, so I tossed my hat in the ring. Salary is close to my typical AIG salary before I got my last big raise there. In other words not bad but not great.
I hope they hire me, but there's just no telling.

In the meantime I continue to work on losing weight, exercising and increasing my activity, and keeping an eye on the HPD and Texas DPS physical entrance requirements. Even if I don't go that road, it would be nice to reach those physical fitness goals regardless.

Other than that trying to read in between applying for jobs and the like. I'm pretty cynical about Fort Bend County jobs, I've never once been contacted about any Fort Bend County Libraries jobs I've ever applied for since 2004. Not One.

Anyway, better sign off for now and take a shower.

Current Location: Sugar Land, Texas

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I have a number of regrets in my life as I begin my 39th year of life on the planet. As I look back across my life, I'm struck by how a failure of imagination at one point in my life lead to less than satisfying career choices later. I was definitely guilty of "putting my eggs into one basket" in College. When I headed off to Texas A&M University to join the Corps of Cadets, Navy & Marine Outfit "Trident P-2", I had one objective in mind and one only; to earn a Bachelor's degree so that I could become an unrestricted line officer in the United States Navy. I had no dreams or ambitions beyond this, no alternative careers (Local Law Enforcement, FBI, Texas State Trooper, Law school + Navy JAG, etc.) on the side in case I failed to achieve my main goal. I assumed it was a sure thing; just get decent grades and graduate and bam! Navy officer upon graduation. Winning my 3 Year NROTC scholarship after my Freshman year in the Corps only seemed to confirm it, and I was on track. I knew the possibility existed that I might lose my Navy scholarship due to physical disqualifications. My friend C.R. had lost his 4 year NROTC scholarship at Rice U. the year before; He lost it for the same reason I would lose mine--excessive refractive error in the eyes, for which there was no medical waiver possible. Waivers for bad eyes were possible, but not beyond the point my eyes had reached. Fast forward to just about 6 years ago, I finally got LASIK and now I see perfectly fine without artificial corrective lenses of any kind.

When I lost my NROTC scholarship the Spring of my Sophomore year, I was devastated. I had already just weathered through a particularly shitty semester taking a very hard math course (some pre-cal course, which I bombed), and also got a "D" in a Computer Science course (basic PASCAL) because I fell behind in the labs and didn't make them up; Ironically I aced the final and every test, but that didn't matter because the bulk of the grades were based on what one produced in the lab, e.g. actual programming in PASCAL, which is as it should be. I was trying to conform to what the Navy wanted; that even if you were liberal arts you should take what they called "technical electives". I have a feeling *now* that I don't suck at math quite as badly as I did then, or believed for many years that I did...I'm not great at it, it's still hard, but I'm not completely bad at it either. Part of my problem is I've rarely if ever had any good teachers.

Anyway, as things turned out I was pretty soured and disillusioned about the Corps by that point when the boom got lowered on me and my scholarship was revoked. I was disgusted with the way the Seniors (Class of 1990) were running the outfit into the ground and I resigned in protest, for all the good it did (zero). This was also around the time of the first Gulf War, Desert Shield leading up to Desert Storm. I felt very ambivalent about the whole thing. I had no illusions that freedom & democracy had squat all to do with it, but I also feared what Saddam could do if he wasn't satisfied with Kuwait and decided to seize Saudi Arabia, an ostensible U.S. ally and major oil exporter to the world. I wasn't knee jerk against the war, but I wasn't mindlessly supporting it either. Plus during those years the Cold War came to an end and much of my drive to join the military evaporated with it. I had learned German in part to volunteer to spy on East Germany, a country that ceased to be before I could finish my college degree. When I studied abroad in Germany, the borders were open, and I wandered around a great deal of the former East, its secrets now open to all. I was able to see the Russian troops before they left, at least. Enjoyed reading the Russian inscriptions in East German museums, etc.

It was a period where I questioned everything. I read the Marx & Engels Reader and as much as I had been conditioned to hate and oppose these men, I found I could not find very much to fault in what they wrote, and to my great surprise found myself more often agreeing than disagreeing with them about the nature of capitalism's operations in the world. I had already grown dubious of my naive faith that the market always produces something like the economic equivalent of Leibnitz's "Best of all Possible Worlds". That if you enact universal health care, the gulags can't be far behind, etc. I began to see the Cold War as a sham, that I'd been lied to for all of my life, basically.

It pushed me too far the other way, and I became a wannabe hippie love child peacenik, eschewed guns, etc. I went to grad school at Rice U, pursuing an MA in German Studies. I wanted to be just like my German professors at TAMU, who I respected and admired. I wanted to be an academic and didn't give a further second thought to any kind of government service. Before I did my year abroad, I had considered doing an internship with the Central Intelligence Agency but was talked out of it by an Uncle serving as a medical officer in the US Air Force. I'm still grateful to this day for his doing so.

Still, it is a wonder to me that nobody in the Trigon took me aside and said "Look, I know you lost your NROTC scholarship, but there *are* other ways to serve the Department of the Navy after graduation...maybe you could go to Law school and become a Navy JAG...or you could join the Naval Investigative Service (NIS)" (today known as NCIS, or Naval Criminal Investigative Service; name changed back in 1992, two years before I graduated). I didn't realize then, that which I know now, that NCIS employs civilians, but that agents have to be willing to serve afloat, which would mean wearing a uniform and being a regular crew member, besides one's NCIS duties. NCIS goes beyond Shore Patrol and Marine Corps MP work, though certainly they work together. It's possible I could have met their physical standards even though I was not eligible for commission under the ROTC program. Or I could have gone to Law school and become a Navy JAG. Moreover, I had been keen on Navy Intelligence; I now now, but did not know then, that NCIS has a Counterintelligence branch that would have let me do a lot of what I'd been hoping to do as a uniformed officer anyway; I know, NROTC leads to unrestricted line commissions and that intel officers are restricted line. I guess I'm also surprised I did not look at OCS as an avenue for becoming an intel officer in the USN after I washed out of NROTC. I guess I was just so disillusioned, and nobody in the Trigon tried to reach out and encourage me to consider other gov't service options, like the above mentioned avenues, or maybe explore the Coast Guard, for example, or any combination thereof....say Texas DPS in Coastal Texas then explore Coast Guard Reserves or something.

I'm having these thoughts because I'm feeling desperate...my forays into librarianship have been less than fully satisfying and my career feels stalled out. I do know I need to give up on cataloging and go reference, but that could take awhile to get going, and even then its no sure thing, since I really hate the administrative side of being a librarian with a passion. Public service I like, paperwork pushing, manual creation and procedures writing I hate. I'd go back to AIG, but they're still under a hiring and promotion freeze. I never earned great pay at AIG, but I was happy there, more or less. I had toyed with the idea of attending South Texas College of Law part time while working for AIG, but I just never could buckle down and make myself make the commitment. The MLS was more important to me, and after I had the MLS, I was too eager to get hired as a librarian to consider what a JD could do for me, like let me become a Navy JAG. It's also hard to understate how double sour the Bush administration made me with any recurring ideas of Gov't service. It's only with Obama in the White House that the idea of gov't service isn't so distasteful anymore.

Unfortunately, I'm too old (or will be too old, that is) to go Navy JAG, because there's no way I could finish law school before turning 42 and becoming to old for commission as a JAG. Back in the 1980s I remember there being good incentive programs for Navy JAGs, but those all seem to have evaporated, if they ever did exist. I'm likewise 2 years too old for consideration by NCIS (upper age cap for new agents is age 37) and too old by one year for FBI (upper cap is normally 38, with limited exceptions; and FBI agents reportedly have a mandatory retirement age of 57, which wouldn't even be a full 20 years service for me). I do still have time to get in shape and join the Houston Police Department (upper age limit of 44) if I want to, or Texas DPS (no upper limit so long as you can still meet the physical standards), who are hurting for new recruits right now.

I can look back and condemn myself for youthful immaturity and rebellion that lead nowhere but an unsuccessful bid to become an academic via the back door of librarianship. In the end I got dismissed from the Ivory tower yet again...first being declared a "terminal masters" in the German Studies program, then losing my 2 library jobs after earning my MLS. My "academic career" is very spotty at best. Still annoyingly trying to 'find myself'. Have no idea of I will find myself one day wearing an HPD uniform or not, or if I could use HPD to spring board into something bigger...FBI, Texas Rangers...if I were younger then yes, probably could have used a police career to do that, but as it stands, if I go HPD, I should probably just buckle down and try to be the best damn HPD officer I know how to be and work hard at it for a solid 20 years to earn a decent pension from the City of Houston...I used to not even give a second thought to retirement but with my 40th birthday looming only a year a way, I can't afford not to think about it. I still feel young at heart, but my body begs to differ. I have thinning hair up topside, but to tell the truth I'm surprised it has lasted with me as long as it has; I can still pull off a comb-over without it being pathetic. My hairline has receded some, but not as much as with some friends my same age. As an HPD officer, I could even maybe put myself through law school part time, and either try to get on with the Harris County or Fort Bend County DA's office or I could try my hand at Librarianship one more time as a Law librarian, though that would probably involve a gigantic pay cut.

Working for NCIS was the last thing on my mind in the early 1990s after I lost my NROTC scholarship. If I had it to do over again, I might've stuck it out with the Corps, or gone back on Army Contract my Junior year to become a TANG 2nd Lt reservist, then gone HPD or Texas DPS for my "day" job, maybe, with a longer term goal of going FBI or NCIS, preferably NCIS if I kept my Navy motivation going. But such things weren't even on my radar screen, I had a complete failure of imagination...when I finished my MA at Rice U., I had no idea what the hell I wanted out of life; I stumbled into becoming a High School teacher partly due to that failure of imagination, partly due to being slightly burned out on academia. If I'd gone FBI at that point, or HPD, or UH Law school instead of UH College of Education, my life could be very different right now. Why has it been so very hard for me to every hit upon a satisfying career that I really want to do, that I can do with a low probability of being fired/laid off...librarianship has turned out to be other than what I'd hoped it would be. I also foolishly ruled out other opportunities like Law Enforcement because I felt myself "too good" or "too smart" to stoop to such professions. I was an arrogant, over-educated prick, and in many ways I maybe still am.

I'm a walking stereotype, an almost-fortyish divorced white male still living with his parents without very good prospects at this point. HPD suddenly seems attractive at this point, something meaningful I could do with my life; dangerous, yes, but also exciting, and better pay than I've ever earned in my life up to now. If I can get a library gig between now and the time I become physically fit enough to attend the HPD Police Academy, I would take it, of course, but if I don't, I can't rule out a future career as a LEO, either with HPD or Texas DPS (which would mean almost 6 months "boot camp" style training in Austin, TX, living in barracks, with weekend liberty to come back to Houston).

I also think about teaching English abroad, but I wonder at my advanced age if that's a luxury I can reasonably afford or not....it's something I could perhaps always re-visit as an American retiree ex-pat, perhaps. Hard to say.

Well, I guess I'll draw this post to a close, I have said all I wanted to say and rant on today.

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I'm enjoying watching YouTube videos of US and UK ex-pats living and working in Japan as English teachers and what not.

One Australian has some really informative videos and he also gives some advice--actually more like a reality check--about dating girls in Japan; Shortest advice, don't. Longer advice: most smart Japanese girls know that a foreigner like you is only there temporarily and won't want to waste time with you in anything like a relationship. Western guys often get the wrong idea and think that all the Japanese politeness, smiles and friendliness means flirtation, when it actually doesn't...and if you try to respond in kind you'll just piss the girl off and disgust her and you'll never see her again.

This made me feel better to hear this, since it allows me to believe that what I perceived as flirtation coming from a certain Japanese graduate student I knew in Denton probably wasn't that at all and it was all in my head. I didn't flirt back because she was devoutly Christian, but if she'd been Buddhist I would have burned and yearned to flirt back and try to date her...but I see now that probably it's for the best I showed restraint, not just because of the religion gap (atheist vs. Christian) but also the more important cultural gap (American vs. Japanese).

Her name was Mari, and she was incredibly beautiful...but what I perceived as flirtation was in fact merely being friendly in a completely non-sexual way. All of my pining for her and angst and anguish were over something that, even if Christianity were not an issue, would still have been impossible. The pain I felt from frustrated desire on account of her religion was ridiculous in hindsight, since there was likely never anything like a genuine interest from her side to begin with. And that makes me feel better in the present, for my never having tried to seriously flirt back or ask her out or anything. I can now safely forget about her without regret, as she has done with me (she was a Facebook "friend" but has at long last "un-friended" me there).

The Aussie in Japan noted that foreigners who seduce Japanese girls and break their hearts give all foreigners a bad name and he doesn't want to encourage that behavior at all, but also mainly just giving a reality check that only a very small percentage of Japanese women are only interested in "having fun", and they're not the "good" girls, either...meaning I presume they might try to take advantage of you, steal from you, cost and arm & a leg in "maintenance", etc.
This Aussie also stressed that Japanese women in general are looking for good husbands; even the young girls looking for boyfriends will pick boyfriends that could at least potentially become good prospects as husbands. It's just how most of them think and look at the situation. It's completely realistic and sensible, given their society.

Ironically, I used to look at girlfriends the same way, i.e. had to be some girl i could imagine myself marrying...which in practice meant I didn't have a lot of girlfriends until my 30s. After having been married & divorced I'm rather soured on the whole notion.
My first post-marital dating relationship was just what I needed...monogamous adult sexual relationship but no strings attached...we just had fun and that was that. It was all good until she said she loved me...and right around that time I also accepted the job at Tdub, so had to break things off anyway because I was moving to North Texas.

Librarianship so far has turned out to be a major disappointment. I was really happier at AIG, sometimes thing I should've stayed and should have married Lisa, maybe even had kids. Well, all for naught now. Life moves on relentlessly. On to the next chapter.

Meanwhile I'm a walking stereotype...the unemployed upper 30s male still living at home with his parents. I try not to let that get to me too much, tell myself it's only temporary. Even considering the Houston Police Academy and joining HPD as a patrol officer, maybe one day making plainclothes investigator. Risky as hell job, but for the economically desperate, your mind goes to places you never would have when you were gainfully employed.

Or I could go teach English in China or Japan or both. Maybe German too, If I could get the proper "Deutsch als Fremdsprache" certificate from the Goethe Institut in my future host country...

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Current Location: Sugar Land, Texas
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Decided to go ahead and play around with Google Chrome on my bedroom Desktop because for some dumb reason Mozilla Firefox is being sluggish at the moment. When Firefox is slower than IE, that's a bad sign.

Chrome seems to zip along so far. We'll see. And it also took over some of the stored info from Firefox, which was a big concern, too. It's a big relief that it has a lot of that info stored now itself.

Also investigating local Weight Watchers, which I feel the need to complete first before I put down any money on stuff like lifting weights and whatnot. May investigate some Tai Chi or Kung Fu that is available locally as well. Mostly to improve flexibility. I prefer Kung Fu (or any Martial Arts) to Yoga. Whenever I start doing Yoga I get up the urge to do Katas and sparring, round-house kicks, whatever. Yoga doesn't have any of that, just stretching and positions, but after doing all the stretching and positioning, I feel up and ready for martial arts training. I did Shotokan in middle school, then moved on to Tae Kwon Do in High School, never advancing beyond Yellow Belt, mostly out of laziness and sheer lack of time. I gave it up altogether in College, which was probably a mistake, but it would have been very difficult to sustain while in the Corps of Cadets, at least as a fish, anyway. Which is a little ironic, but there you go. I did try Fencing but it was too hard and I should've dropped it but I think I waited to late and just ended up taking an "F" in the class at TAMU. Fall of 1990 was a really shitty semester; the Coup de Grace was losing my NROTC scholarship at the start of Spring semester, where I finally said "fuck it" to the Corps of Cadets and decided to concentrate on saving my GPA and also actually *enjoying* college for once. I'm happy to report that change in focus was mostly a smashing success. Of course that's also when I started my beer gut that I still wrestle with today even though it's not fed by beer anymore.

I also got in a walk at the Eldridge Road Park just down the way...5 laps, 2 miles. Podcasts help to pass the time so far...otherwise I'd be bored shitless.

So that means 2 walks a day now...once in the morning, once in the evening hours after dinner.
It's gonna pay off, has already started to pay off.

Had trouble sleeping last night again until I switched to the couch and laid flat on my back rather than on my side (which sometimes hurts my hips)...eventually I zonked out and slept pretty soundly.

I also started a new blog on Vox dedicated to my love of animation, Anime, and Manga. Mostly because I realized my FB friends mainly don't give a rat's ass about those topics and posting regular FB items about such things is at best annoying to them, and more importantly doesn't reach an audience who might appreciate what I have to say. I figured I might as well write about that topic, since I love it so much and know it relatively well. I'm no expert, but I know what I like. Most Anime podcasts only touch on bleeding edge new stuff that I can't afford, or classic stuff like DragonBall Z or YugiOh! (sp?) that I don't care about.

Anyway, also looking for jobs, etc. May apply with some bookstores in the area, just to put on my work search log--not that I expect any positive response anytime soon. I'm sure they're hurting as well.

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Current Location: Sugar Land, TX
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