Not much has happened over the last five days, so I didn’t bother to write. I still don’t have a schematic, so I still can’t do my chip. As a result, I spent my time doing year-end stock stuff early to get it out of the way, and I’ve studied a little. Based on the practice tests, I should pass the real test just fine. I guess I should also get a year’s worth of business expenses in order, since I’ll have no time to do it starting next week.
On Sunday, I played classical guitar throughout the service. It was a lot of fun, and I got a few compliments on my playing (even though I didn’t think I did great – I’m my own worst critic!). I also showed up just as service was starting; I somehow didn’t get the memo that church started half an hour earlier this week (oops). There was a little hustling involved and my friend who was singing with me wasn’t too happy when he first saw me. He got over it though.
Because the songs were a little low, I had the idea to tune my guitar up a full step. The guitar sounded crisper, and it was easier to play with the tighter strings. Alas, the added string pressure turned out to be a bad thing. The bridge on my classical guitar began to lift off. I was so concerned that I brought a backup guitar to service just in case the bridge came off during services. It didn’t, but I glued it when I got home. Unfortunately, the glue got all over the guitar and now I may have to refinish the whole face of the guitar to make it pretty again (and the 40 year old varnish looked so good on this guitar!). It looks like I’ll have to do a lot of work sometime next year, and way too much work for a guitar I only use at Christmas!
As I reflect on the year, it’s been a very good year. I was sad to see the startup close (and in dramatic fashion at that!), and I’m down another pile of cash for the second year in a row because I don’t have a job, but I have a wonderful family that I’ve been able to see more often and we had one heck of a summer vacation this year! I’m excited about going back to school and I’m excited about the possibility of a teaching job next year. All-in-all, I wouldn’t trade this year for anything!
My weekend class went well, though it was poorly attended due to a lot of rain. Christmas services were nice and full, and the place was bright. My son and I had replaced all the burnt-out bulbs in the church earlier that day, along with the parking lot and in the gym. In every case, we needed to use our church’s lift to get up 20 – 35 feet, depending on where we were. It’s always fun lugging that thing around.
Christmas at home was very low key. We cooked a lot, watched a bunch of movies and played Monopoly.
Now it’s after Christmas, so it’s time to get to studying and work.
I could either continue with the chip, or get my Adult Bible Study lesson prepared for Sunday. I decided to do the latter, since I really didn’t have enough chip work to sustain me through half a day, and if I didn’t do the study today, I would definitely have to do it tomorrow.
I was able to finish five of the six pages I felt I would need by the time I had to go to a teacher’s lunch. For the teachers, it was an after school celebration of Christmas Break, and the food was subsidized by the principal. For me, it was a chance to network and spend some social time with my two upcoming master teachers. Everyone had a great time. Afterward, since we were near, my wife and I decided to hit a Bevmo so she could buy “bread-making beer.” She got a variety, and I got some sale items as well. For the next two weeks, it looks like she’ll be making beer bread and I’ll be drinking, studying and working on a chip.
I felt I had enough info to start the preliminary work on my chip, so that’s what I spent the day doing. I built up a techfile for the process, design rules, and a basic cell that will get repeated all over the chip; all in all, a very satisfying day. In the evening, we had a longer than usual band rehearsal because we were rehearsing for both Sunday and for Christmas Eve. We also had four acoustic guitars on stage, which is unusual. Over the two dates, three of us are playing at least one song on acoustic. I brought two guitars to see which one I wanted to play. I’m going with the classical guitar because I lack the finger strength and dexterity to do difficult Christmas songs on the acoustic, so it would seem, even though the acoustic sounds better. I put a new set of strings on the acoustic for nothing! I have also been asked to bring a fretless bass on Sunday, so we’ll have a couple of basses on stage.
I had a chance to substitute today, but I wanted to get cracking on the new chip. I shouldn’t have turned down the sub job, the tech place I’m working for still owed me some clarification on how to start this project… and so I couldn’t start the project. It now looks like I won’t be able to start until Friday or Saturday. Gee, and I was supposed to be done with this chip by now so I can study for my Preliminary Educational Technology Single Subject Credential test, which is a pretty important test. I wanted to study for this test in a solid two week block, rather than in random bits. Somewhere in the next few weeks I also have to put together a year’s worth of receipts for business & teacher expenses so I can do well at tax time. OK, so today is a study day.
No calls today, so I decided to start working on my chip. I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have enough information to start the project and was told to wait. I decided to print out some materials, but my printer was out of ink. I had to go to the store to get more. It was that sort of day. The highlight of the day turned out to be shopping at a very packed Costco with my wife.
The weekend was pretty quiet. My daughter caught my cold. We watched Science Fiction together.
Today, I was feeling a bit better, though I still had sniffles. A teacher was actually sick, so I got a call. She had three “Intro to Bio” classes and two “AP Bio” classes. I’d like to say that the AP classes were both excellent, but one was on task, and the other was not. I expected that the “Intro” kids would not want to work (actually, two of the three classes were excellent!), but AP kids? I expect them to act like college kids. I was really let down by the last class of the day. Still, they weren’t horrible; they just weren’t as studious as the previous AP class had been. It was sort of funny that a group of boys in this last AP class were actually betting on whether or not they would get answers correct as they studied. I had never seen that before. It was some sort of geek gambling.
I was free and no one called me! I guess that teachers don’t like to get sick in December. It made me sad to only work one day this week. I studied a little, bought some stocks (based on the research I had been doing for my son), and then watched a movie. Somewhere in the early part of my day, my wife called me because she was short some spaghetti sauce for her class. I had to bring some to her. While I was at the school, I told the principal the good news that I would be there starting in January.
The movie I wound up watching was a German movie called “The Black Box.” It was about the Dutch Jewish resistance during WWII. It was a pretty great movie, though per usual with European movies, there was full frontal male and female nudity. Europeans don’t have the same hang-ups that Americans do about nudity, and truthfully, the nudity didn’t bother me at all because it sure didn’t bother the actors. It just was what it was, and it was very appropriate for this movie.
In the evening, my son and I went to band practice. We got there at the normal time, only to discover that a Christmas Play rehearsal was in progress. We had to wait until it was over before we could play. Based on the dress rehearsal, I don’t think this play is going to be a huge hit.
I didn’t get a phone call, but I also couldn’t take a job today: I had a layout contract meeting this afternoon.
I worked on supplying some stock ideas for my son’s two week long stock contest in his Econ class, then I ate, watched an episode of Top Gear, washed my Porsche, and then headed off to the meeting. The meeting cleared up a lot of things regarding this new chip project. I spent at least an hour looking through a microscope at the competitor’s chip (which is no longer sold) and determined that it was even simpler than we had originally thought. How often can you say that? We also met with the fab people and another outside design consultant – my former, former boss. It was good to see him again. After a couple of hours, everyone was on the same page, and had come to the same conclusions about the chip and the process that I had come to after looking under the microscope. Starting this weekend, I can set up the chip environment for layout and then hopefully begin.
Alas, the meeting ran long and I didn’t have time to pick up groceries for dinner. I had to get on over to my last evening class for the year. Today was the continuation of the student presentations. I had done mine on Tuesday, so I was really only there for support. I had also turned in my final project via email earlier in the day. When I got all my papers back, they were all A’s. Yeah! Class let out early too; yeah again!
Just before class had started, I sought out my counselor to see what progress had happened on the student teaching front. It was good news: I would start at my wife’s middle school, and I was approved by the district for all twelve weeks. The only hoop that remained was whether or not the supervisor would allow me to do the entire twelve weeks at the same school. She’s the only one who might change things at this point. Everyone else is quite alright with me doing everything at one school. I’d be setting a precedent for the university, but I’m fine with that; I can be a trailblazer.
I didn’t get a phone call. No sub job.
I decided to take some recordings off of my DVR and put them on to a DVD. Today was a science fiction sort of day, and I stayed in bed watching all these movies. First up was Futureworld, followed by The Kovak Box and finally Book of Eli. It was a delightful “do nothing” kind of day!