Some updates

The YouTube channel is dead; long live the YouTube channel.

I’m not deleting it, mind you, but after a couple of weeks of not updating, initially caused by Covid and then a couple of very busy weeks at home, I find that I don’t miss having to spend an hour or more every single day playing video games in a room by myself where no one is allowed to talk to me and where any noise or, God forbid, a bathroom break meant that I was going to have to spend more time after the video was done editing it. I want to spend some time just playing games when I want to and not worrying about some sort of schedule.

I’m not abandoning the idea altogether, mind you, and in fact I still have a couple of games I want to record. But I can tell already that Horizon: Forbidden West is, of all the games I’ve done Let’s Plays on, the one least amenable to the format I’ve chosen, and I want to just play it without having to worry about breaking it up into digestible chunks. The channel wasn’t making me any money and I was probably years away from enough subs to be able to make any money off of it, so I’m going to shove it back into the realm of “hobby” and stop taking it nearly as seriously.

Today was the first day of summer vacation, and speaking as someone who Does Not Know How To Relax, I feel like I used it pretty well. The front lawn is mowed, some cleaning was accomplished, weeds have been whacked, and I delivered some things to Goodwill that have been sitting around the house for a while. We need to finish clearing out my father-in-law’s apartment before June 1, so I’ll likely be up there tomorrow for a while, and then … well, who knows after that.

Playing around with the 3D printer continues apace; I have made five useless objects, one of which broke while trying to remove it from the print bed and another of which broke because of what I’m pretty sure was a design flaw in the model and not actually either user error or the printer being weird. This little axolotl I printed is pretty cool, though, and right now I’ve got it working on what will be a fourteen-hour, high-detail print of a hook horror from Dungeons & Dragons. The boy has announced that he wants a 3d print of every final-evolution Pokémon from Generation 1. There are, apparently, 81 of them. No word on whether he plans to pay for the filament, and I have to admit I’m also wondering what keeping this little nozzle at 200 degrees Celsius and the bed at 90 degrees Celsius for hours at a time is going to do to my electric bill.

This one’s a big deal: I had an interview scheduled at another school Friday afternoon, and was setting one up at another school for next week, and then had a long talk with the remaining members of my team Friday morning about next year. It is rumored that we’ve finally got a principal (and, to be clear, we have a name, not just a “they have found a warm body” rumor) and it’s amazing just what a difference the simple rumor that they’d named someone actually made. At any rate, after that conversation, I went back to my classroom, looked around, reflected on the fact that I’d been up very late Thursday night thinking about this interview, and emailed both the principals involved and cancelled. I will, for better or for worse, be returning to my current job again this fall, and I have closed out all of my various job-seekery accounts again for the time being. I’m about to go into year 19 of teaching. There is, unfortunately, a strong likelihood that my school will be closing at either the end of this year or the end of next year, and there is also a rumor that the middle school math teacher at Hogwarts will be retiring at the end of this year. If that happens, I plan to do everything in my power to get that job. But that’s a year away, if in fact it actually happens, and you best believe I’ll be keeping a close eye on it. But for now? I’m coming back.

I expect to regret this decision by September. We’ll see.

In which I’m not going anywhere yet

I didn’t mean for this to work this way, but this headline is doubly appropriate: first, because despite Elon Musk’s attempt to buy Twitter, I don’t plan to immediately flee the service. I didn’t like Jack either, and actually I don’t know who the hell runs the place now, so it’s not like I’ve ever personally approved of whoever was at the top of the corporate ladder at the place. Musk’s ownership probably won’t become official for six months or so (and isn’t guaranteed,) and I’m not about to flee a place where I have nearly eleven thousand followers and something like fifteen years of history without a better reason.

Like, for example, “I hate it there.” I might leave Twitter because I hate Twitter. But not because of Musk. Not, at least, until he starts changing things. Then we’ll see.

Also, speaking of things that aren’t happening, I have officially not gotten the only job I have managed to get an interview for since I started applying to jobs a couple of months ago. And … honestly, whatever. I’m not bothered by it. They ended up going with someone with coding experience, which I always knew was a weak spot in my application, and if you’ve been following along lately you know I was lukewarm on the job at best anyway. I still don’t especially want to return to my current school in the fall, but I’m far from convinced that this would have been an improvement.

Are we sure it’s only Tuesday, by the way? Is there any chance that it’s Thursday right now? Because this has been an insanely long two days, and I really don’t like having my worst class at the very end of the day.

More sudden realizations

Everybody’s all excited about working remotely right now, and while I’ve temporarily hit pause on the job search for another couple of weeks, the large majority of the positions I applied to were remote jobs. Some were in easily-reached locations like Indianapolis and Chicago, where if there were occasional days I needed to be in the office it wouldn’t represent a massive hardship, but the rest of those could be, well, anywhere. I didn’t apply to anything literally outside the country but I pretty much spanned the full width of it in those first few weeks.

So far I’ve been called for zero (0) interviews, which is … a little discouraging! One site let me know a human being had looked at my profile a couple of times, and I had somewhat high hopes for that, and LinkedIn has connected me to a couple of headhunter types who sent me messages about stuff I was either wildly unqualified for in one case or not interested in in another, but there have been no callbacks for anything. And it literally just hit me today: the disadvantage to the job searcher who is looking for remote work is that every remote job is a de facto nationwide search. I still have vestiges of that former honors kid’s confidence, right, that I’m good at a lot of things, better than most people, and that therefore I should just naturally float to the top of any applicant pool. But when you’re getting 5-600 applicants for a job (and I’ve seen jobs with way more than that) and they could come from anywhere? I have really nothing that’s going to stand out against that type of a search. Sure, I’m good, and I’ll be good at whatever job I happen to be applying for, but what I’m not is especially unique. There’s lots of middle-aged white dudes with a couple of Master’s degrees and an award or two. And even if I want to be super arrogant and say that I’m more qualified for Position X than 90% of humanity (or even if that’s an accurate assessment of my abilities!) when you’re looking at the entire country as your potential applicant pool that 10% is a lot of Goddamned people.

I may need to shift my focus here a bit, is what I’m saying. There’s no reason not to apply for these jobs, but I can’t count on finding something just by throwing a lot of CVs at remote jobs, and I may want someone with a little more experience in this to look at my résumé. I have a job this fall regardless, but I don’t want it, and it would be better for everyone involved if I was able to get something else. But I need to find a way to tighten up the pool of folk I’m competing with for these jobs, or I need to find a way to stand out against the big searches, or preferably both. I think I’m going to turn my personal website back on and see if that helps; maybe I’ll work on it tonight in between Elden Ring, grading, and planning for next week. Ten school days to Spring Break. I can do this.

Some good news, for once

The Indiana state Senate, in a rare moment of sanity, has defanged the grotesque HB 1134, removing the vast majority of what made it so offensive, including the requirement that teachers post daily lesson plans for the entire year by either June 30 or August 1 of each year, depending on which version of the bill you were looking at. It appears to have been watered down to a vague suggestion that school districts create curriculum advisory committees that parents can be on, which I’d be willing to bet most of them already have, and which one way or another is not an especially onerous change. I did enjoy this bit from the article, however:

Dawn Lang, a Fishers mom of three kids, said she likes the part of the bill that will provide her access to her school’s learning management system. She said parents are frustrated and want more transparency in their children’s education. 

Dawn Lang lives in Fishers, which is a wealthy suburb of Indianapolis, and I absolutely one hundred percent guarantee you that she already has full access to her school’s LMS. Every LMS I’ve ever seen allows parental access. My kids’ parents can see every assignment and can see their kids’ attendance and grades in real-time, and can even set things up to get alerts when I update grades. And this isn’t exactly new technology; it’s been available in my district for easily half a decade if not longer than that. She has the access; she’s either too dumb to be able to use it, in which case the law isn’t going to help her, or she’s lying, in which case the law is written specifically for people like her.

What does this mean for me? Good question! This law was going to guarantee that I wasn’t going to return to teaching next year, and while it’s always possible that some sort of fuckery will take place (the House assumes no one’s watching, restores the old language, and bounces it back to the Senate during the reconciliation process, the Senate passes the original, fucked bill, and Holcomb signs it) I don’t know that I think it’s especially likely. This year’s legislative Armageddon at least appears to be, against all expectations, dead. Will there be more fuckery next year? Yep. Sure will, and this bill wasn’t the only reason I want to leave; recall that my administrators have been fired as well, for example, and, oh, every single other thing about this year. But it means that there’s not a “have to quit by” date attached to my current career, and that I can at least take some time and see if there are other school-related jobs that I might want next year. It’s gone from an impending crisis to something that is still very much a big deal but no longer runs any risk of actual unemployment. I’ll take it.

In other news, we did have school today, although literally all but one of the other school districts within shouting distance were closed. And, honestly, as it turns out, it was a touch on the risky side but I think it was the right call. My drive home was kinda dodgy, but you can’t live through too many Indiana winters without learning how to handle “kinda dodgy,” and as the middle schools are the last to dismiss in my district, I have to assume the high schools and primary centers were able to get everybody home without any particular drama. Hell, attendance was even pretty good today, and most of the day was, unbelievably, calm. Again, I’ll take it.

Super Social Saturday

I had family in town today— my favorite aunt, along with her oldest son and his wife were in town from Michigan and California, respectively, and they went and picked my dad up and came over here for the day. It was a lot of fun but I am well and truly worn out from just being a human for several hours. I’m trying to beat Dandara just so I can put it to bed and figure out what I’m doing with the YouTube channel (wanna be subscriber #115? Sure you do!) in the days between this final episode going live on Monday and Elden Ring coming out on the25th, and right now I’m kinda clueless. I do know that my hands hurt because my current strategy for this utter bullshit final boss involves lots of button-mashing.

This is all a lengthy way of saying this is going to be all the blogging I have brain for today. Any cells I have left in another hour or so will be devoted to finding a couple more jobs to apply to. One of the ones I sent in an application for today has a salary range of $125-185,000, so I am denying myself nothing; if I think I’m even vaguely interested in the job, I’m applying. Not like I have anything to lose.

(There is an interesting phenomenon going on here, where I’m looking at jobs with high salaries and immediately feeling like I can’t possibly be qualified for them, and fuck that. I’ve met businesspeople. They’re people. I can be people too. Fuck it. I want a six-figure job. Give me one. I’m not letting my own bullshit hold me back here.)