Monday, November 01, 2004

Busy few days

All right. Quite a bit to catch up on, so here goes.

In April or May, I sent in an application to the City of Los Angeles for one of their Criminalist positions. Basically, the deal is that you send in your application and they send you back a notice telling you when to come in and take the proficiency exam. You pass the exam with 70%, you get put on the eligible list. If a position opens up, they start picking people from the eligible list to come in and interview. Now, when I sent in my application, I was still living in Corvallis. Time went by, I moved down here, never heard anything back from them; I assumed my application had been lost in the shuffle or that I hadn't completed some section or other and that I wouldn't be hearing from them at all. No matter - I managed to land my current job, and I'm all on track to start back to school next fall.

Cut to Thursday (which was Gram Gram's birthday...happy birthday Gram Gram!). I got home from work to find a letter from the City of L.A. amongst my pile of mail. It had bounced to Oregon and back (had the little forwarding address sticker on it); I assumed it was one of those "sorry, you don't qualify" letters. Geez, nice of them to tell me six months after the fact! But I was wrong. Imagine my surprise when I read the letter.
You are scheduled to take the Criminalist written exam Saturday, October 30, 2004, at 8:00 am.
Um, what? I finally hear back from these people two days before I'm supposed to go take this test?! There were some rough guidelines on the Personnel Dept webpage suggesting areas that might be covered on the examination, but no further details were offered. I figured I didn't really have anything to lose by taking the test; if I didn't pass it, it wouldn't really change anything. I'd still have my job here and my plans for school, so no big deal. And if I did pass...well, that would just be way too cool. So I decided to treat it like a practice test and go with the flow. I got in touch with Jasmine (wife of cousin Chris), who had taken a similar exam for Washington state a while back. She gave me some more pointers on what to study, which was very helpful of her. I spent Thursday and Friday after work with my nose in various books, and by Saturday morning, I was as ready as I was going to be.

Saturday morning. I got up at the same ol' time as a normal work day (so much for sleeping in on my first Saturday off in a while!) and headed out to East L.A. I found the testing place with little trouble, managed to find a 10-hour meter, and got ready to head inside. Reached for my calculator on the passenger's seat...reached for my...oh great. Wouldn't be a "normal" experience for me if I didn't forget something as critical to solving math problems as a freaking calculator. And it was all set out with the rest of my stuff that morning, too! Gaw....go figure.

It was still very early (right around 7:15) so I decided I would try to find a grocery store or Target or something. Ha. No such luck in industrial East L.A. I ended up in China Town before deciding I had better head back before I got myself completely lost...it'd be much worse if I couldn't even take the test at all than if I just had to take it calculator-less. So, back I trudged, cursing myself for not realizing I didn't have it in my hand when I left the house.

The test itself went all right, in spite of everything. There weren't any problems I couldn't do on paper (I had feared trig problems...sine, cosine, that sort of thing), but it would definitely have been nice to re-check my answers. Ah well. There were a lot more general chemistry sort of calculations than I anticipated; I'd say they made up a good 60% of the total questions, which was a little annoying. Titration equations, dilution equations, etc...they're things I know how to do but I'm no longer all that practiced in them. But at any rate, at least I got a good idea as to what's on the test, so if I do have to take it again in a year or two, I'll know what to expect! Hopefully also, I'll have more preparation time, since my testing notice won't have to bounce to OR and back. ;)

So that was a good chunk of Saturday (4 hour test). The rest of the weekend was spent relaxing, with a little bit of cleaning/laundering thrown in. Last night we got a grand total of 5 trick-or-treaters, all in one little group. Ah well...more candy for us! The time change meant it was actually light out when I drove to work this morning; that was kind of cool, I guess. I'll probably be less amused when it starts getting dark as I'm on the way home. All right, I think I'm all caught up, now. Hope everyone has a good week!

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