Sunday, August 1, 2010

Update August 1, 2010

March 7, 2010

My neighborhood is somewhat rich. My neighborhood is so rich that if I stand outside my house too long, the neighbors call the police. . . True story.

My neighborhood is somewhat rich. My neighborhood is so rich that when my housemate calls the police because someone may have broken into a neighbor’s house and the police arrive and see me waiting outside, they tell me “Sir, slowly remove your hands from your pockets and back away.” . . . True story.

While walking to work, within 5 seconds of each other, I was both complimented by a homeless guy asking if I was lawyer, and I was also handed information about how to get a job. I had on one of those outfits that could go both ways.

Whenever one of my housemates does number 2 in the bathroom next to the kitchen he leaves the door wide open.

One of the mice exterminators that came to my house was telling me how he had mice problems in his own house.

These are actual names of people.

Penny Dollar
April May (by marriage)
Paige Turner (by marriage)
Bill Board
Dr. Looney (psychiatrist)
Candy Bar

I’ve seen them.

While walking down the street in San Diego, I happened upon a man at a stoplight. While waiting for the walk signal he said to me, “You look like one of the guys who likes to get really freaky.” That was the longest walk signal for which I ever had to wait. This always happens when I dress nicely.


Ok, people have been saying they missed my updates, and they just want one more. To be honest, I did say that I would give you my itinerary from the orientation in September. So many people asked me how the job was my first two weeks in September; I realized people didn’t understand that we had a fellowship program orientation to government that happened before we ever started working in our specific placements. On top of the, the part of government I work in requires a type of background investigation. Mine took so long that I didn’t start at my placement until November while others started mid September after orientation.

I won’t go into what I’m doing because no matter how many times I write it people e-mail or call individually asking me that, so I know it doesn’t matter if I write it here or repeat it. I will say that I work in a particular part of government where we deal with securing the homeland. To read more about my fellowship program. I will again put the link.

I’ve also attached the orientation itinerary so you can see what it looks like.

During the current year 2009-2010, I was assigned to a department that deals with security. I deal with chemical and biological (and explosive) weapons detection; I help in making detection machines if that makes sense. I’ve renewed my fellowship for a 2nd year, and next year, Sept 2010 - Aug 2011, I’ve been reassigned to do work for USAID as a science policy advisor and development engineer doing health, water, sanitation, infrastructure, transportation, construction, and urban planning technical advising. My travel budget for the year is $15k, so I know the plan to send me on the ground for at least 2 trips. We’ll see.


People want to know what I do in DC. Well, I guess I do a few things. First of all I sing in a choir. I’m a member of a 120-member professional concert (classical) choir in town--the City Choir of Washington.

I also sing with a subset of the choir, the City Singers. We do outreach events. There are 30 of us, but you usually get no more than 20. For instance yesterday (Feb 27th) we sang at an elderly folks home, a half-way house for men recovering from issues, and a community home for young people trying to get things together (I think).

I sing in a 7-member a capella group that was just restarted and has only met once before the restart due to people’s schedules. I’m not sure it will work already. The first rehearsal in the restart was canceled.

I’m a mentor in a program for students that teaches them about environmental science. It’s called Environ mentors. My mentee is an 11th grader Guyanan-American.

I tutor teachers for their courses in a masters program that prepares them to teach physics in high school to 9th graders. My only mistake is that I tutored them too well. Their actual instructor is a former fellow of my fellowship program, but she has never had K-12 teaching experience. The roughly 5 teachers I tutored told the program administrators and they asked me to be an instructor for their next course. So now. . .

I’m an adjunct professor of physics at George Washington University. Don’t ask me how it happened. It just did. Right now I’m teaching “Energy and Momentum” to 20 teachers getting a masters in physics education. I’m just doing this one course. Their program is 3 years. I don’t know if they will need me again. At the time of the current sentence I’m writing, I’ve found out that they do need me again. My course “Energy and Momentum” just finished, and I’m teaching another in spring of 2011. I still keep my adjunct professor status throughout, and it’s cool to have a university card again, I’m going to check out the university gym.

I usually attend National Community Church. My location currently meets in the largest coffeehouse in DC. They are very technologically savvy and instead of having different people preach in all locations broadcast the same preacher each week to all locations.

Another church I really like is Cedar Ridge Community Church. I just wished they were in the city. They actually have an organic farm for the homeless. But they are in a rural community. I love how they combine communion, prayer time, music, tithing, written prayer, prayer for each other, and art all in one time through stations at the church. I’ve never felt like tithing was an act of worship until I was there. Other churches have tried, but this one feels like it.

I volunteer with a homeless shelter that offers lots of services such as case management and transitional housing. Michelle Obama has visited before! It’s always interesting being there because it reminds me that I’ve done the social work that the case managers are doing. II should look into using my counseling training back here in the States.

I have been unsuccessful being accepted into a community theatre production so far, but I’m not worried. I haven’t been able to audition for all or even most opportunities. Many have occurred when I have choir rehearsal. Plus I’ve had visitors many times. I’ve only auditioned 3 times, but I’ll do more.

I also sing with an a capella group of men. We’re actually starting this Saturday (the 6th of March). We’ll see how it goes. It’s rather informal, but it should be fun. I have a friend who runs the human rights and science program at AAAS. She and I are working on some four-hand piano pieces. That’s fun as well. I do some song writing still in collaboration with a few different people, but I’ve no equipment. I’m still very saddled with lots of bills so that my money is used up quite quickly but I have enough to do what I need, so I’m ok.

I have four roommates--one is a AAAS Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, another is a AAAS Fellow at the Department of State, and the last of the roommates are mice.

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