Ah, November. How fast you are passing. How non-Novembery it feels here in the Bay Area, with highs ranging from 62 all the way up into the 70s.

How little work I’ve done on my so-called novel. I’ll work on it again, or I’ll come up with a better idea. Or I’ll even spew out 45,000 words over Thanksgiving weekend.

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Huh. It looks like it’s been two years since I started this site (see navigation to the right). The last year has been kind of a bust, output-wise, but I think overall I’m glad I have this site on which I can vent occasionally (and attempt to keep you, whoever you are, somewhat updated on what’s happening my life).

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A typical Gohlke day turns into a scam investigation: Several months ago, just after moving here, I found the web site of a supposed non-profit called “ACCESS: Networking In The Public Interest” that advertised a supposed non-profit job fair in San Francisco in November. I noted it mentally, bookmarked the site, and continued with the job-seeking process.

Meanwhile, despite how much I really like the Bay Area, the idea of going back to the Midwest has occasionally surfaced in my mind. I seem to have underestimated how much I would miss 1. my friends and family and 2. a full-time job that pays a steady wage I can live on. Yesterday, I called both of my last two bosses to gauge the likelihood of a spot opening for me again. The dearth of job openings so far here makes me feel I have to explore all of my options. [There’s little hope in budget-strapped Minnesota, especially with someone else, whose position had been eliminated, already having transferred into my old position; and I haven’t had the conversation with Tim in Madison yet.]

I must admit, however, that the idea of getting a full-time job here is still quite attractive. Around noon yesterday, the memory of the non-profit job fair popped back into my mind. I knew it was scheduled for some time in November but was sure I’d have missed it by now; November’s already half-over. I checked the web site and couldn’t believe it—it was scheduled for yesterday from 10:30 am to 4:00 pm. A registration fee of $15 was required, which I figured I could pay in cash at the door. After some quick calculations, I decided to go—at worst, I thought, I’d have two hours to hand out my résumé. I showered, shaved, and put on a nice shirt and slacks and my best shoes. I updated my résumé and business card and printed 10 copies of each. I was ready, and it wasn’t even 1:30 yet.

I decided to drive, since the building was about a mile from the nearest BART stop. I hopped in the car and drove down to Ashby—and at San Pablo, halfway to the freeway, there was a police roadblock preventing anyone from going west on Ashby. I took this as a bad sign. (I found out later that it was because of a fatal bank robbery.)

I found myself in the left lane and was forced to take a left onto San Pablo. A couple right turns later, I was heading north on Hollis, which is a street I’m vaguely familiar with from my occasional Emeryville shopping trips. Traffic was quickly increasing, making me wonder if I shouldn’t just drive to the Ashby BART station and go that way. I was persistent, however, and, after an ill-advised left turn into an industrial park dead-end and some waiting for traffic lights, I managed to get back on Ashby going west to I-80.

By this time it was 1:30. Traffic was incredibly light from the Bay Bridge to the Fremont Street exit in the city. I got off the freeway, crossed Market Street, waited some more, and took a left on Pine. I went up and down a hill or two to Van Ness.

The job fair web site said that the fair was at the Regency Building (I swear that earlier it said the Hotel Regency, but I can’t be sure), on the corner of Sutter and Van Ness. I found a parking spot two blocks away, after a reasonable number of circles around several blocks. It was about 2 pm when I approached the Regency Building, which existed as promised. I approached the entrance on Van Ness, which was locked. I looked inside the glass doors (one of which bore a notice warning of the perils of trespassing) and saw an empty ballroom. Curious.

I went around to the Sutter side of the building and entered the side door. I found myself in what appeared to be the lobby of an apartment building. An attendant was there, a maintenance or resident-manager-type guy. He greeted me kindly and, after I asked about the non-profit job fair, explained that, yes, people had been coming and asking about it all day, but, no, he had no knowledge of such an event. He opened a wide door to show me that there was nothing in the vast, vacant ballrooms.

I thanked the man for his time and left, perplexed. As I thought about it, it seemed more like a scam. There was no job fair, but no notification of its cancellation on the “ACCESS Networking In The Public Interest” web site and nothing posted at the building. More on the scam page.

On my walk back to the car, I spotted Kyoto Sushi. I hadn’t eaten anything all day (which is, of course, unusual for me), so I decided to make the trip at least somewhat worthwhile. I stopped for sushi. Overall, I’d recommend Kyoto Sushi if you’re in the neighborhood. The price is pretty reasonable for what you get.

Around 3:45, I attempted to drive back home to Berkeley from SF before I had to go to work in Oakland, but I-80 was jammed up basically the entire way. (The sign on the freeway said that the University Avenue off-ramps in Berkeley were closed due to “police action”—having to do with the bank robbery earlier.) At the last minute, I decided to forget about going home and took 580 to Oakland, which was a good idea, since I would not otherwise have made it to work on time.

[I made a special page for my inquiries about ACCESS: Networking In the Public Interest and the non-existent non-profit job fair I attempted to attend on November 21st, 2002. Though I wasn’t seriously victimized, I believe the possibility exists that other people have been and still are.]