I lost money, but I’m okay with that.

I spent last night playing poker. I did not do well, financially, but the big blind was fifty cents so I didn’t lose a whole lot. I actually had myself ahead for about an hour in the middle there but then started really getting dumb with the mistakes and tanked quickly afterward.

I will never play “for real” in a casino where the money is considerably harder but I have spent more for an evening’s entertainment so I feel more or less alright about it.

I did feel rather awkward at times as I’m very new to the game and made some clear “newbie” mistakes. It didn’t help that said mistakes then played on my usual insecurities making me feel even more awkward leading to me making even more mistakes. I’ve really got to watch that spiral.

And I think my tactic of telling stories as a method of introducing myself to a new social circle actually worked against me for once. I suspect I was starting to annoy some of the other players.

Anyhoo… onward and outward, I guess.

The job continues to be great and I continue to feel incredibly grateful for it, every day. Even moreso on the weekends as I now have them off (except when extra work is necessary) and can co-ordinate with others for social activities.

Not that I’m actually doing that yet, but the potential is there. So far I’m just going along with other people’s plans, but at least I can *do* that now.

In other facets of the same situation, I’m now struggling with a decision that was so much easier a month ago. I have been pursuing the opportunity to go back to school this fall. Everyone I know has been very positive and encouraging about it, expressing how happy they are that I’m taking positive steps. That has been good.

But now I have a relatively good job. Not a *lot* of money, but at least something I can live on, doing work I enjoy for a company I honestly believe in. In order to continue my school pursuits I would have to quit that job, and chances are I would be looking to work somewhere else once my education was done. At least given the education I’m aiming at now.

So… do I ditch the hand I have now for a potentially great hand, or do I stick with the good and comfortable hand I’ve been dealt? There’s no guarantee the new hand would work for me, there never is, but rationally it makes a certain amount of sense.

On the gripping hand I could explore other educational directions, ones that fit better with, and perhaps augment, the job I find myself in right now. An appealing option, but I haven’t even worked in this business for a month yet and it seems foolhardy to adjust my life / career directions based on a few short weeks’ worth of experience. I haven’t even played directly with the product yet.

Hm, I think I may have just found a direction to move at least in so far as exploring more information. More information is a good thing, more often than not, and will provide me with a more confident decision in (hopefully) the near future.

On the purely frivolous side I’ve bought myself an iPod touch (or an “iPad mini”) and have been loving it. I would have gone for an iPhone instead but I only just started a new 3 year contract and therefore would not have qualified for the slightly less insane price. The Touch is doing a marvelous job so far.

Ching, clunk, stamp, zip, woosh

So… I’m trying to go back to school.

Being “categorically unemployable” has really crushed my spirit, but I need to fight on. About the only thing I can think of to do this with is more education. If the menial jobs won’t hire me for being too educated and the educated jobs won’t hire me for being under educated the only response I can think of is to increase my education.  The opposite just seems too… paradoxical and destructive.

To that end I’ve applied to SAIT for… well, I don’t want to say what I’ve applied for just yet. I was thinking Accounting initially but got lured away by another topic. We’ll see if we can get in. If not, then I’ll try Accounting.

As it turns out Alberta has a new system in place that unites all your educational records under one student ID number, so once I filled out my information online the process to apply to SAIT was practically automatic. Just a few mouse clicks and they already had my college transcripts and my application is almost complete.

Now I just have to prove I can read and write English.

There’s a new Requirement for submission. In addition to having adequate marks in your transcripts you must now also meet the English Proficiency Standard.

What is the English Proficiency Standard, you ask? It’s a standard that proves you have the minimum required ability to read and write English. It’s proven either by having successfully attended an English speaking school for three consecutive years or by writing an English Proficiency test.

Oy.

So I call SAIT up to find out how I can meet this requirement and get my application rolling. The lady on the other end of the phone asks if I’ve graduated high school. I have, I reply, graduated from high school. In Alberta, she asks? No, in Saskatchewan, I say.

Oh, she says, and verbally stumbles about for a few minutes. I interrupt her shuffling by telling her that I did, in fact, attend SAIT a few years ago. She brightens up at this and says Oh then we might have your high school transcripts on file. Some mumbling and shuffling later she comes back with the result that, yes, SAIT does recognize that I completed high school (in 1983, god I’m old) but it doesn’t have my actual marks. As such, they can’t use that for the English Proficiency requirement. I’d have to get them a copy of my official transcripts.

How do I do that, I ask?

Three long, dry minutes of fumbling and muttering follow after which she finally conjures up a phone number for me to call.

No web site? No central database of scholastic records? No single student ID to cover all of Saskatchewan’s great students?

No, just a phone number. And the wrong one, at that. I called it, started in on my spiel, and was quickly interrupted by the lady on the other end who informed me that I totally had the wrong number. After two or three minutes of audible page shuffling she finally found what she believed the correct phone number would be.

I dialed that number and was promptly greeted by a thick east Indian accent. I suppressed the urge to ask if the person had every managed their English Proficiency Standard and instead started asking about getting a transcript of my high school marks sent to SAIT. The fine fellow at the other end informed me that it wasn’t the sort of thing they could do over the phone for me (with, I felt, a tone of someone who feels he’s explaining the obvious to an idiot) and that I would, instead, have to apply in person or via their web site.

Finally, I thought, a helpful web site hosting all the information I could need complete with a nice, simple, everyday form to fill out with my appropriate visa number or paypall address to complete the transaction in a matter of minutes.

Well, no, actually. As it turns out I had to delve through a number of confusing pages (not quite as bad as the Canadian Government web site, but built by similarly minded individuals, I suspect) to finally arrive at one .pdf page to fill out and either mail in (as in with an envelope and stamp, possibly carried by dog team) or fax in.

That’s right, you read it: fax in. That’s their high tech solution. Makes me wonder why I ever left the province.

So I download the form, print it off, fill it out… then I scan it back onto my computer, insert the image into a document, save it as a .pdf file, and then use my e-mail to fax it back to them. Felt like I was using modern machinery to send  a document back in time.

I now wait for the scribe in Saskatchewan to compose my transcript and attach it to a pigeon leg or something.