Last Tuesday, I worked as a poll-watcher at my local election ward and division. From 6:30am until 8:30pm, I sat in the polling place, supervising the opening and closing of the polls, and all that went on during the voting period. Poll watchers are appointed by specific candidates or parties, and are therefore a check and balance to the elected members of the local election board, who are also present all day. My job was to make sure no one was campaigning too close to the polling place, to make sure no one was voting more than once or after they had moved out of the division, to monitor other similar things, and call into my campaign's headquarters every 2 hours to report the number of total votes cast so far. It was a quiet election day at my division, and I almost wish I was at one of the many, many places in Philadelphia where various wrongdoings took place on Tuesday. Even if I couldn't have stopped anything, it would have been good for me to actually see it firsthand. It was a very rewarding day regardless, and while I know I probably can't be a poll-watcher or election board member in the future, since I'll probably be employed full-time, I wish I could be.
Thursday I took the Course 1 exam from the Society of Actuaries. This is the first of nine exams one takes as an actuary or potential actuary. As opposed to the other eight exams, which are about insurance industry stuff, this one was entirely math. (Calculus and probability, with some DiffEQ and other related things thrown in.) I'm not sure how many have to be passed in order to be employed as an actuary, but it's most likely only one or two. (The others are for career advancement--by the time one has passed all nine, one is making much more money than I ever expect to have in my life.) I'm pretty sure I passed, even though the results don't come back until 2004, so I guess I should go out and try to get employed as an actuary now. If it weren't for the fact that I'm not entirely sure what an actuary does and the fact that I don't know if I'd enjoy it, it's working out perfectly so far.
Thursday night, I began my new part-time job. It's so far only one evening a week, and 4 hours per evening. I am a "second voice". My friend's dad is the dean of students at a small college that teaches, among other things, court reporting. I was hired to be a teacher's assistant in a class where the students simply practice transcribing things using that bizarre keyboard they have. This is a "multi-voice" class, where the instructor, another assistant, and I read a transcript of a deposition or court case that includes at least three people talking. I generally have to read "the witness". We have to read loudly, clearly, and at a particular speed, which we have to keep correcting for. Normal human speech is around 200 words per minute. Try reading something at 160 words per minute sometime. It's hard. And sometimes there are four voices, but only three instructors, so I have to read "the witness" and "the court". "When my hand is up, I'm the court, and when it's not, I'm the witness." It's strange indeed to talk to yourself in front of a class of people.
Friday I was supposed to meet with my two possible future roommates in Mount Airy, but the meeting was cancelled as they both fell ill. If Mount Airy is that sickening of a neighborhood, maybe I shouldn't move there after all...
Friday night, after dinner, I decided it was high time I began the third Harry Potter book. So I did. About four and a half hours later, I finished it. Good book.
Saturday night, I saw this fall's Mask & Wig show at Penn. Very funny, though perhaps I'm biased because one of my best friends directed.
Sunday, went to visit various relatives, and then went to hear a rabbi speak at Penn Hillel about how Conservative Judaism makes laws. Very informative discussion, even if the speaker's prepared remarks seemed a bit disorganized. He knew what he was talking about, he answered questions well, and in the end, I have an even better understanding of the fact that I don't have to defend myself to the Orthodox.
Now, this week, I again have nothing planned. I guess I should go get a job.