25 January - 28 February 2001

Well I am back in Reno; it is not very exciting but it is good to be back. I don't have much to write about when I am living in the good old US of A. Some of you will say that I don't have much to write about when I am out of the US but that is more an issue of writing ability versus subjects.

I got into San Francisco around 7:00 in the morning of January 26th and Shirley, a friend from San Mateo, picked me up and we drove to her cabin on Lake Tahoe. I stayed there for two days, that were just wonderful, and then she drove me into Reno and I stayed in a hotel for a week while I leased an apartment. I bought a futon bed before moving in and I have since added a floor lamp (there are no overhead lights in the living/bed room), desk and desk chair (I worked at my computer on the kitchen counter for a week but it was not very convenient).

I am living in the same apartment complex that I lived in for the year after I came back from Bulgaria and before going to Japan. I looked for a different apartment for three days but this is the best location if I continue to not have a car. I have more bus route near me here than anywhere else that I looked at. The apartment that I now have is in a much better location in the complex and I don't have the noise that my other apartment got. I also don't have the foot traffic past my door or from outside that I had. The administration of the apartments is just as screwed up as it was and the problem of false or real fire alarms continues. You can almost plan on being wakened at lest once a month during the night by a fire alarm. Last week we had 3 with two of them the same night. The first one at night was a real one, two door from me, which consisted of a pot on the stove and the person left. The fire department bashed in the door and then set up fans to clear the smoke; this lasted for about and hour from 11:30. The second one that night at 2:30 in the morning was false, I think, but the alarm rang for 40 minutes before the fire department responded and shut it off.

Went to work on an AccounTemps assignment after being here only a week which was very good but leaves no time to do much else. The first assignment was at the Speakeasy Casino/Ramada Hotel but only lasted a full week plus 34 hours over the next 6 days. I was then off one full day and was reassigned to my current client where I am now. This second assignment is at Gametech, a Bingo gaming device gaming software company, located in South Meadows of Reno. South Meadows was all ranch land to the south and east of downtown when I first moved here in 1992, now it is being built up with warehouses and high tech companies. There is even talk of some of the Silicon Valley companies looking at the area. The negative aspect of the location is that it takes me from 50 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes to get to or from work. I have two choices of buses to catch but sometimes I cannot make the connection for the 50-minute trip; Reno bus system is pretty good but is not designed for timely connections. I have been there now since about the middle of February and it looks like there may be another 2-3 months work. I do what I call "forensic accounting". That is the recreation of accounts receivable as they were, or should have been, before being killed by errors, misapplications and just poor accounting. The challenge is to put the account together as it should have been using a minimum of supporting documents in many cases. There may not be a copy of the customers check or if there is a copy it may not provide detailed information concerning which invoice(s) it is paying. The payment may be for more or less than the invoiced amount with no explanation. Also, worked for about a week on a project to review contract files and develop a huge spreadsheet of information about each customer. The contract files are incomplete at best and Accounts Receivable is billing per verbal instructions from the sales reps in many cases; billing incorrectly also I might add because the reps don't send in contracts or amendments or call to say that a change has been made. It is interesting but when the A/R Supervisor asked me if I was interested in full time work I told her no. It is OK for now but I don't think I would want to be there full time. I don't think I want to work anywhere full time again; when I say full time I mean as a regular employee, I continue to need the full time salary!

I worked in Japan until January 7th and then took my regular vacation time that was due me so that my last day of employment would then be my last day of vacation 21 January. Nova owes me my salary from January 1st to the 21st or three weeks. The usual payday is the 15th of the following month so I would expect them to mail me my check around the 16-20th of February. When I did not receive it I wrote to the San Francisco office and they sent my inquiry to Tokyo. After a month I wrote them again and received another assurance that they had sent my inquiry to Tokyo. In my second request I said that I was sure they were forwarding my inquiries but that I was also convinced that Nova-Japan had no intention of paying me. The company is driven by greed and I am convinced that they will cheat every teacher they can out of wages owed them. They know that the cost of a ticket back to Japan is more than the wages so why would I come back for them. My only satisfaction will be to cost them as much money as possible by spreading the word about what kind of company they are.

It has been a typical Reno winter/spring. You never know which season you are in here in what we call spring. The two largest snowstorms that we have had in town came in April after everything had bloomed and in some cases leafed out. I stood in a driving snowstorm on 11 April waiting for the bus; looked like a snowman by the time it arrived. This last week has been quit nice so maybe we are truly now in spring but you can never tell. I am at least thinking about getting the bike together.

That is it for now from your faithful correspondent in "The Biggest Little Town in the World".