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Monday, May 17, 2010

Census Work Is Still Keeping Me Incredibly Busy

The last week was another busy one as I juggled hours and responsibilities between my regular job and my census job. I have now mostly settled into a pattern of timings that has been mostly constant for the past couple of weeks. It is mostly because the census office has finally stopped moving the shifts around and started sticking with one set of timings that seems to work out for them.

This means that I can train my body to work certain hours and sleep certain other hours instead of confusing it constantly with changing hours. There was a time in my life when I was young and I could sleep whenever I wanted and wake up whenever I wanted without any problems. Nowadays, my body demands that I tell it in advance when I will work and when I will sleep, and stick to those timings. If I don't, I am likely to lie in bed and stare up at the ceiling for a good long time instead of going to sleep! After a couple of nights like that, as you can imagine, most cats would not dream of dragging me anyplace!

The census forms in the past week have not been quite as funny as the forms I saw in the previous week. The same goofiness continues with race as people get confused and put down whatever they feel like. Some examples from this week:
  • Arab-Mongolian
  • Asian
  • Assyrian
  • Latin (not latino or latin-american, just latin)
  • Bulgarian
  • Serbian
  • Asian Russian
  • Filipino-Guatemalan as well as Guamanian
  • Hispanic White
  • Spanic
  • Spanish Hispanic
  • Egyptian Coptic
  • Muslim
A couple of notes also tickled me:

I observed occupant of house engaged in a violent argument with a neighbor (with a hammer). Recommend nobody go back due to dangerous conditions.

It was not clear from the note whether the occupant had the hammer or the neighbor did (or perhaps, both did, or they were fighting over who should have it)!

Occupant very hostile. Told me NOT INTERESTED and slammed door in my face.

Another note read "Occupant deceased in January of this year". The form, under unit status, said: Vacant, Usual Home Elsewhere! I sure hope so!!

I have also found that lots of people refuse to give out their ages or birthdays to the census enumerators. Obviously, having age information is very important for the census because the number of people in various age groups is the biggest determinant of government revenues and expenditures. People in the working age groups pay taxes while retired people draw social security and other entitlement payments.

I have no idea why people would refuse to provide their ages to the government. I would really like to hear some conspiracy theories about how the government will use (or misuse) the age of a person to do something bad to him/her. The worst I have been able to come up with is that secret party-crashing government agents would be able to crash the birthday parties of subversive citizens if that information is known to the government!

Last week, I managed to squeeze in a post in my Microsoft Access Tips & Tricks series with a post on using Microsoft Excel Functions in Access VBA. It has been pretty quiet otherwise. Fortunately, because of the amount of material on my blog right now, my visitor numbers have not been affected much at all by the lack of new posts. I had feared that my visitor numbers would drop to nothing once I took time off from my blogging for a couple of weeks.

Since my last report, there have been visitors from 2 new countries to my blog. They were from Mauritius and Falkland Islands (Malvinas). With the addition of these two flags, my flagcounter widget now has 133 flags on it.

It is time for me to close out this post and get back to real work. There are spreadsheets to work on, presentations to put together, meetings to attend and projects to lead. And that reminds me that I have a bathroom remodeling project that I have to hire someone for. Time to start making some phone calls and getting some estimates . . .

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