Peace Corps
Thai 27
Bob Blau and family
Kim, Bob, Aaron and Megan
I spent three years in Thailand. I was at Khon Kaen for the first two years and at Yala for the last one.
After Peace Corps, I stopped in Taipei for two months to brush up my Chinese. Then I returned to Yale to finish my MA in East Asian Studies. After that, I went to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois to work on a PhD in Southeast Asian History. It was a fairly popular landing pad for Peace Corps volunteers returning from Southeast Asia. I ran into Bill Muir there. I also met Kim, my wife-to-be, there. Instead of finishing my PhD, I married her and went to work for the US Army. We have two kids now. Megan, 18, is in her senior year of high school (Class of 2007). Aaron, 14, is in his freshman year.

I worked in Civilian Personnel at the Tank-Automotive Command in Warren, Michigan for two years. It was pretty dreadful. In the fall of 1977, I was reassigned to Tooele Army Depot in Utah. Utah was beautiful, but the work was still pretty dreadful. We lived in Salt Lake City for about a year and a half. Then we quit our jobs and moved to Austin, Texas. We arrived in May of 1979.

After about a year of unemployment, I went back to school at the University of Texas to study computer science. One year later, I quit school and took a job as a programmer at what was then called the Texas Department of Water Resources.

I stayed with the state of Texas for 15 years. I left during the heady days of Y2K to take a contracting job. I was frustrated with state government. (This is what it was like ... ) That was the main reason I left, but the money didn't hurt, either.

The contracting job was also located at a state agency, the Department of Human Services. (Which was a bit like ...) Contracting made me nervous, so I left after about another year to work for Dell Computer Corporation. (Which went a little like this ...) I was at Dell for four and a half years before being laid off in October 2002.

After Dell, I was unemployed for three months, worked for the IRS as a tax examiner for three months, was unemployed for three months, ... A pattern seemed to be emerging. Then I landed another contracting gig: same contracting company, same state agency. That lasted 13 months. After a brief interlude substitute teaching at the Texas School for the Blind, I landed a clerical job with the Department of Family & Protective Services. After a year of that, I got moved to their IT department, so I am once again a systems analyst for a Texas agency. And feeling extremely fortunate.

For extra-curricular, I volunteer a couple of hours a week at the Austin Children's Shelter. Been doing that for nine years. I also did a dozen or so years as a mentor for the Austin Independent School District and another dozen or so teaching Sunday school at the Unitarian Universalist Church. (Not doing any of that now, though.) And, of course, I take out my frustrations by writing scurrilous, incendiary tracts.