Love, life, tech, and scraping by in the Evergreen State

It’s been a few months since I posted here on my portfolio website, but there have been big developments in my life recently, so I thought it was time I wrote here again. Expect to read about some of my personal developments, other professional developments, and a few updates more frustrating and demoralizing, but still.

Unbelievable sunrise photo I took overlooking the Willametter River this spring.

Unbelievable sunrise photo I took overlooking the Willamette River this spring.

First for a piece of really cool news! I was invited to comment on a Huffington Post Live segment on Friday! An academic doctor (read… phd) and author named Emily Nagolski who I heard about on Twitter did an interview to promote her new book, “Come as You Are,” about how science can inform your sex life. A HuffPost producer had tweeted at me, wondering if I had questions, so I sent her three, and she got back to me saying I could ask one of my questions to Dr. Nagolski on their livestream if I wanted. It was a pretty cool experience, if a little bit cringe-inducing at times. The nearly hour-long segment included some pretty in-depth conversation about the mechanics of female sexuality, and for a naive nerdy guy like myself, I could barely contain my giggles at some of the things they talked about. I don’t show up in person until the end of the segment, but still. Check it out! Another blogger and I were in on a Google Hangout in the lead-up to the interview. I asked her about how a straight white male like myself, who wants to actively support feminists, ought to try to help the movement. She gave some really constructive answers, and seemed pleased to hear that I wanted to help.

Second, I’ve been suddenly swept away in a whirlwind romance! I met a beautiful and intelligent fellow Quaker named Marion, and we’ve been dating since February. It’s completely transformed my world. She’s intelligent, loving, supportive, and basically the best. You know that book “The Giver”, where a boy who grew up in a dystopian society suddenly is able to see the world in color? That’s what it’s like. Yesterday, after a Twilight Zone marathon and day-long Memorial Day date with her, we stepped out of my house and the world seemed bright and new and shiny and clean. It was sublime.

Third, more on my professional status. I am still looking for work. Safeway briefly moved me to the bakery, after working in their Starbucks kiosk for about six months, while supplementing my income overnights delivering the Oregonian. The Safeway bakery promotion was supposed to be a full-time gig, which was huge! Safeway Starbucks are bound by policy to only employ people part-time, meaning I could never have afforded their health plan. The brief glimpse of hope I had when I started working full-time in the bakery made me feel comfortable enough to wind down from delivering the Oregonian… but I was honor-bound not to just leave my news delivery job right away. Paper delivery people are supposed to give three weeks notice.

As it turns out, newspaper delivery, even for a great paper like the Oregonian, actually IS like a modern-day sweatshop job. On average, I made about $4-5 an hour and worked ridiculous long hours, nearly killing myself from overwork and fatigue. But if that was what it took to get started in the Pacific Northwest, fine. On the bright side, I did learn a lot about the news industry and about how these print newspapers manage to stay alive in the face of the merciless tech sector, where people  believe that information ought to be universally accessible free of charge, and what’s more, seem content to make deals with our government allowing the NSA access to ALL of it, with no concern for individual privacy. So, I worked 60-65 hours a week for an old-school print newspaper AND in the bakery for three weeks… and that was when my manager at the bakery took me off the schedule without a word of explanation. Once again, I was out to sea, thanks to lovely management! RARGH.

So I applied for a Starbucks job at the airport, and they offered 35 hours at Oregon minimum wage and benefits. Now I’m just desperately awaiting my background check to clear, so I can start making money and buying food with my own money again. In the meantime, let me know if you hear of any OTHER openings.

I’d been extremely excited about an application I’d sent to a Quaker advocacy organization in D.C. I thought the interview went really well. But I guess they decided to pay other people to work for them, and that they didn’t need another advocate for the environment in the Portland area. It really broke my heart, but at this point, FCNL could stomp me in the face with a steel-toed boot and I’d still think they are a better organization than half what I’ve seen in the D.C area. So I guess I’ll just have to deal with the disappointment… again.

The Northwest is so beautiful! I’ve taken some of the most stunning photography since moving here, and I love how accepting and inclusive the culture is here. Not only that, everyone here seems pretty tech-savvy. And that’s definitely cool, I think. I heard someone call us the “Silicon Forest.” That’s awesome. It’s about time that stupid famous Valley in California faces some real competition.

That’s all that I want to share right now! A friend who works for LinkedIn travelled north from the Bay Area to visit Portland yesterday, and that was pretty cool! I may be broke and likely to starve, but I’m happy! And who knows what life has in store for me next. Love and light, my family, mes amis, et tous les autres.

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