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Aug
7

Operation Arduous: Avoiding a cubicle at any cost

Author Dan     Tags ,

I haven’t updated this thing since last year. LAST YEAR. So much has happened since then. Each major life event should merit a post of its own, but my to-do list is long enough to be scary so I’m going to do the flash recap version.

In November 2013, I was involved in attempts to unionize my workplace. Those attempts failed, and I thought little of them until I was walked into an office on May 1, 2014 and fired without cause (May 1 also happens to be an international labor holiday, which I doubt was a coincidence). I had never been written up and had received nothing but positive feedback from customers. So far, unemployment has been . . . interesting. I got a bit of a severance (primarily consisting of my remaining paid time off), which I used to pay my rent ahead several months. Since that’s my biggest expense it has been great to not have to worry about it, but I’m still not entirely sure what I’ll do once I have to start dropping nearly a grand a month just to have a roof over my head. Maybe I’ll get a roommate, or maybe I’ll end up living in my car. Still paying for the car, so that’s another expense. So it goes, I suppose.

Speaking of the car, in June and July I took a 6,000 mile road trip to Ohio and back. It was amazing, and I got to see most of the friends I’ve missed since I moved to the west coast. It was nice to visit, but it really cemented my desire to never live there again. I am not sure if I’ll stay in Portland, but I know I’ll never move back to Columbus. Not to say it isn’t a great place, because it is, but I think there comes a time when you have to move on.

Let’s see… what else? I am dating an incredibly rad girl who’s a marine biologist and a talented artist. I’ll definitely be posting more about her in the future! I opened an Etsy store selling vintage stuffs, have done a few (and hope to do more) IT projects, plan to launch a few gigs soon on Fiverr, want to have some t-shirts for sale by the end of the month, am trying to get some music recorded and for sale, and of course I’m still selling books. (I published The New Jefferson Bible in July 2013, and it had the best month of sales so far during July 2014. That was neat!)

All told I’m working pretty damn hard for someone who’s out of a job, and the goal is to be self-employed for good once the dust settles. I call this Operation Arduous: Avoiding A Cubicle At Any Cost. Cubicles are life-sucking monstrosities, and I am done with them. I am tired of working for feckless middle managers who wouldn’t know integrity if it face-fucked them. Most importantly, I am done working for assholes (at least assholes that aren’t me). The one constant truth in my career has been that no company actually gives a shit about you as an individual. Oh, they’ll give you the standard corporate spiel about how they value work/life balance, are “people-centric”, and offer all sorts of ridiculous amenities (such as an in-house masseuse), but they will toss you out the same as the garbage the second it suits their bottom line or if you threaten the status quo in any way. At-will employment is a joke. An employer shouldn’t be allowed to get rid of you just because they don’t like you, and especially if they don’t like you because you tried to start a union and spoke out against their attempts to cut corners around the law.

So yeah, can you tell that I’m a bit burned out on working for other people? I’m sure it’s clear as I’ve made no effort to hide it. The short term goal of Operation Arduous is to avoid a cubicle for at least one year: May 1, 2014 to May 1, 2015. I’m about four months in, so 33% to my short term goal so far. The long term goal is to never again sit under the droning whine of a fluorescent lights, surrounded by carpeted walls, wondering if your unqualified manager is going to be in a bitchy mood again and find a way to take it out on you. Want to help out? Buy a book or some vintage swag for your domicile! Or you can donate some bitcoin (address: 1CDMbPHqhBGqhikuux4DxJFMEaAUs9G17f) if you’re into that kind of thing. I’m also open to suggestions on how to (legally and ethically) make money.

Nov
30

See that image over there? I did something a lot of other people didn’t.

Author Dan     Tags

Winner, winner, chicken dinner. For the benefit of my own ego, I will give myself this virtual pat on the back.

I wrote 59,000 words in the month of November, as part of National Novel Writing Month. That’s around 200 pages, give or take on the font. It’s not that good, but I’ve sure as hell come up with a few ideas for how to make it better, which I’ll be doing soon. I actually need to finish the book. I’m about 95% done. But, for the purposes of NaNoWriMo, anyone that writes 50k+ words is a “winner” so goooo me. Says nothing about the quality of content, but I think when it’s done (which will likely be in several months… yay editing and re-writes!) it’ll be liked by at least… three people. That’s right, I am making the bold claim that there will be at least three people besides myself who like more than they dislike (which technically counts as “liking” something) the book that I just finished writing. Once I’m done editing and rewriting parts of it, that is. I hope that you all hold my feet to the fire on this one. Don’t let me get out of my lofty goal.

All joking aside, it’s been a crazy experience. I swear I’ve only used the thesaurus maybe a dozen times, the dictionary dozens more, and I am going to go donate some money to wikipedia after this post because being able to look up articles on things like the nyc subway was invaluable to adding little references to things that I’ve never even seen. Google street view is awesome, too. Like I mentioned in a post the other day, I feel so lucky to live in this unprecedented age of technology. Every generation likes to feel like they’re special, and we do have many similarities to those who have lived and died before us, but we really do live in a remarkable era, absolutely unparalleled by any other time in all of history.

I think a lot about what caused my dad to do what he did, and I believe a lot of it was a loss of hope. It’s how he and I will always differ, because I (despite all my bitching and criticism) am an optimist. I believe that things will work out. Right now, we’re at this weird point where we’ve had a vast rush of technology, and our sense of ethics, our idea of responsibility, hasn’t caught up. We’ll get there. And if not, the planet will still be here. It will survive.

When I die, I believe that my conscious existence will completely cease. Some will remember me. They too will eventually die. Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to do something worthy of being remembered. Some day, even that will fade into obscurity. Regardless of how long I am remembered, or how quickly forgotten, the atoms that compose my current existence– what I believe is all that I am– will persist for a very long time. I take comfort in that.

I went on a tangent. Something I do. You just have to put up with it. I blame the blog-as-confessional thing I had going in October.

Nov
5

Lightcap

Author Dan     Tags , ,

I wanted to give a brief update, since most of my writing over the past several days has been dedicated to NaNoWriMo. I’m over 13k words into my novel, which I’ve tentatively titled Lightcap.

If you’re interested in checking it out, I’ve posted a synopsis and several excerpts, which you can read by clicking on this link. Keep an eye out for more news. I hope to have a finished product by the end of the year, or by early 2013 at the latest!

Oct
31

This is both the end and the beginning

Author Dan     Tags , ,

For the month of October, I wanted to kickstart my creative side by writing a post every day. I’ll be very honest, I didn’t think I would finish. I’ve struggled with follow through for my entire life. It’s not that I don’t have a passion for creating– in fact, it’s probably the one single thing that has brought me the greatest amount of joy– but rather that I tend to be easily bored and am prone to distraction.

As I get older, I find that I have more of a desire to DO something… Something worthwhile, something lasting. Maybe this is just simply an acknowledgement of my eventual demise, a desire to make an impact before I fade away into the obscurity of history, whatever you want to call it. Labels aside, I’ve taken a little bit of time each day to write something, and now I’ll be branching out to other projects. Starting tomorrow, I’ll be working on my first book, as part of NaNoWriMo. I’ve been playing guitar more, reading more, listening to podcasts. Basically trying to stimulate my mind, maybe rousing some long-dormant neurons and spurring them to activity. read more

Oct
30

I am now officially a daywalker!

Author Dan     Tags , ,

Science is not just a candle in the dark, it is the spotlight that can shine light upon the darkest corners of the human mind.

Today was my first 8am day. I had a great morning. Still woke up too damn early, but I figure it will take awhile to get acclimated to waking up later. I spent some time hanging out with the dog, then walked down to the transit center and rode the light rail in to work. Standing room only made it difficult to stand there and read, but I was able to make it through a few pages of Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark

Given the difficulty of holding a Kindle on a packed MAX, I decided that podcasts and audio books would be a good supplement to reading materials. So now, I am subscribed to the following podcasts: The Atheist Experience, The Non-Prophets, Godless Bitches, The Geologic Podcast, The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, Common Sense with Dan Carlin, and the Think Atheist podcast. I’ll be looking for some audio books tonight, but I’m open to any recommendations. Same goes for podcasts. read more

Oct
26

My last 4am morning

Author Dan     Tags ,

Friday! Woo! This is a particularly special Friday, for a few reasons. I have Monday off, since it’s my birthday, so a three day weekend is always appreciated. More importantly, I’m moving to an 8am-5pm shift starting next Tuesday, so today is my last day coming in to work at 4am. Happy birthday to me! read more

Jan
13

Is this thing still on?

Author Dan     Tags ,

Testing, testing, 1 2 3. Yep, still here, still being fucking rad. I live in Oregon now, it’s sweet. I get to see a mountain fairly often in the distance, and I haven’t seen one god damn drop of snow– a true miracle for someone used to Ohio winters. I really enjoy it out here, although my employment situation leaves a bit to be desired. In a way, I’m just happy I have a job, since I know there are many folks who’d kill to be in my position. That said, I am the very definition of under-employed, and it simultaneously stresses me out and bores me to tears. I hope all of you are doing well. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I updated this blog. I’ll update more soon, promise.

Feb
7

What it’s like when the world burns

Author Dan     Tags , , ,

I know that some days will be better than others, but I feel really down today. I’m not even entirely sure why– I had a good evening last night with some excellent friends and I’ve been getting enough sleep. For some reason I just feel morose. I’m having a hard time focusing on things, and I am more easily irritable than usual. I think it may have something to do with Katy’s birthday being this Friday, at least in part. Everything just feels so void without her. read more

Jan
27

What happened to Katy

Author Dan     Tags , , ,

I apologize for not posting this sooner, there has been a lot going on in my life and to be honest my head still hasn’t stopped spinning. To say that my world has been hectic as of late would probably be the understatement of the century.

For anyone who doesn’t know (and I apologize for this being how you find out, but I’ve tried reaching out to as many people as I can think of to let them know), Katy passed away on Friday, January 14th at around 2:15AM. It was a really shocking and terrible timeline of events, and I’m going to do my best to tell the entire story as best I can. I really miss her, and I’m hoping that by putting my thoughts down it may help in the process of healing and provide me some sense of closure. read more

Jan
4

Life, and other bored games

So far 2011 has been a heckuva year. I’m really sorry if my tweets and facebook status updates have been somber and melancholic as of late, things have not been ideal in my personal life. Katy has been dealing with some undefined illness (if you follow me on twitter or are friends with me on facebook, I’ll spare you the rehash– needless to say it’s been troubling, frustrating, and unresolved), our 2 month old puppy got sick, and I have been struggling with trying to get registered for classes. At this point, it looks like I’m going to have to make some student loan payments due to the ineptitude of ITT (their inability to successfully mail a transcript) and the  laziness of Franklin (their seeming lack of desire to register a new student). Money is always troublesome. There is never enough of it when you need some, and when you have a surplus it always seems to disappear. read more

NaNoWriMo 2014

Books to Read

Prose City Books, micropublisher in Portland, OR

About Dan

Thirty-something writer, geek, musician and photographer based in Portland, OR.

Current projects: Working on recording an audiobook version of my debut novel The Lightcap. I'm also writing a zombie novel that I hope to have available by the end of 2014.

Status of Works in Progress

Gnashers: The Dead Arise

79000 / 100000 words. 79% done.

Paradeix: The Last Pope

10000 / 9000 words. 111% done.

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