2004 Jul 2 (Fri), 17:09 Levelling
Okay folks, I'm gonna level with you all. This is going to be a painful thing for me to do, but, I am honestly feeling alone right now and could use some help. The communities I've been a part of (Open Source, Free Software, gaming, etc) have really been the only friends I've had for quite some time now, so, even though posting in my journal online is a very public and potentially embarrassing way to do this, it's really the only way I know how to. Anyway... here it goes...

I've been having a hard time for the last 4 years. Many of you know that. Many of you have been having a hard time as well. I have essentially been underemployed and next-to-broke since 2000.

Well, recently two things have happenned that make matters worse for me. First, my brother passed away about a month or so ago. This, in and of itself, didn't really affect me. This particular brother was always the black-sheep of the family, and he had been leading a less than stellar life. He was racist (something which always upset me) and abused substances. He ultimately died of an overdose.

Still, what did affect me was the realization that there but for the grace of God go I (or whatever). He and I shared similar temperment, as do all us Hart men, and he and I undoubtedly shared similar emotional problems. They say that people like my brother self-medicate because of their emotional problems, and, in his case certainly, I see the truth in that. Also, the way in which he died, overdosed and surrounded by "friends" who may or may not have stolen from his dead body and then dumped his carcass in another room to continue their party, really did affect me deeply. It's tragic, and this brother whom I've always had problems with realistically could have been better with just a bit more help (or, perhaps, an awful lot of help). This help would have had to have been self-motivated... No one is going to fix you except for you... but it undoubtedly would have been possible.

The second thing that happenned to me was my wife of ten years left me. Now, the details are long and drawn out, and I really don't want to go into them. But the short and sweet of it was she flew out of town telling me she was coming back and we'd see counselling together, and then after three weeks of absence she sent me a (somewhat cold, I'm sorry, it was, and it hurt) divorce email. Wonderful.

This has honestly affected me greatly. For the last two years she has been distant, but she never really told me what was wrong and I just assumed it was because she was so wrapped up in her studies (she was finishing up a graduate degree at the time). I had always planned on, after she graduated and had more time, focusing on rekindling anything that had been cooling. I had planned vacations and things. But, I never honestly knew how bad it had gotten for her.

Of course, this has other reprecussions (sp?). I don't earn much at my job. Let's be honest, I earn next to nothing. I cannot survive on my own. I had been teaching at the EU, but it's been all-but eviscerated, and my prospects for income are drying up rapidly. I had been counting on her income after graduation for me to figure out what to do... either focus on my business, or otherwise get more gainful employment (either by getting full time at my current job, a raise, or going somewhere else). But now, I am left with next to nothing. I am really hurting, and I don't know how I'm going to survive. I don't make enough to a) pay back my student loans, b) pay back additional debt, c) live in my house, d) move and live in an appartment.

So, I know it's an old excuse, but it is more relavent than ever before for me: My life has gotten too hectic for me to put hardly any effort into my open-source/free-software projects. I'm sorry, Tux4Kids/OSEF/etc is just going to have to wait until I can get through this rough spot (and I sure hope that I do).

If anyone wants to talk to me about any of this, feel free to email me (see my resume for contact information). If you may be interested in hiring me, then I have a new resume here that focuses more on Open-Source/Free-Software stuff.

2004 Jul 13 (Tue), 15:47 Sheer... unadulterated... panic

Okay, I may be panicking a bit now. Whether that panic is warranted, I don't know. I really don't earn enough in my job. The benefits are great, and I like my coworkers and environment, but my pay is pretty bad. Recently, the U of A announced they had something like a 13 billion dollar deficit, so my job is not going to be seeing a raise any time soon, and my teaching work on the weekends (which, I was actually making twice to three times as much as my weekday job from) is all but kaput (entire program is effectively shut down).

I have been struggling for the last few years to help put my wife through school, and support her, with the intent that, after she graduated, she would support me as I try and get more money or better employment. But now that she has divorced me, she has left me with a rather sizable debt in my student loans, debt stemming from the accident we were in four years ago, and no way to really get out from underneath it. This debt is all secured to, so bankruptcy wont help.

So what am I going to do? I earn $1200 per month, and will have $1400 per month in bills starting in August.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think I may have to find other work elsewhere. I hear Linux jobs have picked up in the last few years, and I have been looking. But I'm concerned that my experience paints me as a Jack of all trades instead of someone who is really quite knowledgable.

And then there's the fact that I will feel a tremendous amount of guilt if I leave my current job because they really do need me (and I have always been a very loyal person).

I mean, I really havent had much success since the 90s when I was working at Intel making upwards of $90/hr. Back then, I could devour a whole 8-900 page computer book in a week and absorb enough to teach it to others. At Intel, I taught myself JSP in two weeks and was able to turn around and train my staff. I also developed a P2P distributed computing embedded Linux project from scratch in under 2 months, and then had a team working under me to maintain it. I know the skills are there, I just haven't been able to showcase them in a while.

So what do I do? How am I going to survive? We're selling our home, and I may get $8-10k out of it, which will get me a little bit further, but certainly not keep me alive forever. I'm thinking if I were given a good job offer elsewhere, that money would be ideal to relocate myself.

Anyway, I've not had much success in the last 4 years, and, what with the divorce, my self-confidence is at an all time low. I was never good at selling myself, and I'm sure I'll be a lot worse now. I just wish someone could see that I have potential but have been beaten down and would give me a chance. I know they wouldn't regret it.

2004 Jul 23 (Fri), 20:14 ...Panic...migrating to...Discouragement...

First of all, I do want to thank all those who have lent me support during this difficult time. However, as much as this support helps me, I'm still getting rather discouraged.

Why? Well, we found a buyer for our home. So, I need to actually be, oh, idunno, leaving soon. This is hard enough to do because I love the place so much and it's been my home for 7 years now. I honestly have a lot of really good memories there (of course, I have bad ones as well) and I just don't want to leave it.

I also don't want to leave because it means getting an appartment again. I have always hated appartments. I hated sharing a wall with some insensitive clod (like the sex-fiends next door while I was at Intel, or the crazy opera woman when we lived on the Rez). I hated not having real privacy, or enough room for my stuff. I hated not having a real yard that is my yard.

This is made worse by the fact that I am not earning enough to really survive here in Tucson. Sure, I'll get some money from the equity in the home (splitting that with my ex), but that money will only get me so far.

So I have some rather hiddeous limitations on my potential appartment.
  • Firstly, I have a dog that needs some sort of yard to (I'll not mince words) defecate in. I have a cat as well, so the appartment must allow animals (and, no, I'm not giving my pets up too... I've had to give up so many other things in this divorce including my best-friend, so I shant be giving up my pets).
  • Secondly, I can't afford shit, so my appartment has to be as inexpensive as possible.
  • Thirdly, I need room. I have so much stuff from my 10 year marraige (and 30 year collection of video games) that a normal appartment just wont do.
  • Fourthly, I don't want to be tied down. I am looking for work elsewhere, and, if I get a good job and have to move I don't want some damned year contract with an appartment complex weighing me down.
My helpful realtor found me a place that meets all these needs. It's big, it has a tiny little yard for my dog to crap in, they let me pay month to month, and I can afford it (mostly, still need to earn more money as I can't afford things like gas, food and entertainment).

The problem? This place is something of a dive. It's in a scary area, I'd have scary neighbors (wonderful, I'm sure they'll love my 3000+ collection of rare and current video games), and it has a two foot circular mound of melted flesh in the carpet...

Ohhh... did I not mention the previous tenant had some sort of horrible burn accident there? I didn't? Well... silly, negligent me....

So this rat-trap smells like barbeque, and I know it twasn't the eatin' kind.

Top this all off with the fact that I've been averaging about 5 resumes sent out per day over the last few weeks, and yet not had one freaking callback. Add to this the fact that, now that my wife is gone, I'm lonelier than hell, and you can imagine just how discouraged I am getting.

What the hell is going to happen? If I cannot get a better paying job ASAP, I am really really screwed. Really.

Of course, there's guilt over my looking for a better paying job. My boss loves me, and I know that I'd be sorely missed from my current place of employment. I feel terrible that I've been forced to look, because I am someone who has always been as loyal as possible to those that depend on me (like my employer, and wife... but then again, where did that get me?)

Speaking of wife, I've stayed here in Tucson these last 4 years because of her. Because she was going to school here. Because we had a home together here. Because, when she graduated, she was going to have a better job here (which would allow me to spend more time finding better work myself). This, in an of itself, has screwed me too.

Because I have been anchored to Tucson, a place with a very weak tech economy, I've been forced to take System Administrative-type jobs (since there's been scant few development ones here). This means that, aside from my Open Source work, I've not done any "professional" programming in 4 years now! So, when people see that on my resume, they tend to pass me over.

Well, damnit! I'm a good damned programmer! I'm a good damned system administrator too! I'm good at just about anything related to Linux and Open Source software! If someone would just give me a chance to prove it to them, they would never regret it! But how in the freakin' hell do you convince someone to give you a chance? I mean, I think my resume is pretty impressive. And I am more than willing to pay to relocate myself (the money from my house would make a great relocation nest egg). Why isn't anyone willing to give me a chance? Hell, at least interview me. Let me convince you in person that I have the potential to be one of the best employees you've ever had!

I've just had so many bad things happen in my life this last while that I think I'm karmically (sp?) due for something better.

2004 Jul 26 (Mon), 18:33 Great glavin' in a glass!

Well, sorry folks for me losing it lately. Things have been.... well... sucky to say the least. I guess there's just no good way to end a 10 year marraige without me getting hurt... glavin....

I will be out of town until Aug 5th for my niece's wedding. So, anyone trying to contact me will have to wait until then (this includes any responses to the now 287 resumes I've sent out).

Oh, and thanks to those of you who have sent in words of encouragement about their being other fish in the sea and all... And to those who sent me information on Mail Order Russian Brides. Hehehe, pretty funny. Not sure I can afford 'em tho... I can't even afford a decent appartment right now... though a foxy Russian bride may spruce the place up ;-)

Actually, the Russian bride thing reminded me of the Simpson's episode "Flaming Moe's":
Russian Model: After Chernobyl, my penis, is falling off.
Moe: And penis is Russian for...?