Hey there from chaos central. Well it hasn’t been so bad. I’ve been adjusting to the new job and it’s going well. It’s definitely not a suit culture place and my workload is reasonable. In fact I’m only starting to realize how bad the last place was. Sort of like when you were in a bad relationship and you don’t realize how bad it was until you’re out of it.

On Friday I happened to cross paths with a colleague from that job and we chatted a bit. It sounds like for the most part they liked me. But I was pretty miserable and am not sad it’s over.

Other job prospects I was hoping for have not panned out. It’s too bad because I liked both organizations – both having an environmental mission. But after such a long period of job searching and upheaval, I think I’m going to settle for this one, even though it’s not in my field of interest. I’m seeing a lot of value in a sane workplace. It’s telling that this particular organization doesn’t show up on job posting boards – people like working there and they tend to stay there.

I have a new roommate too, and his stuff is just starting to settle in our cramped quarters. Fortunately I don’t have much stuff, and I have given him full reign in terms of design and placement. My post-apocalypse, post-undergrad, vagabond style of decor horrifies most gays. The house will look better soon with his art and stuff in it. The only problem now is where to put my bike where I can grab-n-go with it at will.

It’s that time of year when cold office complaints are trending in your news feeds and on the Facebooks. I’m seeing a lot more responses in line with “it’s all menpigs fault because suits!”

Does anybody really think men want to wear suits? It’s frikkin’ 98 degrees out there with 90% humidity, and I can tell you I REALLY don’t want to wear a goddamn suit in this town in August! Now that I’ve lived in a city with a more relaxed dress code (Portland) I have some insight on the matter. And the fact of the matter is, whether or not you’re in a suit, your productivity is the same.

Suit culture is stupid, but unfortunately prevalent in Washington, DC. I’ve worked in some of the stuffiest (no pun intended) suited workplaces in the city, including one prominent nonprofit that does polling and research named after a very rich family, Homeland Security, and also for an Armed Services contractor. All of whom serve a public that doesn’t give a rat’s ass that you are in a suit. In fact, some of these agencies could really afford to look more approachable to the public, rather than look like “a suit” or one of the Men In Black. But they all wear suits. It’s especially bad around the Pentagon and Crystal City, and of course K Street.

Suit culture is a remnant of old boy bullshit, and/or lawyer culture that has permeated other non-legal workplaces. I don’t like suits, so please don’t tell me I want to wear a suit to make you suffer in the cold. BELIEVE ME, I’d much rather be wearing a string-top bikini and flip-flops or a sarong. My metabolism is over the top from my level of activity, and I can’t cool down.

Men in suits don’t have the option of taking their clothes off if it’s too hot. And in many cases, suited employees don’t have the option of challenging the culture or hierarchy to change suit culture. I don’t want to wear a suit, but sometimes I have to in order to keep my job. You, however, can put more clothes on if you are cold.

I think the core of the issue is gender and dress norms that could really afford to be changed, particularly in Washington, DC. It gets ridiculously hot and humid here and suits are impractical. Plus we all need to look _less_ like business assholes and more like we are serving the public. Polos and kakhis, and then we can turn up the thermostat for the cold ones.

This House Is CleanJust dealt with a SPAM avalanche in the comments section. At one point there were over 80,000, but some new security installs have been made. Let me know if you are having a hard time posting comments.

New temp gig is going well. What a difference in workplaces. The last one was pure stress and a series of crises on a daily basis. This one is starting out good. I biked to work during the swampiest days of the year but it wasn’t so bad.

Former roommate moved out – he was laid off in January and couldn’t get another job in the area and had to move, sadly. Luckily I got a new one rather quickly. Just finished cleaning up the house in preparation of him moving in. This House Is Clean:

Thanks again for the donations in appreciation of jimbo.info content all these years. It will certainly go to a good cause – most likely rent.

In the past two weeks I have had three interviews. One was a phone interview for a major wildlife organization, the other an in-person interview for an outdoor government agency as a contractor. I haven’t heard back from these two, but summer hiring is slow when people are out on vacation. I’m very interested in both and think I did well, so we’ll see.

The third was for a content manager position with a large association where I’ve worked before. It’s work I can do, but not necessarily a step up in my career path. And it’s low-pay and temporary. And my resume is already lousy with temp experience which raises questions in interviews. But it was offered today and I took it. It puts me in a sticky situation should either of the other two jobs pan out. Plus there’s a few other federal jobs where I’ve been referred (a positive step in an otherwise dreary job application process) but those could take a long time to pan out. So in short, I start a job next week, which is a good thing.

Last weekend we went to the Water Lily & Lotus Cultural Festival at the Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens. It’s a neat hidden gem in the city, and if you go at the right time, you’ll see the lilies and lotus in full bloom:
lotus
The aquatic gardens are also my “territory” in the annual winter bird counts in December. It’s actually easier to see birds there in the winter, since there’s no leaves concealing them.
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
The taller, more dramatic lotus plants were almost done with their blossoms, but a few stragglers aimed to please:
Kenilworth Park & Aquatic Gardens
And yesterday on my bike ride I got to see a polo match. There is a polo field just south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall. I had never seen horses on it until yesterday! They say they play every Thursday.
Polo Field
It was a busy week otherwise. Had a phone interview with a major wildlife federation that I’d really like to work for. Another in-person interview next week with an oceans-related organization that also sounds like a good fit. Cross yer fingers!

Thank you so much for the donations so far! I’m flabbergasted. Even the most stingy southern swamp creatures (YOU KNOW WHO) have lent a helping hand and contributed. Here’s our interaction:

Suzanne Sugarbakker: “Those of us who are fortunate enough to be in relationships, should always show kindness and generosity to quirky single peoples who always make us feel blessed. :) Don’t do crack with this money. No, seriously! Eat something.”

Me: “You are always such a ray of joy in my life. And for your bitchy comments, I’m going to burn your money and snort the ashes. Even though I won’t get a buzz from it or any value from the donation, the satisfaction will be intoxicating enough. XXXOOO, KISSES.”

I’ve set up a GoFundMe account if you’d like to support over 15 years of jimbo.info without ads or pop-ups. I could use the support in this time of job instability, and here’s your opportunity to say thanks! There are some job opportunities coming up but the first interview isn’t until the 21st, so August might be tough.

Knowing the week of the Fourth of July would be slow on the job front, I scheduled a trip to Portland to visit the friends I made there, and my brother. I planned it during a hot week, thinking there would be respite in the Pacific Northwest. Not so – they’ve been experiencing record temperatures and drought, and it’s really dry there:
Dry Oregon
Brittle lawns would crunch under your footsteps, and the locals were cranky. It was hot, but at least it wasn’t humid. They could use some rain badly though.

I got to go on a nice hike that ended in a dip in a pond, and it was good to be back hiking on the mountain trails:
Hike
The views were fantastic of course:
Mt. Hood
I left Portland about a year and a half ago, and my mind has been kept busy just getting by in DC. I don’t think I thought back on my time in Oregon – I haven’t had the time to think about it. As the plane landed a lot of feelings flooded in that I had been ignoring. It was a lot like visiting an ex that you liked a lot, but it didn’t work out. That said, my friends there say the job market has been improving. It seems I picked the absolute worst time to pack up and move in 2012.

On the fourth I went to the local beach, and made some furry friends:
Furry Friends
Didn’t do much with fireworks. There was a ban on them as it was so dry.

At the end of my trip I visited my brother, who lives up the Columbia Gorge in a small town. We took a hike in Oneota Gorge, which is more of a stream than a trail. It was good to be in the cool stream that hot week:
Oneota Gorge
It was a great trip, and I’m still keeping my eye on the Pacific Northwest.

What a month! It was a busy Pride weekend earlier this month, and then Friday happened with the Supreme Court ruling. The mood was festive throughout the weekend.

All that said, life is good in our urban bubbles of tolerance, or so it seems. There are still workplaces out there that are hostile to LGBT employees, and you can still get fired directly or indirectly for it. A few more laws and rulings need to happen to fully protect LGBT citizens. It’s been amazing progress so far, but we still have a ways to go.

For example, I had to unfriend a cousin on Facebook. I really try to keep those with opposing viewpoints visible, as I think it helps me understand how they think. For example, I have a former coworker who is a vehement anti-vaxxer. Her posts drive me crazy, but I think it’s important to know what they think, even if the facts show they’re wrong.

But this cousin’s posts were just too much. The final straw was his post likening gays as sex offenders. If he wants to remain ignorant and scared of people who want to be open and happy, I don’t want to see that crap anymore. The lesson is that they’re still out there, and they still think stupid things.

Sooo the job as a contractor for a federal agency didn’t work out. In the end it was a mutual decision. There were weeks I thought I was going to be fired, and there were weeks I wanted to quit. A bad combination of ambiguous tasks and micromanagement was working my every nerve every day. It was telling that I was in a very good mood on my last day. Most people there liked me and were sad to see me go, but understood the reasons very well.

I may have another job lined up, this time more in tune with my environmental background. A potential temp job may also come available, which would help with the bills since I don’t get unemployment compensation. It’s a waiting game at this point, and the past few weeks have been driving me crazy.

So I booked a week’s vacation in Portland to visit the friends I made when I lived there and to visit my brother. I booked the flight during a heat wave here in DC, but it turns out the weather will be very hot when I go there this week. Go figure. Hopefully I will have a job lined up by the time I get back.

If not, July is gonna be tight. I don’t know how I’m going to do it. I was considering something like GoFundMe. I’ve seen more ridiculous requests on Facebook, like funding someone’s trip to Antarctica. Since I’ve never had ads on this blog since its inception, I was thinking about some kind of donation box. Help a guy out who’s been giving you something to read at work for 15 years. What do you think? Tacky and desperate? The latter, I sort of am at this point…

I had a work trip to New Orleans last week, my first for this new job. They kept me busy, and the hotel was good but this traveling thing isn’t as easy as it used to be. I’ve noticed between backpacking and sleeping in tents, and hotel stays, that I just don’t sleep well outside my own bed anymore. I think next time I will look into some sleep aids or something.

I got the weekend free there and for some masochistic reason visited Mémère BrettCajun, who has aged considerably. I couldn’t find the box of Just For Men in her medicine cabinet, as it was either all used up or hidden well. Here I am about to throw up in her presence:
totally grossed out
We visited one of the old cemeteries, where I considered bricking her into one of these handy mausoleums:
Mausoleum
When that didn’t work, I considered the dark arts, but she already had her own ideas and started twirling around like Stevie Nicks as soon as we got to the American Horror Story: Coven house:
thinks she's Stevie Nicks
Then at the Aquarium of the Americas I was going to feed her to the big albino alligator but the reptile didn’t bite (too squishy). And the pretty budgerigars didn’t attack her a la Tippi Hedren:
Budgerigars
And she was tired and cranky the whole time, and always needed a nap, shower and costume change at every turn:
tired ol cow
We tried to perk her up at Cafe du Monde with some chicory brew, but all she did was wharf down 52 beignets in one sitting, which of course made her tired and cranky again.

On a brighter note, long-time blogger Sturtle came out to visit. We had not yet met in person despite knowing each others’ blogs for almost a decade.

It wasn’t too swampy when I got there but got more humid as the week progressed. It got me prepared for the humidity in DC, which appears to be back in force.

With same-sex marriage up for debate in the Supreme Court and Ireland, there’s been a lot of news and Facebook rants about the subject. We hope for the best, and it’s been an amazing change in public attitudes.

And yet there are those gays who vote against, remain silent, or otherwise host anti-gay presidential candidates in their homes. It’s always Schocking how they could support such candidates, or otherwise remain neutral on the issue.

Of course same-sex marriage is about equality, but I’ve always argued that finances and economics are at the core of the issue. The ability to build up (or legally divide) equity, protect your property in the event one spouse dies, and tax benefits for couples is centric to a civil arrangement.

Rich gays have the finances to make legal arrangements in the absence of same-sex marriage laws. They can hire a lawyer to protect their assets, but it still won’t help them with visitation rights in hospitals and other details. But in the end the legal aspects aren’t a big concern for power couples. They’ll just call their lawyer about it.

Gays with low- and middle-incomes don’t have this option, or it would be very expensive for them to get legal support. They’re essentially powerless in the eyes of the state if the relationship goes downhill or one partner dies. That’s why marriage equality is more important for the rest of us.

That’s about all I have to write about lately. Sorry I missed a whole month! I write a lot at work and when I get home my fingers have nothing to contribute to the keyboard. 4 months into the new job and when I get home I’m often drooling and staring at the wall.