Archive for the ‘Portland’ Category

It happened again. We met at a party. We chatted online via Facebook. I did my due diligence and did a background check. All signs indicated he was single. Again, I should have just asked. I should know better and just ask upfront. But he wanted to hang out, go on a date.

But after all that chatting, texting, and 2 hours into a date, he didn’t mention any of these three useful pronouns:

US, WE or BF.

It’s that simple. Pronouns are easy, and can be helpful. Try these phrases to help drop a hint:

We went grocery shopping the other day.”
“I saw that movie with my boyfriend.”

I’m not slut shaming. I’ve given up being upset about the prevalence of open relationships in the gay community. I think I lean towards monogamy, but I’ve been known to play* with partnered guys. It’s just that partnered guys are not always upfront about their relationship status, to the point of being shady.

It’s just when I don’t know the whole story I get pissed off. I like to have all the cards on the table before proceeding. I think it’s a polite thing to do, to let the other guy know you’re in a relationship. If I don’t know you’re partnered, I assume you’re single and available.

I think it’s some kind of east coast Victorian propriety thing. It was much simpler in Portland. Those boys were very upfront and honest:

“Hi I have a boyfriend wanna fuck?” I am not kidding that’s how it went. It was refreshing, communicative and simple. I knew what was up and could make informed decisions accordingly. And I never got pissed off when they were upfront and honest about their relationship status.

Here in DC there are those ruled by perceptions of propriety, or something. I don’t know what the fuck it is here. I guess they think I won’t find out** or they think they will be perceived as slutty***.

Either way, next time I need to simply ask because I cannot assume they will disclose their relationship status.

*the verb to play – I loathe the term. I think it devalues the act of sex.
**I will find out. I’ve lived here for 15 years and I know everyone. I will find out.
***Do you think you’re the only slutty person in DC?

I’ve set up a GoFundMe account if you’d like to support over 15 years of 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:
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…

Hello again. Been workin’ hard but have adjusted to the new job, just in time for it to end by the close of June. It is a contract position, and while it’s been good revisiting web content management and managing people (I think I’m good at it!) I am told we will likely be done with the web migration by the end of June.

While I have been looking for and applying to jobs this whole time, the push begins again in earnest. Still looking for long-term/permanent public affairs/communications employment, preferably for the government, preferably for a science- natural resources- or ag-based organization. So your help is appreciated dear readers – leads are always received graciously. It has been a rocky and fruitless job situation since September 2012 and I could really use some good news and developments.

Last month I actually had a phone interview for a job I was genetically engineered for: performing public affairs work for a sage grouse conservation program in Oregon. But despite two follow-up emails I have not heard anything back from them. As I recall Portlanders avoid conflict, so bad news is probably not going to be received at all.

We have had some heavy rains in the Mid-Atlantic, and the Potomac has been swollen:flotsam and jetsam
A few weeks ago “ten million ‘real’ Americans” gathered on the National Mall to protest Obama/Benghazi/buttsex or something. I only counted about ten teabagger loons. And for the record I’m tired of hearing these people dictate who “real” Americans are. Teabaggers STFU and go home.
On the Saturday before Memorial Day, we went for a bike ride along the Potomac River. The shad were running, and we observed herons eating them from this platform (which I think is a flow measurement station):
Flow Station
Under a nearby bridge, me and Bubbles contemplated the meaning of ‘BE’ and the flag of the District of Columbia:
DC Flag, and BE
I celebrated Memoral Day by sleeping in, going to the gym, and another bike ride. I took a picture of John S. Logan in Logan Circle. The dude founded Memorial Day:

I’m going to a Nationals baseball game tomorrow. Sadly woofy Bryce Harper is not playing these days, but super-beardy Jayson Werth will be playing.

typical DC streetscape in winterIt happened like clockwork after the daylight savings time change earlier this month. My mood dropped, it was an effort to get motivated, and I noted an increasing reluctance to go out. The temperature changes didn’t help either, but I’m aware of these mood changes this time of year and work to recognize these mood changes. I do things to go against these urges like work out, ride my bike, and make sure I get out to socialize. These things help a lot.

This has always been a challenge for me in DC. I often explain to others that our winters are like the scenes from the Sleepy Hollow animated feature and movie. It’s worth noting I didn’t feel this way this time of year in Portland. I was warned that their winters were miserable in a different way. Granted, I wasn’t working and was able to go out in the day to get some amount of UV through the cloud cover. But Portland was somewhat warmer despite being drippier with all the rain. I think the tipping point for me is the colder temperatures in DC.

The other thing comparing winters between the two cities was that I noticed that not everyone in Portland did proactive things to combat the winter blahs. Not everyone in DC does either, but considering the reputation of the winters in the Pacific Northwest, you would think more people would do things to actively combat the blahs. Anyway my conclusion from all of this is that DC doesn’t have the reputation for having horrid winter blahs, but should. It is just as bad here as in the Pacific Northwest, but not as rainy. Just cold and dark.

looking?The other way DC is much like Sleepy Hollow is that we have a lot of headless torsos running around. I mean like people not showing their faces on mobile apps like Scruff. We have far more headless horsemen in DC than in Portland. I attribute this to some sort of cultural thing having to do with remnants of Puritanism or Southern propriety. And despite being recently hailed by the New York Times as one of the gayest places in America, there are still a lot of closet cases – or maybe people who think being seen on an app is indicative of their whorishness. This wasn’t the case in Portland, where people didn’t give a shit and showed their faces.

I think there were just as many open relationships in Portland as there are in DC. But again they were simply honest about their open status in Portland, which was very refreshing. In DC relationship statuses in online profiles are often left blank, where I simply assume they are in a relationship, open, and they think they are being sneaky about it. I much prefer to be fully disclosed on someone’s relationship status, then we can both go from there with all cards on the table. I don’t care if you’re an online whore or in an open relationship, I just want to be informed that you have a boyfriend. It helps interactions go much smoother. And believe me gurl, if you think I won’t find out you have a boyfriend at home, think again. My agents are everywhere.

Good news: while things are still rolling for a permanent job, I secured a short-term contracting gig that could possibly turn into a very lucrative long-term gig. It’s helping to write a proposal to assist as a contractor with the agency I formerly worked for. It’s the next best thing to actually getting right back with my former workplace. So right now it’s just helping to write a proposal as a “subject matter expert.” It’s nice to be recognized for my expertise after a year and a month of esteem-crushing joblessness. The irony is that they found me and actively recruited me without me having contacted them at all. This is after applying to 100+ jobs and networking my ass off for a year. I can’t complain, I guess this is how things work out. Now to turn on my UV lamp and get my happy self to work on Monday.

Weather was crazy here today, making the truck loading a wet business. Seems like some sort of tropical storm remnant that knocked out the power for a few hours today. But the truck is ready:
Oh what a bad machine.
All the nasty blobs on the radar are right along my route. Fortunately it’s kind of a warm rain, and I don’t see any icy conditions on the way over the mountains:
Sept. 29, 2013 weather
That’s about all I got to say. It’s gonna be a long drive. A couple days in Wisconsin with the family if we get there in good time. To keep you busy, here’s woofy Ben Cohen dancing. He’s a little stiff in the waist but can jump and I’m sure he can lift:

Considering the volume of Nike-related SPAM I clean up in the comments section every day, you would think they could have hired me. I have been managing their frikkin’ content for years now.

Moving truck is secured, although I may get another honkin’ 16′ truck, which I learned I don’t need. I had plenty of space on the last trip. This time I opted for a 12′ truck which would be much easier to manage when I get to DC (and driving across country). I emphasized that with the fleet manager on the phone, but may end up with another huge truck. Maybe I’ll pick up pronghorn antelope roadkill to bring in for all the foodies in DC.

It’s already snowing in the Rockies, and I’m a bit concerned about the drive over the pass in Idaho. On my last trip the weather was nearly perfect, although I was driving a few weeks earlier in September. Birds are migrating though, which should make the drive through the ecologically significant prairie pothole region of South Dakota and southern Minnesota more interesting. I hope I don’t get distracted trying to identify all the swans and geese along the way.

My oldest brother, who lives up the Columbia Gorge outside of Portland, is driving with me as far as Wisconsin to visit family. This should be good if I want to extend driving beyond nightfall. Last time I quit driving at sunset for safety purposes since I was alone and was worried about falling asleep at the wheel. On the down side there may be some sibling bickering along the way.
>; )
I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Voice on NBC, but it was always nice to stop by to ogle Adam Levine for a few minutes. But this season he is fully bearded. I may be watching more often:

Well this quote from a 10 Most Overrated Cities in America article made me feel a little better:

Whether you’re playing semi-pro tag, food-truck hopping, forming (yet another) artsy folk band, or meditating on new ways to recycle, there are all sorts of things to distract you from the fact that there is no meaningful employment. Those of us who live in more fast-paced cities lose a few friends to Portland every month, only to hear them glumly report back that the city is “BYOJ” (Bring Your Own Job).

Considering the shooting incident at Navy Yard this week, I’m sure mom isn’t too happy about the move. Then again, there was that shooting in a nearby Clackamas mall last December in the Portland area. Nowhere is safe from crazy people with guns.

I’ve been thinking back on the things I’ve accomplished in the past year, trying to look on the bright side. Travel and adventure are certainly on top of the list, having visited Hawaii, Los Angeles and Seattle (both twice!) and an attempt at crossing the border to Canada. That was a mess of a trip but certainly memorable. And of course tons of hiking and camping. I’ve certainly covered a lot of the trails around Portland. Here are a few more:

  • Streamlined my job application materials. Duh. Not sure if it’s the best example of an “accomplishment” but my LinkedIn profile is pretty sweet nowadays. Let’s hope it works better in DC. LinkedIn seems to be a new reality in the job hunt. Sometimes I find it convenient, more often I find it to be an annoying professional version of Facebook.
  • Submitted article pitches for Dungeons & Dragons magazines. They didn’t get accepted, but it was something I always wanted to do and will probably try again some time.
  • Made a lot of new friends in Portland. I’m bummed I have to go for this reason, but I’ve got to eat.
  • Conquered a toenail fungus infection. This victory was short-lived when the recent brutal hiking trip killed the formerly fungal toenail. No toenail means no place for fungus to live.
  • Learned precisely how much storage space and what size moving truck I need to put all my stuff. Let’s hope we can find a place to unpack it all and be rid of those boxes for a long time.

Last outdoor hurrah in the Pacific Northwest, a trip to Silver Falls State Park and a nearby Oktoberfest with friends:
Silver Falls State Park
The park had many more waterfalls to view, but my legs were still a mess after my hike earlier in the week. I was fine just seeing the one shown above. It also appears that I can no longer sleep soundly in a tent, despite having recently purchased a deluxe inflatable sleeping pad. I keep waking up all through the night and can’t get back to sleep. I’m chalking it up to being older. I will have to review my approach to the outdoors it seems now that I have upgraded all my gear.

The two-week countdown to leaving Portland begins. I’m filled with many conflicting emotions, regret being the least of them. A friend texted to me, “Look back on all you were able to do in this year and then move forward. It all happens for a reason; it just wasn’t Portland’s time.” That’s a good one to live by and I will try to remember those words. But returning to DC will mean immediately having to start working, with a liveable wage to cover rent. Playtime is over and couchsurfing is no longer an option. Plus I have been craving normalcy for quite some time now and want to get the show back on the road. I’m exploring temp work options remotely already – I will have to land on my feet and start sprinting right away.

I reached out to my former landlord and the unit below the one I used to live in may be available. He liked me and even offered a lower rent because I “take care of the place.” That would be wonderful for many reasons. It’s Metro-accessible, it’s a familiar address, it’s near all the spots I love, and it would be great to not have to run around looking for places to live when I get there. I haven’t gotten a solid confirmation back from him yet but it’s looking positive. I will need a roommate, but that should be easy to do once I get settled.

Oh, and JOB LEADS. Temp, contract, full-time, long-term, whatever. Preferably Metro-accessible. Send ’em to me if you have them. Communications and public affairs stuff and of course blogging and social media. But hell I’ll dust your office if I have to.
>; )

I’m going hiking today through Wednesday to Devil’s Peak Lookout on the Cool Creek Trail in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness Area, Mt Hood National Forest, in the Zigzag Ranger District. It’s somewhere to the right of this photo:

Columbia Gorge seen from Rooster Rock beach

A view of the Columbia Gorge from Rooster Rock beach.

I hope to get some good photos, but it’s expected to be very warm. That’ll prep me for my return to swampy DC.