life posts

Toby Now

My roommate has been out of town this week for work. It’s been me and the dogs. I got to work from home a couple days so I could feed them. Normally when I work from “home”, I actually work from the library, because my roommate doesn’t like me working from home. The dogs have been mostly good, though as usual they can be a bit demanding for attention.

Bought myself a few things earlier this week. Got my first ever electric razor (Phillips-Norelco PQ208). I’ve only used it once, but it seems like it’s going to speed up my shaving experience and make it more likely for me to do. Also, since I usually let my blades get rather dull before buying new ones, it will be less painful. It’s just a travel one, so it cost around as much as a 5 pack of blades for my former razor, the Mach 3.

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Potential Freelance Group

I am very excited about this.  Last week I asked Nadia, a girl from my Web II class who is good with design, if she would like to form a freelance-like group with me.  She had mentioned earlier in the semester that she didn’t like the idea of going fully freelance, being totally alone.  She liked to have people to critique ideas and collaborate with, as well as to share expertise.  I had thought when she mentioned that to ask her about forming a group, but my shyness and unsurity made me wait.  I finally did it, and she said yes, and was excited about it as well.

We talked a bit (via email) and she wondered who else we could include in this group, so I mentioned Jason, another good designer from our class.  We asked him the next day of class, and he said yes.  He, of course, was also excited by the prospects.  And he has had experience with freelance design.

They are both very good at design, which I am not.  They can do flash and drawings and what not.  I am fairly good working with scripting and data, and have, and have some experience turning designs into HTML/CSS.  So we should complement each other well.  We seem to work together in class well as well, which will hopefully make things work smoothly.

So we’ve been talking a bit via email and class.  We have to figure out things such as what sort of business entity to become, how we will handle money (don’t want any disputes with this), what sort of contract we will use, etc.   We will probably want to become an entity like a partnership, with a separate name from our own, so that we have a brand and people can pay that single entity.  This will also make sense for tax purposes.

Part of the idea of this is to be like freelancing, but with the support and image of the other members of the group, so we don’t want it to start off as something complicated and expensive.  It is also going to be set up as something that can be done on the side of a full time job.  We want it to be easy for people to come and go if need be, and maybe even have only part of the team work on some projects.  Our entity and other choices will have to reflect this.

We’ve discussed where to find clients, and we may start with some free sites, such as for non-profits, to figure out how things will work and get a group portfolio going.  Those shouldn’t be too hard to find.

We will continue talking, get things going, and hopefully it’ll work out.

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Unemployed

This is a little late perhaps, but I am now unemployed. My internship at RPM had been done for school purposes at the end of spring semester, but I had continued on to train the next intern. I of course had quit out at the Lizard around the end of spring as well. I finished at RPM at the end of August there, and have since been without a job.

I haven’t really been looking that hard for a new one. I have little motivation to at the moment, and am working on doing some things around the house and some other personal issues for the moment. I also want to get together a good portfolio before I really start looking.

Ronda Leffel, who is the new director of the eBusiness program I am in at Tri-C, has been and will continue to look for jobs for me. There is the possibility of a job at Sherwin Williams, who is headquartered in Cleveland and recently partnered with the school. The program is touted as having a 100% placement rate for students. Though I do know one who never got placed, I am fairly confident that I’ll get something at some point.

I luckily have a fair amount of savings from my years of working at the Lizard combined with thrifty spending and careful saving. I should be fine for about six months. I’m not sure if I really want to eat all of my savings that isn’t in stocks or cds, but I may risk it. If I get worried about available funds, I’m sure I could quickly find a job at a restaurant again.

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Dwight moved out

After a year and a half of living with me, my roommate Dwight finally moved out. His girlfriend got a “real” job in Texas, so he moved down there with her. His stay here was supposed to be temporary, but he liked the low living expenses so much he decided to stay.

This has been quite a change for me. The change in my cost of living is quite significant: My basic expenses will increase by an estimated 34%, not a small number. This is at a time when I’m about to lose my job. I have money saved, and could easily get a job at a restaurant in no time I’m sure, but it still could be rough, especially on some of my planned extra type expenditures.

Living alone is quite different from living with someone. There was someone there most of the time to do stuff with before, but now I have to put effort into finding someone to do stuff with, especially since I no longer have any real friends (he was the only one that I actually did stuff with excluding family). He had a good collection of movies and frequently rented some, so we often watched them. We also played card and other games. It was nice to have an additional person to help with some stuff: It meant I didn’t have to always be there to look for and deal with everything. It can be very lonely sitting at home alone.

Of course, it can be nice as well. I can have lots of alone time without worrying about someone popping in. Dwight could be quite the talker and sometimes would talk for hours, sometimes about things I wasn’t especially interested in. The dishes were a shared duty and they ended up being quite a mess as well as a lot of work. My house is much cleaner now and I plan to keep it that way.

On the cleaner note, I have moved some of the stuff from my front room into his old bedroom. The front room had been piled with stuff and virtually unusable, but now it is rather clean. It will be an entertainment room (video, board, and card games, chairs to chat, etc). His old room is rather clean still as well, and may become an office. I hope to get rid of a lot of stuff and make the house cleaner still.

We’ll see how this works out.

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My beard and my hair change

I’ve done something I once vowed never to do: I shaved my beard. I had intended to keep my beard uncut for life. This was made all the easier by the fact that it never grew particularly long. I wanted to have the softness of a never cut beard and the low maintenance. My mustache has shown that the sometimes disputed notion about shaving making hair grow faster and thicker is true, at least for me, especially the faster part. I don’t want to need to shave my beard as well all the time.

But all of this has seemed to matter less and less along with so many other things as I age. It’s harder to care. I’ve been told by some, especially my roommate Dwight, that my unkempt appearance might contribute to my loneliness. Though I’ve been more kempt in the past with similar results, I feel the simple but always present change may help to bring about change elsewhere in my life.

I’ve also cut my hair (slightly) for the first time in years. Several years ago I gave myself a mohawk (a faux-hawk really). After that, I’ve let it grow out long. I never was able to have long hair as a child, and I wanted to try it out. I’ve liked it to some extent. I sometimes feel it looks fairly good that way, though other times I feel it looks too unkempt and poofy. It perhaps illustrates visually to some extent my internal state. Without it I am somewhat visually bland.

Of course, it can be a pain as well. It always gets stuck in things, such as my car window upon closing or between my back and my seat back. In the wind it never ceases to get in my eyes. And in spite of the lack of cutting as well as my infrequent combings, it requires more maintenance.

Anyway, I cut a few inches off to make it a little less unkempt looking and less likely to get caught in things. I did the ponytail cut, where I put my hair in a ponytail and then cut the end off. It has created a somewhat inverted curve shape, with the outsides longer than the middle. I’m not sure If I’ll try to straighten this or not: It works well for the ponytail, which is pretty much the only way I wear it.

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Shyness & Love

I’ve found somewhat of a renewed hope in my life, at a time when things were seeming especially dismal. By chance, while looking through books at the library after a class, I found a book that seems to, in its opening, describe my most pressing affliction to a T. The book, titled Shyness & Love, describes a group of males who go through their lives strongly desiring emotional and sexual contact but unable to attain even a small bit of it due to an oppressively powerful shyness. Not only do these males fail to garner the spouse and kids so commonly considered a wonderful part of life, but their lack of social skills affects them negatively in the workplace and in their entire life in general. Happiness seems unattainable to them, and by the time they reach middle age, they’ve lost virtually all hope and have become very pessimistic and angry in general.

This dismal road seems to be the one I walk down at the moment. I don’t like the prospects. This book gives me hope that I might be able to escape. That my most dire problem has both been studied and has possibly a sizable population (the author estimates a little over 1% of Usonians) sharing in it gives me promise and makes me feel so much less alone. I intend to read as much of it as I can in the next few weeks, even as my schoolwork has been taking a large portion of my time.

Unfortunately, descriptors of love shyness on wikipedia suggest that I show many more differences from the affliction than the intro of the book suggested. Unlike the men in the book, I didn’t have abusive parents, though perhaps emotionally distant, and I like Rock and Roll music. In addition, reviews on amazon suggest that the book has its problems, including some lack of credibility and, fairly importantly, a general lack of real, usable solutions. The book is out of print, and the author and others have not seemed to have expanded upon the concept since the book was written in 1987.

None-the-less, I hope the reading will help me understand myself and my problem better, making me better equipped to handle the problem. I feel more confident that useful information and help might be out there somewhere. I will make in effort to use my brain to escape my trouble, to get past the pain and anxiety provided by social situations so that I might enter into the world in which everyone else lives, finally. Happiness may be achievable.

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