Friday, February 11, 2011

A Day in the Life of the Unemployed

Wednesday, February 9th. 9AM. Beep! My alarm goes off... I scowl at it - Beep! I force myself out of bed. I'd rather not, but, admittedly, 9AM isn't exactly early - for the unemployed amongst us, staying up till 2:30 appears to be a lot easier than getting up before 9. I prefer it that way anyway.

By 9:45, I've had a quick breakfast and it's on to my leisurely day of unemployment: get on the bike and head up to Northgate to visit Gunnar and check on how the mini is doing in his capable hands. Outside, it's sunny, yet a frigid 41 degrees: deciding on a number of layers to wear is a tricky proposition - I settle for erring on the side of hills I'd eventually have to climb through the U District and Green Lake, which are sure to warm me up more than I ever wanted.

After a brief stop at Trader Joe's (turns out the best thing ever is actually Quinoa), I make it up to Gunnar's by 11. The changes in the mini are pretty incremental, but if you look it over closely, some startling things start to emerge: the body no longer has any rust at all, and all the panels that are on it are now properly (and meticulously) fitted.

My baby is all rust free... Check out the shiny new bumper!

The floor is one of the many panels that, at last check (a month ago), was still just very barely in place - now fits better than the one they had put in at the factory.

The 'boot lid' (or the 'trunk door,' as those of us less British might say) has similarly been replaced, adding a matte black new wrinkle to the fluorescent yellow body style... (Just a few more months... just a couple more months, and the fluorescent yellow is all gone!)

In fact, Gunnar and I spend most of the next 30 minutes discussing such seemingly frivolous things as wheel arches and a stereo system. Well, also the rear subframe, and the doors, which are all getting completely replaced...

By 11:45, I'm already running late again, so back on the bike and over to the freeway to catch the bus heading downtown. Now lamenting not having chosen to take more layers, as standing in the shade in Gunnar's garage was a lot colder than it had been on the way up the hill to get there. Well, at least American buses have heating... (I'm looking at you, Bolivia!) The bike is coming with me too, of course, as Seattle buses all come with bike racks. By 12:45, and after having changed buses downtown, I'm back on Eastside and ready to play the 12:30 game at Microsoft (pickup frisbee!). The next hour and a half is running back and forth in the sun, up and down the field, chasing after a little flying disc - it's great fun!

By 2:15 we wrap up and everyone goes back to whatever it is that they do - I'm pretty sure this game regularly attracts equal numbers current Microsoft employees and Microsoft alumni, in various stages of post-corporate evolution (de-volution?). My next step for the day is actually potentially related to employment, as I have a call with a recruiter scheduled for 2:30. (Having recently put my resume up on, I've been getting a deluge of calls from recruiters - most just fronting for contract positions right back at Microsoft. I'm steadfastly holding out still, but this guy is with a small-ish software company in downtown Seattle, so holds far more appeal. Now to convince him to hire me for a three month contract!) Somewhat inexplicably, the recruiter first tries calling 45 minutes early (I am on the field playing frisbee instead of looking at my phone), but calls again, closer to the appointed time of 2:30, a mere 10 minutes late... We chat for a bit - his company sounds rather enticing (online advertising, in its various forms), and while they're mostly looking for full-time people, they do need contractors on occasion, so he's going to go back and talk to his hiring managers to see if there's a fit.

3 o'clock: that was hard - I just spent 20 minutes trying to work; time to return to aimless unemployment... The Duke - Carolina game is tonight at 6, and we're planning on watching it at Brodie's house here in Redmond - I don't particularly see the point of going back to Seattle just to come back in three hours, so I instead head over to Brodie's nearby Building 50 to take a shower there. (Brodie still has 'My House/Monkey on a String!' in his office - that was the first wakeboarding DVD we all watched upon discovering wakeboarding back 10 year ago!) By about 4, having showered and changed, I've biked the 20 or so minutes to Redmond and head over to the local Post Office. I've got a book to mail for somebody in San Diego for my next errand of the day; you'd better start coming through with some books coming my way soon, Paper Back Swap!

4:30 brings a lunch break at the Redmond Starbucks. I'd been hoping I'd have a little more time here actually, having brought my databases book to read, and having a plethora of things I still need to research online, but instead I've barely got an hour to grab some lunch, catch up on email, and research some more mini fender flares - Gunnar would like for me to actually figure out what I want to do with the car. I'd been aiming to leave by 5:30, instead I finally head out by around 5:45, as it starts getting darker and colder all around. I'm reliving the glory days of some eight years ago, biking along the Sammamish River Trail - the dark doesn't scare me much either: the bike is now equipped with lights. The cold stops being a problem too as I start climbing the hill leading up to Casa de Brodie. Redmond's apparently full of hills... Redmond also claims to be the 'Bicycle Capital of the Pacific Northwest' - maybe they are, maybe they aren't (they're certainly a lot better than nearby Bellevue), but I could use the roads being a little better lit up!

Shortly after 6, I make it up to Brodie's, finding Theo and Tina to have come up as well, and the next 2 and and a half hours go towards watching the Duke-Carolina game. Go to Hell Carolina, Go to Hell! 79-73 final, after Carolina fails to hold on to the large first half lead they had built up! Burn, baby, burn! (I sure hope they still burn benches at the Duke Campus after beating Carolina!). Now, as for getting back to Seattle... bike back down the hill into the center of Redmond (passing by a temperature readout that proclaims 31 degrees!), wait 15 minutes, then catch the 545 back across the bridge to Seattle. By about 10 o'clock I get home for the first time since having left at 9:45 that morning. Five minutes later, having dropped my things off, I run off again, this time to meet Erica at nearby Liberty for some late night sushi and a drink. Actually home a little after midnight...

And so goes a day in the life of today's busily unemployed - 30 minutes worth of potential job research, 13.5 hours of running errands and enjoying the time off. Apparently, I may have to re-appraise my priorities a bit if and when I do actually get a job again! I suppose I'm ready for it... Daily totals: 18.2 miles pedaling; 34.1 miles riding the bus.

And if you've made it all the way here, erstwhile blog reader, I think I'm supposed to now reward you with some pictures of exciting things I've been doing recently and exotic places where said exciting things have been taking place... Unfortunately, I'm afraid exciting and exotic has been hard to come by of late, but here's the finest from the month or so since Utah/San Diego:

Strange Brewfest 2011

Jane, David, Erica, and I went to Port Townsend for the annual Strange Brew Beer Festival at the end of January. A high number of strange brews were on display - 3 different Jalapeno beers and the Beer Bloody Mary, coming out as my personal favorites. The rest of them were strangely smitten by the Peanut Butter Winter Warmer... to each his own, I suppose. More strange from the Festival:

Man on stilts... Costumes were duly encouraged - there was to be a contest Saturday evening

We explored Port Townsend a little... finding such attractions as this old Bell Tower! I really did find it to be a pretty and pleasant coastal town though...

Valentine's Day presented a better than average excuse to go back to Oregon, do more wine tasting in Willamette Valley, and spend a little bit of time in Portland:

The metal umbrella man and I, in front of the Portland courthouse

The post-modern, notably ugly Portland Building, graced by the Goddess Portlandia in the front (really!?)

And finally, back in Seattle, the spoils of war! Spoils of traveling to wine country anyway...

As for the sites and sounds of the good times here in Seattle? Well, every Sunday night, the monks chant at nearby St. Mark's Cathedral. (it's actually just a choir that sings, but 'Monks chant' is more fun to say). I don't have any pictures of the chanting anyway, but I rather liked this shot of the cross:

The monks/choir were really good too!

And on the other end of the serenity scale lies the Seattle Ultimate Carnival - a motley gathering of Seattle's finest, or at least drunken-est, ultimate frisbee players:

Erica, a bit petrified of the multi-colored pants man!

Mark and Justine - making 80's gangsta look good!