Possible new direction

‘I have an idea, forming in my head.’

– Og, Time Bandits (1981)

Time Bandits is one of my all-time favorite movies. Directed by Terry Gilliam, it also stars fellow Pythoners John Cleese and Michael Palin (who also co-wrote the movie). And it’s really the writing that makes this movie, in my opinion. The special effects are great for 1981, and the story is interesting and unique — a true dark comedy — but the writing is spot on:

Wally: Lads! Here’s to stinking rich!
All: Yeah!
Fidgit: And to Kevin.
All: Yeah, Kevin!
Og: Stinking Kevin.

In the midst of my job hunting, I’ve started to shift gears a little. My beautiful wife already runs a website selling ‘alternative’ clothing (think urban hippie). A friend of mine supplies the clothes and accessories, and it’s really her website, where she can refer her store customers and potential wholesale customers. Our business arrangement is pretty cool for us: she gives us what she wants to have online, and if it sells, we pay her the difference between the wholesale price and the retail price. This last weekend, we went to an indoor/outdoor flea market in Tacoma (about twenty minutes from our house). It got me thinking: what if we bought more clothes at wholesale prices from my friend, and then sold them at the flea market every weekend? Could we make enough money to survive and make our own business profitable?

Julia loves going to the flea market, and I kind of like the idea of having a booth. The fee is $20 a day for a space (almost nothing), and I think we have enough cash in our business account to get started. I wouldn’t give up looking for a job, but if we can make decent money at the market, maybe that could become my new career. ‘Flea Market Guy’. ‘Marketing Flea Professional’. ‘Retail Flea Sales Consultant’. Hmm, I might have to work on the verbiage for my resume…

What do you think? Has anyone tried selling at the flea market/swap meet? Any tips for newbies?

Hide and Seek

Quick run-down of the rules of hide and seek:

  1. A ’seeker’ is chosen through an agreed-upon method (e.g., ‘not it!’)
  2. The seeker goes to a designated spot, hides his or her eyes, and counts to some number. This must be a set number for an adult seeker, but can be totally random for a small child. No peeking is allowed from the seeker during the count!
  3. The ‘hiders’ hide during the counting process, picking places the seeker is not likely to find them.
  4. Finishing the count, the seeker tries to find the hiders.

There’s some other stuff about a ‘home base’, where a hider can make it back to without getting caught and not be ‘it’ for the next round, and probably hiding strategies for moving between places to avoid capture, but that’s all pretty advanced. Our version played here is much more focused on the hiding and finding process.

And peeking. Lots of peeking.

We played hide and seek as a family last night before the kids went to bed. ‘Not it’ wasn’t a well-understood choosing strategy, so Julia and I took turns picking who would be the seeker. Panda’s favorite hiding strategy was to pick a place, hide there, and then start announcing where she was, alternatively laughing and giving clues. Having no pride whatsoever, I hid in IB’s crib once, and I blatantly cheated by peeking at where Julia was hiding, which she found so funny she almost fell down laughing. It was a new low for me, but hey, I’m a cheater. It’s the truth about me.

My Dad called last week. He and my Mom are concerned about us, and he offered to help with our finances if we need it. I was floored. He and my Mom are enjoying their well-earned retirement, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that he would be willing to help us at this point in our lives. I immediately swallowed my pride, and told him we would all be on the next flight with our stuff to move into their condo. He laughed (I think), and told me that it was financial help he had in mind, and something else about no way in Hell we were coming to live with them (my cell phone cut out during the last part, so I can’t quote directly).

  1. My parents don’t read my blog that I know of, so I’m going to copy and paste this next part into an email to them. Here’s our current status:
  2. I’m still sober. Although some parts of my life seem like they’ve been kicked in the head, my sobriety has not been one of them.
  3. I’m receiving unemployment while I actively look for a job. Leads have picked up in the last two weeks or so, but I haven’t found a position that matches my skills yet.
  4. We’re OK financially. We have some money in the bank — combined with unemployment payments and careful budgeting, we’ll be solvent for the next five or six months or so. Mom, I know I’ve joked about it, but this does not involve selling any of my organs on the black market.
  5. I’ve gone back to school at the University of Phoenix. I’m currently at 97.5% for my first class.
  6. Julia and I are making a go of our clothing business, and plan to attend our first flea market in two weeks.

Thanks, Dad, for your incredible offer to help us. I know it’s directly contrary to your philosophy of people standing on their own two feet. In fact, that’s how you raised me, to stand on my own feet and take responsiblity for myself and my family financially. We’re holding out for now, and I’m determined to restore my income, either by finding a job or through our business.

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Recalibration

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Color of Money. Say what you will about Tom Cruise (who I thought was decent in this movie), the film won an Oscar for Paul Newman, who was outstanding as the alcoholic has-been Fast Eddie Felson, who still wants a shot at the big time. This movie was my introduction to the game of 9-Ball, where you’re shooting pool with nine balls, and the object is to sink the nine. The hitch is that the cue ball has to hit the lowest ball on the table first, before striking any other ball.

The movie was also an awesome tutorial on the art of the hustle.

Vincent: Don’t worry. I’m not gonna lose that often.
Eddie: Yes, you will. That’s what I’ll teach you.

I haven’t been posting regularly to my blog. I have to admit, I’ve lost my focus. My beautiful wife has been at a loss, as I’ve sort of lost my me, if that makes any sense. My job was a huge part of my life, but in losing it, I stopped doing the things that are important to me. Things that I care about. Things that made me who I was before I lost my job. It took me a while to realize that. It’s taken me even longer to get back on an even keel. I loved my job, and being an Adobe employee was one of the most excellent experiences of my life.

This is my recalibration post. I’m returning to my blog with renewed gusto because I simply love blogging. It’s one of the most enjoyable things I’ve done over the last year, with or without a job, and it helps define who I am. I’ve also realized that I’m in good company: more and more people are joining the ranks of the unemployed. If I can offer any beacon of light in the grim wasteland of our economy, even if it’s just to say ‘I’m still here,’ then this is it — the summation of my recent job-hunting experiences and mental health exercises as (of course) a Top 10 list.

Vincent: Eddie, what will you do… when I kick your ass?
Eddie: Pick myself up and let you kick me again.

Top 10 ways to look for a job and keep your sanity:

10. Check out Craig’s List for job postings. Seriously. Tons ‘o jobs.

9. Tailor your resume to fit a job posting.

8. Don’t stop doing the things that you enjoy, even if you have to scale back the time or money you have to put into them.

7. Tell absolutely everyone you know that you are looking for a job. Everyone.

6. If a friend needs a place to crash for a month or two, and you have room, take him in. It might be your turn soon enough.

5. Look on the bright side: your plight is probably not as sad as an unemployed clown’s (no offense to any actual unemployed clowns).

4. Think of cashing in your 401K as ‘getting out of the stock market while you still have some money left.’

3. Two words: O BAMA!

2. Play the lottery. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. No, seriously, she does. Even an old pair. Anything.

1. Launch a contest on your blog offering $150 to the person whose job lead lands you a job.

Hey, I like that last one. Hmmmm…..

Eddie: If I don’t whip you now… I’ll whip you next month in Dallas.
Vincent: Houston.
Eddie: Houston, Dallas.
Eddie: If not, a month after that in New Orleans.
Vincent: What makes you so sure?
Eddie: Hey, I’m back.