1 Year Without A Job

A year ago my company, Exuvian, imploded because the CEO, Steve, stopped doing his job, billing the customer and signing our paychecks. Why’d he stop? I have no idea.
After three months of working without pay I decided that there were better options so I considered myself laid off. But the Steve problem didn’t stop there. Because he hadn’t payed payroll taxes since March of 2008 it looked to EDD that I hadn’t been working at all. And when they think you haven’t been working you’re not entitled to unemployment.
At this point the typical Republican says, “Get a job” and that’s what I tried to do. But working on Beoing’s older IT for the previous four years doesn’t look too good on a resume. I tried to reinvent myself as an Android programmer just as the industry standards for Android Programmers shot through the unrealistic roof.
My savings are gone but I have a few things to hope for: I appealed the unemployment with EDD and that looks like it might come though. I reported Steve to the California Labor Board for my back pay and I applied to the electricians union’s apprentice program.
I have my fingers crossed that one or all of these will come though and put be back to where I was when this crap started but one thing this year has taught me is that optimism is just another name for wishful thinking.

10 Years Without God

I attended Clairmont Christian School for grades two through seven, I guess my parents thought that Catholic Mass wasn’t enough. The doctrine at CCS was some form of protestantism I don’t remember which. I do remember some of the wacky lectures we received from guest speakers- “Scientists have found Heaven in the Andromeda Galaxy”, “Man Does Not Live by Bread Alone, here’s what happens if you try”, and the standard “Heavy Metal-Satan’s Music”

Of course there was also an “Idolatry in the Catholic Church” lecture at some point. Meanwhile at Mass they were giving a more subdued counter attack. The Protestants said the Catholics had it wrong and the Catholics said the Protestants had it wrong. I decided that they were both right and I remained an unaffiliated Christian for the next ten years. A believer in the Bible if not the church.

That ended when I heard that some Biblical scholars had developed a new version of the Gospels. It was the King James version but the words attributed to Jesus were colored black if the scholars thought Jesus definitely said, gray if it was something he probably said, pink if it was something he probably didn’t say and red if it was something he definitely didn’t say. My head was spinning for days as the idea that the Bible, even just some part of the Bible, was wrong worked it’s way into my head. Bouncing back and forth from Catholic to protestant I knew that interpretations of the Bible could be wrong but it had never occurred to me that the book itself was flawed. From Christian I shifted uncomfortably to deist.

But I wanted so badly to believe; in an external purpose, in a cosmic justice, in an objective right and wrong, in rules, that the good were rewarded and the bad were punished. Being a Christian was so easy, all I just had to parrot back what I was taught as a child, occasionally reinforcing it with a rationalization.

I stood on this shaky ground until I took Comparative World Religions for an English credit. After I looked at the world’s seven major religions side by side one stood out for it’s simplicity, modesty and relative lack of atrocities, Buddhism.

While I haven’t been a very good Buddhist I have finally found a belief system that isn’t threatened when contemplated. The Four Noble Truths are philosophically sound and unthreatened by scientific understanding or other people’s beliefs.

But most importantly, Buddhism allowed me to be happy.

6 Years Without Cable

Of course I cheat by watching it over at ‘s place. Because for me watching cable isn’t as big a time waster as not watching cable. When I have the set to myself and the DVR is cleared I’ll compulsively surf because I feel that with hundreds of channels that there has to be something worth watching.
Even now I’ll waste ten minutes cycling through the five channels we get on PV (PeasantVision). Fortunately that’s a small enough set. Flipping through all the possibilities on cable, past all the worthless pay-per-view and home-shopping and ESPNs then I have to start all over because it’s been 30 minutes and maybe “Bald Guy Eats Yeti Testicles” is over and something worthwhile has taken it’s place.
Another 30 minutes of flipping: Repeat.

15 Years Without the Marine Corps

-and 19 years since I first went in.
My first unit was 7th Comm Battalion, a garrison unit. Garrison units rarely get deployed as a whole rather they exist to draw detachments from. Since the unit itself serves no purpose there is nothing to do in a garrison unit except busy work.
I don’t know if this is coincidence or what but when I got there about half of the WMs (Women Marines) in 7th Comm were pregnant. That means those kids are as old now as I was then. For their sake I hope they’re not in 7th Comm or anywhere else in the military.

8 Years Without School

I have a BA in Mathematics, Applied Science (Cognitive Science). I graduated with a GPA of 3.46 in my upper division coursework at UCSD and a 3.75 GPA for the lower division classes that I took at Mesa. When I graduated from high school I had barely passed beginning algebra, and after four years in the Marine Corps I’d forgotten all of that. So I spent an extra two years at Mesa working my way up the prerequisite chain towards Calculus.

Six years of education, all of it worthless. Because my degree never did anything to get me a job, but Steve Padilla did. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. And all the time I spent studying was a waste, time I should have spent schmoozing.

My most marketable skills are all self taught. And I suspect that I would of done a lot better as an autodidact with no student loans than I did with a degree and five figures of debt.