Drama Around Oregon

I’m a member of several Meetup groups. These groups have been very helpful in my first few months here in that they’ve greatly facilitated the meeting of new people. I’ve gone on numerous hikes, some dinner outings, several coffee meetups, dancing, photography, book clubs… I’ve met some great people. But there has also been drama.

One group I’m in is based out of the college town 30 minutes south of where I live. It was initially set up as a summer outdoor activity group. Let me bore you with some history.

The group came to be in May. The organizer (whom I’ve never met) scheduled a few meetups to discuss what kinds of things the group ought to be doing. It seems like this founder only paid for a month’s worth of service to the Meetup.com website and then elected not to renew at the end of that month. At the beginning of July, one gentleman in the group, let’s call him Ecurb, was thinking about stepping up (and paying the subscription fee) to become the new organizer, but he decided to sleep on it. By the next morning, another member, Abby, had already paid the fee and become the group’s leader/organizer. Ecurb contacted Abby and let her know that he’d been considering the role and offered his help. Abby made Ecurb a co-organizer.

A couple of activities were planned for July and August, and I joined the group for a hike in September. This hike was only the fourth activity for the group since its reboot. Starting in October, the group got much more active, at least in terms of how often meetups were scheduled. Ecurb was doing most of the scheduling, but Abby had organized a bike ride for Oct. 9. I was attending all the meetups and Ecurb asked if I’d be interested in being a co-organizer too. Sure, I said. Make it happen. Abby didn’t make it to the bike ride she’d scheduled, but did alert us ahead of time.

By the end of October, it had been nearly two months since I’d seen or heard from Abby. I did hear that life had gotten pretty busy for her, and that’s fine. What I did want was a bit of discussion amongst the organizers as to what the group would be doing as we moved forward. Anyway, towards the end of October, Abby did schedule two or three more meetups so we knew she was alive.

*Side note #1*
Following a hike at the end of October, 8 of us went to lunch at a local Mexican restaurant. They were apparently short-handed that day and the service reflected that. I am always very chill when in that kind of situation. First of all, I understand that for the most part, they are doing the best they can. Certainly my getting upset won’t help the situation. Second, if I feel that this is what I can typically expect from the place, I just won’t go there again. I realize not everyone reacts the same way. Ecurb in particular was quite vocal about his displeasure with the service. I was really uncomfortable with how he dealt with the situation. Despite the fact that we’d been going out to eat after every hike for the past two months, I decided that I would not be eating out with Ecurb again.

*Side note #2*
Ecurb is quite a bit more eco/hippy than me. Nothing wrong with that, just different. Whereas I react to the fact that the seasons are changing and the weather is likely to be MUCH more rainy for the next several months by looking to plan indoor activities for the group, Ecurb feels that getting drenched is just part of Oregon living and we should embrace it. He even responds to a discussion about what to do during the winter by scheduling a hike and calling it, “The question asks, ‘What should we do?’. I reply, ‘Enjoy planet Earth'” instead of “McDonald Forest Hike”. Not at all descriptive of the hike itself. But whatever, that’s just Ecurb being Ecurb. Not a huge deal.

*Back to our original story*
So a week ago, I get a message from Meetup that Abby has stepped down as organizer and someone else needs to pay for more subscription time or the group will be closed. (Ecurb did end up paying for more time and thus became the organizer.) I emailed Abby to ask what was up and she replied that she’d received a nasty-ish email from Ecurb chastising her for not living up to his idea of leadership. Her response was along the lines of, “If he wants to be in charge, fine, he can be in charge.” A day later she quit the group entirely. While I think that her rage quitting was an overreaction, I blame Ecurb for stirring up all this mess for no reason and for no gain. There was NOTHING that he or I couldn’t do as co-organizers that he can now do as the primary organizer. He’s emailed me a couple of times since this incident to criticize Abby and to explain some of his thoughts on leadership. But I’ll say it again, we’ve gained not a single thing as a result of stirring up this shiz, and not only have we lost Abby as a member, but one of her friends has departed as well. There may be more to come. Gaahhh! So idiotic to have initiated this drama. Well done, Ecurb.


*Some closing notes*

  • I haven’t really gone into this much detail about how I feel about the situation with Ecurb. You may ask why not. Well, two reasons. One, much like my attitude about poor customer service, I’m not one to inflict my opinions on others as to how I feel about their behavior. People can do whatever they want, and I can react however I want. My reaction is to distance myself from those people. Second, I haven’t seen Ecurb in person since this all ‘sploded.
  • It’s entirely possible that he will be reading this post. I’ve changed the names to protect the innocent and the guilty, but anyone halfway aware of the people involved will recognize the players with no difficulty.
  • I’m at least 50% tempted to drop this group myself. I don’t need the drama. But before I go that far, I’ll try some distance for a while. Who knows, my lack of 100% participation may motivate Ecurb to send me a nasty email complaining about my leadership.

Looking for work, a home, & money

So I’ve been job hunting. I currently have about a dozen applications out for State and local college jobs. The whole experience is highly demoralizing. Everyone keeps telling me that a job will come, and no doubt it will, but this interim time sucks.

I can only stay here at my aunt’s place for a total of three months. That period comes to an end a month from now. I have been looking for a place to live here in Salem. I had hoped to have a job before deciding where to live but I’m running out of time. I have been accepted to move into an apartment just south of downtown Salem. All things considered, I think it will be good. But I need to give the landlord some money soon.

However, money is in short, short supply. I didn’t receive my unemployment check this week. When I called to inquire about it, the woman told me that I hadn’t filled out the claim form correctly and a new one was being sent out. So at this point I’m hoping to get that check only 6 days late. Until I receive it, I have $0. Good times.

Transformers 3, dethroned!

Tonight I saw not only the worst movie I’ve seen this year, but probably the worst movie I’ve ever seen. As part of the 13 Days of Halloween and the Salem Film Festival, I went to go see The Oregonian. I’d love to provide a synopsis, but there really wasn’t a story. Or perhaps it’s up to the viewer to imagine what the story may have been.

I’ve seen some bad movies. Last year alone I saw several movies that were bad in various ways. Biutiful was so, SO depressing. Winter’s Bone was as bleak as they come. Dogtooth was pure, concentrated awful. And this year’s Transformers 3 was crap on a screen.

Think back to Evil Dead. Evil Dead was a pretty bad movie imo, but there were hints of good film making to come; it just felt like a student project (and maybe it was). But it did have a story; a beginning, middle, and end. You got the feeling that Sam Raimi was working out some ideas, but for a horror genre picture, it holds together.

This movie? Imagine Sam Raimi never went to film school and made a movie while high on a combination of acid and psychedelic mushrooms. Imagine further that he was extremely passive-aggressive and secretly wanted his movie to be a big F you! to anybody who unwisely went to see it. This movie is supposed to be a horror (I think), but none of it was coherent or made sense in any way whatsoever. It was just one disjointed scene after another. The only way I can think to explain it all is to imagine that it was like a series of thoughts/images that might go through a person’s mind at the instant of a traumatic death. At no point can I say with any confidence that what we were seeing was a bit of “reality” (the real world in the film that is) or if it was, beginning to end, in someone’s mind, or if it was just all an excuse to try out different camera angles, lighting setups, scene ideas, or makeup techniques on film.

I almost feel bad judging this movie. It is inconceivable that the writer/director intended for anyone to take the movie seriously. There’s no plot, no character development, no story! The movie ends, but I couldn’t tell you what happened or if any of the characters were real or imagined or what.

So, my advice. See this movie if you want the absolute low mark by which to compare every other movie you ever see. After this one, nothing will seem nearly as bad as it might have otherwise.

Salem, day 2

After having been up since just after midnight (and that was following about 2.5 hours of sleep), I finally went to sleep last night around 11:30. I slept until 9:30 this morning and let me tell you, that felt good.

Today I felt a bit better. Part of that was due to all the running around I got myself into. Being busy is a good distraction from feeling sorry for myself.
Places I stopped at today include:

  • DMV
  • Skippers (for lunch)
  • Steam Heat (a coffee shop in Keizer)
  • St. Edward’s Church
  • Way the heck south of town to look for a computer repair shop
  • Fred Meyer’s
  • Fortress Computer Repair (not the place I was originally looking for)
  • Wholesale Sports Outfitters
  • Worksource Oregon
  • Best Buy (terrible customer service)
  • back to St. Edward’s for daily Mass
  • and finally back home

The other reason that I’m feeling better today is that I got my computer set up and connected to the internet. A small measure of comfort and familiarity has been restored.

Salem, day 1

I am now in Salem. This last weekend in Modesto was particularly difficult. I finished clearing out my apartment and loaded as much as possible into a trailer. The rest I threw away. The emptiness of the place was just really stark. I got a special gift from Real B. I wish we’d reconnected as adults under slightly different circumstances. I went to Jeff’s wedding and spent a few moments with some friends that I haven’t been close to in a while. It was lovely to see and talk to them, but it all just reminded me of what I have lost. I know that the coming weeks & months will be filled with new discoveries & new people, but I miss what I do not have.

So now I am in my aunt’s house, surrounded by things that aren’t mine. I went to set up my computer this evening only to discover that it seems to have been damaged during transport. So I do not even have that means by which I can keep connected to things that are familiar. I feel alone and sad and disconnected. I want to be in my own place and to be working again.

Catch up #1

Ok, so what have I been doing?

Well, as promised, I have been laid off. It was harder to contemplate when I first was told of it than when my last day came. Although there were some very sad moments towards the end, particularly on my last day. That last day was scheduled to be Thursday, but I had already decided that Wednesday was going to be the actual day. I took my inspiration from The Office. Michael Scott avoided the awkwardness of the farewell party by not coming in that day. There was a very moving and touching moment with Jim.


It’s been about a month since I stopped posting. It got pretty hard there for a bit. Things are better now. I’m not entirely out of the woods, but some people have really helped me out, and I have a plan.

I’m moving to Oregon by the end of this month. I asked my aunt if I could come live with her in Salem for a couple of months and she very graciously said yes. I’m looking forward to being an Oregonian. Not sure how long it will take for that to truly happen.

Anyway, either the cost of hosting this blog is already covered from when I first signed up, or a little money is taken each month and I didn’t notice it, clearly, the blog is still here and I can post to it. So I guess I will resume. Not sure I’ll continue/get back to a post per day. We’ll see.

Ok, maybe that wasn’t the last post

You can click below to contribute to my “Emergency cost of living fund”.


Final post

This will be my last post here.

Here’s the secret that I’m always afraid someone will find out. I suck at life. I am hopeless when it comes to managing money. I’ve tried to get better, and honestly, maybe I have. But I am staring at the biggest financial crisis of my life right now and I’m just about ready to give up hope. Last month, there was an $800 wage assessment on my paycheck. IRS. I guess I didn’t do my taxes right or something. This month, there was another assessment on my paycheck. $1500. I guess I REALLY didn’t do my taxes right. Or was late. Or forgot to file last year. I don’t know. Maybe all of the above. Anyway, this month’s paycheck doesn’t even cover rent, nevermind utilities, food, car payment, etc.

You see, somehow, I’ve become an avoider. Something unpleasant comes along, and I do my best ostrich imitation. Yeah, maybe it will go away. Thing is, it almost never does. It might fade from sight for awhile, but it always seems to come back, and just when I’m least prepared for it. Yes, yes. I know. I need to be different. Believe me, I’m trying. It’s not something I talk about much because it’s rather embarrassing and humiliating really. I really believed that I was on track to getting all caught up and maybe even getting ahead by the end of this year. Maybe that could still happen if I wasn’t getting laid off. Maybe it can still happen if I find a new job quickly. But will I be able to eat in the mean time? Will I still be able to live here? Will I still have a car?

Yes friends, I suck at life. I’m really ready for things to get easier.

In any case, I won’t be paying to continue hosting this blog, and I really don’t feel up to the whimsy that inspired the blog anyway. Thanks for reading.

Another Monday home

Without the previous intention to do so, I called in to work and stayed home again today. As appealing as that may sound, I rather do not like it. I’d rather be at work. But I’m having a bit of trouble sleeping, perhaps due to anxiety, or maybe running after 9 PM is detrimental. Either way, when I woke up this morning, I was definitely feeling sleep deprived. I am determined to go to work tomorrow.

So instead, I played LOTRO, did laundry, watched tv, walked across the street for some groceries, and had a conversation with my apartment complex’s property manager. I asked about getting the nails of the landing outside my front door hammered down, and I explained my pending employment situation and asked if something could possibly be done to reduce my monthly rent, for example, by signing a new lease. She gave me reason to be hopeful, so I am. Stay tuned.

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