Losing My Home

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

To be clear, I don’t own my home, I’m renting it – it’s not my house, just my home.  I’ve been here since the first of the year and have enjoyed it.  Since I live alone, it’s more house than I need, but since I have very little furniture the house has a nice zen emptiness to it and provides ample space for doing tai chi and kung fu.  Here’s a pic of my living room.  I don’t entertain much.


Here’s a shot of the back yard.  I love the trees.


My book shelf…


The nicest feature of the place though is that I’m one street over from where my son Daniel lives with his mother.  It’s nice to be able to pop over whenever there is a need.

There is so little work available in my field that I don’t even get replies to the few inquiries I send out these days, and that’s unusual because I have a lot of good experience.  I’ve been out of work since May.  I’m in the training biz, which is sort of a bellwether for the overall jobs outlook.  When companies tighten their belts, training is among the first budget items to go.  If you’re not hiring, you don’t need training.  

2001 to 2003 was the last really bad stretch for my profession.  By 9/11 we were already hurting and it went straight downhill from there.  That was the last time I saw virtually all of the training-related jobs go away.  I take that back, there was a long dry spell in 2006.  It’s happening again, only this time it promises to be much worse.  And it’s not just training…

Jobs lost in 2008: 1.2 million

Payrolls shrink by 240,000 in October, 10th straight month of cuts. Unemployment soars to 6.5%

The government reported more grim news about the economy Friday, saying employers cut 240,000 jobs in October – bringing the year’s total job losses to nearly 1.2 million.

According to the Labor Department’s monthly jobs report, the unemployment rate rose to 6.5% from 6.1% in September and higher than economists’ forecast of 6.3%. It was the highest unemployment rate since March 1994.

“There is so much bad in this report that it is hard to find any silver lining,” said Morgan Keegan analyst Kevin Giddis.

CNN Money

Don’t worry about me – I have a place to go.  I won’t be sleeping under a bridge…at least not right away.  I’m more fortunate than many.  Please keep a good thought for those in desperate straights.  We are our brothers’ keepers…sisters’ too.  In the days ahead, we are going to have ample opportunity to prove our commitment to that principle.  We need to rise to the occasion and take proper care of one another.

I have a plan of sorts.  Since I can’t find work, and since the literary agents won’t answer my emails, I’m going to hunker down and finish writing my book.  I’ve been calling it my memoirs but that sounds a bit presumptuous for a guy who’s had such a knock about life, and who achieved little more than surviving long enough to raise one remarkable human being.  My son Daniel, mijo, is my only significant achievement…but it’s a damned good one, even if I do say so myself.

So I’m just calling it my story.  You may have seen some of the preliminary work on it posted here:

This is my story – I hope that it finds you (My Story – Part I)

Wear Your Love Like Heaven (My Story – Part II)

The Case of Little Dutch Big Dutch (My Story – Part III)

Love and Death in Colombia (My Story – Part IV)

Santa Marta Gold (My Story – Part V)

So things are tough and getting tougher.  Please take good care of each other out there and if you know of any Instructional Design, Photoshop or writing work…I’m available.

Here’s a link to my Obama celebration diary from yesterday if you missed it.  I think the video is one of my better efforts.

The Promised Land

The historic election of Barack Obama heralds a new day in America.  We have a rare opportunity to turn things around.  Let’s hope we do that and do it well…and in the mean time let’s hope it doesn’t get too much worse out there.  Let’s hope we can keep hope alive.



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    • OPOL on November 10, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    and jobs.

    • Alma on November 10, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    So many people don’t have back up.  I look forward to the time when we take care of all people.

    • Edger on November 10, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Went back to college in 2000 for a Network Administration diploma, finished it and went to work on contract to a telecom in 2001, then 9/11 hit, the industry contracted and they dumped all the contractors before they even began layoffs. Started a workflow process automation company, and all potential corporate customers started outsourcing all contract programming overseas, so I went into web development and there are hundreds of thousands of people out there doing the same thing now, so I pick up just a little every now and then while I continue getting older as potential customers continue looking to younger people as employees.

    Now I’m hoping that economic reality will turn things around so much that the economy will actually start valuing people who can be useful instead of speculative gambling. A tide that lifts all boats would be nice. Hopefully before I get too old.

    Ain’t it great? 😉

  1. I was unaware that you were out of work.  I know how awful it feels — been there myself.

    The only thing that’s going to help you and any of us, in any way, is for this economy to pick up, jobs created quickly and here.  Turning our heads to global warming and alternative energies would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.  I think Obama understands that, too.

    Glad you have alternative plans, OPOL — if for some reason . . . . !

  2. to make the writer write.  Nobody understands why that’s so.

    So while you’re searching for more work, put the pedal to the metal on the book.  If what we’ve seen so far are examples, it’s going to be great.  I’m looking forward to writing a blurb for your dust jacket.  

  3. Shit I am sorry. I have been there baby, in the 90’s, over educated with an MA nobody cared about and unable to find much beyond contract jobs and then some really shit jobs that I actually altered my resume ( so yes I lied ) to get to pay the rent. It was the lowest point in my life. I was embarrassed so I cut myself off from a lot of friends.

    I had enough and went back to nursing school in 1994 because I was 29 and getting scared. Truthfully when first went in my big fear was well what if I fucking hate it? Then what? Took me till I was 40 to pay the loans off and it would have taken much longer but the Canadian dollar was low against the American one so I was able to make extra payments.

    Anything practical we/I can do to help?

    Of course I would buy your book if it was published today…but besides that….

    You’re a creative genius so something will break for you but really if there is a way to help a brother out do tell…

  4. For all of us, like it or not.

    Good luck my brother. I wish I could do something to help but I am struggling too. All I can offer is prayers, and to tell you to hold on, which I know in your case is superfluous advice!

    We WILL come through this hurricane of change that is sweeping the world….not as the same people who entered it…but we will come through it. And hopefully come through it as better people, changed for the better. But it ain’t going to be easy.


    To ALL of us

  5. I know the feeling. We’re barely keeping our heads above water  right now on one income as it is. I’ve been out of work since August 2006.

  6. …to weather these difficult times.  When I was homeless during the 1980s due both to illness and my ego (I was unwilling –and unable– to flip burgers at Macdon’s in my 50s with 45 graduate units from UCB), I joined the Nuremberg Actions Peace Camp at The Concord Naval Weapons Station in California.  We were protesting U.S. militarism, particularly the military aggressions in Latin America.  

    This was a whole lot better than sleeping in the streets or under freeway overpasses in inner cities.  In fact it was uplifting, fun and provided the chance to meet many interesting people.  I bought a camper with a floor to ceiling window in the back.  What a view!  

    But it was also a magnet for red-necked-ringers who would toss bricks through the window from time to time until I installed  bullet proof plastic, and continued to enjoy the view. I lived there for 4 years.

    So, I know that if I become homeless again, I will look for a similar encampment.  It wasn’t just a “Hooverville” tent city like the ones in the thirties because its purpose was so connected with the military-industrial-congressional-main stream media, Corporatocratic Government complex.  

    So I suggest that anyone facing homelessness or lack of resources should look for or form such communities.

    But, Opol, more specifically to you.  Your art, writing creativity is great.  Hopefully, Obama will set up an arts project like FDR did under WPA, and you’ll be paid to write your book.  That would be a great value for all.

  7. Again, about submitting to publishers: it occurred to me after I posted the comment in the Orange thread, that I didn’t mention exclusivity.

    When I was in publishing, most editors wanted to consider submissions on an exclusive basis.  (One reason for having a good agent is that they can run auctions: but first-time book writers rarely get that, anyway.)  

    Because of the exclusivity thing, and the time it can take an editor to consider a submission, it’s probably a good idea to start submitting now, while you’re writing.

    Just my 2 cents.

  8. that I think should be a priority for the Dem President and Congress is to provide aid to state and local governments as part of the next stimulus package. This is something that might not be on many people’s radar right now – but it’s extremely important!!!

    The safety net for most people in this country is provided by state and local governments. And it will crumble in the next year without federal help. There are already WAY too many people falling through the cracks. I fear that with the rise in unemployment, that will only get worse.

    Of course, after that, a green jobs program should make a difference in the long term. But we’re going to need a strong safety net in the meantime.  

  9. me to give you career advise lol. Isn’t that a lead in which indicates busybody meddling coming up! Long ago when I first started reading your diaries I was drawn to them by your amazing graphics. While your message and content were like a glass of water for a thirsty liberal your graphics blew me away.

    I was in another life  a trained money making graphic designer so when confronted with your skill and artistry I viewed it from a mind devoid of political content and was humbled by your work in this line. Could you not make a living using this creative aspect of your life?

    As the corporate structure crumbles as far as jobs are concerned we have in some perverse sense opportunity. Local and community are key. Perhaps you could put your mighty free lance to work. My husband and I are putting up a web site for our small business if our graphic designer/web guy had half your talent I would be ecstatic. As the I Ching? or some wise Chinese person said Crisis=Opportunity. Your visual talent is awesome perhaps you could put it to work. The good news to this financial mess is community both geographically and electronically is becoming where we all look for work so maybe you could consider this.      


    • US Blues on November 10, 2008 at 10:25 pm

    Very tasteful, artistic and to the point- like your writing. Having read your story (so far) I know that you will move through these times with alacrity and grace. And I’ll dare say I’m happy that you have time to work on your book, because that will be a good read.

    When I read through the comments above I had the thought that these times are giving us a golden opportunity to reconnect to community- both in the flesh and in this cyber-realm. Sounds like you have the support in both realms, yet know that I offer what support I can give as well.

    Peace back!

    • Bikemom on November 10, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    So sorry about your troubles – I hope that we can be of help to you. Do you have your graphics portfolio on a website?  I recall your second anniversary essay contained a lot of your art work.

    I wish you the very best.

    • RUKind on November 10, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    and God always provides. I’ve been dirt poor, homeless (well, actually, living out of a van – surfer thing) and a starving artist.

    I found the “starving” artist part really helped me to focus on exactly what it was that I was trying to convey in my work. It actually turned out to be very beneficial in the longer run. Now I see adversity as another growth opportunity. Somehow we always come though it. And if we stay honest to ourselves and our purpose, we always come out better.

    The birthing process is never easy. You’ll be fine.

    • dkmich on November 11, 2008 at 12:03 am

    that you are having a problem.  I really wish you all the best and one never really knows, you know.  

    • RiaD on November 11, 2008 at 1:00 am

    A couple of ideas… not for careers but more to keep bread on the table.

    Substitute teacher… here, it pays $70+/day; you can sign up at several schools close by & have lots of work….and still have time to write

    karate school for little kids? maybe thru YMCA or something?

    what about being a consultant?

    seems a bunch of ppl make consultant businesses between real gigs… graphic consultant?

    let us know how things go, kay?

    love you OPOL


  10. possibility:   USAJOBS to apply for federal jobs.

    Here’s one to apply for temporary jobs on the President-Elect’s website:   Change.gov:  

    “…This website is designed to provide prospective applicants with information to help them apply for positions in the Obama-Biden Administration. President-Elect Obama will make appointments throughout the federal government. Some positions will require Senate confirmation while others will not. Some appointments will be made during the transition process and others during the early part of the new Administration.

    Applicants for any of these non-career positions – whether in the White House or in any Federal Department, Agency or Commission – should use this website, as applying on-line is the fastest and most accurate way to get your information to us. (If you are interested instead in a career, civil service position with the federal government, you should proceed to the Office of Personnel Management website at http://www.usajobs.gov.) “

    OPOL, I’m sorry to hear about your job situation.  Here in MI it’s an all to frequent happening here.  Most people here either have someone in the family or in their circle of friends whose jobs were or are dependent on the auto companies & we all know how that’s going.

    • Benny on November 11, 2008 at 3:05 am

    it occurred to me that you really should either advertise your writing skills to group blogs that obtain their keep through ad revenues and you get something of payment for your posts on a regular basis, or show your work to Mother Jones.  

    • Edger on November 11, 2008 at 3:12 am


    Basically, RedGage is a content archive where you can upload all of your photos, bookmarked links, blogs, documents, videos etc. and make money from your material. Each time someone clicks on your content, you make money from discreetly placed advertisements.

  11. I hope an agent discovers you soon.  Count me down as another person ready and willing to buy your book.  

    I might have some graphics work for you too.  I’ll send you an email in a few days.  

    • kj on November 11, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    some jazzy thought i could pass your way.  🙂   i been there too, brother, several times, the latest not all that long ago.   i’m in with the camp that says the universe just might be giving you the nudge to pare it all down to pen and paper, or, computer and graphics, as the case may be.  😉

    write, opol, write.

  12. OPOL wants to find a literary agent/publisher for a non-fiction book.  He already has some chapters or sections of it.  He’s tremendously talented; we’ve all marveled at his work.  There are zillions of other writers at dd and GOS, many of whom understand the quality of his work.  So he has a huge pool of admirers/references, and people who would buy his book.

    So I’m wondering how we could facilitate a helpful connection between OPOL and somebody who could directly help him get this work out.  And getting him an advance would be a nice touch as well.

    I ask this, because if I understand what I’m seeing in the world economy, many of us are going to want to make a similar connection for selling our creative work, because I don’t think the traditional ones will be working well as things tighten.  Many of us would benefit greatly if we had an alternate network for finding work, for finding agents/publishers, for getting creative work sold, for distributing written and graphic and design creative work, etc.

    So I’d like to see OPOL make the desired connection through dd or GOS.  And I’d also like to understand the mechanism by which that will be done, so that all of us would know how to do it in the future.

    What do we need to do to make this happen?

  13. Man oh man what a bummer! I was just at my health food store wondering how to make a little cover a lot. Shelves are getting barer, bills mounting, customers poorer, taxes due, and wondering what to do, what to do!

    There’s a scarcity mentality passing around, as the fear about the dropping economy mounts. I found mediabistro to be a good go-to site for writing jobs, etc. I need to supplement my income too, and writers are still needed.

    We need to hang together so we don’t hang separately. My addy is on Orange if you want to drop a line. I may have some thoughts. I’ve been dragging for a few months now, and my usual promotion-oriented self is cowering in the closet hoping to out wait the economic storm. But I may be able to bash that facet of idiocy over the bean and get it to re-integrate.

    Not that it matters to my economic well-being today, but back when hustling the hustings I sold product I helped make to every major department chain in the US and many abroad. But it has been too many down years trying to make a life for me, hubby and the kid in Vermont. The Big Apple is so much more dynamic the energy is easier to ride. But as that energy was also something we didn’t want to raise a kid around, and some of the bad city energies were encircling, we scrammed.

    Who knows. If we network, maybe we can make something of what we have for ourselves working together. I know a cool gallery owner in Burlington, Vermont who does the best shows. She has a small gallery where your photomontages would show beautifully. There are also several small independent presses around.

    I don’t know anything for certain, but there is strength in unity, and your talent should be promoted, OPOL.

    Peace and all my best to you, dear OPOL. Got to go see what I can do at the store. I’ll check in later.

    • ANKOSS on November 11, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Unfortunately, the merciless economics of America don’t support great bloggers like you, OPOL, but you are a rich man in the marketplace of esteem. You have more blogging mojo than just about anyone on DKos or Docudharma. Long may you post and write!

    A good vocational survival strategy for training generalists is to specialize in training for complex software. The user training burden is a major marketing barrier for many big-ticket software packages. Unfortunately, the study burden for retooling your skills in this fashion would conflict with your writing project, but it would give you a stable earning base and remove the economic uncertainty that is bedeviling you.

    Stay centered, and keep blogging. Your voice should not be stilled.

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