State of the Spud May 2014: Not Good

As a general rule, I lurk and don’t keep contact with anyone unless it’s absolutely necessary. Part of that’s introversion and social anxiety, part of that’s a voyeuristic desire to see what people are saying when I’m not there, and part of that’s not trusting myself not to say something stupid or say too much when I make comments.

Makes keeping a blog up kind of a conflict of interests, but that’s a question for another day.

What little contact I’ve made has probably seemed especially distant and depressed of late, so I realize I owe people an explanation. Here’s what’s going on in my life right now:

After months of stress and stress and stress, I’ve been informed that I am not welcome to live in my current situation starting next month. I have to move out. I have to move back home.

This is the culmination of many, many months – in fact, basically a whole year – of a chaotic, uncertain life, barely scraping by on goodwill and lucky breaks. Luck and goodwill that has finally run out. Months of stressing over money has exploded into this climactic downer.

So right now, to summarize: I’m broke, being forced to move, soon to be between jobs, and generally feeling like I’ve failed at life.

On the plus side, I’ve gotten my food budget down to $20-$30 a week. I used to be terrible about that, you don’t even know.


19 thoughts on “State of the Spud May 2014: Not Good”

  1. Cheer up! You’ll make it! Just look on the bright side, make clear and practical plans, and push through.

    Hopefully you’ll pull through this test, look back at this time of adversity, and be able to tell yourself that it was worth it; that you came out a better person.

    Also. Holy cow! Good job on cutting down the food budget like that! What’s your secret? I’ve been buying and cooking for myself for last few years, and it’s hard to get it below $30-$50/ week. Sounds like a good financial habit to keep once you do get a job and stuff.

    1. Well, I don’t think I’d be eating this cheap if I had more of a budget the last month or so, and it’s probably not all that healthy, but… I guess the key is that I’m kind of a sandwich connoisseur. When the budget gets tight, I can make cheap bread and cheap cheese slices go pretty far in terms of variety. The rest is boxed mac’n’cheese, soup, and (very sparingly because ugh) ramen. Typical college-student-at-the-end-of-the-month diet, except stretched over several weeks.

      Still, if the lesson I learn from this is “You can survive and stay sane for this cheap, so any fancier than this is an active drain on your budget,” then I think it’s a good lesson learned.

      1. If you feel that your culinary skills are up to it, there’s lots of great websites for cooking on a budget. Many times you can get a good quality meal down to $1-2 a serving which helps a lot when you’re trying to eat on the cheapβ€”I know from long experience.

        Here’s some great tips for making those ramen meals so much better without really raising the price. If you make bacon, save the grease in a container in the fridge and add about a tsp of it to a bowl of hot ramen it really enhances the flavor and makes it a more filling meal. You can also buy a couple of green onions and if you keep the bulbs in a small glass of water they’ll grow new shoots, extending your budget, and chopped green onion can add flavor and texture to lots of dishes especially ramen. You can also throw in a little bit of shredded or chopped leftover meat for some protien or if you don’t have any leftovers, shredding a couple of slices of lunch meat can be another good way to add much needed protein and taste to a bowl of ramen.

        Keep your chin up, and I’m sure you’ll make it through πŸ™‚ We’re all pulling for you.

  2. You may not have succeeded in certain aspects, but NOBODY that makes such an awesome webcomic could possibly claim to have failed in life πŸ™‚

    (might be usefull to google fixed mindset vs growth mindset though)

  3. As far as I remember, H.P. Lovecraft also struggled financially at some point of his life, eating cheapest products. And look at him now – one of the most famous pulp writers of his era. I’m not saying you’re a pulp writer, but I hope you get the message πŸ™‚ Anyway, I’m joining the others in wishing you all the best

    1. Hey man, I’ve never commented on your stuff before, but I’ve watched friendship is dragoons for a pretty long time. I’ve also listened to your podcast and find it hilarious and think you’re a really good DM. Those podcasts helped me survive some incredibly crappy work with my brain intact. But the most amazing thing is that you introduced me to an incredible forum of incredible people right when I needed them most. My life’s been a mess of ups and downs lately’ and the things you’ve given me have been one of the most consistent high points. So if nothing else, you’ve made one person’s life immeasurably better. So thank you for that.

  4. I have been exactly where you are, and I can understand how discouraging it can be to feel like you’re moving backward when you want to move forward. But, this kind of situation is only temporary. There are plenty of paths still open to you in order to move forward and make your financial situation closer to what you’d like it to be. Good luck, and know you’re not alone!

  5. Thanks for taking the time to explain things, and sorry to hear about the situation. Have you ever considered setting up a Patreon page? If you haven’t heard of it it’s a website that lets people set up recurring monthly donations to artists and creators.

    1. I have. Multiple times, in fact. The problem is, as much as I would love guaranteed donations from month to month, I don’t know if the whole thing’s a good fit for me.

      Patreon has the whole Kickstarter feel to it. Creators can set up goals, tiers, rewards, and clear lines of connection between donation and result.

      Me, I’m just kind of a jack-of-all-trades content producer. I’m all over the place. Comics, videos, writing, games, music, and who knows what else in the future. There aren’t really any clear goals, tiers, or rewards I can provide other than “If you donate to me, I will survive long enough to continue making stuff; I’m not even sure what stuff just yet, or if it’ll even be good or popular.”

      That’s just not a good Kickstarter pitch, period. At least with PayPal I can say “Let there be no illusions: This is very clearly a means to put money in my empty pockets. Despite this, please consider helping me out.”

      1. To me, Patreon feels very different from Kickstarter (I’ve never created projects on any of them, but I have backed projects on both). Kickstarter is a one-time deal for a single project, whereas Patreon is very much “please survive to continue making whatever it is you’re making”. I find it weird when Patreon projects offer tangible one-time rewards for a certain level of monthly donations – if the reward is at the $60 level, why should I get it if I give $60 one month and then cancel, but not if I give $20 each month for three months? It’s the same way with Patreon project milestones – why would $500/month allow an artist to buy a new tablet, but not $250/month over two months? It just makes no sense to me.

        Patreon feels the best for me when my money goes towards the artist’s recurring expenses – art supplies, web hosting, and, yes, food and rent. Rewards feel the best when they’re closely connected to each creation – a public thank-you note, access to work-in-progress material, ad-free web sites.

  6. Don’t beat yourself up. We all have to go through these times of ups and downs. Falling down, picking ourselves back up and finding what we really want. We almost always land in a better place after starting over.

    You can do this and it won’t be hell. Besides, you have parents who love you and support you. You are not alone in this, no matter how stubborn you are. (gee, can’t IMAGINE where you got it from, lol )

  7. Stress is never a good thing, I would know. But don’t shut us out okay? Having nobody to lean on just causes even more than really needed. Come home, take a breather, relax a bit. We can go on walks when you get here, if you want to anyway.

    There’s a lot for us to catch up on anyways.

  8. You’re in the Bellevue, Redmond area right? I work in Seattle and my company has some openings. What’s your skill set, maybe there will be a fit there.

    1. Oof. I’ve already made plans to move back down to Portland, Oregon by the end of next week. Where were you three weeks ago? XD

      Unfortunately, that’s part of the problem. I’ve got two and a half years at DigiPen Institute of Technology in the BS in Computer Science and Game Design degree program under my belt. Since dropping out due to stress and rising loan payments, I’ve worked at Safeway for about seven or eight months as a part-time cashier, along with some on-call video game testing (few calls far between, mind). And on the hobby side, I’ve used video editing programs since I was 10, been writing all manner of stories since even longer.

      My skill set boils down to:
      – Video editing (Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects)
      – The fundamentals of C++, not enough to consider myself a programmer
      – Game design (video, board, card, and tabletop) but with only school projects to show for it (though I’m technically credited in the Pony Tales/Living Legends Player’s Handbook as a designer, even though Stairc did most of the work on that one)
      – Editorial and fiction writing (Microsoft Word/LibreOffice)
      – Microsoft Excel
      – Front-end sales and customer service (though as an introvert, I find this kind of work exhausting)
      – Video game testing experience

      Of course, my crippling lack of self-confidence doesn’t help, either.

  9. I’ve been there for the last year and a half. I’m actually technically one step farther, on social assistance (read: Welfare,) at the moment. It’s *hard* finding a job, especially when you’re mid-career like I am, and have this one-year gap in one’s employment history they can’t account for.

    That said, it’s never totally dark. It *always* gets better. I’ve been down this road before a few times, having worked a lot of contract jobs in my career. And what I can say is that you first need to understand that *you’re NOT alone!* Plenty of people are in that boat with you, it just *feels* empty. Look around, make contacts, see if they can help you, or if you can help them.

    Second, network, network, network. You may or may not have heard this before, but if not, I’ll summarize over a year’s worth of job searching and seminar experiences into two sentences. First, over 80% of the work out there is never advertised. Second, it really isn’t what you know, it’s *who* you know, because the more people you can reach out to, the more likely one of them will know of a job they can put in a good word on your behalf for. That’s what will get you a new job, nine times out of ten. Not random job searches or websites, or stuff like that. The guy you know from that job back in the day, who knows you’re looking, and tells his boss that the spot they’re looking to fill would be perfect for you.

    Keep your head up, stay positive, and actively *work* your personal network. Let them know you’re looking for work, and remind them periodically. Put your resume on LinkedIn, if you haven’t already. It’s the job-finding site which is *built* on people-networking, and a lot of people check it out regularly.

    Stay in the zone, and keep the goal in sight. It might take a while, but you’ll get there.

  10. Hey man, no shame in going home. Yeah, society hypes up the whole “independent living” thing, but it really ain’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially in this day and age. From a practical standpoint, it’s actually better to “live-in” until you are capable of supporting yourself. Might take a decade, but you’ll get there. You only fail at life if you give up on living. Everything else is just another random encounter that you either fight or run from. And there’s no shame in either of those options.

  11. Sorry things suck, man. I’ve enjoyed and been entertained by your content since 2006, way back when you wrote the first Interference. One thing I have to say, you’re flippin awesome man.

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