blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Things To Remember

  1. Working 11a – 4p means LEARN HOW TO EAT BREAKFAST YOU FREAK.
  2. Never underestimate the power of a sharp razor in a box cutter.
  3. The last box you pick to unpack for the day will always be the one filled with t-shirts. Hundreds of t-shirts. Note: there will be no room for these shirts. Anywhere.
  4. Take your break. Your full break. Sit down. Those 10 minutes off your feet make all the difference at the end of the shift.
Picture of Bill Murray on the field in tears after THE CUBS WIN THE WORLD SERIES!!!!

see, i’ve already waited too long / and all my hope is gone

Being on the job hunt twice (!!) this year created a bit of a crisis of confidence. Layoffs aren’t supposed to be about you.

It’s like a high school breakup, albeit with bigger stakes.

“Is there something I could have done?”
“How can I move on?”

So you crank The Smiths…

…and you try to stay positive…

[via GIPHY]

…and you think about your options.


Look other places?

Flee the country?

Go out on your own?



Bellevue definitely has its pros and cons. We’re downtown, so we’re within walking distance of everything. We pay – dearly – for this convenience. We’ve lived here over a year, and I can count the number of times we’ve left Bellevue for Seattle/Shoreline on one hand. I have no desire or inclination to go anywhere around here. (Okay, hanging out with SJ was a lot of fun. A++ WOULD PAY ALL THE TOLLS TO SEE HER AND HER FAM AGAIN)

Pathetic? Probably.

Do I care? Not really.

With that said, there’s several opportunities for great employment out here, provided you have the connections or the background (or both) to get past the recruiter-bots and automatic screeners. I wish I had more connections out here. It’s not like San Diego, where I had a network started. I’m still trying to thaw from the Freeze up here.

Look other places?

I miss San Diego. I miss the ocean. I feel unmoored, adrift, cold. We’re fortunate in that our leasing company also has several properties in San Diego – which means we could move with two weeks’ notice. Unfortunately, if you’re not in the area, it’s hard to get on a recruiter’s shortlist. I totally get it – everyone wants to move to America’s Finest City – but it makes me regret leaving in the first place.

I hate regretting ANYTHING. Ugh.


Flee the country?

Logistical nightmare. Enticing fantasy.

Moving on.

Go out on your own?


The most intriguing, and terrifying, option of them all.


Since 2007, I’ve done a lot of freelancing – primarily teaching for various colleges and universities, with a healthy dose of course development thrown in to keep things interesting. I work on websites (but, honestly, who doesn’t?). I support my friend in his writing and speaking engagements (with several projects in development), and have a couple of local clients I’m working with for their site redesigns (no links for now; I’ll show them off soon).

Eventually, I want to go full stack and embrace my programming dark side. I started this when I was first laid off; suspended the program when I took the startup job because there weren’t enough hours in the day. The only thing preventing me from starting again is the $$$ involved. This shit isn’t cheap, yo.

Actually, I see two main issues: time and money.

I have time. I’m working three part-time jobs (SIDEBAR: IF THIS IS THE ‘GIG ECONOMY’ LET ME TELL YOU IT’S HIGHLY OVERRATED) which gives me time to build my portfolio and skills.

This will also take money…and not just the money to start a program again (I can’t afford a code school right now; dare to dream). I don’t have a lot of money.

Let me be clear: that’s completely my fault.

I’ve spent too much, built too much debt, dug a hole I’ll be lucky to pull myself from before I shuffle off this mortal coil. That’s on me – my stupidity, my impulsiveness, my (previous) inability to budget, my determination to get a degree that added almost six figures to an already-voluminous mountain of debt. I can’t make others responsible for my stupidity – even though I’ve diligently chipped away at this stone, it never seems to get any smaller.

I’m not asking for pity or absolution – I merely present these facts to provide a bit of transparency. That’s all.

I pay my debts. My parents didn’t raise me to abandon my obligations. It just limits my options. Makes the math a lot harder. Makes me unwilling (or incapable?) of accepting money from others for this dream. I mean, I’ve already fucked up so much this far….

I need to suck it up. Make some calls. Arrange repayment options. Watch my credit rating plummet faster than the last drop on the Tower of Terror. Find a cheaper place to live (which probably means leaving Bellevue, and forgetting my goal of getting back to SD sometime in the next decade). Pick up a different part-time job to replace the one I’ll lose if I move from Bellevue. Go on the Marketplace for insurance and hope they’ll subsidize. Keep deferring my loans. Take as many classes as I can. Build a portfolio. Build a client base.

Build a company.


I guess I have my answer?

blawwgery tales from the retail trenches

Day One


See that box? Pull a piece of clothing from the box. Tap – boop! – tap. Check the price. Make new tags for sale items. Hang the piece you just checked. Face that label! Do it again. Again. Again. Again. Box empty? Here’s another one. Fill the rack. Shove the rack to the sale area; try to avoid the set pieces in the store. Hang new items between their older brothers and sisters already clustered on the shelf.

Take a break. Drink tea. Rest your feet. Three hours to go.

Pull stock from the back to fill holes. Hang the items while pulling to save a couple of minutes out front. Roll those clothes – don’t take out that pesky display! Tap – boop! – tap. Do it again.

Learn to fold shirts with a board. Realize you’ve folded your shirts almost the same way for years, only without a board. Spend an hour folding t-shirts. Make mental notes on what shirts to come back and purchase once there’s a little bit of fun money back in the equation.

Walk out after shift end, feet aching. Smiling. You did something new today, and you did a good job.

Now do it again.


blawwgery music tales from the retail trenches

Beginnings from Endings

September 13, 2016.

I’m prepping for a demo – the Big Day for my startup. I’m preparing to show the leadership team the site and materials the Engineering team’s built in preparation for launching our beta. It’s 5:30 am.

My phone buzzes with a missed text. It’s my dad.

Just wanted to let you know that your grandmother went to the hospital

and I knew

I’d never see my grandma alive again.


September 25, 2016.

First Monday back on the job post-funeral. I’ve received a couple of messages from my boss via Slack while I’ve been in Joliet, so I know there’s an announcement today. I’m not sure what it is, but I’ve got a bad feeling.

My Solo Sense is spot-on. Again.

Our runway is short. We’re restructuring. I’m sorry.

Severance. Agreements. Signatures. Hugs.



October 31, 2016.

Today, I start a job doing something I’ve never done before: part-time stockroom associate for a large clothing retailer. I’ve never worked retail before. I’m still hunting for full-time work, but I’m starting to wonder if I can find a way to take the plunge and go out on my own. For now, I intend to revive the blog and use it as a place to document this adventure.

We may end up homeless; we may end up in a completely different corner of the States (or of the world – who knows?). I may get a dream job tomorrow. Who knows?

I refuse to knuckle under and let my fear prevent me from thriving. I will learn from this. I will grow from this.

I will. I will. I will.


blawwgery F1

A Column About a Cooler

By request, my latest column focuses on providing a packing list for any fan looking to enjoy themselves at the 2012 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. It’s over on The Idler, and I’d love for you to take a look and tell me what you think….

See you at Turn 12, or somewhere on track. Find me.


Out of Office; Out of Contact

USGP 2012 Tickets
Even the parking hangtags have holograms and fancy foil insets. Now it’s starting to feel real. See you in Turn 12.

For the first time in over 13 years, I’m taking two full weeks off work. Birthday shifts into Austin race weekend and settles into a long Thanksgiving break.

It felt strange typing “Out of Office; Out of Contact” in our shared calendar. Words I’ve never used before.

blawwgery F1

Turn and face the strange (ch-ch-ch-changes)

I’m currently sitting in an undisclosed location, pondering the events of the past week. For those of you living in a cave, SPEED lost the rights to broadcast F1 in the United States as of the end of the 2012 season. While this was something I knew was a possibility, when the word came down it was still a shock.

As some of you are aware, I have been fortunate to provide some of the incredible people who bring us Formula 1 on SPEED with insight on how to make their Twitter feed “not lame.” For the record, I am not paid – but I have visited SPEED World Headquarters and watched an entire race weekend unfold (amazing, as you would imagine, and an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life). I was able to participate in several components of the race broadcast, and it was an experience I won’t soon forget. I’m not trying to make it seem like I’ve had some major part in making the coverage as awesome as it has been or the past several years. I just annoy Frank and tell him when I think they’re doing something lame…and when they’re doing things right. I just feel I need to share, in the interest of full disclosure, my involvement with the Formula 1 on SPEED team.

It’s just how I roll.

Over the past several days, I’ve seen a lot of rumors about the coverage, whether the team will be at Austin, what lies ahead for out beloved Formula 1 on SPEED crew. I do not profess to know everything – far from it, in fact. However, as several people can attest, I thoroughly enjoy ferreting out sources and consolidating data into useful information. I thought it would be useful to start collecting what we know (as fans) in one place, so we can work on 1) quashing rumors and 2) ensuring our broadcast team and associated crew are with us from 2013 onward.

If you have information you’d like me to add, please post in a comment and I will do my best to incorporate. I am trying to keep this as news-outlet and verified as possible – but if you’ve a juicy rumor or bit of news that may not be validated yet, I’ll consider posting (with a huge UNVERIFIED).

Everything started with a Tweet from the Associated Press’ sports feed:

The Beginning of the End

When the news hit, I was oblivious…getting my hair cut in preparation for this trip. It’s a good thing no one was around to see me cry, for it was an ugly cry. (You know what I’m talking about.) I came out of the salon to a million messages.

I cried. I dried my face. I got angry. I started researching.

NBC, according to this article, intends to provide live streaming content of all 20 races. (Sidebar: is this officially 19 with NJ reportedly off the calendar for 2013?) Additionally, NBC is stating they will provide all practices and qualifying sessions on NBC Sports Network.

This article delves into a little more detail on the four races broadcast by NBC, and it appears these races (at least three of the four) will lend themselves to live mid-day broadcast.

This article, from the official-official Formula 1 site, discusses the races and reiterates the points from the second linked article.

There’s something about Formula 1 fans in the United States. As followers of a racing series that gets virtually zero mainstream coverage, we tend to stick together. We also tend to try to spread information as it is received – since you can’t rely on mainstream coverage, you do what you need to do. I’ve seen a new Twitter feed pop up (I have nothing to do with it, I swear) that’s working to organize a protest. I think it’s wonderful to see this kind of fan support! I hope the NBC Sports Network and NBC in general see this kind of fan support, and take good notes.

I’m incredibly disappointed to hear SPEED has decided to pull the team from Austin, as I think it demonstrates either a lack of commitment to finish the broadcast on a high note or a petty response to the shift in coverage. Either way, I’m devastated I can’t meet up again with Frank, Justin, Steve, David, and Bob…and can’t believe SPEED would be this short-sighted. (FOR THE RECORD: MY OPINION.) I wanted to finally meet Leigh! I still need to thank Will for dancing for my birthday last year!


Jon Miller, president of programming, has a Twitter account. I’ve verified, as closely as I can, this is the correct Jon Miller (I know there was some confusion before – there are two Jon/John Millers on the NBC executive board). We need to show him we have a voice, and we want to keep the broadcast team as whole as possible.


  • Post a message to Jon Miller (@JDM1114) via Twitter. BE NICE. Remember Wheaton’s Law? Follow it. We need NBC Sports to hear our voice, not dismiss us as a bunch of boorish freaks.
  • Follow Mr. Miller. No promises he’ll respond to any of us, but it’s always nice to throw a follow.
  • Spread the word. Let’s see what we can do to get Mr Miller to hear our voices.

Thank you, all of you. Our voices should be heard – let’s make this happen.

blawwgery F1

My First Idler Column

About a month ago, Gavin Craig put out a call for new Idler writers via Twitter. I’ve followed Gavin and The Idler for a while now, and I loved their content. Witty, intelligent, unapologetic: what’s not to like? I thought about it, surrounded by unfinished projects and mountains of work. I thought better of it. I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind.


Gavin agreed to review a sample piece, and agreed the “Formula-1-from-a-fan’s-perspective” angle would be a nice addition to their site.

I wrote a sample piece, sending it to a trusted friend for review. My friend worked with me for over three hours that afternoon, reviewing and rehashing every sentence. Using these suggestions, I crafted this. Enjoy.

blawwgery F1 grace in small things

Grace in Small Things #3

  1. Hockenheim is an old-school track. I like them better than the sterile Tilke tracks.
  2. Nothing exploded at work today.
  3. Today was the first day in 28 days where the temperature was lower than 90 degrees. I’ll take it.
  4. I have awesome friends. Not many, mind you, but the ones I have are absolutely incredible.
  5. I may actually have a little time to knit this weekend.
blawwgery grace in small things music

Grace in Small Things #2

Today’s edition is kind of a music edition. Chris is traveling, so I have my music cranked and I’m singing. Loudly. These five songs are all songs I can’t help but sing at top volume. (Aren’t you glad you don’t live close to me?)

  1. Tori Amos, “Pretty Good Year”
  2. Mumford & Sons, “Little Lion Man”
  3. GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton, “Still Alive”
  4. Bon Iver, “Holocene”
  5. Peter Gabriel, “Solsbury Hill”

Music’s important, man.