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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Matthew Harris' LiveJournal:

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    Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
    6:39 am
    Perhaps the nadir?
    So I am 14 days out of 30 into this trip. I am currently sitting on a park bench in the National Mall, having been in D.C. for 90 minutes and wondering what to do with the next 9 hours until my train leaves for New Orleans. I am also a bit itchy and sweaty, having last showered 24 hours ago in Portland Maine and having walked around Portland and Boston since then. I slept on the train, which was better than it could have been but which was far from a full night's restful sleep.

    I also miss my Portland hostess. :(

    I am sure D.C. Is great and I will have fun walking around the mall but...well I've seen a lot and now what I want is mostly a shower. Such a spoilsport! But also, after today I should be leaving the East Coast and won't have any more long layovers. So everything should start getting easier. :)

    Posted via

    Saturday, September 27th, 2014
    11:53 am
    Log rolling, Portland
    Did I mention I am in Portland? Because I am. I've been here since Tuesday night. I've seen a lot around Portland! Took the ferry, walked around, are some hummus.

    I am still doing the log rolling. I am upright and enjoying myself, but I also know that if I stop my physical and mental motion, I get dumped. I am in a process of constant motion and adjustment. And that will be the case for another two weeks. I am not quite half done.

    Posted via

    Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
    9:12 am
    It would be hard to sum up New York...
    I've been in New York for...three full days now, and I have today and tomorrow before leaving Thursday to go to Maine.
    It is pretty hard to sum up being in Brooklyn! Like right now I am honestly trying to remember if something happened Sunday or Monday. No wait it was Monday---the book festival. It's been busy and each day has brought something new. Hmmm...what else? Right now I am really tired. And even though I do like it here, I am also looking forward to the calmer climes of Maine.

    Posted via

    Friday, September 19th, 2014
    10:08 pm
    Being in New York City is kind of like being on a ship. It doesn't rest easily on the land, It perches precariously and thrown together.

    Posted via

    Thursday, September 18th, 2014
    12:36 pm
    I like Wisconsin.
    I hope that no one is disappointed that I haven't been giving daily updates of my trip. Right now I have been on the train a little less than 40 hours and I've had the run of emotions. Sometimes I feel like I am on my life adventure. Other times I feel like I've just done something really stupid. Mostly I look out the window and wait for the next stop.

    Right now I am in Wisconsin which is nice but also confusing. The train is on time, which is nice. I am spending 5 hours in Chicago, waiting for the Lake Shore Express.

    Posted via

    Tuesday, September 16th, 2014
    10:18 am
    Today is the day that I leave!
    Today is the day that I leave. Can't deny that I am at least a little anxious! Luckily I am too tired to think about everything, I am just thinking about things an hour at a time. Right now that means finding matching socks to pack, and getting my second cup of tea to work.

    Welp. I don't know what else to say. I will be phone posting on here for a while, it seems.
    Sunday, September 14th, 2014
    2:50 pm
    Along the train tracks, looking in and not out

    Last Tuesday I rode my bicycle up to MP 20 on Highway 93, which is the furthest south I've been from here by bicycle. In fact, since 2011, I haven't ridden very far south, usually going East or North. Also, there isn't much south of where I live, and the bicycling can get difficult.

    But it is always interesting what happens when I go into new territory. By default, where we are is the center of our world (not in an egocentric way, just in a practical way, where we are defines how far away things are, etcetera). So after enough time in Montana, I kind of get the view of myself...looking outwards. And then I break out of my horizons. I was 25 miles from my home, which on a bicycle can be a bit, and I was up high, where the terrain had changed. So I come back and I perceive, for a while, my house as being in a different place. I am "away" for someone else, after all! :)

    And I am sure that I will have this feeling much augmented after I go out and see the entire country.
    Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
    10:47 am
    Waiting for this trip to start
    So it has been...a week since I decided the trip was happening. I have done some preparations, like buying travel supplies, a new wallet, and making approximate plans for my route. I am waiting for the first person who I've designated my stop to say he is going to be free, and then I am thinking/planning on leaving next Tuesday.

    I really want to do this trip. It is pretty much all I think about. And there are a lot of little worries to go along with it. 101 details clogging up my mind, theoretical situations that I am planning for, wonders about personal safety and also just what happens if I can't sleep. What if I don't manage to sleep between Spokane and NYC and stumble into NYC filthy and hallucinating? Etcetera.

    Luckily I've done enough of these type of trips that I am not that worried about these types of things. I mean, I've been able to sleep on the train before.

    So that is what it is right now.
    Thursday, September 4th, 2014
    3:48 pm
    Haven't been keeping up on LJ, been busy with things
    I haven't been keeping up with LJ as much as I should. Mostly I've been thinking about my trip, which of course I am not sure on the details of. A lot of things to think about.

    I've also started to actually get rid of things. This is a big move for me. For almost five years here, this was my base and I made myself feel secure by capturing and keeping every fragment of my identity, ever. Things like scrap paper from tutoring sessions that I doodled on: I would preserve these things because I thought they would tell me who I was. Which is ridiculous. I mean, sometimes there is something interesting, but...I got trapped by my past.

    So I am clearing things out, and moving on.
    Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
    5:29 pm
    Trip is on!
    My cross-country trip is on!

    So who has suggestions and demands of where I can go?
    Sunday, August 31st, 2014
    3:27 pm
    Employment is looking unlikely
    So, another employment non-update

    I called on Thursday. They said they were about to have a meeting. Now it is Sunday. Tomorrow is a holiday. As mentioned above, that means that either a) I won't be getting the job b) If they do offer it, I would have to find a way to move in less than a month. So, yeah. I am only thinking at this point there is like a 10% chance that this will be happening.

    The other 85% of my plans involve the fabled train journey. I've already got two people who are hosting me, in NYC and Dallas. It looks like this is going to be a thing. And of course, that makes it a thing to worry about now, too.
    Wednesday, August 27th, 2014
    1:09 am
    The start of this week is over
    It is Wednesday now, which means that the promised letting-me-know-by-the-beginning-of-this-week thing has not happened, as far as the job. And it has been a week since I interviewed.

    So the whole thing is starting to seem like a less likely prospect.
    Sunday, August 24th, 2014
    2:56 pm
    I'm not going to fire a million dollar missile at a 10 dollar tent and hit a camel in the butt redux
    Sometime in the next two days I find out which, if any, of three jobs, I will be offered. I interviewed for what I thought was one job, but which is actually three different possible jobs. I know that they are 9, 16 and 6 hours a week. I know the pay scale on the first one is 30-37 dollars an hour. I don't know the payscale on the other two. The first job is in one location, the other two are in another location 30 miles away. The first is in a rural town, the other two are in a larger city.

    There is a lot of math going through my brain, especially about something I don't actually know. I don't even know if they will offer me the job. Or jobs. I don't know the payscale.

    I really want to take a job and move on with my life. Even though it is difficult now, in five years things will all make sense. The problem is, in the immortal words of George W Bush, I don't want to fire a million dollar missile at a 10 dollar tent and hit a camel in the butt. In this case the "million dollar missile" is the financial cost of moving back to Oregon, which moving always takes money and effort. The "10 dollar tent" is getting a job that pays only enough money to get by on. And "hit a camel in the butt" means "move somewhere, find that my contract job ends after three months".

    There is nowhere in the main drag of the I-5 corridor where it is realistic to get an apartment for 500 or less dollars a month. The situations where it is possible could have significant hidden costs: eg, I am not going to sleep in the moldy, broken-plumbing mother-in-law unit of a meth chef. Not just as a matter of comfort, but a lot of these situations are "penny wise, dollar foolish"---400 dollars a month is not cheap if the toilet breaks and I am left paying 1000 dollars to fix the plumbing.

    In the smaller town, including the one where I might get the teaching job, there are actually 1 bedroom rentals for less than 500 dollars a month. HOWEVER. There is also a limited supply of housing.

    So I don't know. I will find out in the next two days, and then I will argue around, and then I will make a decision.
    Friday, August 22nd, 2014
    1:30 am
    So tired...
    So tired...

    for once.

    I think that is a good thing.
    Thursday, August 21st, 2014
    12:36 am
    I had my job interview
    I had my job interview. It was actually confused, they called me a day early and I thought I had missed it until they told me that they had maybe messed it up, but we rescheduled and we talked for 45 minutes. I don't know how it went, there wasn't a lot of back-and-forth, they asked the questions and I gave my answers. I don't know if that means anything, or if they were just being poker-faced.

    If I do get it, it will still be kind of a struggle because the hours won't be very much, and finding an apartment is work. Also, just the process of moving there and starting again and just scraping by for a year. Its exhausting to think about everything that needs to be done. But if I don't do it now, I don't know what will happen next.

    Besides, we do have a Plan B. Plan B involves two things: seriously getting ready to move out of this house, but also me taking a train trip around the United States because WHY NOT? I think that doing that will kind of help the myopia I've boxed myself into.

    I do feel like just going through the process of this interview was somewhat of a watershed.
    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014
    5:59 am
    It is 6 AM
    And I am still up!
    After six hours of productive worrying, I've moved on to trying to read Goethe, which isn't quite as productive.

    ...I am also seeing Jupiter and Venus in syzygy.
    Monday, August 18th, 2014
    2:44 am
    Thinking about this job, and also about what will happen if it doesn't happen
    I've done a lot of research on this possible job, and am already planning my bike rides. Because that is the thing I should be thinking of...all the places I want to ride my bicycle, of course. It seems doable, as far as money goes, because the housing in this town is cheap! And it is something. Above all, it is something.

    But now I have to think about what to do if it doesn't materialize. There were six people contacted, I don't know if all of them will interview, but even if only half do...the odds don't favor me. I meet the preferred rather than the required qualifications for the job. But still, its hardly something where I am cashing in my savings.

    But it is something, and I guess I feel that if I go through the process, and it doesn't work out, I am free to do whatever comes next. And what WILL come next? Well, I don't know, exactly. I am thinking some variation on my train trip idea. But I've fired my three arrows into the air, and it is time to go on.

    In other news...a lot of energy, not much to do with it, waiting for something to happen, and my bicycle's brakes keep sticking.
    Thursday, August 14th, 2014
    10:38 am
    I have a job interview.
    I have a job interview for next week.

    As could be expected, it is for a part time job in a distant location, but...

    It certainly does make me feel better about things. :)
    Tuesday, August 12th, 2014
    8:09 pm
    1:56 am
    Mostly a daydream, but...
    I spent today daydreaming and looking at Amtrak schedules.
    (well, not all of today, I also got a haircut)
    Not that I am asking for a commitment, but say I did take a gigantic trip on Amtrak using their one month pass: who here would be interested in having me visit and stay with them?
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