Daily Archives: December 23, 2011

Roommates Are Gone; Music Is Up

Day 117 | $50,944 paid | $39,773 till freedom

Sarah and John have gone home for the holidays, and I can hardly hear myself think–the speakers are  blaring and the monstrous subwoofer is shaking the walls and threatening to level my entire house. Life is good! Go Skrillex!

I cannot wait to be roommate-free. At the age of 28, I’m simply not cut out to live with complete strangers. The limitations on my freedom (like blasting my tunes) and the sharing of resources are hard to deal with. While I’ve gotten used to living cheaply, I haven’t gotten used to roommates. Every time I drive around the corner of my street on my way home and see their cars in front of the house, I grimace.

On the positive side, I might be looking at some incremental revenue from this landlord thing. John has bought a house here in Austin and is moving out at the end of the year. He was paying $400/month for his unfurnished room, and I’ve listed his room at $500. I’m starting high and seeing if I can find a tenant at that rate. I still have a week and a half week before I actually have to fill it, so I’ll drop the price as Jan 1st gets closer. One person has already called me about it and we’re going to have an interview on Monday, so my fingers are crossed.

Assuming that he gets the room, it’ll be awkward if he ever finds out  from Sarah that she’s paying $450/month for her fully furnished room.

No Bachelor Party
I’ve been invited to two weddings in April and I just got an invitation to an unrelated bachelor party in Vegas in February. Having to miss this one really bums me out because it’s the bachelor party for a former rowing teammate. We’ve never been very close on a personal level, but we did row together in the same boat for three out of the four years we were on the team. Furthermore, many of my former teammates will be in attendance. I saw all of the guys in October, so that’s how I’m going to justify missing it, but I’m still frustrated by the  circumstances.

Last Saturday, I was at Kung Fu, a bar downtown, and I asked the bartender for a Sprite. I was packing vodka in my flask ($19 for 1.75ML of Svedka–great deal!). A guy came up next to me and ordered a Coke.

Guy: Are you the designated driver, too?
Me: Yeah, I’m driving this drunk guy around (pointing to my friend next to me who is ordering shots.)
Guy: Yeah, me too.
My friend hands me a shot. Awkward…
Me: Haha…no, just kidding. I’m packing a flask. (I flash the flask at him under the bar. After the first weekend of flasking, I’ve stopped considering the flask a social stigma, and have even had girls hold my drink while I pour alcohol into it. It usually gets a huge look of surprise followed by laughter. I think it’s hilarious. One girl made the comment, “So I guess this means you aren’t buying me a drink?”)
Guy: Haha, seriously? Me, too! (He pulls out his flask.)
Me: When did you start?
Guy: Back in 1997.
Guy’s friend walks over.
Guy: Hey, this guy is packing a flask!
Me: Hell yeah I am!
Guy’s friend: Hah! Me, too!

At this point, we’ve all moved away from the bar and are comparing our flasks and sharing best practices for discreet pouring methods.

Do they have this for 20-something guys?

“Saddled with piles of student debt and a job-scarce, lackluster economy, current college students and recent graduates are selling themselves to pursue a diploma or pay down their loans. An increasing number, according to the owners of websites that broker such hook-ups, have taken to the web in search of online suitors or wealthy benefactors who, in exchange for sex, companionship, or both, might help with the bills.”

That’s right–the Huffington Post recently ran an article about websites that are designed for female (as far as I can tell) students or grads who are loaded with student loans and want to connect with rich men who will help pay down the loans in exchange for sexual favors.

This actually makes the debt-loaded chick who went on dates for free food seem relatively wholesome by comparison.

A Revised “About” Page
I gave the “About” page a makeover today. Most of the text has been changed and I posted a picture of my diploma and screenshots of my loan balances as they stood before I started paying them down. I think it does a decent job of summarizing my situation and setting the stage for the blog.

Facebook Account: Deactivated
Facebook Is Making Us Miserable is a noteworthy and even action-worthy blog post on Harvard Business Review. The author discusses “three new, distressing ways in which the social media giant is fundamentally altering our daily sense of well-being in both our personal and work lives.”

To paraphrase:

  1. “Den of comparison”: our profile page is self-curated, so people see only the “good” things in our lives–new car, new house, promotion–and none of the bad things, like a divorce.
  2. “Fragmenting our time”: we spend a ton of time on the site
  3. “Decline of close relationships”: Facebook chat doesn’t connect people the same way a physical meet-up or phone call does

I read the article, reflected on it for about two minutes, then posted a status update on FB to the effect of “Just read this [linked] article. I’m deactivating my account in 24 hours. Here’s my cell and email if you want to get ahold of me. Let’s see how long I can last before I’m back for more crack-cocaine.” I deactivated two Tuesdays ago and have been Facebook-free (FF) for ten days and nine hours.

It’s weird–leaving Facebook made me uncomfortable at first and I felt completely disconnected and out of the loop, but I’ve since gotten used to it, and now it feels as good as getting rid of my second car did–it makes life less complex. I still get impulses to log on, probably like an amputee still senses his “invisible limb,” but I’ve held steady so far and I don’t plan on going back.

I left Facebook for all three reasons, but I think the first reason–the “den of comparison” is especially relevant for NMHD. My friend, Andy Lebron Chad, showed me his Facebook page after the Timeline rolled out, and he made a very insightful comment. “Facebook has become less about connecting people on a simple, straightforward level–as in ‘Here’s my phone number and email address. Let’s chat soon.’ Now, it’s more about letting the user develop their story and show the world what they do and what their interests are.” He pointed to the profile pic on his page. “Look. Even the profile pic is no longer the biggest picture on the page.”

So now our friends can see where we’ve traveled and what we’ve done and when. To Andy’s point, Facebook is no longer “Get in touch with me”; it’s more like, “This is what I’ve done.”

In my new frugal lifestyle, my timeline would suck compared to my friend who go on trips every weekend, or move into a penthouse in NYC, or buy an Aston Martin. But that’s nothing new because even when I was spending money, I wasn’t really one to Face-brag. I could have posted a picture of my house with the garage door up, both cars and the bike backed into it, but I never did. And the boastful pics and status updates by my friends never really bothered me–it was usually pretty easy to see through the insecurity and chalk it up accordingly, but at the same time, it’s sort of nice to no longer be force-fed that stuff, either.

I left Facebook because reasons two and three resonated with me, too. I feel like I have more time without Facebook. The site had become a huge part of my life–I was on it during work and after work, and I was spending a lot of time checking out my news feed, posting status updates, and uploading pictures several times a week.

I also felt artificially connected to childhood, college, and grad school friends because I could see what was going on in their lives, but were we really connected? I hadn’t talked to some of those people in years, so is that even a friendship? Probably superficial at best. Since being Facebook-free, I haven’t actually called anyone to get on a less superficial level with them, but that’ll probably change soon since I can no longer pull up a website to get their update.



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