Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Personal Note

The tobacco story (see below) will be coming out while I'm gone to the mainland. I'll be spending a couple of weeks there with my 12-year-old son, whose mom, Susan Decker, is in the terminal stages of bone cancer. (Some of you may remember Susan; she had a private family law practice here, years ago, that specialized in helping famly violence victims. It of course went broke, because there was a huge demand for her services but the ones who needed it most couldn't afford to pay. But it was a noble effort.) While in Missouri, I'll be meeting with my son's school councilors and physician, in preparation for bringing him over here to live.

That's scary, because while this is happening, my unemployment benefits are running out (They got extended for six months, thanks to the Obama Administration, but the Hawai'i Island Journal has been gone now for nearly a year), my savings are exhausted, and the general economy and the newspaper crisis have made job-hunting in my field a masochistic exercise. Between now and when I leave, I'll need to do enough freelance work to pay my July rent when I get back. And then, somehow, I'm going to have to earn enough from freelancing to not only pay my rent and utilities, but to build up the money for plane tickets and moving expenses when the time comes to bring Aidan over.

On the good news side, I'll no longer be operating under the restrictions that the State's Unemployment Division was placing upon me (I could only do freelancing if it didn't affect my ability to accept "real" employment--i.e., from a company that pays wages, rather than awards a contract--if it happened to come along--which sort of works for where you sit in a union hall and wait for a ship to come in, but does make not much sense when the only "real" jobs available in my field have been 99.9 percent off-island.) I found that more than about eight hours a week of freelance work raised alarm bells and caused delayed unemployment checks. Now I can work 40 hours a week, or more, on freelance jobs if they're available, instead of 4-8.

All this will mean some changes with this blog--probably either moving it to another location or giving it up. Frankly, I've not gotten a single check from GoogleAds since I started this thing--and even if they actually had a check for me, there would be problems, because Google won't send a check to a P.O. Box and there's no home mail delivery in Volcano. I gave them the street address of a friend in Hilo who'd agreed to accept any checks for me, but she's now moved to Volcano, too.

From now on, everything I do has to pay--maybe not very much, but it has to pay something. So I'll be looking at other hosting sites and the possibility of selling local ads. If anybody has any suggestions, please let me know.

I still think it would be a great idea if all of us Hawai'i Island bloggers could unite under a single site, and hire a couple of the Journal's former ad sales reps to sell local ads for all of us.

Upcoming in Big Island Weekly: Tobacco and the Legislature

The tobacco story is finished, and sitting over at the Big Island Weekly. Jed says it will probably come out in two weeks. I don't want to give away the ending, but suffice it to say, I found a lot of money flowing into the legislature from America's tobacco companies, and some big rewards for them, hidden in the legislature's cost-cutting bills--but I also found out that there's a potent counter-force at work that's keeping Big Tobacco from getting its way all the time: Big Health....