Friday, May 24, 2013

26/28 Car Truths: Getting Sick

Source.
Getting Sick...
bleh.
It sucks,
It happens,
The best thing is to wait it out.

Surprisingly I didn't get sick during the hectic blizzards, but in the warm spring. My co-worker caught the flu from her son and then it infected me. Fortunately I don't get that sick when I catch colds, just a high fever and some sinus problems. The last time I really came down with the flu was a month after dating my ex; I must of caught some kind of stupidity germ that left me in a bed for a week.

Instead of waiting it out, like I'm advising here, I'm just moving about my day slowly. Slowly getting up from bed, slowly running errands and computer work, slowly going to my job, quickly going to bed afterward. Sleeping in and going to bed early are like adult treats. It's the best I can do right now.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Post Grad Update

I graduated last weekend, but my month long job search really hasn't yielded any results. With a BA, I'm too qualified for dead end jobs needed for the Summer, but under qualified for more professional jobs. I've been trying to transfer from my current job to the Springs, but they keep dragging it out. It's almost like the managers want me to quit.

The Car Truths isn't exactly finished, but I'm stuck on finding three more things to talk about. As I graduate, I no longer have admittance to the facilities on campus and have been scrounging around Fort Collins. This includes sink showers and having no permanent location. Maybe I'll come up with some more writing then. In the mean time, the blog will get an overhaul soon with the new graphics I've been working on.

I don't enjoy being tied to my job and not having a permanent residence to "hang out" in. Traveling in general would be more interesting than staying in one city, but that is just personal preference. Living in a car is better than paying rent.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

25/28 Car Truths: Picking a Vehicle

Vehicle!

Source.
Honestly, the easiest is to inhabit the vehicle you already own. Although, I can understand why vans are prefer over others: space, installed kitchenettes or beds. I've seen pretty neat truck bed set ups, as well as Subaru hatchback set ups. Removing the front passenger seat and replacing it with an ottoman works well for me.

Keep in mind stealth as well as comfort.


Source.
Featured on Tiny House Talk, Steven lived in his truck bed to pay off student loans.

During the planning stage, really think about what you use every day and the necessities.

24/28 Car Truths: Rainy Day Fund

video

Rainy Day Fund!

The name has more irony than you're aware.

The windshield wiper motor on my car broke.

During a thunderstorm.

On the highway.

Living in your vehicle can be a vulnerable experience. Make sure every pay period to set aside an amount to pay for "rainy days," specifically for auto repairs.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

23/28 Car Truths: P.S. P.O.!

Source.

PO Box for Bills

If you're going to be living in an area for an extended period of time, get a PO Box. I have one as a back up address, but all my bills are done via internet (phone, banks, netflix, sallie mae).

Having a PO Box also falls into play with my lie. I live in the dorms and the dorms use a PO Box system for students. Once I move back home, I will return my keys to the small rectangular compartment in the hall of rectangular compartments. For the time being, the box only receives letter from the previous owner. The previous renter most likely ran some sort of child care non-profit based on the mail that arrives.

For plasma donation however, I had to use my friend's address as CSL Plasma doesn't accept PO Box addresses.

22/28 Car Truths: Home Base

Source.

Home Base!

I love living in my car and enjoy the freedom it brings. Even with every daily used in my reach, I still have things stored at my mom's. I say "things" not just as physical objects, but my cat and a bunch of sentimental value.

My mom and I have lived in that house since 1994. We're one of the few neighbors who have lived in that neighborhood for almost two decades (my best friend's family is another one). I attended the elementary school down the block and walked to the gas station to get slurpees during the summer. There's a trail that I take the family dogs for walks, four generations of doggies. Buried in my back yard are two guinea pigs, a bunch a fish, two birds and a newt.

While I've already given away quite a bit of my collected rat nest of stuff over the years and especially this past year, there's still more to go. Right now I'm debating about selling all my video game consoles. Hmm.

To whom car life is just a temporary college, like myself, it is necessary to have a place to store your belongings. For others independent of their parents, a small storage container would do the trick. A land locked home base could be necessary for storage. I definitely could not fit all my sword fighting equipment into my car and I am not giving up on martial arts. Permanent van dwellers probably don't have this issue. If I ever update to a van, I might have enough room for my gear...

The less stuff you have the less that is holding you back, but sometimes you don't want to give'em up.

Monday, May 13, 2013

21/28 Car Truths: Free Time

Time

There's definitely moments of solitude whether or not you're in a home or vehicle. Finding cheap and entertaining things to do can vary. When the weather is terrible, reading, working out or watching Netflix. Now that it's gotten much nicer outside, I've been drowning in homework.

Over the past couple of weeks, I've made several more friends at work and partaking in the communal activity of Magic: The Gathering.

It's so much fun.

Remember to have hobbies, get out and be free.

Remember that your hobbies should be able to fit into your small vehicle.

20/28 Car Truths: Footsies

Foosties!

I didn't really expect this to happen, as it isn't something that occurs in home dwelling. Sores and blisters on my feet started the first couple of weeks and I didn't pay it any mind because I was running twenty to thirty miles a week. Even after I stopped running as much to slow down my weight loss to stay in the plasma center top tier, my feet still end up with blisters and sores.

From what I've read online, it could be a mixture of not having proper shoes or socks. It could also be from the moisture in the car. Originally when it would sink below freezing I would wear my boots at night and only take off my socks in between showers. I could possibly understand how it became harder to keep them dry and blisters formed more easily.

I'm still working this one out; there aren't any other van dwelling blogs or help advice out there that I have found yet.

During the summer it should become easier to keep my feet dry. Until then, ouch!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Monae Moves Me

Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Economy

I didn't proof read my little rant, and looking back the gaping holes in it are kind of embarrassing. I'll re-post it after I finish editing my thesis paper.

19/28 Car Truths: Self Defense

Source.

Self Defense!

There have been debates on different van dwelling forms about carrying a gun as a form of self defense when living in your car. After my personal rant, my take on the subject will be further down...

After my boyfriend decided to tell his WHOLE EFFING FAMILY about my little adventure, they did one of two things.
1.) Started to try and convince me to give him "let him use" my car and buy a used Yukon, so I could place a mattress in back. (I don't spend on my money on booze and cigarettes, so they think I'm the upper crust of the lower cake.)

2.) Told me I should buy a gun and with my clean record it would be pretty easy.

Before I go on a rant about my mixed feelings over guns, I'd like to point out that buying another vehicle and a gun are expensive. The Yukon they tried to convince me to buy from their friend was around 1,000. It would of probably broken down the moment I bought it (if all the broken down cars in front of their house are any indication of how good they are at picking vehicles). This doesn't count registration, insurance, bad gas mileage and whatnot.

Even a small gun is a couple hundred dollars and I'm sure the license itself also costs a bit.

If I had that kind of money - I could of just rented an apartment! My ex's parents were trying to manipulate this into their favor and wanted me to basically take care of their deadbeat son for them. I'm not going to tap into more student loans for you.

I have mixed feelings about guns. Should people be allowed to carry function weapons for hunting and paranoid-sprung home protection? Sure. Why do people need assault rifles? Honestly, even though hand guns are used in most gun-violence, why do people need assault rifles? The only answers I seem to find are this is America; the second amendment; what is shit hits the fan and we need to defend ourselves from anti-Christ Obama. I don't particularly find any of those attitudes convincing, but whatever.
Source.

Back on topic!

I've come to the conclusion most have: carrying a gun around makes you a target for the cops, which should be avoided. Even if owning a gun is a part of your rights and whatnot, cops can legally give you a hassle of a time for no justification at all. Be respectful and don't start with them. Having a gun in your car also makes it a target for breaks in and that's generally a bad thing.

What I personally use is a mixture of pepper-spray and some sharp pointy things in close reach.

The more time I spend in my car, the more I realize that the majority of people just don't care. They have errands to run, friends to meet, phones to tap. My little arsenal of defense toys are kind of a back up for having the misfortune to run into a creep. Maybe because I cut them off, or I appear vulnerable or they want to steal something; I don't know. Just in case, I have my little friends.

One of the tools that I actually want, but have been holding out on buying is a kitty key chain self defense stabber. Besides my love for cats, it's small, easier to use and gets the point across.



My mom is the one who provided me with pepper spray. Unfortunately, our neighbors can't won't control their "guard" dog. That dog has gotten out three times and attacked my mom and her dogs. It reached its peak when the dog ripped open our pup, Penny. With emergency veterinary care, Penny survived. I always liked every dog I met until this one. Now my mom has to walk around the neighbor we have lived in for twenty years with fear. She carries pepper spray to fight off the dog if it gets out again.

(The animal control in our city has be completely ignored us. We've called them out, filed charges, called and gone to the office multiple times; nothing.)
This is the school I go to. Sigh.

Oh, by the way: I fight. I just prefer to beat up on my friends, as opposed to actual criminals.

The on the upside, the police are the only group I've really had to worry about it.

Even when riot parties happen right now the street from where I'm sleeping, I didn't hear a word of it until the next day. The party made the front page of the Collegian.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

18/28 Car Truths: Familiarity

Source.

Familiarity

If you're planning on living out of your vehicle, whether to travel or as an alternative to four walls, get to know the place you're going to be residing, parking and or traveling through.

It doesn't require extremely detailed knowledge on the area, but just enough to try and stay out of trouble and avoiding inconveniences. An example would be rush hour in the morning, lunch time or five pm.

Where's the "bad" part of town? Are you near a school (especially if you have a van)? Are you in a heavy traffic area? Or a town small enough where an unusual vehicle would stand out? Are there strict parking laws (Colorado Springs vs. Fort Collins)? Are there higher rates for car accidents (LA freeways)

Knowing your surroundings is generally a safe idea anyway, but living out of your car is vulnerable. One break in, one car accident or the cops following you around can really mess up your experience.

Mishaps will happen regardless, try to action to avoid some of them.
?

17/28 Car Truths: Alternative Forms

Alternative Forms

Source.
... of income!

The main reason (besides not really having any other place to stay at the end of December) of living in my car is to save money. I already have a part-time job as a source of income, but adding the extra $55 a week for plasma donations help cover most living expenses for the week. That leaves the majority of my paycheck to go towards loans and fixing my car.

Honestly, I'm debating about finding different sources of income besides plasma donation. If I lose any more weight from running, the $55 a week drops down to $35. It's not really worth it for the lesser amount and I'd rather be athletic.

Previously, I cleaned houses to gather extra money. Unfortunately, CSU likes to create schedules where the entire day is taken up with classes. I'm pretty sure the system is designed to babysit the college kids. The community college I attended before transferring to university had a MW, TR schedule as opposed to CSU's MWF, TR scheduling.

Only being available during evenings and weekends has really affected my work life. Especially, since most of my jobs have been sale-results related. Whatever.

16/28 Car Truths: Scavenge

Scavenge!

This might be more a part of college life than living out of your vehicle related. Somewhere out in the wilderness of the town and campus there are organized events that give away food. As the frugal person I try to be and as the daughter of a mom who would save popcorn bags for movie trips, I love free food.

I shouldn't say free, as my student fees go towards paying for event food.

The up side to going to as many events on campus for food is that you also get to learn about other programs or careers out there. So, it's entertainment as well.

Student organizations and club set up various themed activities or forums related to their mission. Most of the events have professionals from the field who discuss their jobs. The Ethnic Studies department had  professionals who have careers in social justice, the International Studies department invited professionals from the field to describe how they found their careers; French and German Club hosts Mardi Gras/Fasching every year.

If you're a student, go down to the student center and look for posters, club meetings and offices that you could gather information about where to go.

If you're luckily enough not to be in school anymore, local libraries and city websites detailing event information (csindy.com, for Colorado Springs events).

Besides being active in the community and learning about something you normally wouldn't seek out, it's free food.

Even though you're looking for discounted food, remember to be a respectful guest and actually participate in the activity. For Fasching, I helped decorate and danced around. For the career seminars, I listened to all the presenters and asked questions on their experiences.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Words for Thought

Once upon a time, in a meadow close to home, Hapily Porcupine decided to write a book. "Yes," he mused, the exciting thought dancing through his brain, "I'll call it Loveneedles."
    "Ooch, eech, ouch," he said, as he yanked a quill from his hide and set to work. It was very slow going, especially since his quills wore out and his skin began to show. And even more especially because his mind was new to this kind of think-do. Even so, he was determined to finish what he started.
    One day, Upity Ostrich loped by and said, "What in the world are you doing?"
    "I'm writing a book, " replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Are you mad?" shrieked Upity, uppity. "I don't have time for that sort of thing; and besides, I'm sure it's much too hard, " and went on her way. And Hapily went back to work.
    Not long afterward he heart a slithering in the bush.
    "Sssssssaay," said Snerfy the Snake, "what are you doing?"
    "I'm writing a book, " replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Aw, gee, n-no," mumbled Snerfy, sniffly. "Just look at me. Who am I to be writing a book about anything? I son'r even have anything to write with, You, on the other … er … hand- why, you're positively bristling with writting equipment," and slithered on his way. And Hapily went back to work.
    One day he heard a flapping in the air, after which Hawtily Hawk plopped onto a branch.
    "And just what do you think you're doing?" asked Hawtily, haughtily.
    "I'm writing a book," replied Hapily, happily. "Aren't you?"
    "Certainly now" replied Hawtily, preening a wing with her beak. "I couldn't possibly do a thing like that, dear boy. Besides, what would people say? I'm sure it would be most embarrassing," whereupon she swooped away. And Hapily went back to work.
    One day, when the wind was still and the sun was warm, Hapily chanced upon his friends, taking in the meadow.
    "Hello, good friends," said Hapily, happily. "what are you doing?"
    "Why, we're reviewing this book you call Loveneedles," they clucked.
    "I would have made it longer," said one.
    "I would have made it shorter," said another.
    "I would have made it better," snider the third.
    "Oh, I expect you're all very correct," said Hapily, sincerely. Whereupon he began to smile. And the smile turned into a giggle, and the giggle turned into the biggest bellylaugh that Hapily had ever owned. Because unlike his friends, Hapily had just learned the secret of life: Persistence makes accomplishments; excuses make hot air.

And so the moral of this fable is
If you're sure you can't, you won't.
If you think you can, you might.
If you know you can, you will.

by Robert F. Mager

Stoves

Source.
This fall under one of my faults in frugality: if something is cheap and maybe need it, I'll buy a lot; if something is expensive, but I could definitely use, I'll hold out.

A gas burning stove kind of falls in that category. If I did have a small stove, I could cook soups, rice, beans, pastas, and other nice warm foods that are cheap in bulk. On the other hand, I don't really have that kind of space. My car is already cramped by just being in there, let alone fixing food up to eat. Also, I don't think the local PD would appreciate me cooking around town.

I've definitely window shopped for stoves and plan on purchasing one before I live out of my vehicle again. Although, some of the stoves appear to be getting quite outlandish. Why bring an entire kitchen out camping? There are grills, ovens and burner tops all designed for some type of luxury camping.

And I thought as a kid using wire coat hangers over sticks to roast marshmellows was fancy.

A small burner appears to be the smallest, cheapest option.
Grab a cheap or free pot, a gas canister and cook!
Source.

15/28 Car Truths: Stay Clean

Stay Clean!

Even if you did choose this way of living, most people, if they found, would consider you homeless. Unfortunately, homelessness is generally looked down upon in America. If you're not using a gym to have a place to shower, definitely stay clean and "normal" looking.

Truck stop showers, sink showers however you plan on maintaining cleanliness will help you avoid that stigma of being homeless. Further, living in your car could be an adventure, an opportunity to rise above or get out of your the ennui of "normal" life.

If you're not keeping up on regular maintenance, it makes you less stealthy. Your safety and belongings are packed up in that car, don't draw attention to yourself.

When I don't want to go to the gym and workout, I can usually draw up my hair and a deodorant stick can get me through the day easily. Even with a home people still have grungy  days. On Sundays, when I have to be at work before the gym opens, a good sink shower in the library keeps me fresh.

Deodorant, a package of baby wipes, and shorter hair is all you need to stay clean and stay stealthy.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

14/28 Car Truths: Mindful Spending

Mindful Spending!

Source.
I'm saving money. I'm putting away around $400 a month towards loans, savings and my end of the year trips. I'm doing so well... until I buy something.

It's usually food, because I try and justify that I can work it into the whole food budget. Or I get invited to a friend's house to eat dinner and want to contribute to the meal.

And the cafe's chocolate croissants are the bomb.

It's impossible to avoid mistakes, but just keep in mind why you're living this lifestyle.

I choose to live in my car to help pay off debts and avoid more student loans.

Eating trail mix, peanut butter everything, fresh fruits and granola bars almost everyday can get a little tiring, but it's worth it!

Definitely!

Hopefully!

What am I doing with my life!?

Just trying to live more intentionally, I guess.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

13/28 Car Truths: Try it out

Picture of the old mattress, with all the beasties on it.
Mom came up to visit for a day and brought Penny and Bubba.
The past couple of posts for this Car Truth series have focused on my experiences living in my car. I'm going to cover some before hand experiences that helped prepare me for living in my car.

Try it out!

While I know this life sounds exciting before you give away all your things and move out of your housing structure, try it out for a couple of days. Originally, I slept in my car, parked in the garage to understand what it would be like. I still had my mattress stuffed inside the car, I didn't have any window coverings figured out and I became a little more preoccupied with watching the season finale of Doctor Who.

When I actually finished setting up, I still had so much stuff left over that I had to drive back to Colorado Springs, unload the car at three in the morning and drive all the way back to Fort Collins. Once I loaded the car again, I had already taken out the passenger seat. My ex wanted to ride up to help me and I relented. I rode back down to the Springs, with him and a car full of junk, "buckled" to the driver's seat beat and sitting on the ottoman that I use for a bed now. It was pretty much a death trap.

I didn't have any window covers. Instead of making them, using shirts or towels I purchased $27 dollars worth of sun reflectors. The ties on the reflectors didn't hold them up against the sides and read of my car. I had to use the pins in my sewing kit to pin them to the roof and then unpin in the morning.

Basil by himself, being all cutesy.
The mattress in the car seemed like a good idea and far more comfortable than the back seat (which it wasn't). Less than a week with a mattress in my car attracted two cops and probably onlookers, who wondered why an off-white block consumed my backseats.

If you want to live in your car permanently or temporarily, try it out. Tweak what you have; it isn't enough or it's too much.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Misunderstood internet humor

My work buddy didn't like my silly response to her "serious" post.

12/28 Car Truths: Research

Research!

Nothing could really prepare you for living for an extended period of time out of your vehicle. Depending on how long you're planning on living like this or got forced into the lifestyle, it helps to learn from others' experiences. Originally, I wanted to get a van and ease into this life. Due to my room mate (and boyfriend) problems I kind of got pushed into it.

Basic mistakes will always happen, but seeing variances on the same idea can help you plan how to live.

Ilgunas wrote a book on the experience.
It also makes me feel less alone and crazy. Everyone I have spoken to about the concept gives me a look of just not getting it. I've never met another van dweller or vagabond and sometimes the weight of hiding how I live gets to me. (Which is also why I'm a Car Truth post behind - Sunday I had a sad.)

Here are some helpful blogs to get you started.

Ken Ilgunas
Deciding to live in a van for graduate school, Igunas lived in one of the parking lots of Duke University. Inspired by Thoreau's Walden, he details his experiences on his blog. Honestly, Ilgunas shares similar motivations for my car life: I hated getting a student loan and vowed that I would pay it off as soon as possible.

I worked my ass for years and used my savings to cover school expenses. Transferring to CSU, living where I did, taking months to find a job, and unfortunately getting involved in a money and emotionally draining relationship put in a position where by last December I only had a hundred dollars in the bank.

Ilgunas vowed to go to graduate school and not get anymore loans. I want to finish my undergrad with little to no loans.

Source
Cheap RV Living

Probably most of the recent traffic came from the Cheap RV Living forum. The website has how-tos and set up tutorials. The most beneficial part o
f the site, I have found, is the forum. The individual stories and vans from the followers of the website are inspiring and solve van dwelling problems.

VanDwellers.org
Van Dwellers is also a big resource website. Copyrighted and also updating regularly, Romana keeps a log of useful information for those seeking to live the dream and move into their vehicles. His living in a car section is my experience in one page, as opposed to a whole website, and features good videos on the subject.

Monday, April 29, 2013

11/28 Car Truths: Bugs

Bugs!

Any fresh food should be consumed within a couple of days.

Keep the car clean.

You have a little space, the more disorganized you become the harder it is to find stuff and the easier it is for these little demons to sneak inside.

This is a more complicated subject then just saying clean and organized. Moisture collects in the car while you live in it. To avoid nasty smells and damp sheets, air out the car. If there's food or places to reside, bugs find them.

I generally keep my food in the trunk, in a box. There are some granola bars up front for breakfast. Those Nature Valley bars become crumbs.

Have a plastic bag around for trash.

Preferably don't eat in the car to avoid crumbs.
Fortunately, I live in Colorado and lived in my car mostly through winter. The forecast right now says it's going to snow again on Wednesday. Hah!

Don't let bugs be a problem.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

10/28 Car Truths: Nothing new

I have a "Style" folder on my computer,

You don't need anything new!

The few items that I purchased to make living in my car easier are:
Cold weather sleeping bag - $23
Three red containers - $12
Four sun reflecting window covers - $26

Out of those items how many do you think I really needed?

None, honestly.


Where I collect inspiration pieces.
I left the sleeping bag at my mom's house over Spring Break and survived through one blizzard and two snow storms with the blankets I already had. Further, my mom had two sleeping bags in the garage, that I didn't want to use because they were "old."

I'm only using one of the red containers that I bought now. The third one kept getting in the way, so I left it at my ex's and never got it back after we broke up. After rearranging the clothes I actually use versus the clothes I brought, I eliminated the second container. The problem is: I work at a grocery warehouse, I could of just grabbed some cardboard boxes for free.

I used the window covers for my first week in the car and had two problems: I couldn't find a way to hang them up they attracted attention. Sun covers, on all the windows, during winter is an unusual sight. They're bright, shiny and say "The person who owns this car doesn't want you to see something." Most people ignore the blankets I have in my car and if I wasn't lazy in the mornings I could store them in the trunk for further stealth. I even received a ticket, while sleeping in my car, and the person who gave it to me didn't realize someone was in there.

That's sixty-four dollars that could of been mine.
I have a soft spot for "cool" jackets.

There's a lot of cool traveling gear, that I wish I had, but waiting until you have the cool clothes before going an adventure brings you no where.


You lack nothing to live free; the hard part is getting rid of the excess.



Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Quarters: Updated

I saw the Quarters post reach one of the top ten posts and decided to update the poorly made graph of how I currently live. There's still an Emergency cat kit, even though it's not featured.

9/28 Car Truths: Uhm.

Let's talk about...

First off, I recently saw Salt-n-Pepa live in concert. They still got it.

Uhm. I debated about writing this post. Depending on the type of person you are and how you live this may or may not effect you, but most people are sexual.

I wouldn't suggest having long-term relationships when living in a car, unless your partner is participating.

Unless you're out in the middle of no where, miles away from any cop, park ranger, or whoever can hear you - don't have sex in your vehicle. Not speaking from personal experience, but bumping uglies causes noise and movement, which in the city is iffy (and illegal).

If you feel like masturbating, be aware of your surroundings.

If you want to have a one-night stand, or a casual relationship, plan to go to their place.

Same rules of safety and consent always apply.

8/28 Car Truths: Water

Water!

You need it! Besides having an army of water bottles that were mainly acquired throughout the campus, I carry a 3 liter jug in the car. I'm living off the campus, so water is easy to come by and is covered by my nonnegotiable student fees.

On the road, I would suggest having multiple, reusable 24 oz bottles to fill up at various locations: parks, stores, gas stations. Afterwards pour the water in the larger container. There's no need to pay for water.

The jug of water is so I never run out, or if I need to wash things. Unlike living in a home with a sink, I have to conscious think about all my utilities and manage my time around that.

7/28 Car Truths: Sleeping

The Morning View

Sleeping!

How do I do it? It's actually much more comfortable sleeping in my car than I previously would of imagined. I've overslept well into the day and not realized.

Are there sometimes when it's loud outside? Sure, but I also hear similar noises to the same effect in buildings too.

The passenger seat of my car is taken out and left back home in my mom's garage. I lied and said my ex took it out to help with the move and I didn't know how to put it back in. (There's four basic bolts and a seat belt sensor, but being able to pretending I'm incapable of technical work without question is one of the benefits to being a girl, I guess.)

In place of the passenger seat is a free ottoman from Craigslist. Online, I've seen people craft their own wood boxes, but I didn't have time for that. Besides the itchy fabric on the ottoman, I get by with two blankets and two pillows. One blanket covers the bed and wraps around me like a burrito and the second goes on top, to block out any light and keep me warm.

During the colder months, I had a cold weather sleeping bag to crawl into underneath the blankets. I started sleeping on top of the sleeping bag and decided it was warm enough to leave it back home over Spring Break.

Parking and sleeping definitely go together. Depending if I'm going to sleep in or wake up early, if it's the weekend or a week day largely dictates where I choose to sleep.

The busier the morning is going to be, the sooner I want to be out of my car. On weekdays or sleep-in days I pick low traffic, side street places.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Like a Swordsman

Can be purchased at Purple Heart Armoury.

Last week we had a huge snow storm, which canceled school and allowed me to sleep in for a couple of days.

I couldn't find my snow scraper in the trunk of my car. Honestly, I wasn't expecting to use it in April.

But I had to work the same day.

I practice Historical European Martial Arts and carry my trainers in my car.

So this happened.


Ever Faster

Now let's see if I can run six miles in 60 minutes.

6/28 Car Truths: Lying

Can be found here.
Lying

There isn't any way around this: when you live in your car, you're going to have to lie. It's a good thing to have these answers preplanned and short.

"Where do you live?"

I've had a mixture of friends, school faculty and cops asked me this questions. For cops, I just say nearby and make a had gesture in a direction. This implies a location, but I don't really want to tell them. My friends think I live in the dorms, if you have a friend that lives on campus as well, I would find a different answer. The one professor who asked where I lived (I asked for an extension after I had had to move with a month's notice during finals), I told him in a house with some people.

Saying I live in the dorms mean I don't have to have a fridge. Since I don't have one in real life, this is useful. I can't store cold food items, my friends know this. Someone offers me food that needs to be refrigerated, I can tell them something.

"Where do I drop you off?"

Meme can be found here.
The one night I needed a ride home from drinking too much, the DD asked me where I lived. I picked the dorms on the far side of campus, that has an entryway slightly obscured from the road. This makes it look like I got safely inside, without them seeing. If you don't live on a campus, I would suggest picking an apartment complex that has a relaxed parking policy. Therefore, if someone does drive you home, you can leave your car in the parking lot and walk to it.

"Do you have room mates?"

No.

I generally avoid talking about my living situations. All of my personal belongings are in my car. I don't want anyone to steal away my life.

Someone has to know the truth of the situation. It can be hard sometimes and I need to have a non-judgemental person to vent too. My best friend and ex were the only two people I told. (And then my ex told his family, because he's inconsiderate.) On nights when I feel a little down, I have my friend to talk to. Even though I chose to do this, I still get sad about my living situation; like I failed somehow.

This rabbit is hilarious.



Source.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

5/28 Car Truths: Clothes

My typical laundry bin

Clothes!

Choose every piece of item you keep carefully. I have two jackets, a hoodie, a plastic full of day clothes and a locker of gym clothes. It doesn't seem like a lot, but it can get me through two weeks pretty well.

I have my four skirts, two black jeans, two long johns, two work out pants, a black dress and an assortment of tops. For socks, I have two heavy duty, cold weather ones. There are nights I definitely need them. Two towels and one wash cloth. A beanie to keep my head warm during cold night.

For dressy occasions (I haven't had a need to be fancy) I have two business casual skirts, a black dress and my black boots.

I already mentioned my black boots and brown, which keep my feet cozy. For warmer weather I have a pair of tennis shoes and running work out shoes for the gym.

Really, there is not much one needs. I dressed plainly before, so this isn't a big leap for me. Keep what is necessary, eliminate everything else.

Miss Minimalist has the best travel assortment I have found on the web. She manages to fit all the clothes she needs for travel in a large purse. In comparison, I definitely need to cut down!

For more insights on minimalist living, I would definitely check it out. It doesn't have much of anything to do with van dwelling or car life, but cutting back on the excess is a part of either way of life.


4/28 Car Truths: Food

Banana, Nutella,
peanut butter tortilla, yum!

Food!

Figuring out what food to buy, how much and working that into the whole budget for the month was a completely new experience for me. Originally, I tried giving myself a certain amount I could spend everyday. That didn't work out for two reasons: I would focus on buying little things over cheap larger purchases and I worked better having a set amount of money I could spend over the course of the week, as opposed to three dollars every day.

I have a small lunchbox cooler for small items that need to be stored for a couple of days and when the weather stayed cold enough I purchased different juices and fruits. Now that the weather is warming up (even though it's still snowing) I avoid large purchases that can go bad too quickly and stick to simple items.

For snacks and breakfasts, I mostly have granola bars (33-50 cents each, depending on the brand, Nature Valley honey is the cheapest), various nuts (10 bucks for a canister of cashews, almonds or 14 for pistachios). Peanut butter and tortillas are always a good bet. Carrots, apples and bananas are fruit and a vegetable that last for a couple of days while I munch on them. Those are the healthy food stuffs. I still occasionally have a one dollar burrito or hamburger from a fast food restaurant.

3/28 Car Truths: Parking


Parking!

Most van dwelling and other types of vagabond blogs mention Wal-Mart parking lots as the go to for free parking. Because my car life in Fort Collins is longer than a couple of days, and Wal-Mart is out of my way, I chose to park in various locations around down that I deemed safe.

After finding different places to park, I developed a sense to what locations are better to park than others. In the state of Colorado, it isn't illegal to sleep in a car, which might of helped with this. 

Instead of parking in neighborhoods with plenty of housing, I stayed near apartment complexes. This is a college town and having unfamiliar cars near apartment buildings is not unusual. 

Most of the time I parked on the street, near an apartment complex. Parking is sacred in Fort Collins and many apartment complexes have designed parking spots. Depending on the complex and the time I had to wake up in the morning (early is preferred), I parked in between two parked cars. That way, the people are already inside and no one parks next to you during the night.

I avoided down town and heavy party areas, as many students walk to different parties. I didn't want some dudes looking in the car and seeing me, like before.

I avoided parking near street lamps for two obvious reasons; to make it harder to see in to the car and because its harder to sleep with bright lights shining down on you.

Friday, April 19, 2013

2/28 Car Truths: Drinking

Drinking!

Safely drinking can be an issue even when one does have a home. The several times I have gone out drinking started and ended pretty smoothly: stayed at a friends house till morning and slept down town in my car. Then there's just practicing good old moderation and staying fit to drive (no more than two drinks).

A couple of weeks ago my friends invited me out for a ~girls night~ which included a free lobster dinner. I know, right?! My friend won a Red Lobster gift card and took another friend and myself out for a night on the down. What a pal.

At the restaurant, I had an Irish Coffee and two tequila shots.

At the house party afterwards, I had a shot and two cheerleader beers.

When it got time to leave, our two DDs decided that it would be easier to pick up my car and one of them drive it to the dorms and the second one follow to drive the first DD back home.

I've been telling my mom and friends I live on campus; which is technically true. I do live off the facilities on campus: Rec Center, bathrooms, Study Cube. 



Not exactly knowing how to handle this, a little drunk I played along, rode in my car with my friend to the dorms. The second DD and her waited for me to "go inside" so that I would be safe.

I sneaked around a tight corner and hid until they left. Once the truck drove out of sight, I ran to my parked car.

Always have a plan. Always drink according to that plan. I also would suggest not to have alcohol in your car, to avoid problems if the cops run into you.

1/28 Car Truths: Piddle

To celebrate the final 28 Days Before Graduation, this is a series to highlight some of the features of living in a car. While the past couple of posts have been more about life and personal preferences, this blog is still themed on the essentials of car life.

Piddle!

When I first started this blog, I tried to be as gender neutral as possible. I'm a girl and being homeless is a dangerous situation to put myself in.

As I near the end of my stay in Fort Collins and have the perspective that no one really reads my blog, I'm starting to care less about how I represent myself.

Sometimes, I forget right before bed that I live in my car.

Sometimes, I'm out with friends and feel so normal again.

Sometimes, I forget to use the fucken toilet before I go to bed.

This is important. To better understand my situation, try waking up and not immediately relieving your bladder. Try it. Drink a whole glass of water before you go to bed. Go for a thirty minute walk, stay in bed for a little while.

I've pissed outside four times because I didn't think I could make it to the nearest campus facility with a restroom. Behind my car at four in the morning, behind the dorms around nine, in the corner of fences behind a bush sometime around seven, and behind a brick wall next to a statute.

If I want to do anything, it has to in public facilities and some times I mess up and forget that I rely on such places.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Full-time Online Favs of Mine!

Previously, I posted my aspirations and thoughts over work, creativity and online artists. Over the years, I, like many online folks, follow a mixture of online sources for entertainment. Here are some of the...

Full-time Online Favs of Mine!

Taken from Hodge's Deviant Art pic

Most of my submissions will probably be webcomics, as my interests tend to steer toward the comic variety. Since high school, when I first heard of webcomics, I have been following Candi comics, by Starline Hodge. A talented story teller, who consistently posts comics strips on a weekly basis, Starline is also a professional graphic designer and a Sailor Moon fan. (My favor scout is Sailor Saturn.)

Candi is posted at candicomics.com
Starline also has a "tumblog" and shares drawing tutorials and skilled fan art. starline.tumblr.com

Personally, I broke up around the same time Candi and Alex did with my boyfriend of three years, who pretty much left me for a booty call (Linda, in the comics). Before I transferred to CSU, my major was graphic design too. We definitely have a lot in common.

Candi lives in a world of relationship drama, flying ferrets from the science lab and a school funded "sexy police." Starline keeps the comic fresh and empathizes with all the characters in her writing, even when, as a reader, I don't want to. 



Vol. 1 of Ma3 is found here.

A lot of these stories start in high school, huh? Penny and Aggie is a finished webcomic, but I started reading it as a teenager. Starting off a typical popular girl versus rebel grrl, Penny and Aggie developed into a comic addressing multiple teenage issues. Gisele drew the comic and T. Campbell wrote the script. Right before Penny and Aggie ended, Gisele started her own comic (her first online comic to my knowledge is Cool Cat Studio, about a graphic design firm) Menage a 3.

The comic is centered around a struggling, virgin artist Gary and his two new room mates, rocker girl Zii (Suzy) and amazon beauty, Didi (Desiree). Gary is forced to find new room mates after the old ones, Matt and Dillion, hook up and want to move out together.

Featuring a load of sexual jokes and cliches the story is sexy, witty and appeals to a wide variety of internet dwellers. Gisele pioneered a collection of new comics with other artists, now running a network of webcomics. Eerie Cuties, Magick Chicks, Dangerously Chloe, and, just recently, Sticky Dilly Buns all have her stamp on them.


Found at the QC store.

Probably one of the most reliable webcomics out there. Questionable Content is a internet sitcom, featuring music aficionado, Martin Reed, his sarcastic drinking buddy and room mate, Faye and personal computer, if-the-internet-could-speak robot, Pintsize.

Questionable Content posts on a regular Monday thru Friday schedule. It's reliable, funny and has a stash of archives if you ever need to revisit episodes. I stick around for the romance/personal drama.

The Questionable Content store featured at Topatoco.com has a life of its own. The characters in the comic often wear the feature gear in the store, which host a variety of internet memes and inside storyline jokes. That one time in high school, I excelled at math and bought a "Math is Delicious" tote bag to carry my calculous books in.
Unfortunately, the tote is no longer in the store. Although, purchasing items from online retailers makes me feel like I'm a part of a secret society, lurking just below the surface of mall fashion and normalcy. 

I can't say that QC isn't secret; it's one of the most popular webcomics out there. A year of posting three times a week, Jeph quit his day job and began working full time, able to support his wife, adorable pyrenees pup and himself on the comic.


Older picture; more at biorequiem.com

Tried of me saying, "in high school?" Okay then, in middle school many of girls I knew, mostly online, but one IRL friend, liked Suicide Girls. As I stated previously, I tend to steer in more graphically and instead of adopting a Suicide Girl to like, I favored Zoetica Ebb.

A photographer and fashion connoisseur, "What's Zo Wearing?" was her featured article on the SG's website. Wearing motley clothes and a badass attitude, Zoetica stood out as a model character for some of my middle school art work. The original writer that I am, I created a space rocker named "abbyxia vvebb," who had a flying skateboard and played the drums. Many of the sketches of abbyx, had similar styles that Zo' wore in her articles; although all of them had my hair style and face. (abbyx didn't capitalize her name, a mixture of German grammar and futuristic trend setting.)

Currently, she's an LA artist, using her photographer, artistic, fashionable styles to do whatever the hell she wants: partnering up to create The Secret Guide to Alternative Beijing, her own Alien Botany project, helping to create and then leaving Coilhouse. I occasionally check her tumblr, just to be reminded that you can be weird full-time.


93, 100 Creatives

Cute creations and hot boys! What more could I ask for? The talented Florida artist, Danny Brito mixes different mediums to create one of a kind illustrations, accessories and pop culture references in his art work. He also owns a pug named Roxy, who is adorbz. He is another full-time artist I follow. Getting past his anxiety to produce self supporting art work is motivating.




Roxy is on the left
I recently found out about Danny Brito through my endless search for pug photos on the internet. He made a custom jeans shirt for his pug, Roxy, and an hour later of looking at his original work, I walked away impressed!

das Ende!

It appears most of my internet inspirations are a mix of morbidly cute personal dramas from sexy extraterrestrial moon, pug fans.