Open Loops

Whoops, it’s been a minute. Life happens, you know?

I’ve been doing some thinking and I think I’m bogged down recently by having too many open loops. I’m borrowing the term from Getting Things Done, which basically means “things I have to do that I haven’t finished, delegated, put into the process of getting done, gotten as far as I can on my own and am waiting for someone else’s input, etc.” It’s stressful, you know? A semi-cogent list of the ones I have right now includes:

  • Car is overdue for an oil change and general maintenance
  • Reading three books at once and wanting to be done with them so i can move onto other things. I’m enjoying all of them, but I’ve been wanting to study more computer stuff and don’t want to start a new book until I’m done with ’em.
    • Those books are No Time to Spare and Birthday of the World by Ursula K LeGuin, and Five Billion Years of Solitude by Lee Billings. All three of which I’ve been working on on and off for like two months now.
  • Whatever homework I have due in any given week
  • Finishing Python Crash Course
  • Getting my second space in the house set up to be cozy and productive
  • Some miscellaneous gardening stuff
  • Editing The Shivering Deeps (I have tons of great beta notes, but I need to implement them!)
  • Uploading the rest of the chapters of a furry story I’ve been putting up at ~*~ zee secret place ~*~
  • Doing some direct community action, like guerilla gardening, putting up benches, etc.

There’s probably other stuff, but you get the idea. Lots of stuff I’m halfway through and it’s fraying my brain to have it all sitting there half-done or undone.

So I think I want to focus this next week or two on getting as much of these done as possible. Hopefully without driving myself insane. Some of them are just going to take longer than that, but wrapping up one or two of the books should be doable, along with at least having a plan for the gardening stuff, getting rolling on Shivering Deeps, that sort of thing.

And then maybe I’ll have brainspace for other projects I’d like to be working on. Right now I mostly want to shift computer studying stuff to learning more networking and infosec again, so I’m more hireable in that department. And to free up enough cycles that doing some of the bigger stuff, like the novel editing, is more manageable, both from a brainspace and time perspective.

So yeah, that’s what’s going on in my head at the moment. Whee!

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Essential Reading: Protestors Stop Alt-Right at Hamilton Pride

Alt-right protestors holding up signs. In front of them is a large black wall-like structure being held up by pink t-shirt mask wearing protestors.

The only image that does this justice is the images from the protest. (c) 2019 either Northshore Counter Info or It’s Going Down, not sure. Source.

CWs (incl. for linked article): violence, cops, acab, alt-right, blood, anti-LGBT slurs

Sometimes, people are fucking badass. We need more activism like this at Pride events, and also all the time. Anarchist activists took it upon themselves to block alt-right protestors from having their message heard at pride, and when things got violent, the community rallied around them even as the cops stood by and did nothing.

[…] the Pride Committee had no plan to deal with the haters. The Pride Committee was simply hoping the cops would take care of the situation, and when that didn’t happen, they were too cowardly to even acknowledge what had really gone on: that more than 70 empowered queers and allies put their bodies on the line to confront the haters and, after sustaining multiple serious injuries and running our voices ragged, had demoralized and beat them back to the point that they decided to leave – something they rarely do.

The story of Pride 2019 is not one of an orderly and colourful celebration with clever permitting by the organizers. It’s one of brutal homophobia and awe-inspiring community bravery.

Read the whole thing here: Report Back on Defending Hamilton Pride from Far-Right

(And here’s a PDF backup copy of the article in case IGD goes down at some point.)

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Fresh Disappointment in 30 Minutes or Less

Guess who has two thumbs and got rejected with a form letter two days after applying to that job he really wanted?

This guy!

*sigh*

I mean, so it goes. But it’s frustrating. I did e-mail one of the people I work with at the library to see if they happen to have any idea of the why I got rejected. (Although the person handling the hiring process isn’t someone who works at the library itself, so who knows if the people I work with at the library have any insight into how they think.) It’d be nice to know if it’s something I can work on or just one of those “sorry, the experience timeframe was a hard requirement and we can’t change/bend it” sort of things.

Which puts me back onto the path I was already on on, despite some exciting veering into the weeds towards Adventure there. So I’ll keep training at my current job, try to do well at it, and keep working on finishing grad school and building my skills so I can move on up to something I’m more passionate about. No offense to records collection, it’s just where I want to be for the rest of my life, you know?

Bleh.

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Library Application Submitted!

Agent Paper from the Read or DIe OVA controlling several sheets of paper as they fly through the air.

Sending in my application looked nowhere near this cool. Source.

Woof, and it’s in! I applied to a position that’s opened up at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. You know, that place I volunteer that I super ove? In a field I really care about? In a subfield of that overall field that I really really care about?

NOT NERVOUS AT ALL.

But I’m happy to have put my best foot forward. Hopefully it’ll work out! *crosses fingers*

Good vibes and thoughts and such sent my way for this job would be greatly appreciated. I’ll be sure to keep y’all updated!

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(Animal) Crossing Back Over Into New Leaf

An animal crossing player character sitting on a bench under a green umbrella in the rain, looking out over the cliff the bench is on.

The sense of place this game evokes in its best moments is incredible.

I picked up my copy of Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the first time in ages this week. I bought it when I went to visit my family this last Christmas, and didn’t play it much after I got back. But I was craving playing Pokemon, charged up my 3DS, and then realized New Leaf was in the cartridge slot. So I figured I should check in on my fledgling town of Thistle and see how things had gone after a new mayor arrived to town, hung out for a few days, and then disappeared for months.

There were weeds everywhere, and the citizens basically all thought I’d gone and died, but were generally happy to see me again. I had to convince Antonio, my best honkbro, to not move. But Isabelle had kept everything running in my absence, so my strange town of animal people, one badly-placed bridge, and feral goldfish was in good shape. Continue reading

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Essential Reading: Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now

This article stressed the hell out of me over the weekend, but what it’s saying is important to know. We’ve reached the point where about half of Americans can’t afford the basics. At least not all at the same time. You know, food, healthcare, shelter, those sorts of things. Just the stuff we need to live.

“Half of Americans Are Effectively Poor Now. What The?” by umair haque

I’m still chewing on what I think about this. Beyond that we should at least tax the shit out of the rich, destroy capitalism, and/or work outside the system to bring about change. Because our system clearly isn’t working. But more thoughts on that after I’ve actually properly considered it.

For now, please just go read the article.

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City Living

A young woman sits alone at a table, looking into her cup of coffee, in an automat. The light fixtures are reflected in the dark window, chained reflections stretching out into the night.

Automat, by Edward Hopper, 1927. Source.

Author’s note: This one’s a bit of a ramble. Also Content Warning for some mental health discussion.

Last night, I was having trouble getting to sleep. Well, more trouble than my usual, which is borderline narcoleptic. So probably the average amount, where my brain stayed awake while I was reading the excellent No Time to Spare, a collection of Ursula K LeGuin’s blog posts, and instead I had to lay there with the lights off looking up at my ceiling. Or over at the red-glowing LED clock, or the little green light that lets me know the humidifier is on and making sure Jabberwocky gets to keep her fabulous skin condition.

I eventually shut off the fan, too, because it’s right next to my head and loud and sometimes even white noise is too much noise. I wanted to listen to the wind rustling the leaves outside my window. But I heard a lot of other things, too. Someone revving their engine as they drove past. The sound of a cluster of sirens in the distance. It was more than I wanted to be hearing, but the world does not obey my whims, and it’s one of the tradeoffs of living in the city. You’re always close to everyone else. You hear your neighbor laugh or the TV in some other apartment. Cars are always going to be passing by at odd hours. And the sirens, when you hear them, are probably not meant for you, but you can still feel sad that someone needs urgent help in the middle of the night, and happy that two of the three organizations that use sirens are probably going to give it to them.

I found myself thinking about if I’m cut out to live in the city. By sheer years, I’ve mostly lived in suburbia. Davis, while a fully-functional city in its own right, is not a dense place by any means. It’s quiet, and even the smaller triplex places like my childhood home still look out over farm fields, distant railroad tracks, and lonely county roads, or are within spitting distance of them. Irvine, where I went to college, was a weird pocket in the middle of suburbia, where things were begrudgingly put in walking distance to each other, but as soon as you left the immediate vicinity of the campus it was big residential areas complete with lawns and probably the occasional picket fence, all connected by choked freeways. After that, I wanted to move to the city. To a place where there’s more than one open mic night, where you rarely see the same stranger twice, where things are close and buses exist and there are jobs and and bunches of little coffee shops queers and bars it’s not an anomaly to flirt with said queers in. Continue reading

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Horribly Cute

Jerry, peeking out of his rocky hide during a shed. You can just see a big flap of dead skin hanging off his right side, and a few more shreds around his left leg.

No big post today, just Jerry, showing the horror that goes into him being so cute. He SHEDS. And sometimes, I manage to catch him partway through. You can see a big flap of old skin hanging out over his right shoulder, and some next to his left foot as well.

See, he’s not cute all the time. Sometimes he’s cute and terrifying. 😀

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Summer Projects

A close-up of a small succulent growing out of a glass pot.

They’ll grow! Like succulents! Listen, finding an image for this post was hard.

In theory, this list could be pretty much infinite, because I’m me and I always want to do more than I can. But I thought it’d be good to put some of my project ideas out into the world. Some of these are more like personal development goals, but they’re skill-building and have end points or at least successfully-taken-off points, so I’m listing them here, too.

Re-learn Japanese

My Japanese was never incredible, but I got to basic conversational level at one point and now it’s all rust. I miss practicing a foreign language, so I’m going to get back into it. I’m using the fluent forever guy’s method, which is outlined well enough in this old lifehacker post. Mostly because what I really need is vocabulary drilling, and some grammar refreshing. Plus, this is one of the few language learning methods I’ve found that’s compatible with “starting in the middle,” whereas something like Duolingo will either start me too early or I’ll have weird gaps because I don’t happen to remember themed word group x.

If I ever manage to nail down Japanese, learning French or Spanish or Polish or Gaelic would be fun. But one language at a time. 🙂

Finish My Python Book

One thing I realized over the start of my time at my new job is that this particular position needs to be a stop along the way rather than a final destination, and I need to get moving along sooner rather than later. I’d be happy enough to stay with the company, but I need to move into a position that pays more because I’ll be making juuuust enough to survive on, and it’d be good to have more of a cushion if I could manage it. So I’d like to finish what I started, vis a vis Python, and add a valuable new skill to my resume and stay in practice programming-wise.

More infosec learning will happen after this is done. Continue reading

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10 Minutes

I have ten minutes left in the last break of my work day, and I don’t know if I’m going to have any time to blog or write after work today. So here we are, in the imperiled lands of stream of consciousness. If you see James Joyce gutted with a spear a few miles back, uh, you never saw me, okay?

Things seem to be falling into place a little better at the day job today. I woke up tired but not particularly sick, a trend that has thankfully continued throughout the rest of the day. The work is now more of that, work, albeit in a training environment, so I’m getting the hang of the software I’m going to be working with. And while I’ve had trouble focusing, it hasn’t been hopelessly so. I’m pretty sure I’m still too slow for the standards of performing the actual job, but it’s been sort of vague so far, and due to the training requiring me to write down my plan and check it with a trainer before I actually do it, I know I can go faster pretty much by default once I’m not having all of my work double-checked. Doing it this way has been a very useful training exercise, though. Effective! Always good.

Five minutes left.

I’ve also found that hanging out for an hour after work is pretty tops in terms of having time to get some writing done. Basically no one’s in the kitchen/lounge/whatever past 5pm, so working on my laptop until 6 or so isn’t awkward. And then the traffic’s cleared up so I’m not in a hell commute.

That won’t be the case today, as I have somewhere to be at six, so I can’t wait out the traffic. Alas. But having a rhythm where I spend longer at my physical place of work but still get to do my own stuff and be off the clock for the extra bit is a nice enough compromise for now.

So things are going okay. Not great, but okay. And I’m okay with that.

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