rax: (Twilight finds this reading confounding.)
I have a few problems/goals I want to ask the internet for suggestions regarding. So, hi Internet! There are a jillion things I could be doing, but these particular things are taking up a bunch of space in my head, so I want to get them resolved or at least in progress so they won't do that anymore. These issues include the emotional and the logistical.
  • I'm making awesome friends in Tucson who do not share the value with me that you should refer to people by the pronouns that those people prefer. This is obnoxious. I don't want to not be friends with them, and occasional requests for correction are doing jack all. I've been trying to present more neutrally with them so that there is some kind of physical cue, but everything I do just codes feminine or butch to them as far as I can tell. Is there something clever I can do here? If I say "I prefer they and would appreciate if you used that pronoun," they sort of nod and say yes and then just don't, and they aren't really open to talking about it. I don't expect to get it 100% of the time and that's fine, but I'd feel more comfortable with it if it happened sometimes, or if I felt I'd exhausted my options. (Maybe I'll ask Zury to pull them aside or something? I don't feel like it's done much good coming from me.)
  • I have this water feature --- a little circulating pond and waterfall thing --- and it's full of nasty plant gunk and algae and whatnot such that the thing is kind of clogged and also gross. That's fine, I can clean it! But... how? My current plan is to drain it, let it dry, sweep it out, pull stuff out with gloved hands if necessary, and then fill it back up. This feels pretty reasonable, but how do I drain a pond? I am considering some sort of shopvac, but I don't know what kind to get --- I probably want something where I can just suck up the water and let it go into the ground, not have to fill the tank, empty it out, fill the tank, empty it out a billion times. Who do I even ask this question? A hardware store? (I can't redirect the pump I already have elsewhere because the piping is all underground... I think. I should doublecheck that when it's not dark out.)
  • How stupid of an idea is a king-size bed? (I have a lifestyle that occasionally but not often calls for three people sleeping in a single bed, or I would not evenbe considering this.) If it's not stupid, how expensive of an idea is it? I'm used to platform beds with futon mattresses, and knew how to shop for those mostly, but then Dream On Futon in Cambridge closed and it turns out all I know how to do is buy things from them that are good and buy things from Amazon that look good but are actually kind of shitty. It's not even that I expect the Internet to have the answer to the question "what bed do I want, if any" --- that's a synthesizing-information thing that I'm good at --- but I don't even know where to start. Bonus points for things that aren't "go somewhere where people will try to sell me something," although I guess at some point if I decide I want to upgrade I will need to patronize an establishment and disburse funds.
  • I think I answered this last one with a duckduckgo search, so nevermind.
Thanks for reading, even if you don't have any suggestions. :)

Life update

Nov. 9th, 2011 09:11 am
rax: (N hearts you! This is dangerous.)
I am not just a machine that does tasklists, I promise. Of course this post is also a list, but it's not a tasklist, so at least it's something?
  • School: Is going better, overall, at least for me. I'm excited about my final projects even if they weren't what I initially hoped to be doing, and I'm seeing people on campus I can build alliances with. I'm also getting excited about theory again, which is never a bad thing. Occasionally I say things that make me sound a little crazy: "Yes, but I want to be interpellated as an animal by the state," but I'm actually being challeged in really productive ways by one professor and I appreciate that a lot.
  • Work: Remains... workly? Distance is beting harder these past couple of weeks than normal but after this weekend I will be less of a stressball and have some plans for trying to work on that. I'm getting some longer-term stuff done and that always feels a little more distancing because I am not talking to people about it every day. That doesn't mean it's not important.
  • Pokémon: I'll be in Providence playing competitive Pokémon this weekend. A: This is awesome. B: How is this my life. I don't actually think I'll do very well, because I've been putting my free time into school, work, and relationships rather than obsessively testing things in a card game. I am OK with this. It should still be fun.
  • Relationships: I got to see Ruth recently, which was great and amazingly stress-reducing and involved a lot of exciting cookery. (Getting together with people I am involved with or attracted to almost always results in our producing lots of food. I ... do not know what to make of this? Except mmmmm, seitan.) It looks like I will get to see her more often in a few months, which is even more exciting! Also, we're coming up on three years. Holy crap. Also, I got to have Rik over for like eleven days which just... wow. At first having both Rik and Krinn here was super confusing, but once I figured it out, that was really nice. It's amazing to feel so supported and to spend time with people who I love dearly. Also Rik made me a cake when I turned 27 again. <3 Clearly I need to trick everyone into moving to the same city in five years. The distance is hard, and having Rik leave Monday and then tomorrow leaving Krinn (who is amazing and wonderful to live with and I am sad when she leaves for work in the morning which is not to say that I'm unhappy that she has a job but that I would like to be sufficiently spoiled as to have someone to lean on at all times) to go to Boston is currently feeling way harder than I expected it to. It's kind of a crash. But Boston is Boston, so I think I will be OK.
  • Real estate: Pending extreme fuckery, the house in Bloomington will be sold as of tomorrow. That was an expensive mistake. Live and learn? Or maybe "make sure your advisor is happy somewhere before you buy real estate there?" I don't know. I'm not sure what the moral of this story was other than "ha ha sometimes you get fucked over by things that have nothing to do with you." I already knew that lesson, life. Why the repeats? Lucky for me, I am in a good enough state that getting fucked over only makes me sad, not in any sort of serious danger. Go team Nokia bought my startup I guess. When it's all over and done with, I am ritually washing my hands of Indiana.
  • Pronouns: I'll be writing another post about this soon, but my preferred pronoun is now "they." I'd appreciate it if you used that pronoun when referring to me. If you could hold your questions until the pronoun post, which I hope to write right after this one if work stays quiet, I'd appreciate it.
  • Overall: I am happier in Tucson than I was in Bloomington; I feel safer in Tuscon than I did in Bloomington; I am glad that I moved here. I still need to develop more of a local social group, but I feel better equipped to do that here and I've made some progress. I have friends. Who are not students. This rocks. Living in multiple time zones is still weird --- half of my clocks are set to Eastern time for work and half are set to local --- but it's producing interesting shifts in my thinking that I don't know how to express yet. I'm a huge stressball right now but I foresee things getting better; I have all of my hard assignments done except final papers and those are fun because I get to pick the topic and write about the stuff I've been thinking all semester, and I have some vacation days to actually use and have my time in California in December be calming. And some projects for fun that I am working on that are silly but fulfilling. So: Yay!
rax: (I have the technology. I can evolve you.)
  • Realized this morning while talking to Krinn that I am simultaneously very stressed and not depressed at all, which is unusual for me. It's kind of amazing, because I am not depressed, fuck yes. But in the past when I've been super stressed the depression was kind of a coping mechanism around not caring that much because, you know, nothing really matters. (Anyone can see.) And so why bother engaging with the stress? Right now, I care, dammit. I want to do well in my classes. I want to do well in my job. I want to support my friends and loved ones. And daaaaaang that's a lot of work. I will take it over the alternative, although I really want to reduce the stress, because I can feel it weighing on me (and I'm grinding my teeth in my sleep a lot, ugh --- this is something that has happened intermittently to me since I was small, and tends to go away when I get my stress levels back down to manageable, although apparently it has been pretty consistent lately; at one point I tried a mouthguard and it stopped the grinding but also caused me to wake up all the time, which was not worth it). 
  • Grad school: Classes are getting better, which is pretty great, and I am enjoying the majority of my readings a fair bit, even though occasionally I look at something like Descartes and think "While I understand that I should have read this in order to get a PhD in something humanitiesy, this is so fucking dumb." [0] I've also been spending time meeting faculty from other departments and traversing the academy in order to find people to work with on my research. I'm not quite sure where this process will end up yet but if nothing else the conversations are really exciting and fun. I actually found someone in academia who knew what a furry was! That was pretty awesome. There is also stupid departmental drama but it does not merit my or your attention to discuss further. [1] Overall I am feeling more excited and motivated, which was good, because I was at a really low point like a month ago.
  • Work: Has been slow this week, which is nice because I had a paper due yesterday. This working 6-2 or 6:30-2:30 thing is a little crazy, but ultimately works out. In general work is pretty awesome. I need to figure out when I next go and visit them; sometimes the phone can be a little tough. On the plus side, I am actually helping customers do real work of value, which is a hard feeling to beat. And I have metrics! And I do well at them! Oh, if only gender studies had metrics.
  • Pokemon: This is sort of my main leisure-time activity? I played in some tournaments, came away with one Championship Point (if you get enough, you get an invite to the World Championships), and most importantly had a lot of fun. I got a little down at one event where I made a stupid mistake and lost a chance at a very high place because of it, but what can you do? ... If you are me the answer is apparently "play a bunch of games of speed chess afterward to calm your nerves." One of the people I played with said "It's cool, dude, this is just for fun" and my response was "This is how I have fun." He gave me a look, which was fair, but I wasn't joking. I will be going to a Regionals tournament, which should be much bigger and allow me to meet lots of new people. It's sort of like meeting new people through chess, except everyone isn't either a middle-aged man or a nine-year-old prodigy. [2]
  • Tucson: Making friends is slow but proceeds apace; feeling enmeshed in the community will take some more work, which I hope to put in over time. But oh my god the climate, the geography, the materiality of this place are so perfect for me. I love the mountains. I love the sky. I love the air, I love the bike lanes, I love the plant life, I even love the terrifying peccaries who show up in packs and hold my house under siege. (Seriously. Pigs the size of small wolves.) I wish I had more time to engage with it all. I need to prioritize engaging with it all. I, just, it's mid-October and the high today is 93. HOW DID I EVER LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE.
  • House in Bloomington: Is pending a sale with a signed offer. I am not counting my chickens until they hit puberty, but this is promising. I will be losing a ton of money but I am just, barely, by a finger, in the range of acceptable losses.
  • Friends and loved ones: A lot of people very dear to me are going through some really bad shit right now, and that is part of why I am so stressed. There's not so much I can do about it, but I do what I can; if there's something I can do for you that I don't realize, please drop me a line. I don't have a lot of temporal resources, but I have many other kinds. And I care. <3
  • In conclusion: I'm a stressball (oh god am I a stressball, fur flying everywhere) but I am nonetheless happy. Reducing stress levels is probably important longterm, but I prefer this situation to a whole lot of recent alternatives.


[0] Terrifying thought: Do other people think this about the authors I like??
[1] It is based on real issues and has real effects on people I care about, and thus is worth mentioning, but the way to deal with that is not to rehash it all on LJ.
[2] This is sort of an unfair characterization --- in particular there were a couple of awesome women who were also very strong players in the Boston chess scene --- but it's how it feels at large events especially. And I'm being nice to Pokemon; while there are a lot more women in the game overall, the top levels are still mostly male, and a lot of the online community is awfully... representative of structural gender inequalities and biases. So far though tournaments and leagues have been super pleasant, and the only person I've seen do something obviously sexist was a twelve-year-old who shat a brick when I called him on it.
rax: (ADORAVUL[PIX])
OK. So.
  • Moved to Arizona. Oh god it's warm, and I'm not biking much yet because I need to find a store and get them to put cleats on my shoes because my old right bike shoe is doing something terrible to my knee and oh god that needs to stop right now. But it's beautiful and the fruit trees (avocado!!!) and little lizards everywhere and cacti don't trigger my plant phobia and maybe it was just that I hated grass? The dirt here doesn't read as dirt, it's amazing. There are, like the song says, little fluffy clouds everywhere. It's weird --- driving with Krinn from SF to LA, arriving in Los Angeles suddenly felt like home. I lived there, what, nine months? And only sort of liked it? But rolling through downtown on the highway with the mountains looming felt really right, and it was really freaky that Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant was back in its old location but there's a mall there now instead of a wasteland, and leaving LA I cried a little and am still not quite sure why. Tucson triggers a bunch of the same feelings for me on a purely geographic level, plus it's more bikable and less expensive. As much as it's not San Francisco or Seattle, I think I am going to enjoy living here for a while.
  • Moved in with Krinn. So far, so good. She's awesome and we cook food for each other and between her and the desert I am eating a lot more salad. (Although today's dinner was a bunch of natto on rice with soy sauce, because we'd had salad between lunch and dinner because we were hungry, and dammit I wanted natto.) It's weird adjusting to sharing living space so closely again --- I switch between "my" and "our" a lot on things and we're still tripping over each other a little bit. Though part of that is the boxes. Also it is nice to have a Race for the Galaxy partner who pushes me to perform at my best. Also, have I mentioned that Krinn is wonderful, and wonderful for me? I'm pretty sure I have, but just in case. It's going to take me a long time not to be leery of long-term commitments but I can see this working out for quite a while, and I hope we make it work, and make it awesome, and, just, meow.
  • Pokemon. Surprisingly, the TCG has sort of become my main hobby. Did I mention here that I went to Nationals and came out with a winning record? I'm not, like, good good but I've been one of the better players at most leagues I've attended. Also, I passed the Professor test --- yes, the Pokemon Organized Play allows you to test into "Professor" status --- so now I can help organize league play, run tournaments, and that kind of thing. There are two leagues in Tucson, and I'm already helping out! The main organizers will all be at the World Championships next week, so I'm in charge. Eeeeeeeek! [0] It's a cool way to interact with folks who aren't graduate students or software engineers, which I need more of in my life, and in particular to do something involving kids that does not involve having to deal with them for more than a few hours a week. Since I think people here might have good suggestions: If I wanted to commission art for a custom playmat, most likely of a Vulpix and an Oshawott doing something adorable, who should I ask? [1]
  • Graduate school. Dealing with administrivia is kinda frustrating me right now, and it looks like I may not get to take the classes that are my first choice. But I like the people I've met from the department so far, and I am really excited about getting back into DEEP THOUGHT. At the moment I'm sort of looking at my time and saying "Augh this is going to be my fifth year of graduate school? And I need twelve more classes before I can even take quals?" The transfer rules here are frustrating. But what can you do, other than take the classes, tailor the projects in the classes toward your dissertation, and get a head start on research? Not much. So that's what I'm going to do.
  • Work. Actually still pretty awesome. I've been working like 6:30-2:30 or something, since I have to have 7:30 meetings most days, which is a little annoying. But it means that the afternoon starts and I can do things during business hours and if I need to take an hour off from work in the morning to do some household thing or whatever, it's really easy to make up the time. It also means my class schedule and my work schedule will fit together with minimal difficulty. So that's pretty awesome. I kind of want to go back to the office --- when I'm there I miss the flexibility of working at home and being able to take cat breaks or work from a couch, but I also really enjoy easy access to ask folks questions. I'm getting better, still, about just calling when I really want to talk to someone. They can always just not answer the phone. I should also meet up with the other work-from-home coworker in Seattle when I'm there in August. Or September. Which leads me to:
  • Travel. My only planned travel right now is August to Seattle and September to Seattle! The September trip is technically for Rainfurrest but realistically it's a trip to Seattle and Rainfurrest happens to also be there. In this fall I'd like to also hit Boston, Texas, maybe SF, probably Seattle again [2]. Oh and I'm still waiting to hear back from a conference in LA, cross your fingers for me. Is there anywhere else I should go before January? (Rhode Island, but that'll get combined with Boston.)
  • Catgirl Goth Rave: I'm thinking San Francisco again, ideally after my semester is over, so sometime in December. Would love to see you all there.
  • Oh, I still own a house in Indiana. Anyone want to buy it? Please? I'm probably going to end up taking a decent loss on it. That's sort of OK because I could really use that taxwise this year, but it's not like it's a win. It's just a mitigated loss. Ah well. My new house is so much cooler anyway.

footnotes )
rax: (Pinkie Pie does not exude decorum.)
After all of that, despite being on a later flight than I was supposed to be out of ORD and only because I tossed my sandals in my bag and sprinted barefoot through the airport, I caught the last third of the ceremony, had lunch with my family [0], and made it back to the airport in time to have my flight back to ORD be delayed, potentially jeopardizing my getting home on time, and... I don't even care that much. I did what I came here to do, and it was worth doing, and as far as I can tell the Rik-Zury-Nicole assemblage is proceeding apace and better in my absence in terms of housing-related stuff. So if I get in at a slightly stupider hour than planned? I will survive. I will not be thrilled, but I will survive.

Also yesterday in my nine-store errand run of doom, I retail therapied myself a new MacBook Air. So far here are my impressions:
  • Transferring information from an older laptop over wifi takes foreeeeeeeeeeveeeeeeeeer. [1]
  • The hardware is so fucking gorgeous. Oh man. I look at MacBook Pros now and think "how chunky and blah." The keyboard is wonderful and the screen resolution is high enough that I could turn up my font size on my main terminal window! That's really exciting, I promise.
  • Lion... meh? They made Spaces less good (no more horiz/vert grid layout, harder to access, requires going into detailed documentation to find it at all), the iOS-style dashboards thing does not excite me, and you can't set a universal desktop pattern, you have to set it per space. Also you can't right-click the dock anymore to get the dock configuration widget and I realize that's really minor but it bothers me.
  • The main reason I got this, other than "every two years I kind of want a new laptop," is that I spent two months of the last twelve living out of a single bag, and I suspected that the space in the bag and, to a lesser extent, the weight saved by using a smaller laptop would matter. I am not sure yet, but I suspect that it will be at least a little better, and maybe a significant improvement.
  • ...plus I just like touching it
  • The process of buying it was... very Apple, and not in a way I really liked. I wanted to walk up to a counter and say "Hi, I want to buy this laptop." Instead I had to touch an iPad and tell it I wanted someone to come help me, and wait for someone to come help me, and then he showed up and kept having to go back and forth to get things, and the credit card was declined at first (not Apple's fault), and you just sort of mill around buying things and then rather than taking the thing with you and setting it up, they want you to unbox it in front of them, and are all "You do the honors" as if you are unwrapping something truly special and not just the laptop you decided you wanted because the really good Vaios are like $2000. I found it really weird. I had considered ordering it online, but I would have had to pay taxes anyway (AZ's sales taxes are ridiculous, y'all are shitty libertarians, 9% sales tax and no public trash pickup?? What the hell are you spending the money on? [2]) and this meant I could take it with me on this trip. Which was super nice last night, because long battery life.
Relatedly I am soooooooooo tired. When this flight gets here --- they are claiming in 5 minutes or so and only being 5 or 10 minutes late --- I am getting on first, using my privilege frequent flyer status, and trying to fall asleep before it takes off.

[0] Well, I watched my family eat lunch. But that is what Rachels do at restaurants.

[1] Wait is it firefox that won't let me press-to-repeat anything but vowels, or OS X? whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat.

[2] Probably we spend it on racism. ;_;

Edited to try to make crosspost happen!

rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
Made it.

Everyone is in one piece.

Selene and Leo are sufficiently not-hating us that they are in the bedroom with me while I write this.

No real internet yet, but hooray for phone tethering.

THERE IS AN AVOCADO TREE WITH TONS OF FRUIT I WIN THE FRUIT TREE GAME, also there are figs and pumpkins (what?) and maybe some kind of citron and maybe just possibly but probably not but possibly mango?

Cleaning is needed and figuring out which light switches go to what and which bulbs are burnt out and also the frog sculpture in the shower HAS TO GO but overall this house is amazing and I am excited to be living here and Tucson has bike lanes like everywhere and only taking two classes will hopefully mean I get to have a teeny tiny bit of a life outside of work and school.

...and soon the patches on the air mattress will have settled and I can go to sleep. Probably no more posts from me until after I get back from Wisconsin, but who knows. also in 24 hours I will be on an airplane what
rax: (Benten guitar case)
OK! So, not that you all necessarily care, but I have the move mostly planned out now. It will go something like this:
  • Ongoing: PAAAAAAACK
  • Ongoing: Make list of things to bring in van
  • Before Jul 20: Get one or two air mattresses
  • Jul 15: Rik arrives
  • Jul 18: Trailer arrives
  • Jul 18-20: Fill trailer with most things I own
  • Jul 20: Trailer leaves
  • In between: Prep food for travel for me, since I can't eat truck stop food at all
  • Jul... 21? 22? 23?: Start drive to Tucson, caravanning with Rik and me in my car and [livejournal.com profile] zanazibar and N. in their car. (There's a possibility we'll have another driver; we don't need to fly in like four people anymore, though, thank god.)
  • Next day: Arrive at house, unpack cats, crash
  • Jul 25: Trailer arrives
  • Jul 25-27: Unpack trailer
  • Jul 28: Rik flies to Seattle, I fly to San Francisco
  • Jul 29: Sit at Wicked Grounds or something and work all day
  • Jul 30: Wander SF with Krinn, maybe some social time
  • Jul 31: Drive from SF to Tucson with Krinn and her things
  • Aug 1: unpack Krinn's things
Yes, I am moving across the country and then immediately flying a thousand miles to help someone else move. Given the choice between awesome and reasonable, I will generally pick awesome.

House!

Jun. 20th, 2011 10:04 pm
rax: (Pinkie Pie is SO EXCITED!)
Made an offer and accepted a counteroffer on 2565 E Prince, Tucson, AZ 85716. (Google's knowledge of the place is busted; Zillow's is not.) Barring the inspection going terribly or something, I'll be moving around July 22. They're unwilling to fix the hot tub, which needs some repair. I WILL SURVIVE EVEN THIS. (by fixing the hot tub myself because HOT TUB) Seriously, for a tiny amount more than my house in Bloomington, this is just... whoah. It has a fig tree. I am going to sit in my yard by my koi pond eating figs from my fig tree. How will this be my life. Oh did I mention that the master suite is two stories tall and the second story has a library with stained-glass windows and a deck that looks out on the mountains? Because it is and it does! ...it doesn't have a door but who's counting. ;) (I might just put up a bead curtain, because cats. Whatever, we will work it out.)

Oh, and speaking of awesome, it looks like my girlfriend [livejournal.com profile] krinndnz  is going to be joining me there, if not immediately after I move, within a month or so. This is a huge thing and an awesome thing and a little scary and we're really excited to be doing it. There will be two rooms for housemates; one of them will probably be [livejournal.com profile] zanazibar and the other one... we have no idea yet! Clearly we need to find a fourth furry gender theorist. I'm sure Tucson is large enough that it will have another one. ;)

ohmygodohmygodohmygod<3



rax: (kotone/silver hug awwwwwwwwh)
  • I've listed my house for sale; I'm hoping to keep my losses under 10K. Ow. I'm very lucky to begin with to (a) own a house and (b) be able to soak a loss of 10K not happily but without serious suffering. I am totally in the first world problems zone here, maybe the 0.5th world problems zone. Nonetheless... Ow. Chances I will still be living here in three months? Vanishingly slim. I'm in touch with a realtor in Tucson; obviously I'm not picking a new place until I am For Sure Absolute Reals guaranteed a position there, but things look likely and I feel confident and so that's the plan I'm working with. I may even have a full house on arrival, but I don't want to jinx that too much, so I'll talk more about it later. 
  • You may be unsurprised to hear that despite no longer being in classes at all, I am only a bit less busy than I was a month ago, thanks to work eating more of my time and having to deal with the house and Arizona stuff and all manner of nonsense and froofery. I'm way less stressed, though if you hadn't seen me a month ago you probably wouldn't believe that given how stressed I still am, but if you did, you know. :)
  • As part of being less stressed, and also as part of having a houseguest, I've been making more interesting food recently! I've done vegan pizza a couple of times, seitan lentil curry, vegan chicken fried steak (inspired by though different from this recipe), pancakes... we're talking about doing some kind of seitan in cherry-currant sauce over couscous tonight, though we have a bunch of oil left over from last night and we might just see what's left in the house that we can fry. :) We were mumbling about onion rings...
  • In the last few weeks I've learned that, upon re-reading my prose, I can usually take a few words out of every paragraph and improve the paragraph by so doing. I think this is a fine thing, as long as I remember to go and do this all the time. I suspect that some of my older writing may be hella wordy, unless using crazy long clauses is something I've picked up recently by reading crazy long-winded philosophers. Either way oh my god I keep catching myself using five words to say things like "to" or "and." ^^;; This may have something to do with why I always find myself struggling against the top edge of wordcount limits and not the bottom one... (see also last semester's 12000 word final paper, which was just ridiculous)
  • Speaking of which, that paper's been in submission --- revised, down to 8000 words --- to a journal for almost two and a half months. I suspect I am at least going to get a peer review back... This is exciting and also terrifying. Oh, I have a talk proposal out to a conference, too. I need to submit more of those this summer; I have a couple of papers that are some revision away from a reasonable conference talk, I think. And one paper that... man, I like the theoretical moves I was making, but I dunno about the paper as a whole. I may take one section out of it and build it into something else and let the rest go. I'm gonna sit on it for a while and then come back to it and see what I think.

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