rax: (Benten guitar case)
So if the stuff earlier this week wasn't enough, I found out soon afterwards that Krinn isn't moving to Tucson, you know, Monday as previously planned. This is for a great reason --- she got offered an awesome job in Seattle --- but it still sucks for me, since I was really looking forward to her being here and now... that's not a thing I am doing. :/ (We'd negotiated that she could and should hunt for a job elsewhere up until the deadline, which in retrospect was a really dumb thing for me to negotiate because I hate uncertainty, but, well, education is what happens when you don't get what you want, as Rik likes to say.) This leaves me with a few options, which I'm going to discuss here, in part because it's a useful way to organize my thoughts and in part because I really would like some help figuring out what the heck to do here. Krinn and I are pretty committed to living together, and we're both willing to move to do it, although it would be a bit of a stretch to say that either of us wants to move. (Separately, I am so ready to be done living airplanes-only distance from all of my partners. I would like to be done with that... Well, I was kind of looking forward to Monday. Still a little bitter. If this is still the case for me in 2016 I will be very unhappy.)

Option one is --- I could just move to Seattle! There are some things about this that are awesome: Krinn loves Seattle, I have some friends in Seattle, there's good vegan food, there's a good Pokemon scene (although I wouldn't be nearly as in charge as I am here), there's decent public transit in the city itself, Rik is, at least right now, there. (He, Rowan, and Timber, all of whom I count as important to me, may be leaving at some point, so I'm hesitant to be like "I will settle there!! Rik will be there!!!" but... seeing Rik all the time, that would be pretty great.) The biggest downside is the climate. I get sad in the winter in ARIZONA. I get cold at night IN ARIZONA. I'm actually allergic to the cold, like, I break out in hives, it's bad. I hate rain. I hate clouds. Climatewise, I know with certainty, I will hate Seattle. Seattle's also much more expensive than here; between Krinn and I, we can afford to live somewhere almost as nice as where I live now, but a lot of incidentals are more expensive and owning a car would not feel effectively free [0] --- although maybe I could just not own a car, which frankly, would be kind of okay. (In a city with goodish transit, I would mostly need a car for getting to card game tournaments and for carrying large objects; these can be accomplished with zipcar and asking friends for favors. I'm used to being the friend asked for favors and I don't mind that role --- 1 car per 4-5 people in a social group seems right to me --- maybe I could just not be the person with the car for once?) There are also social issues: Some folks there don't much care for me, which is fine, h8rs gonna h8, but they're in Krinn's social group and figuring out how to handle that is not a thing I look forward to? I think it's perfectly manageable, just, not a source of warm fuzzy feelings, you know?

Option two is --- Krinn could work the job in Seattle for a year, settle debts and accrue savings, and then move down to Tucson in December or something! In some ways I like this solution the best, because dude, I'd get to stay in Tucson. I love Tucson most of all the places I've lived by a wide margin. I have a community here, I'm making the community here better by running events and taking care of children and I'm like. a mentor? I am a mentor here. It's bizarre, it's not what I imagined myself doing, but it's super important to me and I don't want to leave and also the sun is bright and the skies are blue and the mountains are beautiful and I will miss my mountains if I leave oh god. Krinn didn't have a great time when she was here a couple of years ago --- it's a little small for her, it's hotter than she'd like in the summer, and it doesn't have the kind of tech industry that would like to give you piles of money to play with fun computer problems. There's also not much of her community down here, which is a major thing. At the same time, she could build a community, and taking a stab at that while less depressed would probably work better, and she's had a great time when she's come to visit while in a better headspace? So it's not such a bad move for her that I think it would be terrible for her to take it, but it would definitely involve sacrifices for her and that's a thing I'm very mindful of. ...Also we wouldn't get to live together for another year. That part's ass.

Option three is --- We could wait a year and then both move to a third place. We were originally considering a third place before she got an awesome job and my financial situation got tighter, and it's something we could still work towards and achieve. It would probably take around a year, so similar to option two. (And part of the negotation for either of the first two options is that if one of us was like "I just hate this place" we'd move together.) This has a lot of potential upside, but I think we're both pretty much in our favorite places to live now? (Krinn might prefer San Francisco by a hair, I don't think she's sure.) There's also the weird thing that our lists of places we're willing to live are pretty divergent --- mine is like "Tucson, Providence, ooh, maybe Albuquerque, I could survive with Phoenix or I guess LA" and Krinn's is "Seattle, San Francisco, maybe Portland?? San Diego's probably tolerable" and there's a clear pattern where I want to live either in the desert or in my homeland and Krinn wants to live in a large West Coast city. [1] It's likely that we'll live in a large West Coast city eventually because I worry Krinn would like Providence less than I'd like Portland, Oregon? And I want us to find the thing that's net best for both of us but not gonna lie kinda wish I didn't feel like I was going to end up not getting what I want.

Option four is --- We could not live together full-time? The most clear thing in this space, which is really more of a space than an option, would be me being a snowbird at 30 [2], keeping the house down here in Tucson, and living here November-March and whenever I needed to come back for some event or just wanted a few days to myself or whatever, and otherwise living in Seattle. If money weren't an issue this might be the best plan, but money is decidedly an issue. It's one thing to keep the house down here and rent it for a little less than my mortgage payment in exchange for some long-term value and it's another thing entirely to keep it habitable by _me_ while paying to live somewhere else. Maybe we could swing it. Maybe Krinn'd even be able to convince her job that it was reasonable for her to work remotely a bunch of that time and she could come with me. I'm not sure I'd be able to convince the cats this was a reasonable plan, though. :( Can cats actually get used to a thing like that? Selene's almost 12.

Ooh, or I could move to Providence and then move somewhere else with Krinn in a year, and that would get my "not have to fly to get physical affection" box checked off which let me tell you is a big deal, but two moves in a year and change, especially when you own as many nouns as I do (I have a lot of nouns), suuuuuuuuucks. I guess Krinn could just come to Providence after that year? That's a line we could consider? Providence has all the climate problems that Seattle has and then some, though, so I'm not sure that's the best choice for me anyways, and while I think and hope they'd leave me alone there are people there I don't really want to be spending time with, either. So it's not as slam-dunk as it might be even though there are some really great things about it; I'd need to take a room in my place and paint it the colors of desert noontime and just leave a space heater and a sunlamp on basically all the time. And then live in that room in the winter pretty much. The cats, I bet, would really like that room too. I guess that's actually a fine room to have in your house and maybe I should consider having that room here.

We could also just... not live together? But we really don't want to do that.

Any thoughts? ...Help? :P

footnotes )

rax: (Twilight finds this reading interesting!)
So for a few years I've had a random three in one huge paperback thing including Beasts, Engine Summer, and Little, Big by John Crowley on the shelf, and I've always meant to read them (in my hilarious failure to read speculative fiction a few years back I went to find a book by him and ended up with The Translator [0]). The last couple of flights I brought the huge paperback with me so that I would read the novels contained therein, and I have thoughts about each of them, so I figured I would blog about it so y'all can read something that's not a tasklist. I'm not planning to reveal any endings or anything, but I will cut-tag for spoilers just in case.

Beasts: Meh. )
Engine Summer: Good. )

Little Big: Brilliant but gross. )

Little, Big got me thinking about how fairyland-as-a-parallel-to-here-accessed-though-an-endless-forest functions as a trope, though, and what it depends on. I don't think it strictly requires that most or all of the characters involved be white, although I've always seen it done that way. (Were all of the characters in The Great Night white? I forget. ^^;;) The Fae can be written many different ways, or maybe not even be there. The forest, though, seems structural; what would it look like to go through desert to get to fairyland? Arctic tundra? Ocean between islands? I suspect that different places grow different kinds of myths but I also wonder about the transposition; I spend time wandering through what feels like endless desert, and I want to know, what sort of Fairlyand would I get to if I walked in one too many circles and didn't come back out at the trailhead? The couple of books I've read like this drew really heavily on First Nations mythology, and that's potentially really interesting (and potentially really exploitative!) but not what I'm thinking of here. Has anyone put the path to Fairyland not in the forest but in the desert, or somewhere else, and seriously explored what that shift would mean? I'm kind of tempted to try, but I'm woefully underread in this genre and don't even really know where to start research.

footnotes )
rax: (Twilight thinks Deleuze is on crack too.)
Random things:
  • This morning Krinn convinced me not to write a mail client with the most effective threat I have ever had made to me. (Recently our office mail server upgraded, and while in theory getting new webmail and access to Apple Mail and Outlook 2012 should make things better, each of those three clients has some critical flaw I can't chase down that makes me have to run a minimum of two of them at all times. I now understand why people write mail clients.) She said: "If you try to write a mail client, all of your Shaymins will stop smiling." I think I actually gasped. The image is SO SAD. Good work, Krinn. <3
  • I dreamt last night about being part of a band that did abstract process-as-performance shows where we dragged beanbag chairs on stage and had shitty rehearsals at various venues. It was awesome. I think the other members of the band were punk kids from our Pokemon league and from Albuquerque's. If no one has done this schtick yet, someone should. *finger on nose*
  • [personal profile] rushthatspeaks 's blog (and in particular this book review) got me thinking about generation ships --- which, if I understand correctly, are giant spaeships meant to serve as a habitat for many generations of human as they go off to colonize some new planet. I mean, I have never actually read a book or really consumed any media that used generation ships, because I'm a very sporadic consumer of science fiction, but the idea in and of itself makes sense and has some plausibility benefits over AND THEN THEY WOKE UP FROM CRYOSTASIS ON "EARTH, BUT WITH CAT PEOPLE" or what have you. What it did get me thinking about was Lyotard's essay "Can Thought Go On Without A Body?," which I am pretty sure is in The Inhuman. He talks about the difficulty of producing machines capable of thought, with the idea of sending them outside of the sphere of influence of the sun so that  thought will persist after the sun explodes/implodes/whatever. The reason he thinks it wouldn't work is that machines don't have gender --- that is, some difference between some fo them that has an almost religious inscrutability and implies the imbrication of the other with the self. Or something, I'm butchering his argument. The point is, if I take that argument at face value, I actually think generation ships could be the cure for gender, if that inscrutable difference as expressed in the people on the generation ship was the difference between the people who did and didn't stay on Earth. Maybe? I dunno. Been chewing on it, figured I'd share. (Also: Does gender need a cure? "Curing gender" is not unproblematic, but boy are there some interesting thought experiments and maybe stories in here. Haha. "Boy." GENDER WHY)
  • It turns out I can make fairly spicy lentil curry by just milling good black pepper into it until my arms are tired and then asking someone else to do the same. :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D I have been trying and failing to make reasonable curry since losing nightshades from my diet, and apparently the trick was to start from an Ethiopian recipe and modify, rather than starting from an Indian one? Once I've got it at "I know what I'm doing" I will post a recipe or something.
  • I hate to do anything that even comes off as complaining about weather when I know a number of my friends are still stuck under snowdrifts, but on Sunday Rik and I walked for five miles or so and it was cold enough with the wind that my legs were covered in hives. Stupid cold allergy, and arguably, stupid me for walking five miles in shorts in February. It seems mostly better although my calves are still itchy as all get out, and while this is mostly not a huge deal I scratch in my sleep. :( I think as fashion disastery as this is, the best solution I have without spending money might be shorts, leg warmers, and sandals. ... ... ... how does one go about selecting good hiking pants? I don't know how to garment.
  • There's still a long-form life update email... coming... soon... ish? Hope y'all are doing well!
rax: (Horo whiskers)
A while back I complained about wanting to replace my gender with a set of outward-facing spikes. I've been feeling prickly, wanting the space between me and other people to be delineated and defended, and some of that prickliness has been about gender. I've also been bonding with the desert, and spending time (though not as much as I'd like) among cacti and thorny trees and tiny flowers and birds and lizards. And I realized that... actually cactus works way better than male or female as a gender for me. It's a little tongue in cheek, but I mean, look at this. Cacti:
  • care more about sunlight and water and safety than appearances, but still blossom in (bright pink, for many species) flowers when they feel like it
  • are covered in spines to protect them from being consumed, but need the touch of the animals that know how to interact with them safely (particularly but not only for reproduction)
  • won't hurt you if you don't hurt them!
  • move between periods of relative stasis and calm and very sudden changes in shape and size depending on the resources available to them
  • are perfectly comfortable when birds nest in them --- sometimes literally inside them, in the case of cacti like the saguaro --- and keep those new spaces opened up in them for other animals to live in when the first occupants move out
  • over time, develop patches that are smoother and safe to touch, but only for those who take the time to tell the difference
  • are simple in construction yet labyrinthine on the inside (seriously, look at this blog post I found, unless you are one of those people squicked by fractal structures full of holes, in which case NEVER LOOK INSIDE A CACTUS)
Seriously though, doesn't that make sense? This makes so much more sense to express my social and sexual relations than the gender binary I'm expected to be using. To be clear, I don't identify as a cactus --- if nothing else, I travel far too much --- but I find it a very useful metaphor, so I'm rolling with it. (Normally I wouldn't feel the need to be explicit about something like that, but since I am a fox and saying that isn't really any more believable than claiming cactushood, I figure it's best to be clear.) When I finally get whiskers, I can call them my thorns, too. =^_^=

Randomly: I made a comment about this at Anthrocon, and "#gendercactus" briefly became a twitter meme among bronies, though it appears to be out of Twitter's search cache at this point so I guess it didn't have staying power. Zury joked that I had managed to hit zero-day appropriation.
rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
So first of all it is pretty great to start my mornings to wake up at 5:30ish, work for an hour, and then go take a one to two mile walk, and then go back to work. Like, seriously. This lifestyle, I like it, even though it is ludicrously wholesome; it is just too warm for extended walking in the afternoon when I am done with work at 2:30 or so. Well, technically, Rik and I went out a couple of times even though it was in the 90s and did long walks, but we brought a ton of water and also I was kinda zonked afterwards. A mile or two in the morning is refreshing and almost upwaking like a shower would be, which is pretty great. I don't know if I will be able to spare the time for this when I am in school again, but on the other hand going to school gives me structured exercise in the process of biking there, so probably it is okay? And I will still have weekends.

I just got back from Boston, where my schedule looked like this:
  • Attend the first day of Steer Roast. (a party thrown by my old dorm every year, which does involve roasting a steer but I completely ignore that part; alums way older than me, as well as a lot of friends of mine from ten years ago, come back into town and we all hang out and it's awesome)
  • Skip the second and third days of Steer Roast to work on final papers.
  • Attend a conference for work, taking a training for advanced users of a software package I had never seen before; this was both really challenging and really rewarding, in that I mostly caught up enough to get a lot out of the training, even though there would be a lot more work to do if I were going to deploy this thing. But I have books, and a dev environment set up on my machine!
  • Spend two days catching up on work, seeing a small fraction of the people I would have liked to see, and having an extremely pleasant Providence double-date with my girlfriend, her wife, and her wife's girlfriend, during which we concluded that the worldBoston is extremely small as we all knew all of the others' friends in like four different ways.
  • Spend the greater part of the weekend bridesqueering [0], including both fun parties and a bunch of carrying stuff, and helping to make sure two of my dear friends wed without troubles.
  • When I wasn't doing that, three(!!!) people drove in to see me from different states, which was pretty amazing. [personal profile] outstretched  even did my nails! [1]
Okay so that was the Boston trip. Now I have this whole summer stretching out in front of me where all I have to do is work my job. I have a bunch of things planned, of course, but none of them are for school, and that is amazing. (I'll be talking about school in a different post.) My plans include doing some art, meeting more people in Tucson by actually going to events and doing activities [2], traveling a bunch (another wedding, Anthrocon, Pokémon Nationals, seeing Rik, work might send me to Singapore?), continuing to groove on how awesome living with [personal profile] krinndnz  has been, reading books that are not assigned by a professor, and spending a lot of time out in the desert. This plan is, I argue, pretty awesome.

In a bunch of ways I am still kind of getting back into my own head after the debacle that was my year in Indiana. There were awesome things there --- I met some great people, I learned a lot of things, I feel like some aspects of my lifestyle changed for the better --- but between the breakup and the overwork and the comparative loneliness, I sort of worked my way out of my head to go live somewhere more nebulous, and that's not actually what I want. One of the things I'm trying to do both in my academic practice and in my practice of living is to take myself more seriously as part of the process of taking others more seriously. It's had really interesting effects on how I think about species, which obviously is part of my academic project but at least as importantly affects how I interact with myself on a day to day basis. I'm not quite sure how to express this yet other than it's good. But... it's good? It's good.

Any of y'all have exciting summer plans? :)

[0] Bridesqueering: Like being a bridesmaid, a bridesmatron, a bridesman, or a bridesmotherfucker, but with one's gender or marital status expressed as some combination of "none of the above" and "none of your business." Unrelated to bridequeering, where you try to get the bride to make out queerly at the bachelorette party.

[1] You can see an awful picture here. It looks better in person, but even in this photo you can tell it matches my color scheme, and color scheme trumps gender stereotypes for what I do with my appearance, so I will probably keep doing this.

[2] other than Pokémon ^^;;

rax: (Horo whiskers)
As of this morning I have no homework left for the semester except for my two final papers. Now that's a pretty major except, but they're not due until May 8th or so and I expect each one to take me maybe 30 hours total, so that's not actually too bad. I feel like I can at least sort of breathe, and that's nice. I even care about both of my final paper topics! I'm writing about the connection between Junot Díaz's Drown and Dubliners for one class, and writing about commissioning furry porn as part of identity work for the other. It's actually super exciting to be writing a paper that (a) isn't about furries, because while I love furries we are not the only important thing in the universe, and (b) will let me take advantage of my background in Joyce studies without being nothing but a deeper and deeper delve into stories that have been around for a hundred years. I am really excited, y'all. This is awesome. ...we'll see if I am still excited when it is May 7th and they kick me out of the Diesel at 11 PM and I am like "WHY AM I STILL WRITING FINAL PAPERS" but for now hooray!

I've been trying to do at least one big desert hike per week when I am in town. It's pretty awesome. I've also done a lot of other long walks lately (5.2mi today, whee!); I can walk like a half-mile north of my house and all of the sudden I can follow a trail along the wash (that's desert for "where a river would be if this weren't a desert," for those playing the home game) for like ten miles in either direction. Sure, sometimes you have to go under a road, and there are buildings along it, but there are still beautiful mountain views and cactus wrens feeding their babies inside a cactus and one time I even saw a coyote. Yesterday Rik and I wandered around the national park for a few hours. We saw a rattlesnake! All of this deserting has me skilled enough to tell a snake from a branch, but not skilled enough to tell what kind of snake; I was like "Ooh look a snake!" and it got startled and was like "Rattle rattle, motherfucker" and well that was some adrenaline! I didn't turn around, but backed up quickly until it turned and bolted and then so did we. I had read about what to do, and had looked at lists of "which snakes are dangerous," but I didn't really internalize it. Probably I should do that. That rattle is pretty terrifying, seriously.

Other than that? Uh. I dunno. I'll be in Boston 5/4 to 5/14, including for Steer Roast, and it looks like I will be at Anthrocon after all. At some point I'll be back in Seattle. I should be at Pokémon Nationals. I still love the desert. I still need more local friends. I just got a joke a friend of mine made like a week ago and it was really clever but I want to keep that cleverness to myself? ...that's not a very good blog story.

How are you all doing? What should I even be talking about here?

October 2016

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