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: (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


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. ;)


rax: (catgirl makeup)
  • Some random links about animals! Foxes may use magnetic fields in order to judge both direction and distance when hunting prey. Actual paper, or at least abstract and how to find it, is here. Speaking of direction sense, while this is almost certainly just a crazy fluke, a cat found her way home after fourteen years missing --- and after her home moved something like thirty miles. Total fluff feel-good story, but, cats. <3 Finally: Confronted by a hunter who injured them, a fox shot the hunter and escaped. No, really. (I don't think this is a case of British Aristocrat-Hunting a la Sacred Book of the Werewolf, but who knows!) While I advocate nonviolent resolution to interspecies tensions whenever possible, I would still like to give that fox a treat.
  • Speaking of cats, I have a new cat! He is big and chill and fluffy and Siamese. His name is Leo. He used to live with my aunt and uncle; they had to let him go because their other cats turned on him and they did not have enough space in their home for everyone to live comfortably. This is a sad story but I hope that I can give it a happy ending; they're close enough that they can still visit Leo sometimes and I do have enough space in my house for Selene and Leo to have time to get used to each other without Leo being confined to a single room. (He'll probably be confined to three rooms for a while unless they really get along, but those three rooms are four or five times the space he had at my uncle's place.) I am sure he looks forward to meeting many of you once he gets over the AAAA NEW EVERYTHING AAAAA. Selene is unhappy but not as unhappy as I expected. Here is a picture of Selene sulking, and a picture of Leo hiding in the ceiling because he is scared and likes high places:
  • Ceiling cat is oh god what is that thing why does it make light you're not my real mom )
  • I may have a third cat in another month or two, because I got two offers of cat within five minutes of each other last week. Stay tuned, if you care about me and cats.
  • I accidentally cleaned my kitchen and reorganized all the dry goods yesterday. (Well, it was a combined effort with my housemate Mark.) We were all "Oh let's put a couple of things away and then we can play a quick game before we get to work on homework" and three hours later it was "I guess we've reorganized the whole thing and I'll make dinner with these lentils in order to free up these jars now." I think I've even cleaned the bread machine! I'm gonna try making another loaf today, I think.
  • A colleague of mine is putting together an undergrad literature class with the theme of "Animal Crossings," looking at both human/animal hybridity and human/animal interactions. I suggested some things, but if you have any other suggestions, please chime in! Even if he doesn't end up using them, I'd love to have more texts for me to work with, since...
  • It looks like my dissertation is going to be about this whole molar becoming-animal thing I keep rambling about, or at least, that's going to be the throughline between diverse methods and archives, because I am too flightyawesome to use one method and one archive for an entire project. (If you've ever read any of my papers, this is so completely true; I went back and looked at a couple and wow, it's kinda ridiculous.) Some of this is still up in the air, but way less than I would have expected the second semester of my first year; I guess I already have an MA, though, and experience outside of school, so I'm not quite as adrift as I might be. And who knows --- other classes and readings and experiences may shift my direction. Although I don't expect them to. It will be interesting negotiating what the academy delicately calls "participant-observer status" if I end up doing ethnography.
  • Does anyone know the proper way to dispose of a bad MacBook battery?
rax: (Silver whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat)
  • Of three classes being taken, one class is completely done, one class just needs a couple of hours of revision on the paper and I should be able to submit it this weekend, and the other one (the paper is due in six days) is at 12/25 pages with an outline as well as an outline for an extra section in case I need more text. Which I doubt I will. But just in case. The class I was teaching-assisting for has 38/70 exams graded and then maybe an hour of administrivia and that should also be done this weekend. So that will leave me with just the one paper to finish. I really, really, really want to be done with it by Tuesday so I can send it in and spend Wednesday through Friday relaxing, spending time with my friends, doing a small amount of job work, and playing the growing pile of unopened JRPGs on the bedside table. ^^;; I would looooooooooooove to finish it this weekend... but I probably won't. And even if I do I will want to revise it on Monday or Tuesday because I doubt I could write 15 pages in the next two days at a quality level I am comfortable with. Ugh.
  • As part of my plot to do every productive thing I can think of that isn't the paper I am brain-blocked on, and because of something that happened to one of my colleagues, I really want to get automated backups running for my colo machine. (My laptop uses Time Machine, which I need to leave running again sometime soon, but that's not a huge deal in the same way honestly.) I have a Debian machine in colo and a Debian machine in my house. Both have DNS. I'm sure there's some obvious solution. Please help? (And if the solution is "rsync" can you explain what I actually have to do? I have no brain left. The inside of my head is full of gender.)
  • Because it is Final Paper Time here at... our house still doesn't have a name [0]... the table is covered in books, one pile per person. It's entertaining how obvious our sub-disciplines are from our respective piles of books; it's awesome how many of my pile have animals on the front cover. (Oddly, my pile also includes a burly 10" wrench and a pair of black cat ears. It's finals time. These things happen.)
  • Seriously my brain has turned to mush. I'm trying to think thinky thoughts because I'm supposed to be writing a brilliant paper. I wanna just hand in "foxes are pretty! I like to look at them gambol in the snow. Also, trampolines! Here are twenty-five pages of pictures of foxes I found on Google Image Search!" However I will not do this. Probably.
  • The Sacred Book of the Werewolf is an even more amazing book if you stir it up with Deleuze and Guattari and see what happens. I am just sayin'. A new reading of this book may be the most useful thing I get out of Deleuze and Guattari, but even if it is it will not have been a waste of my time. We will see.
  • Making these posts a weekly tasklist item was a brilliant plan.

[0] Gender Haüs? The Pokemon Center? Tailechery? Radical Plane of Immanence? I still have nothing I like. I love my house, but I still miss Cathedral.


Nov. 27th, 2010 08:57 am
rax: (Horo apple)
  • We had a ten-person Thanksgiving dinner at my house! It was not entirely vegan, as one of the housemates made meaty stuffing and chicken pot pie, but the other, like, twelve courses were vegan. (There might have been a pie that was only vegetarian actually. But generally speaking.) I made pancakes for everyone to eat while we were cooking and then made four vegan pizzas with homemade fake meat. I had originally been planning a bunch of stuffed squash but the fire ruined all of my squash and then [personal profile] hao  mentioned vegan pizza and I was like WANT. Thank goodness I have a bread machine! After dinner we all played Rock Band and I even graded some more student papers and in general it was pretty awesome. The kitchen is... almost clean?
  • Incidentally, my fake meat recipe is really simple: Take dried TVP/TSP (textured vegetable/soy protein, you can probably get it in the bulk foods aisle of your hippie grocery) and soak it in a mixture of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and water for an hour or two. (You don't need to soak it that long probably but I like to get it nice and moist because I am going to cook so much moisture out of it.) Fry it in olive oil with a ton of basil and oregano for only a few minutes --- you want a few of the smaller pieces to get crisped but mostly you are searing the oily spices onto the outside of the TSP --- and then put that over pizza, or just pick at it while you are waiting for the oven to be free so that you can make the pizzas. Usually I use Field Roast sausages but they have a tiny amount of potato in them and lately that has been enough to set me off. :( But this is an awesome replacement, and cheaper.
  • It's not just me who is very particular and has My Plate and My Fork and My Glass For Drinking Water With and hates when they are not available. Apparently this is something my mom does too, except her coping mechanisms for this are so completely different from mine that neither of us noticed that the other one had this quirk. Unless she noticed that I had it and was just being coy, I'm not sure. :) This comes up a lot more than it used to for me in part because I am STRESSZILLA but also in part because previously I had eight of "my fork" and so on, but now I have a unique fork, plate, bowl-for-cereal, and water glass. :( It's on my long term tasklist to track down more of the fork and maybe buy more of the water glass; the bowl is a lost cause because it's a handmade gift someone made for me ten years ago, and the plate has a chip so even though I know where I could buy more there is no point, I could never duplicate the chip. I am very lucky that my housemates and local friends are very chill about this.
  • It's bad enough lately that I travel with my fork. It's a good thing I'm checking luggage to California this upcoming trip; I'm not sure what I'll do for Further Confusion. Hopefully "be less stressed so that I do not need to bring a fork from home." If it gets to the point where I want to bring it to restaurants (currently I do not have this desire) I may start seeing a shrink about it. Otherwise I am satisfied with my coping mechanisms.
  • Got to spend part of yesterday with my uncle and aunt and their five Siamese cats. *swoon* I shouldn't get like ten cats, right? ...Right? Especially since Selene actually came to bed with me last night and stayed there the whole time, even managing to adjust as I rolled around. <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
  • The kitchen is usable again! The cabinets are repaired! This week they are repainting (because some of the smoke will not come out) and finishing up cleaning and maybe wallpapering the backsplash depending on how long it takes the new wallpaper to get in stock and then I will get a new range hood and then it will be DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE. I am very glad of this. Cooking is nice. Also I still need to fill out insurance paperwork. ;.; At least this didn't happen when I had no wiggle room on final papers, but it still hurts, a lot. Ow.
  • I have a small stack of Reward Games showing up in the next couple of weeks: "Finish your final papers and you too can play Pokemon Mystery Dungeon/Final Fantasy The Four Heroes Of Light/Pokemon White/Dragon Warrior IX!" If it weren't for JRPGs I would get so much more doneprobably I dunno watch television or something else that wasn't real work, it's not like I can actually be productive every hour I am not sleeping. Oh wait I know what I would do if I weren't playing JRPGs! Roguelike games. Right then. These are cuter.
  • For my mother's benefit (primarily, anyway) I was thinking about wishlist items and everything I came up with was a kitchen appliance or a power tool. Who am I and what have I done with the Rachel who always orders food and refuses to operate a screwdriver? And how do I make sure she doesn't escape because this is awesome?
  • Oh and just to be explicit, it is OK to call me again.

rax: (kitty mew?)
  • I have a new stove. It is a gas stove with a real convection oven and it is not the Nicest Best thing I could have gotten but it was a Nice Good thing and I could get it installed on Saturday. While I might have shopped around more if I had been able to cook in the meantime, I knew I was losing the microwave yesterday, too, and so I found a stove I knew I would not regret buying and pulled the trigger. It's wonderful to be able to cook on gas again. So wonderful. Oh my god. <3 <3 <3
  • I lost the microwave because Cassandra came to pick her stuff up yesterday, which basically took up the entire day for me. This went as well as my ex-fiancee coming into town with her boyfriend to take all of her stuff and two of the house's three pets could go. I mean that, really, there were times at which all of us were genuinely having fun. There's a weird finality to it, and the missing furniture and such casts a longer shadow than I expected, but it's also good that we got it done, and good that she has all of her stuff back so that she can continue rebuilding her life like I've been rebuilding mine. It's not like you need stuff to do that, at least not as much as either of us has, but it helps, especially when that stuff includes the tools of your trade or tools you can use to support yourself emotionally. So I'm glad for that, and also super glad that Rik was here because oh god despite being the best it could be it was super painful.
  • Selene --- my cat, for the new LJ friends I just picked up --- is clearly spooked by the missing stuff and missing other cat. I wish I could ask her whether she wants a new kitty-friend or not; I mean I know I like having multiple meow-machines running around the house, but if she's just as happy on her own, maybe I should get fish or something. Except fish are actually kinda high-maintenance. But you know what I mean. Selene certainly didn't like it when Oolong showed up, at all, but they were getting along really well by the end, including both of them sitting on my lap on the couch yesterday. <3 So I dunno. Decisions I don't have to make right now (and shouldn't make until after I get back from being gone for three weeks, anyway).
  • Rik just turned to me across the table and asked "Do you need more Mao in your meow?" This is apparently krdbuni's fault. I laughed. :)
  • The fact that I have a stove again means that we can host Thanksgiving after all!! I am super excited. My mother said she would teach me how to bake pies, which is a culinary skill I completely do not have. Between trying to save money for future years of grad school when I might not have a job and picking up a new allergy this summer, I've been cooking a lot, and gaining some new skills and fluency with new ingredients (prickly ash!). But baking, except for my one peanut butter cookie recipe, largely eludes me. Thankfully, there are bread machines.
  • All of this brouhaha has me behind on grading and final papers, but two weeks ago I was ahead, so I think I can catch up. Perhaps with judicious application of work vacation days --- but perhaps not! We will see. If I am Ball Of Stress (tm) around, say, December 10-15th, it's because I am cranking on final papers; I read fast and that makes the first half of a graduate semester pretty easy for me, but I write slowly, and when I get up against deadlines, it is a dreadful, tea-slurping slog. But I shall be triumphant!
  • It is time to unpack my Winter Clothes box finally! That will be the last box opened, and I will be completely, 100% unpacked and moved in. I was basically 100% unpacked for a couple of months now but Cassandra moved out and so there were still boxes everywhere as I packed her stuff and it is nice to be able to say Now There Are No More Boxes and to have a symbolic action I can take to confirm this. In fact maybe that will be the next thing I do before I go out with Rik and engage in acts of shopping. Hopefully I have enough hangers. But if not I can buy them while I am out shopping! Myahahahahaha.
  • Thank you all for all of your support in the last week. I think by tomorrow or Tuesday I will be ready to stand down the whole "do not call me" thing. It's been a very difficult few days and I am very glad I have a limited class schedule this week.
  • Oh did I mention that when the fire department came they did something that caused me to have to learn how to reset my furnace and I discovered this two days later because it was 52 in the house? Yeah. It took me an hour, but now I understand how my furnace works! This whole homeowner thing is causing me to learn how appliances operate and how to operate tools --- the stove installation dudes kindly handled the gas hookup for me but I think I could have done it myself if they hadn't! Since Cassandra and I (stupidly, in retrospect) spent hours and hours figuring out how to hook up the gas dryer ourselves. This is certainly a more useful skillset than some I have put time into!


Nov. 16th, 2010 10:11 pm
rax: (sad kotone is sad)
Short version: Housemate set the house on fire. No one is hurt. Got the cats out OK, and though they were very scared at first, Oolong has already wandered up to me and licked my face. I think Selene is still hiding. I will probably go sit with her when I am done with this post.

Also: DO NOT CALL ME. You will stress me out and I will not answer. This goes for anyone, whether you are friend or family or the Pope. DO NOT CALL MY PHONE. You can text me but do not expect a response if I am not able to deal right then. I would in fact really appreciate texts or emails or whatnot! But I am not able to deal with interactions that I cannot schedule right now and probably for the next few days. Thank you for your understanding. I know that I am crazy. Please do not make me more crazy.
details )
rax: (mijumaru plays the tuba all up in here)
Weekly post of not reading notes, I choose you! Use your bullet seedlist attack! (oh god I am such a dork)
  • I. Have. COUCHES. <3 This means that instead of sitting and doing my readings in bed (which is supposed to be psychologically bad or something and also the back support is not great), or sitting at the dining room table, I can sit and do readings in the library, which has matching couches and each couch has a little table in front of it for laptops and books and the one I'm using now even has a LAMP. <3 It's pretty awesome. Also, new couches smell kinda weird; this confuses the cats [0] as much as it confuses me. I'm sure after a while that fades. It's like new car smell, but for couches! Neither of which I seem to enjoy terribly.
  • Netiquette question: I basically don't use facebook, but I have an account, because otherwise I don't get invited to parties and my family uses facebook messaging instead of email. This isn't awesome, but I'd rather hear from them on facebook instead of not at all, you know? Generally when someone sends me a message it's either private or something for some sort of application I'm comfortable ignoring, but today I got like fifteen messages on my "Wall" saying happy birthday. Do the rules of Facebook etiquette require I respond to each one individually? All in one go, with an additional "wall" post? Not at all? I have posted to Facebook I think twice ever, once to say "I don't use this, contact me elsewhere" and once to say "I'm moving to Indiana." I want to do the correct thing but oh my god I think I got more facebook messages this morning than I had previously received total.
  • Some of y'all are furry pornographers! (Maybe some of y'all are regular pornographers too, but I don't keep track.) The Kinsey Institute, which I can see from the window of my office, is having a Juried Art Show. Y'all should represent, and if you need somebody to handle stuff on the ground, I'm happy to help.
  • I will be spending most of Saturday at the Queering the Countryside conference. I'll be taking notes, though I don't know if I'll transcribe them all (I will probably use paper because I am sure there will be competition for outlets and I don't mind paper). I may not go to the "fun" events because free food I can't eat and liquor is not really my idea of "fun" and sitting and listening to people talk is. I... have sort of turned into a square. ^^;; Except a square wearing pink and black striped armwarmers with stars on them? I dunno. Anyway, this conference should be awesome, and I will try to post some kind of writeup even if it is just "hey dwircleflist [1] here is the PDF I am handing in to my professor about this, read if you want to!"
  • Amazon is trying to sell me video games on sale. Kiiiiind of tempted to allow it to do so. I've seen good reviews for the new DS Final Fantasy and for Rock Band 3 (which I think my mom will kill me if I don't have when she gets here for Thanksgiving, although there is no way I am buying all the new peripherals I need that money to go visit people) --- if I get both of those I can get some other game for free. One person has said good things about DWIX; I could also get Pokemon Ranger instead. Sadly, they don't have Pokemon Mystery Dungeon as part of the list, as I hear that's basically Pokemon and Roguelikes, Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together!
  • I'm planning travel through, like, May. (Anyone know when Steer Roast is going to be with sufficient certainty that I could just buy tickets?) Right now it's looking like this:

    • Dec 15--Jan 2: San Francisco for Catgirl Goth Rave and general madness, with possibility of jaunt down to LA for a bit

    • Jan 13--Jan 16: Further Confusion in San Jose, although I am not 100% committed to this yet, I need to decide if I'm comfortable dealing with the hotel and con costs. But a lot of people I want to see will be there and one of my housemates might come with me.

    • Jan 28--Jan 31: I get to see Ruth!

    • Mar 11--Mar 16: Tentatively:Seattle! Highly influenced, of course, by the presence of certain coyotes.

    • Mar 16--Mar 21: Tentatively:New England! To see friends and family once the weather isn't that terrible.

  • Also I continue to work on my papers, even if just a little bit here and there, and it's awesome. I am especially psyched for my TST paper obviously but I am also happy about the Concepts of Gender paper, which will be working with some of the same ideas but in a very different theoretical framework, one that's more clearly related to current lived experience of people who aren't me. I think the balance is good.
  • Hope you all are doing well! It's back to work with me now...

[0] Yes, cats plural. Oolong is still here due to non-hilarious airline hijinks. Current plan is for Cassandra to take her when she gets the stuff that's still here; in the meantime I am blessed with another couple of weeks of her company.

[1] Totally stole "dwircleflist" from [personal profile] chagrined .

rax: (eevee love hug smiling)
  • I have my first paper of this PhD program due Monday. I took good notes, have a good concept, and am downright proud of my outline. I'm having trouble with the draft, though, because I've been reading so much abstruse crap [0] and haven't done any academic writing at all since my MA thesis. I keep having to take complicated sentences and pare them down to be less full of clauses. I suppose it is good that I take the time to do this rather than just hand in an essay with sentences whose diagrams are fractal. I'm glad I have this assignment to warm up on before I write final papers; it should help me do better with those. (I may also need to pull some prose I really like and re-read it right before I start.)
  • I am weak but I am strong: I have a copy of Pokemon White, despite knowing basically no Japanese. (The script has been translated, and my new housemate reads Japanese decently, so this is only dumb, not stupid.) However! I will not allow myself to start the game until I am done with all of the work I need to hand in this week. And am actually sticking to that, after powering the game on to make sure it works and to get the Japanese event item. (I don't intend to talk about spoilers, but if I think I might, I will cut-tag them; I know a couple of people here care.) I guess this means I will preorder Black in English once it's reasonable to pre-order it. If you were wondering "Will Pokemon be one of those things Rachel gets into for a month or two and then completely forgets about, or is it going to stick around for NetHack levels of time?," I think you have your answer.
  • I probably won't play White much until I finish my current pokedex, either. I'm 32 away from completion! If I can get to 15 or so away I bet I can trade some of my good stuff on pokewifi or something and get to zero. We will see!
  • I don't know if it's the weather or the cats getting along better or what, but recently, Selene sleeps on my chest and Oolong sleeps on my feet. It's a little bittersweet because Oolong is leaving soon and of course they'd finally learn to share a bed two weeks before they're separated, but fundamentally it is amazing, because Selene is coming to bed with me again, and it's been what, at least two years? Aside from the very first time sleeping at this house, where they had just been in the car for 40 hours and Selene curled up on my chest and Oolong curled up under my tented knees and I had no blanket or mattress and my stuffed lion was my pillow. So that's sort of a special case.
  • Furry porn is everywhere. (image link completely safe for work)
  • Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming Rik is coming! He gets here Wednesday!
  • I've bought tickets for my trip to California --- I'll be there from Dec 15 to Jan 2. This means the return trip will earn qualifying miles/segments toward status in 2011. Yes, I am becoming one of those. I looked at my travel plans for next year and it was worth it.
  • When I first started grading student work, I was really slow about it, and nervous. What if I gave someone the wrong grade? What was the rubric I could use to determine the "right" answer for what a grade was? While we do have rubrics for evaluating student work, realistically, the thing I've been discovering, especially working on their midterm exams, is that there is no right answer. Grading student writing --- unlike, say, a multiple choice test or a chemistry problem set [1] --- is fundamentally a subjective exercise. I need to look at it, make a judgement call based on the professor's statements of what she's looking for and what the student has written down, and move on. I will not be perfect, and that is fine; if I make a mistake, students can ask us to correct them, and a decent amount of the time the mistake will be in the student's favor anyway. (I tend to err on the side of too nice.)
  • I now own a rake! And a push-broom! And a snow shovel! Soon I need to run the fireplace plot. This homeowner thing is still bizarre. At some point I expect it will normalize, but it is taking a while. In the meantime I periodically walk around and go "MUAHAHAH THIS IS MY HOUSE. IT IS MINE. IT IS FULL OF SPACE."
  • Is there any reason other than the price tag I should not get a tame fox. They will curl up on your lap and use a litter box and tend to imprint on cats if cats are around. Seriously. Finally available in the US. Tame fox. TAME. FOX. ... I guess it implicitly supports their research which was originally for the fur trade, though. AAARRRRGH MORAL DILEMMA. Help?

[0] The content is not crap. The writing style, in my opinion, often is. Some of the blame falls on being translated from French and German, but even that doesn't excuse, say, Heidegger.

[1] Chemistry problem sets have some room for subjectivity when giving partial credit. But it's not the same as an essay.

Maybe I'll try to do one of these "things that aren't class notes or tasklists" posts a week.
  • So far, new housemate is awesome, and there's ample space in the house so I don't feel trod upon but there's someone else to talk to periodically. That's basically ideal. (Also, I think his alarm is going off at... 11 AM. Damn, crazy nightshifted people. (edited to add: I think he turned it off and went back to sleep. :P )) A mutual friend of ours is considering taking the remaining room --- I'm trying not to get too excited but it would basically be perfect. 
  • This weekend featured great conversations with people I hold dear, which is always excellent. It may even feature more, although I expect today to be mostly homework with a side of housework; I spent more time yesterday on social than I had initially budgeted.
  • I tried to run errands this morning, but stores aren't open at 9 AM on a Sunday. I guess everyone else is either hung over or at church. Well, I wanna buy some stuff! Come on, people! (In particular I am out of soy sauce and do not wish to pay Bloomingfoods prices when I could just go to the Asian grocery. I wil stop by on my way home from class in the next couple of days, I guess.)
  • My Pokédex is now at 441; if I have time this evening I will be making a list of everything I need, and how I can go about getting it. I'll probably post that here just in case any of you are curious. I guess when I hit 493, I... stop? Or I could do a Nuzlocke run (you can read the rules here since Nuzlocke.com is down right now) which for those of you unfamiliar with pokemon is basically like doing a NetHack conduct run, which as you may know I have some history with. I'm still proud of that NetHack game. Orrrrr... has anyone heard anything about whether the new Final Fantasy for the DS is any good? (Old-style RPGs seem to be really good for my sanity in small to middling doses. I don't ask questions, I do the things that make me not lose my shit.)
  • Spent last Thursday night and Friday in Ohio for work, and worked like 18 hours or something while I was there; have to do it again this week but with more hours (probably like 22-24). On the plus side that means anyone who calls me on Wednesday can kindly fuck off speak to another representative. And I should be able to get ahead on homework this week which will be awesome.
  • Leaves are starting to change, and I should probably buy a rake. Potentially dumb question: Do homeowners rake and dispose of all of their leaves, rather than letting them degrade into the soil, for appearance reasons? Or is there a good reason to make them go away? Also uh I should figure out how to go about being an adult who has a fireplace. This is not a skill I have ever learned. I can start a fire --- I did go to MIT after all --- but I'm not good at things like "keeping it contained in a fireplace" or "having it go out without the use of fire extinguishers. (I even managed "starting a charcoal grill without lighter fluid because furries are not prepared for things" a couple of months ago, although we didn't really get it to meat-cooking heat until someone brought lighter fluid. By that point I had eaten, go team vegan.)
  • I should also buy a snow shovel, so that I don't get caught without one when everyone else is trying to buy one. I do have an electric snowblower, but something that's not terribly effective.
  • I think for the time being "not drinking" has changed from "I don't seem to be doing this anymore" to a rule; I dunno if it will stick or not. I'm pretty sure this is the opposite of what one is supposed to do in grad school, but so is having a tech job, and so is owning a house, so whatever.
  • A coworker got me listening to Kate Miller-Heidke, who has less bass in her music than is usually my preference but an amazing voice and a great sense of timing. Here's a link to one of her songs I'm fond of --- sorry for the boring video but I couldn't find a non-live version. As a side benefit, having iTunes do the Genius thing with her is finding stuff I had forgotten about but really like (is "Little Boots" your fault, Rik?). I have no idea how said coworker can like Miller-Heidke so much and hate Kate Bush, though.
  • Speaking of music, have you all heard the new Of Montreal album? I found it much easier to get into than Skeletal Lamping (or even Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse) but a little more heavy-handed or less nuanced or something? The tracks with Janelle Monae are particularly enjoyable, and I should track down some of her stuff. I have not been listening to it non-stop to try to get it like I did with the two albums previously mentioned, but it was hardly a waste of $5.
rax: (Benten guitar case)
Here's some random stuff that is potentially of interest:
  •  I keep finding great people interested in living with me next year, but no luck so far for right now. This is irritating, but I am kind of getting used to living alone; it is not so bad, although it is sometimes a bit lonely. I have people over periodically and that's pretty awesome.
  • I have discovered the amazing game that is Dominion. I don't know how I manage to avoid it until now. In short, it's a deck-building game --- you build a deck as part of the process of playing the game and how well your deck plays determines whether or not you win. For extra bonus points, it's slightly different every time, since the pieces available are unlikely to be the same each time, especially if you have the expansions. It is all jsmthng's fault that I have this now, as well as the new Cosmic Encounter. If anyone local wishes to play these things... let me know. :)
  • Pokemon Black and White, the new generation of games, were released in Japan today. (They don't hit the US until March.) The ROMs are already available, people downloaded them, hacked them, started playing --- and there's copy protection that prevents you from leveling up your pokemon. <3 I find this hilarious. (And I'm sure it will be beaten, like, tomorrow. I am probably going to wait until I can buy it and play it for real. I am in grad school.)
  • Please tell me I should not buy this amazing stained-glass window. I cannot afford this thing, or, I guess I probably could, but there are many better things I could spend that money on, like visiting people terribly dear to me. Please remind me of this.
  • Speaking of stuff, Gaudior made a roomba sound pretty amazing, but again, would I rather spend more time sweeping and vacuuming and have the money? ... probably? I can sweep while I'm on the phone and that also levels up my pokemon because I am walking around; unfortunately vacuuming and phone don't really mix.
  • Zanazibar has convinced me to go to Anime Crossroads. I've never been to an anime convention before. Are there any social niceties I should pick up beforehand? Am I about to feel so amazingly old? (I need to find some activities to go to where I will feel young; spending so much time around universities has me thinking I'm old when I am totally not.)
  • I spent basically all of today digging through, debugging, and writing Python code I didn't write --- and I found the bug the customer had uncovered and found a fix to at least run tests against! I'm pretty proud of myself; usually my job doesn't involve diving half that deep into the product code, and while I bet other people could have done that faster, it's good to know that, at least to a certain extent, I've still got it. The customer, of course, doesn't really care whether I have it or not, unless "it" is a way to make the feature work on their machine now, so I still have work to do. :) 
  • If I have a Catgirl Goth Rave in the San Francisco bay area in, oh, mid-December, would people show up? If not, when/where would you show up to a Catgirl Goth Rave?
  • How many things can I italicize today? (There's no good reason for that link, I just really love that sentence.)
Hope y'all are doin' rockin'.
rax: (Horo apple)
I... do not have a plants icon. I wonder if I should get one. [0]

Today I mowed the lawn --- all of it, which took maybe an hour and a half --- and tended to some plants in the back. Sadly, it looks like the housesitter who did an excellent job tending to the cats and gecko... forgot about the plants. The herbs are all dead, the plant from ab3nd is dead, and two of the three berry bushes are more brown than green. There's still some green left, though, and I'd like to save them if I can. The thing is: I have no idea how. Basically all I know about plants is that they are evil and how photosynthesis works. Is it best to trim away the dead stuff? Do you pluck off dead leaves, or let them fall naturally? If I do trim away dead stuff, do I cut into the green, or above the green, or? Is there a book I should buy?

I'm mostly OK with gardening being a "try again next year" project but if I can keep these bushes alive I won't have to buy new ones next year and that would be a big plus. (And there are a couple of bushes in the front that I think might have been berry bushes and I jut didn't know!) Any help is appreciated.

[0] If you are not saying "Holy crap" right now, perhaps because you're a new friend, I have a serious phobia of plants. Super maladaptive, right? When I was three or four I would not walk on grass, even with shoes on, even with a blanket on the grass. When I was around twelve there was this bizarre incident where my parents wanted me to trim a weed and I was sufficiently scared of the weed that I chose to sit in my bedroom all day without food rather than touch it. Eventually, really confused, they relented and dealt with the weed themselves. This has always made me sad because my hippie-woo-foxy side is super into undergrowth and shade and forest and those places would feel comfortable if they didn't trigger the phobia. I've gotten much better about this over the years, a big chunk from dating people like Stephen and Cassandra who are serious plant people but also just from saying "Goddamnit I do not want to be terrified of plants" and working on it. I once spent an hour staring down a poinsettia and almost touching it. In retrospect this is utterly ridiculous; at the time it was totally serious.

rax: (interrupting rax)
While I'm between meetings, have a video walkthrough of my house. The audio cuts out, but y'all know what I sound like and have no interest in my babbling about guest bedrooms anyway.

It's primarily a housemate recruiting tool but hopefully it also gives you an idea of what we've set up down here. Oh my god I own a house what in the hells.
rax: (Benten guitar case)
First of all, I have a skeletal summer schedule, so here goes:
  • June 24-27: Anthrocon, Pittsburgh, PA --- went last year, had fun, told Diane I'd go if she was going and she said yes, so. Anthrocon! We're going to spend at least a day costumed as pokemon trainers.
  • June/July borderline: Hopefully some houseguests? Nothing set in stone but we're holding the time open.
  • July sometime: My parents showing up, wheee.
  • Aug 6-15: In Boston for weddings and work. Eredien and I will both be there, and if anyone has crash space, that would be awesome.
  • Aug 30: Classes start. Zomg!
There may be some Eredien's family in there, and maaaaybe another visit from out of town or me saying "AAAAA I'M SURROUNDED BY NOTHING" and flying standby to San Francisco, but this might already be enough travel, really. :)


Juvenile birds are awesome, there's a grackle feeding its child outside on the lawn right now. <3 Do you know what else is awesome? Four baby woodchucks. Oh. My. God. They are amazing and they travel in a little cluster of squee and they're tiny and they have black tails and and and and and. The sad part is this really means we're going to get rid of them, otherwise instead of a yard we will have Rachel's Woodchuck Sanctuary. ...which is still kind of tempting. But I don't think you can get AZA accreditation for "doesn't remove vermin from lawn." ;) Speaking of lawns, we really need to start mowing --- I don't care, the woodchucks are keeping the overall height down, but I'm sure the neighbors are grumbling about those lesbians and their ill-kempt lawns. [0] Personally I'd rather the whole thing were growing food, but it's a little late for this year, we'll figure something out next year.

The inside of the house has made the mad progress. With help from [personal profile] laura47  we put together scads of shelving and we're now distressingly close to "most boxes unpacked." We didn't quite finish books yesterday, but we may very well finish them tonight. That only leaves finishing up the media room (we still need to order a projector), finding a kitchen island or butcher block we like, Eredien setting up her office, and then doing some of the work on the house that we want to do before we get a housemate or two. Since some of you are curious and the rest of you have stopped reading by now, here's the list of things that we want to do or get done:
  • Replace the busted sliding door (we have a coupon for this but it expires soon, we need to make that happen before July 8th)
  • Remove the woodchucks ;.;
  • Get ceiling lights put into the dining room, bedrooms, and office
  • Get insulation blown into the attic, at least on the low half of the house, maybe some additional insulation on the high half as well depending on how much it costs and how disruptive it is
  • Clean the gutters, because they are an ecosystem unto themselves
  • Garage door stops
  • Bird mesh around the chimney
...aaaaand probably some other minor stuff. Fun times. I also need to get Indiana residency, get a license, get insurance, register my car, de-register-and-insure it in Massachusetts, figure out why they haven't sent me a gas bill yet... The logistics, man. I can't imagine having moved here a week or two before classes started and trying to figure everything out. That would have been insane. This is much, much, much nicer; we're still on track for "be basically done moving in in four weeks, and then work on the house," which was my original plan. Oh and I need to write a letter to my realtor asking for advice on "do you have an electrician you recommend?" and that kinda thing. Eep! Added to tasklist.
We had a couple of small dinners at the house last week, both of which were quite fun, and involved a bunch of cooking and then hosting and then just conversation. In another week or two we'd be set to host a 12-person dinner party but I don't know if we have twelve people to host. :) It won't be long, though, I've got communications open with a few more people and hopefully will have time to actually meet them soon. Lately we have not been doing that many for-fun things for extended periods of time --- we bought the new Race for the Galaxy expansion but haven't even opened it! When I have a few minutes here and there, I have been playing the newish version of crawl, 0.6, which I completely missed when it came out because I was so crazy with thesis and job and moving and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. [1] It's really weird, actually, playing a game that looks like I know it so well and having everything under the hood just be completely different. I think I like it, but sometimes it is super frustrating. I wonder if this is how I will feel if NetHack 4 ever comes out?

It's weird, I think I'm going to get more done once I get a little more busy. It's so easy right now to just look out the window, nod my head slowly, and pet the cat. That is probably what I needed for a couple of weeks, because I was really raw by the time we left. The itch to do more is starting to come back, though. It's familiar. I'm looking forward to it, and my tasklist is looking forward to it, but I hope I still have a little time for the birds.

[0] I swear to you, I did not notice the horrible "joke" here until after I wrote it. *sigh* I have shared the pain with you.

[1] This page alone redeems Uncyclopedia as far as I am concerned.

rax: (Benten guitar case)
Woke up this morning after having a dream that I had only brought phantom objects with me to Indiana and I had to fly back to Boston today as soon as possible, rent a new truck, load it up with my real possessions, and drive it to Indiana, since the lease at the old place expires today. I woke up ready to buy a last-minute flight, thought for thirty seconds, and realized that was astoundingly stupid. :) We had a couple of delays (as Eredien accidentally injured herself working on a bookshelf yesterday and we lost a few hours to urgent care and no longer have two people who can lift things) but my goal was "everything more or less in the place we will want it by June 1st and everything unpacked and mostly set up by June 15th," and I think we can still meet that. [personal profile] laura47  gets here tonight and can help me with the rest of the shelves, and Wednesday most of the new furniture shows up and we can build it and unpack board games, video game stuff, and kitchen dry goods into it. That will mostly leave us with books [0], art, and the occasional "oh god why do we even own this object." So that's pretty exciting.

I've pretty much settled into a rhythm with regard to work for my job, which is good; working from home all the time is a little weird, but I was already used to doing it in multiple-day stretches and I just need to be less nervous about randomly calling coworkers the way I would otherwise have randomly walked up to them at the office. This is especially true after the Nokia acquisition as for a variety of reasons that are both boring and probably secret it's much harder to catch people on the company messaging system than it used to be. But luckily everyone has this shiny new phone that I can call them on! So work is working, and I'm not sure how much of it I will keep doing once school starts, but definitely some, and I think I'll actually have fun with that most of the time. Having two major things to play off of each other, like jobwork/schoolwork, is a very good mechanism for getting more stuff done if you are me. Lucky for me, I am!

The presence of an actual yard continues to be amazing. Right now I can see a squirrel having a conniption, a rabbit eating my weeds, a blue jay who wants to be where the squirrel is having the conniption, a mourning dove, and there was a yellow-bellied woodpecker until just a minute ago. Selene is largely disinterested, but Oolong will sit by the window with me and just watch for an extended period of time, occasionally making "I want that!" noises. Oddly, she has no interest in the woodchuck, which I finally got a half-decent picture of with my cameraphone. Maybe it's too big? It may actually be bigger than her. It is probably unwilling to have me sit around and measure it, though, so I will have to content myself with the guess. [1]

We've made a couple of friends and a couple of acquaintances through themthose friends --- it was awesome to know one of them pretty well before we even got here --- and that's really cool. Once we're a little more set up, I think we're going to start branching out, meeting up with some of the other people we've talked to briefly or heard we should interact with, see the city a little bit more. It's a great 45-minute walk to the other edge of campus, maybe an hour if you walk slow, and I finally found the boxes of bike stuff, so I have a helmet and bike shoes again, so basically I have mega-mobility. Things are pretty quiet here in the summer, but that's OK, there seems to still be critical mass around.

We've been cooking pretty much all our meals which I am very excited about. Lots of rice cooker and bread machine usage --- yesterday I used some dough Eredien made to make a delicious vegan pizza,  which was quite fun. A bit of Craigslist searching may just have solved a couple of our remaining furniture problems --- I'll find out when Eredien's out of the shower and we can talk about them. Moving into a completely empty house and turning it into the house you want to be living in is expensive and time-consuming. I can't tell if I feel weirder about spending this much money or about having this much money to spend. I'm currently figuring that once I'm not full-time, I won't be buying much except food and airfare, so I should spend the money now.

[0] We have approximately 50 cubic feet of books. They still look small in the room where they're stacked. This is because that room is like 22x16 or something utterly ridiculous like that.

[1] We're probably going to have to remove it, because it's digging its home right up against our foundation and most of the research I've done suggests that's potentially very bad sauce. One of the things on the tasklist for the next two weeks is to find a removal person who will do a harmless trap and release; we could probably drive it out of our yard with things like chili pepper and mothballs but it would then go to a neighbor's yard and potentially meet a worse fate there. :\

rax: (Benten guitar case)
 Our stuff is still mostly in boxes, but I have my desk set up and the kitchen is usable for some basic cooking, so it's sort of like we live here? There's network (which means phone calls are OK now), so I've been able to get work done for my job the last few days more easily, and that's provided some comfortable normal-feeling for me. I'm still waking up and expecting to be in Somerville; I don't know how long that will last. I lived in the same place for a long time and was very happy with it. I'm crazy excited about this house, which is awesome; I've also met a couple of people already and they're really cool, and I have other contacts to follow up on once we're a little more combobulated and have the energy to go meet new people.

All of the people who helped us pack and load and unload are amazing and wonderful --- we were kind of embarrassingly not ready, and without all the help, we either would have had to wait another week or abandon a whole lot of stuff. It's good to be reminded that I'm privileged with a whole lot of amazing friends, some of whom I've known for a decade now, and some of whom I'm still getting to know. Also a few of you I think I might owe a blood debt to now or something, in particular Scot and Kim for driving. ;)

Other than unpacking, I've been spending a lot of time staring out the window and looking at birds, and it's helped me calm down a lot. (This arguably adds a lot of credence to the "Rachel as cat" theory.) At a friend's recommendation I've been using birds.cornell.edu and I think I'm going to go ahead and buy a birding book, because I'm really enjoying this. Here's what I've seen so far just in my front yard:

bulleted list of birds )

The day after I got here, my laptop died; I was eventually able to fix it with some bizarro /sbin/fsck_hfs incant, -pyr I think, and so far it seems OK but hoo boy did I run a backup as soon as I got that sorted out. My desk is now mostly set up, although I need a better light source --- this house has way too few ceiling-mounted lamps, even though there is a light switch in every room. I honestly thought there was a fixture in most of the rooms... oh well. A couple of them we'll solve with exciting lamps, a couple we'll probably call in an electrician to wire up. [livejournal.com profile] eredien's been having all sorts of trouble trying to hook up the gas dryer --- she's not awake yet, but I think we're at least in endgame on that project. Then get get to assemble beds and bookcases and dressers and unpack into them... then we have to figure out what to do with all the rest of this crap. :)

I miss people in Boston already, but I've already been missing people in Seattle and Minnesota and the SF Bay and LA and San Diego and DC and so on for ages. I think and hope this won't feel very different once we're settled in here --- and believe me I'll be traveling a lot to see as many of you as I can. In the meantime I have this huge tasklist and it's not getting any smaller. I hope you're all doing well and I hope I get to see you soon.

October 2016

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