rax: (Twilight finds this reading interesting!)
I spent this past weekend at a Magic tournament called "Cardmaggedon" which was... much smaller than expected, but that meant I won $150 despite not doing super well, so, hooray? I've gone to big tournaments a few times in the last couple of months (one in LA, one in Oakland, and this one in Las Vegas) and the LA trip I took with a group of friends and the other two I was supposed to end up with friends but ended up alone. Not totally alone --- a friend from outside Magic happened to be at the first day of the Oakland event and that was great, and people I know but don't consider (close?) friends from Tucson were in Vegas --- but pretty much "done playing cards, walk/transit back to place I am staying, order food, read more about magic" alone. This kind of sucks, as raxes are extroverts and really like having people around for that kind of recharge time. But I would do it again. (And, in fact, am doing it again in Denver in less than three weeks.)

I really enjoy games --- you know this if you've known me for any period of time. I particularly like this game, in its many formats and its different types of skilltesting and its pushing my collector/accumulator/sorter buttons. I have strong mixed feelings about travel. I would have expected that I would not be about all of the travel required to play in big Magic tournaments very often. I... think I actually am? It's tricky, because the people I have to travel with are mostly acquaintances who I may like rather a lot but have no idea how to interact with --- they have very different social norms and expectations from me, and while we're on a team together, they've all been friends for a long time and they're all guys and probably it's as hard for them to figure out how to interact with me as it is for me with them. We're not close enough at this point that I'm invited to share rides or hotel rooms (I've offered, but been declined) --- so I'm mostly on my own for that. [0]

Something else I've noticed about this is that when I go and play or judge card game tournaments for a while I drop everything else on the floor because it is just less important. I send some <3 texts or IMs or something to my partners and might have a lazy conversation in the evening or something, but unlike most of my travel, I'm not staring at work email, I'm not trying to get a bunch of other things done, I am engaged and deeply focused in a way that is really rewarding and makes me want to do more of it. So even with all of the downsides I described up there I'm kind of tempted to structure my life to involve more going to these tournaments and trying to get better at this game, in combination with the Pokemon judging I already do (which is also increasing in intensity both in terms of how much of it I am doing and how much I am enjoying it/engaged by it). How bad of an idea is this?

(ps this is posted on Christmas morning because I had all but a couple of sentences done and I am waiting for a server install to finish, not because this is _particularly_ on my mind today, but because I am starting to stretch out for my end-of-year-email --- it's going to be a long one this year, y'all.)

[0] I do have the friend I keep trying to go to these events with, but we're obviously cursed as this time she had to say "I can't come play Magic because my mother is in a coma" (her mother is out of the coma now hooray!); I also have some friends locally who are totally down to come to one or two events a year with me but uh. I would use up my one or two events a year in a month at the pace I want to be going. :P
Life is pretty good! Here are some updates that were too large to send to Twitter! It’s an exclam day! I'm vaguely sick but I took cold medicine so I'm still enthusiastic and excitable and a bit loopy!
  • Magic: I’m playing Magic! I meant not to get into it super seriously, but I got recruited into a team, cardagain.com, and now I’m editing for their website and sponsored to play in major events. Oops! It’s super fun, and while if you don’t play Magic you don’t care, we recently got Travis Woo as a writer, and you can see a cool new article of his here! If you like it and want to share it around that would be awesome too I guess? I dunno, I'm terrible at social media. cardagain wants to be, like, magiccards.info plus tcgplayer when we grow up, and some of the features (visual decklists sorted by CMC) are already very cool.
  • Computers: The Homestuck Shipping World Cup kind of took up a hobby slot this summer. I don’t really care about the event at this point, and didn’t really participate as a fan, but I’m on the mod team, and did almost all of the coding. I feel like a way more proficient programmer than six months ago. Not _good_, but proficient, which feels nice. I can take python and sqlite and make them do things that someone might want software to do. It’s been very confidence boosty, and I _finally_ learned git. I’ve also gotten to play sysadmin, since it’s all hosted off of my server. I originally planned this as a way to have a record of me being able to do things with computers if I lost my job, but…
  • Work: I was worried I might lose my job because the work I had been doing was kind of drying up, but instead, I got promoted into new responsibilities! I’m doing new and different stuff, which is really refreshing! I’m not good at it and that’s mostly great because I get to learn things but it’s occasionally terrifying!
  • Therapy: I’ve been doing the therapy thing again after all the horrible bullshit from a year or two back. In the past I used to do mean things to future rax, and in the more recent past, I started doing nice things for future rax, and that’s treated me very well for the last few years. Right now I’m trying to figure out doing nice things for past rax. It’s super cool. It’s definitely hard and going to stay hard and… intersects with some kind of spirituality in weird ways I haven’t figured out yet? I dunno. I’ll talk more about that if I figure it out, maybe.
  • Travel: Has been awesome!!! So many wonderful people and I get to see them in so many wonderful places, between Boston and SF and Seattle and random road trips from those places and so on and so forth. (Also, I edited /home/rax/random-text/people-history/people-i-have-kissed for the first time in a long time, and it was great. <3)
  • Music: Has taken a bit of a back seat! But I’m getting back in the groove and have two DJ sets in September and one or two in November and I’ve already started working on them because it remains _super fun_.

That’s about it. Hope y’all are doing wel!
rax: (Rarity had the most horrible day!)

Lost my phone between the airport and Ruth's house. It's probably in the cab? I don't know where else it would be? I called the cab company and asked and they hung up on me, and I had someone text the phone with my email address and an offer of money. I think other than calling the cab company back tomorrow morning and hoping to get someone who's less of an asshole, that's about what I can do? It looks like there are other things I could have done if I had thought of this in advance?

I would really, really not like to get another phone right now.

I guess I should check outside and then go to sleep.

Edited to add: It rang a bunch, then twice it rung once or twice and then hung up, then it went back to ringing forever. Someone found it and silenced it. Whether they'll contact me or not, I don't know. :(
rax: (Rarity would rather be alphabetizing.)
Hi all! I'm not taking my planned trip to Boston this week. If you were expecting to see me, sorry. :(

boring reasons )

I'll probably be there for Steer Roast (beginning of May) but I'm not committing/booking flights at this point. Also, there are baby bunnies in my yard. BABY BUNNIES THEY ARE SO ADORABLE. I am terrible at taking pictures of things but I will see what I can do. They might be more adorable than the baby quails from last year. I haven't decided yet.
rax: (vulpix is not pleased)
Hi all! Today I am leaving Seattle to go up to Vancouver for the Pokemon World Championships. I mostly won't be answering texts or my phone, since it will cost me money, though I'll try to keep people posted about how I'm doing. I'll post updates to Twitter (@raxvulpine) --- which I otherwise don't use --- and here when I can. The main reason to follow Twitter would be to see if I'm going to be in a featured match --- some matches will be streamed on www.twitch.tv/pokemon and if I know I'm going to get featured I will let people know. You can also see standings once the event starts Saturday at http://www.pokemonworldchampionships.com/2013/standings/ ; I am in the TCG, Masters Division.

I also got some positive press going into the event, being picked as part of a fantasy draft:

For the first time, a female player was chosen in our draft! After qualifying through the last chance tournament at US Nationals, Rachel Dillon from Arizona will be playing in this year’s World Championships (and for the Black Ballistas). Historically the Pokémon TCG has been a male dominated game, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Rachel did knock Jason Klaczynski out of the last chance tournament, so she’s a great player who’s on a roll.

So that's pretty awesome, although pronouns argh. Expect a post about gender, Pokemon, and competitive gaming in general when I get back.
So I'll be in NorCal Oct 11-16, staying in the Mission, I won't have time to see everybody I'd like to but would love to see some folks and say hi. (Drop me a line!)

On Saturday and perhaps Sunday, I'll need to get down to the Santa Clara fairgrounds (344 Tully Rd, Santa Clara, CA 95111) for Pokemon Regionals, where I'll be competing. Gmaps tells me the only way to get there is to leave the previous night, because Caltrain doesn't run (early enough) on weekends, but a helpful Pokécquaintance suggested BART to Fremont, VTA 181, VTA 73 to get there. It's like a two and a half hour trip, but whatever, I can live with that. (I have rediscovered reading novels! It is boss!) If I have to do it two days in a row that will suck (winners advance to play on Sunday) but I can probably cajole a hotel floor out of someone on Saturday night if I am winning.

My question to y'all who actually live there is: Is there something I am missing, either something better that neither the person nor Google knows, or is there something Google knows that I don't that means the VTA route won't work? I can't find any reason for that, but when multiple sources disagree I get nervous and look for expertise.

Also, if you're in northern CA and think this sounds amusing, you're welcome to come along, I'll even provide you a deck to play and teach you the basics. :::;D

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?

rax: (Kotone is getting shit done.)
Here is my weekend schedule for the rest of the year:
  • OCT 7-9: saturday organizing pokemon tournament, sunday playing in one
  • OCT 14-16: paper due, maybe a pokemon tournament if I have time
  • OCT 21-23: visit Ruth! <3
  • OCT 28-30: Rik in town! <3
  • NOV 4-6: Rik still in town! <3 <3 <3
  • NOV 11-13: either pokemon regionals in LA or maybe Anna visit? need to collapse this waveform --- or bonus secret plan! EDIT: Doing bonus secret plan
  • NOV 18-20: currently empty, waffling about flying to Boston EDIT: doing homework
  • NOV 25-27: in Wisconsin for thanksgiving
  • DEC 2-4: work on final papers EDIT: and pkmncollectors meetup!
  • DEC 9-11: probably not catgirl goth rave, work on last final paper if not done EDIT: Anna visiting!
  • DEC 16-18: probably catgirl goth rave, need to pin this down EDIT: Catgirl Goth Rave for sure
  • DEC 23-25: Christmas with Krinn's family
  • DEC 30-JAN 1: no idea yet, tempted to come back home because I will have been in SF for so long EDIT: definitely coming back home, have to judge the Tucson Pokemon City Championships!
There will probably be some Pokemon city championships in there too, but of course those aren't scheduled yet because THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL. It's almost like they know that I will probably adjust my schedule to go and grumble about it no matter what they do. ;) ...I may, though, have too much of a life to be the very best like no one ever was.

EDIT: Bonus secret plan: NOV 11-13 also has a Pokemon Regional in Rhode Island. I could get everything except the seeing Anna step done if I did that. Hmmmmmm.

rax: (catgirl makeup)
Not crossposted because of polls. CGR Six (holy wow) will almost[Poll #1782624]
rax: (catgirl makeup)
Not crossposted because of polls. CGR Six (holy wow) will almost certainly be in San Francisco this December; the question is which weekend.

Poll #8185 Catgirl Goth Rave: When?
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 5

When should catgirl goth rave be?

View Answers

December 10th
1 (20.0%)

December 17th
3 (60.0%)

Some other time that I will explain in comments
1 (20.0%)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited to try to make crosspost happen!

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

Everyone is in one piece.

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

No real internet yet, but hooray for phone tethering.

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

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

...and soon the patches on the air mattress will have settled and I can go to sleep. Probably no more posts from me until after I get back from Wisconsin, but who knows. also in 24 hours I will be on an airplane what


Jun. 11th, 2011 08:16 pm
rax: (Horo whiskers)
Rik and I went on an adventure today. The ostensible purpose for this adventure was to visit Smithville, IN, a town of maybe a thousand people around ten miles south of where I live in Bloomington. Why, you might ask, would I want to go to Smithville? Well, my favorite song by For Squirrels, one of my favorite bands, is called "Under Smithville" (link to song on YouTube with album cover as "video"), and I have no idea which Smithville it's about. [0] Since I started seeing signs for Smithville around where I lived I've been like "Oh my god I need to go under Smithville" but had never gotten around to it. Thus: To Smithville!

I looked it up online, and it's part of the Clear Creek Township, which has an amazing old but not old enough that it doesn't use javascript website with details about a commune in the township, the train that used to run there, and so on. I looked up a route to get to Smithville in general, confirmed there was a picture I could take a sign with, and then Rik and I purposefully got in the car without any directions and decided to see what we found. We first managed to get totally lost and find the end of a road to nowhere, and that was pretty fun, and then aftr some meandering through Bloomington's outskirts we made our way to Smithville and found a couple of churches labelled "Smithville" but no sign. We wandered around some more, and found the Baker's Junction Railroad Museum, [1] which seemed to be closed.

Then we found a school on the outskirts of Smithville, or possibly in it --- although the sign claimed it was Bloomington even though it was south of (thus, under) Smithville. It had a playground. So I laid down under it. (This is a reference to the lyrics from the song in question.) It turned out the playground also had a nature trail attached to it --- it was something like a mile or a mile and a half? Lots of really pretty vistas, butterflies that fluttered into the air with every step we took, fresh dew still on the grass... It was really nice, and not so long that the plant phobia really kicked in. Hooray! We also found the Smithville sign, and got pictures in front of it while people drove by and were like "Who in the hell does that?" Well, Rik and I do that, because we're awesome. Also I was staring into the sun so all of the pictures are terrible, but what can you do. [2]

Then we declared victory and went to the Owlery, a vegetarian restaurant in Bloomington, and had their coconut macadamia tofu, which is divine and nightshade free. There aren't a lot of things I can eat there, but the things I can eat are very tasty, and they're friendly and a reasonable price and almost everything on the menu is vegan or can be made vegan. Yaaaay!

In conclusion: An awesome adventure. And proof that I do actually do fun things sometimes!

[0] The band was from Florida, but most Google hits for "Smithville, FL" are either about some other state or examples that pick "Smithville, FL" as a fictional place. I'd like to imagine the latter is what they were thinking about in the song, but I really have no idea.

[1] Warning: Makes sounds if you don't disable JavaScript, and is incredibly baffling in a vaguely timecubey kind of way. I am simultaneously glad and sad that we did not get to see the museum; on the one hand oh my god this dude talks about shooting Communists and on the other hand he has bits of his website in favor of gender equity and marijuana legalization. All I can really tell is that he is intense and all of his opinions are turned up to 11. Or maybe 12.

[2] Also, this outfit is [livejournal.com profile] bossgoji 's fault. I am still figuring out if I like it or not! It's pretty awesome, but I can't decide if I'm comfortable looking quite this... feminine. Is that crazy? 

rax: (Rainbow Dash: She can summon rainbows yo)
  • While the last week of work was grueling and I am glad that I have a long weekend after it, spending a few days in the office with my coworkers actually made me feel really enthusiastic about my job. It's sufficiently positive that I am surprised about it --- I mean, I like my job or I wouldn't try to do it while also doing graduate school, but some of that is obviously about the money, maintaining a standard of living, being able to visit partners and friends and family, &c. Maybe less of it was about the money than I thought --- I'm really psyched for the next few months of work I have to do and think I can make a difference in my company's workflow and ultimately in the quality of its product and service offerings. Whoah. Is this what it feels like to sell out? It feels kinda nice.
  • At the same time I have also been doing some academic reading! Not as much as I should be, perhaps, but the last couple of days I have been working through Zoontologies, a collection of animal studies essays edited by Cary Wolfe. For the most part I really like what I've read, but one of the essays made me somewhat uncomfortable. Paul Patton's "Language, Power, and the Training of Horses" attempts to unravel the ethical and power dynamics of training horses for dressage, raising interesting questions about what constitutes non-violence and whether it's possible to have a non-violent relationship between the parts of the dressage assemblage. Uncomfortably, while I read him as saying "Yes, this is possible" when he says that "we do well to attend to the re­quirements of the hierarchical and communicative relations in which we live, and … certain kinds of emphasis on equality in all contexts are not only misleading but dangerous," (96-7) the essay has ultimately made me less convinced rather than more than dressage can be engaged in ethically. (That said, that quote is really thought-provoking in other directions...) I'm not about to start crusading against dressage, as even if I did know enough dressage to talk about it seriously there are other things that I think deserve my attention more [0]. But I'm not sure the takeaway I got from the article was what I was supposed to get, and I am not sure what to make of that either. Something to chew on. Anyone else read this and have thoughts?
  • I'm currently in a suburb of Atlanta visiting [livejournal.com profile] bossgoji and it is pretty awesome! I had never had grilled scallions before, but they are pretty excellent! Also the trees here are subtly different in a way that's a teensy bit uncanny valley, but otherwise Indiana has prepared me decently well for Georgia, at least at a surface level. I'm not weirded out by the spacing of houses, or the types of cars around, or those sorts of things in a way I would have been five or ten years ago. I like getting to learn new places! Is there anything I should check out in the Atlanta area while I am here?
  • Once I hit Georgia in the car, I felt obligated to put on some For Squirrels. If you don't know what I'm talking about, they were an early 90s band out of Florida that put out one self-produced album and one label-produced album and then half of them died in a car accident in Georgia on the way back from CBGB. Their label-produced album, Example, is amazing and while it's a bold statement I think popular music today would be measurably better if they had made music for another twenty years. (The survivors did put out Never Bet The Devil Your Head as Subrosa; I like it, but it's not the same.) Since I discovered them in like 1998 I've been trying to get my hands on a legit copy of Baypath Rd, the album they put out on their own; a couple of weeks ago, I finally did. I had heard some of the tracks before, but had never listened to it all the way through until I got it. Its sound is absolutely wonderful; its lyrics are way further from my politics than I remembered, including a bunch of religious imagery and an explicitly anti-polyamory message. I'm not really sure what to make of this. It is a Thing. I am still glad I have it and going to frame it and cherish it and sometimes listen to it and cry. For Squirrels, man, just, For Squirrels.
  • In other musical news, maybe it will grow on me, but at the moment I'm sure glad I only paid 99 cents for that new Lady Gaga album.
unneccessarily snarky vegan footnote )
rax: (I have the technology. I can evolve you.)
  • Hello Internet! I was worried I wasn't going to get to post anything this week, but I totally obliterated my weekend tasklist yesterday, so here I am. ...yes I have weekend tasklists over summer vacation. But apparently ones that can be mostly finished with a good twelve solid hours of work! 
  • I am excited because I have a houseguest coming to stay with me from Tuesday to the next Tuesday, and the kind of houseguest where there will be much sitting together on couches doing our respective grad school summer readings and periodically making snarky remarks and cat noises. These are basically the things that life is about, yes? Well, and food. This houseguest has a history of making delicious vegan cookies, and clearly I should make us some more vegan pizza. ([personal profile] chagrined  and I made some recently that was bosssssssss. Using a bit of balsamic really does help make up for the loss of tomato sauce. Incidentally, how do I keep pizza dough from turning into a giant monstrosity if I don't use it right away? Freeze it?)
  • Immediately after that, I leave to go to work in Ohio for three days, and then I am driving from there to Atlanta to go visit [livejournal.com profile] bossgoji , which will also be awesome, and will also involve lots of couches and summer reading and cat noises, though probably with more video games. In fact, the Pokémon Video Game Championships are having a regional qualifier while I might still be there and... I'm kinda tempted. But I don't have a B&W team hardly at all, and I don't really have time... all the same I think going would be a really cool experience. So I dunno! We will see. Regardless, I expect this trip to include delicious food as well. We've already started trading cooking tips.
  • Then after a couple of days of breathing room, [livejournal.com profile] postrodent  shows up at my house!! I am the most spoiled entity ever. And after that, I'm going to Arizona, meeting up with [personal profile] krinndnz , coming back home, and driving us and my housemates to Anthrocon. ...and chances are after that I am moving and that will be AAAAAAAAAAAAA but at least the first half of the summer is going to be full of wonderful folks in exciting places!
  • In my yard this morning, I have seen a woodchuck eating all of my dandelions (yay!), my first chipmunk sighting of the season (where have you been?), and a group of grackles I like to think of as the "Grack Pack" scaring a squirrel out of the yard entirely. Apparently the correct way to keep a squirrel from your birdfeeder is not to set up an increasingly complex obstacle course, but to have grackles. I like grackles, so this discovery pleases me greatly. Over the last few weeks, I've also had a couple of exciting bird sightings: a pileated woodpecker and a turkey vulture. The Grack Pack tends to scare off the turkey vulture when it shows up; nobody messes with the pileated woodpecker. I am excited to meet new birds assuming I do move!
rax: (Benten guitar case)
  • I am currently in the Seattle airport; in 20 minutes or so I get on a plane to Portland, and fly to Houston, and then fly to Indianapolis. Then I take a 90-minute bus ride home. Ah, my life. <3
  • Early this morning, I packed out of the furry commune where I was doing ethnographic research for the last three days. I decided my motto was "Take nothing but fieldnotes, leave nothing but consent forms." (I also took some vegan corn muffins, though.) It is also true that I spent the last three days at my boyfriend's house, but it is a furry commune and I did do ethnographic research and that sounds so much cooler. The process of having my boyfriend being one of my ins into this community is really interesting; I mean, yes, I'm a furry myself, but my practices are very different from many of the people I've been talking to, and I wouldn't have had the ability to talk to them if it weren't for the specifics of my being embedded in the community through romantic relationships. It will be an interesting thing to write about at some point, although right now I am trying not to do too much "me-search" in my research, and the stuff I am finding that has nothing to do with me is way more interesting anyway.
  • I am done with all of my classes for the semester. YESSSSSSSSSSSSS. I am not as thrilled with my final projects as I would have liked to be; one paper in particular I know that if I had read books X, Y, and Z I would have been able to make it even better, but I got up to book W and was exhausted and decided "You know what? I think this will be OK." I may read book Y on the plane, so this is still something I can work on. it's just... I like to hand in things that are perfect, you know? Not that this ever happens, and this tendency totally prevents me from ever submitting anything anywhere. So I need to get over it.
  • Conveniently, the paper resulting from my ethnographic research is getting submitted to a conference next week. I am not sure how to spin it yet; it's a conference about queer fashion. I guess I play up the fursuit angle a bit more? But I have a draft, and I am already thinking about how to integrate the seven interviews I did this week, and it's awesome, and I'm hoping to get it to a journal after that too. I hope. I think. Miao.
  • In what may or may not be my gradual descent into fandom, I had to sign out of twitter yesterday to avoid spoilers for the new My Little Pony episode, which I'm not going to get to watch until tomorrow. I sort of looked at myself, and went, "Really?" Then I realized I was interviewing folks in a furry commune, said "Yes, really," and moved on with my life. <3 I'm really looking forward to the episode, though! I am hoping it ties up some loose ends. (Don't tell me.)
  • Speaking of which, hi new friends from the My Little Pony LJ community! I unfortunately don't have any sort of introduction post, and I have to get on a plane in five minutes, but hopefully this gives you a general sense of what I do: Mostly academia, a bunch of job work that I usually don't talk to, some ponies or Pokemon or what have you. Oh and cats!!

rax: (kitty mew?)
  • There are many ways I could narrativize my vacation, positive and negative; in the end I think the most magical thing is that I got home at 2 AM and both cats walked up to me and asked for pettings at the same time without hissing at each other, and both of them took a turn sleeping with me last night, and if that is all it takes, well, good news, kittens, I'm gonna be traveling a lot more in the next five years.
  • Judith Butler's Undoing Gender: I think I like it more than Gender Trouble. I don't get all of the psychoanalytic stuff, but I don't get none of it, and I do get a lot of the rest. There is some amazing stuff about who counts as human and what the boundaries of the human are that, while they don't apply to my work directly, I can do some fascinating slant readings of. At least, I think so. I took hella notes, but unfortunately I took them in the book and on the backs of boarding passes, so they are unlikely to end up here. I've been writing in books more, actually; I still am only comfortable doing it when I intend to have a serious relationship with the book, but when I do, it's actually really useful. I just wish I could index and search those annotations...
  • I have... ten days at home before I travel again? And there is a cardinal at the birdfeeder! Hi, cardinal! You're looking really red today. Surprisingly, I fly more than you.
  • I'll sleep when I'm dead I pass out.
rax: (Benten guitar case)
I arrive in SFO at 11 PM Friday, Apr 1 and leave SFO at 12:20 PM Monday, April 4. I have no idea what I'm doing yet; assuming I get IRB approval at least some of my time will be spent doing ethnography. But I will be there.

Will I hit 30 elite qualifying segments for United by the end of June? Quite possibly! Maybe I will do something silly and bicoastal in December to hit Premier Executive.

October 2016

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