Oct. 4th, 2011 @ 10:29 am
The air is cold again. There are leaves on the streets. I'm reading Bradbury's The October Country collection and drinking a pot of coffee instead of an energy drink or two. I'm in a button-down and a sweater, and am even wearing socks indoors.|
I've been changing. Of course if I ever stop changing I'm sure I won't want to admit it to myself, and I'm sure I haven't changed as much as I'd like to think that I have, and here I am talking about how much I love the fall, just like I have annually since I was in high school (or hell maybe middle school), but really I mean it, I've been changing. I finish projects more often. I learn things more often. I sometimes favor sleeping with my head turned to the left, these days.
I enjoy my job. I enjoy the opportunities to grow - I've had Customer Emails and Business Trips and Deliverables and Development Cycles and Conference Calls and Summary Emails. And I've started doing some development work as well, an hour or two a day.
I've been playing bass and Minecraft, been reading and coding a roguelike from scratch, been taking walks and paying bills.
Feeling...: warm coffee
Auditory Emanations:: Munly
Mar. 7th, 2011 @ 08:33 pm
I suppose not many people read this anymore, and given the infrequent nature of my posts I can't blame them. My last post here got a single response. It was a Russian porn-bot.|
However, this site contains years of my life. Not in their entirety, of course. But a peculiar reflection of one side of my life, like seeing yourself in a tinted and curved car window. And I sort of like that. I like the idea that somewhere on the Internet, a map of the negative space left by my motions and emotions. To understand who I am from this might be like trying to understand a snake by looking at its path through the sand.
I have not posted here in months. My life is not the same as it was the last time I put anything of myself on here, not by a long shot. If I want this document to continue I should put a bit of myself back into it. So here it goes:
Work has been pretty cool and occasionally frustrating. In addition to my getting-paid-for-testing-software, I've been teaching myself programming and database administration, and I hope to put together a web site pretty soon. I've been setting aside a bit of money to buy a few months of real web hosting (big server that you administrate remotely over SSH, rather than some web-app-GUI-thing) and in the mean time I've been teaching myself Java, Ruby, Rails, HTML5, and all that lot using a shitty old Dell desktop that someone was throwing out as a server.
I'm enjoying this because it will be a chance to do something and finish it, to build something that other people can look at and say "Oh, cool. I will use this and enjoy this and contribute to this. I am glad that somebody built this thing." It's fulfilling. It's also good for my day job.
I went back to Virginia to do my taxes yesterday. Northern Virginia was strange and oppressive - not just the weather, but the families and loud children and the cars. Before taxes, Kristin and I went to Unique and she got a pretty great jacket and a skirt and I got some books and a copy of Girl, Interrupted, which I recall liking in high school but haven't seen since.
Actually doing my taxes wasn't as bad as I feared (though I'd be getting a good deal more money back if my parents hadn't claimed me as a dependent...) but being back there was hard. I hadn't had to sit down and talk something I didn't like with my parents for an extended period for years. I was struck by a really overwhelming sense of psychological nausea combined with nostalgia. It was like a headache of the soul.
But then Kristin and I went and got Pho with Hunter and Helen, and dropped by and said hi to Alex and Phil. That was a lot of fun. I've missed seeing that crowd more often.
I've been thinking a lot recently about apathy and politics and my place in things. I will have more to say on this at some point in time (if I don't post it here, come ask me in person.) I was originally going to post it all on here tonight but I need to do my nightly chapter-in-my-Ruby-book.
I've also been volunteering with a group that does an earn-a-bike program for Annapolitan children. I've learned a lot, the people involved are pretty cool, and it's overall been pretty great. I mention this because if you're in the Annapolis area and need a bicycle, we can probably set you up for pretty cheap.
Auditory Emanations:: Jason is playing Max Payne
Oct. 30th, 2010 @ 09:00 am
The summer before last, I was working at a very large and somewhat understaffed recreational program that took place in a school in Northern Virginia. As is frequently the case with such groups, most of the kids were pretty nice, and a few were really exceptional, and a few were troublesome. One of the troublesome children, let's call him C, could be particularly difficult - it wasn't that he was a bad kid or anything, he was just never enthused about anything, and he could really drain energy out of those around him.|
One of the few things that summer that really captivated all the children - boys and girls, the shy ones and the outgoing ones, everyone really - was Michael Jackson. He had just died, and he was all over the news, and all of the children in that program seemed to want nothing more than to do obsessively learn the entire Thriller dance routine.
Except, of course, for C.
As I wasn't one of the counselors who had a background in dance (of whom there were three), I spent most of the Michael Jackson dance-practice-times sitting with the children who were feeling unwell or helping set up for the rest of the day's activities. C became a frequent, if reluctant, companion in this - he didn't want to dance, but I could occasionally get him to muster up some enthusiasm for helping me put up flyers.
One day there wasn't much to do and none of the other kids were feeling unwell. I asked him if he was sure he didn't want to be a scary zombie and dance along. He confirmed in no uncertain terms that he did not (and did an admirable, though at the time unamusing, impression of my way of placing emphasis upon the word sure). He sat, looking glum, and I tried to think of something to say.
After a few moments he asked me what I was looking at. I had been absentmindedly looking at a globe, but rather than admit that I had just been thinking I told him that I was trying to figure out which way the sun was.
Please pardon the pun, but C brightened up.
"What do you mean? It's up there, duh."
"No," I replied, "I mean if this globe were the real Earth."
"You can't do that."
"Yes I can."
And, after a few minutes, he had exhausted my knowledge of the movements of the planets. He was really, really interested in why the seasons changed. The difference in him was (if you'll pardon another pun) like night and day.
I wish I could say that he became an active and engaged youth full of scientific curiosity, but honestly I have no idea. In any case, I learned something: I had assumed that I got him - that he was ruled entirely by apathy. And I had been proven wrong. Somewhere in there, he had had a kernel of scientific curiosity, just waiting for someone to let him ask the questions.
Auditory Emanations:: Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
Barbasol is really, really good shaving cream. Also cheap. I am impressed with this stuff. Best shave of my life, seriously.|
Also, Tucker and Sarah's wedding was lovely.
and I will be okay.|
I got soaked on the way to my car, got to work and left immediately to go buy slippers.
Later, on the way home from dropping my car off, I walked through some water mixed with terrible things and so I showered because I did not want sewage in whatever open pores or wounds are on me.
Who am I kidding?
Auditory Emanations:: Leonard Cohen - The Partisan
|» Man, I have not posted here in a WHILE.|
But then I haven't had much going on. Biking to work as often as I can.|
- and work, speaking of it, is still going well. I don't mind it, anyway, and I feel like I'm pretty good at what I do, it's rewarding in its own way and the money is nice (although I fear that for someone like me money will never be anything more than "nice" - not that I might not ever make more than I do, just that it's not a thing that I value so highly. But then that might change.) I like it. A ten-hour day at OpenPath is like a six-hour day at a child care job or a warehouse. So that's good.
But other than that, what? I am rereading Things in the Night, which is every bit as beautiful as it was last time I read it. Perhaps next I will read The Life and Death of American Cities, or perhaps Notes from the Underground, or maybe the Patrick O'Brian books. And I just did some Salinger, and before that I reread the Star of the Guardians books that I so loved as a child.
It is autumn, and all that that entails (although not so much as it used to, since there's no new school year for me). Leonard Cohen and leaves, a different sort of rain. Windows open instead of air conditioners. That peculiar smell in the air that either you know or you don't but God knows I can not describe.
This season holds me tight and I ache to describe it, but I can't. In any case it sure is nice to be awake a few minutes earlier than necessary and to sit on my porch resting my feet on my bicycle, bag in hand, reading and sipping something with a lot of caffeine. Or walking over the sidewalk slippery with leaves and feeling the wind over the bridge. And there I go trying to describe it, as I just said I couldn't - and indeed these words are only a reminder to myself that nobody else will even read, or at least care for. They won't have the significance to anyone else that they do to me. I haven't been this happy since the end of World War Two.
Man, does anybody even read this thing anymore?
Does it (and here I'm talking to the me of seven years ago who started this damn thing) - does it matter?
|» (No Subject)|
I am no longer a human who is surprisingly good at unicycling for being a human. I am now a unicyclist who is surprisingly shitty at unicycling for being a unicyclist.|
|» You - that's right you! - may be able to help me in a major way.|
Do you or someone you know want to live in Annapolis?|
I am looking at a place. It would be nine hundred bucks split two ways. We would also have to pay utilities.
I am meeting with the landlord (who has also been my landlord for the past two years) on Wednesday to look around the place.
I believe that at present it is set up with one bedroom, but I am also told that it is very large. I am decent at carpentry and will install a semipermanent divider, unless a better solution (living-room conversion, perhaps) presents itself during the walkthrough.
Please, please, PLEASE ask around amongst your friends and soforth, and if anyone has any interest, give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or a phone call at (703) 927 - 3930.
We could probably move in as early as this weekend, or perhaps somewhat later.
|» (No Subject)|
The Sloan's party was amazing. Like, good enough that it was probably worth the six hours of driving.|
A lot of it was the fact that they have a great collection of people - a few large groups at particularly interesting stages in life (lots of 18-22-year-olds, lots of empty-nesters), the countryside was gorgeous, the weather was perfect...
And the elder Mr. Sloan let me fire a flintlock he built when he was fifteen, after showing me his extensive home wood shop.
And the fact that it's been a long, long time since I met so many new people, and in a situation of socializing rather than work or anything like that.
I just... wow. That was really awesome. A huge thanks to Kelly for giving me sufficient caring to actually go, and to both her and Charles for keeping me awake on the rather long drive.
Soccer and drinking and hot tub and ultimate frisbee and improv games, all with a spread of people that I'd hang out with by choice (rather than the usual crowd of people-at-a-party who often aren't that interesting.) Woke up this morning an hour before anyone else and read Salinger in the early sun with horseflies buzzing around and then the chickens began to wake up and then Michael's parents woke up and made coffee and the three of us sat outside and had coffee and read, I still Salinger and they the newspaper.
What a great weekend.
|» A specific instance of summertime|
I got my health insurance card in the mail, and my first paycheck. To celebrate (and because it was a sweet deal on Craigslist), I bought a unicycle.|
I woke up this morning at about six thirty and it felt like Christmas morning. I got out of bed, grabbed a helmet and gloves, and walked on campus to spend about two hours teaching myself how to unicycle.
Oh, and even more Christmas-morning-feeling, I had a Fedex note on the counter yesterday - my phone had tried to come but gotten nervous. So I drove out to Crofton after the day's unicycling and picked up my sweet new snazzyphone, which is charging right now before I bring it to the VZW store to get it activated.