Another Season Ending

Today is the last day of September, so happy birthday to Chris, and happy birthday tomorrow to Anna! With the end of September comes the rainy season to the Pacific Northwest, and I must say I don’t really mind. I like the 50-60 degree temperatures and kind of grey days that come with it. Though soon enough, I’ll need to start wearing shoes again.

I have a lot of things on my mind right now, and I’ll try to address what I can. I sort of realized that it’d been a while since I posted, so I thought I’d rectify that situation (and upgrade to WP 2.3 to boot). So, quick sum up: still working, but it looks like this project may be ending soon, and that’s been a bit of a wake up call on getting back on the resume/job-search horse. I’m pretty happy with the work I’ve been doing, and have been stepping up where I can, so hopefully that will lead into something a bit more permanent (and better paying). In the meantime, I’m keeping an ear out for other gigs anywhere, and contemplating a move to Omaha, where my friend Jen has offered me a place to crash for as long as I need (such as, for instance, time to work on building up a portfolio, since most of my experience is on the theory side of things… while theory is important, it tends not to get you jobs in a product driven field). Or I could always start buying lottery tickets.

My days have been sort of merging and blending together. For the past two months, we’ve had overtime every weekend at work, so it’s been a while since I really had a whole weekend free (this was supposed to be the first one, but I got called in to sub for someone who had an emergency come up and couldn’t make it. For the record, I only dropped the obligatory “I’m not even supposed to be here!” once — I was actually happy to help out). I finally got around to grocery shopping today for the first time in a while, and if I can keep up some steam, I may do other things I’ve been meaning to do (I’ve been meaning to email several friends for a while now, and simply haven’t because I’m a bum that goes and hides out in a dark room after work). I also want to update my resume, and get some other writing hashed out (I started the year out pretty close to my daily writing goal, but I’ve been slipping a bit lately… need to get back into it and end the year strong).

Right now, I’m listening to the KEXP Live Performances podcast of Animal Collective, and I must say I am damn impressed. Their live versions of “Leaf House” and “Who Could Win A Rabbit” just floored me. If you like Animal Collective, you should go download that and take a listen, I think you’ll be well pleased. I’d really like to go pick up their new album (Strawberry Jam), just gotta wait til I can afford to buy music.

Random Apple Post

I’m sitting in an Apple Store at the moment, trying out the new keyboard they have. It uses a keyboard scheme more similar to the MacBook keyboard, which may look “weird” to folks used to most keyboards… the keys are a bit more spaced out, so people wonder if it would be hard to get used to, or have trouble reaching keys. Or, at least, I was wondering. Hence this post — it’s a writing exercise, something that will give me a sense of the keyboard response and how the keys “feel” — whether or not I can tell when I’ve been hitting a key or not, or mistyping or similar (I mean, other than my usual typos of course). So far, it feels pretty good. I’m typing at a pretty fair clip (not the fastest I’ve ever typed, but still not very slowly either), and it feels pretty good under my fingers. Despite the “slim” look and feel, I can definitely tell when I’ve hit a key, and on a purely aesthetic level, the keyboard LOOKS sharp: metal case and white low profile keys. I should really check the site to see if it has key illumination (too bright to tell of course — the curse of trying things out in a retail location). Unlike the previous desktop keyboards, rather than having the sound controls over the number pad, the entire upper row is function keys, and then it functions more like a laptop keyboard, with the first twelve or so also controlling hardware (which, of course, you can reconfigure if you want).

I started railing about the lack of the Fn key (which is used by the system to delineate whether you want the key to access the keyboard control, or whatever the function key is supposed to do), but then I finally noticed where it is: it seems to have replaced one of the “magic six” keys that sit above the arrow keys, between the main keyboard and the number pad. Going from memory, I think it took over “insert”, and now delete is on the bottom row instead of the top. Not sure how I feel about that. I’m sure I’d get used to it, though.

Final prognosis? If you’re in the market for a new keyboard, it’s well worth checking out: on board usb2 is nice, it’s got a good form factor, and I’ve felt pretty comfortable typing all this out, and for $49, it’s fairly competitive with other quality keyboards out there (and markedly less than most specialty keyboards). Had I the cash, I’d probably head home with one now!

The Face of Things

Sometimes, in particular when you’re stressed and depressed, even taking control of the littlest thing in your life is a monumental accomplishment. It can be as simple as cleaning your desk and sorting all the bills and paperwork and random effluvium of day to day life into piles, even if you can’t actually do anything ABOUT said cruft. I cleaned my desk and sorted my piles and I do, in fact, feel accomplished by this. It certainly helps that in the process of this, I found a dividend check from March. In celebration of this unexpected (and direly needed) windfall, I’m spending $10 of it on a bowl of potato leek soup, an iced coffee, and a piece of cherry pie (which to borrow a phrase from Agent Cooper, is damned fine), down at Zoka. It is, as ever, the little treats we allow ourselves that make life worth living.

In the grand scheme of things, life could be worse. While I’m in debt well beyond my means, I do still have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, and a job that I enjoy well enough and keeps me from being in a far worse position. I don’t know many people here, which does lead to some (alright, a lot of) lonely moments, but no one is shooting at me or really attacking me at all, physically, mentally, or spiritually. I’ve got my share of angst over my last breakup, but even that is only unmanageable in that I’ve yet to actually move on, for a variety of reasons that don’t need elaborating here. Life is perhaps not good, but it is certainly not bad, either. There are no epic tragedies, just a lot of little grievances that have added up to one hell of a funk: it puts me in mind of a quote from Ovid — “Gutta cavat lapidem (Dripping water hollows out a stone)”, which seems to also be the basis of what the Litany Against Fear from Dune is talking about: “fear is the mindkiller. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration…” It doesn’t have to be anything big, in fact it’s less likely to be since the big stuff we face head on, we address it and cope with it. But the little things, they’re insipid, they accrete like a gall stone, they eat away at our core one drop at a time.

And if we spot it? Generally, this means it is because things have already worn away to leave a cavity, so you are faced with an uphill battle, late out the gate. But you have to try. You have to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and put one foot in front of the other, even when every inch forward feels like a mile. Not for some perceived glory, not for some light at tne end of the tunnel, but because you don’t have a choice. It is the very essence of life and death, because if you don’t get up and try, you’re dead or will be soon.

So, yeah, things could be worse. That’s not an invitation for things to become worse, mind you, but it is an acknowledgement and a declaration: I have let myself slide down under the weight of my stone, and it is high time that I start pushing it back up that goddamn hill.