Back in May, I adopted a young puppy that I’ve named Cecil! He’s a sweetheart, though also still a puppy and getting up to puppy-ish mischief. I’ll write more later (I’ve got several drafts sitting waiting to be finished, but have been – perhaps understandably – a little distracted), but seeing as I’m at the IndieWeb Summit this weekend, it seemed like a good time to post something new on the site. 👋
It looks like I managed to completely miss February on here. The best laid plans, eh? Well, I’m still alive, for what it’s worth. Life has been low-key stressing me out for the past month+, but should be getting back to some semblance of normalcy soon. (The 30 second version: at the start of the month, we discovered a slow leak in the kitchen plumbing, which had started to warp the flooring. Various mitigation measures were brought in — drying mats and industrial dehumidifiers and the like — but ultimately they ended up needing to pull up the flooring. And the counters. Neither of which they could match, so now they’re replacing the entire floor downstairs and getting new counters. Hurrah for home insurance!)
Not much else to report. I’ll be sure to get back to posting random links and writing the occasional screed soon. Thanks for sticking around.
It’s New Year’s Eve, 2018. In another 8 hours, it’ll officially be 2019, the last year of the twenty-teens. Time flies.
I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want 2019 to look like. 2018 wasn’t a terrible year for me — I went to Japan, worked in a job I don’t hate where people seemed to appreciate what I do, spent time with friends. I posted more on here than I had in a long time (albeit mostly link sharing and light commentary…. and I sort of fell off the posting wagon this fall/winter).
That said, it also felt like a year of coasting. It didn’t feel particularly productive towards my longer term goals, nor did I feel much sense of fulfillment or contentment (barring a few things). That’s something I’d like to change, and that informs a lot of my goals for the year, boiling down to: I’d like to find a routine that feels good, and leaves me feeling productive and fulfilled creatively, socially, emotionally, and physically. The details of getting there are still feeling pretty amorphous, but that feels like a good broad goal to work towards.
Happy 2019, everyone. I hope it’s filled with laughter and kindness.
This topic has been coming up a lot in a variety of locations for me (blog posts, tweets and toots, articles, videos): it seems like it’s pretty universally agreed upon that making friends (and really, relationships in general) as an adult is hard. It definitely feels pretty true, and there’s all sorts of reasons why it’s true (and while it’s easy to point at technology or society or all sorts of external reasons, those make up only a fraction of the reality).
I’ve got no easy answers, and it’s certainly something I continue to struggle with. The answers I’ve heard really boil down to one thing: Do The Work™.
What spawned this post is that I really appreciated John Green’s video about this (I find myself deeply empathizing with and appreciating a lot of his videos, seems like the sort of person I’d enjoy knowing):
This, in turn, was a response to Hank Green’s video:
Which I think makes a certain amount of sense (though I don’t entirely agree with the notion that we valued people more — I think the factor of having more shared experiences and enforced proximity while you build that value/appreciation for each other is a big contributor).
While I’m on the topic, one of the other pieces that popped up on my radar recently was a link to this Ask Polly letter, which I can sympathize with (being guilty of a lot of the same weird behavior when I uprooted to SF), and is also at least partly what John touched on in the above video.
Also, Shen did a comic also about this recently as well. Seems like it’s on a lot of peoples’ minds these days.
It’s that time of year where I head back east to see family, and spend some time on Squam Lake. It’s also usually a time of reflection and taking stock for me, and it’s been a while since I wrote something like that here, so forgive the rambling post. For those that don’t care, here’s a picture:
I’ve quoted or linked to Wil’s depression posts numerous times over the years. Partly because his take on it resonates with my own, partly because I think awareness is important and worth signal boosting. His recent (ish, this was posted in May and has been sitting in my queue for a while) talk about living with chronic depression is another great example, and worth reading.
I was a worrier growing up (and to a lesser extent, still am), though not to the degree he experienced. I will say, in more recent years, it’s been manifesting as more social anxiety, which ain’t great, though I’m at least aware, and haven’t gone full hermit. But the chronic depression, that I definitely get. For me, it’s been sort of a low-grade background radiation in my life. The default level is functional, but present, and then sometimes there’s spikes or troughs where it’s more or less noticeable — more or less manageable. (I doubt this is news to anyone reading this, but if it is: hey, yep, and if I ever seem worn out and a little distant when we’re talking, 95% of the time this is why, and not anything you said or did. If you type “depression” into the search bar for this blog, you’ll see I’ve written about it a fair bit.)
It can be a little intimidating to publicly post about grappling with depression. Potential employers or romantic partners or friends may see this, and not take it positively. Also, exposing parts of yourself in any way on the internet these days can be a little scary. But I think it’s important. As Wil says:
Finally, we who live with mental illness need to talk about it, because our friends and neighbors know us and trust us. It’s one thing for me to stand here and tell you that you’re not alone in this fight, but it’s something else entirely for you to prove it. We need to share our experiences, so someone who is suffering the way I was won’t feel weird or broken or ashamed or afraid to seek treatment. So that parents don’t feel like they have failed or somehow screwed up when they see symptoms in their kids.
I’ve been in Japan for a few days now, and have managed to not die, starve, or even get lost (I’ve always had a good sense of direction, and while the addressing here is a little different, a quick glance at Maps to see how the streets are laid out has thus far been enough). It’s been fun! A few days in the Shibuya/Harajuku area of Tokyo, then took a Shinkansen down to Kyoto, where I spent today exploring the Fushimi Inari-taisha and surrounding area – not a bad way to spend your birthday. Tomorrow, I head to Nara. While there’s plenty to still see and do in Kyoto, it’ll have to wait for another trip.
I’ll admit, I feel a little torn. While I’ve been enjoying my solo adventure (always have, always will), I can’t help but feel it would’ve been great if I’d been able to line up a travel partner as well. Something to bear in mind for next time, I suppose.
One thing that sort of struck me when I got here: It’s easy to get drawn into the spectacle of a place, pseudo-mythologizing something because of the differences or wonder of the thing, but it’s so much nicer when you get there and are struck by the reality. People live here. The beauty of the mundane.
I’m hopping on a plane to Japan tomorrow morning, for 11 days of wandering around, looking at cool stuff, and hoping I don’t make too much of an ass of myself. I’m not bringing a laptop, but am bringing a camera, so there may be some photos when I get back.
I’m hoping to have some good long thinks while wandering, so you may see some posts (actual posts, not just linking to others)! Or I might end up radio silent until I’m back: time will tell. In either case, I look forward to seeing what y’all are writing/photographing/drawing/creating when I get back!
I’ve been trying to keep a regular routine of posting at 5pm (through the magic of scheduling posts), but this one is a little late. It’s been snowy here in Portland, and in that vein, here’s some snow related links for your perusal:
- Project Habakkuk, a plan by allied forces in World War II to build an aircraft carrier out of pykrete (a mixture of wood pulp and ice). It ended up not happening, but even the stories that came out of the early phases are kind of awesome.
- 2018 Sapporo Snow Festival, because who doesn’t love some exquisitely done snow sculptures? As a regular player of Final Fantasy XIV, I’m of course tickled by the Nidhogg they made:
- Tom Waits performing a poem by Bukowski, “Nirvana”. The snow is a key set piece, in my opinion, but bonus points for being a story about a drifter and diners and the magic.
- A collection of photos of snow over at Unsplash. When you’re stuck having to shovel or are stressed about driving conditions, it’s easy to forget that fresh snow can really be quite beautiful. Go take a minute to browse, and you’ll see what I mean.
I’m sure I’ll soon be back to griping about the deplorable state of the internet and how social computing has failed us, but for now, enjoy the snow day.
To all of you (with or without that special someone), I hope you’re feeling loved and appreciated. Not just today, but today’s as good a reminder as any. I thought about writing something pithy about dating in the modern era (seriously, take all of the performative bullshit of modern society and crank it up to 11, since dating was already pretty performative), but instead I’ll just leave it here: love who you love.