Links

March 2017

S M T W T F S
   1234
567 891011
12131415161718
192021 22232425
262728293031 

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017 02:45 pm
- write MVLA cover letter
- email G1 docs to Li Jia
- finish this chunk of fic and send it off
- buy resume paper!!
- make PPTs and docs for Friday's demo lesson
- bunch of Chinese School stuff
-- sort checks, write tuition return checks, find AP checks
-- write video waiver
-- email teachers who need 1099-misc, and also new office lady
- draw rutabaga birthday comic
- apply for temp sales permit for 4/21
summercomfort: (Default)
Sunday, March 12th, 2017 05:07 pm
too many things in brain, need to dump out so that can sort.

Read more... )
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 11:22 pm
In other news, I'm cutting Chocolate out of my life. It's the last vice I have left and I'm sad to see it go, but the amount of chocolate I've been consuming has become unsustainable.

:/

Adulting. It happens.

(Between Hoosband's ban on most meats and my no-chocolate and half-carb, I guess we can now eat exactly 3 things.)
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, March 8th, 2017 10:18 pm
So I was taking the train to SF and updating my resumé, and I was like:
1) Wow, I used to be pretty competent and do a lot of stuff! That's what I'm capable of if I turn my full attention to something!
2) Imagine if I turned my full attention to my current work! Wait, why do I not do that? (Maybe because I'm not as interested in my current work?)
3) Oh geez my life is so fragmented. And I keep doing things to make it more so.

This winter has been rough. This week might be the first week since Dec 6th that me or a member of my family hasn't been sick. And that just serves as a reminder that life is short and I'm getting older. What should I turn my mind to and focus my energy on in the mean time?

Maybe not fandom.

This may be just part of that cyclical antsiness that happens every few months or so, but... I feel like I've been dedicating waaaay too much of my life recently to organizing fandom things. Yes, getting things done efficiently and organizing large groups of people is something I enjoy. Yes, I've gotten to meet new cool people on the chats that I wouldn't have known/met otherwise. But it's also an awful lot of time that I could have used to focus on other things.

I mean, it's callous to say this, but ... I have other friends, and other creative projects. And I may be neglecting them in favor of all this online stuff. That sucks. And I got along well enough without fandom for 10 years.

It's heady, to be part of a larger creative community like this. To have a tumblr blog that has 2000+ followers. To have people to talk to about art and storytelling and character relationships. This is all stuff that I craved when I was working on Tisquantum and feeling so isolated. But it's also really fragmented my life. I feel like it's been 3 years since I've really felt the thrill of being completely focused on implementing something.

(Yet another reminder that I need to get back into teaching.)

So, what should I do? Gradually phase fandom out of my life? (Just wrap up the projects I currently have going, and not start any new ones...) Or is there still a place for it to stay? I worry that there's a baseline amount of "maintenance" required just to stay in the fandom (reading fics, interacting with people) that I'm not able to sustain if I want to go back to teaching and stuff.

But I'd miss my friends. :/

(But I'll miss friends no matter what.)

Sigh.
summercomfort: (Default)
Friday, February 24th, 2017 11:11 pm
Man, having random back problems pop up out of nowhere on Sunday night totally messed up my week. :/

And now I have a lot of catch-up to do.

Well, nowadays I feel like I *always* have a lot of catch-up to do.

BUT, things that I should really do in this coming week:
- Get my JOB APP SHIT together
- Finish the sound editing and image editing for G8 and G9 (halfway there!!)
- email that rando fanart fest librarian -- is he still running it?
- Next Sunday is the Symposium/Gala thing!

I think I should take a fanart break and get my websites sorted out --
- I need to host my AO3 images on my own server instead of hotlinking from tumblr (very unreliable).
- I need to set up soupycomics.com

Unfort this next week will also be pretty busy on the CapRBB front. :/
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 10:20 am
- The milk that I really like is only available in half-gallons, and is $4 instead of $3. That means I'm both paying more, *and* creating more plastic recycling. But if I buy normal gallon milk, I drink probably half as much milk, which leads to slower milk consumption and a need to buy half-gallons...

- Wow, politics, wow.

- But let me write this down here, before I forget it -- I think it's important that we start teaching about the signs and actions of early Fascism, and not just "Hitler is bad because WWII and Holocaust." Because that's too late. Like, we need to figure out exactly what about early 1930s Nazism and Fascism that's bad. What's so different between a civil works program in the US vs. in Germany at the time? (Maybe because one just puts people to work, and the other glorifies a certain ideology.)

- I've been feeling a bit unbalanced of late -- once again, too many things that I want to do, it's a hot mess. Which is the actual point of this post: to take a step back and prioritize.

There's work and baby-holding, which are both kind of immutable and persistent. But outside of that, I have a desire to make things, and a desire for social interactions. I think the problem is figuring out how best to do both those things. Recently, I joined a fandom chat channel which has been lots of fun, but has severely cut into the time for making things. :/. So I need to quarantine that a bit.

Making Things
- Draft some more Rutabaga comics
- Draft RBB prewar genderbend Stucky
- 4F fic
- I need to do an action study, so that I can get better at drawing action. (Punching, bullets flying through the air, etc.)
- prompt comic that needs action
- pics of Steve punching Nazis in the face

Social Stuff
- Hangouts with husband
- Hangouts with comickers
- Hangouts with non-comicker friends
- Writing to existing fandom friends
- RBB modding
- writing HTB2 reqs

I'm going to do a time tracking thing for the next week or so, just to see how much time I spend on each type of thing. :)
summercomfort: (Default)
Thursday, January 5th, 2017 11:28 pm
I just made the following suggesting to the DW Suggestions Box, but wanted to post it here for safekeeping:


Summary: One-click to share someone else' public post to your own journal or community, possibly also highlighting a specific comment thread within that post.


Deets:
Right now, when I see a public post on my Reading page that I want to share with my subscribers, I have to manually copy the link of that post into a new post, as well as a snippet of that original post, and maybe some of the relevant comments that I want to highlight/comment on. It'd be cool if there was an easier way of doing that.

Some ideas of implementation:
- have a "share on my journal" link on public (unlocked) entries. Clicking on that will automatically create a new post draft that has the link to the original entry, the text of the original entry, as well as links to the comments section of the original entry. This way would be pretty clunky, but probably works the most within the existing structure of posting.

- Better: Clicking on the "share on my journal" link will basically show the original entry on my journal, with the original poster's info on the top left corner of the entry, to indicate that it's not originally mine. Clicking on the "comments" section will go directly to that original entry's comments section, and if that person edits their entry, the changes automatically happens on the shared entry, because it's actually just the same entry. Basically it's just showing the same entry content, just on a different journal.

Some considerations:
- I think only public entries should be shareable -- these are entries that are composed for a wider audience. But then -- would you be allowed to lock/remove a shared public entry? Or to edit a shared public entry?
---> On the editing front, having the ability to edit means that if you made a mistake, you can correct it instead of having the wrong information propagate. But having the ability to edit also means that you can edit your entry to say something completely different. So... maybe once an entry is shared, you can only edit-to-append, but not edit-to-delete?
---> On the locking front, I feel like once an entry is shared, it's now part of the common discourse, and one person (even the original poster) shouldn't have the ability to then remove it from said discourse. But maybe if the original poster doesn't want to deal with it anymore, they can lock or remove it from their own journal, but the entry will still show up on journals that have shared it. In this case, locking or removing it means that the original poster no longer gets notifications about it, and is no longer viewable on the original poster's journal, and the original poster attribution is removed from the entry.

- Sharing a particular comment thread: Sometimes, what I want to share isn't just the original entry, but discussion in a specific comment thread. What would be the best way to share that? Maybe there can be a "share this comment" link (as a paid feature?) that allows me to share a version of entry with the selected comment appended to it (along with the standard "view thread" links, as relevant.) Like:
[entry text]
| Highlighted comment: [comment text]
| [standard comment links]
[standard entry links]
summercomfort: (Default)
Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017 10:04 pm
2016 Resolutions: How did I do? )

2017 Resolutions

Chew all that I have bitten off. I've been letting too many things slide. This resolution is twofold: one, chew more, and two, bite off less.

Create a consistent creativity "brand." I've dabbled all over the place. I think it's time to consolidate and be know for one thing (or a few related things), instead of a hodgepodge. Creating soupycomics would help. And also I've printed a few anthologies at this point, so maybe more of that, too?

Find satisfaction in creative work. This one sounds a bit nebulous, but what I mean is that my creative work should not be stressful. My time is so precious anyway, I should just do the things I want to do, and improve at a pace that feels comfortable. Sometimes I feel like I spend a lot of time doing creative-adjacent things, like organizing or managing. I'm good at that, but it's ultimately not that satisfying.

Optimize social interactions. This is related to the previous, which is that I want to make sure my hangouts and fandom interactions (exchanges, etc) are likewise non-stressful. There are many types of social interactions. I should aim for the ones that make me feel rejuvenated and not ones that make me feel tired or hollow.

Successful job transition. Get the company to a good place, wrap up the majority of the webapp, and find a teacher job that I'd like. ::knock on wood::
summercomfort: (Default)
Sunday, January 1st, 2017 12:59 am
Well, that sure was a year! I believe last year at this time, I was on my way home from the taiko NYE performance at a fancy-pants hotel party, and 6 months pregnant. And this year -- well, Rutabaga goes to bed at 9pm every night, so we're basically at home by 8:45pm latest.

It's funny how I *finally* hit a good groove re: work, and then the baby happens. Alas. And then next year is going to be more craziness as I attempt to return to teaching history.

One of the personal challenges of this past year has been finding my center again after the baby, and... I'm not sure if I have, quite yet. I enjoy hanging out with the baby, she's pretty cool as far as babies go. But it's also meant a lot of my energy (mental, emotional, and physical) is spent paying attention to her. For example, yesterday was my birthday. Usually on my birthday I'm generally pretty self-indulgent -- I'd spend some time doing "me" things, like drawing or fixing my website or going to the movies, and then in the evening I'd have dinner with my parents, have a cake, chat about stuff. But this year, it was a pretty regular baby-holding day, except for the 3 baby-free hours when I went to watch Moana, and then the dinner was mostly spent keeping an eye on the baby. It's like the majority of my "me" time is crunched down into the 3 hours between Rutabaga going to bed and when I go to bed. That's... not a lot of time, especially if I also need time to decompress.

(There was an animated short tacked onto Moana that was about yet another middle-aged man feeling penned in by a boring 1980s office worker job, and I was like "why aren't there more things about new moms feeling penned in by the compromises they have to make post-baby?")

Like, I think it will be worth it in the long run -- Rutabaga's gonna be a rad young lady. But in the mean time, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, and all I can do is make plans and try to do my best to execute those plans. (Even if I don't quite have the energy to evaluate whether those are still good plans, I guess I gotta just trust my past-self.)

One of the things I've really come to value in 2016 are human connections. My parents have helped so much with baby care, I can't even. And even though it's hard to manage sometimes with Rutabaga's schedule, it's been great having comics night every Thursday and taiko every Saturday. (10 comics people came to help us move! And taiko people are always so helpful with Rutabaga!) Hanging out with these people always leave me with warm fuzzies. It's the energizing kind of socialization, not the draining kind. :D I do wish I had more energy to reach out to non-local friends, however -- thank them for gifts, or just to say hi.

Another thing that's been pretty frustrating to me, is that I've just become a much flakier person, with an ever-growing list of things that I've promised to do, but which I just haven't followed through on. :/

And part of the reason is that I've been trying to protect my creative time. When I go too long without making something, I get really pent-up and antsy. I think it's because making stuff is like -- high quality downtime. (Whereas surfing the internet is low-grade downtime.) So after 9pm, I basically refuse to do work -- I need that time to decompress and make things.

Which gets to the other lack-of-centering, because even though I've been working on creative stuff, I don't have a single goal or project. I've worked on a bunch of miscellaneous ones over the year, and I've gotten better at various skills, but I'm missing a throughline. (Or maybe I have a throughline, I just haven't had the time and mental energy to really reflect on it.)
- I now have 3 anthologies and 6 fanzines under my belt, so I feel like I've leveled up on the "wrangling artists, design-and-layout, promo-and-shipping" front. I'm good at organization, but ... there's other stuff that I can be doing. (Is it the new "knitting" of my life?)
- I also think I've gotten better at lineart and shading ever since I've started just using the pencil tool for drawing. Recently I've also been trying to color in a way that makes me less line-dependent.
- My comics have been all over the place -- awkwardly wrapped up book 3 of Tisquantum, drew very few satisfactory Cap comics, and a handful of Rutabaga comics. But ... I don't know what I actually want? Do I still want to tell a longform story, a la Tisquantum? (And if so, what?) Or do I want to go the observational/educational comics route, a la China Comics/Rutabaga? What draws me to comicking, anyway? And what can I do with this medium that I can't do with, say, teaching? What are the stories that I *can* tell, and *want* to tell? I want to tell stories about women -- living, interacting. But in short, 10-20 page lengths. (Tisquantum is too long.) Maybe a short story in comic form and then some longer text blurb? maybe start with my mom

That is, if I have time. I still want to teach, but if I start that again, that'll be a LOT of work. (Rewarding work, but a lot.) And just to get back into teaching, I'm going to have to spend the next few months transitioning the company *and* doing job applications. Good thing I'm mostly done with moving.

(I'm really happy with the home purchase, so ... yay!)

Somewhere in the mix of all this is the whole fandom thing. (Creativity, social interactions, organization, etc etc.) I wish my chosen fandom had more women. Maybe I can use it to push myself toward slightly longer stories, or at least experiment with the format/tone. And find ways to interact that approach the warm-fuzziness I feel from real life friend hangouts.

Anyways, it's late, so... here's to 2017. I'll do the resolutions tomorrow. After taiko, probably.
summercomfort: (Default)
Friday, December 30th, 2016 11:35 pm
I got to sleep in until 9am because Jono held the baby in the morning. And then in the afternoon we left the baby with my brother, and went to watch Moana! It's a pretty good cartoon movie. Holy shit I hope this makes every little kid want to learn wayfinding and explore the world. I'm really happy about some of the messages in the film, specifically:
1) Exploring the world does not preclude leaving home forever (it doesn't have to be the ocean or the family, it can be both!)
2) Exploring requires the right boat and the right tools (I love that Moana *packs* for her trip.)
3) You need to be ready to learn new skillsets (like wayfinding)
4) It's okay to give up / reject your destiny if you don't feel ready for it.

Basically I love the ocean in the story.

And then we had yummy family dinner and yummy cake, and Rutabaga was a powerful force for distraction.

I should do my typical year-end reflection but ... am tired. Gonna do a quick doodle draft" to fulfill my "work on something creative" and go to bed. There's still taiko tomorrow.
summercomfort: (Default)
Thursday, December 29th, 2016 09:47 am
Well, my fears of Jono's burnout has come to pass, in the form of an illness that he just can't seem to shake over the past week. Hopefully today will be the day?

Anyway, pretty big to-do list today -- hopefully I'll get through most of it!

Work:
- finish picking vocab for flashcards
- insurance payment
- payroll
- CD codes for that school
- plan meetings for next week

Other stuff:
- make quiche
- do dishes
- buy: dish detergent, diapers, oatmeal
- tidy up the house
- hangout with Q for lunch
summercomfort: (Default)
Friday, December 2nd, 2016 11:03 pm
By 3pm tomorrow:
- look over payroll info
- print out payroll slips
- write 30 checks
- buy baby food

By 1pm Sunday:
- take recycling to parents'
- drop off Good Will bags
- label moving areas?? At least bring over some extension cords?

(Now to see how much of the payroll stuff I can do tonight.)
summercomfort: (Default)
Friday, December 2nd, 2016 09:40 am
Wow, I'm TIRED. But I just need to power through the next couple of days...

- Sunday will be the day of the Big Move. Today I'll try to pick off a little more miscellaneous with the help of my bro. I've been too tired to move this past week, but ... well, it's gotta happen!! And a lot of friends are coming to help move on Sunday! It... it might get a little crazy! At last count, there's 8 people coming??? :O??

- Tomorrow is taiko + Oakland hangouts with my bro + last day of Chinese School for this quarter. That means I have to get grading and payroll done TODAY. But hopefully it means I can crash a bit tomorrow night, before the Big Move.

- Tuesday is when the printed fan anthology will finally arrive. It's also the official day we're out of this apartment. I spent 3 hours last night getting all the shipping stuff prepped and ready to survive the move, so hopefully when the books show up, I can just stuff, seal, and mail. Well, there's still one more set of prints that are coming today, and also 3 doodles that I need to do. And I'm sort of dreading the part where I stand at the post office Shipping Machine and manually punch in 30 international destinations... But after that, I'll be done!

It... it's been a long month+ of travel and logistics work, both at work and in the post-baby-sleep time. I've been staying off tumblr both due to election drama (oof, thinking about that is still upsetting, and I'm kind of looking on in numb shock as Trump seems to make good on his campaign promises), and because I'm just too tired to be in the right mental state to be on tumblr.

But that's also meant that I'm now in that weird state where I both crave the low-grade social interaction that tumblr offers, and also being too tired to really have the energy for it? :///

... I'll feel better when I have enough brain cells to start thinking about making stuff again. Making stuff comes first, tumblr interactions come second. I interact with people via making stuff, so first I have to have the energy and brain space to do that. I'll just be glad when Christmas is over.

(Ugh, Christmas is like, my least favorite holiday, but everyone wants to make a big deal out of it, what with all the fandom yuletide stuff, and basically having this weird deadline for gift-giving. At least I don't have to give presents to my family. Maybe I should institute an "gifts? what are those?" rule for myself, too. Why can't all holidays just be Chinese holidays where everyone gets together and eats a lot of specialized food?)

Anyway, by this time next week, things will be ... more done.
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 04:02 pm
So we have a house now. Or rather, a cute 2-story, 3bed 2bath condo end unit. We kept hitting roadblocks when trying to get a mortgage (to Hoosband: "what do you mean you don't have credit?" to me: "wait, you own the company? That makes you self employed, we need to start over.") So... it's now a family loan.

Thus begins: the move. Which is currently in the "bookshelves" stage. I dread when we're down to the "miscellaneous bits" part of the move, where everything gets shoved in boxes and then I'll have to spend weeks trying to filter through that.

Parents have been super helpful in taking the babbu for large chunks of the day, so that I can do work. (Which I've really needed, since our company is down 2 people right now. Which means that I'm trying to do 3 people's work??)

Anyway, some more moving will happen this weekend, and then on Monday we're headed to Chicago for Thanksgiving.

I'm a little frustrated that we're leaving on Monday instead of Tuesday or Wednesday, since this means I'm leaving before our shipping person gets back from China, and I can't do a proper handoff. I blame past-self for not listening carefully when Hoosband was buying the tickets.
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 02:45 pm
I was going to organize all of this, but ... eh.

Wow, democracy sure is a thing, eh? 59,789,023 votes cast for Hillary Clinton, and 59,583,744 votes cast for Donald Trump. And even though Hillary Clinton won by a measly 200,000 votes, Trump is the electoral college winner. On the one hand, I sure would like the get rid of the electoral college. On the other hand, the popular vote has shown exactly how divided we are. 47.7% vs. 47.5%. There really isn't a "mandate", just a lot of people, going in the cast their votes.

And that's what they are, aren't they? Just people, doing people things. Late last night I was in the "48% of the country hate people like me and my friends" stage, and early this morning I was in the "48% of the country would fear/scapegoat people like me and my friends" stage. But now ... well, 59 million people cast the vote for Trump for a whole host of different reasons. Sure, some of them are horrible fascists and racists. But also, some wanted a conservative judge on the Supreme Court. Some feel betrayed by the Democratic party and their promise of bringing manufacturing jobs back to America. Some view government with utter suspicion and would rather trust a sleazy businessman than a sleazy politician.

And so. We are here. Because democracy worked.

Voting is pretty awesome. Recently I was working on putting a fan book thing together, and I was like "how many people want it as one giant tome, vs. 4 slim booklets?" And the mailing list was like "eh, I don't care either way" and "I see benefits of both, so I'll defer to the group." So then I set up a survey, and... guess what? Everyone except for me wanted a giant tome. If I hadn't set up that survey, I might have mislead everyone into the impression that everyone else wanted the 4 slim booklets, just because I was the most vocal person in the mailing list. But then people voted.

Just like how people in California voted for higher taxes to help build schools. And to ban plastic bags in grocery stores to help the environment. To allow bilingual education. For stricter gun control. Turns out that we prefer reforming the death penalty rather than repealing it. And sure, the California state legislature is officially allowed to be upset about Citizens United (37 more states to go before it becomes not-ridiculous!)

So voting -- it happened.

And I want it to keep happening. I want the popular vote to count, and not just focusing on 11 swing states. (And apparently there's a way!). I want the Voting Rights Act bolstered. And I want to vote in a Democratic congress in 2 years. And in 2020, when Rutabaga is 4 years old, I want to help vote in Democratic state legislatures across the US, to fix the gerrymandered districts. (Or at least gerrymander it the other way for a decade).

And I vote in other ways, too. I vote with my money when I choose which TV shows to watch. (Watching The Get Down, *not* watching Daredevil). I vote with my time and energy when I choose what to do with my life outside of work. And I vote with my voice when I express my opinions.

I've always been a "everyone is entitled to their opinion as long as they're not being a dick about it" type of person. But yanno what? The thing I always forget is that this means I'm also entitled to mine. So next time someone's like "oh, this country is going to hell under the Democrats," I'm going to engage and make my opinion heard as well. I should do more than glare at the guy harassing a woman on the subway, because that is Not Okay. Just like building a wall or banning Muslim immigrants is Not Okay.

More importantly, though -- 59 million people voted for Trump. Hillary was expected to have a 4% lead in the popular vote, but ended up with 0.1%. That means that there's roughly 5 million people who unexpectedly voted for Trump. How did we overlook 5 million people? Why is it that they were only able to make themselves heard through voting?

If the people who voted for Trump are not college educated -- well, let's work to make college more accessible. If the people who voted for Trump are sick and tired of working a dead end job with no prospects, well, people are teaching coal miners to code. If the people who voted for Trump think that immigrants are evil and white male privilege is threatened ... well, I don't see any other way to show them differently except to make my opinion heard. To vote for more inclusive mass media by putting my money where my mouth is. To vote for better education through donorschoose, and by being a good teacher. To vote for school boards that value pre-K education and to vote for state legislators who will vote to keep polling places open. To vote.

Because voting doesn't happen once every 4 years. And like a muscle, it needs to be exercised.
summercomfort: (Default)
Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 10:29 pm
So, there's this house that we're about 2 days away from signing on.

Buying it would involve:
- sinking in 90% of our savings
- sinking in 70% of my parents' savings (which we will then pay back at a 2% interest rate until we decide to sell the house.)

But it's a good location and a good house and basically a place that I can imagine myself, Hoosband, and Rutabaga living in for the next 3-5 years.

Except, with these election results ...

We might need liquid capital, yanno? More importantly, my *parents* might need liquid capital. And whereas before, I feel like we can make back the cost of the house if we sell after 3 years, now I think it's going to be at least 5 years.

Which would mean a lot of our money would be locked in for at least 5 years.

But on the other hand, by having parents help buy the place outright, it means that all of the money that we would have been spending on paying rent or mortgage interest, would then go into a safe savings account. Like, that's an extra $3000 a month that we'd be saving up. And if we live frugally in the next couple of years, we can actually save up a lot of money that way. If our current incomes stay stable, we'd be able to save up the money that parents are lending us in... 7 years. (And still be able to sell the house and get the money back that way.) And by being able to save more, that means we still have a certain amount of liquidity that we can shift around.

It's hard to see through the panic and jitters and project how much a Trump presidency will affect our lives for the next 4 years, but that's kind of what we need to decide by tomorrow 11am.
- health care costs might go down for us and go up for a bunch of people
- the Supreme Court is going to be not-fun, but then again, Scalia was pretty horrible, and I can't imagine someone being THAT much worse than him.
- America will lose the respect of everyone on the global stage and treaties will not be honored. I don't know what that will mean.
- Hoosband's industry might collapse as the government becomes more anti-science and anti-environment.
- Family business might struggle as anti-immigrant sentiment grows and more people go back to China. (On the other hand, Family business might get an uptick as Chinese immigrants start feeling a greater need to have their kids learn Chinese, just in case they have to go back to China.)

49% of this country clearly doesn't like people like me and my friends and family, and that is the most chilling thing of all.

But, states still decide the education curriculum, and entertainment and mass media still follows the consumer demands, and the internet will still function (for now?). :/

So... I dunno. I know that we're not going to move to another country, we're going to stay and do what we can. But is it better to do so while owning a house, or not?
summercomfort: (Default)
Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 01:22 am
LJ has a like button now! XD

Is that enough for me to switch to using their /feed instead of their /friends ??
summercomfort: (Default)
Thursday, October 6th, 2016 12:50 pm
so we made an offer on a house. Someone had a higher offer with less borrowing. So:

- Confirmed that Bay Area home prices are crazy, and if we ever want to buy, it'd probably be in Oakland
- I appear to have a pretty hard line of "no more than $1 million" on home-buying
- There was a lot of angst this week, but I think it was good for us overall, because Jono reconciled himself to the possibility of owning a home, and I reconciled myself to the possibility of not owning a home. Plus I learned how to ask for financing.
- Operation "rent a second apartment" is go! :)))))
summercomfort: (Default)
Monday, October 3rd, 2016 11:38 pm
So, went to see Hoosband's real estate agent today, who spent 2 hours going over everything with me. Then we wrangled mom to see the place, and I got really excited about the prospect of owning it -- started imagining hosting comickers hangouts in the living room/patio area, admiring all the extra storage space, and having a guest bedroom!!

Then I got home and Hoosband's like "oh, I thought we were just doing this like a test run. Do you actually want to get the place?" There's a lot of "holy shit we have to make such a ginormous decision in the next 3 days" hand-wringing, which experience tells me is pretty much going to happen every time we look at buying a home.

Which led to lots of talk and angst and it's boiled down to:

- I'd like at least 1 extra bedroom and some extra living space to host people (it worked out well back when we lived in a house because we'd do our "living" in the living room and do our hosting in the family room)
- Hoosband would like the flexibility of renting, for a variety of reasons.
- We'd both like to stay in this area, but aside from our current apartment, there isn't another rentable place with pool and yard. But our apartment complex is all 1-bedrooms, so we can't just switch to a 2-bedroom. Everything else that fits our criteria is for purchase. (average $1.5 mil)


So.... I think the solution is *not* to buy a house (which involves sinking in all of our savings, *and then* paying $4500/month. And also moving.) I *think* the solution is to rent another 1-bedroom apartment in our complex.

No wait, hear me out:
- current living room: for our piles and general living-in-filth, and for when singular friends visit
- other living room: for hosting get-togethers! For extra space hangouts! Rutabaga can run around there freely without worrying about wires and other sharp stuff as much. Playdates.
- other bedroom: for hosting friends overnight, for when one of us needs a quiet work or study area.
- other closets: for storing more long-term things, like the tubs of legos, the taiko drums, the comics prints, the camping gear, the luggage, the used baby stuff, etc.

We'd basically be getting roughly the same amount of additional space as the townhouse, and paying roughly the same amount of money as the mortgage, but with the flexibility of renting! Plus it's not like "arrrrgh gotta decide right now!!!" I can keep an eye out for the next apartment opening. Then! When we don't want to live in this area anymore, we can go to the new location and rent a proper 2- or 3-bedroom.

Anyways, gonna sleep on it, but I think this is the right thing to do.
summercomfort: (Default)
Saturday, October 1st, 2016 11:33 pm
So, next weekend I'm going to be at APE, which will mean I'm going to miss teaching this lesson. It's a pity, because it's one of my favorite ones. It's a short essay by 王鼎钧. Below is an ad hoc and informal translation.

-----------
三种成长
Three types of growth

人是生物的一种,不断在成长之中:我们的年龄在成长,学识技能在成长,品德也在成长。
Humans are a living thing, and thus are constantly growing: we grow in age, we grow in skill and knowledge, and we grow in morality and wisdom.

“天增岁月人增寿”,年龄的成长出于自然。但是学识技能和品德的成长,却要靠我们自己的努力,如果稍一懈怠,就会停止成长,甚至倒退。人生最迫切的问题,就是如何使这三者同时成长。
"As the seasons pass, people age": the growth in age happens naturally. But the growth in knowledge and wisdom, must depend on our own efforts. If we but slack off for a moment, they stop growing, and even begin to regress. The most pressing question in our lives, is how to ensure that these three: age, knowledge, and wisdom, grow in tandem.

在人们的感觉上,光阴如顺流而下的波浪,品学却如逆流而上的船只。前者稍纵即逝,后者步步费力,听起来似乎不太公平。
然而光阴的流逝有一定的数量和速度,虽然没有办法减少,可是也不会增加。我们追求知识,学习技能,培养品德,开拓胸怀,却可以随着自己的意愿,提高速度。种瓜得瓜, 种豆得豆, 而种瓜种豆,操之在我。人生的责任在此,乐趣也在此。
The passage of time is like water flowing downstream, but improving oneself is like a boat going upstream. The former disappears in an instant of release, while the latter is difficult every step of the way. It seems rather unfair. And yet, time passes at a set pace: even though there is no way to slow it down, neither would it speed up. Whereas our pursuit of knowledge and nurturing of virtue and understanding, can be sped up according to our will. When you plant melons, you harvest melons. When you plant beans, you harvest beans. And whether you plant melons or beans, that is decided by you. The responsibility of life lies in this. The joy of life also lies in this.

光阴是不会停止的。既然如此,我们也要使自己的品学日有进境,不息不止,这才是一个充实而圆满的生命。
Time will never stop. Since that is true, we should also continue to grow in our wisdom and knowledge, without pause or rest: Only that would be a fulfilling life.

---------

The middle two paragraphs especially speak to me: that what you choose to put time and effort into, is what you will receive in harvest. And one can't expect a harvest in something that one hasn't planted and tended. More importantly, the choice of what to spend my time on (and thus, what harvests I want), is something that I can control. I have a sense that I wrote about it last year, but I can't find it. Regardless, it's a question that bears more frequent asking: am I planting the right things? Am I expecting impractical harvests?

I'm thinking about this today, for several reasons.

We went to look at a townhouse today. It's in a good location and within the bounds of "reasonably priced." We're probably going to have to move in 1-3 years, as Rutabaga grows, so it looked like a good option. But the subsequent discussion also brought up a sore point in our relationship: the fact that we're location-locked. My family is here, my family's business is here, and now, we also have regular activity and friend groups here. But Hoosband's family isn't here. And being here means limiting the types of jobs that Hoosband can seek out. And the Bay Area is an increasingly onerous place to live: commutes are long and housing is expensive.

In our current area, we are paying $2300 for a one bedroom. When Rutabaga gets older and we need to move to a two bedroom, it's going to be ~$3200, at least. Currently Hoosband commutes 90 minutes to work, each way (about an hour on the train, plus biking). But if we move closer to his work on the train line, he won't be able to find a place to sit or a place to put his bike, which means his commute would be shorter but more painful. If we move to somewhere on the BART line, say, Oakland, that might also be the same: shorter but more painful. If we move, it means not being able to take advantage of the 3-5 hours of free childcare my parents are providing, which comes out to be ~$1500 per month that we don't have to spend.

I'm very sad that Hoosband has such a horrible commute, but ... I really can't find a reliable way to reduce this misery.

Which brings me to the question of planting and harvesting. I say that I love Hoosband and want to make him happy, but am I putting sufficient energy into that? I've inflicted a baby on him, trapped him in the Bay Area, and can't even find a way to reduce his commute misery. Maybe we should give up everything here and move to Chicago, where he'll be happier. Right now, all of the melons that we're planting are increasingly locking us to this place -- we spend time with comics club, we have established rituals of walking around the neighborhood, etc. And if we buy a house here -- well, that's the biggest melon planting of all.

Which is why, I suppose, we will keep renting even if it's not necessarily the smart thing to do financially: easier to plant melons by accident and lament that they're not beans at harvest time, than to face the fact that we might need to make some tough choices.