Assorted updates

A few assorted life updates:

Day job

I've been at my current day job for nine years as of today. The longest I had previously been at a given day job was five years; I certainly never expected, when I started, that I would still be here nine years later. I nearly quit once or twice in the first six months; the company and I were really not very good matches for each other. But we've both changed, and these days I'm pretty content. And when I look around at other options, none of them sounds more appealing than what I've got.

(Except for giving up on work entirely and lying on a beach somewhere. But that won't be happening anytime soon.)


I got new glasses. I've been having weird occasional vision troubles, maybe just eyestrain, and my optometrist (the awesome Dr. Kuo) suggested that I try progressive lenses. I was grumpy about that, because they're a sign of aging, and I like to pretend that such a thing could never happen to me. But sometimes, I've found, one must accede to the demands of reality, much as one might prefer otherwise. So I got two pairs of glasses, one with progressive lenses and one single-vision for medium-distance (computer screen) reading.

Unfortunately, the glasses-frame-makers have finally completely stopped making the shape of frames that I've been wearing (variations of) my entire adult life. I had worried that that would happen sooner or later, but every time I've gotten new glasses in the past it's turned out there's been one brand left that provided that shape. But this time, Dr. Kuo did an exhaustive search and came up with nothing. So I got slightly more flattened/squarer frames that I imagine are cooler but that I don't like nearly as much.

(And yes, this is one of those posts, the sort where someone who's ridiculously privileged complains grumpily about things like the shape of his glasses. I am grateful that I have nothing more serious to complain about at this time.)

So far, I don't like the new lenses. The distance part of the progressive lenses is remarkably crisp, and the transition isn't nearly as jarring as I had feared, but every time I turn my head suddenly I think the world is tilting. Switching between two pairs is a pain. And after I've been focusing at computer-screen distance for a while, my distance vision (even with the progressive lenses) still gets blurry in the same way that it used to; I had thought that part of the point of using the new lenses was to prevent that.

But I've only had them a few days; I'll wait a little longer and see if I get used to them.

Weekend: Social, writing, WordPress

On Saturday, I had a nice lunch-and-wander-around-SF with Debbie and Alan; then I went home before Writers With Drinks, even though I was right there (actually walked right past the place on my home, a couple hours before they opened). It was tempting—Kim Stanley Robinson and Douglas Lain were reading, among others—but I was tired and low on social energy, alas.

On Sunday, I read through the entire second draft of my book; I don't think I had ever read the whole thing start-to-finish before. I made a bunch of fine-tuning polishing tweaks and sent it off to two friends for critique. This is the first time that anyone other than Mary Anne has seen any of it, and I'm kinda nervous. My plan is to have a third draft done by around April, at which point I may be ready for more people to see it. Unless my current readers tell me to throw it away and write something else.

Been working on setting up WordPress for Mary Anne's new online magazine Jaggery. (After seeing so many of my friends use WP, I had vaguely contemplated moving my blog from Movable Type to WP at some point, but now I'm glad I never tried that; WP really doesn't fit my head. Though plugins help with some aspects.)

Reading and watching

Am two-thirds of the way through reading Iain M. Banks's Matter. As usual with his books, I'm pleased and impressed with the scope and the eyeball kicks and the sensawunda, but also as usual I wish he had gone just a tiny bit further on the diversity front. For example, humans who live in the Culture can easily (albeit slowly) change their physical sex, but things are very heterocentric; in this book, if I understood right, a female character started to feel attraction to a woman she knew, so she changed her body to be male. That's a perfectly reasonable choice for someone to make if they want to, but it would be nice if there were some characters who were fine with being attracted to people who currently have bodies of the same sex. But maybe I'm just forgetting some in other Banks books. Anyway, relatedly, it seems like every alien species (or at least every alien civilization; I'm not sure what distinction he's making between those terms, if any) is remarkably homogeneous; as with a lot of space opera, entire species are considered to have the same goals and interests, and they always seem to be working together in harmony; the aliens don't have nearly the diversity of factions and individual goals and beliefs that humans do. Still, overall I'm enjoying the book so far.

This week's movies: rewatched Clueless and Hudsucker Proxy. Both are funny and fun and well worth watching, although Hudsucker unfortunately has one of the most magical Magical Negros ever (and has essentially only one female character).

Also rewatched a couple of episodes of Good Neighbors (aka The Good Life), a 1975 British sitcom about a couple who decide to become self-sufficient in suburbia. I loved it in high school; I see more of its flaws now, but the interactions between Tom and Barbara Good are still appealing. It reminds me of what I liked about Mad About You: the couple who occasionally snipe at each other but also joke together, and clearly adore each other. And Felicity Kendal, like Helen Hunt, has a great smile. I do wish that Tom (played by Richard Briers, who I also adore) were a little less obnoxious to her sometimes (which is, for that matter, how I felt about Paul Reiser's character in Mad About You), and that the show were a little less regressive in some of its gender stuff and the occasional throwaway racist joke. Still, I've more or less enjoyed the three episodes I've seen so far.


I had been expecting for months that I would visit Boston in late October, as I used to do regularly. I did that last year, after a couple of years away, and it was great to see everyone, and I told myself not to wait two years before my next visit. But as late October has impended, I've been more and more resistant to planning such a trip, even more so than my usual trip-planning resistance. I've finally had to admit to myself (even though I'm still waffling even as I write this, as one might expect from Jed) that I'm just not up for it right now—I could handle a weekend trip somewhere, but a week-plus whirlwind visit to a couple dozen friends is more than my limited social energy can cope with at the moment. I'm sad about that—it's probably contributed to my mullygrubs this week—but I think I'll be stabler and more able to cope with things if I stay home. Sorry about that—I miss you all! Maybe I'll manage a visit in the spring? I wouldn't get to go leaf-peeping then, but that's only one small part of my reasons for visiting.

I'm sure there's more I could say in an update post (for example, am once again trying to figure out how to approach OKCupid in a way that will work for me), but I think this has gone on long enough, and I ought to go try to do some day-job work.


A couple of other notes, added a bit later:

  • I don't know why it's so hard for me to remember that sunshine is almost guaranteed to improve my mood. The sunshine here lately has been lovely. (With apologies for bringing that up to people elsewhere who've been having less-than-ideal-for-them weather.)
  • Am trying again to walk or bike to work more often.

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