Sunday, July 16, 2017

Unexploded Nee

Well, turns out I am not working as a tech writer at the moment. The company I applied with is so dynamic that there was a reorganization before they could hire me, so there was no longer a job to hire for. It was very upsetting at first, but a friend who works for the company feels confident I will find a place there in the long run, so I am trying to be sanguine about the whole thing. In the meanwhile, I have finished translating one book and have started on another.

John and I have gotten into the habit of filling our terrace with plants in the summer. Most of them are seedlings we want to keep a closer eye on or want to protect from snails & slugs, like these chili plants I bought John

Tabasco chili

But some probably have a permanent home there, like this rose "tree" John bought me

rose tree

Still, I need to get up in the garden today and give my potato plants some TLC.

We are hosting a young man from Sweden while he attends language school for a few weeks this summer (son of a friend of a friend), and it is a bit weird having a teenager in the house again. He's mature and mostly self-sufficient, but he is just young enough (and inexperienced at traveling by himself, plus didn't speak much German when he arrived) that I find myself mothering him. Makes me appreciate having a grown child even more!

Luckily, our friends have a daughter his age, and she was kind enough to take him around one afternoon at our request, but they hit it off so well that he has been included in gatherings with her friends the last few days, which has made him feel less homesick and more confident in his language-learning abilities. Shacking up with someone who speaks a different language is probably the best way to learn another language, but making friends is good, too.

He is also lucky that he arrived after I stopped being in puffy rage mode. With my IUD, I hardly ever have a period anymore, but I still do occasionally get PMS (basically). This last time has really brought home to me how the body can make chemicals (hormones, etc.) that will fuck up your brain, and you might not even notice the change, at least not at first. I am usually a pretty cheerful person, and love a laugh, but when the last wave of hormones struck, I had no chill. Hell, I had negative chill. Reading Wil Wheaton's tumblr and blog, I can see the parallels with mental illness. I realized I was not myself and was being a jerk, but the best I could do was apologize to John and just try not to let my knee-jerk responses out. Oh, and hope that it would pass sooner rather than later. I think I have come out the other side; luckily, it is about as infrequent as my periods, so I hope I won't see it again any time soon.

Nee in Germany was puffy but she struck like a cobra

Monday, March 27, 2017

Can't hold back any longer

I am not yet ready to post about this on fb, but no one is going to read this, and I am going to explode if I don't blab it to someone besides John, so here goes:

I've got a very promising interview for a tech writing job next week.


I took a couple of language tests on-site a week ago Friday and got to meet some of the members of the team that is hiring, but not the boss. Now I am set up to meet the boss and the team next week, and the team member who set up the appointment made it sound like she really hoped to snag me.


I am so ready to be done freelancing and adjuncting. But there is a lot to wrap up before I can start working full-time for someone else, so I needed to get this out so I can get back to all of that without exploding.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

On the up-swing

I just want to brag that I managed to move my hard drive over to a solid state drive without fucking it up! (Okay, I didn't manage to change the partition sizes on the first try, which was part of the reason for doing it in the first place, but I figured out how to fix it.) It only took me about 12 hours total (minus all the research and parts ordering in advance). I'm going to keep patting myself on the back for another day or 2, ok?

I was reading somewhere about organization systems, and how the best of them are only as good as they are a good fit for *you*. That totally made sense to me. I'm not a big smartphone user(1), so it wouldn't make sense for me to decide to adopt a smartphone-based system. I have been trying to come up with a unified paper system, because I love paper and writing by hand, for a while, and it was only recently that I came across the Bullet Journal. Hannah had ordered a hardback, full-sized journal that she couldn't use after all, so I had the perfect starting place, and it has been working for me pretty well so far.

(1) My cheap Android phone is chock full of bloat, so I am down to Google-everything and WhatsApp, and I *still* don't have enough space for updates (!).

The previous point also applies to exercise. If you don't enjoy it, you won't do it. I *really* need to do it, so I've been trying out step aerobics and dance-based exercise routines. Luckily, a friend shared a tip about the Fitness Marshall, and I've got about 3 songs I play through. I fell off the wagon recently, but once I have gotten through my colonoscopy this week (woo!), I plan to get back on the wagon.

Nee in Germany has a lot of work to catch up on now that her computer is back up to snuff

Monday, January 02, 2017

Quick check-in

Had our first snowfall this morning, but not too much. Now I'm making chicken and dumplings and thinking about crashing in front of the tv.

Nee in Germany needs to pull herself together

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Happy New Year

As is our New Year's tradition, we spent NYEve with friends, and in a newer tradition, we stayed overnight. That meant we could stay up drinking wine (John only) and singing karaoke (both of us) for as long as we wanted and not have to worry about being drunk or tired on the drive home.

We are still waiting for snow, but this was the view when we left their house this morning:

Then we came home and whipped up some Nutella brownies (only 3 ingredients!) to take next door, where we were invited for traditional Korean New Year's soup. Tasty!

Now I am going to lie in front of the tv with John and Hannah for a while.

Nee in Germany has been social to the max

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Reading: Unmentionable

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners, by Therese Oneill, uses the same conceit as The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England: A Handbook for Visitors to the Fourteenth Century, by Ian Mortimer: the author accompanies us back to a certain time period (here, the Victorian era) and explains how you would be expected to live in order to fit in. In the case of Unmentionable, the focus is on upper-to-middle class women and the expectations and prescriptions particular to them.

Info-wise, I found the book interesting, even though I was familiar with quite a bit of the general outlines. The explanation of how forceps (or the lack thereof) may have changed the course of British monarchy was fascinating, though. I also found the quotations well chosen and well "interpreted".

Style-wise, I generally enjoyed the tone, especially in the more straightforward explanations and in the ironic commentary, but sometimes the book veered too far into "humor blog" style for my taste, especially in places where I had difficulty parsing what was meant because of the fragments used, mostly in the first half of the book.

All in all, I found it a quick, enjoyable read for the holiday break,

Nee in Germany has a big To Be Read pile

Friday, December 30, 2016

Trying something new

"There's nothing new under the sun", as the saying goes, but I am going to try something new for me. I have avoided politics and social commentary here for the most part, except to occasionally snark on people, but I need a place to think about things, so to speak, so I will do some of that thinking here.

Today's article that resonated with me:
"The lesson of Trump and Brexit: a society too complex for its people risks everything", by John Harris in the Guardian

John Harris touches on some aspects of modern society that I have been noticing myself:
Complexity, after all, is a 21st-century leitmotif, captured in those news-channel screens on which scrolling tickers and stockmarket data combine to create the impression of a world so elaborate it is beyond anyone’s control.
I can't bear to watch American news channels anymore when we are in the States because of this. I find it overwhelming. It is almost impossible to focus on what is being said, and it feels like I am being flooded with information, yet most of that information is of no interest or use to me. I imagine that might be the case for lots of people.

For a lot of us, in fact, modernity is a mess: not just of multiple user accounts, passwords, contracts for smartphones and Wi-Fi, and the generalised insanity of consumerism, but working lives that now have to undergo endless peaks, troughs and reinventions.
I've been feeling conflicted about consumerism for a while now. On the one hand, I am very practical, so I am often loath to buy anything that is not useful; John is also aesthetically opposed to knick-knacks, for the most part, so our decorating style might be called 'spare'. On the other hand, I am not immune to the lure of fandom merchandise or craft supplies, so I have my share of those things, both things I have bought and things I have received. On the third hand, I realized this xmas that once I had bought the things I had earmarked throughout the year because I thought certain people would enjoy them, my enjoyment of xmas shopping went straight down the crapper, and it became a chore, just a way to funnel money into the maw of capitalism.

Moreover, I cringe every time I peel the plastic packaging off a gift (given or received) and look at the mounds of packing material required by modern modes of producing and selling goods.

But sitting down and trying to think my way out of these conundrums is difficult. If I lived closer to my loved ones, I could figure out a way to give more of myself, but I don't, so I feel kind of trapped in my current system. This contributes to a base level of anxiety that doesn't ever seem to completely go away, at least for me.

I found myself wanting to quote whole paragraphs from the rest of the article, it made so much sense to me, but instead I will summarize a few key points:

  • When there are no longer increasing returns from increasing complexity, people turn against it, hence the type of voting we saw this past year (Brexit, Trump), where people were essentially voting for simplification of complex systems.
  • There is historical evidence for increasing complexity playing a role in the collapse of civilizations. I'm adding the book cited, The Collapse of Complex Societies, by Joseph Tainter, to my to-read list.
I know people who are basically preppers, and I can see the attraction when you are afraid of (or excited about, in some cases) what will happen when the complex system around you collapses, but I try to remember that there are alternative solutions to howling barbarism and apocalyptic upheaval, such as technological advancement, but now I wonder if technological advancement might automatically bring increasing complexity with it, if only because it means more options to have to differentiate between and choose from.

Nee in Germany is getting her think on