Life, uh, finds a way

It’s been a minute since I’ve written here, it’s true. For the most part, I’ve been well- global pandemic and the presence of COVID-19 in the area for almost a month aside, I’ve thought that seeing how people react has been weird. Among other things, I’ve thought it funny that all the commercials I’ve seen and heard these days (at least from local businesses) seem to fall into the categories of either “we are temporarily closed and look forward to serving you once this crisis is over” or “we’re still open, and we’re taking special precautions to continue to serve you!”

There have been a few changes at work- as a convenience store “team member”, I apparently count as an essential employee, so that’s been fun*! I can write more about that another time, though. Fortunately, I guess I can count my blessings that at least I still have a job, and since I was already taking an online class this semester Before Everything Changed, there haven’t really been any major disruptions. I was already socially isolated before it was cool! Er, wait. Hahaha.

Anyway, I have been glad that at least I haven’t had to deal with transitioning from physical meetings to online classes (I’ve seen it written somewhere that this has been the largest distance learning experiment in history, which I think makes sense- I doubt that schools everywhere would try this on such a large scale without some major incentive, like, oh, I don’t know, a pandemic!), and while my current living situation may not be “optimal”, at least I don’t have to worry about any kids, roommates, or significant others adding stress. I can certainly and unfortunately imagine that if something like this had happened a few years ago, either my then-girlfriend would have exerted additional pressure to move in together, or I would be juggling having to stay in contact with her and worrying about her health in addition to my own stresses. Of course, another possibility I’ve contemplated is being stuck living with a significant other and wanting out, but again, fortunately I don’t have to deal with that.

Anyway, brief life update aside, recently my hours at work have been cut, so it’s been nice working a bit less. Working half the hours that I was working a couple months ago, well, that’s less ideal from a financial perspective, but oh well. This past weekend I spent some time tinkering with a computer so I could work on an assignment, and I got it set up, as well as reinstalling Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, a grand strategy game made by Paradox Interactive back in the early 2000s. I don’t remember offhand when the game came out- maybe 2004? Anyway, I’ve been playing it recently, which has been fun. Unlike, say, Hearts of Iron or some of their other games, Victoria primarily focuses on economics and politics, so war and military technology isn’t as much of a focus. Sure, there is some, but the basic unit types are infantry, cavalry, dragoons, heavy ships, light ships, and transport ships- the main differences are in their stats, not necessarily their appearance. If you’re looking at the game when it starts in 1836 and near the game’s end in 1935, it’s going to look pretty similar, and you’d have to drill down a little bit (or look at the animated unit icons for your navy) to notice much difference between the Napoleonic flintlock muzzle loader-armed army of 1835 and the interwar bolt-action rifle and machine gun-armed army of 1935.

My first game Sunday night was playing as Persia (Iran), which was slightly fun. I didn’t do much, but I “westernized” fairly early, and aside from crushing frequent rebellions, not much happened. I stayed out of war for the most part, aside from joining a Russian war against my Ottoman neighbors in the late 1910s, and near the end of the game I did expand a little bit (taking half of Afghanistan and a piece of the modern United Arab Emirates, for example). Since I was mostly watching time pass, that allowed me to occasionally catch glimpses of what happened in the rest of the world, such as the US going fascist after the fascists won an election in 1921, the socialists winning several US elections in the 1800s, Denmark and Sweden uniting to form Scandinavia, the United States of Central America staying united, and Italy colonizing a vast area in Africa. Also, apparently Italy was unified from the south in that timeline, rather than the north.

The second game I started yesterday was playing as the United States of Central America, which historically fell apart after civil war in the late 1830s. I had a similar thing happen in my game, as when I’ve played as Central America in the past, but this time I managed to survive, and after the reactionary aristocrat rebels took the capital, they apparently decided to install a monarchy, which then somehow became a constitutional monarchy (not sure why, maybe the events fired at the same time or something). Anyway, alternate historical weirdness like this is what I always enjoy about historical strategy games like this (“what if Germany didn’t unite? What if the US joined Texas in a war against Mexico in 1836? What if Scandinavia united in the 1800s?”), and after playing that game as Persia, aside from wanting to play a game of Victoria 2 (which I don’t own yet, but I’ve been thinking about buying now that I have a Windows computer), I’ve been thinking that I have these settings, but I don’t know how to use them.

There probably are stories that could be told in that world (an alternate history fiction where, e.g., Russia controls half the Middle East and the other Great Powers are trying to protect their interests in Asia), but I don’t have any particular ideas at the moment. Of course, I have a few other ideas that I’ve been wanting to pursue, and at the moment laziness or distraction seems to be my main problem, particularly since I’m currently down to working less than 20 hours a week rather than almost 40.

Of course, there’s also always the job search which I should be working on, as I’ve been saying for months.

My birthday is later this week- perhaps I’ll write again here later.

A loop?

I’m not entirely sure why I’ve been feeling a bit off today.

Hence this blog post!

But in all seriousness, I’ve been feeling slightly negative for some reason. By all rights, I should be in a decent mood, and I suppose I am- there’s a pan of brownies in the oven, for example, which I finally made after deciding to bake as “self-care” earlier this week- but it seems ridiculous to be feeling anxious, or something like that.

I talked to my dad and grandpa earlier, and I hadn’t talked to either for a bit- I think I last talked to Dad when he visited last weekend, and I think it’s been maybe a week or longer since I had talked to my grandpa.

I was working on homework earlier, but I stopped and have been procrastinating most of the day. Perhaps that’s also part of the problem- instead of feeling productive, I’ve been vaguely ill at ease and not wanting to work on that right now, but also wanting to get it done. Fortunately, the lab exercises that were originally due this week were pushed back to next week.

Physical activity probably would have been a good idea today, but I went to bed last night and, when I got up earlier today, had a bowl of pumpkin spice Cheerios and a “wrap” (ham, cheese, and spinach) for breakfast before doing some dishes, which made me feel productive. Aside from a bit of homework progress, I’m not sure I’ve done much of note since.

I warmed up some leftovers for dinner (rice, sausage, and spinach), which was good, but now I’ll have to plan what I want to eat tomorrow.

I suspect that feeling ill-at-ease or anxious could probably be alleviated, or at least ameliorated, if I chose something (i.e., playing a game, reading a book, reading news, watching YouTube/Netflix/Disney+) and focused on it for sufficiently long enough, but instead I’ve been flitting around, reading open browser tabs, then reading a bit from a library book that’s been on my desk, then pulling out my phone (as if anything new is happening on Facebook or Twitter), then doing something else.

I made French toast for breakfast yesterday after noticing that the loaf of bread I bought a couple weeks ago was starting to mold, and since I had some leftovers, that was good. Overall, despite my lack of a Valentine, I thought yesterday was a good day. Work was busy, of course, and we did have one customer that got slightly upset because his pizza was supposed to be ready and we had to remake it because the person that made it didn’t read the ticket properly, but we managed without any other major incidents, and I had expected worse.

It’s kind of nice having the weekend off, though it’s also weird having Saturday and Sunday off instead of, say, Monday and Tuesday. This next week I think I have Sunday, Thursday, and Friday off.

It was colder here Thursday, but it’s warmed up. I didn’t venture outside today (which seems like something that I perhaps shouldn’t admit to), but I may have to figure something out tomorrow. If nothing else, maybe I can make plans with my sister, I don’t know.

I don’t know what, but maybe I can make a more substantial entry here when I actually have something to report, rather than scattered thoughts trying to nail down why I feel ill at ease.

 

 

Like a rolling stone

I decided earlier tonight to write another post here, and while trying to decide on a title I thought of the phrase “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” Originally I had considered “Moss gathering”, as a play on “woolgathering”, before I remembered the Bob Dylan song “Like a Rolling Stone”.

I resolved the lease dilemma (at least for now) by talking to my apartment complex office and deciding to go month-to-month, so that allows me to move on to the next problem. Since I’m not tied down by a lease, this does allow me more flexibility than if I was still tied to my current apartment for another year.

I suppose the next major thing is to find another job. I was talking to my dad earlier today, and I’ve been sporadically saying for at least a couple months now that I need to get back on the job search. I don’t remember when I last submitted a job application, but it might have been like October?

Working on Super Bowl Sunday could have been worse- this is Chiefs country, and I had expected it to be busier, but other than multiple orders that were all due at the same time, for once we had a decent number of people and preparation in place so we were ready for it to be busier. Once the game started at 5:30 and the pre-game rush was over, it was pretty dead the rest of the night. I had thought we might have a half-time or post-game rush, but I wasn’t following the game too closely and that never materialized. Of course, it was also a Sunday and most people would have had work and school the next day, so that was also probably a factor. Continue reading

Late night thoughts

I’ll begin by saying I should probably keep this brief. A more comprehensive update can come later. Whenever I decide to write that.

I don’t remember offhand if I’ve written it here before, but I am in a rut. I’ve had the same job for 6 years (7, if you count the year I worked for the same company at a different location), I’ve lived in the same apartment for 4 years as of yesterday, I broke up with my first girlfriend 1 year and 9 months ago, and I earned my bachelor’s degree 9 months ago. Aside from my ex no longer being in the picture and the changes associated with that (no needy girlfriend to entertain, but also no ex asking for occasional favors), I’m not sure my life has dramatically changed recently, which is both sort of good and bad. On the bright side, of course, my brother did get married just over a month ago, so technically I gained a sister-in-law, and I could get further into the weeds, but suffice it to say I’ve been unhappy. Sure, I make do and try to find some satisfaction, but the daily grind is irritating at times, and I’ve been burnt out, at least professionally, for what seems like a while. Probably at least a year, possibly a couple.

Recently, the beginning of the new semester, the anniversary of starting our relationship, and other things have made me think of my ex. Continue reading

The end is nigh

At first, I chose the title of this post because I turn 28 in less than a week. On further reflection, I suppose it also applies to this semester.

Apparently it’s been a few months since I wrote anything here? Let’s see, what’s happened since then…

I got a new phone and phone number last month, after 4 years of using the same Samsung Galaxy S5 and nearly 13 years with the same number. The Samsung Galaxy S7 I have now is quite an upgrade, or at least it seems that way.

I’m still working at a convenience store, and I need to be working a bit harder on finding a different job, whether that’s advancing to being an assistant manager (the idea of which does not excite me) or finding something more white-collar. Filling out job applications is more than slightly soul-draining and frustrating, but I guess that’s what I have to do (and it’s certainly what I’ve been told to do for a while now). The alternative, I guess, is cooking or being a cashier, and I’ve more than had my fill of that in the last 6.5 years.

Earlier this semester my ex-girlfriend texted me a few times, mostly asking for favors, but it’s been nearly a month since she texted me. I e-mailed her last week to inform her my phone number had changed, and after talking to her, it’s only reinforced the feeling of dodging a bullet (or an arsenal). I’m confident that one of, if not the main, reason she’s texted me in the last 6 months has been for emotional validation. It probably took me longer than it should have, but I noticed at some point last fall (about 8 months after we broke up) that she wasn’t interested in talking to me unless she initiated contact. She told me in our recent e-mail correspondence that she’s making plans for the future with the guy she’s been dating since a few weeks after we broke up, so good for her, I guess. I didn’t want the same things she did, but it sounds like she’s getting what she wants, even if it’s been delayed by a year since we broke up over a year ago.
I have had no positive developments on the dating or meeting people front, but I also don’t do anything or go anywhere, and online dating apps are not particularly exciting.

Maybe I’ll rant about it in another post, but to me, the profiles I’ve seen where young women write that they like dogs, beer, tacos, wine, coffee (or any combination of those) is not exactly unique. I’m sure the idea is that they’re marketing themselves (“look, we have common ground!”), but I think at least 50% of people like dogs, tacos, and beer, and depending on the exact interests and demographics, I bet most twenty-something people enjoy dogs, alcohol, sports, and/or live music. Sad to say, you’re going to need something a bit more unique for me to have any interest. “I like the same things as most people” does not pique my interest the way that a good line about Star Wars might, as an example. Sure, some of the bios are occasionally funny, but “looking for a doggy daddy” or “my dog is just using you for your backyard” or “looking for someone to touch my butt and buy me tacos” is basically just variations on that same theme. Maybe it works and I’m just a cynical misanthrope, but I’m increasingly convinced that I’m not going to find my next relationship through online dating and/or dating apps. On the other hand, I’ve had some recent superficial conversation with a fellow graduate student, so who knows, maybe I’m just grumpy.

I unfortunately haven’t been gaming much recently, thanks to this semester’s computer forensics class keeping me busy, but it’s been kind of interesting. My study habits could be better, but I think I’m doing okay, and hopefully will finish strong.

I still haven’t decided what I want to do for my birthday next week. Unfortunately I work that night, since I didn’t get around to requesting the day off, but maybe I can treat myself that day and go out to eat or something.

Auf wiedersehen, fair readers.

Thoughts

I completed my bachelor’s degree last semester, and this semester I only registered for one graduate class- computer forensics.

The job search is underway- I’ve submitted a couple job applications, and I need to submit a few more. One of my coworkers has been promoted to kitchen manager, which is fine, since I’ve not been interested in being a convenience store manager, but I do need to find something better. Another coworker, who has been wanting to be kitchen manager, is predictably annoyed by this development.

Nothing happening on the relationship or meeting people front- I deleted Tinder off my phone and reinstalled Bumble, but other than a few ‘likes’ nothing has happened. I suspect my pictures might be part of the problem, but I also wonder if the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and politics are a problem. Maybe I notice it because it’s in contrast with me, but it sure seems like I’ve seen a lot of “Christian” and “Conservative” in contrast to my “Liberal”.

Anyway, the main purpose for this entry is writing about a Stellaris game I’ve been playing. Recently I’ve been playing with the idea of specializing planets to produce particular resources- an energy planet, mining planet, farming planet, industrial planet, research planet, etc. which seems like a good idea, to take advantage of bonuses, but I’m also hesitant to put all of my figurative eggs in one basket and have to deal with resource deficits if an enemy occupies the planets. On the other hand, my recent games have been at the lowest difficulty level, and it’s not hard for me to pull ahead of the AI, so maybe I’m just being overly cautious.

In the game I was playing last night, I was playing as the Holy Cevantian Empire- a militarist xenophobic spiritualist theocratic monarchy of ‘space elves’ that are native to the alpine world of Cevasia.

Near my northern border with a spiritualist “fallen empire”, there’s a desert planet that has a strategic resource- volatile motes, which I currently have a slight deficit of due to having 1 unit per month income and some industry that uses slightly more than 1 unit per month

It’s slightly funny to think about what that colonization project would be like- I can’t imagine getting a few thousand people to colonize a planet that is marginally habitable (a desert planet when you’re native to a cold, mountainous world), in addition to being far away from the other planets in the empire (6-8 hyperlane jumps, depending on your route, so that’s like a minimum of 6 months travel from Cevasia).

The Empire is, after all, a theocratic monarchy, and I imagine there would probably be some element of a “command economy”, as in “Congratulations, the Archprophet has chosen you to colonize a new planet”. Even if it’s not direct conscription, there would also probably have to be some incentives, like subsidies to lower the price of imports or lower taxes or some other, boring, financial/governmental bureaucratic measures.

I don’t have the technology yet for a prison colony (the most recent patch added the ability to designate a planet as a prison colony), but it’s also amusing to imagine this desert planet serving as a sort of prison colony or like the Soviet gulags or something.

Realistically, due to it being the closest to another alien empire (as well as the distance from the capital and home to a strategic resource), my plans for this planet, other than building the strategic resource extraction facilities, are to add fortifications and other buildings to ensure the populace doesn’t stray too far from the Holy Imperial Government.

In other news, we got a bit of snow this morning, but I don’t think the couple inches we received will stick around for very long. It might be a hassle to drive to and from work today, but I imagine before long the snow will melt.

A winter’s day

Originally, I was going to title this post “Hello, world” a la programming, then I thought of “Hello again, world”, which led to “Hello darkness my old friend”, from Simon and Garfunkel, which in turn led to their song “I Am a Rock”: “A winter’s day/in a deep and dark December”. Today being the winter solstice, it seemed particularly fitting (though the sun is shining, and recently the weather around here hasn’t seemed particularly wintry).

So, what’s been happening? I don’t remember offhand when I last wrote here, but I’m sure it’s been a minimum of a few months. In lieu of condensing six (or more) months into a post, I’ll just say that I ended this semester (and my college undergraduate career) on a strong note. Despite unexpected car trouble (after retrieving the book I loaned to my ex-girlfriend), I did well on the final presentation for one class and I apparently did well enough on the final paper for my other class, so I’m satisfied with the results.

I’ve been working less lately, which has been a nice change, though I still need to spend some time over this winter break looking for a new job, or an internship, or something. I think I’ve been burned out on my current job since at least the start of the school year- possibly, if not probably, longer than that. Continue reading

Saturday night’s all right?

I don’t know what to write, but I feel like I should write something.

The semester started the week before last, and the two classes I’m retaking this semester shouldn’t be too challenging. I’ve taken them before, I basically know what’s expected, and I know what my mistakes were last semester- I just have to get them done, and hopefully get good grades. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m working on the job search front, but no progress yet.  Continue reading

Uncertainty

I’m not sure what to write about.

It’s been about 7 months since the end of my first relationship, and a few weeks since my last contact with my ex-girlfriend. I’d say I’m probably over the breakup (though it seems like I’ve been that way for some time, honestly). I anticipate that she might reach out again this coming fall, but of course there’s always the possibility that, as she has said, we might never talk again.

I’m not a fan of the idea of never talking again, but I imagine, based on our interaction since we broke up, she probably knows that I’m not the one closing that particular door, and if she wants to contact me, I’ll probably reply. Last month while my siblings were in town, I did think it was strange that she tried calling me one afternoon. I didn’t see the missed call until a few hours after it happened. If I remember correctly, after looking on my phone I realized that was the first time she’s called me since March. I thought it was possible that it was a mistake (“butt dial”, “pocket dial”, etc.), but it seemed strange considering we hadn’t texted or talked for a couple weeks, and I imagine if she’s been texting or calling anyone since she went home for the summer it’s been her boyfriend and family.

I haven’t been thinking about my ex-girlfriend much lately, but the last few days I had been thinking about her after finally trying the restaurant she mentioned wanting to go to for her birthday if her boyfriend couldn’t come visit (though her boyfriend ultimately did come down, so I didn’t have to take her out for her birthday after all) and thinking about how it’s been about 7 months since we broke up. Today, I deleted a few pictures on my phone and ate the last bite of gelato in my freezer, which was from one day last fall when we bought gelato before settling in to watch Netflix.

She hasn’t been to my apartment since the start of the spring semester, but there doesn’t seem to be many physical reminders left. Sure, there’s the lamp she gave me for Christmas one year (the first year we were together, I think?), and various things I can associate with her (like the days when I would make fried rice for dinner or eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast), but not many (if anything) that I can physically handle and associate with a specific memory. Such is life and the passage of time, I suppose.

Less fortunately, I briefly looked at job postings today, and the idea of filling out job applications or tinkering with my resume is demoralizing. “Looking for a job is a job in itself”, and I know I don’t want to work at my current job forever, but I also know that I don’t relish the prospect of filling out job applications, updating my resume, and all the other associated nonsense. I do think getting a new job would help, if only so it might be something I enjoy more than my current job, which I have been doing for far too long.

In other demoralizing news, I’m not sure what to do on the dating front. I haven’t been very active lately, but online dating hasn’t seemed to work for me yet. Maybe it’s my pictures, or maybe I’m just not in a good spot (as family seems to think), which I sort of agree with. Walking in the park one evening earlier this week I saw several couples, which kind of made me wish I had someone to go on walks with and otherwise enjoy my summer, but at the same time I kind of am enjoying the single life and not having to be accountable to anyone. If I had a girlfriend, I’m sure she would have plans of her own (even if it was just planning our next date or trip together), and right now I’m free [within the confines set by my work schedule].

In more fortunate news, I’ve been using Duolingo for nearly a week. I’ve used it before, but never for this long. Studying German, French, Spanish, Welsh, Russian, and Chinese (the most recent I’ve embarked on) makes me feel accomplished, though studying Chinese keeps making me feel slightly stupid when I make a mistake.

I’m not sure what else I could write about, so that may be where I leave off for now. It’s weird thinking about classes starting in about a month- I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but I know I need to finish registering for classes and get all of that straightened out.

It’s time to ramble on

I don’t know why I feel like I should write something here.

Obligatory “It’s been a while”. The end of the semester is nigh, and of course that means there’s papers and projects to do, tests to take, and all sorts of other fun things.

Meanwhile, at work, I can’t think of any particular upheaval, but there’s some schedule changes due to people moving to different shifts. I am unaffected, thankfully, but it’s different. Change is the only constant in life, I guess.

I have less than two hours before work, and I don’t know that I feel like writing about recent interaction with my ex-girlfriend right now. I might make that my next entry. We’ll see.

As far as relationships go, I don’t know if I feel like life would truly be easier if I had a girlfriend right now, but it would be nice to have someone to talk to and cuddle with. I don’t remember if I’ve written anything here about the girl I went on a few dates with – that can also be something I write about in the near future. Heh.

This seems like a particularly scatterbrained entry with no point. Suffice to say, I should probably be productive instead of thinking about story ideas. At the moment, I have three main projects in mind: finishing the Stellaris AAR I started a couple months ago, writing a story set in the post-apocalyptic Ozarks (inspired by a CK2: After the End game), and possibly finishing another Stellaris AAR I started last summer.

Gods, that seems like a lot, and that doesn’t even include all the junk I need to do before the end of the semester. I know I’ve been thinking about including things from recent interaction with ex-girlfriend in a story, though I’m not sure how I could (to say nothing of it seeming, while not unoriginal, maybe too personal?).

Anyway, expect more posts in the near future. I like the idea of trying to make another post this week – maybe even two.