it is a dark and not at all stormy night…

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

every day i go through a little dance with myself in order to find the motivation to work on the things i really want to be doing right now even though i know i should also be spending more time focusing on making money.

i have spent a good bit of time in these past few months sticking my tongue out at the whole “making money” thing, and i think i’ve just about got the nyah, nyah bug out of my system. i can acknowledge that my current patterns are unsustainable (and waiting for an unknown uncle to bequeath me a castle is always best as fallback-plan rather than centerpiece-of-financial-portfolio), and that i don’t seem all that driven to find short-term work in portland for some reason, so i had kind of given myself an end-of-year deadline on deciding whether i am going to stay or move.

in that spirit, and with the “make money” script running as well, the other day i started applying for holiday work around town, but then i realized that i am going to be in florida for nearly a week in november, and i am most likely going back again for christmas, and there is really nothing on my calendar in portland for december other than “become progressively annoyed with the rain.” so…

i made the decision that i really should just give my notice on my apartment, move out at the end of the month, and pursue living arrangements that do not require me to pay rent until such time that i have secured gainful employment.

that decision made me feel good, but there remains a playful “i see your bluff, and i call” twinkle in my eye that the nyah, nyah bug has made difficult to see, and the fact that i am feeling about ready to lay down this hand does not at all mean that i am second guessing my game.

this summer has been very, very, good for me, and i am not so much walking away from the paths i have been teaching myself to walk as i am taking the time to prune and weed the garden that i am learning to plant as i go. that is the dance of finding motivation that began this post. it takes energy each day, but at some point, one message i always come to is “write more,” “write anything,” “write every single day.”

i was remembering this message this morning when kevin says to twitter he says:

WTF am I thinking?? I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. http://www.nanowrimo.org/

and i says right back:

@kmakice WTF are you thinking, indeed?! I’M the one who should do that! In fact this is the first year i’m not too overcommitted. hmmm…

NaNoWriMo, you see, for those of you who have not followed the link yet, is a brilliant project wherein some folks try to get you to commit to writing a novel over the course of the month of November. NaNoWriMo is funspeak for “National Novel Writing Month”, and i realized when i was thinking about it today that the idea is really the same as the idea behind the one hour essay project: use the power of a community of accountability to get people to write stuff they already want to write anyway but usually make excuses about. NaNoWriMo is just on a way bigger scale and has a way better name. but NatEsWriHo doesn’t really roll off the tongue very well, so i think i can be forgiven.

anyway, the actual commitment is to write 50,000 words of fiction between November 1 and November 30, and i have thought about doing it for many years, but i always felt like grad school or work or the fact that i was out of the country and changing where i slept every few days were sufficient excuses to defer. today, however, i woke up saying to myself “you are going to keep working on your own projects for the rest of november” and “write more” so when kevin reminded me about NaNoWriMo and i realized that it was indeed november 1, it kinda felt like the universe could not possibly have hit me on the head with a bigger stick.

so what can i say?
i listened.
i have officially pledged to write myself a novel this month.
and move out.
and keep working on a web project with a friend of mine.
and go to florida for my mother’s ordination.
and enjoy some birthdays and turkey days with the fine, fine folk here in stumptown.
because of all the things that have kept me pulling for a reason to stay for a while, they are the only ones that ever really mattered, and i will miss them deeply and visit whenever i can.

so here’s to friends, freedom, and fifty-thousand fucking words.

because if i write a novel this month i will not even care if pirates ransack all of my possessions and leave me penniless on the plank.
i will do a swan dive and swim across the sea because i will be just that cool.



Wednesday, August 15th, 2007

i know i make a lot of references to stuff i want to post about but don’t, and you may or may not know that i think and scribble about many things that i don’t even manage to refer to obliquely in what survives the grueling gauntlet of distraction to make it into post form, but, fwiw, if you want a fun introduction to one of the concepts (arguably The concept) that drives the distribution of my interests across the worlds of design, the internet, cognitive science, developmental psychology, consciousness, mysticism, drugs, public health, and politics, have a listen to this radiolab episode on emergence.

it’s an hour long, but do what i do: listen while you wash the dishes. or eat. or put together a jigsaw puzzle of warholesque popart lips. ok maybe that last one’s not on your list, but tif and i had fun at the toy store the other day, so the gauntlet lengthens. :)

and sign up for their podcast while you’re at it, eh? folks do a damn fine bit of radio programming. even if the ideas aren’t new to you, i bet it’ll make you smile, and think a bit, and maybe ask me a question. and thus the march of progress continues. ;)

job free

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

well, i didn’t know what it was going to be like to come home from bonnaroo, collapse on the floor, and wake up to the reality of not having guaranteed gainful employment.

now that it has happened, lemme tell ya: it is bliss.

i got home so late on tuesday that some would call it wednesday, missed the chance to take the light rail from the airport so had to spring for a cab, enjoyed the door-to-door service, performed aforementioned collapse onto the floor, and embarked upon the rest of my week with no schedule to keep but my own.

for the past two days i have slept, unpacked, cleaned the house, cooked what could be salvaged from the fridge (an adventure which included the preparation of what is possibly the best tomato sauce i have ever had the privilege of bringing into the world), listened to music, walked around town, talked to friends, sorted through bills, and charted the first steps along the path towards the next income horizon.

i will save the details for another post because i’m making a website that will explain the idea more fully than i care to right now, but here’re the basics: i’m making lunches. for the people in the office where i used to work. and it’s hella fun. there are few things in this world i love more than playing with food, and right now i’m looking at a world where i get up, take care of myself, find and test recipes, assemble menus, play on my computer, make people happy and healthy, and spend the rest of my time as i wish.

feels good, people. feels good. now we just need to see if i get enough takers to pay the bills for a while.

happy official summer while we wait.

things i miss by being logged in automatically

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

it occurred to me that sunday was april fools day, so google probably did something wacky like google gulp, pigeonrank, or opening an office on the moon to prove that it is indeed made of cheese.

so i typed “april fools 2007 google” (without the quotes, though… that’s funny) into my google searchbar (it’s fun to google google), and that is how i learned about gmail paper.


i was distracted from the humor, however, by the fact that this chain of events led me to realize how long it has been since i actually looked at the gmail login screen. i’ve been using the google personal home page rather extensively lately, and once i’m logged in to one google service the rest preload with me already logged in, so i don’t get to see any gmail specific messages. my quota could be unlimited like yahoo by now and i wouldn’t notice.

i also miss out on most holiday logos, ftr, and i’m not feeling the love here, goog, i’m just sayin…

anyway, sorry i haven’t written in a bit. i had another post eaten by hitting back on accident so wordpress and i had a cooldown period and i need to upgrade posthaste, but i haven’t had the time to back up yet, and my internet’s been out at home.

whine, whine, whine…

on the docket: the apple rollercoaster, the indoor campsite, what i do at my new job, the online todo, and some thoughts on fundamentalism. if you vote, i might listen!

quality purchases

Monday, March 5th, 2007

my early days in portland are going to be characterized by a fair bit of acquisition, seeing as i moved here with a suitcase and a backpack, am starting a job that will require clothing other than my glitter shoes and sheep pajamas, and they are paying me more for this job than for anything else i have ever done in my life. the first two are really corollaries of the last, i suppose, and it’s not like i’m complaining. i will do my best not to go overboard and decide that i need a new yacht.

in that spirit, i was overjoyed to learn that my dear friend josh was visiting his parents in portland this past weekend, which means that i got to see him for the first time in over a year, and he got to take me to places that i would still have a hard time finding on my own, like the goodwill where they sell things by the pound.

i actually managed to find a pair of slacks and a jacket that will probably work as work clothes, as well as some good things for nights and weekends, a funny highschool-woodshop wine rack, and an old cardboard bucket with amusing advertising on it that i might use for a hamper.

but the most exciting purchases by far are these:

Sweet, sweet goodwill goodness

that’s a nearly new leatheresque suitcase that will work as my business travel carry-on and make me way snazzier than eddie bauer, a pair of bowling shoes that are pretty beat up and need a bit of lovin’ but fit and will make for some fun dancing companions, and, are you ready for this?, a champagne case. totally serious. it looks like it’s for a ukulele or something? but inside? it’s for a bottle of champagne. josh found this and i nearly offered to trade him all of my discoveries as well as rights on my firstborn child so that i could have it, but in the end he caved because i let him have the supersoft tshirt that i accidentally picked up out of the bin where my suitcase was. talk about a bargain.

i also managed to win rights to the awareness wheel, which will surely be a helpful addition to my decor as i embark upon my self-directed doctoral program, about which i will speak more soon.

The Awareness Wheel

first though, i have to tackle many errands before we leave on the longest business trip ever, which begins tomorrow and ends on friday the 16th. i am proud of myself because i am going to finalize the deal on my new apartment before we leave, which officially makes this the least stressful housing hunt ever. i got a studio about 10 blocks from tiffanie with a friendly landlord, a gas range, and free internet. and it was the cheapest one on the list.

so far i like portland.

little children

Monday, November 27th, 2006

i saw a good movie today, but then i saw a talk and took notes and chatted with several people, so i’m all writed out at the moment, and i’ll have to talk more about it later.

but if you get the chance, you should consider seeing it in the meantime.

night night!

three essays that i hope to write while i’m traveling (working titles)

Saturday, August 26th, 2006

design science, design art, and design reality

more than one kind of human-centered

the problem with problems

sneak preview

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

time for dinner, but check out the pictures i took today!

more once i eat!

my new favorite blog

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

i posted a reference to the HCI list a few days ago about a blog entry i read at “Creating Passionate Users” the blog for the authors (and primarily, the head author) behind the new Head First book series from O’Reilly that is apparently getting quite a bit of buzz (and not just because they won the “Jolt Cola/Software Development Award for Best Computer Book” <- is that not the funniest thing ever?!). i said that one of the posts was interesting as a general user-centered pep talk, and that the blog itself had grabbed my attention because of the effective interweaving of homemade illustrations and incisive commentary. it has not disappointed me since. it's wordy, but i can deal with that. ;) and see? there are pictures, too! i put this one here because it cracked me up, and because you might not have believed me before. so now it's warring with the daily mumps, for the “how did i not know this shit was out there before [incredibly recent date]?!” award.

more on that front later, though.
i just thought i’d post something lucid while i had the chance, because erik asked if i was drunk after he read my last entry.
this while i was chatting in gmail at the office while gallantly trying to salvage some productivity for the day.

here’s my dramatic reenactment:
erik: “are you flagrantly spurning responsible behavior during the work day, kynthia?”
me: “no!” *[she types frantically into the instant messenger client, causing important papers to fly across the room and lose themselves behind a bookcase full of calculus textbooks from the 1700’s.]*

it was awesome.

two things

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

they would make more sense if i wrote them in story form, but i’m not going to take the time right now.
i’m just making mental note of them in a semi-public fashion.

1) personal observations suggest that i may have a somewhat unhealthy anger toward anonymous comments, and i’m not really sure why, because i have lots of reasons for liking them, and i’m not even annoyed with guest anymore (though i am still sometimes a bit puzzled…) i’m talking about a much more general emotional response that i think is older and deeper, and it’s weirding me out a little.

2) wikipedia taught me a new gender-neutral pronoun set (e/em/eir) that may actually not annoy me, perhaps even to the point that i could consider playing with it in casual use, which has never worked before.
i’m not sure, though, particularly because it seems pretty popular among people who think about such things, so i’ve probably even seen it before and dismissed it.
i found it because i went here.
i am quite amused by xe/xem/xyr as well, but only because it makes me feel like i’m on star trek, so i think the fun would wear off. also, it might just be because richie talked about star trek quite a bit at lunch.

now i have to work on a paper. i’ll be back this weekend, i’d expect.