Skip to main content

Jerome's 2018 in Review, for Posterity.

As I said in a tweet the other day, I thought about doing an end-of-year roundup but 2018 has been seventeen years long, so it felt like a lot of work. But really, It's only been 11 and a half months, and that shouldn't be so bad if I stick to the important points. I mean, sure, the world is boiling and the government is a tire fire of garbage and nobody can manage to get things pointed in the right direction, but what about the personal stuff? So that's what you get.

Right after New Year I started seriously taking classes for my bachelor's degree. Well, prerequisites for it, anyway; I've been attending classes at Portland Community College with the intention of transferring to Oregon State to finish up, mostly because they both had strong online class options. And boy, did I learn a LOT about myself in that first term. I took CS 120 (Computer Concepts), Math 75 (Remedial Algebra), and English 201 (Shakespeare's Early Plays). It doesn't sound like a lot, but it'd been literally two decades since I did any sort of serious classwork, and I had to regiment the FUCK out of my weeks to get my homework done and take my tests and get the writing done and out the door. I was convinced at the beginning of the term that I was going to flunk out of at least one class, but I did manage to pull it off and finish up the term with a cumulative A. And since I hadn't found another job, and I was committed to going back to school, I said sure, what the hell, and took a second term.

And since it was March and our dogs were a little unhappy, we decided to get a third dog, since I was going to be home all the time, and that would allow us to really get to know everyone and get all the animals settled in. I signed up to take three classes but eventually dropped to just two, Writing 121 and CS 160, because right after I signed up for classes I got offered a contract position to work on data analysis. And since they wanted to pay me to do work, which is always better than taking out school loans, for a bit there I was working full time and taking classes part time and I have never had less brainpower than when I was doing that.

The DA gig was great; I really liked the people I was working with, and the work we were doing was, if you looked at it the right way, a positive good for the world. I rapidly proved myself to be both good at my job and willing to do more, and as the year moved on I decided to take the summer off so my brains wouldn't leak out of my ears.

Also, since my gig was working over on the West Side, I was commuting a couple of hours every day, and what with one thing and another we decided to trade in our Mazda3 for a Kia Soul ! (pronounced "Exclaim"). Easier on my back, easier on my legs, more space for the animals. I also decided to join my partner in taking up running, which of course we did just as the summer got hottest, because why would you do it at any other time?

I was getting ready to go back to school at least part time and working full time and really starting to enjoy the exercise so of course I stepped off a curb and broke my foot. This happened in late August, which also coincided with an old friend of mine calling me up and presenting me with a possible job opportunity, which was basically the job I'd wanted for the last ten years. So I interviewed, and waited for a call back. And waited. And waited. And did a lot of staying off my foot, because the bone I broke was both a load-bearing bone and easy to fuck up while healing. You can picture me in a big heavy black boot, rolling around on a knee scooter and trying hard not to whack into things.

I had scheduled a weekend trip to see my mom and had worked to arrange so that I wouldn't miss any work or school time. And while I was on the plane to see her, she died. Which extended my stay somewhat, so I dropped my classes and told my work I was taking a couple of days. And I wandered around with my heavy boot on my scooter and didn't sleep well and cried some and then we buried my mom and I said goodbye to my dad, because I was pretty sure I wouldn't see him alive again.

And then, three weeks later (to the day), dad died. And I told my work that I was taking some time and I wandered around with my heavy boot and while I was getting ready to get on a plane, my friend FINALLY called me and gave me an official offer on a job I'd been working for basically my entire career.

So, lots of ups and downs this year, personally, professionally, politically. I don't know what happens next. But there are lots of people whom I love, and lots of people who love me, and really I can't ask for more than that without feeling greedy.

Happy Holidays to all of you glorious people. And remember:

 On the outside, babies, you've got a hundred years here. There's only one rule that I know of, babies-"God damn it, you've got to be kind.”


Popular posts from this blog

Occasional Media Consumption: Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir

There is -- I won't say no trick, but perhaps -- very little trick to introducing the reader to a character and then making us like that character. An author can make it a bit harder for themselves by making the character somewhat disagreeable, at least at the start, but eventually we get to the bits where the character does something good and then we like them. An author can do this in reverse, too: show the reader a character, and them make us not like that character. Arguably, it's slightly easier, because we just see the character being an asshole, and then we don't like them. But there is a positive magic in the trick of taking a character, and making us not like them, and then changing our minds. It's a hell of a trick, too. We're introduced to a character, and then the do something disagreeable or assholish, and then we don't like the character. And then, little by little, the author peels back the layers, and suddenly we understand. The character was li…

Occasional Media Consumption: Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire

The most amazing thing to me, in a book filled with amazing things, is that McGuire never addresses the title choice of the book, and yet it was perfectly, brilliantly obvious from about a third of the way in. No, I won't spoil it; I'm not an asshole. But it is amazing, and exactly appropriate for the story being told. There are a LOT of things being juggled in this book. Pairs of characters. Solo characters. Histories. Magic. The modern world. Alchemy. The hidden corners everywhere in the world, and some of the people who live there. And the places that exist in the social unconscious, that are there but not there any longer.

It's hard to talk about this book without spoiling it, because many of the choices the author makes are so outside the norm of the genre that to give them away is to take away from the ingeniousness of the move itself. But in the same way, I've also read several books that leverage exactly the same tropes and choices in similar ways, to great and…

"My pain was selfish. Because it was never only mine."

Y'all, I am so, so tired.

I mean that in a couple of ways, of course. It's been hot in the Pacific Northwest over the last week or so, and it's continuing to be hot for the next couple of weeks. Not that this is particularly surprising, because the world is literally on fire (THE ARCTIC IS BURNING, Y'ALL, AND THAT'S NOT A METAPHOR), but one of the nicer things about the PNW before the current decade was that mostly, it was temperate; summers were a highs-in-the-mid-80s kind of summer. This new highs-in-the-mid-90s is making it hard for me to get to, and stay, asleep overnight. And because harsh summers are a new thing here, almost none of the houses (including ours) have a central A/C unit, so we're trying to make do with window units. Which generate white noise, which is nice, but are also loud, which is not so nice. So I'm tired.

But this last week especially has been more than the physical tired. I'm emotionally tired. Drained, existentially tired. T…