Gettin things done

I done canceled my ticket to Israel. Got a hefty fee but hey that’s international travel. Now it’s on to deciding where exactly I’m going within the next year. A few ideas on the table are:

  • Paris since I haven’t been there for almost a decade and to visit Hannah
  • Japan some time early next year because it is Japan but I would have to find certain people with whom to go
  • London because I kind of have to go through there anyway since I have credit with British Airways?

Despite having canceled my JFK-TLV ticket, there’s still the whole JFK thing. I COULD just not go to JFK because missing work for even a day is enough to make up for the amount that I won’t be getting back, or I could decide about when to book a returning flight and spend something like a week in New York with family and Hannah and other friends. I think I deserve a vacation, anyway. Anyone around the area want to hang out some time after July 6?

I am also getting big repairs done on the car I’m currently driving – my late stepmom’s Jaguar X-Type. Gosh I don’t like driving it because it’s big and gets 19MPG but I gotta spruce it up to sell it – because I’m going to buy a Prius!

Heck yes I have put down a deposit for a Prius which will be arriving within 3-6 weeks. Looking to get the #2 package (which has cute things like keyless entry and aux audio input and a reverse camera), and looking to get it in a bright color, preferably white (for safety reasons – most visible on the road). Now for a dude, a white Prius isn’t especially a fashion statement. But heck I don’t care, I’d really rather get 45MPG instead of 19MPG (with premium fuel). Sure, almost every other car you see in Marin is a Prius. That’s a good thing.

‘Sides that, I’m meeting cool new people and going cool new places. I’m probably sticking around in Marin for longer than I expected mostly because I like the job I’m at a whole lot. I’m making enough money that transportation shouldn’t be a barrier for me, in my mid-20’s, to be a social dude. And despite my plans to get a car, I’m looking to take the bus as much as possible as well. I took GG Transit into SF the other day and it worked like a charm. I also got to catch up on my video podcasts on the bus.

Back to work. Hooray!

Home

Funeral was intensely pleasant. Saw family and friends I was long overdue to see, shared good stories, and presented what is now basically a shrine to my stepmom – our house. It’s full of cards, flowers, and laptops showing Betty slideshows – that’s temporary – but the pictures, her furniture, her books, her decorations, her garden all remain. The service itself was conducted in the most awesome of places. I don’t know how many of you had been to my dad’s house before, but there’s a creek running under the front deck. The service leader from Hospice stood next to the creek and spoke to everyone looking down at him from the deck’s railings surrounding him above. My dad was a story up, looking out from his bedroom’s balcony. Obviously, a very emotional but also very pleasing event. First funeral I’d ever been to… the word “enjoyable” is inappropriate, but you know what I mean.

Anyway I wanted to blog because of a random thought: my technology locates me.
– I barely ever leave a room without my phone.
– I bring my laptop to wherever I’m either working or staying over at.
– My desktop basically establishes where I “live” – fittingly, it’s one of the last things I’m moving down from Seattle after I come back from Spring Break.

I’ve had to answer what I’m doing now and what I plan on doing within the next year about 10 times today. The answer is basically “I don’t know” – but what I do know is that I’m in love and it feels pretty nice.

Funeral Funhouse

Hello Internet friends, new and old.

Today I am heading home to San Rafael for the weekend and totally paying tribute to my stepmom. Will be seeing my uncle, cousins, Betty’s family, family friends, etc. Certainly nice to see all of them after so much time.

But today also marks Part 1 of Get The Hell Out Of Seattle, where I pack up as much of my room as possible in a few suitcases, head to California, and return with empty, bigger suitcases. I’ll be doing it again at the start of Spring break, and then after Sakuracon I’m leavin’ for good. Either my mom’s heading up or I’m just renting a car to take down. If this supposed roommate who’s moving from Cuba to take my place doesn’t call soon, I’m going to have to find something to do about all this furniture that I’m not moving. Oy boy.

It will, only as of recently, be sad to leave Seattle, because I’ve been steadily cultivating friends from a lot of places: roommates, the BEMANI dudez, CSE grads, Secular Student Union pals. I really have to think about starting and re-starting a number of friendships once I head to California, as it might be the longest time I’ve stayed at my dad’s since I started going to college in 2003. I also have to get used to not walking everywhere and using my late stepmom’s Jaguar instead. Fancy car, but not my style.

Oh well. Back to packing.

Movin'

I am planning on moving from Seattle to San Rafael!

So here’s my deal. I am flying twice to California this month. Once for Betty’s funeral (next weekend), and once for spring break (on the 19th). Both times I expect to fill two suitcases with ITEMS. That might take care of something like half of my possessions.

But I don’t know about the actual time for me to move down. There are a few things, like my computer, printer, monitors, and a few other things that shouldn’t go on a plane. So I have to think about driving down…

So I’m trying to think of the most economical way to do this. Budget is $200 for a one-way 10′ truck rental from Seattle to San Rafael, not including gas money (around another $200). But I don’t know if I’ll really need an entire moving van; especially with my two plane trips I’ll probably only need a car.

Car rental places do rent cars to people under 25, for a small fee. But I’m having trouble finding one that lets you drop the car off in another state. Enterprise does only in-state for a select few states. I don’t know about any other ones.

Or is there another option I’m missing? Anyone in Seattle going down to California soon that wants to take all my stuff? Anything else? Bleeeh, I just need advice as usual.

Should I do it.

Next quarter is academically weird. I’m only taking one three-credit class, and auditing another one. Overall, it’s 4 hours of instruction per week, and probably the same amount of outside-of-class work. That will leave me a LOT of time to do… something else, I guess. Hopefully get a job. But I’m having some second thoughts about whether I should be doing this at all…

First of all, I think I’m going to hate the classes I take next quarter. One is a seminar about Computational Linguistics. I can choose from two topics: “Lexical Acquisition for Precision Grammars”, or “Information Extraction from Heterogeneous Resources: Special Focus on Linguistic Data.” Both sound pretty dull. But then again, so does my entire grad program. The other class I’m auditing (not taking for credit) is a stats class; a prerequisite to a statistical CL class I’d be taking some time next school year. I don’t like stats one bit, and the fact that I’m not required to do any work doesn’t suggest that I’ll focus especially well on the material.

Second, I want to spend time with my dad. My stepmom’s death is hitting him extremely hard. I haven’t been as available as I’d like these days (being a few states away and all), and I don’t think being home for the funeral or for Spring Break is really good enough for my liking. I also miss my mom, sister, and my Bay Area friends; it would be quite awesome to be around for them.

Third, I’m doubting the necessity of getting my degree in the first place. It would obviously be good to have a computer-based degree under my belt, but I don’t think CL is a line of work I would especially enjoy. I would really rather land some type of general job dealing with web technologies – design, backend programming… stuff like that. Surely not as high-paying as a more specialized field, but I don’t give much of a damn.

If I don’t audit this stats class next quarter, I will probably not have another chance to do so. I heard it’s only offered once every Spring. I mean… I COULD take a year off and continue my grad program down the road… I don’t know.

There are some other factors that tie in to me wanting to spend time at home sooner than later, but I don’t want to discuss that just yet. It has to do with summer plans.

If I leave Seattle, I’m leaving a great living situation (I love my apartment and my roommates – not to mention leaving might make them scramble to find another fourth roommate), some slowly growing groups of friends, a prestigious university, and the education I’ve received in these last two quarters. But I regain my family and friends. I’m really, really torn.

Locked because employers are looking… (actually who cares – unlocked)

This weekend, despite voting and gaming with friends and going shopping with other friends and attending a friend’s recital and friendsfriendsfriends I’m still feeling pretty neglected and lonely right now. Also I feel pretty incompetent because I bombed a midterm today and I’ve just been thinking about my path as a grad student and just thinking I should quit and work retail, etc. etc. etc. Mostly feeling hopeless.

But given that I’m continuing to make friends and do things and work hard and get job offers, most of this whining is unfounded. All I can say is I’m glad my emotions are working again to make me feel pretty crappy while, in the big picture, everything’s pretty okay. I bet tomorrow or the day after I’ll feel awesome again. Ups and downs! This is the sort of stuff I’ve wanted for a long time.

My stepmom will die within the next few days, and interestingly enough, that’s the least of my worries. It’s not really a worry at all. Dying sucks, but death is when the healing can begin. What I really feel bad about is not Betty’s life ending – it’s really what she’s leaving behind. She has a son, estranged from our family due to his disability (Down’s syndrome), she’s leaving my dad a widower, and I can imagine he’ll feel lonely for an exhorbitant amount of time, her insurance business will disappear, et cetera. The amount of people her death affects is much more saddening than her actual death.

At least this is the explanation I’m giving to the lack of emotion I’m showing for the entire issue. Talking to my dad and sister certainly affects me, because I hate to see them this way. But I feel like it’s almost insulting how little caring I seem to be putting forth.

I’m considering living with my dad for the summer. The house is big, and as my dad put it, it’s like a Betty museum considering the amount of possessions and decorations of hers. It would certainly be more fulfilling than Seattle, where I still don’t know anyone well enough to regularly hang out with – and even if I did, they probably wouldn’t be around during the summer.

The future’s so uncertain, especially now when I’m feeling down in the dumps. What am I doing, why am I doing it, and what should I be doing? The thing is, I can answer all of those questions, so why am I still asking them?

My sister's blog

My Stepmother’s Brain Cancer

My sister Lily is an incredible writer, and she’s planning on blogging about my stepmom and her condition. Read up on what she’s written so far, and subscribe if you can. Like I said, I’m quite removed from the situation so I really won’t be able to provide many updates.

Er… for those who I haven’t friended, you might want to look a few posts back and read the entry I just unlocked.