flwyd: (Trevor Stone Character)
Much of the time, blogging is a way to work through thoughts and share ideas. So when I do those verbally in-person, my drive to do it again for a wider audience is stemmed by the fact that I've already shared it once. But for the benefit of folks with a Facebookian interest in what I've been doing:

Work continues to be new and interesting. I'm now the team expert on our corner of MapReduce land and the graphs I've been generating bear an eerie resemblance to "in theory" pictures from a stats textbook. Recently I've been making small changes to our client-side code, which is interesting because I don't consider myself as exactly knowing JavaScript. Fortunately, Google's hard-core adherence to consistent code style makes it easy for me to understand what's going on well enough to copy and paste relevant snippets.

Not surprisingly, my personality is a good fit for the Google Boulder office. On St. Patrick's Day, the office had a Can You Beat Trevor's Hat? contest. As one of the organizers told me, "I've been here for three years and we haven't had a day about me."

I rode my bike to work 41 days last quarter. I used to think Boulderites who rode in snow were a bit crazy, but now that I've got a solid bike with mudflaps, it's pretty fun. The ride home in a slush blizzard last week was an exception, but mostly because my bike didn't want to shift out of top gear. I've missed the last two weeks, but Happy Thursday cruiser rides have been growing and more fun. Being able to bike everywhere and a steady diet of good films at IFS are two of the big Boulder perks I missed in the suburbs.

I'm flying to San Francisco this weekend to attend [livejournal.com profile] slyviolet's wedding, which should be a fabulous event. My Sunday in San Francisco is currently completely unallocated, though I notice The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence are having a Mad Tea Party Easter gathering. It doesn't get much more iconic of San Francisco's culture than that.

On Tuesday I attended [livejournal.com profile] gloomforge's last game night before he moves to Portland. I've had a lot of good moments there in the last thirteen years. I'm trying to host monthly weekend game days; combined with Zooko's monthly gathering, there're plenty of games to be had in South Boulder. Let me know if you'd like to be on The List (for mailing purposes).

I've been doing some volunteer web/IT stuff for the Black Rock Rangers and Dragonfest. Despite regular dismay at PHP's design and quirks, it's fun to hack on something with smaller scope and less demanding structure than work projects.
flwyd: (spiral stone)
A lot of people are down on 2008, but I had a great time last year. To recap:

At the end of 2007, I helped [livejournal.com profile] tamheals move to Cañon City, the most significant event in our breakup process.

At the beginning of January, I learned that DHL lost my passport en route to the Chinese embassy. Fortunately, Denver has an expedited passport office, so for $150, four gallons of gas, and a few hours I was able to get a passport in 24 hours with enough time to get it to the embassy and back with a day or two to spare.

I spent the last week of January and most of February with [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz in China. We visited Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, and Xishuangbanna in Yunnan province and Guilin and Yangshuo in Guangxi province. I taught an American geography lesson to Molly's students and had some relaxing fun in her home-for-the year, Xiamen. On my last day/night, I wandered around Macau and Hong Kong, enjoying the east-meets-west culture. My February LJ posts.

In March I finished the cost calculation project at work. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the smegging basements to calculate correctly. Outside of work I visited my family and some friends with gifts and stories of China. I updated my China travelogue. Not a very exciting month, but I saw some fun concerts.

In April I started playing 4th Edition D&D (a month or two before it was released) with a Dwarf Wizard with an Indian accent. I didn't play much 3rd Edition, partly because I got involved in other activities and partly because I didn't really get into the system. 4E is a fun, well-balanced, efficient system for killing monsters. It's got some neat features and significantly reduces the amount of crap you have to keep track of. I also hung out with some interesting people I met on OKCupid and played games and drums with old friends. I took some interesting pictures after almost none outside of China in the first three months. At work, I quickly added a bunch of new features to our information extraction module. That was pretty fun.

In May, I concocted summer plans, had fun on urban hills, continued adding high-value data extraction features, and played more games.

In June, I went to Apogaea (Colorado Burning Man event), having a great time with awesome burner people in a setting that feels more like home. There I helped build Syncopation Dome, a geodesic drum circle. I welcomed a cool photographer as a summer roommate. I joined another D&D game, saw a great summer solstice concert, joined a conga line and otherwise had fun wandering around. At work, I started researching new ways of doing named entity recognition.

In July I took a week-long trip around Colorado. I started at Valley View (the only time I made it last year!), drove through lovely parts of southern Colorado to Piedra Hot Springs in the national forest, and then checked out Mesa Verde National Park. The focus of the week was the Dreamtime festival where I camped with Justin (a friend from philosophy at CU) and his friends, danced in some absurd costumes, and listened to groovy music with my generation of hippies. I took some good pictures with my roommate's camera. Since I was having so much fun, I didn't get much sleep, which meant I didn't get much effective work done on my open-ended project at work, but I helped a new developer get into our GIS module, the other fun project I worked on at Tyler.

In August, I picked [livejournal.com profile] mollybzz up from the airport and whisked her up to Dragonfest. The highlight of the week was 08/08/08: Molly led a workshop on infinity, I led a workshop on I Ching, and we conducted an infinity/I Ching/Chinese dragon dance ritual. I took the cats to Tam's cute new (100-year-old) house in Pueblo. I bought my roommate's Canon digital SLR camera, which has helped me take much better pictures in the last five months. I took a week off work to photograph protests outside the Democratic National Convention. I think the experience was a worthwhile substitute for Burning Man. Since I took almost half the month off, I didn't get much work done.

In September, I hung out with Molly before she left town, saw some cool people in Boulder, played games, and made progress at work. Nothing particularly noteworthy, but I was kind of recovering from all the fun in the summer.

In October, I spent a bunch of time learning and thinking about the economic crisis and the election. I also made sure to enjoy the beautiful Colorado fall, taking several walks including one getting out the vote for Barack Obama. My wide-scope work started coming together, and I got my first set of numbers for phase II of the information extraction project. I also finished my five-month project listening to all of my CDs.

What happened in November? I volunteered with the Obama campaign on Election day and celebrated as sanity returned to the American electorate. Several times later that week I found my eyes tearing up, overcome by a sense of wonder and beauty. I took an 8-year technological leap forward and bought a MacBook Pro. I continued learning about the economy and playing games with friends. I made a tasty curry quiche and brought Michelle's parents and their Uigher exchange student to pie night. I made good progress on my project at work and struggled to decide when I wanted to officially quit and scamper off to Central America. I worked out a recipe for coconut oatmeal curry cookies/bars. I also didn't fail to write a novel.

Much of December was butt-ass cold, but I spent lots of time relaxing at home and learning stuff from the Internet. I decided I'd quit my job at the end of March, which will give me more time to transfer knowledge and achieve a sense of accomplishment, but may mean I get a lot wetter in the jungle. I bought some neat books for my parents, made mixed CDs for friends, and generally didn't stress about the holiday season. I took neat pictures of sunsets, sunrises, and snow.

In 2008 I saved over $20,000, visited lots of neat places, listened to lots of music, improved my photography, and kept my life simple and mostly uncluttered.

2009 got off to a great start with a hut trip outside Breckenridge with Michelle and her family. Pictures of that to come.

My Style

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008 09:40 pm
flwyd: (red succulent)
A succinct statement of one of my main approaches to life:
The ingredients matter more than the recipe.
flwyd: (tell tale heart)
Tam and I are splitting up.

She got a job as an LPN at the Colorado State Penitentiary infirmary. She's moving to Cañon City at the end of the month. I'll stay in Lakewood (aside from a break I'll post about soon) for the next several months and then make some changes of my own.

Some readers already know this; to others it may be a surprise. I do not at this time wish to write about all of the details of this process, but if you would like to discuss it over lunch or instant messenger, let me know. Over time I'll blog more about my inner perspective on the past, present, and future.

Some key points in FAQ form:
You're breaking up?! Why?!?!
When we agreed to get married, one condition was that after a few years we would reevaluate our relationship and decide if it was worth continuing for the rest of our lives. With the benefit of experience and insight into each other's personalities, we can see that, though our relationship features many positive aspects, we can tell that it's in neither of our best interests to stay together for a long time. Tam has important needs that I can't meet; I have important needs that Tam can't meet.
If you had reservations originally, why did you get married in the first place?
We'd been together for eleven months and lived together for five and a half. Tam was too sick to have a job and be in school at the same time. We didn't know what was wrong, and she was concerned about health insurance and other bills. She asked me to marry her so she could have the support she needed. I had reservations about making a lifetime commitment after knowing each other for less than a year, so I agreed to provide that support "at least through the end of school."
So... you got married for health insurance?
It's not the only reason. We loved each other, and still do. We've taught each other a lot about life. But it is true that we would not have entered into a three-way legal relationship (husband, wife, and State of Colorado) if universal health care were available or if my employer offered health coverage to cohabitants.
Do you guys hate each other now?
No. Our relationship doesn't follow a lot of norms. Just as our marriage didn't have a lot of elements traditionally associated with such an arrangement, we don't fit the stereotype of an angry, bitter divorcing couple. We haven't argued about who gets to keep what stuff. We've probably argued less in the last six months than we did in the first six months we were married (perhaps because now we know what's likely to set it off). I'll help her move at the end of the month; she'll give me a massage after we carry all the stuff in to the apartment. She'll call me when she has a question for a computer nerd; I'll call her when I have a question for a nurse. When your relationship is based on caring and open communication, bringing it to its natural conclusion can be a very healthy and positive process.
Who gets the cats?
We're still working that out, it's the most contentious issue of property division. "You take Kitty Boy!" "No, you take Kitty Boy!" They'll stay with me at least until she moves in. When I go out of town, they'll switch custody. After that? We'll figure it out.
flwyd: (requiem for a dream eye)
Many moons ago, in a discussion about sexual initiative, [livejournal.com profile] tamheals asked "Don't you want to beat a woman over the head and drag her back to your cave?" I thought about it for a moment. "No... I want to lure a woman back to my cave to watch foreign films."
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