May 072015

sorry about the extended downtime. a lot has changed in the past few months. i have finally moved to the portland area, after a couple years in the making! the server was down mostly due to my laziness, but also because it was free colo at my last job. once that got nuked, i procrastinated (until now) reviving the blog.

so, i am in beaverton, oregon now. it happened rather suddenly. i had been looking for jobs in the seattle, washington area since mid-december, to no avail. i had a couple of almost-maybes, including amazon web services, but they never panned out. i started looking in the portland metro area as well, hoping to find something, anything that would get me out of my current toxic work environment. in between a couple interviews, i unexpectedly got contacted by an ex-$old_job employee, who was now the cto at a new company, asking for a phone interview.

it turns out, one of my old coworkers at $old_job had recommended me for a sysops role. they were so excited about my skillset and history working at $old_job, that they actually reached out to me! it was quite the ego-booster. after a week or so of talks, a couple of phone calls and many back-and-forth emails, we came to an agreement that fit my surgery schedule, post-op healing timeline, and wage requests.

did i mention i had surgery? i did! the surgery! more on that in a separate post.

so, i accepted the job offer, and excitedly (but not too excitedly.. ah, who am i kidding, i was bouncing off the walls) handed in my resignation at $old_job, and immediately started my new career as a senior system administrator – i even got an unexpected title bump! i figure i’ve earned it, with 8 years in the field. i started out working from home, before and through my surgery.

i’ve learned a lot with this company already, and steered us in a lot of good directions for pci compliance and simple architecture. i have high hopes. my coworkers and supervisors are wonderful. i’m even allowed to bring the dog in to the office! i have almost complete freedom, call a lot of system-architecture shots, and feel like my voice is heard, given thought, and respected. it’s a wonderful feeling.

on top of all that, i am all moved and abut 90% unpacked. the new house is great. it’s a duplex, but my neighbors are super friendly. the husband of the duo homebrews, as well! so we have something in common right off the bat. it’s a bit annoying to come from a separated house to a duplex – having to be quiet past a certain time is not something i had to deal with at the old house. i don’t see myself staying here for more than my 1 year lease term – possibly moving sooner, depending on when i find the perfect place. who knows! for now, i’m happy to be settled for now.

i’ll try to catch up with my life through posts on here as time permits.

May 062014

my interview for the portland job was today, and it went great! like, really great. scarily great – the i-could-actually-be-moving type. i find myself in this awkward mixture of so excited i can’t stop smiling, and absolutely terrified. what will i do with all my stuff? what about my new potential roomie? what about my job, my lease?!

but, the interview! since i’m not in portland at the moment, i interviewed via phone. before i was even called, i tried to pump myself up as much as possible. i’m really confident when it comes to my system administration ability, but regardless tend to get pretty nervous. we started out talking about the company, jive – they’ve been around for 13 years, providing a hosted or saas solution for communicating with customers in group chats, group tickets, etc. the system integrates with most any monitoring/applications you use. it all sounds pretty neat, albeit a bit confusing.

we talked about the job itself. he mentioned it was mostly a “noc” job – providing support for their product, maintaining sla, escalating to their tech ops group, etc. the best part, in my opinion, is the oncall work: i was told i would only have to do one in five weekends, working hours only. compared to my current situation of one in for weeks + weekends, all hours (mostly).. i’ll definitely take that.

we talked about me, and my experience. current job duties were talked about a lot – what i manage, the number of servers, the number of vms. how things are escalated, and how i deal with the escalation. this part i feel i did great at. i can talk about myself for days.. linux doubly so. i tried to put as much confidence behind what i was saying, and it seemed to pay off. the interviewer was impressed with my knowledge and experience, which is a great feeling! the interview wrapped up with talking compensation, which i think is a great sign. in my previous experience, compensation talks have only been on second interviews, not first! the talk was quick, with what i was asking falling right in where they were hoping to hire at. that’s super exciting to me, because it’s the raise i’ve been asking for since i moved to the sysadmin position.

the call finished up with the interviewer stating that he felt i was a great fit for the company, and that he would be passing me on to the hiring manager. i am supposed to hear back from them by the end of the week, and i’m hoping for some great news! i think i’ve already decided to take it and make the move, if the opportunity is presented to me. not that i wasn’t thinking of doing that before – i’m just more solidified in the idea now. i was going to let my current job bid to keep me (i.e. presenting a written offer from jive and seeing if they will offer anything in return), but i don’t feel that it would be worthwhile. they will likely not match the offer, let alone get me to a level where i would be willing to stick around in arizona any longer. additionally, i find myself becoming agitated with my current work. not necessarily the work itself, just the process and the lack of recognition. i understand that sysadminship is quite a thankless job, but i don’t have to put up with it. i won’t fall into the trap of believing that “this is just the way it is” – i’ll move until i find a career that will give me praise for a good job, not silence.

so, if i do indeed get offered this job, the move is happening. i will need to void my lease extension, pack my stuff and leave the house by the end of may, and start planning on how to get my stuff up to portland – and at what pace. depending on what they are going to charge me for voiding the lease, i may be able to simply find a new place immediately. if they end up charging the two months rent plus $200, i will need to stay with my aunt and uncle for a bit to get back on my feet. i called them last night to talk it over, and it seems hopeful – they said they would call me back today with a yay or nay. if i could stay with them for two or three months, that would allow me to pay down the termination fee, and hopefully get a bit of money in savings for a rainy day.

my stomach is in knots with all of this, but i an certain it will all work out in the end.

May 022014

for a long time i have wanted to move to portland, oregon. i fell in love with the place about five years back, while passing through to attend the penny arcade expo for the first time. the people, the scenery, the weather; i loved it all. my love for portland has only grown in the years since my first arrival, and now with family right across the river in vancouver, washington it seems like moving would be easy. but it’s not going to be easy. there’s so much in arizona that i will have to leave behind, even though i like to pretend like there’s nothing here for me.

the most obvious and upsetting, of course, is my partners. while my relationship with Aki is not what it used to be, i still cherish it and would hate to lose her. we only see each other once a week now, but moving away means that would most certainly be much less – maybe a handful of times per year. while there are options like skype, or google hangouts.. it’s not the same. i can see her, but in can’t feel her. i can’t hold her hand, we can’t cuddle on the couch. that lack of physical connection will be extremely difficult for me. aven as well. we see each other once a week, but that will surely get cut down to a handful of times per year as well. i feel like i will see him more than Aki after moving – he has partners in seattle, which would likely give him an excuse to stop by.

i’ve talked hypotheticals with both of them, and both have been supportive – which is great. of course, it will be disappointing for everyone involved. relationship dynamics may change, relationships may become long distance friendships – it’s all up in the air.

the next on my list is my parents. this is actually a bigger issue than i thought it would be. besides my mom inevitably going apeshit when she hears, i’m going to be thousands of miles away from them – no more sunday dinners with them, no more watching the house on random weekends (admittedly a relief), no seeing the dogs.. it’s going to be rough. i haven’t been very close to my parents in the past years – at least not as close as i was as a child – but i’m going to miss having them close. i’m sure my move will put pressure on them to move as well, even though i don’t want it to feel that way. my mom is attached to me at the hip, for better or worse, and she wants to be next door to me if possible. i’m afraid my move is going to put a metric shit-ton of stress on them, and i don’t look forward to that. but on the other hand, i’m my own person.. and if i need to move, they need to be okay with it. i’ll do whatever i can to help that along, but i don’t want to have to stay here for them.

of course, my job is a large factor. i’ve been with the company for about 15 months now. and it will be hard to leave. though, honestly, the recent changes in both attitude and management are making it increasingly easier. i’m going to feel bad, leaving the team, my coworkers, my boss, my director – they’re all great guys. but i can’t really say i’m happy with my work anymore. i’ve made some mistakes lately, but nothing horrible. i feel like my small mistakes have turned into a large distrust. everything i do is scrutinized, micromanaged, debated. i am often left feeling more like the the team’s problem than a real team member. actions i do for projects are met with disapproval, not praise. maintenance completed successfully is met with silence. management used to be so good at producing praise and good words, but all that has seemed to change. besides that, i’ve been signed up for a really expensive puppet training class in a couple weeks – leaving right after accepting that training would be a huge dick move… especially since my director specifically (jokingly) requested i make it worth it to send me: “you can’t quit if i send you to this training.” if i find out the verdict on this job i applied to before the 13th, perhaps someone can go in my spot – but that’s really pushing it for a job offer.

one of the more annoying points is my house. i just re-signed my lease for another 12 months two day before i got the interview request. granted, the lease doesn’t start until june 1st.. so there is a possibility they will let me revoke it for cheaper than the agreed early termination clause on the lease (i hope). if not, i need to budget for two months of rent plus $200 as the termination fee. i think this would be doable, if my uncle lets me live with him for a couple months. that would work out great – i could use the income from the new job to pay down the termination fee, which i’ll likely have to borrow from my mom, and then will have the opportunity to find a new house. unfortunately my leasing agency doesn’t own any houses in the portland area, so my initial idea of transferring my lease to a house up there isn’t an option. they have a load of houses in the seattle area that could work, but that would require a job not in portland. another point is my new roommate-to-be, ari. she hasn’t signed anything yet, and isn’t on any lease paperwork, but i’ll feel bad having offered her a room only to take back my offer after we agreed on a price and everything. maybe i could sign the lease over to her and her boyfriend – but that doesn’t seem likely. the house is expensive, even for me.

i found a couple nice houses in the portland area for rent. most of them cost about the same as what i’m paying now, and are of comparable size. i would really like to buy a house, as there’s a lot of brewing-related changes/improvements i’m itching to add to my place, but i don’t think i will qualify for a home loan. additionally, i think it would be a better idea to live there on rent or a year before buying, in case things don’t work out. i really hope they do, but there’s always the possibility of failure. another option i had thought of was an apartment or townhome, but i would be limited in space/yardage. but brewing in an apartment is not exactly the best. (i obviously have my priorities straight)

if i were to terminate my lease, i would need to be out by june 1st. i can likely store my stuff at my parent’s for the time being, and have it trucked up to portland once i get a place of my own. i’ll be driving up there with the essentials: computer, desk, clothes, nonperishable foodstuffs, a few board games, toiletries. i can fit a lot of stuff in my little car, so the more i bring is the less i have to live without for three months.

i’m really going to miss sleepy dog, too. their beer isn’t sold outside of arizona, so my kegerator will be a bit empty until i can find a suitable replacement. plus, i’m going to miss everyone there, game nights, etc. i’ll miss the few friends i have, though i feel disconnected from most of them. i’ll try to make new friends in portland – maybe the reboot will help me.

another big issue is surgery. i’m slated to have my surgery done next june, but it will require about a month off work – possibly more. if i get the job soon, that will mean i’ll have been with them for about a year before my surgery date, so i have a feeling they’ll be fine with me taking medical leave. plus, i’m banking on them being on the more positive end of the lgbt-friendly scale. maybe i can even find a medical plan that will cover my surgery?

everything is up in the air right now, and will be for a couple more weeks. there’s so many moving parts to this, and i’m hoping they all fall into line without any major malfunctions. a lot of this is going to be difficult, but i believe that it will be worth it in the end. getting out of arizona, finally hitting the reset button on life in a way, is both simultaneously exciting and terrifying.

May 102013

i have so many emotions right now. i’m happy, i’m bored, i’m frustrated, and i feel mildly hopeless. i think most of the later emotions are just because it’s “monday” (for me).. i’ve been noticing that my first day back to work after the weekend is always very stressful. even if it isn’t inherently stressful (e.g. tonight; no tickets.. no work). it’s just stressful in that i suddenly have to interact with people again. the noc is always full on thursday nights – three other techs, one engineer, and the occasional visitor from the sysadmins or hardware. suddenly being thrust into this busy social situation is pretty difficult for me, it seems.

it’s not that i don’t like my coworkers. they’re all really nice, and we get along fine. i just have zero desire to interact with them on my first day back.

but on a brighter note, i’m happy. i have someone who loves me, and loves me unconditionally. i was freaking out earlier, because there was something wrong with my eye – my one good eye! there were halos around every light source that i looked at. i couldn’t drive, because everything was a big light blur. i was freaking out, and understandably so (i think) – if i lose my eyesight, i lose my job, i lose a lot. but one thing that i know now that i wouldn’t lose is Aki’s love for me. as i was freaking out about losing my eyesight, worrying about how terrible it would be, i was reassured by her – “it would make life a bit more difficult, but i would still love you,” she said. i didn’t react immediately – it took about 5 minutes to sink in, and i was running out the door.. but that was the most beautiful, kind thing that anyone has ever said to me. that was a show of her true, unconditional love.

and i keep focusing on that this evening as i deal with the boredom and frustration of work. this blog post was supposed to be about how unreasonably depressed i’m feeling, about this weird up and down emotional pattern that’s been driving me insane.. but instead, internet, i want to share with you:

i’m happy

and i have so much to be happy about

and i just need to keep reminding myself of that

Jan 192013

so, i had a slight emotional outburst tonight over a topic that’s plagued me in the past: passing. specifically whether i do or not. by ‘passing’ i mean ‘people don’t immediately/ever recognize me as transgender’. usually i’m pretty confident, but it only takes one small thing to set me on edge- and a few to throw me over it.

there was a tng/apex bowling night tonight that Aki and i attended. good turn out, i’d say about 30 people. the night started out great, i got an awesome rainbow dash hoodie from josh, and everyone was happy to see me. i was dancing around excitedly, hopping and skipping around, super stoked about my awesome hoodie! bowling began, the dj was playing good music, and i was movin’ and shakin’- it seemed to be a really good night.

i went to sign up for a drawing the alley was holding, and that’s when it happened- a 10 year old girl clocked me. as i was filling out the form, she looks at me, looks at her dad, and says (quite loudly) “he’s wearing a skirt!”

my heart dropped. was it the hair? was it this hoodie? it was pretty big on me. was it my voice? i got tunnel vision as i filled out the rest of the form for the drawing. her dad responded “ah, it’s okay, honey. that’s okay!” my heart beat again, and the world faded back into existence.

i smiled, glanced at the dad, glanced at the floor, dropped my form in the bin and walked away. i wasn’t sure how to feel. i was upset, sure, but the father handled it surprisingly well. but my confidence was shaken- and it doesn’t recover all that quickly, unfortunately.

i explained what had transpired to Aki- she suggested that i thank the dad for acting cool, and being awesome. i later did, and he was happy to speak to me for a short time- even thanking me for keeping *my* cool, and being myself more or less.

the second blow was an unintentional one. i was talking to my friend touches about what had happened, in a humorous light. by that point i was more or less over it. she, trying to make me feel better, brought up the fact that a couple tng-ers were completely unaware i was trans until a few parties ago- what she was referencing was a time that some people had seen what unequivocally makes me trans, or even male to some.

she mentioned this in an attempt to make me feel as if i passed quite well, but it was taken quite differently. instead, i began to worry. who else knew? who else was spreading that “junk is actually a guy”? why do my genitals make me a guy?

so i receded further into my self-conscious bubble. who knew? who was staring at me? who was judging me? was this skirt a poor choice? am i passing? do people see me as some disgusting cross-dresser?

the spiral was starting, but i pulled myself out as best i could and continued bowling.

what is called ‘candlelight bowling’ had begun. a more appropriate word for it would be ‘stupid bowling that i never want to do’, but hey. around friends (mostly tipsy or drunk), it was fun to an extent. bowl while sitting. bowl with your non-dominant hand. bowl backwards! hurr durr.

bowling through other people’s legs was a big theme. the tenth frame was supposed to be bowled through as many people’s legs as you could imagine. lines of five, six, seven people were formed for the bowler to throw their ball under. all fun and games! we would all gyrate and dance to try to distract the bowler.

Aki, being quite drunk (edit: not as drunk as i had thought, i guess- that was clarified the next day) at this point, was in most of them- dancing, grinding, having a good time. every time someone would do their tenth frame, i got called over to participate. i wasn’t too fond of the whole idea- i was already self-conscious about people seeing up my skirt, so i didn’t exactly want to spread my legs as wide as possible in front of a bowling lane- and the 100+ people in the alley.

we did this routine a handful of times, and everything was normal until one frame- i was the front of the line of people, with Aki behind me. some frisky-dancing song was on, and we were all acting stupid and dancing around. that’s when Aki (drunk, so i’m not really holding this against her [edit: still not, regardless of drunk level]) decides it would be a *wonderful* idea to lift up my skirt and flash all the people in front of me.

i was shocked. embarrassed. i threw my hands down to my sides in an attempt to right the skirt placement. i peeled myself away from the leg-spread line, mortified. upset that someone that cares for me so much could do something so hurtful to me. i slinked back to my seat in an attempt to hide my shame, my beet red face, and my anger. but instead i got called back to that infernal line, so i could stand there in front of all the people who had just seen up my skirt.

and i had to do it three more times- luckily those times i was in the middle of the line, and my skirt stayed where it ought to have.

writing this fills me with so many emotions. guilt. anger. embarrassment. it makes me so entirely self-conscious. who saw what? who sees me different now? thinking about it makes me literally cringe- hard.

of course, Aki promptly apologized- stating she thought i was wearing a skort (which i often do). but it wasn’t enough to pull me out of the spiral. last call for boarding, laddies and gentlemen. next stop: rock bottom.

all i could think about was how much i wanted to be anywhere other than this bowling alley. home. in my car. down the street. in another state. i felt like a million eyes were boring into me at any given moment. even people who couldn’t possibly have seen anything. i was suddenly hyper-aware of people looking at me; staring or otherwise. i couldn’t make eye contact with anyone. i was on the verge of tears. Aki, in an attempt to console me, tried to speak into my ear (arguably, through my ear, past my brain, and into the other ear). unfortunately 60 decibels directly into your ear drum is quite painful. dejected, shamefaced, and in pain, i had reached my breaking point. as the tears burst forth, i exited the building as quickly as possible.

outside now, crying, banging my head into a pole. thinking, not thinking, upset. i wanted to badly to punch something. to punch myself right in my stupid face. right in my stupid wrong everything. i slammed my head into the pole harder, hoping i would just become one with it and live the rest of my days as a pole at the bowling alley. anything would be better than living the rest of my life as a faggot who can’t pass.

jacob came outside to leave- knocking me back into a sane state of mind. i don’t need people seeing me like this. i collected myself before he reached where i was. he said goodbye. seeing that i was crying, he followed up with “don’t be a sad junk!” hugging me, and once more wishing me a good night.

what was i doing? why was i out here? why did i come out here? what was the point- was i expecting someone to follow me and come say “poor baby”? would that even make me feel any better? no, it wouldn’t. i don’t want people’s attention. i want to be alone.

i wiped my tears, took a deep breath, and walked back inside. passing the desk, i dropped off my rented bowling shoes.

i walked back to our lane. my shoes were stored under where Aki was sitting- i looked at her for a second, trying (and failing) to smile. i sat, put on my shoes, and picked up my backpack. she hugged me- i put my backpack down and we had an awkward apology talk. everyone was leaving- “did i cause that?”, i thought. after about five minutes of talking, we made amends more or less- she got me to smile, and made me feel a lot better.

the drive home was tough. by myself, still halfway to how-bout-i-just-off-myself, crying, trying to find music that would make me feel better. rouge – adventure time; that song never fails to make me smile. i tried to focus on everything good- new job, more money. Aki loves me. i love Aki. video games. the feeling i get when traveling to new and familiar places alike. the feeling i get when i cook. that day i hiked south mountain alone just to take photos. my friends, the people who love and cherish my existence.

i’m used to that routine by now. i try to do it as often as i can- even when i’m not depressed. reminding myself of the good things- the things i want to live for, and the amazing and adventurous parts of my life.

i made it home in one piece (obviously). i still wanted to punch something, but i refused the urge. i grabbed a beer, sat at my computer, and began to write. that was about 50 minutes ago. damn, i write slow.

regardless, this helped a lot. i should really do feelings-dumps more often.

i feel quite a bit better now. i’m still not thrilled about how the night ended- i’m upset i couldn’t control my emotions better. i wish i would have been able to not storm off; i feel as if my emotional outburst killed the mood for everyone around me. i’ll have to work on that in the future.

what transpired tonight has opened my eyes more to my surgery options, and how they may effect my self confidence and how i view myself. i have known for a couple years now that i would like to go though with bottom surgery, but facial surgery has always been a toss-up. should i spend the extra money? will it be worth it?

Aki has said that it may be worth it, as it would move me from passing 75% of the time to passing 99% of the time. the surgery (a jawline reduction) would cost me an additional $6k if done at the same time as my bottom surgery. i think it may be a good option. i’ll have to do some more thinking on this before i decide for sure. it’s a lot of pain, and a lot of money.

i’m going to go do some work now.

Oct 082012

so, not that any of you would know since i never post, up until recently i had a boyfriend named tyler. tyler and i dated for a couple of months. we met at a tng social in scottsdale, hit it off at subsequent events and started seeing each other shortly thereafter.

tyler is a nice kid. in no way is this post meant to reflect negatively on him as a human being, i’m just venting my emotions because Aki is at work and i feel so terribly alone, and so terribly guilty.

tyler is what i would assume is your average mid-20s guy. auto mechanic, rough and tumble, the whole package. he was really the first guy or guy analogue i had ever dated for more than a handful of days. things were going okay- there were some issues in the beginning mostly attributed to it being his first poly relationship- that is, dating someone (me) who was in a serious relationship with someone else (Aki). the bumps were eventually smoothed after i got him to realize that just because i was with Aki didn’t mean i cared about him any less, among other things.

anyways, the relationship was pretty normal. we went on dates, talked mostly every day, had sex, held hands, went to events together, et cetera. things didn’t go all sour all at once, really- it was a culmination of his actions and personality over time that i eventually decided didn’t jive with me so well.

it’s not so much the fact that he wasn’t right for me that has me so upset. it’s the fact that he appeared to think i was right for him, and was (foolishly, as we were only dating for a short period of time) quite enamored with me. the hardest part for me is i have broke his heart, and i feel guilty for that. even though in myself i know that even if i stuck with our relationship it would have failed miserably months down the line.

i know that this was the right decision for me. i know this. but i still can’t stop crying. crying, rationalizing, watching how it’s made, crying some more.. rinse and repeat.

breaking up with people is something i have very little experience. in high school, i was usually the one broken up with. i realize now that this was generally because i had a distinct inability to see the relationship objectively- thus, i would have no idea anything was wrong from either end. i’m working hard to fix that.

for now, i’ll just keep crying until the pain dulls. i’ll keep thinking to myself “why did i do this?” until it definitively makes sense in my mind. and i’ll keep looking forward, because even though my mind is scrambled, my eyes are red, and my emotions are out f control, things will get better with time, new relationships will come and go. and i hope tyler is able to see that too.

Jul 112012

i decided to make some thai curry for dinner this evening. red curry to be exact.

here’s the recipe:

prep time: 30 min
cook time: 60 min
serves: 6-7 adults

3 star anise (less, or none, if you don’t like the taste of black licorice)
0.5 tsp salt
1.5 tbsp sugar
5 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 can coconut milk (regular, 13.5-14oz)
1.5 tbsp red curry paste (i used thai kitchen brand)
0.25 cup fish sauce
0.25 cup peanuts – unsalted, roasted
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
3 crumbled dried hot red chiles, seeds removed
2.5 cups chicken stock
1.5 lbs boneless chicken breast
2 cups golden potatoes, peeled, cubed
4 large carrots, peeled, halved, 2″ pieces
1.5 cups red bell pepper, chopped
1.5 cups green bell pepper, chopped
2 cups yellow onion, chopped (approximately 1 large onion)

your best bet is to prepare all the above ingredients as stated before you begin cooking so there’s no hang-ups when it comes time to add ingredients. the onion and bell peppers should be cut to approximately 1 inch cubes. the potatoes are best cut into fourths (for small potatoes)- a stew-like size. the chicken breasts should be sliced thinly. start at the top (fattest) part of the breast, and slice off 0.25 inch slices until it’s gone. halve any pieces that exceed 2.5 inches in length- leaving 1-1.5inch strips of thin chicken.

now, to cook:

  1. heat the star anise in a dry 6 or 8 quart port over medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. add coconut milk and peanuts. boil over medium-high heat, uncovered, stirring very frequently. cook 5 minutes, until very thick.
  3. reduce heat to low-medium, then stir in curry paste, garlic, and chile. stir to reach even color, and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. add chicken, fish sauce, salt, and sugar. cook for 10 minutes, uncovered, stirring frequently.
  5. increase heat to medium. add peanut butter, onion, potatoes, and carrots. stir well to combine with chicken. cook for 10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally.
  6. add chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally.
  7. reduce heat to medium-high (light-medium boil), and cook for 18-20 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
  8. locate and discard star anise (if used). serve curry over rice, garnished with fresh basil.

this recipe came out great- but it was no where near as spicy as i was hoping. this yeilded about 6-7 servings of a very mild, savory curry.

things i would change in future versions of this recipe: look into adding more spice, and more seasonings. many recipes i came across called for fresh turmeric and lemongrass stalks- of which i could not find in my local supermarket. the chiles did little to add spiciness to the dish, and caused more of an annoyance as their skin was tough and hard to chew though. perhaps i used the wrong type of chiles- i’d think fresh chiles would yield much higher levels of capsaicin than dried chiles would, anyways.

other than that, the dish was great for a first attempt at curry. i hope this recipe comes in handy for someone :)

Feb 092012

…is the one word that describes me right now. i’ve been crying for the last hour or so, and i figured i’d stop bawling my eyes out and write.

i didn’t go to work yesterday again. steve texted me asking is everything was okay- i told him the truth. i’m depressed. i’d rather lay in bed all day than do anything. especially go to work. i told him i realized i was probably close to getting fired. he didn’t respond. i guess you get what you ask for, eh?

but that question really struck me. am i okay?

no. i’m not okay. i’m not doing okay at all. normal people can get up on time daily. normal people would rather be up and about rather than sleeping for 14+ hours per day. normal people don’t cry themselves to sleep most nights. depressed people do.

so i’m about to lose my job. i’m semi-planning on going in tomorrow and quitting, explaining to my boss that the job doesn’t keep me busy enough (good stress vs bad stress) and i have some depression issues that are killing me and my work efficiency. hopefully i don’t just get fired at first sight. jobs concern me. i feel like i’ll never be happy at a job. i feel like i’m going to keep hopping from job to job for the rest of my life, getting bored to death every 1-2 years. getting another job feels hopeless because it feels like i’ll just do the same shit over again. and if i quit (or get fired) tomorrow, what will i do for my finances? my business can only support me so much. i barely have money (or desire) to eat as it is- with my new “budget” without the job, i have even less money than before for my weekly food/gas split.

i just feel so immature and… hopeless. i can’t control my own life, i’m just watching it unfold before my eyes- and it’s not going up. i can’t imagine even being alive for more than another year or two. everything looking ahead looks dark.

i’ve been thinking about suicide a lot again. not entirely selfishly either. many things concern me about it- how will it affect my girlfriend? my family? my friends? what will happen to my customers, my business? do i really think it’s a valid option?

the answers are all pretty obvious. very negatively. ditto, ditto. they’ll find another host, my business will just stop in it’s tracks. kinda.

really i wish i had an option somewhere to be happy. flip some switch, be able to focus on any and all good in my life other than the fucked up majority.

the thought of killing myself scares me. i once said that death no longer scared me, but i lied. this one life was given to me, by pure chance i happened to blink into existence. this small span of 70-100 years are an electron in the universe as far as time goes. and when i die, be it by my own hand or nature’s, that’s it. it’s over. i fade into the nothingness, ceasing to exist. i don’t perceive my dead-ness, the dark, or anything. i don’t exist anymore. when i die, it’s literally all over. there’s no afterlife, no magic re-incarnation where i remember my previous life.

and that scares me to a degree. i think it’d scare anyone. it’s making me cry again just imagining it, realizing what i’m talking about, what suicide means for me and the people and things around me.

i wish i could stop this feeling. this depression, the never-ending torment i put myself through on a daily basis.

this post is pathetic.

Feb 062012

january is over, so let’s recap!

the months started out normal. it was nice to finally get out of the holiday season- i can only take so much holiday cheer. Aki and i ended up spending new year’s eve at devin’s place, which was pretty fun.

Aki, devin, and i all went to gerome for a day trip early on in the month, too. at least i think that was in january. Aki and devin took pictures, and i just looked at stuff. sorta like kim-jong il looking at things, except i’m not north korean, or a dictator. or dead. we got really good burgers up there, too, and then went to a old mining town up the road. i loved looking at all the old equipment. the place was practically a junk yard, but it was cool nonetheless.

what else.. for the business, things were great this month. we reached (and surpassed!) 600 active orders- last month was the highest recorded gross income in the history of the business 😀

i’m still working hard on expanding everything. i have my friend allen helping me with support tickets right now- it’s exciting to have gotten to a point where i can sustain the business with more employees than just me. even though we’re talking about january, i just ordered parts for node04! they should be here and ready to go by next week. now i just hope i have enough power left in my cage.

the plan is to install node04, upgrade node01’s cpus (new opteron 6234s!), and then slowly upgrade node02-04’s cpus. meanwhile, i’ll be working on getting more locations up- germany is next, as i have quite the demand for european-based servers.

this year is going to be good for the business. personal, perhaps, too. i’m moving out of my shithole townhouse mid-march. no more shitty townhouse. no more disgusting roommate. and less bills!

i guess i’m not talking about january anymore.

still don’t like my job. my friend kat might be able to get me a job at an apple store- not my occupation of choice, but it pays okay, and their benefits will help pay for my surgery! that right there is worth going to the dark side- they give you what you need.

speaking of work, that’s where i am right now. i don’t know what to do so i’m writing. i’d read, but i think that’s like putting a but neon sign over my head that says ‘not working’.. phxfil01 ran out of inodes. again. i don’t know what they expect me to do about it. i can’t pull more inodes out of my ass. plus, i’m still lost on a lot of how everything works around here, and find it hard to get he motivation to learn.

which sucks. motivation doesn’t come easy these days. i think it has something to do with the hormones. my body’s doing the what-the-fuck dance right now, please come back later.

speaking of hormones: estrogen is awesome. besides the making me sad for no reason sometimes. like really, i can’t explain it. i can feel the estrogen in my veins and it’s bloody awesome. nothing else in the world compares to this feeling. it feels so.. right

i feel a lot better than i did when writing my last post. yeah, bipolar, yeah! i love when i’m like this. life seems purposeful.

i like having purpose.

speaking of things, nuclear fission is really cool. i still need to finish that book on the chernobyl disaster, but really. that shit is scary. and cool. and my brain just shut off i guess so that’s all i’m getting out about nuclear reactors then.

i had an interesting experience with an employee in january. the whole incident really made me do the jackie chan “are you serious?” face for about a day straight. basically, i hired this person to do support tickets back in november. i told this person, i’ll give you $200 per week if you answer support tickets for me. i even hosted a colocated server for this person to sweeten the deal. pretty awesome right? it’s a really simple job that you’re getting super over-compensated for- it only required max 5-10 hours per week, as our ticket volume wasn’t that horrible.

so like, a month goes by. they’re performing admirably, so i’m paying them. then talk about moving to finland starts. fine with me, you don’t need to be on the same side of the globe to do this job- really. you could do it from anywhere with internet. more talk about finland, until the new year rolls around and they hop on a plane to said country.

but they didn’t really ask for any time off at all. i let it slide. how many times do you get to go to finland?

about two weeks goes by- i don’t hear a peep from them in the first week. second week- they’re on irc a lot, but they haven’t logged into the admin panel in 9 days. finally they logged in and responded to one ticket.

and stupid me, i still paid them for those two weeks. full $200. that was my second mistake. maybe third really. so a month goes by of this half-assed not-really-working-and-still-getting-paid, so finally (after having talked to them a couple weeks beforehand) i terminated them. i send them $50 for their shitty work and said bye.

then they come back. they threaten me with small claims court (over $150. mind you, it’s probably $200 just to file). they say “we had an agreement” that they would get $200 per week.

i say: if you do your work. i’m not paying you for doing nothing. but they won’t have any of that.

it makes perfect sense to me. perfect fucking sense. you don’t work? you don’t get money. i’m not paying you to have a fucking vacation in finland you lazy fuck.

i thought about it for a while. i wasn’t afraid of claims court, but i really didn’t need the stress. against my best judgement i sent them the $150 and pulled the “lets not let this get between us” card (edit 08/2012: but it did, anyways)

and you know what they say? “i only demanded the money because i have -$70 in the bank”

fucking yeah.

who DOES that? who the fuck says that to the person you just conned out of money you didn’t deserve? your own immaturity and inability to handle your finances is what got you into this situation. i was under no obligation to even help you out at all, and yet i gave you that money.

the more i think about it, the more mad i get.

but i learned a valuable lesson: contracts. always. friends turn into bloodsucking assholes as soon as money gets involved. they’re not your friends anymore, they’re selfish motherfuckers.

but it’s over. the whole situation is done. new employee, on a contract, and he actually does work (edit 08/2012: just kidding). imagine that.

i’m about done for now. didn’t get barely any sleep last night. might go take a nap.

Jan 312012

depression is like a sine wave. assuming the units are weeks, i’d say the approximate function for my depression would be:

f(x) = 6sin(2x(π/(5+0.05x)))-.025x
image courtesy of wolfram-alpha

that is to say, at the current moment i hit a peak or trough about once every 5 weeks- and the trough is usually worse. not by much but as time goes on the peaks get less intense, and the troughs get more and more intense, and the periods between peaks and troughs gets slowly larger. at this rate i have a little under five years before it’s nothing but depression.

unless i can fix something.

i’m partially happy right now. i just recently started the downward slope, and velocity is increasing. i have a great Master and girlfriend, Akalashi. we have tons of fun, and can talk forever or just watch endless movies. i have a great group of friends, and have socials or parties that Aki and i attend regularly. my business is doing okay. i grossed over $50k last year. don’t ask me about net, though.

i hate my job a lot. i thought i liked it, and i guess i still do at times… but really, my job is a huge bore. the only fun i have is when i get to work in the server room- new equipment, rearranging, tidying cables, running cat5e, etc. that comes once in a blue moon- the rest of the time it’s cubicle party 8 hours a day. i feel like i’m not needed. the few things i can do have been postponed what seems like indefinitely. everything i do is met with waiting and red tape. i understand this is corporate america, but i like getting things done, and working the majority of my shift. if i just sit behind my screens and melt my brain for 8 hours, i’m going to want to not show up at all.

which fuels my waking-up-problem. i can’t wake up in the morning most days. i sleep though alarms, turn them off, bury them under pillows. my dreams are so much nicer. i don’t have to go to work, i don’t have to feel like i’m wasting everyone’s time at school. i can work on my business and spend time with Aki, my friends, and my extended family in washington. on days when the only thing i have to look forward to is work, i can’t get out of bed.

i dropped two classes this semester already. math and humanities. my humanities teacher couldn’t teach, and i hate art history, so i dropped. my (first) math teacher couldn’t teach either- he was worse actually. he’d go off on tangents every 5 minutes. he didn’t show up for the first day of class. i got approval to get into another teacher’s class, but all his homework was done online- and i was two weeks behind. it took me 30-40 minutes per problem, simply because i had to draw out all my work on this buggy “whiteboard” program with my mouse.

so i dropped that class too.

it makes me feel kind of useless.

i don’t really eat much. people have pointed out my underweight-ness a lot recently. it’s not really because a lack of money, though i suppose that has something to do with it. i just have no desire to eat really. even if i’m hungry, i usually can’t being myself to make food.

and the dysphoria is starting again. most days i can’t look at myself. i don’t want to talk because my voice angers me. my genitals are a constant source of anger as well.

i really want to go back to being happy a lot. i want to hit a peak and stay there. i want to be able to constantly focus on the positive and stop caring what others think of me.

i’m afraid my depression will take a toll on my relationships with the people around me. i don’t want to lose Aki to my depression. i don’t want to lose my friends.

i can’t let it get that bad.