Again. It’s been a while. And a lot of things have changed.

I should probably change the title of this blog, since I’m technically no longer a rice farmer. Or maybe I am, but just not a practicing rice farmer anymore. Last year in July I moved back to Atlanta, GA from Sado Island to start a course at DigitalCrafts to learn web development. After the course finished I ended up getting a job at Triton Digital and a junior web developer. Then they decided to close their Atlanta office and I was out of a job.

Move, new studies, new career, unemployed within the course of a year. That was fast.

Now here I am writing confessions, but not about rice farming anymore.

It’s been 3 months now job searching and I am beginning to despair. The whole reason I went to DigitalCrafts in the first place was because I’d tried a few times over the years to teach myself programming and it never took. I do not do well teaching myself. I learn better in an environment where I have a teacher or mentor helping me out. I had that at DigitalCrafts and for a bit at Triton Digital. Now I am floundering around and it is affecting my job search.

You see, the tech industry likes to see examples of your work. There’s a popular service called GitHub where you can upload your work and keep track of what you’ve done. Companies use this service as version control (i.e. you write a program, change a program, realize the change messed something up, and revert back to the original program) but individuals can use it to keep track of their own code and projects. And it’s easy to go a person’s profile on GitHub and see what they’ve been up to. When looking for a job it’s great to be able to send a profile link to your prospective employer with examples of what you can do.

At DigitalCrafts, while I was learning, I had a steady stream of new projects and examples of the work I did. While at Triton Digital I had the same (though the actual code is private, you can see where I was contributing). Since losing that job, however, my output has been sporadic. This is not good and I don’t feel very good about it. I am adrift and without motivation. Without something to show it’s harder to get a job, but without a job I just can’t seem to make myself sit down and code anything.

Vignettes, Story Starters, and XCOM 2

Oh, my little vignette story starter from last week. How neglected you look just sitting there and confusing folks. 🙂

Not sure exactly why it was I decided to just leave it there without following it up the next day, but it’s there. I will post more, I hope, once I work on it .

Meanwhile, the bulk of my free time lately has been taken up by the release of the strategy game, XCOM 2. It’s shameful the amount of time I’ve put into this. Do not look at my Steam profile to see the hours I’ve put in! Shameful!

But so darn fun.

One of my friends also has it and has spent a bulk of their time not even playing the game, but using the robust in-game character creator to make likeness of their friends for the game to use. I’ve done the same, but not on that scale. Makes gameplay much more immersive when it’s your buddy that’s leading a squad of troops against an occupying alien force. And it makes it that much more devastating when they end up being a casualty due to a bonehead tactical move on my part (which happens quite a lot…the bonehead move, that is…sometimes the luck of the draw saves a soldier).

The lesson of today’s post: go get XCOM 2. You will not be disappointed!


Am I Here?

I woke up this morning and it was Monday, February 8th, 2016. This is not news. When you woke up on this day, it was the same. You’d probably gone to bed after watching the Super Bowl. Or maybe, if sports aren’t your thing, you went to bed after spending time with your family or whatever. It was, perhaps, Sunday, February 7th, or maybe the early hours of Monday, February 8th, 2016, when you went to sleep. Then you woke up today.

I went to sleep on Sunday, January 31st, 2016.

That was one week ago.

Nothing was odd about that night. I didn’t do any weird drugs. I don’t do drugs. Not for any moral reasons. Alcohol works perfectly fine. I had a couple beers with dinner that evening, but I usually have a beer or two with dinner. I didn’t see a ghost, or summon a daemon. I played some games on my computer and watched the Venture Bros. special from last year so that I would be caught up for the season premier tomorrow. After watching the show, I went to bed. It was about 11 p.m. In bed I read a bit of Twitter and dozed off.

I am not sick. I was note comatose during the past week. I do not feel overly groggy like you do when you sleep for a really long period of time when you haven’t worked hard, like when you were young. I do not feel bright and ready to go like you feel after a good long sleep after a hard day. I feel like I normally do when I wake up after a night of sleep. I don’t want to get up, but that’s because I’m not really a morning person. I mean, I’m actually quite productive in the mornings, once I get going. It’s just the getting up that is the biggest hurdle. Once up, though, I do not feel anything other than annoyance that it is a week later than when I went to sleep.

It’s just never happened for this long before.

Four Whole Weeks!

I’m sorry. This will be the last of this kind of post. I promise.

But, hey, it’s been 4 weeks where I’ve written something Monday through Friday. There are more posts this month than I’d written its entire run before it. That’s awkward phrasing, but I’m having a hard time coming up with a better version, so it’ll stick for now.

It ain’t a lot of words, usually just around 300 or so average, but it’s sort of seeped into my routine that around 7ish I need to sit down and write something. Even when I can hear that little guy on my shoulder saying “naw, man, you don’t have anything to write about tonight. Why don’t you just skip it? No one will know or even care,” I still click on the little WordPress tab in my browser and then on the icon to make a new post. And I get to writing…something.

Granted, a lot of what I’ve written has been fluff: stupid musing on why I can’t write or whatever. But it is something. One thing I’ve been thinking about is trying to do something a little more creative. Lately I’ve been reading a book called The City of Roses Season One: Autumn into Winter. Bit of a convoluted title, but it comes from the fact that the book is a collection of serialized episodes by Kip Manley. The episodes are usually released on his blog City of Roses. He’s just started posting Season Two. The story is sort of urban magical realism fantasy and the city of Portland just permeates the story and characters. It was a big surprise to me that I liked it in that that genre is not really my thing, but I really clicked with the story and the author’s writing style.

Now, I’m not suggesting something as ambitious as a serialized novel, but maybe some snippets from short stories I’m working on or little vignettes or perhaps my Muse will even decide that some poetry is in order. I might skimp on the word count requirement for that last one. 🙂

Looking forward to the next month!

The Winter Pits

Winter is slow around here. It snows a bit during the winters on Sado, and once the snow’s on the ground there really isn’t very much farming you can do. In the past I occupied myself with building a guestroom, creating designs for packages, and freelance construction work. This year, though, I haven’t had much of anything to do. This is not good for a few reasons:

First, I don’t get any money if I’m not working. Duh. I’ve saved up for the winter so I can skimp on things and make it through, but with my return to the US quickly getting closer I should probably have more saved for tickets and sending stuff home and other moving expenses. Oh, and maybe to have some breathing room once I get back. *sigh* I hate money.

Second, when I don’t work I tend to just…collapse is the only way I can describe it. I don’t eat much. I don’t move much. I don’t do much. I get depressed, and then that makes everything worse. This winter’s bout of depression hasn’t been as bad as in the past (I still get depressed even when working, but work helps keep my mind from dwelling to hard on it), which is odd. It might be because of the move (new adventures and all that). But the depression just facilitates the collapse. I am worthless, so why do anything? You’re only going to fail. Just sit here or lay there. Don’t get up to eat, you’re not hungry. Don’t write anything because it will suck. You get the idea.

Third, once I collapse, it’s really hard to pull myself up. Like, when I finally have some work to do I resent it for some stupid reason. Like I was being productive when not working (I wasn’t). And even though the work makes me feel better physically and mentally. It’s so weird.

I need goals. This blog has been a nice surprise as far as actually doing something each day (as little as it is), but I need more. I think I’ll do that now. Write down some small things to accomplish tomorrow. Maybe make it a thing like the blog; once I finish the day’s entry, I should jot down a couple things to get done the following day. I like that.

Wood Burning Stove

Last week I helped put in a wood burning stove into our kitchen. Turned out pretty nice, I think:


As small as it is, it does a pretty good job of heating up the room that it’s in, though I am an awful fire-starter. The Prodigy would be very disappointed in me.

The pipe running from the stove to the outside runs up through the ceiling and into the attic area just above the kitchen, and then out the side of the house. Right now the attic area above the kitchen is just open under the roof. There are boards down so you can walk around on parts of it, but most of it is just the upside of the ceiling from the first floor. Japanese houses are odd in that there is significant space (about 30ish centimeters) between floors with nothing there. No insulation or anything. This tends to make them drafty and really bad at holding in the heat in the winter time or creating a hotbox in the summer time. This area above the kitchen is kind of wasted, in that if you closed it off the pipe would do a great job of heating that area along with the kitchen.

If I ever get around to owning my own house when I get back to the States (pure fantasy, I know), having a wood burning stove is going to be a priority. I’ve been intrigued by the recent trend of “small houses” and would love to make one of those centered around a stove, with the 1st floor heated by the stove itself and the 2nd floor by the pipe leading outside.


I Wish I Was More Musical

Trying out the Windows App for WordPress. So far I’m a little wary because there isn’t a Spellcheck. This isn’t a huge deal, cause I think I’m not that bad a spelling, but there are a few words that I tend to use that I can never remember how to spell and I rely on the the little red squigglies under the word to alert me to the mistake. Anyway, on to the topic of the evening…

When I was in the 6th grade I played the violin. 6th grade being the first grade of junior high school, students are given the opportunity to join the band or orchestra of the school. I wasn’t feeling the trumpet or saxaphone in the band, and I was told that I couldn’t play the flute because I have a dip in my lip, which I think the teachers told me to save me from the ridicule I’d face since the flute was a girls insturment (I know that’s gender-role bullshit now, but at the time…). My best friend joined the orchestra and played the stand-up bass and I thought that’d be pretty cool and fun, but when I asked the number of bass players had filled. How about the violin? OK, I said. I lasted about 6 weeks. My “friends” (not my best friend, mind, but the “friends” that lived close to me and thus rode the schoolbus home with me) made fun of me for playing the insturment and I was a weak-willed child and gave into the pressure and quit. This is a mistake I still regret today.

There’s something in music, when I hear a good song or a good guitarist or a good whatever, and the music just…gets into my bones and resonates throughout my body. I have no outlet and the energy just swirls and creates this vortex within me that eventually dissipates or disolves or…just disappears after a bit. It’s this energy within and I have no idea what to do with it. I have no vocabulary for it, no way to express what it does to me. I feel like it’s this huge waste of energy or something, that if I’d stuck with the violin way back when maybe I’d have found a way to deal with this buildup of energy.