Sunday, October 28, 2007


I'm having some work-related dilemmas these days. I just went to set up a lunch with someone I know to talk about it, someone generally very wise and helpful and all-around great. Well, it turns out that he's not where I thought he was. My usual rock, steady in all, happy in his job and his role and his management and in pretty much everything, has changed jobs. Completely. I guess the world is a little upside-down for everyone. You know who you are.

Call that one vote for change.

Friday, October 26, 2007


I need a vacation.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nine is a limiting number.

Once upon a time, I lived in Philadelphia. I had two lives there. I started with the life I had in college. During the first two years I did more things in Philadelphia than most of my peers did, by which I mean that I walked around Center City a lot and every once in a while went to the Italian Market. During the third year I didn't live in Philadelphia because I was studying abroad, and during the fourth year I hung out at the White Dog pretty much every Friday night, figured out that I could run past Kelly Drive up to the Wissahickon, and went shopping at Reading Terminal. In that fourth year I started getting Philadelphia, in my small way.

The second life I had was the grad school life, which maybe sounds like it was another chapter in the same life but really it wasn't. In my second Philadelphia life I moved downtown, started making friends who weren't students, and bought bread every day at Metropolitan. I had less to do on a daily basis and more to do on a weekly and monthly basis than I had in life number one. I went to bars more and saw more bands. I watched more (than zero) TV, I discovered Northern Liberties, and I started eating meat. I spent more time trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I didn't actually finish graduate school while I was living in Philadelphia. I finished it in the year following, after I had moved out to Seattle. And so that first year or two in Seattle kind of feel like their own kind of life -- still a grad student but less entrenched in weird procrastinatory grad student culture and more on my own to just get stuff done. Equal amounts of trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. But during that first year especially, I didn't think of Seattle as like a permanent thing. It was a for-now place until graduation took me wherever my life was going to take me.

And then in the end it took me exactly where I was, and I'm still in Seattle a couple of lives later. There was the post-grad-student life living in Capitol Hill, hanging out in a neighborhood -- and in fact an apartment building -- that contained a strange combination of work and life, since the people we lived among and spent weekends hanging out with were also the people we carpooled to work with. And there is the life after that, where we've moved to Phinney Ridge, going from very much the kind of place where people in their 20s live to an established neighborhood with people in their 30s, young couples and families who all shop at PCC.

It's kind of weird how it's easy to see all these distinct life phases after the fact, because when you're going through them it all feels like one smooth continuous progression. But maybe the choices we make are more discrete and defining than we realize at the time and it's only visible later, when one day you realize that you're in a different place than you were before.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Three days after Thanksgiving.

I signed up to run the Seattle half this year. I would like to do the full, but I can't be ready in time to get the time I want. I know a few other people running it and I thought of figuring out some kind of brunch plans for afterwards. Let me know if you're interested.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The end of the weekend.

Sunday during football season is the best day of the week. I pretty much split my day between sitting around all day watching football and trying new recipes. I have some zucchini bread cooling right now, and Chris is out at the grocery store buying stuff for me to try a new lentil soup recipe tonight. So what if there is laundry to be done? So what if tomorrow I have to go back to work? For the moment, I am enjoying a house where the Cowboys are losing and the baked goods smell delicious.

Sunday nights are a whole different story, though. I like my job, more or less, and once the work week has started I get pretty much into the zone -- probably too much into the zone, in fact. But the Sunday night pause before the work week begins, when we're eating whatever we've cooked for the day and feeling slightly restless from a day of lounging around in pajamas, is the lowest point of the week. A weekend well relaxed does not create a Sunday night where I want to go back to work, but rather a Sunday night where I wonder if I'm doing the right things with my life, and what I should be doing instead, if I should be doing something else instead, and why I didn't spend my weekend doing something virtuous like finishing the pile of laundry or something fun like take a trip away or something other than what I've done.

But for now it's not yet 5pm and I still have a few hours before the Sunday night malaise sets in. Time to enjoy the zucchini bread.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Caught in the net.

Zzzzz. Any minute now I'm going to fall asleep. Just got back a little while ago from Puzzlehunt 11, Caught in the Net, hosted by SCRuBBers. All in all this was a great hunt, even though I am basically the least likely person ever to appreciate a Tron/video game theme. A few highlights and other stuff:

1. We finished the hunt! We finished in the top ten! Just barely and just barely, and in fact somehow they left our team (The Philadelphia Experiment) off the list of finishers in the closing ceremony. Still and all, finishing the final meta and cracking the top ten were our two big goals, since we'd never done either before, and we managed to do both. We snuck in at number ten, right in between Everyday Heroes and 196, finishing at 5:03pm tonight. And I think we tied for the highest number of overall puzzles solved and finished second for overall points. Granted that's because the top few teams finished the hunt at 7am and went home to sleep. But as for us, we only left two puzzles unsolved.

2. There were a lot -- a lot -- of puzzles. I need to go back and look at other hunts to be sure, but I feel like there were many more puzzles in this hunt than there have been in the last several hunts, and that the puzzles in this hunt required fewer steps to solve. On balance I preferred this, though I expect that opinion will be divided over this. The downside is that it really meant it would be easy to get overwhelmed if you hadn't worked out a good puzzle and answer tracking system. The upside is that more players got to experience more puzzles. They also made it harder than usual to backsolve, which in my book is a good thing but I expect that some will disagree.

3. I feel good about our team this year. I feel that I had my strongest individual performance and also that our team did. For me, I feel like I had breakthroughs on way more puzzles than previously and that the types of puzzles that I contributed to were more varied. For the team, I feel like we had very positive energy throughout the event -- no problem personalities this year at all -- and that we did a better job than previously of talking through our brainstorms out loud. Just talking through even seemingly disconnected ideas out loud definitely helped push us over the edge with a number of puzzles that I can think of. The team worked together very well. This year we had two new members, Phil and Peter, since their usual team disbanded this year because someone got married this weekend. I think it might become a bidding war to keep them!

4. We still need to figure out a better solution for lunch on Sundays. I feel like we need a team assistant or something to make sure that we eat properly.

Probably more comments to follow, but it was a great weekend. Thanks to SCRuBBers for a terrific event.