I'm working about 35 hours per week in the warehouse and going back to school.
Grad school is both, where I'm at, less structured and more intense, but the expectations set for me - while very real - actually, initially, are less than what I probably would have set for myself. We haven't gotten into the paper writing, which will raise the ante considerably.
So much has happened, recently.
There's a lot to process. Before I went back to class, I said I was making a lot of changes. Most of those are things you can't actually see. They were explicitly conceptual in nature. I've been thinking really, really hard about how I want to express myself, where I'll do it, what I want, and how I think about myself. It's also difficult, literally physically, to follow through, to find the time, to make those thoughts real because my habits are to run myself into the ground. I've switched from getting blackout drunk to getting blackout exhausted.
I've been very aggressive with myself. I've been very aggressive with my expectations. I set them always a little higher than I can meet. I found myself out in the yard before class in the heat with a weedeater and lawn mower attacking the yard; my shirt was literally stuck to my chest and back and I thought, "This is terrible." then, "If I work at every moment, then I can look anyone in the eye with dignity." The work ethos is there, but there's something toxic in that. It's a little like eating the apple to the core, the little seed pips like bitter almonds.
There's time for rest, of course. But respite from labor comes when the job is done.
I'm working about 35 hours per week in the warehouse and going back to school.
Work has been steady, and because of... things*, my days off during the week are separated by several days full of fairly rigorous manual labor in high temperature, high humidity environments. I'm physically tired most of the time. Right now, I'm pretty generally exhausted.
For a little more than a month, I've kind of put my life into an intentional neutral where I was still doing stuff, but not really thinking too much about it. House work, yard work, being really bad at Civ 5... basically nothing important. I'd finished everything I really could on my end of the grad student admissions process, and was really working at not thinking too much about it. Meanwhile, upper management at the place I've been working at for the past year-point-five decided that all tolerable things eventually come to an end and started dicking around with department structures and our immediate manager and supervisor configuration in our department.
I mean, we're warehouse workers, so unless you have a particular reason to start dicking around with management and your logistical infrastructure, you should probably leave it alone. They don't, though, and they aren't, so things have taken a dramatic turn for the shit pile. My job is as straight forward as it's ever been, but it's a little more stressful now. There are a lot of my co-workers that have suddenly hit the end-stage of the retail job life cycle simultaneously, culminating in a lot of us having cemented plans to leave or be forced to cut our hours dramatically including, but not limited to: new jobs, full time schooling, part-time schooling, and looking for better paying, full time, or otherwise alternate work. There haven't been any new hires since November 2013 (turnover is surprisingly low in our department), but that's biting our management in the ass now, since there's nobody who can replace the more experienced team members and our new manager doesn't actually know anything about operations department processes or management.
I'm getting out at the right time. I'll do part time work for a while, but I'm not hitching my star to this low-rent trash gig.
So, I'm officially unofficially approved for graduate studies at SIU Edwardsville. There's not much time between now and classes starting, which is really more the fault of how long it took admissions to process me, but there's nothing I can do about that. It's not optimal, but I'll take it.
I won't really say that it's good news or bad news. It's what I'm doing. I've said in the past that I have a limited number of options, but I do know that if I'm thinking outside the normal parameters, there really are a lot of different things I could be doing - a lot of directions I could be taking things in. A lot of people are really positive about this, but others are less so for good reasons. This is a major life goal of mine, though, so I'm still excited as well as pretty nervous.
So that's my break in radio silence.
* Basically boring workplace logistics, not something ominous. Even if I could make it interesting, it's not really worth my time or yours.
My normal workday beings at 10:15 and I finished the meeting at 10:20, which means I probably only needed to take about an hour off and I'd set aside the whole day. There was something profoundly relaxing and energizing about it. I came out of the meeting in a great mood, ran some errands, but had the rest of the day to relax until Exalted at 6 PM, where we proceeded to have a good session of that, too.
( This is the school stuff. )
( Re : School. )
( Whining about ST style. )
Alchemicals is out per Holden, on rpg.net (as hls, forum.rpg.net/showthread.php ). It's not being carried on Amazon yet, those bastards.
Ink Monkies is also live, per forum.rpg.net/showthread.php at forums.white-wolf.com/cs/blogs/
That could be a neat resource.
Just a little cross.
Frank and The J-Man wanted to go out of Monday margaritas at Los Tres Amigos, so that's what we did. Normally two pitchers should be enough, but they had us stop by a gas station on the way back to pick up additional beers and I woke up to a mountain of bottles covering every visible surface. Actually, I woke up several times due to our downstairs neighbors deciding to fight at terrible hours for the second night in a row. On Sunday, they fought from 10 PM until 3 AM, and yesterday they decided to switch it up and fight from 5:30 AM until 9 AM, waking me up every half an hour or so when the pitch changed in what I am chairitably referring to as a debate.
Consequently, I do not feel great this Tuesday.
I agreed to run my first Changeling session this Sunday for Group Wormtongue, and after that the session should be available for everyone. Running games makes me nervous, but I'm going to try to keep this one tight, with an easily identifiable arc that we can cap off. As I've mentioned before, I've had ok luck with my WoD games and less with the more sprawling and high-powered Exalted, so I'll just cross my fingers and hope it's not too bad.
I've been trying to set up appointments with professors, but it's not going well. I'll try to contact by phone again, but if this trend keeps up, I'll have to take a day off to stop by and hope I can bug them during office hours. That's life. I think that some of my time off has cycled back over because the process is actually different in the St Louis location from the Seattle one, which means I might even get paid for it.
Anyway, so what? I am back on my feet again, and pretty recovered from the whole holiday/moving thing. That means I'm actually getting my show on the road, from getting back to writing to putting off writing. And because there's someone reading this that specifically cares, I'm doing this school thing now, it's cool. This is the best part, actually; the whole reason d'etre of this process. It's so great that I am keeping my mouth shut, because I believe in hexing the process. I'll let you know.
I have been playing this Exalted thing, and it's pretty rad. This game has been a series of campaigns, and as Abyssals, we're actually running into characters from previous games at this point. Since I'm playing Evil Buddah, I'm not really getting too far in to the theme of becoming more like a corpse as listed in the Charmset (and conversations on rpg.net, though I'm fairly certain that this is a small subset, since Abyssals really don't seem to be a fan favorite), and I think that I basically am going in maybe the wrong direction, but I'm working on it. We've got time.
I'm also playing a lot of Assassin's Creed, which is fun, but basically the same 5 things over and over again. It's likely that I'll talk about it when I finish it, which should be pretty soon and is the only point when saying anything will be worthwhile. I'll be able to wrap up the whole thing in one post, if that's within your scope of interest.
There's a lot of Exalted going around at the apartment, so I'm thinking of running a nWoD game. Changeling is very tempting, but Mage is what I'm best at. I'd like just plain nWoD, but the group will want powers. Geeze, man, I don't know.
I was weirded out by how it's not really weird to be back, but it is different. It's the same place I left, except I'm not miserable anymore, and that's a big deal. As a friend put it, 'Well, now you're back except you're not living in abject poverty and you've got a place to stay.' I always had somewhere to stay, but the first part was definitely correct. On Thursday, I got to play in the Exalted game, so I'll definitely be talking about that in the near future. My character's the Abyssal known as Son of A Silent Age, so I still get to use David Bowie references as character names.
Compassion 5 Abyssal goodness. It's going to get a little macabre, I suppose.
Last night was the celebration of Frank and The J-Man's Dual Resplendent Birthday, so we did that and I'm pretty sure most of us survived. I haven't seen Frank this morning and The J-Man hasn't moved in a while, so I'm not totally sure, though.
So, busy or not, I feel like I've gotten into a bit of a groove and things are ok. That means I can focus on the important tasks of getting into regular communication with previous professors, save a little money, and whatnot. The first is my chief goal. I've been focused on doing on thing at a time, so for a while I put it out of my head so that I could do what I needed without being overwhelmed. I'm excited to be on the new task.
I feel ashamed that David Bowie didn't get his own tag until now.
It's a pain. And I can't just go back to my old school because I'm not a resident of the state. It'd cost ten thousand dollars a year to attend as an out of state student. Really? 10k? That's what I have left on my undergrad studies. Jeeze. It's significantly less if I live in Illinois for 6 months, but that's not really exciting. I wanted to just kind of jump back in, but maybe it's not a bad idea to work in the area at the help desk office down there. I'd probably save a decent amount of money.
Well, it could be worth it. Ah, well. I'm going to work this out.
So, I'm starting trying to get my materials together for applications to schools for an MA. I know the drill. "Bad Weston, no biscuit." for waiting this long - absolutely. I have until December 11, though, so it's not beyond expectation. Apropos of nothing, at that point, I will be 26. I will have lived on my own for a year or so, and I will have had spent over two years making ends meet off and on. If that's not enough to be sure I want to go back for more education, then I can't think of anything that would do it for me.
I was afraid of doing this. Big things scare me. Little things, too, but I guess magnitude cows me into inaction. It is, after all, another change in the way I live. After changing my way of life drastically every few months, it becomes exhausting. After a certain point, I realize why people eventually settle down. How many skins can you shed? That's what it feels like. You move across country or get an apartment or sleep on your friends floor overstay your welcome, and each time you settle in again. When you move, your everything is tender and fresh, your nerves are exposed.
The big question is where I'm going. I've come to terms with the fact that some people want me around. The evidence exists for that interpretation, even if it occasionally confuses me or I doubt it. I could move back to Illinois or St. Louis. I could try to get into a school here. I could move to friggin' Texas, and it's not like there's not a precedent. I could actually move anywhere. Isn't that right? Why not move to Maine or Pittsburgh or Cincinnati or Urbana or, I really don't know, Tampa? It doesn't matter. Actually, it does. It just matters almost totally less then walking into a library to track down literature on my topic. I haven't made a secret of it. I don't know. But someone is going to accept me, and I'm going to go there, and wherever that is, it means I'll be moving again - even if it's just across the city. Even thinking of reapplying is nervewracking. Feel free to offer advice.
Basically, it's something I really want to do. It is, I feel, really the only way to advance a career in my field, as well as my field of interest. But I've got a decent job right now, and my own place, so unlike before, trying to follow this up means I actually do have something to lose.
"Sure." I said. "I love working with people on their papers." And I do.
Well, I got it tonight, the night before her deadline, and she tells me she'll need to work on it at work before she turns it in at class.
And it's not really very good. It's readable, but that's about it. It wanders off the point at the beginning and never returns to it, and makes a bunch of rookie errors that would be easy to fix if it wasn't due the next day. It wouldn't be so irritating if it wasn't about how she has so much more energy now, and doesn't have trouble making her deadlines when she's dropped the ball on one really important thing for me, and is already turning in half-done school work. She's known about this project since long before I left for Seattle. >_>