Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

Month: March 2022

What I Want

I know I’m a needy, greedy bastard, it’s true, but here’s what I want: A home large enough for the bookshelves we need, with a space for my computer desk that isn’t in my bedroom, where we don’t share a horizontal border surface with strangers (floor or ceiling), close enough to good grocery shopping (or at least simple public transit thereto), at a price I/we can afford, that we can happily live & stay in for the next, I dunno, decade or so.

Just… putting that out there into the universe.

Kind of lost a week, there.

I was trying to keep to a couple-times-per-week-ish posting cadence, but last week just completely ran away from me. Brain weasels, noisy neighbors, work frustrations, all the fun stuff.

I mean, I don’t really have anything to say today either, other than “Whoops, sorry about that.”

Let’s hope things improve soon.

Music In A Minute: Get To Know Me

I’ve done little mixes before, some of which may even still be playable in the old blog archives. (I resist calling this thing a “blog” but let’s be honest here for a moment.) My music tastes are well known if you know me at all: Old pop, older prog rock, random J-pop, some heavy metal and EDM and so on.

My library grows nonetheless, and in some odd directions on occasion. I’m glad that even at the half-century mark I’m still getting into new stuff. To give you a clearer picture, perhaps, here’s a brief sampling of what I’m listening to nowadays:

I should run these down so you can explore further if you’re so inclined…

  • Public Service Broadcasting, “People, Come Dance” (from Bright Magic, 2021)
  • Battle Tapes, “Valkyrie” (from Polygon, 2015)
  • toconoma, “N°9” (from Newtown, 2017)
  • Midnight Oil, “Gadigal Land” (from The Makarrata Project, 2020)
  • The HU, “Sugaan Essena” (from the soundtrack to the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, 2020)
  • Sparks, “Music That You Can Dance To” (title track of album, 1986)
  • Assemblage 23, “Welcome, Apocalypse (Alpha Quadrant remix)” (from Mourn, 2020)
  • Pet Shop Boys, “What are we gonna do about the rich?” (from Agenda EP, 2019)
  • Garbage, “No Horses” (bonus track from No Gods No Masters special edition, 2021)
  • KONGOS, “Keep Your Head” (from 1929, Pt. 1, 2019)

Of course, here I am the morning after assembling this mix and realizing I didn’t get any of the Sawano Hiroyuki “[nZk]” stuff in here, and that’s a grave oversight. There’s a stunning lack of Mono Inc and VNV Nation as well.

Decisions had to be made, couldn’t fit in everything, etc. Maybe next time.

Uh Why Me Five Oh

I looked in the site archives for March of 2012 only to discover that I didn’t write anything on or about my 40th birthday, which means I lack the nearest comparison to turning 50 in terms of “birthdays ending in zero.” (A few days after my birthday I wrote about some of the damage to my psyche from losing the Entercom job, though.)

A decade prior I wrote a quick post for turning 30, nestled in between various memes and microblogging entries. It doesn’t give me much to go on either.

And I didn’t have a website in 1992, so I’ve got nothing to work with for turning 20.

50, though. The road from 40 to 50 was a heck of a thing. Between moving out of NE PDX to the suburban blah that is the Hillsboro/Beaverton border, the advent of the pandemic, and getting diagnosed as type-2 diabetic (with all the life changes and side-effects that entails)… yeah, I feel different this time around. Some things improved (I lost weight, I’m eating better), others definitely deteriorated (my social circle is a pinpoint, my faith in humanity nearly nonexistent, diabetic neuropathy reduced my quality of life).

I honestly don’t know what I’m even trying to do next, let alone what will happen. I just hope I’m here to write about how different 60 is from 50…

Owed No More

It’s been a few days, hasn’t it? Well, this was a busy week on several levels. Here’s the biggest bit, though: Yesterday, I told the loan servicing company to finish off the Parent Plus Loan balance remaining. All of it. The final lump sum.

The first disbursement was in 2010, and my loan payments hit their “normal” level a couple years later. At the $900+/month rate I was going, the math said I’d be making my final payment just after my 51st birthday.

Then… COVID-19 hit. And student loans (which the Parent Plus system falls under) were put into forbearance for a time. The government extended this time a couple of, um, times, and repayments were set to resume after May of this year. But I’d been paying all along as if things were “normal.” I could afford to, so why not get out ahead of the principal balance while not accumulating interest?

Something else happened along the way, though: The kids dropped off of my insurance (saving me money monthly) and work gave out actual year-end bonuses the last two Decembers instead of throwing us superspreader events holiday parties. I was able to sink a fair bit of this windfall into savings.

When I realized that I was getting close to being able to pay off the loan this year and I had the means to avoid giving the loan servicing company one more red cent of interest, I knew what I had to do. I sank a rather large percentage of my savings into the project but getting the loan gone is, I hope, worth it.

The end of an era, in its own way. A big load off my mind, not to mention my finances.

It’s my 50th birthday present to myself. And it feels good.

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