Print Story Divergent reality.
By technician (Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 02:55:50 PM EST) (all tags)
I know I'm not crazy, because I have firsthand knowledge of crazy for comparison.

There's a guy out there, not much older than I, who'd decided to fuck off to west Texas, and he's making a sustainable ranch out of the desert near Alpine. He has a donkey, and most of a greenhouse (in this case, a greenhouse intended to provide moisture capture and cooler temps). His house is a shack and his greenhouse and a small trailer. He uses sun and battery powered devices to blog about his days.

And you already know that everything about that guy, I would become. When reading his stuff I have a hard time separating what I'd do from what he's done.

Here's where I'm at, then. That turning forty thing is taking a slow toll, sinking in. Nothing sudden about it. I'm not going to buy a convertible sports saloon. I'm not going to dump my wife for a teenage bride. I'm not about to join a religion or a cult. But I am slowly finding a pole around which to gather my Self. Things piled up, avoided. Turns taken. Never did enjoy doing things the easy way.

The wife, after years of leaving us in a temporary frame of mind decided a few years ago (when she was still in academia) that we liked Austin and we were going to stay. Then she lost her job and her only friend, and we became temporary again. I haven't had the heart to tell her that I'm not temporary; we're staying. If we go anywhere, it'll be my call, and for reasons beyond needing to apply her education to a task.

I like Seattle. I love the idea of moving up there. The details, though, are where the devil hangs out and where we lose traction. If we do something as large as a move across the country, it needs to be forever and it needs to be for reasons. Now, Texas running out of water is a good reason, and any of my soulful longing can be easily uprooted by a natural disaster, but our reasoning will have to fall along those lines.

I'm tired of temporary. Been living temporary for too long. Actually putting a root down somewhere seems like an odd thing, actually. Requires commitment.

All of this, of course, also relies on the economy. The downturn hasn't touched us. Austin is ripe with jobs and expensive housing. But when my current employer sells themselves to a Very Large Defense Contractor and I find myself at the loud end of some TPS reports, I'm going to move on. If that moving on means finding a career outside of IT, or outside of Austin, so be it. But it is high time I was allowed to make that choice.

And if I got to choose, I'd be in northern New Mexico or far west Texas, picking the dirt from my grin.

All I have to do is move heaven and earth to get there.

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Divergent reality. | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
living temporary by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #1 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 03:55:20 PM EST
kinda sucks.

also, i wouldn't wanna be in west texas once the ogallalla runs dry.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

It is alarming by technician (4.00 / 1) #2 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 04:02:29 PM EST
that we live during a time when the main concern I have about living is running out of water.

One of the appealing things about Seattle is that it won't run out of water anytime soon. Not sure how realistic the threat from volcanoes, earthquakes, and tidal waves is, though. Or the rebirth of grunge.

[ Parent ]
Natural disasters in the Puget Sound Region by Captain Tenille (4.00 / 2) #6 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:12:08 PM EST
As far as tidal waves from the actual ocean goes, Puget Sound is actually pretty well protected, although there's always the possibility of one being triggered inside Puget Sound itself somehow. Still, there's a lot of islands to block stuff in there. The volcanoes don't erupt that often and generally give some warning (thanks to something called "volcano monitoring") and while earthquakes are totally unpredictable, they also only happen every once in a while. As far as the rebirth of grunge, we must all be vigilant against that, not just people in and around Seattle.

Basically, much like anywhere, there's the occasional natural disaster. Ours, at least, don't come every year. Also, you're much less likely to die of heatstroke in the summer or freeze to death in the winter buried under six feet of snow. However, if for some perverse reason you do want to see shittons of snow, one of the snowiest places on earth is a short drive away. 


/* You are not expected to understand this. */

[ Parent ]
Also by kwsNI (4.00 / 1) #19 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:48:30 AM EST
Last time Seattle had a 7+ earthquake, the sole fatality was a heart attack from a guy who was one trip to the gym or being cut off in traffic from kickin' it anyway. 

[ Parent ]
That was a 6.8. by Captain Tenille (4.00 / 1) #25 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 01:18:00 PM EST
Still a pretty big deal and a whole lotta shakin' going on (I was at work in downtown Olympia when it happened). A lot of those pictures they showed on the news of the destruction in "Seattle" were actually Olympia; downtown Olympia, like downtown Seattle, is built largely on filled in tidelands.

There was one building that lost part of its facade along the top that crumbled and fell down to the ground. By amazing coincidence no one happened to be walking there; if someone had been, there would probably have been more fatalities.


/* You are not expected to understand this. */

[ Parent ]
Also, an important point in WA's favor: by Captain Tenille (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:13:22 PM EST
The State of Washington has never been in unlawful rebellion against the federal government of the United States. 


/* You are not expected to understand this. */

[ Parent ]
hush, you. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 2) #12 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:23:36 PM EST
Next thing you know, he'll be asking about the anarchist communes, the Wobblies and the "47 states and the Soviet of Washington."

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
It's funny you write this by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #3 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 04:53:42 PM EST
for as I am now planning logistics for my next temporary move, in this case, for LO's education and for me to keep my sanity for an extra few years.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB
Yeah, by technician (2.00 / 0) #5 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:01:55 PM EST
I think that if there were children involved, this would all be colored entirely differently. I can't speak to what it would be like to have a child and have this sort of life.

I mean, it wouldn't be this sort of life.

But I remember when my brother and sister-in-law were having a tough go of it, one unemployed then the other, my brother doing pick-up work at the union, I remember thinking 'why not move where the work is?' And though he toyed with the idea, it was never a serious consideration because his family (well, his wife's family but a closer family than his) is all there, and he didn't want my nephews to be without a family.

Then one of his kids hits 20 and moves to Seattle. Heh.

[ Parent ]
I lived in the same house when I was growing by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #7 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:12:19 PM EST
up and once I turned 18, I couldn't be happier to leave and go see places. So I moved 6x in 10 years, which is a little much. These past 6.5 years is the second longest time I've lived in one place.

It's funny to note though, talking about where I grew up, whenever I friend an old high school classmate on Facebook, it seems like we start talking like nothing really changed in the past (almost) 20 years.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

[ Parent ]
kids by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #31 Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 03:11:58 PM EST
When I was a kid, we did five long distance moves.  I swore I'd never do that to my kid.

I'd have no troubles doing that as an adult...hell, I'd do a temporary overseas move myself.
[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
So. Yeah. That. by clock (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 04:54:58 PM EST
a lot of what is driving our move has to do with what you're talking about.  my wife wants to get the hell out of H-town (which was a temporary thing for her in '95) and put down some roots. i want to get back to something that i know.  i've been wandering the earth since about 1996 and i'm pretty fucking sick of it.  i'm turning 40 and i want to be someplace that feels like home.  i want to invest in a place. i can't remember doing that, well, ever.

nice.  now i have to write a diary.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

nice. now i have to write a diary. by ana (4.00 / 2) #10 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:11:04 PM EST
I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin


I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Roots indeed by R343L (4.00 / 2) #9 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 06:23:27 PM EST
I've basically put some down in Seattle. It's nice to be committed to a place rather than always knowing I might move at any time. Weird even.

I guess we might still move but right now it feels like forever, which is both reassuring and terrifying.

"There will be time, there will be time / To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet." -- Eliot

Roots... by ana (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 07:29:40 PM EST
At some point you notice they're growing from your fingertips, searching for dirt to call your own.

I always thought the life cycle of barnacles and other sea critters was sad: they're free-swimming as young-uns, but they settle down, glue themselves permanently to a rock, or a ship, or something, and spend the rest of their days filter-feeding. But people do that, too.

Hope you find what you're looking for.

And it reminds me of a quote whose attribution (and even precise wording) are lost in the sands of internet time. Is there a <blockparaphrase> tag?

The juvenile sea-squirt swims freely about the ocean, seeking a suitable rock to which to attach. Having found such a place and made the attachment, it has no further use for its brain, so it eats it. Rather like getting tenure.

I turned 40 in 1994, not so very long after I bought my first house (partly on the strength of a 3-year grant, which, in due course, expired, as they do). The following year I interviewed for this job and arrived days after my 41st birthday; bought my present house the following year.

So, yeah. Roots.

I now know what the noise that is usually spelled "lolwhut" sounds like. --Kellnerin

FYI by lb008d (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:41:51 PM EST
It is raining cats and dogs in Bellevue right now. Forecast is for nothing but more cats and dogs.

Summers are lovely, however.

PS by lb008d (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:42:25 PM EST
I'd love to live within sight of the Brazos.

[ Parent ]
There ain't much wrong by technician (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:51:35 PM EST
with the Brazos.

[ Parent ]
I could end up in Seattle by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #15 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:47:43 PM EST
if I'm going to do this way-less-income thing, it'll be a much easier place to live.

I could end up in any number of other places too, of course.

"Just as there are no atheists in foxholes, there are no libertarians in financial crises." -Krugman

Scratch me in as a 'yes' by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #17 Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 11:01:20 PM EST
for Seattle. It takes a while to figure it out here, but after more than 5 years, I've got tons o' friends, a great job, and a sweet guy.

It would be great to have someone to hit the shows with.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

... not about to join a religion or a cult by Oberon (4.00 / 2) #18 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 07:27:59 AM EST
Indeed not. You're much more likely to start one.

Accidentally, of course.

How now, mad spirit? by gzt (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 08:51:09 AM EST

Whenever I think about relocating by riceowlguy (4.00 / 1) #21 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 09:41:00 AM EST
Seattle and/or Portland are usually the first places that come to mind as far as where to go on purpose.  I've visited Seattle several times on business and I always really liked it.  On the other hand, I feel like over time I would probably hate the constant rain and clouds.  TRASG0 in Oregon says you just stop noticing it after a while, and people in Portand certainly seem to bicycle a lot in spite of the climate.  Portland is probably a better choice for me since it would be that much closer to him and to wine country.

I would probably go from being one of the more liberal people in any given crowd of random residents to one of the most conservative.

Fixing Austin's water security issues would not be all that difficult (technically - politically is another matter).  I've got some ideas, hereby presented in order from most libertarian to most authoritarian:

  1. Start charging farmers the same for water as homeowners.  If that suddenly means that rice is four times as expensive, so be it.  Proper environmental accounting FTW.  And don't hand me any of that "this will just hurt poor farmers".  You know what will really hurt poor farmers?  Not having any customers because they all died of thirst.
  2. Move to a tiered pricing plan for water usage, akin to what (at least some) electric utilities have.  Charge a low rate for enough water per month for drinking, bathing, flushing etc. and then really start gouging people when they get into the kinds of water usage that only comes from watering lawns.
  3. Most reservoirs have two purposes, water storage and flood control.  They have a "conservation pool" level which is the level of the lake above which they aggressively discharge water downstream in order to make room for more potential floodwaters.  I would argue for raising those levels significantly, and potentially buying out people in flood plains downstream because you'd be telling them that flood control is no longer the priority, water security is.  You could use the proceeds from #2 to fund this.
  4. I would basically enforce mandatory water conservation measures (the measures that most of Texas seemed to wait until we were in D4-D5 level drought to implement) whenever the reservoirs were below conservation pool.  Period.  On the other hand, this might not really be necessary if #2 was implemented.
Speaking of socialism, why not consider moving to Canada?  You seem generally to be unhappy with capitalism, so why not give socialism a try?

I've thought about Canada by technician (4.00 / 1) #26 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 03:26:43 PM EST
with about the same weight as any other location...specifically Vancouver, though I understand there are other cities there. In Canada.

The white people migratory path is: Austin->Portland (though some go from Austin->Denver->Portland), and from what I understand Portland is the hippy, less stodgy version of Austin, and they have water. I have a highschool friend who lives just outside of Portland and she likes it, but she also says trips home to New Mexico for two weeks in the summer are required, just to dry out.

In re: water, from what I understand, the lake levels did not get high enough to allow for the spring release for rice paddies. This is apparently the first time that has happened since those restrictions were put in place. I like all the ideas you've listed. I'd also like to see HoA requirements for lawns be made illegal.

[ Parent ]
I'd forgotten about lawn requirements .... by Oberon (4.00 / 1) #30 Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 12:47:31 PM EST
When living in northern VA I spoke to a woman who had a slightly eccentric but fairly well-kept garden, which consisted of various shrubs, bushes and rocks, surrounded by woodchip and mulch. There was no grass at all.

She got regular letters berating her for not mowing her lawn.

Nice one, "land of the free".

I do think there are probably some reasonable requirements that should be imposed on urban properties' open space -- the one that springs to mind is about permeable surfaces, since concreting everything over really fucks up groundwater. Regular lawn mowing shouldn't figure though, if you want your lawn to be a natural meadow (to the benefit of the wildlife) why should that bother anyone?

How now, mad spirit?
[ Parent ]
turning forty thing by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 10:05:12 AM EST
I didn't really get that. My hair started greying after 40, I started needing glasses after 40. OTOH, my metabolism slowed down and weight went up after 35.

It was sometime in the past couple of years that I really realized that, yeah, life is short, and I'm in the latter half of it. I'm 46 now, will be 47 in May.

Roots. I haz them. Born in Fairfax Hospital in Virginia, grew up in McLean. The 10 years I lived in Utah I always wanted to move back to Virginia, and did. I live about 5 miles from where I grew up, and go walking around those old neighborhoods every day. Frequently see people I've known for decades.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

I've ended up in London... by Metatone (4.00 / 2) #23 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 11:33:01 AM EST
there's a whole bunch of other places I lived that I wanted to stay... but somehow it didn't work out.
London is in the country of my passport, so they're less likely to kick me out.
In some ways I didn't actually want to put roots down here - it's no Amsterdam or Barcelona - but it's not a bad place.

I'm glad however that I didn't give in to the rooting urge one place where I was, that just wasn't right.

And that's what I'll preach today - rooting is important, but don't compromise too much... a life is long time to live in the wrong place just because you got tired of temporary. 

we've talked about it by MartiniPhilosopher (4.00 / 1) #24 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 11:43:40 AM EST

Relocating somewhere else. Seattle has been on the top of the list for a while now. Beautiful city, lots of interesting things to do, and much more of a cultural hub than our current location.

When we talk about it, we keep returning to the same two sticking points. The first are costs. We'd have to find jobs before moving and have them pay significantly better than current ones due to cost of living increases. The second is family. We'd be leaving behind a large contingent of people and would have to factor in the costs of flying back in case anything happened to anyone.

And with the adoption, there becomes a third and harder point to have to work with and around. Kids make everything more interesting.

Whenever I hear one of those aforementioned douche bags pontificate about how dangerous [...] videogames are I get a little stabby. --Wil Wheaton.

Regrets by theboz (4.00 / 1) #27 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 10:46:17 PM EST
All the people here saying how great Seattle is are making me regret not taking the job offer there seriously.  I still think it likely would have not worked out in some way, as my vision of paradise is somewhere much sunnier, but I would have been settled in by now, at least for a while.
- - - - -
That's what I always say about you, boz, you have a good memory for random facts about pussy. -- joh3n
that blog link by webwench (4.00 / 1) #28 Tue Mar 13, 2012 at 11:04:26 PM EST
references some people I know, which was a surreal coincidence. Bookmarked!

Getting more attention than you since 1998 .

well, by infinitera (4.00 / 2) #29 Wed Mar 14, 2012 at 08:57:23 AM EST
If you don't like the TPS reports, I guess DC/VA/MD/NC is out of the question, despite the security clearance.

Seattle is certainly the more laid-back software place.

Although, if support calls are anything to go by, Italy & Brazil have it beat by far.

[…] a professional layabout. Which I aspire to be, but am not yet. — CheeseburgerBrown

Yeah, by technician (2.00 / 0) #32 Thu Mar 15, 2012 at 12:59:26 PM EST
I think DC would be OK, but it would take a lot more cash, since we'd want to be in DC. And I'd only be able to do that with my clearance.

[ Parent ]
somebody at my VLDC by garlic (4.00 / 1) #33 Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 01:43:47 PM EST
was asking someone else about there TSP or TPS reports the other day.

Divergent reality. | 33 comments (33 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback