Sunday, January 02, 2022

State of the Me: 2021-2022

This blog is essentially defunct, yet somehow I like to continue using it to keep track of my goals and aspirations from one year to the next...

As usual, I'll divide this into a few major categories: Job, Projects, and Family/Home.


I've passed so many years in which my job has been a constant and massive source of stress that I hardly imagined I would ever get it into a good state. But, amazingly enough, I feel like I've finally settled into the job I want: (1) I'm working of a company that is entirely focused on combating climate change, and (2) I have an expert-level position with a lot of responsibility and corresponding autonomy.

Plus I'm really lucky to be reporting to someone who is great at both tech and management. As I've said before, the #1 factor that distinguishes a fantastic job from a living hell is your immediate supervisor -- and my current supervisor is one of the best (if not the very best) I've had.

I am currently working as a DevOps Engineer and Cloud Administrator with a major focus on Kubernetes. After working in every part of IT, I feel like this is the part of the stack where I most want to be: helping multiple teams get their projects deployed and keeping everything running smoothly.

The Kubernetes certification I worked hard on last year was hugely stressful but it has really paid off: I feel like I know Kubernetes well, I know how to get it to do what I want, and I enjoy working with it. And now in the spring I'll be giving a couple of workshops on it for the women-in-tech club I'm in.

If things continue to go well, I could absolutely see myself staying with this job for the rest of my career. It has been less than a year so far, though, so I don't want to speak too soon.


This has been a pretty good year for my little family. Léo passed the Bac, so we're done with school. Nico and Léo have both moved on to an institute where they're studying video game programming -- which is nice because now they can focus on what they want to do and are good at.

The other bit of good news is that our Swiss citizenship is in the final stages of being secured. Nico has already gotten a letter confirming that he is now Swiss (his application was processed separately as he was already over 18 when we started this process), and the rest of us are almost there.

Personally I have been spending time trying to learn Swiss German, but it's tough going. It is weirdly difficult to find the one simple best thing I've found for learning a language: a series of audio dialogs with a transcription and translation into some other language that I understand.

The boys have their own projects that they're working on: stories, video games (developing as well as playing), and video story series (for private home screening only, so far). Nico even organized a new Halloween tradition for us -- having each person tell a scary story -- and the first iteration of it went great!

All of the isolation surrounding Covid has been a breeze for us -- we've been so happy in our little pod watching films together, playing games, and traveling when possible. I almost worry that we're too comfortable in our isolation, but I think it's better than the alternative in which we're dying to get away from each other.

And, unfortunately, we're still drowning in clutter. I've marked all of the days of the cargo tram and electro tram on my calendar, though (this is the opportunity to dispose of large objects), and I've set a goal to try to dispose of at least a bag or two of the long-term clutter every week this year.


The third section of book 1of my comic book is still not done!! But it's close. I basically just need to draw some fantasy machinery and wrap up a little more than a page. Then I want to clean everything up and make a proper publisher-pitch-portfolio for it.

I don't want to rush this (as much as it sounds crazy to say that after all of the years this has taken), but I would like to be sure that -- if and when this gets picked up by a publisher -- I would be in a position to focus on this project and get the other two books done.

Regarding other projects, I worked on a mini-project of writing a python program that would generate music in XML format to be played by the linux program lmms. I think it turned out pretty well, but could have been better -- in part because the free instruments that are included with lmms are not that great. I might try to search for more instruments for it online.

Otherwise, I'm leaning towards maybe taking some online courses on using software for drawing, animations, and music. Naturally, I only want to use tools that save projects in a parsable, text-based format (like xml or json) so I can do my own custom manipulations, but it's likely that I can make more progress if I don't always assume that I have to program all of my tools myself from scratch.

Of course the project I'm most excited about is -- a new comic book script! I honed the idea for it during our pleasant family weekend in Scuol, and I finished writing it last week. It's not related to my current comic book, so I lean towards using what I learned from drawing my current comic book to try to start from the beginning with better tools and improve my style. I think this new one might  work better distributed online rather than through a publisher, and I'm really pleased with it, so I'm looking forward to drawing it when I have time.

Also, Main Street Plaza is alive again. We're actually doing the Brodie Awards again, which is cool. I find it increasingly challenging to write about Mormonism, though. This is for two main reasons:

Firstly, while it was great fun working on Main Street Plaza while it was relatively popular, it was also a huge amount of work to build up even a small amount of interest, community, and name recognition. Blogging about Mormonism was basically my main hobby for about a decade, and -- while I did get some traction (I'm pleased with some personal essays I got published in a book and a magazine) -- it never really took off to the point of being properly famous even in the tiny pond of online discussion of Mormonism. It's exhausting just thinking about it.

I feel like I've said essentially all I have to say about Mormonism. I came up with some really good analysis of various aspects of the religion and culture -- and I tossed it into the grand chasm of the Internet where it was read a bit and then forgotten...

Secondly, I've lost patience with Mormonism. And, yes, I will continue to call it "Mormonism" rather than whatever euphemism the current CoJCoL-dS would prefer us to use, because this movement is bigger than and not wholly owned by the corporation of the president. (Also because they didn't even try to provide a workable alternative.)

Anyway, about my patience, or loss thereof. Over the years that I was writing about Mormonism, I actually had a rather upbeat attitude to the whole thing despite being a non-believer. I felt like it was actually kind of cool to have been a part of this unique movement. And, even more, I felt like the church was more of an obstacle that I'd climbed over -- getting stronger in the process. So I saw it as, on balance, something interesting that we learned from and gained wisdom to pass along to our community.

Now, for reasons I can't state on a public blog, I feel like a key part of that progress and good will has been erased, at least for me. And it makes me feel sad and tired. I'm glad there are people still talking about it and helping the people who are currently hurting from their connection to Mormonism, whatever it may be. But one can hardly blame me for feeling more drawn to the positive items on the list above.


On balance, I'm making slow but steady progress in the direction I'd like to go. I hope to have many years ahead in which to accomplish my goals -- and I plan to enjoy those years along the way with my one true love and our two adorable sons.