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Living and Lurking


It's been some time since I've written to any of my many smolnet spaces. There have been a few major changes in my life lately that have reduced my free computer time. Although I have continued to lurk around on gopher, gemini, xmpp, and some pubnixes, most of the time when I get a chance to sit behind a computer I am too wiped out to sustain a thought long enough to write something meaningful. It's hard to start something knowing I will not be able to finish it in a sitting. As a result, I have lots of little drafts, snippets, and post ideas littered about my virtual bureau. Anyway, I figured that I would follow the lead of some others in similar situations who have recently turned up in their gopherholes and capsules to let us all know they are alive and lurking. So here's where I'm at.


Another mini-mieum


We are about 11 weeks pregnant with our third child :) We heard the heartbeat via ultrasound a few weeks back, and the other day saw our little one already squirming like crazy with little hands and feet! I didn't expect for them to be so developed already. The reality that we are having another baby has finally set in for me haha. I think with our first two kids we had to wait a while before we started getting good views of them via ultrasound. This one is not camera shy, apparently!


The reality of our being pregnant, of course, had set in already for my wife, who has had pretty terrible morning sickness for weeks now. She can't do much of anything, really. She is pretty much always nauseous. I've ended up taking on more household responsibilities and ended up taking care of the kids on my own more. I've gotten to spend some quality one-on-one time with each of my kids as a consequence to all this, which has been very fun. But it is definitely exhausting! (Although, our one year-old is talking so much more and sleeping very well now, so overall things are a little smoother around here).


Moving


With the latest addition to our family, we have decided to move back to Ansan, where the rest of my wife's family lives. It is only a 45 minute drive from here, and we visit quite often, but it makes more sense for us to be closer to family. We ended up living where we do now just by chance some years ago. It's a nice place to live, but our needs have changed.


We are planning to move into an actual house instead of an apartment. We considered this last year during the peak of the pandemic (beacuse it sucked SO MUCH being stuck indoors for most of the year), but we got cold feet because the cost of housing in Korea is just bonkers. I think we can pull it off, but that amount of debt is daunting--especialy since I am kind of in work limbo at the moment. But overall, the benefits of having a house and a small yard nearby family and friends make it worth the risk.


One other aspect about our move that is encouraging is the prospect of a nice co-op school about 10-15 minutes from where we will be living. We had a mixed experience at the place we attended last year. This new place is about one-third the size of the old one, and much older, in fact. The little community of families around it is a little more established, and from what we can tell based on our research and inquiries, it seems to be a little more "cooperative" of a community. But we will see.


Working


I have started taking translation work again. You can only toil away at a dissertation for so long before you start feeling the bottom of your pockets. I was recently contacted by a research institute I had worked for in the past. This place in particular is probably the best employer I've had when it comes to translation. They are professional, fair, and they pay quite well. I went in yesterday to discuss the specifics and ended up doing a bit of work right there on the spot. It felt weird to ride the trains again, but I enjoyed the feeling of coming home after a day of honest work. I miss that.


One thing that is funny about translation, though, is finding a workflow that makes sense for the projects I'll be working on. A lot of what I will be translating are psychometric measures, test materials, reports, etc., but the files are all in this proprietary format commonly used here in Korea (.hwp, Hancom Word files...). I don't know of a reliable way to open these files without actually using the Hancom software one way or another (which is no longer available on Linux anyway). My solution so far has been to use this free online office platform that interoperates with Hancom formats. It is not ideal! But one interesting perk I discovered is that since I am accessing this virtual office using qutebrowser, I can still navigate the document as if it was a text file in vim! (Well to a certain extent...). It's a minor thing, but it's probably better than polluting my system trying to get an old version of Hanword to work with Wine or something.


Oh yeah, the Dissertation...


It's coming along. Slowly. It is several hundred pages long, and not having long periods of time to regularly focus on it makes it kind of unwieldy. But it is coming together, and at this point I can more-or-less see the finish line. My goal is just to cross it before my new baby is born!


Computing Adventures


Since I don't get a lot of time at a computer nowadays, I find that I end up doing little micro projects--things that I can start and easily come back and add on to. For example, I am using my dotfiles to learn how to use Ansible. Before that I had gone down some rabbit holes with Nix. Another thing I took to doing was looking at tools I use quite frequently, like fzf, and writing utility scripts to make shell life more comfortable/interesting/fuzzy. For better or worse, I am rarely idle, so I end up creating little problems/puzzles for myself like this. Sometimes it definitely contributes to procrastination, but anyone who has ever seriously procrastinated knows the worth of diversions.


So, this is where I am, oh, little internet. You'll know where to find me.


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