I am a web designer who enjoys the shit out of his internet addiction. I also run the literary journal lit.cat, the Alaskan food truck website savory.af, and work under the name thefuture.design. PM me for nudes.
it's me- your favorite foo'
The mister wee (to the woo)
checkin that day old pubski
cause my wheel ain't blue
yo i don't do haiku
i ain't no vernacular jew
if syllables make you happy
i'll give you something to chew
rhymes make the ultimate roux
a hearty poetry stew
i put haikus on litcat to show
they're arbitrary spew
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Hey, it's been awhile. I find myself here again for the same old reasons- procrastinating from something, feeling a bit moody. Trying to clear my head, trying to ground myself by simplifying my story.
I moved to Burlington VT last month. I've made a habit to visit the lake every day to see the sunset. I live with an old friend who travels a lot, and work on a desk in a kitchen that we keep stocked with airplane cookies (biscoffs!) and coffee, sometimes tea, sometimes cream.
I moved here to take advantage of a remote worker's grant, but complications have made it so that I don't qualify for it, and now a grumpy cynical voice has been visiting me to ask- "Why the fuck did you move here?" That's alright, it's a learning experience.
I work for chess.com now, which is nice. It's a big enough company where if I was to link the URL to it no one would care if the analytics showed it came from Hubski, which was how my previous employer found my account (how embarrassing.)- but that's alright. I've always had a naive thought that I could put a lot of myself into the internet and people either find me endearing or not care. Sometimes it works.
Also, other than a pair of jeans and a coat, I haven't worn men's clothes since I've moved here. So that's a thing.
We were about to buy me plane tickets out of Montreal, when we realized we looked at my passport and realized I could actually stay here for 6 months, not 3. So I'm going to be helping them out till the end of the Candidates tournament broadcast, it's expected to be huge. End of March. I still don't know what I'm going to do once I leave.
I wake up every day in the fear that I have slept the better part of the the day away- my sleep schedule is trash, and getting progressively worse. Since I've been here I've been sleeping at 2am and now I'm all the way to 6am, comfortably. I usually wake up around 1pm. I start off the day with a cup of coffee from a fancy coffee maker, check my rounds on my computer, and it turns out that Aman and/or Eric have already been up for awhile and are going to get lunch- my breakfast.
There's a few regular restaurants I visit regularly for lunch- a bahn mi shop, an indian food place, a burrito place that just closed down, a place that specializes in chicken sandwiches. The quality of food in Montreal is amazing, with menus built around emphasizing the quality of a few ingredients.
There's also a 24 hour grocery store nearby with fresh baguettes in stock, so my sandwich game has been on point since I've been here. There are a multitude of deli meats on sale at all times, and a surprising amount of fresh produce. My favorite new ingredient so far is cream brie- it's all the goodness of brie cheese, in cream form. There are also premade (high quality) salads and soups available, so I eat ridiculously well.
I still haven't been able to shake the "play money" feel of the Canadian dollar- its plastic feel in the hands and how strong the US dollar converts into it.
I'm weird in that I have a lot of work to do at all times, I have freelance design work in addition to Chessbrah stuff. My work / life seperation aside, you get a lot of free time at the cave. There's a lot of exploring to do- there's a synthesizer shop that I like to dick around at, a pinball place I go to weekly, a gym that I need to go to more often. There's also a lot of interesting niche things- a cat cafe where you can pet cats and drink coffee, a gypsy musician bar with three bands every day, a board game bar where employees pick out board games to your tastes. It's almost as if Montreal is a magical place where if you can have fun doing it, you can make a modest living off of it someway or another.
There are more bars on this street than points in my ELO rating. I used to live on a similar street in Pittsburgh- and I thought that the startup that I worked at went out for drinks a lot. Not even close. There's something about the culture here. People are going ham on the streets on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Thursday. Why Thursday? Apparently because people show up to work on Fridays still drunk. I love it here bunches.
I'm 26 now. It's not that I'm feeling old, it's more or less, I'm feeling irresponsible with what I'm doing with my life. Maybe that's not it. In reaction, I've been more... playful? The other day I was walking down a street of puddles because it's been a warm spike in Montreal. I decided to leap over the puddles instead of walking around them, splashing into them and getting my pants wet. More humming. More wordplay, unrestrained. Giving greater weight to what I feel like doing, over what is expected of me.
Kind of embarrassing, but I connected with someone after a few years of losing friends and being out of college. By connected, I meant I did the intimacy equivalent of 'hooking up'. More or less, I felt truly comfortable around someone, and by extension, I felt, physically attractive? I've hooked up a few times, but those never made me feel wanted, actually wanted. This made me realize that I had rich inner world inside my head- and that I shouldn't be ashamed of it.
It's been three dates, but I messed up last weekend and it's been a huge damper on my mood this week. I made the mistake of asking if she wanted to do the 36 questions game, the one to make people fall in love with each other, and that definitely came off as, 'uh, do you want to fall in love with each other'? It's awkward now. At the age of 26, I'm still learning why it's called a 'crush'.
I'm the total opposite- what's the appeal of conversational podcasts? I hate hate hate them with a vengeance, they're longer, undirected, and feel lazy- a waste of the medium. They make me feel like I'm hanging out with two other people and they've locked me out of the conversation. The Hilarious World of Depression is my biggest offender of the medium, it feels like it's narrating over the discussion to insult my intelligence. This is probably just me.
Here's the thing for me as a web designer- the heaviest things in 99% of websites are never in the code, they're always in the images. Those extra 2mbs when someone in marketing forgets to resize the images add up, super fast. Why are kbs so important to web devs?
Notes from my first chess tournament (incomplete, but already a wall of text):
1. Chess games in tournaments are very long. Each player in a game is given 90 minutes, with 30 seconds added with each move. Most of my games were at least 3 hours long.
I was skeptical about being able to handle it, but it turns out that you spend all of that time thinking about the game. This is the type of time that just evaporates, leaving you wanting more.
2. I can tell that I'm hooked on something when I need to piss really badly but I still want to do the thing I'm doing. That day, I had a wonderful attacking position, my pieces preventing my opponent from mobilizing his own troops, the possibilities for a successful checkmate seeming endless.
I eventually rushed to the bathroom, but I was so lost in thought that I accidentally entered the women's restroom first.
3. The game of chess, in my mind (and at my level), is a three step war with yourself of figuring out when you're done calculating a line of moves, when you're done exploring new lines, and when you're done figuring out which move to ultimately make. This process is couched in your ultimate knowledge of the game, i.e. should I use the opening I'm more familiar with?, should I play for the tactics or for the position?, what is my plan right now?, etc.
The way I play chess mirrors the creative process I have when it comes to design- my first instinct is to do the cool stuff- sacrifices, tactics, ways to break the rules. I start by convincing myself out of these things until I get to moves that would be more reasonable for the position. But if I do find something that shows a glimmer of promise, I'll defend the hell out of it against my better judgement.
4. Because of how much time you're given, my strategy coming into the tournament was to come up with rules of thumb at the beginning of each game.
For my round 1, my rules were:
- Don't get distracted by the fact that you're playing against a 9 year old.
- Don't get distracted by the fact that you're playing in a tournament.
- Play so that you can learn something critical for round 2.
For round 2, my rules were:
- Take 10 seconds to breath before you confirm each move.
- Play the style of chess that you feel the most comfortable with.
- Don't get distracted by the fact that you're playing against a 9 year old girl.
5. Do not underestimate the aptitude of youth combined with scheduled practice. Children have an accellerated understanding of the language of chess- calculations, principles, tactical and positional ideas. You are simply a plaything in the maelstrom of their creative expression.
But don't forget- children are human. If they make funny faces at you, you are obligated to make funny faces back at them.
6. Sleep deprivation has a equalizing effect on my mind. Ideas, instincts, and doubts are all dampened so that they all feel similar. This has been helpful for me since high school for getting certain types of work done, especially creative efforts where I'm not sure where to start.
Being sleep deprived in a tournament game was a complete fiasco for me. Those instincts and doubts need to stay sharp in a long game, because I kept experiencing the dillenma where certain moves felt good even though I had already deduced that they were terrible. Make sure you get a good night's sleep.
7. I went 1.5 / 4, in an under 1800 rated bracket. I won my first game against a 1290, lost 3 games, and drew my last game after being offered a draw, against a 1190. There was only 1 game a day, I have no idea how people do 2 games a day, my mental stamina felt withered to the bone by day 5. I couldn't think straight by day 4, like I was in a cloud. The tournament was a lot of fun, and I did so much better than I thought I would do. I highly recommend entering a chess tournament if you get the chance.
Devac I'll show the games at request, I'm a little embarrassed/too lazy to put them in lichess after already going over the board with them
I have less than one month left in Montreal. I don't really have a plan for afterwards, but I secured a really comfy contract, so I can travel. I'm applying to an internship for my favorite podcast, (in the same spirit as applying for Chessbrah), but I can't put all my eggs into this basket. Thinking about going to Brooklyn anyways. Or maybe giving Portland a shot.