Twenty Twenty Two

December 6, 2022

It’s been a while since I’ve written… I have so many unfinished projects right now. I’m starting to believe I may have ADD. Ironically, if that’s true, there are zero chances that I do anything about it lol.

Anyway, I’ve wanted to write many times over the past 2 years. I have 5 drafts saved here, but something always stops me from publishing. I think I may be struggling with the vulnerability of writing my thoughts like this and also I made this blog to bridge the gap between my professional life and personal life, but that is really antithetical to how I actually live my life. I keep professional/personal very separate. I guess I’m just afraid that writing authentically could compromise my professional career. Idk, I always have to remind myself that “nobody reads this, so you can do w/e you want” but then I do stick it at the top of my resume…

Hmm I’m doing that thing again where this turns into a stream-of-consciousness post. Whatever let’s just go with it. Wow, that last paragraph was supposed to say what I’m about to say, but I got completely sidetracked (ADD??). Ok, I figured I could at least write a review of my year since I can’t seem to make regular posts.

Work

I’m still happily at the same company (which I guess I’m gonna keep redacting), but I did move up a little bit. I was a junior engineer when last I wrote and now I’m mid-level and potentially gearing up for senior-level. I’ve been on several projects related to the same app for my entire career (some with codenames and some that made the news), but now we are retiring that version and rebuilding it in a completely new tech. stack. So that presents me with an opportunity to learn a ton of new stuff. Also, I never feel confident when I join a project already in motion, but since I’ve been on this for nearly 5 years, I’m the subject matter expert. I’ve helped make decisions (or actually made decisions) that have influenced the future of the application. I feel very happy to be on a project that I’ve been a part of the planning and analysis phase for. This helps keep me interested and invested.

I’ve been working from home since COVID. That has a lot of great benefits, but also some less-talked-about negatives. I don’t really feel like talking about that though (it’s a subject brought up all the time when you meet someone new in a bar). We did get a new office building, though. This has allowed me to take the Metro to work instead of driving which is pretty great! I’ve always wanted to move to the city with the intention of using public transit so I’m very excited to have that opportunity. The new team I’m on decided that we’d like everyone to come in once a month for our team meetings. I think that’s a good thing.

I think that’s enough on work. There’s not much there, but the past 2 years have been like that and the new stuff I’m working on has been in planning for most of it. The actual work has just begun so that’s why I don’t have much to say about it. I think 2023 has a lot of professional development in store for me though.

Ok Fun Stuff Now

Hopefully you’ve been listening to Wanderer whilst reading this! In 2020, I bought myself a DJ controller and started mixing. Didn’t really get into it until after Sarah and I broke up, which I think I won’t talk about. I guess the post-breakup void has dominated this year though. I did the usual regression stuff, but quickly came out of it and started trying to find myself again by exploring both new and old hobbies.

At the time of writing, I have 11 mixes (holy shit I’m about to do another so I guess I did 1/month this year lol). I think there is a very noticeable and steady increase in skill if you listen to my first few and last few mixes. Early on I was basically just cross-fading each track. Now I’m ripping samples from things and mixing them into the tracks. Last night my sister even asked me to send her the last one I made because she liked it 🥺.

I don’t really get a lot of listens on Soundcloud, but I absolutely do not care. I make these because I want to learn a new skill and because I like the music. When I make a mix I’ve probably been listening to those tracks for weeks and when I finish the mix, it’s an even better way of listening to the music I already love. I get a TON of support from friends. They’ve been encouraging me every step and even give me constructive criticism.

Two of the sets I made were at actual parties. I did one for like 5-6 folks at ESAAN for a private birthday party for my friend, Pla. Another I did for my friend, Tiger (also at ESAAN). That party had like 30 people and I was spinning for 6 hours (only recorded 4 though). So I’ve gotten a little experience spinning in front of people and dealing with all the random crap people say to you.

This is something I’m actually passionate about. I have always been the AUX guy with my friends (whether they wanted it or not lol). I feel like I was meant to be doing this, even just as a hobby. I don’t give a shit if I suck, I have more fun doing it than I do anything else. I can also combine many of my interests through DJing such as tinkering with electronics. My parents have given me several sets of speakers and 2 stereos. I’ve made my own set of unique speakers (which are amazing btw).

Hellblade

Something that has had a profound effect on me was Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. I think it deserves its own post (it’s one of those drafts I mentioned before), but idk it’s worth mentioning here too. So that’s a video game, but before you tune out, it’s pretty atypical (which I think is usually the case with me 😏). It’s historical fiction which is my fucking shit. You play as a warrior named Senua, who is a Pict during the Viking Era of Britain. She suffers from psychosis and basically decided to banish herself to sort out her head. When she returns to her village, it’s completely destroyed. Everyone she knew was literally hanging from a tree after having been tortured. Worst of all her boyfriend was blood-eagled. One of the voices she hears told her she needs to take the skull of her dead boyfriend to Helheim to save his soul.

Senua

That’s a decent summary of the plot. The game encourages you to play with headphones so the voices in your head are much more intense. It’s really indescribable. They consulted with folks who actually suffer from psychosis and you can absolutely tell. The audio/visual hallucinations were beautiful at times… but also intense enough to move me to tears. I’ll never look at mental health the same way after that. A sequel is coming out soon and I’m really looking forward to it.

If you’re curious about it, watch this (with headphones).

Rangz

In my regressive, post-breakup, state, I revisited the Lord of the Rings. I saw this video about masculinity, which touted Aragorn as the epitome of healthy masculinity. This was such an interesting video for me and I think it’s changed me a lot. In any scene where Gandalf isn’t there, Aragorn is in charge. He’s semi-magical, he speaks elvish, he has a hot elf girlfriend, he’s undoubtedly the best fighter, and he always seems to know what to do. So of course ten-year-old Ricky idolized him. As an adult, however, rewatching the series I noticed I was still drawn to his character but for different reasons. I noticed his humility paired with his confidence. I noticed that not only is he a great fighter, but he knows when not to fight and he’s an almost un-matched healer. He is offered the crown of Gondor not because of his heroism or rightful claim to the throne, but because he heals people and they want him to be their king.

That video and my own exploration of Aragorn, as a character, have certainly had an effect on me. He’s the type of person I’d like to emulate. When I talked to my sister about this she also agreed and said “yeah, he’s the perfect man.” So what does that actually mean… to me, it means: balancing humility and confidence, helping others whenever possible, not being afraid to show emotions, and being a good listener.

Aragorn

History

As always, I’ve maintained my passion for deep history and I’m still obsessed with the same two concepts/moments in history, which are: how/why the first cultures formed & early colonization. I don’t really know if I can put my thoughts about the first one down. It’s too nebulous a discussion topic for here, but I’d absolutely lecture about it for hours over a few beers lmao.

I’ve been obsessed with Malintzin ever since I listened to this podcast episode. The Conquest of Mexico at the hands of Hernan Cortez is the most profound moment in human history and Malintzin is central to everything. Just look at this list of aliases: Malintzin, Malintze, Marina, Malina, Doña Malinche, La Malinche, and Malinalli. Her true name and origin are unknown. Her legacy can be compared to the volcano which is likely named after her… If you ask a Mexican person today about her you’d get either of two responses: She is either hated or revered. Everyone who ever met her in person was enamoured with her on both sides of this conflict. Both the Mexica people and the Spaniards only ever had good things to say about her. “Doña” and the suffix ‘tzin’ are titles/signs of respect in the Spanish and Mexica languages. Also interesting is how she is drawn in indigenous artwork. She is always depicted next to, above, or in front of Cortez with her hands raised (indicating she is the primary speaker). Even 500 years later here is one more man enamoured with her…

Malintzin

Probably hard to believe that there is yet more I could write about her, but I guess I should leave something for the dedicated post haha. I’ve been reading a book about her from an indigenous Mexican perspective and I also have a copy of Bernal Diaz’s diary (the two of them had a close relationship). Next, I’d like to explore more about my own ancestry (William Bradford).

Random

I’ve also been exploring neo-Paganism. I have always disliked Christianity and that has only become more and more true as I’ve grown older. Yet, I still feel a strong sense of spirituality. For a long time, I’ve gravitated towards Eastern religions, but now I’m exploring Germanic Paganism. This is probably what the majority of my ancestors practiced and just feels a lot more natural to me.

Is there anything else new with me..? No new love interests, but that’s normal for me. I’ve had a crush here or there, but nothing substantial. Not on any dating apps. I remember how excitedly I used to say “they work sometimes!” I feel like dating apps put you into a situation where you are kind of ‘forced’ into feeling a certain way. That may seem strange because it’s entirely voluntary for both people, but I think the emotional connection is forced. Idk, I’ve just decided that I’d like to try meeting someone ‘naturally.’ Which works out fucking great if you are as shy as I am lmao.

Oh yeah, I’m looking for ways to learn elvish, too, but I can’t decide on Sindarin or Quenya.

Namárië! 👋🏼