I've been absent from the "fun" internet for a few days, and the ferment has made a lot of progress, so I'll start by showing you that. These are from yesterday (I was held late at work so I didn't get a chance to post before bed):

A top down view of the ferment without the lid. The liquid is opaque and there are a lot of small bubbles. The surface almost looks frothy.

Look at those bubbles! You can tell that it's getting a little funkier now because the bubbles are smaller and the liquid is becoming cloudy. Those are both good signs! It's also starting to smell a little odd and sour. A good sign as well.

A side picture of the ferment. The cabbage is becoming a greyish yellow and translucent, there are many air pockets, and the liquid has become entirely opaque.

Here it is from the side so that you can see the color change. Definitely getting duller and more translucent. As I noted earlier the liquid is opaque, and there are a lot of air pockets. Good things!

I dug my old glasses pair out to wear them. I was reminded of them because my partner was going through pictures on their hard drive to make USB drive picture libraries for holiday presents to family members this year, and they set their computer wallpaper as a picture of us on our first camping trip together. I'm wearing the old glasses in the photo. The protective film on my current glasses is so scratched I can barely see out of them. These old glasses are a great stand-in until a vaccine has been successfully used to thwart Covid-19 where I live so that I am able to schedule an eye exam to get the right prescription for a new pair.

Things get a little dour after this, so if you're not in an emo struggle mood, you can skip the rest of this post.

I was hoping not to bring up the pandemic directly in my blog because I want the blog to be a space divorced from time in a way and a type of escape if you the reader are looking to get lost in someone else's ramblings and hobbies for a couple of minutes. I know that it's not strictly possible, however. Even if I don't say anything about Covid-19, the pandemic is informing my mental state, my reality, my thoughts, my writing. The fact that I have the time and energy to write and play with code in the first place is due in large part to isolation.

Prior to the pandemic, I found most other people and situations to be far outside of my stimulation threshold, and yet I needed to keep physically going to work to pay for rent, food, shared expenses, surprise car repairs, medical bills, and so on. The schedules were never set, and the shift times didn't make sense. I didn't feel like I had the time to find a therapist specializing in what I needed help with or the space to find out how in the hell I could escape into a field with more isolated, quiet work with my lack of qualifications or work experience. Something I have noticed about life in America is that there are almost no breaks for you to pause and recollect yourself. Everything is loud, everything is now, everything is expensive, everything can be optimized, everything can be faster, has to be faster, has to be louder, has to be bigger, has to be better, should have happened already. I wonder if people that don't have my specific sensory problem find it overwhelming too, or if they're able to acclimate to it? Do they enjoy it? I'd imagine there are folks equipped to enjoy it. I don't mean to knock them for it--it takes all kinds to make the world spin--I just find that most places will not take basic steps to accomodate folks with sensory problems.

My current job is allowing me to work remotely. That means I am not constantly in a state of trying to recover from being overstimulated. I am working the same amount (on some days, I am actually logging many more hours than I had in the past), without experiencing sensory burnout. What this has translated to for me personally is that I am experiencing joy, focus, and creative impulses again for the first time in many years. I think I am not in this boat alone; I have seen many of my friends, family, and acquaintances in varying states of financial (in/)stability and different types of work pick up old hobbies or explore new ones. I know we are lucky in so many ways, as we are still alive and able to experience this type of awakening.

It makes me think, why do so many people accept the way work is done, the way it is expected to be done, the way it is parcelled, who parcels it, the way those people rob you? "White collar" crime far outranks "blue collar" crime in scope and impact. Where I worked prior to my current job, someone drew a little cartoon on a post-it note and stuck it at one of the communal floor-level-employee computers. It was drawn in blue ink; there was a person rolling their big eyes, saying,"profits are wage theft". That job employed mainly part-time employees to skirt providing medical benefits or real wages, but advertised themselves as a community-based, community-led business. It's a strange juxtaposition to be eating food that is free to employees because it is technically spoiled out of necessity, while listening to a manager talk about the addition they've added to their house. I often become bitter and resentful in these situations. I'm not really sure how else folks do it.

I really do try to stay optimistic in the face of challenges now because I have come to believe better realities are possible, whether personal or political, but the absurdity and seeming arbitrariness of it all gets to me sometimes. My friend who moved back home to follow their calling recently asked me if I was experiencing an awakening of sorts, and I was surprised that they asked me. I often feel like I am in my own little time bubble bumbling around in privacy and isolation removed from the world at large, and I am pleasantly surprised when people share aspects of their own time bubble with mine. Speaking deeply with this friend always fills my cup, and I hope in some way they derive the same uplifting experience that I do from their friendship. We were pen pals for the longest time before we started spending time together. I think they noticed I am queer from briefly speaking in-person the first time we met. It was before I really understood that about myself. It's funny how people recognize bits of themselves in other people and can inspire those people to be true to themselves just by seeing them for who they are. The writer Alok Vaid-Menon captures this sentiment in so much of their work.

Anyway! Thanks for reading. Keep doing what makes you whole and share it (anonymously, if you prefer) on the internet and with your friends. Seeya next time!