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Henlo, friends. I am very tired.
I’ve spent the past 2 months or so in a maelstrom of abject misery, what with trying to interview at like 15 different companies at the same time.
(In Silicon Valley, this generally implies that for each company, you’re spending 1 hour on a recruiter phone call, 1 hour on a live coding exercise, and if you get past those, sometimes 4-8 hours on a take-home project, sometimes 1 hour with each manager whose team you might be joining, and, almost invariably, 6 hours on an onsite interview (though I know of some companies that take up to 16 hours onsite, split over a couple of days).)
After everything, I ended up with exactly one (1) verbal job offer, which I turned down earlier this week, on the grounds that I’d prefer not to work at a company whose self-described engineering culture reeks of Nice Guys™ (a suspicion that was only magnified by their post-interview communications, during which I felt like they were trying to bribe and/or woo me with actual gifts).
It’s May. I’m still at the same job, but I’m making slightly more than I was a couple months ago, thanks to a cost-of-living raise that was 4 months overdue and that took my salary from embarrassingly low to acceptably low.
I’m licking my wounds and wallowing for a bit in my sadness bath and trying not to feel guilty as I concentrate on actually moving out of my childhood home and in with my boyfriend at the apartment I’ve been paying rent on for the past 2 months, instead of trying to interview more.
(I should be studying. I should always be studying(!!!), because I’ve been doing so poorly on my interviews, because I’m mediocre at my profession and I can only get better through practice. But my study strategy so far has consisted of doing practice problems until I have an anxiety attack (lol), and then mentally checking out until the actual interview via a diet of fanfiction, YA fiction, and online window shopping.
And I know you could easily argue that it’s a numbers game and everyone faces rejection sometimes and I haven’t been through that many interviews, but that doesn’t change the fact that I feel guilty for not being stoic enough to study harder. I just… My brain broke, so maybe I did do my best, and it just wasn’t very good.)
Anyway. This work stuff is all a bit boring, so here are some other things I’ve been up to over the past 2 months or so:
- downing an alarmingly high dosage of antibiotics to treat the strep throat I somehow caught while going to onsite interviews
- buying s’more rugs during Wayfair’s one-day sale (I already own this pink beauty from Mercury Row, and I just bought this abstract Wrought Studio rug and this Astoria Grand rug that looks like it belongs in every grandmother’s sitting room) because I want my bedroom to feel like 300 Fox Way, or like a vintage shop/thrift store/estate sale exploded and there might be a psychic working in the back
I think the colors should work nicely together, especially after I get my furniture and wall decor set up.
- listening to Flicker as self-care because it is SO soothing to hear Niall crooning “Even if I don’t understand / you can talk to me” when (lmao) I leave work early because I’m having an anxiety attack while sitting at my desk, or when I’m obsessively playing DOGE2048 for the 25th time today because I need to get it right instead of washing my Day 14 hair
- swapping out the black knobs on my IKEA Hemnes dresser (I got the White Stain version) for brass and mother-of-pearl ones from SaltBoxTradingCo on Etsy. Here are the IKEA knobs that came with the dresser:
Functional, and not ugly, but lacking that 300 Fox Way aesthetic.
The brass & mother-of-pearl knobs I ended up spending a total of $61.95 (including taxes and shipping) on:
And if we can just gloss over the WIP that is the rest of my bedroom, here’s the result of this little DIY project:
So, the knobs are gooorgeous against the off-white, but swapping them out was a lot more work than I’d expected. The knobs themselves are the cheaply made kind with attached bolts that are way longer than necessary for most pieces of furniture, so they needed to be cut down to size. Supposedly it’s an Easy Hack™ to use the bolt-cutting holes of a wire stripper to trim bolts, but it required so much force that I had to get my boyfriend to do it for me, and even he had a hard time making the cuts.
Next time I think we might try a hacksaw, which I suspect would allow us to make more accurate cuts using less brute force, which would probably be worth it even if it meant getting metal dust everywhere.
(I’m thinking about adding some kind of over-the-top mosaic with mirrored tiles (like these) along the top rim, or maybe across the entire top surface, or maybe on the sides of the dresser, but that’s a project for another time.)
- buying tickets to Refinery29’s 29Rooms! I went to the Color Factory with my little cousin sometime in March and it was so much fun (she said it was better than the Museum of Ice Cream because it was more interactive), and I expect 29Rooms will be equally artsy and Instagrammable, but a little more political, which I am totally here for. I just need to start planning my outfit now…
- deep-cleaning the apartment (most recently: scrubbing the bathroom grout with a toothbrush and baking soda + vinegar. Considering how much literal dirt has come off various surfaces so far, I’m 100% sure neither the previous tenants nor the landlords who live downstairs made ANY effort to clean before we moved in; such is life as a renter in San Francisco… I mean, there’s literally dog hair embedded in the paint on my bedroom wall. F for effort.)
Look at this!!! Look at the difference between the wall grout and the floor grout! And the difference between the floor grout that’s been scoured with a toothbrush (upper part of picture) and the part that hasn’t (lower part of picture)! This is SO. SO!!! GROSS!!! And I haven’t even gotten to the area under the sink or around the toilet yet. UGH!!! After we finish going over everything with a toothbrush, I’m thinking of trying a bleach pen along the grout just to get this floor less grody-looking.
- purchasing a very expensive vacuum, for the purpose of making the apartment, which houses one cat, livable for me, a person who is allergic to cats. We got the Miele Complete C3 Kona, which was really frickin expensive (I think it’s the most expensive thing we’ve ever bought together that’s not travel-related), but which is also the best goddamn vacuum I have ever used. Not that I’m some kind of authority on vacuums, but it’s effective, relatively quiet, easy to use, easy to move around, and pretty aesthetically pleasing as far as vacuums go.
- crying at Hayley Kiyoko’s concert because I was surrounded by women screaming “GIRLS LIKE GIRLS LIKE BOYS DO” at the top of their lungs
This is not a pic me crying because of #20gayteen, although I did do that at one point during the concert. This is a pic of me grimacing and feeling extremely grateful that I brought my Hearos earplugs, because the audience was loud. Luckily, I’ve been to enough One Direction and 1D-adjacent concerts to know that I can’t handle the volume of concert-level music, let alone screaming fans, so I always bring earplugs with me. (Also, I know it’s hard to see, but my choker is Dua Lipa merch!)
The only other time I’ve been in a predominantly openly queer space was at Toad Hall in the Castro for a New Year’s Eve party a couple years back. It was a wild and joyous time and I loved it, but this concert was my first time in a space for queer women, and it was… so chill. (I still regret not going to Troye Sivan’s concert when he was here though.)
Also, the number of people wearing glitter highlighter was blinding (in a good way) and inspirational tbh.
Also the Fillmore is a really cool venue (SEE ABOVE!) and has a pretty good view from almost any position in the house, including the bar, where I spent the second half of the concert doubled over with menstrual cramps while Hayley absolutely smashed her performances of “Curious” and “Gravel to Tempo”. Here’s a shirt I bought:
This is now the gayest thing I own. It is also the only gay thing I own, which probably means it’s time to buy a LIBERTÉ EGALITÉ BISEXUALITÉ t-shirt.
- catching up on Talk Direction (iTunes | SoundCloud) and Switched on Pop
- listening to Amber Mark’s 3:33am on repeat. I heard about Amber Mark through Episode 70 of Switched on Pop and was immediately hooked on her sound, so I impulse-bought a ticket to see her perform later this month. If that’s not a strong enough endorsement, here are two of my favorite songs of hers so you can listen for yourself:
- thinking about buying a gravity/weighted blanket because I’ve been having really bad anxiety-induced insomnia. It’s more manageable now that my interviews are over, but I’m pretty sure (dead sure) that when I go into my next round of interviewing, there will be many nights when I’ll be lying in bed until 3AM again, heart pounding, hyperfixated on the futility of existence… I’m also pretty sure I’d benefit from sleeping with a weighted blanket, because I already know I enjoy getting dental X-rays because I find the weight of the protective lead smock/blanket inexplicably soothing (in a return-to-the-womb way that I also get from being submerged in water). But goddamn are they expensive! My coworker recommended RedBarnBlankets on Etsy, so that’s where I’ll probably make my purchase when I decide to take the plunge, but it’s going to run me almost $200 for a 12-lbs. twin blanket. 😬
- thinking about getting a(n absurdly expensive) gold bar cart to use as an XTREMEly stylish vanity, even though I really don’t have space for it. But imagine how cool these would look with some tubes of lipstick scattered across them and maybe a lil houseplant and an $85 Byredo candle:
Okay, so they wouldn’t be able to hold much (unless I actually used them for bar accoutrements and made use of the vertical space), but think of the style points!!!
- finishing my reread of “What We Pretend We Can’t See” by gyzym (a blessed Drarry fic with a focus on 12 Grimmauld Place as a magical building) and remembering how absolutely in love I am with the concept of Wizarding houses having personalities that result from years of absorbing its inhabitants’ magical input and personal preferences. It’s such a lovely expansion of the Harry Potter universe, the thought of living buildings, the idea that you put effort and time and love into a house, and in time it learns how to protect you, keep your routines, make you comfortable – goes from just being a house to being a home. I. LOVE. IT. (A couple other 12 Grimmauld Place Is Sentient fics that I’ve read recently: “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” by firethesound and “House Proud” by astolat.)
- being really annoyed at having Zayn’s “Let Me” stuck in my head, because the lyrics are so aggravating, but the melody and Zayn’s vocals are SO GOOD. He’s like that one guy who’s always posting heavily filtered selfies taken from below chin-level on Instagram with Zoems fake-deep captions like “sweet baby our sex has meaning” “trust in the process is the key to progress 🔑”, but he’s so attractive that it blinds you to his wankery.
- getting super excited about the Crazy Rich Asians trailer!!! I have literally never watched an English language movie with so many characters who look like me, so I’m a little emotional about it, but also I’m just really excited to see all of Araminta’s and Astrid’s outfits because #fashion. I’m actually reading the sequel (China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan) now, and it’s just as good and decadently trashy as the first book.
- mailing in my tax amendment forms like it’s 1995 because 1) you can’t amend electronically and 2) untangling my finances from my mom’s has involved a lot of frustration and miscommunication because she really doesn’t like talking about money, and it is hard, but it will be worth it
- buying a ticket to see Dua Lipa in June! 😍😍😍
- having way too many feelings about Avengers: Infinity War, but the nonspoilery abridged version is 1) I’m usually more of a Tom Hiddleston/Loki girl, but Chris Hemsworth/Thor has never been hotter than in Infinity War, quote me on it, 2) Tony Stark’s decade-long character development makes me 😍 and 😭, and 3) I would die for Tom Holland, please see below:
Tom Holland’s Lip Sync Battle is forever iconic pic.twitter.com/Z5RV9gEG9x
— mean plastic (@meanpIastic) May 4, 2018
- feeling extremely grateful for the 1D for Olds Slack, which is such a wonderful little safe space for discussing One Direction, fertility, relationships, Avengers ships, careers, and so much more that I can’t discuss in my engineering (read: almost all men) Slack groups
- reading Captive Prince by C. S. Pacat (I was directly influenced by Lottie, aka lotstradamus, whom I have been following for ages because her taste is impeccable) and being appalled at how many trigger warnings it needs (like, all the trigger warnings) but also appalled at myself for LOVING IT. I’m putting off reading the next book in the series so I have something to look forward to, tbh. (Same with the final book of The Raven Cycle.) Also I can’t stop imagining Damen as Theo James and Laurent as a blonde Troye Sivan but with Yuri Plisetsky’s attitude. 👀
- sadness-buying the Golden Tarot deck after my interviews all went awry, instead of purchasing the $25 Hollywood Regency-style palm tree candlestick from H&M I’ve been fantasizing about
It is GORGEOUS.
I was introduced to the Golden Tarot by way of my older male coworker Grant, whose favorite deck it is. He also let me borrow his copy of The Tarot Handbook by Angeles Arrien, which has a great description of tarot as a practice in the introduction:
“…symbols may well be the creative ideas that function as a universal language in that area where an individual’s internal and external worlds intersect and attempt to dialogue with one another… The Tarot is a symbolic map of consciousness and an ancient book of wisdom that reveals to us visually and symbolically the creative ideas and states of consciousness that appear in multiple existences in all cultures.”
Which I take to mean that tarot is a visual representation of universal human thoughts, and in interpreting our questions through such symbolism, we tap into our intuitions. A bit like Lyra reading her alethiometer.
Have I mentioned that the Golden Tarot cards have gilt edges? THEY’RE SO SHINY! ✨
- still thinking about candlesticks (I mean, look at Florence Welch’s home! Look at her candlesticks! ASPIRATIONAL, I tell you! Most recently I’ve been pining after this set and this set and this set.)
- continuing our office D&D campaign! My character, Smollzy (a nonbinary teenage Forest Gnome Druid; Smollzy is short for Smolexander, and they’re 2 feet tall), has fallen for a Nat-20 handsome human named Stor, who’s really tall and has dark skin and light green eyes (I imagine him as vaguely resembling Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and is also illiterate. At one point, Stor got so scared of Azuuk (a bloodthirsty half-orc who was trying to help set us up, as played by Tirso) that he peed his pants, so I peed my pants in solidarity. #romance
This is my mini for Smollzy when I’m in gnome form. As a Druid, I have the ability to transform into certain animals, so sometimes I spend my time as a brown bear:
Tirso (Azuuk) 3D-printed minis for all of us on his home printer and is hand-painting them too, bless his soul 😭 Look at that shading on the paws, and the tiny little claws! Smollzy’s gnome mini is obviously not done yet (I think you can even see a bit of the purple base plastic on their finger), but ARE THESE NOT AMAZING?
Also, our party has just defeated the Big Bad Evil Guy! I spent most of the battle transformed into my brown bear form, sitting on top of an enemy bugbear to restrain him (#justdruidthings), while Eddie (an elf sailor who likes to insult people by comparing them to draperies, as played by JV) tanked and Lyle (a chaotic neutral halfling who can’t resist a gamble and wears a Fu Manchu mustache as a disguise, as played by David) contemplated whether or not he should drink a healing potion himself or use it to revive Azuuk, who was literally one turn away from death.
And on that note.
With last week’s announcement that yet another senior engineer is leaving, I definitely need to get back on that interview grind, but my main focus for at least the next week is making the apartment livable, or at least making my room sleep-in-able. (We’re renting a 2-bedroom because I need a place to retreat to when my cat allergies are too much.)
Maybe I’ll fit in some studying, but the mere thought of even reading another array traversal problem makes me feel like my bones are covered in ants, so maybe not. In any case, I’ve got some good things to look forward to this month (moving in! getting paid! our annual fruit picking trip! Amber Mark at the Great American Music Hall! Deadpool 2! Checking out The Game Parlour! The Magritte exhibit at SFMOMA!), so I’m hoping my mental health will be okay this time around if I make an effort to balance out interviewing with things that make me happy.
Until next time, pals. 🚀