Responsibility Update

I said back in April that I was trying to start building up a Fuck Off Fund, and I really wanted to take it seriously. Without talking specific numbers, I said that I wanted to save up six months of living expenses – at my current standard of living – and have it in a savings account. Just in case.

I also said that I expected to hit 10% of that savings goal by the end of Q2. Here’s an update.

Yes, I have been saving, but I hit a bit of a setback between changing jobs, getting an expedited passport (I still need to get that expense reimbursed from work), and traveling to Columbus, Santa Fe, and Costa Rica all in the same month. My ability to save was somewhat stymied. I still made a good faith effort though.

It’s the last payday of Q2 and I’ve managed to save 5.7% of my Fuck Off Fund total savings goal. So a little better than half of my somewhat ambitious original declaration. Not bad, seeing as how I didn’t even announce my savings intent at the beginning of the quarter.

However, this is slower than I would ideally like to be saving. I don’t have any international travel plans coming up, and I think 10% per quarter is a reasonable target, so by the end of Q3 I would like to reach 16% of my total Fuck Off Fund savings goal.

Again, probably no one cares about this, but many sources online say that announcing your intent to people you know helps with accountability. Feel free to poke me periodically about how my journey to financial responsibility is going.

Stray Travel Thought

May is a truly miserable time of year to visit Costa Rica, so my recent trip wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs. But one of the biggest things I kept thinking about while wandering around San Jose was that in America we have ceded so much of public life to the auto industry. All of the US prioritizes the needs and storage of individually owned cars above all other methods of getting around, and that’s simply not true other places. There are entire pedestrian-only avenues in San Jose filled with street vendors and people just walking in the middle of everything without fear. The only place in the US you see that kind of thing is literally in amusement parks. It makes me wonder what we could be capable of if we invested in public infrastructure and de-incentivized individual car ownership. I say this as someone who owns a car and loves it. But it’s possible that I just love it because owning a car makes the experience of living here materially better in ways that aren’t true in other parts of the world.

Babby’s first python package

https://pypi.org/project/betterreads/

It’s finally live! I detached the fork and decided to take on this project as my own a little over a month ago, and I’ve finally done enough to feel like I can release a beta version of it.

There’s still a lot of work to go before I’m ready for a 1.0.0 release, but I’m so pleased to have completed a side project that’s out there for public consumption. AND someone who is not my IRL friend has starred the repo. It’s very exciting.

Now that I’ve taken this little detour it’s time to get back to Bookpinions, which is the reason I took on the BetterReads library in the first place.

Why are Easter buffets so sad?

It’s become something of a tradition for me, my aunt, and my uncle to attempt brunch on Easter. The cocktails are uniformly great. This is, after all, Chicago. But the food is reminiscent of a Holiday Inn Express continental breakfast. Sufficient, I guess, but not worth the $50 they squeeze out of you for it.

Spent a large chunk of the afternoon entering books into a catalog on Inventaire. Because if there’s one thing I love it’s doing data entry about books, and the correcting inconsistencies in the database.

This blog is now a part of a webring.

Going to try to finish Severance by Ling Ma today. March and April have not been particularly good reading months for me.

Also going to try to release betterreads v0.4.0, a Python library for interfacing with the public Goodreads API, sometime this week. I’ve been dragging my heels on the authentication based integration tests and updating the documentation.

Trying to be responsible

This is a total stream of consciousness braindump about the fact that I’m bad at money.

An issue I seem to run into again and again is that I wait until I’m so miserable that I can barely breathe before I start looking for a new job. I tried to avert that this time around by telling myself in January that I would give it until the end of Q1 before committing to either staying or going. By the end of Q1 I was read to scream in each and every meeting I attended, and absolutely ready to move on. I should have trusted my gut feeling in January that this was an untenable situation and taken action then.

Part of the reason I’m so consistently waiting out bad situations is the fact that I’m bad at money, and I look at my savings account and know that it’s not going to go as far as I need it to if I quit without a backup plan. I’m very happy with the new offer that I got, and I’m glad that I waited for it, but it would have been so much nicer if I could have searched for a job knowing that I could walk away and devote my entire attention to a job search.

So, even though it’s solidly into Q2, I’ve decided that 2019 is the year I get serious about building up my Fuck Off Fund. I need to work on saving up enough money to live comfortably with no additional income for 6 months. I have a number budgeted out, and the worksheet I got off of the official Fuck Off Fund website says to announce to 3 people that saving for emergencies is a priority for me in order to increase external accountability.

Since there are about three or four people who know that this blog exists, I’m going to consider this my public accountability announcement. I’m trying to save money. Feel free to ask me how it’s going. I will try to update here every so often, but I don’t know that I feel comfortable discussing exact numbers. I think I should hit my 10% milestone by the end of Q2. Wish me luck.

Note: the hero image for this post is a piece of glitch art I made by vertically RGB channel shifting the image, and then pixel sorting it by white values, which creates the great green circle with the face shaped negative space in the middle.

Learned How to Glitch Art Today

I’m fascinated with finding methods of digitally destroying or erasing my own face.

Glitched jpg image with horizontal bands from three separate selfies.
JPG hex editing with three separate selfies, used in unequal proportions. My first glitch art attempt.
Horizontal colorful stripes. This used to be a selfie, and portions of the face are still visible if you squint, but it's not immediately recognizable.
One of the selfies from the glitch art above (not the primary one). More radical glitching and less image mixing applied.
An image that used to be a selfie, bu the pixels are sorted according to brightness, so only vague shapes remain, and the pixels appear to be drifting upward and to the right.
A pixel sorting glitch run using Kim Asendorf‘s ASDF Pixel Sort written in the Processing programming language. Sorted by brightness, using both horizontal and vertical sorts.
An image that used to be a selfie of me in a hat with a pearl necklace, but the pixels are sorted horizontally from black to white. What's left is black on the left, with a smear of color in the middle, and white on the right. You can tell where my mouth used to be.
The same pixel sorting algorithm on a different selfie. Sorted from black to white, using only a horizontal sort. You can tell that in the original image my hair was purple and i was wearing red lipstick.
The same selfie as above, but sorting horizontally by brightness. You can tell that I am wearing a hat. Most of my face is pretty blurred, but my eyes are strangely intact, which is a bit unsettling. My hair also retains most of its shape.
The same selfie as above, but sorting horizontally by brightness.

I attempted to databend some other photos using Audacity sound editing, but mostly managed to break them instead of glitching them. I’ll try again later.