You've Got Your Sofa Issue Handled

"Buy the sofa, then for a couple years you're satisfied that no matter what goes wrong, at least you've got your sofa issue handled." (from Fight Club.)

Living in this house, I am feeling like the sofa issue is pretty handled.  I have a strong sense of consolidation, of embeddedness, of  hovering over the exact center-point of the American centrifuge.  I plug in the monthly mortgage payment and tack on the "13th month" extra to help whittle down the principle.  I pay the insurance premium and then submit it to the company HRA for reimbursement.  I am the very picture of what thinkers in the Western Marxist tradition referred to as the process of embourgeoisement (although, it could be pointed out, they were talking about industrial workers, not skinny former grad student IT guys.)

I'm reminded of one of the big reasons that I quit tech in the first place: the feeling that I was gaining nothing from year to year, just getting older.  This time around, there are tangible benefits (thanks largely to the fact that I work for some guys who believe in paying good money for good employees, a phenomenon tied, in turn, to the fact that they aren't beholden to investors / venture capital.)  I am dead serious about that maybe-a-Honda-Fit thing I mentioned before.  Likewise, while I can conceive of the whole ennui-of-middle-class-existence easily enough, I never really thought I'd be able to have one (a middle class existence), thanks to the historical economic shifts of the last thirty years, and I have a hard time imagining that the shock and novelty of being able to afford it is going to wear off anytime soon.

Also, the thing about having the sofa issue handled is that if your aspirations are limited to more and better sofas, then yeah, you are not going to have a whole lot of fun.  Being able to cover housing and some more-or-less "basic" first-world consumer society creature comforts and be genuinely content with it, however, does open up the possibility of looking well beyond sofas.  In other words, what I think B and I are really enjoying right now is exactly the same shit we enjoyed living in that stupid one-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz: friends, family, funny cultural detritus, and thinking deep thoughts, it's just that we're less worried about the material context in which those things are happening.

My point is just that if Tyler Durden showed up and asked if I wanted to join him at the next meeting in the cellar of the dive bar, I would be like "dude...no."


On the Incredible Difficulty of Being a Bon Vivant After 30

Just a few notes on this, an evening when Plan C chased B and I around for hours while cackling maniacally until it was finally time for her to go to bed:

It's hard to keep a grip on the sardonic swashbuckling style that defined us all when we were, say, 24, when we're all, say, 34-ish, now.  Then, even having to hold down steady jobs didn't deter us from music and new tattoos and frequent outings to the city's more distinguished dive bars.  Now, the same steady jobs (or, different ones that are equally steady) seem to have plundered what remained of our anima, leaving us to sink into the mire of routine, only too infrequently to rally and watch a funny movie over many bottles of cheap vino.

But I say: I will steadfastly attempt to resist this trend to the best of my abilities!  When possible!  This is a part of the New Thing I'm Trying These Days!

In that spirit, you really, honestly need to watch this.  It's Obama slow-jamming the news on late night TV.  I'm not making this up.


Today We Gather In Praise of Basements

When we started looking for a house last summer, we had relatively few requirements.  We needed a place that didn't have major metal fatigue in the load-bearing members, we had to have a place adequate to our power needs, and we needed a place that wasn't in a neighborhood like a demilitarized zone.*  Besides that, B wanted a yard and a setting not on a major street.  And me? 

A basement.

(wait, let's do it again in haiku):

North Portland real estate
Husband is easy to please
Basements are the shit

So here I sit in the basement of the KFR compound.  We friggin' love this place.  We had ruthlessly rejected the concept of a "starter home" from the outset; this was going to be the place we stayed in indefinitely.  Thus, my basement examinations were thorough and painstaking (i.e. "can I put a computer here?  Is there asbestos within accidentally-stumbling-into-it-distance?"  Correct answers: yes, hopefully not.)  I want to be clear: this is not about the gag-me-with-a-spoon man cave concept...we are now setup with a family-friendly movie viewing spot immediately adjacent to my little office setup.  Instead, the basement was fundamentally about having a place to store unsightly objects (storage bins, mostly, as well as me when I'm just not feeling it), a place to hide in and pretend the world outside is just a horrible fever dream, and most importantly, a place to go when it's hot outside.

Now, it just started with real spring weather in Oregon.  There is reason to believe it will eventually be summer pretty soonish.  When that first gnarly heat wave hits, because, my friends, it does indeed get really hot here sometimes, I am not leaving the damned basement for all the silkworms in China.  I am going to park my heat-sensitive skinny ass down on the couch and watch Muppet Show episodes, any of the three Oceans 11 movies, and/or the extended edition Lord of the Rings making-of documentaries repeatedly.  B and Plan C will be there, too, of course, and we will make it a family-hides-from-the-heat-wave good time. 

* Egon made coming up with these criteria easy, obviously.


Sick Sick Sick

In my adult life, only one other period is comparable to my current state of an immune system laying down on the job (the term "malingering" is entirely apropos here): the first year that I worked at That One Awful Company, which was a big call center, and I went around working on the computers that were drooled and sneezed on by the customer service reps all the time.  Back then, I was pretty nonchalant about things like hand sanitizer, but after the eighth awful cold in about eight months, I got wise.

Anyway, now is almost that bad.  I get sick about once a month with a nasty tonsils-swollen sore-throat attack followed rapidly by a generic snot-surplus explosivo-style cold.  Since you can't get good drugs in Oregon without a subscription, I have to suffer through the whole thing armed only with caffeine and benadryl (which is still better than nothing.)

So what the crap is going on?  I think it must boil down to some pretty mundane and tedious factors:
  1. I still suck at falling / staying asleep.
  2. I am super stressed-out at my job.
  3. Plan C is equal parts adorable and totally relentless, meaning I get almost no chance to calm down when I'm at home.
  4. I drink too much boozeahol.
Since there's not much I can do about the first three factors, B and I decided to lay off on the sauce for a bit and see if that helps.  The plan is to take a week off of everything, then ease back in with festive cocktails at designated times rather than an ongoing flow of beer or wine (which is kind of how it's been for the last while.)

I'll also, albeit reluctantly, admit that I am happy to see the sun, which has just made an appearance for the first time in a couple of months.


Regarding Being a Yuppie

We went for a walk this morning from our house to Overlook Park so that the kid could get her fix of "Playgraw!  Playgraw!" that she's been yammering on about ever since she discovered that swings and slides are fun.  Along the way we passed groups of nicely put-together 30-somethings tidying up parks and schools for Earth Day, arriving in their Priuses and Mazda 5s and Honda Fits to spend the day with their kids, learning the value of shoveling. 

At the playground, across the street from the Kaiser compound at which she got a clean bill of health for her two-year wellness check just yesterday, she scampered about amidst the other well-scrubbed youngsters (note: the kid in the red shirt with the elementary school mullet was kind of obnoxious.  B, justly, blamed an inadequately involved father who was standing by but not contributing) and having a lot of fun.

On our return we built yet more Ikea furniture, did a lot of yard work, put the kid down for her nap, and contributed to the local economy.*  Now B's off for her hair cut and tonight we're off to dinner at Pause with the Pants in a while.

We're seriously considering buying a Honda Fit at some point soonish.

This process took a while, but here we are: young urban professionals with a doted-on child dressed to the nines in H+M toddler gear.  I think it's still safe to say that we're not total dickheads, but I want this post to reflect that I'm aware of what's happened.

* I sorely wish that "contributed to the local economy" was some kind of euphemism, but it just means that I spent 50 bucks at Fred Meyer.



Big changes are afoot.  Because of circumstances, I can't go into them in detail on the interwebs, at least in a forum in which interested parties who haven't already been informed might come across it.  Suffice it to say that things are very excellent in the medium and long-term future, and that this fact has nothing whatsoever to do with the lottery. 

I'm also considering doing something different with this blog.  I adopted the kungfuramone moniker when I was about 22 or 23, right in the thick of Portland V. 1.0 for me, when I was busy playing in hostile rock bands, getting as many tattoos as I could as quickly as I could, and generally having a blast.  I'm 33 now, I'm thoroughly domesticated, and I'd kind of like to adopt a different approach to blogging, especially because nobody except for very old and curmudgeonly people like me bother with blogs anymore, anyway (although I've noticed that for all the fuss, Tumblr is basically just blogging with a shorter attention span and more stealing of other peoples' good ideas.)  To be clear: I am still having a blast, I am just considering slightly modified ways to express it to the indifferent internet.

So anyways: announcements and changes are on the way.  In the meantime, I remain your cardigan-wearing, pre-hypertension-having, public-transporation-taking, kid-raising, red-wine-only-please-drinking, sleep-rejecting Portlandia caricature but essentially nice person with incredibly fast typing skills.  Cheers.