“As much as I’ll miss the anticipation that this trip created, I’ll know that I’ll always have a great time remembering it, and I’ll keep hatching new plans that are worth looking forward to. In fact, that’s a good strategy for life: make yourself do a lot of things that you’ll be happy to look back on, and make sure you got plans for more of those things in the future.” –Steven Rinella, Meat Eater
It’s now eleven at night, and the sunset earlier had filled the landscape with the last golden rays of light from an early spring day. I look around my new work space, which affords me with a wonderful view of the cityscape below: lights glint in the distance, and I take a moment to appreciate the scenery before returning my attention to this post, my last task of the day. It’s been about twenty-four hours since I moved in, but I have not yet gotten accustomed to the beautifully appointed lodgings just yet. This marks the latest chapter in life, the culmination of a journey that had begun last August. Yesterday was moving day, and it was the culmination of over six months of planning, of long days spent looking through legal paperwork, gathering documents, looking up movers and daydreaming about how I’d like to lay furniture out. Where there had been excitement and anxiety surrounding the move, plus the attendant stress resulting from the changes to my schedule, there’s now a sense of relief, and of quiet. Meat Eater‘s Steven Rinella put it best: the anticipation, the meticulous planning and the work that went into preparing for this very moment is now past, and for the past half year, I’d lived in the shadow of a moving day that was steadily approaching. Some days, moving day couldn’t come quickly enough. On other days, moving day hurtled towards me with the inevitability of a freight train. However, now that everything’s in the books, there’s a bit of a void where that anticipation once filled. During or after moving, people may experience depression as a result of the dramatic changes in their lifestyle or environment – the process itself is nastily exhausting, and one is deprived of the spirits they need to pursue their usual activities, creating a bit of a positive feedback loop. While it will doubtlessly feel tempting to stay in now that the move is done, to recoup on rest and perhaps even embrace what’s become colloquially known as “goblin mode” (Himouto! Umaru-chan‘s Umaru is probably the closest example I can readily think of), Rinella’s words come to mind. I’ve never been one to idle, and per Rinella, I see all of this change as an opportunity to try new experiences.
Owing to recent circumstances, I also determined it was appropriate to pull the trigger and build a new desktop computer. Shortly before moving in, all of my parts shipped, and I spent the better part of the previous weekend getting the new rig put together. While I had originally intended to build a new computer after I’d moved, current events had pushed my schedule up; a contamination incident affecting NAND flash supplies, coupled with the conflict in Ukraine impacting neon gas and palladium supplies, could potentially mean that parts could see a jump in prices by the time I was originally intending to buy the parts. At present, video cards remain in short supply, but fortunately for me, my old GTX 1060 6 GB from 2016 is still in fighting shape, so I was able to re-use this, along with a pair of older 4 TB Seagate HDDs. After a Saturday afternoon directed towards putting everything together, my new desktop is ready to roll: it’s running a 12th generation Intel Core i5-12600k, 32 GB of 3200 MHz RAM and a 1 TB NVMe SSD. To ensure this new computer remains quite cool even under the tasks I carry out with it, I’ve decided to go with an aftermarket cooler, coupled with a case sporting better airflow. Taken together, I am confident that this new computer will allow me to do the things I intend to do with reasonable efficiency: while my GTX 1060 is unable to play the most modern games at ultra 4k settings and 120 FPS, it is more than enough for the titles I still have time to play through. Building a new computer so close to the move initially appeared to be a questionable move in that it did complicate things somewhat, but now that everything is done, I am glad that I am able to move in with a new desktop, signifying the start of a new page in life. Buying a home was a process that required a lot of effort, planning, attention to detail and care, and looking back, I also learnt a great deal: I know now of the process, and where there’s precedence, doing things a second time will be much easier. It was a process that pushed me to be more on top of things, and to be my best self; in fact, this experience was no different than my MCAT or thesis defences for my undergraduate and graduate studies, being trying times that demanded my best.
Additional Thoughts and Remarks
- The past month and the preparations leading up to the move have made it very nearly as exhausting as I’d remembered the MCAT had been ten years earlier: in both cases, there was only so much work that could be done ahead of time, and on the day of both, it came down to a combination of experience, keeping a cool head under pressure and a bit of improvisation to get everything to work. Like the MCAT, moving day ended up being as smooth as I could’ve hoped: all of my existing furniture was moved without incident, and the smaller articles were similarly moved without trouble.
- At this point ten years ago, I was staring down midterms for biochemistry and molecular biology. That term had been a bit of a tougher one, but overall, I still managed to maintain a reasonable GPA. I thus entered that summer with a pair of courses on my plate; besides the MCAT preparations classes, I also opted to take physics to replace the course I’d withdrawn from during my second year. I did end up recovering from the challenges of this time frame, and university after that became significantly more enjoyable.
- A bunch of my older furniture made the move, allowing me to save a bundle on things like the dining table, wall unit and couches: I try to take care of my belongings, and as a result, most of the stuff I have still are in a nearly-new condition despite having been battle-worn. However, some things, like the beds and coffee tables, needed to be replaced: the original coffee tables I had pre-date me, and have been around since the 1980s.
- Here on the coffee table, a copy of Treasures of China can be seen. This is the book I’ve been longing to read again since I first borrowed it from the library some fifteen years earlier, and last Christmas, I received a copy. While it’s a little worn, it’s still in great shape, and I enjoy perusing it from time to time. A GameCube and Mac Mini are also visible here: the Mac Mini has been around for about seven years, and despite being a little slow, it’s still operational. Meanwhile, the GameCube is in near-perfect condition and handles as well as it had nineteen years ago: I still play Agent Under Fire on it.
- There’s actually a curious story behind the dining table: it’s about forty years old, being the table my parents used when they first bought a home. Because it’d been so solidly built, it remained in excellent condition right up until now. I’d considered getting a new marble-top table, but I could never find one that really fit my tastes, and in the end, this dining table survived the cut and became the oldest piece of furniture I’d ended up bringing over. Despite its age, however, it still looks almost-new.
- What impresses me most about the new home is just how well-lit everything is. By day, natural light fills all of the main living spaces; I’m still working from home at present, and this has allowed me to see how lighting works throughout various hours: I’ve found that aside from the interior hallway and dining area, the remainder of the space is bright, and I only need a desk lamp to illuminate my work area.
- The kitchen area had particularly impressed me when I first toured the home – with stainless steel appliances, things look especially sharp. I’ve now had the chance to cook here, and I was blown away with just how modern and efficient everything is. The oven has both conventional and convection baking, and fans allow it to cool faster than my old oven. The range heats up more quickly than before, making it faster to heat a pan up for cooking. The main challenge now is getting accustomed to where all of my kitchenware is: before, I’d had everything memorised, but now, it takes me digging through all of the cabinets to figure out where something is, and similarly, after washing the dishes, it takes a bit of time to find where something goes.
- For no apparent reason, this is the manga collection I’ve got set up in my bedroom. My collection is comparatively modest, especially against the likes of those I’ve seen in the community, but my modus operandi is to only buy the works that particularly impacted me; I tend to watch the anime first before reading the manga, and the only exception is The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, whose first volume caught my eye a decade earlier. On the topic of manga, Harukana Receive‘s ninth volume is now available, and the tenth will release in April. Since I’m so close to a bookstore, I have plans to purchase both once the final tenth volume comes out next month. I would very much like to review Harukana Receive‘s second half: the anime only covers the first five volumes, and it’d be great to get some thoughts out on what happens to Haruka and Kanata after they prevail over Claire and Emily, although I’ve never done a manga review before, and therefore have no idea how to format such a post, but that will be a problem for a later date.
- This is my workstation as it appeared shortly after the move finished: the new computer tower can be seen in the lower right hand corner, just left of the printer. I’ve got an iMac off to the left for all of my iOS development work, and the Windows desktop handles everything else, from gaming to taxes. Despite being beside a window, glare is not a problem – I can simply lower the blinds during the day, and I’m set. One thing I would like to look at in the near future are sleeves for cable management: while I’ve done my best to reduce the tangle of cables behind my machines, having a few sleeves would make vacuuming easier, reduce visual clutter and more importantly, prevent my feet from catching the cables while I work.
- For now, though, my setup is satisfactory, and, I daresay that it is a cut above even those featured in Danny Choo’s Otaku workspaces. Now that I’m settled in somewhat, I anticipate that I’ll still likely be able to find time to keep up with my hobbies to a reasonable capacity, while at the same time, really explore the new neighbourhood and all of the amenities around. The first thing I’m itching to do is go back to the gym: it’s been over two years since the global health crisis, and I haven’t properly done a bench press in that amount of time. With this post in the books, I am looking to write about Slow Loop and 86 EIGHTY-SIX before this month is out – the finale for the former comes out tomorrow, and I imagine that I’ll have a few moments to catch up on the latter now that most of the work has concluded.
Now that I’m on the other side of things, it is not lost on me that I’m in a brand-new neighbourhood. Restaurants and parks are more accessible than they ever were, and I’ve got a gym upstairs, meaning I can slowly build my body back up to where I’d been two years earlier. The fact there’s a grocery store across the street means I have a bit more wiggle room for trying out more exotic recipes. If I felt inclined, I could spend an afternoon working out of the nearby coffeeshop, and on weekends, I could even browse the bookstore adjacent to said coffeeshop, if I were not walking the trails alongside the river. The possibilities are mind-boggling, and at my age, it suddenly hits me that now is the time to really live in the moment more, to take advantage of every amenity my new community has to offer. All of these exciting new activities will require time, and that leads to the inevitable question of what this means for the blog. In the past decade, I’ve written here on a fairly consistent basis, sharing my experiences in anime and games with an open-minded, well-read and amicable community. I believe that moderation is the key to all life, and with this in mind, while I am definitely going to direct more time towards new pursuits, this blog isn’t going anywhere. Readers can reasonably expect me to still drop by and periodically offer my recollections on things, albeit at a reduced frequency than before, especially in the next quarter-year, as I acclimatise to a new routine and the nuances that this demands. Once I settle in to a new life, I will have a more concrete idea of what I’d like to do with my time and keep readers posted accordingly, although I will note here that there are plenty of excellent bloggers out there – even if I were to call it quits, it would be no loss, since a few dozen bloggers would be happy to fill that void and share their thoughts on various anime and games (although I imagine readers will be hard-pressed to find someone who enjoys slice-of-life moé anime and first person shooters). For the time being, however, those hoping that I would hang up my hat and ride into the sunset will probably be a trifle disappointed, while readers who enjoy my writing will know that, at least for the foreseeable future, I will continue to write for this blog where I am able. As always, I am grateful to all readers who take the time to offer their feedback and share their thoughts on things; it will be very exciting to see where things go from here on out.