State of the moment: Review

I have one more Final to go (having realized that I don’t have to wait until the due date to turn things in), and am feeling that familiar lack of knowing what to do, which happens at the end of every semester. This is from the lack of pressure of layers of classes issuing assignments which automatically go to the top of my priorities list and then get sorted by due date. I have one more night to worry about, and that’s it. On top of it, I am more than annoyed with that one class, and am waiting for it to be over.

Of course, most often — the end of the semester is filled with anticipating the next semester. I’ve got the official part of that tucked away, already. What is more important and a bit more bothersome, is translating my skills and passions into a workable plan for employment, including the eventual goal of becoming financially self-sustaining.

Today I’ve been reading over some of the materials put out by my alma mater as to what job titles to search, and where to search for them. When I heard to, “be prepared to move,” for a good job, they weren’t kidding. There are jobs out there which are interesting, and may fit my personality well, and pay well enough so that I can live a comfortable life. I just can’t bet on being able to stay, here, exactly, and do them — unless I’m working remotely.

As it turns out, that may not necessarily be a bad thing? The cost of living — and particularly, the cost of housing — is extremely high, here. Not to mention that in the near future, a lot of these areas will have to deal with a rising water table and rising tides. I have been thinking of relocating to the Pacific Northwest, particularly to Washington or Canada…though it’s just an idea, right now.

We’re going to have continued climate upsets, no matter where I live. I know that Oregon and Washington have continued to receive precipitation recently, as well as extreme Northern California (say, near Eureka, which is near the Oregon border). Where I’m at, it has been raining recently, but we’re still in the middle of a drought. It seems like we’ve almost always been in a drought in my lifetime — when it hasn’t been flooding. Like we’ve almost always been in a recession, though I don’t even know how that’s possible.

I did just see an article pop up about how we, “may,” be in the middle of a mass extinction event. No, “are.” “Are,” is the term. We’ve known about it for a while, now. There are books about it (e.g. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, ©2014, Elizabeth Kolbert), that were published years ago. It has just hit other species first before humans on the whole have noticed it.

But yeah, not to get into the whole Anthropocene angle…it’s just that I’m realizing how fragile all of this actually is, and how…I know I should plan on being self-sufficient, but in reality…ugh. When I was 23, I didn’t think I’d make it past 30. I’m nearing 40 now, and wondering how I’m going to make this work, once my parents aren’t here to help. I can see myself working for maybe 30, 40 more years, but to be honest, I can’t bet on making it that long, and I don’t know what is going to happen once I hit, “retirement,” age (given that “retirement” is an artificial construction). It makes more sense to live with my mind in the present, rather than the future. I’ve lived with my mind in the future, for most of my life.

I’m thinking the Pandemic has a lot to do with my current mindset (not to mention the general dysfunction in the world right now, though a lot of that just coexists with [or aids and abets] the Pandemic, rather than being driven by it). I’ve found it causes less worry for me when I let go of ideas of rebirth…that is, beings have been living and dying on this planet, including in cataclysmic mass extinctions, for eons. They didn’t have Buddhism or Christianity to cause them to suffer more than necessary at the idea of death — or a continued attempted existence in an inescapable Venusian hell.

The polar ice is our safety buffer. What I know is that it’s absorbing excess energy by melting. I’m not an ecologist, but I don’t think it’s going to get better after the ice sheets are gone.

But hey, I guess if we did find life on other planets, at least we would know that someone else out there has a chance. No, I wouldn’t be as excited about people from here going and terraforming another planet. That’s a different thing. As a species, we’re dysfunctional; and when we ruin the next planet, if we survive, chances are we’ll just go looking for another. We haven’t learned on the whole yet that we dispose of the Earth and its life, at our peril.

I don’t want to get into it. But, maybe I eventually will. Maybe it’s best if I eventually do.

I mean…I did train for Fiction, after all…


So, I’ve got 10 days until Xmas. One of the gifts has been created and delivered. One. Because Finals always happen too close to Xmas. The gift in question needed to be delivered on or before the 24th, so I can say I met that deadline. I am getting really kind of tired of making jewelry out of flag colors or uniform colors or other group-affinity colors. It seems like these are almost never designed by people with advanced aesthetic senses. I really don’t get it, but then I am not really a person who values group affinity; I just happen to be in groups, once in a while.

Anyhow…there’s that. I don’t think anything special is happening for Xmas, which is kind of a relief. But I still have a limited time to complete the rest of my presents (if they’re going to be on time — they may not be). What’s annoying is that I don’t even have a job right now. Yes, I have been in classes, and they have been taking up the vast majority of my time. Did I need them?

They did show me, for one thing, that I’m overperforming at a Community College level…except for the one class where the instructor says we should all be getting 100% on the tests because, “he makes it so easy.” That’s the one I’m having trouble in, and it’s mainly a personality conflict. Dude makes too many assumptions (based on his generation and culture), and because of those assumptions, the class doesn’t work with my reality.


In other arenas…I’ve been learning about the quality of various mail-order glass beads. I may have to start returning some of these things, in the future. Most of them are very good. Then there are the others.

There are some curiosities which popped up with comparing incoming glass beads to glass beads I already had…seeing differences in the vividness of colors among sources, seeing differences in luster and depth of color (and what’s just coated), etc. I’ve found out that 3x5mm is a really great size for a rondelle (in my current design aesthetic), but there are good, clear, sparkly fire-polished rondelles, which were obviously made by people who cared about what they were doing. Then there are, “just want to throw them out,” fire-polished rondelles. I’ve learned that if the photo looks like the beads are dull, the beads probably are dull: it’s not an artifact of the camera. Yes, people actually do attempt to sell dull beads, and in many cases, I would believe, they succeed. Once, at least.

In my case, I might be able to tell which rondelles are which, by the package size (the good ones were all on strands of 100 beads each) — although I wouldn’t bet on it.

Something that came up with the gift I made, also drew my attention: not all “4mm” fire-polished beads are actually the same size. There are at least two different styles of cut for the 4mm fire-polished round beads, that is, which correspond with different stringing lengths and different weights: the squarer ones are bigger and heavier and look more lustrous, while the more diamond-shaped ones are smaller and lighter, with sharper facets. I don’t really know why this is, at this point; I just know that it is, and that it affects what you can use them for (if precise calibration is an issue).

I suspect that Starman and Preciosa are the brands I’m comparing, though generally Starman seems to mark their strands with their logo (and most of these didn’t have Starman tags on them, so far as I can recall). To further confuse the issue, some online bead sellers will mix up the two different cuts in the same request, for the same color…they aren’t the same thing!

Then there is the unpredictable quality of metallic coatings on glass beads…which have been a perennial problem for me. This is the reason I try not to buy Capri Gold, “California Gold Rush”, or Sliperit glass bead finishes, even though they usually look very pretty. Their durability is just suspect.

Most recently, I got 100 beads with a “Flax” coating, which…rubs off. I’m probably never going to use these beads, because no one deserves metallic gold powder rubbing off on their fingertips, let alone whatever else is in there.

The thing is, I’ve ordered Flax-finished beads before, even Flax beads of the same size (2mm); and have not had this issue. I’m thinking that the difference has to do with the skill (and conscientiousness) of the people making these things. The lower-quality finish also coincided with lower surface quality (some of the beads appear pitted, almost etched), and inconsistent drilling, with the beads leaning to the left and right of the strand before I removed them.

To make things more complicated, this set of beads was sold by a vendor who also supplies quality beads — not only Toho and Miyuki, but also some really nice little 2mm fire-polished rounds. Majorly affecting this, I think, is the fact that 2mm fire-polished rounds are basically hard to come by from the start, so finding quality 2mm fire-polished rounds out of the limited pool of all 2mm fire-polished rounds, must be especially difficult.

In any case, this causes me to wonder if, say, the Capri Gold, California Gold Rush (CGR), and Sliperit beads I’ve had before just were not made conscientiously? Could it be possible to create durable beads using these finishes — and I just happened to be unlucky at the time, and get merchandise which should not have passed inspection (although I believe the specific beads I’m thinking of were CGR SuperDuos)? Twenty to thirty minutes of handling should not result in the coating being wiped off.

I don’t know. I’ve seen otherwise reputable bead retailers selling all three of these finishes, and I am not entirely certain who is buying these things, or if they’re actually usable. I pretty much try things out until I can tell if they’re durable or not (there are some finishes that look metallic, which are in my experience, durable — but I question if they are actually structurally closer to Iris colors and further from Galvanized), but that doesn’t mean, necessarily, that I won’t get a wonky bunch just by virtue of statistics.

That’s…not to even mention the colors which have an extra tube of coating coming out of the hole on one side — on all the beads. I thought I knew what I was going to make my in-law, until I realized…hey, I’m not giving these out. I’ve seen this before.

What’s annoying is that they cost way more than they should have.

Apologies for my lack of pictures. I’m just really low-energy, right now. It’s possible I could fortify this entry in the future with some photos, but right now…I need to get on studying for that last Final.

Published by Haruna

Haruna is a Librarian by training, currently pivoting from Public Services into Technical Services. Their undergraduate major was English -- Creative Writing, and they hold an additional small degree in Art (i.e. Visual Arts). Currently, they are trying to figure out whether to place their energies more into language and language arts, or producing handcrafted jewelry, for the interim...

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