Small Discoveries

When we were browsing the bookstore at Uwajimaya I found a manga that was so down my alley it's amazing. It's Oishinbo, the Viz English translation is the "A la Carte" edition, with small series stories thrown together by type of food. The original has hundreds of chapters, so they're distilled for the Viz audience. I saw it by accident, and saw that there were "sake", "sushi", and "ramen and gyoza" volumes. Intrigued by volumes titled by foods, I impulsively picked up the "Ramen and Gyoza" one. We'd just eaten ramen, so it made sense.

I'm in love.

It's about a young food writer for a newspaper. He's arrogant, cynical, entirely unmotivated, but his love for and knowledge of food is intense and detailed. He has a very nice lady co-worker who is the one that eggs him on to help people out. Jet and I have been reading the stories together and we're both intrigued and fascinated by the sheer detail of exactly how he goes about finding the perfect dishes of Chinese style noodles. *laughs*

It's a real delight. I shall find more.

I'd signed up at the beginning of the summer to help out with a gallery site. I wasn't sure about doing it, and the head coder pretty much decided, after finding that I'd never actually worked in php on live websites, that he's just let me start on the new site instead, where I wouldn't break things for lots of users. I thought it wise; however, there wasn't much direction for the new site, either.

He disappeared. I'm not too surprised. Coders who can do the kind of thing he was doing, could be doing it for good money, not for volunteer work.

But then folks started asking me to look into the old site. I did. I realized that I'd have to start at square one again, with a new language, a new system, and a new way of working, as I'm an old production C++ coder, used to my changes being run through by a bunch of testers, a testing system, and a whole review system and people not seeing it for months... not having it be instantaneously live to everyone.

I surprised myself by finding that I really didn't want to do it.

A lot of my self-definition has been from the fact that I was an engineer. That I could make a machine do what I wanted it to do. What I am realizing was that "like" or "don't like" had nothing to do with it. I did it for various reasons, but foremost was the paycheck. Secondary was simply showing that I could. I hate not being able to do something, and hate doing something badly even more. So I coded well, very well.

It's odd realizing that just because I did something really, really well doesn't have anything to do with whether or not I wanted to do it.

Odd to find that I never even thought about whether I liked it or not until now, when I could do it by choice... or choose not to.

I wrote the owner of the site to apologize and to tell them that I wasn't going to be of much use to them as I just found myself not wanting to do it. And I know that usually when I don't want to do something, I'll procrastinate, make excuses, or just duck things rather than actually saying it. I hate letting people down. But they were in a bind for things, and I figured out that I'd far rather just tell them and let them know rather than disappearing like the other guy had and just leave them not knowing.

It felt right to just tell them.

The funny thing is being left with this odd hole in my self-definition. I know that I'm still an engineer, but now I know that I really don't like learning yet another language and system simply for the sake of doing that. I still putter about in html and style sheets and overall layout management when consulting for my artist lady. I still write my own division code and all my html for this journal (I never use the wysiwyg editor for this thing). I like poking at the various style things here... so it's not that I hate coding. And if I had something to do in C++ or C# or php or whatever, I'm sure I could do it, but it's interesting to realize that coding has always been a means for me, not an end unto itself.

Yeah, yeah, it's giving me story ideas. *laughs*

Maybe I have a new hat I have to figure out how to wear...
  • Current Location: home
  • Current Mood: confused confused
Thank you... that helps make me feel a little saner about that decision. *laughs*

It's good to be sane, and to find myself actually walking away from something I don't like.
Food manga! Eeee!

And yes, the self-definition thing is... interesting. For me it was inability rather than dislike, but I've run into "I just don't want to" before, too, and it weirded me out.
Food manga! Hee! I think I shall have to buy the series, now, from Right Stuf and do the Carl-thing of lending it out to folks that want to read it. It's sooo good.

Exactly! I am weirded out and still trying to reconcile the self-definition.

But I'm kind of weirded out by the whole self-definition thing with respect to writing as well, so... it's all a part of it, I think.
you and food manga!!!

how cool though I love those odd little finds usually they are the best!
Hee. The Curry manga you pointed me at is also very, very good.

Yes! Those odd little finds are the best.

*hugs you*
Bwaahahahha! A food manga that is SO perfect. It's great you and Jet can enjoy it together. :D

I think it's great you stood up and told them you were no longer interested. It's awful to do something you don't enjoy, worse when it's a volunteer job to boot.

*hugs* It was totally the right thing to do.
This reminds me of Tampopo, a movie I saw in the late 80s. It billed itself as the first "noodle western." The food cinematography was quite amazing. I was so hungry when it was over. Luckily there was a noodle shop right around the corner from the theater. It was very busy.

It's been a while now, but I still get weirded out at times by the self definition thing. Computer scientist? Not computer scientist? I see something that would make an interesting project (research or startup). Yes - it might be interesting. I did that for a long time, though, and it feels like there's a lot more to life than that now (something you're exploring with wonderful enthusiasm). So "don't wanna" kicks in for me, too. But it still feels strange.