caejones (caejones) wrote,
caejones
caejones

Environmental Optimization Analysis

This began as a Facebook status, then it spiralled out of control, as most of my ramblings tend to do.


I really need a good chart of my productivity at Hendrix Vs my productivity at home, with variables like weather / weekends / breaks for other people taken into account.
The one episode of Taoe I didn't get out on time? That was after the end of the Hendrix semester, but before the end of the public school semester.
But I think I wrote more efficiently that week I was at home and everyone else was in Florida. And heck, I even did science in a dream, sorta.
Conclusion: Home alone > Hendrix > home with family
However! That's only for things I can do on a computer. Things that require talking to people, or going anywhere at all... it's more like Hendrix > home with family > home alone.
You know, because at Hendrix, I can actually go places unaided.
Now, obviously this would make Hendrix seem optimal. We can't really assume numbers or anything without thoroughly documented data *Hides pages upon pages of records with time stamps that doesn't feel like turning into stats*, so this might not be a perfect example, but assume the chains go 3:2:1.
For computer-type things, home alone scores 3, Hendrix 2, and home with family 1.
For "actual member of society" things, Hendrix 3, home with family 2, home alone 1.
Overall, Hendrix scores 5, home alone scores 4, and home with family scores 3.
Of course, I can't just live at Hendrix and access all of its resources. And there is no way in the ninth circle of transpony hell that I'm going to willingly throw $15000 away to get a piece of paper telling me I didn't write enough useless essays (because if I'm optimizing, I'm not wasting my time and money doing something as horribly useless and unpleasant as writing academic papers.).

Neither of these three is optimal, of course. Living with one's parents is low status and restrictive, whether they're home or not. My complete inability to travel anywhere unaided locally makes home alone horrible, if more pleasant than home with family. Hendrix is expensive, and I wouldn't be able to stay there without some kind of degree goals or some such waste of time and unnecessary source of antihappiness.
So we should move a level back and identify the qualities that make each of these favorable/unfavorable, and determine settings that would optimize for the pros without the cons, then find a way to get there.

Pros to Hendrix:

  • Very easily navigated on foot, with low traffic-related risk.
  • Many convenient outdoor work areas.
  • Easy access to experts in various fields
  • The awesomest food in the universe™
  • Culturally, capable of supporting things like groups of RPers/gamers/anime fans/general nerds who can gather twice a week to publicly beat one another with pvs wrapped in phoam, who can, with enough time, actually earn status through displays of theatrical stunts.
  • Said faux sword-fighting actually counts as a source of physical activity.
  • No one will react if I start singing along to Nightwish or Makafushigi Adventure. Hell, no one will react if I somehow wound up with a girlfriend/boyfriend. Or if I order something different from the previous two visits to the same restaurant. Or if I do something responsible like call the bank.
  • The financial backing is all handled very distantly. This is a con as soon as you step out of the false security there, but so long as you're there, money can be ignored as a non-issue. It's convenient, not optimal.
  • The air quality is generally good, but I don't give it max points, on the grounds that there was a lot of smoking on campus. (I once got my window stuck in the up position, followed shortly by a couple of pot-smokers hanging out upwind.)
  • In walking distance of Wal-mart! That covers half of one's material needs right there!
  • It was easy, though not trivial, to actually take martial arts classes. Not just college courses, either.
  • The Odyssey system meant that any of my various non-academic projects could be transformed into academic credit, if I actually filled out the paperwork and saw it to completion. (One of these didn't get to completion (Learning Korean), the other failed on the paperwork (Taoe), and the last is still ongoing and was rendered unnecessary Odyssey-wise by a different project, but the point is, it was there, and a potential source of nonmonitary incentive to enlist other students as human resources).
  • Participating in a performance in which I got to disarm, grapple, stab, and backflip, with my death being the one moment the entire audience booed, was pretty dang awesome. Why can't I do that more often?


Cons to Hendrix:

  • Smokers
  • Academic requirements. This is mostly because I was in the humanities most of the time, where you have to write essays and pretend that you care about the subject. I don't take positions well, and I don't like having to resort to making stuff up and passing it off as actual arguments that I believe.
  • It will take no less than ten years to pay off the existing student loans. Really do not want to add to that absurdity. No, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was under the impression that continuing to be smart would make everything magically work out, and was foolish enough not to question this until it was too late. Their may have been some Tsun-cost fallacy at work, too.
  • The fact that the campus is mostly pedestrianized makes bad weather an obstacle that it wouldn't be if one could sit under a roof and wait for a taxi or bus.
  • Generally more people in a smaller area, meaning you get the occasional rap-blasters and wild drunken parties and people upstairs making noise. And one needs worry about disturbing others.
  • Crime. There were generally one to two reports of robbery (a significant portion armed) a year, usually on the outskirts of campus.


Home alone pros:

  • a whole house's worth of free space.
  • Noise and disturbing people should be much less of an issue, considering the much lower population density.
  • Working outdoors is possible, given favorable weather.
  • Outdoor air quality usually excelent, no major sources of smoke or organic solvents close enough to worry about.
  • Indoor humidity favorable.


Home alone cons:

  • exists only for Very restricted hours
  • The wildlife is far less cooperative than elsewhere (Mosquitoes/wasps/ticks are abundant. People from different regions tend to assume I'm joking when I describe the vampiric swarms. I assure you that I am not exaggerating when I say that, during the summer, one can swing a stick and send a dozen mosquitoes scattering. Sometimes this applies to indoors, when people are particularly careless with doors.).
  • completely and utterly incapable of going anywhere or obtaining new resources.
  • No one at all around, unless some immediate family member drops in unannounced during what would normally be work/school hours.
  • Opportunities for physical activity extremely limited.


Home with family pros:

  • Human resources, if need is desperate enough. (Which usually means a horrible, horrible inconvenience needs averting, a major event requires driving to, or a serious health issue has gotten worse rather than fading after a week or so.).
  • Batman.
  • ... Um. I guess... food ... something?


Home with family cons:

  • As a general rule, something annoying is bound to be audible, if anyone is awake.
  • Generally interactive in unwanted ways.
  • Did I mention the noise? And how it's typically annoying?
  • And the values dissonance. Which is pretty impressive, considering how insanely progressive and intelligent said family is compared to local norms. (Did I mention this town literally ran wickans out, refused to let them open businesses, and other things involving a well-known secret society that I'm probably not supposed to know about? Recently? And bragged about it in the local newspaper?)
  • Oh, yeah: my bedroom door doesn't lock.
  • One particular person living here (1)cannot aim to save his life, (2) cannot clean without deathbeams actively glaring into his skull, and (3)is so wasteful with certain resources to the point that it would be comical if I didn't have to deal with the aftermath. After several years of unsuccessful attempts to educate/compel him to behave otherwise, everyone's basically just given up and tries to arrange things so he can do as little damage as possible, with minimal success.


If we weighted each entry the same, Hendrix would be the only net positive, home alone would be neutral, and home with family would be negative. Of course, each item is not weighted the same; $80,000 in debt and piles of essays are pretty harsh burdens!
(I'm sure someone is thinking "Oh, come now; aren't you exaggerating how bad essays are? Isn't this just that?" To which I say "No and no." If I'm going to take classes, I'm doing so to learn, not to get a certificate saying I wrote 10 pages on feminist themes in Hiroshima Mon Amour. If you must judge, I'd rather you judged me on awesome, not ten pages on awesome due Monday.)

So let's see if we can pile all those pros into one list, then find a way to attain as many as possible without the cons.


  • Financially nonthreatening. This is not going to happen if I can't get at least twice what I'm getting in disability right now (which is somewhere around 25-30% less than my monthly loan payments).
  • Easily traveled without needing to be able to drive.
  • Supports outdoor working, preferably optimized for weather.
  • Easier access to higher quality food.
  • Opportunities for physical activity/training
  • Minimal required encounters with annoying people
  • More positive interactions with non-annoying people.
  • Access to necessary resources (pretty much any population center in the US with a population over 1000 can probably meet this requirement).


Well, I'm stumped. Clearly, I need a source of income.

But, honestly, the most important thing seems to be finding a way to get out of my parents' house. The "Just call a cab and someone to move your stuff and go to that place you own" option seems a terrible idea, on the grounds that it would cost money, I wouldn't know who to call, and my relationship with my parents is not so strained that it would be worth delivering such a blow.
On the other hand, I was supposed to be moved out at some point last year. Then this January. Then after they got back from their cruise in March. I'm still f**king here. Finding a way to do this without them might be necessary.

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