shut up, nerd army


-- चार हजार दो सौ पन्द्रह --

I was informed of my salary increase for 2018 this morning. It was a meeting with both Darrell, the VP of Merchandising, and Scott, who is my immediate supervisor. I don't remember Scott being in the meeting last time this happened, but obviously he would know how much money I make either way. Darrell did specify that "this is confidential, so don't tell anyone." I get that, but also sort of hate it -- it seems to me like a reflection of our culture's stupid hangups about money. That said, it's not like I'm going to go marching down the corridors at work trumpeting what my annual salary is.

In the old days of LiveJournal, I might have posted a friends-only entry so I could state in a blog post what the amount was. There are no "friends lists" on a blog hosted by Squarespace, though. And it's just as well -- posting friends-only entries just made certain people unduly paranoid. I will say this, however: I'm getting a 3% increase. I guess it's going to translate to roughly $2000 more a year. Oh, I guess that kind of reveals it -- ballpark, anyway. You do the math. He never gave me specifics -- like, what the hourly rate will be -- and I didn't ask. If I had I'm sure he would have said, but I honestly don't even care. I've been paid more than I really think I deserve for this job for ages because my employer is stunningly generous, and as a result I literally have to look at a paycheck to be reminded of what my hourly rate is actually listed as. It does go down to a hundredth of a cent, which I have always found odd.

Shobhit wants me to change it so that I get taxed as a single person, though, which he says will decrease my take-home pay even after getting this raise, but should also result in us owing less when we file our taxes. He's asked me to consider this several times before and I balked at having my take-home shrink, but now I don't care as much -- mostly because I'm going to take another one of his suggestions when I retool my budget for 2018, and increase my budgeted balance of spending money after bills each paycheck from $400 to $500, because of how often I wind up over budget. As long as I don't actually spend more money on average than I already have been, then now hopefully I'll wind up sending more money to savings each pay period than budgeted rather than being over budget. Of course, this is also going to result in far less being budgeted for savings payments -- because of both the change in taxing and the change in budgeting -- but whatever. By the end of this year I will be very close to having $30,000 in my straight-up savings account; I have a balance even higher than that in an IRA and a balance of more than six and a half times that in my 401(k); I have two credit cards with over $10,000 credit limits that I have paid off every month. I think I'm doing okay.

Shobhit still needs to get a full-time job though. It's been a year this month since he moved back from California.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पन्द्रह --


-- चार हजार दो सौ पन्द्रह --

Last night was sucked up entirely by Shobhit's and my outing to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi at Pacific Place -- his first time seeing it; my second after seeing it opening night on Thursday last week with Gabriel, Shell and Tess. I knew Shobhit would enjoy it and he very much seemed to.

Since I was unable to get an ideal reserved seat at the Meridian, I got a ticket for opening seating at Pacific Place for the 7 pm show -- with the intent of getting there at least an hour early to get an ideal seat. Somewhat surprisingly, Shobhit had no problem with this whatsoever, and even offered to pick up a burrito for dinner on his way home from work, which we would eat while in line. I said I would walk home from work first and feed the cats before heading back downtown, and his plan was to walk directly from the car once he parked it in our garage, without even bothering to go upstairs to the condo.

In the end, he was so close behind me once he got home, after a few text exchanges we realized I was only about five blocks ahead of him, when he was a block from home and I had just crossed Broadway. He asked me to wait for him, I did, and we walked the rest of the way downtown in the rain -- me with my umbrella and him with his hooded jacket and Taco Del Mar bag in hand. We happened to go up the escalators to the AMC Theatres on the 4th floor of Pacific Place right at 6:00, which was when they do their fake snow in the atrium area -- I got a rather nice photo of him with the "snow" beyond.

And . . . we were first in line! There was a bit of confusion, because I bought a 7pm 2D ticket for theatre 3, and the printed sign at theatre 3 said 3D on it, with showtimes listed as 6:15 and 9:45 (and a third time I can't remember) -- but no 7:00. The young lady tearing our tickets was confused by our inquiries regarding this discrepancy, and until after several minutes another employee was brought over and she took the sign down, saying it had been printed for the wrong theatre and we were in the right place.

The showing did not sell out -- maybe 10-15% of the house, mostly in the very front rows, was empty -- but we were far from the only ones to arrive early; one guy got in line right behind us at the same time we got there. But since we got in first, even for a Star Wars movie, we got the ideal seats in the middle of the front row in the bleacher-seating section, where we can rest our feet on the metal bars in front of us. It was perfect.

We had already eaten the burrito (which was very good) right after we got in line, and once we were seated I gave Shobhit the two shot bottles I had filled with his scotch, which he was delighted by -- he only had one of them though -- and I drank the rum-spiked eggnog I brought in my bag. As for the movie itself, I think I liked it even better, found the experience richer -- and was certainly more able to discern certain plot details, especially in the beginning -- upon the second viewing.

It was not until after I saw it on Thursday -- and loved it -- that I read about the apparently wide discrepancy -- to an unprecedented degree -- between critical and audience reactions, in the opposite direction from how it usually happens: critics like it better than audiences do. Of course, this is mostly based on aggregate data on Rotten Tomatoes, which has long had its own problems with how it comes up with its movie scores (MetaCritic has a far better system that more accurately reflects critical concensus). In any case, the Star Wars Nerd Army is unhappy with a lot of liberties taken with this Star Wars "Episode," and as far as I'm concerned they need to get over themselves. I think it may be true that some of the snarkier humor that comes across as decidedly contemporary in tone in 2017 may not ultimately age well, but that's a pretty nitpicky complaint.

I stand by my reaction and remain very happy with the film -- will probably see it at the very least a third time before it leaves theatres. Although I gave the two the same grade (A-), ultimately I like The Last Jedi better than The Force Awakens, mostly thanks to its unexpected story directions, rather than rehashing one of the original trilogy films the way The Force Awakens did.

After several trailers before a run time of 153 minutes, the movie ended at about 10:00. We barely managed to catch a #11 bus back up the hill, so we got home maybe ten minutes sooner than we would have had we walked. And I went straight to bed.

-- चार हजार दो सौ पन्द्रह --


[posted 12:36 pm]

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