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After five days of being trapped in SIXBOX -- those of you who've been there know it's at the bottom of a steep driveway, and is therefore damn near impossible to walk out of if there's snow and ice -- I decided I was getting out of there if it killed me.

SIXBOX is less than habitable right now. The carpet in the dining room was torn up after the flooding, leaving cold bare concrete; I've taken everything off the walls, getting ready to paint; I've torn out my crappy old bookshelves so I can paint that wall, too, and replace them with something better, and consequently, there's an enormous pile of books in the middle of the floor; all the rest of my belongings are scattered around in disarray; and I haven't really tried to keep the place clean otherwise, because Jesus, why bother? So it looks kind of like London after the Nazis were done with it. And with the piles of snow outside and the overall feeling of isolation, I was beginning to feel like the 'BOX had turned into the Overlook Hotel. (If my cat had started talking to his finger, then I would know I was in trouble.)

(Oh, also, my job would really like to have me come into the office one of these days. Apparently, my boss wants me there badly enough that he said he'd pay for a hotel room if I got stuck on the East side -- which, yeah, is exactly how I want to spend Xmas Eve. What do I look like, Bob Cratchit?)

So, yeah. Getting the hell out of Dodge. There's supposed to be even more snow tonight/tomorrow morning, and if I didn't want to be stuck there during Xmas, I figured this might be my last chance. *dramatic music*

One of my neighbors saw me heading determinedly toward my car, and asked in horror, "You're not trying to get out, are you?" Apparently, he had tried earlier this evening. Shoveling himself out, maneuvering out of his space, trying to get up the hill, burning rubber, failing, and maneuvering back into his space took approximately an hour and a half.

I ignored his doomsaying and piled my car with food and Xmas presents, and took a snow shovel to its exterior. Never had to do that before.

God bless my little Subaru. I might miss my truck sometimes -- okay, often -- but it never could have made it out of the driveway in these conditions. The Subaru, with its low center of gravity, and its all-wheel drive, had a couple of minor false starts, but otherwise managed it just fine. That was, as I knew it would be, the worst part. Streets were not terrible and the freeway was pretty clear, so I made it to the U-District just fine. I'm meeting Ahna here at the Sureshot, and we're gonna go have dinner at a restaurant, so I can eat something that didn't come out of a can. I can't wait. I'll be staying at her place tonight, natch. It'll be nice to have someone around who can do more than meow.

My family have postponed their celebrations until the weekend, so I'm going to actually get to spend Xmas with Ahna for the first time. That kinda makes all this worth it.

Oh, yes, and to everyone who gave me their address so I could send them Xmas cards -- I'm so sorry, but I just haven't had a chance to mail them; I'm sure you understand. I will almost certainly be making them out on Xmas day and sending them out on Boxing Day.

Flight.

Oct. 13th, 2008 01:05 pm
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Been a while since I last posted, a lot going on. Let me try to get you up to speed.

I went to Florida, weekend before last. Did I mention I was going? I can't remember. Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] retcon has been trying for years to get me to fly down to Florida with him, both for Universal Studios Halloween Horror nights, and to visit our friend [livejournal.com profile] lokheed, who moved there a few years ago. This year, there was extra reason to go -- to be there for the last night of Disney World's Pleasure Island. I finally had the money to actually make the trip, and to bring [livejournal.com profile] windbourne with me, too.

(My bosses not only let me go, but gave me a bonus so I'd "have a little spending money for the trip." I'm still boggling over that one.)

Our trip was ten pounds of fun in a five-pound bag. We went on the rides at Universal Studios (everything from the classic Jaws to the new Simpsons ride) and the aforementioned Horror Nights -- multiple different haunted houses on the studio grounds, most of them pretty awesome -- on Friday, Disney World on Saturday, and Epcot on Sunday.

Long-time readers of my journal may recall my disappointment at the fact that the Haunted Mansion was closed on my trip to Disneyland. So this time I went through it twice, once for this trip and once for the missed chance.

Pleasure Island was -- fine, I guess. The line for The Adventurers Club, which everyone had been recommending to me, was ridiculously immense, and so we didn't even make it inside. Riff's favorite dance club there, Mannequins, was actually just too overwhelming for me to take -- the volume, the lights, the crowds -- my ADD-rattled little brain couldn't prioritize the inputs, basically, so Ahna and I left him there to dance, had a late dinner at the Raglan Road Irish Pub, and wandered around a bit.

We had a much better time the next day at Epcot, even though it was a little strange to be there. I haven't been since I was -- thirteen? Fourteen? We started with Spaceship Earth and it's still exclaiming how awesome the future's gonna be, with its spaceships and space stations and everything. Realizing that I was no closer to that day than I was twenty years ago was pretty depressing. I cheered up shortly afterward, but it still left me with kind of a strange feeling.

Thursday and Monday were spent almost entirely on planes. I've been terrified of heights for years, and so was a neurotic wreck on the trip down -- having to immediately look straight ahead and down if I so much as accidentally glanced out the window -- and for most of the trip back. Until one point where I woke up after a short nap, and was facing the window, and just kind of went -- "Huh." I was looking down at clouds and was totally okay with it. I was even able to keep looking out the window during our landing. It's like a switch flipped in my head for no reason. I'm not complaining.

Whirlwind.

Sep. 8th, 2008 12:27 pm
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[livejournal.com profile] windbourne and I are having a hell of a busy month.

Rebooting.

Jun. 24th, 2008 01:15 pm
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Six months ago:

My health and energy levels almost completely collapse. I had been spending most of my days off in bed because I couldn't make myself care about anything long enough to stay awake for it. The answer finally turns out to be buproprion, an atypical antidepressant. After spending a couple of weeks as a batshit-insane, impatient, hyper-lucid speed freak, my neurochemistry levels off and settles down to a perfectly functional level.

___________
Three months ago, almost to the day:

I quit my job. This is kind of a big deal; I've been working there off and on (but mostly on) for about four years now. (I don't really want to go into my reasons for leaving, but you can ask me privately off-line, if you like.)

I'm sure I'll be able to find another job easily enough, and in I do manage to keep myself focussed and actively looking better than I have in the past, but it's still fairly spotty. Bursts of frenetic activity interspersed with periods of apathy and despair, and occasional stretches of being "almost sure" I'm going to get some particular job, and therefore not really looking for any others.

I keep busy. I go on several interviews, most of them with recruiters rather than directly with companies. I work on a ton of websites. Aware that what I laughably call my "savings" won't last forever, I start building steampunk toy gun mods, with the intention of selling them on eBay. They look great, but I entirely fail to follow through with this.

___________
Two-and-a-half months ago:

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] wendolen (I owe you dinner for this), I land a one-shot paying gig -- building a demo version of a hush-hush new project from the guys who launched Manifesto Games. Knowing that I'm at least doing something that will eventually generate income isn't quite as nice as, you know, actually having money, but it does help to keep my spirits up.

___________
Two months ago:

Months of unpaid electricity bills catch up to me, and the power to SIXBOX gets shut off. Aside from a few scattered nights spent at home in my very dark condo, I practically live with Ahna and Lars from that point on.

___________
Two weeks ago:

I run out of money completely. I survive by selling off some books and some CDs, scrounging together every tiny bit of spare change I have, and eating mostly ramen and peanut butter sandwiches. (In fact, I've been eating a lot less in general for the past couple of months, and it's starting to show -- I've lost something like twenty pounds. Poverty apparently agrees with me.)

Friends start asking me, couldn't you ask your mother for money? Yeah, I'm sure I could. That's not really the point. I'm not going to be able to rely on her to rescue me forever; I have to teach myself that actions have consequences.

I start relying on Ahna using her credit cards -- since I don't have any -- to pay off the bills I can't ignore, like the phone and car insurance, with the promise that I will pay her back as soon as the check from Manifesto Games arrives. Ahna continues to be patient and loving and generally entirely awesome.

___________
Last week:

I have my second interview with a company called CourtTrax. They have a web service that provides real-time searches of court records, which sounds to me like a good match with my experience. Like the first interview, it goes extremely well.

___________
The very next day:

They offer me the job. I accept. Go take a long, last look at their website -- completely redesigning it will be one of my first tasks. I'll be making three-and-a-half times the amount I was making at Blue Utopia. I'll have full coverage -- medical, dental and vision.

___________
Four days ago:

I wrap things up with the Manifesto Games project and send them an invoice.

___________
Tomorrow:

My first day at CourtTrax.

I will have everything I need for my life to begin again.
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This is a little manic and breathless, but I'm still really amped. :)

Oh good Lord I had way too much fun yesterday. The Mercury was holding a superhero/supervillain themed costume night, and I basically just devoted my entire day to getting ready for it.

First I went to a thrift store to get what I needed for my outfit (more on that later), including an unrelated shirt and pair of pants that color-matched almost perfectly. Then I went to Display & Costume to get a couple of accessories. While I was there, I spotted a Batgirl costume that I thought would look cute on [livejournal.com profile] windbourne, so I sent her a picture of it.

Then it was off to help [livejournal.com profile] retcon get a costume together. I'd remembered the night before that I still had a DC Comics "Vote for Luthor" promo button somewhere, and suggested he just wear that, one glove, and a suit, and he loved the idea. But come the day, I can't find the damn button, but hey! Fortunately, I'm a professional graphic designer (sometimes) and I own a button maker, so I designed him a new, much better and larger one anyway. (fig. 1)

Then it was off to more thrift stores -- I was providing both my knowledge of the area thrift stores, and my usual incredible luck with same -- and found him a really nice suit jacket, shirt, and tie. Perfect.

He dropped me off, and I went and picked Ahna up at work, and we headed back up to D&C so she could try on the costume, but they were already closed by the time we got there. No matter -- she'd already said that she probably had some stuff at home that could be turned into a Batgirl costume if that didn't work out.

I still needed one more piece for my costume, so we stopped at, yay!, another thrift store, where I got what I needed and she made some amazing finds for her costume. Awesome boots, a yellow belt, a neat velvet skirt. We were trying to figure out what to do for a cape, and then I thought, why not take a skirt and slit it open? So that's what we got. Then it was back to her place to work on accessories and assembly.

My costume? I was Mr. Incredible! I've been wanting to do that costume ever since the movie first came out, ever since it showed this hero who had pretty much my apple-shaped build, but was still presented as strong and powerful and, well, incredible. And I finally put it together.

I used craft foam to make my logo. Never used the stuff before, would highly recommend it. Easy to work with, great results. There was plenty left over to make Ahna's logo, detailing for her utility belt, and the ears for her cap. (She didn't go for a full cowl -- she used a black hat, the ears, and a set of goggles propped over it all for a slightly steampunky Batgirl. It looked really awesome.)

This all took sooooo long -- we didn't leave her place until after 11:00pm! But it was all worth it. Everyone told us we looked great. Even random strangers were complimenting me on my costume. Which makes sense -- I mean, who didn't love The Incredibles? It was nice to borrow some of the love and goodwill that Pixar has generated for a little while.

I was insanely happy. We're already plotting changes for the next version of these costumes, to bring to Norwescon. Pictures were taken -- I will post links when they're on-line.

Weekendage.

Jul. 4th, 2007 03:17 pm
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This past weekend was chock full of so much awesome. There was the Buffy musical on Friday -- I thought I'd totally blown it and missed my chance to get us tickets, since the website said they were sold out, but [livejournal.com profile] windbourne suggested we swing by the box office and make sure, so she and [livejournal.com profile] briara and I just squeaked in. (The ticket machine told me they had sold all but 5% of the tickets when I bought ours!) [livejournal.com profile] ursako already had hers, because she's smarter than I am. We met her at the theatre, after hanging out at Remedy with [livejournal.com profile] chemicallace for a while.

The musical was much fun, but I have to say that the very idea of singing along to it with a bunch of people in a theatre is already a cool enough idea that their extended pre-show and slightly-forced Rocky Horror style audience participation seemed like, I don't know, a few too many extra layers of frosting on the cake. (Guys, free clue -- the reason RHPS has endured this long is because it arose organically out of, well, the audience participating -- and not because someone sat down and tried to plan it all.) But all grousing aside, it was fun and excellent and worth it. I took people home, and Ahna and I ended up sitting in my car and talking (♥), and I didn't get home until like 4:30 in the morning or later. It was already light outside, at any rate.

Saturday, we had two concerts to go to, which meant we were in concert venues for a grand total of about eight hours. First up was the farewell concert at the Crocodile for The Divorce, a local band who decided to call it quits after seven years. They've been a pretty big deal locally, but I won't be surprised if you haven't heard of them if you don't live in Seattle. Actually, no, scratch that -- I'm astonished, frankly, that they're breaking up, I'm astonished they're not absolutely huge, I'm astonished I'm not hearing them on the radio and in commercials and everywhere. They were that good. Thanks, [livejournal.com profile] ursako, for getting us tickets. Hell of a good show, and the opening bands, Crosstide and Sirens Sister, were both really good, too. How often does that happen?

Next we ran off to El Corazón for VNV Nation. We weren't in a hurry, since the opening band, And One, had cancelled, and we didn't reeeeaaaly care about the replacement band. VNV were great live, as always, but it was so hot and so humid in there, I was honestly, no joke, trying to remember at one point what the symptoms of heat stroke were. I didn't make it all the way through the concert -- I gave up and went outside to wait for Ahna, but it turned out they only played one more song after that, an instrumental at that. So that was fine.

We'd had bold ideas about staying up to watch the season finale of Doctor Who afterward, but we were both exhausted, so we left it for Sunday. We finally did watch it, and, ummm, thought it was kind of crap. I really liked the two episodes that led up to it, but this one had some serious deus-ex-machina and general what-the-fuckery going on, and a really dissatisfying ending to one character's emotional arc. Blah. Oh, well, I can't wait until next season, mainly because of this.

The rest of Sunday, I -- slept, mostly. Hmm. But then on Monday (why, yes, Monday is part of my weekend), Ahna and I went to see 1408. An adaptation of one of my favorite Stephen King stories, starring one of our favorite actors? YS PLZ. It was decent! Some really good scares and some strong emotion. Worth seeing.

Now tonight (not the weekend any more by any stretch, but it's another day off), I'm ignoring the fireworks (since I don't want a repeat of last year) and heading off to a 4th of July party. Should be a good time.
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Things have been pretty decent lately -- everything from finally setting up my home office for telecommuting, to having a lovely Valentine's Day with Ahna at the Bodies Exhibit. But today especially has been all kinds of awesome.

I met with a client this afternoon and closed the contract to do the site redesign for Richard Hugo House, the literary arts center here in Seattle. They're the perfect clients -- they know exactly what they want, they have a pretty good understanding of the difficulty involved, and they're offering me considerably more money than I was initially asking for. So now I can stop worrying about how I'm going to pay my taxes this year, which is nice.

I had "lunch" (some plums and a can of Rockstar) at the little park at the corner of Pine and Broadway, where I found a single perfect little rose just lying unwanted on the ground. I brought it with me to Golden Age Collectables and gave it to Ahna, and scoped out their clearance section while I waited for her to get off work. She let me know that the tickets she bought us as an anniversary present for the upcoming Placebo concert arrived. I picked up a couple of supercheap graphic novels and gave her a ride to Lush.

Then I met up with Riff, who was putting the finishing touches on my new -- desperately-needed -- computer. It's soooo cute, with it's sleek black and silver case and spiffy little backlit gauges. Pictures will be forthcoming at some point. More to the point, it's not dying horribly like the machine I'm typing this on now is, and it actually has the chops to run Vista, so I get to join the twenty-first century. He'll be coming over shortly to set it up for me.

Oh, and I kept having really decent luck finding parking spaces all day, too. And the weather was gorgeous.

Life might just be okay.
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I honestly don't have too much use for Thanksgiving, personally. I don't want to hate on anyone's parade, but for my money, it's not enough about thanks and too much about overindulgence, and overindulgence in what? Turkey, which is kind of like chicken except it's dry and sort of tasteless and a little gamey and there's too damn much of it; cranberries, tart and sharp and unhappy; sweet potatoes, which are perfectly all right unless you put frickin' marshmallows on them, 'cause, you know, vegetables really just need more candy to make them palatable .... The only part of the food I really like is the stuffing, and frankly, I can just go and buy a box of Stove Top whenever the mood strikes.

So, minus the food, it's really just a day of familial obligations and togetherness. In other words, a dress rehearsal for Christmas. It's the appendix of holidays. We don't need it. Bah, hambug, etc.

More seriously .... After last Thanksgiving, when my father went into the hospital and then never came out again, I just really couldn't face the idea this time. I mean, I really couldn't. For weeks, whenever I thought about it, my stomach would cramp up with anxiety and dread.

I finally ended up telling my family that I just wasn't going to be able to make it. They were disappointed, of course, but I think they understood.

I toyed with the idea of not doing anything that day at all, but I thought that would probably just further depress me. So instead, I took [livejournal.com profile] windbourne up on her invitation to come spend it with her family.

I'm glad I did. It was just what I needed. Her family were talkative, friendly, a little crazy. Oh, and Greek, which explains the presence of spanakopita and tiropita on the cheerfully overladen tables. I got to meet many cousins -- "cousin" being the apparent vague catch-all term Ahna's family uses for any relations within a generation or so -- including an older cousin who strongly influenced Ahna's musical tastes and a younger cousin who told me in great detail much more than I ever needed to know about professional wrestling. (I always have a hard time at these sorts of gatherings trying to decide to pass as one of the kids or one of the grown-ups.) Everyone seemed to like me. Quite gratifying.

From there we ended up going to Lars' mom's house, where we finished our evening with [livejournal.com profile] hetaera15, [livejournal.com profile] saheeb138, Mari and James, where we had more food (*whimper*) and passed out in front of a documentary about Oliver Cromwell and the New Model Army. It was a good day.

Second.

Apr. 18th, 2006 08:41 am
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The second hand spinning round
Points to sixtythreemillioneonethreethousandeighthundredfiftytwo

A second hand in mine
The carousel goes round again
No outstretched fingers, no straining arms
Just brass rings rainlike
Into overflowing pockets

Poems turned to kisses like sparks to fireworks
Light the touch-paper and never stand back
What's a finger or two between friends?
Just touch the paper lightly
Burn me your words and I'll do the same
Written, not even whispered,
Echoes of midnight lazy promises
Written not, even whispered

A second year so soon gone and still never soon enough those seconds
Between eyes that wake open and eyes that see yours

(and now we return and begin again)

Catch.

Sep. 23rd, 2005 03:41 pm
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Wednesday night, at [livejournal.com profile] ursako's instigation, [livejournal.com profile] windbourne and I joined her at the Crocodile for their annual Cure cover night. As you may know, The Cure are pretty much my favorite band of all time, so I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

Then Jodie Watts took the stage. After a number or two, the lead singer looked out into the crowd and said:

"You know, we've got a lot of room up here on stage, so if anybody wants to come up here and dance, that'd be great. Actually, we've got a spare microphone up here, too, so if anyone wants to come sing with us, you can."

They're kidding, I thought. They can't really mean --

"Come on! Come on up here! You probably know the words to this one!"

And they started to play the opening notes of Just Like Heaven. My favorite Cure song ever.

A song that, for literally years, I've harbored a secret desire to sing, on stage, in front of an audience. Honestly.

I couldn't! I don't have the nerve --

The singer must have seen it all on my face, because then he pointed right at me and raised a questioning eyebrow.

Oh, I thought, what the fuck. And got up on stage.

---

"All art constantly aspires towards the condition of music," Walter Pater once said. I love doing my readings, don't get me wrong. I like being up on stage and weaving pictures with words. But I walk away from them, sometimes, wishing they had the immediacy, the energy, of musical performance.

Maybe that's overstating the case. Maybe a simpler way to put it is, I sometimes wish I were a rock star. Sure. Who doesn't?

For just a few minutes there, I got to be one.

It was an impossible moment; it was that Walter Mitty moment everyone secretly hopes for that never really comes, that kind of "Is there anyone on board who can fly this plane?" type of moment.

As impossible as, say, for example -- getting a second chance to know the girl whose name I never caught.

---

There is, at the center of my life, an impossibility. An impossibility that flashes me Cheshire-cat smiles, all soft curls and eyes dark as night, a glint in them like stars. A secret that sits in the middle and Knows. She reminds me that you can hold on to the impossible, that miracles happen all the time to those who reach out for them, that I can have everything I ever wanted. Be everything I ever wanted.

"As we let our own Light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same," Marianne Williamson wrote. "As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Consciously or unconsciously, just by being near me, she gives me that permission. And I shine.

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What a perfectly lovely weekend. [livejournal.com profile] windbourne had was going to be working at the Saturday Market down in Portland, and was going down by herself, so she invited me along. I had the time off work and her boss was willing to spring for my gas money, so I was so totally there. I could kill time at Powell's Books during the day and hang out with her in the evening.

Even the road-trip down was pretty relaxing, even though we were stuck in traffic for part of it. I like driving long distances, and it was nice to finally get to do it in a vehicle I didn't have to worry was going to break down in the middle of nowhere.

We found our hotel (Ahna thought she'd been there before, and so found it from memory, even though this turned out to be a different hotel; neat trick) and had dinner in the bar, and called it a night.

Ahna woke up before I did on Saturday, and when I finally crawled out of bed, I followed her instructions for how to take the tram to get to her location. The tram is really pretty nice, and it was free in the downtown area. So that's what a mass-transit system looks like.

I stopped by to say hello, and wandered off to find Powell's. This was an incredible treat. Every time I've ever been to Powell's before, it's been a stopover point on my way to somewhere else, and I've always been with other people, who had their own schedules and priorities; as a result, I've never had the chance to stay there as long as I wanted, relax in the coffee shop, actually stand and read for a while. It was good. I stayed for about four hours -- I left before I was completely ready to, I'll admit, but for the first time, I didn't feel rushed or frustrated or dissatisfied. And I had the heady knowledge that I could, if I wanted to, come back the next day. I made my purchases and left.

When Ahna got off work, her co-worker suggested we go over paperwork over at Mary's Place, a little hole-in-the-wall of a strip club. Since he's kind of, well, a schmuck, he made the suggestion and then immediately back-pedalled in an "I'm only joking, ha ha" kind of way, so of course we took him up on it. Charmingly, the place had no DJ -- the dancers had their own little jukebox up on the stage. I had to tip one girl just for dancing to a Placebo song.

From there we went to dinner, a little sushi place that sent stupidly cheap little plates of sushi out, buffet-style, on little trays on a model train. Really cute, and quite tasty.

We then went our own way, walked around for a while, and lounged back at the hotel until it was late enough to go back out to Voodoo Doughnut, a weird little must-be-seen-to-be-believed joint that's only open at night. I had their Mango Tango donut, a huge confection with mango-flavored sugar on creamy frosting and filled with a kind of mango jelly. Really good, but I wanted to brush my teeth immediately afterward.

Portland is very alive. Wandering the streets, I got the feeling that the whole city had the vibe of Capitol Hill, or Pioneer Square -- people everywhere, up late, listening to music, taking care of things. Very vibrant and noisy and fun. On the downside, it also seems that their homeless population is much larger than ours, or maybe just more visible.

Sunday, I stopped by Ahna's booth again, bought her some lunch, and then went back to Powell's again until I actually felt like I'd had enough. (About three hours, this time.) I then went to Ozone Records UK, and then wandered back to meet Ahna. She wasn't quite off yet when I expected her to be, so I went into another set of stores for a while, and found that they had a British food import store, so I went upstairs and bought some jelly babies.

We got back on the road and hit horrible traffic, taking almost an hour to go six miles, because of a big accident up ahead. We got back to Seattle for Allyson's party later than I would have liked, which meant I wasn't able to congratulate [livejournal.com profile] ulrich on his new job in-person.

Bottom line -- It was nice to get a little vacation. I feel very refreshed. I think I liked Portland, too. If someone ever put a gun to my head and told me to get the hell out of Seattle and not come back -- and you know, really, that could happen any day -- I think I could be perfectly happy living there. Hmmm, yep.

Oh, and also, time spent with Ahna continues to be perfectly wonderful. Can't not mention that.

PDX.

Aug. 19th, 2005 01:46 pm
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Off to Portland for the weekend. Should hopefully be back soon enough to be at Allyson's party, assuming it goes on late enough. (Wait, did that make any sense?) So, yeah. Cheers!
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Nineteen years ago: Vancouver, BC, was celebrating its centennial with a world's fair, Expo '86. I was there. So was she. We were from the same hometown, but we were still worlds away from each other, years away from meeting. But there are traces of our paths crossing, physical evidence; we each have a photograph of ourselves, unmet, but standing in exactly the same place, doing the same thing. Coincidence, meaningless, but simple. Neat.

Fourteen years ago: I was just starting to explore this whole "goth" subculture, using the resources of the nascent Internet. Apparently several of the bands I already liked were considered goth, and I was eager to hear more. I went out and bought a CD by Bauhaus, a band everyone seemed to consider essential: Press the Eject and Give Me the Tape. It took a while for me to really start to like it -- to learn how to listen to it, it was so different from anything else I'd heard. But I did.

Seven years ago: I was there when Bauhaus played in Seattle, their revival tour, standing room only, pushed nearly to the front by the rush of an eager crowd, pressed back by a wave of music that filled the Paramount, drowning all of us in the deep, resonating opening to Bela Lugosi's Dead. "Welcome back," Peter Murphy said, addressing all of us, and I felt for a moment like I didn't belong -- I'd never been here before, with them, I could hardly be welcomed back -- but the feeling of love in the room, the crowd's love for the band, the band for the crowd, just filled me and carried me along. She wasn't there.

Five years ago: My much-loved Seattle net.goth community put on Convergence 6, a convention for net.goth's from around the world. Nearly 800 of them descended on Seattle, and for a moment I had my own small Halloween world. On the last night, there was a surprise appearance -- Peter Murphy, frontman for Bauhaus, played for an astonished and wildly enthusiastic crowd. She was there, this time, somewhere out in the dark. We'd met, briefly, but I had no idea she was there.

Sixty-eight weeks and five days ago: She tied a small ribbon of black silk at my wrist, and I kept it, because I was hers.

--------------------------------------

The only regret I've had about how [livejournal.com profile] windbourne and I came to be together -- the timeline of it all, the missed connections, our long and slow dance as we circled each other, in nearing orbits -- is that I've wished that I had known her seven years ago, so I could have taken her to that concert, so she could have seen the long-dead band she loves as much as I do, maybe more.

But the one thing having her in my life keeps teaching me, again and again, is that sometimes you get second chances.

Bauhaus returns to the Paramount Theatre, Friday, October 21st. I already have our tickets. Welcome back.
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Yesterday, I found out that the entire first episode of the new Doctor Who series had been leaked onto the 'Net. [livejournal.com profile] windbourne -- who is now officially my very bestest friend ever -- tracked it down for me and downloaded it with BitTorrent.

Sure, I could have waited until it premieres on CBC on April 5th, but I've been waiting eagerly for this for sixteen years now, and, well, I'm not widely known for my patience.

See, Doctor Who was never cancelled. Not officially. The BBC said at the time that they were giving the good Doctor "a rest," and I believed them, with the same fervent faith that is required to believe that Arthur will one day return in England's greatest hour of need. I've felt increasingly foolish for this belief as years went by, but now I feel entirely vindicated.

The video quality of the download itself is really quite excellent, almost too good, leading some to speculate that it was leaked on purpose to build word-of-mouth, although the BBC are denying it.

As for the show itself ....

OhmyGOD I loved it.

Seriously, they nailed it. Doctor Who is a difficult tightrope to walk -- getting it right requires a balance between spookiness and silliness, between total eye-candy and slightly dodgy effects work, between taking itself seriously and just simply having fun. And this new show gets it just right. And Christopher Eccleston makes a perfect Doctor.

I can't remember the last time I was ever this happy. This is like a dozen Christmases all at once.

Boundaries.

Mar. 3rd, 2005 12:51 pm
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A conversation I was having with [livejournal.com profile] windbourne the other day at lunch:

6: "I think I'll become a vegetarian. Who eats steak."
A: "You mean you'd give up eating salmon?"
6: "Well, no, see, I'd be a vegetarian like Lars is. You know -- the kind of vegetarian who eats fish."
A: "I see. And also steak. What about other forms of beef?"
6: "Well, sure. Fish and beef."
A: "I see."
6: " .... And chicken and pork."
A: " -- Okay, now, see, that's not really a vegetarian."
icebluenothing: (Default)
This morning I was still pretty rattled and twitchy and edgy about Hunter's death. I feel a little self-conscious being this upset over the death of a man I've never met, but he really was one of the people responisble for fueling my own desire to take a typewriter and fuck you right in the eyes with it. (The other one is, natch, Harlan Ellison. I'm going to be inconsolable when that bastard kicks it.)

Aside from that, well .... My friend Max has a post that sums up the same reactions I had. You should go read it.

So anyway, yeah, I wasn't in a .... bad mood, exactly, just a little depressed, slightly aggro, just generally off-axis. I even smoked a clove while driving my truck, which I've never done before. Just odd.

I went and kidnapped [livejournal.com profile] windbourne, so she could help straighten me out and be productive. First a trip to Beth's was in order -- I thought that would fit my nerves quite well. We relaxed over a late lunch and I sat and read The Seattle Sinner, which made me feel better -- it reminded me there are still people out there trying to point fingers and scream Truth.

We went to my place to see if I could figure out my taxes. Now, this was a Very Big Deal, since I've never once done my own taxes before. It was always my parents, or Renee, or [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf. And this year's were even more complicated, since I'd worked as an independent contractor and had no idea how that all worked.

I figured I might have to bite the bullet and pay someone to do them for me, but I figured I would sit down and poke through IRS.gov and see how far I could get.

I actually managed to figure it all out, and finish it. I'm kinda blown away by that.

Ahna is excellent company for something like this. She's exactly the right balance of supportive and yet laid-back. She was a second pair of eyes as I was looking everything over, and helped me not panic. Eventually, I told her I thought I had figured out how to get started, and let her go curl up and take a nap on my couch while I crunched through the forms. Even just having her there and sleeping helped.

When I was finished, I found that the amount of money I had haphazardly socked away in savings was going to more than cover the amount I owed. *whew*

I felt totally relaxed and accompished. I made us a nice dinner, took us to Krispy Kreme to celebrate, and took her home.

Ahna.

Feb. 14th, 2005 10:33 pm
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Let me tell you about this girl I know.

There was a comics store I used to go to in the U-District called Arcadia. On one of my visits, I was struck by the girl who was working there. She seemed smart, charming, and friendly. She was knowledgeable about the comics she was selling, suggesting other titles I might like based on what I was looking at. Her sense of style was strong and idiosyncratic. She was beautiful, in every sense I could mean that.

I almost immediately wrote her off as someone I would never get to know. She was, frankly, way too cool for me. And as much I would have loved to ask her out for coffee or something, I figured that, in her position, she probably got enough customers hitting on her already, and I didn't want to be just another asshole. If you've ever developed a stupid little crush on a barista or a bookstore clerk or someone like that, you know what I'm talking about.

But anyway. I kept coming back to that little store; kept making excuses to drop by. Most times, she wasn't there, but sometimes she was. I saw her maybe two or three more times, until one day I dropped by the store and it wasn't there any more.

I was an idiot. I could have at least found out her name.

This story could have ended here. That's how life is supposed to work, at least. There are no second chances. Everyone tells you that.

A couple years passed. I mentioned this girl I used to see to a new friend of mine, and she said, "Oh, you mean Ahna. I know her -- I can introduce you sometime."

It seemed like a little miracle. It's not that surprising that we knew someone in common -- the geek circle in Seattle is not that insurmountably large -- but just finally knowing her name made me stupidly happy.

I finally did meet her, for real, sometime later, when said mutual friend brought her along to one of the open-house Sundays Riff and tree used to have.
I thought she was bored out of her mind. She mainly just sat in a corner and drew. Only much later did I realize that she was just simply absorbing, quietly studying us all, like a cat among unfamiliar people.

My fascination only grew over the months, as I got to know her. I loved her art, her sense of humor. I quietly stalked her on-line -- reading all the back entries in her journal, looking at pictures of her, Googling around for any little scrap of her writing -- but never really spent any time with her, except in groups of other people, brief conversations in passing.

Eventually, there was something she needed advice about, a situation with someone we both knew, and she wanted to talk with me about it. We got together, spent an afternoon talking about it. The next time we got together, we talked about -- everything, it seems like. We ended up in a park somewhere, after randomly driving around. We don't know where it was or how to find it again.

Seeing her in that park, watching her unself-consciously run for the simple joy of running . . . . I knew in that moment I was lost. That I loved her.

I didn't say anything about it, for a long time. By the time I told her, she already knew, of course. She wasn't ready for a new relationship, right then. I thought it was me she was unsure about. I was wrong.

Months later, at a party: our first kiss. I don't even remember it. I couldn't tell you if she kissed me, or if I kissed her -- it just happened, because it was just simply time for it to happen. I remember all the kisses that followed that night, I remember falling asleep holding her, all of it one everlong dreamy haze in my mind.

That was almost ten months ago. Surely, by now, some of the charm should have worn off, some of the sparkle should have faded. We should have lost some of the intensity of those first kisses. That's what people would tell you to expect. The same people who tell you there are no second chances.

I'm happier than I've ever been in my life. This is the most amazing, most effortless relationship I've ever been in, no arguments, no tears, no dissatisfaction, no regrets, no reservations. I feel completely understood and accepted. I've finally met someone who makes sense to me, someone who's one of my kind.

I have my miracle. I have a second chance. I will not waste it.

This is Valentine's Day; this, these words, with much love, are for the girl who makes me feel like every day is Valentine's Day.

Natal.

Feb. 1st, 2005 11:20 pm
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Okay, I almost neverever use my journal for gratuitous shout-outs, and I've been resisting the urge to do this all day, but jeez, how can I not?

That said:

.... Happiest of birthdays, Ahna. I had a lovely time; I hope you did as well.

Ball.

Dec. 10th, 2004 02:52 am
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Just got back from The End's Deck the Hall Ball. Pretty damn entertaining. At this point, there are several events I really should go back and write about, but for once I think I'll go ahead and get this down while it's still fresh in my head.

Due to horrendous traffic, terrible rain, some poor last-minute navigational choices on my part, and a general lack of parking, we didn't quite get there on time, so Snow Patrol was already playing when we got there. We could hear, while we were still outside, that they were playing Run, their one big radio hit, as we approached. I was glad we'd made it -- I said to [livejournal.com profile] windbourne that I'd been afraid we'd miss their set entirely. We made it inside, looked at T-shirts for a minute, and then headed into the concert area just in time to hear them saying, "Thank you, Seattle! Good night!" So, yeah. I think I caught a brief glimpse of them as they left the stage.

So then came the descent down steep stairs in the dark down to push my way into a huge mass of people. Let's see, did I overlook any phobias there? I had a little trouble keeping myself moving one foot in front of the other, but I managed, and I was strangely okay once I actually got into the dense crowd.

Keane played next. I'd heard a couple of songs of theirs, but had only really paid attention to one of them, Somewhere Only We Know, which I'd found charming and cute if slightly cloying. They were really quite good live -- the singer has good stage presence, a voice like an angel, and looks, as Ahna pointed out, "like David Cassidy." If he's not already, this man is destined to be the number-one crush object of fourteen-year-old girls everywhere.

As much as I liked the music, this set was nearly ruined for us by the assholes standing right next to us smoking pot. We hate you and we hope you die.

We shoved our way deeper into the crowd for clearer air to listen to The Shins, who had the uncanny ability to sound both tinny and muddy at the same time. .... I dunno. The first Shins song I ever heard, Know Your Onion, was most excellent and was in heavy rotation in my MP3 player for weeks, but everything after that I've been lukewarm about. Tonight's set was no exception. They're decent enough, but they're just not one of my favorites. I think I definitely like their studio-recorded stuff better.

This time, we were standing near the world's biggest Shins fan, who was prone to calling out things like, "The Shins are the greatest band ever! Fuck Keane!" He made me giggle lots. We were also, however, standing near more pot-smoking assholes. I'm carrying mace the next time I go to a concert. Anyway, since I was getting dizzy and headachey, and Ahna wasn't doing so well either, we decided to go sit down like old people.

Up next were The Killers who were OMFG excellent! They had great stage presence, they rocked hard, they had nice jackets, I can't say enough good things about them. I need to get their album. Need.

After that was Franz Ferdinand, who were, if possible, even more excellent than when we saw them at EndFest. They seemed more confident and polished this time. Best performance of the night. The crowd went nuts for Take Me Out -- the half of the crowd nearest the stage were jumping up and down. So great. There's something about this fresh-faced British foursome that puts me in mind of Beatles concert footages.

Finally came Modest Mouse. I like them well enough, but I'm not at all sure why they were last. They sound like they're playing underwater, and I mean that in a good way, but they really brought the energy of the evening waaaay doooown after FF, despite the surprise guest appearance by -- the Sonics' sasquatch mascot. (WTF? WTFF?) Also, aside from the low energy, their set just seemed really sloppy, with long unstructured pauses between songs. A good chunk of the crowd left during their set, including, eventually, us, once we realized a.) we'd heard our favorite Modest Mouse songs and b.) we were slowly starving to death. So we ended our evening with a trip to Minnie's, which was right near where we'd parked anyway.

In all -- not a bad birthday present. Thanks, Ahna!

Endings.

Nov. 1st, 2004 09:00 pm
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Another Halloween come and gone. The one day I wait for all year, the day when the world makes sense to me and looks like somewhere I'd feel at home, over and done with, and in its place, suddenly winter. It feels that way, at least. This is when my year ends, spring forward and fall back and you can't catch yourself to keep from falling, one hour sooner into darker nights. Pull down the strings of orange lights, put the skeletons back in your closet; the world is winding clockwork down.

Near my work, the little convenience store and its strange tiny food court where I've had so many lunches the past few months is gone now. The coffee stand in it had closed the week before, and today I found the rest of it shut and fenced off.

I suppose it doesn't matter:

I won't have a job after this Friday anyway.

I can't be too surprised, or even that upset -- the political campaign my employer was building a site for doesn't want to keep paying for development after election day, which makes sense. It's been fun, the money's been good (although I haven't saved enough of it), and I finally have more recent webdev experience, so it shouldn't be that hard to get another job. I hope not, at least.

Tomorrow, I hope -- and I hope this so fervently my stomach is in knots -- something else will be ending: four years of terrifying misrule. I wish I were sure how this would turn out. Every time I let myself hope for something better, I can't help but feel that rush of dread. Spring forward, fall back.

The world is ending around me. But the world ends all the time, and there will be another one in a minute.

I know this. Sitting out in the cold the other night, conspiratorially close, watching the shadow of the world steal the moon from the sky with my [livejournal.com profile] windbourne, I knew the moon would come back.

And it did, brighter than anything, its midnight light filling the courtyard outside with white like a blanket of snow on the ground as we made our way to bed.

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