MMVIII.

Dec. 31st, 2008 04:52 pm
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This was .... a hell of a year, really.

I left a job that was slowly killing me even though I had no fallback plan for it. I was more broke than I've ever been, getting by on ramen and peanut butter sandwiches. I put together a spiffy redesign of webmutant and starting shopping my resume around, and now I'm paid quite well at a job I really enjoy.

They turned on the proton beam in the Large Hadron Collider, and the world didn't end. An exploding star halfway across the visible universe became the farthest known object ever visible to the naked eye. The SpaceX Falcon 1 was the first privately-developed spaceship to make orbit, and India launched Chandrayaan-1 to the moon. A woman in Spain became the first person to have a successful trachea transplant with a lab-grown replacement. We found snow, real snow, falling on Mars.

We lost George Carlin. And Gary Gygax and Edmund Hillary and Heath Ledger, Arthur C. Clarke and Forrest J. Ackerman and Stan Winston. And Boeing Surplus.

I had my first migraine. That's a club I was perfectly happy not being a member of,

The Merchants of Deva had to cancel our annual party at Norwescon, thanks to untenable new rules and regulations at the hotel. I joined the committee for Steamcon, and made it to an Orycon for the first time in years; it was pretty laid-back and uneventful, but it was nice to have a room at a con for just me and Ahna for a change.

I started using the jQuery Javascript library, and it finally made coding Javascript fun and easy.

I finally got to go to Florida for Halloween Horror Nights, and I got to take [livejournal.com profile] windbourne with me, and we went to DisneyWorld and Epcot while we were at it. I fell asleep on the plane and woke up to find my fear of flying was suddenly, inexplicably gone.

We saw Avenue Q and Phantom. And I saw English Beat, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Goldfrapp, Cold War Kids, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, Vixy and Tony and Tricky Pixie (about a million times), and probably some other bands I'm forgetting. David Tennant announced he was leaving Doctor Who. Steven Moffat was tapped to be the new head writer, which I couldn't be happier about.

.... I got published. I have a story in a book, from a real publisher, a real book I can take down off the shelf and hold in my hands. And best of all, it's a Doctor Who book -- I'm finally, really genuinely a part of my favorite thing in the world. A small part, a footnote of a footnote, but still.

I bought myself a completely adorable little laptop. Used it to finish revisions on my fan-film script, write a new story for Halloween, enjoy having wireless Internet access practically everywhere I went, and now I've fried it stone dead. A short in either the power supply or the motherboard, most likely.

I put together lots of props for the Mercury's Doctor Who night, and everyone's amazed and delighted expressions made all the work totally worth it. That same weekend, my condo burst a pipe and had a terrible flood, and I've been living with a bare concrete floor in my dining room ever since.

The price of petroleum hit $100 per barrel for the first time, this year. Gas reached $4.00 a gallon. Our economy tanked, taking everyone else with it, but at least that brought oil crashing back down to $40 a barrel. Seattle was crippled by the most massive snowstorm in years.

I wasted hours and days of my life on someone I thought was one of my best friends, who turned out not to really be a friend at all. It's the first time I've ever had to explicitly tell someone I was done with them, and the first relationship of any kind I've looked back on with the sense that it was all just -- pointless. I let a lot of my other friendships fade during this time, and I wish to God I could just have that time back again.

I donated money to a political campaign for the first time in my life. I watched in horror as John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, the most calculated and cynical and anti-intellectual such choice I've ever seen, and even deeper horror as so many voters seemed to take her seriously. And then Barack Obama was elected, the country finally waking up from one long post-9/11 nightmare of hate and fear and choosing love and hope instead. Barack Obama didn't get the country to just believe in him -- he gave us a chance to believe in ourselves again.

I literally danced in the streets that night, with thousands of people, thousands, who could finally believe in their country again, who were laughing and crying and cheering and everyone was a friend, that night. It felt like we'd won a revolution without ever having to fire a single shot. It was, honestly, the most joyful and meaningful and profound night of my life and I will never forget it, not ever.

We reached the deep minimum of a long solar cycle, but after a slow start, it looks like Solar Cycle 24 is finally beginning. Maybe the future will be a little brighter.

You've been -- interesting, 2008, I'll give you that. Still, I won't be sorry to see you go tonight. Even if you do cling to life for one extra second.
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Oh, say, what day is it -- ? That's right, it's Tuesday. I haven't done this for months and months, but -- it's time once again for Tunes for Tuesday!

See, at the Fremont Fair, Torrey and Arthur and I were walking by the stage where We Wrote the Book on Connectors were playing, and we ended up turning right around, coming back, and staying through the entire rest of the set. They were entirely fun and awesome.

If you ever listened to They Might Be Giants and thought to yourself, "gosh, they're fun and all, but I really wish they were a pop-punk band instead," then this is probably the band for you.

Their MP3s don't quite capture the energy of their live performance -- but then again, whose do? They're still worth checking out anyway. Start with these:

Floodland.

Dec. 3rd, 2007 03:58 pm
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Nice try, weather, but you're going to have to come up with at least a tornado if you think you're stopping me from seeing Van Halen tonight.

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.

DEVO.

Sep. 11th, 2006 01:27 pm
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There was this friend I had in college. I went to college early, as did he, part of the same program; we met there.

I was -- and I realize I may stretch your credulity a little -- a sweet kid. Genuinely, I was, at fifteen. Boisterous and arrogant, sure. But sweet: clean-cut and naive. Sheltered, really, is the word I'm looking for, here.

This friend of mine was not. He was lightning-clever, manic, cynical. He introduced me to all kinds of things that, at the time, I thought were way out there and more than a little frightening. I had no idea he was giving me the tools I needed to survive the twentieth century. The Sex Pistols. Repo Man. Robert Anton Wilson. The Church of the Subgenius.

The most important of these was DEVO.

---

DEVO saw it all coming. They had seen the future -- they knew it was going to be shiny and bright and plastic and that it was going to suck. De-evolution: everything getting stupider. They looked into the abyss and instead of trying to escape it, they took a running jump and took us all with them, deconstructing pop music and everything else they touched. It was a sound from somewhere maybe just twenty minutes into the future, after the bomb had dropped and we were smiling mutants all. We were all doomed. And it was funny.

The bomb never came. But DEVO was right.

---

I betrayed my friend, eventually. I didn't mean to, is my cry and excuse, but it hardly matters.

There was a girl, someone I knew. I was surprised and delighted to find out that she was spending a lot of time with this old friend of mine, that it looked like they'd probably be dating soon. She wanted to know all about him.

I told her a few things about him that, to me, were just interesting, colorful background information. Things that, if I'd thought about it, I might well have realized he'd rather have kept secret.

He never spoke to me again, after that. I don't suppose he ever will.

---

DEVO performed at the Paramount here in Seattle, on Saturday night, one of only six stops in this entire tour. I never thought I was going to be able to see them live. [livejournal.com profile] retcon got us tickets, for which I'm insanely grateful.

I danced. I never dance at concerts.

They were great. Such high energy. At one point they were throwing energy domes into the audience. I want one so bad.

One of their trademark songs has the refrain, "Are we not men? We are DEVO!" At one point, they turned that into call-and-response with the audience. "Are we not men?" the band asked, and "We are DEVO!" the audience screamed back.

I was completely blown away by that -- by the band sharing their energy, their name, their identity, with everyone there. I'd misunderstood that song all these years -- they are not DEVO -- we are DEVO, all of us. Of course.

---

I don't know if my old, mad, brilliant, lost friend was there that night. But I hope he was.

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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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.

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!

Concerts.

Aug. 20th, 2004 02:31 am
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Seems like [livejournal.com profile] windbourne and I are going to a lot of concerts lately. Okay, sure, we're getting "An Evening With The Cure" instead of the scheduled Curiosa festival, but we were mainly going for the sake of seeing The Cure anyway, and we had managed to score cheap tickets, too, so we're perfectly content. And besides, we're going to EndFest anyway, so we'll still get the whole great-big-show-with-lotsa-bands thing. 'Sall good.

(Speaking of The Cure, the Weekly's review of the new album is one great big neon what the fuck? Seriously.)

Last night's show -- I haven't slept yet, so Wednesday is still "last night" to me -- was frickin' awesome. Last night we went to see Monsters of Accordion. Yes, you read that correctly.

Daniel Ari, Aaron Seeman, and Jason Webley were each quite entertaining. We were mainly there to see Jason Webley, whom [livejournal.com profile] windbourne had seen before, but I have to admit that Aaron Seeman was my favorite. Have you ever seen anyone do dead-on Dead Kennedys covers on an accordion? No. No, you haven't. But now we have. And our lives are somehow a little more complete.

Talking.

Nov. 15th, 2001 04:34 pm
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I've been doing a lot of it this week.

Saturday I saw [livejournal.com profile] 01flux and had my first chance to have an actual conversation with her; that went well.

Wandered around my apartment Saturday night in an epiphanic state, what you might call a Moment of Clarity. I tend to spend a lot of time -- too much -- thinking about other people, my friends and loved ones, and what they need. I suddenly found myself laser-focused on what I need, who I am, and what I needed right then was to dress up pretty and go out to the club, so I did. Ran into [livejournal.com profile] kespernorth on my way out, so I hung around a while longer and talked with him. I wasn't sure he'd be happy to see me, actually, but he was. I'm glad I ran into him and I'm glad we're still friends.

Saw [livejournal.com profile] wendolen on Sunday night and we had a lovely dinner out together that was, perhaps remarkably, free from any bullshit and drama, either on her part or mine. Had a chance to talk out with her some things that had been bothering me, talk about where we were going and what I wanted. It was a wonderfully blunt and honest and cheerful conversation, and I didn't spend it trying to be careful and gentle and boxing myself in. I just laid what I had on the table without being afraid I was going to hurt her or scare her away.

After dinner, I went over to [livejournal.com profile] retcon's apartment and proceeded to have a seven-hour conversation about, well, everything, really. I don't think we've ever had a conversation that was that emotionally open and honest. (As he said at a couple of points, "I don't get it -- we haven't even been drinking!") Left his apartment, came home, and got to bed at, oh, around six o'clock in the goddamn morning.

Got a call from [livejournal.com profile] greenwood on Tuesday telling me that she'd managed to get me a ticket to go see Midnight Oil (who are, in case you didn't know, one of the best goddamn rock and roll bands in the world). She knew I wanted to go, and she also knew I couldn't afford it, so she'd snagged me an early birthday present. Dude. I knew C-ko was cool, but I had no idea she was this cool. (I also didn't know she was such an operator. She had arranged to buy a ticket from someone; had a backup plan to buy a ticket from someone else if that fell through, and in the end, managed to score a free ticket off of yet someone else.)

We got separated at the concert, but I ran into Genevieve Williams, local music writer and drummer for the excellent local band Murder of Crows, and had a good time talking to her before the show started.

The opening act was a solo performer named Bleu, and I really enjoyed his work. It made me miss wendolen, because I thought she'd like him, and because I realized that I probably wouldn't have liked him if it hadn't been for wendolen's influences on my musical tastes. I was surprised I liked him as much as I did, anyway -- I'm usually predisposed to dislike opening acts, as I feel that they're there for no other reason than to waste my time until the band I came to see actually performs.

Speaking of whom, Midnight Oil were, of course, excellent. They have a hell of a lot of energy and stage presence and their music was great live. Unfortunately, before their set was even halfway over, I started feeling dizzy, hot, overcrowded, overwhelmed by the volume -- C-ko had even thoughtfully brought me earplugs, but I just can't stand them, and the sound was just pounding right into my skull anyway. I needed to go home and I felt miserable and old for reaching that conclusion, but at least I got to hear "Blue Sky Mine", my favorite song of theirs. I sent C-ko mail when I got home, apologizing for running out on her.

Made the mistake of while I was out before the concert of looking at a U.S. map the Pike Brewery has up on its wall, with the thought, "Gosh, where exactly is Austin, Texas -- ?" So I got to see just exactly how far away [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf is right now. *sigh* I miss her terribly.

She called me this morning, though, which was really nice. Even if she did call me with the news that Austin is currently experiencing its worst flooding in twenty years. Oh, well -- at least the part of Austin they're in seems to be safe from the tornadoes. I wish I was making that part up.

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