MMVIII.

Dec. 31st, 2008 04:52 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
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.

Carlin.

Jun. 23rd, 2008 01:56 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)

So George Carlin has died.  As much as I loved the man's work, as much as it shaped my sense of humor and general worldview, I can't honestly be sad about it.  Not sad for him, at any rate; sad for us, sure.

Watching his act in recent years, he seemed perfectly aware of his mortality and he seemed perfectly fine with being on his way out -- that he was taking a strange, dark glee in watching us fuck up our society and our environment more and more and knowing that he wasn't going to have to be around to see the worst of it.  It was misanthropy, but also a weirdly fond, loving misanthropy.  

I can't quite explain it.  You should just watch some of his material and see what I mean.  But wherever he is now, I can't imagine he's sad to be gone -- I think he's going to be happy to just sit back and laugh at us.  And I can't blame him for that.

Thank you, Mr. Carlin, for all the times you've made me laugh, and for teaching me that hating humanity and loving it in equal measure was possible.

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.

No.

Feb. 20th, 2005 10:20 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
No, dammit. Hunter, you selfish bastard. We still needed you. More than ever.

Fading.

Jun. 5th, 2004 02:09 pm
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For one long and terrible second yesterday, I could not remember Jeanette's eyes. What color they were. Not at all.

I remembered, then, and the rush of memory was like the breath a diver takes after surfacing. Blue, blue and bright and sharp, like the last clear sky before the first frost.

I have to write it down. Oh, god, I have to write everything down.

(all of these moments will be lost in time like tears in rain)

Sunlight.

Jan. 19th, 2004 05:12 pm
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Went to Rustycon this past Saturday, for the sake of going to [livejournal.com profile] songhawk's memorial. The con was pretty sparsely attended, and the people who were there were, the vast majority of them, exactly the kind of people in fandom who set my teeth on edge. The memorial went better than I expected, though. Lot of fond stories and laughter.

Let's see, what else --

I got a huge ticket the other day for doing a U-turn off of a freeway on-ramp in the middle of the night; life without Net access has been easier to bear than I thought it would be; the new manager at JoAnn Fabrics has been a real bitch to me, and treebyleaf is quitting because of it, but personally I'm too damn mannerpunk to let the manager think she's worth quitting over; I'm not getting nearly enough hours and am back to being terrified about money all the time.

Went for a walk around Greenlake today. Dark clouds in the distance were threatening rain, but they never came near. All the trees are windblasted and skeletal still, but they look like they're starting to reach upward toward the sun. There was a scent on the wind I couldn't name, but it was fresh and bright.

For the first time in months, I believed Spring will someday come again.

Jeanette.

Dec. 24th, 2003 01:52 pm
icebluenothing: (xmas)
The gifts are all bought and made and waiting to be wrapped. I see my family in just a few hours. I've been downloading and listening to my essential Christmas music -- Crosby and Bowie's Little Drummer Boy, Christmas Wrapping, Fairytale of New York.

But I don't think Christmas is coming.

I haven't been able to write about this yet. Now I have to.

---

I saw an old friend the other day, one of my best. Corey Holmes. I hadn't seen her in about thirteen, fourteen years. She came through my line at work and lit up when she recognized me.

I had to ruin the moment, of course. It was necessary, turning that beautiful look of pure joy to one of horror in seconds.

I had to tell her Jeanette was dead.

---

Do you remember your first kiss?

No, think back -- do you really remember it? Do you remember where you were, how you were standing, if they closed their eyes, the angle of your two bodies intersecting. The color and quality of the light. The scent of their body, the taste on your lips?

I do. It was more than half my life ago. It could have been yesterday.

I was madly in love with [livejournal.com profile] songhawk once, when we were little better than children, and I remember that kiss and all the breathless stolen moments that followed.

I threw her away, one day, for the sake of someone I thought I loved better. I didn't know anything.

We never would have made it. I know that. Several people have told me that over the years, not least of all Jeanette herself, for all kinds of reasons, not the least of them being her devotion to Christ and my agnosticism. And I can't regret the loves we each found in our lives. But leaving her was a mistake, and I couldn't help but wonder sometimes, if I had my life to live over --

I don't know. I still don't know anything.

---

She was supposed to be home soon. She'd moved to Texas, for the sake of her husband and child, but was supposed to be home for Christmas, you see.

She'd always been asthmatic. When flu turned to pneumonia, it took her down in a day. They had her on an artificial lung, and they restarted her heart twice, but. She died on Tuesday, December 16th, at four in the morning, before her mother could reach her to say goodbye.

---

I don't have any of her letters. I gave them up a couple of years ago. She had terrible handwriting, you see. Only wrote in pencil, when we were teenagers. So these letters, folded and kept, had faded to illegibility, so I reluctantly got rid of them. I shrugged it off at the time; it didn't matter. I was more interested in our future as friends than I was in our past.

Now our past is all I have, and I went through my keepsakes looking to see if there was anything, a note, a scrap, I might have overlooked, any piece of paper that might remember the touch of her hand the way my skin does. There wasn't anything.

There were pictures. Too few of them, but there were pictures, back from when it was always springtime. There's one in particular, precious and clear, of the two of us looking into each other's eyes as if there isn't anything else in the world.

I thought of scanning it in so you could see it.

But I'm not going to. It's mine.

---

At her going-away party, before she left for Texas, I had the weirdest feeling, in the back of my mind, like I wasn't going to see her again.

I ignored it. I was being ridiculous -- of course she'd come back up here for a visit, or I'd go down there someday. Something.

No more somedays. But I look back on that going-away party, and I can't think of anything I wish I'd done or said different. Maybe hugged her a little longer.

I could have been a better friend to her, I suppose, over the years. Spent more time with her. But there's nothing we left unsaid. I'm grateful for that.

---

The past week has been strange. I've curled up crying at no provocation; I've forced a smile on my face for my job; I've screamed out my anger at God; I was out with friends at the club on Friday and drank and laughed and kissed all the pretty girls, and oh, how I needed it. Every little moment seems knife-edge important. And I suppose it is.

Yesterday was good. Yesterday I arranged with Corey to get together with me and [livejournal.com profile] kickaha, someone else who'd been wondering for years what the hell ever happened to her. I didn't tell him who we were meeting. It was a surprise, a gift, maybe the best one I'll give this year.

But today Christmas is really here, and I don't want it. Jeanette was going to be home for Christmas. This can't be it.

---

There must have been a last kiss. I don't remember it.

---

At the end of Little Drummer Boy, Bing Crosby says to David Bowie, "It's a pretty thing, isn't it?"

Thank you, God, or whoever's listening. Thank you for all the pretty things.

Bubbles.

Feb. 1st, 2003 07:50 pm
icebluenothing: (Default)
Today:

Gray skies and clouds gave way to blue and white late in the afternoon, so I decided to take my bike out for the first time since I got back. I tore the place apart looking for my bicycling gloves, then finally remembered that I'd left them in the truck's glove compartment so I wouldn't have to go through this any more. Set out later than I'd like, the sun low in the sky, and I was worried I'd be cold, but it was all worth it. I'd forgotten how good it feels to be out on the bike, even though it's hard work.

Halfway around the lake, I saw that Garry Golightly, the Bubble Man, had gathered a small crowd of children with his act, sending huge frothy clouds of bubbles into the air for them to run and catch. I needed to rest anyway, so I stopped to watch, to listen to what he was telling them:

"Okay, now, do you want to see the biggest bubbles ever? Okay, now, we're going to blow seven huge bubbles, all right? Seven bubbles for the seven astronauts."

I watched each one, impossibly huge, three or four feet across, waver and twist and struggle to stay aloft. Thin and translucent and more delicate than the most finely spun glass, each one reflected the world in dozens of rainbow shades, in a brightslick oil-on-a-puddle sheen; ephemeral dreams of flight and escape.

They only lasted for moments, of course. That's what bubbles do -- they're not meant to last.

But still. They're worth having, aren't they?

---

Gung hey fat choy, everyone. I'm sorry I've been keeping you all waiting; I'll take you to Tomorrowland next, I promise.

Airport.

Oct. 26th, 2002 06:56 am
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Gosh, I must really love [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf. I can't imagine what else would get me out of bed at 4:50AM. But I couldn't countenance the idea of her taking a bus all the way out to the airport, what with how cold and foggy it's been lately.

I'm still startled at how time-efficient my thinking was when I first woke up. Turn on the oven for tree's breakfast, set up your coffee press, then shower .... I kind of wondered where in my mind these logical directives were coming from.

We'd had a good night the night before. I hadn't really been expecting that. I'd taken her to work yesterday morning, and got to see her "work-inappropriate" costume. "Adorable" isn't exactly how I would have described my reaction to it; my reaction would be, well, unprintable in a family publication, really. Wow.

I was expecting her to be tired and unhappy last night, but we had a nice dinner together, and I showed her how I made my comic and she helped me design even more characters; later we had a great conversation about the distinction between thrillers and horror, and I wish I had a transcript of it.

It was a good night; sheltered safe in the harbor of sheer denial, really. After a pleasant drive to the airport (always nice to drive on the freeway with no traffic), I dropped her at the entrance and watched her denial crack and fall away, as she headed off for the funeral.

Graveyard.

Jun. 5th, 2002 03:01 pm
icebluenothing: (card)
A dear friend of mine just wrote: "Nothing in my life is the same as it was a year ago. It feels like some one has died."

I'm not sure if I should say to her: someone has died. The person she used to be.

I should know. I carry a graveyard in my heart, and I visit it some nights when there's no one else around. Let me show you.

See, over here, by the shade of this pond, there's the grave with its marker, "Gifted Child." That one was loved by all, but it had to do what all gifted children have to do, eventually; it had to go and grow up. We'll favor this grave with a solemn nod and move on.

There's an open grave, here near the entrance, waiting, death date not filled in yet, inscription unclear and I don't want to read it: I'm a little afraid that it might simply say, "Professional Web Developer," and I'm not looking forward to that funeral.

Let's keep going. Here's another one, an older one: "The Fan." This is the one who ran fan clubs and conventions and live-action games and turned away from the wide world so he could thrive in a smaller one, and he passed on when he finally took to heart what he knew all along -- that his gods and heroes, the special dreamers who made the special dreams he loved, were just bastards doing it all for money just like the rest of us.

Pardon me, please, for my moment of awkward silence at the graves of The Twins. I always feel this way, staring down at them -- the long-lived "Renée's Lover" and the almost stillborn "Renée's Husband." These two I don't understand, and maybe I never will.

What? No, we're not going over there, not to the center of the graveyard, not to the mausoleum. I won't tell you who's buried there -- I don't know you well enough, not yet. I'll only tell you this much: some of the selves lying here died of natural causes, and some the world killed. But the one who lies in that grave -- one fine terrible night, I killed him myself. I did it with these two hands. Can you still see the blood? It's all right if you can't. I can, and that's what matters.

It's all right if you want to leave now. I can stay here by myself.

I do, some nights. I stay for hours, and I'll drink until the names on the graves shift in my blurring sight, and I'll stare at them and wonder. What better use they would have made of the life I have now, if they'd lived.

And that's all right. It's all right to come here sometimes, and mourn.

But there's a secret.

The secret is -- After the night, after the mourning, comes dawn. The secret is -- you can walk out of here any time you like. And you do, and you keep going. Because there's always a road that leads out of here, and a rising sun to follow.

icebluenothing: (Default)
I knew [livejournal.com profile] tenashachor through the Seagoth community; he was coming into it as I was drifting out, during the time the community stopped centering around a mailing list and started to revolve around a web board. I never really got into the web board, but Ten did, and he became one of its most active and widely-known members. Seeing him always made me feel a little strange and wistful; he was one of the New People, one of the people I felt a little estranged from as the community shifted and moved on, but still someone I liked and wanted to spend more time with. I never got to know him. I wanted to. I always assumed, I guess, that there would be time enough to.

There wasn't. I found out today that Ten has died. Complications related to diabetes, the early reports say, although those reports are a little uncertain and confused.

I never got to know him. But I've been crying over the loss all day. A little surprised to learn that my heart counted him as a Friend.

I've often thought that he was the best of us. I really did. He thought of himself as our Protector, and he meant it; he refused to let any of the Seagoths, and of his extended chosen family, go hungry or unhelped, if there was anything he could do about it. He was often abrasive, aggressive, cocksure, but under it all was an unmistakable wellspring of boundless love and compassion.

He had been through so much, but I never saw him feeling sorry for himself. He was filled with life and fun and never seemed afraid of appearing childish. I'm always going to treasure the memory of him out at the Mercury with a collection of green plastic army men, at play among the fashionable and pretentious, staging battles between tables and urging all around him to join in.

He can't be just gone. He can't. I'm very angry tonight, angry at God and the world for being like this.

Our Protector is gone. We'll have to look after each other, now.

Courtney.

Oct. 13th, 2001 04:39 pm
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I met Courtney once, briefly. She was [livejournal.com profile] wendolen's cousin, and I met her when we went to visit wendolen's grandfather when he was sick and dying. I don't believe we exchanged any words beyond "hello" and now we never will. I attended her funeral on Saturday, the 6th of October. She was twenty years old.

I'm not clear on just what killed her. I believe there were complications with her pregnancy. I know she needed a heart transplant. I know she spent months in therapy, months hooked to machines, months slowly giving up.

Oh, that's right -- I'm not supposed to talk about that part, am I?

Read more... )

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Born Florence Mary Lewis, on July 31, 1924, in the town of Lymn in England. She was a sickly child, as weak and little as a "fourpenny bunny," she was called.

She grew up to marry Jack Snowball, my mother's only brother, in 1945. He came to America -- I don't remember the date, but it must have been in the late seventies -- and she soon followed him here, and they were together here until Jack's death from lung cancer in 1981.

She died on September 28th of this year, 2001. She went quietly at 10:45 AM, after a coma that had lasted for 36 hours. Lung cancer had claimed her as well.

I do not miss her.

Read more... )

icebluenothing: (Default)
I go to a funeral on Friday.

Then I go to another one the next day.

Riff and [livejournal.com profile] treebyleaf's 8th anniversary is on Sunday.

There isn't enough alcohol in my liquor cabinet. Or in the world, perhaps.

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