Jessamyn is in...|
15feb... jeremy deadline
22feb... cahsee cert.
10mar... AmLib deadline
01apr... RefLib deadline
26feb03 . . . .
road trip to richland
So Greg headed back to Vermont on Monday and I spent the rest of that day and yesterday just sort of staring dully at my screen, or my lunch, or my book, or whatever. Greg and I seem to have turned a corner because we no longer sit around fixing each other's computers when we visit, we mostly get out and do stuff. So we went to Dick's and rode the ferry and walked around Seward Park and made waffles for friends and ate out and ate in and generally had a really relaxing time, which I think startled both of us. Now that we both know we will be living together in the Summer, there's not so much of a frenzy to pack in
as much quality time as we can during each visit.
Now I'm back fixing stuff, making granola [trick: add a bit of orange juice to maple-almond granola tasty!] and learning more CSS for the website-for-food job I have going on. Tomorrow Jish and I embark on a cross-Washington adventure, heading to Richland, for him to go to some big biotech or government something or other and for me to go to the library and keep him company on the long-as-hell drive. I like Jish a bunch but have never spent more than a few hours chitchatting at a bar with him so getting out on the open road should be fun. This all started because I went to a Seattle Webloggers get-together last night and he was there lamenting his long trip. I met a few people I didn't know, and hung out with some people who I've known since the first blogger get together I can remember, about three years ago. I really like getting to hang out with the online crowd in person both because I think people are generally more interesting in person and it's good to have people to talk to about things like Web standards, dorky CSS problems and tech conferences without watching people's eyes roll up or being called a nerd. Not like I'm not a nerd, but where I'm from, it's not a term of derision.
I just realized, post-upload, that I seem to be fixated on the expression "turned a corner." While I think in general that this can only be the good news, the mania inspired by all this frenetic corner-turning is making me into a bit of a sloppy storyteller with a lazy lexicon. I'll go read the New Yorker and beef up on new words. My apologies.
19feb03 . . . .
I frequently wonder if I am doing enough. In a general sense -- am I doing enough to find a job? to stop the war? to stay in shape? to listen to my friends? -- as well as in specific -- did I proofread enough? is this built well enough? am I reading closely enough? You can imagine that this leaves me somewhat tuckered out at the end of a given day. This is at its worst in February when my pseudo-perfectionism [I ask all these questions, but I usually also answer "yes!" to them] butts up against the abject laziness brought on by short days, bad food, and useless moping. I feel like I have turned a corner this week where sitting on my ass and gazing out the windows at the overcast and uninviting Outside is no longer any fun. There is a return of energy and a filling up of my calendar. I generally attribute this, when it happens, to Other People, but I think this has as much to do with me as it does with them. I usally refer to these corner-turns as having a "where's my pants" kind of day.
16feb03 . . . .
Okay, I am really tired of poetry today for reasons that I will explain more at a future date. Suffice to say for now that I went to a Poets Against the War dinner last night, it was lovely, people were nice, and Sam Hamill is a prince. Then I decided I didn't really feel comfortable there, and I'm now sure if I want to keep working for the project. While l generally don't like it when people tell half [or less] of a story on their website, or use it as a special place for inside jokes with friends who are clearly not me, this will have to stay in the "wait a bit" category while I puzzle it out.
I may have just been all emotional because I spent most of yesterday involved in the largest peace march in Seattle's history. It was peaceful, creative, tiring and inspiring. I am happy I went, I am sorry if you missed it. Here are a few pictures, not many though because Dawn took all the good ones. When I rendezvous with her I will try to borrow her pictures. My pictures of Portland, my valentines and some household lint are all available in this series as well. I am not kidding about the lint.
Greg shows up on Wednesday night. You remember Greg, the boyfriend I haven't seen since November? I have been saying this a lot lately so I figure I may as well say it here as well... People ask me often, since I can be such a curmudgeon, what it is about Greg that I like the best, or what makes us compatible, or whatever. I figure this is their nice way of saying "You seem like such a hardass, how did you find a boyfriend who can stand you?" or something similar. The answer, as near as I can figure, is that besides having a lot in common in terms of likes and dislikes [if not temperament] neither of us is totally het up to be in a relationship. And by that I mean if I wasn't with Greg, I don't think I would be with anyone, and I think the same is true for him. This may sound like lukewarm praise, but put another way: it is only the fact that Greg is the special someone that he is that makes me even consider being in a relationship with anyone, at all. This is what enables us to be apart for long periods of time, since we both need a lot of down time and we both have lots of projects we're working on, not all of which are good team opportunities. We both agreee that watching somone type is not that much fun. Of course, I toss most of this pontificating out the window when we're due to see each other again and I miss him as if he were my long lost twin. This is also my way of saying I may be a bit scarce next week and weekend, but it's for every good reason.
13feb03 . . . .
reed, read, red
Okay, I'm a little tired of poets and poetry today. My mailbox was full of all sorts of good stuff and I think I'm finally out from under the more-expenses-than-income cloud that has been bumming me out somewhat since December. Here is a quote from one of the authors I read recently, about decisiveness and keeping up with the Joneses.
What good is intellect if it leaves us immobile and frozen in indecision? At some point, despite all the other options, you have to commit yourself to a path. Being flexible if fine, it's maybe the greatest talent you can have, but in order to define yourself, you need to pursue your passion. There will always be good reasons not to do something, or to do something else, the world is full of women more beautiful than your wife, you can never choose the best car, there's always a cheaper air fare. What's most important is that you choose and get on with your life.
12feb03 . . . .
Spending money on a SEA - PDX - SEA train ticket is like buying eight hours of peace and quiet in a comfy well-lit room. I got so much reading done, saw a lot of friends, stayed more or less on top of email and the Poet Project, and came home to at least one paycheck that had previously been delayed due to "clerical errors" -- at least two more are still outstanding. And, I saw the world's smallest city park and found a weird rare Jessamyn West book that I had never seen before. Both of these last two things were within ten blocks of each other. Portland is a wonderful place.
08feb03 . . . .
I've been really wrapped up in a few things lately. First I was working, but then once work changed the rules so that they didn't have to pay us if they cancelled our shifts, they started cancelling our shifts. Imagine that. I was supposed to work 45 hours between tomorrow and next Sunday and they cancelled them all. So, I'm going to Portland, early tomorrow and will be there til Wednesday. Write me an email if you want to hang out.
Then, I got involved in this war stuff, or this how much I hate this war stuff. I found myself as a volunteer editor for poets against the war which is a neat little endeavor brought about by Laura Bush's disinviting of some poets to the White House. You see they had been invited but once Mrs Bush realized they were going to come with their anti-war agenda, she uninvited them. So, they told friends and got this little web thing going on. There are over 5500 poems submitted so far. I know most of this because Laura Bush was a librarian in a previous life, so you search Google News for Librarian and you get her. Bleah. I review the poems [the ones in J, K and S], make sure they're appropriate, do some minor copy editing and upload them. It's been really amazing. I've seen some great writing, some people I've heard of, and even some family members. It's nice sometimes to have a contradictory or controversial opinion and see it shared by thousands.
And I joined the Web Standards Project, but more on that when I've caught up on the mailing list.
Now I'm running off to Portland, my fourth or fifth home, to hang out with librarians and artists and work on revisions to my second article about the PATRIOT Act. The great thing about working for anarchist/decentralist/anti-capitalist papers, is they don't hold you up too much about copyright. They just want the news out there. So do I.
05feb03 . . . .
secretly I am a very nerdy person
I went to see William Gibson last night. He read from his new book which I had been lucky enough to have already read due to friends with bookstore connections. It was a reading unlike any I had been to in a while, for a few reasons. First, I knew a ton of people there. Almost all the guys from Bloodhag were there, plus some other weblogger friends who I don't see nearly enough, plus more random people I know from around town. Secondly, Gibson is poised and interesting. He's a good reader, he's used to crowds, and he tells funny stories and deftly answers even the most stupid questions. I am always happy when I see writers treating the peanut galleries that show up at these things with respect. I mean, it's sort of wry and hip to be snarky when the hundredth person asks you where you get your ideas, but it takes a special talent to answer that question in a way that is not only interesting for you, but interesting for your audience. Everyone feels richer for the experience. Gibson had that kind of class.
And, third, speaking of dumb question askers, I asked Gibson a question of my own, one I had been dying to ask him since I learned he was reading. He recently started a weblog, and has been updating it with some regularity. I asked him what he felt the differences were between publishing frequently and unedited on the web, versus publishing less often, behind an editor, in print. He said that basically, he does a lot more editing when he writes for the web since he doesn't have the time to work through his normal editing process which involves stepping away from the work for a bit and the going back and looking at it with new eyes. He also said [among other things I have forgotten because I was just sort of dazed that he was talking to me] that writing for the web seems to fulfill some sort of writing urge for him and if he's working on his weblog all the time, he doesn't write fiction. And he prioritizes his fiction. So, in his words: "I'd rather you guys get another book than three years of weblog" So maybe you need to catch the blog while you can.
Since I didn't want to be a complete dork I didn't ask all the other questions I am usually curious about with well-known people who have parts of their lives online, such as "Why are you doing this?" "Was this your idea or your publisher's?" "Do you feel weird about giving people a place to visit you and then not being there much?" that sort of thing. I noticed that the site is registered by these people who seem to provide this service for a lot of authors. Even though I write a lot, I have a hard time even imagining letting my employer have any say over my online image or presentation. But I'm sort of a control freak that way. I wonder what it must be like, looking at yourself online through the eyes of your employer?
03feb03 . . . .
Actually, the plumber came out one more time to deal with the four feet of ice that were clogging the sewer line, but now everything is fine, really.
Since February can't really be any worse than January, I am optimistic. Already great things are afoot. Greg got accepted to Vermont Law School which means that I probably don't have to make the tough choice between three more years of a long distance relationship or moving to Wiconsin. I have work for most of this month, scoring tests and reading the innermost thoughts of high school students [the most interesting building in Compton, according to high schoolers, is the Courthouse, this beats out some towns where the most interesting building is Wal-Mart] and I planned my next trip to San Francisco, to do more cat sitting for my friends going to SXSW and see some of the people I didn't see last time due to work and helping out my friend with the broken face.
This weekend I finally felt like I was over my Winter torpor. I got out and did some stuff: went out for drinks, got a blank photo album and filled it with pictures, went for walks in Capitol Hill, talked to my family, got some exercise, read some books. I have felt completely adrift for weeks, partially due to my crazy not-put-together house [now mostly fixed] and partly due to lack of sunlight and distance from my increasingly familiar Vermont life. Usually when I get back to Seattle I ask myself why I ever left. This time I remember why I left. I'm not at all unhappy in Seattle, it's just seeming more and more alien to me lately. I'll wait and see if I still feel this way once the sun comes out.