jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
So, um, yesterday I bought a bike.

This was not something I'd ever intended to do.

and yet, here we are. )
jazzfish: Two guys with signs: THE END IS NIGH. . . time for tea. (time for tea)
Friday evening I'd intended to meet Emily for dinner at the only source of gator in Vancouver and then catch a music performance. On the way to the restaurant we passed a theatre advertising that this was the last weekend they were showing Angels in America Part 1, and figured we'd go to that instead.

Only, I'd started feeling a little chilled after I left work, and noticed myself drinking a lot of water at dinner and generally feeling kind of ... not really lightheaded, not really spacey, not really achey, but ... feverish. So instead we went home, and Emily finished her sign for the Vancouver Science March ("Be part of the SOLUTION not part of the PRECIPITATE") and I took an hour and a half hot bath.



I woke up the next morning feeling pretty much okay, and saw Emily off into the damp while I waited for Erin. We'd been kicking around the idea of going down to the States this weekend with some other folks, but I think we'd settled on just having a calm couple of days at home.

On the way there I got to experience my first moving vehicle accident. Not very fast moving, but still. Erin had just pulled out to turn left when someone who'd looked like they were turning right didn't.

I've been in several other accidents, from the time when I managed to come to a stop but the person three cars behind me didn't to the time when a concrete pillar at a gas station scooted into the passenger-side of my rental car at five in the morning. There's something different-- more visceral-- about being fully in motion at the time, and also about not being the one driving. Couple days later I'm still occasionally flashing back to the moment of impact, because I happened to be looking in that direction. It's not horrific or frightening, it's more "i can't believe this is actually about to happen."

Erin's car was rendered undriveable: body crunched up, tyre shredded, likely a snapped axle, possibly some engine damage. Probably totaled, since those things will cost more than two grand to fix.

We retreated to the safety of my place, and eventually made our way to Erin's, and the day turned from "quiet relaxing" to "recovery" and then "buying a car." Erin's out of pocket all this week for a school thing, and had been planning on driving her car, with a bunch of her stuff, up north the middle of next week. Which meant that she needed a car, pronto.

So Saturday was spent looking for cars, and on Sunday I rented a car (I'd been planning to anyhow) and we drove up to Squamish to test-drive one, and she ended up buying it. But that still took up much of the day, and much of the rest involved her frantically packing for a week away on a school trip, and then heading out past Maple Ridge for that. Not precisely the restful weekend I'd been hoping for.



Enterprise put me in a Hyundai compact that reminded me a lot of Straylight, my last car. Straylight was a low-riding Saturn coupe that I bought after my previous car caught fire on I-81. It was no hi-performance sports car but it was still fun to drive, and I enjoyed the existence of the trick third door as well. For city-driving or traffic-driving I would have preferred a somewhat more maneuverable Smart; for highways or just point-to-point, Straylight was wonderful.

(When I moved north to the land of carlessness, I sold Straylight to my friend Stephen. I believe it had an unfortunate encounter with a tractor trailer in the Affle House parking lot a few years ago. Sic transit gloria transita.)

By the time I left DC I hated driving, partly because I had to drive to get anywhere but mostly because driving in DC means traffic. Looks like five years was about enough time for that to fade. I genuinely enjoyed driving up and down the Sea-to-Sky. Even the backroads of the camp I left Erin at were kinda fun, though also stressful, due to rain and hunger and uncertainty as to exactly where I was going.

I miss road trips. I miss the freedom of getting anywhere without concern for transit schedules and flaky buses. I miss Straylight. I never thought I'd say that.



At least there was yoga this morning. I feel much better for that.

There's something bubbling under the surface about yoga and about things that make me feel more like me, and how that's changed, but it's not ready yet.
jazzfish: Exit, pursued by a bear (The Winter's Tale III iii)
I'm notoriously bad at determining whether I like doing something, particularly something that's new to me. It took me at least a year before I could say "yeah i like viola," for instance.

bendy )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
It's a bits-and-bobs kind of week.

Spent the last weekend sick with some sort of short-term head cold. This is perhaps the least offensive illness I've ever had: my throat and lymph nodes ached and my head felt vaguely muzzy for a couple of days, but I remained more or less entirely functional. Which is nice. Maybe my immune system's coming back up to snuff.

On Sunday [personal profile] uilos and I had a slowish morning, which was nice. Afterwards we went out for a somewhat errand-y afternoon, full of shipping packages and attempting to sell books and just generally wandering around town a bit on a gorgeous day.

Then come Monday (a BC holiday) Erin took me out for a wander through the Strathcona community garden ("someone put in a garden plot with a sign that had a permit number listed on it, and then more plots appeared, and eventually the city showed up and said 'uh this permit isn't valid,' and then after some discussion they said 'whatever, y'all keep on keeping on'"), which is a pretty great space even in the grip of winter. It's partly hidden by blackberry brambles (used to be much more so, I gather), and has an eclectic mix of herb gardens, garden gardens, orchards, a small lake with water-plants on the edges... Would ramble again.

She also took me to an ice cream place with 238 flavours, which is exactly as overwhelming as you think it is. Chestnut and apple-wasabi and fruits I'd never heard of, chocolate sorbetto and mint cookie dough and a decent cinnamon. And just under a mile from the apartment, which seems potentially dangerous. (I still think of the apartment as "the new place." I suppose that'll change eventually.)

The apartment is slowly starting to look inhabited. Art's going up, the bed in the second bedroom is together, we're down to a very few boxen. We're having folks over this coming Sunday so that's a deadline of sorts for figuring out large-art, I guess.

Work is threatening to be intensely stupid in the near-term, but so far it's only threatening. A terrible customer keeps requesting detailed documentation of a kind that we don't provide, for free. Last month someone finally said "okay, we're gonna write up how much work that will take and how much it'll cost them, and they can either pay up or shut up." We put that together (verdict: roughly nine person-months) and handed it to the appropriate people. Today we've been asked to revisit this estimate, and provide how long it'll take if we all pitch in rather than having just one person. This ... seems ominous. Big customer meeting tomorrow, after which I guess we'll hear whether they pay up or shut up. Hoping desperately for the latter. Harbouring secret thoughts of a career shift, though god only knows to what.

Viola continues. I'm beginning to learn how to shift, which means revisiting how I hold my left hand, which has me feeling again like I have little idea what I'm doing. I am also beginning to develop, mm, not just a sense of musicality (though that too) but the ability to translate that into the sound of the piece I'm playing. I suspect that given time I might actually get to a point where I'm happy with how I sound. Though not for a good long while at this rate... Next October makes three years; I'll re-evaluate then.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
(Written a day late, due to having no internet at home.)

"We did everything I thought we were going to do, and it was still not what I'd expected."

That's not entirely true; we didn't stay up all night to make sure the sun came up. Other than that, though. Seems an accurate abstract for the relationship as a whole.

We did wake around fiveish, and watched the sunrise while pouring an awful lot of orange-blossom honey for a Solstice intention mead. We bottled just shy of twelve gallons of booze and ate olives and drank rose lemonade and talked a great deal about relationships past and future.
We have believed too long
in the impersonal inevitable, but the truth is
the sun does not come up without us;
if the arc bends, it is because hands pull it.
--[personal profile] siderea, "The Longest Night"
In the midst of all the greater awfulness it feels plausible, this year, that the light will come back. Is coming back.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
I'd been invited to an election-watching party but Erin was unexpectedly free, so I spent the evening at home with her instead. Then [personal profile] uilos came home too around nine-thirty, and a differently very nice evening transitioned into a few hours of sleepy snuggly domesticity. That, I am pretty sure, is why I'm on as even a keel as I am.

I remember the aftermath of 2004. I felt angry, betrayed, confused. Today I mostly feel numb. ("You can't /feel/ numb. You can only /be/ numb. Be numb. Be numb.")



My friend [personal profile] tam_nonlinear died last night.

I mean, I don't know how accurate those first two words are. We were friends and her friendship helped me through some very rough patches. She took me to Tribal Cafe, an amazing monthly belly dance show in DC, and introduced me to Avatar: The Last Airbender, and gave me "Thanks, Robert Frost" and "After the Pyre" when I needed them. She was also prickly, and I did a number of insensitive things that upset her, and I don't know if she ever accepted my last apology some years ago. For a year or two I've been torn between writing her to see where we're at, versus leaving her her space.

Her last writing, posted this morning: Sycamore. We do not always get to recover.



Today I pull into myself.

When I reemerge in a day, a week, next year, I want to forge a still safe space and open it to good people. I want to build a thing -- a community -- that increases the kindness in the world. Ideally I'd like for its seeds to spread in some fashion but I suppose that's not necessary. I have very little idea what it would look like; only a sense of ... atmosphere, I guess.

I've been chewing over this idea for months, if not years now. Too, it's perhaps something concrete and useful in a time when there's less hope to go around.

You can't save the world, here, says Erin, just contribute to a little corner of it.

I want to give other people a chance to recover. Maybe that's enough.
jazzfish: a fairy-door in a tree, caption $900/MONTH + UTILITIES (The Vancouver rental market)
... actually not all that many: the end of the VP reunion, [REDACTED] ("it feels like I said 'That mountain over there looks like it's got a nice view' and next thing I know I'm hanging off the back of a motorcycle, whipping along twisty cliffside roads at 150 kph"), and housing. It just seems that way. Sleep will help.

housing )
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
This year we're not really celebrating Canucksgiving. We had a quietish weekend at home, since [personal profile] uilos did *not* fly out to the southern tip of the Outer Banks in a hurricane. I am, however, drinking an Orange Julius in YVR and waiting to board a plane to SFO, and thence to DC for a little over twenty-four hours and then to Martha's Vineyard for the VP reunion.

It's a bit sad to miss out on an opportunity to gorge on good foods in good company, though. [personal profile] uilos is already talking about cooking a turkey for Yanksgiving next month. I am not objecting to this plan in the slightest.

The lack of a big celebratory feast makes the holiday feel smaller, more compact, more personal. I'm okay with that. The couple of things I'm most thankful for are pretty personal too.

There's [personal profile] uilos, obviously. I can say "Graydon has spoiled you for epic fantasy, hasn't he?" and she nods sorrowfully and then we spend the next five minutes talking about whether The March North ought to be labeled Book 0 Of The Commonweal. Such people are to be treasured, and you can't have this one because I found her first. (I mean, unless she decides she wants to.) Also, it is now and not seven years ago, and Now Is Not Then (something that perhaps she realised before I did), and while I wasn't looking we seem to have built ourselves a solid foundation for the next while.
"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."
--Elise Matthessen, "Response ..."
And if Thanksgiving came in mid-September instead of mid-October, there it would have stayed, with probably some added grumbling about things that aren't as bad as I complain about them to be. Instead I get green-haired Erin, and what seems so far to be exactly the right relationship at exactly the right time. Erin, who patiently wormed her way past my defences, who thrives on touch as much as I do, who has become a Significant Presence in my life far faster than I would have ever expected. I am deeply curious to see the shape that this takes as it continues to develop; meanwhile, I'm thankful that someone who meshes so well with my quirks has dropped out of the north and into my life.

(I am not nearly prepared to quote poetry about Erin. I am barely ready to quote poetry to her.)

Happy Thanksgiving, all.
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
Last winter I invested in a decent pair of headphones, on the grounds that if I'm going to be listening to more music I may as well listen to it in comfort. (Audio-Technica ATH-M40X, if anyone cares; the M50X came highly recommended, and these were half the price and something like 95% as good.) There's been a definite improvement in my quality of life. I no longer have to fiddle with earbuds, the sound is distinctly better and more full, and as a bonus my ears stay warm in the winter.

Today I finally realised that there are all kinds of neat subtle harmonies in Break Me Slow that I had never picked up on with tiny lo-fi earbuds. Who knew?



Then last night I finally got around to watching the DVD that came with the 10th anniversary special edition of David Bowie's Black Tie White Noise (recorded 1993; picked it up over the summer). It's more or less an hour of Bowie talking about making the album, interspersed with musical cuts. This is Bowie at the top of his game creatively, and just beginning to hare off in a wildly new direction for the rest of the decade.

I hadn't realised that three of the tracks on the album were covers of other artists. They fit seamlessly. "Nite Flights" in particular feels exactly like a nineties David Bowie song.

I had also somehow forgotten how magnetic Bowie can be. Arresting, and clearly well in control of his art while still happily exploring new avenues.

January 2016 was some bullshit, is mostly what I'm saying.



From the department of when I'm wrong I'm wrong:
And so I never got back in touch with her after that. By the time I could start thinking about possibly doing so it was not quite a year later, and I figured I'd just lost out.
Well. It seems I figured wrong.

The last couple of weeks have been supremely interesting. I feel more solidly grounded in myself than ... maybe than I ever have, while at the same time luxuriating in all that great new-connection serotonin & dopamine. It's neat. Makes it hard not to walk around with a tiny goofy smile all the time, though.

alone, home

Jul. 2nd, 2016 11:56 pm
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
For the first time in longer than I care to remember I have the house to myself for days at a time. [personal profile] uilos has gone to Portland to pet sloths; I could have gone, but at the time of planning I had thought I might be in Portland last weekend (or maybe the weekend before) for train gaming. That didn't happen but I'm still glad I stayed home. It's good to be on my own for awhile.

I don't really understand the "need to be on my own." It's not like [personal profile] uilos is particularly demanding when she's here. But ... I just feel freer, more able to be myself and do what I want or need to, when there's no one else around.

And I've mostly been using it for zonking out and being brain-dead, which is a thing. Hadean Lands, Zarf's sublime text-adventure from late 2014, is out on Steam, and I've been replaying that and enjoying the heck out of it. And shooting things in Assault Android Cactus, and seeing the Canada Day fireworks from my balcony with a few people. And going over to hang out with... hm.

A couple of years ago I went out once with a fascinating woman named Erin, and then she was busy and I was busy and we never got back in touch. I unexpectedly ran into her again months later, when we saw The Last Unicorn with special guest appearance by a very tired-looking Peter Beagle, and we made vague plans to get together again. Those turned into actual plans and we had a very pleasant evening wandering around New Westminster near Xmastime 2013.

For those of you keeping score at home that was a time when I was burning out something fierce, for a wide variety of reasons that don't bear re-exploring at this juncture. And so I never got back in touch with her after that. By the time I could start thinking about possibly doing so it was not quite a year later, and I figured I'd just lost out.

A couple of months ago my friend James started dating someone who he was absolutely head-over-heels for, and, yep, same Erin. And she was in town this weekend (she's way off north for a summer internship-like thing), so I got to re-meet her. That was surprisingly pleasant. I'm looking forward to seeing a bit more of her this fall when she's back in town more often.

It's been good to relax a bit.

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Adventures in Mamboland

"Jazz Fish, a saxophone playing wanderer, finds himself in Mamboland at a critical phase in his life." --Howie Green, on his book Jazz Fish Zen

Yeah. That sounds about right.

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