jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Sitting in a cafeteria outside Granville Station, watching people walk by, reading. Or too tired to read. How does that even happen? I know how it happens when it's past bedtime, but at five in the evening?

Watching people. Today I have: gotten a music stand and mute so I'll feel less awkward practicing the viola; done some repetitive work correcting a thing I did a month or two ago that I thought would be useful, and was but had unexpected side effects (unrelatedly, work does not appear to be doing the stupid thing from last week, so yay); written to my parents again and perhaps it will get through this time; taken a profile-silhouette photo of myself a la Hitchcock; listened to David Francey's "Nobody Lives Here No More" "Torn Screen Door" a dozen or so times; gone running. I think that's it for useful.

They worked their fingers to the bone / Nothing left they can call their own / Packed it in under leaden skies / Just the wheat waving them goodbye

And tonight I'll write with Steph and Kat and Theresa, at least in theory, and then I'll go home and intend to practice and we'll see how far intention gets me.

I am tired, wrung out, stretched thin. I don't know that this is actually the case in any larger sense but that's what it feels like. Possibly too many people at housewarming yesterday? Possibly too little actual downtime? Possibly too much rattling around in my brain to settle down?

Had a life that they tried to save / But the banks took it all away / Hung a sign on a torn screen door / 'Nobody lives here no more'

I should enjoy the people-watching from here, I think, if I didn't have someplace to be. Coming up from and going into the Granville skytrain at rush hour, all manner of interesting and no sense that I have to be a part of it.

Onward.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Over the weekend [personal profile] uilos and I went down to the states for a Mouths of Babes show. We ended up in a wine bar in Gig Harbor, WA, which appears to be a high-end waterfront community. It's located southwest of Seattle, across the Tacoma Narrows bridge. As a sometime engineering student this holds serious historical interest for me. I can vouch for the strong gusts of wind on the way back, though luckily the new bridge doesn't actually twist in the breeze.

The show itself was pretty great. Ty is still amazing, and for whatever reason I like Ingrid Elizabeth more live than in studio recordings. "Beehive" is fantastic, and Ty did "Amaze Me" (the 9/11 song) and "Young James Dean" (possibly the most Ty of the Girlyman songs). And of course, of course, "Brighter In the Dark" was written for a friend of Ty's who killed herself last year, which meant that we both sat in the back with tears pouring down our faces.

Yesterday there was ice cream, though no cake.



Today I have:
  • Watered my plant. I mean, this is an ongoing thing, but it's also a thing that makes the world a very tiny bit better, so. (Plant was a gift from a friend, and had died back almost entirely over the summer due to being accidentally starved of water. It's been encouraging to watch the shoots poke up and unfurl into leaves this fall and winter. Any metaphorical similarities to the current life situation of this journal writer are left as an exercise for the audience.)
  • Wrote to Jen Mooney, one of my college profs (RenLit and Tech Writing), to let her know that her classes meant something to me. I keep in touch with her via occasional Facebook comments, but that's not the same.
  • Signed up for Evo, the other Vancouver carshare, because I'm tired of being annoyed by seeing Evo cars around when I'm looking for a car2go.
  • Written an email to my folks that I've been composing in my head for a couple of weeks now, because the political events of the weekend warranted mention.
  • Done a nontrivial amount of actual work for work.
Tonight, laundry and general chilling.

Could be worse.
jazzfish: Malcolm Tucker with a cell phone, in a HOPE-style poster, caption NO YOU F****** CAN'T (Malcolm says No You F'ing Can't)
On the one hand, yay for widespread recognition that the Confederate flag is a horribly racist emblem, even if it took a tragedy to get to that point.

On the other, I didn't really need confirmation that some number (greater than zero) of my relatives and in-laws are racist crackers.

Facebook: where you learn how much you can't stand your family.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
I'm not writing much here these days. This... is probably not a good sign.



Weekend before last my parents were in town. We had quite a good visit: hit the Maritime Museum and Granville Island, wandered arond Queen Elizabeth Park (a large hill in the middle of the city that used to be a quarry, so it's got some very neat planned-gardens and waterfalls and such, and also a domed conservatory with lots of birds), and ate much tasty food. Dad and I got our "portraits" done in magic marker on cardboard, by an itinerant artiste while we were loitering in Gastown.

They left very early on Tuesday morning, and I was thinking "it would have been nice if they'd stayed another day or so." I think this means that the visit was exactly as long as it should have been.



My viola finally arrived yesterday. Stupid Long & McQuade. It is in fact black and not green, as I'd requested, and the electric pickup seems to work, and in general it looks quite nice. And maybe sounds as well, at least when someone who knows what they're doing is playing it.

That is clearly not me. I feel like between the Gathering and my parents' visit I have lost most of whatever skill I'd developed and have been fumbling worse than usual trying to get it back.

It'll come. I keep telling myself that. I think I'm now past the point where any jumpstart I had from cello is doing me any good, and am having to learn the hard way like anyone else. Frustrating. Practice, practice, practice.



That may be part of my problem, honestly. I'm not really doing much of anything that I'm *good* at. Rather, the things I'm good at are either not things that I want to be doing (tech writing) or of very little use (boardgames). I'm a beginning violist with all that that implies, and a fiction writer with limited experience. And doing those things is how one gets better at them, but it's really annoying to spend my days feeling like I'm terrible at everything I try.

Which may be part of why I've been hiding. I don't know.
jazzfish: A cartoon guy with his hands in the air saying "Woot." (Woot.)
Important news first: we have a place to live. We're moving out to New Westminster, two towns over. The new place is thirty-one floors up and directly on top of the Skytrain station. It's a little less nice than the current apartment but only a little: electric stove & fireplace instead of gas, no awesome superfast internet, office space will be awkward to figure out. It's got a decent-sized balcony, which is nice, and a view of the Fraser river (and, on clear days, Mt Baker) instead of Stanley Park / North Shore, which is a slight negative. Most importantly it's saving us a grand a month in rent.

In retrospect I'm a little bit sad to be living *directly* on top of the Skytrain; I would have enjoyed a short walk home after events. More importantly, I don't know what living in New West as opposed to downtown will feel like. Most of the people I want to see are out there, but most of the stuff I want to do (shows, the independent/artsy movie theatres, Stanley Park) are towards downtown. Will try it for a year or so, see how it goes. I expect we'll be fine out there.

Lease starts in August so we have a full month of paying double rent (boo) and getting the move sorted out (yay).



Over the weekend my aunt Susan came up from Atlanta to visit. Rather, she came up from Seattle since she was already visiting out there, but close enough. She got roped into games on Satyrday, which she seemed to like pretty well, and then dragged out to Chinatown and Granville Island on Sunday.

I like Susan pretty well. She's... I was going to say 'prickly' but that's not exactly right. I don't know how to describe her. I think it's to do with having lived with a bit of loneliness for so long that you get almost but not completely used to it. Or I might be projecting.

Regardless, we had a really good time. We (well, she) found a store in Chinatown that I've walked past dozens of times and never stopped in, that's full of fascinating stuff. I'd call it a junk shop except that they know what they've got and want real money for it. Example: an old laboratory glass bottle of HCl, where the label is made of raised glass letters on the bottle itself (awesome!), for $35 (yow!). And we poked in shops and galleries and wandered all over the place, and talked about all manner of things, and avoided roasting in the heat.



We'd made plans to go camping this weekend, but the combination of "fire ban" due to weeks of heat and drought, plus "rain saturday through monday" made that look like a less good idea. Stupid weather. Instead, tomorrow we're going off to what appears to be a live-action version of Myst. Will report back.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
My in-laws descended upon my house from Tuesday evening through Sunday morning. If you have ever wondered whether it is a good idea to have your high-maintenance in-laws stay with you at your workplace for several days while you're recovering from a nasty cough, I am here to tell you it is not. [personal profile] uilos occupied them during the day as best she could; this mostly involved the three of them leaving around ten to go do something touristy and coming back around two. To their credit they didn't actively try to disturb me during my workday. It's the passive disturbances that got to me: not being able to pace without running into someone unexpected, noises in the kitchen (right behind my workspace), all that.

I am starting to feel more human again. Key being 'starting.' Spent most of yesterday in a fog. Arguably I shouldn't have tried to go running yesterday morning as my lungs may not be up to it yet. Bleh. Stupid body, work better.

Things I would like to do this weekend include 'beta comments for [personal profile] thanate' and 'cut Bookwyrms by 2/3 so it's under the thousand-word flash fiction wordcount limit, where I think it and editors will be happier.' Also 'have pancakes for breakfast' and possibly 'get out to gaming for the first time in a couple of weeks.' I think (think) I'm good for more than 'stare at laptop screen / tv screen / Device screen / book,' at least for a few hours.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
... and I am ready to be buried in cats and speak to no one for awhile. Since last Friday [personal profile] uilos and I have been staying with my parents for a family-holidays / seeing-friends visit to DC. Nine days of that is not quite my limit but I can see it from here.

oog travel )
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
This kid I once knew: post-canon Calvin & Hobbes, in which "Daniel sends their whole improv group an e-mail saying 'check this out its fun1!1' and a link to a web comic called The Adventures of Spaceman Spiff." Very very good. Between this and Goodnight Room I'm seriously considering doing Yuletide next season.

Clash of the Pteridophytans.

That Dhimmi Kid: "Ignorant right wingers threatening manufactured teen-idols based on fake news. I think that says it all."



In contrast to Xmas, New Years was ridiculously full of family.

Friday was really quite pleasant: slow-ish morning, then wandering over to John K--'s ABG New Year. I'd planned on going from there up to Laurel but by ten I was already struggling with tired, and it's an open question as to whether I would have made it back home afterwards. So we played a couple more games, saw in the new year, and went home and collapsed.

If it weren't for the family bit we could have stayed in Laurel, I guess, but we needed to be presentable and in Rockville by noon for xmas-replacement [personal profile] uilos-family dim sum. Which was tasty and Not So Bad as these things go: I only really resent it for taking up perfectly good sleep time. More gaming after that: spent most of the afternoon/evening trying to learn and teach the four-player version of A Game of Thrones. It dragged on unnecessarily, in part due to being a first-time game, but also from way too much unnecessary extra chrome layered on top of the base game.

Woke up again Sunday morning (though not so early) and trekked down to Burke for Xmas with my family. (Originally scheduled for 18 December, and postponed when the Senate voted to cancel Xmas[1].) I still sometimes (around 5%, I'd say) think about spawning. Being around my sister's two helps a lot with that. It's not that they're bad kids: just very very attention-intensive. Other than that it went off without any major disasters. I gave my two-year-old nephew the DVD of Where the Wild Things Are because I believe firmly in scarring kids before they get too old to know better, and my five-year-old niece a copy of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles (to be read to her by my sister). From my parents I got a handful of things off my Amazon wishlist, for what may be the first time ever. (They got me Half A Crown [book 3 in a series] instead of Ha'Penny [book 2, and out of print in hardback], which is only a little awkward; I went ahead and ordered Ha'Penny this morning.)

And then we came home and collapsed and did Not A Damn Thing for the rest of the day. I think naps were involved. There were definitely pancakes.

Happy new year. I'm curious to see how next Xmas season shakes out.



[1] Dad's been working on the START treaty for about the last two years. For those of you who are unaware of the stupidity surrounding this, it's a nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia, and the last of the details were hammered out back in April. It should have passed the Senate then with no problems but the Republicants have been more interested in keeping anything good from happening on the Democrats' watch, so it's been stalled. Dad had to go in to work on the 18th to try and put something together that they would agree to. Which, eventually, they did, so yay for our side, or something.
jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
Back in mid-February, my cousin Paul went to Helena for my uncle Jim's funeral. He took some photos while he was there. I paged through them last night. Some are of various places around Helena, and you really get a sense of how ovwewhelmingly /poor/ the city is. Most are of Jim's place: the machine shop, the house, the field.

I was doing alright up until I got to the shot of Jim's bedroom, and then the one after (a very cluttered counter with, among other things, a Budweiser can with a note under it reading "POP'S LAST BEER").

It's easy for me to romanticise Jim. I never had to live with him, so all I saw was the good times, and all I heard was the good stories from people who didn't want to remember the bad things. Still, to me he was good people, and interesting, and (from what I could see) doing what he wanted to be doing.

And now I have reference photos for whenever I get back to working on that damned story.
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
A new holiday, and a hearty bite me to "family comes first." The comments, as always, are the best part. Q: How many children of a dysfunctional family does it take to change a light bulb? A: Your BROTHER would know. Happy autumn.

Faire on Satyrday turned out to be rather enjoyable. Saw [livejournal.com profile] pictsy doing her angelically aerial thing, caught a handful of other shows, had underwhelming food (fried ice cream: not so great, actually), and bought absolutely nothing else. Still and all, I'd go again, for the chance to wear garb and see random people and be amused. Had dinner afterwards in Silver Spring, at a tiny Italian place called Da Marco. It is my second favorite restaurant ever only because they don't have either cajun alfredo or that amazing gorgonzola walnut chicken that Zeppoli's does. (Poking around online indicates that their red sauces are somewhat lacking. I'm supremely partial to white and rosé sauces, so this is not a big deal for me.)

My brilliant plan to spend Sunday reading comic books got derailed by the arrival of Susan Palwick's _Shelter_. Palwick is the author of "Gestella," easily the most frightening story I've ever read. _Shelter_. . . is equally horrific in places. It reminds me a little of the movie _The Machinist_ (starring two-thirds of Christian Bale): you can watch the main character react in the worst possible way to various bad situations, which leads to extremely bad consequences, which leads to more bad reactions. . . all while continuing to have complete sympathy for the character.

I've been meaning to pick this up since Jo Walton raved about it, um, a year or more ago. "This is a novel about memory and identity and awareness and forgiveness and what it means to be a person." Yes, to all of that, and with characters that are infinitely more human and more sympathetic than Gene Wolfe's, who is the only other writer I can think of offhand that writes about all these things.

So, Sunday was a big day for curling up on the couch with a brick of a novel, instead of a fat stack of comics. I'm about three-quarters of the way through it, and genuinely irritated that I have to be at work instead of reading. Stupid work.

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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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