jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Currently reading Freedom and Necessity, and enjoying it, as expected. One thing I hadn't expected: the print feels tiny. Unsure if this is just a natural result of Getting Old or if it's actually small. There doesn't appear to have been an ebook release, which makes me a little sad.

Gonna be a busy fall, bookwise. Just preordered new books from Kat Howard, Ann Leckie, eBear, and Steve Brust. Need to get on with that Great Big Dragarea Reread prior to late October. At least the eBear won't demand my immediate attention: reading Book One Of A Trilogy is a mistake I try to avoid making when the author is known to write bound book-fragments.

I biked for an hour and a half yesterday, going to a small get-together that may be the kind of thing I'm looking for. Mostly, a good ride, if overly sweaty, and tough going uphill. There's an exhilaration in a steep downhill, though, and a long gentle decline makes for a pleasant coast.

It occurred to me last week that my hip problem likely isn't just from wallet-induced sciatica. It's also possibly a result of babying my right ankle (and hence leg) for several months after I twisted it pretty sharply (CW: depiction of trauma, neither graphic nor permanent). So there's that.

Erin pointed out awhile ago that I do a lot of railing against the Confederacy (sometimes on FB, sometimes in person). I grew up hating everything about the South: the weather, the people, the history, the culture. I've mellowed on that a lot in the last decade or so, but Treason In Defence Of Slavery still gets me wound up. I think it's that it's a reminder of everything I hated about the South. Or maybe just that it's a part of my upbringing that's still acceptable to hate.

And in actual significant news, I've lost a friend over the breakup. One that I know of, I mean. I'd hoped for some compassion and understanding but it was not to be. I'm sad, and a little surprised, but only a little: she's prickly, far more invested in Emily's emotional state, and I suspect skeptical of the whole poly thing anyhow. (A conclusion I draw from sentences like "Since November I've watched you break up with Emily in slow motion.") Losing friends I care about doesn't get any easier. Especially not when they've been good friends and sources of support in the past. Oh well. She's not quite burned the bridge, I guess. She's poured gasoline on the bridge, offered me a book of matches, and walked away. Best I can do is not actually light the fire and be here if and when she changes her mind.

Overall? Still flailing around, still trying to sort out what I want my life to look like and how to make it look like that.
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: 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.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Friday night I put a large number of things in a slightly less large number of boxes. Satyrday, tripped down to Bellingham with [personal profile] uilos and [livejournal.com profile] culfinriel. Spent around $80 on the USPS because even with the car rental it's cheaper than shipping through Canada Post. Faster and less US Customs-intensive, too.

Bellingham has a new "game store." Disappointingly, it's actually a Warhammer / Warmachine store with a bunch of Magic cards and two shelves of boardgames. So that took about five minutes to peruse. On the other hand, Mallard's is currently serving frankincense ice cream (ETA: recipe courtesy [personal profile] thanate), which may be the best ice cream I've ever had. (The pomegranate sorbet from Moorenko's is disqualified on the shaky grounds that it's a sorbet, not an ice cream.) And the dueling used bookstores remain fine places to find any number of things. One, for instance, has volumes two through four of Daniel Abraham's Long Price Quartet, which I've heard a couple of people say nice things about and which I have resisted picking up because, hello, volumes two through four are of little use to me. I did pick up a(nother) giftable copy of JMF's Growing Up Weightless, because it's one of those books (along with The Dragon Waiting, and The Last Hot Time, and Heat of Fusion if I ever saw that in the wild) that I buy on spec because surely I know someone who needs it, and because I adore the cover. (Of which there is not a satisfactory image online, because much of what I adore is only visible in the wraparound.)

Since then I have been fairly brain-dead. Not sleeping well has been part of it; not sure about the rest, if there even is anything that's "rest." I did have a lovely evening last night with a handful of people I'd mostly never met before, at a small local poly meet... thing. The jury is still out but it may be the type of thing I'm looking for.

Also, as of season 4, Battlestar Galactica has gone so far off the rails that it can no longer see the rails from where it is, and in fact retains only a dim memory that once there were rails for it to go off of. Or, to quote Douglas Adams, "I think this is getting needlessly messianic."

... and we just had five minutes of snow hail downtown. All melted now of course, but still nice to see.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Elseweb a friend asked about personal hinge points, of the "if you could go back and do one thing differently, what would it be?" variety.

Most of the poor decisions I've made were the best decision I could have made at the time. As noted elsewhere, I lacked the tools to make better ones. To have chosen differently or better I would have had to be a different person. This rules out such obvious choices as "don't nearly fail out of college" or "don't give up on writing for the better part of a decade."

Having said that, there are one or two places things could have gone differently. For example... )

I am...

Feb. 11th, 2012 11:00 pm
jazzfish: Randall Munroe, xkcd180 ("If you die in Canada, you die in Real Life!") (Canada)
... running a Technoir game on Thursday nights, for [personal profile] uilos, semilocal J--, and M-- who physically reminds me a great deal of Andy "Not the President" Jackson. Character creation... I'd like to say it went well, and maybe it did, but it also involved a great deal of flailing about on my part because I'm not all that familiar with the system and I didn't have a Transmission printed up and ready to go. Still, I'm looking forward to the first real session next week.

The whole concept of Transmissions (insta-plot generators) is bloody brilliant and may have been designed expressly for my GMing style. A given Transmission contains a page-long description of the city it's set in and six lists of six items each: contacts, events, objects, factions, locations, and threats. Contacts (NPCs the PCs have some relationship with before the game starts) and threats (smaller than factions; usually 3-6 NPCs who'll be opposing the PCs in some way) are fleshed out and given stat blocks; the others get a sentence or two and maybe some tags (system-specific attributes). I randomly add three of these items to a plot map during character creation and brainstorm connections between them. Then any contacts that the PCs call on for favors during chargen get added to the plot map as well. As the game goes on, the PCs lean on their contacts for information, the contacts get connected to other plot nodes and bring in additional random plot nodes themselves, and I tie it all together in a coherent fashion. The hard part, as usual for me, will be knowing when to stop adding nodes and start moving towards wrapping it all up.

... through the first season of Leverage, which was great fun. The pilot and the two-part season finale are some excellent television and the rest of the season didn't suck either. Good inspiration for a cyberpunk game. Parker and Hardison make me inordinately happy, too, and it's so very nice to have a show where I don't dislike any of the main characters.

... writing a story in the space of two weeks for a contest, in the hope that external deadlines will motivate me more than self-imposed ones and/or this story won't run into whatever it is the Bookwyrms one did. Already got a setting, a plot, and some events that are pulling the story in a completely different direction. Business as usual.

Is there a word or phrase for the kind of TV/movie SF that involves brightly-colored diaphanous robes and buildings made of featureless white stone with glowing crystals and control panels inside? Ray guns and blocky silver robots may be involved as well. It's not exactly atompunk / Raygun Gothic, or maybe it's a narrow subset of that aesthetic.

... making a habit of going on not-dates with women after they've said, for varied and excellent reasons, that they don't want to date me. (In other news, two! and it's not even Valentine's Day yet.) I'm mostly okay with this development. I've very much missed one-on-one conversations with people I trust other than [personal profile] uilos.

... laughing my fool head off, in a combination of admiration and self-recognition.

... very tired. Goodnight Gracie.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Not a bad weekend, just a weekend. Picked up a bunch of books from the Tysons Borders closing sale, went kayaking and got slightly sunburnt, bought yet another crepe maker, told [personal profile] uilos's parents that we're moving across the continent in two months, came home and collapsed.

Just a quick reminder that you can still ask me anything (also on LJ)for another couple of weeks. Or probably even longer.

A brief sample of the kind of things I'm willing to answer:

What is the most number of consecutive hours you've stayed awake, and why?

I'm pretty sure it's thirty-six. In eighth grade I pulled my first all-nighter, writing papers on four different diseases (leprosy, leukemia, Parkinson's, and, um, something else). I couldn't exactly go home and sleep after turning them in, so I struggled through the entire day and fell over after dinner. (My grade on the papers was "A+++ Outstanding You should become a doctor." Standards were kinda low in Fayetteville.) All-nighters since then have usually involved coming home around noon and crashing.

How the heck did you keep simultaneous relationships going for years with women who didn't like each other?

Sheer force of will. Or, if you prefer, a bullheaded refusal to give up on anything I'd decided was important to me until I had exhausted all my options several times over. It helped that for most of that time one of them was long-distance and time-shifted by three hours, so I could effectively spend "evenings" with them both, sequentially.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
So a week or two ago I spent an extended weekend in Seattle.

It was fun. )
jazzfish: a whole bunch of the aliens from Toy Story (Aliens)
A commenter over at Scalzi's place: "As an overweight, thirty-something geek I wouldn’t be caught dead at the new TRON because I like having a girlfriend."

My immediate thought: "Seriously, dude? Both of mine are pretty excited about it."
jazzfish: Barnaby from "Bone," text "Stupid, stupid rat meme!" (Rat Meme)
From [livejournal.com profile] rbandrews:

1. Other than people who live there, what's so great about Seattle?

The temperature and humidity. The transit system. Pike Place Market. Being right by the water. The way the clouds part and the sunlight's bright enough to shatter the gloom. Mountains. It's just my kind of place.

2. What is the worst job you've ever had?

A&W cashier, 1997-2000. Long hours, bad pay, high stress, a manager (Jed) who spent all his time on the phone with his ex-wife, an assistant manager (Carlos the Asshole) who'd mastered the art of sucking up to the boss while making everyone else's life miserable, and coworkers who for the most part ranged from "horrid" to "mediocre." Things improved when Carlos left after a year, and Jed left after another, so by the time I quit it was only godawful instead of staggeringly horrid.

3. Would you rather be a famous author, famous game designer, or a rock star?

Rock stars make more money and get more adulation, but I've still got to go with "author."

4. What is the thing you miss the least about Blacksburg? (turnabout is what kind of play, again?)

What Jonathan Tweet referred to as the "mystic s*** crowd" in Over the Edge. I'm not talking about the pagans; I'm talking about the morons. (There is, of course, some amount of overlap.)

When I was busy being depressed and failing out of college in spring '97, I spent a lot of time in Owens food court: there was almost always someone to talk to, and the refills on cokes were free if you brought your mug. One day the fluorescent light directly overhead was having some problems: every fifteen minutes or so it'd go BZZZZT and cut off briefly. During the several hours I was there I had no less than four different people, at different times, notice the flicker and say some variant of "sorry about that, i'm not shielding too well today."

(I also had a roommate tell me not to have sex on the vernal equinox or else I'd get my partner pregnant. I'm mostly willing to chalk that up to passive-aggressive shenanigans, but it's still good for a head-shake.)

5. What convinced you that polyamory was right for you?

Prior to Thanksgiving 2005 I spent months if not years resisting the idea that I might be poly, because the only examples I had weren't ones I wanted to emulate. I wasn't poly, and wasn't in love with two people; I was just confused and needed time to sort out my head.

Then over Thanksgiving I was spending time with some old friends late one night, and found myself having the following conversation inside my head:
"It would be really easy to fall in love with her."
"Oh? And that wouldn't mean I wasn't in love with [livejournal.com profile] uilos or [livejournal.com profile] nixve?"
"... no, it wouldn't."
"Well, then."

(It's a valid but ultimately academic question as to whether my willingness to have this conversation with myself was sparked by [livejournal.com profile] my_catharsis's death the day before.)
jazzfish: Barnaby from "Bone," text "Stupid, stupid rat meme!" (Rat Meme)
Perhaps the very best thing about Facebook is how all the "which pop culture phenomenon are you?" quizzes seem to have migrated over there and no longer clog up my reading list. On the other hand, I sort of miss the sense of community engendered by the 'bunch of people i know answer a list of semipersonal questions' things. Hence, the triumphant return of Five Questions.

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by asking you 5 questions of a very personal nature.
3. Update your LJ with the answers to the questions. And post them in a comment here too, if you don't mind.
4. Include this and an offer to interview someone else in the post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, ask them 5 questions.

From [livejournal.com profile] badmagic:

What's the strangest thing you've caught yourself saying?

You mean, this week? "mR2," in the context of neither a Star Wars droid nor an M.R.DUCKS shirt. (Because "Nine-oh-one-em-ar-two" took too long to say.)

What was the best moment in an RPG you've ever witnessed?

After turning Random's son Martin (mostly famous for bleeding all over the Primal Pattern) into the living embodiment of said Pattern, thereby stopping the slow leakage of reality and stability into Corwin's new Pattern-realm and thus preventing the eventual destruction of Amber itself, Our Heroes returned to their homes for a much-deserved rest. Except for one who felt like poking around to see how the rest of the universe was getting on, and, well:

GM [personal profile] jazzfish: "You're getting a Trump call."
[livejournal.com profile] uilos: "Yes?"
[livejournal.com profile] jedibfa: "I'm at Corwin's Pattern. Or what's left of it, anyway."
GM: "Aaand that seems like a fine place to close this chronicle."

Who was your best friend when you were growing up?

Being an army brat means that this list is longer and shallower than most people's. The one I remember most fondly is Ryan Waller. I met Ryan in fourth grade when his parents, for reasons that pass all understanding, brought him to a party my father was hosting. (I think Cpt. Waller served under Dad.) We discovered a shared fondness for computer games and fantasy novels, plus he lived within bike riding distance. That ended when Cpt. Waller got deployed overseas (Germany, I think), the summer before Ryan and I would have been in junior high together.

How did you end up dating two women?

By doing wrong almost everything that I possibly could, over the course of three or four years. This isn't a story wherein I come off looking all that well so I'm going to leave it at that.

Sorry you said "Oranges" now, aren't you?

Not yet, but I might be depending on how many people want questions.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Holy crap I'm finally caught up on a week's worth of LJ.

Which is to say, after catching Ponyo with [livejournal.com profile] uilos last Tuesday night (verdict: a very very odd fairy tale of a movie, more like Totoro than any of the other Miyazaki films I've seen, and worth watching although don't stay for the godawful end-credits song), I spent most of a week in and around Bellingham with [livejournal.com profile] nixve, attempting to go backpacking in a downpour, successfully meeting her other SOs (but not the Insignificant ones, which works out, I think), eating an awful lot of ice cream, and generally having a Vacation. Details forthcoming.

(I will note, though, that the Atlanta airport reminds me of the Memphis one, with less brown, on a larger scale, and with a train that seriously jerks one around. Oof. Changing planes here was something of an Experience, and would have been touch and go if I'd not had such a crazy-long layover.)

I'm not sure if it'll do anything for my feelings of burnout, because I suspect that's not so much burnout as dissatisfaction and a desire to be doing something wildly Different. I'm beginning to piece together ideas about why and how that is, and what it is I'm wanting. Starting to write again has been a part of that process, I think; ditto a handful of other Projects. Thing is, crazy ideas that will never actually work keep popping up and wanting to be taken seriously like now.

Bleh. Sleep, perhaps.
jazzfish: Barnaby from "Bone," text "Stupid, stupid rat meme!" (Rat Meme)
"Should you explicitly request to play, I will choose 7 of your LJ profile interests for you to expound upon (in your own journal)."

rbandrews, salzara_tirwen, diadelphous )


jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
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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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