jazzfish: Pig from "Pearls Before Swine" standing next to a Ball O'Splendid Isolation (Ball O'Splendid Isolation)
My contacts survived the week and a half in the dry dry north, perhaps thanks to a frequent application of eyedrops. Evenings without vision were bad enough; I'd prefer not to consider how bad it would have been to be practically blind for multiple days. Uncorrected, I can see well enough not to walk into things, mostly, and I can read on my phone more or less. (Reading on the iPad Mini doesn't work well because it's too big. I can't both see the entire width of the screen and have it be in focus.)

There's a sense of dislocation that comes on me when I'm flying. I don't feel like I'm going to or from anywhere, most times, there's no sense of motion. If it's daytime and I've a window seat and it's not overcast then the ground rushing past can keep me anchored, but this flight I got the tail end of a sunset through thick clouds. Still felt unanchored until sometime Monday morning. Maybe I still do, a bit. Yesterday was blue, like smoke.

The only Tom Petty album I ever owned was his Greatest Hits (I listened to Wildflowers and She's The One a few times but they didn't really stick), but I played the hell out of that CD. Fantastic road-trip music. And "Don't Come Around Here No More" has long been one of my favourite music videos. I think back in college Jonathan had a Tom Petty video collection, on VHS, with that and "Into the Great Wide Open" and "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and the weirdly post-apocalyptic-sci-fi "You Got Lucky". Rewatching that one now, the wardrobes have a deeply contemporary aesthetic. Or maybe it's just that I've seen Into the Badlands and Mad Max and the trailer for The Dark Tower recentlyish. So it goes.

Disjointed, dislocated, disconnected. Drifty. It's a glorious green-gold autumn in the north; down here the trees are starting to fade to dirty brown. I miss Appalachian fall. I'd contemplated going to visit Blacksburg this October. Maybe next year.
We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our passage except a dim memory of the smell of smoke and a presumption that once our eyes watered.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
The weekend was alright-to-good. I'd moved my dentist appointment to Monday from the middle of next week, and that went fine except for some gumwork that I'll need to have done in a couple of weeks. Then come Tuesday night the stress stacked up again. Emily's successfully located a subleaser, at least for a couple of months: yay! I won't have to pay half the mortgage in addition to Vancouver rent, and I might even not be dipping into savings. At least for that couple of months.

Trouble was, the subleaser wanted in on 1 October, and I was scheduled to leave Thursday evening and not get back 'til next Sunday. The first. Panic ... did not exactly set in, though stress certainly did.

Over the course of Wednesday I:
  • Got a couple of friends to hang out with me Wednesday night and help finish packing, which otherwise would have been a) slow, b) frustrating, and c) generally sad-inducing.
  • Acquired a small storage unit on short notice.
  • Decided to just call in exhausted on Thursday due to not sleeping well (this is not a lie), and just go in for my early-morning meetings.
So that happened and the packing went fine, and the move itself went fine. I left the bookcases and coffee-table there for the subleaser's use; the bookcases might fit into the storage unit if necessary. I'd intended to find myself a new better bed and move the old one to the condo so the subleaser could use it but given my state the last week or so, finding a decent bed was Not Happening. I'll throw money at Emily to find a bed. And then I guess I'll have two low-end beds.

After all that I made it back to my basement apartment about an hour before I'd expected, with plenty of time to pack for ten days up north. Indeed, I managed to leave about an hour early to get to the airport, so I'd have plenty of time to grab a leisurely dinner before my flight.

Except that when I got to the airport I realised I'd forgotten my viola, which would make it difficult to a) practise and b) have a Skype lesson on Tuesday. So, half an hour transit back out to the apartment and half an hour back to the airport, and there went all the extra time I'd built in for dinner. I did manage to grab something to eat anyhow but it was a close thing.

I then discovered, once I got here, that I'd left my glasses at home as well. This is deeply frustrating, as it rather limits my late-evening options. It's also gonna make things interesting if my contacts self-destruct again.

(I briefly thought I had lost my Nexus card, but it turned up again. Still not sure what happened there. I'd blame my lack of glasses except that I generally find things by touch and not by sight, so.)

But the weekend was pretty good: reconnected with Erin, went out to a couple of events to start trying to make connections in the local kink community, generally got a little more sociable and a little less stuck in my own head.

And today's the equinox, so maybe the horrificness has just been the fault of summer and it'll start to settle out now. I can hope, anyway.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I have driven the Fraser Canyon (most of it, anyway, 'round midnight my lack of sleep, lack of updated glasses, and unfamiliarity with logging truck ruts caught up with me and I handed off the driving) and stared down logging trucks. I have watched the seasons roll back from full-throated spring to the tail end of winter as we traveled north. I have walked a property that felt a great deal like Gram and Pop's place in Helena gone to seed. I have flown over mountains and forests in a 2x2 prop plane, and seen the approach to Vancouver in the daytime for only the second or third time.

It was a good trip. It's still settling out in my head: there's a lot to process, here. A lot a lot.

Gonna be an interesting summer.

bah, cars

May. 2nd, 2017 01:13 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
It only took one encounter with rush hour traffic (being routed over the Patullo Bridge in New West) to take me from "driving: actually pretty neat" to "traffic is the devil, cars are the devil, driving is the devil." Bah.

I did go out and take a look at a Pontiac Solstice on Sunday, though. This is a car that I've been vaguely envious of since I saw the posters for the then-new concept car when I was buying Straylight back in 2005. It's stylish and eye-catching and reasonably priced, which are all things I admire. It also has literally no cargo space whatsoever. The way I saw it described was "you could carry a two-four in it, if you poured it out." I didn't really believe this until I saw it for myself, but, yeah. No back seat, no trunk, no space behind the seats for anything larger than the obligatory ADC map.

Didn't get to test-drive it: it was in a dealership showroom and getting it out would have required more waiting and more car-tetris than I was willing to put up with, particularly on a rainy day. Oh well.

I /would/ like to have access to a fun-to-drive car, but I'm not willing to pay real money for that, so. I'll continue dropping money on carshare cars when I feel the need to not take transit or walk, I guess. Possibly look into picking up a bike, though I maintain that cycling in traffic is a more active expression of a death wish than I'm really looking for right now.

This evening I'm off to The Interior. Williams Lake tonight, Prince George tomorrow, and thence to Fort St James. This will be my first trip within BC further than Harrison Hot Springs, which is about an hour and a half out of town. Should be interesting. Definitely gonna be interesting to see how I respond to an actual lengthy road trip.
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: 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.)
I did that twenty-one-question list that's going around a few years back, during 2011's Three Weeks for Dreamwidth, so there's that.

I don't much care for weddings in general. I went to several in the first few years of the millennium. Each one made me more and more convinced that this wasn't a ritual I wanted anything to do with. Ours was about as low-key as possible while still involving other people, and I more or less expected that it would be the last one I would have to go to.

However. I like Ederlyn quite a lot, and she did bother to show up for our wedding (as the officiant, no less). I figured if she was going to go to the trouble of sending out invites months in advance, I could clean up a bit and make it down to wherever she was going to be.

Traffic down was ugly. The wedding took place in Long Beach WA, slightly closer to Portland than to Seattle. We hit Seattle rush-hour traffic (an hour to go ten miles, at one point), plus random slowdowns outside of Tacoma and Olympia, and then got stuck behind slow RVs on the two-lane state highway that ran for the last hour and a half of the drive. I fell over in the hotel once we got there and did not go out to be sociable on the beach.

I also didn't go out to be sociable on the beach because it was chilly and I didn't have a coat. I'd meant to have my not-very-formal blazer as part of my semi-fancy wedding clothes, but due to various low-grade stresses on the morning of, we managed to leave said semi-fancy wedding clothes draped over a kitchen chair. At least I got out of the house with my nice boots. And it wasn't a terribly formal affair in any case, and the next day I scraped up a halfway decent shirt and pair of slacks.

The hotel itself seemed to be half genuinely run-down beach hotel, and half catering to vacationing ironic-techies looking for the run-down beach hotel experience. Bare Edison bulbs everywhere, and uncarpeted floors, and murals painted directly on the walls. Also I think the mattress was a foam deal that may have been rather nice when it was new but had developed a clear slope to the sides.

The next day [personal profile] uilos and I wandered around the little beach town. We had decent roadside burritos and way too much ice cream. She bought a kite that's really a string of six diamond kites, and we walked back along the beach while she flew it/them.

And then it was wedding-time, and a few dozen of us sat in folding chairs on a beautiful windy cloudy beach and watched two very happy people share a public commitment. It was nearly nice enough to make me rethink my policy on weddings.

There followed a pleasant dinner, which I spent much of catching up with the WhaleHawk (Dr [livejournal.com profile] fuzzyamy, who I've not seen in longer than I can recall, and her partner, who I'd not met) and rather less with [personal profile] plumbob78 and Ashok and a few other people, and oh yeah incidentally the bride and groom on occasion. Talking with Amy wasn't quite the easy friendship that you get with people you know well and haven't seen in years... but it was close, and it was fun, and I hold out some hope that her prediction of "well, this is likely the last time we'll run into each other" won't come true. (To some extent I'm flooding DW/LJ this week in direct response to that conversation. I got to know Amy, and Ed for that matter, during Livejournal's heyday, and recapturing that sense of presence and intimacy would be nice.) (And yes, I'm aware that I'm part of the problem. I'm trying to comment more often on other people's stuff! For whatever reason that comes much less naturally to me.)

There was also dancing, in which I was fully intending to not participate, but what can you do when the first song is Shut Up And Dance?

The next day we got up and came home. We hit traffic outside of Tacoma again for no reason, but we stopped off and got Popeyes fried chicken for lunch (and dinner, and dinner the next day...), which was well worth it.

So, congratulations and best wishes to Ed and Geoff! I'm glad that I got to be a small part of your big day.


Aug. 14th, 2016 08:03 pm
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
Home from wedding (someone else's) in nearly-Oregon. Survived the week of many minor stresses, to wit:
  • House-hunting in Vancouver is stupid. The first realtor I talked to said straight out "I cannot in good conscience sell anyone a condo in an older building, and that's all you can afford. Have you thought about looking much further out?" Thankfully the agent we went with is willing to a) wait for the right place to come up, and b) do a lot of due diligence on older buildings if that's what we're interested in. Meanwhile prices continue to climb despite sales slowing down. I don't understand how that works either.
  • Company got acquired. I'm still employed, I figure 60-80% chance of still being employed this time next month, but still, hectic.
  • A couple of my good friends are having problems. Nothing that can't be worked out, I expect, but no fun in the meantime.
  • Partly as a result of that one of them dropped out of RPG night, necessitating a scramble for a replacement and also some quiet freaking-out over whether I've done something stupid as GM. (Or as a human being, but I freak out about that all the time anyway, that's nothing new.)
  • And to top it all off, on Thursday night Chaos (the arthritic, hyperthyroid, kidney-failing, stud-tailed, no-longer-diabetic stubborn-as-hell cat) started heavily favoring his right hind foot, to the extent of not being willing/able to put any weight on it, even to climb up onto the couch to sit with people. He spent Friday hiding under the bed, partly to get away from the piledriving across the street but probably partly because he was miserable and in pain.

Fall over now, I think. Things what I fully intend to post about this week:
  • Aforementioned wedding, incl. good conversation with Dr HawkWhale (WhaleHawk?)
  • Twenty years on the Van Gogh boat, or, me and Julian Schnabel's Basquiat
  • My senior year English teacher died last week, and I wish that mattered more to me (It doesn't; condolences aren't necessary)
  • Housing in Vancouver is beyond stupid

Meanwhile, onward.
jazzfish: an open bottle of ether, and George conked out (Ether George)
0) ... and still insists he reads of ghosts.

1) One amusing in retrospect bit I didn't mention earlier: when I arrived at the train station in Toronto (after an unpleasant redeye flight featuring loud drunk bachelor-partiers, and a wholly pleasant ride on the new no-longer-$38 train from the airport to the train station) I attempted to present my passport so I could pick up my ticket and ... opened to a picture of [personal profile] uilos. Apparently our passports got switched for the wrong wallets the last time we travelled (down to the used bookstores with Steph in December). Luckily I had my own Nexus card and my own PR card, and the train folks were happy enough to take the Nexus card, but it made for a somewhat tense ride down.

E FedExed me my passport so I could get on a plane to go home. I could *probably* have worked it out with just the Nexus card, but I had used the passport to buy the ticket, and better safe than stranded in Buffalo.

2) Speaking of, home from the Gathering as of eleven-thirty last night. Still tired, still heavily overpeopled. I didn't take care of myself as well as I could have this year; the weather was miserable for the first half of the week and for whatever reason once it nicened up I still didn't go outside and wander. Something to bear in mind for next year.

3) More on this later, but: consider this another plug for Graydon Saunders's Commonweal novels (available in ebook from the Google Play store). Reread the first (The March North) and read the first third or so of the second (A Succession of Bad Days) over the week. Comparisons with the work of Mr Ford are not inapt. The bone-deep understanding of trauma and healing and loneliness and identity is still there in Graydon's work, it's just even further down than in The Dragon Waiting. Or maybe I just haven't reread these enough times for it to be obvious to me.

4) It seems I have a strong predilection for flawed characters in difficult situations who are trying their damnedest. I have no further use for stories about terrible people being terrible, and I think this means I should let the Joe Abercrombie books go.

4a) Losing people you’re responsible for hurts. If it didn’t, the Line wouldn’t give you a warrant of commission.

If it stops, they take the warrant away.

--Graydon Saunders, "The March North"

5) I am returning the nameless new laptop. A week with Taranis has convinced me that I don't need to spend an exorbitant sum of money on a new machine, not yet and likely not for another couple of years. I *do* need a battery replacement and could do with a clean reinstall, but that can wait for the weekend.
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
Not really up for wandering the gameroom, and I could probably do with some downtime anyhow.

The Gathering is a week-long smallish (400 people?) gaming convention in Niagara Falls (US). [personal profile] uilos and I were first invited two years ago; sadly she hasn't made it back. Maybe next year.

I'm rooming with Scott, a guy I met at random last year. He's a fine roommate but very much an extrovert. As with Christine last year, I've not had to be this sociable in the mornings in a very long time.

Eric B--'s absence this year is notable: he welcomed me into the morning 18xx games two years ago, sort of took me under his wing last year, and is generally one of the Good Ones. Hopefully he'll be back next year.

Two years ago Splendor was obviously the Big Hit; last year it was Codenames. I haven't seen anything this year that would really qualify. There's a lot of Codenames Pictures being played, which is exactly what you think it is.

Perhaps it's Ponzi Scheme, which Dave E-- described as "a party game for economic-gamers." Every round, everyone takes a scoring tile and a funding card, which provides an infusion of cash now in exchange for a payment in a few rounds. Then there's a flurry of 'clandestine dealing' where you're exchanging money and score tiles with the other players, and then the round increases. You can pay for your ruinous interest by ... taking more and larger funding cards, but those will come due sooner or later as well. You're hoping for "later:" the game ends as soon as one player can't make a payment, so if you're going to go bankrupt in two turns that's fine as long as someone else crashes out next turn. Ponzi Scheme is currently extremely unavailable; there's a new edition coming in a few months, I believe.

The weather's been horrendous: cold, rainy, I think there was unpleasantly wet snow a few days ago, and so very very windy. I have not left the hotel except to make a grocery run the day after I got here. I may go out to the falls on Friday or Saturday, I haven't quite decided yet.

Three more days of gaming, and then travel on Sunday. It's been good to not be at work.


Nov. 28th, 2015 01:35 pm
jazzfish: five different colors of Icehouse pyramids (iCehouse)
Because it's been ages and ages since I did a proper con report.

Though this isn't exactly one )
jazzfish: an evil-looking man in a purple hood (Lord Fomax)
Since 2005, when I started flying semiregularly, every time I've checked a bag on a multi-leg flight home it's gotten lost. Every. Single. Time. I used to joke that my luggage went to Chicago unless I was going to Chicago, in which case it went to Denver. These days I no longer check bags unless forced to.

Because I was bringing home too much stuff I checked my suitcase in Dallas. Got to Toronto, waded through customs, came out at the baggage claim area, where apparently you're supposed to pick up your bag and check it to your next flight.

I bet you can guess where this is going.

I asked the Air Canada baggage desk if that was actually the procedure. They said no, and pointed to a list of origin cities from which baggage processing is expedited. Dallas was on that list. With some foreboding I went on through.

In a shock to no one, when I got off the plane in Vancouver my luggage wasn't waiting for me.

Based on conversations with several other people on a couple of different flights, it sounds like *no* bags from Toronto got transferred to anywhere. Idiots. I filed a report and got a claim number, and my bag is currently listed as "en route to destination airport."

I wisely pulled my laptop out of the suitcase during packing. I neglected to grab my razor, and I completely forgot about my house keys, so I'm housebound today.

Stupid Toronto.

Full con report coming probably later today, because I've not done one of those in awhile.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Going out of town tonight: Jeff K-- had a spare ticket for BGG.con, and I had four days of vacation that I have to take before the end of the year or else they vanish into the ether. (There are things about my job that I am not fond of, and its vacation policies are high on the list.)

So, have some links.

Pinboard on the Next Economy Conference: Maciej Cegłowski, who I hadn't realised until yesterday is also the author of The Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel, livetweets the O'Reilly Next Economy Conference. "We’re moving from a world of widespread unemployment to one where people have three, four or even five jobs. #prosperity"

Ernest Shackelton Loves Me, "a musical about the inspirational romantic connection between a down-on-her-luck electric violinist and the legendary turn-of-the-century polar explorer."

David Mitchell on Earthsea: "Ged's story is told with the calm authority of an age-old Icelandic saga, yet stitched here and there with passages of pure beauty for its own sake." This article is everything I love about A Wizard of Earthsea, and also why that love is fundamentally different from how I feel about books by, say, Tolkien, or Mike Ford, or most recently Ann Leckie's Ancillary books.

Mitchell has (also?) written an introduction to, o my, a beautiful new edition of A Wizard of Earthsea. Based on the samples, the illustrations by David Lupton are exactly perfect.
jazzfish: a black-haired man with a big sword. blood stains the snow behind (Eddard Stark)
I've been out of DC for long enough that I'm starting to think of driving as fun again.

I've popped down to Seattle a couple of times in the past few months to play 1817, one of them honking long train games, with a group down there. It's about a 2.5-hour drive, so I've been leaving around 8-8:30 and arriving at elevenish. Then we play for eight hours, and I drive back, getting in well before midnight. Reasonable.

Traffic is light, the scenery's pretty, and I get to dig into some music I've forgotten I had. (Coming home last weekend I listened to Loreena McKennitt nonstop.)

Maybe this is bundled up with why I like traveling: if you're traveling, there's nothing you need to do other than travel. Nothing that needs worrying about, nothing that needs attention.

I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I am home, after literally twelve hours travelling. It would have been less but Delta's checkin system is incapable of understanding the concept of "permanent resident," and wouldn't check me in for a flight to Canada unless I could tell them when I'd be leaving Canada. I figured I'd better get there early in case their desk staff were as incompetent as their computer system. They weren't, so yay, except for the part where I sat around BWI for two and a half hours to go with the three-hour layover at JFK.

It's rainy and grey and just a bit chilly here. Feels like home. We got the obligatory couple of nice weeks in early May to lull us into complacency, and now Vancouver has said "FOOLED YOU!" and gone back to being miserable until the first of July.

I'm finding it easier to read printed books than ebooks. Not sure what's going on there; the physical item is just more attractive to me somehow. I may be objecting to the bright white "page" background? I dunno. But I blasted through a reread of Kavalier & Clay on the trip out, and am halfway through Jane Jacobs's Death & Life of Great American Cities after starting it in BWI around noon.

I'm finally getting around to reading the Jacobs because if I'm going to keep ranting about Robert Fucking Moses and the terrible things urban planning has done, I should at least know a little of what I'm talking about. (At dinner with Megan I went on a bit of a tirade. Apparently I have Opinions about cities, and automobiles, and urban development in general. Who knew?) The book is really interesting, by which I mostly mean "confirms many of my prejudices and preferences," but also feels very dated in parts. Like the bit where she's horrified, and expects the reader to be horrified, by the woman who won't let her kids, between the ages of eight and fourteen, go down and play "in the street" (on the sidewalk) outside their New York apartment.

Reading the book makes me think that the living environment I want is "New York, specifically Greenwich Village, in the late fifties." Which is going to be difficult. I am pretty sure there are neighborhoods in Vancouver that can sort of replicate that feeling: Commercial, Mt Pleasant. They'll just take some effort to find.

Meanwhile I need to unpack and sort and generally fall back into a normal yet useful rhythm. Today, I think, is a wash as far as scheduling and Doing Things (other than viola practice, which Must Happen) go. Tomorrow will be better.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
(xposting here from elseweb, with expansions / clarifications)

I'll be in Seattle tomorrow (Friday) from roughly noon (train arrives in Chinatown) 'til nine (need to be at Seatac to catch a flight east). My current plan involves wandering Pike Place Market and environs while dragging a suitcase, and maybe finding a place to sit and write.

From there I fly to Norfolk for a week in the Outer Banks with the Arlington Board Gamers.

After that I'm in the DC area from about two pm Saturday (that's the 23rd) until oneish on Sunday, since I need to catch a flight from BWI at two. I have no real plans for that twenty-three-hour period.

However! I'd thought Balticon was the weekend after that but it turns out it's that weekend. So I may go up to Hunt Valley and hang out there for awhile? I dunno.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
Late February isn't quite early enough to take the late train south from Vancouver: the sun has already set by the time we get moving. Late March is probably about right.

It's still about the most comfortable way to travel to Seattle I can think of. Less cramped than a car, less expensive than a plane, less cattle-car-y than the bus. Plus wi-fi. Would train again.

Note to self: getting mail from people makes me happy. The way to get mail consistently is to write it. How on earth did I ever send lengthy messages nearly every day for four years?

The trouble with coming down late and crashing with Ederlyn is that we sit up talking until even later, and then I oversleep and she's later for work than desired and I'm half-braindead all the next day. Well worth it, though.

Am sitting outside a bakery/coffeeshop in Belltown, near the water. Belltown is... I don't think there's anything like it in Vancouver. Gastown is about the closest. Down here at least it's all older buildings and interesting shops and such, and lots of trees and the occasional view of the water. It's the kind of thing I think of when I say "i want to live in the city."

Soon [livejournal.com profile] queenoftheskies and Steph will have finished breakfast and pick me up, and we'll head off to the rainforest for several days of writing and writerly behavior. I am... not as excited about this as I'd hoped or expected to be. I think it'll be fun, and good for me. Kick my writing muscles back into gear, that sort of thing.

The cherry trees are blooming, and there are a couple of chickadees talking and flitting from tree to tree. The sky is grey and threatining rain and there's just a bit of wind. It's a good day.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I am writing this here so maybe I will remember next time: when taking a redeye flight, do not sit near the back of the plane. The flight attendants chatter ALL NIGHT, preventing you from sleeping. In addition, they seem to have put some sort of diuretic in the drinks on this flight, and the bathroom was constantly in use.

I remember very little of the stopover at Toronto, except that the breakfast options were uniformly terrible. We overpaid for Starbucks breakfast.

The flight from Toronto to La Guardia couldn't land on its first pass due to an almost complete lack of visibility. Then, once we landed and managed to locate the gate for our exit flight (no mean trick, LGA's C gates are not all in the same building) our original flight to DC had been cancelled, and the replacement that we'd been bumped on to was the victim of a plane unable to leave DCA for several hours.

We arrived somewhat the worse for the wear into a fifteen-minute downpour. It's good to see real rain again instead of the constant dripping one gets in Vancouver. Thankfully it had stopped by the time we got to the hotel shuttle waiting area.

Got checked in and picked up WFC registration, had a very slow dinner at a very busy diner across the street, had ice cream, and slept for twelve hours.

Now I am officially at World Fantasy, though I'm not entirely sure why.
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
I miss the sunshine. And the company. Not to mention the fruit trees everywhere. If I weren't a city boy I think I'd like to have a small sunny garden/plaza type of thing, with decently comfortable chairs and a pomegranate tree.

Based on a sample size of one[*], I am not the target market for bed-and-breakfasts. Morning is not a time to be sociable with strangers. Not to mention that we may have been the youngest people there by a factor of two. It was a nice enough place, just... not really my kind of place.

[*] "Everybody generalizes from a sample size of one. At least, I do." --SKZB

Fresh fruit and fresh yoghurt makes for a pretty decent breakfast. Also, the 'frozen yoghurt' place literally put raspberries, chunks of cheesecake, and yoghurt ice cubes in a blender with some sugar, and handed me a spoon. Delicious.

The zoo at Guadalajara is decent. It's not the National Zoo or the San Diego Zoo, but it's got an awful lot of critters, in what mostly look like pretty good habitats. Much amusement from the exhibit containing a sloth, an anteater, and a small monkey, who were all eating lunch when we went by. The sloth would slowly pick up a piece of lettuce, and then roll over on its back and slowly crunch on it for awhile. Also wolves, who had somehow gotten themselves a red baseball cap to play with.

We woke up far too early in the morning on Satyrday and stood in a very slow line to check in with United, in a line that was long enough and slow enough that we were seriously worried about not making our flight. Thankfully the security lines were nonexistent. I have no idea how that works.

Landed in San Francisco and did a bit of wandering around and touristing. Visited the Nat'l Park Service museum, and the farmers market, and Chinatown, which feels touristy. Too many gweilo. SF seems like a decent enough place and I assume the rest of the city is not quite so heavily touristed; where we were, it didn't really speak to me. Also the BART system is stupidly expensive. $8.65 for a one-way ticket means I will never complain about Metro or Translink prices again.

And then home, where the cats insisted they didn't care that we'd been gone and where it snowed the next morning.

Perhaps the oddest part of the trip was traveling with just the iPad as entertainment: no physical books, and I had my laptop but I didn't cart it around with me much. Strange, to have what used to be a bag of books and a case of tapes or CDs reduced to a slim screen.

I think I've adjusted to being home again.

en ajijic

Feb. 27th, 2014 10:10 pm
jazzfish: Jazz Fish: beret, sunglasses, saxophone (Default)
It was snowing Satyrday morning when we left Vancouver, and from all reports hasn't really stopped yet. I'd be a little sad to have missed the snow, except that it's supposed to either still be going or start again on Sunday evening. What a winter.

impressions from travel )


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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