Wednesday, June 28, 2006

From my balcony, Seattle, June 1, 2006. This is from the series that broke my polarizer.

the one where i talk about stuff i want

My finger's itching to push the Buy button on this lens. But instead I bought a new 77mm circular polarizer for my 18-35mm Nikkor lens. The old polarizer snapped in two when I took my latest sunrise photo off the balcony. It's just not photography if I can't crank the blue to eleven when I shoot the sky.

I finished reading "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles" and now I'm on Angela Carter's "The Bloody Chamber." Found a copy at a used bookstore on Sunday -- after a cheese steak sandwich and a pint at our friendly, neighborhood brewpub. (Feast upon my gluttony!) I like her style very much. I've been spoiled; almost every book I've picked up lately has been excellent. Maybe this is my reward for reading "Angels and Demons."

Today I ate ice cream for lunch instead of real lunch. Because sometimes only ice cream will do. Especially if it is from Cold Stone and it is a mix of cherries, brownies, and chocolate ice cream, and then maybe you cut up a fresh banana and sit in the break room overlooking the city and watch the ferries drive in and out of the bay for an hour. You know, as people do.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Why music? And why if I have to be addicted, why couldn't the gods have granted me actual musical talent? It's not the best super power to wake every morning with the same riff pounding my dreams into submission, and unable to concentrate without dulling my senses and plugging in. Why. It hurts my moods. And while we're at it. How come I don't dance?

I've got my little bucket of skills and I carry them around and I hold them up to strangers and I say, here, this is what I can do. Do you want any? And they either say yay or nay and then I go my merry way.

You either know which songs will make me crumble or you don't. It shifts. Sometimes it's just a chorus, or three words hidden in the middle. Like the Third Eye Blind song, "and the four right chords can make me cry..." Only no. Not at all. More like, sit dazed and wandering in some nether fog of all the bright and shiny. Waiting for a snippet, waiting for the singer to lift me high then smash me into her rock face, and my pieces tumble end on end below to sand in a virtual explosion. Like that. Rock face. Cliff. Norm!

I walked through that Cheers bar once. It wasn't all that great. But across the street you know, they used to hang people.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

I shifted strategies by submitting my first pieces of writing for publication. Not contests, but actual publication. As I work my way up to bigger chunks of fiction, I'm giving myself little challenges. This week I practised tightening my sentences by focusing on word selection. (What's the heart of what I want to say, and can I say it more efficiently?) To do that I wrote greeting card sentiments and rhyming poetry for kids.

I was surprised at what came out of me since I never wrote in these forms seriously before. It was exciting how much I liked it.

It's hot and beautiful here but we have our California fans running and there's a nice breeze. I'm on break from the gym and the sloth is slowly creeping out to take over my life again. It hates the heat and wants nothing to do with the outside. Jer said he might go for a walk this afternoon, so maybe he'll help me beat the sloth into submission for an hour or two. And then we can go get ice cream.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

all about regina

I'm listening to the new Regina Spektor CD, "Begin To Hope," and it's fantastic.

For a taste, here's the video for "On the Radio," in Quicktime or Windows Media Player format.

And here's the video for "Samson," in Quicktime or Windows Media Player format.

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm on a promotional e-mail list where I'm sent these links, and encouraged to share however I want. (Not only do I think Regina Spektor rocks but I'm all for this sort of viral marketing. I think it's inspired.) So, you know, enjoy!

Friday, June 23, 2006

video worth watching

Spin DJ is a god

i don't know what i saw

Here is what I saw: A Hispanic man on his hands and knees, breathing hard, head down, face down, blood around his nostrils down his chin, dripping on the sidewalk forming perfect little circles, bright red and tight on black gum crud and dark grey stains. A tall empty can of Natural Ice on its side. A black woman in light blue scrubs clapping her hands for attention and shouting, "Call the police. Call the police now. You're standing there? You let this happen? Can't you see his face? Call them now." And all the people at the bus stop shuffling awkwardly, peering from the sides of their eyes. Adjusting their iPods and feigning invisibility. A white man from the building staff, white shirt, tie, black jacket, stepping outside then wheeling back inside. Sirens in the distance. And then I saw my bus.

It was over when I walked by. Except for the blood.

Now I'm trying to write poems for ages 9-14 but I'm having a hard time. For some reason my heart isn't in it.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


I dreamed a clear snake, alive and with the consistency of a gummy bear, wriggled its way out of my forehead, tail first. I could only stand horrified as it burst from my skin and slithered across the carpet, to seek sanctuary in the closet. I wanted it dead and I knew just how to kill it: bolt cutters across the middle. I'd snap the snake in half through its jellied flesh.

Of course the snake hid from me. And I pursued it. When I stared it in the face, I saw it was a cobra. The dream ended with us staring at each other.

It might interest you to note that in the Chinese zodiac, I am a snake. A fire snake. But then snakes in dreams can mean transition. Cobras are associated with the god Shiva, while white snakes in Japanese mythology are the embodiment of the gods. That is, unless the white snake in question refers to the preeminent 80's hard rock band Whitesnake, which is then a horse of a different color, namely tawny.

But all it means to me is the retinal burn of six inches of snake tail flitting back and forth slapping against the skin of my forehead as the rest of it oozed through a widening split of my flesh.

I am of course ignoring the most obvious interpretation.

Only two more months 'til "Snakes on a Plane" is released!

To paraphrase our greatest living actor, Mr. Samuel L. Jackson: "Get these muthafuckin' snakes off this muthafuckin' plane!"

Or at the very least, out of my muthafuckin' forehead.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

water water everywhere

I'm a little rundown. I was thinking since so many cruise ships depart from Seattle, maybe I could get a good deal somewhere. I found a discount site and sure enough, lots of deals.

I know there are people who can't stomach boats, but that's never been me. I can't imagine life without water. I love the waves, I love the wind and the spray. I love hanging over the rail, staring into the sea as waves whip past, the trail we've cut fading into wakes that drift outwards into decreasing ripples until the distance between each crest and trough is absolute zero. This morning I watched the water swirl down the drain in its clockwise pattern, each small wave clashing all around the edges a circle in chaos wavering and jetting out at angles until it all every bit was sucked down the metal drain. And the shower stream beat against my skull and the drops ran down my legs my arms my nose to the tips of my hair and into that swirl of crazy clear and twisted water.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

my weakness is 30 frames per second

I wonder sometimes what life would be like without television. Then I think I should go cold turkey and see, but I never get around to pulling the plug. The world passes by while I stare stone-faced at inane sit-com antics and ads for crap I'll never buy, and I lap it up because there's nothing better to do. Or at least that's what I tell myself.

Is it because I can't stand the sound of my own thoughts? The effort of entertaining myself for five minutes? What's wrong with me that I'm so hopelessly addicted?

That's it. It's over. From here on out, we go our separate ways. It'll be hard, but it's for the best... Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Gilmore Girls, MythBusters, you have to watch yourselves now. Fly far from the nest, spread your wings and don't look back.


Now that's it's quiet, wow, the view from the balcony is even less interesting than the tv. Do birds always make those stupid noises? What is that smell? What do I do with my eyes while I sit in front of the dark TV, drinking my delicious and tasty Diet Dr. Pepper?

I wonder if that show's on now, you know, the one with that guy doing that crazy thing he always does. What do they call it, his trademark?

Maybe I'll just nudge the remote and if it turns on, it'd be no big deal. I'll just do a quick scan, make sure I'm not missing anything. Five more minutes couldn't hurt.

Yesterday I parked my ass on the couch and read half of Haruki Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle." It's exactly the right book for the moment.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Speaking of comments, read this Pearls Before Swine.
My eyes are weeping. The rest of me is fine.

Hello, allergies! O, how I've missed our special time together!

I am an eye drop dropping freak. My makeup is tear streaked. I look like I'm having a helluva morning, but no. No, my head is hosting a sinus convention and pollen has the floor.

Mike Doughty's "I Hear the Bells." Listen to it.

Work gave me two tickets to see a Mariners game at Safeco Field, so Jer and I will be doing that tonight. I must be psychic because I see beer in my future. And eyedrops. Beer flavored eyedrops.

Never said I was a good psychic.

Also, I turned on comments. Knock yourselves out.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I slept 12 hours last night. What do I win?

On the way in to work from the thyroid ultrasound, I stopped to buy a breakfast sandwich. It was a place I'd never been before, cute little hole in the wall, cheap sandwiches and a lot of business types flowing in and out. I ordered, I paid, I noticed jars of guava jam I wanted to buy, I looked at my change, and realized it was $10 short. So I said to the nice man, "I paid with a $20 bill." And he said, "No, you paid with a ten." This went back and forth for a minute until I said, "Listen I just went to the ATM. They don't give $10 bills at the ATM. What do we do now?" He wrote down my name and number on a blue post-it note and said when he reconciled the books in the evening, he'd determine who was correct. In the mean time I should plan to stop back the following morning.

The next morning I got my ten dollars back.

As he handed me the money he said, "It's funny. The woman behind you in line swore she saw you pay with a ten." I'm not sure how to respond to that because obviously I did not, and obviously the woman was lying. So I let it go. And ordered another breakfast sandwich.

What do you want from me? I'm not made of stone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

My visit to the doctor was uneventful and expensive. I go back tomorrow for a thyroid ultrasound, which is always good fun. Drafty smock, check. Goop on my throat, check. Technician poking me in the neck looking for cysts, whoot, hallelujah and hot damn.

I just reread some journal entries from 1998 -- back when I was young, impressionable, and on geocities -- because I'm a glutton for punishment. This entry wasn't so bad:

October 28, 1999
today i forced a computer to yield to my will. i made it recognize its cdrom, i forced it to see its own mouse, and then i rammed its network card down its throat. systems administration should be a full contact sport.

But then I read this -- from 8 years ago -- and I wonder what's changed.

February 13, 1998
I want to do something fun. Warcraft is losing its appeal. I want to drive. Maybe tomorrow I'll go on a field trip.

Of course this is in reference to an earlier version of Warcraft, not THE World of Warcraft, but it may as well be. I'm a broken record.

Okay, a lot of things *have* changed in 8 years. I'm not pissing and moaning about my lack of love life, I'm sleeping through the night instead of studying through it, and, oh right, no more college. Leaving college was a definite sanity gain. Plus it did wonders for my disposable income.

It's sprinkling. Pitter patter. Everything is richer looking, deeper. I smell a neighbor's dinner. Something hearty. Potato based. The chair arm rubs against my elbows. A closet door slides in its tracks downstairs. I let myself be present in a way I don't do anymore. I used to lie in bed, watch the light through my green and white curtains, and play a game. How many different sounds could I hear? A lawnmower? A toilet flush? Car door slam? Rubber trash can lid knocked to the ground? An airplane? A siren? I'd shut my eyes so the lids formed slits and see what I could recognize. It's different when it's blurry. I'd stare at my hand and watch the veins move. I'd lie on my back, in the grass, and let it itch all up and down my legs. I'd crawl under my bed and touch the pointy metal springs. I'd look at my chest in the mirror and wonder how big my boobs'd get. I'd color in the lines and think that once I finished a thing it would somehow live on its own. Like Frankenstein.

But I don't do that anymore.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I have a fantasy in which I own the printed twenty-volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary, plus the three-volume Additions Series. This desire was triggered after reading Simon Winchester's book, "The Professor and the Madman." Unfortunately, available shelf space is already at a premium, so my dream of owning a twenty-volume dictionary must wait until I have a real office or at least another bookshelf.

And no, the CD won't cut it. It's all or nothing.

When I ask myself, why, why must you own all the words that ever were, it requires serious thought. The main reason I've settled on is that I want to contain and capture every word in the English language because then they will always be at my fingertips ready and waiting. Part of me believes that the simple act of owning these volumes, imparts wisdom and facilitates discipline transference. Because if I have the ability to know everything, I probably already do.

Chew on that.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Fog swallowed the city in the night. I looked outside past the scuba divers and there was nothing but a wall of shifting white.

We've been in Seattle for 9 months now. I can't say it feels like it. Everyday I'm glad we made the move. There's nothing quite like riding the water taxi into work, sitting on the upper deck in a plastic chair, the sun warm on my face. There's nothing like working downtown, high above the streets, with all the different people and the shops and the restaurants and the happy hours. There's nothing like the view from my office window, here and now, with all the lush green trees, the few dark red leaves, the sound of bird calls, seal barks, and boat horns. Or the view from the living room, watching the cargo ships floating past courtesy of their tug boats, or the city lit up at night -- I can recognize most buildings now -- or the scuba divers sharing a rocky strip of beach with thirty Canada geese.

It's so far from Santa Barbara where we lived in the front half of a tiny duplex. There I was enamored with the purple flowers on the trees and going for long walks in the evening, the houses glowing with orange light that spilled from windows, and the sky a beautiful shade of deep blue. Our little house was always too warm, and never quiet. There was always the overwhelming drone of Buddhist chants from our East coast neighbor and his pals, or the banging of one song on the piano, over and over. Or, waiting until the sun had set, the sound of him yelling for his cat, "Fluffy" into the night.

California still has its bureaucratic hooks in me, but everyday another one falls out. I received a CA registration renewal for my car, and once I send that in with a note attached, I can only think of one more hook -- transferring my medical records. After that, the rest may as well drop away. Taxes were paid, addresses were changed. I finally feel like a real resident, not just another transplant.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I spent the day alternately flipping through investment how-to texts, sleeping on the couch, and watching crappy television. It was the first Saturday I haven't had a class in six weeks, so I decided to celebrate by doing nothing.

It wasn't as satisfying as I thought it would be.

We're close to reaching the first major milestone on a product release at work, so I expect the next few months will involve a lot of late nights.

And I broke down and made an appointment with an endocrinologist. I've been dreading it, but it has to be done. Huzzah.

Now I better sign off before the cat sits on my keyboard and erases everything. Again.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

It is difficult to concentrate when the other person you share an office with is speaking video game commands into his headset.

I miss the laptops. I miss having the option to sit by the window and tap tap tap away at my keyboard. At work they monitor what websites I go to, and sniff all of my packets, so I am too paranoid to post from there. From here, it is too loud. And there is a fan by my head that dries out my eyes so that they water. I am full of excuses. You know the type.

Someday I will own a laptop again. I may still have my old one somewhere, but the hinge broke when someone else opened it one day. I did not break it. I would feel better if I had broken it, but I never had the satisfaction. Just the memory of writing a $2,000 check for it in 1996. It was my college laptop. We had good times.

I can either go watch television or put headphones on loud or go for a walk. But I guess of all the options in all the world, I get my kicks from sitting here and waiting for my eyes to dry out completely and fall out of my head. Into my lap. Like waxy marbles.

Friday, June 02, 2006

We went from DINKs to SINKs this week when Jer got word his job was no more. I don't think he's too bummed about it because it means sleeping late and more time for Warcraft, which since he hasn't had a genuine break from work, well, ever, I can't exactly fault. It was a contract job so the end was always in sight and it wasn't a surprise, but I'm sad we had to give the laptops back. I will miss their delightful whirring noises. I hope they both go to good and loving homes.

It took fifty minutes to ride the bus into town this morning -- normally a 20-minute ride. It's my own fault. I stood on the street and I looked at the water taxi and back at the bus and back again. At the time it was sprinkling and I was sleepy and the water taxi means I have to walk uphill for a very long time and get all sweaty before I get to work. But the bus drops me off two blocks away on level ground. So I chose bus. I chose poorly.

At least I had my iPod. Full of Eels.

Speaking of, I bought tickets to see the Eels Sunday night. If you haven't heard it or them, I highly recommend their With Strings: Live at Town Hall album.