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Oh yeah, did I mention that I'm housesitting. Dude! I have access to a car! And a huge tv with surround sound! Also, dog. This means that I get to bring [ profile] kehrli out to North Seattle and we watch ridiculous Nick Cage movies while playing with the dog. (First, Face/Off, last night, Con Air. Up next, The Rock)
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Yesterday I hung out with my Everett friends. Our hangout time typically consists of driving around looking for interesting things and playgrounds. Yesterday was no exception. C had heard rumors of "a nerd mall" in Arlington, so we figured we might as well go looking for it. After much driving back and forth around the boring town of Arlington, we found it (The Mirkwood Cafe). However, there was ABSOLUTELY NO PARKING, so we just acknowledged that we'd found it, and drove on. This driving took us right past a minor but extensive brush fire on the side of the road, which was being battled by some bored-looking firefighters.
There was also a bit of wandering around a wildlife reserve, where the wildlife consisted of pretty much nothing but grasshoppers and dragonflies. But they were some colorful grasshoppers and dragonflies: Chartreuse, blue and red, respectively.

Not the most amazing adventure I've had, but I got to explore some unfamiliar areas, and bond with friends. It was a sorta draining day, emotionally, since it was bookended with heavy discussions of the past in the evening, and me discovering my name on the same page as my favorite author in the morning. (see next post.)
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What the heck happened to Day 3? I know I spent the first part in a daze, but a nap and bottle of caffeine perked me up enough to party till 3am.

Today was the Hugo ceremony, and despite my dreams of dressing up in my glamorous dress, I didn't get a chance to. But that's fine, because it means I won't have a problem figuring out what to wear to the next one I go to.

In the realm of happy coincidences, my old friend [ profile] tideling was here, with a friend of hers who just happened to be someone I knew from the Cascade Writers Retreat. In another happy coincidence, we ended up sitting next to them for the Hugos.

I ducked out relatively early from partying (1:15am). I'm going to pack up and get plenty of sleep for the drive home tomorrow.
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Today I went north to spend an afternoon with friends in honor of a certain friend's birthday, which he would have forgotten if not for me and his girlfriend. So I bought him some chocolate almonds that I know he loves, and he was most happy.
We saw Attack The Block, which is a moderate-budget British film that is totally awesome. Aliens invade a crappy part of London, and a local gang of teenaged thugs has to save the day. It's about ordinary, flawed people having to take responsibility for their actions and be badass to save their home. I must say, it's more impressive watching some kid who you know is genuinely scared shitless overcome their fear (without any sort of whining) and whack an alien over the head with a baseball bat than some shiny action hero who you know will survive a fifty foot fall without a scratch.

The aliens are both ridiculous and creepy at the same time, but they're kept simple, and I like their explanation for why the aliens are there, and why the invasion was so localized.

It's more horror than science fiction, and does a good job with it. Unlike Shark Night, which they showed a preview for, and which is so damned cliched, I thought it was a joke at first. (The black guy dies first. Seriously! Moviemakers actually still do that! You'd think they'd at least shake things up a bit and have him die second. In Attack The Block, if a black guy had died first, it actually wouldn't have bugged me, because most of the cast was black! But even that they subverted.)

But before the movie, we hung out at a playground, and I totally bashed the heck out of my legs. Going down a slide, I misjudged my speed and distance, and started to raise my legs and stand up sooner than I should. As a result, I whacked the back of my legs, right below the calf muscles, and now have twin horizontal welts. I'm sure you'll all get to see them at Worldcon, when the bruises finally show up. Which reminds me, I have to go stick some packages of frozen burritos on those things.
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I had been planning on going to the Vanguard Party last night, but [ profile] kehrli contacted me, talking about going to The Night Kitchen* to use the internet (which, in his current, recently moved state, he lacks). I've wanted to check this place out for a while now, so I figured I'd go, but it would probably be loud and crowded (it being a Saturday night) and so after an hour or two, I'd leave and go to the party. However, the place had just opened for the evening, wasn't crowded at all, and had the perfect atmosphere for going over my critiques from the recent retreat.
So we stuck around till 10:30, munching on sweet potato fries, black bean hummus and garlic naan. I failed in my goal to make new friends**, but I did establish a new hangout, got some work done, and had some quality friend time with [ profile] kehrli, which I really can't get enough of.

*The Night Kitchen is a local restaurant that's open from 6pm to 9am.

**Wait, that's not true! When I arrived, two people I know happened to be there already, and they introduced me to their friend, who they were eating with. I also take the presence of friends to be a good omen for my future with The Night Kitchen, since I'm looking for a Black Drop replacement, and that requires an establishment that always has someone I know in it.
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In addition to just liking to help friends, I'm particularly intent right now on helping people move, since I was so graciously helped, both emotionally and physically, by a dozen people earlier this year. So yesterday I helped my dear [ profile] kehrli move into his new, occupied only by himself, apartment. I was a little stupid and forgot to bring snacks and sunblock*, so I'm a little scorched, and we were all a little lightheaded, but we powered through, facing sun and awful traffic. And lo! There was an elevator, and a place to park!

I had been hoping to go to a party with a cousin I hardly ever see, but I was so exhausted, there was no way that was going to happen. I saw her and her awesome husband and son on Thursday, thankfully. I do wish I could get to know my slightly more extended family better.

Once we got the big stuff done, Keffy and I rushed to Northgate, with nothing in our brains but the word, "food," echoing. Since we were both so braindead, I didn't feel bad that the huge TVs blasting music videos in the food court captured all our attention. They actually had a nice, occasionally surreal selection, from classic Madonna to Run DMC singing Walk This Way with Aerosmith, to Katy Perry shooting fireworks out of her tits while encouraging big-bodied gals to wear bikinis and boys to make out in public.**

A quick trip into Target to get a shower curtain resulted in the two of us each leaving with our own cart full of cheap floor lamps and rice cookers and pillows.
I was paid with a copy of the Writers of the Future anthology Keffy is in. (I confess, I selfishly look forward to reading the stories that beat me.) All in all, I earned $0.89 an hour yesterday, not counting the Diet Coke I plundered from a friend who has to get rid of it so she can start an elimination diet. (Good luck, btw. I'm sorry I'm benefiting from your suffering. :-( )

And I have today all to myself.

*Downside of living alone: No one to rub aloe on my back. :-(
**Just the other day I saw someone accusing Katy Perry of supporting gays because it was trendy, but if she's being peer pressured into doing the right thing, I say, "whatever." And that curvy girl doing a cannonball was really adorable.
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One of the reasons I looked forward to moving to the Seattle area was the chance to see friends more often. Last night was my first chance to put that into practice. [ profile] kehrli decided to celebrate his winning 3rd Place in Writers of the Future (Yay!) by having a group dinner at Mexico in Pacific Place. The group was a great mix of really close friends, and people I sort of know and look forward to getting to know more.
But the main reason I'm making this post is to talk about the chimichanga, which, well, I've never actually had one. I didn't realize they were actually huge amounts of cheese and sour cream blended with a few shreds of chicken. I was sort of expecting the ratios to be switched. I suspect my body will be demanding nothing but rice cakes for the next week to compensate.


Jul. 18th, 2010 08:46 am
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Last night, I had an awesome birthday party, shared with my fellow July-ers, [ profile] mcjulie and [ profile] spencimusprime.
I ordered just the right amount of pizza, and [ profile] awriter made her magnificent quiche. There's lots of cake leftover, but that just means my co-workers get to share in the joy on Monday.
[ profile] kenscholes and [ profile] spencimusprime played guitar on the rarely-used back porch, and the weather was perfect. My parents stopped by; Mom was pretty lucid!
As twilight set in, I pulled out my telescope and tried to get Spencer's 3-year-old daughter excited about looking at the moon, but she seemed rather indifferent. I felt a little sorry for her, since she was the only kid at this grown-up party, but we have a couple toys around the house for her to play with (though she preferred to play with the cat toys.) Keffy, ever the doting adopted uncle, brought an old plush My Little Pony for her. This is a twenty four year old toy whose tail and mane is still radioactive yellow.

So thank you to everyone who came!
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I have successfully arrived in San Francisco. While in the airport, twitter alerted me that Mark Teppo (whom I've met a couple times, but only sorta know) was also stuck there waiting to go to SF. Not having anything to do for the hour my plane was delayed, I set off to find him. I thought I saw him sitting at the gate beside mine (which was, btw, clogged with Texans waiting for their own delayed flight) but I was too shy to go up to him. Turns out this was for the best, because it wasn't him. He was on the flight they let me get on (earlier for me, two hour delay for him!) I didn't notice this until we were in the air and I saw a guy several rows in front of me who kind of looked like him from behind. If not for Twitter, I suppose I would have been waiting at the curb for my ride and turned and gone , "Hey, I know that guy!"
Anyway, he's in town for this promoting his new project, The Mongoliad, which is a collaborative story via iPhone app by him and Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear and a bunch of others which sounds totally awesome.

I was a little sad [ profile] calendula_witch and I weren't able to make it (I'm a big fan of Mark, and she of Neal) but we made up for it by consuming lots of wine and rich Italian food.

And now I'm probably going to bed early, because we're getting up early, and if it's not raining, going for a walk. (I haven't spent much time in San Francisco, certainly not the non-downtown part. I love the huge towering hills! I love having tall green things around me.) And then, on to the Uhaul!
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Going to San Francisco tomorrow to help [ profile] calendula_witch move. I love traveling to places I rarely go (which these days means anywhere other than Bellingham, Seattle, Portland and possibly Ventura.) So thank you to [ profile] calendula_witch for the opportunity.

Speaking of friends, go check out [ profile] kehrli's story, "Daha's Son", up for free on Fantasy Magazine. Everything Keffy writes is pretty darned awesome, so you won't regret it.
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Norwescon was a blast. The only down spots were
A) Forgetting to buy Mark Henry's Battle of the Network Zombies. *
B) Missing folks who couldn't make it. and
C) The Tor Party, at which I kind of freaked out. I was exhausted, and the party was of course, loud, crowded and full of strangers. However, everyone I knew was also there, (yes, there was one notable exception, but I was too exhausted to deal with the emotional weight of being with that friend. See below.) meaning I couldn't go somewhere else to chill and still be social. Next year, I'm going to make sure I have a hotel room, even if I have to beg, bribe and cajole folks to share with me. I really, really needed a nap and possibly private introvert space.

* Totally remedied on the drive home. My mom needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at the Northgate Barnes and Noble.

Other downside: I was so exhausted when I got home that I passed right out. I was a little surprised, since while I didn't sleep much, it wasn't like I was running on two hours a night or anything. And the two-hour nap did nothing for me. I soon myself overcome with abdominal cramps, and quivering with a cold sweat. I wanted to barf so bad, but I eventually had to accept that it was just gas and curling up in bed was all I could do. It actually made for good mental processing time, since I couldn't do anything else until the pain abated. (When it got to a manageable level, I totally started Mark's book, because if anything is readable through potential food poisoning, it's a trashy zombie novel. I'm better now, and it probably wasn't food poisoning, but if John Pitts ends up with the same thing, it was totally the bread pudding, in the bar, with the unspeakable rich sauce.

Among the superawesome things:

Meeting up with an old, old friend who has a tendency to drop out of my life for years on end, and then pop up without warning. I saw him briefly last year, but the cliquish nature of Norwescon being what it is, I never saw him after that glimpse. This year, however, we got in dinner and a lot of conversation time, and I got to turn him on to a friend's upcoming book. We talked about the past and being young and stupid and if only, if only, if only.

Hanging with an awesome group who included Kat Richardson (and her glorious custom-made corset) and Cherie Priest. Every now and then, I feel like I've already learned everything there is to know about how the publishing business works, and then I learn otherwise. I feel like I earned a merit badge. (Basket accounting. If I understand it right, it's when the publisher requires a series of books to earn out their advance(s) as a unit before earning royalties.)

Early morning writing sessions in the Rotunda overlooking that really big pond behind the hotel. I actually got writing done at a con!

My kickass little hat (known as a folly, I was informed.) Made by [ profile] zeldyn. (Check out her Etsy shop!) Turns out another of my friends at Norwescon also had one of her hats!

Being led by Camille Alexa through the party wing in a big long chain of half-drunk ducklings in search of alcohol.

I'm feeling very, very grateful. Grateful to friends who hooked us up with beds, grateful to pros for stuffing me with knowledge, grateful for folks like Nayad of Clarkesworld who encourage me to keep submitting despite rejection. Grateful to everyone for being so welcoming. I had a revelation about myself, about why it is that being with my friends doesn't drain me. I view the world and connect with it through my relationships. I tend towards collective identities. (Even though I know that all that is illusory, and that ultimately, I'm only me. I do manage to function as a completely self-sufficient unit, socially and emotionally.) I think that my ego actually absorbs the friends I'm with, basically bringing them under the umbrella of my identity, and keeping them from being energy drains. I bet it sounds like that could be a freaky concept. My ex used to bug me about needing to define people. And it's not like I'm saying, "you are now me, and I have as much control over you as I do myself." It's just that wither certain people, I have an awareness of closeness and our commonalities. We're united by our passions, or events, or common knowledge. Different combinations form different groups within the group. (And of course, certain bonds form barriers that are almost impenetrable. One word: Clarionites. I respect the barriers, especially since goodness knows I have them among my own circles, but having a relationship of a different sort with someone in the impenetrable group allows for temporary permeability. Me and another girl totally bonded at World Fantasy over being Roommates of Clarionites, who drifted along like superfluous, but attached, appendages on the Clarion Amoeba.)

This makes me think that my social energy loss actually comes from two sources. The first is the standard problem of people (particularly extroverted-seeming types) focusing on me, forcing my own shields up. The second is me attempting to batter down the shields I perceive between myself and others.

Okay, enough philosophy. I need to get back to bitchy zombies in love.
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So [ profile] awriter and I were planning to go across town to the Fred Meyer. I glanced at the clock and said, "If we leave right now, or in the immediate future, we could catch the bus." And by that I meant, we can leave THIS VERY INSTANT and have a leisurely walk to the stop across the street, or we can leave in a couple minutes and RUN OUR ASSES OFF.

Audrey retreated to her room to Do Stuff.
She was Doing Stuff for a while.
I stood outside, occasionally calling out and occasionally getting an "I'm coming!"

She emerged holding a pink plastic grocery bag containing Stuff.
I instantly realized what had happened, but oh, well. I made her run, and we just barely caught the bus. All the while she cried, "I can't do it! It smells!" To which I responded, "How do you know! It doesn't!" (And it didn't.)

So yeah, that's how I made Audrey take cat poop on the bus.
Turns out she thought we were going to walk to the downtown station instead of catching the bus across the street, which is reasonable, but totally not what I had in mind. She tossed the bag in the garbage at the downtown station and all was well in the world.
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Friday we went to the alst Clarion West party. Got to see Eileen Gunn's cool stuff. And by cool stuff, I mean wacked out, hand assembled art from found junk. She works underneath the gaze of a battery of broken doll heads and a particularly maniacal species of jack o'lantern. If ever you're at her house, ask to see Flirty Eyes. You won't sleep.

I also got to talk to the other half of our hosting couple, John Berry, about typography and metal type. You know, I used to obsessively google everyone I knew I was going to meet in the sf field. I've gotten lax. If I'd known John was an actual typographer, not just a casual fan like myself, I would have probably made a point to talk to him earlier, and not in the final minutes of the party. I told him about Carly, our magnificent local letterpresser at Bison Bookbinding, and we bemoaned the shabby treatment of old metal type. (We've got a lot at my work, in dusty drawers, but reportedly there was a lot more that got casually tossed by some clean and unappreciative pressman. I totally need to scan some of the stuff we've got. The logos are fun.

Then it was on to crash at Miki's, where we spent Saturday helping clean her house for her year-late housewarming party. A bunch of us played croquet in Miki's overgrown backyard. I totally would have won if somebody (read, everybody) hadn't forgotten there was an extra wicket I'd missed. There should be pictures surfacing on the internet of the many misadventure's of Miki's Belated Housewarming BBQ. Stay tuned for video showing what I'm willing to do among a very small group of people I'm comfortable with. No alcohol needed!

This weekend was interesting socially for many reasons. Not so much in the way I usually feel going to cons, which is, "wow, I'm on a career path and I really think I can do it. I'm going to be a writer and these are/will be my industry peers.* This feeling's more of a basic, friendship level. I realized these are the people I'm going to know for the rest of my life. Social circles come and go like clouds in the sky, but the sf scene has been around for decades, and isn't going anywhere. Even if the mini-circles evaporate, the participants will probably go into other mini-circles. If a friend from college died, I'd probably never know. But someday, sooner or later, everyone at last night's BBQ is going to die, and assuming I don't go first, I'll probably know about it, either through publications or through word of mouth.

It takes me a while to process social encounters. Livejournal certainly helps with that, thank you everyone, internet. I'm going to the store to buy caffeine and nail polish remover, and hopefully by the time I get back I'll be processed and ready to write, because dangit, I want my novel finished.

*(Although, on the career front, I did get to watch someone I know basically be told, "okay, now get in this here rickety catapult. I'm going to close my eyes and swing madly at the rope. Don't worry, I've done this before.")
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[ profile] csinman and I helped [ profile] mikigarrison do yardwork today, something I havne't properly done* since I was a kid. Her mower broke down, so the grass in the backyard was a couple feet high. It was so much fun to roll in. We weedwhacked and mowed and cut down a climbing vine containing four abandoned birdnests that Sän's going to give to his nephews. I got a mild sunburn on my shoulders where I missed with the sunscreen. Tomorrow, I will be achey. I felt very useful. :-)

*Hacking my fingernail off with a sickle last summer doesn't count.
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To all my friends who see Twilight: When you see a curly-haired, female EMT wheeling some guy away on a gurney, think, "that's Michelle, an awesome EMT and firefighter in real life."

She's a former co-worker of mine, as well as my current co-worker's wife. She joined a movie extra company as sort of a hobby. She also a children's librarian and trains for marathons in her spare time.

She's also how I learned about Twilight. Imagine the following scene:

Cast: Ryan--my co-worker.
Me-- me.

Ryan (just putting down his lunchbox: Yeah, Michelle got this audiobook that's apparently really popular. I listened to part of it on the way in to work. It's about this girl and vampires. She moves to Forks.

Me: Forks, Washington??? (Remembers barren, treeless hills far from either sea or mountain. Colorless town. Good pancakes. Tries to imagine angsty teen vampires in Land O' Loggers. Can't.)

I type "forks vampires" into Google, and discover the book. I snicker a lot and laugh at Ryan for having to listen to it.

Some time later, I next heard of the book when Ryan told me they were making a movie out of "that Forks book," and Michelle was going to be an extra.
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Go check out this interview with the Clarion graduates, in which Keffy narrowly averts being called Kathy.
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Keffy's back after six weeks gone, and I'd forgotten the joy of communicating with through bizarre, non-word sounds.


Jun. 14th, 2008 11:15 am
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Thanks to the power of streaming video, I just watched Keffy graduate online. I'm so happy for her. She's worked hard for five years to earn two degrees (BA and BS). Keffy has the right mixture of willpower, ambition and raw talent, so I know she's going to end up in great places. I've watched Keffy overcome crippling self-doubt to throw herself fully into her dreams. Early in our friendship, my little writing group would tease her about her inability to finish things. That's changed by now, and even those things she hasn't finished, she hasn't cast aside. Despite knowing nothing about drawing, she started a webcomic, and though life and school causes long delays between updates, she's never given up, and she's never stopped improving.
I'm very lucky to know Keffy, whose uninhibited use of color in her wardrobe is inspiring.

Anyway, I'm terrible at expressing myself, so I'll just say that Keffy rocks, I'll miss her while she's at Clarion this summer, and I'll be even sadder when she leaves Bham for the big world.

And today, I'm grateful to her for reminding me how happy I am that I didn't attend my commencement ceremony. True, I muted much of it, but I listened to all of Mariners CEO's speech. It was an interesting mixture of standard "your life will change" talk, political polemic ("I wonder, if we still had the draft, would we have allowed the war in Iraq?") and condescension ("At first, I didn't want to give this speech, because what could a 65 year old businessman have to say to you young people. Maybe I should talk about video games, because I was with Nintendo...")

The actual granting of degrees is inspiring, yet mind-numbingly boring. They're sorted by college, rather than major or name, so Chelsea and I dutifully stared at the screen until Keffy went by.


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