Coffee Revolution

I spent the past few days hidden away in my apartment, so I opted to take the sunny day today and finally go out. Tired of the usual places, I looked up some new coffee shops on WifiMug, and came across one a scant 5 minute drive away. Took another 10 minutes to find a parking spot, but finally got in to Revolutions, which is a block or so off Greenlake. It’s got an odd vibe to it, and I’m not sure about it quite yet. The bagels are good (from Bagel Oasis, which I’ll need to check out sometime, having driven past it far too many times to count), and the chai is decent (and a good amount for the price). There are the requisite geeks sitting around on their laptops — myself included — and overall the space is just kind of low key. It’s a little dark, which gives it a subdued atmosphere for better or worse. The wifi seems to work reasonably well, though you need to grab a WEP key from the front counter to get on.

That said, they’ve got couches. And they’re open until 10 (9 on weekends). These two things instantly set them at a higher bar than most coffee shops out there. (Zoka is open later, but has far less comfy seating — a tradeoff.)

10 Days and Tea

It’s kind of ironic that what seems to finally get me to write a blog post is my internet being down, sending me to the coffee shop. I don’t really have much to say, mind you, but it feels good to be writing something, like it’s what you’re supposed to do in a coffee shop, more than actually drinking coffee. In my case, it’s not even coffee, it’s tea, a blend they call “Haiku”, which is a light green tea with a hint of spice to it. Pretty tasty, and it survives a second infusion quite well.

I’m getting over a cold that started with a cough, proceeded to a general feeling of guckiness, and is now just a slightly scratchy throat (my immune system is good: I may get sick, but I tend to power through it quickly enough). I laid low during the bad parts of it, but otherwise I’ve been feeling fairly productive. I paid off three out of four credit cards, and paid a chunk down on the fourth, which puts me at a lower debt load than I’ve had in over a year. I still don’t have a job, but I saved out enough from the stock sale (which is how I paid those debts) to survive for a while longer. I may put in my notice on my apartment, despite not knowing where I’m going next: it’s a lot of money I don’t really have. Pretty scary to think about being unemployed and homeless, but hopefully it wouldn’t last long (if at all — the goal, of course, is to land a job sooner than later).

It’s amazing what not getting harassing phone calls every few minutes will do to one’s stress levels (I’m not kidding, they autodial, and had the same people call every minute for fifteen minutes — I wasn’t bothering to answer, because I’d already told them my situation and had nothing more to offer or say). My phone would ring at 8-8:20am every morning, 7 days a week, and then again in the afternoon and evening (and often mid-day as well, but I took to turning off my phone). They even tracked down my parents’ numbers (home and work) and started calling looking for me, even though I’d never given them their names or contact information. (The incessant calling and contacting my family in this manner is illegal as it qualifies as harassment. I’m debating whether to call them on it — I have call logs to verify the call behavior.)

I prefer not to air dirty laundry like that, but it’s been pretty ridiculous.

In other news: Mouse Guard was excellent — the story itself is well told but unremarkable: it would fit easily as a re-telling of a Three Musketeers adventure. What really gets me is the world: it’s very well developed, and operates on an internal logic that makes a lot of sense. It’s the sort of place you’d love to learn the lore of, to view it as a functional society. Also, the artwork is stellar. Looks like they’re doing a regular series of these (this was Autumn, the next volume will be Winter, the volume after that, Spring), so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out.

I also thoroughly enjoyed Amulet, which is a graphic novel aimed at the young adult market by Kazu Kibuishi. Again, the artwork is excellent, and despite cartoony characters, he does an excellent job of conveying emotional gravitas where appropriate. The one major disappointment I have with it is that it is simply part one of a larger story, and as such ends with something of a cliffhanger. Not a fan of cliffhangers in general, and I know putting together a project like this can be a lengthy process, so it may be a while before the next volume is out. (Checking Kazu’s website, it looks like I have a first printing, with a gold title! Neat, in a makes-no-difference-I’m-not-a-collector sort of way.)

Hot Chocolate Before Bed

Two thirty in the morning and I’m drinking hot chocolate from a “Bad Ass Coffee” travel mug, before padding off to bed. It’s been a few days since I last wrote here (though not since I last wrote). It’s been a good day, the weather holding up while I had lunch and wandered around with a friend. I bought a few books, though I know I probably shouldn’t have spent the money, and refrained from buying several more that were remarkably enticing. I purchased two books on writing (The 3 A.M. Epiphany, and The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes), which should tell you where I’m trying to head with my writing in general: polish, and getting back to storytelling. I also picked up Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi (which, for those of you who were fans of Flight and might want to pick it up, it was in the Young Adult section and the Barnes and Noble). Looking forward to reading that (and also looking forward to reading The Mouse Guard which my friend Anna picked up for me a week or so ago).

The rain started again a few hours ago, typical winter in Seattle. I’ve been doing the job hunting thing for about a month now, and haven’t really had any nibbles to speak of. I’m not letting this get me down: non-seasonal hires during the holidays always tend to be fairly light, and I know several companies that effectively shut down for a few weeks around now for a collective vacation. Doesn’t mean I can really afford it, or to slack off because of that, though — it’d be better to have a resume sitting on HR’s desk when they get back (or sitting in their email as the case may be) than to simply wait for some arbitrary period to be over.

Planning to head down to Portland tomorrow to visit my brother. He’s in much the same employment predicament as me, so at the very least we’ll be able to commiserate and enjoy some company in the process. Fun (and hopefully productive) times shall be had by all!

Other Resolutions

I resolve to get out of this depressive funk I’ve been stuck in for over a year. I want to feel happy and productive and creative again.

I resolve to find a job I like and that pays the bills. I’m tired of work being a stopgap. I want something that I’d be comfortable doing for a while, not where I feel like I need to start hustling for the next job right after I get it.

I resolve to get out and involved and meeting new friends. I can make excuses all I want — putting myself out there scares me. But this is how you meet new people.

I resolve to learn to be at peace with myself. Life is too short to beat myself up just because there are people who don’t want me in their life. I understand this, and yet I continue to do it. I need to know this. It’s an important distinction.

Okay, more cheerful post later, I promise.

Welcome to 2008

It’s a new year, and with it, a new site design (let me know what you think). Still a few little tweaks that need to be handled, but it seems to load faster and cleanly across browsers (tested primarily in Safari and the Mozilla suite of browsers, your mileage may vary). In case you’re wondering, it draws UI influences from the OS X 10.5 finder window, and Adobe Lightroom, though it’s not a direct take of either.

Let’s revisit 2007’s resolutions:

  1. Fill a DVD a month with photography. This translates to roughly 4gb of photographs, every month.
  2. Write every day. Doesn’t matter what. The point is to make time for it.
  3. Finish at least one creative project by the end of 2007. Finished means done and polished and presented to the public.
  4. Take at least one class. Doesn’t matter if it’s a dance class, tai chi, or sanskrit. And I don’t mean “one session”. I mean take one class regularly.
  5. Go at least one place I’ve never been before.

Well, I sure as hell didn’t pull off number 1. In fact, it’s been a fairly slow year, photographically speaking. Number 2: failed, though I DID write more than I have in the past (note the number of entries for 2007, and that’s just on here). Number 3: failed. Number 4: partial success? I took a class on project management, but it was only a few weeks long. Number 5: partial success. It was definitely an interesting trip, and I’d never been through there before, but it’s not all THAT different. So, if I’m kind, 1 out of 5?

Still, I think they’re good goals, so I’m going to keep them as my resolutions for 2008. Happy New Year, everyone!