Seattlite Once More

I’m back in Seattle finally, sitting in Zoka, drinking an iced chai, and listening as they play Andrew Bird’s Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs, an excellent album if I say so myself. Before I get into the “backness” of things, let me fill in a bit since when I departed.

I flew out Friday the 20th in the evening after a full day of work, tried to nap on the plane (with “plane dozing” about the sum of it), got into Philadelphia in the morning, and then had a speedy flight up from Philly to Manchester, where Dad picked me up, and we proceeded directly to Squam, where Mom and Freya already were. We all caught up a fair bit, and I filled them in on what’s been happening in my life, some of which simply doesn’t translate to text, public or private: there is the strain and timbre of the voice that carries a weight that is hard to convey with the same ease in written form. I am an ardent supporter of using the myriad forms of written communication to talk and discuss and communicate, but I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it takes a face to face and voice to voice to get the right message across.

Uri didn’t show up until late that night, having had a late start in the morning driving up from DC due to getting his car serviced (a prudent decision, as much as the delay sucked). Finally meandered to bed around 3am for my first real sleep in two days (and my first sleep in an actual bed, not a futon, in months). Sunday brought JJ into the fold for a few days, and Mike and Mariah showed up for the day (with a 3 month old min-pin named Jack in tow), along with more catching up and chatting and, of course, finishing the final Harry Potter, which I managed to convince Mom to let me read first since I was only in town for a week. No spoilers or anything, but I did want to say that I thought it was a nice wrap up of the series — I really feel like she brought the arc to a good close, without leaving lots of things dangling. So, kudos to you, Ms. Rowling.

Monday involved swimming and relaxing and chatting, with the addition of Dave and Margot and their daughter Leah, who came out for the day. It was great to see them, and Leah was adorable and precocious (it occurs to me that some day a dozen years from now, Leah will be googling for her name and may come across this, and not even remember it, but it’s true: you were adorable when you were three years old, already counting and spelling and asking questions and learning how things worked. We rarely think about longevity in what we put out on the internet… maybe we should more often.)

JJ headed out Tuesday, and the rest of the week was basically just the family. I got to spend some quality time with my dog Freya, who lives with my parents (and is fiercely devoted to my mother, though she likes the rest of us well enough). She’s definitely my dog, though: dogs really do seem to imprint something from their owners, and a number of her tendencies definitely mimic those of Mickey, myself, and my parents. In particular, she seems to have my habit in liking to play and socialize, and then after go hang out somewhere quiet and private and safe to refresh. (There were several dogs throughout the week… the folks in the houses on either side of us had dogs, there was Jack the min-pin, and Dave and Margot’s dog India, whom she played with non-stop ALL DAY.) It was great to go swimming every day, get a little sun (light burn that is already faded, leaving just a slightest hint of more color than usual), reading, writing (not the kind of writing you’re thinking: I finished a new area that I’d been puttering on for Avatar for the past 5 years… I’d started it at the same time as the last area I wrote and put in, which took a few years and was put in two years ago… yeah), and just in general chillax. Didn’t worry about food or work or money for at least a little bit, and that was a nice break, above and beyond the fact that I got to see friends and family.

Friday night, we packed up and headed back to the Upper Valley, where I managed to catch up with Eli and even ran into Annah from high school, who was apparently part of a bachelorette party that night. It was great to catch up with her a bit — she’s looking great, and her husband sounds like an interesting fellow (a photographer, currently off in China for a few months). Hopefully we’ll keep in touch a bit. The next day was sort of a dud… Uri and I went out, but no one was around… and I mean no one. Called everyone we could and no responses. Did, however, get ahold of Chris, and arranged to do coffee with him and Gloria the next day, which was excellent.

After doing coffee with Chris and Gloria (which involved next to no actual coffee, it was mostly just a gab session, but that’s sort of why I call it “doing coffee” rather than getting a cup of coffee — the coffee is irrelevant other than as a mechanism to bring people together, like “doing lunch”), Uri and I were chased by a crazy guy who kept on trying to convince us to give him a ride and who knows what else (his voice kept on undulating between semi-coherence and mumbling). We managed to get away, went and did dinner with Mom and Dad, and then headed south to Eli’s house, where we caught up with a slew of people. I managed to get ahold of Bethany and convinced her to come down as well. It was great to see her and talk a bit — I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that I used to have a crush on her (and I am of the opinion that crushes do not go away, they simply go dormant), so I suppose it goes without saying that I enjoy her company greatly.

Uri took off Monday morning, and plans to get picked up fell through, so I ended up spending the evening at home, which was fine. Tuesday involved lunch at the Orient with Mom and Dad and Eli, and then departing for the airport. Mom and Dad saw me to the airport, fond farewells and all that… and then the fun began.

It seems that the flight coming from Cincinnati that was to take me down to Atlanta to catch my plane to Seattle had not yet arrived. In fact, it hadn’t even lifted off. Mechanical trouble. The expected departure time kept on creeping forward in increments of 15, until they finally confirmed “yes, it has lifted off, we WILL be taking off at 8:45”. (It was supposed to take off at 5:36). Needless to say, I missed my connecting flight by just under 3 hours, getting into the airport around midnight. Delta set us up with hotels and rescheduled our flights, and about half the plane trudged off grumpily to various hotels around Atlanta to catch what sleep they could.

Got checked in to the hotel a little before 1, and was asleep not long after, sleeping fitfully for the 3-4 hours I had before I needed to be up and hopping BACK onto the shuttle to the airport. Got to my gate, checked in, got my seat, and tried to doze in the seats by the gate waiting for the flight. Of course, there was a small problem: so many people had been shunted around due to not one but TWO overly delayed flights the previous night that the morning flight was overbooked, heavily. They started offering $400 and an upgrade to first class to those willing to wait until 6:30pm, when room really opened up.

I really wish I could have afforded to take that, since that’s $400 towards any flight, anywhere, anytime in the next year (it’s not frequent flier points, it’s more like a gift certificate). That’s a trip back east, say, next year, when we’re having a family reunion. I couldn’t justify it, however: I had already missed one extra day of work due to this snafu, and it being the first, my rent was due, which meant I needed to get home in time to actually a) pay it, and b) deposit the paychecks that had arrived while I was gone so I COULD pay it — i.e. during business hours. However, they did also offer $200 dollars and confirmed seating for the next flight out (about an hour and a half later, which would put me in at noon instead of 11… don’t ask me how they shave a half hour off these things). THAT, I took, which means I now have $200 towards any flight Delta will fly for the next year… domestic, international, whenever, whatever. Given that I have a court date for that ridiculous speeding ticket the Monday following the Morison trustee meeting, I STILL can’t make it to that (nor would it cover it all… a good rate for a round trip ticket from Seattle to New England is ranging in the $350-450 range, assuming you have time to wait for a deal, which I don’t). That said, it almost exactly covers the cost of flying round trip to Los Angeles or the Bay Area, and given I have friends in both areas I would like to visit, as well as potential job prospects in both areas, having this little nest egg dedicated to air travel is NICE. It means I can afford to fly down if an opportunity presents itself, and see people to boot (or vice versa, but the miser in me says I really should try and make it do double duty if I can).

Got in, paid for my car parking (11 days is painful! But it would have been worse parking at the airport… hopefully next time I’ll be able to impose on a friend for the inconvenience of dropping me off and picking me up), and made it home by 2, not only in one piece, but with my luggage to boot! It managed to make it onto the morning flight that I passed up, which meant it was waiting for me when I got in, with no real issues other than some fretting while still on the plane. Showered, deposited pay checks, paid rent, and was asleep by 8. Good to be home.

Sporadic Posts and Why

You may have noticed that my posting schedule has once again become a fair bit more sporadic than my preferred rate, including a two week hiatus from posting on Applegeeks (need to post there today or tomorrow). There are a few reasons for this, mostly revolving around the fact that I’ve been sequestering myself in various places that aren’t exactly known for their internet accessability. I spent a week at Squam, which was excellent and I already touched upon briefly, and now I’m in Peterborough for the next few weeks, until we close it up at the end of the month. There is no internet at the house, but the bagel shop at the bottom of the hill has free wifi, so I can still do a morning (or in this case, afternoon) email check and update… for now.

You see, I’m planning on sending my laptop in to Apple… again. There is a very disconcerting and loud whine coming from it, especially when the hard drive platter is first spinning up after being turned on or awaking from sleep. NOT GOOD. Also, the keyboard makes an annoying squeak ever since they replaced it earlier in the summer. I’ll still have my desktop (which I bothered to bring down with me), so I can still get my work done, but I do think that tomorrow I’m going to trek out to the Apple Store in Salem and have them look at it again. It’s under warranty, and I really want it to be as ship-shape as possible by the time the warranty ends.

Arr. Other things (how much can I type in the 10 minutes left on the laptop battery?): Canadian Thanksgiving at Squam was delightful, and I had a great time getting to chat with my cousins (hello to any of you reading); I’ve been reading some fascinating interviews with various comic book writers, and really do think that this sounds like a great fit for several of the stories I’d like to tell (above and beyond the already existing comic characters that I’d like to revive). That’s what I think I’m going to focus on for the next week: sinking my teeth into writing some comic scripts.

Anyway, battery is dead, I will update more soon!

Working Title

So, it’s a few weeks later. I spent a week at Squam, which was excellent, and I got a decent amount of writing and reading done. I’m looking forward to continuing the trend this coming week at Peterborough. The week wrapped up with my heading down to Providence and bringing my friend Claire up for a few days to hang out. It was really fantastic to get a chance to hang out and talk with her after spending a full week in seclusion, and she seemed to really enjoy the general vibe of Squam. She also got a chance to meet Mike and Mariah, who came up Saturday night and hung out for most of Sunday, as Mariah was shipping off to basic on Monday.

Dropped her off Monday night back in Providence, and headed back north to Vermont. I’ve spent most of the rest of the week futzing with things and doing general update errands and chores (pay bills, etc). I’m hoping to finish up the last of those on Monday, so I can head off to Peterborough by Tuesday or Wednesday. This weekend, I went down to Carver, Mass, and went to King Richard’s Faire, which is a large renaissance faire, where my friend Andrea lives and works. While we’d made plans to head down separately, apparently several of the RISD crew decided to head to that faire on the same day, and once I found that out, I chatted with Andrea who was kind enough to provide free passes for them. It also made it nice to be able to wander around and be sociable, and hopefully cross-pollinate friends a bit, as I think they’d all really get along, and Carver isn’t that far from Providence.

It’s made for some long days, and I must admit I’m pretty worn out/tired, and looking forward to going back into seclusion for a while. I did want to update people a little bit about what’s been going on. All my computer doodads are still for sale, and I’m about at the point where I’m going to list them on eBay, because due to being in the right place at the right time for a good deal, I ended up buying the new machine before actually selling the old ones. While this is good in my ability to just transfer my data over from the old machine to the new one, it does mean that I need to act quickly on selling the old stuff so I can pay the credit card bill. So, please, if you know anyone who might be interested in any of it (see last post), let me know ASAP.

The Heat Has Broken

I don’t know how many times I’ve said it before [just checked… 10 other times], but I’m sitting in Hanover at the moment, watching people and enjoying the New England August, which is about as close to perfection as can be achieved in nature. It is ranging between 72 and 78 between shade and sun, with a light westerly breeze and low to non-existent humidity, and just enough vivid white clouds floating by to provide texture to an otherwise rich blue sky. Simply put, this is the weather that God sets his climate control to. If you abruptly keeled over and died, wafting up to that oft-remarked upon better place, you would not notice a difference in the weather.

Depending on the weather report you listen to, it’s supposed to stay this way for a few more days. Personally, I’m hoping so. In the grand scheme, as much as we claim an immunity to the weather via concrete and steel, we are still very much affected by it, and enriched by the beauty of that divinely pristine day. But perhaps I am waxing on too much of the day, and not enough of the moment, nor my place within it.

Things have been (un)hectic since my last post. By that statement, I mean that there have been a great many things happening, but very little of it has been occupying my attention. My brother has taken a position in Washington, DC, and in fact has already moved down there (rather abrupt, I know). I wish him luck, and hope to visit him at some point soon. My car was broken into shortly after leaving my previous post, while it was parked on the street in Providence. They went through my trunk lock, so I didn’t even know anything had been taken or damaged until I was already north at Squam, and went to collect the bags holding my mask, snorkel, books, and warmer clothing (it was raining when we got there, an a sweatshirt seemed an eminently good idea). All in all, about $1600-2000 worth of stuff was taken, encompassing two bags and my leather jacket containing all the usual doodads and knick-knacks I’m wont to carry. As soon as I got back home, I assessed to make sure everything I thought was gone really was, and then arranged to report it to my insurance company and to my bank (since my checkbook was stolen). It’s proven to be a bit of a hassle, since I now need to prove to the insurance company that I did in fact own each of those items, several of which were gifts, others were part of events or other non-itemized things, and others still are either too old to have a receipt after several moves, and the remainder have receipts handily organized by my ex-wife for just such an occasion… in a storage unit in Seattle. It’s not enough of a loss to justify the money to fly out to Seattle, either. Of course, the whole point is moot until I get a police report case number, or else the insurance company won’t pay a dime… and of course, you must file a police report in person, which I have not been able to arrange yet (I’ll be heading down later this week). All that said, I find myself remarkably unstressed about it, or much of anything. It’s like someone’s been slipping valium in my water — I simply find myself remarkably beyond worrying about what I cannot change, and accepting of my situation (broke, unemployed, and unsure where I’m going or what I’m doing next). To be perfectly frank, a part of me has been thinking of just taking off for parts unknown and taking a job at a diner in some podunk somewhere no one has ever heard of.

I was pleasantly satisfied with the results of the Apple Worldwide Developer’s Conference keynote yesterday, where they showcased a number of features being added in the next release of the OS (Mac OS X 10.5, due out this spring), many of which I think will be invaluable additions to my workflow (their incorporation of several principles of GTD into their apps bodes well for being more organized). They also debuted the new Mac Pro (the desktop to replace the PowerMac G5), and the new Xeon-based Xserve, completing their transition to an Intel based architecture after a whopping 210 days (instead of the anticipated 2 years). Both of these new systems are looking pretty stellar, though I really can’t justify an upgrade: my G5 is still in excellent condition and usability, and my Mac Book Pro had best last me quite some time (though I will be the first to admit I use it quite a lot, and not in ideal flat-table-or-desk situations… in fact, I think it may have warped a little, as it no longer sits entirely flat with all four feet on the table anymore… I may take it down to the Apple store sometime soon and have them look at it while it’s still under warranty). Overall, the keynote meant very little to me in the present, since I have neither the money to join a high enough developer’s membership to get a 10.5 developer’s seed, nor to buy a new machine. That said, there is a lot of excitement about some the features to come in the spring, not the least of which includes what they’re calling “Objective-C 2.0”, which according to the banter on the obj-c-language list hosted by Apple, is still under NDA and won’t be elaborated on for a while yet. The little tidbits put on the Apple website, however, point to some really nice additions to the language, including ones that potentially make it an even more viable platform for using in a game development situation (I still believe it has the potential, and that we simply need to really assess the libraries and tools provided in its feasibility — the Core libraries alone hold a lot of potential).

In the next few weeks, I need to move out of my house, and line up where I’m going to be after that lease ends (I also need to find rent money for that final month, as well as pay off some bills that require cash). I’m still sincerely hoping that I’ll be able to work something out involving staying at Squam and Peterborough for a few weeks each, to get some writing done in a place that I can be alone and undistracted (both of which are very important to me right now, as I find myself more and more a recluse).

Actually, I want to talk about that parenthetical for a moment. As many of you know, in the Meyers-Briggs personality scale, I’m consistently a strongly leaning INFP (Introvert iNtuitive Feeling Perceptive). My introversion has been becoming more and more pronounced over the past months, and I find myself more and more reluctant in combating it. It has nothing to do with anyone but myself, and the directions I feel I need to go. It does not mean that I don’t care about others, or my relationships with them. It does, however, mean that I’m realizing that I probably haven’t been the best person to hang out with lately, and likely won’t be for some time to come. Caveat emptor!

The Power of Posting Compels You!

I’m not sure if folks have noticed, but despite my recent lackluster and whiny posting lately, there are several new readers, which makes me happy. As much as having friends and family post, it also feels good to know that people you don’t know are not only discovering you, but finding your work worthwhile enough to comment. It’s a bit of a warm fuzzy, and thanks for it.

This has been one hell of a summer, and I’m frankly looking forward to it being over. It started back in April with my marriage abruptly falling apart, continued on into family deaths in June and August, and has wrapped up with selling my house and needing to drive out to Seattle to finalize the divorce and collect Freya (my dog).

Things are showing the potential of shaping up, however. Maybe it’s the crisp air (my favorite time to be in New England is August into early October), but I’m finally starting to feel like my head is clearing, and I’m feeling a little less desparate for a relationship, and ready to actually focus on the things I want to do with my life. While I’m broke at the moment, we managed to sell the house for a pretty decent profit, which means that I’ll be able to pay for my final semester of school and get things back on track. And before you say it, I know that I should treat that money as capital towards another investment, not spending cash, and I intend to do that with most of it (probably putting the majority into a money market or a short term CD while I finish school).

I came to something of a revelation last night while hanging out with friends, namely to not play the game. The things that bother me I should simply ignore, rather than letting myself get dragged into the same arguments over and over. This may sound like common logic, but it really does feel different when it actually strikes you, and you realize you’re just as much at fault for escalating it as they are for doing it. I’m sort of feeling done with the area, which isn’t exactly a great feeling to have when you’re about to settle in for the winter.

My family reunion was this past weekend; I was sick for most it, and thus not really up for chatting as much as I might have liked. It was still fun though, and nice to see faces from 5 or 10 years ago. I was supposed to start driving to Seattle yesterday, but a few days prior to that, Mickey called me up and told me that we could do a power of attorney for the sale so I wouldn’t have to rush out (which was something we discussed briefly several months ago, but apparently she’d completely forgotten about until talking to her father). So instead of starting my drive and then scrambling to find a place to stay for two+ weeks out in Seattle with no money, in theory I should now be able to stay here until probably the 5th, when I need to leave in order to make it out for our court date on the 12th, and to pick up the dog. This makes things considerably easier, and holds at least the potential of receiving my share of the house settlement before I have to start driving (which would make the return trip not only easier, but possible… one semester’s tuition doesn’t go far when you’re paying for anti-depressants and therapy bills and replacing a dead computer plus day to day living expenses like gas and food).

Speaking of the trip, I randomly heard from my friend Berrian, so I may go visit her on my way out, and if she’s interested, drag her along. It’s been years since I actually saw her, so it’d definitely be an experience. In either case, I’m really looking forward to seeing her again (four years is a long time). I’m supposed to give her a call next week to figure things out.

Pavlovian Response to Crash

When I was 15 and Uri was 17, we spent two weeks in June at Squam, essentially on our own. It was the week of and the week immediately following the Laconia Biker Week, which we largely ignored. The weather was idyllic, and we cooked two or three meals a day on the new griddle that Jain had picked up for Squam that spring. We had very little money, and we cut corners and ate a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and the like, and frankly I’ve never had any taste so good as those. For pretty close to the entirety of those two weeks, Crash by Dave Matthews Band was playing on the stereo. We only had the tape of it, which meant that halfway through the album, one of us had to get up and flip it over in the stereo.

Which we did, even at night, as more often than not, we simply crashed on the couches in the living room, the ceiling fan spinning and the evening breeze rolling through the open porch doors. We spent hours just reading and whiling away the time, and at sunset, the sun would reflect off the lake and onto the ceiling, creating this golden shimmer. And through all of it, Crash would play, with the exceptions of when we went out for groceries, or to the movies (we watched Fifth Element in an empty theatre the week after Biker Week), or to go laze about in the lake that had already warmed up enough to merit lazing about in. It was a really fantastic time, and I envy the simplicity of it.

I don’t listen to Crash much anymore, but every once in a while, a song or two ends up in my playlist, and that’s where the title of this post comes in. It’s pavlovian. My mood, my physical sensation calls back to those weeks at Squam, with the cold floor in the kitchen walking barefoot and enjoying the feeling of it, just the atmosphere around me suddenly shifts to Squam. I can’t help but think of it, it’s automatic. I’ve been conditioned.

And that’s alright.

Today, Squam

Today, we collected a bunch of people (Uri, Eli, Pia, Dave, Margot, Ann, Adam, and myself, plus the babies, Addison and Leah) and went for a day trip over to Squam.

It fucking ROCKED. Even got a chance to go kayaking around Great Island, as my aunt and uncle happened to swing by and let us into the boathouse and gave us the go-ahead on using their boats.

I’ll write about it more later, as I’m pretty tired right now.

Back on the Air

Before I get into a long ramble about the recent not-so-rambling trip across the country Mickey and I took in order to get to our new home in Bellevue, I’d just like to say: No Dad, the title of this post does not mean I’ve been getting on the radio (KB1EKQ, in case any of you other hams are wondering). :)

That out of the way, on to the rest of the post.

So, when I last posted (August 1st), I was waiting for the movers to arrive, it was pouring, and we were wondering when the power would shut off. Just as I began thinking about posting another entry just that damn bored, the electric company shut off the power (as they said they would, and as we asked them to). Yet another reprieve for you poor folk that I’ve managed to cajol into reading the site.

Since there wasn’t much point in waiting for the movers to pack the electronics (since they could no longer verify that they WORKED), we packed up the stereo and the computers, and waited for a while longer. Finally, the movers arrived (not saying they were late: we just wished they’d gotten there sooner), and in a mere two hours of two guys hauling our stuff down the stairs and into a 53′ tractor trailer, we were on our way.
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