Right, so, Ava and I broke up in October, and we’re in the process of getting divorced. It pretty much sucks and I don’t really want to talk about it. Not here, anyway. But that’s what’s been going on.
March 5, 2014
February 26, 2014
February 14, 2014
I’m not sure where I found it, but in the morning’s web-wandering I came across Dietmar Eckell‘s project “Happy End“, a series of photos of the wrecks left behind after remote airplane crashes in which all aboard survived. It doesn’t appear to be in the book, but he took this really striking photo of an Avro Shackleton which came down somewhere out in Western Sahara. I want a print of this picture for my house.
I looked up the crash and found out that it was a former South African Air Force plane which crashed only twenty years ago, in 1994. It’s located way out in Western Sahara, near the Mauritanian border. Some people on an overlanding board got to discussing what an expedition out there would involve, and it really sounds kind of amazing. Someone who goes by “Florence of Arabia” actually tried it.
It’s funny, I was just looking up flights to Nouakchott last week; it’s about two grand for a round trip.
February 13, 2014
But there’s also going to be a very rare full band performance in May, at Red Rocks in Colorado. That could make a good excuse for a nice long motorcycle cruise: three or four days down, big show, four days back…
February 9, 2014
February 8, 2014
I fell sick on Thursday, took two afternoon naps, slept for twelve hours, and spent Friday recovering. Saturday I woke up feeling groggy and still a bit congested, but decided to spend ten hours at ALTSpace making a new dancing outfit, then go out dancing in it, at the Hippocampus “Red vs Black” party. This may not have been the smartest thing I’ve ever done, but it sure was fun. It was a good time dancing with friends, feeling happy and connected. I particularly enjoyed Marc von Holzen‘s set… yummy solid progressive & psytrance.
It felt really good to get the garment-making part of my brain working again. I can’t remember making anything new since the playa coat I never wore at Burning Man in 2012. Is it possible? It seems strange that it’s been that long; sewing used to be such a big creative outlet. Oh, well – I’m back now, and it feels good.
February 5, 2014
February 3, 2014
I figured that a “Wonderland” themed party would attract dozens of Alices, mad hatters, white rabbits, queens of hearts, and caterpillars, so I decided to stand out by dressing up as the most nondescript character possible: an arbitrary playing card. The costume: silk appliques on a smart white shirt, over a pair of red corduroy pants I made ages ago, and a pair of white canvas loafers. The shirt glowed gloriously under blacklight.
February 2, 2014
I went out dancing last night, at the Wonderland party put on by Opulent Temple and Bassdrop. Kept going til the music stopped, got home at 6 AM, aching and happy. It was really good to get out and move. I felt like myself again: dancing to good music, out with my people, wearing a costume I sewed up a few hours earlier, loving life. I’m paying for it today, but, you know, that’s part of the game.
January 31, 2014
My brother Andrew’s daughter Clara was born early this morning, the first of her generation. Andrew is fourth of the eleven siblings in my family; the fifth, Olivia, will be having her own baby in another few months. It’s strange to have babies arriving in my family, after so many years. Our cousins, spanning basically the same age range, have so many kids now I can’t even guess how many there are, but we apparently weren’t in any hurry to get started. I don’t think any of us eldest three will get around to it; I certainly don’t plan to.
Still, kids are fun. I look forward to flying visits of mayhem and adventure. I will probably seem impossibly ancient to these wee’uns, though; I’ll be fifty by the time little Clara hits her teens! But I’m sure I’ll still be rampaging about on motorcycles and setting things on fire. There will be fun to be had.
January 27, 2014
American Tin Ceilings makes a variety of pressed tin ceiling panels called Snaplock which are designed to be installed over plaster or drywall. Ordinary tin ceilings are designed to be installed on furring strips or plywood: rather more work.
January 23, 2014
Push it, my friend. Crank it up a notch. Yes, really. Yes, like that. Faster! Are you scared yet? No? Then push it harder – really, I mean it. Yes, now you feel it! That pulse, that energy, that heartbeat hammering away? Okay, now you’re ready – PUSH IT HARDER. YES! Go faster! You can do it! Yes like that, go go go go go! FEEL THAT ROAR! LIFE IS AWESOME!
January 21, 2014
January 19, 2014
These seats originally came from a UW auditorium. They have been collecting dust at ALTSpace for most of the last year after bouncing around the local burner community for at least a decade. An idea struck me a couple of weeks ago and this is the result: a custom oak and poplar base which stands them up comfortably in my kitchen, where people can sit and enjoy a drink or a snack during a party, or chat with me while I cook dinner.
January 8, 2014
I toasted the new year with the Hadlocks, John M. and Adam H. there too. The kids, who’d been having their own party downstairs, came up to light sparklers at midnight.
Adam and I split off, grabbed a couple of mortars, and put on our own little show. It ended early when one of the shells blew up early, destroying its tube – SO LOUD! – but it was still fun. Fireworks look so good in the fog, and there’s something graceful about the high-frequency sound attenuation.
Heden was still rocking at 1 AM and I spent a few more hours catching up with friends there. It was good to reconnect. I met a couple of new folks too, but mostly I wanted to stop being such a stranger…
The next couple of days I spent getting ready for my own New Year’s party, which I threw on Saturday the 4th. It was a great excuse to clean and especially to redecorate. I set up the downstairs living room as a big lounge, with lots of seating and cushions, and spent some time sorting out the office.
The party went really well. Divide and Jacqueline parked their Tiki Tank in the back yard, so we had funky lights and loud music on the porch and out by the fire pit. We set off three dozen roman candles at 11 pm – it was a wonderful racket, the back yard full of smoke and people cheering. People came and went all night – I think the last guests arrived around 2 am – and the house was always full but never crowded. I think I went to bed around five, and there were still at least a dozen people hanging out downstairs talking and listening to music.
It felt really good. This was one of the major reasons I wanted to buy a house in the first place. I’m looking forward to more.
December 25, 2013
December 24, 2013
December 22, 2013
Life is good.
I volunteered to host a stop on the yearly Burner Triangle neighborhood Christmas crawl. It was a lot of fun – we were one of the last stops, so it had petered out a bit, but we still got around twenty guests. I made mulled wine and spiked, spiced cider; MJ brought a bin full of craft supplies and filled the dining room with card-making.
I lit a fire in the back yard, too, but it was rainy so nobody really went out. Still nice to see it roaring away out there, though. Also, it was interesting to prove that you can get a fire started even when your wood is all soaked if you cook it with a flamethrower for long enough.
Being able to do things like this was a big part of the reason I wanted to buy a house at all, so it was deeply satisfying to have people come over and enjoy the place. People I didn’t know, even! Sitting in my living room comfortably enjoying themselves! A clear sign of success, that is. I even had someone fall asleep on the couch downstairs; he woke up and joined the after-party, which ran longer than the event itself. I got to bed around, uh, three? Oh yeah.
I’m tired today, but all I have to do is pack for tomorrow’s drive down to California. Seeing as it’s 8:30 pm, I should probably get started on that soon… I have one last gift to wrap, first.
December 15, 2013
They won’t win any design awards, but I think there’s a certain elegance in a project where $0 in new materials plus two and a half hours of work – with one hand still in a cast, at that – yields two sturdy, comfortable, durable benches. Even better, this stuff is all reclaimed from the ill-starred duck coop project, so every pound of wood used is a pound of scrap I won’t have to pay for at the transfer station.
The white paint is unfortunate; at some point in the future I plan to paint them all some unremarkable reddish brown color, then sand the tops smooth and finish the bare cedar with linseed oil.
The theater seats will go up on a box made of nice heavy plywood, which I’ll stain and coat in polyurethane. I’ll put cabinet doors on the front and use the space underneath for storage.
Today I’m building a couple of benches for the back yard using a bunch of scrap 2x4s. It’s all cedar wood, bought for a project which didn’t pan out, and it’d be a shame to waste such durable material. I’ll put the benches at right angles in the back corner of the yard, with the fire pit in the center. The yard still feels pretty barren, with all that gravel, but defining a seating area should go some way toward making it feel homey.
Doing carpentry with one’s dominant hand in a cast gets a mite tricky. Adam came over to help yesterday, but he’s off to visit family now. I am trying to let the process be slow and cumbersome, accept that I don’t know how long anything will take, and not get too impatient with myself, but it’s difficult when I feel so hungry to make.
December 12, 2013
I have two sets of four folding theater seats taking up room at ALTSpace. They were originally part of some lecture hall at UW, and they’ve been bouncing around the Seattle burner community for at least a decade now, ending up with me. I had this idea that I would use them to set up a little lecture / presentation area, but I was the only person interested, so the seats got tucked under work benches and have been sitting there collecting dust ever since, waiting for me to figure out what they might be good for.
Now I have a plan. I’m going to take one of them home and set it up in the kitchen. People always hang out in the kitchen during a party, and if you have people over for dinner it’s great to have somewhere for them to sit and chat while you cook. These seats have little fold-out tables designed for writing notes – they’ll make great little mini tables for people’s drinks and snacks.
There’s only room in the kitchen for one of these rows, but perhaps I’ll bring the other one home and install it downstairs. I’d eventually like to fill the place up with big squishy couches and things, but that’s a big project which will take a lot of time, and this would be an only moderately inconvenient way to get more seating in the meantime.
Problem is, these seats are designed to be bolted to the floor, and they don’t really stand up on their own. They are stable side to side, but not front to back. They’re also pretty low, designed to be mounted in an auditorium with a stepped floor. I’ll need to construct some kind of base. Surely someone must have done this before? I’ll just search for it on the internet and steal their design!
I can’t find a one. Is this really the first time someone has thought of this? It seems impossible. Help me, o internet: have you ever heard of such a thing or seen pictures of how it was done?
A nice article about an experiment in generating music: using freely available MIDI tracks to build a Markov model of melody, driving it with random numbers to produce new melodies of a similar style, then filtering and repeating until the model produces music which is acceptably similar to the input corpus. It’s a clever project and all the code is included, though I don’t see any links to example output.
December 9, 2013
Just made the appointment: the cast on my right hand comes off next Tuesday. It’s been fine – it’s not driving me crazy or anything – but it’ll also be nice to be done with it, mostly because it makes showering into such a production. I’ll have a soft cast for a month or so, then some kind of yet-to-be-determined physical therapy. It’s still looking like I won’t have to miss the entire ski season, so that’s something to look forward to.
December 5, 2013
In APL all data are represented as arrays, and there shall they see the Son of man, in whose sight I brought them out
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even mention “classes” or “inheritance.”
And Satan stood up against them in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the role of procedures in program design.
November 20, 2013
Beautiful, cold blue day: clear views of the mountains west, east, south, and even northeast, a dusting of snow everywhere high up. I feel happy.
November 17, 2013
I went out for an early dinner last night and didn’t come back for nine hours. It was an adventure, and it was one of those nights that makes me love living in Seattle and wonder how I could ever start over anywhere else; I just kept running into interesting people, making new connections and restoring old ones. But it was complicated, too…
Started out with dinner in the U-district, then over to the Neptune for the Kronos Quartet / Degenerate Art Ensemble show. Lots of familiar faces in the crowd. Old friends, former co-workers, people I’d like to get back in touch with. The music was satisfying and weird and intense as I’d hoped. I don’t have the vocabulary to explain the dancing, and you’d think I must have been tripping if I tried to explain it, but I couldn’t stop watching it.
Met some friends outside the theater after the show, went over to some house I’d never been to before, to the birthday party of some guy I don’t know, one of the people involved in producing Sparkle Donkey Tequila. Oh, hey, there in the back yard it’s Comfort, the Church of Mez/Groovlabs shade structure, set up as a German-style beer hall. People wrestling in the straw, people doing keg-stands, a table full of pretzels and sausages. And half of them are my old friends from KAOS! Heck yeah. I drank some beer and caught up on things. Awesome. Never did meet the birthday boy.
Next we decided to go find the Jerk Church fundraiser party at Hazard Factory, but while we were heading out we heard the cops had raided it and stolen all the booze and the cash box. Suck! We decided we’d go restart the party – went by ALTSpace and picked up a box of fireworks, then headed to Georgetown, intending to arrive with liquor and excitement.
But we didn’t make it. On the freeway offramp we came across the scene of a terrible motorcycle crash. The rider had hit a slick, slammed into the guardrail, and flipped off the bike – falling four stories down to the train tracks below. Oh, man. It was so quiet – people were still trying to figure out what to do. The bike was still running. A broken brake line squirted hydraulic fluid in my face when I tried to move it. I was a little bit stunned. People helped me wash the gunk out of my eyes, then we rolled the bike out of the road.
The cops showed up, the paramedics arrived, we left. It was sobering. I’ll likely never learn who the rider was. He (probably he?) likely died instantly – we arrived seconds after the crash, and he wasn’t moving. It was a long fall.
Tragic, certainly, but – also – not a terrible way to go, when you have to go. One moment you’re full of life, doing something you love, the next moment you’re gone… And it’s one of the things you have to accept as a possibility when you ride a motorcycle. Of course you do everything you possibly can to avoid it, but you just don’t get to control everything. My own recent crash reminds me of that: what else could I have done to avoid it? Added more and bigger lights to my bike, maybe. Taken more time to practice rapid braking maneuvers, maybe? But there it was, things suddenly went wrong, and now I have my right hand in a cast. Things suddenly went wrong for him, and now he’s dead.
But really – this is just life. It’s immediate and dramatic when you’re on a motorcycle, because the risks are obvious, but this is something that’s true for everyone. You just don’t know, you can’t know, you can’t control it all. Things happen, and lives change or end. Nothing for it but to take reasonable precautions and then embrace whatever time you get.
Anyway. No party mood after that. It was late and quiet. We went wandering through the industrial district, roamed up through West Seattle, hung out at the viewpoint for a while, talking and taking pictures. Calm returned, perspective shifted, friendship deepened. A good night, all considered.
November 12, 2013
November 9, 2013
Healing up slowly. I went into the office for a half day yesterday, and again today. I got tired really quickly, but I got some code written. It feels good to be productive!
November 6, 2013
Today so far is the first day I’ve started to feel more or less normal since the surgery. I went out and got coffee at Zoka, and I’m working on doing a little coding. I still feel much more tired and spacey than usual, but it’s nice to be able to do at least a little clear thinking again. My hand seems to be healing up nicely – not much pain there anymore. I’ll go back in Tuesday for a checkup.