Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Month: December 2013 Page 1 of 2

Looking forward, looking back

For Larissa and me, 2012 was the year of stasis.  We had big plans, and we worked towards them diligently, but a great deal of it felt like marking time until we could pull the lever that would propel everything into motion.1

A year ago, we threw that lever and began the adventure.  Leaving our jobs, packing the car, and driving west to Seattle was a carefully orchestrated gamble, but a gamble nonetheless.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary.
–Henry David Thoreau, Walden

2013 was the year of transitions.  We moved across the country and set up house with a dear friend who needed roommates.  Six months later, we introduced her to another dear friend, with whom she promptly fell in love and moved to Boston.  We left our landing spot in the suburbs and moved into the heart of the city, in the shadow of the Space Needle and just blocks from the scenic waterfront of Elliot Bay.

I found a new job.  Larissa found an old one.

One romantic relationship came to an abrupt end, to my dismay.  Another unexpectedly came into being, to my delight.

I left one podcast, and began the work of reviving another.

I wrote several new songs.  I performed a concert at OryCon.2  Just recently, I started taking guitar instruction for the first time in over 15 years.3

Darling, I’ve always tried to find the road not taken
From Monterey to Macon, two lanes have been my friends
Coastal highway, bayou byway, out and back again
But if you say you’re lonely, you know there’s only 40, 80, or 10
–Tanya Savory, “40, 80, or 10”

I drove the entire length of the country, from Georgia to California and up to Washington.4 I saw the Grand Canyon in all its glory, and traversed the Great Divide.  I travelled to destinations old and new:  Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Canada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Columbus, OH.  I explored my new city and it’s surrounding lakes and mountains, the place I had chosen at long last, to call home.

Over the course of this year, I’ve not done some things as well as I would have liked.  I have been a terrible correspondent, relying much too heavily on social media to keep in touch.  I’ve done an even worse job reaching out to newly local friends.5 For various reasons, I’ve done very little podcast recording this past year, though that was almost entirely not by my choice.  This blog has been too too neglected, though I made a couple of efforts to remedy that, and I hope to do a better job in the coming year.  And it will probably take most of the next year for our finances to adequately recover from moving all the mountains we had to shift in order to make it to where we are.

But where we are, I have to say, is pretty damn good.  As the year draws to a close, we are finding a new equilibrium, and settling into new habits and routines.  There will always be change; the wheel will always turn.  But I feel as though the great transition we set in motion a year ago is complete.

We are home.

This is my ghost, this is my home — millions of miles my mind can’t own
No one’s seen it all; no one will
But I want to memorize it, every inch, want to remember where I’ve been
I bless these waves, I bless this wind, bless this grace & all my sins
–Marian Call, “Highway Five”

  1. I remarked to Kathleen Sloan in July of that year that I felt like we were turning our entire world upside down in slow motion. 

  2. Where I also was a program participant on a wide variety of panels. 

  3. Aside from a 12 week introductory group class in 1998, I’m entirely self taught.  Many of you are now nodding and thinking “Ah, that explains it…” 

  4. I’ve now driven pretty much the entire length of I-40, most of it on this one trip. 

  5. Social anxiety is awkward. I really do want to spend time with all of you.  I’m just really really bad at actually saying that. 

Space Needle at sunrise

Space Needle at sunrise
Space Needle at sunrise

(Space Needle)

Fountain from overlook.

Fountain from overlook.
Fountain from overlook.

(Father & Son Fountain)

Foggy Duet

Foggy Duet
by Rob Wynne
(TTTO: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Frank Loesser)

I really can’t stay
(But baby, there’s fog outside)
I’ve got to go away
(But baby, there’s fog outside)
This evening has been
(We should lock ourselves in)
So very nice
(I wish you would take my advice)
My mother will start to worry
(The visibility’s blurry)
And father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the night creatures roar)
So I really should scurry
(They really seem to be in a fury)
But maybe half a drink more
(You grab a gun and I’ll bar the door)

The neighbours might think
(Baby, it’s mad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No hope to be had out there)
I wish I knew how
(Eyes shine in the darkness now)
To break this spell
(Sure, I wish I knew that as well)
I ought to say no, no, no, sir
(Fetch that gun from my holster)
At least I’m going to say that I tried
(In the morning, you’re sure to have died)
I really can’t stay
(No, baby, don’t go out)
Ah, but there’s fog outside (Baby, there’s fog outside)

I simply must go
(But baby, there’s fog outside)
The answer is no
(But baby, there’s fog outside)
This welcome has been
(It’s lucky that you dropped in)
So very warm
(Look out the window at that swarm)
My sister will be suspicious
(Those creatures probably think you’re delicious)
My brother will be at the door
(Eldritch creatures dripping with gore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
(I’m reasonably sure they’re malicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more
(That will kill you slower, I’m sure)

I’ve got to get home
(But you’ll catch your death out there)
Say, lend me your comb
(You’ll draw your last breath out there)
You’ve really been grand
(Need to take a stand)
But don’t you see?
(It’s best if you stay here with me)
There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(There might not even be a tomorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If everyone else hasn’t died)
I really can’t stay
(But I’ve got serious doubts)
Ah, but there’s fog outside (Baby, there’s fog outside)

Because, surely, Night Vale Community Radio plays seasonal music for the holidays.

Just a bit of snow overnight. Feel like a kid today!

Just a bit of snow overnight. Feel like a kid today!
Just a bit of snow overnight. Feel like a kid today!

(Metro Bus Stop #2180)

The Tacos Of Shame

The Tacos of Shame
by Rob Wynne
TTTO: “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” (16th century English carol)

I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I think I might die

Alone In my car
at the Office Bazaar
I ate six whole tacos
Now I think I might die

I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I think I might die

My throat it now burns
My stomach it churns
I ate six whole tacos
Now I think I might die

I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I think I might die

I’ve just me to blame
For my terrible shame
I ate six whole tacos
Now I think I might die

I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I wish I’d not had those tacos
I think I might die

I wish I’d not had those tacos
I think I might die

This is a bit of an inside joke for the Frogpants/Tadpool community.  I don’t think it requires a ton of context to understand what happened in this simple cautionary tale, though.  Merry Christmas, Mr. Johnson.

Saturday Six: Christmas Time Is Here

Since this week’s Friday Five Digest is a day late, You get a bonus!  Here’s six items just in time for the holiday season, including my annual repost of Tris McCall’s Christmas Abstract.

tris mccall: Tris McCall Christmas AbstractTris McCall Christmas Abstract The Tris McCall Report Christmas Abstract Middle-of-the-pack Christmas carol; short, uncomplicated, not particularly poetic, acceptable to the secular crowd because it’s about angels, and angels for some reason are considered ecumenical. Me, I know backsliding into polytheism when I hear it.

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These 2 Kids Have Taken A Photo With Santa For 34 Years. Needless To Say, The Last Few Are Epic.These 2 Kids Have Taken A Photo With Santa For 34 Years. Needless To Say, The Last Few Are Epic. Having a holiday tradition can make Christmas just a little bit more enjoyable. Whether it’s a family Christmas exchange where you steal all of the good gifts or an epic 5,000 calorie feast, it really ties the holidays together and makes this time of year feel special.

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A Ten-Month-Old’s Letter To SantaDear Santa, I am a ten-month-old baby and I write because my mother has been sending out my “Christmas List” to people, and her list does not in any way represent the things I really want. I could give two s#*ts about receiving stacking cups. And I know you’re ready to make the joke about…

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VIDEO: Kindergartner signs school’s holiday concert for parentsA young Florida girl didn't want her deaf parents to miss out on her school's holiday concert, so the kindergartener signed the entire show while performing at the same time.

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via Kltv

My Kid’s Insane Christmas Wish List, AnnotatedWhen I was a kid, I would dream up completely insane presents to put on my Christmas wish list–shit that no parent could ever possibly afford and no child could ever possibly deserve. And every year, my parents would tell me before Christmas that I would NOT be getting the little race car I saw on the Obstacle Course round of Double Dare.

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This Christmas, Get The Kids Books (No Batteries Required)Hey there, befuddled aunts, uncles and family friends. Not sure what to get for all those nieces, nephews and offspring of other people? This year (for the first time!) we’ve included kids titles in our year-end best books roundup. Pay a visit to NPR’s Book Concierge to see what our staff and critics recommend for kids and teens in 2013.

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via Npr

Flashback: The Healing Power of Music

(This is a repost from an entry I made 10 years ago, because it’s a fun topic to revisit periodically, and a good way to discover new music.)

Music is a constant in my life. It’s a rare day that I go through without listening to or making music in one form or another.

And it occurred to me on the way back from lunch with kitanzi this afternoon, as I cranked up a particular song, that there are some tunes that just never fail to make me happy.

Here are five of those songs, in no particular order:

Love Shack, B-52s
Sledgehammer, Peter Gabriel
Every Day I Write The Book, Elvis Costello
Got To Get You Into My Life, The Beatles
Linus and Lucy, Vince Guaraldi Trio

What are some songs that always leave you more cheerful than before? That make you dance in your seat? When you’re down, what music do you turn to to pick yourself up? What songs make you instinctively reach for the volume control to crank it up?

Share in comments. :)

Friday Five Digest: December 6, 2013

Another grab bag of interesting stories and art from around the net.

Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail – And It’s Not So NiceI’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again: Emily Graslie’s ” The Brain Scoop” is one of the warmest, slyest video blogs on the web.

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via Npr

Somebody Put a Camera on a Toy Car and Drove It Into a Pride of LionsEight curious lions and a remote control buggy with a camera on top make for one gorgeous viral video.

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The Doctors When they Were Young

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via Tumblr

This things I believe… – Journal – Boys’ NightMonday, November 4, 2013 at 10:40AM Written by Max Landis Illustrated by AP Quach PRO TIP: If you hold your mouse over the sides of the pictures (on the white part just next to it) a little arrow appears, letting you click through the pictures with slightly greater ease. (Unfortunately, this appears to have been removed from the web. Disney’s lawyers appear to have come by.)

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The Most Heartbreaking “Winnie The Pooh” Comic You’ll Ever ReadChristopher Robin Milne’s original stuffed animals, which inspired Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, and Kanga (now displayed at New York Public Library). The real Christopher Robin had a fraught relationship with his famous playwright/ literary editor father. A. A. Milne based “Winnie the Pooh” on his son’s childhood, which the real Christopher Robin Milne grew up to resent.

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My brain is a strange place

A few months ago, we had a member of the group I hang out with on Facebook leave the group because he wanted to avoid spoilers1 for Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.  Since the latter show just ended its half-season and is going on hiatus, he rejoined the group and announced he had returned.  I replied “Welcome back!” and then, as I reflexively do whenever I say those two words, appended “Your dreams were your ticket out.”  It’s just a thing I do.

Somehow, the juxtaposition of the theme from Welcome Back, Kotter and Breaking Bad stayed in my head, and a few minutes later I posted this:

For your consideration:

A 1970s era remake of “Breaking Bad” starring Gabe Kaplan and Ron Palillo.

One commenter noted that Ron Palillo sadly passed away not too long ago; I was aware of that, but somehow it was much funnier to me that our Jesse substitute was Horshack rather than any of the other Sweathogs.23 And, really, it might have ended there, but my friend Joey chimed in “With a theme by John Sebastian”.

At first, I tried to imagine how Sebastian might render Dave Porter’s brilliant Breaking Bad theme, but then I realised I was coming at it backwards.  The following just wrote itself:

Breaking Bad 
Your cancer was just an excuse
Breaking Bad
You always wanted to slip the noose

Well your dreams never were what you’d hoped they’d be
Now you’re out on the res in an old RV

Who’d have thought they’d come true
(Who’d have thought they’d come true)
Crystalised in ice blue
(Crystalised in ice blue)

Well, he’ll prob’ly wind up dead
‘Cause he’s in over his head
Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad, Breaking Bad, Breaking Bad

I really haven’t a clue what to do with this idea, but it’s continuing to entertain me.

  1. The longruning debate over when its okay to post spoilers into an open space continues to weary me, since, as I’ve posted about multiple times, it’s largely a question of manners

  2. I later decided that Vinnie and Epstein would be Badger and Skinny Pete, respectively.  Mr. Woodman is Gus Fring. Not sure there’s a good analogue in this scenario for Freddie. 

  3. ETA:  No, Boom-boom Washington is Skinny Pete.  Vinnie is Combo.  That works better. 

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