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25 July 2010 @ 10:33 pm
Over the course of the last 4 days, I've had the glorious luxury of playing chess 7 times against 3 different outstanding opponents.

V: 2 me: 0
Allen: 0 me: 2
Mark (naech): 3 me: 0

I need a lot more practice. o.0

One of the patterns emerging is that once I've acknowledged 1-2 potential threats, I focus on those for the defensive part of my move and don't keep looking. I also need to develop my pieces a lot better, and have started working on that, but as can be seen, this helped me not at all against Mr. Mark. I also need to focus more on moves that allow me to be offensive and defensive at the same time. Everyone is kicking my ass at that, and I have nothing but room for improvement.

I love playing chess. Aimee (junoimelda), I miss the days of having you so nearby! I haven't been back to Drunken Knights since you moved.

V, Cyra, Mark and I played Cyra's 4-player chess set a few weeks ago, and that was so much fun. I'm hoping to do it again as time and schedules allow.
28 June 2010 @ 11:41 pm
Yea! I finally had some time tonight and made some great head way on my dead language project :)

postgreSQL, ruby and quiet time FTW! \m/
Current Music: Toolroom Knights
15 June 2010 @ 07:54 am
If you always do what interests you, at least one person is pleased.
- Katharine Hepburn
15 May 2010 @ 09:50 pm
I had a wonderful day hanging out with V and his joint-custody dog. We roamed Volunteer Park, had a great lunch on the sidewalk at Volunteer Park Cafe, and wandered down Madison Valley to Lake Washington. He's a great storyteller and good listener, and his hand lightly touching the small of my back felt nice, comforting, familiar. He got some bonus points for letting his dog obsess about fish at the pond for a long time, and for playing on the see-saw with me at one of the parks we visited. He also made two ridiculously astute observations about me that startled me into realizing he's paying more attention than I am able to catch him at. I suppose I also like to think I'm less transparent than I am ;>

I had a wonderful evening hanging out with Leslie at Cafe Flora and back at my place. Dinner was fantastic, conversation was way beyond excellent, and I've hopefully addicted her to the Liberte goat's milk yogurt that I'm mad in love with. I'm so glad I have a Leslie in my life. Conversations with her make me miss elise and so many similar conversations of yore. It is always a relief and joy to find other women who are more given to analytics than emotional antics. Girl problem solvers rule.

Emily is still in Thailand and Cyra is still in Missouri and John is still working way too much and it is Spring in Seattle and there is still no Lauren here and I'm wandering around the city rowling like a lost cat. An excellent time to get some good Linear A work done :)

Tomorrow: chess with Mark! I'm so happy that we're hanging out for a second time in a month. This beats the crap out of our previous trend to hang out once every 9-15 months.
14 May 2010 @ 05:37 pm
I wore my electric blue Doc Martens today (and matching sunglasses).

On my walk to the Crumpet Shop for breakfast this morning (they will indeed make me groats with steamed soy milk and honey while I'm on this crazy diet. sweet.), a guy complimented my elephant <3 <3 bag on Pine, and when I turned to say thanks, he was a vaguely familiar rasta/hippy face from Capitol Hill. He lit up and asked me my name, and introduced himself as Forest. He asked me if I liked rock shows and invited me to a metal show at a friend's house near Neumo's tonight. I haven't been able to find anyone to go with me yet though, so I probably won't. I didn't get an even faint creepy vibe off of this guy, but there are some calculated risks I won't take in spite of very decent odds.

At breakfast, I bantered with the staff, and the white guy who isn't one of the owners who I am inexplicably and ridiculously attracted to, was there, and I said Hi to him awkwardly. Stephanie, a super cute petite white brunette, who generally plays the role of Cashier, had a great t-shirt on today: "don't trust me, i'm an actress". I wonder if she does comedy sports. I'll ask her next time when there's less of a line.

From there, I started my ritual post-Crumpet Shop pre-work stroll down 1st Ave corridor, stopping to admire all of the dress shops I like on the way. Synapse is going out of business, and everything is on sale. I might stop by tomorrow and see what's left.

As I passed the Library Bistro, a mixed-race guy in what I think of as hip-hop clothing, all black and white print down to the matching shoes, staggered back first over my boots, then my body. He was moving stuff into the hotel with his coworker, but stopped everything to follow me all the way to work and spent the whole time rapping to me, telling me how sexy I was and evaluating women who were passing in the other direction. It was unbelievably surreal, like I was watching a movie of myself rather than participating. Very creative / ADD vibe. His name is Optical, he moved here from L.A. last night (according to him) and is recording a rap album (also according to him) and spent the whole time trying and failing to get my number. We finally settled on him giving me his name so I could look up on Facebook if I wanted to. He was entertaining, but omfg way too aggressive. He kept asking me to tell him about my underwear, and then at one point told me all about an all orange outfit he wears in Vegas and people just give him coins and he wins the slots. As I reread what I've written here, I'm pretty sure I was in a weird movie this morning, except that nobody told me.

Got to work. Worked.

Around 3pm, I started getting ambiguous text messages from bartender Jake, which escalated into some relatively dirty text messages (while I was at work :| ), which gave me the opportunity to address whether or not I'm even interested in pursuing anything with him. I'm not. I got about an hours worth of texting, to which I replied to very little of it, mostly involving volunteering to do lots of sexual things to and for me. It was aggressive and incredibly overwhelming, but hopefully that's the end of that, I was as clear as humanly possible without actually castrating him, and he seemed to talk himself into a place where he saved face.

Tomorrow is going to the park with V and his joint-custody dog for a bit. Whether or not I develop an interest there, it's much more my speed.

Electric blue shoes and an overwhelming state of indifference ... I wish it was easier to feel flattered with stuff like this, but honestly I just feel stressed out and like I have to defend and protect myself.

Calm, quiet curiousity about me is about a million times more appealing than frantic, loud sexual appreciation. I just don't know what to do with it.

At the end of this completely surreal oddity of a day, I wish there was someone I felt safe with to wrap their body around me and tell me they like my brain.
13 May 2010 @ 08:49 pm
After I got home from work and chatted with Miss Emily who is in Thailand for a few minutes, I went for an epic Capitol Hill wander. I spoke with several cats, and 3 off-the-leash standard poodles, all separate owners, all galavanting and galloping towards me with poodle-like glee.

I eventually spied a swing set at Miller Community Center so I picked my way down. Three sets of 2 swings each. A light-skinned Muslim girl was swinging on the far right so I took one of the swings in the left when I didn't see any relevant parents nearby so they wouldn't worry from a distance. She came and swung next to me quietly, or rather sat on the swing and swayed a bit, smiling quietly at me. Eventually, 2 little dark-skinned black girls about 4 and 6, who I think were the daughter and niece of the community center janitor who was wearing safety orange and kept walking out of the basement to confirm their location, came racing up and got in the yellow chair swing to my right, taking turns and demanding pushes in a fun, jovial way. The older was happy to push the younger, but the younger wanted me to do it.

Both figured out how to twist the yellow chair as it swung so it came wildly careening into my space. I managed to avoid the younger, laughing. The older though was far more fearless and I jumped off my swing at one point and made the dad laugh very hard and shout that he couldn't blame me. ;>

When they went racing off again, my original swinging companion asked politely if I could push her too. I asked if she knew how to swing higher and she said No, so I pushed her once, not too high, and then got back on my swing and showed her how to use her arms and legs to go higher. After awhile of practicing, she asked me if I was a grown up. I laughed and said, Yes, then asked if the other 2 girls were her friends because they were all talking to each other when they were swinging with us, but the janitor didn't call her in with them. She said no, she didn't have any friends, then thought a minute and said she had some friends at school. I told her swinging was my favourite thing when I was a kid, and she said the monkey bars were her favourite, and her school had two sets.

I never caught a glimpse of any guardians, and decided not to ask her since she clearly wasn't stressed out about it. I don't think she could be much older than 6. Maybe I'll see her again. I really enjoyed swinging with her. It's been awhile since I've seen the good side of little girls. The slightly older ones that ride the public buses here tend to be pretty mean.

All the while, 2 cute white guys around my age were playing some totally Calvin Ballish combination of frisbee and football, the rules of which, as best as I could tell were, fling both and see if the other can catch both. They started flinging them closer and closer to the swing set until, at last, both landed at my feet, and I laughed, quipping, "Critical miss!"

I said "Good night" to my swinging companion and headed for home.

I walked passed an old folks home on the way, and 3 ancient white men were in the front office BSing with each other. They saw me looking in and waved. I laughed and waved back, and they laughed too. It was really nice to have a temperate blue sky tonight. It's finally been too much cold and rain, even for me.

It was a really good night. :)
07 May 2010 @ 12:14 am
It's been awhile!

Tonight, I went dancing for the first time in too long. And it was glorious.

There is nowhere where I feel more fundamentally at my best than dancing to great 80s music with such joyful people. I got lucky and showed up on a night when so many wonderful regulars happened to also be out - Tomcat, Sabrina, Kelcey, Richard, Brendan, Chris, Tiessa, Ginger, Margot, the door man Roy (who sent his adorable boyfriend out to hug me goodbye), the bartenders and the bouncers I've come to adore in that universal covenant of petite girls and not petite men.

Yeah. That. Again.
Current Mood: deep deep gratitude
01 May 2010 @ 08:53 am
Confederate History Month, often celebrated in April in the South, is so outside of my childhood and adult experience that I had to look up what CHM even stood for when I read this article that Kris sent me:

Commemorating CHM: "They Too Needed Emancipation" by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I grew up in Kansas, which may now have a reputation as an ultra-conservative state, but there are a few bits of Kansas history of which I am proud. Kansas was a Free State, and Lawrence in particular, where I went to college at the University of Kansas, which to this day has a fierce rivalry with Mizzou founded in abolition-pro-slave animosity between the states (Missouri was indeed a slave state), proudly boasts such businesses as the Free State Brewery in honor of Kansas' participation in abolition and the underground railroad.

I then moved to Washington, which, in its history, was way too busy with exploding toilets, flourishing Asian businesses, outfitting gold seekers on their way to Alaska, hookers and sailors to spend too much of its history oppressing people for their race.

That isn't to say that Kansas and Washington don't have their share of modern and historical racial oppression, segregation and discrimination. It's still everywhere, and even my beloved Seattle participated in seizing Japanese businesses and sending its owners off to internment camps never to return during World War II. However, these incidents are very distant from my history and my identity. I do have some Native American and Black Irish in my ethnic makeup, and a lot of wildly varied European white along with a long familial history of being in North/Union America, but the records and stories of the ancestors who might have oppressed or been oppressed are lost to my family, and I have no anecdotes that cast me in either role.

So it is very good for me to read these words from Ta-Nehisi Coates, and to be reminded that many people must struggle with their identity in the context of their history.

I say all of this as a way of noting the many e-mails I've received from white Southerners, who also regard home as essential. Many of them are descendants of Confederate soldiers, and they now find themselves forced to seriously and honestly grapple with history. I've spent some time attacking that aspect of the South that claims the Lost Cause, but I think it's important to also acknowledge the Seekers, and extend some understanding to the difficult work of, as I've said, reconciling ourselves to the past.

Subbing in myth for history is a false armor to guard against the hurt--and yet somewhere inside the hurt still throbs. Some of us fear admitting what the Confederacy was about, because we don't want to cede the moral high ground to a bunch of Northern elitists. But why? Was the North really more moral than the South? Did the South embrace a slave society because there's something intrinsically evil about living below the Mason-Dixon line? I don't think any people should fear their history, so much as they should fear their ignorance of history. Don't fear the past that led to the assassination of Lincoln, fear the present that leads you to fly the flag embraced by his killers. True the hurt is in what happened, but the shame is in the pretense that it didn't.

His point is an excellent one. History that informs our identity, the notion that the history fundamentally makes us who we are, is itself a question to be questioned, a struggle in its own right.

It reminded me of the 3 years I spent dating a self-hating conservative Jew. From the outside, I saw an entire people deeply focused on two recent events: the Holocaust and the establishment of Israel. From the outside, it always struck me when I visited his synagogue, that the narrow focus on these 2 events had had a profound impact on the present - it seemed to have justified a combination of xenophobia and pride in Jewish culture while also fundamentally weakening Jewish religious faith. I don't know if that's actually true on any kind of a grand scale, but they were both issues by ex grappled with constantly. Early on, he had told me he wouldn't consider marrying me because I wasn't Jewish, but upon comparing notes, I'd dated more Jewish girls than he had. He did other baffling things like deny the existence of Palestine as if it was a myth some Arabs had made up. That horrified me, and, after I'd done some due diligence in my research, we often fought about it. He also fundamentally questioned his faith in G-d because of the atrocities of the Holocaust, but would become defensive, malicious, and uncharacteristically angry if I wanted to discuss some of the atrocities of G-d committed against the Canaanites in the Torah. It was a messy business.

It is good to be reminded as a white girl in my ultra-liberal multi-racial city increasingly full of beautiful mixed race children that I stand here in a somewhat blissful ignorance of the struggle with identity and history in the context of race. I find myself wondering: how much of an advantage is that? To not have to face and climb that wall at some point in my life? It was one less struggle I had to face in defining and confirming my identity, and I just wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the privilege, for lack of a better word, of that instead of just taking it for granted.
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29 April 2010 @ 08:40 am
I'm finally feeling a bit better today.

I called Ian last night and we talked for a few minutes. It's been 11 days since I realized trying to be friends with him upsets me too much, because we have such a good time together and then I just return to this ego-centric bewildered state where I can't believe he can behave in all these affectionate, happy ways and not love me, or think of me in my absence. That was a very big surprise to me at the end of March when he finally told me after, apparently, a gradual loss of interest that was completely invisible to me. I'm still hurt, because we even had a system in place if his feelings changed and he essentially lied to me because, my best guess is, he didn't want to hurt me. People do the meanest things in the guise of being nice. I trusted him, and had a lot of momentum with all of the loving awesome things we were doing, and this has been harder on me than I can express.

I'm glad I called. I was still stressing myself with some hope that he might come back after my absence realizing that he missed me a lot more than he expected to, maybe after a few weeks, or maybe after he went to Tokyo with Cody. Instead, what I learned was that ... well, it's kind of interesting actually. I was thinking recently about the Houston comic book writer and the passionate little Objectivist redhead of yore and how maybe I need a media and magic appreciation club with these kind of emotional, passionate people, rather than a relationship where the interpersonal drama quickly overwhelms me. I guess I'm Ian's media appreciation club girl. In my absence, he wanted to tell me about a John Scalzi book he's read. Other than that, he hasn't missed me. Yeah, it hurt, but I needed to hear it, and it's helped release me from this awful self-torture of hoping and waiting.

I had also come to a quiet peace that Michael didn't miss me either, but he recently sent me an email to tell me he didn't have time for me which, after nearly a year of not making an effort to reach out, I already understood. For whatever reason, getting that email really upset me. Some of it was bad timing, but a lot of it just underscored the fact that I've emotionally invested in 2 people in the last 2 years who didn't know what they wanted and had to go through me to discover it wasn't me, and I already know better than to do that. The last thing I need is someone who feels obligated to tell me they don't have time when all I wanted was someone who sincerely wanted to be my friend.

The toughest relationships have always been the ones where someone didn't know what they wanted.

I'm looking forward to Ian fading from my daily thoughts the way Michael eventually did.

I'm pretty good at being single and looking forward to getting back to the place where that's comfortable and fun for me again. That talk last night was a big step in that direction.

I am really lucky that I have friends who make me a priority and who sincerely want me in their lives, and do a good job of letting me know that. I might be making some far more self-destructive choices if I didn't have that perspective.
28 April 2010 @ 11:45 am
If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.
- Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

I am beginning to think that a key to this cultivation is to let go of as many expectations as possible. Of people, of ourselves, of our environments, of our relationships. It seems to leave only what is, and enough room to make of it what we will.
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