A love letter to Seattle

I remember when I arrived to Seattle, February of 2008, exhausted and happy from a two week cross-country jaunt from Bloomington. It was the first place I ever felt at home. It’s the first place I didn’t get lost in, constantly. About a month after arriving, I was still wondering at how easy it was to be here.

Tonight I walked home from the club alone, violins and poetry in my ears (aren’t they often the same thing?).
Capital Hill and I had a moment, the sort of moment you share with a good friend or a lover in the morning, feet cozy under their legs, tea or coffee in hand, when you know the day is in front of you but more important is the Now.
I feel at peace here more than I ever have.

image by Andi Dean

image by Andi Dean

This is the first place I moved to of my own accord, not because someone I cared about deeply had requested my presence. And after eking out space for myself, Libby came. And Chris. Petra was near, and Annie and Bergen were already here but unknown to me. Later, Vivian and Noah came out. Tiny Matt would visit regularly. Our chosen family grew, and deepened. There were magical summers and warm spots in winter. I worked for a year in a law office, donning a wig every day, and training parkour in Freeway Park on my lunch breaks, some sort of punk super hero, bleeding on office papers from my scuffs and tumbles. Whitechapel kept me sane. And I learned about myself, and how to love other people, and how to let them love me. This is my home, but it’s also taught me that I can have many homes. Here, I have learned to wait.

And then I found purpose, combatting that persistent feeling in the back of my head that I had power, I just didn’t know what to point it at. The Transhumanist thought scapes I had carried from Virginia to Bloomington started to grow into tangible things. From Baron, I learned about hackerspaces and this group I admire so much, count myself lucky to be a part of, that now takes so much of my focus. I learned what it is to choose to commit to something, and what it is to decide who you love and how you love them. This has been my city, not only in that it’s where my heart is, but in that it is here I learned what a heart even is. This is where my robot love is.

I’m moving my stuff to Somerville to spend most of my days in Cambridge. Apparently people in the Boston area care about these geographical differences. Or at least the streets do. My belongings boil down to books, and clothes, and art. And more books. And comics. I’ll be working with the Center for Civic Media, and the Berkman Center if they’ll have me. While I leave the 29th of this month, I first go to San Francisco for #everyonehacks. And when I do go, I don’t go straight to Boston. I go to Port-au-Prince first, and then to DC, and then I’m in Boston. For a few days. Before I go to Paso Robles for Camp Roberts, and then Philly for family. Towards the middle of February, I arrive in earnest for a whole few weeks. March I bounce around a bit (either Seattle and San Francisco or an entirely other adventure) with time in Boston. April is only half overseas. But! May and June will be in Boston for sure. And July is.. overseas. And August is partially in Black Rock City. But the rest of the year. Seriously. Boston. I’ve already passed up a bunch of potential things to go to, speak at. Those booked engagements will get pruned as much as possible. I need to be where I am.

So I’ve been framing my art to prevent it getting crushed in the move, and saying tender farewells. This is a place I have loved. And you should love some of my favorite places and things, too. Here are some places that I have always felt comfortable, always at home.

  • Crumpet Shop : Just my favorite place in Seattle. Always happy. Always delicious. Non presumptuous.
  • Parkour Visions : Solid people. They helped me feel at home. And they teach you how to use your body and your environment.
  • Ada’s Technical Books : It’s a hackerspace, but with books. Good talks every week, good people, and mate!
  • Techbound : If you’re into this sort of thing, these are the folk to learn from. (NSFW)
  • Odd Fellows : Just a great coffee shop to hang out in. Does all meals, coffee, booze, solid wifi, etc.
  • Hot House : Naked lady spa. Seriously helped keep me sane.
  • Six Arms : Sure, it’s a McMenamin’s, but I sure do heart it. Good booze, and the staff leaves you alone. Perk if you’re working, not if you’re dining people.
  • Remedy Teas : 150 loose-leaf teas, and themed with science. Usually bustling without feeling overwhelming. Also the staff is super cute.
  • Row House : Again, with the all meals, decent coffee, solid wifi. They do flights of whiskey and sometimes of strange meats. You can work from here all day.

Join me at Row House on the 26th of January from 16:00 to 20:00 if you’d care to say hello, goodbye, or whatever. I shall be reading and taking quiet time, welcoming company.

My roots grew here. But even as I write this, I know that people are postgeographic in my brain, but Seattle is like a family chest, full of fond memories. You can take it wherever you go. I will return to the people who are my chosen family, who are always with me.

Capture the Flag

Red and I are back at it again. I’m so excited about this one I actually got that self-satisfied feeling that I believe some people call “pride” or “smugness.” Really, I’m just pleased as punch that we can bring together such a range of musical geniuses (yes, I said it) in one place for you all to hear. So. Without further ado:

The Ghosts Project, Jill Tracy, Nathaniel Johnstone,
Magpie Killjoy, Schrödinger’s Cat, and DJ Q
October 5, 2008 at 7:30 pm
The Little Red Studio
750 Harrison St, Seattle WA
18+, $13

Free refreshments provided, including custom chocolates by Naftali.

If you’ve never seen or heard of any of these people, let me completely fail to convey how awesome they are. I’ve never been good at music. But after spending most of my existence around people who are, I can at least discern between people who are technically good, who are inspired, who are innovative, or who are just having a good time. And each of these individuals is all of the above. The songs Paul has pulled out of his Loves (his violins, his viola) have made me cry on occasion. The rhythms Davis can get out of a drum set make my brain fuse to itself. Jill can make me feel dark and sensual on a single note. Nathan makes me curse his name when he jokingly pulls a new song out of thin air. Magpie and Brandon are both so good as to cause me to turn around on the street to give them my food money. Qais’s taste in music constantly has me asking “what is this?” in the best of possible ways, and Nafalti chocolates make my mouth weep with joy (if you were at the Anachrotechnofetishism show and had a chocolate, you know what I mean).

So yeah. It’s going to be a pretty kick-ass show.

Contact me via e-mail if you want to help, want to attend but can’t necessarily afford it, have questions about booze options, etc. This is going to be amazing, but Red and I are also rekindling the idea of community here in Seattle. It takes a good network of people to make these events even better. If you’re that kind of person, let me know.

3 Steampunks and a Futurist in a car for 2.5 hours..

Libby, the amazing woman who has always been a dear friend and has the patience of a Galapagos Tortoise to have been my roommate at one point, is putting on an artshow with the lovely Miss Porkshanks.

I had the pleasure of being in a shoot done by Libby and Magpie just over a week ago, and some of the shots are under the cut

Meetings continue..

Aug 8th 7p First Hill Bar and Grill here in Seattle (901 Madison).

Facebook invite (including some reading materials) can be found here. Whitechapel discussion here.

Topic will be information intake, filtering, healthy information diets.

Will set up a mailing list so I’m not spamming my friends list within a week or so. Until then, thank you for your patience. I’ll likely post about it here after the fact. There’s been noise about podcasting it, so any help would be appreciated, though I’m certain I can figure it out on my own.

Life is full of Win

In the continuing awesome saga of my life, Rexlor arrives from SF today to visit for the weekend. Chris also arrived today. And Libby is here. And hopefully Preston and Matt will come visit soon. I get paid to walk around an office succumbing to my OCD tendencies. I’ve drastically cut down in my drinking. I’m making awesome new friends. I’m getting better at Rock Band (And be a juke box hero, got stars in his eyes).

Twitter basically gets all of my updates. Maybe I’ll do the cross-post thing. But go check it out if you want to see my ADD in effect today.

my weekend is crazy:

prepositions and the back of my hand

You know when you spoon with a good friend or lover (or both), and you fall into a solid sleep? Not the hard sleep of exhaustion or the flighty sleep of anxiety, but the solid sleep that brings the most lucid of dreams and the freshest mornings? Your breathing matches, and no matter how one of you shifts, the other matches without waking, nestling into the hollows of bodies, unconsciously kissing the back of a neck, humming briefly to match frequencies. Your hair tangles with theirs, your dreams sometimes brush each other, and you know where to rest an arm so as not to harm them, not to wake them. Limbs wrapped around limbs, a complicated knot of comfort.

That is how I feel in this city. Walking the veins of streets, noting the celled bricks, exhaling with the wind. I blend with shadows, stepping with the city’s heartbeat, the BPM leaking out of clubs, the rise and fall of stories told on streets.

Being a child and swinging on your Dad. He grips your wrists and swings you up, you walk on his back, do flips into pools, never doubting his ability to keep you safe, to be prepared for a jump onto his back for a piggy-back ride.

That is how I feel in this city when I do Parkour. I am in and of and by this city. Prepositions explain relationships between two things, but how much love can you fit into two or three letters? Between? Within? Language – written or spoken is just lines and sounds shaped, trying to approximate life. Words poking holes in a curtain to let in points of light. Other cheesy metaphors that are as close as we can get to sharing an unsharable experience. Is my sky-blue your sky-blue? Do my synapses fire the same as yours?

This is me, just Being. This is me, Happy and Whole.

on Pink Godzillas, Orange Chicken, and feeling welcome

Last night I double booked myself.

This is nothing new to me. Despite having a smart phone and programming .every.last.thing. into it, I get my timing incorrect fairly often. I think something will take 2 hours instead of 3 or 4, etc. Usually I look sheepish, make my apologies, and bow out of whatever situation I’m in.

Last night, I went to the International District with Tacopunch, Nim, and two of Tacopunch’s friends. We checked out old video games, Japanese horror movies, and contemplated bubble tea. We then decided on a place for dinner. As we were sitting down to eat, I realized I was meant to be visiting a different friend in a matter of minutes. Folding my menu, I said the usual Fail at Life, please excuse me, I’m sorry (which I truly was), and went to get up. They all looked at me. “We don’t want you to go,” said one. “You’re already with us. Why leave? Who the hell is this friend?” said another. “Make him come here,” was the final comment. We all ended up sharing milkshakes, stories of eels and coding and road trip exploits. A grand evening, and I felt totally welcomed.

Tonight I cook curry chicken for dear friends. Hooray!

Academic Itch

This weekend was my housewarming party, to which many lovely people came – thanks to everyone for making it awesome and, well, warming. Helped Nathan load some stuff into Libby’s apartment (she arrives Wednesday, hooray!), cleaned, caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in awhile (Coral and Kristen specifically), ran lights for The White Show, played human statue, went on a picnic, listened to Gregorian Chant, and read a fair amount. I am finally getting up to the level of involvement that I enjoy, which has brought up an interesting set for me to work on this week.

1. I want a second job, for only 2 or 3 nights a week, in order to supplement income and occupy time and
2. I want to start researching an academic paper.

Yes, apparently the Crazy of the undergraduate thesis has faded enough to entertain this notion. But I miss researching. I miss having a point to my studies, the enforced motivation. So I’m going to start doing it on my own. I know I want to write on sexuality or technology, most likely on both. Possibly constructing and presenting sexuality online in relation to IRL identity. We’ll see how the literature review goes first, and how taking on the Washington Review Board of Human Subjects Committee goes (guh).

I am having a blast and I love this city more and more with every step I take in it.