wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (21st century (by et13_icons))
Friday, August 1st, 2014 07:04 pm

I went to the beach with my family last week, which was a vast improvement over how I spent my time one year prior. All of my siblings, sisters-in-law and nieces came down. (My brother-in-law had work to do and opted to remain home to do it.) Fortunately, my parents bought an additional unit for us to stay in so we weren't stacked on top of one another. (I got the entire fold-out couch to myself!)

My beach routines are pretty set--get up, have breakfast, don swimsuit, slather self with sunscreen, go down to the beach, take a long walk up one way and down the other, muck about in the waves as much as temperature permits, occasionally sit on a beach chair and read or write, return indoors, shower, dress, eat lunch, take a nap, go out on the balcony to listen to David Sylvian's Gone to Earth (both discs) while contemplating the course of my life and writing down my conclusions, suit up and slather down again for a late afternoon session on the beach, come back in, shower again, have dinner, listen to the Braves game, go to bed.

That's the basic plan. Sometimes it got disrupted by rain (we lost a number of afternoon beach walks to the rain) and sometimes the evening would include a few rounds of the Disney version of Apples to Apples. I brought my guitar with me and occasionally locked myself in a convenient bedroom to practice during the Braves games.

Wednesday, I threw the whole routine out the window to travel to Orlando to visit Epcot and Disney Hollywood with my sister and two of my nieces. We took a trip around the world (The Disney Version) and the nieces went on interactive spy missions at a few locations. (Yes, really.) It was a fine time all around.

Meanwhile, back in reality, I'm still looking for work, revising a novel, proofreading a book I didn't write, drawing flowers, playing guitar and otherwise trying to keep myself occupied. And how, dear reader, have YOU been?

Today I took pleasure in going on a field trip to an art gallery.

Today I learned that too late is not always too late.

wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (Default)
Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 01:38 pm

I've had this LJ app for my iPhone for some time now and I hardly ever use it. Not entirely sure why. Then again, I hardly ever use LiveJournal, so there you are.

I'm killing time in the waiting area of my local Toyota dealer to have my Camry looked over. I'm deliberately around the corner from the television, because daytime television drains all the smart out of my head.

Speaking of television, my birthday party went well enough despite technical glitches. For the past few years, I've celebrated my birthday by rounding off to the nearest available Saturday and opening my doors for my invitees to wander in from noon to midnight. During those twelve hours, I play my secondhand copy of The Beatles Anthology in a marathon. Each disc has two episodes on it, accessible from the DVD menu. Or, at least, accessible in theory. Unfortunately, this year the remote control that had always given me trouble (changing to the next episode always entailed a lot of leaning on the button and swearing) decided it didn't want to work anymore. At all. Even when bribed with new batteries.

My first guests arrived just as I discovered that Episode Two was out of reach. Thankfully, my first two guests were my parents, who were entirely understanding. My dad went into troubleshooting mode and found a workaround that allowed us to see the next episode. Yay! After they left, the same workaround worked for the next disc. Yay!

Then I got to the third disc.

Skip ahead at closing credits--huh, that didn't work. Start the episode all over, skip my way through--NOOOOOOOOOO! I am thwarted!

I supposed I could have pitched a tantrum and bewailed my fate, but instead I shrugged and popped in the final disc for my guests to view. That disc was also immune to the workaround, as I discovered to my frustration. When Captain B showed up I told him "I'm out of Anthology to play. Wanna see A Hard Day's Night?"

And so we did. When that was done, I dug out a documentary about the making of that very film and then a collection of various Beatle-related clips, including a rendition of the Pyramus and Thisbe sketch from A Midsummer Night's Dream with Paul McCartney as Pyramus and John Lennon as Thisbe. (And Ringo as The Lion.)

Those substitutions were enough to fill the lost time and keep my guests entertained. I ended at midnight with cake from Trader Joe's and a tealight candle.

Given the state I was in this time last year (we're coming up on the one-year anniversary of The Unpleasantness) I'm fine with marking 44 as an improvement over 43. I had a job interview this week, so I'm feeling a little better about my prospects.

Today I took pleasure in writing this journal entry. Seriously.

Today I learned that making appointments online at the dealership doesn't always work.

wonderbink: "I'm way too busy being AWESOME right now" in black letters on a red background. (awesome)
Sunday, April 20th, 2014 09:01 pm
Maybe I should update it or something.

Went through another rough patch a few weeks ago--a pointed reminder that my condition is not one that vanishes into normalcy with a magic combination of pharmaceuticals--but my moods have improved since then and now all I'm dealing with is the low hum of frustration at being unemployed. I've found jobs to apply to and even gotten a call back on one pretty recently, but there's only so much I can do from my end in that department.

I've been doing what I can to keep myself useful (in some way) in the meantime. As I mentioned previously, I have finished the draft of The Two Kinds of Magic and after I do an initial pass of tweaky-fixy revisions, I'll be sending it out to a few select folks for review. I'm already sketching out ideas for the next novel in the series and I'll start work while I'm waiting to hear back from my Panel of Experts.

I've been taking voice lessons from a friend whom I will call Red Boots and guitar lessons from my friend Captain B. Having a place I need to be twice a week has been helpful and being responsible to another person has pushed me harder than I can typically push myself. I'm still in kind of a muddly stage of things where I can kinda play and kinda sing and even perform in public before a sufficiently forgiving audience. I'm still painfully aware of how far I have to go, though, so I'm not all that cocky about it.

Yes, I'm still drawing ten thousand flowers. I'm just kinda crap about the giving-them-away part.

I took a class (of sorts) in process art and now have an old book that I'm slapping acrylic paint and lipstick on the pages of and turning into art.

All I really need is a reliable source of income to support all this nonsense, and I'll be fine.

Today I took pleasure in Eggs Benedict for Easter brunch.

Today I learned that the labyrinth by the library has gotten weedy in my absence.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (riter)
Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 06:25 pm
Let it be known to all and sundry that I have finally have a complete draft of a novel with the tentative title of The Two Kinds of Magic. Let there be much rejoicing!

(And after that, let there be much revision, but let me enjoy my little victories for now.)

Today I took pleasure in filling in the one last gap in the manuscript.

Today I learned that the self-service kiosk at my post office stops being self-service on tax deadline day.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (omgonoz (by mcity))
Thursday, February 13th, 2014 03:12 pm
So, my entire family is dealing with snow right now. Keep in mind that two of my siblings don't live in Atlanta anymore--my younger brother lives one state over and my sister ([livejournal.com profile] puppetmaker40) lives up north.

And we ALL got trapped under several inches of snow and ice over the past couple of days. It's melting now, at least where I am, but it's kind of weird to think about.

As I did the last time the weather looked threatening (what was it, a couple of weeks ago?) I packed a bag and took shelter at my parents' house because (a) they have a generator in the event of a power outage and (b) it's not good for my mental health to be isolated for indefinite stretches.

Anyway, just figured I'd wave hello at you nice folks in LJ land so you wouldn't worry about it. I'm fine, I'm safe, I'm warm and I'm drawing lots of flowers to pass the time.

Today I took pleasure in hitting that C chord on Dear Prudence without mucking it up for a change.

Today I learned that I am indeed capable of doing so.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (headpiano)
Friday, November 1st, 2013 11:05 pm
. . . I am doing NaNoWriMo again.

We'll see if I can pull it off this year.

Today I took pleasure in Hitting the low notes of "Edge of America" without strain.

Today I learned that I can do that now.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (choose)
Monday, September 9th, 2013 02:30 pm
So, on this fine day in 1963, my sister Kathleen was born. She's also on LJ, as [livejournal.com profile] puppetmaker40, and blogs there more often than I do. As her journal title indicates, she makes puppets. Among other things.

She made a puppet from a pattern, dressed it up as Jean-Luc Picard with a toddler's Star Trek uniform, and from there went on to make puppet replicas of all the Doctors (up to that point), several Klingons and the list has gone on from there. She put some of her puppets up for sale at the art show at a convention and offered a free puppetry lesson to the buyer. Thus she met Peter David when he bought one of her Klingons. Peter commissioned her to do a look-a-like puppet of a character in a movie he'd scripted to give to the actor as a gift. I remember her watching a tape of the rough cut that Peter had sent her, trying to get the costume from every possible angle in order to replicate it in puppet form.

She made a puppet of Morpheus, from the comic book Sandman, and gave it to Neil Gaiman. She also made a puppet of Peloquin from the film Nightbreed, which she gave to Clive Barker. (Clive Barker phoned my sister when the Peloquin puppet arrived at his mailing address and cheerfully let her know that he was scaring his dogs with it.)

You can see her thanked in the acknowledgements of Neil Gaiman's graphic novel Mr. Punch, because she put him in touch with the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta when he was doing his research for that particular project.

She was an active member of the Druid Hills High School Science Fiction Club as a teenager, which meant I was periodically surrounded by teenage geeks when they had events at our house. (I still run into some of those geeks now and again and make them feel terribly old, since they can remember me before I hit puberty.)

She got involved with Theater Emory when she was in college and went on a path that ultimately led her to a degree at the Yale School of Drama and many years of work as a stage manager. When my parents professed concern that an advanced degree in theater wouldn't be very helpful in the 'real world', she pointed out to them that they were both academics and weren't exactly working in the 'real world' either. As it turned out, the organizational and people skills she learned as a stage manager served her just fine when she made a career shift into publishing. ("I'm stage managing a publishing company", as she put it.)

Currently, she makes puppets, dolls and costumes while raising her daughter Caroline and running the household she shares with her husband, Peter. (Yes, that would be the Peter who bought the Klingon puppet. Funny how love stories start.)

We celebrated in person on Labor Day, after DragonCon had finally wound down, with tenderloin steak and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting at our parents' house. Today is the day proper, and I'm sure she's celebrating it in style.


Today I took pleasure in an impromptu bed picnic.

Today I learned how to spell "Peloquin" (thank you, Google.)
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (cleanthings)
Tuesday, August 6th, 2013 11:28 am
So, in the wake of the incident that we shall hereinafter refer to as The Unpleasantness, I've been taking advantage of my newly-freed time to do things like an archeological dig through the accumulated stacks of paper in my designated inbox, the re-folding and re-organizing my T-shirts in alphabetical order and taking a pair of suede shoes I picked up for free in a swap meet and dying them black because the original color was a shade of pale aqua that I have no interest in. (Any of you who recall what my place looked like before I painted the pastels away on my walls might recognize the shade as what the bedroom used to look like.) It's taking more than one coat to eliminate the aqua but they should be complete and dry by DragonCon, I hope.

Speaking of things I hope to have finished by DragonCon, I still have it in my head that I want to finish a workable draft of The Two Kinds of Magic by then. So what did I do last night? Pour out an entire longhand scene for AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BOOK. Seriously, subconscious, why you gotta do that to me? However, I did, on one of my long walks, figure out something about the hero's past which I think will help the love story portion of the program. (The plot is fairly sound, but the love story is a bit shaky, which I think is one of the blocks I have on proceeding.)

I've been getting out a bit more here and there--saw Megan Jean and the KFB at 529 and 1964-The Tribute at Variety Playhouse over the past weekend. This coming weekend, Joel Hodgson of MST3K fame is making two special appearances at the Plaza and you bet yer sweet ass I'm going to both of 'em.

I'm seized by a lot of restless energy that makes it hard to sit still and work on one thing for long stretches, so I'm working on a lot of little things in short stretches. I think I'm going to go and dab suede dye on some shoes now.

Today I took pleasure in slightly melty ice cream.

Today I learned the MARTA app now shows the approximate locations of buses on their routes as they travel.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (Default)
Wednesday, July 31st, 2013 02:07 pm
(Don't freak out, folks, I'm just quoting David Bowie in the subject line.)

So. Yeah. I lost my job because of Reasons (which will not be discussed in public) but I figured there might be folks outside of my tight circle of Certain LiveJournal Friends who might want to know what I've been up to.

I've been using my freed up time to poke at various projects that were left languishing. I spent a chunk of time updating, tinkering with, breaking and eventually fixing Wonderbink.com. I've been drawing more flowers for my Ten Thousand Flowers Project and easing my way back into working on my current novel-in-progress. I've even gotten back into Second Life again (but I have a whole other LJ for that.)

I've been granted the grace of time to figure out where I truly want to go from here. I have enough cash in the bank to keep me going for a bit, so I'm spared the pressure that others might feel in the same situation.

I bought some new pens to write in my diary with. I should put them to use.

Today I took pleasure in cool rainy weather.

Today I learned that the CVS around the corner doesn't sell unlined index cards.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (starlight)
Sunday, June 16th, 2013 03:12 pm
I'm hoping, again, to recultivate the habit of using this here bloggy thing to recount my exciting weekend adventures, in part to keep the few friends and family to read this in the loop about what's going on in my life and maybe in a weird sort of way to encourage me to get out of the house and have some adventures to write about for a change.

Part of the problem has been for a painfully long stretch of weekends the weekend report would have largely consisted of "came home on Friday, collapsed on couch, drowned in pool of self-loathing but somehow managed to get the laundry done and the house clean on Saturday, proceed as usual on Sunday." I came precariously close to quitting my job until I realized that would be throwing in the wrong towel. Instead the towel I chose to throw in was the I'm Not Taking Antidepressants Anymore towel.

Some people improve their lives by quitting drug habits. I hope to improve my life by resuming mine.

I stopped taking antidepressants back in 2007 (right around the time I was first getting involved with Mr. TBH, for those of you who have been reading along that far back) and at the time it did seem like the right decision. It may well have been. It was also around that time that I read The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine Aron (aka The Unified Field Theory Of My Entire Life) and came to understand that my serotonin depravation might not be a permanent glitch but something I could actually do something about by arranging my circumstances so as to avoid overstimulation. I mastered the art of Doing Nothing without feeling guilty about it. I started taking fish oil and 5-HTP. I came to the conclusion that I could take care of this thing on my own without grappling with our broken healthcare system.

Then the economy collapsed and I was unemployed for three years. During that time, I finished a novel (that didn't sell), made art (that only a few people bought), put out an e-book (that's earned me less than ten bucks in royalties, last I checked) and started drawing flowers to give away to people. My experiments led me to the conclusion that I'm really not built for the bohemian life. Not that I'm not creative enough, but that I'm not very good at the self-marketing hustle and that I do kinda need the stability of a steady paycheck.

So when a temp job turned up at a Big Sprawling Law Firm, I figured it would be a good place to start so I could keep the lights on and still have time to finish my next book and send it out until someone buys it. And, all things said and done, it was. But checking back into therapy and using all my other little coping mechanisms wasn't quite enough. I invested in noise-canceling headphones and even managed to wrangle an office with a closing door, but my work still suffered and I was eventually canned.

This is my personal evidence that the economy is improving--instead of three years to find another job, it only took me three months.

I don't really want to talk too much about the job I have now, except to say that I'm willing to stay as long as they'll have me. And that this job (and the previous one) proved to me that I really need to be medicated if I want to function in an office environment. I've been back on the wee blue pills for about a week now. Those of you reading along can tell me if you detect a difference.

My birthday was on Friday. It was better than I expected. I wasn't able to get the day off (which I was a bit grumpy about) but I was self-aware enough to know that having to work a job on my birthday was not the worst thing ever, and that the Horrible Wave of Despair I felt would eventually pass, and did.

My brother [livejournal.com profile] docwhoopee took me out to lunch and they even bought me a red velvet cake at work in addition to the traditional Office Birthday Card. I spent the evening at home, doing preliminary housecleaning for my birthday party on Saturday. (This is one of the reasons I missed most of the Internetted well-wishes on the day itself--I really didn't have time to go and look!)

Saturday morning was spent doing all the absolute last minute housecleaning, grocery shopping and preparation for my birthday party. Maybe next year I'll be able to get things prepared in a more leisurely fashion instead of frantically vacuuming at a quarter to noon. But when noon hit, I put the sign on the door that said YES, started the first DVD of The Beatles Anthology and by noon thirty I was settled on the couch with everything ready for guests to arrive.

The first knock on the door was from one of my neighbors, who wanted to know why on earth the word YES was pasted to my door. I explained it to her to her satisfaction and she went on her way. I had a long stretch before the first 'proper' guests arrived but once they did it was a fairly steady stream of folks and there weren't even any conversational lulls for the Beatles to fill in. The final shift, if you will, was filled by [livejournal.com profile] dosferatu but I was so worn out by then that I was less than ideal company and he was gracious enough to excuse himself so I could zonk out on the couch and wake up to the closing credits of A Hard Day's Night.

Today I have awoken to a bit of a mess to clean up and a bit of a hangover to recover from (I really should be better about pacing myself, even if I'm not driving anywhere.) The hangover has receded by now so I guess it's time to finish cleaning.

Today I took pleasure in writing a proper blog post.

Today I learned that I don't have any sponsors yet for the Clarion West Write-a-thon. I should maybe do something about that.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (forward)
Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 08:35 pm
I've been sifting through my romantic history, such as it is, because of reasons (did I mention I'm back in therapy? I'm back in therapy.) One of the things I realized is that my standards are not actually too high, it's just that I rank being in a relationship in a different order of importance than other people do.

Sometimes it seems that the dominant paradigm ranks things in this order of importance:

1. Being in an awesome relationship.
2. Being in an okay relationship.
3. Being in a shitty relationship.
4. Being by yourself.

In this ranking, being by yourself is the WORST THING EVAR and being in a shitty relationship is, hey, better than nothing and maybe if you just Work On Things with your partner, you can work your way up to an awesome relationship, right?

This is how I rank things:

1. Being in an awesome relationship.
2. Being by myself.
3. Being in an okay relationship.
4. Being in a shitty relationship.

Back in high school, I briefly dated a geeky young man who faintly resembled Adric from Doctor Who. He took me to see Ferris Bueller's Day Off and we made out in the back of a MARTA bus. Because of him, I learned an important life lesson--if you spend all your time talking about What We Mean To Each Other, you don't mean anything to each other and you need to bail. He also taught me that going out with somebody because they're Better Than Nothing only works if you rank Nothing as the worst of all things.

Because Nothing, as any recent escapee from a crappy relationship can tell you, actually has a lot going for it. The bed is yours. Your time is free. You can come and go as you please and don't have to Mother May I with anybody before you do it. Why would I give that up just to be In A Relationship, if that relationship is worse than being by myself?

And, no, I'm not holding out for any kind of perfection. I know that when two people get together, there's always going to be those thousand little compromises. But I'd rather be with someone who makes those thousand little compromises worth it, who makes time shared more delightful than time alone, who adds to who I am and who I can be, instead of subtracts from it.

So maybe I am holding out for Better Than Nothing. It's just that, the way I rank it, there's such a thing as Worse Than Nothing, and I'd rather avoid it.

Today I took pleasure in tunafish and noodles for dinner.

Today I learned some things I didn't know before about filing for an F-1 visa.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (HTKill)
Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 09:08 pm
I do not sign up for mailing lists with my livejournal.com address. Ever. So why the hell am I getting a pink-stained money-begging email from you to that address?

As if I don't have enough issues with your foundation already, you have to spam my ass?

F--- you very much,

Sheila the Wonderbink
who, by the way, has not been Cyanide Fish for some time.

(Am I the only person this has happened for? What the hell is this?)

Today I took pleasure in a cinnamon roll with melted butter.

Today I learned what my younger brother's been up to lately.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (forward)
Thursday, March 21st, 2013 07:49 pm
I've landed a three-month contract with the law firm I interviewed at, progressing to full-time if things go well.

I'm going to happy dance around the house for a bit, if that's okay with you.

Today I took pleasure in a giddy new crush on someone who isn't Mod Boy.

Today I learned that Jacco Gardner's song "The Riddle" has an answer but not a solution.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (bebot)
Sunday, March 17th, 2013 11:11 am
So. Hi. How's it going?

Me? Still unemployed, but I've got an interview lined up this week at a place I thought I'd completely blown it at, so that's encouraging. In the meantime, I've been nudging myself forward on this paranormal romance novel thingy I've been working on and went through a binge of reorganizing while I still have the time. It's much, much easier to find the oatmeal in the kitchen now.

I'm still cycling between Precariously Close to Happy and Absolute Pit of Despair. My thought processes seem to be that if I give in to contentment, I'll lose all motivation to look for gainful employment or other sources of income, and horrible things will happen when the money runs out. So I trap myself in a state of sustained misery to 'motivate' me to find a proper job.

Writing it out like that, it does occur to me that this is kind of a crap strategy for living.

On the plus side, I have been writing and I've even reserved my most productive hours of the day for that and consign job hunting to a daily chore that I get to after I've put in my two hours of novelizing, along with drawing flowers and practicing guitar.

I'm going to try and be better about posting here on more of a regular basis, but I wanted to at least start with a quick reminder that I still exist and stuff. And how have YOU been?

Today I took pleasure in oatmeal for breakfast.

Today I learned what "respectability politics" is.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (omgonoz (by mcity))
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 04:19 pm
The polite letter arrived today, thanking me for coming in and informing me that another candidate has been selected.


Back to the drawing board, then.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (forward)
Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 09:23 am
I lost my job a week ago. Please don't be distressed on my behalf--things were at a point where I was more relieved than gutted. (As I put it to my parents, I was rather hoping that particular chapter of my life wouldn't be guest-written by Franz Kafka, but no such luck.) Within about six hours of having the boom lowered on me I'd landed an interview at the law firm where Lawyer Awesome moved to. If you want to send any prayers or pozzies in my direction, send them towards me landing that gig because it would be the sweetest possible revenge.

I should hear back by the end of the week, so in the meantime I'm putting my house in order and filing for unemployment, just in case. But I can't escape the sense that this week of freedom may be all I'll get before I'm back at a desk, so I'm making the most of it.

Today I took pleasure in a second cup of tea.

Today I learned a cheap way to get rid of fruit flies.
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (richlife)
Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 06:49 am
"I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it's very difficult to find anyone."
"I should think so — in these parts! We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!"
--The Hobbit

(And for the record, no, I haven't seen the movie yet but I figure I will soon, one way or another.)

I've been pulling my way out of a tailspin of depression (one of the reasons my updates have been so intermittent) and one of the signs I'm definitely getting better is that I decided to spend a proper weekend going out and having adventures instead of curling up in my little hobbit hole.

I got home from work on Friday and checked the local music listings to discover that The Lizardmen were playing at the Star Bar. I needed little more persuasion than that. I went from Business Casual to a few notches more casual and stopped at a crowded but pleasant Mexican restaurant for some sopa de pollo and a margarita. A guy at the table behind me was explaining to an older woman how an AK-47 assault rifle worked and the difference between that an a fully automatic weapon.

I arrived at the Star Bar at what I thought was an early hour but in fact I had missed the very first band by then. It was a Toys For Tots benefit with a long list of bands on the roster, and I found my friend Captain B setting up on the stage. I was about halfway to the stage to chide him for not telling me he had a gig coming up but before I made it there, someone else came out of the backstage area. Mod Boy.

For those of you fine people who have witnessed the way I am in the presence of a certain blond keyboardist for a certain band with a repetitive name, pause a moment and picture my reaction if that very gentleman had shown up in a place I wasn't entirely expecting him.

Yeah, it was even worse than that. I shrieked "OH MY GOD!" at the top of my lungs. Mod Boy just smiled and said hello. He had a guitar in his hand so he couldn't say much; I just stepped aside and let him get to the stage and do his thing. Then I ragged on Captain B for not telling me about the show. He apologized for forgetting that I no longer do the Facebook thing and thus would have missed the announcement there.

Captain B and Mod Boy were doing their guitar duties in what was basically the same line-up as Mr. Jay's Bowie cover band, only they did Kinks songs instead. They'd done it one time earlier, but I missed the show because I was out of town attending my goddaughter's first communion. I found a decent seat with a perfect view of the side of the stage of most interest to me and enjoyed a set of Kinks songs played raw.

Between sets, I went downstairs to find a quiet corner to curl up and write in but instead found myself catching up with Mod Boy for a bit. He told me that they hadn't played that Kinks set since 2011 and I said "Oh, you mean the time you made me cuss in front of my niece?"

(Permit me to digress while I explain that one. As I've mentioned before, Mod Boy is shouldered with the peculiar burden of being the son of a deceased musician who I will not name lest the Google find me but whom I shall refer to here as Daddy Mod. When I was up in New York for my niece-and-goddaughter's first communion, I was still on Facebook at the time so at the little social gathering after the communion proper I was doing a quick iPhone app check of how everybody I knew was doing. There was a post by Mod Boy about how he was feeling a little under the weather for the gig that night. One of his Facebook friends--whether or not he was an actual friend, I can't be sure--posted something useless like "You're Daddy Mod's son! You can do it!" or words to that effect. Mod Boy snarked that he could always try the Daddy Mod technique of getting shit-faced drunk before going onstage. And thus I dropped an F-bomb out loud in front of my niece. Thankfully, she was too absorbed in the book she was reading to have noticed.)

I told him about the work situation and apparently he doesn't do well in cubicles, either. (Then again, does anybody?) We grumped about Facebook, talked about car accidents and eventually he excused himself, as he does, to go mingle with the rest of the crowd. I went upstairs, saw The Lizardmen play some of my favorite songs and decided that I didn't need to hang around until Saturday to prove that I was cool, so I said my goodnights. Captain B said we should get together for drinks and crap movies again sometime. Mod Boy told me to email him and I told him that emailing him was like dropping a stone in a well and waiting for a splash, an accusation he didn't deny but instead affirmed, complete with stone-throwing hand gesture.

The past several Saturdays I've been in the habit of walking to the library (about a mile and a half from where I live) and availing myself of the labyrinth in the reading garden just next to it. It's a single winding path defined by bricks and laid with gravel that leads to a stone bench facing a white post that declares "May Peace Prevail on Earth" in several languages. Unfortunately, after the initial creation of the labyrinth, not much seems to have been done in the way of maintaining it, so I show up with a backpack containing gardening gloves and a few tools and spend about fifteen minutes pulling up weeds and sweeping away debris before walking the path and having a seat on the bench to contemplate the riddles of my existence. Once I'm done, I go into the library, swap out or renew my books and go home.

Today, I had a haircut appointment so I gave up and drove so I could at least renew the DVD of Rashomon that I still have yet to watch. But I did get some time with the labyrinth, and that felt good.

Once my hair had been chemically enhanced, trimmed and styled to a perfection it only sees the day I get my hair cut and never knows again until I return, I gave my friend Lake a call and asked her if she was still up for going to the High Museum. She was, but she was in mid-artwork from the sound of it, so I stopped for lunch at Fat Matt's to give her time to clean up.

Lake's schedule was such that we only had enough time to check out the main exhibit, which is an interesting sort of walk through modern art history which pauses to look at five different years--1913, 1929, 1950, 1961 and 1988. (They also commissioned a few new works so they claim to have added 2013 to the bunch. Okay.) I was able to spot the Matisse from across the room, though I was a wee bit disappointed that it was a 1913 Matisse and not a 1950 one. (If I go back and look again, I'll check, but I didn't seem to see any artists crop up in more than one year, which is a shame because the continuity and contrast between say, 1913 Picasso and 1961 Picasso would have been fascinating.)

The room before the gift shop had one of the commissioned installations--an intricate and slightly dreamlike network of shelves with odd objects and lights and plants. I got there first and waited for Lake to catch up and watched her as she looked it over.

"It looks like my studio," she said.

I convulsed with suppressed laughter--if I'd laughed as loudly as I'd wanted to, I would have frightened half the gallery--and said "Yes! Exactly!"

I carted Lake home so she would have time to get ready for a housewarming party she'd been invited to. I opted to head home and collapse for a bit.

Sunday was the O'Shea Family Christmas Cookie Party, whereby my mother shares the bounty of the thousand-odd cookies she bakes every Christmas season. Various friends, relatives and neighbors dropped by at my parents' house and it was rather nice to tell them "I have a job now" instead of "yeah, still looking."

Work is work--I'm still floundering a bit at times but getting better at figuring things out. I've started to pick back up on things I used to do that, hey, just because I have a job doesn't mean I can't still do them.

Like, for example, writing here.

Today I took pleasure in tidying up loose financial ends.

Today I learned that the Data Collection section of Form I-129 used to need a signature. (Wow, I bet you found that fascinating.)
wonderbink: The outline of a star surrounded by tiny (illegible) writing (tminick)
Thursday, September 20th, 2012 12:19 pm
When people asked how Italy was, I’d show them this picture.

Vesna and Sheila finally meet…

"This is Vesna," I tell them, "We have known each other for over twenty years. That is a picture of the day we first met in person."

Back in the early 1990s, when [livejournal.com profile] azewewish and I were banging around the Duran Duran penpal/fanzine circuit one of my pen pals was [livejournal.com profile] freecloud13. (I miss pen pals, honestly. There was something genuinely marvelous about letters from all over the world showing up in your mailbox.) I recall Vesna as being one of the pals I looked forward to hearing from. I lost touch with everyone when I moved to Japan but when the Internet happened we crossed paths once more.

She came to America once. To Chicago. Same continent, but, alas, wrong time and place.

Then my parents booked a trip to Italy for their 50th wedding anniversary and I nudged my itinerary in the direction of Venice for a few days at the end of my stay there. I booked a wee room in a hotel around the corner from the train station and we arranged to meet there.

I sat in the breakfast room, scribbling in my catbook and glancing out the window every few moments at the passers by. I missed her going past the window, but couldn't miss her when she walked in the door.

I’ve already written 100 Odd Words about it. Here they are once more:

For a full minute, I swear we could not speak. Recognition lit up on both of our faces and all we could do was laugh. We embraced as if long parted, rather than meeting for the very first time. Words had abandoned us both and our actions and laughter spoke for us instead. You are here. You are real. You are flesh and bone and more than all the words and photographs we ever shared on paper and on screens. And yet I know you.

Finally she said, with a shy smile, the first word ever uttered between us:


“It’s you,” she continued, “You look like you.” I compared it to the odd shock one goes through when meeting Duran Duran the first time--yes, they really look like that. Only in three dimensions and everything. She understood completely.

I asked her if she had any interest in going with me to the Klimt exhibit at the Museo Correr. As it turned out, it was on her mental list of Things To Do The Next Time She Was In Venice. (She lives in Trieste, which is a doable but still longish train ride away from Venice. It's comparable to living in Athens, Georgia and thinking "I should check out that exhibit at the High Museum next time I make it to Atlanta.") She got a pass for the Vaporetto and we rode down the Grand Canal.

We got to San Marco and to the museum. I bought tickets for both of us (she braved the Italian train system to meet me; I figured I owed it to her) and we went into the gallery. The exhibit was just what I needed right then--a series of small, dimly lit and relatively quiet rooms with lots of fantastic art in them. It would have been amazing just on its own, but there was extra awesome that came with being with someone you could poke and remark that a given painting rather resembled a pulp sci-fi cover from 1972 and that person could poke you back and marvel at century-old furniture that was clearly not owned by someone who had any cats.

We emerged into the museum's collection of art from centuries past, styles I’d seen plenty of during my stay in Italy, but quite the contrast from the modern works we'd just seen. We found a room with glass cases full of ancient books and two enormous (but mostly illegible) globes. We peered at them, trying to trace the contours of the continents, but it was all lost in a muddy blur. Vesna noticed a hand-written sign that said "NO KLIMT HERE" and it read to me as if Klimt was forbidden. ("No Klimt here! Stop Klimting! Go Klimt somewhere else!")

We grabbed postcards of our favorite paintings from the gift shop and I asked Vesna where we should go next. (She’d lived there for years until the Euro came around and doubled the price of everything, forcing her to move back with her family.) We found a cafe and drank a spritz and she told me of the Kafkaesque horrors of finishing her degree at the university in Venice. Instead of the usual tourist spots, I got to see things like the historic Jewish neighborhood (where the bridge over the canal had the vestiges of gates that were locked at night in times past) and The First Place Vesna Got Lost In Venice. We stumbled on a park that she hadn’t seen before and saw, to our astonishment, actual Venetians playing with their children.

We meandered back to my hotel room and just sat and chatted there, enjoying the tiny luxuries of air conditioning and a toilet you don’t have to pay 50p to use. She picked out one of my ten thousand flowers to keep.

I walked her to the train station and we sat on the steps and looked out over the water. I asked her for suggestions for my final day in Venice. She pulled out her tattered map and showed me a small island with a church on it and recommended the bell tower for an amazing view of the city. (She was right, by the way.) Finally, it was time for her to go. We embraced one last time and agreed that we really had to do this more often. She walked up the steps into the station and I walked back to my wee hotel room, my head still spinning from the miracle of what had just happened.
wonderbink: "I'm way too busy being AWESOME right now" in black letters on a red background. (awesome)
Saturday, August 4th, 2012 04:12 pm
Because a picture is worth a thousand words, right? I don't have time to write down all the awesome, but I have just enough time to post three pictures that sum up the most amazing things that have happened to me since my last post.

Click )

Today I took pleasure in having a day to myself after a stressful week.

Today I learned that my iPhone is not playing nicely with iPhoto but that there are ways around this in the meantime.
wonderbink: "I'm way too busy being AWESOME right now" in black letters on a red background. (awesome)
Saturday, June 30th, 2012 06:24 am
I blinked awake at 5:00 AM and I might as well stick to it because I checked my email this morning and I got a message from the temp agency asking if I'm available yet because the law firm wants me back.

Groovy. I'd better focus on recovery so I'm a fully functional human being by Monday. I see a lot of writing in my future.

Today I took pleasure in sleeping in my own bed.

Today I learned that I have work to do!