Let’s Throw A Riot (Because They’re Romantic)

It seems a number of us have all independently decided that This Is The Year We Bring Blogging Back, (More Specifically Livejournal). And I could not approve more.

I’m not sure why other people are trickling back into the fold, but for me my recent trip was a stunning reminder of what we had all built here. Just about everything positive in my life is somehow built on the foundation we created. My happiness is due to you and this place and what we made. It goes way back; I wouldn’t have found this apartment, wouldn’t have known about the concert I went to when I met my flatmate David, wouldn’t have connected so deeply with so many people. I wouldn’t have been able to make it to California if it weren’t for Jedidiah, who I met through Karen, who I met here nearly a decade ago, but only met face to face last year. I wouldn’t have had the chops to write about my godmother‘s house in Santa Fe, I wouldn’t have had such fantastic company in San Francisco, trying new things and feeling loved and inspired, I wouldn’t have felt so at welcome in Seattle or know how to deal with my people there, I wouldn’t have felt so safe running away with a complete stranger to Napa Valley. This was my very first community, the place where I started to begin.

Our network spread across the entire world, an empire upon which the sun could not set. Tel Aviv, Madison, New York, London, Santiago, these are all homes to people that have shaped me, many of whom I have never met, but carry always in my thoughts. (There’s a woman I know through Livejournal that I haven’t heard from in five years, but every year on her birthday I post to her last entry, letting her know that I still love her and probably always will.) And I want that back. I want all of you back.

I want myself back.

Somewhere in the mire of crappy relationships and scraping to get by in one of the most expensive cities in the world, I lost myself. I withered and I burned out. I was isolated and torn down and I let the bastards win. Radio silence took over. So this year is the year I push back, the year I clamber out of the rubble and get back into business. I’m going to write, I’m going to take pictures, and I’m going to badger you to do the same. Be my pen-pal, be my friend. I’m going to demand that you share and want you to demand it from me in return. I want a life worth fighting for again.


So who am I, anyways? Given that my audience has grown considerably smaller than the thousand-plus regulars who used to read my journal, but spread to more people that I’ve actually met, it’s probably time for an update. Another member of the Great Coincidental LJ Revival posted a massive introduction and I’m going to shamelessly swipe it because she used to write speeches for Jack Layton and who am I to paraphrase greatness? So here you are, a paragraph by Audra, “I was thinking that I should do a little intro, for all of the new folks. And then I realized that probably a lot of the LJ friends I’ve had for a decade could also benefit from an update about my life now. It’s easy, especially if you are connected by Facebook, to feel like everyone knows what is up with you always. I know that’s not actually how it works, though. More than once I’ll see someone post about a new baby or something, and not have even known they are pregnant. Facebook does a lousy job of helping us keep up with each other, really, since it only ever shows us content from people we have recently interacted with. Kind of defeating the whole keep-in-touch purpose of Facebook?”

So here I am: I’m a creative 31 year old Cascadian woman who writes, takes pictures, and is commonly understood as being “from the internet”, where my name is either Foxtongue or rarely, Dreampepper. I don’t know everybody, but I seem to live two degrees away from everybody, so if I don’t know you, it’s highly likely I already know your friends. (No, it’s not creepy, it’s hilarious. Just accept it, it hurts less when you don’t struggle.) I cohabitate with a vegetarian, contrarian flatmate, David, who is studying to be a primatologist; two black cats, Tanith and Tanaquil; and two ferrets, Selenium and Pepper. (Selenium is cuter, but Pepper makes up for it by being the biggest ferret I have ever seen). We share a two bedroom apartment in the Commercial Drive neighborhood of Vancouver, BC, that I have painted fuchsia, scarlet, orange, white, and gold, and we have filled with books, art, and houseplants. David likes clutter, I do not, but somehow it still works.

I used to have cool jobs, like “special effects pyrotechnician” and “co-founder of an after-hours nightclub”, but right now I’m on a more pedestrian path as the HR and Culture & Process person for a small IT support company based out of White Rock by the US/Canada border, so I spend my a lot of work-related time commuting as well as being paid to sift through applicants and write corporate documents like Standard Operating Procedures or Job Description Templates. Even so, I am lucky that my employers understand that culture creation is needful and doubly-so that I have nearly free rein to write whatever I believe will get the job done. This means I regularly put sentences like “Don’t take it personally, someone will probably have candy for you” in procedure manuals. (Given half an opening, I will also put goofy lines from the original Maxis SIM:Earth manual in, too, but I haven’t had the chance yet. SOON.1)

I also volunteer as a facilitator at CanSecWest, a security conference here in Vancouver that’s held annually every March. I love it there, I basically move into a hotel with a bunch of my favourite people and help make piles of awesome. There’s very little sleep, too many black t-shirts, but there’s also catering, a lot of love, and I’m always super happy to be part of it. (Even as it sometimes makes me seem paranoid to those outside of the security sector).

Aside from work, I have a couple of small projects, but nothing like I used to. It used to be that I was elbow deep in massive works all the time, but that went away when my interiority died, so now I only have a couple of small things: gamelan practice, a coding class, a language class, and my FB Portrait series, an endeavor to take a proper portrait of every single one of the 1000+ Facebook friends I’ve been lucky enough to collect. I would like to take more on, but there’s only so much creativity on tap right now and I have to be careful not to overwhelm what fuel I’ve managed to rekindle. I’m already three years behind on my photo processing! I’ve never even SEEN any of the pictures I’ve taken at Burning Man. Ever. Right this minute, I still have to deliver three weddings, two birthdays, a maternity shoot, about 30 Facebook portraits, and my Daily Photos from two years ago. (Which is why, if you say, “I want you to come up with my portrait!”, you’re going to get something boring, just like the last ten people who told me the exact same thing. Suck it up.)

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot more than I have before: Albuquerque, Los Angeles, Madison, Montreal, Minneapolis, Mountain View, Napa, NYC, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Fe, Seattle, and Vegas. Beautiful things and moments and people and discoveries at each, but it still doesn’t feel like enough. There’s so much of the world to explore, so many people to meet, so many things to do! In that, at least, I will always be greedy. I only get one chance at this and enough of it has been wasted. My goal is still to leave Vancouver for somewhere bigger, but in the meantime I plan to collect more lunatic adventures like, “that time I had that fling with the astronaut” or “that time I played pink slips for panties in a midnight drag race on the I5 and won” and use those to keep myself alive.

Anyhow, I want you to talk to me. Introduce yourselves, inform me or remind me who’s out there listening. I want this to be a safe place. This used to be our playground and I believe that together we can bring it back to life.

1. It’s been over 20 years, but I still use this joke. One day my network will bring me in contact with the person who wrote it and I will give them the biggest, best of hugs:

In general, SimEarthlings are as lazy as Earthlings. They never want
to work, and especially hate physical labour. Whenever there are heavy
objects to move, they argue over who has to do it.

“I don’t want to carry it–you carry it!”
“Not me–you carry it.”

And that’s how Eukaryotes evolved.

Of course, the usual solution is to hire a professional to do the work.
That’s what Prokaryotes do for a living.

setting, the scene

An excerpt from the journal of Metrocentric:

Across from the pub, an office building, presenting to us its side elevation. A column of windows, about half a dozen in height.

In many workplaces people making or taking calls on their mobile phones will leave their desks and make their way to a more anonymous part of the building: a corridor, a stairway, a lift lobby. There they stand and shuffle as they speak – if there is a window they will typically look out of it for all or part of the call.

It was that part of the afternoon in which anyone going back to the office would have done so, and the post-work clientele had yet to appear. I was drinking Bombardier, because he got the first round in and he can’t ask for lager, he says.

Every now and then a face and torso would appear at one of the windows opposite. At one point there were four. Four in a row. “Connect Four!”, I remarked. All this was happening behind him.

Once, when all four fully presented themselves at the window, and none were crouched into themselves in their phone calls, and two were gesticulating, the sun came out; the light fell on all four. The squares of window stood out against the dark concrete. It was like looking at a grand opera stage set: they could have flung the glass aside and burst into song.


I don’t know Stu Nathan and it’s very likely that neither do you, (unless you are either Budgie Barnett who has just come out with a new book of quickfic that’s quite lovely, yes you should buy it, where you ask, why right here or Alasdair Watson of They Fight Crime.) I don’t know what he looks like, where he lives, or why he keeps a journal. If we were to meet by chance in the street, I would not recognize him. The only reason I know his name is Stu, even, is because it says so right there on his userinfo. He is a complete and utter stranger.

Why should you care? Because you should friend him. In among his regular blogging activities, he writes incredible character pieces about his fellow passengers on London transit, who he calls Tube People. Sometimes amusing, occasionally sobering, they are perpetually excellent and well worth your time.

A satisfying excerpt from a recent post:

“They clearly don’t know each other, but they have two things in common — age and class. Bundled up against the cold in overcoats and scarves, the gentleman wears an old-fashioned check cap and the lady has a cosy headscarf. He holds her arm as they board the train in the windy West London no-mans-land on the way to Heathrow, but she’s supporting him as much as she supports her.

‘Oh, thank you,’ she says, in the effortlessly penetrating cut-glass tones of the truly posh. ‘Thank you so much, I was afraid I wasn’t going to get up into the carriage.’

‘That’s quite alright,’ he replies, in a voice you can imagine encouraging the troops at Arnhem. ‘No bother at all.’ But he’s red in the face and puffing, and half-falls gratefully into his seat.

They aren’t shouting, and they couldn’t be described as loud. But their voices carry around the sparsely-populated carriage as they make the sort of small-talk you might hear at a tea-dance. Faultless manners and old-school decorum, and you can see that everyone else in the carriage is paying rapt attention. Newspapers stop rustling. Pages of novels are unturned. The volume on MP3 players is surreptitiuously lowered.

‘You said you had children? A boy and a girl, wasn’t it?’ the lady asks, her head on one side, her face attentive.

‘Oh, yes,’ says the gentlemen. ‘They’re both fine and happy, grown up now of course. Jane’s doing something in social work, living near Brighton; it’s an area called Kemptown, if I’m remembering correctly.’

‘And does she have a young man?’

‘Weeeell…’ he drawls, his eyes unfocusing slightly and a wrinkle deepening between his eyes. ‘Actually, there seem to be two young men around; they have some sort of… arrangement I don’t really understand. They don’t seem to both live there all the time, but they’re both… around. But everyone seems to be happy with it, and she has one son by each of them. And it’s a terribly bohemian area.’

‘Like a village?’ she says.

‘Oh, very like. It’s not my place to question, I think?’

‘And what about your son? What does he do?’

‘Yes, he runs his own business. He was doing something in the City, but he decided to pack it in and do something he always wanted to do.’

‘And what was that?’

‘He opened a sandwich bar with his wife.’

‘A sandwich bar? It’s not one of those places where you can’t sit down, is it? I can’t abide those.’

‘No, no, there are seats, of course there are. And you can get other things as well, hot soups and so on, and I believe there are salads as well.’ This is said in the tones of a man who has heard of the concept of salad but will have no truck with the reality.

‘And it’s doing well?’

‘Yes, very well, I understand.’

‘Oh, good! That’s marvellous. I do sometimes get peckish, you know, and a well-made sandwich is very welcome. What’s the place called? Is it somewhere I could keep and eye out for?’

‘Yes, it’s called EAT, so he tells me.’

The man opposite has raised his newspaper to hide his face, and the pages start to rustle as his hands vibrate.

not a good day on the internet

Valleywag: LiveJournal, the San Francisco-based arm of Sup, a Russian Internet startup, has cut 12 of 28 U.S. employees.
CNET: LiveJournal clarified that it was “about a dozen” cuts, amounting to about a fifth of the company.

The beginning of the end. Again.

Given the current situation, I’m going to start running my LJ Archive back-up daily, instead of monthly, and cross my fingers that someone out there finds a way to make LJbook run again. I don’t believe the entire site will evaporate overnight or anything, but I’ve been writing on Livejournal since 2003. To lose it would be a death in the family, as the site contains not only a clear and concise map of my life and a full history of my writing, it also holds all of you, my friends and family who daily sustain me. How many of us even have each others real names, let alone e-mail, address or phone number? This is the medium of the majority, if Livejournal vanished, so would our ability to keep in touch.

In the interests in making sure we don’t lose what we’ve built if it all falls down goes boom, I’ve whipped together a quick little poll. Don’t feel you have to fill it all out, but if you don’t give me, say, your phone number, who else will call you up on your birthday to sing you e.e.cummings?

If you don’t feel comfortable posting your personal information to a livejournal poll, e-mail whatever contact info you like to my hotmail address: bloodkrystal@. Also, here I am on: facebookmyspaceflickryou.tubedel.icio.ustwitter.

meme: 2008 in LiveJournal, the first sentence of the first post of each month for the entire year.

JanuarySeattle was the escape I needed. Not only does it have a refreshing amount of honest-to-mercy architectural and social diversity, it seems everyone I know there is brilliant, fun, and good-looking.*

February – He’s young in that way that teenage girls find attractive, fizzing with ginger enthusiasm, wiry, laughing, his arms beaten with a couple of tattoos.

March – Ray and I are going sailing on a Viking War-ship tomorrow! Anyone want to come?

AprilOnce upon a time when time was shivering apart and memories seemed more real than reality, the girl who fell from the sky and the west coast hacker king came to an agreement.

May – A clean uniform of friendship, tattered in places, worn in the elbows and the shoulders, but strong all the same. I think of stone, how it erodes too slow to see, though it shapes itself to the wind almost perfectly.

June – Walking across the street in the rain, there’s someone in front of me with a spiderman brand popsicle, the blue eyes two wan gum-balls that look like they were manufactured years before I was born.

JulyI’ve been mistaken for a porn star.

August – Something’s wrong with my internet at home. It’s corpse blood sluggish, and flickering faster than an animated disco.

September – The weekend was spent moving David from his cave apartment of the mysterious smells to a pleasantly crooked #9932CC-darkorchid room in an old heritage style house on Arbutus street, right across the street from the Ridge Theater.

October – Something I can’t seem to get over is how much mind-bogglingly delicious food there is in Montreal, for incredibly cheap.

November – We’ve decided to paint the guest room library the colours of a Hypselodoris nudibranch bullock, but darker and a bit richer, leaving us with aubergine, pumpkin, sunflower mustard, and crimson red.

December – Today we’re hitting up, (or on, your pick), Lou O’Bedlam, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Kevin again, (who will hopefully have recovered from his sudden death-flu), and somewhere delicious to eat, hopefully in Venice, with dear Crunchy of Mutaytor if we can line up with her lunchbreak.