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.

zohmigod, like woah

The first interview went extraordinarily well. We talked in the owner’s office for over an hour, chatting about theater, arts culture, the people we have in common, and my job history. The second interview, a more serious thing with the office administrator, went fairly well. It was less casual, more the regular check list of the sort of formalized corporate queries I always find awkward, like “what is your five year plan?”, to which I gave near desperate answers like “to work steadily at something I like until I win the lottery and can move somewhere warm enough to open a sloth preservation foundation.” Despite this, they called the next morning and offered me the job. (While someone else at the office was apparently still on the phone with one of my references.)

So now I have a real job.



Just in case you didn’t get that.

As of first thing tomorrow morning, I will be the new office administrator/receptionist-in-training at Stage One Accounting, a firm specializing in entertainment industry clients, which no, is not a euphemism. I am thrilled, intimidated, and incredibly relieved. On one hand, accountants, my justifiable fear of math, working on Saturdays, and joining a tax office in January. On the other, everyone I’ve met there so far has been smart, funny, interesting, and competent, the sort of person I always feel lucky to make friends with, and reliable, solid pay-cheques from a company not running on crazy. Heaven!

Of course, because the universe is a quirky place, to add an extra dash of ridiculous to the whole situation, I have turned down three very promising job interviews since accepting the job just yesterday. Three! THREE! That’s as many as I usually have in a MONTH. I have saved their numbers, though, just in case, as I cannot get over the foolish notion that I will sleep in and blow the whole thing, just out of some sort of residual existential despair left over from two years of unreliable contract work. David has offered to make certain that I’m awake tomorrow at seven, but even so, I am sure that when I go to bed tonight, it will be in dread.

Oh! And I totally got to chat with William Gibson tonight! And though I was initially terrified of speaking, it turns out we like each other! He thinks I’m “funny and smart”! Hooray! Exclamation mark! Annnnd! AND! I fit into my kilt again, just in time for Robbie Burns! EEEEEEEEE! PERSONAL VICTORY DAY! HAVE AT THEE!

next: glow in the dark fetus kittens

Meredith for Victory: Associated Press just covered her DIY home-genetically-engineered “glowgurt”

Meredith and I met in SF earlier this month through (The Amazing) Julia and immediately bonded over my improbable desire to have kittens implanted in my womb. She is, how you say, awesome. I’m glad everyone else is starting to find that out too. Of course, as it likely goes without saying, I really like people with unexpected hobbies and passions and ideas. As far as I’m concerned, they make the world go ’round. I love the future. I love that we create it, that we have no choice but to carry on. I love that two people can look at the same moment in time and come away with staggeringly different ideas. I love that we invent, create and discover daily, that we have filled our world with language, poetry, mathematics, music, and ideals.

Who are your bright favourites who make a difference, who spark in the night and inspire you to new plateaus of fascination? Who is it that makes life bearable, that springs eternal hope in your veins, that keeps making tomorrow seem an alright place to be? What do they do, how do they do it, and why does it matter to you?

I want to know. Will you share?

I love that he took the stage after midnight EST. It means he took the stage on NOVEMBER 5th!

My friend Marc-Anthony Macon has some good things to say:

"Joy. Let’s start there. No, here. Joy is here and we’re a part of it. Let’s start here.

For those of us who have lived through eight years of incompetent and malfeasant American leadership, Joy has now earned a capital J, if for no other reason than to signify the celebration we’re all holding in our tired little American hearts for its return: Joy, the prodigal daughter of the American dream. Slaughter the fatted calf and fire up the barbeque pit, because Joy is back and she’s bigger than life.

President Elect, Barack Hussein Obama. I’m going to say it again, because I want to: President Elect, Barack Hussein Obama. And when I say it, I put my hand on my heart and goes dum-dum-ditty like it did back in grade school when the teachers told us that we lived in the best country in the world, the country that forges past prejudices, the great melting pot, the land with her arm raised in unison with Lady Liberty, enlightening the world; a bright, shining beacon of blazing hope on the horizon of humanity.

My belief in that beacon had been stressed and tapped; it flickered and sputtered under Bush’s administration, a feeble candle in the wind of blind bravado. And now that wind has changed direction. It’s fanning my flame. That candle is glowing bright this morning and my hand feels my heart burning with it. With this new president comes more than the hope he’s promised, more than his clear sobriety of judgment, more than his seasoned and stalwart thoughtfulness, and more than his stunningly inspiring charisma. This new president, as impressive and transformational as he is, will not be the animus that transforms this nation.

We will be.

And we already have been. Barack is the right person, in the right place at the right time. Americans, throat-scratchingly thirsty for change, crawled their way past the oasis of John Kerry, and kept crawling until they found him, the perfect prism through which to focus their newfound resolve to not only remake the country they once loved so dearly, but in doing so, to remake themselves and possibly the world in the bargain.

Yes, this is about political change and it’s about repairing the damage done by the (alas, for now) current administration. But this is also about individuals and communities, and if you live in America, you must have experienced what I have over the last few weeks: Unity from diversity, happening organically, in the most mundane and surprising of places.

Everywhere I went recently was abuzz with excitement and people from all walks of life, gushing with nervous, cautious optimism. My little Obama button earned me hugs from old white ladies, fist bumps from young black kids, high fives from blond cheerleaders, thumbs up from construction workers, and friendly waves from church pastors. More than all of that, I got to TALK to people. Really talk. Get right into it. Smear it around on the table and see what its guts look like. If you don’t live in America, maybe that seems commonplace to you. It isn’t that way here. It wasn’t. It hasn’t been until now.

Until recently, my neighbors kept to themselves. We might have given a friendly nod whilst passing on the street, at best. Americans had become very insular, letting their lawns and cars and averted glances protect them from one another. No longer. Now, when I stop by the bodega to get a candy bar or a bottle of juice, this little gay white boy and the big muscle-bound black clerk have shit to discuss, and it’s not just “Hey, it’s a beautiful day,” or “What did you think of Iron Man?” We get to talk about our country. Ours. Together. We’re Americans, and together, we changed the face of America. Implicit in all of these interactions, especially now between black and white Americans is the understanding that neither of these groups could have done this alone.

Barack Obama would never have been elected without the support of all of us, and it wasn’t half-assed, better-than-the-horrific-alternative Kerry-type support. It was full-on cheering and flag-waving support from people of all colors and backgrounds. And we all realize it. It’s hit home. It’s hit the gas station and the supermarket check-out. It’s hit our offices and schools and now we’re all looking at one another, ourselves, and our country with fresh eyes, wide open and sparkling with wonder and possibility. We as a people; Black, White, Asian, Latino, Native American, Arab American, and every other American variant you can imagine, faced seemingly insurmountable odds.

We did the most American thing you can do: We took a very, very big risk in the hopes of a very, very big pay-off. Had our gamble of electing the first African American president failed, look at what we would have had knocking on the White House door, come January. We can’t deny that we took a big, big gamble, but we did it as one united people and that unity won last night more than President Obama did. He knows it, and we should all be glad that he does.

Of course, this does not mean that racism is dead in America. It does not mean that all of our wounds are miraculously healed. It does not mean that we’ve made amends for our bloody and brutal past. It does not mean that Dr. King’s dream is 100 percent realized. But it does mean that we’re closer. Much closer. America made a giant leap last night, and from that springboard, may we steer her through the Obama prism into 8 long and glorious years of reconstituted faith in America, progress toward lasting peace in the world, and a reconciliation with a world that we desperately need and that has desperately missed the gleaming beacon of hope and progress that we once were.

Americans, and the world, should take gleeful solace in the implications made manifest by the clear contrast in the political camps last night. On Obama’s side were massive, scintillating, undulating throngs of hopeful and energized Americans; ready, willing and able to pull up their sleeves and make whatever sacrifice they must to bring back our standing as a force for good in the world. On the McCain side, a relatively tiny and inconsequential blob of bitter, squabbling haters. McCain himself took the opportunity to show those few, those willfully ignorant, those paragons of paranoia, what a true statesman is.

He conceded gracefully, eloquently, powerfully and beautifully. Unlike his hellmouth of a running mate, he fervently endorsed unity and embraced the ideals of democracy by booming out the message that the people had chosen, and chosen decisively. Gracious winners are a dime a dozen. Gracious losers are preciously rare, and we should all applaud Senator McCain for truly putting country first and refocusing his energy on helping Obama do what needs to be done.

So now the work begins, and as Obama warned us, it won’t be easy. But we Americans have already shown our power, a power that we’ve only just discovered at this late, but not too late hour. It’s the power of unity within diversity. It’s the power of acknowledging our brutal past so that we might some day firmly place it in history, next to other travesties that we now consider unimaginable. It’s the power of seeing communities in American transformed into something greater, literally overnight. It’s the power of seeing a world of billions celebrate that little silly thing we did, when we waited in line, checked off a box, and went home to sleep and wake up to a bright, brilliant, beautiful American Dawn."