26th birthday

Dreampepper

n: vb: the spice of imagination

remarkable beauty, oh android, sing the body electric
26th birthday
porphyre

OMOTE / REAL-TIME FACE TRACKING & PROJECTION MAPPING. from something wonderful.


my deep appreciation for terrible places and what they can teach us
26th birthday
porphyre

  • Duke University: Society bloomed with gentler personalities, more feminine faces: Technology boom 50,000 years ago correlated with less testosterone.

    My first impression was of taupe, tan, plush, dark wood, and cream velveteen. The hotel seemed built with an eye for what someone imagined inoffensive luxury would look like. Everything that wasn't gleaming stone was either shining metal or carpeted. Staff stood by every door to insulate guests from carrying bags, opening doors or having to walk ten feet alone from the front desk to the concierge. A bronze Richard MacDonald sculpture of a slim, impossibly elegant trumpeter stood alone on a round marble table in front of the elevators. (I ran a finger down the length of her spine, wondering at her musculature. She was pointed a different direction almost every time I went by. Moved by staff or guests, I never found out.) We had lunch on a veranda surrounded by palm trees and water fountains and ignored napkins with a higher thread count than most sheets. Very little felt real.

    Thirty:ninth floor. Top button in the lift. As couch-surfing goes, I leveled up. The room was a four minute walk from the elevator. Again with the scale. The closet was big enough to hold a mattress, the bathroom that and half again, and the room was even more meticulously crafted than the hall to imply richness yet stay innocuous. Nothing was brightly coloured or printed with a solid pattern. Nothing looked experimental or even extravagant, but more as if everything had been chosen through focus group. Magazine cover bland and comfortable.

    In spite of the obvious tax bracket of untouchable leisure, I rearranged the furniture as soon as I arrived, hauling a heavy glass table aside so the eight-foot sofa could be turned around the face the floor to ceiling window wall. (The bed was gigantic, too, but not mine.) Having such a thing face the room was a waste. The photo here is the view from my pillow of The Strip. Though it was nicer at night, it was more difficult for a phone to photograph.

    As an introduction to a trip, I had never experienced anything quite like it. I had expected to be buffered from Vegas toxins by people I like, but I did not expect to be buffered by trickle-down economics as well. Moving from a mattress on the floor of a sketch-fest apartment to one of the aristocratic hotels was a more interesting leap than I am accustomed to. Vegas is decadently artificial, yet there I was, swaddled by an extraordinary amount of care. It didn't make it better to be in such a place, but it changed the timbre of the thousand cuts I experienced there, a socially conscious mermaid visiting the shores of privilege. For example, the only white skinned workers I could see were the ones who interacted directly with hotel guests. Another, everyone is paid to pause and greet you when you walk by, no matter how involved or strenuous their current task might be. Just by your presence, you interrupt their flow. It's mandatory. It's awful. It made me deeply, visibly uncomfortable. My skin crawled a tiny twitch with every hello.

    The so-called city of excess, pleasure, and party doesn't back up what it markets. Be wild! But within very particular measures. Stay up all night! Except that everything is closed by four. Go crazy! But only in ways the powers that be have measured and accounted for. It's the most proscribed public place I have been.

    I was waiting for my ride to the DefCon shoot, an event where a bunch of hackers all ride out into the desert to destroy a variety of targets with advanced and complicated weaponry, when I decided to demonstrate the peculiar boundaries of the city of sin. I had been talking with a friend, tracing in the air the imaginary and artificial cultural box we were standing in. The easiest way to offer my point, though, was to lie down on the ground, so I did. Nothing more complicated than that. I lay down on the polished and sealed cobblestones of the sidewalk next to the valet pick-up of one of the more expensive hotels on the Strip and started counting. I did not look distressed. I did not make any noise. I simply stretched out and waited.

    It took less than a minute. Someone was there almost immediately, "Miss, what are you doing? You can't do that. You have to get up. You are upsetting the people on the cameras." The man who calls the taxi, hand to his ear, up to an almost invisible microphone, his thirty minute line-up forgotten, less of a priority than I was, peacefully lying on the ground.

    Not many places in the first world are so terrifying or for so many reasons.

    I am glad I went for a completely different set of events, I've come back from Vegas with a lot healed in my head and heart, but I have to admit that little moment was a source of intense satisfaction as well. Part of the way I'm wired declares that it's important to be able to social hack a place as efficiently as possible. Can't break the rules properly until they are fully understood.

  • Howdy, Vegas, your new narrators are on their way.
    26th birthday
    porphyre

    The Gunfighter from Eric Kissack.

    Tags: , ,

    artpost: Design Is Not Democracy
    26th birthday
    porphyre



    The God Of The Grove
    , 2013. gold-plated brass, polymer, distressed black finish, marble, by sculptor Hedi Xandt.

    a collection theory of unlinear operators
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

    leaving is not enough; you must
    stay gone. train your heart
    like a dog. change the locks
    even on the house he’s never
    visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
    you have an apartment
    just your size. a bathtub
    full of tea. a heart the size
    of Arizona, but not nearly
    so arid. don’t wish away
    your cracked past, your
    crooked toes, your problems
    are papier mache puppets
    you made or bought because the vendor
    at the market was so compelling you just
    had to have them. you had to have him.
    and you did. and now you pull down
    the bridge between your houses,
    you make him call before
    he visits, you take a lover
    for granted, you take
    a lover who looks at you
    like maybe you are magic. make
    the first bottle you consume
    in this place a relic. place it
    on whatever altar you fashion
    with a knife and five cranberries.
    don’t lose too much weight.
    stupid girls are always trying
    to disappear as revenge. and you
    are not stupid. you loved a man
    with more hands than a parade
    of beggars, and here you stand. heart
    like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
    heart leaking something so strong
    they can smell it in the street.

    - Marty McConnell
  • Leatherdo - a stainless steel multitool hair clip designed by Yaacov Goldberg.

  • Beautiful Beast - a golden spider broach worn as a temporary piercing.

    I'm flying out again on Saturday. This time to Vegas for a week of security conferences: BlackHat, B-Sides, and DefCon. I'm only official for one, but another is free and the third I shall attempt to sneak into, because I probably can and it'll be fun. Also, what else is there for the poor to do in Vegas?

    My time "home" in Vancouver has been busy, but mostly without anchor. I domesticate well and gladly, but my attachments are to people, not places. My days, instead, have been spent on phone calls with New York and messages on-line with Michigan, Washington, Ontario, and Oklahoma. Nothing that digs me in where I am. I have spent the majority of this summer away, living basic out of a suitcase, and confirmed that not only do I enjoy/prefer it, the only things I miss are my ferrets and (sometimes) Seattle. So the crusade to pare my apartment down continues. The desire for rococo minimalism continues. Soon my life will be nothing more than a pair of ferrets, some media and data devices, a spot of taxidermy, some art, a few weapons, and an elegant wardrobe of motorcycle and combat gear, Victorian lace, and kevlar flounces.

    A more telling list may not actually exist.

    Which reminds me, as soon as I get an influx of cash, I have projects to work on again. I've been window shopping for a used motorcycle, drive shaft, no spokes, a machine with muscle unlikely to break down, but first is safety. Sewing with leather, something light-up with spinal protective armor, and a jacket to resurface. LED's, el-wire, arduino VS raspberry pi. Ideas nipping at my heels like starved little purse chihuahuas shaking in the harsh reality of my financial winter. Ideas that had long been erased. My resources are shifting, bruised heart on my sleeve, capabilities ratcheting back into gear, the coastal combinations of care like cards on a table. There are no aces hidden next to my wrist, but perhaps I'll embroider one in. I have a deep love for those tiny, clever touches.

    Meanwhile I find myself unable to spend more than three nights in a row in my own bed. Crashing over at Nathan's, crashing over at Nicholas and Esme's; laundry, dinner, a long run of Orphan Black. Different reasons, but the same underlying dis-attachment to my where I keep my things. To further push this, I am attempting to sublet my room for the month of August. I should have done it sooner, for June and July, given how little I was there, but starting now will have to do. I don't know the map past August 12th, but even if I do not find my way to the desert, I will make do. I am inhabiting my language, embracing my internal architecture all the way to the edges of my vision and I have the keys to five other houses on my key-chain. I will be okay.

    It is an awful place, but I am beginning to look forward to Vegas. The teal sky stretched like silk over the blind roads and senseless cacophony, the inevitable black t-shirts with witty taglines and open bars buzzing with abuse. It is not going to be at all like my last time there or the time before that or the time before that. Each visit before has been fraught with conflict, stress a thin note running through every decision. This time I will not be alone, isolated or rejected. I will not have been sent for to stand as a peace-maker to sordid drama, I will not have been brought along as a sop, I will not be going as a dismantled half. No matter how this week unfurls, (and it does have some very interesting possibilities), none of the previous scenarios will have a chance to duplicate. There will be a tribe this time, there will be people I care for who care for me. (My best medicine). New people, new skills. This trip will be unique and for that I am grateful. The city will not poison me. Though the Vegas strip is a manipulative construct, a gigantic shrine dedicated to the worst of the states, the people I will be walking with share my inherent refusal to genuflect.

  • we are history
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    As Israel’s assault on Gaza intensifies, it is not anti-Semitic to say: not in my name, by Laurie Penny, (emphasis mine):

    It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that Israel doesn’t get a free pass to kill whoever it likes in order to feel “safe”. It is not anti-Semitic to point out that if what Israel needs to feel “safe” is to pen the Palestinian people in an open prison under military occupation, the state’s definition of safety might warrant some unpacking. And it is not anti-Semitic to say that this so-called war is one in which only one side actually has an army. [...]

    Last weekend, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children around the world marched to express their disgust at Israel’s air and ground assault on the Gaza Strip, and among them were swathes of Jews and Israelis. This is one of the few situations in which it makes a difference to stand up and say: not in our name. Not now, not ever again. Being Jewish, or having Jewish roots, doesn’t make you responsible for what is happening in Gaza, but it does mean that your dissent carries that much more weight. Not more weight than the grieving relatives of the families butchered in Shejaiya, but the kind of weight that hangs heavy on the heart, and that comes with the small but palpable risk of upsetting your family.

    So here it is. I think my ancestors who were persecuted, tormented and exiled down the centuries for being Jews would be horrified to see what is being done in their name today.
    Tags: , ,

    You're alright / For someone's summer kind of sickness
    geigerteller
    porphyre

    San Fermin - Sonsick - Audiotree Live


    I found me a hopeless case and resolved to love
    Maybe we can find a decent place when I'm old enough
    Found love in an empty gaze, tried to fix it up
    I found me a hopeless case, oh, oh.


    I've been fueled by single size candy-bars this week, returning to Canada face first into my stash of kit-kats and candy scooped from various Google offices. I would say the amount of sugar I've consumed this week would be a problem, but it's keeping my brain going.

    My problem, more, is where to start. I want to dive in to all of the stories that I have been living, but I am stymied by the staggering number of moments that I should be sharing, should be documenting but instead have been allowing to slip past me, unrecorded, and so, eventually, unremembered. Our grandparents probably did not write very often, our parents probably only wrote a little bit more, but our generation knows The Word, knows its power, understands that literacy is a window into history. Our own as well as that of others. Society seems nostalgic for what came before, but really, we have never had it better than this. Yet here I am, wasting the page, spending my Friday night sitting in front of a screen.

    -::-

    My chemicals problems feel like they have swallowed me whole. Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, epinephrine, norepinephrine. Long words for relatively simple things. Call and response. But when they should trigger, failures. Call and then nothing. The grapes shrivel on the vine.

    I went to the doctor today to ask for a test to gauge the levels of depletion, in order to add them to my file, to try and see what could be fixed. The doctor refused, says I need to "talk it out", but he is wrong. It is physical and I am tired of being permanently defused. I want to be lifted up by life again. I want to be able to touch the world and feel it.

    Meanwhile, I have been put in the position of needing to dismantle some of the only care and intimacy that I ever have found completely satisfying. Bloody difficult. Needful, but the logistics slay me. How does this even work? This isn't a task I've built a tool-set for.

    Instead, we play the question game. We entertain ourselves, we put off the inevitable for a few hours more. I quote Shakespeare. He claims I am risking his life. On the surface, this is very little. Peel through the layers, it is the world. When I ask why he continues the dance, we are no longer playing. He stays. I stay. He calms me. It is enough.

    -::-

    Absence diminishes little passions and increases great ones, as wind extinguishes candles and fans a fire. -- François de la Rochefoucauld

    We set off fireworks for my birthday when I was in Seattle a few weeks ago. My dearest and I, scouting along the river at midnight, along with one of my best friends. All of the romance of shifting with a left hand. Explosions, incredible, gigantic explosions.

    We texted a handful of our people, looking for co-conspirators, fellow anarchists ready and willing to break a handful of small laws. Only one replied, but he took awhile to drive south enough to meet us, so this fey creature and I found ourselves by the river, booting about a park the size of a postage stamp, a discarded piece of land too small for even the city to care about. I was in heels, fool I, as I had walked through my sandals when I was in San Francisco, but the rough chunks of cement proved to be easier to clamber over than I would have expected. I almost fell anyway, slipping in the dirty, industrial dark, but he was there, elegant as calligraphy, the odd way he moves, this man, this boy I would love some day.

    All of these things I write about, but I do not write about him. Again. Yes, again.

    Let me tell you instead of other people, other parts and pieces of my history. The one who lied, lied as I watched, as I suddenly knew. Silver at his temples, silver and silver, thirty plus two pieces, some better future offered in the palm of his hand. Take it, he offers, take it and forgive me and help me and we will conquer. He looks at me as if I am the one who keeps the keys to the prison of his life. When he looks at me like this, as if I am needed, a requirement for breathing, I cannot deny him anything. Who am I to judge the lost? We are the same.

    Or another, the one who omitted, who erased. How he read what I wrote and felt, slightly, like he was dying, even though I held him through it, wrapped him in a cloak of my care. "That might be making it worse." I understood but I wasn't going to let go. We were in a park, a beautiful place I had never been that he knew I would like. In that space, his favourite tree. We watched the ferries come in and leave again. What an interesting thing to care about, I originally thought, a favourite tree. I was struck by the novelty, but in that moment came the realization that it matters to me that it matters to him. It was like listening to a motionless heart start beating. I carry it, that recognition. I am incapable of forgetting. Through his eyes, the red wood is new and beautiful. I am redefined. "It makes me happy to make you happy," he said, our selves clasped together. What else is a definition of love?

    Now that I have started writing again, I am shocked that it has taken so long to do this again. Here are the words, the letters, the language. Tied to these men, to these memories, tied to the bare winter branches of everything I have left. It is only the middle of summer, but it feels like I have lived an entire year since January.

    The fireworks; our own thing, finally shared. The thick sulfur smoke stayed in the air, praise for our work. A grubby stranger paused in robbing a local stock yard, stripping it of metal, to watch. We laughed, argued with lighters, dashed to the illusion of safety and back again. I lightly burned part of my left hand, sparks from a short fuse. He kissed it later, unknowingly, and I felt the sting again. Electric flares, willows of light. The concussives were so large they punched holes in the air, slammed into our rib-cages, forced my mind to focus. I almost felt like I was under water, how it has been described to me, the voices stilled, as if music were playing to drown out the entire world underneath the shock of the sound of the bombs.

    They were almost bright enough, almost loud enough, almost enough, almost, almost, to get through.

    we are not always responsible for those we leave behind
    26th birthday
    porphyre

    We Go Forward


    I took pictures, but when will I ever see them?
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    My last post aside, this summer has been gloriously refreshing. I have been living out of a suitcase for near on two months. First was Seattle for a quick visit before Sasquatch, then San Francisco for two weeks, then Seattle for a week. Then I was in Vancouver for less than fourty-eight hours, long enough to sleep, do laundry, walk the length of Commercial Drive's Car-Free Day and head to the airport to sleep on a bench for my flight to Ontario early the next morning. Then I was in Waterloo, then Toronto, then Montreal, then Waterloo again. When I got back on the 3rd, I was only in Vancouver for approximately twelve hours. I refreshed my suitcase, dyed my hair, and left for Seattle again, this time for ToorCamp.

    I probably should have sublet my room.

    Sasquatch was a good little road-trip with my pal Nathan, though we were surprised to discover it was an absolute bro-fest. Beer-pong and every vowel possibility on "bro", (like "bru" and "breh"), were absolutely everywhere. One morning we woke up because someone walked by, drunk off their face, shouting, "On a scale of one to bro, you are a brah!" Even many of the women seemed to be bros. Bras? Bro-ettes, perhaps? We are not familiar with the parlance.

    I've never been to The Gorge before, nor to anywhere remotely like it. It really is a breathtaking venue. The main stage rests against a backdrop of staggering proportion, the gorge a literal slash through the earth too big to easily encompass, precisely in the right place to be framed in summer sunsets. We didn't speak with too many people, what with the persistent bro-itude, but we were there for the music and we like each other's company enough not to mind. (Nathan is pretty great, he's a bestie for a reason). We didn't find anything new that blew us away, the shows were lots of big names, like Outkast, Kid Cudi, MIA, and Die Antwood, but even the groups we'd never heard of were mostly good. Elbow was my big best, followed closely by the tUnE-YaRds and Mogwai. (The Super Geek League had a whole stage to themselves, too. Wacky Seattlites, heavy on the freak show factor. Lots of clowns and fire effects, like GWAR via the Simpsons.) My biggest surprise was that I had fun camping. No showers, bathing in a sink, snacking on questionable snacks, walking over to the festival grounds - we were always surrounded by enough people that being in a tent in the middle of nowhere didn't feel like a death sentence. It was nice.

    That which the inferno does not consume, it forges.
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    "When someone shows you who they are, believe them." ~ Maya Angelou

    "What are you doing, can I help?" I murmured, softly pulled from sleep by the man who was quietly getting ready to leave for work. It was the day before my birthday. He had been very careful, but the sound of a suitcase zipper had been enough to wake me. He chuckled and sat down on the hotel bed beside me, his weight creating a curve in the mattress that pulled my body to his. I gratefully curled against his broad torso like a cat to warmth in the winter. "You sweet girl," he said, "how delicious of you. I can think of a way." He reached out and stroked my hair, then leaned down and tilted my face to meet his. I was sleepy and soft. His hand was gentle on my face, as were his lips on mine. It was perfect.

    (Writing this is difficult.)

    Another hotel, another man, someone I used to love. We unexpectedly tumbled into each other years after we had last been close, a surprise coda to an awful time, and after I remarked on how strange a beast memory can be. "This." I said, pressing my hand against his shoulder for emphasis. "I remembered exactly how your hands fit with mine, the geometry of your fingers, but this, how the length of my arm is precisely the width of your shoulders when you cradle in my grasp, this I had forgotten. I still know you while I do not. It surprises me." He smiled wryly, "You're not writing about us in your head again, are you? Writers. Incorrigible." But I hadn't been. I had lost the knack when I lost my heart. Yet now I am, months and months later. My time since has opened the gate.

    (Writing that was easier.)

    Neither of these men are people I could claim as mine, but they were, just as I was theirs. How near we all are to disaster at all times. I'm starting to type this from a plane, finding comfort in the turbulence that is distressing the other passengers. To such tolerances airplanes are made! With such cleverness and scientific understanding! The wings flex even as the snout pushes forward through the air unconcerned, the shaking accounted for, the math figured. This is not how airline disasters are made. Each engineered piece interlocks to create a miraculous whole. The more we jostle, the safer I feel.

    If only it were so in relationships.

    My heart, lightly returning to me, feels haunted. I shuffle through our time together, examining every interaction and conversation like tarot cards for clues. I find nothing. He was honest in every particular, but one. His family.

    -::-


    I met him on the dance-floor at a conference, completely unexpected. (The odds are good there, but the goods odd.) I wasn't certain our first few dates. I was hesitant to kiss him goodbye, hesitant to start something long-distance again, yet we found magic writing together on-line. He was well read, political, and his sharp wit inspired me. He was smart, funny, and harassed me without mercy. Eventually I point-blank asked what the catch was, "How is it that you're single?" He explained that he travels too much for work, the same problem that plagues plenty of my more interesting friends. I felt encouraged, cared for, and delighted, enough that I shelved my long-distance relationship concerns and replied, "I can live with that." "I hoped so." It was two in the morning. He got us a hotel room. We had a pillow fight. It was on.

    We were meant to have another night together for my birthday, I was going to ditch Vancouver to travel down to see him, but he had to cancel. Work scheduled him away that week. This was not unexpected, this was part of the engagement, so I told him I understood and expressed the appropriate California-envy. Fourty-eight hours later, he proposed flying me down with some of his endless air-miles. If I could find somewhere to stay after he head home to Seattle, he told me, I could stay as long as I like.

    I stumbled, but I recovered. Gladly, gratefully. And blind. I didn't know where we were staying or when I was flying out. I knew nothing. Eventually it was puzzled that my flight left on a Tuesday, but I didn't have an itinerary until 4:30 Monday morning. And that was fine. It's was trust exercise. It was fun. I was happy.

    He picked me up at the airport, checked us into a hotel in San Jose, and kissed me like I had been missing for years. Once his work-trip was done, we moved into my ex's flat in the Castro in San Francisco.

    I was smitten. I hesitate to speak for him, but he seemed equally so. He met my friends, we went on little exploratory ventures, he sang flawless, soul-shattering, classically trained opera in the shower. Everything was all splendid. He was incredible. We, together, were marvelous. We get on so well it was improbable. He was generous, kind, and effortlessly carried me up a tall flight of stairs when my ankle gave out like I was stuffed full of feathers instead of chagrin and admiration. I felt blessed and adored and adored him in turn. We didn't sleep at night. He smiled all the time. I blossomed.

    -::-


    My urge to write about us is basic. I can’t not. He's not mine, but he was. And he risked his entire personal life to be. It is sad and tragic and hurts, yet I respect how much that’s worth. I want to write about everything. Honor his indisputably stupid sacrifice by capturing every moment of our time together in amber, sweetly displayed in this glass screened case as an exhibit of That Time. “This is what he risked his world for. It was not small, nor tawdry.” We felt lucky, we found joy, what we made together was satisfying and darling. Was it worth it? It's not for me to say, but I would guess no, not for him.

    He didn't betray me, but himself. The tragedy isn't mine, but his and theirs.

    -::-


    He left after a week, singing so loudly out the window of the rental car that I could hear him from a block away. Even as he left, he made sure I was alright. Then I moved in with Heather for a bonus week full of good people and happenings. It was an enriching time. There were long walks through new places, a cocktail party, a rooftop BBQ, a rave in an abandoned train station, time with new friends and with people I already love. Then I flew back to Seattle for more fun and good people. I went dancing, I made new connections, I had a tai chi lesson on a roof downtown in the sunshine. Life was good. My sweetheart was in Colorado for work, but I was looking forward to seeing him the next time I could.

    Then I went for lunch with a friend who I met through the same conference, though years ago. New information. To say I was suddenly having a bad day is an understatement. We were hopeful, there was a lot of benefit of the doubt, but then the phone numbers matched. The phone number of my sweetheart and "my friend of ten years whose wife is..." Oh. Pregnant. Not with their first child.

    Our relationship was obviously not a thought out decision. Aside from the deletion of his family and claiming to be single, he didn't hide a thing. Everything else he told me checked out.

    -::-


    I was in Vancouver less than 48 hours once I came back from Seattle. Time enough to put my passport in for renewal, basically, then repack and head to an airport to sleep, so I could head back east to visit Toronto and Montreal for Recon.

    My plans shivered a bit once I was out there, and I ended up spending more time than expected in Waterloo with one of my best friends, Ian, his charming wife, and two lively children. We all spent one warm night in his back yard, their daughter cuddled against my body, our feet in the pool while Ian dove and twisted like an otter through the water. We lay on our backs and watched the sky. I pointed out the International Space Station as it drifted overhead. Their daughter sighed and lay her head on my shoulder, asked about the stars as I explained constellations. His wife’s laughter was just beautiful as the heavens.

    Is this what my lover had balanced me against? This sort of home? This ease and grace and care and trust? I've never had anything so honeyed as this small slice of family. No one has ever tried to build so much with me. How divine it seemed! I wondered what my presence could have pumped through his veins. How much did his heart race? There are easier ways to find adrenaline. Lying there, surrounded by their life, I didn't feel worthy of the sacrifice. I was grateful the darkness meant that no one could see me cry.

    -::-


    I was attacked the morning of my birthday on my way to the Facebook campus for lunch. Pedestrian sexual street harassment that I stood up against until he escalated too far, until I had to run. Eventually I fled along a train from car to car, concerned for my physical safety, desperately searching for a conductor while a stranger stalked after me shouting awful things, "Cunt, whore, I'm going to break you."

    He was thrown off the train, but it rattled my entire day, threw me off my stride.

    My lover salvaged even that. He arrived too late to join the hot-tub evening, I was being kicked out for the night when he came to the gate, but he was late because he’d brought a surprise. We sat at an iron table outside my friend’s apartment, (an anonymous place in a terrible suburb of anonymous buildings and fussy street security), while he produced a tub of ice-cream from a bag, then a package of candles that spelled H-A-P-P-Y B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y, and a birthday card and a lighter.

    No one sang and I forgot to make a wish, but I felt more cared for in that gesture of grace than I had in a very long time. It was darling and sweet. "I understand it's late," he said with some satisfaction, "but we had to celebrate!"

    My distress fell away. I may have been attacked, but I was in California, swathed in adventure, and this man had sent for me, flown me down for a romantic birthday get-away, to be embraced in his care. This man, this thoughtful, considerate, and brilliant man, he liked me back. The world was unexpected, but finally benevolent. It was the best birthday I’ve ever had.

    -::-


    (Have mercy on me, even knowing the truth, I do miss him.)

    -::-


    Everyone else who knows is furious, but I have a lot of hope for him. For his relationship, for his family. (He’s a good communicator. I don’t know anything about her as a person, past her name, but if they’re together, I expect she must be excellent as well.) It’s going to hurt, it’s going to be hard. As it should be. I am sorry that his choices led him to test his home in this fashion, but I don't hate him, I'm not angry, and I'm not bitter. I feel for him, even. How afraid and sad he must be.

    I'm down a relationship that was gracious, compassionate, and loving, and a friend, but it was a new thing. I'm just abruptly single again. New things fail all the time. He may have lost something much greater.

    So that's that. I am disappointed, but mostly I am sorry for his partner. I've been somewhat in her position, though certainly never to such an extreme. I wonder what will happen. If it has happened before. If this will be the end of either his affair(s?) or their relationship.

    I wonder and I wait and I know, soon, we will again say hello. It took a few weeks, but he finally reached out and replied to one of my messages while I was in Toronto. I'm leaving for Seattle today for ToorCamp. He has asked to meet up to talk as soon as our schedules can allow. I gratefully said yes. He is cancelling travel in order to make it right away. We should be in the same place at the same time next week.

    I can barely wait to find out what he has to say.

    Artpost: An Interactive Thunderstorm in Your House
    26th birthday
    porphyre


    From multidisciplinary designer Richard Clarkson’s website:

    "The Cloud is an interactive lamp and speaker system, designed to mimic a thundercloud in both appearance and entertainment. Using motion sensors the cloud detects a user’s presence and creates a unique lightning and thunder show dictated by their movement. The system features a powerful speaker system from which the user can stream music via any Bluetooth compatible device. Using color-changing lights the cloud is able to adapt to the desired lighting color and brightness. The cloud also has alternative modes such as a nightlight and music reactive mode."


    Cloud from Richard Clarkson.



    via thisiscolossal.

    you only see the stars when they fall like rain
    26th birthday
    porphyre

    "Netzwerk (Falls Like Rain)" Klang Karussell from Forever.

    Tags:

    saved from my own ways by beautiful boys
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    sanfran leap
    San Francisco 2008


    My summer is about to explode. It has already started, a little, (I sneaked into a rave on Friday night, spent Saturday on a cross-Atlantic guitar lesson with Richard, Saturday night with dear friends at a dinner, blowing people's minds with synchronicity, and Sunday at an epic wedding that involved a boat, a full-sized, bright red, radio controlled dalek wedding cake that shouted EXTERMINATE, (part gluten free, too!), a hexacopter ring-bearer, and friends from six or seven countries), but this past weekend was just the amuse bouche.

    My comrade Nathan is taking us to Cirque Du Soliex's Totem tonight for my upcoming birthday, then we're leaving on Thursday evening for the Sasquatch Music Festival. The line-up is absolutely fantastic, many of my favourite bands are playing, (Elbow, Mogwai, Die Antwood, The National, Cut Copy, TuNe-YaRds, etc.), and it's going to be our first road-trip. I almost cannot wait. I feel like a little kid, counting sleeps.

    Then, on the way back, Nathan is dropping me off in Seattle and I'm going to California for my birthday, courtesy of my ability to fit into a suitcase AKA a sweetheart's business trip to the Google mothership! Flexibility pays off. Apparently I'll be flying from Seattle on the 26th or 27th and staying for approximately two weeks.

    I leave Canada in four days, but know zero about my flights or even where or when I'm to meet up with my dear B. It is so strange and yet delightful to know I am to be travelling, but not know when or precisely where to. It's like a trust exercise with the universe that I am surprisingly completely fine with. Are we meeting in Seattle? In California? Where? No idea. I have zero information, but it's.. gratifying? It feels proper. Makes it more of an adventure, for sure.

    I imagine I'll be taking the train a lot back and forth between SF and Silicon Valley for the first week and tucking in for work during the days, but other than that, my time is open. B. will only be there for the first week and mostly busy with work, which is a bit sad, he is smart and sassy and wonderful, but I'm still thrilled. Once I wave my kerchief goodbye to him at the airport, I'll couch-float with friends in the Mission or the Castro or the Tenderloin.

    The only plans I have so far: Jed and I are making sultry eyes at Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind on May 30th, (come with us!), and Richard has informed me that must visit him at the Vulcan on the first Thursday in June. And Morissa says I can use her house for a birthday dinner party! (Party date as yet to be determined). Other than that, it's almost all a giant question mark. Do you know of anything going on in SF between May 26th and June 6th-ish? Let's adventure!

    Then I'm back to Seattle for a week to go to the the Georgetown Carnival and the Power Tool Drag Races and all that fun stuff. Maybe play some flaming tether ball. Mars and I are learning to be friends again, too, which makes Seattle much better to visit. I don't know if B. will be around, but I hope so. (If he isn't totally sick of me after sharing a hotel room for a week, that is. "Why are all the towels stained scarlet?", "Why is my pillow purple?", "How did the room ceiling end up covered in glow-in-the-dark stars? Are those constellations.. accurate?")

    I plan to return to Vancouver on June 15th, immediately put my passport in for renewal the day I get back!, collect certain papers from my mother, Vicki, that she's bringing back from Ireland, do all of the laundry in the world, maybe throw a quick Vancouver-based birthday party, then head out to Ontario. The plan is to go to REcon (June 23rd - 29th) in Montreal via Waterloo courtesy of Ian, my besty who wants to drive up from Ontario in my fine company. Improbable, yes. Possible, very. I owe his cat Dewie about a thousand snuggles. And I think he's starting to get tired of carrying his favourite Internet Girl around in his phone à la Her. And Audra has offered us her charming AirBnB apartment in Toronto for a couple of nights, (she has a cotton candy machine!!!), so we could home base out of Toronto and visit with people and stay up late in the city rather than having to go back to Waterloo. I'm sure we'll use it, as I'm five or six years overdue for a visit and the good people just keep piling up. I even have an uncle there I've never met who seems supracool. Why don't I live in Toronto? I Do Not Even Know.

    We'll be stopping by in Ottawa on our way to Montreal, too, to stop by the river market and stuff our faces with scrumptious berries and sugary beaver tails and APPLY FOR MY IRISH PASSPORT WITH THE EMBASSY! Happy birthday to me! I'm Irish! I HAVE EU AND EVERYTHING. As of, like, six days ago. My mother, bless her, went to Ireland as part of a Canada Council art project with Paul and took the packet of my needful documents with her, followed the very detailed instructions, and has filed my birth with the Irish government!

    REcon is apparently a marvelous time, too. It's run by Hugo, who I love to hang out with at CanSec. I've never spent as much time with him or his friends as I would like, so this is perfect. And apparently the Circus Festival starts in Montreal on July 2nd, so maybe we'll get away with sticking around for a day or two longer for that. Either way, I plan to get fat and happy on delicious food, hug a lot of people, dance my face off, and ride a lot of city bikes. Christine wants to go to the new Cirque show, Kurios, too. I approve. There will also be chocolate and a stop by Santropol. Oh yes.

    And no, I don't know anything solid about flight dates on this trip yet either. IT IS ALL A FANTASTIC MYSTERY.

    And then I'm in Vancouver until ToorCamp. (That might be for less than a week, oi). ToorCamp is another hacker event, but in Washington State on July 9th. Nathan wants me to go with him, so of course I said yes. Hopefully my passport will have come back by then and I'll be good to go. I don't know much about it, except that the people I know who've gone in the past are all excellent.

    I have also been tapped to work as the Art Director for Hacked Festival, another hacker event from August 11th - 14th, but this one in Vancouver. It's their inaugural year and maybe I'll be able to help, even though I'm barely going to be around for the next few months. (Apply to be a speaker or an artist naow!) I've told them about my travel schedule, but the founder met me at BIL and he seems to want me involved anyway, so I might end up going through with it just because. If that ends up being the case, that will fit in right after ToorCamp. And right before Burning Man.

    I have a number of options for Burning Man this year, but I think I might be tossing a bunch of them over to stay with a lawyer friend from Seattle. Not only do I appreciate him a metric ton just in general, I cannot get enough of his art project, an infrared photobooth. People step inside into pitch blackness, the infrared flash goes off, and though all they see is a small red light, the pictures look like they were taken in daylight.

    And then, come September, rest. Playing with ferrets. Adventure is fine, (dying is fine)but Death), but I'm going to miss my ferrets. Pepper and Selenium are the best.


    TLDR; If all goes well, I'm going to live out of a suitcase this summer.

    the 24 hour road trip: improbability field engaged
    26th birthday
    porphyre


    • America's 99 problems, a ranked list.

    • A map showing which bands enjoy the most outsized support in each American state.

      So no, I did not go up to the church and ask for directions and risk being kidnapped into an 80's horror novel. The entire world was telling me to fuck that noise, so that's precisely what I did. I noped right out of there, went to the fruit-stand and had them write me new directions down on a tourist map of the area like a reasonable person. I followed that, got to the tire place, had the tire replaced, turned my music up loud, then drove straight to Ballard, two hours late yet weirdly relieved.

      The first person I was visiting in Washington was a stranger I met on-line. I didn't want to arrive and immediately risk sympathy, so I updated my OKCupid profile so I seemed slightly less crazy and pinged a few people before leaving Canada. "Hey, wanna hang out?" The usual let's get into trouble sort of note. Someone named Matthew replied. He sent me his address and we made plans for dinner.

      I like Ballard. It's a neat little neighborhood populated with restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that I think of as friendly places. It is most notable in my personal mythology for housing the Tractor Tavern, the venue that annually hosts Mike as That 1 Guy when he's not playing at Neumos. (It is from that focal point that my explorations have expanded, so my knowledge of the place is mostly based on the hours of 9 pm to 9 am and may not be useful to everybody.)

      The restaurant wasn't ready for us, so I brought Matthew to a gelateria I especially like, and we got a couple of cones and parked in the window to chat and wait. He was telling me about his time in Naples when our conversation was interrupted by someone walking by in a bright red costume. "That guy looks familiar," I said, but wasn't entirely sure. Maybe we had met at a party? Then another costumed person walked past carrying a giant red banner and he looked familiar too. Nah. What are the odds? It's probably my programming. Costume = Interesting = My Attention. Then Jay Benham walked past and I banged on the glass.

      Seattle, population 3 million. And out of the entire city, where I know an entirely of 50 to 100 people by sight and only half that by name, I had stumbled across the Kaos Kids. Or rather, they had stumbled across me. An aptly named and truly riotous Burning Man group if there ever was one, they were romping through Ballard on a Pisces themed Birthday Scavenger Hunt, stuffing themselves into unlikely places and taking absurd pictures with wooden sculptures of fish. Each team was led by a Pisces. The bright red team belonged to my buddy Big Dirty Sean.

      So, though Naples sounded fascinating, I swept Matthew into their wake and accepted my new post as Sean's red-team photographer. Wouldn't you?

      Soon we were on our way to The Kiss Cafe, where someone kissed Matthew in front of the sign, "we need a stranger!", and the phone booth, into which we crammed the entire team, and the totem pole, where we piled everyone into an inevitable tower. But first, before we found any of those things, we encountered Tony & Jordan across the street! Tony, my ex, now lives in San Francisco. I cannot fathom the odds. They had come up for the birthday weekend. Surprise! At no point did either one of us know we were going to be in the same place at the same time.

      Always a fun moment, getting to explain that the fellow across the street lifting his kilt and flashing his cock at your group is one of your favourite exes. Awesome. (Thank you, Tony. You bring the party.) As first introductions go, it could have been worse, but it might have been difficult to make it any better.

      Next Matthew and I bailed for dinner, an easy thing at a Mexican place we both liked, and then I peeled off to reconnect with Kaos and Tony & Jordan at The Grizzled Wizard, a nerdly bar their friends run in Wallingford. Sugar came to meet me there and we chatted for awhile, leaning in to each other against the volume of the music, for comfort from our recent break-ups, for warmth and care and affection. I brought expensive chocolate and we caught up around the melting, gooey stuff. It is always a pleasure to see her. She had to run off to a dance festival, though, and I was stealing Tony & Jordan away as well, off to the onesie-themed Capitol Hill bar crawl.

    artpost: a moment of singularity
    geigerteller
    porphyre




    LIGHT is TIME


    The installation is comprised of 80,000 main plates, (the main movement plate that forms the foundation of all watches), suspended in the air like a frozen rain of intricately crafted gold coins. It makes me think of cinematic bullet-time but also of mythical places, as if this room were found during one of Sinbad's adventures.

    Found via FeelDesain.




    "You don’t remember that part in the Bible where saints and devils do battle using neon lasers?"
    26th birthday
    porphyre


    Dan Hernandez, Seige of Intelari Stronghold, 2013, mixed media on panel.


    Via ArtNews.com: "Dan Hernandez’s gilded faux-frescoes at Kim Foster Gallery might help jog your memory. In them, genres from the recent and distant past collide with surprising ease—the mixed-media works recall Renaissance and Byzantine art and vintage video games in equal parts."

    written the week before the water fountain
    26th birthday
    porphyre


    "We mistake sex for romance. Guys are taught that pushing a girl up against a wall is romance. Sex is easy; you can do it with anyone, yourself, with batteries. Romance is when someone you like walks into a room and they take your breath away. Romance is when two people are dancing and they fit together perfectly. Romance is when two people are walking next to each other and all of a sudden they find themselves holding hands, and they don't know how that happened."

    ― John C. Moffi



    There are different kinds of happiness, different breeds of comfort. I have always understood that. But while most are thin and pale, nearly unsatisfying, some rare types pull light from the sky. They bite the sun like a warm fruit. You and I, we could one day be the latter, we have a chance at that, to blaze and remake everything we've ever wanted better or unbroken.

    Why build a narrative while we're still moonlight? Because underneath, fire, the reflected light of what we both know we could eventually build. We could be something I had forgotten, though I've seen it in others, an alloy neither of us have found before but both instinctively understand is stronger than anything we've ever known.

    I think of you often, conjuring you accidentally in small gestures, like the desire to send you links I know you would appreciate, and sometimes I dream of you, too. Pretty dreams of small things. We explore a burned out house together. There's a mirror at the top of the stairs and you touch your finger to where my nose is reflected. Our eyes meet in amusement during a conversation with someone else. You toss your hair. We ride to cities neither one of us have been to. I mock complain about my leather pants and you tease me about my ass. I find the letter you wrote for me and hid in the Portland hotel.

    I wake feeling like you miss me and wonder if you'll call before I'm conscious enough to know you won't.

    The word root of passion is suffering. I wish it were a lesson we have not learned so well.

    Occasionally I am furious at the people who hurt you. Occasionally I am furious at myself for not being able to be as shockingly transparent to you as you can be to me.

    Mostly I just miss you.

    Your smile, your sweet unbearable smile, and that two tequila promise we didn't cash in. The way you tilted your head when you wanted to be seen, when you wanted to be called on your adorable mischief, secretly desperate to be caught. The way you shied away from seriousness, even as you threw yourself towards my kiss, even as you knew that you were making a small pledge every time you met my lips, I can be trusted, to match mine, this will be good. Smoke, mirrors, and then you at the center, ethics and anarchy and complicated in all the ways I love best, waiting, wanting me to find you, hoping and dear. You were such a surprise! Such a pure and wonderful surprise.

    ""I will love you forever"; swears the poet. I find this easy to swear too. "I will love you at 4:15 pm next Tuesday" - Is that still as easy?"

    - W.H. Auden


    The beach was chilly, the stars unexpectedly sharp, the water quiet. We walked through the sand, the wind and night, sweeping it all in with a certain hesitant delight, and I was the witch Cassandra prophecying fear. We agreed that we would need patience with the same. That the hardest part would be holding onto that glimmering future flame, trusting that our fears would pass and we would be better for it. That we could do more than survive, but thrive as well, as long as we held fast and remembered that we would be okay.

    Yet the simpler path was to fold. So you took it, the timing the worst it could be, because isn't that how it always is? I can't blame you. I believe my life prepared me for this and for you while yours did not prepare you for me. I know what your fear must be like. Feeling vulnerable sets off my fight or fight response. My terror is gigantic, a shaft cut through my heart that reaches to the center of the earth. All I can do is shake, hating it and myself for having it. You've seen it, the hyper-vigilance, my pupils pinpricks, how overwhelming and physical it is. (You are, in fact, the only one who has.) But not only can I weather such things, I understand that the only cure is more of the same - in vivo exposure therapy, trauma erased through positive reinforcement with care on either side. Hardship forces growth, but support fosters the blossom.

    As I soaked in the the coruscating landscape of San Francisco from the top of Grizzly Ridge during one of the last days of twenty:thirteen, someone set off illegal fireworks from the side of the hill near where I sat with my friend. I thought of you and the ones you were planning and I flooded with appreciation for absolutely everything. The warmth within me was new and I knew it was yours, a gift you had incidently given me. The crackling, criminal explosions became my strength, both a reality and a metaphor, a person and a place, and I held onto your memory then and I laid it over top of my pain. I catalogued my flaws, I examined yours. Even with that dreadful math, for the first time in a very long time, the good outweighed the bad. And I knew, somehow, no matter how terrified we might become, no matter how many times we would plunge into fear and have to wait, have to heal from what came before, we would eventually be fine.

    Even now, months since you ran, pulling behind you a cloak of everything you never wanted to be plus some, I still believe that to be true. You hurt me. Spectacularly. I can't deny that. But that's short term. Days are long, but years are short.

    I remember the glimmer, I still acknowledge the flame.

    So you. Writer, anarchist, lover of art, programmer to the people, equal, dreamer, every-man, king. You are still welcome in the shelter of my heart. And I want you to know you can always come back.

    The door is always open, I will always be your friend.

    TODAY'S REQUIRED READING: How Julian neutralized himself from the game
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    Julian Assange's ghost writer broke his silence about the failed autobiography with an incredible, very personal essay: Ghosting.

    asked him if he had a working title yet and he said, to laughter, ‘Yes. “Ban This Book: From Swedish Whores to Pentagon Bores”.’ It was interesting to see how he parried with some notion of himself as a public figure, as a rock star really, when all the activists I’ve ever known tend to see themselves as marginal and possibly eccentric figures. Assange referred a number of times to the fact that people were in love with him, but I couldn’t see the coolness, the charisma he took for granted. He spoke at length about his ‘enemies’, mainly the Guardian and the New York Times.

    [...]

    But he was also losing touch with promises he had made and contracts he’d signed. His paranoia was losing him support and in a normal organisation, one where other people’s experience was respected and where their value was judged on more than ‘loyalty’, he would have been fired. I would have fired him myself if I hadn’t been there merely to help him straighten out his sentences. But his sentences too were infected with his habits of self-regard and truth-manipulation. The man who put himself in charge of disclosing the world’s secrets simply couldn’t bear his own. The story of his life mortified him and sent him scurrying for excuses. He didn’t want to do the book. He hadn’t from the beginning.

    [...]

    I interviewed Julian in stolen hours in the middle of the night, in the backs of cars and at my house in Bungay, while Harry gathered childhood material, but we knew we were up against it. Canongate was keen to publish before the summer and had no idea, despite my warnings, how unwilling Julian was. Caroline, his agent, believed he still wanted to produce the book but I knew he didn’t: I’d seen the lengths he would go to get on another topic, and knew he’d rather spend hours Googling himself than have his own say in the pages of his autobiography. I’d come into this fascinated by the ‘self’ aspect of it all, but the person whose name would be on the cover had both too much self and not enough. Still, we staggered on.


    Ever feel you dodged a bullet? The relationship between O'Hagan and Assange remained friendly even as the book deal collapsed, but Assange apparently "forgot what a writer is, someone with a tendency to write things down and seek the truth" so I suspect that probably changed when this was published. Does anyone know? Was there a follow-up?

    TODAY'S REQUIRED WATCHING: the shock when their lips meet
    26th birthday
    porphyre

    FIRST KISS from Tatia Pilieva.

    Filmmaker Tatia Pilieva asked twenty people to kiss for the first time. It sounds simple, but the effect is incredible. I am overwhelmed by how sweet it seems.




    The cast includes models Natalia Bonifacci, Ingrid Schram, and Langley Fox; musicians Z Berg of The Like, Damian Kulash of OK Go, Justin Kennedy of Army Navy, singer Nicole Simone, and singer-actress Soko (of the indie music that accompanies the short); and actors Karim Saleh, Matthew Carey, Jill Larson, Corby Griesenbeck, Elisabetta Tedla, Luke Cook, and Marianna Palka.

    Music: SOKO - We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow

    TODAY'S REQUIRED WATCHING: The best (and feminist!) burlesque
    26th birthday
    porphyre

    Nadia Kamil Does Burlesque

    the 24 hour road trip: wherein things take a turn for the stephen king
    26th birthday
    porphyre
  • On March 3, 2014, Kickstarter passed $1 billion in pledges.

    Thankfully there was an exit near with a visible gas station, so I limped the car into their parking lot, examined the shocking damage, and began to text people. "Can you send me the address of a tire shop?" It wasn't repairable. A significant chunk of the tire had come off like something huge and vicious had taken a bite out of the black rubber. There were practically teeth marks. It smoked.

    A truck pulled into the gas station while I was pulling the spare out of the trunk, the sort of pick-up that farm types drive, all roll bars and massive, with a big front winch. Two large men got out who matched the truck. "Ah! People with real tools," I thought. I was right. I asked if they had anything that could help and they offered me pneumatic tools to remove the bolts, then helped yank the broken wheel off and put the spare on. I hugged one of them in awkward thank you, then asked where I should go next to get a real tire.

    Both the people I texted came through with an address for a tire shop and the direction the good old boys pointed me in seemed to match the direction I was meant to go, so I set off into the wet, soggy landscape, following the GPS as it mysteriously led me west.

    This was a mistake. I should have immediately turned around and tried again. The buildings dropped away, leaving me driving through progressively emptier territory. I didn't worry, I was sure the GPS would tell me to turn left soon. I had been making good time, traffic had been light, and good people and adventures were waiting for me in Seattle.

    Then I realized that I hadn't seen any sign of civilization since the fruit-stand I passed ten minutes ago. Where did the other cars go? Why hasn't the GPS told me to turn? The satellites should know better than I do, but stories of people who turned down train tracks following their GPS directions started coming to mind. I double and triple checked the address and input it again. I started texting people, casting for assurance and telling them where I was.

    "That's not right," came the replies, "You're going entirely the wrong way." Well damn. But precisely as those messages came in, the GPS instructed me to turn. Relief! But right? Not left? Well fine, North. Not the way I wanted to be going, but at least it was a better direction. Perhaps this would turn out to be the only back-road that traveled alongside the I5 for as far as I needed to go. (Perhaps, given enough time, I could construct any number of reasons why I should trust the on-board computer, yet still be wrong.)

    My friends tried to shepherd me, but it was too late - I had already entered the Twilight Zone. The GPS instructions led to me a copse of trees the size of a city block and took me in a circle around it. I was about to ditch when I noticed a small track leading into the trees. Barely a road, but it seemed that was the turn I had missed that the computer was taking me around for. On the off chance that there was an unlikely old tire shop in the middle of the woods, I turned down the track. I might as well! I had already come this far. Why take off before getting to the bottom of the mystery?

    I decided this was ill-advised as soon as the car was enclosed by the trees. There was no way to turn around, branches were gently brushing both sides of the car, and if it wasn't someone's driveway that I was now stupidly creeping up, I would have to suck it up and back out. I would probably, mercy forbid, even have to endure the awkward experience of accepting directions through text message. A couple of minutes later, though, and the trees opened up into a clearing with a building in the middle.

    When I say it was a building, really what I should say is that in the middle of the clearing was a massive clapboard barn with white flaking paint that had been converted into a church topped with a sharp metal cross. I stopped the car dead as soon as I saw it. Then the GPS intoned YOU HAVE NOW REACHED YOUR DESTINATION. I blinked. How.. ominous. What the hell, GPS? You trying to get me killed? That church felt like the creepiest possible thing I could have found. Or so I thought until a hawk suddenly ducked out of the sky and scooped a rabbit out of the grass in front of me in a spray of blood!

    For the record, I am not a superstitious person in absolutely any way. But I am a writer. I know my tropes. As far as I was concerned, that hawk was the last straw. I've seen that movie and I know how it ends. It does not go well, especially for girls, and especially, especially not for city girls with ridiculous hair.

    So no, I did not go up to the church and ask for directions and risk being kidnapped into an 80's horror novel. The entire world was telling me to fuck that noise, so that's precisely what I did. I noped right out of there, went to the fruit-stand and had them write me new directions down on a tourist map of the area like a reasonable person. I followed that, got to the tire place, had the tire replaced, turned my music up loud, then drove straight to Ballard, two hours late yet weirdly relieved.

  • My tweets
    26th birthday
    porphyre


    Tags:

    the 24 hour road-trip: the way it began
    26th birthday
    porphyre
  • Rent the St Pancras Clock Tower Guest Suite on AirBnB.

    The invitation to Seattle arrived while I was in the middle of helping put together a six person dinner. "The onesie-themed birthday bar crawl rides again tomorrow!" It was already 9 o'clock at night. The chicken had been cooked, people had food on their plates. Wine was being poured, conversation crackled through the room, but I knew I had to start planning. I deeply regretted missing it last year, so how could I resist? I had less than 24 hours, but Seattle isn't that far, not really. It takes as long to drive as a good film. Ah, but only if you're driving. The bus schedules are another matter and I had unshakable plans for Sunday afternoon. A volunteer shift, a piano lesson. And I had no car.

    So I sent out feelers; I posted to Facebook, I messaged some friends. I worked to the soundtrack of verbal jousting, of new people crookedly thrown into a room together. I twanged the strings of the web while the dinner party continued until late became early until around 4 o'clock in the morning, my efforts delivered. I had a borrow car. I could drive to Seattle and come back the next day. It was just as much success as I needed, no more, no less. So I went. I took a quick nap on Claire's couch, then I collected the car, popped home for overnight sundries, and left.

    The right rear tire exploded somewhere just past Mt. Vernon. The weather had been inclement, rain and sleet and dry flakes of snow that swirled above the highway like a mystical fog, so I had been extra careful of the road. No matter, there was a bang and the car jumped, sliding a little like it had been pushed by a giant hand of strong wind. The white car behind me flashed their lights as I slowed, looking for a safe place to pull over, then came up beside me and rolled their window down to shout at me at 70 miles an hour. I looked over at the driver as we rolled out windows down. "You're in my way!" I thought, "I need that lane to pull over!" But I turned off my music to hear him better over the wind of our transit anyway. "Your back tire blew!" he shouted. "Thank you!" I shouted back, equal parts glad that he took the effort and amused that he was blocking my only path to safety.

    Thankfully there was an exit near with a visible gas station, so I limped the car into their parking lot, examined the shocking damage, and began to text people. "Can you send me the address of a tire shop?" It wasn't repairable. A significant chunk of the tire had come off like something huge and vicious had taken a bite out of the black rubber. There were practically teeth marks. It smoked.

  • reduce your carbon footprint
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    WE ATE THE BIRDS
    by Margaret Atwood

    We ate the birds.
    We ate them.
    We wanted their songs to flow up
    through our throats and burst out of our mouths,
    and so,
    we ate them.

    We wanted their feathers
    to bud from our flesh.
    We wanted their wings,
    we wanted to fly as they did,
    soar freely
    among the treetops and the clouds,
    and so we ate them.

    We speared them,
    we clubbed them,
    we tangled their feet in glue,
    we netted them,
    we spitted them,
    we threw them onto hot coals,
    and all for love,
    because we loved them.

    We wanted to be one with them.
    We wanted to hatch out of clean,
    smooth, beautiful eggs,
    as they did, back when we
    were young and agile and innocent
    of cause and effect,
    we did not want the mess of being born,
    and so we crammed the birds
    into our gullets,
    feathers and all,
    but it was no use,
    we couldn’t sing,
    not effortlessly as they do,
    we can’t fly,
    not without smoke and metal,
    and as for the eggs we don’t stand a chance.

    We’re mired in gravity,
    we’re earthbound.
    We’re ankle-deep in blood,
    and all because we ate the birds,
    we ate them a long time ago,
    when we still had the power to say no.
    Tags: ,

    My tweets
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    • Tue, 20:07: RT @aedison: I saw the best processors of my generation used to model the intricacies of avian flight.
    • Tue, 20:08: RT @aedison: Reminder that advocates of incrementalism are usually the people hurt the least by delaying the giant leaps our society needs …
    • Wed, 02:23: “It never gets better and you never get used to it.” http://t.co/S7WoozPO6I












    • Tue, 19:47: 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression: Mental illness is a physical illness and they need help as much as if they had the flu.
    • Tue, 20:15: 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression: Depressed people need help as much as if they had a flu. http://t.co/Nz8zajX7Un
    • Wed, 01:31: Not feeling fucking inspired? Pick a fucking new one. (An adult adaptation of Oblique Strategies.) Still the best! http://t.co/A3hpys9KYY
    • Wed, 01:31: Bots Without Borders (robots helping humanitarian causes) has 27 days left to their IndieGogo! http://t.co/iotFARuvF0










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    newspost: photos from the protests in the Ukraine
    26th birthday
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    Business Insider: Ukraine Protest Pictures:

    "The crisis began in late November when Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych snubbed a plan to sign an Association Agreement and trade pact with the EU after Russia persuaded the most populous former Soviet republic to stay in the Kremlin's orbit.

    Citizens subsequently flooded the streets and made Independence Square, aka Maidan, their base in central Kiev. The confrontations between the opposition and Yanukovych's government have been escalating since.

    On Wednesday, people poured back into Maidan to prepare for fresh clashes with police. (Here's a Maidan live stream.)"



    An anti-government protester gestures towards riot police during clashes in Independence Square in Kiev February 18, 2014.


    Kiev streets have been burning throughout the protests. On Tuesday, the Maidan was particularly alight. Leading to some incredible fireworks admid the violence.


    Protesters have used rocks, slingshots, catapults, and Molotov cocktails.
    While crude, the mixture of flammable liquid inside the bottle of a Molotov cocktail has proven very effective.


    An anti-government protester finds cover during clashes with riot police outside Ukraine's parliament in Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014.


    An aerial view shows Independence Square during clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kiev February 19, 2014.

    artpost: I have stood in both these places
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    The Ann Street Studio, Seeing New York:

    "As a photographer I show you the world through my lens on a daily basis. We all look at New York, she demands our focused attention. I’ve been thinking about the art of looking. The importance of focusing and what we see. This past March I bought a pair of Giorgio Armani frames in Geneva, classic per usual, and I decided to put them in front of the frame. To see what I see.

    To show you a day in New York through my lens…"






    For more cinegraphs, visit their website Ann Street Studio.

    “It never gets better and you never get used to it.”
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    "I Left My Heart" SF Timelapse Project from Marc Donahue.



    I spent a week in the Bay area in January. I wanted to break myself open against it. Sink my teeth into life there. Accept its sly smile as a promise. It felt like the glossy magazine promise of the future is possible, obvious, and true and laid out in front of you, and even though there are many shadows, the core of everything seemed welcoming.

    (It was a harder visit than it would be usually - a dear friend to many of my dear ones took his own life the day I arrived, scattering chaos and grief and anger in every direction, cutting my community down at the knee. So while I danced along streets, declaring, "I'm here!", friends and friends of friends were coming together, many meeting for the first time, to clean away bone and blood and hair and mourn and grieve and scatter his ashes by the ocean. I was hopeless against the wave of sorrow that infected my community, (some of the people affected, oddly, were tied together by only me and him), so though I regret their absence, I was satisfied that I would see my friends when they were able to see me. Security fellow, burner, goth type, black nails and a brilliant, but depressed mind, I am extraordinarily sorry not to have met him. He must have been splendid, given the company he kept. I love them, after all, and they loved him, so he must be worth near anything.)

    San Francisco was slightly more beautiful than I could easily bear. The planes of the bones of the city reminded me of fire, especially from above, while the bridges were splendid hooks that tugged at my heart, magnificent as fuck, the sculpture of lights like a good rhythm that urged on my footsteps as I walked, nudging me into dance, pushing me to sing. I only flinched away from thoughts of Canada, of returning North, so I avoided it as much as I could. I wanted the city to be everything, fill my entire field of vision from the inside out. The rows of bright buildings, the windows a hundred thousand eyes gazing out upon the hundred thousand people walking by, that's what I wanted inside my head and heart. (The crowds were especially welcome after the sepia deserts of New Mexico.) It was like being in the middle of a massive, sparkling bubble bath where every bubble is another human life.

    I forgot my wallet at home, I was cat-called while I walked through bad parts of town, a bottle was smashed from a passing car at my feet, but it was all part of the flow, all part of being there. Present, relaxed. Whatever the future held, it would be better for having done this trip, to have more context to hold up against the darkness of my life to the North, have evidence that there is better, that it exists. If I could have, I would have brought San Francisco to my lips for a kiss.

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    like being slapped
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    Courtesy of Ursula Vernon of Digger.


    You know what's painful and awkward in the in-box? When you sweetly purchase a surprise Valentine for someone special right before they dump you, then the nice little Etsy shop you bought from sends you an adorable follow-up email the day after the holiday (which was difficult enough to get through without howling at the moon in the first place) which really nails home that, oh right, that happened, and also, ouch, because the recipient wasn't even polite enough to let me know if anything arrived, let alone give me information enough for feedback or a review.

    Hooray the future.

    Related Reading: All My Exes Live in Texts: Why the Social Media Generation Never Really Breaks Up.

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    Make Peace: A Standard Operating Procedure
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    "I asked Julian Corrie to compose and perform a piece of bespoke music for antiquated hardware that I had turned into instruments then rigged together via MIDI."
    Polybius from James Houston. See also his Radiohead cover with hard-drives: Big Ideas (don't get any).



    I spend my work days writing processes. Instructions. Do this, then this. I write manuals and craft standard operating procedures. How to manage tasks, when to escalate issues, how to solve difficulties. Troubleshooting. I carry these skills within me. When I look at a problem, I see where the fault lines lie. I know where to gently lay on hands and where to sink my thumbs down to the bone. I am constantly being called upon to break enigmas open and rewire and disentangle where their threads went wrong. Communication as communion. Problems as Pietà.

    Meanwhile, people are terrible. They lash out at their dearest ones when they're angry, hurt or scared, which is as close to the opposite of ideal as is possible. And no one seems to know how to manage those emotional outbreaks. Even the smart, kind, and compassionate people end up in relationships with untenable conflicts and undeservedly crappy break-ups that leave wrecked humans and pools of misery in their wake. There are no handbooks or manuals. The best we have is The Golden Rule, do unto others how you would have them do unto you, which is fundamentally broken. It should be do unto others as they would have you do.

    So here is how to put a relationship down.

    -::-


    Explain Where It Hurts.

    Remember the template. "When you do X, it makes me feel Y." Keep it reasonable. Be specific. This is not a chance for accusations or recrimination, keep it fact based. Remember to stop to breathe if you find yourself using unfair, irrational, or hyperbolic words like "always" or "never". Review what you need to convey. Do not be passive aggressive or otherwise allergic to confrontation. You are showing where it hurts in order that those pains may be assuaged. You are not showing where it hurts in order to point blame.

    You're going to be emotionally vulnerable, which is scary, but that's the point. If you feel like an upset, quivering mess, accept it and move forward. Nothing is too petty if you're carrying it as pain. Cry if you have to or crack a joke, give yourself that, safety valves are important, but try to stay on topic. You are being responsible. You are explaining with a purpose. You don't hide a physical injury and expect it to heal, you treat it, and this is the same.

    (If you are dealing with someone who would be perfect if, put that down. That also counts as irrational. Give up the dream that they will one day be the person you wish they would be and accept that you are dealing with what is, not what could be if.)

    Listen.

    Remember the template: Comprehend, Retain, Respond. Being an active listener does not mean being silent. You both need to have it clear that you are being understood. Repeat things back in your own words to make certain that you are both on the same page. Language, especially emotional language, is tricky. There is zero guarantee that you use vocabulary the same way, even when you feel an incredible rapport with someone, and you do not want your words to dry up. Whoever is speaking must know they are being heard. Paraphrasing their message is necessary as it both refines it and functions as a filter finder. When your interpretation does not match up to their message, that helps show where an assumption may have been clouding your communication and allows you to correct for it. It also leaves little doubt as to what is meant by what has been said.

    Accept what is being said. You're going to feel defensive. Someone you care about has just laid out how they feel you have contributed to their unhappiness. That sucks, but be aware of your knee-jerk defensive responses and swallow them. (If they get out, immediately follow with, "I'm sorry, that was unfair. I'm feeling vulnerable/threatened/whatever.") They are not rational, the same way "always" and "never" are irrational. Be honest and open up to what the other person is saying.

    You may feel that a lot of what they are saying isn't your fault. You might even be right, but that is not enough reason to interrupt them. A lot of this stuff is subjective and if you want to be understood, you have to be understanding of others, too. Suspend your judgement. Someone you care about is showing you they hurt, your first response should be to assist them.

    Own What You're Responsible For.

    Engage with the results of your actions. Do so with courage. Even when well meaning, no one is perfect. There is not an adult alive who has not hurt someone. Accept that your actions have had consequences. We have all wounded, disappointed or neglected someone we care for, even if by accident. Claiming responsibility does not necessarily imply that you must apologize, though you may wish to, even for things they may not have mentioned, but accepting and declaring awareness of the results of your actions.

    The key is to accept accountability where you see their observations have been accurate. Acknowledging both your mistakes and your rights are equally important. If you are not honest with yourself about what you need to say, you are effectively putting a band-aid on a broken bone. Do not accept blame you did not earn. Do not offer platitudes. Offer sincerity. Be loyal to yourself. Remember that you are working to seek atonement, to repair distress and make a new normal, one with less damage, not trying to "make it all better" in an effort to go back to "how it was". That was then, this is now. Show compassion. Allow yourself to be emotional, give yourself space for grief and fear, but own up. Accept your radiation and fall-out. Bite the sun.

    Validate.

    Appreciate and acknowledge how difficult this process is. Appreciate and acknowledge each other. Appreciate and acknowledge that you are both worth the effort. You are both valuable. Ratify your worth. Be present, avoid distance. Sit and hold each other, even if only in words. Take a two person shower, then go for dinner together somewhere nice. Show team work. Offer comfort. Allow sadness with care and compassion. Act as shelter.

    You liked each other, it didn't work out, that sucks, but it's okay, too, because you're leaving each other as unharmed as possible. You're following Campground Rules: leaving everything better than you found it. You are choosing a better future.

    This will be difficult, but so is cleaning the grime off a bathtub. Some chores suck, but they make your prospects better. Without a clean tub, a sweet, relaxing evening of candle-lit bubbles can't exist. This process is precisely the same. You are cleaning your past, the better to open your future options wider.

    Acknowledge The Good.

    Remember why you were together in the first place, confess that it was good. It's normal at the end of a relationship to focus on what didn't work, to look at it through a lens of pain or regret and devalue what happiness existed, but then you're rejecting the essential along with the inessential. You were together for a reason. You rocked, there was joy. Who you were together is going to be different than who you are apart, but that time helped create you. You care about what you're losing, so recognize it, don't invalidate the pleasure you shared. To discard that happiness robs you both of it.

    Share what you're going to miss. Share what you valued. There was a time, that distant memory, you sang together while making dinner, do you remember? (How did you get to painful here from charming and sweet there? Irrelevant.) It was glorious. You're a better person for it. So bask. Acknowledge the sex on the kitchen table. Acknowledge the surprise flowers at your desk at work. Remember when you believed the other wanted what was best for you. Concede that you are going to miss each other. Concede that the future is unknown, but the time you spent together mattered and that joy was yours.

    -::-


    And that's it. The important part is that you do it, that you invest in the end as much as you invested in any other part of the relationship, no matter its length or importance. That you grieve, give and receive respect, and go with grace.




    EDIT: This has gone mildly viral since I wrote it and thank you letters have been coming in from people from all over the world. Thank you so much, in return, for taking this to heart. Every one of you has given me hope.

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    no, even louder than that
    misery
    porphyre



    If you turn this up loud enough to shake the world, this is what it feels like to miss you.

    Cutting your nose off to spite your face
    misery
    porphyre


  • Love, Actuarially: How Mathematician Chris McKinlay hacked OKCupid to find the girl of his dreams.

    How typical. As soon as I begin to believe, it's over. I am a fool. My lover abandoned me the day before we were to go to Vegas together for a captivating weekend of circus and adventure.

    I asked for him to come anyway. If he needs to put this relationship down, I respect that need, but please respect mine, too. Let us do it together and with grace, with sympathy and care. End it with a whisper, I begged him, so that everything that came before could remain valid, so that the joy we found in our hearts in each other could stay alive, so that he would not have left a terrifying gulf of pain between us. My heart could remain connected to the world. We could stay open. We would still have undamaged space. He refused.

    Now there is nothing that does not hurt. I have been running through my entire catalogue of cognitive reprogramming devices to try and repair as rapidly as possible, but it is impossible to remove this much pain on pure "I said so" alone. And it hurts that I know that he isn't going to help me and it hurts to know that it is possible that his life never offered the compassion tools that teach a person how.

    (I imagine he might be the only person more sorry about this than I am. And making a decision one will regret for reasons that will pass will probably only make for more sorry over time.)

    Meanwhile, I try to stay distracted, the same way it's better to talk about anything but an injury when you have to walk on it. No downtime. No interstitial moments that aren't filled with something. Songs on repeat with lyrics or chord progressions I want to learn, playing Tetris-like repetition games while I mentally recite lists of scientific facts, "In order for nucleotides to..", or practice foreign languages, "Estoy desconsolada."

    There is only so much strength to this sort of knowledge. For such tricks to work, there need to be new associations, better associations, you need to have happier threads, spark your neurons with joy like forcing a new path through a forest. And I haven't had such a thing for a very long time, actual years, nothing could get in until I discovered our connection. Now that my only well has been poisoned, I am left without comfort. (Appalling, dire, it almost feels like life has reset back to quotidian norm.)

    So I called out to my social media networks, asking if there was anyone who could come with me. It felt unnatural, but it was all I could think to do. Everything had been paid for, I had been saving for a year and I couldn't afford to pay for it twice, and there were only a few things I had warning enough to cancel, (some surprise reservations, something on Friday night, a flower delivery on Sunday). And it would be something different. New pathways, new experiences. But even so I knew I couldn't do it alone. There would be nothing except in relation to that void and his absence would overwhelm the world.

    It took hours, until almost midnight, but eventually the internet shivered, shook, and delivered. People had been looking at air miles, at school schedules, at spontaneous adventure savings accounts, had been reaching, but failing. Until there was a shift. The gears caught together. Esme offered to drive me to the Bellingham airport, That 1 Mike wouldn't be leaving for his tour until Saturday morning, Joshua was back from Africa, and a woman named Cypris had recently moved to Nevada, CJ said, and you two would get on like a house on fire. Then Cypris showed up in the thread, summoned by his tag, and promised a visit with the tigers, panthers, and the lion that live on the property she's moved to with her love. It was the tipping point. I would not be alone in the most artificial city strip on earth while my heart was breaking. There would be company, authentic company. And that would be enough to go on, enough to carry my through.

    So thanks to you, my internet, I went to Vegas anyway. I cried a lot. (The universe had a lot of extra fuck you saved up for me, too, like being denied entry onto Friday's flights and the only empty seat on the Saturday morning plane being right next to mine, where he would have been.) I melted down a lot. But I also social hacked a $350 plan ticket with a chocolate bar, visited my favourite bronzes and the mantis art car with Joshua and went to the sexy Cirque Du Soleil show with a circus person who was pulled on stage and gave an incredible performance and we rode the roller coaster on top of New York New York twice, once in the very front, once in the very back, and Cypris and I made faces together for the coaster camera and I got to sleep on a couch in a pretty little house in the desert instead of the soulless hotel room and I woke to savannah-style roaring and I walked on a new kind of stilts and I pet big cats and was licked by tigers and scruffled a gigantic lion and held paws with a panther and fed a different panther and climbed all over Red Rock canyon. And it was magical.

    I wished the entire time, a rolling dull thunder, that he was there to share it with. I wanted to be the person who brought him to lion scruffling. To introduce him to these beautiful people. To kiss him in the art gallery. To pick him up and spin him in the line for the roller coaster. To coax him to laugh in the two-person sized bath I sat in alone. Of course I did. I still do. (I had semi-promised him a red rose in a love letter, so I carried one with me from the circus for him anyway and left scarlet he-loves-me he-loves-me-not petals in all the important places. I shook the last of them from the stem as confetti over my new friends and I at the airport. I told you I was a fool.) He would have loved it, we would have blazed with light, we could have had a record breaking excellent goodbye. But we didn't. But I didn't miss out because of him. That was important. Now I have these moments. They are shaded with loss, but still beautiful. Thank you.


    TLDR: Mourning. Loss. Suffering. Friends. But you know what else is important? Majestic one-on-one interaction with fucking gigantic cats.

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    • Wed, 22:17: RT @marcuschown: The Sun. Taken at night. Not looking up at the sky but down through 8000 miles of rock. Not with light but neutrinos. http…
    • Thu, 04:02: Photoset: queercosmonaut: geniusbee: There’s been a lot of talk of tattooed Hermann these days. Obviously I... http://t.co/2mBOVQ7oco




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    Life is short. Do stuff that matters. - Siqi Chen
    26th birthday
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    Postcard from the Party

    You have to be invited, and there's nothing
    you can do to be asked. Headlines and bloodlines
    don't help. It's a long way from home but I'm
    here, the view much better than I'm used to.
    How did this happen? Dumb but good luck,
    right place and time, the planets aligned.
    No contract, no deadline, no risk. And what
    did I do to deserve this? Slept with all
    the wrong people, gambled too much on friends
    of friends with light bulbs over their heads.
    Wrote every day no matter what.

    by Wyn Cooper
    from Postcards from the Interior



    We mostly do not exist except in small windows. Welcome to my apt-for-any-century, turn-based text-based slow-budding relationship. It isn't enough. It is just right. It's perfect. It's frustrating. I worry. I care too much. I don't care enough. I am honored. I am afraid. Sometimes I fade into sleep with my phone on my pillow and wake with it sweetly cradled to my chest, a voice on the wire device warmed by my skin.

    Approximately fourty-eight hours from now, give or take a handful, a radiant man (not a boy, though I often call him a boy with the same precision used when I often call myself a girl) will begin to travel North. He will drive a large metal beast across his country's border to find me, following a road that I have traveled a thousand times, and he will succeed.

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