26th birthday

Dreampepper

n: vb: the spice of imagination

my first online password was asl4n
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Created from nearly 4,000 hand-cut and hammered pieces of metal, Aslan (Turkish for Lion), is a recent sculpture
by Istanbul-based artist Selçuk Yılmaz.
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heterogeneity
oh?
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Boggie - NOUVEAU PARFUM (official music video) from THE SOUP .



B E A U T Y - dir. Rino Stefano Tagliafierro from Rino Stefano Tagliafierro.

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Andrew Solomon: Depression, the secret we share.
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"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment."


Andrew Solomon is a poetic, eloquent writer on politics, culture and psychology. Does anyone have his book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression? I would very much like to read a copy. It seems like it would help.

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Let's Throw A Riot (Because They're Romantic)
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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.

Authenticity / Nourishment
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  • On November 20th, 1998, the first module of the International Space Station, Zarya, was launched.
  • On November 21st, 1905, Albert Einstein's paper, "Does the Inertia of a Body Depend Upon Its Energy Content?", is published in the journal Annalen der Physik. This paper reveals the relationship between energy and mass, which leads to the mass–energy equivalence formula E = mc².

    "I don't want to write about you," I said. Adding you to the narrative would make you real in a way I'm not prepared to risk or handle. This is a place that defines me, that nails my history down to the page, that makes things legitimate, that allows my future self to remember. We were wrapped together as completely as two people might be, but I was not so sure I would survive bringing you back with me, I was not sure I would survive binding you to my story. I do not want to lose myself to a fire again.

    Yet here I am, three in the morning, and the edges of my heart are dripping words onto a page two hundred kilometers from where I just saw you fall asleep. You wear my name on your tongue. I am your voice on the wire. You are terrified, but you remain. I am terrified, but I fight for you. You wear a ring that belonged to my dead. I wear your care as a protective halo. I am tearing down my walls even as you held on to me so tightly an imprint of your hand lived like a welcome shadow on my skin for days.

    We have saddled ourselves with a thin leather of responsibility, but somehow it will be okay. We don't know where we're going, but we know we're discovering it together.

    I wrote this for you in a letter, but want to keep it here in my tender on-line cottage, a decade old and counting: "In the meantime, we don't have to go alone into the dark night of the future. We can loiter together in the parking lot awhile, get extra batteries for our flashlights, talk about music, look at the stars, make out, ask each other questions, both teach and learn. "

    So here it is, you're real now. Welcome to the story. You're going to like it here.

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    the home group of one of my mothers
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    I have just returned from a long and involved trip South - first to Santa Fe to visit family, then to the Bay Area for New Year's Eve and dear friends and small adventures, then to Seattle to build family, then back to the Bay for a further adventure, this time with a stranger. It was a clean narrative, completely without disaster, and I safely arrived from where I left, at the Vancouver airport, without either serious physical or emotional injury and having only lost one item of clothing. (May not be remarkable for other people, but it may actually be the first time in my life such a thing might be said.)

    There is not a lot to say about my time in New Mexico, except that I have finally experienced that classic North American thing that people experience when they visit family in an isolated area in an isolating culture, minus the bits about disagreeable politics. For example, I was told there was a Solstice party happening the evening I arrived, so I dressed up shiny and put on my warpaint and arrived in style, only to find it was an entirely different thing. A coven of women (who might be the type to spell it womyn) have been gathering six to eight times a year for thirty-five years to have a pot-luck, create a "Circle" of good intentions, light candles, welcome spirits, tell stories, and sing old songs. I was the only heterosexual present and the youngest by an easy twenty years.

    To give you a clearer picture, they meet on dates that are significant to the moon and on at least two occasions, without any irony, someone present referred to the United States government as The Man. It was like time travel. I kept expecting someone to laugh and the entire gathering shatter, but I looked around the room and realized that I have read about these people in books on first wave feminism. It didn't occur to me while I was delving into that history, but apparently some of those people are still riding that wave, passing talking sticks around in circles and singing droning hymns to The Goddess that they wrote while stoned in a yurt on the side of a mountain in a woman's enclave somewhere in 1978. If I had gone outside and stood on something, I would even have been able to see the mountain the yurt had been located.

    As experiences go, it was an echo of a hundred different moments I've witnessed (and tried to escape), so not new, exactly, but distilled down to an ultimate essence. I slowly became fiercely uncomfortable. I felt hammered by the singing, by the tone of it all, by the waiting. I was a fish out of water with a bicycle and I wished, with increasing desperation, that I could switch bodies with someone who would love to be there, like my friend Pam, or simply teleport her there. I am disagreeable when confronted with rituals or religion. I feel that the invisible things that weave the world's narrative are things like atoms or quarks, neither of which will ever care or be capable of caring about rattling sticks or human interaction. You can do whatever voodoo you like on your own time, (pray to invisible super dragons, consult random chance oracles, LARP, read horoscopes, or whatever), and I won't care, but I am not ever going to be a complacent participant. Even so, it was interesting. Interesting in an I-wish-I-were-writing-about-this-instead-of-in-the-middle-of-it kind of way. I wanted to document the living history as it unrolled before me. So here I am, writing about it, still wishing, nearly a month later, that someone who would have appreciated the evening had taken my place.

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    • Mon, 02:04: the contrast between who I'm visiting and where I am 500 DNS lookup timeout
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    Denver is so beautiful from the air it crushed my heart. I stayed glued to the window for as long as I could manage, resenting my own breathing as the cold of the glass fogged from my breath. So far in the sky, the small plane that carried me would barely be visible from the ground, yet I could see down into streets, houses, everything. Bridges seemed like running rills of glowing LED jewels, even though the entire thing looked organic, as if the city were a vast glowing creature hidden within the darkness of a velvet cave.

    -::-

    Santa Fe is odd in that it feels perhaps smaller than it already is because all of the buildings are low, styled identically, and everything is the same three shades of tan. The ground and the architecture and all but the sky all seem the same tones, all taupe and dust and matte adobe, as if the city is an attempt to camouflage human habitation from some great predator. There is barely any colour in public, excepting a few painted window sills on what are obviously art galleries or the homes of eccentrics. (I am told that traditional adobe houses have doors and trim painted “virgin mary blue”, the actual name of the turquoise, in order to ward off witches, but I have yet to see any). I think of drones and how lost they might be in this place, unable to source a target. I imagine flying over in daylight and only seeing half of the buildings. It makes for few landmarks, and locals navigate by the shape of mountain ranges and give directions like, “turn left at the #restaurant-name”, instead of “at the green house”. I can sense the reasons for this might be deep and fascinating and potentially religious, but I am not certain if the questions that lead to that understanding are the sort that might occur to me to ask or try to answer.

    (I can already tell I would not want to live here, though I like that the mountains are far enough away to allow for the illusion of a horizon).

    The place I am staying is a double-wide mobile home, decorated inside like a cross between an unconventional shah’s palace and a set from Twin Peaks. I imagine anyone from this place who is not familiar with my godmother, Silva, would be actually stunned upon entering the home. I am told it is a mobile home because it is a structure with a Vehicle Identification Number, as a car might have, but there is no way to tell from the inside. The interior matches nothing of the surrounding culture or landscape. There are small, startling still life scenes scattered about, (a silver vase of metal roses alone on a blue chest of drawers, isolated and knife sharp in front of a wall painted the same blue paint; a menorah perched on a tiny shelf mounted close to the vaulted ceiling, perfectly framed against a blood red plate of small, shimmering tiles and haloed with five antique ornaments detailing five stories that melt Buddhism and Taoism together), and all the walls are richly ornamented with wall hangings of massive sequined tigers or hand-painted wooden panels that look like they might have been stolen from either a very expensive Asian restaurant or a First Nations history museum. The whole kit and ensemble is lush and gorgeous and profoundly unlikely, yet presents together in perpetually interesting ways. Silva has always nested in opulent surroundings, so it feels immediately familiar.

    Outside the land is bleak. Across the frozen mud lane is a high security penitentiary and base for the National Guard. Nearby are other small houses, but not a lot, and many of them have cement brick shacks or broken down cars in what passes for their yards. Trees are scarce, all of the plants are dead, and the only breaks in the lines of the land are rocks.

    The snow, however, is beautiful. We are so high that the snow come down shining like flakes of mica, each one separated from the others by a foot or more. It is as if a great hand were shaking glitter down from the clouds to slowly and deliberately hide the scarred ground with a blanket of soothing white.
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