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Tucker McKinnon
21 October 2016 @ 08:02 am
All this week I've been coming into the office, turning on the light if necessary, unlocking my computer, and thinking "crud, one of the overhead fluorescents is dead, it's darker in here than it ought to be."

Then I remember that the overhead fluorescents are not actually over head but off to one side. I don't notice because I'm right up next to the big window, and normally the ambient sun makes up the balance. But between the autumn cloud-cover and the later sunrises, it's suddenly a bit of an issue.

Sunreturn may have a solid physical meaning for me this year, in addition to the symbolic.

Lots of good cloud on the mountains this morning. I'm going to miss the view from the tower after we move. Worth it, though.

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Tucker McKinnon
19 October 2016 @ 03:36 pm
What are you reading?

The March North, by Graydon Saunders. The beautiful thing about these is that there's always more than I saw last time. In this case, the context of having read the sequel sheds a great deal of light on a number of conversational asides and worldbuilding choices.

I mean, there's also the Captain's massively understated sense of humour, understated to the point that I am not entirely convinced it exists at all. ("Do that, and it's a tossup whether the [Army] or Parliament hang you. One specific time, it was both, because neither was willing to not do it themselves.") The flashes of gorgeously descriptive prose. The fundamental /decency/ of the Commonweal as a society. The occasional heartbreaking passage. The giant firebreathing warsheep named Eustace, covered in "a grey stiff wirelike substance" because of course Eustace has steel wool. The almost total lack of gendered identifiers.

So good. I'd love to do a review but I don't think I'm capable of distilling what it is that makes these so awesome.

What did you just finish reading?

I needed to see how much of myself I recognised in a particular character / situation, so I found it necessary to reread The Last Hot Time by John M. Ford. (Such hardship.) Answer: less than I'd expected, but more than I would have expected had I thought about it a bit more.

This is such a weird book. It's much less about the "plot," and more about the world and the main character's ... growth and relationships? Something like that. This time through I noticed how little space the antagonist actually takes up in the book. It's kind of impressive. And still Danny's loneliness and damage and deliberate isolation get me every single time.

In some indescribable way I think of Last Hot Time as a companion piece to Growing Up Weightless. Weightless ends at a much darker and more bittersweet place; LHT breaks me open no less despite its wonderfully satisfying ending.

What do you think you'll read next?

A Succession Of Bad Days and Safely You Deliver, and then I have no idea.

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Tucker McKinnon
18 October 2016 @ 02:39 pm
... actually not all that many: the end of the VP reunion, [REDACTED] ("it feels like I said 'That mountain over there looks like it's got a nice view' and next thing I know I'm hanging off the back of a motorcycle, whipping along twisty cliffside roads at 150 kph"), and housing. It just seems that way. Sleep will help.

housingCollapse )

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Tucker McKinnon
14 October 2016 @ 09:21 am
For various reasons the jury is still out on whether the VP reunion was a good idea. It's been fun, and I've met a few new people. There have been phosphorescent jellyfish, and crabcakes and creme brulee, and talks on subjects both writerly and just plain cool. I got to describe the general shape of Drowned City to someone who was super excited to hear about it, which is always rewarding. I've been sleeping less well than I'd like; that always adds to the stress and the difficulty in being human around other humans.

Spent last evening sitting with a small handful of people and instruments, singing quietly out of tune. (I may have been less quietly out of tune for "Mercedes Benz" but you can't sing Janis Joplin quietly. You just can't.) I'd been hand-drumming on my leg because I needed to do *something*, and then Vicka passed me a small drum, and then Bear handed me a mallet, and so I spent the rest of the evening trying not to step on Steve's drumming with my own tiny rhythms. And it was good, and I mostly nearly felt like I belonged there.

A couple of weeks ago I started breaking through on the ending of Blood On Her Hands. Dug it up last night, and remembered that it's actually a lot of fun, so perhaps I'll take a more amusing bit of that to the open mic this afternoon. And maybe actually finish a draft of it sometime this year.

Reunion's not VP, but what is? I think it's helped. Just being around a bunch of other writers talking shop is good for me. And I've replaced my VP hat pin that went missing with my first hat some years ago.

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Tucker McKinnon
10 October 2016 @ 07:03 pm
This year we're not really celebrating Canucksgiving. We had a quietish weekend at home, since [personal profile] uilos did *not* fly out to the southern tip of the Outer Banks in a hurricane. I am, however, drinking an Orange Julius in YVR and waiting to board a plane to SFO, and thence to DC for a little over twenty-four hours and then to Martha's Vineyard for the VP reunion.

It's a bit sad to miss out on an opportunity to gorge on good foods in good company, though. [personal profile] uilos is already talking about cooking a turkey for Yanksgiving next month. I am not objecting to this plan in the slightest.

The lack of a big celebratory feast makes the holiday feel smaller, more compact, more personal. I'm okay with that. The couple of things I'm most thankful for are pretty personal too.

There's [personal profile] uilos, obviously. I can say "Graydon has spoiled you for epic fantasy, hasn't he?" and she nods sorrowfully and then we spend the next five minutes talking about whether The March North ought to be labeled Book 0 Of The Commonweal. Such people are to be treasured, and you can't have this one because I found her first. (I mean, unless she decides she wants to.) Also, it is now and not seven years ago, and Now Is Not Then (something that perhaps she realised before I did), and while I wasn't looking we seem to have built ourselves a solid foundation for the next while.
"Only another fifty years,"
I say, "and then I promise
to let you go."
--Elise Matthessen, "Response ..."
And if Thanksgiving came in mid-September instead of mid-October, there it would have stayed, with probably some added grumbling about things that aren't as bad as I complain about them to be. Instead I get green-haired Erin, and what seems so far to be exactly the right relationship at exactly the right time. Erin, who patiently wormed her way past my defences, who thrives on touch as much as I do, who has become a Significant Presence in my life far faster than I would have ever expected. I am deeply curious to see the shape that this takes as it continues to develop; meanwhile, I'm thankful that someone who meshes so well with my quirks has dropped out of the north and into my life.

(I am not nearly prepared to quote poetry about Erin. I am barely ready to quote poetry to her.)

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

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Tucker McKinnon
05 October 2016 @ 02:44 pm
What are you reading?

A draft of a YA novel by Theresa Bazelli, because I'd meant to have some feedback in for the start of the month.

What did you just finish reading?

Howard Waldrop's longer-fiction collection Other Worlds, Better Lives. I stumbled on a matching set of this and Things Will Never Be The Same (shorter-fiction) last month when we unburdened ourselves of the current set of go-away books. The stories are mostly quite good but they took me longer to get through than I'd expected. Waldrop tends to write twentieth-century American alternate history (in the introduction to one of the collections, he writes, "People would send alternate history stories to Omni, and Ellen Datlow kept rejecting them with 'If I'd wanted a Howard Waldrop story, I'd've asked Howard to write me one'"), and his stories ask a certain familiarity with the history in question to fully appreciate. As such, I enjoyed the heck out of "A Dozen Tough Jobs" (the labours of Hercules set in 1930s Mississippi), and the others left me varying degrees of cold. None were bad; I just didn't have sufficient background. (He does provide author's notes for each, so when I'd missed the larger significance entirely I could still follow along.)

What do you think you'll read next?

I'm traveling next week, so an ebook. I've got a desire to reread The March North and A Succession of Bad Days, and then dive into Safely You Deliver because I haven't gotten to it yet. Too, I feel like I got a *lot* more out of The March North the second time through. Looking forward to the same from ASoBD. Maybe this time I'll have something more coherent to say about them than OMG READ THESE THEY ARE DENSE AND AMAZING.

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Tucker McKinnon
05 October 2016 @ 08:55 am
Last winter I invested in a decent pair of headphones, on the grounds that if I'm going to be listening to more music I may as well listen to it in comfort. (Audio-Technica ATH-M40X, if anyone cares; the M50X came highly recommended, and these were half the price and something like 95% as good.) There's been a definite improvement in my quality of life. I no longer have to fiddle with earbuds, the sound is distinctly better and more full, and as a bonus my ears stay warm in the winter.

Today I finally realised that there are all kinds of neat subtle harmonies in Break Me Slow that I had never picked up on with tiny lo-fi earbuds. Who knew?

Then last night I finally got around to watching the DVD that came with the 10th anniversary special edition of David Bowie's Black Tie White Noise (recorded 1993; picked it up over the summer). It's more or less an hour of Bowie talking about making the album, interspersed with musical cuts. This is Bowie at the top of his game creatively, and just beginning to hare off in a wildly new direction for the rest of the decade.

I hadn't realised that three of the tracks on the album were covers of other artists. They fit seamlessly. "Nite Flights" in particular feels exactly like a nineties David Bowie song.

I had also somehow forgotten how magnetic Bowie can be. Arresting, and clearly well in control of his art while still happily exploring new avenues.

January 2016 was some bullshit, is mostly what I'm saying.

From the department of when I'm wrong I'm wrong:
And so I never got back in touch with her after that. By the time I could start thinking about possibly doing so it was not quite a year later, and I figured I'd just lost out.
Well. It seems I figured wrong.

The last couple of weeks have been supremely interesting. I feel more solidly grounded in myself than ... maybe than I ever have, while at the same time luxuriating in all that great new-connection serotonin & dopamine. It's neat. Makes it hard not to walk around with a tiny goofy smile all the time, though.

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Current mood: pleasedunjustifiably self-satisfied
Tucker McKinnon
03 October 2016 @ 11:29 am
Summer lasted all the way through September this year, all bright skies and shorts weather. The sudden reappearance of normal Vancouver on Saturday hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. Waking up was tough this morning but I think I'm readjusting. It helps that my light-clock went off turned on like it was supposed to, as opposed to three days out of five last week. (Scheduled power outage one night reset its clock; when I reset it I failed to notice I'd set it twelve hours off; and then I just forgot to turn it on once.)

I fight my undiagnosed SAD with vitamin D pills and a blue sunlamp that hangs over my monitor. It works, I think. I mean, I'm still here, I haven't completely withdrawn into hibernation or anything. Definitely gonna need a sun-vacation sometime this winter, though.

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Tucker McKinnon
27 September 2016 @ 10:25 am
It's Leonard Cohen's Birthday. The Present Is Dark.

"For the past 25 years I've had this notion that on every successive Leonard Cohen record his voice would get deeper and deeper until one day he'd put out an album so subsonic that you'd just feel it, not hear it. Well, we're close. On this day, Leonard Cohen's 82nd birthday, he's given us a gift: It's dark, it's beautiful and it's deep."

You Want It Darker

Full album on 21 October.

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Tucker McKinnon
Words are inadequate (the poor craftsman curses his tools) to describe the beauty of our coasts, but words are what I have available.

--John M. Ford, "Chromatic Aberration"
Twenty-six years ago, give or take, I kept seeing "How Much For Just the Planet?" on the spinner-rack at the Fayetteville library. I never checked it out, though. I do wonder what that might have done for my reading habits.

Ten years and a couple months ago I read Heat of Fusion and Other Stories for the second time. This time I got it. "Chromatic Aberration" and the Hemingway pastiche "The Hemstitch Notebooks" remain two of my absolute favourite short stories, for wildly different reasons.

Ten years less a few days ago I cracked up at a Star Wars joke hidden in a period discussion of Renaissance theatre in "The Dragon Waiting."

Five years and nine months (ish) ago I got married under the Declaration of Unity.

Five years less a few weeks ago, TNH asked me "Who do you want to write like?" and my eyes filled up with tears and I mumbled "Mike Ford."

Ten years and a day ago I sat down at a computer to start a class on using MicroStrategy and pulled up my Livejournal friends page, and the first thing I saw was a post from Jo Walton headlined "John M. Ford, 1957-2006".
Hush, now, at the glass clouding, hush at the silicon crumbling, hush be still at the metal flowing atom by atom, spare no protest for evaporation and cold welding and decay, for Time shall take its own.

--John M. Ford, "All Our Propagation"
Footnote: If you've not read "Against Entropy" in its original setting, do. It's the first comment. Note the timestamp on the post, and on the comment.

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Tucker McKinnon
A few weeks ago we saw a place that we liked enough to put in a bid on. Sadly, we got outbid: foiled by the selling agent's utter apathy and incompetence, which caught our agent Rhonda by surprise. (A sample: when you're selling a condo there are certain documents you're supposed to have available, such as strata bylaws, council minutes, a depreciation report if one exists, a list of recent or upcoming major work on the building, that kind of thing. Dude had none of those, and in fact said to Rhonda "hey... i see you bought a unit in this building earlier this year, so you must have copies of the strata documents, can i have those?") I'm still a little bitter about that but mostly over it. The bylaws technically only allowed for one cat, and it looked out over an occasionally busy street so noise would have still been an issue. Oh well.

Earlier this week I walked the couple of blocks from work to take a look at another unit. It was ... questionable on the inside: awful paint and wallpaper, some old water damage, and carpet and applicances that look like they went in with the building thirty years ago. (The microwave over the stove has big clicky pushbuttons and no turntable.) I liked the layout, though, and the roof deck, and the fact that it cut my commute by an order of magnitude.

Last night [personal profile] uilos and Rhonda and I went out for a closer look. Rhonda pointed out a number of things that basically amount to "this is a fantastic investment property": the roof deck has a great view of downtown and the mountains, the location is spectacular and will only get better in 5-10 years when the Broadway skytrain line comes in, and the cosmetic damage can be dealt with for substantially less than the likely appreciation value of the property. They both noted some additional hopefully-old-and-only-cosmetic damage. [personal profile] uilos also pointed out the lack of storage space, and the tininess of the kitchen, which I had missed in my amazement at the thirty-year-old appliances.

[personal profile] uilos was understandably not thrilled with the prospect of having to do, or pay someone to do, an awful lot of work on the place. I wasn't happy with that myself, but the fact that the layout worked so well, together with the commute, meant I spent much of the evening trying to talk her into it. We went round a bit, and realised that the strata claimed to have a gas line running to it so the useless wood fireplace could probably be retrofitted to gas after all, and decided to sleep on it.

This morning she said "I've been thinking about it and I can make everything work except the kitchen. There's no possible way to get enough space in there."

I thought about it for a few seconds and said "Crap. You're right."

The unit's a townhouse, which as near as I can tell is Canadian for "apartment with stairs." The floorplan shows two levels but each of those is cut in half by a three- or four-step flight. One of these semi-levels consists of the kitchen, dining room, and balcony. There's no way to make the kitchen any bigger without cutting into the middle of the dining room, and there's no way to get additional counterspace or cabinet-space or pantry-space without embiggening the kitchen.

It is, I am telling myself, just as well. I'd really rather not spend down my entire retirement savings to date on making my house livable, and I'm not 100% sold on the area. And in spite of the cosmetic damage we'd almost certainly get outbid anyway.

Be nice to not have to look at places anymore, though.

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Tucker McKinnon
22 September 2016 @ 03:22 pm
Last month we put Chaos the old white cat on a small dose of gabapentin. In people this is an anti-anxiety med. I'm told it doesn't actually numb the pain in his back legs, but it makes him care less about it. He's definitely up and moving a lot more and may be getting some muscle mass in his hips again, which would be good. He's also feeling enough better to insist on LAP TIME anytime anyone is home, and to occasionally take out his frustrations on Kai the little brown cat. (Kai is also old but not really showing it, except for how her "dilute-tortie" coat grows more dilute each year.)

I went down to Portland last weekend with Steph and Kat A--, to see / meet a handful of west-coast VP folk. It was good to just hang out with some pretty decent new people for awhile, and talk shop or books or cats or whatever.

We stopped at Powell's on the way back, which was of course amazing. I somehow got out with only $50 in books. That could easily have quadrupled or more if I'd had the chance to see more than two-ish of their five floors. Definitely going back at some point.

And the sun had come out, and Kat's car is a zippy BMW convertible, so we put the top down for the trip home and I sunburnt my scalp. Worth it, though. I'm beginning to come 'round on road-trips, at least ones with good company and frequent short stops.

House-hunting eats up a stupid amount of time and brainpower. There are just enough maybes on the market that I keep checking online to see if anything new has come up, and going out to look at the possibles, and being mildly (at best) disappointed. All this takes time and makes it hard to schedule things for evenings and weekends. Bleh.

Two open houses tonight. Perhaps one of them will work out. If nothing else November and December are likely to be dead times, and then it'll kick back into gear come spring.

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Tucker McKinnon
16 September 2016 @ 04:02 pm
Luke Scott (dir), Morgan

Hanna crossed with Blade Runner, with the atmosphere of Alien. Those latter two shouldn't come as a surprise for the first film from Luke "Son of Ridley" Scott. I wouldn't call it a horror movie but I wouldn't necessarily disagree with someone who did.

The plot revolves around a bunch of scientists who've created an artificial young female human named Morgan. Morgan has poor impulse control and nonstandard thought processes. Lee has come from "corporate" to visit the remote lab and decide whether the Morgan project should continue. As you might expect, Things Go Poorly.

I liked it pretty well. I found Morgan's disconcerting affect and Lee's iron-clad control entirely believable. The setting (Northern Ireland playing upstate New York) is gorgeously green and foggy, and adds to the melancholy-ominous atmosphere. The only character who does something unforgivably stupid (psychiatrist Paul Giamatti) is established immediately as a pompous idiot; everyone else's stupid decisions are justifiable.

Here there be spoilersCollapse )

Also, a strong Bechdel pass. In fact, I believe it may fail the reverse-Bechdel, as I don't think there are ever any conversations between two male characters that aren't about a woman.

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Tucker McKinnon
09 September 2016 @ 10:27 pm
Ken MacLeod, The Restoration Game

I've read two novels by Jon Courtenay Grimwood: Stamping Butterflies and, um, End Of The World Blues. I remember very little about Stamping Butterflies except that I enjoyed the writing and that at the end it pulled the "universe reset" / "erase the fact that the story occurred" trick, which (it turns out) really, really irritates me. End Of The World Blues didn't do that; instead, it set up an intriguing premise and then used that premise mostly to illuminate a single character's life and growth in the way that more literary novels often do.

Verdict: Grimwood writes well and succeeds admirably in what he sets out to do, and that goal does not line up at all with what I want out of a book. To quote James Nicoll, I don't mind hidden depths but I insist that there be a surface. Or, in this case, that the surface be integral to the story that's being told.

I mention Grimwood because The Restoration Game does something similar to those two books, but it works for me. I think.

This is not a spoiler: the opening scene of the novel involves space-cops discovering that some jerk has set up a computer running a simulation of a universe and all the life in it, including the sentient life. Said sentient life are scientifically advanced enough to start bumping up against the limits of the universe's physics engine. Creating such a simulation is a horrific crime against those sentients-- but the space cops may have an idea of how to fix things. And then much of the rest of the novel is a contemporaryish (set in 2008, written in 2010) spy thriller revolving around something strange that's going on near the border of Russia and Georgia.

I like spy thrillers, so I was predisposed to like this... but I also like weird worldhopping near-future cyberpunk, and End Of The World Blues left me cold. That said, Restoration Game wisely doesn't try to do anything clever with its frame story except use it as a) the Macguffin and b) closure. It's a spy thriller that peters out to a weirdly philosophical resolution. It's not even deus ex machina (dea in machina, rather, the goddess entering into the machine) because nothing gets solved by the arrival of God, they just talk for awhile. It's just ... what it is.

It helps, I think, that Restoration Game explicitly acknowledges its setup from the start. You know, unless you aren't paying any attention at all, that the world is "just" a simulation, though that doesn't make it any less real to anyone involved. It doesn't come as a surprise when the curtain gets tugged away and then pulled down altogether. It feels more like a natural conclusion. Everything drawn together.

I've been chewing on the question of whether I liked it for the past three days. I think that's a good sign.

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Tucker McKinnon
01 September 2016 @ 12:00 pm
tl;dr: everything is expensive and terrible.

i do mean everythingCollapse )

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Tucker McKinnon
30 August 2016 @ 02:48 pm
The Viable Paradise twenty-year reunion occurs this October. It appears that there are still spots and hotel rooms available, at least for another twenty-four hours.

I suppose I ought to decide if I'm going.

  • A chance to see people that I've not seen in years, and miss.
  • I'm planning on going back east this fall anyway.
  • Autumnal Massachusetts.
  • I felt like me when I was at VP.
  • It costs money. This is more in the nature of an excuse than an actual con.
  • It takes time away from a potential Blacksburg trip. Meh. B'burg will still be there next year.
  • I might need my vacation time to pack/move. Ha. I mean, maybe, but planning around the Vancouver real estate market suddenly becoming a little more rational strikes me as a fool's game.
  • "So, what have you done writing-wise in the last five years?" "Well, for three years I was finishing up burning myself out, and then I spent a year mostly-recovering from that. And now I'm not sure but I might be burning out again. So, not much."
  • "Oh, and I haven't been able to expand/fix that story you said you liked, either. I did finish a couple of other stories, but I seem to have run out of markets for them to get rejected from."
Bah. The cons are all along the lines of being afraid of not being a Real Writer. Which is a real fear but probably not worth skipping the reunion.

Besides, maybe the impending need to have something to show off will push me to get somewhere with this %&$ novel.

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Current mood: worriedworried
Tucker McKinnon
29 August 2016 @ 01:20 pm
Inspired by a post by nineweaving sometime last week:

How did y'all learn to read? Did you teach yourselves, or learn in school, or what?

I don't know how I learned to read. My parents (mother?) must have read picture books to me. I know that one day when I was three or four, I picked up Go Dog Go in the store and said "I want this one!" My mother said "Are you going to read it yourself?" Her tone implied that if I said no I wasn't getting the book, so of course I said "Yes." And I took it home and laid down on the floor and read it, and didn't realise what I'd done until I was through.

From there the next things I can recall reading were the Mr Men / Little Miss books, and then a Hardy Boys book (The Mystery of the Chinese Junk) that my great-Aunt Celia sent me, and then some Greek and Norse myths out of a collection on the landing, and then Tolkien, over four or five years and three houses. There must have been other things I read on my own in there, but they didn't really make an impression. I distinctly recall the bookcase on the landing, and I *think* that means it was in the townhouse in Leavenworth (first grade) rather than the house in Fairfax (second thru fourth grades).

And after Tolkien came other brightly-spined Darrell-K-Sweet-covered Del Rey paperbacks, and Pop Shackelford's copy of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, leading in a more or less direct line to the well-adjusted young man I am today.

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Tucker McKinnon
Today's xkcd is succint and, as far as I know, accurate.

It links through to an *actual* flowchart, more detailed but still ending up in the same place. Poking around that site brought me to Realities, which I'm mostly pointing out because it includes my favorite word so far this week, "meteorwrong."

That site also links to an explanation for "Did you see it fall? Then no", which is neat.

Here endeth the cool pop-sci for the morning.

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Tucker McKinnon
19 August 2016 @ 03:36 pm
I did that twenty-one-question list that's going around a few years back, during 2011's Three Weeks for Dreamwidth, so there's that.

I don't much care for weddings in general. I went to several in the first few years of the millennium. Each one made me more and more convinced that this wasn't a ritual I wanted anything to do with. Ours was about as low-key as possible while still involving other people, and I more or less expected that it would be the last one I would have to go to.

However. I like Ederlyn quite a lot, and she did bother to show up for our wedding (as the officiant, no less). I figured if she was going to go to the trouble of sending out invites months in advance, I could clean up a bit and make it down to wherever she was going to be.

Traffic down was ugly. The wedding took place in Long Beach WA, slightly closer to Portland than to Seattle. We hit Seattle rush-hour traffic (an hour to go ten miles, at one point), plus random slowdowns outside of Tacoma and Olympia, and then got stuck behind slow RVs on the two-lane state highway that ran for the last hour and a half of the drive. I fell over in the hotel once we got there and did not go out to be sociable on the beach.

I also didn't go out to be sociable on the beach because it was chilly and I didn't have a coat. I'd meant to have my not-very-formal blazer as part of my semi-fancy wedding clothes, but due to various low-grade stresses on the morning of, we managed to leave said semi-fancy wedding clothes draped over a kitchen chair. At least I got out of the house with my nice boots. And it wasn't a terribly formal affair in any case, and the next day I scraped up a halfway decent shirt and pair of slacks.

The hotel itself seemed to be half genuinely run-down beach hotel, and half catering to vacationing ironic-techies looking for the run-down beach hotel experience. Bare Edison bulbs everywhere, and uncarpeted floors, and murals painted directly on the walls. Also I think the mattress was a foam deal that may have been rather nice when it was new but had developed a clear slope to the sides.

The next day [personal profile] uilos and I wandered around the little beach town. We had decent roadside burritos and way too much ice cream. She bought a kite that's really a string of six diamond kites, and we walked back along the beach while she flew it/them.

And then it was wedding-time, and a few dozen of us sat in folding chairs on a beautiful windy cloudy beach and watched two very happy people share a public commitment. It was nearly nice enough to make me rethink my policy on weddings.

There followed a pleasant dinner, which I spent much of catching up with the WhaleHawk (Dr fuzzyamy, who I've not seen in longer than I can recall, and her partner, who I'd not met) and rather less with [personal profile] plumbob78 and Ashok and a few other people, and oh yeah incidentally the bride and groom on occasion. Talking with Amy wasn't quite the easy friendship that you get with people you know well and haven't seen in years... but it was close, and it was fun, and I hold out some hope that her prediction of "well, this is likely the last time we'll run into each other" won't come true. (To some extent I'm flooding DW/LJ this week in direct response to that conversation. I got to know Amy, and Ed for that matter, during Livejournal's heyday, and recapturing that sense of presence and intimacy would be nice.) (And yes, I'm aware that I'm part of the problem. I'm trying to comment more often on other people's stuff! For whatever reason that comes much less naturally to me.)

There was also dancing, in which I was fully intending to not participate, but what can you do when the first song is Shut Up And Dance?

The next day we got up and came home. We hit traffic outside of Tacoma again for no reason, but we stopped off and got Popeyes fried chicken for lunch (and dinner, and dinner the next day...), which was well worth it.

So, congratulations and best wishes to Ed and Geoff! I'm glad that I got to be a small part of your big day.

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Tucker McKinnon
18 August 2016 @ 05:06 pm
When, twenty minutes before you were going to knock off anyway, you get a work email consisting of "There's a persistent odour of rotten eggs, so we're evacuating the building and calling the fire department, come back in an hour," it is clearly a Sign that I should stand up at my desk. I'm meeting [personal profile] uilos at 5:30 for dinner and movies anyway so this is just more time to amble slowly towards downtown.

I walked to the further transit station from work. Normally I would have continued on foot across the False Creek bridge but it's sunny and somewhere north of 25 ("80") degrees out, which is about the temp at which I start to melt. So I took the air-conditioned Skytrain across, intending to walk to the little park near the restaurant and theatre.

Aside: Emery Barnes Park is, I think, the thing that most exemplifies the Vancouver I fell in love with. It's a smallish (1x2 block) green space in the heart of downtown, surrounded by traffic on three sides. And it's got windy paths through grass, and trees making shade for benches, and playground equipment, and a water-feature / concrete creek running all down one of the long sides. It's designed well enough that there's very little road-noise, particularly if you're near the water, which I usually am. It is Good Urban Design. A year or so ago there was a movement to tear it up and build more generic condos, and if that had passed it might well have been enough to push me away from Vancouver altogether, because a Vancouver that will tear up its urban parks is not a Vancouver that I want anything to do with. (Insert generic rant here re Vision Vancouver, the local party currently in government, and their coziness with developers.)

I'm glad I took the Skytrain instead of walking, because there was a violinist playing "Air on the G String" as I came up from the station. I sat and listened to her for awhile, and dropped some cash in her case when I left, because I will pretty much always tip buskers that aren't using amplification and aren't terrible.

(I've been having this urge lately to reinvent myself as a musician. I think this is what they call a mid-life crisis.)

And now I am sitting across from the park enjoying a butterscotch-and-Butterfinger shake and writing this, because I miss writing (and reading) random-slice-of-life entries. Shortly I shall go out and sit next to the waterfall and read Le Guin until [personal profile] uilos gets here, and then we shall have dinner at Basil Pasta Bar and see a couple of movies at the Cinematheque, because these are also wonderful things about Vancouver.

Like the man sang, I can't complain but sometimes I still do.

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