?

Log in

Tucker McKinnon
05 December 2016 @ 10:55 am
It's snowing.

It snowed once last winter[1], about this time. Traces of white on the grass and sidewalks in the morning, all gone by lunchtime. I don't think there's actually been a winter without any snow at all yet but the past few have been about like that.

13/14 had a really good snow, and 11/12 had the snowfall where I got to play native guide for papersky and Z. 09/10 was DC's Snowpocalypse, season of my heart, a reprieve from all the personal horror of that winter and spring.

It wasn't snowing in New West, which is why I didn't wear my fuzzy black boots. I got to break out my most excellent winter coat, at least. (Nice heavy dark-grey wool. Near as I can tell it's mostly an Ulster coat, though without cuffs or patch pockets and with only a decorative half-belt.) I rode the skytrain in through occasional stops and starts, and got off at ComBroad to catch the #99 B-line, my usual bus.

The bus line wound back into and through the station.

"Guess I'll take the slower less-crowded #9," I said.

The line for that one was around the block.

I grumbled a bit and got in the 99 line. Stood there for about five minutes while it failed to move at all (unusual; there's usually a 99 every two or three minutes).

Eventually I got tired of waiting and turned to the girl[2] behind me. "Where are you headed?"

"Um, school. Arbutus and 10th."

"I'm going to Oak and 8th. Want a ride?"

"... Sure."

So we walked a couple of blocks to the nearest car2go. I could have done without the slush (blame the lack of boots) but there is something deeply intoxicating about walking through a snowfall in a good winter coat and a hat. We crossed the bridge over the lower half of the skytrain station and it was unspeakably beautiful. The old train depot in New West does this in the snow as well but that's, you know, brick and slate-looking roof and generally appealing architecture. I hadn't expected a transit station and train tracks to hit me like that. But there it was: gently arched glass, steel rails, and a tranquil fluff of white covering the whole.

The drive in was remarkably pleasant. At least at eight in the morning there weren't enough drivers to make for any kind of traffic, and Broadway's flat and straight for most of its length. I stayed cautious and alert and mostly (mostly) didn't spill my tea all over. At red lights I got to marvel at the small drifts and at how much happer I get when the city's half blanketed like this.

We passed more fire trucks than buses. I have no idea why so few of the buses were running.

And now I'm at work, with terrible tea. At least it's warm. At least I can still watch the snow falling outside.



[1] To the devil with your ridiculous astronomical seasons, beginning on the solstices/equinoxes. I am mostly on board with meterological seasons that start on the first of the month containing the solstice/equinox. Erin has been lobbying, unsuccessfully so far, for the cross-quarter seasons, so that Midwinter is actually, you know, in the middle of winter.

[2] I use the word "girl" advisedly. I would have bet cash money that she was at least a college student, but no; eleventh grade.


Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
27 November 2016 @ 08:25 am
It's no exaggeration to say that I never expected to see forty.

In elementary school I remember reading an article in, o, probably 3-2-1-Contact, that opened with "What will life be like in the year 2000?" That seemed unimaginably far-off at the time. I counted it out and realised that I'd be twenty-three-turning-twenty-four that year, which didn't make it any closer.

Birthdays mostly don't register for me. Having a birthday right around Yanksgiving means there hasn't been much point in trying to celebrate since elementary school: people are always off partying with their families. Some friends threw a surprise party for me on my eighteenth, and at least once when I lived in McLean [personal profile] uilos got a bunch of people to call and wish me happy birthday, both of which were pretty cool.

In general, though, milestones don't signify. I'm the same on both sides. I turned eighteen and was still stuck in the same house for another year, I turned thirty and that didn't make "29" any less relevant.

There was no particular reason I should have made it as far as forty. No reason not to, most of the time, just ... no overriding need to have drifted that far downstream. And yet.
A man's still got his strength at forty. He knows most of what he's going to learn, and he's got the strength to put it to good use.
--Terry Brooks, "Magic Kingdom For Sale -- Sold!"
I first read Magic Kingdom sometime in late elementary school. It felt thin, even at that age, but it was a lot of fun watching Ben Holliday traipse around his new kingdom, trying to be the best king he could be. Too, I was amused that I had a pretty good idea of where the portal to Landover was located, a couple hours' drive from my previous house.

And Meeks's quote above stuck with me, for no reason that I can possibly explain.

I'm not even sure I believe it, either. I certainly hope I don't know most of what I'm going to learn. Far too many things I don't know yet, in both the "neat facts" and "handling situations" senses. As for strength ... my hearing has been getting worse (that or I'm spending more time around quieter people) and my sight, well, that's been getting worse all my life, no shock there. Will see how things go when I get moved and can start running again.

At least I don't have the bourgeois concern of whether there's fun after forty. I think that's pretty well taken care of, between pancakes and (I hope) cinnamon creme pie and [personal profile] uilos and Erin.

Happy day, y'all.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
21 November 2016 @ 02:29 pm
The necromancer Wake, in response to the apprentices' concerns of using their power appropriately:

Being good is not a wise course. I should not care to see you set out to do good, either.

The consequences of defeat are permament; the consequences of victory persist until the next defeat. So with good; what you do that is good persists until the next evil. This is very simple, if you can reliably decide what is good. Good would be a struggle to create a series of victories as little broken as you might arrange.

Each of you may live a long time; each of you is of significant strength. You could do good, if you could judge all the consequences of what you might do. Yet the world is immense; a full understanding of consequence is direly difficult to obtain, even should you live for thousands of years to see how what you have done works on the world, and yet good remains a judgement.
[Commentary by the apprentice Edgar: Same as not building in the flood plain. Simple rule. Figuring out where the flood plain really is, for the flood you don't get every ten years but every thousand, that's hard to do. If you pick everywhere it might be, you don't leave yourself much farmland.]
Act to avoid constraining the future; if you can, act to remove constraint from the future. ...

Remember that the least constrained future that anyone has yet managed prefers the rule of law to the whims of wizards.

--Graydon Saunders, A Succession of Bad Days (Commonweal 2)

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
21 November 2016 @ 06:12 am
Usually when I'm not writing here it's because I'm depressed. This time it's because I am running myself at the ragged edge of exhaustion again, and "time to write introspective journal entries" has been one of the casualties of that. Along with "much other writing," and "most boardgaming and roleplaying," and "quiet evenings at home." Viola too has dropped off to what I consider an absolute bare minimum, sometimes beyond that.

So, I mean, that's still not a good thing, but at least I'm not crushingly depressed. \o/

The current state is nonsustainable. Yay me for recognising that now, after a month and a half, rather than waiting, o, three years to figure it out. Thing is, I can sustain an unsustainable state indefinitely, I've proved that plenty of times before. I just crash pretty hard once I don't need to sustain it any more.

I've not been sleeping well since we turned the heat on, around 1 October. I genuinely don't know what's going on with that, staying asleep has rarely been a problem in the past. Lot of stuff rattling around in my head that I haven't had a chance to sort through, maybe. Not bad stuff, I don't think, just ... stuff.

In another month (ack) we'll be moved in to the new place, which will relieve a lot of the temporary stress. The scheduling stress is substantially less tractable but perhaps next year will be easier on that. Family will ... either sort itself out or not. The current round of my stupid personal issues are at least identified so that I know which buttons are being hit this time. ("Everything is connected. That's why it shorts out so often." --JMF)

And, you know. I can tell that a lot of the things the inside of my head is telling me are bullshit. Doesn't make them any quieter but I do recognise that they're the product of stress and ongoing sleep-dep, and not reflective of the actual outside world.

Onward.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
16 November 2016 @ 08:43 am
If the (covered, nontransparent) cat box is substantially heavier than I expect it to be, I should wait a few minutes before attempting to clean it out.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
Tags:
 
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
09 November 2016 @ 12:35 pm
I'd been invited to an election-watching party but Erin was unexpectedly free, so I spent the evening at home with her instead. Then [personal profile] uilos came home too around nine-thirty, and a differently very nice evening transitioned into a few hours of sleepy snuggly domesticity. That, I am pretty sure, is why I'm on as even a keel as I am.

I remember the aftermath of 2004. I felt angry, betrayed, confused. Today I mostly feel numb. ("You can't /feel/ numb. You can only /be/ numb. Be numb. Be numb.")



My friend [personal profile] tam_nonlinear died last night.

I mean, I don't know how accurate those first two words are. We were friends and her friendship helped me through some very rough patches. She took me to Tribal Cafe, an amazing monthly belly dance show in DC, and introduced me to Avatar: The Last Airbender, and gave me "Thanks, Robert Frost" and "After the Pyre" when I needed them. She was also prickly, and I did a number of insensitive things that upset her, and I don't know if she ever accepted my last apology some years ago. For a year or two I've been torn between writing her to see where we're at, versus leaving her her space.

Her last writing, posted this morning: Sycamore. We do not always get to recover.



Today I pull into myself.

When I reemerge in a day, a week, next year, I want to forge a still safe space and open it to good people. I want to build a thing -- a community -- that increases the kindness in the world. Ideally I'd like for its seeds to spread in some fashion but I suppose that's not necessary. I have very little idea what it would look like; only a sense of ... atmosphere, I guess.

I've been chewing over this idea for months, if not years now. Too, it's perhaps something concrete and useful in a time when there's less hope to go around.

You can't save the world, here, says Erin, just contribute to a little corner of it.

I want to give other people a chance to recover. Maybe that's enough.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
["Hydro" is Canadian for "power company." When we were first looking at rental apartments we kept asking 'is the power bill included in this obscenely large monthly price?' and the agent kept saying 'yes, hydro's included for this unit' and we kept saying 'It's good to know that water is included but what about electricity?']

ME: Hello, BC Hydro. Remember me?

BC HYDRO: *is suspicious*

ME: *sigh* *reset password* *verify email*

BC HYDRO: Hi! Welcome to BC Hydro! What would you like to do?

ME: I'd like to have electricity in my new house.

BC HYDRO: We can do that for you, sure! Would you like to transfer existing service, or set up a new account?

ME: Well, since I haven't been a BC Hydro customer for the last two years because the city of New Westminster has its own power authority, I guess I'm setting up a new account.

BC HYDRO: Oh, you can't do that. You've already got an account with us, from when you lived in the city of Vancouver before, and we can't create a new account that duplicates an existing one.

ME: In that case I guess I'm ... transferring service?

BC HYDRO: Sure thing! Just tell us where you're transferring service from.

ME: How about from having disconnected it two years ago when I moved away?

BC HYDRO: Oh, you can't do that. You need to have service before you can transfer service. You'll have to set up a new account.

ME: ...

BC HYDRO: ...

ME: This is not a Friday kind of problem.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
04 November 2016 @ 06:45 am
Whee, been a week. Among other excitement: Taranis's wifi card has decided that intermittent faults are the hip new accessory, so I broke down and got an old new laptop. Same model as the one I experimented with last spring. Still not entirely convinced of the need for a new machine but a) I'll need one in the next couple of years for certain, and b) Macbook design is getting worse all the time. (Latest models removed the extraneous Eject/Power button. This wouldn't matter except that now I have nothing to map a proper Delete to, and I require both Backspace and Delete.)

ETA: The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin: "She had been mildly cheered up, she added, by following a Twitter feed with the hashtag #BundyEroticFanFic."

Litany, by Billy Collins. There are poems like "After the Pyre" that leave me ripped open and bleeding, and I understand why. Then there's this one. I don't understand in the slightest what it is that it does to me. (I also don't expect it to do that to anyone else; like Among Others, whatever it is feels too intensely personal to possibly affect the rest of the world.)

The Arches of The Little Prince: "Can you build an arch from a pole to the equator? Can you build an arch from the north pole to the south pole?" Which is all fascinating, but the thing that really caught me is the simple and obvious realisation that you can model arches upside-down with hanging chains.

Hipsterism and Cultural Appropriation: "So to make explicit what lies implicit: when hipsters 'ironically' don clothing associated with working class people, when hipsters 'ironically' profess tastes for products associated with working class people, they are communicating 'we all know I couldn't possibly actually like this, because we all know that this is unworthy and beneath us.'"

The Yale Record Does Not Endorse Hillary Clinton: "Because of unambiguous tax law, we do not encourage you to support the most qualified presidential candidate in modern American history, nor do we encourage all citizens to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all by electing Secretary Clinton on November 8."



Also, it's been ages since I paid any attention to my 101 in 1001 list.

101 in 1001 updateCollapse )

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
28 October 2016 @ 09:31 am
One of the main goals I had when I started learning the viola was to be able to, oh, let's be honest, play in a music circle with PNH and Steve Brust and eBear. Or, more reasonably, Klagor and other Rainforest folks. (I have, in my head, most of an instrumental setting for Lorde's "Royals". Haven't tried it out yet; not even sure it's possible, the viola may not be deep enough.)

Tegen's remarkably accommodating of this desire. Starting last spring she's been trying to teach me some basic music theory, chords and intervals and all.

This is really hard for me. I can hear different intervals but I can't necessarily identify them, a fourth from a fifth (why is this hard? fifths are what my strings are tuned in, i've been listening to fifths for three decades) or a sixth from a third. And it's worse with chords, everything just muddles together and I can't hear what I'm even supposed to be listening for.

A couple of weeks ago she finally said "look, don't worry about hearing it, just /feel/ it. I is the root, V pulls back to I, IV ... doesn't, and vi is the only one of these that's a minor. We'll work with those." That helps. The minute I try to name the chord I lose it, it takes me several seconds to put a name to it and I'm wrong half the time, but I can feel where it is.

We've been doing some improv as well, "here are some chords, work out what notes are in them, then noodle around while i play the chord sequence on the piano." Results are variable, but it's fun.

On Tuesday night the improv /clicked/. I could know my own notes and feel the piano chords. By the end I could consciously try to make the one line up with the other while not, I don't know, degenerating into rote mechanics.

We got to the end and Tegen said "That was great! Do you have any questions?"

I needed three tries before I could say "Music makes me unable to word." It took another minute or so before I could explain more coherently that whatever I had been doing right then had turned off my access to words. Not just speech but words as a whole: I normally process the notes I'm playing in words, and in retrospect that ... wasn't what I was doing this time.

This is interesting. It's not "I have something important to say and I can't quite bear to get it out," it is literally I have no words. It's like the Ansel Adams exhibit years ago, only instead of passively experiencing I'm an active participant in the overwhelm.

I have no idea what it means but I suspect it's important.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
26 October 2016 @ 11:33 am
Finished my third read of The March North last night.

... I am just about certain that the last chapter contains a passing reference to the old joke about the guy who buys a bunch of roses, eats the petals one by one, and throws away the stems.

*narrows eyes*

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
Tags:
 
 
Current mood: amusedokay, actually amused
 
 
 
Tucker McKinnon
25 October 2016 @ 01:12 pm
A thing I forgot to mention: when my grandmother died, my dad wound up with a beat-up violin that ... o, I don't recall all the history, I believe it's been in the family for at least a century. They got it refurbished and now it sits waiting for a budding Taylor-family violinist.

That's not me, but I did take it down and try it out while I was there. It's surprisingly playable with a couple years of viola under my belt. Mostly my fingers just feel even more gigantic and squished looking for the right notes. I can't imagine trying to play higher than about third position. I did a few scales, played through a few phrases of 'Canon in D' (NOT the cello part)

... although holy cow this "Antidote for the Pachelbel rant". James Ernest says there are two kinds of juggling tricks: those that look harder than they are, and those that are harder than they look. This is a cello trick that is harder than it looks. THE GUY IS HIS OWN CELLO TRIO.

... anyway, 'Canon in D' and a couple of easy Suzuki pieces. Nice to have a skillset. I don't know that I believe Tegen when she says violin is inherently easier than viola, but I don't know that I don't believe her either. Regardless, I certainly prefer the richer viola sound.

Also, tuning a violin with normal wooden pegs and fine-tuners ... difficult at best. The pegs are stiff and far too blunt an instrument, and the fine-tuners are in an awkward place. I have been seriously spoiled by the mechanical pegs on my viola.



On Friday afternoon at the VP reunion, I read, out loud, something I've written, to a bunch of writers.

I was pretty confident that it was decent. It's a good read-aloud bit: conversational, two people sniping at each other like you do while still getting the job done, amusing, not a lot of necessary context, and short. I'd read a fragment of it, unrevised, at Rainforest last year, and people enjoyed it. And reading aloud ... is something I can do well. It's just voice, and voice is just words in performance, and that's what I do.

I mean, I was pretty confident right up until the person before me stepped up to the podium, at which point my brain went into a minor panic. I am sure whoever was reading and did a fine job with whatever it was they read. I think I even applauded.

And then I was up. "Um. Hi. I'm Tucker, from VP 15." Brain locks up. "... My cats think I'm hilarious." Scattered laughter. "And ... this is from Blood on Her Hands And a Stone at Her Throat." And I was off.

And ... people chuckled in the right places, and 'A light-fingered dame in a red red coat...' got at least one gratifying "Hmm!" of recognition. And then it was over, and under the applause I heard Steve Brust say "That was /excellent/!"

So, you know. That went well.



Of particular note among the many noteworthy things read: Suzanne Palmer's "The Cover Letter", which was almost as much fun to watch TNH's increasingly horrified reaction to as it was to hear.

After the reading (after both Steve and student Karen A-- specifically snagged me down to say "that was pretty great") I went back to my room for a bit and collapsed, and then back out to dinner. And ... what I remember from the actual Viable Paradise experience, other than being totally overwhelmed, is usually the sense of having found my people. Thing is, most of that didn't come until afterwards. When I was actually at the workshop I was tired and battered and usually lonely. The first day or two of the reunion felt like that as well, both familiar and depressing.

But somewhere between the reading and dinner something sort of clicked over and I felt like I belonged. Dinner was wonderful, and musicking afterwards a delight. As an added bonus, someone played a couple of Dar Williams songs, "Iowa" and "You're Aging Well," and I got to make some progress towards reclaiming Dar from the emotional wreckage of the 2000s.

The next morning I said what goodbyes I could, rode the ferry out with a few other folks, and thence home. And it was good.



As an added bonus, I read over the scattered fragments of Blood on Her Hands, and surprised myself with how much I like it. Hard to say definitively that there's a good story in it in this state (though I think there is) but the individual scenes are just fun to read.

And I had what may be the insight I needed to break open the recalcitrant soggy ending, that being: if you're going to model your protagonist after John Constantine, model your protagonist after John Constantine. Laine Hollister is a bastard and she had damn well better start acting like it.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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 )

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
Tags:
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here
 
 
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.

Original post at Dreamwidth | comment count unavailable comments | Comment there or here