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Zach
04 April 2016 @ 05:40 pm
My high school friend was performing at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, so I made plans to head over there and clicked the whole Facebook "I iz goinz!" button. A couple days later I noted that a long crush of mine (aka Beatrice, as I found she inspired me to be a better person) was also going. I'd thought she was in San Francisco, so was unsettled and taken aback. I decided to still go. It was a great concert - Shannon always has been a great singer - and I made it most of the way through the concert without running into Beatrice. Finally did at the end of the show.

Good god, man. There's a scene in Savage Steve Holland's terrible classic, "How I Got Into College," wherein Oliver says to our hero Marlon, "You can't base the most important decision of your on Jessica Kailo finally giving you the time of day!"

I felt like that. She stopped by and said hi and hugged me whilst I was chatting with Rebecca and otherwise stuck around while Rebecca and I caught up but otherwise... we just didn't talk. It's to me such a waste: I feel like we're both interesting people and I think with better communication we'd have had a lot to learn from and grown from each other. Oh well. At the least it was an excellent coda. It's weird: she expressed interest in dating me, and yet we just never could communicate very well. I wish I'd known what the disconnect was there, but at the least it was an interesting closing to a long sidestory.
 
 
Zach
17 February 2016 @ 07:24 pm
Meta: The following is something I haven't talked about nor do I really want to openly discuss outside of this venue.


Life took an interesting detour in October. After our annual wine-tasting and goofing off over at the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth in September, we headed back to Seattle and work. We continued on with our daily lives.

About midway through October, things changed. Greg let me know that she had taken a pregnancy test and that it had come out positive.

I don't think "trying" would be the right word. Not not trying would be more accurate. Her physician had advised her that it was unlikely to happen and so we kind of left it at that. I think I'm a fan of the concept, but Greg's been dealing with some struggles and so it was put on the backburner while she worked on life. So ... that certainly came as a shock. Not entirely unexpected, but definitely not something that was part of the year's plans.

She scheduled her first checkup, and I went with her. Things were fine. We went to a pregnancy group session at a local hospital to start getting the ball rolling on looking into childbirth options. It's really really weird. It's the first quiet introduction to your primary hobby for the next eighteen plus years. The people were nice, and we found someone to work with that Greg liked. Everybody else was a lot further along, but Greg's generally always been pretty prepared.

We didn't really talk about it too much. It was just something that going to happen and probably be grueling but fun. I kind of thought about saying something at Thanksgiving, but Greg was going to visit her mom then and ... it was still too early.

Aaaaaaand that was correct. She had a miscarriage.

It was kinda heartbreaking. I don't know if we expected anything to really come of it, but -- it seemed like maybe this could really happen.

My family is the normal weird nuclear mess. I make the most of it, clinging tightly to those I identify as my family (the Robinsons), but -- I also have the second shadow biological family of my dad, complete with half-sister, semi-adopted ex-stepbrother, a lot of ex-stepmoms, a grandma I've never met, and just other mad weirdness.

I liked the idea of having my own family that wasn't "weird". Maybe that's not going to happen.
 
 
Zach
25 November 2015 @ 05:51 pm
I grew up always unsure of myself socially. I think this generally works out well for others, as that absolute uncertainty leads me to try to be more proactive in helping whatever is happening happen well. My mom mentions when we first moved into our new house when I was perhaps four sitting out front and asking, "Does anybody want to be my friend?" I don't know how things work, and I don't know how friendships are supposed to work. I just kind of fake it - as we all do - and hope that people won't get annoyed. I would hear that Alice thought I was super cute and so I would ask her out because I was supposed to... and then I never talked to her again because I had no idea what to do and no idea how to interact.

This is the life of an outsider.

I got pretty blessed in junior high, moving to the school where my dad was supremely popular. All the popular guys loved me and the girls were all of a sudden interested in me. It made it easier, but -- it wasn't earned. I just pretended like it made sense, tried to be nice to people, and kept on doing the things I found interesting. I'd never know who to sit with at lunch, and I don't actually know if I spent many lunches with other people versus trying to work my way through problems or a book off by myself somewhere. It's not that anybody rejected me at that point - arguably I can fit in anywhere - it's just that ... I don't understand how things/people work and would most likely sit there quietly absorbing things as an outsider rather than being there in the moment.

That's always been hard for me. It's not bad: I like doing the things I do, but I recognize that I have a hard time being part of groups. That's why I prefer to interact the way I do. That's why Greg is good for me: we can just be together and she doesn't need nor want anything from me other than just me being there. It's simply but important.

So I have this background of being an outsider and wanting to perhaps help people get together and share a sense of community together. That's who I am at this point. I try to not be that person sometimes.

I found it hard dealing with my male cousins growing up. I didn't know them, having had my mom marry into the film, and always felt spurned by them. I thought they were so cool - Jeff with his computer skills, Tron and his brothers with their soccer skills, but felt like I received a cold shoulder from them that I never really understood. My brother invited himself to a family reunion camping trick, and talked with one of the cousins who'd been a little less fortunate. That cousin explained that I'd come in to their lives so happy and cheerful and wanting to be friends and that there'd been no real reason to be mean to me. They'd just excluded me because they could, because it was a kid power game. And ... things never really got better over the years. All my life having a bunch of cousins who just were meaninglessly being dicks, helping me feel ostracized from my own extended family.

That "family reunion"? It was a "secret" family reunion where only the "right" family members got to go. My brother kinda invited himself along, and others haven't been invited and there's really no plan for such and supposedly they talk badly of those that they don't want to be part of their little club.

What bad people.

Life catches up and goodness comes and badness comes and maybe my life is better than theirs and maybe it's worse, but I hope I've generally been a better person than that. When I'd heard about this reunion I thought about the times I'd mentioned that hey maybe the extended family should get together and kinda been ignored. It's not gotten much better. I've gotten older and there's more distance and I think I like that. I hope I'm never like that to the people I love or am related to.
 
 
Current Music: Devendra Banhart - Lover
 
 
Zach
11 June 2014 @ 11:49 pm
Finally read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick. When I realized a while back that it was dedicated to Tim Powers (one of my favorite authors), I had put it on my Must Read list. Having read a lot of 60's era science fiction, it's hard to fault it for its many shortcomings. It compared favorably with a Bradbury story, for example, but unfavorably to an Asimov story.

The part that stuns me though is that ... Blade Runner came from this. I haven't dared to watch Blade Runner again since reading it (so many scenes already play out differently/oddly now in my mind), but will have to at some point out of sheer dumb human curiosity. I can't imagine how you go from that novel to Blade Runner. My mind is blown.

I've been running on fumes for a bit now. Every week for the past ten weeks I've started at work planning on working at Task X, but by the end of the week my trajectory is changed and I'm working on some new Task Y. As someone who historically takes a little while to ramp up, it's been excruciating. I'm hoping that I've finally "locked" myself into the right project, but it doesn't help that I'm working with someone who either has a crush on me and wants to come to him every day as he dribbles out answers to my questions... or is just really really really really bad about onboarding other people to his project. Probably the latter. I feel like a rat in a giant maze: I keep finding the next turn by myself, then having to turn back to Mr X for guidance on how/what exactly he wants me to accomplish at this new crossing. At the last cross-team meeting pretty much every person in the room at some point said they needed Mr X's help/advice/guidance, so I can understand his ... limitations, lack of clarity, or whatever it is given that he's a busy excellent developer. It's simply a marked contrast from working with Raymond wherein any conversation leaves you walking away with more knowledge than you could possibly have wanted in the first place. Mr X would make a terrible lead, while Raymond would hate it but would probably be a superb lead.

If I liked the company less I'd probably run away screaming at this point, but at the same time I actually really love what I'm working on. I'm just being put in a position to fail, and it's really frustrating because I should be having the time of my life. What I'm working on is super fun for me (I'm a nut that way), but --- I want to do it well and be part of the team and the plan as opposed to having tiny pieces of the plan extruded to me on a weekly basis, leaving me grasping at straws regularly as regards net intentions. Sigh.

I shall take some time this weekend to watch Blade Runner on my big screen and be that much more satisfied about the excellent world that we live in.
 
 
Current Location: Seattle
Current Mood: sad panda
Current Music: Vangelis - Blade Runner Blues
 
 
Zach
23 April 2014 @ 02:22 pm
Last night I dreamt that I could levitate just by relaxing enough. And of course I "woke up" from my heavy dream into a lighter dream where that was still the case.
I swam through the air to get the mail and the neighbor kids were bothered by this and told me to stop it. Greg was busy in the kitchen doing things and didn't understand why I would be confused by any of this. I kept asking her if this was normal because it seemed like a huge change in the world.

Then I really woke up and had to puzzle out reality again.

The only downside to having fully immersive dreams is that I wake up baffled by which version of reality is which. I worry that someday I'll lose track. On the plus side, I'll be enjoying a pretty fantastic alternate reality if that break every occurs.
 
 
Current Music: HAL 5600 - Old Cave
 
 
 
Zach
10 April 2014 @ 07:19 pm
After years of prompting, I finally made it out to my friend Chris' Texas Showdown tournament again. I hadn't been since 2006 - I'd see Chris in Evo (Vegas) or elsewhere, but it'd been a long damned time since actually attending his event. While it was a brief trip, it's always a little surprising to see so many faces from over the years. I'd frequently find myself desperately trying to remember a name or otherwise learn it in the most non-obvious way possible. Boy do I love nametags. :\

I jetted West to Austin to see Lynn and Jennifer the first day I was in Texas. I arrived midday so got to spend the afternoon first seeing a movie in the delightful Alamo Drafthouse (I wish we had these in Washington) and then noodling the blues on a ukulele in Capitol Park. I felt that Greg deserved a little blues in her honor (these have been hard times for her, and my leaving eighteen hours after she got back from a month away wasn't helpful) and also felt that playing music in Austin would be something that I'd want to have done in my life. It was a pretty relaxing and blissful time.

Lynn and Jennifer and Jonas (Mr Lynn) and I had dinner at Chuy's that night. I was delighted by their Nacho Car, and the company was also excellent. It seems we're all stuck on our own minor respective life humps, but it also seems like each of us were on track to make huge progress.

I somehow managed to get 2nd in the Marvel vs Capcom 2 tournament. I lost to the best player in the world (Justin Wong), which was expected, but he also blew me out which if I cared I'd want to work on. It was fun to beat people with dumb tricks again. I put the medal and the money I won on my Wall of Awards at work. While I'm no Desmond/X-Cutioner, it's fun for the moment knowing that I placed more highly than he ever did at Texas Showdown. I can pretend that I'm good. (Discussion of this tournament online led me to learn that I'd beaten another of my favorite players a long time ago and simply never noticed. XD )

The after-party was its own odd fun too. We started out at one bar where I had pie... and then it was globally decided upon that more pie was required so we headed to the House of Pies (this is a place!) where we all had Bayou Goo pie. It's those small moments that really make the travel feel worthwhile.

I was amused when I got back and started uploading my footage when somebody tweeted their surprise. That's fair... until you realize that I've been filming the past two Evos... and managed to lose my cameras both times. My absence from the recording scene has been much more a result of theft and ineptitude than any real deliberate abandonment.
 
 
Current Music: Lord Fitness - Live from the Pinchy Balcony
 
 
Zach
29 January 2014 @ 03:44 pm
I killed one of my wee baby limes yesterday.

I had picked up a lime tree at Molbak's Nursery two and a half years ago. I thought it would be fun to grow and that eventually I would have limes for margaritas. I had not accounted for the life cycle of a fruiting tree. I carefully watered and nourished my little tree until it became a sprawling healthy mess, with the longest branch about four feet long. About six months ago it surprised me by flowering, so I looked up how much longer it would be until I had limes. It appears that generally it's a year or two between flowering and actually fruiting. I was thus further surprised to find ACTUAL LIMES on my lime tree three months later. Since I had learned that limes typically need a fair amount of time to ripen, I left it alone until this past Monday. I sadly and reluctantly pulled off one of my three limes (a fourth junior baby lime fell to the floor and is surrounded by mourning Castle Crashers figures) and brought it to work to make margaritas for my teammates.

I've never really grown anything meaningful(tm) before. I've never had the joy of being a parent and watching my child enter the world, and never grown much beyond minor salad ingredients. I carefully and reluctantly pulled that lime off the tree and gave the tree a kiss, thanking it for its work and dedication.

It turned out to be a particularly delicious lime. I put the remnants in the compost and am glad it gets to return to the earth. As much as I don't want to die, not right now, I hope that when I do die I also am returned to the earth so that others can benefit from what's left of me.
 
 
Current Music: henry Chinaski - Sleepy Bedtime Mix for Young Ones
 
 
Zach
31 July 2013 @ 04:05 pm
There are some days when you can't see the moon and you forget it's there.
 
 
Zach
17 June 2013 @ 02:44 pm
I was sitting at our Father's Day dinner with my family talking with my brother. All of a sudden I started having trouble doing much besides thinking obsessively hard about architecture. My wee nephew came over to jabber excitedly at me, so I gratefully took the opportunity to get out of my seat and follow him towards the couch where he was playing. I got to my knees desperately trying to keep track of what he was talking about, what was going on, leaning into the couch for balance, and not understanding why my brain was short-circuiting.

Then I woke up flat on my back on the floor.

Evidently I had passed out, knocking down the lamp on my way to the floor.

Back when I had an iron deficiency and fainted several times, it took me a couple faintings to realize that I could reliably be forewarned about incoming problems through a static-y fuzz that would start creeping in around the edge of my vision. I learned that through focusing on and staring down my hand I could fight this wave off and be OK.
This was different: I've had times before in bed where I might start to obsessively think about something or recollect some past event in extremely vivid clarity. Clearly something was wrong, but it was also an extremely interesting phenomenon and so I let my mind chase it. My mind was clearly tripping out, but I was in bed and thus safe so went with it to see what was happening and try to figure out why my brain might be getting delirious. When I started getting vertiginous I'd stop and go to sleep. Father's Day was the first day this kind of weirdness had happened in daily ordinary life: I hadn't associated it with fainting before, but that makes sense.

This morning I was driving to the company store and had a moment of panic wherein I couldn't figure out which side of the road I should be driving on. I'm not sure what was going on there and quickly managed to reassert reality... but still: odd.

So that's something to look out for now. I figure I'm probably physically OK, but I'll get myself checked out just in case.

 
 
Current Mood: glad to be alive
 
 
Zach
05 June 2013 @ 06:44 pm
Ethan Hawke did a Reddit Ask Me Anything interview that I quite liked. I particularly liked:
Q: If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
A: I don't want to say. You know, the things that we want to change about our lives are things we don't want everybody to know, and one of the most difficult things for me was having to learn in front of the public that having a reputation is a double-edged sword. It prevents me from making a first impression. I feel like I haven't made a first impression on anyone in 20 years. There are many things about my life and my behavior that I wish I could change, situations I wish I could have handled better, relationships I could have healed, but unfortunately the earth seems to turn one way and all we can do is try to learn.

I do quite enjoy being anonymous. Unfortunately, I am an investigate reporter: I'm actually a person. Alas.

I think if I changed any one thing, it would be to not be so complacent. I'm constantly so amazed and stunned by being alive on this fragile rock that I'm willing to enjoy things that aren't as awesome as they could be. It's part and parcel with preferring to be a lieutenant as opposed to being a captain. Maybe there's some alternate version of me that prefers to be a Leader. In this world I've seen enough that I much prefer helping things to happen as opposed to be the one forcing them to happen in the first place.

 
 
Current Music: Jackson Sisters - Day in the Blue