Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm getting old

How annoying is it to hear 20-somethings complain about how they're getting old? How they just can't keep up the same lifestyle they used to when they were in college?

I've heard many, many people complain about how their bodies are mysteriously sore these days, about how they just can't go out and party every night of the weekend because they'll be too tired (what exactly do you remember college being like? I was exhausted all the time!). You'd think you were talking with a bunch of octogenarians in a retirement home rather than adults in more-or-less the prime of their physical lives.

I mean, c'mon! Renting (or owning) your own house, holding down a steady job, being socially independent -- those are signs of adulthood, not age! When you need hip surgery, I'll start taking you seriously.

That being said.

I'm experiencing an unexpected and foreign desire to have a quiet weekend in. My summer, so far, has been consisted of a plenitude of social activities, including an SCA event, a trip to LA to attend the IJCAI conference, an out-of-town July 4th trip, Joe's visit to Seattle, my sisters' visit to Seattle, trips to visit Eugene, and attending multiple roller derby bouts [delightfully, at the most recent bout, the audience actively and boisterously cheered when the announcer thank the Ninkasi brewery for their sponsorship], and myriad other, smaller trips. In the upcoming weeks, I'm going to the Shambhala music festival, a friend's wedding in Oakland, and Burning Man. Also, maybe camping.

In a global sense, I'm happy to have such a busy life and the opportunity (while I'm still young, dammit!) to explore my life and have fun.

But right now, I would really, really just love to have a weekend in where I can laze about my house, maybe watch a movie, and not do much of anything. This is strange, and disconcerting. I'm almost never a homebody, and I almost never want "alone time". But at some point over the course of this summer, my psyche's decided it's maybe had a bit too much stimulation and that I should just slow-the-hell-down, thankyouverymuch.

It's too late for that now, of course, but maybe I'll think about this a bit more the next time I have to make long-term plans.

And then maybe I'll have enough time to actually update this blog.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sundry tales of everyday life

I realize that it has been A While since my last post. The reasons for this lag are, in general, banal and prosaic; stories of final projects, moving apartments, and the sundry workaday requirements of life. I could not, in good conscious, foist such pedestrian tales upon my devoted readership without some interesting framing device or philosophical narrative, neither of which I felt sufficiently motivated to provide. Absent compelling external narrative my blog has lain fallow, devoid of content.

For this, Dear Reader, I apologize. Absent inspiration from the muse, this post shall serve simply as a brief update on my life. For those who know and love me and care about my every movement and activity, this post shall perhaps provide you with valuable information about my life and doings. For my teaming hordes of anonymous Internet fans, the biographical information contained herein may be somewhat less scintillating.

The most relevant detail, of course, is that I'm currently in Seattle. My research work, thankfully, is the kind of work I can do anywhere (contingent on availability of power and Internet) and I have no classes to take this summer, so I decided to pack up a car's worth of belongings and ship on up to Seattle, where L and I are Living In Sin. *Gasp!* In between Shambhala, Burning Man, and IJCAI, it seemed pointless to try and find a summer job ("I'd love to work for you guys, providing you let me take off one week in July, two weeks in August, a couple days in early September...").

So we're living a quiet, happy little domestic life up here. Cooking meals from scratch, practicing and refining my trombottle technique, catching up on my guitar, driving down to a friend's Roller Derby bout in Eugene. It's a pretty pleasant little life. And, to my great surprise, I've actually managed to do a fair amount of research in my spare time. Wild!

Tonight, to K and E's for game night and ice cream! Oh, the wild and crazy Seattle evenings.

I've never quite decided what the most appropriate answer is to tell people when they ask where I'm from. I usually answer "Oregon": after all, I was born in Portland and lived for eight (!) years in Eugene, longer than anywhere else. While that's a somewhat disingenuous answer--after all, I certainly didn't grow up in Oregon--it's a lot easier than having to explain the story of my childhood again.

Apart from functioning as an awkward tangent to my post, this is something that has come to mind as I settle back in to life in the Pacific Northwest. I like LA quite a bit -- it's huge and busy and full of interesting stuff to do. But there's just something about the cities and culture up north that I really appreciate and haven't really found in LA.

In my first weekend in Seattle, L and I visited the Fremont Solstice Festival, which is held every year in one of the weirder neighborhoods in Seattle. It was a delightful spectacle, full of naked bicyclists, crazy artistic floats (including an enormous floating replica of the Flying Spaghetti Monster) and myriad examples of possibly-misdirected creative energies (like the street-legal automobile that had been converted in to a spaceship, complete with attached laser guns and bells to warn off aliens).

Days before, I had attended the Last Thursday Art Walk in North Portland, providing a similar array of weird people and fantastical art displays. The processions of stilted passers-by surrounding themselves in a makeshift boat made of bedsheets was quite the thing.

It's not just art fests, I like, of course. As best I can tell, it's the general sense of comfortable weirdness that pervades the area (or at least the parts I hang out in) that really does it for me (or maybe that's just the "Keep Portland Weird" bumper stickers that make me feel that way).

LA's certainly got its weird subculture, of course -- I've never lacked for apealling social engagement. But it feels just so much more the dominant culture in the Northwest, not something I have to seek out and make an effort to find.

I suspect I haven't really been able to capture the essence of what I'm trying to communicate here, and doubt I really can. I like LA. I'm happy to live here for the next couple years and I'll regret no minute of it. But dammit, now I just wish it were that slightest bit cooler.

Oh, well.