Jul 29, 2008

Swarley's Birthday Recap

I feel like I should blog my birthday weekend in LA, but part of me wonders what for, since everyone who reads this was there. Partially I also feel sort of like I should adopt a Vegas attitude towards it, and let what happened there stay there.

It was definitely one crazy weekend. I think compared to an average weekend for my wild LA friends it was actually pretty normal, but to us converted Pacific Northwesterners it seemed like a lot. The short list of events includes a studio tour of Sony, hamburgers at Father's Office, karaoke and a lot of free alcohol at Rosen, fish tacos at Wahoos, Batman on IMAX at the Bridge, margatinis at Mexicali Cantina, laser tag at Ultrazone, breasts galore at V Lounge, food stealing at Google, sore feet at Glow at the pier, marshmallow ice cream and kittens at Cyndi's place, economic stimulus checks & hugs with my parents, barbecue & edible hedgehogs at the Wilshire Restaurant, victorious Ben & Beth in Imaginiff, tears at the airport, and sleeping all day Monday.

The first time I went back to visit LA in May I felt kind of disillusioned by it. I had missed it so much, and then there it was in real life, and it was not as shiny and magical as I had remembered it in my homesick daydreams. It was dirty, and grey with concrete, which is not the same thing as grey with rain, because rain goes away. It was colorful in a harsh way, warm in a cold way, and vivid in a deadened way. And I felt like a slobbery puppy who is overly thrilled to see her owners at the end of the busy work day. I was moved to tears at the sight of my friends, and they in turn seemed surprised to see me. "Weren't you supposed to move to Seattle? What are you doing here?"

I guess in light of that, it was kind of weird to elect to go back again so soon, but the thought of spending my birthday in Seattle seemed sad. By June I was missing LA again and ready to go back. But by July I finally began to hit my stride in Seattle too. Probably right around the time the sun came out.

I don't think I'm alone in that respect. All of Seattle seems to come to life around June 30. Outdoor cinemas pop up in every corner and project onto every flat surface in the city. I could spend the entire summer watching Hot Fuzz and Juno over and over for free. The baby farmers markets fill in the rest of the urban space not covered by ourdoor cinemas, and in between those weave all manner of parades and street fairs: Pride Parade, Solstice Parade, Seafair Parade. Seafood Festival, Folklife Festival, Beer Festival. Everybody who's ever made anything out of felt or glass or silkscreen is out selling their wares. Quick. Before the rain starts up again. It's not an abnormal amount of culture for a city this size, but it's an abnormal amount of culture for a season this short.

And then there's the mountains. And the rivers. And the oceans white with foam. You can climb, ride, kayak and fish in all of them. Everyone is in good spirits and it seems easier to make friends. The Seattle Thaw you might call it. Endless beauty and sipping wine from a pouch will make you fast friends. Something about being locked up in a tent with yourselves and your hiking socks bonds you together. It's the next best thing to a summer of intensive military-sci-fi geekery for discovering accord in your souls. Almost as good an ambrosia as touching toes in a bed in a free suite that looks out over the Bellagio fountain, giggling after a drunken night making out with strangers.

Not that that ever happened.

For my birthday, I thought it would be a fun social experiment to take my new friends in Seattle, combine them with my old friends in LA, douse them with alcohol, shake them, and then expose to Glow. Actually, I just selfishly thought it would be a nice way to make up for two seasons of loneliness by overloading on wonderful companionship for 72 hours straight. Nothing in moderation when you're two years away from 30-year-old doomed adultdom.

There were some standout moments:
Ben & Dorina performing a knockout duet of Come What May; I sort of stood there watching with a glass of soju and hated them both for being so damn talented and hot. It was wonderful to see Courtney burst onto the scene in her blue dress, all fresh and bright and delicious like blueberry pie. I treasure the few moments of one-on-one that I had with people at dinner and wherever else we could spare them. I loved watching Benji dance DDR, exchanging numerous amused looks with Spaznik, and laughing at Andrea's little witticism during Imaginiff. Although I use to argue that movie-watching is not a good bonding experience, it made me very happy to sit in the IMAX surrounded by my favorite movie buffs close enough to overhear their gasps and quips. And I don't know what it is about Andy and Allen and Jana, but they have the ability to make even the most mundane activities like mini-golf and Battleship seem like epic adventures.

All in all it was a seriously memorable birthday. I loved it, and with the wisdom that can only come from someone embarking on her 29th year of life, I can say that I wouldn't have changed a single thing or person or detail, because all of it was precious.

I am most of all grateful to Jean for hosting us and coming up with the idea to begin with. And for being one of the people I feel the most missed by. I have so many things I need to thank Jean for. I wanna end this sentence with a proposition too to. I'm sure I should be thanking her for concrete things like loaning me her car, driving us to the airport at 5am, lending us her towels, letting us hook up on her sheets (kidding!), inviting people, keeping us fed and inebriated, and planning and coordinating the whole ordeal. And of course Dorina for co-hosting us (and by that token Brennan as well), and Ben for everything and He Knows What. But really, the thing I am most grateful to Jean for is just the simple fact that she wanted me there. That she wanted to see me, and Andy, and that she is someone who will always be glad to see me. We had a great time, and we always have a great time with Jean, and hopefully many more to come, including Thanksgiving Birthday Cake – Now With More Turkey!

Cooking with Beth

Beth: I made the chicken with red wine because you refuse to throw it away. Let that be a lesson. If you don't throw it away, I'll feel compelled to cook with it.
Andy: That's why I always flush.

Jul 23, 2008

The Budos Band - Live at the Nectar Lounge

This is a tad over-due, but back on June 27th, Seattle was treated with a visit from the Budos Band. I was quite excited (pretty sure Beth was too). Over the past year and a half I've become quite a fan of their brand of afro-soul/funk and wasn't going to pass up a great opportunity to finally check them out live. And thanks to the wonders of Beth's Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digi Efph, you can too.

The Budos Band - "Scorpion"

"Black Venom"

"Unbroken, Unshaken"

"Aynotchesh Yererfu"

We were quite lucky to snag the seats we had. Front and center on the balcony with a comfy place to eat too. It was a great night and I felt very lucky to be able to share it with Beth and Andre.

Jul 11, 2008

Senseless Acts of Beauty

So before there were camping and hiking in the Olympic Peninsula, there were beer and circus acts at Artopia. The event was a free street fair and arts exhibit showing emerging talent in dance, theater, art and music. You kind of just showed up in the area and walked around, and art just kind of happened to you. There was life-drawing in the comic book store, interpretive dance in the molding bottling plant, music in the parking lot, interactive cello performance in the warehouse, power-tool racing in the alley, and beer and wine everywhere.

I think that wandering the dusty streets and alleyways of Georgetown in sweltering heat and encountering random displays of theater and art reinforced our appreciation for each other's companionship. Artopia was such a free-form experience, you had to be in the mind-set to enjoy it openly, which I think is something I tend to forget in the daily grind to rush places, meet deadlines, procure parking, pay bills, clean house, and find my place in the grown up world.

Eff 'em Danno!

Fantagraphics Comic Book Store

Flowers in the vending machine graveyard


A serving of "Scumbo" I was handed as a promotion for a play being performed later that evening (actually just lime jello)

Probably my favorite part was the dancing in the old brew house, because the building was so gorgeous with the yellows and greens and all the lovely textures from the rust and mold and peeling paint. We happened to walk in just as the dance was beginning, and the dancers would move about the structure while the crowd kind of angled itself around to watch and maintain the "stage." There were a couple times where I found myself so enthralled by the building that I would be stuck in the middle of the dance space because the whole crowd had left me alone and the dancers were spinning around me. Truly magical.

Peeling ceiling of the old brewery house

Beautiful rusty stairs

Members of BQ Dance

More dancers

Jul 9, 2008

Dream Big

Beth: What are you gonna do when you're older and richer and you have a nicer car?
Andy: I'm not gonna get rid of the El Tribudanté
Beth: Ok, but you'll be able to trade up for a big busty girl.
Andy: But we'll have the money, we'll treat you like the starter kit. Then we'll get some lip injections, hair extensions, rhinoplasty, shave off your eyebrows just to be weird... and then we'll get some rocket launcher boobs.
[A few seconds later]
Andy: No. I don't want you to change. Well maybe the rocket launcher boobs...

Jul 8, 2008

Nothing Comes from Nothing

I always thought this song from the Sound of Music was kind of interesting... maybe because I think of myself as a Maria, twirling on a mountain top and causing mischief, getting kicked out of the convent. I guess it says something about my perception of myself as a child, and maybe I'll come to terms someday with being that bad willful kid who never did what she was supposed to do. In the meantime, I think that this sums up how how I feel about Andyroo sometimes:

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood,
perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past,
there must have been a moment of truth

For here you are standing there loving me,
whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good

For 4th of July weekend we went camping on the Olympic Peninsula with Andre and our new BFF Nicole. We literally said "Hey let's go camping!" on Tuesday, bought a map on Wednesday, bought a tent on Thursday, bought beer and wine in a box on Friday, and hopped in the car on Saturday. I love that I live in a place where I can do that, and that I'm friends with people who would think it was a good idea, because I grew up in a family where we always said "We should go to fill-in-the-blank" but never did.

We saw this ridiculous crystal clear lake where you could see the bottom, and huge sequoia and spruce trees, and parts of Mt. Olympus, and deer and grouse and banana slugs, and walked under these crazy moss trees, and had a guided tour of the tide pools. I feel like a little kid telling the story: "And then... and then... and then.." But it was just endless beauty all around. It was my first camping experience ever and I got to sleep on the beach in a tent with my boyfriend in the only rainforest in the continental US while leftover fireworks were going off on the Indian reservation.

Camping is so cool! I wanna camp all the time! Hiking and fishing and taking pictures and smelling bad and eating beef jerky and telling stories and seeing beautiful things.

Anyways, it'll be a bit before I upload all 200 of my photos from the trip and 4th of July, but here's my favorite of Andy and Andre: