darkemeralds: Screencap from Where The Hell Is Matt (joy)
This whole post is a quote from my good pal Todd.

This is probably not news to you, but you need to remain aware that your life has brackets around it. Here in the Land of the Free the average life expectancy is 79 years. Ladies can get around 82 trips around the sun, while dudes get a little shorter stick, with 76 revolutions expected. That means you get somewhere between 27,000 and 31,000 days to live, love, laugh, cry, grow, think, enjoy, learn and teach.

Every one of us is a limited resource. Therefore, each of us needs to be in the “me” business. Make sure to find as many moments of joy as you can. If you need to fret about something, make sure it’s something you really need to fret about. When you come across small minds or people who want to meddle in your bliss, leave ‘em behind you as quickly as possible. When you find folks who add to your joy, keep them close. Don’t be afraid to connect or disconnect. Don’t try to change people’s minds; their opinions are probably just as uninformed and biased as yours, and you probably don’t have a persuasive enough argument to change their thinking anyway. If you don’t like what you’re doing, do something else. Be efficient, but don’t take shortcuts that will hurt you. If you want to live to serve others, serve gladly. Help the helpless, but forget about the clueless. Take time and get to know yourself. Read good books! Breathe deeply and fully. Live fully in the moment. Treat yourself joyfully and profoundly to the greatest show – the only show! – on Earth.

Use your days wisely, because they can slip away pretty darned quickly.
darkemeralds: Baby picture of DarkEm with title 'Interstellar Losers Club' and caption 'Proud Member' (Geekery)
...that I love the internet?

Recent studies show that young Americans are losing interest in driving, and are actually preferring mass transit and active transportation over car ownership.* Of the many reasons suggested for this decline in driving, my favorite is that when you take transit you can amuse yourself with your mobile device the whole way.**

Eleanor O being in the shop overnight, I was riding the #8 downtown this morning, enjoying this very benefit. I was reading the many emails flying among [personal profile] vampirefan, [personal profile] sffan, [personal profile] llaras and me speculating about what the hell is going on in Teen Wolf, when [personal profile] ravurian pinged me from the end of his workday in London. I ended up chatting with him all the way to work. (Swype works quite well as an input method on a bouncy bus).

Is it just me, or does that still feel like magic? Sometimes--seriously, at least once per day hour--I am simply awestruck with delight at the global brain and what it has wrought.

* This shockingly un-American trend has sent a panicked auto industry into an advertising blitz, some of which targets the uncoolness of riding the bus, riding a bike, or walking. You know it's real when they're that desperate.

** Yes, you can do this while driving, but please, please don't.
darkemeralds: Roses and the caption "Cultivated" (Gardening)
[personal profile] roseambr and I went to Portland Nursery today. It's within five miles of my house, but it's not a place I go on my own anymore because there isn't a lot of nursery stock a person can get home on a bike--at least, not on a bike without a trailer.

Plants and stuff )
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
Missed a day. Darn! Only a quarter of the way into posting, reading, and commenting every day for a month, and I completely forgot yesterday. Never even opened my computer.

I saw "The Internship" on Friday after work. Considering that I've missed every major movie of the past two years except "The Avengers", spending the admission price to see a predictable underdog buddy-comedy is kind of a questionable choice. But, you know, Dylan O'Brien.

The movie was better than I expected. Once the cringeworthy oblivous-people-embarrassing-themselves part was done (the first 15 minutes or so--and yes, that's a thing of mine, not a criticism of the movie), it became kind of charming.

What made it the most fun of all was that [personal profile] vampirefan, who lives two time zones away, wanted to see it too. Neither of us had anyone to go with, so we went together! She went to a 6:30 showing, I went to a 4:30 showing, and we texted each other at key points from our respective cinema back row seats.

Here's a frame from my favorite scene:

darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
[personal profile] mathsnerd has suffered a material loss through what sounds like either bureaucratic bungling or actual skullduggery on the part of people who were charged with taking care of her.

She's in difficult straits, necessary items and cash having been lost or stolen from her. I was able to Paypal her a small donation. I hope you'll help me boost the signal, and perhaps make a little contribution if you can.
darkemeralds: DarkEm self portrait in magenta cowl, left profile, against a black wall (Silver Magenta)
I still like it here best.

Dunbar's Number says that our brains evolved to manage a maximum of about 150 social connections.

Apparently Dunbar's number isn't just a maximum, though: it may also be a kind of optimum; we feel a need for 100 to 200 social connections. Since most of us don't live in extended families, tribes or small villages anymore, we fill our Dunbar vacancies with virtual social connections.

At least a couple dozen golden social connections of mine for the last nine years have been right here on Dreamwidth and LiveJournal, and you know what? I'd like to try to keep it that way.

Getting email notifications about comments on LJ and DW is still really sweet. I like the kinds of personal conversations that can happen in comments here, that I've never found anywhere else. It's not all fandom all the time, but it's fandom-adjacent, the conversations of enthusiasts and believers and people who make stuff and care about meaning and love a good shared squee.

So, I'm challenging myself to post, read, and comment daily during June. Maybe even read and comment outside my list/circle. I might crosspost from other services. I might do the kind of abbreviated drive-by that's become the province of Twitter. I might post about knitting, or cats, or my bike, or work. Or Dylan O'Brien, what the hell.

Yeah, thirty posts in thirty days, APAD, PEDFAM--it's nothing new. But I'm just so hungry, you know? I'm tired of the fragmentation. Google+ and Facebook and Twitter do very little for my Dunbar quotient.

I still like it here best.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
...Happy birthday, [personal profile] kis/[livejournal.com profile] kispexi2, the world's best beta, a loving friend, and only person I've ever shared a fish-pedicure with.

I hope the day is wonderful and filled with love, Benedict Cumberbatch, Star Trek and hot fic.

And cake. Cake too.
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
The fact that there are still memes makes me kind of happy. [personal profile] oursin was doing the "Things I'm Grateful For/Happy About Beginning With the Letter _" meme. She gave me the letter H.

Read more... )
darkemeralds: (Now)
I hope all my friends in the UK are enjoying a splendid Jubilee celebration. It all sounds so uplifting and festive and proud.

I was struck, on looking at the Twitter stream for the #proudtobebritish hashtag, by how many less-than-positive tweets there were, pointing out various iniquities perpetrated by Britain (some of them pretty recent). I get it--the great nations have done great evil. I'm not a fan of blind patriotism and it seems prudent to remember the past, bad and good.

But still. Symbolic day. Great nation. Long history. Deep roots. Proud traditions. I'd be proud to be British today too, if I were.
darkemeralds: Photo of Downtown Portland, Oregon USA in twilight (Portland)
I never enjoy my town more than when lovely visitors come and seem to appreciate the place.

[personal profile] ranunculus and her friend D are visiting just outside of town for a few days, and made their way downtown (after a wine-country tour, no less!) to dine with me at Brasserie Montmartre. They live in San Francisco, so they know cities and restaurants, and they were kind enough to say that if for some reason they had to leave home, Portland would be their next choice.

So I'm all puffed up, more than usual, about My Little Town.

We had lovely French bistro food (including two different versions of the Bra's fabulous frites--one in duck fat, one in pork fat), Scotch whisky, Oregon wine, and loads of laughs and conversation. And lavender crème brûlée for dessert.

I finally saw them to the streetcar station not long before 9:00--the hours flew by.

Thank you, [personal profile] ranunculus and D. It was a fine evening.
darkemeralds: Photo of a white tiger hugging a man, with caption Hug. (Hug)
Happy birthday to my Number One Fannish Buddy, [personal profile] vampirefan! All our chatwatches, and all the fannish news and pictures and fic you point me to, have been a highlight of my year. You keep fandom alive for me, and I'm so grateful.

I'm going to get you to watch Sherlock this year. LOL!
darkemeralds: Dark Emeralds in red glasses (Default)
I went out for a mojito with a coworker friend of mine last night. We sat outdoors at the Brasserie Montmartre and watched Friday evening people going by in their fancy clothes. The mojitos were perfect, and the Bra' serves these teeny little pommes frites done in duck fat that are from heaven. It should have been a stellar wind-down to the week.

Alas. )
darkemeralds: A falcon taking flight from a falconer's arm (Flight)
Eee! My trip to the UK is drawing nearer and I'm starting to be seriously excited, I think because today is the first quiet, restful day I've had in weeks to think about it.

I'll be in London from August 19th to about the 24th. I've got a hotel room reserved in Bayswater (trying hard to disregard the sticker shock--I'm sure it will be very comfortable!), and from that home base, I'm going to meet wonderful people--[personal profile] ravurian, and [personal profile] ruric (we might get to see War Horse!); [personal profile] altariel, and [personal profile] lamentables--and I hope [livejournal.com profile] happytune and [livejournal.com profile] communicator--and possibly even [personal profile] tehomet, who might be in England from Ireland at that time.

Then I'm going here! For a five-day retreat! I think "windswept Scottish island" pretty well covers it. I plan to bring knitting and writing. There will be reiki. And meditation. And walks.

And after that? Naturally, I'm going to visit [personal profile] kis, who is one of my best friends in the world, and we're going to explore Glasgow, a city I've never visited. I might take a train back to London, because I love trains and we don't have good ones here.

There are quite a few details still un-fleshed-out, and one or two reservations not yet made, but it's on. It's on! Whee!
darkemeralds: Naked woman on a bike, caption "I don't care, I'm still free" (I Don't Care)
I never quite realize how much stress I'm under until I get a break from it (or until I start getting overdraft notices, take your pick). I took Friday off to make the three-day holiday weekend into four, and oh, the sense of healing!

Rich days )

1I'm enjoying it. It's the kind of slow-unfolding story with slow-building suspense that I particularly admire.
2This one in this wool.
3Ironically, we were discussing writer's block.
4I don't even get to work at 8:30
5It was fabulous, pan-fried in a bit of butter and balsamic vinegar with dill and salt.
darkemeralds: Photo of a glass of whisky on ice with caption On The Rocks (Whisky)
It's pretty rare that I drink alcohol, and really rare that I have more than one drink. It is also pretty rare that I have a conversation that's relaxed enough and enjoyable enough that signaling the bartender for another round seems perfectly natural.

A colleague and friend of mine, who a year and a half ago lost his partner of 25 years to a sudden illness, is taking early retirement and leaving our common public sector place of employment in a matter of days. When I heard the news I suggested meeting for a drink at the Veritable Quandary.

They were avid world travelers, my friend and his partner, and my friend, recovered enough from his period of mourning to look around, has decided to take off and try the world again for several months. I drank Laphroaig and he drank zinfandel, and we laughed and cried a little, and he told me stories of how they'd met, and what it's like to be alone, and where he's going (pretty much everywhere, it sounded like).

We talked travel, and bikes, and retirement (I'm unbearably envious--he gave me the name of his financial adviser and I'm so gonna call her), and the whole conversation was really about freedom, and sorrow, and the spark of joy that can't replace what's been lost but which is, after all, still joy, and it was wonderful, and we parted at the bike rack on the sidewalk outside the VQ with heartfelt hugs, and rode off, he to the west and I to the east, in the late sun of a beautiful May evening.
darkemeralds: An old book whose spine reads Signsls and Cyphers, with the text DarkEmeralds (Cyphers)
Some days--not nearly as often now as in my past, thank goodness--I get so ratcheted up with all the things I don't have words for, all the things I've chosen to withhold, all the complexity of what I can and can't say in this or that circumstance, that it drives me to a state of "global high alert". That's the anxious, hyper-vigilant, nauseous, alarmed feeling that would probably be useful if there were a predator at the cave entrance, but which is counterproductive in the modern world.

Some weeks are better than others. )

Birthday!

May. 3rd, 2011 10:23 pm
darkemeralds: Manga-style avatar of DarkEm with caption Hee (cartoony me)
I would like to be--but am probably not--the first to wish a very, very happy birthday to my good friend [personal profile] kis. She has been my sounding board, my editor, my fellow Whedon fan, and my convention-pal (for that one con I went to) since the days of Firefly.

What's more, she's been an in-person friend for all that time, despite the 6000 miles and eight time zones that usually separate us. The things she's borne with from me! The writing angst! The personal trials and tribulations! The American tea! Jet lag (both directions)! My minuscule house!

Through many joys and sorrows of real life, and much fun and madness in the world of fandom, she's been a wonderful constant.

To know that there is someone here or there with whom you can feel there is understanding in spite of distances or thoughts unexpressed - that can make of this earth a garden.
--Goethe

Happy Birthday, Kis!
darkemeralds: Photo of espresso with caption "Straight Up" (Coffee)
I had the pleasure of meeting [personal profile] ranunculus this morning.

It was a last-minute meetup, slipped in to her schedule during a short visit to Portland. As it happened, it also gave me a reason to slip out of a scintillating meeting about year-end accruals and journal entries.

We met at Powell's--of course--in the coffee shop, and instantly launched into a get-acquainted conversation, which included lots of travel tales and just enough enticing tidbits about her line of work, and writing, and our very different backgrounds, to make me wish we'd had several more hours.

Her significant other and the friend they were visiting here lugged piles of books in from the shelves and set them on the long table, research for a novel the three of them are working on.

The local friend, on hearing that I currently have four whole paragraphs of my next novel written, and that the novel might conceivably involve magic, offered to include me in her sci-fi/fantasy writer's group--which I'm very interested in, having not been in a writing group for about a hundred years.

Sadly, though I managed to escape the accruals and journal entries, I did have to go back to work rather than join them all at the food carts for lunch before their flight home. But it was a lovely meeting and I'm so glad we did it.

Thank you, [personal profile] ranunculus!
darkemeralds: Screencap from "Atonement (Two Women)
...I'm now all wrung out and limp-rag. The music in this movie is so gorgeously calculated to evoke emotion! And the helmets too! I could live without the half-dozen endings, but while the absolutely endless credits roll, I'm letting the music play and kind of coming back from Middle Earth. A hell of a good movie. It's a mystery to me that I have no LOTR icons.

*Sigh* That felt good! Just to sit on the couch and watch a great favorite movie and be moved by it.

I've been swapping brains with [personal profile] ravurian for the last several days in a remarkable exchange of magic and ideas that's causing a ferment in my mind. For one thing, he gave me the structuring idea for my next novel. It was gonna be a spinoff of Restraint, but now...well, it's coalescing around the Order of the Golden Dawn (a hundred years later than the period of Restraint), and whoa, the research I will have to do! It's going to star Colin Morgan and Bradley James. Or possibly Merlin and Arthur. I'm not sure yet. There will be magic.

In the (totally random) meantime, I would love to have these shoes. Fluevog is about to open a store here, and it's probably just as well that they don't make my size.

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