Friday, April 29, 2016

Honest question: How do my Seattle friends, (who are not in tech) afford to stay there?

I can't get my head around how we could ever possibly go home with the current rental market to potential wages thing that's happening at present.

I talk, probably tediously, about where we'll move from here, because we are not staying in North Carolina thank you very much. I pipe-dream moving someplace new, then I worry about gentrification, because I'm conscientious. Then we talk about places that would be amazing, where we wouldn't be part of a larger problem, and they're all ridiculously expensive, with (2) student loans it's unrealistic to think we could afford living in a "large city with growth potential", or realistically even a mid-size city. It freaks me the fuck out to have to face the reality that we may not be able to afford returning to my home territory, (which is pretty large actually, stretching between WA-MT, OR-NV-CO and NorCal).

When I think about "home" I get misty, sometimes blubbery TBH. I truly identify as a natural born NWerner, I'm connected to our cultural identity and I get simultaneously excited and bummed out when I see opportunities for PNW artists... that I don't qualify for. The day my WA id expired I fell apart, it was like a part of my identity atrophied, turned black and fell off.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Life online

Here's a thing.

I did that self portrait a day thing for like five years, and I stopped because there was a bad-man in my life working to kill all the self confidence and voice I had built through that project. Interestingly it was that project that drew him to me in the first place. He was such a creep that I didn't feel safe to navigate my home spaces in Seattle, Portland or even my internet communities because he was creepy enough to be lurking everywhere. He is amongst you.

Prior to the 365 project I was blogging every day, or mostly everyday since before blogging was a thing, I started writing daily web site updates  in 1995, I started the 365 project and photography in general as an extension of blogging, adding my own pictures to my writing rather than using other peoples pictures. None of that is "narcissism" as so many people like to extoll, rather it's voice and exercising taking up space. So many people would prefer to have women believing that they don't deserve to take up space (fuck you), the internet isn't ever going to run out of space, (so fuck you).

I have been living my life online since it was even possible to do so, and I've enjoyed the actual real life friends as well as virtual friends I have made navigating the internet spaces I've dipped into.

Some years back a person close to me tried to kill me a few times. Getting away from him was challenging to say the least. I joined the military and changed my name (the first time), when I got out of the military he found me and began to threaten me again. I took legal action and changed my name again trying to vanish from view, taking myself off line and never going out into public alone. A few years ago I deleted all of my accounts because of bad men threatening my life, creepy dangerous men have caused me to alter my lifestyle, freedom, names, and personal conduct in the sole interest of staying alive. I retreated from posting, writing as much as I used to, taking all the pictures of all the things because of fear,  I felt that I had to disappear.

I've been away from the baddies.... I'm 3000 miles away from the baddies I can rationalize that I'm probably physically safe from the creeps. I'm going to return to posting more often.

kind of a cover letter

I left my hometown, Seattle to go to college, not necessarily to specialize in anything but to simply become a better human being, thinker, problem solver and communicator. My degrees are in animation, an artform that requires deep knowledge and wide ranging skills from handicrafts such as sewing, painting and paper crafts, to digital technologies including video editing, story craft, audio design and editing, design, and physical installations. And I have a Masters of Fine Arts in Experimental & Documentary Arts, I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that means, I will say that I lean heavily towards the experimental side of things.

Prior to going to college I devoted myself to photography; prior to that I was a dancer and choreographer; and have many years of experience producing very large scale dance and music productions; in the late nineties and early aughts I spent a few years working in front end development, (mostly poking at things until they worked and looked good); and prior to all of that I was in the Navy as a builder, I did gigs in residential remodeling to keep the bills paid while I committed myself to a life of creativity and experimentation. That's a pretty mixed bag of experience and skills! Admittedly my specializations come and go, but I never lose touch with any of the skills I've picked up and nurtured along the way.

So here's the thing, I'm curious, yes, and I'm not the entrepreneur type, nope, not anymore. I used to be when I was young and had nothing to lose and a higher tolerance for worry. Not so much anymore, I can channel my personal passions into volunteer work and hobbies like a normal grown up, I'm way past running away to join the circus, (I've already done that, it was great fun). I'm willing to work, put in long hours to bring ideas to life so long as they're ideas I can believe in and champion.

I think I'm a decent project manager, except that I have very little experience in generating or managing budgets, but I can get 1500 dancers in the same place, on time to look amazing with very few hitches; from casting calls to production night I'm a nurturing manager, very organized on the back end, a gentle prodder, and absolutely awesome at time management, I don't need to be the star of the show, but I do like a pat on the back and to have a good name with the higher ups for being good at achieving our goals.

But you know what, most of my really good experience comes from volunteering. I am a "burner" and have worked my way through the ranks of volunteerism at the organization that produces a large cultural arts community event for 15 years. At the 11 year mark I was invited to participate in newly created roles for "council" members, people who acted as experts, mentors and project managers for specific parts of the event production. I wrote my own job description as a Production Designer and served on the Fire Conclave Council from it's inception in 2010 through 2014 when I decided I needed to step away to focus on finishing my MFA with undivided attention. In the role of council member I shadowed the Managing Art Director of the event documenting every procedure related to producing the Fire Conclave, after the first year my partner and I effectively took on the full production of the Fire Conclave in every aspect of it's direction with the exception of full control of our budget, as the Council was a seasonal satellite to the full time corporate production house. I would love to have become a permanent full time employee. No resume is permitted to be as long and winding as mine would need to be to describe the experience of working as staff at this cultural arts event, even a cover letter is too limited in scope to keep a reader engaged long enough to get to the meat of it. It's easy to say I worked my up from being a meandering fire dancer to the person who ran the fire show and lined up every duck along the way, and it's not quite enough to say that I had to be extremely nimble in a rapidly changing creative environment, and I really wish the breadth of my experience working in this particular role for a few short years actually prepared me with all of the necessary skills and experience to directly port into corporate life. I was a director in the desert, but in the real world I'm seemingly unqualified for anything, despite that being the exact opposite of the truth, I'm deeply and exquisitely qualified, and missing the financial expertise.  The funny thing to me is that I went to school so that I would be qualified to be hired full time to do the job I was doing, and by deciding to go to school I somehow managed to lose my job.

And now I need a new job. I have kind of a specific skill set even if it looks like my experience is all over the board, the reality of it is that I spent 18 years working towards being a creative director, and did do just that for five years. I'd very much like to keep doing it. I love working with artists, I get them, I am one of them.

I have a few weeks remaining in school, I'm putting the finishing touches on my thesis film, and I am very motivated to return to the West, I would prefer to go to a job than to whisk off freely in search of one, as I am in fact an adult with a family and responsibilities, I can't jump in my van and go like I used to, (oh free wheelin' youth).

I've been so committed to doing well in school I haven't looked up from my books long enough to keep abreast of the kinds of places I could go, the kinds of places that utilize skill sets like mine.



I think we can all agree that I'm kind of eccentric, I've been working in art in some capacity since 1998, but before that I was well and good kooky lookin'.

While in grad school I've been growing out the wacky hair color, the very last wisps of the bleached bits are just the tips of my braided pigtails. I've loaded my wardrobe with neutral, (black and grey), business casual classics, the only giveaway of my eccentricities are my visible tattoos and the nose ring I can't take out, (when the time comes I'll have it removed).

However these are things I'm not interested in covering or removing, it's not like I'm young and being defiant, that might have been valid 20 years ago, but now, they're as much a part of me as the fillings in my teeth.

Eccentric people exist in the world, they're employable, work, pay their bills on time, make great contributions to thinking... . Why am I still concerned that I will have to straighten up and look like a muggle?

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Feral mac

It seems my MacBook pro can sense stress and gets defensive and lashes out at me when I needed it most.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

In Consideration of a Long Walk

I've been mentally planning to walk the Appalachian Trail after commencement from graduate school. I've wanted to do a long solo journey for a while, a long while. When I was still riding motorcycles I planned all of the logistics to do a Pan American ride when I turned 40. Well 40 blew by as I sat in a classroom. I started doing the actual research on hiking the AT, like, more than pining about it and now find myself conflicted.

Is hiking the AT really for me? I'm seriously up for a Long Walk, no doubt, and I'm motivated to scrape together all that's needed to take on such an adventure. I'm looking forward to some alone time in my head, mental challenges of a long solo hike, and the physical challenges of walking through the outdoors the hard way.  I'm interested in doing a long solo hike immediately after school so that I can complete it before I have to start paying down student loans, and to finish before the presidential elections.

Firstly, about me, and why it matters. 
I'm from a family of adventurers: My parents, together and individually were extreme outdoors people, my dad was a fly fisherman and did river conservation in the Pacific Northwest region and up into Alaska, often hiking hundreds of miles to go fishing, when I was a kid he took me with him, I walked a lot of rugged trail to hang out with my dad. My dad also skied, that's how my parents met. I learned how to ski before I could read or write. My mom is a sport pilot, flying to remote weirdo places since the 70's when I was wee. My mom is also a seasoned mountain climber, naturally she'd try to get me into climbing, (I wasn't into it). A friend recently said to me that I had no choice but to also be adventurous, and I think it's true. My brother is also an astute outdoorsman.

I'm a burner: I've been participating in Burning Man culture since 1999, I went to my first event in 2000 and have only missed two, one for a broken leg and last year because I was doing fieldwork in the outback of Idaho. I think most of the people reading this are probably familiar with burning man, but lets pretend this will be on the internet after I'm famous and there are readers who don't know about the 10 principles. Briefly: inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self reliance, self expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leave no trace, immediacy, and participation. Long before I was a burner, long before the 10P were codified I was already practicing most of these ideas.

When I think of a long walk, I think of decommodification, radical self reliance, communal effort, civic responsibility, leave no trace, immediacy, and participation... so like, most of them.  I think being a burner is an important consideration if the machinations of contemplation of hiking the AT for many reasons, and they may all be the reasons I don't hike the AT at all.

From my research it seems that the AT has a huge number of people through hiking during the season, so it wouldn't really be a solo adventure, I could do a southbound journey to avoid the crowds. The shelters and huts are pretty close together, they all have a privy and tables and reliable comforts, and there are a lot of towns with hostels, hotels and laundromats along the way, the longest anybody has to walk between reliable resources is 30 miles. I understand many of the resources available are designed to preserve the natural environment of the trail, I'm not contesting the importance of trail preservation.  But... none of that sounds particularly challenging, it doesn't seem self reliant at all! I saw one resource say she had an app on her phone that she used to order food delivery drops, (let's let that sink in), she didn't have to pack her own food or resupply and bounce supply boxes, she did not pack a stove and did not discuss the merits of cold cooking, leaving me to assume other accommodations.

I get that one's phone has all the things, I get it. I'm not so old as to eschew technology and it's benefits, but if you're taking a phone, kindle, rechargeable headlamp (because, handy), then you're also taking a battery bank to recharge all the things about 3 times each (3 days), recharging those things takes at least six hours at a wall socket -- solar on the AT doesn't work well because of the forest canopy. Six hours in town/hostel/motel every three days doesn't sound very self reliant, It sounds expensive, and that's not participating in decommodification in any way at all.

Hike your own hike... fuck your day, I get it.
That's not the kind of hike I want to have.

What I want out of a Long Walk is what I used to get from boring man (typo but I'm leaving it), it used to be mentally challenging and push my physical limits. I used to come away each year with a list of things I thought I needed to work on to become a better person, and doing it each year offered a test bed to see how well I'd done. Attending Burning Man made me a better person, and I think that process is not special to the burn, that process is the product of difficult personal challenges. I admit that the last few years of my participating in Burning Man were comfortable, as staff I got to take advantage of many privileges that reduced the physical stresses of being out in the desert for weeks at a time, I considered those privileges rewards for many years of doing it the hard way.

Is the AT really crammed with people? Is the AT adventure really hiking from town to town where you can stay in a bed, shower and recharge your electronic devices? Do I have it all wrong? Are there ways to through hike the AT without it being those things? Why the AT at all? What other trails will offer the challenges and rewards I'm interested in, and are long enough to actually get there in my head? What about a "flip-flop" or a southbound journey?

Is it that hiking the AT is too much like Burning Man? When you have some time watch the first 20 or so minutes of this video... it seems as if the culture is pretty similar, or it can be.

THAT looks like five months of walking between nighty parties. Meh.  I can't work out why that guy even needs a hiking gear.  If that's what I were into right now I'd go sniffing around DPW.

I've started looking at other trails, the Arizona Trail looks very promising, it's a two month hike rather than four to six, I can start later in the year and make it off the trail in time to vote and make my first student loan payment.  The John Muir is much shorter, but I think the seasonal requirements won't fit my schedule.

I'm interested in, but don't know enough about the Palmetto Trail, it cuts east through South Carolina, it's 427 miles. The Mountains to Sea Trail through North Carolina, it's a thousand or so miles, sadly some of it is on roads, bonus some of it can be done by canoe.  There is the Great Eastern Trail which runs parallel to the AT, it connects the Florida Trail to the Great Northern, it's a lower elevation than the AT so the season is different.

There are a number of amazing looking trails that may fit my considerations, and I'm having fun researching them as I procrastinate on other really stressful stuff. It's a nice diversion.

Do you have any experience with through hiking? How long did you plan? Did you go ultra light or touch it out with an extra pound or two? Supported or unsupported? Technical sections or pretty basic hiking? What other considerations did you keep in mind while planning? How much did it cost on a per mile budget plan?

I'm so curious!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

It's Time, Opening Reception, Exhibit & Screening

MARCH 25, 2016: Please join me in celebrating the work of the MFA EDA class of 2016 at our opening reception and thesis show. I'm presenting a gallery exhibit About A Plane Crash, as well as screening the film, A Movie About A Plane Crash, at 8PM in the Full Frame Theater with a Q&A to follow.

It's been a whole lot of work =) and we want to to share in our joy of making it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Camp Team Awesome HQ, new location

We just moved into a new place, an apartment in a nondescript building across from some really nice new apartments that cost twice as much for about the same space. The floors are solid and all the appliances work, that's cool. It's also 10 miles closer to school, the shop is now just a half a mile, so much easier. We're not totally settled in, I can only do so much at a time with homework and a feature film in production, but I'm getting there a little bit at a time.

I'm only in school here until May, Spouse is here for another year, this place works out great for us. I like this kind of apartment because it really could be anywhere in the country once the front door is closed.

LR, DR, study area, cat, facing the kitchen. 


The hi-fi (I just fixed it) and the Critical Self Portraits '15 backdrop

The Staff of Glistening Destiny and The Miter of Love's Reckoning, nobody has challenged me for them, so I still have them from Critical Massive 2011?  

The other cat, not this one, commanded I make a space on some shelves for him. Mocha claims victory as Cat of the Shelf. Filed between a box of slides and a tin of prints. 

Unpacking things that have been packed for 11 years. 

A soft battle.

This is gonna sound messed up.... but, this apartment is the least stressful place I've lived in 10+ years. I'm legit comfortable and contenty. It might be early, we've only been here two weeks, but so far so good.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I’ve been a bad friend.

I’ve been a bad friend. I’m in my own world, in my own head, trying to sort my mentalgarbage from mentalrecycling and mentalcompost.

If we’re not in the same town then you’re out of sight and out of mind. I don’t like it. I don’t call because I’m an insomniac night owl in a different time zone. My problems are weird and unrelatable unless we’re in graduate school together or you’ve been to grad school or film school or art school, and then you understand why I don’t call, ever, but then you know I don’t call anyway. Instead I brood, in a Benjaminian sort of way, if we’ve been in school together you’d know what I mean by that.

I’ve been a bad friend. My life has been through many phases of survival, I didn’t expect to live through it all, I probably didn’t expect you to live through your own demon battles, and yet here we are all circling 50 and we’re still alive. Who’d have figured that would have happened? We’re still pretty much the same-ish as when we were 16, 26, 36 or whenever we met, we’ve been friend a long ass time.

I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve switched teams, tried on different uniforms switched teams again and started over a few times, but some of you all are still there, and I still haven’t called.
I wonder if you’d let me visit. I don’t visit because I’m too broke to leave my own house, if I could I’d roadtrip my way to you just to hang out on your couch and quietly soak you into my system.

I’ve been a bad friend. Mostly, I don’t really know what any of you do for a living. I know you in a context outside of “work” but we know each other through a kind of work, be it creative or spiritual, or both, but we’ve probably never been shoulder to shoulder earning a paycheck together, braving the treachery of corporate objectives. Some of you I’ve know so long we met before work was something we had to do. For the record I don’t do anything worth talking about for a living, I assist thinkers so they can think and get that thinking synched through social media platforms, (which I find terrible). But I really love what I do, and I wish I knew how to make it pay me, which brings us back around to how well we know each other. What you think I do? So many people really don’t know, or you’re holding onto an idea of a previous version of me that’s long outdated? Does it even matter to you what I do? I’d like to know what you do so I can support you in your endeavors when you need to be shored up by friends.

But you know, if we passed on the street I’d enthusiastically hug you and suggest we hang out, get a drink, invite you to my studio to chill while I work, or suggest we go for a walk or get a beer or something. And I’d drop by your studio if I could. Maybe if we hung out, my arty-farty problems would be more relatable, we don’t have to talk about Foucault or Berger or Buchan or Butler, but I’ll circle the dance floor with them in our conversations.

I want to be in the same city as you, I want to be settled enough that I have a place that you can drop by to hang out, and I want that for you too. I want to sit around and plink away on the instruments we have laying about, sing silly songs and laugh at each other stories of blunders and successes. I’ve been so separated from that magic for so long, I really miss it.

I don’t know if it’s as uncomplicated as simply being in a different city, so many of you are at “home” and some have cast out and made new homes in other places, some of you are as transient as I am as we chase after degrees and ways to pay for said degrees. I think perhaps that smartphones (specifically), and social media have replaced actually being social. We feel kind of connected when we’re far afield because we’re all psychically connected through the world wide web. That was especially cool in 2005, but 10 years later I think what used to connect us now holds us all at arms length from each other, illuminated by the cool blue of mediated screens.  

Some of you I think about all the time. Seriously all the time, and I have some notion that we’re good friends because that’s what I wish we were, even if we aren’t presently, even if that’s not how you think of me. If I had a transporter I’d visit Melissa who was my very best friend at a time that was very much like a birth of this self, and Neko… I honestly don’t care that you’re a household name, we were really actually good friends before, and I miss you. I hope you reflect fondly on our friendship occasionally too. If I had a transporter I’d visit Georgia, the person not the place. I have a bunch of pictures of Eric as a baby that are stupid cute and you should have them. I could scan them, true, but I’d rather hand them to you. If I had a transporter I’d visit Amani and Sara and Sarah and Donia and Willow and Roxanna and Becky and Krista and Kimmy and Brenna and Gibson and Ashley and the platonic dudefriends Andy, Eric, Lonny, Doug, Jim, Jon, Matt, David, Chris, Jess, Justin and Micah.

Where I’m at right now feels as if I don’t have a past. There are no lingerings of my previous self present here and it’s lonely. Do you mind if I call at three o’clock in the morning? I’m 2300 miles away from “home” as the crow flies, if I made home a compass point and made a 2300 mile radius circle around it, that diameter would include the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut Canada, Hawaiian Islands, Aleutians Islands, Mexico City, and would encompass most of the US and Canada. Durham North Carolina is as far away from home as Adak Alaska, and I’ve lived there too, I felt more connected to my Pacific Northwesterness living in the Aleutians, my Pacificness in particular if I consider my years in the Northern Marianas Islands. Here in central North Carolina, I’m about as far away from my roots as I’ve ever been, I felt more at home in the Netherlands, Germany or England than I do here. North Carolina is as culturally different as Mexico City is from my Pacific Northwesterness. These comments are about culture, the food, mannerisms, the particulars of society, familiarity and nothing more. North Carolina ias as exotic as New Orleans is to me, or the corn fields of middle Illinois. My people are different.

When I superimpose the same radius from a map point in the motherland, for example Liverpool (a known point of embarkation for my family), that map includes vast cultural diversity, nobody in their right mind would even think that someone from Liverpool wouldn’t be a little culture shocked trying to eat dinner in Kazakhstan. The 2300 mile radius includes Ireland, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, Georgia, Syria, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Mali and Western Sahara. I’m as out of place here as a Liverpudlian would be in Mali. What’s my point? I might still be in my home country, but I’m nowhere near home.  

Sure I can make new friends, and I have, but that act doesn’t honor and respect or replace the friends who helped me become the person I am today.

I’ve certainly edited my friends, some of those edits have hurt, like pulling band-aids, but I think were necessary for personal development and enrichment of who I am as a person. By cutting some folks out I am a better person to, and for the people in my life, who I think are there for me too.  

Good friend bad friend. I’m worried. I left home to go to school because my hometown didn’t have the school I needed. And the next school took me even further away. Neither city has felt like a place we want to stay. And now home has changed so much I’m afraid I can’t go back, and that the city has turned into a place I don’t want to return to with it’s problems and growing pains. I’m afraid my loving spouse wouldn't want to go to my hometown, I’m afraid I don’t want to go to my home town. I love my friends. I love my friends. I want to see people on the street or out at an opening or a show, I want to have dinner and welcome and be welcomed. We’ve talked about trying someplace completely new, and I really want to try it, and I’m afraid of that too. I’m afraid the effort will be lost to homesickness and missing my people. Even if the place we want to go will be good for me.