Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Remember Everything.

December 22 Startup What's a business that you found this year that you love? Who thought it up? What makes it special?

The business that I discovered this year, while not a startup, was new to me and made the world of a difference. It came in the form of an app for my phone called Evernote. As some of you know, I successfully wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo this year and believe it or not I wrote most it on my iPhone. When I started, I was using the Notes app that comes with the phone and after I wrote a piece, either on or waiting for the bus, I would wait to go home then sync my phone with my computer, then I would copy the note to my Google document for revision or Man was that a hassle! I could only edit what I wrote from my home computer which is not very convenient at all. Then I found Evernote and it was like the app was made for me. This way I could still write my novel on my phone but I could access it anywhere there was an Internet connection. It was beautiful.

More than that I can also capture voice and digital images of things that I wanted to remember which is perfect for me because I come across a lot of things that I want to create a memory for but I am physically unable to because my memory sucks. With Evernote I can remember it all and that is perhaps the best feeling ever or at least for now it is....

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Clueless Project.

December 21 Project. What did you start this year that you're proud of?

The project that I am most proud about can must be summed up perfectly by a quote from Cher in the movie Clueless....

"Later, while we were learning about the Pismo Beach diaster, I decided I needed a complete make-over, except this time I'd make-over my soul. But what makes someone a better person? And then I realised, all my friends were really good in different ways. Like, Christian, he always wants things to be beautiful and interesting. Or Dionne and Murray, when they think no one is watching, are so considerate of each other. And poor Miss Giest, always trying to get us involved, no matter how much we resist?"

Throughout this year, I have taken steps to improve my overall wellbeing and completely make over my soul in the hopes of becoming a kinder, more accepting, more selfless person, and while the progress is slow, it is steady and this project will continue through the new year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Rare Treat.

December 20 New person. She came into your life and turned it upside down. He went out of his way to provide incredible customer service. Who is your unsung hero of 2009?

I met two wonderful people this year and while their reputations preceded them, I was not at all surprised when my expectations were exceed above and beyond what I heard because they are the type of people that are a rare treat in this world. They are the type of people you hear about and perhaps strive to be like because they are kind and generous and welcoming and the list goes on and on and if I am able to achieve the kind of warmth they displayed towards me upon my first encounter with them, I will consider it a true gift.

I met Henry and Aki Anderson in October and upon first meeting them, Aki welcomed me into her arms and over dinner Henry and I laughed over the our horrible pronunciation of sommelier. We spent the weekend together along with my parents and their friends and the trip concluded with a delightful breakfast that combined the tastes of traditional Japanese fare with the heartiness of the American style bacon and eggs.



Although I have yet to see Henry and Aki since that weekend, they have graciously invited my boyfriend and I to see them again and perhaps once the holiday hussle and bussle is through, I will take them up on their offer, but until then, I have the memories and know that I am better off having met them.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Inspiration.

December 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

I was on my way to Canada with my parents and @omgconor. This is what that drive inspired....

I got a kick out of seeing road signs that said 'food next right,' so excited in fact that I wrote home about it even though I got back home faster than my letter; I left two days after I saw the sign.

Every time we drove under two freeway bridges that crossed each other I put my hands on the ceiling of the car to make a wish, until I realized that my arms were getting tired because I was touching the ceiling every five minutes. See where I'm from they don't have signs that tell you food is at the next exit or freeways criss and cross and connect states and cities and countries.

Trees lined the roads as we ventured away from the city, it was overwhelming. I almost felt like we were invading their space like someone put a road right in the middle of a peaceful green forest and didn't even check with them to see if it was okay. The trees seemed to be getting their revenge by forming their growth into an almost tunnel like shape so that one day the tunnel will be so enclosed with branches, they'll take over the road and take backs what's theirs.

*I never finished the piece but perhaps the next time I'm on the road I'll find the inspiration I need to complete it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The End of an Era.

December 18 Shop Online or offline, where did you spend most of your mad money this year?

I immediately thought about clothes when I read this question, and while I did spend a good chunk of change on books and comic books, and aside from the usual living expenses, the mad spending money went towards clothes or shoes. Yet, when I think about it, the only reason I've spent so much on clothes is because for the past 3.5 years years I was employed part time at Banana Republic. So not only was Gap, Inc paying me, they were also acquiring a loyal customer who basically spent everything I earned in their stores. With my super sweet discount, I tried to fool myself into thinking that I was a getting good deal because a cute sweater that once was $100.00 is now only $35, I would always end up spending more than the original price of the sweater because everything is such a steal and I would spend twice as much and not think about it than I would in any other store, simply because I have a discount.

And so I continued this same pattern when the year became and stocked up on winter coats and got the newest spring fashions, but as the days got longer and the crisp Seattle air got warmer and warmer, I realized that I had had enough of Banana. For three years, I was working two jobs and I missed having a summer, so with a heavy heart I decided it was time to say goodbye, to my additional income, the amazing people I worked with, and also my discount, but what I did not say goodbye to was the clothes because I continued to shop there. I was so stuck in the routine of shopping at Banana that even without the discount, I still felt compelled to shop there. My boyfriend told me that I wasn't obligated to shop there anymore after I quit, but I continued to get discount cards in the mail, or a $20.00 reward card with my latest bill, and just when I thought I was done, I would get an email reminding me that Friends and Family weekend was right around the corner.

Like any addiction, I had to slowly weened myself off BR. I took baby steps, I stopped looking at the weekly emails they sent me, then I immediately recycled any fliers I got in the mail, and pretty soon I realized that I didn't need new clothes every month or even every other week because I had amassed quite a wardrobe over the past three years and now I realize that I don't have to be a slave to the styling of Banana Republic and can venture out on a limb and express myself in which ever way I chose.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

OMG!

December 17 Word or phrase. A word that encapsulates your year. "2009 was _____."

My default reaction to anything and everything this year has been OMG! It actually make me laugh now that I think about it....

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Digg Tea.

December 16 Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What's yours?

I like green tea and drink a cup pretty much everyday, so that would be my tea pick of the year, however, I am not opposed to trying different flavors and thanks to Kevin and Alex at Diggnation, I was introduced to a variety of wonderful teas this year.

Last year during the holiday season, the gang at Diggnation, spearheaded by tea connoisseur, Kevin Rose, created tea blends and sample sets courtesy of Adagio Teas that were perfect for any novice tea drinker (and Diggnation fan) like myself to see what else is out there. @omgconor got me Alex's Tea Bag of Holiday Goodness. What a fitting name! It was absolutely delightful like drinking a candy cane, yum!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Curb + Packaging = Hilarious!

December 15 Best packaging. Did your headphones come in a sweet case? See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves?

I don't like packaging here's a video that explains my frustration...

What is a Rush?

December 14 Rush. When did you get your best rush of the year?


I was a bit stumped by this prompt, mainly due to the use of the word rush, what is a rush, how is it defined. So I did what I usually do when I don't know the answer to something, I looked it up, I googled it. According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary rush is defined as:

an intransitive verb:
- to move forward, progress, or act with haste or eagerness or without preparation

a transitive verb:
- to push or impel on or forward with speed, impetuosity, or violence
- to perform in a short time or at a high speed

a noun:
- a violent forward motion, an attack, a surging of emotion
- a burst of activity, productivity, or speed, a sudden insistent demand
- the act of carrying a football during a game


Interesting, because my initial reaction of a rush was one that included a moment or a time during the year where I felt the most alive, where my heart was racing, I was on the edge of my seat, I was bursting at the seams with excitement and anticipation, I was beyond exhilarated and enjoying my life to it's absolute fullest potential. But I rarely had those moments this year, 2009 has seemed to be a year of transition and introspection, of reevaluation and contemplation about the choices I've made and where I need to go from here. Yet often, there were times when I acted with haste, not thinking about how my actions would later affect me or those around me and I constantly felt that I had to accomplish and perform to a very high standard in a short amount of time and I was constantly in a state in which my emotions were surging and unpredictable, so in those ways I did have a rush, although I have never carried a football during a game. And so, if anything, this question made me realize that if 2009 was the year I looked in and tended to myself, 2010 will be a year in which I come out of my place of solitary musing and live as if I've never had before!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Gaius Baltar!

December 13 What's the best change you made to the place you live?


Had I been asked this question last year, there would have been a long list of changes I made to the place I live because basically everything changed, the location, the furniture, the appliances, the electronics, and so this year the changes have been very minimal even though there are a ton of things I still want to do to my place. Then again, I forgot about the biggest change to the place I live and my life in general, about four months ago, my boyfriend and I adopted a cat from the Seattle Humane Society. She the perfect addition to our home and the cutest little kitty ever!

Where My Heart Is.

December 11 The best place. A coffee shop? A pub? A retreat center? A cubicle? A nook?

I've turned into somewhat of a home body this year, or perhaps I've always been this way without really even noticing it because I never had to think about it, but with this prompt, I've thought back on all the places that I've hung out this year and find that I'm coming up short.

In college I would have struggled to pick the best place from the coffee shop I'd spend hours in chain smoking cigarettes and pushing my mental faculties or another coffee shop where they would start making my triple grande vanilla americano as soon as they saw my bright green puffy coat make it's way into the door or the many bars that truly was, just like the song said, a place where everybody knew my name. But I think about where I get my coffee now, mostly at home or at my office, and while I occasionally treat myself to a vanilla americano and the barista knows my order by heart, the shop is not a place I hang out, it's merely a stop on my way to somewhere else. I rarely go out to bars, only once in awhile to watch a game or meet up with friends, but I would hardly call it a place that I find comforting.

As I pondered on the reasons why I used to seek out the familiarity of a coffee shop or a bar, a place where I felt comfortable and would even call it a second home, it donned on me that that was exactly what I was looking for, a place that felt as warm and welcoming and comforting as a home is, but now that I have my own home, I don't need to surround myself with familiar places and faces to feel like I am in a safe zone because I have created my own home and right now for me, it truly is the best place.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy 101.

Cool Beans! Jill over at Life After College, so graciously bestowed upon me the Happy 101 Award! I came across Jill's blog from 20sb and was totally feeling her vibe, she writes and blogs and dances and loves cats, she's my kind of gal! Her blog is a real testament to the trials one has to overcome once he or she steps outside the protective walls of academia and truly experience the real world for the first time. Whether you've gone to college or not, anyone can relate to her blog because part of balancing the bills and the jobs is everything in between, the fun, the laughs, the friends, the good times. So, I thank Jill and humbly accept her award.


So, this is how it goes....I have to list 10 things that make me happy, and try to do at least one of them today, then tag 10 bloggers that brighten my day. For those 10 bloggers who get the award, you must then link back to my blog!

1. Gaius Baltar, my cat, because she's so cute and a little sassy!

2. My family, my mom, dad, and brother, they make life worth living.

3. Blogs, my own and all the other ones out there that I have discovered and follow and read daily, but especially the ones I have yet to find because there could be an amazing blog around the corner.

4. My iPhone....does it need an explanation?

5. Organizing and cleaning because it give me a sense of control and order in my often times chaotic life.

6. Libraries because it's quiet and free and full of information and knowledge (even if it's sometimes smelly)

7. The Internet. Best Thing Ever.

8. Writing. It allows me to be both introspective and creative.

9. My Condo! It's an amazing feeling to walk in my door at the end of the day and know that it's mine, my first real home.

10. And my home wouldn't be a home without my boyfriend. He's kind and patient and smart and understands me in a way that I don't even understand myself yet. He makes me want to be a better person and that truly puts a smile on my face.

Now, here are 10 bloggers that brighten my day...

1. Yeri, with a very fitting blog for this award,What Makes Me Happy!

5. Kim at J&K a Journey!
6. Ashley Writing to Reach You at
7. Fernando at Urbanomical
8. Stephan Baird at Nikon Sniper

Happy Blogging!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Does a Podcast Count?

December 10 Album of the year. What's rocking your world?

This prompt reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend earlier this year which provides a perfect response to the question. It went something like this...

Friend: "So what are you listening to these days?"

Me: "Like music wise?"

(I listen to a lot of talk radio)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Year Long Challenge with a Happy Ending.

December 9 Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?

This year has been nothing but challenging simply because it was a year in which I often felt lost and misguided, it was as if one day I looked around and realized that I had nowhere to go, I was completely stagnant with absolutely no prospects on the horizon. Part of the reason I felt this way was due to my confliction with the place I currently am in my life, my physical place, the location, 26,000 miles away from where I'm from.

An enormous uphill battle for me was to get settled into my adult life here in Seattle and more than simply finding a job and an apartment was trying to figure out how to balance a full time job (and sometimes a second part time job) and paying my bills on time while doing the things that made me feel alive, that sparked my passion, and allowed me release and relaxation. As time went on, this feat was turning out to be almost impossible because, as I juggled all these responsibilities truly on my own, I realized that I may have made a mistake, that perhaps this life in Seattle wasn't what I really wanted. I was having a hard time finding the reasons why I wanted this independence in the first place, it was such a driving and motivating force that got me here but then a mere two years later I was questioning everything I once thought I knew I wanted for myself. But being the stubborn person that I am, I didn't want to throw in the towel, I didn't want to give up everything that I started and go home with my tail between my legs, so I continued to plow forward, I made myself invaluable at my jobs and I planted myself even deeper into this life by buying a home and solidifying my place in the Pacific Northwest. I thought if I had reasons to stay eventually I would remember why I chose to leave the comforts of my home land.

As 2009 rolled around, four years since I came back here, I had created a nice life for myself with a steady job, a nice home, a loving relationship, great friends, a new blog, but still it wasn't enough, I wanted more and so I searched the recesses of my being and tried to tap into something that would make me feel alive again, something that would motivate me in the same way that allowed me to make the big leap to move and after months of seemingly futile options, last month I finally found it, it was both fulfilling and challenging and in the end I came out with a new sense of purpose.

The challenge I found for myself was called Nanowrimo, in case you don't know what is, it's a challenge to writers to compose a novel, 50,000 words, 175 pages, in 30 days. I found out about it two days before November began and decided to give it a try. Unbeknownst to me, my blog was basically my training for this. I spent the entire year writing short stories on this blog sometimes daily, sometimes every other day, sometimes once a week, but whenever it was, I was constantly writing and so I was prepared because Nanowrimo was my marathon and I came out at the end a winner!

I always knew I liked writing but this experience made me understand that I was capable of meeting a deadline, producing quantity, and creating a story. The entire experience was one in which my creation was truly one that was freely formed and knew no bounds. Every time I set pen to paper so to speak, it was a blank slate, I had no idea where the story was going, similar to watching an episode of your favorite show mid season, you already have a framework of what is going on and who the characters are, but as the music cues and the title screen displays, you eagerly wait with anticipation to see the show unfold and the next piece of the puzzle to be revealed, and it was in that way that I wrote my novel, completely unaware of what came next until I was writing it. I learned a lot about myself and what I'm capable of and I'm excited about where this accomplishment will take me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Making Time for Me.

December 8: Moment of peace. An hour or a day or a week of solitude. What was the quality of your breath? The state of your mind? How did you get there?

This question really made me think about my daily life and the moments I have in which I am totally alone and I found that these times are few and far between. From the moment I wake up until the time I lay my head down to end a long day, I am only alone for very short periods time usually in the bathroom during which I don't think about achieving a state of inner peace. I live with my boyfriend, I ride the bus, I work in an office, so I am constantly around people and while I didn't notice my lack of solitude, nor did I think it was an issue, as I come to this realization I am understanding the necessity of alone time. My constant state of restlessness because I'm always on, moving, doing, thinking so much so that I forget about myself, my needs, my wellbeing because in order have a wholly fulfilling existence one must have time to reflect, unwind, and just be in the presence of no one else but yourself. I wonder how that has affected my overall state of mind these past couple of years as seemingly overnight I went from being all alone, an ocean away from my family, distanced from friends by time, isolated as the new girl in a foreign office, longing for nothing more than to be a part of something, but that's the thing about wanting something, once you have it, it could be more than you can handle. If anything I know from now on, I need to really try to make more time for myself and then maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to achieve that moment of peace.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Blog Around the Corner.

December 07 Blog find of the year. That gem of a blog that you can't believe you didn't know about until this year.

I started blogging at the beginning of the year and because of that, I started reading blogs a lot more. Before this year, I subscribed to blogs like boingboing (only because my boyfriend likes it) or NPR's Planet Money blog, very standard, well known type blogs, but as I branched out on my own and explored the territory of the blogosphere, I realized that there are so amazing blogs out there and thanks to 20 Something Bloggers, I've been introduced to many gems, too many to even count, but I will mention a few that I can't go without.

I really enjoy MJ's blog, In so many words, her blogs radiates with positivity as she explores her many interests and makes every day an adventure whether it's starting projects in her community, participating in Halloween parades, or traveling overseas.

I also really connect with Ashley over at Writing to Reach You, she's very Wonder Womanish, she works, she blogs, she writes, oh and did I mention she's getting her Phd? Yeah, she can do it all. Following her journey is inspirational because if she can handle everything on her plate and then some, then so can I.

And of course, there's my dear friend Yeri. Her blog, What makes me Happy! is phenomenal. She highlight fantastic finds that sparkle and shine, that compliment everything from the finishing touch on the perfect out fit to the funky accent that completes a room. It's the perfect place for her to showcase her creativity with her DIY projects.

The list could go on and on because if anything the true gem of the year is knowing that right around the corner could be a great new blog, and there is nothing better than that.

A Bright Preview.

December 6 Workshop or conference. Was there a conference or workshop you attended that was especially beneficial? Where was it? What did you learn?

I'm not sure if this counts because I don't really have to go to workshops or conferences for my job, nor do I really attend them independently, but I did go to a workshop of sorts that I think qualifies for this topic and it's also something I'm really excited about.

Last November, I attended a preview day at the University of Washington for the Information School. It was a Saturday at 830 in the morning and instead of snuggling up in my bed and indulging the playground of my dream world, I was bundling up and braving the cold in the early morning hours to travel to the UW campus. I passed by George with his foreboding presence looking down on generations of students, across the expansive of red brick in red square towards the impressive and imposing Suzzallo Library, down the stairs and around the corner to a fairly new edition to the campus, Mary Gates Hall.

Thanks physics dept.

Perhaps on a day when the sky was not so saturated with clouds, one could have caught a glimpse of Mount Rainier in all it's majestic glory.

That morning, for the first time in a long time, I got excited, genuinely excited about something, so much so that to this day, my mind is often interrupted with the possibilities of what could be. Recently I became interested in getting my Masters in Library and Information Science and this preview day fueled my interests and put then into high gear. Not only did I learn more about the program, but I also attend a mock lecture by Professor Joseph Janes on searching for information and how that process has evolved and will continue to in the modern world. There was also a student panel that spoke about their experiences in the program that actually changed my perspective on how I want to approach the program myself. All in all it was a great morning and by the time I left it didn't matter that I woke up at the crack of dawn in the freezing cold, because I had a new outlook on all the opportunities at my fingertips.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Night to Remember.

December 5 Night out. Did you have a night out with friends or a loved one that rocked your world? Who was there? What was the highlight of the night?

Best night of oh nine...wow, a lot of memorable nights have been drunken and hazy and while the details are not always clear, I know I had a good time, but at my age I feel a good night out should be more than just drunken abandon, it should put a smile on my face and make me want to hold onto the night forever because it was just that special, and to me there is nothing more dear to my heart than my family and loved ones and so I'm glad I had to take time to ponder on this topic because as I did the best night fell right into my lap and it happened just last night.

On Saturday December 5th, @omgconor, my parents and I shared pitchers and wings and watched the Huskies defeat the Bears in the last game of the season. Now this was no ordinary night and was not something that could just happen on a whim, see my parents live in Hawaii and my father my father, @treestumps, has been following Husky football passionately this season and every season since I came to the University of Washington in 1999 and while never seeing a game in the flesh he supports the team as best as he can even though the games are not always televised out there in the middle of the pacific ocean and after driving 20 miles last weekend to watch the Apple Cup that was ultimately not shown, he and my mother flew 2,600 miles to watch the last game of the 2009 Husky football season.

Although the game was just a 15 minute car ride away, the 30 degree temperature made sitting in the Husky Stadium for three hours an impossibility for my folks and so we settled in our new favorite sports bar and had the best night ever! The excitement on my fathers face will stay with me forever and it's small gems like that that can turn another Saturday night of college football into the best night of 2009.

Friday, December 4, 2009

An Amazing Read.

December 4 Book. What book - fiction or non - touched you? Where were you when you read it? Have you bought and given away multiple copies?

I started this year with a newfound interest in comic books and I read them obsessively. I couldn't get enough of them, I was the girl on the bus who read comics, balding, middle aged men would strike up conversations with me (ew), someone even proposed to me when I told him I was reading Swamp Thing, and I would get recommendations from people left and right. The thing I realized about comics is they tell really amazing stories that are surprisingly well written and I've always been interested in how a visual image can enhance the written word. As an English Major in college, I would often find inspiration from paintings or scenery or images for my writing, so comic books or graphic novels for adults touches on that interest.

So, after about 8 months of reading strictly comic books, I decided that I needed to read a real book and I actually found it difficult to shift back to the novel form. The book that I read was The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon and it was a great segway since it was a book about the two title characters making their way into the comic industry during the 1940's.

Thanks amazon!

Once I got used to not having pictures to accompany my story, I got lost in the lyrical rhythm of Chabon's narrative. He is an amazing writer with a masterful grip on the English language with the ability to reach into his expansive bag of descriptive vocabulary to provide such a memorable reading experience that every sentence is a true gem. I absolutely loved it. I haven't bought copies for people, but I have gone to my favorite used bookstore and bought nearly all of Chabon's other titles because he is an amazing writer and I'm glad that I was introduced to his books this year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Article of Behemoth Proportions.

December 03: What's an article that you read that blew you away? That you shared with all your friends. That you Delicious'd and reference throughout the year.

I used to read the actual newspaper daily, I don't do that anymore. I would read the New York Times, Seattle Times, and Honolulu Advertiser all online but I don't do that any more either. I don't read magazines except for Wired and the occasional US Weekly only when I'm on a plane. I get all my news and any other information from NPR, which I listen to all day at work, Twitter, my Reader, or Facebook.

This is another hard one, not only because I have come across countless articles all of which have been inspirational and thought provoking, but because I have a hard time remembering everything I read/hear. I consume so much information on a daily basis that it's overwhelming, that being said, I'll pick a fairly recent article I first heard on Talk of the Nation then read on the NPR website, I tweeted about it and also put it up on Facebook. It was called 'Googled': From Brainchild To Behemoth. Author Ken Auletta was on the show talking about his book Googled: The End of the World as We Know It, traces the growth of Google and touches on the ways in which the company enhances our lives in amazing ways, yet alarmingly it has the potential to ruin us, it's users, as well due to sheer amount of information that Google has about the people who use their applications.

I found this interesting because 1) I absolutely love Google and eveything they produce (except their phone because the iPhone is better) and

Thanks niall-larkin!

2) because I'm interested in how we search for information in this modern world and how searching for information has significantly changed since I was growing up. A friend of mine often says 'why wonder when you can know' and that is exactly what Google provides for us, a direct link to knowing, to knowledge that a lot of people literally have at their finger tips and carry around with them in thier pocket, the possibilities are endless and that makes it so exciting.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Restaurant Moment.

December 02: Share the best restaurant experience you had this year. Who was there? What made it amazing? What taste stands out in your mind?

God! This is a hard one, simply because I absolutely LOVE eating, out, in, anything, everything...I've been thinking a lot about this one and I've been to a lot of deliciously tasty restaurants over the year, some finds thanks to Brett and Mandy over at Seattle Date Night who offer great recommendations of places to dine around town. Yet I keep going back and forth among a handful of moments unable to decide, mainly because part of what makes these times so memorable are the people with whom I shared meals with and for me that is key to a pleasurable dining experience.

Thinking about this brings back a lot of great memories like the time a friend and I shared a cozy corner at the end of a bar in a carefree organic cafe and munched on tasty bacon and savory jam, or the time at the seafood buffet in Vegas that turned into a food frenzy gone wrong, or the countless Friday Vietnamese lunches with my coworker(s), or the birthday dinner for my boyfriend's mom where we dined on Italian Food and closed down the place, or the drunken feast of salmon burgers with my brother, or the last of a whirlwind of eateries when relatives came to visit, the list could go on and on but I keep coming back to a meal I shared, not too long ago, with my boyfriend @omgconor, and while we share practically every meal together and it's always good times, this one particularly sticks out in my mind because I ate the most amazing piece of meat! I love a good piece of bloody meat nothing in the world is better than that, which makes me wonder why I ever was a vegetarian, youthful idealism probably, anyways, back to this meal...it was a somewhat spontaneous dinner, although we did make reservations and we braved the pouring rain and blustery winds to dine atRuth's Chris which neither of us had ever been to which is another reason why I picked this night because while I patronized many places, they were all repeats of restaurants that I dine at frequently. I had the

Thanks Passionate Eater!

ribeye and it was divine, so savory and juicy in all it's meaty goodness. @omgconor watch in absolute wonder as I devoured the entire thing, well almost, I took a very small piece home because we also had dessert, but he was still pretty amazed at the amount I consumed, so with our bellies contently full and a giddy smile on our faces, we once again stepped out into the November cold on our way home but this time we didn't seem to notice the whipping rain drops and chilling winds because nothing could put a damper on our wonderful evening.

Best Trip of 2009.




I came across an amazing find today thanks to The Novelista Barista, it's a blog challenge hosted by Gwen Bell. It is 31 post in 31 days about the best of 2009, I think this is a great idea! After nanowrimo, I really need take some time off from writing and do something fun. This is a real departure from what I usually write on this blog and while I wanted to stick to short stories, perhaps it's time to deviate from the well worn path and try something new, so here it goes...I'm a day behind so i'll do two posts today to catch up.

December 01: What was your best trip in 2009?

I didn't go on a lot of trips this year, I went to Hawaii twice, Las Vegas, and Canada. They were all fantastic trips and served it's purpose of relaxation and good times, but if I had to pick one, I think I would have to choose Canada only because it's the only place that I've never been to before and the experience was shared with people I love and hold very near my heart. I would like to mention that I've lived in Seattle for the past 10 years and have NEVER crossed the border so it was all very exciting!! I was like a little kid going to Disneyland, seriously I was that amped about it and although it wasn't that much different, I was not disappointed in the least.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

X plus Y.

Now if you ask my Aunt Yanni, she'll tell you that she knew way before either one of my parents that they were destined to be together. I often tried to pick her brain about that, but she remained elusive and would simply smile and say, 'when it's meant to be, I can always tell.' I never knew what to make of that, sometimes I thought of my Aunt Yanni as some prophet, like in the way olden days, way before even my mother's time when people lived in villages and traveled in carts drawn by horses or some kind of animal and sought out the eldest person who spoke in cryptic messages that always had some deeper meaning; my Aunt Yanni had that kind of aura. So while Aunt Yanni was sitting on this secret knowledge, my mother still didn't know even after six years of dating, but if you ask me I'll tell you that five years into dating I knew they were meant to be because something changed in my mother's eyes in the pictures I would see from that day at Comicon. But to really understand where my mother's doubt and uncertainty came from you would have to know about everything that led up to that day when they stood up on the stage as Yorick and Amp, my dad dressed in a gas mask and a cape and my mom as a monkey wearing a diaper and everything that came after that day. Their outfits were fashioned after the graphic novel series Y the Last Man in which Yorick is the last male human being on earth and along with his pet monkey Ampersand aka Amp, make their way across the country and over seas amidst all the surviving women, to find out what caused the death of all the men. Let me just stop for a minute to say how silly these interest were that my parents slightly obsessed over, I mean this wasn't written by a man hating feminist during the Women's Right Movement, this was in the year 2001 and while that may have been eons ago, it was still well within the time frame when women were equal and had been for many many years.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So, I Wrote a Novel.



The month long craziness finally came to an end, and with 5 days to spare too, on Wednesday November 25, 2009 just moments before the clock stuck midnight, I had successfully written 50,000 words thus becoming a winner of nanowrimo. I can look back on the experience and wipe my brow and tell you it was cake, and sometimes it was, sometimes I was in a zone so fueled with creative inspiration that I would look up and realize I missed my stop and the bus I was on was carrying me farther than where I planned on going, and like this novel I have traveled above and beyond that which I thought I was capable. Yet other times it wasn't so easy, other times I was staring at a blank screen and a blinking cursor cursing myself for undertaking a seemingly impossible feat, but I kept my head down and my fingers typing and I came out on the end side with a novel. It's not a great novel, it's not even a finished one, but it's a start. I'm drained and excited and proud of myself and I guess that's the whole point of nanowrimo, self satisfaction, a frenzy of words and idea, a testament of will, and a great jumping off point to start the second draft. That being said, I need to hang up my writer's cap, take a little break and do the things that I was unable to as I raced to the finish line, like read my book, hang out with people, and most importantly sleep.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Interest in Love.

I can only suspect my father's giddiness at my mother's new found interest because that meant he could indulge and enjoy his own interest without the questioning eye of my mother. Now he was able to share them with her which brings us to Comicon, short for comic convention, a weekend long event held all over the country, actually all over the world, celebrating artist and writers and comic and merchandise and anything and everything in between related to comics, included in the everything was a costume contest which yes if you're thinking it, you are absolutely right, my parents in all their twenty something awesomeness donned costumes the following year, entered a contest and got second place.

Years later my parents would show me a faded colored picture of themselves standing on the stage being presented with their second place sash, my dad looking proud and a little sheepish and my mom beaming with excitement tail in hand, and yes explanation of the tail is coming, but first I want to say that I saved this particular photo and downloaded it into my cranial hard drive for a number of reasons, but mainly because this photo captured in my mother's eyes a change that I would continue to see in pictures from then on; on occasion I have attributed this look to the picture quality or the excitement of the moment or the angle in which the photo was taken, yeah they had to manually take photos and then have then developed, crazy, I know, but no matter what the reason, I keep coming back to my own hypothesis that it was this moment that my mother knew she was going to marry my father or at least be with him for the rest of her life, perhaps it was the fact that they were sharing a very public moment together for the first time and in some ways it reminded my mother of a wedding ceremony but whatever the reason, from then on, there was a glimmer in my mother's eyes that said to anyone who took the time to notice, that she had found the love of her life.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Watch Me.

Eventually my mother came around and lucky for me she did or else I wouldn't be here to tell you this story. Anyways, back to my father, the type of guy who didn't give a damn about about what people thought about him or so he led everyone to believe, that's what my mother thought until she got to know him, see my father didn't give off the air of someone who thought he was better than everyone else and thus didn't care what everyone thought, on the contrary, he was extremely self conscious and what people mistook for aloofness was actually insecurity and self doubt coupled with patience and objectivity.

Thanks piterart!

He was naturally rational and perceived the world around him in a very analytical way, to my father, emotions and feeling a certain way didn't play a significant role in the outcome of a situation, rather logical and reason were the deciding factors.

So it didn't matter that he was a twenty something reading his comic books, or should I say graphic novels on the bus, but if you paid attention every once on awhile you will see a grown up kid at heart pulling out the latest edition of a graphic novel series from his (or her) bag on the bus and assume the position of the child they were many moon ago enjoying the fantasy of a marriage between pictures and words on the way to school. My mother scoffed at my father for wasting all his money on comics until one day she after the steadfast insistence of my father, my mother picked up and read, her very first comic book, The Watchmen.

Thanks mediamolecule!

The Watchmen written by the epic writer Alan Moore, was probably a good pick for my mother to start with because with that particular book she saw how capivating and well written a comic book could be and upon finishing it she wanted more, and just like that my mother the skeptic became a comic book fan.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Sight.

I was telling you about my father the quiet genius who I guess now that I look back on it was ultimately responsible for the crazy names that would be the legacy of my family. He made his way into the adult world not giving a care to what anyone thought about him, reading comic books on the bus, picking his nose at his desk, riding his bike in 30 degree weather, well I guess that ones a little crazy but he knew what he liked and indulged his interests because it made him happy. It was the same way with my mother, he knew from day one that he liked her. It wasn't a love at first sight thing, it wasn't even lust at first sight, it was simply like at first sight and my father was the type of person for whom a like could turn into a life long love. I suspect he saw her around briefly, in passing, but the first time he noticed her was a

Thanks Looney 1!

winter day typical of the pacific northwest climate, my mother was sitting cross legged on a twin bed in her friend's dorm room. My mother and her friend Yanni were studying or so they said, later I would found out they were eating Stoffer's lasagna and Tim's jalapeno chips lamenting how school sucks, pining for the weekend, wondering if Paula would have another party, while playing an animated computer game called Booty Call in which the main objective was to get Jake laid, (trust me I had a hard time hearing that this was the kind of activity my mother engaged in). Yanni progressing through the game, occasionally asking if Jake, should go to the jacuzzi or stay in the house and go upstairs, when there was a knock at her door. It was my father looking like the 18 year old punk that he was asking for a cigarette and also if Yanni could introduce him to her friend sitting on the bed. Yanni tossed him a cigarette and told him to get lost. My mother and Yanni were mean to my father back then, not really mean they just held him at arms length not yet sure that he was worthy to be friends with them. It wasn't like they were being elitist and thought people were lucky to be there friend, it was just that they were meeting so many new people that they couldn't be friends with all of them, they couldn't extend themselves to all of them, they had to test drive so to speak these friendships to see it fit.

Thanks PJM!

Yanni and my mother were a package deal in college, you couldn't get one without the other, so I guess it worked in my mothers favor that Yanni also decided my father was cool enough to be friends with them because that was just the first of many attempts my father would make at asking Yanni to help him get my mother to fall in love with him.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Comicon.

Since then my mother learned how to be pushy without actually touching anyone but rather than it being a quality that was revered, it sometimes has the effect of being off putting and annoying, but at least she wasn't pushing people down hills anymore. So here was a fictional television character that my mother looked up to and thought about dressing up as for Halloween but was unable to pull off, although she did tell me that Starbuck didn't have a distinct enough look to do a costume, yet she showed me a picture of her Internet friend who was successful in mimicking this character. All the way on the other side of the world, a girl in Australia was donning the perfect kick ass Starbuck gear for a costume contest at Comicon. Comicon? you ask, well to tell you about Comicon I need to tell you about my father, he was the one that sparked these scifi show watching, comic book reading interest in my mother. I guess it added to my mothers interest that at around the time my father was planting these seeds in my mothers head, she met someone that would be her friend for the rest of her life and he too liked comic books and Battlestar too. His name was Fernando, Uncle Ferd as I would call him, but his story comes later

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Push.

I would like to say that I dutifully assumed my role as the eldest child and was very responsible and helped my parents out as much as I could and strayed away from devious, experimental, rebellious teenage behavior

Thanks PrAsanGaM

and I tried to impress upon the younger children to do the same and for the most part it worked. Kara and Lee, the twins who were two years younger than me held me in such high regard, they looked up and idolized me even wanting to be me. I'm not trying to flatter myself here, I see all those skeptics rolling their eyes thinking 'yeah, right' but I swear to you it's true. Kara and Lee were also named after characters in Battlestar Galactica, they were fighter pilots in Galactica's fleet and had cool nicknames. Kara also known as Starbuck and Lee was also known as Apollo (thank goodness, the twins didn't end up with those nicknames as real names, my youngest brother, wasn't so luck though, his name is Number Seven, no really it is). Starbuck was a real bad ass and I sometimes think my mother wanted to be her, like have that no nonsense approach to everything and be able to stand up physically and mentally to any man in this world and have the confidence to actually try to take a man down in a fist fight. My mother liked to think she could do what Starbuck did but she wasn't into violence and causing physical harm to others. I think she got that out of her system when she was in the sixth grade and accidentally pushed her friend down a hill and had to go to the principal's office. Her friends thought it was fun to pretend fight with each other and would push each other around and sometimes throw in a slap or grab a fistful of hair and then when things got right to the tipping point where someone could get hurt they would retreat, comb through their hair with their fingers, smooth out their clothes, give each other a sheepish smile and got back to gossiping about boys. But one sunny afternoon, my mother, an awkward, lanky girl of 12 didn't know when enough was enough and when her fighting partner was trying to pull away, my mother kept pushing and pushing and pushing until there was no where else to push and with one final shove, her friend went tumbling down the hill.

Thanks raphael gerber!

My mother never physically pushed anyone after that day when she sat with her head hung low as her father a big physically imposing man standing at six foot four inches walked into the principals office and with his huge pigskin throwing hands took my mother's petite piano playing fingers and led her to the parking lot and drove her home disappointment reeking from his silence.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Balancing Act.

Being their very first pet, the very first thing other then themselves that they had to take care of, my parent's had yet to learn the fine balance of tough love which is like walking a tight rope, lean even just a little to one side and you'll fall and you'll fail and you'll lose whatever upper hand you had and back then neither of my parents had very good "balance" so to speak although it was one skill that my father liked to boast about having, so instead of giving her a firm no when she walked on the kitchen counters they tiptoed around GB and sometimes said no and sometimes said nothing at all and most always ended up with fur in their food. My mother dismissed it saying Gaius Baltar was her little baby and could do no wrong and my dad, well my dad the eternal moderate never wanting to cause conflict, never wanting to confront anything, always wanting to have peace hung out in the gray area and let Gaius Baltar do whatever she wanted.

I have to take a moment to digress and say that that was my parents then raising their first cat, they learned a little more about balancing with they're second cat, Serenity, and a little more with their third, Boomer so by the time they finally had children my mother's real little baby, me, could do lots of wrong but because she loved me so much she wasn't about to tiptoe around me, she would set me straight so I wouldn't turn out as bratty as GB and because of her, I would grow up to have a very clear sense about right and wrong, I would learn later that, like my father, sometimes taking the middle ground is the best way to go.

As for my father, as being a father he continued to keep a level head and didn't say much but when he did, he spoke words of wisdom that would stay with me for life so it became that I had the freedom to do what I wanted but I knew my limits because I didn't want to disappoint my parents, and what more can parents ask for? But more than that my parents deserved well behaved children I mean they were in their sixties after all when they had us and then in their seventies when we were all going through those angst filled teen years. Man that must have been the worst!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The BSG Legacy.

Now that you know my mother, I'll get back to telling you about my parents, ah my ancient parents and their quirky naming, you gotta love them. I guess if you knew them, which I'm sure almost none of you do, it would make sense. They named their first cat Gaius Baltar, after another character on Battlestar Galactica, Caprica was on that show too, it wasn't a character but the name of a planet. See Battlestar Galactica was set in the future and Caprica was one of the planets which got obliterated by the Cylons.

Thanks ronallan!

Cylons were these robots that humans created to do stuff for them only the Cylons got smart, evolved, began to think like and even look like humans and attacked their creators! Wow! What a storyline! I apologize for the sarcasm but really television and broadcasting so 2050! The idea of sitting in front of a box for about an hour watching a scripted show then waiting a week or more to see the next episode is absurd to me. Who has time for fictional television today when you can live it? And I actually did once, I mean my family was so heavily influenced by this show that I had to see what all the fuss was about, (did I mention that my Uncle Tower, that's right Tower, his story will come, I promise, named a cat that wasn't even his, but he fed occasionally, Cylon and wrote home about it and sent pictures?) so I put on my Dream Fold one night and lived on a Battlestar and piloted fighter jets called Vipers and, meh, so so, I'll tell you more about that later. Anyway, Gaius Baltar, was the first of many scifi named cats my parents had and trust me there were lots of them and you know it was all my mother's doing, my dad never knew he liked cats until he met my mother, in fact, if it wasn't for him, she would probably have ended up as that crazy cat lady living alone with her 50 cats, yelling at neighborhood kids and generally making a nuisance of herself and her cats, but alas, my father's appearance in her life saved her from that end and instead she became the sometimes crazy, always with lots of cats lady, but because she lived with my father it was somehow okay that they had a lot of cats; not 50, but I think at one point they had eight. They named their second cat Serenity after the spaceship in a show called Fire Fly. They thought that the name would somehow ooze into the cat making her calm, see Gaius Baltar, or GB

Thanks @omgconor!

as they sometimes called her was either naturally agitated or her behavior was the result of being spoiled. She was constantly biting people when they tried to pet her completely unprovoked, she would look so calm and peaceful sleeping but try to touch her and claws were digging into your skin and sharp teeth were bearing down on your hand! This isn't an exaggeration, but its not as bad as it sounds either from what I heard about Gaius she was simply overzealous and extremely playful.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Steely.

A marriage of all these factors, the inception of a new political and economic climate, the warm, sunny, unique culture of the Hawaiian Islands, and a name like Steely would shape my mother into the semi adjusted to normalcy person that she turned out to be. Steely Tomskin defied all the the things that tried to define her while she was growing up, so instead of being one of the money hungry, self entitled people that so many of her generation turned out to be, my mother was frugal and conscious of fully deserving the things that she had, expecting if anything to work hard and maybe even suffer a little if it meant that in the end she was be crowned with the fruits of her labor and know that she earned it. And in protest of the welcoming smiles and warmth of the Aloha spirit in which she was raised, Steely was a cold and very standoffish person for which acceptance into her graces were often met with resistance and skepticism but once this barrier was breached, the Steely that only a few were lucky to know, and the one that I desperately wish I knew, was one who exhibited considerable kindest and trust and true and loyal friendship. The one thing that she couldn't shake as a trait handed down through the generations was naming her offspring after something, because just like her parents, she was known for naming children and pets alike uniquely as the individual they grew to be, and what else could you expect from someone named Steely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Foreigner.

Steely Tomskin was only made aware of this fact, not because she went seeking out it out, but because she a little different and despite her multicultural heritage, her majority Asian and Polynesian backgrounds weren't enough to combat her light green eyes and pale skin and Caucasian last name, so she was always thought of and referred to as haole, meaning foreigner in the Hawaiian language but the definition of the word became convoluted to refer only to people of Caucasian decent, especially those from the mainland or continental united states, and not unusually had derogatory undertones.

Thanks Stephen Poff!

That coupled with a name like Steely, (my mom was named after a jazz rock band, Steely Dan, who's popularity peaked in the late 1970's, right around the time my grandparents were getting high and rocking out to Steely Dan's euphoric and eccentric lyrics declaring to each other that they would promise the band's name to their first child),

Thanks Dimi the Geek!

provided for not the best childhood for my mother and I can only imagine why she sought desperately to leave that place behind, although she would later learn that she had a hard time blending in with Caucasian Americans who lived in the continental united states, because they knew that even though she looked like them, once she opened her mouth they knew she was far from being one of them.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Scars.

The Hawaii that you and I know today, the epitome of relaxation and harmony, the true definition of paradise,

Thanks beautifual cataya!

isn't the same Hawaii my mother knew as a child although at the time, the official tourism website for the Islands thought that Hawaii done the impossible by achieving an almost Utopian state because along with sandy beaches and sunny skies they promoted 'a warmth of hospitality and generosity from everyone you meet' as an example of their culture in which different ethnicities melted together and lived side by side in blissful peace and invited you to share in this unique experience.

Thanks merwing little dear!

But as Steely Tomskin would find out, things were not always as picturesque as they made it seem especially not when you lived there day in and day out because, as my mother would experience first hand, for all the idealistic harmony that Hawaii seemed to offer, there were deep seeded scars from hatred and racism and unfounded biases that were handed down from generation to generation that years and years later, no one knew exactly why they hated or where they hate come from but knew that hate existed and hung onto it and wore it as a badge because it was in their blood and so as it was, Hawaii wasn't so different as any other place in the country, but the State Department of Tourism didn't want to know that, so they swept it under the rug and hoped no one took a peek at the dirty little secret they tried to so desperately hid.

Monday, November 9, 2009

1981.

My mother was born during a turning point in American History. The country had just elected Ronald Regan as their president and unbeknownst to the people, this collective decision would lead to deficits in not only the national debt but in the moral capacity of people as the seeds of greed and capitalism were planted and nurtured and thus

Thanks Lillou_Merlin!



ingrained into a society that would continue to perpetuate this philosophy until they would suffer the consequences of their excessive ways 27 years later, some years after President Regan was laid to rest. Yet the unrest that he initiated during his presidency would continue to disrupt and perturb the lives of the American people for a considerably longer time. But during his inaugural, Regan boasted that in light of the "present crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem," and from the height of his seat on his white horse, he rode into the White House to save the day. His solution to government was to turn the governing branches into a well greased cog in the the machine of a well run business and as the CEO of this company he took a tough stand on unions which resulted in increased productivity but meant wages for blue collar working people remained stagnant which greatly increased the gap between the haves and the have not's

Thanks Nugmeg 66!

and this would continue through his presidency so the rich got obscenely rich and everyone else worked twice as hard and wondered what it was all worth because at the end of the day, they barely had anything to show for their work. And in this hard working class is where my mother, Steely Tomskin, found herself growing up on an island in the Pacific Ocean, you may have heard of it, called Oahu, Hawaii.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Pick One.

Anyways, like I was saying my mother was always late because she could never make a decision and so she waited until the last possible second to make a choice before her time was up. This probably had something to do with her strong belief that we make our own destinies because she never wanted to make the wrong decision for fear of living with the consequences. I am like my mother in a lot of ways but I've also learned how to not be like her too, because when given a choice I don't drag my feet or ho and hum, I weigh my options, make a list, (list making something else I got from my mother) and pick the best option in a reasonable time frame, reason-ability that I got from my father, but I'll tell you his story later.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Late.

This was typical of my mother now that I think about it, she was always late to do everything, she was late to start her career, late to get married which by the way, was one of the things she vowed never to do, along with having children and may I add I have three younger brothers! She was late to start college, late to pick an extra curricular activity in high school, which is not to say she wasn't involved, because she was, it just wasn't doing things she wanted to do (but that's a whole another story which I'll tell you later). She was even late getting her period, don't ask me how I know that, it's just another example of how lateness was inherent in my mother, which isn't to say that my mother didn't have a say in what happened to her and used her perpetual lateness as an excuse because she was the type of person to accept full responsibility for the outcome of her life. And I wouldn't expect anything less from my mother because of her, I am a very firm believer in free will and personal responsibility, don't give me any of that destiny, things happen for a reason crap! We make things happen. Period. Sorry, where was I?! You'll have to get used to those tangential outburst, I get minorly passionate about things sometimes and I just have to say something.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Caprica.

And so the novel begins...

They named me Caprica, and no my name is not influence by Greek mythology although I wish it was because that would have been a lot better than what I was actually name after: a television sequel to Battlestar Galactica, a sci-fi show that was popular among a subset of the population in the late 2000's, which was actually a remake of a less successful version of the show that aired almost 20 years before, ancient right? I know, I know, but these are my parents we're talking about so what do you expect? And if you know me, which I'm sure some of you do, you will know that my parents were close to ancient when they had me. I guess you could say that in that way I am lucky to be alive and my parents were equally as lucky to be living during the advent of modern medicine, and I say advent because if they knew what medicine is capable of today, how it shames cloning and stem cells and all the Mickey Mouse stuff they did back then, they would know that in vitro fertilization and having a healthy baby at 65 wasn't so amazing at all. But like I said this was a long time ago and back then 65 was the new 45 and everyone waited til they were 45 to have babies, so instead of being a fantasy in my mother's late to start ticking biological day dreams, I became a real live human being!

The Madness Begins.

I'm doing something crazy this month. I'm trying to write a novel, a 50,000 word novel by November 30th. Maybe some of you heard of it NaNoWriMo?? I'm doing this completely blind, I have no outline, no character sketches, no planned story lines, no plot ideas, I'm basically making it up as I go along and doing most of it on my iPhone during my commute. Thus far, it's a pretty interesting experience and it's only day three!

To my loyal readers, I thank you, as always, for reading my blog because I know it takes time to get invested in a story, and once again, who's inceptions was the brain child of the Fabulous Margarita aka FabBrunette during a 20sb blog swap we did back in July, (who may I add, is also taking on the NaNoWriMo challenge) will once again be put on hold as I attempt the (im)possible of writing a novel in a month.

I will post my story here if anyone is interested. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

16.

As Kenneth plunged deeper into his roll and the drug took over his entire body, he because the person he swore he'd never be again; he was that person lying on the floor with his eyes towards the ceiling completely unaware that his body was violently twitching and his hand was extended up towards a metal bar that he clutched with all his might in a futile attempt to pull himself up, he was unconsciously grinding his teeth away and then his eyes rolled back into his head. Kenneth lay limp on the ground at the peak of his roll in the dark corner of an abandoned warehouse, all around him people were devoting their dance to the music and flashes of green light occasionally brightened the room and if you looked close enough, you could see Kenneth's body and there was a smile on his face. Kenneth was in complete and total ecstasy, he felt that he belonged, he finally felt comfortable, finally felt accepted: he was home.

the end.

Friday, October 30, 2009

15.

Kenneth longed to feel that again and while he knew the drug created the false illusion of connecting with people, it was the entire atmosphere and energy that Kenneth pined for. He was tired of being alone and decided it would be worth giving up his sobriety to be able to experience that one more time.

If Kenneth ever once stopped to look around at the new life he was building for himself and stopped trying to relive the past and uncover a feeling that was never there to begin with, he would have seen that everything he wanted was right in front of him with Melanie and George and the honest albeit lowly wages he was earning. But Kenneth never had anything in his life that he could count on because once he started believing that things could change for, he would get a rude awakening and because of this, he missed Melanie's outstretched hand trying so desperately to save him.

Walking into Seventeen's again made Kenneth feel back in his element. All around him he heard familiar voices asking, "Are you rolling? Do you want a light show?" But when he turned to look, it was a face he had never seen before. Yet it only took a second for Kenneth to be surrounded by people that suddenly felt like his closest friends. All around him people were piling onto the floor with him retarding their vision trying to focus on the microlights that left traces of blue lines everywhere it went. Kenneth tried to focus but couldn't keep up with the lines whipping around his head. His whole body started spinning as his eyes tried to look up and follow the light.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

14.

Kenneth did not see Melanie for four days, whether it was on purpose because Kenneth felt guilty about his increasing desire to get back into the scene and knew Melanie would disapprove or if it just happened, would be a question that Kenneth's actions would answer as he found himself actively seeking the company of George. He knew it would just take a little prodding to entice George's budding interest and he began feeling a hint of excitement as his nights turn from the red Jetta to sitting in front of his house in George's dark blue SUV talking about raves and music. Had Kenneth known that these innocent conversations with his friend would lead George down a path of destruction, that for George this would be his gateway to a dark life, that his friends would never know the real truth about, and ultimately end with his untimely death, Kenneth may have thought twice about introducing this devious lifestyle to George, but at the time Kenneth was trying to fill a void in his own life and thought he was helping George find his place as well.

Although it was over a year since Kenneth indulged himself, the idea of doing it again tempted him more than anything and constantly consumed his thoughts. To Kenneth, it was the only time in his life when he felt that he matter to other people in a world that usually paid no attention to him. In that world, everyone mattered and Kenneth was welcomed by the open arms of a stranger that he immediately felt close to, a person he could confide in and expose his true self without fear of being judged for not having money or a family. He was able to find common ground with the one person he always thought was better than him and he was humbled. In that world, Kenneth was able to release his inhibitions and for the first time in his life he understood what it felt like to be love, then Kenneth saw that it was easy to fall in love with living and with himself when he had people that really, truly cared for him. It was in this environment that Kenneth saw that there was a flip side to the real, cold, callous world he grew up in and it gave him hope.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

13.

That night Kenneth could not fall asleep. Although this wasn't unusual, but this time it wasn't because he couldn't find a comfortable position on his bed, if you could call a sheet on the ground a bed. Kenneth recently discovered that he could fold his comforter in half and put the sheet over it to make the ground softer and then he could fall asleep, but tonight it didn't work. He tried folding up a towel to use as a pillow. As he lay staring at the ceiling with his neck unnaturally propped up, he considered smoking a cigarette, or maybe a joint, or maybe a joint and then a cig or maybe he should just close his eyes and try to sleep; but he couldn't, something was bothering him. But what? Kenneth decided to put on some music. He made his laptop, a gratuitous gift from his stepfather, and knelt down at the cardboard box that served as his desk. As Kenneth looked through the thousands of songs that he downloaded, he realized that 742 of his songs were filed in a folder labeled 'Seventeen's' and then something clicked and Kenneth knew what was bothering him.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

12.

The red Jetta was parked in front of Kenneth's house; two silhouettes filled the front seat, the tinted windows were halfway open and thin stream of smoke wafted out.

"Kenneth, do you really want to get back into all that...you know stuff," Melanie asked, "I mean from what you've told me, it seems like that was a time of your life that you wanted to put behind you. It was nothing but trouble if you ask me, and you're doing really well right now." Melanie put her hand comfortingly on Kenneth's arm.

Kenneth felt his insides melt as Melanie's hand gently stroked his arm. He immediately felt guilty about the surge of emotion he felt towards Melanie in that moment and tried to bury the attraction he was starting to feel towards her. Had Kenneth correctly identified Melanie's intent with that touch he would have understood that she was letting him know that he could finally put the past behind him because she was someone who accept who he was, unconditionally. But Kenneth, would never know that because he said,

"I appreciate your concern kiddo, and I wouldn't be going back there to slang, I'm done dealing, but sometimes I miss the scene and the people, the mutual respect and trust, the love everyone has for each other, even sometimes from a complete stranger, it's nice to have that, and that's the only reason why I would even consider going back."

Melanie moved her hand from Kenneth's arm and placed it back in her lap. She shifted her body so she was looking out the window. It seemed to her that after all this time Kenneth still didn't get it. Here she was offering her friendship, a real connection with a person who actually cared and still Kenneth wanted to seek out a bond and the illusion of trust and love from people in a drug induced state. Melanie took a long drag of her cigarette and blew out the smoke in the shape of O's wondering how to get through to Kenneth before he did something he would regret.

Monday, October 26, 2009

11.

Melanie was suddenly alert when the topic of Seventeen's came up. She released her embrace from George and stared at Kenneth concerned, "Are you sure you want to go back there?"

Kenneth knew what Melanie was referring to and immediately regretted bringing up the topic. He steered clear of discussing his past with his new friends, but somehow, Melanie was able to coax it out of him, he felt comfortable sharing this part of himself with her because he had grown to trust her, but more than that, he knew she genuinely cared.

Seventeen's was an abandoned warehouse that was turned into an underground party space. Kenneth now thought back to how things got incredibly out of control, how something that started with his love and passion for music turned into an opportunity to make easy money then ultimately resulted in a confrontation with rival dealers, a bullet through Kenneth's shoulder, and a wound to his pride.

As Kenneth pondered on the friends he had and the pressures he succumbed to and his desire to feel important in whatever way he could, he never quite got around to the root of the cause which was to say that he needed to be a part of something, he needed to belong, he needed what he became more than his "friends" needed their fix. Kenneth and his crew were known for "owning" the club about a year ago when it went by the name of Pyramids. They were the dealers that pushed pills in this space and did their part to distort and corrupt the rave scene so when Kenneth went back for the first time in two years, he saw children who had grown up too fast trying desperately to recapture their youth and he finally understood the falsity he had veiled his eyes with just so he could belong and be accepted.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

10.

"Hey dude," Kenneth said, snapping his fingers in front of George's face. "Still with us?"

"Oh, yeah, I'm just really stoned," George replied still daydreaming.

"Where were you just now George? Thinking about being at a rave? The way you're dressed tonight, looks like you'd fit right in?" Melanie joked sarcastically laughing at George's bright orange pants and pastel green baby tee shirt.

"Oh, nails girlfriend, I know you didn't just dis on the threads," George snapped putting a hand on his hip and throwing his head back with attitude. " Don't be hating just because I'm a man that knows how to dress, mmkay. And what about him?" George shifted his weight and turned towards Kenneth. " What snooty comment does little miss-thinks-she's-Joan-Rivers have to say about this stylish man over here? Always wearing the same khaki cargo pants and white t-shirt, look like the brother stepped out of a J Crew catalog, and you know anyone who shops there has taste."

"Hey, hey, hey, have you ever tried cargo pants?" Kenneth asked defensively. "They're hella comfortable and that's why I buy them all the time; ain't got nothing to do with taste, comforts the way to go." That was the standard line Kenneth gave when people commented on his khaki cargo pants and white t-shirt uniform, but in reality Kenneth didn't have a lot of clothes and although he really did find the cargo's comfortable, maybe they were comfortable because they weren't two sizes to small and actually fit.

"Boy, shoot, you might as well roll up in here with sweats if you wanna be comfortable and go for that I-just-got-out-of-bed-and-I'm-way-too-cool-to-look-decent look."

"Now boys, be nice," Melanie interjected reaching up to put her arm around her six foot six friend. "George you know I love you and your adore your style. And yours too Kenneth." Melanie wrapped the other arm around easily around Kenneth, resting her hand on his shoulder.

Kenneth, needing to change the subject offered, "Well, George, if you ever wanna check it out, I know this place called Seventeen's that used to throw a lot of parties. I haven't been there in awhile, but I'm sure it's still bumbin."

Kenneth started going to parties because he loved the music and he needed an outlet to forget about the hardships of his life. There was something about walking into a dark, smoky room with loud music that struck a chord in Kenneth down to the depths of his soul. He felt the bass reverberating throughout his entire body to the point where the beat consumed him and he was finally able to let go and when he did something so liberating happened to Kenneth that he was hooked. He let the music in and started moving effortlessly, the mixing of beats and rhythms made his feet criss and then cross and then pop, faster and faster and faster until he was moving with the crowd to form one liquid motion. Hebobbed his head down and bounced his head up towards the ceiling and he felt a connection that he had only dreamed of so he kept going back for more. But soon, the scene changed and the Kenneth changed with it because the music wasn't enough anymore, it became about those little pills, it was unreal, the thrills they yield, until they kill a million brain cells.