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I woke up in the middle of the night to a strange noise that sounded almost like water dripping or electricity crackling (or something worse I refuse to think about) inside one of the walls. I never figured out what it was--I shuffled some stuff near that wall around, and when the noise stopped I was able to convince myself it must have been something innocuous and I fixed it--and it took me awhile to settle down and get back to sleep. When I finally did, I had a vivid and unsettling dream about my landlord hiring professional pranksters to set up an elaborate trick that made us think the bedroom ceiling was disintegrating and letting all manner of terrifying creatures from the attic crawl in, while pretending he didn't see any of the things we were seeing. In the dream he didn't understand why we were so upset with him once we'd discovered he was fucking with us. I woke up as I was telling him, "I'm sorry, but we've got to get out of here."

It doesn't take a psychology degree to understand where that came from.

********************************
Miscellany:
  • I have completely fallen in love with Welcome to Night Vale. It's kind of difficult to describe without resorting to comparisons like "It's like A Prairie Home Companion set in Arkham" (which it totally is, but it's also so much more!) but this trailer for an imaginary Night Vale TV series captures the feel quite well.
  • The UK department store Debenhams has released what is probably the first ever lookbook to include plus-sized, elderly, and disabled models, and the results are stunning. Everyone's been recommending Debenham's bras to me but I've been putting off the overseas order, but now I think I don't mind spending a little extra money with them.
  • I haven't tried the new Bay Area Bike Share yet, but I'm excited to. I don't think I'll be able to have quite as much fun with it as this guy, though.
  • I love this photography project showcasing the variety of bikes and bodies found among Toronto cyclists (mildly NSFW on account of some ladies in bras). Cycle Style Boston is a similar, less-NSFW one.
  • The difference between bluegrass, Old Time, and Celtic bands now finally explained. Being a fan rather than a musician I only get about a third of the jokes, but I'm posting mostly for this one:
    Old Time and Celtic songs are about whiskey, food and struggle. Bluegrass songs are about God, mother and the girl who did me wrong. If the girl isn’t dead by the third verse, it ain’t Bluegrass. If everyone dies, it’s Celtic.
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I really, really like this list of resolutions.

It's funny how we often cycle from doing something because it's just the thing everyone does, to scorning it because it's too mainstream or meaningless, and then coming back around to realizing that there's some use in it after all. This is me with new year resolutions. While they can be empty and silly, and I believe you should make change whenever you decide change needs to be made, I do find value in taking the calendar flip as an opportunity to set goals and make plans. Even though I accomplished some really cool things and had a lot of great experiences in 2012 I also spent much of it feeling aimless and unmotivated, and I know I will be happier and get more done with goals to help keep me focused this year.

Goals for 2013
  • Declutter. Organize, sell, donate, dispose of, or otherwise take care of at least two Units of Stuff a week until my living space is liveable again. Accept the fact that there are parts of my living space I have no control over.

  • Reach out more. Over the past couple years I've gotten a lot better about saying yes more and accepting more invitations, and now it's time to start making those invitations myself. I've been feeling pretty down about how challenging this is, because I'm not able to have people over often or host parties at all, and scheduling and logistics can be difficult in general. But even if I can't invite people over, I can and will find other ways to proactively reach out to the people I like and let them know I enjoy their company.

  • Take every opportunity to ride my bike. I have two specific bike-related goals as well--complete a metric century in April, and do more bike touring in the Summer and Fall--but over the past year, every single time I passed up the opportunity to ride my bike I regretted it. So even beyond training for the century and planning for tours, I will make a deliberate effort to say "Yes" every time I wonder if I should take the bike. Even in the rain and cold.

  • Take more photos, more mindfully.

  • Stretch more. Doing yoga and my PT stretches regularly keeps me pain-free, makes my knees happier, and makes me a lot more comfortable in my body. I slacked off both during the past few months and I've been feeling it, and getting back to it feels like starting from zero. I don't plan to get to a place where I have to start over again.

  • Write more (and LJ more).

  • Spend some time each day not staring at a screen. (Unless the screen is displaying a book, because I'd also like to read more).

  • Learn Spanish. The next two goals will be difficult without this. I've already signed up for a class at BCC, as my efforts to teach myself haven't been going well (I pick up languages quickly, but need the structure and motivation of a class).

  • Find a new job. I'd kinda been hoping that things at work would be stable enough that I could hang on to the reliable paycheck and flexible hours at least until starting grad school, but the paycheck is no longer reliable and the hours are only flexible until there is a crisis, and there's a crisis more often than not. So once the current one has passed, I'll be polishing my resume and starting the hunt.

  • Apply to grad school. I can't start grad school until I get in to grad school, which I can't do until I apply!
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In the past I've been a little irrationally annoyed with Leap Day, because grr argh meaningless artifical construct of time. This time around I'm inclined to see it as a little bit magical, a day that doesn't really exist, time hidden from the eyes of the gods. When I said this on Twitter this morning, a friend pointed out that saying that sounded like a great way to get Coyote to mess with me. She's got a point, but I figure with Rabbit tattooed on my back, I've already got the attention of the tricksters. And on the eve of my birthday, I've got a feeling this is going to be the year of poking at gods and other sacred things with sticks.

******************************

Leap Day Ephemera, Beautiful Things Edition:
  • A beautiful rant about why photography in all forms is amazing and the photography snobs bemoaning the dying of their elite art can go suck it.
  • The human form in bike chains: Bike chain sculptures more detailed and beautiful than I could have imagined possible
Body and Mind Edition: Silly Stuff Edition:
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Remember When? edition:
  • I've posted this many other elsewheres, but it bears sharing here, too: Remember when you woke up full of awesome?
  • Also remember that long-ago time when MTV playing something besides music videos was a rare late-night treat rather than the other way around? Revisit (most of) it at LiquidTelevision.com. There's no Stick Figure Theater, but you can find it elsenet.
San Francisco edition: You Are Not So Smart edition: NSFW edition:
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Also this weekend: [personal profile] joyce and [personal profile] madgenius came to visit! With their adorable plastic traveling companion, Bradley the dinosaur.


We got them for a whole 16 hours before they had to drive up north, but we made the most of it. There was epic catching-up, and we gave them one of our infamous whirlwind Berkeley food-and-drink tours: Thai food at Cha Am, ice cream at Ici, and good bourbon Chez Breadbox on Friday night, and then an early and alliterative Saturday morning with breakfast at Bette's, coffee at Blue Bottle, a Berkeley Bowl binge, and the Berkeley Farmers' Market--with bonus Pagan Pride Festival, for that authentic Berkeley experience!

My new camera, a Canon Powershot S95 (SO SHINY), arrived Friday, so I made Bradley sit for lots of test shots while I figured out how to use it. He was gracious about it, even when I made his ass look big.



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