Hither and Thither #30

A beautifully decorated bike spotted near Seattle Center

Sweet ride in front of the Gates Foundation on 5th Avenue.

Cats can inspire you to do strange things. And not just via the toxoplasmosis.

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I’m jazzed someone’s thought to do this. I realized some months ago that I’ve lived in Capitol Hill long enough that some of the older layers of businesses and buildings are fading in memory. What did that storefront used to be? How many things have been on that corner in the years I’ve been walking by? I am a watcher of things, and yet still, some parts of the past fade. It’s a strange benefit of Street View that you can layer the past and present like this.

Speaking of lost city culture, KUOW just posted a great roundup of parts of Capitol Hill that haven’t shifted: the communes. As a lover of both alternative means of community and living and as a person who considers The Golden Girls to be equal parts comedy and aspiration, I love every bit of this. (For another view of San Francisco’s changing face, look at this wonderfully deep dive into the data yielded from AirBnB.)

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On conventions spoken and unspoken; on the elements of living and being that rise up unchallenged when we don’t allow outsiders to examine and respond. Continue reading

Hither and Thither #29


When I get deep, deep into a necessary or unavoidable timesuck (school, depression), I daydream of creating like at no other time of my life. The key, and the thing I’m working on in my life right this minute, is carrying that frantic “IF ONLY I COULD, I WOULD WRITE A NOVEL AND CONSTRUCT DIORAMAS AND TRAVEL THE WORLD AND MAKE MY OWN INTERNET MOVIES, OH BOY OH BOY” energy over into non-frantic life.

I thought a lot about papercraft this last go-round. My first post-school task is to make my apartment feel livable, alive, and welcoming again. After that: oh, we are MAKING SHIT.

Which is to say, I love this so much and want to try it myself soon.

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These portraits are so affectionate and so beautiful.

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My friend Amy’s fine eye for the visual, deep love of children’s books, and wide-open curiosity about the world makes all of her travel-related blogging a joy to experience, but I especially loved this roundup of children’s books from her recent travels. I hope she brought an expanding suitcase… And here are her stupendous (STUPENDOUS) drawings from life. I got jealous in the best way.

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I know where I am sending every single postcard and other piece of correspondence I might need to mail next time I’m in Paris.

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In our data-driven world, everything has a strategy. EVERYTHING.

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Making the total count of known books bound in human skin in the greater Boston area… four. FOR NOW.

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No clever thing or sincere thing or anything I could say could top the existing title of this piece.

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An incredibly candid, giving, and useful look at the long-term creative process and how you can fuck it up with the best of intentions.

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Today, Captain Awkward’s column extolled the perils of baby elephant pictures. While I can get on quite an internet tangent of cat pictures and otters and street art, this is my true risk. If there were days upon days of this kind of thing, you all might never hear from me again.

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I have thought of doing this and didn’t, and I am grateful someone did.

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As for podcasts… oh god, just go listen to 99 Percent Invisible, and I’ll catch you back here in a couple of days.

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I’ve had this draft sitting and waiting for so long now. I can’t tell you how good it felt to go back, flesh it out, and get ready to go again. Like doing a forward fold after standing on cement at a concert for two hours, like using a washcloth to scrub inside your ear, like water when you woke up hungover. Hello. Let’s do this.


I am writing to you from the other side.

Looking up into a blossoming tree in Fremont

For the last nine months, I’ve been working on a User-Centered Design certificate from the University of Washington. I have finished it.

If you looked at the calendar of posts on this blog, you would be able to precisely chart when my breaks were.

I have pictures on my camera’s SD card that date back to March.

Once upon a time, I emptied that card every day. Dutifully. Joyfully.

I have missed writing here, but some things have to slide when you’re throwing all your energy in one direction. In my case, this included dishes, exercise, creative writing, this blog, and about half my social life.

I am looking forward to the summer.

At work in late December, we gathered in the middle of the office for a celebratory toast. We were asked what our resolutions were.* I said that I didn’t have resolutions per se, but that I had a goal to go to three countries this year.

“Canada, Mexico, and where?” one coworker joked.

“No,” I said. “Three new countries.”

So far this year, I’ve seen Iceland, so I’m a third of the way toward a very good goal. As my autumnal plan to go to Japan has moved to next March, I’m left with two new slots to fill. I’ve spent a week in Mexico, but I think I would count Mexico City as part of the three-country list because it’s so different from the experience I had. So, beyond that… Germany? Italy? Somewhere in South America? Will this be my year to touch a tentative toe to Antarctica?**

I’m still working it out. But I’m thrilled that my middle-enough-class income and hoarding of credit card-generated airline points give me the privilege to be able to consider these things. Most of the world is open to me, and considering what parts of it I want to go to is, at the moment, almost as delicious as the going will be.

In the meantime, though, I’m just excited to have time to write again. I want to tell you about New York – my favorite trip there yet. I want to give you a snapshot of what I did for Easter. I want to show you the ducklings in the big fountain at UW and their ramp***, and graffiti I’ve liked, and what it’s like to ride in a pod of Minis around Whidbey Island. I went to the studio of the artist who made the Rachel piggy bank at Pike Market (and a bunch of other great pieces). I’ve gone clamming and seen spring flowers come and go and really had a very fine time. However, considering class and work and my continued need to do laundry and buy food now and then, I’ve only had time to go to these things… but not to write about them.

We’re at the end of that. Graphomaniac posting recommencing in three… two… one…


*My official resolution, so far as I make one, is always to floss. I’ve been resolving that for several years now. I highly recommend it: it’s easy, cheap, almost immediately beneficial, and you get good grades at the dentist. Think about it.