The Stars My Destination

Long-exposure photo of stars and the horizon in Santa Margarita, CA

After driving for a long time on long country roads, black expanses set off by glowing yellow markers on either side of miles-long double yellow lines,

Long-exposure photo of a field at night in Santa Margarita, CA

it is a pleasure to get where you’re going, to walk in a darkness illuminated by the sounds of crickets and shifting pigs, to walk away from the porchlight to the faint glow in a gently hazy sky.

Ranch cabin at night in Santa Margarita, CA

To find a friendly fence post, to do three- and 15- and 30-second exposures (in roughly the opposite of the order of the photos here) and get a dreamy preview of what awaits you in the morning.

I miss the stars. My one non-city night in Sweden and Copenhagen was overcast, so no stars then either. But tonight, and perhaps tomorrow? I’ll remember the constellations that are too often, for me, swept away by light pollution.

It took two hours to get out of the Bay Area via the interstate. These stars are won.

An Exercise in Incongruity: Luminasia

When you grow up feeling out of place, it’s easy and probably healthy to grow a sturdy exoskeleton of disdain and ironic distance. We have to get out alive somehow, and if that means your default expression has to be a sneer of a derision for a while, well, then that’s what it’s going to take.

I think this is fine unless it follows you into adulthood. Some of my favorite people are the ones who came through hard times as teenagers and young adults; some of my least favorite are the ones who did the same but let those experiences rob them of their vulnerability and easy humanity.

As you might have guessed, I generally consider myself to be in the former category, something that took some work and distance to achieve. However, the legacy of a rich background of self-defensive contempt is that it can sneak back up on me without warning sometimes.

If you’re lucky, though, that makes certain things into that much more of a delightful surprise.

With that in mind: ladies, gentlemen, and everyone else, I give you Luminasia.

luminasia-0I decided to go to Luminasia because a certain online travel deal site had a special and because I was then able to talk my neighbor into going. He’s just as into the unlikely as I am, and I sweetened the deal by buying his ticket. These are the things one must do when one decides not to own a car. By which I mean: make awesome friends who are willing to spend a Sunday night doing something odd. And, joy of joys, another friend decided to join us too.* Continue reading

I’m Back, Kittens

Did you miss me? (No, of course you didn’t, because of the miracle of scheduling posts.)

I have approximately 500-odd pictures to sort through. That’s going to happen soon. Once I get through the gauntlet of work, class, and various obligations. So: November.

In the meantime, I have this for you.

hanauma bayI snorkeled in that. I snorkeled, and it was wonderful, and I chased rainbow fish and was reminded of another layer of being a joyful human being that one can forget about living in the Pacific Northwest. And as being a joyful human being is pretty much my goal above all else*, that is a pretty great thing.

So I shall see you soon with tales of muddy trails, military installation-topped mountains, ripoffs that are worth it, adventures in pescetarianism, and one pale and nerdy person wading through the deep metaphorical waters of a very strange place.

Also, some of those tags? Just reused because I could. I confess.

*The “all else,” however, is an exceptionally long and exciting list these days.

All of the Boobs at the Seattle Pinball Museum: Take Two

Trying again, since the slideshow is not friends with mobile devices. D’oh.

Welcome to Deviation Obligatoire's exploration of Boobs in Pinball. I can't think of anyone better to welcome you than the Mistress of the Dark herself. Have you ever thought about what her head is shaped like under there, considering that front-and-center part? I didn't until I was taking this picture. Now you can too. Fun fact: there are multiple Elvira-themed pinball machines. I love earth sometimes.

Welcome to Deviation Obligatoire’s exploration of Boobs in Pinball. I can’t think of anyone better to welcome you than the Mistress of the Dark herself.
Have you ever thought about what her head is shaped like under there, considering that front-and-center part? I didn’t until I was taking this picture. Now you can too.
Fun fact: there are multiple Elvira-themed pinball machines. I love earth sometimes.

My spirit animal for this undertaking. From basically the Bechdel Test of pinball machines.

My spirit animal for this undertaking. From basically the Bechdel Test of pinball machines.

Continue reading

All of the Pinball Boobs at the Seattle Pinball Museum

I realized this past Sunday that pinball machine art parallels comic art so far as a certain kind of, oh, liberty taken with the depiction of the female form. I started with the picture in the last slide, and from there, I went to full-on demented documentarian mode.

At one point, having watched me walk from machine to machine, taking very precise, very close pictures of most of them, a man asked me what I was up to. “Oh,” I said, “I just enjoy the art of it.”

Not untrue.

 

There are two ways to enjoy pinball in Seattle, because we truly live on god-kissed earth.

Want it buffet-style? Go to the Seattle Pinball Museum. They also serve beer and soda, and you can buy clever themed buttons and your very own pinball. (They have a delightful heft.)

Prefer a la carte? Consider Shorty’s, Add-a-Ball, John John’s, or one of the many solo machines scattered throughout the city.

The Stairs Less Traveled

One of the fanciest walls in Capitol Hill. Look at those angles.I didn’t understand how hilly Seattle was until I got here.* I went to college in Boston, where I lived within a few blocks of Beacon Hill for three-and-a-half years. Have you been to that Beacon Hill? If you’re kind of out of shape, you might consider it a hill. But really, it’s a sort of gentle rise, especially compared to our little corner of the Pacific Rim.

So when I moved here, I was unprepared. I threw myself into it – I was 21, so I could fake the endurance I hadn’t rightly earned, even though I was accustomed to flatter pastures and a car-based life at the time. But Seattle is hilly enough that I snort when we’re described as a bike-friendly city (although not only for reasons of topography). My laundry cycle accounts for the fact that my walking commute home usually leaves me as sweaty as if I’d just jogged a few miles. So it goes.

Seattle is hilly enough that there are certain slopes with stairs, because the hills are too steep to sustain a plain old sidewalk. Yes, in certain places downtown and in Phinney Ridge and probably other places I’ll get to in the next few months, the sidewalks have those raised ridges so you can dig your toes in as you climb to your office on Third on an icy day. But western Capitol Hill, Queen Anne… these places require actual, honest-to-god stairs. Continue reading