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Jul. 14th, 2013

siren

Riot Report

About 11:30 last night, I climbed into bed, thinking the helicopters would probably stop soon, because I hadn't heard of any demonstrations. At midnight, I texted a friend, voted most likely to be in the thick of things if there were things happening, and he said there was a riot in downtown Oakland.

I figured I wasn't going to get any sleep with the helicopters constantly flying overhead, and anyways, I'd never seen a riot in person. I got dressed and rode my bike over to 14th and Broadway. I heard one gunshot as I went down 14th, can't remember what the cross street was called. Once I got to Broadway, I stopped for a few minutes, and watched police cars were slowly driving north up Broadway, three across, towards a mob of people filling the streets across Broadway and Telegraph. Two other bicyclists were next to me, also perplexed about where to go. After the last group of cop cars cleared the intersection, I headed right to follow, partly because there were cars behind me that wanted to get across the intersection, and partly for lack of other ideas about what to do.

One of the first things I saw, probably around 16th St. if 16th were to cross over that weird triangular block with the Cathedral building on it, was a guy getting the shit beat out of him by a couple different guys while about six to eight people recorded the fight on their cellphones. One person was shouting "One on one!" in that way meant to egg people on, while someone else was shouting "It's not worth it!" in that way to encourage people to act sensibly. The guy getting beat on spent most of the fight on the ground, not engaging back except in a way that looked defensive and amateurish. When the fight broke up, he was shouting about how he was there to support the cause, "And this is what I get?!" Found out later from talking to the guy that his laptop was stolen in the proceedings. (Why you'd bring your laptop to a riot, I am still not clear on.)

Generally speaking, the crowd was young. Quite a few folks had professional-looking cameras, the kind you have to support on one shoulder as you tape. They swarmed over everything--any graffiti already scribbled on the buildings and street, any graffiti being thrown up, a papery-looking American flag burning in the street. There were some people, mostly idiotic-seeming college bros and they hos, and always white, who were standing around and laughing, shouting things like "Fuck Sears!" and "Burn it down!" in mocking tones, at a volume which meant they didn't actually want any rioters to hear, it was bravado for their friends' consumption.

I saw a couple people set fire to piles of garbage, mostly from the regular-sized bins you'd have at home, though one larger, more industrial-sized bin, was upended. Many windows were smashed--last I heard, Awaken Cafe, Oaklandish were hit, and I saw Sears and a few others businesses smashed-up firsthand. The sound of a shattered, eight-foot window made of safety glass cascading to the ground is actually quite musical. The sound of bros poking at what remains of said window in the frame, laughing and joking, is not.

I followed the flow of the riot, meeting up with my friend just after seeing the fight. The cops were herding the crowd with the lines of cars, moving faster and faster as the crowd spread out and thinned, until they were chasing around at 30-40 mph. I heard it was a new tactic to disperse crowds, and it was pretty effective, because about an hour after I got there, most everyone was gone. There were regular patrol vehicles, as well as some fancy black SUVs driving around, but no arrest vans. The patrol vehicles had four cops apiece, all in riot gear, many looking intimidated and afraid, honest to God. Many were clearly out of their element at a demonstration like this. One officer stopped his car in front of a burning pile of garbage, approaching it with his stick out. My friend hollered that a fire extinguisher would work better than stick to take care of the fire, and the cop actually looked a little sheepish in response.

Once everything broke up, my friend and I walked a friend of his back to her car. Things were pretty quiet at that point, and my ride home was completely uneventful, unless you count the bug that flew into my mouth.

My take on last night's events was that many were out there to smash, running around with gleeful or amused bearings. There were a lot of spectators (including myself), but I'd put them into two different categories--those who came out to point and laugh, and those who came to witness. The division was pretty clear, if one spent a few minutes observing the crowd.

One of the oddest things was that much of the downtown night life continued on as if there wasn't a riot happening. I saw lots of people dressed for the clubs down there--clusters of women in stilettos and miniature clothing, more women walking on the arms of their dates, a pair of guys in what could only be described as the Mexican-cowboy interpretation of the zoot suit. They were smoking, walking in to the club, out of the club, back to their cars, etc. It was a little surreal, seeing two worlds sharing the same space and yet not touching each other.

May. 13th, 2013

siren

photographers

This morning, for the fifth? seventh? eleventh? time in my life, I had a complete stranger hand me their phone number and tell me I'd be great at modeling, and they'd like to take my picture.

For the first time in my life, it was a woman.

I developed a hypothesis by the time I was eighteen or nineteen that the kind of men who do this thing think that I am vulnerable, that I will be unbearably flattered by their compliment, and so thrilled by the thought of such attention that I will agree to model. They think that because I'm pretty, I'm also stupid, and naive.

Perhaps, for the first time, the offer was not motivated by lust. She didn't tell me that I am beautiful, or that my eyes are wonderfully doll-like, or that I have a gorgeous smile, just before her eyes dropped to my feet and rebounded back to my face. I do wonder today why she added on "For free," at the end of her introduction, as if I'd ever pay a stranger I met on a bus who told me they would like to photograph me, to do so.

(Her name is Tina, by the way, and she has a terrible way with writing eights. I tucked the torn slip of paper with her number written on it into my wallet, and turned to stand facing away from her after I did.)

Mar. 4th, 2013

siren

Read Delacorta's Nana

I loved it. There were some bits and pieces of language that were very precise and lovely, strewn about the text like rose petals. Gorodish's manipulations and Alba's bold actions were fascinating--they are very strange characters, and the plots they come up with are a mixture of self-service and philanthropy which holds great appeal to me. They get the ends (money, mostly, it seems) they want, and they right some wrongs in the process. It was fun and clever, and I'm definitely going to read more by Delacorta.

Mar. 3rd, 2013

siren

On Consonance 2013

I went to Friday night and Saturday-day of Consonance this year. The first night I more or less flipped out, because it was not the crowd I was used to running with at cons, and the sing-along the first night bothered me because reasons I won't go into. So I left and went into the hot tob, accompanied by my friend Stuart, who'd picked me up from BART, given me a ride over, and stayed to see how the con went ("What did you get me into?"). Also present was my flask of whiskey and my tape recorder, so, good times were had.

The next day, now caught up on sleep, I had a much better experience. The music was no longer in the vein that irritated me the night before, and while filk still isn't my passion, I do enjoy going to a concert and knitting while listening. I love live performance, and was fascinated by this new slice of culture I hadn't really been served up before.

The most valuable takeaway I had from the experience was a renewed determination to pursue my creative projects, including learning piano (a keyboard+headphone setup is the only instrument I can practice in my apartment). The filkers were brought together by a shared passion, and the time they put into improving their music, learning new pieces, performing, and enjoying themselves was inspiring. It made me want to hone my creative talent, and getting motivation from the convention was touching, for me.

I doubt I'll go next year unless I happen to have Saturday free, but I'm really glad I went this time. 

Feb. 24th, 2013

siren

Why I unfollowed you

I am dedicating more time to knitting, spinning, reading, and athletic activity; and creating space in my schedule to have a romantic relationship, correspond, and maintain my journal.

I cut some twitter/LJ/Facebook feeds...

The back story is, I had a dearth of friends until about mid-2011. The internet was a friend-substitute in all that time, leading up to Worldcon in August of that year (which is as good a point as several others to start marking the point at which my life started getting better). It's finally sunk in that I have more friends and acquaintances than I have time to pay attention to if I am going to devote time to accomplishing the things I want to accomplish. On week days I've been getting up, taking a shower, eating breakfast, checking the internet, commuting and working, checking the internet, and then going to bed. Obviously, I am not making any progress on personal projects and goals with this routine, which distresses me. I can't sleep, work, eat, or shower less, so the I am reducing my time spent on the internet. OCD won't let me just check it sometimes--I have a compulsion to read everything in my feeds--so I stopped following about two dozen feeds on various sites.

I am concerned that I'll lose contact with people I wish to remain in contact with, but to be honest, following someone on the internet doesn't really feel like being in contact anyways, and the effort of consuming sometimes hundreds of different small bites of information coming from as many as a hundred different people in one day is unpleasantly exhausting. The time that I am no longer spending checking feeds can now go, in part, to maintaining relationships in ways that are the most meaningful to me, such as writing, calling, and spending time together.

...and created a schedule.

I have created a schedule many times before, but I always ended up depressed because of my reaction to it. Invariably, I'd rebel and do something else instead of what I was supposed to, and even if what I did was useful and productive and fun, I'd end up clawing my eyes out with guilt and self-hatred. I don't have the time or resources to fuck around like that anymore, if I ever did.

My new strategy is to intersperse days of more work and errands with days of less work and leisure. If I've been at the office for 9-10 hours, my brain is used up, and if my motto is that if I can't do something fun, I might as well do something productive. I've also been deliberately vague by using the categories of 'leisure', 'exercise', and 'errands' rather than specific activities of 'reading', 'yoga', or 'laundry', for example. This flexibility should allow me to circumvent the cycle of rebellion and guilt that has prevented success before.

Built into the schedule is the rule that I should seize opportunity if I want to. If an out-of-town friend is in-town, or there's an event, or I really just feel the need to do a particular thing, I'm going to do it, because the whole point of this exercise is to increase the enjoyment I take in my life.

Why write this?

I'm putting this in a public space because I find it really helpful to write my thoughts down, and even more so when I am convinced that other people are going to see it, so I have to be precise or they're going to argue with me in the comments.  I found it very useful this time, but I don't know if I'm going to do this regularly, or if I even have material enough to do so.

Jul. 8th, 2011

siren

Tour de Fleece, Day 3

 At least, the third day I spun anything, anyways. 

Gratuitous bobbin shot:


And skein shot.



The colors are actually a bit darker, more saturated. I didn't feel like screwing around with the camera too much, though. The final specs are 401 yards, 2-ply, 123 g, for about a sportweight yarn.


Off the niddy noddy, the other yarn looks like this:


At 127 yards over 44g, this clocks in a dk weight, though from the picture you can see it's thick and thin.

Next up, some Falklands wool!

Jul. 3rd, 2011

siren

Tour de Fleece, Day 1 (for me, anyways)

 Skipped out on the Tour yesterday because it was a flippin' hundred degrees in my room yesterday. Fuck that.

Today, I wiped out the last of a 2 oz. bump of merino from AVFKW. I wanted to chain-ply, but that totally backfired within a few yards and I gave up and said, "Let them be singles," and lo, they were. Will wash and whack tomorrow to full them a bit.



I also spun 2.3 oz (give or take) of superwash BFL singles for a 2-ply fingering weight. I split the roving in half lengthwise, then in half again. For the other half, I think I will split the strips again for maximum color-mixing.



The plan for tomorrow is to spin the other half, of course. Then the day after I will ply them, and all shall love me and despair!

Apr. 8th, 2011

siren

Movie Round-up #2

 Carnival of Souls (1962): I like the makeup, organ-playing, almost everything else was a wash. Ending (she was dead the whole time!) was predictable as soon as Mary Henry emerges from the river hours after the car she was in plunged in.

Atom Age Vampire (1960): A stripper falls in love with a sailor who hates her choice of career - what's not to love? Well, except a dragging plot, and the always strange "I have to kill a half-dozen women to keep her beautiful, and it's worth it!" attitude expressed by the mad scientistdoktor.

Creature from the Haunted Sea (1961): I like the Cuban frog men swimming in speedos, but that's just me. This was a farcical movie, and not bad, though I wouldn't watch it again. 

Nightmare Castle (1965): The best of the bunch, I loved the costuming, makeup, hair, and even plot. Lots of kinky subtext, especially when the ghost of Muriel tells her husband that he introduced her to some sort of ecstasy of the torment of the flesh as she died, which she's now thrilled to give right back to him. I'd actually watch this again.

Mar. 26th, 2011

vampire

(no subject)

 I don't know why, but the day after I stay up late* I get the mother of all headaches. Ow ow ow ow.

It was worth it, though.


*Past three a.m.

Jan. 30th, 2011

siren

Procrastinista

I'm half-heartedly procrastinating, flipping through the pages of the internet as if it were a magazine and I waiting for my turn in the hairdresser's seat.

Archaic Torso of Apollo

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast's fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

 
-Rainer Marie Rilke

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