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Saturday, July 31, 2004

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mysterious birthday things are beginning to arrive in the mail! ee!

on thursday i saw i, robot w/ leopoldo, mph & sven. eh. it wasn't as bad i feared it might be, and they didn't even belabour the ending (making the ending eight times longer than it ought to be is one of my pet peeves, peter jackson). sven kept crying, "danger, will smith!" and laughing at the spots where i was groaning.

yesterday was our first "burning man prep day," which every friday will be until the last week when every day will be. :) a party at panorama for the black rock boutique, where sven talked me out of buying some neatly-decorated but not-quite-fitting goggles (am i ever going to find any with a polarized fit?). we saw the documentary nothing without you, which also could have been worse but wasn't worth the $12. (except that sven would blurt out "wow!" whenever he saw a stunningly mobile work of art or an outrageous hat. heh heh.)

carl will be amused to note that sven & i tried one of krispy kreme's "original kreme" frozen drinks. blech! had to eat a donut just to get the taste out of my mouth. ;)

Friday, July 30, 2004

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so sven & i went to freecycle-landia last night, which was a gathering of other freecyclers during alberta's last thursday event (like first thursday but less chic). i am happy to say it looks like we gave away more than we got. the great thing about people getting together to swap stuff is that they'll take stuff they wouldn't otherwise travel to se 140th for, like cat food, liners, deodorizer & litter, a large canvas stretcher, a turntable with attached "i am woman" record, almost a dozen cappuchino cookie cans, a styrofoam cooler, three pairs of shorts, and an old ceramic container someone gave me in college. if there had been more people it would have been cooler; there were only 5 or 6 of us. but it sure was fun to give stuff away. unfortunately, sven got a big scratch on his writing table. meh!

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the burdell address is working again. :)

Thursday, July 29, 2004

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leopoldo stopped by last night because he thought it was my birthday. he even left a message saying he might be late. it was good to see him because he's been working crazy hard in a job he hates. i have a lot of sympathy for people who do that.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

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damn, it's burdell. if you need to reach me, email gretchin AT

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my email must be down. sometimes i get stuff i send to myself, sometimes not. but more importantly, i haven't received any personal, freecycle, artist's way mail or spam since last night. hmmm. however, the lack of mail has allowed me to become engrossed in other people's stories.

and we now have vinyl composit tile in the studio, but i haven't brought myself to look at it yet.

in prior days:

* michael was supposed to come over last night to watch movies with us, but forgot.

* the neighbor girls came back after a long break, bringing their canadian cousins with them. i talked them into a tuesday, thursday and saturday schedule.

* we've found more wasp's nests. :(

* i went to my first planetarium saturday! it was the first time i had been to omsi, for that matter, since i helped sandbag it during the flood of 1996 (my first trip to portland!). the same night sven & i went "xtreme bowling" (we were aiming for cosmic bowling to continue the theme, but apparently xtreme bowling isn't quite the same). i introduced sven to my trick of re-naming ourselves for every game, so that we had tournaments between ghidra & momo, skinhead & sparky, twinklebeam & ambassador funk. neither of us are great bowlers, but at one particularly bad point i began bowling left handed and was scarily good at it!

Monday, July 26, 2004

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tonight jessica & i went to see david garza performing at mississipi studios. wow, is that a nice place! it's tiny but the sound is perfect and intimate and it feels warm and loved. the only unfortunate part is that the seats suck, though there are cushions scattered about. i totally want to go see something else there.

and david garza is a good performer, too. :) i've been thinking of him as rufus wainwright with a serious blues streak. since there were only about a dozen of us, after 4 or 5 songs he had everyone in the audience introduce themselves. really!

Saturday, July 24, 2004

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thanks to sven's brother shield, charles vess spoke to me from the san diego comicon! eeeeeeeee!

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a brief recounting of events from the last... week and a half? geesh.

* i finally spent the gap gift card my aunt janice gave me for christmas! the gap is so not my thing so we tried to buy sven some light gray socks because he only has one pair and they're the only thing he'll wear with shorts. alas, the gap no longer sells those socks, of course, so i bought underwear instead.

* i'm looking for goggles for burning man since the ones i took last year hurt when i wore them for any length of time over my glasses. alas, i was disappointed to find no decent goggles at andy & bax, despite a recommendation from a stilt-walker we saw at the pride parade.

* saw spiderman2 w/ sven. it was enjoyable, more so than the first one. there were some obvious over-the-top bits, but also some incredibly effective ones. overall it was worth the price.

* i found the paper wasp nest that probably got the neighbor girl. it even still had little live wasp grubs waiting to be hatched. ewwwwww.

* i got a used bike for burning man! her name is "stella" in keeping with this year's theme, "the vault of heaven." she'll be a good playa bike. we've gone for two bike rides, one on the springwater corridor trail and one around the neighborhood, where i actually made it up the hill outside our house! no, not the scary butte hill; the slope that eventually leads to the springwater corridor trail. this is a big accomplishment for me as i have only ever been able to ride on flat surfaces, hence the reason why i take a bike to the playa. (the only other successful biking event was when i rented a bike in cambridge.) so whee! not a big deal to you, but a happy thing for me. :)

* i attended the suicide girls burlesque tour because if i didn't i'd always wonder if i should. i was surprised to find it, if not unappealing, less interesting than i would have expected.

* i was responsible for a chunk of ear wax the size of a pencil eraser coming out of sven's ear! we did the peroxide-like-rice krispies thing twice before it would come out, but he said it was amazing how much more he could hear; he thought he was just getting old. :)

* sven showed me the original stepford wives in prep to see the oz remake w/ michaelmas. it wasn't a bad movie. at some point i said it would be much more horrible if she went through all this and they still get her (which of course they do). i realized recent films don't do that; the protaganist is invariably triumphant. but there was certainly a segment of movies, especially in the 70s, where the horror is that the protagonist knows what's happening and can't do anything to stop it. seeing the remake sort of confirmed that theory, and michael even says they re-made the ending of the movie before wide release to make it heroic, which i hated because nobody deserved to get out of that with any dignity (except possibly better middler's character, and i am as surprised as you to find myself saying that).

* on sunday, the new vietnamese neighbors were having a party and doing karaoke as loud as humanly possible. it was like being in the middle of lost in translation.

* the neighbor girls are still randomly coming over to water the barkdust, though the last time they were here they got us wet. i think i'd like to get them on a schedule. but the garden definitely has arugala, and what looks to be carrots, and the pumpkins are going to take over if i'm not careful. roo is bending at all sorts of crazy angles as its flower head has grown to be more than its talk can occassionally support.

* mph got all workflow-crazy on us. he's actually got a workflow wiki to help him sort it all out. i -love- reading about that stuff, but was surprised to discover i have less to contribute to that conversation than i would have thought.

* amelia has been making forays outside the laundry room for hours at a time and hasn't crapped outside the laundry room yet. *knocks wood* of course she's still not actually crapping in the litterbox, but it's a lot easier to put up with is she craps on linoleum rather than carpet. we put her back in the laundry room if neither of us is in the house.

* i wrote some surprisingly sad stuff at the wednesday writing group. hmm.

* i made a small batch of business cards that read:
gretchin lair
online instructional designer by chance
calligrapher by choice

* it turns out key lime pie is one of the easiest pies in the world to make! i had no idea. but it sure leaves an awful lot of egg whites lying around, so i made meringue cookies, too (which i never liked before now).

* i attended a dinnergrrls potluck event after being interviewed for the career risk articles by its membership chair. i met an economist who is underemployed as an inventory person at an automotive parts warehouse, a woman who picks up dead bodies and takes them to funeral homes but is working on her comedy routine, a tech writer for microsoft who also writes screenplays, a woman who creates custom-tailored clothes, a rock star who finds her only other skill is fundraising for nonprofits, a biker who lives in vancouver. i was surprised that at least three of us have only been in portland for about a year. i need to work on my pitch, if nothing else, to convince people that calligraphy is more interesting and useful than for wedding invitations.

* yesterday sven took me to the "basement": a trapdoor in the closet leads to a large crawlspace under the house (where it's cool!).

* i sent out birthday invites; it'll just be cake & ice cream w/ friends instead of the big-30-rooftop-combined-burning-man-grilling party i had last year. :)

* speaking of which, i just realized i only decided to go to burning man two days ago last year, and the day after i met david z (hi!).

Monday, July 19, 2004

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michaelmas is sleeping at the library tonight because his air conditioner leaked and they have to set a fan to dry it all night. on top of that, he only got a half an hour of sleep last night! i invited him over here, but he was already at the library and wants to be able to crash whenever it happens, which he thinks will be soon.

in consolation & recognition, he offers up fredo viola's sad song with a great video.

[update: it's not as bad as i thought. when he said "library," i thought he meant psu when he actually meant the room adjoining his living quarters. :)]

Friday, July 16, 2004

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no gay marriage amendment! the general u.s. did better than the voters of colorado did in 1992, though a coloradan did write the amendment in the first place (stupid wayne allard!). that's a relief. when i begin to wax nostalgic for colorado, i just have to remember amendment 2, will perkins, focus on the family, dr. dobson, etc. grrrrrrrrrrr.

but i'm a little mad kerry & edwards didn't vote at all.

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terra nova, terra firma: blogger got a bunch of new features that safari doesn't currently support, but i'm not willing to use firefox because it's too flippin slow.

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it's blogger! i swear!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

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the neighbor girls came by to water and one of them got stung by a bee. after determining she wasn't having an allergic reaction (despite what he sister was saying), i got ice, alcohol & a bandaid and had her relax on the couch. the lemon soda and chocolate chip cookie probably helped, too. they kept trying to call their parents but didn't want me to take them home, so they rifled through sven's dvd collection until their dad told them to walk home.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

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1. did you know this blog is the number one hit on a yahoo search for "synonyms for happy"?

2. the neighborhood girls raked the back barkdust and scattered wildflower seeds. i planted poppies in the front barkdust and scarlet lobelia in the studio barkdust. pumpkin seeds were the first things to sprout in the garden barkdust, though a crop of tiny spicy arugala sprouts arrived overnight. the raspberries are finally over, i think, and are the only things not coated in barkdust. i hate working in the barkdust; even with gloves and shoes, i still get splinters. one of those decisions i didn't make that i get to deal with for as long as we're here. i keep hoping if i water it more it will decompose faster.

3. sven, leopoldo and i saw "monster road" on thursday, which was a documentary about a seattle-based claymation animator. i thought it was going to be about the clyamation, but instead it was about the animator and his disturbing relationship with his father, the kind of disturbing which leaves you to wonder about everyone around you.

4. michaelmas and i attended fup's birthday party at powell's technical books on saturday. i met fup for the first time, ate a pink-frosted cupcake and colored a psychedelic fup using all the available crayons. then because we are fair and impartial, we went to good dog bad dog for a late lunch.

5. i've given up on the palm; it crashed for the last time. since its input screen was broken, anyway, i decided to switch to the ipod (larkspur), which hopefully will also justify its purchase price being only slightly less than all of eliot. my perpetual problem: how do i store the earphones, especially since i have the over-the-ear ones rather than the earbuds?

6. sven got sunburned. :(

7. amelia has been booked at kitty condos for 2 weeks during burning man. expensive, but worth it.

8. last night there was a wonderful thunderstorm with incredible lightning! i woke at 3 a.m. to flashing and rumbling (no rain of which to speak of), threw on some clothes, and ran outside. i love thunderstorms, and was rewarded with what was possibly the best lightning i've ever seen: a horizontal streak which ran started on one edge of the horizon and ran the other, with two smaller forked vertical streaks. along the southern hills lightning was jumping from cloud to cloud and illuminating them from beneath and behind.

9. the vote for the gay marriage amendment is tomorrow. i'm really depressed that this is even being considered.

10. three weeks till my birthday, seven weeks till burning man. aeeiiee!

11. today i interviewed for a series of articles about women who took "career risks." we talked for two hours and i'm again so glad i'm no longer in california. i'm also quite hopeful about the future: calligraphy work and artist's way work seem like redeeming goals. but in a weird coincidence, she's the third person in two days i've heard talk about connection with other people as a form of spirituality.

12. i paid off my largest credit card today! hooray! only one more left, then trixie, then the student loan and i'll be free! seriously, though, it feels good to get rid of this amount of debt all in a swoop.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

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someone on craigslist wanted to start a weekly writing group based on the writings of the author of writing down the bones. when i went to norwescon, the poetry track sessions were also based on the same person, and sven had a similar writing group idea not too long ago, so we went to palio's, a dessert place in ladd's circle. three 10-minute writing exercises later, and we all went home with a plan to meet weekly, at least for a while. some of the exercises are by nature artificial, but i was surprised to find that even that small nudge was enough to generate new imagery and ideas.

trixie had a little hiccup driving there, though: suddenly she couldn't recognize the cd player. not the cd, but choosing the cd option for playback got me a repeated "the external device is not connected" error message. when we went home, however, she was fine, so it looks like i just had to reboot the car. :)

we told the landlord about the crooked stairs and he's sending the guy out again on saturday. why is he sending the same guy? sven says he sounds kinda irritated. i just don't want to lose the stairs, now that i've planted lettuces & cilantro in a little plot near there and now that i've raked a path between the studio & the house (i'll be putting bricks there!).

Sunday, July 04, 2004

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'cuz mph makes me want to include pix:

Saturday, July 03, 2004

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this week's all about the movies, what with harry potter w/ leopoldo & sven, fahrenheit 9/11 w/ michaelmas, and six string samurai at alex's w/ philip & michaelmas. though i also played munchkin-fu w/ olivia and helped bryan move w/ michaelmas, philip, john, and dave. and yes, we did get stairs, but sven points out they're kinda crooked and wonky. meh! and it feels like the weeding will never end.

i got a hair cut! it's all short like it was last summer. :) maybe even a little shorter. which is to say, enough to make me a little self-conscious, but not enough to get in my eyes. in bigger news, mph, who i've always known shaggy, has shaved his head!

fireworks have been cracking around us all week, but tonight i finally got to see some! the hill up to the butte is very nice for that. i even saw a largish one explode near the moon.

we've just begun to watch buffy season six, which just after the first two episodes has sven saying "meh!" a lot. i told him the whole season is full of meh, which i actually enjoyed.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

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we aaaaallllllmost have stairs off the back porch! hooray! they'll be finished saturday. and sven just did a little jig for me!

now that we're done with firefly, though, mph has decided to stop watching tv with us to preserve his limited unstructured time. man! and just after i've finished paying for voodoopad, too! ;)

so instead of starting dark angel tonight we went to see harry potter w/ leopoldo & i kinda liked it. i especially liked the map and the credit sequence. mrr! that's what i want to do when i grow up. it made we want to do the credit sequences for leopoldo's gashlycrumb tinies and sven's the cave.

then a vanilla moon rose huge and full and i had to find a place to see it. we headed up into the hills across from our house and stopped first at a cemetary and then in a neighborhood full of big houses and cul de sacs. we passed the cedar crossing covered bridge which neither of knew existed & ended up at the fire station on foster, mere moments away from home. yes!

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more art opened in the studio! sven's got a rough cut of the movie with the lavaman effect applied, and so to celebrate, we opened another piece of the art we've got stashed in the studio bathroom. last time i didn't mention that "tongue far from heart" was opened, and tonight we opened the manu forti piece michael's dad made for me & my dad. (leopoldo, you must see this piece: it's my scottish tartan & crest in leaded glass. :) michael's dad is good; he entered this piece in the skagit county fair and it won first place. i already have one of his small blue etched pieces hanging in a studio window and we just hung a piece he made for michael on his sliding glass door, which is great because it had never previously been hung. of course, i don't know where i'm going to hang my piece, since most of the studio windows open up & down rather than side to side; the kitchen window is a candidate, as is the bathroom since the window is inset a bit. we could also hang it over here at the house, maybe, on the sliding glass door, the laundry room or one of the office windows.