owlmoose: A photo of a Highway 1 roadsign, with the California Coast in the background (california - sign)
This long weekend in Los Angeles was just what I needed. We did too much for me to go into depth about everything, but here are some highlights:

Friday: Drove down, taking the Central Valley (I-5) route. I got to LA (actually Orange County) around 5pm, not too bad considering that I drove through most of the LA Basin during the first part of afternoon rush hour. There I met my friends A and AM (whom some long-time readers might remember as [livejournal.com profile] luvmoose and [livejournal.com profile] letters_to_ed; they were both regular players on the "guess the song lyrics" game that I used to post every week). We stayed with friends of A's, who were excellent hosts. I was tired from the drive, and A and AM were on East Coast time (they had flown in from Boston early in the morning), so we just had dinner and then found ice cream for dessert. And when one of the top hits on Yelp was Creamery N7, I knew where we had to go.

Saturday: The initial reason A and AM planned this trip was to attend a concert on Saturday night. (I'll explain my reason for joining them a little later.) But first, it was time for a spa day. We dropped by A's favorite nail place in Hawthorne for pedicures, then spent the rest of the afternoon at Burke Williams in Santa Monica. I got an excellent massage and then mostly lounged around reading my book, Heroine Worship, chosen because I thought it might be good vacation reading -- and I was right. Afterward, we drove up to downtown LA for the show, 80s Weekend 4, which is one in a series of concerts that bring together a bunch of New Wave bands, hosted by legendary DJ Richard Blade. The lineup: Berlin, Colin Hay (lead singer for Men at Work), The Fixx, Belinda Carlisle (my main draw to the show), The Psychedelic Furs, and Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark (aka OMD). I didn't know all the songs, but I knew at least a few things played by every band, and they were all engaging and high-energy performers. I sang, I danced, I had a good time. Right before the Psych Furs came out, Blade announced the line-up for 80s Weekend 5 in January, and A bought tickets before the show was over. (I might join them; depends on what else is going on then. One of the bands is the Violent Femmes, so it is tempting.)

Sunday: And now we get to my reason for traveling to LA this weekend. But first, a bit of context. A lived in LA for a couple of years a little while back, and while she was there she took a class at The Magic Castle, a private magician's club in Hollywood. She went to the club on a regular basis (that's actually how she knows the friend we stayed with), and still gets back whenever she has reason to be in the area. A few years ago, she mentioned that she had recently seen one of her favorite close-up magicians: Steve Valentine.

Yes. THAT Steve Valentine.

After recovering from my fangirl freak-out, I made A promise to let me know if she ever went back to the Magic Castle at a time she knew he was performing. Unfortunately she only got advance notice once, and the dates conflicted with FogCon, so I'd never managed it. (However, on that occasion she did somehow convince him to leave a message on my voice mail). So it remained a pipe-dream... until A called me about a month ago to inform me that he was performing his one-man show on July 30th and I was coming down to see it, and I concluded that she was right. So thanks to the cosmic good timing of the universe, the three of us went to see the show. It was splendid, an excellent blend of magic and memoir and storytelling, and afterwards I was brave enough to go up and say hello and get a picture.

omg I still can't quite believe this really happened )

He was very sweet and gracious, and if he didn't actually remember the voicemail incident, he did an excellent job of pretending. They say "never meet your idols" but I think it went pretty well this time.

Monday: AM got us day passes to use the pool facilities at the Hyatt in Newport Beach. It was swanky and nice, a relaxing way to spend the afternoon. I dipped in the pool but spent most of the time lounging again, switching between my book and my phone. This was the day that Anthony Scaramucci's brief moment in the sun came to an end, and the three of us had enjoyed reading each other our favorite Tweets and Facebook posts about the Mooch. That night, we went to the Magic Castle, where we saw three magicians (two of whom were women, which is unusual). The Castle is a neat place, and if you ever have the opportunity to visit I recommend it. (A took me once before, back when she was taking her class.)

Tuesday: Time to go home. I took the coastal route back (US 101 version, not Highway 1), which only takes a couple of hours longer and is a nicer drive. The return drive was mostly uneventful, except that I got rained on in the Santa Barbara area, highly unusual for August. I got home just before 7pm, missing the worst of SF traffic, and settled in for a nice evening flop on the couch.

Even after this brief a trip, I've still had some readjustment to normal life. But it was the perfect break, and I'm really glad I took it.
owlmoose: (ffix - garnet)
This past weekend was super and fabulous. I was fortunate enough to be able to snag four tickets to Hamilton for this past Friday, and I invited [personal profile] justira and [twitter.com profile] kaytaylorrea to join me. They both came into town, [personal profile] justira with their partner in tow, and the four of us had a great time not just at the show, but hanging out in SF.

Friday's show was a matinee, so we grabbed a quick lunch beforehand, then an early dinner after. The show was just as wonderful the second time, and in some ways I feel like it was better -- when I went in April, this particular troupe had been together for less than a month. Now that they've had two more months to work together, the ensemble gelled more, and I saw more nuances in some of the performances. I also saw a couple of different actors, in particular a different Angelica, and although her voice wasn't quite as powerful, I loved the acting choices she brought to the role. Another thing I noticed overall is just how funny this performance was -- this particular cast plays up the humorous moments in the songs and the choreography in a way I found really effective.

All three of my co-attendees loved the show as well, despite bringing very different levels of familiarity with it (one who has listened to the album a million times, one who'd never heard the music but read all the lyrics in advance, and one coming in almost completely cold), and it was fun to talk about how their various expectations colored their watching experience.

On Saturday, [personal profile] justira and I met up with [personal profile] forestofglory to wander the Ferry Building and Farmers Market. We noshed our way through, one of my favorite ways to eat breakfast in the city, including some breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe (taking advantage of the lack of line). After that I met Kay for a Giants game; our boys lost (not unsurprisingly; the team is TERRIBLE this year), but we still had fun. Then we all (minus [personal profile] forestofglory, who had a prior engagement) gathered at my place for more chatting and hanging out until far too late, chattering about fandom and everything else under the sun, driving poor T to distraction I'm sure. I was particularly happy to see how well everyone clicked, considering that my two guests didn't really know each other before the weekend. There's nothing better than introducing two friends and watching them develop a quick rapport. :)

As Kay said a couple of times over the weekend, our parents were wrong: always make friends with strangers on the Internet. Sure, there's a risk, as people are always a risk, but the rewards are one thousand percent worth it.

Stuffed

Nov. 16th, 2014 12:08 am
owlmoose: (cats - lexi innocent)
For the second night in a row, T and I went over to a friends' home for dinner. Last night: Mexican take-out. Tonight: home cooking (chicken parmesan, and we made a salad, and someone else brought pie and ice cream). Both nights: good company, great conversation, and way too much food. It's a good life.

Dining out

Nov. 13th, 2014 11:40 pm
owlmoose: (teamoose)
One of my favorite restaurants in SF is reportedly closing by the end of the year (the owner claims he won't be able to afford the new SF minimum wage, which, whatever, dude, it's a slow rise over three years, and your restaurant is popular; just jack up the prices a little and you'd be fine. Seems to me he was looking for an excuse to get out and took the opportunity to score political points -- he made the statement before the proposition even passed) so I went with a group for dinner tonight. A bowl of sangria, a pile of macaroni and cheese, apple crisp and make-your-own s'mores at the table. It all adds up to a good night, especially when you add in casual conversation with four of my best friends.

This is my Thursday Night Dinner crew -- a rotating group of about 20 people who take turns arranging dinner at a restaurant, almost every week on Thursday night (or sometimes Wednesday, depending on schedules). And this has been going on continuously since 1998, which is rather amazing, really. Sometimes we try new places, other times we visit old favorites. Luna Park is one of those favorites; I'd say we get there about once a year, on average, usually when I'm craving comfort food. I'll miss it, but I'm sure I'll find something else I like just as well. And hopefully the next one won't balk at paying its staff a living wage.

Wedding!

Jun. 8th, 2014 12:52 am
owlmoose: (ff12 - ashe)
I am just back from [personal profile] lassarina's wedding, which was great fun: a lovely ceremony, a tasty dinner, and a fun dance party. I am really happy that I was able to come, spend some time with [personal profile] seventhe, finally meet [personal profile] lassarina in person, and hang out and chat with some of her friends. There were even fireworks! Probably it was a coincidence, but I prefer to believe they were in honor of Rina and her paladin. :) My feet are tired, and I'm a bit wet from waiting for a cab in the rain after, but it was worth it.

I had been thinking of going to the Field Museum tomorrow. Depends on how early I wake up and how much of a pain it is to get there if it's still raining. Then I'll be seeing [personal profile] tanyad again for dinner, yay! Home on Monday, and fun as this trip has been, I'm looking forward to that, too. A week and a half is a long time to be away from home.
owlmoose: (kh - roxas)
So I never did get around to posting about Bryn Mawr or Boston, and here I already am in Chicago. The short version is that I'm having a very nice trip, filled with seeing friends old and new -- so many people at Bryn Mawr, quality time with A and hanging out with her friends, meet ups with two separate college friends and then the marvelous [personal profile] tarysande in Boston. Then today was basically a continuous meet-up, going from one friend to the next: lunch with [tumblr.com profile] rhiannon42, coffee and a walk around with [personal profile] tanyad, and dinner with one of my best friends from BMC, who lives in the Chicago suburbs and whom I hadn't seen for several years. (Seven years? Can it really have been that long? I think it may have been for another Chicago wedding, back in 2007. Wow.) Then tomorrow is [personal profile] lassarina's wedding, and I know several folks who will be there, and the connections just keep coming.

I like a lot of things about traveling, but maybe one of the best things is that I know people in so many parts of the world, such that almost everywhere I go, there will be a friend there. That's pretty amazing. And you know, in part, I have the Internet to thank for that. Thank you, Internet, for creating such a wonderful wide network of amazing people to be in my life.
owlmoose: (california - freeway)
I suppose it would be more accurate to say "hitting the air", since most of my travel will be by plane, but that doesn't have the same ring to it. ;) Anyway, it took a bit of wrangling to get all these ducks in their row, but on Thursday morning (early, so so early), I'll be leaving for a week-and-a-half three-city epic trip:

  1. Thursday: Fly SFO to Boston, at 6:45 in the morning. :\ Why, god, why? (Answer: because it was this or the red-eye, and I'll get more sleep this way. But still. Guh.)

  2. Friday: Road trip to Bryn Mawr with A!

  3. Friday-Sunday: 1990s decade reunion at BMC. This is the first time I've ever gone to Reunion in an "off-year", and I'm looking forward to what I hope will be a less structured visit -- there's a few events for the '90s cluster, but it should mostly be just hanging out and chatting and relaxing at the Mawr. Anyone reading this planning to be there?

  4. Sunday: Road trip back to Boston.

  5. Monday-Thursday: Hanging in Boston. This is where I expect to have the most free time. If anyone is in the area and wants to hook up for coffee or whatever, let me know!

  6. Friday: Fly Boston to Chicago (once again stupidly early in the morning).

  7. Saturday: [personal profile] lassarina's wedding!! :D I am very excited to finally meet her face to face (although I have no expectations of quality time, given that it is a wedding). I hope to get some time to hang with [personal profile] seventhe and meet other folks, too.

  8. Sunday: Meet up with Tumblr people, details pending. I should probably get on that.

  9. Monday: Fly home in the early afternoon (one reasonable flight time, yes!).


Sounds suitably epic, right? :) I can't believe it's only a couple of days away.
owlmoose: (BMC - cloisters)
[personal profile] auronlu asked for a school memory. Although she said it didn't have to be a memory of our our shared alma mater, Bryn Mawr College, of course it will be. I have some good memories of high school and before, and from grad school, too, but nothing has had such a formative effect on who I am and whom I will be than my years at Bryn Mawr, and the women I met there. Of course, to then sort through everything memorable that happened during those four years and choose a single moment is nigh-on impossible. But here's one that came to mind right away, because it's probably first time I remember having a crystal realization that I was in the right place, and had surrounded myself with the right people.

So, step with me into the Wayback Machine to March 5th of frosh year, my 19th birthday, the day before Spring Break. It was a weeknight, unseasonably warm for early March, and everyone was busy running around trying to wrap up their schoolwork and pack to get out of town, so I had no expectation of any real kind of celebration. But still, a couple of hours after dinner, a couple of friends -- I don't remember exactly whom -- dropped by my room with a blindfold. Fortunately, I had good, trustworthy friends, so I let them lead me blind out of the dorm and across campus to the Campus Center. There, on the steps, I was met by a most surprising sight: a whole bunch of our friend group, with lit lanterns*, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's (New York Super Fudge Chunk, if I recall) festooned with candles. They sang Happy Birthday, swinging the lanterns in unison (more or less :) ), and then we had an ice cream feast, right there on the Campus Center steps.

It was such a little thing in so many ways, and yet it sticks with me, as one of my favorite birthday memories as well as school memories. Because I felt, in that moment, like I belonged. That I had found a community of friends, connected to the much larger community of Bryn Mawrters. That, for the first time ever in my life really, I had found people who would go to some trouble to make me feel special and loved. Some of the women who were on the steps that night continue to be among the most important people in my world, and I can't be more glad of it.

*Every Bryn Mawr undergraduate is given a lantern during her first semester. (See a photo of [livejournal.com profile] madlori's lantern, and super awesome tattoo based on it, here.) The color is based on your class, and mine, like Lori's, is green. There are various traditional events at which we light our lanterns and sing songs, and leaders called songsmistresses move them up and down to keep time, which is called swinging. If this all seems weird and/or arcane to you, I understand. :) But it was meaningful to me.

Good day

Nov. 16th, 2013 10:12 pm
owlmoose: Picture of MLB pitchers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain (baseball - pitchers)
I spent most of today hanging out with two friends from Tumblr: [tumblr.com profile] autumnyte and [tumblr.com profile] heretherebdragons. Evidence: 1, 2. We spent the afternoon wandering around Union Square and Nob Hill: ate ramen, walked the Grace Cathedral labyrinth, shopped for chocolate, bought hats (see evidence #2), went for coffee and pastries, and chatted happily for hours. This is the second time the three of us have gotten together, and it's always so much fun.

Meeting fandom people in the offline world is the best.
owlmoose: (ffx2 - paine smile)
Things I have done this weekend:

-- Slumber party in the living room.
-- Made memes over coffee.
-- Ate burgers at Five Guys. Then brought home the leftover fries and melted cheese over them, with bacon and sour cream. Oh yum.
-- Went to the library, admired the signage, and forced myself not to line up book spines with the edge of the shelf.
-- Took a walk through a nearby woods. I got to crunch through leaves for the first time in years.
-- Trawled the depths of YouTube for everyone’s greatest hits.
-- Read comics, specifically the first two volumes of "Avatar: The Promise", about which more at another time.
-- Got my ass kicked at Mario Party.
-- Watched RuPaul's Drag Race, Game of Boobs Thrones, Eddie Izzard, and Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire.
-- Got a room to ourselves in a pizza joint to watch the Bills play the Jaguars. Featuring wings, calzones, and a ranch dressing explosion.
-- Went to the bookstore, because how could I spend the weekend with [personal profile] renay and not go to the bookstore? My purchase was, perhaps unsurprisingly, the third volume of "Avatar: The Promise".
-- Drank. A lot. I think I had more Jello shots this weekend than in the entire rest of my life combined. Lime and orange made with raspberry vodka, highly recommended.
-- Pulled every muscle in my body laughing. I think I’ve found myself in tears or doubled over, unable to breathe, approximately every five minutes.

It's official, I love this weekend.
owlmoose: (hepburn)
After a drive, some errands, and a booze run, we are now settle in for the night with food, games, and delicious adult beverages (I have a lemon drop in hand as I type this (not literally)). Considering how much hilarity we had just driving around town, I predict that this is going to be an awesome, awesome weekend. :D

I might get my monthly wrap-up post done today, or I might not. Given that I'm experience typing fail already, it might be a terrible idea, or it might be highly entertaining....
owlmoose: (heroes - hiro jump)
Today, I flew to Memphis, TN, where I ate a BBQ pork sandwich at a restaurant within a mile of Graceland. I had no idea Graceland was just in town like that. It was closed, of course (we drove by at like 9:30pm), but all lit up for the holidays.

Tomorrow, I meet up with [personal profile] seventhe and [personal profile] justira to drive over to [personal profile] renay's place for a weekend of mayhem and shenanigans. At least, I hope there are shenanigans. I have been promised some, after all. And if the world ends from the sheer confluence of awesome that will commence, I guess the Mayans were just a few days off.

Oof

Nov. 23rd, 2012 11:41 pm
owlmoose: (cats - teacup)
Too much food, too much sangria, too much fun. Dinner was awesome but I think I need to crash -- time to curl up in bed with more water and my iPad.

But first, the friands, which were delicious and received with much acclaim. Have some food porn. )

Good night Internets, I will see you on the morrow.
owlmoose: A bright blue butterfly (butterfly)
Not a lot to say about today, despite it being busy. I met up with a friend from Tumblr for lunch, which was awesome, and then got together with a bunch of folks to help another friend pack for a move. Probably more running around than I should have done on my concert weekend day off, but it was worth it.

Yesterday's concert went pretty well. One more show tomorrow, a week off, and then we pick up right away for a special concert in January. I am excited about the new venue -- the first Monday in December is our first rehearsal in the new space, and I'm so eager to get a look at it.

Sorry I am so boring today. That's what happens in November -- you get to learn how mundane my life really is....
owlmoose: (cats - tori sun)
I need to keep this quick because my houseguest will be here any minute, but I didn't want today to pass by without taking a moment to share my gratitude for the Internet and the people on it -- everyone who reads and everyone who lurks, friends and acquaintances old and new, the people who give of their time and energy to make fandom and Internet community happen and the folks who cheer them on from the sidelines. My life would be the poorer without every single one of you in it, and I hope you all know that. Group hugs for everyone!

Much love, always, me.

Savor

Nov. 23rd, 2011 09:59 am
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
The coffee is fresh, the Panera is warm and smells like cinnamon, I got my favorite table, and I have lots of ideas for the continuation of the crossover fic percolating in my brain. A good start to the last day of a short work-week.

This holiday is going to be really busy, but I also hope really fun. Thursday is Thanksgiving with family in Sacramento. Then a second Thanksgiving on Friday with friends, which has started happening more often over the last couple of years, and I love it. We're making desserts for both -- I plan to pick up ingredients for apple crisp at the Farmer's Market today (assuming I'm not too late...) and then T is going to whip up a Fromage Blanc Bavarian for Friday. (One large cake, not many little cakes like in that picture.) Then Saturday is a small Moose Day (observed) celebration, and on Sunday, I collapse.

Oh November. Usually a busy month, but this time it has just been non-stop, from the opening bell. Let's hope that at least the opening weeks of December are a little quieter...
owlmoose: (heroes - hiro jump)
In a short while, I leave for the airport, fetching A for a weekend of fun, frolic, and They Might Be Giants. Shows tonight and tomorrow; tomorrow's performance is being advertised as a "Flood Show", which is a pretty darn exciting concept.

Meanwhile, in lieu of substantial content, have a very thoughtful comment regarding the experience of being an introvert online.

And also, this may be my favorite thing in the history of the Internet. And that's saying something.

I hope everyone is having a splendid weekend.
owlmoose: (tea - it's good for you)
With too much booze but lots of yummy food, and a backed up kitchen with a kickass waiter who made up for it by bringing us free fries (before he took our orders, even -- I like a server who makes pre-emptive amends) and only charging me for the burger I originally ordered rather than the steak I had to get instead when they were out of burgers. And good company, of course, although that's pretty much a given on Thursday nights. So overall, I count my evening as a rousing success.

And now it's a little late and I'm a lot tired (possibly largely because of those three drinks I had, and also because of work ughness, but I'm really not going to get into that when I'm in this state of mind), so it's time for me to head to bed. Good night, Internets.
owlmoose: (writing - slave)
A friend invited me to a writing day at his house today. I've never done writing in a group setting before -- by myself in cafes, yes, all the time, but never with other people who were also writing during specified blocks of time (social hour, two hours of writing, half hour break, two more hours of writing). I was curious to see how it would work for me -- would being in the presence of other writers, all (as far as I know) working on original fiction, some friends and some strangers, make me too self-conscious to write? I wasn't 100% certain I could be productive.

Four hours, 4,434 words, and a near-complete draft of my Mega Flare story later, I can safely say: yes, it does work for me, and very well. Especially for the kind of word dump writing I need to do today. I plugged in my headphones, mostly turned off the social Internet (I kept access up for checking maps and stuff, and did look at my mail a few times, but I purposefully logged out of IM), and just wrote. Every scene that I knew I still needed to draft, plus a couple I didn't know I needed until I started writing them. It was an excellent exercise, and I'm feeling much better about my chances of getting this story actually done.

Next step: stitch the thing together (I'm trying out Scrivener for the first time, which I think has been pretty effective for a longer story written out of order; I really wish I'd had it for "A Guardian's Legacy") and see what's missing. Then write what's missing, smooth the transitions, fix up the end a little, and come up with a title. Totally doable in five days. Right? Right.
owlmoose: (B5 - Ivanova)
I had thoughts on the article about the agent who asked two authors to de-gay their YA novel (a story which has now come under dispute by the agent in question; my thoughts on the resulting pushback are best summed up in this tweet by Scott Westerfeld, but I digress). It turns out that [personal profile] renay also had thoughts, and we bounced those thoughts around and off each other, and we posted the results over on [community profile] ladybusiness:

http://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org/15574.html

Your thoughts on our thoughts welcome!

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