Thursday, July 29, 2010

Positive Thinking! Positive Thinking!

I leave for New Hampshire in eighteen days, which is very strange. I feel like I just got here. As many of you know, New Hampshire isn't exactly my favorite place in the world, but I am trying to keep the blog-whining to a minimum. To that end, I've decided to talk a bit about things I'm actually looking forward to (!!) about returning to the Live Free or Die State.
  • Living free or dying. I intend to live free.
The other option is dying hard. This kind of shit happens in New Hampshire all the time.

  • Teaching. Oh man did I miss teaching this last year. I can't wait to have students, to be in front of a classroom again, even to grade papers--Smarthinking has made me realize how awesome it is to grade and evaluate on your own terms.
  • Writing and reading. Sure, I'm writing and reading this summer, but it's going to be fun to have myself exposed to stuff I wouldn't pick up on my own, and to have a dedicated writing schedule. Writing over breaks always feels kind of like a dalliance or a hobby, even when I'm really cranking it out; in school it's basically all there is, so it feels much much more important.
  • Shipyard Summer. I know this is weird, since I'm in the land of microbreweries, but I have been totally craving Shipyard Summer Ale. I've been enjoying a lot of Northwest summer ales and IPAs (apparently there's a very distinct "west coast" style of IPA, pioneered by WA and OR microbreweries, that has a lot more kick to it than its east coast cousin, which explains why all the IPA in New England sucks except for Smuttynose) but the Shipyard Summer is kind of like liquid crack-beer. It accompanies hot, muggy weather quite nicely. I promise I'm not cheating on you, delicious Northwest brews! It's just a fling.
  • Having a car. New Hampshire is going to suck a lot less when I can get around it, or leave any time I want to go Boston or Portland or the mountains. Thanks for the car, Kate and Adam! You have noooooo idea how awesome this is. (Fingers crossed the Civic makes it across the country incident-free.)
  • My new apartment. I can't wait to have my own space and fill it up with books and video games and brand new kitchen stuff and the things I like. Plus, it's in downtown Dover, right next to an awesome used books store and a bunch of nice bars, coffeehouses, and restaurants. Sweet.
My building. I'm in one of the studios on the corner.
  • Fall in New England. We haven't had a ton of summer weather in Washington, which I'm just fine with. I'm already done with 85-degree-plus weather, sweating myself to sleep, sitting in front of fans, etc. (And has anybody else noticed how the red lights in Seattle are one or two minutes longer once the temperature gets to about ninety? I swear I'm not making this up.) I know that once I arrive in New Hampshire I'll have even more miserable weather to deal with for awhile, but then fall will be here, and it will be nice and cool and pretty-colored, and I can eat apples and candy corn and wear coats again. Huzzah!
Yeah, it's pretty there.

  • Hiking. I hear the hiking in New Hampshire is great, and they do have lots of woods and mountains (sorry, "mountains"). I'm going to buy a best hikes book and use my newfound transportation to travel the state and walk all over it.
  • Seeing my cat. I miss her.
Clementine circa early 2007.

See, positive thinking! Maybe I could follow this up with a list of things I won't miss about the Pacific Northwest. It might be short, but worth it.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

On my Mind

It turns out I really enjoy hiking. I've hiked Tiger Mountain and Mount Si and a good chunk of the trails in Saint Ed's, and I'm wondering why I didn't start doing this sooner. I lived in Bellingham for six years, for god's sake, and I never went hiking once. What was I doing with that time? Why wasn't I climbing Oyster Dome or exploring Chuckanut? Stupid Ian. I'm considering buying a better hiking backpack when I get some money (read: when student loans drop), and I'll definitely pick up a New Hampshire trail guide when I get back for the summer.


I'm dreading going back to New Hampshire; I'm going to miss the Northwest a lot. The landscape, my friends, my family, the ethnic food, the mild weather, all the cool little places in Fremont that I've found in the last two months. There are definitely things I'm looking forward to on the east coast--primarily my new apartment, a corner studio in the heart of downtown Dover that overlooks the old textile mill--but I'm enjoying this weird limbo summer away from school and my work.


Speaking of my work, I'm writing again. New thesis project is underway. I don't really want to talk about it, so you'll get to read it when it's done. Heh.


I just realized that I've been back for two months and still haven't eaten any sushi. This needs to be remedied.


Other tidbits: Smarthinking is over and done with and I'll soon spend a weekend wandering around Bellingham, looking at the water, hiking, drinking Boundary Bay, visiting the farmer's market, etc. I can't wait. Everyone should listen to Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear. The Young Ward is close to walking, and she's loving it. When Josh's novel The Story Thief hits the shelves and is a triumphant New York Times' Bestseller, listen to old Ennio Morricone tracks while you read it--they fit together like puzzle pieces, and it's weird. That's all.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Brief Summary of the Weekend


I drove up to Sam's cabin near Cle Elum with Jarret for a night of delicious food and Chris's homebrewed beer (which is delicious). I ate salmon and lots of good food, tried to solve a ridiculous puzzle, and sat next to a campfire and talked until very late. It was lovely.


Got up early and drove out of the mountains so I could do the Fremont zombie walk. Tore up clothes with Lindsey and Sydney and had a lovely day wandering around Fremont, lunching on lamb burger, and checking out all the costumes. Lindsey, Sydney and I went as corporate zombies (office clothes, a tie for me, coffee cups) and got many compliments on our zombie-gear. We are in approximately 3000 complete strangers' photographs.

The best part about dressing as a zombie is the more dilapidated your clothes become, the better of a job you are doing. As I became progressively more covered in dirt, blood, and sweaty smeary make-up, my costume looked better and better. What an excellent day! Everybody was having a goofy good time, there was a great feeling of goodwill, and we pretty much had great times with random strangers all day. I highly recommend going on a zombie walk. Pictures are on Facebook, but I'm too lazy to upload them here. Sorry.


Seattle weather defeated us! Some friends and I camped out at Gasworks at noon, hoping to have a good spot by the time fireworks started, and for a while it was great--cloudy but warm, good food and hanging out--but then it started raining and we had to retreat to Lindsey's friend's apartment in Fremont to watch movies (This is It, Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, and season one of The Guild; excellent lazy holiday watching) and wait for the show. The view from the roof was incredible--Ali's apartment is near the Fremont bridge, so the underside of the bridge is arcing overhead toward Queen Anne, Seattle's skyscrapers are poking out from behind the hill, and Lake Union and Gasworks are right below. The fireworks were lovely. Of course, I forgot my camera.


Recovery day. I was lazy and sat around, watched more of The Guild, drove over to Woodinville to play Magic with Chris, Chris, and Ballew, ate Thai food with the parents, and generally took it easy after my crazy weekend. Man, I wish all weekends could be like this.

Nothing is happening on the writing front. I am feeling more and more justified in my laziness, as it seems few people from UNH are getting anything done this summer, yet I am still full of jealous rage when others are productive (I'm looking at you, Josh). I am wavering on my dedication to my thesis. The project seems too big, too massive in scope and ambition for an MFA thesis, and frankly, I don't think I've got the chops for it yet. I may try to reconfigure it as a collection of related short stories and novellas, but more likely it's just going to go in a back drawer until I'm ready for it. I've got another project in mind that I'm pretty pumped about and is slightly shorter and more achievable. I'll keep you posted.