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succumb to your youth

June 12, 2017

lost in our mood
afraid to feel truth

As I tumble gracelessly into the blanket of middle age, I’m beginning to be able to visualize more how my kids will manifest themselves as adults. More than glorified parental appendages, they’ve both developed fully-formed personalities at this point, and are both a real delight to talk to and spend time around.

We’re back in NC for half a walk visiting D’s folks, and we made the required pilgrimage to Arigato for some Japanese food, and my overwhelming impression was just one of delight in my kids. L was across the table in between two of his cousins, narrating the food preparation with a quasi-play-by-play, and P was cozied between D and myself, completely and utterly safe and content. I think the latter feeling rubbed off a bit; it’s difficult to remember a time when that particular part of my mind was more at ease. That isn’t to say all of me was; there was a large part that was still “on,” as it were, but a crucial little nugget was content. For a spell.

whiskey neat

May 20, 2017

I feel like all my creative energy has been ground out of me. Crushed away. I had time pressure before, but I seem to remember being able to make time to just sit and…the words came. Even if I had to jot down a topic on a scrap of register tape, I’d return home and more often than not I’d be able to recall the nuances of whatever it was I wanted to share or discuss. Now, on the off-chance a matter pops into my head, it’s utterly gone by the time I sit down and place my fingers on the keys. I hope I’m just out of practice and simply doing it more will help.

I really should be in bed, though. The day starts on the dot, though granted even that is better than it used to be.

The two places I’ve discovered that feel like home to me are France and Hayesville. I haven’t found anywhere else where the convergence of innumerable factors meshes with my subconscious in a way those two places do. I’ve shared this with Diane. I think one thing we do have in common is a restless quest to return home, wherever that is for us, respectively. Even if our ideas of home are wildly divergent, at least we can relate on an emotional level to the feeling of displacement. I suppose there’s some comfort in that.

bowery

May 16, 2017

  • Penelope loves Aphex Twin. She’s dug every song I’ve played for her so far off The Richard D. James Album. I want to broaden the horizons of her musical appreciation beyond avant-garde electronica, but I’m not sure the point of entry to any other genre. Will probably just keeping playing other stuff for her and see what sticks.
  • Luke’s astronomy interest has flared up again (I sound like I’m talking about a rash, haha). He’s mentioned wanting to stargaze next time we visit Hayesville. There’s a great spot on top of the dam. I miss it very much and want to go back soon. Maybe when my parents return from Europe and we’re on the other side of our NC visit in June we can discuss another mountain trip.

concrete and clay

May 15, 2017

Why would I be surprised that things don’t change?

I remember being in southern France back in ’04 with Aaron and Donald, and although some things had changed—new stores, parking lots, buildings, altered roads—I still knew the area like the back of my hand. And I loved it. I was buoyed by the thrill of rediscovering familiar paths, and the largest part of the emotion was the quasi-surprise derived from the fact that area had changed so little that finding my way around was no challenge.

I think because my life had changed so much in the ten-year span since my family lived there, I expected the area to change in lockstep with my own evolution. How it would have changed, I had no clue—it just would have felt more natural for it to have altered in some way. Don’t misunderstand—I love that the area remained the same; the surprise was entirely subconscious. All I knew at the time was that I was back home.

The environment I was living in didn’t help. The pace of development in RTP was—and is—so breakneck that it far outpaced what I was comfortable with. Call it mapping one’s emotional state onto an area: It happens, and the areas we love best change as much or as little as we want them to, in the ways we want them to.

ambient

May 14, 2017

  • I really should be in bed. There’s a soft, gray, nearly 1-year-old kitten in my lap, though, that makes it hard to get up. He’s sliding off; hang on… OK; now we’re good.
  • Well, the Mac Mini arrived yesterday, and…it won’t work. Despite the fact that the eBay listing clearly stated the computer would come with 10.5 preinstalled, it had 10.7, which is too new to run FormZ. I really should upgrade to the latest version of the software at some point, but that’s over a grand for the package I need, and the version I have does everything I need it to—except run on the latest Mac OS. Hopefully the eBay conflict resolution service will come through for me.
  • Diane and I have been trying to make it through the LOTR Extended Edition again, but we’ve stalled out in Lothl√≥rien. I suppose there are worse places to be stuck.
  • Pen and I discovered a cardinal’s nest earlier in the evening. We were jumping on the trampoline in the backyard when we heard a mother cardinal doing her angry chirp. A little investigation and we found a low-hanging nest with a chick and two eggs in it. Phoebe was nearby, but fortunately she wasn’t aware of the nest.
  • I’ve been playing Escape Velocity: Nova in fits and starts. It’s nice but not quite as engrossing as its predecessor (EV:Override) that I used to play during my junior year of college. I got into it, but Mark (my roommate at the time) didn’t dig it quite as much. I can’t remember whether that was during my straight-A semester or not. I think it was. Wish I had had that balance of focus and enjoyment all throughout college. So, so much time wasted in so many ways. I’m still so ashamed when I think about it.
  • I want to freelance full-time. I’m tired of the 9-to-5 (aren’t we all?). Too risky, though, at this point in our family life. Maybe later.

foreign fields

May 12, 2017

New Mac Mini’s coming tomorrow. Since the old one’s HD died, I haven’t been able to slave it to the iMac and run FormZ, so I’ve had to do all my freelance and after-hours CAD work on the MacBook. That’s really clunky since my copies of Photoshop and Illustrator are on the iMac, so there’s been a lot of back and forth, switching keyboards and mice, etc etc. Look forward to having everything in one place again, so to speak.

I really miss the old LJ group. We had a good crew, and a good thing going for quite some time. Disappointed that so many folks, including myself from time to time, have gravitated toward outlets like FB and Twitter. I know a big part of LJ’s appeal was the social aspect, but to me, the larger part was the journaling aspect, the writing.

I’ve been enjoying Kacy Hill’s music quite a bit lately.

this is it

May 8, 2017

My favorite:

France

star flight

When I was 14 years old, I was very interested in business jets. My favorite at the time was the British Aerospace BAe 1000, an intercontinental development of the smaller BAe 800, and before it the H.S. 125. I sent a letter to British Aerospace asking for information, and they replied with a package of glossy brochures and fact sheets (they’re still at my parents’ house somewhere). On one page of the brochure was an ad for the aircraft, a single page image of the plane flying at night with the cabin lights visible through the darkness. I don’t remember the copy; just the visual. It made an impression on me. I imagined myself at the helm of the plane, flying over the Atlantic at night, in command of that multi-million piece of hardware and the lives of the passengers in my capable hands. I didn’t have many “hero moments” as a kid, but that was one of them.

I still think about that image every time I see the lights of an airliner blinking overhead in the darkness, and I feel a twinge of what I felt then when I drive my family through the night on a long road trip. It resonates.

sail

April 26, 2017

Never gets old:

satellite flyers

April 19, 2017

Happy new year?

I drive Penelope to school most mornings, and we listen to music on the way. The drive only lasts around 8 minutes, so we only have time for a song and a half. I’ve made a series of “New Music” cds (haven’t gotten an AUX input installed yet for the BMW) and we’ve been listening to random songs on those.

She asked me the other day what my favorite song was. I honestly couldn’t say. I made a compilation cd of “Daddy’s Favorites” in response, but couldn’t pick one in particular. Angie Aparo’s “Spaceship” is on the cd. I get lost in the menacing surreality of its lyrics—it reads exactly like a dream with its emphasis on random objects and their jumbled juxtaposition next to verbs that describe longing, or other strong emotions.

One song I didn’t include, and probably won’t even though it’s one of my favorite, is Dar Williams’ “Iowa (Traveling III).” I struggle to explain how that song affects me every time I listen to it. In my mind, the lyrics alternately originate from the wife, then the husband, from the man, then the woman in a kind of dialogue that makes sense in my mind but that I would have difficulty describing. I think what gets me about it is that it touches on the contradictions in our long-term relationships that mushroom as the years go by. It’s another form of the “can’t stand you but need you” lyrical trope, but one that holds particular weight with me.