Category Archives: Not Writing

Arbitrary annual temporal marker #02*

2019 confetti


  • Continue not failing classes
    • Continue progress towards degree
  • Keep freelancing
    • Save freelancing money for frivolous nonsense
      • Maybe a new tattoo
      • Or a piercing (it’s been a while…)
  • Make a plan to get the fuck out of Kalispell
  • Travel somewhere**
  • Write a novel
    • Write short fiction
    • Write something/anything
      • Dear god seriously anything
  • Sort life out

*I have a hard time resisting the pull of a blank slate, the promise of new beginnings, and the intensity of raw potential.
**Yes I am turning into one of those insufferable millennial type people who think travel is a worthwhile expense that justifies forgoing other luxuries.


Term-end wrap-up: Science/fiction

Science: This was required because something-something well-rounded education or whatever. I had a science credit that transferred from my previous attempt at college in my previous life, so I only had to take this 1 science class instead of 2. (Yay?)

Once again, I had it reinforced that the most important thing is to be interesting—I legit got feedback on a paper that was like “I enjoyed reading this and I really liked the analogy you made to the 1975 film Jaws. You seem to have blatantly ignored 40% of the assignment, so I do have to subtract a few points for that, but I really liked your paper.” I’m paraphrasing, but in what universe (besides college) do you get almost full credit for doing like half the work? What the actual fuck. The other papers must’ve been really boring.

Fiction writing workshop: This was an elective. I was there for the deadlines, the workshop provided me with deadlines and I was able to write a story that didn’t suck. Also, I’m apparently low-key obsessed with haunted houses, so maybe I’ll do a collection of stories about those at some point. This class reinforced the importance of being kind, from the purely mercenary standpoint that if I’m supportive and helpful, people are more likely to cut me slack when I ask for it/need it.

Next up: Intro to Digital Imaging, Editing for Media & Publication (term begins January 7th).

This course was (mostly) what it said it was! (Yay!)

Term 1 ended on the 28th. The course I took was called Basic Design and Color Theory. It felt like the introductory graphic design course that the other course should have been, and was focused (mostly) entirely on Photoshop. At a few points, I did also use Illustrator—and if I’m being entirely honest, also MS Paint, because I’m familiar with it and can do very simple things more quickly than finding out how to do it in Photoshop—and I ended the course with a B.*

This course had a focus on design and color theory (obviously), so I got a reminder of everything about color (cool) and best practices of design (interesting, mostly, sort of). Overall, it would have been a lot better if I’d been paying more attention to the text instead of doing the bare minimum of what I needed to do to get through.

I don’t entirely understand why they don’t have this course scheduled first (I mean, it’s 101 and the other course is 100), since having this as a foundation and learning some basics of Photoshop (we only used the very basics) would have been a much better first experience with the program, even though I probably would have been freaking out because I don’t know Photoshop I’ve never used Photoshop before what are they expecting anyway?!

Maybe there’s just no good way to properly introduce people to the necessary programs through the courses they have available in the degree I’m taking? (That’s a fucking horrifying thought, so that’s probably the right answer.)

Next up: Perspectives in Natural Science; Fiction Writing Workshop.**

*This was my own stupid fault: I got an A on damn near every assignment I turned in, but I fucked off and skipped a couple discussion boards (I hate those, but still).
**Why yes, I am taking TWO COURSES this term—stay tuned to see how this will fuck me. :D

35: I’ve wasted a lifetime pretending to be me

I've wasted a lifetime pretending to be me

All my recent angst is self-inflicted (for certain values of “self”*), and it has nothing to do with my birthday. I’m seriously starting to consider changing the birthday tag.

I’m backdating this post, as I tend to do, because 2 days after I came home from Seattle, my back decided I’d been mistreating it with all the walking and the carrying an unbalanced bag and lifting a heavy carry-on over my head to get it in the overhead bin on the plane—yes, I am that short—aaand I guess I threw my back out? About a week later, I don’t need painkillers to get through the day anymore and I can sleep in bed again instead of on the couch (moving in my sleep meant I’d wake up wanting to scream). Is this what getting old is? I hate it. A lot. Moving on.

This is the second year in our little house and we’ve agreed that we’ll be moving, most likely to Washington, as soon as we have enough money saved up to cover first and last month’s rent, security deposit, moving costs, travel costs, etc.

I went to Japan last year. I went to Seattle. I’ve been passing my classes.** I threw enough money at my credit cards that they’re mostly paid down. I cut off most of my hair again.*** I’m a semi-successful ghostwriter with a regular client, and when I look for more work, I can usually find it.

The best music I found last year was She Wants Revenge (80s-style goth from the 00s), it’s super catchy and sexy and gothy—all good things! New albums, either out last year or I found them last year, from Faderhead (Night Physics), A Perfect Circle (Eat the Elephant), Gary Numan (Savage), Mesh (Looking Skyward), Julien-K (Time Capsule), Grendel (Age of the Disposable Body) and God Module (Does This Stuff Freak You Out?****).

To do this year:

  • Make a real plan with s/o for moving out of this town.
  • Pass all my classes.
  • Pursue viable alternative income streams.
    • Use the accounts I have on various freelancing boards.
    • Make a text adventure app.
    • Write porn “erotica” ebooks and publish online.
  • Moar tattoos.
    • I want jellyfish. Lots and lots of jellyfish.
  • Play Bloodborne all the way through.
    • (Maybe also finish Dark Souls, since I seem to be feeling masochistic.)
  • Write.
    • There is no secret to writing, except to write. That is the only way the writing will get done.

*Does the goblin shark that lives deep in the spirals of my brain and keeps me up staring at the ceiling while it whispers seductive cruelties in the dark count as a “self”?
**Even though the idea of failing—and all the other dominoes that fall after that—baits THE FEAR in me, the only useful option I have is to keep moving forward as best as I can and to make the best choices I’m able to make at the time.
***Because I can never learn.
****It’s a remix album, I bought it mostly for the name but it’s better than I expected and there’s an excellent cover of “Round and Round.”

August 29 – September 4 | Seattle (Highlights)

I had a week off in between terms and I wanted to go to Seattle to visit my dad, so I went. (All by myself!) That’s how grown-ups do things, isn’t it? Guise am I adulting right or nah?

August 29: Arrival

Flying To

Flying over Montana (on fire) | Airplane cookie

After exiting the plane, I immediately got lost in the airport. In my defense 1) SeaTac is kind of huge, and 2) all the in-game maps tell me where I’m at on the map, but the map on the website wasn’t doing that. Tl;dr: I realized there would be an entrance near where they sold the tickets and entrances often double as exits, so followed the signs that said “ticketing” until I found some doors. (This is why it’s important to encourage critical thinking btw.)

I met up with my dad, we took the Link light rail to the Capitol Hill Station, and walked like 8 or 12 blocks to his apartment. (This is one of the reasons why I try to travel carry-on only btw.) After I dropped my shit off, we went up the hill to Blue Moon Burger and I betrayed my generation by not photographing my food, or the restaurant, or otherwise commemorating the experience. (Shame! Shaaame!)

August 31: Woodland Park Zoo

On Friday, me and my dad decided to go to the zoo. First, we made the mistake of going downtown because that’s where we needed to transfer from one bus to another. It was a mistake because downtown was busier than I think I’ve ever seen it, and neither of us could figure out why Labor Day weekend had drawn such a crowd… until I noticed a not insignificant amount of people wearing badges around their necks and—oh fuck me we had gone into downtown during PAX (I had forgotten that was going to be happening because I’m just a fucking casual). There was so much PUBG hype going on, I almost talked to strangers, and I never do that.

Fortunately, the crowds at the zoo were significantly smaller.

Zoo - The Worst Seals

Penguins on Penguin Poo Rock | Penguin | Penguin | Penguin

We saw penguins!

Zoo - Flamboyant Ostriches and the Worst Cats

Flamingos | Hippo :D

And flamingos!

And hippos!

Zoo - Real Life Dragon

Gorgeous Komodo dragon statue | Gorgeous Komodo dragon skull | Gorgeous Komodo dragon| Another one of the Komodo skull

And this handsome boy!

(That statue was mostly accurate, and to scale, and I loved the mosaic on its back, and I barely managed to snap a couple shots before it was descended upon by a pack of fucking children—but that sort of thing tends to happen if you go to the zoo on a holiday weekend, so.)

September 3: Ivar’s, the waterfront, Bremerton

Ivars - Waterfront

Seattle Waterfront | Ivar’s sign | Ivar’s fried oysters & chips, fish & chips | Ivar’s in neon

Visits to Ivar’s at the waterfront are basically mandatory. I had fried oysters for the first time, they’re very good: less chewy than other mollusks but the same sort of flavor. I think I prefer the fried clams? The fried fish is also very good. (Who am I kidding? Everything at Ivar’s is good. GO TO IVAR’S AND EAT ALL THE THINGS.)

Bremerton Ferry

Seattle skyline (view from a ferry) | Harborside Fountain Park fountain | Fritz fries | Harborside Fountain Park bench

We took the ferry over to Bremerton just to go to this German fry house. I’m not kidding. The fries are some of the best I’ve ever had (full disclosure: I like my fries thicc) and they have probably 2 dozen sauce options, including weird shit like Thai peanut, and curry mayo like me and my dad got, along with standard things like ketchup and fry sauce. (Yes, we ate french fries twice in one day. What can I say? We’re part Irish.)

After the fries, we walked around Harborside Fountain Park until the ferry back to Seattle was ready to go. It’s a really nice park with a lot of fountains, and carved rocks, and a beautiful view of the Sound.

September 4: Departure

Flying From

Flying over Seattle at night | Space Needle (view from a ferry)

Not counting the travel days, I had about a week in Seattle, and I came back home in time to get my first week of the term school assignments in on deadline, even though I was more or less 3 days short on the first week. (One definite point in favor of online school: flexibility.)

Seattle - It Was Like This

Gloomy sky | Apartment building | King Street Station | Space Needle at night | Skyscrapers

Goodbye, Seattle! I <3 you!

The course names at my school are all just lies, apparently :(

Term 8 ended on Sunday. The course I took was called Introduction to Graphic Design Technology. That name is a fucking lie. What the course syllabus states the course is intended to do is teach students to have a fluid understanding of Adobe Illustrator—and Photoshop—and InDesign—in 8 weeks. Obviously, I fell behind immediately, mostly down to stupid habits learned in response to the flexibility of deadlines.*

Standard penalty for turning in work late is 10% off.* Okay. Fine. That’s fine. I can deal with that. (No, seriously. I’ve never been precious about maintaining a 4.0, I know my limits and I know what’s reasonable to expect from myself.) Except. I noticed a few of the rubrics have this section for “timeliness” on them that takes off like 15% if the assignment is turned in within 2 days past the deadline and 25% for anything after 2 days past.

What. Is that… is that instead of the 10% or on top of it? What the fuck.

I was also not meeting the standards I apparently hold for myself, as far as how quickly I was able to learn the material and how well I could apply it to the assignments.*** And I was behind, which I mentioned already, but being behind means my assignments were graded basically 2 weeks behind instead of 1 week behind so my grade wasn’t up to date, like, ever for the entire class. And the instructor was swinging wildly between empathetic/helpful and aloof/uncaring. And most of the rubrics listed “proficient use of the programs” as being necessary to get full credit, while “rudimentary and unrefined” topped out at about 75% of the points**** in the design category, which was the category that was always worth at least like 50% of the total assignment.

At about week 2 and going forward, I never knew where my grade was at or how well I was doing or whether I was actually learning or getting anything useful out of the class and oh my god it was torture. The worst part was when I got feedback on one week’s discussion posts that said my replies were “generic and vague” even though I specifically referenced the thing my classmates were talking about and related it to a defined opinion I had. This only increased the feeling that I had no idea what the instructor wanted. Turns out I can’t deal well with uncertainty, which was a surprise for some reason, even though I’ve known me for several decades now.

By the last day, right around the midnight deadline (classic me!), I was throwing together a final project out of the rudimentary and unrefined assets I’d built over the past 8 weeks (with a lot of judicious… um, let’s call it “inspirational(?) googling” because I had no fucking idea what the final project was supposed to look like, since design wasn’t part of the curriculum). Once that was turned in, I started frantically doing math to figure out whether there were even enough points left for me to pull a passing grade out of the wreckage, estimating how many points I could probably count on getting on assignments I was waiting for grades on, figuring out what I needed to get on the final project to pass overall, then emailing my advisor in a panic because I was pretty sure I was going to fail and I needed to know what would happen after that happened.

Tl;dr: I ended at a B+. I don’t know what happened. All I know is it’s over now, I have the credit, I don’t have to take the class again, and the next class looks like it’s going to be a better introduction to graphic design than the class that’s actually called “Introduction to Graphic Design.” Fuck.

*I am so much more familiar with the late policies than I should be, but that’s the sort of thing you get cozy with when you have all sorts of headfuckery echoing in the background and it could get its teeth in you any second and sometimes you won’t even notice you’ve been quietly taken by depression in the dark waters of the night** until you notice how deep and cold everything is now and realize you’re drowning.
**Spoiler: It’s always night.
***I think I’m still traumatized from the coding program I failed out of (section: SCHOOL). Pretty sure that’s it…

March 20 – April 3 | Japan: the food post

(I got a better phone with a better camera so my pictures don’t look quite so shit. Like usual, this isn’t everything we ate, but it’s fairly representative.)

konbini - 7i

Konbinis! Convenience stores in Japan are the second best thing (the best is the vending machines on literally every other block that sell ALL THE DRINKS). You can get trash food, you can get healthy food, you can get a proper meal put together without much effort. Kitchens are small and it’s more typical for people to eat out more often than cooking at home (my s/o’s tendency to pick up Subway on the way home instead of trying to make food at home suddenly makes more sense).


Oh my god I have missed Indian food so much since moving back to Montana. Nabin is a Sri Lankan place with delicious curry and naan and saffron rice and samosas and these little dumplings called “momos” (pictured). Since getting home, I’ve started making curries and rice. So good.


DOMINO’S IN JAPAN. The ingredients are better, the flavor combinations are to suit Japanese tastes (teriyaki chicken, chicken and corn with mayo, pork and roasted garlic) besides also offering more typical flavors (margherita, all meat), the option of 4 sections on a pizza is a standard thing, the pizza is cut into 12 instead of 8 and the pizzas are smaller.

conveyor sushi

I don’t know the name of the place but it was conveyor sushi! We went to see the new Tomb Raider (English with Japanese subs), then went to this conveyor sushi place so we could say we’d done it. Everyone I tell this story to is some degree of squicked out but I had no problems with any of the raw fish I ate, or any of the water I drank, or anything else. Either I got luck or food-handling standards are more strictly monitored over there (I know which one I bet it is).

sweet potato ice cream

In Kawagoe there was a soft serve stand selling sweet potato ice cream: it’s half orange and half purple sweet potato flavor (not that I noticed a difference in flavor, but I’m not super familiar with the flavors of different dessert-style sweet potatoes, so). After we got our ice cream we saw like 5 more of these stands, so it’s a popular thing.

rest stop

At the rest stop on the way back from the mountains, there were all kinds of little snacky vendors, and a Starbucks, and a couple of proper restaurants where you could get an actual meal. We opted for Starbucks and takoyaki, because I have this compulsion to eat trash. Takoyaki has this weird kind of texture where I wouldn’t order it for myself (because an order there had 8), but if someone was offering it around, I’d have 1.

gyoza place

Aaand speaking of eating trash: GYOZA. I was thoroughly schooled in some cultural aspects I wasn’t aware of, one of which is that gyoza and beer is considered kind of a garbage meal and something salary men have after work before stumbling home. Obviously we went to this amazing gyoza franchise place 3 different times at 2 different locations (both of them close to a train station, because smart real estate placement). I had karaage, and steak fried up with green peppers, and a kind of hot and sour beef sauce with tofu in it (not pictured, because I ate it before thinking to photograph)—this was on 3 separate visits, not all at once, and we always got the “sets” that come with an order of gyoza, rice, soup and pickled veg. Fucking delicious.

heartful bakery

Last one: Heartful Bread Bakery. This is a few blocks from my s/o’s parent’s house where we were staying and it’s where all the bread in the house was from. They even had Irish soda bread (but they didn’t know that’s what it was, it was labeled “fruit bread” or something and it was really good with butter on for breakfast). We walked over for breakfast one day before getting on a train and got the most delightful little assortment of things, plus a coffee from the vending machine outside.

vending machines

I lied. Vending machines. I will miss the vending machines most of all. *single sad tear*