Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Small Notes

A post for the little things.

Father's Day on Malibu Pier. This guy totally caught me snapping a shot.
This past weekend, Michael and I drove down to Southern California to visit my dad. We ate a sad and lackluster breakfast at Malibu Farm on Malibu Pier, then had a famous afternoon at the Dodgers game, where they lost. I cannot begin to quantify the amount of alcohol I imbibed or fries I ate, but suffice it to say that I ate plenty.

We stopped by my Mom's house, where she told us all about her recent trip to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Turns out, most of her traveling stories end with, "...and then I pet this animal." Petting animals is often the highlight of my day, too.

She showed me her garden as well, and let me tell you, the change was unbelievable. Last time I was home, some months ago now, I pulled out all of the 2+ years of dead plants and weeds, then tilled and amended the soil. After I left, she bought a number of starts, some lady bugs, and nematodes, and spread those around. The difference is night and day. Her garden is absolutely killer now, and her tomato plants! Ah! Incredible. I am jealous. Someday I will have a yard, damn it. Someday I will have a garden. Someday, but probably not in the Bay Area.

After visiting my mom, we had lunch with Michael's parents and hung around while they visited a dog adoption drive. Fingers crossed they take home the two dogs they loved, because I loved them too.

Limantour Beach at sunset, some many months ago.
I recently took a full time temp job at a large Bay Area video game company. Unfortunately, I'm not working on games. It's easy, if dull, work. That's about all I am able to say about that.

A "What's In My Bag" shot from a few months ago. Always travel with fruit.
What's next? Hopefully shooting more. I haven't shot a roll of film in months. Working on my thesis for weeks on end obliterated any interest or time I had to get out with my cameras, and every weekend I've had since starting the aforementioned job has been packed with events arranged long in advance. My life is too busy for me, and I am one of the least busy people I know. It's difficult for me to find happiness in a hectic schedule, but I'm trying. Always trying, whatever else.

Different Sameness

It has been a bit, hasn't it? One year and four months, in fact. A number of capital-T Things have changed, and yet, not much is different. Here's a list:

An outtake from our very professional "Save the Date" shoot.
  • Michael and I got engaged last December. True to our relationship, the engagement was both terribly practical and a touch whimsical. We were in the kitchen. Michael was washing dishes, I was cooking dinner. I was thinking about family, what it means to prepare food for someone, about how much of my hands, his hands was on the food we ate. We were quite literally ingesting our shared labor. It was strangely romantic and all at once gave me this incredible sense of being bound to Michael, of him being bound to me, of our families being bound to one another. The feeling was huge, almost overwhelming. While I had known for years that I wanted to spend my life with him, I had only just then realized I also wanted a marriage; not a wedding, necessarily, but a formal partnership recognized by our families, communities, and friends. And so, with his hands covered in soap and mine in garlic, I said, "Hey, do you want to married?" And he said, "Sure." And that was that.

    Our wedding will be on the first weekend of October at an orchid greenhouse on the coast, just south of San Francisco. The ceremony will be small. There will be indie pop and cocktails and—to my delight—a forest of ferns for us to make merry in. I'm trying not to stress about it. I'm mostly succeeding. I'm sure it will be fine.

The fruit of an international film swap with photography friend Brendan, who lives in Ireland.
  • After three long years, I finally finished grad school this past spring. I graduated with a Master's degree in Museum Studies. I wrote what was essentially a short book about museum collections online. I cannot stress enough how relieved I am to have that behind me. It was a fine experience in a solid program, but I'm afraid museums just aren't for me. The museum industry is in a difficult position at the moment, and many institutions are not handling the cultural shift well or with grace. We'll see, I suppose. I might find myself in a collections basement yet.

An ocean of fog overtaking the coastal mountains at the top of Coleman Valley Rd.

  • Adrift without school to guide me, I enrolled in a professional editing certification program through UC Berkeley. I just can't keep away from the academy. I have a hunger for fancy pieces of paper that cannot be sated. And, hey, I like editing. I have fair enough instincts cultivated through a lifetime of voracious reading. Now I have to actually, like, learn the details. I'm not the best details person, but I'm trying. I will best subjective vs. objective pronoun case yet. (My trouble isn't I vs. me, that's easy. But us vs. we? That vs. which? Save me.)

  • The charming Brock Schrieber Boathouse, one of the wedding venues we visited.
    • I decided I wanted to work in the games industry. Well, I decided that a couple of years ago. Only now, I'm actually in the position to pursue games work with grad school out of the way, so that's what I've been doing. And it's tough. Like all industries, the work you get is in large part dependent on who you know and being in the right place at the right time; a deadly (to me) combination of networking skills and luck, both of which I am sorely lacking. I'll figure it out. I've been writing stories and creating small interactive fiction proof-of-concepts for a while now, so soon I will be better. Trying, trying, all the time to be better.

      Toward this end, I've started working on the design document for an adventure game set in a cheerful seaside town. Broadly, it is about the concept of "home," about interpersonal relationships, about objects and place and snooping. Snooping is one of my favorite activities, so it stands to reason I'd stick it in a game, I suppose. As with anything, we'll see what comes of it. Making things is hard, and convincing the right people to make them with you seems nearly impossible.

    It's important for me to remember that the trying is worth it. I'll save the small things for another post.

    Take care, friends.