Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Stairs in the Japanese Garden




Pulled out grandpa's camera and went to the Japanese Garden with Grandma, Leslie, and O.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bus Buddies


Living in a metropolis of 3.7 million I have the luxury of being anonymous.  Sort of.  On the bus, I ride the same route everyday and see many of the same people.  They must see me as well.

There are types on the bus. You become accustomed to them.  And when the bus is crowded, as the one I am on right now is, you get a seat buddy.  I rarely, if ever, say a word to my seat buddy. Hell, eye contact is even out of the ordinary.  Yet I share a very intimate space with each buddy, often cramming in so tightly next to the person that our bodies press against each other, more than an incidental brush from a bump in the road.  And still we look ahead. Or out the window. Or at our phones. And try to ignore each other. Try to ignore the awkward moment as if there is no social connection or need to be friendly.

If we could travel in pods we would.

We would never say a word to any stranger, even if they were right next to us.  As I am right now.what bizarre behavior is this that we no longer acknowledge people in our immediate vicinity.  Just because it is a bus, just because it is a city, just because we have a litany of excuses.

So why don't I say anything? Why do I continue to keep my face firmly glued to my phone, while my probably very friendly seat buddy does the same? I don't know. And I'm shy. And I don't want to bug people on the bus. And I don't want to make a bunch of noise. And I don't want to seem rude or creepy or imposing or threatening or just different. And I don't want to put in the effort of knowing someone, if only for a moment.

In short, being a silent seat buddy is the shared cowardice of the many while meaningful social interactions on mass transit are left to the homeless, the crazy, the mentally handicapped, the other.

"you know the green part of the carrot is the most nutritious."

"is it, well I will have to try that"

"go ahead, we will watch you"

The bus chuckles and smiles. For a moment we are a community, and then pushed back into silence.

How odd.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beach, Table, A Nice Saturday

Ciera and I woke up late, gardened, met up briefly with Amber Lee, went to the beach, bought some outdoor furniture, ate a light dinner outside, and watched a movie.

Sometimes a day is good because nothing happens.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Framework and Events Pt1 Draft 1

It's an outline.  So, it might seem a bit--heavy-handed.  This is Part 1.


  1. Synopsis: Main is introduced.  In the middle of the woods as it is getting dark.  He is lost.
    1. Time: Summer, late evening, just past sunset
    2. Place: woods
    3. Characters: Main
    4. Writer Goals: intro Main, force him to monologue on everything.  Rachel, his friends, why he is there in the summer (why is he there for the summer?), why he is lost, and how fucking broke he is
    5. Notable events: he's lost in the woods, maybe he finds a campfire of people.  Maybe he climbs a tree.  Maybe he sees wildlife.  Maybe he finds the road after all that crap.  All we know is that he's a slightly unreliable narrator because he never knows what the hell is going on.  And he's full of shit.  And alone--lost in the woods.  Duh.
  2. Synopsis: Hooking up and becomes girlfriend
    1. Time: Summer, Afternoon
    2. Place: housing, walking to ice cream
    3. Characters: Main, Rachel
    4. Writer Goals: Intro main, establish romanticized relationship
    5. Notable Events:
  3. Synopsis: Summer Party where attitudes and other characters are established
    1. Time: Summer (same day), Night
    2. Place: housing block
    3. Characters:
      1. Main
      2. Rachel
      3. Dan
    4. Writer goals: college chaos, intro peripheral characters, plant seed of cheating
    5. Notable events: peeing out the window, crazy dancing, waking up in the bath tub, rufies (too soon), getting hit on, 3am guitar and roof
  4. Synopsis: The dating life - a short series of vignettes of 'dates'.  Bad date, grass is greener fantasy.
    1. Time: Summer, evening
    2. Place(s): top of a water tower, out in the woods eventually at a campfire, at a fancy restaurant
    3. Characters:
      1. Main
      2. Rachel
      3. Other annoying girls
    4. Writer goals: show how the two interact, sow seeds of incompatibility
    5. Notable events: conversation of goals, life-direction, discuss cheating, friend sitting in on a date
  5. Synopsis: Main takes a trip to friend's beach house
    1. Time: late summer, week or two before start of school
    2. Place: late at night in apartment, car ride, beach house (arrival)
    3. Characters: Main, Lucy, Rachel (briefly)
    4. Writer goals: establish a setting for cheating, beach house setting,
    5. Notable events: establish Main and Lucy relationship, open up the question of cheating.
  6. Synopsis: Time at the beach house.
    1. Time: one week
    2. Place: beach house, local grocer, beach
    3. Writer goals: establish aspirations, show circumstances of cheating,
    4. Notable events: the cheat, doing dishes, walk on beach, moments of peace, fire by the beach
  7. Synopsis: the last night before school starts. Main is post breakup and wallowing.  He gets destructive.
    1. Time: night before school starts.
    2. Place: campus, humid and warm
    3. Characters: main and his core group of friends
    4. Writer goals: flesh out destructive tendencies, throw in some relationships with friends, push the reader away from main, beer run
    5. Notable events: building climbing. Hiding in a closet. Drinking with friends.
  8. synopsis: Dreamember? night in the northeast. Characters sit around talking and playing games, sleep in a big room together.
    1. Time: one specific night
    2. Place: beach house, cold and rainy
    3. Writer goals: bring audience back to main a little.
    4. Notable events. Guitar hero, drunk driving, excess, something lost
  9. The first day of school. 8am class. Main, still drunk has to sit through the day getting progressively more hung over.
    1. Time: morning and day
    2. Place: campus
    3. characters: professors, main, friends and acquaintances, funny classmates
    4. Writer goals: show campus, intro some supporting characters. Capture the campus atmosphere
    5. Notable events: important person shows up to a class, main begs for aspirin from friends, watching freshmen come in, freshman spotting, meal at dining hall.
  10. Twice burned candles. Main drinks that night with friends that stay out. He is excited to see people but not prudent to manage himself.  He goes out with his friends who have no classes until later in the day. One gets injured and they have to spend most of the night in the ER.  Friend is diagnosed with another disease.
    1. Time: Night
    2. place: at a house then at a tennis court, then hospital
    3. Characters
    4. Writer goals: Make main more sympathetic, show the tight relationship of the friends.
    5. Notable events: after drinking they go out and play tennis and someone twists an ankle, takes a hard spill, and has to go to the hospital.  Everyone in the hospital.  Long convo about life with people. A little gravity to life.
  11. Synopsis: group work. Main works in a group with three "interesting" people who he absolutely despises.  Hooks up with one.  Yay awkward sex. 
    1. Time:
    2. Place:
    3. Characters
    4. Writer goals:
    5. Notable Events:
  12. Synopsis: Asshole.  After sleeping with the girl he hates and unceremoniously kicking her out of his bed, Main finds out that her dad has cancer.  He then has to present with her--it goes tensely.  She steps out immediately after the presentation ends. He looks for her, but can't find her.  Later in the story we find out that her father has died.  He never gets to apologize.
    1. Time: The morning.
    2. Place: Main's room, the dining hall, and class
    3. Characters: Main, (friend whom he sees little but trusts--O), girl he hates (she expects something from the encounter)
    4. Writer goals: a bit of drama. Main gets the consequences of his actions.
    5. Notable events:

End Part 1

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Program Framework


I have decided to learn how to program--sort of.  I mean, I am not learning C++ or anything super cool.  Just Javascript and later PHP.  The idea is that I want to go to school for something related to data visualization and managing large amounts of data for public consumption.  To do so I have found that a background in computer programming is a must.

So that means I need to start learning.

And the best way to learn is by doing.  So I am going to make use of the extensive community support for js to learn by doing.

So I want to create a basic program that allows a user to create a comment, leave their information, and tag the comment with basic information. Then the program categorizes that information, geo-referencing it, automatically visualizing keywords, and 'analyzes' the text.

To build a program the first step--at least that I think is helpful--is to write it in english.

Given:
comments (any text length greater than 0).
User IP address -->prompt for "is location correct?", if so store geo-reference, if not prompt for "enter zip"
Allow optional address and personal information.  Match and store into a database.

Initiate:
Js vis keywords and phrases.  Exclude common words (the, an, a, for, etc) (D3)
Cross-reference with other keywords and phrases from other users
Output as suggested keywords
Allow user to click to select/type in new keywords
Automatically identify conjunctive and conditional phrases (if/then, and, or, but, whether, either, neither, all, none)
Flag conjunctive/conditional phrases for further review
Ask user if comment is positive, negative, or neutral--categorize as red, green, or gray
Output geo-tag on a map according to comment type (D3)
Once a comment is completely measured it is a "live text"

Display:
Map with original "live text", selectable layers, and data visualizations of hot keywords and trends.

Later:
As comments come in, the Admin categorizes and cross-references with external data, eventually creating links to all "live text"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Diem Memoriam 1


In truth it has been a long time for me. My life has moved from one slow motion moment to the next. Sometimes with a quiet peace but most times with the difficult plodding that is the mourning period after death.

If I had known he would be there for only two more days I would have stayed. There is no way I could have known that.

I spoke with my cousins at the funeral, I helped however I could on the preparations. I am too young and too irresponsible to do much.

I spent time with family. I have worked little and spent most of my time dazed.

It is hard to reflect right now, it's too easy to be in pain and too hard to write.  I have drawn a bit.

I grind my teeth whenever I'm not paying attention.  My jaw is sore, an unhappy reminder I am not relaxed.

Preparations. The house the family. Outside. The dog.

I awoke from the restless sleep at 5am.  It was not by choice.  It was a sound.  The sound of the blinds being attacked mercilessly by the cat.  5am.  She usually waited until 6.  I was up.  And I wanted out the door.  I showered quickly, ran to Starbucks, and made my way to Portland.  I avoided most of the traffic that way.

Ciera was in Canada with her family and I could feel the absence.  Despite traveling to see family--the people who raised me--I still felt alone without the person who had been by my side during my transition to adulthood.

I drove in at 9:15am, after getting a speeding ticket. I was greeted without fanfare. Perhaps it was everyone waking up or perhaps it was the surrounding circumstances, but the house was enervated. I looked at the far wall, there were flip charts everywhere.  Every detail had been designed by committee. The funeral took two weeks to prepare. And details were changed every moment.

The day was sunny.  It was going to be hot and wonderful.  Nate was cooking eggs or potatoes.  A breakfast for everyone.  My dad had gone to drop off Olivia at work.  Grandma was reading the paper.  If not for the flipcharts, it seemed normal.  Everything was normal.  Except everyone was in town.

I found myself wandering around the house.  Grandpa left over 45 years of himself in the house.  In the basement were his dolls, set up with his camera equipment so that he could get the light right.  He had his dark room.  He had his fly rods.  He had his man cave.  Full of his things.  And the photos and slides--rolls and rolls, stacks and stacks.  He left his photos and as near to a portrait as one could imagine.  A perfect record of his life.  And yet there were so few pictures of him.  The man behind the camera had an uncanny ability to dodge the lens.  We had photos of him sure, but nothing near the comprehensive collection of his perspective.  And believe me, they were his perspective.

In his later days he would heavily modify photos to be warmer, more orange.  His sight was failing and technology allowed us to see what he saw.  A warm and happy family--orange like umpa lumpas, but happy.

At noon I found myself writing things down on flipcharts, trying to help the committee figure out opening reception arrangements.  Where people stand is a very big deal.  And it was very meticulously planned.  If not with the best focus.

Nan was brushing the dog, huge tufts of Andy's golden retriever fur came off him, a few escaping Nan's grasp and floating into the spring green forest.  Phyllis took the weather as an opportunity to suntan, insisting her underwear was a bikini bottom and her rolled up tank top was a tankini.  George and my Dad argued over details that had already been set.  Les brought out Cheeto's for everyone to munch on; a move that caused many distress, "stop doing that! It's unhealthy, this is why we're fat!"  They munched anyways.

Somehow it got done though.  And by 2pm, a mere three hours after we had started, the layout was done.  Almost.  Nan really didn't want Peter or Evan helping with parking.  But I accidentally put Pete's name at parking. And I couldn't put Louie and Georgie together.  So I had to rearrange.  It was ok.  The layout was followed only in the most liberal of definitions ultimately.

And then George, Phyl, and my Dad decided to go over the food menu again.  The order had already been put in but there weren't enough fruit plates, which threw everything into contention.  After another hour, the menu remained unchanged except for one removed item and an extra fruit plate.

At some point family sifted in.  Like me unnoticed--it was normal--and suddenly all were there.  A plague of people, all emotionally drained, and all happy to be with each other.

As the evening set in, the house lights turned on and everything turned a warm orange.