Sunday, October 13, 2019

where u been

Gosh amighty, I been away for awhile, apparently.
Family in town last week.
Pedicures have been had.
Thrift shopping and early-Thanksgiving also done and had.
Folks are traveling but I'm not, yet anyway.
I've been reading up a storm and that is traveling in a way, isn't it?
The Kurt Cobain biography by Charles Cross.
Arresting. An obituary for a person, a soul, an ethos, a city.
Dervla Murphy's trek across Madagascar.
I marvel at her daughter's wry long-suffering.
And laughing along with and marveling at the lo-fi, clever artistry of this Literal MSPaint joint.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

teh hype

I managed to get my hands on the September British Vogue.
Interested in how Meghan Markle aka Duchess of Sussex performs as editor.
It's glossy, for sure. I haven't had time yet to settle in with it. (Although a cursory scan of the features includes a lot of the samo-samo whey-faces. Hmph.)
For context, I do buy most of the September fashion magazines. It's the biggest issue and for me, the best deal. I look at them year after year, sometimes cutting out intriguing designs.
I added Bust to the mix this year. Loving its strong feminist messaging.

Sunday, September 1, 2019


On the inside, I rage and seethe and plot multitudes of revenge.
Yet I am praised at work for "being professional."
Among friends I am known for "having it together."
To those closest to me, who knows?
Sometimes I rage and sometimes I simmer and sometimes, many times, I disassociate and feel nothing at all.
When I partially shaved my head last summer, my outside finally matched my inside.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

100% that fan

What a delightful week for music videos. (Or movies, if you're Lil Nas X.)
First, our one true queen of hip hop, Missy Elliott dropped a new album with this gem, Throw It Back. This is classic ME--the innovative costumes, deliberately provocative and referential yet post-modern makeup and grills, her relaxed, confident dance and rhyme--"Watch me."

The video went live August 22, and it's already at 4million views.
And then there's Old Town Road, continuing to dominate, inspire and embed itself in earholes, now in extended video/movie version, featuring LNX, Billy Ray, Chris Rock, a horse v. car drag race, and elderly bingo line dancing. I cackled aloud.

And there's the CupcaKKe remix, Old Town Hoe, as wonderfully nasty as it gets, because of course. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019


A shrink asked me this week if I have friends I can confide in. Happily, the answer is yes.
I feel so lucky for the beautiful souls in my life.

Saturday, August 10, 2019


Feeling like a glitch these past few days.
Weeks, really.
Trying to remember glitches can be beautiful, too.

Image courtesy SideFX

Saturday, July 27, 2019


I finally got around to seeing Spiderman: into the Spider Verse.
Holy cats, I need to re-watch this on a big screen. The plot was average but loved Miles and his family and super-loved the soundtrack. Visually it was stunning and the humor reminded me of Deadpool in all the best ways. Love any movie where I'm constantly saying, "What the--?"
Fresh frash frush.

Monday, July 15, 2019


I recently fired my shrink.
She's a nice person and I think means well, but I didn't feel like she was listening to me, towards the end.
I was paying her to listen. Why else sit on a faux velvet couch week after week, staring at the potted plants, wondering who else's ass crack has worn the same groove, and then forking over cash at the end of 55 minutes?
Sometimes she made me take a depression inventory, which--if you haven't ever taken one--is pretty depressing on its own. During our second to last visit, I was feeling pretty down--it's been a year of loss and travel and stress--and scored higher than I had in awhile. (Higher is not good.) She counted up the numbers, and then said, almost gaily, "Well your numbers are higher but you're here and you look fine, so let's move on!"
One of the questions on the inventory asks if I feel like I've failed more than the average person, and I nearly always put yes. I feel like I have failed a lot. I know I have failed a lot.
I'm writing, yes, and publishing again, but no one cares, not really.
My job is uber-stressful and frustrating. I dread each day. For weeks I had an eye twitch (until I took time off).
I see family and that's fine but it's not fine, there have been outbursts and yelling and mean things said, and it all just gets papered over and forgotten. My nieces have grown up and moved on and that feels lonely. Two of them won't even message me back, not without a double tap or some badgering, and wow does that feel not-good.
I want to make changes--major ones--and I'm trying, as hard as I can.
I hope I can survive the deluge.
Also, watching Pose puts my suffering into perspective and gives me hope.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


It's Pride weekend in the 206 and some friends and I went to the Trans Pride parade Friday night.
This was the biggest Trans Pride parade in Seattle history.
There were rumors that right wing groups would continue their harassment and hate. As my friend said, Hate is bullshit.
As she and I waited at light rail for the others to catch up, we witnessed a stream of marchers exiting Cal Anderson, on their way to line up for the march. It was a giddy assortment of folks, some with signs, some in costume or festive garb, others simply showing up in street clothes, as themselves.
Across the street at the construction site, the workers in their reflective vests and helmets had apparently just gotten off work and stood behind the chain link fence, watching in quiet fascination (I hope).
Worlds peacefully collided for a moment.
Later, as I stood on the curb cheering and chanting as the marchers went by, I saw many expressions reflected on the passing faces: pride, happiness, surprise, defiance, and maybe caution.
It takes a lot of courage to stand up and march.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

i want a president

This. Wow. If this piece by Zoe Leonard hurts your soul or puzzles you or provokes in you some contentious feelings, then thank a teacher somewhere that you can read, and remember the role of writers in this world, to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

tiredly happy happily tired

Just returning from a couple of days' staycation.
A restorative 48 hours.
Friends and beach time and bar-hopping in a couple of old-school neighborhoods.
Now, back at it.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

the consequences of truth

It's been weeks of emotional heavy lifting since losing Marguerite, realizing what she had left all of us, and then, two weeks ago, finding among her things a stack of handwritten note cards written by her mother, my great-grandmother. The cards seem to be preparation for writing a memoir--Nan noted she'd need 100,000 words--and are written in a fine, sometimes quite tiny, cursive, as though not quite giving herself permission to express what she was putting down on paper.
Because. There is death and despair, a murder, a suicide, and many tales of abuse and alcoholism. And also wonderfully frank observations of neighbors and lovely observations of nature--a pond, wildflowers, wagon rides.
It changes you, thinking about your relatives in this way. Staring at the black and white photographs from a hundred plus years ago, realizing that they are actual people and not quite the sainted relics we've imagined them to be. They loved and fought and hated and struggled and triumphed. My grandmother and great-grandmother are two of the strongest people I've ever known, and now, I'm realizing what all the hard times exerted and wrought on them, diamond-like.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

StC 51

Pleased to announce that I have a story out this month in Spank the Carp, a lively and interesting literary journal. This story--"The Accidental Contestant"--is one I wrote wondering What happens if?
Always a good jumping-off point for a writer.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

belltown what the hey

I had an old school 206 night recently in Belltown, of all places. I say "of all places" because this venerable Seattle neighborhood adjoining downtown had gotten hipsterized along with pretty much everything else. The recent openings of Jupiter and the Screwdriver have given me hope (along with the impending Shorty's/Rocco's move, i.e not a full-on closure. Side note: how is the former John John's now a 'gram-able plant shop? HOW.).
Anyway, the Belltown bar hop started at 5 Point, and chitchat with an unassuming guy. We laughed as a sixty-something couple got 86'ed for not having ID, and traded speeding ticket stories. He mentioned he's in a band, Gold Bar, and when they played Folklife a few years back, his mom didn't want to deal with downtown traffic to come and see their 11am set. With a couple of handshakes, he cashed out and headed out to see Tedeschi.
Later we wandered by the aforementioned new Shorty's location on Second Avenue, where a friend mentioned his art studio had previously existed, along with Galleria Potatohead. And Pearl Jam practiced nearby. As if on cue, a guy in dreads and paint-spattered clothes emerged, heard us talking, and invited us in to see his mural-in-progress (a glow in the dark shark!) and walk through the abandoned basement and art studio spot--mostly now film canisters, old posters, and a lot of dust. A few stops later we made it to the Belltown Yacht Club to see The Bitter.
Later still, a walk up Pine with stops for a slice and a veggie dog, feeling good about a low-key hangout of a night.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

festy life

I had the good fortune to peep Travis Thompson at the Fishermans Village Music Festival in Everett last weekend. I have not been in the partying mood, but this is the chillest, illest little festival in the PNW at the moment and some pals and I had been planning to get up there for awhile. It's just what we wanted. Old school 206'ers mingling with Day-Glo ravers and hip kids and old folks and it was sceney (girls in hats and booties) but not too sceney (the for-real beardy guys outweighed the statement-beardy guys). Chong the Nomad charmed us with her wacky set and meme-y dreamy visuals. Tilson XOXO was confident and exciting and didn't last way long enough. Anyway TT hit the main stage on a cool Friday evening and slayed, with a cameo by the luminous Parisalexa.This Ambaum kid is gonna make good, I can feel it.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Today, yes

I woke up to an e-mail saying yes.
It was a magazine editor I respect, happily accepting a story I had submitted.
Not on the first try.
Not on the first edit, or even the tenth.
So for a moment I forget the hard week.
Today, yes.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

I haven't, I thought, I didn't (I knew)

I haven't been able to write much, these past couple of weeks. My mind is faraway, in Kansas.
I thought I was ready for goodbye, and it turns out I was not.
I didn't know it would be this hard. (I knew: Dugie, Mom, Grampa. But I had forgotten.)
I haven't slept much since mid-March.
I thought she might make it to 100.
I didn't know at 97 she would fight so hard. To stay in the hospital and then to be let go. (I knew she was tough but not this tough.)
I haven't stopped feeling sad at a primal level for so long (Dugie, Mom, Grampa, now Her).
I thought you got over it--the loss--that you got closure, you moved on.
I didn't know that they stay with you always, in the beat of the heart and the glimpse of an old photo and the clasp of a hand. (I knew: Dugie, Mom, Grampa, now Her. But I had forgotten.)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

over. it.

Today I write from a place of pain, and sadness.
This year has not been the friendliest.
Yes, duh, I know, but I don't mean in the cosmic sense, or Madness USA #wereallgonnadie sense.
(That's starting to feel like the norm--not normal--but, reality.)
For me personally, in my own private universe, things have just felt -- off.
Work is kind of a nightmare.
Last week I smashed up my knee, again. Every painful hobble is a reminder to slow down, to get some rest, to chill.
And this week, a person I love so dearly is not doing well, will probably not do well ever again, and I am feeling all the emotions.
I know I'll be okay and we'll be okay but this good-bye forever stuff is hard.
It takes me back 15 years and saying good-bye forever to my mother.
After the sleepless night and the hot tears and the chaotic decisions, and then -- the quiet. The cold despair.
Then, emerging from the hospital into the brilliant Arizona sun, and realizing in a flash that I would never walk the planet with my mother again.
I couldn't believe it, and yet I could never un-know it.
It was the most singularly painful moment of my life, so far, and still.
I did everything I could for her, and I don't regret it. The tears and sadness just remind me that she was a person, my person, and I will always miss her.
I wish I had a cheery adieu for this today, but I don't.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Saturday, March 2, 2019

welcome, Stranger

Today we congratulate The Stranger, Seattle's sort-of alt-weekly free newspaper, for putting down the vape and recognizing the Seattle hip-hop scene. To sum up the thoughts of myself and pretty much everyone with aural awareness in the 206, we been knowing this.
Still, nice to see a little hometown love for artists I have been keeping an ear on including Parisalexa and Kung Foo Grip.
New-ish to me was Travis Thompson, who just signed with Epic Records.

And the delightful Chong the Nomad!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

super duper supercut

One week ago, a motley assemblage of insanely talented rad comrades assembled at Hollow Earth Radio, to perform the 7th annual rad comrades super duper audio play.
Superhero Quantum Pax, her sidekicks and BFF's Loocy Paloochi and Jean Cluck Van Damme, join forces with Esperanto creator L.L. Zamendorf to calm Godzilla and fight 3 evil goons -- Creamsicle Crony, Barry Piroshky, and the Salad Prince--who are plotting to take over the world.
To listen to the entire play--you know you want to!--go to:

Saturday, February 9, 2019

super duper

Some pals and I (Team Ampersand) spent a good part of January working on a script for the 7th annual Super Duper Radio Play. There was a superhero, a Belgian rooster, the founder of Esperanto, Godzilla, and a trio of goons including Russian Barry Piroshky and orange-on-the-outside-white-on-the-inside Creamsicle Crony.
I'll post a video of "the making of" pretty soon but in the meantime here's a couple of pix from the day.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

surprise, mysteries!

I made a new video. This one's about a pair of novels I read recently, picked them up from the Seattle Public not quite realizing they were mysteries. Sometimes so-called "genre fiction" gets a bad rap, but as everyone around here at busysmartypants knows, I'm a huge fan of mystery/spy/thriller novels, genres be damned. Sometimes you want LeCarre, with all of his intricate plotting and subtle twists of the knife; and sometimes you want Lee Child--heavier on the action but none the less tense. Anyway, enjoy the vid and happy reading.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

how do i

It's been a 3-rejection week.
Even for me, that's a lot of no's.
I've been submitting a particular story draft weekly for months. The narrative felt ready. Even as I submit, I continue revising, all the while maintaining the heart of the story. I've found a thread, I think, and shaped the ending to provide satisfaction for the reader (if not a lot of personal growth for the somewhat unlikable main character).
And yet, still: three no's in a week.
That's roughly one no every three days.
That's .42 no's daily.
It's been a lot of no lately.
Second job-wise.
I know I'll keep going, I always do, but maybe I need a break.
A change is as good as a rest, they say.
I'm not quite sure who "they" are.
How do I carry on?

Saturday, January 12, 2019


While I'm working on new stories I continue to play with the kinds of images that make me happy. Twisted glamour. Luxe with a wink. Lush has connotations I love to contemplate.

BSP Videos