Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dear reader,

I know I've been terribly lax in my consistency of posting, and it's horrible of me. To be perfectly honest, I'm sure this isn't the best time of night to be blogging, but the urge struck me to do so for whatever reason... and also, I am being pressed, mostly by myself. But none of that really matters.

My research topics are coming along rather swimmingly, thank you for asking. Belly dancing is wonderful and I want to do it forever. Speaking of dancing, a couple hours ago I arrived back home from a Halloween/tango party, where I had dressed up as Mrs. Lovett, and Trevor as Sweeney Todd (as was referenced in an earlier blog post, which I'm sure you recall, given how you memorize everything I say). With the assistance of Emily, I used scarves to harness a pillow onto my rear, beneath my long skirt, so that I had quite a bulbous rump which was most appropriate for a Mrs. Lovett sort of costume. I may or may not someday post a photograph of this phenomenon. Don't hold your breath.

Now I have some serious crap to talk about. It's been made clear to me what I really want to do when I go back home. I want to first acquire a job or some alternative sort of money-making thing (no, people, not prostitution; I was thinking of something more like a self-started cleaning business or something where I'm not so much "employed" as "hired." Which may mean the same thing, now that I think about it). Anyway, I want to save up some fair chunk of money, and then ride-share all over the country. When I'm sick of this country, I'll go to Europe or Asia. I don't want to be tied to any one place. I don't want to be attached to things. Here's my philosophy: I love guitar. But I actually love the act of playing guitar more than I love my guitar itself as an item. But there are more guitars in the world. Should I somehow lose or break the one I own, I don't want to be the sort of person who becomes extremely upset about it. Because there are other guitars. There are other houses. There are other clothes. The last thing I want is to be attached to stuff.

So ends my small rant on what is currently inspiring me. I guess that's a good note on which to end my post.


P.S. The magnificent shoes in the photograph belong to Cameron.

Monday, October 25, 2010

San Francisco, Part Deux: Let's Be Squatters.

Here is yet another disclaimer: In this blog post, Trevbro took the photos. Once again. Also, Trevor's been complaining that I've used all the good photos, so I'd like my readers to turn and glare in his general direction (which, for those folks back home, would mean West). And then say, "Hey, it's not Amber's fault you took too many dog pictures, dude." Have you done that? Good job, sheeple.

Okey dokey artichokey. Happily, we found a place to stay for the night. It was an abandoned elementary school building, which was totally mega groovy righteous rad. The guy who was hosting us was known as Phil, and he was a -- say it with me, kids -- "squatter." Three cheers for legal grey areas.

We arrived at the abandoned school around 3:00ish, p.m., and basically just hung out for a while. When Phil got home to greet us, he gave us a tour, and I totally felt like I was in that stupid Paranormal State show, or whatever. Cause you know what, the building had no power, and it was pitch black basically everywhere. (Oh, and Trevbro used the flash on his camera to get these pictures, in case you haven't already guessed... although it's kind of obvious...)

With our pinprick flashlights we observed that the floors of the school were trashed, there was graffiti everywhere, and every single glass item in the place had been smashed to smithereens. Etc etc etc.

Also, we definitely saw a ghost or something in the auditorium. Which I kind of don't feel like talking about. Let's just say that, though we attempted to convince ourselves otherwise, it was not a white cat leaping through the air. kelfjqek;lrjg;lkqwjrgk;ljqe;grjl

I've told this story so many times that I don't even feel like typing it out anymore, but oh well. Moving on. We made our noodles again in the dark, and ate of them, blah blah blah blah. It was incredibly early when we went to sleep.

The following morning was pretty rainy and lame; rainy because it was raining, and lame because we waited like a million hours for Andy to pick us up. We got home at around 7:30, blah blah blah story conclusion blah blah blah.

At any rate, besides the whole weekend story, today I actually wrote some poetry, which felt absolutely grand. No, I'm not posting it. Too bad. It's pretty cool. You'll never read it, though. Sorry.

The other thing I did today was replace every "Alejandro" in Lady Gaga's song with "jalapeno" while incidentally eating jalapeno potato chips. And... that's pretty much all I've got left to say!

All right, dudes and ladies. It's time for a disclaimer. DISCLAIMER: Every single last photo in this blog post was taken by Sir Trevbro, a.k.a. Mr. Parker. None of them are mine. Now it's time for my excuse for having a disclaimer. EXCUSE: I didn't take my camera because:

a) There was no room in my backpack. My camera would have had to somehow displace all the food I'd stuffed in there and still make room for it.

2) The weather was supposed to be rainy and I wasn't in a particular mood to destroy my camera.

3) I knew Trevor would take a million photos. Incidentally, I was right, but I hadn't counted on the fact that 999,999 of those photos would be pictures of dogs.

Moving on. I don't know if this bit is particularly clear to everyone I'm associated with, so I'll give you this amount of back story. Blake ordered us to travel at least one hundred miles away and come back before Sunday night. No hitchhiking. No staying with friends or family.

Trevor and I decided to trek to San Francisco, which at three-hundred-something miles away would prove to be a strenuous journey. We found a ride on craigslist, which was cool and everything, but I was afraid this Andy character would end up being a serial killer. He didn't, predictably, as I'm still alive. But he did more than prove his own unmurderliness (WOW.) -- he was pretty okay. There was also a dude, another guy who had needed a ride, named Bruno. He had a scruffy face; a guitar; and a really clear, smooth, round voice that I liked. Also, I found out at some point during the ride that Bruno was irritated with the factory farm industry. RIGHT ONNN, said I.

Bear in mind that we'd started driving with Andy and Bruno at about 11:30 at night. Thus, it was dark, as night tends to be. I nodded off a couple of times. I don't know whether Trevor did, because how can one tell if someone else is nodding off if one is nodding off herself?

The hour was six or something when at last we arrived at the BART station, I think in Martinez, but I could be dead wrong. At any rate, we said later gator to Andy and boarded on the BART train thingy (I, a lady from Pennsylvania, have no clue how to refer to these San Franciscan contraptions). Let's skip ahead to some unboring parts that have nothing to do with me snoozing on the train.

The first thing I noticed about San Francisco was that it reminded me of Pittsburgh. The second thing I noticed about San Francisco was that it reminded me of nothing like Pittsburgh at all. At first, I was thinking, "Hey, downtown San Fran is kinda like downtown Pittsburgh!" I spoke too soon. At least in Pittsburgh people don't tear down the street like they're in rocket ships, and a least in Pittsburgh people have regard for pedestrians. Sheesh. I think it may have something to do with all the smug in the air. (Hurr)

We wanted to go to Starbucks. I, because I really wanted a frappuccino; and Trevor, because... I don't know why. Starbucks was boring though, so I'll skip ahead again.

Exhaustion had filled us to our very brims, and we needed to go pour some of it out somewhere. So we decided to take a nap. But where? We didn't know. We discussed, and eventually we came to the decision to nap in the BART station. And this was exactly what we did. We dozed against the station wall in shifts; one of us slept while the other kept a lookout for cops and/or violent hobos. The light in the station was obnoxiously yellow; thus, though we did sleep a little, we didn't sleep well. At any rate, when it was Trevor's turn to sleep and mine to keep a keen eye peeled, I decided to sketch a homeless man who was crouched against the same wall as we, only he was way further down, not in our personal space in the least. I drew him until he went away. Trevor woke up and some friendly cops came over to check on us. Here's the general gist of that particular exchange:

COP: [referring to Trevor] Is he sick or something?
ME: No, we're just tired.
COP: Okay. You guys aren't really loitering, and you look like you've got it together... But just so you know, you can't board here in the station. [Very friendly-like he was about it, as well.]
ME: That's swell, Mr. Officer, sir! Gee, thanks a million for stopping by!

Let's see if you can guess which one of those lines was a fake. It's a tricksy one.

After the cops went away, Trevor and I were both awake, so we decided to get up and go somewhere. The somewhere we went turned out to be the docks. Y'know, with all the fisherman boats and whatnot. Surprisingly, the area didn't reek of fish, which was what I'd expected. I danced and sang along the boardwalk as Trevbro took photos... mostly of, you guessed it, dogs.

That is not a picture of a dog, but rather a picture of yours truly dancing around just as I have previously remarked.

Blah blah blah rain blah blah blah boats blah blah blah birds. This stuff was all interesting to experience, mind, but it would be uninteresting for a reader to read. I'm doing this for you. You'll thank me later.

ABOVE: I post this last photo because it amuses me, particularly for so aptly echoing the picture before it.

BELOW: We saw this man and had to photograph him. Look. At. The. Moustache. And isn't his facial expression fascinating?

Around lunchtime, we cooked our princess spaghetti-o's on our homemade cat-tin hobo stove. We were cooking them in plain sight on the side of the boardwalk, and there were certainly some people who gave us peculiar looks. We were hungry enough not to pay attention. At one point, though, our can of noodles sort of exploded a bit, and fell over, and we had a mess of sauce and spaghetti which we mopped up with napkins we had previously used as paper on which to play hangman. All right, there's my run-on sentence for the day.

Everything turned out grandly in the end, though, and we ate heartily our feast of the poor.

And now, a photo of one hobo poking another!

To be continued later today!


Friday, October 22, 2010

(This is not a real blog post dudes)

So I'ma post a real blog when I get back from San Francisco. I feel really posh when I say "when I get back from San Francisco." Like I have a scarf on or something. Wait, I do have a scarf on!

Until Sunday,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The afternoon tasted like lemons and this evening will soon taste like basil sauce. Tango is happening soon. I haven't got much time. Raspberry sparkling. Tango! I owe Cameron photos! New ideas about publishing! Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!

Calm yourself, Iago. Okay, my life has been composed of three main things: dance, food, and photography. I like these three things. These three things please me. I shall end on this note: A minor.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hearken ye! Tonight is the night of belly dancing. I spoke to Emily on the phone earlier (not the Emily I'm living with; I'm talking about the dance instructor). She seems very non-loopy and reasonable, which is a comfort to me, because I was afraid the teacher was going to be some crunchy hippie who uses obscure phrases like Follow Your Dreams. Ehhhhhh. Luckily her voice seemed to reflect a sane, clear personality.

I also kneaded some pizza dough. I'm super.

My crusade to publish has been moving at a somewhat glacial pace because I have writer's block aaarrrrrggggghhhhhhhhhh

What else is up? Hmmmmm. Well, my closet is a mess. I really need to do something about it at some point. Maybe tomorrow. Or never.

I really don't have much to write about today!


Monday, October 18, 2010

Today today today today. What about it? Hmmm. Well, I have transferred my excitement of being Siouxsie Sioux for Halloween over to being Mrs. Lovett of Sweeney Todd, the soundtrack of which I am listening to as I write.

Halloween! I am very happy about it. D'you know what else I am happy about? Let's make a happy list.

-Belly dancing
-Rad people
-Blues and jazz music
-Cute shoes
-Delectable food
-Etc etc etc etc etc!

So I was on my way to a dance store for a sports bra (which I never purchased on account of all the ones in my size were sold out). This is a hilarious and creepy story, by the way. So anyway, I walked by a very grungey, middle-aged, greasy guy with bad teeth who was putting away a guitar. And he said, to the sky, "LORD? AH JUST WANT ME A WOMAN TO LOVE. WHAH CAN'T AH HAVE A WOMAN TOO?" He said it all desperate-like. I rolled my eyes.

I've got belly dancing tomorrow at 7:15! Heeelllls yeeessssss!

All righty then, I guess that's it fo' now.

All right, bitches. I totally lied in my last post when I was like, "Hey y'all I'm gonna post a plethora of fashion photos and it's gonna be grand" because I actually haven't posted a blog since Friday. And I have news for you, my friend. I'm not posting a picture right now in this particular post.

BUT. Hold your horses. have any...

I would tell you, "I'm posting a cool picture and a real good blog post later sometime today, like after lunch," but I feel like I can't say that because you won't believe me. I've completely destroyed the blogger/reader relationship.

Oh well. So anyway, I'll post a proper blog post and picture later today, like after lunch, and if you don't believe me, that's fine and dandy, but then you won't get to view the marvelous and brilliant photograph and read all of my run-on sentences.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Now comes the blog post without a photo. Yeah I know, stupid, right? But it can't be helped. My photo-taking abilities were restricted by the immensely high level of sheer productivity which I accomplished today.

Listen, seeing as my main research topic is fashion photography, I'm gonna make a commitment to post one fashion photo every day. If I miss a day, I won't crucify myself, but I might get grounded, young lady. So expect one tomorrow, probably!

So... how can I describe the vast, robust excellence of today in one pocket of text? Well, I was very inspired by Cameron this morning, who gave me some marvelous ideas regarding my research topics. Excitedly, I flitted about the town, dabbling and dallying in various shops. The library was closed, which was annoying, but it didn't matter, because then I realized that bookstores have books, too!

The evening crept up and I celebrated because of Indian food, which I love. Seriously, I want to spend some time talking about how amazing food is. Food. Can I even begin? For lunch I had some salad with this tomato/mozzarella/basil dish that made my taste buds sing. And I can't even tell you how happy I was about the Indian food. Spicy paneer tikka masala is the friggin' frig, yo.

Emily, Trevor, and I viddied a film at the theatre this night, too. The film had some forgettable name. The gay kid from U.S. of Tara was in it, and it was all right up until the middle, when it got all hipstery.

Also, the saxophone is the sexiest instrument in the entire galaxy. Just saying.

Now comes the question: when can I wear all my lovely scarves? It's been too warm. Grrrrr.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh hullo, I didn't see you there. So, today I am writing my blog during the daylight hours, and not abominably late in the night, which is nice, because my eyes don't have sagging bags beneath them. Well, actually they do, because I was up until 3am last night. But that's not important.

What is important is that I decided against taking the tango lessons, and here's why: they cost money, and I shall already have to pay for belly dancing lessons, and since belly dancing is one of my research topics, it trumps tango. (It would trump tango anyway though.) *cough*

So now I'ma give you-all what you-all've been waiting for: some pics of the lair in which I currently dwell!

This is the room that Emily and I share. And we get a lovely ladies' room too! NO BOIZ LOLOLLOL

And this is the table at which I currently sit, though it is no longer empty, as I've been joined by Emily, Trevbro, and Jeff.

I was also told that it is against the law to walk by a mirror and not take a self-portrait in it.

Now I'm writing my blog and simultaneously having a conversation about moustaches... yeah I'd better go. Maybe I'll post again later since it's only been half a day.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Welly welly welly welly welly welly well! Once upon a time there was a marvelous shoppe that Amber spotted. Through the display window, she saw dozens of fascinating and shiny things. In the end, she bought a pair of earrings and a flapper-style hair clip thingy, and it was all inexpensive, and many German children sang.

Today was a day she spent exploring the town in a more observant way. She made a somewhat successful attempt at seeing the world through a camera lens and simultaneously through her own eyes, which was a difficult crusade. I'm entirely sick of writing in third person now.

Yesterday I forgot to mention that I have managed to grasp hold of a library card! Happy times. I've rented Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead," and her writing style is very fascinating, based on Chapter 1.

Under the narrowed eyes of the disgruntled landlady, we've moved into the 4th Street Inn. We're here to prove to her that not all young people are going to set fire to her abode. Caleb might, though.

It always irks me a little when I post a picture that doesn't go with what I was just talking about, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Anyway, I also ate some chips and tango before taking a salsa class. Wait... switch those.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Let's see how many times I'll end up saying "hobo" in my entry. Not counting what I've just said.

I really, really, really need to somehow conjure up morning- or afternoon-times when I can write, because this night owl nonsense is driving me to insanity. Insanity! It's like I'm creating my own writer's block. Aaaaaarrghhh.

I suppose it'd be expected of me to start off with the story of our collective temporary hobo-ism. Here is the series of settings: Ashland, the train tracks, a rural area, and the reservoir. Incidentally, train tracks can be somewhat irritating to walk on for a long period of time. But since we were being hobos, we didn't care all that much. I did not have my pack on a stick over my shoulder, as did some of our company; I simply balanced it on a hip the entire time. Once, I balanced it on my head. And by "balanced" I mean, "briefly and precariously held it there whilst swaying to and fro on account of my wobbly balance."

You probably wouldn't be surprised to know that our fellowship passed several trash heaps, fascinating items, boring items, and items that induced a grunt of WTF. We stumbled upon a suitcase of a grandmotherly floral pattern, and Trevor adopted it. He doesn't still have the suitcase because he was forced to abandon it. Most of what we found by the railroad were trash heaps, all with a looming hobo-ness about them. There were old ratty clothes, washed-out books, food containers, etc etc etc, all strewn in the weeds by the tracks. Every time I saw one of these abandoned congresses of crap, I imagined a throng of hobos brutally tossing the contents of their own packs onto the ground, cheering, and sauntering away. It's quite an odd image.

Then, we had a very warm night in our log cabins on the clear, clean shores of the reservoir. And by "very warm night" I mean "long-ass night that was icy cold as frig," and by "log cabins" I mean "tarp spread out on a million weeds and burs," and by "clear, clean shores" I mean "sandy mudslides that swallowed feet for their own personal amusement." Oh, and we found a muddy car key.

I don't feel like talking about the hobo story anymore, but I guess it is a writer's duty to conclude her own story. Here's the ending: "This morning, we woke up. We walked back. Then we weren't hobos anymore, the end."

I spent the remainder of today exploring Ashland a little. Please observe some pumpkins and a huge, hulking squash thing.

I bet that thing could feed a small country. Of squirrels.

To the possible interest of my peeps back home, Ashland's food co-op is a lot like Pittsburgh's. Just so you know. I know you were dying to know.

A photography walk also occurred, during which I photographed with my photograph machine. Behold the lovely Emily!

Besides all of this, I dunno what else to tell you. Scram.


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tonight I'm having trouble writing.

The entirety of the day is so full that it bursts at the seams, and maybe this is why the idea of writing everything down is so very daunting to me at the moment. I think that I want to talk about the play. It was entitled "The Merchant of Venice," written by one of my favourite Williams.

At any rate, Shakespeare would have been proud of the way his piece was carried out, in my humble opinion. I particularly favoured the Prince of Arragon and his minstrel. They were very pompous, and it was most amusing. This play confirmed my already immense awe towards Shakespeare, and it's rendered me somewhat speechless. Honestly I'd rather be reading one of his sonnets right now than posting to my blog.

Have a scenic photo!

My mind is full of fluff. Look at the time!

I'm going to become a bum tomorrow, and I shall remain as such until the following day rolls around. We will venture out into the cold, forested world, and huddle together to keep warm over the small stoves we fashioned ourselves out of two cat food cans, over which a pot of beans or soup will simmer.

My apologies for the short post! My thoughts are not in such forms as can be simply translated into language.

Here I am at twelve-oh-one a.m., writing. We've just finished viddying A Clockwork Orange, and if you don't know what "viddying" means, don't look it up in the dictionary, because it isn't there.

D'you know what is in the dictionary?

–verb (used without object)
to pursue or approach prey, quarry, etc., stealthily.
to walk with measured, stiff, or haughty strides: He was so angry he stalked away without saying goodbye.
to proceed in a steady, deliberate, or sinister manner: Famine stalked through the nation.
Obsolete . to walk or go stealthily along.

The definition you should pay the most attention to is the first one. Why, then, did I even bother to post definitions two, three, and four? Because they make my blog post look longer than it actually is.

I bring up stalking because it is relevant to the events of the day. Blake sent us on a mission. "Go forth, and stalk this woman who attends SOU," he said, and off we trotted...stealthily.

Though this next bit is somewhat irrelevant, it's at the very least noteworthy, and also includes photographic evidence. Wheeee! Anyway, on the way to stalk this young college lady, I spotted, with my eyes, rather lovely drapes of a blue-ish berry-ish hue, which contrasted in a most complementary fashion. Look at it! (That's an order!)

There you are! Marvelous.

In the end, we did end up finding out the young college lady's name (which had not been disclosed to us for the reason that finding it out was part of the mission). Her name turned out to be ***** ******. However, we did not succeed in taking her picture.

Needless to say, the combination of today's long walk and yesterday's long walk have beaten my feet into two wads of pulp. And yet. None of that matters to me, and I'll tell you why. Do you know what's happening tomorrow? I'll give you a hint. It begins with, "We're going to see," and ends with, "The Merchant of Venice." If you can figure out what goes in the middle, you get a Good Noodle Star.

In addition to this wondrous news, I might add that we spotted some street performers; the sort who stand very, very still, like statues. I'm only showing the face of one of the ladies, because the other lady was not so fortunate as to have gotten in a good shot. It's not her fault.

It's horribly strenuous for me to savagely rack my brain at this moment for any additional events that occurred today. Which is a fancy way of saying I don't have much else to say. Umm...

In addition to the addition to the thing I was saying before, I have some productivity blah blah blah to blah about. My five possible research topics! Tuh, Amber. Nicely done, eh? Here they are: book publishing, exotic dance, fashion photography, cosmology, and Shakespeare studies. From this list I will at some point extract three topics.

AND. Cameron, though currently asleep, is here! *applause*

Here, have a crow.


Saturday, October 9, 2010

This blog post is overdue by a day, which will hopefully not result in my expulsion from life. Anyway! My endless numbered days begin. In contrast to the lovely Ashland, my plane ride was not particularly fascinating in the least. It was about a six-hour trip all in all, and I was sitting next to a lady who looked exactly like Shania Twain. But exactly. Her name was Amber...oddly.

Now arrives the section of blog where I post a pretty shot of some form of the landscape! Feast your eyes upon it, folks back home.

So there you are! Now for the commencement of the story.

Yesterday was a day packed with a series of quests arranged by Blake Boles (head honcho). We completed these quests in about six hours, I think, but don't be surprised if that number is wrong. Anyway, just for the record, Lithia Spring Water is revolting. We had to drink it. And we had to look happy while drinking it. I hope you're amused, Blake. *narrowed eyes*

Most of the tasks in this scavenger hunt involved rigid searches, particularly in the area of the SOU library, where we found a Shakespeare ticket receipt in a book, a something-technological-phone-thing in another book, and a photo of a strange infant in yet another book, or shall I say Print Collection. Also, Microfiche was wildly unhelpful. I like how nobody knows what that means except for the people on the retreat.

This scavenger hunt also involved a lot of walking. I lagged behind often to get photos of things, mostly plants, for some reason. It's just that the plants and trees here are gorgeous.

To get to the Dagoba store (or was it factory? I can't remember), we endured a long and vast trek through the Mines of Moria, the Riddermark, and the Dead Marshes! And we lost Gandalf to the Balrog, but that's okay because he'll come back... like Jesus. So anyway we bought two bars of chocolate. One of the bars was something we were supposed to retrieve for the scavenger hunt, and since our instructions instructed us to leave the chocolate uneaten, we bought another bar. Oh snap. We outfoxed the scavenger hunt!

Here is a photo of some glass pumpkins for you!

Why were there glass pumpkins? Because we visited a glass blower as a part of our series of quests. I wanted a pumpkin. Quite badly. Quite, quite badly. I don't know why. Well, yes I do, just look at them! SO -- PRETTY --

I shall now mention the people I'm staying with! These lovely, lovely people are called Emily, Trevor, Jeff, and Caleb! A round of applause for them, if you please! Now you look silly because you're clapping at your computer.

The Tegan and Sara album I was listening to just ended, and also I'm somewhat hungry, so that's all the writing I'm going to do for now, even though there are a few other things we did. So sorry. Here's a pretty shot to end my post on!

From Esme, with Love and Squalor