My New Bundle Of Sleep Deprivation

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Taken 10/3/15, before she came into my apartment

October 8 2015, 9:20pm: Dent arrives to the apartment. We cuddle for a few minutes and then she is settled in the bathroom to get used to a smaller area of the apartment. Baird and I go to the bar with Dani and Patchree.
11:45pm: Baird and I return. Dent is huddled in a corner behind the toilet. I pee, flush and her eyes go anime wide. I pick her up and try to soothe her. Obviously she fears I am going to devour her. I fear I will dissolve her with kisses.

October 9 2015, Some ungodly time in the morning: Dent is crying every time the backup fan kicks in. I bring a light in that does not make a sound. 
5:44am: Dent has been crying in the bathroom for the last 45 minutes. I went in to sit with her, but she hid behind the toilet and stared at me. I returned to bed and she had learned that mini mew cries sound much more heart-wrenching when she shoved her face close to the bottom of the door.

I will never sleep again.

#kittenwatch

Update: 6:51am: SERIOUSLY?!?!?!
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My New Bundle Of Sleep Deprivation

image

Taken 10/3/15, before she came into my apartment

October 8 2015, 9:20pm: Dent arrives to the apartment. We cuddle for a few minutes and then she is settled in the bathroom to get used to a smaller area of the apartment.

Baird and I go to the bar with Dani and Patchree.
11:45pm: Baird and I return. Dent is huddled in a corner behind the toilet. I pee, flush and her eyes go anime wide. I pick her up and try to soothe her. Obviously she fears I am going to devour her. I fear I will dissolve her with kisses.

October 9 2015, Some ungodly time in the morning: Dent is crying every time the backup fan kicks in. I bring a light in that does not make a sound. 
5:44am: Dent has been crying in the bathroom for the last 45 minutes. I went in to sit with her, but she hid behind the toilet and stared at me. I returned to bed and she had learned that mini mew cries sound much more heart-wrenching when she shoved her face close to the bottom of the door.

I will never sleep again.

#kittenwatch

I Am Now On Patreon!

Yeah, that’s right. I finally caved in and started a page.

But what is Patreon exactly? 

I am going to continue to post free content all over the internet, but as a Patreon backer, you will have access to novels that I am looking to complete and publish to sell on Kindle and Nook.

If you’re able to, please take a look and see if you’d be interested in getting access to stuff! Secrets! Intrigue! Pants (ha, just kidding. Fuck pants.)

 

Why Bro and I Can’t Have Nice Things

 

Wednesday July 1, 2015

( I promise I will get a recap of the other days up, but this was crazy bizarre and I had to record it all first so I didn’t forget it)

It was Brian’s last day visiting me and due to it being so hot I had put off downtown because that just felt like an invitation for passing out. So I figured we would hit Pittock, the Rose Test Garden, park at Cascade and then MAX to downtown, AKA the BEST plan ever. Or so I thought (Spoiler alert? It wasn’t)…

 

Pittock Mansion – I know it seems trite, but when I moved out here my mom and I went to Pittock Mansion and I stood under the Weeping Willow and started crying because I was so happy I was finally home. So whenever someone visits, or whenever I have a choice of somewhere I want to visit, I always mention the Pittock Mansion. I took Brian there and we walked around for a little bit. I happened to have two quarters that I gave to a little girl that was visiting from California to put in the binoculars and of course they got stuck and didn’t work. It was a short visit, but a good one nonetheless.

The Rose Test Garden – Brian and I spent a surprisingly decent amount of time here, considering it was 86 degrees out and we were already covered in a coating of sweat. We ambled through the rows of fragrant and vividly colored hybrids before finally giving in to the desire to be back in an air conditioned car.

Cascade Station – I completely overshot the airport because I wasn’t paying attention and we ended up in Vancouver for a little bit. We waved to everyone I know in Washington. You’re welcome. Then we got to Cascade Station and parked in a nearby area. Getting unto the MAX wasn’t difficult at all and we enjoyed each other’s company before getting off at 10th.

Powells – Obviously, this is something you have to take a friend to. Especially if they enjoy reading and mentioned they needed something to feed their eyes on the plane ride. We spent a little bit of time in there before walking around aimlessly. Originally, we planned on stopping for Indian, Lebanese, or Asian food, but we ended up somewhere else.

Mi Mero Mole – I originally found this place with Kat when Jon was touring with TMBG in May. We liked it so much, we went BACK to it the same evening to have a full meal. Brian and I ordered food. He underestimated the amount of food that would be in the burrito. I was almost proud that he was able to finish it and the taco he ordered.

Waterfront – We headed over to the Waterfront and I mentioned that I was potentially interested in visiting the Whiskey Bar near Skidmore Fountain. While we rested on the grass, I tried to find out when they open. I even went as far as calling the line Google had listed and had a fantastic conversation with a fax machine, that is, until it called my mother a whore. Then we became enemies. Nobody talks bad about my Mamalyn. Not even my Mamalyn. So I looked up where the Multnomah Whiskey Library was located and we hopped on the MAX. As soon as it left the stop, Brian realized that his books fell out of his pocket. So we got off at the next stop, walked over, and the books miraculously were still there.

On our second attempt, there were these adorable little girls talking to one of the Sheriffs on the train. He had given them all stickers and they were asking him questions and he was patient and kind. I could see the faces of the adults around him and they all had genuine smiles on their faces.

Multnomah Whiskey Library – We entered and were immediately told it would be 10 minutes before we would be seated, so since we were cutting it close I requested a menu. After seeing a glass of Whistlepig priced at $55, we both decided to try elsewhere.

Rock Bottom Brewery – Because it’s so close to the MAX, it was ideal for us to finish off the trip with a bourbon and a scotch. I asked for a 10oz cider afterwards and the bartender said that the 8oz beer backs were free with our orders, so that was awesome. We finished up and headed to the Eastbound side of things.

Yamhill/3rd MAX Station – While it’s not in the most promising looking areas, I’ve never really had a problem with this stop. However, when TWO Blue line trains come through and no reds come through (and Google Maps keeps telling you another one will be there in minutes), I started to get worried. I figured it would just be easier to grab whatever was next. So we hopped on the next MAX (another blue line) and they announced that they would be stopping due to issues with Gateway. As Gateway was the last Red/Blue stop before the split, I got a little nervous.

The train would reach a stop and stay there for 10 minutes. After looking at the map, I determined that it would take 120 minutes at that rate and Brian needed to be at the airport in 30 minutes. So I sucked in a deep breath and ordered a Radio Cab to meet us at the Convention Center. It was at this point that Brian realized that his wallet had fallen out of his pants. His stupid, treacherous pants. He said he had his passport in his suitcase, so I sighed and told him he wouldn’t make his flight if we went back. We got into the cab and $40 later got to my car.

I stopped quickly to grab some cash for him to have for checking his bag and getting something to eat if needed before dropping him off. Originally, I was planning to wait until he got through TSA before leaving, but I figured I would try looking for the wallet. I called Rock Bottom and they scoured their bar area for us as I drove into the city.

Yamhill/3rd MAX Station – Dag, that stop is well-lit. I did a walk around and even circled the block to see if someone grabbed the cash and threw the wallet (yes, I even went in the garbage, so obviously I have hepatitis now). Sadly nothing was there. So I headed home and made sure Brian successfully cancelled his credit cards before getting on the plane.

 

There was, however, a happy ending. The following morning I received a text from a woman named Julie who had found his wallet and found him on Facebook. We arranged a time to pick up the wallet and when I met up with her, I offered to pay for their admission to the Japanese Garden.  Her brother Brian also met me there. He originally spotted the wallet at the MAX station. She declined with a smile and said to use the money to send his wallet Express back to the east coast. She only asked that I pay it forward.

 

How I’m Feeling Right Now, aka Who You Gonna Call?

Have you ever played the game “Telephone”?

A phrase is uttered, and then it is passed through a circle of people until it is returned to you. What typically returns is warped, twisted, and not at all close to what it originally was. It is a lesson in finding out if people are actually hearing when you speak. It is often translated by their own thought process and is altered to make sense to them. Sometimes it is just tweaked because someone has their own agenda. Maybe they don’t like the person that started the round or they think it’s boring and want to spice it up. There are so many variables that result in the alteration of the phrase. As a game, it is a lot of fun.

Through listening, I have learned that a lot of my life has been passed around my friends like a game of telephone. While some of it is amazing to hear (ie. The story of Elfie and I running from a bear morphing into me cage fighting a black bear, or the time I stabbed myself turning into me removing my whole hand), there are things that have recently happened in my life that I really didn’t want to talk about. Things that really friggin hurt. Things that I needed to contemplate. Those that I needed while it was happening were most definitely spoken to. But they know that I’m not about to start a game of telephone that would affect someone else.

The best part about my friends is that when the “telephone phrase” reaches them, they genuinely want to know what was originally said/done/thought. I have so many amazing people in my life. The fact that they all feel comfortable coming to me for clarification, even when they may not even be a part of something, is a good thing. I’d much rather clear up any confusion than let something continue to escalate into something that it isn’t.

So, if you happen to read this and have any questions about something going on in my life, ask me. Taking the word of someone not vacationing in my head will result in misinformation.

I don’t broadcast everything that I do because
1. I lead a very busy (albeit interesting) life
2. Often my thoughts/feelings are fleeting
3. I am not the only person involved.

I don’t just walk up to friends and unload everything onto them. I am a relatively guarded person (regardless of what you see on the internet. That is me being reserved.) Those that I go to during tough times are people that have at one point or another asked me about a situation prior to coming to a conclusion about my character.

Update on things

As I am gearing towards a visit to CT, I realized that I have been ridiculously neglectful to my bestest of the bestiebots. We used to chat all the time for Whiskey on Sunday, but that hasn’t happened in a very long time. I think we both forgot that we COULD keep talking even though our schedules weren’t lining up to talk. I have a tendency of just assuming that people don’t want to hear from me. Seeing a bunch of people making time for me when I’m visiting my hometown makes me realize that I HAVE been missed. I feel really stupid for not making efforts. General facebook updates AREN’T being a good friend.

Anyways, here’s an email thread between the two of us that made me laugh. Hopefully it makes you laugh too.

Ali: I am really happy that I get to see a bunch of people at a time. It sucks that I can’t get one on one time with anyone really for such a short trip, but hopefully it staggers enough to be okay.
Seth: Next trip, don’t tell anyone you are coming. We’ll pick you up and you can stay in our new house. Just tweet fake updates from Chicago or someplace.
Ali: I’m not complaining as it allows me to see people I miss, but I’m going to hug you hardest.
Seth: It makes sense. I’m the squishiest.
Ali: No you’re not. The baby is. Especially that soft spot on the noggin I’ve been eyeing.
Seth: No head-hugging the baby!
Ali: Already with the rules!
Seth: Always gotta have rules.
Ali: Yeah… I’m fully aware of that. Guidelines are good.
Seth: Also, no eyeball licking.
Ali: ARE THERE GOING TO BE NO SURPRISES WHEN I MEET YOUR MINI-HUMAN?!?!?

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Trial By Fire – Day 1

While this seems like a very belated post, there were reasons why I didn’t post for awhile. I have been writing and will periodically be posting about my experiences the last two months. It seems only fitting that I post the first writeup on the day of my very first show as a fire performer.

 

DO NOT ATTEMPT ANYTHING I DISCUSS IN THESE BLOGS! I DO NOT ADVISE IT NOR DO I ENCOURAGE IT. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, FIND A MENTOR WITH 7+ YEARS OF EXPERIENCE AND LEARN!

Photo By Dennis Glisson of Glisson Imaging - PDX Click on the picture to get to his facebook page!

Photo By Dennis Glisson of Glisson Imaging – PDX Click on the picture to get to his facebook page!

 

Sunday, April 28, 2013 – Baptism By Fire
Day One

There was an emergency meeting of the fire troupe because one of the members had to drop out of an upcoming show. The show, booked for late June, was already a little light. Five performers tasked to do a 45 minute show. While it sounds like it’s doable, you have to realize that fire props have different burn times and the energy required to pay attention to where the flame is can affect the ability to perform. Also? Fire props are heavy, yo. You are holding tools that you don’t use in every day life and you are also adding the danger of white gas into the mix.

So when the fifth dropped out, it left four performers to cover 45 minutes worth of entertaining. While doable, it would run them ragged. So we gathered at Rigg’s house to discuss possibilities.

When the meeting started, we just started throwing out names of people that were ready to see if they would be able to make it. Unfortunately each name came with a sigh. Ffin had another event he had committed to. Bevin would still be in Boston, Massachussetts. Dan couldn’t afford the insurance for the performance and he wasn’t able to get the time off of work.

The list got shorter and shorter until everyone looked to Puppy and she laughed. “You know that when you look at the head safety and say ‘well… what do you have’ that we’re boned.” Luckily, that was a bit of an ice breaker and we laughed.

Boulron pulled up the set list and we got a text confirming that Fezzik would be willing to do a couple of sets. Before setting to carving out the set list and building into it, we talked about the possible safeties we would have at the event. After it was listed that we would have at least four, there was a general consensus that three would suffice and Puppy was added to follow the opening act with a poi set. I could see her nervousness in the slight twitching of her hand, but she solemnly nodded as her name was merged into the roster.

Then Boulron said that he would be comfortable with me doing my rings set in the beginning as it wouldn’t be the most spectacular thing at the moment. It didn’t bother me as… well… He’s right. I’m very new to the entire process and because I wouldn’t have to wow the crowd, it would eat up a little bit of time and my prop is a novelty.

Not many people have seen fire rings. They are essentially two rings that are 12 inches in diameter with three prongs of wicking gathered close. On the opposite section of the ring are the handles that allow you to both grip and spin with accuracy (after spending a LOT of time practicing it). It is a very fluid prop and even if I just windmilled my arms around it would still be considered impressive.

I nodded as my name was added to the list. Immediately a thousand song choices ran through my head. What did I want to convey with the rings for that set? I continued to sit and quietly ponder the situation when the intermission was brought up.

The intermission is a mixture of both fire eating and fleshing. The act of fleshing is drawing a trail of white gas along your skin, igniting it, and then blowing it out. Fire eating, I hope, is self explanatory. You put fire in your mouth and remove the extinguished torch.

They determined that only Gage and Fred would be there for the intermission. Somehow I mutely observed as Boulron looked over to me and said “yeah, you can learn that fast” and added my name to the list. It is very possible that I had stepped out of my own body for a second and saw me nodding an affirmative.

Uh… I had never really expressed a lot of interest in fire eating and breathing. I don’t mind fleshing. I had experienced it with a different fuel before, so it would be something I would have to get used to. I’d have to get used to it fast.

After this revelation, everyone pretty much started sounding like adults in a Peanuts cartoon. I didn’t really care what was being said because I knew that I needed to work on my rings and… apparently… learn fire eating and fleshing in less than 60 days. There was a humming in my head before I realized that it was the hum in the room of people breaking off and having separate conversations.

Finally, Boulron cleared his throat and started to read off the setlist. He said my name with rings and included me in the listing for intermission and then caught my attention when he said that he had added me towards the end with a palm torch act. Wait… what? I didn’t remember that being decided on.

He told me that he’s seen me move and the palm torches would be an easier set but I’d be stronger with my dance background to keep the audience amped. It was a bit of an ego boost, but also quite daunting. Could I keep the audience rapt with attention towards the end of the performance? With the way my sets were scheduled, would I be able to act as a safety at any point?

Fred then suggested that the two weeks before the show be “hell weeks”. For those reading that don’t know, a hell week is when you run through the full performance as if you are performing for an audience. Boulron, Riggs, Puppy, Gage and I agreed – even though I knew my hell weeks would start immediately.

The meeting ended, but we didn’t leave right away. We went outside so that Puppy could work with the poi that Riggs had. Poi vary in shape, size, and length, but it is essentially wicking attached to chain. There are loops on the opposite side of the wicking to allow a safe enough grip to prevent them from flying out at a member of the audience. We spent a little bit of time playing music to see what type of speed Puppy was looking for to compliment her performance. During that time I stretched and extended my arms before digging back into my brain to access my dance training.

When I say I had dance training, I mean that I danced from three years old to eleven. In highschool, the dance that I ended up doing was during the summer at showchoir camp. While it helped to inform me as to how to move and follow choreography, it was never about free form dancing. With fire performance, the majority of each set is improvised by most of the troupe. Yes, there are things that people make note of, like “okay this build would be amazing to let out a short blast of fire from my mouth” or “I’m going to toss this flaming baton into the air at this segment of the song”.

The idea of free forming the entire set terrified me. I mean, I didn’t have a problem with a little bit of improvisation, but I knew that I was going to have to pick a song very quickly so I could practice over and over with my unlit props.

Instead, I just kept moving and following the music when Fred said “Are you seriously gonna be another Bevin?” I looked over at him quizzically. “You already have the skill, we’re just adding fire. Seriously. Whenever I look over at you, you’re doing something I’ve never seen you do before. Is there anything you can’t do?”

I grinned and replied “fly” before continuing to move. It was an extremely sweet and lovely compliment and I never know how to take a compliment with a genuine thanks. I AM thankful, it’s just not something that I anticipate from others.

I left the meeting that night, dropped off Fred, and then drove home shaking.

While I had already been accepted as an apprentice, there was not a sense of urgency for training. There wasn’t a deadline. Now there was.

Hell, I learned Lady Capulet’s lines in 24 hours. At least I was given eight weeks to train for fire performance. I knew I could do it, but I couldn’t stop shaking.

A Letter to Myself, On My Thirtieth Birthday

So hi, future Ali. I guess at this point you’re present Ali and I’m past Ali but regardless… We’re the same person.

I just wanted to let you know that you may not be exactly where you want to be at some points in your life. No, you’re not a famous singer. No, you aren’t a famous author. No, you still can’t afford to splurge on one of those ridiculously expensive and awesome cameras with all of the attachments. No, you’re not in a relationship (wait… are you?).

Life tends to throw a bunch of detours when it comes to planning.

I just wanted to remind you (well me…) that you have come SO FAR from who you once were.

 

It’s not just a distance thing. Yes, you did move 3,000 miles from home and you (at this point) are flourishing. You’re making new friends. You’re experiencing new things. You’re being creative and using your imagination.

 

You also have started tearing down those walls you built around yourself. People are seeing more of you than most ever have.

Also you play with fire. That’s pretty cool too.

 

Photo by Photography.Naturally. Click on the picture and like their facebook page!

Photo by Photography.Naturally. Click on the picture and like their facebook page!

What I hope most for.. for us… is that you continue to do things that both interest and scare you. Life is what you make of it, and at the moment I’m writing this, you have just modeled for your first photoshoot. You have gone to a bunch of comedy shows (and have been recognized by the comedians… still strange, BTW.)

 

I know that there are people in your life that will not only defend your honor, but if they had to they would probably help you bury a body. Several WILL avenge your death, so don’t die a stupid one, okay? No falling off of the bed and rotting, only to be eaten by the ghost cats in your apartment.

 

Whenever you feel the urge to hide, shine. Yes, the safety blankets will be there, just resist the urge to go all hermit and grow a beard. Nevermind… grow a beard. I think you’d look absolutely smashing.

No, you’re not a famous singer. But you do have people that watch you on youtube when you play the ukulele and you love karaoke with friends. You even sing jazz with a live band every now and again. You should do that more.

No, you’re not a famous author. But you do write, have ideas, tell stories, and generally entertain people.

No, you can’t buy a camera. But you do have your own apartment, food, and so many coffee places you probably need to stop going to them. You also will get there in time. See how many people would be willing to chip in. Start a gofundme or something.

No, you’re not in a relationship (or you are… I have no idea). But… I’m gonna get cryptic here. B-o-D, fondue, borrowed voice, UBG… There are people. Relationships are scary and as I’m writing this I know I’m not in one for a reason.

You waited so long to start really living.

Live.

Happy Birthday, asshole. You get to see your parents in a few days!

Also get more tattoos. You like that.

Still Alive!

Hi everyone!

I know it’s been quite some time since I last posted something.

Life has been hectic. As I type this I am trying to do three things and I’m anticipating what my plans are for the evening.

No. I’m not ignoring anyone 🙂

I’ve been very fortunate to have found a bunch of people here that want to hang out and there are so many things to do here I haven’t been home long enough to write anything.

I sing almost every other week at a Jazz Jam in Hillsboro. I am currently an apprentice with a fire performing troupe. I’m getting invited to tabletop RPGs (finally). I am so in love with my job I want to have babies with it.

That being said, I will try to schedule some time to catch you all up. So… you may have a week of new posts or just random posts.

Miss you!

– sent from my stupid phone.

A Moment Of Beautiful Agony

Tuesday night, my friend Nikki took me to a jazz night at Coyotes in Hillsboro.

So we get into the bar and see things getting set up for the jam session. Nikki runs over to an older gentleman. I could have sworn he looked familiar.

He wore a bulky red 49ers sweatshirt and a pair of jeans that were just a little too loose to be intentional. His shoulders slumped forward, a permanent positioning from years of slouching. Wire rimmed glasses wrapped around his eyes and they seemed to magnify the happiness that lit up his weathered face as Nikki asked him how he was doing. She told him about her wedding, the puppies that her mom’s Jack Russell had given birth to less than two weeks ago, and random idle chatter.

I joined in to a certain degree, chiming in with upbeat things to say. He apologized profusely for missing her recent nuptuals. He had heart failure and needed to be cracked open and worked on. He lifted his shirt to show her the deep angry purple bruising along his side. I watched him make a weak fist with his left hand. He admitted that he could only feel two of the fingers on his left since the surgery.

At that, I would have expected him to curse the heavens or at least grumble a little bit. Instead, he smiled and asked Nikki who her friend (me) was.

“Oh shit,” she replied with a shake of her head. “Dick. This is Ali. Ali? Dick Berk.”

I practically felt my knees buckle. Dick Berk? did she mean the Dick Berk that drummed for Billy Holiday when he was a teenager? Dick Berk, who played with Allison, Hubbard, Mingus and countless others? It was almost as if she had heard the thoughts in my head, because she leaned over and said “yeah. THAT Dick Berk.”

I stood in stunned silence for a moment, standing in the presence of a man with a prolific career in jazz as he talked with my friend about their mutual friend Laura’s applesauce.

A few moments later, Nikki pulled me to a table by the stage and we ordered a drink.

Without an introduction or fanfare, Dick stood from his chair and ambled over to the drum set. You could see him having difficulty getting himself situated behind the kit at first, but once he hit the seat, his pain on his face lessened. He took his wire brushes into his hands and I could tell he was getting frustrated because he couldn’t fully grasp the one in his left hand.

He laughed it off and he and Laura started playing. For fifteen glorious minutes I got to watch a man STILL in love with jazz after all these years. It was so beautiful, I wanted to cry.

When he was done, they took a quick break before the jam session started and Dick removed himself from the stage.

I turned to Nikki, practically in tears, and all I could utter was “thank you”.

It was poignant to see that someone in such agony could leave it all behind when doing something they are passionate about. It makes me realize that I need to let go of some of my pain and replace it with passion. I didn’t realize how much I missed jazz until that night.