Wednesday, January 08, 2020

The City Born Great - How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

The second story in N. K. Jemisin's anthology How Long 'Til Black Future Month?, "The City Born Great," is an exciting tale of the birth of a city, specifically New York, finally matured from its womb, and its young black avatar, chosen to be it, to birth it, to allow it to live.

Although it isn't as pointed as the previous story ("The Ones Who Stay and Fight"), it moves along quickly and easily, with the tension building to an exciting and satisfying climax (and it's got its own commentary, too). Definitely enjoyable.

The Ones Who Stay and Fight - How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

"The Ones who Stay and Fight" is, per N. K. Jemisin's description, a response to and pastiche of Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas," and boy is it. At one point it takes direct aim at Omelas, reading:
This is not Omelas, a tick of a city, fat and happy with its head buried in a tortured child.
No, Um-Helat is a utopic city like Omelas, and one that must still pay a price for its peace and prosperity. Unlike Omelas, however, the people of Um-Helat have chosen to support and honor difference; not to walk away, to allow the child to be tortured, but to stay, and fight, and ensure that the taint is destroyed whenever its head appears. It is a price that is paid, sometimes, in blood, but a price known. And unlike Omelas, we have more choice than merely to stay or leave, but to correct.

This is going to have me thinking for a while, but I did enjoy it.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Age 35: 3 Month Check-in #1


The purpose of this retrospective is to evaluate the progress I've made on my goals (1-, 5- and 10-year) and to see whether adjustments need to be made. I will also reflect on what I've done and whether there are patterns that need to be changed.

Goals so far

First - unfortunately, I never completed my Age 35 goals post, so I will continue using my Age 34 goals as appropriate until that is finished.

I have now missed one pede comic - December 27, 2018. It was shortly after my seizure, however, and I feel that is an adequate excuse. I feel that Pentapede Nation is still going okay, but I am working towards bringing book 5 to a close.

I haven't been biking really at all, but it is winter so that is expected.

Although I didn't compose any new pieces, I did expand an existing piece, "Russian Waltz", for full orchestra (well... full Brighton Orchestra).

Haven't been to a hot springs, but I don't like going up into the mountains in the winter, so that's to be expected.

I'm writing a couple times a week in my journal, which is an improvement, but it is by no means daily. I don't even always write on the days I intend to write.

Good things

Although I am still struggling with bouts of loneliness, I am feeling generally pretty good at the moment. I have been getting out more to social events and meeting new people (I went to a speed dating event on Friday that was fun); I have been playing D&D fairly regularly with Jane and I'm DMing a group myself that includes Chance, Tandy, Kyle, Tyler, Nick and Ben; I'm still hosting movie nights and such. I'm still reading fairly regularly, and I joined a gay book club (the first book I'm reading/listening to is Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk for the 20th [hopefully... they rescheduled last time so I didn't make it, which was just as well since I hadn't read the book]).

Things to improve

  • Although I marked time on my calendar for both composition and practice, I have still utterly failed to do either one.
  • I would still like to locate a fairly regular FWB or boyfriend, although things are definitely moving on this front.
  • For a while, I was getting up and going swimming before work three days a week. However, as the days got shorter and the sun started coming up later, I slacked off. I need to get back into that, or if not swimming, working out somehow.

Other notes

Work has been okay lately. Mostly I've been able to work on a mobile project on my own and not be interrupted, although lately they've been pulling me in to tech lead on some other projects.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Age 34: 3 Month Check-in #3


The purpose of this retrospective is to evaluate the progress I've made on my goals (1-, 5- and 10-year) and to see whether adjustments need to be made. I will also reflect on what I've done and whether there are patterns that need to be changed.

Goals so far

Of the goals listed in my Age 34 goals post, I have still missed no Pentapede comics, and I continue to be a few weeks ahead. However, I am not entirely satisfied with the quality lately. I feel that it has become not just a chore, but a "spit it out and get on to something else" sort of thing. Perhaps I should bring Pentapede Nation to a close?

I haven't been biking regularly or using it as a mode of transportation. Many of my trips lately have been farther than I feel comfortable riding, and I try to combine stops at the grocery with other trips, such as coming home from work. Still, I feel I can do better on this.

I went to a hot springs (Valley View again) with Chris, Kris and O'Brien a couple weekends ago (August 19th), so check that one off!

Unfortunately, I haven't composed at all this quarter. I don't know what I can do to change that; I set aside time to do it, but then I haven't done it (or scheduled something else over it). I also haven't been writing in my journal enough. I was doing well for a while, even writing most days on vacation, but after I got back I haven't been.

Good things

It's a little difficult to write this section this morning, because I'm in a bit of a fuzzy place emotionally. Not for any particular reason, just where I am.

I got to see Amy and Brendan on our trip to Hawaii, which was good. Before vacation, I was doing a lot of activities; going out to shows and hanging with people. I've even met some people and went on a couple dates (although they haven't worked out). I've been able to hang out some more with Lee and with Cody. But Gloomhaven and D&D have slacked off since my vacation, and trivia hasn't exactly picked back up, although we have done a few. I've been hanging out more with Brad and Matt, which has been nice. Jane is starting a D&D game with me, Hannah and Holly, so hopefully that will be fun. Also, I've been doing a better job of reading lately (did a bunch on vacation, of course). I've been playing video games a bit more than usual, but I don't know if that's a good thing or not.

I did a couple escape rooms with people! They were fun, and I'm glad I organized them.

Most of the time I am content, but I have occasional bouts of loneliness.

Things to improve

  • Although I marked time on my calendar for both composition and practice, I have utterly failed to do either one.
  • I would still like to locate a fairly regular FWB or boyfriend
  • The meetups I went to did not seem promising. But I need to keep trying, I suppose

Other notes

Work continues to be mixed. Still struggling to want to do it, especially when it's been a lot of sitecore work lately. Lots and lots of configuration. I am now working from home three days a week, which is nice. The chimney is still falling a bit and needs support added, and now the furnace needs to be replaced. So that's going to be another big expense.

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Age 34: 3 Month Check-in #2


The purpose of this retrospective is to evaluate the progress I've made on my goals (1-, 5- and 10-year) and to see whether adjustments need to be made. I will also reflect on what I've done and whether there are patterns that need to be changed.

Goals so far

Of the goals listed in my Age 34 goals post, I have still missed no Pentapede comics, and in fact I am currently a few weeks ahead of the game (yay!). As this is my second check-in, and it is on-time, I would say that one is going well. I went skiing in late March with coworker Kellen, but it was not a great experience for me and I am unsure whether I want to go again. While I am not biking as regularly as I would like, I am biking more, and I'm using it for transportation on occasion as well - I did get my bike accessories fitted on, including the basket, and I've gone to the grocery store on it a couple times, and the library, and yesterday I rode over to get a haircut. I have been making pretty frequent journal entries, although they are often just a picture of an event or the weather. But I have been including fairly regular write-ups as well. I haven't been hiking or to a hot springs yet this year.

Good things

I continue to spend a lot of time doing things with friends. I have a fairly regular D&D group at the moment, as well as semi-regular Gloomhaven nights with Nick. Trivia has slacked off a bit the past few weeks, but should pick up again as everyone's schedules normalize. I've been trying new things; for example, yesterday Nick, Ben and I finished our cutting boards that we started at I Made It Workshop, which is a wood shop downtown. Cody and I went to the Botanical Gardens in April, which was fun. I've been to a gateway party, finally (it was... okay), and a self-rope course. I've gone to more concerts and shows with various people including Brad & Matt, and I even went to the symphony. And, a couple times now, I've gone to Musical Mondays at Pride and Swagger, which is basically live showtunes karaoke (so great). I even sang once! (It didn't go well, but that's okay.) I've been reading a lot more lately, which is nice.

Most of the time I am content, but I have occasional bouts of loneliness.

Things to improve

  • Although I marked time on my calendar for both composition and practice, I have utterly failed to do either one.
    • I may need to change the time for this, perhaps putting it on a weekend morning.
  • I would still like to locate a fairly regular FWB or boyfriend
    • Although I have been going out more regularly, I haven't been meeting a ton of new people. I need to go to more different events where there are people I don't know. (I've done some, but not nearly enough). There are some meetups coming up that I know about, so I will try to go to those.

Other notes

Work has been mixed. Still struggling to want to do it, but they did give me a raise at least. I might get the opportunity to work from home on a regular basis soon. The house has mostly been OK lately. There was a strange smell for a couple days - almost like maple syrup - but it seems to have abated. Hannah has offered to do yard work, so I've taken her up on the offer.

Additional Items

  • In order to get a piece of music published, I need to
    • Locate and vet music publishers
    • Determine their publication requirements & what they're looking for

Friday, March 09, 2018

Age 34: 3 Month Check-in #1


The purpose of this retrospective is to evaluate the progress I've made on my goals (1-, 5- and 10-year) and to see whether adjustments need to be made. I will also reflect on what I've done and whether there are patterns that need to be changed.

Goals so far

Of the goals listed in my Age 34 goals post, I am coming along on my "No missed pede comics". I have scheduled time to work on by check-ins, of which this is the first. I have written in my diary perhaps once every few weeks, and I have plans to go skiing later this month. There's still a lot of things left on that list, but then there's still a lot of the year left, too. We're finally coming out of winter, so I expect to be able to accomplish the outdoors goals more easily in the next few months.

Good things

I'm spending a lot of time doing things with friends, often playing games, doing trivia and watching movies. It's good. For the most part, I am content. I have been eating less meat (though by no means none) and this has been pretty doable.

Things to improve

  • I need to be composing regularly so that I'm in the habit, and so that I can get the two pieces out that I want to this year
    • I should set aside time for both this and practice on my calendar
  • I need to practice regularly on viola and keyboard if I'm going to get any better
  • I would like to locate a fairly regular FWB or boyfriend
    • I can start going out to different events more frequently

Other notes

Played all the way through Pandemic Legacy Season 2 with Nick, Garrett and Rob! We won, but kinda just barely. Brighton had a good Homespun concert, and I premiered my piece "Reverie" for harp and woodwinds. It could've gone better, but according to mom it could stand to be revised anyway. At homespun, Tessa, Ruth and I played some chamber music by a friend of mine that went quite well. There was electrical work that needed to be done on the house (and not inexpensive, either), but it's just about paid off.

Additional Items

  • In order to get a piece of music published, I need to
    • Locate and vet music publishers
    • Determine their publication requirements & what they're looking for
  • I need to get my bike fitted with the nice equipment I got for Christmas

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Age 34: Goals

Here are my goals for the upcoming year(s).

This Year:

  • Go skiing at least once
  • Go biking regularly
    • Use bicycle as a mode of transportation e.g. for grocery shopping
    • Biking with Jane and by myself
  • Compose two pieces of 3-5 minutes each
  • Go hiking at least once
  • Go to a hot springs
  • No missed pede comics
  • Write in journal at least weekly, preferably daily
    • not just what happened, but how I feel about it
  • Figure out how to achieve long-term goals
    • Determine goals
    • 3-month check-ins
    • Schedule time to work on them
Five Years:
  • Have a piece of music published professionally
  • Complete DREaM Cycle
Ten Years:
  • Retire

Age 33: A Retrospective

Age 33 was an eventful year for me. When I began, I had two boyfriends, and at the end, I had none. I started needing glasses, but not at the end. I skied for the first time as an adult, and I enjoyed it.

The year started off uneventful. I was seeing Steve and Stephen, and Steve was living with me and seeing Tony, Neo and Indo. Jane was living upstairs, and Suka and Tana were living downstairs, but preparing to move out. Normal routines for the most part. Christmas concerts for Brighton and then Lakewood. Steve, Indo, Stephen and I went to a hibachi grill in December, which was fun. On New Year's Eve, Nick and I went to see the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, which was also quite good.

In January, Suka and Tana finally moved out, and I had to replace the shower floor downstairs (it had, surprise, surprise, been improperly installed). I believe it was about this time that Ian moved in (perhaps in February).

February, Stephen and I went to Hyperspace, which is a retro arcade. Brighton did our Homespun concert. At the end of February, the team working on the Aspen app went up to Aspen to help with testing - it was a lot of fun, and I got ski lessons and a couple days of skiing. I enjoyed it, and I want to do more, although I haven't yet this year.

And then, after I got back from Aspen I could tell something was wrong with Stephen. He was distant in a way he hadn't been before. The weekend after I got back from Aspen, he broke up with me. Even though we tried to leave it on amicable terms, it tore me up for months.

The rest of March was not exceptional - some indoor mini golf at Colorado Mills, before the hailstorm, and I finally decide to get serious about LASIK and make a couple introductory appointments.

In the middle of April - right before Easter, in fact - I had my LASIK appointment. It was, honestly, terrifying, even after taking the Xanax the doctor prescribed (who knows whether it did anything to me, really?). But, the whole procedure took less than 15 minutes, and at the end, I could see. Since that time, my vision has improved some as everything healed, and I am quite pleased and content with my decision.

In May, Brighton had our first collaboration with Platte Valley Players, a stage show of South Pacific. It went mostly pretty well, and we are going to do it again this coming year with Guys and Dolls.

In June, I played in the pit for Platte Valley Players' production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which is quite a funny show. I also sent off my spit to 23 and Me for analysis, which I got the results for in July (spoiler alert: I'm as white bread as I thought).

It was also around this time that I was able to reconnect with Stephen (still going by Stephen at the time, but now going by Holly). It was nervous and tentative, but it was good to reconnect. We have gradually been rebuilding a friendship since that time. It was astonishing how quickly my mental state cleared up after that happened.

I attended Denver Pride with Nathan, Evan and co. We started at Evan's place with breakfast burritos and mimosas, watched the parade and wandered around a while at the park. Even met up with Nick briefly, who was volunteering at the boxers (dogs) shelter booth.

Steve's sister visited with her son Ben and daughter Allison. There are incriminating pictures of us at Casa Bonita.

In July, I saw Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses played by the CSO with Brad and Matt (and some of their friends). It was interesting; they had videos of the games along with each piece. It was definitely enjoyable.

For the 4th, I got to go over to Nathan's and watch the fireworks show. Also started doing Trivia regularly with Kris, Adam, Garret and Rob about this time. Nick started up a D&D game with me, Jane, Chance, Tandy and Tony, although we didn't end up keeping it going because Nick got too busy.

On the 16th, a group of us got together and saw the Welcome to Night Vale live show when they came through. It was, as always, a lot of fun, but slightly unfortunate timing, since the next morning I had to get on a plane for Tahoe.

Went to Tahoe with mom and Amy for a week; unfortunately it was a bit smokey there and much of the time the views were not as great as they could've been. Still, we did a number of activities like and escape room and a boat ride, as well as relaxing and reading and playing games.

I went down south to play the Lone Tree Orchestra's Open Symphony, which is a drop-in-and-play event they do each summer. It was fun, mostly it was people I didn't know (since it was down in Lone Tree), but I didn't meet too many of them.

In August, Jane turned me into a cyclist, and I purchased my very own bicycle (a Co-op CTY 1.1 Hybrid). We went on rides fairly regularly throughout the summer, which was great.

The Great American Eclipse happened on August 21, 2017, and although I didn't travel to see totality, we did have 95% (which is, of course, a far cry from totality). It was cool, you could see shadows with strange shapes, and it was noticeably cooler. Inside, it was fairly dark, but not as obvious outside.

I served on a jury for the first time ever, a hit-and-run case for Lakewood municipal court. It was an interesting experience, mostly as expected though. Fortunately it only took a half-day.

At the end of August, I went up to Valley View Hot Springs with Chris and Rob, which is a clothing-optional hot springs. It was enjoyable, although some of the springs weren't as warm as I wanted them to be.

On Labor Day, Kris had his usual wonderful Labor Day BBQ, always a nice get-together. At the end of September, my company did an "escape room" that was more of a puzzle/scavenger hunt, where we went around downtown Boulder looking for and solving clues. It was a lot of fun!

In mid-October, Brad gave me tickets to "A Wild Party", which was a 360-degree immersive musical. I went with my coworker Kellen, and it was a trip! It was set in the 1920s, during prohibition, so of course it was about a bootleg gin party. We the audience were sat right in the middle of it all, with the actors moving around us and sometimes engaging us (although not too much; I was afraid there would be a lot more interaction than there was, so I was pretty nervous going in).

Then, on October 13, I finally broke up with Steve. It was hard, but the continual hurting that I was feeling has abated, so I think it was the right choice.

That weekend I had a Brighton concert. I still haven't mentioned my breakup to any Brighton folk.

On the 20th, Nick, Garret, Nathan, Rob and I went to see Something Rotten! at the DCPA. It's a show about playwrights at the time of Shakespeare, and how they're jealous of him. Basically. Anyway, really funny.

The 27th, Evan invited me over to play VR horror games, which was interesting and somewhat scary. The 28th, I went to go see my fraternity brother Kyle's performance with the Mile High Freedom Bands, their "Once Upon a Spooktacular Night" concert. It was silly and bawdy and fun, and I'm glad I went to be able to reconnect a bit with him.

On the 29th, my company had its annual picnic, and the weather was gorgeous for it. I didn't do well at the croquet tournament, but it was a good time nevertheless. After that, Kellen and I hung out a bit until it was time for me to go to see Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor read and sign books at the Boulder Book Store for their newest Night Vale release, It Devours!. Even got a book (because that's how it worked, you had to buy a book to get in) and got it signed.

For Halloween, Kyle invited me over to play games with them, which was nice, because no one else had offered to do anything for Halloween.

I should wrap this up: Got the house wiring repaired somewhat, and got the roof replaced with insurance money from the hail storm in May. Thanksgiving with mom, and then to Kris' place. That weekend, went up with Kyle to Vail (his company lets them use various places) for relaxing, some hiking, and hot tubbing. I attended the gay potluck and kinda met some people.

Hanging out a bit with Cody, went to my first spoken-word presentation with Holly (presented by Queer Asterisk in Boulder). Got some prints of my photographs (BIG prints) to put on the walls. And that basically finishes out Age 33.

So, looking back, what should I keep, what should I change, and did I reach my goals?

Most Significant Events:

  • Break up with Steve
  • Break up with Stephen


  • No goals specified, so n/a


  • Going out and doing things more. 
  • Keep hanging out with people
  • Trying new things, like the spoken word thing
  • Biking (in summer)
  • Skiing (in winter)


  • Go to new spaces and meet different people, instead of always the same
  • Don't twist myself in knots about being lonely. Learn to be solo
  • Decide what you want; from life, from relationships, from work

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Geoff-Steve, October 14, 2004 to October 13, 2017

I'm not sure what to say here. Nearly thirteen years - 4,748 days - is a long time to be in a relationship with someone and then to have it come to an end. (Four thousand, seven hundred and forty-eight days).

Things started hot and heavy. It was a Thursday, and I agreed to come down to his place (and got lost along the way; this was before smartphones and google maps and turn-by-turn directions), even though you're always supposed to meet in public first, in case he's an axe murderer. We had tried to meet twice before, taking turns standing the other up, but this time it worked (although he was late because he was at a friend's place doing laundry). He cooked dinner and we watched a movie - Deep Blue Sea, if I remember correctly. After that, we took a bath together (he's always been good at seduction). I remember considering that it was a possibility I would awaken sans kidneys, but I decided it was a risk I was willing to take. Fortunately for a young Geoff who had only recently lost his virginity, everything turned out fine, and I believe I spent the night.

I spent a lot of time at his place that winter. When I had my seizure at 21, he came to the hospital to see me, and, as I told him at the time, it felt right to have him there with my family. For a time after that, I wasn't allowed to drive, so I would bus down on weekends, or get rides from my mom, spending almost the entire summer there instead of my apartment in Boulder.

At the time, he was studying CIS at DeVry. I convinced him to switch to CU Boulder. I don't know whether he considers that a mistake or not, but he was never able to get into the Engineering department (notoriously difficult to transfer to), and eventually returned to DeVry to finish his degree. In the meantime, we moved to my apartment in Boulder while we were both attending school there. I convinced him to join our fraternity, and he even served as chapter president for a year or two.

About a year after I graduated, it became apparent that I would be unable to make it doing freelance work, and we moved into his condo, which was a great move because it significantly cut our expenses. While he was working for the USGS, we got a cat, Rory, who has always been a joy in my life (when he wasn't being a brat, of course). We got addicted to WoW, and recovered. He started a monthly board game group that has been going for far longer than I expected it to, now. We had a roommate, Tom. We dated Pat, and shared our grief when that ended.

We created those tiny monsters, pentapedes, and sent them on adventures. We got another cat, Ada, and the cats eventually learned to tolerate one another.

I bought us a house, and we lived there together. He built me a garden. But we slowly were drifting apart. He adopted relationship anarchy as his model, which I disagreed with. He brought a continuing stream of new men through our lives; I was not prepared for this. I told him that I wasn't comfortable with what he was doing, with the person he had become. I cried, and grieved, and hoped that we could return to what we had before. But it was not to be. Finally, I tried to end it, and he made a promise he later claimed not even to remember. And so, I brought that chapter of our lives to a close, one day shy of our thirteenth anniversary.

He's moved out, now, and taken Rory with him. It is now me and my cat. And even though I'm still defining who I am now, I'm okay. I'm making it.

I know you won't ever read this, Steve, but, outside of my family, you are probably the most significant relationship of my life. I wish it could have been different.

4,748 days will be a hard record to beat. Perhaps it will never be broken. 38% of my life at the time.


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Geoff-Stephen, July 4, 2015 to March 4, 2017

I've waited to write this, for several reasons. Partially because this is a public record, and I don't want to cause harm. Also because I wasn't ready to figure out what to say. I think, if I'm being honest, it was mostly because I didn't want it to be true; because I'm still in denial. Perhaps writing this will help me bring it to a close.

It was the fourth of July, and I'd had a few ciders to drink. Stephen, Steve and I were hanging out, and with my inhibitions lowered, I went in for the cuddle. It surprised Stephen, I think, but not unpleasantly.

In the next days, he was unsure. He said he didn't want a serious relationship, but was willing to see where it went. So that's what we did, hanging out increasingly often.

At the end of April in 2016, we went on a trip together to Ojo Caliente hot springs in New Mexico. Thankfully he drove; although the drive down was clear and dry, snow rolled in as we were leaving for home, but he handled the drive well and we made it back safely.

However, the situation with the relationship was, at times, difficult to discern. Although I tried to be easy to discuss things with, there were times when things bubbled up that had clearly been festering for a while. I should have done a better job addressing these and providing verbal support, but I did not.

Saturday the fourth of March, the 610th day, it became clear that he was going to end it. He had become more distant over the previous couple weeks, and as we made plans for dinner a sense of foreboding grew.

He told me that he didn't want to see me anymore, that he wanted to be friends but that it would take him some time to come to that place. I don't recall him saying why, but I think the greatest factor was that he had developed feelings that he had said at the outset he didn't want. There were probably other causes as well, but I know that I fell for him harder than I had expected to. And the past few months have shown me that I fell even harder than I had thought. I haven't heard from him at all in that time, which may be what he needs but it continues to hurt me.

I've asked myself if I should never have gone in for the cuddle in the first place, if I should have let us continue as friends. I've decided that I do not regret that choice. There are things I would try to do differently if I had it to do again, but some things aren't evident while they're happening. Together we had some wonderful times, and despite the pain I feel now, I think it was worth it. I hope that someday we will, in fact, be able to be friends again, because I do miss him.

In the meantime, thank you, Stephen, for the time we had together.

The City Born Great - How Long 'Til Black Future Month?

The second story in N. K. Jemisin's anthology How Long 'Til Black Future Month? , "The City Born Great," is an exciting ta...