Archive for December, 2011

Koko Taylor sings my Anti-Resolution

Posted in Aesthetic Day, Loves, Note to Self with tags , , on December 31, 2011 by ccartlidge

Get it, girl. Let the good times roll.

Waffles. Sweet, sweet waffles.

Posted in Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Rants with tags , , , , , on December 29, 2011 by ccartlidge

I should be a politician, because I am the master of the flip-flop. (I shouldn’t. I just said that for shits and giggles. I like to think I’m not that corrupt, ba-fucking-zing.) The diversity of moods I’ve had in the past two months is baffling. Never have I questioned my life with such amenability.

I’m dutiful: I went to college right on time, earned good grades at a decent university, worked a few jobs in a few offices, went back to school when the economy tanked and earned good grades there as well. I was supposed to have a reasonable amount of fun and relationships and I did. Everything in its right place! Ostensibly, I also questioned society and all the other things that a dutifully anti- girl is supposed to, I did my due diligence there as well. I even had the obligatory rebellious phase and on me, as it turns out, this involves quite a bit of pink, J. Crew clothing. I said a mouthful there.

The waver has been a constant in my life here in Portland. Perhaps I have the city itself to thank for this, and I do mean that without a hint of sarcasm. It’s true, I feel murky, but for the first time in my life it seems like I’m questioning all the right things. Metaphorically, I was the punk who regards himself so highly because he is aggressively questioning societal normalcy by sporting the same damn punk uniform, right down to the green mohawk and studded jacket with the Misfits patch on the back. This ironically fashionable kid questions nothing. (Also, did you notice I made myself male? I said a mouthful there, too.)

I used to think that people didn’t change, but that’s bullshit. Creative energy and the wish to be self-employed are my constants. Pursue these. Inconsistent extroversion and pursuing the path of least resistance are also my constants. Fuck those.

Luckily, I’ve managed to learn from my fucked up priorities. Luckily, I’m relatively intelligent and coherent (big-ups to my family for the good genes, healthy childhood, and seemingly unconditional love. I’m not sure I deserve all that, but now I’m determined to use them wisely. Subjectively wisely). Luckily, I’ve managed not to burn a crushing amount of bridges in my life and have a support system. Luckily, I have a certain amount of control. Luckily, I’ve been lucky. Next up: the evolution from amenable questioning to tenacious game. Hopefully. I mean definitely. I mean hopefully. Yup.

You may have missed the Decentralized Dance Party, Portland! Suckers.

Posted in Aesthetic Day, Loves, Note to Self on December 29, 2011 by ccartlidge

(I should say Aesthetic Night)

I apologize, as this post has no higher meaning. Last night was one of the best nights I’ve had in Portland to date. This type of shit is making it obvious that I am, in fact, moving from Portland just to move back in a few months. Sorry loved ones on the east coast, but it seems like unless I build it, it won’t come. (On second thought, maybe this post does have higher meaning). Coming up on the Decentralized Dance Party tour: LA – New Year’s Eve (LUCKYYYYY), Phoenix – January 4th, Austin – January 7th. Phoenix will be a bit shinier after DDP arrives.

Note to self: take risks, especially if the right people think it’s a terrible idea.

Note to Self

Posted in Aesthetic Day, Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Note to Self with tags , , on December 27, 2011 by ccartlidge

I gave the obligatory 30-day notice to my landlord today. I have no real relationship with her. All I know is that she seems like the best kind of landlord: an appropriately uninvolved one. She wrote the following reply, intended as simply polite, but which I took as spontaneously motivational: “sorry to see you go.  hopefully you are headed off to some new adventure.”

Visual manifestations of my mood:

[click on photo for links]

Which is to say “Curious, Motivated and Uncharacteristically Hopeful”

Note: do illogical things regularly and without irony.


Posted in Aesthetic Day, Literary Masterpieces, Loves on December 26, 2011 by ccartlidge

This is the blog of a friend, knitter and occasional girly stuff enthusiast. I realized just recently that I enjoy her posts and will link a few. Here. Now!

These are visual manifestations of my day so far.

Darkly Tangible:


Dubiously Pleasant:



Lesson Two: Finding Meaning in Small Talk Concerning an Impending Cross-Country Move

Posted in Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Personal work, Rants with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 26, 2011 by ccartlidge

Most people we love or have been close to in our lives have good intentions. We catch up and have conversations about the near-past, present and near-future, and we care enough about the other person to get the background information before moving on to more interesting discourse. Good intentions don’t prevent emotional incandescence or tetchy conversational evolution, regardless of how neutral the pretense. Association depends on interpretation. In other words, if I’m having a neutral conversation and it becomes partisan, it might be because I’m being to damned sensitive.

It might help to mention that I am currently transitioning from Portland (Oregon) to an unknown city via my home state of Maryland. After many months of vacillation, I decided to move and I’m still unsure if the decision borders on correct (read this if you care for even more elaboration on the subject of decision-making), but it’s happening.

It hurts to go, because it means leaving people and places I love. I don’t have to drive, I’m not even peripherally presented with ignorant or closed-minded people, development hasn’t ruined the gorgeous landscape, and I can go for a hike without even leaving the city. These are all reasons to stay. On the other hand, the economy is crap, over-educated creative types make up a significant part of the population (which is also a plus, but unfortunately we’re all unemployed and looking for the same three jobs), my family is only accessible via an expensive, annoying and ecologically insensitive day of plane rides, and I’m treading cold water.

I’ll only know in hindsight how much of this is rationalization, but this is in a strange way what I’m hoping for. I want to be sure about something again. Anything, really. Even if the only thing I’m sure of is that I shouldn’t have left Oregon, that would be just fine with me. I’m allowing myself to become covered in moss and this is disturbing and gross. I can come back. But only if I leave now.

I’ve learned that although I love Portland, I’ll never get that first year back. It was fucking magic. I didn’t mind biking in the rain, I had a ridiculously close group of intelligent and beautiful friends, I was working towards a goal. I was working hard, playing hard, and I was in love but all things come to an end. I got a Master of Architecture months ago. I bummed around for the summer. I was successful in both of those pursuits, but now I’m lost. The city reminds me of this daily. Growth and confidence are the only things I know I want for sure, and my instinct is telling me to leave to get them.

A conversation I had a few hours ago brought me to these words. When I tell people I’m leaving Portland, I usually end up justifying my decision partly by mentioning the new places I’m interested in. Currently I’m focusing on New England, specifically the original American Portland, the one in Maine. I know nothing of significance and I’m aware I might change my mind, but I’m drawn to it somehow.

It seems like the first thing that most people mention when the word “Maine” pops out of my mouth is that the winters are cold. God, really? I have no concept of weather patterns outside Oregon so thanks for mentioning this as I wouldn’t have ever known otherwise. The second thing is that it is a very small city. Again: thanks, I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE OF HOW THE INTERNET WORKS NOR ANY ABILITIES IN SPATIAL RECOGNITION, COMPARATIVE OR OTHERWISE. Shit.

I know now I react this way because I’m sensitive about the subject, not because the person speaking thinks I’m an idiot. I’m still very unsure and it makes me uncomfortable to think that I am in the middle of making a bad decision. But I’ll never know if I don’t try, so I’m strangely happy to keep having the same conversation over and over if it moves me closer to finding my new goal. Bring on the unknown.

So if you live in Portland, Maine and you see a cold, lost, short-haired girl visiting alone in a brand new winter coat, come say hello and remind me that Maine is much colder and smaller than Oregon. I might even thank you.

Lesson One: The Irish Goodbye

Posted in Literary Masterpieces, Loves, Personal work, Rants with tags , , , , on December 26, 2011 by ccartlidge

A few days ago, I practiced the Irish Goodbye at my own party.

Call me the damned Barefoot Contessa: I planned it, I decorated for it, I baked for it. I made mulled wine. I even cleaned of my own volition and not because the apartment smelled like it needed a bleach-based power wash: BECAUSE I WANTED IT TO BE NEAT. (This is a bit shocking, take my word for it.) It was to be grand. However, In spite of honest company I was freshly sick, exhausted, my head was pounding with abstraction and pressure and the ironic holiday music wasn’t helping.

Also, I’d spent the morning crying. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. I wasn’t in the mood to party. (A sub-lesson: trouble walks together with expectation.) So I did my best, then slipped away.

I’m not proud of this, but honestly I just couldn’t handle saying goodbye to my house full of friends. There are a few “socially acceptable” reasons for leaving a party early, one of them includes being incoherently drunk and I wasn’t. That had already been taken care of, and since I would never be able to upstage that particular exit, I wisely crossed it off my list. Neither did I have it in me to fake one of the other acceptable reasons for leaving a party early (sudden illness, another engagement, discovering irrefutable proof of alien life, living somewhere else, etcetera), so… Zmija.

I felt bad about it, but otherwise it would have been worse for me and awkward for everyone else. As an oversharer and a person who finds self-delusion slightly hideous, it’s difficult for me to lie on the spot or successfully evade questions which have doleful answers. I would have convinced no one. Or I would have simply caught hell. I wouldn’t have dealt with it gracefully and would have gone to bed angry as well as depressed.

The truth is that when you are in the process of realizing the myriad of ways in which you are an asshole, you probably shouldn’t go to parties. But it was our party, so I enjoyed the camaraderie while I could and inevitably allowed the melancholy to wrap its arms around me. My less-than-glorious exit allowed me the best of both worlds: I climbed out of my hole long enough to remind myself that the world remains essentially the same, then crawled right back in for processing. The Irish Goodbye saved my night.

Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. This was my lesson.

I felt better in the morning.