This is Me Before I Come Undone

So, several weeks ago, I stumbled across this website while trying to build a map for a project at work.  I had (way too much) fun making what I needed to make (which is here, if you’re interested… I’m actually quite proud of it!) and when I was done with it, my mind instantly went to what else I could make maps of!  I made a few of places I’ve lived, places I  liked in DC and Atlanta, and then I couldn’t avoid the thought:  one of all of the Tegan and Sara concerts I’ve been to.

My co-workers called me a total nerd for my complete enjoyment of making the maps, although I more attribute it to my obsessive love of detail (if only my life could be as organized as my YouTube channel…), my preference for having everything where I can see it all at once (hello law school finals flow charts…), my affinity for rainbow colors (my bedroom WAS done in rainbows when I was born), and about 30 free hours with nothing to do while my girlfriend was on a plane back to Australia via Korea.

So.  I’ve never summed up everything quite like this, and I wasn’t even entirely sure exactly how many shows I’d really been to.  Luckily my YouTube channel *IS* the most organized thing in my life (apart from my Flickr page), so that helped tremendously.  I also dug back into the Flickr pics for the first few shows I didn’t take video of, and, as for the very first show, where I don’t even have pictures, well, I had to dig into the online archives for that one.

And so here we have it.  I never meant to publicly admit to exactly how many shows I’ve been to, but after holding on to this for a few weeks I decided that I had too much fun making it not to share.  (Plus, everyone is forever asking me how many shows I have been to, so here, all of you, there you go!)

When you open the map it will at first show just tour routes and the markers for the first shows I went to in 2004.  If you click on the boxes next to the little colored markers on the top right hand side, you can add the markers for 2005, 2007 (nope, no 2006 shows, that would have been the “making of The Con” hibernation…), 2008, etc.  I already had the one show I was hoping to hit so far for 2011 up there, however, my cousin just put her wedding on that weekend, so we shall see.  I may soon be posting hoping someone needs an extra ticket to that one.  😦

Second, go to the “Tour Routes” tab on the bottom left, and you can click on the boxes next to them to make the lines on the map disappear… or you can check out the details of which shows I went to on that tour, the order of the tour, how far apart the shows were, all that good stuff.  🙂

Third, go back to the “Concert Locations” tab, and if you click on the name of each venue, it will bring up a bubble with the details of the venue, links to my YouTube videos and Flickr pictures from that show, and a picture from that show (would have added more pictures, but damn I could have gone on forever).  Also in that venue bubble, you can comment on that particular show (there’s an “Add Comment” link!) or you can comment on the map in general at the bottom of the map.  (I like comments.)

Finally, you can zoom way in on the map to see all of the different venues in each city (think I’ve been to six or seven different ones in NYC, for example).  FUN THING: bring up just the green 2009 markers, click on “Hollywood Bowl” on the left, zoom in until you’re like three bars from all the way in, and click on “Satellite” in the upper right hand corner.  Wicked.





{April 18, 2010}   Recap: PDX!

Well, despite the two cross-country flights from hell and the most pain I’ve ever been in at a T&S show (it really wasn’t that bad since I got to sit the whole time… thank god it wasn’t a standing show and they didn’t bug the front row about standing up for once!)  I actually did get to rest and recoup (yes, yes, to all of you to whom I promised I would take it easy!) and to enjoy Portland!  I’d never been there before, so I was really glad to get to go.

Erin (one of my best friends since we were 13) took me around some of the city… we ate at a quirky diner named Roxy after the show that was so good we went back two days later to have a repeat on the “Too Snooty to Even Look at You French Toast,” eggs, and bacon.  We went to Voodoo Doughnuts (since apparently everyone says you have to) and got a delicious peanut butter and Oreo doughnut, though halfway through my second one I started to feel like I was going to be sick if I finished it (I mean seriously.  Think about how far YOU would get through two peanut butter and Oreo doughnuts).  We also spent hours in Powell’s Bookstore, which must be the most ginormous independent bookstore on the planet.  Since I’ve been into reading about trans/intersex/gender issues these days (Middlesex, As Nature Made Him), I got a copy of Dress Codes by Noelle Howey (full title – “Dress Codes: Of Three Girlhoods — My Mother’s, My Father’s, and My Own.”) Looking forward to reading!  Also, since Erin and I played soccer together from the time we were 13 all the way through high school (and both still play now), we lived out our high school dream of hitting the Adidas headquarters mecca with a 50% off coupon.  Jesus, talk about self-restraint (or lack thereof?)  I walked out with a pair of blue suede Sambas (just like the pair I had in high school that I wore TO DEATH, as Erin reminded me.  Like for real, I wore holes on both the insides and outsides of the soles that eventually met.  I still don’t know where they disappeared to.  I try not to think about the fact that my first ex probably chucked them.) a pair of really cushy flip-flops, a cute-but-practical pair of slip-ons (I don’t do trendy… so we’ll see how this goes), a pair of yoga/running pants (so comfy!) and a super cool, really cute light jacket that was probably way too expensive even at 50% off.  But I don’t have a light jacket.  And it had a number 24 on the sleeve.  Which was my soccer AND basketball number all through high school and college.  I mean, come on.  I had to.  Even though I still haven’t been brave enough to take off the tags.

My favorite, FAVORITE part of the trip, however… a day trip to Bagby Hot Springs!

I was in so much pain my second day in Portland that I called my neurologist to ask if it was normal.  He assured me that I was okay, and advised lots of very hot soaks to ease the pain in my back and neck.  I told Erin this, who came back with an awesome idea… a very hot soak in natural springs!  I thought that sounded really cool… so the next day, after packing enough to probably last us a week in the wilderness, we were off.

The place was a two-hour drive and then one-mile hike through the woods away (during which Erin carried all of our stuff and I felt like a pathetic loser), but it was SO worth it.  It was free, with long, canoe-like baths that filled up from the SUPER hot springs (they had a cold water cistern where you could get buckets of cold water to bring down the temperature… and OH YES we did.  Putting toes that have just been on cold, wet wood into steaming hot water?  OWWW.  Luckily Erin carried the buckets too.)  We sat there for hours, letting the hot water run into our bath, chatting, and watching someone’s little pug dog occasionally run into our stall and sniff at our food.  My back and shoulders were so happy.  It was heavenly.

Hot Springs

Another room full of baths, and a big hot tub that was, sadly, leaking that day…

Channeling water to us…

Just as awesome as the hot spring baths were, though, was the hike to get to them.  BEAUTIFUL.  As someone who has lived on the East Coast her whole life, the Pacific Northwest still has a mystical quality to it to me (which I didn’t quite enjoy the first time I saw it, which was driving from Seattle to Vancouver for the Back In Your Head video shoot, during which time I was too busy panicking about how I’d lost my mind to have flown across the country to do this).  The mountains, the evergreens, everything… even the fact that there was — as we had not quite anticipated — snow!  (It had somehow not occurred to us that there would be snow, despite the fact that we were driving up into the mountains.  It was April and 60 degrees and lovely in Portland, why would there be snow?!)  Despite this, it was warm enough to hike with just a jacket, and all of the snow was melting and things that weren’t already green were turning green, just adding to this wonderful ethereal mist of spring.  Did I mention that I love hiking?  I love hiking.  Especially hiking that does not involve a tent and bugs.

Stream in the Woods


I loved the moss hanging off of everything, especially backlit by the sun…

Moss and Sun

Wood Bridge

Why I love traveling with Erin: she is the one person who will never get mad at me for stopping to take too many pictures.

Present left in a tree stump?

Heading home.  😦

All in all, a really awesome, relaxing day, and a really good trip.  The hot water (and the painkillers) helped a ton, and by the time I left I was feeling a lot better and sad to go.  But I’ll leave you with this clip of us driving home, since I feel like pictures can’t quite capture it all sometime… (and if my YouTube channel gets flagged for the music we have playing in the background, by god, I might kill someone…)

{April 8, 2010}   This is Why I’m Crazy…

…because I am in Portland two days after being released from the hospital.  Well, the flight was already paid for, and I was also coming to visit my best friend from high school who just moved here from Hawaii (“no shows ever go there,” she says, “and now I’m here… and Tegan and Sara are here… and I’M here… and you’re not going to come?!??”)  The doctors also seemed to think it was okay, “as long as I felt better.”  Sooo…

Two connecting cross-country flights later, I am happy to have spent the whole day in my bed at my friend’s house.  By the end of the flights yesterday I felt like I’d been beaten all across my back and neck… even my ribs and abs were sore!  SUCH a relief to lie down!  I was really worried I would hurt something further, but my doctor reassured me that muscular-skeletal soreness and stiffness  was normal after a spinal procedure like that (I should have remembered from the last time I had needles stuck in my NECK… ugh) so I think I’m okay.  Still happy to be in a reclining bed with cats all day.

Major challenge tonight: Holding up a camera!  Since the aching has spread from my lower back to my shoulders and neck, this ought to be fun.  No guarantees.  At least it’s a seated show.  Wish me luck!

{March 24, 2010}   Packing

Packing.  I’m no good at packing.  I never have been.  I pack too much.  I forget the actual important things.  I put it off until I’m… hey, look at that… up at 2AM contemplating how I should start packing.  At some points I start to think that I’ve gotten better at it, but then I realize that no, I’ve actually just gotten so exasperated by the whole process that I now just throw stuff in there and hope for the best.  Or – better yet – why not combine the equally unpleasant tasks of packing and unpacking by just taking everything out of your last suitcase, throwing it in the washer, and then repacking it?  NOW we’re onto something.  Load two in the washer as we speak.  Although the weather might be different than the last place I was packing for.  Where *was* the last place I was packing for?  Hmm…

As I’m scanning my bedroom and realizing that I have BOTH a suitcase lying open from January’s Canadian trip AND an entirely different one from February’s Atlanta/New Orleans/Austin/Houston trip, however, it occurs to me that the impossibility of this particular packing seems particularly overwhelming because down the hall one of my best friends and roommate of almost three years is finishing packing up her life in this house.  Tomorrow, she’s getting on a plane to head to her mom’s in Florida for a few days, and then, Colombia (as in the *country*) for a year.  So many things keep flashing through my mind.  Standing on the roof of my apartment building in Atlanta talking with her on the phone for hours after we had just found each other on craigslist and decided we’d be perfect roommates.  Interviewing countless other potential roommates to fill the other two spaces in the house the first year (when we barely knew what we were doing) to the third year (where we didn’t even bother cleaning up or preparing questions for people anymore).  Showing up together at parties at the beginning where we were the new kids in town and didn’t know anyone else.  Hosting our own parties two years later once we got too lazy to leave the house to be social most of the time.  Getting pitted against each other in Jello wrestling.  Bundling up to battle freezing temperatures to watch Obama be inaugurated.  Laughing until we were crying over stupid pictures of cats when we’d both had a bad day.  Going to concerts, speakers, forums, town halls, parties, poetry slams, Pride, yoga… being the tour guide to visiting friends… being the tourists ourselves at the Cherry Blossom Festival… having “accountability cleanings” where one of us would sit in the other’s room while she cleaned to make sure she didn’t get distracted or decide to take a nap instead of cleaning… going grocery shopping together and trying to figure out what the hell was IN the fridge, and tossing it all so we could actually fit in the food we’d just bought.   Staying up way too late night after night chatting, wasting time, and watching Rachel Maddow at 9PM, 11PM, and sometimes, for good measure, 1AM.  Running into each other rushing around in the hallway at 10:30 in the morning when both of us were supposed to be at work at 9.  Being there for her when she found out her ex had been cheating on her with her best friend.  Her being there for me when my job left me crying on my desk every other day.  And yes, her being there every time I got back from New York, London, Vancouver, L.A., or wherever the hell I’d been, full of stories that she’d patiently listen to no matter how crazy I’m sure I was driving her half the time.

So tomorrow, when she’s getting on a flight to Florida, I’ll be busy getting on my own plane to Minneapolis, focused on getting where I need to go and miraculously remembering all of the things I forgot to pack.  But when I come back in a few days from my next trip across some part of some country, she’s not going to be here.  And I’m not quite sure what is going to be able to fill that space.  Soon enough there will be another roommate, but those aren’t that hard to find around here.  What is hard to find — next to impossible to find — is a best friend.  She’ll be back in a year… I know this.  But what I also know is that you can never know all of the ways in which you and circumstances are going to change in that time.  A year goes by so quickly, everyone says… but looking back on just how much has been crammed into the two and a half years we’ve lived here together, I know that it’ll also be an awful lot to miss.

Anyway, my laundry is done now.  And I should probably go put it back into one of the suitcases on my floor and print out my boarding pass.  Usually I stay up too late because I’m dreading going to work the next day.  Tonight, though, I might be up a while… because I don’t want to wake up to the time where I have to say goodbye.

et cetera