The Eleven Best Things About Bellingham

I promise I won’t go all in on the moving mopes, but I am going to swoon over Bellingham for a bit. Here are my favorite things about it:

11. Woods Coffee – Please take over the world. You’re so much better than Starbucks.

10. Artwood – Always a humbling place for any manner of artist. The creations people make out of wood is beyond amazing., and quintessentially Bellingham

9. .  GreenHouse & Ideal – Two great shops, full of wonderful and unique things. I can meander and drool for hours.

8. The Archer Ale House – Underground pub. What;s not to love? Great beer, scotch and amazing food. There are other boozy establishments on this list, but were you to visit, I would tell you to this one.

Rocket Doughnuts

7. Kulshan Brewery – Kulshan opened shortly after my last move, from literally across the street, but damn if it hasn’t established itself as one of the better up-and-coming breweries around. Awesome folk music on Sundays only helps.

6. BelleWood Acres – So, so many memories here. Apples, of course, are in order, but their peanut butter, gin, vodka and brandy make it beyond amazing (gin+blue cheese = OMG). The new building, with live music and food is a great destination.  Seriously, order the peanut butter.

5 Boundary Bay – The original and the best, or at least very close to it. The food alone is amazing, and their beer is world class.

4. Elizabeth Station – The fact that this place isn’t #1 on the list says how many great places this town has. I’ve been there since it opened, when it was a small store with five taps and the same dudes working the bar, to 20 taps, over 1,000 beers and a bunch of people I don’t recognize. But still – it’s the watering hole.

3. Rocket Doughnuts – They have a ray gun collection and the best doughnuts on the west coast. That is all.

2. Village Books – Home, sweet home.

And number one… well, that one’s mine.

Goodbye, Farewell, Amen

If you follow me on Ye Olde Twittre, you may have tolerated a certain amount of mopiness on my part. The last few months have been less than pleasant, and things kind of came to a head the last month or so. This may have affected my usually peppy demeanor.

That is, hopefully, at an end. While the last several months have been spent primarily on writing and not working for The Man, circumstances dictate that I need to go back to a ‘day job’, and as such, one has been agreed upon.

However, said circumstances will bring to an end my almost-decade long stay in the fine city of Bellingham. This may or may not mean much to you, but it’s a bittersweet moment for me. Bellingham resides in that sweet spot of not being a small town that is 45 minutes from anywhere (such as where I grew up), nor the middle of a big city. It has everything you need, and all the fun, quirky things that make it fun. There is a ton I’d miss about it here, even though I am excited for something new.

Anyway. Perhaps of small concern to you, but so many of you have shown me a great deal of kindness the last couple weeks. So -thank you.

Here’s to the next chapter.


Batman Minus Batman

I am not a big comic book… guy, or whatever. There are a few I quite enjoy, but for the most part, they don’t particularly interest me. However, I have  a rather long-standing infatuation with one Bat-man. To be more precise, the villains of Batman. Joker, despite having no backstory, and rarely having any clear motivation, is pretty much the perfect villain. The more accurate statement would be that it is because of those things that he is such a perfect villain. He gets to be evil for the sake of being evil.

Except, what if he wasn’t?

It’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. What if the touchstone of the Batman mythos, namely the death of his parents, never happened? The Joker himself said he needs Batman, someone to be in conflict with. But if his parents never die, is there a Batman? And if not, what does the individual we know as the Joker do? Does he take a different route? Even taking up Batman’s mantle as the defender ‘Gotham needs’?

If Batman’s parents never die, then Thomas Wayne’s efforts to clean up Gotham continue. Maybe they work, maybe they don’t. But let’s see what could happen.

Let’s suppose that Wayne and the Joker knew each other, from before. What if they were in a war together as younger men, maybe even knowing each other from Gotham previously? Or perhaps Wayne tells him of the state Gotham is in. Let’s suppose Joker is captured- a pilot, perhaps? Joker is good callsign- where he is given the signature Glasgow smile.  Instead of leading him to evil, though, when he is freed, he reunites with Wayne.

This could come in a variety of ways. Wayne is set up, Wayne enterprises is running smoothly, and he is trying to clean up Gotham. Joker returns a war hero, and goes to work for Wayne. Or returns as so many veterans, forgotten, on the streets, begging, when Wayne comes across him? Or (my favorite), he tries to mug the Wayne family outside of the theater when young Bruce is scared. Wayne recognizes him, and takes him in, helping him get clean.

Whatever the case, Wayne and the Joker concoct a plan to clean up Gotham, using Wayne’s resources and the Joker’s face and non-existence (perhaps the government mucked something up? I know, THAT is way out there) to craft a super-hero identity.

From there, anything could happen.

This has been the latest installment of Random Crap Dean Thinks About. Thank you for indulging me.


Musings on Reasons & Motivation

The sub-title to this blog is ramblings & musings, and I certainly do plenty of the former, so here is a dose of the latter.

I had one of those surreal-seeming experiences, in getting fan mail. Having fans is weird, in a wonderful sort of way.

I had a conversation with a (IRL) friend the other day about my motivations in writing. I have always written, and loved it, but since 3024, the reasons have less to do with me and more to do with you, my dear reader, and with where I want my own life and career to be, i.e., writing as my sole profession. But, as I pointed out to him, that doesn’t mean it isn’t me, or that I have ‘sold out’, as it were. I have written about this is particular before, and it holds true- I write because reading has always brought me more joy than nearly anything else in the world, and telling stories has become a part of my being.

Because Paris (via E Cathrine Tobler)

Getting to give that joy to someone is a privilege beyond compare.

It’s not why I do it, for praise or adoration (I will certainly accept such, however), but it is amazing when it happens. There is so much that has happened in the last year-and-change that sometimes I stop and reflect on them and wonder if they’re really happening (case in point: I have been trading gchat messages with one of my favorite authors while writing this blog post).

If I was writing for just me, none of this would see the light of day. I’ll never forget that night, coming home from a job I hated with every fiber of my being, dead tired, stressed out of my mind, and realizing something had to change. I sat down to write and decided that this time, it wasn’t for me, it was for everyone else. I was going to sell it, I was going to be successful at it, and I wasn’t going to do what so many people seem to do as they approach thirty years of age, and give up on their dreams.

So, to you, dear, dear reader- thank you. Thank you for letting me dream. Thank you for flattering me more than an egomaniac like I should be. More than anything, if you enjoy reading these dreams I’ve put to paper, thank you for that.


Musings on ‘Real Jobs’

So, as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I started a new day job recently. It’s… OK, at best, and that is OK, because that’s what I expected. I also got (get) a lot of “at least it’s something” or “hey, it’s a job” from very well-meaning friends. Yes, it is both those things. But why is it so different?

I’m quite sure it’s a refrain that most starving artists have heard- and to a point, it’s true. A steady source of income is a good thing, it keeps food on the table and a roof over it. The thing I don’t say to the people who lend that supposed comfort is that the same week I took this job, I turned down two others, both of which were far more lucrative. One would have driven me completely insane (anyone who was around for this time LAST year will attest to my mental state from THAT job. This was a continuation of it). The other would have required a lot of travel- not something I dislike by any means, but would basically mean I had no set writing schedule. So the job I took won’t make me rich, but it will keep me fed and allow me to focus on writing.

It’s something.

I went and saw Marian Call on Friday, and she was predictably fantastic, but more than her music, it really inspired me to push through some of my own mental blocks. Readings to only a few people, for example. It’s part of the process, and I have to be better about it. I’m adjusting my routine, as I mentioned the other day, to wrap up the three projects I’m working on in a timely fashion. So, yeah. Something.

I want more than something.