Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Zac's a Dad!

Dear Zachary D. Stroud:
You're welcome.
Laura M. Huysman

Travel Short- Sarajevo Taxi

"We are so thankful for you," our acid-washed denim-clad driver, who could not have been more than 18 or 19, gushed to us. At that time, our three faces, dusty from the bus ride from Dubrovnik, represented the US State Department circa 1995. "Bill Clinton, yes! But..."

He trailed off, lost in thought and deeply concerned for his poor country. He wanted to defend it, to share the righteous indignance at what little Bosnia had seen, wanted to express the injustice of the war to this carful of women who had not ever seen or touched real injustice. It's not our fault that we don't know what war really means, who, for all our well-meaning curiosity, could not and most likely would not know what it was like for those four years in the city as it was bombed, what it was like to lose family members and friends, smell the sulfur as a thousand years of literature burned to the ground.

"But why not more?" his flat palms tapped the steering wheel with the restrained frustration of someone trying valiantly to maintain politeness in front of new friends. "Why not sooner? Where were you when the Serbs were-- how do you say it-- firebombing us? and our history?"

A raised pair of shoulders looks remarkably like a passive shrug, but we didn't know what else to say. It was the raised shoulder of solidarity, of wishing that decisions made deep within the state department were not determined by the skin color of the people at hand, or the trade options to consider, but the fact that little kids were dying on the sidewalk somewhere and we had the money to make them stop it. We didn't feel equipped to articulate our thoughts on this to our young driver, who was probably dodging mortar shells while I was searching for conch shells on a Hawaiian beach.
I think one of the most interesting and important aspects of arriving somewhere is to find out where your reality intersects with others, and to keep building on those little points of light until you find some semblance of the truth. But sometimes it's also important just to be quiet.

-July 2007

Friday, September 25, 2009

how to report a dead bird.

If you live in Seattle and there is a dead seagull in front of you, you need to go here:

But before you do, make sure Marlo hasn't already reported the bird you are looking at. She has a new goal to be famous by becoming the city's primary dead-bird-reporter. For some reason, finding this link made my stressful day seem funny.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

i love seattle hip hop, part deux

To round out a great week of live shows, we found ourselves at a biofuel warehouse in Fremont last Thursday to celebrate the launch of Clockwork's new label Designated Hitters. It was a private event meant to get the funds together to rent out 131 (formerly DV8-- someone told me that changing the club's name is a marketing ploy, but I think it's just annoying) to hold a benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters on Halloween!

Shucks. Is there anything better than hanging out with a bunch of tattooed rappers with hearts? It was like being in an episode of that show about how Snoop Dogg is really a family man. Their manager literally cried into the microphone about the power of mentoring while we hung around the back and drank free wine. Cheers! It's for the kids!

A few things about Clockwork:
1. Isaac sounds remarkably like a Bone Thug. This guy is unreal.
2. They released their new video for Hold On which is gor.geous. and shot right here in lovely Georgetown!
3. They are playing with Darwin (of aforementioned Lion King fame) and a bunch of other people at the new Crocodile on Oct. 8. See you there.

In conclusion, here is a cute picture of a kitten.

Monday, September 21, 2009


South America is exactly one month away. Departure feels imminent, but first there are shots. There are visas. There are verbs to remember how to conjugate so we say "catch a bus" instead of "have our way with a bus." There are hippy names to invent for ourselves so we can fit into the place we're living in Buenos Aires (we saw pictures of bongos. People who are not Matthew McConaughey still play the bongos! I'm as shocked as you are!). From now on, please refer to us as "Moon Flower" and "Peace Wart."

Last week, Marlo spent the 8 am hour buying "underwear we can wash in a river that will dry in ten minutes!" and tear-away Adidas track pants. People keep asking us how prep is going-- at this point, six months in South America is looking like a camping trip with Kopachuck Middle School, Class of 1998.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

i like a man who knows his way around a glockenspiel.

You know when your friends tell you they started a band, and you secretly cringe a little because you know you're going to have to listen to them and pretend to like it, and shell out for concerts that are only mildly fun because the hipster scene is about pretending to hate stuff and smoke cigarettes, and rave to your friends later that they're just like the early-years Ramones/DJ AM/GodforbidNickelback/whoever they're trying to imitate, and then have a bunch of their demos lying around your house because you feel guilty throwing them away but can't bring yourself to listen to them?

Yeah, I hate that. But when my friend Mary's brother Michael started a band, I decided to grit my teeth and try to get excited because he's like family, and that's what family does. They deal with things that aren't cool because they love you.

So Sunday night I put on my beer-drinking hat and headed to Nectar to see what the story is with Boomzzilla. As it turns out, they pretty much kick the crap out of the wannabe hip-hop white guy groups (NeighBrohood, not you. Not you. Ok, kind of you. Don't pout!). I loved them-- from their werewolf headgear to the song about getting beaten up by Russian prostitutes in Korea to the fact that two out of their three moms showed up for the set. Michael, I'm so sorry I ever doubted you. I knew all that band geek stuff would lead to great things. Oh, and thanks for wearing pleather. The big-boned Kardashian sister who got naked for PETA is really proud of you.

But wait- two more exciting things happened! 1. Darwin started mixing with the Lion King soundtrack and 2. the lead singer of my favorite band walked in!

I saw Barcelona two years ago when Catie dragged me to Neumo's and immediately fell in love with them when I realized that I had never seen anyone play a glockenspiel with such panache. I saw them woo another couple thousand people at Bumbershoot 2008 and was smitten again. Just some dudes from SPU whose songs are now playing on national television (I can't think of which show used Falling Out of Trees, but I want to say it's something on the WB. Hey, we all have to start getting massively famous somewhere).

As I was trying to convince Brian Fennell to be friends with me, he mentioned that he and the band "have no reason to ever leave Seattle-- it's not like country music where you need to be in Nashville, or acting where you have to be in LA." (But what I heard him say was "HiiiiYA! Take THAT, ignorati who think your major non-Seattle city is the center of the known universe!") Anyway, Absolutes is one of the most genuinely beautiful albums I've ever heard, so I'll share my sister's advice for really good album-listenage and you can tell me how it goes: "Laura, you gotta get by yourself. And you gotta get a glass of red wine. Then you gotta just sit there with the lights off and listen the whole way through. Then you call me."

There we are with our matching Coors Light cans! It's so nice when people keep it real. Aye aye, Brian Fennell. Aye aye, Boomzzilla. Keep it up, you.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

keeping time.

I've never worn a watch, but I used to like keeping track of my comings and goings by the expiration dates on milk cartons. It brought me a secret joy to have something as tangible as the spoiling of food as a marker of my time before the next adventure. Watching the days tick down as the extra sharp cheddar in the fridge door got older, little by little, was like a paper-chain countdown in my head.

The cereal in my cupboard now has dates well into November. I grin a little at breakfast when I remember that by the time this cereal is stale, I will already be 7,000 miles away.

I love the little arcane mental quirks that keep us company when no one is looking...

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Mark told me that in Sierra Leone, when a big rain comes, life freezes. Wherever you are, you stay there.

Meetings can wait.

Meals can wait.

Life can wait.

It's a delayed existence that celebrates the present tense. As Seattle was caught in a deluge of Biblical proportions this morning, I was grateful for the torrential downpours that created Sabbath in the midst of busy-ness.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

special olympics.

I think Facebook invitations have gotten out of hand. I got an invite today to join a group called "Deaflympics." First of all, I'm going to ignore how deeply irritating I find the word "Deaflympics" and move on to the more glaring fact that I don't think deaf people really need their own Olympics. Where do we draw the line with this stuff? Kurt said "I'm sorry, you don't have to hear to be fast," and then got really excited about the idea of someday being able to compete in his own Special Olympics. His hopes were for gold in the:

Kind Heart Olympics
Sarcastic Olympics
Lying about Having a Big Member Olympics

They aren't as catchy as "Siamese Twinlympics" or "Centaurlympics" (both of which I would buy tickets to watch), but it's still the early phases.