my friend, aubrey

22 Jul


This afternoon was the memorial service for my beautiful friend, Aubrey Bean.

Aubrey was my co-worker at KEXP, but it was quite possible that I would never have gotten to know how wonderful she is. We worked in different departments, on opposite sides of the building from each other, and rarely crossed paths. But, during pledge drives, she would come sit in my office to be closer to the DJ booth. And that’s when I totally fell in love with her.

Pledge drives are maddening and stressful, but I came to look forward to them, because of the time I got to spend with Aubrey. Right around 2:00 PM, she’d come by with a sing-song “Hiiii!” and we’d set up her laptop on Kevin’s desk. Sometimes she would bring bread that she had baked to share with me. I remember her showing me her wedding dress online after she had ordered it. We had girly, giggly, wonderful afternoons together (when we weren’t trying to raise money for the station, of course).

I remember sitting near her during a Pledge Drive Creatives meeting, and just being so taken with her loveliness, her long graceful neck, her long fluttery eyelashes. After the meeting, I blurted out, “You’re like a really pretty giraffe!” which was so unprofessional! But thankfully she just laughed.

I was crushed when her health required her to step down from her job at KEXP, but thankfully, we were still able to steal away for some girl-time. We’d get pizza and drink wine during the day, which felt so naughty! When she was able to, she’d come volunteer at the station as my “intern,” but really, I felt guilty asking her to do projects for me, and I just wanted to share an office again.

People tend to mythologize those who pass too young, but in Aubrey’s case, it’s all very true: she was an angel on earth. She was incredibly special. I remember one time, Aubrey, Sharlese, and I were having lunch, and the topic of Aubrey’s mortality came up. Sharlese got sad and said, “Don’t talk like that!” But Aubrey was so accepting and matter-of-fact about it. She was like, “I’ve got stage four cancer, hon. We’ve just gotta appreciate every moment we have together!” (Like that moment.) Aubrey helped me learn to relax and stop worrying, and to just appreciate each day for what it is.

I was on one of my many trips to Portland when Aubrey called to tell me that the cancer had spread to her skin. She asked me to let her co-workers in Development know… but I never did, and I still feel terrible about that. On our last visit together, I confessed, and she playfully chided, “Bad girl!” I replied, “I just never made it to your side of the building!”

The last time I saw Aubrey, I felt immense joy to see her, of course, but I also felt this desperate sadness. I can’t remember exactly what I was babbling tearfully, but it was something along the lines of, “I wanted to bring you croissants! And talk about boys! And gossip!” and Aubrey looked at me with those beautiful eyes of hers and said so sweetly, “I’m not going anywhere.” She passed away that weekend, but it’s true: she’s still here, with me, and with everyone who loved her. I am so grateful to have her in my life and in my heart. I am so lucky. We all are.

Even if you didn’t know her, I encourage everyone to read her blog. It’s so honest and brave and funny and sweet and inspiring — y’know, everything she is. “Was”? Is. I’m sure re-reading it tonight is what inspired me to write in my own neglected blog here. This passage was re-printed in her memorial handout:

And so I’m striving to recognize my own power. My own ability to offer something small and meaningful to others, because that’s all I have left to share. I don’t know what form it will come in. But every day will offer new opportunities, and who knows what ripple-effects that will create in the world around me.


28 Jan

It seems like I only write here when I’m in a bad mood, and, well, tonight is no exception. I’ve been kinda under-the-weather all weekend, but tomorrow, I am committed to getting back to work and interacting with the world again.

five quick nice things:

• I was asked to be a part of Short Run!!! I can’t even express how excited I am about this. So, it sucked being sick, but it also gave me lots of downtime to redesign their website, which has been sooo satisfying! I love building websites. I think it uses a part of my brain that otherwise sits dormant. It’s such a rush when a page looks wonky, but I’m able to look at the code and figure out how to make it look better. I’m certainly no pro at this; it’s just something I really, really enjoy.

• And on that note, I also get to take over a friend’s band’s website soon! I feel very lucky!

• I really like the new Ducktails album, which comes out tomorrow. Ducktails is a solo project of Matt Mondanile, the guitarist from Real Estate, with help from the Slumberland Records band Big Troubles. One of the songs reminds me of Luna, with Matt singing about “making love to his alien wife.” It cracks me up.

• I’ve had some good thrift luck lately, and have been buying the most ridiculous things: a striped knit jumpsuit from the ’70s, some rainbow-stripe high-waisted corduroy flares, and a v-neck sweater with giraffe appliques where one of the giraffes looks like it’s looking at my boobs. Like I said, really ridiculous stuff.

• I can’t think of a number five. Um, the cashier at Trader Joe’s was really nice to me today. There.

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16 Jan

I’m having a completely crappy week.

One of my dearest co-workers, and most beloved people on the planet period, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The chemotherapy has weakened her immune system, and this past weekend, a lousy cold virus landed her in the hospital. It sounds like she’s gonna be released soon, if she didn’t get released today. But I was worried sick about her.


And then on Tuesday, my car broke down. Apparently, the alternator belt broke while I was driving to work, therefore my battery wasn’t getting charged during the day, and thus, the car wouldn’t start when I was trying to leave for a doctor’s appointment. The AAA guy told me this is fairly common, and easy to fix, but it was late in the afternoon, so the mechanic couldn’t get to it that day.

Which means I had to ride the bus home that evening. I’m not a good bus rider. I don’t like it. Plus, since I wasn’t expecting to have to ride a bus, I was wearing these:


Once I arrived at my stop, I still had to walk quite a few miles to get home… uphill. I thought I was going to pass out, and the cold night air was stinging my throat as I hyperventilated. And then I got lost. I was light-headed, discombobulated, and took a wrong turn, and then realized I had no idea where I was. I may have cried.

Okay, as I’m writing this, I realize how pathetic I sound, but hey, that’s why I’m writing it all out. But to try and cheer myself up, I will now attempt…

nice stuff about today:

• When I felt too cruddy to walk to the corner store, my wonderful co-worker Sharlese brought me not one, but two, Diet Cokes. She is the bestest-est-est, and I am so grateful I work with her.

• My job requires me to look up pictures of hedgehogs on the internet.

• My friends released a beautiful new album, and were on Jimmy Fallon last night.

• Even though it sucked to climb hills in them, my shoes are really cute.


14 Jan


concert #1:
jennifer o’connor & chris brokaw
the crocodile, seattle, wa
monday, january 7th

My first show of 2013 was also my first time to see Jennifer O’Connor play ever! And, good grief, it was just awesome. I don’t know how she managed to wake up early, fly cross-country, and still sound so crisp, and lovely, and perfect late that night.

Chris Brokaw opened the show, and he was also awesome. And he mentioned that the first Come album is going to be reissued this year!

chris brokaw

concert #2:
jennifer o’connor, chris brokaw, kimya dawson
timberland library, olympia, wa
tuesday, january 8th

The next day at work, I was kinda tired, but I also had Jennifer’s songs running through my head. As it got closer to quittin’-time, I kept checking a traffic app on my iPhone, thinking, “Should I? Should I?” Yes, I should, and did. I left right after work and headed to Olympia to see Jennifer and Chris play again!

I couldn’t resist the location either: they were scheduled to play at a library! Books and music? How could I not go? I got there a little late, and Chris was already playing, so I quietly stepped to the back, lurking by the “holds” section. Little did I realize, sitting right in front of me was none other than Lois, my hero!

lois and jennifer

Here’s Jennifer, and the back of Lois’ head. By the end of Chris’ set, a leak had started dripping into a bucket, adding a charming Northwesterly percussion to Jennifer’s set.

I was so glad I made the effort to catch both shows, because they were so very different, from song selection to even instrumentation, with Chris playing acoustic instead of electric.

I was sad to leave before Kimya’s set began, but it was getting late, and I knew I had a 60-90 minute drive ahead of me. I’ll see her again sometime soon! Thank you to Jennifer for being so sweet and for playing my request!

Anyway, Jennifer and Chris’ tour continues down the West Coast, and I highly encourage you to catch them! Jennifer has a fear of flying, and it’s been four years since she’s made it over here. Don’t let another four years pass without seeing her — getting to hear her voice in person is the dreamiest.

• Wed Jan 16 Sacramento, CA Naked Coffee
• Thu Jan 17 Anderson, CA Woodside Grill
• Fri Jan 18 Red Bluff, CA Red Bluff Art Gallery
• Sat Jan 19 Eugene, OR Sam Bond’s Garage
• Sun Jan 20 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios

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3 Jan

richard ayoade + noel fielding = happy janice

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a few nice things, and that’s all

2 Jan

My chronic insomnia led me to bad food choices which led me to feeling super-gross this evening. So, just a quick list of nice things from today, and then I’m done.

nice stuff about today:

• My adorable neighbors who all came to my aid when my car door got frozen shut! And then my next-door neighbor stuck around to help me scrape the ice off my windows. I am so lucky to live near such nice people, and I hope I can someday help them the way they’ve all helped me.

• Kelly gave me a heads-up about the Nicole J. Georges signing at Elliott Bay Books later this month! Her Invincible Summer zine is one of my all-time faves, and I cannot wait to get my hands on her new memoir, Calling Dr. Laura!

• Jen sent me a link to this Chi’s Sweet Home desktop background which is just what my KEXP PC needed for the new year!

• Learning at work that the kid who formed the band Vegetarian Meat went on to work at Burger King.

• Finally earning enough Santa Coins to buy Santa’s Little Helper in that horribly-addictive Simpsons iPhone game.

happy new year and stuff:

1 Jan

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to try and write here more often, so here we go:

• Someone on Twitter pointed out that Copacetic, Velocity Girl‘s debut album (and the namesake of my zine), turns 20 this year. To celebrate, I’ll be spotlighting a different song from that album every month, starting with the album’s opening track:

• This evening, I had a weird desire to listen to the 1990 Echo & the Bunnymen album Reverberation, which doesn’t feature Ian McCulloch on vocals. I had the cassette as a pre-teen, and liked it, despite Ian’s absence. Re-listening to it tonight, it’s pretty weird:

nice stuff about today:
• New Year’s Day brunch with Mike at the Wayward Cafe, and being Table #13 on ’13.

• Finding this awesome Solex cover of “The Cutter” when I fell into my Echo-and-the-Bunnymen-YouTube-wormhole.

• The latest comic from Gabrielle Bell.

• Watching Richard Ayoade hosting “Never Mind the Buzzcocks” with Noel Fielding, thanks to Heather!

• Realizing there is something fun happening every weekend this month.

why i funded chickfactor 17

17 Nov

I wish I had written about this soon, because the chickfactor zine kickstarter ends in SIX FREAKIN’ HOURS.

But basically, copacetic zine would not exist if not for chickfactor. The Janice you know today would not exist if not for chickfactor.

I was in high school when I read my first issue of this now-legendary zine. I was living in Texas, and was the only person I knew listening to Heavenly, Small Factory, Unrest, and (hence the name of my own zine) Velocity Girl. Reading chickfactor transported the awkward-teenage-me to the glamorous big city. Gail’s gorgeous photography combined with the conversational-style interviews by her staff made me feel like I was right there with them, sipping cocktails and listening to 7″ records. By my senior year of high school, I had started copacetic, totally chomping on the lowercase title thing.

I can’t even begin to describe what an honor it is to be included in the upcoming 20th anniversary issue of chickfactor. Please consider pre-purchasing an issue today, so we can help Gail hit her goal, and help influence the next generation of pop music lovers. <3

susie ghahremani art show opening this friday!

5 Aug

One of my dearest pals is having an art show in Portland, and I am so excited!

Longtime friends of copacetic will immediately recognize Miss Susie Ghahremani for her Boygirlparty® line of artwork and products that we used to carry at copacetique.

Her solo exhibit “Clear Skies and Cloudy Days: Artwork and Explorations” will be on display at the Land Gallery in Portland, Oregon from August 10-September 2, 2012. There will be an opening reception on Friday, August 10th from 6pm to 9pm, and I can’t wait! See you there!

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10 Jun