Matt Lichtenwalner

Mobile mapper for TomTom - roaming the US and Canada constantly. Maybe a bit of art and/or writing here and there to spice things up.

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So I had a random idea in the wee hours this morning and thought I would jot it down. These are the notes I wrote down to remember the concept. I just thought you guys might enjoy seeing what pops into my brain before I imbibe enough coffee to kill a mortal man.

I'm not sure what I will do with it (if anything) - this probably falls under that heading of 'too many ideas, too little time'. That said, I could see doing this as:

  • Just a collection of sketches / drawings / digital paintings that I expound on in the blog posts I make about them.
  • An illustrated short story. (Note: this seems like a concept I should do. A lot.)
  • If all my other stuff suddenly, magically gets done, a book. When people talk about writing to market, this seems like exactly what they mean - the nexus of the author's interests and what seems to be 'currently hot' in the market. (My understanding is that Post Apoc is hugely popular right now. Kinda the 'zombies' of 2018.)

The genre of 'post apocalyptic fantasy' is probably already a thing (how could it not be?!) but I hadn't ever heard of it. That was a big part of why this concept came spewing out of me so fast - figuring out how to connect the dots was exciting.


  • Our hero is a half orc who lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. (See drawing above.)
  • Mother (human) taught him to avoid humans - explained that they would never leave him alone if they learned of his existence.
  • Hiroshima nukes opened a rift to the Fae Realms. Humans didn't know it. The fae took many years to reveal themselves and when they did, it didn't go well. War ensued.
  • World note: Tech doesn't work (think EMP) - something done by the Fae to counter the nukes. Thus, you know, post apoc.
  • Humans move into our hero's territory - why? (Zombies?)
  • Fae are returning to the world after having fled the war back to their realms of origin - why? Migration because something is happening in their world? (Holy Hell, has this been done to death, but also, it works.) Does this cause them to create zombies to 'clean house' before moving to our world?
8/3 '18 2 Comments
Or they opened a rift to Mordor at the exact moment the Ring was destroyed...
Brian Rapp 8/3 '18

Okay, I have a canine problem.

You all know that I love dogs way more than most humans probably should. It's kinda a thing. And it's fun or even cute most of the time, but...

Well, we've all had that experience where we're traveling and we see someone that we're just sure is Soandso from Suchandsuch. Only it's not. It's just someone who resembles that person. And they look enough like that person that you immediately felt a kind of bond with them (or animosity depending on how you feel about Miss or Mr. Soandso).

Well, I recently saw a tweet by Cherie Priest about an opinion her dog was displaying with their face.

I felt an immediate bond with the dog.

From a tweet.

Because (I eventually realized) it's features are a bit of an amalgam of several dogs I've known and been fond of over the years.

Yeah. I have a problem.

7/30 '18 21 Comments
I am convinced that I have seen every Delaware license plate before. This is funny but it's not a joke. I really do think this. I know it's irrational because I can't have seen all 50.
Thomas Boutell 7/31 '18
What about the black ones?
There are some good results available to round out the collection. (I had no idea that there were 50!)
Dogs are never the problem. Unless you are a hot dog or a cookie.
True statement(s)!
omg. Watching his eyes dart back and forth from side to side while his head remained 'motionless'. Such a good derg!
Wow, I remember Cherie and Aric from... 15(?) years ago. I've missed so much, apparently.
Karen 7/31 '18
In truth, I haven't seen / read anything from her since the LJ days. I think Lindsay and someone else liked the tweet, which apparently was enough to bring it to my feed.

...which is a long way to say "me too".
Yeah, I retweeted the tweet because I follow instructions.

They moved from Chattanooga, TN to Seattle, her books became popular, she was Seattle's reigning Queen of Steampunk (she didn't like that title), then they wanted to buy a house so they moved back to Chattanooga, then things changed with Aric's job again, so now they're back in Seattle.
Heh. Shame. I should have looked them up while I was out there. Not that she would have any idea who _I_ am, but still.
Same. Too far removed, but LJ gave us all that sense of knowing each other, so I miss them but don't really know them. It's such an odd feeling.
Karen 8/2 '18
Right? I feel that a little here on OPW, but it's a significantly smaller crowd. I do have folks who I haven't met IRL here, but LJ seemed to distort things for me. I'm betting some of it had to do with the age I was when I was using it...

Which is to say "Probably wouldn't be as big a deal now since I'm an old bastard."
For what it's worth:
her books became popular enough that she has to protect herself from stalkers. so she is hard to get in touch with. BUT, someone with a name very similar to hers is a Jarnsaxa Rising supporter.
I did see what I thought was her name on the supporter page. (Oh yes, I really did stalk your website when you put it up. It was a fun night.)

I figured she got notoriety and thus less approachable, and I was not close enough to keep up a regular chat relationship with her, so it's nice to hear about them!
Karen 8/2 '18
Here is a story you may appreciate.
When we did the Indiegogo campaign, our original budget was $3K. We needed $70 to hit $1K before the campaign ended, with something like 48 hours to go. Cherie has over 20K Twitter followers. Jill got Rodney Anonymous to tweet about it. I sent Cherie an email asking her to tweet about it. I said it was because we were so close to $1K, I wouldn’t ask her otherwise, etc. I begged in as dignified a manner as I could. By then, I didn’t care about making $3K, but if we made $1K, I could pay each actor $50 (instead of the $200 each that’s the going rate for this kind of work). She said, in a very nice way, “I get asked to tweet about this kind of thing literally all the time, and I have a general policy of saying no, because if you say yes once, you have to say it for everyone, BUT, in your case, it’s a horse of a different color.”
She tweeted in support of the podcast and the campaign
donated the last $70.
Lindsay Harris-Friel 8/3 '18edited
I had no reason to dislike her previously, but she just made beaucoup points in my book.
You are correct, I really appreciated that story. :)
Karen 8/10 '18
Well, once upon a time in a galaxy far, far away (so, like, high school), I had a boyfriend who had a mom who had a cat who looked EXACTLY like Ernest Borgnine, I mean, it's like they were TWINS, and now I can't see Ernest Borgnine (not that I see him all that often, hardly ever, actually) without seeing that cat.
Rachael 8/23 '18
Re: “once upon a time... so, like high school” = you just made big points, for the record.

Re: cat like Ernest Borgnine - I could absolutely see that. :)
Rachael 8/27 '18

Assuming for a minute that you believe it exists, what is your definition of Good?

There are plenty of schools of philosophy that cover this, but that's not really what I'm looking for. I'm looking for a simplified "this is how I see it in daily life" definition. Specifically, how it applies to people. IOW - what does a good person do/think and what does an evil person do/think?

Or if it's easier for you to pin down, perhaps describe your definition of its sibling.

Also, I think two of my goals for this year will be:

1. Be less verbose.

2. Lose 100 lbs.

1/6 '18 5 Comments
Good question. C.S. Lewis describes good-and-evil as something that we all (or at least all but a few) know innately. Even people who do evil things don't generally argue that there's no such thing as evil. They instead make excuses for how their actions aren't evil. The "golden rule" is a pretty good summary. Are you treating other people as you would want to be treated, or are you treating them as means to your own ends without regard for their feelings about it?
Brian Rapp 1/6 '18
A good standard indeed. (No pun intended.)

It's strange though as so many people's opinion on how they would expect to be treated (which is different than 'want', I grant) would vary widely.
I don’t believe in good people and evil people. That locks out complexity. I believe in good and evil actions and motives.

That said, I think good is seeking to avoid harm, and better, repair damage. Evil, I think, is seeking to cause harm, or ignore that which is hurting people/will decline into harm.
Rabbit 1/6 '18
Yeah, that sounds akin to where my head is at. Helping others - being uplifting - that seems key.
A good person thinks of others; thinks of how their own actions fit in the world and seeks to make the world a better place by reducing suffering.

A bad person thinks of themself without regard for the world, seeking only to gain personal advantage.

Have you investigated the writings of Buddhism? Moving past the unprovable bits of spirituality there are some solid bits of philosophy about taking personal responsibility in a world where one is never truly alone, and ones actions always have consequences.
Sean M Puckett 1/6 '18edited

The company car's transmission blew up. Okay, that's an exaggeration, but "it stopped working" isn't very sexy.

The shop says it should be fixed by late Wednesday / early Thursday.

Sucks that I'll be out of work most of the week, but it could be much, much worse.

That brings us to today. I'm actually kinda happy to be vehicle-less. When I'm done with work for the day, or on my days off, I try to leave the car parked and walk everywhere anyway, so this isn't terribly new territory. I try to pick hotels that are within walkable distance of 'stuff' thanks to my 'leave it parked' policy.

Today's walk via Google Maps:

After the park, and before returning to the hotel, I was walking through a residential area. About a block away from me (I was on 76th - a very busy road) I saw a dog running loose through the neighborhood. I stopped and watched him for a few minutes. He seemed very healthy, and I was pretty sure I could see a collar on him. When I saw him trying to (I assumed) re-enter a fenced in yard, I made my decision to try to help him out.

Clearly, he hated me.

He was absolutely charming. Still clearly a pup (though not a baby) he was youthful, but not wild/crazy. Once he'd decided that I wasn't going to hurt him, he cozied up to me and didn't leave my side more than for a second when he got excited.

I made some calls and someone came out to pick him up. Thankfully (?) they explained some bureaucratic bullshit about how I was technically over the county line and he had no jurisdiction and... yadda yadda.

He did do something mildly useful by giving me a leash for the pup which was little more than a rope lasso. He then went back to his truck to get the phone number of the folks I would have to call. They would have been my third shelter (SPCA, the local shelter, and then his recommendation.)

But while he was digging up the number, the owners of the house (that the pup was trying to re-enter) came out and claimed the dog.

I'd only spent between 1/2 hour and an hour with the dog, and I sincerely had a hard time giving him up. Maybe my idea of volunteering at a shelter isn't such a great idea.

Lastly - a quick video. (Sorry for the vertical video - in my defense, I was playing with a derrrrrrrrg.)

ETA: in the video I say “Owasso Texas”  which is something I kept doing over and over again, and I have no idea why. I was actually in Owasso Oklahoma. 

11/27 '17 11 Comments
Because you're the DERG WHISPERER. What a cute derrrrg!
He was SO GUD!
Dying of The Cute.
Anne Mollo 11/28 '17
Right? He was really adorable.
Did you ever find out what his name was?
Sweet adventure!
Thomas Boutell 11/28 '17
It was indeed. Need more of those.
DEEEERRRRRGGGGGG!!!! *explodey heart*
Jenn A 11/29 '17
Exactly right. :)

Of course, it's also probable that my being super crazy UNproductive makes the contrast that much clearer.

That wasn't meant as a put down. At least not one aimed at all of you.

On the plus side, your posts about writing and productivity are very motivating. I need to be making more. I need to be completing more.

At the end of the day, I think that's the biggest problem for me. I finish so very few of my projects. I pick nits endlessly, lose my motivation somewhere along the way because I've grown bored with the project in question (and because I have ideas for three new projects), and then I drop it in favor of the project du jour.

It's a bad cycle, and I do it ALL the time.

The only reason that I'm still clinging to my book idea with bloody fingertips is because I've got so much invested in the character over so many years.

Frustration point: I know what the solution is. I've heard it countless times on countless podcasts about writing: Just make slow and steady progress to spit out that first version of the book. If that's one sentence a day, that's fine. It's progress, and it's measurable. And you need to know, in advance, that it's going to suck. Writing is REwriting and all that.

What's more, I've learned that I actually enjoy revising old writing. I never finished my one attempt at NaNoWriMo, but I find myself dropping into the book and editing a chapter here and there occasionally. For no real reason - it's not like I'm planning to ever let it see the light of day.

And Inktober? Yeah, I'm way behind there too.

I have no excuse. All of you have WAY more going on in your lives and you're making progress while I do the equivalent of clicking through cable channels.

Okay, that's enough self flagellation. It doesn't accomplish much. I have to get to work while there's still daylight, but tonight, I need to get some work done.

10/16 '17 4 Comments
I dare you to draw a bunch of fat naked middle aged ladies frolicking on a beach.

Starting with lots of circles.

Heh. I could do that. In fact, I just might. I think that I just decided (just prior to opening my browser and reading your response) that I'm going to do a bunch of 1/2 hour or 15 minute limited images. That should help me catch up since I'm so far behind.

Probably my favorite one so far this year. It started when I was thinking about the cliche' image of the masculine hero carrying the Damsel in Distress. I was thinking specifically about how over done it is. Then I thought about reversing the roles.

I started roughing in the forms, and the idea that the male would be Patch (who, if I'm honest, is about as cliche as that original image idea) struck me as a good idea.

So who would the heroine be? Perhaps a valkyrie or angel? I dunno. I was focussed on the forms, and when I realized I was smudging the pencil a lot, I decided to erase the wings. I thought it might be neat to create something by its absence.

In case you're interested, I'm posting all of my Inktober sketches over on my Instagram - even the ones that I'm not a fan of...

10/5 '17

I'm doing Inktober again this year. Planning to do NaNoWriMo too. I've never finished either. Let's hope this is the year for both.

Here's the tl;dr rules for Inktober:

1) Make a drawing in ink (you can do a pencil under-drawing if you want).
2) Post it online
3) Hashtag it with #inktober and #inktober2017
4) Repeat

Honestly, I'm not off to a great start for Inktober. I bought a new Moleskine 'sketchbook' (Cahiers series 'Plain Journals'). I selected this one because it has 45 pages. I wanted a stand alone book for just Inktober 2017.

The pages are pretty thin to the point of near transparency. The pen I grabbed to do initial sketchwork with on this one is a standard ballpoint pen I garnered from one of my hotel stays. While I want that - to keep things simple and not worry about 'fancy equipment' - the ink really bled into other areas when I used my Prismacolor markers to throw in some tones.

Anyway. Not awesome, but Day 1 is in the can. Yay?

Subject matter is one that's been on my mind quite a bit for a while. Young Patch from the (theoretically) forthcoming book.

I'll also likely give myself a time limit every day like I did today. ~30 minutes from soup to nuts. It makes me dislike the results a bit, but it forces me to put things down and move on. In the bigger picture, that's better. Like writing the first draft and revising later. If I don't get that first draft done because I'm picking nits...

In unrelated news (and primarilly for my tech folks), I'm using Synergy to bounce between three separate work computers with a single keyboard and mouse. Have any of you used recent versions? I'm getting some lag pretty regularly and it's quite frustrating. I've tried stopping/restarting services and I've checked and rechecked settings. I have yet to uninstall / reinstall, but I just figured I would be lazy and ask if any of you have tried it and run into the same thing or not.

10/1 '17

Just a quick note to help me remember my dreams from last night. I'm back to not remembering them most of the time, and I want to start recalling them. Time to start writing them down again.

In the first portion of my dreams from last night that I recall, I was at a very large party filled with people. The setting was some large space - like a gymnasium or something similar. Very tall as well as wide.

The party was a sort of double masquerade. Everyone was role playing as a Batman villain, but the idea was not to be overt about it. Not to wear their costume outright. Then, through how they acted/talked, you tried to figure out who they were.

Except I was Batman. I remember feeling VERY tall as I walked around the room. I was talking to people in a very 'Bruce' fashion. Curt, polite, but no frivolity. It was confusing the hell out of people.

It just goes to show the weirdness of dreams. If Batman was an option? Pretty sure I wouldn't be the only person playing him.

As the dream went on, I found things getting a bit more 'real'. Which is to say that people were sorta taking on their roles more realistically. Less a masquerade. They weren't the characters they were playing, but instead simply behaved more like them and it was less 'acting'.

I found myself talking to Jerry Springer. Yup. Jerry Springer.

Pretty sure I've never watched a full episode of his show, but somehow he gets a guest spot in this awesome dream.

Anyway, Jerry was stuck up on this tiny stand. It was enough to stand on, but not much more. Maybe 3'x2'. He was crouched and his fingers were wrapped around the edges of the platform in the way that they would be if he was holding it to the bottom of his feet. I have no idea how/why he was stuck this way, but he was.

Someone tried to lower the platform, which would have pinched/severed Jerry's fingers, so I moved beneith it and held it up with my shoulder. I wasn't Batman anymore - just me - a decent human being. The unknown villain kept trying. They were trying to hurt Jerry - it wasn't any kind of an accident.

When they grew frustrated because I wouldn't let the platform come down on his fingers, they reversed the direction, and sent the platform up into the air. I, of course, wrapped my arms around the platform in an attempt to hold the platform down.

It didn't work, and Jerry and I lifted really high into the air. As some of you may know, I have a terrible fear of manmade heights, and I was hanging on with just my arms, which were growing terribly tired. It was really terrifying.

We were eventually lowered again, when our assailant grew tired of us not falling/dying/screaming/whatever.

I immediately launched myself at them. They danced away from the controls to the platform and played innocent.

While I was confronting them, someone else went over near the platform and smashed my Wacom or iPad (not sure which it was - in the dream it was my 'digital tablet') in an effort to hurt me for interfering. It worked. With all the artwork and effort I've put into these devices, I was was really upset as I tried to play it off as 'no big deal' and cleaned up the shards of the device.

And that's about where it ended.

Weird dreams ftw.

7/18 '17 7 Comments
Dude, I want your dream life.
Thomas Boutell 7/18 '17
Right? It was pretty solidly stressful (I couldn't seem to 'gain traction' fighting the folks who were trying to Do Wrong.) but at least it was really damn interesting.
I want Matt's dream life too.
Would have been better if I had been able to get a leg up on those attacking, but I'm not going to lie - I remember feeling like a complete badass for just accomplishing what I did.
I can't wait to read what the Dream Analyzer People of OPW have to say about this.

I'm sorry people were being mean to you, even if it was just a dream. That's not gud.
I dunno. In last night's dream it was me who did a *really terrible holy shit* thing. That wigs me out way more than people being mean to me in a dream.
Thomas Boutell 7/18 '17
So, here's my armchair analysis.

You're aware that everyone casts themselves as the hero in their own story, even when they're supposed to be casual about the whole thing. You're aware that you do it too. You feel like you get called into service to help others, and you're willing to do it. Unfortunately, the reward doesn't match the risk you take, and sometimes it comes back to bite you in the ass when others don't respect your values (as evidenced by the broken tablet), But you play it off like it's no big deal because you want to be the good guy, even if it's an infringement on your needs and values.


Attractive woman about my age and covered in tattoos smacks on my window a couple of times and is shouting something. (I'm parked at a gas station after a bathroom break.)

The following probably all happened in less than 10 seconds time:
1. Woman tells me - "Help! My Mother is choking"
2. I note the very large woman choking and leaning into her open shotgun door to the SUV next to me. I know I already mentioned it, but I'm going to again - she is VERY large.
3. I note the motley assortment of folks in the group - a wide range of folks (3 or more) with different styles and appearances. And none of them are doing anything to help.
4. I immediately suspect I'm about to be mugged.
5. I back myself into the jam of my car door to provide myself some cover and scan the area.
6. When none of their body languages change (and I've scanned behind and around me and there is no one else in immediate activity distance) I check back on the large woman.
7. I'm immediately relieved on almost all levels when she chokes out something to the effect of "I got it... all out..."
8. I wait and watch.

Once the woman recovers a bit, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief, we all start doing that nervous chatter thing people do when something like this winds up a bunch of strangers.

The daughter explains that she doesn't know the Heimlich.

The poor choking woman is embarrassed as hell.

Everyone piles back into the SUV and they leave.

My take away? Jesus, I'm fucking paranoid.

(X-posted to Facebook, but wanted this here for my own record.)

7/6 '17 4 Comments
You did the right thing. I'd be shocked if someone is gonna choose a 6'3" guy to jump, but you do have a fancy vehicle.

Very happy it worked out and everyone's OK!
And I was seated inside the vehicle, so my size wouldn't have played a part.

But yeah. In the end, I guess it's not a bad thing that I was cautious. Just feels a little goofy looking back on it. Like overkill.
Sometimes you have a chance to trust the moment and save the day. Sometimes not so much. The former totally makes up for the latter.
You speak the Truth sir. Well said.

*The Fourth

Had a great Fourth of July. I'm staying with some life long friends in Olympia, WA. Helped Margaret build a trellace structure out in front of the house. We got the hard part done, and I'll come back for another visit to finish the cross pieces. Felt like a solid victory, and they're delighted. Check that box for "I kicked ass today."

Their kid continues to be about as adorable as they come, and she loves her Uncle Matt. It's pretty fantastic. We've reached that state where her parents can ask her to do something, she'll say no (she's 3) and I'll say "Well, _I'm_ going to do [the thing the parents are asking her to do]..." and she will suddenly change her mind and proclaim that SHE is going to do [the thing that the parents want her to do]. Hey - I'm using my powers for Good. So far.

We grilled out - corn on the cob and veggie burger patties. Maybe my first time doing something like that for the 4th, and it was just fine by me.

Now I'm sitting and writing this while sipping some Jack Daniel's. There's a beautiful pup next to me. She's wearing her thunder shirt, and her doggy Xanax has worn off (she's a bit of an extreme case of high anxiety). She pressed herself up against me once the fireworks started, and any time I get up to drink, pee, or whatever, she's right at my side. Poor thing. She seems to be a micro dot more relaxed beside me, but I wish I could do something more for her.

* Work

I'm supposed to be finding a place to live. For $1500. For 3-6 months. In Seattle. With 30mb UPstream internet access.

I feel like this isn't very realistic. I'm looking into AirBnBs. I'm cautiously optimistic that I'll find someone I can convince to work with me since I will be there for a _long_ stay by hotel standards. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. This won't be easy.

* Break

So I'm going on break next week (starting July 11th). I'm not sure yet if I'm headed to Maine (to visit my Grandfather) or 'home'. I'll keep you guys posted. I'm actually looking forward to the break. I _love_ it out here, but I miss my people too.

If you're reading this, and you have some event planned that you think I might be into that week, please let me know!

* Relics

Remember Relics? Well, my partner and I reinvested ourselves on Monday. I'm _really_ excited about it. We're having bi weekly meetings to review our progress. Which means there will either be progress or there will be awkwardness. I'm looking forward to the progress. I've been kicking ass on the art side of things, and I just saw tonight that he's done a bunch of works on the last faction for the initial trio of factions. We're getting close to something I can pass around to the beta testers. I can't tell you how happy that makes me. We just figured it out - it's been over 4 years since we started.

Please let me know if you're interested in being a beta tester. The game will be  given out as a free downloadable PDF for printing on print at home business cards for this first version. Based on responses and feedback, we're hoping to move on to a Kickstarter to get a full color larger card version printed professionally. But that's down the road. One of the focal points for this first meeting was MVP - Minimal Viable Product. Or, said another way: Keep It Simple Stupid. I've been a part of too many projects where people got really excited, then there was scope creap, and then things fell apart because everyone was daydreaming about "one day..." First step first.

My biggest problem is that I've improved dramatically in an artistic sense over the past 4 years. That doesn't SOUND like it should be a problem, but it is. I look at the original artwork for the first faction (Goblins) and I kinda feel sick. I do NOT want that being presented to the world as an example of my artistic skills. But I'm going to. Reworking all of the art would take way too long. I may touch up some stuff, but the idea here is MVP. As I said to Chad - "Until other people start playing - even just beta testers - this is just you and I talking. It's not a 'real thing in the world'."

So yeah. Most of what's there will have to stay there. For now.

Okay, I should probably get to bed. It's nearly midnight and while I love my friends' daughter, I'm pretty sure I recognize the tickle in the back of my throat because she's come down with something while I'm here. *grumblebitchmoan*

ETA: Can't believe I forgot to mention this, but I got a chance to hang out / catch up with J Riley! He came to town, and we grabbed breakfast at one of my favorite haunts (Hart's Mesa). We talked about his #vanlife adventures and his project. He's traveling the US for a number of reasons, but chief among them is a desire to understand other people who think differently than he does. How can you not love somebody with a head on their shoulders like that?!

He's doing a project as well which I found rather interesting: both in a notebook and on video, he asks people to 1. Ask a question of the next person he encounters / asks to take part in the project and 2. Answer the question from the previous person. I sorta love that he removed himself from the experiment (aside from his role as facilitator).

The young lady who was in the spot before me is a life coach, and her question was what I would have a life coach ask if I was drawing one in a comic book. Something like "What is your Perfect Life? What would you have to do or achieve in order to live that life?"

I responded in a way that I thought was appropriate - something about not wanting to have kids, so I want to leave some form of art or literature behind that future generations can enjoy.

I asked "Aside from child birth, what's your greatest accomplishment in life?" I put in the 'aside from child birth because it's too much of a default for anyone with kids. The project seemed like it warranted more thought from respondents than that.

You have much to be proud of this day!

How close to Literal Seattle does this place have to be?
That's a bit 'up for debate'. The theory is '45 minutes from city center'. Which, on a bad day in Seattle seems like it could be 4 blocks. I'm thinking that I might stretch it a bit and try for Tacoma (some of my friends are in Seattle (E) and some are in Olympia (Margaret and Krishna) so it seems kinda perfect.
45 minutes from city center? Yeah, they are totally high.

What is the reason for that anyway? In-person meetings?
You should be able to get a reasonable studio or small 1-br within 45 min of downtown (we don't say "city center" here) for $1500 or less. The data thing might be a slightly tougher nut to make but probably not impossible.

Tacoma is 45 min from downtown if you're driving at 3 AM. More like 90+ on a normal weekday.

For the 3-6 month thing, your only option is going to be extended stay places or taking over a lease from someone who's moving. Or a shared house type of thing.

Oh hey - I just realized - I have a friend who's looking to sublet her room in a shared house for a month in August. If that's helpful. Nice housemates. They'd only want someone queer, trans, and poly positive. (They're not a sex cult...really.) anyway - lmk if you're interested.

Anyway. Good luck. I think there are options.

CM Adams 7/5 '17edited
Yeah. I found places on Zillo and the like in that range. Problem is that it doesn't include utilities, and often doesn't include parking. Parking isn't necessarily a deal breaker, except for maybe in the heart of downtown. Worse, some places have parking garages - which I most likely can't use. Or at least, without a 15-20 minute process to lower the camera mast every night. Presumably on a busy street curb.

I'm looking into Air BnB hosted spots. I've found some in the $60/day ($1800/mo.) range with a discount for 'longer stays'. I'm hoping that I can get someone to agree to a $40/day(ish) ($1200/mo.) price with me being there for 'so long' with the 3-6 months. That way the remaining $300 will go to cover the taxes etc. that come with each stay. It seems difficult, but not impossible.

The network speed may still be a problem.

There also may be legal issues with extended stays of that length where the Air BnB host would be considered a landlord instead of a hotelier. I don't know about these things, and I'm hoping it won't be an issue, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. I have more immediate concerns...
Oh, and yeah - I'm starting to think that Northern Tacoma would be a good idea. K told me that there are 3 pinch points when it comes to traffic between Olympia and Seattle, and being at the top end of Tacoma would get me past 2 of the 3.
Well, most (read as: nearly all) the details are not forthcoming. Errr... that's being too gentle. It doesn't feel like I can drag any information at all out of anyone. Yeah. That feels a bit more on the nose.

Why near 'downtown'? (Thanks Adams - I feel like a local already. ;) ) I suspect that was decided early on, and for reasons which may or may not be valid when we actually 'go live'. Without going into the weeds (partly because I don't know how much I'm allowed to talk about) things are very much in flux - and not just with my team. That means that the demands on us are not fully understood, and (I suspect) the management wants us near a downtown for access to high speed networks. I also think that my immediate management is getting told A one day and B the very next then C the third day, wash, wince, repeat.
I'm so happy you got to see James! Did he tell you where he's blogging/posting his writings? I've been looking and can't find them, but I desperately want to keep up to date! (Now even more so.)
I asked, but he kinda... isn't. He expressed his regret that he just doesn't seem to have the gene that is required to have a desire to photo/ blog / post about his travels.

I think that he is hoping his question/answer project will take the place of that.

I don't know if it had any impact or not, but I explained why I wish I had written a good deal more about my motorcycle tour in 2002. He clearly understood, but I didn't get a "Holy crap - that makes sense! I'll start TODAY!" vibe from him. Part of me is okay with that because individuality is something I've always appreciated about both of the brothers Riley.
Tired... want to respond more thoroughly later. But, if you come here (and I selfishly hope you do) let's please 🥓 and 🥃?
Leela 7/5 '17
Absolutely! (Though I can't tell what those emoticons are.)
They're bacon and scotch emojis, lol
Leela 7/6 '17
I kinda love how you said "absolutely" without even knowing what I want <3
Leela 7/6 '17