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I'll probably type up a longer blog post when I'm more coherent. (Today was a zombie-brain day.) For now, here's a stunning picture Keffy took of the Pacific Ocean (note the tiny Californian island) on the flight home.

From 2011-10-30
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Having burned much carbon in the name of individual growth, I am pooped. Possibly the fact that I seem to have lost my ORCA pass is adding to my exhaustion. Bleh. [EDIT I didn't lose my pass! I found it stuffed in my bra, where I'd shoved it for easy access before getting on the bus. This is how tired I am.]
But aside from that, my weekend was awesome.
The main impetus for going was to take part in my Aunt C's 50th Jubilee, (the anniversary of her entering her holy order) and I would have gone regardless of my desire for a road trip. Aunt C is particularly special to me, being the closest to me both physically (everyone else is in California) and in personality. She has always been an inspiration, as well as a spiritual and psychological support. Seeing everyone heap praise and appreciation on her was a joy. :-) For gifts, the other sisters all gave my aunt stamps and thank you notecards. (Or Barnes and Noble gift cards.) She got one lovely blank greeting card with a message written inside on a post-it note, so she could reuse the card. :-)
I loved hanging out with her and Aunt L while she opened her cards and gifts. (She got at least fifty. "You have to count them!" said Aunt L, who is a retired teacher, "Just like with Valentines, so you know if everyone in the class got you one!")

Second big motivation for this weekend was my need to be a grown up and start to drive. So I rented a car and drove, all by myself, which I've never actually done. They gave me a silver Mazda 6, which was a snazzy-looking car on the outside, and had an awesome sound system with a 6 disc player, however, it's not a car I'd buy. For one thing, I COULDN'T SEE THE #%@$%#!! SPEEDOMETER PAST THE #%@$%#!! STEERING WHEEL!! I didn't notice this until I got on the freeway and actually needed numbers higher than 40. I soon left the freeway to adjust the wheel, but even then, everything past 80 was hidden. WTF, Mazda? Not to mention that the slightest hill took forever to go up. I wouldn't mind a car with the Mazda's inside and the driving capabilities of my dad's Scion. Dad's car has the most awesome, smooth brakes. I got spoiled, learning on them.
It also had this semi-automatic transmission they didn't tell me about. It shifts itself down, but you have to shift it up. So when I got on the road and sped up, I was all, "What the hell is wrong with this car that it sounds like it's in first gear?" But soon I figured it out and after that, I liked the weird transmission.

I went to the Mima Mounds, which would have been much more relaxing if not for the constant gunfire from a nearby sportsman club.
Coming back, I took a more roundabout way, going up some back roads and minor highways, which really is my favorite kind of driving. No time for Mt St Helens, but I'm sure there will be plenty more weekend trips in my future.

Overall, I feel I've sufficiently proved my driving abilities to myself. I encountered most every kind of road and traffic on this trip, from freeway to dirt to one-lane, from stop and go to wide open. I look forward to having my license for a year, so I can sign up for Zip Car.

Soooo tired...
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Today was sort of Not A Con Day. I mean, I went to a reading, but that was it as far as things on the schedule go. I went on the Stroll With The Stars (okay, that was on the schedule too, I guess) in the morning, which between the heat and socializing with strangers, wore me out more than I expected. After a quick rest in the room, I descended to stand around talking to people, and then headed out to Virginia City with a bunch of friends. I figure, hey this is a long convention, and I'm not going to get many touristy opportunities.

Many lovely views were seen, and roadside stops made. The town itself was picturesque and (thanks to it being the middle of the week :D ) Not too crowded. We went on a tour of an old mine, saw the museum full of old guns and card cheating doodads. Lots of fun. I passed a rock shop, but after a quick glance, didn't think they'd have anything I could afford, moved on. However, one of our party informed me that she got a five dollar trilobite there, and I was back in a flash. I got a trilobite, ammonite, turtle coprolite (fossilized poop), but of opal, and a baggy of fossil shark teeth.

Now I'm relaxing and chugging snacks and water to overcome car sickness. :-( I think I'll go find some cheap dinner somewhere by myself, and then get ready for the Tor party. I'm pondering dressing up in the Sparkle Zebra dress for the party, but I'm pretty sure I'll be overdressed. Probably shouldn't let that stop me, though.
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I made it to Reno!
I was prepared for the worst on our road trip to Reno. The departure time shifted back and forth, until finally it settled upon 1:30am. Tuesday evening I trekked over to [livejournal.com profile] kehrli's place, where I slept for a couple hours on the floor until [livejournal.com profile] plunderpuss and[livejournal.com profile] spencimusprime arrived from Bellingham with the van.
For the most part, the trip went without a hitch. Spencer and I slept as best we could in the back while Keffy guzzled energy drinks, listened to music, and conversed with San to stay awake. Once dawn hit, he was wide, wide awake and insisted on not sharing driving duties. He never once seemed to tire or get stressed out, so go Keffy! (He also wanted to be able to brag about doing it. Keffy, you have earned bragging rights.)

Google suggested two routes to us, and we chose the route that was less familiar, via Klamath Falls. This took us down windy roads in the mountains, some of which were scenic and spectacular, others of which were scenic if monotonous.
It took us longer than expected (15 hours for me and Keffy, 16.5 for Spencer and San) but was fun. I was mildly brain dead, but not too badly.
I had dinner with friends at the Island Buffet at the Peppermill. The food was amazing, and if you ate enough, really cheap. The restaurant itself is tropical themed, and had occasional "thunderstorms" with rain pouring down behind the fake animatronic trees that waved in a "wind" and "lightning" that flashed.
Then it was on to the tor.com meetup, where I met old friends and made new ones. Despite not having much sleep, I was only slightly brain dead.
And now I'm ensconced in my room at the Atlantis, pondering going for a walk. Getting back and forth between the Atlantis/Convention Center, and the Peppermill Hotel, where many of my friends are, is going to be annoying. There's a shuttle, but it's not terribly regular, and the other option is a mile long walk, which I theoretically don't mind, but only if I don't have to do it all the time. :-S

Orycon

Nov. 15th, 2010 06:00 pm
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Orycon was this past weekend, and pretty fun. Extra fun, actually, since this was a road trip involving myself, [livejournal.com profile] plunderpuss, [livejournal.com profile] kehrli and [livejournal.com profile] awriter.

After the con, we went to the Downtown Powells, since Audrey and Keffy had never been. Camille Alexa suggested we take the free train to downtown, which was a great idea. It probably took longer, but was way less stress. Of course, when we got back to the car, we discovered that someone had siphoned Keffy's gas tank. He wouldn't have noticed if the gas light hadn't gone off just as we left the garage!

Also on the way home, we stopped at Spiffy's restaurant in Mossyrock on a whim. It's full of kitsch and happy instrumental versions of Moon River and Sentimental Journey. It also had lots and lots of Bible quotes and books about hell for sale. It had a strange effect on all of us, since the atmosphere should have bugged the hell out of us, but didn't. This led us to discuss which one of us had been kidnapped and replaced with a Pod Person. It could be San, who'd gone to the bathroom, or Audrey, who had to run into the back to regain her composure after stabbing herself in the soft palate with an onion ring.

Oh, and we saw a Delorean! (License plate: OUTATYM) Rather than getting off the freeway to get coffee, Keffy insisted on following the thing until it made its inevitable escape off I-5 towards Bellevue and the land of rich Delorean owners.
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Okay, so I didn't actually take a lot of pictures of the workshop proper. I did, however, get a lot of shots of the local landscape and wildlife--both Martha's Vineyard and Boston.

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Today was the last day, and now I am a guest and tourist.

I spent the afternoon wandering downtown Boston, getting only a little lost. I watched some amazing street dancers/acrobats, as well as some kind of go-cart Grand Prix. I wandered picturesque streets on Beacon Hill, and observed the tamest squirrels ever in Boston Commons. I had good pizza and mediocre scones. Boston seems like a great city. I'm sad I don't have the time and money to properly explore it.

And now I'm staying with [livejournal.com profile] spencimusprime at his uncle's place about an hour out of Boston. I'm grateful both for the hospitality (I'd be in a hostel dorm room, otherwise) as well as the chance to see more of Massachusetts.

I've just been invited to join them for wine and guacamole (and presumably, other things, unless Yankees are even weirder than Cascadians) so I'm off for now.
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Just got off the train from Oregon. There was much traveling today. Driving, walking, bussing, driving, training, bussing and just a little more walking. There were also visits with [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch, whose gorgeous house I've agreed to housesit for two weeks. So now my near future schedule looks like this:

Now through Friday: Job hunt in Bellingham.

Saturday: chill and possibly cross off some of my "stuff I've always meant to do in Bellingham" list. Probably this means walking down to Happy Valley to visit the Donovan Erratic. Yes, I'll walk across town to look at an interesting rock. It's from Jackass Mountain!

Sunday: go to parents house

8/23-8/24: backpacking with Dad and friends.

8/25: Go to Portland to take up housesitting and orchid-watering duties.

9/9: End housesitting duties.

9/11: Dad's birthday party, also in Portland. Hopefully come back north with parents...

And then I'll start my job-hunting tour of Puget Sound. I was a little torn when [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch extended her invitation, because it took place when I was hoping to be couch-surfing. But I'd be stupid to turn down a chance to live my near-ideal--all alone in a big fancy house surrounded by books. Maybe this means I'm more likely to get a job in and move to Portland, I don't know.

(And sheesh, how many of my writer friends who I'd want to hang out with in Portland are going to be off at Worldcon? :-P )
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I'm in between visits and vacations. When I got to Whistler, I realized that the day we were supposed to check out is the day I promised to be in Portland. So yesterday I loaded myself onto a bus and headed for the border. I prepared for the worst, but crossing with an expired passport wasn't a problem. One guy asked me what happened to my passport, and said nothing else after I told him I didn't have the time to get a new one. The next guy didn't say anything at all.

The kids on the train...that's another story. There were five little boys in my car, from I think three different families. Four of them merged into a mega-clump playing with a DS. I was happy they'd made new friends, and they weren't too rowdy, but they were still moving and talking and being noticible to my poor stressed-out self. The fifth child, however, is clearly where people got the idea that exorcisms are a good idea. He was maybe two years old, and did not stop stop screaming and/or whining for literally an hour straight. I finally fled to the dining car (where I was briefly followed, as the mom finally decided it might be a good idea to do something to placate her child, and was walking up and down the train with him.)

This morning, I ride to Portland in Business Class, because everything else was sold out. This doesn't bug me too much, since I'm cashing in Guest Rewards Points. I've taken Business Class before, and it's not particularly special. THe seats are like an inch bigger, you get a free drink ticket*, and the staff is more obsequious. Crossing the border, I can see it might be nice, though, since you go through Customs first.

*Oh yeah, the kids in front of me were taking their first train ride. When the conductor found out, he gave them free drink tickets. Amtrak has some pretty awesome conductors.
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On the way to Whistler today, we were at a McDonalds with a tv showing the news, and there were captions scrolling by. It was talking about a car accident, and a a doctor who was walking by who helped out. But because it was broken into lines, it just said:

DOCTOR WHO WAS WALKING BY



PS got into Canada with my expired passport. Yay! Not looking forward to being harassed on the way back, but whatever. I'm on vacation with my parents.
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Just got home from Writers Weekend at the beach. We decided to take the scenic route and went up Hood Canal, planning on taking the Port Townsend ferry. However, we switched to the Kingston ferry to save time, which turned out to be a good thing. The Hood Canal Bridge was open (and by open I mean, closed.) and the Kingston ferry had a posted two hour wait (but we only had an hour and a half! And there was ice cream with [livejournal.com profile] quantumage! And a guy saying fuck a lot as he walked by on his cell phone!) But when we called to check out the Port Townsend wait, they were sold out for the rest of the day, so lucky call on that.
And hey, if we'd gone to Port Townsend, we wouldn't have seen that hooker get into two rich old guys' Mercedes at the Edmonds ferry terminal.

Soon, there shall be pictures. (Not of the hooker, though. My camera batteries were dead.)

PS Shelton sucks. They have a bunch of meth heads loitering in the Safeway parking lot, and even though they have the gothiest playground ever, they don't allow dogs in the park. So screw them.
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I have successfully arrived in San Francisco. While in the airport, twitter alerted me that Mark Teppo (whom I've met a couple times, but only sorta know) was also stuck there waiting to go to SF. Not having anything to do for the hour my plane was delayed, I set off to find him. I thought I saw him sitting at the gate beside mine (which was, btw, clogged with Texans waiting for their own delayed flight) but I was too shy to go up to him. Turns out this was for the best, because it wasn't him. He was on the flight they let me get on (earlier for me, two hour delay for him!) I didn't notice this until we were in the air and I saw a guy several rows in front of me who kind of looked like him from behind. If not for Twitter, I suppose I would have been waiting at the curb for my ride and turned and gone , "Hey, I know that guy!"
Anyway, he's in town for this promoting his new project, The Mongoliad, which is a collaborative story via iPhone app by him and Neal Stephenson and Greg Bear and a bunch of others which sounds totally awesome.

I was a little sad [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch and I weren't able to make it (I'm a big fan of Mark, and she of Neal) but we made up for it by consuming lots of wine and rich Italian food.

And now I'm probably going to bed early, because we're getting up early, and if it's not raining, going for a walk. (I haven't spent much time in San Francisco, certainly not the non-downtown part. I love the huge towering hills! I love having tall green things around me.) And then, on to the Uhaul!

Garrr!!!

Nov. 7th, 2009 12:56 pm
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The train I wanted to take for Thanksgiving/Orycon is sold out. ~>:(
If I'd just bought the ticket instead of contacting my dad about it first, I'd be fine. Instead, I'm stuck on the bus.
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So like an hour before I leave for World Fantasy, I discover I've lost my debit card. Between my cash, checkbook and the goodwill of my friends, I should be okay.(I've still got my ID) I'm just annoyed at myself for losing it. It's probably somewhere stupid. (Yes, I cancelled it, just in case.)
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Just got back from a day trip to Seattle. There was much hanging with Miki and other awesomeness.
The instigating event, of course, was the Grants Pass anthology book launch. We got to witness [livejournal.com profile] calendula_witch's first ever public reading, and heard some awesome stories read.
Then, just as we were about to leave, who should Sän and I see but our old friend, [livejournal.com profile] captainzap, who I seriously hope gets more involved in the local sf scene. He's one of the people I miss from college. Those were great times for me.
Networking is so much easier when other people initiate the conversation. I wore one of my tiaras, and much as I expected, got a lot of comments on it, and regretted not having business cards. But I totally don't even have a business license or Etsy shop or even crowns I can be proud to sell. Nevertheless, I met some awesome, helpful people who helped me troubleshoot and even hooked me up with a potential market. I totally went into that hippie bookstore and pimped myself.
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The trip back was a pleasant one. After taking the Greyhound from Whistler to Vancouver, I had several hours to kill. So I went to Science World and stared at the musical kinetic sculpture for forever (I love that thing) and then caught an Omnimax showing about the Mars Rovers. (I love those even more.)
Because they herd us onto the train early, so immigration can have plenty of time to grill us, I got to sit on the comfy train and write. Got a fair amount done, too.
A short distance out of the station, an Italian woman behind me realized she'd lost her passport back at the station. Clearly, they'd let her on the train, so it must be somewhere between there and here. The conductor got on the phone and talked to ten zillion people on this poor woman's behalf. Turns out it fell out of her bag in the x-ray machine. The woman needed her passport the next evening, when she was flying across the country. The conductor was tireless in his efforts to figure out what the hell to do, and fortunately, Homeland Security cooperated and let her in the country. Theoretically, she'll pick it up from a bus this afternoon. I love my local Amtrak and its crew*, and I love seeing my love validated. That was one patient, hard-working conductor.

*Even if I wish there were more trains, grumble, grumble, but that's not their fault.
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I did a lot of walking today. A LOT OF WALKING! Not only on nice flat paved surfaces, but up on incredibly steep dusty surfaces, and down on incredibly steep and narrow and rocky surfaces. After my morning walk, my dad wanted to go on the Highnotes Trail, which, he warned, is a really hard hike.

After taking the gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge up on Whistler, we took the chair to the very tippy top of the mountain, where I'd never been. Now, it was cloudy and foggy and impossible to see the spectacular view that undoubtedly lurked beyond the gloom. But the temperature was perfect, and I was happy. Because seriousy, the only thing that can improve an open-air ride over a rocky abyss (that is a seriously steep chair ride) is one which has you traveling through a foggy abyss hovering over a rocky abyss.

Because Mom was left back at the Roundhouse overlooking an inukshuk, we decided not to make the entire hike. Instead, dad said there was a shortcut--a road leading back up to the peak.
This all started out fun and well. The trail wound past another inukshuk and then, down. Occasionally, they'd bolted a chain into the rocks, but for the most part, we were on our own clinging to the steep path. Geology-loving me was happy for the chance to get close to so many interesting rocks and lichens.

Then we reached the junction with this "road" my dad had spoken of. We were greeted by a grinning Japanese family about to descend on the next stage of the trail. Beside them was a sign suggesting that if you feel your hiking abilities are giving out, then take go back up to the peak and take the chair down. That's the way we went, because of time, rather than ability.

What the sign should have said was, "If your hiking abilities are giving out, you're fucked."
Normal people use these things called, "switchbacks" in order to ascend steep surfaces. Not these people! I've never been on such a steep slope for such a long time. And the road itself was very roadlike, except that any vehicle that tried to drive up it would slide backwards into the abyss. It was alternately dusty and gravelly, and not very good for getting a firm foothold. And it just kept going up. Every time we thought we'd hit the top, it was just a slight bend (nothing, of course, that could be called a switchback.)
Compounding the climbing misery was the fact that I am not absolutely certain I'm allergic to sweat. I was itchy itchy itchy the whole way.

Eventually we did hit the top, and being hardcore, of course, decided to walk down rather than take the chair. That road's not too bad, and had the bonus incentive of the Harmony Tea Hut, where my dad was very disappointed to learn they didn't have any soda, but rather, only Vitamin Water and Powerade. He was also amused by everyone's fascination with the lone chipmunk scavanging crumbs. Hey, I haven't seen a chipmunk in years! Only squirrels.

The road down to the Roundhouse was steep, but at least it was down. We hooked up with Mom and took the Peak to Peak gondola, which was pretty awesome. The giant towers got me all giddy. It's also a silent ride, since unlike the regular gondola which has thunkaty thunkaty towers every hundred feet or so, there's just four, so there was only a slight hum and the whispers of the dozen passengers in Spanish and Japanese and a bunch of other languages. I think English speakers were in the minority.

Once we took the open chairs down Blackcomb, and my bare arms were completely numb from the wind, I decided to walk the 4.5 kilometers back to the lodge. It's mostly flat, and I needed the thinking time. I brought my notebook and stopped in the many parks to lie in the grass and scribble notes.
And I'll probably take another walk this evening, because that's what I do in Whistler. I walk a hell of a lot.
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Whistler's doing a good job with its expansion, I think. There's lots more stuff, but it looks nice, and everything outside the dense villages is well padded with trees. They know what makes them special.
And they've put in ten zillion more miles of trails! How am I going to explore them all! They've also decded to adopt a very loose definition of "park." I wandered towards a spot on the map labeled, "park" and decided their definition is "place where people make campfires and leave beer cans." (I took the beercans back to the real park.)

Speaking of beer, I had beer! Dad got a pitcher of Kokanee at dinner, and I felt obliged to help drink it. I can drink piss beer all right, I just prefer cider or most anything else.

At 7 on Fridays, my writing group meets. Except this week, everyone's on vacation. However, while only two of us were at the usual location, two more of us got online and we had a nice group chat critique session. Of course, it helped that Spencer's story was pretty darned awesome. grumble grumble.

Whister <3

Aug. 5th, 2009 09:38 pm
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I'm glad I've just plowed a new swath of territory in the novel to play with, because I'm going with my parents to their timeshare in Whistler this weekend, and I'll have plenty of time to write, or walk around the lakes and golf courses and dodge bears while brainstorming. So no Worldcon for me, but I'll still be in Canada!

Damn I love Whistler. I love the mountains and the bears and the fact that you can walk for miles along beautiful quiet paths around beautiful quiet lakes. I love that they have a tiny, knee-deep creek called the River of Golden Dreams. I love Rogers Chocolates and that art shop that sells hideous clowns by Red Skelton and sculptures by Anthony Quinn that aren't nearly as Freudian as they used to be. I love that I got to see the South Park movie there and the film broke right after Stan found the clitoris and we all had to stand outside while they fixed it. Whistler's where my dad made me drink Heinekin on my 19th birthday (and no, I still haven't acquired the taste), and bought me The Wall as a present even though he didn't know what it was. (yes, my dad's that old.) Whistler's where I found sixty Canadian dollars in an ugly blue naugahide coin purse abandoned ID-less on the mountainside. Whister's where one of my four secret special places is.

I haven't been in a while. I'm worried it's going to be bloated and ugly because they're getting ready for the Olympics. I worry that Whistler will turn into Vail, which was one of the most boring places I've ever been. But Vail lacks the natural scenery of Whistler, and there's no taking that away.
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Bit of a writing breakthrough today. It started last night, when I was putting off analyzing a long complicated scene. Right before bed I realized that the answer to why the scene seemed to have no purpose (interesting scene, still no purpose) was that it was needed to be rewritten entirely from the pov of a totally different character. Cue groans and passing out. I'm forcing myself to go over my scene checklist (see below cut) for each scene. I have to force a choice out of at least one of the characters in each scene, something that affects events in future scenes. So I forced the proper pov character to take action. what action should they take? Why, that big thing he does, that before was halfway through the book, but is now scooted up a few chapters? I'll move it forward even more! Cue a lot of mental dragging and watching scenery go flying every which way. So that shook things up for the best, and it forced me to dump a second scene and replace it with something that will be even more exciting and plot relevant. And hopefully have mermaids.

I say it a zillion times, but I'm going to keep saying it. I'm so glad I do this for fun, because I'd hate to think I'd be crushed if I did a whole lotta work which I had to toss and replace with more work, which got tossed, and then replaced that, and in the end, no one even liked the book and it never sold...ugh. I'm not letting myself go there.



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