Portland trip: the zoo

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This bear would only drink by dipping its paw in the water and licking it.

 

20140915_104704_1An otter takes a break from freaking out about fish.

 

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This cougar decided to take a nap against the glass. It had a very fluffy belly.

 

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Behold, the weirdest animal I have ever seen.

 

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Unexpectedly majestic shot of a monkey.

 

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Isaac and I had a long debate about whether or not this caiman was alive.

 

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Lazy cheetahs.

 

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I was OBSESSED with this majestic weirdo. He looked like he had been drawn by someone who didn’t understand physics.

 

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Here he is standing on his hind legs, in defiance of everything I thought I knew about gravity.

 

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This monkey woke up from its nap and ended up hanging out on the other side of the glass.

 

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Silly leopard face.

 

20140915121018Om nom nom.

 

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Crispy fried

I have written 100,000 words of fiction since January 1st.

Don’t start with the congratulations yet, though. They’re not great words. They’re first draft words, and one draft isn’t even finished yet (yes, I jumped into the second project less than 24 hours after finishing the first, this was not a wise decision). To meet the goals I set for myself, I’ve got at least 30,000 more words to write before December 31st. And then I have to edit, which will involve a major structural overhaul of a story that was structurally unstable to begin with. And then I have to edit some more just to put some meat on this story’s bones. And then I have to find some beta readers, and get their suggestions for more edits. And then I have to edit some more. Then I can start querying, and in the very unlikely event that I have any success at that, I will enter yet another round of edits.

I will do all this and also find time to eat, sleep, work out, hang out with friends, maintain a relationship, and work hard enough at my full-time job to ensure that my raises keep pace with the rising cost of living in my area. And of course, I have to get started on the next project.

Writing a novel is like climbing a mountain. Does that sound trite? Of course it does. Everyone believes they could climb a mountain, and they will climb a mountain someday, when they feel up to it. From a distance, the mountain’s sides don’t look that steep. You just walk straight up the side, right? Then one day you decide to drive out to the trailhead, and the mountain seems a lot taller from this close, but you can still picture yourself at the top. So you start walking, and the slope seems a lot steeper when you’re relying on your legs and not your imagination to carry you, and after a tremendous amount of effort the mile markers are telling you you’re only a third of the way up.

And some jerks are strolling up the mountain like it’s nothing at all. Some are jogging up the mountain. Experienced hikers are passing you. They have climbed many mountains before. They won’t even be sore tomorrow. Some of them are so good at climbing mountains that companies will give them vast sums of money to keep going.

I am scaling a bigger mountain than last year. I am still not close to the top, but now I can tell you exactly how far I’ve got to go. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I should keep walking.

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Life happens

I’m 35,000 words deep into an unexpected fiction project. I decided to set a challenge for myself by trying out a mix of genres I didn’t get much of a chance to work with in school: romance, action, and high fantasy. They’re all fun to write, and I’m having a tremendously good time playing with them.

The good news is that I finally feel like things are falling into place for me as a writer. I can create something with a coherent plot, consistent characters, and enough narrative tension to keep the reader interested. My first draft is going to need revision for consistency and style, but it’s the cleanest novel-length textual project I’ve produced yet.

The bad news is that this is almost certainly unpublishable. The mix of genres is too weird for all but a few niche presses, and I’m not sure they’d be willing to take a chance on something this wacky from a totally unknown author. I do want to see this story through to the end, though, so I’m going to finish it, tidy it up, and perhaps even try querying before I put it away for good.

I’m also moving to a new place, hopefully for a long-term stay this time, so the next few weeks will be spent packing and carrying and spackling and dealing with all the other annoying things you need to do whenever your legal residence changes.

This blog is mostly going to be the repository for short rants and silly photos until I have a livable apartment and a finished draft. After that, I’m going to start putting some longer pieces on here again, including fiction. I’ve got a fun story series planned out for 2015, because my next challenge is overcoming my fear of showing other people my work.

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Every apartment is terrible

I’ve been apartment hunting at peak season in Seattle, and I just picked out my new place. I got all spun up last night reading the reviews of the building, which are only so-so. Then I realized that all apartment reviews are terrible. Seriously, check out these stinkers from some of the most exclusive residences in town.

The Escala

Escala

A man was shot to death about a block away, today, 4/7/14, so keep that in mind when you read the positive reviews here about how great a neighborhood this building is in.  He’s still at large so hopefully you don’t run in to the killer at night.

The Olivian

Olivian

However, let’s be real here: the building’s aging (five years and counting) and it is starting to show.

Some very large parties were hosted by a few residents and attended by all non residents.  These parties were jammed with people that clearly just heard about this party in this cool building and showed up.  You were supposed to have security hired if your party had over a dozen people in the commons area.  This never happened and parties got out of control with excessive drinking.  Of course inappropriate language was big at these parties.

The parking garage is disgusting, my lovely white sportscar ended up with black soot all over the hood every time I parked there overnight.

The Shelby

Shelby

The halls smell of trash a few days a week and are consistently dirty, the weight room equipment is outdated as well and the TV remote does not work for volume or power. The elevators are notoriously slow and the parking spaces are minuscule.

Initially, we thought it was great as it is so close to all the hip restaurants but we clearly figured out how unsafe it gets during the night. It is surrounded by junkies and bums, drug dealing takes place openly at every corner. We drive even to first avenue simply because it is unsafe to walk there.

The Stratford

Stratford

Unfortunately, the genius who laid the building out split once larger apts into an average size one bedroom and tiny studios, who share walls with the larger units’ bedrooms. Therefore, if tenants are not monitored, you’re going to get woken up all night by transients and welfare collectors, the only people who would rent these horrible studios.

The Cobb

Cobb

Cons:
— No concierge
–The public rooftop indoor space smells like mothballs
— The window ledges are dirty. There used to be flag holders that have been painted over a million times. Is this attention to historic detail and preservation?!
— The 2BR/2 Bath layout doesn’t have a balcony.

The Harbor Steps

Harbor Steps

Built in the 1994, the decor is out-of-date.

The NW and NE towers only have two elevators compared to the south towers which each have four.

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It’s a fantastic location if you enjoy being asked questions such as:

“Where is the mall?” and “Is this all there is to do around here?”

If you enjoy showing countless hordes of people how to buy and properly display their parking sticker – again, this is the place for you.

Do I hate tourists from the mid-west? You betcha.

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I live in the NE tower and have to call the concierge if I want a package and it isn’t a Monday or Friday night… sorry but I can’t schedule my life around package hours.  There have been 3 instances that I have waited over 20 minutes for a package. YES, 20 minutes. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

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