leahbobet: (gardening)
Belated trip report is belated. Well, that's what happens when there's a convention on.

A bit of an odd and different WFC for me this weekend, and in some ways a bit of the same WFC it always is. Coming off a week of vacation might not be the best mental mode in which to do a con: I was impressively disinclined to do anything like programming. I did see one reading (Nalo Hopkinson's, on Friday afternoon, which was bunches of fun) and did two of my own (a quickie from Chilling Tales at the EDGE party, and then a chapter of Above late Saturday night), and attended Delia Sherman's book launch. Otherwise, that was the whole of my relationship with programming all weekend long.

What I did do? Mostly talk to people.

It's a different crowd at west coast conventions: a lot of people were there who I hadn't seen in a while (sometimes a space of years), and it was really nice to catch up with them over lunches, or dinner, or just hanging out somewhere in the massive hotel complex. And the hotel complex was massive, and actually terrifically creepy in this decaying-splendour-of-the-late-1950s sort of way: all the buildings looked vaguely alike, and the plants were maybe excessively lush (how were they watering all those roses with the water issues in California?), and there were a lot of very dark little alleyways between things which I felt disturbingly unsafe in, even though I'd been nipping about the Downtown Eastside not one week before. There was a story going around that someone had been there for a con in the late 1960s, and the place hadn't changed a bit. I'd believe it.

There were a lot of new-to-me people there too, or people I'd just known on the internet and not in real life, and it's always awesome to put a face to a name.

And then there were a lot of people I didn't see, or only saw in passing throughout the weekend. Again, size of space and quantity of attendees had to do with this: you could quite easily travel in one circle throughout the weekend and just not see certain other people for the whole time. There were a few people I only found out were there at midnight on Saturday night.

I think I am generally not going to do shoutouts: there were too many people involved, and my brain is too tired, and things have fuzzed to an alarming degree. Let's just leave it at: If I saw you, yay! If I didn't, boo!

Coincidentally -- or maybe not, because, as [livejournal.com profile] sora_blue pointed out, there was just the one reasonable direct flight home on Sunday -- she, and I, and [livejournal.com profile] msagara and her husband were all on the same flight home. So we cabbed to the airport together and hung out, and Chandra and I changed our seats so we could sit together (kinda pointless in the end; I dozed off inside half an hour of takeoff and slept the whole way home). And then I ran into my second cousin on the way out of the airport, cabbed home (tired), got some takeout hot and sour soup (the official meal of coming home from a trip and wanting hot food even though I cleared out the fridge before leaving and have no perishable food), and fell down into bed.

And...trip over.

Coming home after being away so long, and in so many places, feels very weird. My apartment felt cluttered, and my street too dark, and my computer screen weirdly laid out, and nothing reasserted as properly familiar until I crawled into bed, turned off the lamp, and the way the light from the streetlight outside falls through the window onto my walls and the view past the books on my bedside table just finally clicked. The clothing selection this morning felt absolutely decadent and excessive. I think I have gotten used to a certain spareness in my environment after ten days of hostel rooms and hotel rooms and the living rooms of friends, and living out of a suitcase small enough to carry on airplanes. I may have to reorganize my bedroom this week. I am feeling an excess of stuff.

Luckily, I could sleep in a bit this morning -- had two precious hours left of lieu time at work, and I planned ahead for jet leg/sleep-in purposes and used them on a late start this morning -- but I'm still a little tired and bemused, and I've had Walk on the Ocean stuck in my head since about half an hour after I got home. I am out of the loop on just about everything right now and don't half care.

I miss the ocean, I think. And redwoods. And Musical 1998. And [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero constantly making fun of me, and slow-paced things, and backpackers, and writers, and the wide, wide sky.

It is always much too quiet when you get home.

Laundry tonight, and groceries, and some e-mail I couldn't answer, as tired as I was, last night; shouldering myself gently back into my life to see if it still fits. And maybe doing some things differently; not more, just differently. The great theme of this year for me has been this long conversation about my time, and how I use it, and which are shining worthwhile things and which obligations should not actually obligate just because they're there, and the last week has most definitely been part of that.

And thus endeth the Great West Coast Jaunt of 2011.
leahbobet: (gardening)
Today has been kind of impressively long.

Jon and Nish went to bed around midnight last night, and then Danny and I stayed up until probably 4am, just flopped out on our respective air mattresses/couches talking about pretty much everything. Which meant we woke up pretty comparatively late this morning, and just had time to take our showers, pack, tidy up, and head out before I had to get to the airport.

There is a big, big difference between travelling alone (what I'm used to) and travelling with a friend. I miss my travel buddy. A lot.

The flight from Seattle to San Diego took most of the afternoon, and was fairly uneventful: I slept as best I could through it, seeing as I was sitting next to two brothers who were a little too fond of punching each other (and yes, at one point I really was that Mean Lady who sat up and said in a cold and authoritative voice that that was quite enough). I managed to book a shuttle reservation this morning, and so just hopped aboard that from the airport and was at the hotel by 7pm local.

The hotel here is huge. I'm not kidding: it's labyrinthine, composed of about a dozen buildings (at least), and has multiple pools, gazebos, restaurants, etc. etc. Either we need to start a cult this weekend, or someone's going to be found dead in one of the swimming pools and we'll spend the rest of our con figuring out who the killer is. It's that kind of place, and the dark is not really helping with the navigational issues. All Hotel California jokes have been made.

Hugeness aside, ran into people I know fairly quickly: saw Caitlyn Paxson on my way out of the lobby/check-in (its own building); ran into Mary Robinette Kowal and Pat Rothfuss down the road, and then we found [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and [livejournal.com profile] scott_lynch in front of one of the restaurants and chatted a little bit. They all went off to various dinner things, I finally found my room (harder than you might think. Seriously.) and texted [livejournal.com profile] sakuralovestea to find out where she and Liz were at. We agreed to meet at Reg, where I failed to get a badge (they were closed) but did see Cat Rambo and finally met [livejournal.com profile] desperance and his SO in person.

We headed to the mall across the street for dinner, across a Scary Bridge, and ran into Cory Skerry, Sean Markey, and Beth Wodzinski (the latter two of Shimmer Magazine). They either folded into our dinner party or we folded into theirs, but either way, we Voltroned ourselves and went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, outside of which we saw Kat Feete and Dan Zlotnikov and their very wiggly new baby.

(A theme is emerging here, as you may notice: as big as this hotel is, you can't really spit but for hitting writers and editors and generally people you know.)

Did the bar a bit after dinner (I saw a [livejournal.com profile] mekkavandexter! And Janni Simner and Larry Hammer and Sarah Beth Durst!) and got sidetracked chatting with Mek for a while, and then headed up to Bear and Scott's room for the annual Highlander's Bad Touch drinking and reading bad erotica/romance novels out loud until we cry party. Didn't get very far, alas -- I don't know how thin the walls are, but security shut us down at not even 11:30. Sigh.

[livejournal.com profile] coffeeem and Will were there, among others, and Emma did give me a present of tea, which is lovely of them both.

After that I started picking my way back to the room, got waylaid by the Australians' party and drawn into a conversation with an Israeli translator about translation in general, the international SF scene, and Occupy movements, and now am finally, finally in my hotel room and on my bed. It's kind of nice after all this time sharing space this week to have my own room/space again, but it's also kind of lonely. Like I said: I miss my travel buddy. I miss my hostel common room full of cheerful backpackers.

Swinging right into con mode tomorrow, and reluctantly out of Pacific Northwest Hobo Traveller mode. We're calling breakfast for about 9am, and there will be a long day ahead. I plan to devote at least some of it to sitting in a hot tub in my bikini. Which I brought.

Goodnight, internets everywhere.
Today has been Seattle Day.

Woke up fairly late this morning to a text from [livejournal.com profile] _eljefe_, who was both in town and free for the early afternoon. So [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero and I, our gracious hosts having gone to work like normal people, navigated our way through downtown Seattle to meet up with him with possibly a maximum of fuss. For all I've been plugging getting lost and adventure and stuff, I really do feel better when I have the internet in my pocket and GoogleMaps to guide me. But we managed.

Met up, and went to Pike Place Market, to nose around and get some lunch. Had Chinese, with an excellent view of the harbour, and then grabbed a coffee and [livejournal.com profile] _eljefe_ dropped us off with reasonable directions to the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum, where we had some comp tickets for around 2pm.

The Experience Music Project's pretty small as museums go, but it's pretty super: There was a sculpture made out of guitars, a Seattle band map, a whole exhibit about post-punk and Nirvana, a Jimi Hendrix exhibit that made me realize he was actually the 1960s equivalent of Atticus Ross, a lot of oral history recordings, and a whole section where you could monkey around on instruments and actually record. We laid down Fake Plastic Trees (Danny on guitar, me on vocals), Nothingman (Danny on both) and Casual Walks (me acapella), but didn't buy the CD because in retrospect we were a touch terrible.

The science fiction wing of the museum was pretty media-oriented -- a BSG exhibit which was meh, an Avatar exhibit we didn't care about, and a horror movie one -- so we mostly skipped it.

Afterwards, grabbed a coffee on Pike and met up with Jon and Nish, and then went for Thai for dinner and meandered back to home base. We've spent the evening monkeying around with their guitar and having World's Longest Singalong (and it's better than what we recorded), and now our fingers hurt and we're just sort of vegging around with laptops and knitting and manga and the like.

A bit more Seattle to be had tomorrow morning; the flight to San Diego is midafternoon, and then it's WFC starting in the evening. Our days of hoboing around the Pacific Northwest are ending all too soon.

Possibly more coffee reports tomorrow. Stay tuned.
(Yes, it's still Day 4. We are counting trip, not location.)

Didn't actually end up going to bed early last night: ran into the cute Dubliner in the common room/kitchen, where I was eating a pomegranate and freaking out the Australians and Kiwis mightily (nota bene: if you ever want to severely disturb an Australian, get a pomegranate. All Australians polled in the kitchen found it to be the weirdest thing ever, even weirder than passionfruit, which is basically brains wrapped in a layer of tentacles and stuffed into a softball). We ended up hanging out in the common room with a few other people and shooting pool (well, I watched pool. I'm very bad at it) and just chatting until midnight.

Grabbed breakfast and exchanged some contact info this morning (yay $2 hot backpacker breakfast!) and then [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero and I met up at the Greyhound station. There is this funny thing where bus tickets that are $25 on the website turn into $125 when you are at the station. Funny thing, though: we had laptops. And wifi. $25 tickets it was.

And yes, we did read the confirmation number right off the laptop to rub it in.

The afternoon was pretty much a long bus ride. The customs people took our apples because they were not stickered, so we are immediately starting a business selling apple stickers right before the border. Washington State is pretty: mountains and lakes and trees trees trees. We dorked around and sang Radiohead and were probably generally annoying. At Everett (I think?) two guys got on and one proceeded to tell a story about how being fat saved his life, because he had to go to the hospital for something and they found a tumour in his head, and then he went See this scar here? See it?

Got in a little past 7pm and made it to Jon and Nish's place, which is very nice, and we all went out for dinner at a diner a few blocks away that serves all the drinks in canning jars, including the wine. I had a good pasketti. If we couldn't find any hipsters or related hipsterism in Vancouver, four hours in Seattle have more than balanced the scales. Danny may stop teasing me about being the most hipster thing in twenty blocks sometime soon.

We're now all sacked out on the couches with our various computing devices, being nerds and availing ourselves of stable wireless. Tomorrow's probably going to be Pike Place Market, the Experience Music thingie, and what passes for the Science Fiction Museum (we hear it is small).

For all that I was certain inside four hours that I could never live there, I kind of miss Vancouver. I miss its weird income disparity contradictoriness and excessive coffeeshops and huge trees and cheery friendly hostel people. Wah.

Seattle investigations ensue tomorrow!
Lots of kind of half-assed planning today, and not a lot of follow-through.

Met up with [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero as advertised, and decided we'd try for the Museum of Anthropology: one of the backpackers I was drinking with last night said it was really very good, and I hadn't been out by UBC just yet. So we walked to the stop for the right bus, only to have the bus pass us right by, and Danny said, "Hey, is it even open today?" So I made sure. And no, it was not. Dammit, Vancouver: I like culture on Mondays too.

Cast about for a few more ideas, and ended up at the Vancouver Art Gallery, which we knew was nearby because Occupy Vancouver is right in front of it. The first two floors are closed -- they're putting in a new exhibition -- but the third and fourth were open, and they weren't bad exhibitions: on the third, a history of the collection itself, complete with copies from their files about restoration, and the founding of the museum, and various pieces they'd acquired on subscription. The one about Emily Carr and their restoration drive for her stuff was especially good, as were the 1910s newspaper clippings, mostly due to awesome 1910 typography. On the fourth was a three-artist video installation exhibit: one from Vancouver, one from LA, one from Guadalajara. The last two were really quite good, and video's not exactly my thing.

Best thing in the gallery today: probably a full-room installation of a cityscape made of coloured plastic, with projectors running images of cityscapes through them and onto the white walls. It was something about the way the light broke and twisted through them, and the feeling of being inside and outside the piece all at once: it reminded me of the best thing we saw at Nuit Blanche this year, in the Gladstone, with the screens full of shots of crows. We do not necessarily know art very well here, but we know what we like.

Ironically, though, it was pretty hard to get a washroom in the gallery. There was one right in front, and the security guard manifestly would not let me use it even though I was right there about to get an admission. Third floor or nothing. This is deeply ironical in a city where there are actually clean, free, accessible public washrooms in parks in the poor part of town. Income disparity strikes again.

After being cultured and so on, ran a few errands: picked up some US cash for Seattle tomorrow, grabbed a coffee on Georgia Street (thus completing our survey of the major Vancouver coffee chains visible: Blenz, Waves, and Trees), and walked through one of the downtown malls, where I failed to get a refill of face powder and Danny ogled iPads, and we concluded that malls are fundamentally the same the world over and mostly suck pretty hard. And then we meandered back to Granville for dinner at a big and trendy-looking sushi place that was nonetheless pretty much empty, and ate all the sushi in the world. The value of all-you-can-eat is apparently lots. We've been walking all day for three days. I think we needed the protein.

Our conviction that Vancouver is frozen in musical 1998 continues. Music played at the sushi place included Sloan's "The Good in Everyone" and the Refreshments' "Banditos".

Back at the hostel now, camped out in my first-floor armchair (informally dubbed the Quiet Room, it being quieter than the common room) to answer e-mail, figure out the distances and ways and means between me and the bus station, the Seattle bus station and [livejournal.com profile] jonofthewired's place, all that and the airport for Thursday, and just generally be central in case anyone from the little posse we had going last night is heading down to the bar. Although given how sleepy I am at this point, I may just call it an early night. There is a reasonable amount of travel happening tomorrow.

Next update from Seattle!
(...and I can't quite believe that I've only been here two and a bit days. It feels like years.)

Woke up yesterday to beautiful sunshine, clear skies, the works. There's a free breakfast at the hostel before 10am and I wasn't meeting [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero until noon, so I went down for that and ended up eating with the severely cute Dubliner and one of his roommates, a dude from Sweden who's backpacking six months in North America and then six months in New Zealand. Nothing fancy, just bagels and fruit, but it was warm and good.

Met up at noon at the coffeeshop and decided that no, we were most definitely not doing as much walking as the day before, even though I was (and am!) surprised at how well my legs are holding up to it. I've got a recurring twinge down the side of the right one, but otherwise they're perfectly good to go. All that night rambling I've been doing this summer must have paid off more than I thought. 0.o

Danny suggested Gastown, since it has a steampunk clock, is fancy, and was on the way to Chinatown anyway. So we set off to see what we could see (and scope the Gastown Fluevog store).

Gastown's interesting: part of the problem I've been having so far is that we're very much in the downtown here, and the core downtown of any North American city resembles the core downtown of any other North American city to a ridiculous degree. Part of what I want to get a sense of (for words, and also as a filthy tourist) is character. At which point we turned the corner into cobbled streets and the architecture changed into these long brick rows of buildings, and, well, character.

Gastown's pretty. It's also really gentrified, which gets interesting: you have all these galleries and restaurants and trendy things in old, old buildings, but it's almost set like a layer over what you can get the feel of it being not all that long ago. There are a lot of people panhandling or whatnot. An older street artist dude came up to us, did a sketch on what used to be a cardboard box, and used every line of patter in the book to keep us there until it was finished so we might pay him for it (we did). The poverty's even more conspicuous when it's set against the consumption.

We ducked up to Chinatown after, up a block or two which were closed off for the Downtown Eastside street market, or so said the sign: all kinds of people with blankets or not, tarps or not, selling everything from secondhand clothes to old books to just random stuff. If Gastown is for tourists, and not necessarily the kind who've come from out of town? This was not. It was sort of a mass garage sale/barter/flea market put on by the residents' association, and while it didn't entirely feel like intruding to go through, I wasn't really inclined to bother anyone.

A couple people had mentioned the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Chinese garden on Pender as a place to definitely see, and so we cut up to there. It's kind of amazingly lovely: there's a courtyard in front with the Chinese zodiac laid out in mosaics, and then you go around a statute of the Buddha, through a gate, and it's all pond and lilies and wooden walkways, and willows leaning down, and sun. There were koi in the pond, huge ones, just sort of tooling around doing their thing. There was a whole stand of bamboo on the other side, and benches, and just a general quiet. It's the kind of place that begs for art students, or a good book.

It was probably 2pm at this point, so we broke for dim sum at a dim little restaurant that had an Alvin and the Chipmunks movie on the TV screen in the corner (when you watch it with the sound off, a lot of things about Alvin and the Chipmunks do not at all make sense) and then meandered back towards Granville. Which means I have only really nibbled the edges of the Downtown Eastside, but, y'know? It was enough to get it through my head that no, maybe that wasn't the best idea, and maybe not the most respectful one besides, no matter how much I have book to write.

After a quick nose through the Fluevog on Granville (safe, because I don't have room in my bag for fancy shoes) we split up: Danny's feet hurt a lot more than mine, and he was pretty much done for the day. I headed back to the hostel, parked myself in an armchair, and wrote and wrote and wrote. So the first scene of Indestructible is down in rawest, smelliest draft; I have my way in, and it feels right and good, which nothing has on this book since I started trying to write it, about, oh, two years ago?

And then the cute Dubliner came by, and said I should come down to the bar, and I ended up drinking with backpackers from Australia and Sweden and England and everywhere else until last call.

So yesterday was extremely satisfactory, really.

Slept in this morning (too many beers, but I'm on vacation) and missed breakfast, but I have a few leftovers from the Great Stanley Park Escapade in the fridge downstairs, and I'm sure I can just grab them on my way out. The new roommate headed out this morning early, so we haven't yet introduced ourselves -- the Portland undergrads left yesterday morning. I'm not yet sure where to go and what to do today, but I'm due over at the coffeeshop to meet up in probably 25 minutes, so I'm sure we'll figure it out.

Last full day in Vancouver, today. Tomorrow we hop a bus to Seattle. Stay tuned.
Only a day and a half into the trip, I think we can categorically say this was a good idea. I have been really worked up for the past couple months. I am not exactly worked up at the moment.


[livejournal.com profile] subject_zero picked me up at the airport last night after my first large-plane flight in quite a while (you don't even feel those landing. It's kind of amazing) and we parked my stuff at the hostel where I'm staying, smack in the middle of Vancouver's club district. Very late dinner (lobster ravioli, beer, cheescake, more beer) and filthy gossip ensued at a microbrewery by Waterfront Skytrain station. I have missed [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero terribly.

This was pretty much the night: it was late, I'd done a five-hour flight, and generally lying down seemed like a good idea.

The hostel's nice and tidy and cheerful and packed with Australians. My roommates for the moment are three pretty nice undergrads from Portland, up for their fall break, who were out clubbing until an amazing hour last night -- I didn't hear them come in, and I was up until about 3:30 Pacific (mostly wondering why I wasn't tired when it was past 6am on Brain Local Time, and how was I still awake?). This means I'm getting a certain amount of privacy: I'm out most of the day, and when I come back, it's the room to myself and playing my music and general chilling out for hours. There's free wifi and a common room, and the kitchen is huge. So far, it hostelling is beating the hell out of hotels.

Vancouver itself: cool and damp and ivy-covered, and full of crows, which apparently fill the niche that pigeons do at home. I can't get my finger on the architecture: it's this mix of curvy ultra-modern stuff and almost coastal US warm-climate houses, and the kind of pastel siding I've seen in the Midwest. There are a lot of condos, and there is a lot of green. It feels kind of young and slick. I don't get that sense of age, of layered history, I have back home. Also, decided lack of hipsters thus far. We may be in the wrong neighbourhoods for it. Surprising amount of on-street cosplay, though.

There is a thing the sky does here, heavy with three different-coloured striations of cloud, where it lies low and thick over the ocean and flows down into the mountains, and you feel...contained. Most effectively and completely contained, as if someone's put a lid over the top of the world. It's not oppressive -- everything is sort of too big and stately green to feel oppressive, really -- but that cloudy sky is like a hand light on your shoulder. You can never quite forget it's there.

It's a curious and beautiful city. I'm pretty rock-certain already I could never live here. There are red maples planted here and there, and I kept lingering among their leaves, just hungry for the shocks of colour amidst all the soft grey.

This morning, rolled out of bed to what looked like it was going to be rain (the rain never actually materialized) and met up with [livejournal.com profile] subject_zero around noon to go to the Granville Island Public Market. First rule of Vancouver: Everything is always farther than you think. No, really. Farther.

This will become important to the story later.

So we walked across the Granville Street bridge and around and down and in this weird loop to get to the island, which is sort of like what would happen if someone took a tourist town or that one area of Charlottetown, PEI and smacked it in the middle of some other city: lots of little shops, crafts, nice wide sidewalks, etc. Considering how much we had to backtrack to get there, I suspect the artists have been corralled onto the island in the middle of the river to keep them contained (like Escape from New York, just without the President). It's small and lovely, and the farmer's market there is a bit like St. Lawrence: spread through a few buildings, and reasonably broad. I should probably not be so surprised at how comfortable I am in a market, but it's like finding my safe place. We'll probably be going back Monday or Tuesday to stock up for the trip to Seattle.

But for today, we picked up a whole bunch of food -- walnut and rosemary bread, cheese curds, honey garlic pepperoni sticks, Indian candy, passion fruit, tiny little bananas, pomegranates, Fuji apples -- to be our provisions for Stanley Park.

Stanley Park is...not a park as I am familiar with them. It is an old growth rainforest, lurking at the edge of a city. It smells soft and sharp like fallen leaves and the ocean, and it's damp everywhere, even though it didn't rain; I'm convinced it was just damp out of sheer habit. There's a seawall running along the outside, with historical plaques and such facing the bay, and steps down to the water in case you for some reason want to walk down into the ocean. And then there are trails and trails everywhere though the woods. We ate passion fruit and bread on park benches by a stand of totem poles, and watched the mountains, and found which redwoods are in fact Ents.

Thing is, it's is also farther than you think it is, and bigger.

We were overall shooting for Prospect Point, at the far north end of the park: kind of rambling about, looking at things, taking our time. What we took is probably the most roundabout, longest, least efficient route to Prospect Point that mankind has ever invented. It was extremely scenic and a great walk. But then it was 5pm, and we were only halfway there. And our feet really hurt. There was...some interesting and creative swearing. And a few kind of tired giggles.

But since this is adventure day? We went anyways.

It was maybe kind of stupid: if we'd turned around, we could have grabbed a lazy dinner and whatnot, and probably felt better for it in the morning. But it was also kind of worth it: The view out to the ocean is kind of ridiculously incredible, and catching it with the sun going down was probably even better. There was also a cafe up there, and we sat down (yay!) and ate some things with protein in them (yay!), having already demolished most of our snacks. And then we, well. Had to get back out of the park, all the way back where we'd come from.

Yeah. *g*

Walking down through Stanley Park at night is a bit like Escape from Witch Mountain, or a whole subgenre of horror movies and/or Criminal Minds episodes. Whole legions of my relatives are never going to find out that happened so I don't get strangled, revived, and strangled again. But? High adventure, people. High effing adventure. Also, the road straight through the middle is really a lot faster than whatever it was we did on the way up.

We ended up sitting for an hour or two in a coffeeshop near Burrard Station trying to make our feet do things again, puttering and chatting and eating Nanaimo bars. The other thing Vancouver seems to do so far is be musically no later than 1998 at all times: both today's coffeeshops, the one I grabbed breakfast at this morning and the one we found this evening, and the hostel both this morning and tonight in the common room were playing stuff I haven't heard since I was 16. Also, the Burrard coffeeshop rickrolled us. And we don't think it was ironic.

So after all that, we split up for the day and I stumbled back to the hostel (with a side trip through Occupy Vancouver on the way) and tucked what leftover groceries I had in the kitchen with an eye to climbing into bed early. Instead, ended up in a two-hour conversation with a severely cute guy from Dublin who handed me a spoon and shared his pint of Ben and Jerry's with me in the hostel kitchen (another point in favour of hostelling: cute Dubliners! Ice cream!). And now I am on my bunk, frittering about the Internet with extremely sore feet and a general and fuzzy sort of contentment. I'm hoping to be up for the two-dollar breakfast downstairs tomorrow morning, so sleep is soon.

...and yeah, that was only the first full day of nine.

Tomorrow's only half-planned: definitely Chinatown, and definitely my little walkthrough of Main and Hastings, so as to write Indestructible properly, with tastes and detail and smells. No idea what else we might get up to. It probably depends on the state of our feet, and the weather, and the operant whimsy.

Thrilling updates tomorrow. Goodnight, children everywhere.
leahbobet: (bat signal)
So. I'm going to be at the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego, California this year, and through luckily, I now have a schedule for it:

Saturday, 6pm
EDGE Books launch
In which I will be reading a smidgen from "Stay".

Saturday, 10:30pm, Pacific 4/5
Reading -- Leah Bobet
This is very late. Were it someone else's reading, I must admit you'd find me in the bar instead. But if you are so inclined, I will probably read something from Above, or maybe "Parable of the Shower" if people want that and such.

There's a bit of a pre-show to WFC this year: since it's far, and since I had a week of vacation left, I'm heading out tomorrow afternoon, across our great nation, to Vancouver for a couple of days. Then it's two days in Seattle, before the inevitable con next weekend. Trip-blogging may ensue; it all depends on what the wifi's like and how tired we are from walking by the end of the day.

Hope to see you all at WFC!
September 12, 2011 Progress Notes:

As-yet-untitled Shadow Unit DVD extra

Words today: 850, spread over a few days.
Words total: 850.
Reason for stopping: Draft.

Books in progress: Charles Yu, How to Live Safely in a Science-Fictional Universe.
The glamour: Tonight there were four social/volunteer engagements I probably could have gone to (and maybe should have), but convention weekends, as fun as they are, do kind of take it out of me. So I blew off everything and stayed in to work on Ideomancer stuff and arts grant applications all evening. And to finish writing this.

Arts grants applications have many moving parts. Tonight's work marathon was, in hindsight, a really, really good idea.

Can-Con was, in sum, small and tidy and quite a good time: everyone was really pleasant, the quality of the panel discussion (both the ones I was on and the ones I went to see) was really high -- there was a future of urban environments panel that any Toronto public space dork would have been happy to see -- and I have remembered that I like trains. They are very civilized. Also, I got to have quality time with [livejournal.com profile] kafkonia, [livejournal.com profile] deakat (who is a hero of the revolution for collecting me from the VIA station at 10:30 Friday night, dishevelled as I was), and [livejournal.com profile] monkeyman.

Saw a grand total of nothing of Ottawa, and missed seeing [livejournal.com profile] commodorified due to mishap, but I was in town for maybe 43 hours, and sometimes it can't be helped.

So that was that.

In other news, I've been slowly but steadily getting interview requests from bloggers interested in Above, and one of them has gone up this week at Spanish blog Soy Cazadora de Sombras y Libros. I link this one partially because I'm so floored by the dedication here: when so many people don't bother to read in their first language, loving books enough to read, and blog about it, and be an active participant in book culture in one's second or third language? Hardcore respect.

And that is about it for tonight, since tomorrow there is volunteer flyering early in the a.m., a gauntlet of book events in the p.m., and for all things must I be functional and awake.
August 28, 2011 Progress Notes:

"Shine a Light"

Words today: 200.
Words total: 750.
Reason for stopping: Leeetle too hyper to write something this stark.

Darling du Jour: This time it’s Basra. Aleksei leads her into the washroom on a constant murmur of apologies, and when they come back her second pinky finger’s sheared to the bottom joint.

Mean Things: Cutting people's fingers off. Blooooood. Not getting to feel it when your boyfriend wants to have fun sexytimes.
Research Roundup: N/A.

Books in progress: Wayson Choy, The Jade Peony.
The glamour: Booked my hostelling arrangements and such for my pre-WFC trip to Vancouver tonight. My internal notion of Vancouver is in the space triangulated by Douglas Coupland, Matthew Good, and the Robert Pickton murders. It is sort of like Canada's Own Gotham City.

I am so excited here.

Yes. So, Vancouver.

As a filthy bribe added incentive to encourage me to go to World Fantasy this year, I have thrown my last week of vacation at a pre-convention trip: Vancouver, a few days in Seattle, and then San Diego for the convention. Part of this is so I can see some friends who have moved out west this summer (including two members of my old gaming group, who are both quite dear to me). Part of it is so I can walk the city proper and thereby, maybe, get what I need to write Indestructible, which is now buzzing in my head like a toddler on drugs since it heard we're taking a trip.

Part of it is just the sheer pleasure of being in a different time zone than my to do list for a bit.

So I'm going to Vancouver. And then Seattle. And then San Diego, and WFC.

I see you there?


Jul. 14th, 2011 11:56 am
(What's that? It means let's go.)

Not much blogging -- or writing -- this week: I've been caught up with real world/meatspace stuff, the inevitable demands of going out of town for Readercon in a few hours (panel research, frantic housecleaning, arranging of lunches, figuring-out of reading passages, etc., although I just canned it all last night and went out to a reading in Kensington instead), and the doings of Toronto City Council. Yes, this is a council week. It has pretty much eaten my head. Yes, the last few years have brought out my latent political process nerdery. What of it?

So. Long story short: sorry for the radio silence. And it will continue a little longer, because I'm going to Readercon, and have decided to not bring my laptop with me on the grounds that really, I should be hanging out with people I don't see enough of instead of sticking my face in the Internet.

If you are there? I will see you there! I look forward to our hanging out and many panels and some drinks!

If not, usual caveats apply about breaking the place while I'm gone, and while I will check e-mail once a day (or try to) from the business centre, don't expect any substantial answers from me until Sunday night, when I return to my treehousey lair.

(Allons-y. Let's go.)
As you may have surmised from the bit where I posted a panel schedule, I am going to be at Readercon this weekend! In fact, I'm en route now, killing time before my flight boards.

--and I just ran into [livejournal.com profile] handful_ofdust and Stephen Barringer, and since I now have airplane buddies I will get off the internet and be social.

Hope to see you there!
Home! Got in about two hours ago -- and that worked out because I shamelessly begged a lift home from my parents earlier in the week, rather than taking TTC like I usually do -- and sifting through e-mail/eating pizza/being in my apartment.

It is too quiet. I miss my writers and kitties and scenic cacti.

I do have some last dribs and drabs of trip pictures, though:

This is that one picture I snapped at Colossal Cave on Thursday before the cellphone battery gave out. As you can tell, it is a cave that is very large.

Yours Truly, post-gothing on Friday night. This was actually right when I was taking off my makeup. Really, I love the new Goth blouse and the steampunky way it works with the glass pendant and I was just proud that I pinned my hair up and it stayed up through all that headbanging.

Another trip to the Red Velvet Cupcakery before we descended on the Tucson Festival of Books yesterday morning. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem and [livejournal.com profile] willshetterly can haz cupcakes.

A wide shot at the festival, and our very own [livejournal.com profile] jennygadget, complete with home-baked blood-spatter cupcakes, after the Shadow Unit panel. I shot that one from the panel room stage, so it's a bit wonky.

And finally, the last Tucson installments of Signage: An Occasional Series.

And that is that for CupcakeCon 2010.

Needless to say I'm bagged -- we were up this morning at 4:30 to get to the airport in time for various flights -- but if I owe you e-mail or whatnot, I will endeavour to have everything caught up by Tuesday evening.

(And then she fell down with an audible fwump.)
leahbobet: (gardening)
Home from a full day at the Tucson Festival of Books, where we signed, had an extremely dorky Shadow Unit panel, and then signed some more in the blistering heat of the daystar. This really is the summation version, but hey.

Cooler: I got to meet [livejournal.com profile] jennygadget! And [livejournal.com profile] el_jefe and his adorable tiny puppy ([livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange and I have both added "puppy" to our convention riders)! And [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer and [livejournal.com profile] janni and [livejournal.com profile] coppervale and [livejournal.com profile] harvestar! Also, we met a bucket more awesome people of the conrunning/bookselling/SU-reading variety, and had Guatemalan food for dinner, and and and. This was decidedly a full day.

My delicate ego was once again soothed, as two people showed up with anthologies for me to mark up. It's always kind of a nice surprise when that happens.

Tonight's our last night here -- we're leaving for the airport at a somewhat obscene hour tomorrow morning for a fun, fun day of being on planes -- and I should be home tomorrow evening. I think the plan is for cocoa, hot tub, and then packing so we can hop in bed relatively early. Normal life is going to be a freaking adjustment after this.

So: last dispatch from Tucson. This Has Been Your CupcakeCon 2010.
Gothing! Minus a [livejournal.com profile] truepenny, who was not feeling the dancing thing, last night we headed out to The Surly Wench, which is a combination pub/club sort of thing, or maybe just a pub with a dance floor in the back. It had tiny, tiny speakers, but people did not filch your table and danced with enthusiasm. Despite a one-hour detour into eighties stuff (Pet Shop Boys? Frankie Goes To Hollywood? On goth night?) we closed out the club. Also, you cannot dance to "Bela Lugosi's Dead".

I don't have pictures, but I assure you we looked awesome.

A bit underslept this morning, but there is oatmeal with Stuff (tm) in it, and shortly we shall be off to the festival of books. See you there if we're seeing you!
March 12, 2009 Progress Notes:


Words today: 1000.
Words total: 13,700.

Reason for stopping: Tired and kind of frazzled at what comes next. I have a suspicion it's time to send in a man with a gun.

Darling du Jour: Gregory stared him down a few more seconds, as if half a minute more would give him the crucial insight into the thoughts of Zachariah Lane where the last three years had failed.

Things Yet to Cough Up Their Names: The band name Zeke and Gregory have been gigging under; the somewhat tragic singer of Gregory's old band; the name of Gregory's old band, for that matter; some song titles penned by Zeke.
Mean Things: Bringing up some rather unpleasant history that really, we would have preferred nobody ever speak of again. A pissing match that isn't making either of these guys look good. Shortly, a body.

Books in progress: Janni Lee Simner, The Bones of Faerie.
The glamour: There is a wild cottontail nosing about the cacti outside the window, and a turkey vulture or similar object flying around outside the other window.

There were croissants for breakfast today, and then words while [livejournal.com profile] truepenny and [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem went to grab [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange from the airport, and then New Mexican and some kind of iffy cupcakes for lunch. I have sadly bailed on climbing; I've been coughing all week, and I think it's the hangover from the sinus infection. Or I hope it is. But anyways, trying to haul yourself up a wall in the middle of a coughing fit is perhaps not on. And I wanted to nibble at my book. So there.

Dinner shortly, and then gothing. La. *g*
March 11, 2009 Progress Notes:


Words today: 900.
Words total: 12,700.

Reason for stopping: It is nearly midnight local time, and I both climbed a lot of steps in a cave today and ate a lot of dinner. Reader, I am le tired.

Darling du Jour: Gregory was a little too dark-complexioned to go pale with absolute rage, but it didn’t stop him from trying.

Things Yet to Cough Up Their Names: The band name Zeke and Gregory have been gigging under; the somewhat tragic singer of Gregory's old band; the name of Gregory's old band, for that matter; some song titles penned by Zeke.
Mean Things: The comfort of another human being. Yes, this is mean. It's a lot easier to get hurt if you've opened the shell a crack, after all.
Research Roundup: Perpetual motion machines; Cerberus.

Books in progress: Janni Lee Simner, The Bones of Faerie.
The glamour: Actually, right now I am experiencing legitimate glamour. I have no idea how I'm going to go back to my life next week.

Between little stretches for the last two nights and a long one this afternoon, I entirely rewrote the prologue to this book and tinkered with the chapter and a half already extant. There are still comments on it like "This entire thing needs more of Janus's subjectivity. When you find that, stick it in here?" and so forth. It is not perfect by a long shot, but it is much, much better than it was.

I have fresh words to report on this for the first time in about six months.

That aside, before the big book-futzing push, today I slept nicely late, fixed lunch for The Company (potato and mushroom and green bean and mandarin orange salad with the maple dressing stuff, served with the fancy!cheese we picked up the other night at Safeway) and went to Colossal Cave. It is yes, a cave, and yes, colossal. A very prototypical climber boy gave us a tour of it, which involved cavey features of all stripes and orientations as well as some fantastic views. Sadly, I forgot to charge my cellphone (which is my camera) before we went, so I only have one picture, of the entrance. I'll slap that up tomorrow when I have something else to pair it with.

Tonight was otherwise pretty laid-back: a huge dinner of various leftovers and awesome chocolate cupcakes [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem made, some nice soaking in some warm water, and hanging out. Tomorrow morning we grab [livejournal.com profile] stillsostrange at the airport and then there is to be climbing and gothing. I hope to debut the black lace parasol I got in Tombstone yesterday. Yes, did I mention that? I got a black lace parasol in Tombstone. This makes me the coolest person alive for this calendar day.

Saturday is the book festival, and then home on Sunday. And I don't know where all my vacation just got to all of a sudden.

But for now, there were new words today.

Goodnight, O Internet.
Up early this morning in order to get on the road: today's plan was Tombstone and Bisbee, and that is what we did.

(Breakfast log: rosti and eggs.)

Arizona is very bumpy. There are a lot of cacti. We drove past all these cacti and over all these bumps (and around some twisty bits) on our way to Bisbee, which was the first stop of the afternoon. The place we were going to have lunch wasn't actually open, so we landed at a Mexican restaurant where I had some cilantro and tomato and stuff shrimps and rice and whatnot. Then we went down the street to the Copper Queen Hotel (as seen on Ghost Hunters!) and nosed around it a bit before heading to Tombstone.

I have only one picture from Bisbee, and it actually goes in the Signs... category. So we'll head up the highway to Tombstone now.

Tombstone! Me! In Tombstone!

OMGcakes Tombstone!

OMG that's Schieffelin Hall!

This is the sign that marks the spot where the gunfight at the O.K. Corral went down. [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem informed us of where it is dead wrong.

This is all inside the Birdcage Theatre in Tombstone, which is...less a museum than a collection of rather dusty stuff with some sketchy scholarship involved, but this isn't actually a complaint. It felt more like a cabinet of curiosities or a stationary carnival show, all photographs and old furniture and yes, an honest-to-god fakey fake fossilized mermaid.

The first two are boxes in the main theatre, and the second is the Black Mariah they have in the stage area, which was the hearse for Tombstone during the 1880s. Apparently it's fairly rare.

Look! Writers!

(Okay, this was actually the mirror in some old writing desk. We're just being meta and ironical.)

We made it back in pretty much record time -- even beat the sunset and therefore the wolves back to Tucson! -- and had pizza [livejournal.com profile] willshetterly made for dinner and watched CM. And now we are futzing with the guitar and other people are singing while me and my sore throat (yes, I'm still getting over being sick) are writing this post.

In conclusion, have some more of Signs: An Occasional Series!

I think there is a nice warm soak on the menu this evening, and then I am probably taking tomorrow off Adventuring (tm) in order to actually get some freaking writing done. So there may not be so many pictures tomorrow, unless I corner the cats.
leahbobet: (gardening)
I got the sleep. And went to bed early after dinner, since I was completely bagged for a whole different reason. So these are yesterday's pictures, and then I will do today's after dinner.

Day 2 of CupcakeCon commenced with a ginormous strawberry puffed pancake for breakfast (by which I have discharged my obligation to feed the assembled company) and then, since it could be put off no longer, we had the cupcakes:

The gentleman at the Red Velvet Cupcakery is serious about his cupcakes. It's right by where the Festival of Books will be, so I think we'll be going back.

After that we headed out through lots of desert and a twisty, scary mountainy road to the Desert Museum, which was sort of a cross between a zoo, a natural history museum. There were serious animals there:

Deer! Bear! Sheeps with horns!

Beaver! Ironically, I have never seen one at home. They also had a seperate section where the den is, so you can see how they den.



After that we got to visit [livejournal.com profile] casacorona and her horsies, which are very attractive and comely horsies, and had a severe amount of Mexican food for our dinner. And then came home and pretty much went to bed.

More from Signs: An Occasional Series...

Today was full: Bisbee, Tombstone (!) and back again. But I am going to do that one later, since the pizza is ready and we are going to go eat it and watch Criminal Minds now.
leahbobet: (bat signal)
After a kind of hellacious all-nighter -- which is what happens when you have a flight leaving at 7:45 in the morning and the TSA wants you there three hours beforehand -- I am safely ensconced in Tucson with [livejournal.com profile] coffeeem, [livejournal.com profile] willshetterly, [livejournal.com profile] matociquala, and [livejournal.com profile] truepenny.

Look! Arizona!

I got in around 1:45 in the afternoon after a layover in Denver, in which I saw one (1) gentleman wearing a cowboy hat unironically and a landscape that was something like a rucked-up brown towel, all textures and folds and no colour. We headed pretty much straight to the grocery store for the important things and then home, and proceeded to eat guacamole and, eventually, [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's enchiladas.

The enchiladas almost proved deadly, since this:

Was initially put into this:

Which, since it was smelled vaporizing in time, did not actually cause this:

This is not the Emergency Hazmat Capascin Poisoning system. If this was a real emergency, most of the writing staff of Shadow Unit would have been obliterated in a biohazard site.

But yes, eventually we did make our enchiladas and eat our dinner and laze about, and we have already found some contributions for the Signs: An Irregular Series file.

Tomorrow is to be museuming and the visiting of ponies and some wonderful, wonderful sleep. And it is soon. So goodnight. *g*

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