Olli the writer

First of all, sorry. I neglected my blogging duties far too…wait, does anyone even read these? Hello? Anybody out there?

Eh, whatever.

I stopped blogging regularly in September 2015. Which is weird, because there’s one blog post I actually wanted to do. I suppose I got caught up in stuff.1.

Many things happened. I did stuff, got to know awesome people, travelled some more2.

And, in September, I got published.

Here’s how it happened: Ages ago, I got inspired to write a story. I put it on my blog, asked people to read it, got some pretty nice feedback. Then I went on my infamous West Coast US vacation. On my first day I met up with Jennifer Brozek who I first met as a web comic character, then as a poster in a forum, then … well, things escalated and I think we’re friends now! :-D

We had dinner at the Space Needle, and as these things go, we chatted about writing. I mentioned the story and, guess what, Jennifer said: “Ooh, I think I remember that story. Is it the one where…?”
Me: “Yeeees?”
Jennifer: “Submit it. Maybe I’ll buy it.”
I submitted it when I returned and boom, a few month later I was a published author.

You can read “The Rescue” here.

Since then I’ve written two more stories inspired by various conversations, things and showers, and I’ve submitted both to various markets, with mixed success. I did get a few very encouraging personal rejections, and my writing got called “super super cute” among other things.

Since I’m not really a regular, an established writer or anything else but a hobbyist with a lack of discipline and a full time job, the rejections didn’t bother me that much, but I was kinda eager to get at least one of my stories, “Pads for his throne” out there.

Chance had it that I talked to Ivy Tara Blair, who loved the story and expressed interest in it.
She’s aweome. Get her audio books and listen to them. Special recommendation for A.K. Makansi’s “The Sowing”.

Anyway, that and the endless support and encouragement of other friends made me consider self-pubbing somewhere else than the blog.
I was hesitant, still am a little because it’s less than 4000 words. But one idea followed another, so here’s the current plan/status.

  • find editor, have story edited – CHECK
  • find illustrator and cover artist – in progress
  • create amazon author page – tbd
  • publish illustrated ebook – tbd
  • publish print-on-demand illustrated short story/coloring book – tbd
  • have audio book created – tbd
  • publish audio book – tbd
  • strike things of bucket list I never thought I’d do – tbd

 

Watch this space for news as events progress!

Footnotes
  1. lazy. I got lazy []
  2. yes, again! []

Lonely.

What do you call an introvert that seems like an extrovert when around people he’s really comfortable with?

Nothing. You don’t call him, because apparently you assume he’s busy being a crazy social butterfly, fending off people wanting to spend time with him.1

Today was just one of the days I realized this.
I got the crazy idea to text a group of people. Five couples, to be specific. A few guys I went to school with and have known for more than half my life plus their significant others.
It’s only been a few hours, but I am not really hopeful, for some reason.

I first asked if anyone had time to go have dinner on the weekend of my birthday, in two and a half weeks.
One of the couples replied that they were busy. Their acoustic trio has a gig the day before and tickets for a musical on that day. Fair enough.
After realizing that the weekend before would actually be better for me, since my birthday weekend also is the weekend of the wine festival my orchestra organizes.
So I suggested going for that weekend instead and offered to kill a few bottles of wine with whoever joins me on the actual birthday weekend.
Couple 2: We won’t be available on your birthday but probably could do something on the weekend before.
Couple 3: no reply yet. I know, it only has been a few hours, but I don’t really expect a timely response anymore. I really like them, and it’s mutual, it’s just that they’re notoriously bad at replying to text or picking up their phone, something that hasn’t gotten better since they had their kid a year ago. I still tried. You never know.
Couple 4 and 5 I only added just in case they happen to be in the area. They live 200 respectively 700 or so kilometers away, but who knows, I might get lucky.

That’s just one occurence, I know, but it feels typical.
People seem to assume I’m busy or something even if I tell them I’m usually not. Hell, I’d probably jump at ANY opportunity if someone texted me and said “hey, let’s go get a burger/movie/ice cream/go bowling/throw rocks at stupid people.” I’d drive an hour for any of that.
People don’t.
“Why don’t you reach out?”
When I was a kid, my parents described me as shy. I guess I kinda am. Once I warm up to people, it doesn’t show in conversations. Certainly not on twitter. Some of you have met me, have had dinner with me, played Cards Against Humanity with me, went to the zoo with me, even travelled with me for a bit. You’ve met me at my best and happiest. Among people who wanted to spend time with me and made it clear.

Sure, I meet people every week(ish) at orchestra rehearsal, but I don’t count that as spending time with friends. It’s a thing I do, but that’s mostly it. I also have tons of coworkers and usually have fun with them, but work is the focus then. That’s it.
On any given working day, the average number of words spoken to people I don’t somehow work with or that I buy food from is zero-ish.
Usually, I get home from work and spend the rest of they day talking to people on twitter and IRC, maybe watch a tv show or movie on bluray or netflix.

I used to meet up with couple 3 a lot, before they had the kid, for regular board game nights. That died down after a while, when more people we played with got busy and parts of their own lives (university, job) changed.

Sure, I could ask them, the other local friends or some of the coworkers that don’t live two hours away from me to do stuff, but it’s not that easy to me. They do have lives and partners and other friends of their own. They have other stuff they do regularly that eats up some time. And there’s the little fact that I already feel imposing when I ask some coworkers if they mind me tagging along on their lunch break. I know they don’t mind, I’m pretty sure they’d tell me if they did. But still, it’s how I feel, can’t change much about that. I occasionally do join them when time permits, but if that sometimes feels awkward to me, imagine how difficult it is to be the one to constantly have to ask people to spend their free time with, if almost nobody else ever initiates.

A former coworker who’d moved away is now back in the area, only a 25 minute drive from where I live, less from work, we already met up for dinner once, vowed to do that more often, I guess that’s something, and I’m really glad.

Other than that: sure, I have my “social circles” on twitter and irc and other people I mostly talk to via the internet, but having some of your closest friends being anything between 200 and 10.000km away, I still sometimes am really fucking lonely.

Ok, that’s enough, brb, gonna go donate to Syrian refugees. If you can afford it, think about doing it. I suggest this place to start: Pat Rothfuss’ blog with a link to his worldbuilders fundraiser

 

 

Footnotes
  1. Another acceptable answer would have been: Lonely. Really fucking lonely. []

Roadtrip 2015 – No whales. Again.

After my disastrous experiences with trying to see whales up north I’d booked a whale watching boat trip for one of the days in San Francisco. The trip was pretty nice.

We passed under the Golden Gate Bridge twice1 and coming back the weather was pretty good.

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I saw plenty of birds, seals, sealions, even a few dolphins briefly.

Not.

A.

Single.

Whale.

To be fair, just before we got back into the bay, someone (even several people) allegedly saw a whale spout. We hung around a bit, someone saw it again, but I didn’t even see that.

So there’s that. The crew was nice and knowledgeable, though, explained a lot of stuff about the animals we saw and all that. But after a few hours I was seriously tempted to throw the captain overboard. Every now and then he’d go on the PA and shout “LET’S FIND A WHALE” followed by some other motivational bullcrap, always in the same, forced eager tone. Given my whale-related frustration on the trip that got old preeeetty quick.

But here, have a digest of the animals I did see. I liked that part, a lot of birds you usually don’t see and all that.

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And that was it. Since Maui2 was out of season my3 chances of seeing a whale on this vacation where crushed. Again. But the day wasn’t over yet. In fact it got really awesome. I went back to the hotel to relax a bit. And, basically, wait. Reading. WP_20150523_001While that is always nice, it wasn’t the point. The point was, today wasn’t only my last full day in San Francisco, it was also the day I was scheduled to meet up with the lovely, awesome and delightful4 Amira Makansi. If you don’t know her, she’s co-creator of the SEEDS book series, which you should check out.

Anyway, she took it upon herself to meet up with me, despite fighting off the remainder of what sounded like a pretty nasty cold and picked me up to have dinner in Japantown.

It.fried and smoked eggs, dumplings

fried and smoked eggs, dumplings

Was.

Ramen.

Ramen.

So.

WP_20150523_19_48_46_Pro

green tea crème brulée

Good.

And I’m not only talking about the food.

I really enjoyed spending time with Amira and hope to get to do that again. On either continent.

Bye, see you on Maui!

Footnotes
  1. obviously []
  2. I’ll take you there in a few days []
  3. realistic []
  4. you should hear her laugh. ;-) []

Roadtrip 2015 – Meeting up in San Francisco

After three days of constantly being shunned by cats and not being danced for by the bird, Cairn finally had to let me go. It was time to see new places and people, and give the cats a break from hiding. I waited a bit to avoid the worst of the traffic and stopped twice on my way from Sacramento to San Francisco. Once at my probably last chance to get Chick-Fil-A on this road trip.1

The second stop was right before going down past Vallejo, but nothing spectacular happened there. The weather was so-so, no animals, the view was mediocre so I did the next thing on my schedule. I crossed the Bay Bridge and entered San Francisco.

PxRoadtrip 103

Sadly it was still a little hazy, so the view from Twin Peaks, which was not exactly optimal. Driving up through those steep streets was VERY interesting though. Thank photoshop for clearing up the haze and thank automatic cars. I’ve driven stick all my life, but that …

EosRoadtrip 942 EosRoadtrip 952After that I headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf to check into my hotel. Took me only two rounds around the block to find the entrance to the $50-a-night-parking garage. I was rather happy that I’d only need it for one night. Next up, after freshening up at the hotel was a new exciting meet-up.
Justin, who I used to play Eve Onlin with, had immediately started preparing when he heard I’d be coming to California and forced his brother to join him on a 6 or 7 hour drive from Lake Arrowhead just to meet up with me. And get back home the next day because they had to be at a wedding. You should totally check out his stuff, he’s an amazing artist. And a really cool guy.
We met up in the hotel lobby and he admitted that it felt sort of like a first date. Well, yeah, it can be interesting meeting people in person for the first time. We got over that fairly quick, had a stroll along the Embarcadero, checking out the piers, the sealions until we got back to Pier 39 to eat at Bubba Gump’s. I’d totally recommend that. Depending on where you are (I assume) you’ll always get tourist trap prices, but the quality, service and atmosphere are worth it. Just check out the slideshow, you’ll see what I mean. Well, part of it.

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The Coronarita was excellent and so was the food. And the company of course. After we finished stuffing our faces and got our souvenirs stowed away at our hotel rooms we ended the day in a nearby pub with a few beers.

And thus endeth my first daye in ye olde San Francisco. Or something like that.

 

Footnotes
  1. It was okay for chicken based fast food. Would not go out of my way to have it again. []

Roadtrip 2015 – Goldrush

As if showing me part of the most gorgeous scenery in the western U.S. wasn’t enough, awesome Cairn treated me to something else on my second full day visiting her. Which was as well since the cats still weren’t to pleased by my existence.

But first she showed me around old Sacramento so I could see old buildings, the Wells Fargo Museum and the Pony Express statue! Look here:

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After that (and a well-deserved breakfast at Eggie’s we hit the road towards Coloma, the place of the original gold findings in California and the start of the gold rush. We even arrived there after taking only one wrong turn into the barren wildernis that is California. At the national park we hiked about a bit, joked with the park ranger, took pictures, bought a plastic pan and tried our luck on the banks of the draught-ridden and therefor not-so-mighty American river.

And guess what:EosRoadtrip 935

 

Gold!

Well…a little. And we lost it again. But we had fun, and that’s what matters. So here’s a bunch of pretty and informative pictures, including signs that scared me. And made me hope to actually see some of the animals mentioned on them. No such (bad) luck, though. Still, good times were had by all. Thanks again, Cairn!

After that we headed home, found another funny vanity plate and had dinner at that Mexican place, where I had watermelon agua fresca which is probably the best drink ever ever ever ever and I really need to make some here and find a container to bring it to work.

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Roadtrip 2015 – Yosemite

While Cairn’s cat continued to shun meEosRoadtrip 755 I got a big dose of hospitality today. After starting the day with a berry big breakfast at the Black Bear Diner, my awesome hosts drove me all the way to Yosemite National Park to take pictures of rocks and waterfalls and squirrels and stuff. We had tons of fun on this road trip within the roadtrip even if the weather wasn’t ideal at times. Vanity Plates and bumper stickers provided some entertainment as well, but the main attraction was the quite beautiful scenery of the national park itself. And some of the fattest squirrels I’ve ever seen, darting around between the visitors protecting their sandwiches from them at the visitor center. I didn’t take a picture of those, though. No fatshaming squirrels.1

As you’ll see in the slideshow below, Yosemite is worth a look even when it isn’t bright blue sky all around, so here’s what we saw gallivanting about the park itself!

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After seeing all that we drove back Sacramento-wards, only stopping to pick up our well-deserved dinner at this place:

EosRoadtrip 898“Wait, what?” the non-US ones of you will say. Wiener Schnitzel? In the States? As fast food, by the looks of it?

Nope. It’s a hot dog chain.

“So what?” the Americans not “in-the-know” will say.

Let me explain.

THIS is a Wiener Schnitzel.

click me

 

Footnotes
  1. also my camera was in the car at the time []

Roadtrip 2015 – Avenue of the Giants

After a day of driving through one of the probably most beautiful forests of the western U.S., I …did it again. Except I didn’t turn back but went on towards Sacramento, taking the Avenue of the Giants, that stretch of road that runs right next to the Redwood Highway, Route 101. It’s a pretty stretch of road, full of actually huge trees, some you can pay 5 bucks to drive through. Which I did, naturally. Apart from that this day was rather similar to the last, except maybe a little shorter and I took less pictures.

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After that it was time to go to West Sacramento where I met the lovely and awesome Cairn Rodrigues whose cats hid for me, whose bird didn’t want to dance for me but enjoyed my whistling and whose husband called me “Sir”1.
She also housed me, fed me fried chicken and corncobs, and she took me to National Parks where we took lots of pictures and found gold. But that, as they say, is a story for another day.

yolo

Footnotes
  1. I quickly put an end to that []

Roadtrip 2015 – One hell of a whale fail

As many of you know, I ‘ve been a little obsessed with whales (and aquatic life in general) since I was a kid, and I might have been trying to go whale watching a couple of times. On my third day of vacation I had booked another attempt. A seaplane flight from Lake Union to San Juan Islands followed by a whale watching cruise. Sounds good, eh?
I’d booked it in advance, so I took a taxi to the terminal to check in, had breakfast and we took flight to the encouraging words of the attendant: “There’s a bit of fog but don’t worry. Worst case you’ll have to turn around and try again in an hour.”
Didn’t happen, as you might have guessed from the title of this post. We took off, had an actually nice flight around. I was watching the compass quite anxciously and after 30 minutes or so we’d returned to Lake Union. WP_20150513_09_12_34_Pro KopieA muffin and an hour later they told us that they still hadn’t got clearance to start, so I called the whale watching tour to tell them. No way I’d make the boat. They assured me they’d do a full refund, which was nice, but I still was in one hell of a mood.
I started a little call to arms on twitter, to see if I could do anything else to take my mind off my more than miserable temper. Since there was no taxi in sight, I decided to walk towards the hotel, cursing under my breath. Pretty much non-stop, the whole 4 miles.
Back at the hotel I remembered there was another whale watching opportunity up near Seattle, but guess what: The one tour my schedule would have allowed ended their season on May 1st. This was May 13th. But my twitter call to arms had worked. Sara, who I’d met the day before in person for the first time had managed to get off work early. She’d told her boss about my day going bust and basically got told “Go cheer him up!”

Sara, I have to say this again: You saved not only my day, but probably the rest of the week. I don’t think I’d been a fun travelling companion for myself if not for the awesome afternoon that followed. Ever been on vacation, on a roadtrip, all by yourself, in a foul mood? I haven’t, and I don’t like myself in a foul mood on other occasions.

We decided on the Tacoma Zoo, met up on the parking lot and tried to find animals, more or less successfully. Had a great time chatting about animals, travel, work and other stuff.

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The awesome didn’t stop here. After our slightly wet zoo adventure we went to the Anthony’s nearby, had bread with shrimp/artichoke dip, oyster burgers abd Rhubarb Slump for dessert.
ALL THE TASTY FOOD! With a side of more awesome conversation about various topics which I’d love to repeat some time. My Scuttlebutt Pale Ale1 was pretty nice, too. Sara’s Whiskey Sour was more wiskey than sour, though.

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After that it was time to part ways, but not before taking goody selfies and enjoying a hug.

Again, thank you Sara! And Sara’s boss! Thanks for making this the best day of all the days that so cruelly denied me whales! It was awesome even by non-whale-standards!

 

 

No murdercorns where harmed in the creation of this blog post.

Footnotes
  1. I adore that name []

Roadtrip 2015 – tweeple against humanity

After a successful day one of my vacation it was time to crank it up another notch. Time to meet more people, as scheduled. I started out by walking all the way from my hotel to the Space Needle. About 4 miles. Yeah, I’d planned to take the bus, but I had an early breakfast1 and too much time on my hands. So why not?
EosRoadtrip 080
I did well, too. I arrived just in time to meet up with the great and awesome KariAnn who wouldn’t have time in the evening but agreed to take me to the EMP Museum where we saw C3PO, took pictures together and played with musical instruments.

Look:

After that we went down to the market, ate at a crab cake, listened to tourists bang their crustaceans with wooden hammers and giggled. We also took the monorail!2

Unfortunately Kari had to return home after that, so I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at fish in the aquarium, buying stamps and sitting around at Starbucks, getting asked for money about three or four times just that day, just to kill some time.
The evening was devoted to twitter people again. I turned up on Jackie‘s doorstep after negotiating that fun combination of hallways and elevators leading to it. A bit later Jill, Carey, Megan and Sara arrived by various means of transport. We did a pretty good job of decimating the wine and cheese Jackie provided, only to move on to Carey’s wine.
Lots of wine. Tasty, tasty cheese and wine. We also talked a lot, about people we all stalked on twitter, ourselves, travel, writing, reading, books, words (I guess that’s what you get when you put people together who mostly write and/or read whenever they can), The evening went by far to quickly, though. Since we hadn’t planned on how long the evening would go, Sara went rather early to catch her ferry back home and Jill left soon after that as well. The rest of us took it upon us to endure the hardship of playing Cards against Humanity. We had to explain “smegma” to one of us and I’m not saying it was Carey. Thankfully the wine helped along and we managed to reduce Megan to tears and gasping, as well channel Sara in at least two rounds.

You guess which was which.

 

I am not ashamed of playing this one. Or winning that round.

Great minds…

Another highlight of the evening:

We all wish we’d be living it. We all do.

But even this part of the evening had to end some time, so we left Jackie in a pile of empty wine bottles and cheese rinds. Carey was nice enough to get me back to my hotel AND show me THE BRIDGE TROLL on the way, even though we almost didn’t find it. Nobody died on the way, but not for lack of trying.

 

Footnotes
  1. crabcakes benedict. YUM! []
  2. It’s more of a Shelbyville idea. []

Roadtrip 2015 – Planes, Cars, Space Needles

I’ve warned you, and here it is. I’ll start going into the details fo my vacation a couple of times a week.EosRoadtrip 035

I’d decided to start this vacation as comfortable as possible, so I spent the night before leaving at a hotel at Frankfurt Airport and ate one of the most German things imaginable for dinner. Then I went to bed, slept some, got up early for my hotel breakfast. Thus prepared for the hardships of travel I checked into my flight, boarded it some time later and took off at around 10:30AM GMT+11 to spend 9 hours on a plane. About three movies2 and one sitcom episode later I touched down in Seattle, went through customs and such, picked up my rental car and drove into and through Seattle to my Hotel in the University District.

A bit later I took a cab to Union Park and explored a little, since I had a bit of time left before the first highlight of my vacation. I saw Union Park, seaplanes and Space Needles, which was nice. I ate a hot dog, went down to Centennial Park. So basically just “first time in town random exploring before scheduled things take place”.

At around 6 PM local time3 I finally met up with Jennifer Brozek who is totally awesome and not just because she gave me three books and signed them. Her husband is awesome, too.
As the table we’d booked wasn’t ready yet, we walked around on the observation deck of the needle until they texted us, after which we …well, sat down, ordered food and drinks and chatted about everything and nothing. Mainly travel, writing, food, drinks, travel, more travel, some more writing.4
The fun part is how we know each other. You may not know, but Jennifer is actually a time travelling international jewel thief who wrote and published The Sith Lord of the Rings in 1886. Awesome, huh?  Oh, wait. I just realized I had dinner with someone who has their own wikipedia entry.5

Okay, back to business. Jennifer herself blogged about that day and it’s not the only thing of her you should read, but it’s a start.

WP_20150511_19_08_54_ProWe had a lovely dinner6 and chat, it was a great way to start my vacation. But it also was a long day and I went back to my hotel to sleep the sleep of the sleepy. EosRoadtrip 017

 

See you on Monday when I tell you about Etsy-steampunk strap-on’s.

Footnotes
  1. German time, which is usually US West Coast + 9 hours []
  2. Taken 3, Kingsman, Into the Woods []
  3. I’d been up for about 19 hours, give or take []
  4. I might have a surprise related to that for you some time later []
  5. achievement unlocked []
  6. try the wild king salmon, it’s really good! []