Seattle doesn’t look good in sunlight.

Seattle doesn’t look good in sunlight.

A non-native’s ten-month stay in the Emerald City Part I

We moved into our apartment in Seattle, Washington, on 1 January 2019 after living in an airbnb for about three weeks while we searched for said apartment, and we will move out of this place on 31 October 2019. Since I’ve been mentally checked out of here for about two months now (after a rousing experience with some Chinese “entrepreneurs” went sour quite quickly after discovering that the “management” had some serious “issues”), my mind is clearly revealing some of the theories its developed about this place, and one of them regards the rain.

We had lived in South Korea for the past five years, and upon our departure, moved to New Zealand. Our plan was to fly to Auckland and decide whether or not we would stay. Under the assumption that we would love it and want to live there (oh so badly), we booked departure flights ten weeks after our arrival, hoping that would be enough time to decide whether or not we would stay (and we booked that flight to Honolulu [a cheap destination from NZ, quite frankly, and cheap enough to flush if we did indeed stay {and we had to book outbound flights because we lacked visas for our arrival but can easily stay with US Passports for up to three months as visitors}]). Unfortunately, after about ten days, we realized that there was no fucking way we were going to stay there. As urbanites, willful city mice, Auckland was not enough of a city for us, and NZ as a whole is rural. Obviously, we knew this going into it, but we thought that there would at least be some character to the city, some culture, some anything. But alas, Auckland is a little baby city and will require quite a lot more time to really mature into something interesting, a place of real interest. And NZ really feels like the edge of the world, and we were wanting to stay connected, get reconnected.

These things I am saying about NZ may seem obvious to most of you, so just go ahead and call me The Idiot. Despite having about two months to burn in a place we didn’t want to stay (for us, meaning no longer wanting to spend our money in), we tried to make the most of it. I started a Meetup for writers and met a handful of people (one of whom was American, funnily enough) who were all very friendly and amicable but who lacked … ambition. Everyone was so content, and it was a beautiful thing to behold. Just not the place for us.

And so, we also spent many hours of those two months deciding where in the United States we were willing to live. After much debate, we settled on Seattle. The climate in Seoul is a sort of hellish nightmare-scape. I needed some relief from the bitter, biting, relentless cold of winter and the melting, muggy, suffocating weight of summer. Seattle is supposed to be temperate. Seattle is supposed to be gloomy. Seattle is supposed to be wet and rainy. Seattle is supposed to be mild. And it is, but it’s also way too sunny for its own good.

From what I can gather from strangers is that this past summer was unusually sunny. The last winter was unusually snowy as well. The temperatures and climate overall were more extreme this year than past years, which screams to me climate change, duh (and Seattle has supposedly made some major changes, but those changes are not being reflected in the cost of living). And so, to my theory.

Native Seattleans were born into a climate of rain and gloom. Sure there are sunny days but not like the ones of late. Thus, there is a certain air about them, a somber sort of goth depression and a “don’t give a fuck” kind of attitude. This demeanor and thereby aesthetic suits rainy days, the gloom and darkness of long stretches of overcast spitting-type rain very well, extremely well; the two came together out of the climate conditions of Seattle itself. In the bright light of a sun-filled day, the look is a bit heavy.

Seeing a Native Seattlean in broad, cloudless sunshine feels like seeing a turtle out of its shell; they look a bit naked, pale, white. And maybe they are all trying to soak up as much sun as they can, when they can, but the general aesthetic is not pleasing. The worst part, however, is the climate change. This past summer, Seattle felt like a place where there is a lot of sunshine, but the type of people who live in places with a lot of sunshine are not like the type of people who do not. Thus, there were a few instances of people who live in sunshine climates strutting around in Seattle during the height of summer, and even they looked out of place. Seattle’s climate forces people who exist within it to dress and thereby look a very strange way. There’s really no way to look good. Not that looking good is important or even worthy of something about which to be written.

Anyway, Seattle feels full (and I use “full” in comparison here as this city feels mostly empty, either dead or dying or preparing itself for a boom) of mostly people who have been shipped in for work in the tech sector. We have met few natives and we’ve met even fewer people our own age (everyone being either older or younger than us), yet everyone we see while walking around seems to be our age. And obviously, Seattle, too, feels like a little baby city with a little too much sprawl, expensive public transportation, and nothing to offer as far as the fun of “street culture” (street food, street fashion) is concerned.

It’s raining again after about two solid months of hot summer sunshine, and I’m excited and energized by the gloom that rainy weather brings. This is why we chose this place for our ten-month stay, after all. I cannot honestly admit that it has been nice, but it’s been whatever it is that this time was supposed to be. Is it someplace I would ever like to live again? No. Am I upset that I lived here during this time? No. My point is simply that Seattle looks good in the rain; the sunshine only highlights its flaws.

Friendly Shortbread

Friendly Shortbread

As a long-time friend of a certain person, I have decided to share a recipe of my own making with and for her. To be clear, I did not make the recipe for this friend, specifically (obviously, as a high-functioning narcissist); I made it for myself. My mother has a “secret family recipe” for a thing called “Raspberry Squares,” and as a long-time eater of said “Squares,” I wanted to create a slightly healthier option that I could eat more frequently than twice a year (both for the “Holidays”). To be clear, this is not actually that much healthier of a recipe, but it feels healthier to eat, therefore, it is. With nothing left to say, I present to you …

shoatbread.jpg

 

Whole-Wheat ShOATbread Jam Squares (or Rectangles in this case) 

350 degrees F

Cream together:

1 c plant butter (aka margarine, a worthy change in perception by Country Crock, if you ask me. I saw it in stores for the first time last week [on massive sale, btw], and so, tried it out. It’s basically pure fat, which is perfect for baking shortbread.) or butter, Crisco, etc.

1/4 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar (loosely scooped or poured, not packed down)

1 large egg

1/2 t almond extract

Add drys:

2 c whole wheat flour

2 c rolled oats (not oatmeal)

1/2 t baking power

1/4 t salt

Mix until batter sticks to itself (easy to make balls or something) but still crumbles

Portion half the batter into a pan and evenly pack down (I used a square ceramic pan)

Smear 1/2 c jam (of your choice) to cover entire first layer of batter

Cover layer of jam with a second layer of batter and evenly pack down

Add 2 T jam as a glaze on top of the second layer of batter

Bake 32 minutes

(I’m not at high altitude, Babe, so I’m not sure how to differ the recipe. It doesn’t rise all that much anyway, so, maybe it won’t be a problem.)

 

 

Mid-Year Update

Mid-Year Update

Dear Life,

Obviously, I’ve failed miserably at my 365-days of writing, but fear not, I am not disappointed in myself. A strange thing happened, and I’m not really one to gossip, so I’ll not go into great detail, however, I began working (at a meager job, no worries), and this employment situation turned into a place of great opportunity, minus one small detail: The “owner” who had hired me had introduced himself as the “owner” and continued to play the role of “owner” until the truth became known that he was, in fact, a manager with ownership stake.

Now, if you do not know why this is such a big deal, well then, much of this post will probably not … interest you. Nevertheless, if the difference means something to you, in your own mind, well then, the “one small detail” is no small detail at all. And thus, it was an eight-week nightmare of lies, deceit and overall futility. I cannot say, at this time, whether or not I even work at this place. The point is mostly to convey the seriousness of my life over the past month (all of the nonsense began to take shape around the middle of June, with it all coming to a head around the second week in July, with the issue still at large as of today). In total, I only worked at this place for exactly two months. Dramatic much?

And so, I’m mostly apologizing to myself for not being able to follow through on a goal that I had very much wanted to accomplish, but there is still time. I am not so naive as to make any promises at this point, but I am working on refocusing my efforts toward shit that matters, as opposed to on a shitty situation, in a restaurant, a place, in my opinion, not worth this much effort and stress.

*sigh*

What am I going to do now?

Well, I’ve already started reading quite heavily again, and I’m writing this post now. The lifemate and I already had plans to leave this place for another place in a few months time, and so, this is not so much a blow to us financially as it is just a complete annoyance, and something about which I would like to complain very heavily to anyone who will listen. But this is really not about that. I will apply this past two-month experience to both the efforts of learning and accepting. Knowing full well about my relationship with patience, I understand this circumstance as another fucking test in a long line of tests that is fucking LIFE.

But perhaps that’s much of the problem with the marketing scheme that LIFE provides, these things are challenges or tests or trials that need to be overcome. That, to me, sounds like spin set upon life through the mechanisms of organized religion, organization affiliation to anything, really. “These are the challenges we must face!” I say, “Fuck you, LIFE!” We’re here, and everything is working against our being here. There’s a much larger force at work than a mere challenge or test or trial; it’s LIFE. Life isn’t hard; it just is. Life isn’t cruel; it just is. Life isn’t challenging; it just is.

I mean, have you even seen those BBC productions about Our Planet? From our perspective, that’s some cruel shit. But from the perspective of all things living together, being together, it’s just life, and that is what’s fucking crazy.

We (the lifemate and I, always) watched the goddamn Mueller Testimony this morning, and what a thing to behold. It makes me wonder, like, if every generation has its crook, then why are we surprised? Also, the word upon which everyone should be fixated is not “exonerate” but rather, the word procure. Did anyone on Trump’s team (including Trump, himself) help procure the disinformation/stolen information used in the 2016 election? That’s my two cents.

I’m very muchly looking forward to the second round of Democratic Presidential Candidate debates that are set to air next week. Obviously, we are still way too far away to know or pick a candidate we prefer.

… And we’re charging full-steam ahead with our business plans for our next location. Oh and we’re playing our way through the free Borderlands 2 DLC in eager anticipation for Borderlands 3.

I think that’s all for now.

 

 

 

#Goals

#Goals

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FIVE

2017 April 24 [Monday]

Mundane Monday (obviously)

*sigh. Well, a lot of time has passed, and yet, I don’t really have much to share. There are a few topics, maybe two or five, about which I would like to diary-type write simply because so much time has gone by and so much fiction writing has been accomplished. I suppose, then, I ought to just get to it. I remember being able to write more interesting or compelling intros to these things, but honestly, I just don’t care. As you’ll soon find out, I’ve been writing my ass off (but not really [but really]), and I’m tired. No matter, I finally have my first Monday off (I like to take the day after a ten-day due-date off from writing) from the fiction writing since February, and so, I thought it might be a “fun” “exercise in remembering” to write a Mundane Monday post. I have the time but more importantly, the energy.

First things first, the reason why I’ve been so thoroughly absent across all of my various blogs and social media (well, I’m always absent from social media, but I was on Instagram for about four months before I pulled the plug, so, yea, that’s what I mean). Yesterday, I proudly announce!, marked day 130 of my 200-day, 150,000-word-count extravaganza! For Episode Thirteen (due yesterday), I (easily) surpassed my 9,350-word ten-day quota. Each episode has had a steady increase in word quotas, with a slow growth from 900 – 8,000 words over Episodes 1 – 8, culminating at a 9,350-word goal for Episodes 9 – 14. This steady increase has proven itself demanding. And so, not only have I not had the energy to write anything else, but also, I simply do not care about much else except the book. Are you dying to read it? Probably not. Oh well. Woe is me.

What happens after Episode 14?, is sure to be the question hanging from all your lips! Well, that brings the second topic to the forefront, but for now, I’ll simply introduce it. We are going on our vacation next week, so Episode 14 is due next Wednesday (May 3rd), and then we will embark on our ten-day vacation, through which I will do no writing. This means that I have to reach 100,000 words before the trip, and then, when we return, I will have an 8,350-word, ten-day quota for the remaining six episodes (Episodes 15 -20) to reach that coveted 150 big ones. All of this will come to its deeply anticipated end on July 12, 2017. In total, my manuscript currently sits at 91,783 words, which amounts to roughly 152 Letter-sized pages of printer paper, typed upon in Times New Roman at an 11-pt font size. As you can see, I only have about 8,200 words left to reach 100,000 total words (before our trip), but I have a 9,350-word, ten-day quota for Episode 14, which happily means that I will (presumably) surpass my 14-episode goal! Obviously, I’m talking about all of this in future terms, so I still have ten days of writing work ahead of me. Nevertheless, I hope that all of this droll info helps to convey my current writing sitch and excuses my lacking presence here in this blogspace. Oh, and about Instagram … I sort of found it to be mind-numbingly prosaic, so I deleted everything and got the hell outa there. I wasn’t using any other social media, other than this and my photography blog, so that’s the only update I have for ya.

Now, for the good stuff! The lifemate and I are embarking on our 2017 ETMC Travels: Sydney Edition in just ten days! We fly out to Sydney, Australia, on May 03, 2017, and we’ll be back on May 13, 2017. I’m finally so excited that I can’t stand it! I’ve had to push the trip to the back of my mind as I write, write, write, but now that we’re so close and my word-count goal is all so possible, I allow myself now to daydream about the trip. I can’t fucking wait! It’s going to be so awesome – lying by the beach, eating cheap western foods, doing a whole lotta nonya, swimming in a pool, getting up to no good, smeezin’ some serious beez. *sigh. The lifemate bought a new backpack for the trip on Saturday, and it’s so damn cute. I wanted to take a pic to post here today, but I forgot to ask him if he’d mind, so a pic of the thing will just have to wait. I will say this, however, the backpack, as a whole, looks like a panda bear. Haha! And it’s not like a kids’-sized pack either. It’s a full-sized thing, and man, it’s so damn cute! He looks great with it.

What else … tutoring? Yes, I’m still tutoring two days a week but on Tuesdays and Fridays now. SJ is less-enthused about middle school, but she’s still convinced that school makes her happy. I could write a whole book about her. Perhaps one day. Uh … I’m gonna do some last-minute shopping today to pick up some travel stuffs so that I can focus on the last bit of fiction writing over the course of this last weekday week. What’s the book about? Well, if only you knew how irritating that question is, you wouldn’t have asked. Wait, but I asked. So, let’s see … yea, I’m definitely not ready to broach that subject. I will, however, (maybe) post a tiny portion of it here once it’s all finished. Obviously, there will be months and months of editing afterwards, but I have to at least get this “principal photography,” as the lifemate likes to put it, all wrapped up.

I guess that ought to do it for today. Like I said, there’s not much to say. Every day I wake up sometime between 8AM and 2PM, drink coffee, watch a movie, eat breakfast, drink more coffee, write for 1- 2 hours, go to tutoring (when applicable), workout (when necessary), grocery shop, eat dinner, watch basketball, watch one other show or another movie, eat more food, drink libations (wine, sparkling wine, beer, or vodka), read a chapter from a book that’s already taken a month to read, and I’m only a third of the way through it, and then pass out or fall asleep. On weekends, the sitch remains. I think we’ve “hit the town” three times this year, so far. The poor lifemate has to deal with my lame ol’ life, but he’s being a righteous (not like religious, but like badass) trooper. So, yea, I love life right now, it’s just not all that “shareable.” Hahaha! Suckers! I’ve read a few articles lately … okay … never mind. I cannot go there right now. Anyway, I’ll just say, when reality meets delusion, a life spent mostly online reveals itself as a life not at all.

Bis später (oh yea, and we’re learning German)!

Surprise, Surprise: a failure at large

Surprise, Surprise: a failure at large

On this |how.odious| DAY, ONE HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO, of Year Two, being Monday, February 20, 2017, the purpose of this blogspace has been redefined yet again. Back in October 2016 [exactly four month ago, to the day, actually] at the beginning of this |how.odious| Year Two, I was not currently writing fiction. Thus, I had set the goal to write twice a week for the rest of the year, once on Mondays in diary form and once on Fridays in researched, nonfiction form. Then, in December, my two metric months [one month equaling 100 days] of fiction writing commenced, with the goal being to write 150,000 words in 200 days. The end of this 200 days is July 2nd, 2017. So far, I am marching very efficiently and effectively toward completing this seemingly daunting, impossible task. Honestly, though, the fiction writing could not be going any better. I enjoy writing every day, even though, some days I don’t actually write, but all of my mental faculties are being pressed to produce each metric week’s [ten days] word count quota, which, to date, has been hit every single metric week with great aplomb.

The problem, then, is not the writing of fiction. The problem is the demands of this blogspace. As you can see, I missed last Friday’s “Feature Friday.” This was due to the fact that I was simply too burnt out to write or even think about what to write by the time Friday rolled around. Fiction writing deems itself far more taxing than I initially imagined, and I had a truly onerous perception of the task I had set before myself. Thus, I imagined that writing here on |how.odious| would at some point become too much. And, so, here we are now, reexamining not only what it possible for me as far as reasonable writing goals, but also, what is truly necessary as far as my level of consistent output. Remember, my fiction writing goal is the absolutely priority. The conclusion to which I have arrived, thus, seems reasonable enough, but, like all things, only time will tell of its feasibility. Therefore, here are the new guidelines for what this blogspace ought to be.

Every week I will consciously attempt to write an extra piece, meaning something unrelated to my fiction writing. Each day of the week will have a certain theme attached to it, and they are as follows:

Monday: Mundane Monday

Tuesday: Truthful Tuesday

Wednesday: Wednesday Wonderer

Thursday: Thorough Thursday

Friday: Friday Fable

The way it works should be pretty self-explanatory, but I will explain, nonetheless. If [if being the operative word] I write an extra piece of writing and it ends up being something researched and of the nonfiction genre, I will post it on Thursday, for Thorough Thursday. Get it? Mondays will remain essentially the same in theme. If/when I write a personal narrative either about the happenings in my life or about some revelation via introspection, I will post on Truthful Tuesday. Wednesdays are for posts regarding thoughts that I have surrounding the more existential. And Fridays, since Thursdays are now reserved for researched nonfiction, will host any extra short-form fiction, if anything “extra” is ever written.

The difference between the way |how.odious| worked at the beginning of this Year Two [which began on October 21, 2016] and now is that I am not required to write any particular type of post during any given week. I am, however, requiring myself to [try my damnedest to] write ONE post each week, but, as of today, I imagine they will most likely be posts on Mondays for Mundane Monday, as this type of post is the easiest, least-demanding of the bunch. If I write anything beyond the fiction quota that is required of me on any given week, I will feel like a success.

The good news is that my two metric months of fiction will end, eventually, and so, I will most likely return to a two-post-per-week schedule here on this blogspace. Until my 150,000 words of fiction are completed, however, I think writing here, once a week will be enough while not being too much. I am not entirely sure under which category this particular post falls, so I will simply post it as a diary-type post within the context of logging my life. Yea, sure. Okay. So, that’s it for this post and this week. I will see you again sometime between Monday and Friday next week. Laters!

Week-Long Ultra-Feast

Week-Long Ultra-Feast

|how.odious| Year Two: DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTEEN

2017 February 13 [Monday]

Monday, Monday, Monday, Monday!, couldn’t come soon enough! The week started with a light cold that left me feeling a bit dull and snot-ridden for about three days, but the whole sitch came and went quick enough. I went for a light jog on Wednesday to get some new blood pumping through my system and felt pretty good the rest of the week. Today, I feel fine. The cold, however, brought about the beginning of a week-long ultra-feast, meaning the lifemate and I indulged ourselves in all of the unapproved foods we normally never eat.

We ate bags of chips, bags of [Snyder’s-style] pretzels, half a dozen fudge-filled brownies, half a dozen super-fancy Krispy Kreme donuts, hash browns, potato hash, Taco Bell, honey biscuit sandwiches, BLTs, bacon, cheese-filled corn dogs, cream cheese-filled and ice cream-filled Belgian waffles, vodka and pricier beers. Basically, we stuffed ourselves so that we would not want to eat anything so heavy and carb-loaded ever again!, and it worked.

I felt so bad by Saturday night that I was sure I would not be able to eat anything on Sunday, but a deal’s a deal. We had to gorge ourselves [and not workout] through Sunday so as to be sure we’d land somewhere truly disgusted with ourselves. It was not awesome. Luckily, today is now today and so, I woke up and immediately hit a hard circuit workout, ate a bowl full of veggies, and soon, I’ll be meeting with the lifemate to eat a chicken stick and grocery shop for ginormous salad stuffs. I’m so excited! From here on out it’ll be back to business as usual until our vacation in May!

02-17-justwaitin-1

As far as other happenings from the past week are concerned, there’s not much to tell these days since most my days revolve around writing the fiction. I had a fiction word quota of 7500 words due yesterday, and I pretty much kicked the thing in the ass. All-in-all the fiction writing is going really well. I easily write anywhere between 1500 and 1800 words per sitting. Lately, I’ve been doing one writing sesh per day on five of the ten days in each metric week. It’s a pretty good system, honestly. I have the freedom to relax my mind and come up with ideas, but I can only take one or two days off at a time and have to write on back-to-back days. The challenge of consistently having to output fiction is truly wonderful, while the consistent time off helps the ideas flow constantly. I’m finding a rhythm, and I gotta say, it feels great.

02-17-yakultuploadMy other weekly responsibility of teaching English to my student, SJ, on Thursdays and Fridays has been great as well. Her mother bought her some new social studies textbooks, and SJ really seems to enjoy the content. During class, her mother always provides me with some delicious drink and sometimes a treat, and last week, her mother gave me the coolest little yogurt drink. It was one of those Yakult probiotic drinks, but the packaging was not only twice as big as usual, but also, it was upside down! So amazing. That little treat made my day. It was so fun. We, SJ and I, then discussed whether or not she thought her mother was cool. I think that her mother is really cool cause she seems to know what’s “now,” but SJ disagrees. SJ thinks that her mother has such “old style.” That may be true as far as what her mother herself likes to eat and wear, but the things her mother buys SJ is always pretty hip and on trend. AND the food and drinks her mother provides for me are always pretty cool, I think. Haha.

*sigh*

Anyhow, I suppose that’s all. There’s not much to talk about since I just don’t feel all that connected to these Mundane Monday posts anymore. They’re totally pointless from a writing standpoint, but maybe they’re nice to have when considering where I might be living in the future and how nice it might be to look back on these posts from our time in Seoul. No matter, I will continue to write them. If I figure out some other topic about which to write instead, perhaps I will rethink these diary-type entries then. For now, I still enjoy how easy these entries are to write, and I probably need to have some writing output that requires less brainpower. *sigh* Back to the fiction.

Until next time …