Before we get into Alberta’s alternate dimension twin, aka Texas, here’s why this post is telling the story of multiple days:
I AM SO BEHIND OH MY GOSH.
And, by so behind, I mean I’m 48 days behind (as of writing this. I’m even more behind now x.x). I don’t want to write that many posts in an undefined short amount of time my worry always designates as “by yesterday,” you don’t want to read that many posts in what will most likely be a long and dragged out amount of time (during which I’ll be having new adventures you know nothing about) and which will most likely be finished sometime next spring.
To save ourselves both the agony, I’m switching to writing about each location in one post until I get to here (Bristol :D ).
I really want to say I’ll post every day thereafter, but I’m discovering that I don’t have something to say about every day. Sometimes, I don’t want to report what I did on a given day because I just want to remember it for myself. Sometimes, all I did was sit around and work/write/watch Star Trek. Even if you want to read about that, I don’t want to write about it. So there :P
What I’ll do is write one post per location, except if:
- multiple cool things requiring their own blog post happen,
- or I’m in a place for two or more weeks.
The other reason I’m doing this is that I’m overstimulated from ALL THE NEW THINGS anyways, so it’s best that I let myself be less of a sponge and more of a human being while navigating all these experiences. Aka, not try to hold onto every single tiny detail so I can write about it later. With one post per location/cool thing/week, I can use a broader brush, with detail work when necessary, rather than ALL THE TIME.
With that, Texas.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Meet Lewinna Solwing
Back in 2010, I bought myself my first laptop with the money I had leftover from paying my first semester of tuition for university. With that laptop, I found my way to Holly Lisle’s website, her writing courses, and the writers forum connected to them. One of the friends I made on that forum is Lewinna Solwing.
She and I swapped stories to give each other feedback, and we continue to read each others’ work-in-progress, encourage each other, and talk about all kinds of life stuff. I wish you could read her stuff (Lewinna, go publish a thing!) The novel I read back when we first met felt like a cross between Stargate (unrelated to the TV shows), and The Wandering: beautiful, meditative, and highly imaginative.
Cool People Go to the Arlington Medieval Arts Festival
Turns out, I was in town in time for a medieval festival, so we went and watched some duels, listened to cool music (Lewinna jumped in on the harp and played happily with the other musicians for a while).
While at the festival, I noticed some archery stuff and was telling Lewinna about Mongolian bows when the guy at the table asked me if I’d done archery before (I was demonstrating the thumb draw as best I could with an imaginary bow). Turns out, he was in an archery group and they were meeting the next day. Did we want to come?
Seeing as archery is one of the sports I actually like, and Lewinna is also into it, we went.
I did archery lessons one summer a few years ago, which consisted mostly of “here’s how you hold the bow, here’s where you put your feet, ok now draw it. Cool, you can just shoot at targets once a week for a month or so now.” Which is fine if all you want to do is shoot at targets and chat with your fellow archers, but it’s not great for if you actually want to improve your technique.
Turns out, this archery group is a good one to go to if you want to get better. I learned that you don’t draw with your arms- it’s the back that does all the work (and it feels really cool when your back muscles do their thing).
You also want to, before learning how to hit the bullseye, learn how to shoot exactly the same way over and over. Once you can do that, then you try to do that in such a way that you hit exactly where you want to hit. Consistency first, then accuracy. Or rather, accurate technique before accurate aiming.
Speaking of aiming, if you want to aim higher or lower, DO NOT MOVE YOUR ARMS. Bend from your waist. If you change the angle of your arms, you’ll change the physics of drawing the bow. But, if you bend at the waist, the drawing (and shooting) physics remain the same, just aimed higher or lower.
In Which Texas is the Alberta of the USA
So far during this trip, the way I’ve been explaining Alberta to my American friends is to say it’s the Texas of Canada. I’d heard someone say it before, and it seemed thematically accurate. Also, it’s much easier to say that rather than launch into a description of Alberta. Never use two words when one will do and all that.
Which meant it was really funny to find out that Lewinna lives in a town called Grand Prairie (there’s a city in Alberta called Grande Prairie), and to find out as she drove me there from Dallas that, well, this part of Texas is a whole heck of a lot like Alberta. It’s flat, the sky is huge, it’s dry enough that the grass is more yellow than green, and there’s a large percentage of people driving trucks. If there were more conifers, I could pretend I was in Alberta in the middle of summer. It was pretty darn cool.
The Vegemite Meets the Ducks
Some months ago, Lewinna and I were talking over Skype and she was telling me about these ducks that live in her area and how pretty they are. She wanted to have one. Or three.
A few days later, she messaged me saying that she got a duck. Apparently, she’d just taken it and brought it home with her xD Before long, she got a few more from someone she knows and also got a cage for them all. Considering the wonderful bizarreness of the whole situation, it seemed appropriate that the Vegemite picture for Texas be one with the ducks.
Taken at stupid early in the morning just before we headed out to the airport: