several things, catching up

I guess the simplest thing to do is to just start and go from there.

* I’m writing this from California’s Central Valley. I’m here on spring break, visiting my family. I spent a couple of days up in San Francisco seeing friends. The weather is fairly beautiful, with so much blue sky and clouds like strands of sugar floss and meringues, and a warm breeze.

* This is unlike Portland, which is cold, and grey, and wet, where I had learned to get along without an umbrella mostly because I’ve got hats and wool coats and no wish to stick out like a tourist.

* I have an Oregon driver’s license now (the photo on which everyone says looks unrecognizable), and Oregon plates on my car. I’m registered to vote in Oregon, too. I’m taking this transplant thing seriously, yo.

* Despite the weather, which honestly I don’t mind nearly as much as the above might indicate–in my head, I’m telling myself it’s a wet winter, which to my growing-up-during-the-drought-years self is a good thing–I’m really liking Portland. It’ll do quite nicely for the next few years.

* Baring something majorly unforeseen, although I’m starting to love Portland, I do not see myself settling down there. If I stay in the PNW, it’s Seattle that’s got my number. Although truth to tell, I want to travel some, and live in NYC for a bit, and maybe Scotland. But who knows? I might just come back to California.

* A date (and more on that in a bit) said something about “smug Californians” as we were discussing our backgrounds (native Portlander on her part). I laughed for a good minute straight, at least, because it’s true and I had never thought about it. Native Californians are smug. It’s a crazy place, and there are so many things wrong with it, but it’s still amazing, and native Californians just sort of absorb that sense from the get-go. When I mentioned this exchange to some friends this weekend over drinks in SF, the two other native Californians laughed with the same delighted chagrin and indulgent recognition that I had. It was a smug laughter, yeah, and I laughed about it, too.

* I’m sure New Yorkers get it, too.

* School is going very well, although not quite as well as I’d like. I’m likely to take my first-term Human Anatomy and Physiology class over again at some point before I apply to nursing programs so I can get an A in it (I got a B). The prof assured me that a B in the class wouldn’t hinder me (given the strength of the rest of my prospects), but I sort of want to have that A, you know? Also, why the fuck was that class worth only 4 units? Good lord, it really should have been 5. There was more work than in Microbiology, which was 5 (and in which I got an A, thanks).

* I’m looking forward to next term, although I’m probably going to tweak my classes in the next couple of days. I need to look at the schedule again.

* I’m still looking at making WisCon happen for me this year. What I need to do is file my taxes; if there’s a sizable-enough return coming, then screw it–I’ll go. Probably. I’ll file when I get back to Portland. I figure I’ve got a couple of weeks before I really need to either buy my tickets or learn to accept that I’m not going.

* I always thought that my dating life would pick up as soon as I left the Bay Area (and wasn’t in the Central Valley). Indeed, that does seem to be the case. Within a couple of weeks of moving to Portland, a few people contacted me online (OkCupid, Chemistry, etc.), actually initiating a conversation and then actually asking me out on a date. Holy what the fuck, Batman.

* So I’ve been going out on dates. Which makes me realize, I am rusty at dating women. In San Francisco, I tended to mostly date men–and mostly “date” men, at that. Dating women is a different game than dating men in a variety of ways that have everything to do with expectations and socialization, and I’ve been finding the experience rather sweet… and a bit confusing. Mostly, it’s just what’s in my head shifting, is all.

* What with all the settling in, school, and general adapting, I haven’t gotten nearly as much writing done as I’d like. That said, I did write my first non-sucktastic poem, which I think has actually got legs. Mind, it needs major reworking, but I think it’s got potential. I need to continue reworking the stories I wrote at Clarion West, and I’ve got a couple-three new short stories that are clamoring at me. Including my first horror story.

* I owe my Clarionmates so many crits. It feels too me like I haven’t had the energy/ability to give them the kind of critique that I’d given them while we were at Clarion West, so I have been just avoiding it altogether. Which is ridiculous. But the whole dealing with my new life has been pretty damn consuming, so I can justify that I’ve needed a lot of slack.

* I need to make more friends in Portland. I’ve been busy with the whole setting up house thing that I’ve been neglecting the friends-making thing. I mean, school is great for that, and there are several people who are proto-friends, I’d say. I just have to get off my butt and pursue that a bit more. Also, more random socializing would be good. People are friendly enough in Portland that you can strike up a conversation most anywhere, and I’d like to think my self-perceptions on my charm are accurate.

* I should find a job at some point in the next few months. I’m planning on coming back to California for a few weeks (maybe a month) this summer. Getting an income after that would be good. Really good. Perhaps even before. We’ll see. Honestly, I’d be okay with tending bar, or working at Powell’s, or the like. That would suit me just fine at this point.

* Friends have been coming to visit me, and I really like that. If I could keep a stream of people visiting with someone coming up every month or two–that would be grand. If you feel like visiting me in Portland, let me know.

* I’ll be heading back up to Portland in a couple of days or so. The all-in-one-shot drive isn’t as bad as I’d feared it was. With company, it would be really pleasant, actually, especially if we traded driving. I’m doing a fair amount of traveling: down to California and back to Portland, then up to Washington for Norwescon the next weekend, and then Vancouver with J. It’s early in the quarter, so I’m hoping that midterms won’t be an issue.

* I’ve realized that I need to pay more attention to–and in general find out about–calls for submissions. There have been a few that I’ve really regretted missing, because I’ve either had a piece that could work, or could write a piece… if only I’d known about it sooner. If any of you have any cool news about calls, please share.

* Although it’s in my nature to keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m actually pretty happy at the moment. (And yes, that’s always subject to change.) Cheers, though.


  1. Jenni Moody on March 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    Hey Alberto! So glad you are having a nice spring break!

    I know of two submission deadlines I thought I’d post just in case you hadn’t heard of them/ wanted reminding:

    1) May 1st, 2012 – Outlaw Bodies –

    2) May 31st, 2012 – Fairy Tale Review, Yellow Issue –

    I hope all your awesome microbiology learnings and such start creeping their way into your stories. And an Alberto horror story? Sounds divine. 🙂

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