Patty’s Epic Trip To The US. Part 5. Zion to Bryce Canyon

When you’re in Zion National Park, there is a road that takes a steep, hairpin-riddled shortcut up to the top of the rocky platform and you can drive from there through farmland and forest to Bryce Canyon.

The road gets quite busy in summer, I’ve been told, but in January, it was almost deserted. There is some truly stunning scenery along the way.

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That’s the faithful (and by now very dirty) silver Corolla. Isn’t that scenery awesome?

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Being Australian, my daughter had a good ol’ time with the concept “frozen water”.

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Really stunning scenery.

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Yes, it was coooooold up there.

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I think this is called Red Canyon, still a way from Bryce Canyon, but you can see what’s coming up next!

Patty’s Epic Trip to the US Part 4. Zion National Park

Slowly working through all the photos.

We stayed in Vegas for one night, as you will have seen in the previous post, and the next day left to go north.

Where the main road goes through a narrow pass, it started to get cold, and then it got colder, and it started raining, and it got colder still.

Until we got to Springdale, Utah, where they had torn up the entire (and single) main road and it was wet and misty and the weather couldn’t make up its mind whether it wanted to rain or snow.

There was only one other room occupied at the Bumbleberry Inn (cool name), and it was warm and dry.

Driving down that unpaved muddy main road to do such mundane things as buying some groceries, we put some serious red mud over the car.

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So yeah, the weather was kinda rubbish, but the next day we woke up to a bright clear sky. Time for Zion National Park! Apparently it gets really, like, really busy here in summer, but during December and January, you can drive into the canyon.

Funnily enough, the US government had decided to throw a hissyfit in the form of a shutdown, and there was no one at the gates to take our money.

Anyway, Zion National Park is pretty. And also very, very cold down in that dark canyon.

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Patty’s epic trip to the US 3. When in Vegas…

I have to admit that I don’t like cities, and so we left LA as quickly as possible (and I don’t like LA in particular), and had no great desire to go to any more cities, except Las Vegas was on the way, and a friend here in Sydney said: you have to go to Vegas, even just once, because Vegas is ridiculous.

And it is.

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This replica of Venice is quite something. Well done.

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This canal is actually inside a building, on the first floor (for you ‘muricans out there, that’s the floor *above* the ground floor)

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All I can say is that the real Eiffer Tower is bigger than this 😛

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Fountains set to music. Hate to think of the power bill. Hate to think of the power bill of Vegas in general. LOL.

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We were staying at the north end of The Strip and I think we walked about 18km that day, seeing that the previous post in Death Valley was on the same day. So this was the obligatory Vegas visit. The pizza was good.

We were ready to hit some bush and see some rocks.

The evil kangaroos of DSS and other things Canberra

At the back of the Department of Social Services in Tuggeranong, there is a paddock adjacent to the staff car park. When you’re there at dusk, you’re greeted with this sight:

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Seriously, how many kangaroos is that?

They’re not cute little weeny wallabies. These are kangaroos. KANGAROOS. Look at the one in the middle of this picture, with his arse to the camera, and the department building in the background:

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I mean LOOK at him (definitely a “him”). That’s the biggest kangaroo I’ve ever seen. If he stands up on his hind legs, he’s taller than a person. The lawns are irrigated and in summer, the roos invade the courtyards. They don’t tend to be afraid either. They’re quite intimidating.
No Australian city does kangaroos like Canberra. They’re everywhere.

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Out of all of the places in Canberra, I like this one the best. That paddock in the first picture? If you cross it, there is a bush path that leads straight to the Murrumbidgee River which has swimming holes. But this here is Lake Tuggeranong in the morning.

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Another pretty view, with complimentary galahs:

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Why you should totally write about politics and be proud of it, too

This morning, the Twitterspere was all aflap about this piece of garbage:

The Top 7 reasons why posting politics kills your career

(please note that this post has been taken down by the site. They cited as reason that “it was acceptable to write about politics when the subject was academically well-researched”, and thus continued to completely mis-understand why this got so much vitriol on Twitter)

Writing about politics kills your writing career. Really?

Do these writers think that if you write any kind of fiction, you can write bland, faceless pap that does not touch on any political points?

Or maybe they confuddle “writing about politics” with “telling people how to vote”.

No, unless you’re a politician, you should probably stay away from the latter, at least in your fiction, and at least as narrator (your characters can totally tell people how to vote!), and maybe most of the time. Maybe. But… if you like politics, go kill the internet with it. We live in a free world.

So let’s just deconstruct this garbage article.

1. You’ll abandon your brand
So? My brand is fiction that cares about issues. It’s impossible to write about issues in society without touching on politics. Even if you wrote the most pappy of faceless pap, you’d still write about politics, by the sheer admission of avoiding politics. That’s politics, too. You know: don’t care, don’t vote, then complain your head off when you don’t like the results. Aren’t I glad voting in Australia is compulsory?

2. You could lose a reader
Yes, I could lose one. I could gain many more by being genuine and not talking rubbish faceless pap.
This is the problem with writers, or people in general: they want to be liked by everyone. This is impossible. It’s better to be hated by some and loved by others than for everyone to go “who the hell is that?”
Bullshit.

3. Productivity And Quality Will SUFFER from flame wars
Yes, it does.
But why every in the world does she assume that writing about politics automatically draws you into flame wars? Ultimately, whether you get involved in flame wars is up to you. If you’re too juvenile to control your impulses to always have to have the last word, fine, avoid the subject. But then avoid Twitter and Facebook, too, and your friends and family might just appreciate it if you did an anger management course.
Sorry, we’re not all impulse-driven angry people. We’re adults and can discuss issues in an adult way, and walk away from those who can’t. Nothing to do with writing about politics.

4. You Could Be Marketing!
Seriously. I got no words. What does she think marketing is? Tweeting BUY MY BOOK? Social issues get people emotionally involved. Emotion forges connections. Connections sell books.
End of. Never heard anything more stupid in my life.

5. It’s Not A Good Look On You. Or Anyone
Do you think I care? Actually, do you think I care about people who care that I get passionate about things… that I get passionate about that also happen to be political. Stuff like equal opportunities for all, education and the biggie, environmental politics? Do you really want me to scrub that off my writing and are you telling me that will make me look better?
What absolute ROT.

6. You’ll Demolish Your Career Opportunities
Feel free to do a bank-account-off. Show me yours, I’ll show you mine. End of argument.

7. You’re Not An Expert (Unless You Are)
I have no words. So now we are supposed to have degrees before we can comment? Holy crap-a-mole. What, so my degree is in agriculture and that means I can only comment on that? Does it mean I am not qualified to vote.
Seriously FFS, I have never heard anything more stupid.

The entire article is just made of stupid.

To repeat: writing about politics is not the same as trying to convince someone that your viewpoint is right.
Writing about politics involves showing the different viewpoints and showing characters with those viewpoints and why they think the way they do.
Writing about politics involves characters expressing their opinions.

Where do you think Ambassador would be without politics?
On one side we have the inclusionist groups that includes Cory and much, but not all, of gamra. Then you have the conservatives including Sigobert Danziger (who is very much into local aid) and later the Pretoria Cartel, who are about business.

And what about Shifting Reality, which is all about how minorities and the disenfranchised are treated. It’s also about minorities within minorities, for example the gay community within the Indonesian section, as well as the ultra-right hypertechs.

Even the Icefire/Moonfire series is full of politics. The whole plot of the second trilogy would fall down without the climate/science aspect.

But any opinions are voiced by the characters. You do not get to know (although you can probably guess) what I as author think, but some characters represent viewpoints I don’t agree with. These are not always evil characters (actually, they rarely are).

My fiction is FULL of politics. I’m proud of it.

Supanova Melbourne: Come and say hello

I’m leaving tomorrow to go to Supanova Melbourne.

If you’re in Melbourne or are also coming, come and say hello. I’m in the Artists’ Alley at table 36.

We’re leaving tomorrow, because on Thursday, my daughter and I are planning a photography trip to the Twelve Apostles. Let’s hope the weather behaves!

It’s likely that you won’t hear from me on this blog until I’m back. I may or may not have internet. The accommodation says there is free wifi, but seriously, you know what free wifi is like, so I’m not holding my breath.

In other news, I just heard that Bookbub is finally taking Ambassador 1 on 11 May. This is going to be very, very big, especially since it’s so close to the release of book 5.