A Trip to the Zoo

I have two reason why you’re getting a rambling post about how I spent yesterday rather than a nice, neat article:

1) NaNoWriMo

50,000 words in 30 days = one novel, and not much sleep. I’ve done it twice before, and I’m trying again this year with a Young Adult novel full of super humans (click to visit my writer’s website). I’m prepared with enough Lindt hazelnut truffles to reward myself every 5,000 words (plus a few extras, just in case).

2) Zoo Day!

Months ago we got half-price tickets to the Columbus Zoo, and just never seemed to find time to use them. Then we realized they expired in February, and it wasn’t getting any warmer, so we went yesterday. It was so cold that most of the South-Asian and African animals weren’t out, but the predators were very active.

Amur leopards
the Amur leopards were moving too fast for my camera

Very, very active, in some cases. The brown bears were chasing each other all over their exhibit, my family saw a tiger try to pounce on one guy through the glass, and there was a cheetah stalking a child being pulled in a wagon.

brown bears
huge brown bears

We also saw an extremely rare creature — an awake koala. They sleep 22 hours a day if given the chance, and I think this is the only time I’ve ever seen one moving.

koala
hungry koala

I’d say the dinosaurs were even more rare, but they weren’t moving much. Didn’t even try to snatch a tourist out of the boat ride, so I suspect they were animatronic.

it's a dinosaur
It’s a dinosaur!

The aquarium in Columbus might not be huge by public aquarium standards, but it’s certainly one of the most impressive at a zoo. I love the manatees. Columbus and Cincinnati are the only aquariums in the U.S. outside of Florida that help with manatee rescue and rehabilitation.

manatee
Stubby can’t be released into the wild because of propeller damage to her fluke and an autoimmune disease that affects her skin

And last but not least … I found a yurt!

yurt, a.k.a. one of the cutest structures known to man
yurt, a.k.a. one of the cutest structures known to man
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It’s NaNoWriMo Time!

National Novel Writing Month is well underway, and I am happy to report I have not yet fallen behind. The challenge is to write 50,000 words in a single month (which requires 1,667 words per day). I completed NaNoWriMo in 2011 while taking a full class load, working part time, and writing my undergraduate research thesis, so this year can’t be any harder, right?

This year, I very cleverly decided to begin NaNoWriMo by going to a church lock-in over the weekend. I frantically wrote 3,400 words on Friday, and wrote another 1,383 on the drive home before my laptop battery died (and another 1,100 before I went to bed). I was surprised how much I could write after only 3 hours of sleep (maybe 4 if you count the nap in the car).  I’m not going back to re-read for quality until after November is done, but the quantity part I was able to manage.

If you’re interested in the story I’m writing, you can look me up on the NaNo website under the name ‘linnon.am.meleth.vin’, or check out my writing blog under the pseudonym Maris McKay, where I’ve been writing about outlining my NaNo novel and drawing maps for the new fantasy world.