Tuesday, December 30, 2008

YouTube

Apparently, you can indeed upload videos to YouTube. They just take a really awfully long time. I'll be playing with this new camcorder during the break so I hope it's not just, you know, broken.

Too Much to Do, Too Little Time

Someday, writing will steal my soul!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We are all born ordinary. It is our choices that make us extraordinary."

All I Want For Christmas

Due to the staggering cost of plane flights, I ended up staying in Dayton for the holiday, which wasn't the worst thing that could have happened, but I do miss spending Christmas on the Oregon Coast.

In any case, had a pretty fantastic Christmas this year with J. Too much Chipotle and carmel corn was eaten, also there were gift exchanges and much silliness. Which just sort of seems to happen. The silliness, that is.

J. got me the much-needed printer, which is super awesome and makes me uber gleeful. He also got me copies of Rosetta Stone, French level 2 & 3, which is just about the best thing ever, and kick started me back into my French study. It sure beats playing video games.

My parents sent me a fine electric mixer (it's red!), and David sent over a fine array of gourmet cheeses (always appreciated!) which showed up right on time on Christmas eve. Stephanie gifted me with a fine bonsai and pony ornament, which shall take center stage after I paint it some gaudy but appropriate color. Which I will do with the airbrush paint set that J. also discovered was far more useful for my pony mods than his miniatures.

I spent a little time over the break on some dayjob projects (that'll teach me to check my work email), but they, too, were generous over the holidays, and I arrived back in the office to find that we'd all been gifted with one of these fine toys.

Video blogging here I come! Apparently it creates videos perfectly compatible with YouTube. But man, I don't know if the world can handle a Kameron Hurley channel. Mainly, it will be about blood, bugs, and injustice!

Or something.

As said, I spent much of Christmas in and around bed with J., reading books, watching movies, and eating out and in. There was much cooking, and aforementioned silliness. All in all, a good vacation.

Next year, tho, I want more time off and more cash. I ended up digging out the credit card there at the end and putting about $100 on it. Blast it all.

Still far better than usual, but not ideal.

The best part?

I get Thursday and Friday off this week as well, and will be spending time up in Cincinnati with J. watching Spamalot.

Yeah, yeah, I know:

Too much boyfriend, not enough rollerderby.

Working on that.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

You've Been Warned!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stuff & Things

I am alive. I am full of stuff and things.

I HAVE A PRINTER.

30 PPM.

It prints double-sided.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

"The objection to fairy stories is that they tell children there are dragons. But children have always known there are dragons. Fairy stories tell children that dragons can be killed."

-G.K. Chesterton

Yucky People

My tolerance for yucky people has lessended considerably as I've aged.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Doesn't this stuff make you sick?

I'm having more and more days where I'm really not proud or comfortable with the idea of identifying as "America."

Americans don't do this. Or torture people. Or... well, yeah. Yeah, we do.

"We."

I just don't identify with this country anymore.

Things I Do in My Spare Time

Write words.

Merry Christmas from United Healthcare

United Healthcare Member Inquiry/Appeals
PO Box 30432
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0432

Dear Member Inquiry Representative;

I am writing to request a formal of review of the decision made by United Healthcare to deny my health service claim of 10/01/08 for a service already formally approved. Please see the enclosed EOBs.

My service provider, Degc Enterprises, provides me with an insulin pump delivery system to regulate my blood sugars. In-network rates and approval for this insulin delivery system were given by United Healthcare prior to 7/1/08 when the company billed United Healthcare for the first medical shipment.

Since starting the pump on that date, my A1c has improved from 6.5 to 6.1. I expect to see a further improvement at the end of December when I have my next checkup.

As a Type 1 diabetic, I cannot live without continuous insulin delivery. My condition is a genetic immune disorder, which I fully disclosed to United Healthcare through my employer. As is well known, controlled blood sugars are vital to the avoidance of complications for Type 1 diabetics.

My use of the Omnipod pump, provided by Degc Enterprises, has dramatically transformed my life. Unlike other pump systems, it has no tubing, which results in fewer accidental disconnections that could adversely affect my blood sugars. It’s these higher blood sugars which contribute to the expensive conditions diabetics are prone to – like blindness and amputation.

Initial cost of the pump is also less than that of many other brands of pump. Its ability to regulate my blood sugar with greater reliability and efficiency than other pumps also greatly reduces my risk of expensive complications. Since using this pump, I have experienced 75% fewer episodes of low blood sugar, which – if not caught in time - can often result in costly medical claims for your company.

It was for these reasons that my pump was approved and covered at an in-network rate on 7/01/08 (see attached EOB).

Until you have provided Degc Enterprises with the payment you have contracted with them to provide, they will be unable to provide me with the insulin pods which have allowed me achieve this improvement in my overall general health and quality of life. I will be forced to revert back to using vials and syringes as my insulin delivery method. This method will undoubtably result in erratic blood sugars and set me down the road, once again, to extreme – and expensive – diabetic complications.

Repeated contact with your customer service line has shown me that they have little control over the approval/denial of claims process. It is for that reason that if it becomes necessary to escalate this matter, I am fully prepared to lodge a more formal complaint with the Attorney General. If necessary, I will also recommend that my employer drop our UHC account in favor of a company more consistent in its approval process.

I am sure you understand that as a Type 1 diabetic, my life and health depend urgently on the quality of coverage and care I receive. My employer considers me a valuable asset to the company, and knows that my decision – and the decision of many of our employees - to stay on board is greatly influenced by the quality of our healthcare coverage.

Thank you so much for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Kameron Hurley

(or maybe, what we really need to improve America's health is a "fat tax". That would be so much easier than universal health coverage that works. I'm sure it would be just as good as real healthcare. After all, we wouldn't know the difference)

A Word Lesson

At what point did it go from a "bailout" to a "rescue"?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tumbarumba: That Was Wicked Cool

A couple of weeks ago, I installed the firefox addon Tumbarumba. This app randomly embeds fragments of stories into ordinary web pages. When you spot them, you click on them to slowly unravel the rest of the story.

I installed the app and pretty much forgot about it until today, when I was reading a Wikipedia article with an overview of Jorge Luis Borges story, "The Aleph."

I'm reading along and reading along and I hit this total nonsequitor, something about "she being detail oriented" and I'm like, WTF there weren't any women in this story. I went back and re-read the stuff leading up to it twice.

Then I realized what was going on. I clicked on the weird sentence.

And another sentence was revealed.

Another click another sentence, in this fade-in magical webbiny way that gave me that awesome sense of awe you get when you slowly discover/uncover something previously hidden. Isn't there a word for that?

Then another, and another, and then you click on it and there's Greg Van Eekout's story, The Temp, sitting there in a faux Wikipedia skin.

It was like... it was like something weirdly magical. Like uncovering some secret thing. Super web magic.

It was spectacularly cool.

I love this app idea, but I'm shortly going to run out of stories (there's only a handful to get through, really).

It's going to need more stories to really kick butt, and they should be even a bit shorter to cater to internet audiences, but man... wow, that was neat. What a spectacular idea.

Sign up for Tumbarumba! It is full of goodness.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Agent Makes the i09 Top 20 Movers and Shakers of SF List

Jennifer Jackson, at #16, the only agent (literary or otherwise) on the list.

Sweet beans.

(BioWare, where my buddy Patrick works, also made the list at #12!).

From the Trenches: $6!


From the Trenches, an anthology of SF war stories that includes my short story, "Wonder Maul Doll," is now on sale for $6 from Carnifex Press.

These are the last of the copies (the publisher is going out of business), so if you want one, snag it now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Oh, IKEA, Sometimes you Confound Me...

So I've been looking into expanding my work/desk space for some time now. A simple 4ft desk/table can run $50 at the local mix n' stuff shop, but for the same price, I could get this great table/bookshelf combo from Ikea that even matches my current desk.

Just $50! Yay!

Excellent, I thought. $25 in shipping makes for $75, which isn't so bad for what is, basically, a whole new desk that will expand my workspace.

So I clickity clackitied and went to check out and then...

Shipping charges were $140.

No, no, seriously:

My order total, with tax was over $200.

From a store that's half an hour away.

Ikea, sometimes you confound me.

Bloodsong

There's this scene in the book where the kid goes to kill the mutant "dragon" (who turns out to be less and more of a monster than he suspects), and he ends up tearing and clawing his way into the guts of this creature that won't die, clawing and swimming up through its guts and tearing out its hearts while the creature tears into its own body even as the flesh tries to knit back together, trying to claw the kid out of its own flesh.

And at the end of this scene, I found myself a little stunned at breathless and was like, "Wow."

I still think Bloodtide will turn out to be the better book, but man, I love these books. I need to read more Burgess.

Took a long time for him to come onto my radar, mainly because he's marketed as a "young adult" writer.

Ummmm?

Whatever sells the books, I guess.

Highly recommended if you love some post-apocalyptic shenanigans. Mutants and nuclear fallout and fantastical fantasy tropes with SFish rationalizations and kingdoms and family feuds and in-your-face prose oh my!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Note to Self

If you're going to start moving the crap around in your apartment, make sure your internet cable can reach as far as where you want to put your desk now.

I'm just sayin'.

And yes, when the gym membership runs out...

...in May, I'll be signing up for boxing classes again.

Because we can only wait so long...

Cancer Drugs Reverse/Prevent T1 Diabetes

Who'da thunk cancer and diabetes had anything in common?

Mmmm juicy, screwed-up immune systems. I loves them!

I wonder if I'll be a non-diabetic when I'm 50? We can hope.

Cause you gotta have goals

Sometimes I think I spend far too much time thinking about the future. On the one hand, it helps me get shit done. On the other hand, there's only so much you can do.

Swim kick laugh run jump yay!

Back to work.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tis the Season

Boy, I have a lot of work to do. But all I can think is....

I get 5 days off in a week and change! Ok, two of those are days I would get off as a weekend anyway, but 5 consecutive days off! OMG yeah!

That is all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All I Want For Christmas...

Is cheese!

Naw, seriously, I got it. Plus 5 days off around the holidays. Things are mad-busy-insane right now at work, which would prob'ly be more pleasing if I didn't have a bunch of novel projects I'm pursuing here at the homestead.

Still: I just paid $500 for 6 weeks worth of meds yesterday... which I will be getting reimbursed for by my health insurance company. I've nearly hit my deductible limit, too, so soon the reimbursement will turn into straight up, "Here's your drugs, have a nice day" freebies.

You just can't beat health insurance like that.

Also, Nyx has a new look, which pleases me.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Bugs

Is it a good sign or a bad sign that I haven't actually sat down and figured out which bugs do what and how and whatfor on Umayma until I starting writing book 3?

Ah well. There's a spreadsheet now.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

On Being Frugal: Or, Why I Seem to Be Spending Most of My Life Cooking

While I spent a good many hours of today cooking, I pondered why it was I seem to be spending so damn much time doing it lately. I don't mind cooking. I've gotten used to it, and let's face it, it's nice to be able to prepare food I can actually eat a normal portion of that won't kill me.

But really, the reason I'm spending so much time cooking is because I'm being frugal. I keep wanting to say, "I'm poor," but saying "I'm poor" really isn't true. For a single person, I make OK money. The problem is, I have old credit card and medical debt. The good news is, I've been making inroads on paying this off since January.

Cooking is one of the ways I've done that.

I don't buy prepared foods anymore. I buy one kind of cheese. I started making my own iced tea, which saves me $3.99 a week. That's nearly $12 a month. That's a whole iTunes album. Or lunch out. It's very nearly two hours of bowling.

And it doesn't stop with food.

I keep my heat at 69 degrees during the day. I've recently started experimenting with turning it down to 65 at night. And this, in itself, I know is nothing: I have coworkers who turn the heat down to 50 and just put space heaters in their bedroom and bathroom. This is how people manage to save money to, well, save money for things and pay off debt.

I've had to become conscious of all of this uncomfortable stuff, like how much water I use, do I really need that many lights on, and how can I save on my Verizon bill?

I spent much of this last year finding ways to cut things by as little as $1. Seriously. $1. Just a dollar! You'd be surprised at how quick that adds up.

$1 is an iTunes song. It's 1/40 of the way to buying a food processor. It's a bait pony for my pony mods.

Thing is, even knowing all that, it's fucking hard to stick by a budget. It's a lot of mental energy to spend on stuff like figuring out how to sell books to buy books as Christmas presents. It's putting off buying a car until I get another book check, even though I have a boyfriend in Cincinnati, and it's a fucking killer now - more than ever - to not have a car (and it's fucking winter, which always makes not having a car twice as shitty).

Watching books leave this apartment this last week was surreal and just slightly excrutiating. I've gotten rid of lots of books in lots of moves, and moving a few more books wasn't a big deal, but the *reason* I was doing it was just so much different.

And, again: it's not like I don't make money. I have a ridiculous credit limit. I pay $600 a month toward my CCs (It will go back up to $750 next month when my student loans are deferred again after classes start). This is a staggering amount of money. And yes, I could get away with paying a third of that toward them. And then... and then... I'd be in debt for the rest of my life. I would continue to be one of those people who looks like they're making a lot of money but is, in fact, just one bad medical disaster away from moving back in with friends and family.

I don't want to be that person.

It's going to take another year of this. Of counting dollars and selling books and watching the thermostat.

This is hard for me. I've never done this before. My parents never lived frugally during their adult lives. I never learned how to manage a budget. I never learned how to delay gratification. Everything was right now. Want, want, want.

I see. I want. I take. I was always Faith, never Buffy.

Before I got sick, I was not the best of people. Let's just say that out loud again: I was not a good person. I'm not a great person now, mind you. But I'm less of a screaming teenager. Some of this is just sanity brought on by stable blood sugar, but some of this is growing the fuck up. Counting dollars. Valuing friendships. Relationships. Figuring out what the hell it all means and how it all adds up, and more than that:

Knowing that all of us, if we choose to live paycheck to paycheck, are just a stumble away from losing everything we feel we've worked so hard to build. I lost my whole life in Chicago. Yes, granted, a lot of bad shit happened at once - but if I'd had $200 on my credit card, $5k in savings, and chosen a better health insurance plan from my employer instead of selecting the crappy default... things could have turned out a lot better.

We're never going to be prepared for violence, for death, for those scary things that happen in the blink of an eye, the ones so shocking to your everyday experience that they just leave you stunned and speechless. But you can be *better* prepared. You can make the effort.

I know I could lose everything again. Things are still so tenuous right now. But I'm actively working toward a future. The future I want. You pick somebody you want to be. A life you want to have. And you build it. You do what somebody with that life would do. I've always believed that - before I got sick and even now. Pick your future. Build it.

It's not easy. God, it's not easy on a Sunday night when you're cooking breakfast quiche and chicken dinners for the week and trying to figure out how to juggle the dollars you saved on variable utility bills so you can buy yourself a Christmas food processor or cordless drill. These aren't things I want to spend energy on.

But, you know what? I could be spending my energy on so many really *useless* things, like celebrity magazines and cable tv. This really isn't such a bad place to put some energy.

I loved my roaring 20s. But now I need to clean up the mess of them before I head into my dirty 30s.

Because I do plan to get into a lot of trouble.

Er, I mean, financially responsible trouble. But trouble nonetheless.

Peru for my 30th birthday!

And that'll just be kicking things off.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Today's Song, Stuck on Repeat

Ok, let's be honest, it's the "Who needs love when there's Southern Comfort" line that did it for me...

Leeds United - Amanda Palmer

we watch you your expert double exes
it’s just like you to paint those whiter fences

it’s so polite it’s so polite it’s offensive it’s offensive
it’s so unright it’s so unright it’s a technical accept it

but who needs love when there’s law & order
and who needs love when there’s southern comfort
and who needs love at all

we stalk you your expert double exes
we oxidize you in your sleep there’s no exit there’s no exit

you’re on a roll you’re on a roll no one gets it no one gets it
your honor no your honor can’t you protect us, protect us

but who needs love when there’s law & order
and who needs love when there’s southern comfort
and who needs love
when the sandwiches are wicked and they know you at the mac store

uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - i’m so excited
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - the blacks and beat kids
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - i’m getting frightened
uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh - someday someday leeds united

bugsy malone came to carry you home and they’re taking you all to the doctor
burberry vices all sugary spices it’s nice but it’s not what i’m after
sure, i admire you
sure, you inspire me but you’ve been not getting back so
i’ll wait at the sainbury’s countin’ my change making BANK on the upcoming roster

and we’ll stop you your expert double exes
oh yeah, a big stock holder extra cold with 2 X’s
that never talking thing you do is effective it’s effective
your shoulder’s icy colder-oh than a death wish than a death wish

but who needs love when there’s law & order
and who needs love when there’s dukes of hazard
and who needs love
when the sandwiches are wicked and they know you at the mac store

uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - i’m so excited
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - the blacks and beat kids
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - they’re so excited
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - when i think about leeds uniting
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - i’m getting frightened
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - the blacks, the blacks, the blacks, and beat kids
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - it’s so exciting
uh uh uh uh oh oh oh oh oh uh oh - someday, someday, someday, someday, someday, someday

(brought to my attention by this hilarity; I'm pleased it turned out to be such a catchy little tune)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Don't Get Sucked Under!

Everything will be all right.

Planned Parenthood Gift Cards

Tis the season for giving healthcare.

This country could be so much better.

Thankful

Really am.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Urban Fantasy Book Covers Parade

Yes, they really all do look the same. I haven't been making this up.

And if you think my book cover will look any different... ha ha. Just you wait!

Blame Kushiel!

P.S. I would like to note, however, that I'm far happier knowing I'll probably be getting a cover like this than a cover like this. Or this. It's not a bad time for a book cover.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Oh, I Give Up

Oh, OK, I'll go in and get my earache looked at. I kept hoping it would just go away (it's not horrible, just occasionally twingy and largley annoying), but when health care doesn't cost you a kidney anymore, you really should go in and have shit looked at when it comes up.

Tra la.

P.S. For the record, I'll be getting a dog. I won't be taping bacon to it. Maybe spam. SPAM.

That is all.

Babylon

Man, I always forget how much I love worldbuilding.

I want to post bunches of excerpts from Babylon, but I realize the whole book is going to be full of spoilers for the other two books. That's kind of the trouble with the slow grind of the publishing world. By the time the first book comes out, you're already finishing up the third one (knock on wood).

Anyway, for God's War prequel (non-spoilery even!) madness, you can always visit Nyx here.

Also, because folks keep asking: God's War will be out next fall, sometime around September-October-November.

Yes, that's next year (it's publishing, OK?).

And it gives me a lot more time to get the other books right. Which I appreciate.

Things I Really Want to Do this Year

Buy myself a bunch of presents, wrap them, and put them under my tree. Isn't that funny?

I want an excuse to not care about my credit card bill for once (since January) and just buy stuff. For myself.

Oh, sure, I've budgeted money to buy stuff for other folks, but not for myself. I realize it is Christmas and that's not how it works, but the chances of me getting the things I'm in dire need of this holiday season are decidedly slim, since everyone else is just as poor (if not more so) than I am.

Honestly, you know what I got for Christmas this year?

A job and health insurance.

And that's pretty much the best Christmas present ever, let me tell you.

Maybe I'll just buy some extra nice red ribbons for the tree. And bake cookies. Cookies are festive.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Fav Line of the Day

From Babylon, now officially in progress:

"There were all sorts of things you asked yourself when somebody broke things off. Was she bored? Was there a boy? Was she actually an assassin?"

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stuff & Things

Writing is, I must remind myself, a most excellent form of cheap entertainment.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 08

Welcome to the Hacienda Dayton Thanksgiving! Our third annual? How time flies.


I can haz skillz.

J. meets the dawgs.

Mmmmm spicy cider.

The Old Man poses with the fruits of his labor. Because you can never have enough pie!

The official Turkey Day spread.

The boys make gravy. Really!


Stephanie is far too pleased with this holiday.

I do not find your beer amusing. Buy mine is smashing!

J. gleefully screws me over during a round of Guillotine.

Steph doesn't have enough whipped cream, there...

We might need more pie.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm pie!



Annnnnnnnd we're spent!

See you next year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Is it terrible that I want my neice, Kaylee, to grow up to be a starship mechanic?

Honestly, this is something I'd like to encourage with my Christmas gifting.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Life

"When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life."
-anon

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cooking and Reading

... about sums up my life right now. There's gymming in there as well, but I'm down to 3-4 times a week instead of the coveted 6. Blame my social life.

To be honest, I've quite happily traded those two days of cardio for extra bedroom shenanigans. Same general end result, tho, yeah?

This week's most exciting thing was being reminded that The Women of Our Occupation has been published in Swedish. I received my contributor's copies and $50 this week. I promptly spent the $50 on a new director's chair (which finally caved in after 6 years of use and numerous repairs) and a proper spice rack.

Looking back on it, I probably should have bought a printer. Eh. Budgeted for that next month. The spice rack makes me happier.

Though I love my life, I've recently felt that old, lingering ache for a proper kickboxing class. I can't find any at my gym or at the Y. They'll hold them on occasion, but there's no regular month-to-month class, and most of the ones at the gym are held at 10am (WTF?). Fuck this spinning shit, where's my kickboxing?

Yeah, I miss it. You can only do weight training and triathlon cardio for so long before you just want to... you know... hit things. Hard.

I'll be starting college classes again in January, working toward that company-paid-for degree in Marketing. Because hey: who doesn't want to defer their student loans and broaden their skills base? And not have to go into debt for it? (epic win!)

I've also been spending a lot of time looking for freelance jobs, which are about as tough to find as you might expect. Generally, the freelancing gigs you get aren't going to be from blind resume submissions where you fight for attention with 300 other people - it's gigs you get from friends/colleagues who know that you write.

Overall, life is busy in a good way. Doing tons of research for book 3, which involves a lot of reading about murder, Islam, the Middle East, assassination, and bugs. It's a steady diet, right there alongside my new diabetic-friendly pecan cookies.

Work continues to feed me a steady stream of interesting projects that keep me in health insurance. I do love my day job, for all the craziness it sometimes brings. You just can't beat being paid (and health insured) to write for a living, even if you're sometimes stuck writing handouts about the difference in dependent status between a "qualifying child" and a "qualifying relative."

Life is bloody wonderful.

Off to Cincinnati on Friday.

"I No Longer Recognize Marriage"

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Turns out it’s fun.

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

More Reasons Not to Live in Dayton

There's been a bit of an uptick in crime here around Dayton, for good reason. I often joked that I didn't have a problem walking around downtown Dayton at night cause hey, yo, I lived in South Africa. But now that thing is happening here that used to happen out there: all of sudden there are more and more people talking about how they or someone they know has been raped or had their car/house broken into. Downtown, broad daylight, nice neighborhoods, you name it. Random smash and grab.

Obviously, it's still nothing like South Africa, but as your poor of unemployed starts to grow - particularly as winter approaches - and they're not seeing any help, hope, or end in sight, people get desperate.

Dayton's been a dying town since long before I got here, but closing GM may just shut most of it down for good.

It's not that there aren't industries - there's aerospace and Wright State and lots of government jobs at the base. But there's not a whole lot of entry level unskilled jobs around here anymore, and Dayton still has a huge, huge pool of unskilled labor. Who are getting totally fucked right now. Not that things weren't bad before.

Why don't we have government-funded workers' programs that retrains people for new jobs after major layoffs? I met a couple of tower guys working in telcom who were retrained after major layoffs at a manufacturing plant nearly two decades ago. They got trained in telcom and suddenly had a future.

A lot of these jobs are dying jobs. It's why I'm lukewarm about bailing out the auto industry. It's in trouble because it's not working. Let's shift our focus to something that works. We have new and emerging technologies. We have job needs. We just don't have the skilled labor to put in there. And nobody wants to foot the bill for retraining, so a whole city dies.

Columbus and Cincinnati are nice, at least.

EDIT: It turns out Dayton *does* have a place like this (thanks, Tyim!). God knows Dayton has enough jobs in aerospace and the health industry. There are people to do the work. They just need the training.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

It really is going to be just like FDR's fireside chats.

In fact, if you start to read some of those FDR transcripts above, you'll see an interesting parallel, and I wouldn't be surprised if Obama used them as templates.

It's so awesome to have smart people in charge of the country again. Win or lose, at least I can be proud of them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Diabetic-Friendly Cream Cheese Pecan Sugar Cookies



I just about keeled over when I tasted these:

Cream Cheese Pecan "Sugar" Cookies

Cookies:
1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans
dash of salt

Frosting:
1/2 package cream cheese
2-3 tsp vanilla
2 cups Splenda

Cream together 1/2 cup Splenda, butter, egg, baking soda, salt, vanilla. Then add almond flour and pecans. Stir together well. Spoon batter onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 min at 375.

While it's cooking, prep the frosting. Mix together softened cream cheese, vanilla, and Splenda.

Once cookies have cooled, cover in frosting. Sprinkle with pecans and gobble up immediately.

About 12-15 carbs per cookie is what I'm estimating right now. I ate three of them, and they're rich enough that I feel a little sick (who would have thought it was possible to make diabetic-friendly cookies this rich and gooey and tasty? Certainly not me).

All things are truly possible. Enjoy!

For Tonight:

This (substitute potatoes with eggplant).

And this (mine was slightly overdone).

Wiscon

$470 from Cincinnati to Madison?

WTF people, I could have flown back to WA this time last year for that price (I paid something like $250 last year for the exact same flight).

Here's to hoping airline prices catch up to gas prices before the con.

Mmmm Credit

My credit card company, which I'm planning to ditch when I pay off the last 5K (I have another 4k on a no-interest card right now, which I'm paying off at a slower rate), just raised my credit limit to $20,200.

My God, yo. And they wonder how I got myself into financial problems in the first place.

This just seems obscene to me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy Smoke

When I grow up, I want to be Kate Winslet.

P.S. I will never, ever, ever understand WTF it is Jane Campion sees in Harvey Keitel. Or why the fuck she has to slap on those stupid, stupid, stupid feel-good addendums to otherwise interesting movies.

Progress

Not as fast as many of us would like. But it can happen.

Keep fighting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OmniPoddery: At least it's not a 30% failure rate this month!

I was looking forward to blogging about how I'd gone through an ENTIRE BOX OF PODS without having one of them fail... and then the last one in the box failed this morning.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but the one I was wearing had come unstuck this morning, so I went to change it out with my backup at work. At 10am. And it was my backup that failed.

After the last hellish experience I had nursing myself through a day at work when my pod failed at noon, I decided to trek it home and get it replaced.

Note that this is the post-diabetes, post-layoff, post-Chicago Kameron talking. The default part of me wanted to stick it out. It's embarrassing asking your boss if you can either take a half day or work from home. I have a ridiculous amount of "You show up and do your job" work pride, and I warred with myself over it for about 20 minutes before I gave in.

Why did I give in? Because I remembered how fucking awful I felt last time I nursed a failure with shots-every-hour insulin, and how it took another day and a half just to get back to my old self afterward. If I don't have to force myself through that... why would I do that?

There's tough - knowing that yes, if I have to, I can do that - and then there's just willfully stupid... doing it for the principle of the thing.

So I asked my boss if I could work from home, since busing it home and then busing it back meant I wouldn't get back to the office until after 1pm anyway. He was OK with that (there are advantages to being a writer - you can write anywhere), so I'm working from home today; I only have a couple of small projects.

When I called to report the pod failure, I was actually pretty OK with it. I honestly don't mind a 1 in 10 or 1 in 15 failure rate. That's OK with me. It was very civil. It's that 30% failure rate that starts to fucking grind on you.

I really hope this rate keeps up, because my sugar over the last month has been totally stellar.

I like being healthy. I like being sane. There are too many awesome people in my life right now to screw it all up over bruised pride.

Sometimes you should actually take advantage of offers - like working from home - that will save you and your loved ones a lot of pain and discomfort later.

That's what it's there for.

That's what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One for the Road

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

- Thomas Jefferson

Dear Book Three:

Please stop trying to write yourself in FIRST PERSON.

Save that for Twitter.

Thank you.

The Euphemism Generator

You know you want it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's Readings

It's all wars and assassinations. Nothing to see here. Move along.

One For the Road

My life closed twice before its close -
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

-Emily Dickinson

My Latest Addiction

E.S. Posthumus radio!

Because you can never have enough good stuff to write by.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Busy

So, this is life without WoW.

Holy crap, it is busy and full of things, yo. When you get your ass back to work, you start to wonder what the fuck you were doing the last two months.

I really do like this life a lot better than the one I've been screwing around with the last two months.

Fuck, I have a lot of work to do.

On the upside, I have a feeling that the downtime helped me recharge my batteries.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

One For the Road


Because one can never have enough husky puppies.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Writerly Gooderly

Doing some stuff tonight that's a lot like writing... like, uh, I'm a writer or something.

For some reason, I don't feel that writing copy for an insurance website all day really counts. But oh boy, my brain does. My brain is tired of insurance writing, and resume writing, and now book writing, oh my.

I hate to tell my brain that in order to continue to find some measure of financial security - and in order to get a car (let alone all the other stuff that comes after that) - I'm going to need to pick up some freelance jobs here real quick, too.

Oh, man, my brain hurt just typing that.

The writing life isn't terribly romantic. Mainly, it means non-stop work in your chosen profession.

It just so happens you actually like your profession.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Speaking of fighting...

I don't know what gets me more - that the ax is half her size or that she runs out the door after the guy.

And people think I write fantasy.

(thanks, Tyim!!)

Prop 8: Here's Why

Living in blue states and having blue friends, sometimes, I think, shelters a lot of lefties. You start thinking, "Holy fuck, what the fuck could these people possibly be thinking when they go around willy-nilly nullifying other people's marriages? What the hell?"

What you don't realize is that all that rhetoric and scare-mongering? The "gay agenda" stuff? People really do believe that. They really do believe that "those gays" will take away their rights. Because hey, after all, it's what they're trying to do. Pre-emptive strike.

No, really.

I was on my way to our weekly workout with my work workout group, and the two guys in the group are talking about some creepy guy at the YMCA who grabbed at their arms and said, "Ah, you guys are really working out hard, huh?" wink wink nudge nudge (I would be equally creeped out if any stranger grabbed at any part of my body in any way).

Our trainer said, "You know, we had a trainer where I used to work who had a guy ask him out to lunch."

"So he didn't drop that convenient, `my girlfriend' line?" I said. Because, you know, when you get hit on, name-dropping an SO is the most convenient way to say you aren't interested, no matter the person's sex.

"Too many people play both sides," said our programmer.

"I guess," I said, "but guys should get used to the `my girlfriend' line. You're just not used to getting hit on."

"No," said our DB guy, "that's really what gay people think. They just think that if everybody tried to be gay, they'd be gay."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I said.

"I have this gay friend -" (oh god, yes, he really said this. Anytime anyone prefaces a statement like this, you know you're in for it) "and he says that all gay people really think that everyone is gay. And if they can just get you to try it that you'll be converted."

"Once you go gay, you never go away??" our trainer said.

"That is the biggest load of bullshit," I said. "Your `friend' does not speak for all gay people. That's crap."

"That's what he said!!"

Our DB guy was really sincere about this. Maybe he didn't wholeheartedly believe it, but you could see that there was this small, terrified part of him that was mortified to think that it might be true, and that all the gay men at the Y wanted to seduce him.

And this is not an isolated thing. People who have no experience hanging out with people who are different than them, who have bottled up desires themselves, who refuse to engage or think about or acknowledge difference because it's scary... they really do think this stuff.

Yes, things are changing. Prop 8 passed by a very narrow margin. The reason it was so narrow is because there are more people today who stand up and say, "You're full of crap," or "Dude, I'm gay, and that's totally retarded. That's like saying all straight guys are rapists." And for those in really red, red, red closeted states, there are more positive portrayals of gay and lesbian characters on television (yeah, it's still mostly shitty, but like tough female characters, it's getting better, just not really fast). There's a much higher awareness and acceptance of those feelings among the younger generation, and shit, gay people can even get married overseas and in select parts of the US and the world hasn't exploded.

It's not going to happen all at once. These fears don't go away all at once. They are chipped away at slowly. It takes time. And hard fighting. Don't forget the hard fighting - nothing worth winning ever came without a fight. Civil rights, the women's movement... it's taken us this long just to get this far (and sweet god, look how far we fucking have to go), and gay civil rights has a shorter organized history in this country.

Give it time. Keep fighting for it. Educate people. Call them on their bullshit. Don't let people wallow in fear and ignorance. At the end of the day, everybody will make up their own mind, but for fuck's sake, make sure they're not making decisions based on fear and ignorance.

Because, trust me, my blue state friends, there's a lot of fear and ignorance out there. We fear what we don't understand. And we try to destroy what we fear.

Let's chip away at the fear.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Got This



This was the first thing I thought of this morning when I opened up my email and saw the headline.

Such a Great Day to Live in Ohio

I love me some swing-statin'.

That is, when it swings the way you hope.

I still don't believe it, tho.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

You Know You Want To: Nyx on Twitter

Nyx is on Twitter! Now chronicling the wild, roaring 20s of her early career prior to God's War...

Check out: Nyxnissa.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ah, Budgetry

I was nearly $300 over budget last month. A lot of this is just crap stuff. Tons of dinners out, a couple of bus rides to Cincinnati, and if we count the new phone I had to get because I dropped my old one in a cup of diet Coke, well, we're pushing $500 over budget.

Yeah, that means I had to use the credit card this month, which I fucking hate. I've had to pull it out several times over the last 3 months to cover a lot of crap: new clothes for work, a handful of dates I hadn't properly budgeted for, a pumpkin dinner party I also didn't budget for, two lunches out with Steph that I knew at the time I really shouldn't agree to even if I was ordering water, and a trip to Sam's club that I make every three months that I should really start budgeting for (it's about $150 every time, so $50 a month will cover it).

All told, this isn't horrible - it just means that I pay less toward my CC payment every month. Progress is being made... sort of. Just not... in an ideal way.

I also approached my boss today about continuing classes at Sinclair toward my Marketing Management degree. Student loans have come due, and I prefer to stuff money toward my CC debt before my student loan debt. So, it's back to school in a couple of days and back to paying the full $750 a month toward the CC instead of the $250, $450 or $500 I've been managing the last 3 months.

I've had a really wild, wonderful summer, but it's November now, and time to stop bleeding money. If I want a car next year and a house after that, it's gonna take some self-restraint on my part.

Man, I hate self-restraint.

On the upside, I found out today that my old insurance company is finally starting to pay an old $800 medical bill of mine (it's been over a year). They paid $188 of it, and I'm resubmitting the rest now as per the CSR's suggestion.

How any other company that pays a bill two years after being billed for it stays in business is beyond me.

Mmmmm health care in Amurika.

Oh, Fuck Yeah

The not-Boyfriend texted me tonight and said he couldn't find himself registered on the Montgomery Co site, which makes sense, of course, him being from Middletown and all... so he checked in Butler county and hey, yo, there he was....

This gave me a Sudden Idea.

I'm on the border between two counties here in Ohio.

If one of them doesn't have me then maybe....

Why yes, yes, fuckin' a MY ACTUAL county DOES oh SNAP!

I AM VOTING FOR OBAMA TOMORROW BABY!!!!!

I fucking KNEW I had fucking registered.

Swing state, here I come!!!

To Do

Black Desert line edits (20 pages)
Black Desert actual rewrite based on edits
Black Desert peeps sendoff
Babylon writing schedule
Babylon Chapter 1 (come hell, high water, first person narration...)
Send requested story subs
CB script for GW
Finish Jax short story

Get library card
Get Babylon research mats
Budget update w/receipt calc
Sign up for classes at Sinclair
Gym swim (in addition to regular workout - I'm missing my Thurs workout this week)
Mail in phone rebate
Call old insurance about old bill

Yeah, there's been a little too much boyfriend, not enough rollerderby.

But man, it's been too much boyfriend in such a good way.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well, shit.

I registered to vote when I got my Ohio license at the BMV back in, what, May? July?

I specifically remember being asked if I wanted to register to vote. I remember filling out the forms. I remember hearing that it was taken care of.

I have not, however, received notice of my polling station. So I logged in online today to look it up.

And lo and behold, my friends: according to Ohio, I am not registered to vote.

It occurs to me that I should have checked this 30 days ago, but why, when I'd registered at the BMV?

There's a reason this is a swing state. Should I not have said out loud I was an independent?

This will be the first election I can't vote in since I turned 18. I can't even vote in Illinois. I can't vote, period.

I could get terribly upset about this, but it's my own fault. I knew things in swing states were wacky. It was the first time I'd registered in this state. I should have double checked my status 30 days ago when folks were posting about checking your status 30 days out.

Mmmmmm swing states.

I'm going to feel like shit if Ohio goes to McCain.

One for the Road

Yeah, I'm Alive

Just wicked busy.

And about to get busier.

Friday, October 31, 2008

One for the Road

kameronhurley.com

Yes, I finally bought it (yes, current content is a placeholder only).

The totally awesome Tyim Courts is currently hip deep in site design. Things will be moving over there slowly but surely (in about two weeks!).

You will all be jealous when you see it!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Girls for Obama




The best part, I think, is just seeing pictures of girls engaged in... well, being full, active, passionate people.

It makes me happy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just because you can vote and wear pants...

The day a woman candidate runs and nobody talks about what she's probably like in bed will be awesome. Can you think of any other candidate who was sexualized (or desexualized) the same way our two big female candidates have been?

The goal is to mock Palin’s intelligence not by engaging with her foolish beliefs and ignorant rhetoric, but by pointing and saying “look, boobs!” or “I’d sure like to hit that!” And making her non-threatening isn’t only dangerous politically when Palin is in fact in a position to potentially do a lot of harm; attempting to make her non-threatening in this way is dangerous to all women who hold power, who want to be taken seriously, and who dream of being able to be proud of their sexuality and brains all at the same time. An acknowledgment of female sexuality shouldn’t be seen as mocking — these portrayals of Palin only reinforce the idea that it is.

And:

We still live in a world where sexuality itself is seen as degrading to women.

As somebody who feels like I can't talk about sex and my enjoyment of it for just that reason - because doing so will somehow devalue me as a human being - I really fucking resent this crap. Is it just that it's even more alarming and teeth-gnashing when they do it to powerful women?

It reminds you that you just can't escape it. You have to face it. And kick it's ass. It's not going away just because we can vote and wear pants.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Writerly Bookery

I expected to be asked for my website address and author photo from my publisher at some point... I did not expect that that would be this week.

Crap. It's almost November already, isn't it?

Well, I'll just send them the new URL when I have it. But the author photo really should be done this week. I have no excuses.

It's funny that the request comes on the tail end of my day job's annual franchise convention, where our vendors and franchisees (who've worked with our much larger competitors), asked my boss what marketing agency he'd used to produce all the videos, welcome books, binders, handouts, signage, etc. for the convention. When they found out our little 3-person on staff team put together the whole thing, they were just about floored.

I play a writer in real life, now, too.

And that fiction writing life?

That's going to get really real really quickly here too.

Life is kind of surreal. At some point, after years of slogging away, it feels like you've gotten on a train, and everything is just going really fast.

Workadoo

We should also hopefully have some workadoo projects up on YouTube shortly, and you'll be able to see what all the bloggerly-silence has been about... well, that and rampant socializing.

I discovered Cincinnati this weekend, and learned that it's not ALL of Ohio that sucks... just Dayton. Dayton is the jewel of suckage.

But Columbus and Cincinnati... not so bad!

Because it just isn't Halloween....


... without Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter (??) and Some Chick in a Hat.

I do think it's sad that the one year I can't afford a costume is the year I get invited to a Halloween party one weekend *and* a work party this Friday.

Oh well. It's a Very Nice Hat (a few more pics here).

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

You'll thank me later...

And yes, these are diabetic friendly.

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
3-4 heaping tbs Splenda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp pumpkin spice
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (mmmmm PUMPKIN!!!)
1 egg
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar

You will need a big bowl and a medium bowl.

In the medium bowl, combine the pumpkin, egg, oil, and vinegar. Stir until they are combined nicely.

In the big bowl, mix up everything else. Then add the pumpkin mixture from the medium bowl into the big bowl. Stir it all up together in the big bowl until it is juicy and awesome. If the batter still seems too thick, add a little more milk. I don't know why you have to combine the ingredients separately and then put them together, but that's what the googles say to do, and mmmm does it turn out fine!

Cook them up and enjoy the pumpkin-y goodness!!!

I Need to Go Back to School

All of my deferred loans are coming due. They're doable and all - it just means paying less toward the CC debt, and that just bugs me.

Sitting down and hammering on my budget again. The last two months have not been kind to me.

Pumpkin Fest `08


Guess which one's mine?


Shenanigans in full swing at Hacienda Hurley.


Stephanie, Queen pumpkin.


This is serious business, yo.

View the Whole Event Here!

Friday, October 24, 2008

They Came For...

"They came for the Communists, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't

a Communist;

They came for the Socialists, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't a Socialist;

They came for the labor leaders, and I

didn't object - For I wasn't a labor leader;

They came for the Jews, and I didn't

object - For I wasn't a Jew;

Then they came for me -

And there was no one left to object."

Martin Niemoller, German Protestant Pastor,

1892-1984

Does it Bug Anyone Else...

... that all the women they've cast in GI Joe look exactly the same?

And where the hell is Lady Jane, srsly? Jinx? They kept Scarlett and Baronness, both of whom are used as "love interests" for either side (after all, somebody has to be "the girl!"), and "Cover Girl" a "Super model turned Joe"???? She was a limited release in the 80s because no one liked her. Note that she's only allowed to run a tank cause she's "hot," and therefore "not REALLY scary."

I fucking hate Hollywood.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Why Hand-holding, Flower-loving Matriarchies Never Rang True to Me

Oh look, matriarchies can be violent (just like any other human social setup)!

I admit, I write a lot of violent matriarchies. Mainly because I believe that any social setup that represses another group within it is going to be violent. The most egalitarian fantasy group I have are a bunch of polyamorous, socialist, gender-fucking hippies called Drakes (in, fittingly, The Dragon's War), and they've managed to keep their society that way mainly based on environmental isolation.

But, my matriarchies?

Violent as all get-out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Money

Boy does it suck.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Workadooooo

I am so tired.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Autumn

Oh She of the Pink Hair

I called my hair salon today to make my new cut and color appointment.

They have, apparently, fired my old stylist, oh she of the "your pink hair will totally wash out in a couple of days" fame.

I suppose that at some point, all that Rockstar pink hair will catch up with you...

But, you know, despite the pink hair, I did ask for her again. I guess that when folks are paying $140 for a cut and color (including tip), they are less amused by folks who remind me of my sister and give them 2 weeks worth of pink hair.

Some workplaces are far less forgiving than mine.

In any case, new stylist this time around. Should be entertaining to see how it comes out. Hopefully entertaining in a not sucky way, since I have, in fact, been very pleased with all of my ridiculous cut and color appointments at this place, despite the pink.

After spending three weeks and $120 trying to fix a botched haircut at the local Great Clips, paying an assload to get it right the first time suddenly seemed like a great investment.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

One For the Road

Training Daze

Now that the pool at the gym is back in order, I meant to get back to the gym tonight on the regular triathlon schedule (as opposed to last week's jogging day, 2 weight training days, and 2 biking days), but I haven't been feeling all that great. A combination of some very late (though awfully enjoyable) nights, wonky sugar, and work stress have really got me down. Healthwise, I haven't been so hot, either, which is related to the wonky sugar, which is related to the work stress. I can't wait until next Thursday when the work stress plummets.

The lousy thing about being me these days is that I'm a lot less flexible than I used to be. Schedules work great, but get me out of the schedule, and things fall down pretty quickly. Or, rather, I exhaust myself pretty quickly.

Sometimes I need to remember that, yeah... I'm just not as super-wow as I used to be, you know... stay up all night drinking vodka and cranberry juice in a cabin in the woods, then hop up the next day, drink more beer, and cram for a history final while navigating tricky group dynamics. Yeah, no more of that. Not that I miss any of that, really...

I just hate things I see as weakness, sometimes, especially when it's coming from me.

Where are my superpowers??

I think tonight is home, reading, bed. No shenanigans.

Being a Female Bodyguard

"What I hate is when you get a member of the royal family. It's the same thing every year: you have to be vetted by a guy from the Saudi embassy saying, "Oh, my God, you are a woman!" At which point you have to throw one of his blokes on the floor and stamp on his windpipe to prove you can do the job."

And if you want to know what Black Desert is about, it's basically this:

"I'm nearly 50 and I am shocked that I'm still alive. I was shocked at 30 and I was shocked at 40. I keep saying it's time to wind down, but I miss doing my job too much. I need the adrenalin."

(Thanks, David!)

Monday, October 13, 2008

V for Vendetta

I love this movie more every time I watch it.

Which might say something terrifying about the state of the world. Or a lot about me. Or both.

I Should Know Better

Friday, October 10, 2008

Workadoo

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

South Park: All Free, All the Time

All episodes of South Park are now available to view, for free, online.

Wow.

A Woman's Place

And etc.

Back to the Trenches

Just about done with the first pass on Black Desert line edits. Not actually typing them in, mind, just bleeding over the manuscript, which is a mess (yes, that sounds messy, doesn't it?). There's this very obvious chunk of the book where I'm just dithering away until I can come up with the ending (ie get Nyx back in the picture), and I cut out a whole chapter last night to help get over that long, boring pre-ending. I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the whole bloody thing until I pushed past that lull. Then Nyx shows back up, and the book starts again. I'm really going to need to work on that. The secondary characters should be strong enough to carry the book for four chapters, and right now, they aren't. Things which must be fixt....

In other news, I'm thinking about writing some short fiction again. I think some of my struggle is just that I've been spending so long working in one world, in one medium. I love writing novels, and I love this world, but I've been working on bel dame novels, in one way or another, since 2003.

How time flies.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why is it...

... that writing actually gets *harder* the happier I become?

I think it's just a matter of getting back into constant practice. Giving myself a long break as a reward may not be the best way to manage my new writing all day/writing books all night lifestyle.

Because socializing and gym time have to come in there sometime. Also, cookery, modding, and WoWing... and movies. And French. And... reading. And...

I need a more structured activity schedule.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Yes, I Am Busy...

... but in a good way!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Celebrating Banned Books

I think this is an uber-kewl and terribly creative idea.



(thanks, Tyim!)

"Your Dirty Sex Makes God Send Hurricanes!"

Oh man... can't. stop. laughing...

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Shit that Keeps Me in Dayton

Every once in a while, I'll get tired and frustrated with the idea of living in Dayton, and start searching through job ads.

I do this because it reminds me of the hard truth:

If you add in health benefits, I make as much (and, in some places, more - again, if you count the health insurance, which easily covers 5k a year in expenses for me for $10 a month) in this little town doing what I do than I'd make in a big city doing the same thing.

It appears that the swing over will happen once I have 2-5 years of experience instead of 1-2. There's a pretty significant wage jump between the 1-2 years experience copywriting jobs and the 2-5 years of experience copywriting jobs. Once I have the two years of experience, maybe other options will look more appealing?

But so long as this place pays me what they do and offers the health insurance program that they do, I just can't justify *not* living in this blasted heath of a red town.

Man, I love my job. I just wish it was in, like, Columbus or something. You see? At this point, I could totally be OK with the idea of living in Columbus!

And More It's a Small World Afterall

So, the other night, my date brought over a movie called The Gamers. It's a little D&D cult classic, basically a bunch of college guys with a couple of cameras, who document their D&D game in the basement of their school (which you can watch - in all its cheesy, low budget glory - on YouTube)

So I'm sitting there watching the opening where the guys are heading down the hall to start the game, and I'm thinking, man, that dude just to the right of camera looks really familiar.

And then they all sit down around the gaming table again, and yeah, seriously, that DM looks really familiar. I started paying attention to the opening credits, and, lo and behold, there it was:

"Matt Cameron" was playing the DM.

I actually had to pause the movie and burst into uncontrollable laughter.

Matt Cameron and I went to elementary school together. We were best friends for a couple of years from third-firth grade. He introduced me to all of the SF books in the library. When I was 16, I saw him again when he came to a production of Macbeth at my highschool where I played Banquo. The last time I saw him, I was dropping him off at his house after taking him out to dinner with the theater crew.

Appparently, Matt got into theater hijinks of his own in college... I totally should have known. He always did have a love for text-based computer games. It was only a matter of time before he found D&D.

According to Wikipedia, he's now a lawyer in Boston, which is much closer to what I figured he'd be doing with his life. Matt was one of those prodigies who skips grades and attends Gifted classes. I loved hanging out with him, and I was sad when we started to grow apart in the fifth grade. He was a really neat friend. And, honestly, I missed all of the book recommendations.

So then today, I'm randomly clicking Stumbleupon links and I get this page on the Scientific American website, and just before I go to click through again I'm thinking, "Man, that guy looks really familiar."

Pause.

"No, really, that guy looks really familiar." I checked the name, and there it was: Chen-Bo. Chen-Bo was one of Jenn's classmates at Northwestern. He came over a couple of times, as I recall, and was in attendance at several social gatherings Jenn let me tag along on. He was pretty awesome.

It's kind of weird to realize that all of the adults out in the world now are, you know, your contemporaries? Because that means that, uh, you must be an adult now, too, with your book deal and corp writing job?

Um?

"Maybe in Ohio, But Not in America!"

Man, I'm not looking forward to voting in Ohio.

Bookery: It's a Small World

Was browsing the bookstore with my date last night and saw a copy of David Schwartz's Superpowers. I had been picking up and talking about books and authors for sometime as we browsed the shelves, but when I picked this one up, the date said, "I think I've heard of this."

He works at a comic book store, so this didn't surprise me.

I babbled about Dave Schwartz for a bit and my date said, "You know what, I think I heard him on NPR. He seemed like a really nice guy."

Man, bookery gets around. "Actually, yeah, you probably did," I said. "He had a spot on there, I remember. He's a total sweetheart of a guy. It's about kids in Madison with superpowers. I think you'll get a kick out of it."

My date bought the book. Note that it generally takes 3-4 brain taps about a book before you buy it, which was why it was interesting to watch the power of media and personal recommendations play out right there. He'd heard of the book on NPR and also listed somewhere online, and then I pimped it. Third time's the charm.

This made me terribly happy, because there are far too many people I know who write books that aren't up my alley, and then I never read them. And then I feel like a Bad Writer.

But hey, I've learned that just because it may not be my kind of book doesn't mean I can't pimp it. And, knowing my date, I think he'll really dig this book, the little comic-book nerd, Terry Pratchett-reading, Dresdan loving little goof that he is.

Sweet beans.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We turned at a dozen paces, for love is a duel, and looked up at each other for the last time."

—Jack Kerouac

Back at the Gym

Yup, that would be the gym.

I'm glad I waited until I could breath again to go, cause jogging last night wasn't the most pleasant thing in the world anyway. Good news is, I made my best time yet.

Now it's off to do the workday training routine at the Y.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Destroying intellectual freedom is always evil, but only religion makes doing evil feel quite so good."
- Phillip Pullman

Man, Why Do I Feel Like a Crazy Bitch?

Hum do hum do ho dee hum

I think I'll check my blood sugar...

Boo bop wooo

56.

Yup, that would be why I feel like an angry, snarling bitch.

And that would be why I don't act on feelings that feel totally rational anymore (at least until after I check my blood sugar).

Welcome to living with crazy land.

Monday, September 29, 2008

And yet...

The sugar cookies need work.

I subbed half the flour with almond flour, the other half is whole wheat, and of course, I used Splenda. I'm thinking they need some kind of additional topping, though the texture came out really nice - very chewy and good.

It's the almond meal, I think, that gives it the "off" taste. Still, I could eat five cookies without poisoning myself, so really, that's gotta be a win.

Full recipe to follow when I finally get it right.

Thoughts on Impending Economic Collapse

I have survived two death threats, a chronic illness (which, let's face it, threatens to kill me every day), South Africa, depression, chronic-illness-induced Crazy, the mental breakdowns of loved ones, a job layoff, my parents' concurrent layoffs when I was still financially dependent on them, several big city and land mass moves, and much more.

I still owe just under 10K in credit cards, I have 19K in student loans, about $600 in savings and $200-odd in the bank at any one time.

This is the best place I've been in, financially, in the last two years.

I've lived through some tough shit. I'm prepared for things to be worse.

I know that, in time, things get better. `Til then, I've got good friends and good food, and when the food runs out, friends and family band together to weather it out.

But no, it won't be good times. Good stories, maybe. But not good times. I'm as prepared for that as I'm going to get.

Tonight, I baked diabetic-friendly sugar cookies.

They weren't bad.

The Cult of Loving Kindness

The third book in Paul Park's Starbridge Chronicles arrived today. I am continally in awe of writers who write so well that they make this shit look easy.
What stunned me even more is when I discovered this was actually his first series. Dammit, man.

Heroes and Monsters

A TED talk by Philip Zimbardo, most famously known for the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment, about power and corruption. And power and redemption. Includes an overview of the Millgram experiment, for those unfamiliar with it. That one still terrifies the crap out of me.

This is about the power of institutions and how they affect behavior, and it has just as many implications about your behavior in the workplace, on the street, as it would if you were running the trains or overseeing the prisoners.

There are two bigs points in this one - it's not the people you have to change: it's the system and the basis of power. Power heirarchies encourage evil by allowing its perpetrators to either be anonymous or shift responsibility to someone in authority. If you're looking for the root of evil, don't look at the individual: look at the institution and what it allows and encourages the individual to do.

The second point, and most important because it's the solution: is how the promotion of heroism is the antidote to the abuses of power. Heroes are deviants: they are always going against the herd. They act when others are passive. Heros question authority, heirarchy, power. They aren't afraid to say, "This is wrong."

And those are the sorts of people we need to celebrate and encourage; not abusers of power.

This is why it's important to write good heroes. This is why people get so pissed off about misogyny in the comic book world in particular. If our fantasy heroes preach conformity and misogyny, what hope is there for real heroes?

Standing passively by while people commit abuses just makes you another member of the Millgram experiment. And if that's true, how much of a step to the right is it, really, to turn you into a torturer at Abu Ghraib?

I think about this stuff all the time. It's why I confronted the guys harrassing the girl at the bus stop in South Africa. It's why I was the first one to get up when the guy on the train in Chicago went into a seizure, and it's why I was the first one to notice the girl passing out on the train not long afterward. It's why I confronted one of the guys at my last job about a sexist slap about the unfortunateness of having a girl, and it's why I spoke up at my current job about an incident I observed as being an abuse of power.

Somebody has to be the first one to move. Somebody has to shake it up. And yeah, it's really hard to do. But watching this stuff over and over again?

I'm reminded of why I do it.

Babylon

I started writing the opening to Babylon today in first person. I don't think that's going to work.

But I did finally find the right soundtrack for the novel, which is a big accomplishment in itself.

Writing begins in earnest on October 7th, when my month-of-WoW reward for finishing book 2 runs out.

Here we go again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Tonight's Adventures in Cookery

Chicken Spaghetti, courtesy of The Pioneer Woman cooks.



No, this is not my photo - I've totally stolen hers. But mine actually almost looked like this! Only in a wok! (I really need to get a proper digital camera).

I swapped out the spaghetti with spaghetti squash to make it diabetic friendly and added about twice the amount of red pepper and seasoning salt that she has in her recipe. I also just cooked up four chicken breasts in a cup of chicken broth instead of boiling it off the bone because, srsly, I just don't have the kitchen hardware to do that (read: big ass pot).

This actually turned out really well. I knew this was the recipe for me when she's like, "Now add 2 cups of cheese! OK, now top the whole thing with another cup of cheese!"

Dinner was tasty. It's all boxed up in the fridge for lunches and dinners this week.

Cutting costs, cutting costs... oh, the glamorous writing life.

Bug Sculptures!



Bugs!

Wild at Heart

I think I may have actually liked this Lynch movie. In the way you find it interesting to, say, examine some particularly strange yet somehow appealing malformation.

Laura Dern still annoys me, and I still have no idea what Lynch sees in Isabella Rossillini. As ever, the main female character is brutalized and overly sexualized. I'm starting to think that this isn't even a critique you can make of a Lynch film - it's, like, the definition of a Lynch film. Which makes me wonder where he gets this obsession, or if it's just lazy misogyny. I'd like to think it's not, since so much else you see in Lynch film's isn't lazy - but I won't rule it out. Sometimes there are just gaping holes in our assumptions where our reasoning should be.

Basic premise is: girl and guy love each other and have mad sex. The girl's mother is jealous of this cause she wants to screw the guy. So she puts out a hit on the guy. Guy and girl run away and go on a road trip through the south. At one point, Willem Dafoe blows off his own head with a shotgun, Laura Palmer plays the Good Fairy, and misc. Twin Peaks actors get cameos. It's the sheer out and out weirdness that makes this movie watchable.

I did like the weird integration of elements from The Wizard of Oz, the red shoes, the crystal ball (the wicked witch mother thing was kind of lazy,but she's a reaaal creepy character), and I think it failed on one level because it's not, in the end, Lulu's (Dorothy's) story - it's her boyfriend's story (and, really, the Good Fairy talks to *him* in the end, so is he supposed to be Dorothy? That might be worse). It's Lulu's job to just love him and endure. He's the one with all the action. It's his actions that are the driving force of the story (unlike Wizard of Oz, which puts Dorothy in a more active role).

So that does kind of lean toward lazy misogyny, doesn't it?

Kind of disappointing, but the film has the same weird Lynchian obsessions with red things, wacky characters, character actors, and family secrets. This is probably the closest thing Lynch has got out there to a a love story that I've seen. A wacky, head-blowed-off, manslaughtering, brutalized woman, fucked up guy love story.

And, ok, now that I've written all that, I'm not sure why I said I liked the movie. Maybe it's more accurate to say I found it... interesting? Just like mangled bodies at the scene of a wreck - so freakin' weird and messed up that you can't help looking.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friday yet?

This has not exactly been the best week. I want a do over...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"The Most Important Reading You Will Ever Do"

How books have changed your life.

Training Daze: Off Week

Due to pool closure, allergies severe enough to keep me home from work on Monday (I'm just now feeling about 80% human), pump failures inducing sugar woes (yesterday was *awful*), and the fact that it's fit test assessments at work (which means no regular work workouts this week), I've decided to take the week off from my training schedule.

I'm dedicated and all, but not stupid. Things like breathing and steady sugar numbers (my god it's a fucking miracle to have on a pod that works after three straight failures) = good times. I also have a date on Friday that I'd like to be cognizant for. This will require things like breathing and steady sugar numbers.

The plan is to pick the training schedule back up where I left off come Monday morning.

Also, as a consolation prize for my shitty week, I finally bought this t-shirt:


Because I'm awesome.