Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Back On the Road

No bleeding, no depression, no yeast infections... ah, why, yes! It's time to hit the road again.

Did an experimental jog tonight: slow, short, easy and rather dismal. The second half turned into walk-jog-walk-jog-oh-fuck-it-walk.

The IUD started banging at my insides toward the end, just little twinges of occasional cramping. Not bad (I took a couple Motrin a few hours before), and if all goes as they say it will, I should be pain-free in a couple months. It was good to start out now to see where I'm at with that. I wish they made a smaller device for women who haven't had kids - I'd really rather that thing wasn't banging around all the time. In any case, I have confidence that my body will get used to it, and I'll be back together in no time.

The idea is to get a couple weeks of MA classes back in before my membership runs out - I'm going to let it expire over the summer and sign back up in September, mainly to save the money. Things are agonizingly tight right now, and heading to WisCon didn't do me any good.

I've been keeping up on the power walks at work - that's an hour every day, and my free weights in the morning, so I'm healthy, but not buff, and you know, honestly, I have a secret desire to be buff. The day I can tell a set day job to shove it so I can spend some time getting into actual shape will be a fucking fantastic day.

In other news, I've been reading a lot about boxing, as I've got a couple of shorts and a novel with a protagonist who's taken it up, and I'm interested in seeing how other authors handle writing about boxing (B is very good at this, and his blog is great for that).

I'm also currently in the process of cutting 31,000 words from the first book of my fantasy saga before it hits the road again with agents. I picked up a couple more names at WisCon, and I figured, shit, why not? So that's getting cleaned up while the day job is slow, and at night I'm coming home and working on my blood and sand bisexual shapeshifiting bounty hunter novel and stories, which hold a special place in my brutal little heart.

Those stories are gonna rock.

Overall, life is definately smoothing out again, most importantly on the health front. I really took a nose dive for three or four months, and coming up out of that has been a bitch and a half. Now it's all back to working to where I was, writing and shape wise, and surpassing that.

No big thing.

It's a good life.

Straw Dogs Meets Deliverance: Oh Boy, I Sure Do Want to Sign Up For That One

Some people just don't know when to retire.

The red bandanna and the hunter's knife are back: Sylvester Stallone is set to reprise his role as Vietnam vet John Rambo, 17 years after his last outing.

Stallone, now 58, will don combat trousers for a fourth time, this time to slug it out against American white supremacists bent on killing his wife and daughter. In the new film, the grunting killing machine has turned middle-class family man and has "assimilated into the tapestry of America," according Stallone, who is also the movie's scriptwriter. He promises a film in the vein of Straw Dogs and Deliverance.

It reads like something from The Onion.

How Long Until the Government Starts Monitoring What You Eat?

In the past, his parents had no clue when he bought a treat at school. Now, thanks to a new school-lunch monitoring system, they can check over the Internet and learn about that secret cookie.

Health officials hope it will increase parents' involvement in what their kids eat at school. It's a concern because federal health data shows that up to 30 percent of U.S. children are either overweight or obese.

"My parents do care about what I eat. They try, like, to keep up with it," said Hughes, a 14-year-old student at Marietta Middle School.

Because it's best that your children learn right away that you don't trust them to make good decisions, and more than that, that you don't respect them. This way, your children will remain child-like and dependent all their lives.

What good sheep-like citizens they will make!

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

New love can look for all the world like mental illness, a blend of mania, dementia and obsession that cuts people off from friends and family and prompts out-of-character behavior - compulsive phone calling, serenades, yelling from rooftops - that could almost be mistaken for psychosis.

As an SF writer, I wonder, could you start requiring your lover to "test" their love for you with a brain scan?

Ah, think of all the dystopian possibilities...

The Holy Womb of Antioch

"Love can't save you Padme. Only my new powers can do that."

"Hold me like you did by the lake in Naboo."

And I'm thinking, "Sweet fuck, why?"

To his credit Hayden Christiansen really gave it his all. He told the story he wanted to tell, he worked as best he could with the lame dialogue and sudden loyalty-switching scene that had very little lead-up. It was a poorly written script. Lucas spent the first half of the movie lovingly panning through long, drawn-out shuttle docking sequences, and must have realized two-thirds of the way through the film that he was actually telling a story that somehow involved the actions of people, and he spent the last half of the movie cutting through a series of quick-cut scenes of the most disrespectful sort that not only insult your actors, but insult your own worldbuilding skills, so that Super Jedi who can "sense" things with the force get taken out by a couple of blaster-shots to the back (in fact, only two Jedi besides Obi-wan actually get any sort of actual fight scene when they get turned on, both of them being men).

The tragedy of this movie is watching what is, at core, a really great story about how power corrupts, and how you kill what you love, and turn yourself into a monster. It's absolutely fascinating to watch someone who's a great "idea" guy fuck up stuff like the actual telling of a story: he has no intuitive sense of narrative drive, of how to cut a scene, of when to trust his actors to deepen a scene, of when to edit a fight scene because they all look alike. In fact, he's not even sure of the right balance between fight scenes and character/plot scenes. Any scene with dialogue is almost always painful. Ewan McGregor is about the only one who can do anything at all with the shitty dialogue, though Hayden gives it his all: you can tell that he was holding out for this movie and fuck George if he wanted him to play it wooden, cause this is why he signed up for this shit, to be fucking Darth Vader.

And then, of course, there's the Holy Womb of Antioch.

I mean, Padme.

The Senator, right? Busy doing senatorial things, meeting with people, having her own subplot, caught up in negotiating with Jedi and telling Palpatine to fuck off and engaging in long talks with the new Queen about domestic policy and...

Oh, I'm sorry, I was thinking of the wrong movie.

In fact, every scene Padme is in, she's sitting on a couch or standing at a window or standing on the balcony staring blankly at something, pregnant, (because everyone knows pregnant women live like invalids) waiting for the scene to start. Waiting for Anakin or some Jedi to come in and break up her staring-at-the-wall reverie. Natalie Portman checked out of this movie a long time ago. And who can blame her? It was utterly obvious from the writing that she was only there as a peice of scenery. Her hair and clothes changed drastically with every scene; she was a walking, talking set peice.

And her death scene? Oh, yea, death scene in childbed in the 80th century! The robots attending her surmise that "There's nothing physically wrong with her. She just seems to have lost the will to live."

Lost. the. will. to. live.

Luckily, she lives long enough to contort her face into what resemebles the face one would make during a particularly troublesome bowel movement, and squirt!-squirt! - there's Luck and Leia! Isn't that cute! I'm the director, and I'm just going to blast through all this silly plot and character stuff here at the end, cause everybody already knows what's going to happen. I'm going to let the next three movies in the series inform just how significant this moment is, so I don't have to work at it and write actual dialogue that makes sense!

So the men and robots make the decision to "operate" quickly to "save the babies" - an operation which essentially consists of her delivering the kids the regular way, not via Cesaerean, so I'm not sure what planet these robots came from where they thought natural childbirth was an operation, but they should probably be mindwiped.

But lo! Padme's death is appropriately celebrated like any good female martyr's - there's a great parade through the streets and she's in an open coffin with flowers all over her like good virginal Snow White. Having fulfilled her purpose for living, the Holy Womb is delivered unto the underworld. All hail the holy womb!

And this is the end, purpose, and plot we get for the only female heroine in the entire movie. She exists to give birth to Darth Vader's kids. No hopes, desires, dreams of her own, except to escape back to Naboo with Vader and raise up his babies. Um, hello, isn't she a Senator? Isn't there work to do? Shouldn't she have scenes where she did work? Couldn't she have been better involved in the plot? I'd almost rather she didn't have any scenes at all and the babies were just sent off to Obi-wan to distribute, but we were supposed to have these stupid scenes with Vader and Padme where they had this obvious love and chemistry for each other, so we could see why he'd go crazy and go all dark thinking that she'd die unless he had his "new powers."

It's such an incredibly sad movie to watch because you can see all these really neat set peices: the image of the Jedi temple burning, Anakin going in to kill all of the Jedi - including the children, the plausible scenerio of how a president/prime minister becomes a despot by ruling through fear, all of Yoda's extreme coolness, Obi-wan's affection for Anakin. All ruined, just ruined, because the delivery was for shit.

I just didn't buy it. It was poorly written, and the actors were insulted with very little slow scene time in which to emote or at least pretend to feel something. Instead it was "line, line, line, CUT: new scene line, line, line: CUT."

Luke! Leia!

The end.

Thank God. Because really, Luke and Leia are way more interesting in the next three movies than just about anybody got to be in these three movies, so the sooner we get back to them, the better.

If anyone ever comes to my house and discovers that I own any of these three prequels, please feel free to put me out of my misery.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day

"I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men [sic] to die in."
- George McGovern

"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron."
- Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech, American Society of Newspaper Editors, 16 April 1953

"Draft beer; not people."
-Author Unknown

"The problem in defense is how far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without."
-Dwight D. Eisenhower

"It doesn't require any particular bravery to stand on the floor of the Senate and urge our boys in Vietnam to fight harder, and if this war mushrooms into a major conflict and a hundred thousand young Americans are killed, it won't be U.S. Senators who die. It will be American soldiers who are too young to qualify for the Senate."
-George McGovern

Sunday, May 29, 2005

What I'm Working On Tonight

God's War


Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert. Drunk, but no longer bleeding, she pushed into a smoky cantina just after dark and ordered a pinch of morphine and a whiskey chaser. She bet all of her money on a boxer named Jax, and lost it two rounds later when Jax hit the floor like an antique harem girl.

Nyx lost every coin, a wad of opium, and the wine she’d gotten in exchange for her womb. But she did get Jax to bed, and loser or not, in the desert after dark that was something.

Especially considering Nyx’s profession.

“What are you after?” Jax murmured in her good ear. They lay tangled in the sheets like old lovers, a losing boxer with a poor right hook and a tendency to drop her left, and a wombless hunter bereft of money, weapons, food, and most of her clothing.

“I’m looking for my sister,” Nyx said. It was partly the truth. She was looking for a lot of people.

Jax could only get her halfway there.

Nyx woke sometime after dawn prayer with a hangover and what felt like a wad of cotton in her belly. The pain wasn’t supposed to kick in until noon. She should have started drinking to prep for the pain, but she had another sort of boxer to meet in Faleen, and four women and a eunuch on her tail looking for a womb she’d dumped at the butcher’s. They would take her without the womb, of course, but dumping it kept them occupied in the fleshpots a day longer.

She pulled on her burnoose and pushed into the short hall. Jax was long gone, and the cantina was mostly empty. There was a room charge to pay, the cantina keeper told her. She put breakfast on the tab and slipped out the back.

A girl was selling sand cats in a pool of smoke weeping out from the back end of the cantina. It was a bad day for smog, even this far outside the cities. The thick air trapped the smoke too close, cloying close. Nyx pulled her gutra over her face, tucked it up under the aghal.

“You seen any bakkies on this road?” she asked the kid.

The girl spit red. “You want a sand cat?”

The kittens in the cage were bloody, half-starved. Flies circled them. The girl didn’t look much better.

Nyx was shit and gone from Punjai.

She walked. She looked back, once, at the smoky cantina and the starving girl, and wondered who they were burning back there.

The sun bled across the big angry sky. The road was unpaved, mostly sand and gravel. She had traded her good sandals for directions out of the fleshpots, too dopey to figure her way out on her own. Under the burnoose, she wore little more than a dhoti and breast binding. She had an old baldric - her dead partner’s - buckled too tight.

All the sheaths were empty. Had been for some time.

She was reminded of some proverb about meeting God empty-handed, but morning prayer had come and gone, and she hadn’t knelt. Her knees weren’t calloused anymore. Not from praying, away.

She hitched a ride on the back of a snarling cat-pulled cart just before midday, and by late afternoon she found a bodega and a call box and a sign telling her she was thirty miles from Faleen.

She made a call.

Two hours later, Kine pulled up in a bakkie spewing red roaches from its back end.

Kine leaned over and pushed the door out.

“You’ve got a leak in your exhaust,” Nyx said, sliding onto the seat.

Kine was an unremarkable woman, big in the hips and slight in the bust, average height, long face. Her hands had the brown, worn, sinewy look of old leather, but her face was younger, fleshier. She wore an embroidered housecoat and hijab over her dark hair, but Nyx figured there was very little on underneath the coat. It was a hot day.

“What’s her name?” Kine asked, shifting the bakkie into gear.


“I can smell her,” Kine said.

“I lost a bet,” Nyx said.

“Where’s Tej?”

“Dead. I couldn’t get him back over the border.”

Kine pursed her lips, a thousand daggers of disapproval in her dark eyes. She never frowned, never that, but the tight mouth held back words her God didn’t permit her to say. Nyx knew that well enough. She’d known Kine long before she went conservative.

They blew back out onto the road. The shocks in the bakkie were going out.

“Where am I taking you?” Kine asked.


Nyx looked out the window, watched the flat white desert turn to dunes.

“A ship just came in from New Canaan,” Kine said. Faleen was a landlocked city. Only one kind of ship docked there. “If you’re looking for the magicians –“

“Which sect?”

“Yebez. This is God’s war we’re fighting. They want a part in it.”

“God didn’t say anything to me about it. Does the radio work?” Nyx asked. She leaned forward to fiddle with the tube jutting out of the dashboard.

“No,” Kine said. She pinched her mouth again, then - “How did you lose Tej?”

Nyx was bleeding again. She could feel it. She needed something stronger than liquor.

“You have any weapons on you?” Nyx asked. She kicked the radio tube. It rattled. All the news was behind her.

“Who’s tracking you?”

“What is this, the fourth inquisition?”


Nyx pulled her gutra free, dipped her head out the open window. The air was clearing up.

“Raine,” she said.

Kine’s face scrunched up like a prune. She shifted gears. The bakkie rattled and picked up speed. Dust and dead beetles roiled behind them.

“You’re putting me in a pot, sister-mine,” Kine said.

“I wouldn’t be blood if I didn’t.”

“I’ll drop you at the gate, no farther.”

The gate was good.

“You never could get a man back over the border,” Kine said. Her expression hadn’t changed. She had liked all of Nyx’s partners, even the men. Kine thought she was a good progressive conservative for putting up with Nyx's male partners.

“Tej was a good boy. The only one of yours I liked. You kill good men for a lost cause.”

“Raine always got us back out.”

“Raine isn’t a bēl damê, he’s a bounty hunter.”

“There’s not much difference.

“It’s all the difference in the world, in God’s eyes.”

They’d turned off the gravel track and onto the 101 Highway that bisected northern Nasheen from the Chenjan border to the sea. Splintered red rock jutted up from the dunes or lay scattered among them. A careful eye could spot the shimmering casings of unexploded bursts lining the highway. The road signs were popular shooting targets for Chenjan operatives and Nasheenian protestors, and most of the metal markers were pocked with bullet holes and smeared in burst residue.

Nyx supposed that there were worse places to go to sell the last of what she had, but she couldn’t think of any. Except maybe Chenja. And she’d already given Chenja enough of her. And enough of everyone else.

She tightened her baldric.

Eighteen miles to Faleen.


... was great. Had to leave early due to scheduling and life events, and etc. but I had a blast. Got to meet great people, had a great time.

Looking forward to next year. It'll totally rock the house.

Things are great.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

What I Love About Wiscon

It's incredibly nice to find your people. It's incredibly surreal to have several people stop you in the hall and go, "Kameron Hurley? Brutal Women? I love your blog!"

Next year, I'd rather they were loving my fiction. But hey, I'll take what I can get.

Next year. The fiction will pay off. I'm passionate. I believe in it. Things can be really different.

And now I will cease drunken posting, in case I get myself in trouble by talking about James Frenkel.

Ahem. Yea.

Also, need to call Simon and Ashley at some point - dude, let's do lunch.


hahah ahah aha

The hotel "decency" filter won't let me view my blog... because it has words like "fucked" in it.

Tell them to join the Real World.



I am a little drunk.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Why Yes, It's Friday Random Quiz Day. I'm Lazy.

Your Birthdate: January 12

Being born on the 12th day of the month (3 energy) is likely to add a good bit of vitality to your life.

The energy of 3 allows you bounce back rapidly from setbacks, physical or mental.

There is a restlessness in your nature, but you seem to be able to portray an easygoing, sometimes "couldn't care less" attitude.

You have a natural ability to express yourself in public, and you always make a very good impression.

Good with words, you excel in writing, speaking, and possibly singing.

You are energetic and always a good conversationalist.

You have a keen imagination, but you tend to scatter your energies and become involved with too may superficial matters.

Your mind is practical and rational despite this tendency to jump about.

You are affectionate and loving - but very sensitive.

You are subject to rapid ups and downs.

Why Does This Not Surprise Me?

Your Deadly Sins

Pride: 80%

Greed: 40%

Sloth: 40%

Envy: 20%

Gluttony: 20%

Lust: 20%

Wrath: 20%

Chance You'll Go to Hell: 34%

You will become famous - and subsequently killed by a stalker.

I Get Paid Tomorrow

Oh, sweet lord, thank you.

I've really got to figure out how to pay for dinner dates and books at the same time.

Truly, one of the great challenges of our age.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Kitten WAR

Because every kitten must have its day...


Men Are Stupider Than Women, Which is Why Women Succeed in Life and Men Succeed In Business

Oh, I'm sorry, John, wasn't that what you were saying? No?

On average, the women made as much as the men under either system (individual or group money games). But when they were offered a choice for the next round - take the piece rate or compete in a tournament - most women declined to compete, even the ones who had done the best in the earlier rounds. Most men chose the tournament, even the ones who had done the worst.

Because men are stupid and need to glorify their egos, and women are content with their lot.

Or maybe because women aren't encouraged to be competitive, because it's incredibly "intimidating" and "unfeminine" and unless she's a lesbian, she'll never get laid again.

Oh, sorry, not your conclusion John?

The men's eagerness partly stemmed from overconfidence, because on average men rated their ability more highly than the women rated theirs.

Because men are stupid and egotistical, and women are raised with a sense of modesty and Christian self-abasement.

Oh, wrong again.

"Even in tasks where they do well, women seem to shy away from competition, whereas men seem to enjoy it too much," Professor Niederle said. "The men who weren't good at this task lost a little money by choosing to compete, and the really good women passed up a lot of money by not entering tournaments they would have won."

You can argue that this difference is due to social influences, although I suspect it's largely innate, a byproduct of evolution and testosterone.

::insert sloooooow screeeaaam:::

Oh, yes, testoserone, that happy hormone. Let's try this out. Put a bunch of menstrating women in a room with a group of men. This is the time of the month when men's body chemistry is most similiar to women's, hormone-wise.

See what changes.

What, nothing?

OK, pump women full of testoserone, so they grow a beard and get an enlarged clitoris, and then run the experiment again.

Still the same?

Gee, I wonder what the problem could be then!

OK, sit a few female-to-male transexuals down with some men who were born with --

Gee, tougher to control other factors for that one, huh? And a smaller sample.

Oh, dear.

Why is it that everytime somebody argues about "some" men succeeding above and beyond "some" women, that the issue of testoserone comes up? How about the family background of the applicant, how about looking at the amount of confidence their parents inspired in them, or looking at their birth order? Why always concentrate on the sex?

Thoughts on Education

In reading this article at the NY Times about the differences between those who stay and complete college and those who don't, I was reminded of my own experience (and, in fact, continuing experience) with the educational system. Low-income students and students of families who did not graduate from college - unsurprisingly - still have a more difficult time getting to college and sticking with it to get the degree.

There's really no question as to why. If you've got a family who expects you'll go to college, who all graduated from college and - miracle of miracles - who will pay for it if you go, you've got a big social and financial system behind you urging you on. Shit, I had a family who would have disowned me if I didn't get a degree, but I sure as hell contemplated *not* completing my undergraduate degree a couple of times.


Cause I'm now 30K in debt, and making only 40K a year as a result. In fact, the only reason I even considered graduate school at all was because a collective of relatives agreed to help me pay tuition costs. I still worked for my plane ticket and the money to pay my bills before I headed overseas, but at the end of graduate school, at least my debt rack-up remained the same.

What kept me going when I was 19/20 wasn't so much my love of education (though I certainly have a love learning), it was family pressure to finish. My parents pounded me and my brother and sister over the head about the importance of a college education. My mother had waited to go back to school until she had kids - and she said it was one of the stupidest things she'd done, to try and go to work, go to school, and raise kids, and she didn't recommend that route. My dad finished a couple of semesters of college courses, but it became abundantly clear when he went back on the job market that nobody was hiring anybody without a college degree anymore, and he fought tooth and nail to get a job that paid the bills, even with over twenty years of restaurant experience, five years of that at the VP level.

The job market isn't a fun place.

I found out the same thing here in Chicago when I tried to get a job, and ended up working for $11 an hour as a temp before this position became permanent. I was so desperate to work that I was ready to apply at Starbuck's - with a Master's Degree.

How fucked up is that?

When it comes to education, for me, it's now all about the money. Where will the money come from? How many more student loan people are going to call me about late payments? How much more financial harrassment will I endure to get another degree, to broaden my horizons, expand my skill base?

My answer is: a lot.

The reason I have that answer is because I've grown up in a family that takes great pride in education, that knows it's worth, and who have raised me with those same values.

For better or worse, I keep going.

It's the money that's a bitch.

Just Drink More Coffee

The lean and the restless.

Wiscon Approaches

I don't know about you, but I sure as hell am ready to get out of town...

And, of course, looking forward to getting paid on Friday. It's gonna be a great Friday. Why isn't today Friday, dammit?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Until You Experience This, You Just Can't Really Comprehend It

The ParaGard may cause a 50 to 75 percent increase in menstrual flow.

Why yes, yes it does.

Heavier and longer menstrual periods, more common during the first 2 to 3 months

Patience, young grasshopper, patience. I figure that it's healthier than being pregnant, and less depressing than a pill. And in three months, I won't be selling all this extra blood for Satanic rituals.

I'll certainly miss the extra income.

Shit I Could Never Do

Be an IT support person. You get the same lameass questions from lameass people who don't read the fucking access directions before they fucking call you.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

I'm in a blistering bad mood. Heading out today at 4pm.

Gonna go get some coffee.

It's just one of those days.

What I'm Working On:

Year of Wonders

She painted on nonsdays, the day before worship, the day after sex, when her body was loose and her head was clear and she hadn’t yet purged herself of the week’s paltry sins. She liked the light on nonsdays, and she sat at her window in her robe, legs spread, watching the light spill over the city. The breeze was hot and heavy, humid as a den of lovers. The wind smelled of the sea. If she gazed over the blue tiles of the city, gazed just there, between the great towers of the church temple and the storage silos blocking the tail-end of the bay, she could just see the glint of the sea.

All she ever painted was the sea. The light on the sea, the city and the sea. She had moved out of her studio three times, trying to get a better view of the sea, but violence and poverty always sent her away from the core of the city and the beachfront tenant houses. She sat in her rented room and painted a dream of the sea cut through in a sliver of real light. When she slept, she dreamt of the sea.

But her dreams did not sell. Whoring kept her in rent and paint and sometimes bread. She liked her life. She loved her view of the sea. She did not want for lovers, just bread, for sometimes she felt she lived on the view and the dreams, and that was enough.

She was twenty-two, paint-smeared and starving.

When a man knocked at her door asking for a commission, she assumed it was a euphemism for sex, and told him he would have to wait until the day before nonsday. He laughed, and she offered him weak tea.

He sat with her on the floor of the studio and stared at the cluttered wall hung in a splash of canvases; a thousand shades of blue and violet and white and yellow, orange and gray, all dabbed and mixed and lovingly kissed so they could create this: the sea.

“I would like you to paint me,” he said. “As you paint the sea.”

“Impossible,” she said. “I dream of the sea.”

He leaned toward her. He was broad and angular, but not frightening. Men did not frighten her. Only violence. And men knew nothing of violence in the blue-tiled city. That was a woman’s vocation.

“I want you to dream of me,” he said.

He was not beautiful. But then, neither was she. It was not a city for the beautiful.

The Boxing Magicians of Faleen

For hours they stood on the edge of the road watching the cars while the dust settled in their hair and cicadas clung to the hems of their trousers. They had come from the boxing in Faleen and their eyes were black shadows and their clawed hands were tinged a faint violet, thick with swelling.

They were magicians, magnificent, resplendent in amber and topaz robes that covered their thick, powerful bodies. The black shadows of their eyes told nothing of where they’d been, why they waited, but you could always mark the boxing magicians of Faleen. They stood in the world like it was a transient thing, as temporary as a dawn wind. They stood as if they would outlast it.

Arran had seen them as soon as they alighted from the bus. They emerged from the cloud of roaches spewed from the bus’s exhaust and remained on the far side of the ditch, speaking low among themselves and watching the traffic coming back out from the city after afternoon prayer.

“You think we should offer them something, mother?” Arran asked the woman working beside him. He held the basket of roach eggs as she repaired the burst walls of the house, sealed the eggs over with mud and straw.

She was a big woman, fleshy in the hips and thighs, broad in the face and heavy in the bosom, her breasts so large that Arran once dreamed that he suffocated against them in her warm embrace. He had not known her long, only a season. His birth mother worked in government, somewhere in Punjai on the edge of the desert, along the Chenjan border where the worst of the skirmishes still blazed. He had been farmed out to families further inland from the fighting, to be raised up until he was old enough to go to war and kill the Chenjans that left his birth mother with no time for children. It wasn’t long off, he was nearly fourteen, and he’d seen the sixteen year old men marching off to war along the road after their graduation in Faleen. Not long. Not long at all.

This new mother spared a black look at the magicians, and spat a red pulp of kaj onto the dirt. “Offer them water. Magicians don’t go for liquor, this time of day. Go ask your sister to dole it out. And don’t linger. Magicians don’t like boys.”

Arran abandoned the basket and bolted around the back of the house to where his sister Jax was sparring with some local girls. They said that magicians could tell the future. They could tell you how you’d do in the war, how many Chenjans you would kill, how much honor you’d get back in Nasheen, how long you would be remembered.

“Jax, ma says to dole out some water,” he said.

Jax parried a blow from her partner with her left forearm, dipped away, pushed back from the sparring circle

“What?” she said. Sweat poured down her long, flat face. Her dark skin was covered over in a fine reddish dust. She had twisted her dark hair back into a knot of braids. All the girls did their hair that way, these days. He’d once begged to be allowed to grow his hair long, but every mother he’d had scolded him for it. What would a boy do with long hair? Get it caught by some Chenjan, likely.

“There’s magicians on the road!” he said, and immediately regretted it.

The other girls looked over at him. Jax’s sparring partner, and the three watching.

“What kind of magicians? From Faleen?” Jax said. She retrieved her long robe and rubbed her face with it.

Arran rocked back on his heels. “Mother wants water for them. She says I should –“

“We’ll take it out,” Jax said. She nodded to the girls, grinned. “You want your fortune told? I heard they give you good ones, if you bring them some bugs. Arran, give me your locust.”

“No,” Arran said. He’d caught the locust a month before, when a swarm came through and he and Jax and their mother had gone out to cover over the fields with organic netting. The locust had clung to the sleeve of his jacket, and when he saw it spread its amber and lavender wings, he caught it up in his hands and knew he had to keep it. It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

“Don’t be a maggot,” Jax said. She shrugged into her robe, cut a look at her sparring partner, some lanky girl named Trinh who lived at a farm an hour’s walk away.

“It’s mine,” Arran said. “Just give me the water. Ma said –“

“Piss on what ma said. Let’s go see what these magicians are like,” Jax said. She nodded to the girls, and they bled past Arran and back around to the front of the house.

Arran hopped after them. “Don’t! Ma said I...”

Jax unlocked the well and pumped out some water into a bowl at the base of the house. She handed the bowl to Trinh.

“Shut up, Arran,” Jax said. “What do you think they’d have to say to you? Boys all end up the same, dead and buried in Chenja. Who gives a fuck about a boy’s future?”


Cheira had named the ship after herself, and she still sat at mealtimes in the hub with lists of names at her elbows and a mask of liquor vapor in her hand. None of her crews had ever seen her eat. She did not keep her crews long (nameless bodies abandoned; deep space) because after a time they became dull and desiccated (and she left them on the crust of a colonial waste wearing thorns in their hair, clinging tightly to the lead rope of a solitary ox the color of old blood). She’d named the ship without any hint of irony. The idea that Cheira had any irony left was a riotous laugh even without knowing the ship's moniker, and her Second, Roman, amused himself often at the expense of her baptizmal humor.

Roman would come into Cheira’s quarters after the purging of every crew, his long face set in a dark, graven expression she had come to call winter, for it came as often as she remembered that season in her childhood.

His visage was his gift to her stagnation.

"Why don't we go on," he would say. "We can manage the cortex on our own. Engineers take up space. I can handle repairs. And the mercenaries… You're a better miss than any of them."

"There's the matter of the prisoner," she would say.

And he would throw up his broad, scarred hands and sigh and say, "Yes, there's the prisoner."

It was Cheira’s duty, her obsession, her vocation, to tread down the tongue of the spiraling stair from the cortex to the holding tank every six hours. She greeted the semblance of a body suspended in viscous green fluid with a blank stare and an unconscious moue she had seen Justice wear in propaganda posters during the war.

The body’s eyes were closed, its sex indeterminate, its face a morass of dark, thread-like tubes and wires. Most sessions, she merely came down and unlocked the feed cabinet, filled a clean syringe with dark fluid, and inserted it into the long black tube suctioned against the transparent cell. Sometimes, when the body absorbed the fluid, it would writhe and twist, lost in the ecstasy of fulfillment. Sometimes, it did not react at all, but remained still, unmoving (a mermaid trapped in ice).

After recording the convulsion - or lack of one - Cheira often went straight back into the cortex. But she had been known to linger, to sit at the flat, purring recording console that kept her charge in permanent stasis.

She had stopped wondering where the body had come from, or who it had been. Her interest was in pondering what it would become. She lost track of time (in these intimate reveries), often. After twelve hours of contemplation, she would hear Roman do a sensor sweep of the ship. He would find her alive and intact, and perhaps he would go back to playing screes or fucking one of the engineers or concocting a filmy liquor the tarry consistency of fuel oil. They were a pair of two, a crew of three, picking up floatsam and jetsom in the seams between the stars.

When the next filler contract arrived in Cheira’s room, Roman wanted a new crew. He was lonely, he said, after she left the last of his engineers on a paltry rock the color of foam.

She let Roman pick the crew, and he navigated them a path into Stile, a dusty ring of settlements on the edges of an asteroid belt circling a bloated, dying star. His brother worked in the scrap constellations around Stile, digging through old ships, piecing together their innards, selling them as pirated vessels imbued with the spirit of cheap colonial grit.

Cheira had not seen Roman's brother in a decade, when speaking of the war, of genocide, in terms outside the propagandic, was still new and unsettling and got them thrown out of establishments whose whores and buggers and creep cleaners called them void, diseased (marked for a dry asphyxiation in a torn cargo hull aboard a drifting ship in limitless space).

She did not greet Roman’s brother when he came aboard, but waited until he sought her out in the cortex. She stared out at the projection screen, the long loop of the asteroid belt. Bits of space debris bumped against the hull, bits of rocks and bodies, glass shards and scraps of metal so small they were worth less than the energy to gather them.

She heard him walk up the stair into the cortex. Heard him hesitate on the threshold.

"This your ship?" he said.

She had expected to feel nothing at his voice, but like the body in her hull, she was sometimes surprised at what was fed to her. She felt a sort of pain.

She swiveled in her chair. He did not take up the doorway as Roman did, but inhabited it in the loose way he inhabited all spaces, wrapping it around himself like a shroud , blurring the edges of his surrounds. He had once had the body of a dancer, but like all of them, he had atrophied, and though he was thin, it was a thinness borne of hunger and the loss of muscle. His eyes were black as Roman's, but their color was the only feature they shared. He was coffee black to Roman's sallow cream, slight in the hips and shoulders, delicate in the wrists and ankles, with the doe-like eyes of an oversized marionette.

He stepped into the cortex, and the ship hummed. She patted the console, and it quieted.

"You look terrible," he said.

"I was thinking the same of you," she said.

"Roman says you need an engineer."

"We don't, but we do."

"Cryptic, intriguing. I brought my work."

"Desecrate the hull and I'll have your sack."

"Haven't you had it?"

"It's been a long time."

"I have no doubt."

She regarded him. Something inside of her stirred, something dark, a gray gauze. "Where are the others?" she said.

His name was Luck.


Roman's tastes were predictable in their disparity. He brought up his foundlings to meet with her, the first: a pale, freckled girl of a pilot whose yellow hair was a startling burst of color. No one remembered the last time they'd seen yellow hair. The war, maybe.

The other was a mercenary, a tall, long-limbed man as dark as the girl was light. His head was shaved bald, and he wore a silver circlet above his ears; half of one ear was missing. He carried a charged gun at either hip, a shotgun across his back. He smelled of blood and metal.

"Do they have whole names?" Cheira asked Roman.

"Hanah Tohl," the little pilot said, holding out her little hand. It was a rude affectation picked up by a lot of the young, to touch when first meeting.

The other one, the mercenary, sneered at the open hand, said, "Dax Al-hamin. And in whose service are we?"

"Cheira's," Cheira said. "The ship and I."

"Cheira, is that a Kip name?" Hanah said. She had pulled her hand back in. She was smiling broadly. Her teeth were too white, not her own.

"It's nobody's but hers," Roman said. "And the ship's Cheira-Cheira. You'll say hello to her later."

Cheira sat with the new crew over supper. She unrolled her lists. She wrote Hanah Tohl and Dax Al-hamin.

Roman filled Cheira's vapor tank. He had not given her a plate.

"You ain't eating?" Hanah said.

Cheira merely raised her eyes. She put the mask to her face, inhaled.

"Cheira doesn't like questions," Roman said. "Don't ask them."

"You say we are in transport," Dax said. “I signed on for a job.”

Cheira pushed her vapor canister at Roman, and he stood and refilled it.
Roman said, "We have an indefinite transport contract with the Authority. We take on odd jobs to supplement that."

"What did you do before?" Hanah asked.

"There was nothing before," Roman said. He set Cheira's canister back at her elbow.

"So what happened to your crew?" Hanah asked.

Dax snorted.

Cheira looked sidelong at Roman. She picked at her teeth, heard someone behind her, glanced back.

Luck slipped in through the vibrating door, a tardy shadow.

“Food looks recycled,” Luck said.

“You expected something else?” Cheira said levelly.

“There’s no before, and no crews,” Roman said, clearing up the obnoxious pilot’s question. “We take on crews only as we need them. We’re being asked to deliver cargo to some Authority swanks. We’re taking you all on to assist with pickup and transport.”

“Where we going?” Dax asked.

“Tutara,” Roman said.

Dax leaned back in his chair, crossed his big arms. “They still have cargo on Tutara?”

“We’ll find out,” Roman said.

“Cargo? What sort of cargo?” Hanah asked.

Dax fixed a black stare on her. “Bodies,” he said.

“Whose bodies?” Hanah said. She fiddled with her liquor mask. Cheira wondered if Roman had watered it down to crew rations yet. Best not get them used to excess.

“Abandoned colonists,” Roman said. “The ones who took the slow boat to the outer systems. Bad timing on their part, and bad tech.”

“We invented faster drives while they slept,” Luck said.

Cheira frowned at him. Luck had never invented anything of the sort.

“And when they arrived,” Roman continued, “the terras they’d intended to settle were already colonized by faster ships run by their great-grandchildren. Colonizers who set down first get first rights, so extraneous cargo was diverted to Tutara.”

“Isn’t that illegal?” Hanah said.

“What, salvaging?” Roman said.

Cheira wondered if Hanah had ever sold her womb. It was practically the same thing. Just body parts. Dumb tender kid. Where had Roman dredged up this one?

She finished another canister of liquor and shook it. It was time to feed the prisoner.

She pushed back from the table.

Roman caught her eye. “You’ll excuse Cheira. She has an engagement. I’ll finish the briefing.”

Bodies in space (It was always an interesting ride).


The amount of money I currently have in my checking account until I get paid on Friday, just in time for Wiscon.

Oh, joy.

And also: first monthly bleeding with an IUD - ha ahaha oh, what joy, what fun for everyone! With all this blood, I could throw a party, or take part in a Satanic ritual. Blood rites, indeed.

Straight women really get screwed on this whole contraception deal. I'm told it'll be 1-3 months before I even out. It beats depression, but it sure as hell knocks ya flat the first month.

Friday, May 20, 2005

I Don't Worship Your God!

(via Nicky)

Friday Beer Blogging

Hey, c'mon, you know it's beer he's drinking!!

Though a proper pirate would be partaking of rum. The pirate's drink of choice.

This one, however, looks rather gross.

And am I the only one whose mind went right to the gutter with this one?

It's been a mind-numbing number cruncher of a week.

Happy Friday. Happy drinking! Happy pirating!

Here's Another Exciting Installment of: I Want to Live in Big Brother America!!

The best and worst part about democracy? Not only does everybody get to say whatever they want, which is great, but they get to pretend that what they want and believe should legally be what everybody else wants and believes.

Of course, totalitarian states aren't much different, except for that first part. It's just a step to right.

A recent caller to my radio program, Linda, supports the tax (on fast food).

Linda: I'm hoping this tax will motivate people, get them to do their own cooking.

Larry: Why?

Linda: There are too many fat people -- they're all going to fast-food places. . . . I'm so glad they're doing this. . . . Because they're fat, fat, fat. They're eating the wrong food. Stay home, do your own good cooking.

Larry: Do you engage in any kind of conduct that other people might condemn, Linda? Do you drink?

Linda: No . . .

Larry: Do you watch TV?

Linda: Yes, and I watch those terrible commercials from fast-food places, and I get angry. They should tax those commercials, too.

Larry: Maybe they ought to tax you for watching so much television. Why don't you get up and exercise more?

Linda: People have no restraint. They need to be restrained.

Larry: You think the job of the legislature is to restrain them by taxing their behavior?

Linda: They're fat. They're unhealthy, they have diabetes, they have high blood pressure, and they're at the fast-food place -- and their children watch them, and then the children go there, too. It's a disgrace! Cook, cook, cook.

Larry: What do you do when they cook junk . . . when they cook fried foods?

Linda: No, no. They have to cook healthy food.

Larry: How are you going to ensure that? This tax makes the price go up, and more people are cooking at home. How do you guarantee they won't cook the same crap they went out to buy before?

Linda: If we have enough talk about healthy food, someday people will realize they have to cook healthy foods.

Larry: Why don't you contribute to a fund for television Public Service Announcements, advising people what they should do? Why are you going to legislators to tax other people's behavior that you don't like? Unbelievable.

Linda: Why are the Oriental people and European people much healthier than the American people? The American people are obese! . . . I'm horrified by how many obese people there are.

Larry: What about Asians who are here? . . . Are they overweight?

Linda: Not as much as American people.

Larry: Well, how do you suppose they manage not to walk into a restaurant and get fat? And whatever they're doing, why can't everybody else do it, too?

Linda: That food is bad. Your mother can tell you that.

Larry: Should we tax people who order fried chicken at restaurants?

Linda: Why, that's bad, too! Yes, yes, all that bad food should be stopped. . . .

Larry: So tax hikes for health are OK.

Linda: Something has to be done. It's a start.

Larry: Why are you concerned about how fat people are?

Linda: People end up in the hospital, and we're paying for their health problems. Not only that, but even to look at them! They're disgusting to look at! Every time I come back from the store or walk around, I come back furious, seeing how fat they are!

Larry: I bet if you see a fat person smoking a cigarette, you're ready to have a heart attack, aren't you?

Linda: No, cigarettes don't bother me. I'm not a smoker, but it doesn't bother me as much as looking at an obese person. I mean, don't they have mirrors? Don't they look in the mirror and go, "Oh my God, I have to do something about this weight"?

Friday Quotes

"Obscure references, pretentious phrases and ostentatious vocabulary will not be mistaken for eloquence."

"For a while I've been trying to find my passion," Jonah said. "But I haven't been passionately trying to find my passion."

"The separation of church and state was an idea created by the devil to keep good Christian people from ruling this great land."
- Justin Crowe, Carnivale

Another Study You Won't Hear About Around Valentine's Day

Later Moms, Longer Lives

Waiting to have children may add years to a woman’s life, says Jenni Pettay of the University of Turku in Finland. The evolutionary biologist analyzed 5,000 birth records from four generations of 17th- and 18th-century Finns and found that women who waited the longest before having their first child were statistically more likely to live longer. The delay in childbirth seems to be inherited: Late mothers’ daughters also tended to become late mothers themselves. (Late was defined as after 30.)

Previous research has suggested that women who delay having children live longer. But none of these studies was able to determine if the longevity was due to cultural factors, such as a higher socioeconomic class or better living conditions. Pettay got around those issues by studying women from a homogeneous population who did not have access to contraception or advanced medical care.

Still, Pettay says, it’s culture, not genes, that explains why Westerners delay parenthood: “In modern society there tends to be a low number of offspring per couple, so natural selection isn’t at work. But this study does suggest there may be benefits to later motherhood that evolved to counteract the decrease in total fertility years, such as living longer to provide care to grandchildren.”

—Jocelyn Selim

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Workaday, Workadoo

Every morning, this goddamn printer jams. We have a new coffee maker, but no new printer.

Priorities, afterall.

Just Keep Writing

Eventually, something will make sense.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Well, Then

I need to start drinking decaf.

Monday, May 16, 2005


They've got a Carnivale store.

Terribly sexy. I'm nearly halfway through the second season. It's totally rocking the house.

Good Morning, Chiklits

Good morning to all you 12 readers who've managed to keep with me through the last few months.

Some days, I'm amazed I'm still here.

I enjoyed a good, long weekend with B, managed to snatch an hour or two with Jenn for coffee before she headed out again. I continue to work on various projects - and if not progressing chapter by chapter - they're percolating well and being notated, which is a big step in the right direction. I also seem to be very able to start things (I've got a couple great NEW short story beginnings staring at me), but have my usual trouble coming up with actual plots. Still need to work on that.

Slow day at work today, so good writing will be done, things accomplished, and all that jazz.

That's the plan, anyway.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Boy Writers. So Cute.

“Well, the best way [to improve your female characters] is to have relationships with a lot of different women. What's the best way to do that? It's to pick up whores.”

- William Vollman

Shit, I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing to be a better writer! I need to pick up more whores!!

(thanks, Julian)

Busy, Busy

Work, life, very busy. Good weekend ahead. Yay.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Good Morning, Chiklits

That's about all I've got left this morning.


Monday, May 09, 2005

Office Shinanigans

We have a new coffee maker in the office. Just got it hooked up.

You should see the stir it's making. Oh, what dull workday lives we have!

The cappucino is apparently pretty good... I better go make sure.

Workaday, workadoo.

Sometimes, When You're Feeling Down, You Just Need to Listen to Yourself.

Was moving through the archives, and found this little piece about what I learned in 2004.

You know, sometimes, I just need to listen to my own advice:

Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:

Here's this year's: there are often long stretches of downtime on the road to where you're going. You know, those long stretches of highway between New York and LA, or the shitty stretches of nowheresville between Seattle and Chicago - but those distances, those driving times, are neccessary to get to where you need to go.

2004 has been a shitty stretch of midwestern highway, with road stops along the way like Toledo's Tallest Tree & Billy Bob's Lint Museum, intercut by signposts that say stuff like "Civilization: 2000 miles," and the car has mostly run pretty good, but it overheated once (luckily, I keep a couple gallons of water in the back), and got a couple of flats (ever since my roadtrip to Skagway, I keep two spares in the trunk), and there was the odd problem with something hanging off the engine that was resolved by tying a couple of choice parts back together with a shoelace before I got to stop off at the shop and get it fixed proper, and I didn't stop for any hitchhikers along the way, but I felt bad about it. I'm now consulting a really confusing map somewhere in the Salt Flats of Utah on my way to the ocean, and yea, I'm stronger and more confident, and I'm getting better rejection slips, but I can't see the ocean yet, likely because I'm just not ready to see it yet. Likely because I need to pick up a few hitchhikers and learn how to play the harmonica and trade in the car for a motorcycle, but I switched from fast-food to granola bars sometime back, and I've got better shoes and a good pair of sunglasses, and there's nothing so cool as arriving at the seashore on a sweet-ass motorcycle, wearing a floppy newsboy cap as my striped scarf streams behind me, and maybe that's the whole point.

There's a place I want to be. This is the road I'm taking to get there.

I don't mind that it's a long road. It just means I'll be a more interesting person by the time I get there.

Amen to that.

Thoughts and Wanderings

Now that the gray fog of illness is lifting, and now that I appear to be fighting off the last of my sicknesses, it's time to take stock of this life, and what the hell I'm doing with it.

The June date for taking the LSAT is full, which is actually a good thing, cause I haven't had time to study, and I'm still not sure I'm really gung-ho about the idea of law school - mainly because it'll mean I've got to commit to one place for 3 years and take out a huge amount of money. It means going back to being a *really* poor student. And though I miss the freedom of student life, and learning new things, taking a money hit for three years depresses the hell out of me.

The issue then becomes: well, shit, woman, what do you want to do with your life? Certainly, I'm writing books and short stories, and someday I'd like to make a living doing it, but that day isn't today, and in the mean time, I'd hate to think I was wasting my potential and not making full use of the years I've got. I'm youngish, nearly in great health, and can (mostly) pay my bills. So what's next? What do I want? What's my next challenge?

That's how I keep my mind going, how I keep from feeling like I'm atrophying. I need new places, new challenges.

I have a couple of options, and I've been mulling them all over for some time, to the point where, I think, Jenn and B are sick of hearing them. But I'm going to mull them over again.

Jenn and her SO will be moving in together after next year (likely), and the SO doesn't particularly want me in on this get-together, which is understandable, so if I do stay in Chicago, I'm on my own. This means that in order to live in something other than a studio apartment, I'll need to have a better-paying job by next year. At least 45-55K.

B is also very keen on me moving to NY for a year while he finishes up school - and I think living in NY for a year would be really cool. While I'm flying up there on the off-weekends, I can always extend the trip for job interviews. Living would be tight (money and spacewise), but I could do it for a year, and it would give me a new city to explore, a move to negotiate; a challenge, which is what I'm looking for.

There's also the opportunity with a gaming company one of my writing buddies is currently at. They're hiring, but they're also in Canada, and about an 8-hour plane flight from NYC, where B is. And basically, an 8-hour-flight is a make-or-break for our fledgeling relationship, or, to paraphrase B, "I think that's a great opportunity, and if you really want to do that, I'll totally support you as a friend. But I can't maintain a relationship where we see each other one weekend a month if 16 hours of that weekend are taken up with flying time."

He's right, of course. If I applied for, got, and took that job, I'd effectively end my relationship with B, and I'm not willing to do that. He's still got a year of school, so there's no compromise on that for at least a year.

It all comes down to what makes me feel the most fulfilled, and I don't know what that is right now. Writing books at a beach house on the Oregon Coast would certainly make me feel fulfilled, but I'm not at that point in my life yet. So how do I fill up the years between now and then?

The answer, for me, is about being better. I want to be better. Go back to school for another Master's degree? Or settle for taking French classes at Truman College? Could I "settle" for that? Would I feel like I was progressing? What if instead of academic pursuits, I focused on the physical stuff, really started taking boxing and martial arts seriously? Would I feel that that was a great enough challenge for me? (and oh boy, it would be a big challenge, to focus on actually getting *good* at something physical).

At what point can I step back and say that those social measures of achievements: school degrees et. al. aren't neccessary for me to feel like I'm "accomplishing" something?

Education was and is very important in my family, and it's how we measure success, that and money, of course, but education is considered almost *more* respectable than money. I'm sure I'm carrying around some of that when looking at my life. Am I done with formal school? Can't I just take up painting and collect books and have a nice place and feel as if I'm accomplishing something? At what point can I just say, "This is enough for me"?

I don't know. I don't think I'll ever be able to say it's "enough," but I'd like to be able to say I have enough academic degrees. Because those damn things are fucking expensive. I've got to find something I find fulfilling. I don't want to feel like I'm stagnating, like I'm merely existing.

I've got to find focus: the kind that comes with a "reward" at the end. Problem is, most things don't have a golden key at the end unless you give yourself one.

It's crises time, when nothing feels like it's moving forward, and you just want to kick yourself in the ass cause life just seems too damn comfortable.

Maybe I just need to spend a couple weeks abroad, and get this travel bug out of my system. I feel like I need to move.

Good Morning, Chiklits

At some point, I'll become a good worker and get here on time.

Just not today.

Whatever happened to my work ethic?

Ah, yes, that's right: I became old and cynical.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

I Was Going for "Rock Star," but I Think I Got "Squire"

Not sure I'm happy with this haircut. It was supposed to be shortening up my previous Rock Star haircut... but now I look more like a knight's squire. If I was thinner and in better shape, this might be hot. As it is... I dunno.

It also occurred to me today that I could lose 50 lbs without any real trouble, and then I'd be able to fit into trendy clothes and sizes, and yet not quite look like an Auschwitz victim. I still find this idea oddly appealing, which says a lot about my current mental state.

I'm having another one of those days where I wish I was better.

What's Going On Uptown

A big glass container of lotion just toppled from the top of the medicine cabinet and descended through the porcelein sink - yes, through the sink, bashing out a big chunk where the soap is supposed to be.

Oh, I can't wait to tell my landlady about that. I can't wait till Jenn reads this. Look, more money I get to owe to people!

That aside, things on the health front are much, much better. My body seems to have totally gotten used to the IUD, and it's painless and discomfortless at this point. About the time that was clearing up, I got attacked by more yeast (yep - as promised, getting on/off the pill and high stress are great triggers) and started popping acidophilis like candy, which proved a good move - that cleared up quick. I'll be taking it all week as a precautionary.

I've been doing a lot of reading relating to the book I'm working on. I'm concurrently working on getting through Pamela Barmash's Homicide in the Biblical World and Jan Goodwin's absolutely wonderful Price of Honor, which is a great overview of the status of women in Islamic countries. I also picked up a copy of the Koran, which is a lot more woman-friendly than most Islamic fundamentalists would have anybody believe. Like the Bible, it's another one of those "holy" books that people use for their own ends, selectively quoting and interpreting it to back their own beliefs. Bah.

Anyhow, good stuff.

The goal is to get back to MA class this week (ah, yes, my goal *every* week), but it's also the first week I've felt 90% of normal, healthwise, for the last couple of months.

We'll see how things work out.


For the first time in almost two months, I now have an internet card in my home computer, which I lost somewhere in Parsippany.

Bless my roommate for hitting Best Buy and hooking me up.

It feels like I'm a bit more connected to the world again.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday Beer Blogging

Beer is great!
It is quite tasty!

Beer is great!
Even when it's late!

Oh yes, oh my!
Beer is so great~!

Oh, Friday, how I love you!!

Stumbling Around on a Friday Mid-morning

Stumbled out of bed at quarter past seven, got my weight/abs routine in, stumbled to the bathroom, spent a bunch of time doing a bunch of dishes and so caught the bus instead of the train to work, which saves me 15 min.

Was here in this office until 8pm last night, so I don't feel bad coming in at 10am, and I'll likely be here until at least 6-7pm tonight, with all these deadlines.

Also, Yellow found out I was being shanghied by other projects, and send out a really nasty e-mail to one of our projects teams about co-opting me.

Oh, it's so lovely to be popular.

Now they need to pay me appropriately.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Workaday, Workadoo

Stuck at work all night!

Boy, do I love deadlines with big wireless carriers!

Wheeeeeee eee ee hee hehe ehehheeh eeeeeeeeee!


Starting next month, I'll be flying into NYC every other month to visit B, so I thought this quiz was appropriate:

You scored as Inwood. Inwood is located on the northern tip of Manhattan. Inwood extends from 200th St (Dyckman St) to 220th Street. It is banked on all three sides by huge wild parks.

Thanks for taking my test! -Susan



Alphabet City


China Town


El Barrio


Stuyvesant Town




Kips Bay


Upper West Side/ Morningside Heights


Financial District/Battery Park


Hell’s Kitchen/ Theatre District




SoHo/ TriBeCa


Washington Heights


Upper East Side


Which neighborhood in Manhattan is best for you?
created with QuizFarm.com

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Good Morning, Chiklits

Another day, another dollar, another week of emotional and physical angst.


Somebody get me some goddamn coffee.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Update.... Uterus!!

For those uninterested in their uteruses, or those of their spouses, significiant others, sisters, and other loved ones, you can totally skip this. It's about uteruses, afterall. I mean, sure, they're attached to women, but... oh, that's not important!

Anyway, IUD update for anybody interested or considering doing the same thing: still getting some twinges of pain when I sit up for long periods (like, say, at work), so my midday walk and getting up and walking around the office are great for helping me feel better. And, again, it's not any kind of pain that's not manageable with Tylenol, so all is well. I wore some looser pants, and I'm trying to work out a better way to sit here at work for at least the next couple days, until my body adjusts.

The bleeding/iodine discharge has pretty much abated, and I'm just getting a little residual iodine smearing, nothing that noticable.

I expect I'll still be popping Tylenol, especially later in the day, when all the sitting gets to me, and I'll probably still take a Tylenol PM or two at night, but... so far, so good. Things are progressing the way I was told they would, which is always a great feeling.

Tips For Modern Living

If you don't feel like doing the pile of dishes in the sink, but can't stand the idea of waking up in the morning to find that the ants that live under the stove are seething all over your dishes like tiny black maggots, spray a couple spitzes of 409 on your pile of dirty dishes before going to bed.

You will awake refreshed, and untroubled by ant attacks.

Or, of course, you could actually wash your dishes. But who wants to do that?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Jon Stewart, Still My Secret Boyfriend.

Ah, Jon.

Click "view clip" on the right hand side of the page.

George Sings the Hits

Splices of George Bush clips slapped together to create a presidential rendition of "Imagine" and "A Walk on the Wild Side."


(vis Simon)

Sucks to Be a Fat Kid. No, Really.

"We were wondering if obesity would be more accepted today because of its increased prevalence and visibility," said Janet Latner, an assistant professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Latner worked on a 2001 study of 415 New Jersey middle school students that indicates stigmatization of overweight children has grown 40 percent since 1961.

Not good news for the 9 million children who are overweight or obese in the United States, where the prevalence of obesity has tripled in children 6 to 11 and doubled among adolescents 12 to 19 since the 1970s.

Read the rest.

(via bigfatblog)

And it Occurred to Me, Lying There on the Table...

It took three clinicians and nearly an hour on the table to get me fitted with an IUD. The trouble was, I wasn't menstrating (though I was supposed to be - last week's breakthrough bleeding threw me off), and I've never had a child, so I've got a very small cervix, and you've gotta be pretty aggressive to get anything up there.

After forty minutes or so, they brought in the aggressive clinician.

So after forty minutes of being asked "Do you feel anything?" and replying, "Just pressure," and thinking, "What the hell is it, exactly, I'm supposed to be feeling? Some menstrual cramps? Some --"


And my initial clinician turned to the midwife who was in there to observe and learn, and said, "That's how you know it's in."

Jesus fucking christ.

It would have been nice if somebody'd told me, "If you haven't had a kid, you'll get two short bursts of the absolute worst pain you've ever felt in your entire life... once, when they put the tube up through your cervix and again when they push the IUD through the tube."

You get this amazing white-hot burning stabbing pain in your gut that clenches every muscle in your entire body. Your whole body jerks on the table and you find yourself clutching for the nearest thing you can grab hold of so you can crush the life out of it while your uterus (the strongest muscle in the human body - male or female) engages every other muscle in your body to scream NO!

I wish somebody would have told me about that part. I would have been better prepared. I now have even more respect for women who have children. I don't know how women survive it. Being in that kind of pain, experiencing those kinds of contractions, for hours or days or... sweet fuck. Have every lawmaker in Washington experience that pain for five minutes, and then have them deliberate about a woman's right to choose pregnancy and labor. You'll get a quick vote.

It actually ended up being really nice to have that many people in there, though you feel a bit like a circus freak because it's like there's something wrong with your body because it's taking so long. In fact, all it took was getting a more experienced clinician to come in and go POP! and it was all over (painfully so, but over) in a few minutes. But having people in there to bullshit with while the clinician is poking away at you, and having someone stroke your arm afterward and tell you it's all over was actually really nice; particularly there at the end, because that sort of jolting pain is a real shock to your system, and I felt a lot like a deer-in-headlights. It's nice to have lots of people around saying everything's normal: it eases some of that back-brain fear that cloaks you when you feel that kind of pain.

Being the stubborn bitch I am, I didn't have B or Jenn come with me, so I tromped home, ate Tylenol like candy, and situated myself on the couch with a heating pad until I started drifting off around 10pm. Took a couple Tylenol PM, and spent Saturday relaxing as well. After that initial freak-out pain, the pain was pretty much what they said it was going to be - for 24-48 hours, it felt like menstrual cramps, and I took Tylenol every 3-4 hours the first day and every 4-5 hours on Sunday.

Looking back on it, I should have asked Jenn or B to be there, so somebody could get up and get me something to drink, or get me more Tylenol, or just be there to cuddle with and talk to afterward. I suppose it was a kind of shock I felt afterward, because your body carries around the memory of that pain, and it's a fucker.

Today, I've just got the occasional twinges of pain, kept in check by Tylenol, and I'm waiting for the blood/iodine discharge to abate, which will hopefully happen sometime this week.

If this works out, I can honestly say that it'll have been totally worth it. Sitting on the train today, not depressed, not hysterical, not experiencing a weird increased appetite or feeling too low to go to MA class tonight... *and* not having to worry about getting pregnant. Hot damn. I don't mind a little blood and pain if it means I can get back to my old self and have sex without worrying about it all the time. It's worth it.

And as I was lying on the table, recovering from that second bout of intense pain, I thought of all the things women have done to control their fertility, all the wacky shit we'll put up with, the shit we'll go through, because we enjoy sex and enjoy being closer to our partners, and because whatever risk we take to control our fertility doesn't outweigh the risk to our lives if we get pregnant, if we're perpetually pregnant or nursing. I'll do any number of wacky things in order to live the sort of life I want. And I do view controlling my own fertility as a basic human right.

We'll see how the next few months go.