Wednesday, August 31, 2005

I Miss Beating the Crap Out of Stuff

I've spent the last week or so mourning (again) the loss of my martial arts and boxing classes.

A lot of it was the money. Paying $120 a month was killing me. So was the commute. Going downtown and back two or three times a week, catching buses, trains, transferring, was wearing me out. I was also plugged into making class times, whereas with a gym, I've got more freedom as to when I go. And a lot of it was that the last few months (like, FOUR) of my membership, I just wasn't going. I had a bunch of flying to do with the job earlier this year, then problems with the pill, then three months of hell while my body adjusted to the IUD.

But I miss it. A lot.

I miss beating the crap out of stuff twice a week, working out my aggression. I miss hanging out in a class with a bunch of buff people, many of whom are women who aren't afraid to look buff. I miss the rush of confidence after class. I miss that kind of strength.

Sure, I go to the gym, and I'm looking buffer now than I did then, actually, cause I'm targeting other stuff and eating much better than I did while in MA classes.

But there's something different that happens when you beat stuff up for a few hours a week. Something different in the way you hold yourself, the way you look at people. And I miss that.

The first thing I do when I move next year is find a boxing gym.

I mean, after I get a job.

Yea. Sure.

Revenge of the Binge

The last couple of nights, I've been stopping off at the local pharmacy before I get home and greedily stocking up on chocolate and twinkies and those ritz crackers with the processed cheese in them.

Monday I did OK. I bought four chocolate bars, had a bite of each, and threw them away. Not bad.

I could cope.

Yesterday I got through the donut, the cookie, and yogurt pretzels before I managed to stop. I threw away the twinkies and the king-sized chocolate bar uneaten. I could have just stopped at the yogurt pretzels. Nothing wrong with eating some yogurt pretzels if you're hungry, but when I'm freaking out about food, I obsessively grab anything I can get my hands on.

It's not even about eating it. I throw most of it away. Realizing I could feel just as good buying it, eating one thing, and throwing the rest away was pretty liberating. But that's the fascinating part about it: it's not the eating, it's the having stuff to eat part that I'm craving.

The thing with knowing I'm a binge eater is knowing exactly what's triggering the obsessive need for a calorie-rush composed mainly of sugar and salt in processed food form. I didn't buy myself lunches this week, and was too tired to cook lunches on Sunday, which turned into me frantically looking through the freezer, finding something sub-par, trying to eat it at work and gagging on it, and being starving by the time I went home. I tried loading up on other frozen meals, but I bought cheap sub-par ones again because the choices at the place I stopped were limited, so Tuesday I was freaking out as well.

I'm also seriously stressed out, and stress is a big trigger. I know it's stress because it's the acquiring of the food that seems to be the part I'm really, really craving. The hunger part could be satisfied with one serving of something. The binge part has to do with stress. When I'm stressed out, I want food around me. It's the idea that I somehow internalized growing up, "If we have food, everything will be OK."

And being stressed, I also crave a sugar high, which would certainly make me feel less depressed - for a short while, until I came down off it and spent the rest of the night looking and feeling despondent. Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Binge behavior is really, really weird. It's almost weirder now that I buy stuff and just throw it away. It seems ever more weird and hysterical than actually sitting down and eating ever everything did. I mean, eating would make more sense. It would be more clearly about hunger. But then, of course, it's not, so obsessive-collecting behavior makes more sense.

The moral of the story is: I've gotta fucking take care of my food issues at lunch and not try and cut calories there or eat something sub-par that's primarily composed of processed foods stripped of all nutritional content.

It's a great way to send me tail-spinning.

And that's not a place I need to be right now.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What a Boring Frickin Day

Please call me back, Sarah! I want to go HOME!!!

The Boys Do Dove

Dove soap’s European-wide "Campaign for Real Beauty" has taken on a local twist in Düsseldorf, Germany. The people next door at the local Ogilvy & Mather office have not only sold their souls to their client, but their bodies as well. These local posters are being used in conjunction with the real "Real" campaign and placed on bus stop shelters. The headline reads: "They’re not models, just soft Dove admen from Ogilvy Düsseldorf."

That's awesome.

(thanks, b!)

Writing Today


Now I'm really behind.

Song for the day: My Chemical Romance, "I'm not OK"


Is up.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Agent Responds

This is going to be a busier weekend than I'd planned.

Writing Today

Have I mentioned what a great book this is going to be?

It's going to be great. In a fun way.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


Is is wrong that I find it terribly amusing that I've got a section labeled "Boxers" on my character list for God's War?

heh heh heh

Friday, August 26, 2005

Talk Like A Pirate is Coming!!

Mark your calendars!!!

September 19th is....

Talk like a pirate day! You can bet it will be a regular celebration here at BW.

Smart Women Don't Get Laid

And anyway, everyone knows men are smarter.

Friday Whiskey Blogging

Because it's Friday!!!


Whiskey is My Friend

In any case, I sure did sleep well.

Dead day at work today. Should have some ranting up soon.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Dear Santa:

I know it is quite early to be thinking of Christmas, dearest Santa Claus, but I've been lusting for many things for the last two years that I don't seem to know how to aquire for myself.

I suppose I have not recieved them as yet because I'm not a very good girl, but you know, I haven't gotten any coal, switches, or rocks either, so it's not that I'm bad.

Perhaps you have just forgotten me. After all, my address has changed many times and I've switched continents twice! So I am writing this letter to remind you that Brutal Women have needs, too.

Please send me:

1) A flat-screen monitor.

This makes writing and computer game playing very good, as my laptop has the smallest screen ever. I promise that I will solve Myst III: Revelation if you send this to me.

2) Wireless mouse and keyboard. I saw this at Costco for like $39.99

3) A free standing punching bag.

Because you know all the fun I'll git up to with that.

4) I also have a Wish List, because I am shameless.

Thank you, and goodnight.


Kameron Hurley

P.S. It sucks being old. I should get some compensation for no longer getting presents. Like superpowers. I should be able to fly, or some shit like that.

To Work, To Work

Ok. I've reworked all of my novel writing schedules so the two books I'm working on will get done on time. I've fallen behind on my schedule, and I need to get back on track. This means a whirlwind writing weekend over labor day.

And here's some breathing space, courtesy of New Zealand:

Good Bye, Viagra Guy

A Farewell Letter to Viagra guy:

Good bye, Viagra guy.

Congrats, good luck at your new job! I sure as hell am glad you got hired on somewhere else.

I do not envy your new coworkers.

Oh, hurrah, I shall never have to listen to you again at 8am on a Monday morning trying to make small talk about the consistency of coffee creamer.

Truly, the the universe is merciful.


Buried in Books

I used to make fun of my roommate, Jenn, for the number of books she kept on her queen-sized bed. Last time she cleaned it off, she came back with a count upwards of 50 hiding in the sheets.

Now that I've switched from a single to a queen and shoved everything into a much smaller room, and having an out-of-town boyfriend who only visits once a month or so, I have discovered something quite peculiar.

The other night, I was startled to roll over and discover that I'd left a pile of books in bed with me.

Jenn has a really great coffee mug that says, "Book lovers never go to bed alone."

Ain't that the truth.

We're at over 1700 books right now, and the rest of Jenn's SO's books will arrive this weekend, which will likely but us close to 2000, so we can relate to the plight of the poor buried bibliophile:

For the bibliophile, what to do with the books is life's central decorating issue, an ongoing discourse, a debate, and often an outright décor war, between aesthetics, the practicalities of storage and the consuming mindlessness of passion.

I can't wait to have a proper library. In the meantime, there are books in every room in our house. I'm glad we don't live in earthquake country.

Rushdie on Writers

"my view is that writers need to go everywhere. You need to put your hands into as many pieces of life as you can. You've got to go to the whorehouse or the ball game or the prison or the nightclub, it doesn't matter. You've got to go everywhere. Because otherwise you don't know enough."

(via Culture Space)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I Am So Tired

I am so tired.

Wow, it's only Wednesday!

Judging a Book By Its Cover

Rick Moody, author of literay book The Ice Storm, had some advance copies go out for his new book, The Diviner. The cover was a "garishly illustrated blaze-orange cover depicting a shirtless, Conan the Barbarian-type warrior standing atop a mountain peak, a shield in one hand and a forked branch lofted, spearlike, in the other."

Sounds great, right? Well, yea, if you're marketing to a different audience. And the audience he wanted wasn't going for it.

"I saw a lot of people, particularly women, just turn away from the cover," said Michael Pietsch, the publisher. Before long, "I realized we were making a mistake," he continued, adding, "We loved it and the author loved it, too, but it was not communicating the information we wanted about the book."

I was reminded of the perpetual chatter about why women aren't more involved in gaming and comic-book reading. It's often because, well, women aren't marketed to.

Now, in this instance, a Conan-like cover would have been great as far as marketing to *me*, but last night I was reading through another comic book (I've been interested in getting more involved with reading comics, since they tend to have some really neat ideas and visuals), when I started getting kinda turned off by it, and wondered why.

It was an interesting story with organic tech, bugs, things exploding, a strong female character and etc, all of which I really like. So what was the issue?

The female character had boobs nearly as big as her head, fell for the dorky guy for no apparent reason, and the other two female characters in the story answered to a dead guy who directed all of their movements.

But really, it was the boobs thing.

I mean, nobody has boobs that big and a waist that small unless the boobs are fake. Boobs are made up of fat, which is why fat women often have bigger boobs. I lose a cup size when I drop weight. That's how it is. OK, yea, everybody in comic books is stylized, and I accept this, and I appreciate that comic books have beautiful, impossible people in them (well, mostly beautiful women, though the men's forms are exaggerated to some degree as well, I wouldn't call most of them beautiful).

But OK, so, it's a comic, there's big boobs. What's the big deal?

I guess what kept gnawing at me is that I felt the female characters weren't there so much to be cool and heroic and advance the plot as they were there to have their boobs looked at. Watching the two evil powerful women turn out to be getting orders from a guy, and watching the one "good" woman cuddle up with the male freak for no apparent reason just bugged me. It became abundantly clear early on that the author and illustrater weren't talking to me at all. They were talking to adolescent boys who they hoped were really fascinated by big boobs.

I mean, how many lesbians are fascinated so much by big boobs that they buy comic books for the sheer titillation at seeing something so "monstrous"? (please, feel free to disagree with me here)

I sometimes feel that women in a lot of comic books are just rolled up into bed with the rest of the "monsters" in the cast. This isn't always the case, and I know there's good stuff out there, but in general, I just don't see this stuff talking to me.

It's something the gamers at Utopian Hell bitch about as well: games that just don't talk to women at all, that just don't include them. It's why you'll see more women players with stuff like the Myst and Riven games (which I love) and less on the ones where we aren't treated like people but just like some of the other monsters. I can certainly run around as a guy, but if every female I run into during game play is a fiesty vixen who tries to seduce me or a dumb blond, I'd still get pretty insulted, and bored. Bored is probably the best way to describe it. It's like, "Can't you come up with some interesting characters? Do they all have to respond the same way? You've got an entire fantasy world to work with, and you're using a bunch of gender stereotypes the whole way through? What gives?"

Don't get me wrong: men act as monsters too in the games, but I'd like some of the women to be real people as opposed to monstrous Others. I want to be a Cool, Kick-ass Chick. And, being a woman, I recognize that monstrous boobs would really get in the way of being really active and kickass, particularly if you were trying to do it on a tiny frame. And really, what's the tactical advantage of boobs? You can't take them off and hit anybody with them (now there's a gaming idea!). You can put armor on them and jut them at somebody, but if you get that close, they'll gut you. And not every villain you run into is gonna be straight, interested in your boobs, or so incredibly stupid as to be "charmed" by your "feminine wiles." Or, they shouldn't be.

Again: how boring.

It is, in fact, possible to write up female characters with sensible boobs, for goodness sake. It happens. They can even show some skin and still be sensible people (even if they're named after flowers).

I'd like to play cool characters, not characatures of people who have the same genitals I do.

As with any story, I want to read about people. I want to be able to identify with them, and I want to take them seriously. We live in a culture that infantalizes women with boobs as big as their heads and small waists because it's something that doesn't happen naturally, and we associate those sorts of body-transformations with women who aren't taken seriously, women who seek to play the part of object.

There's a duel fault there: the stereotype we carry for women who choose to get implants, and the stereotyping we perpetuate in the entertainment we create.

Who wants to be to dumb, bitchy monstrous woman who always gets hacked up in the end by the guy who gives her orders?

That's not fantasy. That's not escape. That's not entertainment.

It's too much like watching CNN.

Show me some alternatives. Let me be taken seriously. Let me be cool and smart and strong, and maybe it'll help me realize I can be cool and smart and strong in real life, too.

The Next One's Out in November

More head-rolling shall ensue, I'm sure.

(thanks, Eli!)

Good Morning, Chiklits

I am awake, sort of.

I am alive, sort of.

My morning routine just isn't working out anymore. New house rules involve making sure to wipe down all counters, clean out the drain in the morning, close the shower curtain, medicine cabinent, and toilet seat, and trying to do all of that and make breakfast too has me stressed for time and swearing and running into things in the morning.

So it looks like I either need to 1) get up ten minutes earlier or 2) switch from eggs back to protein shakes, which take 10 less minutes to prepare.

Protein shakes it is.

I've also been overspeading myself on food again anyway, and I need to cut back (buying too many books didn't help either). I've got to get into the habit of cooking for the week's lunches on Sunday instead of opting for the more expensive but far easier frozen lunches.

I seem to be really cramped for time, and I'm trying to find more of it. I've been getting to bed by 9pm instead of 10pm because I tend to function better throughout the rest of the week with that extra hour of sleep. Unfortunately, this means that I lose 5 hours every week of actual "doing stuff" time. The goal is to start parsing out my "work" time so it's more productive to writing and other pet projects of mine.

I need to spend this weekend getting stories back into the mail. I need to spend my commute time reading more books. I've been more stressed out this month than I thought I was. I realized just how stressed I'd been when I opted to spend the whole of last weekend playing mindless computer games, something I hadn't done in ages, and something I'm sure I'll repeat for a few more hours this weekend. I just want something I can focus on that doesn't involve thinking about my life and everything I'm not doing.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Home Again, Home Again

Cooking some dinner for roommates and guest, got in some good time at the gym, good books have arrived, need to prep for tomorrow and get some sleep.

Also, currently reading Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Quite fun.

Good Morning, Chiklits

Sorted things out this weekend. It was a pretty shotgun of a week, and I had roommate stuff and relationship stuff to work out. The house is stocked up with victuals once again, we've got a week-night cooking schedule worked out, and I'm feeling level-headed enough to get back to the gym (I only went once last week. The goal is 3-4 times a week).

Oddly enough, after beating myself up about weight issue the last few years and up-and-down binge cycles and sporadic exercise schedules and deprevation followed by binging, what everybody tells you really is true. Now that I'm actually eating 2200 calories a day and lifting heavier weights, I'm fitting way better into my clothes. Even after a crazy week like last week when I only went in once.

And the kicker is that I'm not even killing myself doing it. There's a huge belief that you've gotta feel like you're gonna die after a workout and not eat anything in order to see any kind of change, but you know, I'm not killing myself. I even cut my cardio from 40 to 30 minutes to get in a little more weights time, and I'm still fitting more and more easily into my clothes.

I like not killing myself at the gym. I enjoy it as some "downtime" for myself, particularly because I now have two roommates, so getting some space to myself is healthy for all invovled. It's nice.

So, to sum up: I'm still tired, feeling slightly brain-dead, but last week's stress shouldn't be repeated this week, all willing. I think that's sorted out.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday Beer Blogging

Sam Adams sucks. Negra Modelo is still the Best.

Linkdump from Jenn

My roomie was pretty productive yesterday, and sent me lots of links for amusement:

Curvy Butts Are Great. As someone who's got a pretty bony ass, I can tell you, I'd much prefer having some more cushioning down there.

Luckily, Comcast isn't our internet provider anymore.

And, Bitch Ph.D. already posted about this one, but it really is classic: Check out all the exciting career choices deemed desirable for young girls circa 1966.

Finally, last but CERTAINLY not least:

Three guys decided to go to New Orleans for a College football game. One of their fathers works for Roots Canada and gave them each a Canadian Winter Olympic jacket to wear. So with that said, they decided that when people ask them about the jacket they would tell them they represent Canada's Hide and Seek team. Well, they b.s.'d enough to get interviewed live during the game on ESPN.

View the clip.

There's a sucker born every minute. Proof that if you stand up and bullshit like you know what the fuck you're saying, you can make people believe anything.

Good Morning, Chiklits

I need some coffeeeeeeee.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I'm Surrounded By Idiots

Work tends to fuck me off a lot more when I'm tired and irritated.

I'm going to go do something useful and write. I've decided to take up meditating to control some of this anger and irritation and stress, cause it ain't going away anytime soon. In the meantime, here's some more Alaska-themed breathing space:

Yet Another Open Letter To Viagra Guy

Dear Viagra guy:

Shut the fuck up.

I do not want to talk to you.

In fact, after two days of up-and-down hysterical roommate antics, long hysterical conversations with the boyfriend last night, five more freaked-out e-mails from said boyfriend this morning, and an out-of-bed alarm at 5:30 in the morning, I really have NO FUCKING INTEREST in exchanging pleasantries with you or ANYONE ELSE after I've just stumbled, bleary-eyed and exhausted, into the office at 8 O'CLOCK IN THE FUCKING MORNING.

So don't take my lack of "niceness" as a personal affront.

Before 10 am, I don't really like ANYONE.

Thank you.


Evil Psycho Bitch


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Writing Today

Because writing is healthy, and hot damn, this is turning out to be a great book.

For your workaday breathing space, I give you random pics of Alaskan abodes, which I've been thinking of ever since I wrote this post:

Too Bad, You're Fat!

I was at the gym yesterday and saw a guy there who was probably close to 400 lbs. Obviously, this doesn't happen often, or it wouldn't be cause for comment. He was diligently using the lat pulldown and a series of other pull-strength exercises. He used a balance ball to sit on because, well, the machine seats are too narrow and hard for *my* ass, and this guy's twice as big as me.

I thought how cool it was that he was there doing some weightlifting, and wondered why he wasn't doing some cardio, too. And then I took a good look around at the cardio machines. I looked at the narrow handrails on the treadmill and the elliptical and the uncomfortable seats on most of the bikes, and I realized he was likely going to steer clear of those and... oh, and most of the weight machines, too, with their assumptions of "average male" (which works for me, cause I'm about the size of the average guy, but if you're really small or really big, not so much).

We live in a world that gets pissed at fat people for being fat but won't put together exercise equipment for them and welcome them into their facilities. There are very few exercise programs for really overweight people, but rich, usually thin, people like to bitch and bitch about all that "gross, unhealthy fat," while not recognizing we're living in a culture that so stigmatizes the fat that some women haven't had the nerve to get in a swimsuit and swim in 20 years. How screwed up is that?

Anyhow, it was cool to see him there, making the routines work for him. It would be great to see more big people at the gym. Gym culture tends to breed a lot of people who look really alike, and it's nice to see some variety. In the real world, people are a lot more diverse.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

In Good Company

It's good to know that other writers felt like this:

The teenage me was cast into deep, dark despair by this. On my seventeenth birthday I had a midlife crisis. There I was seventeen years old and still no novel published! I was a complete and utter failure! What was wrong with me?

Rest Assured...

Now go get the coffee.

(via Jennifer)

I'm Late, I'm Late

Still bumbling around the house here. B was up at 3am to catch a flight back to NY, so I slept in a bit (as much as I hate my job, you almost can't beat the flexibility).

I need some more coffee.

More later.

Monday, August 15, 2005

How to Survive A Terrorist Attack!

Now! With Photos!!

Hijacking of VanderWorld Has Begun


Starting today, I'll be dual-blogging here and at VanderWorld for a couple weeks (I'm not double-posting. VW and BW will have different content), so check-in periodically.

Who knows? It might even be interesting.

(thanks for the reminder for a reminder, Scott)

Ode to the Lesbian Swans

Boston's beloved pair of swans -- feted by city leaders, residents, and tourists alike as one of the Hub's most celebrated summer attractions -- are a same-sex couple. Yes, scientific tests have shown that the pair, named Romeo and Juliet, are really Juliet and Juliet.

Massachusettes is spreadin' the gay! This proves it's contagious. Interspecies contagious, even.

If we make same-sex marriage legal in Texas, the swans will all turn gay!

Just watch.

There's A "Diet" for Everybody

The McDonald's Diet: health = thinness.

Because at no point in this article to they say her resting heart rate and cholesterol have decreased, at no point does she say she took up exercising, and at no point does anyone with a medical degree say she's lowered her risk of cardiovascular disease by "losing" thirty pounds.

Because it's not about health:

"It feels great," she said. "Because, the truth of the matter is that beauty is power, and if you're fat, or your overweight, then people don't really take you seriously."

At least she's honest.

Feminism: I Can Dig It

An understandable protest, an amusing endquote.

Monday Monday

Oh yes, chicklits, it is Monday. That time when all coffee bites back with that saccharine-savvy aftertaste and the fucktards leer from the rooftops to snicker at your workaday commute from Hell.

The good news is that once again, there's fuck-all to do but blog and write and snicker.

It could be worse.

I might actually have to work for a living.

Could you imagine???

Friday, August 12, 2005

Being Strong is Good For You

'I was shy. I didn't have any confidence. I hid behind clothes that covered up my thin wrists. I remember being pushed about by the boys at school and it was pretty tough for me. I took it hard. For six months I didn't want to go to school. But sport became my revenge. Because I could beat these guys at the high jump, I stopped caring about my body shape any more. It was a good lesson to learn.'

Moral of the Story: Don't Cheat on Your Boyfriend

Following on the weird dreams caused by hot weather post of Wendryn's, here's last night's weird caper:

I dreamed that I met this really attractive doctor who was working with poor people around Lawrence. His sister, who was a reader of my blog, brought me there and introduced us. He was obviously hot on me from the moment I walked in, and we kept glancing at each other as she showed me around.

The sister noticed this and gave us some time together, and we chatted, and he was kind, funny, charming, socially responsible, successful, and smart. He was also quite attractive, not in a plastic-guy way, but in a kindhearted, superkewl way. The sister finally just told her brother to ask for my goddamn number already.

I hesitated, and considered telling him I already had a boyfriend, but Oh! he was soooo obviously into me, and I was soooo flattered, that I gave him my number anyway and when I left, I began to plot what sorts of activities we could engage in before I was actually cheating, and could I ever leave B for this doctor? I mean, this doctor was so polished and normal, and without any neuroses or weirdness at all, and he paid for everything without worrying about it and lived well, and he did all this volunteer work, and he was totally wild about me! Just imagine what my friends would think!

I left Romeo and headed out onto the street to get home, and he ran after me, climbed up a fire escape and yelled after me, saying he was going to call me, I was great, we should do dinner.

We had dinner, and he was sweet and smart and funny, and told me that my brain needed cleaning.

Why yes, he said, everyone did it. He was quite skilled at it himself.

I was still trying to figure out if making out with him would be considered cheating, and if I should break up with my boyfriend, and I agreed to a good brain cleaning. I knew I couldn't have sex with him because I 1) could expose B to some kind of bizarre disease, which was rude 2) I've got an IUD, so if he had chlamydia or something I'd have to have all of my internal organs removed, and I could die.

So, no sex. Not even in my dreams, do I get extra sex!! I have to get it all in real life. Poor B.

Anyway, Romeo then removed my brain and stored it in his refrigerator, where it had strange tubes poking in and out of it that bathed and drained the brain of fluid, washing it super clean.

Apparently, I could live without my brain for 48 hours before my system shut down and I became brain dead, so I could still walk and talk while this guy "bathed" my brain.

But once he had my brain, he started acting pretty weird and controlling. He wanted to tell me what to eat, what to wear, how to do my hair. He tried to convince me to break up with B. He waxed on about how romantic he was, and how nobody would love me like he did.

Then he went back to the refrigerator to retrieve my newly bathed brain, but he slipped, and knocked the entire brain and petri dishes of fluid on the floor, and the brain burst into a zillion pieces.

He was trying to decide what pieces he could salvage to restore basic motor skills to me when I woke up from my dead sleep and thought:


Whenever I worry that B and I are too neurotic to be together, I remember that we both layed out our weirdnesses up front instead of trying to decieve each other until we were both so far gone in the relationship that getting out was sticky, and though he thinks my brain is superkewl, he definately doesn't want the rest of me without it.

And yes, I'm looking forward to an end to this weird-dream-inducing hot weather.

Friday Beer Blogging: Martini Edition

Me, Jenn, the SO and B are all going out for GOOD FOOD and MARTINIS tonight!!! Woot!! Woooooooooootttttttt!!

Sour Duck's Take on Inhibited Writing, Anger, and Brutal Women

Sour Duck had some thoughts on my Intelligent Blogging post. Cool, right?

She disagreed with some of the things I said, and got all riled up to write, and then:

I initially felt very charged and excited by the prospect of writing about some of the issues Kameron inadvertently raised for me through her post; however, as I was mentally formulating responses to it, I also became very aware that I should be careful not to tread on her toes. In other words, I became concerned that if I disagreed with her, she might come on over to my blog and leave a hostile or semi-hostile comment, or post one at her blog. This concern/fear/anxiety, as you can imagine, greatly inhibits your writing. I have no idea how much of it has to do with the fact that she is a well-known blogger, but certainly that has something to do with it.

Dude, if I ever show up on anyone's blog and personally attack them and tell them they're a flaming freakshow, please delete my comment, OK?

Disagree with me, please! Conversation is what this is all about.

Some of her other comments in the post also bring up that funny fear of hostile comments. Apparently, fear of trolls was a big topic of conversation at the Blogher conference. There is a desperate fear that speaking one's own opinion will... make people angry with you.

Well, yea.

Yea, it will.

If you haven't pissed somebody off, you're not trying hard enough.

I haven't had much of a problem with trolls, because I adhere to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's advice about trolls. She's consistently got comments numbering in the hundreds, and the conversation stays civil, intelligent, and relatively on-topic. They're always worth reading:

9. If you judge that a post is offensive, upsetting, or just plain unpleasant, it's important to get rid of it, or at least make it hard to read. Do it as quickly as possible. There's no more useless advice than to tell people to just ignore such things. We can't. We automatically read what falls under our eyes.

10. Another important rule: You can let one jeering, unpleasant jerk hang around for a while, but the minute you get two or more of them egging each other on, they both have to go, and all their recent messages with them. There are others like them prowling the net, looking for just that kind of situation. More of them will turn up, and they'll encourage each other to behave more and more outrageously. Kill them quickly and have no regrets.

This is one of the problems I have trying to read comments over at feministing, because they've let a lot of rather useless assholes propagate, and comments often become off-topic and unreadable.

I know they've got a great hit count there: there's no reason they shouldn't be having consistently great conversations with comments in the hundreds. Unfortunately, one or two assholes are hijacking threads and pissing people off, and a lot of great threads devolve into off-topic pissing matches.

As said, I haven't had much trouble with trolls. Comments like, "Feminists give the best head," and "This is just a FUCKING STUPID POST. U R STUPIDDDD!!!" get deleted outright. Stuff like, "I completely disagree. You're killing babies," might get engaged with if they're willing to get teased out into having an actual discussion instead of just screaming, "U R KILLING BABIES!!!!" over and over again.

I had one persistent heckler whose post I had to delete two or three times. He was a right-winger who tried to start pissing matches at other blogs, and ran in here and guerilla-posted about homosexuality being a "birth defect" and felt it neccessary to give me his permission to go "muff diving" with the nearest "homosexual" I could get my hands on.

Assholes like that aren't looking for an intelligent discussion. They're looking for a fight. And I'm not going to give over any of my time or attention to them.


This is my space. I own and control it, and it's my job to make it a place where my readers can come and engage in a discussion without feeling like somebody's gonna be able to get away with calling them a "cunt" or an "angry feminist." I don't tolerate personal attacks. Attack the issue, not the poster. You may very well get somebody telling you your opinion omits certain facts, or they disagree with your take on things, but when we get to the "you're fucking stupid" place, I step in.

As for anger, and disagreeing with me, I'll steal my response at Sour Duck's blog wholesale:

Oh, lord, please disagree: goodness knows the boys have no trouble doing it. Disagreement does *not* mean you hate a person, it just means you think differently about their ideas. That's a *good* thing. A place without dissent is a place without conversation, and that sort of place stagnates.

As for the anger bit: don't get me wrong, anger is an absolutely fantastic tool. The problem with blogging while running on sheer anger, however, is that you often don't pause to think over the particular issue you're discussing, so your thoughts are more likely to come out disjointed.

When I blog angry, it tends to take the form of linking others' thoughts without commentary, which often implies that I completely agree with those thoughts (and, again, *completely* agreeing with everyone is the first step to stagnation. If you do agree, try a, "I thought this was interesting, but I had another take on it"). It also leads people to assume what I'm thinking about the subject, since I've just left a link and a curse word and not much else...

Anger is a potent tool. It has the ability to get you up off your ass when the shit hits the fan. It also can cause you to flail wildly and smack anything that comes near you while gnashing your teeth in a feiry, but ultimately, unproductive, rage.

The trick is to channel the anger into something more constructive. Have your anger moment, step back, feel it, and then engage the topic again with the anger running just beneath your rational thought so that what you end up with in the end is a biting, intelligent criticism instead of incoherent screaming.

Lots of people get turned off by incoherent screaming, and they just tune out. My goal is to be read. If I'm not speaking in a thoughtful, intelligent, entertaining way (and the anger can add entertainment value, particularly when irony and sarcasm are involved), then people will go elsewhere for thoughts and commentary. Not neccessarily a bad thing, but talking to myself (as noted in Burningbird's post) can get kind of dull.

What drives me is getting mail from readers who've changed their lives or looked at something differently because of what I've written. Beyond self-expression, that's what I'm in it for, and if I'm unreadable, I'm not reaching anybody.

The issue of the suppression of women's anger is a big one, and an ongoing discussion that's been around forever. It's been around so long that I'm still startled to see both men and women all over the net still use the "You're just an angry woman" brush-off. The first insult you'll get in any forum if you don't tow the party line is that you're being an angry feminist (I was recently taken to task for being "an angry white feminist" at an SF criticism blog, of all things).

I admit that when I get pegged this way, it pisses me the fuck off, and the best retort for something like that is irony and sarcasm. Getting into a bitching match with the offender just ends up devolving the thread into a pissing match about who's got the most degrees and/or life experience, and that doesn't get anybody anywhere.

Please don't ever feel you need to apologize for disagreeing with anybody (especially me - I'm really not all that "well known" a blogger!). That's the pure joy of the net, particularly for those who blog anonymously.

I *want* people to disagree with me, intelligently. I get into huge arguments with those around me all the time about things I blog about, and my take on issues. One of my best real-world friends was actually one of the people who e-mailed me about my lazy blogging style, and I was so pissed off with him for a week that I could barely speak.

In the end, since he certainly wasn't the only one who'd brought it up, I read and re-read his comments and looked at my blog again and realized there was a lot of truth to his comments. I was losing myself to the feminist blog "community" and becoming part of a thing instead of being an individual.

That's not something unique to feminist blogs at all; it happens within many, many communities, usually because of the concern you noted: you start feeling like you "know" these bloggers, and feel that if you disagree with what they're saying, you're attacking them. And who wants to attack people whose opinions they respect?

I remember taking on a post of Amanda Marcotte's (now of Pandagon) just before she won the Koufax Award and being a little leery of doing it, cause I knew she read me.

In the end, I posted my criticism, and she and some others hopped on board, and there was a conversation going on that hadn't gone on before. Doesn't mean I hate Amanda: she's superkewl and I respect the hell out of her, but sometimes I'm going to disagree with what she says, and that's OK.

I love that people disagree with me, and so long as it's well-thought out and worth engaging, I'll totally engage with it. That's the great fun of blogging.

Sitting around with a bunch of people who tell you you're perfect and superkewl all day is a great pat on the back, but ultimately not terribly constructive.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New Domino Trailer

Keira Knightley is just so cool.

Guest Blogging

For those interested, I will be guestblogging over at World Fantasy Award Winning author Jeff VanderMeer's place starting Monday.

I'm going to try and be very polite.

We'll see how long that lasts...

Girl Crushes

As somebody who identifies as being "Mostly Straight," I've still had my fair share of "girl crushes," so I was interested to read this piece in The NY Times about the apparent "resurgence" of women feeling free to express infatuation with one another.

Oh, did I mention it's purely infatuation, not attraction?

Not at all.

Because that would be gay.

A girl crush:

refers to that fervent infatuation that one heterosexual woman develops for another woman who may seem impossibly sophisticated, gifted, beautiful or accomplished. And while a girl crush is, by its informal definition, not sexual in nature, the feelings that it triggers - excitement, nervousness, a sense of novelty - are very much like those that accompany a new romance.

It's not gay.

Now, there are some interesting bits in this article. And of course, women were able to express this kind of affection more freely in the 19th century, and often wrote one another long love letters and kissed and hugged and everybody was cool with that. And it's neat that in some circles there's a resurgence of that.

But there were a couple of things that really bothered me. The first is the way "girl crushes" were categorized as giving women "safe and valuable experience in the emotions of love" and "there's every reason to think that girls can fall in love with other girls without feeling sexual towards them, without the intention to marry them."

The first comes dangerously close to implying that oh-so-19th-century idea that romantic love felt by women toward other women is somehow childish and quaint, something to give you "experience" before you have a "real" romantic relationship with a man. The second bothers me because it's another elbow in the ribs of the "not gay" variety. People can also fall in love and get married and not have sex. Well, only if they're a hetero couple, or maybe if they live in Massachusettes or Canada or Amsterdam. Or Spain, actually. Marriage doesn't neccessarily guarantee a sexual relationship, either, and like any other sort of crush or infaturation, the urge for hetero sex/sexual feeling between partners cools down over time as well.

Anyhow, I was a little struck by how clearly both the author and researchers quoted wanted to distance this kind of attraction (and yes, I'll call it attraction) from same-sex attraction (i.e. LESBIANISM) or hetero attraction (i.e. "Real" attraction).

I would also argue that some of their attempts at differentiating "girl crush" from "real crush" are kinda lame: "Crushes are typically fleeting, and infatuation often turns to friendship in this way." Isn't that true of most relationships, sexual (hetero and same-sex) as well?

I do believe that fears of "this must mean I'm a lesbian" do still really curtail the ways in which crushes/attraction between (and among) women are expressed. I've got no trouble saying that I love some of my friends, and it doesn't bother me to think, "Hey, that feeling I have toward that woman, that's kinda gay." I don't need to go around in loops and hoops and try to justify it as some sort of "special" or "different" sort of love or attraction.

I was happy that they made a nod toward men in this discussion as well:

As for men, to the extent they may feel such emotions for each other, Dr. Caplan said they are less likely than women to express them. They are not reared to show their emotions. "A man talking about emotions about another man? Everybody's homophobic feelings are elicited by that, and that's because men aren't supposed to talk about feelings at all," Dr. Caplan said.

Let's qualify that with "Men in this culture." Guys holding hands in Iran isn't anything to look twice at.

Though if you do more than that, they'll kill you.

Not that anybody's justified in being afraid to be called gay for feeling sexual toward another woman. Cause so many current cultures are so approving of that. I think it's far easier for women to justify it as childish "infatuation" (NOT GAY!!!!), and hold out for the more socially-acceptable penis, which they may prefer anyway, but which shouldn't totally negate their attraction to particular women.

What I'd love is for somebody to just up and write the article where they admit that sex and sexual expression is a social activity. It brings people of same and different sexes together. It builds social networks. It's one of the things in our evolutionary toolbox that's helped us survive: forming bonds of friendship can and does include actual touching of the Evil Corporeal Body.

Keeping us all terrified of touching each other smacks to me of living inside some dystopian novel where we're perpetually at war with a Nameless Enemy, a Society of Disinformation reigns supreme, we're all being tracked and tagged with DNA cards, and the President speaks only in doublespeak...

Oh, wait, that was me watching CNN this morning.


Good Morning, Chiklits

Had myself wound pretty tight the last couple of days.

Getting into the new house routine has been a little stressful, and getting used to my much smaller room has been a lesson in patience.

There's a trick to getting around the room without banging into bookshelves and overturning the fan that involves a lot of opening and closing the room door and the closet door in a certain order. The same attention to movement has to be applied to getting in and out of my desk chair, as well, which has about four inches of play room between itself and my queen-sized bed. In the morning, before coffee, this can be really annoying, and I've found myself, on occasion, stuck in my chair or half-fallen over onto the floor.

I'm also adjusting to new house rules. Jenn and I didn't plan this particularly well, so we've got a space that fit two people now housing three, and she and I didn't do well throwing out all of our old junk in order to make room for her SO.

Luckily, the SO is good with spaces (and drinks beer - yea! There's beer in the house!), so getting everything to fit looks nice. House rules, however, are different. The SO doesn't like doing dishes, and doesn't like looking at labels, so the labels on stuff in the kitchen (like dish soap and Lysol wipes) had to be taken off (and my "Survivor, Africa!" cup has been deemed rather cheesy, and would have been thrown out if it was Jenn's! I have compromised, and it now lives back in the cupboard instead of by the coffee maker).

There are just lots of little things to get used to, and I think that combining house-stress with gym-stress/body stress and work stress (work stress of the "I hate this job" variety as opposed to the "I actually have stuff to do at work" variety, cause I never have much to do at work. That's why I started a blog), and I was feeling pretty tired.

I've also been having some trouble with my contacts apparently drying out during the day - I don't know if it's the weather or what, but they're bugging me more than usual, and not being able to see properly is enough to put anybody in a shitty mood.

I'd like to just wear glasses, but I prefer contacts for the gym, and lugging *more* gear to the gym, even just some saline solution and a contacts case, just makes me tired. The strap on my gym bag broke, too, from carrying around too much shit, so the more spartan I can be, the better.

Work on God's War, the next book, continues. I'm still really behind, but it's moving. I'm actually really, really, loving this book. I'm in love with it. Yes. It's just a shitload of fun, and the style it's written in, the pacing, the actual story structure, are unlike anything I've done before (the subject matter, well, I've been writing women, blood and sand stories for nearly six years). Right now I'm going back and doing some editing so the rest of the book rolls a little more smoothly and I've got a better plot-setup. I'm notoriously bad at plot, and I'd like to actually *have* one this time around.

I continue to get a lot of reading done, which also helps with stress. B will be in town this weekend, which means lots of bedroom... uh, reading time, so that's good. Very relaxing.

I don't know about anybody else, but I'm really looking forward to fall weather. This summer's just been a bitch as far as the heat goes, and I'm done with it.

How the hell did I survive in Durban for a year and a half?

Who knows?

In any case, I wouldn't mind an Alaskan vacation right about now.

Looking forward to fall.... ahhhhh.....

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Honey, You Came Too Soon

Wow. Pfizer, maker of the Viagra, has patented a pill for "premature climax." No, no, not for men -

For women.

Has anybody ever had a "problem" with this? I mean, come once, you can just come again, you know? The "recovery" period for most women really isn't that long. And what's wrong with having sex *after* you come? I mean, a proper weekend sexfest would involve lots of sexual expression and perhaps two or three or four orgasms.

The company believes that women and men do not complain about the sexual dysfunction because, "male partners often choose to take rapid orgasm as positive feedback on their skill as a lover".

And I choose to take rapid orgasm as a great stepping-off point to having another one real soon.

I'm always curious as to who decides whose orgasm (male or female) is "too quick." Isn't that more an issue of partners' preferences and not the medical establishment?

(via feministing)

Pirate Vs. Squid

I take far too much delight in Pirate paraphenalia.

(via pharyngula)

I Think People Who Are Good With Numbers Should Make More Money

And yet, women office accountants don't often make much more than I do. But looking at some of this spreadsheet bullshit that our now twice-fired accountant used to do, I'm wondering why the hell women accountants don't get paid more.

I wonder how much better it used to pay when more men did it?

I remember my mother telling me that for years, the bosses where she worked used to argue that the reason men got paid more for doing the same work was because they were being paid a "family" wage (even if they weren't married), and women were just going to go out and get married and have a guy with a "family" wage "support" them.

I suppose women who were working were assumed 1) not to have a family or any reason to spend money (the whole "women just work for pin money" deal) 2) not to understand that getting paid less for doing the same work sounded like something out of the "seperate but equal" south.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Women & Weight Training

Kudos to Heather for pointing me toward this site that provides a bunch of info for women who are interested in/new to weight training.

Good info on weight, sets, reps, nutrition, and tips for training before and after pregnancy (and for those interested: working out actually tends to *decrease* the discomfort of monthly bleeding and cramping, which is yet another great reason for me to stay on track).

I particularly like the photo of her pushing her car.

Monday, August 08, 2005

It Feel Like All of My Limbs Are Going to Fall Off

Sitting around the house, eating sushi and drinking beer, reading the second-to-last book of Zelazny's Amber series (one of the few old-school SF authors who actually writes women-as-people) at my new digs (pictures coming soon) in the designated reading room full of bookshelves... yea, life is good.

Overdid it a little at the gym. I think all my limbs are so sore they're gonna fall off.

I mean, in a good way. Just think of how buff I'll be. Yea.

Life is good.

I love wireless internet, too.

It's amazing, the luxeries you can pretend to afford when you're not terribly worried about leaving around an inheritance.

I intend to die in debt.

But man, I sure will have had a lot of fun.

Burkas May Reduce The Risk of Unwanted Pregnancy

Better resolution graphic
(via cara)

I Have Given In To the Bread Products

And they are good.

It really is a binge eating issue. I've tried to just eat one of something, you know, moderation, when it comes to bread products, but I just can't. I either have to do what I'm doing, which is "no bread products!" and then have a cheat day once every couple weeks in which I eat a number of bread products, or have absolutely no bread products at all, which is tougher.

I hate this strange compulsive behavior. I need to go buy more books.

"Our Stories Aren't All Tragedies"

Lots of places in Africa even have cities:

I felt as if I had been invited under false pretences. I should have been born in a poverty-stricken village, brutally circumcised with a blunt, unsanitised knife with other five-year-old girls, then, a few years later, kidnapped by child soldiers, becoming a sex slave of a rebel commander before escaping dramatically and trekking through the dry bush for miles and months until I was rescued by foreign aid workers, "rehabilitated" and adopted by a gracious American family. I would end up triumphant and grateful in the US and living to tell my story; which is, of course, a story worth telling.

Speciman Dayz: He Should Have Sold off Each Novella and Then Gone & Written a Real Book

Let me preface this by saying that I really like Michael Cunningham. I've read The Hours more than a dozen times, and am, in fact, constantly involved in re-reading it. It just sits next to my bed, and I read a few pages every now and again, and when I finish, I start over.

When his latest came out, I was thrilled, and B bought it for me in a nice shiny hardcover.

And then I realized my worst fears had come true:

A literary author was doing a whole book of genre.

It's a three-part story, the first being a ghost story, the second some sort of crime or mystery story, and the third... a science fiction story.

Perhaps I'm supposed to be surprised that

1. The ghost is... in the machine!!!

2. Terrorists are... children!!!

3. Robots... are people too!!!

I figured that once I got to the end of the book, it would all make sense to me. I would see some sort of Grand Pattern besides the obvious repetition of the bowl, men & machinery, and lots of Walt Whitman quotes.

Whereas the linking in The Hours was slightly more subtle (in fact, the parts that bugged me the most were when he tried to make it UNsubtle - the ending was too neat a connection, and I don't know that we needed long passages from Mrs. Dalloway in the Mrs. Brown sections, but hey), this one pretty much layered them on thick and then... ended.

Now, for a literary novel, maybe that would be Ok. Well, no, it wouldn't, cause it had no resonance. It didn't hang together. And when you're doing genre, you expect certain conventions. You expect the ghost to be exorcised. You expect the crime to actually be solved. You expect some sort of rousing Science! adventure and illumination of the human condition. And, because you're being given all three together, they better have an internal resonance beyond the very obvious "all the characters have the same name," and "there's this bowl," and "There's some Whitman quotes."

They need to sing at the subtle subtext level, not the blandly obvious.

And The Guardian found somebody to do a blandly obvious review of it that reads like it was written by an eighteen-year-old for a class project. And even s/he remarks at the end: "the issues are so close to the surface that the narrative feels like shallow waters overlying the reefs and shoals of Philosophy 101."

Yea. Like having somebody say "Look! See the connections!" and you want to bang them over the head with the damn glass bowl and go, "So what?"

Maybe it's my bias against lit writers trying to do genre, but you know, I've read some Margaret Atwood, and she doesn't totally bug me. This didn't totally bug me either, but it also had no real resonance for me, unlike, say, an Atwood, or a genre writer doing lit fiction, like, say, Harrison's Light. Those hung together for me, and created something more than their parts.

This was really just disjointed parts.

“Only My New Powers Can Save You, Padme”: Female Victimhood & Male Sacrifice

I was reading an article the other day about Kate Winslet. It was the usual sort of interview where the interviewer felt it necessary to spend half of the interview talking about Winslet’s weight and how much “slimmer” she is now and what an icon she is for non-slender women and blah blah.

In any case, it got me to thinking again about Titanic.

See, there was always something about Titanic that didn’t make sense to me. I mean, besides the silly dialogue. See, I was one of those Crazy Teenage Girls who saw it eleven times in the theater. It helped give me the courage to ditch my loser boyfriend and buy a one-way ticket to Alaska.

I mean, hey, Kate could do it. Why couldn’t I? I had that fire! That passion!

I completely understood why young women went crazy for that movie. James Cameron plotted the old cliché man-saves-woman from herself script, but with a twist. See, all the guy really does is tell her she’s cool, which she already knew, and then he dies. The rest, she pretty much does herself. If he lived, it would have been an entirely different movie.

And you know, a lot of people feel like they’ve got a script to follow, a perfectly coiffed fem life to live with the family-perfect boyfriend, when secretly, you don’t really want any of that bullshit at all.

At any rate, here’s what didn’t make sense to me:

Titanic blew up the box office and make a shitload of money. Now, when a movie does that, what happens afterwards is that a bunch of people usually make copy-cat movies to try and get in on the same audience Titanic found.

So where’s all the movies about a strong woman with real breasts who’s inspired by an aimless drifter hero to live a great big life?

After Buffy died, they’ve been trying wildly to figure out the formula and make another winning series: teenage girl with supernatural powers battles evil. Unfortunatley, Buffy was a little more than that, which is why stuff like Tru Calling and etc. keep getting cancelled.

But where are the Titanic ripoffs?

Now, I’m not talking about those men-sacrificing-themselves-to-save-women shows, like, say, Anakin going all nuclear cause he has to “save” Padme, when she would have been just fine in childbirth all by herself. I mean, that whole sacrifice thing always sorta bugged me, because it’s a “romantic” expectation that’s not good for men or women. It encourages men to “save” women who may be terribly toxic and encourages women to wait around to “get saved” instead of actually starting their lives (I’m a hopeless romantic, and was stuck with this idea for years). Ideally, I’d like to see a “romance” where two people bump into each other, improve each others lives, and then go on their way.

But hey, I’ll take a Titanic rip-off, too. I’ll take a movie where a gutsy heroine is shown the value and adventure and potential of her own life, and inspired to be better. It doesn’t even have to be a guy who inspires her. Under the Tuscan Sun is a great example.

So where are the gutsy heroines inspired to greatness? Or just bigger, better lives? Without immediate, traditional, romantic entanglements that turn it syrupy?

Long, Bookish Weekend

Took Friday off work, and spent the entirety of the weekend shelving, buying, and reading books. Also got out another chapter of God's War and did some editing. Did I mention I spent almost $200 on books?

And I wonder where my money goes...

P.S. I also went to the gym this weekend, and Katharine is right: I can indeed leg press my own body weight. I am now, however, quite sore. In a good way.

On Male Desire

Brendan's take:

I've been following the various and sundry reactions on feminist blogs to the now-infamous Dove "real women" ads, and have been waiting for someone to raise the question, to me obvious, about how advertising and beauty culture affects not just the self-image of women, but also the way in which straight men relate to, understand, experience and express their own desires for women. That conversation seems to have begun....

But personal absence aside, I think I can speak for the general male experience insofar as I still have a "sense" of what's supposed to be attractive, even if I tend to experience it negatively through a sense of "Huh. That doesn't work for me at all". This is what I can tell you, truly- men, especially younger men, will lie to you. They will lie their asses off, because the lies they tell about what they want is part of how they keep their sense of masculinity together. If women feel forced into a tiny range of appearance to feel desirable, then men feel forced into desiring only that small range. In public, bullshitting in a group- especially a mixed group, or a stereotypically masculinized one like a locker room- men will sing you the balled of the 18 year old blonde anorexic cheerleader, as often as not. Those who do not will think themselves daring for professing a liking for women with curves, or else will talk up one of the well-known and accepted kinks of desire- "Goth Chicks" is an old favorite.

Now you take that man out of the locker room or away from a large group of his friends, or you let him age 10 years or so in a lot of cases, you buy him some beer and you ask him again. What he will likely tell you, if he's lucky and hasn't totally internalized what he's heard, is that the women he actually finds attractive are a good bit different, or at least more widespread, then the American cultural norms. Britney Spears, back before things got real bad over there, was someone most guys could agree on. Someone like that becomes the public face of male desire, the only one that can be talked about in a general sense. The public discourse on what men want becomes either the recitation of the unreachable idea of the moment, or else becomes channeled into the arid landscape of "fetish" discussion. Goth Chicks, MILF, etc. The guy you're talking to now might have a thing for his slightly overweight, glasses-wearing coworker with that cute-as-a-button nose , who can name every episode of his favorite television show and shares his secret, shameful passion for televised rodeo. Good luck getting him to talk about THAT in front of his friends. Or a researcher. Or an advertising exec.

Read the rest

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Thoughts on Intelligent Blogging

Blogging can be a very lazy pastime. You flick through random blogs on your blogroll and maybe some on other people’s blogrolls, skimming over thoughts and opinions and then posting your own half-thought-out opinions on their opinions. You pick up notes and quotes and reactions and post-post-post, then the “work” day’s over, and you head home and don’t give it a second thought.

I have been a seething mess this month on the subject of my moving. I’m angry at my roommate and her SO. I’m mad I had to do everything myself. I’m mad because my poor boyfriend tried to help and ended up throwing out his back. I’m mad that I can’t say I’m mad because it’s not my roommates’ fault that they couldn’t help me. It was a matter of timing, and when the upstairs apartment went empty, they’d already had their plans for the summer made, and nobody would be home for a week before and a week after the move. There's really nobody to be mad at. I'm just mad in general.

I sucked this up like a good roommate, told myself it was what it was, just a matter of timing. But carrying the entirety of a household up two flights of stairs and trying to make a house livable for three people, all by myself, really made me angry. And tired. And sore. I've been in pain of one kind or another for the last three months. That hasn't boded well, either. Being in pain tends to make me angry, too.

When I get angry, my knee-jerk posts become more plentiful, I cease bothering to think through other people’s arguments before posting them, and all sorts of supposedly “insightful” commentary goes down the drain. I get angry. I get lazy. I get tired. I switch off all my internal bullshit filters.

I had a couple of people very close to me, people I trust and respect, tell me my blogging was getting reactionary and ill-thought-out. I was losing some of the sharp wit and actual argumentative reasoning skills that make pointing out people’s bullshit so much fun.

It was suggested that some of this may be because I’m a part of “the feminist blogging community,” and as my hit count’s gone up, I’ve gotten lazier and more reactionary. There’s a reason wackjobs like, say, Ann Coulter get big audiences. There’s a carwreck voyeurism about it that keeps you clicking for more.

My first thought was, “We have a community?” But it’s true, there is. We’ve got the feminist blogs site, we’re on each other’s blog rolls, and there’s a circle of us who all cite each other. The faux feministing site was a great parody for good reason.

What that means is that instead of this being Kameron Hurley’s blog, it was becoming a Feminist Community Blog.

Don’t get me wrong: being part of a community is great. You get to “meet” lots of fascinating people. Unfortunately, you also get so comfortable with everybody’s ideas, you see the same ideas espoused so often and with so much ire, that you start believing them all wholesale and not questioning or interrogating them. They become your whole world, because it’s all you’re reading.

Ideally, this blog should be a neat amalgamation of thoughts and opinions – my thoughts and opinions – on feminism, fat acceptance, science fiction and fantasy books and film, martial arts & boxing and fitness in general, and women & warfare.

It should also be about me and my writing. Because that’s why I started it. I have a life I want to live, a person I want to be, and that’s why this blog is here, to document that journey from here to there and everything in-between, including the long road that is writing books and begging somebody to buy them so you can pay off your student loans. Cause you're writing books anyway. Might as well get paid for them.

And I’ve been so knee-jerk pissed at everything that I’ve done less commentary and more “Fuck this!” linking.

In fact, most of the fun of the blog was starting to go. It was becoming “The world is so fucked up!” instead of “Look at this neat thing! How can we make it better?”

A lot of that is because I’ve been really fucking angry at the world, angry at my living arrangement, angry at the people around me, angry at myself.

And I need to calm the fuck down and think clearly again.

I also need to finish my goddamn book. I need to write about 100 pages in the next 11 days. And I'm nervously waiting for an agent's letter about whether she wants to see the rest of the fantasy saga (this is the last agent I'm trying before I'm tabling the book), and I'm a lot more anxious about it than I should be.

This is the last shot that book gets. I'll be trying to sell the next one in December.

No pressure.

Damn, I'm tired.

Blog Down


Considering some things.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


It occurs to me that there's a book I should be working on.

The house is mainly moved. Down to the elliptical machine and the gardening table on the back porch. Then I need to clean the shit out of the place.

Cleaning can happen later. I'm tired. I want to sit in bed and read.

Phone, internet, and cable are, I've discovered, a bundled deal, meaning I won't have any of those things until Saturday.


Am also down to my last $37. I'm really not sure how that happened.

Fun X 2.

No Thigh-Firming Cream Neccessary

Found here.

Apparently, the same company who owns Dove owns Slimfast. Somehow, I'm not surprised. I'm going to go live in a little cabin in Alaska and write books.

100 Most Powerful Women in the World

I'm interested in how they defined "power." Sad that they felt they had to do a whole separate one for women because they'd put so few in a "100 Most Powerful People in the World" list. And I think we're still doing "Most Powerful Men" lists, so hey, fair's fair.

Interesting, anyway.

Faux Feministing

You gotta give the boys props:

Feministing (original)

Feministing (faux)

Fucking hilarious. It's a fantastic parody site - check it out (and don't forget to read the comments! They even use the word "fucktards"! Yay!).

I'm reminded of an interview with the band Nirvana, when they learned that Weird Al wanted to parody their song, "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

"You know you've really made it," one of them said, "when somebody wants to parody you."

Does This Stuff Creep Anybody Else the Fuck Out?

Just... creepy.

Book Deals: Pre-Order, Dammit!

I had the opportunity to take a fiction writing class with David Marusek in Fairbanks, Alaska in 1999, when I started my junior year of undergrad work at the U of Alaska. It was a genre writing class, meaning we were a little collective of folks writing mystery, SF/F, romance, adventure, thrillers, and the like.

It was a damn fine little workshop, and the first time I got to work with a real, published SF author who understood genre. David was awesome, but the turning point for me was the last night of class when we all went out to a local place and talked shop and traveling and life and etc. over cokes (for me, anyway: I was 19 at the time) and tortilla chips. David was a Clarion grad, and I mentioned off hand to him that I'd applied a year or so before and been rejected. I told him I was thinking of applying again when I was 25.

"Don't wait," he said. "Apply to both. Use some of the stories you wrote for class."

There's something about having somebody you respect who believes in you that gets you up off your ass and gets shit going.

I applied to both Clarion classes. I got into East no problem, and got on the waiting list for West. I reserved my spot at East and hung around hoping I'd make West. Eventually, when some of the Wests moved to East, I was able to get on board, so I got to spend 6 weeks in Seattle with an amazing group of folks. The experience was huge. It changed my whole life. I gained a wealth of amazing buddies. I traveled around the world visiting some of them. It rocked the house.

Now, nearly 6 years later, David's first novel, Counting Heads, is *finally* coming out.

He's blogging about the launch, and you can pre-order a copy here.

Drunk & Unpublished

Wow, that sounds familiar.

Can you really do a "guerrilla poetry" reading... at the local Wal-Mart? Oh, Indiana, red state and fast-food haven neighbor of mine...

Quote of the day:

"I don't know if I'm a good poet. Even when people tell you are good, you still don't really believe it," Powell said. "It's like kissing -- a person will tell you you're a good kisser while you're kissing them but there is never any way to tell."

"If A Woman Was Running From a Burning Building, What Would She Think About?"

I love The Onion.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

More on the Dove Ads Controversy

Whoda thunk it'd be a controversy to show a couple of size 10-16 women in their underwear?

Apparently, most men don't like them.

Well, luckily, men aren't buying Dove products:

Here's what some people (most of them men) think of the Dove ads: "THEY'RE DISGUSTING," reads a post on a popular online bulletin board. The author's opinion expressed entirely in uppercase, is that the Dove women are FAT COWS. The sentiment seems to be shared by the unknown parties who've scrawled graffiti on the women's pictures in New York and slapped stickers with crude slogans over the ads in the United Kingdom.

But a number of the derogatory comments haven't been anonymous at all -- they're coming from the popular media, and not just from the "morning zoo" radio shows or lad mags from which we tend to expect (and laugh off) this kind of frat-boy shtick. No, this stuff is coming from places as mainstream as the Sun-Times and Channel 2 News.

Wake up, boys. I have no interest in whether or not you think I'm beautiful.

I can kick your ass.

I want a giant picture of me with a boot up some fat media guy's ass plastered all around New York.

That'd be some controversy for you.

UPDATE: Well, twisty's got some goods:

This Dove-is-so-great crap must cease! Dove is not so great! Dove’s “real” women are, like, 22, and they’re conventionally pretty, and they’re in their fucking underwear. They are given insipid slogans, like “I felt absolutely beautiful on my wedding day!” Mouse over’em and they morph into bent-kneed playboy sexbots. They’re selling beauty crack. On the website there’s even a section where you can vote on the hotness of more “real” models, à la The message: Dove products will give you the only thing that patriarchy actually values in a woman: a tight ass.

IUD Update

I finally got around to getting my 3-month-post-IUD-insertion checkup at PP (Dear PP, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...).

There's some pre-menstrual discharge for about four days before my period, I still bleed for 7 days, but only two of those are freaky. The cramps aren't fun, particularly for somebody who never really had any menstrual cramps before and used to laugh and point at other women who ran for a heating pad once a month and popped Motrin like candy.

Oh, karma's a bitch.

But I don't have to worry about taking a pill. My appetite and hence, my waistline, have not gone wild. I don't have to worry about picking up or paying for pills (and I don't have to worry about a pharmacist not giving them to me).

Best of all, there's non of that agonizing depression that draped a gray guaze between the part of my brain that wanted to do things and the part of my brain that actually did them. Just getting out of bed, basic functioning, grocery shopping, was really, really tough.

And did I mention that my sex drive's back? Oh, sex drive, how I have missed you, let me count the ways...

I'm not going to recommend the IUD, because it's got its own set of problems. Since I haven't had a kid, my IUD is a tight fit, which means I mostly sleep on my right side now because when I do get a dull aching pain, it's usually on the left side (my gyno says this is pretty normal. Any pain that's manageable with Motrin is pretty normal). And when I'm on my period, it's a pinching pain, usually but not always on the left side. Not happy, but manageable.

And, of course, there's the blood issue. I've successfully managed to get up, go to work, hit the gym, and get home no problem while bleeding like a sacrificial lamb, so it's not crippling or anything, but it's not a "Yay! Fun!" sort of thing, and the first time you have those heavy days, it's pretty freaky.

So if you're not good with blood and pain, you'll need to find another option.

But if you're good with blood and pain and looking for something besides the pill, something you can put in and not worry about or pay for month-to-month, and you're looking to keep your waistline and your sex drive (after the first month. The first month is a bitch. You really don't want anyone to even touch you for, like, the first week), then it's certainly an option.

I'm told that it should further settle down over the next year, and hopefully the periods will get a little lighter and/or last fewer days. Pretty much every month that goes by, there's less pain during the period and a longer window where I don't feel anything at all, really, except an occasional fluttering.

So I'm back to functioning, but it wasn't a pleasant trip.

It's pretty much what all the literature says it is: hell for the first month, and settling in for the next two, so that after your third period, you're pretty well situated.

If you're going to do it, make it a month where you don't have a lot of shit to do.

That was a crappy month.

Women Aren't Adults, They're Minors: But Don't Worry! The Government Knows What's Best

Even if it were true that birth control leads to promiscuity, what business is that of the state of Wisconsin? College students are adults.

Nope. You can go fight and die and kill other people for your country, but go off and have sex and or get raped and you're screwed! Literally! No b/c for you, slut!

Welcome to Iran.

On Being Strong

So, I've been getting back to the gym now, after four or five months off. I was never an athletic person, and I always thought of myself as the resident Fat Girl at school (this wasn't so true once I hit high school, but my self-image was already set by then), so when I go to the gym, I'm still pretty self conscious. I try not to look at the women around me and compare myself, but shit like that happens. I mean, when everybody's (OK, when all of the *women*) are skinnier and hence more "socially acceptable" than you are, you tend to get a little ancy.

I do about forty minutes of cardio, and I don't kill myself doing it. There are Super Women who run full tilt for an hour on the treadmill or beat themselves up on the elliptical machine like it's a torture device, but I like to pace myself. I don't want to fall off the elliptical when I'm done.

So if you were to see me and one of these thin racer-women side-by-side on the elliptical, I'd look like I was behind, not as tough, not as healthy, not as strong. I mean, after all, look at her go!

That is, until you get us both to the weights.

It's something I noticed at the martial arts school as well when we'd do free weight and punching bag rounds. I took dumbbells in equal or greater weight to the ones the women who'd been there for years took. I thought it was interesting.

Then I started here on these weight machines, and you can use the pin to select what weight you want, so you can track what the person ahead of you was lifting, and I started to clock what everybody else was lifting. There were women who left the pin at 5 or 15 pounds for the upper body exercises. The heaviest weight I saw a woman clock in was 35 lbs.

I was doing a minimum of 45, and that was when I was doing the lift-over-your-head stuff. For the rest, it was 55-65. And for the legs? 90 lbs minimum, up to 115/120. the only other woman I saw do over 100 lbs for the leg weights was bigger than me set everything on a really high weight and only did 5-10 reps, one set.

And I'm thinking, what the hell is up with the lifting weights thing?

I don't think women in general can only lift 15-35 lbs. I just don't buy it. So what gives? Is it just a matter of doing it for years without increasing the weight? Why?

I know there are a lot of women who fear "bulking up" like a guy. The thing is, unless you've got a big dose of above-average testoserone, you likely won't do this unless you're expressly training for it and taking supplements. Instead, you'll likely condense. Muscles get denser, not bigger, if you don't have a ton of testoserone. That's what happened to me after six months or so of martial arts classes. My biceps got to a certain size, and then just stared getting denser and harder.

So, lifting more than 15 lbs isn't going to turn you into Arnold Swartzenegger.

What gives? Are women afraid of being strong? Or are the weights really not the priority, since we're all *really* just at the gym to get *thin*? And is there really such a push to be thin that we'll give up being strong to get it?

Because let me tell you, being strong is really fucking useful when your roommate and her SO are out of town and you have to move your entire household (including the goddamn fucking air conditioner) up two flights of stairs. It's also really useful when you're getting harrassed on the train or on the street. It gives you a confidence you didn't have before, and in fact, you'll likely get harrassed *less* because of that newfound confidence (yes, I've been harrassed far, far, less since I took up the MA classes and learned the boxer's walk).

So why keep lifting 15 pounds? Cause you think you can't lift any more? Cause you're thinking, "What's the point?"

At work, I sit in a cubicle immediately behind the receptionist. It took her almost a year to realize that she didn't need to call one of the guys from the back to haul around boxes for her. The sad part was when she brought me over to haul a box that weighed less than 20 lbs.

Fucking Phone

Our phone's still out. And I collapsed yesterday after grocery shopping and putting the last bed together, so the liquor cabinet contents are still downstairs.

Sad. Lord knows I need the liquor upstairs...

Also, I tried to go grocery shopping yesterday, and realized I'd overspent myself for yet another month, and my bank card gave me a "not authorized" message. I'm not sure how this happened. I was doing grandly this month.

Shit, what am I saying? This is me. If I actually had money in the bank on payday, I'd be somebody else entirely.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Tired, Tired, Tired, Tired

Was up until midnight last night moving shit upstairs. Do you have any idea how heavy a goddamn air conditioner is? That thing was a fucking bitch.

Still, we're at about 98% moved. What we have left:

1 bookshelf
1 floor rug
100 lbs worth of free weights (ah, yes, me and my free weights)
A handful of unwashed dishes
The contents of the liquor cabinet
My roommate's clothes
2 of my roommate's small shelves
Everything sitting on the back porch

Then I need to put together my roomates' bed, replace some lightbulbs, and clean the entirety of the old apartment at some point.

Damn, I'm tired.

But hey, we've got air conditioning.

Take care of the luxeries and the details will take care of themselves...