Wednesday, January 26, 2005


I've been feeling for the last week or so that I'm fighting an uphill battle, and rapidly losing ground.

I've had a number of freakouts lately (food binge twinges, exercise shrug-offs, early-to-bed "low" days, and two very, very uncommon twinges of claustraphobia - weirder still because they came within a couple weeks of each other), which should be irregular. I've been having crappy dreams, and have been pushing myself into bed earlier and earlier, only to wake up the next morning, look in the mirror, and realize that the face staring back at me was still incredibly exhausted.

This month, I turned 25, got a raise and promotion, spent two weeks in and out of Denver, briefed myself on an entirely new telecommunications project in order to learn the basics of an entirely new technology, fell mad-crazy for another impossible person in order to muse away my hours, struggled to alter my diet and exercise regimen (again) and implemented a second off-day weight routine, decided to study for the LSATs with the possibility of applying for Law School on the horizon, and got my first 1000-hit day on this blog.

I told work I was taking some PTO and my floating holiday, and I'd see them Monday. Slunk home again tonight without going to class. Bumped into Jenn as she was on her way out, let her know I was taking a vacation and planned to sleep for four days.

"You know," she said. "I think that's a really good idea. You've looked... really tired lately."

"Thanks for saying that. It's like, no matter how much I sleep, I wake up and I still think I look tired."

"It's weird, it's like these last few days, it just feels like something's gone out of you."

I'm tapped out.

I've been running really hard this month, took too many plane rides, freaked out too much about exercise, pushed myself to think about a thousand things all at once, got pissed off because I wasn't spending enough time on my novels, spent an incredibly ridiculous amount of time angsting about people in general, and have only managed to get to sleep every night by taking a Tylenol PM.

I'm incredibly, incredibly tired.

Don't expect blogging miracles this weekend.

Names and Faces

Because I love putting faces to names in the blog world.

Me and my mom, Christmas `04.

My sister and her son, Christmas `04

Me and my maternal grandmother, when I was about 14. I like this one, as the family resemblence is uncanny ;)

Don't You Just Hate That?

Man, I hate writing up posts I don't have the guts to make public. Oh well. Another one for the draft stack. These things are piling up...

Back to Women and Desire

The other day, Jenn told me that a friend of hers said I might be interested in this story:

Apparently, this woman, a grad student, was prescribed Zoloft and not told at the time that it was known to cause decreased sexual desire in women.

In fact, when men are prescribed Zoloft and Prozac now, they're automatically given a prescription for Viagra as well.

But women, apparently, have to ask.

I told Jenn that if I'd ever been on one of these drugs, it would have taken me less than a month to figure this out, and I'd be pounding down my doctor's door.

But I digress.

So I was interested when I found this little Op-Ed piece confirming the fact that Zoloft and Prozac diminish sexual desire. In this case, the woman in question, once again, had to be proactive and bring up the subject with her doctor, who apparently hadn't thought to mention this little fact to her, either.

Cause women, you know, don't really ever think about sex.

The "happy ending" to this little piece is that apparently the doctor found a great drug for her to take in combination with her Zoloft to increase desire.

Great. Good on you.

But it might have been nice, you know, before hand, if women were told all of the side-effects, no?

Wonkette's Liveblogging of the Presidential News Conference

Ah. Wonkette:

10:02 Bush starts reading before he gets behind podium. Clearly would rather be elsewhere. Rather be being interviewed by Dan Rather.

10:03 Iraqi freedom will require "commitment of generations," i.e., "We will be drafting your grandchildren."

10:04 "There has been enormous sacrifice by some of our citizens." No one i know, of course, but my staff has informed me that is the case.

10:05 Oooo, nice tie on David Gregory.

10:05 Terrorists: no positive agenda. Kind of like democrats

10:07 "The fact that they're voting in itself is successful." That "whoosh" you hear? The sound of the bar lowering. Next: "The fact that ballots are printed."

10:09 Terry Moran knows his Saudi penal code. Question on crushing of dissent by American ally! Does the president see a contradiction? Clearly, Terry Moran is an enemy of freedom.

10:10 Yet, president thrown. Allowing a followup.

10:12 Really liking Gregory's shirt. Pink? Peach? And checked! Very secure in his masculinity.

10:15 How many people have to die before "the world is safer without Saddam...." starts to sound hollow?

11:16 "When americans see Iraqis standing up and fighting," they're be relieved alright. Relieved because then we can leave.

10:17 Ah. The Japan comparison. Not sure that's super relevant or comforting. First, we were there seven years. Second: we dropped TWO NUCLEAR WEAPONS on them. Of course they were willing to cooperate. They were glowing.

10:18 Huh. Not mentioning private accounts in re: Soc. Sec. But whatever. It's all "dictated by math." Does that mean we have to invade math?

10:20 "Third rail of politics means you touch it and you die." Ah. see I thought it was a euphamsism for large penis.

Check out the rest.

I Can't Believe They Say These Things: Oh. Wait.

From Pandagon:


Black People Gonna Die Watch: Day 1

The BPGD Watch is a new feature of Pandagon, featuring the best of Bush administration nonchalantness about the shorter life expectancies of black Americans, particularly black men. In addition to Bush's skillful huggery and head-rubbery of darker-skinned Americans, he's shown a remarkable propensity to accept the shorter lifespans of African-Americans in much the same way you'd accept that all the copies of Elf are rented out at Blockbuster.

Black people die sooner. Hey - shit happens! Today's installment:

Mr. Bush also encouraged the leaders to support his plan to add personal investment accounts to Social Security, which White House officials say could benefit blacks because they have a shorter average life span than whites and end up putting more money into the retirement system than they take out.

African-American men "have had a shorter life span than other sectors of America," Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, told reporters. "And this will enable them to build a nest egg of their own and be able to pass that nest egg on to their survivors."


Wow, what a great way to push through your SS plan with black voters! In fact, Bush, you better just continue to make sure black men die sooner! What a great plan! I'm sorry, does this remind you of Mbeki and his policy toward AIDS: if they're dead, we don't have to worry about providing them with jobs?

Why, yes! Yes, it does!

On Being A Professional Pirate

I've been paying particular attention to the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios v. Grokster case on whether or not file-swapping services are at fault if their users decide to download copyrighted files. Same thing VCR manufacturers had to go through ages ago. And Grokster should continue to get the same verdict that the VCR manufacturers got.

It's all about being a professional pirate.

As someone who knows a number of professional pirates, that small group of people who haven't had to pay for a CD in several years and have a tetrabyte of computer space loaded with everything from feature-length first-run movies to porn, I can tell you that they're largely a very fair group of people. They've downloaded Bioware's Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and had such an incredible respect for the game that most of them went out and bought it.

I've been file swapping for years. It's how I discovered Ani DeFranco, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, Paul Westerberg, The Secret Machines. I got a hold of a handful of tracks from each, then went out to grab a CD or two or three.

In fact, the only artists who have to "worry" about file swapping are the crappy ones. The ones who put out entire albums that only have one snappy radio song that gets so much play that you figure you'll listen to it until you get sick of it and then delete it. Highly combustible. So you grab your sticky pop crap from Ashlee Simpson or Britney Spears. Repeat until sick, then never listen to again. These are the sorts of people who should really only be making money from touring anyway. They're entertainers, not singers, not artists.

As a writer, I used to be a violent defender of copyright. I was of the Harlan Ellison school of copyright: don't steal my stuff, you bitches! Don't post it anywhere! Don't give it your friends! Squeeze out every dime!

My view changed in South Africa, when I realized that music, books, media, wasn't cheap. And what that meant was that 80% of the population of an entire country was pretty much denied access to 80% of that country's media, and the media of the world. And all of the thoughts, ideas, and feelings those media contained.

And I saw that as doing the world a vast, vast disservice. Reserving all the knowledge in the world for a handful of elite.

In fact, this is why India doesn't really have copyright laws. China loves to steal stuff all the time. The idea is that by putting a monetary value to thoughts and ideas, you're limiting the dissemenation of those ideas. It's like education: it should be free for all.

However, all that said, I'm very clear on one point: if somebody reposts something of mine; a short story, blog entries, I want them credited to me, and I don't want that person making money off my words. That's it. That's my only rule. Swap my stuff around like crazy. That's why it's here. But you better not be selling pamphlets full of it without my permission, and you better not be saying you wrote it. That's a matter of politeness. It's just rude to steal shit and claim it's yours. Basic English 101 stuff.

As a writer, I think, your ultimate goal is audience. Do I want to make money writing? Do I want to get paid for it? Would I love a book contract that would pay off my student loans and pay for grad school? You fucking bet I do.

But I will not jealously hoard ideas. I will not demand that everybody at LJ pay me money for quoting my posts or stories in their entirety. In fact, my deepest thrill yesterday was backtracking to those LJs where they'd included huge excerpts or entire posts and as I'd scroll through them I'd go, "Wow. This is really well written. Whoever wrote this... oh, shit, that was *me*."

I love the internet. I love that it allows for the free flow of information and ideas. Yea, sure, it ends up being a little bit like the game "telephone," when you put it "Lucy likes little trucks with lots of ducks," and it came out, "Oh, fuck," at the other end.

But there's something incredibly powerful about reaching a thousand people (or ten thousand or ten million) freely. If you're any good, you can find a way to support yourself that way, as many writers and bloggers do, either by selling their books and stories via their blog, or fundraising for site upkeep.

And when you talk about swapping music, movies... The Lord of the Rings was not harmed in any way by file swapping. Those pirates who have the whole version on their computer with the 1 tetrabyte of space have also bought all three of the extended editions of the film.

What file swapping forces the media to do is be better. It makes their art worth paying for. I just put down $30 for Catherynne Valente's The Labyrinth, and $30 for Jonathan Strange and Dr. Norrell. And not only did I pay to buy Good People Who Love Bad News, but Jenn picked up her own copy as well... even though we'd all but collected the entirety of the album through other means.

When shit is really fucking good, you'll put down the money for it.

When it's not... well, those are the people who are really, really worried right now.