Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It's Hot

Oh my oh my.

Time to break out the cold beer.

It Confuses Me That I Have A Job

I'm not sure what I do here.

Ug. Too Many Bread Products

Corporate life is unhealthy.


SF Fans: Putting Women Back Into Science Fiction


Dueling female Jedi. Three female main characters.

Not one of them with a Holy Womb of Antioch.

Yes, the script was written by two women.

I have hope for the future.

Stock Up on Your Sudafed

Soon, it won't be legal to trust in anything but God to cure all of your cold symptoms, allergy problems, and contraception needs.

Won't that be a great day?

Cough, Cough. Oh dear.

Like heart disease, anxiety and depression, scientists discovered in a study of 1,397 pairs of female twins that there is a genetic basis to female orgasm.

Why is it that this study worries me? Because nobody's doing a male equivalent?

Probably, it's this sentence:

But Spector said orgasm is a very complex process which is poorly understood. Little research has been done because it is still a taboo subject.


I'm Boring Today

Well, it was bound to happen.

For your amusement:

Morning Absolution

They were still three bounties short of rent when Nyx found the headless body in the trunk.

“You should have put some towels down,” Rhys said.

There had been dog carcasses in the alley that morning, tire treads on burst stomachs, fat rats squealing over tidbits, old women netting rats for stews. The accumulated filth of rotting tissue, blood, sand and the stench of human excrement had sent Rhys out onto the veldt for dawn prayer, and Nyx had grudgingly agreed to take the bakkie out and pick him up. She had made sure to arrive well after the end of prayer, because catching Rhys praying was about as uncomfortable as catching him masturbating. He was a Chenjan conservative, one of the old breed who still bothered adhering to sexual and religious "purity."

In any case, she hadn’t thought to check the trunk.

“Whose is this?” Nyx asked. She was due to pick up a bounty in a quarter of an hour.

She needed the trunk space.

The body was draped in the white burnous of a cleric, gold tassels and all. The feet were bare. Though he had no head, a red newsboy cap was cradled under the left arm.

Nice touch, that.

“Khos’s,” Rhys said.

She should have recognized his work.

Nyx glanced over at Rhys, tried to read him. His dark face was pinched and drawn. He was a skinny man, too slender in the hips and shoulders - he’d been a dancer back in Chenja. He looked seventeen, pushing thirty.

She watched him gather his gear. “I’ll put this in the cab. I forgot about the body,” he said.

“Khos won’t get anything without the head.”

“He’s got a birthmark, Khos says.”

“Khos is an idiot.”

Rhys pinched his mouth. Nyx waited for a word of affirmation, but he only said, “Khos said he was one of the men on the boards. He had me open a file.”

Nyx guessed the body was Chenjan, judging from the color. Black, like Rhys. Chenjans had trouble mixing with the tawny brown of Nasheen. Rhys knew that as well as anyone.

She shut the trunk.

“The boards?” Nyx spat. “Looks like somebody’s going to revoke my license cause Khos can’t keep his bodies buried.”

They were late. Nyx moved around to the cab of the little bakkie, kicked the latch loose and propped open the door. She took the driver’s seat, pumped the ignition pedal. A growl came from under the hood.

“Hit the grill,” Nyx said.

Rhys banged the flat of his hand on the grill. Not much weight behind it. For a man as focused as Rhys, he didn’t have much energy to expend when the situation called for it.

The last time she was in front of a civil rights court, they’d taken away her bounty license for a year. Anneke had gone back to working for Raine, Kos had hit the bottle and the Wall, and Rhys had taken up painting.


“Would you put some shit behind it?” Nyx yelled. “You want to go back to whoring-out portraits? Shevaa din!”

Hurry up. Her favorite words in Chenjan. Right after muja-ah shevaa din.
Hurry the fuck up.

Rhys kicked the grill. Better.

The bugs hissed, the engine rumbled.

“In, in, let’s go!” Nyx called.

Rhys gave the bakkie a push and leapt forward as it began rolling down the dusty hill toward the city.

There was a hot desert wind blowing in from the western waste, pushing out the city’s black shroud of smog and settling a misty cloud of red sand - fine as silt - over the cityscape. Dawn had risen, and the new sun - filtered through the silt - caught the world on fire.

It looked like the city was burning.

“Not the best portent,” Rhys said as he buckled on his dueling pistols and shrugged into his black coat. He kept his dark hair cropped, a Chenjan affectation Nyx had always found repulsive. Only slaves wore short hair. She’d told him that once, and he’d said he didn’t do anything for her pleasure. Some days, talking to Rhys was like trying to argue with an antique harem girl.

Nyx shifted gears as the road straightened out. They hit gravel, and a couple of fire beetle nymphs wiggled free from a leak in a hose by her feet and flitted out through the open windows. She batted at them, switched pedals.

Punjai was one of the shittier city jewels on the Nasheen crown. It was a border city, meaning Chenja and the Wall were less than a day’s walk across the veldt. It was also a popular way-station for Chenjan terrorists coming into Nasheen and political criminals trying to get out. Most of the city’s wealth came in via trade on the red and black markets: the red being in blood and bounties; the black in sorcery and embargoed Chenjan goods.

The city was a jagged wound, a seething black groove torn out of the red wash of the veldt. At the edges of the city, the desert stirred, set free by decades of overgrazing and centuries of heavy warfare that had seared the veldt and carved deep pockets into mud-brick ruins and heaps of rock the color of old blood. At the center of the city rose the old onion-shaped spirals of the minarets, long since converted to more effective watchtowers equipped with long-range bursts and scatterguns. The only minaret that still called the faithful to prayer was a crumbling black spiral in the Chenjan quarter.

“Taite briefed you on the file?” Rhys asked. He had never trusted her reading ability. Dancers like Rhys got big educations in Chenja - he didn’t put much stock in non-readers. The state schools called her dead dumb. She got her letters backwards.

Nyx watched him fiddle with the frogged tie at his collar. The day was fixing to be scorching, but his public modesty superseded comfort. Chenjan men were like that, always covering up. Such a shame.

“You know,” Nyx said, “if God wanted you naked, you’d have been born that way.”

He stopped his fiddling.


Under her burnous, Nyx wore little more than a dhoti, breast binding, and her baldric and harness. The hilt of her short sword jutted up from a slit in the burnous.

“Yea," she said, "I looked over the file. Some Chenjan terrorists on the edge of the Chenjan district. Expected to be armed. Good boxers, I heard. They’ve been competing for cash. I sparred with one of them at Faleen.”

“I should have expected they’d be friends of yours,” Rhys said.

“I run with a lot of questionable characters," Nyx said. She wanted to pinch his dark skin, for emphasis. "We’re stopping at the hub. I need to offload your body.”

“I just do Khos's paperwork. Is Anneke in?”

“She’s already posted. Less picky about where she spends morning prayer.”

“I hate this city.”

Nyx nodded at the radio tube jutting out from the dash. “Find something useful on. You have a cigarette?”

He obediently switched on the tube. It vomited a misty blue-green wash. A cacophony of low voices muttered at him. Local politics.

“I don’t smoke,” Rhys said.

Nyx grinned and waited for him to start in about bodily impurities. She could use the diversion.

The hunched black smudge of the city grew closer. Umber-clad women moved along the side of the road, balancing baskets on their heads. Girls herded spindly gaggles of geese and a couple of pigs along the drainage ditches flanking the road. A couple of sorceresses in blue and gold carried baskets of beetle creepers and grasshoppers in tiny wooden cages. Big dropping nets hung over their lean shoulders.

“Stop and get yourself a drink, then,” Rhys said, “if you’re looking to pollute yourself.”

There it was.

“I only drink the blood of my enemies,” Nyx said, showing her teeth. She touched one of the dozen silver loops ringing her left ear. Raine’s loop. “And sometimes a whisky and water,” she said. “Partial to dark beer with a little lime.”

Rhys didn’t even look at her.

She considered selling him to a mardana. It was one of her more popular fantasies.

They passed under the burst-scarred main gate, and into Punjai.

They were late.

Edited New York Googlism (For New York Lovers)

new york

new york is book country
new york is nuked
new york is now

new york is having a ball without the snow
new york is a very old city
new york is starting to feel like brezhnev's Moscow

new york is the quick and easy way to sell your car
new york is not enough

new york is "invincible"
new york is committed to rescuing our democracy from the strangle
new york is dedicated to bringing some of the best of new york to the rest of the us

new york is learning
new york is enjoying a renaissance
new york is a densely packed mass of humanity

new york is now available
new york is still downtown

new york is an accredited branch of the ramakrishna order of india
new york is 330 miles long and 283 miles wide
new york is one of the approved charities

new york is 15
new york is een begin voor van der sterren
new york is now available online

new york is not affiliated with any other political party
new york is a catastrophe

new york is "a unique exhibition and sale" of 5287 photographs of the world trade center disaster
new york is here
new york is

new york is 91
new york is short for obvious reasons

new york is the "city that never sleeps"
new york is a new york city
new york is situated in manhattan on fifth avenue and 55th street

new york is still the city that never sleeps
new york is ‘highly concentrated’
new york is the black rat snake

new york is now ornette coleman
new york is "invincible"

new york is too great a city
new york is a city that people easily fall in love with

new york is a place where all the earth's ends meet


Brings a whole new meaning to the term "googling yourself":

kameron is scheduled to start the ketogenic diet in may
kameron is wearing a
kameron is a purebred pembroke welsh corgi who just turned 5 years old this summer
kameron is the youngest driver on the roster
kameron is
kameron is 15
kameron is a member of the naacp
kameron is a member of sag/aftra and plans on continuing her career in the creative entertainment business
kameron is livid
kameron is awoken by a servant boy
kameron is an adorable caucasian boy
kameron is hardly a reincarnation of moses
kameron is two years old and not yet started
kameron is a more reluctant shopper
kameron is 8
kameron is the technowhiz of the school
kameron is going to tell you her story
kameron is already a car nut
kameron is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
kameron is almost 10
kameron is the greatest boyfriend in the whole world
kameron is shy and extremely sensitive
kameron is 2 yrs old
kameron is fostered in el cajon
kameron is 7 months
kameron is 10
kameron is a young lawyer of russian
kameron is getting the itch to drive and his grand daughter is cheering them all on
kameron is droppin’ like it’s hot with his navy blue
kameron is droppin’ like it’s hot with his navy blue waves pants and his red and white and1 shoes
kameron is a mad scientist who decides to avenge the world by unleashing a
kameron is about 6'5 plus
kameron is sweet and she had
kameron is the current field commander
kameron is 2 and his vocabulary is growing in leaps and bounds
kameron is now on bass
kameron is an illustrator
kameron is working on a minor
kameron is also going to that show
kameron is holding to make pillows for children at the hospital
kameron is a year 6/7 primary teacher
kameron is 13 years old
kameron is five and ash
kameron is 24
kameron is the black/brown tabby
kameron is now walking and getting into everything
kameron is the son of long
kameron is one of the most popular producers in hollywood
kameron is 18 and girl
kameron is a hot latin mixture and is fun too
kameron is a young lawyer of russo
kameron is hot latin mixture and is fun too
kameron is a mad scientist who decides to avenge the world by unleashing a modern version of the biblical ten plagues against
kameron is 100% puerto rican from ontario california who loves to fuck
kameron is a gorgeous 18 yr

Rambling About Writing (novel procrastination)

I’m spending the morning getting some chapters into shape so I can meet my Friday deadline. I started thinking a lot about story, and how I do what I do. I realize I’m not a perfect writer or storyteller (obviously), but the more I read and write the more intuitive the actual process becomes. Sometimes you just “know” when the pacing is off. You know when the dialogue is stilted. You know when something you wrote early on belongs somewhere else.

You want to take people along on a grand adventure in a new place. You want them to identify with and care about the people you choose to take them through it. You want to live a life as interesting as your fiction...

Walking to the train today in shorts and tank top in the 84 degree heat and brilliant morning sun, I had a sudden urge to be in Seattle; to be wandering around the piers, heading out to Elliott Bay Books, buying caramel corn. I longed for that perfect, bookish, writing-intensive summer when I had a full bank account and not a care in the world.

It’s now been five years since I went to Clarion West in Seattle. I was there for six weeks, and yes, the experience changed my life, though not in the way most other Clarionites would think. I have fond memories of that summer, because I was also living on money I solicited from relatives to help me pay for the workshop, and I had enough that I didn’t have to be concerned about overspending myself on meals and books. I had complete and utter freedom. I lived and worked with sixteen other writers, most of whom were as passionate about writing as I was.

I was the fittest I’d been in my life, due mostly to subsisting on rice and eggs and bike riding everywhere in Alaska during the first part of the summer. I was probably still too invested in a friendship with a guy who probably wasn’t the greatest sort to associate with. I’d spent the last year dressing down and pretending to be stupider than I was. I had a lot of drunken Alaska stories. For the first time I was living a life of my own choosing. I may not have made the best choices, but they were different from anything I'd ever done before, and the life I made was mine.

Clarion was great for the writing, sure. As somebody who was so incredibly fucking sick of being the best writer/only writer who finished anything/had sold anything/submitted anything in college writing classes, Clarion was a new experience. I was toe-to-toe with some fantastic people.

But more than “learning” how to write, it was the people who changed my life. It’s the relationships I’ve maintained with a small core group of them that altered what had come before, that really challenged me to look behind the I’ll-go-hide-in-a-cabin-in-the-woods-and-write for 80 years life. I still think that’ll be a fun way to end my life, but now there’s a lot more I want to do in-between.

The writing bit – jolting my experience ahead 2 years in six weeks because of the intensity of the program – was great, but I can honestly say that I’d still have stayed on the writerly path and likely been just as successful, long-term (I ain’t dead yet) without going to Clarion.

What changed my life was that I gained a lot of close friends. Friends who were smart and strong and had mad, crazy lives. Ambitious, driven people who lived in diverse locations. Meaning: I got to go visit them. New Zealand, South Africa… and Jenn here in Chicago, who was quite cool about the idea of rooming up together. We’ve been roomies for two years now, and it’s been a fantastic experience.

And those experiences, those relationships, will change you as well. You’ll learn how to give a shit about people, how to trust them, how to love. You’ll know what it is to respect someone.

That, too, was something I learned at Clarion.

My writing, like my life, is done largely by feel. I couldn’t explain to you why I’m jetsetting to the next big city next year any more than I can tell you why I moved a paragraph of description out of a page of dialogue. Something felt out of place. Moving it to the end felt better, felt right .

To some extent, I’ve viewed my years in Chicago as a recovery from my time in South Africa: grad school, foreign country, living on my own, very little money, crap food, too many cigarettes, too much fear. Far, far too much fear. Before that, I’d lived back home for six months and saved up money while my parents graciously allowed me to stay at their place between academic programs. Unfortunately, being home meant I fell back into bad habits: binge eating, no exercise, the language of self-hate. Launching straight from there to SA wasn’t a great idea.

I’ve needed the recovery time. I have one more year in Chicago to get the last of my shit together, to find some more self confidence, get stronger, leaner, save up some money and find some financial security, and get myself a job that doesn’t make me miserable while still paying the bills.

I have a year to reclaim the summer sun, to find myself a pier, a good bookstore, some caramel corn.

Not neccesarily in that order.

You get the idea.

In Another Life...

.... in another life, I will have a super-metabolism of Doom, and I will be able to eat bagels all day long.

The end.

Hot Time on the Old Towne Tonight

Stepped out of the house today at 6:45am. Local bank clock read: 84 degrees, and climbing.

Real Feel for today is 98 degrees.

I have taken to imitating G, and dressed for my commute today in tank top and shorts. Switched to my corporate linen when I got in.

These hot summer days always put me in mind of Clarion, of traveling, of new cities.