Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Come and visit my new blog:


And remember to change your links!

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Monday, August 21, 2006

They Want to Send Me to Indy Again

Oh sweet jesus.

Review & Interview: "Occupation"

Eric Joel Bresin, Clarion grad and Tangent reviewer has a review up of "The Women of Our Occupation," (I am trying very hard not to argue with my reviewers...) and a short interview with me (my third!).

Have at it.

Gee, Ya Think?

The standard measure of obesity known as body mass index, or BMI, is badly flawed and a more accurate gauge should be developed, according to doctors in the United States.

Gee, you think that a random height/weight calculation that's not adjusted for *actual* body mass percentages, let alone gender and fitness level, might be a bad indicator of overall health?

I've always considered it about as scientific as phrenology, myself.

How many more years are we gonna get this thing thrown at us before it's retired?

Writing in Friday’s Lancet medical journal, the researchers from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn., found that patients with a low BMI had a higher risk of death from heart disease than those with normal BMI.

At the same time overweight patients had better survival rates and fewer heart problems than those with a normal BMI.

Some Stolen Goodies

Reversed Proverbs.

Do not Troll the Feed
Let lying dogs sleep

Wave rock. Kewl.

Check out some volcanic smoke rings.

(all stolen from Spy's Spice)

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Lazy Weekend

Took Friday off and spent most of the weekend sleeping, which is how I tend to deal with stress. Finished reading a few books that I'd been sitting on for awhile, cleaned the kitchen, the bathroom, vacuumed the throw rugs, watered the plants indoors and out, did the laundry, packed my gym clothes for the week, cooked some tomato soup and made a salad for lunch.

I gave myself the weekend to relax. One weekend where I tried really hard not to think about all the things I wasn't doing, the things I should be doing, because I needed a break from gnawing at myself. I think I've been mostly successful. Lord knows I've gotten a lot of reading done. I'm hoping the long downtime will help kick-start my week. Jenn's gone until the 28th, and then it'll be September, and I'll have another long weekend, one where I'll hopefully get some shit done.


Honestly, I'm looking forward to cool nights and a blanket of leaves.

Saturday, August 19, 2006



OK, I'm only allowed to have one shot of it these days, but I'm learning how to nurse it....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Sugar, Sugar

My weight has stabilized! My doctor's not putting me on drugs! My sugar is good! I got more free insulin! They stuck me with needles again! But it was OK!

It Sure is Dark in Here

I got up this morning at my usual time - about 5:20 am - and pulled out my mat and my weights and gazed out the big bay windows and realized... it was dark outside.

I'd been noticing the shortening of the days, of course, but for some reason it just really struck me last night, and again this morning. We're losing the light. The summer's almost gone. My god, what happened to my summer?

Well, three months ago, I woke up in a hospital. For three months, my whole summer, I've been doing... this.

The last couple of weeks, I've been pretty deeply depressed, suffereing from those weird moodswings that you're well aware are crazy. The recognition is good, because it keeps you from acting on them. But they're there, and in order to not act on them, you have to acknowledge them. One morning, you feel like you're a loser and not accomplishing anything and you should just overdose on insulin and die, and by that afternoon things aren't so bad, and you're not bad at this writing thing, and then that evening life is shit again and you have no talent and you're going to die alone and be eaten by dogs.

It's a totally irrational way to live.

There's been a lot of turmoil here, trying to restore my friendship with Jenn post-breakup, dealing with sugar levels and weight gain and the huge gaping hole in my life where my writing used to be. I keep opening up files and staring at sentences and moving things around. This morning, I wanted to burn The Dragon's Wall and bathe in the ashes. And watching my summer tick by... going... going.. gone.

Jenn and I had a long talk last night, and she's made some decisions to better take care of herself, and I've been working very hard at being more emotionally demonstrative (in addition to repairing our friendship, she has her own huge issues as well - she's going out on the job market this year, and the world is full of fuckers), and some of my extreme terror died down. I had this huge fear that we wouldn't be able to repair anything, that we wouldn't be friends anymore, that I'd have to move out - somehow (god knows I can't afford it) - and we'd never speak again, and I'd have to tack up my friendship with Jenn as one more thing I'd lost to diabetes.

Because, really, what a lot of this crushing weight has been these last three months is trying to figure out how I'm going to live my life; how I'm going to fit in the rest of my life around this huge chronic illness. And yes, it's manageable, but I haven't been totally sure *how* manageable. That's something that takes a lot of time and experience and experimentation. Things are getting easier - I'm figuring out the diet/insulin dosage equations; I have a cooling travel pack for insulin that makes it easy for me to go wherever I want with my insulin; I have very few low sugar episodes that wipe me out for forty five minutes at a stretch; I know it's possible to go to the gym and not wake up in a hospital.

And some of what I've realized, coming again and again back to the page, to the pages I wrote before I got sick, or pages I was writing while I was progressively getting sicker, is that some of the things I was interested in, the approach I took, the worldview I had, the way I felt, has changed. It's changed a lot.

I don't know that I can express exactly *how* it's changed, but there's something very different in me when I look at what I've written now, and more often than not, I wonder what the hell I was thinking, or I think of totally different roads for stories to go in than I'd thought I was going in before.

I've been listening a lot to the soundtrack to Solaris, because it's haunting and creepy and it brings me into this silent, still place where I look out at the world and I can see that everything's different. Not darker. Not lighter. Just... different.

People, you know, we don't really change. We're always going to be, at core, who we are. It takes a profound emotional experience to alter you significantly, dramatically, in a short amount of time. Other changes happen more slowly, they creep up on you, until one day you wake up and you don't recognize the person you used to be.

It's not so dramatic as that for me, but there's some kind of difference. And it's strange and it's scary and I'm not sure what's going to happen on the other side of it, but it is what it is.

I lost a summer, but I think I'm getting a whole other life.

Or at least, quite literally - another shot at it.

I Had the Strangest Feeling This Morning...

... that something interesting is about to happen.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm the Most Dangerous Kind of Feminist!

Do I get a cookie? Do I? Do I?

The Brilliant Educated Girl: This is a girl with one hell of a mind, and because of it she spends too much time thinking. Whether she feels she deserves more simply because she is smarter, or she was filled with feminist propaganda in an institution of higher learning, there is no greater threat to Man's sacrosanct position as master than the BEG. To make matters worse BEGs are usually FAGs (Fucking Angry Girls). These girls are pissed, and imminently capable of furthering the feminist agenda. They often have a softer face in public in order to obfuscate their true nature. They may marry men, but only after they have busted their balls. The whole concept of proverbial castration is the creation of the BEG. Note that BEGs tend to be liberal with the occasional (fanatic) conservative. Conservatives are just too dumb to fall into this category. Kameron Hurley seems to fit into this category perfectly."

Oh, how I love the internets!!!

When is a Book Not Worth $4.99?

These are the questions that plague me.

How Much Is it Worth To Extend Your Life? (and, for how long?)

Before the discovery of insulin in 1921 (by a Canadian! Who says the Canadians don't do anything useful!), by the time you were diagnosed with type I diabetes, you maybe had a couple of months to live.

In my case, since I was lame and didn't go to the hospital until I dropped into a coma and Jenn called an ambulance, I would have died that night.

In fact, today is my three-months-yay-I'm-still-alive-anniversary-date.

In fact, as the cardiologist from Durban pointed out to me in the ICU, if I would have been living in South Africa in the 1980s and come in in as bad a shape I was, I would have died anyway. They wouldn't have had the resources to save me.

If you're wondering how much saving a life costs, it's about 30K (in this instance, at least). My insurance covered all but 6-8K of that. To extend my life, it costs me about $1800-2500 a year in medical visits and supplies.

That's a doable amount of money. Not great, not spectacular, but - like the disease - manageable.

I'm basically living on borrowed time, extending a life that should have ended three months ago, and extending that life costs money. I've weighed the potential risks and benefits, and you know, I figure $2500 a year is a small price to pay to live. I spend more a year on food, and I need that to live, too.

But what happens when extending your life a year, a month, a week, costs 30K? When one month of treatment is 4K, and the average person on that treatment only gets three more months?

What's the worth of your life every month? I'm delaying the inevitable because it's possible that "the inevitable" is another 60-70 years away.

But what happens when "the inevitable" is a month, a week, a day, an hour?

What's the hourly worth of your life?

Because I want to say that every minute, every hour, is priceless. You can't measure that. You can't put a sticker tag on it. But somebody's putting a price on your life, and it's you who's stuck in the middle, wondering whether you should feed your children or give yourself another hour to help find them a better place to live when you're gone.

How do you measure a life?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Note to Self --

Three units of insulin for the evening meal really is too much, even when you're having a square of low-carb chocolate afterwards.

My doctor can also kiss my ass when it comes to this insulin resistance thing. I'm down to 25 u of the long-lasting stuff in the morning, 3-5 units of the short acting at breakfast, 1-2 u at lunch, and 1-2 u at dinner.

This is down from 27 u of the long-lasting stuff, and 4-10 units of the short acting at every meal.

Low carb diets rock for diabetics.

I have also never eaten so many damn vegetables in my life.

Also: candied pecans are God's food.

I'm telling you: GOD'S FOOD.

Writing Today

Because it's good for me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

When I Can Take A Breath....

I realize what's missing.

I haven't been writing.

Opening word files, staring at dialoge, moving around sentences. But no long stretches of writing. No long stays in somewhere-else.

How quickly I fall apart.

Gender Bias in SF

Jed's got some thoughts up on gender bias in the SF/F sub/accepetance rate. I found this tidbit a bit close to home for myself:

...it seems plausible to me (though I have only anecdotal evidence) that there’s potential for vicious circles here; if women perceive a magazine as not being a good place for women to get published, they may be less likely to submit there.

Ah. Yes. I suddenly realize I don't remember the last time I submitted to the Mag of SF/F, despite their speedy return times...

And then there are days....

... when I wonder why on earth I haven't deleted this damn blog yet.

EDIT: Oh, nevermind. *Now* I remember...

Hacienda Chicago

No email. No phone messages. No one in the house but me.

I realize it's been a long time since I had breathing space, time to just sit and be still. There have been moments; pale, fleeting moments where I believed that this time, yes, this time, I'd find my narrative, I'd piece together all of the random events of my life and build a new story out of them. A story with a purpose, a message - a story that gave me hope for everything that had been, and everything that would be.

It's that - that reflection - that you miss when you're trying so hard to function, to be strong for other people, to safeguard yourself from pain - your pain and the pain you inflict on others - and that's a tough thing, because it's that quiet space, those still moments, when you remember how to live.

I've gotten suckered into a dreadful system the last three years of my life, a system that ensures I have a steady paycheck and a lazy mind, and every step of the way, every sunny morning, I've told myself not to get too content, too complacent. I knew that the moment I was truly happy, I'd lose everything.

I have been happy here, and there are things I'm very happy with now, but I've learned that we're not here to be happy, or maybe that we're not here to experience long, uninterrupted spells of happiness. Just as peace is merely the time between wars, happiness feels like it's the time between woe, disaster, sacrifice, despair. It's longing for those moments of absolute happiness that keep you going through the worst of it; the dark nights, the terrible days.

I spent a week in Juneau after I graduated from the U of Alaska in Fairbanks. I packed up a backpack and stayed in a low-slung hotel along the waterfront and watched the rain come in and the boats go by. I spent too much money on steak dinners and carmel corn. I took the little sky car up the side of one of the big sloping mountains that met the sea. I ate a mediocre meal at the terribly overpriced restaurant at the top. I ordered a lot of alcohol. I went to museums. I slept in. I watched the rain. I was alone. There were moments of happiness, and moments of depression and despair. Here I was in one of the most beautiful cities I'd ever seen, and it was just me, and I was spending most of it sleeping. Why was that? Fear? Depression? Anxiety?

I have lived and breathed and shit fear for so long that there are some days I don't know how I would function without it. There's no time to be happy when you're always looking on and out, toward the next mountain, back at the hill you didn't climb, the path you didn't take, the road you should go down next.

This month, I was supposed to move to New York. The first year I was here, I'd decided to move to Denver. And yet here I sit in Hacienda Chicago in my perfect apartment, my comfortable room, this space I've carved out for myself in a new city so far from where I've come. I am still here because there is happiness in it. Some days.

There are no mountains to climb here, and all the paths are tired and worn. This was supposed to be a pit stop. This is not going to be the rest of my life. I needed a short break to recover from South Africa before I moved on. I wonder if South Africa hit me harder than I thought it did. I've been having a lot of dreams about South Africa, about hot nights and loud music and bugs. Always the bugs. I don't know what the dreams mean. I don't know why now.

I've been happy here. At times. Sometimes.

I'm not a fool. I realize the one thing you can never escape when you run off to new cities, new countries, new continents, is yourself. It's why I try so hard to be the best person I can be, to never be satisfied with what I am, but strive toward who I could be. Sometimes I wonder if that's dangerous. If I'm too hard on myself. And then I'm afraid of what I'll become if I don't push myself, if I don't want more, better, everything, the world.

Because I've seen who I can be when I just let myself be.

I think I'm all right with never being content. I'll be satiated waiting for those absolute brilliant moments of happiness, those shining moments between the long stretches of darkness.

I think that will be enough for me.

The Story of My Life (continuing with the "all about me" line of posting)

Sat on the bus on the way home and dreamed up who'd I'd cast in a movie about the story of my life.

The song I hope I'll be able to roll during the ending credits is The Beatles' "Baby You're a Rich Man."
Hey, I'm a fantasy writer.

This is what I do.

ABC Meme...

A – Africa, of course. I did my graduate work in South Africa from 2002-2003. I was based out of Durban, which is right there on the Indian Ocean and has a fabulous and famous waterfront area that you walk past a bunch of brothels and porn shops to get to (prostitution is legal: pimps are not). I spent a lot of time at the waterfront when I needed to unwind. It’s where I first read Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Also, I was first stung by a jellyfish out on that beach.

I traveled to Cape Town a couple of times, and Johannesburg, once. I flew into East London and proceeded to take several dubious modes of transportation through rural Africa and to the site of Fort Hare University in the tiny town of Alice. Alice has three or four grocery stores, a bank, and a gas station. Oh, and the university.

There’s not much in rural South Africa except cows. And people are only half-joking when they ask you what you think your worth is, in cows.

B – Books. I love books. I first had sex in a bookstore. Had most of my first sexual experiences in a bookstore. My boyfriend at the time had a grandmother who owned a used bookstore. He had the keys.

It was fun.

I find books terribly erotic now, though I don’t know if said eroticism of books predates my experiences in the bookstore. Could be, not sure.

C – Clarion. I went to Clarion West in 2000, after getting rejected two years before. I was on the waiting list. Luckily, somebody decided not to go, so I got in. It was one of those strange experiences that changes your life completely and utterly and forever.

I met a group of people who challenged all of my assumptions: about my writing, about myself, about my life.

And they have since become some of the best and dearest friends I’ve ever had.

D – Dogs. I worked weekends cleaning up dog kennels at a vet clinic in my hometown for about six months. Not a long time, and literally shit work, but there were times when I enjoyed it. I liked getting to know all the animals, especially all of the dogs. I’d take them all out to the outside kennels, clean the indoor kennels, and then trot them all back in and spray down the concrete outside.

There were these two regular dog boarders, these little Dachshunds called Lewis & Clark, who were always delightful to see. They were friendly and familiar and always excited to go out.

We had a couple of dogs at home: a German shepherd mix called Ranger who we had to give away because he dug holes in the yard and howled, and two golden retrievers, Sandy and Dusty, good dogs, both.

When I’d spin stories about living out my life in a little cabin in Alaska, writing books, I’d always include a mention of the two husky dogs I’d have around for company. Just me and a couple of dogs living out in the woods while I wrote stories… it sounded great at the time… Still does, some days.

E – Europe. I’ve been twice. The first time with my high school French class when I was 17. We traveled through France, Monaco, and Italy. We had a toga party, complete with red wine and a giant watermelon, and wandered the Forum and ate pizza and slugged through giant bottles of coke.

The second time, I went with my brother and his French class, and we hit London, France, Switzerland and Italy. I went dancing at a club in Florence and sat out in the piazza drinking black Russians and watching men juggle fire until late in the night.

They are good memories.

F – French. I’m French. Sort of. My paternal grandmother is from France, and my father and his three sisters were all born there. My grandmother lived in Nancy, France and grew up during the Nazi occupation. Her father was in the French underground, and was arrested numerous times.

Because my grandmother’s French, my cousins and I all took bare-bones French courses in high school or college. Well, I took French courses in college. There are eighteen or nineteen of us, all told, but of all the cousins, my brother and I are the only ones who’ve got BA degrees. We have a couple cousins who joined the army and are posted in Iraq, and thus far, only one of us has gotten married. Two have had children, including my sister.

G – Girls. It’s no secret, obviously, that I’ve had crushes on girls since I was 16 or 17 or so. It’s something that does come into play in my view of the world, and because it doesn’t happen that often, when I desire women it comes as quite a shock to my system, and it’s usually quite startling. Whether this is because it doesn’t happen often or it doesn’t happen often because of some kind of latent homophobia on my part that results in me only noticing women when they really do it for me, I don’t know.

Oddly enough, I may have no problem writing bisexual female leads (I was writing bisexual female leads before acknowledging I was a little queer), but writing out-and-out-all-girls-only lesbian characters as leads has proved to be a lot tougher.

H – Help. I’m bad at asking for it. I often say I don’t need it. When they threw me in the back of the ambulance, after I’d been lost to a diabetic coma for nearly half an hour, Jenn could still hear me slurring, “I’m fine! I’m fine!” to the paramedics as they put me on oxygen and started to try and dilute my acidic blood.

I’m not sure where I got this idea that I had to be strong and independent. My parents, I suppose. My mom had this thing where she wanted to raise, “Whole, healthy and empowered adults.” And I guess I took that to heart. I heard, “empowered” as “strong” and “independent,” and I worked very hard to not lean on them as soon as I was able. To the point where I only ask them for things if I’m in absolute desperate need, at the end of my rope.

Some of this may be because I’m also an oldest child, and was always the one told to “look after” my siblings, and expected to be responsible.

When we spoke of other people who still lived with their parents, or relied on other people, we spoke of them with scorn. Non-independence was a sign of weakness.

When Jenn asked if she should call my parents, when I was in the hospital, I told her no. I didn’t want to bother them. I didn’t want to bother anybody. I felt bad enough for having gotten sick and inconvenienced Jenn. The idea that I’d freak my parents out was just too much.

But when it looked like I was going to be in the hospital for awhile, I finally said yes, she could call them.

And I still feel guilty about it.

I – Injuries. Aside from the diabetes? I’ve never broken a bone. OK, well, I broke the tip of my right index finger when I was trying to clean grass out of the lawnmower, and one of the blades wacked the tip of my finger in two. The nail grew back a little funny.

I had chicken pox pretty late, when I was 13 or 14, and still have a couple of scars on my face from it. The most famous is above my left eyebrow, which one of my friends called my “third eye” for months afterward.

Most of my injuries have been cuts and bruises. I only ever needed stitches for the broken finger. I was a pretty resilient kid, all told, which is why the last few years of increasing sickness as my pancreas broke down were really startling.

J – Joking. My family is big on the harassment. Maybe I should have put this under “H.” We harass the shit out of each other. It started out as a form of affection, but it’s gotten far more biting over the years as we’ve all grown old and cynical.

You’ll always know how comfortable I am with you or how much I care about you by how much I harass you. Also, by how many silly songs I make up about you. When I start up with the silly songs, it’s all over.

K – That’s “Kameron. With a K.” Every time. I spell it out every time people are putting my name on forms, more often than I spell out “Hurley.”

“Kameron with a K” is supposedly a reference to my Aunt Karen, my mother’s sister who died at 16, and some movie star’s daughter whose name was “Kameron.”

It’s also a wonderfully androgynous name, and I still get a small thrill when people write to “Mr. Hurley…” Though that happens less and less these days.

L – Love. I’m a hopeless romantic. I’ve tried to get over that, because it’s gotten me into a lot of trouble, and tied me to a lot of people I probably shouldn’t have tied myself to. But I keep coming back to it, and I don’t know why.

I’m a fantasy writer, so I guess I’m just screwed.

I always had this idea of having this ideal buddy. See, we would be great friends in every way, and travel around the world together, having adventures. Motorcycling around Rome, drinking red wine in little cafes in Paris, hiking in Peru, that sort of thing. Only, we were really attracted to each other, too, so there were these long weekends having breakfast in bed in these little hotels in Bolivia (the “first time we met” scene in Mr. & Mrs. Smith where they get drunk and dance in the rain and then have coffee in the deserted hotel while smoke rises over the city at dawn… uber-hot. I did consider becoming a war correspondent for awhile) and fighting off big bugs and reading big books and maybe owning this house on a beach, that has a punching bag on the porch, and I could go jogging on the beach in the morning, and we’d argue about politics and talk about the best way to immobilize an opponent, and we’d have this big table outside and our friends would all come over and we’d have dinner parties where there was good liquor, good food, good coffee, and then we’d say goodnight to everyone and go to bed and have hot sex and plan a cycling tour of Tuscany… yea.


I don’t know why I can’t get it out of my head, or why I want it so much, or why I still dream about it… I think maybe because I’ve very much created who I want to be by thinking about who I wanted to be, and then being that, and I think I somehow believe that if I’m very clear about the life I want, I can create that too.

Problem is, you can’t create someone who wants that life – and you – too. They’re either there or they aren’t. They either want you and that life and it works, or it doesn’t. Not that you aren’t going to have to fight hard for it, if it turns out you both want it. But it’s hard to find. And sometimes I wonder if it’s a life I’ll need to live on my own.

I think the toughest part, for me, is the realization that at some point, that person's gotta go from being a friend, to being a partner. And that's the scary transition part, for me.

But I have hope. Always, hope.

I’m a fantasy writer.

M – Matriarchs. My family has a lot of good ones. My mother’s mother swam across the Columbia River and took up rowing when she was 50 or so. She’s worked on the board of numerous charities, and was named “Women of the Year” for Vancouver, WA. She attends a ton of charities, and raised four kids and got an MA degree after her divorce.

I have a great-aunt who used to be married to my mom’s uncle who’s currently spending her summers traveling around the country and writing us all “Wandering Woman” emails every time she hits a library or friend’s house. She camps out in various places, spent some time in Alaska, and even visited here in Chicago once during her wanderings.

My father’s mother grew up in France during the Nazi occupation in WWII, and she has a lot of great stories. Raised five kids on a shoestring budget, and knows just how to get what she wants. Taught herself English.

My mom raised three kids, cleaned the house, and got her BA and MA while working full time at the same company my dad worked for, in the same position. She’s the one who had all the old feminist books, and after I retreated home after breaking off my first relationship, I found them.

And so here we are.

N – Numbers. Never been good with them. I wanted to be an astronaut for awhile, until the Challenger blew up, which made me reconsider but not abandon that hope, and then a couple years later I found out I didn't understand numbers and that whole idea sort of went to hell.

Not sure why I find numbers so confusing. I can sort out other symbols, right? I know how to put a sentence together. Not perfectly, mind you, but competently. I can read up a storm. Maybe it's the pairing of numbers and letters that throws me. I know how letters should be read. Telling me they're something else in addition to what they symbolize, for me - the sounds - just throws me off.

O – Open relationships. Tried this a couple of times. Never worked. I was also invited into a threesome once, but said no. I was partial to the girl, but not the guy. If only she would have married the guy I really did want to have sex with….

Oh well.

I think I’m too much of a hopeless romantic for much in the alternative romance department. I’ve tried, and I think I’m built for monogamy. Or, at least, serial monogamy.

It’s really a depressing thing, cause you know, I’d like to live this great radical life to match some of the interesting fiction I write, but... but… yea.

P – Passion. It’s what drives me, and what I’m attracted to in others. I have a passion for a great many things, but writing in particular, and being the best I can be at what I do. I’m in a constant competition with myself, and I have a belief in myself, in what I can do, that pushes me through the worst of times, and keeps me going long after I believe I can’t.

Q – Queer. I’ve always thought of myself as a little queer. Not just in the sexual sense, but in pretty much every way. I always felt too big and tall. I felt too smart. I felt not smart enough. I never saw a place where I really fit. I was always the square peg. I was always waiting around for somebody to harass me, to throw something at me, to steal something of mine because they thought I was weird or different or strange… queer. I read too many books. I had few social skills. I was either too traditional or not traditional enough.

You just can't win. May as well be yourself.

R – Ryman. There are people who say things to you that change your life. Geoff Ryman said something very simple to me, and very obvious. But, you know, I was 20.

If I wanted to be a better writer, he said, I needed to travel widely and read outside the genre.

And my life has never been the same since.

S – Siblings. I have two. My sister, Jacqueline, is 2 years younger than me. She works at my parents’ pizza place and makes ends meet with welfare checks. This is because she has a lot of credit card bills and a two and a half year old - my nephew, Christopher. We don’t really talk much because we don’t have much in common. We maybe exchange a few sentences a year, at Christmas.

We had to deal with a lot of the same issues, growing up, particularly about Weight and Boys. The two were mutually exclusive things in our world, so when she finally figured out how to lose the weight by not eating, and realized that now the boys would follow, she got a little carried away. As did they. Hence, I have a nephew. And she’s still often searching for a sense of self-worth in the arms of boys.

My brother Steven in five years younger than I am. My parents only planned on having two children, but my brother made it through a diaphragm and spermacide combo, forever proving that he is capable of overcoming any obstacle. He reads Time and Newsweek regularly and has a Bachelor’s Degree. He’s applying for an MBA program next year and wants to go into business for himself. In the meantime: he also works at my dad’s pizza joint for his tuition money. He’s a big gamer, and spent some time as a professional pirate. He runs six miles a day and puts half of everything he makes in the bank.

He and I get along pretty well. He votes Republican, but supports abortion rights and gay marriage. We differ on our attitudes about foreign policy and welfare reform…

T – Talented. I got used to hearing that word a lot. Never “brilliant.” Never “genius.” Just “talented.” “You have talent.” I heard this about two things in my life: about my writing, and about my acting in high school theater.

To really pursue theater, you have to be thin. Thinner than me, anyway. If you think competition in the writing world is cut throat, it’s about a bazillion times worse in Hollywood. Unless you’re uber-pretty. And then it’s just slightly easier.

And anyway, writing was my first love. I still enjoy acting, but it would have sucked up my life in the way that writing has, and I’d rather give all that to writing.

U – Ulcers. Foot ulcers, to be precise. You see foot ulcers in a lot in diabetic people because people with diabetes have sluggish blood flow, and you see that manifest itself a lot in problems with the hands and feet. If you get a sore on your foot, it’s more likely to get infected because it takes so long to heal. These are the sores than can reach to the bone, eat your whole foot, and result in amputation if left to fester.

I appear to have my first foot ulcer, which is just a little blemish on my big toe that I had assumed was a wart for some time. Now that I know what foot ulcers are, I realize that it’s probably an early stage ulcer as opposed to a wart.

I shall become very familiar with a podiatrist from now on. You treat foot ulcers by scraping them every few weeks, keeping them moist, and trying to take the weight off them by wearing special insoles.

Rapid treatment of foot ulcers means less chance of foot amputation in future.

So, like I said: I’m going to get real friendly with a podiatrist this month.

V – Vacations. Me and my family went on a lot of them. When we had no money, we drove to Reno and Disneyland and Bend, OR and Seaside. When we had money, we flew to Vegas and Disneyworld… and stayed at Really Nice Hotels in Cannon Beach. We saw a lot of museums. I soaked up a lot of history. I learned how to run into the bathroom at the McDonald’s while my dad ordered food at the drive through and got done fast enough so that when he pulled up with the food, I was ready to hop back into the car.

My dad used to time our arrival at our destination by the minute, and it was a big game to see how close to the allotted time he could get us there. We listened to a lot of radio stations. I had a lot of fights with my siblings. I read a lot of books by the light of the headlights of the cars behind us.

W – Wild sex. What’s the wildest place I’ve had sex?

I’m not going to tell you. Ask me some time. It’s a good story.

X – Xhosa is one of the 11 official languages in South Africa. I was more familiar with Zulu, living in Durban, but they’re similar languages. There are three letters in Zulu that you pronounce using “clicks.”

One is represented by the letter “c” and is a soft short click you make with your tongue pressed just behind your front teeth. Another is represented by the letter “q” and sounds like the popping of a cork. Finally, there’s the one represented by the letter “x” which ends up in fellow students’ names, like the “q” and the “c” so you gotta figure it out. The “x” is like the sound somebody makes when they’re urging on a horse, but you don’t open your mouth to make it, and it involves pressing one side of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. It was always the toughest one for me, and I still stumble over it.

Y – Yo-yo dieting. Weight was and is a big deal in my family. Real big. I remember someone commenting on my weight when I was as young as six or seven years old, and me not understanding what was wrong with me. The weight of me and my siblings was a constant discussion topic at family gatherings. We were the only fat kids in the whole flock of cousins on either side of the family, and we knew it. And just in case we didn’t know it, grandparents and great-grandparents and uncles and aunts liked to remind us.

We had fucked up ideas about food, I don’t argue with that, but we also come from fat folk. My dad’s a type II diabetic. One of his sisters just had gastric bypass surgery. My mother and maternal grandmother are obsessive about their weight, the gain and loss of every pound, and have been since the time I was small.

I was harassed endlessly in school about my weight, right up until high school when I got so wrapped up in theater than I forgot to eat, and even then, I was never small. My sister also figured out that not eating was a great way to lose weight, though she ended up doing it more purposely than I did, until she ended up passing out at a friend’s house. When she got pregnant, she started the weight loop all over again, and is still running that hamster wheel.

After my father’s heart attack, my brother started running three miles a day and measuring his food. He cut out all forms of sugary drinks and started living on diet Pepsi. In the last couple of years, he’s increased those runs from 3 miles to 6-9 miles a day. He’s now 6’1” and 180 lbs, and he works his ass off at it, every day, to stay that way.

My yo-yos have been equally extreme, and I’m still not sure where I’m going to end up yet.

Z – Zero. The number of times I’ve gone bungee jumping in New Zealand. I really, really need to remedy that.

According to The Diabetic Athlete, plenty of Type 1 diabetics skydive, so I figure there ain't nothing holding me back but a plane ticket...

Pain in the Ass

Bumped into Mr. T, one of the architects, in the breakroom. He's been on a "work imbalance" schedule the last few weeks, meaning he's not laid off, but he's only allowed to work a couple days a week.

"How are you feeling?" he said.

"Pretty good, actually."

"So what was it you had? You had diabetes, wasn't it?"

"Yea. I have no pancreas."

"So you have this for the rest of your life, right?"

"Yup. No pancreas."

"Oh, yea, you know, this woman who runs marathons with me wife, she got it. She has this little pump thing with her all the time."

"An insulin pump, yea."

"Yea, and she's out there running marathons. So it's manageable, I guess."

"Yea," I said, "it's manageable. It's just a pain in the ass."

Fat Bugs

I'm not sure how I feel about the idea of people taking up the idea that "being fat" really is a disease, but at least somebody's digging into some of the complexities of the what's going on.

The most unhealthy I've ever been was also the thinnest I've ever been.

Related note: Women who feel good about their bodies are more likely to eat well.

Gee, you think?

As a former binge eater, I can tell you that a lot of the binge triggers have to do with stress, carb addiction, and - a really low sense of self-worth. Why should I take care of myself, my body, if I'm fat and therefore worthless?

I really want the way we talk about bodies to change, because this shit is really counterproductive. Self-hate sells a lot of diet products, make-up and hand lotion, but it pretty much kills you in the quality of life department..

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Too Rich for My Blood

So, I walked out of a grocery store yesterday without buying any groceries. For the first time in my life, I walked out of a grocery store because it was too expensive.

On the way to the Trader Joe's that I usually go to when Jenn's out of town (when she's here, she drives us over to a different one. I, however, am carless, so I ride the train and take a long walk while carrying a big backpack), I noted that there was a Whole Foods. Since the Best Buy I was visiting was right next to the Whole Foods, I figured I'd pop inside the Whole Foods and save myself the three or four extra blocks to Trader Joe's. I figured shopping somewhere else would be a nice change.

Now, I knew Whole Foods was pricer that TJ's, but... I didn't realize just how much more pricy it was until I got to the substantial cheese section (oh! A substantial cheese section! I was so happy!)

It was an amazing cheese section. I recognized several chunks of Spanish cheeses - David sent me a great selection of these a couple months ago, and they were damn good, so I figured I'd pick up a couple more. I selected a hunk and turned it over.

It costs $13.99.

It's a testament to just how damn good that cheese was that I did actually consider buying it.

But I put it back.

The next one?


For a hunk of cheese.

Well, I thought, screw that, I'll just get my regular mozzarella and go home.


$8.49. And it was half the size of what I usually get at TJ's.

It's $3.49 at TJ's.

And, it occured to me, standing there in the cheese aisle, that I was going to spend 2-3 times what I usually spend on groceries this week if I continued shopping. I have thousands of dollars in medical bills that I still owe. I've been working my ass off to get my finances together this year, after three years of angsting about it. I want to be able to move next year, and that's only going to happen if I stop being an idiot.

I went back through the store, replaced everything to their proper shelves, and walked to Trader Joe's.

It was a strange feeling, to empty a cart and leave the store because it was too expensive. It felt vaguely humiliating. I feel like I've worked really hard so that I can afford to go out, to live well, and the idea that I had to walk out of a *grocery* store of all things because it was too rich for me was just disconcerting.

At the same time, I can't afford to pay $13.49 for cheese.

Someday, maybe.

Not today.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I Went to the Gym Today

And I didn't die.

Yay me.

Security, Security, Security

You know, I have some things vital to my own security, myself.

Like, say... insulin. Which I'm not sure how I'm supposed to prove is insulin. Will I have to shoot up right there at the security checkpoint?

Insulin can't get stowed in a cargo hold. It will freeze and die. And then I'll die.

And that will be bad.

Personally, I Always Felt a 4-6 Hour Workday Was Ideal...

I screw off the other half the day as much as possible. Sometimes, like now, I screw off all day. And boy, do I feel better!

Anyway, work is bad for you.

(via punkassblog)

12 Helpful Suggestions for Men Regarding Conduct in Feminist Spaces

I haven't had any trouble with the men who comment here, but I know some feminist bloggers do... So if you're a guy who's interested in posting there or here but a little nervous about it, here's some tips.

(via LJ Feminist Forum)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Things I'm Not Doing Right Now

1) Reading My Antonia

2) Finishing God's War

3) Working out

4) Learning how to belly dance

5) Boxing

6) Balancing my checkbook

7) Paying medical bills

8) Printing out a new, freshly rewritten copy of tDW

9) Writing a TipTree Award-winning short story

10) Writing email

11) Visualizing myself fitting back into all my old clothes

12) Fitting into all my old clothes

13) Getting a motorcylce lisence

14) Traveling through Belize

15) Sleeping in an airport in London

16) Teaching myself Arabic

17) Flirting with a cabana boy named Enrique

18) Drinking one of those fruity drinks with the umbrella

19) Eating cheese fries

20) Plotting to overthrow the world

What I AM Doing Right Now:

1) Finishing the last six pages of No God But God

2) Eating a nice chunk of low carb, low sugar chocolate

3) Contemplating World Peace

4) Reading "Finisterra"

5) Plotting the contents of two care packages to various friends

6) Wondering why Diet Dr. Pepper tastes so much like Real Dr. Pepper, and if Dr. Pepper can make diet taste like regular, how come no other cola flavors do?

7) Starting to get sick on the chocolate

8) Recharging my iPod

9) Coming up with witty dialogue for God's War

10) Reminding myself that I'm naturally this size, and the unnatural size was the size I was when I was slowly dying of diabetes

11) Being happy I'm not dying of diabetes (at least, not right away)

12) Putting my old transcripts together so I can sign up for a French class at Truman College in the spring

13) Wondering how long it's going to take me to get back to yoga

14) Admiring my new 0% interest on transferred balances credit card that just saved me from paying 29% interest on the same $1500 I've owed since the last time I went to Europe

15) Planning a trip to Spain

16) Pretending I'm brilliant

17) Savoring the last of that chocoloate

18) Reminding myself that life doesn't start tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or next year; life just is

19) So really, I should enjoy it

20) Getting back to it

When the LORD Attacks!

For all those who've felt, like me, that you've been STRUCK BY LIGHTNING!

(thanks, Jenn!)

These Are *Not* Short-Needle Syringes

I always worry when a pharmacist screws up and gives me something other than what I've asked for, even if it's "just" a shorter-needle syringe.

It always makes me wonder: what else are they screwing up?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Cubicle Song

An Ode to my Typical Work Day.

Guess What I'm Going to Do At Work Today?

The original Oregon Trail. Play online. It'll remind you how to use a keyboard.

Freedom. Fun. Dysentery.

(via feministe)

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Carnival of Feminist SF/F is Up

In case you didn't know...

"How Feminism Destroyed Real Men"

Oh, I love this stuff.

When women are equal, all men will be castrated and scattered to the four winds! Women's equality means all men will be dominated and suffer terribly in obscurity!

You know, just cause you're an insecure asshole doesn't mean that's what everybody should be.

At a dinner party recently, I encountered the depressingly familiar sight of a dynamic thirty- something woman accompanied by a nerdy male sidekick that she'd browbeaten into proposing to her.

Which, of course, would be the only way a "dynamic" woman would have been able to get a man to propose to her, particulary if she was "thirty-something." She had to beat him into submission.

The mismatch in power was obvious. She was successful, ambitious and confident; he was a diffident, overweight, shrinking violet who measured every word he spoke in case he said anything remotely contentious that might offend her.

If you switch their genders, however, you would have seen how much more "natural" a situation that was! Every good man should be the dominating one. Every good woman the shrinking violet.

Equality? Partnerships? I'm sorry, egalitarian relationship? That isn't in our author's vocabulary. If two people are fucking, only one of them can get fucked, apparently.

On her wedding finger was the most enormous, glittering engagement ring. A mutual friend later told me she'd initially been presented with a less garish but more exquisite diamond but had told her fiancÈ to return it to the shop and get her something bigger.

Seeings as she probably paid for most of it, I don't know that I'd complain about that. Maybe he worked closer to the jewelry store. In any case, everyone knows that the ring a woman wears has gotta be solely picked out and bought by the man, without the woman's input at all, before, during, or after. That would be the natural, proper thing to do.

That huge diamond was his declaration of surrender in the sex war. But I didn't feel sorry for the stupid sap; he should have been man enough to tell her to get lost and find some other dummy.


Instead, he'd been sucker-punched into a lifetime of nagging and neglect, and looking at his bossy wife-to-be parading her huge rock, I felt a shiver of pre-emptive schadenfreude.

How much better it would have been if their roles were reversed! Oh, wait, you don't think he's going there? Oh, dear reader, read on!

One day she'll realise how dull and unfulfilling it is to have a man who doesn't answer back, who offers no challenge or danger - but by then she'll be over the hill and stuck with him for fear of being left on the shelf. Sadly, this is the state of many marriages today.

First, I resent the fact that he implies that nerdy guys are bad in bed.

Not. True.

Second, at this point I thought, well, you know, OK, I can see his point here. I mean, yea, who wants to be with somebody who doesn't have a spine, male or female? Somebody they can't argue with? Somebody who doesn't stand up to them for what they believe?

Yes, yes, I thought, certainly that's an understandable thing. But if so, why not argue that this unequality in relationships works both ways? I mean, sure, there are men and women who prefer passive partners, and people who prefer to be passive partners, but why not argue for true partnership? True intellectual equality?

I'm sure that's where he's going with this.

But the "stuck with him for fear of being left on the shelf" line should have tipped me off.

Back in the Nineties, emboldened by the successes of feminism, women sought to slay the dragon of patriarchy by turning men into ridiculous cissies who would cry with them through chick-flicks and then cook up a decent lasagne.

Slay the dragon of patriarchy! I, of course, love that line for my own reasons, but, um... the idea of feminism is not to turn men into children. God knows women spend enough time raising children.

But what's wrong with guys who cook lasagne? And is there something wrong with guys who cry? Or women who are "dynamic"?

Slaying the dragon of patriachy isn't about one sex "winning" over the other. It's about.. equality. That's the definition, you fucktard.

I'm still baffled at the idea that men shouldn't cook lasagne, though. I mean, how will they eat??? Unless women are always supposed to cook for them? But wouldn't that be equally unnatural? What if they're gay? What if they're single? What if they're celibate and have no female friends?

And who the fuck decided that it's up to women to take care of men? I think it insults men to assume they can't take care of themselves and express themselves emotionally. It's saying that men are "naturally" half-people.

Suddenly, women wanted to drive home their newfound equality by moulding men to be more like them.

Men are naturally like men. Women are naturally like women. It's natural. Naturally.

This velvet revolution was reflected in a series of broader cultural changes. After decades of uncompromising movie heroes like Marlon Brando and Clint Eastwood, we were asked to fall for stuttering, floppy-haired fops like Hugh Grant; touchy-feely and hopelessly embarrassed around women.

Hugh Grant is a bad example, my friend. Hugh Grant is a big time playboy with incredible charisma, so that even after getting caught getting sucked off by a prostitute, hordes of women still want to date him.

If you're arguing that Hugh Grant doesn't get laid cause he has floppy hair, you'd be wrong.

But I digress.

No doubt at the time, millions of misguided single women thought that having a man who could feel their pain and emote for Britain was a Good Thing.

What women should want (and as a man, he KNOWS this. He KNOWS what every woman really wants) is a sloppy asshole whose idea of emoting is driving his fist into a wall before raping his wife.


Now, over a decade later, women are waking up to the fact that these men are drippy, sexless bores. The feminisation of men hasn't produced the well-rounded uber-males women were hoping for.

Ah, so he admits such men may be well-rounded... maybe more like real people and not half-people?

But apparently, women don't want actual men. They want fake men, the sort who are so insecure and have such a poor sense of self that they feel the only way to find some kind of identity is to perform monstrous masulinity.

Instead, women are now lumped with flabby invertebrates, little more than doormats, whom they secretly despise but are too proud to admit it.

Well, no. I think this idea that women like doormats is about as accurate as the old belief that men like doormats. I think certain men and women certainly get off on being with doormats.

In this case, our insecure young author is mistaking the issues that many SNAGs (Sensitive New-Age Guys) have to deal with. That is, how difficult it is to negotiate being a good person with being a "real man" in this culture. I mean, if you cook lasagne and cry at movies, other guys start freaking that maybe *they'll* have to do these things in order to be desirable, and that scares the crap out of them. On the other hand, SNAGs tend to freak out around women, and yes, often, in bed.

Cause there's still this mistaken idea that what women really find attractive are assholes.

This is not true.

Women are attracted to people who are confident. There's nothing more maddening than an insecure guy who's terrified in the bedroom and constantly worried about what you think of him, since it's how he gauges his self-worth, and you find yourself getting hammered three times a day with questions like: "Are you all right? Is everything all right? Are you mad at me? Did I do something wrong? Are you all right? What's wrong with me? Do you hate me? Are you sure you're OK?"

We all have our bad days. But when this is the entirety of the relationship, the person you're with is going to get really exhausted really quickly, and when you breakup with him, the guy will throw up his hands and proclaim that women just aren't attracted to "nice guys."

And then assholes like this fucknut feel vindicated, and we end up with bullshit articles like this one.

Rather than partnership, professional women tend to seek dominance in a relationship. They map their lives out early on and pursue their dream of 'having it all' with cold-blooded ruthlessness.

Well, no. Women don't seek dominance in a relationship any more than men do. All those men making 100K a year and more who marry their secretaries, admins, and flight attendants?

Totally not seeking dominance at all. Not terrified or insecure at all.

Young women have a crystal-clear agenda: they want the career, the wardrobe, the smartly furnished house, the 4x4 and the cute kids they'll ferry in it to expensive schools. No man is going to get in their way; and the men they choose for themselves are pliant and feeble enough to facilitate that programme.

And... reverse those genders again, and we're *not* seeing men with the same idea? Advertising for appropriately pretty but docile mates?

Concentrating so much energy on work and family matters requires these women to pick a man who is predictable and secure, who won't upset the apple cart by pursuing dreams and instincts of his own.

Ah, yes. Another either/or argument. Two people can't be in a relationship and both pursue their dreams.

If this was really true, I'd give up dating forever.

And if this was really true, who the fuck could blame a woman looking for someone who wanted to keep the home fires burning while she worked as Secretary of State? And what's wrong with a man who wants to keep the fires burning?

Men have been doing this sort of mate-shopping for years, and we called it "natural."

These are cardboard cut-out men who gush with empathy whenever their wives and girlfriends need to dump their professional stresses and female angst on them: weak and soulless men who haven't the guts to make a mark themselves, who take the passenger seat in their women's juggernaut journey to post-feminist Nirvana.

Take note, women: if you've got a male partner and he ever listens to you, he has no soul.


But having ticked off the various items on their life checklist, women are left with a nagging sense of dissatisfaction. Where was the drama? Where was the passion? Where was the stimulation and growth?

Absolutely! This could only really be achieved in a partnership of equals, right?

Wouldn't it be great if that's where this was going?

A true Amazon couldn't stand the company of a supplicant male, let alone marry one. Real alpha-women are the ones who can more than hold their own with an alpha-man.

Where does this leave all the betas? Let alone the gammas?

Deep down, women love men who stand up to them, who won't be pushed around. They love men who will look them in the eye and tell them to shut up when their hormonal bickering has become too much.

Ummmm... OK, wait a minute. You had me until "shut" and "hormonal bickering." Is this supposed to be satire?

Cause if I was arguing with some guy and he said I was engaging in "hormonal bickering" not only would he not be getting laid, I don't think I'd actually speak to him again.

But hey, whatever does it for you.

They love men who will draw a line in the sand and walk out on them when they've had enough. They love men who know their own minds and are man enough to stick to their guns.

Confidence, yes... confidence is great. But I'm still hearing "tell me to shut up" and "hormonal bickering."

I'm always telling my wife, the writer Liz Jones, to shut up. She gets into a prissy huff about it, but I know she respects me for not indulging her neuroticism. Long ago, I realised it is unhealthy for a man to embroil himself in arguments with women.

Women aren't smart enough to be worth arguing with. They're a bunch of hormonal cunts.

Ah, here it is!

While men want an argument to make sense and have a rational conclusion, women solely want the argument itself: it's a pressure valve for their emotions, and once they get started there is no stopping them.

Men are always logical and rational. Women are crazy.

Ever since I forced my wife to get her uterus taken out, she hasn't had the gall to be hysterical!

And I found my penis!

I have a very low boredom threshold; I can't bear having protracted discussions about where my wife and I 'are going'. Nor can I bear to listen to the gossipy, highly detailed 'He said, she said' monologues that women drift into when telling you about their day.

I don't like to "listen" to my wife. We just fuck. I have no interest in her life, her aspirations, her dreams, her desires. I'm a man, and if she doesn't like the way I fuck her, I'll just leave her.

Dumb bitch.

I deal with these elements of the female personality with impassive indifference. People might call me a sexist pig, but I am the opposite. I love women, and I love my wife because she is brilliant and incredibly strong.

I'm not a racist. I have black friends.

I am a true feminist, because I only want to be with a powerful and capable woman. No sexist could cope with having a wife as intelligent and independent as mine.

All the other women in the world aren't as fun to fuck. There's no challenge. If they're intelligent and independent, you can fuck the feminist right out of them! And think about how strong and manly that'll make you feel!

Our relationship would never have worked had I been an effete New Man, desperately wanting to sympathise with the female condition.

Because if I actually listened to a damn word she said, I might realize she's a real person!

My wife would have grown to loathe me for my fawning cowardice. She is a warrior and she needs to be with someone who is a match for her. Knowing the limits of what I will deal with in a relationship, I maintain my self-respect and, accordingly, gain hers.

Also, this guy's just a bad writer.

Men are now generally terrified of women. They hold their tongues for fear of being misinterpreted as sexist; they constantly attempt to secondguess their partner in order to avoid giving offence.

Yea, cause I'm always looking for new and interesting ways to hurt and ridicule my partner. Isn't everyone?

They preen themselves with groaning shelves full of beauty products so they won't incur derision and scorn. They suppress their masculinity and present themselves as cuddly Mr Nice Guys, and won't project self- confidence in case it's regarded as unreconstructed machismo.

Personal hygiene is overrated, really. Why shower? Women like the musk of a real man!

Here's a mind-blowing idea for you, dear writer: self-confidence doesn't equal asshole.

This backfiring feminist conspiracy has, of course, developed hand in hand with the march of raging political correctness in Britain. The two have combined like some potent chemical reaction to explode in the faces of a generation of women who thought that a 'moulded' man would make for a desirable one.

I enjoy being part of a feminist conspiracy. It makes me feel all warm and squishy inside.

In recent years, men have been trained like circus seals to be inoffensive to women, and no longer know how to entice them and turn them on.

The biggest turn on I've ever experienced: when some asshat offended me! It's the fastet way to a woman's cunt.

But women secretly long for a man with swagger, who is cocky and selfassured and has the cheek to stand up them and make fun of their feminine foibles.

Feminine foibles?

Only if I get to make fun of your little dick.

They long for the rakish charm of a man who knows there's a whole ocean of fish out there, who isn't afraid of being himself in case he is rejected.

What? Did I mention: bad writer?

The truth is, a real man doesn't care what any woman thinks of him. He doesn't care what anyone thinks of him: he answers solely to his spirit.

The same spirit that allows him to romp freely across the plains, raping and pillaging as he goes! With a rifle over one shoulder and blood on his mouth!

There's nothing sexier than a violent, uncaring asshole.


Real men don't pretend or even try to understand women.

Women aren't actually people.

They simply love them for being the mysterious, capricious creatures that they are.

Like cats and bunnies and small forest animals.

And they don't take them too seriously, either. They know the vicissitudes of the female mind, its constant insecurities and the fluctuations in mood.

Silly woman!

Rather than pander to them, they simply watch them drift by like so many clouds on the horizon.

Or herds of antelope.

They don't get entangled in a woman's feelings and listen to her prattling on and on until she's talked herself out.

Women hate it when you listen to them. One mustn't show weakness in front of such a mysterious, unknowable beast. It may attack at any moment, and then you'll find yourself buying a really big engagement ring, and then you'll be really sorry, won't you?

Such strong and stoic men are exactly what women need to anchor themselves amid the chaos of their emotions.

Men don't have emotions. They have beer.

Sometimes my wife bemoans my detachment and laissez-faire attitude to our marriage and wishes I were more wrapped up in her. I tell her she would soon get bored of it, because men who put women on a pedestal can't make love to them in the way that women want.

All women want a certain kinda lovin', ladies. The more detached and uninterested you are toward your woman during sex, the more she'll LOVE it. Trust this guy. I mean, he's a writer!

A man who is too in awe of his woman isn't going to tear her blouse open and ravish her on the couch;

He's not?

This guy doesn't know the sorts of guys I know.

he isn't going to pull her hair and whisper profanities in her ear.

He's not?

Whenever my marriage is at a crisis point, and my wife's ego and mine are jostling for a position of supremacy, we inevitably have strenuous, battling sex.

Sex is WAR. Sex is a BATTLEFIELD.

Don't you forget it, boys. And if she cries rape, you just didn't get her drunk enough.

Oh, sorry, tangent.

My wife is older and more successful than I am, but the bedroom has always been the arena in which I have brought her down to earth.

I can just fuck the feminism right out of her.

I mean, I'm so insecure in all other areas of our life together: she's older, more experienced, and a waaaaaaaaaaay better writer than I am, and the only way I feel I can get back at her is to dominate her during sex.

Why didn't he just make the subtext text?

The female orgasm is the natural mechanism by which men assert dominion over women: a man who appreciates this can negotiate whatever difficulties arise in his relationships with them.


Gee, I'd love to know what man's dominating a woman every time she gets off with another woman, or every time she masturbates.

But then, that would be admitting that some women just don't need men around for anything at all, not even sex, and from the sound of this guy's relationship, he really, really needs to find a way to be useful.

And all he's got is the bedroom.

I would feel sorry for him - if he wasn't such an asshole.

Last Christmas, my wife threw me out after discovering I'd been cheating on her. On the night we got back together, I made strong, passionate love to her. Unfaithful as I'd been, I was not going to let her have me over a barrel for the rest of our marriage. I needed to keep a sense of self and not allow her to mire me in guilt and a desperate quest of forgiveness.

Why should I feel guilty that I disrespected my wife? I'm a feminist!

Believe me, in this guy's head, that all makes sense.

I needed to let her know what she would be missing if we broke up for ever. I gave her a manful bravura performance that night, and at the height of her passion, I asked her: 'Who's the boss?'

The boss? The boss??? WTF?

Sex is easy. Relationships are hard. This guy hasn't got that down yet.

The question threw her. Initially she wouldn't give me a reply, but I enticed it from her. 'You are,' she finally gasped. 'You are!'

And suddenly our insecure writer doesn't feel so insecure. This woman may be stronger, smarter, and more successful than he is, but he came make her come! He must have some worth after all.

Dude, when you're measuring your self-worth in orgasms, you've seriously got to start getting your life together.

I am a very difficult man to be with. I know I have caused my wife great pain and anxiety. But she is an adult, and ultimately it is wholly her choice whether she wants to be with me or not - I cannot be anyone other than myself.

I'm just naturally an asshole! I can't even try to communicate like a human being! I'm just a broken butterfly!

You know what, as someone who's not terribly emotionally demonstrative, I can tell you that I've been making a lot of effort to be more so. It's been really fucking hard, and I fall back a lot on the "I am what I am!" bullshit, but you know what? Ultimately, if you care about somebody, you figure out how not to be an asshole toward them.

And if you continue to be an asshole, it's *you* who needs to face up the fact that you're a fucking jerk and not good for somebody.

Get your shit together or get out.

I don't believe in working on relationships and making artificial efforts to give them substance.

I let the women work on that for me. They're the ones who are supposed to change, not me. I'm a man.

I believe in people being themselves and following their hearts towards whatever destiny lies before them.

Without any regard for anyone else in their lives.

Relationships between independent and assertive people will always be fraught with tensions, but they have enormous creative energy.

Notice that at no point does he say, "Equal."

Despite the many problems my wife and I have endured, we have both come a long way since we first met six years ago.

But I thought he didn't believe in working through problems? Except by fucking?

We have challenged one another to grow - professionally, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. This would never have happened had she flaked out and gone for a softer option in her choice of partner.

Plus, he wouldn't be getting laid.

Bring back the real men, girls. You might just remember why you loved them in the first place.

Yea, girls!

Raise your sons to be assholes!

You know you want to.

Frio: Appropriately Named

A few months ago, when I found out I was going to be an insulin dependent diabetic the rest of my life, my biggest immediate fear wasn't getting my feet chopped off (though that ranks high on the list). My biggest fear was that I was never going to get to travel again. And I don't mean traveling to some air-conditioned hotel in Miami. I mean backpacking across Europe and hiking up to Macchu Pichu.

The thing with insulin is that it's got a temperature window. If it goes below 40 degrees or freezes outright, it's gone bad, and even attempting to shoot up is worthless. If it goes above 86 degrees, it may not be immediately bad, but it loses its potency, and you'll find yourself injecting more and more from a bottle that's getting less and less effective by the day.

You can keep it from freezing by carrying it inside your clothes, against your skin. So that's not too bad.

But how the hell do you keep in below 86 degrees when you're backpacking through Brazil in the summer?

Well, after a lot of angst and some research, I found a company called Frio that puts out "cooling packs" that you activate by getting wet. The gel inside expands and insulates your insulin for up to 48 hours. It keeps it around 60-70 degrees. Not cold, by any measure, but certainly less than 86 degrees.

Turns out that all the diabetes outlets sell them, so I ordered one from Amazon, still a little dubious about this whole "insulating gel that you just get wet" idea, but it arrived and I used it the first time yesterday.

I don't have a thermometer on me, but inside the gel pack is definately cooler than outside. Again: not cold. Don't expect miracles.

But keeping my insulin at 70 degrees is miracle enough for me.

It'll be interesting to test it when it's really hot outside again - but they say it'll keep it under 86 even when the outside temp is 100. So... we'll see.

And, you know, I'm hoping.

Cause the hope of having freedom again after all this bullshit is just far too wonderful a thing to lose again.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Holy Crap I Have Hips Again

Well, there's no use denying the weight gain now. I can wear 16s again without them falling off me (well, OK, I still have to wear a belt), and when I got out of the hospital, my 12s were loose. I still weigh less than I did this time last year, but I'm headed there.

So, yes: I have hips again.

I have a lot of really complicated feelings about this, because on the one hand: whoa boy am I healthier! I can get up the stairs without losing my breath! My wounds actually heal (OK, except the ones on my feet)! I can brush my teeth without drawing blood! I don't get weird infections! I can wear contact lenses without irritation! I have biceps again!

But at the same time, I do my free weights five days a week, live primarily on chicken and salads, and though this week I crashed due to a lot of emotional stress, I'm usually doing thirty minutes of cardio five days a week.

And... I'm... still... gaining... weight.

I feel like I have no control over what's happening with my body. Which I already feel cause I have to shoot up insulin every day cause my pancreas up and broke on me. Worse, I think I'm going to lose the battle with my doctor over the drugs. Unless I can stop this weight gain by the 19th, he's probably going to recommend I go on Metformin. And worse, I'll probably get another lecture about how I need to "cut back." Cut back what? To where? Should I just stop eating all together? *That* sounds healthy?

But you know what, gaining 20 lbs in two months while living on salad is about as scary as losing 20 lbs in two months while living on cinnamon rolls.

I'm kinda freaked out. I have two last ditch hopes: that increasing my workout times every week for the next three weeks will have some impact on the crazy flesh that is my body, and the hope that my body's screwed up metabolism will somehow right itself and even out over the next three weeks.

To add insult to injury, I believe I'm getting a foot ulcer on my right big toe, and I'm going to have to go in to see a podiatrist this month to get it scraped out and cleaned up.

Diabetes - endless fun for the whole family!


Good Night, and Good Luck - this is why I wanted to go into journalism. Why is it nobody in the news media has a backbone anymore? They all became sideshow entertainers.

Also, I was amused and a little saddened that they felt they needed to run a text-prologue to the film explaining about McCarthy and the Red Scare. These are stories that shouldn't be forgotten.

Antonia's Line - a Dutch (Belgian?) film about four generations of strong, independent women growing up in a rural village in Belgium from the 1940s to the 1990s. Living, dying, fighting, fucking, joy, pain, sorrow, revenge, babies, etc. I was thrilled to see a stout matron filling the title role, too. I think I'm just dying to see heroines that don't look like they're going to fall over in the face of a strong wind.

Also, she gets to shoot a rifle and threaten a rapist with it, and then curse him. It's cool.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Link Dump

Fat and art.

Barbara Ehrehreich - boys will be boys.

Massive, writhing nests of butterfly larvae take over Sweden!!!

Sex and the brain (surprise, once more, we're not that different after all. Though I'm fascinated that they used pure biology to try and explain the differences they did see, instead of saying, "This social thing may also be coming into play at this point." Weird omission in a piece that bascially sums up with "it's complicated")

Wealthy men seek beautiful women! Beautiful women seek wealthy men! Hey, at least they have their own site... Whatever gets you off, I guess (definition of wealthy: man must make over $100,000 a year. I wonder what the definition of "beautiful" is?). And you gotta love their tagline: "Wealthy Men is the one and only online personals dating site dedicated to those men & women seeking a higher caliber online dating experience." HAha ha ahh ahaa

College professor ranks the relative "hotness" of the women in his class. And I'm sure that didn't affect his grading curve *at all.* Good thing we live in a post-feminist world. I mean, who needs this feminist business, anyway?

tDW Archetypes

Either this new chapter-naming system is utterly brilliant, or really fucking cheesy.

I will soon find out which.

And I'm totally fucking sending this fucking book back out by September first, goddammit.

I am.

In Which the Protagonist Attempts to Be Mechanically-Inclined

So Jenn and I have been roasting in this apartment. This has been slightly confusing, because we never roasted so much in the apartment on the ground floor. And then we figured, hey, we're on the top (3rd) floor of the building now, and 115 degrees is Really Fucking Hot no matter what floor you're on, but really, it was ridiculous up here.

Our little box air conditioner was great downstairs. Cooled everything but the kitchen, really. But up here... shit. It's been shit. Even my room, which is right next to the reading room where the damn thing is, is damn hot.

A couple days ago, I cleaned the fan in my room, which had collected a ton of dust on it. Since then, the newly-invigorated fan has been blowing shit off my walls (my room is covered in pictures, maps, posters, quotes, etc). Jenn noticed this today, and I explained that I'd cleaned the fan.

And something clicked in Jenn's head.

"Kameron," Jenn said, "does our air conditioner have a filter?"

"I dunno," I said.

"I heard from somebody that you should clean out your air conditioner's filter. I can't remember who it was. Let's check."

So I pulled off the front of our air con unit, and lo and behold!

A filter.

A really, really fucking dirty filter.

I rinsed the thing off in the sink, watching all the black goo go down the drain, and then patted it dry and shoved it back into the unit.

Turned it on.

Blast of air hits my face.

And it was on *low.*

Gee, I wish we'd fucking figured that out on the day it was 115....

I was also terribly happy to hop into the car with Jenn today en route to the grocery store. Why? Cause when she turned on the car, it made that tell-tale clicking sound. And I knew what that was! A dead battery! I felt so useful.

We got a jump from the neighbor, looked for engine lights in case it turned out it wasn't the battery but the alternator, and no engine lights, so we survived a drive to the store and back.

And for some reason, I was pleased.

I've fixed the toilet, I change all the lightbulbs, I know basic "what the fuck is wrong with this car" crap, and - look! - we have a working air conditioner now, and I know how to fix one in the future.

Someday, I will be brilliant, as opposed to merely useful.

Friday, August 04, 2006

"The Women of Our Occupation"


Holy fucking shit.

I want both versions of this story.

(at LCRW, thanks David)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

They Made Me Work Today


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Global Warming is Fun

"Cooler" front coming in now, finally, and not a moment too soon. Big thunderstorms, wind, rain, the whole deal as the cooler air pushes out the warmer.

It might actually get down to 70 degrees tonight.

Tomorrow: low 80s.


The Lady in the Pool

Some tips for Shyamalan:

1) breaking the 4th wall once or twice with a witty line or two can be fun. Doing it blatantly in a too-long scene where you give your movie critic a silly monologue while he's facing a hell beast, isn't.

2) don't cast yourself as a writer or artist, especially a writer or artist Messiah. It's just bad form. In fact, don't write about writers who are "special." It's like Stephen King writing himself into the The Dark Tower series, or writing his own experiences into Kingdom Hospital. You ruin my suspension of disbelief, and for a tall tale like the one you're telling, I really need a suspension of disbelief

Cheesyness and self-referential dick-sucking aside, I enjoyed this movie. I did. But then, I liked The Village. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.

Say what you want about Shyamalan, but the guy knows how to write great characters. He's helped by great casts, but his characters are all sympathetic. You like them. You feel for them. You want them to succeed. And it's pretty tough to get cynical people to care about people while they're watching a summer movie.

The more media I ingest, the more I realize that you can have your characters doing any insane weird shit you want - fighting off dogs made of grass, getting picked up by giant eagles, living their lives in showers - and if you love the people, you'll go along with it. Just give them something they want, and we're all along for the ride, hoping they get it.

Even if what they want is to stare long and hard at M. Night Shyamalan and then hang around by the pool until they get picked up by a giant bird.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Why I Write Fantasy

It's all about the chicks with swords.

I take a lot of delight in writing about a woman who leaps into the fray with "both blades drawn."

I probably take too much delight in it.

Ah, that's right - this is what it's all about...

The Emotional Index Quiz

Cause I'm in the middle of inputting line edits. Yawn.

Your Top Emotional Needs:

1. Need to be appreciated. 7
2. Need to be respected. 6
3. Need for honesty/integrity. 4
4. Need to be alone. 4


Bah! Emotions! Pff!

Still, I must say that's a pretty accurate list. Though I'd put respected at the top, and appreciated second, myself.

Dark Tea Time of the Soul (The Writer's Edition)

I've been working on the same screwed up 30% of tDW for nearly two years now, and I've reached the point where I've decided the entire book is crap and needs to be burnt down to ashes and buried in a big dark hole in the ground in Siberia. The problem with only working on the crappy parts of your book for so long is that you decide the rest of the book must be crappy, too.

Which, of course, it's not. Or I sure as hell wouldn't be going through this process. There are some good things. And in the 30%, there are even some salvageable things, though I'm having a hard time deciding what those are.

I'm in the middle of one of those Dark Writing Tea Times of the Soul, where I go out and read the blogs of people I know and think, "Why the fuck am I so behind?"

Granted, anybody reading Elizabeth's Bear's blog is going to think, "Why the fuck am I so behind?"

A lot of this running-faster-I'm-so-totally-in-a-race problem is that I tend to latch onto people outside my age group. You know, people like Bear who are ten years older than me.

Which is silly. If I want to run a proper race (which isn't recommended, but egads, I'm always fucking doing it), then I should probably judge my progress in relation to the people on this list (OK, let's pretend Tim Pratt and Catherynne Valente aren't on that list, OK?).

To be honest, the only person any of us are competing against is ourselves; the fact that so-and-so has a three book deal and I don't doesn't screw *me* out of a three book deal, and increasingly, I'm very happy that so-and-so got a three book deal, cause I either know them or am aquainted with them in some way (six degrees of separation and all that).

I think a lot of this sudden jumping around like the white rabbit is that I've actually been going to cons and meeting/speaking with other SF/F writers or at least seeing them on panels and bumping into them in the bathroom. And at some point you start to wonder if maybe you're just an imposter, and shouldn't be there at all. SF/F, in particular, is one big incestuous social club (I don't neccessarily mean that in a bad way), and it doesn't take long for everybody to know everybody else, or at least to have heard of them. I mean, you know, why aren't I comparing myself to, say, Michael Cunningham? He's 54 and has only written 6 books. Sure, a couple of those books are near perfect, but shit, I can write 6 books by the time I'm 54!

The answer, of course, is that I don't feel he's in my peergroup, and I don't know him. I'm also not likely to ever run into him at a con (ha, wouldn't *that* be a trip). Because if we're talking sheer literary greatness and movies and at least a little money, then hey, I should aspire to be Tom Wolfe. But I'm not running next to Tom Wolfe. I don't read his blog. I don't sit with him at lunch.

And it can be a bitch, feeling like you're clawing away at something for so long, and very little seems to be coming of it, whereas other people who've been clawing at stuff for a long time are making something of it.

The really crazy part about my sudden low mood regarding writing is that this has been one of the best years for me as far as writing goes. I sold two short stories this year (the max I've sold in a year, thus far, is three), and I've got some interest in tDW, and God's War will indeed be finished someday. I have a lot of projects. It's not like I'm stagnating.

But damn, it sure feels like it.

The thing with writing, with any art, any craft, is that it takes a lot of time to get good at it. A lot of time. And a lot of practice. And a lot of trial and error (read: "failure"), and after a while you start to wonder if you're just beating your head against the wall merely to hear the satisfying thump.

There haven't been a lot of things in the last year or so that I've had any success with. The fact that I somehow managed to sell anything at all and get a novel out the door says something about where my priorities are, and probably where some of my talent is. Cause if I really sucked goats at this, I have no idea how I'd have had anything to talk about as far as writing goes, this year. God knows it was hard enough to function on my ten hours of sleep a night and type up dialogue with a sugar headache. But I did it.

And you know, one of the biggest lessons I'm pulling out of this whole chronic illness thing is knowing that I could function as long as I did, as sick as I was. It's not something I'd recommend, obviously, but looking back on it, at what I did manage this year while my pancreas slowly died on me, I'm wondering how much better things can be once I get my shit back together.

Maybe the Dark Tea Time has to do with the fact that I know I'm about as better as I'm going to get, and it's time to test that theory. And if it turns out I'm still a staggering failure at nearly everything, then it's not just cause I was sick, it's cause I'm just incompetent.

I don't believe that'll be the end result, but I think that's some of the fear behind my inability, the last couple of days, to start getting my life back. Granted, I've had a lot of emotional upset to deal with, and that takes me down for the count, and the heat's been seriously staggering, but the emotional pain will ease, and the heat will dissipate, and that will leave me with... me. And no more excuses.

Monday, July 31, 2006

On a More Upbeat Note...

It's still bloody fucking hot here!

The Routine

Sit on the edge of the tub. Run cold water. Rinse feet. Rub with soap. Rinse. Repeat. Look over your slightly numbed toes and footpads for sores, blisters, warts, blemishes. If found, make a note to show these to your doctor during your monthly visit. Rub at foot callouses with pumice stone. Rinse. Rub feet with lotion.

Take solace in the fact that you've just performed a new daily ritual that will hopefully keep you from getting your feet chopped off at 40.

This Must Be Hell

The air conditioner at work just broke.

Note: Today's real feel temperature for Chicago is 114 degrees.

What I've Been Up To

Trying to wait out the heat, mostly. But stuff is getting done. Slowly.

Went to my gym and cancelled my membership (you have to do it 30 days ahead of time), finally. I start back up at my mixed martial arts school (read: boxing!) in September. While I still have my final 30 days at my gym, I'll also be getting used to working out outside my house again. Today's the first time I'll be back since before I got sick. The heat has finally forced me to exercise out of the house; the gym has air conditioning.

Put some more money in the bank. I'm slowly accruing what I'll need for the trips I'm taking this year and relocation money next year, should I end up getting a job somewhere else.

Doing a lot of reading, and figured out what's wrong with God's War. Now I have to fucking fix it.

Still frustrated about a lot of things, still pretty emotionally drained, but getting better. My sugar's stabalized, finally. Called my doctor this weekend, and for the first time since I got out of the hospital, he didn't tell me to call him next week to update my numbers. He said that unless I'm consistently going over 150 or below 80, I should be good. And 90% of my numbers are in that range. It means I'm consistently feeling - physically - near-normal for the first time in a year and a half. It's been a long road. And it's still not perfect, but it's a lot better than it's been.

There's still some struggling going on with weight and diet. The doctor wants me to lose weight, and I'd rather not be hungry. I'm already working out five days a week. In any case, I'm cutting back even more where I can, and thinking about substituting some of my whole wheat carb counts for fruit carb counts, just to see if that'll help me drop some weight. Right now, I suspect a lot of the weight gain is because I was starving for a year, and it's now leveling off, just like the sugar levels. We'll see what the scale looks like at my next appointment. I really don't want to go on any more drugs.

I know things are going to be all right. The health is better, and that's a good start. When that's doing all right, I can do everything else.

Now I just need to do everything else...

Why do I always feel like I'm running a race that I started too late and have to complete with a bum leg?

The Women of Our Occupation

My story, "The Women of Our Occupation" is up at Strange Horizons.

Surprise! Stressing About Your Weight is Bad For You

I need to show this article to my doctor...

"To me what makes more sense is that there's just a lot more social stigma associated with being overweight amongst females, and that that causes a lot more stress and distress," Muennig said. "There's evidence showing that high levels of stress can increase your risk of morbidity and mortality."

The findings provide evidence, he added, that "the message that women are getting in the mass media about their weight is actually more harmful than we previously thought."

Please Drink Your Water Today, Chiklits

Another busy rush hour on the train headed out to O'Hare. You get a lot of people and a lot of luggage packed on that train on Monday mornings just shy of 8am.

I was holding onto one of the poles by the door, and this little woman was standing on the other side of the pole, holding on just beneath me. She rested her head on the pole; no big deal, it's early, people get tired. Then she brought her head up again, then thumped it back on the pole. Not rested. Thumped. She did that twice. I turned off my ipod and started paying more attention to her. The binder she was carrying started to slip from her grip. She didn't seem to notice.

When the binder fell onto the floor and she made no move to go after it, I grabbed her wrist and asked her if she was OK.

She didn't respond. Me being me, and wearing my own medical ID bracelet, I checked her wrists for an ID, and didn't find any.

The last person who passed out in front of me on the train had an epileptic seizure and started foaming at the mouth.

Jenn is always telling me the horror stories about people who need help in cities. You can cry out in a room full of 100 people, and quite often, nobody does anything. You can get raped right next to the Art Museum downtown in broad daylight, and nobody will do anything (yes, that's happened before). You get pretty anesthesized in cities. You get used to lots of people. And the way you get used to being with so many people is to respect their space, even if something seems a little off.

Because Jenn is always telling me these stories, I tend to act a little more quickly than other people in crowded places when it looks like somebody's in trouble. When the guy who had the seizure fell out of his seat, I was the first one to get up and ask him if he was all right, and the one who yelled at the person in the back of the train to hit the emergency button to alert the train operator.

So, after asking this woman three times if she was all right and not getting a response, I turned around and hit the emergency button again. And then everybody started moving. One guy gave up his seat and him and another person got her to sit down. A very hot guy crossed from the other side of the car, announced that he was an EMT, and squatted down next to her and started trying to get her to talk.

I told the train operator we had somebody passing out in car 3056 (this is important to tell them; I learned this the last time somebody passed out on me) who might be going into a seizure (she had no medical ID, and I was going off past experience).

Having her sit down helped, and the EMT got her some water. I offered her hard candy (cause, of course, I have those for my own episodes), but she was coming out of it.

Turns out she was overheated. If I had to guess, I'd say she likely hadn't had breakfast either, and that likely didn't help.

By the time the train stopped, she was coherent again, and the EMT was hitting on her. It was very cute.

In any case, after an overheated weekend and a week that's setting up to be in the triple digits, it was a good reminder to stay cool, and drink a lot of juice.

Though passing out on a train is apparently a great way to meet hot EMTs...