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...

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In Which the Protagonist Decides It's Time For Another Blogging Break

Yup, it's about that time again, when the protagonist's overabundance of self-pity overwhelms even her own ability to tolerate it!

You know what my problem is?

I haven't written anything new in nearly two weeks. That's enough to make me batshit.

See you all on Monday.

"One of the things that draws writers to writing is that they can get things right that they got wrong in real life by writing about them." - Tobias Wolff

God, I Hate This Job

OK, I need to stop whining. I need to get my shit together, or nothing is ever going to get done, nothing is every going to change.

Deep breath.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Am So Tired

Remind me again why we all get into relationships again and again and again when all of them just end up hurting you and somebody you love again and again and again?

Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result?

Juicy Feminist Goodness

Blame the Spice Girls? (via Twisty)

Barbara Ehrenreich has a blog! (thanks, Jenn)

And if you haven't read this bit about "choice feminism" from Linda Hirshman, you should. (also via Twisty)

Yawning Lion defines feminism (ohhhh yes, the feminist sex wars continue! For the record, I think trying to force yourself to be a lesbian is about as sexually unfair to you and your partner as trying to force yourself to enjoy sex with men. But hey, that's why I'm not a radfem or a real feminist, I suppose)

Women, Health, and the Politics of Fat.

I'll rant about all these links later...

Monday, July 24, 2006

There Are Days

I somehow managed to do nothing today. I tried to work on some line edits in a vain attempt to get tDW fucking finished. Instead, every chapter, every paragraph, every line, every word, looked wrong. I needed to start over. Trash it and start again.

It was one of those days.

I realized it wasn't as if I felt actively depressed or beaten down. I felt... overwhelmed. The list of things I want and need to do grows longer, while the list of things I actually do grows shorter.

Why is this?

Because everything I've got right now is going into sugar numbers, and figuring out insulin dosages and how I need to change my diet to work with that, and making sure I'm exercising on a schedule. Again.

My sugar's been a lot better since switching back to the Lantus-and-Novolog combo, and now I'm working at making the numbers perfect. I'm still getting one over-200 number a day, and I'm experimenting with insulin doses at noon that'll take care of that once and for all.

And I'm laboring over my diet. Cutting, cutting, cutting, like bad prose. No more butter, turkey bacon instead of bacon, a sprinkling of grated cheese instead of cheese sauce, and a heavy culling of the carbs, once again. So much for the dietician's recommended 12-15 servings a day total. There's no way that's going to work anymore. Try cutting that in half.

I'm hungry all the time. I'm not starving anymore, though. I added eggs to breakfast and a salad to dinner, so at least I start and end my day well. But that whole swath of the rest of the day is a bitch, and the best I can do is try and soothe my appetite with coffee, which I've also had to cut back on because I was drinking so much to suppress my appetite that I was making myself sick.

It's a funny thing, realizing that I have to give everything I've got to one major thing at a time. I keep trying to divide myself into equal pieces that do equally fantastic work, but in fact I can either do one thing well and a couple of things in passing, or a bunch of things half-assed. And doing a bunch of things half-assed means never being satisfied with anything. Not that I'm satisfied now. Looking at below-200 numbers on my little monitor and not feeling like shit is a great step in the right direction, but I find it difficult to manage much else right now, and that frustrates the shit out of me.

One thing at a time. I know, I know, I know. But I hate it. I hate slowing down. I want everything to run smoothly right now, this instant. I want, I want, I want.

And instead everything is this slow process, this long trek up this shitty, muddy hillside, and everybody keeps telling me there's a good view from the top, but goddamn, the view down here is shitty.

And yes, yes, I'll be fine.

But, damn.

Patrick's Got a Blog

My buddy Patrick has finally given in to peer pressure and got himself a blog.

Well, OK, it's an LJ. But that shouldn't encourage ya'll to think any less of him... heh heh

Writing Question of the Day

Why did I spend four pages getting the characters from the scholars' quarters to dinner with the Patron when the maze-like layout of the keep has absolutely no bearing on anything that happens with the plot?

Oh, yea, cause, "Someday it might!"

Cut, cut, cut.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yes, I Am Alive

... and writing about llamas. Llamas, llamas, llamas. A fun word to spell, anyway. Ah, the things I do for money!

Watched Ride with the Devil last night.

Ohhh... Jonathan Rhys-Meyers with long hair. Still an asshole, sadly. But oh! Long hair.

Also, probably the best line ever in response to the "Are you a virgin?" question.

I'm totally stealing that line for a chracter of mine...

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sex on the Brain: Surprise, there's not much Difference

God, these things are such crap, but I'm not doing much else today...

You scored as Either. You brain is neither specifically male nor female in the way you perceive things. As bad as this sounds it can easily mean that you are capable of combining both gender aspects to your advantage. Rather than being genderless you are possibly able think freely. This does not mean that you are bisexual or androgynous or indecisive, but it might.









Should you be MALE or FEMALE?*
created with

Ha ha. In the more advanced quiz, I came out leaning-toward-male-brained:

This task tested your ability to identify the angle of a line by matching it with its twin. This is a spatial task, which looks at how you picture space.

Your score: 15 out of 20
Average score for men: 15.1 out of 20
Average score for women: 13.3 out of 20

Spot the difference
This task tested your ability to identify which objects changed position. You lost points, if you incorrectly identified objects.

Your score: 14%
Average score for men: 39%
Average score for women: 46%

Damn, I suck!

You said your right thumb was on top when you clasped your hands together.

Right thumb on top: This suggests the left half of your brain is dominant. Many studies have tried to establish whether there is a relationship between handedness and brain dominance. Some scientists believe that if you are left brain dominant, you would be more verbal and analytical.

Left thumb on top: This suggests the right half of your brain is dominant. Some studies theorise that as a right brain dominant person, you may excel in visual, spatial and intuitive processes.

Ummmm OK.

Emotions and Systems
This task looked at whether you prefer to empathise or systemise.

Your empathy score is: 2 out of 20
Average score for men: 7.9 out of 20
Average score for women: 10.6 out of 20

Oh! What a lousy score!!! Why doesn't this surprise me?

What does your result suggest?

Empathisers are better at accurately judging other people's emotions and responding appropriately. If you scored 15 and above, you are very empathic and would be an ideal person to comfort people in a time of crisis. Women in general are better at empathising.


Your systemising score is: 6 out of 20
Average score for men: 12.5 out of 20
Average score for women: 8.0 out of 20

What does your result suggest?

Systemisers prefer to investigate how systems work. A system can be a road map, flat pack furniture, or a mathematical equation – anything that follows a set of rules. A score of 15 and above suggests you're good at analysing or building systems. Men in general are better at systemising.

This task tested your ability to judge people's emotions.

Your score: 8 out of 10
Average score for men: 6.6 out of 10
Average score for women: 6.6 out of 10

We asked you to measure your ring and index fingers. Your ratios came to:

Right Hand: 0.98
Left Hand: 1

Average ratio for men: 0.982
Average ratio for women: 0.991

This task looked at how you rate the attractiveness of a series of faces. The images you looked at were digitally altered to create slight differences in masculinity.

Your choices suggest you prefer more masculine faces.

3D shapes
This task tested your ability to mentally rotate 3D shapes.

Your score: 8 out of 12
Average score for men: 8.2 out of 12
Average score for women: 7.1 out of 12

What does your result suggest?

If you scored 7 - 9: In past studies, 50 per cent of the people who scored in this range were women and 50 per cent were men.

This task looked at your verbal fluency.

Your score: you associated 7 word(s) with grey and you named 4 word(s) that mean happy. We are assuming that all the words you entered are correct.

Average score for men: 11.4 words total
Average score for women: 12.4 words total

My only defense is that maybe I didn't understand the question correctly...

What does your result suggest?

If you produced 6 - 10 words: Most people in this range have a female-type brain.

This task asked you how you would divide money.

If you had to split £50 with someone, you said you would demand £25

So far on the Sex ID test, men have demanded 51.6% (£25.80) of the pot and women have demanded 51.0% (£25.50), on average.

(all stolent from David)

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Damn, that place was swanky!

35th floor, downtown, conference room with the big view of the city, everybody in slacks and ties and the whole nine yards.

It seemed to go well. I certainly wouldn't mind working there. Though I definately won't be blogging *anything* about work if I end up there. I suspect there may be more people there with an interest in googling their officemates in their downtime...

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


OMG that was AWFUL.

Sugar, Sugar: The Good, The Bad, the Ugly... the TMI Version (You've Been Warned)

Why is it I always end up being somebody's guinea pig?

When I was 16 and had my first gyno appointment, the doctor had an apprentice in there, and so propped me open and groped and pointed every couple of minutes to explain things to the apprentice while they both peered into my vagina.

When I had my IUD put in, there was a midwife apprentice in attendance who was there to observe the procedure. Said procedure ended up taking two clinicians, the apprentice, and 45 minutes to complete, cause I've apparently got a small cervix.

Today, Dr. S. had two newbie doctors in attendance. One of them was assigned me, and after quizzing me about bowel movements, shots, and not believing me when I said I wasn't on any other medications ("Your blood pressure is high. Don't you take any medications for it?" Uh, no, it's never been high before...), and chastising me for gaining *another* eight pounds this month, left me for ten minutes to go and consult with Dr. S.

And then all three doctors crowded into the little room to look over my sugar chart and talk about the fact that this new insulin was giving me some really watery shit morning and night. Apparently, insulin doesn't do this. Or, it shouldn't. But ever since I started this new one, it's been a problem - in addition to the spotty sugar levels.

I got another quiz on what I was eating. I told them I felt hungrier now than I had on the Lantus, but according to the eight pounds, I MUST be eating more. I told them I was working out at night, which I hadn't been the month before, but no, it's a matter of me eating too much, Dr. S. insisted.

And then he said it point blank:

I needed to lose weight.

I was a little taken aback. Seriously. Even at 191, that's on the low end of the scale for me. Anything under 200 is. I was running at 215 or 220 when I got sick. I understand the concern that I've gained 18 pounds since I've gotten healthier, but I thought that was the whole point - I've gotten healthier. I'm healthier (and much stronger) at 191 than I was at 176.

"The more you weigh, the more insulin you have to use," Dr. S. said, "you'll need to start cutting back."

Cutting back? Cutting back??? Cutting back to where????

Sweet jesus.

So, apparently, I need to lose 10 pounds.

Ha ha aha ahaah aha

I mean, shit, fuck, really, this is fucking ridiculous.

OK, yea, I've already switched out regular bacon for turkey bacon. And regular cheese for low fat mozzarella. And stopped adding salt to food. OK, I can do that....

And now, OK, well, I guess I can cut out butter. And I can measure my almonds in the morning so I don't snack on them all day. And cut the amount of string cheeses I eat from three a day to two. OK.

But I can't eat less than that. Which means my only other option is to bump up the cardio time from 30 min 4-5 days a week to 45 min 5-6 days a week.

And if, in a month, I've gained weight, I'm going to laugh at all of them.

Of *course* I've gained weight! I was *starving*!

The general consensus is that my sugar still hasn't stabilized, which is why it's bouncing around so much. Dr. S. put me back on the Lantus - oh, sweet Lantus! - and handed me $400 in free insulin.

Oh, *that* part fucking *rocked.*

"Here's some free samples," he says, and hands me 2 $80 bottles of Lantus and 2 $80 bottles of Novolog.

Fucking sweet!

Then I went home and cried.

I've worked so hard at getting the sugar levels to stabilize, and I had three doctors quizzing me with the assumption that I was doing something terribly wrong, and I hated that assumption, the assumption that I was living on cookies and regular soda, just for the hell of it. And then, to get told, after all this hunger, all this watching what I'm eating, all this stupid mandatory exercise, that I need to lose weight, oh for fuck's sake.

You think I'm not? You think I'm doing this for spite? This *is* a moderate weight for me.

But not moderate enough, apparently.


So I came home and cried and then put in my time on the elliptical machine. Now I'm gonna make some broccoli - without the cheese sauce - and pretend I'm doing it for fun.

The upshot of the day?

I have an interview tomorrow with a firm downtown who're looking for a project coordinator.

They didn't blink at my 50-55K a year salary requirement.

I'm trying to be optimistic.

I'm tired of things sucking.

The Writing Life

Well, I think I'll sit here and take my mind off impending layoffs by making shit up.

Not sure how much I want to prophesize potential series endings in chapter one, but at the same time, I'm a big believer in creating our own destiny, and these two characters are people who, well, *do* that.

Heh. Dunno. Might be too cheesy.

In any case, on to the last round of edits for tDW.

"I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again." - Oscar Wilde

"Life is what happens to a writer between drafts." - Dennis R. Miller

"Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent." - Neil Gaiman

In Which the Protagonist Wonders What it Will Be Like to Be Laid Off

Well, they let four people go last week.

Looking at my time sheet, I'm wondering how much longer I get to hang on.

Things just went totally downhill when Blaine left.

God, wouldn't getting laid off just be the perfect whipped topping celebrating the shitstorm that has been the last six months of my life?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Interview with Ben A. Barres

On science and gender. An addition to this article.

In Which the Protagonist Tries Very Hard Not to Hate Her Book

Finishing up the edits to the POV chapters for one of my main characters in tDW, Auryn. His chapters and Roh's chapters are the last in need of major overhauling (as usual). This is good because it means Lilihin, Zezili, and Anavha are done, and I refuse to touch them again until somebody tells me to rewrite them.

That's how I'm getting through this, by telling myself I'm in the final stretch. Just these two sections of edits, input the edits, print the fucker, and send it back out into the world.

I can't tell you how pleased I'll be to get this thing out of my hands again. It'll make concentrating on all my other projects a lot easier.

In the meantime, I'm reminded of why these two particular characters' chapters are such a bitch to write.

Well, *yea*

You Are A Pirate!
You Are A Pirate!

What Type Of Swashbuckler Are You?
brought to you by Maddog Varuka & Dawg Brown

(thanks, Jenn!)

The Crappy Part About Having Type 1 Diabetes

... is that 90% of diabetics are Type 2, which means 90% of the drugs are tailored to Type 2s, people who still have functionaing pancreases. So you get all excited reading about the benefits of new drugs and then realize that they aren't made for you.

Money & Power

Interesting article about the power dynamics in a small coastal village in South Korea where the women make the bulk of a family's wealth by diving for shellfish.

Like their sisters throughout coastal areas in East Asia, the sea women here spend their days diving into the sea with no breathing devices, simply holding their breath for minutes as they comb the sea bottom for shellfish.

Women, whose bodies are thought more able to spend long hours in the cold water, experts in the subject say, have had a monopoly on this business, so that the sea women have long enjoyed an uncommonly powerful position in otherwise male-dominated societies.

It reminds me a bit of the diving culture in Egalia's Daughters, and is a good example of how you can alter the language of how you speak about a skill and emphasize that one sex is innately "better" at that skill than another. You don't realize how tied you are to the language of biologically determined skill sets until you see someone else flipping it on its head.

The really interesting part here is that women, because they make the majority of the money, have traditionally held more power over what's done with that money. Which is a good testament to why women can't really acheive total equality until we receive equal pay for equal work. As more and more men are getting jobs in tourism, the power dynamics in the village are changing. Now that men are making money, they're getting a voice at home.

My favorite quote from the whole article? This one, hands down:

“Even though he was a man, he was more like a woman,” she said. “He was so nice and tender. He was very feminine. I couldn’t tell the difference whether he was male or female. So I never begrudged having to feed him.”

I'm so cribbing that line in my next book... heh heh

Motrin is My Friend

But hey, if that's the only consequence to having an IUD anymore, I'll take it. Why doesn't everyone have one of these?

Oh, yea, cause the first three months fucking sucked.

Also, I've discovered why so many of my characters in my last two books get their fingers chopped off. I just chopped my finger again with our new kitchen knife. Jenn has this set of ultra sharp knives, and I was constantly bleeding all over everything. Then they lost thier sharpness, so me, being the brilliant person I am, bought a new one.

Chopping up salad greens was never so exciting. Though typing is now a little painful.


Monday, July 17, 2006

"Your Boyfriend Must Have Done it For You"

Prof. Barres is transgendered, having completed the treatments that made him fully male 10 years ago.... Being first a female scientist and then a male scientist has given Prof. Barres a unique perspective on the debate over why women are so rare at the highest levels of academic science and math: He has experienced personally how each is treated by colleagues, mentors and rivals.

Great stuff.

Yea. Number 68.

Countries as diverse as Britain, Chile, Liberia and Israel have elected women to their highest political office. When it comes to female representation in national parliaments, the U.S. ranks 68th in the world....

Even the new democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan have a greater percentage of female representatives than does Congress, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, an international group based in Geneva, Switzerland...

In 2003, the number of women in Rwanda's National Assembly doubled, largely due to the creation of a constitutionally mandated quota. Since that year, Rwanda has been No. 1 in the global ranking of women in national parliaments, with 48.8 percent of its assembly made up of women.

(via angryblackbitch)

This is Ridiculous

I could complain about living on the top floor of a three flat in 100 degree weather with one little air con unit for one long, thin apartment, but then, looks like everyone else is pretty screwed, too:

I've been surviving by dousing myself periodically with cold water and lying around a lot. The good news is, Jenn and I are catching up on watching a lot of shows...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Question of the Day

Why is The Road Warrior playing on The History Channel??

Did someone get confused?

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fucking Sugar

I HATE this insulin.

I'm going home now.

More War! More Bombing! But Really, Invading Iraq Was About Stabilizing the Middle East! So... Mission Accomplished!

It's just not getting any better, is it?

Do You Ever Find Yourself..

Getting inspiration... from yourself?

Like this, and this and this?

It's funny, too, sort of looking back at all of this. Because the first of the "I'm really tired" posts started way back here.

Two months later, I was no longer boxing, the "I'm tired" posts got more frequent, and a year after that, I was lying in a hospital and being told my pancreas died.

And now I want to get up again. I want my life back.

Summertime Fridays at the Dayjob

The perks of summer: no bosses in on Friday, nobody shows up until after 9am, and everyone leaves around 4:30.

Also, nothing to do but update a datebase for an hour and attend a 30-minute conference call.

Anyway, I'm going to go and work on tDW. I have many rewrites to go before I sleep...

Also, I now have one of these again, because work is slow, and what else am I going to do all day?

What a Difference a Little Insulin Makes

It's scary, actually.

My numbers bumped down Wednesday at noon, gave me a below-200 Thursday, and I bottomed out last night with a too-low number of 55 after taking 2 units too much insulin (I'd planned to eat some fruit and yogurt, but ended up deciding I wasn't all that hungry, and went to bed). I tossed and turned until 10pm, when I realized my rapidly-increasing heartbeat and inability to sleep meant I should probably check my sugar.

I over-medicated myself with three graham crackers and a piece of chocolate (I think I was just so happy that I was low that I was like "Screw it" and ate 1 too many carb servings. I should have just eaten the graham crakers). So I was above 200 again this morning, but if all goes well, that should come right back down here at noon. In fact, I already know it's lower, because I can concentrate on the computer screen without getting a headache, and I don't have to blink all the time to clear my vision.

Also, I have a lot more energy. Everything is beautiful! Life is beautiful! I want to sing! And dance around the office! And go running!

Ah, yes. What a difference.

For the first time in a long time, I'm also back to my usual book-devouring pace. The first year I was here, I'd read about 2-3 books a week (I have about 15 hours of communting time each week; plenty of time to finish several books). As life started to get crazier, and I started to get sicker, I was lucky to finish 2 books a month. I tended to just space out during my commute and either try and work through various personal problems, or, toward the end, just try and get some extra sleep cause I was always so damned tired. And hungry. And thirsty.

So this week I finished Palahniuk's collection of essays, Stranger Than Fiction, and Susan Sontag's Regarding the Pain of Others, and I'm almost done with Mao's On Guerrilla Warfare (these last two are very short books). I've also come up with some ideas for a sequel to God's War, though that's not something I'm going to seriously plan unless I sell GW and it does well. Still, the ideas are there if it turns out they become useful. I do so love these characters, and this world.

Planning to work on GW this weekend, again. Hoping my numbers stay good so I can actually get some writing done (not coincidentally, I think, the weekend when my numbers were the best was the weekend I went from needing to write 75 more pages of GW to needing to write 55 more pages. It's a lot easier to write when you can think straight).

I was emailing Jenn the other day (yes, I conduct much of my socializing via email, even with people I live with. How odd is that?) about stress and feelings of not being "good enough" or "successful enough" at all aspects of our lives.

I mean, life is hard. It just is. And life has been kinda shit for me. Not... bad. There have been so many good things. But it's been hard, harder than it's ever been. And there are things in my life that I bombed out on. I mean, I've been crappy at relationships. I've been completely shunned at work, and all of a sudden I've gone from being a project coordinater who traveled and did reports to a lowly admin again whose sole job is to update a database for an hour every day. I completely ignored my health and let myself deteriorate to the point where I nearly died.

What I've been putting everything into, the thing I've been focusing on to the detriment of everything else, is my writing, and it's the only thing I've had any success at this last year. And that's because it takes up everything I had (and when I was sick, that wasn't much). And, you know: still not huge successes. I don't have a four-book deal or hordes of adoring fans or crowds following me around at cons. Yet I've sacrificed everything else in my life just to get this one little thing moving even a quarter inch. I mean, I hated it when I realized that some people just didn't have to work as hard to get the same result I did if I killed myself, but that's how it works out sometimes. I can work as hard as I want, but some other writer will always be more talented, more prolific, more brilliant, more famous, more well-regarded than I am, and they'll do it while raising four kids and competing in kickboxing championships and opening restaurants in their spare time.

It's like with me and maintaining my weight, or learning some kind of skill that involves physical coordination. I have to work harder than other people just to be seen as in the running. And that doesn't mean I'm a loser, or that there's something wrong with me. I'm just different. It sucks. It's shitty, but it just *is.* And I either accept that or lie around and whine about it and not get anything done.

And I really, really want to get healthier, because there's a lot more I want to do besides writing, like reading more, getting back to boxing, teaching myself some Arabic, and taking a refresher course in basic French.

I've gained ten pounds since I got out of the hospital, and I lamented over it for awhile. I worried that it would never stop. I worried about having an out-of-control body. I already had a broken pancreas. What if my metabolism was broken, too?

But the thing about that, about finally putting back on weight, is that for me, for myself, without looking out at the world, without thinking about how other people regard me - I really like being more substantial. I like having my biceps back. I like being able to get up the stairs without wanting to pass out. I like being able to get back to my regular workouts without feeling like I'm so tired I'll die.

And sometimes, I get so angry. I get so angry that I live in this society that tells me I'm overweight and unhealthy because I don't fit into their boxes, because they know nothing about my life. I'm angry because this body that I can train to do such great things isn't valued as much because it takes up an inappropriate amount of space. I'm angry, because secretely, I do like myself. I like the way I look. I like having hips, and broad shoulders, and muscles I can flex. Watching myself melt away was really scary there, toward the end. Looking at myself in the mirror at Wiscon, I marveled at how much my torso had straightened out. What was happening to my hips? I had no shape. And my biceps? How come I work out every morning and they stay so spindly? What's happened to me?

I guess I'm saying that no matter how much or how often I logically reject the social pressures to be small and fem, I still feel those pressures. They don't go away, not when I'm bombarded with those images every day. I have those times when I want to cut everything away, and then I realize what I'm doing, remember how weak I was with less of myself, and I say, "What the hell are you thinking?"

Because I'm so much more powerful a person when I'm healthy, and substantial.

And have enough insulin...

There's a time and a place for fighting. Sometimes you have to fight for your life, your beliefs, your sense of self. But there are times when fighting means becoming your own worst enemy, when you realize one day that it's not other people who are out to get you, it's not the world that's keeping you miserable, it's yourself.

And, maybe, a lack of insulin...

How Much is Too Much, and Who Says?

How much sex, exactly, makes a woman a slut? And why's having a lot of sexual partners still considered a "bad thing" for women, but a matter of "gaining useful experience" for men?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Well, then

I've discovered that I don't really like pistachios.



Kewl (and hey! I *know* that Trojan cooling tower - I used to pass it on the freeway all the time. Looks like they just blew it up in May)


As expected, the women are all shape shifters. You do meet a shapeshifting guy at some point, but you never watch him shift. Is this fear of the naked male body again?

Dunno (OK, to be fair, the "good" women are shapeshifters, and the "bad" women are vampires, and the only other woman in the show is the McGuffin. And a lot of the "bad" guys are vampires, too, but because there are so many more guy characters than women characters, they get to have a greater variety of skills. Whereas women are just.. shapeshifters and vampires. I mean, couldn't you have a vampire, a seer, a shapeshifter and some kind of shooting-flames-from-eye-sockets power woman?).

Highlight of the movie: when the main kid sits and watches Buffy the Vampire Slayer on tv while carving kitchen utensils into pointy stakes.

This wasn't the movie I thought it was. I assumed it was going to be some sort of creepy ghosty show, based on the trailer I saw. Instead, it's a showdown between good and evil, where everybody has a superpower. A sort of X-men lite.

Also, the pseudo-climax is resolved pretty easily, with no real action on the part of the protagonist, at which point you realize that whole part of the plot was just a McGuffin that gets us to the place where his son has to choose between good and evil, and his part in doing that (though his part in doing that comes at the beginning of the movie, so again, his choices, the outcome, has already been made. Sort of tensionless then, really).

I might be interested in seeing the rest, maybe. It's the first in a trilogy. But... well, though I do sorta like some of the characters, I don't love any of them, and if you're going to invest that much time in a series, you generally have to love the people and really care what's going to happen to them.

And, mostly, I didn't really.

Though it was cool that the shapeshifting chick got to battle it out in armor in the opening bit.

Hey, I take what I can get.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


This is just another reason why I don't buy the whole "he" is really being used as a pronoun meaning "everyone" thing.

It doesn't. It means men.


Katha Pollitt Interview

Katha Pollit is awesome.

I guess I feel that the rollback of our rights is only temporary -- and I say that in my introduction. That a big modern industrial country like America is not going to become a right-wing Christian nation in which you have to show your marriage certificate to get birth control. If you can measure the strength of an impulse by the ferocity of the opposition to it, I would say that feminism is very much alive. People don't spend a lot of time anymore bashing unions, for example. They don't spend a lot of time bashing the black power movement, but feminism really gets to people. So I think the fact that it really gets to people shows both its relevance and its power.

Sugar, Sugar

Yea, my eyes are bothering me, so I'm less prone to type up long posts today.

I took some ridiculous amount of insulin this morning, and it only helped my average noon-day number by like 40 points. So instead of 220, I'm 180, which is still too high a pre-meal number.

But at least it was below 200. I haven't seen a below 200 number since Monday morning, and that was still too high as well. All that sugar has exhausted my poor eyes. Should clear up when the numbers do.

Simple Tutorials Explaining a Number of Medical Conditions & Procedures

They're very basic overviews, but somewhat entertaining.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Please Find My Friend Stephanie A New Job

Anybody know of any good receptionist/admin positions open in Dayton? Please. Find her a new job. With people who aren't originally from Dayton. Steph has a college degree and everything! And she uses big words, like egregious!

Here's a snippet of conversation she overheard at work today:

Stupid person A: "Have you ever tried to study geneology?"

Stupid person B: "No, I've never really been into rocks."

A Few More Photos Up At Flickr

Some more pics from the 4th weekend are up...

Buffy, The UnAired Pilot

Really, the one with the plumper version of Willow. God, I love the fucking internet.

The World, Without Men

All those far future SF novels about worlds without men?

Not so far-future, after all.

"Scientists have turned stem cells from an embryo into sperm that are capable of producing offspring."

Respect the Cock, Woman

Soooo... tell me what's funny about this comment written in response to this rather tame and reasonable post about the importance of creating strong female comic book characters:

Nice piece. Of course, the two main things that would need to change is there to be more female leads (either in their own book or another series) and more female creators (not always working on female characters, either).

But the thing feminist comic fans need to remeber, is that it's going to take time. Rome wasn't built in a day, neither was the comic industry. Things are changing to the better for women in comics (both in the books and in real life), but there is still more to be done. Guys understand that. But it seems that a good bit (not all, because not everyone is the same) of comic book feminists are a VERY impatient lot (and concidering the patience of "regular" comic fans, that's saying something).

We know you want to make things better. We even want to help where we can (because, I'm sure it wasn't just feminist comic fans who wrote in and saved Manhuter and Spider-Girl). But when you get impatient, you really hurt the cause more than help it. This is just a little something you should keep in mind, when you want to go off on rants about something you don't like. Normal comic book fans look stupid when they do it, having a "cause" behind you doesn't make you look any less so.

Let's keep making those strides to make better comics for men and women (has anyone here been reading Witchblade lately? Man, that is some good stuff.). But don't let the passion you feel for the issues, cause you to turn people sour to your points, simply bacause of your tone and attitude in expressing them.

When someone is screaming in your ears, the reflex is to cover your ears. Not listen more intently.

Just a little something to think about... :)

You poor little impatient feminist girls! You're soooo cute when you try and talk to "us," the men who make up the "real world"! You silly fems are just hurting your cause by engaging in intelligent discussion, don't you see??

Read the whole exchange. It's classic! Women are too angry, and don't respect the cock!

Really! Read it!

And, a response.

(thanks, Jenn!)

The Writers' Fightsong

So beat your helpless characters
With bricks and baseball bats
We've answered ALL our email
And shaved and waxed the cats (AND YAKS!)
Procrastination is the foe
Write in a kindly whore
And add a bit of sodomy (USE LUBE!)
And another dinosaur! (A LOT OF LUBE!)


Rogue Waves

Are kewl. I really should see the remake of The Poseidon Adventure, just for the hell of it.

What can I say? I was raised on disaster movies and post-apocalyptic SF shows. I'm bound to be a little morbid.

Eating, Drinking, Fighting, Fucking and Other Fun Things

The other night, I wanted to eat a pound of cheese fries and drink five beers.

Wouldn't that have been great?

Instead, I went home, ate some Spanish cheese and soy crisps, and went to bed mostly hungry.

I am so tired of being hungry. Also, tired of needles. Also, tired of nerve-damaged feet. But having feet - nerve-damaged or not - is better than not having any feet. So really, I'm lucky.

But my feet are a constant reminder that things are not OK with me, that I'm sick, that at some point in the far future, I may lose some of these very lovely toes. On the one hand, the constant tingling or twitching on the bottoms of my feet and toes is a hateful thing. It keeps me from being able to pretend that everything's fine. On the other hand, it keeps me from be able to pretend that everything's fine, and so keeps me from eating like everything's fine. I know what's at stake. I can stay pretty focused.

And pretty hungry.

I called Dr. S today, and we upped the insulin again (I'd been upping it on my own between this call and the one before). We've gone from a starting insulin dose of 18 in the morning and 10 at night to 30 in the morning and 28 at night, which says something about why I felt so freakin' shitty after the initial leveling-out period.

I'll be seeing Dr. S. on the 19th, and unless this new uppage does some kind of wonderful thing, I'm going to ask that we move me back to the other insulin regimen, because this one just isn't working with any kind of consistency. My sugar spikes in the afternoon while at work and again at night while I'm lying in bed, so I lie there and listen to my heart pound hard and often irregularly in my chest for an hour before the insulin brings me back down.

Also, really fascinated with the fact that I've lost what used to be a really high sex drive.

Not that it's gone, mind you, but it's not what it was. That's what shitty sugar will do to you (and yes, that's another reason I really, really want to get the insulin sorted out). I do realize that, being single, there's not a lot to do with a sex drive if I did have my old one back, but you know, I *like* looking at people. I *like* sighing over people I find attractive. One of the reasons I hated being on the pill was because I never ovulated, and lost that monthly spike in sexual interest where everyone I met just looked so beautiful...

I miss that.

I don't know, sometimes, how much of my exhaustion with the whole thing is physical, and how much is mental. It's just the constant nagging thing, trying to get everything to work out right. I want to get this under control before I start boxing classes, which I wanted to start in August, but which I may push back until September (which is as far as I'll push it. After that, it's "suck it up" time).

Jenn had some friends in town this weekend, and the four of us went to a restaurant, and Jenn and I both ended up in front of the sinks in the bathroom at the same time, and when I looked at us both in the mirror, our difference in size was really apparent. I looked absolutely gargantuan next to her. Not fat, so much, though I obviously weigh more, but just... big. I am just big. When I stand her in front of me and line up her left shoulder with mine, her right shoulder hits the center of my chest. Granted, Jenn is just little, but man, seeing myself look so huge and intimidating reminded me again that I live in a society that doesn't seem to have a place for me. If I'm supposed to be a little objectified woman who exists to be looked at, well, I'm pretty bad at that... But you know, boxing? When I was boxing, I felt like my body was just right, like I was built just for this. I had this fantastic, powerful body that was actually really *good* for something. I didn't feel too-big or freakish. I felt just right.

And that's why I need to get back to it: beyond the fitness part, the self defense part, it's something that makes me feel better in my skin, that makes me feel like I'm not too big and bulky and awkward. No, I'm powerful and intimidating and free.

Also, really hungry right now.

I may have to get in the habit of making something like egg salad or chicken salad and bringing that to work to snack on. The idea of eating plain hard boiled eggs isn't that appealing, and you can only eat so much beef jerky before you get sick on it.

I think a lot of my problems with the change in eating isn't *what* I eat - I'm actually eating a wider variety of things now that I'm diabetic - it's *how much* I eat. I got so used to packing in some ridiculous amount of calories every day, living on popcorn and nutrigrain bars and going out to lunch and having chocolate cake twice a week, that changing that mode after a year of, "I can eat anything I want and still lose weight!" I'm pretty startled to find myself subsisting primarily on cheese and almonds. I mean, gawd, I'm a former binge eater, too, and one of the big reasons I resolved never to get any kind of stomach surgery was because I love to eat sometimes, just eat until I'm exhausted. I mean, that's what holidays are for. I enjoy the celebration. I'd broken the binge eating cycle before I got sick, but the, "Let's celebrate and eat!" thing was still OK, I could still do it.

And, I guess I still can, only with, like hot wings and omelettes.


I actually crave the low sugar days (few to none, right now) when I can eat one piece of chocolate or even three whole graham crackers! Or jellybeans! Or! Or!

Sometimes, I'm just tired. It'll get better. It'll get easier. It's only been two months. When I figure this whole thing out, when I find an insulin regimen that works and fine tune it, everything will be OK.

I know it will, but it doesn't mean it makes it any easier not to lust after cheese fries and multiple bottles of beer.

I get sad, sometimes.

Good Morning, Chiklits

It's a rainy day in Chicago, but the day job is slow, and I have coffee. Decaf coffee, but coffee nonetheless.

Always gotta look on the bright side.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Travel Writing: About as Glamorous as Being a War Reporter

Only, no bombs. Also, less money.

Blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah. Blah

No, I really have nothing to say today. At least not anything that doesn't sound really whiny.

I'm going to go work on God's War.


I'm getting really, really sick of needles.

Also, if my weight would stabilize at some point, I'd really appreciate that...

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hacienda Chicago

Our front stoop - we're on the top floor


Living room - that elliptical machine and I have a very special relationship...

Dining room/reading room

Me and Jenn

Outtake 1

More of me and Steph

Saturday, July 08, 2006

The Weekend of the 4th

What's on my mind?

Stephanie has a bright idea

Ian concocts his next scheme

Me & Stephanie learn to pilot our own ship

Typical Steph & Ian...

Let the drinking begin! Thanks to David, we enjoyed this wine with a fine selection of Spanish cheeses...

And we aren't even drunk yet!

More to follow, as soon as I can get blogger to upload these damn things properly. Or, just go to my flickr account for the rest.


Guys hanging off the rigging of ships; Orlando Bloom without a shirt: hot

Keira Knightley with a sword: even hotter.

It's embarassing how much delight I take in these movies...

Friday, July 07, 2006

You Can Tell My Sugar is Better...

... because I'm swearing a lot in my blog posts again.

The Beat Goes On: Or, the Protagonist is An Idiot Who Can't Commit (and should probably be committed)

"The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one." - Joan Baez

As regular readers know, things have been fucking crazy here at Hacienda Chicago for the last, well... year, year and a half. A while.

I've been crazy and spastic and greiving and exhausted and sometimes, occasionally, hung over (though that won't ever happen again. Which is such an odd thing to think: I'll never be drunk again). Earlier this year, amid all the madness, Jenn and I decided to try and date. We've known each other for six years and been living together for three, and after we both ended rather disastrous relationships, it seemed to make perfect sense for the two of us - who got along so well - to date.

I'd been pretty exhausted by my last relationship, and the August end-date for mine and Jenn's (she'll be getting a teaching job; I'll be heading off to god knows where) gave me a really good excuse to keep up my emotional walls and keep going at a three-months-into-it level of commitment throughout the long haul.

Problem is, you get three or four months into it, and discover that the relationship you thought you'd gotten into wasn't the one she thought she'd gotten into. Because maintaining a three-months-into-it level of emotional intimacy only lasts, well, three months.

Then you need to decide if you want the relationship to grow, of if you want to continue keeping your desperate stranglehold on it.

My rules and boxes, all those things that made me feel "safe" inside of the relationship, were stifling it. And I had to make the choice of whether to give up on all those constraints that made me feel so safe, or end the relationship. Because if you can't trust that you and your partner will have each other's backs forever, you really shouldn't be in a relationship.

I trust Jenn with pretty much everything. The woman fucking saved my life; I know that when the shit hits the fan, if I ever need her when the world throws a punch, she can handle it.

It's not her I don't trust.

It's myself.

I don't trust my judgement in people. I've had too many people turn on me the minute I decided everything must be OK. And I've continued relationships far longer than I felt was right because I figured, "Hey, relationships are hard. I just need to WORK HARDER."

And, you know what?

There are things Jenn deserves in a lover that I can't give her. And I love her to death, and I want her to be happy. And if you're a decent fucking person, you'll walk away when you realize it isn't going to work. That's what you do. You don't try and keep your stranglehold. You don't try and change them.

You realize there's something fundamentally fucked up about the way you view relationships, and you stay away from people until you figure out what that is and how you're going to fix it.

I mean, there's all the romantic baloney about hey, maybe if I just meet the right person, things will be magically fixed and I'll be able to commit! But that may not be the case, and I need to face that possibility. It could just be that there's something fundamentally broken inside of me. I don't know.

What it likely means is that this was not the right place/right time for this particular pairing, or that something was just off. It just wasn't quite right, and I don't know why, and I can't articulate it. I just felt ending it was the right thing to do, and I feel like a lowly piece of shit for doing it, because it was, ultimately, a happy relationship. It was my first non-fucked-up relationship. I can look at it and go, "Wow, I learned so much about what it is to have a real relationship."

But there's something I'm missing in this whole "relationship" thing, because I don't think I really understand what relationships are. I mean, I would run into a burning building to save Jenn or my buddy Julian. I love them a lot. Would I have run into a burning building to save B? Or the psycho ex? No, I would not have.

But then, if you asked me, what's the difference between people who are your friends, and people who are your lovers? I would stare blankly and say, "Um... we have sex?"

And then you'd say, "Sooooo.... what's the difference between a relationship and a fuckbuddy?"

And I'd say, "Well, committment. Monogamy [I'm old-fashioned that way; other stuff doesn't work. Believe me. I know]. Love."

"Soooo.... what's committment?"

"Well.... when you say, `we'll be together X long, or until X.' And, to me, X can be an arbitrary date or a "until you hit me" or "until you disrespect me" or "until one of us no longer loves the other one" or "until you cheat on me" thing. And, to me, that arbitrary date sounded like a really great safety catch. Problem was, it also encouraged me to be all stoic and amazon-like and remind myself every day that soon, I was going to be alone. I wasn't going to have someone around forever. I needed to be able to take care of myself."

Because, you know, even if somebody never leaves you or hurts you or cheats on you, everybody dies.

People fucking die, and they leave you.

Everybody leaves you eventually, and you have to be prepared for that, and for me, for someone who so clearly fucked up in the longest relationship I ever had, way back when, I know what sort of person I can become if I rely on someone too heavily, if I get used to the idea that somebody else is going to fix everything. And, you know, to be honest, not only do I never want to be that stupid person again, but now that I do actually love the partners that I'm with, I never want to be that kind of a burden on them.

And you know, with the whole diabetes bullshit, that's a really terrifying thing. I was already terrified about being dependent on anybody, and waking up in a hospital, realizing that I'd so totally fucked up in taking care of myself, was just a huge blow. I don't trust myself to *not* want to be taken care of, for somebody to hold me every stupid night and tell me everything's going to be all right. Because I'm afraid that if I want that, I'll get used to that, I'll get dependent on it, and I'll become this burdensome woman who cries on somebody's shoulder every stupid night, and how unattractive is that?

"Hello, my name is Kameron Hurley and I'm committment-phobic. Every time my partner says, `let's think about forever," I cut and run."

Because you know, I have this little engine inside of me. I have this story. People come up to me and say, "How did you change your life?" or "Where do you get the courage to do what you've done?" or "How did you go from being sedentary to *not* being sendtary?" They ask me where my drive comes from. And I tell everyone the same goddamn story: for almost three years, I was someone I hated. I was in a relationship with somebody who wanted to keep me more than he wanted to love me, somebody who was more interested in being in control than in being partners.

I hated who I was. I hated what I looked like. I hated being full of fear.

And so I decided to change it.

And every night for a year I went to bed and closed my eyes and envisioned who I wanted to be, the things I wanted to do, the life I wanted to live.

And that life that I created in my head, in that life, I was all alone. I let go of this romantic wishy-washy notion of having this really cool partner who was my best friend and wanted to run off and have adventures with me. I let that go, because in order to have everything else, I felt I needed to give up something. And I chose to give up the romantic ideal. I chose to give up the forever-fairytale fantasy.

And that's worked for me for nearly ten years. For almost ten years, I've lived the life I wanted and did the things I wanted to do, and when confronted with someone who says, "You know, we could be those ideal romantic buddies. We could motorcyle around Rome and drink red wine in Cape Town and you'll speak Arabic and I'll speak Chinese and we'll have a little house by the ocean and fill it full of books and have drunken dinner parties and learn to cook Thai food," I think, "No, no. You can't have everything. That's impossible. I'm either on my own or I'm owned."

Because I was in a relationship, a "forever" relationship, that lasted a really long time, and he said he wanted those things, said that was the life he wanted too, and he was full of shit, and instead he joined the Marines and spun out my whole life for me, as if I'd already lived it: drunk and barefoot and pregnant, living in shitty Marine base housing and being shouted at and talked down to every day for the rest of my life so he could feel better about himself, so he could feel superior to somebody.

I'm not going to do that again. I'm not going to make a mistake again. I'm not going to be that person again.

I run on rage and anger and fear, and that's what powers me through everything: through grad school in foreign countries and lightless days in Fairbanks and broken pancreases and boxing classes where I feel like I'm the most uncoordinated person in the whole room. It pushes me past all my other fears: of looking stupid, of acting like an idiot, of dying, of being maimed or raped or used and thrown aside, because there is no more frightening place than where I've been, no more frightening future person than the one I used to be.

I link that person to "forever." I link that person to, "I will just relax now and assume I'm not going to get fucked over."

The safe place to be is, "I just won't let myself get hurt. I'll keep everything controlled and contained. I won't get attached." The safe place is, "Well, I don't need to get too attached, because it's not like this is Forever."

My Story has gotten me through a lot of shit. It's powered me through some really dark times when I went back to thinking I was a worthless idiot, no better than a wad of spent chewing gum. It got me through.

So to give up that story, to say, "Well, I can be the person I am and still do Forever," is really fucking scary. It's too much, and it involves me trusting myself - and my partner - to such a ridiculous degree that it's nearly impossible.

It's something I fear giving up. It's something I can't give up - right now, anyway.

But it's something I know I need to work on. The alternative is serial monogamy. The alternative is possibly finding a partner where everything *does* work, and giving up because it's too fucking scary.

Even admitting that it's something I know I need to work on sends my heart racing and my palms sweating. It's the most terrifying thing I will ever do, if I ever do it. It means confronting that base fear, the fear that drives me, the fear that I'll become the person I hate the most, that all of these things are tied together, that if I give in and say, "forever," it means I become a bawling submissive who flinches every time her partner looks at her.

I don't want that. I don't want to be that. I don't want to confront that. And I've gone nearly ten years not having to, not getting to the point where someone said, "No, really, this is fucked up." Or, at least, not understanding what they meant.

Jenn has called me on it. And I know she's right. Her and I may not be the best fit for a number of reasons, but if I'm ever going to have any kind of relationship that lasts more than three months, I need to confront this fear. I need to have some faith in myself, and in other people.

Cause, as Jenn taught me, not everyone is a fucker. And - most important of all - as my buddy Ian said: If I can't commit because some asshat I dated back when I was 18 scared me away from having a life partner, then, well, "He wins."

And, you know, if there's any other rage that can drive me as powerfully as the one that's gotten me through these last ten years, it's the idea that he wins.

This is my life.

I can make it into anything I want it to be. And I need to figure out how to do that without giving up who I've become.

The Bitch is LYING: Or, Dan Savage is a Fucktard

So, say you had this friend. You find her very attractive. She happens to be married and has four kids, and she takes you into her confidence and admits that her husband is an abusive fuck who's raped her, abused the kids, and threatened to kill her.

What would you do?

1) tell her that's really awful, and give her the number for the local women's shelter

2) run away with her and the kids and kill her husband for her

3) tell her she's a lying ho, because any woman who stays with a fucker who says they're going to kill them would be stupid, cause that makes no sense, then laugh in her face and break off the friendship

If you chose #3, you and Dan Savage will get along just fine!


Maybe I'm just shocked that the girl of your dreams—the girl of any man's dreams—would be a married woman with four children

Because women with kids are soooo not sexy.

and what may be the worst taste in men this side of Denise Richards.

Ah, you stupid women! Alwasy choosing fuckups! What's wrong with you?? Men never choose fuckups. Just hos. And that's different. That's about sex and clean kitchens.

Can this angel-on-earth pick 'em or what?

What a stupid ho! How can you like this stupid ho! I mean, no decent woman ever found herself in an abusive relationship with a fucktard, and any woman who is isn't worthy of love, obviously.

She married a bordering-on-homicidal asshole and now she's sneaking around with a bordering-on-homicidal dumbass, a guy so stupid that he would threaten the life of his lover's husband in a newspaper column.

And it's all her fault that you guys are bordering on homocidal. What a ho!

Have you bothered to confirm your lover's story?

Cause the bitch is LYING! Obviously. I mean, if a guy came up to you and said he'd just been mugged, why would you believe him? He's obviously just trying to get some sympathy in a vain attempt to get you to track down his mugger.

Your letter makes this woman's husband seem perfectly monstrous. In fact, he seems a little too perfectly monstrous.

Because most men are Really Nice Guys. There are no fucktarded guys in the world, just as there are no fucktarded women, except lying hos.

Have you entertained the possibility that you're being fed a massive load of shit, LIFE?

Bitch be LYIN'!!!!!!!!

Some cheaters invent elaborate tales of woe—the frigid shrew of a wife; the abusive husband—because the cheater wants to have her infidelities and her victim status too.

Because the very first thing every abused woman wants to do is run out and tell everyone that she stays with an abusive fucker! Because she gains so much self-respect when she says that out loud. "Hi, world! I'm too scared to leave this fucker who's hitting me because he says he's going to kill me, and the police won't help me and I don't know what to do."

Oh yea, I've heard that one a MILLION times from lying hos out to "get attention." There's nothing cooler than faking your own bruises and wearing frumpy sweaters in a vain attempt to appear pathetic!

It's incredibly empowering.

So, LIFE, before you run off and kill anyone: Have you checked her story out? If your lover's husband was tried for rape, then there are records out there somewhere—trial transcripts, newspaper articles. Have you looked them up?

Oh, YEA. Because if you REALLY want your abusive psycho husband to leave you alone, the BEST THING TO DO is make rape charges! He'll be out on bail the next day, then stalk you with a butcher knife and cut your head off because you made him "so angry" that he just couldn't contain himself! And if you're EVEN LUCKIER he'll plead the "crime of passion" defense and get off with a year of prison time and then go off and marry some other woman he thinks he can bully around.

OK, my chiklits.

So, let's say you have this friend who's told you all about this abusive fucker she's dating. What advice would, say, somebody like ME give you?


Sweet jesus on a fucking stick. Do not fuck this woman. If she's stuck in this relationship, she probably has low self-esteem and very little confidence, and hopping from one guy (or girl) to another with no break in between means you're going to be dating the same person who just got beat down for god knows how many years, and she needs to deal with that. If you're really her friend, if you really love her, you'll give her AT LEAST a year to get her shit together.

AFTER she's left the fucker.


Give her some numbers for women and children's shelters. Inquire about her relationship with her other family members to see if she can lean on them. Show her how to fill out financial aid forms.


When I was shacking up with a fucker in Bellingham, my friend Jen B. came up and visited for a weekend. I was feeling increasingly terrified about my relationship with the fucker I was dating, but every time I thought he was out of line, I made up little stories about how no, really, he didn't mean that. He was just under a lot of stress and pressure and that's why he called me shitty things and said I was stupid, and that was why, after a while, I started to believe me. I mean, I must be a pretty shitty, stupid person to stay with him.

Then Jen B. came up, and when the fucker went out to get something, turned to me and said, "How can you let him treat you like that? I had no idea things were this bad."

And it was like this huge weight fell off my shoulders, because I realized I wasn't crazy, I wasn't making it up, somebody else saw it too. Because when you're in a relationship with one person who's discouraged you from having any friends and you never get out, well, you start to believe that what they're doing and saying is totally "normal." Because in your close-knit little world, it is.

Don't tell her she's a liar. Because you'll just reinforce what she thinks about herself, and she'll stay with the fucker even longer.


Her shit is her shit. Encourage her to take up quilting or kickboxing or take pottery classes or karate classes, but don't tell her you're going to save her or fix her or make everything better. Only she can do that. You can help her, sure, provide the information she needs to change her life; direct her toward those resources. But you can't do it for her.


Because that's just fucking stupid, you fucking retard.


Well, if you followed my advice in step one, this won't be a problem, will it, you fucktard?

Give Them Something to Live For

"Do you want to know how to eliminate terrorism? I'll tell you. In fact, I'll tell you about something that no one else knows. Something that has never been written about. You will be amazed, but it is true. Listen."

Woman, be a patriot! Marry yourself off for the cause!

On the one hand, giving people something to live for will stop them from doing crazy shit; or at least slow them down. As someone who does a lot of crazy shit, I can tell you that realizing how much my death would piss some people off, I do occasionally have some second thoughts now, like: well, it's not just me I'm living for. It impacts a lot of other people (sometimes I wonder if this is another reason why I have trouble with longterm relationships. I mean, if you're really partnered forever in an interdependent way with somebody and have kids, going bungee jumping might be a little irresponsible).

On the other hand, shipping in women and asking them to screw for the cause is a little weird. But then, it's not like they were forced over there or forced to get married, and you know: a lot of them probably wanted to get married, and hey, what a dating service!

In any case, it's a good example of thinking outside the box. Instead of fighting violence with violence, well... there are other options, and they're a lot more effective than smart bombs.

(thanks, Jenn!)

Ah, the Joys of the Dayjob

Nobody gets their lame asses in here before 9am on Friday: the HR Manager and the Design Center Director both have every Friday off, and nobody's fucking been to work this whole week, cause when we're slow, everybody's encouraged to take their vacation time, including our ever-punctual receptionist.

So I walked in this morning to a dark office and the security alarm going off. One of the junior architects had come in just after 8, set the thing off, and had no idea what to do about it.

I turned it off, security called, and I told them not to call the police, gave them the password that went with my verification code, and hung up. It's apparently a $100 fine every time the police show up and there's not an actual emergency. We know this because my own boss, Blaine, used to set the goddamn thing off all the time.

What a fun way to start the day.

Of course, nobody being in the office also means I get to screw off even more than usual today.

Fucking sweeeeeet.

I've got "The Women of Our Occupation" edits to do.

EDIT: Yup. They called the police. A fun visit from Johnny Law! Yay!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Real Pirates

heh heh. I am easily amused.

(thanks, Jenn!)

I Drink Too Much Coffee

And yet, I have so few vices left...

Gone With the Blastwave

It's Red vs. Blue, only all apocalyptic and shit.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

50 Most Popular Science Blogs

For your reading pleasure.

It's good for you.

The 40 Questions Meme: Cause it's Summertime @ the Day Job, So Why Not?

1. Have you ever been searched by the cops?
Oh, yea, right. I got out of my first speeding ticket because the cop used to work for my parents. Small towns!

2. Do you close your eyes on roller coasters?

3. When's the last time you've been sledding?
What a poorly constructed sentence.

4. Would you rather sleep with someone else, or alone?
Are we talking in the biblical sense, or actual sleeping? Cause, you know, people are sexy, but there are, indeed, people who should stay far, far away from other people. Like, forever.

5. Do you believe in ghosts?
Of course. I saw a ghost in a B&B in Cape Town. I will not stay there again.

6. Do you consider yourself creative?
Not particularly.

7. Do you think O.J. killed his wife?
Doesn't much matter what I think, does it?

8. Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie?
Keira Knightley.

9. Do you stay friends with your ex's?
No, but I'm hoping to change that.

10. Do you know how to play poker?
That's like asking if I know how to smoke a cigar and drink whisky. I mean, *Yea.*

11. Have you ever been awake for 48 hours straight?
Yes. Hullo, Clarion!

12. What's your favorite commercial?
I'm partial to the Apple Computer 1984 commerical classic.

13. What are you allergic to?
My pancreas, apparently.

14. If you're driving in the middle of the night, and no one is around do you run red lights?

15. Do you have a secret that no one knows but you?
Yes, several, but they're likely to come out in my fiction.

16. Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees?

17. Have you ever been Ice Skating?
Yes. Once. Never again.

18. How often do you remember your dreams?
Usually. I have a lot of crazy fucking dreams.

19. When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
This weekend, baby: Steph and Ian, you guys rock!

20. Can you name 5 songs by The Beatles?
Yes, but should I?

21. What's the one thing on your mind now?
I reserve comment.

22. Do you know who Ghetto-ass barbie is?
Do you mean "Who" or "What"? Cause if it's who, and Barbie's a real person now, that's fucking scary. I had My Little Ponies and GI Joes, and they had wars, dude.

23. Do you always wear your seat belt?

24. What cell service do you use?
I don't have a cell phone. Which is really ironic because, of course, I work for a company that builds, designs and upgrades cell phone towers. Word of advice: don't get a Cingular phone for another 3 years.

25. Do you like Sushi?
Yes. Is Sushi really a capitalized word?

26. Have you ever narrowly avoided a fatal accident?
Yes. Several.

a) I was coming home from the movie theater I worked at one night and stopped at a red light on a deserted street. The light turned green, I moved my foot to the gas and started for the intersection, and a car full of guys ran the other light going about 100 MPH. They missed me by about a foot.

b) Got T-boned in South Africa while trying to cross two lanes of traffic. I wasn't driving, and was on the non-T-boned side, but if the guy would have been going faster... well.

c) My pancreas exploded, which I'd count as an accident of sorts.

27. What do you wear to bed?
Depends on the season, but I'm quite partial to my oversized Nanook Nick's shirt and shorts or sweat pants. Terribly unsexy, but very comfortable.

28. Been caught stealing?
Caught? No.

29. What shoe size do you have?
Size 11. Just like Kate Winslett!

30. Do you truly hate anyone?
No, because that would mean I'd have strong feelings for someone I didn't care about, and I have no interest in giving anybody that honor.

31. Classic Rock or Rap?

32. If you could sleep with one famous person, who would it be?
I reserve comment.

33. Favorite Song?
Currently? "Fix You" by Coldplay.

34. Have you ever sang in front of the mirror?
All the time.

35. What food do you find disgusting?
Those gnocchi things with the olives

36. Do you sing in the shower?
Only when I'm really, really, really happy.

37. Did you ever play, "I'll show you mine, if you show me yours"?
Not that I recall. I figured out plumbing pretty early.

38. Have you ever made fun of your friends behind their back?
Oh yes. Sadly. Though not many of those people are still my friends, so that says something about how close we were...

39. Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
Yes. The most memorable being in South Africa when I was waiting at a bus stop with this skinny blond chick and these two drunk guys came up and started saying all these really lewd, violently sexual things to her and telling her what they were going to do to her, and I turned on them both and started a screaming, swearing tirade about how it was disrespectful to harass people while they were waiting for the bus.

The guys moved on.

40. Have you ever been punched in the face?
Yes, but not hard, and she was wearing gloves. So.

Summertime at the Dayjob

I'm reminded of why I've kept this job for so long.

Cause for several months during the summer, I get paid to write and play computer games for 8 hours every day.


In Which the Protagonist is Chagrined

So, my buddies Ian and Stephanie were in town for the long weekend. They're living in Dayton where he's working toward a PhD in material science (we keep trying to call him a physicist, but it's "Material Science" apparently) and she's working as a medical receptionist to support the household before heading back to grad school herself (like me, she's a history major. Yay!).

Stephanie and I met when we were 14 via the high school drama department. We hated each other at the time. She was the backstage bitch, and I was the onstage bitch. Our most famous encounter was during a show where - because of the limited resources we had - I was supposed to get offstage from a scene and then go back onstage to move a bookcase once the curtain went down. Stephanie was stage managing, which meant it was her job to make sure all the shit got moved.

Well, you know, one night after a particularly great show where I just thought I was the hotest shit ever to hit the stage, I waltzed back into the green room, absolutely preening, and went to my locker to get some more chamomile tea (I did a lot of yelling in that particular show).

About three minutes after I walk into the green room, Stephanie tromps in - 5'4 and barely 120 lbs at the time - and you can practically *see* the steam coming out of her ears. She storms right up to me and screams, "You didn't move the *fucking* bookshelf! It was your job to move the bookshelf! I just about killed myself moving the goddamn bookshelf! Remember to move the goddamn bookshelf! Do you know how important this is??"

Now, a stage manager storming into the green room and screaming at an actor in front of God and everyone wasn't something that, well, happened. There was the heirarchy, right? If an actor fucks up, well, you come to them later, quietly, and set things right.

Oh, no, not Stephanie.

And never again did I forget to move the goddamn book shelf.

We didn't really become close friends until the theater rivalry was over and we started college and started re-examining what we were doing with our lives. It turned out that we had a lot more in common than we suspected, which is probably why we hated each other in high school. Now I think of Stephanie as the little sister I don't have (I mean, I have a sister, but, well, we really don't have anything in common); that is, someone who's loud and obnoxious like me, and even looks like me (when she arrived in Chicago and stepped out of the car, I saw that we had the same haircut), and who has the same sorts of fears and has overcome a lot of the same things. She also decided one day that she didn't like her life, and she's worked very hard to create a new one.

In any case, because I've always been on the move, and now that they are too, a lot of the "what's going on with Kameron" stuff gets transmitted via my blog (I told Stephanie she really needs to start one, too, but she's afraid it'll all be about quilting and scrapbooking, to which I'd reply, "So the fuck what?").

So, a few times this weekend, the subject of exes came up, and after hearing about the shitstorm that was my relationship with B and hearing a few things via the blog, Stephanie said she regretted not meeting him. I told her it was best she hadn't, because he'd probably have assumed that because I spoke to Ian, I must be flirting with him, and I'd have spent the whole weekend trying to convince him that I wasn't going to screw Stephanie's husband (who is nice and all, but I feel like I'm related to him, so that idea is just, well, *icky*).

And, really, how exhausting is it to reassure someone that you're not going to go out and screw the closest human being around the second he turns his back?

In any case, the four of us went out to a great pancake house in Evanston yesterday morning, and I was blabbing to Stephanie about how I'd had to break things off with B when I realized I didn't respect him, and if you can't respect someone, how can you love them? She agreed that that was a pretty mature thing to do.

"Apparently," Stephanie said, "if you talk to marriage counselors, you can figure out which couples will stay together and which won't by measuring the amount of contempt they have for each other. Once couples start down the road toward contempt, there's really pretty much none who can turn it around. Once you disrespect someone, things are pretty much over."

"It's fucked up, too," I said. "I mentioned him, what, five times in the five months since we broke up, and he thought I was, like, saying these really horrible things about him, that I was attacking him on my blog and calling him all sorts of names. All the stuff I said was true stuff. He's kinda wacky and all, but I never said the stuff he said. I mean, he was posting about how disgusting I was, and how I was a shitty writer and used all my friends and was going to spend the rest of my life alone and without love. Which, you know, I've heard before."

"I didn't get that," Stephanie said. "I thought you were being mature about how you felt."

"Oh no," Ian said, and turned to me. "No way. I totally thought you were trying to destroy him."

Me, Steph, and Jenn all looked at Ian, a little perplexed.

"Huh?" I said.

"I mean, you might as well have kicked him in the balls," Ian said. "When you tell a guy `I don't respect you,' that's the worst possible thing you can say. There's like this heirarchy of things you can do to a guy: kick him in the balls, tell him he has a small penis, and then, worst of all, tell him you don't respect him. It means he's not worth bothering with. Not worth anything at all. It's the worst possible insult."

"You're fucking kidding me," I said.

"Seriously," he said. "I honestly thought you'd thought of the worst possible thing to say to him, the one that would cut him the worst, and then posted it up on your blog to your international audience."

"Fuck," I said, "I so totally didn't mean to do that. I thought I was being really honest about the whole thing. I didn't want to be a jerk."

"Well, I mean, what's the female equivalent of that?" he said.

"What do you mean?" Stephanie said. "Of disrespect?"

"I don't know that a guy saying he didn't respect me would be so huge because -" I began, and then stopped. "Oh. The female equivalent is having a guy tell you he loves you and thinks you're the most amazing person in the world and then once he has sex with you says you're a dirty whore and he was only using you for sex."

"Oh, totally," Stephanie said.

"That's it," Ian said. "Same thing."

"Holy shit," I said. "I acted like an ASSHOLE."

"And I thought it was just a mature thing to say," Stephanie said.

Well, crap.

I somehow always manage to come across as more of a bitch than I really think I am, which is likely why so many people call me one. I mean, I don't *feel* evil.