Thursday, May 31, 2007

One for the Road

Wifi eats babies.

Thank you, and good night!

Chairs for Booklovers

I want, like, four of these.

In Which the Protagonist is Offered a Writing Job

For serious, yo.

Writing up that mock business proposal paid off.

I've been tentatively offered a temp-to-possible-hire position in downtown Dayton for what I'll refer to here as a financial services firm (the universe must be trying to tell me something...).

Writing jobs of any sort are like fucking gold, even if, as with this position, you're mainly rewriting training manuals and writing up press releases and creating web content.

During the interview, one of the guys asked me if the writing was my passion or if I was more passionate about my previous job as a project coordinator. For the first time, I could answer that question truthfully without blowing the interview.

"Oh no," I said, "the writing is my passion. It's what I do."

I interviewed this morning and got the call from the temp agency about tomorrow's "start date" and "undetermined length of assignment" about an hour ago, so I'm sill just... stunned.

There's a trial period, of course - that's why it's a temp and not a straight hire. It could turn out we don't click and I'm not able to produce what they're looking for, but you know what?

I don't think they'll get anybody more motivated to knock the fucking thing out of the fucking park.

Fucking A. writing job. writing job. writing job.

French AIDS Awareness Campaign


I'm speechless.


Bloody Brilliant

Puppetry without the puppets. Or, rather, high wiring in real life... without the high wires.

Or something.

Kewl, in any case.

Note To Self:

Do not go out and buy things every time you have a "good" interview.

This makes bad financial sense.

Kay, thnx.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Because After Awhile, You Can Write Just About Anything

Spent much of the day writing up a mock business proposal for a part-time business proposal writer position that one of the temp agencies called me up for.

It was funny, because you know, I've never written a business proposal. I've assisted in writing business proposals; I'm familiar with the format and the lingo because I spent some time working on them at my old dayjob at the telcom place, but I worked on pieces of it: editing, layout, information gathering. Okay, well, maybe technically there *were* parts of it I wrote, though I wrote them mainly by cribbing from old proposals. Which, really, is how you do them all.

It's funny how many things you do at some jobs that you just don't think about having done; I didn't immediately think, "Oh yes, I should apply for business proposal positions!" but when the recruiter talked about the job, I realized it actually sounded like something I could do. I didn't have any writing samples for proposals because, well, those are confidential, so I suggested to him that I just write up one for a fake company with a fake history and fake scope of work.

There are benefits to being a fantasy writer, you know.

And it made me realize that after writing for so many years on so many varied topics, well, after awhile you can write just about anything.

Ode to My Brilliance

So, I forgot my cell phone charger in the room at Wiscon, and my battery is dead. I've got another interview tomorrow, which I was able to set up just as the phone started sending off its dying beeps.

I pulled up some online maps for the local Radio Shack and found one less than two miles away. As I was about to get out the door I thought, "Ha ha! I will be clever and call them to make sure they have a motorola cell phone charger! That way I won't have biked all the way out there for nothing."

So I cleverly picked up my phone, stared at the blank screen... and remembered that my phone was dead.

It's the thought that counts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

One for the Road

Working Out is Hard, Yo

Especially in 80 degree weather. After six days off.

I hate squats.

Have I mentioned how much I hate squats?

Yeah, these aren't getting added to the new nighttime weights routine.

The Essay Generator

No need to make up your own bullshit ever again!

When the Jokes Don't Even Make Sense Anymore

I was idly plugging away at my stumbleupon toolbar and happened across a tired old joke that plays on expected gendered behaviors. It's something like this: a guy's in bed with his girlfriend and really wants to have sex with her, but once he's all buttered up, she says she's really not in the mood and why can't we just cuddle? and doesn't he want her for more than the fulfillment of his sexual desires? So the next day he goes out shopping with her, tells her to buy anything she wants, and watches her work herself into an "orgasmic fit" at the idea of purchasing all of these items. Then they get to the register and he says he no longer feels like buying her anything, and doesn't she want him for more than his ability to buy her things?

The tone was from the first person male POV, with the shopping scene deliberately set up as a cool "ploy" to get his "point" across. It was mean-spirited.

But what struck me about this particularly gendered joke of the sort I see all the time was not just that it was stupidly sexist, but that this joke's "punchline" relies on gendered norms that are completely foreign to my experience. It was a joke based on a shared assumption of behaviors. But it was an assumption I didn't share, cause it wasn't true in my life, so it wasn't funny.

When you tell a joke, you're playing on people's actual experiences. You're ribbing at everyday behaviors, everyday truths, and for the first time I realized that these jokes weren't funny just because they were sexist or crass, but merely because, well they didn't make fun of true experiences. It didn't take behaviors out of context and make me look at them in new ways because this isn't the way my relationships with people have ever worked.

I don't find orgasmic fulfillment in shopping. It makes me feel *worse* about myself. And I'm generally the one who conflates sex with emotional fulfillment in a relationship (yes, I'm working on that). The men in my life don't really buy me things. I struggle to be as fair and equal as possible in the purchasing of shared meals and trips, even when unemployed.

This joke didn't make fun of my life.

It made me think about the shelf-life of sexism, workplace harrassment, etc. The more we live lives that *don't* fit stereotypes and these rigid and absolute gender norms, the more people who speak in these terms look dated, old-fashioned. When an unmarried woman announces she's pregnant these days, the first question out of people's mouths isn't immediately, "When's the wedding?"

I suppose it's too much to hope that sexism will just "go out of style," but certain forms of it have, and I'm watching the rest follow suit. It's why I can understand the fear and terror and violence of the people watching it go; the desperate cry of people watching an entire system of oppression, a system that's kept them in power, headed for the door.

There are days when I worry that it really will take some kind of bloody, radical revolution to get to an egalitarian society. The problem with starting a society based on bloody revolution is that then you have to figure out how to police the bloody-handed revolutionaries. That world isn't any better. I don't really want a Joanna Russ world. What starts with fire and blood often ends with fire and blood.

In the End, Everybody DIES

Not exactly uplifting, is it? (wait for the gifs to begin scrolling - it's a little slow)

Going Home

I want to be better.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Blogging Will Save the World!

Blogging will not save the world.

I'm going to say that again: screaming on the internet will not save the world.

But it can be a good place to start.

Blogs are great places, but I see them more as testing grounds - as initial steps, as consciousness-raising - more than I see them as real, solid activism. They're a form of, maybe, virtual activism. It's where you go to find your voice and speak to others who've shared some of your experiences in the world and want to converse about a common cause or interest.

The trick is to then use this voice you've found online and speak out in the real world. If something is fucked up, you need to be able to say it's fucked up just as easily in real life as you can online.

Because you'll find that it's a fuck of a lot easier to rip into the latest asshattery published by the Washington Post than it is to point out your coworker's blatent sexism during a morning meeting. It's a lot scarier to actually do than to talk about (like most things).

I remember standing around with some coworkers waiting for a meeting to start and having one of the guys make a "joke" about how one of our coworkers must be "shooting blanks" because they found out his wife was having "another" girl. For the first time in a long time, the not-coolness of it struck me deeply enough that I spoke up and said, "Wow, you've just offended every woman here."

And I spoke up in part because of the voice I'd found on this blog. How could I be the writer of a blog called "Brutal Women" and be too terrified to call out a simple example of blatent sexism?

He laughed about it of course, and there were efforts made to move on to another subject, but I remember how difficult and terrifying it was to say that in the workplace to people I had to work with every day. Nobody wants to lose their job or get shunned by everybody else and have their job made horrible because you're that fucking Nazi who "can't take a joke."

But nobody wants to live in the fucked up beat-you-down-somebody's-gotta-be-top heirarchy either.

I got tired of people saying they "just didn't know" something was not cool, offensive, abusive, etc. If you *tell* them they're being sexist, at least you can take away that particular excuse, and maybe your courage can give other people courage. When enough people say no, you have a movement. Behavior changes.

While at Wiscon this weekend, I had somebody introduce me to somebody else as another writer's girlfriend.

One sentence. Full stop.

I laughed out loud and said, "Wow, I can't believe you just introduced me that way at a feminist SF con when I have a story coming out in a Year's Best SF on Tuesday."

I tried to be very good-natured about it, and she was actually a little embarassed about it I think, because it was something she did without even thinking about it. It was a funny thing, too, to be at a professional con and have the entirety of my writing career erased and my identity boiled down to "that chick who's sleeping with so-and-so."

These are all little things, of course, personal things. But if we let these sorts of things go, what else will we let go? The first step to altering behavior isn't to ignore it or smile at it or make excuses for it. The first step is to change your own behavior and call out those normalized behavior in others.

I love to babble online, becuase it is, largely, safe. I can delete comments all I want. I can choose to share or not share things with certain people. I can control whether or not there are comments at all. I have yet to be fired from a job for something I said online (knock on wood). There isn't a lot of danger in it.

What's dangerous is speaking out at the office and confronting harrassers on the street.

It takes courage. It's fucking hard. And terrifying.

But it's the only way we'll ever change anything.

The alternative to speaking out is not speaking out, and that's worse. Silence in this culture implies consent (however fucked up that fucking fucked up idea is). By not speaking out, I am consenting. That's how it's read, no matter that I'm not speaking up because I'm afraid to be beaten, raped, harrassed, fired, etc.

It's going to be read as consentual, because the means of oppression in this society are just so damned normalized.

And you know what? I want to live in a world that's really different. And in that world, the sorts of sexist, oppressive people-like-me-are-better-than-you-and-we'll-force-you-to-fuck-us-to-prove-it stuff that people say everyday is *not* normal, and it's *not* OK, and if I can wrap my head around this idea - that the language of equality, of valuing individuals based on their humanity and not on their race, or class, or gender, is the *norm,* then when I hear these things spoken, they're all the more shocking. They're missives from another world where somebody's got to be on top. Where a woman's value is based on the man (always a man!) who she's attached to, and if you can't beat somebody else into submission then you'll be the one who's beaten.

That is not the world I want to live in. I have to speak from somewhere else.

Sure is a good thing I'm a fantasy writer.

Makes it easier to believe it can be different.

Traveling Sugar

I know my numbers are going to be "off" when I travel, but for some reason this particular con had me running particularly high numbers (I was 313 at lunch today. 313! I haven't seen a number that high since my pizza splurge at Christmas!). I blame some of that on the dessert thing last night; I probably should have gone with something like the fruit cup and the chocolate covered strawberries instead of the fruitcup and the chocolate cheesecake and then having dinner.

My mistake was not setting my alarm for 2am to re-adjust my insulin dosage. I was so tired I just thought, "oh, fuck it" and tested at 215 this morning.

I'm not going to bother logging any of these numbers, BTW. I know exactly why I got them, and the a1c doesn't lie, so there's really no point in logging them just so my new endocrinologist can wag her finger at me and say something brilliant like, "You should lose weight!"

No, what I should do is start working out at cons.

In my spare time.

OK, so maybe I just need to make better choices at the dessert bar and when I have to have the Governor's club pastry breakfast, stick to half a bagel and the fruit dish instead of a whole bagel and the fruit dish.

Subsequent cons should also be less stressful, which I think is really going to help.

Sunday, May 27, 2007


I love me a good Wiscon, don't get me wrong, but I've never stayed Thursday-Tuesday before, and yes, it's Sunday night and I'm incredibly burned out. It takes a lot of effort to get ready for those things. After I blew through the first couple days of "I love all these people! It's so great to see them!" personal stuff started to wear me down, and I found I suddenly felt this desperate need to be interesting.

I'm stunned at the huge feelings of inadequecy by day three, where everything that comes out of my mouth starts to sound way too loud and stupid and all I want to do is drink liquor and burn something.

I knew this was going to be a stressful Wiscon, but it hasn't been as blazingly, gloriously, stunningly bad as I thought it would be.

It's at acceptable levels of screaming terror, which is all right.

I've met some great people and got to sit down and talk to others who I didn't know so well, and really, socializing and a couple of panels that inspire some note taking is all I want out of a good con...

What can I say?

I'm easy.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

WEB MARSHALL [TM] (Dude, I Couldn't *Make* This Shit UP!!)

My flight here in Milwaukee is delayed by 13 minutes, but still scheduled to arrive in Madison on time. Fascinating.

I've been passing the time online checking up on blogs that I was unable to access at Dayton International Airport, which also has a WiFi service.

What's that, you ask? Why wasn't I able to access my blogroll?


And so Dayton's Web Marshall (TM) took me to task!

My favorite part is the fine print that says, "Your attempt to access this site has been recorded."

Next thing you know, I'll be hauled to prison on pornography charges for accessing my blog. Filthy fucking liberal blogs and their Lesbian Feminist Boxers!!!

Even those left-leaning "literary criticism" blogs are full of pornographers!

And Pandagon's been censored for - among other things - using the words "breast" (without mention of "cancer") and "lesbian."

Dirty, Dirty Pandagon!

And apparently, Livejournal - all of it - is just Dirty Dirty Dirty.

Filthy pornographers!!

Is our terror of young people cruising for porn in the airport really so great that we're willing to censor our media like DAY International is a communist state?

Oh, hell, who am I kidding? Just look at all the other shit we've been encouraged to put up with in the name of "terror."

Ohhhhh Pandagon is so full of Scary Angry Women, and that Matt Cheney, man, what a terrorist pornographer! I tremble!

In Case I Don't Get the Chance...

I'm heading for the airport in about half an hour, so in case I don't get the chance, remember that my story The Women of Our Occupation is going to be available for purchase on May 29th in the Year's Best SF 12 collection -

Buy it and ask me to sign it! That would be EXCITING!!!


Does the whole Simon Cowell poking at Paula Abdul (physically) thing bother anybody else but me? I realized last night that if I have to see Simon Cowell poking at Paula Abdul one more time, I'm going to fly to Hollywood and throttle him.

When she stands up and starts hitting him and telling him to stop touching her in the Ford theater on national television, it's probably a good indicator to Cowell that his actions aren't seen as friendly and amusing.

If he'd been doing that to Randy and Randy bashed him in the face, he wouldn't do it it again. Instead, he picks on Paula; even worse last night cause she's got the broken nose and bruised ribs. She's already maybe half his size.

And you know, it's got the same sort of whiff as the whole Harlangate thing. "Me and Paula are friends!" isn't an excuse. It's even more deplorable when it's so fucking obvious that you're being an ass. It does make you wonder: if Simon has problems backing off when someone publically tells him to knock it the fuck off and starts hitting him, what's going to keep him from "knocking it off" in private? Will she have to claw his eyes out?

This is why I find Twisty's whole discussion about "consent" (and... continued here) so damned amusing. What a different world we would live in. Not neccessarily a better one, mind, but oh fucking boy would it be different, and it sure does throw shitty behavior like this into stark relief.

In Which the Protagonist Has a Lot of Packing to Do

Oh my.

Also, I should be reading Wiscon-appropriate material, yet here I am, frantically devouring Gone With the Wind... what's the change, you may ask, as I've been trying to hammer through this book for months?

Well, I finally got to the Seige of Atlanta.

It is great.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I had a wicked craving for a quesadilla or pancakes at 10pm tonight. Man, that sounded uber-tasty.

But you know, I'm working on staying in my clothes cause you know, clothes are expensive, and sweet fuck I just had to buy two pairs of size 18 - 18!!! - trousers for job interviews.

So I brushed my teeth and went to my room to shadow box with free weights and I realized that though the craving was certainly surprising, it was nothing at all like the carb cravings I used to get before I got sick.

I've always been a ridiculous carb addict, which I found out later was also sort of something that went hand-in-hand in diabetic families. Craving carbs is the reason diabetes still survives, I think. I think the two genes are linked; I mean, back in the day, living until 26, I would have popped out a handful of kids by then and spread those carb-loving diabetic genes all over the fucking place. Having an intense desire to scarf high-calorie food at all costs and being able to retain that weight would have put me at a distinct advantage.

My cravings used to be so bad that I would literally shake - shake, like a drug addict or alcoholic - during particularly bad cravings. This was one reason why the Atkins diet worked so well for me back when I was 18/19. After two weeks of withdrawl, I was finally able to live without those intense cravings. They didn't go away, mind you, but I no longer thought I was going to die if I didn't eat something loaded with sugar.

Food and weight are touchy subjects. We have very clear ideas about what sorts of people overeat, about what "fat people" are like, and I know that to some extent, having these incredibly out-of-control cravings (and, particularly in South Africa, some really awful bingeing sessions) has left me with a huge feeling of personal shame. Here I am, this out-of-control fat person.

But what's been worse is to no longer eat the way I did during the most stressful times in my life - the last couple years of high school and my time in Durban - and to still be gaining weight and struggling to get back into shape. I've said before that I'm pretty happy at 200 lbs. I have no desire to attempt a cool 155 lbs, which I don't think I've ever seen in my life, except maybe a brief period in fourth grade. No, I like being big and strong and tall. But once you get up past a certain size, it gets harder to find clothes, and not being able to maintain a steady weight - no matter what number it is - is fucking maddening. It takes all your self control to not beat yourself up about it.

And it's funny, you know, because I did work so hard to come to terms with this body, with what it can do. I like being powerful. I liked not having to think about my weight constantly. It's one of those big societal traps we get into; thinking about weight is a huge mental timesuck. It takes away time from writing, learning French, even getting a job. It sucks a lot of brilliant mind power into struggling with something that is, at the end of the day, rather trivial.

Yet, even knowing this, I'll catch myself shopping for clothes and I'll want to burst into tears. I'll think, "Oh God, I want to kill myself," and it's the intensity of that thought, the sudden brutality of it, that will stop me short.

Dear fucking christ, how important is another inch of flesh? How important is it for there to be less of me in the world? So important that I wish I wasn't here? There's this sick guilt you get when you *don't* feel guilty. What if you're too confident and outgoing and pretend nothing's wrong and then people come up to you and go, "So you know you're fat, right?" What do you say to that?

"I sure as hell am, and I love not being able to find clothes."

Or you laugh nervously and say you're working on it.

Honestly, I don't want to work on it. I want my weight to stay steady. I just want it to stop. I'll take a steady weight. I want my body confidence back. I don't have to be a size 2. I just have to be a size that stops moving.

Pretty please.

I need this angst for more productive things.

Parthenogenesis Among.. Sharks

"Only a species under threat would reproduce this way."

Well, then. That does give me some ideas for a few SF novels...


CAPRICORN (Dec 22 - Jan 19)
Drinking style: Capricorn is usually described as practical, steadfast, money-hungry and status-thirsty -- no wonder they get left off the astrological cocktail-party list. But this is the sign of David Bowie and Annie Lennox, not to mention Elvis. Capricorn is the true rock star: independent, powerful and seriously charismatic, not too eager to please. And if they make money being themselves, who are you to quibble? But just like most rock stars, they're either totally on or totally off, and they generally need a little social lubricant to loosen up and enjoy the after party, especially if they can hook up with a cute groupie.

Check out yours... (just in time for a con weekend!)


As of today, I've gotten at least four calls for temp jobs that would take place over Wiscon weekend (the one I was called in for today would start... tomorrow. I have a 2:30 flight to Madison tomorrow).


But hey, once I'm back from Wiscon, I've got nowhere to be until September. Then maybe somebody call give me money. Or maybe even health insurance!

Boy would that be exciting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

One for the Road (and then I'm really going to bed, I promise)

Small Town Living

I liked living in Chicago. I liked feeling young and hip and successful. I liked my shiny shoes and my corporate card. I liked having money. And spending it.

I didn't like worrying about how I was holding myself when I was walking home at night, being worried about coming home a little tipsy, hauling my bike up three flights of stairs at home so it wouldn't get stolen on the street and removing the seat downtown when I locked it up to make it less thief-friendly. I didn't like getting cat calls on the train plateforms, getting hit on or just plain harrassed on the train at odd hours, or any of my commute times.

But downtown was a train ride away, and there were some shows, and movies, and everything you could ask for within walking distance. There were amazing restaurants, which also involved shelling out amazing amounts of money.

It was a great experience, and I enjoyed my time there, but I won't say I'm incredibly unhappy about living in a small town for a little while after four years of City living. I got tired of being on my guard all the time. I got tired of watching how I walked, what I wore. In Fairbanks, I was friendly to everybody; in Chicago, being friendly meant getting stalked (Jenn made the "mistake" of smiling at a guy in a video store once, who tried to follow her home. The quick-thinking video store clerk called the guy back to "verify" something, and Jenn called the store later and thanked her. "Oh thank God you called," the clerk said, "I was really worried. He bolted out of the store after you when he realized you were gone.").

There were things I liked about Durban, too, but it's that constant threat of violence that gets to you. B and I once got into a screaming fight with some asshole outside the same video store who kept trying to hit us up for money in an altogether menacing way. In Durban, I once got stuck at a busstop with two guys intent on blurting sexually suggestive threats to the little blond next to me. I broke down and cussed them out, too. Without getting knifed, which I thought was great.

You get tired of living in fear. You can do it, yeah, sure, and a lot of people live that way, but it gets to you. After a while, it gets to you.

Some of that is probably hype: you hear more about crime, you worry more about crime, but you know, one of the girlfriends of the guys in the apartment below ours was mugged - on our front porch, and Jenn had stuff go missing from her car. And let's not even talk about all the parties in Durban where everybody traded stories about the latest murder, mugging, rape, robbery, or mutilation.

It gets to you.

I was walking into the kitchen tonight to get some water and I noticed that the windows were still open from when we were cooking and I thought, "I should at least pull them down and put on the burgler guard," (which is just these two pieces of plastic that keep the window from being opened more than three inches - probably more a deterrent than anything else), and then I thought, "Well, hell, it's probably no big deal if I don't. We do live in Oakwood."

This is probably foolish thinking, and I'm sure Oakwood's got it's fair share of thievery, but you know, my bike's been leaning against the back of the house since I moved here. And it's still there (knock on wood), and the only time any yellow tape is up around here is when somebody's repaving their driveway. The neighbors actually say hello to you.

Don't get me wrong, now - there *is* something a little Stepford about the whole thing, and I get weirded out a lot about the glaring... well... *whiteness* of this freaking suburb, but sometimes it's nice to just sit on the grass at the park and not worry about getting hit on by some creep or worry because you haven't locked up your bike.

Sometimes it's nice to just... not worry.

I don't like our culture of fear, and it bothers me that instead of confronting those fears, instead of fixing the places and situations that make us so fearful, we have, instead, these carefully tended little white ghettos; the children and the swingsets, the strollers and sports teams. Because even as I sit there in the park, I know it's a fake existence. I know that just down the hill is the Dayton where "everybody else" lives. Where most people live. Where I'll live again.

But up here in the hills you can walk to Starbucks and pay $8.99 for a pound of cherries and go jogging at night... without fear.

Well, without *one* kind of fear.

I have no fear that I'll be harmed for being white and female.

But I do have a fear of being ostracized for being Other.

For being Feminist, a tad on the queer side, left-leaning. If I died my hair purple and had a face full of peircings and tattoos and rode the train in Chicago, I'd get barely a nod.

But here in Stepford...

Yes, well, it's all about trading one fear for another, one freedom for another.

I enjoy small town living, but the small town I loved best was definately Fairbanks. We were all a bunch of fucking weirdos, and they would find the neatly trimmed lawns as strangely bizarre as I do, some days.

Yes. We trade fear for fear.

If you toe the line, look sharp, don't do anything out of the ordinary... the white ghetto is a good place to be. It's a safe place. If you're white and middle class.

It's safe so long as you're not too different.

It's like any small town. Once you belong, they'll love you forever. But don't belong, and you're in trouble.

There are days when I'm willing to pass, if it means living without fear of violence for a little while. Just a little while.

Because I'm Supposed to have 200 pages of "Black Desert" Done By Wiscon...

I'll just need to write a lot on the plane...

I Want to Eat Some Lilacs!

Mmmm... lilacs!!

Things Other People Did At My Age...

At age 27:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. dropped out from his job at General Electric to become a full-time writer.

Henry David Thoreau went off for two years to live alone in a cabin at Walden Pond.

Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space.

Memphis millionaire Frederic W. Smith, whose father built the Greyhound bus system, founded Federal Express.

Scottish botanist David Douglas discovered the Douglas fir.

Ernest Hemingway published his first novel, The Sun Also Rises.

Boston dentist William Morton pioneered modern anaesthesiology after learning that inhalation of ether will cause a loss of consciousness.

Jimi Hendrix choked to death on his own vomit after ingesting wine and sleeping pills.

Janis Joplin died of an overdose of whiskey and heroin.

How about yours?

One for the Road

Maleness as the Default Human Condition

Good stuff:

"Firstly, being female will always be a relevant detail about a woman in a way that being male is not a relevant detail about a man, leading to lack of attention to their more relevant qualities. This effect might be seen in the way that women’s literature is sidelined, as are women composers and women poets. A woman politician or a woman CEO qualities are less likely to be recognised as a male CEO’s are: the woman is thought of as ‘the female CEO’ while the man is thought of as ‘the confident CEO’ or the ‘the most experienced CEO’ but never as ‘the male CEO’."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Word Games

Select the correct definition for each word and see how many words you can get right in two minutes. Go!

Tonight's Exercise:

Shadow boxing with dumbbells.

This is hard, yo.

Well, if REAL People are Going to Die...

"Here's the headline from my morning paper: "HPV Factors in Throat Cancer: Study Could Shift Debate About Vaccine." You bet it will. Up to now the HPV vaccine—which, again, has proven 100 percent effective against the cancer-causing strains of the virus—could merely prevent 10,000 cases of cervical cancer in American women every year, along with 4,000 deaths. But now the debate could shift—it will shift, it already has shifted—because it's no longer "just" the lives of 4,000 American women that are on the line, but the sex lives of 150 million American men".

I should be happy about whatever it takes to get a vaccine that PREVENTS CANCER covered by every insurance program out there, but fuck, this observation makes me angry. Cause it's fucking true.

Who cares about 4,000 dead women? I mean, now we're talking about something that could... that could... hurt men!!!

Well then, sign everybody up.

It would also make it more likely that the vaccine would be given to women AND men (and yes, I believe it should be mandatory for men - who do you think most women get HPV from, the Easter Bunny?), and that's a huge omission that's been pissing me off from the start.

God DAMN, this makes me angry.

I must be feeling better.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Back in the Saddle

In my continuing quest for a better workout, I started formulating a new before-bed routine. I already have my morning weights routine down, and increasing the number of exercises in the morning just means I'm less likely to do them because it takes too long: the solution is to break the workout into two 15 minute sessions, morning and evening.

Temp job work on Thursday and drywalling this weekend means I haven't gotten in proper cardio in four days, so I'll need to get back on that this week, particularly with Wiscon coming up.

I tried out 100 situps (50 regular, 50 knee to elbow), 60 second wallsit (40 seconds tonight; I'll need to count properly), 20 pushups (10 tonight - my god, I used to be able to do 20 without a break. Man, I've gotten doughy), and I need to come up with three or four routines involving in the weights, stuff that's different from what I do in the morning so I can mix it up.

It's funny how, when I want to get back to a good place physically and mentally, I look back at what I was doing in Alaska. My eating and workout habits worked really well back then, and it's "just" a matter of getting back to that...

I think some of my reticence as far as implementing new workout routines goes is that I also have to figure out insulin adjustments, and you know, when you're nailing your numbers, the last thing you want to do is watch them jolt around jaggedly for a couple of weeks while you iron out routines.

But the alternative is... well, not to do it. And that's a lot worse.

So, here we go.

The 300 (take 2)

Steph: OMG that movie was awful.

Me: I LOVE THAT FUCKING SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steph: OK, it WAS pretty cool when she killed that guy.

Me: THAT WAS THE FUCKING BEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Steph: Really, it was horrible.


Steph: You're such a guy.

How to Re-tape and Re-paste Your Drywall: Pt 2 - Sanding and Re-texturing

We let the paste dry overnight, and then it was back to work... using coarse-grained drywall sandpaper for the first pass...

And fine-grained paper for the second pass.

Tools of the trade

Home renovation chic.

The reason we were wearing masks.

Time to take a break while the dust clears...

Then it's back upstairs to vacuum up the loose dust on the walls and prep for the retexturing.

Retexturing... in a can!

OK, it took 3 cans.

But hot damn, that ceiling looks better...

Oh yes indeed.

Tomorrow: primer and paint, round 3.

The Lies of Locke Lamora

I'm forty pages in (and only that through sheer force of will) and I am BORED TO TEARS.

Band of young thieves gallavanting around a seedy medieval underworld.

And, are there any women in this book? Like, not even POV characters, but, like, secondary characters? "As you know Bob" babes, even, or shit, I'll take a fucking useless love interest.

Does this world have women?

If it doesn't get better in 30 pages, I'm selling it on eBay.

Bloody fucking shame, too. I bought this bastard in hardcover.

Barring the Removal of a Certain Piece of Hardware, I Can't Really Become Pregnant, So....

According to the definitions sections of Senate Bill 51:

The term woman means a female human being who is capable of becoming pregnant, whether or not she has reached the age of majority.

I do wonder what this mysterious Third Gender is, tho: what do we call all of those barren, menopausal, and sugically sterile women?

Do we get a special bathroom?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

How to Re-tape and Re-paste Your Drywall: Pt 1

Wear comfy shoes. And put plastic over fucking everything.

Invest in a big ole' bucket o' paste.

Remove crappy tape and apply new tape. If you are unable to remove crappy tape job done by contractors, fucking put new tape over it anyway.

Tape tape tape. It is self-adhesive!

Begin paste job. Slather paste. Two slather things work well for this (yes, "slather things" is the technical term).

Fiddle with the light fixtures. This will make the lights in the rest of the room go out.

Take a break.

Keep fucking slathering paste.

Tomorrow, we sand this fucker. Again.

And then Stephanie and I demo and drywall the basement ourselves! (and this time, it will REALLY BE FREE)


Sanding and painting, PART TWO!!!!!!!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Free Books

A web portal to... free books!

In the BAG



FINISHED all line edits today. FINISHED. NO, REALLY.

I WILL NOT do any more edits on this book until or unless asked to do so by an editor or agent.


Now I'm going back to writing Black Desert full time. And outlining Big Genocidal Family Saga Epic (with female guerrilla fighters).


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Bible Fight!

I like that Mary can whoop some ass while carrying the baby Jesus.

The controls are a little tricky to work with, but the fact that I can play Eve vs. Satan motivates me...

The Joy of Tech

To While Away the Livelong Night

Or, if you can't sleep, here's some distractions (you'll want to mute the sound):


Grow RPG version!

I Should Be Working Out, But...

...time for bed, chiklits.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I was... genuinely surprised.


Received my paycheck today for the three days of work I did at the investment firm last week.

It means I can afford to pay my minimum credit card payments this month, but even with my student loans deferred, I'm still paying for all of my groceries with credit cards.

However, now that I've done some work in Ohio, I finally went ahead and applied for Ohio unemployment. I have no idea of my claim will be approved (I put this off because I figured since I quit my last position, I wouldn't be eligible - it appears that illness/injury and "moving" are among the choices I have for quitting, though. So there may be hope yet).

If I can qualify for unemployment I might be able to stop running up this credit card bill.

The bill is staggering at this point. Absolutely staggering.

The Original Slash Fiction Couple

Ah, fans.

Moderating Trolls

I've seen Cory's post about comments moderation in several other places, but I wanted to post a link to it here because Fear of Trolls is a subject that's come up a *lot* among women bloggers (and has been one of the most-attended panels at the Blogher conference, I've heard). Cory's primary "troll whisperer" example in this article is, of course, Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

The last time I posted about comments moderation, I brought up the great example of TNH, as well. I even brought up TNH during The Great "Kameron Hurley is a Straw Feminist" Debate of `05.

There are a lot of great places for feminist discussion. Pandagon does pretty well, but I recently spent a big chunk of time reading a whole thread over at Twisty's place, and I was really impressed. You can engage in a radical lesbian feminist discussion there without being radical, female, or lesbian.

It's a safe space for productive discussion. For everyone. You just need to actively *add* to the discussion. If you're just there to be an asshat, you're not going to see your asshatted comment posted. Twisty's even got some guidelines. From what I've seen, if she doesn't like what you have to say, she'll just delete your post. Or make fun of you. Or make fun of you and then delete your post.

Be civil or go home.

That's been my approach to comment moderation since I started this blog. Be civil or go home. If you're not interested in having a productive discussion, go play somewhere else. I've had some hate mail and a number of inappropriate comments, but I just deleted it all. I'm lucky in that traffic is low enough that I don't have to employ the use of spam filters yet, but those help too, particularly the ones you can use to filter posts that contain certain words.

One of the blogs that, I think, failed to community build properly was Feministing. I remember spending some time trying to comment there, and finding the comments section filled with self-proclaimed "Men's Rights Activists" who, like many MRAs, used there personal grievances against their wives and girlfriends as excuses to rail against feminists in general and take over feminist discussions. I learned pretty quickly that Feministing wasn't somewhere you'd go for discussion, just news (it's one of those sites that could even subsist just fine *without* comments).

You don't have to engage with every poster. You don't have to air the flighty, non-relevant, asshatted ramblings of every poster. I think that a lot of self-described "liberals" have a lot of problems with the idea of deleting comments cause they see it as "censorship." But think of it this way: I wouldn't tolerate somebody calling me a dick-sucking straw feminist in "real life," so why would I put up with it online? I'm didn't create this space so I could be somebody else's doormat.

Moderation is an exercise in community building. You figure out what kind of community you want, and you encourage it.

For women who are still terrified at the idea of hate mail and sexual harassment in their threads, well, just know this: it's going to happen. It happens because you having a voice threatens some people, and the best way to kow-tow is to shut up again.

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of kow-towing to asshats.

So blog away. Just remember it's your space, not theirs. You're not here to be "nice." You're here to be heard.

Does Diabetes Hurt?

Ian asked me yesterday if diabetes hurts.

The short answer to that is: if you don't monitor it like an SOB, yeah, it hurts, and it eventually breaks you down and kills you. As does life. So.

When my sugar runs high (above 180 or 200) for a few hours in a day, I have a lot of problems with my feet. They start to throb, and then I get these shooting pains sometimes that go up my legs, usually when I'm trying to get to sleep at night. It means I have trouble sleeping. And I get sugar-high headaches, which are fucking annoying.

There are other symptoms of malaise as well - muzzy thinking, bitchiness, tiredness, trouble seeing - but I suppose these aren't actual *pain.* When my sugar's low, I start to shake and if I'm real low my vision starts to blacken. But, again, these aren't actually *painful* things.

The shots hurt about a third of the time. Sometimes there's burning when the insulin on the syringe goes into your skin. Sometimes you hit a blood vessel. Mostly, though, you're injecting into fat, and if you do it firm and fast, it doesn't hurt much. If, like me, you have to reuse needles, it probably hurts more than it should, and generally toward the end of the day when you're taking your third shot with the same syringe, which is now duller than it was during the first shot in the morning.

And, you know, I have some reservations about saying "if you take care of it, diabetes isn't so bad," because you know, you can do everything "right" and still have fucking bad days. There's nothing more frustrating than doing everything right and hitting 226 and feeling like shit (for physical *and* psychological reasons; ie guilt). There can be stress, unexpected sugar syrup in a latte that was supposed to have sugar-free, a haggerd schedule with no room for exercise... in other words, Life can come between you and The Numbers.

Which is kind of ironic, if you think about it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

By the Numbers

Numbers for the last four days:





For the record, getting these numbers back on track has been a fucking bitch.

I've been forcing myself to get up before 9am (which I should have been doing anyway), which helps fight off the higher morning numbers - I take my meal insulin before the morning glucose rush.

It looks like what was giving me those weird nighttime spikes that I had to adjust at 2am was probably all those damned cinnamon almonds and butter toffee peanuts I was eating. I cut those out, and cut out the extra cheese I was eating too, mainly cause of the calorie issue as opposed to the sugar issue, and things straightened up.

However, it means eating pretty fucking strictly, even for me. I still have my one whole wheat pancake on Sat and Sun mornings, but that's pretty much it. Luckily, berries are in season, so my food routine is something like this:


2 egg vegetarian omelette w/salsa
2 pieces turkey bacon


Mixed stirfry of chicken/beef, carrots, onions, peas, tomato, cilantro, garlic and parmesan cheese
A cup of mixed berries


tomato soup
cheese quesedilla (I found a 9 carb tortilla!)
salad or green vegetable (I like brussel sprouts)
Mixed berries if still hungry

(This isn't a strict thing - I'll mix up dinner and lunch or make a tostada or "nachos" by cutting up and toasting the low carb tortilla, but I try to use these same basic ingrediants for my meals: vegetables, meats, low carb tortillas, cheese, vegtable soup etc)

And, of course, regular exercise; bike riding or some time on the elliptical and my morning weights.

Yeah, they're great fucking numbers, but you can't keep this up all the time. It's mainly something I can do during the weekdays because I've got a routine, but during vacations, traveling of any sort, big upsets, it's just not all that feasible. Still, this is what I'd like to see the vast majority of the time, mainly because it means my feet never bother me at night, I have lots more energy, and I just all around feel fantastic.

Fucking pain in the ass, tho.

That About Sums Up Eighth Grade For Me

Mingle2 Free Online Dating - Science Quiz

Farming the Third World

If I didn't know just how much armed bands of revolutionaries really did affect crop yields, I might have had some qualms about this one.

As it is: diversify, diversify, diversify. And don't invest too much in peanuts.

Hypo.... what?

I spent a couple of hours at Walmart today scouring the shelves for hypoallergenic products. Before I moved out here to Dayton I'd never concerned myself with this shit before. Who were all of these people out there with "sensitive" skin? Did this mean the creams were less abrasive? Were there no crushed walnuts in these particular brands of face wash?

What I came to learn, living in a house with someone who is, well, allergic to everything, is that "hypoallergenic" and "made for sensitive skin" and "fragrance free" are often the labels that distinguish between "safe to use in the house" and "instant death."

Ian's allergic to a number of household chemicals; nobody's entirely sure of which ones, but if we stick to hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, "for sensitive skin" he doesn't have to be taken into the emergency room.

Steph and Ian have been together for 8 years, and I'd always known he was allergic to perfumes, scented candles, and all Lysol products, but until I moved in here, I wasn't aware of just how violent that reaction was, and how many things could trigger it.

We had a couple of near-misses with my spray-on deodorant and at least one roll on substitute that turned out to be worse and made him tear up and start hacking (I switched to Dove unscented anti-persperant deodorant "for sensitive skin," and that one seems to be a keeper), but the day I nearly killed him was when I was using my face wash and he walked into the bathroom after me and started hacking.

What I've realized since that episode is that instead of replacing my empty bottle of face wash with the same kind I'd had before, I'd accidentally picked up the same brand in a different bottle, but instead of saying "sensitive skin" it said "blemish control." I spent several days trying to figure out why he'd had a sudden reaction to this facewash I'd had for a month, and then realized I must have made a stupid error when picking up the replacement.

While going through products to verify that it was, indeed, the face wash, he ended up huffing too much of the stuff and spent an hour prone on the couch while his lungs seized. He eventually had to use an epi-pen so he could breathe.

This is scary fucking shit, to be poisoned by common household products, and it's been a struggle to find products that work that don't kill him.

I finally had to go in today, a month or so after that reaction, to get hair products because I realized that some of that "you need to dress more professionally" thing during one of my interviews had to do with the fact that since I was no longer using product on my hair, I really looked like dirt.

I've found that Dove and Aveeno actually make the most "fragrance free" and "for sensitive skin" products. That's pretty much all we use around the house. Ian uses some salon products as well, Paul Mitchell, I think, which also manage to wash and style without the threat of sudden death.

The Godfather

When men were men! And women were women! With varying degrees of success.

I started reading The Godfather so I could take a look at the way Mario Puzo had rolled out the plot. The next book I'm working on is a sprawling family saga of revenge, rebellion, genocide, and female guerrilla fighters, and though reading Gone With the Wind has been entertaining, the narrative is a sprawling mess.

Puzo's book is much stronger, and I feel he has a far better handle on his characters and how the book's chapters were going to be set up than Mitchell did with hers.

Besides, The Godfather is the fucking premier bloody generational saga.

The movie's plot stuck pretty closely to what's in the book - the book's got more characters, much more background on each of the supporting characters, and more history of the Corleone family. About what you'd expect.

What interested me were a couple of things he did with the narrative; not just the rolling distant flashbacks, but the way he'd say "this happened" at the end of a chapter (Sonny Corleone's body is revealed) and then spend the *next* chapter telling you *how* it happened.

I used to snap at a writer friend of mine who'd set up his fiction and nonfiction this way: here's what happened. Here's how it happened. He used the structure so much that I'd find myself skipping over the explanation of what happened in order to go to the next chronological event - I never felt that the explanation of how something happened added anything to the action itself.

I'm still not sure how Puzo makes this work. In the case of Sonny's death, it's vital that we know *how* this event occurred because it sets up Michael's murder of his brother in law at the end - we need to understand the events that are set into motion by this event.

By placing the scene with the undertaker *before* the death of Sonny, it means we're not yawning through that whole background chapter about the undertaker already *knowing* why the Godfather has called on his services. It's a pacing/suspense issue.

As far as the women in this story, well, tackling that bit would be like trying to tackle the racism and stereotypes, and well... you sort of have to swallow it wholesale if you're going to read this. Both of the women who's heads we get into have only ever been with Corleone men, and were so affected by the experience that they were either *never* with anyone else or only with somebody else after the death of the one they wanted. These are strong women, and pretty well fleshed out (these aren't cardboard people) but this story isn't about them. It's about their husbands. Just in case you were hoping for something suprising.

In any case, I liked the traditional "tragedy" set-up where the story begins with a wedding and ends with a funeral. There was a nice open and close with that. I haven't stolen that yet.

I've gone so far as to wonder if I'll literally map out the plot of my next book by taking a chapter-by-chapter plot from something like The Godfather that's well-plotted. It might help with some of my plot flailing midway and my sudden, delirious rush to the end once I figure out what the hell I'm doing.

It's time to make up a better writing guidebook, cause what I got ain't cutting it.

Transgender America

Newsweek's report on transgenderism in America.

Words of Wisdom

"There is nothing on the internet as interesting as the book you are supposed to be writing. Get back to work." - David Lubar

(via Shaken & Stirred)

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Diggs & Haircut

I realize I haven't posted any pics of my new diggs yet.

Here's my new room configuration and workspace:

The map to the left of the desk is my GW world map. Sometimes actual WORK even gets done here. I even have line edits just SITTING on my desk WAITING to get input.

Don't knock the stuffed rabbit, man. It is a vital part of my PROCESS. Actually, it makes a really good pillow.

Behold, TESSA: the ferocious hell beast who REALLY rules this household. Just look at that bold, disapproving stare.

And.... haircut.

NOW I'm ready for Wiscon.

"But Really, They Did it For Free"

What I did this weekend....

Attempted to re-paste, re-sand, prime and paint this with my roomies:

Up into the attic....

From here it doesn't look so bad!!

Wait a minute. There's something odd about that ceiling...

What the hell...?



(for the record, it looks about 10X worse in real life - getting the shading to show up in the pics was tough)

But really, it's almost like they did it for free....

Never Be Afraid to Say What You Feel

In Which The Protagonist Gets a Bad Haircut

Well, at least it's shorter.

You know, Stephanie used to tell these little anecdotes about the difference between living in Dayton and the PNW, and I used to think they were terribly funny.

Her oft-repeated story is one in which she was sitting around with the other receptionists at her workplace and she used the word "egregious" in regular conversation.

"Egri... what?" one of them asked.

"Why do you use all of these big words?" they asked her after a few months. "Are you trying to sound smarter than us?"

They have since learned that they can ask Stephanie how to spell things like "side effects." She was also able to explain that "anxiety" isn't spelled with an "e."

I thought these were terribly funny stories.

At the salon today the stylist - a young 20-something woman - rang me up, and I asked her if she had any hypoallergenic styling products, since Ian is allergic to, well, everything.

"Hypo... what?" she asked.

I am officially in Dayton.

Some Other Things That Aren't Cutting Edge

"The debate rages over whether or not this image represents an artistic interpretation of a sexual fantasy, or if it just glorifies rape. As the fashion industry continues to push the envelope and strives to remain cutting edge the line between risque and offensive continues to blur."

We're surrounded by images very like the one at the link above on a daily basis. If women aren't actively inviting objectification, "deflowerment" or merely "ravishment" (ie forced sex, rape), then they're looking pained and frightened and hungry and vulnerable. I've seen so many images like this one that I just sort of shrugged and went, "Yeah, another oh-boy-she-likes-it fuck fest circle jerk."


Then I read the script underneath it. About how the "reason" fashion designers are putting out ads like this because they want to remain "cutting edge." Though I'm sure this particular writer was just making an educated guess with that wording, I'd suspect the designers themselves would say something really similiar.

After all, if we're not beating up women in new and interesting ways in fashion ads, how are we going to remain new and interesting and cutting edge? If we don't beat up women, nobody will even pay attention! They won't want to buy these sexy clothes that invite men to beat them up. And what man doesn't want to beat up a woman wearing these clothes!

What gets me about so many -isms running rampant in mass media isn't even that it's just fucking wrong. It's that it's fucking lazy. You put a bunch of fresh young people in a room and we come out with the same sexist, racist, classist bullshit we've been churning out for the last fifty years.

Dear producers of mass media and writers writing about mass media,

Stylized rape isn't cutting edge. I could link to about a bazillion other ads just like this one.

Gory shots of female crime victims? Not cutting edge.

Raping women to show just how bad your bad guys are? Not cutting edge. (yes, even if the person allowing it to continue is female)

Women doing laundry dressed in thongs and pearls? Not cutting edge (yes, even if she's doing a superhero's laundry).

What frustrates me so much, reading and writing SF, is to see just how much we all keep rehashing the same old shit. I've come to expect it from the fashion industry, you know? But there's this assumption that the brutal treatment of women is a universally human thing. That we'll just always do this. That it's always been this way and will always be this way.

In a genre that's supposed to show us how things can be really different, that should challenge us to think beyond our assumptions, seeing even the stuff that gets high praise relying on the same sad assumptions of race and class (the way things are now is the way they will always be) is fucking depressing.

We can sit around and putz with SF gadgets and teleporters and FTL all day, but plugging in a new technology, a people on a new planet, and making everybody think and act in exactly the way they would today, without said technologies, here on this planet, is fucking lazy, and it takes all the gosh-wow-how-cool feeling from it. I just can't take your gadgetry seriously when your blond secondary female love interest only shows up to flirt with and fuck the geeky, misunderstood protagonist(for example - I am picking on BSG with the links, but I'm thinking primarily of Heinlein).

Obviously, SF isn't the only place where this happens, as seen in the fashion links above, but these are the sorts of things that influence us on a level we don't think about and aren't often aware of until after the fact, when we realize the only reason we included our heroine getting raped was to give her sufficient motivation to severely injure a guy. Because unless she was raped, you know, hurting a guy like that just wouldn't be OK (yes, I did this in GW. I have since taken out the rape backstory).

We all do this stuff. We put shit in there without thinking about it. These assumptions become so invisible - like het privledge, male privledge, white priviledge - that you just don't see them anymore. You take them for granted. And so you just keep on perpetuating them.

I want to see something really fucking cutting edge, all right. I want to see a fashion ad with powerful women who don't get beat up or shit on or hung by the neck, women who don't look starved and frightened. I want to see somebody thinking outside of the fucking box. And it's sad that even something as simple as that would be so fucking different that people would sit up and take notice. So. Fucking. Simple.

Sure I'd love to see something cutting edge.

But this isn't it.

Somethin' For the Mommas

"Moms were seen as less competent and committed. Moms were half as likely to be hired as childless women or men with or without kids. Moms were offered $11,000 less in starting pay than non-moms. And, just for good measure, they were also judged more harshly for tardiness."

(via Pandagon)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Anniversary

My parents called me tonight to remind me that it was a year ago today that Jenn called them to say I'd been brought into the hospital in a diabetic coma.

My condition was "stable," but though Jenn knew that was better than the condition under which I'd been brought in, the doctor on duty told my mom that I was the top priority case brought in that night, and it would be in my parents' best interests to get on a plane to Chicago.

My mom remembers this because she'd seen Jenn's number on the caller ID and thought, "Oh, let them sweat. Kameron forgot to call me on Mother's Day!" and then felt absolutely miserable about it later when it turned out the reason Jenn was calling them at 11pm west coast time, 1am Chicago time, is because I'd been hauled into the emergency room.

It's a funny thing, because I've never known which date to count it from. Should it be the 14th, when Jenn had actually called the paramedics? (at around 11:30 pm or so) Or should I tally it from the 15th, when I actually arrived at the hospital? (it was just after midnight on Monday the 15th).

I supppose my mom's way of reckoning it is probably the most accurate.

I could remember today as the day I was diagnosed with a chronic illness, the day my whole life changed, the beginning of the end of a very good friendship, the beginnging of the end of my life in Chicago.

But mostly, it's the anniversary of another chance at living.

By all rights, I should be dead, and if Jenn hadn't stayed up that night, worrying over my increasingly delusional state ("I need to do my taxes...," "There's a little black dog...") before finally finding me standing up but completely glassy-eyed and nonresponsive in the bathroom, well, yeah, hey, I may not be here.

After realizing the seriousness of my condition, much later, I thought a lot about whether or not I would have been OK with the idea of my life ending that night. And you know, I would have been OK with it if that's how it turned out. I wouldn't have done anything differently up to that point. I'd had a fucking good run.

I had left home three days after turning 18 and shacked up with my high school boyfriend. I dumped him six months later after he ran off to join the Marines and I was evicted from our apartment. I had to pawn my books, the tv, the vcr. I had to call my parents from a pay phone to come and get me and the last of my stuff.

I started over and rebuilt things. I had failed pretty completely. I had nothing. I remember thinking that I'd died. Everything I'd tried to build, wanted to be, was dead, so I was going to break it all down and start over. When you hit bottom, you've got nowhere to go but up.

So I jumped off a bridge, bought a one-way ticket to Fairbanks, went to school at the U of Alaska, took a semester writing course with David Marusek who encouraged me to reapply to Clarion... and life just got bigger and brighter. It was like I was living someone else's life, this life I always wanted to live... I went to Clarion, went to grad school in South Africa, started selling stories, moved to Chicago, got a grown up job and a corporate card and started traveling to all these cities... I started lifting 30 lb weights and taking boxing and martial arts classes... I started blogging, started a long distance relationship and started spending one weekend a month in New York City...

It was a big, great, surreal, big-city life. And I loved it. I loved living with Jenn. I loved selling short fiction. Loved building who I was going to be. Jenn and I getting together felt like a natural progression of a great friendship.

But the first five months of 2006 were dark months. So fucking dark. It was like the spring would never come. I was sleeping all the time, terribly hungry and thirsty, traveling too much, sleeping too much... so dark.

It's the six months before and after today, one year ago, that I want to take back. I want to do over. I want to do better. I want to do smarter and saner and more rationally. I want to go back and explain myself better and understand my illness better. I want to go back and do it again because I honestly think that maybe I'd have hurt fewer people - I want to go back and fix it so I didn't hurt B, so I didn't hurt Jenn and destroy the friendship. I want to go back and understand how sick I was.

Those are the parts I want back.

But the rest of it? Tanking at 18 and starting over in Alaska and going to Clarion and getting a grad degree in South Africa and playing Career Woman in Chicago? The writing, the boxing, the cons, the traveling. No, I loved all of that. It was a fucking fantastic life. It was amazing. And if I would have died that night, one year ago today, I would have had no regrets.

For better or worse, though, I didn't die a year ago. I kept going. Because of Jenn's courage, and my own stubborness.

Now I have another shot at life, and I'm at another point in my life where I've blasted out everything, where everything has fallen apart and broken down. My friendships, my finances, my health, and to some degree, however small, my spirit.

There is a glorious thing that happens when everything is stripped away, though; when you break it down. You get to start over. If you've got nothing, you have nothing to lose.

I may not be able to go back and fix what I did wrong, but I have the opportunity to go forward and build something better; to learn from what I did wrong last time and come out of it a stronger person.

I can't guarantee that I'll do anything better, or that I'll never hurt anyone again. What I can say is, I think it's going to be an interesting run. The last time I hit this place life turned out to be far bigger and more beautiful than I'd imagined, and I have a feeling it's not done surprising me yet.

So, for better or worse:

Happy anniversary.

The Joys of Home Renovation

Ian and Stephanie bought this little house here in Ohio and they've been fixing it up since they moved in back in September. It wasn't a shithole, but it wasn't exactly the tidiest, most up to date place on the block. They replaced all of the windows, tore up all the carpet and had the hardwood floors refinished, cleaned it top to bottom, repainted the whole downstairs, and we've been working on scraping, sanding and repainting the doors.

They hired a contractor to come in on Monday and pull out the shitty rotting half-insulated crap in the big room upstairs and put up new drywall, so the house has been full of dust and rather messy this week cause all the stuff from the upstairs (which they use as the Master bedroom) is now in the living room and Ian's office.

So Stephanie and I spent most of today covered in paint and primer, working on the upstairs room now that the drywall's done.

What we realized after the contractors left and we started to prep the room for painting was that... they had done a really shitty job. Not knowing much about drywall and wanting them to get the hell out of the house after 3 days of work on a job that was supposed to take "a day or two" we pushed them out of the house without insisting that they reputty the walls and fucking sand them properly, and then the three of use found ourselves staring at the cold, hard reality of unsanded drywall paste, loose tape seams, uncovered nail holes and divets in the drywall.

Steph, Ian, and I spent the morning hand sanding and puttying; then Steph and I started putting on the primer.

After the second coat, we realized things weren't looking much better.

"Oh dear lord this is bad," I said.

"Well, they practically did it for free," Stephanie said. "Five hundred in labor for three people over three days is, basically free."

"But you did pay them five hundred dollars," I said.

"Let me keep thinking it was free. If I admit we paid them for this shit I'm going to cry."

We slathered on some more paste after the first coat of primer, put on the second coat, made a couple runs to Home Depot for more paint, and then put on the first layer of paint.

Ian arrived home, went upstairs and took a look and said, "Um, you guys realize this looks like crap, right?"

"Yes," we said, "Yes we do."

"But they practically did it for free," he said.

Ian suggested we rent a sprayer and texture the walls. Maybe it'll make the bad paste job sort of, you know, blend in.

I mean, it's not a bad job really.

It was practically free.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Living with a Scientist

Ian and I are going to Home Depot to pick up paste and paint rollers to finish the drywall work the contractors did upstairs.

"OK," Ian says, "Do you have a stopwatch?"

"Um, no?"

"OK, we can just use my cell phone."

We get in the truck and he hands me his cell phone. He has a notepad with him and I'm thinking, "Well, that's great! He's actually made a *list* of things we're getting."

"OK," he says, and hands me the cell phone. "When we get going, hit `OK' and it will start the stopwatch. And when I tell you to hit the `OK' button again, and it will stop the stopwatch. Then record the time on this piece of paper." He puts the notepad between us in the truck, and I see it has some cryptic chart-like happenings on it.

"Um, OK," I said.

"I have to do this experiment for class where I run an experiment and include mutiple :;something something somethings:::. So I'm timing myself to and from the university on weekdays, on weekends, taking different routes."

"Sure," I say. Note that at no time during this entire thing have I asked any questions. I completely take all of this for granted.

So we drive along the 20 minutes to the university, and when we come up to the university stopsign he's designated as the end point, he tells me to hit "OK."

I record the time. We go across the street to Home Depot.

On the way back: I record the time.

The surreal realization here was not that I thought this was an odd thing to do, but that I thought it was a perfectly reasonable way for one to spend one's afternoon.

One for the Road

"In this fucked up society we’re living in, many socially progressive poor folks have to sacrifice their ideals in order to keep a roof over their heads, and while it’s tempting to redefine the work you’re doing as progressive in and of itself because it’s keeping you alive, well, it’s not."

Bizarre Statues


Sound Familiar?

The new conservatives wished to impose not only British laws but also western values on India. The country would be not only ruled but redeemed. Local laws which offended Christian sensibilities were abrogated - the burning of widows, for instance, was banned. One of the East India Company directors, Charles Grant, spoke for many when he wrote of how he believed providence had brought the British to India for a higher purpose: "Is it not necessary to conclude that our Asiatic territories were given to us, not merely that we draw a profit from them, but that we might diffuse among their inhabitants, long sunk in darkness, the light of Truth?"

Man, I really wish more presidents and policy makers read history books.

This, though, was my favorite:

"The histories of Islamic fundamentalism and western imperialism have, after all, long been closely and dangerously intertwined. In a curious but very concrete way, the fundamentalists of all three Abrahamic faiths have always needed each other to reinforce each other's prejudices and hatreds. The venom of one provides the lifeblood of the others."

We feed each other.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Fuck You, Sugar (muwahaha aha )

Numbers for the last four days:





Now *that's* more like it.

Looks like I can drop my Lantus dose from 18 u back down to 16 again, too, to prevent that evening low.

It's All About Where You're Sitting

"When You Care Enough to Hit Send"

I love these.