Saturday, June 30, 2007

Being a Journalist

Fuck Yeah.

Speaking of Kicking It....

I was so proud of myself last week! Hardly sore at all after class! I mean, after two days of not being able to walk after my first MA class, the fact that I could get around without much soreness after my second class felt great!

And then I had that third class, where we literally spent over an hour on kicking drills and then when we moved to doing combinations, because this is Muay Thai, the combinations involved - you guessed it - punching and more kicking.

Oddly enough, I didn't start to really feel it until last night, when my hips started to hurt and I realized I was having trouble getting up out of chairs. This morning when I got up, I actually physically pulled my left leg out of bed. You know, just to help it a little.

Oh man. The left leg is in the worst shape, of course. Not my calves, mind, just the hips. It was the calves that killed me after the first class (that's what 10 minutes of jumping jacks will do), but nearly two hours of class, with all those damned kicking drills... it's the hips that are killing me.

Boy, I love being back at this.

Today's Song, Stuck on Repeat

Matthew Ryan, "Return to Me." (no, no reason for the melancholy song. It just sounds so pretty. Also, this guy has a really sexy voice)

slowly walking down the street
where the homeless and the lovers meet
i bask in ol' blue
your skin does too
i saw the garland
in the skyline
in the byline

i took a drink
i took the pills
you'll murder me i know you will
some wish that i could change this
that you were hopin'
i keep hopin'
for a cure
for some medicine
just one conversation

*I can't return to you
you must return to me
that's the deal
i'm sorry
did i say i'm sorry (sorry)

in a universe where i was flat
you hunkered down and lived the past
you're leaving soon
it's 10 til noon
i see a black car
i'm movin through time
when will we part

i have been the worst of kinds
a sorrowed heart
a cluttered mind
and i'm thinkin' that i could change this
that i could change this
but i can't change this

*I can't return to you
you must return to me
that's the deal
i'm sorry
did i say i'm sorry
i'm sorry
i'm sorry now

*I can't return to you
you must return to me
that's the deal
i'm sorry
did i say i'm sorry
i'm sorry
i'm sorry now
did i say i'm sorry
did i say i miss you
i'll do what i have to do
(i say i miss you)
(i miss you)
(i'll do what i have to do)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Children of Men


What a boring, pointless, terrible movie.


OK, monthly blood loss + MA class + another bizarre half-hour-after-eating low this morning of 29 = much tiredness.

Tonight it's lying in bed reading books and watching some shows, and tomorrow, it's pancakes and writing.

That's sounds about right.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sugar Before Bed: 95

After a two hour MA class.

I am a minor god.

Kick It (Redux)

Since there was a big thunderstorm about the time I usually head to MA class and Steph was home early, she went ahead and drove me out to class. I changed into MA clothes while I was there, but since we got out late, jumped outside after class without changing back into my street clothes and hopped into the car.

Stephanie looked over at my shirt. "`When I See Something I Kick It'?" she inquired, as if I had chosen this shirt myself.

"We all wear them!" I enthused. "It's our uniform!"

"Oh you're kidding me."

"IT IS GREAT!!!!!"

"So you want me to take a picture for your blog?"

"Eh, maybe when I'm in better shape."

"It can be a `before' picture."

I thought that over. "We'll see," I said.

Until then:

Kick it.

Dinner at Applebee's with White Supremicists!

One of the best titles ever, for sure. And it gets better.

"This is our music magazine," racist Kevin interrupts, laying on the Applebee's table a publication that would look like any other indie/hipster music magazine, except that the music it's writing about glorifies Germany's Third Reich and denigrates blacks and Jews.

"We also have a record company," Kevin boasts, in a manner that seems to say, "Even though we're white supremacists, that doesn't mean we can't ROCK!" "We have over 750 CD titles."

OK, For Serious

Honestly, whoever this guy is who writes Dinosaur Comics?

Rapidly on his way to becoming my next Secret Boyfriend.

Here, yes. But most definately HERE.

OK, well, everywhere really.

The Song that Finally Made me Sign up For iTunes

I was listening to Whiskey from a Wire at work today (on headphones of course), and this song came on.

I was suddenly so utterly and completely distracted that I uploaded two copies of the document I was uploading - three times.

Three times, people.

The fact that the acrobatics described in this song assume a female partner didn't even give me pause. In my happy either/or world, I could make most of that work with either partner, which I am bound to do because thinking about sex these days generally puts me in mind of... well. Anyway.

Damn, that's a sexy song.

OK, maybe I've just been thinking too much about sex lately.

Or, more than usual.

I mean, it's less than all the time.


That is a sexy fucking song.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


I am happy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Real Life!

It All Looks the Same...

Netflix is Here!

One of the things I decided to do to cut down on the cost of going out to shows is... umm... to get Netflix instead :0

One of the things I miss most about life in Chicago is sitting around on the couch with on the weekends eating pancakes and watching our Netflix shows. We'd just started watching "Rome" when I left, and I'd like to watch the rest of it.

The first couple weeks are free, and complementing this weekend's pancakes will be...

Children of Men!

And for tonight's workout, I'll watch the next episode of Rome...

Most excellent.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Oh Dear...

I think I'm writing about my first non-dysfunctional couple!

How quaint!

And holy crap! I don't think I have any idea how to do this!

The Origins of "OK"

So if OK stands for "all correct," wouldn't it be "AC"? Not exactly, says linguist Erin McKean, who points out that the word was intentionally misspelled. Much like the way people on the Internet shorten or abbreviate words when typing, OK was misspelled on purpose.

"For instance, a lot of kids online spell "cool," "k-e-w-l," says McKean, senior editor for U.S. dictionaries at Oxford Press. "They know how to spell cool, but it just looks cooler to spell it "k-e-w-l."

It was cool in certain East Coast cities in the mid-19th century to substitute OK for "all correct." McKean says it was common for people of that day to use inside lingo -- shorthand full of puns, purposeful misspellings and abbreviations. For example, they'd use "SP" for "small potatoes," or "TBFTB" for "too big for their britches."

Way Kewler, Tho

What Price

I guess you're worth more before you're born into sin.

Being a woman is like being 3/4 of a real person. I mean, a potential person.

We're not worth much.

One for the Road

Holding Back the Desert

I spent an inordinate amount of time last night just before bed tossing and turning and playing out in my head the scene in Black Desert that finally made the whole thing fall together for me. It's a brutal little book, meaner than the last one but with more heart (you know, compared to the last one, not compared to any other book; feel-good movie of the week, it ain't). I found a lot of stuff I want to deal with in this book; the emotional core of the story, and immediately after that, about 80% of the plot-that-wasn't-there.

Turns out this means I need to go back and severely rewrite the first 200 pages that I've got before I can push through, but at least I have a proper roadmap now. I was sort of winging it there for awhile.

I mean, not that I'm not winging it (I'm *always* winging it), but it's starting to look real juicy.






That is all.

My Blog Rating

Online Dating



"Revised my uterus."

Now, if only the story *opens* that way...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

One for the Road

Conversations With My Roommate(s)

Stephanie and I were sitting at the kitchen table this morning lingering over our coffee and talking about the trip we took to the bookstore yesterday.

"I was so upset they didn't have that fourth book I wanted," she said.

"Which one was it?" I asked.

"It's called _Death in Little Italy_. It's set in late 19th, early 20th century America." She paused. "It's a murder mystery, obviously."

"Ha. Yeah, I figured that from the title. You know, _Death in Little Italy_. I mean, if it was called _Spaceship Number 9_ I wouldn't guess it was a murder mystery."

"Aha," she said, "but what if it was called _DEATH ON SPACESHIP NUMBER 9_?"

"Cross-genre marketing," I explained.

"Sneaky," she said.

We sipped more coffee.

I burst into uncontrollable giggling.

"_DEATH ON SPACESHIP NUMBER 9_!!" I gasped. "I so have to write that book now."

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Sugar Crash

I biked down to the local Walmart to get out of the house and wander around looking for a bike headlamp and backlight, since I'll be biking home from MA class in the dark. I stopped by a cheap local diner for lunch (yes, I'm poor, and here I am spending $8 on lunch. Anyway).

I ended up eating an omelette with a side of buttermilk pancakes. I tested at 90 and took three units to cover the number and then another 5 units so I could eat a pancake and a half of the three next to me. I figured if I ate more than that, I'd get a headache from the sugar rush.

So, underwhelmed by what was supposed to be "the best breakfast place in Dayton," I walked across the street to Walmart.

I pricechecked a couple of bike lights, decided on the one I wanted, and started wandering up another aisle, looking around for various and sundry things that I can't get at the grocery store.

I started feeling a bit woozy, like there was this strange pressure in my head. Not a headache, exactly, but something that felt similiar to a high-sugar headache. Weird, I thought. I guess those pancakes *did* go straight to my head... but shit, I was at 90 before I ate them. I shouldn't feel this way unless I'm winging over 250. What the fuck did they put in those pancakes?

I checked the time. It had only been about a half hour since I'd eaten. It *had* to be a high. If I'm going to have a low, it's generally an hour and a half after I shoot up. That's generally the time it takes for the insulin to peak in my system.

So I kept walking, and started to feel increasingly anxious and disoriented. Why was this person in front of me? Why was everyone in my way? What the hell was wrong with everyone? I needed everyone to get away from me. Bloody fuckers.

I was having trouble deciding where I was going. Did I want to look down this aisle? What was down this aisle? Why was I hear again?

I turned back around and went down an aisle I'd already been down, completely clueless as to why I'd have any interest in going down there. Maybe I had *missed* something. SOMETHING WAS MISSING. AND WHO THE HELL WAS THIS OTHER PERSON IN MY WAY GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY WHY IS EVERYONE LOOKING AT ME WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH ME I JUST NEED TO SIT DOWN.

Yes, I just need to sit down. Some small part of me was aware of the fact that I was hallucinating things (I think I only passed, like, two people) and was becoming increasingly paranoid.

I found an employee step stool and sat down. I wanted my head to stop feeling so stuffy. I wanted everything to stop. I wanted EVERYONE TO STAY AWAY FROM ME.

I pulled out my glucose monitor and tested my sugar, expecting to see some bizarrely high number like 310 or something. What the hell had they put in those pancakes?

I blinked a couple of times at the face of the monitor. It read:


How the fucking hell??

Wow, I thought. I just took a massive crash 30 minutes after eating. After eating *pancakes.*

The suddeness of the crash is probably what resulted in the severe disorientation, and, of course, my complete denial of the fact that it was the result of a low sugar episode. I believed it was physically impossible for me to experience a low like that half an hour after eating.

I ate a couple of lifesavers, and sat on the stool hunkered up into myself hoping nobody bugged me for five or six minutes until my head started to clear.

After eating the candy, I started to sweat and shake, which are usual low sugar symptoms. I think the low just came on so fast that my body didn't have time to react that way. What I felt first, instead, was the massive disorientation that resulted from my brain not getting enough sugar.

While I recovered, I thought about how I'd felt walking up and down the aisles, how I got that feeling of intense claustrophobia and that panicky, crazy-ass paranoia about how everybody around me was out to get me, and above all, my desperate need to GET AWAY from them.

One of the things I've been coming to grips with the last year is just how bizarrely fucking wacked out I was during the year before I woke up in the hospital. Mostly, I was exhausted, but when I wasn't exhausted, I was often paranoid and panicky. I'd go from anxiousness to panic really quickly, and because I was so used to living my life by "feeling," it meant I did and said a lot of hurtful things to people that felt absolutely correct and proper.

I've never been an easy person to live with, but being crazy and sick didn't make me any easier to live with, either.

Once I felt comfortable walking again, I got up and headed over to the Subway and got myself one of those big pretzels - I still had to bike all the way home and I had another hour of wandering around.

I ate half the pretzel and felt myself even out. My head cleared. Everything cleared. Things were a lot simpler. Less closed-in. I didn't feel like the whole world wanted to crush me, that everybody was out to crush and control me.

I tried to sort out what had happened. It was possible - I'd heard of it happening - that I'd hit a blood vessel when I'd taken my insulin shot, meaning the insulin went straight into my system before the carbs from the pancake had a chance to get absorbed, forcing me into a tailspin of a crash.

One of the reasons I try so hard to keep a tight rein on my sugar isn't just so I'll live longer, feel better, and be healthier. Yes, those are all great reasons, but I have my self-destructive days, and during those self-destructive days, I just don't give a fuck about my body. I hate it quite a lot, and I'll go into "fuck it" mode. Problem is, I do that now and it's not just me and my body's health that's hurt. It means I'll say and do hurtful things to the people around me.

And you know, I've already brutally hurt two people I cared very much about that way, and I'd rather not repeat that. There are a lot of people in my life still who I care deeply about and who care about me, and I'd like to make sure that I do whatever it is I need to do in order to spare them from this sort of behavior as much as possible.

It helps, I think, that people now are more aware of what this behavior is. There was some interaction Stephanie and I had when I was having a low, and she asked me a few minutes later if I was upset with her, and I told her no, I was just being short and bitchy because I was having a low, and I'd already taken something and would be OK in a few minutes.

At least there's something I can point to now. At least I can talk myself down from some of the anxiousness and the panic.

But I'd prefer to have as few instances of sugar-related paranoia as possible.

Friday, June 22, 2007

One for the Road

It's out July 31th!!!

(Not that I'm counting... [or budgeting])

Kick It

Got to class again last night, and signed up "for real" (which involved paying money! That I sort of had!).

Master T. asked about my med ID braclet, and I babbaled on about having type 1 and how I test before and after class, and I keep my emergency sugar right there by my water... I think some part of me was worried I was going to get the "I can't have you here and be responsible if you pass out," but you know, I already signed my wavier. Instead, he told me he has a student he does private lessons with who's also a type 1 diabetic, which is why he asked. Which was kind of neat in a weird way.

I guess it felt good not to be the spokesperson for my weirdness. It's like being "the feminist," "the black friend," "the gay friend," and etc. You can only represent for one aspect of what makes you you for so long before you want to start waving your arms and saying, "I'm more than this! Yes, I'm this too, but there's a huge load of things that go together! I don't want to be The Diabetic!"

Overall, class went a lot, lot, lot better than the first one. I had a partner who was also new, and we spent less time grappling and more time working on stance and punching technique than we did last time. It turns out that I'd so internalized the "keep your hands up" mantra that I'd been holding my arm incorrectly before I punched and losing a huge amount of power.

I need a lot of work. I'm out of shape and, as ever, uncoordinated. Even after all my time at the other gym, picking this stuff up, all this body stuff, it's not easy for me. It's been a weakness of mine my whole life, and it's one of those things I recognize but am really driven to making the best it can be. I may never be a tricky fighter, but I want to be better.

Physcially, I'm a lot more put together after this class than I was after the last one, too. Some of what's killing me is biking half an hour out there and half an hour back. Riding back is a bitch.

And... I'm wondering how much my inability to move for two solid days after class last week also had something to do with having low sugar all night. If you're at 45 for six hours after a 3 hour workout, your muscles aren't exactly getting much of anything to repair themselves.

My dosing strategy worked out really well this time around. Without the dinner insulin, I was able to come home at 150, which is high, but I knew from the week before that I was going to crash at least 50 points overnight, so I refrained from dosing and set my alarm. The low sugar woke me up at 1:30 am, before the alarm, and I tested at 61. I ate some jellybeans and tested four hours later when I got up for the day at 74 (80's a perfect number).

Not bad.

I'm feeling good enough that I think I'll be able to make it to class on Tuesday. Bare minimum, I can start with once a week if I have to, but I'm hoping to keep at two classes a week regularly and maybe add another one on occasion when I'm feeling up to it.

Felt good to be out and about.

Well, I Managed to Blow that Budget!

One of the things I'm working really hard on this year is managing my out-of-control finances. Sure, there was some bad luck in there, but there's also been a lot of careless spending on my part. I don't keep track of what I spend. I don't balance my checkbook. I just keep approximate ideas of what I have and what I've spent in my head and spend accordingly. I'm usually about sorta maybe around where I thought I've been.

And when I wasn't, I had a credit card.

Now the credit card debt is somewhere around 15K ($14,714.52).

I own nothing but my bicycle and I'm living off the good graces of friends. My goal for the year is to pay down this debt and learn how to budget properly. Luckily, I live with some people who are very good with money. Stephanie and the Old Man are my age - we went to high school together - and they own a house and two cars, have little to no credit card debt and live a very lean, budgeted life that's perfectly comfortable and manageable.

I already know I can't live as tightly as they do (I have a travel addiction and an SO who lives in another country; some extravagence is neccessary in order to live this sort of life), but I can live a lot better than I do.

So I came up with a budget of about what I should be spending in order to spend less than I make. It looks like this:

AK Student Loan: $55
CitiBank CC: $500
WAMU CC: $200
Transit: $35
MA Gym: $85
Groceries: $320
Fun: $195
Meds: $150
(my other two student loans have been deferred until September)


As you can see, I should have a whole $2.82 left over every month!

After logging all of my receipts for the last two weeks I decided to look at how I was doing for the month as far as variable costs ("fun" and "groceries"). I figured that made the math easy.

I should be at about half the total monthly cost for each of the variable bills, so:


Groceries: $218.09

Actual Total: $228.23
Budgeted Total: $110.00

Difference: -118.23


Office supplies: $36.81
Dinner out: $30.13
Books: $7.43
Coffee: $37.24

Actual Total: $111.61
Budgeted Total: $97.50

Difference: -$14.11

Amount overbudget so far this month: $132.24

As you can see, I'm off to a fantastic start!

All snark aside, it does give me an idea of what I'm spending and areas where I can improve. I *do* spend a lot on food. Steph and the Old Man cook a lot with rice and noodles. If I live on rice and noodles I'll feel crappy and triple or quadruple the amount of insulin I use, which would probably result in an extra $80 a month in med costs.

But there are places I can cut back - I need to stop buying my coveted Diet Cherry Coke, which is $15 a week. And I've got to keep the coffee costs to $10 a week. That's one *regular* coffee a day, and if I skip a couple weekday coffee runs, that'll give me enough "leftover" for a foo-foo coffee when I write at the coffee shop on weekends.

I feel bad that the "fun" budget is so high, but because it includes office supplies and actual brain-stimulating activities like going out to new places to eat, movies, and plays... it's hard to cut that. I could probably get it down a lot further, though.

Budgeting is SO FUN!

I don't know why I didn't do this before!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Out the Door

About to head out the door to MA class. Had to adjust my dinner insulin to compensate. Last time, I tried subtracting 2 units, and had a low during class and another around 2am. So this time I'm subtracting 3 units and eating a graham cracker right before bed.

Thing is, when I went to go test, I was only at 83 tonight... which I'd usually take 2 units for.

So that means... no shot tonight. And maybe half a granola bar.

How odd not to shoot up before a meal.

It feels downright scandalous.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


You know, the first Matrix movie, in light of reading even more Gibson, is still pretty good. But the clusterfuck that was the second two is just even more obviously a derivative slapdash hackjob.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Hate Being Poor

Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Half of the Human Race that's Not Smart

My roomies and I went out for dinner and a movie tonight, as Stephanie's old man will turn 27 on Monday.

As Steph and I waited for the show to start while the old man was in the bathroom, this commercial came up as a part of the pre-show show, and for a minute and a half, I learned that "the whole human race wants to be smart" but 98% of the human race was.... the *smart* people... were.... guess?

Mostly white, yes.

And completely male.

If you pay really close attention, you'll see what may be a feminine hand moving a chess piecs (denoted by the length of the nail) and if you don't blink, you might see two young girls practicing playing stringed instruments.

But the rest of the minute and a half?


The "human race."

Sometimes it hits me, these things we see and hear and soak up every day and take for granted; these things we see as so normalized that they become truth. And during those times when I'm able to step outside of it and critique it, it just fucking floors me.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Oh, the Joys of Female Fighting

In addition to having class knock the crap out of every muscle in my body on Tuesday, I also had a sparring partner knee me just below my bellybutton on my left hand side. This also happens to be the side where my IUD, when it does pinch, pinches.

If she'd kneed me full force, I'd probably have punctured something. As it was, there was no blood, and when I checked the string it was still in place, but the bump to my uterus got the thing all worked up again, and I've been having those occasional jittery sorts of cramps that I was still getting a couple months after it got put in. Once again, starts pinching at me when I sit for long periods (again, a common symptom during the first three months), and it's annoying enough that I'm considering going out and buying some Motrin.

I love my IUD cause there's no weight gain, no diminished sex drive, and no depression (all symptoms I experienced while on various Pills). But once a month there's seven days of blood and pain that used to just be five days of non-painful inconvienence.

What pisses me off is that when it comes to contraception, women get it coming and going. I've found that my contraceptive choices tend to be based on "which does me the least amount of pain, damage, and discomfort?" The IUD won.

One of the first things I looked into was, "What happens if I get hit during class?"
The answer really depends on how you get hit, best I've figured. Most women who end up with perforated uteruses have it happen on insertion, so if you can get through that OK, you'll be all right.

Still, as I continue with class, it's something I'll have to keep an eye on. As a woman who hasn't had a kid (and therefore has a smaller uterus), I'm not the ideal candidate for an IUD, and the problem of the tight fit has been an issue from the start.

But oh man does it beat depression and non-interest in sex.

And That's How I'm Going to Fix the Education System

Just like that.

Sometimes the Internets Leave Me Speechless

Cats sing "Independent Woman."

Really, I have no commentary.

Friday, June 15, 2007

My Workweek

As We'd Say Around Here: Must Be One of God's Foods!

Because it Doesn't Always Have to Be That Way

Whenever people start arguing about biological roles and restrictions and "that's just the way it's always been" and "it'll always be that way," it always pissed me the fuck off, not only because things could be really differet, but because sometimes, things are really different (fast foward to about minute 4 if you're impatient).

It'll just "always be that way" until a bunch of you decide that it isn't.

Snapshots of Dayton

At lunch today, a bunch of people in suits and skirts participated in a rubber duck race in the big fountain in the main square near the courthouse downtown. There was a big inflated duck on a stage. When the whistle blew, the desk jockeys leapt into the knee-high fountain with their ducks and were off. One woman tripped in the fountain and got soaked from hat brim to stockinged feet.

AFter work, while sitting on the courthouse steps waiting for the bus amid a congregation of likeminded travelers, I witnessed a young man with a bible in his hand take up his place in front of us and proceeded to preach to us of Satan and Jesus, and how if Satan had stolen our self respect, our job, our luck, that Jesus would break into Satan's kingdom and get all of those things back for us.

One woman yelled from the audience, "Satan rules!"

It occurred to me that I don't have any street preachers in God's War. I need to remedy this.

I think the rest of the day was just too surreal to process.

Take Me Out

I was looking at an ad for a play showing in Dayton tonight and saw this warning message attached to the ad in the local City Guide:

"WARNING: Contains strong lanauage and male nudity - not recommended for audiences under 17."

I don't think I've ever seen a rating system that specificed the sex that was baring all. I'm assuming that the assumption here is that audiences will find a flacid male member far more intimidating than a pair of breasts (the play is also about race and homosexuality - maybe the whole "male nudity" thing is code for that in case insecure het men decide to go and see a "play about baseball" and get freaked out that it's *also* about baseball...).

There's no reason why a naked woman couldn't be seen as powerful and sexually threatening and a naked man viewed as a docile object to be dominated. There are certainly *instances* of this, and much of the control of women and their bodies - what they show, to who, and when - is of course done because women *are* secretly seen as powerful. But it *is* a secret super power - the rest of the world doesn't want to code it that way.

It does make me wonder if the whole bluster about male nudity is just a big sham to cover up the fact that the naked man is just as vulnerable - if not more so - than the naked female.

Ever so fascinating.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Shuffle

I held out the hope of hitting MA class tonight right up until about 4pm, when I discovered that I was still hobbling around the office like an old woman.

Stephanie saw me painfully shuffling around the kitchen this morning and said, "Boy, I bet you're sore."

"I hurt like hell."

"Didn't you take any anti-inflammatories?"

"Um... no?"

"Are you drinking a lot of water to rehydrate and help your muscles repair themselves?"

"Um... I'm just drinking the same amount of water."

"Are you doing anything that isn't bad so I don't feel like I have to nag you?"

"Um... look at my bicep, isn't it KEWL???!!!"

Saturday it is.

By the Numbers

So, I got my first paycheck for a full week of work yesterday, and did the math.

With what I'm making a week, after taxes, I'm making a grand total of:

20K a year.

I'm now working 40 hours a week to make $85 a week more than I was getting when I was on unemployment.

20K a year.


What's the poverty line again? Half that, maybe. And the only reason I can make it on this is because I don't pay rent or utilities. Also: no health insurance, no benefits.

Boy, I sure am glad I got all that education just for shits and giggles, cause if I was expecting paychecks...


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

One for the Road

On Becoming a Supah Ninjah

Had my first day of MA class at the new school yesterday. Biked half an hour out there, had class for an hour and a half, and biked a half hour back. Tomorrow, I get to do it all over again!

We opened with kicking drills and then did an hour - an *hour* - of grappling. I'm not using to doing a lot of holds & etc. work, and especially not for an *hour,* and we switched up partners a lot, which was good.

One of the tough parts about starting a new school is that everybody's sort of uncertain about what level of contact their partner is comfortable with, and you have to work it out and get comfortable with it as you go along. Something that made me really happy about my last school was that I partnered with guys a lot; being as tall and heavy as I am, it helps me a lot more to get paired with somebody of equal size.

There was a lot of merry dancing in the beginning as all the women in class had been partnered at least once with all the other women in class, and then the instructor finally prodded everybody into mixed-sex pairs.

Most people were great, but I ended up partnered with a guy who was really nervous - either about partnering with a girl or possibly being beat by a girl or *something,* and when I went to practice the hold, wrapping my hands behind his head, pressing my forearms against his chest and pulling his head forward and down, he exclaimed, "Oh, look, cleavage!"

It was the most bizarrely inappropriate (and inaccurate) thing I think I've ever heard in MA class, and my immediate thought was, "Wow, this guy must be, like, 12." I wasn't, in fact, showing any cleavage, as I'm small breasted and was wearing a sturdy sports bra under a high scooped neck tank top.

Perhaps he thought this was a way of alleviating the tension he experienced while being partnered with a girl, or perhaps he thought this would somehow make me feel more relaxed. Who knows? He went on to knock the glasses off my face and leave a big claw mark on my forehead when we should have just been doing some friendly hold-and-release drills. The behavior drew the attention of the instructor and several classmates, who were just as curious as I was about what he was trying to prove showing that he had better skillz than the New Chick.


Aside from that, it was a really good experience. We finished up with some time with glove and mitts, which felt sofuckingunbelievablygoodyouhavenoidea. It's been awhile since I got to hit things.

I had a lot of anxiety about getting back to class. I usually end up being the fattest person in class, and last night was no exception, so I spent the evening doing just as many pushups as everyone else and muddling through things I should probably have asked for more help with. Always trying to prove things...

What I told myself when I first started MA classes back in 2004 (dear lord was it that long ago?) was that, even if I sucked and got everything wrong and was totally weak and uncoordinated and had the body type of a mushroom that I would never again be totally new and unfamilier with how to hit things, with forms and how to do drills and all that. Sure, you have to relearn things and get back into it and recondition and all that, but it's never totally new. You're only totally new ONCE. That space in your head for all of this stuff has already been pushed out, and your body can get back into it a lot more easily than it did the first time.

That kept me going, and yeah, it payed off. Because starting a new school is a *lot* easier than it was starting my first school. I feel like less of an idiot (and less of a mushroom), and less uncoordinated, and the whole deal. I don't feel incompetent, and I already know some of my biggest strengths and weakneses.

When the class formed up for the night, I realized that the shirts that everybody was wearing read:



Something tells me that me and this MA school will get along just fine...

The Internets is Weird, Yo

Yo, people. Just... you. I work all day and this is what I come back to???

Can't we just all turn into pirates someday?

Or supah ninajahs?

Monday, June 11, 2007


Mmmmm SOPs.

There's NOTHING MORE FUN THAN EDITING and FORMATTING SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) ALL DAY.

How To Install Windows XP/Outlook/Office, whatthefuckever:

Now hit Next.

Next, you'll click NEXT.

We'll select "Next."

Choose Next.

Now press "NEXT."

I usually hit NEXT.




(and yes, every single one of the SOPs came to me in a different tense and style with wildly different ways of signifying that "Next" was the name of a button and not just a word. This is why they hired me. I did these for eight hours today, and I'm only about halfway done. More are coming)

And you know what?

I still love every minute of it.

Yup, That's the One

Starting tomorrow, this will be my new MA school.


Suck it Up, Hurley

Well, the collective effort of three moderately active people finally made the old elliptical I carted in from Chicago go kaput. Me and the roomies spent the entirety of Sunday afternoon looking for a similiarly compact and reasonably priced machine, to no avail. We'll eventually get a new one, but not this week.

This means I either need to go jogging or take another bike ride tonight. And, really, I need to bike down to the proposed MA school and sign up for a free trial class for Wednesday.

But! But! But!

Ugh. Exercise. You do it cause you feel better afterwards.

Really, that's the only reason.

OK, and you lift weights cause it makes your arms look cool, and you can hit people.

I mean, in self defense!


Sunday, June 10, 2007

I Carry A Spoon


Just... blarg.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Friday, June 08, 2007

One for the Road

Note To Self:

That oatmeal raisin cookie in the pastry case at Boston Stoker downtown may *look* like the Healthiest, Lowest-Carb option of the lot, but it's going to take a lot more than three units of insulin to cover it...

But boy was it good.

Happy Friday.

It's a Start, Anyway

Thursday, June 07, 2007


I don't think I've ever spent eight or ten or whatever hours a day writing so many different things. Writing, sure, but writing resumes, executive bios, editing and formating SOPs, writing and revising company handbooks, and squeezing in some of my own fiction at the coffee shop at lunchtime?


It's good for me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007



I can't tell you how fucking awesome it feels not to be someone's secretary.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

More on Women and Gaming

An interview with my buddy Patrick, a writer at Bioware.

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Search Continues...

... to find a dumbbell squat that doesn't *feel* to me like a dumbbell squat, so I may fool myself into thinking that I LOVE squats.

Tonight's variation looked like this (trendy work-out gear not included):

But with, you know, weights like these:

And it all ended up something like this:

Games I Seriously Need To AVOID


It's like those fucking claw thingie machines that you just keep feeding quarters into, only it's free! EXCEPT FOR ALL THAT TIME IT EATS FROM YOUR LIFE.

But I did make myself work on Black Desert line edits and do laundry beforehand.

OK, back to line edits and some French exercises, but dear LORD that game just ate another HOUR from my life.


And that would be....

So, Ray Bradbury insists that the public has been "misreading" Fahrenheit 451 since, well, 1952. According to this article he wants to "make news" by speaking out about his real intent behind writing the book. It is not a book about censorship. It is "a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature."

And yet:

Bradbury imagined a democratic society whose diverse population turns against books: Whites reject Uncle Tom’s Cabin and blacks disapprove of Little Black Sambo. He imagined not just political correctness, but a society so diverse that all groups were “minorities.” He wrote that at first they condensed the books, stripping out more and more offending passages until ultimately all that remained were footnotes, which hardly anyone read. Only after people stopped reading did the state employ firemen to burn books.

So.... the people... censored... the books?

I'm thinking his issue is more about disuading the belief that it's some heavy-handed government doing all the censoring, and not the people themselves.

It's the people who are participating in their own oppression. They censor and burn their own books.

Governments are run by people, too.

Isn't This Counterproductive?

There's nothing more annoying than having to carb-up after working out because your sugar's low.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Conjugating French Verbs

Where does this other "s" come from????


It's still here!!!!

Missed the Boat

Sunday's a good time for a bike ride...

I realized tonight that I haven't done a lot of purely recreational biking since I got here. Since I don't have a car, the bike is largely a tool to get me from here to there, and though it's great to combine exercise with a bookstore run, I hadn't done a lot of exploring around the neighborhood on my bike.

I love bike riding. It was something I didn't learn to do until I was 12 or 13 because there just weren't a lot of places around my house to learn. I spent most of my biking time at my grandma's house; there was a church parking lot nearby, and the church had this great courtyard where we could ride around these little statues of saints.

I got back into it after getting back from Bellingham and getting my life and health back together. I'd put the bike in the back of my truck and drive over to Lewisville Park and bike around. In Alaska, biking was my primary means of transport and recreation all summer and even much of the winter. It wasn't until my last few months in Chicago that I took it up again.

There's something I like about the freedom of bike riding. It's like that girlish yearning for a horse - all that speed and power. It's probably why I have such an interest in getting a motorcycle - more speed! More power! More freedom!

So tonight I picked a direction and just rode for a few miles down sleepy little streets. The evening was cool and muggy and there were a few people out on their porches. Somebody was having a block party. People played catch with their kids. The gardens were lush and well-landscaped, and despite the people everything was just dead quiet, just a sleepy summer night.

It was one of those nights that I try to wrap up and store away to remember later when things are not so good, when things are low. Because these are the nights you miss if you get hit by a car or hit by a shovel and keel over, you know. These are the nights it's so beautiful to be alive, when it looks like, for the barest moment, that everything really will be all right.

So I wrap these ones up, and I put them away, and I remember them when the winter comes.

Twenty Epics

Through a bit of careful politiking* I finally managed to get a hold of a copy of Twenty Epics, which turns out to be just as fucking awesome a collection and everybody says it is (oh boy is this is rare in a field where a lot of stuff gets overhyped).

I had considered writing something for this anthology when it was first announced, being a lover/hater of the fantasy epic - I'm in love with the *feeling* of the epic, but disillusioned by the 11-books-and-counting nature of the Robert Jordan epic.

So this antho had the potential to be pretty much just perfect for a reader like me.

It could have also sucked some serious goats.

But you know, it was put together by Groppi and Moles, so I had some hope.

I loved the way this anthology was put together - there was a careful mix of different lengths and styles and even a couple of SF-y bits in there. I'll just say a few things about the stories that I really enjoyed, and maybe a note or two about why I liked them.

DeNiro's "Have You Any Wool" is a cat-and-mouse Cordwainer Smith-ish epic that does with the far future just what I like done with the far future - it's so alien, so Other, that it reverts back to fantasy, to myth. It's the tale of a young boy aboard a ship that's been sent out to fight wolves that prowl about the stars devouring worlds. The wolves fight each culture by turning its own myths and folktales against it, so:

"Slowly, folklorists and anthropologists took to the front lines. They analyzed what the wolves had transformed. They developed applications of technology that would counter the warping of space-time according to the morphologies of folktales. They would be sheep in wovles' clothing, becoming participants in whatever fantasies the wolves would devise, and then stealthily alter them for tactical advantages. If the wolves mutated a pod settlement into a pastoral scene replete with carillion castles and fair damsels, Parameter shocktroops might become knights, or even trolls."

I mean, really, how fucking cool is that?

Another story that lodged itself in my brain through the sheer power of its imagery was K.D. Wentworth's "The Rose War," an... epic family saga about a family that slowly trains up and eventually interbreeds with an army of roses that they use to devour whole armies (you'll note a common theme running through the stories I enjoyed: blood, war, devouring armies... mmmm).

Christopher Barzak's "The Creation of Birds" had a slow start, but the emotional core of the story steadily took hold of me as I read about a woman who creates birds from paper, ink and starlight and her fucked up relationship with a man who believes he is hording all the stars in the world for her... but will not release them when she asks. This was one of those stories, as I've talked about before, that hit some core emotional truth for me and left me a little sad and breathless in the end.

"The Muse of Empires Lost" by Paul Berger was another far-future fantasy about a young girl living in the belly of a living ship that has long been cut off from its makers. The living ships have created their own ecologies; the ships love and mate and die with no regard for those living on the planets that spawned them, and Jemmi, our heroine, finds herself with a deep attachment to the world that is her ship. When a strange man arrives, sharing Jemmi's ability to alter the will of others to his own, Jemmi finds that she must choose between her attachment to the living ship and a possible godhood on another world.

It took me a long time to figure out whether or not I enjoyed Sandra McDonald's "Life Sentence," because the theme was old and tired: a Korean war veteran finds that he's able to re-live his life again and again from different starting points. In his first few tries, he ends up repeating the same old failures, and I was worried that this was going to be another one of those "sorry, the future is already set and everybody gets fucked no matter what you do!" stories, but that's not ultimately where she went with it, and I was glad I stuck it out.

I found a sort of female-Elric-bound-to-a-sword story in Mary Robinette Kowal's "Bound Man," which was an interesting take on the warrior-bound-to-sword trope. Li Reiko is ripped away from play with her children to fight trolls in another time thousands of years after the death of her children, among a people utterly foreign to her. As with Elric, the two peoples can somehow miraculously understand one another, and Li Reiko resents her summoners. I enjoyed this one because I'm always looking for what the female version of a Conan/Elric would look like, but I had some quibbles with the end, mainly because this one goes with the "the future is already set!" mode of time travel, and that always bugs me. It also screws with the agency of Li Reiko's daughter, which bugged me.

As someone with some training as a historian, I couldn't help but like Ian McHugh's "The Last Day of Rea" as well. We get a sort of fantasy-SFish story about an inbred dynasty that decides to go up against a small city-state with ties to the stars, and our protagonist is a clever historian who tries to avert the worst of the disaster. I enjoyed the witty protagonist and tongue-in-cheek humor.

One of the cool things about the anthology was the stylistically diverse stories that snuck in here, the infamous "Choose Your Own Epic Adventure," and the chaptered and numbered biblical epic, "The Book of Ant" and Ya Hoon Lee's cleverly laid out "Hopscotch" all played with narrative set-up that added a lot of variety to the anthology. And yeah, "Epic, The" is a bit cutesy, but not in a sugary way.

I'm not a huge fan of anthologies or story collections, cause you know, there's usually only one or two stories you actually like, a bunch that are mediocre and several that you just never even finished.

I finished all of these, didn't actively hate any of them, and I can only think of one or two that I found actively mediocre.

That's pretty fucking impressive.

Pick up a copy.

This ride is totally worth it.


*Which consisted of me saying, "Hey Moles, give me a fucking copy!" when two promotional extras were handed to him at the con in my presence. I am nothing if not subtle....

And Vice Versa...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Breathtaking Wallpapers

This is my new one.

Here's more.

One for the Road

Sorting Out the AirCon Issue

Things here at Casa de B. have been pretty sluggish as of late do in large part to the aircon situation. It's hotter than hell here (OK, 80s and 90s, not that real feel 115 I had in Chicago last year, but hey), and we've just turned on the aircon today (I am not paying for it, so it's not like I can gun for it, though now that I'm employed I do hope to pay for at least my portion of utilities bills next month).

What this means, though, is that there's been a lot of half-hearted working out, blogging, and writing-revising this week, which should hopefully be kicked back into full gear now that I'm not constantly thinking about how fucking hot it is.

I'm sure Jared Diamond would have something to say about climate and productivity. In South Africa, productivity pretty much just went out the window for two months during the summer. It was just too hot to move.

And I Woke Up

I had a dream that I was watching "the real" season/show finale of "Buffy," and everyone was running around this enormous, dim library about as big as a 20-storey warehouse with books on all walls and this huge hanging candelabra of shelves coming down from the top and everyone was being hunted by the things in the books, which were really things from their pasts come to life.

And it came time for Buffy to die, because she had somehow become evil, and people were killing people left and right and somebody said she deserved to die because none of this would have happened if she hadn't fallen in love with a vampire. Falling in love with a vampire had drawn evil to her, and she'd been stalked by that evil, and eventually turned evil herself.

And at the very end, as somebody (me?) held her by the hair and got ready to plunge in the dagger, this ghost comes out of one of the books, and it's this guy I knew from high school theater who was supposed to be her "real" long-lost love, the guy she was "supposed" to be with cause *he really loved her,* but he died somewhere along the way, just another body lost to the cause, and he gasps, "No! Let me do it. Her heart belongs to me."

And this huge audience leans in, gasping, as if the fourth wall's been broken, and all of these fans, mostly women from fourteen to fifty-five, take these huge gasping breaths and lean in expectantly. Some of them start to tear up and prepare to sob. The air goes heavy with anticipation. They want Buffy - the good Buffy - to end up with the man who loved her.

And I hand over the knife, because some part of me wants her to be with him too, because *he loved her so much.* I hand over the knife without thinking too much, because this is the script. This is the way it should go. This is how all the stories turn out.

He does not cut open her chest. He jams the dagger into her forehead and cleaves her face in two.

A hot white light pours out of her, and Buffy's soul leaves her body. He embraces her ghostly form in his. And we know she's good and he's good and all is right with the world.

The expectant audience sheds its tears, and the shadows of the big book-world flicker, and I'm kneeling there next to the body, the story-part of me feeling happy that I have helped make everything right with the world, and the not-dream part of me thinking, "Oh God why would I want it to end up this way? She's not evil because she dated a vampire. She's broken and bruised because she's had to fight all the evil in the world, and when you have to fight evil, you become a little bit evil yourself. She doesn't love him, and the strength of his love will never make her love him."

So the audience wept with joy at the reunited lovers and the woman redeemed by a man with a weapon, and I held the bloody dagger in my hands, and I woke up.

This feeling is what all of my fiction is about.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Black Desert: Excerpt

Safina ma Raj had taken a flying leap off the minaret of Aludra’s central mosque, the Hagia Sarat, three days before Nyx drove into town.

Nyx got there in time for the blood arbiter’s dissemination of Safina’s possessions outside the same mosque, on the same stained stones where Safina’s body had burst like an overcooked blood melon. Safina’s twelve daughters and the beaten-up, battle scarred old man who passed for her husband had gathered in the square that morning for the reading, but the daughters were all tax clerks and the husband was deaf and blind, so though Eshe had some success trying to charm the clerks, none of the women had had contact with Safina in nearly a decade, and the husband was so grief stricken he merely put his hands over his face and sobbed.

Nyx walked with a cane, and had her hood up. She and her team lingered at the rear of Safina’s brood while the blood arbiter sorted through various daughters’ claims to their mother’s paltry wealth.

Yah Reza had given Nyx an extra long burnous with wide sleeves. It was also organic, which kept her a lot cooler, a good thing considering how much she had to cover herself up now. She was chewing sen, but the pain was still pretty bad, and her new skin itched like hell. Eshe stood next to her, looking anxious and girlish with his long hair and belled trousers. Suha sat on the lip of the fountain behind them, her hood up as well, pistols visible.

“So she’s dead,” Eshe said, passing Nyx a water bottle.

“Seems to be,” Nyx said. She shifted her weight to her right foot and leaned a little more on the cane. She hated the cane, but she figured she could always use it to bash somebody’s head in if she started feeling gimpy.

“You think the bel dames killed her?” Eshe asked.


“So now what?”

“Well, they did narrow our options.”

Nyx wished the bel dames had killed Safina before Nyx had Suha drive them all the way out to Aludra. It would have saved them a fistful of notes and some pretty precious time. The Queen’s “compensation” for Nyx’s appearance in Mushira had been generous, but the magicians in Faleen were asking for a trainload of bugs in return for her four days of reconstitution, and she wasn’t willing to work it all off at the morgues this time. The only reason Yah Reza had let her walk away was because she figured Nyx was still on good terms with the Queen, though what the hell gave her that impression, Nyx didn’t know. Maybe being alive after nearly assassinating the Queen’s security tech was enough.

“What happens if they killed the other bel dame too?” Eshe asked.

Nyx grinned and spit sen. “Oh no, they’re not going to kill the other one,” Nyx said. “Alharazad doesn’t die.”

Suha grunted. “You two should have a lot in common, then.”

“You wouldn’t believe,” Nyx said.


It sounds vaguely dirty and illegal, don't you think?

Official Dayjob Title:

"Document Writer."

I'll take it!

I Wonder How She Did It!

Solid flesh!

In just one week!