Thursday, January 31, 2008

Things That Make You Go "OMG"

I was doing some random googling tonight, and wondered what would happen if folks only had my first name and location. Would they discover my TRUE IDENTITY?

According to Google, no. Cause there is apparently ANOTHER KAMERON IN DAYTON. And you all thought MySpace pages weren't good for anything. Look at how perfectly my identity is hidden! She's even 28, like me! Only she is not rhino-sized, and her boyfriend appears to be very tall, or perhaps she is just very short.

In any case, her profile ensures that I come up way down at the end of the page.


Things Will Get Better!

Oh yes, they will.

The Epic Battle Continues

My Credit History at a Glance

Was able to view my credit history for free online via a couple of sites, which is something I've been meaning to do as a part of my whole "Get my finances together" resolution. This was actually a very humbling experience.

Mmmmm credit excess.

The good news is I've only got one late credit card payment from back in `06 and two late student loan payments. Everything else I pay on time, for whatever that's worth.

I've got one credit card that's carried between 3-5K for the last two YEARS (yes, I've budgeted to get this taken care of over the NEXT two YEARS. Yes, this is why Credit Cards are EVIL).

But for something really terrifying, have a look at the balance history on my big CC, in chronological order:

01/2006 $1,337
02/2006 $2,800
03/2006 $2,554
04/2006 $2,068
05/2006 $1,882 - got sick with diabetes
06/2006 $2,538
07/2006 $2,981
08/2006 $2,056
09/2006 $2,597
10/2006 $3,782 - uncovered hospital bills came due
11/2006 $5,231
12/2006 $5,821 - got laid off and lost health insurance
01/2007 $6,560
02/2007 $7,051
03/2007 $7,214 - moved to Dayton
04/2007 $7,308 - went to Spain
05/2007 $7,619
06/2007 $9,014 - still no health insurance
07/2007 $9,609 - advised employer to hire me b/c of med costs
08/2007 $10,323 - employed/finally got health insurance
09/2007 $11,282 - went to Switzerland/started dating locally
10/2007 $12,068
11/2007 $12,791 - new insurance co problems
12/2007 $13,972 – initiated new budget to control debt
01/2008 $13,805

I can't tell you how depressed I was with this card balance back when it was $1500. I kept thinking, "Oh, I'll NEVER pay this BACK."

I've resolved not to have anymore years like 2006/2007 ever again.

Seriously, layoffs and chronic illness and moving and dating of any kind (local or international) is not a good idea.

One more reason to give up dating! Yay!

I can't wait to be done with this debt.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I Have All My W-2's Now!

Which means now I get to find out if I really CAN afford to go to Wiscon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rambo: Fourth Blood

(click to view the depressing stats counts)

Quote of the Day

"A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave."
- Mohandas Gandhi

Monday, January 28, 2008

Note to Self

No day is a good day to decide to give up coffee.

Oh no.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Ring Pistol

Because really, you could put an eye out.

Web Pirates

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Thought for the Day

Tomorrow will be better.

Always is.

Quote of the Day

"I take life with a grain of salt, a wedge of lime, and a shot of tequila."
- unknown

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things Needing Fixing

Now that I've successfully grooved into a great new workout schedule and created a new internal communications plan at work at that I'm implementing, it's time to fix my REAL writing schedule, cause I can tell you right now that Black Desert ain't going to be done by March.

Fucking personal life, always getting in the way.

New goal: Fix writing schedule. While retaining the awesomeness that is my work and workout schedules.

When I grow up, I want to be able to juggle health, both types of writing, and a real, live personal life, for long periods of time. That would just be so fun.

A chick's gotta have goals.

An Open Reader Poll

Q: Should Kameron go on a date Friday night?


Please post your response in the comments section below (please show your work).

One For the Road

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In Which the Protagonist Heads to Bed Early

Too much working. Too much working out.

Too much time tonight to sit around and think.

I'll get to bed early while I'm ahead. Rested muscles means more lifting at the gym tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Reasons I Can't Wait Until Payday

Because the next payday is the 1st of February, which means I will once again have $100 in "fun money."

1/3 of which I have already decided to spend on pants.

This is the exciting writing life, yo.

Monday, January 21, 2008

My First Bench Press!

The two other women in my workday workout group didn't show up today, so I got a Kameron-friendly workout from one of our work personal trainers, K.

She hauled me back into the free weights area, and I bench pressed for the first time!

The bar itself is 45 lbs, so she started me with that just to verify that I could, you know, lift it with ease. She increased the weight by 5lbs on each bar until we got to 65. By then, I was probably too worn out to push weight increments of much more, but next time... I want to start at 70, yo!

As we moved on to free weights, one of the guys in the gym lumbered up and said, "You know, if you ladies are serious about lifting weights, you should use higher and higher increments. You know, 8 pounds, then 10pounds, maybe even a couple reps with 20, you know, til you tire out. Women don't have testoserone, so you don't bulk up. You'll just get these real lean muscles."

Imagine, when I grow up, I might even be able to lift a 20lb free weight!

I did understand the weight training routine he was referencing... though he got it wrong. It actually works in reverse of the way he said it. You start with the heaviest weight you can lift, do it to failure, then notch down your weights, doing each successively smaller weight to failure. It's called a Drop Set. This will build muscle faster, but could also result in overtraining. There are pros and cons. I suppose you could try this in reverse the way he believed you should (with his 20 years of personal training experience, I'm sure), but if you do 20 lbs to failure, you probably aren't going to be able to lift 25 and do them to failure immediately afterwards.

Anyway. Math is hard, and I'm just a girl.

K. was much nicer than I was going to be.

What I wanted to say was, first: "Women don't have any testoserone, huh? I wonder where my wicked sex drives comes from, then."


"If I wanted your advice, I would ask. I, however, am no foreigner to free weights, thanks. Even though I'm just a girl."

K. has 15 years of personal training experience and a BA in Exercise Science or something. She merely said, "Thank you."

As we headed out of the weight area to work on the assisted pull-up machine she said, "Don't you just love it when random guys in the gym give you unsolicited advice?"

"We're just girls," I said. "It happens every time you walk over to the boys' half of the gym. And then they wonder why more women don't lift weights."

Honestly, do you think guys give other guys unsolicited advice in the weights room? Maybe they do, and I just never noticed because I don't spend enough time there. But I'd bet women get way more unsolicited advice than men do. Women have pride too, you know. And many of us even have an idea of what we're doing. If we're not doing it the way you want us to do it, it's probably for a reason. You don't know what our goals are. You don't know what our backgrounds are. Some of us have 15 years of personal training experience. Some of us can kick you in the head.

Thanks, tho, buddy.


My first bench press!


Be Advised

5 Scariest Insects in the World

No shit, man.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New PM Workout Routine

So, for some time now I've been trying to come up with a regular evening lower-body routine to match my morning upper-body free weights routine. My morning one works great. Years of habit make kicking off my day with a quick 15 minutes of weights as natural to me as breakfast and a shower.

But I needed something I can get into at night that's as quick, simple, and effective.

Well, it appears I may have found it. And if this doesn't kick your ass, then you're in far better shape than I. I can alter the number of sets to make this a quick 10 or 15 minutes at the end of the day. Again, if my morning/evening sets go much longer than that, I tend to avoid them. An hour workout during my weekday is fine, but get me at the beginning or end of the day, and it better be fast and require very little complex thought.

We'll see if I can work this one in each evening. So far, it's proved to be fun and functional, just like my 20 minutes of easy, post-pancakes cardio on the weekends.

Fun, easy, and functional makes it much more likely this will become a part of my daily routine.

Quote of the Day

"I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work." - Thomas Edison

12 Ways to Eat Diabetic-Friendly On a Budget

Most food budget tips will tell you to stock up on cheap fillers like rice, potatoes, pasta and canned beans and soups. The canned beans might not be so bad, but if you're a fickle diabetic like me, you want to stick to a low carb diet. This reduces the amount of insulin you take every day, improves your numbers, and ultimately, results in a consistent weight and clear head.

One of the biggest obstacles to figuring out a doable budget for me was creating a reasonable food budget without the help of the handy rice and pasta fillers that Steph and the Old Man are able to use. It's been a brutal learning period.

Here's some tips I've come up with for how to eat low-carb on a budget:

1) Buy cheap vegetables. Forget those pre-cut bags of broccoli and cauliflower. Cabbage is 50 cents a head (prob'ly cheaper in other places), and it's really filling. There are also a million ways to cook it. It's a poor person's food. People have been creative. Carrots and frozen peas are some other great low-cost filler vegetables (brussels sprouts aren't bad either, but they aren't the cheapest thing on the block).

2) Buy your meat in bulk. Go to Sam's Club or Costco, if you can, and buy those big packs of chicken breasts for stewing meat. Divide them up into individual bags when you get home and freeze them. Take them out the night before to defrost for your chicken stir fry the next night. No more pre-cooked meats. You'll thank yourself later when you're making an offer on that new house.

3) Breakfast doesn't have to be a full-out affair. I was used to the eggs and bacon routine from my Atkins days, so when I got diagnosed, I just ported that over. But it ended up taking up too much time, and bacon (even turkey bacon) isn't exactly cheap. Plus, I could only stomach it with cheese and mixed veggies, and that meant going through more cheese every week than my pocket was comfortable with. I buy frozen blueberries in bulk and defrost a cup of those, dust them in Splenda, and eat them in the morning while I'm catching up on blogs.

4) What about that Splenda? Buy it in bulk, too. It always feels like a major expense, though I don't go through a lot of it. When I buy it in bulk, I'm spending maybe $5.99 a month on it. Buying it at the store means I'm spending $7.99-8.99. This may not sound like a huge difference, but that's 2 or 3 iTunes songs you get to download every month now, or a pair of socks (I have learned how to mend my socks. I like iTunes more than I like buying new socks).

5) Low carb tortillas are a must. They're expensive: $2.99 for a pack of 8. But they do replace all of your bread products, and with that 90-per calorie count and 9-per carb count, you just can't beat them. I buy Tam-x-ico's Low Carb Tortillas. I buy two packages per week. That's a whopping $6 on bread products, but if you think about it, I'm not buying bread, pitas, bagels, chips, crackers or any other type of snack food of a similar variety. So $6 a week on bread products really isn't that bad.

6) Speaking of tortillas, since this is your only bread product, you're going to want to get creative with them. Use them for sandwich wraps for lunch, grilled wraps for dinner, fajitas, nachos or chips (cut them up and fry them or bake them in your toaster oven), quesadillas, and etc. Get your $6 worth.

7) Yogurt is great... just choose the right kind. There's a great low-carb yogurt called Fage that has like 9 carbs a serving, and a very reasonable calorie count. You can use this as an additional breakfast item, add it to your whole-wheat pancakes, or mix it with frozen berries and Splenda for a great sweet treat. Thing is, Fage is a tad on the expensive size. For just over a dollar less, you can buy Trader Joe's Greek Yogurt. Fewer carbs (6 per serving), and cheaper price. It's your best bet. Like the Fage, opt for the 0% fat version. They taste exactly the same as the full fat, but have something ridiculous like 1/3 to 1/4 of the calories.

8) And, what about berries? The highest cost item on my food bill every week was fresh berries. What can I say? I was addicted. Don't buy them fresh unless it's the time of year where they're in season, and it's cheaper to buy fresh than frozen. Otherwise, buy your low carb blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries frozen. Seriously. You'll save loads.

9) Watch the cheese. This is my biggest weakness. It's the best no-carb snack on the planet! Stick to low-fat string cheese (in my opinion, it tastes better than full fat) and some kind of extra sharp cheddar cheese for your sandwiches, fajiitas, and the like. If you must, you can buy feta or blue cheese for your salads, but at $3-$4 a week, it's not always a worthwhile expense for me. Some weeks, I'd rather buy socks.

10) Don't shop hungry. Yeah, yeah, you've heard this before as a great stupid "weight loss" tip, but let's think about where it's really hitting you: your budget. Nothing looks better than $4 packages of pecans and $5 cheese and spinach pre-made quesadillas when I'm shopping hungry, and the urge to add "just one more thing because I'm so cool!" to the basket quickly becomes $20 worth of "just one more thing"s.

11) Only buy thing's you'll eat. This might sound obvious, too, but if you're buying three packages of spinach a week for your lunch salads and only using 2 and throwing out the other one, that's $1.99 in the hole. You could have bought some SnapPea Crisps or a dark chocolate bar instead. If you only drink half a gallon of milk a week, don't buy a gallon. Unless it's something you're buying in bulk and freezing, only buy what you're going to use that week. Waste not.

12) No incidentals. No magazines, no books, no string, no plants, no random greeting cards. You can buy these things out of your fun budget when you're out on a different trip, to have fun. Make grocery shopping about grocery shopping. If the budgets are separate (for me, my fun budget and grocery budget are very much separate), then separate them in your head. Piling things on and figuring you'll sort out the costs later means no headache now, but a nasty realization later when you sit down with the recipes and realize you blew half your monthly fun budget on a Bob Greene book, an Oprah magazine, some notebook paper, and a handful of pens.

If I stick absolutely to my "rules" every week, I still probably spend $70-80 a week on groceries (this also includes toiletries - razors, face wash, soap and the like). This might still sound really high to people used to living on rice and pasta. The best I ever did on groceries was $50 a week... eight years ago. I did that by drastically reducing my food intake (two eggs and mixed veggies separated into two portions: one portion for breakfast, one for lunch, and mixed veggies, brown rice and sausage for dinner. String cheese to snack on. That's it. It was wicked tight, and not the funnest thing I've ever done).

$70-80 a week will be annoying, but comfortable. You'll still get snacks and a variety of sugar-friendly food, and you won't have to go without soap.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Finding Your Motivation

What drives you?

Not just to get up in the morning (I must work to pay for my roof, my food, to survive), but what drives you to do more than just survive? To push into the unknown, to take a risk?

I used to fear relationships and commitment in the same way people fear death. It's why I stayed single so long after high school, and one of the reasons (besides my crazy sickness) that caused much of the trouble in the two relationships I had after coming out of my post-highschool dating hiatus. I was terrified of getting close to people, of getting into anything serious, of not having an escape route, of showing weakness, of relying on somebody who was, by definition, unreliable. After all, anyone who wasn't me was unreliable.

That was all about to change.

I'd been in a relationship for three years in high school, lived with the guy for six months, turned him down - twice - when he asked me to marry him. And in that relationship, my first taste of what it was "relationships" were supposed to be, I became everything I hated.

I became a weak-willed, screaming, miserable wreck. I hated myself. I wanted to kill myself. I was a depressed, hysterical ball of self-hatred. I was terrified of everything. Terrified of my boyfriend, terrified of change, terrified of failing even more than I'd already failed. I took fistfuls of my waitressing tip money and watched "Titanic" in the theaters, over and over, wishing I could be that brave to just break away from everything - all of the promises, the expectations. I should have had everything I wanted. I should have been happy. But this wasn't the life I wanted. This wasn't who I wanted to be, and I didn't know how to change it. Change felt terrifying. Failure was terrifying.

But this, this life, was worse.

I made the connection somewhere in my head that it was my reliance on my boyfriend, it was this weak, sobbing, scary relationship that had caused me to become this way, and that if I avoided getting too close, avoided relying on somebody else, if I relied only on my own strength, then I'd never become that person again.

When I was asked to shed this idea in later relationships, it was like asking me to kill myself. It was like asking me to pull out the vital clockwork inside of myself that had built me into this strong, brave person who took risks and put a backpack on her back and just went. Oh, what a brave person I'd become! Moving on when things got too stale, too comfortable. Moving on because I believed with every taut fiber in my body that if I got too comfortable, if I got stale, I'd become that weak, groveling, sniveling piece of shit I had been.

I just had to keep moving. I had to cut people out of my life, and keep moving.

Jenn told me this was a shit-ass crazy way to live my life, but it's all I had. I had no driving force to replace it. Taking this belief away from me would be like cutting off my leg and telling me to walk. I wouldn't know how. I'd have to learn everything all over again.

One of the brutal experiences of my eighteen months of supreme craziness was realizing how easy it was to die. Was coming to the understanding of how much easier it was for me to die, on a daily basis, than everybody else. My death was just a little bit closer.

I should be dead already.

I made some crazy decisions based on that near-death experience. Some crazy decisions and then... some other crazier ones.

I was thinking about past relationships, past loves, and remembering an ex who really hated himself, drove himself to do stuff with this ragged internal monologue of self-hate, and I thought, God, how can you use self-hate as such a powerful motivator? How could I be with someone so full of self-hate?

And then I remembered that that's how I used to be. That's what drove me. Self-hate. Fear. Hate at the person I used to be. Fear of becoming that person again. Fear of giving it all up, of throwing up my hands and crying and saying, "That's all I could do." Not fear of never accomplishing anything, but fear of never even trying.

I don't mind failure.

What I mind is the not trying.

With the self-hate gone, with that terror-motivation gone, I realized... Yeah. With that gone, I was finally able to let go and love people, and start planning for futures; futures with other people in my life besides, well, me. For the first time, I allowed my heart to be broken. Really broken. Not hurt. Not bruised. I opened myself up that way. And it sucked, and it made me feel weak and stupid. I hated it.

But it wasn't the end of the world. Far from it.

So if I wasn't being driven by self-hate anymore, what was driving me? Something had to keep me going. There's something else that pushes me to make a better career for myself, to keep pounding out books, to develop a kick-ass workout plan to get the buffness I want, to budget, to build a life. Where does that motivation come from? Not just to imagine that life, but to build it? I could just sit around delivering the bare minimum at work, bumming off my roommates until they kicked me out, renting forever, blaming others for my problems, racking up more credit card debt, building one-sided relationships, going to be early, giving up on workouts, cause really, why bother? Who cares?

I care. And I care enough to use everything in my power to build the life I want.

Where does it come from?

From almost dying. From seeing how easily everything just... stops. You just go to sleep. And you don't wake up. That's it.

There's no great mystery, no second chances, no pie in the sky, no ghostly light, nobody's hand in the dark. You just go to sleep. You're done.

This is all you've got.

The realization of how precious this is, how close we all are to just stopping... It really pulled me up short this year. It make me realize how much I still want to do. I remind myself every day that I'm living on borrowed time. Time even more precious than before, because it's like getting a second chance. A second chance to live, to create, to love, to build, to do.

In death, everything stops.

If death is about stopping, then living is about going. Pushing. Moving forward.
It's not just other people who are unreliable anymore. My own body betrayed me. I'm unreliable, too. We're all taking a risk. We're all afraid. All of us have hearts that can be broken. That's the risk we take. Every day.

We're all afraid.

But my desire to live, to really LIVE, trumps all those fears. All those risks.

Living is all we've got.

The Sarah Conner Chronicles

"Pack the guns. I'll make pancakes."

I mean, really, it couldn't get much cooler than that.

It took me some time to warm up to this one. The woman who plays Sarah is that chick from The 300, so though she's not as kick-ass as I'd like her to be, I have faith that she'll warm up as things go along. She's got a strong face and a good presence. I think she'll find her groove soon enough (yes, a lot of that is that I'd like her to be physically more powerful looking than she is now. +20 lbs and some muscles, OK, people? This is Sarah Conner. I'll give you the teenager terminator, but give me my buff, scary, kick-ass heroine too, OK?).

Summer Glau was perfectly cast as the awkward terminator; she creates just the right dissonance in her performance between high-school chick and scary Other. It's a good performance. Like Heady's, I think it'll get better as it goes on.

The kid? Yeah, well, hopefully he'll get a backbone and some fucking sense as things go on. You need to have somebody strong enough to stand next to these women, and thus far, he's underwhelming.

You'd also think that with so many folks recognizing Sarah, she'd, like, get a fucking hair cut and dye job, tho, don't you think?

I'm just sayin'. I'm not gonna handwave that one much longer.

You also gotta love all the guns and violence and the wacky space travel and rebels-from-the-future thing. Throwing in a huge cast of rebels and terminators should also make things really interesting. I like the idea of creating a far-future army in the past to fight the creation of their own future.

Making this movie "fix" the crap that was movie 3 was brilliant also. I was hoping they'd do that. Who fucking kills Sarah Conner?


We'll definately be watching the others.


Where your $3.50 a gallon goes...

Quote of the Day

"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot."
- D.H. Lawrence

Today's (Other) Song, Stuck On Repeat

I just bought both of these on iTunes. Since I was out of fun money for the month, I decided I would go without blue cheese on my salad this week in order to pay for it.

Want something, swap something.

I hate budgets.

The Wolfgang Press - "A Girl Like You"

You go to sleep
I want to sail in your head
And when you speak
You know you've got to make sense

You want to say
That it's me you know best
I say a girl like you
She was born to be blessed

My hands are yours
And you can take them from me
And take my mouth
I have nothing to say

You want to fly
To some other place
I say a girl like
She was born to be kissed
Born to be kissed

One thousand times
And your mother too
One thousand times

You're gonna say
You say you want to be free
But when you fall
You wanna fall back to me

You want to fly
And there's no disgrace
I say a girl like you
She was born to be blessed

My hands are yours
Cause I don't know how to pray
Take my mouth
I have nothing to say

I lift my heart
Up to a higher place
Up to a girl like you
Who was born to be kissed
Born to be kissed

One thousand times
And your sisters too
One thousand times
A girl like you

One thousand times
And your mother too
One thousand times
And your sisters too

One thousand times
And a girl like you
One thousand times
One thousand times

Because I saw you
Because I saw you

Today's Song, Stuck on Repeat

The Wolfgang Press - "People Say"

People say it's easy living in the light
Never see the hard times, never see the fight
Simple when it's slow but only if it's right
I only see the good times everytime
And now I've seen the whole, I'm ready to believe
And now I've seen the proof, I'm ready to concede
The same amount of hope is here upon my back
People say they know

People say they think
But they don't
And they they say they will
But they won't
People say they think
But they don't
That's all mine

Stepping into black and living in the light
Living isn't easy but life it does divide
Thinking of having babies is won't seem right
You're going to have a hard time everytime

And we're holding up the seeds like we're holding up the flame
Fearing that the women won't breed another name
Never tear apart what you're reaching to achieve
People say they know

People say they think
But they don't
And they they say they will
But they won't
People say they think
But they don't
That's all mine

Staring into black whilst living in the light
Living isn't easy but life it does divide
Charlie Manson said that everything is right
And Charlie Manson knows

People say they think
But they don't
And they they say they will
But they won't
People say they think
But they don't
That's all mine

Friday, January 18, 2008

And God's War Isn't "Marketable"...

... Then market it as "literary" spec fiction, yo.

The sight of 30 determined girls, many in headscarves, sparring and shadow-boxing, is extraordinary in Kabul. Women in burkas stalk the streets outside huddled against icy winds.

The teenage boxers, none of whom is older than 18, are part of a new generation which has grown up with only dim memories of Taleban rule and its stifling repression of women. They are ambitious, and can see nothing strange about women boxers.

Seriously, after writing the boxing stuff in God's War, this was kind of eerie to read.

Another Kind of Mod

Someday, I will be able to afford to put together my own gaming computer. And on that day, my friends, my modding skillz will finally be appreciated by pony aficionados and gamer geeks alike.

Lo, on that day...

Workah Workah

I've spent this week getting out of the last of my ennui. I've been trying to figure out what direction I want to push all of my energy into, and with the upshot my writing and career is sort of headed in right now, I decided to push all this extra energy into those directions.

Physically, I'm really healthy right now and feeling pretty fantastic. As said, I've got a lot of mental and physical energy, and no real firm place to put it. So.

With this strict budget of mine, and the one-year-for-a-car, two-years-for-a-house goals, I need to start putting more energy into getting to a place, careerwise, that I'd like to be. That is, finding ways to improve what I do, increase what I make, and certainly make more money freelancing (fiction and Other).

So I finally firmed up that decision this week. I have some ideas for work, and I've started putting together some corporate communication plans, building new projects for myself, and I'll do a couple meetings with some folks next week to talk about some corp marketing stuff and see where everyone is so I can figure out the best place to put myself.

The thing with working without any real supervisor is that I have to sort of anticipate what folks need and build it. If I want something bigger, I need to build it. I need to show I'm up to that. It's a fun place to cut my marketing and com teeth. I want to work toward that house. This is where I need to push this.

Even if I get cut after season, these are great skills I can transfer to other places. Showing what I can develop, build, and implement will look great on the old resume.

There's a huge shift I need to take, personally, to really move all my energies over there. I'm still sort of all over the board. But I did finally make the decision this week about what I feel is the most important thing right now, the best place to put displaced energy.

So making that decision, tough as it is, felt good, at least.

I'm in a good place.

I know where my heart is.


Should I sign up my pony mods for the Wiscon art show?

I'm wondering if people would actually pay for any of these, you think? I don't want to take up space that'd be better suited to more talented artists. It's a tough room.

Been thinking about it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Sugar Sugar

I always forget that meatloaf is not, in fact, made entirely of meat.


I Like You!

A Glimpse Inside the Head of a Schizophrenic

A taste of what it's like inside the head of a schizophrenic (Travis, don't watch this one. Seriously).

One For the Road

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Temporary Insanity

Just crazy.

It's in the Walk

One of the details I put into GW was a nod to the fact that Rhys, my magician, was good at reading people. He knew a bel dame (a bounty hunter/draft dodger police type of person) just by looking at them.

Trouble with this "detail" was, I used that whole "Well, he just KNEW" language. Which looks like (and, let's face it, IS) a handwave. It bugged me again with this scene in Black Desert where he does a deal with three women he pegs as being authentic bel dames. "He just KNEW."

But what did he know? How did he know? Well, something about they way they stood, the way they walked, something, something....

And now I have a better idea on how to properly detail that something.

Check out this great writerly guide to police body language.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sugar Blues

I've been really depressed the last couple of afternoons. Yesterday, I chalked this up as just overall blues, though I remember thinking it was incredibly strange that my sugar number after working out for over an hour was at 219. Where had that number come from? It meant I'd been riding a lot higher than that before exercise, but my pre-lunch number had been normal.

I'd been having some trouble with my insulin pen. I'd dial in a test unit and depress the plunger in the open air to make sure the syringe was clear (I usually do this before each dose now to make sure there's no blockage. I've had too many underdosage issues because of this), and not having any insulin come out after one, two, five dials. Once I had to dial in ten units of insulin and spray it out just to get it clear. I changed out my needles a couple of times, thinking somehow the insulin had gotten gummed up or something (anything's possible).

Today, growling through my "I want to poke out my eyes with spoons" and "maybe I should just kill myself" depression-induced litany, I went to Chipotle to use my birthday gift certificate and tested, once again, at 219.

Even without working out (depression has a habit of stealing motivation, which is why diabetics probably have to have their sugar under control before starting any kind of new routine or mental enterprise, which is sort of a catch 22, cause working out also helps your sugar, but depression caused by ass-unhappy sugar saps your energy in a big way), I should have only been at about 150, 170 tops.

So I dialed in my 6 unit bolus and plugged it in, and when I depressed the end of the pen, it just felt... weird. I wasn't getting any resistance, the way you'd get when you're injecting, you know, fluid into fat.

Then I went to dial in the 10 units of basal for the 219 number... and that's when I took a good look at the clear tubing of the pen plunger mechanism.

There's a screw-like piece of plastic that should be flush against the plunger that depresses it evenly when you dial it in. But in this pen, the plastic plunger had somehow gotten skewed at a nearly 90 degree angle, so when I depressed the plunger, I was getting a very low pressure "squirt" response from the insulin in the pen.

Meaning I wasn't getting even close to my full dose of insulin.

Dammit, man.

I came home and threw out the old pen and started up a new one. Easy fix, you know, but... I hate, hate HATE sugar-induced depression (granted, it wouldn't have been as bad if I wasn't low already, but I can do a better job fighting it off when I can think clearly).

Spending my afternoons wanted to tear people's heads off and claw out my eyes and weeping into my cornflakes just fucking kills me. It took a lot of effort to bleed through that last night, and now I get to set my 1am sugar-testing alarm, because I have no idea how much of that dinner insulin actually got injected into my system (I just tested at 298. I should be closer to 180 2 hours after dinner. Took a four unit correction, will test again at 1am).

It's shit like this that makes diabetes annoying. I'm really fucking thankful that I have some degree of control over my moods and of how hard this thing hits me, but leveling out, staying there, living the best you can with this fucking disorder, is a lot of hard fucking work.

Too many spoons. Too much mental energy, some days. Not just to keep it in my head, but to keep my head actually processing things optimally.

Keep on truckin'.

More Reasons to Hate Math

Because when you follow the rules, it actually works.

Sat down with what I had in the bank, what I'm getting paid Friday, and wrote out the next round of bills.

I had exactly $210 leftover for groceries for the next two weeks. About $30 more than is in the budget for said groceries. Until I realized I could take the Feb. rent payment out of my Feb 1st check, I thought I had completely hosed up my budget completely, and here I was, already in the hole again! I wouldn't be able to make the $900 a month in credit card payments that I need in order to be solvent in two years!

I was already failing!

Oh, wait.

Ah, yes, math. Hrm.


Never my strong suit.

But then, I'm not good at plot either, and it doesn't mean I just gave up and went, "Well, I can't write plot!"

I started working my ass off to learn how to plot.

Money is no different.

That's the idea, anyway.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Today's Fitness Regimen

Morning: 15 min free weights and 10 pushups

Afternoon (with health & wellness group & trainer at work): 30 min cardo & upper body weights work (machines and dumbbells)

Evening: 20 minutes cardio (I was depressed when I came home - it's a good way to lift mood) and 10 pushups.

For tonight: French, copywriting work, UT2K4


The StumbleUpon KISS OF DEATH


One of Those Days...

...when you feel like you're absolutely worth nothing, and what little worth you have must be measured in the width of your ass.

You know what the tragedy is? I like the way I look. I really do. I think I'm strong and attractive and have moments of incredible sexiness. I think I'm smart and funny and fun and I love making people laugh. During the health and wellness session at work today, I thought about how bizarre it was that I can lift more weight and have better endurance than a lot of other women of any age. I like being fit and strong and powerful; I like being big and intimidating. I like being able to hit things and have them fall over. I like being tough.

And it's frustrating, you know, to realize that that freaks some people out. It's not even that it doesn't do it for them, it's just that they feel like it shouldn't, so they freak out, and I go on being tough and kicking ass and they run off looking for salvation and companionship in a more socially acceptable package. Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind. It's just sort of dumb. It doesn't make sense unless you're looking to live the life you think other people think you want. And I turned off that road ten years ago. That was a miserable fucking road.

The issue now is that I've gotten used to a bed partner and an extra toothbrush, and it was a silly, silly thing for me to get used to. I need to be smarter than that. Silly pirate.

Getting my own place next year will help a little more with that. Being smart in other areas of my life will help me be smarter in my personal life.

I need to remember that the only person who decides my worth is me.

I threw out the toothbrush.

It was a sorry waste of a toothbrush.

Writing for SEO

Mmmmmm copywriting to improve SEO. Tasty tasty skills building.

Challenging and annoying all at once!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Stuff that Creeps Me Out

Does it really bug anybody else when men refer to women as "females"?

Why do guys do this? I'd like to think it's because they're including "women and girls" in their description, so "females" is supposed to mean "all female-gendered persons in particular," but I don't go around saying, "I haven't been with many males," or "Some males really like back rubs" or "Males enjoy gardening."

It makes it sound like the men - "males" - in question are just dogs.

Recommended Reading

The Copywriter's Handbook, by Robert Bly.

As noted, I write just about everything at my job, from intranet news to forum Q&A to magazine blurbs to policy documents to press releases. And this book shows you how to write, well, just about everything.

So it's a good fit.

I love the versatility of this little book. What it's helped me with a lot, in particular, is writing marketing and ad copy. I took a crash-course in script writing when I wrote up copy for some training videos (and realized there's a reason you keep your sentences so short in script writing). The marketing and ad work has been largely crash-course, too.

This book at least lets me understand what all the gauges me. And mayb softens the landing.

I'd been writing brochures and proposals at work already, but there's some great advice in here. I think a lot of my writing is intuitive - I can fake average writing because I have a decent ear for it, so you throw something at me and I produce something workable. But if I want to be any *good* at all the stuff I'm doing, that takes some more work on my part. Give me tens years of a job like this one, and I'll be able to write this stuff like breathing. As it is, I sit and think a lot about what I'm doing, what I'm trying to say, who I'm saying it to, and looking at how other people are saying it. I've done research on our competitors and watched how they sell themselves and their brand(s).

I don't know why it didn't occur to me before to do industry research (come on, Good Job 101). I think I've been so hopped up with worry about whether or not I'll have a job after season that I'm not sure how comfortable I should get. It's a lot of work to do for a job that's fly-by-night.

But then, everything is a risk. You put time into things you believe in. If they don't pan out, it's easy to say all that time was wasted. I sure as hell know it FEELS wasted when you get shitcanned... but I guess everything I learn now is stuff I can put toward the next thing and the next.

Because of the health insurance issue, it's not like I still harbor this realistic fantasy that I'll make it as a freelance writer in the future. To some extent, having a chronic illness sort of forced me to pay more attention to having an actual career instead of gambling it all on being the next JK Rowling.

Not that I wouldn't mind making some ridiculous amount of book money, mind (and not that that isn't my ultimate goal. Mmmm money!). I just realize that I'll need to be working for the vast majority of my life even if I do make vast amounts of book money.

I suppose that's good for me.

Builds character.

Makes me a more well-rounded individual.


Ah well.

Some Thoughts on Internet Dating

Really, if I want to meet anybody worth my while, I need to get a car. The great thing about being smack right between Cincinnati and Columbus is that civilization is, indeed, just there over the horizon. The drawback is, you don't live there.

All the good ones are an hour away, dammit.

Well, there's a spring project for me.

Until then: way behind on Black Desert.

I do need to keep my priorities straight.

More Sugar-Busting Tips

20 minutes on the elliptical on weekend mornings, after pancakes. Pancakes have been killing my sugar more than usual lately, but 20 easy-going minutes while channel surfing on Sat and Sunday was enough to keep me nice and stable (70-80) from noon to seven.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

In the Name of the King


The writer seemed to be confused about whether the folks in his world worshipped a "God" or "gods." He was confused about when it was day and when it was night. Also, those were some of the most botoxed, siliconed peasant women I've ever seen. And really, could these actors phone in their dialogue any more unconvincingly?

Come on, people, this isn't BloodRayne. YOU CAN DO IT.

Steph, the Old Man, and I giggled through the entire thing. When that Sorbinski chick suited up in plate armor for no particular plot-specific reason, Steph and I both lost it, and the guy two seats away was like, "WHY ARE THEY LAUGHING????"


Other folks laughed, sure, like when a botoxed, plasticy-faced Burt Reynolds shows up at King, but nobody appreciated the pure, shitty grotesquerie that was bad dialogue, bad costuming, bad actors, bad direction, bad cinematography, and just plain badness that was this movie.


I never thought I'd say that.

I worked very hard not to invite the not-Boyfriend out with us tonight - he dropped me at Red Robin's after we were done shooting - and I suppose it was just as well, cause I bumped into some folks from work. It's my fault. I talk too loud. C and M, the IT "team lead" and our Spanish translator, respectively, were walking out of the same movie, which was ironic, because I was thinking there at the end that I would have to tell C on Monday not to see this show.

"I KNEW I heard your voice," he said, as we approached.

Yes. Yes, that was me.

Loud and laughing. And quite proud of it.

Dinner, however, was fantastic. I decided I would spend insulin points tonight, and ate hamburger con queso and GARLIC PARMESAN FRIES and yes, I took 11 units of insulin at dinner, came home, tested at 244 four hours later, and just took another 6 units and set my alarm for 1am so I can correct again then in case it wasn't enough.

See, this is why I don't eat high-carb food often. It requires me to spend the next ten hours fixing it, and the next two or three days leveling off again as a result of the spike.

But, you know: it's my birthday.


Sucked not bringing along the not-Boyfriend. Sucked. Took every ounce of willpower I had not to invite him along, and Steph and the Old Man were shocked I didn't break down and bring him. But if he wants it to be "just friends" then we need to hang out like "just friends." No matter how much it hurts right now.

I need to keep that place in my heart for a real boyfriend, not a "not-Boyfriend."

But it sucks, yo. Really, really sucks. Because I've got that hole in my heart again. It was like I said to him when we started dating, this stupidly cheesy thing, "There was this hole in my heart I didn't realize was there until I met you, because now my heart is full." Isn't that total cheese? But man, so stupidly true.

Blah. The good news is that as time goes on, I'll go back to not noticing that anything's missing again. You get up. You go on. The alternative is to cry all over your shoes and give up, and what's the fun in that?

We all need time. I'm a better person now than I was a year ago.

Still, you know: it's no use loving someone who doesn't love you.

So, yeah: chin up, young person.

Life goes on.

And tonight, there's UT2K4.

Diabetes & Inflammation

I remember being stunned and frustrated when I was diagnosed that not even the medical establishment knew what it was that really caused or triggered type 1 diabetes. I was irritated that nobody could tell me why I'd been sick for nearly a year before finally going under, and why I couldn't get an explanation that made any sense.

Well, you can't get a good explanation - or a good cure - until people figure out what the hell's going on. Which they're still doing.

In a discovery that has stunned even those behind it, scientists at a Toronto hospital say they have proof the body's nervous system helps trigger diabetes, opening the door to a potential near-cure of the disease that affects millions of Canadians.

Diabetic mice became healthy virtually overnight after researchers injected a substance to counteract the effect of malfunctioning pain neurons in the pancreas.....

Dr. Dosch had concluded in a 1999 paper that there were surprising similarities between diabetes and multiple sclerosis, a central nervous system disease. His interest was also piqued by the presence around the insulin-producing islets of an "enormous" number of nerves, pain neurons primarily used to signal the brain that tissue has been damaged.

Suspecting a link between the nerves and diabetes, he and Dr. Salter used an old experimental trick -- injecting capsaicin, the active ingredient in hot chili peppers, to kill the pancreatic sensory nerves in mice that had an equivalent of Type 1 diabetes.

Ways to Spend a Birthday

Woke up this morning and went into the kitchen to kick off the Saturday morning pancakes. To my surprise, I found my birthday present from the roomies on the kitchen table:

$30 Chipotle gift certificate!!!!!



Now I'm heading out to the wilds of Middletown to go shooting with the not-Boyfriend, as his request (happy birthday to me - he also paid for the ammo). I printed off some paper targets last night, so I'll post my best one later.

If we get back at a reasonable hour, the roomies and I will then head off to go to dinner and a show.

Not a bad way to spend an age-related holiday.

Reasons to Get Up in the Morning

Had a dream last night that I got a check in the mail for $32,000.

Made me want to stay in bed a little longer so I could soak up the good from that alternate world.

Until then, I'm out of fun money for the month. Dinner last night was sausages and cabbage. It's a good thing I like sausages and cabbage.

Seriously, though, when I pay off these credit cards - even if I don't get a raise in the next two years - I'll have a thousand dollars a month in "extra" money.

Hello mortgage payment.

This is what I keep reminding myself.

Cheese and junk or mortgage payment?

Must. Be. Strong.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Flawless Victory!

Some nights you need to be useful and read and write and be all self-empowering and stuff.

And some nights you just need to spend a couple hours plyaingUT2K4 blowing the shit out of stuff.

That was deeply satisfying.

Hot Damn

Sometimes I write so well, I impress myself. heh heh

Seriously, I never thought I'd be write advertising and marketing copy to save my life. And now that I'm doing it... well, my learning curve sometimes impresses even me.

Just thought I'd share that.

Results of My Fitness Test

The results of my health & wellness fitness test came in today at work. The numbers each had little "Average, Normal, Excellent" comments next to them. Here are the comments:

Blood Pressure: Normal

Cardiovascular Fitness: Excellent

Muscular Strength & Endurance: Excellent

Abdominal curl-up: Above Average

Push-Ups: Well-Above Average/Excellent

Flexibility: Excellent

Body Composition (weight & body fat percentage): Well Below Average

hahah ahah aa hahh hahahhahhahaha ah ahahhaha ahhaahhaaa

I know how to get fit. I feel better when I'm fit. Getting thin, though... I'm miserable when I'm thin. Or just dying.

I don't eat bread, donuts, pasta, sweets, potato chips, potatoes, pizza, or fries. I've recently given up snacking on my expensive cheeses and pecans. This leaves me frozen raspberries, Greek yogurt, peanuts, and the occasional dark chocolate bar. I already work out an hour a day, five days a week. Pushing it more than that is going to get ridiculous.

I can tell you exactly what I'd need to excise from my diet in order to improve my "body composition."

Avocados, the walnuts on my salad, the crumbled blue cheese on my salad, switch out my 70 calorie salad dressing to 30 calorie dressing, and take the sour cream off everything.

You know what?

Not worth it.

We'll see what happens now that I'm not allowed to eat out and snack anymore because of my budget restrictions. I'm not going to ditch anymore foods from my diet, or I'll just end up undernourished, bitchy, and anemic.

And next time, I'll do 50 push-ups instead of 40. Just for shits and giggles.

I can be 180 lbs. I'm just not sure what it's worth to me, if I can already do 40 push-ups in a minute.

Cheese and avocados make me happy.

It's not like I have a lot left.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Quote of the Evening

Me: Am I really that scary?

Not-Boyfriend: Have you ever seen yourself shoot a gun?

Quote of the Day

"If you’ve made the wrong decision, accept it and change it. Don’t let ego stand in the way of good sense."
- Mridu Khullar

My Life as Tina the Tech Writer

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bacon Love

Wrap yourself in bacon!

Because you can.

"You know, like nunchuku skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills... Girls only want boyfriends who have great SKILLS."

The not-Boyfriend hacked my computer some months ago so that the "Start" menu read differently. He sent me an un-hack last week that would revert it back to saying "Start," but I thought that was pretty lame (also, I liked what it read, but after this week, I figured it might be easier on my heart if I changed it).

I mean, I *liked* having a customizable "Start" screen. So instead of running the unhack, I did a little poking around and found out how to hack my own Start menu.

Which I then did.

Cause I'm cool like that.

Now that I know it works, I'll probably switch it around to something else, but that's a good test run. I think I'll change the one on my home computer to "Nyx."

I mean, that's the computer's name, after all.

I'm such a dork.

Man, I Feel Buff This Morning

I guess those 40 pushups will do that...

Getting regular workouts - 30-60 min a day - is really kicking my ass, too. My sugar's way better (waking up at 72 or 69 [which is a little lower than I'd like, actually, but after being awake a half hour, it's back to 90] instead of 145).

And, of course, I physically feel better.

I hate forcing the workouts for such a long time, every day, but after a while it does get easier. Not more fun, maybe, but easier. Routine.

Routine is the only way I get anything done.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Health & Wellness: Surprise!

Our health & wellness program at work officially starts next week, so to prep for that, we did optional fitness assessments with our health & wellness folks today.

As expected, I have a high BMI and I'm still comfortably over 200 lbs. My body fat percentage is also average-to-high at 26-31% (the readout I thought I saw was 31%, but the calculator I just used calculates me at 26%).

Despite or because of these numbers, our two fitness trainers were a little stunned at how well I did on my one-minute timed tests. 40 pushups (yes, real ones. She counted 40, but I only count 38 cause the last two were lame) and 50 situps. My flexibility was apparently the best of the whole lot of folks who came before me (they only have two more assessments to go). My blood pressure came out higher than it does at the doctor's, but it's still well within the healthy range (138/72. My last one at the doc was 110/64 or something ridiculous like that). My resting heartrate also came out at 88, but I think he did it wrong because when we did the post step-test heartrate, it came up at 76, lower than my resting heartrate. Must have just been nerves.

When I finished the last part of it, the flexibility bit, R., our male trainer, watched me blow past his flexibility record and said, "What's your regular workout routine again? Wow."

On the one hand, I think some of the shock had to do with the assumption that plump people (particularly when you say "diabetes") aren't fit, on the other hand, from the sound of things, I just did pretty well straight up in general compared to other folks in the office, which is always surprising, even if I do workout a lot.

Wednesday we get our gym tour of the YMCA across the street, and our workouts start Monday. Mine's 1-2:30pm. The nice thing about a midday workout Monday and Weds is that it means I don't have to stay late at the gym those nights. I can get straight home, so my only late days will be Tues, Thurs and the Fridays I feel like going.

Frees up some time.

Which means... more time for writing!

Get Your Shit Together

So I was on the phone with my not-Boyfriend last night, and, to put it bluntly, I kicked his ass. You can only put up with so much emo whining before you just crack.

You know what, everybody?

Life is hard.

Really fucking hard.

Getting what you want out of life?

Even fucking harder.

I have had a shitty couple of years. Let's be honest. I got a chronic illness that cost me 30K and 4 days in the hospital and takes up a staggering amount of time, money and energy to manage on a daily basis (not to mention self-control, discipline, and plain fucking hard work). I've been in four relationships, two of which ended in smoking ruin, been dumped twice (three times, actually, two people). I was laid off from my cushy but (let's face it) dull Chicago job, blew through my 401(K), fucked up my friendship with my best friend, rang up 17K in credit card debt (16, 17, 18? Really, who can keep track?), and had books rejected by agents and publishers across the board.

And you know what? I could have chosen to deal with any and all of these things: chronic illness, job loss, fucked relationship(s), the usual rejection, with giving up. With hiding under my bed and feeling sorry for myself. I could have denied the whole chronic illness thing and continued to subsist primarily on carbs and sob into my brown sugar oatmeal in the morning and run around wacked-shit crazy because my sugar levels were all over the fucking board, running around with crazy depression and weepiness and tell everybody "poor me! Poor me!"

Fuck that shit.

Why the hell would I choose to hide under my bed and cry all the time? What's the point in that? What does it accomplish? Lying around feeling sorry for myself doesn't change the situation.

I hate that I have to work my ass off just to feel "normal" now. I need an hour of exercise a day and a low-carb lifestyle to feel my best. And just to keep that up takes not just willpower, but fucking work. I have to adjust all my insulin levels and correct for lows and test all the time, because sugar's easier to manage if you have a set routine - sugar's always easier to manage when I'm sedentary, cause then I'm not having lows all the time and feeling like I want to rip people's heads off and unable to concentrate at work for 20 minutes while I even out again.


Instead, to be at my best, I have to go through a calibration phase every time I mix up my routine. So for the first week of a new workout routine I'm adjusting my sugar. Oh, sure, it gets easier once you have the new formula down, but the reason I like routine - eating and exercise - is because it's just so much fucking work to change it up. And I still have to change it up sometimes. And it sucks.

Also, having a fucking budget sucks. It really sucks. It sucks that I have to cut out all the fucking cheap-ass food (because it is, of course, full of carbs) but can't splurge on expensive cheese - the only stuff I can eat totally guilt free that I adore! - because, again, it's fucking expensive. it really sucks. It sucks to live on fajitas and spinach salad. It sucks not going out to eat all the time and buying diet cherry coke. I hate it.

But what I hate more than ANYTHING, more than any of this fucking WORK, is being a fucking loser. Is falling down and not getting the fuck up again. Everybody gets to whine and bitch and moan sometimes, you know? But when you're done bitching, you get the fuck up. You take it a step at a time. You figure out what you want and you start to build it, one block at a time.

You get your health together first, because if you're mentally wacky, you can't do shit. And that's pretty fucking hard, too. Not everybody has health insurance or people in their lives to love and support them through the hard shit. It's called fucking privilege, to have health insurance and a support network. So if you've got it, shut the fuck up and stop bitching and get your fucking shit together.

Get your shit together, not-Boyfriend.

24 Hours of Daylight

People would often ask me what 20 hours of daylight looked like in Fairbanks, or 20 hours of darkness.

Well, it's a lot like this 24-hours of daylight, only the sun does actually dip beneath the horizon for those four or five hours during the Fairbanksan summer.

Monday, January 07, 2008

One For the Road

Save Yourself

Artist here.

Life Expectancy

Life expectancy in Botswana is 33.


Sunday, January 06, 2008


Wow, I hate budgets. I hate not getting what I want. I hate living like a lower middle class person instead of an upper middle class person. I hate having to think about money.

Grocery shopping is like fucking pulling teeth. I have to say no all the time, me, who's been getting by in life by saying "yes" to all the adventures and the risk taking and the traveling and the wacky relationships.

"No," now to what I want and desire but do not need is a fucking kick in the ass.

I hate growing up.

Steph and I were at the grocery store talking to the checkout clerk who said, "Oh, you're roommates? We've been having a lot of girls coming in today who are roommates! Oh, well, I guess you're not girls. You're ladies!"

Sweet gawd.


And I used to wish somebody would start calling me "ma'am" and showing me some respect when I was 15.

Thing is, I wouldn't go back to being 15 for just about anything, unless I knew everything then that I know now. I've worked really fucking hard to get where I am. Growing into it, now, making everything else work... well, that does imply that I'm more lady than girl, for fucking sure.

Being a girl was fun. Being a girl got me here.

But letting go of that break-neck freedom, that not-knowing, that not-caring, yeah, that's the part that sucks.

Being a tech writer, paying my own way, owning my own place? Well, you don't get something for nothing. You have to make a trade. I'm trading credit-card poverty and junk accumulation for an IRA and a yard of my own.

Looking at it that way, it's not a bad trade.

But fucking hard to get there.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Stuff to Do Today

1) Make pancakes
2) Finish reviewing tDW series synopses
3) Update full series character database from tDW appendix completed yesterday
4) Pay Verizon bill
5) Write 1000 words of Black Desert
6) Go grocery shopping (stay within $90 budget)

Things I have already blown off today:

1) Eye appointment. I really need to stay in-network. Money issue. Will reschedule at another place.

Things I might still blow off today:

2) Hair appointment. Is getting highlighted hair really worth all the extra time and expense? I certainly need an updated look in this a looks-obsessed culture, but I can afford the one-time cost, not regular maintainence. Do I want a house in two years or lighter hair?

Perhaps I can solve my need for an updated look with new glasses from above-mentioned in-network provider.

We'll see.

Blah blah.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Can't Sleep

Can't sleep, too much in my head. When does this bullshit go away?

I have a million things to do tomorrow, and I need to fucking get over this.

I wish a million things.

When I wasn't ready, I had to end relationships because they were ready. Now that I'm ready, they're ending relationships because they're not ready.

Not ready for what, I don't know. I just know I was happy. We were happy. Two people. Us? Having fun. I have never laughed so much in my life. I could always make him smile. I loved to see him smile.

But I don't want to go back to being a distant, cold-hearted bitch, you know? I don't want to go back to hiding from the world. You get hurt, you get back up again.

I guess I just really miss my friend.

I miss him.

Robin Hood

So, sometime back, Susan blogged about the BBC series, Robin Hood. And I checked out some fan clips on You Tube. And then the episodes were available on Netflix and I'd finished Rome, so really, why not...?

Tonight, I watched the first disk of Robin Hood.

Oh my!

The Old Man, drawn by the inexplicable power of the camp, sat and watched it with me, and we giggled the whole way through. Stephanie came in later and the three of us kept up a steady stream of laughter and banter and merry men jokes. Ohhhhh was this series up to merry men jokes.

Random slow motion, jump cuts, absolute CHEESE dialogue.

I was giggling with pure 14-year-old glee, the same way I do whenever I watch The 300.

The dialogue is just this side of cheesy, the situations and particularly the fight scenes more than a little ridiculous, but oh, I love all of these characters! I love them love them, every one.

Upon realizing my giggling was not at the badness, but in glee, the Old Man said, "This show is almost as bad as Flash Gordon! You'll watch this show but not Flash Gordon!"

"This show has way hotter guys than Flash Gordon," I said. "The only reason you watch that show is for those chicks with the bouncing boobs."

"OK, that's true."

"And I'm watching this show because Robin is hot and Marion shoots people!"

Mmmm.... Robin Hood guys: sly, scrawny, witty little tricksters.

Not at all like geeky hardware guys.

Shut up.

In any case, it's a wonderfully campy show.

Glee, I tell you. Girlish glee.

Latest Pony Mods

It must be winter....

Stephanie thinks my pony mods should be more "brutal." Brutal takes a lot more work, as it turns out. Isn't that always the way? Pretty and fem is easy. We have a script for pretty.

But I'll see what I can do.

As an aside, Jenn once asked me if there were any black or brown My Little Ponies you could actually buy off the shelf. I had to think about it a minute, and consult my collection... and you know what?

There aren't.

Blue, green, purple.... and white, of course.

But black and brown?

Good luck.

Another reason to make my own.

Tonight's Song, Stuck on Repeat

"Chasing Cars"
Snow Patrol

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Spending Your Spoons: Or, What it's Like to Manage Chronic Illness

"Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions... The difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn't have to."

She handed her friend a bouquet of 12 spoons, explaining that unlike healthy people -- who have an unlimited supply -- those of us living with CI (chronic illness) have to always monitor the limited number of spoons we possess, and think carefully about how to "spend" them.

Christine then asked her friend to list the tasks of her day, whether chores or fun activities. Each item would cost her one spoon. And if you didn't sleep well the night before, or skipped your medicine, or dosed it incorrectly, or caught a cold, that would cost you even more precious spoons. "You do not want to run low on spoons, because you never know when you truly will need them," Christine explained.

In general, I have three parts of my life that I just can't get to all go well at once: work life, writing life, personal life.

There are a lot of spoons involved in making all those things work, in doing that much, in doing it well, in doing it all. We all have a finite amount of energy. I just have fewer spoons than most people.

I try to spend them wisely.

City at the Edge of the World

Life Instructions


I dreamed about Wiscon last night. All sorts of fuzzy things, too many people, tricky social situations, obsessive concern about my own presentation, doubt, worry, panels, people.

It's not that I'm overstimulated these days. I just have too much time to think.

Too many changes all at once, the last couple of years.


I find it vaguely embarrassing that I have an epic fantasy series that requires a detailed character list.

Not just to keep myself straight, but to unconfuse confused readers.

I hate these things, because I feel like your characters should all be fleshed out enough that nobody gets them confused, even if you've got a cast of thousands.

This is the last big push to finish the tDW package, and it's annoying. Why is it so annoying? Because I've gone through tDW and cut out, combined, renamed and tagged characters over several revisions (about seven thousand revisions. I "finished" this book in 2003), and I have to go through the whole fucking book again, compare it to my current list, fix my current list, and then format and organize my current list. As of the last pass, I still had an industry pro who's major gripe with the book was getting all the characters confused.

I'd say this was getting Jordan-like, but it's only going to be five books.


No, no... REALLY.

For the Roommates

If you lived in my house, this would be HILARIOUS.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Work and Workout: the Good, the Bad, the Just So

I've upped my evening workout times from 30 minutes to 60 minutes, and will soon be moving from 3-4 days to 4-5 days (next week, when the new health & wellness program starts at work).

The good news is, I have more energy when I get home, so I'm not collapsing into bed at 9, but dawdling around reading, writing, or working on pony mods until at least 10 (this is quite reasonable. I get up at 5:30 am for free weights and breakfast).

As said, we're starting a health & wellness thing at work, which means 90 min workouts twice a week with one of our health & wellness trainers at the YMCA next door. I figure these are a great way to break up my gym time, so I do these ones twice a week and the regular 60 minute ones at my own gym 2-3 times a week.

It's a lot of effort, not so much in actual exercise time as commuting time. It eats an extra hour a night, but to be dead honest, what the hell was I really doing during that hour anyway? Surfing the internet? Going to bed early?

Gymming keeps me busy, keeps me from spending more money, keeps my mood stable. Like anything worthwhile that requires effort and a time investment, it's annoying, but ultimately satisfying. I remember how I felt in Alaska when I was working out 6 or 7 days a week, those long summer nights, miles and miles of bike rides. I felt better that summer than anytime since. I wouldn't mind feeling that way again.

And so.

P.S. work is also insane, but satisfying. Those training videos I scripted turned out a lot better than I thought. That videographer did wonders. My first scripted work! OMG!


Will, Desire, Bravery, and Shit Like That

When I was twelve or thirteen, I started getting these prescient dreams. I'd start dreaming about things that ended up happening a couple of weeks later. Not big things, but certain situations, events. I'd dream in snapshots. They weren't terribly useful sorts of dreams, because how can you prevent or prepare for the arrangement of bottles or boxes and where people sit in a room? Why would you want to?

These days, the prescient dreams are more emotional than situational, and have veered away from fortunetelling to pure subconscious anticipation. I had them a couple weeks before relationships ended this year; they're more about relieving emotions I must know, on some level, are coming down the pipe. They deal with fears I already have, situations that are yet to be that I'm sure some part of me can see coming.

But at twelve or thirteen, back when they were situational, what concerned me about was that I seemed to be living the same life over and over again. If I was predicting situations - people sitting in certain arrangements, objects situated in particular ways - then I must have already lived this life. I'd been here before. And if I was living this life over again, it probably meant it was because I'd done something wrong the last time.

We all create belief systems based on our experiences, and in my experience, I was reliving the same life over and over again.

I wanted that to stop.

I didn't want to know what was going to happen before it happened. I wanted big, bold, uncertainty. If I took enough risks, maybe I'd do something right this time around.

So I decided, in my later teens, that what I needed to do was live my life differently. I needed to take risks, follow my heart, do things I was afraid to do, live a life I could not predict.

This is the life I've lived since then. I left the house three days after turning 18, moved back home six months later, bought a one-way ticket to Alaska eight months after that, went to grad school in South Africa, moved to Chicago on a whim. All the choices I've made - relationships, living situations, world jaunts, have been things I've done on a whim, risks I've taken, because they felt right in my heart, in my bones (this gut-feeling system went severely haywire for a year when I was dying - you can't listen to a gut-feeling properly when you're crazy, cause you can't sort out which is which. Another reason I take really good care of myself these days).

When I take too long to think about things, I get scared and cowardly. I want to hide under the bed. It takes an active effort, everyday, to live a life that's worth living, to me. Most days I want to stay home, eat something full of carbs, and feel sorry for myself.

But the more days I get out from under the bed and get out and do what I need and want to do - despite the fear - the better I feel, the better I am, the more I'm the person I want to be.

I read once that the first step to becoming the person you want to be is to start acting like the person you want to be. You say, "What would a strong, confident, kick-ass woman who was incredibly brave and intelligent do right now?" She would not hide under the bed. She would not settle, would not lead a dull, stale life.

I don't always succeed. Sometimes I don't want to go to the gym. I don't want to write. I don't want to get my heart hurt. Sometimes I want to eat donuts and drink beer and hide out in my room watching "Titanic" all night.

But, as with all things in my life, I come back. I'll break down and give up for a night or three, and then it's back to writing and gymming and French and low-carb tortillas that don't give me headaches, and building something to get me to where I want to be.

I've reached a point in my life where I honestly don't know what's going to happen next. I don't know how things will turn out.

I do, however, know what I want. I know the sort of person I'd like to be, and I consistently take the steps to get there. I act like the person who already is there.

Most days.

One of my favorite shows to watch while gymming is MTV's "Made." Pick something you want to be. Do that.

Not everybody has the ability or force of will to get there, but you know what? Aim for the stars, and you'll hit the moon. Aim for the moon, and you're still just stuck here back on Earth.

Not that it's a bad place to be... I just want something more.

Always wanting something more. Knowing what I want. Stubborn desire.


Yeah. I Write This Stuff. Sue Me.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

My Favorite New Year's Poem

i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

- lucille clifton

Black Desert (Excerpt)

Nyx put her hands on the edge of the well and looked down. The water was glassy black; she stared at her darker half, gazing up at her from the bottom of the well. There was nothing but water and her reflection and the stir of the water around the rope.

The rope.

She reached out and gave a sharp tug on the rope. The rope stayed taut. There was something on the other end.

Nyx ran to the pulley on the other side of the well and took hold of the lever. She began rotating the wheel, and grunted with the effort. The best way to poison a well was to tie a body to it. She had one long stretch of time to think about who it was on the other end of the rope; Inaya, Khos, no, they would have tied the children here. Their bodies would be sodden and blue, and perhaps even a little stiff.

Prepare for the worst. Always prepare for the worst, because if you see anything less than that, it will be a prize, a relief. If she saw Khos there, perhaps, it would be better than seeing dead children.

Fuck, I’ve gotten soft, she thought, and then she heard something splashing in the water.

Nyx let the lever catch and leaned over to peer into the well again. There, at the other end of the rope, was the bucket, and two pairs of hands desperately clinging to it. Two cold, went faces peered up at her, shivering; their expressions shadowed and terrified.

“It’s Nyx!” Nyx yelled at them, stupidly, but it was dark, wasn’t it, and how could they know her in the dark? “I’m getting you up, come on now!”

She turned back to the lever. A stiff wind buffeted her from behind, and she heard a scattering of dead leaves roil along the dirt drive. She heard the wind stir the tree. She raised her head. She saw a hundred cicadas crawling along the trunk of the tree, flitting among the branches, and as she wind stirred, the cicadas stirred as well, flew outward around the tree like a cloud, and she began to brace herself, squint her eyes, prepare for a swarm.

But something else happened.

The tree began to tremble. The wind died and the tree still trembled, and the cicadas swarmed and then pulled toward the tree, pulled toward a tree that was rapidly condescending, becoming smaller. The dead leaves moved along the ground, drawn back up into the tree’s branches. They melted together like butter, merged with the cicadas. Nyx had a dizzy moment of vertigo. The world seemed to twist. Something in the air around her twisted, tore, and the tree and leaves and cicadas became a liquid thing, like mottled, melted cheese. Something screamed, something inside the tree, the cicadas, maybe, dying.

Branches flung up, a crown of leaves, branches became hands, the crown of leaves elongated, shuddered.

“Oh God,” Nyx said, and the breath left her body. She knew what it was becoming, what the tree, the leaves, the air, the bugs, were becoming. Were shifting into.

“Oh God,” she said again, because she was suddenly sick, because it was like something in the world had been distorted; something very, very wrong was happening.

And as the tree’s color paled, the melted shape took on a more human form, and the gaping hole in the face, the half-formed mouth, vomited a black cloud of flies, and with the flies came another scream; not from the bugs this time, but a true human scream; the rage and pain and terror of birth.

The figure stumbled toward Nyx, shaking and shuddering, slinging off long strings of mucus and leaf pulp, and the black eyes grew lashes and the irises formed and focused, and the cascade of hair and leaves went black, black and long as Inaya’s hair; Inaya’s face, round but still slack-eyed, and the fingers at the ends of the new arms were held in tight fists, oozing mucus and blood and something else that had the tangy smell of oak hybrid sap.

Flies and leaf pulp, dirt and the shimmering wings of cicadas, stuck to the slick mucus covering her naked body as she stumbled toward Nyx.

Her fists reached out, made open hands, and she clung to the edge of the well, and then her eyes focused, and she was something more or less human, more or less Inaya, and Nyx knew her then, really knew her, and nearly lost her stomach.

Nyx felt a deep cramping in her stomach, sudden nausea, and she backed a half step away.

Inaya screamed into the well, and as she screamed, she coughed and a handful of flies escaped from her nearly-formed lungs.

“Up!” was the word she screamed, or maybe that was just some grunt, some noise, but the next words were her children’s names, and not even Nyx could mistake those.

“Are you all right?” Inaya yelled at them, and the children cried up at her.

Inaya raised her head to Nyx, her damp, mucus-crusted head, and her eyes were so very fucking black, and the look on that face, in that face...

“Haul them up!” Inaya snarled.

And Nyx grabbed the lever and hauled them up like some other woman, someone far younger, far stronger. Sweat beaded her brow, ran between her breasts, her shoulder blades, long before she was tired or spent. She was trembling, she realized, with fear.

When the bucket was close enough, Inaya reached into the well and hauled up Isafan first, and then Tatie. The children hit the dirt and then clung to her.

Inaya patted them down, asking after hurts, looking for any they’d missed, and when she was done, she turned her face again to Nyx, opened her mouth to speak, and stopped. She turned to the blazing house.

It was like watching some kind of phantom or demon, something so Other than Nyx had no real name for her.

Inaya took in the burning house and said, “Khos,” and then, “Watch the children.”

And in a breath, an instant, she seemed to blow apart, piece by piece, and each piece disintegrated into another piece, another, smaller and smaller, until there was only a pale mist, a fog, and the mist blew across the yard and into the burning house like some contaminated wind over the desert.

The children gathered around Nyx and gazed with her, open mouthed, toward the house.

Nyx’s mouth was dry. She tried working some spit into it and, “She do that often?”

“Never,” Tatie said, breathless.

“Holy shit,” Nyx said.

“Holy shit,” Isafan said.

Nyx grabbed them each by the hand. “Let’s go, come on,” and started walking toward the blazing house and the demon.