Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stuff & Things

Writing is, I must remind myself, a most excellent form of cheap entertainment.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving 08

Welcome to the Hacienda Dayton Thanksgiving! Our third annual? How time flies.

I can haz skillz.

J. meets the dawgs.

Mmmmm spicy cider.

The Old Man poses with the fruits of his labor. Because you can never have enough pie!

The official Turkey Day spread.

The boys make gravy. Really!

Stephanie is far too pleased with this holiday.

I do not find your beer amusing. Buy mine is smashing!

J. gleefully screws me over during a round of Guillotine.

Steph doesn't have enough whipped cream, there...

We might need more pie.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmm pie!

Annnnnnnnd we're spent!

See you next year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christmas Shopping

Is it terrible that I want my neice, Kaylee, to grow up to be a starship mechanic?

Honestly, this is something I'd like to encourage with my Christmas gifting.

Monday, November 24, 2008


"When I was 5 years old, my mom always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down “happy.” They told me I didn’t understand the assignment and I told them they didn’t understand life."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cooking and Reading

... about sums up my life right now. There's gymming in there as well, but I'm down to 3-4 times a week instead of the coveted 6. Blame my social life.

To be honest, I've quite happily traded those two days of cardio for extra bedroom shenanigans. Same general end result, tho, yeah?

This week's most exciting thing was being reminded that The Women of Our Occupation has been published in Swedish. I received my contributor's copies and $50 this week. I promptly spent the $50 on a new director's chair (which finally caved in after 6 years of use and numerous repairs) and a proper spice rack.

Looking back on it, I probably should have bought a printer. Eh. Budgeted for that next month. The spice rack makes me happier.

Though I love my life, I've recently felt that old, lingering ache for a proper kickboxing class. I can't find any at my gym or at the Y. They'll hold them on occasion, but there's no regular month-to-month class, and most of the ones at the gym are held at 10am (WTF?). Fuck this spinning shit, where's my kickboxing?

Yeah, I miss it. You can only do weight training and triathlon cardio for so long before you just want to... you know... hit things. Hard.

I'll be starting college classes again in January, working toward that company-paid-for degree in Marketing. Because hey: who doesn't want to defer their student loans and broaden their skills base? And not have to go into debt for it? (epic win!)

I've also been spending a lot of time looking for freelance jobs, which are about as tough to find as you might expect. Generally, the freelancing gigs you get aren't going to be from blind resume submissions where you fight for attention with 300 other people - it's gigs you get from friends/colleagues who know that you write.

Overall, life is busy in a good way. Doing tons of research for book 3, which involves a lot of reading about murder, Islam, the Middle East, assassination, and bugs. It's a steady diet, right there alongside my new diabetic-friendly pecan cookies.

Work continues to feed me a steady stream of interesting projects that keep me in health insurance. I do love my day job, for all the craziness it sometimes brings. You just can't beat being paid (and health insured) to write for a living, even if you're sometimes stuck writing handouts about the difference in dependent status between a "qualifying child" and a "qualifying relative."

Life is bloody wonderful.

Off to Cincinnati on Friday.

"I No Longer Recognize Marriage"

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Turns out it’s fun.

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

More Reasons Not to Live in Dayton

There's been a bit of an uptick in crime here around Dayton, for good reason. I often joked that I didn't have a problem walking around downtown Dayton at night cause hey, yo, I lived in South Africa. But now that thing is happening here that used to happen out there: all of sudden there are more and more people talking about how they or someone they know has been raped or had their car/house broken into. Downtown, broad daylight, nice neighborhoods, you name it. Random smash and grab.

Obviously, it's still nothing like South Africa, but as your poor of unemployed starts to grow - particularly as winter approaches - and they're not seeing any help, hope, or end in sight, people get desperate.

Dayton's been a dying town since long before I got here, but closing GM may just shut most of it down for good.

It's not that there aren't industries - there's aerospace and Wright State and lots of government jobs at the base. But there's not a whole lot of entry level unskilled jobs around here anymore, and Dayton still has a huge, huge pool of unskilled labor. Who are getting totally fucked right now. Not that things weren't bad before.

Why don't we have government-funded workers' programs that retrains people for new jobs after major layoffs? I met a couple of tower guys working in telcom who were retrained after major layoffs at a manufacturing plant nearly two decades ago. They got trained in telcom and suddenly had a future.

A lot of these jobs are dying jobs. It's why I'm lukewarm about bailing out the auto industry. It's in trouble because it's not working. Let's shift our focus to something that works. We have new and emerging technologies. We have job needs. We just don't have the skilled labor to put in there. And nobody wants to foot the bill for retraining, so a whole city dies.

Columbus and Cincinnati are nice, at least.

EDIT: It turns out Dayton *does* have a place like this (thanks, Tyim!). God knows Dayton has enough jobs in aerospace and the health industry. There are people to do the work. They just need the training.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Your Weekly Address from the President-Elect

It really is going to be just like FDR's fireside chats.

In fact, if you start to read some of those FDR transcripts above, you'll see an interesting parallel, and I wouldn't be surprised if Obama used them as templates.

It's so awesome to have smart people in charge of the country again. Win or lose, at least I can be proud of them.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Diabetic-Friendly Cream Cheese Pecan Sugar Cookies

I just about keeled over when I tasted these:

Cream Cheese Pecan "Sugar" Cookies

1/2 cup Splenda
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup pecans
dash of salt

1/2 package cream cheese
2-3 tsp vanilla
2 cups Splenda

Cream together 1/2 cup Splenda, butter, egg, baking soda, salt, vanilla. Then add almond flour and pecans. Stir together well. Spoon batter onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 8 min at 375.

While it's cooking, prep the frosting. Mix together softened cream cheese, vanilla, and Splenda.

Once cookies have cooled, cover in frosting. Sprinkle with pecans and gobble up immediately.

About 12-15 carbs per cookie is what I'm estimating right now. I ate three of them, and they're rich enough that I feel a little sick (who would have thought it was possible to make diabetic-friendly cookies this rich and gooey and tasty? Certainly not me).

All things are truly possible. Enjoy!

For Tonight:

This (substitute potatoes with eggplant).

And this (mine was slightly overdone).


$470 from Cincinnati to Madison?

WTF people, I could have flown back to WA this time last year for that price (I paid something like $250 last year for the exact same flight).

Here's to hoping airline prices catch up to gas prices before the con.

Mmmm Credit

My credit card company, which I'm planning to ditch when I pay off the last 5K (I have another 4k on a no-interest card right now, which I'm paying off at a slower rate), just raised my credit limit to $20,200.

My God, yo. And they wonder how I got myself into financial problems in the first place.

This just seems obscene to me.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Holy Smoke

When I grow up, I want to be Kate Winslet.

P.S. I will never, ever, ever understand WTF it is Jane Campion sees in Harvey Keitel. Or why the fuck she has to slap on those stupid, stupid, stupid feel-good addendums to otherwise interesting movies.


Not as fast as many of us would like. But it can happen.

Keep fighting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

OmniPoddery: At least it's not a 30% failure rate this month!

I was looking forward to blogging about how I'd gone through an ENTIRE BOX OF PODS without having one of them fail... and then the last one in the box failed this morning.

It wouldn't have been so bad, but the one I was wearing had come unstuck this morning, so I went to change it out with my backup at work. At 10am. And it was my backup that failed.

After the last hellish experience I had nursing myself through a day at work when my pod failed at noon, I decided to trek it home and get it replaced.

Note that this is the post-diabetes, post-layoff, post-Chicago Kameron talking. The default part of me wanted to stick it out. It's embarrassing asking your boss if you can either take a half day or work from home. I have a ridiculous amount of "You show up and do your job" work pride, and I warred with myself over it for about 20 minutes before I gave in.

Why did I give in? Because I remembered how fucking awful I felt last time I nursed a failure with shots-every-hour insulin, and how it took another day and a half just to get back to my old self afterward. If I don't have to force myself through that... why would I do that?

There's tough - knowing that yes, if I have to, I can do that - and then there's just willfully stupid... doing it for the principle of the thing.

So I asked my boss if I could work from home, since busing it home and then busing it back meant I wouldn't get back to the office until after 1pm anyway. He was OK with that (there are advantages to being a writer - you can write anywhere), so I'm working from home today; I only have a couple of small projects.

When I called to report the pod failure, I was actually pretty OK with it. I honestly don't mind a 1 in 10 or 1 in 15 failure rate. That's OK with me. It was very civil. It's that 30% failure rate that starts to fucking grind on you.

I really hope this rate keeps up, because my sugar over the last month has been totally stellar.

I like being healthy. I like being sane. There are too many awesome people in my life right now to screw it all up over bruised pride.

Sometimes you should actually take advantage of offers - like working from home - that will save you and your loved ones a lot of pain and discomfort later.

That's what it's there for.

That's what I keep telling myself.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One for the Road

"I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have."

- Thomas Jefferson

Dear Book Three:

Please stop trying to write yourself in FIRST PERSON.

Save that for Twitter.

Thank you.

The Euphemism Generator

You know you want it!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Today's Readings

It's all wars and assassinations. Nothing to see here. Move along.

One For the Road

My life closed twice before its close -
It yet remains to see
If Immortality unveil
A third event to me

So huge, so hopeless to conceive
As these that twice befell.
Parting is all we know of heaven,
And all we need of hell.

-Emily Dickinson

My Latest Addiction

E.S. Posthumus radio!

Because you can never have enough good stuff to write by.

Monday, November 10, 2008


So, this is life without WoW.

Holy crap, it is busy and full of things, yo. When you get your ass back to work, you start to wonder what the fuck you were doing the last two months.

I really do like this life a lot better than the one I've been screwing around with the last two months.

Fuck, I have a lot of work to do.

On the upside, I have a feeling that the downtime helped me recharge my batteries.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

One For the Road

Because one can never have enough husky puppies.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Writerly Gooderly

Doing some stuff tonight that's a lot like writing... like, uh, I'm a writer or something.

For some reason, I don't feel that writing copy for an insurance website all day really counts. But oh boy, my brain does. My brain is tired of insurance writing, and resume writing, and now book writing, oh my.

I hate to tell my brain that in order to continue to find some measure of financial security - and in order to get a car (let alone all the other stuff that comes after that) - I'm going to need to pick up some freelance jobs here real quick, too.

Oh, man, my brain hurt just typing that.

The writing life isn't terribly romantic. Mainly, it means non-stop work in your chosen profession.

It just so happens you actually like your profession.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Speaking of fighting...

I don't know what gets me more - that the ax is half her size or that she runs out the door after the guy.

And people think I write fantasy.

(thanks, Tyim!!)

Prop 8: Here's Why

Living in blue states and having blue friends, sometimes, I think, shelters a lot of lefties. You start thinking, "Holy fuck, what the fuck could these people possibly be thinking when they go around willy-nilly nullifying other people's marriages? What the hell?"

What you don't realize is that all that rhetoric and scare-mongering? The "gay agenda" stuff? People really do believe that. They really do believe that "those gays" will take away their rights. Because hey, after all, it's what they're trying to do. Pre-emptive strike.

No, really.

I was on my way to our weekly workout with my work workout group, and the two guys in the group are talking about some creepy guy at the YMCA who grabbed at their arms and said, "Ah, you guys are really working out hard, huh?" wink wink nudge nudge (I would be equally creeped out if any stranger grabbed at any part of my body in any way).

Our trainer said, "You know, we had a trainer where I used to work who had a guy ask him out to lunch."

"So he didn't drop that convenient, `my girlfriend' line?" I said. Because, you know, when you get hit on, name-dropping an SO is the most convenient way to say you aren't interested, no matter the person's sex.

"Too many people play both sides," said our programmer.

"I guess," I said, "but guys should get used to the `my girlfriend' line. You're just not used to getting hit on."

"No," said our DB guy, "that's really what gay people think. They just think that if everybody tried to be gay, they'd be gay."

"What the hell are you talking about?" I said.

"I have this gay friend -" (oh god, yes, he really said this. Anytime anyone prefaces a statement like this, you know you're in for it) "and he says that all gay people really think that everyone is gay. And if they can just get you to try it that you'll be converted."

"Once you go gay, you never go away??" our trainer said.

"That is the biggest load of bullshit," I said. "Your `friend' does not speak for all gay people. That's crap."

"That's what he said!!"

Our DB guy was really sincere about this. Maybe he didn't wholeheartedly believe it, but you could see that there was this small, terrified part of him that was mortified to think that it might be true, and that all the gay men at the Y wanted to seduce him.

And this is not an isolated thing. People who have no experience hanging out with people who are different than them, who have bottled up desires themselves, who refuse to engage or think about or acknowledge difference because it's scary... they really do think this stuff.

Yes, things are changing. Prop 8 passed by a very narrow margin. The reason it was so narrow is because there are more people today who stand up and say, "You're full of crap," or "Dude, I'm gay, and that's totally retarded. That's like saying all straight guys are rapists." And for those in really red, red, red closeted states, there are more positive portrayals of gay and lesbian characters on television (yeah, it's still mostly shitty, but like tough female characters, it's getting better, just not really fast). There's a much higher awareness and acceptance of those feelings among the younger generation, and shit, gay people can even get married overseas and in select parts of the US and the world hasn't exploded.

It's not going to happen all at once. These fears don't go away all at once. They are chipped away at slowly. It takes time. And hard fighting. Don't forget the hard fighting - nothing worth winning ever came without a fight. Civil rights, the women's movement... it's taken us this long just to get this far (and sweet god, look how far we fucking have to go), and gay civil rights has a shorter organized history in this country.

Give it time. Keep fighting for it. Educate people. Call them on their bullshit. Don't let people wallow in fear and ignorance. At the end of the day, everybody will make up their own mind, but for fuck's sake, make sure they're not making decisions based on fear and ignorance.

Because, trust me, my blue state friends, there's a lot of fear and ignorance out there. We fear what we don't understand. And we try to destroy what we fear.

Let's chip away at the fear.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I Got This

This was the first thing I thought of this morning when I opened up my email and saw the headline.

Such a Great Day to Live in Ohio

I love me some swing-statin'.

That is, when it swings the way you hope.

I still don't believe it, tho.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

You Know You Want To: Nyx on Twitter

Nyx is on Twitter! Now chronicling the wild, roaring 20s of her early career prior to God's War...

Check out: Nyxnissa.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Ah, Budgetry

I was nearly $300 over budget last month. A lot of this is just crap stuff. Tons of dinners out, a couple of bus rides to Cincinnati, and if we count the new phone I had to get because I dropped my old one in a cup of diet Coke, well, we're pushing $500 over budget.

Yeah, that means I had to use the credit card this month, which I fucking hate. I've had to pull it out several times over the last 3 months to cover a lot of crap: new clothes for work, a handful of dates I hadn't properly budgeted for, a pumpkin dinner party I also didn't budget for, two lunches out with Steph that I knew at the time I really shouldn't agree to even if I was ordering water, and a trip to Sam's club that I make every three months that I should really start budgeting for (it's about $150 every time, so $50 a month will cover it).

All told, this isn't horrible - it just means that I pay less toward my CC payment every month. Progress is being made... sort of. Just not... in an ideal way.

I also approached my boss today about continuing classes at Sinclair toward my Marketing Management degree. Student loans have come due, and I prefer to stuff money toward my CC debt before my student loan debt. So, it's back to school in a couple of days and back to paying the full $750 a month toward the CC instead of the $250, $450 or $500 I've been managing the last 3 months.

I've had a really wild, wonderful summer, but it's November now, and time to stop bleeding money. If I want a car next year and a house after that, it's gonna take some self-restraint on my part.

Man, I hate self-restraint.

On the upside, I found out today that my old insurance company is finally starting to pay an old $800 medical bill of mine (it's been over a year). They paid $188 of it, and I'm resubmitting the rest now as per the CSR's suggestion.

How any other company that pays a bill two years after being billed for it stays in business is beyond me.

Mmmmm health care in Amurika.

Oh, Fuck Yeah

The not-Boyfriend texted me tonight and said he couldn't find himself registered on the Montgomery Co site, which makes sense, of course, him being from Middletown and all... so he checked in Butler county and hey, yo, there he was....

This gave me a Sudden Idea.

I'm on the border between two counties here in Ohio.

If one of them doesn't have me then maybe....

Why yes, yes, fuckin' a MY ACTUAL county DOES oh SNAP!


I fucking KNEW I had fucking registered.

Swing state, here I come!!!

To Do

Black Desert line edits (20 pages)
Black Desert actual rewrite based on edits
Black Desert peeps sendoff
Babylon writing schedule
Babylon Chapter 1 (come hell, high water, first person narration...)
Send requested story subs
CB script for GW
Finish Jax short story

Get library card
Get Babylon research mats
Budget update w/receipt calc
Sign up for classes at Sinclair
Gym swim (in addition to regular workout - I'm missing my Thurs workout this week)
Mail in phone rebate
Call old insurance about old bill

Yeah, there's been a little too much boyfriend, not enough rollerderby.

But man, it's been too much boyfriend in such a good way.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Well, shit.

I registered to vote when I got my Ohio license at the BMV back in, what, May? July?

I specifically remember being asked if I wanted to register to vote. I remember filling out the forms. I remember hearing that it was taken care of.

I have not, however, received notice of my polling station. So I logged in online today to look it up.

And lo and behold, my friends: according to Ohio, I am not registered to vote.

It occurs to me that I should have checked this 30 days ago, but why, when I'd registered at the BMV?

There's a reason this is a swing state. Should I not have said out loud I was an independent?

This will be the first election I can't vote in since I turned 18. I can't even vote in Illinois. I can't vote, period.

I could get terribly upset about this, but it's my own fault. I knew things in swing states were wacky. It was the first time I'd registered in this state. I should have double checked my status 30 days ago when folks were posting about checking your status 30 days out.

Mmmmmm swing states.

I'm going to feel like shit if Ohio goes to McCain.

One for the Road

Yeah, I'm Alive

Just wicked busy.

And about to get busier.