Monday, September 29, 2003


Another Week of Bits and Pieces

Yes, I could write a decent, coherent narrative this week. But let's face it, those links from last week were fun. One more little bits and pieces entry, and then I'll write more, cross my heart.

After all, who could resist Encyclopedia Brown's obituary?

A week ago I got to play with my toddler cousins again. I never get to see little kids anymore unless I make a special effort, and this is odd to me after years of working at a children's book store and having my sisters on hand whenever I'd like to see them. I should have spent more time with my aunt Laura and cousin Audrey, but they sent all the kids out to play, and that just killed me.

"Would you guys mind if I went out and played with the kids? I never get any play time since I moved."

Audrey was exhausted, leaning in her chair. "GO! I get too much time with them! Have your turn! Please!"

Laura snickered. Weather this is because she's a stay at home mom, or because Audrey is pregnant again is up for debate.

This guy things we should Kill All the Librarians. He seems upset chiefly because we're raising awareness of the USA PATRIOT act. When people know what is allowed under this act, they are generally appalled. You know, the crusaders burned librarians.

This is why we should exercise our right to make fun of that scary John Ashcroft as much as possible.

So, why would I want to play with toddlers? Why would I miss hanging out with kids? Example:

Colin and Ruel are involved with their own game, which involves pretending to be Leopards. Ellie, who is 2 and a half, feels a bit left out. So I lean down and ask her: "Would you like to read a book?"


"Want to play on the swings?"

"No." She pauses, and looks up at me, clearly forming one of those toddler tests for grownups in her mind. "Let's pretend the monkeys are coming."

I stand up and say the right thing: "Oh NO! The monkeys are coming! What should we do?"

"RUN!" screams Ellie, and we tear ass to our grandfather's bed, where Ellie assures me the only way to monkey protection is through tents made out of blankets.

My days are mix of delight and fear. If only I needed to make up imaginary monkeys to scare myself.

"I don't know that Atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." -George Bush senior

In order to blend in undetected with evangelical Christians, most Atheists now tend to be morbidly obese and will tell you, whether asked or not, that their enormous girth is the result of an undetectable thyroid condition and not the box of Little Debbie cakes they are holding.

this guy died. It's worth mentioning because he wrote my favorite biography of Truman Capote, and because he was an upper class rich white guy, that, so far as I know, wasn't a bastard. Worth mentioning after all the other links on this page.

I'm going to be late for work. I have to go in early on Mondays and Fridays because I have Spanish lessons. Hasta Luego.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The World Won't End.

The World Won't End

A few short things that are no big deal. The world is a beautiful and strange place full of random bits. Here are a few:

The RIAA will eventually change or die.

Bunny the Cat came to live with me last week. Bunny lost two-thirds of her tail when she was born on a truck engine five years ago. One of her back legs shattered when she slid off the engine and hit the ground; it healed a little shorter than the rest, so she hops a bit when she walks. Bunny lost a fight with a snake last summer, and is still recovering from the resulting poisonous infection; she's patchy and stitched up. Agoraphobic, she rolls around under my bed hissing and spitting, like some demented, possessed black dustbunny. The other cats are wary, but fascinated. I made her a safety maze out of boxes under there, and she's my little monster under the bed. Occasionally I drag her out and pet her - she enjoys this as long as no one else is around to see her acting like a cat.

Here's a nice British bit about Libraries.

It's banned books week.
Thank your local librarian for protecting your civil liberties.

I owe Ron, ohmigod, I owe my roommate Ron for driving my grandfather to Marietta while I was at work today. I'm sure Grandpa just insulted the heck out of him with jokes about Jimmy Carter and whatnot all the way to Cobb county and back. Ron, like all good people, believes Jimmy Carter should be sainted. So does my Grandma. It's just one of the many reasons why my grandparents have been divorced for three decades now.

There's a nice interview with Neil Gaiman on NPR over here.

Fall has started; the pecans are nearly ready, and there are heavy warm lightning storms over Atlanta I can watch from my big front porch. And I know that the world won't end if none of the boys I've fallen in love with never love me back. The world won't end if I stand out in the rain with no shoes on, thinking about how I've got to learn to love the rain more than the sunshine. The poets have all got it wrong; love is not fire, but water, love is standing in the autumn rain and accepting the inevitability of being soaked to the skin. Love is liquid, love is erosion, the Grand Canyon was built by love. Love is rain, love is a contaminated lake, love is dew on flowers and the dew our bodies make for each other.

And love, like water, can never touch the sun. He's hot as hell, think about that. They don't call the devil the lightbringer for nothing.

here's one last neat cartoon. See you next week.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Harvest Moon over Kentucky

Harvest Moon over Kentucky

I spent most of last week in Kentucky on business. It was nice enough, I suppose, for the area. I found a lot of things depressing - the teaching rooms in Kentucky state colleges are often just as bad as some in Tennessee. Orange threadbare carpets, fluorescent lighting, antique white vinyl paint over cinderblock. Air inside such buildings is thick with moisture, less than the usual amount of humidity found outside in the south in September, but still far to high to be really comfortable for some.

On the up side, I ate smoked duck with plum sauce at a really excellent little restaurant for less than $15. So there are benefits to being a visitor to a rural economy. Pulled pork barbeque, inexpensive beer, and less of a parking problem than elsewhere. Have I mentioned my love affair with food lately?

Johnny Cash died the last day I was there, and as I drove back through Tennessee to get home, NPR played hours of interviews with the man in black, interspersed with his music. It was a nice memorial to one of the few people in the music business I always thought deserved respect. My stomach flipped over as I drove though Nashville. How badly can a business screw up an art? Look at Nashville, and there's your answer.

I'm working too much lately, but I am making time to fix up my house finally. I just started to feel like it was coming together this weekend. I don't have any more unopened boxed in the floor of my room, finally. I have a nice long curtain over my window that matches my bedspread. I'm bringing it all together. This is home. Atlanta is my home. The rhythm of things is finally settling, finally getting down to a steady pattern that I can depend on, feel safe in, and routines are getting solidified.

I love routine. I love my home. I don't think anything big will change for a while, and that's perfectly all right with me.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

In sickness and in health

In sickness and in health

So, about four weeks ago I went to a new doctor for a routine girly checkup. And as soon as she looks at me, the doctor sort of puts her brows together, gets me on a scale, and starts asking questions about my height and weight and looking at my hands and hair. And she says:

Has anyone ever talked to you about your thyroid gland?

Nope. I've had really sporadic health care my whole life. After about the age of 10, I have rarely seen the same doctor twice. I've moved around a lot, and gone for years without health care coverage. But I don't remember anyone ever saying anything about my glands. I mean, I'm a pretty healthy person. Other than an old knee injury and some rather common allergy problems, I don't really have any health concerns.

When did you start and stop growing? Are there a lot of tall women in your family? What about heart conditions? Any thyroid problems that you're aware of? Have you been having headaches?

and on and on. And then when I'm on the examination table, and she gets her assistant to sort of message my throat, and the assistant nods.

I think you have Hypo-thyroidism


This is a teaching hospital, would you mind?...

I've got no problems with that. There are a group of doctors walking by, mine leaves the room, a couple of younger doctors come in.

Hypo-thyroidism. Typically, the adult patients will not recognize their own symptoms...possible secondary involvement of the other glands, and the system as a whole will react...

So, they take blood from me, two tubes. And I get one of those little pamphlets that is all the information they can squeeze on a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper in a soothing manner. And I am told it will take 3 weeks for the results to come back from the lab, but that's OK, because I'm not in imminent danger or anything. I didn't even know that I was sick. I mean, I went to the doctor for my yearly gyn exam, for chrissakes.

The results came back this week. Actually, they came back right before last week's big party, but I deliberately wouldn't look at them until I felt like I had the space to deal.

Results: Borderline. AKA: we don't know shit.

I call the doctor. Well?

You're definitely symptomatic, and we think you should get tested again. Go to a general practicioner at a different point in your monthly cycle, and get bloodwork done again. Your thyroid glad is swollen, but an endocrinologist will not accept you as a patient until your levels are tested at....blah blah blah, blah blah blah, the truth is no one really knows what causes a body to attack parts of its own self, you're freakishly tall, you have all the other signs, and the American health care system is a rich man's broken toy. Have a nice day, try not to worry, or immigrate to Canada. Thank You, see you next year when its time for your next pap smear. (I'm paraphrasing here. I actively dislike the receptionist who had to give me this news).

So what do you suggest that I do in the meantime?

We suggest that you try to lose thirty pounds, and regulate your diet in order to help your body heal itself. Glandular problems are aggravated by weight gain.

At which point I almost yell at her one of the following phrases:

Glandular problems cause weight gain, dumbass!

Fuck You! Diets are for losers!

Maybe I'm hungry and horny all the time because of my personality, *not* a a glandular disorder.

So. 30 pounds. No sweat. I was skinny High School...before I got shoulders like a linebacker...and actual breasts...which I'm happy to have, soooo....

Right. Eat less, exercise more, try not to focus on how western medicine may or may not be failing you.

Except, I love food, and I love eating. I honestly know I associate food and love. I honestly know that since I quit taking drugs after college, chocolate cake has replaced drugs in my life. I eat when I'm happy. I eat when I'm sad. And if I can't get laid or drunk, I hit the refridgerator. I love food like I love men...all the time and as much as possible, please.

What saves me from being a total fat ass though is that I also love to walk. But since I moved from New England, I haven't done that so much. Which is to say I still walk a great deal more than most people, but far from the 5 miles minimum a day I used to enjoy.

But still, the food thing. I treat it like a vice, like a lover. And I know that's wrong, but I hate the idea of dieting. I grew up watching my mother abuse her body in a series of diets that never worked. She would drink vinegar. She would avoid food until she got weak and grumpy. On and off of weight watchers, Jenny Craig and a host of 80's fad diets. Nothing helped her much because she was chronically inactive, a victim of severe depression, and host to a series of hormonal problems so severe that my father eventually would sell off most of his guitar collection so that she could be treated at Vanderbilt.

Not that her mother was any better. My grandmother would eat Krispy Kreme donuts with Diet Coke for breakfast, and tell me that the one calorie drink balanced out the fried part of the meal.

It was a long battle towards healthy eating habits for me. I was in my early twenties before I realized the connection between my own mood swings and my meals. Slowly I learned to carry protein bars around with me at school to fight off grumpiness. I learned to cook with more nuts, I learned to avoid too much sugar, I taught myself about my own tolerance of caffeine. I make an effort to eat organic foods, to eat vegetarian eggs and fresh meats, avoiding beef all together. I have learned about olive oil and sesame seed oil and soy products. I'm a little obsessive about it. I love food, But I love good food.

And now I have to change my relationship with food all over again. It's a daunting task. And it dredged up a million miles of anger for me, of negative associations with the hormonal problems that plague the female members of my family. I honestly believe that "ideal weight" chart is a load of crap. One of my aunts kept making herself seriously sick, trying to stick to that chart. Every time she'd hit her target weight, she'd get pneumonia. And the lengths my mother went to... no. I love my body. I won't torture it, I won't fuck up my metabolism with some crash diet, I won't let a doctor make me feel fat.

I'm so tall I'm not even listed on most women's height/weight charts. So who the hell knows what the target weight should be for a woman my size and shape? Less than 3% of all American women are as tall as me. Break down the different body shapes into that number, and we're definitely a minority. I don't know what I'm supposed to weigh. No one does.

But if I have to guess, or, really, make up my own number, I'd say that I will try to lose 20 pounds. I will try to lose this Christmas, by exercising and not having desert and drinking lots of water.

And I will try not to be angry about it. That's the hardest part. Because my eating is really about anger, just like most other things about me. I realize that now, after thinking on it for a week. I eat, and eat well, because I am angry. One more little step away from that, and I know I'll be healthier in the long run.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Where was I?

Where was I?

Oh, right. The other 2 and a half days of DragonCon. Click here for the first 2 and a half days of the five day party.

So after the big parade where Aral and I cheered and jumped up and down, we ate lunch and saw some fan stuff and then split up. Aral went to meet up with Shrift; I went to work the Green Room.

Volunteering to work the convention allowed me to afford to go. I scored a discount pass and a discount room. I also liked the idea of working because I wanted to help make this fabulous thing happen. See, no one really gets paid to throw this party for 40,000 people. It's all held together by a bunch of wonderful people who work their asses off to make sure I have a good time. And I appreciate that!

I also was able to work one of the plum assignments. Susan and Andrew work the Green Room, the room that feeds all the special guests. It's like having a backstage pass to make Lt. Sulu a sandwich. And I dig that. I also dig listening to the writers and game designers and others sit around talking about what fans they are themselves. It's cool, man. I like feeding people, I like feeling like I help make the party happen.

But it was a lot of hard work. And I don't think I'll do it again next year. As much as I like the volunteers, and may even give 4 or 5 hours of my time to lend a hand, working 20 hours during the big party really took the piss out of me. I mean, a woman's got to sleep at some point, you know?

But Saturday WOW. I drank and sat with a bunch of my favorite people. See, Aral and I got bumped up into a small suite totally by accident. Tony, Sue and I had specifically gone to the Hyatt and had our reservations linked up. But when I went to check in I found they were trying to put me on an entirely different floor!

I demanded to be on the floor where most of my friends were staying. They gave me the keys to a corner room with three balconies and a living room set. We had to wheel another little bed in because there was only one, but that was OK.

So Saturday Virgil and I went on a liquor run. I fired up the TV and we had a little party, watching the original American Godzilla release with Perry Mason, and Army of Darkness. Yea us! Cairy, Skeet, Virgil, Winn, Serena, Aral and I just chilled. And sometimes that's the best.

Around midnight, 1 o'clock, I kick everybody out of the suite because I'm getting tired and Aral's about to fall over. Cairy and Skeet and I hang out in the hallway. The Hyatt is one of those deals where the center is hollow, so as we hung out we could see all the activities going on other levels. Saturday night is the night for room parties, and we could watch the ebb and flow of people in other suites.

I wondered where Winn got to, and knocked on his door right near us. Winn was sharing a room with Tony, Andrew, and Paula, so I wasn't surprised when someone else answered the door. Cairy and Skeet were mildly surprised that it was a naked Tony though. This didn't shock me. I manage to somehow run into a disrobed Tony about once a year. I should mention here that this wasn't even the second or third random naked person I had seen that weekend, nor would it be the last.

And really, now that I think of it, I'm going to quit writing about that night. It was a good night, and you can ask me what happened after that when you see me in person. It was pretty amusing. Paula and Susan were trashed and funny.

I realized that night that I know the best guys. I really do. I know all the best men ever. My standards for men are actually pretty high, and that's because Cairy, Skeet, Virgil, Tony, Andrew, Dustin and a few other men put the bar just that high. I feel bad for 80% of the men out there, because they'll just never be that good, that understanding, that smart, clever, or creative.

So Saturday was good. Nay, Saturday achieved a greatness that few other Saturdays could seek to replicate. I will be telling stories about Saturday for a long time to come.

Sunday less so.

I worked again, and I was over-tired at this point, because it was four days through the thing. And Aral left, and this bummed me out, and I had to leave our room because even having the discounted thing for two days was a stretch for me.

So Sunday night I got angry. But I also got some sleep, and a good long conversation with Virgil, which always straightens me out. Cairy, Skeet, and Virgil had an encounter with a thief. But that's their story to tell, not mine.

Monday I had to work the green room all day, and say goodbye to loads of people. And that's just not any fun. By Monday night when Dinan drove me home from the hotel - I was too tired to take the train - I felt like a record played too slowly, like, well, like I had been partying for 5 days straight. Because I had been partying for 5 days straight.

But it was the best, really. I know everyone didn't have as great a time as I did, but I think some people were trying to do too much.

Aral wants to do this again next year. I have no problem with that, no problem at all.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Why I'm so Angry all the time

Why I'm so Angry all the time

part one - the rant about lovers.

So I realized after DragonCon that I have this enormous well of anger inside of me. The four day party with my friends was fabulous. I have rarely had such a good time for four days straight - the partying, the hugs, the entertainment couldn't have been better.

But so what? I was still alone in a fucking sea of 30,000 people. Even when my friends gathered around me at my suite for a party - even when I was snuggled against Skeet (one of my oldest friends) while he patted my back and held me near, even then I felt incomplete. I am loved. I know this. Everyone gathers to me for parties, for road trips, for food and conversation. I work hard to be a good friend, I gather people I truly admire to me. Aral, after spending a few days with my friends, commented on how amazing they all are. I know this. I know I am lucky. I am constantly amazed at the quality of people who will put up with my ass.

But still -

It was late on Sunday evening when I crawled back to my own house for a night of sleep before the final day of the festival. In the dark, Virgil came and sat in a chair in the study to talk to me while I fitfully rolled in the guest bed, unable to relax after 3 solid days of overstimulation. Actually, 3 days of Dragon Con overstimulation and a week of Los Angeles before that, a week in a Beverly Hills wasteland working my ass off and missing everyone. I had then gorged on my friend's attentions and presence, and now I couldn't sleep. Virgil is ever the night owl, and we spoke softly as my roommate Dinan, and Serena, his love interest of five years, slept in neighboring rooms.

And we were speaking of Serena, who is beautiful and quiet and clearly adored by my oldest friend, despite some difficulties they have had over the years. And Virgil said:

The truth is, we are miserable without each other. I can't imagine life without her.

He spoke of the patience they have both had to learn. He talked about the rough times, and how tough they were, and how sometimes the toughest decision had turned out to be best.

And I said "I'm angry. I knew - deep down I knew years ago - that I would end up alone. Call it self- fulfilling or whatever, but I am angry. It shouldn't be like this. It wasn't supposed to be like this. And the decisions I've made have been good ones, and I've still ended up alone. And I'm beginning to realize how late it is, and I'm angry. It's not fair."

Do you want to kick your feet and whine too?

Yes. Yes I do. I got turned down by my lover Sunday night. We were supposed to have dinner and an evening, and he got busy and forgot, and then it was the third night of Con and there were more important things for him to do than me.

Which is reasonable. I have more important things to do than him, usually. Usually I am the one first out the door. Because, well, I can live without him. I'm not miserable without him. The definition of a lover is someone who is *not* your significant other. A lover is someone you sleep with and leave. There are no strings.

Having a lover sucks.

I've had other girls enviously ask me how I do it. How do I always seem to have someone that I just sleep with, that I don't have to put up with from day to day. They think, because they see these relationships from afar, that having a lover is a desirable thing. It's not.

The sex is good though. It's always really, really good, or decently passionate enough that you don't mind the fact that you're naked with someone you wouldn't date. Lovers are people that you keep out of town, that you wouldn't really hang out with, because if you're hanging out *and* sleeping together, then you're dating. You're just not saying that you're dating, and that's lying to yourself, and I'm against lying in general.

No, having a lover is having someone who can live without you, someone who has a million other more important things than you, but who enjoys sex as much as you do. And that's bad. My lover is not as important to me, as, say, getting a good hotel room for the Con. My lover is not more important than my friends. My lover also doesn't think I'm more important than a good party. I am not the first thing he thinks of in the morning. He doesn't call me when he sees something that makes him think of me, because he rarely thinks of me at all. And that's OK, because we're reciprocal in that. We're grown-ups, we're all above the table with this. We know what's on the up and up.

Meanwhile, the person I really can't live without - a guy I have easily cried over a dozen times over - can easily live without me.

And I know the best guys. Seriously. I have the best guy friends ever. None of them are up for involvement with me, and that's OK.

But it does make me angry. I'm the friend. I'll always be the friend. I'll always be throwing the party, and listening to the most amazing men tell me about how much they love other women. And I don't even get to sleep with the guys who love me as a friend when they happen to be single. Because my guy friends are so cool, they're far to gentlemanly to really take that big step that can often lead to awkwardness. No, I'm stuck with lovers. As the guy I love best said,

I love you, I'm just not in love with you.

I love my guy friends, but I don't get to be in love with anyone. I just get to sleep around. And other girls are jealous. Don't be. I sleep around because I'm still waiting for someone to tell me they can't imagine life without me. Meanwhile, I go to the best parties, I fly across the country to look at LA covered in lights, and I sleep in king size hotel beds alone most of the time.

And I'm angry a lot of the time about that.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I know the best men, I have the best friends

6,666 hours left.

The party went on for five days.

Aral arrived Thursday afternoon. It was so good to see her, and she looked healthy and happy, if a little tired and ready for her vacation. We loafed around, enjoying each other’s company and eating Indian food. We caught up on things that we had been uncomfortable telling each other in the rare telephone conversations we manage once every other month. She admired my neighborhood and the greenness I know she misses in New England. I admired how brilliant she is, as always.

The phone calls from Nashville friends happened all at once about 11 pm. Skeet called in on Virgil’s phone from the 9th floor of the Hyatt. Tony and others called in from the 17th floor. I started giggling uncontrollably because I was so happy. The parties had started. The parties had started and everyone was ready to get going. But we were too tired and our room wouldn’t be ready until tomorrow, so I got everyone’s information for the next morning.

Virgil and his girlfriend Serena arrived at my house around midnight. We were all so excited to see each other that no one could sleep, and we sat around the dining room table strategizing the next day until well after 2 am so we could snatch 4 hours of sleep before we actually *did* leave to party.

I made a big breakfast to fortify us around 6:30, and we left the house at 8. Getting there at 9, it took us exactly an hour to pick up passes already paid for. I dropped by the room where Tony, Andrew, Winn and Paula were holed up, and the party started. That was Friday.

Aral and I fell down exhaustedly just after midnight, because we couldn’t take it anymore. We were told about parties we missed the next day. But passing out at midnight on Friday allowed us to be the only ones of my party crowd to wake up in time to see the big parade the next day. The parade rocked. It was so awesome to see everyone marching in the streets, the Cobra Commandos, the Wing Commander guys, the Storm Troopers. I love that. I love that there are a bunch of guys who started playing GI Joe 20 years ago and just never stopped. There is joy in the world.

I got to talk to the guy who writes Barry Ween. I got to talk to the guy who wrote Whiteout. I got to see the guys who now draw Wonder Woman, Batman, and a ton of my other favorites. I saw members of my favorite television show speak live, got to see them in a real-life context. And that is cool. Know why? Because they’re just people, man. The best thing about this type of event is that you get to see that Greg Rucka is just some guy who went out and just…did it. He just started writing, and just believed in himself, and he was good, and now he gets to write Wonder Woman. I read his stuff all the time. And he’s just some guy. Well, some really talented guy. It gives me hope. It lets me see who’s behind the stuff that I like so much, so that I understand it’s not some mystical process that puts comic books in my hand each month. It’s just a lot of people working very, very hard. And it helps me to remember to work really hard too.

But relaxing and having a throw-down party every once in a while is good too.

More on that day after tomorrow. So many things happened this weekend that it would be too long of a post to put it down all at once. So this is the first half. More on Thursday, I promise.

But just to flaunt – I got to see the DC/Vertigo/Wildstorm preview. It was really commercial, but also very cool. Yea me. More later, including the drink Virgil invented, working the green room, Godzilla, naked people, and the best men in the whole world. Later.