Monday, June 27, 2005

Carnal Fear is Secretly Infernokrusher...

Check this out:

She nods. "I've never been kissed either." Suddenly she's on her feet and pacing around him. He has to spin his chair to look at her face. "God DAMN it. That's a lie. I have been kissed. But not by anyone I wanted to kiss me. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!!!" With one swipe of her arm all the comics are on the floor. He stops moving so he doesn't wrinkle them. She sags back onto the couch.

He watches her carefully, as though he doesn't trust her. "Sutter," he says. "Promise me something."

"What?" She's glaring. She picks the comics up and tidies them. "Who are you to ask me anything?" She's so angry it's a wonder the room doesn't burst into flames.
I write a lot of stuff where people are so ______ that the room bursts into flames. I wonder what that says about me.

Carnal Fear word count

I just closed out the file for my novel in progress, Carnal Fear. The Word tool says I just hit word 55,555. It's kind of an alliterative number isn't it? It's also pretty meaningless as I still have tons of notes inbedded in the book but hey, I still added 400 new words today so boom! to me.

I wish I could say that writing this book is the hardest thing I have ever done. Of course the reason it is so hard to write is because it is about the hardest things I have ever lived through...

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Valuable Lessons Never Learned Here

I should know by now to never post that I am not throwing up and that I am headache free. Almost immediately after posting last night I got a pretty bad headache and then was awake all night long. I know people say that and don't mean it but I do. The birds started singing around three am, I finished reading From Hell around four, was wide awake and kind of freaked out so I read this book I got Cam called the Hideout or something.

I turned off the computer around five am and was awake for an entire book after that. I don't know what time I fell asleep because I don't have a clock in my bedroom but the sun had been up for a good while. I got up around 10:30 and immediately started throwing up.

As far as I am concerned this is just more proof that there is a strong sleep/PTC symptom connection.

I'm toying with the idea of trying DDR but I am afraid that I won't be able to tolerate the flashing lights. I can't bear for the kids to have the TV on when I am in the same room because the flickering always makes me sick. I would hate to buy the whole DDR rigaramole and then not be able to use it.

I read this RL Stine book today called Sunburn. It was so bad. It was like he was trying to write like Christopher Pike, teen aged girls get together for reunion, one of them secretly wants to kill the rest, they're all too stupid to realize it, there is a mysterious person running around who may or may not be a ghost, blah, blah, blah.

The most interesting thing about this book is that it came from a library in Alaska. It still has the little checkout card in it. How did it end up in my bedroom? Now there is a real mystery.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Highlights of the week

Far and away the best part of my week was reading Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town. I reviewed it for my column this week. Writing the column was also loads of fun. I think I started it on Monday because I was so excited by the book that I had to write about it. It was one of those times where you feel like the words are just flowing right out of the fingertips, from the brain to the keyboard in one easy step, no fuss, no muss.

The next best thing is that today I noticed I can hear pretty well. Despite the fact that I have been headachy and throwing up nearly all week, today I felt pretty good and there has been very little pulsating tinnitus.

More and more I am convinced there is an extremely strong link between my sleep and how much fluid I have in my head. Sunday night I was at Johns Hopkins for the sleep study and my sleep was horrid. Not only did I feel like I was awake all night but I slept without the CPAP and felt really wretched all day long. I had been pretty sick going to the hospital, throwing up once in the lobby (luckily there was a pretty good sized trash bin in a convenient location) and Tuesday when I went to see Dr. Rismondo I threw up four times on the way there.

Last night I fell asleep around three and slept until 11 and I felt good when I woke. No vomiting, very little headache, despite rearranging a good bit of my bedroom with attendant noise and bustle, and my hearing is good.

I think that taking melatonin is helping. It never seemed to help me before but perhaps melatonin with valerian works. Or perhaps I am just very susceptible to suggestion. Whatever is going on I've got very high hopes I can get better without having surgery.

Stupid Scams

The 419 scams are getting weirder. I have gotten a progression of them from fictional characters ranging from Charles Brown to Harry Potter - a Colonel in the British Army who stole some gold while in Iraq. I guess this lot of scammers are trying to bilk those who don't read.

And speaking of reading, I am back to reading From Hell, Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's masterpiece. It's extremely disturbing.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Why did they publish that?

I was looking for something that happened in Arizona in 1917 and I found this. It's an index called "Subject Index To The COCONINO WEEKLY SUN 1891" (yes I know, 1891 is not equal to 1917 but you know how it is when you are researching and trust me I have to be much worse at staying on topic than you are). Subject number one is ABORTION.


* Dr. Helm, Arizona Surgeon-General, performed an abortion on Mrs. Alice Price Jy/25 2/2

What in the world? Why was that published? I have no idea. I do have an idea that I hope is wrong and I will get to it in a minute.

Look at some of the entertainment listings, fascinating stuff:

if you want to meet "a woman of grit", come to Conundrum Tea Se/12 3/3

Mrs. E. Gonzales, Flagstaff, showing freak "Arabian slave" in Denver Jy/11 3/3

Tucson has Grace Eden, mystic Oc/8 2/5

Mexican freak exhibition with Mexican at Powell Hall My/23 3/3

committees listed to prepare for entertainment of visiting editors Jy/25 3/4

people enjoyed themselves tripping light fantastic at Milton Ag/1 3/3

Zamloch, magician, to give last performance tonight Ag/29 3/1

$.50 to go to China lecture De/10 3/5

I didn't know the tripping the light fantastic expression was quite so old. It sounds so 1960s to me. The go to China is quite the bargain. I am exceedingly curious about the woman of grit. I don't think they meant the magazine...

Under the disease heading we find this seeming oxymoron;

John Grice, "Cast Iron Jack" died of natural causes Jy/25 3/3

And this string of ailments:

fifty cases of typhoid fever in Jerome Oc/29 7/1
children ill from school No/5 2/4
Flagstaff children have whooping cough De/3 3/2
attendance low at Flagstaff schools because of whooping cough De/10 3/1
great deal of sickness in Flagstaff De/17 3/1
300 cases under care of physicians De/24 2/3
Dr. McCaulless, Prescott physician, says he had never seen so many sick De/24 3/2
I know I am always saying that I count my blessings and it must get boring to read but it's so true. I had whooping cough two years ago October and it was pretty awful. It's hard to imagine all those poor kids so terribly ill like that. As much as the state of modern medicine drives me mad we've got some pretty good things going for us now like certain immunizations.

So anyway, to get back to the motive thing, I wonder if this poor women's abortion was published to shame her. I think not, because she was married and it was done by the surgeon general. I think it was likely not an elective procedure and is just the proper term for any medical procedure done on a fetus that is no longer viable.

I remember when I lost my own baby, fourteen years ago, I had such a hard time, partly because this one girl in my office got the call from my doctor to precert and the diagnosis was inevitable abortion (the fetus didn't have a heart and had been dead for awhile before I started bleeding) and this girl went around and told everyone that I had an elective abortion.

When I came back to work and people started asking me why I killed my baby I discovered that "seeing red" is a real description.

If the newspaper had published a story about it I would probably have hit someone in the office. I feel bad for Mrs. Alice Price even though she has been dead for many years. She should have had some privacy. The queer thing is that I am such a hypocrite even though I don't think her privacy should have been invaded now I want to know exactly what happened. Curiosity is a powerful force.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Why all that space?

What is going on? Is it a blogger glitch? Something funky about the last post?

Crocheted Nudity Must be Stopped!

Despite the ridiculously lame title, this article in today's WaPo is interesting. My take on it is that it is about how the management of a building had to pretend to give space to art but when push comes to shove they can't handle anything remotely controversial.

An exhibit called Not the Knitting You Know: Sculptural Knitting and Crochet featured some crocheted nude figures. Someone called John Shenefield, a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, didn't like them and assumed that delicate women would be offended by this shocking display of the human form. I guess in his world no woman has ever seen a nude body.

The article says:

"I thought instantly that there will be women in this organization who will be offended because of the exposed genitalia and the exaggeration of the female form." His fears were confirmed as soon as he got to his office: People were discussing the exhibition in a "beehive of activity . . . and the initial reaction was quite a lot of unhappiness, particularly among female employees and partners." The firm was also concerned about offending clients and visitors who might assume it sponsors the exhibition.

Now I am imagining that this guy flipped out and went into the office and asked people if they were offended. Not wanting to piss off the boss they said yes. I mean really, what were these women really seeing? How graphic and "shocking" can crocheted nudes, made by a schoolteacher and described as "playful" really be?

Shenefield says this is the first time the firm has complained about an exhibition and that the "shock effect" of Sung's art in its original form should have precluded its installation. "Common sense would suggest that perfectly normal human beings would rather not face that," he says.

Oh really? Common sense tells me that perfectly normal human beings don't panic at the sight of other perfectly normal human beings just because they happen to be unclothed.

Here is a link to the shocking work in question. Suffice it to say I just don't get it.

So what did I, a textile artist who frowns on censorship do? I looked Shenefield up online, got his telephone number and address, read his bio, shook my head that he can argue in front of the Supreme Court but not look at a fake naked person and left him a message on voice mail.

I said I was very disappointed that a grown man had this sort of reaction to art and I hoped that one day he was able to look back at this and learn a valuable lesson.

A closing remark from Mr. Shenefield:

"I'm not an art critic," Shenefield says, "but none of this was the Venus de Milo."

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Followup on big tobacco post

I wrote to Mr. Spitzer, the Attorney General of New York, today.

This is what I said:

Dear Mr. Spitzer,

I saw an article today about how pleased you are that Time, Newsweek and some other pubs will remove tobacco ads before distribution to schools.

As a result, I am thinking that this topic is important to you and I wonder if you could tell me what to do about the Marlboro advertising to children ages 13 - 17, in the guise of polling them about "important health topics."

I blogged about it here:

And posted an entry at Teresa Nielsen-Hayden's site, where another reader suggested I take some of my anger and use it to report this violation.

I would very much appreciate any advice you or your staff members have for me. I understand that you must be terribly busy and I am not even in your state so I am hardly important, but the issue is important and it happened online, which kind of overrides state lines in my book.

Thank you very much for your assistance.


We'll see if anything comes of this but I feel better already just because I did something.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Except from my upcoming column

I got an early start on my column this week, thanks to Cory Doctorow's new book.

Here is part of the beginning.

We here at Quality Time don't like to stick books in genre ghettos. We'll give books labels like fun, interesting, smart, witty, must read and swoony and, yes, every so often we will say we don't understand the appeal of a book and we wouldn't want to think of you spending your hard earned time reading it but of course, the choice is always yours. We'll use a little bit of genre distinction from time to time (for instance I love to clearly label all InfernoKrusher, and, indeed, all possible InfernoKrusher) but mostly I'm going to say hey guys, here's a rollicking good read. And by all I hold dear, that's exactly what I had this week, a rollicking good read by Cory Doctorow, called Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town.

Monday, June 20, 2005

100 words from someone with a bad memory

Here's what you get when you have a terrible memory and you don't go and reread the rules before you try and write a 100 word story for Lisa.

On Becoming Smaller -

Lucia stared at the casting director, tapping her foot, impatient to be gone. She knew what she was going to hear and sure enough, here it came.

"Lucia, you're too big for TV. You're too loud, you have too much charisma, your body is too big, your voice is too big, you're just too much. The boobs are perfect, shrink everything else, keep the boobs."

"Those too big things make up the essential me."

"Come back when you're smaller. NEXT!"

Lucia tossed the casting notice over her shoulder and headed for the theater. Screw the small stuff!
So what did I forget? I can only use each word once and this story relies on repetitiveness for its oomph. Also the theme probably doesn't fit the tiny theme since it's a protest against society's insistence on smaller = better.

It was hard enough to do a real story (beginning, middle, end) in 100 words, I don't know if I can meet the guidelines on this one.

But you should totally try. Kick start your brain and see what comes out.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Sleep study tonight

I went to see Dr. LeSage at Johns Hopkins on the 14th. I'm trying to followup on the connection between PTC and sleep apnea. Intuitively I am convinced that my own explosion of symptoms happened because I broke the mask on my CPAP machine and slept without it for two months.

Timeline -

Meningitis in 2003 - I can't remember exactly when, March, April or May, then I was just not better ever. Symptoms decreased but never went away. I was ill enough that even when I managed normal things like traveling to visit my friend A. I was too sick to walk around with him and my second visit to him in October of 2003 I had to be hospitalized.

But through all this, pounding headaches, constant vomiting (okay not really constant, how about daily?), extreme intolerance to exercise, my vision was okay, or at least as okay as my vision has ever been, 20/800.

Then I broke the mask and my vision started to go. By the time I went to see the eye doctor my pappiledema was so bad you could see it with the naked eye and I had quite a lot of hemorrhaging. You can read some about this in my February 2004 archives I think. I may have been too upset and scared to write about it, the scariest thing I heard was when the retina doctor sent me to Dr. Rismondo and said she was going to be very aggressive in her treatment and I asked if my eyes would get better and he said "We're trying to save what vision you have left."

She did an MRI, and MVE and then the lumbar puncture which showed that I did have PTC. She started me on diamox and my eyes gradually got better.

But this last LP that I had in April showed that the pressure is nearly as high as when I was diagnosed so why are my eyes better? I think it's because I got a new mask and started back on my CPAP machine.

My sleep is still awful, it's fragmented, I wake up screaming a lot and I wake up choking every night. One popular problem I have is that I wake up choking, convinced that I have already died in my sleep and I am trying to figure out what to do next.

My grand idea is that instead of getting shunt surgery, very dangerous for me because of my clotting problems, I will work on fixing my sleep problems and see how they affect the PTC.

All of this leads up to my appointment with Dr. LeSage who is a neurologist at Johns Hopkins, specializing in sleep disturbances, particularly narcolepsy, rls and erm, something else I forgot.

I'm going to Johns Hopkins tonight for polysomnography. I'm a little nervous just because I have night terrors and PTSD after some stuff that happened when I was sleeping as a kid. I can't stand the idea of people watching me sleep. But I'll muddle through somehow.

I wrote a synopsis to my friend A. About what exactly Dr. LeSage and I decided and I might post that for those that are interested.

If you have PTC I really suggest you get tested for sleep apnea. If you google around you're find lots of studies that connect the two.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Big tobacco advertises to children age 13 - 17 after making sure parents can't see the screen

I've been meaning to blog about this since it happened on May 24th but what with being sick and busy I never felt I had the time or energy to do it properly. Teresa Nielsen Hayden has been talking about various forms of deceptive practices that sway a great many people, i.e. astroturf and so I was finally motivated enough to write this entry.

You should go and read it and then come back.

Scary, isn't it?

I can't stress enough how much this pissed us all off. We did flat out lie when asked if Cul was taking the poll by himself, after all even at his advanced age I am going to be suspicious of someone online who wants to know if my child is alone while he answers questions, so I am not exactly pure and clean here but I think we might have gotten a completely different set of questions if Cul and answered that a parent or guardian could see the questions.

I'm also now starting to wonder about other questions the Harris people routinely ask me. They ask me nearly every time if I think we are exposed to too much information. Are they trying to get me to think there is too much information available? I mean why ask me over and over? It's almost like they think by repeating it I will come to believe it.

The only thing encouraging about this whole experience is that when we looked at the charts for how other children were answering most of them did not want to smoke the cigarettes, did not think they sounded particularly appetizing and didn't think the FDA had said the cigarettes were safe.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

They say everyone has a double somewhere

This photo of a Pisa Pusher is a photo of someone who looks very, very similar to Cullen, including the massively overgrown hair that gets cut like twice a year.

He's not exactly like Cul, but he's close enough to freak Cul out. If you look at the comments someone is even calling the guy Harry Potter and Cul is famous for looking like Harry Potter. He's had total strangers offer to tattoo a lightning bolt onto his forehead.

I'm going to get a pic of Cul and put it up for comparison. I wonder if there are any at any Fiddler's Green sites.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Afleet Alex doesn't want to stop running

The Belmont on Saturday was exciting and fun. Jeremy Rose held Alex back just long enough to make me nervous. I was just telling the boys that when Jeremy told him go he would go and the other horses would look like they weren't moving when Jeremy gave him the signal and he slipped over to the side and took off running like pistons and that was that.

He had to go wide around the final turn but he'd saved ground and energy by hugging the rail and laying back for the beginning of the race.

When the race was over he was still full of interest and bounce. He looked like he could do it again and do it faster than the first time. His ears were forward and he was just super happy looking.

I talked about Alex and his blog in my column this week. I was wondering if he was going to keep on writing kid friendly blog posts after he was put out to stud. How exactly would he do that?

Hey kids, a really cute chick came to the farm today just so I could meet her!! In a year or so we're going to have a baby!! It will look a lot like me and run like the wind. And guess what!?! After her there will be 39 more just like her! W00t!

But I read that Alex is going to keep racing. I am really pleased about this. I understand the economics of retiring a three year old. You can start raking in the big stud fees right away and if you keep racing him you run the risk of something happening to lower his value, like losing some races or God forbid an injury racing.

Thoroughbred racing in America today is in bad shape. Where I live people go to Delaware Downs but not to see the horses, it's to play the slots. The ponies don't get respect.

We need a horse athlete that grabs the public attention and gives us something to look up to and admire. Remember Seabiscuit? Remember how his race train was thronged and the worse shape the country was in the more popular he was? People need someone bigger than life who has heart and courage and if that someone is a horse then so be it.

A horse isn't going to get arrested for rape or drug abuse. A happy, healthy horse doing what he loves to do is a wonderful role model for kids everywhere. And if he happens to donate to charity and write cute little blog entries all the better. Let's all welcome him to the ranks of clean honest heroes who overcome adversity.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

I Infernokrush like...

I have an absolute beast of a headache and I was going to log off but I see Will has linked to an InfernoKrusher quiz so I had to take it.

Weapon of Choice
Favorite thing to Krush
Favorite thing to Burn
Infernokrusher is to Slipstream as
How much of a joke is this to you?

You Infernokrush likeDragzilla, M.C of the Hartford Drag Diva Rally

This Fun Quiz created by Meghan at BlogQuiz.Net
Cancer Horoscope at DailyHoroscopes.Biz

That's right baby, I Infernokrush like Dragzilla, M.C of the Hartford Drag Diva Rally.

I really think my story Pyrexia of Unknown Etiology is InfernoKrusher. There is enough fire in there to go from one world to the next.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Carnal Fear

The really nice thing about having some brain damage is that I forget so many things. (It's also a really awful thing.) After another thought provoking email from Will Shetterly I worked on my novel called Carnal Fear a bit. I could recite bits of this book from memory, that's how well I know it.

On the other hand I don't remember writing parts of it at all. In fact if I discovered some sort of writing fairy had been in my computer playing with my files I would nod and say yes, that makes sense.

I worked on my column today also, doing the bit for Father's day which I think is this weekend. If you have to keep your word count under 650 words for syndication then syndication may be right out. My opening bit was 87 words...

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Is that even possible?

With great trepidation and pain I did a little work on Carnal Fear. This is an extremely difficult project for me. I started it in 1998 I think and it's nowhere near done, that's how hard it is.

I've got my leads arguing in a really ridiculous way. Sutter is having a sort of a panic attack brought on by talking about her dead boyfriend after waking up from night terrors. Aaron is trying to comfort her but she won't let him in her room. They devolve into this brilliant first draft dialogue:


"Go away."




"Why can't you listen to me? Are you stupid?"

"Now Sutter," I said. "Is that nice?" I heard her growling in response and then the thud of her feet as she stomped her way to the door. She flung the door open and glared at me.

I just ran a spellcheck on what I wrote tonight, mostly to get a word count and it came up with a 100% reading ease and written at a .9 grade level. Never in my life have I met someone reading at a .9 grade level. That's just silly.

Extreme fish sports

Kevin caught a big old fish the other day. I want to say it was a five pound bass but you know my memory is not the best so we'll just say it's a big old fish. He is a catch and release kind of fellow so he pitched the fish back in so he could catch it another day. When he told me this story he told me about a study where fish in a catch and release lake were tagged and someone kept track of which fish were caught and which weren't. Something like ten percent of the fish were caught over and over, making up 90% of all catches.

I would not blame you a bit if you said damn, those fish are stupid and they deserve to be caught.

But what if they aren't? What if they are really the eXtreme Athletes of the fish world? What if they get caught on purpose for the pure adrenaline thrill. Imagine getting yanked out into the world of air, not knowing if you will come back again, what a rush! These fish get to see the sky, the trees, the grass, feel the wind on their scales, they are bold explorers going where no fish has gone before.

When you think about what some humans do for fun it's really not all that farfetched.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Annoying results

I've been having a low-grade anxiety attack ever since this morning when Teresa blogged about the giant weenie at BEA. Look at this thing. My understanding is that you need an air pump to breathe while inside it. It seems like it really was safe and there were other publicists around in case the person inside had trouble but when I look at it I can't breathe.

I've been getting more and more claustrophobic lately. It's queer because I never was before. In fact as a kid I used to hide in the smallest little spaces I could find. I remember climbing down through this tiny hole in the back of a built-in bookcase in the San Fernando Valley and staying there for hours reading a book with my chin resting on my knees because the space was so small. And yes, that was well before I got fat. I was never fat until I had Cullen.

But since I got sick I have gotten more and more panicky in small spaces. I flipped out in the backseat of a two seater Geo Storm and had to get out. The hotel corridors at Balticon seemed much too small and narrow for me when I was there. Now I'm anxious all day long from imagining being inside a costume. This is very odd and worrisome.

* * * * *

Sometimes Uncle Google could be more helpful. I wanted to find the lyrics to a Broken Social Scene song, specifically trying to figure out the lyrics before:

Sleep on the floor
Dream about me

Sadly when I type those words into Uncle Google he ignores "on" "the" and "me" and doesn't get anywhere near what I want.

God bless quotes.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Phishing scams

I got an email today purportedly from PayPal saying:

You have added as a new email address for your PayPal account.

If you did not authorize this change or if you need assistance with your account, please contact PayPal customer service at

and then there is a link. This is the best scam email I have ever gotten. I actually thought about clicking the link. In my defense I was pretty sleepy but still it shows we need to be ever vigilant and that it's true quite a lot of scum use yahoo addresses.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Is that a rating, a film or a domain?

I am not sure this new high level domain of .xxx makes any sense. When I say triple x to my 21 year old son it makes him think of the Vin Diesel film. If I said it to my younger children it might not mean anything to them at all. I think the last time I said rated x to them they didn't know what I meant. I, of course, had forgotten about the NC17 rating and thought they would know I meant a film with very strong sexual content.

If the generation growing up using the internet doesn't understand what xxx means why bother using it? Doesn't that seem like twentieth century thinking?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

It all depends on how you read it

I've been writing a column about the Holland America super duper voyage that lasts 103 - 108 days all day and I am struck by some language that I could read as ominous. Check this out:

Onboard activities include special themed events ... as well as social hosts who serve as dance partners, dinner table companions and tour escorts

We bring local, cultural entertainment on board in many ports through folkloric shows and special port welcomes

Okay let's break that down a little. Is it just me or does that first sentence sound like they will provide you with actual prostitutes and gigilos?

Then, maybe from the combination of ship with going to Africa and the huge emphasis on "service" while onboard, the second part sounds to me like they just grab the native peoples and bring them aboard so the customers can gawk at them. For the special port welcomes I imagine barebreasted women bedecked in flowers and glistening half naked men holding spears. It's all somewhat disturbing even though I'm sure Holland American isn't trying to evoke these sorts of images.