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Archive for June, 2011

You guys. YOU GUYS. Ross Lockhart’s ToC is up for The Book of Cthulhu, coming out through Night Shade, and OMFG OMFG OMFG:

Caitlin R. Kiernan – Andromeda among the Stones
Ramsey Campbell – The Tugging
Charles Stross – A Colder War
Bruce Sterling – The Unthinkable
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Flash Frame
W. H. Pugmire – Some Buried Memory
Molly Tanzer – The Infernal History of the Ivybridge Twins
Michael Shea – Fat Face
Elizabeth Bear – Shoggoths in Bloom
T. E. D. Klein – Black Man With A Horn
David Drake – Than Curse the Darkness
Charles R. Saunders – Jeroboam Henley’s Debt
Thomas Ligotti – Nethescurial
Kage Baker – Calamari Curls
Edward Morris – Jihad over Innsmouth
Cherie Priest – Bad Sushi
John Hornor Jacobs – The Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife
Brian McNaughton – The Doom that Came to Innsmouth
Ann K. Schwader – Lost Stars
Steve Duffy – The Oram County Whoosit
Joe R. Lansdale – The Crawling Sky
Brian Lumley – The Fairground Horror
Tim Pratt – Cinderlands
Gene Wolfe – Lord of the Land
Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. – To Live and Die in Arkham
John Langan – The Shallows
Laird Barron – The Men from Porlock

Sooooo yeah, the ha ha. . . ha? you hear is the sound of that aforementioned nervous laughter, because unlike Théoden King, I am not so sure I’ll be going into this company unashamed. Also, I have been assured by none other than Mr. Lockhart himself that “if I like the TOC, just wait ’til [I] see the cover…” which means I will probably explode and thus never get to hold the book in my hands.

Seriously, though, I can’t even? Charles Stross’ “A Colder War” is one of the finest pieces of Lovecraftian horror I’ve ever read, and I’ve devoured writing by nearly everyone else on the ToC that has made me shiver and gnash my teeths with awe. That the Twins are rubbing their filthy shoulders with Michael Shea, whose In Yana, The Touch of Undying is so completely insanely awesome I, again, can’t even, fills me with joy and fear. And I would be remiss without mentioning that I owe a debt to ToC-mate Silvia Moreno-Garcia, without whose confidence I could never have submitted my story for consideration, as she was kind enough to select it for its initial publication in Historical Lovecraft.

Whew. Whew! This is an awesome last-day-of-internet access (tomorrow I’m heading off into the wild woods for a week-or-so of role playing, hiking, and—likely—total insanity), but while you’re all busy missing me (ahahaha) why don’t you console yourselves by seeing what Jesse’s been up to over on his blog (getting awesome reviews, posting amazing covers for his international editions, discussing Danish directors he enjoys, you know—the usual), or checking out a copy of Jeff VanderMeer/S.J. Chambers’ tremendously gorgeous The Steampunk Bible, or going out and reading some of the amazing fiction penned by those badasses listed above! Caitlin R. Kiernan had a kick-butt reprint up on Lightspeed a while ago, Charles Saunders’ Imaro is pretty much the awesomest (also, his story from this anthology can be found over at Innsmouth Free Press), Joe R. Lansdale’s The Magic Wagon is a FTW piece of weird Western-ry, and Silvia Moreno-Garica had a truly truly truly outrageous story up on Fantasy a while ago.

Gots to run! Oh, and I’m still kicking ass with my Virtual Boot Camp, my latest triumph being hiking Green Mountain base to summit. Woo-hoo!!

x-posted to my LJ

I went on a hike for my cardio today, and it occurs to me that as hiking was one of the main motivators for my recent foray into fitness, I should probably talk about that for one of these Boot Camp posts.

Hiking, man. I live in Colorado, and so I have plenty of mountains everywhere to hike around on, up, and down. Since moving here I’ve conquered a few trails of note, some of which I’ve even bothered to take pictures of, but there are many I have yet to explore. Some of them, however, are beastly to the point that I’m intimidated to start them, so I’ve been focusing my workouts on building up my strength in my legs and increasing my cardiovascular capacity.

When I moved out here, the landscape awed and inspired me, which is why I’ve been writing (and, uh, rewriting) this novel set in the Rocky Mountains. But I had this moment of clarity a while back, as I was hammering out something about my protagonist making her way through the wilds, when I realized she was more of a badass than me when it came to hiking. I had one feeling regarding this: Total bullshit. I have no problem with her being more of a badass than me when it comes to any number of things, since obviously she is the protag of my novel and I am not competitive with my imaginary creation when it comes to any of the more ridiculous things she can do well … but hiking? Come on, I live here! It was time to remedy this imbalance. It was time … to become more of a badass.

In the fiction I enjoy consuming, writing, and editing, characters routinely do all kinds of crazy stuff. They might cover many, many miles in a day through serious terrain, solve crimes, conjure demons, invent in time travel, accomplish various feats of strength, slap a ghost, talk with beasts, wield heavy or at least challenging weapons with expertise, raise the dead, or really anything at all. Badasses are awesome, and badassery comes in many forms. And while I’ll likely never solve crimes, talk with beasts, invent time travel, or heaven forfend, raise the dead, I can get strong and flexible, hike up mountains, and even become skilled in martial arts.

Right now I’m more focused on getting strong and covering distances (though I have a guest pass to my local YMCA and I plan on checking out kickboxing and/or kendo), but still—badassery. It’s become more of a priority for me, and I’m enjoying my newfound confidence and abilities! It’s a challenging process, but totally worth it, and I recommend it for everyone who feels they have to experience being a badass on a purely vicarious level. So not true!

I just saw the preview for the Captain America movie and there was a line about how “a weak man knows the value of strength.” This is likely probable, and we lovers of genre fiction could, I suppose, extend it laterally to apply to us: “the nerd knows the awesomeness of badassery.” Hellz yes.

x-posted to my LJ

I crapped out last week on Boot Camp Blogging, so this week I’mma make up for it. In brief: things are going well! I’m officially a month in and I’m so, so glad I did this for myself. I’m also really grateful to be working with someone like Sandra who is so knowledgable, positive, and supportive. I definitely recommend Virtual Boot Camp to anyone and everyone who is even slightly curious about it. I’ve been feeling awesome, and I have a ton of energy (uh, between the hours of 6:30 AM and 10:30 PM, that is). It’s the perfect time for this, too, since it’s now gorgeous outside, the sunshine is so warm! (I am trying not to be annoyed that I’m currently on a course of antibiotics that necessitates wearing a shirt and trousers in the sun if I’m out for any amount of time. Thank goodness it’s only for three days!)

Along with my workouts, of which I’m proud to say I have not missed one yet, I’ve still been cooking healthily and trying to not eat out as much as I used to. I did, however, discover this amazing Chipotle nutrition calculator, which is helpful for the next night I don’t feel like cooking.

Right now I’m supposed to be eating 1240-1590 calories a day, according to my SparkPeople, and I’ve been doing a decent job tracking that every day. I think I would give myself a B for making sure to record all my calories, but I am going to step up my efforts for the last four weeks of Boot Camp. As for what I’m eating, I’ve shifted to multiple small meals instead of three big ones, and I think that’s really working for me. It means I have to be more careful at dinnertime to not overeat, which is hard for me, but it keeps me from feeling unbalanced and crabby and starving during the day, so there you go.

In case anyone out there is interested in what an average day of eating looks like for a vegan doing the sorts of things I’m doing, here you go:

Breakfast, Pre-weights: 1 slice whole wheat toast w/1 tbs hummus and a few cucumber slices

2nd Breakfast, Post-weights: zucchini spelt muffin (taken from Vegan Brunch but made w/applesauce instead of oil)

Lunch: Whole wheat tortilla stuffed with spinach, cucumber, low-fat Vegenaise (vegan mayo), and tofurkey slices

Dinner: Chili-cornmeal crusted tofu po’boys w/a side of jicama salad

Dessert: Strawberries

This comes in at, so says SparkPeople, 1281 calories, with 40g of fat and 52g protein. This was a lighter day, often I come in at closer to the 1500 mark. I just try to make (most of) them quality calories, meaning healthy stuff or things I just really really enjoy (Many times the 1500 is reached because I do love a cocktail or mixed drink in the evening! That said, I have made changes to this, too, mostly by replacing my sugary favorite, the G&T, with the traditional Tom Collins, which uses club soda and thus is only the caloric cost of 2 oz. of Old Tom. And lemons. Cocktails like the Corpse Reviver and the Martinez must wait for “cheat” days).

The healthy-eating thing continues to be awesome. I still love to cook with oil, because oil is of course delicious, but I’ve come to really prefer the taste of food without much on it but salt and seasonings. I use about 1 tsp on average to cook a dinner (most of which are 4-6 servings) and I’m happy with that. I’m still using Appetite for Reduction a lot, but the variety in there is so massive I’m not bored with it yet. Plus I could eat Chickpea Piccata or the Hottie Beans and Greens like, every night. I’ve also made a vow never to pay for sweetened drinks, and I think that’s helped with my efforts. I have a serious love affair with Bhakti Chai and mochas, but unless I have a free one (my local place has a program where every 10 drinks you get one on the house), I stick to coffee with a bit of soy milk. I’ve also totally given up soda, except in mixed drinks, because I can’t do artificial sweeteners and there’s nothing I need less than HFCS in my drinks.

Finally: this isn’t the sort of thing I talk about easily, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t discuss the changes I’ve seen in my body as part of this, uh, “journey” (can you tell I just watched Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition? P.S. It’s kind of amazing!). Lest I sound like I’m bragging, I’ll start out with saying that so far during Boot Camp I haven’t lost much weight, only five pounds total. Still, I just re-took my measurements, and those are saying that I’m doing something right!  In a month, I’ve taken an entire inch off my waist, my hips, and my thighs, and a solid half-inch off my upper arms, my calves, and my. . . I dunno, quads? Whatever you call the lower part of your leg toward your knee. I’m also within ten pounds of my goal weight. This means that since mid-February, when I started this whole thing, I’ve lost 21 pounds, shaved 2.5 inches off my waist, 3.5 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my thighs, and an inch and a half off my upper arms. I have started to see a bit of muscle definition in my shoulders and arms, and when the light was just right the other day at the gym, I think I maybe saw the ghost of an ab. So cool!

This drop in size means I had to go shopping for some clothes, since I’ve been looking slightly like some sort of Victorian street-urchin in my old shirts and pants, but the Memorial Day sales last weekend meant that the damage wasn’t too intense. I still don’t own long trousers that fit, though—all but one pair of my jeans have become cutoffs. Since I’m still between sizes, I can’t see the point in spending the money. I would like to note that I did successfully resist my friend Raechel’s peer pressure to buy skinny jeans before I’m at my goal weight, or maybe ever: They look bizarre on me because I am short-legged and big-butted, so I’m still debating whether I want to look silly for fashion. In that particular way.

So that’s the report. New clothes, muscles, and I dunno. . . lots of bean-eating? Anyways, I know the next month will be even more challenging, given that it is pretty much all circuit training, but I am looking forward to it and plan on giving it my all. Even if I don’t get down to my goal weight by the end of this I know I’ll be in even better health, and that’s sounding pretty rad. I have a personal block when it comes to doing things pointlessly, but given that I’ve been seeing a difference in my ability to hike quickly and easily, walk long distances without effort, and I’ve been sleeping awesomely, I can really see the results and it feels purposeful to me. That’s so encouraging.

Goodness. How positive!

x-posted to my LJ