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Archive for September, 2014

I’m back from my Florida semi-vacation. Some medical stuff in the family, as usual, so I went down to help out my mom. She’s fine—she pulled through her end of things like a champ! She’s one tough lady.

Let’s see…

I realized the other day that I’ve sold over twenty short stories in the last five years. Given how slowly I write, that’s a really exciting figure! Some of those short stories have been sold but not announced—at least two, maybe three? I’m terrible at keeping track of that stuff. Anyways, announcements on things as I can, obviously. Whee!

triathloatA week ago last Sunday (meaning September 21st) I completed my first sprint triathlon! It was pretty much the greatest thing in the world, I’ll definitely be doing more in future. And not only did I complete it, I got the times I wanted.

My goal for this was first and foremost to finish, but I also wanted to do it under two hours. That meant, knowing my athletic ability, I needed to finish the swim in under 20 minutes, the ride in under an hour, and the run in under 40 minutes. I did all of it! And I wasn’t totally wiped out, after, nor was I particularly sore. My hips were stiff, and my knees complained a little but that’s to be expected for me. All in all, it was a great experience, and I’ll definitely do another tri with Without Limits, and maybe some others. I’d be curious to do an Olympic some day.

Sprint Triathlons are:

1/2 mile swim

12.something mile ride (mine was 12.9)

5k run

Olympic/Standard Tris are:

.93mi swim

25mi bike ride

1ok run

So, a nice increase in my best event, swimming, but also an increase in my worst event, running. But, my plan is to keep up on running this winter and increasing gradually to see if I (meaning, my knees) can take that distance. But, I must say, the sprint distance was so fun and exhilarating, I have no problem sticking with that. I enjoyed it so much I’m considering looking for a used wetsuit so I can do earlier-season triathlons. The water in Union Reservoir was 69 the day I swam, which is totally fine without a wetsuit, but maybe 4 degrees colder and it would have been pretty terrible. Given how cold the reservoirs around here get during the winter, anything before July would probably be a struggle without one.

I have really been into sewing my own clothes. Down in Florida I completed a new long-sleeved tunic and a sleeveless tunic dress thing. Pics whenever I wear them, probably.

Other than that, I’ve just been working on my WiP, which is finally (FINALLY) chugging along nicely. I had some early-novel struggles with this, for whatever reason, but now I’m enjoying myself greatly. The reduced speculative element in this has been very refreshing for me… we’ll have to see how it flies with my readership! At least anyone who picks it up because they know I can be counted upon to write about terrible fuckers fucking up will be happy. I gotta be me!

I made mandu/mandoo for the first time a few weeks back. They’re time-consuming but super-delicious! So far I’ve only cooked up the steamed kind. Tonight, I’ll be frying up the pan-fried kind for dinner. I also used my leftover mandu-pi to make tortellini with some home-fermented cashew-almond gruyere, which was pretty righteous.

In two weeks I’ll be headed to Japan, which is super-exciting.

Okay… that’s it, I think. Back to work!

Up on the A.V. Club today is another of those AVQ&As, the topic this week being “What Entertainment Did You Unfortunately Inflict on Your Parents?” It got me thinking, as two films I regrettably showed my parents (and then a third) immediately sprang to mind. As it gave me a laugh I figured I’d share.

I will never forget showing (or rather, trying to show) my parents Tank Girl. As I recounted years

what was i thinking

what was i thinking

and years ago when Jesse and I were still doing Films of High Adventure, I saw a piece on probably Good Morning, America! or some shit about Tank Girl, wherein Lori Petty told the tale of how when she looked a the script she immediately shaved her head, went in, and screamed “I am Tank Girl!” at the casting director or whatever. I was breathless watching the clips; drooled during every preview. But I was not of age to see Rated R movies and there was no effing way my parents would take me to see Tank Girl in the theatre. But when it came to VHS I rented it.

They turned it off right after the scene where Malcolm McDowell quotes some poetry at an unimpressed Tank Girl. “No,” I remember my father saying. “No way.” My mom did not argue. She was sort of shell-shocked by what we’d watched, if memory serves, and as an adult I can’t really fault her reaction. I mean, I still love you, Tank Girl, but… damn.

I finished it the next day, on my own, as I had been completely enchanted by everything about the film. And really, I’m pretty grateful we didn’t finish it, because the sexual weirdness of watching Lori Petty and Naomi Watts getting sexy with kangaroo men was nothing I really needed to experience with my folks.


don’t get strung out

The second film I recall “unfortunately inflicting” on my parents was more of a success with them, which in some ways was far worse. I really, really wanted to go see a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show because that was what one did in the 90s in West Palm Beach, FL. My mom and dad wanted to vet the film before agreeing, and in my early teenage desperation I agreed, having really no idea what it was about, just that going to see it was supposed to be cool, and I wanted to do it. So we rented it.

Uhhhhh… yeah! So, sitting through that, with my parents, at maybe 14 years old… it was agonizing. I was mortified by the content, as any teen might be sitting on a couch next to one’s parents, watching Tim Curry strut erotically around the cheap sets in fishnets. I was perhaps more mortified, however, by the fact that my dad in particular thought the film was SUPER AMAZING. Maybe it was that he, too, used to watch crappy old scifi films at the late night double feature picture show, but he got really into it. I distinctly remember him jumping up, delighted, to put on the subwoofer and the rest of his expensive enormous mid-90s sound system to get the full effect of the music, which he thought was “a scream.” He even did a little dance, as it was during “Time Warp” I believe. Yeah… I’m re-embarrassed remembering this, even though it brings a smile to my face. Miss you, dad.

In a fit of madness, even after watching the film my parents agreed I was allowed to go to the midnight showing, where I was promptly shoved on stage by one of the handlers and forced to chant an obscene song and then eat whipped cream off of an inflatable sex doll’s breasts before the movie went on, as will happen. I remember enjoying that viewing much more, as I was surrounded by anonymous creeps and weirdos, not my parents.

Oh jeez, writing this I now remember I also went to see Interview with the Vampire in the theatre with my dad. That was hella awkward, as well, as you might imagine!

Good times!

I have A Thing due in November (two things, actually, but one of them is a little scarier than the other), and it’s now September. I’ve been working well on it, sometimes, but now I need to be working well on it… all the time.

This is at odds with my desire to blog more, as I find it rewarding, my desire to exercise more (and more diversely) which I have to do as my first triathlon is officially twenty (NO! 19, shit) days away, somehow, and my desire to start sewing my own clothes more, as my mother and I made a dress together on her most recent trip out here and it was super fun. Oh well! This kind of busyness is what I’ve been desiring since day one of deciding to try this whole writing thang.

Speaking of…

I use that little “stickies” program for Mac to keep my monthly biz straight on my dashboard. Hours for my various freelance gigs, HTML code I use to do stuff, etc. I also had been keeping a running list of publishers who were looking at Vermilion since my agent put it out in the world. It occurred to me today I could clear that. The top left of my dashboard now looks strangely empty, but thrillingly so.

I was the Lovecraftian/Weird Author of the Week over at the Lovecraft eZine. Recently, Mike Davis has begun posting short interviews every week with “a Weird Fiction and/or Lovecraftian author that I feel deserves more attention.” I was very flattered he offered me a spot. But I got a little, I dunno, introspective… so be warned.

What is it about Lovecraftian horror and Weird Fiction that appeals to you?

[….] In Weird, and especially Lovecraftian Weird, the world doesn’t make sense to begin with, so all you can do when things go really wrong is… go crazy, or (better) stay sane and learn to cope with the knowledge that everything you believed or knew is garbage. The older I get, the more that… realism, I suppose, appeals to me. I already mentioned my dad passing away… maybe this is obvious, but that really affected me, when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Not just because I was suddenly confronted with the terrible knowledge that he was going to die sooner than I’d ever expected, but because my dad was always the healthiest guy. He cooked low-fat and low-sugar, walked and cycled and worked out with weights… and yet, earlier than most people are even diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he died of it. What the fuck is that shit? How is that fair? Well, it’s not. It’s just terrible.

Whee! Fun!

Uhhh, in other news, September’s issue of The Big Click went up today.

Here at The Big Click, we have pretty wide tastes in noir. We’ll publish stories about criminals, about psychopaths, barely reformed lowlifes, and the like. But only rarely will we do cops or private investigators. Partially because most of what is sent to us involving the police or PIs just isn’t noir: it’s hard-boiled, or a mystery with sex in it, or a procedural with booze in it. The rare cop-themed noir we do get tend to ultimately choose sides in a way that sends the story screaming into the hell of moral instruction. Trust us, we already know that doing drugs and killing people and hurting women is bad. (And if we didn’t think so, these stories would not persuade us.)

I think that’s it. My Dahl blog got pushed back from August into September, in part because the book came in late,  so if I actually get that in to Pornokitch it should go up this week. It’ll be on Over to You, his RAF stories. Since the book I finally received also contains what should have been September’s stories, I should be able to get that in on time! Novel!