Archive for August, 2007

Lego Does Monty Python

August 30, 2007

Monty Python with Legos.

Because really, why not?


Sunscreen & Letting Go

August 30, 2007

I was going through a certain common drive that has some songs available and listening to some old stuff. I happened across the old Baz Luhrman “Sunscreen” song that was all the rage 10 years ago. 10 years ago, yeah, man, 1997.

When I was 17.

I thought this song was hugely profound at 17.

I didn’t realize it would hit so close at 27 that I would cry.

Yeah, the shit that matters is the shit that hits you at 4pm on a Tuesday. It’s never the stuff you predict. Life, yeah. Stop overthinking.

I wonder what I’ll think of it at 77.

The Sunscreen “song”:

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’97 –

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; if you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life…the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children,maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary…what ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body,
use it every way you can…don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it, it’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own..

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

(Brother and sister together we’ll make it through. Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there I know you’ve been hurting, and I know I’ve been waiting to be there for you. And I’ll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can. Everybody’s free.)

Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard; live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen…

Sugar: More Addictive Than Cocaine

August 29, 2007

“An astonishing 94 percent of rats who were allowed to choose mutually-exclusively between sugar water and cocaine, chose sugar.”

Mmmmm… sugar sugar.

Black Desert (Excerpt)

August 29, 2007

Nyx didn’t touch the letters again until she and Eshe and Suha were back in Faleen, holed up in a little two-room rental with a terrace at the edge of the Chenjan district. The call to evening prayer rolled out over the city and was taken up by half a hundred muezzins out on their mud brick rooftops. The air vibrated with the sound of it; just another warm, close night in the desert. Warmer than the coast,

She sat out on a rickety wicker chair on the terrace with a whiskey in one hand and the letters in the other. Her burnous was wrapped snugly around her. Winter warmth was a different sort of warmth than the summer kind that drove rich First Families out into the hills and the poorer sort up onto their rooftops. Winter meant sleeping with your clothes on.

She tugged a letter out of the bunch at random. Rhys’s neat, familiar scrawl curled across the front of the pale beige paper, but she saw no return address. She flicked the page open and found the address there at the bottom, next to his signature. Rhys Dax, he had written, his old nom de guerre.

Nyx didn’t know Tirhan very well, but she knew the city he’d listed: Shirazi. She’d been thinking she’d have to get a boat and deal with all that water, but Shirazi was an inland city. That meant she needed to find some way to get across the border through one of the mountain passes. During winter. She’d heard about snow up in the mountains, and seen some pictures, but never experienced it. Frozen water, all around. It sounded bloody awful.

“Bloody hell,” she muttered, and put the letter back down with the rest on the low stool next to her. She sipped her whiskey. Nothing about this note was easy.

Suha came out onto the terrace with her. “You hear what’s on the radio?” she asked.

Nyx shook her head. A few muezzin calls still sounded at the outer edges of the city, moving out into the desert. Now, though, she could hear a low, tinny murmur that must be the radio on inside.

“They’re opening up Mushtallah tomorrow,” Suha said.

“What’s the final count?”

“Eighty-four thousand dead. Already burned.”

“Any First Families?”

“Huh. Don’t know. I’ll look into it.”

“Do that. I want to know who lost a first born and who didn’t.”

“Sure thing.” Suha leaned up against the railing, looked out over the narrow street below, the flat rooftops. The dark sky had a hazy orange-lavender glow, a perpetual haze created by dead and dying bugs of a hundred thousand kinds and the ruddy light from glow globes and other forms of bug light. There were no gas lamps this far from the interior, just the constant piss and reek of the bugs.

“Quiet,” Suha said.

“Usually is, after the muezzin.”

“Eshe’s asleep. Been throwing up since we got in.”

“I know. He’s got a sensitive stomach. Don’t want to take him in if it’s nothing.”

“Yeah, he’s all right, seems like now. I gave him some soda and he nodded off pretty quick.”

“Yeah. You know I need to look up a guy in Tirhan?”

“The magician? Yeah, I figured. Boat?”


Suha gave a slow nod. She continued to gaze out over the rooftops, eyes glassy, big mouth set. She worked her jaw for awhile. “I got a sister married to a gunrunner,” Suha said.

“I remember,” Nyx said.

Suha sighed. “They do a lot of work during the spring and summer running shit up through the mountains and into Tirhan, but I don’t know what they’re running this time of year. I’ll look into it. She can probably get us overland. Don’t know how long, though.”

“I’ve heard it’s a six or eight day trip.”

“I mean, how long til she can set us up.”

“Yeah, well, that part we can butter up. Tell her there’s a shitload of money in it if she wants to play guide.”

Suha clasped her hands. They were big hands, too, like her mouth, dark and bruised as wine-stained leather. “You want to take Eshe with us?

“Where else is he going to go?”

“Dangerous crossing for a boy.”

“He can shift it.”

“Long way to go and stay in that form.”

Nyx took another long pull of her whiskey. Steady burn, steady hand. “I’m not stupid, Suha.”

“Just wanted to say it out loud.”

“You think he’d stay behind if I asked?”


“Then don’t nag at me.”

Nyx let the whiskey burn into her belly. She lifted her head and gazed out over the street again. A group of women passed below, talking in loud, drunk voices. They wore bloody burnouses and had the confident swagger of tax clerks or university students. These were smart, rich girls who would never know death or disfigurement at the front. If they had brothers, they had never met them, or they took the Book at its word and didn’t care so much for it.

Nyx let herself wish for a body like that, a future like that. Why not? She needed another drink.

As the girls passed by the dark recess of an arched doorway mounted with metal studs, Nyx saw a shadow there at the mouth of the doorway, something more substantial than gaping blackness. The door was already cast half in shadow, lingering at the edge of the halo of light cast across the street from the big bug lamps at the front of Nyx’s hotel.

Nyx turned her head away from the door, but kept watch out of the corner of her eye. The shadow moved again; a figure pulled in the edge of a dark burnous that had a sheen of the organic about it – far too new and expensive for this part of town. A bel dame might know better than to dress that way in this quarter, but she’d risk it if it meant wearing an organic burnous that could effectively shield her.

Nyx finished the whiskey and set the empty glass on the stool.

“We have spiders,” Nyx said.

“I saw her,” Suha said. “The door? I wasn’t sure.”

“Yeah, that’s the one.”

“I have us set up with a back exit.”

“If they wanted us, they would have moved already.” Why hadn’t they moved, then? It was a busy street this time of night, sure, but her place didn’t have great security; no filters and one lonely house guard who spent most of her time snickering in the kitchen with the cooks.

“We’ll need to get out discreet in the morning,” Nyx said. “They may be hanging out to see where we’re going.” Or, to see how much we know, she amended. But know from who? Alharazad? What did Alharazad have to tell them? Did they want the reel back?

“You think they’ll follow us into Tirhan?”

“I’m not looking to find out. Don’t talk destination with any of the Faleen magicians. You run into them, you tell them we’re headed back to Mushtallah now that it’s opening up.” Nyx picked up her glass again, remembered it was empty, and set it back down. “That includes Yah Reza.”

Yah Reza, perhaps, most of all.


August 29, 2007

My Feminist SF wiki entry.

Come on, people, is that the best you can do? 🙂


August 29, 2007

One of the most annoying things about being a writer is the whole constant introspection thing. Blogs are largely selfish enterprises, and I, for one, write a lot of personal posts here because setting it down into some kind of narrative makes it all make sense for me.

But at some point, I think, you start to overthink things. You start overthinking your life and either second-guessing yourself, or basing decisions on what you think is perfect logic, only to discover that people aren’t ruled exclusively by logic, let alone perfect logic (you least of all). Just because a Shakespearean tragedy is easy to predict doesn’t mean life works that way, too.

The older I get, the more I realize I don’t have a fucking clue. I keep thinking I’m learning from all of my experiences, but the more you have, the more you realize that not every experience prepares you for the next one. You can’t apply all of your learning about one person/friendship/relationship to every person/friendship/relationship you have that shares one or two or ten of the same things the last one did, and no matter how much you work to align the stars and test for all the right traits and work toward understanding, at the end of the day, even the earth’s orbit wobbles, and our galaxy is continually spinning closer to oblivion. Nothing is constant. Nothing is absolute.

Nothing is terribly rational, either, and no matter how hard I try and work life into a narrative, I’m starting to think that narratives only work in fiction.

Which probably explains why I love writing fiction.

It’s All What You Choose to Do With It….

August 27, 2007

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time given.”


“Life is what you do with the things done to you.”

Sitting around bitching about it never got anybody anywhere, and certainly never sent me on any interesting adventures.

And Now, We Sleep

August 27, 2007

Note to self: the next time I suffer from these yearly sinus infection/allergy things, I need to get the right drug hookup from Stephanie’s Old Man, who, of course, has the best lineup of allergy meds on the market.


More Stuff That Doesn’t Surprise Me

August 27, 2007

Your Score: A Pirate Raider

You scored 5 Honor, 4 Justice, 7 Adventure, and 8 Individuality!

More than just the usual swabbie, you demand not only the life at sea, free from landlubbers and their rules, but also you require adventure and excitement. You’re happiest when the guns are blazing, the risk high, the outcome uncertain, but the chance for reward substansial. Your kind are welcomed as allies and feared as enemies.

Put on your wooden leg and hook. You’ll do just fine!

Link: The Cowboy-Ninja-Pirate-Knight Test

Message to My Future Self…

August 26, 2007