Random Observations

558150_111384162340268_1352703363_nSo I'm watching the Olympics and there's a speed skater who used to compete for Korea, but has since become a Russian citizen. He changed his name and his flag, but still competes at the highest level of skill. He's awesome and the commentators sing his praises. Sure, they explain, "Hey, he's changed his name and stuff," but then they let it go and just keep on gushing about him. At no time does anyone insist on using his previous name or saying, "Well, he's really Korean." Nope. They've accepted his choice and change and let his skating speak for itself. Too bad that some can't offer that same courtesy to the transgender community.


I've never been one to mince words on my own blog, and that includes talking about potentially uncomfortable things from my "real life". If it's funny, I'll share it. That being said, what follows is going to talk about an ultrasound I had on my lady parts. While I don't go into detail, if this topic is offensive or awkward for you, scroll on to the next picture and continue. No worries. (It's not like I'm going to quiz you later.) You might want to do that now.

So yeah, anyway...I've been having problems for about 18 months now. I won't bore you with the specifics, but last May I went to my doctor and her response to my concern was, "Maybe it's just your new normal." Blood tests all came back perfectly normal (particularly good for someone in my weight class, too), and things looked like they might have been evening out. Not so much. Things are actually worse in that department and growing steadily more so. So, I went to see my doc this week about it again. She ordered multiple ultrasounds (two vaginal and one of my thyroid as it seems enlarged). I had those tests this morning.

It's not my first time having a pelvic ultrasound or a transvaginal exam. I have a history of ovarian cysts, so yeah. But sometimes I forget how cold that shit can be. Anyway, so I'm laying there with the Mitsubishi 5000 Super Webcam edition wand up my hoo-ha. The ultrasound tech is snapping pictures and suddenly I hear this sound.


It's the classic cartoon cuckoo clock noise with a bong! kinda noise thrown in there. I blinked and asked the tech, "Um, what was that?"

"Oh, it's just my computer telling me my next patient has checked in." "Really? That's a relief. That's not exactly the sound one wants to hear when she's in this position." "Wow...I hadn't thought of that."

Though I couldn't suppress the image of a little bird flying out (CUCKOO!), I was relieved that little German couples didn't come spinning and dancing out of my uterus.


And we're back... So I got a CD of the images taken during my ultrasound and looking at them I can't help but think of finding shapes in the clouds. I'm not a radiologist, but I think Satan might be living in my left ovary.


I hate car salesmen. Went and test drove a really awesome car that I want, but in the end it is out of my price range. The guys at the dealership were all trying to get me to sign right then and there or up my offer. Nope, sorry, dude.


There may be nothing more depressing than doing a credit check and listing your occupation as "Author", then being forced to give a monthly breakdown of your earnings.


I hate that our world seems to insist that money is the only currency. And no, that's not just me saying it because I'm currently car shopping. It's more along the lines of trying to validate my job to people. I don't make much money off of writing (yet) and people look at money as it correlates to success. Therefore, by not making much money at writing (yet), I must not be very good at it. Ergo, I'm a failure.

It's hard not to feel that way, too. I've been working as a professional writer since 2008...but have only been paid for it in the last year. Does that negate all the work I did 2008-2012? No. I was still working, networking, building a platform, writing, etc etc etc. Having an artistic occupation is odd in that regard. You can be working as a professional but not get paid. It's like a very long internship.

Anyway, It's hard not to feel like I've failed as an adult because I don't have the traditional job and income that look good on a credit report. (For the record, my credit is spectacular. Apparently, though, I don't have enough of it to be considered seriously. Our system is bullshit.) Gah! Sometimes I hate being an adult.


It's odd... these days you can't just be one thing. I noticed it during the Olympics especially... you can't just be an athlete. These 15 year old kids with a meteoric rise onto the world stage (not just in their sport but literally the WORLD stage!) have to go from being an athlete (and student/normal kid) to doing interviews and endorsements and commentary... Professional adult athletes have the same thing. Artists and entrepreneurs wear many hats.


Random Ballet by Jordan Matter

I'm going to be on local tv tomorrow morning! I'm helping out my "Dragon Trainer" by doing a tv spot about fire on a morning news show. If you're in the Phoenix area, check out Fox 10 around 8-9am tomorrow. If I have video later, I'll post it. And tomorrow night I'm going to another fire eating/breathing workshop. Woot!



Life Has a Funny Way...

tumblr_ml7eh6kpwM1r5s8qlo1_250So last year was the Year of Giving It A Shot. I must admit that I didn't give much of anything new a shot last year other than being a published author. Apparently, Life-The-Universe-And-Everything has seen fit to give me a makeup exam in 2014. Last month, I took a "Dragon Training" class where I refreshed my fire eating skills and also learned how to breathe fire. (DUDE!) I'm taking a second one this weekend. Sure, it will probably be a lot of review, but I'd love to get more practice in. Also, hello? Any chance to hang with my friends and play with fire.

While I was looking at some videos about fire eating last month to psych myself up, I stumbled across Brian Brushwood and Scam School on YouTube. Instalove. Since then I've been teaching myself basic magic tricks and some little scams. What the hell, right? I mean, sure I don't have any "marketable skills" but when the zombie apocalypse is over and you need someone who can breathe fire, write a novel in a month and do lame card tricks...well, you'll be sorry you ate me first, now won't you?

(Also, as a side note, I think it's funny that I said that I would be "open to magic" this year. I didn't quite mean sleight-of-hand and such, but whatever. Just go with it.)

Anyway, it also seems that I'm going to need to add a few other tricks to my growing repertoire of skills. My car died. Again. This time it's personal. Or something. Anyway, the VW Bug I got last year to replace my car of 15 years (long live the Stepchild!) gave up its own ghost about three or four weeks ago. I've bummed rides the past 2 weeks to get the kiddo to school, and stalled as much as I can, but it looks like it's time to get a new ride. And by new, I mean something in a more recent model year than the turn of the century. The car I've found that I dig (if I get it, I'll introduce you) is a 2012...and it's a stick. I can't (as of this post) drive a stick. Just like I can't ride a bike. (Yes, it's true, shut up.) So yeah, it looks like there's something else for me to learn if I want this car. (Which I pretty much do. It's all settled but the test drive, ya know?)

Breathing fire, magic tricks, dead car.. . what else? OH! I met my mother-in-law for the first time. That was... fun. Awkward. My husband and I have been together for more than 9 years at this point and I've never met his mom. Part of that is because for the longest time, she lived in Baltimore and we lived in Phoenix. She doesn't travel well due to some medical issues. And we haven't exactly been in a position to do a lot of traveling. However, his mom is moving out here to Phoenix, so she and a few relatives made the road trip from Illinois (where she's been for about a year now) and did some apartment scouting. This also resulted in a bit of a family reunion. My husband and his brother Zach saw their mom for the first time in more than a decade and my daughter met her grandmother for the first time.

visual approximation of that week

Things got rather stressful for a week there because I was selling my car on Craigslist (never again without an answering service, a WWE wrestler and a cattle prod), and trying to juggle communications between husband and in-laws. All while getting over some wicked cough (not related to fire breathing, I might add). I was pretty much a bundle of raw nerves and had zero brain space to devote to fantasy or whimsy in any way.

However, once all that cleared away, I dove headfirst into a new story.  It's still pretty nebulous in my mind, so I don't want to post too much here. But it's outside the C# universe...a stand-alone sci-fi that is--so far--best described as "Ready Player One" meets Tom Clancy...with Geisha. I've posted a series of images that are speaking to me lately on my Facebook page.

So yeah, meeting family...new WiP... shopping for a new car. Plotting and rearranging my con schedule/plans. Looks like I'll be doing CONvergence in Minnesota this summer. That's been my life of late.

How the hell are you?

Stuff. And More Stuff.

BgclUm-CAAAf5h7Happy Friday. It is, once again, the martyrdom day and chocolates and stuff abound. Blah. I hope you're having a good one regardless. Shit has hit the fan around here, to be quite honest. My car died 3 weeks ago. I had hoped that we could resurrect her, but without a young priest, an old priest and some black market organs it's just not happening. So, I spent the past week in Craigslist hell trying to get the most out of her that I could. Sweet Jesus... there are some pushy ass people in the world. People who think that because you've put up an ad you owe them something. Asshats.

In the end, though, I got more for the car than I would from a junk site or something, so there's that. For the foreseeable future, however, I am sans ride. I'll be going back to getting the kiddo to school via city bus and walking the couple of miles home. In the meantime, I urge you to check out Wild Card. If you haven't bought it yet, please do. Just remember, buying a copy of the book gets me one step closer to new wheels and the sanity of freedom.

I also met my mother-in-law for the first time this week. Yeah, I know you might think that having been with Sean for more than 9 years at this point--and having a child together--I'd have met her sooner. But you'd be wrong. She lived in Baltimore and we have been here in Phoenix. None of us has been able to travel for one reason or another, so yeah. It went better than expected. She's going to be moving out here in the next couple of months.

I did not manage to get my submission for the Lightspeed Magazine "Women Destroy Science Fiction" issue finished by today's deadline. Hell, I couldn't even settle on a story. Life has gotten in the way of my fantasy, to be honest. It's been a stressful couple of weeks.

by Reylia Slaby (courtesy of Dark Beauty Magazine)

I've been playing with a new idea that might become a story. Right now it's in the early stages of development, spelunking the depths of the world and plumbing the expanse of possibilities. I will tell you that this story is very visual. Typically, story ideas come with some element of sound with them, a specific playlist that helps coax them into the open. This one, however, is quiet...but opulent. Image-heavy. And specific. It has a definite personality. It knows who it is, but is slow to reveal all.

I'm meeting some of the inhabitants of this world, talking to a few people who live there and trying to find who has a story to tell. And while I explore, I'm taking notes of how the story would be told... would it be first person? Tight focus? Or wide-lens third? Who is the protagonist? Most of the answers I have are what I *don't* want. But that's almost as important as knowing what you do want, isn't it?

Anyway. Life has been batshit crazy of late with little sleep and dreams of fighting off Smaug with only Alton Brown to help me. Other than my blessed family and friends keeping me sane, there have been two shining lights:

1) My dear friend Inge surprised me with tickets to another "Dragon Training" class. Still hoping for pictures from the first, and will try to get some shots from the next, but I'm very excited to play with fire again.

2) The Olympics. Yeah, I hate NBC's coverage of the games, but the Olympics have been fantastic. Helpful. Nightly, my faith in humanity is restored one luge, ski jump or quadruple toe loop at a time.

Faster. Stronger.

SochiTransformerSo, the Winter Olympic games officially start today. There's been a pall on these games for a while now considering the host country's anti-gay laws. The situation is only made worse by the fact that Sochi's infrastructure is in no way ready to handle the influx of people and outbound data traffic. It looks laughable and the IOC will have a hell of a time fielding the fallout, I'm sure. I know many people who are boycotting because of the anti-gay laws. Some people are avoiding them because of the poor conditions. Hell, some people are more cynical about it and ignore the games because of the American coverage constantly telling you what to watch and who to root for while Bob Costas tells you this or that heart-warming story. And I understand why all of these reasons would make sense to some people.

But I don't give a shit. I'm in.  Even if I disagree with Putin's horrendous policies on human rights, and even if Sochi looks about as put together as Barbie's Dream House at 2am Christmas Morning... I'm never going to boycott the Olympic games.

The whole point of the Olympics is to put political differences aside for a few weeks and celebrate the best of us. The best athletes. The people who have given up "normal" lives to pursue this life that pushes them to their limits. The people who--when muscles are torn or when it's 40 below outside--continue to press on because they can still shave a tenth of a second off their best time. I could never do a triple lutz or a camel spin. But that girl from Russia can. And check out the ski-jumper from Finland...he's flying! Politics, race? Creed? Gender? Sexuality? None of it matters for the next few weeks because the spirit of the Olympiad is to transcend. To embrace the greatness of humanity itself.

Turn off the sound--or embrace technology and find a feed that doesn't have American commentary, it's very enlightening. Swath yourself in the banner of your choice--be it your country's flag or the Pride flag or the fucking flag of Rohan. Celebrate. Cheer. Take joy in the fact that a flame burns despite the fallible humans who lit it. Take a moment to sit in awe of your fellow men and women who have worked so hard to be the best of us--even if the politics represent the worst. Because this is the Olympiad. This is where we can see what a world looks like where there is peace and acceptance and mutual admiration.

Welcome to Sochi, home of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

I'll be watching.