30 January 2015

I did not particularly enjoy this look. Until my hair grew back out, I was 13 kinds of uncomfortable, and was pretty sure I wouldn't do it again. Bald is a tricky thing for most women to pull off, and I am not one that does it well.


My hair did grow back. I got over the discomfort. It was, in the grand scheme of things, pretty easy.

So I'm doing it again.

On March 7th, I will be at the Galleria Mall in Roseville, and I will sit in front of a crowd and let someone take clippers to my head, and shave me down to bare stubble. And I will again be 13 kinds of uncomfortable, and probably cold, too.

I set a goal of $1000 this year; last year you all donated $835, so I'm aiming for just a little higher.

First person to donate $150 or more gets to pick the hair color I'll hit the stage with.

Second person to donate $150 or more can decide whether or not I get on that stage wearing spandex.

It's open season on da Wabbit, peoples. I will DO THINGS for donations. You know I will.

23 January 2015

I said it last year and I'll say it again (even though I did it anyway): Disneyland is not the place for a bunch of writers and indie publishers to try to be all professional and get things done, and I'm not doing it next year. Unless I change my mind, because, DISNEYLAND.

We got there late Monday afternoon, in time to meet up with the Boy and his fantabulous girlfriend (seriously, he has to keep her. We have decided) before they left (they were there over the weekend, couldn't stay an extra day) and then headed for the ticket booth to upgrade our 5 day park hopper tickets for season passes, so that we have an excuse to go there for something other than failed indie publishing things and then can meet up with the people we really want to see. We have family in the area, and friends, and so far have had time blocked off that's made it impossible to make any other plans. So now we'll be able to.

But...the Indie Pub Panel, which in spite of some wishes was not intended to be held in a bar, wound up being started in a bar, and I was not there to witness the best part of it.

The night before we got there, while those who were already there got together for drinks, The Queen called two of the male writers in attendance "flaming faggots," to which they took umbrage, and they called her on it. Her husband backed her up and got in their faces...words flew, then fists.

I missed the drunk writer fist fight. Dammit.

In any case, it set an unhappy tone and a lot of people left. I don't know if they went home or just decided to go into Disneyland and forget the panel, but if they went home they made a mistake, because the weather was perfect and the crowds were super light, so when The Spouse Thingy and I headed out to the parks in the afternoon, we had a great time.

We did so much in just 2 afternoons--got on pretty much every ride we wanted in less than 10 minutes, and then rode them 3-4 times--that yesterday we just kind of wandered around until our feet seriously hurt. We'd planned on trying to see a show or two in order to sit for a while, but somehow managed to be on the wrong side of the park every time...which was still fine, because we did everything we'd wanted and then some, and now that we have the passes we can go back and see those another time.

And in spite of saying we wouldn't buy more than one t-shirt each because we already have t-shirts, I think we both left with a couple of them.

But the one thing I almost bought but didn't?

 If I could have justified it--like where I would ever wear it--I totally would have.

Maybe next time. Not sure when that will be--don't want to impose on the Grandma to watch the cats too often even though they totally love her--but in order to make the passes worth it we kinda have to go back at least twice more this year. at Disneyland before it gets too hot? We should totally have a party.

16 January 2015

Dear Lady in the grocery store whose kid was having a total meltdown in the cart,

Look, every parent has to go through that. You head into the store to grocery shop, stick the kid in the seat of the cart, and all the sudden the earth is melting and OH HELL NO he’s not going to put up with that, so the crying starts.

He’s not even trying to get you to put things into the cart he wants you to get. He just doesn’t like the way the world is tilted on its axis today, and he’s going to let everyone in the store know about it. It’s not a temper tantrum and there’s nothing wrong; he’s just having a moment the only way his 20 month old brain can.

No one was glaring at you; I’m sure you felt the sting of a thousand dagger-like stares slam into you, but truly, no one really cared. He was loud, but kids are loud. It wasn’t a big deal. It especially wasn’t a big deal to me until I heard you lean over to say to him, “You are a bad boy. A BAD boy.”

I sighed, sad for him. And then a few minutes later when I heard it again, telling him he was such a bad boy, my heart broke for him.

Here’s the thing. He’s not a bad boy. He’s a toddler with no way to express himself when something is bothering him, other than to cry. He doesn’t have the words. He doesn’t have the cognitive ability to realize that the thing that is bothering him will be over with soon, and things will get better. There is nothing in his realm of existence to tell him that crying because something is just a little off is anything more than getting you to listen.

He’s not bad.

He’s a little boy.

But I guarantee you, if you keep telling him that he’s a bad boy, if that’s your go-to response when he acts in ways you wish he didn’t, at some point he’s going to believe that about himself. Kids will tuck the things said to them about themselves into a deep, dark place in their souls, and eventually it becomes Identity.

You are the person to whom he looks for not only the pieces to the puzzle that will form the picture of who he will be, but also the way those pieces fit together. Every time you tell him he’s bad becomes another piece to his puzzle. Piece after jagged piece after jagged piece.

How many pieces of that puzzle do you want to be colored with the idea I'm a bad person?

Look, I know you love him. I know you’re frustrated and probably embarrassed because his crying is that loud and that unwarranted, but he’s not going to stop because he doesn’t know what’s wrong. He’s just being an upset little boy, and that’s okay. Even though his cries are that loud, he still hears you…and what would you rather have settle into his brain? You’re a bad boy? Or maybe I know, we’ll be done soon, I’m sorry you’re upset.

It’s not a temper tantrum, He's not throwing things, hitting, kicking, yelling at you, flat-on-his-back-on-the-floor refusing to move; he’s just crying.

Over the next 20 years he will do endless things to upset you; he will engage in behaviors of which you will not approve. He will do things that could be called bad, but there’s a huge difference in doing the things kids do as they grow and learn and make mistakes and actually being bad.

There are no bad boys stuff into toddler sized shoes.

He’s not a bad boy.

He’s not.

Not yet.


12 January 2015

I understand that people online exaggerate, bluff, brag, and outright lie about the minutiae of their lives. Typically, that doesn’t bother me. I don’t care if you’re a 62 year old housewife from the Midwest who lives on the Internet as a 25 year old blonde with a huge rack. I don’t care if you’re a basement dweller who hasn’t seen much daylight for the last ten years but put yourself out there as a hard core biker with a farkled-out Harley Road Glide.

I don’t care because there’s not a lot of chance that someone will get hurt by whatever fantasy you’re living online. Suit yourself. If you’re not using your online persona for monetary gain, or to inflict pain on someone else, no big deal; if you do it to protect yourself, go for it.

But if you play the cancer card, or any serious illness card, if you put out there that you’re battling a horrific disease when the truth is that there’s not a damn thing wrong with you…I care about that. And I judge you HARD for it.

People do get hurt by that. You’re not only toying with peoples’ emotions and deep fears, you’re detracting from those who do have those illnesses. And when you’re found out, you also call into question the people whose lives are legitimately consumed by the simple act of trying to stay alive. You lie, you get caught, and people start looking hard at others who are fighting the fight you supposedly were. After all, if one person can try to get away with it, why wouldn’t someone else?

Here’s the thing: that lie isn’t sustainable. Face it, if you lie about having breast cancer, you’re going to trip up on the details and those who know a whole lot more about it than you do are going to figure it out. If you pile on top of that some fairly unlikely scenarios—oh, I had breast cancer for a few weeks last year but I’m all better now because I swallowed the red pill and had 3.2 x-rays while I hopped up and down on one foot—you’re adding flash to bring out the details of the picture you’re trying to get everyone to accept.

In the last year I’ve come to be made aware of three different people who are most likely lying about their diseases. Things just don’t add up. The devil is in the details, and these devils lack the highlights and lowlights that make their stories plausible. I’m not the only one sitting here puzzling it out; we’re all doing the same math and getting different answers.

Why does it matter?

It matters because we know others who truly are battling illness and disease, and our hearts break for what they’re going through.

It matters because things like this make people care, make people cry, make people hit their knees and beg the high power of their belief system to grant mercy to someone who’s just making up things as they go along.

It matters because it makes people feel impotent, being unable to do something to just fix it, to wish away the disease and everything it brings; it spurs people into getting online and checking every day, two or three or a dozen times, just for good news about the person they care about.

It matters because it’s mean.

Pretending to be John Doe, artist extraordinaire, doesn’t matter; that’s your own fantasy world and as long as you’re not asking people for money or other things, it hurts no one. Pretending to be Jane Doe, cancer victim, is so many kinds of wrong I can’t even begin to count them all.

If you are doing this, or have done this, you suck.

People know, and you suck.


10 January 2015

It's no secret that I have an unnatural and perhaps over-the-top love of Doctor Who. Just sitting here in my office, I can see three TARDISes without really looking. I own t-shirts and Who Monopoly and other assorted Who things. I have a Who tattoo.

So when I was gifted this--

--a leather-bound replica of River Song's journal, I'm frankly surprised I didn't wet myself.  It's solid and substantial, and has the feel of leather that once broken in will be so, so soft.

It also has this:

Pages that look weathered and worn.

I totally less than 3 this...but what am I going to use it for? Seriously. Whatever I write in it has to be worthy of using pages in it. Other journals I've used for scribbling notes about storyline and character traits. I've doodled in them. Tossed them aside once the manuscript was done.

But this...this has to be for something special, and right now I haven't a clue what that will be.


9 January 2015

Ramble, ramble...

I belong to a couple of smallish writers’ and indie publishers’ groups online. I lurk in a few, actively participate in those small ones, and have left behind at least a dozen because of the utter lack of professionalism in them. No, I don’t think it needs to be all business nor overly formal, but if we’re there to discuss and dissect the nuts and bolts of publishing, then let’s do just that and save the personal pokes and jabs for elsewhere.

That doesn’t mean I follow my own credo all the time. I am just as guilty of straying off topic and doing it in a less than professional manner as anyone else.

The Independent Publishers Panel (aka Indy Pub Panel) is coming up again, and in spite of what we all said last year—Disneyland is a bad place to try to be all adult and get work things accomplished—it’s being held in the same venue. Apparently the lesson learned there needs to be reinforced, something no one is really complaining about. But, no, I did not want to deliver the main “panel” at this thing.

I’m not sure talking about my cat writing books and actually making sales is something I could talk about for an hour. I’m not adverse to a hearty 10 minute discussion with a few people, but just me talking to 19 other people? No one really wants that. I doubt I could do it and maintain any sense of professionalism. Especially if given enough mojitos to get me to open my mouth.

And that’s the crux: being professional, even for an event involving people who mostly know each other. I don’t think it matters if the event is small or large, filled with people who know each other well or not; if we’re going to be involved in making indy publishing a established profession, then we need to act like it.

And I might be a little touchy about it, having been the target of a very unprofessional attack on my work this past year. I was not happy to get unsolicited criticism as it is, but it was the complete lack of professionalism in how that criticism was given that made me take a step back. It surprised me that someone putting themselves out there as a professional would engage in what was essentially an expletive-laden and unhelpful pseudo-review.

This indy group has one particular member who is bluntly opinionated and not kind about it. She really does deserve a reality call, and because she has some truly warped ideas about the content of character where people who have tattoos and brightly colored hair are concerned, that reality call could come from me. It might come from me. But I would hope that I, along with everyone else, can maintain some semblance of being an adult at work, and that none of us lose sight of the fact that we are in a growing industry, and if we can’t get a grasp on what it means to be a professional in it, we’re only going to contribute to its potential downfall.

The workday isn’t 24 hours; we can all go be true to our inner 8 year olds at the end of the day. Or by lunchtime, if last year was a predictor (and I suspect it might be.)

The Queen can be dethroned, just not during the conduct of business. And dethroning the Queen does not also mean being an ass about it.

(Although, it would give me a fleeting, very momentary thrill to pop off with Bitch, you might be the Arbiter Queen of Everyone’s Morality, but I’m the freaking Drag King of All, and my crown is a lot bigger and a whole lot more fabulous, so shutity shut up.)

Yeah, no. I wouldn’t ever actually say that because the .75 second thrill would be followed by the angst of having hurt someone’s feelings, and no matter how well deserved, I just don’t want to do that.

But hell yeah, I might think it.

Thinking but not saying…that’s professional, right?

(It's highly likely I won't even see Her Majesty, so...)

And yes, my hair will be pink. That’s totally professional.

Yes it is.


5 January 2015

File this under chit I absolutely don't need but really kinda want:

Not sure where to get it, but I might have to go surfing for it.


2 January 2015

All right, so I want to eat better in 2015. So what did I do today? I left the house after 1 pm without having eaten anything at all, so after mailing a package I swung by McD’s before heading to Starbucks, where I will endeavor to write as many run-on sentences as I can, because…the Influence of Buddah Pest.

It was pretty busy, but this McD’s is fairly efficient, so I didn’t have to wait long for my 6 chicken nuggets and small drink (no I don’t know why I ordered a small when a large is the same size.) I got my tray and say down, and as I bit into the first nugget a teenager with an attitude problem was at the counter, yelling—loudly—at the cashier because she handed him a medium cup instead of a large.

Same price and all that, but he’d ordered a combo meal, and that comes with a medium.

He didn’t care.

He yelled until he turned red, practically spitting as he ramped up, leaning into the counter with his hands flat on it. The cashier took a protective step back, the guy in line behind the kid took a step forward, the manager was running from the restroom, when at the door came a bellow that stopped everyone in their tracks.

Lesson this kid probably learned today? When you live in a small town, your Mom just might go to the same place as you for lunch.

The air crackled with the electricity of her anger, and it went quiet as she barked out his name, followed with a disappointment-laden, icy, loud, How dare you?

Yes, Markus, the rest of us wondered as well, How dare you?

She stomped toward her son, who stood there with his mouth hanging open and eyes turning red with tears he was fighting, and she lit into him.

I am so ashamed. I cannot believe that you would treat anyone like this.

Markus tried to defend himself, but with one swipe of an index finger pointed at him, she went on. I don’t care if she spit in your food. You do not treat anyone like this. You never treat someone without respect.

He managed to nod.

Your apology had better be real.

And it was. He was as apologetic as I have ever seen anyone, but the blow came afterward, when he had said he was really sorry, after she had told him to put his bicycle in the back of her car, and grounded him for two weeks.

You are not the man I thought you were.

Markus’s tears broke free, slipped over his cheeks, and he looked broken. He apologized again and ran out the store. His mother apologized profusely to the cashier and everyone around her before following him out.

By the time I finished my last chicken nugget, people had just begun to talk again, still stunned at the entire display. I got up, shoved my trash into the can and walked out toward my car.

Markus’s mother was parked two slots away; he was slumped in his seat, head leaning against the window, and she was crying her eyes out.

Markus wasn’t the only one broken today.

I truly hope they can heal.


1 January 2015

New year, new me, eat better, excessive more, yadda yadda yadda. 2014 went out with more of a sigh than a bang, which is perfectly fine with me. When the clock tripped over from 11:59 12/31/14 to 12:00 1/1/15, I was sitting in bed, reading with the TV on, listening to Buddah snore from his perch on top of the kitty tower in the corner, and that was exactly what I wanted to be doing.

We've never been big NYE partiers. There were a few memorable ones when we were in North Dakota and then Ohio, but otherwise we pretty much stick to home, even if the Spouse Thingy isn't working. It's quiet and boring, if you're looking in from the outside. But really, I think you want to spend the last moments of the old year with the person you want to spend the last moments of the new year with, and quiet and boring isn't so bad.

After over 3 decades, it's a nice place to be.

And 2014 was pretty good to me. Other than a couple of nuisance head colds and an ill-timed virus, I felt pretty good during the year. I went places; I had a blast at Disneyland--never mind the Indy Pub Panel, we had a good time--and I got on a plane by myself and didn't freak out. I got a book finished and into distribution. I participated in a few charity events and raised a bit of money for them. I reclaimed my want of riding and bought the bike I should have gotten 3 years ago. I got to see my son in a bunch of plays over the summer. I got to see him in the lead of Cuckoo's Nest and own the role.

It was a good year.

I'm not big on making resolutions, but I think 2015 will be the year of moving more and eating better, pretty much what I wanted for 2014 (and kinda did!). Doing and seeing more. No grand proclamations of dropping 100 pounds and tackling a marathon; I just want to do more for myself, go places and see things, even if that just means driving into SF and seeking out the lesser known things to do.

I might get on a plane again. Okay, well I know I will this month, but I won't be alone for that. I just might fly somewhere all by myself again. The Pink Slips are walking in Philadelphia this year and I'd like to be there. I'd like to slam dunk a 3 Day, walk in one without getting sick.

First up for this year is the Donna Virtual Half Marathon. And after that...I'll find new events and new endeavors, and have myself a truly spiffy, wonderful, amazing 2015.