For you, the dress code is casual.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008


FIVE SACRED MINUTES to spend with my couch before I rush off to play soccer for the first time in years!

I whipped by GayBoy's Starbucks and he shared the "nutritional analysis" of all their food with me, and I'm HORRIFIED. It just shows me how ignorant I've been all my life.

The coffee cake I once loved and ate 2-5 times a week? 900 calories! And has been discontinued, thank god.

The banana loaf I thought was a "restrained" choice and a reasonably healthy selection? FUCKING 400 calories! Just 80 shy of their delicious and honestly evil donuts.

No fucking wonder I was so goddamned fat. Duped by all these evil purveyors of fat, fat, with a side of fat. My GOD. Ignorance may be bliss, sure, but it also adds about 20 pounds a year. Holy crap!

Wow. I knew I was ignorant, but my god. I used to think a slice of banana loaf was better for me than a bag of chips, but it turns out it's exactly the same, if not a little worse.

Good! I'm thrilled I know! Weight loss isn't about willpower. Rely on willpower and your ass'll be kicked six ways to Sunday. It's about reprogramming and knowledge. That's what's working for me. (28 pounds lost now.)

Speaking of losing, I think I have a game of soccer to play. Gotta jet (and then suck). Thank god it's the energy I burn tonight that matters and not the score!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Writing: I Don't Need a New Drug

I'm obsessing about the blog again. I can't help but to feel I ripped myself off by pulling back the reins there in '06. But I did what I needed to. I imagine I would do it again if given the same life situation and same life challenges.

But I did what I needed to. I'm starting to get on track here. The writing's coming back to me. I'm feeling more plugged into the world at large than I have in a very, very long time.

Any writer needs to be plugged in. We're seismographs for the human collective, aren't we? Life shakes, we record it in our skew? Fucking beautiful thing, that.

Some days. I mean, fuck, writing's a shitty life most of the time. Constantly trying to ride a literary wave where you're seeking something new, something true that's worth saying, and trying forever to carve out exactly how it should be said.

Something worth saying's the challenging part. I think it was Robertson Davies who once said one ought not write until the thought of not writing becomes unbearable. In a way, I feel that's true. It's elitist, idealist, but sometimes true. It's just not at all pragmatic, because writing needs to be a job if one's to succeed in it. I still haven't the job part nailed down; I prefer the act of writing to the act of marketing, but I must get the 70-30 ratio of writing/marketing into play or I'll always just be the girl who writes for kicks, but writes really well.

The best writing I do is typically that which I was strongly compelled to do, just couldn't resist. But, then, the most surprising writing I do is when I sit down and start off with "Sadly my scrambled eggs were overcooked, but..." and five minutes later have tapped into something I had no idea was looking for an out. So, I try to write daily, but when I start to WANT it, that's when things start feeling fantastic. Most of the time, it's just sludge-like, like exercise. Might not wanna do it, but it's gotta get done.

Writing's an unpredictable mistress, more mad than she is sensible, but when she's in her right head and you're in yours, it's an incredible union that just doesn't fucking get any better. Writing's the original passion, the original drug. Writing's the thing that will always, always get me off in life. No person, no thing, no place, no time, nothing will ever be for me what writing is.

Which is to say I'll spend about 96% of my life unhappy about it, but that four percent will make it all worthwhile, man.

This is not, however, any sort of inference that my writing right now happens to be the bomb. It's so not. But I'm loving the chase, man. Just loving the chase. I don't care if it's not fully on the money, I don't care that I find errors every time I reread anything these days. I just don't care, because I'm loving the chase.

Writing is a drug I'll mainline till the day I die, 'cos it's the old Mark Twain adage of the destination being irrelevant, it's all about the journey. I don't care if I don't get paid or famous or known. Just doing it is enough. I'd like to get paid, famous, and known, and I want to do it my way. I'm not even 35 yet for a few more months, there's still time to do it my way without selling the fuck out.

(We'll see. I'm prepared to sell out if I need to one day. Ha-ha! Not till I'm older and more jaded, man, and not until I start listening to my music quieter, either.)

Okay, let's see if I can put this into words without sounding a right cunt. Hmm.

Two years ago right now, I was writing better than I ever have. It actually started in February and continued until about May. I wrote so many things I'm proud of, that had my twist of angst-meets-humour-meets-philosophy, and in such rapid succession, that I began to think I'd never have a golden, varied period like that again. That mindset's rapidly changing and I'm believing it's almost mine again for the taking.

For a while there, over the past couple years, I have wrongly fallen into the habit of thinking that, because I was in a relationship for a good chunk of that phase (and after), that the relationship a) caused me to write well, and b) caused me to stop writing well when things went to shit.

Here's the thing, though. The guy I was with had fucking jack all to do with my writing. Yes, he was smart and good to converse with, but so fucking what? *I* did the writing. *I* coined the phrases. *I* saw the interplay in life and its players. *I* did it. Conversation with anyone, when I'm on my game, can spur me to write; he was just the face in the frame at the time, to put it crassly and in an undervalued kind of way.

I don't know where the insane assumption came from that made me start believing the relationship had anything at all to do with my being able to write well then. But that's what we do, we tell ourselves we require propping up, that we can't get through turmoil alone, that we need a muse, whatever the fuck we want to believe, for whatever stupid fucking reason.

But now I'm starting to realize that it really is all me, the writing. It's not about who's in my life or what's going on, not really. It's about me looking for the stories in the world. They're out there. When I'm at my best, writing-wise, it's when I'm most alive, I see ideas everywhere in life. I run out of time to write them all down! I have a fucking box of "idea cards", for god's sake!

There's always happenings that, when you think on them, can jar your existential point of view. Life's a mystical, wonderful thing, and I absolutely love living the examined life when I'm tuned into the examining process via a healthy writing phase.

Ahhh. Sigh. Don't you just love spring? Wakes my mind up something fierce, man. And despite being sore and rather miserable about it, I think I'm cycling today. Cycling's proving terrific for writing. Wouldn't think that after cycling my end-of-day ass-killing ride that the first thing I'd want to do is sit down and write, but that's exactly what happens.

The weather gods, today, claim seven days of sun are beginning for us today. Believe it when I see it, but I'm hoping. Daring to believe. More ways than one, it seems.

God, I need coffee. And a muffin. Mmm. Muffins!

Monday, April 28, 2008

About a Browser, Writers' Mojo, and Archiving

I should be racing off to work but this coffee is too good, and I'm in a mode, so instead I'll pop in and write.

I need to report on my new browser: I downloaded Flock Saturday night as something to distract me after the funeral and all. Boy, did that work!

It's based on the Mozilla platform, and it's so fucking useful for someone like me who's using the net for research and media. It's called the "social" and the "media" browser because of its built-in tie-ins to Facebook, Youtube, Flickr, and more. But it's got phenomenal plug-ins, too, some that just blew me away.

Later this week, I'll have to start using Zotero, its most mindboggling resource. It's an organizing program for web-based information. Like me, I'll be needing to do more and more research as I get more into political sex blogging again -- you know, about things like STD transmissions, the sex trade, the AIDS plight, violence in relationships, things like that-- things I have very, very strong feelings about and a desire to be a part of the solution for.

I need facts, research, and I need things annotated. I do not blow smoke out of my ass when I write about such tragic things as AIDS. One of my great strengths is my ability to put a human spin on stats. I don't want to have to do the same research over and over again, but bookmarking pages is useless since the web constantly changes and always becomes obsolete in short order, but statistics and research are interesting in historical context, too; as new research becomes available and older stuff fades away, having a comparison can make for really great fodder.

Zotero offers a library sort of facility. You can click on the link in the address bar, save it to Zotero inside a filing system you create with folders you designate. You can click and get a screen shot that will save attached to that link. You can write notes and comments, which will also attach to the document. You can create tags and "related to" fields that allow for smart-system scans. It's fucking brilliant. It's the kind of organization I need that I would have had to use at least 3 programs to make happen before now. It's magnificent. The system viewing process is easy, too, so you can see the rooted linkages between topics and tags.

In the short term, there's Flock's built-in web clipboard. I can highlight a passage and drag it to the clipboard, and it'll remember the link. I then can click on any of these tabs: view, email, blog, or delete, and it'll instantly make that happen, since it has a built-in blog publishing platform so you never have to go to your blog's edit page, if you like that kind of thing.

Smart software for smart people. I like it!

Zotero will make me a better writer and a better blogger, and I'm excited to see what comes of it. I especially love the way I can use Flock's web clipboard for quick-n-dirty archiving for immediate use, or for what I'm trying to do, build an archive of my better written sentences/lines/passages to use for marketing means.

I remember a writer co-worker of mine who sputtered rather passionately "You can't quote yourself!" in commentary regarding someone else, and I kept my mouth shut, thinking, "Why can't I quote myself?"

Bullshit, says I. Who else knows your work as well as you do? Who else really knows the great lines you've nailed over the years?

Writing's not like everything else. If you're a painter and you have a great stroke, one can easily focus into that, or you're a photographer and you print your best work, well, people will notice it then. If you're a writer, you can have a millisecond of brilliance, create one perfect sentence, and the rest of what you've written for weeks could be shit. Should that one sentence die a death because you had the lack of wherewithal to hang onto it for a better day, a better piece?

I say no! I have a plan to use some of my best lines as graphic art to make my blog look cooler, hipper. It's all about appearance, and, frankly, some of my lines have the edge and humour I'm trying to market myself as having.

I want someone new to be able to log on, skim down my sidebar, see a couple of my quotes, and know right away that they've entered an intelligent, argumentative realm of free speech and sexuality.

I want people to know, right off, that I'm very, very political. I want people to know I'm not going to say what they want to hear, that the opposite is probably far more true. I'm tired of being delicate and toeing the line.

In fact, when my blog was at its most popular was when I was most angry at politics, most belligerent towards the right wing, and most intolerant of intolerance. Why, then, have I been being careful?

Ha. There's a fucking realization it's worth working till a later hour to have had. "Stop worrying, just shoot your mouth off, and the public will follow!"

I'm not courageous enough right now to be THAT Steff all the time. Not sure I can go there just yet-- mounting what's tantamount to ideological throw-downs. I need to be in a pretty confident space to be that rant gal there. I need to feel that my angst is justified. I think my angst just got too heavy to carry for a while, but now I feel it bubbling and wanting to come to the surface.

A piece I wrote about Lenny Bruce
way back when on the other blog is what's had me thinking of that time. I just read it a few minutes ago and its eloquence startled me. Very well written, I thought, a great homage to an underrated man and his landmark battles against obscenity. That piece was in the same month I wrote a manifesto telling the religious right that my sexual preferences are NOT who I am. That month, those postings changed my standing on the web.

I guess the thing is that I know what I'd written that got me noticed. I know the headspace I need. I'm getting there. What I wrote last night is probably my best on-theme writing for Smut & Steff I've done in a while, so it makes me feel like I'm headed back to my earlier success.

Mostly, though, it makes me feel like I'm getting back on the right path, and it's all about the path, man.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Literary Detour Before the Day Job

Ah, I should be jetting to work, I have a weird day, but it doesn't matter. I want to write. About what, I don't know, but it's like those Sunday morning drives; we'll know where we're going once we get there.

I'm beginning to reread Hunter Thompson. I want to reread a lot of it this year.

I had a rather revealing chat with GayBoy the other day, sharing a lot of the fears and self-loathing I've felt in the last two years, many of which still go truly unspoken and unexplored on these blogs of mine. Thing is, sharing our dark side doesn't work so well if there's no light to shine in them. Bleak, bleak, and bleak with a side of, you guessed it, bleak, doesn't really serve up too well in a world of gratuitous self-indulgence where most people just want distraction from the mundanity of their lives.

A lot of it stems from my fears of what I want to be, and my horror at the thought of needing to live up to what I think I can achieve. While I'm working towards that, I want to reread Hunter Thompson, because I think the thing that killed him as a writer (in the longterm) was creating an image of himself that was larger than life, even though he could live up to that image. I've always seen him as this sad guy who got what he wanted before he knew what he didn't need, if you know what I mean. He wanted fame and fortune, and when he got it, I think he lost the seclusion mindset that a lot of truly great writers seem to require.

I sometimes adopt a really wild persona when I'm writing, and it's part of who it is I am, but it's not the person I'd like to live my life as. I'd rather live as the occasionally funny-as-hell, but largely silent and experiential person I'm more comfortable being... but that's usually my wish to remain safe and unchallenged speaking there. Ideally, I'd be able to balance the wild and the introspection, and use them both to propel me in my writing life. I suspect I toe that line well on the page, but now need to bring that to my life.

Lit-speaking, I'm trying to go back to my roots, remember what it is that I want from writing, what it is that's important to me in the craft of the written word. Is it what I get from others when they've read what I've written? Not particularly, but then I'm not getting a lot of anything from anyone else right now, write-wise. Not a whole lot of encouragement, commentary, or anything. And I'm not sure I care, to be honest. I'm all right with things as they are today... not too demanding, not too challenging. But I'm not really one for the path of least resistance, not anymore, so it's time to start pushing that envelope and demanding more, but then what do I have to provide in order to make such demands?

I don't know what I need to rediscover about writing; if I knew, then I wouldn't need to be on a journey, would I? I know I need to get over this fear I have, though. All of a sudden, two years ago, my blog just SHOT into the top 10K on Technorati, out of the then-70 million blogs in the world, for a couple weeks there, I was in the top 50,000 WEBPAGES in the world-- not blogs, not papers, but webpages. I was pulling in 5,000 hits a day, making advertising money, had someone throw a new computer and recording gear at me for making a podcast, got interviewed on San Fran radio, and a bunch of other shit.

And it scared the shit out of me. I was, at the same time, reaching a peek in a chemical depression I'd unwittingly foisted on myself by trying to suppress my period for three months with birth control pills-- which ended up in a near-suicidal nervous breakdown that magically felt a LOT better once I finally got my period-- so all of a sudden I felt all this pressure to live up to this image of myself: the happy, shiny, funny, but always cutely rageful Steff of the blogosphere.

So, I snapped. I couldn't be that person, I wasn't ready for popularity, I couldn't handle what MIGHT be next. I pulled back, began to deal with myself... then I lost my job, then I was laid off, then I got a terrible job that spiralled me back into depression... then I quit that, and here I am, six months later, finally thinking I might be ready to tackle the possibilities again.

As a result of all that's come my way these past two years, I've fallen to, what, 300,000th place in the world, about 10% of the daily hit tallies I once had, seldom any comments or letters, barely any advertising to speak of... And now I need to build it all back up again. I think I can. Hell, sometimes I even know I can.

But why do I want to? Why does it matter? What do I ultimately want of it? Is it money, is it notoreity? Is it just knowing my words ring true to more than just myself? Is it just the writing itself that matters?

I'd like to believe that the love of writing and the craft of putting words to page are enough, I really would. Sometimes, it is. Sometimes, just pushing "publish post" is all I need in the world to make a day a good one. Writing's that much of who I am. Do I care if anyone else reads it?

In a way, not particularly. But... I happen to think I'm a good writer. Sometimes, I'm a good writer who even lucks into creating great writing. I believe that. I believe I've experienced enough pain, loss, wonder, joy, hope, fear, and surreality to tap into the human condition and span the distances between us all. I believe I have a unique worldview, one that sees us for all our weaknesses and fears while realizing all that's great and beautiful in who we are. I believe my worldview's worth sharing, and, more importantly, is even sometimes worth reading. After all, that's what writing is; it's a link between each of our humanity. It's our history, our legacy, our ability to empathize with people from all around the world.

And, sometimes, it's just really fucking cool to look at a jumble of letters and words and know that I'm the one that gave it life.

So, journeying back through the books that sort of made me want to have that literary permanence in the world, a voice beyond my years... it's probably a great start.

But now I need a different start; a start to my workday. I'm outtie.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Fuck you, Fate,
and the mean horse you rode in on

Bah! Some Mondays suck.

Having an old friend die on the weekend was a heady trip and I'm still kind of morose about it, but I haven't seen the guy in several years, so it's not hitting me like it will some others, particularly my dear buddy. The guy was a new dad, which is just horribly tragic. Like, 10-day-old new dad.

It's the original "WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING" rage one can throw at the universe for taking THIS guy out at this time. Like, what the fuck good comes of a 10-day-old baby never again seeing his daddy?

That's when you have to say some deaths truly are senseless. This one's at the top of that list. Fucking wrong.

Fuck, man. But it gives me other pause. The guy was out riding on his new quad bike when it washed down a river near Squamish. He "washed up" the next morning. There's a reason they call them accidents. None of us ever plan for this shit to happen.

When I woke up all hung over, arguably even still a little drunk, after a concert in '04 and went riding with my friends that morning, I didn't think I'd get a head injury that'd change me forever or nearly fucking die. Yesterday, for instance, I took a large wooden box down to the basement, down four flights of stairs, and lost my footing on a flight-- and totally had this vision play of how my broken neck would've looked had I not fluked and regained my footing at the last second. That wood box would've totally broken my neck had I face-planted.

Incredibly stupid fragments of seconds are what separate our lives from our deaths. A moment we wish we could have back leads us to injuries, broken hearts, and everything else we endure in life. Just little moments. Harmless seconds.

All that had to happen to this friend of mine was one rock in the river slipping under his tires too quickly with just the right gush of current. That's it. A moment. A convergence of convenience. Then, whoops! And death. It fucking boggles the mind.

I'm pretty angry about the injustice of this guy dying. I just can't get my head off his little baby. I'm so angry. Poor fucking child. The kicker is, this guy's mom and dad have both died in recent years, so all of a sudden there's no one left on his side. All that remains is this baby.

And his Facebook page is still there, which is just so fucking odd. It's my first post-Facebook death. Is this what we face for the future? When people do die, their digital fingerprints will be everywhere still? A legacy, yet not?

I tell you one thing, I really don't fucking want to work today. No, sir, I do not. That's the weird like/hate thing about my job: When things ARE all fucked up and I'm riding a bad head trip, I sit there with headphones watching tv, which can mean spiralling deeper into some thoughts that are maybe better left lightly experienced, and not fully delved into. It can cause a mighty deep funk.

BUT... if it's a fun show that requires my creativity, it can alleviate everything and get me out of it, too. Strange. I guess everyone's jobs can be great or bad, depending on the day. Mine just gets weird.

However... I relish the fact that I don't need to think about anything other than what is before me, nor do I need to talk to clients, or, really, my colleagues.Just a polite nod will do.

And... I have leftover butter chicken for lunch. (Kitchens of India brand, made at home-- ridiculously low in fat compared to what you might think, especially if you stick to adding water like they suggest and avoid the temptation to add cream or coconut milk.) That, at least, elevates my Monday to "almost Tuesday" status. Wow.

Gotta say, though. There aren't many things that make me pray in life, but that baby got a prayer from me yesterday. Breaks my fucking heart. What a cruel start to life, and what a great guy for that baby to go a lifetime never knowing.

Some things really do serve well to embitter us. I can't begin to explain how this one fits the bill beyond what I've already tried to clumsily put to words here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hillary Clinton on "cleaning up" the mess in Washington: "One thing we women know how to do is clean house!"

Yeah, right. $109 million since 2000, when they were supposedly "broke". Eight years in the White House before that, then the governor's mansion... the woman hasn't cleaned house in an easy 20 years, man. (Hey, if I can get out of it for 20 years, or even 2 weeks, I'm in!)

Dunno if she's baked any cookies lately.

And to the neighbour who's clearly making tacos after midnight: Thanks for turning on the stove fan and piping it into my bathroom. I hate you. They smell good. Bring me one. No? Damn you. And your tasty-smelling tacos I now so crave. Fuck.

Oh, Praise God, it's Friday

Thank god blogging is, by its very nature, pretty self-indulgent, 'cos I'm going to be just that.

I hurt, pretty much everywhere. Whole-body weariness. No workout this morning. I spent about 45 minutes stretching last night, another half-hour this morning, and my back still feels like my hamstrings are mutinying on me.

I had a coworker who'd told me how her hamstring snapped once. "You'd better stretch," she grumbled.

So, I'm going to give myself a pass today and tomorrow, and do yoga for a change of pace Sunday, but a full 60-minute session.

There's a forecast for some snow tonight! It's the middle of April! What the fuck?

Blah. Good time to give myself a two-day break. I'm going to do this same routine, maybe more, next week. I'm sure I'll have the same "ohmigod my hamstrings are hamstrung!" feeling again, but I suspect only for next weekend, and then I'll have more or less adjusted, so I won't have the low back pain as a result of the hamstringyness. I'm getting used to the "push it out, pain, push it out, little bit of pain, push it out, just tense" cycle of rehabbing now.

I suspect a moment will come sometime this weekend where I get a little worked up over finally delivering a pretty punitive week of kamikaze conditioning, mostly because there have been times I thought I'd never become capable of getting 90-minute workouts in back to back, let alone three days in a row.

And maybe it sounds stupid to fit, active people, but until you've lived plagued with injuries and really bad health issues for more than half of a lifetime, you'll never, ever understand.

Okay, I'm having that moment now. As a kid, I was always sick, I never got to play the sports. I tried, and I wanted to, but I didn't, couldn't, and I always felt left out as a result. It's worse than getting picked last, not being picked at all when you can't even play.

Then I never got healthy. Everytime I'd try walking and/or running, it'd hurt. I'd whine about it, people would say "You're unfit, just do it and it'll get better". And it wasn't until about a year or two after I got the job I have now that I found out I needed orthotics. Suddenly walking wasn't so bad. If only someone had listened sooner, if only I'd had less pride and been more insistent that it didn't feel right.

Then I began getting fit in 2003, for the first time in my life, really pushing to try new sports and stuff. I was swimming, cycling, doing Pilates, hiking... it was awesome. Then I had the car accident and everything came to a screeching, painful halt.

I was rehabbing and just getting past all the pain, starting to get fit again, when I almost died in the scooter accident. The next two years were a write-off as I went through a whole world of weird I can't possibly nutshell.

My whole life, I've been hindered or scared or just quit when it started to get hard. I promised myself this year would be the year I prove a few things to myself, and I guess I've begun the proving process.

And I have no delusions about just how hard this is going to be on me, I think it's going to be a gruelling six months ahead of me, and it'll try my patience, but... I'm starting to think I can do all the things I've got in mind.

The one thing that's new is my mindset. I can't really hammer down why, or maybe I don't want to share it yet, but things are changing for me at a pretty deep level, and it's really overwhelming right now. I need to hang on to it, though. I need to keep this mental state alive for a while, because it could be the fuel for this fire I'm trying to get raging.

In the meantime, I think April's going to be spent hurtin' something fierce as I try to push past the pain initiation of a new regimen. Bear with me, 'cos I think some more whining's ahead.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

This is a Good Week

I really should brag more often about how nice it is that I get to wander into work after living my morning my way. Love it.

Hung out eating eggs and toasted baguette with nice fresh Salt Spring French press coffee for, like, way too long. Eventually, I ambled into work shy of noon... via another nice long bike ride on a blah-grey day. Four minutes quicker than Tuesday, an even 40 minutes now, exactly the same as my ride home tonight wound up being. Good numbers, considering the earliness in the season.

Finally totally broke my seat. Ha! It's been semi-busted from lifting it on and off bike racks on buses back in my wimp-ass days. Whoops. Semi-busted... (but still felt the same to ride-- just knew it'd one day give and I was prepared to hike it mid-ride to a bus, and kept an emergency bus fare in my bike bag) ...since last August, actually, but tonight it finally gave and I had this odd jabby thing going on the last two k's. Incentive to stand and pedal about half the way. Ow. And ow for standing and pedalling so far. Yow.

Last night, worked out 90 minutes at the gym with a special focus on rowing, eliptical, and weights. Hoo-ah! I am feeling crazy fucking toning going on, this is sweet. Some kinda new bubble butt's happening, too. This week's going to pay off nicely, and with the reward I'll have incentive to continue kicking ass and taking names next week, too. Just go week by fuckin' week right now and see how it shakes down.

I'm really starting to dig how this feels, but I can't wait to give myself Saturday and Sunday off to heal. I'm hurting something bad now, and I'm forcing myself to do the stairs in the morning, regardless of how pissy I wanna be.

But I'm buying a McGriddle. Yeah, goin' for irony. Mm, mapley McGriddley goodness. 410 calories, I can accomodate it. I don't even wanna think about the fat content. Nuh-uh. 'Sides, gonna do 30 minutes with the free weights and some weight resistant exercises at home while watching some telly, after the McGriddle & coffee sin. Might even get crazy and buy a small carton of cream! Ooh. My one indulgence for the weekend. Tee hee.

And I ain't doing a fucking thing besides some cleaning this weekend, and, oh, buying a bike seat. No fucking way. Gonna get me some Indian food at the street fair Saturday afternoon. I see naan in my future. Gonna behave mostly, but Saturday night's my cheat night this weekend. Been sticking to 1600-2000 calories all week, my bmi calorie-intake level is 1750 per day, so I've been pretty close to that, but I'm churning out a solid burn of 1200 calories (conservatively there) pretty much every day this week. When you break it all down to numbers, it gets pretty easy to figure this shit out. But then you gotta put out the energy to make it happen.

I've never had the ability to do hard workout day in day out. Maybe I've just never tried. Now I'm stubbornly saying to myself I AM that girl, and not really taking no for an answer. Now I'm all paranoid I won't keep it up, but that's part of why I'm pushing myself so hard this week:

So I can't say "I can't do it". Now I can tell myself I can do it-- when I'm feeling ill, when I'm feeling tired, when I'm eating minimal calories, when I'm fatigued from yesterday's workout, when the weather's iffy, when it's cold. Now I know I can not only perform when I'm not 100%, but I can fake it real, real good and yield pretty decent results. I wasn't into it once this week, except maybe this morning. Every time, felt crappy, had a dozen reasons not to, but held out, which is just not what I've ever done.

Now that I know that I can overcome bad mindsets and feeling poorly and perform well despite it, then... There's the pride issue. I can't wimp out now, I mean, come on! I have a new image to uphold.

But now I have a body to nurse. I'm gettin' real fuckin' sore now, man. Heh. Nothing I can't handle. Just life. A hot bath is about to help. It's nice to know I really can be THAT girl, though. Just kickin' ass and taking names. Relaxing this weekend will be awesome.

OOH! OOH! I forgot. Finally thought of a design for the tattoo I want as my "goal" reward for the new body I want. I've always told myself that if I get to X amount, which means another 30 pounds to lose, actually, but I want to lose another 50 by my birthday, right around Canadian Thanksgiving there. I do, I'm getting a really funky tattoo of "believe" done in art I need to kind of work out. A calf thing, it'll be hot. And, I know this sounds weird, but Book of Kells meets Betty Boop. You're just gonna have to see the finished deal. Always wanted something Celtic, and the Book of Kells is just an incredible piece of art... the original graphic design department, man, 13th century, I think... the lettering blows my mind, but I want it updated, so I'll keep the funky Celtic feel as a throwback to my fighting Irish roots, and kick it up Steff style. :) And big, so it'll be expensive and maybe in stages. And COOL AS FUCK, man.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Girl Got it DONE

After all that whining, I kicked ass today. About 8 or 10 blocks into my ride I thought, "Y'know... it's not too late to throw this chunky bitch on a bus and just ride part way to work..." But I huffed and I puffed and I got it done.

Then, this afternoon, I felt like crap -- a sandwich just went AWOL on me or something -- and was determined to bus, but then thought it'd be too much work to go get my cheque deposited so my broke ass could withdraw cash, then get change... so, ironically, I just busted my ass the 11 klicks home. Weird. What's wrong with me?

But going to work? About six minutes faster than two weeks ago, and the way home? Fucking A... 10 minutes faster, and only 4 off my best time ever. Gonna be a good summer. And I gotta love my new twist on being lazy-- not getting change and just biking the fuck home. That's the mindset I've always wanted so I'm just sorta slightly pleased and amazed I've managed to finally happen upon it.

Now to go and die in front of the television. Ooh.

Whining, and a Recipe for French Onion Soup

I'm gnoshing on granola before I cycle in to work, which has me pissy and bitter because I really don't fuckin' wanna, but that's the price I pay for being fat and needing to be thin, then, isn't it?

Whatever. :P

When I hit that midstretch of the ride where I peak and finally see all the mountains in their glory, THAT will rock. Always does. It's the endless grind before and after that I feel great disdain for. Besides, I feel like shit and I'm tired and, pissy, but still, I'm doing it. If I could do it two weeks ago, I can sure as hell do it after the killer ride I had Saturday. Holy fucking conditioning run, Batman.

I digress.

Did the father's birthday lunch thingie on Sunday -- my "French Canadian Onion Soup". Here's my recipe. Oh, what makes it French Canadian? Using Canadian rye whiskey, of course, and lots of. My recipe's very simple but I don't think it lacks anything at all! (Canadian rye's better than the standard issue from the US -- it, by law, is aged a minimum of three years.)

Serves four, and not that generously. And it ain't no fuckin' diet food, man. Eats good with garlic toast. :)

Steff's Drunkard's French Canadian Onion Soup

5 large onions, sliced very thinly (I use a mix, usually 2-3 Spanish/sweet onions, huge white one, and a big red one, and when I'm feeling pompous, I throw some shallot in, too.)
2 tablespoons butter
teaspoon salt
1.5 tablespoons sugar

Combine in a large pan and cook the onions long, stirring often, over a medium-low heat until they're caramelized. Took me about an hour on Sunday, so, you know, be patient. Somewhere in the middle, add a tablespoon or two of dried thyme and mix up, obviously.

When they're happy, happy, deep golden brown, then deglaze the pan with:

1/2 cup Canadian whiskey
1 cup dry red wine, or even port (mm)

Add 6 cups of quality beef stock. Check the salt and thyme, and if you think it needs more, go there.

Simmer 10-20 minutes, and then serve up.

For authentic soup, use toasted baguette bits over the top of the soup (holds up the cheese!) and then sprinkle with a LOT of gruyere, emmenthal, or whatever cheese you choose. This time I did provolone piccante mixed with emmenthal, which was nice. Broil about 3-4" from the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and brown.


Monday, April 14, 2008

The When-Is-It-Done Baking Post: Spring Rolls

I'm baking some homemade spring rolls. I can't wait until they're done. About 30 minutes. Mmf.


I've only made them once but they were all right. This time I'm doubling up on the wrappers. Crispy is good!

Then the dilemma becomes: peanut sauce or chili sauce for dipping?

Hmm. Anyhow. Yes, making about 15 - 20. They're bigger than I had intended. This size, probably about 235 calories or something, baked. They've got chicken in them, so that's a good chunk of the calories. I somehow underestimated the ground chicken I had in the freezer, so, thinking quick-like, I dug out a couple of my beloved chicken-apple sausages, which helped out the bulk a bit.

Lots of ginger, but maybe even more would've been tasty.

Hmm. 23 minutes. Sometime this week: Spring roll, coconut-steamed salmon, and a mango salad. That'll be quite the nouveau foodie night for me. Time for a twist, eh? 21 minutes. Ha.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

(Heh heh... just looked at the blog and it seems my last two postings are very colourful rants that might suggest I've had PMS for weeks or something. Just so's you knows: Life is pretty good. Just not feeling like writing a lot this week. More a thinky week than a writey week, but it could just be the calm before the storm. Still, things = good. Rants = fun. We loves a rant. So, even if I don't feel like writing, I always love a rant. :)

Bitter? Who's Bitter?

I can't believe this bullshit about Obama having to apologize for claiming people are bitter or angered right now. I guess it's the "clinging" to faith and guns that bothers people. But, who gives a fuck? The essence is, people are angry, and instead of believing anyone's going to fix the economy, they focus instead on what are basically push-button issues, whether it's shit like Roe v Wade or gay marriages, instead of trying to reinvent the economy, which seems like such a daunting task it's not worth taking it on at all, sometimes. (Not that those other issues aren't important, but electing people on only those issues while ignoring the big things like economy is a bit of a non-starter, methinks. With no economy, what else can you really offer your electorate?)

It just REALLY pisses me off that someone can't suggest people are angry, bitter, frustrated, without it being slagged as elitist or unpatriotic. What the fuck? God, for a country that loves freedom of speech, an awful lot of people seem to spend a whole lot of time ensuring people aren't so free with their comments, if this is the kind of backlash one receives for speaking frankly.

I guess we should go back to politicians lying, or telling tall tales about dangerous airplane landings in former Eastern Bloc countries... I mean, come on. Bullshit.

Oh, god, now Clinton's on telly, blathering about Obama being "out of touch" and I'm sending out a psychic bitch-slap as she yammers the fuck on. Ridiculous. Christ. What, is this some sort of la-la-land she lives in, filled with bubbles and roses, where everyone wanders around blissfully ignorant of reality with smiles painted on their faces?

"Oh, yes, I'm proud to face hardships (caused in large part by mismanagement of my government) and I'll wear a shit-eating grin and take it (and like it, goddamn it) because I'm a shiny citizen of this fair land! I don't mind at all that I only eek by in a fast-moving world that constantly seems to leave me, all my friends, all my neighbours, and all my family out in the cold, while the rich get richer and the sick still don't get coverage. And I'm PROUD. And not bitter. And I know I'll just bounce right back from my bad loans and expensive health care and ever-present inflation. Not bitter at all! See? Smiling!"

Yeah, fuck you, Hillary and John. Get in touch with this, you fucking arrogant, ignorant twats. What fucking "people" are you governing, anyhow? Teletubbies, or something? Next thing you know the Clinton camp will announce they've a new campaign anthem, Julie Andrews' "My Favourite Things".

"Cream-coloured ponies and crisp apple strudels,
door bells and sleigh bells, and schnitzel with noodles...

When the dog bites, when the bee stings,
when I'm feeling sad,
I simply remember my favorite things,
and then I don't feel so bad"

If I hear Hillary smack-talk NAFTA one more time, something she whored for Bill when he was stumping it and bringing it into law, I'll puke. I swear to god. I'm wishing I had barf bags by the remote control these days. Wow.

Oh, Hunter, Hunter, Hunter, we need someone out there debunking all this bullshit and waving his sentiment like it's a 90-foot flag, man. The perfect campaign for Hunter Thompson and the fucker called it curtains. Damn, man. He'd be all over this "angry/bitter" comment today like you wouldn't believe. He'd be making mince of Clinton, saying unspeakable, ungodly, dirty, dirty things about her in that lecherous, misogynistic way of his (but it works on him). Man. Sigh.

I suspect there will be few campaigns in my future that really could have used Thompson's commentary like this one, man. Just two more years, that's all it would've taken. Sigh. Blah! I feel cheated. Grr.

Now John McCain's annoying me. Anyhow. I shall jet. Fucking politicians, man. Not bitter. Fuck you. I'm Canadian and I'm bitter, so I can't imagine how much most underpaid Americans want to ass-kick something/someone. I'm bettin' oodles.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Forecast? Fuck You and Your "Forecast", Weather Network

Fucking amateurs. Get a window!

It's pouring! It's not supposed to be. Just a sprinkling, they suggested, "trace" amounts. But, no, it's pouring. The veritable river down my alley is debunker #1, man.

So I'm biding my time, hoping it slows a bit, as I drink my coffee with my big-ass bowl of granola. I may bus yet. I may ride. I'm not sure. Fucking rain.

Should be the story of the week, the rain. I need a new raincoat for riding. Sigh. I may have to swallow it and buy the bitch this week after all, if this weather's going to continue. Light rain, MY ASS. Does anyone at the motherfucking Weather Network have a WINDOW? Fuck, man!

I swear to god, the last vehicle that went down my godddamned alley was an ARK. An elephant waved to me. No, really.

Oh, don't mind me. I'm just getting tired of the incompetent meteorologists in our part of the world. A fucking forecast that holds true might do a lot to avert some of this growing cynicism of mine, BUT I WOULDN'T WANT TO IMPOSITION ANYONE.


Oh, hey, look. It's still pouring. I'm guessing I'm bussing today then. Hmm. Not like I want to, just the lesser of evils. Hanging with the weird transit crowd is fun some days, and a license to become a recluse on others. Anyhow. I should get my day on the go. Horror of horrors.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Writing, or the Fine Art of Not

Every now and then I start thinking about story. I'd like to write fiction eventually, something more substantial than the flash I've been given to doing in the past.

I'm pretty terrified to do a novel. I can't figure out a story that has a beginning, middle, and end. I can't come up with anything that really compels me. The desire's not really there yet.

But I've got to say I think I'm going to love the editorial process in hammering out a story. Critically going over it again and again to find the flaws and make it better. I hate doing that with these postings, I mean, it's a fucking blog... get over it, right? Blogs have a stinking air of impermance and permanence swirling together. It matters but it doesn't. It's too new to seem like it could last, you know? (But I'll never delete mine... those people who do, I don't get that.)

Fiction, though... a great story transcends time. I wanna transcend time.

I don't know what sort of story I'd do, either. I suspect I'm geared towards dark, sardonic dramedies. I've only ever really taken one writing class. Maureen Medved taught it, who wrote The Tracey Fragments. She freakin' loved two stories I turned in. I still remember the look of pleasant surprise on her face when I wrapped it up. Then she told me it was very evocative of Denis Johnson's Jesus' Son. Which I've both read and seen and still flatters me to this day.

I think I would write it well. One of those short stories, I want it to be a part of whatever it is I write. It's been a long time since I've seen it. I imagine it's somewhere in all this writing I've found of late... Where, I don't know. Probably in the big fucking box of stuff. Hmm. Anyhow. It's a conversation about a death. It's very dark and emotive, describes the death to a T with all the horror felt from the witnessing of it. I got the chills when I read it the first time. You got to love it if your own tale can make you feel that. Fucking rare to create something like that.

An old friend once suggested that my unwillingness to go into fiction at this point, my inability to find conflict in writing so that a whole story can evolve, stems from there having been so very much conflict in my life, really, for the last 25 years. It's been one big drama after another year after year.

A life fit for a writer, really. The stories I'll tell one day. But whatever. I always thought she was bang on. I wonder if that's why I'm starting to think about it. I think I might be ready to go there in the next year or so.

The part of the story that's going to be really interesting is coming up with the when. "When" the story transpires is so integral, 'cos it changes everything about how it unfolds. Cellphones, pay phones, or couriers? Like how Ethan Hawke's Hamlet cuts more than half the running time of the play out while keeping everything of note in, but by eliminating couriers and bringing in technology to deliver the same messages. It's all about era. I'm always conscious of how the era defines the possibilities for what can happen in older movies versus the newer stuff.

I dunno, food for thought. But you sure as hell can't write a novel until you really know what it's about. Gotta have a good idea of where it can go, how much growth is available to both the characters and the plot. Gotta have meat, else what are you gonna chew on, right?

They say the average age of the first-time novelist is 34 years old. Ha. Go figger.

A FEW MINUTES LATER: Beginning my project for the day, gutting my fridge, making a menu plan, etc, and they've got The Last Picture Show just starting, which I saw several years ago, and have wanted to see again since. Now there's a story about a time and place, man. Classic America.

Friday, April 04, 2008


Found a note on the floor five minutes ago. Written on the back of a receipt. I do that sometimes. Scraps. I have scraps everywhere. Notebooks are good, but scraps are usually pretty bang on, concise little notes, like this one dated Nov. 10, 2002:

"I love having long hair when it's windy. It always makes me feel like an active participant."

Do you realize I have 1 foot of bookshelf space dedicated to writing books, plus a box of scraps, plus another drawer of writing books? One day I'll have to go through them all. Geez. Well, knowing where all of them are -- literally all of them -- is a huge step. Who's to say a big ass bottle of wine and a weekend in might not be a profound step in putting my past closer to beddy-bye sometime as part of my year of change? What the fuck, right? Doing everything else.

'Sides... I wonder what the hell's in there.

Ah, sigh.

Anyhow. Fucking BAGGED this evening. Should hit bed soon... just had this "Wow, let's clean!" spurt there. Whew. Must pace self. Snicker.

Heh. Anyhow! Averted a wee potential disaster on a client's file today, despite being completely fucking brain dead since a bad night's sleep on Monday (fell asleep at FOUR, thanks) following a less bad night of sleep Sunday. Throwing my first Big Bike Ride Day of the year in the mix was a ballsy move but did not invigorate me and instead kicked my ass after I kicked it. But it felt good to be able to solve a problem today. Always nice to contribute.

Yawn. Oh, and apparently it's El Nina or whatever that's giving us this stupid-ass cold weather. And there's much more to come. Glad I broke out the bike for the first big ride when it's still cold. Now I have NO excuses!

May take a spin tomorrow to loosen up a little. Should be nice in the afternoon. Might go buy me the new bike seat I need! THEN I'll have NO excuse. Ha.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some Thoughts On Obama (Again)

If things continue this way, I expect that Obama and his campaign manager will be spoken of with the same sort of "magic maker" talk spent on Karl Rove after he did his work on Bush.

I like Obama a lot but I am under no illusions as far as how shrewd a tactician and master of diplomacy he is. The guy is probably the best pure politician on the scene in decades. Quite brilliant, the way he plays his hand. Always measured, always composed... (unless you're a stupid fucking wanker after him for a picture with no understanding that the guy might have a few more pressing things to do) ...the guy's probably holding back a little for the general election.

Dude's made of Teflon. He's a master of spin. Few politicians could pull out from under the Wright scandal. Suddenly it's uncouth to harp on the Wright thing because America has more important things to discuss. Holy fucking brilliant time to play the race-speech card, man. (Which I think was genius, important, and hopefully the spark to a fire.)

'Course, Mr. PoW uber-patriot McLean will play the anti-America and patriotism card like you won't believe should Obama sail through to the nomination thanks to the "20 years" of history in that relationship.

But there's no way McLean will be able to counter the "he's too old and too connected to Bush to know how to embrace the change we need" argument that Obama will no doubt force-feed the public-- a public that's really starting to drink the Kool-Aid, a public that is drawing a very unique segment of people out of the woodwork.

A story you're going to hear more and more about is the startling pace at which new registrations are magically appearing. Look at North Carolina: 89,000 new voters registered, but only 17% were Republicans. When you're talking about a post-Bush/Gore/Florida political world, those are potentially scary numbers.

It's a year that might well be decided by the margins... and marginalized. More jaded youth than ever before will vote this year, though, and they will vote for change. This will be the election won by people who always figured their vote didn't count. Except this is the year when it really, really does. There's no political machine that can predict that turnout.

If it wasn't for the people I can't stand running for office, I wouldn't vote. There's been one guy I embraced the chance to vote for, and he quit midterm. No one excites me. That's the thing about Obama. Instead of voting against someone, there's finally someone worth voting for.

And the whole Obama-political-mastermind thing, well. I think of it like this. I imagine meeting this incredibly powerful superhero-type zipping around, getting kitties out of trees, stopping cars about to hit kids, all a la Incredibles, right? Then one day you see them explode in fury, maybe because the TiVO somehow didn't get the Jimmy Kimmel Special or something, whatever. The first thing you say is, "Whew! Glad you choose to use your powers for good!"

Yeah, so, Obama should continue his shrewd, tactical schemings, keep kicking ass and taking names, because, hey, he's choosing to use his superpowers for good.

Which he repeatedly points out in his so-innovative-it's-not (like no one ever suggested not taking money from big biz?) fundraising campaign conducted largely on the web and via email (cheap and effective) using the newest of the new media.The guy's a fucking fundraising genius.

I mean, Obama's out there sucking up contributions at a pace never seen before. People are throwing money at him! They have a "$5 is great! We'll take $5!" mentality, while Clinton's running an old-style campaign, doing campaign fundraiser gigs ($500 a plate! for overcooked salmon!) at a 2-to-1 pace of Obama, and it shows! She looks exhausted! He took a vacation. Says a lot. $240 million taken in so far versus her $175 million? Coming from a life where finding a $20 bill makes me happy for three days, $65 million's gonna buy Obama a few more.

Yep. This is one of those phases I'm happy to be living the Chinese proverbial "interesting times". Things are fun to be watching, I tell ya.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Work with me, Mother Nature, you fickle bitch

The joke's on us, kids.

I remember an April Fool's in , '98, '99 or 2000, can't remember which year, when it was about 17 degrees and I was in my cut-off jeans at Lynn Valley park, getting a sunburn with an early season hike!

Today, FROST and a high of 7! UNbelievable! I am NOT happy about this! And don't give me "But they have snow in Ontario!"

So fucking what? They live in ONTARIO, where they get WINTER. This is BC, the infamous Wet Coast, land of three seasons. I want my motherfucking spring and I WANT IT NOW. NOW, bitch, now!

Fortunately there's a three-degree warm-up slated for tomorrow, which I'll believe when I see it, since it includes the prestigious DOUBLE-DIGIT temperature I've been drooling for... but only the bare minimum, since it'll be a lofty 10 degrees.

Whatever. I'm going to take the bike to work tomorrow -- wahoo, real live cycling! -- but today I'm celebrating sloth after not really falling asleep until 3am. Bah!

Mmf. But I'm not as grumpy as it appears. I'm just venting. :)