March 2008

Last night I got smashed!

Two shots of black rum, two shots of absinthe, and the gallant Kevin had to more or less pour me into the car. I’ve figured out WHY I like absinthe–it’s the only drink I’ve had where I can’t taste the alcohol, because the intense licorice taste, for whatever reason, kills the perception of alcohol. (I’m hypersensitive to the taste of alcohol–whenever people wave fruity drinks around and say “You can’t even taste the booze!” believe me, I can taste it. Absinthe is the only thing I’ve found where I can’t.)

Fortunately Jason and Badger were on hand to keep me amused while I was sinking into the depths of toastitude (it was Jason’s fault, he was pouring the drinks, although I think Badger had a consulting position on the absinthe.) Then home, stayed up until 3:30 or so, slept the sleep of the just until a bit after noon, and woke up full of boundless energy and desire to get some art done.

See, I don’t get hangovers. Get me absolutely trashed, and I am informed that the next morning I transform into…a perky goth. (I know. The horror.)*

This actually–to put on my armchair psychopharmacology hat–leads into my theory that it’s the Effexor that’s causing my lack of motivation, since one of the effects of drinking alcohol while on Effexor is supposedly to counteract the effects of the drug for several days. Not so good when it’s keeping you on an even keel, but it WOULD explain why lately whenever I get smashed, I wake up motivated and bouncy. Alas, I still get TIRED, but I’m hoping once I’m off the meds, I will bounce back to my usual levels of psycho productivity.

Then again, that may just be silly. Brain chemistry is rarely so straightforward.

But I feel good today, I had a great night, I spent a chunk of the morning discussing theology** and now I’m going to be bad and not work on any of the writing I’m supposed to do, and instead paint some stuff for my own amusement, because I haven’t done that in a dog’s age.

Life is really pretty damn good.

*My buddy Dave puts forward the theory that I am actually transferring my hangover to everyone else in the vicinity. This is entirely possible, but I would like to state for the record that it’s involuntary.

**Surprisingly, not a euphemism.

Sadness and Sadism

So over at Digger, at long last, we’re getting Ed’s backstory.

I can’t imagine it’s a spoiler for anybody to learn that Ed’s story is an unhappy one.

And y’know, it’s funny. I’ve known his story for YEARS, I have mulled it over in the back of my brain and planned it out on sleepless nights, and yet, as I write it down, I still find myself hurting for poor Ed. Feeling bad for your own creations may be a sign of lunacy, I dunno, but I think it helps–I write out the narration and it’s like exploratory surgery, finding the phrases that hurt the most.

It’s sort of a relief to have it out, at last–I’ve been the only one who knew Ed’s history, and there’s a certain catharsis in finally sharing it.

Of course, there’s also more than a little fear–this is dark stuff I’m dicing with, and at the end of it, I don’t have a clearcut moral, and I’m treading on some very thin emotional ice, and I more-than-half-suspect that by NOT having a clearcut villain and blameless victim and so forth, I’ll piss some people off, and having all the usual gender roles reversed, since they’re hyenas, is probably not gonna buy me any slack on that front.

(Okay, okay, this may not make any sense right now–come back in a month, really.)

But I gotta say…and this probably makes me a bad person, but other writers admit to it too, so I’m not the only one…there is a really EVIL glee involved as well. I have been setting this sucker up for YEARS. I may yet screw up the ending, I may lose the reader, I may wallow too much in misery before we hit the end and leave people feeling pissed-off and manipulated instead of emotionally moved, but for the moment, by god, I have the readers by the emotional short hairs, and I intend to pull.

There is obviously a sadistic streak in writers, and it’s kind of scary how fun it is sometimes, when you feel you’ve really earned it.

More Adventures in Psychopharmacology

Annual poke-and-prod accomplished! Nothing seems to have exploded, my OB/GYN is still the fastest swab in the west, I am healthy as the proverbial horse…and I weigh 145lbs. Fully clothed.

Apparently I’m STILL losing weight.

I don’t WANT to lose weight. Much more of this and I’ll start to look like a toast rack or something. The window for me looking HAWT appears to be “anything under 160” (and 170’sstill pretty smokin’, in the right clothes) but I suspect that the lower limit isn’t much down from here…as my friends all say “You look amazing! Now eat something. Have some cheese. Are you sure you don’t want a sandwich, maybe?”

Fortunately, I’m now slated to go off my meds in the next couple of weeks–finish out this bottle, go on a week of half-doses, and then try none. Effexor, I am warned, is sometimes hard to go off of, so if I start suffering undue withdrawal, I’ll go to an even more gradual process of a half dose every other day and so forth, but since I’m not suffering hideous fates if I accidentally skip a pill, we’re hoping for an easy weaning.

Apparently two to three days after I stop taking it period, I’ll be crawling the walls–takes four or five days for the body to get over withdrawal and kick its own seratonin production back up. I’ll issue a Temporary Insanity Memo for friends and loved ones at that time, so nobody’s caught flat-footed if I do something egregious like call up sobbing at 3 AM.*

If I REALLY can’t hack it–if I’m not back up to what I percieve as normal function in a week or so–I may go back on the half-dose, which should hopefully alleviate some of the more problematic symptoms (my increasingly lack of motivation and excessive sleeping) while keeping t’brain chemistry happy.

Also, I love my doctor. Who else starts calling in the nurses to check out my tattoo?

*I have done this two or three times in my life–all in the past year–and I really hate doing it. It’s just so needy. Still…well..sometimes you need it! And I have very very good friends and family, and they have always been very good about it. I therefore owe the universe several 3 AM weeping vouchers, and it may collect at any time. 

Ahhh…home at last.

Had horrific luck at the airport–my flight was canceled, there was no customer service, and I had to tromp around until I found a US Airways ticket agent. Who put me on a direct flight–yay! Had to go through customs twice–less yay!* Had to spend four more hours in theToronto airport–even less yay! Got to the direct flight, only to discover that half a dozen of us going to RDU had been forced onto an already full flight. Which had only one open seat.

Not yay at all.

Which, since I had been the first one up to the ticket counter, through no fault of my own, I got. Since everybody else was couples or was willing to stay at a hotel, I took it, with much thanks to Ganesh for removal of obstacles, and got home about an hour after I would have anyway.

And there was much rejoicing.

Ben glued himself to me with his usual “OH GOD NEVER LEAVE ME AGAIN!” post-trip neediness, which extended to sitting on my chest every time I laid down. Ben is a good cat. Unfortunately he’s working on a hairball at the moment, but he’s polite enough to jump down if he thinks he’s going to vomit. This is a good trait in a pet.

And great news was waiting on my desk! Apparently Nurk has been named a Junior Library Guild “Premier Selection,” which comes with a snazzy gold foil medallion thingy they can put on the cover and everything, plus a certificate suitable for framing. (Which I shall do.) I had no idea what that meant, but Kevin was waving his arms and saying “School libraries! Front and center on displays!” at me, which certainly sounds promising.

Nurk seems to be getting a lot of recognition pre-publication–I mean, it seems like a lot, it’s not like I’ve ever done this before, so I dunno how that is comparatively–but I’m certainly pleased! Now, if the publishers would just buy book two…

And today, I need to catch up on all my e-mail, and do a Digger. And then tomorrow Black Dogs 2 is in my lap for editing, but that will be a process extending over several weeks. And I have catbirds to finish painting, and I had a really great painting idea while I was on the subway, and my agent wants to see more of the bread wizard and I have to put serious work in on Dragonbreath and I have Cthulhu to paint, soooo…yeah, gonna be a busy month, I think.

It was wonderful to have a vacation. Had a blast! But there’s something kinda nice about coming back to work, too, and it’s always good to be home.

*Writing “Adult novelties and cheese” was embarrassing enough the FIRST time…


YAAY! Today there was birding, and it was good!

Wound up at the beachfront of Lake Ontario, and it was colder than the hind end of hell–brisk wind, gusts up to 50kmph, I’m told–but oh, the waterfowl! Mute swans, canvasbacks, long-tailed ducks, more lesser scaups, bufflehead, grebes, black scoter, red-breasted merganser–apparently a lot of stuff overwinters on Lake Ontario. It was AWESOME.

After awhile Graydon, who is actually made of iron and Goretex rather than flesh, said, “I will admit that I am getting cold.”

“Mmmm,” I said. “Yeah.”

“It’s a long walk back.”

“Right. We should get going…”


“Hmmm? Oh….Should probably put my binoculars down, huh?”

“That would probably be best, yes.” *

Apparently it had been over an hour, in the wind, and I was wearing gloves that I had chosen for their rather snazzy shade of purple rather than their insulating capacity. (I thought it had been about twenty minutes. Possibly I get a titch obsessive when waterfowl are on parade.) I was very cold. I am not sure if “cold” even does it justice, or if I was experiencing whatever lies on the far side. But I got a whole slew of lifers, have completed the merganser set, and it was AWESOME.

And in my next life, I am sooooo coming back as a male long-tailed duck. They are possibly the coolest looking birds I have ever seen. (Go! Google them! I’m not gonna link because we tend to crash sites.) And there was a whole flock! And they were beauuuutiful!

And then we went home, and the Toronto subways have ads for gay dating services in the subway, which is damn enlightened of them, and I was sufficiently pleased by that and all the birds that I didn’t even mind the bus ride that was so packed I felt like I needed an STD test by the time I disembarked.

Put that camera away, Graydon, or I swear I’m going to eat it.

Mute swans know they’re cool.

(Graydon titled this one “Pink Ninja assailed by doubt” and I cannot improve upon the description.)

Tomorrow, home to North Carolina! I have thoroughly enjoyed Toronto, it’s a really awesome city, one of the best I’ve ever been in, and I hope to return some day…when my credit cards are less likely to catch fire…but it’ll be nice to be home as well.

*This is a man who brought 50 feet of rope along in his backpack, in case I got overenthusiastic after a bird and plunged into rotten ice.  As anybody who knows my birding habits will admit, this was a very good idea, I just found it funny as hell.

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