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[personal] Sick

A rocking head cold is settling in. I may be able to beat this with a lot of sleep and low activity over the next couple of days. Of course, I’m getting up at 1:30 am Pacific time to spend most of the day flying home. So, erm…

Anyway, expect limited wit and erudition, and far less progress than hoped on Heart of the Beast and/or Writing Related Program Activities.

[personal] 2008 in review

Highlights of 2008

  • I beat cancer
  • I made the Locus bestseller list with Mainspring
  • I lost 65 pounds and 10 inches of waist size


Novels Published: Escapement thb, Mainspring mmpb

Novels Written: Green, Tourbillon

First Draft Fiction Written (including novels): 612,700 words

Blogging: 260,000 words

Emails: At least 20,000 emails sent and received

Original Short Fiction Submissions: 36

Original Short Fiction Rejections: 14

Original Short Fiction Sales: 21 (one collaborative)

Original Short Fiction Published on my Blog: 10

Reprint Short Fiction Submissions: 6

Reprint Short Fiction Rejections: 2

Reprint Short Fiction Sales: 4 (including two Year’s Best)

Nonfiction Sales: 10


Inches of Waistline Lost: 10

Pounds Lost: 65

Time Spent Exercising: 132 hours, 45 minutes

Goals for Next Year

Novels to be Published: Green thb, Escapement mmpb, Madness of Flowers tpb, Death of a Starship tpb

Novels to be Written: Sunspin (trilogy), several collaborative projects to be scheduled

Additional Inches of Waistline Lost: 2

Additional Pounds Lost: 10

Time Spent Exercising: 250 hours

[personal] A bit more on diet and weight

Since I’ve been discussing my journey through health so much this year, I thought I’d mention that I’ve come back from a ten-day road trip with a net gain of less than a pound. This includes significant social eating in San Francisco, business meals and more social eating in Omaha, travel stress, work stress and the general derangement of life lately. In truth, I’m amazed. I’ll end the year down 65+ pounds from January, and down 10 inches in my waist size.

I suppose it really comes down to portion control and very regular exercise, and a few key long-term deletions from my diet. Specifically: eliminating high fructose corn syrup and red meat, significantly reducing white starches, and significantly increasing fruits and vegetabes.

Next year: I plan to grow taller! Time to eat long foods.

[personal] The intersection between public persona and work life

A very strange, sad thing has happened at my workplace.

I don’t talk about the specifics of my day job much on this blog. I’m not in the witness protection program or anything, it’s just not relevant. My professional role in my workplace has nothing to do with my presence in the world as a writer, or those parts of my personal life which I expose here. I keep the two worlds separate — don’t blog during the workday (duh, I am working), for example.

At the same time, I don’t say anything there on my blog that I would mind anyone at work reading. My life is complex, interesting (to me, at least) and often amusing (again, to me, at least). Unfortunately someone at work didn’t see it that way.

Late last week I won a major quality award at work. This happened while I was on vacation in San Francisco, and it’s a pretty big deal. One of my co-workers apparently disagreed with my fitness for the award, because this past Monday during the executive staff meeting, somebody slipped into the business unit SVP’s office (our CEO, basically) and left a folded copy of my vasectomy post [ | LiveJournal ] on his chair. My co-worker very helpfully highlighted my blog address (which is my name) in green marker at the top and bottom of each page, in case he missed the point. The printout was unsigned, the leaving in the big boss’s office done in secret.

I can only assume this was meant to make me look bad. Certainly no one of good will wishing to share something funny would sneak it into the big boss’s office anonymously. The post talks about my reproductive health, and cracks jokes about sex and masturbation. Would I talk that way in the office? Of course not. But that post wasn’t made in a work context, and wasn’t intended for my professional audience.

As it happens, the big boss was annoyed at whoever left it. My boss was livid at the fact that someone was sneaking around trying to undermine one of her people. We talked about it today, and my response was to simply go public with the issue. (Of which she strongly approved, by the way.) I’m not going to hold back now because someone I work with turns out to be a petty sneak.

To my co-worker, whoever you are: If you believe my personal conduct and self-expression outside of the office is professionally inappropriate, take it up with me, or your manager, or my manager, or the HR department. But have the balls to put your name on a complaint about me talking about having my balls trimmed.

I’m not mad at you. In fact, I feel sorry for you. Your world must be pretty wretched if anonymous grade school sneaking is the only way you can see to better it. You might ask your pastor or your therapist or your life partner or your boss if you handled this situation well. I think you’d be surprised at the answer you receive.

You’re certainly not going to shut me up. And you’re not going to get me fired. I don’t back down in the face of bullying, especially not anonymous bullying. Neither do the people who just gave me that award, and have kept me employed for the past half-decade and more.

As for everyone else who reads this blog, and the rest of my work, know this: I do not compromise. You get the real, raw, honest me. I can do no more, and I owe every one of you no less.

[personal] Goals, great and small, achieved

A couple of miscellaneous items worthy of note. This morning I weighed in below 220 for the first time in over two decades. Also, the galleys of Green are going out in the mail today back to Tor, with humongous thanks to for the assist.

It’s not even 6 am and I already feel accomplished… In the mean time, Day Jobbery beckons.

[personal] Living inside my body

Interrupting Gelastic Jew has an interesting post today on life choices, body image and the whole diet/exercise thing. By curious coincidence, I dropped below 220 pounds this morning for the first time in over 20 years. That’s 65 pounds lost this year, officially, and eight inches dropped from my waistline in that same process.

I’m sympathetic to her comments about obsessiveness and choice. And I don’t think I’m obsessive about this stuff myself. (This from the guy who can take a two and a half hour walk at 3 am…) In my case, I got scared straight about the overall state of my health through my excellent cancer adventures last spring. Then I leveraged some metabolic changes arising from my colorectal surgery — specifically, as I seem to have utterly reset my sleep clock, I took the two hours gained in my life every day and dedicated a significant portion of it to exercise. Likewise I’ve maintained some core dietary changes initially forced on me for medical reasons.

Was that a sort of get-out-of-jail-free card? Yes, if you can bring yourself to think of cancer that way. I didn’t have to break and reform a set of habits. They were broken and reformed for me. Where my discipline has been applied is in not simply resetting to my pre-cancer lifestyle. I haven’t missed a day of exercise since I first crept back to the stationary bike for five minutes one morning last July. (The one exception is travel days, where I figure I take enough steps hiking through airports to make up for it.)

I don’t think I’ve become an evangelist for lifestyle change, except possibly by example. I certainly don’t have a case of the one-true-way-ism to which Interrupting Gelastic Jew refers. In fact, quite the opposite — I wouldn’t recommend my path to anyone. On the other hand, I quite like where it has taken me. Living well may be the best revenge, but it’s also the best argument, at least in this context.

And living inside my body is the only way to live.

[personal] …and a wee bit o’ miscellaneous updatery

One more squib before I launch into my work day. This weekend, the_child decided my house wasn’t writerly enough. To effect the change she believes in, my daughter rearranged my living room and created an attractive and functional promotional display so that visitors to the house are greeted with an overview of my work as a writer. Photographs later, when time permits. She did a lovely job, and even set out some of my business cards. Kid’s a natural born publicist, I tell you.

In other news, I’ll be out for a minor medical procedure later this morning. Recovery time is expected to be nil — this is something I can drive myself home from — but if I’m feeling unexpectedly wonky this afternoon, there may be less blogging than my hypergraphic norm.

[personal] Miscellaneous updatery

Working today here in Portlandia. Fireside writers this afternoon and evening.

Off at 0:stupid early tomorrow to San Francisco for the CTIA Wireless Entertainment Expo, a major trade show for the Day Jobbe. I will be seeing some, all or none of you there at various times of the weekend, as I’m staying over til Sunday morning to do writerly things and friend things.

In other news, I dropped into the 235.x weight range today. I’m closing in on 50 pounds lost for the year, and I’ve shed eight inches in the waist size of my pants, threatening to go down another step soon. I’m quite pleased with myself.

As of next week, I’ll be working on Tourbillon. There’s always a bit of dread for me right before stepping into a novel project. It’s rather like jumping off a high board knowing I’ll have to fill the pool with water on my way down. I haven’t made the big bug splat yet in my career, but the possibility lurks at the edge of my thoughts like a cat at a mousehole. The only cure for writing angst is writing, so anon I shall write.

[links] Link salad sneaks in during a busy day

Rosetta and the Language of Hope — An interesting story at the intersection of linguistics and astronomy.

A blueprint to regenerate limbs — Studying salamander genomes for a clue to human regeneration. Didn’t Frank Herbert write about this?

Bad Astronomy on the rise of measles in the US due to the anti-vaccination movement — Longtime readers may recall that this form of social parasitism is a particular hot button of mine.

Freakonomics on preventing gun deaths — Money shot: “The elevation of the gun to sacred political status explains in part why 30,000 annual gun deaths have not given rise to anything like the complex regulation of, for example, the automobile or pharmaceuticals.”

Time in saddle: n/a (40 minute brisk walk)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 240.6
Currently reading: The Avatar by Poul Anderson

[personal] “Still waking up in the mornings with shaking hands”

Went to bed last night at 9:15. Woke up at 3:15. Went for an hour-long brisk walk along 120th up Miracle Hill, down the other side to Dodge Street, then back again to the hotel.

This new sleep schedule rocks. I’ve gotten 2+ hours into my day that I’ve never had before. I’m using one of those for exercise, and the other for miscellaneous to-dos, which in turn will open up my evenings with a little more writing time. One of the weird gifts of the cancer and surgery has been this reset on my sleep clock.

It’s also a lot more adjustable. I can go to bed at 8, 10, midnight, whatever, and still sleep six hours. I feel rested, and energized. The flip side is that I have a lot less margin of error. If I do short some time, or stay up too long, it catches me hard and fast.

A new way to live. One I’m enjoying a lot. Who knew? Really, truly, who knew?