Fat shaming

No, I said "fat" shaming, not "hat" sha... never mind.

No, I said “fat” shaming, not “hat” sha… never mind.

Don’t worry. I’m not getting on my soapbox twice in one night.

Of course, no one is entitled to fat-shame others, and I doubt it produces the allegedly desired effect of  weight loss in the recipient of the shaming.

Unless that recipient is me! That’s right. I’m fat shaming myself. I’m allowed to.

For the past several years my Sketchers have been holding up 200 pounds, or 91 kilograms, of dude. Though I am only of average height, I carry my weight well because I am solidly built. That said, 200 pounds is not great for my health. I didn’t get this way eating carrots.

I decided it was time to lose weight (for real this time). Unfortunately, my willpower is far from amazing, which is why I often diet down to about 195 pounds and then put it right back on.

Two weeks ago, when I started dieting again, I said, “I’m going to do a post about my weight loss goal. Fear of public embarrassment helped me hit the first and second draft deadlines for my novel, so maybe it will work for my diet.”

My Significant Other said, “Yeah. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. You’re far more disciplined as a writer than as an eater.”

The actual comment was probably closer to, “Don’t embarrass yourself, Chubsy Ubsy,” but I’m trying to make her look more supportive than she really is.

Anyway, the scale read 195 pounds this morning. My goal is 175.

I’m not setting a deadline because I have no idea how long it will take, and because I don’t need one. I will either continue to lose weight, or I will cave in to the lure of junk food well before I get anywhere close to 175 pounds.

Wish me luck!

If you’re curious, my diet method is the only one that ever works without the assistance of a surgeon: Burning more calories than I take in.



The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams did a field report on catcalling this week, which you can watch in the two clips below (I don’t know why the segment is broken into two clips, but it’s shorter than six minutes total).

Predictably, the “real men” of the internet who watched the video think all the “sluts” out there should learn how to take a compliment. A few samples from comments thread attached to the Yahoo.com article about the aforementioned Daily Show segment:








Dear Catcallers,

You may consider “Hello,” and “Can I have your number?” to be compliments when directed at a woman passing you on the street. At worst, they are innocuous comments, right?

The thing is, it doesn’t matter if you think it’s harmless. What matters is that women DON’T LIKE IT. Why can’t you get that simple concept into your tiny australopithecine brains? They do not want to be catcalled. They don’t think it’s a compliment. It doesn’t make them feel special. It makes them uncomfortable. Ergo, don’t do it.

It’s all about context. Say “Hello” when you are invited to a party and meet a woman there who was also invited. If she is receptive to your conversation, keep talking. If not, leave her alone. The part about “Can I have your number” should come much later in the conversation. If you’re not a jackass and treat her with respect, she might even ask for your number one of these times!

No one is denying attraction between the sexes or insisting that you can’t look at someone you find attractive. But leering at her and feeling a sense of power because you are making her uncomfortable has nothing to do with attraction. It has to do with you getting a rush at someone else’s expense, which is what catcalling and related behavior really is. If you’re upset at being criticized for that, tough.

A little sliver of writing motivation, just for you

Cue the music.

Any writer with hopes of publication experiences moments of doubt, sometimes wondering if the game is rigged. That is, unless you are in the Super Secret Club and know the special handshake, you won’t ever be accepted. You don’t even know where the clubhouse is for cryin’ out loud.

If you’re feeling like that these days, here’s a little shot of motivation: This week, four people I know… four real, not-in-a-super-secret-club writers I know had stories accepted or published. I don’t mean random bloggers I tracked down with publication-related tags so I could manufacture a post. I mean writers who regularly interact with me here or on Twitter.

Those writers are JH Mae, Barbara Myers, Jodi Milner, and Philip Wesley (whose announcement came on Twitter, hence no link).

See? Real humans do land stories. Come to think of it, I’m not sure Philip is entirely human, but he is a reasonable facsimile. His cat can’t tell the difference as far as we know.

Stuffs other creative people are doing…

I can’t take the pressure anymore. The blogging.  The overdue changing of my guitar strings. The other whatchamacallit… my novel. I’m collapsing under the weight of it all!

Or, you know, I’m lazy.

So I’m going to let other people be my content today. First up is a photo of the brandy-new novel Occasional Soulmates by real live author Kevin Brennan. This is my copy, so you’ll have to buy your own on Amazon.com. I had Godzilla and Ghidrah stand next to it for scale. Kevin did not tell us the book was 950 feet tall with a 7000-point font. That stinkin’ rat.

Occasional Soulmates and Godzilla


Next is a new video by my buddy Chase Bell, from his almost-as-new record I Know U U Know Me. This tune is all kinds of folky and acoustic, which some of you kids will probably like:


Finally, video blogger and writer Franchesca Ramsey explains why racist comedy, especially “blackface,” is hurtful. This woman is subjected such a barrage of daily insults from racist and misogynist trolls on Twitter and YouTube that I marvel how she can stay so positive:


Well that was easy. Thanks, Kevin, Chase, and Franchesca for generating all that content so I can be a lazy bum and slap it up here as if.

Comments and discussions about hot sauce may be submitted below for instant devouring by the aliens of Planet X.

My 5 Favorite Werewolf Movies (with Bonus Monster Poll!)

True story: Werewolves have always been my favorite classic monster. I love werewolf movies. I spent my pre-teens running around the house pretending to be a werewolf. The first R-rated movie I ever saw in the theater was American Werewolf in London. Heck, my grandma knitted werewolf feet for me.

Another true story: I don’t feel like blogging about writing, so I hope you like werewolves.

My 5 Favorite Werewolf Movies

  1. The Howling. Every werewolf movie should aspire to be The Howling. Tons of werewolf action, gobs of dark humor, and a plot that ditches every single werewolf convention in cinema. They can transform at will, day or night, and, for once, the werewolves want to be werewolves. By the way, a list of the worst werewolf movies ever could consist solely of Howling sequels. Yikes. They are the pits.



  1. Curse of the Werewolf. Gothic horror has lost its luster to me over the years because it’s so predictable, humorless, and conservative. I’ll always love this flick, though. It has my favorite werewolf design of all time, and Oliver Reed’s intensity is perfect for the tortured antihero.

Curse of the Werewolf

  1. The Ginger Snaps Trilogy. Yes, I’m cheating and putting three movies in one slot. It’s my blog, darn it. The Ginger Snaps films are black comedy at its finest: Lycanthropy as a metaphor for menstruation, with an awesome deadpan performance from Katharine Isabelle as Ginger. Who is remarkably beautiful and charming in person, I have to add. I met her about a year and a half ago, and I’ve never felt more like Gollum standing next to another human. Here’s the half of the picture I’m not in:

Ginger Snaps2

  1. American Werewolf in London. Everyone has seen this by now, right? The transformation scene is one of the greatest set-pieces in the history of horror films.

American Werewolf

  1. Curse of the Devil. This Spanish horror film (real title: El Retorno de Walpurgis) is pure, unrelenting, gratuitous trash. I love it.

Curse of the Devil

  1. Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. I was fairly obsessed with Lon Chaney Jr.’s Wolf Man character when I was a wee lad. Most of those creaky horror movies from the ‘30s and ‘40s don’t hold up that well, but this one is pretty brisk and entertaining.

Frankenstein meets

The 3 Keys to Writing Success

Disclaimer: I don’t know what the heck I’m talking about. But neither does anyone else, I reckon, or that expert would be the only person a writer ever listens to. So it’s possible that, however accidentally, my advice today is worthwhile.

The changeling

If a writer tried to follow all the writing tips flying around on WordPress, agent/publisher blogs, and in writing magazines, she would probably explode like that robot on Star Trek who couldn’t handle paradoxes (by the way, why do electrical things in the twenty third century explode instead of flashing a useless error message like every HP printer I’ve ever owned?).

If you’re a writer, I’m sure you’ve found yourself exasperated by all the contradictory messages (sometimes from the same source) about what you should be doing that you’re not. I used to get frustrated too, but then I stopped listening to advice and became much happier.

I think a lot. I analyze. I study logic. If someone said I reminded him of Spock, I’d take it as a compliment. Through thinking and analyzing and logicating, I’ve formed a hypothesis that the following three activities are the keys to writing success, and the rest is noise. They are drawn from the worlds of business, sports, entertainment, science, and personal observation.

If you see me selling lots of books with my name on the cover someday, that means my test supports my hypothesis, ‘cause the following are going to be my three writing practices from now on. If I’m wrong, you will have long forgotten this post and me. I can’t lose!

Practice, Practice, Practice

Whatever you do—be it knitting, painting, playing Pong, photography, writing, or following some skeleton keyother passion—nothing beats practice. The Malcolm Gladwell 10,000-hour rule, however unscientifically derived, is hard to argue with on a practical level. If you want to be an advanced writer, you’ve got to hammer through the beginner and intermediate stages. If you can’t push through, you aren’t cut out for having writing passion.

Kristen Otte is an author many of you know from WordPress. She writes a cute children’s book series about the adventures of Zelda, her pet pug, as well as sports-themed young adult novels. Her prose is as clean, slick, and professional as any you’ll find in Barnes and Noble. Although I believe there’s such a thing as innate talent, I’m convinced Kristen’s work is that good because the woman is simply possessed by the urge to write. She writes a lot. Her daily tweets typically say things like, “Finished another manuscript today.”

To get good, we gotta write.

Modeling Successful People

Ripped from the pages of business books!

skeleton keyPeople often dish writing advice based on their personal quirks and preferences rather than on proof that what they say is true. I’m sure you have your own advice peeves, but my two are “You have to use an outline” and “You have to join a writing group.”

Since heaps of authors have written blockbuster novels without using outlines (Stephen King, Elmore Leonard, and JK Rowling, for example), and tons more never joined a writing group, the above declarations are really just personal choices. If you write better with outlines, use outlines, and if you enjoy the support and experience of a writing group, join one. But don’t tell me I have to.

I prefer to study what a successful person did to achieve success, not what [irony/paradox alert] people like me say. Everyone takes a different path, of course, but as with practice, you can’t argue with success. If Writer X makes the bestseller list, don’t you want to know how?

It works in business and sports, so why not in writing?

Stop Worrying about What Other People are Doing

Yes, model success. No, don’t compare yourself.

skeleton keyDo you know what type of athlete is most successful? The one who keeps practicing when others are off watching TV. The one who doesn’t worry if someone else scores more points or gets more press. The one who listens to his editor coach. Any sports psychologist will tell you so.

Another bit of advice I often get is to read everything in my genre and know what my competitors are doing. Why? Is that going to make my writing better? Is it going to help me finish my novel? I doubt it. From one writer to another, I wish you success, but when I’m creating, I ain’t thinking about you, and you shouldn’t be thinking about me.

Bonus: A key to blogging success is “Keep it under 800 words.” So, on that note, peace out homey.

Don’t forget to sound off in the comments!

3 words every insecure writer needs to understand:

[that's just about all of us, last I checked]

its not personal

Today’s post inspired by this story from editor Lynn Price.


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