James Spader’s Secretary

I just finished watching Secretary, a movie starring James Spader (of Stargate and Boston Legal fame) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (of Dark Knight fame). The movie is incredibly awkward — I spent a good bit of the movie curled up in a seat, eyes partially covered. It’s full of very broken people who don’t know how to deal with themselves or other people. It’s also about the two main characters’ sadomasochistic, D/S relationship, which is why I was watching it. Well, first because it was James Spader, and second because it featured D/S.

I’ve always been fascinated by D/S relationships; it’s a power play/exchange/relationship that I’ve always wanted to partake in, ever since I first read Elf Sternberg’s Journal Entries eight-ish years ago (wow, that makes me feel my age a bit). I always imagined I would make a good submissive.

I’ve found, however, that I might be too self-contained to truly be able to take part in a D/S relationship. From either end. I have too much sense of self to become a extension of someone else, and too much (or maybe too little) to allow someone else to append themselves to my will.

Not to mention the fact that I very rarely ever truly relax and let go.

I’ve never been sure if the fact that it doesn’t come easily means I have to work harder at it, or if I should just leave it to the naturals. Is it a skill that one can acquire, like any other? If I become good at submitting (or dominating), even in that particular context… what would that mean for me the rest of the time? I don’t think I could segment it from “the rest of me”, make it something so distinct that it wouldn’t show in some way at other times.

Then again, maybe that would be part of the fun, too.

One credit card down!

With the payday last Friday, I sent in the final $500 to one of my high-interest credit cards. One more credit card left, then I’m down to student loans and money I owe my parents.

Such a nice feeling…

I haven’t decided whether I’ll cancel the credit card yet. There are good reasons both ways. I’m not overly worried about my credit rating in the short term, so I’d feel fine canceling it. I’m not tempted to use it, either, though, so it’s not like I need to cancel it to avoid the temptation. I’m more worried about service charges or annual fees.

I should be able to knock out the other credit card no later than by the end of December. Percentage-wise, that’s only a few percentage points off the total amount of debt I have, but it is the scary debt that keeps me awake at night.

What’s the bootstrapping process for this?

I’ve been spending a lot of time writing. Not here, obviously, but in a text editor whose contents only ever make it to my hard drive or a printer. I have a little editing circle with Gregory and Shun that meets weekly to trade chapters/units of our novels/screenplays for editing.

As I knew I would back in college, I’m finding life as a code monkey uninteresting. I didn’t have an interest in sitting in front of a computer hacking out code all day back then, and it’s not so great now that I’m doing it. I know it’s a stepping stone, but what do I have to look forward to in this field? Becoming a lead of bigger teams? Becoming a project manager?

Hmm. I could maybe stand being a project manager for a while.

I thought about going back to school and getting a Master’s or Ph.D. But I’d still be in a sub-optimal situation. I love teaching, but politics tends to make me wish I were still a violent sort.

Of course, the overall problem is that I let what I perceive to be chronic stupidity in people that dictate how I spend large quantities of my time really bother me.

That’s a rather bad trait to have when working in the real world.

Millions of people in the U.S. let other people (who are likely chronically stupid about something) dictate how they spend their time, with little real thought that they should try to get out of the situation. There are, after all, bills to pay and cats to feed.

Nonetheless, I’m looking for ways out. I’m writing with a purpose — to get practice writing for that length, to learn how I best work in an unstructured environment, to learn what tools and processes help me produce the best or fastest work, and maybe… just maybe… to get published.

It will take years for fiction writing to become a career. That’s okay. I can be patient, and I’ve got ideas for stories that will keep me occupied for quite a while.

I also have no doubt that stupidity — even chronic stupidity — exists and has wrapped its warm and comforting tendrils around the minds of plenty in the publishing industry. That’s okay as well. It’s probably ridiculous, but I want a new kind of stupid. I’m tired of going into work every morning and seeing again and again the “stupid” that I read about years ago in textbooks and journal articles.

The same stupid. It’s been done, it’s been written about, ways to fix it have been written about, and the people doing now don’t even realize they’re repeating history. It hurts my mind.

If my current work comes together the way I plan for it to — and I think it will — then I plan to seek out agents while I work on my second work in November. I won’t be holding my breath on this one; I consider it more of a practice novel, but a fun one to write, nonetheless.

I’ll probably still hold my breath anyway, of course.

Being a code monkey pays the bills, though, and while I’m looking at alternate sources for income — especially freelance writing/editing positions — I can’t just quit my day job. Bills and cats, like I said.

A lot of sci-fi writers get shorts published in various magazines and make a name for themselves that way before ever getting a novel under their belts. There are also plenty of other more journalistic or technical media in which I would enjoy writing.

I don’t have a game plan yet, obviously. I’m still coming up with that part, so advice and thoughts on that front are welcome.

Tastee (del.icio.us) links! (August 1st)

Links for August 1st from 03:00 to 03:00:

Awesome smoothie

WO and I experimented this weekend with smoothies and ended up with something rather tastee:

Cranberry/Strawberry Smoothie

  • 1 can Ocean Spray whole berry cranberry sauce (Anyone know of a low/no-sugar alternative? We couldn’t find frozen cranberries, and this crap has high fructose corn syrup in it.)
  • 1 bag of frozen strawberries
  • 3-5 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Blitz in a blender (my low-speed “puree” setting works very well for frozen fruits) until smooth. Makes about 4 1-cup servings at about 270 calories each (ouch! damn HFCS). Very, very tastee, though. The yogurt makes it a little creamy.

If you’ve got frozen cranberries, I’d recommend using 100% cranberry juice as a liquid with maybe a tablespoon or two of sugar.

*nom, nom, nom*