some small consolation

Posted: April 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

No matter where you go, no matter what decisions you make…

…your love life will never suck as much as this guy’s.



That’s rough, buddy.

~ Ian



Who exactly is “Victoria”, and what is the secret that she is concealing?

~ Ian

Friend of Axolotl Ceviche Blake Hihara sent me a youtube video of this guy.

It’s kind of cool and freaky seeing this guy. Because he looks EXACTLY LIKE ME.

It’s seriously weird.

I will demonstrate:

If your headphones aren't keeping your ears warm, THEY AREN'T MANLY ENOUGH. (Also, weird faces are fun.)

If your headphones aren’t keeping your ears warm, THEY AREN’T MANLY ENOUGH.
(Also, weird faces are fun.)

Basically, what this means is this: there is some alternate, less-handsome version of me out there who is better at singing than me. Which means that we should probably never meet. For, you see, this man must be the anti-Me, and should we come into contact, we will undergo electron-positron annihilation, presumably blowing up the earth.

Or he is a clone. Or I’m his clone.

In any case: Things.

~ Ian


Normally, my dreams aren’t very interesting.

But lately, I’ve been having nightmares. And not the usual, I’m-in-a-public-place-with-no-pants kind. I mean full blown journeys into the surreal realm of terror. I’m talking about being trapped in a coffin of rotating knives, or having my skin slowly rot off my face and peel away to reveal gray and putrid flesh underneath. If this were a N.K. Jemisin novel, I’d be gushing dreambile. I’m talking real nightmares, dreams with sharp razorblade teeth.

You must understand. I’m not complaining.

Actually, it’s awesome.

I’m a fantasy writer. Dreams are literally the stuff that fantasy is made of. And because my tastes tend towards the darker side of fantasy, it’s even better. Occasionally I’ve had story ideas or worldbuilding come through in my dreams. Having nightmares– really scary nightmares– is like winning the lottery on Christmas. I wake up from these dreams with adrenaline flowing through me and a big smile on my face. It’s a great feeling, like my brain is giving me a key to into Jung’s shadow. I embrace the horror, and it fuels me.

Am I supposed to be scared by them? Eh. I’m not one of those idiot fantasy fans that the snobs in the Great Literary Circle Jerk think the genre is made entirely up of. I know the difference between fiction and fact, between dream and reality.

But dreams are important, and nightmares doubly so.

So come on, brain. Show me terror. Let me gaze into the ever-burning eye of Hell. Bring me to the edge of death and sanity. I’ll let the darkness flow through me, and turn it into an engine that powers writing like I’ve never done before.

Do your worst.

~ Ian

(Dream Theater, “Octavarium”)

(Present Day Ian: I haven’t been blogging much lately. But that doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to share stuff with you. This was a piece that originally appeared on January 7, 2012, a week after the blog went up. Which means that most of you probably missed it. Well, since I thought it was kind of funny, here it is again. Enjoy. ~Ian)

I understand that not everyone in the multiverse is a skier, and since I understand that there may be some confusion when I refer to ski terms, I have compiled this list of trail ratings for those non-skiers out there. Now you will know what I talk about when I describe a “blue” or “black” run. Don’t say I never did anything for you.

~ Ian

Standard American Trail Ratings:

Brown Line: Completely flat. Nothing interesting ever happens on these runs, because there is no challenge. Most skiers refer to the brown slopes as the “shits”.

Hazards: None whatsoever.

Green Circle: Mild difficulty. The “green” runs are easy, and for that reason, are constantly clogged with screaming children, screaming adults, adults going at walking speed, and people who generally have no idea what they are doing. Because of the various people clogging these runs, they are actually more challenging for experienced skiers. Finding your way down a green run is a bit like playing a game of Tetris on snow. In fact, most green runs are equipped with speakers that play the Tetris theme, speeding up as you reach the end of the slope. For this reason, the end of the run is usually the place where the most crashes happen. Watch yourself.

Hazards: Small children of indeterminate gender in enormous puffy board jackets that make them look like pink or yellow marshmallows; snowboarders who decide to sit down RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT to adjust their bindings; massive clumps of adult skiers from Southern California who have never been above a thousand feet in their life and flock together like spray-tanned chickens, going as slowly as possible and NEVER LETTING YOU PASS THEM; medium-sized children on snowboards who fall down in the middle of the run and NEVER GET UP, grannies on snowboards.

Blue Square: Moderate difficulty. Most ski resorts consist of mainly “blue” runs. However, do not be decieved by the rating: blue runs can range in difficulty from glorified green runs to ice-covered bowls that shoot you down the hill at forty miles an hour and leave you a battered, shivering wreck at the bottom of the slope. As always, decide what is best for your own difficulty level before you choose to go down a blue run. Everyone else on the mountain will thank you for it.

Hazards: Trees; rocks; chairlift poles; gondola towers; people going slower than you; people going faster than you; asshole teens on snowboards; asshole sixty-year-olds on telmark skis; blind skiers; deaf skiers; people listening to loud music on their headphones (so they might as well be deaf); snowmobiles going uphill; snowmobiles traversing across the run, just suddenly coming out at fifty miles an hour AND GIVING YOU A FUCKING HEART ATTACK; snow bikers.

Black Diamond: Advanced difficulty. The “black” runs consist mainly of high-elevation bowls near the peaks of the mountain, narrow chutes, Olympic-class mogul runs, and runs that look more steep than they actually are. These runs are specifically for more advanced skiers, and the lift operators will look for the black diamond tattoo placed in a secret place on your body after you take the Advanced Skier and Snowboarder Holistic Orientation and Learning Examination (also known as the ASSHOLE Test). Don’t be afraid to lie about your qualifications before getting in the lift line– if you are an attractive young woman, and you show enough skin, the lift operators may be fooled into thinking that they “saw” a black diamond tattoo that wasn’t actually there.

Hazards: Cornices; powder; small cliff drops; icicles; ice patches; moguls; professional snowboarders on their days off; people who like to ollie over other skiers/riders as they come down the mountain; people who run into you from behind (watch your back); overzealous ski patrol; underzealous ski patrol; chutes.

Double Black Diamond: Experts only. Don’t think I’m kidding– these runs are for only the best of skiers. Only the fabled Octarine Tesseract runs are more difficult than the “double blacks”. Do not attempt these runs if you doubt your courage, or your strength– for death awaits ye with big nasty pointy teeth.

Hazards: Broken bones; perforated spleens; abraded testicles; post-traumatic stress disorder; incontinence; paraplegia; quadriplegia; Bleeding Everything Syndrome; other skiers who are being escorted down the mountain on stretchers by Ski Patrol after snapping their necks like a twig; blood patches; scattered limbs; entrails strewn from various trees; large cliff drops; that sinking feeling you get when you realize the peculiar smell that has been following you around for the last ten minutes is coming from your own pants.

Octarine Tesseract: The most challenging of all ski runs, the Octarine Tesseract Runs are so difficult that they ACTUALLY BEND REALITY. Have you ever wanted to ski inside one of M.C. Escher’s nightmares? Well, NOW YOU CAN!

Hazards: non-Euclidean cornices; gravity vortices; temporal anomalies; bowls that are bigger on the inside than the outside; Möbius chutes; secret ice caves that teleport you to various other locations on the mountain WITHOUT WARNING; vomit; tears; hatred; madness; a slow but unmistakeable feeling that the world does not have any order, and NEVER REALLY DID;  the Abominable Snowthulhu.

Gold Star: VIP ski runs. Most people are never allowed to enter these exclusive portions of the mountain. In fact, they are never shown on the trail maps. However, savvy skiers know that they exist. Gold Star runs are always surrounded by “AREA CLOSED” ropes, but savvy skiers know that the ropes blocking Gold Star runs from the public are made of red velvet. Plus there is always a bouncer standing next to the ropes. That’s a dead giveaway. In Gold Star runs, there is always champagne powder– not the ordinary type, but SNOW THAT IS MADE FROM REAL FROZEN CHAMPAGNE. Look for the halfpipe filled with caviar at the bottom.

Hazards: Drunken celebrities; helpful butlers; murderous butlers; coked-out record executives lying in the middle of the run, blitzed out of their minds; Kardashians; very exclusive call girls; the 1%.

Platinum Star: Wait, you actually believe in the Platinum Star runs? Those are only an urban legend!

Pink Triangle: These are the gay sections of the ski resort. Originally imported from swinging French and German ski resorts, certain progressive states such as California and Vermont regularly have Pink Triangle runs. You can tell that you have entered a Pink Triangle run by the fact that loud techno music is playing from speakers on the chairlifts, Gore-tex and fleece jackets have been replaced with baby oil and black leather, and the seven-foot-tall Austrian gentleman who rode up the lift with you is trying to put his tongue down your throat.

Hazards: Regular Gay Pride parades coming down the mountain; Fetish Night (every second Thursday of the month); AIDS; one-night stands; the possibility that you may come to question the foundations of your own sexuality; the possibility that you will be shanghaied into a mob of impeccably-clad gentlemen with nice hair and lisps and forced to sing old Judy Garland showtunes.

Red Pentacle: Red Pentacle runs start on the actual mountain, but once you start going on the run, you suddenly realize that you are going down, down, down, into a fiery cavern filled with magma and hate. Soon you grow to realize that you can’t stop, and as you descend, you go faster and faster, skiing on the frozen corpses of damned souls. Eventually you see it: the vast, vulvoid iron gates of the Nether Realm. They swing wide, and a handsome, smiling man is there to greet you. He wears an impeccable suit, and sunglasses that seem to reflect flames in their lenses. “Welcome to Hell,” he says. “Our Dark Master is awaiting you.” It is only when he turns that you realize that he has a long, pointed tail…

Hazards: Sulfur; brimstone; eternal damnation; herpes; the possibility that you will have to spend eternity with Jerry Falwell.

The Bunny Slopes: In the Swinging ‘70s, Hugh Hefner purchased small portions of every ski resort in North America to turn into a Playboy Mansion-themed amusement center. However, when the financial recessions of the late ‘80s hit, Playboy Enterprises had to turn their ski runs back over to the ski resorts. Even so, the “bunny slopes” still have hundreds of gorgeous, exploited young women, bouncing out of their scanty bikini tops as they go over moguls on their pink diamond-studded skis. For those guests who want to look at a different kind of scenery as they glide down the slopes, the bunny slopes are the place to go.

Hazards: Boobs; tits; drunken celebrities; people having orgies in the middle of the run RIGHT IN YOUR BLIND SPOT; the vodka-filled sex grotto that’s located just to the right of the unloading area at the top of the lift.


May I just say how delighted I was to learn the etymologies of the word “hoser”?

It’s such an incredibly Canadian word (basically meaning “loser”), and it has the most Canadian etymology of any word I can think of.

Basically: the losers of hockey games, back in the days when hockey was played on frozen lakes and rivers, had to hose off the ice in order to make it all smooth again. IT IS A CANADIAN SLANG WORD THAT COMES DIRECTLY FROM HOCKEY. YOU CANNOT GET MORE CANADIAN THAN THAT.

Now if only we could throw in poutine, Rush, and Scott Pilgrim into the mix, I think that there would be a singularity of Canucktitude.

Ojalá que tu sabado sea excelente,

~ Ian


So. I thought that I’d talk to you guys some about what’s been going on with my book.

Or, rather, books. Because I have two of them now.

That’s right. I’m working the first draft of a second novel, entitled Daughter of Flame, which is the book that I mentioned in this post. It’s a YA fantasy novel set in sort of semi-quasi-modern times. It’s basically the story of Fiona Lyesmith (American Gods reference intentional), who is the half-mortal bastard daughter of Loki. It’s got a lot of stuff in it. I’m only at the beginning now, but I’m planning on including lots and lots of things: Kitsune assassins, and elves, and dungeon crawling, and chaos magick, and the Fates, and flying goats, and all kinds of other awesome stuff.

And there’s music. Fiona Lyesmith is a singer, and music is a key part of her life, just like writing is a key part of mine. So I’ve sprinkled liberal references to Fiona’s favorite bands throughout the book, which include some of my favorites as well. Of course, I’m not a musician, so I’m mostly making stuff up here, but in the case of fiction, verisimilitude beats realism nearly every time. Besides, I feel like all creative people have the same feelings about their work, whether they’re writers or musicians, game designers or bakers.

In any case: Daughter of Flame is coming along. I’m still at the stage where I’m getting to know the characters, but I like them, and I’m getting to know them better. The novel is YA (young adult), so I have to have a different mindset when it comes to writing it. I’m not as comfortable with including explicit violence or sexual content as I am with some of my other work. In addition, I can’t swear, which feels kind of uncomfortable. I’m a sailor-mouth. I prefer it when I’m able to cuss. The fact that I’m pretty much reduced to using “crap” and “damn” when it comes to swearing feels like a weight around my neck sometimes. (Even so, I’ve kind of fallen in love with the phrase “Jesus Christ on a stick!” which my characters use, and which I’ve found myself saying sometimes.

I’ve also come to realize that Daughter of Flame is sharply different from most YA these days, which I dignify with the term “smoldering magical teen boy with abs abstinence porn”, or SMTBWAAP, for short. (It’s pronounced sumtubwhap, so you know.) You know the kind. It’s the kind of chaste paranormal high-school romance that has been burning up the charts because of Twilight and its ilk. Daughter of Flame is not that. It’s kind of the opposite. It’s heavy-action, slightly intellectual mythological portal fantasy with a kickass soundtrack. I could never imagine Fiona Lyesmith listening to Linkin Park, Maroon 5, or Justin Bieber. She likes to rock out to Lacuna Coil blasting a hole through her eardrums. If she met Justin Bieber, she’d probably pants him.

So, yes. Good music, Norse gods, and cool characters: that’s how I think of Daughter of Flame.

As for Baby #1? It’s coming along nicely. I’ve written six chapters of Draft 2, with a total wordcount of around 25,000 words (basically, this means that it’s a fifth of the length of d1). I’m not looking forward to the massive cuts that I’m going to have to make. I’m probably going to have to get rid of around 50,000 words before I sent Lotus out to agents and publishers. Line edits won’t be enough. I’m going to have to cut whole scenes. Which is bad, because I love what I’ve written. I love the characters and the world that I’ve created. It’s going to be hard to lose some of that.

Oh well. I can put some of the deleted scenes up on Axolotl Ceviche when that happens. (By the way, this summer I’m probably going to migrate everything over to, which I own. Just a heads up.) There’s a lot of work to be done before Lotus is going to be of publication quality, but I can get it done. Finishing d1 has given me a huge burst of confidence when it comes to writing.

Speaking of which: Remember “Cassandra”, that story I wrote WAY back in April of 2012? Well, it’s going to be a screenplay.

More on that soon.

~ Ian



  1.  “Pull Me Under”, Dream Theater
  2. ‘Wish You Were Here”, Pink Floyd
  3. “Have a Cigar”, Pink Floyd
  4. “Knights of Cydonia”, Muse
  5. “Pigs (Three Different Ones), Pink Floyd
  6. “Welcome to the Machine”, Pink Floyd
  7. “Under a Glass Moon”, Dream Theater
  8. “Starlight”, Muse
  9. “Money”, Pink Floyd
  10. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V)”, Pink Floyd
  11. “Another Day”, Dream Theater
  12. “Take the Time”, Dream Theater
  13. “Dogs”, Pink Floyd
  14. “Sheep”, Pink Floyd
  15. “Echoes”, Pink Floyd
  16. “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” (Parts VI-IX), Pink Floyd
  17. “Supermassive Black Hole”, Muse
  18. “Surrounded”, Dream Theater
  19. “Take a Bow”, Muse
  20. “City of Delusion”, Muse
  21. “One of These Days”, Pink Floyd
  22. “Pigs on the Wing (Part One)”, Pink Floyd
  23. “Stylo” (feat. Mos Def and Bobby Womack)”, Gorillaz
  24. “Code Monkey”, Jonathan Coulton
  25. “Skullcrusher Mountain”, Jonathan Coulton

Actually, my musical tastes are broader than this list seems to indicate. I just like to listen to Pink Floyd.

A lot.

~ Ian

Okay. Silence.

Not a good thing, I suppose.

Noting my recent blogging activity, I can see that there are times where I write every day for a few days, and then leave a silence of about a week. I laugh this away, saying that I’ve been “sporadic” or “random” with my updates, but there’s actually a reason for why I haven’t been writing a lot lately, and it’s kind of personal and kind of painful.

On Axolotl Ceviche, I typically don’t write about personal stuff. Sure, I write about things that happen to me, writing things and that sort of stuff, but I don’t talk about what’s really going on in my head. Partially because I don’t want to bore you guys, but mostly because I’m scared to.


I’m often public about the fact that I have Asperger’s Syndrome, which is an autistic spectrum disorder. Basically, what it means is that I have a lot of the symptoms of autism, just without linguistic impairment. I’m sure you can tell that I can communicate just fine, which isn’t what most people assume of autism, so people just assume that I’m another neurotypical. This isn’t the case.

One thing that comes with the whole “autism package” is anxiety, and to a lesser extent, depression.

I’ve dealt with this all my life. There hasn’t been a time when I haven’t been anxious or depressed. (Note that when I say “anxious”, I don’t mean it like most people say it. I mean I’m in a constant state of nervousness for no discernible reason other than the chemicals in my brain don’t work right.) Every day, I had moments when it felt like the walls of my throat were closing in and my heart was pounding like I was dropping into a fifteen-foot cornice, when I felt trapped in my body and I couldn’t do anything but wait it out. It was a terrible feeling, and it happened all the time. It was only recently that I realized that I was having the symptoms of a panic attack.

These feelings have triggers, of course, but it’s stupid to look at my childhood or crap like that in order to determine why I have them. The reason isn’t psychological, but neurochemical. I don’t have panic attacks because I was abused as a child (which I decidedly was not). I have panic attacks because my brain does not work correctly.

Recently, they’ve been getting worse.

A week or so ago, I tried counting off the number of times that I had a panic attack that day. I lost count at about ten. I’ve been living basically on the ragged edge of collapse for about a month now. Even writing about it now, I’m feeling those symptoms. And it’s terrible.

I feel so out of my comfort zone even talking about this in public, even though nobody reads this blog. Meh. Fuck the comfort zone.

Going in public, riding the bus, knocking on the door to a friend’s house… every time this happens I feel like I’m about to die. Even just sitting at home and thinking about nothing will bring an attack on. A couple months ago, I had my first ever suicidal thoughts. I just wanted to take the easy way out, and not have to worry about anything again.

Do you know how scary that is? To sit in your Syntax class and be afraid to even move, to even blink, because all you can think about is your own goddamn death? I’d never had those thoughts before, and I was terrified. And looking back even further, back to last year, when I was so angry at times that I wanted to punch the wall until my fingers bled… suffice to say that I’ve been feeling like shit for years, and it’s not getting better.

I can see into my future and it seems terrible. I’m worried that I’ll turn into a complete agoraphobe. Even interacting with the world is hard, and I’m so scared of people and change that it’s just going to get harder and harder. And you know what the worst thing is? I can’t even imagine being in a world where I don’t feel like this. The idea of being happy terrifies me even more than the idea of being dead. Because I can’t imagine a world where I’m not constantly anxious. To me, happiness seems as impossible as surviving a head-on collision with a black hole.

I can see the future, and all I can imagine from it is pain.

I’m not writing this to be angry, or get attention, or because I’m worried I’ll kill myself, or anything like that. I just needed a place to express myself, and considering that Axolotl Ceviche is mine and mine alone, it’s as good a place as any. Likely this post probably won’t even be read, the same as all my other posts. But that’s not the point. I need a place to say this. It’s like the story of King Midas’ barber. I’m whispering all this into the reeds, because I need to tell someone that the king has ass’s ears.

That’s all.

Nothing more.

~ Ian

(Thrice, “Stare at the Sun”)