Today’s Glimpse Into the Incredibly Glamorous Life of a Writer, 8/10/13
Posted on August 10, 2013 Posted by John Scalzi 48 Comments
May I present to you the thing I snack on as I write. It’s a combination of the cheap, bagged knock-offs of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Grahams and Frosted Flakes — or as I like to call it, “Writer Chow.” I like it because it’s inexpensive, it’s laden with sugar but also vitamins, which allows me to pretend it’s not empty calorie junk food, and one bowl is about 150 calories, which is a nice, easy amount to keep track of.
And there’s your insight into one writer’s life for the day. Try not to let the rest of the day be a disappointment to you.
And a bright pink bowl in honor of your gammarabbitude.
Realistically, I think we have to see the spoon before we can pass judgement.
Wait! No spoon? Oh dear.
There’s a rich metaphor there about taking an assortment of mundane, everyday experiences and combining them into something rich and strange in a creative way that enables others to share your unique insights. Slightly nutty and flaky, perhaps, but…
…okay maybe not.
There Is No Matrix Reference.
In my house we refer to this as “Munchie Cereal”
My writer chow of choice is a good trail mix (nuts and dried fruit, possibly with some chocolate thrown in).
The proper response to the question of whether a food is “good” or a “good choice,” is “Compared to what?” For example I like Frosted Flakes as a sweet snack. FF would make a terrible breakfast – especially if I had them every day – but they’re better for my health than the candy bar or large bag of chips I’d otherwise have.
How the heck do you keep the sugar from gunking up the mouse?
But do you wear fuzzy slippers too? That’s a real test of writerly glamour.
When I want breakfast but am totally uninspired to cook anything, I usually eat generic raisin bran, but I am intrigued by your Winter Chow.
I think the calorie figure implies no milk. I’m pretty sceptical of the industry apparently founded by the crazy crank-health-food Kellogg brothers to sell us banged grains, sugar, salt, and cow infant nutrition fluid as a morning meal. I do eat it but not for breakfast, sometimes supper; as a Scotsman, I should favour oat porridge (-yes-, grains, but salt optional), but instead I follow either a recommendation to start the day with protein, which I choose in the form of a microwaveable chickenburger-in-bun-in-bag, or to seek out vegetables and fruit, which I honour with 75-100 centilitres of supermarket “smoothie”, taken over a couple of hours. This may not work for you; it doesn’t really work for me,
The Chow extends life…………………☑
The Chow expands consciousness…..☑
The Chow is vital to space travel……..☑
He is the Sticky Fingerach!
And to think, I was eating Red Vines. Maybe switching to Writer Chow will make me a bestselling author. Kind of like eating Wheaties is the key to being an Olympic athlete.
So that’s how you tell someone is a professional writer!
I have done straight up comparisons of Malt-o-Meal cereals to the “name brands” on a few occasions, and frankly, in most cases I think they are better.
As to sticky fingers… I invent things. Most of them, it turns out, do not appeal as widely as I had hoped. But one time I was thinking about cheese puffs. And I thought… Why am I settling for food that makes my fingers sort of sticky, when I could have food that bonds skin instantly? Sadly, no one else wanted to buy cyanoacrylate puffs.
Living in Northfield, MN – the home of Malt-o-Meal cereals – I approve.
May I also submit for consideration multigrain cheerios mixed with peanut butter?
The only kind of peanut butter that works is the kind you get in the bulk aisle where you watch the machine grind the peanuts for you on command. No sugar or salt or weird stuff added.
@ shatle: Hey, I was in Northfield just the other day to visit Carleton College! Small world, huh?
When I glanced at the picture my first thought was, “John does the last of the cereal Dad thing just like I do.” See, the Dad is the one that has to mix one or more cereals cause no one else will and he doesn’t want it to go to waste. Trouble is, if you do it long enough, you mix cereals even when you don’t have to.
I like the Kroger brand knock off of “Life” cereal mixed with the knockoff “Honey Nut Cheerios” for a snack. Then throw in a handful of dry roasted peanuts.
nom nom nom
Breakfast cereals make excellent chow, indeed. I got through high school with Lucky Charms in the morning and less-sweet dry cereal as Valedictorian Chow in the evenings.
But I have NAME BRAND frosted mini-wheats for my chow right now. Plenty of sugar, but they’re whole grain, so that’s good for you, right?
I need trail mix… think I have gorp ingredients to hand. (Whoa, spell check recognizes “gorp” as a word. Groovy).
Gulliver – I heart your check-boxes…
Floored by … I hope you enjoyed your visit to Carleton – I assume as a prospective student or perhaps faculty member?
I went to the good school across town – St. Olaf College :-)
Seriously – Carleton is a good place. I have friends there in faculty and admin.
This is the kind of thing that makes Gary Taubes cry low-carb tears.
What’s the most unnerving thing about this, that you’re not the least bit sorry about your nutrition (or lack thereof). For the spaghetti monsters sake cooking isn’t all that hard, John.
And my orthography sucks.
Does it make its own gravy? I’m also surprised no one has made a reference yet to Futurama’s Bachelor Chow — “Now with flavor!”
Here’s a list of most, albeit not quite all, ASCII codes:
Typing the actual code isn’t necessary. You can cut and paste. Some may not work on webpages running very old versions of the HTML standard.
There’s even some hearts ♡ ♥. Enjoy!
I love how you write, but seriously, cut some of the carbs:
Jeff Schweer – I also found this reminded me of Dad Breakfast. In our house it was a handful of each and a couple spoons of sugar on top. Shame he never turned out any award-winnign sci-fi novels though :) (I still love you Dad!)
Jon – I find it hard to take seriously any diet that outlaws bananas and apples…
I love the food police/health trolling going on here. It’s cereal, folks. He’s not mainlining HFCS-coated lard. And even if he was, it’s none of your damned business whether it’s healthy. Mind your own body and let others do the same, yeah?
I tend to not try to eat while I’m writing. I get involved in what I’m doing, and then the hot food gets cold and the cold foods warm up and start being icky (yes, that’s a technical term). But, if was to eat while eating, your choice seems like a good one.
Also, agreeing with Seebs that Malt-O-Meal cereals tend to be better than the name brands. Especially the frosted flakes. I do prefer real Rice Krispies, though.
“Moderation in all things, including moderation” ~ Gaius Petronius
Granted, one of Nero’s hedonistic hangers-on yes-men is probably not the best person to take life advice from, but even a corrupt courtier is right twice a lifetime.
Floored: if you haven’t read Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin, you should. It’s set at a fictionalized version of Carleton. It’s also awesome.
Nothing beats Cheerios. It might be #1 on my list of top ten foods you would want to have if stranded on a desert island.
AML: Don’t you know? Merely mentioning your food, let alone showing a picture of it, is akin to a gilt-edged invitation inviting commentary and opinions on whether you should be eating it (and the answer is almost always no) and what you should be eating instead (generally, as little as possible). Because Heaven forbid somebody just Eat Food.
Don’t worry about people criticizing my food. I give criticism of what I eat the consideration I think it deserves, and I leave it to you to guess how much that is.
When I need energy to write I just slice off a piece of the wild fatberg I captured and keep in my garage. It’s full of calories for energy, I’m fairly certain some of the chemicals in it count as vitamins, and the rotting diapers give it a nice flavour. All in all, the perfect snack. Nom Nom Nom!
Hm. When deep in a writing project, I usually am powered by what (in my fiction) I call Alain Harper’s Divine CocoMocha. Or failing that, Starbucks Mocha Frappuchino (the canned variety: chilled nuclear power in an attractive aluminum container). :D
Washed down with a pint of scotch, I hope.
40 comments and no one mentioned Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs? I’m shocked :)
I recently discovered that myself. That cereal = snack = vitamins and minerals. Oh, but don’t anyone be fooled by Chex Mix! If you don’t make it yourself, it’s not using the fortified Chex.
Man, every time I stop by this page I see the sugary cereal and want some to snack on. But we don’t have any. We only have the healthy whole grain no sugar added fru fru cereal. Nowhere near as compelling. Organic gluten-free whole-oat O cereal just isn’t the same. *sigh* And of course we’re out of trail mix with chocolate in it because that always goes first.
Strawberry flavored frosted mini wheats for the win!
That cereal combo would send me on a vicious sugar ride. The drops are particularly unpleasant–cold sweats, brain misfiring, etc.
I prefer cashews and dried cherries.
so what happened to John’s diet?
Gulliver: Thanks for the link to the long HTML entity table. I’ve used a few of these before, but I didn’t know about all of the funny miscellaneous characters. I’m looking forward to the day I can work ☥ into a conversation. Hey, I just did!
@Gulliver: Thanks for the link. I will try not to misuse it. Just when I need to get my graphical 2¢ in.