July 7th, 2008


[travel] Hitting the air once more

At PDX, waiting to go to Omaha. It’s almost like my normal life is back. The digestive issues settled over the weekend with a strict diet on my part, and I’ve upgraded to First Class in order to have easy access to the head, without a long line. Plus Imodium and toast.

As usual, the airport experience suggests process optimization. Message to Gothy chick in front of me in the line: yes, all those jewelry and piercings and metal accessories really do need to come off. And yes, it would have been simpler to take them all off in the first place than to retry the metal detector four times. Also, don’t stand in the express line a little before 5 am. All the flight crew and concession workers flowing past you will stall the travellers cold for ten minutes flat.

Yesterday afternoon I saw Wall*E. Everyone who reads this should go see that movie. It’s one of the sweetest, funniest, most charming movies I’ve ever seen. I will note for the sake of my geek cred that I was literally the only person in the theatre who laughed at seeing Sputnik.

Link salad later, time and the air transit system permitting. Y’all play nice while I’m five miles up in a kerosene-powered tin can.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[books] Things that make me smile

Here in DFW terminal C, I popped into the Hudson Bookseller concession. What to my wondering eyes should appear but a certain paperback, displayed faced? The mass market paperback of Mainspring Powell's | Amazon thb | Audible ], over two months after its release date, still available on the very competitive airport bookstore shelves.

Photographic evidence:

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Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[links] Link salad for a Monday

In cased you missed them over the weekend:

Escapement in The Washington Post [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

Me talking about the emotional penalties of cancer [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

tetar with a letter to the late, great Thomas Disch

The Ethics of Interstellar JourneyingCentauri Dreams bumps into a problem SF has been wrestling with for generations.

First Detailed Map of the Human Cortex — I have commented before that brain imaging studies of writers while they are in a state of writing fugue would probably be quite revealing — if nothing else for performance management. At one point I seriously suggested such a study to a friend who does research psychology, and volunteered to participate.

lillypond with a wonderful photo of the_child

Studebaker Cathedral:: 1908Shorpy with another awesome image. This one borders on apocalyptic, if the Apocalypse had happened during the administration of Teddy Roosevelt.

Freakonomics on the DC gun ban — This article doesn’t align well with my opinions and beliefs about gun control, but it’s interesting, and comments on the available statistics.

McCain promises to balance budget — Hahahaha. Here’s the doozie: The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. I’m pretty sure your average high school sophomore could spot the glaring flaw in the logic. Will anyone in conservative America even notice Mr. Straight Talk’s utter bullshit on this one? Or maybe Your Liberal Media? Nah…

Time in saddle: 0 minutes (travelling)
Last night’s weigh-out: n/a
This morning’s weigh-in: 252.2
Currently reading: Pavane by Keith Roberts [ abebooks.com ]

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[cancer] The IQ tests

Just as a brief followup to last week’s post on the emotional costs of cancer [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ], I had a couple of cognitive reminders today.

On boarding the plane, I tugged out the inflight magazine. Normally I can kick airline sudoku puzzles sidewise in a couple of minutes. I’m not a speed champ, but those things are very accessible to me. I haven’t touched one since the surgery, not even at home.

Nothing. Nada. Zip. I blew the “Easy” puzzle pretty quickly, to the degree I couldn’t untangle it. (I have long worked them in pen, without any of the little “hint notes” you’re supposed to use … pre-op, I could keep all the logic and conditionals going in my head without difficulty and only mark the definitive answers.) It felt like something I knew I was supposed to be able to do — I explained the rules to my seatmate, in fact. But actually doing it? No dice.

So I flipped to the crossword, and managed to rail through that like butter on a stove top. That part of my brain is working well. Which helped keep me from getting depressed about the sudoku, thankfully. And given what I do for a living, it’s just as well the lexical processors are firing on all tubes.

Then I read an actual book; Pavane by Keith Roberts. Or most of it, at any rate. This is the first new piece of long form print I’ve tackled since before the surgery. (I’ve been working on The Alchemy of Stone, but I was already into it before I got sick.) And that part of my brain is working as well, thank Ghu.

So the puzzle pieces continue to return to the table. But it’s still very weird, and discouraging, to simply not be able to do something at which I ordinarily consider myself adept.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.


[travel] The sky, she is the color of lemons and plums

Here in Omaha, after various flight delays of the usual sort. Got my rental car pace the Hertz random upgrade program. The comedienne at the Gold counter asked me if I’d be ok with a Pinto, I told her she wasn’t old enough to know what a Pinto was. My reward, and/or her vengeance, was to give me a Chevy SUV I’ve had before here.

garyomaha met at the hotel as I arrived. I got the room with the trick door handle, which necessitated a return trip to the lobby, after which we went out to Mexican, then Whole Foods for me to buy supplies for the week. I’m here to tell you, you can buy soy yogurt in Omaha.

On the way back the thunderstorm line which had been rattling around all afternoon was high in the west. The setting sun was visible right on the horizon, but above it the clouds and obscuring rainfall filtered the dusklight first lemon yellow, then that weird mauve shade some plums get. The colors were an undifferentiated wash over that hemisphere of the heavens, from just above the horizon to over our heads. I’ve never seen anything quite like it — gorgeous and ominous in one swell foop.

Work tomorrow at the Omaha office. I’m laying low socially these next few days to baby my digestion, and work on “Forests of the Night” which was due, ahem, today. Omaha Beach Party Thursday, then I’m off to San Francisco for various weekend events related to Escapement, home Sunday.
Expect continued light blogging the next few days.

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.