January 15th, 2010


[links] Link salad lives in a house in the sky

A reader reacts to Trial of Flowers

A reader reacts to Metatropolis

Penny Arcade on Herman Melville — I think my brain is broken now.

Photo prayers — A lovely site. (Via Bill M.)

Parabolic days ahead — The subtitle on this sign is even weirder.

The Tet Zoo guide to the creatures of Avatar — A working biologist looks carefully at the movie. Lengthy, cool post.

Chinese farmer builds robot army — I, for one, welcome our new mechanical overlords.

The Rehabilitation Of Joseph McCarthy? Texas Textbooks Process Grinds On — Confidential to conservative America: When one of your cultural heroes is a vile, prevaricating, power-hungry manipulative drunk who was one of the most destructive political figures of his era, you might want to re-examine your principles.

The Manimal Prize — More on the power of pink unicorns, and perhaps the sociology of poverty. (Via private message, thanks to my tipster.)

Hullabaloo on Pat Robertson — This ties in exactly to what I've been saying about the privileging of Christianity in American society. Remember: this man used to call up the fucking president of the United States. And he got through. And the president listened to him. You ever had that kind of access to power? Got it now? (This in the context of Robertson's flatly insane Christianist remarks on the Haiti disaster.)

?otD: George or Jane?

Body movement: 60 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 7.0
This morning's weigh-in: 225.0
Currently reading: Bangkok 8 by John Burdett


[personal|cancer] What rough Friday slouching toward the weekend waiting to be born

Oi. So my first week of being the Toxic Avenger is drawing to a close. A week ago this morning calendula_witch, shelly_rae and I all trundled off to the infusion center for chemo session one of twelve. As I documented extensively at the time and since, my primary side effects have been fatigue, food issues and digestive issues. It's kind of like having a stomach flu all the time. If my chemo responses stay on this axis, I'll be damned grateful.

Anyway, calendula_witch is back in the WitchNest in San Francisco, where markferrari is visiting. shelly_rae is back at her home in Seattle. scarlettina is here for a few days, keeping track of me. (And I apparently do require some keeping track. Being alone will probably involve a checklist.) She and I are off to Seattle tomorrow to attend a party and spend a bit of time there. I'll visit with shelly_rae on Sunday, then take the train home.

It's been a difficult week in other ways. Day Jobbery is running pretty hot — which is fine, that is what they pay me for — but as I've said to calendula_witch, too many things are happening at once. I've managed to make my exercise goals every day, even with the fatigue, but I've missed my writing goals these past two days. Bobbled a couple of important things in my personal life, in the lessons-learned department, not in the disaster-in-progress department, but still distracting, upsetting and ultimately sobering. Combine that with a pretty thumping parenting fail midweek, and I've been feeling ragged.

Several people have suggested to me that I should cut myself some slack for chemo brain, fatigue and general stress. I refuse to hide behind that. There may come a day when the drugs make me crazy enough for some vile words to be spoken by me, and if that day comes, I'll need the people who know and love the real me to do the knowing and loving. Right now, mild incompetence, poor decision quality, the odd spot of moral cowardice, and the vagaries of parenting a pre-teen are, well, part of my life. One of my cardinal rules is not to make the same mistakes twice. If I do have a fear for chemo in this context, it's that I might wind up doing exactly that. Like Groundhog Day, except with cytotoxic drugs.

I had hoped to have part 2 of the pink unicorn post [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] up this morning, examining some of my own assumptions and errors of thought with respect to the intersection of politics and religion in our culture. I have not managed to do so yet, and won't before the weekend at this point, but I respectfully direct you to the comments thread on the LiveJournal version of that post. Some good stuff there.

Given the ongoing discussion on my blog about religion and politics, I note with full irony Pat Robertson's flatly insane Christianist remarks on the Haiti earthquake. That is the intersection of American religion and American conservatism in full flower, people. From a man with access to presidents and an audience of millions. And it's stark, raving crazy stuff, fully privileged by our media and social discourse. Exactly what I'm talking about. And for my Christian friends who object to me lumping all Christians together when I talk about this stuff, Pat Robertson is one of the people who is Brand Christian in our media and culture. He asserts to speak for all God's believers, not a specific set of conservative-identified Evangelical sects. As far as our news cycle, and millions of American voters, are concerned, that "pact with the Devil" crap is the Christan perspective. I certainly don't see any moderate Christians getting his airplay, or owning his political credibility. (And to be clear, a meditation on the identity politics of religion is going to be part of that next post, when I get it done.)


[fiction|help] "Not Much of a War", fundraising for Haitian relief

Per the initiative hosted at Crossed Genres, as first reported by Cheryl Morgan here, I am participating in the "Post a Story for Haiti" project. Crossed Genres will host links to stories posted on individual writer blogs or Web sites, with links and click throughs for Haiti donations.

I am posting "Not Much of a War". This is a previously unpublished short story in the Flowers sequence, which takes place about midway through the novel Madness of Flowers Powell's | Amazon ]. If you like this, please link to both the story and to the Crossed Genres page, and give whatever you think the story is worth to Haitian earthquake relief.

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© 2010, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.