April 14th, 2012


[links] Link salad looks down upon the smiling faces

10 Epic Steampunk Cats — A funny little project for which I was both the initial inspiration and the writer of the introduction.

About Female Characters (or as I like to call them, Characters) — Adrienne Kress Is Wise. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Writer's Block — Hahaha. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

In Defense of “Nutty” Commas

What fictional character shares your birthday? — In my case, Forrest Gump and Freddie Krueger. (Snurched from Andrew Wheeler.)

Lots of planets have a northLanguage Log on planetology and Dr. Who. Also, the comment section on this post is hilarious and well worth looking through.

Ways to Throw Your Sandwich Away — The Niece is funny. (Thanks to [info]lillypond.)

Getting a sense of the census — A nifty slideshow about the 1940 census.

Cancer Medicine is Stuck in the PastThe chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society calls for a genomics-based approach.

Discovering the Mutants Among UsLast year, the Sanger Institute boldly announced "We are all mutants" when a study was published showing that healthy individuals carry around 60 new mutations from their parents. I'm not sure why this is a bold announcement. I find it interesting but utterly unsurprising.

Emperor Penguins Counted From Space—A First — Um, wow...

The Wrong Stuff: North Korea’s Failure

The Messerschmitt Me 323 Gigant — A photo of one of my favorite WWII aircraft.

This Is, In Fact, Your Grandfather’s Safe Sex PSA — Whoo! (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

The Wonderful, Unpredictable Life of the Occupy Movement — (Thanks to [info]tillyjane.)

Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA[O]f the 49 signatories on that letter, not one is an actual working climate scientist. That should give you pause. The overwhelming majority of scientists who study the actual data and work with the actual climate models concur on climate change. (Much the same as with evolution.) Denialism only comes from those with ideological or personal axes to grind. Which, to a denialist, is a valorizing endorsement of their position as a courageous outsider battling the conspiracy. To the rest of us, that's a strong clue about where reality actually can be found.

How Washington Forgot Where The ‘Buffett Rule’ Came From — Parrots for everyone! No, wait, wrong Buffett.

Catholic group criticizes Paul Ryan — Obviously, Catholic leaders who disagree with the Republican stance on any issue are Communists and secret Muslims.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker Breaks Into Building, Abducts Woman Inside — A hilarious spoof of what the conservative talking points would be on Cory Booker. This comes perilously close to violating Poe's Law.

On taxes, Republicans repudiate Ronald Reagan — More of that justly famed conservative intellectual consistency. Conservatives are about Reagan the way Evangelicals are about the Bible: the icon means whatever they want it to mean, despite the actual words and deeds. Inviolably so, until the next time they change their minds.

Do Republicans realize they’ve just called for the repeal of welfare reform?Slacktivist Fred Clark on the logical consequences Republican party's brand new discovery that motherhood is hard work. Not that conservatives are ever responsible for the logical consequences of their positions.

Hilary Rosen was right: Ann Romney has never worked a day in her life. — Yes, the party that demonized and vilified Hillary Clinton with a tissue of lies is shocked when someone accurately challenges a candidate's wife. Mmm, conservative principles in action.

Obama: Spouses should be left alone — Nice sentiment, and one I happen to agree with, but you are talking to the same conservative politicians and punditocracy who've spent the last two decades shredding Hillary Clinton. They certainly don't agree with Obama, unless, of course, the spouse in question is a Republican spouse. In that case, basic fairness insists that no GOP candidate's spouse ever be treated the way Democratic candidates' spouses routinely are.

?otd: Did you polarize the pumpkin-eaters, static-humming panel-beaters, freshly day-glow'd factory cheaters?

Writing time yesterday: n/a
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.25 (solid)
Weight: 242.2 (!)
Currently reading: Somewhere Else by Sally McLennan


[books] The Bone Doll's Twin by Lynn Flewelling

I just finished reading Lynn Flewelling's book The Bone Doll's TwinPowells | BN ]. That was a fun and creepy book.

Now, usually in my lexicon "fun" and "creepy" don't have a high overlap. I've never been a big fan of horror movies, for example. Yet I do like reading both New Weird and dark fantasy as subgenres, so clearly this isn't a profound impediment to my ability to enjoy literature.

Flewlling's book is fantasy of the "hidden prince" theme, except with some pretty strange twists. She's not afraid to go to the most darkly logical corners of the arc her plot and characters follow. That's part of the fun. The sheer, bizarre creepiness that infuses this book borders on the delightful, and raises The Bone Doll's Twin above the usual mark of such fantasies. Not to mention the seeping dread that infused the story.

This was a fun read. I'm going to be seeking out the next two books in her Tamir trilogy to see how it all comes out.


[cancer] I got me the brain-eating heebie jeebie blues

Sometimes the universe sees fit to hand me a blunt force comeuppance. Just a couple of days after I blog about how I can always find time to write, and that I am almost never blocked [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ], I am blocked.

Yesterday was very hard for several reasons that don't have much directly to do with cancer. Thursday night's misadventures with leaving my wallet in Lincoln City had me both badly exhausted and short slept. These days it's easy to forget that I'm less than four months out of chemotherapy, but I do still tire more easily than in baseline health. So I started yesterday feeling like hell. Then I spent most of the day at the hospital with a friend. (Yes, everything's fine, but I still spent most of the day at the hospital.) While simultaneously juggling a difficult set of Day Jobbe issues that ran on well into the evening. (Yes, everything's fine, but I still spent most of the day juggling difficult issues.)

Yesterday was pretty much a loss from a writing perspective. But I knew it would be going in, and declared it as such. In fact, yesterday was such a loss that I went lights out at eight o'clock last night. That's way early for post-chemo me. Slept solid for over nine hours, too, so obviously I needed it badly.

The joker in the deck isn't all that. Physically, I feel pretty recovered this morning. I'm giving myself a break and not rushing into my day as I am wont to do. It's the cancer stress that's killing me now, and was almost certainly killing me yesterday as well.

The next CT scan is Monday, two days from now. The next round of oncology appointments are Wednesday, four days from now. These scans are always very, very hard on me. Any of them could be a death sentence for me. Any of them could mean I lose yet another year of my personal, social, emotional and writing life to surgery and chemotherapy. And that's even if I have no reason not to think I'm clean, that I'm not cancer-free.

Unfortunately, at the moment, there is good reason to suspect I'm not clean.

As you know, Bob, we found a new lesion on my liver as a result of my prior CT scan in February. The clinical status of that lesion is undetermined. But given my personal history of throwing metastases on a roughly annual basis, it's very, very hard for me to be optimistic about this.

My brain is empty. The stress monster has slurped it up, burped it out, and shit in my empty skull just as a special bonus.

I'm almost certain there will be no writing today. I'll be amazed if there will be any writing between now and next Wednesday's oncology appointments. Unfortunately, right now I am in book mode [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. I have deadlines, admittedly self-imposed, but no less real for that.

Cue a cycle of guilt, recrimination, and irritation. Irritation at myself and at the cancer.

The objective reality of this situation is that I'm nicely ahead of schedule on Their Currents Turn Awry. I budgeted April and May to complete this draft, and I'm only 50-60,000 words from being done. Possibly a bit fewer. Given that I have seven weeks left, and I'm averaging 3,000 words per writing day on this project, I have loads of time.

But objective reality isn't exactly the point here. The cancer-induced brain-eating heebie jeebie blues are the point here. Or not.

Today, I'll go to [info]the_child's lacrosse game, visit [info]lizzyshannon, have lunch with my parents, visit with my friend H—, and still have plenty of time to write if the vapor lock in my head clears up. Even if the vapor lock doesn't clear up, I'll have a fun, busy day with people I care about, who care about me. Tomorrow is just as committed, hiking with friends in the morning, then dinner with [info]mlerules, then an evening conference call on an exciting new project.

I'm doing the best I can here. Unfortunately, cancer laughs at my best. Stupid fucker is eating my life.