December 26th, 2012


[links] Link salad rings in Boxing Day

The trailer for Lakeside, the documentary about me and cancer, is up — Waterloo Productions has it.

Giving Mom’s Book Five Stars? Amazon May Cull Your Review — Hmmm. They need to do something about the review system, especially the one-star "punishment reviews" from the $9.99 ebook lunatics, but is this the way? Not that I care, it is Amazon after all. (Via my Dad.)

Crafty Peruvian spider builds its own decoy — (Via David Goldman.)

Termites act as tiny miners, lead humans to gold

Jack Klugman’s secret, lifesaving legacy — He once stormed the beaches of Normandy. He later stormed the beaches of the Senate. (Via [info]danjite, among others.)

The Moral AnimalReligion binds individuals into groups through habits of altruism, creating relationships of trust strong enough to defeat destructive emotions. Nice of the author to say that. Has he looked at the public face of religion in the United States? Public religion in the US is not about altruism and trust. It's about hating gays and liberals, punishing women and the poor, persecuting private sexual behavior, and promoting conservative in-group politics. Those positions have come to define religion in the public square in this country, everything from the Mormon church's disgraceful support for Proposition 8 to the Catholic bishops' pathetic but adamant lies about the ACA and birth control. Not altruism, persecution.

DUI Charge: Jan. 4 Court Date for Idaho Sen. Crapo — Hey, lookie here, a Mormon teetotalling Republican senator arrested for DUI. Good thing we have decades of moral leadership from conservative politicians and media to demonstrate the private lives and personal errors of politicians are off limits. I'm sure Senator Crapo will receive the respectful treatment he deserves, just like the Clintons and the Obamas and Kennedys always did. Meanwhile, yet another conservative public scold is revealed as a inevitable hypocrite, but no one on the Right will care. Social conservatives, my ass. Look, Clinton's penis!

?otD: Do you box?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (8.0 hours solid, 0.25 hours napping)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (30 minutes on the stationary bike)
Weight: 210.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block confiscating firearms and shutting down the Internet: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks


[cancer] Things are looking better

As of yesterday, the nine-day reign of terror in my lower GI seem to have abated. I won't feel certain about this until at least another day has passed without untoward incident, but pace my car-on-ice rhetoric, after 24 hours without any overt symptoms, I have abandoned the antidiarrheal meds.

So far, so okay.

If this business has settled, I can get back to post-chemo recovery, which seems to have gone to Hob for a game of poker with souls. After the colonic spasms of two nights ago, last night I experienced muscle spasms along my spine, along with the more generic lower back and hip pain I normally associate with Neulasta. Except rather a bit later than expected. Because reasons. It's like the virus that was giving me the horrid lower GI effects was holding everything else hostage, too. (And no, I did not acquire Stockholm syndrome.)

This morning there was great if brief confusion when I discovered the "Monday AM" pillbox empty. Yes, I am going back to work today. No, this is not the day after Sunday. Sometimes I can keep up, sometimes the world is like one of those popup snakes in a can.

I will be so profoundly relieved if the current lower GI reprieve turns out to be a true ending to the madness. This last week has been perhaps my most miserable chemo week ever.

A true Christmas miracle for this atheist?


[child] Sometimes she nails it so hard my heart is like to burst

So I have this kid. [info]the_child. You may have heard of her?

She's fifteen. She's got all the usual frustrations and issues of a fifteen year old. Plus the challenges of fairly severe dyslexia. Plus adoption issues. Plus transracial issues. Plus a father who's been mortally ill since she's ten, whom she knows is racing the clock to live to see her graduate from high school. Plus all the pressures you might expect all of the above would place on mental and emotional health.

In other words, she has far more reasons to be the selfish, self-involved, self-pitying git I was at fifteen than I ever did.

And yet she's not.

For Christmas, on her own initiative, [info]the_child crafted handmade gifts for almost everyone. A beaten copper bracelet, for her mother. A framed print of a photo she'd taken and developed herself, for her aunt. A handmade block puzzle for her grandfather. Earrings for all her female relatives. The few that were not handmade were very personal — a lovely scarf for Lisa Costello, and something very clever and sweet for her grandmother [info]tillyjane that is half concept, half artifact. I mean, we're talking some deeply thoughtful effort here.

Then she made these cards. Gorgeous pen-and-ink work, with light color accents. Nicer than what you can find in the store. They showcase her artistic talents, and most of them are germane to the gift given, and to the recipient. I'm talking real class here. And again, deeply thoughtful.

But where my daughter really brought it home was yesterday while we were having Christmas at my Dad and (step)Mom's place. [info]the_child and Lisa Costello and I were there, along with Mother of the Child, [info]tillyjane (a/k/a my Mom), and [info]lillypond (a/k/a my sister). The Niece was supposed to be there, but her dad's side of the family had gone to play in the snow up on Mt. Hood and were seriously delayed in their return to the Willamette Valley by significant winter weather. We had Christmas dinner sans Niecely participation, then stalled around a bit until cell phone calls determined that they were hours yet away from returning to Portland. Whereupon [info]the_child suggested we simply postpone the rest of Christmas until today, so the Niece (the youngest of us all) could enjoy the whole present-opening process with the whole family. The motion, which had not occurred to any of the adults present, carried by acclamation.

So, yeah, sometimes [info]the_child nails it so hard my heart is like to burst. Though some among us hold faith, as a whole, we are a secular family. For the Lakes, Christmas is about taking a moment to celebrate and love each other, with feasting and tokens of mutual esteem all around. From start to finish, my daughter upheld that tradition grandly in a way that would flood any parent's heart with light.