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January 20th, 2013 - Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-20 05:31
Subject: [links] Link salad goes bump in the night
Security: Public
Tags:child, fundraiser, funny, gender, guns, links, media, movies, nature, personal, politics, science, sex, videos, weird
The Acts of Whimsy cancer fundraiser and the Lakeside Kickstarter for the documentary about me, [info]the_child, and cancer are still live. Both have made goal, but additional support is always welcome. Please check them out if you have not done so yet. Note that the next unlock goal at $44,000 is [info]the_child's video, "How to Write Like My Dad". We're almost there!

Acts of Whimsy (redux) — My own Act of Whimsy. Heh heh heh.

Paul Cornell on (among other things) the whole Acts of Whimsy thing

Jay Lake, separated at birth?

Eat Like a Mennonite — Living a plastic-free life.

The Antikythera Mechanism — One of my favorite antiquities.

Wanted: Surrogate for Neanderthal Baby — Wow. The ethical implications of this are mind boggling.

Barnacles Mate via "Spermcasting"It can be hard to find a sexual partner when you are glued to a rock. Reminds me of my dating life in my teens and twenties. (Snurched from Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Restricted Movie Review: The MatrixFeminist Mormon Housewives on the rather famous movie. Sometimes as an atheist in a religiously-dominated culture, I feel like I've taken the blue pill. Religion practice viewed from the outside is very different from religious practiced viewed from the inside.

“Happy birthday, dead baby!” and other charming tactics from “pro-life” clinic protestersBut for me, the tactic that takes the prize was arranging for a children’s choir to serenade entering clinic patients with endless choruses of “Happy birthday, dead baby!” At least one of those on the receiving end of this stunt was a woman who arrived at the clinic because she had experienced an emotionally devastating miscarriage Mother of the Child required exactly that same procedure almost two decades ago. The perversions of the doctor-patient relationship perpetrated by the forced pregnancy movement made it very difficult for us to secure a DNC, because most hospitals wouldn't permit the procedure in their ORs for fear of protestors. That's when my opposition to the so-called "Right to Life" movement hardened from a general pro-choice philosophical conviction to a deeply personal understanding that anti-abortion activists will commit any evil, persecute any woman, in the name of their narrow, unscientific religious convictions. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

NRA lied: No armed guards at Obama girls’ school — Imagine that. Conservatives lying about something important. Unpossible! Everyone knows character counts! Of course, when your entire narrative is composed of counterfactual fantasies and self-valorizing paranoia, I guess lying is essential.

3 hurt in accidental shooting at N.C. gun show — Yep. We're definitely all much safer with more guns. Plus this: Five Injured In Accidental Gun Show Shootings On ‘Gun Appreciation Day’. Yep, responsible gun ownership for the win.

David Brooks now totally pathologicalModerate Republicanism is a tendency that increasingly defies ideological analysis and instead requires psychological analysis. The psychological mechanism is fairly obvious. The radicalization of the GOP has placed unbearable strain on those few moderates torn between their positions and their attachment to party.

Kansas GOP House Speaker ‘Prays’ That Obama’s ‘Children Be Fatherless And His Wife A Widow’ — Stay classy, conservative America. It's what you do best. (Note this is not some fringe figure, this is an senior elected GOP leader. A whole lot of people who consider themselves reasonable conservatives and resent being tarred with the crazy brush voted for this man. Which pretty much voids their self-image as reasonable and not part of the conservative crazy.)

White House Rejects Petitions to Secede, but Texans Fight On — As conservatives have said for years, America: love it or leave it. I guess the Right doesn't love their country any more. (Thanks to Dad.)

Unmerited Self-Congratulation Is a Recipe for Continued Republican FailureIf you were wondering when Republicans had started apologizing for their party’s flaws, you aren’t alone. The Republican Party has many afflictions and problems today, but a lack of triumphalism about its own virtues isn’t one of them. I believe you left out the word "smug", Mr. Larison.

?otD: How's things?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (2,100 words on "Monsters in the Mountains at the Edge of the World" to 4,500 words and first draft complete)
Hours slept: 7.755 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: n/a (scale out of batteries!!!)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing disability rights: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks

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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-20 05:33
Subject: [photos] Your Sunday moment of zen
Security: Public
Tags:photos, zen
Your Sunday moment of zen.


Flower, sculpture garden, Saratoga Springs, NY © 2007, 2013, Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Creative Commons License

This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-20 05:45
Subject: [cancer] Memory
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, family, friends, health, personal
One of the more pernicious effects of long-term chemotherapy (30 sessions over the past 37 months) is memory loss.

I don't notice it much in my day-to-day life. My memory for general knowledge, my vocabulary, and so forth are close to the same as ever, when I'm not laboring under the direct influence of the chemo drugs. But my memory for people and events...? Not so much. That set of issues doesn't come up very often, especially when I'm living as a chemically-induced introvert, but as I was so rudely reminded yesterday, it is real.

A small example of this is that I used to say to people at Cons, "Unless we've had dinner or had sex, I may not remember meeting you." Then last year at Confusion, I turned to Brent Weeks, who lives here in the Portland area, and whom I have spent time with, and said, "Have we met?" Which was enormously embarrassing, though he was quite gracious about it.

Yesterday, I ran into a substantial example. At a family gathering, my (step)mother mentioned that I had bought her an electric can opener one time when she had broken her wrist and I was helping her take care of my parents' beach house. Not only did I not remember buying her a can opener, I could not even remember her ever having broken her wrist, or me spending time helping her.

Which suddenly made my head a pretty damned frightening place.

The problem is, I don't realize I don't remember stuff. Those missing memories of people and events don't leave an obvious gap inside my own head. It's not like a missing tooth, or being unable to recall a word. (Though it did take me two weeks recently to remember Caitlin Kittredge's name, which was kind of obvious, as I was discussing her with Lisa Costello.) My self-awareness is missing important flaws in my own cognitive processes. That is frightening.

I am rather afraid this is a permanent effect. Another damned thing cancer has stolen from me. At least it's not inserting hallucinations or false memories — I can trust the things I do remember, at least those events which occurred when I wasn't drugged out of my mind by chemo. But to not know the life events of the people you love? To not remember the people you know?

What does that make me?

I can't really answer that question, except to say it decidedly makes me not myself. As time goes by, I am become cancer, more and more.

And I hate this.

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Jay Lake
Date: 2013-01-20 06:02
Subject: [cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, lagniappe edition
Security: Public
Tags:cancer, friends, funny, health, personal, radiantlisa, weird
On being in public

Friday night, Lisa Costello, Donnie Reynolds and I were having dinner at Fire on the Mountain, mostly in pursuit of their rumored-to-be-excellent onion rings. (Which, by the way, were well worth the trip. I can also highly endorse the deep fried pickle spears.) I was walking up to the counter to get something when a gentleman at another table stopped me and said, "I think I just saw your picture on the Internet." He'd been browsing one of the photo-fail sites, and showed me a photo on his phone of my skull tattoo. Which was freaking hilarious, and more than mildly weird.

We looked on Epic Fail later, the site he mentioned, and could not find the photo. If anybody's seen me on one of those sites, do please forward me the link.

Surgery stress

I have remarked before that surgery scares me a lot less than chemo. While this is true, it's an entirely relative statement. Surgery is a terrible option, it's just one you engage in when the risks of not doing surgery outweigh the risks of doing the surgery. Something like 0.1% of all surgeries end in fatalities due to anesthesia complications, for example. Plus the general risks of infection and internal bleeding, as well as procedure-specific risks such as organ stress or failure. In other words, plenty to worry about if you're the type with a worried mind.

Last night I was cranking about several recent minor-but-annoying-to-me life events. I realized after a little while that this was my surgery stress spilling out of the wrong end of the tube, as it were. Which is entirely unsurprising but nonetheless not much fun.

In forty-eight hours from the moment I am drafting this post, I'll be on my way to the hospital for my 6 am check-in on Tuesday. I'll be in surgery for five to seven hours, if everything goes as planned. I'll be unconscious or illucid for most of two days, and in considerable pain for most of two weeks. In moderate-to-minor pain for the better part of a month. Mobility impaired. Severely GI distressed (anesthetics play merry hell with my colon and bowel). All kinds of trouble.

Risk of complications and all that, surgery is still easier than chemo. It only steals my mind for a few days, until I come off the heavy meds. Chemo steals some pieces of me for months and years, and it steals some pieces of me forever.

Little deaths

The other thing about surgery that gives me pause is the state of my mind while under anesthesia. When I'm asleep, I still maintain a fair amount of situational awareness. I know if someone is in the bed with me. I know if I'm hot or cold, or if I have to urinate. I respond if someone calls my name or touches me. I dream.

Anesthesia? Much like death, except you get to come back. For me, there is nothing. The clock in my head is stopped. That wending thread of self-awareness is extinguished. Not even the nothing of retrograde amnesia, but a true, existential void.

I know perfectly well that this nothing is a gift given to me by medical science so I won't have even buried memories of the horrific trauma being performed upon my body. I appreciate that, deeply. At the same time, there is something very strange about waking up to be amazed that I am still alive.

Every surgery is a little death. Every surgery presages the big death that awaits me, probably quite soon. I do not turn away from this, but it always gives me deep pause.

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