April 3rd, 2013


[links] Link salad plays croquet behind white-washed walls and drink its tea at four

Jay Lake 2013 Hugo Nomination — A short video clip from Norwescon of my nomination being read out. (Thanks to [info]corwynofamber.)

So...I Bought A Firetruck — I love this. (Via [info]danjite.)

The Great British class calculatorPeople in the UK now fit into seven social classes, a major survey conducted by the BBC suggests.

The Paper-and-Pencil Cosmological CalculatorEver struggled with the problem of converting redshift into parsecs, your worries are over thanks to a new cosmological distance chart based on the very latest data. For all your science geekery needs.

The Cicadas Are Coming ...Hungry?

The Falsity of Living Fossils

Least visited countries in the world — Oh, to have the time and money...

Ponce de León, Exposed — Ah, history.

Nothing personal: The questionable Myers-Briggs test — (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Climate Maverick to Quit NASA — Weird choice of words in this headline about James Hansen.

40% of Pak youth think Islamic law is best for country: Survey — I just don't understand how some people think. Especially religious conservatives, in any culture.

The NRA's Next Assault on Gun Control — Because neither your safety nor mine matter a whit to the people in the gun culture. Nothing matters to them but maximum guns, at any rationalization.

QotD?: What are all your favorite fruits?

Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (WRPA, specifically critique)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 243.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett


[writing|process] Once more with the diving board

I've commented before that for me, writing often feels like jumping off a high diving board and filling the pool on the way down. The more substantial the project, the more I tend to experience this sensation. Which means sometimes there's a pause for breath before I step off the edge into space.

I'd committed to myself to start writing Original Destiny, Manifest Sin this month. That's my Old West alternate history fantasy. So what did I do Monday? Two hours of critique, batting clean-up on the recent Writer's Digest University online workshop in which I participated. What did I do on Tuesday? Spent ninety minutes reading first drafts of some of the stories for METAtropolis 3: Green Space, the audiobook project I am co-editing with [info]kenscholes for Audible.com. Both of these were necessary and timely Writing Related Program Activities which resulted in zero effort being put in on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin.

(In case you're wondering what I did with the rest of my time these past two days, recall that I have a full-time job, a teenager in the house, and late stage metastatic colon cancer. I keep busy.)

So today I am stepping off the board. As almost 100 pages of Original Destiny, Manifest Sin exists from my first, aborted effort to write the book most of a decade ago, I'm going to start by re-reading that. I need the characters and more importantly the setting to reinhabit my head.

One of the real challenges of this novel is that it is driven by plot and setting. There are multiple viewpoints with no strong central protagonist. That undermines opportunities for reader identification and can cause problems with the through-line. I think I know how to resolve this, based on input from Howard Waldrop and Maureen McHugh at Rio Hondo a few years back.

And, well, if I'm ever going to write it, now would be the time. I expect to be seriously ill with cancer treatments again in either June or August, and I don't expect to ever recover from that once I go down that road again. Essentially, unless I get unexpectedly lucky along the way, I have one last time window in which to write this novel. Or any novel.

So once more with the diving board. Today, I jump. Likely no word count today, as reading and making notes will almost certainly occupy as much time as I have available (if not more). Still, I am stepping back into my own personal once upon a time in the West.


[cancer] Coming up on five years

On the evening of Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, my then girlfriend took me to the Emergency Room because I had been bleeding copiously from the rectum throughout the day. On Wednesday, April 30th, 2008, a colonoscopy identified the tumor that was my primary colon cancer. Though I was staged I at the time, when I metastasized in the spring of 2009, my original presentation was restaged as Stage IV.

This month is the fifth anniversary of my metastatic colon cancer. Most of my cohort are either cured or dead. I have outlived a lot of statistics, though given this past January's news about the shortening of my metastatic cycle and the spike in my tumor presentations, I don't look likely to outlive too many more statistics. I'm not terminal yet, but I am formally classified as incurable. In other words, barring some great good luck or a medical miracle it's only a matter of time. I can definitely see the station from here.

We are, of course, doing everything we can to make our own great good luck. Hence the Whole Genome Sequencing project.

So, yeah. Five years. It didn't take me that long to get through college. I've only ever held one job for a longer period of time — my current one, as it happens. My first marriage didn't last that long. My first car did, albeit just barely. Half a decade. A third of [info]the_child's life so far. More than half of the Niece's life so far.

I'm considering having a Happy Cancerversary party sometime around the end of the month. I've been doing a lot over time to flip the bird to my silent, personal killer. Not that my tumors care about my mocking, but it makes me feel better. I know anniversaries are psychological artifacts of the calendar, there's no magic to this, but it seems important to me. And given my tendency towards introspection lately anyway, it seems apropos.

In any case, we're coming up on five years. I'm still here. At least for now. So, yeah.

Thank you everyone for all your support along the way.