May 16th, 2013


[links] Link salad knows there's no love inside the icehouse

Rick Novy interviews me

The Canadian Who Won’t be Returning From the Stars[info]specficrider on a joint project of ours.

Will insurance cover genetic testing, preventive surgery?Women who discover they carry a hereditary gene mutation that dramatically increases their risk of breast and ovarian cancers face big decisions and the possibility of tens of thousands of dollars in medical costs. This story is a version of what I went through.

12 Tips from 12 Years Sick — Yep. I'm only barely into year six, but, yep. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

Star Trek: The Search for Science — The Bad Astronmer is much with the hilarity.

The secret laser-toting Soviet satellite that almost was — Here's a little Cold War alt.hist for you.

Billion-Year-Old Water Found in Canada Holds Clues About Ancient Life — You really need to read the expiration dates on those gas station water bottles.

Hunting Pesky Pigs in Paradise — Ham sandwiches on the hoof, where they don't belong.

Terahertz Image Reveals Goya’s Hidden Signature in Old Master PaintingDarkened varnish obscures Goya’s signature in a 1771 masterpiece, according to a new analysis using terahertz waves

The Spies Who BlunderedAlleged undercover CIA agent Ryan Fogle is one of many spies to bungle the job.

My Despair — Another of those sad, strange posts on Feminist Mormon Housewives where someone of apparent intelligence and progressive sensibilities finds their common sense and observations of the real world in profound conflict with their faith. If I were a faith-holder, I don't think I could tolerate that much cognitive dissonance.

When did you choose to be straight? — Heh.

Christian denominations and marriage equality: A simple quizSlacktivist Fred Clark makes a point that many anti-gay bigots in pietist clothing would prefer to ignore. Christianists find it so much more comfortable to hate inconvenient people than to actually pay attention to their own morality.

What We Mean When We Say 'Race Is a Social Construct'In a world where Kevin Garnett, Harold Ford, and Halle Berry all check "black" on the census, even the argument that racial labels refer to natural differences in physical traits doesn't hold up. Ta-Nehisi Coates is far more elegant than I ever could be on this topic.

Tullahoma father being reckless when baby daughter shot, police say — Because guns make us all safer. Without the smiling protection of the NRA and the GOP, this dad wouldn't have been able to exercise his theoretical defense of essentially liberties by blowing away his own child.

QotD?: Can you remember getting any older?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (0.5 revisions on my novella for METAtropolis: Green Space, plus WRPA)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 248.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block covering up evidence about Benghazi: 0
Currently reading: The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett


[writing|science] Geeking out over asteroid strikes

One of the things I love about writing is research. One of the things I love about research is interviewing experts. An acquaintance (and fan) is an asteroid geologist and runs a meteorite laboratory. I asked her about the kinetic strike on Seattle that occurs in my METAtropolis: Green Space novella, "Rock of Ages". Here is part of what she sent me, redacted somewhat for clarity and confidentiality:

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I practically had a nerdgasm over these emails.


[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, heading out of town tomorrow edition

Generosity of Spirit

More generosity flows my way. @howardtayler has done some amazing things for me this week, with an able assist from his colorist Travis Walton. Howard teases his work here. Suffice to say this will be public soon, and you can all marvel at Howard's skill and wit, and understand how impressed and humbled I am by his support.

Airline Mileage

Yesterday's airline mileage appeal was a bit of a fiasco. I'd not checked into the airline policies for a while, and they have both monetized and restricted mileage transfers between private individual. Thank you so much to everyone who made the effort. Another reader found, which I will be investigating today or tomorrow in hopes of arriving at a more useful solution. In the mean time, the original Big Project has proceeded down another path. I have several other Worthy Projects in mind, so if I can get this straightened out, the appeal will continue, albeit on slightly different terms.


I've been told that my prescription for Regorafenib has been approved. This drug is a specialty pharmacy item, which means it falls outside the usual infrastructure of pharmaceutical benefits. This includes pre-approval letters and me dealing with a designated mail order pharmacy for my medication supply. It also potentially included a whopping co-pay, but it turns out my carrier's pharmacy plan treated this as simply being at the high end of the formulary. Which is modestly annoying, but that's same $50 co-pay I have for Celebrex, Levitra, et cetera.

My Next Scan

I have been corresponding with my oncologist about my next CT scan. Those are supposed to be eight weeks apart right now. That's the minimum spacing recommended for clinical benefit. I also believe there are significant radiation exposure concerns with excessive scanning. In my case, I won't live long enough to experience that set of problems, but nonetheless the health and safety guidelines exist. The problem is, they want me to have the next CT scan eight weeks after I start taking the Regorafenib. As I am going out of town tomorrow for eleven days — the Nebulas in San Jose, then Rio Hondo in northern New Mexico — I won't be able to start taking the Regorafenib prior to May 27th at the earliest. And even that date assumes the specialty pharmacy comes through in a timely manner. Which puts me to eleven weeks or longer between CT scans. And creates the situation that we have 3+ weeks of tumor growth prior to the beginning of any hoped-for effects from the Regorafenib. I think we'd have both a growth rate assessment and a clean baseline for evaluation the new medication if we did a scan shortly after May 27th, but that is far too soon per the generic clinical guidelines. No answer yet, but it's one of the things I'm worrying about.

Tasking All the Things

Remember that big list of mine, of things that need doing before I die? [ | LiveJournal ] Well, it's grown. And we're doing them. So an enormous amount of administratrivia is happening around Nuevo Rancho Lake. So far, most of the customer service reps, managers and whatnot we've dealt with have been very gracious. I feel like Robert DeNiro's Harry Tuttle in Brazilimdb ] being consumed by paper. Still, progress is being made.

My Coping

I've had several people note that I'm pretty cheerful lately. The not very hidden subtext is them wondering why I'm not wailing and rending my garments. Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm not wailing and rending my garments. I suppose because there's no time for that sort of thing. I don't have much life left to live, especially in something like normal health, and I have too much to do. Love my child, write my stories, be good to Lisa Costello and Jersey Girl in Portland and mother of the child and my family and my friends and my fans and my co-workers and and and. It is true that my current good nature is a very thin veneer, subject to cracking at even a glancing blow. Beneath that is a bubbling stew of anger, grief and terror, spiced with a catalog of other negative emotions. Nonetheless, here I am. And forward is the only direction for me.

Thank you all for reading, for caring, for reaching out.