July 1st, 2013


[links] Link salad wakes up in a heat wave

Jay Lake Pre-Mortem Readathon, review the first — A review of my novel Rocket Science.

Saturn's Hyperion: A Moon with Odd Craters — It looks like a wasp's nest to me. Which leads to some very disturbing story ideas…

Memorial for dead bees at Wilsonville Target — That's my Oregon.

Japanese earthquake literally made waves in NorwayThe magnitude 9.0 Tohoku quake in 2011 turned fjords into giant resonators.

BIG Plans To Snap Together An Homage To Lego

Apple seeks 'iWatch' trademark in Japan

Falling chain of beads — A cool science video from smart people in the UK. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Ladybusiness Anthropologist Throws Up Hands, Concedes Men Are the Reason for Everything Interesting in Human Evolution — Snerk.

God, cancer, and Jay #2: The easy questions — More from my friend [info]daveraines, a UMC pastor.

Heatwave grounds US flightsSeveral flights have been cancelled due to the record-breaking heatwave affecting parts of the US. It's too hot in some places for the airplanes to fly. Weather is not climate, but the aggregate of weather is. Nothing to see here, citizens. Just move along and stay tuned to Rush Limbaugh.

Sorry Now?What do the liberal and moderate lawyers who supported John Roberts' nomination say today?

Don’t let DOMA fool you — the Supreme Court is restricting your rights — This is Bush's enduring legacy: making America safe for angry white men.

Justice Kennedy Denies Motion To Halt Gay Marriage — Where's. The. Harm? The only harm gay marriage has ever offered is to expose the moralizing bigotry of religious zealots as lies.

My Gay Mormon Dad — Another painful post from Feminist Mormon Housewives trying to reconcile the illogical diktats of faith with reason, morality and plain old common sense.

Milwaukee Priest Sex Abuse Records to Be Released deal reached in federal bankruptcy court between the archdiocese and victims suing it for fraud called for the documents to be made public by July 1. Victims say the archdiocese transferred problem priests to new churches without warning parishioners and covered up priests' crimes for decades. Proving once again that the Catholic Church's favorite Bible verse is Matthew 19:14, "Suffer the little children." They just forgot the rest of the verse.

Penn. Lawmaker Censored On House Floor From Speaking On Gay RightsState Rep. Brian Sims' (D) remarks during a part of the House session where representatives are allowed to speak openly were cut off almost immediately by a procedural maneuver. State Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R) objected to the remarks on the grounds that Sims was speaking out "against God's law." See, if you're a conservative, that whole First Amendment religion thing only applies to Christians. The right kind of Christians. And that whole separation of church and state thing is just a liberal lie. Are you proud of your Republican party?

Paula Deen And A Certain Kind Of Racism — Yeah, well. (Via [info]danjite.)

How Other Countries Handle ImmigrationCountries struggle to find the best way to deal with immigrants knocking at their doors.

The Anatomy of the Occupy Wall Street Movement on TwitterA study of the social network behind the Occupy movement shows that the most vocal participants were highly connected before the protests began but have now largely lost interest, say social network researchers.

Is WikiLeaks Now An International Political Party?

Kerry: Spying 'not unusual' in international relations — Yeah, well. Good luck with that.

QotD?: How hot is it where you are?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (breakfast meeting about literary estate)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 247.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block attempting to secure minority voting rights despite the recent Supreme Court ruling: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Snuff by Terry Pratchett


[cancer|work] Today is my last day of employment

Today is my last day of employment. Ever.

As of tomorrow, I'm going on Short Term Disability. After the 90-day clock runs out, I'll transition to Long Term Disability in late September. At some point, I may go on SSDI as well, though that's not clear to me.

I have a great deal to say about this process, but as the applications and approvals are still ongoing, I'll hold my remarks until after everything's settled, or least progressed to a stable point. What I want to observe today is that this is the first time since the summer after high school that I have been voluntarily without work.

I worked my way through college, with an assist from my parents that was substantial as a freshman, declining to minor as a senior. That was their way of fostering my transition to self-supporting adulthood. They were successful.

Since then, I have always worked, though I've been laid off five times over the years — one of the perils of a career in high tech — and left jobs for other jobs another handful of times. Except for a long period during the post-bubble tech crash in 2002-2003, I've never been unemployed for more than a few weeks. I've never not been either looking for a job or working at one.

So this feels very, very weird.

It's not about being lazy or milking the system, though the disability application process clearly assumes both of those things on the part of me or any other applicant. It's about being too sick to work, with no expectation of getting better. I can no longer stand and walk easily. I can no longer grip things, or move objects of any heft around. I tend to fall asleep in the middle of the day. I am experiencing meaningful and measurable cognitive decline. I am weak, tired and always in at least mild pain. I spend hours each day on the toilet. None of this will ever get any better. All of it will get worse over time. Any of it is likely to get worse at any moment. Not to mention the new symptoms and side effects that will continue to emerge.

I am not my job. My job is not me. But in the mainstream of American culture, we identify strongly with our work. "What do you do?" is one of the most common questions to ask a stranger.

Me, what do I do now? I'm a professional cancer patient. I've been one for years, but now I've gone full time. It's a rather close-ended career, sadly, and even more sadly, it's the one I've got.


[cancer|art] Gene sequence scarf

Astrid Bear has been very kindly been working on a fascinating art project. She has taken part of the base pair sequence of my Chromosome 18, the one most likely implicated in my colon cancer, and translated it into a weaving pattern.

This past weekend at the Locus Awards, Astrid showed me her first sample swatch.

Test swatch for scarf knitted by Astrid Bear

That's me there, encoded in the yarn. A tiny little fraction, about 18/6,000,000,000 of my genetic code. A celebration of my life and a poke in the eye of my cancer via the medium of fabric art.

I want to thank Astrid for both her generosity and her creativity. There will be more on this.

Photo © 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.