October 24th, 2013On this day in different years


[links] Link salad is hanging around, nothing to do but frown

Cyanometer, c. 1789, an instrument that measures the blueness of a sky — Wow. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Ancient Bees, Dinos May Have Died Out Together

NASA says first space Internet test 'beyond expectations'

New galaxy 'most distant' yet discoveredAn international team of astronomers has detected the most distant galaxy yet. The galaxy is about 30 billion light-years away and is helping scientists shed light on the period that immediately followed the Big Bang.

Security Check Now Starts Long Before You Fly — (Thanks to [info]danjite.)

Biological AttackPolio is back from the brink of extinction -- ravaging the battlefields of Syria and spreading across the Middle East. (Via Ellen Eades.)

Could Civilian Drones Become Lethal Projectiles?An experiment demonstrates the radio-controlled hijacking of a drone. What could possibly go wrong? (Via David Goldman.)

Reversing climate change even more difficult than it might soundA thousand years might not be enough time to completely undo all the changes. Remember kids, it's all a liberal lie. Even those pesky "facts" and "data" can't hold a candle to Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party.

Sure, “Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change” Sounds Nice…

South Dakota v. Fifteen Impounded Cats — Ah, the majesty of the law.

Spook Century — Charlie Stross on the modern security state.

How the US Government Betrayed the Constitution and invented an Imaginary Fascist One — An unfortunately accurate commentary from the angry Left, such as we have one in America.

Former Sen. Trent Lott: Republicans should pivot towards a positive agenda — Amazing, the things Republicans say after they leave office. Hey, Trent, ever think of saying this when you had the power to do something about it?

?otD: Do rainy days and automatic weapons always get you down?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 239.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)


[family|travel] The high cost of personal disaster

This past Sunday, one of Lisa's elderly parents had a serious medical emergency. Not life-threatening as it turns out, but absolutely life-changing in the way of difficult eldering. Other relatives stepped forward to respond with immediate help, but Lisa needs to fly to Maryland next week to help with the necessary but difficult lifestyle transitions currently underway.

Lisa is now juggling my life-ending terminal illness and the life-changing illness of one of her parents. I cannot leave her alone with this.

Therefore I am flying with her to Maryland next week. She needs my support. We are both flying back to Portland on November 7th for my bimonthly CT scan on November 8th, followed by my oncology appointment on November 11th, then returning to Maryland on November 12th to further assist her parents. As Orycon falls on that weekend, I will still be in attendance there.

So with great reluctance, we cancelled our trip to Europe. We also severely truncated a post-trip engagement with my agent, and cancelled the visit of another friend who was due after Orycon, both of these to great regret.

The financial aspects of this situation have turned into a severe mess.

My $319.00 Eurostar ticket is non-refundable, and there is no compassionate exemption for medical emergencies. @Eurostar has offered an exchange for a future train fare, but as I am dying of cancer, the likelihood of me making it back to Europe to make use of such a ticket is virtually nil.

So there's $300. I can afford it, but it's irksome and unpleasant.

I have also sought a compassionate medical emergency refund from United Airlines which states on their Web site that they provide such consideration. Their response turning my request down flatly did not even acknowledge the nature of my situation, simply stating that my tickets were nonrefundable, but that I did retain an airfare credit.

I have since appealed this issue, and @UnitedAirlines is working to help me resolve this. It remains to be seen if there will be a refund.

This situation frustrates me immensely. At this extremely difficult time in my life, I am left with yet another large, unnecessary and expensive problem that I have to spend precious time and mental energy dealing with.


[cancer] Living in the present because there is no future

Lisa Costello and I were talking about my emotional landscape yesterday, as we are frequently wont to do. I mentioned sometimes feeling envious of the young and healthy people with which our Portland life frequently surrounds us. We started to pick at that a little — it's a very out of character emotion for me — and I arrived at an unhappy conclusion.

What I envy isn't their youth and health, it's their sense of the future.

As a terminal cancer patient, I have no future anymore. I only have today. I can't plan anything more than a month or two ahead, and missed opportunities in my life will never get a do-over. No more dreams of going to Antarctica or spending a year living in Hong Kong or writing another book or seeing my daughter start her adult life.

Don't get me wrong. My life is still pretty darned good. I live under enormous pressures that push me to the breaking point, but I still get out of bed every day. I am surrounded by love, laughter, delicious food, and entertaining people.

But there is no more.

We read and hear a lot of wisdom about being in the moment, about living for today. It's pretty good wisdom, as wisdom goes. But when you have no choice but to be in the moment, that's a different matter entirely.

I am lucky to even be alive at this point, let alone as relatively healthy as I am. I know that. But damn, do I miss having a future.