November 21st, 2013

a-links

[links] Link salad mutters

Analysis of "Midnight at Valdosta's" by Jay Lake — Hmm. Interesting.

Sophia Stewart wins the Matrix copyright infringement case — Fascinating. (Via [info]danjite.) Update: Snopes.com reports this is false. (Thanks to [info]corwynofamber.)

11 terrifying kids from vintage adverts who will freeze the very marrow in your bones — Contributor David Goldman says the kid in #11 looks like a young me. (Via David Goldman.)

24,000-Year-Old Body Shows Kinship to Europeans and American Indians — Much as with Kennwick Man, if the science had not been suppressed.

Print your own dinosaur bones Ever dream of holding a sauropod skull in your hand? New imaging and printing technology may soon give the public unprecedented access to millions of fragile, rare fossils. Love the headline! (Via AH.)

Eating nuts 'may prolong life' — My dating strategy is validated! No, wait…

Boeing 747 Mistakenly Lands At Tiny Kansas Airport — Oops. (Via [info]danjite.)

Universal Law of Commuting Discovered in African, European and US Mobile Phone Data — Marchetti’s constant. Huh.

Bill Gates condom challenge 'to be met' by graphene scientists — (Via David Goldman.)

Japan reports volcano raises island in seas far south of Tokyo

4.4 billion-year-old meteorite NWA 7533 is straight outta MarsSimilar to rocks found by Spirit rover, meteorite is a clue to early Mars. Warning: facts not valid for Young Earth Creationists and other willful idiots who believe The Flintstones was a documentary.

NFL Hazing and Jonathan Martin’s “Man Card” — I have found this whole business utterly ridiculous, but then I have a strong (and unreasonable) personal bias against any story involving organized or professional sports.

The persecution of Christians: 4 ways to respondSlacktivist Fred Clark deliberately avoids deconstructing the false self-valorizing persecution narrative of American Christianists in favor of a broader view of actual religious persecution.

?otD: Argle bargle?




11/21/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 241.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block closing down donut shops: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

signs-five_dollar

[personal|culture] Me and customer service just lately

Like most white men of a certain height, class and educational standing, I wander through life in a cloud of largely invisible-to-me privilege. This privilege often expresses itself as good customer service. Sometimes it's earned (for some value of "earned") such as my frequent flyer status, sometimes it's situational. I do make a serious effort to notice this sort of thing, so that, for example, if I walk up to a busy deli counter and am called next, I defer to the people who were waiting before me.

Lately the customer service levels which affect my life have been noticeably compromised in various ways. Yesterday I was talking to Lisa Costello about this. As I said to her, am I more needy due to my recent disabilities? Am I more demanding due to being shorter-tempered and fussier? Or am I really just bumping into increasingly weird problems at a higher rate than usual?

Her response was to comment that I'd become a strange attractor for customer service problems. Which doesn't really answer my question, but was kind of funny. It was helpful to me in confirming that I'm not just experiencing observer bias or enjoying a version of the recency illusion.

I actually think it's a combination of all three of my theories. My recent travel difficulties with wheelchair service wouldn't have occurred in the first place if I didn't need wheelchair service, for example — my recent issues with American Airlines. I am crankier than I used to be, what with the whole dying of cancer thing going on — yesterday's noisy restaurant problem. And some of the problems I've encountered have been categorically weird, outside the usual run of issues — the whole CarMax power-of-attorney thing.

Being white, male and well-spoken didn't really help me with any of these issues, though it certainly helped me resolve them post facto. Being disabled, well...

One more set of things to burn spoons on and have to deal with.

cancer-skull_tattoo

[cancer|personal] Yesterday I had another meltdown

Yesterday, I had another meltdown. This one was slow and quiet and all the more poisonous for that. Crying jags and panic attacks at least pass after a while, and are readily understood by Lisa Costello or anyone else who happens to be in range at the time. Undirected resentment and sullen silence can be mistaken for a lot of other things, none of them very helpful.

It was a difficult day in some ways. I ran into an intractable Quicken problem generated by my bank switching online banking platforms. (See my previous post about being a strange attractor customer service issues.) Email correspondence passed at some depth about the search for a clinical trial that might prolong my life a bit more. I spent time focusing on my funeral arrangements, including a tense conversation with Mother-of-the-Child about that. There were parenting issues. There were minor misunderstandings with the people around me. Lisa at one point confided to me that she'd be feeling a certain kind of emotional sensitivity for a while to come. My response was, "You mean for the rest of my life?" That didn't sit well with either of us. Mostly, there was and is me dying of cancer.

That last one? It never ends.

So by yesterday evening, I was feeling strung out and unhappy and pissy and strange. A chance remark pushed me over the edge, and I did not recover until this morning.

It's so damned hard, being careful of my own emotions and others. The people around me don't feel free to express their negative thoughts for fear of upsetting me. I don't feel free to express my negative thoughts for fear of upsetting my loved ones, family and friends. We all dance this strange dance of toxic consideration like elephants on ice, slipping and occasionally crashing.

Last night I crashed. I want to tell myself to get over it, but that option is long gone. I want to apologize to Lisa, which I have fully. I want to not feel this way, but that option is long gone as well.

Frankly, I'd rather have the screaming and the tears, then get over it and move on.