[links] Link salad wasn’t fuzzy, was he?
Reviewing the Nebulas: The Novellas — I’m not a fan of Lake’s writing. Generally, I find it hard to parse his stories, it’s something about my brain stumbling over his word choices. I’m also no fan of steampunk. So the fact that I enjoyed this story, that it’s the best thing of Lake’s I’ve ever read, is some sort of minor miracle. Heh.
My Reddit Fantasy AMA — Essentially an open source interview with me by several dozen questioners.
For Whom the Bell Tolls — The inexorable decline of America’s least favorite pronoun.
Interactive map plots locations of more than 100 million species — This strikes me as being awfully useful for writers as well as scientists.
What Happens When You Wring Out a Washcloth in Space — Mmm, science. (Via shelly_rae.)
Exploring the Grand Canyon — The view from space.
Dinosaur ‘fills fossil record gap’
Poor, cute bunnies likely to get eaten when the snow melts early — Hares change coat color for winter based on the calendar, not the conditions. Nothing to do with climate change, of course. Just ask any Republican.
Barcodes let scientists track every ant in a colony — A team of Swiss scientists glued barcodes to hundreds of ants living in six laboratory colonies and recorded all of their movements for more than a month. Now, there’s a job description.
Brain Research, as Only Vegas Can — Weird doings.
Psychedelic Portuguese Man-of-War Photos Prove God Is a Stoner — (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)
When tragedy turns to joy — People doing good. (Via threeoutside.)
The Chosen Few: A New Explanation of Jewish Success — Congregationalism and individual literacy?
Fathers and Sons and Chechnya — Juan Cole on the heritage and family dynamics of the Boston bombing suspects.
Chechens, Czechs, whatever — This kind of ignorance drives me batty. This is basic knowledge about the world.
Building a Picture of the Bomb Suspects through Social Network Analysis — Police can obtain huge quantities of social network data, but must sort out the junk to glean useful information. Hmmm.
Pre-Viking Tunic Found In Thawing Glacier Shows How Climate Change Aids Archaeology — Ah, a benefit of climate change. (Via corwynofamber.)
How did Jesus come to love guns and hate sex? — One of many, many reasons I am an atheist is issues like this. Because matters of faith are heavily privileged in our society, religion has a vast power to make people very stupid without ever being challenged on it. Mind you, that’s not an inherent property of religion, and likewise people make themselves stupid in myriad other ways, but the confluence of faith and stupidity is toxic. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)
LePage Spins Windmill Conspiracy Theory — It’s hard to trust any policy stance of someone who is either so incredibly gullible or is willing to cynically and habitually lie in such a transparent way in order to advance his own agenda. Um, that would be every single conservative politician in the United States. At least every conservative who won’t condemn evolution denial, doesn’t stand up to climate change denial, won’t condemn Birtherism as arrant racist nonsense, believes in supply side economics, or supported the Iraq War. Like I said, every single one.
NH GOP back in news – for the wrong reason — Once more, conservatives in the gun culture exhibit their justly famed calm rationality in the face of perceived adversity. Are you proud of your Republican party?
Architecture review: Bush presidential library is fittingly blunt — Really, they could have installed it in a restaurant booth. How much room do you need to store My Pet Goat? That’s about all they have left after shredding the incriminating evidence.
QotD?: Did your bear have no hair?
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (1.25 hours and 2,300 words on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (injured foot)
Weight: n/a (couldn’t stand on scale due to injured foot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block checking the magazine sizes of gun owners: 0
Currently reading: The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 9:25 am Sat April 20 2013 | Comments(4) |
[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, part 2 this week
My baseline health is a bit poorer than it has been in the past, even allowing for the fact that I’m on light artillery chemotherapy. My nails are splitting and cracking much more readily. My gums bleed excessively from tooth brushing. My ongoing weight gain is disproportionate to my dietary intake and exercise levels. (In the past I’ve been able to keep 20-25 pounds lighter with this same behavior patterns.) I wonder if those are related to evolving liver issues, though so far the biochemistry doesn’t suggest that. I also wonder if they’re stress-driven. Psychosomatic, in other words.
Stress and Meditation
I saw my therapist yesterday. We talked a lot about my stress levels, which are pretty much off the charts for both painfully obvious reasons as well as some exacerbating issues I don’t discuss here. He suggested I try meditation. As it happens, Lisa Costello has a daily practice, so I will discuss with her how she goes about it. Meditation has never been terribly successful for me in the past, as I find it difficult to focus that tightly, but I guess that’s kind of the point: reaching that focus.
I’m currently operating under the assumption that I have about three months of productive writing time left in my life. Possibly as little as two. This is due to my anticipating going back on heavy chemo next month, and knowing what that usually does to my creative brain. Of course I would love to be wrong, but right now I have to act as if this is the case. I’ve abandoned all but three projects. Original Destiny, Manifest Sin is ongoing, and I try to spend at least an hour a day on that. I’m also writing bridging material for Jay Lake’s Process of Writing, forthcoming from Apocalypse Ink. And I’m working with kenscholes and series editor Steve Feldman to get METAtropolis: Green Space edited and out the door. Pretty much anything else I have on my plate is either being abandoned or seeking a collaborator. If I do wind up with a bit more time, I believe I will spend it working on short fiction. If somehow I wind up with a lot more time, well, we’ll see.
My Premortem Wake
I have received a very generous offer from some experienced con runners to manage my premortem wake. If things go the way I fear, that may coincide with JayCon XIII. Otherwise, it will happen as appropriate, sometime within the next year most likely. The trigger will be me receiving a terminal diagnosis. I’ll want to do it soon after, before medication or the progressing illness render me less and less able to enjoy the proceedings.
I think I want to start documenting my portrait. In a perfect world, I’d work with a pro photographer and do a weekly shoot. As a practical matter, I may set up a tripod and camera in a semipermanet installation in my house. Either way, I can capture myself in a series of portraits from now until death. I need to think this through. I think it would make a hell of an art project.
We continue to scour the basement here at Nuevo Rancho Lake by way of simplifying the stuff in the house before the shit all hits the fan. There will be concerted collective effort this Sunday. All sorts of things are surfacing, including the aforementioned note from my 8th grade English teacher, some of my Hugo and World Fantasy Award nominee pins (some are still missing), and my 1980 Connecticut driver’s license. Also, some long-missing belongings of both the_child and Mother of the Child. It’s a very strangely mapped trip down memory lane.
Posted: 5:47 am Thu April 18 2013 | Comments(3) |
[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, income tax week edition
Things feel complicated right now. (With good reason, I might add.) In addition to my CT scan on 5/7 and my oncology appointment on 5/8, I have an appointment with my primary care physician on 5/10 to discuss the implications of liver failure, and what kind of planning we can do. I’m told by Reliable Sources that one of the best uses of a written care plan is to remind the patient of decisions they made when their head was clear. Irrational behavior and cognitive deficits are a common feature of progressive liver failure. To that same end, we have requested an appointment with the oncology department’s staff nutritionist to talk about the kinds of food choices that can help my liver the most as it degrades, while also being compatible with chemotherapy nutrition guidelines. Even if I somehow squeak past the current round of issues without hitting the end game, all these factors will apply soon enough.
The timing of JayCon XIII (June 15th) is such that if we hit a terminal diagnosis next month, I may reconfigure the event to be my pre-mortem wake. That will require some serious logistical thinking, including possibly a hotel contract, which may in turn be impossible to get on such short notice. We shall see. The longer I wait, the harder it will be to plan such an event.
Whole Genome Sequencing
I have a phone consultation later this week with the computational biology consultancy who are performing the clinical analysis and recommendations for the Whole Genome Sequencing. I truly do not know what to expect. My hope is that we identify some alternate treatment paths that might buy me life extension for a year or two. I think we’ve slid well past the tipping point of being able to cure me — certainly that’s the overwhelming medical evidence. This might come to nought, it might be significant. Once again, I want to thank everyone who made this possible.
We’ve decided to bring the_child to the Nebula Awards ceremony. This is being accomplished in large part through the significant good offices of Crystal Black. I’ve also been talking to the Hugo Awards ceremony coordinator about what to do if I cannot make it to San Antonio this ceremony. My suggestion was to have the_child be my acceptor, and possibly also present the Campbell tiara as my representative. That latter is not up to me at all, but I certainly can designate her as my acceptor. My concerns about me not making to San Antonio will depend largely on how my immune system reacts to whatever treatment I go on with this latest round of metastasis. I can fight my way through even pathological exhaustion, but only if I can get on a plane without fearing for my life.
People Doing Things
An author friend recently sent me a story that was a sort of love letter about cancer, writing and death. Another writer sent me an impassioned handwritten note about the friendship they regret we will never be able to fully develop. An online acquaintance did some hilarious art. People are doing things which touch my heart, make me weep and make me smile. This is good. This is also very strange. There’s a part of me that keeps expecting to wake up from the nightmare. To discover it’s all been a horrible mistake and I am fine. The words and deeds of others help keep me centered and sane.
I’m acquiring what I’ve privately dubbed “death head”. That is to say, the imminent reality of my cancer’s end game is becoming far more real to me. In point of fact, this has been the case since the rather grim January surgical outcomes. It’s just this new evidence of elevated CEA levels has propelled me into the next stage of my emotional journey. In effect, I am learning how to die. And I’m trying to teach the people around me how to help me die. This pops up in almost every aspect of my life, and I’m far from having a handle on it. I’ll be discussing death head more over the coming weeks and months. For now, suffice to say I’m rapidly evolving a very different outlook on life, my personal priorities, and what’s important enough to require my commitment of attention and resources.
Posted: 5:52 am Wed April 17 2013 | Comments(6) |
[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, San Antonio edition
Yesterday, Mendelspod put up a 20+ minute podcast interview with me and Dad about cancer and the Whole Genome Sequencing. We listened to it in the car on the way down from Austin. I had a terrible cold the day we recorded it, and don’t sound like myself at all. Still, my comments were clear and cogent for the most part. Worth a listen if you’re following along here for the cancer news.
Had a difficult dream last night which was a somewhat metaphorical review of the thoughts I’ve been having lately about the likely imminent wind down of both my writing career and my life as a whole. Specifically, the casting off of things both virtual and real. That intersects with my discussions with @lynnemthomas about the archiving process and how my mortality inflects that. Plus a lot of difficult thoughts about this week’s cancer news were creeping in.
I am running out of time. If the cancer news is as seems likely, I’ll be back in full treatment before the end of May. That means by the end of June or so, I’ll probably never leave my house again in my life except for medical points and a few very constrained social engagements. This also means that I have around two months of productive writing time left in my entire life. There is nothing surprising about this, given the trajectory we’ve been on since the January discovery of all those additional tumors during surgery, but it’s still horrifying, depressing and disappointing. I have a lot more to say about this, but my thoughts haven’t coalesced coherently yet. Plus we’re still shooting in the dark until the May 7th scan.
Being Out in the World in My Writer Persona
Per the above, my opportunities to infest the wider world with my writer persona are likely very limited. I’m terribly pleased to be here at Paradise Lost, and to be going to the Nebula Awards Weekend, but I’m also having a sad and greedy end of the party feeling. My sense of impending loss is huge right now, but I’m also savoring every minute I can of this.
Posted: 6:27 am Fri April 12 2013 | Comments(16) |
[awards] Commentary on the Hugos continues
I recently posted a link to Cora Buhlert’s roundup of Hugo commentary. james_nicoll did so as well, leading to some extensive commentary on his LiveJournal. kevin_standlee also linked to this piece by Jonathan McCalmont, itself quite critical of the Hugos in general and Kevin in particular. A fascinating comment thread there that dives quite deeply. Cora also provides an update and more links here, along with a discussion of the Clarke Awards.
For my own part, I’m not sure what to say except to note the discussions seem to be a little louder than usual this year. I suspect that’s as much an observer effect based on my paying more attention due to my own Hugo nominee status, as it is a reflection of real controversy. Hard for me to tell.
While I do understand a lot of the objections being raised to the Hugo process, I’m not sure I agree with them, either, as most of what’s being discussed seems to amount to suggesting replacing one form of imperfection with another. We have three major awards in this field, and each one has a distinctly different nominating and voting process, and thus distinctly different biases. I have been a nominee for all three at various times in my career, so my perspective is certainly biased as well.
Disputation is part of what fandom does. It’s part of what writers do. What I don’t doubt is the good faith of everyone involved. For my own part, having as I do a dog in this fight, except for noting the deep passion and manifold directions of the discussion, I will leave it at that.
Posted: 5:05 am Mon April 08 2013 | Comments(6) |
[travel|events] Forthcoming travel and event schedule
Mostly just to have it out there, but also to give people who might want to catch up with me the chance to know where I’ll be, here’s my forthcoming travel and event schedule. As always, this is health permitting, though I should be clear through May regardless. I haven’t made plans past June except tentatively for Worldcon due to the significant uncertainly of my cancer status going forward.
||Paradise Lost, San Antonio, TX (Instructor emeritus)
|Week of April 22nd
||Probably in Grand Rapids, MI a day or two for Day Jobbery, details TBA
|May 2nd-May 6th
||Gaslight Gathering, San Diego, CA (Guest of Honor)
|May 17th-May 18th
||Nebula Awards Weekend, San Jose, CA (Nebula Award nominee)
|May 19th-May 26th
||Rio Hondo Retreat, Taos Ski Valley, NM
|June 1st-June 7th
||Day Jobbery, Omaha, NE
||JayCon XIII, Portland, OR
|June 28th-June 30th
||Locus Awards, Seattle, WA
|August 29th-September 3rd
||LoneStarCon 3, San Antonio, TX (Hugo Award nominee and Campbell Award co-presenter)
In most of these cases, I’ll either be at a public event, or host an open dinner. Watch for announcements.
Posted: 5:19 am Thu April 04 2013 | Comments(7) |
[links] Link salad remembers his hat tilted forward, his glasses folded in his vest
A Personal Statement from Iain Banks — Ah, me.
Hugo Nomination Reactions or Why the Fuck is this Controversial? — Cora Buhlert with a roundup.
The Heinlein Maneuver — Bob Heinlein helps out Ted Sturgeon. (Via danjite.)
Calvin and Hobbes on publishing — Hahahah.
In In Defense Of Slave Leia — Hah! I like this, a lot. (Via rekre8.)
To Bully or Not to Bully: Using Shakespeare in Schools to Address Violence
Device Finds Stray Cancer Cells in Patients’ Blood — A microfluidic device that captures circulating tumor cells could give doctors a noninvasive way to diagnose and track cancers. Yeah, well, that would be me, wouldn’t it?
Quantum encryption keys obtained from a moving plane — A technical demonstration shows that an exchange with satellites is possible.
Your Next Smartphone Screen May Be Made of Sapphire — Wait, what? Isn’t it diamonds that are forever?
Nature’s Drone, Pretty and Deadly — Mmm. dragonflies.
Shark-Teeth Weapons Show Lost Species in Pacific Islands
Clouds Contributed to Record Greenland Ice Melt — That’s science for you. Ideologues such as climate change denialists make up their minds then look for supporting evidence. Science looks for evidence, then keeps looking without ever quite making up its mind.
Sea Ice Max Continues Downward Trend — In September 2012, the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean shrank to its lowest extent on record, about half the size of the average summertime extent from 1979 to 2000. That sea ice minimum continued a long-term trend of diminishing ice cover over the past few decades. It’s a damned good thing we have Rush Limbaugh and the Republican Party to keep us straight on the climate change hoax, regardless of those liberally-biased “facts” and “data”. Otherwise we might have to do something about this.
Proposal would allow state religion in North Carolina — Illogical, unconstitutional and unpatriotic. Not to mention bad policy. It must be another conservative idea!
Report: States With Weak Gun Laws Suffer Highest Level Of Gun Violence — That would be more of those liberally-biased “facts” and “data”, which conflict with the gun culture narrative. Too bad for people like me who don’t want to get shot.
Congresswoman Gets Death Threats Over Gun Control Bill — Ah, yes, the rational and measured social conscience of conservatives in the gun culture once more presents itself as a reason why we should listen to those deadly nitwits.
Palin’s SarahPAC Embarrassment: Consultants Are Cashing In — The ex-governor and VP pick railed against political consultants at CPAC. But her latest FEC filings show they took millions of dollars from her in the last election cycle. Luckily for Palin, the “real Americans” who are her resentful, frightened base don’t expect intellectual consistency or honesty. That=’s one big advantage politicians outside the reality-based community have.
QotD?: Does he seem like the kind of man who beats his horses?
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (reviewing existing material on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing Agenda 21 by closing down golf courses: 0
Currently reading: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 4:51 am Thu April 04 2013 | Comments(0) |
[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 corwynofamber.)
So…I Bought A Firetruck — I love this. (Via danjite.)
The Great British class calculator — People in the UK now fit into seven social classes, a major survey conducted by the BBC suggests.
The Paper-and-Pencil Cosmological Calculator — Ever 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)
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 5:17 am Wed April 03 2013 | Comments(0) |
[links] Link salad sees that morning mists are parting to reveal
The cover art of my German editions of Mainspring and Escapement has been nominated for the Kurd-Laßwitz-Preis in the Beste Grafik category &mash; Which doesn’t really have much to do with me directly, but is still pretty cool. Kudos to illustrator Max Meinzold.
Why Do We Hate Certain Words? — The curious phenomenon of word aversion.
‘I’m Google’ by Dina Kelberman: A Visual Exploration of Google Image Search — A very cool digital art project. Direct link here. (Via threeoutside.)
A Japanese medical blog reports on my Whole Genome Sequencing
End-of-life talks lacking between doctors, patients — I’ve already begun to have these conversations with my physician.
Cancer Drug That Shrinks All Tumors Set To Begin Human Clinical Trials — Huh. This is a treatment for primary tumors, not for metastases, so it probably isn’t relevant to me personally, but it’s still pretty damned cool.
Messenger RNAs Could Create a New Class of Drugs — New partnerships could help bring a novel class of biopharmaceutical to patients.
Steampunk iPad: 1922 — Another Shorpy classic. Hahah.
Scientists successfully create living embryo of an extinct species
Collision Course? A Comet Heads for Mars — Could have a significant impact on NASA programs there. (Via threeoutside.)
Melt may explain Antarctica’s sea ice expansion — Climate change is expanding Antarctica’s sea ice, according to a scientific study in the journal Nature Geoscience. This is what science does. It looks at contradictory evidence and tries to work out the contradiction. Ideology simply says, “If I believe this, it must be true”, and ignores contradictory evidence. Guess which view is based in reality?
Oceans continue to warm, especially the deeps — Altered patterns seen over past two decades. Amazing how the liberals can convince the entire planet to join in their climate change fraud. Any good conservative can tell you this is all wrong, no matter the evidence.
A New Map Of The U.S., Created By How Our Dollar Bills Move — Identifying functional regional boundaries through analysis of movements of paper currency. This is cool. (Via AH.)
1,200-year-old Egyptian text describes a shape-shifting Jesus — “Everybody need a mood lifter, Everybody need reverse polarity.” (Via shsilver.)
Google and white Christians’ search for ‘persecution’ — Christians will never be happy until they stop being the kind of people who, as TBogg put it, “can’t sleep at night because they can’t wait to see how the world will offend them the next day.”
Elite in China Face Austerity Under Xi’s Rule — Good luck with that. (Via my Dad.)
While GOP Elites Soften On Gay Marriage, Local Leaders Haven’t Gotten The Message — That’s what happens when one of your political cornerstones is irrational bigotry with no objective or principled value. I see a principled opposition to abortion, for example, though it’s sadly obvious most opponents aren’t actually standing on principled objections. I see a principled stance in favor of widespread private gun ownership, though again it’s clearly based on willful ignorance, promulgation of bad data and wholesale suppression of the reality of firearms in private hands. But opposition to gay marriage? Nothing but a combination of religious bigotry and personal ick factors. There simply is no principled opposition to be found, other than nicely rationalized versions of bigotry and ick.
New GOP plan: Guns for domestic abusers — As president Obama visits Colorado to discuss guns, state GOP launches fight to protect batterers’ gun rights. Because nothing says compassionate conservatism like protecting a violent man’s right to a firearm.
Jim Carrey: Fox ‘News’ is “A media colostomy bag… a public health issue” — Well, duh. The polling on how misinformed (strongly in the direction of conservative bias) FOX News viewers are is remarkably consistent. It’s almost like media isn’t liberal or something.
QotD?: Ever been to the Blue Mountains?
Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (WRPA, specifically critique)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Number of FEMA troops on my block building solar arrays to undermine the American fossil fuel industry: 0
Currently reading: Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 5:20 am Tue April 02 2013 | Comments(2) |
[awards|cancer] A few more thoughts on being nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula
…because my brain slowly unfolds.
Back in February, when the Nebula nomination was announced, I talked about how my novella “The Stars Do Not Lie” intersected with my cancer journey [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]. As I said then:
I initially drafted this story in the throes of chemotherapy back in 2010. I did the rewrite after I finished chemo. So it’s definite “fuck you” to cancer to have this story do well.
This is even more true now as I continue to process my mortality, and are coming to grips with counting my future productive writing lifetime in months rather than years. (Two to four months right now, if anyone’s counting along with me.) The Hugo nomination announced this past Saturday just deepens my feelings.
This current month, April of 2013, is the 5th anniversary of my cancer. In those five years I have managed to write more than half a dozen first draft novels and on the order of 100 short stories, and publish about five novels and most of those short stories. But I keep slowing down as the cancer intensifies, as the treatments intensify, as my life keeps getting stolen away. I’ve commented before this is probably the last year I’ll be able to attend awards ceremonies, so it’s nice to go as a participant.
The timing is weird. Almost Hallmark movie-of-the-week weird. But I’m glad it’s happened this way, as opposed to posthumously, or not at all. This all sets up strange resonances in my head and in my heart. I have for years embraced this field professionally, socially, personally. It’s wonderful to be embraced in return.
Also, as several people reminded me after I failed to mention it when posting about this yesterday, Asimov’s has “The Stars Do Not Lie” available for free download on their site. Whether you’re an award voter, a fan, a friend, or just curious, go check it out.
Posted: 5:42 am Mon April 01 2013 | Comments(16) |
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