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[links] Link salad wakes up with a JayCon hangover

No, That’s Not Too Much JayFile 770 is both kind and funny about me.

Mainspring (Jay Lake, Clockwork Earth #1) — A review of my novel by a readeer who really, really didn’t care for it.

Superman: Flying to a church near you — Well, ok then. (Via [info]shsilver.)

A Pocket-Sized Micro House Built To Withstand Severe Weather

Could a Surplus of California Milk Fulfill China’s Cheese Needs? — I was not aware that China had cheese needs.

Restoring Trees to Save the World’s Rarest Parrot

South Africa’s Cape parrot needs more yellowwood trees to survive.

La Salle’s long-lost ship?

QotD?: Are you as stonkered as I am?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (too many errands, not enough time)
Hours slept: 5.75 hours solid
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: 248.0
Number of FEMA troops on my block leaking intelligence secrets: 0
Currently reading: Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program by Sharon Salzberg; Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

[travel] Off to Rio Hondo

Up very early on quite short sleep to fly from SJC to LAX to ABQ, then vehiculate to Taos via Santa Fe. We’ll see Lisa Costello on our way through Santa Fe for appetizers or dinner, depending on the timing. I’ll be all day door to door.

And I’ll be all week in writer paradise.

[conventions|photos] My day two of the Nebula Awards Weekend

Yesterday was my second and final day at the Nebula Awards weekend. Not to bury the lede, the award in my ballot category of Best Novella went to the excellent Nancy Kress for After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall.

My parents and [info]the_child were there, along with my Aunt B— and Uncle L— from Texas.

Dad and Mom

Jersey Girl, Dad, Me, Mom

There was a comic convention going on next door, so some crossover happened.

These are not the SF writers you are looking for

Still we had fun.

Me and Jersey Girl, who’d never attended an SF event before

And though I did not win, I got to give away the Best Short Story Nebula to a charmingly shocked Aliette de Bodard.



I’ll post more later about the emotional experience of this weekend, and how it has intersected with my illness. For now, suffice to say I had an amazingly good time. My family was pretty happy to be there. My thanks to chair Dave Gallaher, SFWA President John Scalzi, and everyone who worked so hard to make this all come together as fantastically well as it did.

Photos © 2013 N. Schaadt and others. All rights reserved, reproduced with permission. As usual, more at the Flickr set.

[conventions|photos] My day one of the Nebula Awards Weekend

Yesterday, Jersey Girl in Portland flew down to San Jose. We ran into Richard Lovett on the plane, and shared a cab to the convention hotel. Once there, the afternoon became a blur of old friends and new that I couldn’t possibly do a sane job of listing. At the author signing, I was seated between John Scalzi and Joe Haldeman, with Connie Willis and Stephen Gould on the far end, safely out of range from me. Signing was busy and a lot of fun

DNA transfer between myself and John Scalzi

After the signing, Jersey Girl and I went to dinner with C.E. Petit, Catherine Shaffer, and the Locus crew, led by the indomitable Liza Trombi, along with Francesca Myman, Tim Pratt and Heather Shaw.

DNA transfer between myself and Francesca Myman of Locus while Catherine Shaffer looks on approvingly in the background

Post-dinner, we hit the reception at which the Nebula nominee certificates and pins are handed out, along with drinks and photography. It was fun to stand with Aliette de Bodard, Ken Liu and Lawrence Schoen. We were only missing Nancy Kress. And I am in awe of both Aliette and Ken for their across the board strength on the award ballots this year.

(Most of) the Best Novella ballot lining up to be photographed for the later restraining order

Eventually I retired early for a crappy night’s sleep.

Today my parents show up, as does my aunt and uncle, as does [info]the_child. My profound thanks to Crystal Black for making her trip possible. Plus a ton more friends.

Tomorrow, I am off to Rio Hondo at the crack of doom.

Photos © 2013 N. Schaadt. All rights reserved, reproduced with permission. As usual, more at the Flickr set.

[writing|travel] Off to the Nebs, then Rio Hondo

Yesterday Lisa Costello departed for New Mexico, where she is attending a conference in Santa Fe. This morning, Jersey Girl in Portland and I skedaddle to San Jose for SFWA’s Nebula Awards Weekend. My Dad and (step)Mom will be there tomorrow, as will my Aunt B— and Uncle L— from Texas. [info]the_child also flies down to San Jose tomorrow to attend the Nebula Awards banquet and ceremony with the able assistance of Crystal Black.

I’ll do some socializing and maybe some business whilst in San Jose, then I’ll have the fun of watching myself lose the Nebula. Let’s put it this way: I don’t even have an acceptance speech prepared. In the extremely unlikely event that I win, I’ll wing it. Luckily for both me and my potential audience, I am ferociously good at winging it.

Crack of Sunday, I light out for New Mexico my own self. This trip is completely unrelated to Lisa’s, as I am heading for Rio Hondo, but our automobile will pause whilst passing through Santa Fe on the way from Albuquerque to Taos for us to have a snack and visit with Lisa, who by amusing coincidence will still be there. After that, I’m for a week at Rio Hondo. (I’m not sure about the connectivity at Rio Hondo, so blogging may be erratic next week.)

All in all, a very good ten days or so coming up.

[cancer] Scanxiety, like paranoia, strikes deep

This morning I am going in for the CT scan to confirm what we know from the recent bloodwork. This will be the test that drives tomorrow’s oncology consultation. From which I fairly reasonably expect to receive my terminal diagnosis.

In other words, I feel like I’m going before a firing squad. CT scans always make me very uptight, even when we have no specific reason to expect bad news. That’s where my stress is focus and inflected. My state of mind can best be described as ‘scanxiety’.

In that vein, my trip to San Diego was awesome. Gaslight Gathering took excellent care of me, kept me very entertained, and (mostly) out of the cancer headspace. Except for about the last ninety minutes, I loved being there the entire time.

In that last ninety minutes, I nearly lost my shit at the airport.

Those of you who know me in real life know that I place a very high value on being kind, polite and pleasant. I don’t always live up to that value, but it’s a strong element of my self-directed character. Stress will strip those things away from me, unfortunately.

Even getting into the airport was a bit of a trial. Several emergency response vehicles were in the drop-off area. This meant someone was having a much worse day that the rest of us, unfortunately. It also meant that the excellent Greg van Eekhout had to let me off well away from the terminal and I had to walk quite a while, swaddled against the sunlight and with my injured foot aching.

I got checked in easily enough, but the security lines were hideous. TSA only had two of the inspection lanes open, despite having hundreds of people queued up. I don’t know if this was the sequester, their lunch hour, or just good old-fashioned poor management, but it was a mess.

Once inside, I discovered that the only water fountain in the entire concourse was out of service. I couldn’t fill my water bottle in the bathroom, because San Diego is the only airport in America where the bathroom taps run hot water. More to the point, they run hot water only. And the line at the one concession selling water bottles was fifteen or twenty people deep. Since it was the coffee shop, that was also a very slow-moving line.

I finally found an open seat, which was nontrivial. My laptop wouldn’t connect to the supposed free airport wifi. AT&T kept dropping signal on my iPhone, going from four bars to ‘No service’ and back again randomly. A minute or two after I sat down, the woman next to me was very sharp with me about the empty seat being taken. I started to apologize, then lost my temper and became rude back to her. Given my state of mind at that point, there was no graceful way to apologize or extract myself from the situation with social nicety. So I just got up and left.

This is not like me. This is so not like me. While I was legitimately having a frustrating day, my frustration was being compounded by scanxiety. It led me to behave rudely and inappropriately to a total stranger.

So I found another seat. I decided to take a Lorazepam, only to then discover we had forgotten to pack that particular medication. Perfect. Just fucking perfect.

I did take a Lorazepam last night to help me go to sleep. I am considering taking another this morning to keep me mellow on heading for the scan. But, yeah, this is a tough, tough moment. The inside of my head is a mess. My body is firing off physical stress symptoms like crazy, which for me mostly express as lower GI distress. I know what’s coming. I hate it and fear it. But it’s coming. And so I fixate on the scan because that is the moment when the unknown becomes known. The uncertainties are collapsed, and then we get to find out what happens next.

Unfortunately for me, at this point there are only bad answers and worse answers. We left “good” behind a long time ago.

Cancer is a lousy hobby.

[conventions] Gaslight Gathering, day three

Yesterday was fun, if long. (Like a good date.) [info]the_child, Lisa Costello and I breakfasted as usual. I had a late morning autograph session. We caught a quick lunch, then they headed off for the airport to return home while I geared up for the auction.

I was let off the hook of my ethical dilemma by the excellently good offices of steampunk fan and Gaslight Gathering volunteer Dave Rodger, who is among other things a cattle auctioneer. This violated one my cardinal rules of auction running, which is “Never compete for attention with a cattle auctioneer”, but moved bidding along nicely. (Longtime readers will of course recall that my other cardinal rule of auction running is “Never compete for attention with a clown in a straitjacket on a unicycle.” Experience is a bitter teacher.) As yet I do not know what the auction cleared, but some pretty amazing items went up for sale, and at a wide variety of prices ranging from painfully underbid to amazingly run up. Such is the way of auctions.

Post-auction, I hung about for closing ceremonies, then rested a while in my hotel room. In the fullness of time, concom chair Anastasia Hunter and a cast of dozen took me out to Phil’s B.B.Q., apparently a San Diego institution. Which was quite good, as evidenced by these photos:





No, I did not Eat All the Things, tempted as I was. Those are the plates of three different diners, that last being my order of boneless pork shoulder. I do find the extremely wide variation in style, presentation and meat selection of barbecue around the country to be fascinating. This was extremely delicious.

Afterward, we repaired to a suite at the hotel for a hilarious yet moderately distressing game of Cards Against Humanity, which is currently my top candidate for Most Inappropriate Game Ever. When we were done, Anastasia had me edit a couple of cards, then autograph them.

This morning I have breakfast with at least some of the concom, lunch with Greg van Eekhout, then I’m off to Portland, where I’ll reunite with [info]the_child, Lisa Costello. Starting Tuesday, the rest of this week is dedicated to cancer diagnosis and some likely challenging treatment and life decisions.

I’m very glad I got to spend the weekend here at Gaslight Gathering. My thanks to the folks who invited me, to all the conrunners and volunteers that made this event possible, and to everyone who came to the auction. Also, my especial thanks to all my friends as well as some total strangers who made such amazingly generous donations to the auction. I love the community that is genre.

Photos © 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.

[links] Link salad gets ready to jet home

The Author Exploitation Business — A commentary on Penguin and Author Solutions. Penguin has been looking under the Author Solutions hood for 10 months now. Its conclusion was this: we can make this bigger. We can take this scam on the road and start exploiting writers all over the planet.

The Kitten Setting: An Experiment — On trollery, pace John Scalzi.

San Diego-Tijuana Region — A satellite photo from NASA’s Earth Observatory site. Mildly ironic, because I woke up this morning in San Diego. I think I can see myself waving from my hotel window.

Sunday Fun: Vintage Cockroach Racing Game — Uh…

Telomeres Affect Gene ExpressionAs telomeres shorten with age, genes as far as 1,000 kilobases away could be affected, including one responsible for an inherited muscle disease.

Why gamma-ray burst shocked scientists — I believe that Dr. Bruce Banner is on the case.

Mars Expedition Possible in 20 Years — Do you really want to go to heaven?

Gearing up to search for gravity wavesHunt will be on in 2017, but finding the source may still be a challenge.

Government Lab Reveals It Has Operated Quantum Internet For Over Two YearsA quantum internet capable of sending perfectly secure messages has been running at Los Alamos National Labs for the last two and a half years, say researchers. I am deeply suspicious of any claim of “perfect security”.

Organic vapors affect clouds leading to previously unidentified climate cooling — Interesting.

No charges to be filed in accidental shooting of Davidson County 10-year-old — Because guns make us all safer. (Via [info]danjite.)

QotD?: What did you have for dinner last night?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (Con activity all day long)
Hours slept: 6.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (foot hurts)
Weight: n/a (away from home)
Number of FEMA troops on my block digging for fossils in the yards of God-fearing Republicans: 0
Currently reading: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett

[conventions] Gaslight Gathering, day one

Yesterday was day one of Gaslight Gathering. We had a darned good time, if I do say so. The morning was more or less our own, except for some time spent with the Guest Liaisons planning Sunday’s auction logistics. There I was given two wonderful new (and very writerly) aloha shirts by conventions chair Anastasia Hunter.

After lunch, the three of us hit Opening Ceremonies, where I was awarded a medal. Literally. We then prowled the Dealer’s Room. There I signed stock for Mysterious Galaxy, and signed books for all comers. That was followed by a rather nice “meet with guests” with fellow Guest of Honor Brian Kesinger. Val and Ron Antell took us out to dinner at D.Z. Akin’s, which was a cultural experience in and of itself. I couldn’t even tell you what I ate, except it was called the “Mini Ethnic Sampler”, and included lots of Jewish carbohydrates from Eastern Europe. We finished off the evening with a concert by Steam Powered Giraffe.

And of course, some photos. Most of them by [info]the_child.


[conventions] Arriving at Gaslight Gathering

Yesterday, [info]the_child, Lisa Costello and I flew to San Diego to attend Gaslight Gathering, where I am Guest of Honor this weekend. We were graciously met at the airport, then ferried out to Illumina for me to give a talk on cancer and genomics, then brought to the convention hotel and released into the wild for the evening.

I am meeting this morning with Gaslight Gathering’s guest liaison to go over my schedule for the weekend. Specifically the auction on Sunday is going to be an interesting challenge. They have put it together as a benefit for me, and some of the donations have been impressive and humbling. I’ll say more about this when the time comes. I’ll be around all weekend, so if you’re at the convention I should be easy to find.

My philosophy about being a GoH is that my time belongs to the convention. Even so, there will be a little extracurricular visiting while I’m here. Tomorrow morning, my friends from the League of S.T.E.A.M. are coming down from Los Angeles to have breakfast with me. Sunday evening I’m having dinner with @gregvaneekhout. Monday I’m mostly chilling until I fly back to Portland that afternoon. So if you’re in the San Diego area and want to connect, let me know. We can probably work something out.

Meanwhile, I plan to have a heck of a lot of fun here. I know they have some surprises in store for me, but I do not know what those are. (Because they wouldn’t be surprises then, would they?) More to come…

[cancer|events] Giving a talk on cancer and genomics at Illumina

Yesterday, thanks to the good offices of Waterloo Production and Gaslight Gathering, I visited Illumina to give my talk about the patient-oriented view of cancer and genomics. I was accompanied by [info]the_child, Lisa Costello and K— from Gaslight Gathering. Waterloo Productions filmed the event.

The lobby of Illumina
The lobby of Illumina

This was an intimidating audience for me. I’m a pretty well-informed layman, but I am definitely a layman. I have a B.A. Plan II from the University of Texas at Austin, which is loosely speaking a humanities degree. I have no graduate education. I haven’t darkened the door of science classroom since about 1984. With these credentials, I was talking to an audience of people who work every day on genomics, on whole genome sequencing and bioinformatics. Doctors, scientists, lab techs, marketers, administrators: a whole gamut of people from the world’s leading provider of gene sequencing equipment and services. I knew going in I had to be on my toes to maintain credibility and give them useful value for the hour of time each busy member of my audience was going to invest in me.

Jay talking at Illumina (c) 2013 Waterloo Productions
Jay talking at Illumina © 2013 Waterloo Productions

About 60-80 people attended the talk, by my rough guess. No one walked out in the middle, which to my long experience in public speaking and business presentations definitely represents a win. They were a tough but receptive house with some good questions. (My favorite was one about whether Illumina should be engaged in patient education or provider education, along with a related question about how to go about those efforts.) I learned some interesting thing from the questions and comments, and I think I reached a number of people with the patient perspective on the work they do.

I call it an afternoon well-spent. I daresay the Illumina folks do as well. When Waterloo Productions has the video of the talk edited, I think we’ll publish and promote it. At some point in the near future, I’ll also find a way to publish the slideware.

In addition, I’m trying to line up to do this talk to other audiences, both biomedical and general interest. If you know of any group who would like to hear more, please put me in touch.

Photos © 2013 Waterloo Productions and Joseph E. Lake, Jr.

Waterloo Productions’ photography is reproduced with permission, all rights reserved.

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.