Jay Lake: Writer

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[links] Link salad looks forward to hump day

Another excerpt from Jay Lake collab “Recontact” for #WIPpet Wednesday — My good buddy Ruth Nestvold is cleaning up some of our unfinished collaborative work for publication.

METAtropolis: Green Space Audiobook Review

Sarah Silverman and the Art of the Non-Dirty Joke — This is a good example of the creative process, very well explicated.

Toy Story: The True Identity of Andy’s Mom Makes The Movie More Epic — (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

Google Glass-wearing woman posts video of alleged S.F. bar attack

How Humans Went From Being One Shade to Many

Provide coverage for Lung Cancer Screening with LDCT — Cancer activism, courtesy of Janet Freeman-Daily.

Cheaper Cancer Gene Tests, by the DropA single-molecule gene test requires much less DNA to identify cancer-causing mutations.

Chile’s stunning fossil whale graveyard explained

Scientists re-weigh the electron, get more precise mass

Water Found in Atmosphere of Nearby Alien Planet

Space Rock Smacks Moon, Creating Biggest Lunar Explosion Ever Seen — (Via David Goldman.)

The audacious rescue plan that might have saved space shuttle ColumbiaThe untold story of the rescue mission that could have been NASA’s finest hour.

A World Multiply Endangered: Horseman of the Four Apocalypses — About political fear and terror.

‘I Am Still Called by the God I Serve to Walk This Out’A conversation with Lucia McBath, mother of Jordan Davis. Ta-Nehisi Coates again.

Is Religion Secularizing? Trends in Opposition to Pornography — I’m not sure this has any great significance, but it is interesting.

Christian rocker pleads guilty to trying to hire hit man to kill wife — Ah, the superior morality of Biblical marriage. (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Inside the Conservative Campaign to Launch “Jim Crow-Style” Bills Against Gay Americans“This seems to be a concerted Hail Mary campaign to carve out special rights for religious conservatives so that they don’t have to play by the same rules as everyone else does”

A License to DiscriminateThere are 17 states where it is legal for same-sex couples to marry, and there is no evidence that the accelerating progress toward equality has compromised anyone’s freedom to worship or hold religious beliefs. Unfortunately, that has not stopped religious and social conservatives from pressing lawmakers in various states to enact noxious measures to give businesses and individuals the broad right to deny services to same-sex couples in the name of protecting religious liberty.

Fox News blasts Arizona’s “Jim Crow laws for homosexuals” — Uh, really? They were certainly for it before they were against it. Let’s see if this holds up at all.

Senators on SB1062: “We made a mistake”A trio of Arizona state senators urged Gov. Jan Brewer to veto a controversial “religious freedom” bill on Monday, just days after all three cast votes in favor of the proposal that opponents say will legalize discrimination. These unAmerican conservative jerks don’t even have the balls to stand proudly for the same bigoted hate they were happy to vote in for relative anonymity a week ago? Poor widdle babies, facing consequences for their profoundly destructive actions. Such accountability rarely happens to conservatives, of course. I suppose this is progress, but it would have been a lot more progress not to embrace such a hideously immoral piece of GOP vote pandering in the first place.

Arizona Confronting Awkward Realization That Gay People Have Money, Buy Stuff Acknowledging that her vote for the anti-gay law might have been calamitous for the state’s economy, Ms. Foyler placed the blame for it squarely on the shoulders of one group: the gays themselves. “How was I supposed to know what gay people do with their money, etc., when I don’t personally know any gay people?” she asked. “I’m sorry, but it was up to the gays to tell us.” (Via Lisa Costello.)

Oops: GOP Bill Would Strip 1 Million Workers Of Health Coverage — I’m pretty sure that’s a feature, not a bug, as stripping lower income people of healthcare is an explicit and widely held Republican goal. See the widespread efforts at refusal or even rollback of Medicare expansion.

[Redacted in the Interest of National Security] — Ah, humor.

GOPer: Ranchers Should Shoot ‘Wetbacks’ Crossing Border IllegallyA Republican Senate candidate argued to The Dallas Morning News editorial board earlier this month that ranchers in Texas should be allowed to shoot “wetbacks” trying to cross the border illegally. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

?otD: Is this the middle of your week?


2/26/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 30 minutes
Weight: 234.2
Number of FEMA troops on my block unjustly vilifying Ted Nugent: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[publishing] METAtropolis: Greenspace nominated for an Audie

I am pleased to note that METAtropolis: Greenspace has been nominated for an Audie for best original work. That is the audiobook industry’s highest award, comparable to the Hugo or the Oscar.

This is the category that METAtropolis: Cascadia won several years ago. Edited by me and Ken Scholes, our fabulous stable of writers includes Elizabeth Bear, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, Ken Scholes, Karl Schroeder and myself.

Good luck to all of us, and the other nominees.

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[links] Link salad is surprised to see the Year of the Horse

2013 Locus Recommended Reading List — Including my Audible.com novella, “Rock of Ages”.

Editor’s Desk: Support Jay Lake — Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld talks about me and my medical travails.

Are You Pooping Wrong? — (Via David Goldman.)

Henning Mankell: chronicler of his own declineAfter years of exploring Sweden’s darkest fears in his fiction, the creator of Wallander faces his own anxiety after being diagnosed with cancer. He will now chart his illness in a newspaper column. (Via Cora Buhlert.)

Smeared Skies Made from Hundreds of Stacked Photographs by Matt Molloy — “Timestack”. Now there’s a word. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

Mars and Orion over Monument Valley — Mmmm.

Brain-Dead Texas Woman’s Family May Have To Pay For The Cost Of Keeping Her On Life SupportIt’s not guaranteed that Texas will actually change the arcane state law that allows hospitals to override women’s end-of-life wishes if they are pregnant. And it’s unclear who exactly will be responsible for paying the medical bills that resulted from Muñoz’s hospital stay, which stretched on for about nine weeks.

Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine — Shades of my novel The January Machine. (Thank to [info]danjite.)

Reagan and the occultRonald Reagan had an interest in lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes. Less known is that a certain scholar of occult philosophy had a lifelong influence on the 40th president of the United States. Uh, yeah. (Snurched from Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Even the top 1% is disgusted by Tom PerkinsHowever, on the issue of economic equality in particular, I must part ways with Mr. Perkins as well as some of my other colleagues in the business community who subscribe to his simplistic, almost childlike point of view regarding the factors that are driving the emerging debate on inequality.

Christie Asks for Public’s Patience While He Comes Up with New Story — Heh.

?otD: What is your birth year in the Chinese system?


2/2/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block inventing polar vortices: 0
Currently reading: n/a

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[links] Link salad knows that love is just a kiss away

Reading: METAtropolis: Green Space — A reader reacts positively to my novella, “Rock of Ages”.

Love, The Weak and FragileLove, to me, is like an emaciated refugee that shows up at your door in the middle of the night during a storm. You’re not sure how she had the strength to get here, but here she is regardless, her thumb on your doorbell until you let her in. (Via [info]rekre8.)

A Girl and Her Room: Portraits of Teenage Girls’ Inner Worlds Through Their Bedroom Interiors — (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

The Acrobat Sublime — Some gorgeous photos of acrobats in unusual settings. NSFW in a very arty way. (Via [info]martang.)

Around 50% of people can ‘see in the dark,’ study shows

What is the craziest thing you have ever said to your boss, with or without getting fired? — (Via David Goldman.)

East Meets West: An Infographic PortraitGerman punctuality, Western ego and how to stand in line like a Chinese. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

I Noticed This Tiny Thing On Google Maps. And When I Zoomed In… Well, Nothing Could Prepare Me. — Wow. This is amazing, intense, and sad. (Thanks to [info]willyumtx.)

Telescopes as Time Machines — This has been obvious to me since I was a kid, and I’m pretty sure is clear enough to most SF readers and fans. It’s still a cool topic.

GOP Deeply Divided Over Climate Change — Polling about climate change is like polling about gravity. You can hold any ideology you want, but in the reality-based world shit still falls down.

More Passengers Are Trying To Board Planes With GunsThe most common explanation passengers give officers when they get caught is, “I forgot it was there.” Man, I feel so much safer when responsible citizens exercise their Second Amendment rights. So do the 30,000 people killed every year in this country by firearms, I’m just certain of it.

?otD: Gimme shelter?


11/4/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking skills: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[links] Link salad is everything a big, bad wolf could want

Metatropolis: Green Space Out Today + Metatropolis Trade PB On the Way

As We May Type — New generations of outliners and writing tools.

Small scale, small contributionThe 1.26 billion people whose countries belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development account for 42 percent of emissions. The rich, if they reduced their emissions by just 8 percent, could achieve more climate mitigation than the poor could achieve by reducing their emissions to zero. The rich could manage this 8 percent reduction by altering their lifestyles in barely noticeable ways. For the poor, a reduction of 100 percent would imply permanent misery. (Via [info]danjite.)

An Antarctic Journal — LJ user [info]antarctic_sue photoblogs life at the bottom of the world, including the GOP’s anti-science shutdown of US operations there. (Via [info]natalief.)

Uncommon path to Medal of Honor ceremony for Afghan war hero Swenson — This is an odd story (I heard a version of it on NPR).

Graph ‘o the day: Hey, big spenderSo, how have the Republicans managed to persuade Americans to buy into the whole “Obama as big spender” narrative? By flat out, knowing lies that their voter base eager laps up because a black Democrat is in the White House, and that means the End Times to Sarah Palin’s “real Americans” that make up the GOP.

The Tea Party Smoke-And-Mirrors Ponyfucker Express Magic Show — Chuck Wendig with a magnificent rant.

Heroic Times — Josh Marshall on the apocalyptic fever of the Tea Party Republicans. (Not that there is, or ever has been, any other kind of Tea Party but racist, radical Republicans.)

Your tax dollars at work, GOP styleWe furloughed the CDC but there is still money for shennanigans like this.

Three must-read articles about the shutdown and impending debt default — This isn’t about Obama somehow refusing to negotiate or acting in bad faith. This is about unilateral, unprecedented hostage taking by a GOP driven to desperation with their declining poll numbers and multiple election losses. These America-first patriots are willing to take the whole country down permanently if they don’t get to do things their way.

What This Cruel War Was OverIf a patriot can stand in front of the White House brandishing the Confederate flag, then the word “patriot” has no meaning. The Nazi flag is offensive because it is a marker of centuries of bigotry elevated to industrialized murder. But the Confederate flag does not merely carry the stain of slavery, of “useful killing,” but the stain of attempting to end the Union itself. You cannot possibly wave that flag and honestly claim any sincere understanding of your country. It is not possible.

Why Should the Public Trust Republicans With Power? — A question I’ve been asking since the Reagan administration, but which really came into focus during George W. Bush’s disastrous tenure in the White House. At least some people are waking up to this very long-standing issue, thanks to the House GOP and the Cruz faction in the Senate.

House Republicans Show Themselves To Be Dangerously Incompetent, AgainThere is no serious argument for Republican governance right now, even if you prefer conservative policies over liberal ones. These people are just too dangerously incompetent to be trusted with power.

?otD: Hey there little red riding hood?


10/16/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minutes (stationary bike)
Weight: 242.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing laws passed under the Constitutional process and fully subjected to judicial review: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

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[writing|cancer] I meant to write yesterday, I swear

Fred is elusive these days. Which frustrates me.

Tuesday I’d managed to put in over an hour on revisions and editorial tasks, mostly connected to METAtropolis: Green Space. This after a week+ lost to JayCon and related festivities, overlapped with six days of not having my MacBook Air available to me. “Yay,” I said to myself, “I am back on the horse.”

Then yesterday I spent the entire day dealing with either Day Jobbery or the disability application process or visiting the doctor. My energy is not what it was, and neither is my efficiency. By the time all this was done, around 5 pm, I was simply too exhausted to then deal with writing.

Mind you, I used to be able to work all day and write all evening. Not so much anymore.

The scary part is that I already know this is how my writing will end. I will simply peter out, too tired one day to put the time in, then the next, then the next, while the brain fog of chemo and cancer settles in ever deeper until one day I’ll realize I haven’t done anything in a month, and there aren’t very many months left for me to live.

So every time I miss a day, I wonder if this is the beginning of the end for my writing. Yesterday wasn’t that day, I do know this. But it sure felt similar.

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[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, peeling fingers edition

Hand-Foot Syndrome

I’m off the Regorafenib this week as part of the monthly dosage cycle. This seems to mean that my feet hurt a little bit less, and there’s also less pain in my hands. Even so, my lovely case of hand-foot syndrome progresses. There’s some cracking in the skin around my heels. My fingers are peeling like crazy. (Though oddly, so far my thumbs are not.) I am not seeing rawness yet on the fingers, and the peeling barely even itches. It’s just kind of weird.

Sleep

Regorafenib continues to play merry hob with my sleep cycle. I tire and fall asleep too early, and sometimes also pass out in the afternoon. Yet I’m awake between 2 and 3 am every day. Sometimes I can get back to sleep, mostly I can’t. I’m netting five hours and perhaps a bit more of sleep most nights, occasionally six or so. Weirdly, even Lorazepam does not seem to help this very much. As it happens, I’m surviving okay on this level of sleep, but it leaves me without mental or physical reserves, at a time when the treatments and the stress of terminal cancer eat at my heart, mind and body.

Busy-ness

I have been very, very busy this week. Day Jobbery is wrapping up with various project handoffs, knowledge transfer efforts and so forth preparatory to me going on disability as of 7/2/2013. In order to do this, I have four separate disability claims that need to be filed and followed up on: FMLA, Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability, and SSDI. This in addition to a considerable amount of detail effort to manage my severance from the workplace. Not to mention all the followups and action items from multiple recent meetings with attorneys (plural), the financial planner and the accountant. And everything else that goes on around here normally, including writing business, dealing with health insurance, medical appointments and so forth. So, yeah, busy.

Writing

Speaking of writing, I am at least moderately back on the horse. I worked last night on finalizing METAtropolis: Green Space, specifically my own story and that of the mighty [info]kenscholes. I have to bat clean-up on a number of minor items today. With any luck, tomorrow I can return to my work effort on drafting Original Destiny, Manifest Sin. I am slowing down (see below), and I’ve for the most part stop accepting invitations to contribute to markets. Just getting through what I have in front of me is close to impossible. The new, it is receding. Even so, I am still writing.

Cognition

I continue to notice mild cognitive impairments. A combination of memory lapses and being hard-of-thinking. Not sure if this is a Regorafenib effect, a stress symptom, or just my general state of being after all the chemotherapy of the past few years. Most likely all of the above. One place where this manifests starkly is that my ability to either explicitly multitask or to juggle multiple tracks of effort in a tightly-coupled process has all but evaporated. I’ve turned into a one-thing-at-a-time guy. Something that hasn’t been true of me ever, right back to the very beginning of my life. I feel the loss of some of my capability.

Palliative Care

Today, Lisa Costello, Dad and I are going to see a palliative care specialist to talk about end-of-life planning some more. I expect this appointment to cover everything from pain management in my terminal decline, to hospice care decision making, to advice on administrative and financial issues. Like so many of my meetings of late, it will be sobering and overwhelming. This is a difficult path I walk now. Appointments of this nature are trail-blazers that lead me to where the shadows deepen and the light leaches away until I am left with nothing but blood, bone and fear.

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[cancer] Field Notes from Cancerland, midwestern BBQ edition

Regorafenib Side Effects

I’ve been taking the new medication for a week as of this morning. Side effects started showing up around this past Thursday, about four days in. The most noticeable is the early stages of hand and foot syndrome. Right now this expresses itself as a sharp heat intolerance in my hands and a mild heat intolerance in my feet. This makes it hard to take a shower. I am also experiencing soreness and pain at any pressure. This makes it hard to carry anything weighing more than a pound or two, as well as open jars and bottles, as my grip has already degraded almost completely. Not to mention walking is becoming painful.

I am at risk of becoming chair and bed bound from this, and of losing most of the use of my hands. I can cope with a fair amount of that, but not the loss of my ability to type, or read electronic and paper material.

I’m also becoming hoarse and losing my appetite, which are probably Regorafenib related as well. I expect pathological fatigue soon, though that hasn’t appeared yet, and possibly a number of other issues.

This is only the beginning. I have seven more weeks of this regime before we evaluate progress with another CT scan. We’ll see how sharply I decline over the coming weeks.

Return of the GI Follies

I am having GI issues which are almost the opposite of Regorafenib’s stated side effects in that area. Things are binding up and slowing down in my lower GI. This is unusual for me, given the architecture my multiple surgical interventions have left me with. Erratic, fast and loose is far more my everyday experience. I’m not sure if this isn’t just some transient dietary thing or what. We shall see.

Writing Progress

[info]garyomaha asked me yesterday over dinner if I was still working on Original Destiny, Manifest Sin. My answer was yes, but not right this moment. I’ve had multiple event interruptions in my writing (Gaslight Gathering, Nebula Awards Weekend, Rio Hondo) while being focused on the METAtropolis: Green Space project, that has a final due date in two weeks. Plus the “Hook Agonistes” collaboration with Seanan McGuire. I’ve actually been getting a fair amount of work done, but much of it has fallen under my generic category of WRPA (writing related program activities) rather than the advancement of wordcount on specific manuscripts.

Given the advance of both cancer and Regorafenib, I am very mindful of having a short fuse on all of this. I expect to be back on Original Destiny by this coming weekend, if not a bit sooner, and will be focused on that until I’m either done or am confronting an interruption too critical to power through.

Business Issues and Interviews

I’ve been pursuing several parallel tracks of business issues related to disability and estate planning. When those reach a point of fruition, I will discuss them here on the blog. Some things need to happen at their own pace, in confidence, before they can be outlined in any detail. That coping with cancer should involve Sekrit Projekts is both annoying and inevitable. On the plus side of Sekrit Projekts, The Oregonian will be running another in-depth interview with on Sunday, June 9th. I’ll link to the online version of that interview when it becomes available.

Star Trek Into Darkness

This isn’t at all cancer related, but it’s interesting and entertaining. My recent comments on Star Trek Into Darknessimdb ] have provoked quite a set of responses.

Some are here and here on my blog, but the majority are on Facebook here and here. See also this thread on the Facebook page of Nikki Nmd which riffs on some of my remarks.

Fascinating, the range of reactions, not to mention the depth of passion behind those reactions.

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[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, minor indignities edition

Non-Cancer Medical News

After consulting with my primary care physician, we have discontinued both Lovastatin and low-dose aspiring aspirin. His comment was that given the brevity of my remaining lifespan, the odds of me having a heart attack in that timeframe are quite low, and I didn’t need to cope with the side effects of the medication. The aspirin conflicts with some of my other medications, and it’s just two less pills for me to take. And so it goes, as we continue to slowly shut things down.

Minor Indignities

Remember my smashed toe? It still hurts. Yesterday I also managed to give myself a fairly significant paper cut under the nail of my right index finger. This after giving myself a minor paper cut on the tip of that same finger last week. And yes, I am right-handed. Also, cooking dinner I spattered hot olive oil from the pan across my right forearm. Which hurt like crazy. None of this is really cancer related, but all of it is proof that the small pains of life don’t grant forbearance in the face of medical disaster.

Business Details

We were supposed to meet with a financial planner yesterday to discuss end-of-life and estate planning issues, but they injured themselves the night before and had to reschedule. (They are fine now.) Everything I’ve tried to do lately at the business end of death-and-dying has been like this. For example, a certain financial services department I needed a quick response from was on delayed schedule due to undergoing internal audit the week I needed them. Taking care of my to-do list has been like swimming in mud. I suppose this stuff goes on all the time, but I am acutely aware of it right now due to my own deteriorating situation and need to reach closure on an enormous number of issues.

Voice

I was working on my METAtropolis: Green Space novella yesterday, parsing the Rio Hondo critique. Good stuff. While I was doing so, however, I was struck once more with the inescapable reality that my voice is being stilled. My name may live on for a long time, if I am lucky, but it will be a ghostly luck. As an atheist and an empiricist, I can only see death as personal extinction. The spirit or consciousness are inextricable emergent properties of the brain’s structure and functionality. There is absolutely no objective evidence for their survival beyond the death of the brain. When the grave calls, I shall travel into that darkness from which there is no return. Sobeit. But sometimes the prospect catches at my breath and gives my heart pause. I will miss life, mightily.

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[writing] Editing METAtropolis: Green Space

[info]kenscholes and I are a good way through the primary editorial process for METAtropolis: Green Space, the third volume is the highly successful original audiobook series from Audible.com. We have all the stories in hand, and have gone through them all for revision notes. Some are back to the authors, some need a little finalization from either me or Ken, depending on which of us did the primary editing pass.

I’m waiting on my change notes back from Ken, which will also incorporate feedback from series editor Steve Feldberg. And we’re on track for project deadlines, which is a good thing.

While I genuinely enjoy editing open call anthologies, there’s also a specific pleasure to working with a select group of authors whose work you admire, and can trust. The editorial eye still comes into play, but it’s working at a different level. And the fiddly bits to map series continuity across the stories can be fun and challenging as well. We aren’t writing tight shared world work like Heroes in Hell or Thieves’ World, but the stories still have to hang together and feel of a piece.

In the end, we’re dealing with seven voices telling different parts of one much larger metastory which even across all three volumes the reader barely glimpses. It’s an interesting approach and fun format, and I feel privileged to have been involved in all three volumes to date. Maybe someday there will be a fourth, that’s a wonderful thing for me to imagine.

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