[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 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.
Posted: 6:33 am Sat May 18 2013 | Comments(38) |
[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. 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.
Posted: 4:50 am Fri May 17 2013 | Comments(19) |
[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, heading out of town tomorrow edition
Generosity of Spirit
More generosity flows my way. @howardtayler has done some amazing things for me this week, with an able assist from his colorist Travis Walton. Howard teases his work here. Suffice to say this will be public soon, and you can all marvel at Howard’s skill and wit, and understand how impressed and humbled I am by his support.
Yesterday’s airline mileage appeal was a bit of a fiasco. I’d not checked into the airline policies for a while, and they have both monetized and restricted mileage transfers between private individual. Thank you so much to everyone who made the effort. Another reader found points.com, which I will be investigating today or tomorrow in hopes of arriving at a more useful solution. In the mean time, the original Big Project has proceeded down another path. I have several other Worthy Projects in mind, so if I can get this straightened out, the appeal will continue, albeit on slightly different terms.
I’ve been told that my prescription for Regorafenib has been approved. This drug is a specialty pharmacy item, which means it falls outside the usual infrastructure of pharmaceutical benefits. This includes pre-approval letters and me dealing with a designated mail order pharmacy for my medication supply. It also potentially included a whopping co-pay, but it turns out my carrier’s pharmacy plan treated this as simply being at the high end of the formulary. Which is modestly annoying, but that’s same $50 co-pay I have for Celebrex, Levitra, et cetera.
My Next Scan
I have been corresponding with my oncologist about my next CT scan. Those are supposed to be eight weeks apart right now. That’s the minimum spacing recommended for clinical benefit. I also believe there are significant radiation exposure concerns with excessive scanning. In my case, I won’t live long enough to experience that set of problems, but nonetheless the health and safety guidelines exist. The problem is, they want me to have the next CT scan eight weeks after I start taking the Regorafenib. As I am going out of town tomorrow for eleven days — the Nebulas in San Jose, then Rio Hondo in northern New Mexico — I won’t be able to start taking the Regorafenib prior to May 27th at the earliest. And even that date assumes the specialty pharmacy comes through in a timely manner. Which puts me to eleven weeks or longer between CT scans. And creates the situation that we have 3+ weeks of tumor growth prior to the beginning of any hoped-for effects from the Regorafenib. I think we’d have both a growth rate assessment and a clean baseline for evaluation the new medication if we did a scan shortly after May 27th, but that is far too soon per the generic clinical guidelines. No answer yet, but it’s one of the things I’m worrying about.
Tasking All the Things
Remember that big list of mine, of things that need doing before I die? [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ] Well, it’s grown. And we’re doing them. So an enormous amount of administratrivia is happening around Nuevo Rancho Lake. So far, most of the customer service reps, managers and whatnot we’ve dealt with have been very gracious. I feel like Robert DeNiro’s Harry Tuttle in Brazil [ imdb ] being consumed by paper. Still, progress is being made.
I’ve had several people note that I’m pretty cheerful lately. The not very hidden subtext is them wondering why I’m not wailing and rending my garments. Honestly, I’m not sure why I’m not wailing and rending my garments. I suppose because there’s no time for that sort of thing. I don’t have much life left to live, especially in something like normal health, and I have too much to do. Love my child, write my stories, be good to Lisa Costello and Jersey Girl in Portland and mother of the child and my family and my friends and my fans and my co-workers and and and. It is true that my current good nature is a very thin veneer, subject to cracking at even a glancing blow. Beneath that is a bubbling stew of anger, grief and terror, spiced with a catalog of other negative emotions. Nonetheless, here I am. And forward is the only direction for me.
Thank you all for reading, for caring, for reaching out.
Posted: 5:48 am Thu May 16 2013 | Comments(17) |
[cancer|travel] Something you can do for me
ETA: There may be a fee for sharing or donating miles. If your airline tells you this is true, please ignore this request. My apologies for faulty research.
A lot of people have asked what they can do for me. Unless you’re physically and socially close to me, my answer to that has generally been an appreciation for good will and best wishes. Cancer is a journey that I ultimately must walk alone, no matter how many people are prepared to walk beside me. No one but me goes under the needle or the knife, and it’s my personal extinction out on the table now.
That being said, you have been profoundly supportive. The Sequence A Science Fiction Writer fundraiser was a runaway success. (And watch this space for some details about how I am planning to do some giving back with that.) Likewise the letters and comments I receive via email and social media and the US postal service. All that love and support means a great deal to me.
However, there is something else you can do for me. I’m trying to plan something pretty amazing for the_child (and hopefully Lisa Costello) this summer, and I need some more frequent flyer miles to make it work.
If you’re fortunate enough to have mileage in either American Aadvantage or United Mileage Plus, or allied programs within the OneWorld and Star Alliance networks, I am soliciting mileage donations for my plans. Can’t spill the beans quite yet, though I will provide full disclosure as soon as circumstances permit. If I am donated excess mileage beyond my needs, that mileage will eventually be donated in turn to charity.
Should you be interested, please contact me directly for my account number and related information. And thank you so much for even considering this.
Posted: 5:29 am Tue May 14 2013 | Comments(38) |
[links] Link salad prove to you that it’s no fool, walks across your swimming pool
It’s hard to rely on my good intentions, when my head’s full of things that I can’t mention — Lisa Costello on how my cancer news is affecting her.
Game Theory and the Treatment of Cancer — Thinking about cancer as an ecosystem is giving biologists access to a new armoury of mathematical tools for tackling it, such as evolutionary game theory.
The History of Typography – Animated Short — This is kind of nifty. (Via threeoutside.)
Alice E. Kober, 43; Lost to History No More — Ancient languages and eccentric professors. It doesn’t get any better! (Via my Dad.)
Dull Flag and Tongue of Gangsta: The Laugh-out-loud Place-names of Shetland and Orkney
Beatnik JFK: 1957 — For some reason, I find this photo very funny.
Researcher Analyzes Oldest Fossil Hominid Ear Bones Ever Recovered
Fossil Amber Challenges Theories About Glass — Scientists discover that glass doesn’t flow like a liquid.
Kangaroos have three vaginas — Mmm, marsupials. (Via David Goldman.)
One Small Step for Geoengineering — or Is “Ecoengineering” Better?
Space Oddity — David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station. We are indeed living in the future. (Via David Goldman and others.)
‘Einstein’s Planet’: New Alien World Revealed by Relativity
Climate Sensitivity Stunner: Last Time CO2 Levels Hit 400 Parts Per Million The Arctic Was 14°F Warmer!
The Dark Art of Racecraft — Jason Richwine’s place in the long history of research on race and IQ. Ta-Nehisi Coates is powerful on race and racism in academic tradition.
Infographic: Is Your State’s Highest-Paid Employee A Coach? (Probably) — I’m so proud of America at moments like this. With all the budget problems of government, and all the human suffering in our debated economy, we still have our priorities straight. (Via danjite.)
Japan WWII ‘comfort women’ were ‘necessary’ – Hashimoto — A prominent Japanese politician has described as “necessary” the system by which women were forced to become prostitutes for World War II troops. Oh, God. Really? Not only seven kinds of wrong, but disgusting and morally depraved. China indignant at Japanese politician’s “comfort women” statement.
Homophobes Might Be Hidden Homosexuals — A new analysis of implicit bias and explicit sexual orientation statements may help to explain the underpinnings of anti-gay bullying and hate crimes. Also, this just in: water is wet. Inside a great number of angry conservative bigots is a fabulous gay man struggling to get out.
Naked TSA Protester’s Appeal to Be Heard Tuesday — A story of local interest here in Portland. It would be pretty funny if it weren’t so darned serious.
Police search for 19-year-old man shooting, wounding of 19 at New Orleans Mother’s Day parade — Because an armed society is a polite society, and guns make us all safer. Think how much harder it would have been for this shooter to exercise his theoretical defense of essential liberties without the smiling protection of the NRA and the Republican Party.
Right-wing media check up: still crazy — The right-wing media hasn’t learned anything from its failures in 2012. It’s the same-old ‘Obama is evil’ conspiracy theories.
Gates: Administration Critics view of US Military Capabilities in Benghazi “Cartoonish” — Former Bush and Obama administrations secretary of defense Bob Gates, a lifelong Republican, replied to some of the GOP fantasies about the possibility of a US military mission into Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. The Republican obsession with Benghazi is just as bizarre and counterfactual as the vast majority of their other obsessions. Not that bizarre counterfactuals stopped Whitewater from morphing into the Clinton impeachment. Essentially, the GOP has been unable to accept the legitimacy of any Democratic president since LBJ.
Government secretly obtains phone records from journalists — Prosecutors targeted the Associated Press in an attempt to learn who leaked information about the CIA and an apparent terrorist plot in Yemen. If proven out, this is seven kinds of wrong. I don’t care what your politics are, this isn’t what our government does or should be doing. Should these allegations be substantiated, Attorney General Eric Holder needs to go, and Obama needs to answer for this. If nothing else, can this administration give us accountability? And some counterpoint on this.
QotD?: What is it that you have got that puts you where you are?
Writing time yesterday: 1.5 hours (1.25 hours of revision, plus WRPA, editing METAtropolis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 5.0 hours (fitful)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Weight: m/a (forgot)
Number of FEMA troops on my block digging for fossils in the yards of God-fearing Republicans: 0
Currently reading: The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 5:15 am Tue May 14 2013 | Comments(4) |
[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.
Posted: 5:41 am Tue May 07 2013 | Comments(17) |
[conventions] Gaslight Gathering, day three
Yesterday was fun, if long. (Like a good date.) 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 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.
This work by Joseph E. Lake, Jr. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Posted: 7:40 am Mon May 06 2013 | Comments(4) |
[travel|conventions] Off to San Diego and Gaslight Gathering
In a couple of hours, Lisa Costello, the_child, and I are off to the airport to fly to San Diego for Gaslight Gathering. Those fine folks have invited me to be their Guest of Honor. How could I say no?
This afternoon when we arrive, we’ll be visiting Illumina, the company that performed the primary analysis for my Whole Genome Sequencing. There I will give my talk on cancer and genomics from the patient perspective. After that, we’ll be the whole weekend at the convention.
The Gaslight Gathering folks have been incredibly kind and generous, offering me all sorts of support. I cannot thank them enough for the invitation, and very much look forward to spending the weekend with that crew. If you’re in southern California, especially San Diego, drop in and see me.
Posted: 6:27 am Thu May 02 2013 | Comments(21) |
[dreams|cancer] Voyaging in the undiscovered countries of my heart
I had one of my science fiction dreams again last night. I was flying on a 747 with some other writers. Gardner Dozois was the flight attendant, and did about what you’d expect Gardner to do in that situation. His safety spiel over the p.a. system was more along the lines of “Keep your hands and arms inside the ride at all times,” which is not comforting to hear aboard a pressurized aircraft.
The plane eventually landed at the World’s Tiniest Airport™, an artefact of the geography of my subsconscious rather than any particular airport in real life. I walked alone down the airstairs and into the terminal to find the departure lounge crowded with science fiction writers, artists, critics and fans. Jenn Reese, Greg van Eekhout, and Sydney Duncan, just to name a few. Plus most of the Pacific Northwest genre community. I stopped to talk to them, but they were all leaving on Gardner’s plane. I begged people to stay a while longer, or to take me with them, but the plane was full and the place was emptying out. Soon I was left behind alone.
Later I dreamt I was in China with my family. Except they had checked into one hotel and I was supposed to be in another. I went to a store to get a few groceries, and became frustrated that they did not have Mexican Coke in China. The checker turned out to have been educated in America, and fluent in English, so after the store closed we went out to watch the Communist youth groups in their midnight parades. We started making out, then she went off to do something, and I found myself stark naked on the nighttime streets with nothing to clothe myself but Communist party banners. This seemed like a bad idea.
I am dreaming of my own death, clearly. And separation from two of things which matter most to me. the_child, whose heritage is Chinese; and the genre community in which I have become so deeply embedded. My sense of loss is palpable even in my day-to-day moments, and the dreams underscore a deep sense of abandonment.
That last is a tad odd, as it is I who is doing the abandoning by contracting a fatal illness. Nonetheless, this is how my dreaming mind has chosen to interpret the matter somewhere beyond the Gates of Horn. The country of my dreams is treacherous terrain, but no more so than the country of my waking life these days.
Posted: 5:40 am Tue April 30 2013 | Comments(14) |
[links] Link salad has been telling you it’s a genius since it was seventeen
Omega Coaxial Ad — Which very much puts me (and others) in mind of my novel Mainspring. (Via OldMiser.)
Amazing potato salad minus the WOW factor — Jersey Girl in Portland on her potato salad and mine.
20 of the world’s most beautiful World Heritage Sites — Bucket list stuff, if I had time and money for a bucket list before I die.
Army Airship: 1922 — A cool photo from Shorpy.
Crystal Puzzle Solved with Sea Squirt — The story’s interesting in its own right if you’re into biology or materials science, but you have to love the headline regardless.
Memory Implants — A maverick neuroscientist believes he has deciphered the code by which the brain forms long-term memories.
Privately Financed Spaceship Roars Closer to Space — SpaceShip Two breaks the sound barrier.
ESA: Herschel space telescope blinded by heat, retires for good
The World’s First Website Gets Its Original Web Address Back — It’s not often you can follow something back right to the beginning.
Your Mac, iPhone or iPad may have left the Apple store with a serious security risk — This is mildly boggling. (Via goulo.)
Seattle Police And Phoenix Jones – A New Chapter — Because, um, reasons. Nope. Come to think of it, I got nothing. (Thanks to my brother.)
About History — Shortpacked is making fun of a specific subset of geekdom, but this pretty much captures the conservative mind in general.
Report: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s repeated requests for a lawyer were ignored — There is zero legal or ethical justification for denying a suspect in custody this fundamental right Because reasons! After all, we treat white conservative terrorists exactly the same. Or we would, if there were any white conservative terrorists. “Patriots” like McVeigh and Rudolph certainly had a right to counsel. (Via David Goldman.)
Congress tries to reset science grants, wants every one to be “groundbreaking” — If lawmakers get their way, research like recent Higgs findings could disappear. That’s what happens when you put anti-science willful idiots in charge of national science policy.
Justice O’Connor: Maybe Bush V. Gore Was A Mistake — Gee. Ya think? Note: If you don’t know who John Ellis is and when and why George W. Bush called him on election night, you really don’t understand what happened in Florida and why people like me are still pissed about it. And believe you me, if the situation had been reversed, and a cousin of Al Gore’s was involving in the media calling the election results prematurely in Gore’s favor, this would still be a daily topic on conservative media over a decade later. Meanwhile, back in the reality-based community, Your Liberal Media never covered Ellis much, even at the time.
House Republicans Eyeing New Hostage Opportunity — The House Republicans are contemplating a new budget-hostage strategy, the the Washington Post reports in a story that is both highly useful and inadvertently Onion-esque. The hallmark of Onion news reporting is conveying insanity as if it were sane in a completely deadpan way. The Republican party isn’t even pretending to govern any more, and no one cares. At least no one conservative. And they call themselves patriotic?
Maker of Useless Dowsing Rod for Bombs Convicted for Fraud — There are an infinite number of flavors of this sort of nonsense, from astrology to homeopathy, from the antivaccination movement to global warming denial. While you might think some of these are harmless, they all have very serious ramifications: they lead to magical thinking. They tell people it’s OK to stop putting their trust in reality and science, and instead abandon it for nonsense. And that’s my fundamental objection to the Republican party. Not to the theoretical foundation of conservatism, which in many ways is an admirable philosophy, but to the conservatism that requires the magical thinking of evolution denial and climate change denial and supply side economics to function politically, while proudly and explicitly rejecting the evidence-based world. How can you possibly make useful policy decisions when your entire intellectual infrastructure is a fraudulent house of cards? Yes, magical thinking is everywhere (the anti-vax movement is not a conservative fixation), but only in the Republican party and its annexes such as FOX News and Tea Party has such magical thinking been institutionalized and glorified.
QotD?: Are you quite sure what it means?
Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (WRPA editing work on METAtropolis: Green Space)
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours (stationary bike)
Number of FEMA troops on my block helping welfare recipients buy cell phones and big screen tvs: 0
Currently reading: The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Posted: 5:23 am Tue April 30 2013 | Comments(4) |
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