Jay Lake: Writer

Contact Me Home
>

[links] Link salad wishes it slept better

The spiciest meals in BritainA burger in Brighton is so hot that people have to sign a legal disclaimer before eating it. And a curry in Edinburgh has hospitalised two diners. Here’s a roundup of those and other extreme spicy eating challenges. (Via Scrivener’s Error.)

Say bye bye to parmesan, muenster and feta: Europe wants its cheese backAs part of trade talks, the EU wants to ban the use of European names like parmesan and gruyere on cheeses made in the US. Cheese wars? (Via AH.)

Every Dog Has Its Data — Woof? (Via Lisa Costello.)

Baby Conductor: Children Absorbing the World Around Them

California pushes to finish driverless car rules

Body Odor ID: Your New Smelly Password — Sometimes the jokes just write themselves. (Via David Goldman.)

Fukushima operator may have to dump contaminated water into PacificAs Japan marks the third anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, Tepco is struggling to find a solution for hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water. (Via Susie Madrak.)

Coping with exceptional ice in the Great Lakes

Is the Senate’s climate change all-nighter more than a one-night stand?

By the Way, Your Home Is On Fire: The Climate of Change and the Dangers of Stasis — I am reminded of something a one-time friend with emergency services training said to me. “There are three kinds of people in a disaster. Those who run away, those who freeze, and those who run towards. The ones who freeze die.”

$600K Taken From Safe At Osteen’s Megachurch — So if this was an inside job, whose side was God on?

The Word – Pew! Pew! Pew!A Kentucky Baptist organization announces a 25-gun giveaway to lure men back to church.

8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance — (Via Lisa Costello.)

They’d rather die than be wrong about ObamacareYou know, I probably have as much disdain for Republicans as they have for me. But if one of them were to show me irrefutable proof that say, America has fewer gun deaths than other places due to our proliferation of gun ownership, I would have no choice but to believe it. These people simply put their fingers in their ears and sing “lalalalala”.

Is libertarianism taking hold of GOP? The big problem with the GOP is that its ideologies profoundly alienate vast swaths of the electorate. Gay rights and same-sex marriage — overwhelmingly supported by the young — are as thoroughly owned by Democrats as were civil rights two generations ago. Republicans’ harsh rhetoric on immigration puts off the rapidly growing Hispanic population. Democratic stances on choice and workplace equality attract women. And GOP opposition to a higher minimum wage drives working-class voters into Democratic arms. Must be nice being the party of ideas, GOP. How else do you generate all those angry white guys?

Young Republicans Find Fault With Elders on List of Social Issues — Given that social issues have defined the Republican party since Reagan’s ascendancy, if those things matter, why be a Republican?

Michele Bachmann Laments That ‘The Gay Community Have So Bullied The American People’“And the thing that I think is getting a little tiresome is the gay community, they have so bullied the American people and they have so intimidated politicians that politicians fear them and so they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere. Well, not with the Constitution you don’t.” What color do you suppose the sky is on Planet Bachmann? Paisley, maybe, if the Gay Menace has hacked their way in already.

Hey, Conservatives! Are You Winning or Losing?Palin combines whining and gloating into a message of vengeance that makes yesterday’s losers tomorrow’s invincible winners. And that may be the most satisfying conservative message of all.

Version 1.0 of the 2016 Republican Presidential Primaries — I always enjoy this inside baseball aspect of politics. (Via David Goldman.)

As Though Iraq Never HappenedThe short memory of Condoleezza Rice.

?otD: Yawn much?


3/12/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (badly interrupted)
Body movement: 0 minutes (hall walking to come)
Weight: n/a
Number of FEMA troops on my block teaching wives how to be submissive: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad knows that everything is awesome when you’re part of the team

How my husband forgot sexWhen we were younger, he was the one who taught me to explore. Then he had cancer surgery — and came out a virgin. Sigh.

A Rainbow Pileus Cloud over Zimbabwe

Why Mount Hood’s next eruption will be like a big blob of toothpasteMixing of hot and cold magna can bring a volcanic eruption in as little as 60 days. Volcanic eruptions at Mount Hood occur when cold magma, stored like ‘peanut butter in a refrigerator,’ mixes with hot magma from deep within the Earth’s crust, say researchers. That would be Portland’s friendly neighborhood volcano.

Kitties teach scientists a thing or two about geneticsCats, the patron saints of the internet, are typically not thought of as being at the forefront of genetic research. Their lack of opposable thumbs really limits their ability to run a proper DNA sequence, after all.

Hole-y Phobia May Have Evolutionary Origins Images that induce trypophobia, the fear of holes, share visual features with images of certain venonmous animals, implying that the aversion has an evolutionary basis. Trypophobia?

After 400 years, mathematicians find a new class of shapes

“Don’t Buy Shirts in Herat”: the Lost World of the Hippie Trail — Oh, man, to have lived this.

Rethinking a Zero Tolerance Approach to “Female Genital Mutilation” — Wow am I having a hard time wrapping my head around this.

Drug site Silk Road wiped out by Bitcoin glitch

World’s Smartest Company: Illumina — These guys did my Whole Genome Sequencing.

Capital One says it can show up at cardholders’ homes, workplacesThe credit card company’s recent contract update includes terms that sound menacing and creepy. Not “sound menacing”. “Are menacing.” World’s creepiest company.

National clown shortage may be approaching, trade organizations fear — There’s always the GOP congressional delegation to draw from as deep bench. (Via [info]danjite.)

Who Believes that Astrology is Scientific? — A paper on the correlations between belief in astrology and political affiliation. Which, surprisingly, show liberals to be the bigger idiots. Just what this country needs: further validation of non-evidence-based thinking. (Via [info]ericjamesstone.)

Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity

Obama’s Tea Party Cousin Who’s Running for Senate Compared President to Hitler — Running on the Godwin ticket, I see.

The evolutionary puzzle of homosexuality — Fascinating.

May a Man Marry a Man? A Medieval Debate — The alleged logic of opposition to same-sex marriage hasn’t really changed since. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Kansas Gets Their Hate OnBut don’t call it discrimination.

Noose tied on Ole Miss integration statueThe FBI on Tuesday was helping investigate who tied a noose around the neck of a University of Mississippi statue of James Meredith, who, in 1962, became the first black student to enroll in the then all-white Southern college. Stay classy, conservative America. It’s what you do best.

What Information Are Stun Guns Recording? — It’s sort of the equivalent of putting serial numbers on bullets. I wonder how long the reservoir of these tags lasts. (Via David Goldman.)

After background checks were scrapped in Missouri“This study provides compelling confirmation that weaknesses in firearm laws lead to deaths from gun violence,” Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research and the study’s lead author, said in a news release. “There is strong evidence to support the idea that the repeal of Missouri’s handgun purchaser licensing law contributed to dozens of additional murders in Missouri each year since the law was changed.” Moar guns, to make us all safer!!

VW workers may block southern U.S. deals if no unions: labor chief — I find this whole ongoing VW-in-Tennessee story a little weird.

One-Percent Jokes and Plutocrats in Drag: What I Saw When I Crashed a Wall Street Secret Society

America’s First President Was The Tea Party’s Worst Nightmare — But, but, tricorn hats!

Remember that thing called the Unitary Executive Theory, Republicans? Obviously not.

UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law — A proud day for civil liberties.

?otD: Are you living the dream?


2/19/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (feeling poorly)
Weight: n/a (feeling poorly)
Number of FEMA troops attacking religious liberty: 0
Currently reading: n/a

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad gazes across the frigid Atlantic at the sunrise

Come Support the Jay Lake Auction at RadCon, Sunday at 1pm! — Ah, my friends.

Photos: Time Capsule Mansion Opened After 100 Years — Wow… (Via Lisa Costello.)

A Venn diagram cartoon — Hahahah.

The Patient, the Provider, and Participatory Medicine—Are We a House Divided? — (Snurched from Casey Quinlan.)

A Creepy Medical Tour Of The Past — I’m not sure I’d describe all of these as creepy, but they are fascinating.

Apple fires up new furnaces for iPhone 6’s sapphire screenUnbreakable screen tech heading Apple’s way.

Young Salmon Born Knowing Migration Route Without any prior migration experience, juvenile Chinook salmon can find their way to ancestral feeding grounds by using the Earth’s magnetic field and an inherited internal map, according to a new study.

Earliest footprints outside Africa discovered in Norfolk

Nasa’s Mars Curiosity Rover’s First Photo Of EarthThe distance between Earth and Mars when Curiosity took the photo, which includes the moon, was about 99 million miles.

Night Hides the World — Another beautiful night sky image, with an interesting explanation, from APOD.

Thoughts on Planetary Migration

Seeing science: The year’s best visualizationsThe National Science Foundation and Science name 2013’s best.

Calvin & Muad’Dib on religion — I love this piece, and I love this series.

Answers for Creationists — Phil Plait answers the Creationist questionsposted after the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate”, with grace and patience.

Alabama Chief Justice Jumps Into Gay Marriage FightMoore said that “a great majority of the American people want to hold to the definition that a marriage is between a man and a woman. Uh, no. Not if you believe the polling or voting patterns. Of course, if you decide to believe that polls are skewed and elections are stolen, then I guess evidence doesn’t matter.

Stupid Irish Homophobes and Their Big Homophobic Fail — This is very similar to conservative dialectic in this country.

Assault on California Power Station Raises Alarm on Potential for TerrorismApril Sniper Attack Knocked Out Substation, Raises Concern for Country’s Power Grid. I have seen coverage on this before, but I’m amazed at how little. Perhaps because firearms were involved, rather than explosives. Somebody was out exercising their right to a theoretical defense of essential liberties. (Via [info]danjite.)

Dread Pirate Roberts 2.0: An interview with Silk Road’s new bossNew leader wants Silk Road to publish gov’t secrets; calls old DPR a “fraud.” This is very strange, as is everything to do with the Deep Web, which is incredibly science fictional while also being quite real.

Lobbying is a Lucrative Investment, Researchers Find Using CRP Data — Duh? (Via [info]danjite.)

Six Economic Benefits of the Affordable Care Act

Still don’t have health insurance? The Obama administration is trying to find you.

GOP Rep: Even Jesus Couldn’t Control House Republicans — Hahaha.

?otD: Did you get weathered out of work or school today?


2/7/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad evolves, descending from the trees to gaze across the savanna

Someone has made fake London Underground signs, and whoever did it is a ruddy genius — (Via [info]garyomaha.)

Bionic hand feels real, says amputee

The Terraced Night — A wonderful APOD image of the night sky in China.

Questions of preservation after ancient village found in downtown Miami

Why the Promise of Cheap Fuel from Super Bugs Fell ShortThe sell-off of synthetic biology pioneer LS9 goes to show that making biofuels from genetically engineered microbes has yet to deliver economically.

Is there a way to exploit the metabolic quirk of cancer? — (Via Philip Brewer.)

Scientists have likely found Charlemagne’s skeleton

Camel Bones and Jerusalem: Archeology Shows Bible written Late, Full of Errors — Speaking as an atheist, I wouldn’t describe the Bible as full of errors. It’s a faith text. The errors arise from trying to interpret a faith text as having empirical reality, taking it literally, but those are errors of interpretation, not of the book itself.

22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In EvolutionI asked 22 self-identifying creationists at the Bill Nye/Ken Ham debate to write a message/question/note to the other side. Here’s what they wrote. Interesting piece, misleading headline. Evolution isn’t a “belief” in the sense that creationism is a “belief”. It exists, demonstrably and provably, independently of whatever your or I might understand or hold faith in. Believing in evolution is like believing in gravity or weather.

The Creation of DebateThe people who are attacking evolution are doing so because they think evolution is attacking their beliefs. But unless they are the narrowest of fundamentalists, this simply is not true. There is no greater proof of this than Pope John Paul II—who, one must admit, was a deeply religious man—saying that evolution was an established fact. Clearly, not all religion has a problem with evolution.

Google Earth Shows You a Warming PlanetThe facts are in, and the science is clear: The planet is getting hotter. The Google Earth app will help make that even more obvious. I urge folks to get it and play with it. Facts don’t speak for themselves, but this app helps give them a voice.

The Inefficiency of Long Hours — Having worked in fields heavily dependent on punishing amounts of white collar overtime (advertising, software consulting), I understand why individual managers and executives ask this of their teams, but I have never understood why the industries as a whole, not to mention their clients, tolerate the resulting errors and inefficiencies.

The day a Special Olympian stood up to Ann Coulter for calling Obama a “retard”

Vatican ‘Regrets’ Damning UN Report On Sex Abuse — Note that the Vatican does not regret the content of the report, only that it was issued. The games continue.

A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter – With Ties to Wall Street Investigations

‘America The Beautiful’ Author Is Rush Limbaugh’s Favorite Lesbian Socialist

Paul Ryan Fact-Checks Republicans On Obamacare Job ‘Costs’ — I never thought I’d say this about Paul Ryan, but good for him. Of course, the usual walkback from reality to conservative talking points will start in 3… 2… 1…

Why Jeb Bush Isn’t Going To Be the Next Republican Nominee — A conservative analysis of a question that hasn’t much yet vexed me.

?otD: Monkey around much?


2/6/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.5 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (post-operative)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block who aren’t descended from monkeys: 0
Currently reading: n/a

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad knows that fire is the devil’s only friend

Science Fiction Author on Trial (NIH trial, that is!) — The fundraiser for my NIH collateral expenses continues. If you haven’t already done so, please do check it out and pass the word.

The London ArrayThe world’s largest wind farm has been planted just off of the mouth of the River Thames. Oh, cool photos.

Hello World: Hibernating Rosetta Comet Probe Awakens

Are We Alone? NASA’s 30-Year Goal to Answer Astrophysics’ Greatest Question “For the first time, we will identify continents and oceans—and perhaps the signatures of life—on distant worlds,” says NASA in its 30-year vision for astrophysics.

Sex abuse files on 30 Chicago priests going publicAttorneys say the documents will show that the archdiocese concealed the abuse for decades. That’s not what Jesus meant in Matthew 19:14.

Wait. Texas Is Spending HOW Much Money to Violate the Constitution? — I love those Constitutional absolutists with their unswerving loyalty to the letter of the document. No, wait that’s the Second Amendment. The First Amendment is entirely fungible.

Executives quit after massive South Korea data theftThe alleged theft of 104m credit card account details by a lone security contractor has left thousands of South Koreans forming long lines in bank branches to cancel their cards, as three dozen financial executives resign in disgrace. Can you imagine American financial executives doing such a thing?

A Wall Streeter comes clean — This is fascinating to the point of alarming.

From ‘I don’t want any part of Obamacare’ to ‘It’s a godsend’ — The transition from ideological hatred to the hard realities of living with serious illness.

NSA-o-Matic! — Your automatic NSA spin generator! (Via David Goldman.)

If Dr. King was in Fact a “Republican”, I Too Can Entertain Some Fantasies: Was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a Space Alien? If Dr. King was a Porn Star, What Would He Have Chosen For a Stage Name?Dr. King would be disgusted with the Democratic Party, as it is just the more Left-wing of a two party political system that is stridently conservative, and neither serves the public interest nor the public good. Moreover, Brother King was not beholden to either political party. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. held the Republicans in especially low regard. (Via [info]threeoutside.)

?otD: Where were you the day the music died?


1/21/2014
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 238.8
Number of FEMA troops on my block BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad wakes up back East

Putting grammar back in grammar schools: A modest proposal

‘Tis and 10 other fun proclitic words

Flying Saucers Comics

Painted Ships on Painted Oceans: an Accidental Map of the Doldrums — This is very cool.

Thousand-Year-Old Vineyards Found in SpainTraces of ancient vineyards that date back 1,000 years were discovered in the terraced fields of a medieval village in Spain, according to a new archaeological study.

Hundreds of radio-tagged sharks tweet warnings at Australian swimmersAutomated system reaches farther, updates faster than radio or newspaper alerts.

8 Ways Jellyfish Are Awesome And Terrifying — (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

A Breakthrough for Speeding Satellite Feeds

Pondering Recent Exomoon News

Yellowstone magma reservoir is full and bigger than expected — My goodness, that eruption will be jolly. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

England’s Clowns Are Furious

Gender and the Body Language of Power — On a trivial note, I particularly like the bit about large cars.

?otD: What time zone are you in today?


12/28/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 8.25 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: n/a (traveling, no scale)
Number of FEMA troops on my block falsifying climate change data: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad for Boxing Day

Queen Pardons Computer Pioneer Alan Turing — The UK’s treatment of Alan Turing was one of the great crimes of the 20th century. Of course, persecuting a war hero to death for being gay was the proper, moral thing to do at the time, consistent with conservative thought then and now. Which is why conservatives are always on the wrong side of history. Always.

‘Bible prophecy’ and why we can’t have nice thingsSlacktivist Fred Clark is fascinating.

How the Media Would Have Covered the Birth of Jesus — Hah! (Via [info]garyeminitove.)

Palin Never Actually Read Interview Before Defending ‘Duck Dynasty’ StarAccording to Palin’s reasoning, she didn’t have to read the interview to defend Robertson in the first place because the substance of his comments didn’t matter. He was invoking the Bible, she said, so his critics are actually taking issue with Scripture itself. “In response, he was quoting the Gospel,” she told Van Susteren. “So people who are so insulted and offended by what he said evidently are offended by what he was quoting in the Gospel.” I don’t really understand why defending racism and homophobia has become the Christian thing to do here in America. But then I’ve actually read the Bible, so the source of my misunderstanding should be obvious.

?otD: Got returns?


12/26/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Weight: 240.6
Number of FEMA troops on my block falsifying climate change data: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad is the keeper of the keys, it will put your mind at ease

Nelson Mandela, hero of South Africa, dies at 95 — Sic transit gloria mundi.

United States, Israel opposed Mandela, supported ApartheidThe attempt to make Nelson Mandela respectable is an ongoing effort of Western government spokesmen and the Western media. He wasn’t respectable in the business circles of twentieth-century New York or Atlanta, or inside the Beltway of Washington, D.C. He wasn’t respectable for many of the allies of the United States in the Cold War, including Britain and Israel. And yet he prevailed anyway, and we were wrong.

‘Tis More Blessed – Week 1 — In which I am part of a holiday raffle. (Well, one of my books is.)

Typists who clear 70 wpm can’t even say where the keys areWe don’t have much explicit knowledge of our good friend, the QWERTY keyboard.

What the English alphabet used to look like — Cool.

The Coolest Music in the World: Listen to Siberian Ice Drummers Use Frozen Lake Baikal as an Incredible Musical Instrument — Wow. (Via David Goldman.)

China’s first lunar probe ‘Chang’e-3’ enters Moon’s orbit

23andMe Puts Health Reports on Hold Personal genetics company 23andMe will only sell ancestry reports and raw data as controversy with regulators continues.

10 Things Traditional Christians Got Terribly WrongAlthough progressive Christians have been at the forefront of social justice, conservative Christians are often on the wrong side of history. I’m pretty sure “often on the wrong side of history” is far too kind. Every one of these things was a cherished religious belief, a Biblical injunction which must be obeyed by all of society, not just the believers in question. Every one of these things was once the eternal and inviolate word of God. Every one of these things by happy coincidence sustained the prejudices of the Christians of the time. Every one of these things is now considered wrong. How do you suppose the current Christianist views on the prosperity gospel, evolution, climate change, homosexuality and abortion will hold up over time? (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

Of Myths and ModestyFeminist Mormon Housewives on whether or not to wear a bikini top. That intelligent adults of faith can be consumed by questions like this is one very good reason I am an atheist.

Confederates Look To Win ‘Second Battle Of Olustee’ In Florida — I will never understand the conservative need to support and defend their profoundly racist rebellion against their allegedly beloved Constitution.

Fox’s Latest Christmas Scare Deemed A “Vicious Dissemination Of Untrue Information” — That would pretty much describe everything that ever is said on FOX about any subject, insofar as I can tell. Your Liberal Media, hard at work sustaining the conservative narrative since forever.

How a Frustrated Blogger Made Expanding Social Security a Respectable Idea — Yup. (Via Slacktivist Fred Clark.)

What would the Union Jack look like if the Scottish bit were removed? — Huh. (Via my brother.)

California GOP defends its fake health insurance web site — When you can’t win on your ideas, lie. The GOP’s core mantra is proven over and over and over again.

?otD: When did Johnny strike up the band?


12/6/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (very fitful)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[conventions|travel] The high cost of cancellation

As I mentioned yesterday, I am having issues with United Airlines. This first cropped up a while back, as discussed here: [ jlake.com | LiveJournal ]

This all goes back to my troubles trying to get to this year’s World Fantasy Convention in Brighton. (I have discussed some of this previously here on the blog.) Last summer, I tried to book plane tickets for me and Lisa Costello to fly there. The $700 per person UK arrival fees for a free mileage award ticket were impossible for us to meet. At the time, I checked out simply paying for a fare, and even the cheapest was far higher, because those $700 fees were embedded in any trans-Atlantic airfare to London.

Unnamed Benefactors stepped forward and offered to fund our airfare if we would pay our own on-the-ground expenses. I very gratefully said yes, and proceeded to arrange a low-cost European vacation for myself by couch surfing in London and Paris, spending money only on the Eurostar train to get between the cities. Except for the convention hotel itself, my only expenses otherwise were going to be food and incidentals, as my Unnamed Benefactors provided tickets for the two of us on United Airlines. Lisa was planning to fly out the day before the convention and join me.

Three days before my scheduled departure, Lisa’s father suffered a massive stroke. Other relatives stepped forward to respond with immediate help, but Lisa needed to fly to Maryland at the end of that week to help with the necessary but difficult lifestyle transitions now underway.

That meant (and still means) that Lisa was now juggling my life-ending terminal illness and the life-changing illness of one of her parents. I could not leave her alone with this. So with great reluctance, we cancelled our trip to Europe. We also severely truncated a post-trip engagement with my agent, and cancelled the visit of another friend who was due after Orycon, both of these to great regret.

The financial aspects of this situation have turned into a severe mess.

In order to cover the expenses incurred by my Unnamed Benefactors, I also sought a compassionate medical emergency refund from @UnitedAirlines, which states on their Web site that they provide such consideration. Unfortunately, since our tickets were purchased as nonrefundable airfares, United Airlines also does not offer any refund. Their response to me did not even acknowledge the nature of my request, simply stating that my tickets were nonrefundable, but that I did retain an airfare credit. Which isn’t even my money, as the Unnamed Benefactors paid for it. And it’s not like I’m going back to Europe anytime in the rest of my drastically foreshortened life.

At the same time, my Unnamed Benefactors wrote me asking me to pay them £1,295.90 (approx. USD 2,073), as we would not be attending WFC.

This absolutely floored me. If I had $2,073 to spend on airfare, I would have bought the damned tickets myself in the first place. What I thought had been an act of kindness and charity towards me turned into me being expected to pay $2,000 for the privilege of not attending WFC so I could help Lisa care for her stricken father.

The books do in fact balance somewhat. Were I to directly pay back my Unnamed Benefactors, I would get to keep the airfare credit, less change fees and penalties. But I don’t have $2,000 sitting in a travel budget to give them. If I did, I would have bought my own tickets in the first place. If United were going to refund the tickets, the whole business would just be a wash.

But after multiple rounds of discussion, United has flatly refused to refund the airfare. Apparently a sudden life-threatening illness on the part of my partner’s father does not constitute a medical emergency in their eyes. Which makes me wonder what the hell does? I’m pretty damned irritated about this, most especially about the amount of time I have already spent focusing on this issue. My life is running out of time — between the shocking and insensitive demand from my Unnamed Benefactors and United Airlines’ refusal to honor their own compassionate exemption policy, I have been expending significant amounts of that finite time and energy on things I should never have had to deal with.

All to no avail thus far.

I’m honestly not sure what to do here. Had I known the original offer of tickets to WFC required a complete payback in the event of cancellation, I almost certainly would not have accepted it. My own health is too precarious, quite frankly, which is why all plane tickets I buy and pay for these days are purchased with trip insurance. While I have enough money sitting in my bank account to pay back my Unnamed Benefactors, that’s not what it is for. And I cannot spend a United Airlines airfare credit to pay my bills or help Lisa help her parents. The budget isn’t there, especially to pay for a trip I am not even able to take.

I’m feeling very pushed around right now, and looking at a lot of expense well beyond anything planned or budgeted at a time when our expenses have skyrocketed due to both my own illness the problems in Lisa’s family. I’m also much more wary of accepting offers of assistance in the future, as I never foresaw hidden strings like this and do not know how to foresee them going forward.

There’s a strong temptation to tell my Unnamed Benefactors to take a hike, but that’s hardly ethical as I’m apparently inheriting the airfare credit regardless, given the intransigence of United Airlines. I’m tempted to hold a small fundraiser to pay this off, but that also hardly seems fair to people who might want to support me. If United Airlines honored their own compassionate refund policy, the problem would essentially not exist, but that road has now been closed.

This situation frustrates me immensely. At this extremely difficult time in my life, I am left with yet another large, unbudgeted expense for which I have nothing to show but trouble and a waste of my precious, waning days.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

[links] Link salad doesn’t feel so good

Novelist Error Messages — Hahahah. (Thanks to Lisa Costello.)

Where writers get their ideas — Hahah.

6 Modern Playgrounds to Make Your Inner Child Lose Its Mind — Some weird stuff. Hah. (Via [info]willyumtx.)

Norfolk police warn of alarming clown epidemicPublic told not to approach anyone wearing ‘Halloween-type’ clown masks after spate of reports of terrifying sightings. (Via Kelly Buehler.)

Giant prehistoric toilet unearthed — Because poop. (Via Donnie Reynolds.)

Amish girl with cancer forced to go into hiding to avoid chemotherapy treatments — Sigh.

I think that I shall never see a theology lovely as a treePeople who are unable to read the universe are probably not the best guides to reading the Bible. Uh, yeah. Like I’ve said before, this is a defect in the education of people who claim to believe in revealed divine truth, not a defect in science or the physical universe.

Catholic cardinal: Church ‘caricatured’ as anti-gay — Wow, the obliviousness of privilege. This betrays such a profound lack of self-awareness as to border on mental illness.

Pro-Choice Versus Pro-Life: The Relationship Between State Abortion Policy and Child Well-Being in the United States.The empirical evidence finds that states with the most antiabortion policies are also the same states that have significantly lower indicators of infant/child well-being. This supports the contention by pro-choice supporters that efforts by pro-life supporters to protect the life of the fetus end at birth. And objective demonstration of something that has been grotesquely obvious to observers from the reality-based community for many years. Also, this just in: water is wet, conservatives are hypocrites, sky is blue. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit.)

Florida Tea Party Leader Bashes Gay GOP GroupDanita Kilcullen, the founder of a Florida Tea Party group, accused the Florida Republican party of being taken over by “gay thugs.” Gee, projection much?

Hacks — More on what conservatives said about Senate filibuster reform when they were in charge, versus what they said now. Amazing how the justly famed unswerving conservative dedication to Constitutional principle is so flexibly convenient to the politics of the moment. Sort of like how the inviolate and eternal word of God always justifies the bigotry du jour for conservatives. Ah, the magic of the Argument from Authority for those ill-equipped to deal with the nuance and ambiguity of the real world. We have always been at war with Oceania.

?otD: Oh, dear, what can the matter be?


11/30/2013
Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 10.0 hours (interrupted)
Body movement: n/a (sick)
Weight: n/a (sick)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forging presidential birth certificates: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

« Older Posts |