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[personal] Dreaming of Japan, and other updates

Sometime in the last few days, in conversation with someone (I cannot recall who now) I made the observation that I am very rarely lost. I don’t always know where I am when walking or driving in a strange-to-me place, but I always know how I got there and how to get back to wherever I started from. I really do have a very good sense of direction.

So naturally last night my subconscious decided to serve me up some humble pie. I dreamt that Mother of the Child and I were in Japan, walking through a Tokyo neighborhood that looked suspiciously like Portland’s West Hills, admiring the classical architecture. We wound up being invited into one of the houses, which was the home of an absent yakuza crime lord. For some reason, I borrowed one of the yak’s cars — a tiny, ancient Subaru — to head back to our hotel to pick something up, leaving Mother of the Child behind. I got to the hotel, a Best Western in a location that looked suspiciously like Nebraska, and realized I had no idea how to get back to the yakuza mansion. Not only had I lost [info]the_child‘s mother, but I had in effect stolen a car from the Japanese mafia. I had a rented Japanese cellphone, but no matter what I did with it, I couldn’t seem to make an outgoing call. Panic ensued.

Anxiety much? I don’t find that dream so hard to interpret.

In other news, [info]the_child‘s basketball team lost last night 43-28. It was only their second loss of the season, and they fought hard, but the other squad were demon shooters, not to mention quite a bit taller.

Also, I’m making a lot of progress on Sunspin. I expect to have Calamity of So Long a Life out to my last few first readers in another week or so, well ahead of schedule. This will give me time to work on Little Dog, I think, given my production scheduling.

This evening, [info]the_child and I are going to the SFWA Northwest Reading Series. David Levine, J.A. Pitts and Ken Scholes are reading:

Tuesday, January 31
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211

Note they’re also reprising, with a slightly different cast, in Seattle tomorrow night.

Wednesday, February 1
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Wild Rover Restaurant and Pub, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033

If you’re in the area, turn out and support live, local literature!

[links] Link salad slopes into Tuesday

Things I Know? — Jeff VanderMeer on handling a writing career. (Snurched from Steve Buchheit, whom I got to see in person at Confusion.)

Staffer’s Musings — A worthy book review and publishing commentary blog I learned about at Epic Confusion.

Fantasy World Map — A Grand Unified Theory of fantasy?

Apple’s mind-bogglingly greedy and evil license agreement — Apple’s iBook Author program appears to be a nasty rights grab. Sigh. You’re supposed to be good guys, Cupertino. Don’t start acting like Amazon.

One eBook Platform to Rule Them AllA company known for long-form journalism democratizes tablet publishing. Hmmm.

Portland Among Guardian’s 5 Best Places

Women ‘feel pain more than men’It is a myth that men feel pain more keenly than women, according to the largest study into the subject of its kind.

Magic mushrooms could treat depression

Searching the Brain for the Roots of Fear

‘Don’t Be Evil’ tool alters new Google search results

Rescue on the ice — Still life of flying boat with sled dogs.

8 Years on Mars: ‘Amazing’ NASA Rover Still Going Strong — Got to love that 90-day mission.

Oldest dinosaur nest site found — I love behavioral fossils.

January Aurora Over Norway — Another amazing APOD image.

Results are in: 2011 was hot, but not that hotRealistically, the planet is going to keep us waiting for a couple more years before we can determine if the similarity of recent temperatures is a trend or a momentary blip. Which is rather inconsiderate, given that people will undoubtedly continue to argue about climate change in the intervening two years. Maybe, maybe not. This is science on the hoof, people. Questioning itself constantly. Which ideology does not and cannot do.

From One Tragedy, Tools to Fight the NextThe 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami spurred innovations to help deal with future disasters. (Thanks to my Dad.)

Catholic Bishop: Children Want to Be Sexually Abused — Ummm… (Via [info]danjite.)

A map of LGBT rights around the world

It’s the Stupid Republicans, StupidProgressives shouldn’t be shy about mobilizing voters around singe-issue passions. This piece in turn references something I’d missed back in December, from Rolling Stone: The GOP’s Crackpot Agenda.

Top Tea Partiers Bummed About Both Mitt And Newt — Poor conservatives. It’s hard to know just where to set the Balance of Crazy.

?otd: What color is your parachute?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hour (Sunspin revisions)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.0 (solid)
Weight: 223.8
Currently reading: Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

[links] Link salad stays indoors

Albert Einstein on the intuitive mind — Reminds a lot of how I, and many others, think about writing.

Apostropocalypse NowLanguage Log is funny about linguistic peevery.

Our new basic ‘Portlandia’ image: One, two, twee

Project to pour water into volcano to make power — What could possibly go wrong?

After Fukushima, fish tales — The possibility of radioactive contamination in Japanese food exports.

Elusive particles could help to stem climate change

Survey: U.S. Protestant pastors reject evolution, split on Earth’s age — Proof that theological education is no barrier to willful ignorance. (Via [info]shsilver.)

Evangelicals, Seeking Unity, Back Santorum for Nomination

Untruths, Wholly Untrue, And Nothing But Untruths — Paul Krugman on GOP rhetoric and reality. Mind you, he’s talking about objectively, provably false statements, not political spin.

?otd: What are you reading today?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (2,500 words on short story)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.0 (solid)
Weight: 219.0
Currently reading: Saturn’s Children by Charles Stross<

[links] Link salad reports in from Omaha

[info]jimhines is funny about award nominations

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt — Claude Lalumière makes it into Language Log.

Anne Lamott on writing and reading

Giant tortoise ‘extinct’ for 150 years found on remote island

Newly discovered carnivorous plant devours underground worms — I for one welcome our new vegetable overlords.

Is 2012 the year to hang up the phone?

Greenland’s Ice Is Growing Darker — More of those pesky, liberally biased facts. To the Rushmobile!

The Myth of Japan’s Failure

Five things we learned from back-to-back debates — The effort in this article to spin Santorum as somehow supportive of the LGBTQ community is just painful. Your Liberal Media, reporting the facts as the GOP makes ’em up.

South Carolina test: How GOP rivals could derail a Romney coronationThere’s little suspense in New Hampshire about who will win the primary there. The answer is Mitt Romney. South Carolina, meanwhile, could decide the tenor of the rest of the race.

Santorum Reminds Everyone Why He Can’t Win — Senator Frothy Mix is still at it.

?otd: Traveller time a you are?

Writing time yesterday: 1.0 hours (1,500 first draft words on a novelette)
Body movement: 30 minute suburban walk
Hours slept: 9.0 (fitful)
Weight: n/a
Currently reading: How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu

[dreams] Capers, middle aged white guy style

I’ve been watching too much Mission Impossible. In fact, [info]the_child and I watched MI IIIimdb ] yesterday evening, which quite clearly influenced my dreaming.

In my sleep, I was part of a strike team also composed of [info]joshenglish (a fellow Portland writer) and [info]howardtayler (of Schlock Mercenary fame). Our assignment was to kidnap a teacher (played by a dream person rather than someone from real life) from an American boarding school in Japan and bring him back to the United States. The three of us flew across the Pacific, and executed our assignment, also snatching his girlfriend and their three little kids. We wound up in a hotel near Narita airport waiting for our flight home, where [info]joshenglish bailed on the operation, and [info]howardtayler more or less went on strike.

It finally occurred to me that we hadn’t grabbed our target’s passport when we snatched him, and I began to wonder how we were going to get him through Japanese immigration on the way out, or US customs and immigration on the way in. Then I realized I had no way to get him onto the plane without him speaking up and asking for help from the airline reps. So I went and took a shower with all my clothes on (no, I still don’t know why), until the kids came and pestered me to get out of the bathroom so they could wash up.

Apparently, I’m not even capable of being an international superspy even in my dreams. As for those two rats on my team, gentlemen, I have to say I’m disappointed in your lack of commitment to my imaginary mission.

[links] Link salad celebrates Boxing Day

Bad Fathers — A fantasy trope?

Publishers vs. Libraries: An E-Book Tug of War — (Via my Dad.)

11 Christmas songs we hope never to hear again — Heh.

Leadership Lessons From the Shackleton Expedition

Decades later, a Cold War secret is revealed — Building spy satellites.

Report Condemns Japan’s Response to Nuclear Accident

Medicare passes on big profits to insurers — Explain to me again why the profit-taking from private health insurance adds value? Coz I’m confused.

?otd: Do you float like a butterfly? Would you like to?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 11.75 (solid)
Weight: 203.4
Currently (re)reading: The White Dragon by Anne McCaffrey

[links] Link salad dreams fondly of barbecue

Does the McRib “Pork Price” Theory Make Any Sense? — I remain baffled by the McRib phenomenon.

Japan whaling fleet accused of using tsunami disaster funds — Well, that’s one way to enhance your international standing.

Huge Japanese earthquake cracked open the seafloor

NASA rover finds evidence of water flowing on Mars

Evolution: The Natural History of Animal Skeletons, Stripped Down — (Snurched from Curiosity Counts>.)

Cambrian predator had killer eyes — “See these eyes so blue; An ageless heart than can never mend”

Police Officers Find That Dissent on Drug Laws May Come With a Price — Mmm, who needs free speech? (Via [info]danjite.)

Obama administration refuses to relax Plan B restrictions — This is a weird story, and another sad example of how the conservatives in the forced pregnancy movement drive the national agenda despite their claims of victimization and marginalization.

U.S. denies delaying global climate deal — Given our conservative-induced political schizophrenia and anti rationality on this topic, I’m not sure what to think here.

Santorum: No One Has Ever Died Because They Didn’t Have Health Care — The conservative stupid, it is breathtaking.

Condemnation Of Newt’s Ethics Violations Was Anything But Partisan — And so another conservative lie becomes truth in the eyes of the GOP rank and file, that somehow a Congressional vote of 395 to 28 is “partisan”. Because what’s the truth worth compared to your ideology?

Gingrich Surge Unnerves Some Republican Lawmakers — Gingrich and the GOPAC Memo made the fortunes modern GOP through a strategy of deliberate lying and intimidation and media manipulation. Live with it, GooPers. He’s your crown prince of political fraud.

?otd: Ribs or chicken?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 10.5 (solid plus napping)
Weight: 210.0
Currently (re)reading: A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold

[links] Link salad is dying for a peaceful night’s sleep

Endurance gets Klausnered

[info]jimvanpelt on psychotic persistence and creative success

Avro Vulcan over the wreck of the B-24 “Lady Be Good”, Libya, date unknown — If you can’t write a haunting short story based on this image, you’re not really trying.

The Silver Lining of More Cancer Deaths — Well, yes, if you want to put it that way…

When Everyday Foods Are Hard to DigestGI Specialists Suspect Specific Carbohydrates May Cause Painful Symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I was diagnosed with IBS back in 2002, which in retrospect was probably a precursor to my colon cancer.

Autistic Kids May Have More Cells in Some Brain AreasMost of these neurons develop before birth, which would go against the theory that certain vaccines or other environmental influences encountered after birth may cause autism. Except that’s not a theory, it’s crank hysteria. Calling the thoroughly discredited vaccine-autism link a theory is like calling Creationism a theory. Or the Tooth Fairy. It’s an intellectually fatuous attempt to make your reporting appear balanced. (Thanks to David Goldman.)

24 Hours at FukushimaA blow-by-blow account of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl. (Via [info]danjite.)

Mobile Flash Abandoned for HTML5: Adobe Surrenders, Apple Wins? — Presented without further comment.

The Story of Broke: Rebuilding the American Dream — Must-watch video for those who will never watch it, because, you know, liberals are evil.

Understanding the nature of hypocrisy — A little primer for my friends on the Right. And my own thoughts on the subject, from a year or so ago: [ | LiveJournal ]

?otD: Are your feets too big?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: airport walking to come
Hours slept: 7.5 hours (badly interrupted)
Weight: n/a
Currently (re)reading: The Truth by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad struggles to post

Kirkus reviews Endurance — Essentially positive but still snarky in that special Kirkus way.

The Sudden Death of Film — Roger Ebert on format changes. Ebooks, anyone?

Apple developing 3D mapping? — This will make the iOS platform even more interesting.

Telling the Story of the Brain’s Cacophony — The mind is a fascinating terrain. A lot of this article resonates for me given my current experiences with chemo brain. (Via my Dad.)

Tepco Detects Nuclear Fission at Damaged Fukushima Station

A Hot Wet Thousand Years and 10 Green Energy Stories to Avert it — Juan Cole with some perspectives on global warming.

GOP Freshmen On Medicare Attacks: Let’s Let Bygones Be Bygones — So it’s okay for Republicans to attack Democrats on this issue, but it’s not okay for Democrats to attack Republicans on this issue? What is this, “black, black, no tag backs!” day in Congress? Typical GOP thinking. We all know that forgiveness is at the heart of the conservative ethos, after all.

?otD: What do you do without your mouse?

Wriing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 8.0 hours (fitful overnight)
Weight: 213.8
Currently (re)reading: Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad says Happy Halloween

Tumors closer to committing “cellular suicide” are more sensitive to conventional anticancer drugs.Tumors closer to committing “cellular suicide” are more sensitive to conventional anticancer drugs.

What’s Luck Got to Do With It? — My personal experience with very successful entrepreneurs is that they often confuse luck for skill. Interesting stuff.

Gorey Manor: 1939

Pa. Researchers Unable to Unearth Irish Mass Grave — Labor history.

Japan nuke radiation higher than estimated

Occupy protesters arrested in Texas, Oregon — Ah, Portland.

Republican House Majority Vulnerable In 2012: Poll — Not in this economy, no. Even though the long-running freakshow that is GOP party politics is finally getting acknowledged in the press after all these years.

?otD: Boo?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (fitful overnight plus napping)
Weight: 217.4
Currently (re)reading: Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad goes right to the moon

Sympathy for the Devil, ed. by Tim Pratt – Ray Gun Reviews — With a passing favorable mention of my story “The Goat Cutter”.

Steampunk Ebooks for $2.99 — Getcher Mainspring ebook on the cheap from

Murakami on Fiction, Truth, and Lies

How translation software helped crack ‘unbreakable’ code in 1866 secret society manuscript

‘Android Dreams’: Time-lapse video of Tokyo set to ‘Blade Runner’ soundtrack — In case you needed some cool in your morning.

Why Names Matter — SCIENCE! It works, bitches. And a serious discussion of the same issue.

Time – and brain chemistry – heal all wounds

Panel recommends that 11- and 12-year-old boys get the HPV vaccine; now given to girls — I have a question for all you folks who oppose the HPV vaccine because “oh noes, kidz and teh sex!” We’re talking about lifelong protection here. Do you seriously want your children to grow up and never have sex? Stunted lives and no grandchildren is the logical result of your objections.

US dismantles most powerful nuclear bomb

NASA Is Considering Fuel Depots in the Skies

In, Through, and Beyond Saturn’s Rings — Another awesome APOD photo.

Hardiness Zone Changes — More liberally biased facts about climate change. Which is ridiculous. Climate change wouldn’t be a partisan issue if right wing ideologues hadn’t made it one. I can even understand why evolution denial, as fundamentally moronic as it is, has become an issue. But climate change denial? It doesn’t even make as much sense as Christianist tripe, which at least comforts some wilfully ignorant people who are scared of the future.

Rand retracts report on pot clinics and crimeThink tank says researchers failed to realize that data used in the study did not include LAPD statistics. It plans to recalculate its analysis. WHo’d a thunk it? Distortion and hysteria over pot use. I don’t do 420 myself, but I’ve never seen the point of criminalization of pot.

Chart comparing Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party — Heck, yeah.

Goldman Sachs Global Rage Fund — Some seriously funny snark.

Islamic Law not a problem in Bush’s Afghanistan & Iraq, but a Problem in Libya?If secular, communist Afghanistan was made fundamentalist by Reagan and Bush, or if the relatively secular Baath Party of Iraq was overthrown by W. in favor of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Islamic Call Party and the Bloc of Ayatollah Sadr II, that is unobjectionable and not even reported on. But if there’s a Democratic president in the White House, all of a sudden it is a scandal if Muslims practice Muslim law. Not a Democratic president, a Kenyan Muslim socialist president. Just ask our friends in the GOP and Your Liberal Media.

Televangelist Pat Robertson Calls GOP Field Too Extreme to Win General ElectionYou know you’ve hit rock bottom when one of the most radical, hate-spewing figures in America calls you “extreme.”

Michele Bachmann’s misstatements may be catching up to herThe Republican presidential candidate’s supporters seem to like her mastery of what she presents as facts — but they often aren’t. Hey. Someone finally noticed.

?otD: Ralph or Norton?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo fatigue)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 7.0 hours (solid)
Weight: 217.4
Currently (re)reading: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

[links] Link salad thinks about spam names

Fun with Siri — (Via David Goldman)

Radiation detected in Tokyo seven months after earthquake… but it’s not from FukushimaHigh readings triggered by old glass bottles in a basement.

Meet the Guy Who Snitched on Occupy Wall Street to the FBI and NYPD — Can you image the reaction if the Tea Party were being subverted this way?

The 1930s Sure Sound Familiar

America’s growing anti-intellectualismPaul Rosenberg concludes his analysis of critical deficits leading to the “Occupy” movement sweeping the nation.

In charging diocese, prosecutor takes rare step — Given the Catholic Church’s decades-long written policy of protecting priest sex offenders, these kinds of charges can hardly come too soon.

Active Duty Gays Say Coming out Has Been Nonevent — But the GOP leadership assured us there would be a mass exodus from the military! Once again, as almost always, the facts are biased against the conservative position.

Obama, take a page from ReaganRonald Reagan was a successful president because he understood that in frightening times, Americans want to be reassured that their leaders can defeat all foes and deliver a happy ending. What, get Alzheimers, crash the social safety net and listen to the economic lunatic fringe?

This is the Way the Iraq War Ends, with Bangs and WhimpersThe US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Mr. Bush’ war. Launched under knowingly false pretenses, ending under no appreciable gain to the US. Thanks to PNAC and the GOP, all we’ve done is spend a trillion dollars and waste thousands of US lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives. Are you proud of your Republican party?

God is not registered to vote in New HampshireSeveral explanations suggest themselves for how four candidates for the same office came to believe they were called by God to do so. It’s possible that at least three of them are mistaken. Or this may be evidence that those of us who are monotheists are mistaken and all four candidates really were called, just by four different Gods. Or perhaps God simply subscribes to a management theory that values fostering competition.

Cain: I won’t be ‘flavor of the week’ — Been asked to show your birth certificate yet, Herm? You’re not nutty enough for your base in the long run, especially not the White Right.

?otD: Who is Monocler Vest?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo)
Body movement: 0.0 hours (chemo)
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (fitful)
Weight: Did not weight (chemo)
Currently reading: The Star Fraction by Ken MacLeod