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[memes] A decennial census of my life

Because all the cool kids are doing it, and I am weak-willed where peer pressure is concerned.

March 2011: To my immense surprise, I am single again. To my even more immense surprise, cancer has been visiting me regularly the past few years. To my most immense surprise, I have eight novels in print, two more under contract, five collections, over a dozen anthologies edited, and embarrassing number of short stories. [info]the_child is thirteen and singing Papageno in her seventh grade class’s production of The Magic Flute.

March 2001: Having moved from Austin, Texas to Portland, Oregon the previous year, this is the month where I make my first professional fiction sale, “The Courtesy of Guests” to Bones of the World, ed. Bruce Holland Rogers for SFF.Net Press. The 1990s have brought two miscarriages and ultimately [info]the_child into my life.

March 1991: I am living in Austin, Texas between my first and second marriages, and between my first and second trips to Outer Mongolia. My largely empty house hosts some epic parties, and the Dry Ice incident takes place about this time. Also, I have already begun writing in earnest with a goal of publication.

March 1981: I am a fifth former at Choate Rosemary Hall in southern Connecticut. My parents are living in Kaduna, Nigeria, my sister is in prep school in Massachusetts and my brother is learning to speak British at home. Dungeons and Dragons is my life. We are very stoked about first edition AD&D.

March 1971: I’m living in Washington, DC at age 6, largely being raised by my grandfather. My dad is about to marry my step-mother. I am forced to take ballet in a vain attempt to introduce some grace and coordination into my deeply physically inept young body.

March 1961: I do not exist. My dad is at TCU working towards being on a national championship College Bowl team, and dating my mom about then. My maternal grandparents, who died before I was born, are still alive.

[politics] Dear GOP – the collective you are an Idiot

Originally posted by ladyqkat at Dear GOP – the collective you are an Idiot

(Post originally seen in this post by [info]ramblin_phyl. I have been notified that it was originally posted by [info]suricattus in her journal post. The story and words are hers, but I do believe that it needs to go viral and that as many people as possible need to get their stories out there. Only by making a noise about this can we make a change in our society.)

There is a move afoot in the nation -driven by the GOP – to repeal the new health care laws, to protect corporate interests, to defend against fear-mongering (and stupid) cries of “socialism!”, and to ensure that people are forced to choose between keeping a roof over their heads or getting necessary health care.

This movement is killing people.

Think I’m overstating the fact?

Ask the friends and family of writer/reviewer Melissa Mia Hall, who died of a heart attack last week because she was so terrified of medical bills, she didn’t go see a doctor who could have saved her life.

From another writer friend: One person. Not the only one. That could have been me. Yeah, I have access to insurance — I live in New York City, which is freelancer-friendly, and have access to freelancer advocacy groups. Through them, I can pay over $400/month ($5,760/year) as a single, healthy woman, so that if I go to the hospital I’m not driven to bankruptcy. But a doctor’s appointment – a routine physical – can still cost me several hundred dollars each visit. So unless something’s terribly wrong? I won’t go.

My husband worked for the government for 30 years. We have government employee (retired) insurance. It is the only thing of value he took away from that job. His pension is pitiful. He still works part time. My writing income has diminished drastically. Our combined income is now less than what it was before T retired fifteen years ago. Inflation has diminished it further. In the last 30 days I have racked up over $8000 in medical bills for tests and the beginning of treatment. Our co-pay is 20% after the deductible. And there is more to come. Our savings are already gone. I have the gold standard of insurance and I still can’t pay all the medical bills.

Another friend lost her insurance when her husband lost his job. She couldn’t afford medication and ended up bed ridden for three months at the end of over a year of no job and therefore no insurance until he found work again.

It’s our responsibility. All of us, together. As a nation.

EtA: Nobody is trying to put insurance companies out of business. They will always be able to offer a better plan for a premium. We simply want to ensure that every citizen – from infant to senior citizen – doesn’t have to choose between medical care, and keeping a roof over their heads, or having enough to eat.

We’re trying to get this to go viral. Pass it along.

[memes] Ten Things I’ve Done That You (Probably) Haven’t

Pace John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal, here are ten things I’ve done that you (probably) haven’t.

  • Been thrashed by Amy Carter in croquet
  • Climbed down inside a classical Greek tomb through a hole in the ground
  • Held a lion cub in my arms
  • Flown deep into the Gobi Desert aboard an Antonov-17 (not the most frightening flight of my life, amazingly enough)
  • Flooded a moving car with raw sewage
  • Wrote a hot check to a recently-paroled murderer
  • Asked a truckload of heavily armed men in a Third World country for directions, well after midnight on a very lonely road, and not woken up later in a shallow grave
  • Been bitten by a pig
  • Eaten live eel soup
  • Walked on the Arctic ice
  • Fought a fatal porn fire
  • Been sent home from the hospital with a piece of my own colon in formaldehyde

Ok, so that was twelve. I couldn’t figure out which one of my favorites to cut…

What are some of the weirdest or most unusual things you’ve done?

[books] Books for Christmas

Pace Jonathan Strahan, here’s me linking four new books published in 2008 which I think everyone should get or give at Christmas. I suppose this counts as a meme.

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham (a/k/a ). This is the third volume in his Long Price quartet, and it’s one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. You really need to read A Shadow In Summer and A Betrayal In Winter to get the full effect, but trust me, you’ll never look at fantasy the same way again. Intelligent, agonizingly emotional, and a hell of a lot of fun.

The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt. Deep time steampunk, basically, using the tropes of English history in some pretty amazing ways. This book is great, good fun.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. Strange, entertaining post-apocalyptic fiction that owes a lot more to Bill Gibson and Phil Dick than it does to Walter Miller or Pat Frank. I love the sheer, raw style of this book as well.

Nation by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett doing what he does so very well, with a youthful protagonist and a somewhat alternate version of our world. As so often with him, the storytelling is delightfully lateral. Sort of a postcard from a brighter version of post-colonialism, while also being intensely personal.

[links] Link salad for a new workweek

Holiday weekend reacharound, for those of you who weren’t online much:

Here at this blog, we read Herman Melville so you don’t have to. [ | LiveJournal ]

A writerly career meme: [ | LiveJournal ]

More wit and wisdom of the_child: [ | LiveJournal ]

Wisdom of Fred: [ | LiveJournal ]

Plus the usual assorted bill of fare:

Lego safe — Um… (Thanks to willyumtx.)

Next Year In Birobidzhan? Stalin’s Siberian ZionStrange Maps with a very odd bit of Jewish history.

Climate change juggernaut on the horizon, UN talks told — More liberal balderdash from the world scientific community and the pinko climate itself. Thank God we have the Republican party and its talk radio surrogates to keep us politically insulated from the inconvenience of reality.

A Handpicked Team for a Foreign Policy ShiftThe New York Times on Obama’s foreign policy and national security team. …the United States has more members of military marching bands than foreign service officers. Because that’s what the War on Terror demands! The GOP, keeping you safer with clarinets.

The GOP’s McCarthy geneThink Goldwater is the father of conservatism? Think again. A fairly cogent explanation of the profound cognitive dissonance between the GOP’s idealistic self-image and the party’s vicious behaviors. (Hat tip to Talking Points Memo.)

Juan Cole on Pakistani Reaganism — A very illuminating precis on the history of radical Islam in South Asia, and how much the current issues with the Taliban owe their roots to Reagan’s anti-Communist policies. Not news to most reality-based readers, but very well-explained. (Facts not valid for FOX News viewers.)

?otD: Who let the dogs out?

Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
This morning’s weigh-in: 221.4
Currently reading: The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville

[memes] All my crimes…

If you saw me in the back of a police car, what would you think I was there for?

Answer me, then post this in your own journal (or, you know, don’t) to see how many different crimes you get accused of committing.

(Snurched from tbclone47.)

[memes] A rare bout of memage

calendula_witch tagged me with the “7 Random and/or Weird Things About Me” meme.

1. I have ridden both kinds of camels — dromedary and bactrian.

2. I know what fermented mare’s milk tastes like.

3. Once in my life I voted Republican.

4. I own several pairs of $500 Alden shoes.

5. The thump of falling vultures used to wake me up at night in my teens.

6. At one point in my youth I very seriously wanted to be a mechanical engineer.

7. I took a 1981 Ford LTD wagon across a Mexican river on a pair of canoes lashed together with 1x12s.

In keeping with my usual philosophy of memage, I tag no one except those of you who wish to consider yourself tagged.