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[links] Link salad is like a bridge over troubled waters

The lights go out and I can’t be saved, tides that I tried to swim against Lisa Costello talks about her end of what’s been going on in our life lately, including parts of the story I have not been free to recount.

Hanging out with Jay Lake (figuratively) — My friend [info]soon_lee talks about my collection, The River Knows Its Own.

My Orycon programming schedule — For them what wants it.

and straight on ’til morning… — John G. Hartness looks to start a nonprofit focused on supporting writers and artists with severe illness. (Thanks to Marta Murvosh.)

So frenchy, so touchy, about the English languageMichel Serres’ call for France to strike over the march of English words is as daft as his nation’s daily massacre of the language. (Via Daily Idioms, Annotated.)

German Officials Provide Details on Looted Art Trove

Fighting Over the Width of Airline Seats — Hmm.

Alligator found under escalator at Chicago airport‘‘We don’t know where it came from or how long it’d been residing in the airport facilities,’’ Estrada said. ‘‘It’s one of those random incidents.’’ Wow…

Lasers Zap Heads of Flies to Expose Brains — Zombie lasers?

Fossil of largest platypus ever is discovered in Australia

This may be the ocean’s most horrifying monster (and you’ve probably never heard of it) — (Thanks, I think, to Ellen Eades.)

New Kepler analysis finds many Earth-like planets; total 3,500 exoplanetsEarth-like planets are common around Sun-like stars, too.

Oglaf nails religion in seven panels — Hahahahahah. As always with Oglaf, not precisely work-safe.

Don’t tell Muslim women what to wear — This is what comes of following God’s law. And far too many Christian conservatives want to implement such ‘standards’ in this country.

Belief in biblical end-times stifling climate change action in U.S. — We make national policy based on the self-valorizing eschatonic narratives of one narrow-minded and willfully ignorant group of religious sects who are a small minority in this country. Yep, that sounds like a free and democratic society to me. Either that or Republican electoral politics. History will be severely unkind to the contemporary GOP. (Via Steve Buchheit.)

Climate change is already affecting food suppliesRising temps will help in some places, but global productivity will decrease. Now the liberals are raiding farms and warehouses to keep their climate change hoax going. Thank God for Rush Limbaugh and the Republican party, or we might have had to do something about this.

Exclusive: Feds confiscate investigative reporter’s confidential files during raid — Yeah, that whole freedom of the press thing? Not so much anymore. (Via [info]danjite.)

To Flatten A Heroine: Artist Puts Disney Princess Filter On 10 Real Life Female Role Models — Wow. Just wow. A thoughtful wow, not a happy wow. (Thanks to [info]scarlettina.)

Southern National Guards ignore Hagel order on gay troop spouse IDs — Once again conservatives express their dedication to the Constitution and their deep respect for law and order.

NIST to Review Standards After Cryptographers Cry Foul Over NSA Meddling

White Terrorist is “Gunman,” “Alleged Shooter,” no Mention of Wingnut ‘New World Order’ BeefUltimately, Ciancia is depicted as a quiet and troubled loner, probably mentally unbalanced, and his right wing political commitments and conspiracy theories are not even mentioned. That put-upon “whites” in an America becoming majority multi-ethnic and multi-cultural have developed an extremist ideology centering on their betrayal at the hands of a government subordinating itself to a world dominated by non-whites is not deemed worthy of being part of the analysis. Your Liberal Media, enabling the conservative narrative since forever.

Study Links White Racism With Opposition to Gun ControlResearchers report white Americans who hold implicitly anti-black attitudes are more likely to have a gun in the house, and to oppose gun-control measures. I was especially struck by this passage: ”U.S. whites oppose strong gun reform more than all other racial groups, despite a much greater likelihood that whites will kill themselves with their own guns (suicide) than be killed by someone else.” See? Don’t you feel safer when everyone exercises their Second Amendment rights? I know the 30,000 people killed by firearms in this country every surely did feel safer, too.

Doctors’ role in enhanced military interrogation ‘clearly violates’ ethics — Ya think? Welcome to the security state. Which Obama has continued and strengthened. Sigh.

?otD: Will you lay you down?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 6.75 hours (solid)
Body movement: n/a (traveling)
Weight: n/a (traveling)
Number of FEMA troops on my block forcing children to learn critical thinking skills: 0
Currently reading: n/a (chemo brain)

[cancer] Slightly better equilibrium today, things to do

I feel a bit better today. Doped up hard last night with both sleep meds and GI meds, and managed nine and a half hours, minus one or two minor biological interruptions. I don’t sleep anywhere that much unless my body is very distressed, but given the previous night’s badly interrupted and foreshortened sleep and the general state of my GI this past week, “very distressed” is about the right word for it.

Unclear what will happen today. I’m rather afraid that this ongoing, vicious cramping and almost continuous bowel movements is the new normal. Given how many of my other Regorafenib reactions have changed in this past cycle, it would completely unsurprising if that were true.

As it happens, I am needed with Lisa Costello‘s family today. I’ve been arranging some legal matters, and we see the attorney this afternoon. While I’m not a party to anything being signed, I am the one in the possession of the most complete information about our goals, and I’m the one who’s been speaking to the attorney. Likewise there will be more activity in the coming days, and after our return to Maryland on November 12th with real estate agents, home repair contractors, et cetera, for which I will play a more central role. So at the first sign of trouble today I am doubling up on the GI medication. (Both Lomotil and Imodium, in case anyone’s wondering.)

This is a bit of a fool’s errand, doubling up on the GI meds. If I were simply suffering from a touch of food poisoning or a gut bug, slowing down my GI would helpful as part of the recovery process. But when I get like I have been this past week, all slowing down my GI does is postpone an ongoing problem, then add painful constipation to my list of things to cope with. What I’m saying is that it ain’t going away. All I can do is postpone the inevitable.

There are times when that’s needful. Today, for example. Or Thursday, when we fly home. And Friday is my last day for Regorafenib in this cycle, so hopefully over the weekend and next week I’ll get a respite. Or if I’m really lucky, this isn’t the new normal.

The price of life.

[art|photos] He took a face from the ancient gallery and walked on down the hall

Lisa Costello and I recently visited ceramic artist Beverly Toyu at her studio in Dayton, Oregon. We were both absolutely croggled at what we found there — hundreds of ceramic life masks and molds. It was beautiful and strange and more than a little unsettling. Neither of us had come prepared for serious photography, but with Beverly’s permission, I took some shots on the iPhone.

I give you faces:


[cancer] The Fear leaves a calling card in the hallway of my heart

Yesterday I was running errands in the Genre car (yes, with the top down) and listening to Camper Van Beethoven‘s All Her Favorite Fruit, from Key Lime Pie. I started sobbing, and for a time, could not make myself stop.

I very nearly turned and headed for home. But I’m trying not to be a burden to Lisa Costello right now, as she is going through so much family stress. My arrival at Nuevo Rancho Lake shaking and crying would not improve her day in the slightest.

So I thought about how much she needs me to be strong and smart right now. How much I need that from myself. How impossible a goal that is, and how impossible it is for me not to make the attempt.

Eventually I fought myself down to a sniffle, and went on with my day.

The Fear is like that. I am a dead man walking. Sometimes my mind and heart and body remember that so much that I can do nothing else but be afraid. Not so much of death itself, as of loss, and of the pain and sorrow I will leave behind.

As for that song, it reminds me of my childhood. I have literally played croquet behind white washed walls within intervention’s distance of the embassy. Just thinking about it as I write this is making my throat catch and my eyes sting.

We never know who we will become. My life makes me proud and happy. But I never planned to become a dead man.

Then again, who does?

[cancer] Field notes from Cancerland, heading to Maryland edition

Regorafenib side effects

I’m having the usual side effects bingo with my good friend Regorafenib. I know I should not complain about this drug, as it is the only thing keeping me from dying right now, but it still gets pretty difficult. My GI churns terribly, my sleep is wonky (about which more below) and I’ve been terribly moody and depressed lately. Plus there’s a whole crop of relatively minor issues emerging which I strongly suspect are due to my increasingly long baseline with this medication. I’m experiencing hair loss, an increase in minor skin irritations and conditions, more vulnerability to minor injuries, slower healing, and twice now, unexplained open sores. All of which reflect things which eventually happen during the ageing process, but in my case we’re talking about the last six weeks. So, yeah.

Sleep issues

We tried a while back to raise my dose of Trazodone, along with Lorazepam which I use as a helper drug since the Trazodone by itself is only marginally effective for me. That caused an almost complete cessation of my appetite, and I lost about five pounds in one week. So we put me back to my earlier, lower dose. I’m starting to have more sleep issues, mostly consisting of awakening after four or five hours of sleep and not really getting back to solid sleep, alternating with significant oversleeping. This is consistent with the sleep effects Regorafenib had on me before we began using to Trazodone. My palliative care doctor has switched me to Intermezzo, a new form of Ambien which specifically addresses this set of issues. Unfortunately, Intermezzo isn’t on my health insurance carrier’s formulary. (Nor almost anybody else’s yet, as it’s so new.) We’re now in the appeals process, with my oncology clinic seeking a pre-approval letter. So I stumble on.

ETA: Lisa reminds me we’re currently at half dose, having gone from the original dose to a higher dose, then back down. This was in an attempt to ameliorate my cognitive issues. The success of that attempt is left as an exercise for the reader, given the nature of this edit note.


The next CT scan is less than two weeks away. My next oncology appointment is two weeks from today. This is the first scan since we found out the Regorafenib was working where we might reasonably expect to see the drug failing. It’s treatment life cycle is six months to a year, and this is the six month mark. When that does fail, as it inevitably will, my terminal countdown clock resumes ticking. I’ve been experiencing a lot of what I call oncological hypochondria lately. Every time something twinges or hurts, I wonder if that’s the cancer marching forward through my body again. Sometimes it can be easy to forget that I am a dead man walking. The CT scans always remind me of that with a cold, cruel pointedness.


I’ve been more depressed lately. Both in a daily, low-energy, low-motivation sense, and in the sense of having more bouts of being overwhelmed and feeling beaten down. This may be as simple as my brain responding my erratic sleep and other minor health issues, as well as the impending CT scan. But it’s also true I’ve been feeling my mortality a lot. I suppose the issues in Lisa Costello‘s family are a contributing factor. Plus I was really looking forward to going to WFC and seeing people, as well as some other now-cancelled activities. I lost some of my big near-term motivators. And I’m back in a phase where everything seems far too difficult. For example, simply organizing a dinner the day I return from our first Baltimore trip, 11/7, has turned into a logistical nightmare with pushback from multiple quarters. So my usual relatively bubbly self has not been bubbling much lately.


We’re off to Maryland Wednesday morning to help organize major life changes for Lisa’s elderly parents. For a change, there’s a crisis going on that isn’t about me. This is probably a good thing for my spirit or something, but mostly I see it taking a toll on her and others in her extended family. I am going primarily to back her up and be her support, though I do keep finding minor ways to make myself useful. I am so very glad I can do this for her.

It’s a tough world.

[personal|travel] Away to the coast

Lisa Costello and I are running away to the Oregon coast this weekend so she can have some proactive decompression before we head to Maryland next week to deal with her family emergency. She’s been pretty emotionally distressed for obvious reasons, and I seem to have become more physically fragile just lately. We can both use the break.

Blogging may be intermittent as we will be focused mostly on each other and on laying low.

Whatever you’re doing, enjoy your weekend as well.

[photos] Birds in southern Oregon

When Lisa Costello and I visited Klamath Falls a few weeks ago, we took a lot of bird photos. (Well, she took most of them.) For whatever reason, our fine feathered friends were on abundant display. Here’s a few of them.

A little songbird at Crater Lake National Park

A corvid who messed with us by flying ahead of the Genre car, posing, then flying ahead some more

Magpie on a fence post