Now that they have Roto-Rootered my heart, I must be on medications to reduce my cholesterol. (Ideally, you’d do that via diet alone, but my cholesterol levels were record-high despite my diet not being all that bad – my body loves to manufacture tiny globules of artery-clogging stickiness.)
They have switched my medication from Crestor (a pill) to a packet called Welchor, which supposedly is heavy-duty stuff that helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. And Welchor is fascinating, because it’s a suspension.
Essentially, you open a packet and dump some white powder into eight ounces of fluid – they suggest water, or diet soda. And mix it well. And drink it.
And it is entertainingly disgusting.
Thing is, Welchor is almost tasteless – a hint of lemon flavoring, but that’s it. The problem is, it lurks in the drink, hovering in it like a flavored octopus, never dissolving but hanging menacingly in the liquid. And you drink the fluid, and you think, “Oh, that’s not bad,” and then a pile of silt forms at the back of your throat and chokes you.
No shit. Silt. This fine sand that clings to the back of your tongue. A pile of it.
Now me, I take this as evidence that it’s working – I imagine Welchor as like an cleanup chemical dumped on an oil-stricken beach, and when it gets into my veins it’ll stick to fat globules in the same way it stuck to my mouth, and destroy them. But as far as making this palatable, it’s hard, because unlike other medicines taste is not the problem. It’s pure, plaster-dust mouthfeel, and I don’t think there’s a liquid that will solve that problem because it’s a suspension.
I’m going to experiment further, but the packet doesn’t suggest hot drinks, so I suspect that dropping this in tea will make it worse. Maybe the smoothies. But that adds smoothie preparation time, because Gini sure doesn’t want this shit.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/386155.h
“The problem is, there’s one of two stories here,” I said. “And I don’t know which one I’m in.”
Gini kept a respectful distance, close enough to hug if I needed it, far enough that I could speak.
“In the one story,” I continued, “All of this pain and frustration and heartache I’m going through is the low point in the third act. And if that’s the case, it’s like Clarion, where I had a complete breakdown in Week Five, yet in Week Six I wrote the first story that I ever sold to Asimov’s. So maybe this wretched failure is just me breaking through to something greater.
“But the other story – which is equally possible – is far sadder. That’s the story where the old mediocre guy keeps trying over and over again, and never realizes when he should quit. And that’s the one where he spends the next twenty years flailing, chasing a dream that he’s totally ill-equipped for, wasting all of this time and effort on something that he’s not very good at and yet is too obsessive to let go of. And then all those evenings devoted to the craft become sad, wasted, a mountain of lost time.
“I don’t know what story I’m in,” I concluded, spreading my hands. “And it’s killing me.”
Gini looked at me seriously, weighing the options, debating how to present the truth.
“I don’t know which story you’re in, either,” she finally admitted. “But I know your story always ends with the wife who loves you more than anything.”
And I melt.
Cross-posted from Ferrett's Real Blog.This entry has also been posted at http://theferrett.dreamwidth.org/386028.h
- Mon, 15:29: Been saying for ages that horror writers are rock stars, but this clenches it: Laird Barron mention in Rolling Stone. http://t.co/FnMiOjCpVP
- Mon, 18:34: In my mailbox: Alan M. Clark's early western The Door that Faced West. It's Elinor approved! http://t.co/06RaKXZqJP http://t.co/Cv67qdTIdy
- Mon, 18:51: Also Elinor approved: When the Stars are Right by Scott R Jones. Preorder here: http://t.co/BZKjOxZE22 #keepinitrlyeh http://t.co/D1Rtzj8hHw
- Tue, 00:10: RT @TalesOfJack: Bloody good stories. http://t.co/skFrmDRG5X
Last weekend, I was on a panel at FogCon about invisible disabilities. I told this story for the first time.
After I’d been working at Apple for a while, I needed a handicap placard. I’ll go into why later.
Apple culture has had an “execs get a pass” culture as long as it’s been around. There’s a story (possibly apocryphal) that Jean-Louis Gassée once saw Steve Jobs park in a handicap space (long before SJ was seriously ill) and JLG quipped, “Being morally handicapped doesn’t count.”
Now, I knew that story before I started at Apple, but what I didn’t know was that more than just SJ got a pass.
At the time, I worked in Infinite Loop 3. There were 4 handicap spaces outside the building, and 3 underneath the building. For pretty much anyone handicapped, the spaces underneath the building were the better accommodation for reasons I’ll explain later.
An average of once every two weeks, there would be a car without a placard in one of those spaces. The first time it happened, I asked the building receptionist (at Apple, they are part of Security) what I should do. She said to give her the license plate #, so I did. In practice, it was easiest to do so by taking a photo on my phone. Over time, I got quite an iPhoto library of said license plates on one of my work computers.
If someone without a placard parked in the handicap space, there’s always the possibility it’s someone who actually needs the space (and the striped zone for a wheelchair)—and they’ve just managed to screw up somehow and forget to put their placard out. Anyone who’s had a placard for a long time has managed that once or twice. So, essentially, it means I was denied a space I was entitled to, and I didn’t know if I was denied for a good reason or a bad one.
Depressed that nothing was happening, I filed a complaint with HR about it.
It kept happening. I kept reporting it to the receptionist.
I go on vacation. Specifically, we go on a cruise. (April 2011, so Tim Cook was interim CEO)
When I come back, my manager pulls me into a meeting, but not a normal one-on-one kind of meeting. He says that while I was gone, some Apple exec got their car towed, and Scott Forstall was angry about it. The way my manager said it at first, I thought Forstall’s car had been towed. Maybe so.
I said, “I was in Morocco on that day. Would you like to see my passport?”
I was actually trying not to laugh at the whole situation, because, looking at it from the point of view of my frustration, it was pretty hilarious.
So I pointed out that there were three handicap spots under the building, and there were three handicapped people using those spaces every single day. Some days, one of us would have to use the outside spaces because another handicapped person was visiting our building.
My manager, I had noticed, was not at all clued into mobility issues. He bicycle commuted from Santa Cruz. Over the mountains. Hardcore stuff. That doesn’t prohibit understanding, of course, but it sure seemed to elude him.
My manager said, and I wish I were kidding, “Well, couldn’t you park in one of the handicap spots in another building?”
I was so gobsmacked, I couldn’t even form curse words in my head. What I wanted to say was, “Are you fucking kidding me?”
So, in order to protect the able-bodied special snowflakes and save them two minutes, I’m supposed to put myself at risk?
What I was aware was that I didn’t need to share the specific details of my disability, so I did not. What I did, however, was say how much accommodation I actually required. I pointed out that I wasn’t in a wheelchair, so I didn’t need the striped part of the space. So if they parked in the stripe zone next to my car (and not next to the car owned by the dude in a wheelchair or the person I didn’t know), I’d know the regular part of the handicap space was available for me.
Which started happening.
Instead of Apple accommodating the disabled properly, I accommodated the able-bodied.
My manager detailed a different way of reporting violations that cc’ed some honcho in facilities, but I never needed to use it. Not long after that, my group moved to City Center, where there were not only green parking spaces (which I could use), but there were also more handicap spaces.
There are a lot of reasons people get handicap placards, and mine is a fairly common reason. When I was shopping one day, my leg suddenly went numb. Terrified, I went to sit in my car (using a shopping cart for support to get there) while I waited for the others to finish shopping. As I sat, the numbness went away.
Turns out, I’ve had a defective lower back for some time, it’s just now gotten bad enough that that happens, and I never know when it’ll happen, how quickly or how fully numb my leg will become (sometimes it’s just slightly tingly), or how much time I have until I actually fall. Because it happens, it makes it unsafe for me to walk across traffic (which is why the outdoor spaces were a significantly worse accommodation, especially since drivers tended to speed around that end of the Infinite Loop oval).
On the other hand, continuing to walk really is my best long-term strategy.
I’m also significantly stiffer in the morning (every morning), and being that much closer really did make it easier to get into the office every single day. The accommodation was important.
In addition to falling, one of the other side effects is extreme pain if I stand too long on hard surfaces, and “too long” can be a minute or twenty. I don’t know until the pain hits. In this case, the pain flare usually precedes numbness, but again, I don’t know how long I have for that, either.
Which brings us neatly to the next section….
My third (and final) manager at Apple believed in the so-called stand-up meeting. For me, that’s an inherently problematic name to call a meeting when you have a mobility impaired person as a part of your staff, though I’m all for the concept of more frequent shorter meetings. It excluded me by its very title.
A good manager might actually come to the new staff member being transfered into the group (as I was) and ask if there’s any accommodation that needed to be made. Which didn’t happen.
A good manager might actually invite the mobility impaired person to the daily meeting. Which didn’t happen. Really.
Only quite a few weeks later did I hear about it from one of my coworkers, but I thought it was a new thing. Turns out it wasn’t, I was just forgotten. In a company where physical presence is as important as it is at Apple, that can cause huge perception issues.
Now, I will grant you: people are mobility impaired in different ways. Some people need to stand instead of sit, and regular meetings are hard for them, so a stand-up meeting better accommodates their needs. For those who need to stand, Apple provides standing desks as an ergonomic accomodation. And I did make a point of standing some every day at mine.
Still, if you’ve got meetings where most people stand, really try to make the person who has to sit comfortable and feel like they’re really a part of the team and not just some fucking afterthought. (Likewise, the reverse for the reverse situation.)
I don’t know how common the execs parking in handicap spaces problem is in other companies (I’d never encountered it before), but it’s surprising that it survived that long at Apple. Much as I liked Tim Cook’s statement about not comsidering the ROI of catering to blind users, it left me even angrier about my own treatment when I was at Apple.
When will people who can’t walk or have difficulty walking be as fully human to Apple?
Your support is appreciated. And if you could pass the Kickstarter link along to anyone you know who might be interested, that would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance!
Here's the cover; it was done by artist Leos Ng Okita:
Tonight I'm going to cut it out and then restart.
It is done.
Final wordcount is a little over 106,000 words.
Have some Florence and the Machine to celebrate.
- Current Mood: anxious
- Current Music:Shriekback - Everything's On Fire
- Current Mood: annoyed
But one of the other best things is that we're the home of the Tucson Festival of Books. Which is this weekend, March 15-16.
And I'll be there! Here's where you can find me:
Saturday, 1:00-1:45 p.m.
Signing at Mostly Books Booth (#130-131 & #134-135)
Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
World Building: Creating Imaginary Worlds
Education Bldg, Kiva Auditorium
With Cornelia Funke, Aprilynne Pike, Janni Lee Simner, and Chuck Wendig (Nancy Brown moderating)
Half hour signing follows panel
Sunday, 4-5 p.m.
The Craft of Writing
Education Bldg, Room 353
Sun, Mar 16, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
With Nancy Farmer, Janni Lee Simner, and Suzanne Young (T. Gail Pritchard moderating)
Half hour signing follows panel
If you're going to be on the festival too this weekend, do come by and say hi!
(Mirrored from simner.com/blog/?p=5678)
So, before I left for NY, I revealed the cover for Prudence.
|Sales Conference in NY presenting said cover|
This generated gratifying excitement and no few questions around the social medias. Here I answer six of the more pressing...
- Does the (really soon!) release date [March 17, 2015] affect the release of the last Finishing School book? No. Which means I have two books out in 2015, one Spring and one Fall. And because there seems to be no little confusion on this matter, there are TWO MORE Finishing School books. Two. 2 Tooooooo. Waistcoats & Weaponry this year, and Manners & Mutiny in 2015 along with Prudence.
- When will Prudence be available for pre-order? I don't know. We don't yet have the cover blurb so it has to wait on that. I will do a full blog post on the subject when I have this information.
- How may books will this series be? I am under contract for two, I'd like to write more but, frankly, it will depend on how well/badly the first one sells.
- Why Custard Protocol and not something more alliterative? That's too long and too boring a story. In the end, I like the word protocol and I like eating custard. P.S. Finishing School wasn't alliterative.
- Out of curiosity, while I appreciate the need for different series names, is there a standard name for the 'universe' that these books take place in? No, but there should be. I keep thinking that myself, and then getting distracted by other things. How about Tealand? Gail's World? Jay suggested Akeldamaverse on Facebook. I am open to suggestions.
- Was the intention with the pink coloring to match Soulless [and Etiquette & Espionage]? Or is it just a happy accident? Very little, with cover art, is not done with intent. Since I am in house (my two publishers Orbit and Little Brown Young Readers share a building and an umbrella company, Hachette) my cover designers are often plotting for the pinker good.
GAIL'S DAILY DOSE
Your Moment of Parasol . . .
|From my personal collection|
Your Infusion of Cute . . .
|Tea with LBYR in NY, aren't the cups adorable?|
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
|Kenneth Cobonpue's rickshaw for a modern passenger.|
Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
PROJECT ROUND UP
Curtsies & Conspiracies ~ The Finishing School Book the Second. Out now!
Soulless Vol. 3 (AKA Blameless the manga) ~ Out now!
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Working rough draft.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First: Delayed. Why? Rewrite begins soon.
Fantasy Literature says of Etiquette & Espionage, “A steampunk/paranormal blend that’s targeted to young adults but will be enjoyed by adults as well.”
Quote of the Day:
“Why do boys say someone acts like a girl as if it were an insult?”
~ Tamora Pierce, In the Hand of the Goddess