Meet Mr. Zappy

by wjw on November 23, 2023

Here’s the machine I visit most mornings to get zapped with x-rays. (I’ve had nine treatments so far, seventeen to go.) I lie on the gurney-thingie in the lower right, and am rolled more less into the middle of the array, after which I am orbited by scanners and projectors and some things which I haven’t worked out yet. (Most of them aren’t visible in this photo.) The procedure is short, painless, and rather dull. After which I usually have lunch in a local restaurant, then make the hour-long drive home.

Mr. Zappy looks rather jocular for a thing whose job is to irradiate my innards. I think he may have tried out for the job of emoji, but didn’t make the cut. Nevertheless I have developed an affection for the critter, since he’s the only amusing thing in the joint.

Spending time in the arms of a grinning android inclines me to meditation, and what with the Thanksgiving holiday growing nigh, I’ve been calling to mind the things for which I’m grateful, and there turns out to be a lot. Including, odd as it may seem, my health.

But mostly I’m thankful for my friends. Seeing so many at WFC, after the pause of years, was a boost. So was the Ten-Day Birthday Carouse. So was hearing from so many friends on social media.

We’ll be spending the holiday with friends to help us eat the sacrificial turkey, and I hope you will as well. I’ve just finished making the Heart-Attack Stuffing, so that when we go, we can all go together.

Have a great weekend!


Distant Voice

by wjw on November 18, 2023

Looking through some boxes I discovered a partial I wrote nearly 50 years ago. My agent sent it back, saying it needed a rethink.

Glancing through it, I’m thinking it’s overwritten.

Which won’t stop me from enjoying reading this message from my younger self.

Meet Mr. Photon

by wjw on November 14, 2023

Today was my first day of radiation. (25 to go) The machine was very large, but it was in a cavernous room, and when the machine was in operation, the operators scurried away to a control room behind their lead or concrete shields.

The treatment room was called HOPE.

My job was twofold. First, I was to lie down while large, glossy white sub-machines moved around me, like clumsy, slow-moving satellites bumbling around their primary. To make it even more science fiction-y, they were firing x-rays at me as they moved. Being penetrated by beams of highly energetic photons was painless and just a little boring. The whole thing took about 15 minutes.

This, I thought, is how I’d always imagined being abducted by aliens, lying motionless while enigmatic machines floated around me and filled me with rays.

But I mentioned I had a twofold job, right? My other job was not to pee.

They wanted me to have a full bladder, because a heavy bladder sort of anchors other nearby organs and enhances accuracy on the part of the photons. To this end, I slammed down 24 ounces of water on my way to treatment.

But it turns out the machines were backed up, and I spent over an hour in the waiting room trying not to pee. Then I went into the treatment room and tried not to pee while being orbited by elements of a linear accelerator. Then I tried not to pee while I grabbed my stuff and dashed to the nearest toilet.

Reader, it was the longest pee of my life. It seemed to go on for days.

25 to go.

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by wjw on November 12, 2023

Glancing through the latest offerings on Netflix, I came to the conclusion that Netflix has more shows and movies about fictional assassins than there ever were real assassins in all history.

Happy 80th Birthday, Joni Mitchell!

by wjw on November 8, 2023


November 5, 2023

Well. Got that off my chest, anyway. Last spring I received a diagnosis perhaps best expressed as a good news/bad news joke. THE BAD NEWS: You have cancer. THE GOOD NEWS: It’s in your prostate! Yay! Yay? Well yes. Prostate cancer is the only cancer that can be detected with a blood test, which means […]

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November 1, 2023

The rollicking Extended Birthday Party, otherwise known as World Fantasy Con 2023, has come to an end, and I’m home trying to pick up the threads of my actual life. Here I am on the mezzanine, with brilliant ideas forming over my head like little silver cannon balls. The convention was wonderful, certainly the best […]

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World Fantasy Schedule

October 24, 2023

I’ll be spending the weekend in Kansas City, at the World Fantasy Convention. I’m on a couple programming, items, so if you want to see me, here’s where I’ll be. READING 3:30PM Thursday, Chouteau Room A (I’ll be reading from Heaven in Flames, the third Metropolitan book, so if you’re into that series, you might […]

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Birthday Surprise

October 19, 2023

It’s not my birthday today, but it’s close enough for a celebration, and so we met with some of our friends at the Apothecary Bar for drinks and snacks and good conversation. The invitation mentioned that no presents were necessary, but some people always ignore that. Terry and Jim gave me a special bottle of […]

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Mysteries of Mylar

October 18, 2023

Here is Saturday’s partially eclipsed sun as viewed amid a series of bright floating objects, obviously alien in origin. What happened (I think) was that I had a mylar sun filter on my camera, and a stray beam of light got into the filter and was shining on the mylar from behind. This may serve […]

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