Sasquan, Exit Stage Left

Up until a week before Sasquan, the 73rd Worldcon, I was the Events Deputy Division Head and the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony. Resigning was a very difficult and painful decision. I did not do so lightly. Doing so left several of my friends in the lurch, and while I don’t regret walking away, I do regret the position I put my boss Jill Eastlake, and my co-director David D’Antonio in. They were both endlessly supportive during this entire situation and have taught me a great deal about how to make Events happen for a Worldcon.

It is common knowledge at this point that Lou Antonelli wrote a letter to the Spokane PD. It is also known that he went on the Superversive SF podcast and bragged about it. While many were rightly focused on David Gerrold’s reaction, the simple fact is that he wasn’t the only person harassed and intimidated, and he wasn’t the only one to report it. As the Co-Director of the Hugo Ceremony I reported my fear directly to my superiors. I did so several times – initially rather timidly because I didn’t want to make a fuss, but later rather firmly in a way that could not be misunderstood. One of the vice-chairs, Glenn Glazer, attempted to guilt me into not pursuing the complaint, and one of the Operations Division Heads, Robbie Bourget told me flat out that I hadn’t been harassed. When I pointed this out to them, I was told that I hadn’t ever made an official harassment complaint and lots of sarcasm that wasn’t in any way close to appropriate.

Senior members of the Sasquan committee responded to a member reporting harassment and asking for help with guilt trips, denial, victim blaming, sarcasm and dismissal.

In the interest of avoiding a he said/she said situation, I have PDFd all of the emails in this conversation and placed them in a Google Drive folder here:

[EDIT – I have redacted the personal email addressed of those participating in this conversation. This is something I should have done before I posted, and I apologize for not doing so. ]

After a fair bit of crying, some time spent on the phone with Jill, and lunch with a good friend, I decided to resign. I cannot ever in good conscience support a committee that treats its members this way. Any member, including committee members and staff, should feel able to report violations of the code of conduct and be taken seriously.

Things did not improve when I got to the convention. I met with Pierre, one of the other vice chairs, who told me that because no evidence had been found online, it had been decided that I hadn’t been harassed. He told me that if I wanted to appeal this decision, I needed to speak to the Chair, Sally Woehrle. When I tracked Sally down, she gave me a number of excuses including “the convention could be sued,” “Antonelli would then become a martyr,” and “harassment is a legal term.” When I pointed out that intimidation (which is directly mentioned in the code of conduct) could easily be exchanged for the term harassment, she told me that I was bordering on irrational. And then, after all of that, she agreed that Glenn’s various responses to me were inappropriate.

It is going to be a while before I get over the whiplash that Sasquan has given me.

Deciding to speak out about this was in many ways just as difficult as deciding to resign. I was raised in and by fandom – so fandom is family to me in a very real way. Talking about this feels like airing dirty laundry, but if these sort of problems aren’t discussed, they will keep happening.  Reports of harassment will continue to be ignored and those who report them will continue to be mistreated. What good is a code of conduct if the committee doesn’t stand by it? We’re never going to make fandom a completely safe space, the world is full of people intent on hurting others. But we can, and we should do our best to make sure that our community spaces can be as safe as reasonably possible.

Oslo – One Foot In Front Of The Other

I have to admit, Oslo and I did not get off to a great start.

By the time I got here, I was jetlagged, hungry and wanted nothing but to fall over and sleep forever. But that was not in the cards for me.

When I landed, I found out that the host of the AirBNB I had booked, had accidentally double booked and I had no place to stay. Or even shower. Jesus, I wanted a shower. I found a Starbucks, got some hot chocolate and started to hyperventilate. Will, having just woken up, was as usual, endlessly patient, sure that something would work out. He was right, but I was too busy losing my mind to notice. After dicking around on tumblr for a while to think about nothing, I pinged my friend Jo, who suggested I just come join her in Stockholm. Two hours later, I was on a plane there for two glorious days that I hope I’ll get around to telling you about later. I never even left the Arlanda airport, and while usually that would have annoyed the shit out of me, I really didn’t care.

So, fast forward roughly 48 hours and I was back on a plane to Oslo. This time, when I landed, I had a place to stay (actually, the same place, there just wasn’t a person in my borrowed bed now) and a friend waiting for me. 

  I took a train from the airport to the city center and had my first glimpse of the actual city. I was massively disappointed.

Not every city can be Paris, and of course, not every part of every city is made for a postcard, but all I saw when exiting the station was the Raddison Blue across the street and lots and lots of ugly concrete. Once I cleared the end of the station, across the tracks I saw lots of modern glass buildings that all looked as my friend said “…like geometry problems I forgot how to solve.” Not exactly what I was hoping to find. After all, I can see plenty of that in New York. I did, however, see a rather full and lovely rainbow  

 and some excellent graffiti.  

 Eventually I found my lodgings and my adorably jet lag drunk friend. Both of us were rather hungry, so we stumbled down the street to a MAX (the local equivalent of Burger King), enjoyed a not terrible at all burger,  

 caught up on the last crazy month of our lives and sucked down the wifi. Suddenly, the place was closing. We had failed to catch due to the deceptive lightness of the evening that it had somehow become  1am. We headed back to the flat and swiftly fell over.

Despite my usual penchant for adventure, I let myself sleep in until about noon. My adventures in Stockholm had left me rather low on sleep (damned midnight sun) and I figured there was no use in starting a tour like this sleep deprived. I hung around the rented flat with Mark until the FedEx truck bearing his EuroRail pass arrived and then we ventured forth into the city. Mark had spent the better part of the day before exploring Oslo and quickly showed me the not bleakly concrete parts of Oslo. 





 I’m not entirely sure what I expected out of Oslo, but I didn’t get it. The city while charming in a way, is remarkably unremarkable. I felt like I could be in any Northern European city. The only thing that really stood out were the obscene food and drink prices. And a weird ass statue, but I’ll get to that later. I paid $2.50 for a bottle of water and $4.80 for a bottle of coke. Oof. Turns out that Oslo is the second most expensive city in the world behind Tokyo. Having seen both, I’d suggest Tokyo.

As unremarkable as it was, it wasn’t a terrible place to be. There were plenty of cobbled streets and old buildings to check out.  



 The location of my friend’s event was cool – tucked in an alleyway that I immediately dubbed Diagon Alley-  

 and close to the site of the 2011 bombings, which, not exactly cool, but certainly educational. Everyone who showed up was LOVELY. Someone brought food and cupcakes to share, and afterward showed us how to use the trams. She even brought us to Vigeland Park, the world’s largest single artist sculpture park. 





  The park was lovely and bright even late in the evening but had some FUCKED UP sculptures ala the totem pole episode of Hannibal. 

  Additionally a man playing soccer with babies 

 . So yeah, I was not prepared for that.

Oslo is a lovely, sleepy city. I’m glad I came, but I’m just as happy to be on my way. Next up (and again) Stockholm.

Danger, Will Robinson

When you are chronically ill, hope is a dangerous thing.

At first you do. You hope. You hope fiercely. It’s what gets you through so many doctor appointments and awkward procedures and pain-filled days. Hope is what gets you through. But eventually, that hope fades.

After going to get the ninth second opinion, your hope is beaten down. After the third surprise rectal exam, you need more than hope. And so your hope becomes steel. Steel that laces itself through your spine and your soul. It helps you stand up straight when you’ve gotten embarrassingly ill at a dinner party. It helps you keep your chin up when your latest doctor tells you that they found nothing new in the latest round of tests.

Last night I had an MRI. I was pretty annoyed going in. While I was sore and worn down, I wasn’t full on sick and therefore, getting imaging work done seemed like a waste of time and insurance money. The problem with scheduling imaging of just about any kind is that those procedures have to be set up usually at least a week in advance and my abdominal troubles have no interest in observing any sort of rational calendar. It’s like shooting at a target from on top of a moving train. It’s hard to get data, and this problem can’t be solved without data. It’s immensely frustrating.

So, last night I went to Weill Cornell Imaging and settled in for three disgusting rounds of contrast and half an hour in a giant magnet. And I got sick. I’m not sure if it was the contrast that distends your stomach or stress from pretty much anything, but by the time that they put me in for imaging I had already needed to take to pain killers and spent a while laying on the cool tile of the bathroom holding myself in the fetal position. It was the best thing that could ever possibly happened. I got sick right when I needed to be.

And now I have hope. And now I am terrified. Because what if the tests don’t show anything? What if this doctor gives up just like the last one? The last one was lucky and when I saw her the first time I hadn’t eaten anything in several days so she could go in immediately. She did a colonoscopy and found ulcers and though she had a diagnosis. But a year and a half later after blood tests proving her wrong, she threw in the towel. If this test shows something, will it be enough? I want to hope. I want to be better. But every time I get my hopes up, my spirit gets shattered when nothing comes of it. How many times can you get a punch to the gut like this before you give up? How do you find the balance between pursuing a cure that may never come and finding a way to live your life as it is so it doesn’t pass you by. I don’t know. Finding the answer so far has been terribly painful and I’m not sure I want to keep looking.

Sick Day

I have nothing new to say. The words I’m about to type have been typed by me and many before me. They’re not new, and I hate typing them.

I am tired of being sick.

I am not just tired of being sick, though. I am tired of being tired. I’m tired of being depressed. I’m tired of people not understanding my situation. I’m tired of not being able to explain my situation. I’m tired of not having answers. I’m tired of being told to be patient for answers. I’m tired of not talking about being sick because I’m worried that I talk about it too much. I’m just really tired.

It’s not going to magically get better anytime soon. I’ve been getting comfortable with the idea that I’ll always be sick and that this is just a part of me now. There is no Doctor House for me. This will not be over in a period of time that an episode of TV can cover. And yet, I must keep up hope, that there is some magical cure out there for me. I must at once accept my status quo and reject it. I must not talk about what I’m facing, because it’s big and dark and scary and sometimes really gross. But at the same time, I must be courageous and fight this battle and speak my mind.

I am tired.

I’m tired of this being such a big part of me.


I’ve been struggling with a new symptom of whatever non-named autoimmune disorder I have: Immune-Mediated Cognitive Dysfunction. It’s a fancy way of saying I have brain fog.

For the last few months, I’ve been noticing that it’s harder for me to read and retain information. I’m more forgetful and sometimes I have difficulty saying words or even stringing sentences together. I need more sleep (9 to 10 hours) and I run out of energy faster. In short, my executive brain function is being put into “Power Saver” mode.

Just in case you are wondering, yes, it’s terrifying.

To be clear, it’s not that my reasoning abilities are gone, I just have less of them. I can still solve a task, it just might take me longer. I can still juggle multiple tasks, but I won’t finish them all as quickly or as cleanly as I once could. I am functioning anywhere from 80-85%.

This isn’t just something that sucks, it’s really difficult to get used to. My mind is still used to functioning at 100% capacity. I am not, nor ever have been a stupid person. And now, I’m not as smart. I’m not as quick. I’m not as bright. There’s not use saying, “Oh, that’s nonsense, you’re brilliant.” All the wishing in the world won’t make this untrue. I can’t stretch as far as I once could, and because of that, I’m still tripping up when I try.

So, please be patient with me. I know what I can handle – lots of trial and error in the last months have helped assure that I cannot miss the line in the sand. I know what I’ve got going on and what I need to do. Please don’t bring this up, or my illness in general, unless I bring it up with you first. I have to live it every day, it is therefore not my favorite topic of conversation. Please don’t question my judgement on how far I can push myself – I know. Sometimes I have good days, and I just want to have a good day and not be reminded of the many bad ones that I have. Please, be kind.


I feel a bit guilty about not writing more about 2014. There is a non-trivial part of me that feels I should have shared more about my adventures in the moment.

There is absolutely no arguing that 2014 was an EPIC year for me. It was my first year of marriage. I traveled the world, met more amazing people and lived in Japan. I admit that I’m a bit impressed that I was able to pull it all off. There were a number of times when I thought it was all going to fall apart.

As amazing as last year was, it was also hard. Impossibly hard. And impossibly hard to describe because it was impossibly hard to do. Hard in ways I couldn’t have even imagined before the fact. Hard physically – on average I got on a plane every four days. I only slept in my own bed for three or four months of the entire year. I have a chronic illness that requires  It was emotionally draining – when I was in Japan the only person I could really walk to was Will (who is great, but can’t and shouldn’t be my everything). When I wanted and needed to see friends and family I had to do so in giant tours that I was so exhausted by only a few stops in that I couldn’t really enjoy my time with them fully. I never felt like I really had a home. I couldn’t quite get comfortable in Japan – I was away too much and even if I had, I would have had to just given it up shortly anyways. And that would have been for the second time in two years.

2014 was amazing and utterly exhausting.

Talking about it while it was all happening, without some perspective would have been terrible and I’m glad I didn’t though I did take endless notes so I could later. And it’s starting to be later. It’s still too soon to talk about some things though there are things about last year that I could go on about for ages. For instance, the joys of the Japanese rail system. I’m not much of a train fan, but even I could see the beauty of that system’s precision.

Having an introduction to the blogging of my last year seems impossibly dramatic, even for me – but the truth is, I need to take this slowly. I need to process this with time – which is exactly what I couldn’t do last year.

International Incident

Well fuck. Looks like I’m not going to Eastercon after all.

For various reasons, my doctor has asked me not to travel internationally for the next six months or so. I admit, when my doctor brought this up, I laughed. I mean, after last year, now someone is going to ask me to sit still?

I’ve got lots of thoughts and feelings about this. One part of me says “Fuck the doctors, I’m too young to be ill!” another part says, “Don’t be a fucking moron, listen to your doctor!” One part says” After last year, I’m pretty sure international travel won’t kill me,” and another says “This is a really good excuse to hide in my couch forever.” The biggest part of me just thinks “Fuck, I’m going to miss my friends.”

While I’d like to shrug my doctor’s advice off, I’d be an idiot not to take her seriously. Guess I’m going to have to find alternate plans for Easter weekend.

A New Normal

You know what’s weird to lack? A daily routine.

Most people have some variant of get up, go to work, come home, sleep with a bunch of little personal details. What they eat for breakfast, if they eat breakfast, do they eat with a spouse or on the way to work and etc. That sort of thing. We have routines from a young age starting with school and moving to work of some sort. They say that it’s good to break a routine every once in a while and it’s true. Too much of a thing, even if it’s a good thing, can be a bad thing. Change is good.

But not having a routine is a strange thing. You grasp for one that might not be there in an attempt to right yourself because not having one feels a little bit like a ship tipping over. Life last year didn’t allow for much of a routine. Now, truth is, I did that to myself. Nobody forced me to get on all those planes and to live in airport lounges, but I would have been desperately lonely had I not. Pro-tip: don’t spend the first year of your marriage in a country where you can only speak to your husband. We made it, but I’m not entirely certain how we did. In the end, disrupting my routine to the point that my routine was chaos was worth it, but it wasn’t easy and now I’m trying to remember how to build one again.

I don’t have work to go to, I don’t have school to go to yet, but I can’t exactly spend the day in bed. So what do you do when you have nothing to do? Let me tell you that while there is a small urge to clean everything in the very beginning it is small enough that I don’t actually get to clean everything and eventually I just end up bored. Being bored is no fucking fun. Having nothing to do is crazy-making. Remember that the next time when you’re talking to someone who is unemployed.

Turns out that building your own routine isn’t easy. I have no reminders or guidelines, I have no structure outside of Will leaving and coming home from work. I have email that I need to get to, but surely I can get to it later, right? I’m a procrastinator by nature. You don’t make a procrastinator their own boss for a good reason. Except now I am.

Thank ghod for Japan’s obsession with stationary. You couldn’t turn a corner in the town we lived in without running into a stationary store that had incredibly adorable pre-printed To-Do Lists. I have travel themed lists, cat themed lists, penguin themed lists and even book themed lists. And those lists are how I get things done around here. I had to bribe myself at first. Every time I got something done, I allowed myself to open a piece of mail from a friend or one of the Cards Against Humanity Bullshit items. But now I don’t need the bribes. The simple act of crossing through the list and getting to flip another page is enough motivation. I push myself to get my To-Do list done as soon as I can.

The real trick for me was to know what was reasonable to put on the list. If I put a bunch of small items on the list, it can seem like my list is longer than the Wall of China. If I put too massive of a job on my list, it feels like a boulder that I’ll never be able to work through. Learning to break up your tasks into manageable chunks is something you quickly learn in the real working world, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever get back to that world. Working through a list consisting of ‘Write letter to Brigid’ and ‘Call doctor’ can be annoying sometimes. It feels like I shouldn’t need a list to do those things. But when you’re sick, little things add up and become big things. While I’d rather my routine be filled with big things, right now I’ll settle for getting something done at all.

Doctor, Doctor

Turns out I do not, in fact, have a bad case of loving you. I have a bad case of nobody knows what the fuck is up with my body.

On the bright side, there is in fact medical terminology for what’s up with my body: Isolated, Idiopathic Colonic Ischemia. Basically the blood stops flowing to a certain area of my colon and it starts to ulcerate and die. And then for some reason, it stops and puts it self back together again. I chose to believe that this is further evidence that I am in fact, a Time Lord.

The down side of this is that while my doctor knows what my body is doing, she doesn’t know why. And that is unfortunately what we need to know. While it’s good to know the name of what is happening to me, it’s the name of a symptom and not a treatable disease. My doctor has run out of options for tests for me that will show anything new. She threw the book at me and nothing took. This is heartbreaking and crazy-making but a little unsurprising. She’s come further than any other doctor. She was the first one to look at Crohn’s and autoimmunes. Hell, she was the first doctor to tell me that my pain was real and that I should be taking pain killers which she then gave me.

Today we talked about a surgical option. During a colonoscopy she’d mark the area in my colon that has the most problems and then a surgeon (at a later date) would cut that section of my colon out. Sounds fun right? You know what’s more fun? They’re not sure exactly what would happen if they did that. They hope it would be gone and never come back, but they have no hard numbers to give me. It’s just as likely that it would come back in some other place or stronger than it is now as it is that it would be completely fine. They have no sureties for me, they just have hope. And that’s cool, I like hope. But you know what I like more? Solid evidence before you cut into my body.

So I’m going to get a second opinion. And I don’t know what is scarier, the idea that it is my best option or that it isn’t. Hope becomes a dangerous thing when you’re sick. I’ve gotten used to being sick. I’ve changed my life. I’ve found a way to be happier with a simpler life that doesn’t involve me working heavily. I’d just decided to go to art school. So what do I do if this fixes everything and I can go back? I know playing What if.. is crazy making, but when you’re chronically ill, playing What if is your entire life.

I think it’s time for a drink.

Performance Anxiety

I want to spend the weekend in Boston. There is a convention there that I very much want to attend – Arisia. At Arisia will be a very high concentration of my friends from all over the US: California, Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois and of course, pretty much the entire Eastern seaboard. I’ve missed all of these friends deeply over the last year even though I’ve been able to catch some time with them and I’ve been looking forward to this convention for a while now. But the thing is, I really don’t want to go.

Getting to Arisia involves spending four-ish hours on a bus and right now, that is the second to very last things I want to do. The only thing I want to do less is getting on another fucking airplane. Twenty-fourteen was amazing for a number of reasons – one of them being the number of new and exciting places I traveled to – but it has me 99% burnt out on travel. The grass is always greener and last year the other side was a home I didn’t have. Now I have that home and even though I logically know that it will be here waiting for me when I get back from Boston, it makes my skin crawl to think about getting on that bus.

It’s been difficult to write about my issues with traveling. I don’t want to seem ungrateful and I know just how magical it all looked. The reality was much different. I desperately missed my friends and family. I was frequently ill and the stress of traveling only made things worse on my body. A simple trip ‘home’ was expensive, time-consuming – usually at least fourteen hours one way, and involved dealing with customs and immigration. Usually by the time I got ‘home’ I was exhausted and barely had energy to enjoy the time with the people I had traveled to see. It was beyond difficult.

It’s not Arisia’s fault that it is the year anniversary of all that starting. I’m sure that I’ll have a great time there. But that doesn’t make me feel much better about getting on that damn bus.

Nothing ever stays the same.


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