Combed and Curried Navel-Lint

Home and rushing
Got home from visiting <lj user="elenbarathi"> (That *is* how the faq says to use the "link to user" function; anybody know how it *really* works?) for the solstice.  Had been hoping to get my Planner course done while I was there, since it's a brand-new course and I'm teaching it at 10:30am tomorrow.  I got enough done that I know what I have to do *today*, but today is all the time I have to do it.  Ah, deadlines. 

I think I finally understand the tone argument.

When someone is saying "I'm not arguing your point but I don't like your tone", what they're saying is "I'm not listening to your point."  It's an anti-acknowledgement.

I suspect the primary reason for this is that they are emotionally hurt by the speaker's tone of voice, whether real or implied by text.  The speaker *sounds* hurt, and to the extent we identify with other people it's hurtful for *us* for them to be expressing their pain.  Which is precisely the *point* of such expression.  The message is "Stop hurting me."

Human communication is inherently error-prone.  The person being hurt wants the hurting to stop.  If people who are *not* hurting them *also* hear the message, this is unlikely to be relevant to the person who wants to stop being hurt.

I feel I'm drifting away from default English.  Is this making sense yet?

I want more spoons. This is a barbeque fork.
So I got my first cataract out on Tuesday, and yesterday the patch came off and I can see through that eye.  I'm not allowed to *wash* it yet, but vision is a major improvement.  I'm even not wearing my glasses as I write this, and I haven't been able to do that since the 1950's.

And my ribs continue to heal.  I still go into momentary panic if it feels like I might need to sneeze, but I'm confident that when I pick up my bike this afternoon I'll be able to ride it.

I've got 3 major-and-immediate projects on my plate, and I need to stop breaking the plate so I can get stuff done.

Most *immediate* is my Planner class syllabus, which class I'll be teaching on the 24th.  Need to have handouts ready to print and notes to go with 'em before then.

Most *important* is the website.  Any U/X folks willing to schmooze with me about it?  Nothing there, yet.

And most *vital* is writing Dragonfly.  I've got a couple of little bits of it, but that's all.

So getting to play on the PT boat today is taking me away from tasks I need to get done.  Fun is good, and building new connections is great.  Then, back to work.

Work. Or not.
Today's my last day at work for CAT.  *Paid* work, anyway.

I've got maybe 4 months rent in the bank.

Unemployment and rents are both rising rapidly.

I've got a big social project that won't pay money *to me* in the foreseeable future, but is very important to pursue if we're going to continue to have life.

I won't be able to pursue that project if I'm living on the street.

Last time around, I stopped counting the jobs I'd applied for after the total passed twelve thousand.  Yes, you read that right.  Got four interviews, no offers, no explanations.

So I'm a bit distracted.

If anyone knows of any online work I could be doing that pays something convertable to American dollars, please inform me.

Awareness of Vacuity
...[title] was the name-in-religion of a character in one of DeCamp's 'Harold Shea' stories, who commented on the origin of his name, saying that "Until one is aware one is empty, one cannot begin to be filled."

I *had* my focus a little while ago. Now it's gone; the process of writing self-referentially is bringing it back. (*Writing* was how I lost it in the first place. Writing *self-referentially* is different.)

I have two things to write, two more to study, and a couple of jobs that need doing. I need to finish up the pilot episode of 'Dragonfly' and convert it into an audio-script, write up my civilization project as a 'Right To The City' paper and publish it, learn CiviCRM and its PowerBase implementation, study NFP fund-raising, find or create a long-term income stream for myself, and raise funds for Jobs With Justice.

That-all is on top of the conventions I'm doing. So focus is a very needful thing.

Which is why I'm next going to sweep the floors, and don some sweats and mow the lawns<B>Edit:</B> postponed due to sudden downpour.<B> End Edit</B>. Which I'm sure will make sense to *somebody*.

I wouldn't get to see how it turned out.
My mom was a bit of a drama queen. While I was in college, she had the family in family therapy, in part out of a concern that one of us kids might commit suicide.

When she brought this up to Nils, our therapist, he laughed at her. This is unusual behavior for a therapist, so I'll clarify -- he was (*probably* still is) a big man, and he let loose with a great big belly-laugh that I could hear out in the waiting room. The thought that any of us would kill ourselves was bluntly ludicrous, and he just-as-bluntly told her so.

"Daniel would never do something that might hurt, Lori would never do something that might look like somebody else won, and Joel would be too eager to see how it all turned out."

I was the agent of the future then. And it hasn't changed a bit.


With thanks to akienm, for contributing the idea of posting important memories.

Ale. Borscht. Civilization. And what begins with 'D'?
Grandma's borscht was a thin, reddish soup, that most resembled the water the beets had boiled in. I don't really know how she did that; my cooking style tends to the wildly improvisational, and I'm often not entirely clear after-the-fact what or whom ended up in the pot. And the result this afternoon was a thick root-vegetable stew, a borscht containing four deep-crimson beets,two brilliant red potatos, half a head of green cabbage, a yellow onion only slightly smaller than the cabbage, a leek, and a bunch of seasonings and flavoring agents that included dill, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, honey,and I'm sure 3 or 4 more that weren't quick enough to escape. It's not a soup, it's a flexible solid.

Black Butte Porter can *almost* stand up to it. Tummy is pleased.

I still have a civilization to build. I've read up on Jacques' Venus Project and need to send him an invitation to come present on the subject; he is at least prospecting in the right field, although as best I can tell he's standing in it looking at the trees rather than trying to dig a foundation. Closer than a lot of people get.

Got a 'D'?

(no subject)
I'm trying to write a dramatic vehicle for Gabe. But I'm not getting any participation *from* Gabe. This feels sort of like trying to tailor a suit for him only I'm not allowed to measure him -- look from across the room (or, in this case, globe, as he's 8K miles away) and guess-to-fit.

I'm going to continue doing the best I can, but it's being frustrating.

(no subject)
My housemate M has a bifurcated personality. Half of him is three years old, the other half about 22. His biological age is 67, however.

The 22 year old is an obnoxious geek who is trying very hard to learn what it means to be a human being. I have a lot of empathy with that. He's not having much success, though, because it's the 3 year old who's actually running things. The 3 year old is a noxious twit, and if the college kid makes any promises that don't help the 3 year old battle his monsters, the 3 year old wipes them from memory.

I don't wish M any ill, I just wish him out of my life. This will be relatively simple to accomplish; all I have to do is get a good enough job to afford a more expensive room, or, ideally, buy my own place.

This is a lead-in to a longer thought, but it's time to get ready for work, so that'll have to wait.

Shopping for a new continuum
I'm home from a Westercon meeting, haven't caught up with my follow-ups from either the Socialist Alternative Rent Control Town Hall on Wednesday or the Pay It Forward trip to Salem with Working Families on Friday, my body wants me to go to bed, and I still need to do the film critique for the PT boat guys by Monday. I guess I'm going to be pretty busy when I wake up at 2am.

Right now I feel like I'm not sure what universe I'm in. Got any good ones?

Is it dead yet?
Harold had a few interesting things to say about current US foreign policy vis a vis Iran and Israel: .

What I find striking is that neither Harold nor any of the participants in US foreign policy have suggested the possibility of the US actually keeping its promises. Harold cites US promises to the Ukraine, and I have to agree that I haven't heard any mention on the news of the promises the US had made to them back when they were giving up the nukes they already had. And we talked pretty big about stopping North Korea from developing nukes also, to cap off with a complete lack of action when they actually did so.

Even *we* don't give any thought at all to whether we'd actually keep a promise. So why should anyone else?

When talking with individual humans, I pay a great deal of attention to *in*tention. Comes of many decades of playing with skilled martial artists; it's important to know that these guys who have actively trained in how to kill people are *not* planning on killing someone right now, say, for example, me.

The United States is no longer capable of intention. No matter what 'we' say, or out of whose mouth those words come, those words will have exactly zero effect on what we subsequently *do*.

(no subject)
Two meetings so far today, one more to go.

First meeting was positive, and I need to still write up and distribute minutes for it. Only two people involved, but I'm trying to demonstrate professionalism, as the young man I was meeting with hasn't seen that before and wanted to know what it looked like, and I told him I'd demonstrate.

Second meeting wasn't; fellow doesn't have the *concept* of follow-through, but is absolutely certain he's a master of it.

And now for #3.

I wish...

(no subject)
Okay, Sunday, time to start another week.

Last week went pretty well, as far as I had planned it. My problem; I'd only planned as far as Friday. So yesterday, Saturday, would have been great if I'd been ready to switch to improv mode, but I wasn't, despite having sufficient reason to suspect I'd need to do that.

In starting my new week, I need to work on keeping 3 different things in focus at the same time. I've never done this before, but believe I am capable of so doing. This week will be my first test of this idea.

The first thing is SolarCon. I need to recruit people to help get it done, and I need to keep focused on both the long-term making-it-happen and what I can do right now to help bring that about. The latter should focus on the website and immediate deliverables such as logos, bizcards, and so on.

The second focus is getting a new job for myself.

The third focus is on self-maintenance and organization. Tooth-flossing, regular exercise, and finding my spare set of rain-gear, to get started.

All By Myself...
Which feels pretty good, actually. Both housemates are at a Men's Conference up at the very northwesternmost tip of Washington State, and won't be back 'til Monday night.

Thursday was a bear; my handlebar bag got stolen off my bike with my raingear in it, which meant a long soggy ride home and getting very chilled.  And then dealing with first computer and then cellphone technical issues. I did get to my lab tests and the PT boat meeting, though.  Frday I got work done, so hooray for externally-imposed structure.  And made myself a nice dinner, even if I didn't bother with the rituals.

So now here's today.  Saturday.  Shabbos.  Time to reflect and refresh.  And the center of what I want to be doing is SolarCon.  Doing Westercon comes concurrenty with that and of more immediate priority; I can pull off a good Westercon with no Solarcon, but there can't be a Solarcon without Westercon.  This time, at least.

And the biggest thing I need to be doing for that is recruiting other people to do it.  I can *also* do work for it myself, in any number of capacities, but I can't do the whole thing by myself no matter how hard I try, so the recruiting is far and away the first priority.

And not easy for me.

(no subject)
I don't remember if I'd noted here how wonderfully Zack had recovered from his snark of Sunday. I'd spent the whole day bent seriously out of shape about how to bring his attention to both my problems with his behavior and my problems with his denial about his behavior, and Monday morning before I got to say anything further about it he brought up the subject himself, apologized for the behavior and acknowledged the denial. Great.

The rest of Monday was pretty great, too. I got to my medical lab appointment, got to the PT boat, took on 3 tasks at the PT boat (I get to build a stage-cannon! Whee!) got to work, did an excellent day's work, got a rousing good start on getting the WesterCon publicity list done concurrent with working, got to the Jobs With Justice meeting and took on 3 tasks with *them*, and even managed to continue on the WesterCon PR for a few minutes when I got home, before having to crawl into bed.

Tuesday was of the 'not terrible' variety; made some progress on Westercon PR before going off to one of the JWJ functions from yesterday.

Today I have another med appointment, and then off to work. And I really need to finish up the current set of Westercon PR tasks, but I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to fit that in. I'll manage something.

That trick *never* works...
So I didn't get the permanent gig at CAT, I found out today. I'm still working there through February, but no guarantees of anything at all after that.

That kinda sucks, but I can tell from whom they *did* hire what their issue is: They hired a tiny, timid black woman who might or might not be old enough to have graduated from college yet. I'd be rather surprised if either racism or sexism was actually an issue; more to the point is that I only do timid when I'm very, *very* tired. I surmise someone in the organization requires not to be challenged, and would find my presence a challenge even if I'm not trying to do anything challenging. *shrug* Okay, they get to make that call. Now what am *I* going to do about it?

I'm going to concentrate on WesterCon, starting very early tomorrow. Not tonight only because I'm nearly tired enough to be timid. I believe I can be up to speed on it by time for the Chinese Food Appreciation Day movie at noon Wednesday, and sustain it while I plan how to get a job equal to or better than the CAT Administrator job before my temp job there runs out. My financial goal is to create a stable enough employment record and sufficiently repair my credit record to the point that I can buy a house after the 'con is cleaned up in 2016.

For now, bed.

Why entities?
This is a broader question than "why integrity". I gather my agents and organize myself to become an individual because that works better, and my agents self-organized organically. But when I try to reach beyond myself as an individual, historically I have created greater agents to which to bond myself -- tribes, nations, peoples, and so on.

Is this necessary or useful? I could just as well remain attached to my own private vision, help individuals in working in the direction of that vision, and *not* create an entity to embody it.

I suspect it is *not* necessary, but I do think it is useful. More on this as I gather more neurons.

(no subject)
I'm home in Portland. Yesterday, after getting back and unpacking I got out to FreeGeek to pick up my new-to-me laptop from the Service Dept. and attend a board meeting.

This morning, I got up and checked the fridge for breakfast ingredients, and discovered that my spinach hadn't been fresh enough to please my housemate Michael, and that he had taken it upon himself to throw it out for me. I am not pleased with his behavior.

Of course, I've *never* been pleased with his behavior. I live here because it's cheap and I was broke, and those continue to be the case. And a loss of a buck's worth of spinach isn't critical; even with my various losses to his many and varied bad behaviors it's still cheaper living here and replacing the stuff than it would be to move.

It's my desire and intent to get my own house at the end of summer 2016. Thus living as cheaply as possible until then remains what I want to do. If I go solely by core motives, it's simplest and easiest to continue to ignore Michael's displays of contempt until after I've given him my 30-day Notice To Vacate.

I *want* to give him a chance to learn how to be a human being. But deciding he wants to be one is primarily *his* job, not mine. I feel a responsibility to help him if he's willing to accept help, but it's not my job to *make* him accept it, and I don't think it's worth the energy to try.

I/O balance, confluent motives, and why they're causing me issues with what I'm trying to get done
The problem of confluent motives is conversational: If I'm talking with you, and I have a motive-of-self-interest *and* a motive-of-altruism in wanting you to do something or wanting to do something for you, how do *you* tell whether I'm doing it because it's good for me, or because it's good for you? The real answer is "both", but how can *you* know that?

By I/O balance I'm talking about how much one reads/listens/watches vs. how much one talks, types, or acts. I have too much to say and it keeps getting backed up inside me, which causes problems. Not paying *enough* attention to the Outside World causes other, different problems; one then ends up creating solutions to the wrong problems.

I have a set of things I want to accomplish related to WesterCon 69. Lists are easy, so have one:

*Increase attendence from WC 67 levels (782) back up to WC 36 levels (3500+, plus over 1K uncounted-and-ignored gate-crashers).
*Recreate the 'big tent' feel of silver-age fandom by creating WC 69 as 'PolyCon', i.e., inviting all the subgenres in as concurrent conventions so as to *prove* we-as-"mainstream" fandom *do* take them seriously. ("Real" as opposed to "fake" caring by not only allowing them management roles in what is being done, but also providing adequate resources under their command to enable them to succeed in those roles.)
*Create SolarCon as a concurrent convention to Westercon.
*Assist SolarPunk as a genre into fuller being.
*Create and fund a scholarship program that will a.) boost WC attendance, b.) allow SolarPunk fans to attend, and c.) establish my own career as an independent fund-raiser.
*Create aforementioned career for myself.

All of these motives are concurrent; they all exist at once. They are also *mostly* synergistic, in that they are mutually reinforcing and do not require to conflict with each other. But there are people who have major problems with the idea because I personally would benefit from it. I need to be able to identify and address their issues.

On self-care
An excellent post on work-habits: .

Her post doesn't take the concept of *psychological* self-care into account, which is entirely reasonable, as that isn't what she's writing about. But it seems to me that many of the 'special snowflake' behaviors she mentions are as a result of inefficient self-care practices. We-as-humans may be insisting on weird conditions before we do anything productive because we don't have good procedures for *knowing* if we've taken care of ourselves, and these behaviors are external things we can *observe* to prove to ourselves we have taken care of ourselves.

Mom died. Now to keep *Dad* alive.
Just had a lovely weekend with Jess, tromping out on the spits on the Olympic peninsula. Made it to the train home, and got the call from Dad that Mom had died. Heading down to LA tomorrow.

Encounters with Mortality, and Moving On
So I'm just back from LA. My Mom called me on Sunday Oct. 26th, very alarmed about my Dad driving over a curb and leaving a cast-iron pan on a running stove, and wanted me down there Right Now. She also voiced some concern that she might have had a micro-stroke, but as she was never all that coherent in the first place I didn't pay a lot of attention to that. I got down there on Tuesday the 28th, and her behavior continued odd -- but still, it was just progressive exaggeration of things that have been part of her all along, so I didn't attribute much to it beyond "Yeah, 82 is getting old."

On Sunday the 2nd, my brother called from New Zealand to chew me out for not having taken her to the ER as soon as I'd arrived, as he was able to diagnose a moderate stroke by phone. (No sarcasm here; Daniel is good with voices and being able to tell things from them.) So I got on the phone with the Kaiser "advice nurse", who suggested I bring her to the ER right away. As at this point it had been more than a week since the stroke and she was asleep, I figured morning would be soon enough. So after a night's sleep and a few hour of tantrums and drama, we got to the ER about 11am, and they admitted her and kept her overnight. I went home to Portland.

I still want to get ahold of the neurologist who saw her after I left and get the medical details, but Dad not answering the phone or returning calls tells me all I need to know: The part of her mind that is gone is not coming back. She now has an attention span of about six words, and since she's accustomed to speaking in the eight-to-ten word grammatically elegant sentences of the elementary school English teacher she'd started as, this means any sentence longer than "Please turn off the stove" will take a right angle turn after a few words, and then do it again a few words later, and so on until she gets tired. I clocked a couple of four-hour 'sentences' while I was down there.

There's a lot more to say on this, but I'm running tech at OryCon this weekend, and need to get down to the hotel and start putting out metaphorical fires. More as I can get to it.

At the folk's place once again.
Two new inputs yesterday:

1. A trans friend posting that, because she is female, she has no option but to live in fear.
My response: Bullshit. To live in fear is always a choice, and always a fucking stupid one. It may at times and in certain circumstances be *reasonable*, but that doesn't make it any less stupid. It limits your options, reduces your available emotional energy, and gains you precisely nothing. You can choose to be *cautious* without having to live in fear; that's not the same thing.

2. A CNN special on television in the 1960's. As the precursor to the internet, TV was the first technology in history that let a huge bunch of us identify with the same things at the same time. And now we have near-instant feedback, and we're still not used to the earlier, simpler thing. I have to think more about this.

Thinking is good, but I have to be *doing* also. As the old cliche has it, we are human *beings*, not human *doings*, but part of who I *am* is that I *do*. So, go do.

Throwing shit. Or shooting people.
Okay, focus. There's a huge pile of metaphorical shit in the doorway, but there's *always* a huge pile of metaphorical shit in the doorway. We have to create the world we want to live in *anyway*, and then demonstrate it by living in it.

So how do we deal with the emergent properties of society? The item in the recent news is apparently a guy in Santa Barbara who shot up a sorority house on the grounds that he's not getting laid, therefore it *must* be All Their Fault. Okay, nutcase. So? Some of the people who are decrying his actions are also denigrating another group of people who have started saying things like "Not all men are like that." The people doing the denigrating are in immense virtuous denial that they have gotten down in the same pile of shit as everybody else, and are throwing it around with the same level of two-year-old abandon.

No, *not* all men are like that. So what? Societal contexts exist, and people living in societies are influenced by them. We as individuals remain responsible for our individual behaviors, but isolating one's self to the degree that one's behaviors are not affected by societal pressures is IMO one of the causes of low-functioning autism, and means that people who use this tactic can't really function as members of society.

One important option we have is to ignore things. Would it be a good idea to ignore this guy in Santa Barbara? What action could we have provided him to take that would have raised his point for public discussion *without* seriously disrupting or damaging the lives of the people he appointed as his scapegoats?

There are two things I think "we" need to do. The first is use this event as an argument for stricter gun control, as a way of limiting the abilities of those of us who lose our sanity to do lethal damage.

The second is to take responsibility for how we each both receive and, perhaps more importantly, *filter* our news. Why are the people saying "Not all men are like that" saying that? Is it perhaps because they've been hit by shit-slinging assholes before themselves, and are tired of deflecting yet more shit? Maybe the solution to the problem is to *stop throwing shit*.

Of course, it's just as irritating to be standing there with your hands in your pockets and have someone come up and excoriate you for engaging in shit-throwing. We can go around in circles forever, if we choose. Let's not. If your hands really *are* in your pockets, ignore this person. Might be worth checking your pockets first, though.

People can choose to be offended for any reason or none. They have a right to their feelings. You and I in turn have a right to determine our own foci, and their offense might or might not be one of them.

How shall we choose those foci? And how does this relate to some nut in Santa Barbara? The second question is the easy one for me; I live 900 miles from Santa Barbara. There is no action I could have taken to alter this course of events and no reason I should have to think about it. If *you* don't live in Santa Barbara, why should *you* think about it? Floor's open.

But that first question is a doozey. If we're talking about societal pressures above, what about the societal pressures on our shooter that insist he needs to get laid, and that only attractive young women can meet his needs? Human touch is a recognized human need, and his needs weren't being attended to. Where is the Department of Mercy Fucks? Oh, that's right, there isn't one, and never has been. So if you're male, and surrounded by the most hypersexualized culture in mammalian history, and get overwroughtely horny as a result, we deny your humanity. You have no rights, you may not express your needs, and no one proposes to do anything to help you. And don't you throw any of that shit at *us*, boy, just because we can get laid at whim. We are Good Guys, and Good Guys aren't supposed to get shit on 'em. The hat has to stay white.

If you are surrounded by people who need affection, what are your rationales for withholding that affection? Get out there and make nice on somebody, dammit.

And perhaps I shouldn't need to say this, but don't shoot anybody while you're at it.

This is relevant to *me* because I've historically not found it useful to be in denial of people's bad characteristics. And it has been repeatedly and strongly drawn to my attention that the shit-throwing metaphor above applies to me, too. We are with good reason not a shit-tolerant species; one part shit to a hundred parts ice cream still does not result in a tasty dessert. Under what circumstances is the pointing-out of faults appropriate? And when does it constitute "shit-throwing"?

I have other writing that needs me to do it more than this does. If there's interest, I'll participate in discussion as best I can.

You are viewing polydad