Combed and Curried Navel-Lint

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.

Shabbos. How?
Okay, I'm trying to take my Day of Rest. How do I do that?

I'm sorry that it's not a frivolous question. I am intending to take Shabbos, and to recharge and center myself, and I find that *I don't know how to do this.*

My mind immediately goes to the story I got started on yesterday, and wants to extend it. Good work, but *work*. Not rest.

Is rest necessary to centering? Is centering necessary to rest? Are these in fact central to the idea of taking Shabbos, or am I davening up the wrong tree?

I'm not deistic in any traditional sense, but I do respect the wisdom of my ancestors even if I don't necessarily believe in their self-awareness when generating that wisdom. I suspect there is wisdom behind the concept of shabbos that doesn't necessarily have any ties to the generations of rationalizations that followed the introduction of the concept, and I would like to ferret that out. Got any help or suggestions to offer?

(no subject)
So I've written my first Cascadia snippet (posted it here; if you're not on that filter and want to be, ping me), started the laundry, shopped for dinner and started prep work, and now I've misplaced my brain.

Good start on the story. I've just hit a trap, and I need to get past it: It's be real easy to stop the scene I just wrote, and jump-shift to another scene. It's also *wrong*. What this story wants to do is be in real-time. The conversation between Alma and Bryce needs to continue, and then be abruptly cut off, and then we follow Alma as she contemplates it and goes through the rest of her day.

They're both physics geeks, and so figuring out the process by which they're communicating would be very exciting for them. It would also be boring as fuck for *my* audience, which is why I have to come up with what else they're talking about that distracts them from spending *all* their time geeking about physics. In writing the story, I will *also* have to spend some time geeking about physics, my audience likes a bit of that too -- but as seasoning. It's not the *core* of the story.

There's a hint of romantic interest there, on both sides -- which can't go anywhere, because they're not in the same universe, nor are they going to be. (The interuniversal communication is by transmitted vibration, i.e., sound. No matter is getting across.)

Or can it?

(no subject)
Working on getting down to visit the folks. Getting panicky about the shape of the world in general, and their ability to cope with it in particular.

(no subject)
Just had a very heavy nap. Not sure whether to go back to bed or do something else.

The interuniversal connection I'm starting with is an immaterial tympanic membrane, and it's occurring at a physics lab Somewhere In Town -- have to figure out where, and whether it's an academic lab. It takes a while to figure out what it is, in part because the first two people to stumble upon it think they're having a cell-phone cnversation. (Possible conceit: One of 'em has the habit of whistling their ring-tone.) Catch: The person on the other end of the conversation is a.) nobody important, and b.) their cognate on this end is long-dead of unspectacular causes -- a grad student, if it's an academic lab, and the cognate died before starting the program and thus was never in Portland at all, but that also means there's *another* grad student on *this* end who isn't a grad student at the same institution on the *other* side. These people will both *become* significant, and I need to figure out why.

I think some food needs me to eat it. I'm not really hungry, but suspect that if I wait 'til I am, I'll get ravenous and eat everything in the vicinity, which would be distracting.

Aaand, fell over asleep again. But now up, and can continue. And rather than doing so *at you*, I think I'll see if I can get some actual *material* written.

I know I left my mind around here *somewhere*...
Okay, my immediate need is for a competent doctor. I don't know if my current doc is competent to practice medicine, because he doesn't *choose* to practice...Collapse )

It's not a program. Yet.
So I'm writing up the Bike House Trailer (BHT) Program for presentation at the monthly Bike Farm meeting tomorrow night.

Thing is, it doesn't quite fit in the box.

Management is an abstraction. It's something we-as-managers create; it's an abstraction. Reality, on the other hand, is usually contiguous; it blends from one level to the next without stopping for neat little manager-created step-functions.

So building a bike house trailer is a project. I understand projects. They divide down into tasks, which are specific, concrete bits of work that we either know how to do or know how to learn how to do. Cutting the pieces of plywood into shape is a good example of a task.

As a *program*, the BHT is an effort to address homelessness. It cost Benton County $20K to provide a bed for a homeless person in 2011; it costs about $500 to build a BHT, which provides not only a bed but also a measure of independence. So why aren't we-as-a-society doing this?

When I'd designed this program back in Corvallis, I'd talked to a lot of cops, park rangers, social workers, and so on, and the main thing I was running into was the military mindset 'Defender Of The Law', occasionally also expressed as 'Defender Of The People'. And I perceived this as being the problem, because being a Defender can only have meaning if there's an *attacker*. So there's a strong but generally unperceived social pressure to take whoever can't defend themselves within the system and turn them into morbid threats, so as to have Attackers against whom to Defend.

Anybody who's actually spent time with actual homeless *people* knows that very few if any of these folks are even *interested* in being a threat, regardless of whether they're actually *capable* of being one, which even fewer of them are. They're mostly cold, hungry, and looking for an at least semi-comfortable place to sleep. And, if they could get any, it'd be wonderful to have a little bit of respect.

And the Corvallis police force and the Benton County Sherriff's Department have ongoing Continuing Education requirements. So there's money available to teach things to the modern civil warrior's corps that used to be the civic constabulary. And so I developed a course outline and lesson plans to teach the idea of being a Provider of Respect instead of a Defender Of The Law.

Fine so far. But I need to remember that I"m presenting this to the Bike Farm, not the H3 (Helping House the Homeless) Project. And the concept of "Providing Respect" mushrooms even more rapidly.

As best I currently grok it, the basic idea of 'respect' is to treat Others as different iterations of Me/We/Us. We can *differ* while still remaining fundamentally human. And as we-as-a-species get better and better at using resources from our environments, we get better and better at leaving more and more barren deserts behind us, for the others-of-us to try and scavenge in. So if I am temporarily in a state where I have surplus resources, I have an obligation to share those resources with others-of-me who do not happen at the moment to have such a surplus.

Which is how "Providing Respect" comes to mean providing housing, food, clothing, medical care, communications, and cultural access. And now my housemate needs the internet connection, so I'll get back to this as connectivity allows.

Okay, we're friends. Now what?
I'm trying to figure out how to take advantage of the humanity in a budding friendship.

Maybe I'd better try to explain that.

I love dogs; they don't get all bent out of shape about physical play the way humans do. There are of course a lot of different flavors of dog, and I'm thinking here more of personality than of breed. Specifically, ferals. Their world has gotten very simple, and when one is offering them friendship, it often confuses them. "Okay, you're not food, and I don't have to fight you, and you're not for fucking. So what *are* you?" Only many dogs aren't all that bright, and can't figure out how to ask that last question.

Sandor is a friend, and he's human. Fighting and fucking are both inappropriate, and while I feed him whenever possible that's an insufficient basis for this kind of friendship. I want him as my comrade, in the old sense of the term -- which I suppose does take on a bit of the fighting aspect, but not *with* him. I'm certain he's aware of the friendliness of my attempt, but I suspect I'm baffling him.

And that's why I want to take advantage of his humanity. To help him learn how to respond to the kind of friendship I'm trying to offer. I'm fairly sure he *wants* to accept, but is being confused about what I'm trying to offer. And that's in part because I'm *not* trying to define his half of it for him; that would obviate the purpose of this kind of relationship. He gets to define *himself*, and while I have preferences and constraints and would consider it a friendly act of him to take those into account, those are *my* issues and not *his*. Is this coming out in comprehensible English? It'd work much better in Newfie, but they can't use keyboards. (Telling a water-rescue dog "but I *want* to go swimming" can get entertaining.)

Any thoughts?

Revolt in Kiev
No time, no time!

(no subject)
Got the morning routine done, including using the cpap last night. Read 40 pages of Serenity Rose, rather than Habits, to see if I could find something of what Zack finds good in it. Failed. Opened correspondence with a FetLife woman who wants to move to DC, and *thinks* she understands poly. Went to passport office, closed *again*. Crashed. Didn't make it to FNB.

Today: Try two other passport offices.

(no subject)
Got everything on my list for today done, except mailing the check for the phone, for which I need to get an envelope. Tomorrow is the Rocky Butte work party. Sunday I plan for how to be social and do networking. Right now, have a bit more to eat, take pills, fall over.

The entertainment of misreading
The headline in today's LA times read "LA set to repair Mono Lake." I, however, misread it as "LA *sect* to repair Mono Lake."

What would that sect be like, and how would it persuade the LA municipal government to allow it to take on such a large and environmentally sensitive job?

Parenting: Correcting the missing ACK
Sent the following to Zack today. Correcting the missing ACK...Collapse )

OK, Rocky, now watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!
And this time the trick had better work!Collapse )

Doing morning meeting by myself.
Zack had a bad day yesterday and got nothing done.

I had a B+ day yesterday; blew Greg off for a 1pm meeting by accident because my noon meeting was running so well we kept talking 'til 3pm and I'd goofed by not setting an alarm. John finished getting the roof off the cargo trailer so we can replace it, and I'd gotten 5 letters written and sent, including an interesting volley with CSE's landlady/director about my refusal to read her mind for her.

Today, Zack is going to try to finish Ch. 9 in his physics book, and read and copy out the problems to be done in Ch. 10. I've promised to call him semi-hourly to help keep him on track.

And today I'm going to make shabbos dinner and bring it to CSE, meet Greg at 1pm to cover for yesterday, and help Kristen with a CSE lab if she shows up. And write to Mike at and replace the shifter on my bike if there's time for those.

Found the Universe; misplaced myself.
Been trying to post for a couple of weeks now, and each time more Life comes along and interferes. So I'll start from today and work backwards:

Looking for a new room has been exciting and stressful; I'm running into rampant ageism and sexism, and can't do anything to change my age, my sex, or the opinions of the people I'm dealing with, and the irony of "I'm liberal and progressive but you're an older man so I don't want you in my house" gets boring fast. I've got a good backup place lined up, and will be looking at *just* one more hopefully noonish today before I go with my backup.

Met with Cindy this morning[Saturday]; she wants to do an intentional collective household fairly precisely to the model I want, and has a couple more friends who might also want in. If so, great, and writing a letter to her detailing that implementation is one of the two things on my "next" list. The other is writing to Brian, who's been posting quite responsibly on the Free Cascadia FB page, and so both deserves some congratulations and encouragement for so doing, and might be recruitable to some of my own plans.

Just took off from this and wrote the letter to Brian [friday]; didn't do as good a job as I might have wished, but it should do to get the conversation started. Main thing was introducing the metaphor of biological for social bodies, which I think is a necessary tool.

Started the following back around Wednesday or so; will leave it in for context and move on from there:

So yesterday I got the bins on my bike; still want to make 'em quick-release so I can pop it on a bus bike-rack, but I can ride and I can carry cargo, so I can make a decent case for not needing the bus anyway. And I've got Podio to investigate, and a use-case to use to test it. Nonetheless, I'm feeling rootless and disconnected at the moment.

And *poof!* Now it's Sunday, and I'm in Corvallis for a doc appointment tomorrow, and it's just me and Callie the Wonderdog here -- Laura's off at Gregor's, and the boys are with their father. The 'rootless' feeling is somewhat assuaged, but I'm still dealing with 'disconnected'.

(no subject)
Got the laundry on second cycle; two more to do and folding and putting away. Then over to the Guild-hall to rendezvous with Sam and his drill to put the bins on my bike. Bring lunch, too. Afternoon, get to know Pradio and/or answer more housing ads. Evening, poly workshop. Nice day.

Then comes finding the next contract. That's for tomorrow, though. First, have nice day.

Good but exhausting day. Now for my next trick...
Got some more ads answered, then left to go to the library just to be someplace different to answer some more. Discovered my bike had a flat and my repair kit is still in Corvallis, and walked there. Then walked to the Alberta Guild Hall ( ), met some nice people, contributed some hot sauce and jalapenos to the Free Grilled Sandwich Stand, and stayed for a class on "The Commons, the Public Domain, and the Sacred". Was good, and Alex Baravitch, whom I'd been trying to get in touch with for days, showed up only fifteen minutes late for the class. We went downtown together afterwards to meet another friend of his, Robert, and schmoozed most companionably until we all had to run for varying buses. Alex and I have a tentative date to tour the city together Tuesday.

Tomorrow, I want to get that flat fixed and get the cargo bins on the bike. And answer any fresh ads that have cropped up. I can also start loading my stuff from the basement back *into* the trailer, if there's time for that.

Noon update: No flat. Now have pump, so if all the air mysteriously decides to leave the tire again I can just pump it back up. Now also have patch kit and spare tube, and bus pass, so I'm covered no matter what happens.

Moving Day
Got the comfy chair, the dresser, my hanging clothes, musical instruments, and minimal tool kit into my room. Have *located* the bed. The previous tenant's elderly-but-functional mattress is still here, but if I can get my nicer one and my elevated frame in here, so much the better.

Also have laptop and internet, so All is mostly Well.

*Should* be an easy Monday
All I have to do is wash my shirt, buy a tie and a bus ticket, and show up at a 7pm meeting.

Yesterday, however, was absurd. *Did* get the trailer to Portland, and crashed with Sean and Nikki, and am now in the Starbucks down the block from their apartment, as they didn't get the internet bill paid again. I think I shall be glad I didn't end up living with them, cheaper though it would have been.

Most immediate thing I need to do is get writing, both fiction and planning. No, getting that tie is even more immediate, and finishing my coffee moreso still. Turn that over, and it's my priority list for the morning. *burns lip on coffee* Well, maybe not *that* fast.

Food creativity strikes. Energy to follow up on it doesn't.
Eggplant, black kale, and hazelnut ravioli. Don't have *any* of the ingredients, and not feeling that energetic. Some other time, perhaps.

Sometimes half done is *good*.
I had three items on my to-do list today, have so far gotten 1.5 of 'em done, and consider that a sufficiently good day that I'm thinking of going to bed early.

The big thing was getting all the woodwork done for the new bike cargo bin holders; the hose-clamps I'd used previously had just ripped through the plastic of the first set of bins, destroying them, so I came up with an eventual plan to use a wooden spine to hole a pair of loops made of bent electrical conduit to hold a new set of identical bins, thus supporting them evenly all the way around the rim instead of at two stress-points. The spine and mounting hardware is now complete and installed on the bike; all that remains to do is bend two pieces of conduit, stick 'em in the mounting holes, and pin 'em in place. (The pins will be removable, so that the pipes are *also* removable. The *bins* just lift out.)

The one I got complete was getting a haircut. Trivial, but trivialities also need to be taken care of. And I have a lot of knitting-the-future-together to do, but I think that sleep is going to happen first.

Brain online, running at 34%
Okay, my plans got messed up. I'd been going to move my trailer today, and the folks with the truck decided not to. I now have some other folks with another truck lined up for Saturday, and also got 5 letters written and sent. And I feel like most of my head is asleep. *Body* is wide awake and doing fine; maybe I should take it out and do something with it.

No diddling the seafood.
I want a whole bunch of different things, all at once. No, I don't want to *have* all of them all at once, I do my *wanting* all at once. In the same way you might want a lobster dinner, a nice fuck, and a good night's sleep -- you can be in a state of wanting about all three at once, but if your desire is granted you want them to occur in sequence, not all at the same time. ("*pant, pant* I love you, honey" "**SNORE**" -- doesn't fly.)

It is occurring to me that in my relationships with other people, I could stand to be a lot clearer and more explicit about the interrelationships among my desires.

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