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Gabe went home.
I'm still working on *how* to do creative-and-political writing, campaign research, and 15 events next week. Time management itself would be easy; this is harder. Each class of work requires a completely different mindset, and I still need to devise and implement hot kernel-swapping in my brain. And the pile of papers grew another one, 'Fury'. Why it's not merely good but *necessary*, and how to handle it and what to do about it.

Gabe's a great guy, he could probably figure out how to have fun while literally on fire. I'm not that talented, but can mostly follow his lead. He and Grandpa got along well, and there were no out and out catastrophes with Carole, so I'll call that a win.

I will have to figure out on an ongoing basis how to deal with Dad, who's still *mostly* there but not *all* there, if you get the distinction. While the cause of this is easy to spot -- his poor judgment in getting involved with Carole -- I need to err on the side of respecting his agency rather than leaping to his defense. This is out of practicality, not ethical issues -- he has always been and no doubt continues to be very protective of that agency, and will turtle up immediately if he has any suspicion it is being challenged.

I owe J a call, which will be mildly logistically tricky because she's at her best in the evenings, and during and shortly after dinner are the only remaining times when Dad is reliably social. A bit more than shortly after, and the TV eats him.

And so, to quote a departed-but-still-dear author, it goes.

White Paper draft for Positive Proxy
Hi, all -- I've finished my first draft of a white paper on Positive Proxy, and would appreciate your input and commentary,Collapse )

Reintroducing Gabe and his grandpa
So I'm as ready for tomorrow's trip as I can get. Still need to put the CPAP machine, the computer, and the pillow in my backpack, and take the meds laid out on the dresser, and that's it and I'm out the door.

Gabe hasn't seen Dad since Mom's funeral five years ago. And Dad wasn't company then, he was busy. And there's much less of him now. Dad will enjoy the fact of Gabe's visit, but he spent sixty years (okay, minus four months) dedicating his life to keeping Arlene happy, and Carole is a poor substitute. *Dad* doesn't care, so I'm certainly not going to complain to him about his choice in girlfriends -- after all, look what *I* married. If he thinks he's happy and can maintain that for the rest of his life, good for him.

There is of course the minor problem that he may outlive Carole, too. He's in as good shape for 87 as anyone I've seen, and could easily last another ten years. Carole's 84, and in pretty good shape for her age also, but if she dies at 90 nobody would blink. But neither of them seems likely to kick off while Gabe and I are visiting this week. It just leaves me in an odd position re: Gabe when I try to explain to him why Murray is important. The available evidence doesn't support my assertion.

I'm cautious about overloading either of 'em. I like intense discussion, and the only person who could stay with me on a roll was Murray when he was 30. Gabe is too much of a good soul; if I wear him out he's likely to wait 'til he's actually falling over before he begs me to shut up. And Murray, of course, is 87, and would not surprise me if he got tired saying 'hello'. On his good days, he's still all there and strong and vital -- it's just that the good days keep getting further and further apart. We'll be there for a week, Dad might be 'on' all week, or none of it, and it's not something under his control.

That's enough overthinking for the night. It's now 10pm, and I need to be out the door at 6:50am. Bedtime.

Carnivorous Furniture
My comfy chair has eaten my cell phone.

I hope to be able to get it back out without taking an axe to the chair, but I haven't actually *found* it yet. When a friend texted me an hour ago, the text tone came from somewhere under my left thigh. I replied to the text from my laptop, felt under the cushions and in the cracks for the phone without success, and then turned the chair upside down and gave it a good shake. Cracker crumbs, out-of-date business cards, and 3 paperbacks, but no phone.

At 5:10am tomorrow, my alarm will go off, and I'll be by the chair waiting for it.

I'd tell you to tune in tomorrow for more on this exciting adventure, but it's not all that exciting.

I'm too picky
My intention was to go up to Rainier, put a new roof on the cargo trailer, and replace the jack on it.

The roof is not done, the jack is technically in place but not yet functional, and I still feel it was a good and productive day.

48 of the 55 square feet of intended roof are installed, and in two or three weeks I'll be able to go up there, put on the last 7 square feet of steel, put the flashing on over the peak, and finish installing the trailer jack. In the meantime, no heavy rains are predicted between now and then, and all the infrastructure work to permit the placement of the roofing steel is complete, and in addition I put flashing over the seams at the front of the trailer. So the next day's work is going to consist of cutting two pieces of steel, screwing them in place, cutting an 8' length of flashing and screwing *that* in place, and finishing up the jack attachment.

The thing that stopped the job from getting finished is that I didn't overrule Brian about picking up the supplies on our way in, instead of going to the house first, staring at the trailer, writing a list of all the things I already knew we needed, and going back out again. The extra trip cost us about two hours, and in two hours I could have installed the last 7 sf. of steel and put the flashing on. Not sure about the jack.

I have to stay awake another 45 minutes, because I have another set of medications to take that conflict with the one I took at 7:45pm and there needs to be a minimum two-hour gap between 'em.

It was a good day and I'm pleased with the work I got done, even if it wasn't as much as I was planning.

Yesterday was good, let's do it again!
Had a great day, doing some difficult even if eventually unproductive phone work, going to an East-side democratic Club event, leafletting at Fred Meyer (for discriminatory pay policies), and phone banking for Lee for Congress. No further work on the white papers, tho'.

Today I go up to Rainier and reroof the cargo trailer. Will bring laptop just in case, but I expect that to keep me busy all day. Have already sent email to Jaimie about creating a law program for lefty lawyers.

I need to clear some things *off* my plate before there's room for more. Getting those white papers done, getting the site for GearCon, and doing the tabling at Sunrise Hub and Wayfinding Academy are on the top of my list. The first two can be concurrent, the third has to be subsequent to the first two. Investigating setting up the law program and the electric bike program can also be concurrent, and that's five, and anything else goes on the "up next" list. And per the proverb, I'm in over my head already and should thus stop digging.

Busy, busy, busy...
A lot of life-changing events possibly happening. It's the 'possibly' part that causes anxiety -- *maybe* nothing will happen at all.

Tomorrow I call both the Iron Fireman Collective and their landlord, and continue seeing about getting GearCon a site for September. If I get it, it's *also* a big bonus for the Youth Advocacy program, as it gives me an easy reward to provide for them.

And I meet with my Bridge to Health representative, who has been offering me help in getting into law school and getting an electric bike. With the power-assist bike, I can actually get out of this little dell and go places. (There's a hundred-foot hill at the entrance, which I can't get up on a regular bike.)

And I go look at the house above Dean's Scene, and see if I want to live there, and if so whether we can finalize a deal for me doing so. This would be a really big deal; I'd end up as the site boss for an attempt at resuscitating Community Supported Everything, and incidentally running the closest thing I've ever run across to Callahan's Place. Really, people. Actual Free Beer. And probably a Food not Bombs chapter, as well.

Minor trivia afterwards, attending the 350pdx.org Transportation Task Force meeting. Not *everything* I'm doing tomorrow needs to be potentially life-changing.

I wanna cheesecake, and they're very bad for me. Fortunately, I don't have one, and there's that hill...

Tomorrow, tomorrow...
Today I fixed the bed and got rid of the paper drift in the bedroom. I still need to redo my filing system (more accurately, *make* a filing system out of the current filing *non*-system), and sort the two small remaining piles into it. But that's less timely than the other stuff.

So first thing tomorrow I take the two paper piles and put 'em on the bed where they'll be out of the way, and then empty the top of the dresser onto the bed so I can use the dresser as work-scaffolding. Then I use that scaffolding to install the four hooks I have over the closet door and hang the robot arms and legs from them. (Hmm. Maybe put the hooks in the ceiling rather than the wall.) Then put the dresser back and reorganize all the stuff on top of it.

Then take a break, I'll need one. Maybe I'll walk to the hardware store to get the hooks to hang the torso and the "underwear". Won't install those tomorrow, tho'. Instead, get back on writing the Iron Fireman story. I haven't put the ending on section six, and seven probably needs a full rewrite. I know what I want to go into #8, but I haven't started it yet.

#9 requires input from Steve, who isn't answering his voicemail, texts, or email. I may have to go camp on his porch and wait for him to try to leave the apartment. Not tomorrow. If tomorrow ends with half the robot bits hanging from the ceiling and I've spent some time staring at sections six and seven, and maybe writing in 'em, it was a great day.

Oh, and call Dad.

Working on the Iron Fireman story
Okay, so I'm writing this story, and three of these kids have dug up the wreckage of a robot.Collapse )

A headline in my inbox proclaims "Online Pornography Age Checks To Be Mandatory in UK..."

I'm trying to come up with a reason why the United Kingdom should be interested in how old my pornography is.

Pulling the bits together
So I'm back in Portland,and the robot isn't finished yet. And my phone is still in Ranier, which sucks. Brian's friend Rey *might* be bringing it down to me this afternoon. Or, maybe not. We'll find out.

The robot is only one of five pieces of this project that need to fit together. The other creative part is writing the stories of how the robot came to be and how it came to be at GearCon this summer. Part #3 is GearCon itself, which is the nominally easiest part, in that I've helped with three or four (or six?) GearCons before, and have a pretty good idea of what I need to be doing about it. Part #4 is building a relationship with the Iron Fireman Collective, which is nothing like anything either they or I have ever tried. And Part #5 is connecting this with the Cascadians, which is again completely novel.

So, Part #1 requires reattaching the robot-head to its base, finishing the arms, building the ankles and feet, making a harness for the torso piece, and putting everything together. This can only be done in Ranier, and I'm not there right now.

Part #2 requires writing and publishing at least one and preferably 3 or 4 stories, and is what I should be doing right now.

Part #3 does not require any current action.

Part #4 I will hopefully be meeting with Garrett Hour on Sunday afternoon to recruit him as pitchman for the meeting with the IFC, as I can't pitch and wear the suit at the same time.

And the best thing I can do for Part #5 right now is finish Part #2.

So up, up, and away!
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More progress, still not done.
Another not-as-good-as-I-wanted-it-to-be day. I was hoping to have finished the robot; much like fusion power always seems to be twenty years in the future from any given date, finishing the robot always seems to be happening tomorrow. skittenwench helped me flesh out a character in the story, which was good.

Figured out how to cut the face, and did so; Brian mounted the lenses to a mounting-board that'll go inside the head, got a friend to scavenge gaskets for the lenses, and built some segmentata lorica shoulders. He still needs to extend the shoulders down to the wrists, I need to mount the lenses and speaker in the head and then attach the head to the neck, and we need to fabricate the ankles, cover the shoebox-feet with tinfoil, make a harness to support the torso on the wearer's shoulders and install it, and figure out the undergarments and wrists. The hands are just two pairs of channellock-type pliers; the wrists are probably just going to be shop-rags painted silver and wrapped around the pliers.

And that's it, and we're done. I may get some progress pictures from Brian's wife Crystal; if so, I'll see if I can figure out how to post 'em here.

The robot progresseth
At Brian's, working on robot. Not as much progress as I would have liked, but not bad. Top of head is attached to main cylinder of head, and bottom of head is cut and partially drilled. Riveting it into its final conical shape is not something I want to try while tired, so it's waiting for morning. Then the head-bottom gets mounted on the neck, and I figure out how to install the eyes and mouth and do so.

Got here. Next! Revised two-day plan.
So yesterday I got my dental crown emplaced, visited Surplus Gizmos with Brian, and got to his house, where I got nothing done on the robot other than brainstorming with him about it. He now has an idea for making segmenta-lorica arms for it, sorta like the arms of Colossus in the second Deadpool movie. I think it's a neat *idea*, but probably a lot more work than he thinks it is -- since we want to go from shoulder to wrist that's almost three dozen segments per arm, each of which has to fit to its mates both above and below, with room to flex as appropriate, and then *attached* to those mates in a way that allows for that flex.

Soon I will go back to bed. When I get up, I'll get done with my morning routine, and start work bending the leg-plates. When *he* gets up, I will talk over with him me getting to work on the head while he fiddles with the arms. I need some data from him on how to cut the top and bottom of the head, and the sequence is going to be drum/top/attach top to drum/bottom/attach bottom to neck/install face on drum. The drum will be *fastened* to the bottom, but not permanently attached to it.

With the head complete and the leg-plates attached (above includes fabricating them, but not attaching them, which would come next. Relatively easy, as soon as I get the shapes right), the arms and legs are all that's left. Oops, forgot reinforcing the inside corners of the base of the torso. For that, cut two reinforcements out of the remains of the Home Depot bucket, drill torso, drill reinforcements using torso as a jig, and rivet in place. Since they're entirely internal, they don't need to get painted. This is as far as I hope to get done tomorrow, counting Brian making significant process on the arms.

Brian's approach to doing the arms should work; we'll have to use the existing shoulder mounts because the torso has been adapted to them, and that will probably mean using at least a few inches of the aluminum-foil-pipe we'd tried using first.

Then come the legs and the feet. Feet are easy; have shoe-boxes, have tinfoil, cut holes in shoeboxes to get feet into them and cover all of box with tinfoil. Legs are fabricated, but we'll need ankles to adapt between them and the feet. Legs are 12" dia. air hose, and ankles are about 5" diameter -- 4"x6" if we can do an oval. Designing these will require more CAD time, which is one of Brian's skills. Attaching legs to torso I intend to do with suspenders, and I brought an old pair I intend to use. Will want a scrap of fabric between the pipe material and the claws on the suspenders. Then paint the pants I'll be wearing underneath so that any inadvertent peeps see only more silver, fit it all together and try it on, and we should be done. Maybe in time to make Friday dinner, maybe not. And then down to Portland to meet with Steve.

Okay, that's a plan. Back to bed.

Two skip days, and still OK.
I will be going back to the gym in a day or two...Collapse )

Starting Day #4
This one is going to be difficult, but I'm not worried about it. I'll go, I'll use four or five different machines, I'll come home, I'll get to work.

My "penny dreadful" idea seems to be coming together. Build the robot suit, use it to recruit the folks at the Iron Fireman Collective, visit Clackamas Community College and get a bid for this year's GearCon site, use that to get a *better* bid from the IF Collective folks, write the first 3 IF stories, present stories at 'Con in July.

It's easy to want to give the credit for this coming together to Marco, but he's not it. I am. I need a live audience, and he filled that role for me on Friday, but I could do just as well with an ongoing flow of short-term volunteers.

Successful Day #3, and it's getting harder, as expected.
I postponed going to the gym this morning on purpose, since yesterday was long and tough, my night's sleep was too short, and I had a 9am breakfast meeting to get to. Meeting successful, sent email to Steve of GEARCon as a result, and still owe a summary to Marco of Pueblo, which is who I'd been meeting with. After a couple of hours of frenetic stewing, *then* I went to the gym. I started with 5 min. on the treadmill at 10% slope and 2.7mph, and then did a lot of other things I didn't keep close track of.

I expect it to be harder tomorrow and Monday, also. And I need to do the homework on other gyms in the area, so I have real data on whether the deal they're offering at this one is in fact a deal. If everything works out, I expect things to start getting back to "normal" about Tuesday or Wednesday. My initial baseline is ten minutes cardio, five minutes abdominal, ten minutes of some other kind of cardio, and five minutes of Something Else. My objective is to double all those durations within the first month.

Dad hasn't answered his phone or called back for a couple of weeks. I'm not worried; a bit *annoyed*, but if there was something to worry about I'd have heard from Carole or her son Tom.

I've got to work on that letter to Marco; back at you tomorrow with more data on the Rest of Life, I hope.

Update Finished and sent letter to Marco, finished reading Ecotopia. 11pm, should get to bed.

Second day at the gym
...and it's going far better than I expected. Today did two four-minute stints on the elliptical machine, twenty reps on abs, eight minutes on treadmill, another 20 on abs, and another 4 minutes on treadmill. Still very slow (3mph), but 9% slope.

*I'm* coming up tomorrow, whether the Sun bothers or not.
Tomorrow's gonna be busy. This is good.

I finally got signed up for a gym, and tomorrow is my first day at it. I plan on doing two 20+ minute stints on an elliptical machine, and 15 minutes of abdominal work in between. Then shower and go home --

And call Robert at the Siletz Agency for help with the Siletz characters in the story I'm writing. And text and call Marco, whom I met on the train Tuesday and has similar help to offer. And Dad, 'coz he's Dad.

And then dentist at noon. And then finish reading Ecotopia, and make some more progress on Boik. (Boik's editor really should have cut the first three dozen pages of the book, but from context I think those pages were the editor's idea in the first place. Boik needs a new editor.)

Sleep, first.

Okay, I'll balance on a two-legged stool for a while.
I've been doing abortive re-starts for a few years now. I want this next one to not be abortive; I want it to take off and fly.Collapse )

How do they do that?
I don't know the name of the film; I just walked through the room while housemate Liam was snoring in front of a movie -- which had a man and a woman on-screen in a 5' long bathtub. From having walked through the room previously, I know the man to be a bit over six feet tall, and the woman about five and a half feet. How can they both fit in a five foot long tub?

At a guess, it's a bottomless prop tub, and they're both sitting tailor-fashion on a platform underneath, with a plastic sheet to hold up the bath-bubbles between them. I'm about her size, and I can't fit comfortably in a tub that size all by myself, let alone adding in another person bigger than I am.

Undefining politics
It's 1:22am, I'm up, might as well try to do something useful.

Yesterday I went to the annual Pacific Green Party convention with Brian. Was a waste of time; these terribly well-intentioned people are as clueless as they are well-intentioned, and, like most humans, single-mindedly dedicated to preserving their delusions. I don't have the time or personal resources to play therapist to them.

After that, we went to the DSA Electoral special-interest group, which was better. The DSA has changed a lot since I checked 'em out for the second time about 4 years ago; they've stopped obsessing on defining 'socialism' and started focusing on working on the *practice* of it, which is something we-as-a-nation are deeply and seriously in need of.

There's a piece of serious work that wants me to do it, which is devising, defining, and publicizing a replacement for the concept 'socialism'. Too much of the concept has gotten tied up in the "sports-team" model of politics, where the entire focus of each major political party is on "The *other* party are Bad Guys, and we are not them, so we must be the Good Guys!", and the Socialists are defined as league expansionists, who agree with the underlying schema but want their own bit of turf in the battle. This is what turned Grandpa Fred off them in the 1920's; they didn't want to *eliminate* authoritarianism, they (Mensheviks) just wanted their own turn on the top of the pile. Still not good for those stuck further down in the pile.

By focusing on *practice*, the current, roughly 2-year-old iteration of the DSA is doing a much better job of focusing on having government work for the public good, which I appreciate. Minor irritation in that the 'big tent' policy still leaves room in that tent for the hard-core Marxists, who are the biggest proponents of keeping the Team Sports model as the core of political revolution/reform. They want their turn as autocrat, too!

I'm not doing that work today, even tho' it keeps chewing on my ankle. It's a subset of a larger work, which includes Brian's Presidential campaign, my Para and Schmoo ficton, and my theory work on Positive Proxy. What I'm trying to do is bring that down to the level of "What do I do *today*?" so I can resume focus and get something useful done.

I've run myself out of attention span for the moment; I'll see if I can chase down a few more Z's and get back to this.

Stuffed Squash
Filling tasted pretty good; now to see how the final product turns out.

About a pint of Barley
Maybe half a pound each of three kinds of mushrooms, chopped coarsely, mixed with a medium-coarse chopped onion and a heaping teaspoonful of chopped garlic and browned
Two different soup stocks
A can of chopped tomatoes
Grated ginger
Salt & pepper
Half a cup of rose
About a cup of chopped prunes
A cup of eggnog that didn't get out of the way fast enough

If I had 'em handy, after tasting I'd have loved to have added a cup or two of finely-chopped celery, a bell pepper or two, a couple of habaneros, and some fresh herbs. *shrug* Not bad anyway.

Just got done stuffing it all into two Delicata, one Butternut, and a medium-sized sugar pumpkin, and sprinkling some seasoned breadcrumbs over the top. Now for an hour at 350F and find out how it turns out.

*Focus*, dammit.
I'm writing for my usual reasons; I have things I need to be doing and I can't focus on doing them. Maybe writing why might help.

During high school, I only had one part-time job. Not because I didn't want more money, but I was the one taking care of a lot of the "dying generation" -- great-aunts and uncles in their late 70s who were in the process of dying out.

Most of 'em had numbers tattooed on their arms. Tattoos are common now; this probably doesn't mean anything to you. What it means is that they had been concentration-camp inmates. Jews don't have ten commandments, we have 613, and one of 'em is "no body mods," so of course the Nazis hit on that as their way of identifying prisoners and humiliating them at the same time. And in the mid-1970s, laser tattoo removal either hadn't yet been devised or hadn't been well-publicized; I just know *I'd* never heard of it.

One of the things I learned from the older generation was that there are three responses to Nazis: Shoot. Run. Or shoot and *then* run. This was reinforced by reading a biography of Gandhi, in which he was quoted as saying that militant nonviolence worked with the British, because they had active consciences, but wouldn't've work with the Germans.

I've been dismissed from the Democratic Socialists Information Security committee, because the chair doesn't think I'm radical enough. But I'm still on the texting-list, and they'll be sending 3 "security people" (de-escalation training only) to an internal informational meeting that the Proud Boys, a neonazi group, has called for an action against.

Nazis in Portland. Who'da thunk? What do I do? Stay away, or "just happen" to be walking down the right street at the right time carrying a stick? The police have already been informed, and have commented that this doesn't seem to them like sufficient reason to become alarmed. That's the fascist pattern; when *we're* getting hit, there's no reason for alarm. If we hit *back*, suddenly it's a riot and the tear gas and batons come out. Same thing we did to the blacks in Mississippi in '64, for a value of "we" I'd prefer not to think too deeply about.

So for a week from Tuesday I can either take a walk with a stick or stay home and do nothing. Is it time for me to go take an extended visit to my brother in New Zealand? I don't think so, but it's starting to get close.

The other thing going on is I'm trying to do a paper on the Commerce Department. In one incarnation or another it's been around since 1785, so there's a truly massive amount of bureaucratic inertia going on there. Having the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration under that umbrella made sense when sail was the major mode of transport, but you may have noticed we haven't been doing that for a while. But the NOAA is still there.

That's silly, but largely benign. OK, we've needed a Department of Science, Research and Technology (where NOAA belongs) since I was a kid, but continued bureaucratic inaction is just what bureaucracies *do*. But the Department of Commerce would be better named the Department of Business Welfare, as most of what they do is give away huge chunks of money to businessmen, with very little of that silly "prove you need it" shit that poor people have to go through.

So, yeah. We can't give inner-city school kids a lunch program, but we can give millions to billionaires because they claim they can make more millions with the seed-money.

I'm a "warrior" only when fascists are trying to shame people by calling them "social justice warriors", a label I accept with pride. In the real world, I'm a 62-year-old cardiac patient who had some martial arts training 40 years ago. I may have to go try to save the asses of some of my young friends who think they can talk Nazis out of beating on them, and I'm researching the government I once thought existed to help me and it's looking grimmer and grimmer the deeper I get into the details. Makes it kind of hard to get my homework done.

Maybe next I can use y'all as a sympathetic audience to do homework in front of. Would be a lot more constructive than what I've *been* doing.

...not Causation
I’ve heard a recently oft-quoted statistic that no nation can stand when 3.5% or more of its population is in active resistance to its government. I call bullshit.Collapse )