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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 )

Stuffed Peppers
This is more a philosophy than a recipe at this point, but I do hope to get it there.

Brown a bunch of mushrooms and onion together; brown some ground beef separately. Drain each. Boil some grain at the same time; I used quinoa, but rice would have been better. Also boil some raisins and cashews in bourbon.

Combine all the above along with some tomato paste, smoked paprika, cumin, salt, and pepper. Stuff it all in the peppers, and bake 'em for half an hour.

I've been eating the results for 3 meals in a row, now, and I'm not tired of it yet.

Crystal Ball. Well, OK, marble.
So here’s my optimistic scenario for American politics over the next two years:Collapse )

Well, *that* was fun.
Back from a week in LA helping my 86 year old Dad move in with his girlfriend. They have a nice two-bedroom condo in Redondo Beach, and while the rent was not mentioned this is probably saving them at least nine grand between them over what the "assisted living" facility was overcharging them. And Dad gets his ocean view back, which for reasons I will probably never understand is important to him. (He *hates* going in the water, or on it in anything smaller than a cruise ship.)

I got the public version of girlfriend Carole's history. Dead husband Tony was a "factor", which she described as a debt collector. The combination of that, her incessant praise of all things Italian and especially Sicilian, and her description of him as a large and immensely powerful man, who retired from the business immediately after a bad auto accident crippled him, suggests to me that he was a mob enforcer, which would make him the only mob guy I've heard of getting out on a medical. It would be difficult to be terrifying on crutches, I have to admit.

She has seven kids, Anthony and Tom living nearby in other parts of LA, Karen and Suzy living in Seattle, Michael and David living in Maryland, and Deborah being several years dead, nominally from diabetes but practically from simply not ever taking care of her body.

And there's a lot more detail I won't bother describing here. She fills the air with noise, more often happy than not, and I get the impression she's never actually had anyone *listen* before. Murray's *hearing* is terrible, but his *listening* has never been anything less than fantastic.

This morning I met with Brian and Patrick, the former running for President in 2020 and the latter for Governor in November. After Patrick loses in November (he's not even a potential "spoiler"; despite all his earnest running around he's unlikely to get more than a couple percent of the vote) I hope to persuade him to run in 2020 for a lesser office -- not sure which one, yet. State Senator and State Rep. both come to mind; he's more interested in State than Federal politics, regardless of how much we could use a new Congressman from that district.

And it is suddenly bedtime; more on that in the morning, I hope.

*sigh* Adding another one to the stack.
"Breaking the Scale". About what happens to human judgment when the scales upon which judgment occurs exceed human capacities. Case example: Mom's old "Save your tears until they're useful," when the standards *her* Mom provided were based on escaping the holocaust, meaning no discomfort is worth acknowledging unless more people than I'm ever going to meet are going to die as a result. Contrast: Hypochondria.

Regaining balance
At my peak, in '99, I worked best balancing 5 projects. I could dart around between them, keeping all the plates spinning up to speed, and put in some concentrated focus on one and get back to the other 4 before they slowed down too much to avoid falling.

This week I tried to go from 2 to 3, and I'm not sure, but I seem to have crashed. Not the plates, me.

Let's try that again, and see if I can make it work.

I start with Solarpunk, which is the idea that we can have our rosy, optimistic, positive technological future *now*, starting from the real world we currently live in. An ethos without an instance is a vacuous abstraction, so we need a project to demonstrate it with. So I pulled the Arcology out of my ass, and mapped it to all the current civic problems in Portland, any or all of which it could be used as a tool to resolve.

That's one. Two is the Para and Schmoo ficton, which I devised as a fiction tool to provide an example of what both living in the Arcology and participating in a positive-proxy political system. It's set in 2035, so as to give the audience a stake in participating in it. I have the option of moving that a bit to give myself some more room, but I'd drive a stake in the sand at 2050. I'll be 93 then, which I do reasonably hope to achieve.

Three is Brian Abel's campaign to be President of the US. You've never heard of him, and unless I can do a much better job of lighting a fire under his ass you never will. He wants to run as a Green candidate, which is effectively the gadfly turf of Jill Stein and Ralph Nader. Brian basically read the Green party platform, said "Sounds good to me," and tossed his hat in the ring. I can *bring* him to the point of creating a political philosophy and running with it, even getting through the primaries and running in the actual election -- but it's going to be a long haul, and we don't have much time.

What caused me to drop all my plates was in trying to fit Brian's presidency into Para's timeline. In 2020, the Democrats could run a baboon and it'd win, so the best Brian is likely to manage is getting to score a few electoral votes, and even that's a stretch. But Para and Schmoo is a work of fiction, so I can include eight years of President Abel in it if I can figure out how. So I asked Brian, and he was no help whatsoever.

Now to regain my balance.

No more alarm clock.
So as said last post ago my only source of ongoing contact is playing alarm clock for my thirty-year-old bio-son. And now I've had enough of *his* abuse and have told him I'm not doing that any more.

We'll still have our 6am (9 his time) scrum, until he gets offended at that too. But since he's absolutely convinced that any attempt at humor is an attempt to make fun of him, that'll be either today or tomorrow.

Which means I've got nothing. Let's see what I can do with it.

Wrong kind of organizing.
So today I went to an organizing workshop. What the title neglected to state was that it was a *labor*-organizing workshop, which is a far more limited seminar than I was looking for. Made several good contacts anyway, and have followed up with 2 of them.

The core of the idea is that "organizing" means "building contacts." So, talk with people. And most of the rest of the content was on how to hold conversations without being a self-serving jackass. This is a very good idea, but I was hoping for something a little bit less-obvious and more involved.