Sorting out my writing
Using journaling as a way of kick-starting the morning:

I started trying to write the 'Intersectionality' paper, and too many ideas all started trying to come out at once. The number of papers has increased to six; Environment, Housing, Transit, Fiscal, Jobs, and this one. Fiscal has to be last, because we can't make realistic budget plans without having a reasonable understanding of what it is we're trying to pay for.

The audience for the papers are candidates running for office: Two potential congresscritters, two hopeful City Councilors, a possible State Senator, and a candidate for County Commissioner. I'm formally on staff at one campaign and volunteering at the rest; I hope to become staff on the others as a result of submitting these papers. Of course, writing them first would be helpful in that.

The reason why I'm trying to do the Intersectionality paper first is because it's real easy to come up with lists of projects that would be worthwhile to pursue, but the underlying question to all of them is "Why?" Sure, creating a new MAX rail line along Powell and Barbur Boulevards would serve a lot of people who need it. Sad to say, the idea that government exists to serve people has fallen out of common assumptions, and one of the prime purposes of the intersectionality paper is to bring that idea back and put it front and center.

One of the points of discussion is that old libertarian saw about the government is best that governs least -- it's wrong. Running a bit on the lean side is an excellent idea; starvation is not. This also ties into the idea that trying to run government by aphorism is also a bad idea -- a government is a living entity, and has to act like one. It has certain functions that take resources to perform, and robbing it of those resources doesn't make it more efficient, it makes it sick.

Of, by, and for the people is another fundamental premise -- by modern standards, the American founding fathers were a lot more socialist than their conservative descendants would care to admit. So I've been doing a lot of fundamental thinking on what it takes "the people" to actually govern. This is why I've shifted away from working on Positive Proxy -- as a representational system it's better than anything I've seen discussed, but if the populace isn't ready and willing to do the work of governing themselves, having a system that would help them do so is like gifting a CDC router to a toddler -- they can't make any effective use of it, and can easily hurt themselves upon it.

We've been *pretending* to self-governance for five decades I can testify to, and ten more that I can find historical precedent and documentation for. I regard this as a societal equivialent of "fake it 'til you make it"; we've been practicing dreaming about where we want to go, and building a vision of what it would be like to be there. Great, we've got the vision, time to actually implement it. What does it take for "the people" to actually govern?

Of the six candidates I'm working for, four are "local" and two "federal". Both levels of governance are independent living entities. And I'll save that thought for later; time to go get busy.

Good idea, sleep.
And would be nice if I did some; it is, after all, 3:50am. I've tried lying down a couple of times; my brain responds with some version or other of "But Someone Is Wrong On The Internet", and I'm up and about again. When I'm fully awake, it's very easy to see this is all ridiculous and I should just go sleep; it's when I start to shut down that the filters turn off before consciousness does.

At least I've gotten some useful stuff done. I've got five position papers I'm working on for six political campaigns, and I've written myself a very good outline. (Races: Koller, OR C3; Gasque, WA C-3; Fagan, OR SS-24, Hardesty, Portland CC-2, DeGraw, Portland CC-3; Garcia, Multnomah CC 1.) The papers are on Environment, Housing, Transit, Budget, and Intersectionality. Jobs may split off as a sixth.

Most immediate annoyance is a long-standing troll on the BikeLoud email list. I'd posted there for suggestions for the Transit paper, and he responded by declaring that any candidate asking for help must be "bikewashing" his campaign. I suppose that if you declare everyone in the world your enemy, you don't have to worry about identifying your friends.

I responded *almost* civilly, which won't impress the troll at all but hopefully will point out to the list readers who's acting like a reasonable adult and who isn't. Having done so, I plan on ignoring any further messages from him, but I'm a bit concerned that the one response was enough attention that I'm going to have trouble getting rid of him.

And I can't do anything else about that, so ignoring it and going to bed is the obvious course of action. This'll be try #3; let's see if it works.

A good start
I spent pretty much all of last week playing host to a cold, which had a wonderful time but has finally decided to depart. I got well-organized for this coming week, with full to-do lists for Monday through Wednesday and research projects for Thursday and Friday. And I got all of Monday's items done, even with spending a couple of hours in the morning barfing. I suspect a sensitivity to a food additive I put in my breakfast French toast (orange extract).

Tomorrow is similarly full, including getting a dental crown installed in the afternoon. I've never had that done before; don't know what to expect in terms of pain, anesthesia, etc. But whatever it is, I'll get over it and my lower left molar will stop splitting.

I hope your own week is just as good.

Revitalizing the Citizenry
I don't have a live audience to orate at while I organize my mind, so y'all will have to do. Or don't click the link and don't, it's up to you. Much exposition occurrethCollapse )

The sky is falling, and all is well with the world.
So my computer continues to deteriorate; Firefox is deciding to not work this morning, so I’m composing offline.

I’m intentionally not reading an article on Mueller’s investigation expanding; *of course* the people he’s investigating are completely corrupt, as are the several hundred adjacent to them, and they have the power and the intention of collapsing either his investigation or the country as a whole the moment it looks like enough of them are being personally threatened. And I can’t do anything about that, so why angst about it?

I’m really excited about Revitalize the Citizenry, and I have a lot more work to do on it before it’s ready for implementation. What’s exciting is the idea that I might get on the Charter Review Commission, and have an opportunity to make this a part of the way Portland works. I don’t know how to do RC without Positive Proxy, because a fundamental aspect of it is *proving* to the citizens that they *do* have input into their democratic government – which we, currently, do not, and so any mechanism that “proves” we do is lying to us, and we have to be able to know with a reasonable degree of certainty when we are and are not being lied to.

That’s the grim part, though. If there is an election in 2020, as opposed to one of the current crop of politicrooks simply proclaiming themselves Emperor, it will be a kangaroo farce and will not materially slow the looting of the country. And, most importantly, *that doesn’t matter*. Because the America of my father’s dreams was so fantastically rich a place that even its looted corpse is richer than any empire that came before it. So while I will have to plan for how to cope with whatever form the diminishment takes – empire or farce democracy or something novel I haven’t thought of yet – what is important to me and to the rest of my fellow subjects is continuing to work on devising that functional democratic metaculture in which we wish to live. And that devising includes the implementation plan by which it will be made to work. And I can do that with the Charter Review Commission.

If I get one up and running in Portland Municipal government, that will be a sufficient alpha test to do it at the Oregon State level. But while I spin idle fantasies about that, and it’ll be great if I ever get that far, getting the Portland system working is a big enough goal. “Make one that works”, and deal with after that, after that.

That’s a big enough chunk. More soon.

Here a neuron, there a neuron.
Two days early, but I needed Shabbos, so I took it. And it was at least 2/3 intentional, not a flake-out day but intentional rest. (Well, OK, I did write a couple of followup letters and sent 'em, and went to Best Buy and proved the incompetence of the Geek Squad. "You're a *shop*. 'We don't have the right tool' is invalid, you should already have it, and if you don't the proper answer is 'There will be a short pause while I go get a new tool.'")

More neurons are coming back on line, which is good. The Ranked Choice Voting people met again Tuesday night, to meet with the Equitable Democracy folks visiting from Seattle. All very good people, if perhaps more scatter-brained than I would prefer -- but I do know I'm picky in that regard. There was much talk of petitioning and phone-banking, both of which I consider possibly necessary in the current system but very good indicators that the current system is in need of replacement. Harassing strangers is a horrible way of establishing policy.

But one of the topics of conversation was the Charter Review Committee, which I had forgotten about. Portland's charter demands that it be revisited at least every seven years. Which is good, because the current City Council system is close to non-functional. So-called "strong mayor" systems are even worse, in that they exacerbate the problems of excessive concentration of control and insufficient communication. So I want to be on that committee for the next revision cycle, if I can manage that. And if possible, I want to have the City adopt positive-proxy representation, at least in part. And Revitalize the Citizenry should be a City program. (Well, eventually a State or Federal one. But City's a good start.)

In devising a good government, there has historically been far too much emphasis on geographical representation, and its resultant problems such as gerrymandering. Positive Proxy is an at-large system, so that doesn't apply to it -- but some issues *are* geographical, and there should be geographical representation. What and how many other forms of representation would *also* be useful? I'm asking because I don't know; that's not a rhetorical question. My first pass at a City design starts with a bicameral legislature, one house running under Positive Proxy and the other being filled with all the heads of the city agencies, who can be proposed by the Legislature, the Mayor, or popular election, and vetoed by either of the two bodies that didn't propose. I need to do a lot more work on this.

I'd met with Paul and Colby on Wednesday about the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine project, and Paul had concerns because his research is indicating wind-power isn't really economically viable on less than an industrial scale. I'm not sure he's right, but he might be right *enough* to cut into our potential markets sufficiently to make *us* economically nonviable.

Here are two links at opposite ends of our scale, in case you want to look into 'em: and . The former costs thirty bucks, the latter about 22 grand.

Bedtime. G'night, all.

A hopefully quick early-morning musing
I've just had two good days in a row, which hasn't happened for months, if not years. And the weekend had been pretty good, also.

Sticking with today before I get around to reminiscing about yesterdays, I'm hungry but haven't been able to come up with something I really want to eat. I'm going to go with a green-leafy-and-fried-egg sandwich, with red chard being today's available leafy, but I'd prefer to have a firm and concrete desire of "I'd like to eat an 'X'." Well, I *also* do want to eat the mango I've got in the kitchen, even though that by itself would be insufficient for a breakfast. So I guess that's covered.

For today, I'm going to go straight from breakfast into the shower. While ideally I'd exercise first and shower afterwards, that doesn't feel right for today, and I'm not up to enough exercise to get me sweated up. So shower, dress, and *then* exercise. My current idea of exercise is to go up and down the hill five times. Even with it being a fairly steep hill (about 60' elevation gain over about 100 yards), I'd like that to not be exercise. So when I get to the point I can do that five times and not be winded, my next step will be to go run around the park at the end of the fifth ascent. Nice reasonable goal to aim for; the park is only a couple of hundred yards down the road, and it's only about one acre.

Backtracking for a moment, the *first* thing I did this morning was get on my laptop and have a morning meeting via IM with Zack. That has to be part of the daily routine, and when I'm done with it, I'm sitting here poking at the keyboard. So I want the *next* thing I do to be writing all the followups from all the contacts I hope I will have made in the 'yesterday' of instance. And I also want to be a more faithful correspondent, so I want to start keeping track of how long it's been since I've been in touch with everybody and write to everybody individually at least once a month. I can get followups on the agenda as of today; the 'routine correspondence' task will take a while to organize. I don't yet have a decent CRM to keep track of things with.

So the New Morning Routine looks like: Get out of bed, pee, get on laptop and IM Zack. Check today's to-do list, and then do yesterday's follow-ups starting while waiting for Zack to respond, and then continue with them after he and I are done, until they're done. Concurrent with that, do blood glucose test and take morning meds. Then go have breakfast, get some sweats on, and go up and down the hill five times. Hang up sweats to air or toss 'em in the laundry and go shower. And then get busy with whatever was on the to-do list.

I haven't been strictly faithful to that today; I haven't started on follow-ups yet. There were ten people at the Ranked Choice Voting meeting last night, including myself, and *all* of them were good, interesting people. So that's 9 follow-ups to do. George and Colin from Seattle, Andrew from Oregon City, Mende and Will who used to live in Santa Monica, Seth Woolley who's chair of the state Green Party, and I'll have to go check my notes for the other 3 names. Given my history of being horrible with names, retaining seven of nine is damn good. And I *did* take notes, which I will consult as needed. (Of the other two, one was a guy whom I *think* might be Jack, and I remember that his last name begins with L, is Nordic, and runs on for several syllables. He looks like a nose protruding from a lot of bushy blond beard. And the other is the woman I spent a bit of time with on Sunday, whose wife was asleep in the next booth.)

On to followups and breakfast!

Three problem to regaining focus -- oops, 4.
Aargh. I had just finished a nice entry, and the cord fell out of my battery-disfunctional laptop and it shut down and lost the post. So semi-functional laptop is Roadblock zero, hopefully trivial health issues are #1, fury over my exposure yesterday to the corruption in current politics is #2, and concern over getting distracted being so meta about said problems that I don't get any actual work done is #3.

I may fill in the previously-included details later, but for right now I'm going to try getting something useful done, instead.
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Improv proposal
How does one write a proposal for an improvisational activity?

"What are you going to do?"

"If I know, I'm not doing my job."

There *is* a lot of structure to improv, and some of it runs fairly deep. But which if any elements of that structure are activated is dependent on immediate and complex input, and the decision structure requires to remain undefined.

A few things *are* defined. For example, that there will be a response. And that it will be timely, and obviously indicate that it is in fact in response to the specific stimulus it is responding to. But we can play games with that too; if the stimulus is you commenting about your back, I could respond with a comment about someone else checking out your butt, which is *not* your back, but is close to it and conceptually related.

I'm working on a grant proposal for the "Revitalize the Citizenry" program I've devised. There are some bits of well-developed structure for it, but they aren't the core of the problem, they're just a good set of tracking tools for keeping track of it. The real core of the idea is making it fun for people to pay attention to, recognize, and reward proper civic behavior by the people around them,and to encourage them to engage in such behavior themselves and render themselves easier for other people to similarly reward.

Okay, I've just given you the elevator pitch; that's the whole thing in about a hundred words. But the grant application wants a 2500 word essay (about five pages if you prefer that metric), and I haven't figured out how to give them an intermediate level of detail -- where my mind is at right now is either at the orbital-snapshot elevator pitch level, or the nuts-and-bolts "this is how it fundamentally works" level.

I don't *have* all of those details, and I know it, and that's OK. I have *some* of them, and what the grant is *for* is developing the rest to create an implementable model, and then implement it.

*Sigh.* Back to working on "how."

Working up to what to say to Lee
So Iḿ still on Liams laptop with the busted apostrophe key; sorry about that. Zack has very kindly offered to provide me with a new laptop, so this should only last a few more days.

Main thing Iḿ thinking about is how to successfully implement my combined PPR and RCC programs and what success at that would look like. Iĺl be brainstorming with Paul about that this evening. This may or may not result in figuring out how to combine the Steampunk Documentary into it as well, since thatś the project Iḿ working on with Paul. I dont know if that would be helpful, or an example of the Heinleinian dictum ¨You dont attach a bathtub to your design for an electric motor simply because you have one lying around." Still thinkinig that out. Obviously, if the dictum applies I do something else instead.

The current core of the idea is to use my contacts through HCAO to present the RCC to the Oregon Democratic Party as a way to make their Ńeighborhood Leader program work. (I may also be implementing it at HCAO if my discussions with Tom and Lee about becoming Volunteer Coordinator there work out. They are both also influential Democrats, which is how that ties together.) ´

Oops, I see I need an alphabet soup clarification:
HCAO: Health Care for All Oregon, a volunteer organization Ive been active with for 4+ years. Objective is to pass statewide single-payer health care in 2020.
RCC: Revitalize the Citizenry Campaign. An idea to both teach people how to determine their duties as citizens and provide them with the tools necessary to act on them.
PPR: Positive Proxy (Representation or Research; the project has forked) An implementation of direct democracy that involves a proxy system of direct delegation to handle those of oneś citizenly duties one does not have the resources to do personally.

Tom is current President of HCAO; Lee is past President and current head of the Mobilization Committee. Iḿ casual friends with both of them; my current assessment is that Tom has unacknowledged ego in the game that makes him more effective as a salesman at the same time it makes him less effective as a manager. I dont *think* Lee has ego issues with his HCAO function, but Iḿ not sure. As Volunteer Coordinator Id be working somewhere between *with* him and as his subordinate.

Another potential bathtub Iḿ dealing with is the Progressive Party. (I do have a bit of emotional attachment there, but Im aware of and compensating for it.) One of my premises that I have not had the wherewithal to examine is that the Democratic party is nearly as corrupt as the Republican party, and thus not salvageable. Lee and Tom both believe otherwise and are working on that belief. I dont *know* that theyŕe wrong; how it looks to me is that the grassroots and low levels of the party are at least somewhat honest and honorable and trying to do things properly, but that the party has inadequate feedback mechanisms to keep the goals of the upper management of the party in congruence with the interests of the rank-and-file. *If* the party is corrupt beyond reclamation, having another party structure to hand to substitute for it is an excellent idea, and Iḿ trying to create that structure for the Progressives. If not, then I come up with some other plan for helping the Dems implement a communications-and-accountability-structure that can keep the party management in line.

(The corruption I am discussing is at the State, not National level. The same problem *exists* at the National level, and is almost certainly much worse there. I want to tackle the smallest problem that encompasses my concern, and Ive proven that I cant do that at the County level. So, State.)

The difficult issue for me is one of presentation. Presentations of the form ¨You are the problem, so we have to fix you to make things work¨ have as best I can tell a perfect record of failing. The truer it is, the faster it fails.

But Iḿ not presenting to *them*, yet. Iḿ working on getting in touch with Lee and talking with him about the HCAO Volunteer Coordinator position. (Complicated by having previously communicated only by email, which is on the dead machine.) But I can deal easily with the complication; what Iḿ working on is what I need to be saying.

Thatś a big enough chunk for the moment. Next: What to say to Lee.

Okay, got *some* things working
Iḿ on Liamś laptop at the moment, which has a non-working apostrophe key, so yáll will have to deal with that. Mine is having an issue in which the screen keeps going dead, and coming back either a split-second later, some random number of seconds later, or not at all, and when it does come back, maybe itś right where it left off, maybe weŕe at a screen saver, or maybe we just rebooted. Ive got a message in to my laptop-hardware expert friend, but I suspect itś go get a new laptop time.

I do have my phone working again; problem was just a loose charging jack. Still is, but I now know I need to elevate the bottom of the phone when I leave it to charge and itĺl work.

And Ive got four large beets and two potatos boiled, chunked, and in the crock pot, and now I need to brown some cabbage and mushrooms and toss ém in and chop in a leek or two. I think Iḿ out of carroway seeds, but thereś a lot to browse in the spice rack and I can probably figure out something thatĺl work. Will need to buy sour cream before serving. *Somewhere* in the kitchen is my wand-type food processor, but due to household anarchy no one knows where it is, and Ive looked everywhere I can think of.

I spoke at length with Tom Sincic, president of HCAO (Health Care for All Oregon) today about being Volunteer Coordinator for the organization. Tom does half of his job very well, is vaguely aware of the existence of the other half and is trying to do it, and seems to have the standard terror of not being omniscient about what heś doing. And I *do* know about the other half of his job, and need to figure out how to get him this information in some reasonably tactful manner. Heś trying to run it as if it were a profit-making business, and by a top-down management style. This is not likely to work well in a bottom-up, volunteer-based organization.

The salesman part of the job he is much better at than I am, which is part of why I dont really want his job. (He doesnt get paid either; the only one who does is Linda, the office manager, who is one of the organizations greatest handicaps at the moment.) A top-down organization is focused on defining duties, creating boxes and putting people into them so the people on top know which box to knock on when they need a specific piece of information or a specific task performed. And this is what most people, including Tom, think of when they hear the word ¨management¨.

Bottom-up organizations dont work that way. People do what they want to do, and the cat-herder tries to create a project out of what theyre interested in doing. *Persuading* people to do what you want done is a part of that, but just giving orders about it is likely to invoke first a very rude response and second the loss of a volunteer. Setting up structures to reward people for doing what you want to get done is a major element of this task.

There is also and separately a weeding function, of keeping people from doing something where youŕe trying to do something else. When the weeding function starts taking over the encouragement function, youve got problems, which is where HCAO is now -- they spend more time and effort *stopping their volunteers from doing things* than they do rewarding them for what theyve already done.

And I need to figure out how to get together a few hundred bucks for a new laptop. Perhaps *after* borscht.

I have a lot of good things to be doing, and don't trust my bowels to get far enough from a toilet to do 'em. Well, at least it's *trivial* shit going wrong.Edit And now they've shut off the water, to add to the comedy. It's not personal; the whole block is shut off because Idiot Neighbor drilled into the water main. But even so...

Scribbling my way out of a hole
Three immediate inputs:

1. A tweet-quote about the writer being out of shape, ill-nourished, and in several other ways taking no care of himself whatsoever, and then "And why am I sad?"

2. A longer article on how websites and such are deliberately designed to be addictive.

3. I felt like crap this morning. Flu-like crap, but if it were flu I would not be feeling better now, several hours later. (I had gone back to bed and slept it off.)

I'm not nearly as bad as the writer of #1, but I certainly could be taking better care of myself. And like the author of #2 warned, I do spend more time than could be useful looking at silly pictures. I don't *know* that these behaviors are the cause of #3, but I don't know they're *not*, either, and at this point my own logic is starting to remind me of the old cartoon about "But what if global warming is a hoax, and we create a better planet for *nothing*?"

Start small, simple, and easily reinforced. I've been pretty good about getting up on time, doing my med test, and taking my meds. Now, to go immediately from that to the shower, and then dress and get out the door. Can walk to the park if no better idea presents itself. Heavier exercise can wait 'til late afternoon.

And that also provides a reset mechanism if I lose my concentration: Go take a shower, change clothes, and go for a walk. It's Oregon, it'll probably be raining. Is OK; I have an umbrella.
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My monthly luxury
Went to the movies this morning. Saw "Professor Marsten and the Wonder Women"; pretty decent for a bio-pic. Other than not getting cancer on schedule, reminded me a great deal of my own life. Mine had a much larger cast of characters, and Elizabeth was a lot nicer than my analog for her.

Finally broke my logjam on the Clubs and Orgs project. Intention is to contact all the appropriate campus clubs and organizations in the 3rd District (about 140 on 8 campuses), and ask to speak to them. I started writing the speech, instead, and now I know what I want to say to them, which makes it much easier for me to ask them to let me do so.

Luddites and parties
Separately, not together. Last week I went to LA and visited Dad and his new girlfriend Carol and old family friends Christine and Suzy. None of them had wifi, so I couldn't get any work done while I was there.

I never did really understand parties. The one I attended tonight seems to me typical; forty or so people cramming themselves into a 10' square room, and then taking turns shouting at each other. I believe there was also music playing, and while I am given to understand that at many parties the music is louder than the people, here the reverse was the case.

The people shouting at me were interesting people, and I passed out as many bizcards as I could -- a couple of dozen, I think -- and I shouted back well enough, I think. Two hours was all the shouting I could take, and then I went home.

Okay, it’s quarter to 5am, and I’ve wasted an hour playing idiot games, and a lot of good is going on, and I need to be better focused to respond to it appropriately.

My primary and ongoing problem has been social aversion. Right now I have 3 potential new recruits – Michael, David, and Autumn – and the upside from each of them is substantial. Glorying in that upside and figuring out how to cause it to occur is good and useful, and I should get to that. Longer-term, I need to figure out and execute a systemic approach for dealing with the social aversion. I met Michael through JwJ, Autumn through CSB, and David through a lot of mutual groups. Going to groups is obviously good, and going to more and a larger assortment of groups would be better. But just *going* is insufficient.

At both JwJ and CSB, I’ve been there several years and put in substantial effort, and the payoff of meeting these people has no obvious and direct correlation with what I’ve been doing. And if I fish for unobvious indirect correlations, I can correlate anything with anything else. Building new imagination filters is not on this morning’s agenda.

And now it’s 10:16am, and I’ve gotten the morning medical routine done and the airing-out tent in the driveway folded and put away, and not much else. I think this is at least in part due to the emotional consequences of the antibiotics – one of the side effects of Keflex is that it kills off beneficial intestinal flora, and it’s hard to concentrate on other things when one has to pay such attention to “when is the next time I need to sprint to the bathroom?” I call this an “emotional” consequence because that’s what it feels like – it’s not simply the physical discomfort of constant belly-rumbles, but a feeling of apprehension. At least it’s working; the infection on my leg isn’t *gone*, but it is much reduced. And I take my last Keflex tomorrow morning.

I’ve invited Autumn to the Gearcon meeting tonight, and suggested to David that we meet Wednesday morning for coffee. I’ve been a bit too enthusiastic towards Michael, and have sent him a short email apologizing for that and asking him to contact me when he’s ready. And I guess I’m spending the rest of the morning listening to my belly.

SOAK, then SHIFT. Got another anagram?
So I just got back from SHIFT, and still don't know what it's an acronym for. Then again, I'd been to SOAK earlier, and haven't learned that one yet either. I don't think the names actually matter to anyone but the organizers; to the attendees, it's a specific type of party, and what matters is there be lots of very loud music, drugs, presumably sex (no one in my perception expressed any interest in sixty-year-old men, but there did seem to be a fair amount of smooching going on).

I don't know yet where the energy sustaining this community is coming from. I've witnessed the boil, so there has to be a fire under the pot. Or possibly a solar reflector or resistance element; I haven't gotten that level of detail yet.

There's a lot of need here for language I haven't witnessed yet. I don't like having to invent jargon, but it may be necessary. Festivals are a culture?/subculture?/counterculture?/something-else?, and there are similar such in politics and philanthropic works. Together this makes a great test case for metaculture. CSB (Community Supported Brewing), a group I've been involved with since its inception four years ago, now has several other people in it who are getting serious about influencing their own culture. And this past weekend I made firm contact with one of them and two people from either the festival or the main act at it (there seems to be a fuzzy boundary there).

And now I'm back, a bit sunburned, and need to pick up all the *other* pieces I'd left behind and make sure all the plates are still spinning. The Wolf-PAC/Progressive axis needs tending, and HCAO may become part of that axis also. And I need to find out what Colby's doing and how it fits in; I don't know what it is yet, but I *do* know Colby, and so I'm sure there's *some* kind of fit hiding in there somewheres.

And there's still XCRH, Civic Consul, and GEARCon. I'm not cranking hard enough on any of these, and I need to both do that and find more things to be cranking. And not die in the process; I've just spent the morning waiting on the health bureaucracy, and at least got a detailed outline of what I have to do over the next two weeks to get my healthcare *activated*. (I am now *technically* insured, except the insurance doesn't *work* unless I can get it "assigned". If I try to get health-care now, I spend the rest of my life in court fighting monstrous corporate legal departments. With any luck, I can stay healthy for two weeks and get it all fixed. For 11 months, then I have to do it again.)

In 2.5 hours I get a visit from "TomCat", who will be returning my cooler and taking me to another CSB meeting. He represents an even lower (and thus more fundamental) level of the pyramid; he builds things we need.

So I might as well fold laundry. I can talk with more people later, see if I can find the right words to get this story started.

Was outside for 20 minutes today, now have brilliant scarlet forearms and calves. Was wearing a hat, fortunately, so face is OK. Back of neck probably also colorful, but I can't see that.

(Wouldn't stalked eyeballs be *fun*?)

Got paperwork done to get insurance reinstated; should have coverage again by next week sometime. Hopefully I don't die first, but my record at that is pretty good so far. Searched storage area for shade canopies for next week's festival; didn't find 'em, but did find six folding chairs we can bring along. Arranged ride *to* ride on Wednesday. Need to fall over now while body repairs sunburn damage.

Trying to extend sanity.
One of the big things I dealt with in early childhood was the problem that Mom was nuts. There are a lot of insufficiently defined terms there; part of the issue is that I’ve been very consciously aware of my self and my surroundings since roughly age 15 months, and so by the time I was four or five I had comparatively quite a lot of life-history behind me.

‘Nuts’ is also not well-defined; it might be more precise to say that Mom lived in her own little fantasy world, which occasionally came into contact with the default consensus reality surrounding her. Things actually got much more difficult for me years later (meaning, in this case, about age 8 or 9), when she got “cured”, meaning she learned how to pretend to outside consensus with much greater skill. The underlying worldview hadn’t changed at all; she’d just learned to lie about it better.

So I grew up with the idea that the loving people who cared for me might not be well-attached to reality. This wasn’t a major concern, because Dad always was, and didn’t waver in that at all until he hit seventy years old and the Orthodox Jewish life-plan he’d been imprinted with ran out. So part of what I grew up with was that some people are nuts, and that’s okay, and we live with it. It is necessary to learn how to interact with their world-views, and in many major and important cases to love them, but loving them and wishing them all sorts of well *cannot* mean surrendering our own integrity to them – they don’t know what to do with integrity; it can imperil the web of justifications they’ve built to provide themselves with stability.

So I have detailed and vivid memories of pondering at age 3 and 4 “How do I tell if *I’m* crazy?” It happened to Mom, obviously, so if it started happening to *me*, how would I know? Figuring out evidence procedures for that was the core issue of my preschool and nursery school days. As you might surmise, school-teachers were not helpful in this regard. One of their little charges couldn’t possibly be thinking such thoughts, so if it sounded like he said something like that, it must have been something else, like calling a classmate crazy. Juvenile name-calling they understood very well; evidence procedures, not so much. (Yes, “evidence procedures” was a term I didn’t come upon ‘til much later in life; my words at the time were “how do they (or I) tell how they (or I) know?” But the writer of this is me-now, not me-then.)

So doubting my own sanity has been a constant background function for me for a very long time. Doubt is my closest friend, because with doubt I think to ask questions, and if I don’t ask questions I can’t learn. And so it was that much more terrifying when I reached the first proximal end of my abilities to learn, and discovered there are things I *can’t* learn – not right now with the tools and means I have available to me, at any rate. And all the living I will have to do while devising and constructing new tools and learning new ways to use both the new ones and what I already have (and bearing in mind that even at 3 I thought of things like “intelligence” as tools I can use, not fundamental attributes of my being) had to be done with this yawning void of ignorance *right in front of me*.

So I burned out on ‘fear’ by around age five or so. Sources of existential terror are everywhere, and anything that’s everywhere eventually becomes boring. Okay, you can kill me. So? Losing my mind would be *much* worse, and I can do *that* all by myself. I don’t need your help.

So in a sense, the reason insanity doesn’t matter is that there *is* no such thing as sanity. We can extend our grasps of the universe further and further, and there is no end. What matters is whether our grasp of what’s right nearby is accurate and precise enough for us to deal with the issues and challenges we have to deal with *now*.

The most major threat is power. If I impose my will on my universe *without* understanding it, I can create an island of imposed order that is incongruent with the reality underlying it. And the most immediate and major problem of power is that it interferes with perception. If I am *making* the world do something, it becomes extraordinarily difficult for me to figure out what it would be doing if I *wasn’t*. And the reverse of that is that if I *don’t* make it do something, I am denying my *own* agency. So ‘Action’ is always a finely precise balancing act, and cannot be otherwise.

And action is one of the three legs that my self balances upon – Kindness, awareness, action. “Awareness” used to be “Study”, in my Dad’s early schooling. But while learning is the key to it, we can also learn things that *haven’t* already been learned by somebody else. (The meaning of the word “study” has changed over time; lying down on the sidewalk and staring at a dandelion could still be called “studying it”, but that’s no longer how we think of the word.)

The next thing I was going to stir into the pot was sexuality, but this is a big enough chunk to start with. I’ll add that next time.

My head *not* being up my ass doesn't mean I know where it *is*. Clue?
Ordinarily I'm fairly introspective. Right now I'm finding that difficult for some reason, so I think I'll try explaining me to *you* rather than me, and see if that helps.

Yesterday I spent at the HCAO (Health Care for All Oregon) annual statewide meeting, at which I got reminded that I'd volunteered to do some database work for them, which I had forgotten. Fortunately the account data for their database was still on my laptop, so I could log in and take a look at what they had. While they do have a lot of DB problems, the underlying problem is that they have never really known what they're doing, and all the people involved in the DB work are amateurs, and so have no idea of what they could or should be doing, and so the *data* is a near-complete mess. Coming up with better ways to manipulate already-known-to-be-bad data will *not* make it better.

Other than that, it was mostly a waste of a day, in that they spent it telling me and each other with great enthusiasm how good an idea single-payer health care is, which everyone in the room already agreed upon. So it was mostly a cheerleading session, which I can tolerate well but doesn't do anything for me. Sorta like babysitting a toddler who's obsessed with playing with blocks, and has a nice set of blocks to play with -- I have to stay in the room and keep watch, but the kid's happily amused and not bothering anybody.

I'm involved with HCAO in the first place because a few years ago I'd hit on the idea of being personally involved with at least one organization pursuing each identified basic need of civilization. Health care is one such need; I have a list on this machine somewhere of about 17 I've identified so far. Air, water, food, shelter, security, and medical care start it off.

For tactical (and thus easily dismissable) reasons, the three ventures I've recently been most involved with are a Housing and a Representation project, XCRH and Civic Consul respectively, and Metaculture, which is an indirect project, a tool that both of the above have great use for.

I've been reading David Deutsch's "The Beginnings of Infinity" recently, and find it has a lot of applicability to both Metaculture and Civic Consul, and to a lesser extent XCRH. It's also a very "busy" book; there's a lot going on it that's neat and interesting and *not* related to any immediate practical use I have for it. I think I need to do a chapter-by-chapter summary of it before I continue -- I'm on chapter six of 18 -- so I can keep track of which chapters I have use for, and hold on to Deutsch's train of thought 'til I get to the end of the book and can figure out what he's trying to accomplish. I don't yet know where he's going with this, and so can't figure out if *his* point is something I have use for.

Deutsch reads like a geek who has invented a marvelously elaborate tool of which he is very proud, and wants everyone to admire it. In the process of so doing, he has invented a number of contributory tools I am finding very useful in *my* work, which is good for me even if his Grand Opus turns out to be a glorified whirligig. Chapter Six deals with a number of models of infinity, which may be useful to *his* point but don't do anything for *me*.

An online flirtation I'd been involved with also seems to be involved here, but I can't yet tell how or why. I use the past tense because it now seems my nominal inamorata was simply a con artist trying to get me to send money. I was willing to be stung for a few bucks to keep the action going, but then devised a way to enforce third-party verification before sending any more, and the conversation abruptly ceased. That was yesterday morning; it's still not impossible that my correspondent is simply stupid rather than dishonest, and might continue the conversation. I *doubt* it, but as said, not impossible.

And also as said, I don't know *why* that flirtation is relevant here. To speculate, it may take a lot of emotional “energy” on my part to stay emotionally involved with a concept as abstract as metaculture, and I may have been getting some of that from the thoughts of my flirtation. Hmm, that may have some truth in it, but if so, it’s incomplete, because Deutsch's book is also a part of this, and that explanation doesn’t account for Deutsch.

Deutsch's subtitle is “Explanations that transform the world”, and I think his explanations *are* transformative, but I haven’t yet figured out what he’s trying to transform to what-else, or why. I suspect his purpose and mine are overlapping Venn-sets, and that it’s taking yet *more* energy to only take out of his work what’s good and useful to *me* without being shanghai’d off on *his* as-yet-unidentified crusade.

So those are two purposes for which I have use of inexactly-defined emotional energy, and one abortive source for such energy. I have a couple of other sources for such energy which don’t seem to be easily adapted to either of these particular purposes. And I haven’t as yet generated a model of emotional ‘energy’ of sufficient complexity to be of use to me here. Maybe I need to go work on one. Unless you happen to have one handy you’d care to share?

Two good days in a row, shooting for 3.
So yesterday I got new frames for my glasses, got back on the steering committee at Jobs with Justice, attended both Food not Bombs and GEARCon, and read fifty more pages of Deutsch (The Beginning of Infinity, highly recommended). Sunday was weekly meeting with the boys, and getting the minutes out, and lots of housekeeping, which got done.

Today will be the Eastside Democratic Club, which this time I'm going to consciously and deliberately use as a networking opportunity, and writing and sending a followup to Dianne about last Thursday's meeting (badly overdue), visiting the DMV, and reading more Deutsch. (There are also about half a dozen trivia-items on the list, which are important to get done but not worth wasting time describing.)

Over the last couple of weeks I've suddenly developed bags under my eyes, which are more or less a standard sign of aging. They're annoying, and I want to do some reading-up to find out how to minimize or get rid of them. This leads me to more general musings on aging and what to do about it, and so I have some old habits I want to re-develop:

Daily exercise. As soon as i'm done blathering at y'all, I'm going to toss on some workout clothes and go for a ride, 3x 'round the circle. That's about a third of a day's exercise; I'll figure out the rest later.

Defining meals as "eating leafy greens". I haven't been eating much green lately, and that seems to be the key to *my* dietary regulation. Trying to count calories just doesn't work.

Regular and dependable tooth-brushing. I've been skipping much more often than is good.

Enough. 3 habits is probably 2 more than I should be working on at one time. But I do think they heterodyne, and that I'll have better fortune trying all 3 at once.

So what's good with you?

Simple mechanical frustration
My glasses are broken. I strongly suspect it would be an easy fix, but as soon as I remove my glasses to take a look at them, I become unable to see them.

The optometrist will be open at 8am tomorrow, at which point I can make this *their* problem.

LJ 18th anniversary
I seem to have been here a while.

#mylivejournal #lj18 #happybirthday

Metacultural Musings
Okay, so the core of the idea is that we are not a civilization, we are a metaculture,Collapse )

D. C. area referral, re: abusive behavior
Does anyone have a recommendation for a class for reforming abusers in the Washington D.C. area?


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