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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?

Moving Dad
What I have to do is sell or give away everything Dad isn't taking with him (about 80% of the contents of the house), and clean the house. Dad moves on the 25th, and we have to be clear of the house by the 28th. I had been relying on family friends down here for help and resources, and have reluctantly concluded that they're all at this point either senile or hapless.

We've just finished the first day of the first garage sale, and while it was fairly decent from a money-generating point of view, no furniture was sold and the house doesn't look any emptier than it did when we started. This is only from the Daily Breeze ad, the LA Times ad doesn't start running until Saturday. While I have *hopes* that there will be a lot of people who worked Friday and also that Times reaches more people than the Breeze, I am not optimistic about my hopes. As backups, I've made lists of consignment shops and 'man with a van' services locally available, and have phone numbers for the former.

The best thing I could really do right now is go to sleep so I'm reasonably fresh in the morning. The market at the corner opens at 7am, and I can be out the door at 6:45 so as to get milk and eggs so we can have breakfast. Sale starts at 9. I'm kinda keyed up and there aren't any people I know of I can talk to at 4am local.

Live #85, Focusing amidst the extreme distraction
I have four letters I want to get written today. They've been on hold for over two weeks while I try to regain focus, that's way too long. I have to get used to the fact that there's going to be a media tantrum going on about the Cheeto-In-Chief every day until his impeachment is over, get used to it, and get work done anyway.

There's also a phone interview with the disability people, where I need to point out to them that my dead cardiac tissue hasn't and won't spontaneously regenerate. And a Gearcon meeting tonight.

This hasn't been enough writing to get me focused. I'll try a shower and another cup of coffee and see if that works.

Live #84, Need a rub
Manually crossposted from DW.
I'm continuing to heal, which is I suppose the best form of frustrating. What I need right now is a powerful, heavy-handed massage of my right thigh, and all the MST's I know in Portland are wonderful women with small, delicate hands. The job I need done on my thigh needs huge meaty mitts, and improvising with a knee not only won't work, but would probably re-do the injury.

Time spent healing has gotten me very much behind in a large number of things. It gets hard to schedule when the body keeps dictating "You are now going to sleep; you have two minutes to find a place to lie down if you'd rather sleep that way."

First thing I'm going to try for today is getting supplies over to James's place for tomorrow night's party. Next is writing my letter to Reb Stone by hand and delivering it, then comes writing to Dad by hand and mailing that. I've got four more on stack after that, but those-all can be done by email, and I'm considering them extra credit anyway, because I anticipate getting a couple of armloads of shopping to James's will wear me out.

New inspiration for anti-Trump activism: We need a cornpone comic, to play the role of the rube who got taken in by Donny's City Slicker. We need a *real* cornpone comic, not yet another New York Jew playing let's pretend. Know anybody?

Live #83, rerailing after sibling conflict
Manually crossposted from DW:
My sister is visiting my Dad, for the nominal purpose of helping him close out the house. I called Dad this morning, and he was sounding more out of it than I'd ever heard him, and he suggested I talk it over with her. So I called back an hour later to do so, and she started in telling me what she wanted me to take and how she wanted me to be doing it. I asked not to be lectured at, so she hung up on me and sent me a snotty email telling me all about how it was all my fault and she was just going to do everything her way without my input.

My sister is a pain in the ass, but not an evil human being. Yet I still have this overwhelming temptation to wait for her next phone call, even though I anticipate that'll take a couple of years, and to simply respond to her hello with "Hi. I don't feel like being lectured at today. *click*"

I reasonably anticipate that if I do that, she'll never call again. I'm wondering whether it's worth it. She has acted as a back-street line of communication with my ex, letting me know things about my sons that I otherwise would never have discovered.

She should not be of any importance to me right now. Nor my brother. Dad I still have some respect for, and I'd like to hang onto that. I need to be building new connections that I *can* respect.

Maybe I'll find something at the new group on Monday.

Live #76 deserves some pun about interdependence
Yesterday I went to what was billed as a meeting of Never Again, a local Jewish (obviously) anti-Trump group. It turned out to be a sing-along, instead. I contributed what I could, though my cold having reached deep into my chest this probably sounded rather like an asthmatic bullfrog. I also contributed my ballpoint pen, when they passed around a signup sheet and theirs didn’t work. Now to find out if they’re as determinedly incompetent as all the other such groups in town – I hope not, but hope tends to run counter to the odds. *shrug* *Sometimes* it works.

Today I’m doing the spaghetti squash thing again, this time for the Direct Action Alliance. Same comment about hope applies. DAA is meeting an hour after the Cascadian group, so I’m prevailing on Liam to use Barrett’s truck to drive us about. It’s a new Cascadian group; hopefully there will be some new faces and I can meet some new and not-yet-corrupted people. In the meantime, I spend as much of the day as possible keeping my chest as warm as possible, which seems to help.

I’ve got a screed about corrupt activism which I might post here later. Sneaky stuff, corruption – the problem is figuring out when one *has* become corrupted, and practicing self-healing. More on that later.

Addendum:Collapse )

Live #75, not over-doing it
Went out to Food Not Bombs today, and spread word about my Community Reinvigoration Homesteading project, hoping to get a female recruit to do the presentation to Rahab Sisters, which they've scheduled for January 17th. I *could* do it myself, but they're a rather male-suspicious group, and if I can have a female presenter that would be much better. It would *also* mean having a recruit, which would be good in and of itself.

OTOH, that was pushing it, and I'm glad I left early and came home. Tomorrow morning I need to call Gabe, which should become a regular Tuesday morning thing, and also Jamie of Portland Alliance, which is having a meeting Wednesday at 6:30pm but has neglected to say *where* in their announcements. If it's at the same place it was last time, I'm going to loan them my microwave when I bring in some food. (Housemate Jeph had one in place when we moved in, so mine has been taking up space in the top of my closet.) And Liam would like to go see Rogue One, which would be a quiet and peaceful way to get out of the house. I think that's about all I'm up for tomorrow. Colds are a pain in the ass; I don't feel like I'm really *sick*, but if I don't act like it then I *will* be.

So the two things on my plate to write ASAP are an identity paper for the Portland Alliance and a half-hour presentation of CRH. The latter, if possible, by Wednesday night; the former by the end of the week. Deadlines are fun.

Live #74, learning to regroup on the fly
So it’s 1:30pm, and I’ve just lost two big paragraphs to the browser demons. Reconstructed offline and copying:

I got my 3 letters written and sent before breakfast this morning, and got out the door at 8am to get some shopping done – gifts and dinner ingredients. I seem to do a full vegetarian meal, and then add a roast in the middle of it. Right now the roast is ready to go in the oven, the shrooms and bell peppers are washed, chopped, and ready, and the eggplant, onion, zukes, napa cabbage, and basil are lined up and waiting. There’s also garlic, ginger, and Viet curry-paste for flavor. And Liam has bought some black rice to go with. Does anyone have any creative inspirations for that? I *could* just boil & serve, but that seems so dull for such a nice rice.

I’m back in touch with Colby, and will try using email conversation with him to recalibrate myself on the fly. Maybe after the zukes.

Live #73, gently steaming
More random web-absurdity, so from offline notes:

Okay, I got the rugs cleaned. And I made spaghetti squash, which is both tasty and low-calorie. But I didn’t get any follow-ups done. Insufficient. Tonight there are two conflicting events for me to attend; a Greenpeace potluck and a mixed-martial-arts class/party. And I’m expecting a letter from Barrett to answer, and there’s a job lead I feel encouraged to follow up on. And those follow-ups:

Portland Assembly
Lucinda from IMIRJ
Randie from IMIRJ
Portland Tenants United (Sammy, possibly others)

Now, go do.

Live #72, cleaning the carpet
Cleaning the carpet is the major task for today. I'd tried doing calisthenics on it, and when nose-to-weave with it discovered it's filthy. Since I *do* want to get back in shape, we'll be renting a steamer today and I'll clean it up.

Yesterday, went down to Salem for the anti-Trump protests, which turned out to be as disorganized as ever. Pretending to be disorganized so as to lull the opposition would be a good tactic, but if there's an organized core hiding under this they're hiding well enough to fool me.

Live #71, Weekly in 13 minutes
Lost my post to the browser gremlins, so moving offline. Down to 12 minutes from the loss.

Last week not so good. On the plus side, this is because I caught it in time and killed off the Winter Cold in two days. On the negative, that meant two days sleeping, and hence *doing* nothing. But that’s over with, it’s done snowing, and I can now go get stuff done.

Mundane shit first: Going to attend FnB tomorrow, and try to recruit a woman to CRH to present at Rahab for us. Will steam-clean the carpets on Tuesday, so I can do floor calisthenics without getting a nose-full of ancient crap. Going back to the “Meals are green leafies” trope. Have a napa cabbage in the fridge to start with, as of lunchtime. Been doing better on exercise and will continue that. And teethbreesh.

Goals for the week: Do FnB on Monday; try to recruit woman for CRH to present to Rahab. Create CRH contacts with PDUBSU, NARA, and Rahab. Rework Asgardia Culture piece and publish it and Trump screed to Portland Solidarity. Renew grant pursuit with SE Uplift and Milwaukie Center for Tool Library. And do Solarpunk web-crawl later this morning and every Sunday morning ongoing.

4 minutes left. Dayenu. Go do.

Live #70, getting some steam up
So today I got two letters to Barrett written and sent, and the Asgardian culture paper written and published, and was prepped and ready to go out to two events that were both canceled at the last minute because not all the ice has melted yet. And did some exercise. And emailed Steve, who hasn't responded yet. And I'm still sitting around with excess energy wondering what else I could be doing.

The next thing I should write for Asgardia is a paper on economics. I'm not feeling it yet, though; still working on the culture thing. I have to make the point that a metaculture is an ecosystem, and cultures themselves are life forms.

Tomorrow I can tackle both of those, and also there's an event at 12:30pm at the SEIU building on Foster that I can get to. Still haven't inventoried the T-shirts or cleaned out the fridge; both would be good to get to.

Live #69, minimal report
Slept a lot again yesterday; feeling better and going to have a real day today. Most things being closed due to the weather, I'm going to write about Asgardian culture, and what I would like it to be. And also exercise, albeit indoors.

Live #68, No More Superpowers
Unposted leftover from Sunday:

So I didn't get anything written about Asgardian culture today. Phooey. I did get the kitchen cleaned, the fish hung, and the morning routine dealt with, and made a lovely dinner that Barrett then stood us up for, so we enjoyed the food without him.

Monday, Barrett *did* show up, as rescheduled, and things went very well. I think he's actually willing to work with me on CRH, and I could really use that.

And it's now Tuesday, and I've discovered I need a balaclava. I don't have the cold resistance I used to, and leaving the back of my neck exposed while biking got me chilled. I don't *like* not having my old, or perhaps I should say youthful, invincibilities. But I don't, so I'll go spend the $5 as soon as I can find one.

And there's an IMIRJ event to go to that we need to leave at 5pm for, so I've only got two more hours to get something useful done in. Going out *had* been one of the items on my agenda, but I want to get *something* done besides self-maintenance.

Today's list as it currently stands:

DONE Morning routine including exercise and getting-out-of-house
DONE IM with Zack re: updating phone
Find a way to contact BLU and ask *them* about updating it, as Zack ran out of Useful Clues
Email Barrett about writing his boss to give him a raise
Write Vicky about presenting CRH to Rahab
DONE Locate and price carpet steamers, email Jeph with data ($29 at Home Despot)
Do Solarpunk webscan
clean out fridge
Read Ashurbeyali’s address; write and publish response
Write ‘culture’ paper for Asgardia
Purge t-shirts
Reconfigure sleep-mask

I think it obvious at this point that most of these things are going to become Wednesday's list.

Live #67, hoping for an ordinary Sunday
Had a lousy night's sleep the night before last, and got little done yesterday as a result. Good night's sleep last night; should be able to get some stuff done today.

Things to do:
DONE Exercise
DONE Have breakfast with Liam
DONE Shower, brush teeth, take morning meds, get dressed
DONE Weekly meeting with Zack
DONE Hang fish on bedroom wall
Purge T-shirts
Clean fridge
Write 'culture' piece and publish it on the proper Asgardia board
Find something to do to get out of the house for an hour or so -- maybe food-shop?
Dinner with Barrett and Liam

OK, looks like a day. Go do.

Live #66, self-care
I'm just done brushing my teeth; failure to brush teeth is one of my depressive 'tells'. Had a slump in the early afternoon today, caused by irregular sleep patterns the night before; I was up from 2-5am writing,and got some good writing done -- published a habitat proposal to the Asgardia Engineering list. Did get a good shabbos dinner done, but didn't get the ornamental metal fish up on the wall again. Tomorrow for them, then. T-shirt purge, also.

It's important that I start getting regular exercise both of abdominal muscles and cardiovascular system. To that end, I'll do calisthenics tomorrow morning at 7am, and try to turn that into a steady daily habit.

I also have a social center I want to visit; might bike to that later in the day.

Live #65, Space Habitat
So I met with Barrett Wednesday, and Steve and Julie on Thursday, and I need to come up with a plan for taking action on CRH with Barrett, and I need to write up a plan for building a space habitat as part of what I'm taking on for GEARCon this coming July.

I got started with the writing yesterday afternoon, and got far too breezy about it. A bit informal is fine, but I was all over the map. Need to rein that in. Don't need to throw out what I did and start over, but that might be best given how much I'd have to chop and re-order things. I want to get that finished today, and also hang the ornamental metal fish on my walls, purge my T-shirts, and make a nice shabbos dinner. I'm going to need more sleep first, also. Cleaning out the fridge would be a good idea also, but the above's sounding like a full-enough day without that, and it could wait 'til Sunday. We'll see.

Live #64, Focus
So yesterday was a good day, even if I didn’t keep up with my own plans. I did spend the entire day actively doing things, and good things got done. What I *didn’t* do was the most important thing, which is creating my concrete four-project plan. So I’ll get on that as soon as I’m done with breakfast and meeting with Liam this morning.

I’d continued with the Asgardia stuff, and wrote and posted two good pieces there and did two good pieces of correspondence and got my laundry done. All good. Then went to the movies and saw ‘Arrivals’ and ‘Fantastic Beasts’, both good. (‘Arrivals’ has one *huge* piece of handwavium in it, but the storytelling is good enough that I didn’t catch it ‘til the film was nearly over.)

Today will be writing plans, and then talking with Barrett about his participation in CRH, while teaching him how to change the oil in his truck. Then back to the plan-writing. Then take a break and hang the fish and clean the kitchen. Then back to keyboard; more plan-writing if it’s not done yet, or compile a list of my active ficta and work on one of those if it is.

Body wants more exercise. I’ll be biking to Barrett’s place, which is a start, but insufficient. In the meantime, time to get started.

Live #63, How to go looking for myself when I get lost in my head
Okay, I’m up in the middle of the night and it’s time to get back to doing something *productive* when this happens...Collapse )