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.

Brain? Where are you, brain?

Okay, the coffee's helping.

Very often lately, or so it seems, I've turned to writing here as a centering tool, trying to find which universe I'm in and adapt myself to working in it. Haredi Jews have a prayer for every situation for similar purpose, but I'm not Haredi and only culturally Jewish (and my Hebrew has lapsed to the "effo bet shamush?" level, i.e., "Where's the bathroom?"), so I need to find a different solution.

Hmm. Pick some favorite songs to listen to on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9q5Sbj3km4 for a start, and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U05f60wipag.

Successful Failure

I've never been so pleased to throw away work.

I posted this morning about my distraction. Then I went and wrote out a proposal, and it was awful. It *really* stunk.

And then I threw it away and started over. Only got a few paragraphs start, but now it's a good start and I can do something with it. And if I hadn't written my previous pile of dreck I wouldn't have been able to.

So yay for successful failure, and on with the project!

Spleen, world. World, spleen. Now play nice.

I've got a grant proposal to write. The first question on the form is "What's your website?" so I need to create a website for the project. Fine, I started writing. And I find myself continually distracted by the inabilities of the people around me to recognize simple and straightforward *evil* when they trip over it.

We have in the United States two political parties, the Party of Malevolence, currently in power, and the Party of Incompetence, busily waiting for them to fall out of it. We're trapped between Bumblefuck and Murderthug.

What we are suffering from is poor storytelling. Look at the whole Marvel cinematic universe for a case example. There are two teams, the Good Guys and the Bad Guys, and the Good guys will always win and the bad guys will always lose and that's it. As a culture we've learned that winning makes you good, so if you won you must be good, never mind how many innocents you slaughtered in the process.

Yeah, OK, recently they've backed off from that a bit and made effort to Save The Innocents. But at this point that entire genre has gone so far off the Suspenders of Disbelief that it doesn't matter any more. The Bad Guys will always score just enough hits to allow the defending Good Guys to work up a good head of Righteous Indignation, whereupon they throw physics out the window, dial up the super-powers to about 25 or so (even those heros who don't *have* any), and engage in some righteous ass-whooping. The righteous ass-whooping is the orgasm of the story, and all the rest of it is just window-dressing setting up the stage for it.

Damn, there's too much going on here for me to keep hold of it. We can end the positive feedback loop and get back to telling better stories by focusing on building rather than fighting. In a fight, everybody loses, it's just that some folks lose a little less than other folks. If we build something, the project is the story, and its coming into existence is the success, and it leaves us richer by one whatever-the-fuck-it-is.

It will almost certainly be necessary to remove some of these malignant boils from our species. Rather than indulge our sadistic impulses, we should simply end them as quickly and expediently as possible, redistribute all the resources they have managed to sequester, and move on. Gloating is actively counterproductive, no matter how good it feels. We don't want to glory in the defeat of our enemies, we want to get back to making something beautiful.

So the evil that we're tripping over is that we've been subsumed by the sports-game mentality. Playing games is fine, it's fun, and it only becomes a problem when we start mistaking games for life. The model is not the thing. We need to look at what *surrounds* the simulation and not get bogged down in doing ever-better simulating. We're already *too good* at lying to ourselves.So since Thursday I've bought and installed a second, bar-sized (3.3 cu. ft.) refrigerator, put a couple of bread-boxes in the corner, and hung a big hanging basket next to the new fridge. I've also gotten some trays to put the spices on, tho' one of the tray needs legs so it can go above the other tray, and I'm not done with that part yet. (Bought steel bar-stock, bent it to shape, drilled holes in 'em for mounting, and drilled 'em too small. And my arm is too tired to drill 'em out wider for at least the next two or three hours.)

Place looks vastly better. Liam has already started ignoring the new changes and dumping his purchases on the counter, and I've already nagged him about it. We'll see how long *that* continues.